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CNN TONIGHT

Roger Stone Fights Back; More and More Calling for Governor Ralph Northam, (D-VA) to Step Down; U.S. Pulled Out of Yet Another Treaty; Trump Administration Announces Withdrawal from Arms Control Treaty with Russia; Governor Northam is Under Fire for Racist Pictures; Judge Threatens Roger Stone with a Gag Order; Gladys Knight to Sing National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

Major developments in the Russia investigation tonight. So we're digging deep into this whole hour and we're going to devote it to all things Russia. President Trump's longtime political ally, dirty trickster, Roger Stone, appearing in federal court in Washington today for a hearing.

The no nonsense judge informing she is considering a gag order and telling Stone, who's known for his sharp and bombastic tongue, that his case is criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign, warning him not to approach his case as if he's on tour for a book or argue the merits of his case on the talk show circuit.

Stone has vowed to fight a gag order. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged him with seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. He's pleaded not guilty.

And we're learning tonight that the House Intelligence Committee, now under Democratic control, is set to meet on Wednesday where members are likely to vote to send unredacted transcripts of the committee's own Russia investigation interviews to Mueller's team.

Intel's new chairman, Congressman Adam Schiff, has suggested that some witnesses may have lied to their committee.

Lots to discuss here. So, let's bring in now Shimon Prokupecz, Asha Rangappa, also Jack Quinn, and Harry Litman. Hello to all of you. Friday, another busy news night. Friday is when we using relaxed, used to.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Used to.

LEMON: Used to. Not anymore. Hello, everyone. So, Shimon, let's talk about Roger Stone n court today. The judge considering a gag order, telling him this is a criminal proceeding, not a public relations campaign. His media appearance has caught the judge's attention, and he's not going to like that because he likes the attention and he likes going on TV a lot.

PROKUPECZ: He's also using the attention and media appearances to try and raise money he says for his defense. Right. He was on Fox News tonight, he did infowars right after the court appearance, which is what he's been normally doing. So, he's saying he needs to keep doing this because he needs to raise money.

He has taken a different tone, perhaps, in some of his public remarks right now. But certainly, this judge like you said, Don, is no nonsense. She's already instituted gag orders and other parts of this investigation in the Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort, she sentenced to jail after he violated conditions of his release. So, she is no nonsense.

And if Roger Stone plays around too much here, he's going to be sent to jail. And if she puts this gag order in place, it is going to hurt him. Because he's not going to be able to do his antics, he's not going to be able to speak and do his media appearances. But it is likely that she will do this in this case.

And the other thing she told him, Don, was that she was doing this ironically to protect him because she doesn't want things that he's saying out there and out there speaking in court, that these are things and information that he's providing that could eventually be used against him in the court of law.

LEMON: So, he can't go out there and do his Rudy Giuliani and try to get people all confused about what the actual facts are. So, Harry, what is the judge taking into consideration with a potential gag order?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, what she's saying as Shimon says is she's taking into the consideration the rights to a jury trial, not having an untainted jury, and of course, Stone is trying to make the case that he needs it for his defense.

She's going to win. No one -- she's not going to get reversed if she imposes a gag order just as with Manafort. And even she doesn't, he's got to now learn, and I think he has, the virtues of stoicism.

Today, he had five words, yes, your honor, and I do. And I think his antics days are over, because if he resumes them about the case, she'll impose one on him quickly. And look what happened to Manafort after the gag order. Basically, his life has changed in that respect as of today probably forever.

LEMON: Asha, to Shimon's point, the judge warned that any inconsistencies in his public statement, meaning Stone, could be introduced as evidence. So, it's better for Mueller really if Stone keeps talking.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. You know, investigators love it when defendants go and blab. And I don't think that any lawyer or any good defense lawyer would want their client out on TV talking off-the-cuff. [23:05:06] But in addition to raising money as Shimon says, I think that there's also another reason that Roger Stone wants to be able to go do this, is that he's performing for the audience sitting in the Oval Office.

