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President Trump Admitting in a Tweet That He is Under Investigation; Bill Cosby's Case Deadlocked for the Fifth Day; Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 16, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:43] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, temper is rising inside the justice department tonight.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Sources telling CNN that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and the Russia investigation are at the center of the friction. We will explain why in a moment.

President Trump admitting in a tweet that he is under investigation but once again slamming the Russia probe as a witch hunt.

And they have been at it since five days now - for about five days now, but jurors deliberating the case against comedian Bill Cosby unable to reach a verdict. They are back at it in the morning. And we are outside the courthouse for you in this broadcast.

Lot to get to this hour. Ahead, I want to begin with CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde, Michael Isikoff, the chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News and CNN political commentator David Swerdlick.

Gentlemen, good evening.

David Rohde, I'm going to start with you. Evan Perez reporting tonight that tension is building inside the justice department with a lot of people feeling like it wasn't necessary for deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to bring you special investigate Mueller, at least not yet. There's also a question on whether he has to recuse himself on this. What is your take on this?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think it is a sign that, you know, Trump's effort to pressure Rosenstein is working. If Rosenstein recuses himself or resigns it goes to the number three official in the department. Kelly Brand I believe is her name, and there's a view that she is maybe more malleable. That she will maybe try to shrink the scope of the Russia investigation.

LEMON: How much further can we go down the chain at the justice department?

ROHDE: There aren't a lot of people left. LEMON: Because that's a serious yes.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Right, yes. I mean, look, of the Trump nominated, confirmed people at the justice department, Jeff Sessions is recused, it is Rod Rosenstein, it is Rachel Brand and I think the solicitor general, that's it.

But look, the Rosenstein recusal, I'm not sure how -- why that would make any difference at all. Mueller is the guy in-charge of this investigation. It is true that Mueller ultimately reports to Rosenstein. But the whole point of the special counsel regulation - I mean, is that he is supposed to be independent and operate on its own. And that is historically the way it's been.

LEMON: What if he fires him? There's no one --

ROHDE: Well, if Trump fires Mueller, yes, but then he will have to face the political consequences of that which will be enormous. But the idea that getting rid of Rosenstein is going to affect Mueller, it is hard to follow the logic of that.

LEMON: OK. So David Swerdlick, did you want to weigh in on that?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think Michael is right. Look. All of these officials risk getting embroiled in this the same way that director Comey did, in the way that deputy acting attorney general Sally Yates did, unless they get fired which seems to me like in a sense if you are Rod Rosenstein would almost be merciful at this point. Because if he's not fired, then he either has to recuse himself or partially recuse himself or maybe explain why he isn't recusing himself or be a recused deputy AG like attorney general Sessions is right now, sort of half on the sidelines and half not or basically do the bidding of the President as far as this goes.

Rosenstein, I think if you go back to his May 9th memo where he outlined reasons why director Comey was ineffective for the FBI, he still is operating under this cloud, not because of anything about his own integrity but because he prepared a document for the President which was then used as a pretext to get rid of Comey only to have that pretext overturned by the President himself. It is a mess. It is a mess, Don.

LEMON: OK. I need a graph and I need you to draw lines. I mean seriously, I mean, David Rohde, every day I look at this, I get the updates. I read the papers and I'm like is this actually happening? And if you are someone at home and you are just sort of following along, you know, not as closely as we do here in the news, I'm sure it is very confusing. And in some ways people may tune out because they may just be like I have no idea, there's so much happening.

ROHDE: And that's where this messaging that it is a witch hunt, there's nothing there. And I think if you push Rosenstein behind and if the number three official were to fire Mueller, you know, the narrative is that Mueller is bias. He wanted to be the FBI director. He didn't get the job and then he becomes the special counsel, you know, and then Rosenstein is conflicted. You know, the narrative I would think at least to his base is getting through, that there is no merit to this investigation.

