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Analysts Examined Russia Practice of Obtaining Compromising Information on Public Figures; Analyst Examines Leftwing Media Sources of Fake News; Roger Waters' Tour Includes Anti-Trump Political Imagery and Messaging; Analyst Examines Trend of Adult Children Living With Parents in Large Numbers. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 15, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:26] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

It's all about junior. Too good to be true, or a Russian plan to trap him? I want to take a deeper look at the Trump Jr. emails about a meeting with a Russian emissary promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Plus, when Barack Obama was in office, the rightwing media lost its collective mind. But now that Trump is president, is the leftwing guilty of the exact same thing?

And Roger Waters is on tour this summer, giving fans Pink Floyd classics and his unique blend of anti-Trump imagery and rhetoric. Do his fans enjoy it, or do they want him to shut up and sing?

And they've graduated from college, but now they're back home living with their parents in record numbers. Is this boomerang generation actually a good thing?

But first, we learned a great deal this week pertinent to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In a succession of stories, "The New York Times" reported on a not previously revealed June 9 meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer attended by Donald Trump Jr., campaign chair Paul Manafort, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

By the end of the week, another development. Others in attendance included a Russian-American lobbyist and former soviet military officer. I want to drill down on the emails that gave rise to that meeting. Maybe we hadn't known about the meeting nor the email trail that preceded it. But arguably Russia did. And the Russians would have understood the significance, namely the lack of a required disclosure by Kushner and the problem the email alone could present for Donald Trump Jr. In other words, it's similar to Michael Flynn not initially revealing that he had met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite telling the vice president otherwise.

Kushner's lack of disclosure and Trump Jr.'s email chain at a minimum put them in an embarrassing position, but also could have provided Russia with great leverage, knowledge of something damning but not yet revealed to the American people.

Also, those emails are a trial lawyer's dream, suitable for marking as exhibits and highlighting the contents. For example, Rob Goldstone wrote to Donald Jr. on June the 3rd at 10:36 a.m., he offered to provide the Trump campaign with, quote, "high-level and sensitive information" that would, quote, "incriminate Hillary" and was, quote, "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." How interested was Jr.? Well, it took him all of 17 minutes to reply. That's when at 10:53 a.m. he said, "If it's what you say I love it, especially later in the summer."

We don't know if he colluded, but surely he was game. And despite Trump Jr.'s initial claim that the focus was adoption, we also know that he invited Kushner and Manafort to attend. That always sounded far-fetched to me. Adoption was never mentioned in any of the emails. And why would an adoption meeting require the attendance of the triumvirate of Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner?

Four days later, after the initial email, Rob Goldstone referred to one of the participants as, quote, "the Russian government attorney," another red flag that went unheeded, or maybe it was welcomed. Again, it took less than an hour for junior to respond.

And then something else. Trump Jr. forwarded the email chain to Kushner and Manafort, the subject line reading "Russian, Clinton, private and confidential." So that means that they, too, would have known that this meeting was for the purpose of offering the Trump campaign that high-level and sensitive information able to incriminate Hillary as part of Russia and its government's support of Trump over Hillary.

I have to say that I also find it incredible that there were no follow-up emails regardless of the meeting outcome. And something occurs to me as I put it all together. It's almost too clean. Written evidence suggestive, not determinative, but suggestive of collusion addressed to someone named Donald Trump. And it all begs this thought, could the meeting itself have been a form of compromise? Was Trump Jr. duped? By taking the meeting he exposed himself, he exposed Manafort and Kushner to Russian leverage. The meeting should never have taken place. The Americans involved might not have known that, but the Russians surely did.

[10:05:01] Was the real purpose to document evidence of wrongful conduct and then put it in a file on each of these three Americans? The Russians are known for this aggressive use of compromising information, which they call kompromat. I've got the perfect guest to ask about my theory. Keith Darden is an American University political scientist who is writing a book on kompromat in the post-Soviet era. Have I seen too many movies, or is it plausible what I just outlined that this in and of was the kompromat?

