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CNN TONIGHT

Howard Schultz Not A Spoiler; Democrat Freshman Under Fire Over Tweets; Trump Likely To Sign Border Security Deal, Accepting Less Wall Money Than Previous Deals; Trump Floats New 'Tradition'; Ex-Trump Lawyer Speaks About POTUS Sit-Down With Mueller; A 1993 Yearbook Photo Shows Baton Rouge Police Officers Dressed In Blackface. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired February 12, 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)

(TOWN HALL)

[23:05:00] (TOWN HALL)

[23:10:00] (TOWN HALL)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you very much, my colleague Poppy Harlow. You see that stage is set there. They are just ending that town hall down in Houston, Texas.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

That was Howard Schultz. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. The man who ran that company for a very long time. He just might run for president. He hasn't officially made the announcement. But again, they're wrapping things up there in Houston, Texas.

A very interesting debate. We learned a lot. You heard him answer questions from audience members more than an hour there or just about an hour and 10 minutes down in Houston. But did he make his case in this town hall and can he make the case over the course of the next year or so to America?

I want to bring in David Chalian who attended the town hall. Also, Ryan Lizza, as well.

Gentlemen, good evening to both of you. So glad to have you. So, David, Democrats see Howard Schultz as a spoiler if he runs. Did he say anything to allay those fears?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Don, he was asked about that head-on. And it was definitely one of his key missions tonight, was to try to take on that criticism and it's part of what he's selling to the American people as to why he thinks his candidacy is viable.

He continued to hammer away at both the left and the right, sort of failing the American people, but he kind of dismissed the notion of being a spoiler. He tried to reframe that. Take a listen to what he told Poppy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: If you run, Mr. Schultz, --

HOWARD SCHULTZ, FORMER CEO, STARBUCKS: Yes.

HARLOW: -- and if you look at the polls in the fall of 2020 and it looks like you are going to be a spoiler like you will get President Trump reelected, will you drop out of the race?

SCHULTZ: OK. A very important question so let's clarify this right now, right here on national TV on CNN.

First off, the issue of being a spoiler. How can you spoil a system that is already broken. It's just not working. So, it's not -- it's not the right word.

Now what I said publicly and I want to repeat. If the math doesn't tally up when I get to the next three or four months and I take my message out to the American people and I continue to talk this way about how concerned I am about the country and how much I think we can do so much better under a different process. If the numbers don't add up, I will not run for president because I will not do anything whatsoever to reelect Donald Trump. No one wants to see him fired more than me.

HARLOW: But Mr. Schultz, the fall of 2020 is what I was acting about.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

HARLOW: If you do run and the numbers don't add up your way and it looks like it would mean a second term for the president, would you commit to dropping out?

[23:15:05] SCHULTZ: What I just said is I am not going to run for president if it looks in any way shape or form --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: But you know look at 2016, things changed.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, they do change. But at this point right now I'm asking a different question. And that is, it's a lot less about me than giving the American people a voice that they don't have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHALIAN: Yes. Don, what you heard there was not answering the actual question. He's saying he is going to look at the map in advance of deciding he's going to run or not. Poppy's question was, OK, but if we're in the fall of 2020 and you're already a candidate and the math shows that you may throw this thing to Donald Trump would you drop out.

And that clearly was a question he wasn't willing to answer this evening.

LEMON: Yes. So, Ryan, I've got to ask you then. Democrats were concerned again about this spoiler thing, right? This was supposed to be a reset for Howard Schultz to sort of, I shouldn't say get in front but to correct may be the possibility that he attacked Democrats, right, that he alienated some Democrats when he first talked about the possibility of running. Did he help himself tonight?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he helped introduce himself to talk a little bit about what mostly what he's against. He's obviously not set down and put and put together a sort of, you know, 10-point policy proposals on all the big issues.

But I think any Democrat who watched that presentation tonight would be in the same camp they were in before he was on there and that is he is much more likely, and I think there is more evidence of it now, he's much more likely to be of interest to candidates on the center left than on the right.