[23:05:20] LEMON: But won't people understand that just because he is maybe he didn't get the job, I don't know if he is upset or not, but he doesn't appoint himself as a special counsel, someone who is under Donald Trump, the President actually appointed him? So that makes --

ROHDE: Bit it is all the deep state. It is all the deep state and that could work for him.

LEMON: Can I ask you guys and this about John Dowd. The President adding John Dowd to his legal team, a well-known D.C. based attorney.

ISIKOFF: Yes, I do, and he is well-respected.

LEMON: What does it tell you?

ISIKOFF: He has been around a while. He needs the help. I mean, look. Marc Kasowitz, his main lawyer, is not an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer. He's a New York civil litigator who has had very little, if any, experience in this kind of arena, dealing with the politics of congressional investigations and the intricacies of a criminal, a major justice department criminal investigation.

It is worth remembering, remember, that the President couldn't get his -- you know, he approached four top criminal defense lawyers in Washington and was all turned down because they didn't want to work for him.



LEMON: They felt that their -- they or their firms may be tarnished by --

ISIKOFF: That was one of the factors, and also the question of whether he would listen.


David Swerdlick, let's talk about this. Let's dig in a little bit more with what David Rohde was talking about, the messaging of the president. Because he went on and had another round of tweets from that potentially don't help his case today. And here is latest when he says I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director! Witch hunt. I mean does this help or hurt? I mean legally it doesn't help him.

SWERDLICK: No, legally it doesn't help. I think David Rohde is right that this does help the President send a message over the heads of us in the media to his base that he is fighting, that what the narrative this coming out of mainstream media is sort of fake news or whatever, witch hunt, whatever tag line he wants to put on it. LEMON: But he is confirming he is under investigation in the tweet.

SWERDLICK: You are right. Well, that's the other part of this. He is confirming that he is under investigation or at least from his perspective he is under investigation. I decided today that I'm not going to go too far into trying to psycho analyze what the President is really trying to communicate with each tweet and just take it at face value. But the problem for the President with the tweets is that even though he is communicating to his base, he is also digging a deeper hole --

LEMON: Right.

SWERDLICK: -- whereby the entire legal establishment has to dig in further and further on all of these issues and he is only reaching his base. And Don, the other thing is that he is undercutting the message that he put out in the campaign that he would hire the best people. He hired Rod Rosenstein. He was the best business manager. He was the best CEO. But he is managing sort of semi chaos right now. That message is --

ISIKOFF: He is also contradicting himself. Remember, he told Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

LEMON: That he was going to fire him regardless of what Rosenstein is going to say.

ISIKOFF: That's right. And he told the Russian foreign minister the same thing. So he is going back to the original story that the White House put out which they then contradicted or took back a day or two later after Trump gave the interview. So it is bizarre that the President by tweeting is contradicting his own words.


ROHDE: And it is a pattern where he is creating legal problems for himself. You know, he tweeted that this was a Muslim ban. That undermines, you know, his defense of his defense of his, you know.

LEMON: David, can I ask you though, after a while -- and I speak to Trump supporters, they will come up and talk to me and there are some, you know, who will say, nothing has happened. We are not getting the tax cuts. I have a business. I'm becoming worried about that, everything is defensive, everyone is out to get him. They don't think that everyone is out to get him. Most rational people don't think that everyone is out to get the President. And if they supported him they are wondering where the things that I want. He is looking out for himself and not necessarily looking out for me. How long before they say, all right, I'm done?

ROHDE: Well, you can see the numbers are sort of -- his core supporters and the enthusiasm of their support is sort of dropping and he barely won this election, it was by a very, very narrow margin. So if there is just a higher Democratic turnout in the Midterms that could really harm him. But I guess I just don't want us to underestimate the potential effectiveness of this messaging. It is bad for our institutions. It is making everyone cynical about law enforcement, you know, all of these really important, crucial things to our country, but people might believe it.

[23:10:02] LEMON: We are going to talk more about this. That has to be the last word.

Because up next, what do his supporters think about all of this. We are going to talk about that when we come back.