There's -- you know, he is on the hook right now for some pretty major charges that Mueller has the receipts for, but he does literally have a potential get out of jail free card if the president is willing to pardon him and to keep him in the president's eyes and mind, he needs to be on TV.

LEMON: Yes. Jack, he's unpredictable to say the least. Could he end up saying something that hurts the president?

JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I doubt it. I mean, I really think -- I agree with Asha that his ace in the hole here is a pardon. And I think he's not going to enhance his chances of getting one if, you know, he slips up and says something compromising to the president.

And you know, to the point Asha also made about the special counsel really having the goods on him, I mean, the things he's charged with, many of them don't require the corroboration of other witnesses.

He testified in front of the congressional committee and it was patently false. And it wasn't just one or two things, and it's not going to amount to defense of faulty memory. They really got the goods on him.

So -- and by the way, I'm not sure that the Mueller team would want to make a deal with him. What is he going to give them? The likelihood of his being a credible useful witness I think is pretty darn low. So, I don't really see that, but you never know.

LEMON: OK. Shimon, the prosecutor who spoke in court today is with the U.S. attorney's office, not part of Mueller's team.

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

LEMON: Significant?

PROKUPECZ: I think it is, Don. And certainly, I've been making this point, you know, several times now because what's interesting is that the Mueller team has brought this -- the D.C. U.S. attorneys into this case rather fairly quickly, indicating at least to me that means that they do not expect to be around much longer.

All of the major issues that are now ongoing with this case, the discovery issues, the U.S. attorney has been handling, the D.C. U.S. attorney, not someone from the Mueller team. Obviously, the Mueller team is still involved. But the person who spoke in court today was from someone from the U.S. -- the D.C. U.S. attorney's office, not the Mueller team.

And obviously, with the judge saying this could go to trial in July over the summer, the prosecutors wanting this they saying they may need till October, it's very clear that the Mueller team will not be around in the end when this case goes to trial. There are other aspects of this investigation that appear to be still ongoing that would probably be handled by the D.C. U.S. attorneys as well.

I think the point of this is that it gives us a good clue as to what the acting U.S. attorney general said the other day that things are winding down. And I think this is one of those clues and one of those indications that that is happening here.

LEMON: Asha, what do you think? Could Mueller be turning his attention to another indictment, maybe a bigger fish?

TANGAPPA: Yes, I don't think that this is winding down. I mean, I think that it may be that they just have so much other stuff that they need to focus on that these crimes which are about lying, and as Jack said, they have the receipts, they have documents, texts to prove it, that this can kind of be severed.

But, you know, the crux of the charges here are about Roger Stone's attempts to coordinate with WikiLeaks, which was acting as an intelligence arm of the Russian government. We also know from other indictments the troll farm case that Mueller has made filings that they don't want to reveal information and discovery because of ongoing investigations.

We know that Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen are helping with multiple ongoing investigations. So, there are clearly many threads. There's the whole NRA campaign finance thread also that we don't know where that's going. I just don't see this wrapping up in the next couple of months. I think there are other things that Mueller is -- and his team are focusing on.

LEMON: I want to play this for you, Jack. The president gave an interview to the New York Times. Listen to what he said about the investigation facing him. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has Rod Rosenstein given you any sense over the course of the last year about whether you have any exposure, either in -- or there's any concern, or whether you're a target of the Mueller --

(CROSSTALK)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he told -- he told the attorneys that I'm not a subject -- I'm not a target.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told your attorneys?

TRUMP: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he say about the SDNY investigation, too?

TRUM: About which?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The SDNY investigation because there's two. There's Mueller and there's the Cohen investigation.

TRUMP: I don't know. I don't know about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

[23:10:00] TRUMP: That I don't know about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rod has never said anything to you about whether you're a, you had any -- you're a target at all in terms of what they were looking for on Cohen? Has that ever come up?

TRUMP: No. I don't. We didn't discuss it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Where does he face the most peril, Jack?

QUINN: He faces multiple perils. He faces perils in New York in the southern district where they're investigating other felonies involving him and the Trump organization. But he, you know, faces a significant peril still with the special counsel.

