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Special Election In Georgia Tonight To Fill An Open Congressional Seat; New Ethics Concerns About The Trump Family's Global Businesses; Aired 11p-12:10a ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:25] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The breaking news, the nail biter in Georgia tonight in a tight race to fill an open house seat.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

We are awaiting the results to come in - for the results to come in now that Democratic candidate came on strong initially but he needs 50 percent of that vote to avoid a runoff in June. Republicans are desperate to hold on to this seat in traditionally red district. The white House says President Trump is personally invested in this race.

Let's get right to it. Right away to CNN senior congressional reporter Manu Raju who is in Atlanta for us this evening with the very latest. He is standing right there.

So Manu, this special election, hotly contested, closely watched. You, as at a fact, are at Ossoff headquarters, bring us up-to-date.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Don, I can tell you sources in both parties are expecting this to go to a run off on June 20th. They do not expect Ossoff to win this seat out right tonight. He have to do that if you get more than 50 percent of the vote and right now 77 percent of the precincts reporting Mr. Ossoff at 50.3 percent of the vote clinging to that 50 percent threshold. But lot of vote is still outstanding particularly in Fulton County. And Fulton County is what not just Mr. Ossoff has been rose, but also Karen Handel who is the number - who is a Republican who is the second place right now and has deep relationships as well. And she is expected to do well as more of the vote comes in especially from today.

So right now, I can tell you, here at Ossoff headquarters, people are energize. They can see on the big screen behind us. But there's also a sense of concern that perhaps that we will not get that 50 percent margin and there will be that run off on June 20th. And when that happens this is going to be a much different race. Republicans can unite. We have one candidate. And Democratic money will flood in as they are try to, as they are saying right now, flip the stick, Don.

LEMON: What are they chanting again?

RAJU: They're saying flip the six. Because we are in the sixth congressional district. And Don, if they did that, it would be the first time that would happen in 37 years, Republicans holding to the seat. They have the chance of holding out to it, will increase if they do go to the runoff on June 20th.

LEMON: Yes. I couldn't hear them, but that's the hashtag that's been trending, flip the six all over social media.

So when do we know? You said that, you know, they are expecting it is going to be wow. Would you have any idea when we might know this outcome a view maybe become a little bit more sure about it or certain about it?

RAJU: You know, we are waiting for more of those results from Fulton County to come in. That is really the last piece of the puzzle here. And once those do, Don, we can probably get closer to making a projections. But as I can tell you from my reporting and talking to sources, a lot of people are -- most people are watching this very closely, do expect a runoff. They do not expect Mr. Ossoff to clench it out right. But the fact that he was able to get at least close to 50 percent. If he does not reach that threshold it's a sign of the Democratic strength behind this candidate. And the question about whether or not he can get over that 50 percent thresh hold come June 20th if it does go to a runoff now that Republicans would be able to unite behind one candidate, Don.

LEMON: OK. So let's just say and you have already said that sources of both parties and both campaigns are saying or at least his campaign and the Republicans are saying they expect a runoff. So if he wins, what if he wins, what happens next?

RAJU: If he wins tonight, Don, that would be, or even June 20th which is entirely possible even if Republicans' chances increase on June 20th, he could still win this race then. And Republicans will even tell you that privately given the mood of the country being so unpredictable and lot of people not satisfied what they are seeing in Washington even Republicans. And Don, that would be a major repudiation for the president who stuck his neck out in this race saying that, you know, that urging Republicans to come out to the polls and recording robo calls and putting out tweets. Not many presidents will do that for a house race.

And it's a sign, Don, if the six does flip there's a very serious chance Democrats could pick up 24 seats they will need next year to take back the house majority for the first time since the 2010 midterm. So that would be very significant place for Democrats who are here in the Atlanta suburbs, a place where they have not performed well in the past but one in which Democrats could be making some significant inroads if Ossoff comes close or wins this seat -- Don.

[23:05:22] LEMON: Manu Raju, in a very rock us room down in Atlanta.

Thank you, Manu. We will see you soon. Get drink your coffee.

I want to bring in now political panel now, political commentators Matt Lewis and Jack Kingston. Jack is a former senior advisor to the Trump campaign. He is an also a Georgia boy. I like to say that I am to, sort of. Sort of, I mean, you know, transplanted. I'm a Louisiana boy, but yes. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger, political director David Chalian, political contributor Hilary Rosen and senior political commentator, David Axelrod.

Get your coffee. I have mine. This could be a long night.

Gloria, I'm going to go to you. This is officially a nail-biter. This is what you call a nail biter.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. It is and the fact we are even talking about a Democrat in this red district potentially getting 50 percent of the vote in a crowded field is quite remarkable. And I think it sort of goes to prove why the Democrats are actually spending, what, $9 million there. Because they believe this is exactly the kind of district that they could potentially flip in 2018. I mean, you know, Don, did you live in this district?

LEMON: I lived in Atlanta, yes.

BORGER: OK. So you know this district. It's wealthy, suburban district. It's diverse. It's highly educated. And this is exactly the kind of place where the Democrats believe they have opportunity.

LEMON: So Gloria, let me say this because I heard Manu talking about Fulton County, right. So that is looking Fulton County. If Fulton County is everything that you said it is, and one thing that's called inside the perimeter and outside the perimeter, right, which is inner state sort of runs a ring around the city which is the perimeter. Inside that perimeter which is Fulton County, people tend to be a little bit less conservative than they are outside the perimeter.


LEMON: So that would bode well then, it would seem for Ossoff' if they are waiting for in that county.

BORGER: Well, you know, I was just talking - texting to somebody who is working for Karen Handel. And this person said that they are waiting on Fulton which is Karen territory. So they believe that they are going to do very well in Fulton and that would effectively destroy Ossoff's chances of winning this things outright without going to a runoff.

LEMON: All right. David, do what do you read about the results so far? What do you have to say for yourself?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, as we are talking about Fulton County we should note, as you know, it is parts of Fulton, parts of DeKalb, parts of Cobb. And Fulton County makes up about 50 percent of the voters I think that we are expecting to see. So roughly half of the voters in that district come from the Fulton County piece of this. That's why it is so important for us to wait to see some more reporting out of there.

As Gloria's source is saying it' is Karen country, remember also a lot of what we are waiting to see is Election Day vote and the Republicans have been doing far better on Election Day vote which is trend we see in American politics than they did in the early vote. That's why I think you hear Manu saying that folks on both sides expected at the end of the day for this to head to a run off.

