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CNN TONIGHT

Manafort Jury Asks Judge To Redefine The Meaning Of Reasonable Doubt; Cohen Reversed Course On Stormy Daniels Payment After Access Hollywood Tape; Architect Of Bin Laden Raid Issues Stunning Rebuke Of Trump; Brennan Hits Back At Trump; Remembering The Queen of Soul. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired August 16, 2018 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It's just a few minutes past 11:00 here on the East Coast and we are live with big developments tonight. In the Mueller investigation, jurors in a trial of Paul Manafort began their deliberations today. They didn't reach a verdict, but we may be getting some clues to their thinking after they sent a note to the Judge with four questions. The most interesting? Asking him to redefine the meaning of reasonable doubt. Which is of course, the legal threshold for acquitting a defendant.

So is it a sign of things to come when jurors return in just a few hours? And what does it mean for Paul Manafort? The former Trump campaign manager, who faces the possibility of life behind bars if he is convicted on all the counts against him? And that comes as a feud heats up between team Trump and former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman. You guessed it. Another day, another tape.

This one featured Trump's daughter-in-law and 2020 campaign strategist, Laura Trump, offering Omarosa a $15,000 a month job on the campaign. Laura Trump claims the tape is a fraud and says, quote, we never would have imagined that one of our own was secretly recording all of our private conversations. Well, they probably need to get used to it. Because "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that Omarosa is believed to have as many as 200 tapes. More on that in a moment.

I want to talk about the day now for Paul Manafort in the trial today. Here to discuss it, CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates and former U.S. attorney, Michael Moore, also Jack Quinn is with us. He is a former White House counsel to President Clinton.

Good evening. Thank you so much for joining us. Jack, Paul Manafort jurors asked the judge if he could redefine reasonable doubt for them. Should the prosecution be concerned about that?

JACK QUINN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: No. I think in a criminal case it's a fairly typical question from the jury, and no small part because it's a pretty fuzzy concept for them to grapple with. The judge has to carefully explain that beyond a reasonable doubt means more than just probable or more than even highly probable. That if they have a doubt it has to be based on reason, and it has to be based on a reasonable consideration, not, for example, sympathy for the defendant or concern about his or her family.

LEMON: Michael, you say the question about reasonable doubt can cut both ways. Why do you say that?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR GEORGIA: Well, you know, on the one hand you've got the prosecution who is likely hoping that like says the jury is back there and thinking well, somebody wants to hear it. Does it mean -- do they really have to prove this? Is this something that is based on sort of a gut feeling that I have? Or is there something you can actually give a reason for?

On the other hand, the defense may be thinking well, we're hoping back there, there's a juror who says, look, I just don't believe this and I'm not moving forward, and I'm hung right now, and I'm not going to come off of it, because I don't think the government has taken this thing to the mat, and they've not eliminated every possibility of guilt. So those two things at work.

I will say this. You know, I think at the end of the day this is not an unusual question. I've seen a lot of criminal jury trials, and it is a difficult concept to get, and sometimes you just need a Judge to nudge them a little bit, and make the law a little more clear at least, let them hear that part of the obstruction again.

[23:05:15] LEMON: All right. So don't read too much into it. Laura, we know that Manafort's defense team showed the jury a chart that illustrated a spectrum of the levels of doubt. I mean, this is not the exact chart, but it's similar to the one that was shown in court. And we found out in "The Huffington Post," Ryan Reilly's Twitter, you can see at the very top. Right there, there's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the most difficult burden to prove is that one. It's a common tactic. Do you think that it could have influence on this jury?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the defense hopes that it will influence the jury enough to say listen, all you need is a small, small seed. You think about the Norman Rockwell painting jury. We have somebody holding up at the end of the table and everyone is appealing to that person's common sense and saying please, you have to be beyond any reasonable doubt. It can't be simply be that you don't feel like convicting the person or they may be sympathetic character. It has to be on a reasonable doubt.