KEITH DARDEN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It's entirely plausible. That's the standard mode of operation for the KGB. If they had material on someone that incriminated them or was morally compromising, something that would embarrass them publicly, they held that information until the time when it was perhaps useful to employ the person who was the object of that information in a way would suit the KGB. And they could come to that person and say, look, we have this information on you, it would be a shame if we had to release that. But we have these favors that we need to ask of you. We need you to spy on this neighbor. We need you to open a bank account in this name. We need you to recognize the annexation of Crimea. There are all sorts of things that an agent of influence of Russian intelligence could be asked to do. And this is the primary mode through which they would gain that agent's influence.

SMERCONISH: Professor, let's distinguish. Here in the states we speak of opposition research. Opposition research is not kompromat. Opposition research gets dropped. That's different than what you're describing.

DARDEN: Exactly. It's not held in reserve as a way to blackmail the object of that research. It comes out quickly. Journalists put it out right away because they want to get the scoop on the story. Lawyers don't sit on incriminating information. They bring it to trial. This is a very different thing. The KGB was not a law enforcement agency, nor was it providing a public service or providing information about people. It was holding that information so that it could blackmail large segments of the population into compliance.

SMERCONISH: Who is Yury Skuratov, and what is he Skuratov treatment?

DARDEN: Yury Skuratov was the former prosecutor-general of the Russian federation, so essentially their equivalent of the attorney general. And he was one of the people who was trying to take over to become the president of Russia following Boris Yeltsin. And he suddenly appeared in a video with two prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. This was publicized. And the person who recorded that information and who released it to the public was a man named Vladimir Putin, who we all know quite well now. So that was actually case where the information was not held in reserve, necessarily. In other words, it was used to destroy a political enemy to create the space for Putin to become president.

SMERCONISH: Is sex often the currency of kompromat?

DARDEN: Very often. So there's the honey trap, which is western businessmen or officials are enticed by a beautiful woman to a hotel room for an extramarital affair or, you know, two prostitutes in the case of Yury Skuratov. Anything that is morally compromising in addition to legally compromising is fair game. That's really what they're after.

SMERCONISH: Is it, is it a fair assumption that a western businessman, someone from the United States in particular, a business leader or a political leader who travels to Moscow should take as an article of faith that they will probably be subject -- and if they're at a certain level that they will probably be subject to some attempt at kompromat?

DARDEN: Absolutely. And the bigger fish will almost certainly be watched. So Trump was probably a big enough fish. His sons would also be big fish. And they might have even been monitored by their own business partners as a way to gain leverage over a deal. This is such a common practice over there, both for the government and in the private sector, that it's almost inconceivable that he was not observed and recorded in almost everything that he did privately.

SMERCONISH: I think we're both thinking of the, and I'll be the first to say it's never been documented, it's never been substantiated, but the dossier about which he was briefed and about which President Obama was briefed on his way out the door. We can't speak to the veracity of what's contained in that dossier, but what I hear you say with your expertise is that the Russians would have attempted the kompromat spoken in that file is reasonable to your way of thinking. Reasonable in the sense that yes, that's the sort of thing they do.

DARDEN: Absolutely. And they wouldn't have waited for it to happen by accident. In other words, they would have put women in the path to encourage that to happen.

[10:10:00] But the real compromising information is the conspiracy with the Russian government. And if that comes to light, and the Russians, if there was a conspiracy, the Russians are holding that information, as you pointed out earlier in the show, that's much more damaging than anything that anybody did with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.

SMERCONISH: Let me just wrap and say this -- I mean, with the whole issue of the demise of the career of Michael Flynn, Flynn hadn't disclosed the meeting with Kislyak. Who knew that? Kislyak knew that. So presumably that went in the Flynn file for kompromat, right?

DARDEN: That's right, and that's exactly when the U.S. government was most worried about. It was not so much what Flynn had talked about with Kislyak but the fact that he hid that information from the FBI and from his security clearance disclosures in a way that compromised him. That's why these meetings in Trump Tower are so damaging. Is this the tip of the iceberg? Are there a whole other host of meetings with the Russian -- with Russian government officials or proxies that are going to incriminate members of the Trump team or maybe even the president himself? If there are, the Russians know it and they can use it, and the Trump team knows it and they are subject to that influence because they do not want it to come to light.

SMERCONISH: I'm going to wrap myself in your curriculum vitae and take off my tinfoil hat. Professor, thank you so much for being here.


DARDEN: Thank you very much.

