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Another Judge Blocks the POTUS' Immigration Agenda; Intel Investigation Heating Up; Interview with Sen. Richard Blumenthal; Adding the Hit List; Keeping a Campaign Promise. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 25, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The Trump White House internal as the clock ticks to the president's 100th day in office.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
President Trump has had his troubles with federal judges. And here we go again. A judge in San Francisco blocking the president's executive order on immigration which would take away funds from sanctuary cities.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says the ninth circuit is, his words, "going bananas."
Then there is the Russia investigation, The House oversight committee is saying disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have broken the law when he failed to properly disclosed payments from Russia.
I want to get right Michael Flynn on the very latest on the Russian investigation. Joining me now is CNN's Mark Preston, Gloria Borger, and Pamela Brown. Also with us, counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd, former Congressman Jack Kingston, a CNN political commentator, and Michael Moore, the former U.S. Attorney for the middle district of Georgia.
Good evening, everyone. Pamela, I'm going to start with you for the news on this. The latest on the state of the Russia investigation tonight. And in particularly, Lieutenant General Flynn, did he break the law in his dealings with Russia while he was an advisor to the Trump campaign?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, members of the House oversight committee say it's likely that he did break the law after reviewing classified documents today. They said after reviewing those documents, they see no proof showing Flynn received permission from the Pentagon or the State Department for the foreign government payment that he received from both Russia and Turkey.
And they say that he didn't fully disclose the more than half a million dollars this firm was given for lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he implied to -- applied to reinstate his security clearance before he became the national security advisor. And they say he didn't disclose the $45,000 he received from Russia for RT TV speaking engagement. And so they said because of those issues it appears that he may have broken the law here, Don.
LEMON: Jason Chaffetz is a congressman speaking out tonight. He spoke to our Manu Raju. Phil, this is for you, pay particular attention, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law. And that is he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And the reason I'm giving it to you, Phil, is because I know you have very strong opinions about what Chaffetz said today. Explain why.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think he's dead wrong. Look, there's somebody who investigates whether there's a violation of law, that's the FBI. There's somebody in the executive branch who determined whether to take that to a court, whether to ask a judge and a jury whether someone has committed a crime, that's the Department of Justice.
The Congress has a role here. Their role is significant, That is, can we protect candidates in the next election to insure they don't get hacked? Can we have a conversation with people like Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, about ensuring that fake news gets off the internet.
It is not Jason Chaffetz's problem to determine who committed a crime, that's the Department of Justice. He crossed the line here. The House committee repeatedly has been involved in a farcical investigation and this is another step. He should not have suggested that there is a crime committed. That's for the Department of Justice.
LEMON: So what, so Phil then, what do you -- should this be taken out of the hands of the House? Should there be a special prosecutor, a special investigation? Should someone else be handling this investigation?
MUDD: I think there should be. Because repeatedly from the House we've seen that they're trying to investigate whether individuals involved with the Trump campaign committed a federal violation. They should be not looking in the rear view mirror, they should be looking forward to the next election, the next election and saying how do we protect the American people.
Repeatedly they've shown, starting with Devin Nunes, who said in a politically motivated move I've got to go inform the White House of what I'm learning before I inform the community -- the committee. And now with Jason Chaffetz saying I've got to suggest that a White House official committed a crime instead of investigating how to protect the American people from fake news.
They've repeatedly shown that they cannot conduct this investigation without partisan allegations about people involved with the Trump campaign. Inappropriate.
LEMON: Let's talk about the White House, Gloria. They declined to provide documents related to Flynn at the oversight committee requested. The White House tells CNN that they don't have documents and they redirected the committee to the relevant agencies.
Do you think the White House is stonewalling here?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think they're done with Flynn. I think they defended him until they could no longer defend him and they found a reason to fire him, which was, you know, not telling the truth to Mike Pence.
But I think they're done with him and they want no finger prints on him anymore. And I think, you know, the issue here is not just the issue we're talking about and Russia and the speeches, et cetera, et cetera.
[22:05:03] The issue also is the question of disclosure about lobbying for Turkey while he was on advising Donald Trump. And I think what would happen if you investigated all the stuff, one of the reasons maybe the White House doesn't want you to have the documents, is that you'd see that the vetting process was not up to snuff, and that perhaps they didn't know as much as they should have known and if they did know and nominated him anyway, that would be even a bigger problem for them.
