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Moment of Truth for Paul Manafort; Everyone Awaits Mueller's Report; Mueller Report Not Expected Next Week; President Trump Calls Plot to Harm Democrats and Journalists 'A Very Sad Thing'; North Carolina Officials Order New Election in Congressional Race Due to Allegations of Ballot Fraud. Aired 11p-12m ET

Aired February 22, 2019 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Braking news. A countdown to a deadline right now. The special counsel Robert Mueller due to file his sentencing memorandum in the Paul Manafort's conspiracy and witness tampering case with the federal judge in Washington by midnight. That's what's expected.

In the filing, prosecutors will outline the facts they believe the judge should consider when sentencing Manafort on March 13th.

Also breaking tonight, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. Meeting last month with a federal, with federal prosecutors and giving them new information on Trump's family business including details about insurance policies and claims at Trump properties. And providing information about a donor to the president's inaugural committee.

There's lots to discuss. Mr. Shimon Prokupecz is here with the very latest. Shimon, good evening to you. We're expecting this filing at any minute now. This could be the last big filing that we get from Mueller before he hands his report over to the attorney general. The Attorney General Barr. How much could we learn from this do you think?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. We can learn a lot, Don. And you're right. We are waiting. This is supposed to be filed by midnight. And what we think is happening is that there are redaction issues. Perhaps we're waiting on the court to publicly release this memorandum. This sentencing memorandum.

So that could be what's holding this up. We don't know for sure but certainly by this time, we had expected

that we would see it. This is a crucial piece of document in the Mueller investigation as you said. This could perhaps be the last and most significant filing that we see in the Manafort investigation.

We expect that we can learn a lot more about his relationship with the Russian agent. A man that the FBI and the special counsel and prosecutors have said was working for the Russian government.

And Manafort's relationship with that man Konstantin Kilimnik has been at the heart they have said of their investigation. They took meetings. They know each other for quite some time. This is a person that he shared campaign, internal campaign polling data with.

So, there's a lot that we can really learn in this sentencing memorandum. Certainly, as to the Russian investigation, certainly as to the special counsel's investigation.

LEMON: Yes. So how critical is Paul Manafort to the entire Mueller investigation?

PROKUPECZ: So, he's been one of the most, I would say, critical parts of this investigation. Why that is, since the beginning, when they brought charges against him and his business partner, who is the man who was his deputy, Rick Gates, they wanted Paul Manafort to cooperate.

Rick gates as we know has been cooperating. Paul Manafort was sort of in the same shows. He probably could have gotten the same deal that Rick Gates had gotten. And what he was crucial to, what we'd learned from his cooperation agreement, from the information that he provided to investigators, and what they asked had a lot to do with the Russians. Right?

There was that meeting with the Russian agent. They wanted to know more about their relationship. And there was one other key thing that we learned. Was that, they were trying to get Paul Manafort to help them with another, a separate Department of Justice investigation that we know nothing about. And they have said that he lied to them.

He lied when he started asking questions about this other investigation. They say special counsel's office, that he was trying to protect someone.

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about Michael Cohen. Because CNN has learned that Michael Cohen fed Manhattan prosecutors' investigators new information on insurance policies and claims at Trump properties. Information about the inaugural committee and the donor. Is this significant?

PROKUPECZ: It's hugely significant. And why that is it's because it tells that you that the Southern District of New York is looking at everything. Anything that someone is coming and giving them information, and perhaps criminal activity, conduct that they should be investigating that has to do with the Trump organization, the inaugural committee, they're looking at it.

And one of the things that I've found this this came in the last month. Michael Cohen went to prosecutors, went to the FBI in New York, and provided them this information in the last month.

And we know that after that information was provided, a subpoena, a pretty striking and large, a request for large pieces of information from the special -- from the Southern District of New York to the inaugural committee, they were asking for all sorts of information. A lot of information. So, it just tells that you that the Southern District of New York is

looking into a whole host of things. Some of it, and probably most of it, we don't even know about. And like we've said, you know, here, Don, on your show, this is one of the things the president, that Donald Trump and the people around him, are most concerned about is the Southern District of New York.

