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Robert Mueller's Investigation Continues into Russian Meddling Charges; Renato Mariotti Discusses His Predictions for Indictment In the Russian Meddling Investigations; Details of the Zaapruder Video and Its Importance in JFK Assassination Files is Examined. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired October 28, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. CNN exclusive Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has Grand Jury approval of his first charges in the Russian Meddle Investigation. So what comes next?
And the divided GOP has driven Senators and Congressmen to announce they would rather quit than fight. Find out why I think they should all run as Independents. Plus, many classified JFK files dropped this week and the President has promised almost everything else will be released. I'll discuss it with Alexandra Zapruder, granddaughter of the man who's home movie famously captured the shooting. And the President keeps calling opioids a national emergency, but not providing any new funding. What's the solution? The man who won a record settlement against big tobacco says it's time to sue big pharma.
And his rebuke of Donald Trump at the 2016 Democratic Convention riveted America. Kieser Khan, father of a gold Star soldier killed in the Iraq is here. But first, the announcement of Mueller's first charges is the ninth major news story in a head-spinning week. But was the spinning because people knew the charges were coming? Let me recap.
One, Republicans in the House said they will investigate the 2010 sale of a stake in American Uranium to a state-owned Russian company. Two, separately, GOP members will look at the FBI's handling of Hillary Clinton's email. Three, for his part, the President has asked the State Department to speed up its release of any remaining Hillary Clinton emails. Four, the White House also pushed that a gag order on an FBI informant pertaining to the Uranium One deal be lifted. Five, we also learned that the data analytics firm relied upon by the Trump campaign reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the hopes of getting the 30,000 deleted Clinton emails.
Six, it the turns out the infamous dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele was partially paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Seven, and now we know the original client who hired fusion GPS was the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website financied by a major GOP donor supportive of Marco Rubio. Eight, the Russian lawyer who attended that first June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Don, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner was coordinating her efforts with Russia's Prosecutor General.
Nine and now to cap things off, CNN is reporting that as soon as Monday, someone might be taken into custody to be first charged in connection with the probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We don't know who, nor do we know why. And we don't know why. This will begin a new chapter of Mueller's a probe. And this last story makes me wonder if there was a relationship to the others that I mentioned. Grand Jury proceedings and indictments like this are sealed. And maybe it's not the Government that leaked the news. The revelation might have come from the defense.
And if so, it begs the question of whether others knew this was coming and wanted to get ahead of the story by muddying the waters with other seemingly contradictory narratives as part of a deliberative strategy. These are complicated stories and I say be leery of anyone trying to reduce them too sound bite size. Here with more insight, is Renato Mariotti. The former Federal Prosecutor and current candidate for Attorney General of Illinois. Renato, the top of the list, everyone wants to know, who are we talking with about? What are your thoughts?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND CANDIDATE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ILLINOIS: Well, if I had to guess, my guess would be Paul Manafort because we have heard, obviously, news that he had been told that he was going to be indicted and I believe one of his own representatives at one point confirmed that. So that would be the obvious person that we should be thinking about. Michael Flynn is another possibility. But we really don't know. That is informed speculation. I think, you know, it certainly is unlikely that, you know, Mueller is going to have a series of indictments against a whole slew of people, but I guess anything is possible at this point. We don't know for sure.
SMERCONISH: Whoever the individual is or individuals might be,
do they know at this moment do they know that Monday is their day of reckoning? I ask for a particular reason tied to the commentary that I just offered because I'm wondering if everything we've just seen this week is part of a defense strategy.
MARIOTTI: Well, what I'll tell you is what would ordinarily are really be the case. Typically, you would talk to the defense attorney in advance. He would hear whatever arguments they had regarding where their clients shouldn't be charged. And ultimately, you would tell them in advance, you know, we have an indictment against your client. The initial appearance of your client in court is scheduled for a particular date.
Would you please have your client in court on that date. So there is not even a need for an arrest. If you have a defense counsel, typically you can arrange that and save everyone the time and the effort. If highways the case, then, you know, I guess that would be the ordinary course, then they certainly know. SMERCONISH: What must the Grand Jurors believe, in lay terms, in order to get us to this next step?