But I will say as you said it's a nail biter, and I think now one of the interesting things to look at should it go to a run off which if it does kudos to the Republican, they did their job to turn out to keep him below 50 percent. That was the total goal for the Republican Party tonight to get this to a one-on-one off run. But if he indeed is actual ending up, let's say, Hillary Clinton I think at 47 percent in the district in 2016.

BORGER: Right.

CHALIAN: If he is able to go above that, add to that, it shows that he has room to grow beyond what the Democratic presidential nominee had which if you are on the Ossoff team looking ahead to the run off you don't necessarily put, you know, put your head in your hands quite yet. You see a real path here for pretty competitive race even in a one-on-one situation.

LEMON: OK. So David Axelrod, this is to you, Jon who? Jon Ossoff. Most people say Jon who. He is a 30-year-old political unknown who didn't even live in the district but he became the front man in a proxy fight for something that is much bigger, right.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No question. He is the generic Democrat. I mean, he is the generic Democrat sprung to light. He has no real history. He may have grown up in the district but no political history in the district, never held office in the district, isn't really a celebrity of any kind. And so, he -- this is a pure measure of sort of Democratic energy in that district and the fact that it is close is really interesting. Should be troubling to the Republicans.

But, you know, one thing I would point out is he has raised an enormous amount of money over $8 million. I think he has $2.1 million left or that is what the last report going into the election. Karen Handel I think raised about $450,000.

Now millions have spent against Ossoff by Republicans. But now she is going to raise - if she is the other candidate in run off, she will raise enormous amounts of money. And I expect this will be very expensive. And I know Jack will say otherwise, but probably a pretty competitive race.

LEMON: Does that money matter so much now when we are talking so much about this cult of personality that's been winning the elections. Because I know, you know, Jack has been talking about money. You know, $8 million or whatever but does it really matter that much?

HILLARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It doesn't quite really matter.

AXELROD: I think it mattered in this race. I think money mattered in this race because had they not spent the millions of dollars they spent in the last few weeks, I think that Ossoff would be over this and he may still but he would have been over 50 percent. It took that kind of resources to put him in a position where he may not make the run off. May have to be in a run off tonight. So I think money mattered at the margins and in a marginal race which this is likely to be that's important.

LEMON: So my former neighbors are watching me down in Atlanta. And they said listen, Don, its North Fulton and Brook Haven. And I said, OK, meaning. And he said wealthy, mostly white, but new tech yuppies like Ossoff. And I said what's that mean conservative or liberals? They said too young to know. They like his honestly, though, regardless if he's Republican or not.

ROSEN: I think that is a really important point, Don. You know, couple of times tonight, folks have talked about Jon Ossoff as being sort of this nobody. And I think that - and we should look at this more the way voters do which is the sort of anti-politician. Karen Handel, you know, run for office as people have said many, many times in Georgia. Sometimes lost, occasionally has won.

But Jon Ossoff is fresh. He is interesting. It is precisely because he is young and enthusiast that he has, you know, thousands and thousands of glass root volunteers in this election. And I think we ought to not be so dismissive of sort of nonpolitician in this day and age.

LEMON: Matt Lewis, what do you have to say for yourself, Matt Lewis? But you can't right now. You have to do it after the break. We are going to come back now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't forget me either.

LEMON: All right. I won't. Jack you get plenty of time to talk all the time. And if you don't you jump in there. Matt is a little bit more respectful, shall we say, reserved.

KINGSTON: I'm a minority.

LEMON: When we come right back more on this breaking news. We're going to bring latest results for the special election in Georgia.


[23:17:04] LEMON: And we are back now with backing news at a tight race in Georgia happening right now, special election to fill an open congressional seat. We are waiting final results to come in.

Back with me now my panel. Matt Lewis and Jack Kingston, I promised you will get to talk this time.

But Matt, you first. I should also report that there's also some breaking news. We are hearing that Fulton County, Georgia, and that is where they are waiting for some results, technical difficulties, it's not clear when we will get the final numbers now.


LEMON: Plot thickens, what do you think, Matt?

LEWIS: I thought it was David Chalian earlier who made a very important point which is the reason that everyone thinks that this is going to go to a run off is because Ossoff started off the night, you know, with a lot of votes bank from early voting. And throughout the night, the story has been attrition. And if that trend continues, and we have every reason to believe it will, he will not end tonight above 50 percent and there will be a run off.

But look I think that, you know, this district, and if already regardless of what happens, just the fact it's this close is going to have a motivational effect on the left. I think it is going to rally them. It is going to excite them. They are going to have more money come from Democrats.

But again, is it, you know, is it that much of a bell weather? It's certainly outsized. The importance is not just, you know, they need 24 Democrats need 24 house seats to take back the house. The importance of this certainly transcends one of the 24. It's symbolic. But we also have to remember this district as you were saying - I mean, this is a Marco Rubio type district. It is not a Donald Trump type district and there's a stark contrast I think between these two.

LEMON: Jack Kingston the president is invested in this race. He very publicly attacked Ossoff. Listen to the robo call. And then, Jack, you will finally get a chance to talk.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only you can stop the super liberal Democrats and Nancy Pelosi's group, in particular, Jon Ossoff. If you don't vote tomorrow, Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your health care, and flood our country with illegal immigrants.


LEMON: And then he tweeted half dozen times about it. Do you think that will prove to be a good call, Jack Kingston?

KINGSTON: I think it is because, you know, no party wants to sit there and sit out a race. You want to make sure that you have done your part. That's just what the president did.

But you know, David Axelrod was saying money hasn't made a difference. $8.3 million, I promise you that Ossoff or any candidate with $3 million could really run a great race. So he actually could have money in the bank at this point. Karen Handel is not going to have money in the bank until tomorrow morning then it is going to start coming in. She is going to need money to catch up. But you know, as people start looking at the candidates, Karen is somebody who has been county commission chairman in Fulton County. She also was secretary of state. She has been a successful businesswoman. She ran the Susan Kohmen (ph) organization. She is somebody who is known. Ossoff doesn't even live in the district. Most of his volunteers and most of his money I think --. [23:20:00] LEMON: Jack, you should be even more worried that -

shouldn't you be even more worried that he doesn't live in the district and that he is doing so well.