SMERCONISH: Tweet me @Smerconish or go to my Facebook page. Tell me what you think. I'll read some responses during the course of this hour of the program. What do we have, Katherine? "Smerconish, do the Trump fans who see Russia-gate as a nothing burger, what if put had wanted Hillary to win?" You know, Nancy, I'm increasingly of the opinion that maybe he favored Trump as opposed to Hillary, but the real objective is not to pick a horse in the American race but to do what he's succeeded in doing, which is to totally throw us off balance and off our game regardless of who won the election.

One more if we can do it quickly. "Smerconish, the funny part is both Trumps say it was only a short meeting. What if it's short -- what, if it's short, it's not a crime?" I get the point. T.R., can I say something to you quickly about this? Just think of our own experiences, our own lives, our own business meetings, you've got email, email, email that builds up to a meeting. And then the meeting occurs. What, there's no email after the fact, regardless of the outcome? It is incredible to me. I do not believe that after that June 9 meeting, whatever the result, the emails all stopped. How about like, hey, thanks for entertaining us at Trump Tower. At a minimum there had to be some of that.

Up ahead, while President Obama was in office, the alt-right media went haywire with conspiracy theories. Now with President Trump in charge, is the alt-left suffering from the same syndrome. And one of Donald Trump's most vocal critics is taking his show on the road this summer, and he's also performing a bunch of his Pink Floyd classics. In my exclusive interview with Roger Waters, I ask him whether this is what his fans most want to hear.


[10:17:21] SMERCONISH: Much had been said, including by me, about how rightwing conservative media from talk radio hosts to websites like Breitbart, once scoffed at by mainstream Republicans, eventually took over the party and delivered Donald Trump. Well, his election has spawned a proliferation of alternative leftwing media. McKay Coppins writes about this it movement in "The Atlantic" under the headline "How the left lost its mind," and he joins me now. Mckay, let's get this out of the way up front. False equivalence, you now that's what people will say. Respond to that.


MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes, that's right. I have heard a lot of that. And look, I'm not making an equivalence here. There's no question that the kind of alt-right and broader conservative media have way more influence in the Republican Party than this fringy liberal media universe does in the Democratic Party.

But what I wanted to document with this piece is that in the Trump era, as liberals have become stressed out and freaked out, this liberal media universe has become a lot more influential. And we've continued to see the proliferation of these liberal news media outlets, if you want to call them news outlets. They're not all trafficking in news. But they've got a lot more influential. I think it's important given what we've seen happen to the Republican Party, I think it's important to pay close attention to the trends in leftwing media and diagram it. That's kind of what I tried to do with this piece.

SMERCONISH: So on the right, I really think it was from the Clinton era onward you saw the real development of FOX News and you saw talk radio and you saw the personalities and you saw Drudge, and later you saw Breitbart, et cetera, et cetera. The left already has "The Nation," "The New Republic," "Mother Jones," "The Times" editorial page, MSNBC. But that's not what you're talking about. You're talking about the rise of other outlets. Identify some of them. As a matter of fact, let's talk about blogs and message boards initially.

COPPINS: Sure, yes. And that's an important point. These are not mainstream liberal news outlets. These are blogs like "The Palmer Report" is one of them, a very influential blog that kind of traffics in speculation and innuendo and straight-up conspiracy theories, often very vaguely sourced, anonymously sourced. And you know there are other ones like Shareblue which aspires to be the Breitbart of the left. And Louise Mensch, who is a former British politician, who has gained an incredible following on Twitter, and she has a blog called "Patribotics" I think it's called. I don't know how it's pronounced, exactly, but they traffic in conspiracy theories about Russia and Trump and will go way further than kind of the credible news outlets like the Atlantic and CNN will go.

[10:20:09] SMERCONISH: And I guess the point that needs to be made is that it might come from a conspiracy theorist via Twitter on the left the way that it has on the right. But there's, what do you call it, VIP validation that sometimes take place?

COPPINS: Right. That's the key thing here, because I bet a lot of your viewers are watching this and saying I'm a liberal and I've never heard of "The Palmer Report" or --


COPPINS: But in fact, the reality is, I document this in my story, there are very influential, important, prominent people, whether they're from academia or politics or, you know, they are authors or celebrities who will share these stories from the kind of liberal online fever swamps, and they'll share them on Twitter without saying I know for a fact this is true. But they'll sort of just pass them along credulously. In one remarkable case, Democratic Senator Ed Markey was giving an interview here on CNN and parroted something that he had read own "The Palmer Report." And then journalists followed up with him and he had to retract it and apologize. But the fact that a story that has no credible sourcing and has not been touched by any mainstream news organization is able to bubble up from the bowels of the Internet and arrive on the desk of a U.S. senator I think shows how influential they blogs and websites can be.