MARIOTTI: So what the Grand Jurors have to believe is that there's a good reason to believe that a crime has been committed by that particular person. And so, for example, let's just say we're talking about Paul Manafort and he's being charged with a disclosure violation, you know making false disclosure, the Grand Jury would have to believe that there's a good reason to believe based on the evidence that has been presented to them that Paul Manafort committed that particular crime, that he had a false disclosure. Now, know that that is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but proof without a reasonable doubt would come to trial, but obviously Bob Mueller and his team have to believe that they have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crimes that are charged in the indictment. If they didn't it would not only be improper for them to bring it, but ultimately they would lose the case at trial.
SMERCONISH: And your reference to a disclosure issue, and all hypothetically stated because we don't know. We don't know who it might be but it underscores another point that I wanted to make which is this might be relative to the Mueller probe of meddling, but whatever the charges that are brought on Monday themselves might be ancillary, right? This might not relate to the Russian meddle per se.
MARIOTTI: That is absolutely right. If I was going to make an educated guess about what the state of the investigation is based upon all that we know publically, I would say that we're not going to get all of the charges against everyone in the case. Usually that comes at the very end of the investigation. And everything we've seen suggests that the investigation is ongoing. I mean, Mueller has continued to interview White House officials. He's done so recently. So what I expect this is a set of indictments against one or two people. And the effort is to flip them. In other words, to get them to cooperate with the investigation so that Mueller can obtain additional evidence that he can use to charge other individuals. If that is the case-
SMERCONISH: Renato, I was simply going to thank you for your time. Finish your thought. I didn't mean to cut you off.
MARIOTTI: Oh, no problem. If this is-if that's correct, then we will see a lot more in the future.
SMERCONISH: Renato Mariotti, thank you as always.
MARIOTTI: Thank you very much.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me or go to my Facebook page. I'll read some throughout the course of the program. First tweet, here it is. Trump seems to have managed to up end the Mueller investigation and make it about a failed Presidential candidate and a 7-year-old sale. Christine, the point that I was trying to make is that we live in interesting times. It's hard to be conversant in everything going on in this news cycle, but this week the in particular those nine headlines, all legitimate headlines that I shared with you, it's a bit much, even for this President's watch. And I'm wondering whether or not today's news was not a surprise to some among us and whether they wanted to get ahead of the news with all the headlines that I summarized.
One from Facebook if I have time quickly, Michael is right. We want to bury a story, release it on Friday afternoon and talk about it on Saturday when no one pays attention and it's old news by Monday. Maybe I should resent that remark, Michael, as host of a Saturday program. I don't think there's anything left of the idea that Friday has to be the day for a document dump because, frankly, we're not reliant upon printed versions of newspapers, which is where that all arises. Every day is a hot news cycle.
Up ahead, on November 22, 1963, the Dallas dressmaker named Abraham Zabruder made the most famous home movie in American history. I'm about to talk to his granddaughter about that fateful day and this release of classified JFK files.
SMERCONISH: This week the Government released nearly 3,000 previously classified files relating to the Kennedy Assassination in 1963. As mandated by a 25-year-old law. Though it also delayed the release of many others due to concerns expressed by the FBI and the CIA. Among the new revelations, the CIA considered Mafia hits on Cuban President Fidel Castro, that someone called the FBI threatening to kill Lee Harvey Oswald a day before Oswald's murder and that the CIA had intercepted a call from Oswald to the Russian Embassy in Mexico. Our main record of that day was filmed by the grandfather of my next guest. On November 22, 1963, dress manufacturer Abraham Zapruder used his 8 millimeter camera to film the Kennedy motorcade as it passed through Deally Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Those 26 seconds of footage were an important part of the Warren Commission hearings and all subsequent investigations and are among the most analyzed pieces of film in our history.
[09:15:10] Zapruder's granddaughter, Alexandra, investigated her family's role in that footage and published a book. Twenty-six seconds, a personal history of the Zapruder film.
Alexandra, tell me about your grandfather. Why was he in Dealey Plaza that day?
ALEXANDRA ZAPRUDER, GRANDDAUGHTER OF MAN WHO FILMED JFK ASSASSINATION: Well, he was there because he loved the president. He was a Russian immigrant who came to this country at age 15 in 1920 and made good, like so many others did. And he was an absolutely devoted fan of President Kennedy and, of course, he was also a home movie enthusiast. So, he had a new camera. And his office was adjacent to Dealey Plaza. And so, he went there to make a home movie like he had been doing for 30 years before that.
