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Judge Voids Paul Manafort Plea Deal, Says Manafort Intentionally Lied to the FBI, Special Counsel and Grand Jury in Russia Investigation; Barr Gears Up to Take the Reins on Mueller Investigation as Judge Rules Manafort Lied to Mueller; House Judiciary Chairman Threatens to Depose Acting Attorney General After Contentious Testimony; Robert Mueller's Attention to the August 2016 Meeting Between Paul Manafort and Russia's Konstantin Kilimnik; Howard Schultz Acquiring Plenty of Attention Lately; The Individual Who Tipped Off the National Enquirer of Jeff Bezos' Affair. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 13, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's the point. And this president is going to have to confront that reality, if not in court, certainly in the court of public opinion. Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon right now. Let's get to him.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Chris, you realize you're talking about Donald Trump, right?
CUOMO: Yes. Thank you.
LEMON: I'm just saying. I mean, his own lawyer said this week that he couldn't trust him to tell the truth during a deposition, or if he was questioned by Robert Mueller. The guy can't tell the truth. And you say his name is Donald. He's not a Don. Well, certainly, he's been accused of trying to intimidate witnesses right in front of our faces, i.e. Michael Cohen, exhibit A. I just -- I mean, it's Donald Trump, he's capable of all of that. He has trouble telling the truth.
CUOMO: Yeah, I don't argue with any of that. That's not my question. My question is why he and these people around him keep lying about Russian-related matters if they have nothing to hide?
LEMON: Well, that's true. But maybe they just can't tell the truth. Maybe he just is not in the position to tell the truth. And the other thing is --
CUOMO: In a position to tell the truth. Now, I'm with you.
CUOMO: Now, I'm with you. Is he in a position to tell the truth?
CUOMO: What is Manafort hiding? That's a fine phrasing.
CUOMO: Incapable of telling the truth. I don't give anybody that excuse.
LEMON: Well, this person doesn't seem capable of telling the truth, but business. It's a red line. Don't go back to my businesses. The person who can do that is Michael Cohen. That's why he hates Michael Cohen or he's upset with him. I don't know if he hates him personally, but you know what I'm saying. It's a figure of speech.
So I think maybe at this point, he doesn't -- he can't -- he's not in a position to tell the truth because he knows about his businesses, but is that directly related to the campaign? That's a different story.
CUOMO: Hundred percent. I don't see -- look, I say it all the time. I don't see the criminality. I don't see a massive prosecution in our future. I could be wrong. But that --
LEMON: I'm with you on that.
CUOMO: That's not a level of scrutiny for me.
LEMON: I'm with you on that, and I've always said that I think that everyone is putting too much credence in the Mueller report, the left and the right.
CUOMO: Well, look --
LEMON: The left think he's going to be dragged out of the White House in handcuffs and an orange suit and eventually be seen in an orange suit, and the right thinks that, they're going to say, oh, my gosh, he is completely vindicated. I don't think it's going to be any of that. I have someone on who said -- a little bit later who says we may never even see the report.
CUOMO: I hope that's not true.
CUOMO: I don't know why that would be in anybody's interest politically. I don't know why the president would want that because in a vacuum of facts, it's going to be all feelings and speculation, and he's going to take a beating on that.
CUOMO: And I think that the actual record will probably be his best bet. But I keep using a phrase. It's not a criminal phrase. You know, it's not a crime, abuse of power. Abuse of power could be an impeachable situation.
CUOMO: A high crime or misdemeanor, whatever Congress says it is.
LEMON: Well --
CUOMO: And I think that a lot of this looks like that to me.
LEMON: There's already been abuse of power if you look at it. For anyone to say nothing's going to come out of the Mueller investigation, just look at the record and look at the facts. Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: I think things are going to come out.
LEMON: Thank you, sir.
LEMON: Have a good night.
CUOMO: You, too.
LEMON: See you tomorrow. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. We've got a lot more on all of the major developments in the Mueller investigation, beginning with the big news on, one, Paul Manafort.
Here's what a federal judge rule tonight, ruling tonight that the president's former campaign chairman lied and lied intentionally multiple times to the FBI, to a grand jury and to Robert Mueller, including lying about his interactions and communications with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, something that Mueller said went to the heart of his investigation.
So the judge is not buying the claim by Manafort's lawyers that he didn't intentionally lie, he just forgot details. So Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with Mueller on three of five findings, ruling that Manafort intentionally lied about where he got $125,000 to pay for his legal bills, lied about his interactions with Kilimnik while he was campaign chairman and later, and lied about another DOJ criminal investigation which, it's interesting to note, she didn't name.