SMERCONISH: You also cite in your piece for "The Atlantic" a BuzzFeed analysis. Put these on the screen. Occupy Democrats, The Other 98 Percent, and Addicting Info, what did BuzzFeed find about their Facebook postings?

COPPINS: Yes. So the analysis that was done by BuzzFeed was in the final weeks of the presidential election, and they studied both rightwing and leftwing hyper-partisan Facebook pages. And among those three that you just mentioned, which taken together have millions of followers, one out of five, about 20 percent of the stories they posted were either partly or mostly false. And so -- and I will again, make the point of saying that the conservative Facebook pages that were the parallel had an even higher proportion of fake news. But consider that. One out of five stories posted is either partly or mostly false. So if you follow one of these Facebook pages, which is entirely plausible, you'll see this stuff pumped into your Facebook feed, you have to be very cautious about believing and sharing it because there's a good chance that it's not on the level.

SMERCONISH: Well, passion sells. I said prior to this campaign that the best thing for the alt-right universe, the best thing, would have been for Hillary to be elected because then to rally the opposition can attract ears and eyes and mouse clicks, so I completely understand. This is logical to me that now there's a cottage industry of the hardened left. Anyway, great, insightful piece. I'm sure you got a lot of blowback for writing it in "The Atlantic," but well done.

COPPINS: I appreciate it. There's been a little blowback.


SMERCONISH: I imagine. There will be more now, now that you've come on CNN to discuss it. Thank you, McKay Coppins.

Is it a rock concert or a political platform, or both? The summer tour by Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, contains lots of anti- Trump rhetoric and images. So how is it playing in the red states?


[10:27:46] SMERCONISH: There have already been intense culture wars over the presidency of Donald Trump. Kathy Griffin, the staging of Shakespeare in Central Park, even Stephen Colbert. But they all might pale in comparison to what has already attracted music fans all over the country. Roger Waters, a founding member and chief lyricist of the legendary Pink Floyd, is back on the road this summer. I've personally enjoyed his music for 40 years. His politics? Sometimes not. Waters has amped up the volume, turning one of the summer's biggest tours into one of the most political. Several portions of his Us and Them show are as much anti-Trump rally as they are a rock concert. Take a look.




SMERCONISH: His inflatable pig now has Donald Trump's face on the side, screens display doctored images of the president vomiting with Vladimir Putin present, a big baby depicted as Trump and Hitler. He's turned the '70s Pink Floyd Animals Orwellian classic "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" into a diatribe against the charade that he sees in the Trump White House. There's no debate about the impeccable quality of the sound or the production values of this Waters tour, but the vehemence of the message has taken some by surprise.

In New Orleans, a few fans left. And according to Waters, American Express pulled out of its $4 million sponsorship of the tour in America, although maintaining its commitment in Canada. In 2006, I myself was unsettled when watching him perform at Madison Square Garden, the famous Pink Floyd Pig circled over the crowd with a message about prisoner rights at Guantanamo Bay. Seated three miles from ground zero, I was in no mood for that just five years after 9/11. Fifteen years after 9/11 I had to admit that Waters had a point. But Waters is defiant in defense of his music and message, notwithstanding the way that politics has harmed other entertainers. Anybody remember the Dixie Chicks?

And just this week when I flew to Miami to interview him and watch his show, an old Waters' criticism surfaced, the charge of anti-Semitism. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation took out an ad in the "Miami Herald" protesting his appearance which read "Anti-Semitism and hatred are not welcome in Miami."

[10:30:09] Waters says his criticism are political. They're not religious. He has drawn ire as a supporter of Israel BDS, boycott, divestment, and sanctions. He has lobbied performers not to perform in Israel, and has regarded the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as apartheid. On this tour, however, his performance is silent on that issue, training his bass guitar instead on Donald Trump. But back in 2013 he had illustrated the inflatable pig with a Star of David alongside a dollar sign as well as a sickle and hammer.

