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CNN TONIGHT

More Lies and More Denials; Democrats Are Anti-Jews, According To The President; Impeaching President Trump Is Not a Good Idea?; Sarah Sanders Dancing Around Questions; Jeanine Pirro Under Fire; Tucker Carlson's Sexist Comments; Senator Gillibrand's Handling Of A Sexual Harassment Case. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 11, 2019 - 22:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.

And I must say, you are one of my friends who said the n-word, fake, wrong. Correct it.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You remember that?

CUOMO: And I did.

LEMON: You remember that conversation?

CUOMO: A hundred percent. And you told me the right advice --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- because you cared about me and you cared about me setting it straight. So, I did exactly that because I cared about the impact. I cared about not being divisive when I was trying to do the opposite.

That's not the case with these cats over there on state TV. They prey on the division.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: It's their currency. That's why he won't repeat the same things that he used to say, Don. If he was what he says he is, a truth teller, not afraid of the lefty mob, you're not going to make me cow -- then he would say them again right now, but he won't, because he likes that money.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And he likes that platform he has. That's the truth.

LEMON: All you have to do is when you're listening to that, if you just do a Google, just do a fact-check on most of the -- many of the things that are said in the opinion part, which is all of prime time on that network. But also, here's what I find people are doing now. Rather than

addressing, which we don't do here, rather than -- if we make a mistake or if we say something that's controversial and we want to stand by it, we back it up with the facts behind it, right?

This is why we said it. You may not like it. You may think it's biased, whatever. These are the facts. As journalists, we have to give you the facts.

What happens there is you don't talk about the substance of what you said or if there's -- if it's factual or not. You don't talk about that. What you do is you say everybody's out to get me.

Everyone is out to get conservatives. Look at all those people over there on the left. They don't care about anything. They care about power, and not -- well, I said -- I called a woman out of her name, or I said something that was off-color or that was terrible about young women. You don't do that.

You just say, there's outrage on the left, and they have Trump derangement syndrome, and they're always out to look -- without ever addressing the substance.

CUOMO: They're not about facts. They're about feelings.

LEMON: And then their audience just eats it up. Yes, that's right. The left doesn't -- not even caring about the facts.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Look, there's a lot of people do feel those things. That's why they say them. Look, the unforgivable thing is playing to what they know is false. These are intelligent people. They know better than to say what they're saying, but they say it anyway because it works for them. It can make them famous in that world.

Just think about what it would take for you to say, hey, I got to tell you, you know, paying women the same as men creates problems, Don. It does. It makes men depressed. He said that on his show. He knows it's B.S. He knows it, and that's the sin.

But I must say, you know, I don't get into this tit for tat. I don't care what he says about me. When I see him in person, he can say whatever he wants. I guarantee you he'll be a lot more quiet than he is on his show.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But he should repeat the things that he said that got him in trouble. If it was wrong to get him in trouble and he still believes it, and he wasn't just hyping things to get notoriety that now he's afraid, he's afraid of losing his platform because Fox may come up with a new standard of decency that involves integrity, he'd say it again. But he won't. He won't, and that matters.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Won't address this up since I said it.

CUOMO: He won't say it again.

LEMON: Then will not address this up, that's what he said.

CUOMO: Say what he wants in a presidential candidate again. Say what he wants them to do to Muslims. Say it again.

LEMON: It doesn't -- listen, it doesn't matter. I've had, you know, similar -- to be honest with you, you know Sean.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: I know Sean.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: You know, he'll call us up or, or if I say, why did you say that? Why did you do that? or whatever. Nice guy in person. I don't have that kind of relationship with Tucker, but I have communicated with him e-mail-wise or what have you. You know, nice enough guy.

But it doesn't matter that you're a nice person in person, right? Because your impact is in what you do and the platform that you have. In you do horrible things on television, it doesn't matter how nice you are in your real life.

CUOMO: True.

LEMON: If you say things that are lies on television, if you get people to believe propaganda, if you promote propaganda, if you become a propaganda machine for the administration, it doesn't really matter that you're a nice person.

You could be, you know, giving money to charity, whatever.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Makes it worse.

LEMON: What matters most is the biggest impact you have is on your platform. And if you're doing a disservice to the people you are reaching out to, who you reach every day.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: That's more important.

CUOMO: It makes it worse. I'd rather that you believe it. you know. That you say really obnoxious --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Come on.

