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The Truth Inside Trump's Brightest People; Mueller Team Will Accept Written Answers from Trump Over Russia Probe; Another Primary Upset; A Possible Interview with the President; Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearings; Explosive Book by Bob Woodward. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 4, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I'm not indicting the judge. I get he is a car pool dad and people say he's a good man. I get it. But how we disagree, matters. We cannot turn away from each other just because we don't like what the other is saying.
The right to believe something includes the right to say it, be heard and be judged by larger society. And yes, it does work both ways. It's not always equal but it does works both ways. You can't silence opinions because you don't like them.
Look, some day here is why. If you allow what you don't like to be silenced today, you will never know for sure that what you believe won't be silenced tomorrow. That's not what America is. It can never be us. Let's see what the judge is asked tomorrow. We'll be covering it here.
Thank you very much. I'm late getting to Son. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Well, that's OK because I was looking for this transcript in the Woodward phone call where the president talks about, well, I don't even talk to Raj. So you should be speaking to my secretary, whatever, when Woodward was saying, hey, I've been trying to get you on this book. So I don't know how much credibility Raj has when it comes to that, but what you just display, what you just showed there I think he should answer for it. I think you're exactly right.
CUOMO: I mean, I just want to know why.
CUOMO: You can't say, I have no idea who he is. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced him and others at the hearing, Guttenberg, you know, about who he was and how he lost his kid. I don't mean to indict the judge. I don't know him, I haven't learned much about him from his own mouth, we will get to that tomorrow. But how we disagree matters, and we have to have decency for different opinions. We're not enemies in this place.
LEMON: That's because you have credibility. And when you're caught in so many lies on tape and in person, it is hard to have credibility and I'm talking about the White House.
LEMON: Chris, thank you. Got a lot to get to because you know we have to talk about what happens in Massachusetts just moments ago and also what happened today as you were displaying the hearings there. Chris, I'll see you tomorrow. Thank you, sir.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here is the breaking news tonight on election night, a major upset. This time it is Massachusetts, Boston City Counsel Ayanna Pressley defeating Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano in the primary for his U.S. House seat.
This is a very big deal. And we are going to talk to Ayanna Pressley as soon as she can get to a camera, so stick around. As soon as she gets there, she will be here. We will discuss everything and ask her about everything.
We also have some breaking news on the Mueller investigation to tell you about. Here is what a source is telling CNN. That Mueller and his team and team Trump team -- team Trump, they're continuing to discuss a possible interview with the president of the United States.
Sources say that those discussions are now focusing more on written questions for the president, written questions. The New York Times is reporting tonight that Mueller will accept written answers from President Trump on Russia's election interference, but did not ask for written answers on obstruction. OK. So we're going to have more on that in a moment.
As I said, it is a busy night. All of this is coming. In the wake of this blockbuster, these blockbuster revelations from the new book "Fear: Trump in the White House" by one of the most respected journalists in the business, Bob Woodward.
These are just some of the things that current and former members of the Trump administration are reportedly saying about the president of the United States, current and former members of the administration. People, this president picked himself.
The man he chose, he chose them for the job. He picked them. It is coming from them.
Well, the Chief of Staff John Kelly, and this is a quote, he says, "he's an idiot, it is pointless to try to convince him of anything, he's gone off the rails, we're in crazy town," going on to say, and again I'm quoting from Bob Woodward's book here, "I don't even know why any of us are here, this is the worst job I have ever had."
That's the chief of staff John Kelly. Now the defense secretary, James Mattis, describing Trump as having the understanding of, quote, "a fifth or sixth grader."
Trump's former personal lawyer, John Dowd, according to Woodward described the president as a, "f'ing liar." OK. Those are his words.
And in an effort to convince Trump not to talk to Mueller said, quote, "don't testify. It is either that or an orange jump suit."
Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohen, who Woodward reports was appalled that President Trump might have signed later withdrawing the U.S. from a crucial trade agreement with South Korea potentially jeopardizing a top secret national security program.