That's a lot of lying. But the judge said Mueller did not prove that Manafort intentionally lied about Kilimnik's role in an attempt to influence witnesses, which Manafort admitted to doing in his plea. And she said that Mueller did not prove that Manafort intentionally lied about his interactions with the White House officials. A bit of a mixed bag here, OK?
[22:04:55] But the upshot is this, that while Manafort is still bound by his agreement and won't be able to take back his guilty pleas, Mueller is freed from the agreement to ask for a reduced sentence, which means the nearly 70-year-old Manafort could possibly spend the rest of his life in prison. One very big open question, how will the president react to all of this?
Remember back in November when he said the he'd never discussed a pardon for Manafort but said it's "not off the record?" "Off the table," excuse me. It's not off the table. I wonder what he thinks now. All of this as we're learning the president's pick for attorney general, who is likely to be confirmed in the next day or two, is already gearing up to take the reins on the Mueller investigation.
Sources are telling CNN exclusively that William Barr has already started talking to top Justice Department officials about how to handle a report from Robert Mueller. Barr has also begun discussions about who will replace Rod Rosenstein, who has overseen the Mueller investigation for most of its existence.
And as we've said all along, Robert Mueller knows a lot more than he is telling so far. But will we ever find out what he knows? Listen to what Barr -- this is what Barr said about that in his confirmation hearing. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: My objective and goal is to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public. And, you know, these are departmental regulations, and I'm going to be talking to Rod Rosenstein and Bob Mueller. I'm sure they've had discussions about this. There's probably existing thinking in the department as to how to handle this.
But all I can say at this stage, because I have no clue as to what's being planned, is that I am going to try to get the information out there consistent with these regulations and to the extent I have discretion, I will exercise that discretion to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK, so, that's not exactly a definite yes. Barr said his goal is to get as much information as he can to Congress and the public. But he didn't pledge to turn over the full report to lawmakers. So that's another very big open question.
And on a really busy news night, we've also learned that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is threatening to depose the acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, calling his testimony last week unsatisfactory or contradicted by other evidence, including exchanges like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D), FLORIDA: Mr. Lieu asked you if you ever communicated with President Trump about investigations in the Southern District of New York. Instead of answering, you referred him back to your statement, referred him back to what was written for you. But all you said is that you didn't make any -- your statement, that you didn't make any promises or commitments to President Trump. I want to know whether you talked to President Trump at all about the Southern District of New York's case involving Michael Cohen.
MATT WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Congresswoman, as I've mentioned several times today, I am not going to discuss my private conversations with the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Like I said, a busy news night. A top Democrat says the acting attorney general may have misled Congress about his conversations about ongoing investigations. The president's pick for A.G. is gearing up to take the reins of the Mueller investigation. And the former Trump campaign chairman intentionally lied to the FBI, to Mueller, and to a grand jury. And the true line in all of this, Mueller.
Let's remember why all of this is so important. When people say, oh, well, nothing has come out of the Mueller investigation. This is why this is important. Thirty-seven people and entities have been charged by Robert Mueller. The list includes six Trump associates.
Look at your screen. Including Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone. Mueller has brought 199 total criminal charges in all, and there still are a lot more questions to be answered. And there's a lot to talk about.
Matthew Rosenberg is here to discuss, Midwin Charles as well, and Max Boot. Get ready. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.
[22:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here's the breaking news tonight, a federal judge ruling that Paul Manafort intentionally lied to the FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller and the grand jury in the ongoing Russia investigation.
I want to bring in now Matthew Rosenberg, Attorney Midwin Charles, and Max Boot, the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
It's so good to have you here. Welcome.
MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY: Thank you. It's been a while.
LEMON: These guys have been here before. They're used to this, but thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a while.
LEMON: Matthew, as the journalist for "The Times" here, I've got to start with you. The judge ruled that Manafort intentionally lied to the FBI about his interactions with Kilimnik, the Russian share polling data -- the Russian he shared polling data with, and he lied about his $125,000 that he received for legal bills, two topics that were "material to the investigation." And he lied about another criminal investigation. What can we deduce from Mueller's case about all of these lies? What's going on?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We know there's another criminal investigation we don't know about which we've got.
ROSENBERG: I mean, look, it really looks like they're looking at some kind of collusion, conspiracy, whatever you want to call it, between people -- I mean we know that, between people from Trump's campaign and the Russians. I mean you have to wonder why Manafort is lying here. Is he really the kind of moron who cuts a plea deal with federal prosecutors and keeps lying to them, or is there something else he's worried about?