[23:04:59] LEMON: Shimon, thank you. I appreciate it.

Renato Mariotti is here. Juliette Kayyem and David Kris. Let's continue on to discuss this. Good evening. Renato, this expected Mueller finding tonight could give us really some key information about Manafort's connections to Russia. What information are you looking for?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's going to tell us not only his connections with Russia but it's going to tell us everything, really, that Manafort did and said. Everything that Mueller knows about Manafort's background. Because the judge is required to consider everything about Paul Manafort when sentencing him.

So, this is going to be the bible on Paul Manafort. So, there's a lot of interesting stuff there because he's been involved in a lot of misdeeds. And of course, there's a lot of interest about his interactions in, you know, with the Russian, the former Russian intelligence officer Kilimnik.

That of course has a lot of interest, because, for example, of him providing that polling data. You know, now that that's public, will Mueller feel that he can discuss that? I think he probably won't. That will still be redacted. But there will be some public portions of this that will provide new context about his relationship with Kilimnik and other Russian oligarchs and so forth.

LEMON: There are a lot of questions about Konstantin Kilimnik, Juliette. A man thought to be connected to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors have said that Kilimnik is at the heart of this investigation. Could this case come down to that relationship?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It really could. I mean, to a certain extent the relationship between Manafort and Kilimnik is interesting. And it's ongoing. And also, this gem that sort of came out a couple of weeks ago about the sharing of the polling data.

I think what would be interesting would be where did Manafort get that polling data from? Whoever he got it from in the campaign, did they know where it was going to go? Manafort was not in charge of pulling or data. Others in the campaign were including Jared Kushner.

So, I think that will be interesting to determine of what Mueller's folks know. But I have to admit, I think, you know, everyone watching this right now, sort of is like, you know, we're the filler right now. Because I'm surprised that this has -- that the filing has not come out. And so, I'm wondering, how much of it will is actually going to be redacted which will give us a hint of how much more Mueller is actually investigating at this stage.

If a lot of is it redacted, it goes into ongoing investigations which will tell us that while there may be a report relatively soon, these cases are going to exist throughout all of Donald Trump's first term. If there is a second, a good chunk of that as well.

LEMON: What do you think is -- what do you think --


MARIOTTI: Juliette --


LEMON: What do you think they're doing? I got to get David in here. But Juliette, what do you think they're doing right now. Are they sitting around saying, listen, we've got to make sure that everything is perfect with this? It is all redacted. We can't reveal any more than we need to reveal? What do you think?

KAYYEM: Well, that would ultimately be the court's determination of what's redact. So, there could have been a filing earlier today in which the court is now determining what will or won't go public based on that.

And you know, or it may be that we're going to get something at 11.59 when, you know, a minute before the filing deadline. Although some people have suggested that they don't know if it is 3 a.m. Eastern standard time or midnight Pacific Time filing deadline.


KAYYEM: That's up to the -- I know, we'll all be asleep.


KAYYEM: But I think, look, the redactions go to ongoing cases. So we know that the cases are, they're basically, you know, a case begets a case when it comes to Donald Trump. None of these ever end. They just expose more potential illegality.

LEMON: OK. David, you're shaking your head.

DAVID KRIS, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Yes. I think Juliette is right. I think the two questions that we need to answer, and we will have answered hopefully by midnight Eastern Time or one, what does Mueller want to say to the court about Manafort and his involvement and the extension to which, you know, he might be the loose thread, which when you pull it, it unravels the whole sweater, and then how much of that is he prepared to make public?

I, myself, and I know Renato and Juliette were probably in the same boat have been crashing on deadlines to do the redactions just right before the midnight filing deadline. And it can be a painstaking and awful process and I imagine Mueller's folks are going through that process right now and I have some sympathy for them. But we're all going to get to see this and I think we're going to learn quite a bit by reading it.

LEMON: All right. So, let's take it a little bit deeper, David. Because you know he's only revealed the minimum, right, and you sort of alluded to this before the minimum amount of information that he's had throughout this investigation. Since it appears to be nearing an end, do you think that, you expect this filing might be different? Is that what you're saying?

