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Trump Administration Twist and Turn Their Statements; Articles of Impeachment on its Way to the Senate; U.S. Missed Its Attack on Another Target; President Trump's Shifting Explanations Fuel Doubts Over Justifications For Soleimani's Killing; President Trump's Twitter Archive Of Hypocrisy; President Trump Promised To Rarely Leave The White House, But Has Spent 31 Percent Of Presidency At His Properties; State Of The Race; CNN Poll, Tight Four-Way Race In Iowa. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 10, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. I want to turn things over now to Don Lemon and CNN tonight.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Thank you so much for joining us. There's a lot going on tonight. We're going to catch you up on all of it. We're going to get you up to speed.
So, including on what it looks like, it looks like the end of the impeachment standoff between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. The speaker says that she is preparing to send those articles of impeachment to the Senate and she's going to do it next week, which means the trial could possibly begin then. Though the House and the Senate both need to take some procedural steps first.
Well, that as Republican sources tell CNN that they want the president acquitted. Not just tried. Acquitted. By the time he delivers the state of the union address on February 4.
So, let me, let's all of us get this straight. OK? Think about that. Not only have they decided on the outcome of the trial, right, they want him acquitted. Which hasn't even begun. They've decided when they want it to end. Whatever happened to a fair trial?
And we're learning more tonight about what happened the night the U.S. military killed top Iran General Qasem Soleimani. Sources confirmed to CNN that the U.S. missed a second target that night. Another senior Iran military officer not in Iraq, but in Yemen.
The sources wouldn't give any details about the mission. But the Washington Post is reporting the target was a financier and key commander of Iran's Quds Force. Which means you wonder was the -- which makes you wonder, I should say, was the second strike about an imminent threat too? I don't know. Because there's still plenty of chaos and confusion over precisely why
the president ordered the strike that killed Soleimani. In the midst of all of that chaos and that confusion, this president wants you to believe him. He wants you to take him at his word even though his word keeps changing. This is what he told Fox News in an interview taped this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Don't the American people have a right to know what specifically was targeted without revealing methods and sources?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't think so. But we will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.
INGRAHAM: Do they have a large-scale attack planned for other embassies and if those were planned, why can't we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn't that help the case?
TRUMP: I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Probably was going to be and I would believe it would have been four embassies. Four embassies. And he offers absolutely no evidence to back that up.
The Washington Post reporting tonight that a senior administration official and a senior defense official said they had only heard vague intelligence about a plot against the embassy in Baghdad. Neither said there were threats against multiple embassies.
Just last night at his rally in Ohio the president was vague too about exactly how many embassies he was talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad. But we stopped him and we stopped him quickly. And we stopped him cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yesterday morning was of the first time the president even mentioned a threat to the U.S. embassy. One embassy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We caught a total monster. We took him out. And that should have happened a long time ago. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, in less than 24 hours, then president goes from saying one embassy was targeted to saying it was four. Information that apparently never came up in those Iran briefings to Congress in the SCIF this week. You think they would have mentioned a threat to the U.S. embassy or four embassies if it was in fact the rational for that deadly strike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): No one at the briefing said what President Trump said publicly the other day. That they were going to bomb the embassy in Baghdad. And I want to be very clear, it's not only the case that they did not present evidence to show there was an imminent threat, the reality is that the facts they presented indicated in my mind and anybody who understands what imminent threat means, that there was not an imminent threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The president whose blown his credibility with 15,000 false or misleading claims by the Washington Post count wants you to believe him now. But even his own administration can't seem to get its story straight.
I want you to listen to Mike Pompeo dance around the question with Jake Tapper. This is on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: When you say the attacks were imminent, how imminent were they. Are we talking about days, are we talking about weeks?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If you're an American in the region, days and weeks. This is not something that's relevant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes, well, it really is relevant. But the secretary either isn't clear on the meaning of the word imminent or he's just dancing around it. Listen to what he told Fox last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: There is no doubt that there were serious of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qasem Soleimani. We don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where. But it was real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where. That's not what imminent means. The dictionary definition of imminent is likely to occur at any moment. Any moment now. That's what it is. Not we don't know precisely where or we don't know precisely where. That's not what imminent means.