Is, you know, the fact that he was in bed for many years with very questionable Russian oligarchs, some of whom are more than reputed to have mafia ties and other kind of Russian intelligence ties, and he's lying to kind of cover up his interactions with them, it certainly leads one to speculate -- it looks like, you know, he's afraid of something there.
[22:15:03] LEMON: So a good question is because, you know, Chris and I were talking about it just moments ago. Chris's whole closing argument was why lie, why lie. We all remember, for everyone who is here, can it just be -- I don't know as it deals with the Russia investigation, if I'm looking at another reason, could it just be that there are grifters?
Because I remember during the campaign, a lot of folks who came on and they were defending the president, they were in Russia all the time. It's like what are you doing in Russia? I got a speaking engagement, I go to this and I got to do that. Was it just where the money was coming from? They didn't want to report it and they --
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, look, Don, there's a lot -- I mean there's a lot of grifters out there. There are different kinds of grifts and all the grifting in connection with the Trump campaign seems to be tied up to Russia. I mean that, to me, is pretty suspicious. You have over 100 contacts --
LEMON: It could be that's where the money is, though.
BOOT: There's money in other places, too. By the way, they're also investigating Trump links to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and other places. But there are over 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and you've already had four Trump campaign officials who have been convicted of lying about those contacts, not only Manafort but also Flynn, Cohen, and Papadopoulos.
Don't tell me that they're doing it just because, you know, it's inconvenient to tell the truth. There has to be a real reason why they're trying to hide what actually went on.
CHARLES: Exactly. I mean this is --
LEMON: Hold on, let me say this. And if you're making money from Russia, you don't want people to know about it. The judgment or the sentence for that is a lot less than lying to prosecutors. Go on. CHARLES: Exactly. But this is also an attorney's worst nightmare, right? To have your client lie to a judge, to have your client lie to a grand jury. And what I think I find most surprising about this is Manafort and all these other people who have pled guilty for lying, they aren't lying to, you know, the guy on the corner or their cousin or their aunt, they are lying to authority.
CHARLES: They are lying to a judge. They are lying to a grand jury. So you have to always sort of ask yourself, who do these people think they are? That's one. And two, to your point, why lie? I mean, this is pretty significant. This is a really, really important investigation. Why would you lie to someone with such authority who could dictate where you spend the rest of your life wearing an orange jumpsuit?
LEMON: I want to ask you about this. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that Manafort didn't meet the threshold on two other things, his interactions with the White House officials and about Kilimnik's role to try and influence witnesses. What does it say about the special counsel that he didn't meet that? Is that a normal part of an investigation, a prosecution, not meeting certain criteria?
CHARLES: Yeah. I mean, look, there's always criteria that you have to meet in order to prove whatever allegation it is that you are trying to show to the judge. And if you aren't able to do it, you aren't able to do it. It's a threshold. And so if you can't meet that threshold, you can't convince the judge of what it is that you're trying to convince the judge.
LEMON: Should they -- into that, is what I'm asking.
CHARLES: I don't really know (ph) on that one.
LEMON: OK. Let's hone in on Manafort lying about his interactions with Kilimnik. Again, Manafort was the campaign chairman, right? And Kilimnik is a Russian associate who shared campaign polling data with -- he shared polling data with. Why lie about that? Who is he protecting?
ROSENBERG: He's tied to Russian intelligence, too. Isn't Kilimnik --
ROSENBERG: He's got ties to Russian intel. He's got ties to Oleg Deripaska, who is an incredibly powerful oligarch. You know, people who have crossed Russian intelligence, some of them have ended quite badly.
ROSENBERG: You know, so in this case, you know, we're certainly going to think maybe he's lying to protect himself. Maybe he's worried that in prison he's not safe. We don't know. Maybe he's just a grifter. Maybe he's just used to lying at this point. It's not out of the realm of possibility either. CHARLES: Except that's not a reasonable thing to do, right?
BOOT: No. I think there's --
CHARLES: You could be a grifter, but you could understand what the ramifications and the consequences are to lying to a federal judge or to a grand jury.
LEMON: You can always end up paying money for your taxes for the money that you earned and then you didn't report.
BOOT: I think there are only two reasonable explanations for why Manafort is lying, knowing that by lying he is potentially going to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Explanation A, he expects that President Trump is going to pardon him.
CHARLES: Pardon him.