I happen to agree also with Asha on the fact that, you know, I don't -- the Roger Stone WikiLeaks Trump campaign line is the very heart of Robert Mueller's mandate.

And I -- look, it's possible he's going to just hand it off to a U.S. attorney's office. I'm also a little bit skeptical of that just because this is central to what he was empowered to look into and prosecute. So, there you are.

LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate your time. Thanks a lot.

President Trump withdrawing from the arms control agreement with Russia. I'm going to ask the former DNI James Clapper, does this make America less safe? There he is. We'll talk to him on the other side of the break.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, let's talk about our breaking news. Let's bring back Nia- Malika Henderson with some news on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and that racist yearbook photo. What are you learning?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, this thing is moving pretty rapidly since we last talked about this on-air. We've had the black legislative body, their call on Ralph Northam to step down. They had been sort of holding their fire. They've met in an emergency meeting about 7 o'clock tonight. And so, they have finally come out and said that he should resign.

The other thing that has happened since then is Terry McAuliffe, who, of course is the former governor of Virginia. He has also called on him to resign. So those are two -- you know, two big movements that have happened on this, in this Northam situation. The other thing that happened as well is the Congressional Black Caucus also called in him to resign. We were talking in the previous segments about Bobby Scott, right, and his statement which all but said that he should step down and him being a kind of tipping point and a signal that other people were waiting on before they could come out and make this call.

We of course saw Cory Booker, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus also running for the White House as well. So, these are two -- these are just big moments for this news story. And Governor Northam's career at this point, it's hard to see how he hangs on at this point.

We know obviously he reached out to Justin Fairfax who was the lieutenant governor who would step in should he resign. That conversation I was told was very, very brief, not a lot of details in terms of what the substance of that conversation was other than sort of niceties.

So that's where we are at this point, a lot of chatter obviously going on in Richmond about the fate of Governor Northam at this point after this pretty explosive story but, as you said, not necessarily a shocking one from what we know about southern history.

LEMON: Yes, and American history. Let's be honest.

HENDERSON: Yes, and American history. No, I think that's right.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Nia. I appreciate it.

HENDERSON: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Nia was going to stand by if we get more information. We'll get back to Nia in this program.

I want to turn now to the Trump administration suspending a key nuclear arms treaty with Russia. They argue it was the only option after Moscow violated the pact by developing a new missile system. But critics warn this move could open the door to an international arms race.

Joining me now is former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Director, thank you for joining us this evening. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says it is a "terrible mistake" -- that's a quote, "terrible mistake" for the U.S. to considering getting out of the INF treaty. Is he right?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I'll tell you, Don, that I'm going to be -- come down on the side of ambivalence here because it's been going on for five years and certainly something I dealt with as DNI in the last administration.

So, you know, at least since 2014, the Russians have been in violation. That said, on the other hand, and the Colin Powell school of thought is that we are better served to stay within these agreements even if they're not perfect. And I do worry about the fact that indirectly this could pose a threat to us because the Russians, who are paranoid about NATO, feel very constrained strategically because they can't have missiles that can threaten NATO. So, it does pose a specter of an arms race.

I think, though, there are two other dimensions of this that actually bother me more. One is this is part of a pattern of just backing out or abrogating international agreements, the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, or Paris climate accords or other agreements where we're just pitching out with nothing to supplant or replace them.

LEMON: So why is the Trump administration doing this?

CLAPPER: Well, I guess this is part of the America first approach, and the disdain for any kind of treaties whether bilateral or multilateral. What is very concerning to me is if they're going to do the same thing with the New START agreement.

This would be, I think, very disturbing because the series of Strategic Arms Limitation agreements, SALT, START, New Start, have served to constrain and cap strategic nuclear weaponry on both our side as well as the Soviets and now the Russians.

[23:20:07] If we choose not to renew that I think it's next year or so, that could be very dangerous because that truly could set off a Cold War-like arms race.