[23:09:57] KRIS: Well, no. I think Mueller will write the same kind of sentencing memorandum that he writes all the time which is straight down middle and by the book.

And I would say also that rumors of the imminent end of the Mueller investigation have been running fast and thick and I will believe it when I see it. Even if he's going to do a report, I don't think that he will lower a sentencing memo in anticipation of that. If he's got something to say in the report, he'll put it in the report.

I'm not sure we're going to get report any time terribly soon. Maybe we will. And if we do get it, it may still not be the end as Juliette is saying.

Mueller has proliferated like a venture capitalist incubator a whole series of startup investigation throughout a variety of U.S. attorney's offices. So, he's diversified the portfolio and it will carry on even if he himself and his group are finished.

LEMON: Look at that. Eleven, ten. David bringing it there. So, listen, Renato, there's been a lot of speculation that Trump could pardon Manafort. But Manhattan prosecutors they have reportedly prepared a criminal case against Manafort in case that happens. How will this work? I mean wouldn't Manafort be protected by double jeopardy laws or no?

MARIOTTI: No. In fact, the Supreme Court has made it clear that there are separate sovereigns there, the state and federal. So that would not apply. In fact, double jeopardy law is very narrow. You can have two crimes that are essentially identical like wire fraud and mail fraud.

And the fact that in one of them here mailing an envelope to commit the fraud and the other you're using the internet. That's two separate crimes. And there's no double jeopardy. So, it's very narrow. There's no double jeopardy issue.

And I think given that the New York attorney general campaigned on being aggressive on this front, I think you can expect her in her office to be right there if there are any pardon.

LEMON: So Juliette, you heard Shimon talk about Michael Cohen giving prosecutors new information on the Trump organization.

KAYYEM: Right.

LEMON: That was just last month. Is that a big concern for the president? KEYYEM: It should be. I mean, it shows that Michael Cohen is trying

to at least in some ways ameliorate his previous line by giving new information to the prosecutors. And that information I thought was interesting, at least as reported by the Times.

I mean, one piece of it went to the inauguration. We now know that the prosecutors were looking at where all this money went to and for what purposes, for the inaugural committee. In involves the venture capitalist not to have a theme for tonight with David Kris of Howden (Ph) California. A guy named Zuberi (Ph) and what specifically he did, and how much money he gave and for what purposes is of interest to the prosecutors.

The other piece I thought was interesting that the New York Times talked about which was it went to, you know, it went outside of the pure Stormy Daniels aspects of the financial shenanigans going on with the Trump campaign and went to whether the, what we can devise is whether, not the Trump campaign, the Trump organization was filing insurance claims that were not legitimate.

We don't know enough about that now. But that falls outside of the financial investigations that we've seen today. And suggests that the prosecutors are looking at a whole lot of money issues that exist around not just Donald Trump but his family.

And I've always thought, you know, as I've said to you, I've always thought the family is just sort of the rail that I don't know how to deal with. Because obviously, if Jared or Don Junior is implicated in this, we really don't know what Donald Trump will do.

LEMON: Interesting. The president was asked about Michael Cohen because Cohen is scheduled to testify in front of Congress next week. Here is what the president said today. David, this is for you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are you still considering --


TRUMP: Lawyer-client. But you know, and he's taking his own chances.


LEMON: So, it seems like he's suggesting that Cohen could be violating attorney-client privilege but testifying about their relationship. Is he doing that, David?

KRIS: Well, it will depend what he talks about. But quite frankly, you know, losing his ticket to practice law is probably low on Michael Cohen's list of worries right now. He's facing substantial time behind bars. And he's got every incentive to cooperate with the --

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Hasn't he already lost it though, his ability to practice law?

KRIS: Yes. Pretty much.


KRIS: I wouldn't expect him to be out there doing that. So, you know, the president's respect for attorney-client privilege notwithstanding, Michael Cohen has got a lot of stuff that he can offer and it may not even violate the attorney-client privilege because there's a well- known exception to that for crimes and frauds committed with the aid of counsel.