KINGSTON: No. I tell you. I can tell you why. Because in fry (ph), Republicans who are running against Republicans. Nobody was really paying attention to them because they could not. He was the Democrat, the choice. And I think the Democrat party did a smart job on (INAUDIBLE) behind one candidate. But now, he is going to have a big magnifying glass on him. And he really doesn't have much of a record. I mean, I challenge you to say names two or three things that he did. I just rattled off some of Karen Handel's accomplishments, probably not only can no one on this panel. But I don't think anybody in Georgia who was just on TV chairing and doing the flip the six. They don't know anything about that.

LEMON: We are going to tell you, everybody. A lot of people are putting attesting to this.

ROSEN: Let me just respond to this.

LEMON: I will let you respond. But a lot of people are paying attention because this is Angela Rye who is also on our network saying I know him. It is not true that he hasn't done any work in the area. He has actually done tons. So people are paying attention to him. They said they worked on the Hill together, just so you know. But go ahead. Go ahead Hillary.

ROSEN: Well, I was just going to say he was, you know, a military legislative assistance to a congressman from Georgia and he was, you know, he was a mentis (ph) of Congressman John Lewis'. He worked for Congressman --.

KINGSTON: OK. That's the same thing that's one.

ROSEN: And you know, you inflate Karen Handel's reputation. She not only didn't run the Susan Kohmen foundation, she actually was the attempted cause of women's health clinics being shut downs from doing cancer health screenings across the country when she was at Susan Kohmen and she got fired. So, you know, there's a lot of baggage that Karen Handel has.

So, you know, Jon Ossoff being a newcomer. Jack, let me finish. You got to talk. So Jon Ossoff being a newcomer who has legislative experience, who has sat the feet of great folks like John Lewis, really energizes people in a way that old politicians can't. And I think people on this panel are just sort of ignoring the fact that people like people other than politicians these days. That's actually a plus.


LEMON: Wasn't that the whole point? Wasn't that Donald Trump's raise on I'm not a politician and therefore only I can get it done, Jack. Why is it different now? KINGSTON: I think Gloria or somebody said earlier tonight, he needed

to be more like Sam None (ph). And I can't resist paraphrasing people like --.

LEMON: Sam None, who are you?

KINGSTON: Jon Ossoff is no Sam None.

BORGER: Right. But you know, he wouldn't be able to raise that money.

ROSEN: But 30 years ago, come on guys. Thirty years ago, Sam None was a successful candidate. But today, people are looking for something different. They are looking for non-politicians. They are looking people like energize them. They are not looking for a moderate that way.

LEMON: Go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: I think the question is in that district what will work if there's a run off. And you know, I think being an elected center person in that district may not work in a one-on-one race. And I think look. I think Karen Handel has some problems here because she has run statewide twice, you know, like believe, correct me if I'm wring, Jack, but she ran for governor and she ran for Senate. And she lost both times.

And so people may view her as kind of a perennial politician who ran a lot and lost. And so that's not going to help her. And he may be viewed as a neophyte who may be, you know, too left for the district. So neither one of them is a perfect candidate. That's just --.

CHALIAN: Well, they are clearly --.

LEMON: Sounds like we're talking about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as a matter of fact. But I digress. Go on.

CHALIAN: I was going to say each side is going to paint other as either too right or too left for the district.

BORGER: Right.

CHALIAN: There will be a battle to do that, to tie Jon Ossoff to his Hollywood liberal donors and to tie Karen Handel to the most right- wing Trump supporters in a district whereas we have been discussing, it's not really a Trump-style Republican style district.

Both sides will attempt to do that, there is no doubt. But if you watch what each has been doing, Handel and Ossoff, in this campaign, they have actually been trying to run a pretty middle of road kind of message because that's what the district is calling for.

LEMON: OK I got to go. Thank you Matt Lewis. Thank you David Chalian. Thank you Hilary Rosen. Thank you Gloria Borger. And Jack Kingston playing the role of Jeffrey Lord tonight.


LEMON: Thank you guys. And don't go far because we may be on who knows how late because it's getting down to the wire.

When we come right back, we are going to bring you the very latest on this very tight race in Georgia. Plus, new ethics concerns about the Trump family's global businesses and how they could be affecting his decisions as president.


[23:21:03] LEMON: And we are back with our breaking news. We are waiting results, final results in this special election in Georgia to fill an open House seat. In the meantime, it is tax filing day, but still no sign of President Trump's tax returns.

I want to bring in investigator journalist Vicky Ward, investigative David Cay Johnson, the author of "the making of Donald Trump" Richard Painter, who was a chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much for joining us.

David I am going to start with you. Tax day or tax night, whatever. Universally loathed by all Americans unless you don't have to pay taxes. You recently got President Trump 2005 tax returns. The President doesn't seem to like that he is, you know, has released any taxes. He doesn't want to. Do you think we will ever see his returns at all?

DAVID CAY JOHNSON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: We will see Trump's returns when congressional Republicans decide it's in their interest to make them public. Tax returns were public back in the 1920s. And newspapers ran accounts naming people and how much their income was and what their taxes are. And Congress still has authority to get these tax returns to audit them through the joint committee on taxation which has staff that handles tax writing. And when Republicans decided to their interest, that's when we will it. Donald will never show us his returns voluntarily.

LEMON: That doesn't mean that people shouldn't continue to try to get it, right? Don't the American people deserve to see if there are complex --.

JOHNSON: I think it's absolutely critical we do so particularly with things like Ivanka Trump's deals for the trademarks in China and the one of Donald's sons telling Forbes magazine that he talks to his dad about the business all the time when Donald Trump promised us in a January 11th press conference that he would never again discuss family business with his son.

LEMON: Let's talk more about that, Richard Painter then because the Trump family like nothing we have ever seen in terms of conglomeration of different businesses, real estate, retail licensing in the U.S. and around the world. Is it possible for the president and Ivanka and Jared to extricate themselves from decisions that would benefit their business?

RICHARD PAINTER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: It's possible but they won't do it and President Trump will not divest his businesses. He will not stop focusing on his business interest. And it's very clear the Trump family is going to get very rich from the presidency. The presidency he has become a business for the Trump family.

And American voters are sick and tired of that. That's what we're seeing in Georgia. Regardless of what happens tonight it's quite clear there's a lot of upset voters. We have upset voters here in Minnesota. Voters want a president who is responsible to the American people not just for furthering his own business interest and those of his own family. That's what's going on. And now we are closing up to dictator around the world in Turkey and many other countries simply in order further his business interest. And that's not what the American president should be doing. So we have a lot of upset people.

LEMON: Vicky, the Trump family doesn't release any figures on their business. It's hard to get them. So we don't know exactly how much money they make, how much they, you know, are worth. It's largely a mystery.