[23:13:16] LEMON: President making a stunning admission today, announcing in a tweet that he is under investigation in the Russia probe.

Let's discuss now Sirius XM radio host and birthday boy Joe Madison is here. CNN contributor Selena Zito and syndicated talk radio host John Fredericks here as well.

Happy birthday, 29 I think you are.

JOE MADISON, RADIO HOST, SIRIUS XM: Well, no, 39. A little younger than you.

LEMON: OK, great. Yes, I wish.

So John, we are going to get to you. Another round of tweets today from the President. And you can put it up, admitting he is under investigation, calling it a witch hunt. You talked to a lot of supporters. Are they concerned about the widening investigation or not?

JOHN FREDERICKS, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO HOST: Well, look. Let's calling it for what it is and stop the nonsense, Don. By the way, Joe, happy birthday.

MADISON: Thank you, John.

FREDERICKS: This is a soviet style inquisition against the President with one objective, get him out of office. Remove him from office. In some way it is like the Malcolm X strategy, by any means possible.

LEMON: Necessary.

FREDERICKS: Make him resign, make him quit, fatigue him, by any means necessary. Fatigue him, get him out of there, impeach him. I mean this inquisition by Robert Mueller, who has all of this power with unchecked power, unchecked resources, hiring now Clinton era big-time lawyers who were big-time Clinton donors to do what? There is no evidence of anything. There is no evidence of any crime. No collusion. No obstruction of justice. No nothing and yet we have this ongoing, crazy investigation against this President who is objective is to remove him from office and is not going to work.

LEMON: We don't have the evidence. We don't know what's there so we don't know if there's any evidence. FREDERICKS: Because there is no evidence, don.

LEMON: John, we don't know that, OK. There could be nothing there. But to say it for sure is not the truth.

[23:15:03] FREDERICKS: Well, there's nothing there today.

LEMON: Go ahead, Joe Madison. What do your listeners think? What do your listeners think?

MADISON: Well, what I think is Malcolm X just rolled over in his grave to hear John try to equate and put in context what he was saying. Look, you said it. First of all, I am amazed with how two weeks ago Mueller was the cat's meow. He was the most qualified person. The vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle thought so. And the reality is that it is an investigation.

Clearly, prosecutors think something is there to look at, and that's exactly -- so I think we ought to just calm down. Let's see what Mueller comes up with. He may come up with nothing. But the reality is these are seasoned prosecutors, law enforcement officers. They are qualified. They are looking at it. And we will know at some point when we come back on this show whether they have something or not, but it is irresponsible to say this is a witch hunt.

LEMON: All right. Salena, you interview a lot of people who support the President Trump country as we call it. The fact that he is admitting that he is under investigation, that you know, he has hired an attorney, that Mueller is hiring more investigators, is that concerning to them at all? What do they think?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, the voters I talk to -- and I try to focus a lot on people who voted for Obama twice and then voted for Trump because it is an interesting new coalition.

And for now, you know, these voters, they look at him as this sort of creature that is getting things done and he is disrupting the system, and they look at the processes around him. And, you know, some of them sort of understand that he has gotten himself into some of this trouble on his own, mainly through his tweets. But they also believe that at the end of the day that he is going -- there's no there there. And that as long as they see him doing things like, you know, I was just in a coal mine in western Pennsylvania. Seventy jobs were there that were created. Most of these jobs pay between $50,000 and $100,000.

So in an area where the median income is 29.9 percent or, you know, $29,000, you know, this makes his supporters happy. And they sort of tune out the other things that are going on. They think that's sort of Washington politics, sort of part of Washington partisism (ph). And there is also a portion of them that understand that he has gotten himself in a little bit of his own trouble through his way of communicating and that's through tweeting.

LEMON: And John, listen. The twitter storm today is a sign that he is -- this is what a White House official said, that he is taking matters into his own hands and that he thinks he is the best person to deliver his message. I mean, to Salena's point, and I hear it from Trump supporters as well, like just stop it with the tweets. But is he right? Do you think he is his own best messenger when it comes to tweeting stuff out?

