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Lieutenant general H.R. McMaster to replace Lieutenant general Michael Flynn as national security adviser; White House promising a new executive order on immigration any day now; President Trump mentioned Sweden at his rally Saturday; Breitbart editor and right- wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulous has infuriated critics on the left and the right; Aired 11:00p-12:00mn ET

Aired February 20, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:47] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump's surprise pick for national security adviser.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The President chooses decorated an outspoken lieutenant general H.R. McMaster to replace lieutenant general Michael Flynn after his forced resignation.

Meanwhile, the White House promising a new executive order on immigration any day now. One that's described as more streamlined than the original order that caused chaos at airports across the country - across the world, really.

Plus, President Trump's Sweden moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this, Sweden.


LEMON: Now the White House says the president was talking about a story that claimed crime by immigrants was on the rise many in Sweden. But the truth is very different. Tonight I'm going to talk to the filmmaker behind that story.

I want to get right now to President Trump's surprise announcement of a new national security adviser today lieutenant general H.R. McMaster.

CNN's Barbara Starr has more - Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Don, in the end, that the president picked an active duty, serving military officer who really did not have the option of saying no to the commander in-chief.


TRUMP: He is a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everybody in the military. And we are very honored to have him.

STARR (voice-over): Army lieutenant general H.R. McMaster is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan with years of battlefield experience. He is deeply familiar with the politics of serving at the highest levels of the military.

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Mr. President, thank you very much. I just like to say what a privilege it is to be able to continue serving our nation. I'm grateful to you for that opportunity. And I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything I can to advance and protect the interest of the American people. Thank you very much.

STARR: But now he wades into White House politics and a National Security Council in turmoil since the firing of Michael Flynn for not telling vice president Mike Pence the truth about his contacts with Russia. McMaster is known to be very plain spoken. People who know him say, don't expect him to change.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If General McMaster not only understands his role, but accepts his role as the lead to the National Security Council staff, and he also serves as the lead policy maker in essence for the White House and the administration, then he will have a chance to succeed.

STARR: Still, he may find his biggest challenge is dealing with Steve Bannon, the president's close political adviser who now has a seat on the National Security Council.

LEIGHTON: If Steve Bannon understands his role as basically being the political adviser to the National Security Council and nothing more than that, then it has a chance to succeed as well. If Mr. Bannon goes beyond that, then it could very well, not only interfere with the inner workings of the National Security Council, but it could result in disastrous policy choices for the United States.

STARR: As an active duty officer, McMaster didn't have the option of saying no thanks like retired vice admiral Bob Harwood did. Harwood reportedly declined the job due to family reasons and in part because of the chaos at the White House, sources tell CNN. Now, a promise that the new national security adviser can run his own operation.

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president has said very clearly, the new NSA director will have total and complete say over the make-up of the NSC and all of the components of the NSC. And there is no demand made by President Trump on any candidate.


STARR: Several years ago, McMaster wrote a book about the failure of the U.S. military to speak up to the president during the Vietnam War. That book, "Dereliction of Duty," became a must read inside military circles. Now the question is, will General McMaster continue to speak up to this president of the United States -- Don.

LEMON: Barbara Starr, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

I want to bring in now CNN military analyst major general James Spider Marks, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, the author of "Rightful Heritage Franklin D. Roosevelt and the land of America" and CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier.

So good to have all of you on.

General Marks, you first. What is your reaction to the new national security adviser lieutenant general H.R. McMaster?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES 'SPIDER' MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: General McMaster is a tremendous pick. As indicated in Barbara's piece, he is very much an iconoclast. He is what we call in the military a contrarian. You know, you have a military formation that moves in a certain direction, a certain pace, on a certain (INAUDIBLE). There is always somebody out there to the side that may be pushing it a little bit. H.R. is that guy.

Now, when it comes to getting into the formation and accomplishing the task, he will lead it tremendously. But he is the type of leader that will speak out. He will go to the president, we can only hope and say, Mr. President, this is what I'm thinking. This is our recommendation. He is not going to lay a bunch of problems in front of the president. He is going to say here is what we think. And this is what I think we should do. And I'm speaking for the National Security Council. That's his role. I think he will embrace it and I think he will succeed.

[23:05:20] LEMON: You lead me right into my question with Kimberly Dozier.