Many time you get these questions. And it's almost a passive aggressive way of the foreman of the jury saying your honor, could you please explain to the person who does not want to listen to the rest of us about the issues of common sense? On the other hand it can also be used as attacking offensive. The government has a tremendous burden here.

They have all the resources at their disposal. And the defense certainly capitalizes on that. They did so in the closing arguments about forcing the government to meet its burden. The Judge was certainly hard on the prosecution throughout the trial making sure they met the burden for that very reason. So, you have a jury comprised of human beings who have watched law and

order and maybe seen this for the very first time as a jury member and are trying to figure out what to do. All with the back of not being a sequestered jury in the era of this modern probe.

LEMON: So Michael, President Trump says that this trial has nothing to do with him. What do you say to that?

MOORE: I think he is -- that is probably fake news, and I'd just say I think at the end of the day, really what's happening is Mueller is laying out the case where he is talking about money. We've said for a long time if they get to Trump. And which I think you're seeing the rope tighten around him a little bit. In fact, it's going to be a money case. That is going to be where did the money come from? And so here Mueller is laying out the initial story, the first chapter in a book about money coming in. That deals with Manafort.

At the end of the day, you ask yourself this question, how did Paul Manafort, who has been getting this money in from a foreign government, how does he end up as the top dog in the Trump campaign? And that just doesn't happen out of the blue. So, I think this is chapter one. I think Mueller knows what's chapter two just like he knows what is chapter 20 at the end of the book. So, this is just the start. I think you'll start to hear as other cases go forward and other defendants are charged of what happened. Remember, we haven't heard from Mike Flynn in a while. I think, likely we are going to hear from him. There's a reason that he is being quiet and there is a reason that has not been sentence. That is because he is cooperating.

LEMON: You setup my next question to Jack very well, because that, court filings show that the Special Counsel's office is almost three times the number of exhibits for the next Manafort criminal trial in D.C. What does that tell you about Mueller's preparation?

QUINN: His preparation is doubtless, exquisite, but you know, to this earlier point, I want to emphasize something. The idea that this is not about the President, I mean, in Manafort's defense, it suggested not so, you know, between the -- under the covers here, that this was, in fact, all about the President.

I think the tactic they employed was what lawyers call a nullification approach where they're essentially -- they didn't put on a defense. They're not trying to refute the voluminous evidence that the prosecution put forward in the form of the papers, the tax returns, the bank applications and the eyewitness to the fraudulent activities. They're really suggesting that the prosecution's motives here were all about getting to President Trump.

COATES: If I could say, what also adds to that Don, is the idea that Rudy Giuliani and so many people have come out very vehemently and said this particular prosecution is going to be litmus test on the credibility of Mueller's overall collusion probe, but in reality if he is already preparing for the very next trial. It indicates to me that he is not using this as his only guide or his litmus test for his own credibility, obviously. He is preparing to go in for the long hall. And that includes the

very next trial. And so, the presumption that people like, Rudy Giuliani have said about this being the end all be all to determine whether he will continue to go forward is already belied by these conference they had that said listen, we have three times the evidence in the next one. This is not going to stop here.

LEMON: Wow. Michael, I'm going to ask you about "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this, quickly I need to get to -- that Michael Cohen informed Stormy Daniels' camp that he was willing to strike a deal to buy her silence only after the release of the infamous access Hollywood tape that the Journal reports, and it says that, that Cohen indicated during that conversation that he was open to a deal. Despite having initially bolt at the idea. Does this blow up the whole argument about the payment to Stormy and it wasn't about the election and that Cohen was just paying her off to protect the Trump family?

[23:10:24] MOORE: I think there's no question about it. I think there is a lot more about the timing of the payment and when things are done. And what the purpose of the payment. And what is the ultimate goal to achieve with the payment. So, I think you probably takes some ease out of there in the argument.

LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate your time.

MOORE: Good to see you man.

COATES: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back. Omarosa releases another secretly recorded tape, this one reveals Lara Trump offering her a $15,000 a month job with the campaign. Team Trump says they're shocked.