FREDERICKS: His followers believe in his message, his agenda, why he ran for President and what he is attempting to do. They also see this as a beyond-the-pale major effort by Washington D.C. elites who --

LEMON: No doubt. Listen to me, you have established -- the question was specifically about taking the message into his own hand in his tweeting.

FREDERICKS: I think he has to do that. I think right now he has to do that. He knows he is innocent. He knows he didn't do anything. He knows that he is being railroaded. And we have to just be honest with ourselves.

LEMON: Can I ask you something, John?

FREDERICKS: This is an attempt to remove him from office.

LEMON: Let me ask you a question.

FREDERICKS: For no reason.

LEMON: You said that a number of times. OK. So you said that.

FREDERICKS: Thank you.

LEMON: If you were in trouble or being investigated and you hired the best attorneys possible that you could hire and their advice to you was to shut up and stop talking --

MADISON: I would shut up.

LEMON: So, John, what would you do?

FREDERICKS: If I was advising President Trump right now, if I was in the White House, I would tell him to keep tweeting.

LEMON: That wasn't my question though.

FREDERICKS: Keep Facebooking.

LEMON: I didn't ask if you were advising him. I said if you were his attorneys. If you were under investigation and your attorneys were telling you -- take Donald Trump out of it. Your attorneys were telling you, John Fredericks, shut up, stop tweeting, stop talking, what would you do?

FREDERICKS: If I was John Fredericks, radio talk show host, I would shut up because I don't have the resources or the power. If I was the President of the United States, Donald Trump, I would continue to do exactly what he is doing, because without that he can't get the truth out because the mainstream media is never going to give this guy a fair shot or a break or anything else.

[23:20:06] LEMON: OK. So what you are saying in that is that the truth lies in the message and not with the law and the evidence. Is that what you are saying?

FREDERICKS: Well, there is no evidence of any wrong doing.

LEMON: So then if --


LEMON: OK. So if there's no evidence --.

FREDERICKS: It is an attempt to get him out of office.

LEMON: If there is no evidence and he is innocent, then how does that make sense? If there's no evidence.

FREDERICKS: It makes sense for him --

LEMON: -- he will be found innocent and everyone will move on. So then how does it make sense, what you're saying then, the only way he is going to get the truth out is through his messaging.

FREDERICKS: Are you kidding me, Don?

LEMON: Not going to get the truth out by having the investigation come to an end -- no, I wouldn't be asking the question if I was kidding you.

FREDERICKS: OK Don, this investigation is going to go on for what, 18 months, 20 months, 17 months? He can't get anything done. The only way that he can get through this mammoth investigation with all of these lawyers in search of a crime is for him to get his message out directly to the American people, which is this. I have done nothing wrong. This is an inquisition. A soviet-style way of trying to get rid of me and trying to railroad me out of office.

LEMON: OK. All right. I have got to take a break.

FREDERICKS: They want to wear us down so I would keep doing exactly what he's doing. I wouldn't change a thing.

LEMON: With the Russia investigation, that's just me, I wouldn't keep doing it but it is just me. But we will back are we will talk about it on the other side of the break.


[23:25:40] LEMON: All right. The panel is back.

Joe Madison, what do you think about the messaging? I was asking him about -- John says the best way for the President to get his message out is to ignore what his attorneys and advisers are saying.

MADISON: That's a foolish position to take. And any good attorney listening to this show will tell you that. Then you protest too much also. The other thing that you have to keep in mind, everybody who starts to investigate just to find out what the truth is, they seem to get fired, and we know that for a fact.

Now, and then the final point that I will make and with all due respect to John, I want this audience to understand. John doesn't know any more than any of us sitting here. That's the reality. Let the prosecutors do their thing. And then at some point, and I have said this before, we will know what the truth is. But let's not pretend sitting up here on a TV set that somehow we have inside information that this is some kind of soviet style. Let's find out what's out there. Let the investigators do their job.