SMERCONISH: He was not the only photographer in Dealey Plaza that day, as I learned from your great book. What made him so remarkable in part is that he was able to stay so steady.
ZAPRUDER: You know, he himself said that he could never account for that. He just didn't know how he did it. He said he felt that maybe he froze a little bit when he saw the events unfolding. But I think it was one of those moments when someone just -- he rose to the occasion and all of the, you know, strength that he had in him kind of came to the fore. There's just no accounting for it, but I suppose it's a good thing for history that he did.
SMERCONISH: With the assistance of the secret service and Kodak, he developed the film that very day. And then, this is remarkable to me, takes home the original movie.
ZAPRUDER: Yes, that's right.
SMERCONISH: And shows it to your grandmother and I think your uncle, as well.
ZAPRUDER: My uncle. My aunt refused to watch it. She was so completely distraught. I mean, it's such a -- it's something that I addressed in the book so many times. This is such an indication of the times.
You know, the Secret Service was with my grandfather within an hour of the assassination. But they didn't take his camera. They didn't take the film. They sent him off to have it developed. (INAUDIBLE) went with him for a period of time and went back to deal with Oswald.
And by the end of the day, he dropped off two copies of the film at the Secret Service offices and went home with the original camera, the original film and one of the copies. And that's just something that is unthinkable, of course, today. But it was very much the -- you know, the way things were.
SMERCONISH: Ultimately, the government seized this movie. And there was a highly publicized battle, Ken Feinberg acted, as he so often has, as the ultimate arbitrator, a $16 million value was placed on the film to the benefit of your family.
But I have to ask this. Was it a blessing or a curse when all is said and done? Because there have been many trials and tribulations relative to your family and this movie.
ZAPRUDER: You know, I don't think I would say that it was either a blessing or a curse. I think we always viewed it as a tremendous responsibility. And something that, you know, our family, we were the possessors of a record of the Kennedy's family's tragedy. And that was the important thing, and that we needed to treat it always with dignity and with respect, balance the interest in -- the public interest in the film and the need for the American people to see this film with our own family's values.
And that was a difficult, very difficult thing that my grandfather had to do and then my father had to do. But, you know, they did the best they could and I think rose to the occasion. SMERCONISH: Alexandra, maybe nothing speaks to the universality of
the Zapruder film as the fact that there was even a parody of it on "Seinfeld". How did that go over in your family?
ZAPRUDER: You know, I wrote in the book that it was one of the few times that my father -- I ever saw my father laugh about anything that had to do with the Zapruder film. It was a very serious and somber responsibility. But, you know, Seinfeld is Seinfeld and it was certainly -- it was certainly irresistible.
SMERCONISH: Alexandra, thanks so much for being here.
ZAPRUDER: Thanks for having me.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, more and more Republican lawmakers calling it quits. Senators, representatives, even a red state speaker of the house. Instead of giving up the fight, I want to offer a better idea.
[09:23:54] SMERCONISH: I've got advice for the growing number of Republicans who are choosing not to seek re-election. The senators like Jeff Flake of Arizona, Bob Corker of Tennessee have announced that they will not run next year. In the House, Republicans Charlie Dent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Pat Tiberi, Dave Reichert, they've all similarly announced retirement. And last Wednesday, Joe Straus, the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and a Bush family friend, said that he will not run again.
What do they have in common?
They're regarded as establishment Republicans with, not the type aligned with this president. What an officeholder should do when they can't be renominated? It's an extraordinarily difficult question. Most retire. To me, no glory attaches to that.
Some switch parties, some stand, fight and lose in a landslide. I don't see the point in that. All that proves is that their party doesn't agree with them.
Senator Flake said this week: The bottom line is that if I were to run a campaign that I could be proud of and where I didn't have to cozy up to the president and his positions or his behavior, I could not win a Republican primary.