Kim, you have -- I want to ask you that because you have interviewed McMaster. You say he says what he thinks. He is famous for calling out big egos. I mean, how do you see that playing out with a Trump presidency?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, one of the things that he was always valued for is his ability to say it plainly. General David Petraeus, during the surge, used to bring him in to troubleshoot tough problems, because he knew he could count on hearing things he may not want to hear. And therefore, he is going to bring that same attitude into this situation.

He is a guy who likes hearing this is an impossible issue to solve. But also I have spoken with one Trump transition official this evening, who knows McMaster and also knows the players like Steve Bannon, and others who are part of the team, and they think McMaster is going to fit right in, because he knows how to work in groups of people who are highly intellectual, have healthy egos and all have a definite point of view. LEMON: Yes. Senior administration, Kim, administration official

tells CNN that Trump's decision came down to McMaster and lieutenant general Robert Kazlan Jr. The sources that Trump like McMaster, it was a combination of combat duty, and intellectual drive which is kind of what you are saying - you said in that last response. Is that -- what do you make of that? Do you believe that?

DOZIER: Well, of the two men, H.R. is the one who wrote the book, "Dereliction of Duty." He is the one with the reputation for - actually stymieing his career a couple times. He didn't get a couple promotions, because he was known as someone who would not hold his tongue, and would speak his mind and challenge convention within the army.

Eventually, his sort of rabbi in the military, was able to get him before the right army promotion board. And then once he got that first star, it has been like a rocket ever since. He is quickly gone from top job to top job, where he has helped formed some of the future thinking for the army. And while he hasn't run this kind of bureaucracy before, he certainly has the intellectual heft to dig into it and get the team behind his ideas.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, I haven't forgotten about you. You have been standing by patiently. I want to ask you, Senator John McCain, I want to show you his statement. He released a statement on the McMaster pick saying, in part, I give President Trump great credit for this decision as well as his national security cabinet choices. I could not imagine a better more capable national security team than the one we have right now.

Is this pick, Douglas, is it enough to reassure some of Trump's critics like John McCain who said they were worried about America's national security?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It goes a long ways to do that, because General McMaster is just top notch. The fact of the matter is, I mean, we have been talking about him as a thought leader. But he is somebody who did his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, a great in history, he is a great writer, but he also knows what it's like to be on the battlefield. He has won a silver star. He won two bronze stars. He won the army distinguished service medal on and on.

He could not be a better pick, it's the contrast to General Flynn who was kind of half-cocked, making people very nervous about his proximity to Donald Trump. The fact that we have a man as solid as General McMaster there at that very, very key post is reassuring I think to everybody as you have heard your other two CNN analysts say, we are all in agreement.

LEMON: No one -- I haven't heard anyone come on so far, maybe there are, you know, voices who don't like him, I have not heard one. You know, and actually, Rick Santorum was surprised saying, you know, this is good. Stay on message. This is a good day for the White House and for the president. And it's interesting, you know, you said, Douglas, this is General Flynn, you know. It was a birther. Had tweeted some controversial things. It appears that this particular lieutenant general has none of that.

[23:10:23] BRINKLEY: That's right. And you know, "Time" magazine in 2014 picked him as one of the 100 most influential people going out there. Why would they pick him? Because he is rethinking the army. He is trying to bring it into the 21st' century, but he is somebody who is not afraid to speak truth to power. We saw that in his book, "Dereliction of Duty," when he was able to, you know, go after some of the problems in the U.S. army had during the Vietnam War with (INAUDIBLE) Johnson. So this is a solid pick for Donald Trump.

LEMON: General, what -- big challenges. What are the biggest challenges for McMaster that he faces in this new post?

MARKS: I would say the first thing that H.R. needs to do is he needs to sit down with the president and say, Mr. President, let's right now determine what are the top three things that the United States must accomplish over the course of your term in office. Let's start with the three thorniest issues. Those I recommend would be Russia, China and what are we going to do with radical Islamic terrorism in the form of ISIS and how will that metastasize and change over the course of time.

Let's not boil the ocean. Let's really attack all of those. And let's make a determination as to whether we want to cooperate or whether we want to compete in all of those three. And I think it would be a great time for the president to stand up, with H.R. at his side, and have a public conversation that says, I've got my new national security adviser. We have a national security team that is be spoke in terms of the capabilities that we brought to the table. And here are the things we are going to start to address. We are going to be aligned. We are going to be in step. And we are going to maintain a measured pace so we can get the stuff done. That's what would be the first thing I would recommend that General McMaster take on.