Pretty much the opposition of we don't know when. But listen to what Pompeo says when CNN's Kaitlan Collins asks him about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Secretary Pompeo, what is your definition of imminent?
POMPEO: This was going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was good, Kaitlan. I'll ask her about that. She's coming up in a little bit. It was going to happen. Not what it means either. None of this is quibbling over words. Really, it's not. This is not the time to do that.
At a time like this it is crucial to get it right. They shouldn't be quibbling over this. Right? This is life and death. War and peace. And it's more important than ever for Americans to be able to trust what this administration and this president say. He should be able to. It's going to their credibility, though.
That brings us to the wrong-headed fact-free tweet from the White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley today. Understandable if you forgot this administration even has a deputy press secretary. Not to mention a press secretary since it's been, guess what? It's been more than 300 days since any press secretary came to the podium in the briefing room to take questions from reporters. More than 300 days. But I digress.
This is what Hogan Gidley tweeted. Quote, "Soleimani was in fact planning imminent attacks. While Democrats and the media quibble over its definition. Quick point. When Obama killed Bin Laden and Al-awlaki and Gaddafi without congressional approval there were no imminent attacks and Democrats did not ask or care."
Well -- OK. Trump said it was an imminent attack. So, people are holding him to his word. There was an -- he said there was imminent. So, all people are asking is what was the -- what was -- why was it imminent? What were the imminent -- show us the evidence.
Did Barack Obama say it was imminent? Maybe he never said it was imminent. You did this and now you're blaming the media. So where to begin with this Hogan Gidley thing. OK? So, facts first here.
How about the fact that Barack Obama did not kill Gaddafi, Hogan Gidley? He died at the hands of Libyans. How about the fact that Congress authorized war against Al Qaeda in 2001 and both Bin Laden and Al-Awlaki were leaders of Al Qaeda?
And there were plenty of Democrats who objected to Al-Awlaki's killing. But, boy, this is the press arm operation in the White House. But did you catch this moment from the president's rally last night? Doing something he hardly ever does. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The radical Democrats have never been more extreme than they are right now. They are stone cold crazy.
TRUMP: You know, it's interesting as I'm saying this stuff, you know, they want crime, they want chaos. I'm saying all this stuff, then I say, gee, now I sort of understand why they hate me. Right? But it's true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The Washington Post points out that's a pretty rare moment of self-awareness for this president. The president who like I said has squandered his credibility. Just when he needs it most.
And I want you to think about this. Think about how much this president, this administration, but this president in particular loves to take credit for everything and tout everything they do. The economy is great. We're helping out here. We're doing this for this industry and this.
If they had thwarted -- I'm just saying, an imminent attack or imminent attacks, wouldn't they be showing it off to everybody for everyone to see the good work what they prevented. Just a question. I'm just asking. Just me sitting here just wondering.
This administration can't seem to get its story straight on the strike that killed the top Iranian general. So how can you believe them when their story just keeps changing?
We're going to discuss with one of the people who asked that question in that press briefing, Kaitlan Collins. Susan Hennessey is here as well, and Max Boot. That's next.
LEMON: It seems the president keeps changing his story when it comes to the rational for the drone strike that killed top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. he never mentioned the threat to the embassy and Baghdad until yesterday. Now he says four embassies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Don't the American people have a right to know what specifically was targeted without revealing methods and sources?
TRUMP: Well, I don't think so. But we will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad. INGRAHAM: Do they have a large-scale attack planned for other
embassies, and if those were planned, why can't we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn't that help your case.
TRUMP: Well, I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I believe it would have been four embassies. I don't think so. He says he doesn't think that the American people have the right to know without revealing sources. Did you anybody catch that?
Let's discuss now with CNN's White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, the former NSA attorney Susan Hennessey, and global affairs analyst Max Boot.
You guys caught that, right? The American people don't have the right. Even if you are not revealing sources and methods. That should be very disturbing to all Americans who are watching.