And here is a quote from him. "I stole it, that is the letter off his desk. I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got to protect the country."
And former staff secretary Rob Porter, quote, "a third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren't such good ideas."
[22:05:07] And of course, there's the previously-reported comment from the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying this about the president. Quote, "he's an f'ing moron, idiot, crazy town, liar, dangerous, having the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader."
What they're saying there is, I mean, really ominous. Again, current and former administration. These are Republicans. I mean that is really ominous. Presumably the people who know the president better than anyone, talking about Trump in a way that has -- has got to raise questions about his fitness for office.
Denials of portions those quotes, those quotes coming out of the White House tonight notably from John Kelly, James Mattis, Rudy Giuliani and John Dowd, but this is an important point. There are tapes.
In a note to readers in his book Bob Woodward says, "The book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with first-hand participants and witnesses to the events. Nearly all allowed me to tape-record our interviews so the story could be told with more precision."
CNN has confirmed that Woodward spoke to at least a dozen former and current White House officials, and the president himself said in a phone call he knew it was being recorded. He said, quote, "I think you've always been fair."
But then I want you to listen to this, because the president changing his tune in that same call on whether any Republican senators talked to him about Woodward, OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I certainly don't mind talking to you and I wish I could have spoken to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well --
TRUMP: But, you know, nobody called my office. I mean, you went through I guess different people. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, how can I spend all of this time
talking to people and -- like Kellyanne and Rah and Republican senators? I mean.
TRUMP: Who were the senators? No. They never called me about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me. Now, is that not true?
TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll see nothing--
TRUMP: That is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. You heard that. So he said no and then he said that is true. The president saying, quote, "I certainly don't mind talking to you and I wish I could have spoken to you, but nobody called my office. I mean, you went through, I guess, different people."
Woodward replying here, "Well, Mr. President, how can I spend all of this time talking to people like Kellyanne and Raj and republican senators?" The president asks, "who were the senators? No, they never called me about it." Woodward, "Senator Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me. Now, is that not true?"
The president, "Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly in one meeting." Woodward's reply, "yes. Well, see. And then nothing happened." So do you believe Woodward or do you believe the man who told you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just remember what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So let's discuss this. A lot to get to in the coming hours here on CNN. I want to bring in CNN's Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel, CNN Political Commentator, Alice Stewart, and Republican Strategist, Rick Wilson, the author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
Good evening to all of you on this very busy Tuesday. I hope you got lots of rest over the Labor Day weekend because here we go, we're back at it again. Jamie, you first. You were the first to obtain the book outside of the Washington Post and read it cover to cover several times I heard.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. LEMON: These devastating details pouring out and it seems that so
many close associates of this president question his fitness for office.
GANGEL: I think that real reporting on the highlights, let me just tell you, it is the tip of the iceberg. The fact that people -- this is his inner circle. These are not critics. These are the people who are in the room with him day in and day out, went to what are extraordinary measures to do what they felt was protecting the country because they felt that he was a danger to national security.
I've never heard anything quite like this before. The book opens with the dramatic story that you told about Gary Cohn coming in, got to protect the country, but he wasn't alone.
This was not -- this was a group that was doing it. Gary Cohn, Rob Porter, it was done with the knowledge of chief of staff Reince Priebus, and in addition to the documents they also would just slow- roll things or distract him or change the subject.
There is just extraordinary detail over a long period of time, incident after incident, that is scary.
[22:10:06] You know, we want a president to be able to manage a crisis. Maybe the most important thing they do. When you hear his closest aides saying, as you quoted, that he doesn't have the knowledge, he doesn't understand substance, all of which is reported in the book, you have to worry.
LEMON: Yes. And we want them, you said, to be able to handle crisis. But, Rick, we want them to be confident because this idea that top aides to the president swipe papers off his desk because they didn't want him to see or sign them, Gary Cohn is in this because he felt the need to protect the country.
That is stunning. Why don't they just say, OK, look, this isn't right, America, I can no longer do this? Why can't they just be honest with America and come clean instead of protecting this president and possibly harming the American people?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They have made a decision to execute the 25th amendment option of removing Donald Trump from the presidency, they just haven't told him or us.