And if that's what's going on, the privilege probably wouldn't apply. The old adage is if you can get the lawyer or the accountant, you can get the keys to the kingdom. And so I would think the president is rightly very concerned about what Michael Cohen can deliver to federal prosecutors and others.

[23:14:59] LEMON: All right, everyone. Midnight. Here we come. Try to stay up. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

The signs are pointing to Mueller wrapping up his investigation very soon. But that's hardly the only investigation the president faces. Another is from the House intel committee. Congressman Denny heck is on that committee, and Denny heck is here, next.


LEMON: So right now, we're counting down to the midnight deadline for the special counsel to file his sentencing memo against Paul Manafort. We've learned a lot from these memos in the past. So, what can we expect this time? That's a big question.

Here to discuss is Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, a member of the House intelligence committee. Congressman, we appreciate your time. Again, we're counting down, we're waiting to see what happens. This may be the last filing before the special counsel issues his report. What are you looking for?

[23:19:56] REP. DENNY HECK, (D) WASHINGTON: Well, probably we're most curious about that Kilimnik connection, right? We all know at this point that Paul Manafort conveyed to Kilimnik pretty extensive polling information and with a lot of things associated with Russian interference.

Always the question has to be asked why, why would anybody do x, y or z? Why he would conveyed that to a known Russian agent, a known Russian agent? Except for some nefarious purpose. Bu t we don't know that.

We may learn more about that in this filing, assuming it comes out in the next hour or whenever it comes out. That will be very instructive. I think we'll also be informed by the amount of redaction. Because as I've maintained all along the more redacted material there is, the greater the suggestion that there is more yet to come. LEMON: Interesting. Let's talk about Michael Cohen. OK? Set to

testify behind closed doors to your committee next week. In the past hour we learned that federal investigators talked to him, to Michael Cohen, about how the president's businesses used insurance. Clearly, Cohen is still, he still has a lot to say. What do you want to hear from Michael Cohen?

HECK: Well, the first and most important thing I want to hear from him, Don, is to set the record straight for he lied to us. He's going to jail and not for a short period of time because he lied to the members of Congress.

And so, we need to get alongside one another the truth and the lies and go from there. I think there's probably not too much of a limit to what we could learn from him about some of the dealings associated with the Trump enterprises.

But let's remember that every aspect of President Trump's life is now under investigation by one official branch or another. Whether it's the campaign or the inaugural committee or his foundation or the Trump organization or the White House or the rest of the administration.

It's all under investigation by somebody, by last count, some 13 different investigations. I don't remember quite the number. As it relates to the intel committee, though, Don, we're pretty narrowly focused on Russian interference in our election.

And so, you can well imagine that that will be the focus of our questioning. If you wanted a concrete example, the obvious one is the Trump tower dealings in Russia and what it is that Mr. Cohen knew about that. How it is that conversation, between Mr. Trump or his agents, and the Russians went on far past the point in time then which was earlier indicated.

LEMON: Yes. There are a number of signs, Congressman, pointing to Mueller wrapping up very soon. That doesn't mean that many investigations into this president, it doesn't mean that those investigations are over. Your committee is still working on its investigation. What happens post Mueller?

HECK: Well, it depends of course in part what Mr. Mueller has done. But that brilliant legal mind David Kris said earlier on your program that he performed somewhat like a venture capital firm having spun out a lot of separate investigations by U.S. attorneys offices here and there.

And then we of course now know that Cyrus Vance, Jr.'s operation is engaged in some investigation. Our work will continue. So, in fact, I don't think the Mueller report, should there be terminating a report per se, is the period at the end of the sentence at all. I think, in fact I think it's the beginning of some comfortable effort.

LEMON: Yes. Six Democratic committee chairs have sent a letter to the incoming attorney general demanding the report be made public. It's technically up to A.G., to A.G. Barr to decide what Congress can see. Will Democrats go to court if they don't get the full? HECK: We're going to get that report one way or another or we're

going to get the contents of that report one way or another. I confidently predict that.