But here is what Eric Trump told the "Wall Street Journal" yesterday. And the president says he is hurting the Trump, he says.


LEMON: He says we would be doing 30 deals across the globe if his father was president, right? Do you buy that?

WARD: Well, I think to what you were discussing, right, right. I think it's a nice line. I think we have just seen today breaking news with Ivanka Trump, she still have business is still carrying on just fine which doesn't surprise me at all, Don, because in fact my sources around the White House say that in fact, they are wondering slightly what Ivanka Trump is doing there except to dress up and model her brand when she leaves office she is richer.

The same we talked about the enrichment of the Trump family. Let's look at the Kushner family who are an even more tight-knit family than the Trumps. Look at Jared's conflict of interest. He handed off his real estate interest to a blind trust under the control of his brother who has a health care company, Oscar, currently valued at $2.7 billion. (INAUDIBLE) has a chunk of that part of this White House structure.

Should Obamacare be repealed, that company would be worth next to nothing. Jared Kushner therefore has a clear conflict of interest when it comes to the health care bill. No wonder he was on vacation, there too with Gary Powell and Dina Powell. The Jared Kushner on me (ph) who have now come in and, you know, rather brilliantly taken over the White House for the shadow government. And I think we ought to stop concentrating about this important conflict issue because we gave been looking at fight between Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. Well, now, I think I agree with what Richard Painter said, as time goes by I don't think people who voted for Donald Trump want president Kushner. And is kept talking -- classic regime.

[23:31:33] LEMON: That's very interesting. I mean, if you listen to David and Richard if you listen to what she said, you know, and maybe all of this sort of palace intrigue has been made up to take the voter's eyes away from exactly what's going on. She also mentioned Ivanka Trump at the same dinner, right, with the Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago. She got what, three trademarks from the Chinese - that helps her brand in China.

WARD: And by the way, and what does Ivanka actually (INAUDIBLE) with policy. This is why people say to me great, you know, there has been a lot of reporting Ivanka's straight influence on her father. What has she actually done? She said she was going to fight for Planned Parenthood where did it get her? Nowhere. Then she said she was going to stand up for gay right. Her father doesn't actually seem to be listening to her on policy. So that's why, you know, I come back, this is all about branding. The Kushner's and Trumps are going to leave office rich, they hope.

LEMON: Yes. So David, I want to ask you more about Ivanka Trump's businesses but let's talk about Jared Kushner, the 666 building which is one of his sort of trademark deals, right, but that business is - I mean, that deal didn't go well. He is still trying to sell it. It's written about in, you know, in New York papers a lot that it was, you know, sort of the one of the worst real estate, one of the worst modern day real estate deals.

How is this person supposed to fix the Middle East and government when he can't make a real estate deal after being handed millions and millions of dollars to do so?

JOHNSON: Superman, he can do everything. You know, he can stop wars with the Middle East with the single raising of his right hand. I mean this is part of what you are seeing. This is (INAUDIBLE) presidency. There's no policy. I have to tell you I have keep the TV is on in the background while I'm working during the day and I hear all sorts of people come on shows and they try to divine a Trump doctrine or Trump policy.

There's no doctrine or policy here. It is how do we react to the thing of the moment with no knowledge and how much money can we make. We are seeing hypocrisy in action.


Richard, Ivanka Trump says her brands assets are in a family run trust so as not to be a conflict to her attorney - a conflict. And her attorney said this in a statement. Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues or the commercials terms of agreement. She has retained authority to direct the trustees to terminate agreement that she determines create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.

I mean, that seems like she is still the one to determine what is a conflict and what isn't. PAINTER: Well. Yes, this makes no sense. She owns the business.

The trust structure has nothing to do with the conflict of interest. She owns the business. She has (INAUDIBLE). She is an activist playing the government matter that has economic effect on the business. And that includes trade because she is importing clothing from China. That is going to include the real estate industry that her husband is in, which means the tax code which is loaded up with also goodies in the real estate industry and the banking reform, which is also about a handout to the business industry by the financial institutions.

They are going to have to stay away from all of that stuff. There are some things they can do, maybe get involve in Middle East peace and women's rights or do something useful like get Steve Bannon fired. But they cannot get involved in those substance of policy issues without violating a criminal, conflict of interest statute. And it doesn't matter whether they own a trust, they have separated themselves in those assets. They still own the assets.

[23:35:19] LEMON: So Vicky, I mean, what gives here? What is going on?

WARD: To his point, he is exactly right. Because unless you actually sell, which in real estate would be really interesting to see, you know, that there is a thing called capital gains tax. Jared Kushner, you know, he is conflicted. What happens, we got the things be, are they going to have another go at health? And then what happens when it comes to tax reform? I read a book about real estate industry and I wrote a magazine article about the Kushner for "Esquire." People in real estate worry about one thing more than anything else, not paying taxes, you know. And both sides of this aisle have really done nothing to address this. If Donald Trump is serious about tax return then Jared Kushner can be nowhere near that. Unless he sell. Not just (INAUDIBLE). Not just put his assets in the blind trust, family trust. Real estate is a family business. You know, we see his tax returns. Let they actually he is.

LEMON: Perhaps if we, in this country, someone wants to run for business and we keep saying divest, maybe they should get rid of that sell.

WARD: Actually sell.

LEMON: Sell all of their businesses to see how much they really care about running the country instead of their businesses.


LEMON: Exactly. David, what did you want to the say about that?

JOHNSON: Well, you know, and part of the amazing part of this is when you serve in the government there is a law that allows you to sell and not pay capital gains you get to diversify your holdings and you don't have to pay capital gains. So there actually - there is a benefit here if they want to take advantage of it. But they got other fish to fry. The effort to sell the 666 building

on Fifth Avenue was a squirrely deal that wasn't a normal commercial sort of transaction and it stunk to high heaven of favor and pay off. That's what we need to be very concerned about.

I don't see any way out of this for the Trumps except divesting their holdings and having it done in a way that involves a known broker who has to make a public report what to doing. They are not going to do that. They don't care about this. They have no regard. Donald Trump has basically utter contempt for his bosses, you and me.

LEMON: Yes. How much time do we have? Do we have time to talk another one? Yes, we do.

OK. I want to move and I want to talk about Turkey's president Erdogan. Because our president called Turkey's president Erdogan to congratulate him on a controversial referendum that passed giving him nearly unchecked powers. Of course, the Trumps have a major real estate investment there. I want you to listen to what president said about that in an interview in Breitbart news back in December 2015.