CUOMO: -- and terrible things, but at least you believe it.

LEMON: How can anybody believe that?

CUOMO: A lot of people believe it. Look, if there weren't people who really believed it --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I can't believe that.

CUOMO: -- they wouldn't become rich and get a platform on Fox for saying it.

LEMON: I think people want to believe it so much that I don't think that -- I don't think anybody can believe that bull.

CUOMO: And look, by the way, when people went after Tucker Carlson's family and I heard stories about that.

LEMON: Not right.

CUOMO: I said it's wrong.

LEMON: Not right.

CUOMO: One, I think it makes you a hypocrite. You think to be what it is you shouldn't or think you oppose. But I don't to see anything happen to his family, they're not to blame --

LEMON: Yes.

[22:05:01] CUOMO: -- for what comes out of his pie hole.

LEMON: You're absolutely right. And remember when my sister passed, one of the first people to reach out was Sean Hannity. And I was one of the first people, I think, on the air, and you, and many of other people.

So, listen, that's -- this is not personal. This is just the truth. And I'm going to tell you be ready. You're going to be the lead story on the network. They're coming after us, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: Look, I don't want people, I don't want the media to come after the media because, one, look, I don't know that it's our judge -- job to police ourselves. That's a longer discussion.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But I will say this. I'll tell you part of why it's effective. It's great for him to have the media come after him.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Because the people that he's playing to don't trust the media because the president told them not to. And by the way, they had a lot of good reason not to begin with. So, it will only help him. I just wish he would repeat the things that he thinks are true and that it's unfair to criticize him about.

LEMON: I got to go. I spent way too much time on those guys. I wish them the best of luck. Here's my thing. We're all on television live with no filter. Many times, there's nothing in that camera, no words, and we all screw up, and we say dumb things. But when you do -- when something becomes a pattern and you don't tell the truth on a daily basis, that's a problem.

I got to go, though. Spent enough time. Let's worry about our viewers right now.

CUOMO: It's good to see you again, sir.

LEMON: Thank you so much. I'll see you tomorrow. It's going to be back. It's good to talk to you.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And so, let's face it. Chris and I talked about this earlier, about the lies. When you lie about anything, you'll lie about everything. And this president, who according to the hardworking fact checkers at "The Washington Post", has made well over 9,000 false or misleading claims since taking the oath of office, will lie about anything.

He'll lie about dumb little things, things that anybody else would just laugh off, things like calling Apple's CEO Tim Cook Tim Apple. He could have just called it a slip of the tongue. That would be easy enough. But instead, he tweeted today that he was saving time and words.

Saving time and words? Is he really in such a hurry that he needs to leave out the man's last name? Think about that. And that was actually his second lie about the whole thing.

Here's what Axios reported, that the president told Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago that he actually said Tim Cook Apple, Tim Cook Apple really fast. Really? Roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And you really have -- I mean you've really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Can we re-rack that, please? Tim -- he said it fast. OK. He said Tim Cook Apple fast. Did he? Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And you really have. I mean you've really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: That was your own ears and your own eyes. OK? You heard the man. He said Tim Apple. It's funny. It's ridiculous, right? It is. Why am I talking about this? This is why it matters.

Because he's the president, and there is apparently nothing that is too small, too insignificant for this president to lie about. OK. So just imagine if I -- if I called Chris Cuomo, Chris Cooper by accident. I would say, sorry. What I meant to say was Chris Cuomo didn't mean to do that. Move on. Who would care? Nobody would give a crap.

But this is why it matters, OK? I want you to take a look because if you lie about the little things, you'll lie about if the big things -- little things you'll lie about big things. Take a look at his locker. This is a locker at Trump international golf club in West Palm Beach and the plaque naming him men's club champion for 2018. We just talked about this a moment ago which, surprise, not exactly true either.

Golf.com points out that the president didn't actually play in that tournament. He challenged the real winner to a made-up nine-hole duel with no officials, won that, and went on to say that they could be co- champions, a fact that's entirely missing from that plaque.

Like I said, when you'll lie about anything, you'll lie about everything. And there are plenty of big lies coming from this president, lies about things that really matter to a whole lot of Americans like Medicare, the 2020 budget the president delivered to the House today would reduce Medicare spending by $845 billion over 10 years.

[22:10:01] He must think that we've all forgotten what he said over and over and over again during the campaign. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Save Medicare, Medicaid, and social security without cuts. Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it.