BOOT: And explanation B is he thinks that it's better to spend the rest of his life behind bars than to face the wrath of his former Russian business associates who have a way of settling these things with polonium-laced tea. Either way, it doesn't speak well to the Trump campaign.
I would just point out also that last week in court, the Mueller team was talking about the meeting that Manafort had with Kilimnik, this associate of Russian intelligence, in New York in August of 2016 where they were talking about a peace deal for Ukraine, which was widely seen as kind of a quid pro quo for the Russian support for Trump in the campaign. The Mueller team was saying this goes to the very heart of their investigation.
So I would push back against kind of the emerging conventional wisdom. There is no collusion. To me, it looks like there is collusion with the Trump campaign. I think the issue is can you prove there was collusion with Trump personally?
[22:20:02] LEMON: Yeah. Does it touch the president? Can I move on now? This is very important. I want to get you guys to weigh in on this. I want to talk about William Barr because William Barr is consulting with top Justice Department officials on how to handle the anticipated Mueller report. The biggest question is how much of this information should be given to Congress. What happens if he doesn't release his full report?
ROSENBERG: Look, I'm a reporter, so I'm like, we want it all.
CHARLES: That's right.
ROSENBERG: Let it all out.
BOOT: You'll get it whether they release it or not.
(LAUGHTER) ROSENBERG: This country overclassifies everything. But there's going to be a chunk of it that's going to be classified. It's based on intelligence. It's based on intercepts or human intelligence. I'll say you're going to reveal sources of methods. So some of that we're not going to see. I think it's, you know, there's a lot of pressure from Congress.
ROSENBERG: There's Intel committees are going to want to see a lot of it. I can't imagine the Justice Department can say, well, nothing to see here. It's done. Let's all move on.
LEMON: When I was reading the intro, I looked at you when Barr was in his confirmation hearing, when he didn't really answer the question about whether he's going to give the report. He stopped short of that.
LEMON: Congress won't be happy if they don't get these answers. Do you think the American people will be happy?
CHARLES: And I think that's really the important question here, is what will the American people say? What will the American people do if this report is not released at least in part? I understand that parts of it is going to be, you know, retracted or redacted rather because it has highly intelligent information.
But, you know, the American people need to have integrity. We have to maintain integrity in our justice system, and I think transparency is how we do that. So I think it's very important for people to know what happened. At the end of the day, we all want to know what happened. It's been about two years since Mueller has been doing this work.
As you've said, there's been over 100 contacts with Russia. We have -- 37 people have been arrested. All these entities have been charged with sort of working with Russia. We need to know what are the answers for the questions we have been asking for the last two years. And so if he doesn't release this report, I think there's going to be a huge backlash.
LEMON: But it sounds like Barr doesn't want to do what Comey did and come out and say all the bad things that someone did or didn't do.
BOOT: That's a reasonable position to take. I agree with many who said that, you know, it was a mistake to talk about what Hillary may or may not have done if you weren't going to charge her. But remember --
CHARLES: That's different.
BOOT: No. This is a different matter because this is not a question of criminal prosecution. It's not just a criminal investigation. It's primarily a counterintelligence investigation. And the important point is this is not just about charging people. This is about political accountability.
CHARLES: That's right.
BOOT: High crimes and misdemeanors do not have to be actual violations of the law, and the public needs to know what the president and his aides are up to regardless of whether they broke the law or not.
LEMON: How do you weigh the public interest on this?
ROSENBERG: Well, I would think --
LEMON: Does that matter, what the public thinks? Maybe it should just come out because we've spent so much money and time. Go on.
ROSENBERG: I imagine, yeah, the Justice Department is going to want something out there. As you noted in the beginning of the show, on the far right, it's a witch hunt. On the far left, they found the greatest criminal conspiracy on the planet.
ROSENBERG: The truth is neither. And the Justice Department is not going to want to leave people out there stewing and speculating. Facts are their friends in this case. So you think they would have an interest and also they're supposed to serve the public interest.
BOOT: The facts are not necessarily Trump's friends.
LEMON: I said from the top, I know this sounds terrible, but I mean, do you think they were even smart enough to collude?
LEMON: I know. But I don't think they're that smart to coordinate anything. I just think they were sort of bumbling like --
BOOT: I think they are dumb (ph) enough to do something and get caught red-handed.
LEMON: OK, that's fair.
CHARLES: Exactly, because just about everything up to date has been in plain sight --
CHARLES: -- including the president of the United States intimidating witnesses in plain sight.