LEMON: Yes. I need to get your perspective on this, another topic. After the president's top intelligence chiefs publicly contradicted him, it was earlier in the week, the president claimed that officials told him that coverage of their testimony was fake news and that they were misquoted. But I mean we heard them. It's got to be concerning to you.

CLAPPER: Well, it is. I mean, this is a graphic, very graphic example of this no-fact zone reality bubble that the president dwells in all by himself. And when you can see it as plain as day, you know, what they said on television, you can read it.

And then for him to say, well, they were taken out of context and, you know, they said it was fake news is -- you know, is really bothersome because, you know, there's great divergence between, you know, the president's reality and actual reality and that -- in a position that he occupies, that to me is dangerous.

LEMON: The president also publicly attacked his top intelligence chiefs. What does that say to the world when he does that?

CLAPPER: Well, it conveys a lot of bad messages on several levels. First, I'd like to say that I think this may have been one of Dan Coats' finest hours because he forthrightly, straightforwardly, objectively laid out the description of the multitude of threats that we confront around the world.

So, it's a very bad message first to the I.C. work force because the three figures that have been mentioned in all this, Gina Haspel and Chris Wray and Dan Coats, are all widely respected not only in their own institutions but across the I.C.

So, it's a very bad message to the rank and file employees. It's a bad message to the public that the president publicly expresses a distrust and lack of confidence in his intelligence leadership. And it conveys a terrible message internationally to our partners, particularly those with whom we have a close and continuing intelligence relationship. So, on many dimensions, this is just a really bad thing.

LEMON: All of this -- you know, does it make us less safe? Should Americans be concerned?

CLAPPER: Well, here's what bothers me about this. You know, there needs to be an element of trust between the commander in chief and his intelligence leadership and the intelligence community. And that trust has to go both ways.

And ideally, the intelligence community wants to think, wants to believe that their leader, the commander in chief, the person who they support, policymaker number one, has got their back.

And what I worry about, you know, as I said last night that you all saw about God loves drunks, babies and the United States of America, we've been very fortunate. We haven't had a really bad international confrontation or event of the likes, God forbid, of a 9/11 or what we were just talking about some sort of confrontation of the likes with Russia and China.

LEMON: Yes.

CLAPPER: And if we do, the president is going to need a lot more than his gut. He's going to need the best insights and judgment of his intelligence community. And when he publicly expresses doubt about it and distrust, that is not -- that is a good thing particularly if we are going to get into an extreme situation.

LEMON: Yes. Where we come from, we would say God takes care of babies and fools, so he's working overtime these days. Thank you, director.

CLAPPER: Think far.

LEMON: Thank you, Director. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

The INF Treaty isn't the only major foreign policy deal President Trump's backed out of. Is he the leader of the free world or just leading from behind?

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The U.S. is leaving a major arms control treaty with Russia, walking out of yet another national commitment.

Max Boot is here to discuss. He's the author of the book it's called "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I left the Right." I should know that by heart by now, right? Good evening, sir. How are you? MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thanks for the promotion, Don.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, the U.S. is going to pull out of this U.S. treaty, what is this, signed in 1987.

BOOT: Yes, the INF Treaty.

LEMON: Yes. What do you think?

BOOT: Well, you know, Don, as you know from my regular appearances here, I am not normally a fan of President Trump. I am critical of him on a whole range of issues.

This one is one where I think what he's doing is justified because this is a treaty where the Russians are genuinely cheating. And this is not a fake fact that Donald Trump has made up.

Now, he has made up the fact that the Iranians are supposedly cheating on the Iran nuclear deal. We know that's not true because his intelligence chiefs just said it's not true. But the intelligence actually does show that the Russians are cheating on this treaty. And it was President Obama and his administration who first called them out in 2014, and they have not come in with compliance with it. So, I think it's reasonable that they are not going to abide by this treaty to let them know we're not going to abide by either.

LEMON: Is it NATO -- NATO has been supportive of withdrawing from this treaty?

BOOT: I think it's been mixed.

LEMON: But is there concern about the U.S. pulling out of yet another treaty?

