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President may have fired his foreshadowed firing his son-in- law, Jared Kushner; U.S. investigators believe Russian hackers story; Attorney general Jeff Sessions has threaten to resign; Dramatic day of testimony today in Bill Cosby's trial in charges of felony aggravated in decent assault; Aired 11:00-12:00mn ET

Aired June 06, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:53] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news tonight on a White House in crisis.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Sources telling CNN James Comey is expected to say President Trump misinterpreted his conversation with him.

On top of that, "the Washington Post" is reporting the director of national intelligence told associate back in March that Trump asked him if he could convince Comey to back off the Flynn investigation.

And there is mow, "New York Times" reporting Comey told attorney general Jeff Sessions not to leave him alone with the President. That's how unnerved he was by their contact.

And sources also tell CNN TONIGHT that Sessions and Trump have had a series of heated exchanges. The senior administration official telling us at one point Session threaten to resign. And tonight the White House still cannot or will not say whether the President has faith in his attorney general.

Meanwhile, a justice department spokeswoman insists tonight Sessions is not stepping down.

And a CNN exclusive, Russian hacking didn't end with U.S. investigators, U.S. I should say, investigators believe that fake news planted by Russian hackers, blew up into a crisis among U.S. allies in the Middle East. That's a lie.

Here to discuss all of it, Bob Cusack is editor in-chief of "the Hill," CNN political analyst April Ryan, the author of "Mama's Need," Daniel Drezner , a "Washington Post" contributor and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Good evening to all of you. We have much to cover tonight.

April, I'm going to start with you about this. Attorney general Jeff Sessions story, we are learning that he offered to resigned amid growing tensions with President Trump. And this comes as we are still waiting on clarification on whether the President has confidence in his own attorney general.

You are at the White House. What is going on?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is what Sean did not say today in that press briefing. He would not say if he had confidence in attorney general Jeff Sessions. He basically said he had to go back and he didn't want to give any more than what he didn't know or what he had. So bottom line, and this was I am getting from my sources that this President is not happy with Jeff Sessions but he at this point is going to humiliate him. They have a bad problem right now, bad blood, it stems from Russia. They are just not getting along at all.


LEMON: Just sort of stringing him along by saying, you know, making him wonder whether he --.

RYAN: That, and did you see the tweets this week about going back to the travel ban in all caps. So that travel ban issue in talking about how the justice department should have used the original language when dealing with this. That was humiliating for the justice department.

LEMON: You think it is directed directly at attorney general Jeff Sessions.

RYAN: Yes, most definitely. He is the leader of that department, yes.

LEMON: What do you think of that Bob Cusack?

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, THE HILL: Well, I think this is really troubling for the Trump administration. I mean, Jeff Sessions is loyal to Trump. Jeff Sessions he was the first senator to endorsed Trump but they have had difficulties. And who is going to replace Sessions should he step down? Remember, and I know this was mentioned earlier on this show, but like when Conway, when Kellyanne Conway was asked about confidence in Flynn, she said yes the President has full confidence. Sean Spicer would not go that far and then Flynn just hours later basically was pushed out.

So this is a real problem. Had is a historic week in the Trump Presidency especially with James Comey testimony coming up and Dan Coats' testimony tomorrow. And you have to think that politically it would be better for Trump to Sessions.

LEMON: Is Spicer just maybe out of the loop now? Or do you think that was done on purpose? He is just being too cute by how he knows the answer but doesn't want to say.

CUSACK: I think that there's some things that press secretaries always don't want to know so that they are not lying. I don't think that Spicer is talking to Trump on regular basis.

[23:05:01] LEMON: OK. Juliette, "New York Times" reporting that Comey told attorney general

Jeff Sessions that he didn't want to be left alone with the President. What do you make of that?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I understand it. If every time that he is alone or that Trump requires him to be alone, the two of them together something odd happens and there's a request for Comey to either say that Trump is not under investigation or there is a request to end the investigation. We will find out more of the details of their interactions when they are one-on-one.