You know, Don, it just so happened that last night, the Olympia World Affairs Council hosted a town hall kind of meeting for me. It was a pretty amazing event. There were more than 200 people there. They are standing room only. And we talk about a range of issues and I was asked about the Mueller report.

And I told them what I just told you. We're going to get that information one way or another. And the entire room burst into applause. I was quite taken aback by it frankly.

But the reason I'm telling you that is the American public wants this. They are demanding to know this information. And for them, for the new Attorney General Barr to withhold it, that's a political bomb. He is holding a hand grenade and he just pulled the pin. If he thinks the American public is going to satisfied with that information being kept secret. They won't be.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

HECK: You're welcome, Don.

LEMON: Justice Department officials now saying don't expect Robert Mueller's report next week. But does this say, what does this say about how the report is coming along? And what Mueller knows? I'm going to ask a former deputy to read the tea leaves for us.


LEMON: A Justice Department official tells CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller is now not expected to deliver his report next week. This as the president prepares for his summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

John Pistole is here to discuss as he served as a former deputy to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller. So good to have you on. Thank you, sir.


LEMON: We don't know when Mueller will be filing the report. But one of the main questions is going to be, what will we see, if anything, and when it does release, and this is what the statute says the special counsel says right here.

It says, "At the conclusion of the special counsel's work, he or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel." OK. It sounds very legally --


LEMON: What does that mean?

[23:30:01] PISTOLE: Yes. So, I think what we might envision is something along the lines of, a report that has really two sections. One would basically a recitation of all the actions that the special counsel's office and perhaps U.S. attorney's offices in New York, North of Virginia, have done or taken as a result of referrals from the special counsel.

So that section could be the indictments and the charges for some of the people including Flynn and perhaps even Stone and Manafort and Cohen and the Russians and some of the other players. And that is something that then the attorney general could turn around and turn over to satisfy some of the appetite that's out there to have something out of a report. That report is not going to contain in all likelihood any new information.

The second part of that report might be a classified report or could even be sensitive but unclassified or confidential, that it would be up to the attorney general then to decide what if any part of that that he would make public. Of course, Congress is demanding the full report, so I think it will be interesting to see, again, whether there are two sections of the report and whether that's even made public.

And then even if there are, what happens to that more sensitive but perhaps unclassified portion that would allow, provide perhaps as Neal Katyal, former solicitor general, acting S.G. in Department of Justice, had in New York Times op-ed today that could provide a road map to U.S. attorney's offices, whether in Virginia, D.C., New York or perhaps elsewhere to follow up on as they are doing in certain instances.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: OK, so listen. Let's talk specifically about your experiences when it comes to this and the special counsel because as independent counsel investigating Bill Clinton, Ken Starr had a report hundreds of pages long. The special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, laid out a road map of President Nixon's wrongdoing. Could it look like either of those or is this different?

PISTOLE: No, I think this is different, Don. I think this is something where Robert Mueller is following the mandate that he was given to investigate, prepare a report, and submit that report. So I don't see him going out and doing press conferences. I don't see him releasing the report publicly at all.

I think he will keep with the task that he was given which is to provide that to the attorney general and then to walk away from it, and then see what followup, if any, the individual U.S. attorney's offices or perhaps the Manhattan D.A.'s office as we are seeing that they may file charges against Manafort, there's a grand jury apparently convened in Manhattan for that, and that would then address the double jeopardy issue.

And if the president decided to pardon anybody, Manafort or somebody else, on the federal charges, that would not apply into the state charges. So, number of different aspects, but interlinking here.

LEMON: John, what about any sealed indictments that Mueller might have? What happens to them once this report is filed?

PISTOLE: So each of the individual U.S. attorney's offices, whether the District of Columbia or the Eastern District of Virginia over in Arlington, Virginia, the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, Manhattan and Brooklyn, they will proceed with those with the assistant U.S. attorney or whoever is handling those.