So I think as far as they're concerned, you know, their best avenue here, although it's not transparent, their best avenue here is to deflect. And to say well, you know, talk to the law enforcement agencies. This is no longer our problem. Not our problem. He doesn't work here anymore.
LEMON: But Gloria, how can they not be their problem? How can they be done with him? Because I mean, he was so close. He was an adviser. He was, you know.
LEMON: He served as a national security advisor for a short amount of time.
LEMON: And then as you were saying, as you were talking about vetting I was writing extreme vetting? What happened, how can they be done with him?
BORGER: Well, you know, I mean, the question is whether they -- whether they are done with him because that's up to law enforcement to figure out and the congressional committees are going to look at it and you know that his lawyers been trying to get immunity for him. And we'll see where that goes.
It looks at this moment like it's going nowhere. But this is the White House who doesn't want to be talking about Flynn. We're heading into the first 100 days.
They've got other problems they've got to deal with right now. And you're going to deal with that later. The ruling on sanctuary cities. They had a problem on the travel ban and health care, et cetera, et cetera.
So this is a problem they think is in their rearview mirror.
LEMON: Yes, it's not.
BRGER: They think it's gone and they don't want to touch it anymore, Don, and that's what Sean was telegraphing in a really strong way.
LEMON: OK. So I'm glad you brought that up. Because, Mark is feverishly scribbling notes here and writing and trying to talk to me as you guys are trying to talk to me. So, the press sec...
BORGER: Mark, are you disagreeing with me?
LEMON: No. He's not necessarily. I think he just wants to jump in. But before we -- she brought up Sean Spicer and I want to play with Sean Spicer he said today and then, Mark, you can respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't -- that would be a question for him and a law enforcement agency whether or not he filled. I don't know what he filled out on what he do or did not do. That all happened -- he filled that form out prior to coming here. And so it will up to the committee and other authorities to look at that. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The question was whether the law or not. But what does it say about the Trump administration's vetting? And what did you want to jump in on?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, a couple things. You know, mark this on the history books, Gloria, I actually agree with you on something right now.
PRESTON: You know, bottom line is let's just go back to when he was let go by the White House, when President Trump forced him to resign. It was Vice President Mike Pence who was very upset at Michael Flynn for failing to tell him truthfully what was going on right now.
They're at a time right now where they wanted to cut the rope and they thought the rope was cut and that Michael Flynn would have to deal with it himself. Little do they know that they can't do that right now that they are so in sneered in this whether they like it or not, that they have to deal with the issue.
And when you see Sean Spicer up there right now, somebody who he himself is in the service right now, he's an active military, he's got to be saying to himself, why am I up here having to basically answer for the sins, potential sins of somebody else?
LEMON: Michael, you think this could be big trouble, not only for Flynn but for the vice president. How come?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: You know, I'll tell you, Don, I'll tell you that I think the bigger problems for both Mike Pence and Mike Flynn. I mean, the vice president was in charge of the transition team and essentially what happened is then they had a guy, that being Flynn, who was just a few hands away from the nuclear codes. And for whatever reason they missed this problem.
They didn't vet him appropriately. I think they were probably more interested in making sure that they run the transition a little bit like a casting call for a reality show.
I mean, we had people showing up at Trump Tower, we had people running down that the elevators and shaking hands with each other. What they should have been doing is digging around a little bit and finding out if any of these problems existed.
So I think it could be a problem for Mike Pence. And I agree with the other panelist who have said that's why they didn't want to talk about it. It goes well beyond, well beyond Mike Flynn.
LEMON: So Jack Kingston, what should the White House do in regards to this investigation?
JACK KINGSTON, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I think they should do what they've been doing. They should turn over documents that they have but at the same time I think that they've got to move on.
Elijah Cummings has said they're not -- there is no sign of them being obstructionists. And I thin so that they should let the lawyers look it. I think Flynn does have very serious problems. I've had to do some of these forms, not all of them, but I know that the disclosure of who you visit and who you're working for, all of that is very basic.
And yet if you are an applicant for one of these, you can sometimes fudge. And I think early on when you talk about somebody who was with the campaign 2015, 2016, you kind of grew in it and probably did not get the oversight of some of the newer applicants.
[22:10:04] And I know, for example, friend of mine is up for one of the White House jobs. And one of the questions he's asked is name everybody in the world who might not want you to work here. You know, it's that broad, but I think...