But, you know, just taking a step back here, Trump should never put any of these people in the position that they are in. He knows better. And he is essentially forum shopping. I just made a list quickly. If you look at Comey, Nunes, Burrs, Sessions, Rogers, the head of ODNI, Rod Rosenstein. All of them, he is foreign shopping in to someone to help him to get out of a problem which is there is an investigation about Russia's ties to the campaign and whether there's evidence of collusion. And as far as we can tell no one is actually biting.

LEMON: Dan, I want to get to some of your reporting now. Your paper is reporting that President Trump back in March asked the director of national intelligence Dan Coats if he could get the FBI to back off the Flynn probe. This is going to come up tomorrow when Coats and other top Intel officials testify before Congress. What do you think?

DANIEL DREZNER, CONTRIBUTOR, WASHINGTON POST: I think that Donald Trump should not be left alone with any another individual not with the last name of Trump because he clearly he winds up saying or doing something that disturbs them. I think the most interesting thing about the Coates story is the degrees Trump clearly does not understand that the ODNI can't tell the FBI director to back off. And that there is a different relationship between the strict intelligence agencies like the ODNI, director of national intelligence and CIA as opposed to the FBI which certainly has the intelligence components but also has an investigative component.

And the fact that Trump all of these are part of the same thing. It is what Juliet said. He clearly is engaging in form shopping believing that all he has to do is to talk to someone else as a way to get Comey to stop doing what he is doing which simply makes the obvious obstruction of justice charge stick even more.

LEMON: DO you think, and just to go back, I want to go quickly, April, back to Jeff Sessions just for a moment. Because what Ana Navarro said earlier in the last hour was that she believes that this was a distraction. Maybe he is trying to create some chaos or a new story to get people to stop focusing on Russia and he may be doing that with this. I'm not sure I have confidence in Jeff Sessions or Sean Spicer not being able to answer that question.

RYAN: You know, Ana could be very well on the mark with that. But at the same time there is a tension. There is a problem between this President and his attorney general. So the distraction element, that is real. We know that happens. But this President has a problem with people who he feels are not loyal to them or who are in the midst of controversy. And he does not want that right now as he is in the midst of one of the worst 130 how many ever days there has been for U.S. President.

LEMON: When you are there, do you feel the difference? Do you sense the difference over the last couple of days especially with this Russian investigation? And do you --?

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: You do. And is Sean Spicer different? And the communications department different?

RYAN: Yes. Last week Sean, he was a different person. The beginning of the week he seemed like he was almost scared. He ran out of the room couple of times. At the end of the week, he seemed some people were saying the word depressed. Yesterday he was not there. It was Sarah Huckabee and I asked, you know, where he was. I mean, today he came out.

Sean was very strong today. I have to give him that. And he was also very careful in his words. Sean is embattled himself. And he is trying to be very strategic in how he offers phrases and words to the press. He even contradicted what was said yesterday by Sarah Huckabee when it comes to the issues of tweets, the President's tweet. The White House to include Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee yesterday from that podium said that, you know, it is just tweet. It shouldn't be really a big deal. It should be dismiss pretty much.

LEMON: He said it official?

RYAN: But today Sean Spicer said it is official.

LEMON: Yes. And when it comes directly from the President.

Bob, sources are also telling CNN that Comey is expected to say President Trump misinterpreted his conversations with him. This may contradict what the President has said publicly. How do you see the President responding to that?

[23:10:01] CUSACK: Well, we will see if President is going to live tweet that the Comey testimony he has in a ban 11:30 on Thursday. The Comey testimony starts at 10:00. I mean, this is potential earthquake here, but it could be he said-he said. I do think that one of the big questions is to be directed at Comey is, well, did you fell the President that he is not a target or a subject of the investigation on Russia which Trump said in that letter getting rid of Comey that it was three times that he was told that. So I think there's so many questions for Comey. And the question is who is the public going to trust?


CUSACK: Comey or Trump?

LEMON: What's interesting, Dan, I see you shaking your head there, I think most people -- except for the people who are representing the President in his inner circle, I think everyone else would say, you know, I would love to see some live tweeting. But I don't know if it would be a smart thing because it offer in the moment for the President to be contradictive and fact check, correct?