LEMON: Kim, I want to get your take on this. But first, I want to talk about - I want to play something for you. But I want to get into the president's foreign policy. The president's team is being force to play cleanup for him around the world on the world stage. It appears after calling NATO obsoleted and saying the U.S. should have kept Iraq's oil. Here's what the vice president Pence said and defense secretary Mattis, just of them said today. Watch this.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is my privilege here at the NATO headquarters, to express the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our trans-Atlantic alliance.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: (RET.), SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: All of us in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along. And I'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future. We are not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Kim, do you think these comments will be enough to calm people around the world who may be concerned about the national security in our policy here?

DOZIER: Well, it's a start. It's going to take action to follow them up.

With the NATO comments that the vice president made, one way to look at this is, not everyone in NATO is unhappy, that the U.S. is rattling this particular saber and saying, you have to start paying up. Think if you're a defense minister at one of these NATO countries. And you have been trying for years to get that kind of investment in your forces. And your local government says no.

Now, you can go back to that government and say, yes, look, Pence is saying this, but we know that Trump wants us to pay up. You are going to have to start putting more money in this basket. And that is actually a good thing.

In terms of general Mattis going -- secretary of defense Mattis, going to Iraq and trying to reassure them about not taking Iraq's oil, that is something that I know Iraqi officials have basically behind the scenes been begging them to do saying, you know, we need to be able to keep working with you for this coalition to succeed and to drive ISIS out, and you are making it hard with our people on the ground when you say something like that.

LEMON: Douglas, do you think the president wants his team soft pedaling his past remarks on the world stage?

BRINKLEY: No, I don't think it's necessarily that. I think there's a schizophrenic behavior coming out of the White House on foreign policy. On the one hand, we do have Mattis and Tillerson, and now McMaster, who want to have a coherent foreign policy, and Donald Trump likes ad-Hocerry (ph). He likes to respond to whatever's on cable news at the moment and use Twitter and say things that disturb people. So hopefully what's starting to gel here is that they are going to have - (INAUDIBLE) wrote a piece in "The New York Times" about a need for a something like a Truman doctrine, something very clear to our allies what the United States intends. Streamlining, if you like, of what the Trump administration foreign policy is. Hopefully we will get that in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, vice president Pence really went to Europe, to NATO, and he was kind of the voice of reassurance, while everybody else in the world is quite nervous about Donald Trump saying one thing one day, and something else the next.

[23:15:18] LEMON: Douglas, Kim, general, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

When we come right back, the trouble with Sweden, President Trump doubles down on claims with crime and immigrants but the truth is very different.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:19:03] LEMON: When President Trump mentioned Sweden at his rally Saturday, a lot of people wondered what he was talking about. But my next guest knew exactly what he was talking about.

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz is here with me. He made a You Tube documentary called "Stockholm Syndrome," about what he says is immigrant violence in Sweden. He found himself right smack in the middle of an international incident. So here he is with me now.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. So you made this short documentary. It was about immigrant crime in Sweden. Tucker Carlson interviewed you about the film, talking about how the Swedish public feels about the situation. Let's watch this.


AMI HOROWITZ, FILMMAKER: They know that this crime has happened. They can feel it. The statistics are clear. But they would refer to, what is the root cause behind it. And say, it's just happening more violence. Its men who are raping people, not refugees. They will make excuses for it. The majority of the population in Sweden still wants to have an open door policy. Really, it's confounding.


LEMON: So the president sees your interview, which means you influenced him. The president of the United States spread which really amounts to false information, right? How do you feel about being part of that?

[23:20:11] HOROWITZ: I mean, the whole thing is just surreal. Right? I mean, it was a Saturday night, and I get a text from somebody. I think the president just referenced you. And then I went to it, and I said, I'm not sure exactly what he was talking about. But clearly, it seems to be he is intimating this interview that we had with Tucker.

So yes, it's absolutely -- it's incredible, it's surreal, it's unfortunate that he had the misstatement, but it's been all good for me.

LEMON: Let's look at it. Here's what he said. Let's watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this, Sweden. They took in large numbers. They' are having problems like they never thought possible.


LEMON: So you went back and watched and what did you think?