LEMON: Jack, you're going on with the story but what are you saying, I have no idea what you're saying.
KINGSTON: Well, what I'm saying is I think that General Flynn came in through the campaign ranks. He was not vetted as well as people who came on later. The vetting process became more and more formalized. They depended on Flynn to actually tell the truth and do his own due diligence and now they realize you've got to have a lot of oversight on this thing.
LEMON: So what your saying is that the administration did a bad job of vetting Michael Flynn?
KINGSTON: I think they did a fair job on it but it's obvious they have to do more than that. They have -- they have to -- hey, Don, listen, I'm not going to remind you he's the only democrat in the administration. You know, obviously you've got to keep your eye on these people. I don't know.
LEMON: Jack, Jack, Jack. You pair jobs when you look at what happened, that he didn't, you know, give certain disclosures? Do you think it's a fair job he had to resign, that was a fair job of vetting. Come on, Jack.
KINGSTON: Listen, I think that it's atrocious that he did not turn in all of his paperwork. So I'm in agreement on that.
LEMON: OK. Let's talk -- can we talk about Sally Yates, Gloria, because we heard Sally Yates is going to testify. What does that mean?
BORGER: Look, Sally Yates knows an awful lot about conversations inside...
LEMON: She was a deputy attorney general, right?
BORGER: Right. She was a deputy attorney general. She was fired because she was insubordinate. And look, she knows a lot about where bodies are buried, about conversations that were held in the White House.
She went to the White House counsel and said, you know, look, there's lot of funny stuff going on here, conversations perhaps that shouldn't have been had between transition officials and who knows, Russians.
She knows what the intercept said and Pam, you know, can speak to this better than I can. But you know, Sally Yates is somebody that democrats want to hear from probably more than republicans. And you know, she's now viewed as a partisan figure because she was
insubordinate and she did get fired. But we would want to know what she actually said to the White House counsel when she said wait a minute, these intercepts that we've listened to, there may be something in them.
LEMON: Yes. Pamela, go ahead, Gloria said you could speak to that better. Go ahead.
BROWN: Right. I can tell you, you know, Sally Yates, as Gloria said was fired by President Trump for being insubordinate. But she very much was a key figure and Michael Flynn's firing himself because she was the one, as Gloria pointed out to say look, I looked at the transcripts and he is lying about this and he could be subjected to blackmail by the Russians because he did in fact talked about sanctions.
And she's someone who wants to talk. You know, she's been under the radar. She's been laying low since she was fired by President Trump, but I do think she want to talk. And of course this is an opportunity when she testifies before the judiciary committee to not only talk about what she knew about the Flynn situation but other issues related to the Russia investigation.
LEMON: Well, the question is, Michael, insubordination or just doing her job? Because I think you know Yates and you think that her testimony is going to be a good thing but you have some concerns. Why?
MOORE: Well, I don't know that we are going to actually hear publicly all that she has to say. I think probably the most important thing, the compelling thing we're going to actually get out of her testimony will be the timeline, and some of the sequence of how some of the conversations came about. We may get the sequence of when certain people were told certain things. But I don't know that we'll get into the crux of what those were.
And the reason is simple. She is privy as she was acting attorney general at that time and deputy attorney general before that. She's privy the information that may be classified. She's also privy the information about potentially ongoing investigations.
So I don't think we'll get into that. But I think really the timeline may start to tell us. When do they pick people up on a wire? When were certain conversations relayed to other people? And when would we expect other folks to have knowledge about the improprieties either in the Trump transition team or in the administration lane.
LEMON: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you very much. Everyone else, please stick around. When we come back, a federal judge blocking part of another President Trump's executive orders. What this means for sanctuary cities. And could the president other executive orders be under threat as well?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: This is precisely what President Trump did not want to hear. Another federal judge blocking another of his executive orders. Judge William H. Orrick blocking the administration tonight from taking away funds from sanctuary cities.
The panel is back with me. Mark, I'm going to start with you. This is another blow to President Trump's immigration agenda tonight. Explain what happened.
PRESTON: Well, a couple of things. One is we saw this judge now out in California, Don, who said that the efforts by the federal government to penalize cities who are sanctuary cities by withholding federal money for them was -- didn't say it was unconstitutional, but he did say that it was on the way to becoming unconstitutional.