Medicare does work. With both, you have tremendous waste, fraud, and abuse. We're going to take care of that, OK? But we're not going to cut your social security, and we're not cutting your Medicare. I am going to protect and save your social security and your Medicare. You made a deal a long time ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Read my lips. No cutting Medicare. When you lie about anything, you'll lie about everything. Here's another big lie. In fact, it's absolutely outrageous. The president reportedly told donors at that same Mar-a-Lago event -- and I'm quoting here from what sources at the event told Axios.

Quote, "The Democrats hate Jewish people." But it's not the first time that he'd said something like that. In fact, he said it on camera, out loud, for all the world to hear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They've become an anti-Jewish party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I can't believe I have to explain this. What the president is saying is not true, OK? Follow along. I want you to pay close attention. It's another lie, and it's a big one.

Take a look at the exit polling from the midterms. Jewish voters, just 2 percent of voters overall, overwhelmingly supported Democratic House candidates. Guess what? Seventy-nine percent for Democrats. Seventeen percent for Republicans. Jewish voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats.

So, it's absolutely false that the Democratic Party is anti-Jewish. Thirty-two -- are you listening? Thirty-two of the 34 Jewish members of Congress are Democrats. Yet, Sarah Sanders in the first White House press conference in 42 days danced and deflected, refusing to answer questions about whether Trump said that Democrats hate Jewish people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president really believe Democrats hate Jews?

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president's been an unwavering and committed ally to Israel and the Jewish people, and frankly the remarks that have been made by a number of Democrats and failed to be called out by Democrat leadership is frankly abhorrent, and it's sad, and it's something that should be called by name.

It shouldn't be put in a watered-down resolution. It should be done the way the Republicans did it when Steve King made terrible comments. We called it out by name. We stripped him of his committee memberships, and we'd like to see Democrats follow suit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wait. What? Steve King? She's actually using Steve King as an example. Steve King, who in an interview with "The New York Times" asked when white supremacists and white nationalists became offensive, who has been making outrageous racist statements for years.

Racism so bad that Republicans finally could no longer turn a blind eye to it. His party couldn't turn a blind eye, but he seems -- but it seems the president could.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't -- I haven't been following it. I really haven't been following it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He didn't have anything to say about Steve King there, but he sure did when he said this back in 2014.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today I'm here to support Steve King, a special guy, a smart person with really the right views on almost everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But back to Sarah Sanders today. Asked a follow-up question, she doubled down, refusing to say whether the president thinks Democrats hate Jewish people, which should be a simple question to answer no. No, the president doesn't believe that the Democratic Party is full of people who hate a whole group of voters because of their faith. It's easy. That should be the answer. You want to know what we got? Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes or no, does the president truly believe that Democrats hate Jews?

SANDERS: I am not going to comment on a potentially leaked document. I can tell you what --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he think Democrats hare Jewish people as he said on the South Lawn?

SANDERS: I think that's a question frankly I think you should ask Democrats what their position is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:14:57] LEMON: When you lie about anything, you'll lie about everything. The budget the president unveiled today calls for Congress to spend $8.6 billion more on his border wall. Yes, the same wall he promised would be paid for by you know who, Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall. And who's going to pay for the wall?

CROWD: Mexico.

TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?

CROWD: Mexico.

TRUMP: Who?

CROWD: Mexico. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And that the wall is being built. Let's not forget what he, what may be the biggest lie of all he says over and over and over again. The president's lie that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's a total witch hunt. I've been saying it for a long time.

It's a witch hunt. That's all it is. Witch hunt.

Witch hunt.

A witch hunt.

Witch hunt.

So far, this thing has been a total witch hunt, and it doesn't implicate me in any way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Not true. No matter how many times he says it. So, are you going to believe your own eyes and ears, or are you going to believe the man who has lied well over 9,000 times in office? The man who told you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Just remember what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Who are you going to believe? With all the clouds gathering around the Trump presidency, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is not for impeachment because she says President Trump is just not worth it.

Ryan Lizza, Susan Glasser, April Ryan, next.

[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is not for impeaching the president, but it's her reason that just might be getting under his skin tonight. She tells "The Washington Post" magazine that President Trump is, quote, "just not worth it."

So here to discuss, Ryan Lizza, Susan Glasser, and April Ryan. April is the author of "Under Fire: Reporting From the Front Lines of the Trump White House." Sometimes I confuse April and Ryan's name because, you know, they have the same name. So, I won't say I was -- you know, I said April Ryan --

(CROSSTALK) RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: People confuse us all the time.

APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. We look so much alike.

LEMON: So, I just know I have screwed your names up before because of, you know, Ryan, Ryan.

So, listen, and I'm big enough to admit that. But, April, Speaker Pelosi called impeachment divisive in an interview with "The Washington Post".

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: And this is what she told CBS this morning. listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I just don't believe in it. They wanted me to impeach President Bush for the Iraq war. I didn't believe in it then. I don't believe in it now. It divides the country. Unless there's some conclusive evidence that takes us to that place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What's your reaction?

RYAN: You know, I've talked to so many people about possible impeachment of this president. There are some who are Democrats who feel that it would be something that would really shake the pillars, the foundation of this nation. You should not have to impeach a president.

But Nancy Pelosi in the interview said if there is something that's grave enough to go to that, to that level. We are divided, and if you really look at it, Don, and really get into the weeds, this could really propel the president -- and people have said this before -- to a re-election win in 2020.

It would be beyond the Electoral College, just getting the Electoral College. He would have the sympathy of people thinking that the Democrats are picking on him, especially if the Mueller report does not come out with making him an unindicted co-conspirator and if they send it to Congress to deal with issues of possible collusion or obstruction of justice. So, I understand what she's doing. She does not want to make a martyr out of this president.

LEMON: Similar to what happened during the Clinton impeachment hearings, right?

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: It made him stronger afterward.

RYAN: And he wasn't convicted. LEMON: Right. So, Ryan, Pelosi says that the president is ethically

unfit for office. He said ethically and curiosity-wise and other things but still doesn't support impeachment. What does that say to you?

LIZZA: Well, look --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Morally, I think, was the other thing. Go on.

LIZZA: Yes. That's something she would have said in 2016, right, that he's not fit to be president. But she, you know, her view did not prevail in that election, at least not in the Electoral College.

Look, one of the unusual things about the talk of impeachment is we haven't had in recent history a first-term impeachment conversation, right? Whether it was Nixon and Watergate or Iran-Contra, which never rose to the level of impeachment, but it was discussed, or the Monica Lewinsky scandal where Bill Clinton was impeached, these were second- term presidents dealing with issues that happened in their first term.

This is an unusual situation in which the scandals of Trump all happened pre-president or during his first term, and so you have a very different dynamic because you have a re-election campaign happening very soon.

So, there are two ways Trump doesn't remain as president. The House of Representatives impeaches him and two-thirds of the Senate convicts him, or the Democrats put up a superior candidate and defeat him at the ballot box for his re-election.

And I think my reading of Nancy Pelosi is that she is much more of the view that Democrats should try and defeat him at the ballot box and that because of the structure of the Senate and the Democratic numbers in the Senate, impeachment is just not politically very viable. I think that's her view.

I think the second thing is she's trying to tamp down expectations a little bit for people on the left and what might come out in the Mueller report.

LEMON: In the Mueller report. Yes. So, Susan, let me bring you in. She does say that "unless there is some conclusive evidence that takes us to that place." That's a quote. Do you think she is leaving the door open to impeachment if the Russia investigation or the Southern District of New York or even the house investigations find something that may be damaging?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, so I think up until now, yes, I would say that that has been both what you've heard from Nancy Pelosi and also from Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the judiciary committee.

[22:25:00] But in her "Washington Post" interview, it goes beyond the clip that you just showed, and she essentially suggests that not only would there have to be this bombshell, extraordinary new evidence, but also that there would have to be the strong likelihood of a bipartisan consensus around that evidence.

And I feel like that's raising the bar, and that's taking it to a new place. So up until now, they've been sort of saying, we're not going to begin impeachment proceedings now. We're waiting to see what the evidence would be, and then we'll take it where it goes.

So I think two things. Number one, just as a factual matter, unless an impeachment is bipartisan, you're extraordinarily unlikely to produce a conviction in the Senate and, therefore, you know, there's a question of whether it politically makes any sense.

Historically, we essentially have not had a successful impeachment because of that reason. You know, it's always been such a divisive issue.

So, I think as a factual matter, Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are on strong ground to say that unless we can somehow have something that hasn't happened yet in the entire American history, which is a consensus across the political spectrum-type impeachment, that we should not proceed, number one.