HOROWITZ: Well, first of all, I had no idea this has become this global male Strom. Truly global (INAUDIBLE) proportions. But at the time, I didn't think it was a big deal. I kind of felt like, well, you kind of changed two words. If you just said, you know, I was watching something last night, and I saw that Sweden, the whole thing, then none would have changed. Did he mean there was a terrorist attack? Did he mean he was watching a show? The truth is I can't dis-earn that.

Clearly most of the media seemed to indicate he was talking about a terrorist attack happened last night. I don't know how you come up with that, but it depends, I guess, on your perspective what he was trying to say.

LEMON: Well, I mean, the president has to be, and as you know, I'm sure you agree, precise with his words, because the whole world is watching. He is the leader of the free world. And there's a lot of weight that goes into words, and for most people, they thought he was talking about some attack in Sweden. And there was no attack.

But I want to play, this is a moment in your film, and then we will discuss. Let's play this.


HOROWITZ: While the staggering increase in rape has made some news, this phenomenon has been coupled with a shocking and less wildly report of increase in violent crime in general. Over the past couple of years, several dangerous immigrant riots have broken out, and shootings across Sweden have increased sharply.


LEMON: OK. So let's talk about the numbers here because we looked at the stats from the U.S. department, state department. Here is what we learned, alright. Crime rose about seven percent of 2012 to 2015. Much of that crime was nonviolent, computer fraud and vandalism. In 2015, violent crime decreased slightly. There was no staggering increase. Where did you get your information, and did you look at the official number?

HOROWITZ: Yes. From a far more accurate source at the state department. I don't know why state department doing numbers for Sweden. I look at the Swedish - it is BRA - B - R- A which is the keeper of all stats for Sweden. So if you look at what I call heavy crimes, I'm talking about murder, I'm talking about sexual assault. Sexual assault from 2006, 2015 is up almost 50 percent, murder in 2012 to 2016 is up I think almost over 80 percent. So those are the real numbers.

LEMON: Well, the real numbers, they don't show up almost 80 percent, if you look at also --

HOROWITZ: From 2012?


HOROWITZ: Well -- LEMON: Here are the numbers you have. But anyway, when you look at

that, if you look at especially when you consider the population of millions of people.


LEMON: And there were maybe, you know, 12 more murders. Of course, it's going to spike. But there is, of course, it's going to be higher, but it's not a spike in murders, when you look at the population, and you look at -- especially when you look at the population of immigrants in the country, which is probably like one percent.

HOROWITZ: No, it's way higher than that.

LEMON: OK. If you look at the population of immigrants, there's no correlation between immigrants and a spike in crime which there is no huge spike in crime there. The numbers don't show that. It shows over an average -- from 2006 to --

HOROWITZ: Take a look at 2012.

LEMON: That's on an average. There's no spike here. If you look at 2006, 2007, all the way on. Crime goes up and down as it goes here in America, and every single country. But if you look at that as an average, there is no spike in crime.

HOROWITZ: It is not true. If you look at 2006 to 2016 the murder is up. From 2006 to 2015, rape is up 50 percent. How that not a spike?

LEMON: If you look at it overall. Numbers go up every year, up and down, every year, if you look at individual years --


LEMON: You can say - hold on. You could say numbers are up this year. They are down this year, they are up this year, they are down.

HOROWITZ: Fair enough.

LEMON: But if you look at them over a long period of time, it's not up.

HOROWITZ: So I'm telling you, rape is up from 2005 --

LEMON: I understand it's the numbers. But do you understand why those numbers are up, though? You have to look within the numbers. It's because the way that they classified.

HOROWITZ: No, no, no, that's untrue. Let's be clear. They changed the definition of rape in 2005. I'm talking about stats in 2006 to 2016 after the definition was changed. The numbers from 2006 to 2015 are up 50 percent and they are up every single year, except for 2014 to 2015, where there's a slight dip.

[23:25:03] LEMON: OK. That's how you're reading the numbers. HOROWITZ: Those are raw numbers.

LEMON: That's not how the experts are reading the numbers.

But here is the Swedish prime minister who said in response to President Trump.


STEFAN LOFVEN, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: Do not that forget in international rankings, in issues such as equality, human development, competitiveness, we like our guests today from Canada, are doing very well. So yes we have opportunities, we have challenges, we are working with them every day. But I think also we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly and for verifying any information that we spread.