DEZNER: Correct. I mean, we could be in a situation where tomorrow Comey is testifying Trump live tweets in response. I'm assuming the staffer sitting behind the Senate intelligence committee will be looking and monitoring his twitter feed and then posting, you know, letting the senators know these tweets and then being able to ask Comey whether or not what Trump is tweeting is accurate. So I think in the end it will be a self-defeating strategy if Trump does it. But how many times have we said it's self-defeating strategy for Trump to tweet something and then he goes on to tweet it.

LEMON: Yes. Juliette, how is the world responding to the President Trump's leadership amid all this chaos?

KAYYEM: It's horrible. There's really no other way to say it. We have this idea that we are relevant because we are the United States. And we are only relevant because we have been a supporter of institutions. We have meant something to the rest of the world. We have abided by laws and agreements. And we are not fickle and we don't throw, you know, mayors of London under the bus after tragedy. And we don't make snide remarks about a country that -- where we have major military basis where let's remind everyone all anti-ISIS operations flow from.

It is a recklessness that I don't think we have quite captures yet. That we can quite understand just how dangerous this is and this is to everyone. And we have a feeling the world is paying attention to us.

I actually think the world is done. They are moving on. And so, you are going to see the rise of China. You are going to see the Europeans sort of align with themselves and with other nations and we will make ourselves irrelevant. That's so bad, not just for us.

But I think we used to mean something to the world and that was a good thing. I mean, we used to represent order and law and the hope. We didn't always follow it but the hope of peace and democracy. And now and, you know, they are going to look to China and other nations for that kind of stability and trade and economy. So the tweets may be funny, but they are so dangerous and damaging for the rest of us. In other words, we are the United States, Trump isn't.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you for the discussion and insight. I appreciate it as always.

When we come back the justice department says Jeff Sessions is not stepping down but things not looking good for the attorney general. I'll ask John Dean what he thinks is next.


[23:17:12] LEMON: Breaking news, sources telling CNN that attorney general Jeff Sessions has threaten to resign. I want to bring in now CNN contributor John Dean, a former White House

counsel to President Nixon who is the author of "Conservatives without conscience."

I'm going to get to the breaking news. But I think you can relate to this probably more than anyone because you had to deal with Watergate. So at this point in time, when you were about to testify, correct, you were two days away or day and half away or whatever it is, what were you doing? What were you thinking?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I was taking a last-minute run through my prepared statement because I had a lengthy statement. I thought I was going to have to summarize for the Senate and I was trying to be - make sure I was familiar with it. And it turned out I had to read the entire 60,000 words from start to finish which took about five hours. I did it in monotone just to save my voice because I had no idea. Had I known I would have had a much shorter statement.

LEMON: And what do you think the others because tomorrow there is someone testifying and then on Thursday. So what do you think they are doing? Are they nervous?

DEAN: I don't think they are nervous. They are all pretty experienced. I happened to be experienced in testifying on Capitol Hill. I had been in committee council so I was in a very familiar forum. And I think all of the people are coming up in Senate hearing tomorrow, and Comey and others know their way around the hill. So I think they will be quite comfortable.

LEMON: How do you think Comey is feeling specifically?

DEAN: Hard to tell. I think he is trying to sort out some of the nuance of what is going on. We are getting kind of interesting signals out of him. He doesn't want, obviously, to be accusatory. And he wants to be fair in his testimony. I think, you know, your guest tonight had made a good point that it is going to be his word against Trump some-some. And I think most people are going to believe Comey. He has no motive to lie about any of this.

LEMON: So I heard that the less he says, right, the worse it is for the President, regardless of what you hear from the President's supporters, less he says because that means he can't talk about it. Is that correct? Do you agree with that?