I was invited to a Thursday night rehearsal in Miami to witness a dozen local teens from the Miami Beach parks summer program rehearse "Another Brick in the Wall" with Waters. But at the last minute, the city pulled the plug on their participation. In the end, other kids did perform the song, but not those who had been eagerly rehearsing. In the midst of that flare-up, backstage, I asked Roger Waters about those charges.


SMERCONISH: For my interview with you for CNN I've been flooded with Facebook comments that say why are you giving a platform to Roger Waters, the anti-Semite. To those people you say?

ROGER WATERS, CO-FOUNDER, PINK FLOYD: I'm not anti-Semite obviously. It's as plain as, you know, your face. I'm not. I've never done anything anti-Semitic. What I have done is become an activist to try -- this is what I said to these kids, right? An informed local official in an organized campaign of malicious propaganda, which it is. To call me an anti-Semite is malicious propaganda. It's because they want to silence my voice. I'm -- because my voice speaks in a nonviolent, loving resistance to the oppression of an oppressed people.


SMERCONISH: Now more of my exclusive sit-down with Roger Waters.



SMERCONISH: Let's talk about this, this leader that we've elected in the United States. Speak to the audience, tell them the mindset that you put into the presentation of "Pigs, (Three Different Ones)."

WATERS: We were running up to that election. And I did feel very strongly about it. And much as I disparage Hillary Clinton, and I do, I make no bones about it, and however big the questions are that I might have had with Obama and the past administration, Donald Trump? I watched this guy operating for the last 20 years.

SMERCONISH: Do you run the risk of helping him by going over the top?

WATERS: No, I don't think help or hindering, what we need to survive his presidency, because it's totally unpredictable. I don't think he knows what he's going to do from day to day.

SMERCONISH: I'm thinking of a few cultural touchstones recently. I'm thinking of the Kathy Griffin ISIS-inspired photograph that she tweeted. I'm thinking of the Caesar play in Central Park. And it occurs to me that it plays into his hand insofar as he gets to say look at these liberal entertainers and the liberal establishment, they're all against me. And insofar as the criticism is never ending, he's somewhat inoculated from it.

WATERS: Well, maybe. This is the responsibility that you and the mainstream media have is to not allow this to be taken as seriously as it is. I've sort of stopped watching all the talking heads about Russia-gate and this and that and the other because it seems to me largely irrelevant. There's a larger picture that we could maybe all be focusing on.

The problem is that entertainment has got mixed up with news a lot in this country. In consequence you got to keep -- I'm not pointing a finger at you. But in general, my general sense is that everything has to be entertaining. And in consequence, actually Donald Trump is great for the mainstream media because he's such a buffoon that he's totally --

SMERCONISH: Is there any line you won't cross, as you were putting together the tour?

WATERS: Of course, I would never be violent in any way. You know, my activism, such as it is, and my protest is always nonviolent.

SMERCONISH: Are you enjoying yourself on the tour?

WATERS: Yes. Yes, I am.

SMERCONISH: Is this the last go-round? You look great. But --

WATERS: I don't know if it is. Who knows? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know.

All of this political stuff that you've been asking me, it would be a lot easier to be on tour if I wasn't doing any of this, if I didn't have opinions.

[10:35:06] SMERCONISH: Right. Thank you. I appreciate you being so gracious with your time.

WATERS: Oh, Michael, I only wish we could sit here and talk about love more.


SMERCONISH: This week Waters will release a brand new video, "Wait for Her," which he and his band recorded the live portions of a few weeks ago in California. Here's a sneak peek of a little of it.




SMERCONISH: Let's check in on my Twitter and Facebook pages which I'm told are exploding with reaction to this interview. Go ahead, Katherine, what do you have? "Why are you pushing Roger's vile hate? You must agree." I made it crystal clear, Wayne, I've been a fan of the music for 40-plus years, not the politics. But it's a conversation to have. People are going out to see this all across the country, and the cultural divide is something that I always discuss here.

Next, what do we have? "I'm shocked with the lyrical content of Pink Floyd that anyone would be surprised that his message would be anti- Trump." Epic music, that's Roger's point. When I said to him that I was unsettled at Madison Square Garden, in 2006, seeing the pig speak of habeas corpus rights, his message pretty much to me was, well, you may is been listening to my music for many, many years, but you weren't paying close attention because there's a consistency to what he's been saying for all this time.