LEMON: The Swedish prime minister is upset with the very least, is concerned about the president's classification, yours as well. They feel they are being unfairly targeted here. They say that the numbers don't match up to what you are saying. They don't deserve to be in the middle of this. And that you have blown this out of proportion, because you have some sort of agenda behind it. What do you say to them?

HOROWITZ: I think he is looking -- is it happiness in my country. Is that supposed to be some kind of barometer for rape and murder being up? We can go over these numbers back and forth. Again, I feel bad kind of repeating the same number again. What I'm telling you is the overall number, after the change definition, from 2006 to 2015 is up 50 percent.

LEMON: You are making a correlation to immigrants.

HOROWITZ: That's a different -- we didn't talk about that.

LEMON: There is no correlation to immigrants.

HOROWITZ: I disagree. There is an absolute correlation.

LEMON: Just, the evidence doesn't show that.

HOROWITZ: What evidence are you --

LEMON: The numbers, according to the broad numbers I have here, and the numbers from the state department. They don't show a correlation between immigrants.

HOROWITZ: They don't talk about immigrants in any of the statistics. Nothing here mentioned the word immigrants. In fact, it's interesting. In 2001, BRA used to have a classification for the backgrounds of the people committing the crimes. Because the immigrants were so high, they stripped that from the numbers. Those numbers don't mention immigrants. Of course, they block the correlation of those numbers. But the correlation comes from other places.

LEMON: But the most recent number - the most recent terror attack in Sweden was an anti-immigrant terror attack.

HOROWITZ: Well, I didn't --.

LEMON: Yes, in January. Three suspected neo-Nazis were arrested after bombing an immigrant asylum center in Gotham (ph).

HOROWITZ: That's horrific.

LEMON: So if you were looking for the root of the crime, there is also issues when it comes for anti-immigrant crime as well. That's part of the crime stats as well.

HOROWITZ: Rape has nothing to do with anti-immigrants.

LEMON: Stick to that. But there's no correlation between rape and --

HOROWITZ: I'm saying there is. Why are you saying there isn't?

LEMON: Because all have you to do is read the evidence.


LEMON: My question -- we can get to that. But my question was about the anti-immigrant crime as well, that's also part of --

HOROWITZ: Horrible which I condemn completely. You know, Nazi crime is an absolute travesty. It is disgusting. I'm not going to -- you think I'm going to --

LEMON: Does your film focus on that?

HOROWITZ: My film was not about that. My film was about the social unrest that immigration caused in Sweden. There was a terrorist attack in Sweden in November. The ISIS claimed attack for it. Interesting enough, there was an attack, was a Sunni attack in a Shiite cultural center. There is no difference if you are attacking white people or Shiite people. That's a terrorist attack, no matter how you slice it. That was just in November.

LEMON: Yes, but your numbers, again, don't show a spike in anything. Not necessarily your numbers, but the numbers --

HOROWITZ: I'm confused.

LEMON: You are confused, because you are not - because the numbers you are reading.

HOROWITZ: OK. If you just tell me if you agree with this number. You have the numbers there. Let's look at the sexual assault numbers. From 2006 to 2015, the numbers are up, 50 percent. And by the way, that's an even bigger number than it seems because everywhere else in Western Europe and the United States, those numbers are down significantly. So on a relative basis, those numbers are even larger. And one more quick stat. BRA also says, you want to talk about

correlation, we didn't talk about correlation. The people who commit rape - I'm sorry, the people who have been raped in the U.S., two thirds of people do not know their victims, right, in the U.S.? In Sweden, two thirds of the victims do not know --

LEMON: Let me explain to you why those numbers are the way they are.


LEMON: The Sweden's rape stats are high, but it is because Sweden's laws define rape more broadly than other comparable countries. It includes - hold on. I let you finish.


LEMON: It includes other types of assault and unwanted contact. It didn't include that before. Also, there's little stigma to reporting sex crimes. So the cultural reason the numbers are high. That's why. But according to official statistics, the Sweden crime survey, the sexual violence rate has been about the same from 2005 to 2014, and for the most part, the story of dark skinned foreigners targeting blonde northern European women is not one supported by the evidence.

HOROWITZ: I'm confused. The numbers are the numbers.

LEMON: What is confusing you? Two plus two equals four.

[23:30:00] HOROWITZ: 2005, I mean, I know my mic is working. 2005 -- 2016, rape is up 50 percent. And it's up every single year.