DEAN: Yes. I actually have been thinking about that. I didn't know others were saying that. I have been thinking about that very thing. That the brevity of his statement will relate to the seriousness what he is not saying. Because he is obviously been on this for many, many months. And he is intimately familiar with the investigation. Personally, he was handling it. So if he could probably hold forth at some length and what he is not share is what he is probably realizes as a former prosecutor, he shouldn't share because they are live proceedings.

[23:20:01] LEMON: So you shouldn't read into hi him not making a judgment on whether it is obstruction or collusion or any of that because he is not there for.

DEAN: I think he is going be a fact witness. Actually, that's what I tried to do. I did not speculate about anything except in one thing, Don. I did have to speculate. I may have been recorded. And it turned out to be one of the most important speculations I ever made in my life.

LEMON: I would say so.

So let's get -- I have a laundry list of news that I want to talk to you about. Can we do that now?

DEAN: Yes.

LEMON: Because I want to talk about the attorney general Jeff Sessions, sources say that President - the President's anger at the attorney general is growing and that the two have had a series of heated exchanges over the last several weeks starting with Sessions' recusal from the Russian probe, the President didn't want a special counsel. But isn't the FBI director James Comey's firing what led to that and it wasn't necessarily Sessions' fault?

DEAN: I think that's true. It was a tumbling cascade of events. But you know, just institutionally, Don, there's always been a strain between attorneys general and the White House. Sometimes attorney general is close to the President going in and by the time they finish that relationship has become frayed. We saw it with Nixon and his attorney general John Mitchell who didn't want the job. But within time that became a very difficult relationship. So White Houses have a tendency to really test friendships and relationships.

LEMON: So, justice department spokeswoman says that Sessions isn't stepping down. We hear that frustration has gone both ways with the justice department upset with the President's tweets that they have caused problems for Sessions and the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

DEAN: I'm sure they have. And they are and made and make a case and present evidence that the travel ban is not in fact a ban and the President comes out 24 hours later and undercuts exactly what they represent to the court. That makes it very difficult to proceed. So I can understand their frustration.

LEMON: We don't have to play the sound bite but Sean Spicer today repeatedly declined to answer if the President has confidence in the attorney general, what do you make of that? Is it a simple yes or no question?

DEAN: That's a very Washington press secretary type test that the media makes press secretaries on a regular basis when they see someone having a difficult relationship with the President they ask do you or do you not have confidence in the person. I'm not sure how much it means we saw with Michael Flynn how quickly after asking for expression of confidence so that changes from day to day and often hour to hour. LEMON: I have couple quotes here. Let's talk about the President

saying that he was told three times that he wasn't under investigation. He said he wrote in a letter to Comey on May 9th while I greatly appreciate you in informing me on three separate occasions I'm not under investigation -- you are not able to lead the bureau. If he didn't tell the President that. How big a deal is that?

DEAN: Well would be a rather significant lie. And he'd be caught in it. I'd have trouble understanding how you misinterpret on three occasions whether you were under investigation or not. I think Mr. Comey is very clear spoken and the President would know exactly what his relationship was vis-a-vis the investigation. So we'll get this all sorted out on Thursday. That's a for sure question that will be explored in depth.

LEMON: I want you to get this is in real quick. And this is fThis from "The New York Times" Michael Schmidt basically that James Comey asked Sessions not to leave the room because he didn't want to be left alone in the room with the President because he was that concerned about their meetings and discussions. What do you think of that?

DEAN: My first reaction to that was, I wonder who leaked that. I wonder if that was somebody on the Sessions side or the Comey side.

LEMON: Comey side, right.

DEAN: It strikes me as being the Sessions side actually. So there's a real ability to corroborate and sort this out.

LEMON: Yes. I love our conversations. John Dean, thanks for coming on as usual. See you soon.

DEAN: Thanks Don.

LEMON: Up next a CNN exclusive, U.S. investigators believe Russian hackers story that blew up into a mid-east diplomatic crisis. We'll talk about that with Senator John tesla next.


[23:28:56] LEMON: Breaking news tonight, U.S. investigators uncovering new information on the cyber-attack in Qatar has led to a diplomatic crisis among America's closest allies in the region.