LEMON: Let me play this before you guys go. I want to play this. This is a moment in the Barr hearing where he talks about his relationship with Mueller, and he tells the president about it. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARR: The president wanted to know -- he said, oh, you know, Bob Mueller, how well do you know Bob Mueller? And I told him how well I knew Bob Mueller and, you know, the Barrs and Muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over and so forth. And he was interested in that, wanted to know what I thought about Mueller's integrity and so forth and so on. And I said Bob is a straight shooter and should be dealt with as such.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does their relationship factor into all of this?
BOOT: Well, I'm sure it does. I don't think we know how exactly. I mean it's kind of amusing that, you know, Trump has gone on and on about how Comey and Mueller are supposedly best buds whereas in fact apparently they're not really friends. And it turns out that Barr and Mueller actually are friends. It's not clear that Trump realized that because he obviously picked Barr because Barr sent him this memo very critical of Mueller. So, surprise, they're actually friends.
BOOT: I don't know how that's going to shake out. I would just hope that Barr does his duty and makes sure that the American people get the relevant information they need to make an informed decision.
[22:25:03] CHARLES: I hope so too because when he was questioned by Senator Kamala Harris and asked whether or not he would recuse himself, at least if the ethics professionals deemed it necessary to do so, he said he wouldn't if he disagreed with that decision. So that's disconcerting.
ROSENBERG: I mean, look, we don't know if there's conclusion, whatever you want to call it. But we know there --
LEMON: There is no collusion.
ROSENBERG: We know they were collusion-curious at this point. They certainly were.
ROSENBERG: I think that, you know, Barr and others in the Justice Department are going to want to, I would imagine, get something out there to explain their findings a bit rather than leaving the whole world speculating.
CHARLES: Well, they have to. I mean, actually when you step back from all of this, the real issue here is whether or not another country helped elect the president of the United States right now. Is this president legitimate?
LEMON: Well --
CHARLES: You know what I'm saying? So we have to get those answers.
LEMON: That's a good question. The first part about did they help, I think there is no doubt that they helped.
CHARLES: Right. And to what extent?
CHARLES: We need to know.
LEMON: Is he legitimate?
CHARLES: We need to know.
LEMON: Midwin Charles.
BOOT: That is the question.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you all. It's a pleasure having you. Come back.
LEMON: These guys are always here.
LEMON: We're going to dig a lot deeper into a meeting between Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik that's gotten Robert Mueller's tension. The details are pretty incredible. Picture a smoky cigar bar and possible coded messages.
LEMON: So we've got more now on a federal judge's ruling that Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and to a grand jury after striking a plea deal with prosecutors.
[22:29:58] That as Mueller's team is reportedly focusing on an August 2016 meeting between Manafort and his Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik in a Manhattan cigar bar. It's an interesting story. Neal Katyal is here to discuss it.
Good evening, Neal, so good to have you on. Thank you.
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Good evening.
LEMON: So you've heard the judge's ruling about Paul Manafort. What are the implications for President Trump here?
KATYAL: I think they're big. So -- I mean, you know, one question is why is Paul Manafort lying? And you've been talking about that on your program thus far. And you asked, you know, is it just because he's a grifter or something like that. And it can't just be that, Don. Because at the end of the day, you know, Paul Manafort's not just, you know, lying about like what he bought at CVS or something. He's lying about some of the most sensitive things imaginable,
contacts with the Russian government, Russian intelligence operatives. And he was facing, as you pointed out earlier, a life sentence. So why would you -- or effectively a life sentence. Why, if you're Paul Manafort, do you lie in that situation? And I think there can be only one answer that comes to mind, which is he's doing it to protect Trump. He's doing it to try and angle for a pardon from Trump.
KATYAL: And so the implications here at least smell pretty bad.
LEMON: So you -- he's doing it -- he's lying to protect Trump. So if he continues to lie and they can't prove that the president had anything to do with him because he won't tell the truth about it, then what does that mean for the president? Does that mean he's off scot- free?
KATYAL: Well, you know, well, first of all, you know, there is going to some hard evidence. There's hard evidence about the e-mails that were, you know, exchanged at this meeting that, you know, apparently took place on August 2nd, 2016, right after the president -- after Donald Trump was named the Republican nominee. Paul Manafort, his campaign chair, goes and meets with Konstantin Kilimnik, this Russian military operative like just days after.
And he's exchanging some secret information. We don't know exactly what it is. I mean, look, if this were Obama in like just Obama's campaign manager went to the Grand Havana Club. That alone would be an impeachable -- you know, you'd be hearing about impeachment. Here you've got, like, you know, you've got meetings with the Russian military intelligence and so on.