TRUMP: I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. And it's tremendously success job called. It is Trump towers. They are incredible people. They have a strong leader.


LEMON: So as a businessman, the president dealt with a lot of strong men type leaders. Does that give him different perspective in a traditional politician would have about the wisdom or feasibility of working with these men? First, you David and then I will get Richard away.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. Donald, other than Ireland and Scotland, does businesses in places that are not normal commercial transactions. They are favor granted by the strong men, the pope, the king, and that's because that's the kind of people Donald is comfortable with.

For Donald to call up and praise this man who has a journalist whose he doesn't like being held for life just because Erdogan didn't like what he wrote. It is just appalling to any notion of freedom and individual liberty.

LEMON: So listen, Richard. After opening Trump tower there in April of 2012, this is what Ivanka Trump said, thank you Prime Minister Erdogan for joining us yesterday to celebrate the launch of Trump towers, Istanbul. But Trump still own a building. Do you think they can separate their business interest from U.S. interests?

PAINTER: Of course not. It is not - it is the art of the deal for Trump. It is the art of the steal from the perspective American people. And we are going to be supporting dictators around the world simply because they are doing business with our president and his family that's not the American values that we expect to be supported by our president. And we are going to have soldiers overseas who may be endangered because we are supporting the wrong people in the wrong places.

This is a very dangerous world and we cannot have the president supporting foreign dictators simply because he is making a lot of money off them. And Turkey is just one example. We have a similar situation in the Philippines and many other countries where Donald Trump is doing business. He needs to sell these businesses and focus on being president or stop being president and let someone else do the job. This is not working and the American people are getting fed up with it.

[23:40:17] LEMON: Fascinating conversation. I really enjoyed it. Thank you Richard. Thank you Vicky. Thank you David. I appreciate it.

We are going to get back to our breaking news now. This is a nail biter, special election in Georgia tonight to fill an open congressional seat. We are still waiting for the final results to come in.

But I want to get back our CNN senior congressional correspondent reporter Manu Raju who is in Atlanta tonight.

So Manu, hotly contested race there. Closely watched, Jon Ossoff, headquarters tonight is where you are, so bring us up-to-date.

RAJU: Well Jon Ossoff is still clinging to 50.3 percent of the vote. And the magic number as we have been reporting all night, Don, is over 50 percent for Mr. Ossoff to win the seat outright. If he falls below that number then it heads to two person runoff in two months and that could give the Republicans new light to keep the seat, a seat that they have held for the past 37 years.

Now, what we are waiting in large part for Fulton County which has been slow to report its results. Only 19 of 116 precincts have so far reported their results. A lot of the early vote numbers are in. But a lot of the today vote numbers are not. So we are not clear whether or not Ossoff can hang on to that 50.3 percent of the vote. But right now what we are expecting from sources from both parties I think is likely to fall short because Karen Handel who is number two Republican, who is the Republican now who is in position again for second place, has a lot of in roads, a lot of support in Fulton County and is likely to peel away from some of that support. So we expect Ossoff to fall just shy of that 50 percent threshold and face Karen Handel in a two-person run off. And now, it's not over yet for some Democrats. They think they can still get that number, that 50-plus-1. But right now looking unlikely. It will disappoint some of the people in this room. But it will also be encouraging to some who says this is the best any Democratic candidate has done in this conservative district in a long time. And a sign that the party could be rebounding after last year's pretty disastrous election result for their party. Maybe a chance they can take back the house next year, Don.

LEMON: Manu Raju at Atlanta. Manu, long night for you. Thank you very much. We will see you soon.

It's getting close to midnight here on the east coast and we are still awaiting the results, the final results to that special election to fill an open congressional seat.

I want to bring in my CNN political commentators here. Peter Beinart and Angela Rye, Republican strategist Tara Setmayer and political commentator John Phillips.

What's wrong, John? You couldn't fly from the sunny California to be here?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I feel left out. You are all in New York and I'm here in the sunshine all by myself.

LEMON: That's the last question you will get in the panel.


LEMON: All right. So, I gave away your thunder a little bit because you were texting me.


LEMON: You were like next time I'm going to say it's off the record.

RYE: On that ground. It has all the family business.

LEMON: You said you know him. You know Jon Ossoff. He is 30-year- old former congressional staffer, documentary filmmaker. What else you tell about this person?

RYE: So I didn't know the documentary filmmaking side but we worked together on Capitol Hill. I actually got to work with Jon with congressman Johnson Lewis came together with other CBC members to plan our jobs initiative. It when black unemployment was sky high at the time and we wanted to go out and do something in the community and Jon just kept his head down. He got the work done. He is just an amazing guy. And I was telling Tara since we are all on in background today in makeup.

LEMON: This isn't background.

RYE: I know.


RYE: I was telling Tara that one of the things that I said was he was started, my God. It would be great but I didn't win. I didn't know he would get this far and I think that speaks volumes about where we are.

LEMON: What's it say 50 percent of the vote now, a Democrat in that district. What's does it say? What kind of message in that sense?

RYE: I think it's major. And another thing that came up David Axelrod was saying he has not done a lot of work in that area, that's not true. We are talking about Fulton County. We are talking about parts of Cub County in parts of DeKalb County. He has done work with Mr. Johnson in those areas, maybe not that exact congressional district. But he also grew up there. So it says a lot about where people are in insuring that Donald Trump has folks who will hold them accountable.

LEMON: Did you expect this race to be so tight?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think what we are seeing is it is not that unusual but early in a presidency there's a backlash. I think if you think about like Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts in early 2010 as a backlash against Barack Obama. That kind of thing happens.

What's unusual about this is it has been happening so early in Donald Trump's presidency. This is the man who has had no political honeymoon at all and usually things get worse as you go through the first or second year of presidency. So if Donald Trump sort of a fortunes get worse like Barack Obama has got worse between beginnings of 2009 to end of 2010. Then he would be in epically bad shape. We don't know that will happen. But this is definitely a warning sign for the Republican.

[23:45:36] LEMON: Eleven candidates and there's been infighting. Is that help Ossoff?

BEINART: Sure. Look. There is still a very good chance, maybe even a probable chance that Republicans hold this seat assuming that they get through tonight. But when you speak about what this means broadly, unless Donald Trump can recover politically the early evidence will be it's going to be a very, very bad 2010 midterm election.

LEMON: What do you think Republican on the panel?



SETMAYER: You did.

BEINART: I'm get too old.

