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CNN TONIGHT

William Barr Sworn in as New A.G.; Trump to Declare a National Emergency as a Way to Bypass Congress to Get Money for Border Wall; Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Describes Talks at DOJ About Removing President Trump; A Tape Shows R. Kelly Having Sex with Underage Girl; Don's Parkland Take: One Year Later, It Still Applies. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired February 14, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, let's talk about all of this now. David Axelrod is here and Douglas Brinkley.

Gentlemen, good evening.

Doug, the president couldn't get the money he needed from Congress so he's going to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall. Will this go down as another unprecedented moment in the Trump presidency?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Absolutely will. I mean, you know, the Constitution doesn't grant emergency powers to a president. However, in American history, Don, there have been moments. You know, Abraham Lincoln in 1861 with his decision to suspend habeas corpus, or Harry Truman in 1952 ordering secretary of commerce to seize control of steel mills.

We have these moments in a real crisis. This is a manufactured crisis, as you've said earlier on your program. This is about political expediency. This is about a bad precedent that he is setting for all the reasons we're talking about.

If the Democrats come in, they could declare climate change, quite honestly, as a crisis, and, you know, just circumvent Congress. So, it's an end run around not just Congress, but the Constitution.

LEMON: David, let's talk about this. Is this a dangerous precedent as Douglas has said? I mean, what do you think this will mean for future presidents?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there is no doubt it's a dangerous precedent. And we'll see what the courts have to say about it. But as a political matter, it was thoroughly predictable because Donald Trump knew that he wasn't going to get what he wanted from Congress, and he needed a way to keep the government from shutting down again, which was a disaster for him, and yet not disappoint his base, which was railing against him about this deal because they knew that it wasn't what he had asked for. So, this way he declares the emergency. It goes to the courts. The

courts may well stop him from doing it, but at least he'll get caught trying in the eyes of his very rabid base. I think that's what this is about.

LEMON: I think that's a very smart assessment, of course, David. Well, Doug, listen. Let's look at the breakdown, right? It's up on the screen. This is where Trump is going get the $8 billion for his wall. So, let's go through it.

He said $1.75 billion in homeland appropriations from Congress, $600 million from Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund, executive action for that, $2.5 billion from the DOD drug interdiction program. That's an executive action, $3.5 billion from the DOD military construction budget that requires an emergency declaration. Can the president do this?

BRINKLEY: Well, if he does it, it's another big step into America becoming very authoritarian. This is what you expect of countries that don't have a Democratic process.

I mean, I understand President Trump was flummoxed. He had two years to get his wall built. He didn't do it. He did a big government shutdown he's going to be blamed for. He can't do another shutdown. So, this is the end result of it.

But one hopes that there are going to be some leading lights on Capitol Hill, some Republicans. I mean, does Mitt Romney of Utah really want to tell Utah ranchers the federal government can come in and build ranches on your -- I mean fences on property in Utah?

There are going to be -- it's going to rain environmental lawsuits. There is not a major environmental group in the country not ready to go in to fight along the border and national wildlife refuges and the like.

So, I don't think -- I think it's good politics in a sense Donald Trump gets out of this hole, but I have a feeling the courts are just going to wreak havoc on Trump for trying this sort of brazen act.

LEMON: I just had a thought. I mean, what if they, because this is all for fencing, right? What if a Democratic president comes in and says you know what I'm declaring an emergency. We need to build a full wall. And then build a wall. Donald Trump doesn't get his wall. He gets a fence open. My gosh, what a mess. But anyway, I digress. Three quarters of this money that would be --

BRINKLEY: Well, --

LEMON: Go ahead. You want to respond to that? You want to respond to that?

BRINKLEY: No, Don, I was just going to say, you know, I think we got some action that's left. If Donald Trump does this, I do suspect there's going to be some Republicans that are outraged and thinking about the long-term consequences. Donald Trump is about Donald Trump. He doesn't care about traditions

in America for two years from now or four years from now. It's about now and himself. And so, I'm hoping that -- I know Mitch McConnell hasn't, but there will be maybe a gang of eight, 10 Republican senators who might speak up against Trump's actions.

LEMON: I want you to weigh in, David, but let me just ask you this --

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: You know, we --

LEMON: -- in your response --

AXELROD: Yes.

LEMON: Just three-quarters of this money will be coming outside of the normal process. Essentially, it's -- you know, I'm just wondering if it's going to fly. But go ahead, weigh in.