Max, President Trump says that he went after -- good evening, one and all. He went after Soleimani because he was going to attack four embassies. No evidence of that, not even mentioned in the lawmaker's intel briefing. Why should anybody believe this president?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: There's no reason to believe him at all. I mean, you can say that he is a straight shooter, Don. By which I mean he always shoots himself straight in the foot. And this is kind of repeating what happened with the Baghdadi take down a couple of months ago.
Remember, that was a great victory. And then he marred it by lying about what Baghdadi said in his last minutes, claiming that he was crying and whimpering for which there was zero evidence.
And so, the story shifts from a huge victory taking town the leader of ISIS to the fact that the president was lying about what happened when a takedown occurred. Same thing here. This in some ways is a big victory that Donald Trump can justifiably crow about. And yet, he's lying.
And so, no it's a week after Soleimani was taken down and we're not talking about the fact that he eliminated the leader of the Quds Force. We're talking about the fact that it's pretty obvious that they're lying by claiming that there was an imminent threat, for which they have no actual evidence.
LEMON: What if he just said well, he was involved in a terrible incident that killed one of our own recently there were attacks that were on the horizon.
LEMON: He was a bad guy.
LEMON: It was, he just happened to be --
BOOT: Yes, they should have. Right.
LEMON: -- in the place we could get him. And it was an opportune moment.
LEMON: We took the opportunity.
BOOT: They should -- I mean, they should have just levelled and they had lots of justification for killing him anyway. The fact that he had been responsible for the deaths of 600 Americans.
BOOT: The fact that he was part of a designated terrorist organization. The fact that we had the 2002 authorization for the use of military force. There were legal and strategic rationales for killing them that were perfectly legitimate. And yet, they came up with this nonsensical imminent attack for which they have no evidence. And now they have made that the whole story.
LEMON: well, he said imminent attack, right?
LEMON: So, I think and now the whole -- he's got the whole apparatus trying to make right what he said --
BOOT: Right. It was totally unnecessary. There is no reason to do that. Self-inflicted wound.
LEMON: Yes. Or they could just said, it was wag the dog. We came up with it because the president was being impeached and we wanted to make him look strong.
So, Kaitlan, listen, the White House insist an attack from Soleimani was imminent. But the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox that we don't know precisely when, and we don't know precisely where. I played that where you ask him about it today. So, what did he say?
COLLINS: Well, it only fueled other more questions about just how imminent this attack could be. If, as Pompeo told Fox News they didn't know when it was going to occur. So, today we asked, what is his definition of the word imminent to him? Because he was the first person to use the word imminent inn this administration --
COLLINS: -- to describe this attack. And then you've kind of seen some Pentagon officials step back from it. Some of them not wanting to repeat something like that. And today when he was asked, he simply said that he thinks that believes this was going to happen. But of course, that doesn't mean that it's going to happen soon.
And that's the big question for lawmakers. And, Don, the reason they want to know that is not just because they're curious about the intelligence. It actually plays into the legality of carrying out a strike like this.
COLLINS: Why the president didn't go to congress first and didn't brief anyone. And in his words, he essentially has said that he was -- it was so imminent that he didn't have time to call people like the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
I don't think Pompeo's answers to us in the briefing room today really did a lot to tamp down those criticisms.
LEMON: Kaitlan, let's listen to some of what you -- what happened today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Secretary Pompeo, what is your definition of imminent?
POMPEO: This was going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Sorry. I know it's not funny. But I mean, you really caught him off guard, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yes. That pause lasted almost a lifetime it seemed like in the briefing room. But I do think it's telling about what exactly, you know, the thought is going behind the word imminent. Was this a strategic use of the word imminent? People at the Pentagon do not think so. They don't agree with the State Department's use of that word, primarily of course the secretaries.
And so, that's really been the big question about this. Now he does go on in that answer to say that American lives were at risk. He feels like they made the right decision. I don't think people are disagreeing about the idea that this person is Iranian commander had his ability here. The question is just when were these threats actually going to happen.