I was obviously paraphrasing, basically said that these cities would be irreparably harmed that the federal government held this money back.
So it was a very big win for these mayors and for these attorney generals and these city attorneys who believe that they should be, not have to participate in rounding up folks who are here illegally. So a big win for them. A bad loss for Donald Trump, when you couple it with all his other immigration.
LEMON: So Gloria, take us to the White House. What do they say?
BORGER: Well, they didn't mince any words here and tonight, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of house pointed out of course that this is the ninth circuit which they don't like and say is completely liberal and will never rule on their favor.
So Reince Priebus said it's the ninth circuit going bananas.
LEMON: Going bananas.
BORGER: That's pretty -- that's pretty -- and he, you know, he made the case that these are plaintiffs shopping for courts that they can get to, that they know are going to rule in their favor. And then at the end of his statement he said, look, we'll win at the Supreme Court at some point.
[22:20:02] And that he further said we're going to take action to appeal this. So of course they're going to appeal it. They believe that they can win at the Supreme Court. They've just gotten Neil Gorsuch on the court and I think they understand that these things on the end are going to go to the highest level.
LEMON: Yes. And they're there, the travel ban they are appealing that as well.
LEMON: Gloria, I have to ask you because I've been watching the network you've been doing a lot of reporting on the administration's 100-day agenda. How does this fit into that now?
BORGER: Well, I don't think it's in the win category. I think -- I think it goes along with the travel ban, which is to be determined and I think they're still in the courts. And I think they're coming up against the harsh reality that when you really try and turn a battleship around very quickly and you've campaigned on something and you promise something whether it's repealing Obamacare or whether it's a travel ban, the courts are a separate branch of government. Separate but equal.
And they are coming up against this time and time again. In the case of the health care, they're coming up against their own republicans. So the first 100 days has really been a reality check for people in the White House. And their large successes have come on their executive actions but as you see tonight, sometimes those are going who are going to get challenged in the court.
LEMON: Is this the problem, Phil, with governing by executive action is that they don't necessarily always have teeth and they're not tested, and once they are is this what you run up against?
MUDD: It is. But as a former government official there's a silver lining in everything. If you do this for 25, 30 years you look at what is the setback for the White House and you see an opportunity for law enforcement. Believe it or not, Don.
Let me give you two opportunities here. Number one, law enforcement officials I've talked to said look, we but to walk the beat. We got murder, we got rape, we got violent crime, which is by and large down in this country.
But do you want to take an urban police officer or somebody on the border and say I want you to spend more time on immigration than you do on violent crime? There is a resource question here that's a silver lining.
The second question, I'm a counterterrorism guy, Don. If you go to a community and you say I want you to raise your hand and tell me if somebody in your family is thinking about joining ISIS, what do you think they say if you say I might also ask you whether you're an illegal immigrant.
There are silver linings in this, so I understand why ruling by executive order have a problem.
MUDD: But what the judge has done today is also an opportunity for law enforcement.
LEMON: And Mike, I have to ask you then. In the ruling the judge said quote. "If there was doubt about the scope of the order the president and the attorney general have erased it with their public comments. Here's Attorney General Jeff Sessions just last month. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws. The Department of Justice will also take all lawful steps to claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates 1373.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Michael, this isn't the first time a judge has used the administration's own words against them.
MOORE: That's right. I mean, we're seeing the same thing that we saw with the travel ban. And essentially what Sessions was trying to do I think is talk about the idea of spending power of Congress being the hammer that now the executive branch was going to wield over these cities if they didn't put in place on immigration enforcement plan that was in agreement with the president.
And that's just not appropriate. And the judge actually sided Justice Roberts.
I will say this, too. I think one of the things that concern me the most as we'd listen to the rhetoric is a total lack of respect for the judiciary. Whether it be talking about this judge or the ninth circuit or the judge of the travel ban, or whether it was Jeff Sessions making some off the cuff remark about Hawaii and the judge out there and whether or not to somebody on an island I think he could control what happened in the United States.
LEMON: An island in the Pacific, yes.
MOORE: Yes. I think it's just -- it gotten at hand. But those words just like the words during the campaign and just like the sort of chest bumping rhetoric that we've heard about immigration enforcement. Those words are coming back to hurt the administration.
LEMON: So Jack, listen, you were there in Congress. I mean, is he finding out the hard way that executive orders are not that effective. Maybe he should be focusing on actual legislation?