Something here looks really, really fishy. And that is why it's so important that the investigation continue.
LEMON: Let's talk more about this August 2nd meeting that you just mentioned -- 2016, that Mueller is reportedly focused on, all right? That's Paul Manafort, then the campaign chief, meets with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian allegedly with intelligence ties at a cigar bar in Manhattan. How sketchy is that, Neal?
KATYAL: I mean, you know, it's certainly not something you or I would do. I mean it looks very problematic, particularly -- again, this is at a very sensitive time for the campaign. This is just a few months before the election. Trump has just been crowned the Republican nominee, and here Manafort is going and doing that. And it would be one thing if the story made some sense, but obviously it didn't.
He told some story to Mueller. That story fell apart. And then you have the judge's decision today. And that is part of a larger piece. And I know this is how you were starting your show in your interaction with Chris Cuomo. The question is why is there so much lying about Russia all the time? And, you know, I don't think it can just be, oh, these people are habitual liars. There's something more going on. And that's what all of these
different investigations from Mueller to the new House of Representatives investigation, to the Senate Intelligence Committee. That's what that's trying to get at. Just what is the truth? Just tell us. And then we can, as the American people, react to it. But we got to know what it is.
LEMON: OK. So then-candidate Trump, all right. This is just days before that meeting. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know the people of Crimea, from what I have heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean that sounds like a Kremlin talking point. Is that suspicious to you?
KATYAL: It is suspicious. What's even more suspicious is there's -- you know, clip after clip of him saying, I had no dealings with Russia. I have no dealings with Russia and so on. And he -- at the same time was sending out all of his people to have dealings with Russia, or maybe they were doing it all freelance. But, you know, it sure seemed suspicious. And that's what the Michael Cohen side of the investigation is about.
Was he negotiating Trump Tower Moscow at the same time? And, you know, to me the most important point, Don, is not that he lied. It's the kompromat. It's the compromising material that the Russian government has had on him since the start, because they've known -- after all, they were party to all of these negotiations and secret meetings.
[22:34:58] They've known the whole time that when Trump said one thing to the American people, Trump's minions were off doing something entirely different, flatly inconsistent with what he said to the American people. And if the people knew that back in 2016, boy, I don't think, you know, we would have President Donald J. Trump right now.
LEMON: They may have made a different choice. That's a very good point. They didn't have that knowledge.
LEMON: Neal, let me...
KATYAL: And the Russian government has known that.
LEMON: Yeah. "The Washington Post" is reporting that on July 29th, 2016, Kilimnik sends Manafort an e-mail saying this, saying, I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. I have several important messages from him to you. Congressional investigators think that caviar is code for money and the guy could be Oleg Deripaska.
So Deripaska, Kilimnik, they meet. Then Kilimnik meets with Manafort just a few days later.
KATYAL: Yeah. I mean, Don, who among us haven't had, you know, big jars of black caviar sent by the Russian government? You know, who, you know, it's hard to know exactly what that means, but it sure looks suspicious. And again, the most important point about this is this is at a time when this is President Trump's -- Donald Trump's like numero-uno. This is his campaign manager, his chief campaign manager, the head of the campaign.
And it's of a piece. Again, Donald Trump becomes president. Who does he tap to be national security adviser, Michael Flynn, another guy who was convicted now and pled guilty to, you know, stuff with the Russians. So this is part of a pattern. It seems to me, you know, it doesn't matter where you sit, Republican, Democrat, Independent. The facts have to come out.
We've got to know what happened at these meetings. We've got to know what Trump knew and when he knew it.
LEMON: Neal Katyal, thank you. I appreciate it. Is this the right way to answer a question about racial profiling?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD SCHULTZ, EXPLORING INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL RUN: I didn't see color as a young boy. And I honestly don't see color now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot of people don't think so. Is Howard Schultz completely out of touch?
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, getting plenty of attention for something he said to our CNN town hall -- at our CNN town hall last night with Poppy Harlow. He was responding to a question about racial profiling at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia last year. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And I would just say as somebody who grew up in a very diverse background as a young boy in the projects, I didn't see color as a young boy. And I honestly don't see color now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So here to discuss is former Congresswoman Mia Love and Bakari Sellers.
Good evening to both of you. Listen. I was getting ready for the show last night, and when he said that, I was like, oh. Oh, that's going to leave a mark. So good evening, both of you, I'm so glad to have you.
