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Links Between Trump Advisers And Russian Officials Is Fast Moving; President Trump Meeting At White House Today With Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; Andrew Puzder Withdrew Today From His Consideration As The President's Nominee For Labor Secretary; Most Amateur Diagnosticians Have Mislabeled President Trump With The Diagnosis Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder; President Was Asked A Question About The Sharp Rise In Anti-Semitic Incidents Across the United States. Aired 11:00p-12:00mn ET
Aired February 15, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:42] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, the FBI not expected to pursue charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn over phone calls with the Russia's ambassador. But the investigation is not over yet.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Meanwhile, the president meeting today with his friend Benjamin Netanyahu and telling the Israeli prime minister this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as settlements, I would like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How will Israel react? And is there a role for Trump's son- in-law Jared Kushner in the peace process?
Plus, there has been plenty of speculation about what drives Donald Trump? Well, tonight, I'm going to talk to the man who says it's all wrong. You want to watch that.
But let's get straight to CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, political analyst Kirsten Powers and political commentators Carl Bernstein and Ryan Lizza.
So glad to have all of you here.
Jim, with the news, break it down. Your investigation on the links between Trump advisers and Russian officials is fast moving. Can you catch us up on the latest?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The two big headlines here are U.S. intelligence and law enforcement found frequent -- constant it was described to us -- communications between the second crucial point senior-most officials in the Trump campaign, during his campaign season after his nomination as Republican nominee, contacts between campaigns and representatives of foreign governments not unusual. But what stood out to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement was the frequency of these communications but also the senior level of the officials involved. The closest leaders to Donald Trump during that time period. Of course, the context being this is happening while Russia is hacking U.S. political organizations in the presidential election year. All those questions still being investigated by U.S. and intelligence and law enforcement.
What happened in the conversations, what was the intent of those conversations, why did they happen? And we don't have answers to those questions, certainly from the president. In fact, the president is avoiding all - the president and his advisers avoiding all hard questions on that today.
LEMON: Yes. And so, again, who knew what when, or as they said, what did the president know and when did he know it. Do you know anything more about today, Jim?
SCIUTTO: We don't. We don't. I mean, we know that the president, that these were advisers very close to the president. Did they communicate? Did they had these conversations with Russian officials? We don't know that. Did the president direct them to do so? Similarly with Michael Flynn. We know that he had these conversations with the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions on Russia during the transition. Did he receive guidance from the president or others hire up from him? Not my question. That's a question being ask now by Senator Lindsey Graham, John McCain as well as Democratic lawmakers. We don't have the answer to that question.
LEMON: All right. Carl, so once again, I will state the same thing but in different way. The question is what did the president know and when did he know it? Just like with the Watergate scandal. Is this dejavu all over again for you?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We don't know what this is yet. Except that it is apparent with the Russians tried to hijack an American presidential campaign and they tried to do it through relationships around Donald Trump. And now, we need to know all the facts. And the President has not been forthcoming. His aides have not been forthcoming and Republicans should embrace and open wide investigation as there was in Watergate. It was Republicans who joined with Democrats as patriots in Watergate to find out what had occurred in a presidential campaign and had it be been hijacked by the president of the United States and those around him. That's the situation we are faced with. And all patriotic Republicans ought to be saying, hey, open up Mr. President. Let's see what happened here. Let's get past this if nothing happened but we need to know what happened.
LEMON: Kirsten, what are the chances of that happening?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think very low. And it is interesting what Carl is saying that, you know, that Nixon was investigated by Republicans. It is sort of unthinkable for that to happen today. I mean, that our investigations and Democrats are just as bad. It is very partisan when it comes to investigations on the hill. And you can all see it right down the middle how it goes.