SETMAYER: I'm surprised that it's this close only because we know and expected the run off. I mean he did raise almost $8.5 million which is unheard of for a congressional district like this. But you also have -- it shows the chaos of the Republicans allowing 11 plus candidates to run for this special election. I mean, that's just absurd. In times past, in election cycles past, the Republican Party, the NRCCE, they would have this under control. And RNC would have say, look, you guys need, you guys didn't step out of this. We can only have, you know, two or three people who are going to run. They would never split the vote like this. So it shows there is a lot of division in that party organization, part of it, just because the Trump presidency has really thrown the party structure into absolute chaos.

LEMON: John--.

RYE: Sorry, one more small thing. We should be clear too. Jon wouldn't have been the pick from the Democratic either. I want to be fair.


LEMON: John Phillips, as Tara said he raised $8.3 million in first quarter of 2017. How much do you think money mattered in this race?

PHILLIPS: It meant a lot. And also funny things happen in these jungle primaries. I remember back when Neil Abercrombie got elected in - to get - to the governorship in Hawaii. And that seat opened up. And a Republican (INAUDIBLE) ran and won of these primaries and then ended up winning. I said, my God, Republican can win in Hawaii. How about that?

As soon as he went against the Democratic it became the Yankees against the Mud Hens. If he is held under 50 percent then he is going to have to beat the Republicans --.

RYE: You got to find a new word.


LEMON: Mud Hens.

RYE: Yankees. Come on.

SETMAYER: Well, John is right about that. If it goes into a runoff, then the chances are that the Republicans will hold the seat. It has been Republican for 37 years. Mitt Romney won the seat by 23 - I mean, won the district 23 percent but Trump only won this district by one percent. That is the difference here. We can't ignore that dynamic. This is more of a Rubio district. They are not Trump fans in Georgia six.

LEMON: And we will be right back.


[23:52:19] LEMON: Back now with my panel. And we are talking that nail biting race down. By the way, there's a technical glitch in Fulton County. And so they have to do all of that by hand. Can you imagine that?

PHILLIPS: John, why is he laughing?

LEMON: John, that was the most demented laugh.

RYE: Suppression. That's what that was.

LEMON: What's that all about?

PHILLIPS: It's about that drama. We want drama on the show. So you know, they are giving us a little help.

SETMAYER: No. We want --

BEINART: Elections actually should be handled, you know, properly and calmly and competently and then we can have drama in other parts of our lives but not with like whether democracy going to survive. I got too much drama with that --.

LEMON: Go ahead, John. Finish your thought.

PHILLIPS: There's no lack of drama anywhere on this planet, Don.

Look. I think that this is going to a runoff. And all politics is local. This is Georgia. And ultimately you are going to have a Republican who has run statewide. I think four different times against the Democrat who is a first time candidate, who is a guy that doesn't live in the district, who worked for Al Jazeera and who took money from Jane Fonda. I think this is a race Republicans can win.

RYE: So let me just tell you this. I don't know if you know that he actually grew up in the district, John. But he grew up in the district and that actually matters.

PHILLIPS: Did he vote for himself?

RYE: So here is the thing. I know you're watching the day earlier. That's fantastic. But I also --.

PHILLIPS: He can't vote for himself.

RYE: Just listen.

LEMON: We got to go. Ossoff is coming on stage. I'm sorry.

Here we go. Let's listen in. John Ossoff down in Atlanta.

JON OSSOFF, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE IN GEORGIA SPECIAL ELECTION: Hi everybody. Hey now, how you all doing? You all ready to flip the six? There you go.

All right now. Thank you all for being here. Thank you all for everything that you have done. And that you are continuing to do. I know it has been a long evening. And it looks like it may be a longer one. We may not know the outcome for some time.

But let me tell you this. There is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages. That no matter what the outcome is tonight, whether we take it all or whether we fight on, we have defied the odds. We have shattered expectations.

We are changing the world. And your voices are going to ring out across this state and across this country. We will be ready to fight on and win in June if it is necessary. And there is no amount of dark money, super Pack negative advertising that can overcome real grass roots energy like this. So bring it on because we are courageous. We are humble. And we know how to fight. This is not a story about me. This is a story about this community at

this moment in history. This is a story about women in this community. Those strong and determined women who have picked us all up. Who are carrying us forward, who are going to carry us to victory tonight or in June.

So for all of you who have been pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, making phone calls and there are thousands of you. And there will be thousands more. Thank you. This is the most inspiring team I have ever had the honor of being a part of.

So for those of you who want to stick around, stick around. This is going to go on for a little bit longer. Let's show what people power is all about. Let's show what it means when we say that we have more in common than we have apart. That we reject fear and scapegoating and division. That we choose to love one another and to make things happen and to win.

Thank you so much everybody. Thank you.

[23:58:54] LEMON: So that was Jon Ossoff in a very tight race down in Atlanta. He is projecting there is going to be a runoff. Am I the only one who said he sounded like Barack Obama, no? Does that sound like Barack Obama?

SETMAYER: Yes, he did. He did. He is 30 years old. I guess, you know, if it worked for him.

RYE: Yes, we can, Jon Ossoff. Yes, we can.

LEMON: All right. My political panel is here. But I want to bring in David Chalian. David who is standing by for us in D.C. and also senior congressional reporter Manu Raju who is in Atlanta tonight at Ossoff headquarters. And also my political commentators Peter Beinart, Angela Rye, And Republican strategist Tara Setmayer. Those are the folks that you heard.

David, to you. Take us to what do you read in all of this?

CHALIAN: Well, I'm not sure if we have the updated vote totals just yet in the graphic, Don. But we are starting -- you were mentioning before that Fulton County was having technical difficult difficulties. Those technical difficulties seems to have been largely resolved. So we are getting some more voting in right now that should help us --.

LEMON: We don't have them yet. We will get it up on the screen for you.

CHALIAN: Yes. You heard Jon Ossoff there though. He was trying to rally those troops, looking ahead to June 20th as a possible runoff date. And he said even we don't win outright tonight, we are going to fight on. This is an energized Democratic party in a ruby-red Republican district. And it is going to be --.



[00:00:01] LEMON: So David --

CHALIAN: Yes. You heard Jon Ossoff there though. He was trying to rally those troops, looking ahead to June 20th as a possible runoff date. And he said even if we don't win outright tonight, we're going to fight on.

This is an energized Democratic Party in a ruby red Republican district and it's going to be a competitive battle for the next couple of months.

LEMON: Right. So we're awaiting those results.