LEMON: That all could be true. But just don't lie to the American people and don't lie -- don't lie to the press about an imminent threat. Listen, he was a bad guy. American lives maybe saved. That all maybe true but don't make up some excuse about, you know, imminent. Because the president said imminent, and now you're trying to make the president what he said right. Just say well, maybe the president misspoke. I don't know. But before I get -- Susan, standby. I have another question for Kaitlan here.
Congressman Matt Gaetz actually voted with Democrats on the war powers resolution. Staunch Trump defender we see it all the time. I'm sure the president is not happy about that. What is he saying?
COLLINS: Yes. And two other Republicans also crossed party lines to vote for that. Now we had multiple sources telling us last night that the president was fuming over this vote.
Just the idea that the Democrats brought this resolution to the floor had really incensed him. And then of course, to see these Republicans cross party lines because then Democrats can tout this and say actually it's not just a P.R. message because this wasn't a resolution that was actually going to make over to the Senate or to the president's desk.
But now they can say it was a bipartisan agreement because we had these three Republicans on our side. So, the president has been angry about it. The question over how angry he stays about it is really a question of how long it stays in the news cycle. Because a lot of times that depends on the president's feelings on something as the coverage it's getting.
LEMON: Now to Susan. Susan, let's talk about impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is ready to send the two articles over to the Senate next week. But McConnell still hasn't committed to calling witnesses. So, did he win the standoff?
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think we can say who has won or lost. Certainly, Nancy Pelosi did make some strategic gains by holding back these articles in the intervening period. Not only have their -- has been the revelation of additional e-mails from OMB officials that sort of point to the president's direct involvement and suggests that hey, there are lots of potentially significant records that might exist.
But I think most significantly, former national security adviser John Bolton has now said that he is willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. You know, that is really, really significant.
You know, it was a little bit of a risk for Nancy Pelosi to hold back these articles. This obviously did produce this additional information, this additional possibility of Bolton potentially testifying.
You know, the risk on the other hand, is that it might end up alienating some of those moderate Republicans, moderate Republicans on the Senate side who she's going to need to join with Democrats in order to vote to ensure procedural fairness. The calling of witnesses.
You know, we've already seen some senators like Susan Collins saying well, you know, I'm very troubled by what the president did. But look at the Democrats they're just playing games. And so, you know, this really is a pretty delicate political dance,
you know. But ultimately, the underlying substantive questions are incredibly important for the country. Really the ability of the United States Congress and for the American people to understand what exactly happened here.
LEMON: Susan, to the point -- Susan, to the point of Susan Collins, so let's -- OK, let's just say for the sake of argument that the Democrats are playing games. OK. But what is the president -- if she's concerned and the president actually did something wrong, why she saying -- why is she even bringing that up?
Why does it matter if the Democrats are playing games? If the president did something wrong, if there's high crimes and misdemeanors or he did something that is an impeachable offense, shouldn't that be her concern rather than someone playing politics? It is politics. It's Washington, D.C. People always going to play politics.
HENNESSEY: Look, this is -- this is clearly a moment in which we have to wonder whether or not members of Congress, Republican members of Congress are willing to place principle over party. And whether or not they are willing to fall in line with Mitch McConnell essentially, you know, having a fixed trial. And a trial that doesn't actually produce additional information for the American people about what the president of the United States did.
You know, that was something that obviously was a pivotal moment in the history of this country. If you look back to what happened with Richard Nixon, you know, members of his own party coming forward to say this is not right and we have an institutional stand, we have a patriotic stand. That really was the pivotal moment.
And you know, I think everybody has to sort of, you know, look to those, you know, those few Republicans who might be in a position to at least guarantee that witnesses be called. You know, that said, they haven't given much reason over the past three years, you know, to believe that they are going to do the right thing this time.
LEMON: Yes. Well, they even said that they want him to be acquitted and they want it to happen by the state of the union. So, they want -- they've determined already, predetermined the outcome and the timing.