I want to discuss with now with Senator John Tester, a Montana Democrat who is a member of the homeland security in governmental affairs committee.

Good evening, senator. Thank you so much for joining us.

Let's talk about this. You heard CNN's reporting. Investigators rule that Russian hackers responsible for sponsoring a rift between Qatar and major players in the Middle East. What does that tell you about Russian's global ambitions?

SEN. JOHN TESTER (D), MONTANA: Well, I think what tells me is we got to get to the bottom of what they did in our elections. And there's reports that they may have tinkering with them European elections and now the course of this in Qatar. And I just think that It is very, very important to get to the bottom of what Russia did in relation to our elections and if they were helped by anybody in this country that those people are held accountable and then we make adjustments going forward so that Russia isn't allowed to take on with our elections or anything else in this country as far as that goes moving forward.

[23:30:08] LEMON: Senator, do you think that Trump administration understands what they got themselves and the country into with Russia?

TESTER: I don't know if they do. I will tell you that, you know, I heard the President talk about this is something that there's no merit to, but the bottom line is, I think, if the President wants to get this behind him and I think it would behoove him to get this behind him he needs to open the books completely, allow anybody he wants to testify to testify and make sure to allow special prosecutor and intelligence committee on the senate side of things to get to the bottom of what ever happened. And I think that if he is willing to be totally transparent bout this, he can get this behind him and I think pretty quick fashion. And that is assuming that he did nothing wrong in that process.

But the bottom line is that you can't continue to do things like threaten to not let former director Comey speak and then say on the other hand I got nothing to hide. So, bottom line is we need to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out what the facts are and we need to hold people accountable if there are any people to be held accountable on any wrongdoing as it applies to Russia hacking.

LEMON: All things Russia. So you had exchange with homeland security secretary John Kelly today about the President's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner and reports he tried to open back channel to Russia. I want to play it now.


JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We have to make the assumption, and I will, that Jared Kushner is a great American. He is a decent American. He has a security clearance at the highest level.

TESTER: There's no red flag that's come up for you at all on this?

KELLY: Not at the times. Since it's been reported back channels are in the course of normal interactions with other countries, it's very, very common.


LEMON: So senator, what's your reaction to Secretary Kelly saying that Jared Kushner's back channel communications with Russia is normal and common thing.

TESTER: Well, I think there are back channel communications that happened. And I think that (INAUDIBLE) happening pretty commonly. I think this is a different back channel communications. I think what we have here is a situation where the President's son-in-law went to the Russian embassy and tried to figure out a way to communicate with Russia in a way that nobody else could find out.

I'm going to tell you that throws up a lot of red flags for me. Whether classified information we shared or not, it is entirely inappropriate. Especially for somebody who I'm not sure had a security clearance at the time. To set up those kind of back channels with quite frankly an enemy of ours that's been an enemy as long as I've been alive.

I mean, I think I told the story n that committee meetings that when I was a first grader in school they talked about what happened in the case of nuclear war, if you can't make it to a fallout shelter you were to hide under your desk. I remember those conversations with the teacher very vividly.

And now we got somebody who is very close to the President who wants to communicate with Putin who is not a good actor and potentially pass along information -- any information to him that could pose a security risk it to this country. I think that's totally inacceptable. And I have a lot of respect for Secretary Kelly. And I think that as he talked about moving forward he talked about potentially the special prosecutor doing an investigation on Kushner. I think that is entirely appropriate because we need to get to the bottom of the role that Russia has played in our elections and quite frankly other areas of the world.

LEMON: Well, speaking of getting to the bottom and soon we are going to hear on Thursday, you know, from former FBI director James Comey. And sources are saying that he will not come to a legal conclusion in front of the Senate at that hearing but he will say that he never told the President he was not under investigation as the President has claimed. How big a deal is that to you?

TESTER: Well, I think it's a big deal. But once again, I think this is director Comey's testimony is a piece of the puzzle of getting down to what really transpired in this whole thing. And I think that if I was on that Intel committee and questioning former director Comey, I would talk to him about how many times the President approached him about shutting down the investigation. I think that is very telling as far as making sure we get to the bottom of what's going on here.