David -- can you stand by? I want to bring in Manu -- Manu who is Atlanta at Ossoff headquarters. So Manu -- take us through what's going on there.

RAJU: Well, it's a pretty enthusiastic crowd to finally hear from Jon Ossoff after waiting for hours for any result. And as we're waiting for that snafu to be resolved at Fulton County -- a lot of folks here are getting antsy, want to know the results.

But Jon Ossoff not certain that he will know the results tonight saying right off the bat we may not know what the final tally will be at the end of the night.

But I can tell you, Don, we are expecting new information to come in shortly about Fulton County from today's vote in that all important county. And if it does come in, we could have a projection determining whether or not Mr. Ossoff will win this seat outright or if he'll (inaudible) of course, a runoff likely against the former Georgia secretary of state, Karen Handel.

So this crowd, while excited to hear from Ossoff, also recognizing that this fight may not be over -- Don. This is something that could go on for the next two months. The party wants to show that they can still win even though Republicans will have a better chance in a two- person contest.

LEMON: All right. Manu -- I want you to stand by. We're going to get back to David Chalian now. David -- as I understand you're ready to make a projection.

CHALIAN: Yes. Don -- we have a CNN projection to make in this race now. And it is going to be a runoff election in June between the Democrat Jon Ossoff and the Republican Karen Handel -- the two top finishers in the primary tonight.

We're now ready to project there will be a runoff. Jon Ossoff will not clear that 50 percent plus 1 vote threshold that he needed to avoid the runoff and now we're going to see what a one on one battle looks like.

Obviously Republicans can now have one candidate to coalesce around instead of dividing by 11 in a Republican district. So Jon Ossoff's challenge gets a lot harder but as we've seen the energy and enthusiasm is clearly on the Democratic side here.

LEMON: All right. David -- stand by.

Do we still have Manu there? Is Manu Raju still standing by at headquarters? Manu -- I'm wondering how the crowd is reacting to that if they understand and they have seen this projection of a runoff.

RAJU: Well, right now Don, I can tell you people are still waiting for this -- they're showing CNN on the screen but the crowd really has not reacted much. A lot of people have already left after Jon Ossoff left. Nobody's cheering this result right now.

They're showing this right now. So we'll see what people actually have to say here in real time -- Don. But it will be interesting to see how Jon Ossoff responds in a general election when it's just one on one. He has tried to take the high road, tried to avoid attack. But as we know in a competitive one on one race you have to show distinction with your challenger.

And how does Jon Ossoff go because if he tried to attack Karen Handel and show those differences at the risk of hurting and undercutting his own image. That's a big question going forward. But right now, we're getting some early indications from the crowd.

But they're cheering because they say themselves on CNN, not necessarily because this is going to a runoff -- Don. But this is going to be -- this is going to be a pretty spirited battle. You can hear them chanting behind me, flip the sixth, flip the sixth -- because they still believe they can flip the sixth district even though it is going to be a lot harder than that one on one right now.

LEMON: We'll see. Maybe they can do it in June. So Manu -- thank you very much. I want you to stand by. David Chalian is standing by as well.

I also want to bring my panel in right now. So again, I thought were we listening to Jon Ossoff or Barack Obama? I'm not the only one who thought that as well.


RYE: No, Don. I think --

LEMON: But clearly though, no, no, let's just be honest about this. He did sound that way. He is a southerner from Georgia. Obviously the former president had some influence over him because the cadence was almost exactly the same. Let's be honest about it.

RYE: Acknowledged.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: No, but that's the first thing that everyone --

RYE: No, no, no -- I agree. I agree with you. I just think one of the things I'm really impressed with both with the crowd in the room and how he's run this race is there are a number of or group of Hill staffers who came together right after the election and said there are some things we can learn from the Tea Party.

And so they put together this indivisible guy. They've been at town halls. They've been rallying the troops, so to speak, on the ground in districts everywhere. And I think that there's a lot to be said for them motivating folks who have never been in grass roots advocacy before to even pushing Jon to this point. I think there's a lot to it.

[00:05:05] SETMAYER: And there's also on the other side as far as the kind of the chaos of this that I'd mentioned earlier. You know, Georgia also has certain election rules that you have to resign from the office that you're in before you can run for a different office, which kind of creates this mess a little bit of people waiting as long as they can to declare. And so that's why you had so many people.

So there were a lot of dynamics here. You know, all politics were local but there are also a lot of dynamics here that allowed for this race to become what it's become bigger than just the macro picture of you know, it's a referendum on Trump. It's, you know, a 30-year-old with enthusiasm. So there's a lot going into it.

LEMON: Let me ask you then. As a Republican who is on the panel and just now that there is a runoff. Isn't there a sigh of relief at least it's not definitive? Jon Ossoff didn't -- you know, even if it was just 50 percent, didn't win this? And for the White House?

SETMAYER: Normally yes. I just think that because the Trump factor is such an anomaly that people don't know what to think of this.

You know, in traditional Republican circles it would be like ok, we fended that off, we're good for the runoff which it should be like I said in this district. This was Newt Gingrich's district, you know. Tom Price held this seat. This seat has been Republican for 37 years in a ruby red district.

It should never have gotten this far but it has. And now when Republicans see that a Democrat could raise that kind of money, they better get it together. Normally Republicans are able to do that but we'll see. The party apparatus is a little -- fractured.

LEMON: I've got to get to David Chalian. David -- the bottom line though, it's good news for President Trump that Ossoff didn't win?

CHALIAN: Certainly. Listen, the Republicans had one clear goal today. They needed to turn out enough voters to keep him below 50 percent and to live on to fight another day. They did that.

The Republicans woke up to the threat that was before them and you are right. Donald Trump sort of jumped on the band wagon at that end and I have no doubt will claim some credit.

The question now is in a one on one battle in this district with the changing demographics, will we see Karen Handel bring Donald Trump in on Air Force, fly to the district, campaign side by side or will she see him as more of somebody who's going to gin up the Democratic base than actually deliver votes for her? I think that's the big question going forward.

SETMAYER: It depends on what happens?

LEMON: That was my next question. What do you think? Do you think she's going to -- do you think he's going to campaign for her?

BEINART: I would be surprised if she wanted him to come. I mean part of what I think we're finding here is that Donald Trump is changing the complexion of the Republican Party. He's making it a more working class party. The Republican Party has been so much stronger in areas that have larger populations of non-college educated whites and a little weaker in areas that have higher populations of kind of a little more upscale traditional Republican whites.