So, Max, listen, Doug Collins. We talked about him. He apologized for his unfounded claim earlier this week that Democrats are in love with terrorists. He didn't say it. Maybe he'll say it publicly. At least I know it. Maybe he'll say it publicly. I haven't seen it. But he tweeted it. We never see that these days. Why do you think he's apologized?
BOOT: That's a great question. I'm not sure why. Especially because he was defending that remark on Fox News just a couple of hours before that tweet. But whatever the reason, I'm very happy to see that because this is such a vile accusation. That is now become a routine among Republicans. And I would hope had Doug Collins would set the pace for other
Republicans including John Rutherford, Republican of Florida who said that Democrats are ayatollah lovers. And of course, Nikki Haley who said that Democrats are mourning the loss of -- the death of Qasem Soleimani. Donald Trump himself has said a number of times that Democrats are rooting for the Iranians.
So, there's just much McCarthyism, so much vile slander going on by Republicans trying to paint Democrats as traitors, as advocates of terrorism. This is so horrible. I'm glad that Doug Collins has recanted. I hope other Republicans recant as well. This is just garbage that we don't need in our national political discourse especially about momentous issues of war and peace.
LEMON: Yes. Great conversation. Thank you, Max. Thank you, Susan. Thank you, Kaitlan. I appreciate it.
The president who has spent more than three years trying to discredit his own intelligence community now says Congress should just trust intel they haven't seen.
Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper weighs in, next.
LEMON: President Trump and top officials in his administration are giving conflicting explanations for why they felt justified killing Iran's top commander in a drone strike. Their reason are changing with each passing day.
Let's discuss now, James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence is here. It's always a pleasure to have him on. Good evening, sir. Let's talk about the president now claiming that Soleimani was targeting four U.S. embassies before he was killed. That's more than he said just yesterday. And from everything that we know, they certainly didn't brief Senators with evidence of that. What do you think of this? What do you make of it?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, this is consistent pattern with this administration and it's often internally contradictory. Public utterances about, you know, any number of matters. And it seems to me if the -- if there were four embassies under threat, that this would have come out immediately and this would have been a major topic of the briefings that were provided to both of the House -- all House and all Senate briefings. And apparently the best I can tell they weren't.
I have been trying to conjure up on which four embassies might that be? And you know, we don't have an embassy in Damascus. I don't think we have an embassy with anybody in it in Sinai, Yemen. Obviously the embassy in Baghdad. It is under threat. It was under and probably still is under threats. So, to me, and they just -- as Max indicated previous segment, you
know, this administration very accurate shot when it comes to shooting themselves in the foot. And once again they have done this for this imminence business has become the story, rather than really is a successful takeout -- takedown of a real bad guy. A couple bad guys.
LEMON: Yes. But let me read this tweet. This is from Senator Chris Murphy. He says, I placed a request for the Director of National Intelligence who are briefing on the new intelligence surrounding, the imminent attacks on U.S. embassies that the president referred to today but somehow didn't come up in the full Senate briefing on Wednesday. So, you were DNI. What's the intelligence community thinking when the president is making these very serious claims?
CLAPPER: You know, well, I hadn't seen that until you just showed it. Just reinforced to me how glad I am I'm not DNI. I would not want to be on the receiving end of that letter and have to respond to it, based on something the president has asserted which I think is, you know, very questionable credibility.
And speaking of that, I do have to comment on the irony now of the Intelligence Community's word is just supposed to be accepted based on administration policy maker's assurances. After three years of the intelligence community being discredited. And so, when it's intelligence I like, then the American public is to believe it. But if it's intelligence I don't like, like North Korea is not going to de- nuclearize the Russian meddling then, apparently the Russians or the intelligence community is to be ignored.
You know, I have said all along at some point this president is going to need the intelligence community. It's going to need the law enforcement community, notably the FBI. And that's seems to be the case now.
LEMON: Yes. The secretary -- I mean, it's interesting you write. He has been just discrediting the intelligence agencies and now, everyone is -- all of a sudden they're credible again because he wants them to be.