LEMON: OK. I don't want to be rude, though, but are your ears and your eyes working? Because the numbers as we are reading from the state department. They don't show what you're saying.

HOROWITZ: Those are broad numbers. You have.

LEMON: Yes. I have them. They're right here.

HOROWITZ: The raw numbers are up.

LEMON: That's BRA.

HOROWITZ: Yes. Show me.

LEMON: But if you look at - even if you look at crime here in the United States, overall, for the past decade.

HOROWITZ: Crime is down.

LEMON: Crime is down. There was a spike.

HOROWITZ: Rape is down.

LEMON: There was a spike.

HOROWITZ: Murder is down. Not in Sweden. Not in Sweden.

LEMON: Over time, that's the same thing.


LEMON: But it's not skyrocketing.

HOROWITZ: Murder is up.

LEMON: Let's say that you are right.

HOROWITZ: Murder is up.

LEMON: Hold on. You are classifying this as a skyrocket that crime is skyrocketing. It's not a skyrocket.

HOROWITZ: So you think when rape is down in the United States and everywhere else in Western Europe and that rape is up 50 percent, that's not skyrocketing?

LEMON: Because of the way they classify rapes now.

HOROWITZ: The definition was before those numbers.

LEMON: If you had not classified on one in touching it, if you are at a concert and someone touches you on any part of your body, that is now in Sweden classified as rape. It was not before.

HOROWITZ: First of all, sexual assault is not rape. It is not rape, the sexual assault.

LEMON: Sexual assault in the United States, but it's not sexual assault in Sweden. It's now under the rape clause.

HOROWITZ: The definition of rape in the United States. I looked at the definition.

LEMON: And we know what it is in the United States. We are not talking about the United States. We are talking about Sweden.

HOROWITZ: Listen. The definition of rape in the United States is the same essentially, is definition of rape in Sweden.

LEMON: Now -- no, not now.

HOROWITZ: Yes, it is.

LEMON: It's a different classification.

All right. We'll go back and look at your information.

But thank you. I appreciate you --

HOROWITZ: My pleasure.

LEMON: We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:46] LEMON: The president at the start of his term facing grassroots protests spreading across the country. It sounds familiar. But this is not the tea party. It's happening at Republican town halls like one held by Congressman Scott Taylor in Virginia Beach tonight.

CNN's Kyung Lah has more now - Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, to a capacity crowd, Representative Scott Taylor faced a town hall, a crowd increasingly upset with the Trump administration.


LAH (voice-over): Town hall fury from Utah to Nebraska, constituents chasing down congressmen at public events.

This week, aiming squarely at a Congress in recess, working in their home districts. The GOP bracing for the protests, the president even noticing.

TRUMP: They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there.

LAH: White House press secretary Sean Spicer shared the administration's tea party.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The tea party was a very organic movement. This has become a very pave (INAUDIBLE) movement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you making any money on this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, no. This is not a moneymaking venture.

LAH: Meet the team responsible for the movement. Three former Democratic congressional staffers.

LEAH GREENBERG, INDIVISIBLE GUIDE: We had seen a very powerful local activist movement, the teat party, emerge. And so, we knew exactly how powerful local action could be because it had been used against us very effectively.

LAH: Days after the election based loosely on tea party tactics, they sketched out an online guide for progressives of how to stop Trump's agenda.

EZRA LEVIN, INDIVISIBLE GUIDE: When we out it out, we had the hopes that I think our parents would like it on Facebook.

GREENBERG: It was, you know, ten people were reading it and then 20 people reading it and there is 90 people were reading it.

LAH: Then it crashed. They posted what's known as the Indivisible Guide on the Web site. Now viewed 15 million times, downloaded by 1.7 million. About 7,000 Indivisible groups formed, following their step by step guide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once you're part of a team, there are four simple tactics to engage in.

LAH: A viral video followed. (INAUDIBLE) says their $10,000 video was crowd sourced from $5 to $100 donations. The guide's authors have now filed with the IRS as a nonprofit. There's one full time employee, Ezra Levin, who still hasn't been paid. Three weeks ago, they put up a donation tab on their Web site. Only small donations so far, they say. Their movement growing, based on a simple idea.

LEVIN: No is a complete sentence, that's a smart move, it keeps your coalition together, and it allows you to have t greatest impact possible.

ANNE TAYLOR, INDIVISIBLE 757: I was just so inspired and motivated by what they said.

LAH: Do you know the people who wrote this guide?