And as I said earlier with you, Don, I think if the President was smart, he would open the books and say here co-transparency, this is what I know and if you can find out other information we'll hold the people accountable. I don't think he has done that so far.

[23:35:00] LEMON: Senator, when he said earlier today that he wishes the former director good luck, do you think he meant it had?

TESTER: Well, I mean, I don't know. I mean, he said some pretty, pretty bad things about the former director so I don't know if that was tongue-in-cheek or not.

LEMON: So earlier today, senator, the senate pass a bipartisan bill that you drafted with senators Rubio and Isaac in the bill will hold the department of veteran's affairs more accountable to veterans by allowing VA secretary David Shulkin to fire bad employees faster and protect whistle blowers from retaliation. Tell us more about that, please.

TESTER: Well, it's a bill that's been three years in the making. And it is a bill that chairman Isaac and myself negotiated together. The bull that came over in the house in my opinion on VA accountability was very, very severe and quite frankly unworkable and couldn't be passed.

Johnny and I were able to sit down with the help of Marco Rubio and come up with I think a compromised bill that in fact did indeed pass the Senate that really protects good employees and holds the bad employees accountable. Every VSO, every major VSO in this country supported this bill. And I think it's a victory for our veterans that we got it passed it in the United States Senate.

LEMON: Senator John Tester, thank sir.

TESTER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Coming up why the President's favorite hometown tabloid is saying he might have bad news for his son-in-law Jared Kushner.


[23:40:20] LEMON: Things move fast. And so fast we should take a look at this New York post headline suggesting the President may have fired his foreshadowed firing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It is all over something that President said to Kushner today, something he has said before to James Comey and we all know how that worked out.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I appreciate everyone, Jared. Jared has actually become much more famous than me. I'm a little bit upset about that.


James. He has become more famous than me.





LEMON: Here to discuss, CNN political commentators Marc Lamont Hill, author of "Nobody, America's war on the vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and beyond" and Ben Ferguson is here as well, the host of the "Ben Ferguson show."

Ben, what do you think? BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I mean, how far are we

going to go with this? Everybody that Donald Trump says hello to that he fires or going to say to those people. They say hello to you. Next, you are going to be fired.

This may be the most laughable story that I have seen in weeks about people wondering because he said one thing about being famous they are going to fire him. It's his son-in-law too. Let's not forget that. And there has not been a rift between Jared Kushner and the President either. So the fact that somehow because he said this to the FBI director that this is foreshadowing people are really stretching to have to ask this connection.

LEMON: The post is usually on it. This is his hometown paper. They know him. They are usually pretty kind to him. And tor the Post to be reporting this maybe there's something behind it.

FERGUSON: I just don't see it. It's his son-in-law, first off, and they have had a really good relationship. If you're trying to push out your son-in-law, do you take him on your last long foreign trip with you, put him in the room in your top meetings which he is doing on a regular basis. You don't do that if you are trying to then pick out your son-in-law. This is just a nonstory.

LEMON: We have the pictures to prove it.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was going to make the same point about Flynn. But also I think there is also the question of Donald Trump is not a normal person and he is not necessarily predictable in that way.

I agree with you, Ben, under normal circumstances. This wouldn't seem like a foreshadowing. And normally someone is saying he is more famous than I am is just a nice pleasant joke. But when the person is a narcissist, when the person wants to be the only famous person in the room, then the person is still make then (INAUDIBLE), then you might raise different sets of questions. Look, I hope that it is foreshadow. We don't want Kushner near the Middle East. We don't want Kushner anywhere near Moscow for a variety of important reasons.

But, again, I think it is more likely to your point, Ben, that he is not going to fire him. He is probably going to marginalize him not because he is more famous but because he has to.

FERGUSON: But Marc, here is the thing that about what you said which is completely contradicting what Donald Trump has actually done. Let's say I buy into everything you said.

HILL: As you should.