LEMON: OK. Two years ago today, let's play it, the President, or he was a candidate then, candidate Donald Trump, a real estate mogul, rode down that escalator at the tower -- to trump tower to announce his candidacy. Did you ever think we would end up here? First Joe.

MADISON: That was my birthday. My goodness. No. But, you know, I think it is symbolic, he is going down.

LEMON: Wow. That was -- OK.

John, did you ever -- you thought -- did you think we would end up here or were you -- you weren't on the Trump train early on, were you?

FREDERICKS: Me? I was the first one on in the United States. I was there that day broadcasting live when he came down the elevator. I was the first media person in America to predict he was going to win and to back his candidacy back when he was at 1 percent. So I thought he was going to win. I didn't think we would be in this position right now with the inquisition obviously.

LEMON: So, listen, Salena, you covered the Trump campaign extensively. You predicted Trump would win when many people didn't think it was possible. And I'm sure you remember on this show when I said, listen, people are telling me they like him. I think it is possible they are underestimating him. What is your take two years later on this? How do you stand on this?

ZITO: Well, I understood by July of 2016 that it was going to happen. I drove from the Republican convention to the -- in Cleveland to Philadelphia on a back road, and that -- between those two states, right, these two very critically important states, and I saw the major enthusiasm -- I'm not talking about regular signs. I'm talking about things, you know, hand-painted signs.

LEMON: When you start to see homemade signs, then you realize just how passionate people are.

ZITO: Really, yes. That takes a lot of extra effort to do that, right? I mean that takes a lot of passion. And that was a sign to me that something different was going on and that we needed to pay attention more.

LEMON: Yes. Yes. I agree. So, John, the President made a lot of promises on the campaign trail

that he hasn't implemented as President. For example, today his administration announced continuing the policy that grants a reprieve to so-called dreamers, people who arrived here in the U.S. as children. As a candidate the President said that he would end this policy. I want you to take a listen and then we will discuss.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We talk about the dreamers, we talk about illegal immigrants who, by the way, are treated better than our vets. You know, our vets are incredible.

Where is the sanctuary for American children? Where is that sanctuary? The dreamers, we never talk about are the young Americans. Why aren't young Americans dreamers also? I want my dreamers to be young Americans.


LEMON: John, you were the Virginia co-chair. Do your listeners or do you see this as a broken promise?

FREDERICKS: Yes. It is very simple. He made promises. He needs to follow through on them. This is one where he is hedging his bet. Not good. And he needs to rethink it. He just allowed general Mattis to put another 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. He campaign to get out of thinks Middle Eastern wars. There's no AMUF from Congress. There's no declaration of war. There's no authorization for these troops. So he has got those two promises this week broken, and he has got to address that and deal with it. If you say you are going to get out of the Middle Eastern wars, I don't think it means putting another 4,000 troops in Afghanistan.

[23:30:36] LEMON: Joe, less than 30 seconds. Go ahead.

MADISON: Well, only thing I can say is that I don't think that Donald Trump is expanding his base. That's reality and that's what he really has to do and he's not taking advice from me. And if he is not careful, he is going to shrink his base because he is kicking a lot of his supporters like with health care under the bus, under the bus. Chamber of commerce, under the bus.

LEMON: I have to go. Happy birthday again. And thank you all. I appreciate it.

MADISON: And thank you.

LEMON: Yes. When we come back, still no verdict. The jury deciding Bill Cosby's case deadlocked for the fifth day. We will go to the courthouse next.


[23:35:11] LEMON: They have been deliberating for five days and have requested answers to questions. The jurors in Bill Cosby's trial have not come to a unanimous decision on the three charges against the legendary comedian and they're done for the night.

CNN's Jean Casarez has more for us now.

Jean, hello. You are at the courthouse where jurors went home. What happened tonight?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all they are going to be back at 9:00 tomorrow morning. So they have just got basically a few hours of sleep.

Don, the jury has been deliberating at this point 52 1/2 hours. And the defense just made another motion for mistrial, saying the duration of the deliberations, the length of the days, the read backs that are continual at this point, that enough is enough and that jurors are finally going to compromise their values just to get out of here.