They have decided they're going to sideline Donald Trump because he is a dangerous man with a degree of mental and personal instability that puts the country at risk.
And every day this evident -- these examples of Donald Trump's impulse and ego getting the best of him, you know, play out. And these guys have to say, you know, am I going to stay here inside the belly of the beast and hope that I can -- that I can, you know, move a few things off of his radar screen so he doesn't start World War III or destroy our alliances forever.
But the truth of the matter is they're morally culpable in the end. If they really were -- if they really were concerned about the fate of the country, they would stand up and speak out. You notice that these guys are going to deny that they spoke to Woodward. They're going to pretend it wasn't them. They're all going to deny it.
This happens with every Woodward book, Republican administrations and Democratic administrations. But Bob Woodward has the juice here. He's got the facts. And I think that this is going to be a very hard time for these folks because, you know, you heard the conversation with Trump and Kellyanne today.
He's not going to trust anybody. He's not going to trust any of these people. He is going to think they're all screwing him and they're all out to get him. President Trump (ph) is going to be very paranoid going forward, even more so than he has been to date.
LEMON: Alison, I want to bring you in. But just quickly, Rick, I want to say this to you. This is, it kind of reminds me of what I'm sure you experienced and I experienced that people behind the camera, or in the green room or maybe at a dinner and you see them in the public, they go, my gosh, I cannot believe this, blah, blah, blah, and then you get in front of the camera and you're say, who are you? You didn't just say that right to me when I saw on Saturday night when I bumped into you in a restaurant. Go on quickly because I got to get Alice in.
WILSON: I write about it in my book a lot. These people are terrified of Donald Trump's Twitter. They're terrified of Fox News turning on them and so they're willing to put the country at risk. They're willing to lie constantly to their own constituents, their own friends, their own families and yet they know what Donald Trump is. They know he is a guy without any impulse control and they know he is a danger to this country.
LEMON: Alice, not to be redundant because again, I think it is stunning, some of the allegations in this book according to Woodward. The Defense Secretary, James Mattis, describing the president as having the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. Or, again, the staff secretary Rob Porter describing how he had to stir the president away from the dangerous ideas.
And it's not coming, as Jamie said, this is not coming from Trump- hating Democrats. This is coming from his aides and his cabinet officials.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. And the reality is, look, we all knew that the president himself had a potty mouth when he ran for president, but hearing these stories of the president and his senior team calling each other idiots and retarded and a dumb southerner and f'ing this and f'ing that and the fact it is crazy town, the White House, this makes for a great book.
The reality is speaking with some at the White House, I talked to Kellyanne just a short time ago, a lot of this comes from former employees who are disgruntled and want to make sure that they have a story that is salacious out there in order to make their time in the White House look a little better. That being said, I do believe Robert -- this book's reporting. I do
believe he is going to get the facts straight. Even Ari Fleischer said you may not like some of the things that he reports but he does gets the facts straight.
LEMON: But Alice, this goes beyond potty mouth. This comes to competence and credibility. And then I don't hear a lot of happy White House staffers speaking out except for people like Kellyanne who sort of just keep spinning and spinning like a top.
STEWART: These are -- you know, even, like I said, even if half of these stories are true and this document was taken off the president's desk because Gary Cohn and others may have felt the president's knee jerk reaction was going to be harmful to this country, people across America -- I have traveled this country over the last month or so.
[22:15:04] They're not concerned about the palace intrigue. They are concerned about the other big news story of the day, which is the main reason I voted for this president, knowing all of this other stuff was out there, was that he was going to appoint Scalia, like justice to the Supreme Court. They're not concerned about this.
And quite frankly, they're watching another network that downplays this story and up-plays the economic numbers and the job numbers and the Kavanaugh hearing, which is important.
And Trump's base, the people he is most directing his message to, they are not sidelined by a book of palace intrigue. They are focused on the economics and jobs numbers we are getting out of this White House.