Secretary Pompeo answered questions from rarely used White House Briefing Room. I want you to check out what he said earlier and then we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We had specific information on an imminent threat. And those threats including attacks on U.S. embassies. Period, full stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were mistaken when you say, you didn't know precisely when and you didn't know precisely where?
POMPEO: Completely true. Those are completely consistent thoughts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Those consistent thoughts, Director?
CLAPPER: Well, not to me. You know, all due respect to the secretary, but I -- that just violates, you know, what's commonly understood English. Imminence means urgency. It's going to happen right now. And also implies degree of specificity. Which I just don't think existed. And Soleimani, by the way, Qasem Soleimani was a planner, he was the architect. He was not somebody that went out and planted roadside IED's or launched rockets against people. He's a planner.
And so I'm not quite sure I see the connection between the rational. I'm not questioning taking him out. It just that the explanation for it had been, I'll say, shaky.
LEMON: Yes. When the president says four embassies, is he possibly revealing classified information?
CLAPPER: Not necessarily. Just with that statement. And you know, I think there's a way to be more forthcoming about that and still protect sources and methods. If in fact that's true. I suspect what's happened here is as usual, intelligence is always going to be a little ambiguous. You'll never going to have perfect information. And so, you'll get some ambiguous intelligence that can be read a couple of ways. And then it gets to be a question of analytic judgment about the real meaning and the real import of this.
And I don't know, but I suspect there's some of that that is going on. The administration would have been a lot better served I think just to be forthright about this. Not get hung up on this imminence thing. And consulted with the Congress at least the gang of eight, which I think had they done so and been straight with him, would have muted a lot of the criticism.
And now of course, as I said before, the story is the argument about the imminence and how forthcoming and credible the administration is rather than the story itself. And more importantly the bigger picture the implications. What's going to happen now? And we don't seem to be dwelling on that too much.
LEMON: Director, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
CLAPPER: My pleasure, Don. Thanks.
LEMON: President Trump loves to criticize former President Barack Obama. But as we always say there's a tweet for everything. The president's Twitter archive of hypocrisy, next.
LEMON: So, this president makes no attempt to hide his hypocrisy. Especially when it comes to his disdain for his predecessor, the former President Barack Obama. And all we have to do is look at his Twitter feed. That's all we have to do. I want to talk about this with CNN political commentator, Keith Boykin. So, Keith, we have a lot of examples. So we have to go fast. We can't get all of them, because we'd be here all night.
So, exactly eight years ago. President Trump tweeted three chief of staffs in less than three years of being president. Part of the reason why Barack Obama can't manage to pass his agenda. And meanwhile Trump is on his third chief of staff. As he deals with this Iran crisis. He has no Director of National Intelligence. And no Homeland Security Secretary.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Everything he says it seems to be a projection of his values about himself that he puts on somebody else. And there's a whole long litany of hypocrisy. Examples of hypocrisy with this guy. I don't want to spoil your examples. So, I'll let you continue on with them, but I wrote them down here myself, just the top ones.
LEMON: All right. So, we'll go through of some of them. If we have time, you can bring up more. So, he also tweeted multiple times in the past now about how President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran in order to get reelected for his second term and to quote, save face. And yet, who is the one who ultimately took action during an election year?
BOYKIN: Exactly. Now the point. I mean, here it is again. He says something. Obama is going to do this and yet he does exactly the same thing. It's almost as if his entire presidency is animated by this opposition to Barack Obama. He spent eight years lying about Obama and everything from his birth certificate to his foreign policy and he gets in office and he goes and does exactly the same thing he complained about Obama. He said, Obama just spent all his time playing golf. And what does he do? He goes out and plays golf over time.
LEMON: Why is it -- He's been obsessed with Barack Obama since -- do you think his -- well, I don't know what it is. Unless he's a crush or something -- he his obsessed. Barack Obama is living his best life. He's having a crush or something? He is obsessed. Obama is living his best life. He's having -- he's leaving a hot boy summer. His best life for like years now. And this man is obsessed with him. Barack Obama lives rent free in his head.
BOYKIN: He does and is Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: Oh, that's right.