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[23:15:00] LEMON: Omarosa Manigault Newman, releasing another secretly recorded tape of team Trump. This time it is the president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump call and tape, discussing a $15,000 a month campaign job for Omarosa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARA TRUMP, TRUMP'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: In terms of your position specifically, I really feel like your position was required, you know, you to be able to be flexible in terms of where you are. Sometimes you come to New York for occasional meetings, but I would love if you could, you know, occasionally go do speaking engagements for us. I think you'd be awesome doing that. And so it doesn't really matter where you are. If you're comfortable staying in D.C., then you're -- we're more than happy to have you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's discuss now. CNN Contributor, Frank Bruni, is here. Frank Bruni of "The New York Times," of course and CNN Political Analyst, Michael Bender of "The Wall Street Journal."

Gentlemen, good evening.

So Frank, according to Omarosa's conversation, it happened four days after she was fired. So, if she was so bad as they say, they had to fire her, why did Donald Trump's daughter-in-law want her speaking on the campaign's behalf? What am I missing?

FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I'm not sure the thrust of that is we want you to speak on the campaign's behalf. I think the thrust is we want you to say only positive things. I think Omarosa, while she got huge credibility problems is telling the truth here that this had the feel of and probably was a form of hush money. You know, it was saying we have a job for you. We're going to replicate your salary.

It is interesting, if you listen to the tape, they are literally doing the arithmetic, and they are saying this is exactly what you were making in the White House. If you do this and make speeches only positive things, only positive things and everything will be fine. That is what's going on. It's not about them finding her to be unusually competent. It's them not wanting her out there, doing what she is doing right now on a book tour.

LEMON: I was kind of mimicking the conversation there. Oh, yes. It's fine. So, Michael, on this call Lara Trump even admits that they want Omarosa to stay silent and say nice things about the President. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. TRUMP: You sound obviously that there's some things (inaudible) -- clearly if you come over to the campaign, we can't have -- we got to --

OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, god, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: There you go. That is what I was talking about. Omarosa described the job offer as hush money. And it didn't sound like she was expected to do much. Right? What do you think?

MICHAEL BENDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't think -- she probably wasn't expected to do much. I think that is right. I don't think she was expected to do much during her time in the White House. And Lara Trump also during hat tape makes reference to a "New York Times" story which was included a quote from Omarosa saying that -- to stay tuned. She had things to say about this White House. So the timing on her is a little suspect.

I also think to get down in the weeds of what is happening on the tape, Lara Trump makes an accusation here -- well, actually it's her statement in that accusing Omarosa of dishonest behavior during her time at the White House. Sarah Sanders has made similar accusations. President Trump has made similar accusations, but so far none of them has actually said what was so dishonest that Omarosa did at the White House and why she had a job beyond that.

But again, to answer those questions would just give the story more life. I think that is important in these tapes. These tapes, you know, these -- we already knew this anecdote from the -- from her book, and there's not a lot -- a whole lot new here, but what is so intriguing about this is that she keeps getting either the campaign or the President to respond.

LEMON: And contradicting what they, you know, said which is interesting. So you're right. It gives it more oxygen. Before we run out of time, I want to talk about this, because the President, Frank, attempted to pay his respects to Aretha Franklin today. Listen to how he describes the late legend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific Aretha Franklin, on her passing. She is brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from god, her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She is a special woman. So I just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How do you think she would have been felt as being described as someone who worked for him?

[23:20:01] BRUNI: You know, just when you think you stared into the abyss of Donald Trump's narcissism and seen your way to the bottom, you realize they're a couple thousand feet below that -- and saying she worked for him and that is what the second sentence out of his mouth, that is just offensive.

LEMON: But you know what, he doesn't get it.

BRUNI: No.

LEMON: He doesn't think that is offensive. I'm sure the people around him probably didn't think it was offensive. I'm sure some of his supporters --, but it is offensive.