And until Robert Mueller says something either in a press statement saying I'm wrapped up and concluding it, it is almost like the old -- for the older viewers, the old E.F. Hutton commercial, about when E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen. That's the same thing with Robert Mueller. When he speaks, people will listen.

Whether he sets out any guidelines or the road map to what the future activity might be by the U.S. attorney's offices, nobody knows other than him and perhaps the attorney general. So I think it is -- let's see what if anything is announced when he provides a report to the attorney general.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, John Pistole.

PISTOLE: Thank you.

LEMON: The president was asked today about the Coast Guard lieutenant who was allegedly plotting an attack on top Democrats and journalists.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Do you think you bear any responsibility for moderating your language when it comes to that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't. I think my language is very nice.


LEMON: Very nice. Really?


LEMON: We know the president is awfully quick to condemn anybody he sees as an enemy or response to news he doesn't like. But there are some things he just doesn't want to talk about so much. Let's discuss. Keith Boykin is here, Alice Stewart, and Tara Setmayer. Hello, happy Friday to all of you.

ALICE: Hi, Don.

TARA: Hello.

LEMON: Keith, Representative Steve King, perfect example. King was stripped of his committee assignments after wondering in The New York Times interview, when terms like white nationalist and white supremacist became offensive. This is the president's reaction in the news that King will seek re-election in 2020.


TRUMP: You know I don't know anything about this situation. When did he announce that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Today.

TRUMP: I have not seen it. He hasn't told me anything. We'll have to take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): You haven't spoken to him?

TRUMP: I haven't spoken to him in a long time. I haven't spoken. I have not been involved in that.


[23:40:00] LEMON: Another missed opportunity for the president to condemn Steve King's behavior?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He knows Steve King very well. They are buddies.

LEMON: I don't know who you are talking about, Steve who?

BOYKIN: He did the same thing with David Duke during the campaign. I don't know who David Duke is. He did the same thing with Pat Buchanan. He called him a Hitler lover before and now he's like, oh, I'm going to tweet about him and endorse him. I mean, Donald Trump is playing footsies (ph) with the radical right, the far right, and pretending like he's not giving aid and comfort to them.

And then when the time is convenient, he goes off and does more stuff to give them aid and comfort. This is just not helpful. It's typical for Donald Trump and sad.

LEMON: Alice, when Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar was reprimanded by Democrats and Republicans for using anti-Semitic language in a tweet, the president called for her resignation. He called for her -- he said her apology was lame. Watch this.


TRUMP: Congressman Omar is terrible, what she said. And I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


LEMON: So he doesn't know about a fellow Republican but he knows about a Democrat. Why the double standard, Alice?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a convenient amnesia, Don. Look, this is typical Donald Trump. He's been this way all along. He always has a tendency to elevate his allies and try to eliminate his enemies. That is exactly what he continues to do and he will always do that. That's part of his nature. Whether we're talking a political enemy or a personal enemy or a business enemy, he wants to do away with them.

So I think it is not right for us to put them into any components, whether we are talking about race or religion or any type of specific issue. If someone is an opponent of this president, he will say and do anything to get them out of the way, get them out of their position, and this is a classic example.

LEMON: So after two days, the president finally reacted to the charges against a Coast Guard officer accused of being a white nationalist who planned to kill several high-profile journalists and also to kill Democratic politicians. Watch this.


TRUMP: I think it is a shame. Yeah. I think it is a very sad thing when a thing like that happens. I've expressed that. I'm actually getting a very complete briefing in about two hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Do you think you bear any responsibility for moderating your language when it comes to that?

TRUMP: No, I don't. I think my language is very nice.



LEMON: Very nice. Listen, according to court documents, this is very serious, Lieutenant Christopher Hasson did Google searches for "what if Trump illegally impeached" and "civil war if Trump impeached." Should the president have done anything differently in his response to this terror, you think?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course, there were a lot of things he should have done differently, but, you know, we're talking about Donald Trump. He has the best words and the biggest brain. Don't you know that, Don? We're all the idiots because he uses very nice words. It was only a couple days ago that he tweeted out in all caps that The New York Times is the enemy of the people, the real enemy of the people.