Bakari, I am going to start with you. What is this, you know, this so-called colorblind ideology? What does it tell us about Howard Schultz and his views on race?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first things first. I think it is BS when anyone says that they're colorblind or that they don't see race. I mean the fact is we actually want you to see our blackness. We want you to see our race. We want you to see our color. We want you to see the benefit of the diversity we bring to the table, all of our talents, and richness of the culture that we represent.
We don't want you to whitewash that or eliminate the fact that we do bring that to the table. That's first and foremost. And second, I think this week or the last 10 days have highlighted the fact that you have Howard Schultz who built a billion dollar company and you have Ralph Northam who is a pediatrician who ascended to the level of governor.
And both of these men, due to their privilege, have ascended to these very high levels of exceptionalism, but are still very, very ignorant especially when it comes to the issue of race.
LEMON: Go ahead, Congresswoman.
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I was just going to say I am very comfortable in my skin. I love who I am. I love what I look like. I love my background. It provides a depth and a roundness to my experience and my knowledge. And I have to say that I was incredibly grateful to be a Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus, the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus.
It added quite a bit to that caucus. So I think I could agree with Bakari there. I think time will tell. I mean if he -- he's going to be in big trouble if he shows up with like shoe polish on his face and, you know, and he decides, you know, there's some things...
LEMON: That might be a problem.
LOVE: That's going to end up being a problem for him. You know I hope that what he is saying -- he is sincere in his wanting to promote diversity, because I think diversity is a good thing. Diversity of thought is a good thing.
LEMON: But, Mia, let me ask you something. And I think you're right on all those things. But the fact that you have someone in 2019 who is saying that I don't see color like who -- again, I don't know who is around him. So Bill Burton certainly is a man of color. But I just wonder who is helping him. I just wonder if that was -- why would he think it's OK to say that in 2019.
Because that's like saying I don't see gender. I don't see that Mia is a woman. I don't see that Bakari is a man. Of course, you see those things. A better answer would be color has never been a defining characteristic for me, either qualifying or non-qualifying in this culture or in society.
LOVE: I have no idea why he would say that. It doesn't bug me. It hasn't bugged me yet. Actions speak a lot louder than words and...
LOVE: We are going to be looking at the presidential candidates, and making sure that they're putting their actions behind their words. As we've seen with all of the issues that the Virginia governor has, not taking any responsibility and the contempt that he has for people of color, the contempt that he has for, I think, life in general in terms of all of his policies.
[22:45:05] This is a person that has no credibility whatsoever. So I think that what we're going to be waiting for is to see how his policies actually help diverse communities and what he's willing to put on the table, and push other Democrat presidential candidates to make sure that they are -- that they mean what they say.
SELLERS: He's not a Democrat, though.
LOVE: Well, it doesn't matter. I want him to push everybody. This is the reason why they don't like him is because he's pushing them on policy.
LEMON: OK. Listen. The -- a lot of things I want to get to here. Bakari, do you need to respond or can I move on?
SELLERS: You can move on.
SELLERS: I mean I was going to answer your question of how in 2019 he's able to do this and I'm just going to...
LEMON: Go for it.
SELLERS: I am going to say that he's ignorant to the concept of race. I mean I think that he and Ralph Northam, I know we lump them together.
LEMON: Hold on, Bakari. You know his comments, he meant well, right? But it wasn't the -- it's out of touch, but go on.
SELLERS: But why is it incumbent upon the black people to come on TV and educate you, although you mean well and you have a good heart. But you're like 60 years old. And now you're just now learning that that is not a cool thing to say. OK, listen, Howard Schultz if you're in front of the TV right now, please take out of your vernacular the simple fact that you do not see race.
Why, because it erases my blackness. I hope that you take a moment while you're serving me a latte to understand that I am a black person who happens to be from the south, and I bring some value to the table because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I don't know why that's so difficult. But he's made it this far, made a billion dollars without having to acknowledge it, so maybe I'm the one doing something...
LEMON: How does he not see color? How is he going to know what a flat white is or a mocha or a black with no room? I'm just joking.
LEMON: He sees green.
LEMON: So Congresswoman, listen. Schultz's comments are drawing comparisons to Stephen Colbert's parody of a right-wing commentator on the Colbert Report and the Michael Scott character from The Office. I want you to take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not a racist. I don't even see race, not even my own. People tell me I am white. And I believe them, because I just devoted six minutes to explaining how I am not a racist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you may look around and see two groups here, white collar, blue collar. But I don't see it that way. And you know why not, because I am collar-blind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Go ahead.