If you listen to his response on two big issues the Democrats care about, climate change and immigration, he sure he had a lot of criticism of the - what he defines as the far-left proposals on those issues, but he is not going to steal very many Trump supporters with the way he talked about climate change and immigration.

He's basically running as a center or as presenting himself as a center left candidate. And Democrats should be concerned that that means he's going to steal more votes from their guy or woman then from Donald Trump.

LEMON: As we know when you got a businessman in office as president their issues that concerned divesting of his businesses. David Chalian, he wouldn't really commit to that. Does it sound like he's taking a cue from the current president?

CHALIAN: Well, it sounded like he did not want to impact anything with Starbucks financial standing in the moment by announcing something here.

LIZZA: Yes.

CHALIAN: He, you know, so much of his wealth is obviously tied up in Starbucks stock, and he was not ready to make a decision about that public what he would do. He acknowledged that it would be hugely for him to address that should be a candidate for president or be elected president. But when pressed about divesting he just wouldn't go there yet. He just would not provide an answer. He did say that he would release his tax returns, he would follow Jimmy Carter model of transparency on such matters he said.

But, no, Don. He wouldn't answer that. And to me, that gets to Ryan's initial point, which is that, the one thing I think Howard Schultz left hanging out there today is he's very good and skilled at diagnosing the problem and blaming extremes on both sides for it.

I'm not even sure he needs a 10-point plan. He just wasn't putting forth what his solutions were or how to achieve his more middle-of- the-road vision to these vexing problems facing the country. I think that's something that will probably develop as time goes on, but certainly, he introduces himself to voters and he got his story out there (Inaudible) to reach a story in probably a much more robust way that he's been so far.

LEMON: So, was a little premature, Ryan?

LIZZA: Well, look, I think, you know, it is true that a lot of candidates wait a little bit before they get deep in the policy weeds. You know, the consultants will tell you introduce yourself, your biography, big, big, broad pictures about what you want to do for the country and then later in the campaign you put out all the very detailed policy proposal.

So, that's not that unusual, but he was a little skimpy on the specifics even if you're using that template.

Can I make one other point though, to follow up on this not divesting.

This is the first example we have in the post Trump era of a very, very wealthy person parachuting into American politics, wanting to be president, and basically saying you know what, I don't have to do what every president in every major candidate did before Trump and say very clearly, I will divest.

As a lot of people talk about the precedents that Trump set and how norms have been broken. Well, we have tonight an example of how that affects our politics. You have someone like Howard Schultz who think you know what, I don't need to state clearly to the American people I won't do that and the reason is because Trump didn't do it.

[23:20:00] LEMON: Yes. Thank you, gents. Interesting tonight at dinner I literally went down with friends. Everyone who has put their hat into the ring and possibly put their hat to the ring and got their take on. And it was interesting to hear the responses. So, we'll see if they're right over the next year or so. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Now we got a lot to talk about. We got to talk about something that president Trump said today, OK? Lots going on. Something that was frankly pretty stunning coming from this president. I want you to listen to what he said. This is about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congressman Omar is terrible what she said and I she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. What she said is so deep-seated in our heart that her lame apology and that's what it was. It was lame and she didn't mean a word of it was just not appropriate and I think she should resign from Congress, frankly. But at a minimum, she shouldn't be on committees, certainly that committee. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He said that. Donald Trump said that Congresswoman Omar should resign over a hateful tweet. You know who else has a whole lot of experience with hateful speech? Donald Trump. But first I just want to recap.

Congresswoman Omar, a freshman Democrat, replied to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald by implying that politicians, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy support Israel for campaign donations. Tweeting, quote, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby," which is the oldest hateful stereotype in the book the anti-Semitic claim that Jews control politics with money.

The congresswoman apologized yesterday. Saying, quote, "Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. This is why I unequivocally apologize."

Her tweet was wrong. It was wrong. Are you hearing me? And hateful. She's right to apologize, but as I pointed out last night, Congressman McCarthy never apologized for his tweet before the midterms. Saying, quote, "We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to buy - in capital letters - this election."