Number two, I do think there's an interesting debate, though. When you think about the array of facts that are already on the public record, even before whatever we receive from the Mueller investigation, is Nancy Pelosi therefore saying that this means essentially there's a precedent set that this is not impeachable by a president?

You know, there are certainly significant information about potential obstruction of justice that is already in the public domain. Does this mean that House Democrats are content to let that lie? That's a question I have. I don't know the answer.

LEMON: Yes. April, I've got to ask you this. So, you know the president's comments reported by Axios about the Democratic Party and Jewish people, and Sarah Sanders was asked about it today a number of times in the briefing -- during the briefing.

By the way, in over 40 days, there wasn't a briefing. This is the first one. What was the reaction to how she danced? Danced around this in the briefing room?

RYAN: She danced. She danced. She did the electric slide. She did knee kind of dance, you know. She did -- what is it, the dub all of that, the nae, nae?

LIZZA: Chicken dance?

RYAN: Yes. She did not answer it. She did not answer the question about the president, yea or nay if he did it or not. But at issue, she's trying to put the blame on Democrats for the congresswoman's tweets.

Now, you can say what you will, say what you won't about the tweets and about the resolution. But at issue, the question was asked of the president, you know, of the White House about what the president said.

And, you know, if he's going to condemn one group, he's got to look back in his own history, and this Charlottesville issue is relevant. It's very much relevant. It is on the table.

The president took about five or six or even seven times to try to get his statements right after he had brought the ire of so many when he said, you know, there's so many very fine people on both sides.

LEMON: On both sides.

RYAN: There's some very fine people on both sides. And he took too long -- I mean instead of condemning it right away, those neo-Nazis who were walking the street with tiki torches --

LEMON: Right.

RYAN: -- trying to put fear in black and Jewish America, particularly in Jewish America.

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: He did not come out and say anything, you know, condemning it.

LEMON: Yes, remember, the thing was Jews will not replace us, right? Thank you. That's what they chanted.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: He also proposed banning every member of the Muslim faith from entering the United States.

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: Exactly.

LIZZA: So, until a Democrat stands up and does something like that with a major religion, I think we know which side has a little bit more religious bigotry on it right now.

LEMON: We're out of time unfortunately. I enjoy speaking to you guys. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Sarah Sanders holding a press briefing for the first time in 42 days. I just mentioned that. She wouldn't or couldn't answer a lot of questions about the Russia investigation. So, we'll have the answers next.

[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So Sarah Sanders danced around questions today about President Trump's claim that his fixer, his former fixer, Michael Cohen, directly asked him for a pardon. Now, I want to bring in now Neal Katyal to discuss. Good to see you. Thank you, sir, for coming on. So here's what the

Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, had to say when she was asked about the president's claim that Cohen asked for a pardon. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I am not going to get into specifics of things that are currently under review by the Oversight Committee and other committees. What I can tell you is that Cohen's own attorney stated and contradicted his client when he said that he was aware that those conversations had taken place. We know that Michael Cohen lied to Congress prior to his testimony most recently.

And we know that he's lied at least twice in that hearing. I think that it's time to stop giving him a platform. Let him go on to serve his time, and let's move forward with matters of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So no details, Neal, just a claim that Michael Cohen lied in his testimony. If the White House can't provide any details, how can we believe the president?

NEAL KATYAL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: Yeah. No, I agree. This is her first press conference in 42 days. And, you know, I think what it really reveals is that the Trump defenders are just running out of stuff to say. I mean when Sarah Sanders can't even spin a yarn, you know, that's a pretty bad sign for the president.

And the only thing she's able to say here is that Michael Cohen, you know, ostensibly lied to Congress or something like that, which is kind of ironic. This is like a Phillip Johnson-size glass house meeting a sifian-size stone that's being thrown. I mean, you know, the idea that Trump is calling someone else a liar when, you know, prosecutors have repeatedly found now real inconsistencies and mistruths in what he said is, I think, a bit ironic.

But I think that the fundamental thing here is that, you know, the Trump folks are really running out of stuff to say. I mean at another point, Sanders today said, oh, those checks, those, you know, $130,000 checks, I am not aware of that.

(CROSSTALK)

KATYAL: Come on. I mean even the guy at the ski gondola is aware of, you know, of these checks. I mean sure, the press secretary to the president of the United States not being aware of them. I mean that doesn't pass the smell test.

LEMON: I want to play the sound bite about the hush money, and then we'll discuss more. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During his time at the White House, does the White House deny that the president is individual one?

SANDERS: I am sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Individual one in the southern district of New York.

[22:35:03] SANDERS: Again, I am not going to comment on an ongoing case. That's not something I would be a part of here at the White House. And I would refer you to outside counsel. What I can tell you is the president has stated his position and made it clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So we know Michael Cohen flat-out said, Neal that the president is individual one in this case. So then why deflect?

KATYAL: Yeah, exactly. I can't make heads or tails of what she's saying here. So look, I can imagine a principled press secretary saying, look, I am not going to talk about any stuff involving this investigation or scandal. I am going to refer to you outside counsel. But as your clip, the one you played before this one, shows she's perfectly happy to talk about aspects of this investigation, including what Michael Cohen said to Congress and calling him a liar and so on.

It's only when the questions get tough, then she's like, oh, I can't answer that. I refer you to someone else. I am not aware of it. It's just evasion after evasion instead of telling the truth.

LEMON: Yeah. We have a packed show, Neal. I wish I had more time, but unfortunately we're out of time. Thank you for coming on. I'll see you next time.

KATYAL: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. Two Fox News hosts are under fire tonight, but they're being treated very differently by the network. We'll tell you why. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So bigoted and misogynistic comments from two high-profile Fox News hosts setting off a firestorm. On Saturday, host Jeanine Pirro said this about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Koran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won't get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia Law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States constitution?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:40:05] LEMON: Those comments sparked outrage around the country and got condemnation from Pirro's own network, Fox, saying in a statement that her comments "do not reflect those of the network." And on Sunday, the liberal media watchdog group, Media Matters for America, released audio footage that they unearthed from multiple appearances by Tucker Carlson on a Shock Jock Radio Show.

Take a listen. But here's a word of warning for you. Some of this is difficult to listen to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It's true you debate politics with a woman and go full blown out there, especially feminism. If you're talking to a feminist and she's giving you, you know, men really need to be more sensitive. No, actually, men don't need to be more sensitive. You just need to be quiet and do what you're told.

I love women but they're extremely primitive. They're basic. They're not that hard to understand. I got to be honest. I don't like her, and I wouldn't vote to confirm her if I were a U.S. senator. But I do feel sorry for her in that way. I feel sorry for unattractive women. I mean it's nothing they did. She seems awful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa Stewart, we run into her all the time.

CARLSON: She seems like a -- she seems awful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're very (Inaudible).

CARLSON: She seems extremely (Inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, Tucker Carlson made the comments before he worked at Fox. But they're inexcusable and indefensible. And they're Fox's problem now. Carlson and Pirro are telling us that they -- what they really believe and showing us who they really are. Why shouldn't we believe them?

So let's discuss. Kirsten Powers is here, Scott Jennings, and Amanda Carpenter. Amanda Carpenter is the author of "Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us."

Hello, everyone. Good to see you, haven't seen you guys in a while. Doing OK? So, Kirsten, let's start with Tucker, your reaction to his comments, please.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I thought they were reprehensible. And I -- you know, I worked with Tucker for quite some time at Fox News. And I actually had a good relationship with him. But that doesn't really mean anything, because I think that people can be different with different people. In fact, Joan Walsh, who is well known to our viewers here, has a piece up now saying that he had referred to her as the c-word and said basically something I can't say on-air about what needed to happen to her, I guess so she would stop being the c-word.

LEMON: Wasn't that word used in some of those comments too on the radio show, the ones that I heard?

POWERS: Yeah. Yeah, so I think, you know, it's -- a lot of things he said I found extremely upsetting. And at the same time, I do have to say I don't love this thing that we do where we go back 10 years ago to things people said and then now, you know, sort of make them a current issue. So I just -- I feel like he said these things. I wish that he would apologize.

I don't think that he's going to. They're highly problematic. But, you know, the issues that I have with Tucker today have more to do with what I see when I occasionally happen on his show. There's plenty to complain about. And I am far more concerned about that, frankly, than things that he said 10 years ago.

LEMON: I think you make a very good point about going back far, but it's also the way you handle it and address it. And if you do, I think you should address the substance of it and not say that people are out to get you just because someone found something that you did that was terrible, because we all have pasts. We all have done bad things. Amanda, you wanted to get in, which I see you wanting to get in.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I think that's an important part of this. Tucker's words speak for themselves. And he's been a professional broadcaster for a very long time. But he's not backing down. He's not apologizing. And as he tries to navigate this onslaught like a lot of other conservatives do in this type of environment, they say that they're standing up to the mob and not apologizing, not explaining themselves.