BRUNI: But to him, you and I are awful people to even point it out. But you know, we're talking about an American legend here, who had great meaning to great many people and to reduce her to she worked for me is incredibly offensive and classic Donald Trump.

LEMON: He thinks he is doing something nice by expressing his condolences, but there's a way to do things properly and to put ownership on a person saying she worked for me, it's just -- I want to keep my job so I won't say. BENDER: Well, Don, you mind if I jump in here?

LEMON: Yes.

BENDER: I want to congratulate you on the first hour of your show here and really the work you've done all day paying a very fitting tribute to Aretha Franklin and one of the things I think this remind us of is there's only really been a hand full of issues over the last couple of years that have been able to break through the Trump news and own an hour of a show or an entire show, and it's nice to know that Aretha Franklin's extraordinary life remains one of those things.

LEMON: Yes. Michael, thank you for saying that, and Frank, thank you both for joining us tonight.

When he come back, the navy admiral who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden fires back at President Trump for trying to silence his critics calling it a move straight out of the McCarthy era.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump is going to have to wait at least a little longer for that military parade he is been counting on. The defense department says the parade originally scheduled for Veteran's day won't happen until sometime next year. The American legion said they believe the money, reported $92 million, by the way, they believe it would be better used at the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Well, that comes as President Trump is under fire for revoking the security clearance of ex-CIA director, John Brennan. I want you to listen to what retired Admiral William H. McCraven. The man who oversaw the raid that took out Osama bin Laden, what he wrote. He wrote in a powerful op-ed for the Washington Post -- excuse me.

I'm going to read the whole thing for you. Dear Mr. President, former CIA Director, John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday is one of the finest public servants I've ever known. Fewer Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity whose honesty and character have never been in question except by those who don't know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well. So I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency. Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became President you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs. A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader also puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions you embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and worst of all, and divided us as a nation. If you think for a moment that your McCarthy era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you're sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

I'm joined now by CNN National Security Analyst, General Michael Hayden, whose security clearance the President has said he is also considering pulling. General Hayden is the author of the book of "The Assault on Intelligence".

That was an amazing, a stunning rebuke from a retired U.S. Navy admiral who oversaw the raid that captured Osama bin Laden. What kind of impact, general, do you think that is going to have? Good evening, by the way.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good evening. By the way, I know today was a day of personal loss for you, so condolences to you from myself and my wife Janine.

LEMON: Thank you, general.

HAYDEN: Now, on this letter, I mean, I read it mid-afternoon. It was absolutely breathtaking. I mean, talk about 250 lean words packing a great punch. And frankly, and I don't think I'm exaggerating here. Probably reflecting a broad consensus amongst a majority of men and women in American military uniforms. They're tired of this. They're very proud of their nation, and McCraven's comments show a certain sense of embarrassment.

I think it actually will be a crystallizing moment in terms of attitudes. Now, the chairman of the joint chiefs, General Dunford isn't going to say things publicly. All these people who are still on active duty will maintain their silence, and of course, they will do their duty, but when you have a man of the prestige and accomplishment of Bill McCraven, willing to go public like this, I think we'll see others following suit as well.

LEMON: In an op-ed for "The New York Times," Brennan himself, is responding to having his clearance pulled and the President's persistent claims of no collusion. And here is what he wrote in part here. He said Mr. Trump's claims of no collusion are in a word, hogwash. The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy. Whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy and how many members of Trump incorporated attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.

Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance and an attempt to scare and to silence others who might dare to challenge him.

More sharp and strong language there. Do you agree with Brennan's assessment?

HAYDEN: Those are John's words, not mine. You and I have talked a lot, Don. I've not chosen to draw the case in that manner.

But, I mean, if you look at some of the things we've already shared, I've used the word "convergence." I've used the word "synchronization." I've talked about the meeting at Trump Tower, what the Trump team was willing to do from the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya. I've talked about the synchronizing of the Trump campaign movements with releases from WikiLeaks.