BOYKIN: You know, and he spent a lot of time attacking Hillary Clinton. For some of the same things he does himself. He talked about private e-mails. He's got people in his own staff -- and his own family in the White House who are using private e-mail. He says, lock her up. And guess what, we find out today that they have no evidence to lock her up.
LEMON: In his own Justice Department. Trump complained about how much it cost the Obama's to go on vacation over his eight year presidency? The government spent about $96 million on travel for Barack Obama. But President Trump's travel costs for just one month in early of 2017 was estimated at 13.6 million. That was one month. So, if spending continued at this pace, Trump would have exceeded Obama's total expense in less than one year.
BOYKIN: But that's exact the reason why Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary does not want to release the information. He doesn't want people to know how much money Trump has spent. Taxpayer dollars. This is a billionaire, mind you. Allegedly, he's a billionaire. He can afford to travel all he wants. But he's spending our dollars.
LEMON: Let's put up the Mnuchin thing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put this up. Won't disclose how much it cost for the secret service until after the 2020 election. Why is he waiting so long? I thought they were the most transparent. The most transparent president.
BOYKIN: Yes, Don. You really think -- he's the most transparent in history?
He said, he was going to release his tax returns and he hasn't released hi tax returns. He said, he was going to divest his business or do something to separate himself from his business. He hasn't done that. He continues to lie about every single thing. You mention earlier 15,000 lies. That the Washington Post has documented since he's taken office.
Director Clapper just mentioned (inaudible) hypocrisy about saying you can't trust the intelligence community for three years and then suddenly when there's a crisis, he wants us to trust the intelligence community. He changes his tune. This guy has no consistency. It's horrible enough for us as the American people have to deal with it. But imagine the effect on our allies. Who are trying to figure out exactly what's going to happen from one day to the next. This is why we have miscalculations that lead to war.
LEMON: Yes. During the 2016 campaign Trump promised to quote rarely leave the White House. And according to CNN's tally, President Trump has spent 257 days at a Trump golf club, 333 days, roughly 31 percent of his presidency at his properties. So, what happened to rarely leaving that promise?
BOYKIN: I don't even know why he bothered to say that. Nobody would care. Nobody cares if the president if you leave the White House. I don't even care the president plays golf. I don't care that any president plays golf.
LEMON: Speaking of golf. Let's play this, because he always bashed President Obama for golf. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Obama was reported today played 250 rounds of golf.
Everything is executive order. Because he doesn't have enough time, because he's playing so much golf.
Obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there.
I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf.
He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods.
He played more golf than people on the PGA tour.
I love golf. I think it's one of the greats, but I don't have time.
If I were in the White House. I don't think I'd ever see Turnberry again. I don't think I'd ever see (Inaudible) again. But I'm not going to be playing much golf. Believe me, if I win this. I'm going to be playing much golf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Keith, I figured it out. When he looks in the mirror he sees Barack Obama.
BOYKIN: Apparently so. This guy is a Rodney Dangerfield of politics. He lies every time he's up there in the podium. And you know, like I said before, I don't care if he plays golf. I don't care if he goes to Mar-a-Lago. What I do care about is the inconsistency and the hypocrisy. Why spend your whole time for eight years complaining about Obama doing something and then you go do exactly the same thing. You said, he shouldn't be doing and then his supporters sit there and pretend it's not happening.
LEMON: You don't care about $13.6 million for one month? For traveling? That's for --
BOYKIN: That's not everyone talk about his adult kids who are traveling the world. The (inaudible). Who are building new buildings all across the world and not telling us what's going on behind closed doors. It's Friday night.
LEMON: Thank you.
The Democratic field narrowing. But with fewer candidates in the race it seems to be more competitive than ever. We are going to tell you, who is tied for the lead in Iowa and a brand new CNN poll. That's next.
LEMON: The Iowa caucuses are just weeks away and we've got a tight four-way race. In fact we've got no clear leader, according to a new CNN/Des Moines register poll on likely Iowa caucus goers. The top tier of candidates are Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Vice President Joe Biden. Let's discuss now. CNN's senior political -- you're a senior now?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Whatever, man. And my voice, if you listen to me without seeing my face, you'll become a senior. I'm an old Jewish man trying to (inaudible) back in the salad.