AXELROD: No, that's the constitutional question. I mean, there is a very clear role that Congress is supposed to play and the president is supposed to play, and this an end run, and you would expect the courts to stop him from doing that.

But this notion that Doug talks about, that, you know, these Republicans are going step up, the history of this is not very encouraging over the last two years.

[23:05:05] You know, remember, Mitch McConnell was the one who went to the White House to urge the president not to take an emergency action in this case, and he warned that the Congress could vote to disallow this. And yet he was the man who stood up on the floor today to say he would support it.

And you know, the history of the last two years is that you may hear a lot of grumbling. You'll see a lot of off the record comments about what a terrible precedent this is. But when the time comes, it's hard for me to believe that a significant number of Republicans, I think the Republicans who are in tough races in 2020 will stand up, perhaps a few others.

I think Mitt Romney may well stand up. But the notion that the president won't get his way here I think is remote. The question is whether the courts will stop him. And I don't think that is that important to him, because the fact is, he will have tried. He can then turn his ire on the courts. But he won't go out submissively, which is what I think what he feared here.

LEMON: Let's listen to some of what the Republicans are saying. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The national emergencies that have been issued in the past have not been contentious. I'm pretty sure that this one would be.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Today the national emergency is border security, and it entitles him to go out and do something. We all support that. Tomorrow the national security emergency might be climate change.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: This could just be another erosion of congressional authority in this particular area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, David, Trump used to slam President Obama for using executive powers instead of working with Congress.

AXELROD: Yes.

LEMON: And in 2014 he tweeted this. He said "Repubs must not allow Pres. Obama to subvert the Constitution of the U.S. for his own benefit and because he is unable to negotiate with Congress." There is a tweet for everything.

AXELROD: Yes. No. This is one of those rare instances in which the president's comments are inconsistent. So, you know, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Sarcasm, right?

AXELROD: I mean, yes, that was then. That was then and this is now. And Donald Trump treats every day and every situation as something new. He is a reality show guy, and this is a new episode. And in this episode, it serves his purposes to exert executive authority. And this will play well with his, you know, his amen corner on Fox who's apparently terrorized him.

He is -- you know, he is a base oriented guy. He wants to keep his base quiescent. He's fearful and he's been told that if he caves on this wall that will open the door to problems in the Republican Party. And that's what he is reacting to.

LEMON: Well, David, what do you think, what if President Obama had never done anything like that, what do you think the reaction would have been?

AXELROD: Well, I think you know what the reaction would have been. There would have been hue and cry and legislative action to try and stop him.

And I think that's one of the things that make people cynical about politics, this notion that, you know, people show situational outrage. And, look, it's like the Republican Party and deficits.

I mean, the Republican Party is outraged in Congress and very, very dire in her comments about deficits when Democratic presidents are in office, but we've seen three successive Republican administrations where tax cuts were passed that created enormous deficits. And you don't hear a whimper out of anybody on the Republican side.

LEMON: Yes.

AXELROD: So, I mean, as I said, this is one of those things that makes people shake their heads when they watch. And I will say that, you know, you can point to examples on each side where this happens. But this has been pretty glaring during these two years of Donald Trump.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, Doug, I need to get your reaction to an excerpt from Andrew McCabe's book released by "The Washington Post." According to McCabe, Trump refused to believe that North Korea had test fired a missile in 2015.

And he writes this. He said, "He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles." He said, "He knew this because Vladimir Putin told him so." Wow.

BRINKLEY: Unbelievable anecdote, but it's believable for Donald Trump. He is somebody with no sense of history, somebody that doesn't really read reports, and he's created a fantasy version of his friendship with the North Korean dictator.

This is what makes Donald Trump a dangerous person. I mean, he has a bent toward authoritarian and wanting to belief Putin and Kim are great world leaders, and now we're seeing yet another act here tonight about authoritarianism when he got denied his border security wall. And we have a very, I think a right-wing president almost dictator -- a president who admires dictators. It's just another anecdote.

[23:09:59] LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you. I appreciate your time.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

There is more news to get to tonight. William Barr sworn in as the new attorney general just a few hours ago. That means he now has broad control over special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

So much has happened since the events that kicked that investigation into high gear, and we have the tape. So, let's take a time, take you back in the time machine when President Trump fired then FBI director James Comey. Here is Jessica Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the firing that sets off a frantic cascade of events at the FBI.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We have major breaking news.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president of the United States has terminated the director of the FBI, James Comey.