And I think that in this case, there is even less impetus to do it because they have been waiting, the Republicans been waiting so long to do so many things. And they have this wish list of policies that they are going to get to implement because now they are in control of all three branches of government. And here comes Donald Trump and he is going to get them to repeal Obamacare and do your tax reform and go down the list of all the thing that they want to do. So do they want to hurt the person who made is basically, you know, made it possible for them to do this? I don't think so. I don't think that's right. I do think that there are some serious questions here that, as I agree, patriotic Americans should want to know the answers too.
[23:05:39] LEMON: What is the worst case scenario here, Ryan? Let's just say that they agree to an independent investigation. Republicans were on board. Democrats were on board. It is not going to change the outcome of the election. He still has Republican Senate. He still has Republican Congress. I don't think he is going anywhere unless there is something really major something of this nature? I don't think that even would warrant impeachment. Would it?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, before I answer that, let me just say that I do think there are, as Carl them, patriotic Republicans who maybe are a minority. But the leaders in the Senate on this investigation, on the Republican side are John McCain and Lindsey Graham and there are other folks over the last couple of days who have come out and supported a more wide-ranging investigation.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate leader, has not endorsed independent investigation. He still wants it at intelligence committee level. And frankly if it's done at the intelligence committee level, it is just going to be invisible because the intelligence committee doesn't really operates, you know, in the open. I suppose they could but it's just not going to be the open, full investigation that this warrants if it's done that way. So that is one thing to watch. How many more Republicans clamor for independent select committee to look into this?
On the worst-case scenario? I mean, look, this is why we need investigation because the fact that this is still at level of anonymous intelligence leaks and rumor and innuendo is frankly unfair to the people who have being implicated and it is unfair to the American people. People deserve to know the bottom line here. Did the Russian government in the worst-case scenario compromise an American presidential campaign? I mean, let's be honest. That's what we are talking about with the worst-case scenario.
LEMON: Yes, it is. And let me correct the statement that I said warrant, an impeachment. I don't think that it may not be possible since he has, you know, both houses of Congress in his favor and as Kirsten said, the Republican agenda is going through and it's tough to get them on this, that's just the reality of this.
LIZZA: Yes. And look, it's too obviously much too soon to be throwing around that word. Obviously. LEMON: Only reason I have said that is because I have heard Democrats
mention it. And everyone said it's much too soon to mention that. And I'm wondering why they are doing it because it just - it seems like it is putting the cart before the horse at this point.
LIZZA: Right. You were talking about the worst-case scenario. And the worst case scenario, yes. That is where - that's of course were something like this would lead but we don't know. We don't know. That's why there has to be investigation.
LEMON: Yes, go ahead.
POWERS: Well, I mean, I think the worst-case scenario, right, is that there as collusion. So that's the question. Was it -- are these just conversations that are being had that are somehow -- is there reasonable explanation for them? Or there are some sort of collusion of the Russians hacking into the DNC and then to Hillary Clinton or to John Podesta's emails and disrupting the election. So that would be the worst-case scenario. I don't see how that wouldn't be impeachable offense. But I mean, I don't know from a legal temp, but certainly it seems like to rise to the level of the kinds of things that people would consider impeachable, Republicans aren't going to do that.
BERNSTEIN: There's a larger context to all this. And that is this is an investigation also that the FBI is conducting that is about Donald Trump and his business relationships in the Russian speaking parts of the world. This is about trying to find out how a campaign might have gotten to a place where it could be compromised by the Russians and ethno-Russians and neighboring countries with Russian secret service personnel who are very influential in those countries.
This is a very big landscape we are looking at. And it includes -- one of the problems has been that Trump has not been forthcoming about his business connections in that part of the world and his organization.
LEMON: Go ahead, Jim Sciutto.
SCIUTTO: On those questions that both Kirsten and Carl wisely raise, on the question of whether there was collusion, whether these conversations indicated that they were sharing information, planning releases of information, et cetera. That is still something that law enforcement and intelligence is looking into. They don't know the answer to that question in part because they don't know -- or at least haven't told us that they know the content of those conversations.