The judge fired back and he said there is no case law precedent. The jury is deliberating. They are trying to reach a verdict. We have to let them continue. The prosecution did not join in that request for a mistrial, so, Don, tomorrow is a new day.

LEMON: Jean, Bill Cosby spoke tonight as well. What did he say?

CASAREZ: Well, this is a big moment because Bill Cosby does not speak but he did tonight. Listen to what he had to say.


BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: I just -- I just want to wish all of the fathers a happy father's day. And I want to thank the jury for their long days and their honest work individually. I also want to thank the supporters who have been here. And, please, to the supporters, stay calm. Do not argue with people. Just keep up the great support.


COSBY: Thank you all.


CASAREZ: And there have been some moments where alleged victims, the accusers have verbally gotten into it with Bill Cosby supporters. But, Don, all is calm and tomorrow is a brand-new day here in Montgomery County at the courthouse.

LEMON: Get some rest because you will be covering it all. Thank you, Jean Casarez. I appreciate it.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

LEMON: I want to bring in now attorney Gloria Allred.

Hello Gloria, thank you so much for coming on.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Hi, Don. Thank you. LEMON: These jurors are been deliberating over 51 hours now. They

have been asked a dozen questions and they wanted to rehear several parts of the testimony. What do think of that?

ALLRED: And the defense is objecting and objecting again and suggesting there should be a mistrial and the defense has done it numerous times. And the court has indicated, look, they are in active deliberations. Proof of that is they are asking numerous questions. And so he said provide me with a case where I should essentially interrupt the jury deliberations when they are conducting them. It does not appear to be that there is any case that would stand for that proposition, and so the jury is going to return tomorrow early, 9:00 a.m.

LEMON: All right. Well, let's talk about some of the questions they asked because three questions had to do with reviewing what Bill Cosby said and another two are about the testimony of one of the accusers, Andrea Constand. The jury has also asked the court to define a phrase in one of the charges. They wanted to know what "reasonable doubt" meant. From a legal perspective, what does it tell you?

ALLRED: Well, it is not unusual for juries to seek the court's advice and direction on defining what reasonable doubt is. But higher courts have always indicated exactly what a court should say when posed the question by a jury, please help us understand what reasonable doubt is.

I think tonight was also very interesting. I just left the courtroom a few minutes ago and the jury had asked yet another question, which is they wanted to hear a read back of the testimony of Andrea Constand's brother-in-law who was the one who told her to go to the police in the first place. He was at the time, Don, a police officer himself in Canada. And when he heard from his sister -- excuse me, from his wife who is Andrea's sister that she alleged she was sexually assaulted, he advised her to go to the police. He meant where the incident occurred. She ultimately went to the Canadian police and then he accompanied her down to Pennsylvania to speak ultimately with those -- the police down here.

So that was interesting testimony. And he told her to tell the truth. And, you know, I have every reason to believe she did. We will have to see what the jury decides.

[23:40:10] LEMON: Let's talk about the jury, Gloria. We know the jury is made up of seven men, six white, one black, five women, four white, one black. What do you think is keeping them from reaching a decision? Do you think it has to do with ethnicity, gender, or they are just going back and forth about the case?

ALLRED: Well, they keep asking for the read backs of testimony. And they also asked to see some telephone records today. And so, you know, it's been a trial that's had a great deal of testimony and perhaps they are asking for read backs of certain testimony because they can't recollect exactly what it was. And so that's why they've asked for Mr. Cosby's admissions under oath, which they don't know but we know is from his testimony in the civil lawsuit that Andrea Constand had filed against him.

They asked for the read back about the Quaaludes that in that civil lawsuit deposition he admitted to giving Quaaludes, providing them to young women with the intent to have sex with them. And so they want to know what all of this testimony is. Maybe some of the jurors are using it to have a healthy debate with other jurors who have a different point of view than they do, to try to persuade them to come over to their side to vote, because we know there has to be a unanimous verdict, unanimous for a conviction, unanimous for acquittal.