SCHNEIDER: May 9th, 2017. James Comey learns he has been canned as FBI director while watching cable news in California. President Trump's long-time private security guard delivers the termination letter to FBI headquarters while Comey is across the country, visiting an FBI field office in L.A.

Comey promptly boards the FBI plane to fly back to Washington, and hours later, the man who's taking over as acting FBI director meets with President Trump in the Oval Office.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. And that was something that troubled me greatly.

SCHNEIDER: The very next day, McCabe begins working with agents to launch both a criminal and counterintelligence probe. Agents examined President Trump's actions surrounding Comey's firing for possible obstruction of justice while counterintelligence agents looking to why Trump is acting in ways that seem to benefit Russia.

At the exact same time, Russians are taking center stage inside the Oval Office. On May 10th, one day after Comey's firing prompts McCabe to consider probes against the president, Trump hosts Russia's foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States at the White House.

The president lashes out about Comey, according to a document summarizing the meeting, read to "The New York Times." "I just fired the head of the FBI," the president says. "He was crazy, a real nut job."

At that same meeting, the president reveals intelligence to the Russians from a recent Israeli counterterrorism operation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a showboat. He is a grandstander.

SCHNEIDER: And when the president's interview with NBC News airs the next day, May 11th, Trump admits he fired Comey in part because of the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

SCHNEIDER: All of this unfolds in the span of three short days and a full week before special counsel Robert Mueller is appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. While commentators call out the chaos --

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I do know that this is not normal. This is not how presidents behave.

SCHNEIDER: Andrew McCabe confirms top officials at the Justice Department are mulling the 25th amendment according to CBS News. The high-level discussions reportedly center around recruiting cabinet members who can invoke the amendment to remove President Trump from office. Sources tell CNN deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein even discusses

wearing a wire to record conversations with the president. Rosenstein goes on to release several statements denying a plan was ever in place, and he insist there's was never any basis to formally invoke the 25th amendment.

But McCabe now says it was considered as a way to calm the chaos of those unnerving eight days in May 2017.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: But McCabe's credibility is in question. He was fired last March after the inspector general concluded that he misled investigators about his role authorizing the release of information to "The Wall Street Journal," and that finding has now been referred to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C. for possible criminal charge. Don?

LEMON: Jessica Schneider, thank you so much. Here to discuss all of this, Asha Rangappa.

Asha, thank you for joining us here. Well, I mean, that all happened in just 72 hours, 72 hours after Comey's firing. Nearly two years later, you almost forget just how shocking all of it was.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. I think we've become so numb to it. But, Don, you know, the day that Comey was fired, my phone flew up from former colleagues and people who I still knew who were in the FBI. Who, I remember one of them saying I am gob smacked.

So, I think we do need to kind of re-transport ourselves, as difficult as it may be to that mindset of, you know, how shocking that was for a president to do that to a sitting FBI director.

LEMON: This was also just - just a few months into the Trump presidency. If this sequence of events were to happen now, do you think that it would be handled differently?

[23:14:58] RANGAPPA: Well, you know, at this point, we're kind of inured, as I said, to some of the crazy, frankly. But you know, I think that when we look at -- I think you're asking about the opening of the investigation on the president, the counterintelligence and the obstruction of justice investigation.

And I think the reporter that we just heard mention that Andrew McCabe does have a credibility issue. He was fired from the FBI for lack of candor, and so that is something that has to be taken into account.

So, what I would say is, you know, investigations in the FBI are what are call predicated investigations. They have to be based on a reasonable suspicion or articulatable facts. And so, you can't just say I dreamed this last night. I feel like opening an investigation.

So even if there was some kind of bias or misconduct in opening it, what I would say is the test whether these investigations continued, even after Trump's own appointees, his own FBI director, his own deputy attorney general, and an independent prosecutor came into the picture.

And by all accounts, we know that the obstruction investigation has continued. Mueller wants to sit down with the president to talk to him. So, I would say that that should assuage I think any fears on whether or not this was a reasonably founded investigation, particularly in light of all the things that we saw in public.

LEMON: Does it seem to you that most of the trouble a president faces is of his own actions, because of his own actions?

RANGAPPA: You know, I think -- I don't know that I would agree with Steve Bannon on anything, but at one point I think he mentioned that firing James Comey may have been the biggest mistake that the president ever made. And I would say that is true.

You know, the Russia investigation would have continued. They would have continued the counterintelligence investigation, but the obstruction of justice investigation would not have happened but for the firing of James Comey.

And to some extent, the obstruction investigation takes on importance because if the president has a self-interested motive, if he is in fact involved in collusion, that is what kind of builds the obstruction case.

So, it kind of elevated these investigations to a far greater degree, definitely in the public eye, more than had he just stayed quiet and just let it happen without him interfering.

LEMON: Before I let you go, I just want to ask you, I want to get your reaction to the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general. What will it mean?

RANGAPPA: You know, Don, the Russia train has left the station. We are at a point where there have been 199 criminal charges filed against 37 defendants. Seven people have pleaded guilty. Paul Manafort has been convicted. Four people are going to jail, Paul Manafort soon, probably for the rest of his life.

So, you know, the attorney general can't do anything about those things. The question is what's left? And I would say what's left is possibly Jared Kushner, the president's children, or the president himself.

And so, if he wanted to interfere, he could in decisions that Mueller makes with regard to those individuals, if there is evidence against them. But the catch is that if he tries to interfere, he has to report it to Congress. He has to report to it the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

So, there is no way that any actions that he takes even if he were inclined to do that would not see the light of day. So, I think if his intention is to help the president in any way, and I hope it's not, may the odds be ever in his favor is what I would say. LEMON: Asha Rangappa, thank you so much. President Trump expected to

declare a national emergency tomorrow to get more money for his wall. We're going talk to a Democratic congressman who says no, there is no emergency at the border.

[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Compromise border security bill that funds the government, but gives the president far less than the $5.7 billion that he demanded for his border wall before he shut down the government for 35 days.

Let's discuss now with Congressman David Cicilline. He is on the House Judiciary and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman, thank you so much. You voted in favor of the bill. Are you happy with the compromise that was made to avoid another government shutdown?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Yes. I mean, look, most importantly, it avoids a government shutdown. It provides for border security in a responsible way, investments at the ports of entry. It provides resources for humane treatment of migrants and sets a path for reduction in detention beds.

So, it's a good compromise. It's not perfect. But this was hard work by the Republican and Democratic conferees. They came up with a good bill. And most importantly, it does include the president's big, dumb concrete wall.

LEMON: Well, you know, we got word today that the president is going to declare a national emergency in order to get funding for his border wall. Here is what he tweeted about that.

He said, "There is no national emergency at the border. Even the president's intel chiefs say that. No real Donald Trump declaration will change that." In fact, that's what you tweeted, I should say. There is no emergency?

CICILLINE: Look, I've been to the border twice in the last year. His own intelligence community concluded that there is no emergency at the border. Border crossings at the Southern border are at a 40-year low. There is just simply no emergency there.

There is a humanitarian challenge. The bipartisan bill tonight will resolve some of that. But there is no basis whatsoever in the law for the president to declare an emergency. And to circumvent Congress and the responsibilities that we have to make appropriations.

It's a very dangerous precedent. This is not an imperial king who gets to do what he wants. We have rule of law in this country. There is a Congress. He can't circumvent that process by making up an emergency that doesn't exist.

LEMON: Well, you tweeted some things today that you have emergencies, things like gun violence, veteran homelessness, opioids, money and politics, prescription drug costs, climate change, and the list goes on.

Does the president open the door for a Democratic president to declare a national emergency on issues like this?

[23:25:00] CICILLINE: Well, I think that's certainly the danger. It's a dangerous precedent. I'd prefer again to follow the regular process in our country. We are a democracy. We have an elected House and Senate that are charged with these responsibilities.

But if you want to talk about real emergencies, the things like the opioid crisis in this country, gun violence, climate change, they are actual issues that pose real serious challenges to our country that are actual emergencies.

But I think even those instances a president can't declare it and take unilateral action. But I think Republicans are rightly concerned that this president set than we have a Democratic president, we can imagine the kinds of emergencies that would justify unilateral action by the president. It's a bad action.

LEMON: So, listen, I've got a quick -- if you can give me a quick answer for you, I've got to ask you about after being sworn in by the Chief Justice John Roberts today. Attorney General William Barr is now running the Department of Justice.

Here is what CNN is reporting. That he is already consulting top DOJ officials about what to do with the Mueller report. What's the bottom line for you? Does the full report need to be made public minus any sensitive intelligence?

CICILLINE: Absolutely. The American people have a right to know the truth. I'm very, very disturbed by the attorney general's representation, or the failure to make a commitment to release that to the American people. We're going to make sure it happens.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you for your time.

CICILLINE: My pleasure.

LEMON: Well, the president insists that there is a crisis at the border, but facts say otherwise is this just another tactic out of the Trump playbook?

[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON,: Here's our breaking news tonight. The White House says President Trump will sign the federal spending bill passed by Congress. He will do it tomorrow and at the same time announce he is taking executive action to get an additional $6.6 billion in federal funds to build his wall on the Southern border. The executive action includes a national emergency declaration.

The president claims there is a national security crisis at the border. The fact is there is no crisis. The whole thing is a page out of the Trump playbook, a tactic that this president is using to keep campaign promise he made to his base. He scared some Americans into believing there is a border crisis and it helped get him elected.

So let's discuss now. James Gagliano is here, also Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump."

Gentlemen, good evening, to what do I owe the honor of having both of you here?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Two bald Italian-Americans.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I wouldn't dare say that about you. So, listen, this budget showdown, this is classic Trump, as I always say. You wrote the book. Is this the way he does it? He creates a crisis, he hypes it, and then he says only he can solve it. But my real question, you know what I want to ask, is he negotiating in reverse?

D'ANTONIO: Well, he did for a while there. You have to recognize that, that he had a better deal in December. He gave away everything to have this government shutdown. That cost him a lot.

LEMON: But I think he is going through this national emergency, get eight -- almost $9 billion.

D'ANTONIO: If he --

LEMON: If he gets it.

D'ANTONIO: -- if it holds up.

LEMON: But there was a deal with DACA where he got multiple billions of dollars.

D'ANTONIO: Right, $25 billion, and he turned it down.

LEMON: Negotiating in reverse, Michael?

D'ANTONIO: This is actually marketing 101. You -- all of what we buy in the store generally is sold to us on the basis of a problem that didn't exist before.

LEMON: Right.

D'ANTONIO: So if your shirts are not quite white enough, they've got a product for that, and they make you a nervous wreck about your shirts, because this is how sales are made. I think the president was primarily a marketer before he became a politician. He's done this.

He's sold himself by creating various crises, the swamp that needed to be drained that's somehow full of creatures now, the crisis at the border that may or may not be a crisis. A lot of us think there is not a crisis. But it worked to get him elected, and O think he thinks it's going to work to get him re-elected.

LEMON: That's very smart of you because if you look at all the commercials, especially the ones as seen only on TV, people doing just normal things, like, have you ever tried to cook in a pot? Oh, I can't, right?

D'ANTONIO: Or scramble an egg without --

(LAUGHTER)

D'ANTONIO: -- opening --

LEMON: And who can't do that?

D'ANTONIO: Problems we never knew we had.

LEMON: Go on.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Look, I think the best thing that could happen is averting the government shutdown. In 25 years in the FBI, I lived through three of them. You don't come out of them unscathed. And the three there I lived through were shorter. This was the longest in history.

As someone that served below the border, I do believe that we do need to look at border security. There is a whole host of ways of doing that. I do think that there needs to be done. We have a 2,000-mile border. There are certainly places where things could be fixed, things could be bolstered, things that you could add whether it's regard to personnel or technology or things like that.

But it's just said, we can't seem to get anybody in Washington to work together to make this happen.

LEMON: Listen, I don't think anyone would disagree with you, that there needs to be some changes. I think the disagreement is how you come at it, how you deal with it. And listen, I can understand the frustration because as I just look at the facts, you look at the -- you remember the secure -- I think it was the Secure Fence Act which was done during the Bush administration and continued on through the Obama administration. A lot of the stuff that was already put there was through those administrations. The money has already been appropriated for that.

And a lot of this stuff was in the works. All he had to do was say, we need to secure the border, shore it up, and through many of the things that we're doing now make it better. Instead, he created, made it a wedge issue, saying we got to build the wall, we got to do this, as if there wasn't anything there already.

[23:35:04] D'ANTONIO: Well, you know what the strange thing is, I actually believe, and the president before he became president talked to me about this, that he sees some problems with a creative viewpoint. And he could have actually said let's do something on DACA.

You know, I'm going to do something about this problem and give me $10 billion, give me $12 billion. And it doesn't have to be 30-foot high wall. Maybe we'll work on a smart border. I think he could have been a hero. But right now all he wants to do is fight.

LEMON: Not with his base, Michael. D'ANTONIO: Well, I'm not sure he has --

LEMON: That motivates his base because -- the whole fear of change in this society and that people that this society is changing, it's becoming brown, it's becoming more diverse, that base doesn't want to hear that.

D'ANTONIO: He could have declared the problem fixed.

LEMON: OK.

D'ANTONIO: You know he is going to persuade us of something. Why not persuade us of something good?

LEMON: Reality is going to slap a whole lot of people in the face. Just give it a couple of years. OK, so, listen, I want to talk about Andrew McCabe's new book, guys. It's called "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump" He describes an unusual phone call from the president the day after he fired then FBI Director James Comey.

And the call starts like this. He says, "You know, boy, it's incredible, it's such a great thing, people are really happy about the fact that the director is gone, and it's just remarkable what people are saying. Have you seen that? Are you seeing that, too?

He went on, "I received hundreds of messages from FBI people, how happy they are that I fired him. There are people saying things on the media, have you seen that? What's it like there in the building?"

McCabe then recalls how it was exact opposite in the building. Comey had been well liked and he had been admired by so many people there. Some people were even crying. It's like he is trying to sell McCabe a story that McCabe knows is a lie. Talk to me about that.

GAGLIANO: I've known Andy McCabe for 18 years. He worked for me as a young SWAT guy in the New York office back in the early 2000s. I think Andy is a decent person. I think Andy is making a colossal mistake by what he is doing here. Do I not think that this president with what we know about might have said something like --

LEMON: Hold on. Why do you think it's a colossal mistake?

GAGLIANO: Why do I think it's a colossal mistake? What he is doing right now cannot be looked at anything other than basically going out and saying I'm going to go and attack people that have attacked me. I understand it. The president has punched down on him at Twitter. Jeff Sessions fired him. The people that he has chosen are selected as targets in the book. We all expect that.

We knew he was going to go after Rod Rosenstein, we knew he was going to go after Jeff Sessions, and certainly he is going to go after the president. He has the right to write a book. He has a right to earn profits off of that.

The problem is, if we look at this, when we hold the president accountable for things that have been misrepresentations, things that he said that aren't true, how do we look at somebody that was fired from the FBI?

If you're a brand-new agent on day one or a deputy director two days away from retirement and you lie, you perjure yourself. That is a serious crime. And he is still -- the case has been referred to the Department of Justice. Andy is still facing exposure on the criminal realm --

LEMON: Yeah.

GAGLIANO: -- not just the fact that he got found by the IG to tell some untruths.

LEMON: Later on the call, the president asked about McCabe's wife, a Democrat who had lost her bid for Virginia State Senate, who Trump had attacked during the campaign, and he said this.

He said, 'How is your wife?' I said, 'She's fine.' He said, 'When she lost her election, that must have been very tough to lose. How did she handle losing? Is it tough to lose?' I replied, 'I guess it's tough to lose anything. But she's rededicated herself to her career and her job and taking care of kids in the emergency room. That's what she does.' He replied in a tone that sounded like a sneer. He said, 'Yeah, that must have been really tough. To lose. To be a loser.'"

D'ANTONIO: Well, this is the Donald Trump we know and love. He does talk in these terms. I think one of the things that James pointed out is really apt, that this is overall a disturbing thing for the public to be exposed to, both an FBI official writing a book that seems to attack his bosses, but also a president whose been so disruptive, so dismissive of national security agencies that I don't think we've ever seen this level of division. The American people are not served by either man in this case.

LEMON: I wonder how it feels to be a loser on the wall, though, to be a loser. I got to run.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Lawyer Michael Avenatti told CNN that prosecutors are looking into a newly surfaced video featuring R&B superstar R. Kelly. CNN has seen this video and I have to warn you, the details are graphic. Sara Sidner has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, the details are really disturbing. Here is why this is significant. If what is said by the two people on the videotape is true and accurate coupled with what is happening on the video, this is a potential new piece of evidence. Now according to attorney Michael Avenatti, this evidence has now been handed over the Cook County prosecutor's office. The newly unearthed footage which lasts 42 minutes and 45 seconds is clear. It is explicit. I have seen it as I was trying to corroborate information concerning accusations against R. Kelly.