TAYLOR: No. I couldn't tell you their names.

LAH: This is Anne Taylor, grandmother and founder of Virginia's Indivisible 757. None of the people here work for a political party. Their target tonight, Republican congressman, Scott Taylor.

How do you feel when the GOP brushes you off as somebody who's paid?

TAYLOR: I think it's funny. I think it is a desperate attempt to delegitimize what they must most definitely perceive to be a powerful grassroots movement.


LAH: So how did it go? It was loud at times. He did get booed. There were some cheers. Some of the people we spoke with said he didn't answer their questions sufficiently. That they wish he had spent more time. But they appreciated that he showed up, that he held a town hall to begin with, knowing that he would face this crowd.

There wasn't any major conflict inside. If there was anything, it was outside. People who weren't able to get in, started to turn on each other. There was one arrest -- Don.

LEMON: Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

Don't miss the Democratic leadership debate moderated by Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo live Wednesday night 10:00 eastern.

We will be right back.


[23:43:38] LEMON: Breitbart editor and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulous has infuriated critics on the left and the right. Let's discuss now with CNN politics - excuse me, CNN political

commentators -- it's Monday already, it feels like Friday. Matt Lewis and Kayleigh McEnany. Also political contributors Maria Cardona and Hilary Rosen.

I should have just taken the holiday off instead of coming in. But anyway, Hilary, everybody, welcome to the panel.

Hilary, for you. Milo Yiannopoulous was disinvited from his keynote speaking slot at CPAC after video of him surfaced advocating for sexual relationships with young boys. What are your thoughts?

HILLARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's a beautiful thing, right? You know, conservatives criticize people on the left for the last year for hating this guy, for thinking he's empty and provocative and ignorant and now all of a sudden, you know, they are gay. He like -- they liked them because he was their gay who is willing to criticize other gays and willing to criticize, you know, identity politics and people on the left. And you know, now they have egg on their face because their gay turned out to be just as gross as we have always said he was.

LEMON: Yes. As this a bridge to - this was a bridge too far. I mean, when it comes to - we are saying that, but some people are calling pedophilia, right, because he was talking about young people. That's just a bridge too far.

But the question is, why didn't all the other things that he has talked about, the other hateful things?

Kayleigh, Yiannopoulous was a guest HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher on Friday night. Here he is doubling down on his hateful comments about comedian Leslie Jones. Here it is.


[23:45:13] BILL MAHER, TV HOST: The one area where I'm a little concerned is when you go after people individually. Because like I said, if it's in the cause of a greater truth, you know, if people are hurt as, you know, a collateral damage, I'll go there. But like I didn't understand like the Ghostbusters things. First of all, who gives a (bleep)?

MILO YIANNOPOULOUS, RIGHT-WING CRITIC: I read a bad reviews. I'm not entitled to do that. I said she looks like a dude, she does, you know. I said she was barely literate, she is. And I do not accept that a Hollywood, you know, the star of a Hollywood blockbuster, that an a-list mega celebrity is sitting in a Hollywood mansion crying over mean words on the internet. Get over it.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I don't like, you know, that kind of insulting and that vile kind of speech. Particularly, the comments today with regard to pedophilia. But, you know, he is not my flavor, not my style of commentator. And I want to point out to Hilary, he is not conservative. He himself had actually said I'm not a conservative. So I don't know why he was invited to CPAC in the first place.

ROSEN: Come on. He has been like a Breitbart star, a protege of Steve Bannon.


ROSEN: People loved him criticizing, you know, the gay left until this moment, he was their gay, their house gay. Come on.

MCENANY: Those are your words. Don't put those words in the mouths of conservatives.

LEMON: Should he have been invited to CPAC?



MCENANY: He should not have been invited to CPAC. He doesn't represent conservatism. He doesn't represents any of the views that I have seen put forth at CPAC. He has some tangent to relationship to standing up for free speech on college campuses. And he kind of came to (INAUDIBLE) because of that. But he does not represent conservative.

LEMON: My question has been all along, did conservatives or people who embraced him, did they do their homework? Because I think many people on the left and his critics knew about all of these things, all you have to do is Google search map, and you can see pedophilia, what he says about black men, that every, you know, every Snyder, every Saturday night he lifts black men out of poverty. But then his driver takes them back the next morning. I mean, you know, he says all of these horrible things.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a horrible person. He is depraved and decadent. To paraphrase here a quote, (INAUDIBLE), you know, CPAC is now depraved and decadent because of him.