[09:25:05] Well, no doubt he's right. Last week, I saluted his Arizona colleague, John McCain, who in a speech that I attended in Philadelphia called out those who support half-baked spurious nationalism. But it was not lost on me that even McCain only found his voice after his own re-election was secure. That he didn't immediately go after candidate Trump when the GOP presidential candidate besmirched his war service was a sign that as McCain told Ryan Lizza at the time, he was worried about the crazies that Trump had stirred up.
The sway held by media provocateurs over close primary voters has created a situation where the fringes have outsized influences in the primaries, but not in general elections, which raises another option. Imagine if a talent pool comprised of the likes of Corker, Flake, Dent, and Democrats like Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman and independents like Michael Bloomberg and Angus King would unite and fight as independents. The label that's preferred, by the way, by 45 percent of Americans.
See, together we can take this debate back from the angriest voices. It's been more than a century since Theodore Roosevelt saluted those with the grit to get involved, saying, quote: It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, he said.
T.R. wasn't talking about those who retire.
Joining me now to discuss former Democratic senator and governor from the great state of Indiana, Evan Bayh.
Hey, Senator, thanks for being back.
I want to show you something that was just posted at "U.S. News" that references you. Charlie Whelan (ph) wrote it.
Relative to Senator Flake, he said: Flake should leave his party, not the Senate. He should run as an independent. We are starting to see a pattern, respected Senators like Olympia Snowe and Evan Bayh announce their retirement and explain that they are leaving in large part because the Senate has become hyper partisan and ineffective. But how does leaving the Senate help the situation?
Does he not have a point in which he references you?
EVAN BAYH, FORMER DEMOCRATIC INDIANA SENATOR & GOVERNOR: Well, he does have a point, Michael, and it raises the larger question, what are we going to do about this? As you mentioned in your piece, you know, just running in a primary, which Senator Flake was facing to almost certain defeat doesn't accomplish a whole lot.
In my particular case, I probably would have won re-election, but concluded that the structure in Washington created an impossible dilemma between being independent and doing what you thought was right on one hand and being effective inside the establishment on the other because -- and this is a longer conversation -- everything is structured inside the Congress these days to reinforce party discipline, voting down the line, even to the effect of if you're not with your party, 1 percent or 2 percent of the time, you run the risk as senator McCain has pointed out of the crazies coming after you.
And then practical things. You want to get a bill passed, you want to have an amendment passed, you want to make a difference. You go to your party leader and the response is, well, you've been a little too independent. You've been too much of a maverick. No, no, we're not going to let you pursue your ideas. So, that's the constant dilemma that you face.
SMERCONISH: If those individuals that I have referenced and if Evan Bayh were still in the United States Senate today and you'd be in that mix, if they were today to change their party label, would they not be the critical caucus that nothing would move without their support and that would then force compromise?
BAYH: Possibly. But when you look at the independents and you mentioned then, Angus King, Bernie Sanders and the Democratic side, they caucus with the Democrats. When there's an independent on the Republican side, they caucus with the Republicans.
It's because of the structural imperatives that I mentioned, that if you want to be effective inside the system, it's very difficult to be independent. Everything sort of forces you from one side to the other. Which we probably should do away with the caucus system and just have -- rather than party lunches every week, you know, lunch with 100 percent there, you know, something like that, dealing with those things.
But the broader point you're making is, it's very difficult to have an independent party in our country. We go back to the wigs being replaced by the Republicans more than a hundred years ago, getting on the ballot as an independent, very difficult. In my state, it requires tens of thousands of signatures. California, millions of signatures. You get the super PACs that then come in to reinforce party orthodox.
Jeff Flakes would have faced tens of millions of dollars of negative ads from these super PACs. So, the one name you mentioned, Michael Bloomberg, that gets some interest because he has the stature and the financial resources to actually establish an independent movement and fight back.
But the final thing I'd say, Michael, and what we really need in my opinion is more of your viewers, more Americans to vote in those primaries, so that it's not just either 9 percent.
BAYH: It's 30 percent, or 40 percent, or 50 percent.
Take back the process. Moderates, independents, people who want a system that works again.
And the final point I would make is we need to get away from this notion that compromise is somehow or other, a sign of moral weakness. Our country was founded on compromise. The Constitution itself was written by people who profoundly disagreed about some things but got together and reconcile those differences. We used to think that that process was a sign of statesmanship, not an act of betrayal, and that's something all of us Americans need to rediscover.