He deleted that tweet but never apologize for it even though it's exactly the same thing. The same anti-Semitic stereotype as the congresswoman's tweet. Exactly. Yet, McCarthy wants Democrats to take away Omar's committee assignments. Holy double standard of that man, huh.

And there's more. "The Washing Post" is reporting tonight that a group of about 200 people calling themselves pro-family leaders signed a letter calling for Congressman Steve King to get back his committee assignments. The assignments he lost last month when his colleagues in the House finally decided they could no longer turn a blind eye to his long history of blatantly racist statements like this, quote, to the New York Times.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization, how did that language become offensive?" And let's not forget this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING, (R) IOWA: I'd ask you go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about. Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Or this, about the children of undocumented immigrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: There is another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: In spite of all that, Congressman Steve King is fighting to get back his committee assignments and it just might work. It's Trump 101. Dodge responsibility for what you've said and done, then you might have to pay a price.

And speaking of Trump, I want to listen to what Donald Trump said about Steve King when he campaigned for him in Iowa in 2014 and this is a hat tip to our friends at the KFile for digging this up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Toady I'm here to support Steve King, a special guy, a smart person with really the right views on almost everything. And we don't really have to compare notes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: They don't have to compare notes, do they? Listen to what Donald Trump said to the Republican Jewish Coalition back in 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You are not going to support me because I don't want your money, isn't that crazy? no, it's true. You want to control your own politician. That's fine. Good.

[23:24:58] But I will -- think about that, folks. Don't worry about it. I understand. Hey, five months ago, I was with you. I would love you support but I don't want your money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That raise eyebrows from a lot of people at the time, including Ari Fleischer who tweeted, "What the hell does that mean?"

Let's not forget this is the president who said this about the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group, excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures as you did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The president said this about NFL players taking a knee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Wouldn't you see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The president who in the Oval Office called African nations shithole countries and there is so much more. Let's not forget Donald Trump insulted a gold star family whose son, a Muslim soldier was killed in a car bombing in Iraq as he tried other troops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you look at his wife she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's not forget he launch his campaign by trying to stir up fear of Mexicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They are rapists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He made a Muslim ban the centerpiece of that campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And let's not forget this that he spent years pushing the racist birther lie that Barack Obama was not born in this country. A lie he has reportedly continued to cling to in private even in the White House.

And then there's his repeated racist slur aimed at Elizabeth Warren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Pocahontas, that this Elizabeth Warren. Massachusetts is represented by Pocahontas, right? I called her Pocahontas and that's an insult to Pocahontas.

I was being hit by Pocahontas. Pocahontas. Pocahontas. Pocahontas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The president doubling down this weekend tweeting this. "See you on the campaign trail - trail in capital letters - Liz."

It's hard to see that as anything other than a reference to the brutal Trail of tears. The forced migration of Native Americans from Mississippi to Florida in the 1830s. President Trump seems to really lose it when a woman crosses him. There is, of course, Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Crooked Hillary Clinton, she's crooked, folks. She's crooked as a 3-dollar bill. I think she does not have the stamina to be a good president. Such a nasty woman.

(CROWD CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: There is Carly Fiorina in 2015 he told Rollingstone, quote, "look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president? And on and on and on. President never apologize for any of that. Never. Trump 101. Never apologize.

Well, there was that one time and we all remember of course when Donald Trump was caught on tape saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I got to use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. I just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So gross. That tape Trump bragging about sexual assault came out just one month before election day. He at first offered an apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said it. I was wrong and I apologize.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Then just two days later he dismissed the whole thing as locker room talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't think you understood what was said. This was locker room talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And later, reportedly claim that he didn't think it was even his voice in the first place. Trump 101. Dodge. Deflect. Don't apologize. Something else the president might wish he could dodge and that's the signing of the shutdown deal.

He's getting a lot less money for his wall than he could've had before shutting down the government over a month ago. So, so much for the art of the deal.