He is not a conservative. You are absolutely right. This is a guy who basically, it's like the enemy of the enemy is my friend. Because he is mean to leftists and radical feminists, we all make him a hero. Well, that doesn't make you a hero. Being politically incorrect in and of itself doesn't make you a -- it may make you a jerk. It doesn't make you a hero by virtue of just doing it. I think it was really unfortunate that we have a conservative movement today that has gone from Ronald Reagan and Buckley, to Milo. And that is the big story.

LEMON: But then you can say to Breitbart because he is the editor of Breitbart.

Mari Maria, I'm sure you want to weigh-in on this. But you are going to have to do it after the break.

We will be right back.


[23:52:06] LEMON: Back with my panel. And Maria Cardona didn't want to weigh in on this, I'm sure.

So, OK. I will ask you the same question I asked Matt. Do you think that the people who were defending him and, you know, saying, this is about his free speech being stifled. There were many people saying, this isn't about free speech, it's about hate speech. Do you think they did their homework, Maria?

CARDONA: No, of course not. And I think that was, number one, irresponsible. But secondly, it's completely hypocritical for CPAC to now feel outraged at what this guy has done in the past. If they didn't know, I think that is just incompetence on their part.

But also, as I understand that they invited him to speak to CPAC to kind of stick it to the left. To, you know, sort of thumb their nose at the protests at Berkeley which, you know, by the way, yes, they turned violent, and that violence has no place anywhere in the left, right, center, middle, anywhere. Nobody should condone that.

But people had a right to protest him. And CPAC invited him to kind of stick it to the left. So in a way, CPAC and this guy, who by the way is less than zero, and our president -- the president of the United States has actually tweeted positive things about him. So I'm glad to hear Kayleigh and Matt disavow him. But unfortunately, the rest of the conservative movement kind of likes this guy, has embraced him. And that I think does a whole lot to discredit the movement itself.

LEWIS: There's a lot of conservatives national review. I would say most mainstream conservatives don't like him. It is the more of the alt-right, the likes him.

And look. I think he gets some mileage out of having the British accent. It makes him seems smart and sophisticated. But he plays - he like - he plays the victim card all the time. He plays an identity politics. He hides behind you can't call me a bigot because I'm gay.


LEMON: All right. Let me say this. I'm going to let you finish, Matt.


LEMON: Because, no. This goes into what I want to say. Because, you know, Simon and Schuster cancelled his book. They had a book deal with (INAUDIBLE). The book was going to be entitled dangerous. He'll probably publish. (INAUDIBLE). And then he posted an apology on his Facebook page, to your point, Matt.

It says, I'm partly to blame. My only experience as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to this subject no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy. A lack of care for other victims or worst advocacy. I deeply regret that. People deal with things from their past in different ways.

I'm doing the break, Kayleigh was saying, she didn't believe the same. She said the same thing.

MCENANY: Well, you know, I'm a very forgiving person. And I want to forgive someone if they ask for it. But there were a lot of scapegoats in there from the British accent, you know, all the way down to there are some other scapegoats. You can go back and read the apology. He is a victim.

LEWIS: He plays the victim card, which is not something conservative.

MCENANY: There were a lot of kids who were hurt deeply by the scandals in the Catholic Church that he referenced in his discussion. And he needs to come out from the bottom of his heart. Tomorrow he is having a press conference and apologize because that's very hurtful to a lot of people.

[23:55:07] LEMON: Hilary, he is insisting that the tapes were edited deceptively and that he does not advocate. I want to make sure I get this right, for illegal behavior. What do you think about this?

ROSEN: Ironic, isn't it, that somebody who has literally, you know, promoted badly edited tapes now says this. Look. This apology doesn't ring true. He is blaming everybody else. He has imposed a huge amount of hurt with his words over the last several years, for people across the board. Now that his book deal has been cancelled and he is at, you know, risk of losing his job, all of a sudden he is sorry for his sarcasm. It doesn't wash.

LEMON: I have to run.

ROSEN: The most important people in this country President Trump and Steve Bannon have not disavowed him. And they need to.

CARDONA: They have embraced him.

MCENANY: Waiting on Hillary to disavow --

LEMON: I got to go.

Thank you, guys. I appreciate that.

That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I will see you right back here tomorrow.