[23:45:00] The video is disturbing, and I do want to warn viewers right now that I'm about to detail just a fraction of what I saw. There are two scenes on the video. One appears in a living room and another in a bedroom. A naked man who appeared to be R. Kelly is seen performing multiple sex acts with a female. She is heard calling him "daddy" multiple times on the tape.

It is impossible at this point for us to know her age just from the video itself, though they both refer to her genitalia as being 14 years old. Six times, in fact, the girl refers to her genitalia as 14 years old, and a couple of times R. Kelly repeats that. At one point, the man asks the girl to urinate while he is recording the video. After she does, he does the same on her.

Why the details of the video matter is because it mirrors some of the alleged acts for which Kelly was arrested for child pornography in 2002 when he was 35, and then acquitted six years later. In that trial, there was also a videotape that prosecutors alleged was child pornography. Now, Kelly was acquitted in that criminal trial.

The details on the latest video also mirror some of what was recently revealed by several women in the lifetime series "Surviving R. Kelly." Kelly has long denied any accusations that he has had sex with underage girls. The Cook County state attorney's office said it could not confirm or deny whether there was an investigation. But we should note that the state's attorney publicly asked for any R. Kelly accusers to come forward this year after the lifetime series aired.

Kelly has been associated with claims of sexual misconduct with minors and other crimes for more than two decades now. He has been sued by multiple women, accusing him of having sex with them when they were underage, some of whom have settled at a court. When it comes to this potential new evidence, Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, told us they were not aware of it, had not heard anything about it, and had not been contacted by law enforcement. Don?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thanks, Sara. We'll be right back.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Today marks one year since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and staff members were killed that day. Exactly a year ago on that night, I spoke about how precious life is. I questioned, is this really who we want to be?

Well, tonight those words still ring true, and I still have the same question. Over the past year, we've seen three more of the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history. Ten people were killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, 11 people killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and 12 people were slaughtered at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, and many more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (on camera): Our breaking news. Seventeen people shot to death today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Five people hospitalized, life-threatening condition. Ten more are in nonlife-threatening condition. The suspect is a 19-year-old -- 19 years old, a former student, in custody.

Sources say he is talking to investigators. He had been expelled. Law enforcement sources say the weapon used to kill those 17 people was an AR-15-style firearm. He had a gas mask and smoke grenades and pulled the fire alarm just to lure out more victims. Sources also saying he tried to mix into the crowd, the crowd of students to try to escape.

Those are the facts right there. But they don't even begin to tell the full story here, the entire story. The story is this. This is a sickness that has infected the country, unchecked and unfettered gun violence. Today, 17 lives are over. Seventeen families are torn apart.

Parents who sent their kids to school this morning -- imagine that. Many people send their kids to school, just like they've done every other day for years. They trusted their kids would be safe. Teachers went to work this morning, trusted that they would be safe in their space, in their work environment. The way we all should be safe in our work environments every day, everywhere, in our schools, churches, our offices, at concerts, at nightclubs.

Do you feel safe tonight? There is another fact that we need to face. Every single one of us is just playing the odds at this point. The odds that in a country of 325 million souls that we won't be the ones who get hit by the next bullets that start flying, we won't be the one that gets that phone call about someone you love who did: your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister, your spouse or your parent, even a friend, anyone you know, the phone call that changes your life.

But with every deadly shooting in this country, the odds get worse and worse and worse. Are you really willing to keep playing those odds? Your life is too precious for that. The lives of our loved ones are too precious. The lives of the people in our cities and towns are too precious. Have we forgotten that life is a gift?

It's a disgrace that this is still happening after Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Emanuel AME Church, Pulse Nightclub shooting, Las Vegas, the list goes on and on and on. This is who we are right now. But is this really who we want to be, a country where anybody at any time could be shot to death?

[23:54:58] And then when a bunch of people are killed and lives are shattered, we are sad and maybe angry and then we forget and we move on until the next time, with the tragedy remaining in the headlines for even a shorter time than it did before. So just forget politics here. This is about lives, the lives of all Americans. We need to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Everyone agrees with that.

People who oppose gun control will say today is not the day to talk about it. And you know what, they are absolutely right. Because the day to talk about it was weeks, months, years or decades ago. And yes, of course, we also need to make mental health a priority in this country. But guess what, we can do both. We can do both of those things at the same time. If we don't, we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is America, people. Don't forget that. I know that we are better than this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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