KINGSTON: Well, I think he's going to continue to be advised. And let me say this. The federal government has extremely high discretionary power when it comes to dealing out grants, transportation grants, water and sewer grants, CBDG, the community block grants.
And if these cities think that that's not going to happen, they're crazy. And I'll say this, Michael, they're crazier than the ninth district court. I don't believe that they deserve the respect.
LEMON: He said, Priebus said "bananas." The words were "bananas."
LEMON: I got...
KINGSTON: I think the ninth district makes the Cartoon Channel look serious sometimes. That's how irresponsible they are when they don't quote what somebody says in the campaign and use it to make a political determination on law they don't -- they don't deserve the respect.
[22:25:05] That's like saying every member of Congress, whatever he or she said on the floor of the House, we're going to apply that to the law any time that comes out...
LEMON: Quickly, Jack, please.
KINGSTON: That was so irresponsible.
MOORE: But that was -- that was the attorney general. That was Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
KINGSTON: No, that was the ninth history.
MOORE: I'm talking about what we just heard. The clip we just heard was the attorney general of the United States basically threatening and talking about clawing back money if these cities didn't agree with the Trump plan.
KINGSTON: That's what -- but the federal government is going to do that.
LEMON: I'm out of time.
MOORE: That's not a campaign. That's not a campaign.
LEMON: I'm out of time. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
MOORE: All right.
LEMON: When we come right back, I'm going to speak to a member of the Senate judiciary committee and get his reaction to this executive order. Plus, why he says General Flynn may have committed a crime.
LEMON: The White House promising tonight to take action to appeal the latest challenge to one of the president's executive orders. A federal judge blocking the Trump administration's effort to punish sanctuary cities.
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus assessment quote, "It's the ninth circuit going bananas."
Now I want to bring in Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the judiciary committee.
[22:30:00] Senator, thank you for joining us. I want to start by getting your reaction to a federal judge blocking President Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities. That order would withhold federal funds from cities who wouldn't enforce immigration laws. What do you think?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: This step is unsurprising because President Trump's executive order is clearly constitutionally overreaching, and trying to use local police and law enforcement as federal agents.
He simply cannot commander local police to do the bidding of federal agents, and so, it's welcome, significant, and I hope we'll reverse the present trend towards unconstitutional over reaching by the executive branch.
LEMON: To your point then, let's talk a little bit more about that. Because a judge found that this executive order could violate the Constitution because the power to allocate funds belongs to the Congress, not the president. Do you think the president understands that separation of power?
BLUMENTHAL: The president has given every sign that he fails to understand the rule of law. He's attacked an independent judiciary that is a pillar of our democracy, he has demeaned and disparaged the free press and he has disregarded the plain constitutional powers of Congress in what he said about health care, and a variety of other programs where constitutionally Congress has an inviolate role to play.
I think he might well learn a lesson from this executive order and I that he will.
LEMON: So let's turn now to Russia, Senator, and the Russia investigation. And the news today about Michael Flynn. Do you think Michael Flynn is guilty of a crime and if so, what crime?
BLUMENTHAL: If these facts are true as disclosed today that he failed to disclose on this F -- SF-86 that he took payments and benefits from the Russians, that federal form, by the way, submitted in connection with security clearance, that very well may be a violation of federal law.
Likewise, his failure to register as a foreign agent when he was working for the Turkish government. His failure to disclose other kinds of payments and he's taking those payments as a retired military officer all require investigation by a special independent council.
A prosecutor who has the independence and impartiality to be totally untied to the Department of Justice hierarchy, the deputy attorney general or the attorney general himself. That's why a special prosecutor is so critically important. Independent of the president.
LEMON: I found it interesting that in December, you asked for Michael Flynn security clearance to be reviewed. Why were you concern back then?
BLUMENTHAL: I was concerned precisely because of reports about these payments, reports that appeared in the press which now have been confirmed. And I believe the press has performed a vital role and heroes of this era, their finest hour is likely to be the press and our independent judiciary.
I was concerned because national security's involved. He was the national security adviser. And likewise, the rule of law, which is so important to this country in good times and the bad. And we are facing a looming constitutional crisis, not unlike what happened in the Watergate era.
LEMON: Senator, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer said that this Flynn story may be just the tip of the iceberg. Do you agree and why do you think he would say that?