And the separate issue, as Carl brings up, business relationships, et cetera. This was a part of that now famous 35-page dossier compiled by the British intelligence agent, many portions of it not substantiated yet. But some portions of it, as we have reported, have been substantiated. It raises questions about those business relationships. They are still questions today, but there are unanswered questions. And if they go somewhere, they start to raise harder questions about what the consequences are.
[23:10:29] LEMON: All right -- BERNSTEIN: Those questions could be raised - could be answered very
easily by the president of the United States. That's part of the dynamic here.
LEMON: And we will talk more about that, Carl, right after this break including the labor secretary, what happened to him, caught in a buzz saw today. And Israeli and Palestinian relationships, interesting what happened today.
We will be right back.
[23:14:22] LEMON: President Trump meeting at White House today with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Back with me now, Jim Sciutto, Kirsten Powers, Carl Bernstein and Ryan Lizza.
Jim Sciutto, despite his warm welcome for Israel's Prime Minister, President Trump is backing away from some of his pro-Israel campaign positions on Israeli settlements, on moving the embassy to Jerusalem and on the nuclear deal with Iran. But he did back away from two state solution. What is going on?
SCIUTTO: Listen, Don. I don't think we can't under estimate the importance of that moment today in the east room of the White House. The president backing away from the two-state solution. I mean, there are so many news stories every day seemingly in this new administration. But this has been a principle of administrations of both parties for decades as the aim for solving this intractable U.S./Israeli problem.
Two peoples claiming the same land in effect. You have borders recognized by the U.N. going back decades and you have the president saying, well, you know what, it could be one-state, it could be two- state, as long as everybody is happy which is let's be honest, a fairly flip description of that intractable situation that has enormous amount of history and blood, sweat and tears involved in it. So let's see if he sticks with it. I mean, because he also had a moment on that podium when he turned to the Israeli prime minister and said, listen, hold off on settlements for a while which is a remarkable thing to see a president do to Israeli prime minister who has been at forefront of expanding settlements in the occupied territories. So it is hard to gel those two positions. But on the two-state solution, that's is big deal. It is a big deal.
[23:16:07] LEMON: Carl Bernstein, Israel's conservative government is celebrating today's press conference with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. They are feeling pretty good about what they heard. But I mean, if Palestinians feel that this is end of the road for the peace process when it comes to them, how are they likely to react to this?
BERNSTEIN: Well, I wouldn't predict how they are going to react. But one thing to recognize is Israel is a great democracy. That is divided country like our own. And that the good government headed by BB Netanyahu is not majority government. It's part of a coalition government. It is not a majority Israeli people. All of these questions are very doubtable.
What we know about Donald Trump, those of us who are really studied him, is that he has ad-libbed his way through life. Being unprepared. He boasts about, he doesn't do his homework, he comes into a room, he tries to read the room and then by the seat of his pants take control of it. I believe that's a lot of what we are seeing here. It doesn't work for a president of the United States very often. And what we are seeing today, especially, but also throughout the first weeks is evidence that this seat of the pants approach to being the president of the United States doesn't serve governance or the people of the country very well.
LEMON: Kirsten, I have to ask you. Jared Kushner has known Prime Minister Netanyahu for a while. The "New York Times" reports that prime minister slept in his bed once as kid visiting his family. I think he slept in the basement so that prime minister could have his bed. He is placing the future of the Middle East in Jared Kushner's hands. He is very young. It is a lot of pressure. Do you think he is up for it?
POWERS: I'm skeptical just because it is not really his area of expertise, obviously. And this is most difficult public foreign policy problem that we have, you know, that no one has been able to solve. So, you know, but I suppose he has as good as chance as anybody at this point. I don't know what to say. I'm trying to be nice.
LEMON: I know. I could tell. I saw the fluttering of the eyes and I think your answer was no. Anybody else care to answer the question? Is he up to it?