BOOT: Yes, I know that's a more serious issue. And I think the Trump administration is kind of in the position of the boy who cried wolf because they have said so many bad things about so many treaties.

They've pulled out of so many treaties, the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal. They're now pulling out of UNESCO. They're even pulling out of the International Postal Union. And there is no justification for pulling out of all these --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let me put some of them and then I'll let you finish.

BOOT: Sure.

LEMON: Because the Iran deal as you said --

BOOT: Yes.

[23:29:59] LEMON: -- the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific partnership trade deal.

BOOT: Right.

LEMON: UNESCO as you said, the U.N. Human Rights Council.

[23:30:00]

BOOT: Yes. And all these things I support.

LEMON: Are we isolating ourselves here?

BOOT: Yes, we are. These are all things that we need to be part of to show American leadership. And the fact that Trump is pulling out of all these treaties, out of all these obligations, is a sign that he is really an isolationist, that he is damaging our relations with the rest of the world.

But all that said, in this particular case in the INF Treaty, he does have a good case because the Russians are actually cheating, but he has no credibility because they are just so hostile to all treaties that there are not a lot of people who are willing to listen to him on the merit on this particular treaty, whereas I say I think they have a reasonable case.

LEMON: I'm going to ask people like you and director before, all of these when you consider pulling out of all these treaties. Does it make us less safe where we in when it comes to being safe?

BOOT: Certainly, I think the Trump administration in their hostile at each of our allies is making us less safe. I mean, very interesting to see the findings of the Intelligence Community this week where they said, A, that Russia and China are coming closer together to oppose the United States and allies -- American allies are pulling away from the United States because they don't see us as a reliable partner.

Why should they? I mean, you see Trump pulling our troops out of Syria, abandoning the Kurds who have fought with us. Now, he is talking about pulling troops out of Afghanistan, abandoning the Afghans who have fought with us. We may be pulling troops out of South Korea before too long, abandoning the South Koreans. So, why should anybody trusts the United States?

So unfortunately, you know, all of that creates a climate of mistrust which makes us less safe. You know, the INF Treaty can easily feed into that even though as I say I think it justified on the merits.

LEMON: Do you remember in the old days -- hate to call them good old days -- but just in the old days, not so long ago where Republicans used to criticize the former president, Barack Obama, from leading from behind?

BOOT: Of course.

LEMON: Take a listen to this.

BOOT: Yeah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That reflects Obama is leading from behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's reckless. Leading from behind wolf is reckless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama's current approach which is really leading from behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're seeing is the consequences of his philosophy of leading from behind, which in the case of the world events means we're getting left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has shown absolutely no leadership on this and indeed seems insistent on leading from behind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Is that what this president is doing? Is that hypocrisy or no?

BOOT: Yes, absolutely it is ranked hypocrisy. And remember, not only did Republicans criticize President Obama for leading from behind. They also criticized him for supposedly abandoning American allies. I mean, they had conniptions when he supposedly moved a buy of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office. This was an insult to Great Britain.

Well, Donald Trump insults the prime minister of Great Britain, the chancellor of Germany, the prime minister of Canada. He insults all of our allies on a regular basis, and he abandons our commitments to those allies. So, he is far more unilateral, he is far more offensive, and he is far more hostile to American leadership than President Obama ever was.

LEMON: And yet not a word.

BOOT: I mean, you see a little bit. I mean, you did see the Senate voting today or this week a resolution expressing disapproval to pull out from Syria and Afghanistan. I mean, it's symbolic. It doesn't mean that much. But it does show that Republicans are starting to express some concern about the direction of Trump foreign policy.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Max. I appreciate your time. More developments from Virginia where Governor Northam is coming under fire for racist pictures. We'll be right back.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Let's bring back Nia with our breaking news from Virginia, the governor there, Ralph Northam, and that racist yearbook photo. What are you learning?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Getting worse and worse for the governor at this point. We're just learning that he has lost the support of both Democratic caucuses in the state legislature there. The House and the Senate now saying with a heavy heart, they are asking him to step down. This, of course, is on top of the black legislature also doing the same thing after they met with the governor.