One more, if we have time for it. "Smerconish, I just woke up to this on my TV. This is great. The imagery of the concert footage is perfect, artistic and political." Lisa, who knows if people are waking up and watching and saying, this is the show I need to see. Or, holy smokes, I've got tickets for this show and I didn't know what was coming. Thanks for the reaction.

Next, more and more adult kids living at home with their parents, it's a 75-year high. And grandparents are moving in, too. Many say that it's a bad trend. But I'm about to talk to an expert who thinks it's a step in the right direction. Many parents calling into my Sirius XM radio program were definitely on the side of bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When my son was 16, he goes dad, when I'm 18 am I going to get a car? I was like, once you get a job. And 18 birthday you get a suitcase, a card, and a cake. Happy birthday, you're 18. Get out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people were laying around playing video games all day and nobody was doing anything to help. And so I kicked them out. I kicked the little bastards right out. I've got to do something. It's tough love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm more chauvinistic I think, because if my daughter wanted to move back and do like the previous, wanted to save money, I would let her do it. But my son, I'm giving her three months, he has to have a job and go pay rent.


[10:42:14] SMERCONISH: If you're watching this and your adult college grad is down in the basement, maybe sleeping in, you have a lot of company. According to census data, almost 40 percent of young adults ages 18-34 are bunking with mom and dad. And it's making a lot of news. "The New York Times" saying the boomerang kids won't leave. "The Wall Street Journal" proclaiming it's a 75-year high. How about "The Fiscal Times" fearing the kids aren't all right.

But is living in a household with grandparents, parents and kids really so terrible? Jonathan Coppage wrote on that subject for the "Washington Post." He's a senior visiting fellow at the free market think tank, R. Street Institute, and a contributing editor to "The American Conservative." So you say we're repeating a pattern that used to be the case.

JONATHAN COPPAGE, VISITING SENIOR FELLOW, R. STREET INSTITUTE: That's absolutely right. What's important to recognize is that people living with their families is not at all a new trend but rather the way that things used to be. We've taken to understanding ourselves through the lens of a very weird place in American history, which was the 1950s. But when you look at the greater sweep of our country's history, people lived with their parents as a norm. And parents then lived with their kids. What was important is that they contributed. And it's not a matter of fact that living at home means that you're dependent. You can still absolutely be productive, but can you take advantage of the familial support.

SMERCONISH: What accounts for this?

COPPAGE: So it's a really interesting trend. Some of this is delayed marriage. And part of this is that in the '60s we had the youngest marriage, age of first marriage in American history. And so we grew to expect that as the common pattern. And now we marry much later. And so we don't form independent households. And so we don't have a need for the younger people to acquire entire homes to themselves when they can be fiscally prudent by sharing the housing wealth of their parents.

SMERCONISH: Jonathan, I think there's a stigma, nevertheless, associated with it. Let me show you a quick snippet from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then I'll make my point. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If you're a senior, you know Medicaid, almost half of Medicaid is about long-term health care. You want grandma living in the guest room?


SMERCONISH: It's a pejorative the way she expresses it, right, grandma living in the guest room. Maybe grandma living in the guest room is a good thing. Grandma pitches in, she's with the grandkids, she loves those kids, she never gets to see them otherwise. I'm wondering what the stats with reveal if the negative headlines that I showed at the outset of the conversation weren't the case and more people were cool with the idea that, yes, junior is still living in the basement.

[10:45:03] COPPAGE: Yes, absolutely. And what is especially important for the grandma living in the guest room when Speaker Pelosi is talking about Medicaid and care, we've taken to solving the problem of family dissolution with a lot of spending, whether it's -- whether it's young people spending money on very expensive apartments, whether it's older people spending a lot of money on very expensive housing situations. When the, you know, the patterns of youth and aging are not new phenomena in human history. We have traditionally solved them by relying on each other. And that is -- comes at a cost that is free and allows us to provide mutual support.

SMERCONISH: One final subject, you referenced housing. The zoning laws of the country are not prepared for this trend. Explain.

COPPAGE: Exactly. So in the 1950s that very extraordinary time, we passed a lot of laws to try and build a lot of housing very quickly for the young people who were coming home from the war. The problem is that we built everything around this idea of one massive cohort of young people coming in, getting married, and settling down. And so what we did is lose the ability to build more flexible forms, such as an accessory dwelling unit, what was literally called the granny flat, the mother-in-law unit, and we have had zoning codes that make those almost impossible.