[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The White House is signaling tonight that President Trump will likely sign the border security agreement, though nothing is certain. We know that. But this is the same president who vowed to shut down the government again unless he got $5.7 billion for his wall, OK? He said I am not going to do it unless I got $5.7 billion.

The disagreement gives him $1.375 billion. Even less money before his wall -- for his wall, I should say, than the original deal he turned down in December, which led to the 35-day shutdown.

So what changed? Here to discuss, Max Boot, author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right," Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump."

Good evening. You know, because you've written a book about him. He loves to talk about himself as the ultimate dealmaker. Here, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am a great dealmaker, that's what I do.

I have made deals that should have been disasters into among the best deals I've ever had.

I make good deals.

We are going to make the best deals.

I am a dealmaker. I've made deals all my life. I do really well. I make great deals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he's a great dealmaker.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Help me understand this. I'm serious. He's a great dealmaker. He wanted $5.7 billion. They offered him $1.6 billion, right, for 65 miles of physical wall. Now, he's getting $1.375 billion for 55 miles, less money, fewer miles.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But you're forgetting he also got to have history's longest shutdown and take the credit for it and put the country through that misery and stand his presidency with it. So, not only has he failed in this deal, he has made his political position worst, he has made himself a laughing stock for the country. This is the guy who had to have someone else invent the name of his book, "The Art of the Deal." That wasn't even his deal to name the book.

LEMON: Yeah.

D'ANTONIO: So, you know, he goes bankrupt. He declares himself rich. He makes a bad deal and declares a good deal. This is all just smoke in mirror.

[23:35:00] LEMON: He says he's going to work the hardest of any president, and he has more executive time and plays golf more than --

D'ANTONIO: It's stunning.

LEMON: Is it like opposite day every day?

(LAUGHTER)

D'ANTONIO: It is opposite day every single day.

LEMON: Go on.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yeah, absolutely right. I mean, this kind of reminds me of his big whoop to do over NAFTA which he called the worst deal ever, and he basically, you know, holds up our allies, insults the leaders of Canada and Mexico, worsens relations with --

LEMON: Did a copy and paste, right?

BOOT: Basically comes up with basically the same agreement with a few minor tweaks which he calls -- the big difference being that he calls it the USMCA instead of NAFTA. He claims that's a huge victory. This is very much that same kind of deal.

And remember, it is not that he's not getting any more than he could have gotten in December, but remember what he started off promising which was we are going to have thousand miles of border wall that was going to be paid for by Mexico. We've gone from a thousand miles paid for by Mexico to 55 miles paid for by Congress.

LEMON: Yeah.

BOOT: That's quite a fall.

LEMON: Well, paid for Congress which means paid for by --

BOOT: Us.

LEMON: Us, the American taxpayers.

D'ANTONIO: Oh, listen, I told my wife I was getting a sports car, but you are going to pay for it.

(LAUGHTER) D'ANTONIO: So when I show up tomorrow with my sports car, I'm just going to say, well, Don, wouldn't quite pay for it, but, you know, I'm going to be on CNN a lot, so it's like that. This is crazy. This is all insane.

LEMON: You can give this to your wife.

BOOT: There you go, sports car.

D'ANTONIO: That's our car.

LEMON: That's your car.

(LAUGHTER)

D'ANTONIO: Free ride on the subway.

LEMON: You can get a ride on the subway. I need that back. But listen, I want to talk about this. This is what the president tweeted tonight.

He says, "I was just presented the concept and parameters of the Border Security Deal by hardworking Senator Richard Shelby, looking over all aspects knowing that this will be hooked up with lots of money from other sources, will be getting almost $23 billion for border security regardless of wall money. It is being built as we speak."

Twenty-three billion dollars for border security, Max, what is he talking about?

BOOT: Well, nine-tenths of the time, it's kind of a mystery what he is talking about, but I mean I think what he's signalling is that he will accept the deal that has been negotiated by congressional leaders, and then somehow he will try to finagle more money for the wall in some kind of extra constitutional way out of money that's already been appropriated.