FERGUSON: Then explain to me how he has encouraged his family to become high-profile in their own right. Look at how proud he is of his family. Look at how he self-promoted his family when he was on "the Apprentice." Look at how he has self-promoted and self-funded and many of the ventures of his children as they were coming up. Look at how he used his kids on the campaign trail. HILL: I agree.

FERGUSON: It was an idea that somehow Donald Trump is anti someone overshadowing him, it doesn't make sense to apply that to his family because he has done the exact opposite of his family.

HILL: You are doing good tonight, Ben. You almost made the right point. I disagree in one piece of this. He absolutely will promote his family in his own interest. That's what Donald Trump done to promote and promote and then when you fly too close to the sun and you end up burning him then he is willing to get rid of you.

Now, again, I don't think he is going to fire Kushner. What I do think he is going to do is marginalize him. Because once you start costing Donald Trump popularity points, once you start costing him political point, he is willing to push you to the side.

LEMON: Final word, Ben. Quick.

FERGUSON: You are getting all of this from Donald Trump saying that guy, referring to his son-in-law who he loves, is more famous than I am which is impossible because you are the United States of America. I can promise you he is going to be around for a long time.

HILL: But that the whole secret back share of Moscow. (INAUDIBLE). It's not just the famous thing but the whole breaking the law thing.

LEMON: Yes. Do you remember when someone was on the cover of "Time" magazine and you really seen that much of them lately. Not so much. I'm just --

[23:45:04] FERGUSON: In about a month and we are going to having the same conversation. I'm going to remind both of you how this was the funniest, most laughable nonstory I have seen.

LEMON: I'm not making a prediction, but listen. "The New York Post" has it. They are very favorable to Trump. Jared Kushner is in trouble. It has been reported about all of this back channel things. I'm just asking the question. You don't have to predict anything. So if you and Marc can have that way --.

HILL: I am predicting nothing. It's just possible when it is Donald Trump and Donald Trump is unpredictable.

LEMON: I was going to say my name is Flynn, but don't want to say at that this in conversation.

Thank you all. I appreciate it.

When we come right back, a dramatic day of testimony in the Bill Cosby's trial accuser Andrea Constant tells her story of the night she said Cosby assaulted her.


[23:49:34] LEMON: A dramatic day of testimony today in Bill Cosby's trial in charges of felony aggravated in decent assault.

CNN's Jean Casarez was there - Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, we were in the courtroom this afternoon. All of the sudden there's a silence and in commonwealth says your honor our next witness, Andrea Constant. The courtroom stood still. This is the witness that everybody has been waiting for. And it took a while. She finally walked in. Very tall, very slim. She took the stand. She began her direct examination which took quite a-while.

But I think the most important point of it was when she described what she says was the sexual assault. She had gone to his house on his invitation to talk about a career change. She was going to go back home to Canada and enroll in a massage school. And she was very upset about that.

And she testified that all of a sudden he went upstairs, came down in his open hand were three blue pills and he said to her these will help you relax. Put them down. They are your friends. They will take the edge off. She said he questioned three of them? And he said swallow them down. She said, what are they, are they herbal? He said yes, they are. And said she trusted him and in 20 to 30 minutes she had her words started to slur, she had double vision, she saw two of him standing there. That she had white substance on the corners of her mouth; that she couldn't even talk her speech was so slurred. She stood up. Her legs were rubbery. She couldn't walk. He helped her to a sofa. He laid her on her left side. She said at that point she were not of conscious. She doesn't remember anything else. But she doesn't know how long after but she was jolted. She woke up and she said she was being sexually assaulted. She witnessed it. She saw it.

On cross examination, Angela (INAUDIBLE) tried to make a point that a year later she started calling attorney. And when police came to her house she gave a version that she had never been alone with him before, never been alone with him after and this was after a group dinner this has all happened. Andrea Constant said I was really nervous. And things were getting mixed up. And that's not correct. And if I said that, that was wrong.

She admitted things on the stand if she believed they were wrong. Defense said you were just trying to be friends with Mr. Cosby so he could help your career. She said to a point, I guess, that is the truth. Her cross examination continues tomorrow. On the stand, calm, cool collected. She pauses before she answers. And I know people in the courtroom believe she's a credible witness. Don.