SCIUTTO: Listen --
BERNSTEIN: Could be a brilliant stroke. Who knows? Everybody else has failed. Why not give him a chance.
LEMON: Ryan Lizza?
LIZZA: Well, he is - his background in New York real estate. He inherited that from his parents and, you know, his other entrepreneurial endeavor was buying a print newspaper that was not a great success, "the New York Observer." So I don't see anything in his background that would lead me to, you know, to say Jared Kushner is the man to solve the most intractable problem in the world, maybe in world history.
But you know what, having someone with some fresh eyes on a problem is never a bad thing. I think there is a process question of what does this mean for Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state. What does it mean for whoever ends up being the new national security advisor. Just having senior White House official as your envoy to Israel and the person with responsibility to solve that problem, there's a lot of traffic he is going to run into. And if that's the way Trump is going to set this up, he better figure out how to have a smooth process running for that.
SCIUTTO: Don, one more thought. Don't underestimate, Benjamin Netanyahu is a clever negotiator, right. And you know, we talk about Donald Trump and the art of the deal, don't underestimate the possibility or desire of Prime Minister Netanyahu to muscle his way. Does he see a partner there that he would have influence over? He is a player. He is a negotiator, maybe the kind of partner he wants, not you know, to have him rather than say George Mitchell at other side of the table.
So don't underestimate that possibility as well. Israel has its interests here. And Prime Minister Netanyahu is a strong leader. And it may be in his interest to have someone who doesn't have the stature and the history that past U.S. lead negotiator we have had.
[23:20:14] LEMON: Yes. Well, of course, it is.
But listen. Let's talk - I want to talk about the labor secretary nominee here. Andrew Puzder withdrew today from his consideration as the president's nominee for labor secretary. He ran into buzz of opposition from Democrats, but he was losing Republican support as well. He had a lot of issues. But this definitely didn't help him. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA FIERSTEIN, ANDREW PUDZER'S EX-WIFE: Because once I made that break and once I made it public, and remember my ex-husband was a public figure. Everyone knew him and knew what he was doing. And once I made that public, he vowed revenge. He said I will see you in the gutter. This will never be over. You will pay for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that was his ex-wife appearing on the "Oprah Winfrey show," accusing Pudzer of abuse, accusation she later walked back. Even so, how could a Trump team put forward a candidate with so much baggage? And where was the extreme vetting, Kirsten?
POWERS: Well, I assume that they knew about this. It wasn't a secret. I do think that they -- you know, I interviewed Donald Trump awhile back over him defending Roger Ailes on the sexual harassment claims. And we have had a sort of back and forth where he said, well, because Gretchen Carlson had come out and had been nice to Roger Ailes, that obviously never happen.
It was very clear he didn't understand how sexual harassment work. I suspect he, like many people, don't understand sexual abuse or physical abuse, domestic violence or women often recant. And so, they probably were told. While she recanted, she said it didn't happen and they probably moved forward. But this is something that people need to understand. Women frequently recant when they have actually been victims of domestic abuse. LEMON: One more thing I want to discuss here and that is President
Trump's immigration policy. Jeanette Vis Guerra is mother of four living as undocumented immigrant in Denver where she has deep ties to the community. Today, ICE officials announced that they plan to enforce a deportation order against her dating back to 2011. Is she what President Trump means by bad hombres who needs to, you know, sent back across the border, Carl Bernstein?
BERNSTEIN: This is about cruelty. And this is about blanket policies and identifying people as bad people by race, by country of origin, by the parts of the world they come from. It's a quote populist tactic that's served people of this country, and hardworking immigrants, in a terrible way. And it's time for a little compassion from the president of the United States and start looking at things on case by case basis instead of broad tarring brush that he is wielding.
LEMON: Thank you panel. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, there has been a lot of speculation about President Trump's temperament. I'm going to talk to the man who says it's all wrong.
[23:26:54] LEMON: There is plenty of speculation about what makes President Trump tick and my next guest says it is a lot of it is wrong. A lot of it is wrong.