I think the question now is, Don, how is his base going to react to this? Are they just going credulously to go along with this and accept that the deal he could have had in December which is a long shot away from what he promised them to begin with, are they going to accept this is a good deal because he says it is, or are they going to be up in arms again as they were earlier when Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and so forth are pressing him for the government shutdown because they thought that the $1.3 billion was not enough?

LEMON: So, explain this. So you shut the government down because you needed the money from Congress, $5 billion, $5.7 billion. But you don't need Congress to get $23 billion. Explain to me how this makes sense?

D'ANTONIO: This is Trump math. I mean, it doesn't make sense. This is also a situation where if he expects to redirect money, he has to get --

LEMON: So why did he shut the government down?

D'ANTONIO: He has to get the House to go along with him. He has to get Nancy Pelosi to agree to this.

LEMON: Yeah.

D'ANTONIO: You know, I give him about as much chance of that as me showing up with a sports car.

LEMON: Yeah. Let's talk about your new column, Max. It is entitled, "Trump's Superpower is His Shamelessness." Is that what we are seeing here?

BOOT: Absolutely. I mean, I think this actually is one of the secrets of his success because he is not at all daunted by charges of hypocrisy, inconsistency, and shamelessness. He just plunges on and on. It doesn't really matter what the facts are. He will shape them to his own narrative.

And, you know, other politicians will be too embarrassed to do this. I mean, you are pointing out the fact that he is calling on Representative Omar to be kicked out of Congress or kicked out of Foreign Affairs Committee because she said something that was anti- Semantic.

And of course, he himself just a few months ago was saying that George Soros was behind the caravan. You had Trump engaging in a long history of racist utterance going back decades. And he's calling somebody else out for racism?

I mean, no other politician could possibly do this with a straight face or complain about, you know, that a politician in Virginia should be kicked out of office for sexual assault when he has been charged with sexual assault by 13 women, or as you suggested, you know, claim that he is the hardest working president ever when we have seen that he spent a record amount of time on "executive time" and playing golf, but none of this stuff dawns him.

If he has self-awareness, irony, humility, he would not be president right now. In fact, his very shamelessness is in fact kind of the superpower that has allowed him to become president and to stay there.

LEMON: What does this say about us? I don't mean us, I mean America. America would fall for this, would fall for the con?

D'ANTONIO: Well, Donald Trump's original concept of life taught to him by his father when he witnessed the opening of the Verrazano Bridge was that you either are the sucker or you are the one making suckers out of everybody else.

[23:40:05] LEMON: OK.

D'ANTONIO: So that makes us the suckers and him the guy conning us.

LEMON: Let's talk about witnessing something, because remember when the president -- he had this desire to have a parade after he enjoyed one in France. He witnessed on in France. Listen to this today, though.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're thinking about doing on the 4th of July or thereabouts a parade, a 'Salute to America' parade. It will be really a gathering as opposed to a parade. I guess you have to say -- perhaps at the Lincoln Memorial. We are looking at sites.

But we're thinking about doing something which would become perhaps a tradition, 'Salute to America,' on July 4th or July 4th weekend, somewhere around that area. The fireworks are there anyway, so we just saved on fireworks. We get free fireworks because it's already being done. So, that's very good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's interesting. Maybe we can have a band that marches through the streets -- oh, wait a minute, this already happened. It is already a tradition and you see it in every other city.

BOOT: Al Gore invented the Internet and Donald Trump has invented July 4th, halleluiah.

(LAUGHTER)

BOOT: What a great idea.

D'ANTONIO: The next thing he is going to do is give us all free oxygen.

(LAUGHTER)

D'ANTONIO: We're going to be able to breathe. Thanks to Donald Trump.

LEMON: What is that all about this? There is already a parade in D.C. for -- and a gathering at the monument, on the mall.

D'ANTONIO: It's crazy time. This is what goes on in his head. He imagined that he can claim anything and a certain percentage of the people will believe it. And who's to argue with him? He is president and you're not.

LEMON: I got to run.

BOOT: Last night, he was basically saying he invented caravans. I mean, so --

LEMON: There you go.