BLUMENTHAL: If he meant by the tip of the iceberg that it may indicate other involvement and possible collusion, aiding and abetting by Trump associates in the Russian interference in our elections, he is absolutely right.
Because take just some of the names we know. Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Carter Page. These individuals and the allegations involving them could potentially lead to a major investigation of Trump associates aiding and abetting or complicity in the Russian interference in our elections and that interference is beyond dispute.
The intelligence community has established it. And there is consensus, bipartisan consensus that it happened. The question that requires a special prosecutor to investigate is whether and how Trump associates participated or colluded in some way in that interference.
LEMON: Does the evidence so far show that?
BLUMENTHAL: The evidence certainly has to be pursued and there is more than what is called a prima fascia case on its face. There's more than ample evidence for and investigation pursued vigorously and independently, which is why we need a special prosecutor.
[22:35:06] But also why the FBI is already investigating it. And there's certainly indication of a lot of fire behind the smoke.
LEMON: We learned today that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper are testifying before your committee, the Senate judiciary committee in a few weeks about possible coordination during the election between Trump advisors and the Russian government.
What do you want to hear from them?
BLUMENTHAL: I want Director Clapper's insight as to what and how the Russian interference happened and what kind of assistance they may well have received from Americans, specifically associates or workers in the Trump campaign or the transition.
And I want to hear from Sally Yates why she was fired for blowing the whistle on General Flynn. What happened to hear? Because that is powerful evidence about the need for a special prosecutor.
She was the deputy attorney general trying to do her job. And her was the president. Her firing is a clear sign that the president will not tolerate an impartial, vigorous investigation here.
LEMON: Senator Blumenthal, thank you.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, President Trump has a lot of tough talk for Mexico, but who knew he was eyeing our neighbor to the north.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People don't realize Canada has been very rough on the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Canada? Really? We'll tell you why next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: No doubt we've heard President Trump's promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico, a promise he's made over and over again, even today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The wall gets built 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But if you think he's going to let Canada get off easy, think again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People don't realize Canada has been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful and so do I, I love Canada. But they've outsmarted our politicians for years and you understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So it's the north and the south. So what's the (AUDIO GAP) with Canada and Mexico. Mexico on the southern border gets a wall. The president it's to stop bad hombres. But way up north, Canada is now on the president hit list as well. And believe it or not it's all about timber and milk.
So let's discuss now with CNN political commentator Ana Navarro is here, CNN senior economic analyst Steven Moore, and CNN contributor, Jason Kander.
Good evening. Good to have all of you on. Steven, I'm going to start with you. The president said today that Canada has been very rough on the United States, it has been taking advantage of us. Of all places why the tough talk on Canada all of the sudden? What's this all about? STEVE MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, I'm a supporter of
Donald Trump and I agree with most of what he wants to do on the economy. But this is one area, Don, where I felt pretty strongly disagree. I think that the whole idea which was kind of Reagan vision going back to the 80's of making North America a big free trade zone is exactly the right thing to do. It's good for all of countries of North America.
But you know, look, there have been some problems on south of the border, sure. And those things have to be resolved. But I haven't seen too many people complaining about trade with Canada and it's not as if, you know, they're beating us with lower wages and so on. It's just that sometimes, you know, the lumber up there is cheaper to produce and that makes building homes and other things in the United States cheaper. So I don't really see the economic rationale behind this clip.
LEMON: Is he declaring a trade war on Canada, Steven?
MOORE: Well, no. I wouldn't say that. I think that would be taking it too far. But I think, you know, he's trying to send a message that, you know, to some of the Trump voters that he's going to be tough on trade. It's an issue that I just found myself in disagreement with him on.
It's not end of the world but it is going to make, as I said, Don, it's going to make housing and other kinds of products that we've either require lumber that are going to be more expensive.
LEMON: When Prime Minister Trudeau met with the president at the White House in February, the relationship between the two leaders seemed very warm. I want to play some of what President Trump said during that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbor like Canada. We have before us the opportunity to build even more bridges. We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it, we'll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It's a much less severe situation than what's taken place on the southern border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Jason, is this still true or is trouble now brewing on both the southern and the northern borders?