I want to talk now with Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University medical college.
Thank you very much. I read the letter today. You were the chairman of the task force that wrote the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders four. Those are the guidelines for diagnosing mental illness and you have some strong opinions pertaining to the president. And a letter to the editor to the "New York Times."
Here is what you write. Part of what you write you said most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder and Mr. Trump doesn't meet them. He maybe a world class narcissist but this doesn't make him mentally ill because he doesn't suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose a metal disorder.
So what are the characteristics of narcissistic personal disorder? And explain why do you think it is incorrect to apply them to the president as many are doing?
DR. ALLEN FRANCES, CHAIRMAN, DSM IV TASK FORCE: Well, these are people grandiose, self-absorb, self-promoting. They lack empathy to others. They will explode others. They eat admiration. They like to feel very, very special.
Now, you don't have to be psychiatrist or psychologist to recognize that many of these things may apply to President Trump. But that's not relevant to making diagnosis of mental illness. You also have to experience distress and impairment. And Donald Trump causes distress, there's no reason to think he experiences clinically significant distress.
And instead of being impaired with these characteristics, he has been rewarded with highest position within our power to grant. He is now in-charge of our country and the fate of the world. Certainly beware of the fact he has these features but don't call them psychiatric names. Psychiatric name calling won't help him and it very much harms people who do have real mental illness.
LEMON: That's what I want to - it does not to say that you don't have strong feelings about the president because you go on to write this. You said Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded rather than punished for grandiosity, self-absorption lack of empathy. It is stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill who are mostly well-behave and well-meaning to be lumped with Mr. Trump who is neither.
Why do you say that it stigmatizes a mentally ill when people apply these sort of terms to the president in your opinion?
FRANCES: There's a great confusion between people being bad and people being mentally ill. So when there's a mass murder, the question always arises, was he crazy. And national rifle association loves to say it was the mental illness, not the gun that we should blame. When people commit terrorist acts, is this person crazy?
We put many rapists in mental hospitals on the grounds, incorrect grounds that they have mental illness rather than they are simple criminals. We should denounce Donald Trump in very clear terms for being incompetent, for being impulsive and for being ignorant. We should denounce his power grab, his fights against the court, the risks of damaging democracy and trying to establish a dictatorship. All this is fair. All of this is absolutely necessary.
There is no reason to call him psychiatric names. People of today, it's been remarkable. The response to the letter was strongest amongst people have mental illness, thanking me because don't want to be lumped with Trump.
Bad doesn't equal mad. Most of the acts are bad in our world, that are evil in our world, they are not committed by mentally ill. Most people who are mentally ill are fine people and I think it is a great disservice to them to say that just because Trump is acting so badly, that necessarily he has a mental illness.
LEMON: So my question is, have people come to use what you refer to as psychological name calling because they either dislike the president's personal or his policies? Isn't that unfair to him as well?
FRANCES: I think that being fair to Donald Trump is not one of my great ambitions in life. Being fair to mental patients certainly is. And I think that we have to fight his threat to democracy on political grounds. This is a political threat. Completely new to our country and one that has to be taken very seriously. Almost trivializes the threat and reduces the thrust of the opposition to think that psychiatric name calling will stop him.
LEMON: Yes. We do want to be fair. We have to be fair here. That's why I asked the question because there are, you know, people who are watching this and they are saying, you know, by you saying this and writing this letter, that you know, the comparison to Donald Trump is that, you know, it is an insult. He is an insult to the mentally ill. Am I correct with that? You don't think that's insulting?
FRANCES: Absolutely correct. I couldn't have said it better myself.
LEMON: Is that not insulting to him?
FRANCES: Well, I think it's a funny question. Being fair to Donald Trump when he is so unfair to everyone else is a high standard for people to hold. And I think the people who have written the letters saying he's mentally ill, and about four or five petitions with professionals and other people saying he is mentally ill.