BOOT: -- everything is a Trump invention.

LEMON: That is an unlimited ride car.

D'ANTONIO: I want you to get home.

LEMON: All right, thank you. (LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you both, I appreciate it. The president's former lawyer is speaking out about Robert Mueller's investigation. He has a lot to say including explaining why the president hasn't sat down with Robert Mueller.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The president's former lawyer, John Dean, gave a rare interview to ABC News today, explaining why the president never sat down for an interview with -- back it up, please. Let me read that over again. Go back to the top of that. Thank you very much. I said John Dean. The president's -- Trump's former lawyer, John Dowd, gave a rare interview to ABC News today, explaining why the president never sat down for an interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

[23:45:02] So now let's bring in Laura Coates and Renato Mariotti. Good evening. I like to correct it right in the moment. I don't have scripts for the show, so you got to roll the prompter back. It is just me talking most of the time. Thank you both for coming on. I appreciate it. So let's talk about John Dowd now, Laura and Renato. John Dowd on the president testifying to Mueller. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DOWD, FORMER ATTORNEY OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (voice-over): In my questioning him or talking to him, you know, first question, easy. Second question, easy. Third question, he wasn't sure. And he doesn't like being unsure, so he will guess. There's your trap, right there. It's not whether he lies or not. Everybody wants to get into this, you know, this integrity business.

It's not a matter of integrity. It's overload. What I was worried about is that he really couldn't do it. He couldn't do it. There's no way he could -- I mean, we'd have to script it. Matter of fact, I told Bob. I said why don't you just let us script it?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: They have to script the president's testimony, Laura?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, what I thought, Don, here was one of those classic moments. It was almost like watching an episode of "The Office," when the Dunder Mifflin head says, you know, I'm too honest, I'm too great, I'm too fan -- that's why a horrible boss. I'm too giving. I mean the idea of integrity overload of the president of the United States, that's why he would be so willing to be helpful.

That may turn into a lie. What an effective or ineffective spin on a narrative that they had created. In reality, it is not a trap. If you yourself offer false testimony, if you do so because you are simply maybe trying to guess to be helpful, they are trying to say, listen, there will be no nefarious intent here.

In order to commit perjury, you have to actually have that bad intent. He just has intent to have integrity. That is not at all what we have learned so far. That is not all what we've seen over the course of this presidency. And John Dowd is really shocking to me in his effort to try to change this narrative with this sort of spin.

LEMON: Yeah. Renato, John Dowd is saying that the president would not be able to recall something and end up lying under oath. He is basically, you know, saying he got a bad memory. Didn't the president say he had one of the great memories of all time? Do you remember that?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do. That is just another example of him lying. I got to tell you, Don, it is really something to have the president's attorney go on national television and say that the president cannot tell the truth. He has to lie. He's wired in such a way that he has to lie even if he's under oath, even if he's talking to federal investigators.

That's a pretty shocking statement. It is a pretty amazing thing when your attorney says he cannot allow you to take the stand because you will lie, you are compel to lie. I don't know what that means for our nation that we literally have a president who apparently can't answer our question honestly, even if his -- he was under jeopardy if he didn't answer honestly.

LEMON: Does it sound like he is saying -- basically he is saying he sort of makes up his own -- he's living in his own world and reality and facts don't really matter to him. So, not that he is doing -- sounds to me like not that he would be trying to do anything wrong, maybe you are saying the same thing I am, that's just who he is. His reality is not based in actual reality.

MARIOTTI: I mean, isn't that even more alarming?

LEMON: Yes.

MARIOTTI: We have a president who literally does not live in our reality. And frankly, that's what he's trying to do, Don. He tries to get everyone that the news that they hear, what they see, what they read doesn't matter, isn't true. You can only rely in his words which are apparently, according to his own attorney, based on some fantasy land. I don't know what this says, but it is not a good thing for the United States of America. That's for sure.