The former governor, Terry McAuliffe, is also calling on him to step down as well as the CVC. He is going to bed tonight with very few friends in Virginia. This thing has moved very, very quickly in the last really hour or so. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. But he's got very little support at this point. Hard to see how he hangs on to the governor's mansion at this point.

LEMON: Nia, thank you for your reporting. I appreciate that. Let's discuss now with Mark McKinnon, the executive producer of Showtime's "The Circus." Boy, were you right when you named "The Circus?" You had no idea, right?

No clue.

LEMON: So tell me, what do you think of Northam? Can he survive?

MARK MCKINNON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE CIRCUS": I don't know. When your closest friends turn this quickly, it's lights out. I mean, it's not just Republicans. I mean, it's Democrats that are leading the charge really.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCKINNON: Ed Gillespie should find it in operation research (ph) and fire him, get his money back.

LEMON: Amazing, right? I think he didn't find this in operation research (ph). Let's talk about Roger Stone. A gag order for Roger Stone. If that happened, that would be the real punishment.

MCKINNON: That would be worse than prison for Stone. Are you kidding me?

(LAUGHTER)

MCKINNON: He lives to talk.

LEMON: Seriously, I mean, he is not happy about that.

MCKINNON: This is the worst thing I've been talking about. He's not talking about it. But yes, this was a really interesting week. Of course, he dominated the news cycles throughout the week. He's going to be in a lot of our show.

And I talked about sort of the conflict I have about this, you know, he's Roger Stone. He wants the attention and you feel a little bit guilty giving it to him, but he's the heart of this story. I mean, he's at the heart of this investigation.

[23:40:00] He knows Trump better than anybody, been around Trump longer than anybody else. So, to understand the psych and legal (ph) case, you really have to get into Roger Stone trying to understand him which we've tried to do. The interesting thing on the show --

LEMON: You sat down with him? MCKINNON: I did. I sat down with him.

LEMON: Is he angling for a pardon?

MCKINNON: Oh, no question he's angling for a pardon, which some of your earlier guests talked about in terms of why there is so much media aimed at one person. But there's another reason he's doing this, Don, he's doing all these media. He's flat broke. Not just broke. He is $2 million on the hook for legal fees. There's a million and a half dollars that he owes to the IRS. He doesn't own a thing. He is really, really --

LEMON: Is this all for legal fees or was he having financial problems before?

MCKINNON: He was having financial problems before. They've just been exacerbated by a lot.

LEMON: That's why he's selling those stones called Roger Stones.

MCKINNON: Exactly. He's trying to sell the book. He's trying to do all these things because he's really broke. But the interesting thing about the show and the interview was --

LEMON: You want to play it first before we talk about it?

MCKINNON: Sure.

LEMON: Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCKINNON (on camera): You say that on the perjury stuff, you're forgetful, but 30 phone calls to somebody, can you really forget that?

ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I'm not going to try to deconstruct the entire indictment because until you see the context of all the material from which that was drawn, it's impossible to explain.

MCKINNON (on camera): Can you contemplate the notion of actually serving some time?

STONE: I'm not even going to address it because I'm going to think positively.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Go on, Mark.

MCKINNON: We know what he said right after that. I said, "Are you staying in this hotel?" And he said, "No, I'm staying in an undisclosed location because I don't want to get Jack Rubied (ph)." That's how he ended the interview.

LEMON: What?

MCKINNON: Yeah.

LEMON: Do you think that he is -- does he understand what is possibly in front of him?

MCKINNON: Well, I talked to him about that, too. I said, Roger, you realize you're really looking at some hard time here pretty unquestionably. He tried to show his confidence. But there was not so much bast in his bomb anymore when I talked to him. He's really tired. You can tell he's worn down.