I think they mean well. I think they are puzzled by what he is doing. They are afraid of the future. And they think that giving him psychiatric diagnosis might be one way of stopping him. But my take is this is a political threat to American democracy and it requires a political solution. That the future of the country will reside in the Republican Congress, it will reside in the Supreme Court, it will reside in the next election. It won't be settled by a bunch of psychiatrists and psychologists incorrectly applying the diagnostic system to say he is crazy.
LEMON: I think that you said that you were surprised by the reaction to this letter. What was motivation? How long did it take to write it?
FRANCES: Ten minutes.
FRANCES: These - what I said the letter is absolute common sense. And for someone who has worked in diagnostic system for as long as I have, the claims that he should be considered mentally ill on the face of them absurd. It's not hard to state what is so obvious.
LEMON: You have a book coming out soon. The working title is "Trump is not crazy, we are." Tell me about that.
FRANCES: Well, I started this book well before Trump announced for the presidency. In fact, early on when he first began his candidacy, TV producer called and asked me to go on a show like this to discuss his diagnosis, and I said that I couldn't do that because I didn't think he had one. I said that I could say he was jerk, a classic jerk. That was well-known. And she said at the time, you know, we don't need you for that because that's not newsworthy. Everyone knows that. That Trump could have gotten to this position is absolutely incredible. It is partly attribute to his being a very successful conman. But even more speaks to the fact we have a sickness in our society that he was able to take advantage of. And that sickness, more than anything, is the inequality that has so many people feel left out of the system. And he filled that vacuum. He filled that it with falsehood. He is an insincere spokesperson for the people who voted for him. But they have great hurt and we need to address that hurt, but we need to address it politically.
Attacking the person of Donald Trump isn't the issue. It's attacking the policies and then going much further, finding out how we can solve the problems in our society that have so many people so desperate they're vote for someone so obviously unsuitable for office.
[23:35:10] LEMON: Thank you, Dr. Allen Frances. I appreciate it.
FRANCES: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come right back, what does anti-Semitism have to do with the Electoral College? Well, we will let Donald Trump explain that.
[23:39:18] LEMON: And extraordinary moment today at White House during President Trump's press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here so discuss is CNN political commentators Peter Beinart and Mary Katherine Ham and are here with me. CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen and political commentator Andre Bauer. They are off in the hinterlands somewhere.
So welcome to all of you. I want to start by playing a clip from today's press conference between President Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister. The President was asked a question -- asked by reporter with Israel's channel 10.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOAV VARDI, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, CHANNEL 10 ISRAEL: Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the United States and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and racist tones?
[23:40:18] TRUMP: Well, I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory we had, 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221 but then they said there is no way to 270. And there's tremendous enthusiasm out there.
I will say that we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that's going on. A lot of bad things have taken place over a long period of time. I think one of the reasons I won the election is we have a very, very divided nation. Very divided. And hopefully I will be able to do something about that. And I -- you know, something very important to me.
As far as people -- Jewish people, so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you are going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening. And you are going to see a lot of love. You are going to see a lot of love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
LEMON: My God. OK. So.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God.
LEMON: Andre. His first -- let's see serious about this. Come on. That was painful. Let's just be honest. That was painful. His first response, instinct is to respond to this very sensitive question by tallying up his Electoral College vote. And then after a minute he responded only in the vaguest of terms to concerns about to concerns about perpetuating anti-Semitism. He is standing next to the prime minister of Israel. I mean, Andre, what do you make of this?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think its exciting time for the people of Israel and the people in the Palestinian territory who want peace. Netanyahu said it best, we have a friend in Donald Trump. And for the first time since 2014, we have real talks about trying to come to a better situation for the people in that area of the world that really want someone that cares about them. And Donald Trump has said we are going to make this a priority and I think they are excited. Netanyahu definitely is excited and realizes he --.