[23:52:22] LEMON: Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Page Pate and legal contributor, Areva Martin.

Well, unbelievable here, Page I'm going to start with you. How string do you think the cases against Bill Cosby.

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, if it was just a testimony of this one witness, if there was only one incident that occurred 12, 13 years ago, I don't think it would be that particularly strong. She waited a long time to come forward. She called personal injury lawyers before she contacted the police and perhaps more importantly she continued this relationship with Bill Cosby after he allegedly drugged her and sexually assaulted her.

But it's not just her testimony. The judge allowed the prosecution to introduce the testimony of another alleged victim with a very similar course of conduct. And I think that's going to be devastating to the defense.

LEMON: Areva, as Jean mentioned, Andrea Constant described the 2004 evening that she spent with Bill Cosby. She says he offered her pills, she lost consciousness and she was jolted awake, she very graphically described Cosby groping her breast, touching her vagina. How damaging is this testimony for Bill Cosby.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think the testimony was incredibly damaging. Particularly, I can imagine the women sitting in the, you know, the jury box, listening to the testimony about a man fondling of this woman's breast. Putting his fingers in her vagina and then putting her hand on his penis, causing him to masturbate. That's very graphic testimony, Don.

And we haven't heard yet from Andrea's mom. I think her testimony is also going to be very, very important to this case. She and her daughter and Bill Cosby had a telephone conversation. And in that conversation, the mom is going to testify that Cosby apologized. That he admitted that he had a sexual encounter with her daughter. He admitted that he gave her pills and they weren't herbal pills. They were actually pills from a prescription bottle. That's going to be an extremely damaging testimony for the defendant. And I can imagine very difficult for them to counteract.

LEMON: He is very well known, Page, as America's TV dad. How much do you think that will impact the jury?

PATE: Well, whenever you have a celebrity on trial, there are two different ways that it could go with the jury. I mean, first, the jury is going to want to give that individual the benefit of the doubt. They will give a witness or defendant who is a celebrity or well-known. A lot more, I think, credibility than they will a typical defendant. They will listen carefully to the evidence. They will listen as the defense lawyers cross examine these witnesses and point out the inconsistencies. They will give him the benefit of the doubt.

But at the same time many juries like to see people who are at a very elevated level in society get taken down if they deserve it. So I'm sure there will be a dynamic in the jury room when they're back deliberating. Other people may not be so sure but they will certainly know that this is Bill Cosby --

[23:55:25] LEMON: What about his age? Will that impact, Page, just quick --.

PATE: His age? LEMON: Will that effect the jury that he is older or didn't see well?

Let me get to Page because I have another question for you, Areva. What do you think? Will that impact?

PATE: Yes, I think so. I think they will feel sorry for him to certain extent and his infirmities too. The man is almost blind at this point.

LEMON: OK. So Areva, I want to ask you when he arrived in court yesterday, he was arm in arm (INAUDIBLE), who played as youngest star Rudy Huxtable on the show. So you see the lot of blowback for doing that? What do you think?

MARTIN: Well, obviously the defense planned it. They were strategic in having Rudy be there. They wanted to conjure up the image that this is Bill Cosby, American's dad. This is Dr. Huxtable who America fell in love with. And America fell in love with him and then here's his television daughter standing by his side. And if the television daughter can stand by his side, that should send a very powerful message to the jury.

Yes, she received a lot of blowback because people were asking how can you stand by his side given the 60 women that have come forward and made allegations. I think we should point out the defense's case, Don. The defense is trying to undermine the credibility of Constant. They have gone after her on her private deposition testimony. They have gone after her on the statements she gave to the police the year after this incident. So they are going to keep hammering away at her testimony trying to poke holes in it to say she is not a credible and are reliable witness.

LEMON: Innocent until proven guilty. But can you imagine seeing America's TV dad going to prison? Wow.

MARTIN: Pretty incredible.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you all. See you tomorrow night.