LEMON: Yes. Or just to understand, make sure they understand what's going on.

But I have to ask you, Gloria, you represent a number of clients. You have been talking to them I'm sure. What are they saying about this?

ALLRED: Yes, I represent 33 accusers of Mr. Cosby. You know, one of my clients is at the courthouse this evening, but I have also been chatting with some of the other accusers. Everybody is really on edge. It is difficult to go through this very long 12, 14-hour days. And, you know, they think it shouldn't be that difficult for the jury to reach a decision but they do understand that this jury is working really hard. They like the fact that they are asking for testimony so that they can better understand what verdict they should reach and make an informed decision as to how they should vote on the jury.

LEMON: Hey Gloria, in the short time we have left I want to get your reaction to Cosby thanking his supporters and tweeting out the photo montage. What do you think of that?

ALLRED: I haven't seen the photo montage. Today I think the public has been singing a different tune. Maybe learned from what I said yesterday which was respect the jury. They can deliberate as long as they need to deliberate.

LEMON: Right.

ALLRED: And there's nothing special that's going to be done because Mr. Cosby is a celebrity.

LEMON: Gloria Allred, thank you very much.

ALLRED: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, an amazing new CNN report showcasing people changing the world. I'm going to tell you about a charity I think is doing incredible things.


[23:47:18] LEMON: All this week CNN is running a special series called "Champions for Change" featuring charities we think are doing spectacular work. I chose Runway to Hope. It is founded by Mark and Josie NeJame of Orlando, Florida. Runway is dedicated to raising money to help fight pediatric cancer is

a very special way. They bring together thousands of people in the community for a fashion show starring the children. Pediatric cancer is particularly tragic because it attacks the most vulnerable and innocent, but I learned that these kids aren't victims, they're fighters no matter what their age.


LEMON (voice-over): At three years old, it's hard to imagine anyone more innocent than Elena.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is so full of life. She is a talker. She doesn't ever stop talking even when it was the worst, you know. She is always smiling.

LEMON: Elena's mom, Jenny, is a pediatric nurse.


LEMON: She and her husband, Ron, started noticing bruises on Elena, it became alarm on a family vacation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She bumped into a wall and immediately her head just went black and blue like within 30 seconds. And he has gone to take her to the doctor. And they drew her blood and he looked at the slide and he said, I don't have to tell you what this is. You know that this is leukemia. So she gets chemo every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to give you some juice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She also have I.V. chemo once a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times as a parent and a mom and a dad, your first concern is like what can I do to fix it? And there's nothing I could have done.

LEMON: But Mark and Josie NeJame decided there was something they could do. Seven years ago they launched Runway to hope, a charity that raises money for pediatric cancer, for research, new technologies and to help families with needed cash.

MARK NEJAME, CO-FOUNDER, RUNWAY TO HOPE: You can't appreciate what they go through until you see it. And then you still are not experiencing it. So you do the best you can to empathize. So many families are in economic chaos anyway. It is hard to balance their budgets and their checkbooks and their bank accounts all that. And so, it really the dynamics are just something you never really can imagine until you see it and experience it. And that's why the dollars do make a difference.

LEMON: One of the scariest things about childhood cancer it's so random. One day you are learning to walk.


LEMON: The next, you are fighting for your life.

I met Grayson (INAUDIBLE) at Florida hospital when he came in for radiation treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the guys.

LEMON: He has his own You Tube channel, loves video games and most of all baseball. His cancer came out of nowhere.

[23:50:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like mom there is a giant lump on my neck the lump of the size of a golf ball. And she is like my goodness. So we went to the ER. And they said, hey, you have Hodgkin's type of lymphoma type of cancer. My mom and dad -- it was a big shock for me because I thought, oh my, this is not good.

LEMON: Grayson taught me a lot about friendship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friend Kaden when I go to his house he makes me smile every day. He is just the best friend I could ever have.