GANGEL: Don, can I just jump in a minute? I've read the book. I don't believe that Kellyanne Conway has read the book. And so this excuse that these are former disgruntled officials, I just don't think is going to wash when the book comes out next week and people read it.
Yes, there are some former people, but there are also current administration officials. What I've said about this is, you know, in Watergate there was the famous deep throat that was a source for Bob Woodward. He interviewed dozens of firsthand officials. There are dozens of deep throats here, and most of them allowed their interviews to be recorded.
LEMON: OK. Stick around, everyone. You guys will get another chance on the other side of this break, because when we come back we are going to have more on Bob Woodward's explosive reporting on dysfunction in the Trump West Wing. Plus, why the president didn't speak to Woodward about the book though he claims he wanted to. We'll be right back.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Well, tonight the White House hitting back at Bob Woodward after his explosive new book portrays the White House in complete chaos. Woodward, quote, "staffers reportedly calling the president an idiot, an f'ing moron, and saying that he is the understanding of a sixth grader."
Back with me now, Jamie Gangel, Alice Stewart, and Rick Wilson.
OK. I never thought -- this is fascinating that we are actually saying this about a president. Jamie, I just want to read, this is a quote from the president's first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
He says, "When you put a snake, and a rat and falcon, and a rabbit, and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls things starts getting nasty and bloody." That paints, you know, quite a picture of a chaotic White House, doesn't it?
GANGEL: It does. And I think that we've all known about chaos and dysfunction, and there's been quite a bit of reporting, of course, since he took office about that. But I think what's shocking here is the level of detail.
You go inside the Oval Office, inside the White House residence. There is a scene at the Pentagon that is best described, I would say from Woodward's reporting, as an intervention, where they bring the president to the Pentagon to try to explain to him diplomacy, defense, the reason why it's dangerous to pull troops out of South Korea.
And it's extraordinary. He basically dismisses what they said. The profanity is the profanity. I don't think that's what the big concern is with the book. It's this underlying lack of understanding. The words that are used are erratic, unhinged, alarmed, exasperated. Those are the things that I think will be most shocking about the book when people read it.
LEMON: Rick, I want you to take a look at this. This is just some of the insults the president lobs towards associates. This is according to Woodward. He calls his Attorney General Jeff Sessions mentally retarded and a dumb southerner.
He calls Reince Priebus a, quote, "little rat," Giuliani a little baby that needs to be changed. He says that H.R. McMaster wears suits like a beer salesman. He says his commerce secretary Wilbur Ross is past his prime.
I mean, you know, there's a point to what Alice said about potty mouth, but I mean, should it be any surprise considering the president's affinity to insult people publicly?
I would think that I'm actually reading something from maybe elementary school or -- it is not even junior high. I know you are, but what am I, kind of thing.
WILSON: Sure. Set aside the president's whole feculent mouth for a moment. The real thing here comes down to the fact that Donald Trump doesn't ever build anyone on his team up. It's all about aggrandizing his ego, all about humiliating people, it's all about insults. It's all about this pathetic man-child who can't stand anyone else's accomplishments being in the sun against his.
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: But, Rick, who says mentally retarded anymore, a dumb southerner? I mean, what is this, 1950? I mean, come on.
WILSON: yes. Look, this is a guy who -- this is a guy who is really showing that he's an old-school white dude from Queens in all of the bad ways that that possibly can represent, from a time where it's not -- look, I'm not one for, like, political correctness or any of that, you know, soft-edge stuff.
WILSON: I've said a few words on TV now and again that made people blush, but this is a guy whose insults are so petty and so projecting and so miserable, it really demeans the presidency.
You got a guy in there who can't control himself and who looks around the room and says, how can I drag everyone in here down. I mean I guarantee you, Kellyanne Conway had a bad day today after that tape came out. He is now ripping her to shreds.
This is a guy who destroys everything in his path. Everything he touches dies, as I like to say. And it shouldn't surprise people he does this. This is his character. It was obvious. He went after a gold star family. He insulted John McCain's military service.