JASON KANDER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don, everything has changed because when he said that, he wasn't coming up on 100 days with no wins. So obviously the situation is totally different now. Now you got to taken an action that's actually not all that reasonable and had been in the works, you know, for a while. This is something that (AUDIO GAP) you got to if you're President
Trump, and that you're taking some huge action. And actually manage to do something that's pretty hard, which is offend the Canada.
LEMON: Ana, at the same time -- listen, the president again the trouble is on the Mexican border, and the southern border then all of a sudden he comes out with this the Canadian, you know, our neighbors to the north.
It was asked if -- by him today or at the press conference at the White House briefing whether this was sort of something to send a signal or was this a change topics? What do you think of this?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, first of all, I come at everything that Donald Trump does as it being part of -- forget the art of the deal, it's the art of the distraction.
Today, the press say was his daughter Ivanka getting his and booed in Germany. His wall hate wall. Michael Flynn is in deep hot water. And so, you know, let's start a confrontation, a trade (AUDIO GAP) America, in addition to having to hoard your tequila and your avocados; you're also going to have to hoard your maple syrup and your Canadian whiskey.
[22:45:04] But you know there's something I want to do before we continue talking about this which is commend Steven Moore. If we were in the same city I think I'd go and kiss him in the forehead.
Night after night we come on TV and we hear Trump supporters who are incapable of finding any fault with him, even when we know that in principle they disagree with him. What Steven Moore did today was say, I'm a Trump supporter but at my core, my principles I am not compromising that in order to excuse or justify what he is doing.
And for that, Steven, I commend you and I hope other people take more of an example from what you did tonight because I'm board of talking and confronting crazy people saying crazy things night after night.
MOORE: Well, thank you for saying that. Let me just make a quick comment about that. That, you know, look, I don't enjoy, you know, disagreeing with the president because I like the president and I support most of what he does.
But you know, it's interesting, Don, the first time I met with Donald Trump (AUDIO GAP) he asked Larry Kudlow, and myself to work for his campaign as economic advisers. I remember we said to him, "but Donald, we don't agree with you on trade."
And this is something what I kind of admire about Trump. He said, well, look, we can agree and disagree on that issue but I want your help on tax issues and so on. I think that's an admirable feature of Donald Trump, but you're right. On this one, I just don't see the sound economics here and it's hard to defend. I'm a free trade guy. LEMON: Jason, let's talk about it. Because we mention the Prime
Minister Trudeau and President Trump. Because just a couple of hours ago they spoke on the phone about today's tensions.
And I just want to read part of the statement that's just released by the White House. "President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today, the two leaders discussed the dairy trade in Wisconsin, New York State and various other places."
"They also discussed lumber coming into the United States. It was a very amicable call."
Prime Minister Trudeau's Press office just released their own statement about this call which gave a lot more detail about the discussion. This is a bit of a different tone. And here's what they say. "The prime minister stressed that the government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry." And the statement also said that Canada-U.S. dairy trade is trade which heavily favors the U.S. F-a-v-o-u-r-s, by the way.
So Jason, what are your thoughts on this?
KANDER: It sounds like they weren't really well. It sounds like what happened was President Trump continued to do what he does, which is make everything, you know, Ana says about the distraction. I think another way to put it is it's about the sale. I mean, he's a salesman. He's not an honest salesman.
He goes out and he's constantly trying to figure out how to sell and then when it comes time to actually do things, he's not delivering value. And that's what we're seeing here.
It's all talk, all the time, all presentation and no ability to follow through. I mean, today really should have been a lay-up, right. I mean, what he was doing was, you know, it's not totally unreasonable thing.
I mean, it's the kind of thing that usually wouldn't even be news. But he couldn't get through it. I mean, it's one step forward, two steps back. That seems to be how it works with President Trump
LEMON: All right, stand by. We got -- we got more to come. I need to get to the break. But we're going to talk about the wall when we come back. Is it going to be built? Who's going to pay for it?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: And we're back, President Trump says his promised wall on the border with Mexico will be built. Question is who pays?
Back now with my panel. Ana, first, at this round table where President Trump expressed harsh words for a candidate he was also asked about the border wall. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The wall is going to get built, folks, just in case anybody
has any question. The wall is going to get built and the wall is going to stop drugs and it's going to stop a lot of people from coming in that shouldn't be here and it's going to have a huge effect on human trafficking which is a tremendous problem in this world, the problem that nobody talks about, (AUDIO GAP) time in the (AUDIO GAP) history of this world.