But really what they're doing is that they're hiding behind the mob. Tucker is a smart guy. He presents himself as a witty intellectual. He knows how to use words. He knows words have meaning. And so I think he's doing a disservice to the audience, to the women that he works for, in not explaining where he was coming from.

Because a professional broadcaster in this situation, you have two options. You explain yourself or you apologize. But he's trying to do this third option, where he says that he doesn't have to do anything because he doesn't like the people that brought it up. I think everyone deserves better.

LEMON: Yeah. So, Scott, I want to bring you in. But I want to play his response tonight, because he devoted a segment, what he called the Outrage Machine. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: The great American Outrage Machine is a remarkable thing. One day you're having dinner with your family, imagining everything is fine. The next, your phone is exploding with calls from reporters. It's a bewildering moment, especially when the quotes in question are more than a decade old. There's really not that much you can do to respond.

[22:45:05] It's pointless to try to explain how the words were spoken in jest or taken out of context, or in any, case bear no resemblance to what you actually think or would want for the country. None of that matters. Nobody cares. You know the role you're required to play. You are a sinner begging the forgiveness of Twitter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Scott, he said that -- he also said that Media Matters called him saying something naughty years ago. Is that what this is about?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. You know, I have to say I think Tucker Carlson has a really strong point here. I think there is an industry of people out there who are dedicated to banishing conservatives from the public marketplace of ideas. They want to get rid of any conservative who goes out there and says things, and that doesn't make everything Tucker Carlson says right.

It doesn't make it proper. It doesn't make it appropriate. And it doesn't make it feel good to sit here and listen to it out loud.

LEMON: OK, Scott, hold on. But conservative ideas, was that what he was talking about there, calling women the c-word?

JENNINGS: No. No, but that's what he does every night on this his show. And that's the point. The reason they're unearthing this and putting this out now is because they want to banish people like Tucker from the public marketplace of ideas right now. So I don't agree with that. If they went back 10 years on you, Don Lemon, you're a liberal, I am a conservative. I wouldn't stand...

LEMON: I am not a liberal, Scott.

JENNINGS: Well, you don't agree with say the president, and I do. So if they go back and try to do...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. I just -- I want to let you talk. It's not that I disagree with the president. It's not my job to support the president. I have to call out lies and mistruth.

JENNINGS: Sure.

LEMON: And when the truth is not on your side, it can seem that you're biased. But I am not a liberal, nor am I conservative. I am an independent thinker, but go on.

JENNINGS: My point is this. There are people out there who would love to see you go away, and there are a lot of people out there who would love to see Tucker go away. And my point is if we're going to have a marketplace of ideas then everybody should get a chance to talk. And that means Tucker.

It means all the conservatives and liberals and other commentators on this network and the other networks in this industry of people who are trying to run us all off the air, because they don't agree with what we have to say. I think it's pathetic.

POWERS: Can I just say if that happened to Don, now I think that Don would apologize. So, you know, I think that's the problem is that Tucker just doesn't think that anything he said was wrong. And even when he -- the clip we just watched, you know, he's saying things I don't necessarily believe. Well, if you don't believe them, a, I don't understand why you're saying them.

But, you know, I don't know if he means he didn't believe them then or he doesn't believe them now. But either way, just say that. Just say I didn't believe that. I think a lot of things he was saying were kind of misogynistic garbage, to be completely honest. And, you know, and so I think for him to just own that, what's wrong with that?

LEMON: So, Scott...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hold on, Amanda. Hold on. And listen, so, Scott, what's wrong with saying, listen. What I said back then was terrible or I stand by those words, and I completely agree with them.

CARPENTER: Yeah.

LEMON: Because if someone goes back 10 years or 15 years or whatever and finds something about me, then I would address the substance of it rather than saying these people are out to get me.

JENNINGS: You know what, though, Don? You know this. They do this to you on a regular basis. You say things and bring up topics on this show, and then you have to live through the outrage. Oh, the conservatives don't like that you brought this up or made this point. You live through this on a regular basis. You know that these mobs on both sides exist, and you know that they're wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Listen. I know where you're going. I do know that. But also when I say something and I think that the substance of what I said deserves an explanation, I will give you the factual information as to why I said it, if I indeed stand behind it. If it is something that I got wrong, I will say I am wrong. I was wrong, and I am sorry for it. I don't blame people -- the people who are coming after me.