LEMON: What did you think about the answer to the question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all --
LEMON: Hang on. I want this out of Andre. What did you think about the answer to the question?
BAUER: Look. Again, you know, I say this and you all think I'm crazy. But Donald Trump is not a politician. He is a CEO businessmen who is going to answer questions differently than most politicians.
LEMON: But that's not answer.
BAUER: Netanyahu said he had a friend.
LEMON: Hold on, Andre. Hold on. Please director, play just the question from the reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VARDI: Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder what you say to those among the Jewish community in the states and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Go ahead, Andre.
BAUER: Well, again, he is not going to answer the question that they want him to answer. He is going to direct the conversation the way he wants it. But end of the day Netanyahu said, I'm paraphrasing, but we have a friend and he feels better than he has in a long time about the leader of the free world is willing to work with him. And the Jewish people feel better. And even people that want freedom in the Palestinian territory, people feel better about Donald Trump as the new leader of the United States of America.
LEMON: Hilary, go ahead.
HILLARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I take two things. With regard to Netanyahu and Israel I think it is offensive to suggest that the last seven presidents didn't also want peace in the Middle East. Didn't actually try for peace in the Middle East. And Netanyahu, and I'm big supporter of Israel of course, Netanyahu was, you know, one of the largest dividers and problems in this regard.
I think the problem we have consistently with Donald Trump and it goes to, you know, what people are going through now with the deportations, is this sense of tone deafness that he has about the division in this country. He says, yes we have a divided country but takes no responsible for trying to heal it. We are going to heal it. How?
Words from the president matter. If the president went there and responded and said, you know, I don't want racism in this country. There is no place for prejudice. We need to make sure people don't feel that way, don't feel afraid, don't act that way. If he disavowed the racism that so many of his supporters are pushing, that would help. But instead he sort of takes away from his own sense of being part of that. It just doesn't fly.
[23:45:40] LEMON: I want to get people in there. If you asked me the question, if you would ask me the question, I would say anti-Semitism will not be tolerated neither will racism or bigotry. End of story.
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. But you are not an epic narcissist. What Donald Trump did was he was asked a question about the concerns that American Jews have. There have been dozens of bomb threats at Jewish community centers for instance. My own children go to Jewish day school. There is a tremendous amount of concern about the rise of anti-Semitism.
Donald Trump made the answer about himself. By the way do you know I had huge electoral victory? And then at the end he mentioned, I have some Jewish relatives. The moral tone depth in this comes from the epic narcissism of thinking that what important is for him to talk about boasting about himself when he would be asked to address some very legitimate concerns among people who he is supposed to be representing as president.
MARY KATHERINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. You still sound surprised by it.
BEINART: Maybe depressed rather than surprised.
HAM: No. I think look, this is an obvious chance, hit it out of the park. He doesn't do that. He goes to himself. He goes to validating himself. That is part of who he is and is part of what is presidency is.
LEMON: Mary Katherine, I will let you finish. But I was going to say it is every single person that I have watched that sound bit with, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, whatever have all been - have all gone. When he is like oh, my God, this is so painful.
LEMON: Go on. Sorry.
HAM: Yes. Get used to it. But I also I do think the larger picture is important. And that is something that Netanyahu talked about. And there are going to be differences in the way that this administration deals with Israel. And look, I don't think that he is a man steeped in Israeli/Palestinian conflict diplomacy.
BEINART: No. He is blindingly ignorant.
HAM: Yes, right. But I will also say there is a learning curve on this stuff. Obama when he got the nomination, the next day, in fact said the capital remain undivided, then he was like oops, never mind. But there's learning curve. And I do think that over the past many years, you know, as we have not had peace, it hasn't worked with people who do know all the things and this is the mirror of what --
BEINART: Even if Netanyahu were brilliant on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I don't understand what -- this is a question about the rights and security of Jews in the United States. It has nothing to do with his policies towards Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.
HAM: Right. I'm saying that the issue of Israel and American politics has more to do than just with this question.