LOVE: OK. One of the best shows ever. I mean they -- I -- my kids are watching The Office. Some of it is inappropriate, but I mean we sit around and we laugh about it. That's funny.
LEMON: Yeah. Bakari, take us home here.
SELLERS: I don't know. I think this presidential race and Howard Schultz is becoming a parody of real life. And I am glad that Congresswoman Love and myself, and you get an opportunity to talk to the country and laugh about it. But I will be damned if it's not exhausting. I mean here we are again trying to just educate people and tell them what it means to be black in America. And so I am going to go home and get some rest and hug my twins.
LEMON: So -- congratulations on your twins. Can we see some pictures? Can we put them on the air one day?
SELLERS: Not yet.
LEMON: No. I meant a picture of them on the air. I would ask your permission before doing that.
LEMON: Sure, yeah.
LEMON: So listen, thank you, guys. And you know, Bakari, as you know, you've been on this show for a while.
Congresswoman, you're going to figure it out. So on this show we have the conversations that people talk about, right, but not on the air, not on TV. That gets people into a lot of trouble. But there's a space for it here, and you're going to get a lot of you know what for some of the times that you come on to talk about these issues.
But I think they're important, especially leading up to this election. So I appreciate your candor, both of you.
LOVE: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much. Sources telling CNN who the Bezos leaker was, all the details next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So here's the breaking news tonight on who tipped off the National Enquirer to the romance between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez. I want to bring in now CNN Reporters Oliver Darcy and Chloe Melas, hello. Boy, this story gets more interesting by the second. You've learned who leaked these Bezos photos and texts. Who is it?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes. So drum roll, please. It is her brother, Michael Sanchez. So two sources have told Oliver and I that Michael Sanchez took it upon himself to go to the National Enquirer, tip them off that his sister was in a relationship with Jeff Bezos. He provided text messages and proof to the National Enquirer.
And that's when the National Enquirer then launched their investigation and started trailing them for months across multiple states, and got photographs of them. And they broke the story that they were both allegedly cheating on their spouses and in this relationship with each other.
LEMON: Why would he blow up his sister's spotlight like that?
MELAS: That's a really good question. I just don't know. I can only imagine the holidays will be super awkward for them.
LEMON: Why do you want to blow me up like that?
MELAS: I do want to tell you though, Michael Sanchez, when we went to him today for comment. He would not give an on the record comment as to whether or not he is the leaker. He has spoken to other outlets, saying that either, a, to "The Washington Post: that he had no involvement at all or, you know, to "The New York Post" he said something a little bit different, but... LEMON: Yeah. So in his blog, Jeff Bezos has been suggesting that the
Saudis or President Trump had something to do with exposing his relationship with Lauren Sanchez to the National Enquirer. What do you know?
[22:54:55] OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, again, Bezos made a number of explosive suggestions in that blog post, right? He mentioned the Saudis. He kind of talked about Trump. And basically in effect, what he was saying was really that maybe Trump or the Saudis played some sort of role in getting this out to the National Enquirer, or maybe the National Enquirer curried favor with Trump.
And so Jeff Bezos has launched this investigation. But they have not provided any sort of evidence to substantiate those revelations or those suggestions in his blog post. We've asked a number of questions to Jeff Bezos' representatives, asking if they can share details of the investigation, conclusions that they found. They declined to provide an on the record comment.
And I really think at this point, you know, six days out after Jeff Bezos went and made these explosive suggestions in his blog posts. Journalists should really be asking him what evidence do you have. Why did you mention the Saudis? Why did you mention Trump in your blog post? Because it was about blackmail, but he went out of his way to mention these things, and we don't have any answers as to why he did that.
LEMON: And he also -- I think suggesting it had to do with Khashoggi, right, with Khashoggi's death.
DARCY: That was a suggestion that maybe that "The Washington Post," which Jeff Bezos owns, their aggressive reporting on Khashoggi and his murder, had made them enemies with Saudi Arabia, or maybe, you know, Trump who's good friends with David Pecker, who is a chief executive at the National Enquirer. Maybe Trump doesn't like Bezos because of the critical reporting The Washington Post did there.
The suggestion -- there were a lot of suggestions in there, a lot of explosive suggestions if true, too. And there has been no evidence provided by Bezos' camp six days later to substantiate any of this.
LEMON: All right. Oliver, Chloe, thank you. I appreciate your time. Good reporting. We'll be right back.