LEMON: Let's talk about the subject of collusion, OK, Laura, because there is a split tonight on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The top Republicans, top Democrats butting heads on the question of collusion. This is what Republican Chairman Richard Burr said today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president says he feels vindicated with your commentary that Senate Intel has not found anything so far on the Trump collusion with Russia.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I'm just saying what factually we've found to date. We haven't finished with our investigation. I think -- just recently, I think there was a story. That's what the Democrat staff confirmed, that that's where we were. We still got some investigations left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Have you found any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia?

BURR: I'm not sure how to put it any clearer. I have said it before. We have no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: So his Democratic counterpart on that committee, Mark Warner, says that he can't make any conclusions because the investigation isn't done.

[23:50:01] No one knows what's in the investigation. He may not find anything or he may -- no one knows. What do you make of this split, Laura?

COATES: I make that one has his head in the sand, as if he were an ostrich, because you could not possibly collude if there has been no connection, no evidence whatsoever linking any member of the Trump campaign to Russia.

When you have evidence of things like WikiLeaks and Roger Stone and Paul Manafort and talk in discussions regarding whether or not he inadvertently was this close passed on polling data to somebody with ties to the Kremlin, at least part of the evidence that has come out through the Mueller probe, now perhaps what Burr is suggesting is that through the parallel legislative investigation for congressional oversight, they have not been able to come up with a direct evidence of antitrust based law called collusion.

But they are just simply skirting around this issue by saying I have seen nothing. Well, there has been information. Not being able to draw that final conclusion until the end of the investigation is probably prudent, but it is really disingenuous to say there has been no single evidence of the contrary or evidence to suggest there has been collusion --

LEMON: OK.

COATES: -- when you got the Mueller probe going on with all of the criminal charges that are there.

LEMON: Thank you both. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have. I appreciate it.

Another blackface picture is making waves. This time, it is police officers in Baton Rouge dressed up as so-called "soul brothers" for an undercover operation. Seriously, the details, next.

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LEMON: So it shouldn't surprise you that there is another example of people in blackface in the news today.

[23:55:02] And for me, this one is close to home. It actually happened in my hometown. CNN has obtained a 1993 police yearbook photo of two white Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers dressed in blackface for an undercover field operation. You heard that right. Law enforcement officers dressed in blackface for an official police operation with their pictures then proudly printed in a yearbook.

The caption of the photo does not mention the nature of that operation. It just says "soul brothers," somehow making the whole thing even more bizarre. The current Baton Rouge police chief in a statement confirmed that the officers were working in an undercover capacity. The local newspaper called "The Advocate" first published the yearbook photo and thanks to their reporting back in 1993, we have an article detailing exactly what happened.

The article says officers were initially made up in blackface to conduct a sting operation. The operation targeted people in Baton Rouge attempting to buy drugs. One of the officers in blackface even boasted to the newspaper about his racist disguise. He said, not only do they not know we're cops - they don't even know we're white.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: And yes, there is no way anyone could have missed that these were in fact not black people.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Make no mistake these cops were proud of what they did. That is why it is right there in that yearbook. So the current Baton Rouge police chief is apologizing for this photo. Chief Murphy Paul says that blackface photographs are inappropriate and offensive. They were inappropriate then and are inappropriate today. The Baton Rouge Police Department would like to apologize to our citizens and to anyone who may have been offended by the photographs.

The chief is right, inappropriate then, inappropriate now. So, all right, listen, can we all just admit that blackface is wrong and can we just stop it? I am sick of talking about it. I really am. It is a huge problem, but I'm sick of talking about it. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it.

So, for me, this is the moral of the story. Let's talk about what will make a difference here, policy wise. The police chief should have apologized for the lack of diversity in the department back then, and that anyone would even fathom that putting white officers in blackface was a good idea, let alone a tool for law enforcement.

You know what would have been sufficient here? Black officers. As a matter of fact, according to Baton Rouge paper, The Advocate, after decades under consent decree, to diversity the Baton Rouge Police Department's racial makeup, it still does not reflect the city's population.

That's the real issue here. So let's learn from the past. Correct it in the future. You know who can see those guys are white. Come on, man. Good night.

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