And you can tell that this is starting to play on him as he's kind of thinking through all this because on the indictment itself, I was with Chris Christie on the train right before I talked to Roger. I asked him as a former prosecutor, a Republican and somebody who supports Trump, I said, where is Roger's reliability in this as you see it? He said, the perjury stuff maybe he can be, because he can say I was forgetful or maybe as not material, where he's really in trouble as with the witness tampering.

Because Roger will say likely, oh, I was just kidding. And that's what he's saying. You know, I'm just kidding. You know, didn't really mean it. But legally the issue is going to be, did the witness think he is being intimidated? And if that's the case, that's the hammer.

LEMON: It's the witness --

MCKINNON: It's what the witness thinks. It is not what was his intention was, it is what the witness perceives.

LEMON: OK, so then I'm wondering if -- I'm going off of Stone -- it relates because we saw Michael Cohen who was confident in the beginning and then all of a sudden you see what happened with Michael Cohen and his family and what have you.

And then now you see Roger Stone and you said he was a little bit more realistic with you about what could happen. But Michael Cohen said he did not want to testify because he was afraid. And so if he is the witness -- so if Michael Cohen the witness feels like he's being intimidated, is that tampering as well from the president and from Rudy Giuliani?

MCKINNON: I think you could certainly make that case, yes. I think unquestionably from what I've heard, I don't know the law at all, but from the prosecutors we've talked to --

LEMON: You get what I'm saying, right?

MCKINNON: Yes, of course. I mean, you're talking about threatening somebody's family.

LEMON: Right.

MCKINNON: Yes, that's witness tampering.

LEMON: Yeah. MCKINNON: I think a clear case of it.

LEMON: When you think about the president, remember during the campaign, when you started this show "The Circus" --

MCKINNON: I thought the title was over the top.

LEMON: Over the top. But now you're like, wait a minute, I need a different one. He said he was going to hire only the best people. And look at all the people who are out there. Those are six Trump associates who have been indicted in this Mueller investigation. What do you say about people who are surrounding this president?

MCKINNON: Well, couple things. One is that Stone and Manafort, those guys, they came around in the Wild West days of kind of political consultant. They kind of made political -- there weren't really political consultants like that when they came around. They were hustlers. They were just fast.

They -- this was when politicians really understand media. They kind of got Stone understood me. So they made kind of a big hit. They (INAUDIBLE) then work for bunch of dictators around the world (ph). And then they went out of favor. Then kind of things got better. I mean, this is one business which requires no license or degree or any ethics oversight, right?

LEMON: Or any ethics.

MCKINNON: So they were all qualified.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCKINNON: And so they were able to (INAUDIBLE). But then they got shunned out of the kind of the Washington establishment for lots of different reasons. A lot of people couldn't trust them and they were charlatans and mercenaries. But then Trump ran them back in.

[23:44:59] Trump was the guy that brought them back in. If you think about that campaign in 2015, if you're a political operative and you're trying to get a job in a campaign, you probably have 16 interviews before you go to Trump, right?

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: But then that's the one where you could just flourish and run them up to what you want.

MCKINNON: Yeah.

LEMON: Thank you. Always a pleasure. Gladys Knight is getting ready to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. But with so many musicians refusing to perform in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, why is she still singing? Well, she's going to tell me. The legend, Gladys Knight, is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The L.A. Rams taking on the defending champion, New England Patriots, in the Super Bowl this Sunday.

[23:50:00] President Trump, who has slammed players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem, he is scheduled to do a pre-game interview with CBS.

The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, is set to sing the national anthem to kick off the game and she joins me now. She is known as "Gladys the Baddest." That's because she --

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you Ms. Knight for joining us.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: So, let's get right to it.

GLADYS KNIGHT, SINGER: It's totally my pleasure.

LEMON: Yes. A number of artists have reportedly declined invitations to sing at the Super Bowl this year. Colin Kaepernick's attorney, his name is Mark Geragos, he spoke to NBC about artists who are agreed to --

KNIGHT: Yeah.

LEMON: Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK GERAGOS, COLIN KAEPERNICK'S ATTORNEY: They do take a lot of heat and I think rightfully so. The idea that you're going to basically cross a picket line because that's what they are doing, crossing an intellectual picket line, they are saying to themselves, I care more about my career than I do about whether what I'm doing is right. That's taking the short money so to speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How do you respond to that?