LEMON: CNN Political analyst and political writer, Harry Enten, good to see you, sir.
LEMON: You thought I was going to say Des Moines, right? I was joking.
ENTEN: You we're joking around, you're going to crack me up.
LEMON: What do you in this polls? It's very interesting that a -- I mean, that four-way race at the top.
ENTEN: I mean, what a mess. I mean, look, I study this stuff for a living, I go back over time, and the idea that you have four candidates all at 15 percent or higher, between 15 percent and 20 percent, I juts -- you don't ever see anything like that. And we've seen that consistently throughout this race, at least over the past few months that is at least in Iowa. There is no clear leader for the most part. The average have them also close together. And even with this amount of time to go, we have no idea who is actually going to emerge as the winner.
LEMON: But t's not surprising, because, you know, Marianne Williamson dropped. People continue to drop, Marianne Williamson is the latest one.
LEMON: That means the race is getting more competitive. That's sign it's more competitive.
ENTEN: I think what is a sign of -- is that if you're not in the top four at this point.
ENTEN: Then you have a real problem. You have a real problem growing support, you have a real problem getting money. And people are starting to coalesce around those top four and I think that's where the nominees probably going to be, you know, Amy Klobuchar supposedly would have a momentum in Iowa, but she is only at 6 percent on that poll and going anywhere quickly.
LEMON: OK. Wow. What about Bloomberg though, because there are a lot of folks were saying, well, my money is on Bloomberg. He's got a lot of money and can go to distance.
ENTEN: Well, what I would say about this, is Mike Bloomberg is making a play on Super Tuesday. He's not playing -- making a play in those early states. He's not making a play in Iowa. He's not making a play in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina. That's not the state I would expect him to do well.
LEMON: Sanders is up -- his supporters are 5 points since CNN's latest poll now back in November, but Buttigieg dropping 9 points over the same period. What's driving these shifts in this numbers? Sanders up, Buttigieg down.
ENTEN: You know, we were talking about this before we got on air, and I said, it's very easy to rise when no one is really paying close attention. And when all of a sudden you start rising, they are going to start going after you. And that's exactly what we are seeing in this numbers, right?
Buttigieg sort of came out of nowhere, rose to 25 percent, was the clear leader in our last poll, then all of the sudden they start going after him and starting knocking him and all of the sudden -- what happened, you saw the surge and now you see this decline.
With Sanders, the exact opposite. After his heart attack, some people stopped paying attention to him. He got his message out there pretty much prohibited and he was able to rise. Let's see what happens now that he's at 20 percent and let's see the other candidates go after him and let's see if he is able to hold on to his support.
LEMON: Hey, just real quickly. I just have a short time. It seemed what matters to most to Iowa caucus goers, interestingly, electability is down eight points while a candidate sharing the same views as the voter is up, right? That same amount of electability dropping in importance of voters. What does that mean?
ENTEN: I think what it probably means that if you're a self-described Democratic socialist, that's pretty good for you. Because all of the sudden electability is a lower concern than it once was. Bernie Sanders' supporters overwhelmingly compared to the other candidates, say they want someone who agrees with them on the issues instead of electability. So, that's a good sign for him.
LEMON: That's in Iowa. But that's not around the country.
ENTEN: That is not necessarily around the country though. I will point out in our last national poll, we also saw the lowest number for electability than any of the polls that we've done in the campaign.
LEMON: Harry Enten. Thank you, sir.
ENTEN: Shalom. Be well. Afterwards we'll go light some candles. Actually, you can't do that in (inaudible), but you get the point, (inaudible) form.
LEMON: Afterwards. Thank you, sir.
ENTEN: Thank you.
LEMON: It is the latest debate before the -- the last debate before the first vote, only on CNN. The top Democrats head to Iowa for a live CNN presidential debate in partnership with the Des Moines register, Tuesday night 9:00 Eastern only on CNN. We'll be right back.