I mean, these are all public knowledge. We have the president calling on the Russians to steal Secretary Clinton's e-mails. You have the president, 160 times in the last 30 days of the campaign referencing WikiLeaks. So, we've seen great evidence of this what I'll call synchronization.

And again, I would not have used John's words, and I certainly have no knowledge with regard to the transfer of money. But we do have this seeming convergence of interest and behavior between the campaign and the Russians.

That's already been out there, Don. And so John asked the legitimate question, is there any guilt or responsibility attached to that kind of synchronization? And I've always deferred saying Bob Mueller is going to tell us.

LEMON: Thank you, General Hayden. I appreciate your time.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, celebrating the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. How her voice touched the souls of presidents.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: Take a look at this. It's the front page of tomorrow's "Washington Post." The headline? "What You Want, Baby She Had It." Aretha Franklin was beloved and admired by many. Even for our nation's presidents, she was the queen.

In 1977, Franklin performed at the inaugural gala for President Jimmy Carter. Her acapella rendition of "God Bless America" is stunning.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: Years later, Aretha performed this soulful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables in celebration of President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: Just one year after that, in 1994, Franklin became a Kennedy Center honoree, and she performed for the first time at the White House, crooning "Ol' Man River" to President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

(MUSIC PLAYING) LEMON: In 1997, Franklin was seen with a future president. Seen here with Donald Trump at the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City. President Trump tweeting today that she will be missed.

In 2005, former President George W. Bush presented Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. Here's how he honored her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One record executive put it this way. Aretha is still the best singer in the world, bar none.

[23:40:01] She finds meanings in lyrics that the composers didn't even know they had.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: She chills you, heats you, affects your soul. It's exhilarating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And in 2014, this moment with President George H.W. Bush, the former president and Franklin on stage together after she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Harvard University. That day, she sang the national anthem.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: And you probably remember this performance or at least remember the hat when Franklin performed at the first inauguration of President Obama in 2009. A black artist and activist singing in honor of the first black president.

And then there is this performance of "Natural Woman" honoring Carole King at the Kennedy Center that seemed to touch President Obama most.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: Through the power of her lyrics and her voice, Franklin's music transcended politics and presidents. And today, even a nation divided comes together to mourn the passing of a true American treasure. We'll be right back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight, the world is mourning the incomparable Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin was a true icon in every sense of the word. Let's discuss now with CNN Political Commentator, Marc Lamont Hill and Tre Johnson, who writes for "Rolling Stone." Gentlemen, good evening. It's a sad day. We're celebrating a life. And Marc, as we just mentioned, Aretha Franklin met and performed for multiple U.S. presidents across party lines. What does that say about her impact on this country?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Aretha Franklin was America's gift. Aretha Franklin was America's singer. Aretha had very clear politics. She loved black people. She stood with black people across generations. But Aretha was something that black people loaned out to the world and certainly to all of America.

Every U.S. president loved Aretha. Every U.S. president wanted Aretha to performed. Every event, irrespective of race and politics, Aretha was invited because she was seen as a special figure, a singular figure. I don't think there's ever been anyone who has been produced or will be produced like Aretha Franklin.

LEMON: Tre, On November 9th, 2005, President George W. Bush presented Aretha Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That's the nation's highest civilian honor. She was described that day as a woman who revolutionized American music. Is that how you see it? Would you describe it that way?

TRE JOHNSON, WRITER, ROLLING STONE: One hundred percent. I think when I spent a lot of time today thinking about her legacy, a big part of what I think about is how she lifted up the stories of so many black women, so many every day, black women in particular.

And it's that ability to kind of reach down to a very authentic experience and the idea that she revolutionized -- I really consider her one of the great American storytellers. She opened up to the rest of the world.

So many great experiences and just nuances around the black woman's journey through America, how unfair it had been, how rewarding it had been, how much due diligence there was to kind of make it through each day, and just the endless amount of love that I think Aretha evidenced through her music will reflect a lot of the love and strength that was inside black community.

[23:50:09] LEMON: Can we talk about about, Tre, her influence on the next generation of American artist?

JOHNSON: Yeah, I think it is much the same when you look at everyone from Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, a lot of the women that we think of as being not just divas. I think that is just one term, but that's used to talk about her.

Again, this idea of that type soul-wrenching, authentic type of storytelling that again is at the heart of every one of her song. She inhabited her music in a way that no one else had. And I think that inspired so many other women after her to step into their own truth about their sexually, about their pain, about the broken relationships and rewarding relationships that they have been in.

And I think the idea of kind of kind of reaching across generations to show women that their story is not alone. It was super powerful for so many other women who came behind her.

LEMON: Marc, I just want to play more of this CNN exclusive. It is never before seen interview with Aretha Franklin from an upcoming original series. Aretha -- she got her start singing in her father's church. And here is the Queen of Soul right now, talking about going on tour with her father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARETHA FRANKLIN, AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER: We had fun but it was not about fun. It was very serious about the word. And, the traveling was and wasn't fun. There were times that we couldn't eat in the restaurants in the south and so the driver.

We had to go in the market or in the grocery store and get something what you call saus (ph) crackers, white saltine crackers and soda pops. But, listen, darling, that was wonderful. I love saus (ph). So, hey, I was right on it with the saus (ph). And hog head cheese is what they used to call it, too. And -- so, yes, that was fun because we would laugh right on down the highway and still having a good time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Hog head cheese. My parents, hog head cheese and crackers. How did the civil rights movement shape Aretha Franklin into the superstar that we remember today? I think it gave her, I would say her maxi (ph) and her strength to have such a long and lustrous career.

HILL: It shaped her consciousness. You have to understand, Aretha Franklin comes out of the New Bethel Church. She comes out of the two (ph) religion -- I mean, her father was C.F. Franklin, America's biggest preacher before there was T.D. Jakes, before there was -- you know, you have C.L. Franklin who not only was a radical preacher but had a political message.

They're traveling to the south, as she said, spreading the word of god but also encountering racial inequality. So she had a face-to-face encounter with this stuff. And it played into her music. It played into the choices she made politically. In 1970, she decides to endorse the bail of Angela Davis.

LEMON: Right.

HILL: -- when she was incarcerated. There is all these moments where you see Aretha Franklin standing up for black people and loving black people fully from the Afro she wore to the music that she sang, the venue she wouldn't play in to the politics she endorsed. Aretha Franklin was doing this every step of the way.

And I got to add, Don, real quick. You know, we talk about Aretha Franklin as this wonderful singer and as this wonderful voice, but Aretha Franklin also pushed the artistic boundaries of music by doing everything. She played the piano. She wrote the songs. She did the arrangements. She sang across every standard, jazz, gospel. "Amazing Grace" is still the greatest gospel ever made. She did it with hip hop. She did songs with Lauryn Hill, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Wexler (ph). You go down the list, Curtis Mayfield. I mean, there is nobody who stands at the level of Aretha Franklin. She is a singular figure in American music.

LEMON: I had just a short time here left, Tre, but "Mary Don't You Weep," Aretha Franklin will take you to church and she will make you dance in the club, Tre?

JOHNSON: Yeah. Marc said it best. Her voice was one of a kind. I spent today in preparation for the piece I have coming out in Rolling Stone tomorrow looking at two, I think, key points in the black African-American history. One was when she sang "Precious Lord Take My Hand" at Martin Luther King's funeral. And then when she sang for Obama's inauguration. I think, again, her ability to take standard songs and then speak to and through to us, I think she was a walking icon and legend to us all.

LEMON: Tre, Marc, thank you. I appreciate it.

HILL: She took your songs and she ain't giving it back.

LEMON: Right. It was her song. Sorry. It's mine now.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it.

HILL: Put it right in that purse.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thanks for watching, everyone. We're going to leave you with this from the legend. I hope I did you proud, queen.

[23:55:00] Aretha Franklin.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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