LEMON: And that is a learning curve with that especially with a new president.
And to Andre's point, which and Andre said the same thing throughout the campaign that this is a man who is not going to do things the way you want to do, the way we are used to doing it. He is going to do it his way. We will be right back. We will continue our conversation.
[23:52:17] LEMON: Back with me now, Peter Beinart, Mary Katherine Ham, Hilary Rosen and Andre Bauer.
So Andre, to you. It has been reported that the president will be holding a rally on Saturday in Melbourne, Florida. Sean Spicer is calling it a campaign event. What is he campaigning for right now?
BAUER: You got me on that one. I think the guy loves people. He loves the interaction with people. And he is excited about the job he has been elected to and I think he feeds off the excitement of people that are happy we have somebody that is a real person working in Washington to drain the swamp and to bring a different approach to Washington.
Look. He is going to establish though from time to time. But again, he is going to approach problems in a vastly different ways and we are going to see changes some monumental changes we haven't seen in decades.
LEMON: Mary Katherine, do you think is appropriate considering what is happening in Washington right now with and the turmoil surrounding, ban with Flynn.
HAM: Look. I think he can go out and do trips just as Obama can go out and do Trumps and I make contacts with voters. I think is fine. I also think our own Sara Murray did reporting on how this White House operates and he feels cooped up at the White House as Obama did. I'm happy for him to get out if he making him feels a little anxious and twitter-ready.
LEMON: He doesn't like being cooped up there.
HAM: Right. So that - I think that is on the (INAUDIBLE) for me. Obviously, he could bring down the campaign tone occasionally, but I'm not sure that is going to happen.
LEMON: Yes. But as a campaign rally, I mean, we just - that's how special Sean Spicer is calling it.
HAM: Interesting they called it that.
LEMON: Yes, that's why. What do you make of that?
BEINART: I think that, you know, Donald Trump loves to bask in the angulation, you know. And I agree with Mary Katherine, he can do that. Look. On the list of things that give me concern about the Donald Trump presidency. It is such a long list. This is very, very far down. If we could just have some clarification that he is not a Russian plant like that would be near the top of the list. The fact that is going to go out and give the campaign rally doesn't bother me that much.
LEMON: Hilary, what about you?
ROSEN: Well, I think you can sort of, you know, I could write that speech today that I know he is going to give. It's all going to be about how he is going to make America great again and everything that would, you know, the country's heard from the new media over the last two weeks about what happened are a bunch of lies.
I think it is telling though that, you know, they are talking about getting outside the White House today when today Republicans, you know, in the Senate are finally saying we need to be investigating what is happening here at the White House.
Now, he does have support in the house. We can't forget the house chair who held like 20 Benghazi hearings, you know, on a nonissue in many respects has now said we are not going to investigate any Russian potential crimes or collusion between President Trump and the Russians, but we are going to is investigate the leaks.
So, you know, this sort of sense of nobody is really going to hold this president accountable. He is going to go out now and tell the country that he doesn't have to be accountable. It just that it would be a perfect cap to a crazy week.
LEMON: Andre, in the 30 second that we have left, do you think that there - this should be investigated and if so, by a bipartisan or independent investigators.
BAUER: Well, the FBIs are already investigated it. If they found that there was actually reason to further investigate, then absolutely. I want to make sure that our secrets are safe and we are not giving things away to other country that could in any way harm us. But from my understanding so far that the agencies that investigated it didn't find any reason to further the cause.
BEINART: Well, they continue to investigation. We love in "the Wall Street Journal" that the intelligence agencies are so concerned about Donald Trump's lack of security in relation with Russia. They are not even giving him certain intelligence secrets. That's how worried they are.
LEMON: All right.
HAM: Super healthy, everybody.
HAM: Super Healthy.
LEMON: All right, guys. I have to run. Thank you very much. I appreciate you guys coming here.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I will see you right back here tomorrow.