And this district is a little more like that. So this is -- you say this is a ruby red district but Hillary Clinton actually came pretty close in this district. I think what we're seeing here is the Republican Party is getting weaker in certain areas, maybe getting stronger in other areas, in more rural and poor areas with large white populations.

But I think this is the kind of district where the Republican Party's divisions, a significant chunk of more upscale Republicans who still have a lot of reservations about Donald Trump. That's a problem when you're facing a Democratic Party that is really united.

LEMON: All right. I need you to stand by because as we've been saying that there is going to be a runoff between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff down in Georgia.

I want to bring in David Chalian because David, I understand that you have some totals for us that you need to get to. What do you have?

CHALIAN: I believe now we have the latest vote totals with 95 percent of the vote now in, of the expected vote now in. you see there why we were able to project Jon Ossoff has dropped down below 50 percent.

Jon is at 48.6 percent to Karen Handel's 19.5 percent. She was well ahead of the other Republicans in the field there. But it is that dropping below the 50 percent with all that vote from Fulton County that we were able to make that projection that we're headed for a runoff.

And we'll note Jon Ossoff if he maintained that number at the end of the day will have performed even better than Hillary Clinton did when she made inroads into this district and that will give Democrats some heart that there's a fight to fight heading into June 20th.

LEMON: And David -- 95 percent, right? This is 95 percent of the vote in.

CHALIAN: Yes. This is 95 percent of the expected vote in. So this is pretty much where it's going to settle out.

LEMON: How did he get so close in this, you know, as we've been saying ruby red district, David?

CHALIAN: Well, exactly what Peter Beinart was just discussing. He got so close because he saw how Hillary Clinton got so close, which was, you know, making an appeal in a district that though it has been reliable -- been reliable -- establishment figures in the party, elected officials were choosing different candidates.

Early on the Democrats coalesced around Jon Ossoff, very early on. That was a key move for him to be able to sort of take all the Democratic vote.

[00:10:06] Now we're going to see what a one on one race looks like in a Republican leaning district with the type of Republicans that have been resistant to Trump in the Trump era. That's now what we're going to see on June 20th.

LEMON: Do you think Republicans at the end of the day will come home in Georgia in June?

RYE: I'm not sure. And here's the one thing that we haven't talked about much. The Republican who was in that seat I normally wouldn't have identified as a Trump Republican, Tom Price. I wouldn't have -- I didn't find him as a typical conservative. He knew House procedure like nobody's business, like knew his craft.

This guy who's now a part of the Trump administration has been tarnished not by the actions that he took since becoming the HHS Secretary, it also is because of the things he did while he was in the House. There are tremendous conflicts of interest challenges. This also could be referendum on a Tom Price kind of Republican.

LEMON: Wait, we don't have Manu -- we'll just get back to. Ok. We don't have Manu Raju. So but -- we do. Now we have Manu Raju.

So Manu -- I understand you have some news. You're back and you're better than ever. Go ahead -- Manu. Take it away. What do you have for us?

RAJU: Yes, that's right.

Well, I was going to say that I spoke to Karen Handel earlier today and she said two things that were interesting. One she acknowledged how the Republican base is not happy with the results in Washington so far. There's lot of anxiety about the failure to repeal Obamacare, concerns and frustration that they did not do what they promised. And that is what she hears time and again on the campaign trail.

And also I asked here, you want to campaign with Donald Trump. Would you be willing to campaign with Donald Trump? And she said yes, she would. She says she welcomes him here in this district. Now, we'll see if that actually happens but clearly she believes that Trump could be beneficial, even though he only won by one point and even though he almost lost a seat by sticking his own neck out.

Handel seems to be at least welcoming him. But she did not embrace him in this primary the way some of her Republican opponents did having to distance herself on some key issues. So we'll see how she deals with this in a different race, now it's a one on one race and if she tries to win some of those swing voters and Democratic-leaning in this district -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Manu -- stand by. What do you want to say, Tara?

SETMAYER: Yes. That's an important point -- of course she's going to say she'll welcome the President to come there. But she was not -- she was very lukewarm on Donald Trump and depending on what happens between now and June 20th will depend on whether he goes to that district or not because he may not necessarily be an asset. He could be a liability.

He is at the lowest favorability than any president at this point in the last, I think six presidents. And he's flip-flopped on so many issues. People are -- you know, we saw the Gallup poll that showed 17 percent down in whether he's going to keep his campaign promises. That kind of anxiety for people in a district like that, Trump may not necessarily be advantageous for her. I'll be curious to see how she plays that out.

LEMON: Well, at any rate he's tweeting about it. Let's put it up.

RYE: Of course he is.

LEMON: He said "Despite major outside money, fake media support and 11 Republican candidates, big R win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help."

SETMAYER: Can I just say something else. Wait -- glad of be help. Can I just say something? The candidate that supported Evan McMullen again (inaudible) in that district, out performed the rest of the pro- Trump people that were Republicans in that runoff. So I don't know about that, Mr. Trump.

BEINART: I mean it's not just that Donald Trump is unusually unpopular. He's also unusually erratic. And we don't know whether his White House can manage -- confidently manage a political campaign like this, right.

So that's another thing you have to be concerned about, right? Are they going to be on -- are they going to be able to coordinate the message that Karen Handel wants with the stuff that Donald Trump is tweeting at 2:00 a.m. in the morning?

RYE: That's right.

(CROSSTALK) BEINART: Good luck there.

LEMON: David Chalian, regardless of what you think of that tweet, some people may think of it as absurd or what have you but this was a very important election for this president.

CHALIAN: It was. And the tweet saying glad to be of help was inevitable. Because we had said all night long, he clearly had placed a bet that Ossoff was going to end up below that 50 percent mark. And in these last 24 hours, with the robo call, with the tweeting, multiple times about the race he wanted to lay done a marker, a chit if you will and one we knew he was going to collect and say, I had something to do with this.

And he can pile on with that as well. I don't know that all the Republicans down there in Georgia think that he had a ton to do with it. But, if he helped turn out just a little bit among Republicans, Ossoff got real close. It kept, maybe helped, kept Ossoff below 50 percent.

I think the big question going forward that we were just discussing is will he be a help? How present will he be in this race in the one-on- one runoff?

[00:10:00] LEMON: All right. Thank you -- David. Thank you -- panel. I appreciate it. Thank you, audience for watching us.

That's it for us tonight. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

I'm going to hand over now to my colleagues -- John Vause and Isha Sesay.