KNIGHT: About what they are thinking?

LEMON: Yeah.

KNIGHT: People are going to have their opinions. You know, about whatever. And all I can deal with -- all I can deal with right now is what my heart says, OK? I believe in fairness. I believe in truth. I believe in all of those things. And as far as this is concerned, I grew up with the national anthem. We used to sing it in school before school started. We used to say prayers in school before school started.

And just don't have that anymore. And I'm just -- I'm just hoping that it will be about our country and how we treat each other and being the great country that we are.

LEMON: Do you -- I don't know if you remember the controversy during the inauguration when Chrisette Michele saying at the inauguration and just read an article in The New York Times how she basically lost her career for doing so. You have a much longer history and resume, right? A legend in this business. Is that a concern for you at all given the controversy surrounding this?

KNIGHT: You know what, nothing good comes easy. And I would hope that they will understand as I do that we have a better way to do this than to be angry and why is he doing this or why is she doing that, you know? For me, it's just for me about respect.

I mean, if we just start denying the anthem, there are so many people that have died for our country and there are so many people in my family that are still part of, you know, just standing for the country, they are in the services and that kind of thing, and just to not say that if you really listen to the lyrics of the beginning, you'll understand that. We have fought hard for a long time and not just in wars.

LEMON: Yeah.

KNIGHT: You know, I mean, I have protested myself.

LEMON: I'm going to talk about that.

KNIGHT: About certain things.

LEMON: I wonder why this is why you want to give the anthem back its voice. Do you feel protesting during the anthem --

KNIGHT: Yes.

LEMON: -- that somehow it is taking away from it?

KNIGHT: Well, I'm not very, very political. I'm more a heart person. But in growing up with Dr. King and performing for him and all of those things, very close to my family, and when he would do things, he went to the heart of where those things could be recognized and heard and all of those things.

LEMON: Yeah.

KNIGHT: So, I understand that movement. I'm not saying one way or the other it's what your heart tells you to do.

LEMON: Right. I want to ask you and give you a chance to respond to that because you grew up in Atlanta and people know you have roots in the civil rights movement. You marched. You lived --

KNIGHT: Yes.

LEMON: -- through some very challenging times in black America. Can you give us your thoughts on the state of race in America right now? KNIGHT: Well, it's sad. It makes me cry to tell the honest truth, OK? Because I grew up in a family that taught us love, taught us respect, taught us so many things before we get off and say I want this and I want that kind of thing. So you do have to stand up for what is right and what is right for others as well as yourself.

LEMON: Yeah.

KNIGHT: You know that kind of thing. And I just want them to know that we have a country that is worth standing up for, so to speak, OK? That's where I am.

[23:55:00] LEMON: This may be the most controversial thing, but who are you going for, the Rams or the Patriots?

(LAUGHTER)

KNIGHT: I don't know.

LEMON: You don't want to say?

KNIGHT: I like football. And I want to see a good game. I don't know. You know what, I've been so busy, thank the lord. No, I've been so busy that I haven't been able to keep up with the season this year. So, I don't know how, who is playing. I have to call my sister because she is into it so deep.

(LAUGHTER)

KNIGHT: And I called her this morning. She said I ain't got my paper ready yet.

(LAUGHTER)

KNIGHT: So, she couldn't tell. She said, high or low.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: OK, listen, before you go, you know it is hard. If you start off too high, you can get yourself in trouble, you know that, right?

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: So you go to start at the low key because at the end --

KNIGHT: Well, you are absolutely right. You pass out on the field.

(LAUGHTER)

KNIGHT: On the field.

LEMON: I'm sure you're going to do just great, and we will be watching. Thank you, Ms. Knight. I appreciate your time. Best of luck to you, OK?

KNIGHT: Thank you so much, Don. I love you guys so much.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

KNIGHT: I do.

LEMON: Right back at you. Thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)