And it's not even just local codes. It's important to recognize that federal financing greatly shaped the formation of the American household and continues to today, whether it's main street's or whether it is accessory dwelling units and the ability to have the granny flat.

SMERCONISH: If granny is going to live in the basement, that will be fine. But if you want to build a tiny addition or maybe build out the garage, zoning might not allow it is your point. It's a really insightful piece, thank you for writing it.

COPPAGE: Thank you for having me.

SMERCONISH: That's Jonathan Coppage.

Still to come, your best and worst tweets, like this one -- "I do love my son, but I also really need a craft room." I hear you, molly. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:51:27] SMERCONISH: If you ever miss any of my program, you can catch us any time on CNN Go online and through your connected devices and apps, so thank you so much for not only watching, but the Twitter and Facebook reaction, which today has been off the charts.

Hit me with something, what have we got? "Smerconish, support for any part of the Trump agenda is inclusive of all he stands for. No cherry picking. You're a Trump man." Katherine, do you think Chaz is saying I'm a Trump man? Put that back up there for a second. He's saying that I'm -- put that back up. I got to see this. That's so odd. People hear and they see what they want to see. Stop trying to read my mind. Everything is in plain view. I'm an independent thinker. Some things I like, some things I don't like, and you don't have to read between the lines. That's me speaking, not Chaz.

What else. Hit me with another one. "Favorite part of the show for me, Smerconish, I have some dirt on Hillary. Sorry, I cannot talk to you. You are Russian. Really? Is that a logical reaction?" Andreas, wait it's more than that. Let me get the email out. Now you're challenging the chiefs. The email comes into Don Jr. June 3rd, 10:36 a.m. I've got information to incriminate Hillary. OK, I'm in the Trump campaign, I'm going to keep reading. It comes from a high- level and sensitive information. Huh, not sure what that means, but OK, I'll keep reading. And then "It's part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump." That's the point where you call the FBI. That's the point where you don't take the -- where you don't take the meeting.

And what I was saying at the outset is, and I don't think that this thought process has received the attention that it demands. Regardless of whether anything came from the meeting, the fact that this email precedes the meeting and that there's this gathering of the triumvirate of the leadership of the Trump campaign itself gave a form of kompromat to the Russians. That's something we haven't spent enough time analyzing. I don't really believe that Putin desperately wanted Trump, didn't want Hillary. He wants to screw with our system, and he succeeded.

One more. "Smerconish, President Trump, the only reason you have a job, someone to bash?" Yes, I've been in the business three decades, Gil, and I'm not here to bash. I'm here to call them as I see them. No is the answer to that question. It's so funny. Today's email and Facebook posts are what I get here on a regular basis, which are truly like half of the people who say you're carrying water for Trump, and the other half, what are you such a cheap artist against Trump?

Quickly, one more if I can do it. I think that I can. Quick comment on what it might be. "Dose of reality, alt-left is a false equivalence. You're denigrating the free press." Truth be told, no, I'm not. I'm saying keep an eye on a phenomena that McCay Coppins wrote about in "The Atlantic" where there's a whole cottage industry now that's going off the rails on the left the same way it's happened on the right. See that, as I told you, I call them as I see them. Before we go, importantly, we want to introduce to you a Los Angeles

man, hundreds of at-risk youth there reach out to him for help in finding the right path. They come from juvenile detention centers, from foster care. Many are high school dropouts. The man they connect with can relate because he's been there. His name is Harry Grammer and he is this week's CNN hero.


[10:55:02] HARRY GRAMMER, CNN HERO: The bottom line is everybody in this room, including myself, we've got a story to tell. You've got to tell the world about who you are. I want to see what you have inside of you that wants to come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to tell them your story. Going to tell them your struggles.

GRAMMER: We need to listen to our young people. We need to find out what it is that they're longing for. What they want.


SMERCONISH: To find out how Harry transforms the lives of these young people you can watch his story right now at And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN Hero.

Thank you so much for watching. Stay tuned.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. It's 11:00 on the east coast. Thanks so much for being with me this Saturday.

All right, back from France and back into crisis control. President Trump is spending the day at the U.S. Women's Open in New Jersey which is being held in his golf club in Bedminster.