This is a disgusting human being. It is not a surprise, and no one who wants to support Trump can cover the fact that this has the absolute ring of utter truth in the way Trump speaks to and about people.
LEMON: Alice, I mean, you know, again, I get your point about a potty mouth. I think America knows -- maybe they did. I mean some people did, how Donald Trump conducted himself.
[22:25:06] Well, of course, they did from what he said on the campaign trail. I don't know if they knew about his business. People who were New Yorkers who had to do business with him knew about that.
But it just seems like there's a nastiness and meanness to this president, and it goes beyond how he describes his aides. I mean, you can also argue that, you know, it's in some of his policies, too. If you look at separating the kids at the border.
STEWART: Yes, I think the language is one thing, and the fact that we're hearing from this book -- like I said, I trust Bob Woodward's reporting and the information that he I was given. And you know, even if half of this is true, the mutual lack of respect and normal decorum that we hear about in the White House is concerning.
But more than the name-calling and the insults that we are hearing, I think the details of the book are troubling. But bigger than that is the larger picture that I'm sure will come out as the book comes out and Jamie is able to talk more about what she has read, is the picture that this president does take knee-jerk reaction.
He does have rash impulses that could potentially be dangerous to this country. And if he was, you know, brought in to the Pentagon and had a type of intervention and he's not able to really take advice from his senior advisers, that is more of a concern in my view to the country and certainly the national security.
If that picture is painted, that could certainly have an impact. But at this stage, this is, once again, those who approve of this president are not going to be believing this story and this narrative that is painted out there. But those who do not like this president and disapprove of him, they're going to use this to exploit his weaknesses and use that, in my view, as we move further into the midterm election.
LEMON: Well, what are you going to do? I mean it's just beyond belief to me that some people can just read this and say, that's OK. So, Jamie.
LEMON: This is the what -- this is a tweet from the president and I think it deserves to be talked about quickly here. "The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by general Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and General Chief of Staff John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise, other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative. Notice timing?"
Woodward is a Democratic operative? It's just, I mean, that's beyond ridiculous.
GANGEL: So, first of all, the president is going to have a little trouble here because he has been very complimentary of Bob Woodward in the past. And I think if we want to go back to that audio tape, he says that Bob has been fair to him. Do we want to play that tape again? I'm not sure.
LEMON: We can't. We cannot.
GANGEL: We cannot? OK.
LEMON: Legally we cannot. We only have a certain amount of time.
GANGEL: OK. So he says that Bob has been very fair to him. He has tweeted in the past about how Bob's reporting was great. To all of a sudden do what I now call a Trump 180, which was as he did with saying, nobody ever told me you wanted to interview me. Then he says, oh, yes, Lindsey Graham did, that's true, that's true.
I think that Trump is going to punch back because that's what he does. I think as he learns more about the book, it may get more heated. We'll see what those tweets look like at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.
But Bob Woodward has a lot of credibility. He has written major books on eight different presidents, won two Pulitzer Prizes. He is known for his investigative reporting and his accuracy.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. It was a great conversation.
STEWART: Thanks, Don. LEMON: I'll see you next time. When we come back, another stunning
primary upset tonight. Boston's first woman of color to serve on the city council, Ayanna Pressley. Tonight, defeating a 10-term Democratic Congressman, Michael Capuano in the race for his own seat.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:01] LEMON: So here is the breaking news. Another stunning primary upset, this time in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley, the first woman of color to serve on the Boston City Council, tonight defeating 10 term Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano in the race for his House seat. There's no Republican challenging Pressley in November, so it looks like she is heading to Washington.
And as we said earlier, we thought that she would be able to join us tonight from her headquarters, but she is speaking with her supporters and enjoying her victory. And we're going to update you if we are able to talk with her tonight. Right now, though, I want to bring in CNN Politics Senior Writer and Analyst Mr. Harry Enten, also CNN's Miguel Marquez live at Ayanna Pressley headquarters.
By the way, Harry ran in and told us this is going to happen. He predicted it, sort of, not early, but fairly early. Miguel, we're going to start with you because you're there. This is another stunning upset. What happened in Boston tonight?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She got voters out that don't typically vote. This is a district that was tested twice, in February and just a few weeks ago in August. Michael Capuano was up by 12 points in February. He's up by 13 points in the masking poll in August, and she won. An hour and a half after the polls closed, he conceded the race, clearly seeing that voters in Dorchester, in Jamaica Plain, in Boston, that area where she is very strong, just turned out in massive numbers.
And he couldn't make it up in the areas where he had support, just a massive, massive win. It clearly sends the message that that insurgent energy in the Democratic Party is alive and well here in Massachusetts. The blue wave took out a very blue member of Congress tonight for a bluer one. She says she did this for people in prison, African-American men in prison, for women and their rights, for immigrants.
One quote that she had that I thought that was really great, I knew I would be demonized as entitled and what no woman could ever be, ambitious. And the crowd here just erupted. She really ran as an outsider despite being part of the Democratic establishment here in Boston.
[22:34:49] LEMON: Let's bring in Harry now. Harry, with no Republican on the ballot tonight, I mean she is really poised to be first African-American to be elected to the State House of Representatives. What does it mean for the bigger picture in November?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: I think it means that women are coming out in huge numbers this primary season, and minorities are coming out in huge numbers. We just saw last week Andrew Gillum right in Florida coming from behind. This is another example of a minority candidate surprising people because the polls simply didn't seem to capture their strength.
LEMON: She told The New York Times that she knew that she and Capuano would sort of vote the same way, regardless of who went to Washington. But she did it because she thought someone needed to stand up to the bigotry or the hatred coming from the White House.
ENTEN: Yeah. I mean Capuano is one of the most liberal members of Congress. I mean she tried to get to his left but that is very difficult to do, and in very few ways could she do so. But yeah, this was about a change of the guard showing Trump, hey, we're not going to take it anymore. We're fed up. We want someone who is going to really stand up to him.
LEMON: Thank you, Harry. Thank you, Miguel. I appreciate it, both of you. When we come back, Bob Woodward reports that the President's former attorney told him not to testify in Robert Mueller's investigation or he will end up in an orange jump suit. Will the President testify anyway?
[22:40:00] LEMON: A source telling CNN that the Mueller and Trump teams are continuing to discuss a possible interview with the President. A source says those discussions are now focusing more on written questions for the President. The New York Times is reporting tonight that Mueller will accept written answers from President Trump on Russia's election interference, but did not ask for written answers on obstruction.
So let's discuss now. CNN Legal Analysts, Laura Coates and Jack Quinn are here. Good evening to both of you. Laura, you are first up. The Special Counsel will accept these written questions on possible collusion with Russia. Does that tell us anything about where this probe may be headed?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it tells us it is not ending. Remember the predictions of Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of the President, was insistent it all be done before Labor Day. Now we see that the President is continuing to negotiate the terms of the parameters of his questioning with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team. In fact, he is allowing him to use written answers, which is a little bit odd, because of course, it is difficult to test the credibility of somebody when you have a written answer.
But it does not say they won't be able to ask follow-up questions in person. And they will have before them not just a script but actually the hard-and-fast statement of the President of the United States that they can test against. And if you know that he is somebody who may be prone to falsehoods and lies, well, now you have a direct comparison point.
So it may actually inure to the benefit of Mueller to say, fine, write down what you will say. We will test it verbally in person.
LEMON: So all of this is happening, Jack, while we are learning more about what is happening behind the scenes. Thanks to Bob Woodward's new book. In it Woodward reports, as he said, the President's then attorney, John Dowd, held a mock interview with President Trump to convince him not to testify in the Russia investigation, and that it went so badly that he was convinced Trump would perjure himself.
Dowd allegedly told the President, and this is a quote, don't testify. It is either that or an orange jump suit. I mean that is as stark as it gets, if you are a lawyer telling your client not to testify, and you say it is that or an orange jumpsuit.
JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Don, I have said on your show on more than one occasion the President needs a lawyer. I will repeat that. The President needs a lawyer. John Dowd and anyone else saying things like this is not giving Donald Trump the services of a lawyer. You know this is unbelievable. And by the way, it occurs to me that this really sort of fills in the blanks on what they mean by saying they're concerned about a perjury trap.
What they're essentially saying is they can't trust their own client to get to the truth. And so they're afraid that he will set a trap for himself.
LEMON: I hate to say that duh. Everybody knows that. It seems -- but maybe the President himself. But I got to get back to what you were saying. What do you mean that -- you said the President needs a lawyer? So these lawyers aren't of service to him? What should a lawyer be telling him?
QUINN: Well, look, we don't -- I have no idea what these lawyers are telling him. I mean first of all, I am skeptical about, frankly, the story that the Special Counsel is willing to accept some of these answers in writing for the reasons Laura outlined and others. It just doesn't ring quite right to me. The reason why you want to interview the person is to assess their demeanor, their credibility, and also to be in a position to ask follow-up questions.
If they were going to allow the initial questions to be in writing, but then allow the Special Counsel to do follow-up. That seems to be a contradiction. I don't understand what that gets anyone. So put me in the category of skeptic. But this is really where this negotiation is heading. I am still dubious all together that the President will present himself for an interview.
I think if anything it is more likely that the Special Counsel will be confronted with the question whether or not to seek the subpoena for his testimony.
[22:45:06] LEMON: Yeah. Let's talk more about the book, OK, Laura, because Dowd went to Mueller according to this book, and he and his attorney, another attorney, Jay Sekulow, OK. They reenacted the mock interview that they held. And this is what John Dowd, one of Trump's former attorneys told Mueller. He says I am not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot and you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington.
And the guys overseas -- the guys overseas are going to say I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for? Would that kind of argument ever divert a prosecutor from pursuing criminal wrongdoing?
COATES: Of course not. The fact that your own client's statements may make them look foolish is not at all a deterrent. In fact, it can oftentimes be an incentive. I am trying to get to the bottom of the barrel here. You know you asked Jack about why he needs a lawyer. Well, lawyers need to protect the client from more than the court of public opinion, which is what Jay Sekulow and Giuliani have been fixated on.
It seems as though an attorney who would be proper for this President of the United States would be focusing on the real court of law issues that would happen if he was no longer a sitting President, and did not have the blanket of security from the DOJ policy, saying you can't actually indict a sitting President.
You have to have somebody who can be clear with the President and say, listen, you have to understand if you walk in and say falsehoods to a seasoned prosecutor, they will prosecute you for that and many more things. He needs the counsel of a sage lawyer.
LEMON: I got to run, Jack. That has got to be the last word. I am sorry. We're out of time. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
ENTEN: You bet.
[22:50:00] LEMON: Fireworks on the first day of hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. With senate Democrats calling for the hearings to be adjourned because of missing documents from Kavanaugh's time as a lawyer in the Bush White House. Senator Cory Booker was a major voice leading the protest among Democrats today, and he offered this theory about why the President chose Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORY BOOKER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: We have one judge being chosen who was not on the original list. He wasn't on the outsourced federal society's original list. He wasn't on the second version of that list. He got onto that list after this special investigation got going. In other words, after the President was in jeopardy. He was added to the list and then the President pulled the one person from all of that list that was added late that would give him in a sense the ability to pick a judge that has already spoken vastly about a President's ability to be prosecuted, about a President's ability to dismiss or end an investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Cory Booker joins me now. Good evening, sir, so much to talk to you about, OK, about what happened today in the hearings. But I just -- just on what you were saying there, do you think Kavanaugh was chosen solely because of his views about Presidential power?
BOOKER: Well, I think that -- I've already pulled a lot of the law on recusal. And one big part of that is this idea of an appearance of impropriety. If a judge believes that by ruling on a case, by being involved in case, he will undermine his people's -- legitimately the reasonable person actually that says faith in the system, and I think that anybody who is looking at this, to see Donald Trump picking somebody who wasn't on his original outsourced list as I said.