How many times has he done this? The Committee to Protect Journalists put out a report that showed that Donald Trump has tweeted negatively against the press 1,300 times since becoming a candidate, and that those tweets that increased versus his tweeting about other things has decreased, but his attacks against the media and journalists has increased.

Do you that they also put out a report that said that there are 28 journalists jailed around the world this year because of fake news allegations in other places across the world, when there were only nine at this point last year? This is reverberating not only in the United States but across the world. It is making journalists and those of us in the media less safe.

It is emboldening these crazies out here who are looking for reasons to do things they shouldn't be doing, like this guy, this Coast Guard. You know, who knows how long he had been plotting that? Or the guy that was sending the mail bombs in October where CNN was evacuated and there were other journalists targeted. Who knows how long they've been thinking about that?

They see the president of the United States continuing to put these things out there like that. Words matter, especially coming from the president. Donald Trump is so irresponsible, and he is creating this environment where people think it is OK to target the media when that's not how we do things in this country. So yes, of course, Donald Trump could have handled it differently, but he is never going to change. This is who he is.

LEMON: I want to play this. This is something that he said. I think my language is very nice. Alice, this is someone with a nice language.


TRUMP: You are a rude, terrible person.

What a stupid question that is.

That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do.

You know what? You're creating violence by your questions.

Some of the media is terrific. But most of it, 70 percent, 75 percent is absolute dishonest, absolute scum.

[23:45:04] Remember that. Scum.


LEMON: Hmmm.

SETMAYER: That's a short list, Don.

LEMON: I know that is a short list.


STEWART: Don, if anyone in this country knows that words matter, it is Donald Trump. And that is exactly why he uses the words that he uses, going all the way back to little Marco, lying Ted. You can go down the whole list of his Republican challengers. At the same time, on occasion, he does say some nice things.

Let me just say this. When we are talking about the Hasson situation, what he did was terrible. I hate the fact that he singled out many people including you. It is despicable. But he did that in the name of hate. Also this week, we've been talking about the actor, Smollett, and what he did.

Look, that was in the name -- we don't know exactly what happened, but it appears this was in the name of greed. And I think to take any of these instances and blame Donald Trump for grown-up people making terrible, hateful, awful decisions, I think, is irresponsible. Yes, Donald Trump --

SETMAYER: But, Alice, we can't --

STEWART: -- has said some bad things. Yes, he has said -- I think to blame this president for --

SETMAYER: We can't blame him 100 percent, but he's responsible for creating an environment. He's responsible for creating an environment. Let's not give it a pass because --

LEMON: Let's Keith jump in.

SETMAYER: -- Donald Trump doing every day.

LEMON: Go ahead, Keith, quickly, because I got to go.

BOYKIN: OK, Alice, just real quickly, we had President Obama. He didn't spend every day in his office tweeting about people he disliked. We've had other presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, other presidents who have never done this. This is unprecedented. What would really help, Alice, I know you're there sometimes, is if you would call -- consistently call out Donald Trump and not allow Republicans to give him cover when he does this --

LEMON: OK, look --

BOYKIN: He has created the climate, and he is the one who can help tamp down the atmosphere.

LEMON: If we care about someone else's language, someone who says, you know, this is MAGA country, we need to care about another person's language who says that journalists are enemy of the people. If we care about someone lying about a fake situation in Chicago, then we should care about the president of the United States lying. Both are liars. One is accused of lying. One is we see lying every single day and gets a pass from his supporters every single day.

If you care about one lie, you got to care about the other lie, especially when the other lie is coming from the president in the highest office, the person in the highest office.

STEWART: I am not excusing the president at all. What he says and saying the media is the enemy of the people, it is absolutely completely wrong. I've said that numerous times. But you can't blame him for everyone else's actions.


BOYKIN: But he can help create a better climate.

SETMAYER: That's right.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I got to go. Have a good weekend.

SETMAYER: And take responsibility from self.

LEMON: Thank you, guys.


LEMON: We'll be right back.

SETMAYER: See you, Don.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.