Sometimes, people legitimately have the right to criticize you publicly. And if you're going to be in the public eye, that's all part of it. And so explain why you said it, and don't deflect on, oh, hey, this person -- this whole group is coming to get me. I said that. I was on a radio show. It was guys being jocular and we're (Inaudible) you know, I don't know why. I said it was terrible, or this is what I actually believe.

JENNINGS: Look, it wouldn't bother me if Tucker said here's why I said it and I regret -- that wouldn't bother me. But I'll tell you this. It wouldn't satisfy the people who are after him no more than it would satisfy the people who are after you if you ever apologized for something or explained something. I think that Kirsten had a good point. We do this to people that we don't like because we don't want them in the marketplace.

And I think it's wrong. Everybody ought to stop doing it and let the marketplace decide. Look, if Tucker Carlson is unacceptable, then people won't watch it and the marketplace will decide.

LEMON: OK. Amanda, I have to go. I'm really over time. But go on, what do you want to say?

CARPENTER: I would just say Tucker's audience may buy this argument. I am not sure the advertisers will. But this is really a larger question for Fox. Will you tolerate anything your hosts say on-air if they can blame someone else for it? It's an open question.

[22:50:02] LEMON: All right. Thank you, all. Well, no, we're coming back. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been one of the MeToo movement's biggest champions in Congress and made gender issues the centerpiece of her presidential campaign. She was the first senator to call for former Senator Al Franken to resign after a compromising photo of him surfaced in 2017. Now, a lot of people are upset at her handling of a sexual harassment allegation from a woman who worked in her office against a senior staffer in 2018.

Gillibrand says she conducted a thorough investigation, and the person who was accused was punished with docked pay and a demotion, but was not fired until last week. Ultimately, the accuser ended up resigning because of "how poorly the investigation and post investigation was handled." Here's what Gillibrand said this evening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:55:10] SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: I told this employee at the time that she was loved, that we loved her. I deeply valued her, which is why we took her allegations immediately, investigated them immediately, and did a professional and thorough investigation. It was taken very seriously from the very beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, back with me now, Kirsten Powers, Scott Jennings, and Amanda Carpenter. I almost said it. I almost said Gillibrand. So Kirsten, listen. Gillibrand told CNN's Van Jones, this is what she said about Al Franken and the Franken situation back in December. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLIBRAND: So sometimes you just have to do what's right, even if it's painful, even if it's hard, even if it's someone you like or love. And the truth was there were eight credible allegations. And the last person was a congressional staffer. And having worked in this space for five years, if I can't protect the women in my workspace, if I can't not only stand up for women who feel abused or feel harassed in our workplace, then I am not doing my job. And I just got to a point where enough was enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So and she holding herself to the same standard that she held Franken to?

POWERS: It doesn't seem that way. You know, I mean I think she -- based on at least the story that I read, it seems like this woman came with a very credible allegation. And it turned out later that there were other women who had had similar experiences. And so I think if it had been treated with the seriousness that Kirsten was just, you know, talking about right there, then I think there would have been a different outcome.

And it's kind of a tragic situation, because this woman ended up leaving. And then in the end, I think it turned out that this person was in fact her harasser in Gillibrand's office.

LEMON: Amanda, she's not apologizing and says the investigation was handled properly. Is that the right way do you think to handle this?

CARPENTER: No. I mean I will say the Franken case was different, because there was clear photographic evidence that he mistreated women. But somehow, Senator Gillibrand found a way to take it seriously when Politico came knocking on her door. And so that's where I don't have a lot of tolerance for her so-called investigation.

She's very tough on other people, but she had a woman in her office who she went to the cameras and said that she loved. But they didn't care enough to follow up on the leads that that staffer gave her? Listen, Senator Gillibrand is polling less than one percent as the MeToo Democratic presidential candidate. She needs to drop out and focus on her work in the Senate.

LEMON: I'll just ask you how do you feel about it, Scott, that simple.

JENNINGS: You know her actions on the Franken matter and her comments around say Brett Kavanaugh make it seem like she's someone who thinks the rule of the and not me, and that doesn't sit well with a lot of voters in either party. So my suspicion is this is going to be pretty damaging for her candidacy, which was already not going well.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I enjoy the panel. See you next time. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)