But picking the one guy from his later list that was added to the list the Mueller investigation started, in which Donald Trump is under criminal investigation right now, and is an unindicted co-conspirator according to his personal lawyer. To pick the one person who has said hey, I don't think a President could be prosecuted. I think a President can end an investigation.
He's spoken significantly about this. So I think it raises enough suspicion to Judge Kavanaugh to commit to recusing himself on this, because no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States. No one is above the law. And fundamental to our legal systems is you should not be able to pick the judge that's going to rule on your case.
LEMON: And in some of the statements today to him that say said. But I've got to ask you now. I'm going to talk to you about the President, Robert Mueller, and what's going on. But what was behind this passion this morning on the Democratic side to, you know -- they wanted to adjourn. They wanted to go into I guess executive session. One Republican Senator said, hey, listen, this is coordinated, you know. Was it coordinated? Take us behind the scenes.
BOOKER: Yeah. I think that a lot of us, myself, and some of the other members were just saying this is not normal. There's nothing normal about this. And for days, I've been saying we've got to make sure we're doing something to just try to create some fairness to this process, because it's patently unfair. You heard a lot of talk about -- Republicans say hey, he's released more documents in the last whatever folks combined.
That's absolutely true. But this man has such a large body of documents, including his time in the White House Counsel's Office that we're actually getting such a small fraction. We only have about 10 percent of the total body of work, especially the section that he himself called his formative period. And so you and I wouldn't hire interns in our office with only seeing 10 percent of their resumes.
LEMON: So do you think they're hiding something, Senator?
BOOKER: I believe that there are things in those documents that they want out in the public.
LEMON: Like what?
[22:54:50] BOOKER: I don't know what. But remember, one of my colleagues, Dick Durbin, called him that sort of Forrest Gump of Republican politics. He's been the center of so many of the biggest controversies over the last 20 years, whether it was the Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, whether it was the debates inside the White House about torture. So many things that are relevant to his role on the Supreme Court, the public -- what are they hiding.
And by the way, if they're not hiding anything, this isn't about creating a delay for months. This could be just a matter of a few weeks of getting these documents out, allowing us the time to read through them, because last night they dumped about 40,000 pages on us.
LEMON: All right. I get what you're saying. And that was my next question. How much time -- you said it would be a few weeks. You're not talking about a few months. I do want to get to the President, but quickly if you can answer this for me. Do you think that this plays into the narrative that the President says and Republicans say that you're an obstructing this, that the Democrats are obstructing this?
BOOKER: No. I think that a reasonable person looking this in an objective fashion would say wait a minute. They should be able to read these documents. Now I do say that we should put a pause on the whole process independent from the document problem, based upon the fact that he should not be able to pick his own lawyer. It's something really that undermines the entire system we have a President who is incredibly under a criminal investigation -- subject of criminal investigation.
LEMON: Let me ask you this. This is all happening. Again, it's renewed questions of the President sitting down with the Special Counsel. And sources are telling CNN that Mueller threatened subpoena the President back in March. That would likely be contested by the President's lawyers and end up before the Supreme Court. Should that scenario be a factor you think in confirming Kavanaugh?
BOOKER: Absolutely. The President -- again, you know from the timeline that seems to be coming out, whether it's from the book that just came out or other things. The timeline seems to be adding up that the President is making this choice when he knows he's already in some kind of legal jeopardy. And so he's trying to pick the person that can best protect him from these investigations, and he clearly has done that, given the list that the federal society picked.
So that is germane from this debate that we're having. And I think again, a reasonable person should say -- come down to the conclusion the President of the United States is not above the law. They cannot pick their own judge.
LEMON: Senator Cory Booker, you've got a big day tomorrow. You've got a big day today, a big day tomorrow. We'll let you get some sleep.
BOOKER: No. Thank you, Don. Thank you so much. LEMON: And when we come back, the bombshell book by Bob Woodward,
some of the President's closest advisers reportedly calling him unhinged, a moron, and a liar. And there's so much more.