LEMON: A new election has been ordered for North Carolina's ninth congressional district. That House seat has been open since the midterm elections nearly four months ago due to allegations of ballot fraud. The State Board of Elections refused back in December to certify the results in favor of Republican candidate Mark Harris who is unofficially leading Democratic candidate Dan McCready by 905 votes.

Harris denies his campaign was aware of or condoned improper activities. But now, even he says public confidence has been undermined and a new election is necessary.

Joining me now is Democrat Dan McCready. Da, boy, oh boy, here we go. Good evening. You kicked off your new campaign today with a rally. I mean, you're starting all over again.


DAN MCCREADY, DEMOCRATIC NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE CANDIDATE: Well, it's been a very long campaign. We've been at this now nearly two years, believe it or not.

LEMON: Does this make you happy?

MCCREADY: You know, I've been kind of two minds about all this. On the one hand, I have to say, it's been a long campaign. I'm tired. I've got four little kids. We left it all on the field last November. We thought initially that we had lost. And we were as surprised as anyone to see the State Board of Elections refused to certify this race and to see the depth and the breadth of this election fraud that some people are saying is the largest case of election fraud in living memory.

But I've also come to realize, Don, that this culture of corruption that we saw here in North Carolina, this idea that politicians will put themselves before the people that they are supposed to serve, this is actually exactly why I felt a calling to serve in the first place.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCCREADY: And so I've come to believe that this is a fight that's much bigger than any of us. It is much bigger than any election. This is about what does it mean to live in a democracy and what does it mean to be an American.

LEMON: Well, take your vitamins because, as you said, it was November, you left it all on the field. You had these months now of not knowing, this uncertainty. And then now, they are saying, OK, a new election. You don't know even know exactly when that is going to be. It could be next month or it could be in October, correct?

MCCREADY: They have not set the date yet. We don't know exactly what the ballots are going to look like. A lot of people are taking a look at that. I think we will know more in the coming days.

LEMON: So, let me ask you. You know the president talks about voter fraud all the time, not in the way that this played out, right? He is talking about Democrats or whatever trying to steal the election. He was asked this afternoon why he hadn't spoken out about North Carolina's election fraud. This is what he said.


TRUMP: I condemn any voter fraud of any kind whether it's Democrat or Republican.

[23:54:57] But when you look at some of the things that happened in California in particular. When you look at what's happened in Texas with all of those votes that they recently found were not exactly properly done. I condemn all of it, and that includes North Carolina.


LEMON: So, that was a bit of deflection there. Just for the truth sake, the voter fraud incidents in California and Texas, the ones he is referring to, they have been proven false or misleading. In your race, there is potentially criminal election fraud which forced an election do-over. What would you have liked to have heard from the president?

MCCREADY: Well, I think it's very important and I think this is a bit of a learning opportunity for a lot of people across the country because what we had in North Carolina was actually not voter fraud. It was election fraud. This was not voters doing anything wrong.

Voters were the victims of a widespread systematic criminal operation, financed by my opponent, where they would go to people's doors and steal their absentee ballots. They would apparently go in front of early voting sites and steal people's absentee ballots, representing themselves as election officials that were going to turn them in.

Some of those were never counted. Ballots were manipulated. We heard testimony about people taking ballots and filling vote choices in, leaked early voting information from the Bladen County Board of Elections to Mark Harris' campaign. This is actually election fraud.

The most important thing was the historic victory that we had yesterday, where Republicans and Democrats on that board came together and said, we care about our democracy in North Carolina, and sent a message across this country, across the world, that this will not stand. We're going to fight for our right to vote here in North Carolina. That matters.

LEMON: So let me ask you specifically, to my question. What would you have liked to have heard from the president?

MCCREADY: Well, it sounded like -- that's the first time actually I've heard that clip, and it sounded like he did condemn the activity in North Carolina, which I appreciate. Having lived now through this over the course of many weeks, I would have appreciated a lot more people condemning what happened here earlier because this is an attack on our democracy.

LEMON: Dan McCready, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

MCCREADY: Good to be on with you.

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.