SMERCONISH: I agree with everything you've just said, but I'd like to believe and the data supports -- in fact, put up on the screen. You asked Americans -- Gallup asked Americans, what party do you identify with? Forty-five percent said this summer said, I'm an independent. I think next in line was 29 percent with the D's and 26 percent with the R's.
Here is another one, Senator. Take a look at this. You asked Americans, do we need a third party? And you get a number where roughly -- there it is. I was going to say two-thirds, 61 percent say yes, we want a third party.
So I get it. You know, there's some cache in saying, I'm an independent. Maybe the data is off a little bit. But my point is, a lot of folks agree with the sentiment that you've just offered and I think they're there to be harnessed. It just needs leadership. You get the quick final word.
BAYH: Well, the polls certainly support that, Michael, but the practical reality is running as an independent is, for structural reasons, very, very difficult. So, my guess is the best path to getting to a more functional governing system is to actually fight this out within the two parties so that we have more moderates and independents participating in primaries which lead to more sensible candidates.
Final thing I'd say is, I love the fact that people consider themselves to be independent. But starting about 10 or 15 years ago, this theory arose that people say that, but they don't really mean it. When you really drill down, there are only about 4 percent or 5 percent who are truly independent. That's what has led to this pernicious situation we have now where everyone plays to the base, no one compromises and the government comes to a stop.
That's what we need to change and I think it's going to involve reforming the two parties and the nominating process.
SMERCONISH: Senator Bayh, thanks for being here. I appreciate it.
BAYH: Always a pleasure.
SMERCONISH: Let's check in the what you're saying on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
Catherine, what do we have? Facebook first, I think.
Corker and Flake are not centrists. They are super conservative, just not crazies.
Betsy, you are right in so far as they are not centrists. They are definitely right of center. But they're more independent thinking than their brethren, and that's the skill set that I think we need to harness.
From Twitter comes this: Smerconish, guess Trump is going to find out if his people follow his brand of loyalty.
Well, you know, it's his Republican Party right now. And let me give him credit, if that's the right word. What does the data show? Like 85 percent of Republicans are comfortable, supportive with the leadership that he's providing.
One more if I may. Love the tweets and the Facebook comments.
Smerconish, let Trump have the GOP and start a new party.
You know, I keep saying this as well on my SiriusXM radio program. The Trump era will pass. These are much more long range issues that we need to come to terms with and I happen to think -- you know this from watching me -- that a third party would be in the nation's best interest. I wish there had been a third party candidate on that debate stage in last year's election.
Up ahead, the opioid crisis has already killed as many Americans as the Vietnam War. The president has not committed any new funds to fight it.
So, the man who sued big tobacco and won $246 billion as seen in the movie "The Insider" wants to obtain the funding by suing big pharma. Mike Moore is here.
[09:38:16] SMERCONISH: Opioid overdoses are killing more Americans per year than guns or car accidents. On Thursday, President Trump declared it a public health emergency, but he did not call it a national emergency which would have provided rapid federal funding. If the federal government won't pay, could lawsuits force big pharma foot the bill for the epidemic? That's the hope of my next guest.
Former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore took on the tobacco industry and won the biggest corporate settlement in U.S. history, $246 billion.
Counselor, thanks for being here. This touches everybody in the country, even you as in the case of your nephew.
MIKE MOORE, FORMER MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, no question about it. It is a huge and very emergent problem, something that we need to do something about now and quit talking about it. You know, I applaud the president and the first lady for coming out and having a press conference and making this a national issue and on their agenda, but unfortunately, they didn't provide any funding for treatment or prevention programs or the like and we need that now.
There's 60,000 people a year going to die from this and, you know, let's quick talking about it. Let's get the companies in the room. If the federal government wants to play a role and provide billions for treatment, that's great. But the companies ought to pay their fair share for the mess that they caused.
SMERCONISH: So, with regard to big tobacco, I'm simplifying but you said essentially, they lied about addiction. Give me the distilled version of what it is you're saying about the opioid industry.
MOORE: Pretty much the same. They minimized the dangers by telling doctors there was a less than 1 percent chance of getting addicted under these drugs. Doctors should have known better. But frankly, the detailers and the salespeople went out .told the doctors this and I guess they believed it.
[09:40:00] I think they also dope the FDA. The FDA should have never approved some of these drugs like OxyContin for the things they approve it for. They also didn't tell the truth about the use of these drugs for treating chronic pain. Really, these drugs are for short-term care, they're for people who have cancer and real severe pain. And really what the industry has done is dumped millions of drugs on people and basically causes addiction problem. So, we got close to $2 million or $3 million people in this country who are real addicts, many of them who could have overdoses and many of them that could die.
And so, really, it's time for, you know, a national discussion, but it's really time for companies, distributors, drugstore chains and the federal government and state governments to get into the same room and say, how do we stop solving this problem? Let's provide some treatment, let's provide some prevention and education money to keep people from getting into this problem again. But let's do it now.
Or we can litigate. Look, we, the attorneys general of this country, the private lawyers who are helping them, we can take these folks to task and we can bring them to their knees just like we did big tobacco. And we will. There's no question about it.
But within that two or three had-year period of time, how many more people have to die? That's another couple hundred thousand people die. So, I would rather everybody get in the room tomorrow and try to resolve this thing. But we'll fight if we have to.
SMERCONISH: So, with regard to big tobacco, the settlement went to smoking cessation programs. What will happen to these funds if you're successful?
And I'm a trial lawyer. All my cards are on the table.
SMERCONISH: Respond to the critics of those who do what we do for a living who say this is all about you lining pockets of lawyers.
MOORE: Oh, I get that. There's a lot of critics out there in the world. But just look at toe back wrote.
When we started the tobacco case, there were 38 percent of American kids that were starting to smoke. Now, it's down less than 5 percent. What we put in place worked.
We've reduced a number of people who are smoking in this country. Adult smoking is below 15 percent. It was up at 40 percent. So, deaths from lung cancer, heart disease and the like.
What we're trying to achieve here is the same thing. You've got 60,000 people dying every year. We would like to reduce that. Will some lawyers make some money? Maybe they will. Maybe they
won't. I can tell you right now, if the drug industry would get in the same room with me tomorrow and the attorneys general and sit down and work out some resolution and pay their fair share, I don't need any money from it whatsoever. What I want is a solution to the problem. And if that's what Congress and the Senate would do, the House of Representatives and the Senate and the president would get together and say, we'll put this of money aside, $20 billion, $30 billion, $40 billion for treatment, the drug companies could do their fair share and we'd be off to the races to solve this problem.
My guess is, they're going to fiddle around in Washington, they're going to fiddle around in the board rooms of these countries and we'll have to take them to task in lawsuits and some of them are going to end up bankrupt.
SMERCONISH: Mike Moore, thanks so much for being here.
MOORE: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Let's check in on your Twitter action and Facebook comments. I think it's another tweet that comes this way.
Smerconish, if big pharma is sued for addiction and then sue McDonald's for obesity and alcohol makers for DUIs.
Deborah, my quick response to that would be, the level of deceit that might be the conduct of one of those industries and not the others, right? I mean, wherein lies the idea that McDonald's, my old employer, hid anything from us or that alcohol manufacturers hid anything from us.
I think what you just heard from the lawyer here is much like the case was with big tobacco, they knew things that they were not representing accurately, but we'll see. We'll see the way that it all plays out.
Still to come, his Gold Star soldier son died a patriot and then Khizr Khan challenged Donald Trump from the floor of the 2016 Democratic Convention and he joins me next.
[09:48:26] SMERCONISH: When he stepped to the podium the final night of the 2016 Democratic Convention, Khizr Khan was not well known, but by the time he finished speaking, few would ever forget him. Mr. Khan's rebuke of then-candidate Donald Trump for his stance on Muslim, immigration was, to me, the most memorable speech of either conviction. Pakistani-American who went to Harvard Law School, he was the father of Gold Star soldier, Captain Humayun Khan, who gave his life in service to his country in Iraq in 2004, stopping a suicide attack.
He's now written a book, "An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice."
Khizr Khan joins me now. Mr. Khan, what I learned from the book among many other things, you
never went looking to insert yourself into this debate. You'd given an interview that the Clinton campaign had taken note of, a written interview. They came looking for you and you weren't sure whether to participate.
KHIZR KHAN, AUTHOR, "AN AMERICAN FAMILY: A MEMOIR OF HOPE AND SACRIFICE": We are humble, modest familiar. We have never been political. We were enjoying our privacy and our family that this invitation came. Reluctantly, everyone advised us, that this is not your cup of tea, don't get involved. Our children advised us such.
But some middle school and small children in our community were reaching out to us wherever we would go and we received a card in our mail that sent us to that conviction and the small card from four children said, Mr. and Mrs. Khan, would you make sure that Maria is not thrown out of this country?
[09:50:05] She is our friend and we love her.
And I looked at that card that very day, that second day of waiting and contemplating, should we go or shouldn't we go? I went to Ghazala my blessed wife of 42 years, and she looked at me with welled eyes and said, maybe this is the message that given to us we should go. So, we went.
SMERCONISH: You are such a champion and aficionado of the American Constitution that it lines the interior of your brand-new book. Here is the moment that I will never forget, my viewers will never forget from your speech. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHAN: Donald Trump, you're asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution?
I will gladly lend you my copy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Mr. Kahn, take me in the taxi as you are en route to give that speech and share with my audience the repartee that you had with your wife about that moment.
KHAN: I discovered that I had the copy of the Constitution in my pocket because I had been keeping this since 2005. That's the long story. And we tell all of these stories in the book in great detail.
But anyway, so I tell Ghazala my blessed wife that I have this copy of the Constitution in my pocket. The line in the speech was have you -- you have not read the Constitution of the United States. If you read it, look for the word liberty and equal protection. So I feel the bulge in my left inside pocket of my coat, and I said to
Ghazala, I have this Constitution in my pocket. Should I pull it out, and as she had my editor and she said, no, don't do like this. We must take their permission first.
And then again, the way you are pulling it out, it's not coming out correctly. Make sure you place it rightly in your pocket so when you pull it, it comes out like this. So we did. We practiced in the car and the cabdriver was smiling that what are these folks doing in the back seat of the car?
But with Ghazala's advice we practiced it and that's how it came into being.
SMERCONISH: I hope people will read -- yes, I was going to say I hope people will read "An American Life" for the full story, but please, before you leave me, speak to the photograph on the back jacket. We're going to put it up on the screen. Tell me about Captain Humayun Khan and that visit to the nation's capitol.
KHAN: I had just graduated from Harvard Law School, and we wanted to come to Washington to pay a visit to all these wonderful monuments, and so that picture depicts that moment.
But just about the book, let me mention this quickly that there are two purpose. One is to pay tribute to the greatness of this nation, to the goodness that we have benefited, that all immigrant families benefit from. So this is a reminder, this is a tribute to them.
Second purpose of this book is that from the proceeds of this book, the goodness that Humayun displayed throughout his life, we have honored -- the University of Virginia has honored by setting up a scholarship in perpetuity on need based that exists now. So, good continues to come out of that sacrifice and that 27 years that we were blessed to have him in our lives.
So, that's the story of goodness of America. The benefits, the dignities that this Constitution, our founding documents bestow upon all citizens, I implore and I appeal to all Americans. Captain Humayun Khan has written an article then that is so applies today. The title of the article was "Democracy Requires Vigilance and Sacrifice".
Look where we are standing today. How much our democracy requires vigilance against the division from within and the assault from outside. Those who don't wish us well have assaulted our way of life, our values, our democracy.
We narrate that through our story that how fragile these values can be, but America needs to be vigilant, monitor and make sure that no one challenges these values.
SMERCONISH: We salute Captain Humayun Kahn.
Khizr Kahn, thank you so much for being here.
[09:55:00] KHAN: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments.
SMERCONISH: Hey, thank you so much for all the tweets and Facebook comments. Remember, I don't see them in advance, so I'm looking at it the same time you are.
Smerconish, you don't get it. Trump is the independent, Flake and Corker are the establishment.
Establishment has become some kind of a maligned term in all this. What's wrong with being in the establishment? Establishment by definition means you're there with some longevity to get things done. Not all the fighting that's taking place now.
But thanks so much for watching and follow us anytime at CNN Go online and through your connected devices and apps. Thanks.