(AUDIO GAP), what's going on. The wall is going to get built, and we're setting record numbers in terms of stopping people from coming in and stopping drugs from coming in. You see the numbers down 73, 74 percent.
I will say Secretary Kelly, formerly General Kelly is doing an incredible job. And I was just with him a little while ago. And he said, we definitely, desperately need the wall. And we're going to have the wall built.
I mean, I don't know what people are talking about. I watch these shows and the pundits in the morning, I don't know what they're talking about. The wall gets built, 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A hundred percent, the wall gets built, Ana. Who's paying for it? Because that's a major sticking point right now. No matter what the president says.
NAVARRO: Well, sure as hell is not going to be Mexico. So that wall is going to get built, it's going to get paid by the U.S. taxpayers and we better start getting used to it. But I think we're going to end up with a discussion at some point of well, that depends on what your definition of wall is.
Because (AUDIO GAP) this described it all throughout (AUDIO GAP) a big beautiful wall, he was a builder, he knew how to construct them with big beautiful door. That's not going to get built. That's not going to happen.
Congress is not supportive of that. It's not only the democrats. There's a lot of border state republicans who don't like the idea of having to tell their constituents that they have to fork over their land to build this wall.
And there's a lot of republicans who don't like the idea of having to appropriate all this money that will not be offset to build this wall when there's so many other infrastructure projects that can and should be done in the United States.
But, you know, until his dying day on earth, Donald Trump with his last breath is going to be saying, the wall, the wall, the wall is going to get built. He's going to be like Don Corleone.
LEMON: Excuse me. So you caught me off guard with that one. But listen, to me, when I heard there -- especially when he said with 73, 74 percent that people come across the border, if that is indeed true, and I have to check those numbers, wouldn't that show you that maybe governing and how you -- what stance and what laws you use to fight immigration or to control immigration, doesn't that matter more than a wall?
Because if you already have 70 some percent, in his words, of people not coming across the border, then why even build a wall?
[22:54:57] NAVARRO: Look, a lot of people, most people I would say are in favor of some sort of border security.
NAVARRO: But it just doesn't have to be in the form of a wall.
NAVARRO: And, I would tell you that, Donald Trump's policies and his stances have served as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
NAVARRO: People don't want to come here because they think that Donald Trump is going to deport them the hell out.
LEMON: That's what I said, your stance on immigration is important.
NAVARRO: And so he had, there is absolutely no doubt that he has had an effect in lowering immigration to this country.
LEMON: Right. So Steven, there's been a lot of back and forth about whether the president will insist on funding for this wall this week. So what can you -- do you know anything where that stands?
MOORE: So just a couple of quick comments. I mean, first of all, the reason -- it is true that illegal immigration has been reduced a lot for the last decade. And that's because the economy here stunk and there aren't jobs here that there were, you know, 15 or 20 years ago. And there isn't the magnet of jobs immigrants still come.
And on the wall, I would say this, I'm for legal immigration. As Ana knows, I mean, I'm a strong advocate of legal immigration. I think we need more, not less. But the American people spoke loud and clear in this election. They want that wall built.
MOORE: And it has to be built. I think for political reasons and also for policy reasons...
LEMON: I've got to go.
NAVARRO: But do you think that wall... LEMON: I've got to get -- I've got to get...
MOORE: The idea that we can't find, you know, 6, $8 billion out of a $4 trillion budget.
MOORE: It makes no sense.
KANDER: Sure, Don.
LEMON: Speak up. Will this wall ever be built?
KANDER: Don, the wall is Donald Trump's imaginary friend. And Congress reached out and tried to say this week that they wanted to reframe it, redefine it as an increase in funding for border security. They tried to give him a lifeline.
Republicans in Congress tried to give him a lifeline.
KANDER: But President Trump is the last person -- he's still talking about this wall. The part you didn't play in the audio from today, I was listening to it earlier today when it was live, is they asked him, well, when do you think it's going to get built.
LEMON: He said in his first term.
KANDER: Yes. But he said, they said will it be in the first term. And he thought about it for a second and he goes, sure, something like that.
KANDER: He doesn't have any idea. He just likes talking about the wall...
LEMON: I've got to run.
KANDER: He's just making the step up...
MOORE: The wall is going to get built up.
LEMON: Thank you all.
MOORE: It's getting up.
LEMON: Thank you all. We'll be right back.