LEMON: Wow. That makes you -- you love him, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is just the best.

LEMON: You are a pretty cool kid, man. Thank you. You all right?


LEMON: He is dealing with this awful thing. And what he cherished the most in life was friendship. I really sort of touched my soul in a way because all he wants is just a friend. He wants human contact. And I became his friend in that moment.

Grayson just celebrated his last radiation treatment.

But survivors always fear the cancer could come back. That's what happened to Hannah Harger. She was diagnosed with well many tumor, a kidney cancer, when she was just 21 months old. Then eight years later, she relapsed. News from Hannah's doctor hit hard.

ELIZABETH HARGER, HANNAH'S MOTHER: I remember her talking to me and not hearing a word she said. The mouth is moving. I see the motions and not connecting the two. And they repeated. It's back. And at that point I was on the ground, literally on the ground.

LEMON: But as powerful and deadly as cancer can be, no one gives up without a fight.

HARGER: You have two minutes to cry, two minutes to feel sorry for yourself, and then you have no time but to get to your child, explain it, wrap your arms around them. And then it's game on.

LEMON: Game on.


LEMON: Hannah finished her chemo and is waiting for the first scan.

HANNAH HARGER, PATIENT: I feel great because all my energy is back and I can just run around and play.

M. NEJAME: We talk about the kids and parents being warriors.

LEMON: Each year runway brings together local leaders and celebrities for a fashion show starring the children.

M. NEJAME: We do over a million dollars a night with the big event and we have over 160 kids walking the runway tonight and we will have about 2400 guests.


LEMON: The millions rains raised by Runway have helped Orlando's three pediatric hospitals fund a brain tumor program, end of life care and new on pediatric college, even direct aide to struggling families to help with monthly bills.

JOSIE NEJAME, CO-FOUNDER, RUNWAY TO HOPE: Every day working people just, you know, living our lives and then cancer happen. And all of the sudden there is all these bills and there not enough money. And what do you do because your sole purpose is to take care of your child.

LEMON: To the children Runway to Hope is a chance to party, to put on fancy clothes, get their hair and makeup done and to do what makes them happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it up for Avery.

LEMON: This is the Runway to Hope where they all get on stage and they walk the runway and strut their stuff. And you can just see like their confidence building, like they get closer and closer to the stage. Once they get out there they get all excited.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up next, our friend and fellow cohost, Don Lemon, anchor of CNN TONIGHT. He is walking Grayson and Hannah.

LEMON: It's amazing to witness. And I know we throw around the phrase this is life changing and life altering, but it really is. These kids really are literally fighting for their lives and yet they are so happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Elena, who is three years old, she is also is known as Lady Bug.

LEMON: The question I ask myself at the end of the night was what did the children teach me? I think I learned from them to be positive. At the end of the day no moment is promised to anybody. Live your life, enjoy every single moment. Be present and in that presence, be happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was awesome.


LEMON: On the next "Champion's for Change, learn about the cause closest to Michaela Feirrera's heart tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. on CNN and to see more from our anchors, go to for change.

Plus, don't miss our one-hour "Champions for Change" special. It is hosted by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It is tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern. It features highlights from the week. "Champions for Change" is brought to you by Charles Schwab.

We will be right back.


[23:59:16] LEMON: In the United States, more than 100,000 children live in homeless shelters. This week's CNN Hero was teaching at a school near Baltimore and noticed a toll that shelter life was taking on some of her students so she went to help. Meet Jennifer Cox.


JENNIFER COXX, CNN HERO: Kids are never going to learn in school. They are never going to be successful if they don't feel good about who they are. (INAUDIBLE). Children don't have a lot of space in shelter life to truly be kids. They are experiencing very stressful and turbulent situations.

What we are going to learn here today.

The best way to better the situation is to offer them opportunities to feel empowered.


LEMON: To see how Jennifer Cox is helping kids in Shelters Create a path to a brighter future, go to And while you are there nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN hero.

That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching.