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White Supremacy the New Threat; Hate Crime Took 49 Lives in New Zealand; White Nationalism, a Rising Threat in the U.S.; Donald Trump Says There Should Be No Mueller Report; Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) Interviewed about Donald Trump and his Candidacy. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's not the latest. It's not the first. It's not even the worse. But as always, it demands our best. Will America rise?
Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight with D. Lemon right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I hope so, Chris. I hope so. That was very optimistic. You said what we have to do. But will we do it is the question that you asked. I really, really hope so, and it's hard for me to feel that way in this moment after witnessing all of these over and over and over again and just the hate that we're witnessing.
CUOMO: There is so much hate in the world right now. Now, older, wiser people will say it's always been that way. What changes is the will to deal with it. It goes back and forth.
Muslims were made into monsters after 9/11. That happened with both parties. We went to war. We went to war in the wrong places, people could argue. Now there has to be an adjustment.
The Obama administration cut funding to look at these white extremists also. So, that's about what's perceived as a threat. It's time to adjust. This president complicates that because he has cottoned to it.
LEMON: But that was --
CUOMO: He has given comfort to these people.
LEMON: But when you say the Obama administration, yes, maybe factually. But that was because of political pressure from the right. That wasn't because Democrats were telling him to cut funding for that. It was because conservatives were upset, and he got --
CUOMO: Well, be slow on that. Conservatives were upset, but Democrats also were on, you know, pun intended, they were on their own jihad against Muslim extremism, right? And then you had that weird moment where they didn't want to say Islamic extremism anymore, you know. So, there was a swing towards being reasonable about it, but that swing never led us back to focusing on the main problem at home. We never got that far.
We've still put so much resources into dealing with what we should. I mean, you know, Islamist extremism is a real problem around the world and it very could manifest itself here. We know that all too painfully.
So there has to be an adjustment in resources and in perspective. Resources is the easy part. Perspective is the hard part, especially with this president because he thinks acknowledging this problem is bad for him.
LEMON: So, listen, I'm not saying that it's never -- let's hope it doesn't happen here, what you said. But so far, the facts are it is a shiny object here.
CUOMO: Right now.
LEMON: And it has been. 9/11, that was an outlier, right?
LEMON: But it is a shiny object here, and we forget about all the other terror plots and activities that have taken place, and we only look at the ones that have to do with Islam and Muslims. And as you say -- I'm going to steal your word -- the brown menace. You want to demonize the brown menace.
CUOMO: He did it just today.
LEMON: Yes. And if you -- and if in your closing argument, if we as Americans want to live up to what you said, we have to stop demonizing the brown menace, and we have to get to the reality about what is the actual facts and truth about what constitutes terrorism or who's responsible for most of the terrorism in this country. And until we do that, never going to happen. It's not going to happen, as they say.
CUOMO: Look, and even if you want to deal with it on the level of, well, I'm just somehow psychologically more comfortable being afraid of a threat that doesn't look like me --
CUOMO: People need to know; white extremists hate all of us --
CUOMO: -- because either you're in one of the categories like me and D. Lemon, or you're sympathetic to those categories in their mind. So really there's only a thin slice that's going to make it. And, look, we were -- both of us were just on the list of a guy who is exactly like this, who thought it was a good idea to kill a bunch of us.
You didn't see the president jumping up and down on that. I mean how sick are we right now? We've got to be better than this. And right now, it's not just about us and politics and media and left and right and all that B.S. The world needs us at our best right now. Somebody has got to stand up to this and say, this is not who we are. This is not how we'll be. It's not us versus them. It's we. It's got to be us.
LEMON: Well, I'm here for it. I know you are. We'll keep working at it, and I'll try to take some of your optimism. I used to be a glass half full kind of guy. Now I'm half empty.
CUOMO: There's no future in division, Don.
LEMON: I know.
CUOMO: Only bad stuff happens.
LEMON: Yes. Have a great weekend, my friend.
CUOMO: You too, brother.
LEMON: See you.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
We have got to talk about the rise of white supremacy. So, sit back and please listen. Just listen, OK? I'm going to lay it all out for you right now.
We've got to talk about how it's killing people around the world. We know the latest innocent victims, 49 Muslim worshippers who were shot to death in attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
[22:04:57] Yet today, the president of the United States, who had just gotten off the phone with the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, offering his condolences to the people of New Zealand after what can only be called a brutal terror attack, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see that a white nationalism and a rising threat around the world?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He doesn't see it as a rising threat. Even though that's what the facts show. Just hours after the murders of 49 people. Just hours after the alleged shooter, an avowed white nationalist, posted a so- called manifesto online.
Eighty-seven pages filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, calling immigrants invaders. Pay close attention to that word. That's the same language the president of the United States used today.
But the president doesn't see white supremacy as a rising threat. Well, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, certainly does. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) Do you agree with him?
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZELAND: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But President Trump has a long history of minimizing the actions of white supremacists and other members of the far-right. Nobody has forgotten. Nobody has forgotten what he said after that deadly white supremacist riot in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me. Excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And then there's what he said about former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know. I mean I don't know.
Did he endorse me or what's going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so, you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.
I have to look at the group. I mean I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them, and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.
Honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him, and I just don't know anything about him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Homina, homina, homina. Don't forget this tweet. After mail bombs were sent to people he views as his political enemies, including CNN. Quote, "Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and now this bomb stuff happens and then the momentum greatly slows. News not talking politics. Very unfortunate." What is going on here? Very unfortunate what's going on.
He doesn't want to talk about it. The president does not want to talk about it. The fact is far-right terrorists are increasingly dangerous, increasingly dangerous. How many times do we have to sound the alarm about this? We talked about it months ago on this show. A lot of people had a real problem with that.
Well, here we are again. Some facts for you. According to the Anti- Defamation League, domestic extremists of all kinds killed at least 427 people in the U.S. between 2009 and 2018. Right-wing extremists were responsible for 73 percent, 73.3 percent of those deaths. Left- wing extremists were responsible for 3.2 percent, 3.2 percent.
The nonpartisan think tank New America also has a breakdown of the deadly attacks in the U.S. by ideology. This is post-9/11 up to 2017. The Charlottesville attack, 68 people were by far -- 68, I should say, were by far-right groups and eight by left-wing groups or black separatists.
[22:09:59] That means using their analysis for every eight deadly attacks carried out by right-wing extremists, there was one attack carried out by left-wing extremists. White nationalists are increasingly the face of terrorism.
Hold on. Just let me read this. One more fact for you. This is from the ADL. According to the ADL the extremist related murders in 2018 were overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists. Every one of the perpetrators had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement. Every single one in 2018. Every one of them.
Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist and coast guard lieutenant arrested last month after the FBI uncovered his plans for a widespread attack on officials and TV anchors, including me.
Cesar Sayoc, whose former boss said he called himself a white supremacist and who is expected to plead guilty next week to charges to sending 16 mail bombs to targets including where I work, CNN.
Robert Bowers, charged with shooting and killing 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in October, who posted on a social network that's a haven for white nationalists and neo-Nazis about so-called invaders, people who are refugees seeking a better life in this country.
There's that word again, invader. A word that turns up over and over and over again in white nationalist propaganda although a better word for it is lies.
The suspect in the New Zealand attack repeatedly called immigrants invaders in his so-called manifesto. Words matter. So it matters that the president used the word himself today, the day after the New Zealand terror attack. You know someone wrote that, right? When he was talking about his manufactured crisis at the border. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People hate the word invasion, but that's what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Words matter. It matters what this president has said about Muslims. Listen to this. It's from a town hall during the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know he's not even an American.
TRUMP: We need this question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us.
That's my question. When can we get rid of them?
TRUMP: We're going to be looking at a lot of different things. And you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We're going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: No. There was no John McCain moment in there. No, he's not a Muslim. And what if he was Muslim? But there's no, no, he's not a Muslim. There is no denouncing the ignorance of what that guy said. What that guy said was a lie. It was ignorance. The president didn't announce it. He just doubled down on it. Well, we're going to be doing a lot of things. There's more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. There's something -- there's something there. There's a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred.
I don't notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center. There's a Muslim problem in the world. By the way, you know it, and I know it.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is it any surprise that the alleged shooter in New Zealand wrote this about Donald Trump in his so-called manifesto? He asks himself, are you a supporter? And he answers himself. As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose, sure. His own words.
Words matter. It matters when President Trump downplays the real emergency of global white supremacist terrorism. It matters when he ignores the real emergency of climate change even as students around the world took to the streets today to demand action.
But this president focused on a manufactured emergency at the border instead of the real emergencies that threaten all of you, all of us. Think about that.
[22:15:00] And think about this. What is behind the rise of white nationalism, and can we find radicals before they attack? That's the big question for Wajahat Ali and Phil Mudd, next.
LEMON: So, as I mentioned at the top of the program, the suspect in the murders of at least 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand posted a manifesto online before staging his rampage. It's a white nationalist creed filled with hateful messages against immigrants, minorities, and Muslims.
I want to talk about it now. Wajahat Ali is here, as well as, Philip Mudd. Good to see both of you. Thank you so much. This is a really important conversation. You say, Wajahat, the underlying theme anchoring this white supremacy is the fear of replacement. Explain that to me.
WAJAHAT ALI, OP-ED WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: So, replacement theory is the major fear of white supremacist ideology. It's a conspiracy theory. It's also called white genocide. What they believe is that there's a global cabal headed by the Jews. The Jews are at the top, and they're using the rest of us, blacks, immigrants, Muslims, refugees, as part of their plan to do what? To take over western civilization, to weaken the white man, and to subordinate them.
Now you might say well, this sounds a little bit crazy. How is this tied to President Trump, who by the way if I may say on your show openly is a racist. He's not racially charged. He's not -- he doesn't have racial trip-ups. He doesn't have racial flare-ups. I don't know what the hell racial flare-up is. You don't got CBS to get whitewash for a racial flare-up.
[22:20:01] He's a rift. It's the feature, not the bug. If you look at this man who walked into a mosque on Jumu'ah prayer, this is like Sunday mass for Muslims. The whole family goes in the early afternoon. And 49 people go to pray, and they won't come back. That's their last prayer.
He opens up fire, kills 49 of them, and he wants to punish Muslims. He wants to take revenge against Muslims. He wants to go get them to save western civilization because he believes that we are taking over.
Well, he says it's an invasion. Who else says it's an invasion? Midterm 2018, President Trump. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. It wasn't just, you know, him loose-mouthed, critical of Israel. He said that George Soros, a Hungarian-Jewish-American billionaire was funding a caravan of who? Immigrants, rapist, criminals and Middle Eastern suspects to invade and take over America.
LEMON: He used the word invaders today when he talk to -- (CROSSTALK)
ALI: And he used the word invaders.
ALI: So, take him literally and seriously, Don.
ALI: This is the feature, not the bug. There's a reason why this shooter in his manifesto says that Donald Trump is a renewed symbol of white identity who shares a common purpose.
What could be the common purpose that the President of the United States of America, Donald trump, who says, I think Islam hates us and calls Mexicans rapists and criminals, could have with a white nationalist shooter who shot and killed 49 people?
LEMON: I think it's fairly obvious what that is. The attack happened in New Zealand, Phil. The suspect is Australian. He was fueled by the loss of nationalist -- loss of a nationalist candidate in France's last presidential election. He was also inspired by other white nationalists. What does this say to you, this particular case, about this global threat?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think people are going to look at this and say it's half a world away. It doesn't affect me. But I look at this and say, look, whether it's Europe or the United States, whether it's Dylann Roof or Australia, we look at this and say, why would we pay attention? It's Australia. We don't have to -- we don't have to focus on that because it's not in our country.
LEMON: In New Zealand.
MUDD: That's right. I'm sorry. New Zealand. But it was an Australian --
LEMON: He's from Australia, right.
MUDD: An individual from Australia who was in New Zealand. I look at this and say, look, in the age of the globalization of identity, the globalization provided by the internet, we see this in the United States.
If you think that in a country of fewer than five million people, less than half the size of New York City, that you will see this happen in New Zealand and you don't think in a country of 330 million people, where we say that a Mexican is a rapist, where we say that a Mexican judge doesn't have the right to pass judgment because of his heritage, that you don't think you're going to see this in this country?
We've already seen this here, Don. We're going to see this again. We have to say Australia, New Zealand, it's the same as what we see here in the United States.
LEMON: Let's talk about -- Wajahat, I want to bring you in. Listen, there's white extremist terrorism or whatever you -- you know, however you want to say the term. There's Jihadists.
LEMON: There's Islamic terror.
LEMON: We don't want to downplay that. But I think -- I think what people are concerned about is that people are not taking -- or they're downplaying, I should say, the white supremacist terror.
ALI: They're not taking it seriously.
LEMON: It should be taken equally.
ALI: Well, even more so. The number one domestic terror threat according to the FBI in this country over the past 10 years is what, white supremacists. The number one amount of domestic terror plots in the last 10 years is what, white supremacists.
Yet the media coverage, Georgia State University came out with a study last year. When the suspect is Muslim or a person of color, there's seven times more media coverage for that act of domestic terror compared to when a white man does it. A white man is a lone wolf, a troubled man.
President Trump is perfectly -- he goes hard in the paint against ISIS. When someone did it in Spain, remember that, they took a car in 2017 and plowed through a crowd. He was tough. When the Uzbek National in October 2017 in New York plowed through a crowd, extreme vetting. Muslim ban. I'm going to end the diversity lottery program.
When a white nationalist does it, he's impotent. When Putin interferes in the election, he's impotent. And the question is why? Why are the KKK, the alt-right, and white supremacists who chant -- wait for it -- the Jews will not replace us, throwback to the replacement theory, that's what they chanted in Charlottesville, and they killed Heather Heyer, an anti-racist protester. He says they're very fine people. Both sides are to blame.
And so it comes from the top down. This is the commander-in-chief. I want President Trump to be the president of all Americans, not just his base and white nationalists who by the way see him as a figurehead, as an enabler. And how do we know that? Their own words. Daily Stormer, the white supremacist web site, said he's our guy. Richard Spencer, alt-right, says he's our guy. David Duke says he's our guy. Why is he their guy, Don?
[22:24:58] LEMON: That's a very good question. And the question too for Phil is he's 28 years old, the suspect in New Zealand. How did he become radicalized at 28 years old, and how do you stop it? How do you stop these young people from doing this? MUDD: I'd give you a simple answer to how you become radicalized, and
that is what I would call validation. But 30 years ago, if you wanted to join Al Qaeda, you could not become validated without coming face to face with an Al Qaeda member.
In the age of the internet, if you want to -- and you look at his at the document he wrote. That's available or was available on the internet. No doubt he's talking to people or viewing documents on the internet that tell him the anger you feel is OK because somebody a country away, a continent away tells you that appropriate.
Validation is what allows somebody like this to say, it's OK for me to do this because someone in Europe told me it's OK to do this. How you stop it, boy, don't ask about Facebook. Don't ask about the FBI and the CIA. Anybody whoever sees this on the internet has to say, I'm not going to share it, and not only am I not going to share it, if I see it, I have to stop it. It can't be just government and Facebook. It's got to be us, Don.
ALI: Can I give a simple analogy for your audience?
LEMON: Yes, quickly, please.
ALI: White ISIS. They're white ISIS. The DNA of violent extremist is the same. The path towards radicalization is the same. Much of the grievances are the same. Instead of getting Islamic paradise. They want Valhalla. That's what he said in his manifesto. Angry, dislocated men who find a community online and a sense of purpose. A hero's narrative.
He thinks he's a hero of this narrative saving western civilization, and he leaves a video behind. Who else leaves videos behind?
LEMON: Phil, what do you think of that as a security expert?
MUDD: No, I think that's correct. I think people like this are saying there's a universe of people out there who think like I think, and therefore I'm going to leave a legacy that tells those people, act like I did. We are part of a universe that communicates on the internet. I think these people are validated by other people a continent away, and they could not have been validated 30 years ago. It's a new world.
LEMON: I encourage you to read Wajahat Ali's New York Times article today, "The Root of the Christchurch Matter" by Wajahat Ali. It is fascinating, and you will learn a lot. We thank him for coming on and Phil Mudd as well this evening. Thank you so much.
ALI: Thank you.
LEMON: Next, I'm going to talk to the man who warned about the rise of far-right extremism nearly a decade ago.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Minutes before the massacre at the mosques in New Zealand, the suspected gunman posted a hate-filled manifesto online, filled with white nationalist messages.
Here to discuss is Daryl Johnson. Daryl Johnson is a former counterterrorism official whose upcoming book is "Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America's Extremist Heart." And Max Boot is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
Thank you both for coming on this evening. Max, you're here all the time. Of course, I'm glad you're here. But I am doubly glad you're here, Daryl Johnson, because I have been talking about you and have known about you since 2009, since that report. And I read what you wrote today for "The Washington Post," and I just want to tell people what you did.
You warned of the resurgence of right-wing extremists back in 2009 in a leaked report. Among the key findings, you wrote this. You said, "Right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues, the economic downturn, the election of the first African-American president, present unique drivers of right-wing radicalization and recruitment."
So, tell me about the reaction to the conclusions at that time.
DARYL JOHNSON, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Well, we had a political backlash. As you may remember, back in 2008 when Barack Obama won the election, the Republicans were just coming off some tough losses, and I think they were just grasping at anything they could find to use as kind of a political bat against the new administration. So my report became that weapon.
LEMON: Your report became that weapon. As I remember, you had to -- well, Janet Napolitano released a report talking about this and then ended up having to apologize for it. And was the report rescinded? What happened?
JOHNSON: Yeah. So after that weak attempt by Homeland Security to defend the report, political pressure mounted on the Republican side, and we had the American Legion was outspoken, trying to say that our report slandered veterans, which it did not. And basically, they rescinded the report, and the whole message kind of got lost in the political battle between these two parties.
LEMON: So, here we are, fast forward, 10 years. All the global white --
JOHNSON: Hard to believe.
LEMON: Yes. Hard to believe. All the global white supremacist terror attacks we have seen since then. What are the consequences of President Trump ignoring the facts and saying that he doesn't think white nationalism is a rising threat worldwide?
JOHNSON: Well, there are several consequences. I mean, number one, the body count, this just keeps going up and up year after year, month after month. But there's also, you know, by not saying anything, you're actually emboldening these members of these groups to swell the ranks, to get more radical, and to follow with other violent attacks. So, it becomes this vicious cycle that keeps increasing and increasing.
I'll tell you, Don, when I wrote that report in 2009, I thought this was going to be a four- to eight-year cycle. I dint think we would be in year 10 and have this continued increase in activity at a heightened level.
LEMON: Let me bring in Max Boot now. Max, your latest column in the Washington Post, and here is the headline. It says not all terrorism is treated equally. Explain. Why do we treat Muslim extremists different than we treat white supremacists?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I mean there are some legitimate reasons why that's the case because, of course, the worst terrorist attack in history in 9/11 was carried out by Islamist extremists. And -- but we have done a pretty good job of targeting that particular strain of terrorism.
Unfortunately, what's happening now, as Daryl has alluded to, we are ignoring the rising tide of right-ring extremism. We are still so focused on Islamist terrorism that we are ignoring the fact that in the past decade 70 percent of the deaths caused by terrorists in the United States have been caused by right-wing terrorists.
And of course, it's not just a threat in the United States. It's a global threat as we see from this horrific attack, 49 people dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, and drawing inspiration from an earlier attack, 77 people dead in Norway in 2011, Anders Breivik, who has become kind of a hero to the far right.
[22:35:00] So, there is this kind of right-wing international group of terrorists who communicate online, but we don't target them in the same way that we target jihadist organizations. We do a lot of counterprogramming. We do a lot of counter propaganda to try to take down, for example, Islamic state websites.
We don't have the same kind of effort to take down white supremacists or far right-wing websites, and we need to get after it because, otherwise, you're going to see more massacres, more body counts, more carnage and horror like this.
LEMON: Do you think it's unfair to -- a couple questions quickly if you can. Do you think it's unfair to put some onus on what happened to this president today? Would that be reckless to do that?
BOOT: No. I think it's fair. I mean, I -- the analogy that I would draw is Trump's relation to these right-wing acts of terrorism is kind of similar to the Saudi government's relationship to jihadist terrorism. They're not sponsoring terrorism. They're not telling people to go out and kill, but they are spreading ideology and hatred that inspires people.
LEMON: Why then use that language? This is a question I was trying to get to. If, indeed -- when people say you can't blame him for it -- I mean, directly, he didn't do it, right, obviously.
BOOT: Yes, of course. LEMON: But why then use the language of invaders, the same thing that the terrorist in New Zealand did and other terrorists? Why use that language?
BOOT: Because xenophobia, Islamaphobia, racism, those are core parts of President Trump's political identity. That's what he uses to appeal to many of his followers. And he's not trying to call for violence, but you have to understand there are some people who hear the message and are driven over the brink. And that's the danger that we face here when you're -- because acts -- words of hatred lead to acts of hatred. And President Trump needs to understand that. He needs to stop with this rhetoric, but he refuses to do it.
LEMON: Daryl, you have said typically during Republican administrations we've seen a decrease in right-wing extremism. But you say that's not the case under this administration. Explain why.
JOHNSON: Yeah. So, typically, under Democratic administrations, the while supremacists get fearful of expansion of minority rights. The anti-government extremists, they get paranoid and fearful over possible gun legislation. So, when Republicans come into power, they don't have those same fears and worries. And so, you tend to see a decrease in their activity, less organizing, less violent attacks.
But what makes this cycle different is the 2016 political campaign was so heated and, you know, Donald Trump has borrowed some of these extremist themes that I used to see, you know, on storm front and other neo-Nazi sites 10, 15 years ago. He mainstreamed these ideas in his political platform during the 2016 political campaign.
And so, the extremists look at his language and the themes that he's putting forth like a border wall, banning Muslims from coming into the country, mass deportation of immigrants, these are extremist narratives that were once on the dark recesses of the Internet now being mainstreamed by the president.
LEMON: A political backlash ensued because of an objection to the label right-wing extremism. The report also rightly pointed out that the returning military veterans may be targeted for recruitment by extremists.
Republican lawmakers demanded then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, rescind my report. The American Legion formally requested an apology to veterans. Some in Congress called for me to be fired. I wonder what they're thinking today. And I was reading from Daryl Johnson's piece in The Washington Post and it was from August of 2017. Darryl, thank you. Thank you very much. As well, Max, I appreciate it.
There's also a lot of questions about Robert Mueller, will he deliver his findings and whether we'll learn what is in that report. The president has an opinion on that too. Would it surprise you to hear that he thinks there should be no Mueller report at all?
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump went on a Twitter tirade against the special counsel's investigation this morning, claiming the special counsel should never have been appointed, and there should be no Mueller report.
Let's discuss. Asha Rangappa is here, Harry Litman as well. Harry is the creator and executive producer of the new podcast, Talking Feds. Congratulations and thank you both for joining me this evening.
HARRY LITMAN, CREATOR OF TALKING FEDS PODCAST: Thank you very much.
LEMON: Harry, let's start with you. We've all heard the president's claims that there is -- there was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt. But he's going further here. He's saying there shouldn't even be a report. He even went on to call the investigation illegal. What's your take?
LITMAN: Yeah. Well, on the merits, it's been really discredited, but my main take is it's such a stale and recycled argument. So, it's not just that it's wrong on the merits, but it really is irrelevant and old, old news now.
I mean, let's say there was some plot at the inception, which I think has been pretty thoroughly rebutted. The question now is whether the evidence is bonafide, whether what Mueller has brought forward stands up, and at every turn it does. So it's really quite beside the point even if what you were saying were valid, which it's not.
LEMON: Listen, Asha, everyone wants to know what's in the Mueller report. The House just voted unanimously that the report should be released to the public. It's 420 members of Congress all agreeing on something. They couldn't even all agree on a resolution against hate just the other day. Is president's tweet a sign that he is getting worried about the world seeing what's in this report?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: He has to be worried, Don. Listen, if you truly believed that you were completely innocent, that this is all a hoax, then you would -- you would want the report to come out.
[22:45:02] I mean according to the president the report should be blank or have like two sentences on it, and it should exonerate him. I mean, clearly, if he doesn't want it to come out, he doesn't think that that's the case. But ultimately, this is a case of like very high public interest. I think both parties understand that. They know that not knowing what's in there would be weaponized on either side by speculation, and it's better for the American public to know the truth.
LEMON: Harry, let's talk about Rick Gates because Mueller says that they aren't ready for him to be sentenced.
LEMON: Here's what the special counsel's office said today, "Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly, the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this point." So what's your read on this delay in sentencing? Does it give you any idea of where Robert Mueller might be in his investigation right now?
LITMAN: I can guess. But, wow, several, that really jumped out at me. And it comes from Mueller, not SDNY. So Gates in general is Mr. Inauguration. Some finance stuff would read -- he's really of Manafort's sort of mini me and that it's still in Mueller's camp sure suggest a kind of Russia connection, possibly Stone, possibly somebody unindicted so far. But whichever it is, it seems, you know, front and center, down the middle for what Mueller is investigating, which makes it a little bit more perplexing than Mueller seems to be getting ready to leave the stage.
LEMON: Yeah. I missed that little bit. I had to look down again. With respect to -- he continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, several.
LEMON: Interesting. Asha, let's remind everyone exactly who Gates is and how Gates got here. He's a longtime business associate of Paul Manafort, served as a deputy chairman on Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty over a year ago to helping Manafort hide millions of dollars in foreign bank account -- in a foreign bank account for work that they did as lobbyists for Ukrainian politicians. And as part of the cooperation with Mueller, he testified against his former mentor, Manafort.
So, Asha, Gates clearly had a lot of contact with and insight into a lot of the president's senior aides and what they were up to during the election. All that said, it's not clear how gates is still cooperating. Should the president be worried?
RANGAPPA: Yes, he should be worried. So, you know, where I think where Gates can be especially helpful to Mueller, in addition to all the things that you mentioned, is that he was a part of the meeting with Manafort and Kilimnik in the Grand Havana room in August of 2016 where they discussed the passage of polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who we know is affiliated with Russian intelligence, and they also discussed a potential Ukraine peace plan, which has surfaced in other areas.
So, this kind of goes to the heart of this collusion inquiry, was there some kind of quid pro quo where Russia was giving help, targeted help in terms of, you know, social media or disinformation campaigns in exchange for some kind of policy change from the campaign?
I mean that's what I see just on the surface. I suspect that Rick Gates is in a position to provide even more information, and this would really go to the counterintelligence side, which is why it's possible that he could be wrapping up the criminal part of the investigation and preparing that report, but still trying to, you know, figure out what Russia is up to because that is ongoing, and it does not end.
LEMON: Asha, Harry, thank you. Harry, congratulations on the podcast and on your new fancy glasses.
LITMAN: Thank you. Thanks very much.
LEMON: I appreciate it. All right. Have a good one. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Innocent peopled attacked during Friday prayers at two mosques, men, women, children, gunned down. The suspected shooter, a white supremacist harboring hatred for Muslims.
I want to bring in now Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. He's running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Climate change is one of his top issues and we're going to talk about that if just a moment. We're so glad to have you here. Thank you. I appreciate it.
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D) WASHINGTON: Thank you.
LEMON: So, you heard the president's comments today. He condemned and then he used the words invaders, whatever. What responsibility does this president have in the spread of hate because you led the charge against the Muslim ban?
INSLEE: Yeah. I mean, this is of all his depredations, of all his offenses and chaos, to me, the most infuriating is this continued giving license to the hatred and racism and Islamaphobia. It's why when he did his Muslim ban I ran right down our airport to try to get people to reunite these families and saw the good spirit of thousands of people who came to try to rescue these people to allow them to get into this country. So it's something that really infuriates me.
To me, this is like if there was a big fire, having the president of the United States that day going out and pouring gasoline on the floor and handing out matches. That's kind of what he's doing here.
LEMON: But on all days, after 49 people died today, he said he didn't believe that when every stat shows that white nationalism is on the rise or white supremacist.
INSLEE: It's hard to understand on any day to say that. But today, on this day, when people all over the world of all faiths are feeling this pain, is just a window into that dark place, and it is a very dark place in his soul that can say that both sides are equal in Charlottesville, that we can continue to reject people from Muslim countries, who on a day of such suffering would add to that suffering by calling people invaders. This person needs to be removed from office.
[22:55:04] LEMON: Another global threat, you're making the cornerstone of your campaign and that is climate change. Students from all over the world skipped class and they took to the streets to protest what they believe is government lack of action in fighting climate change.
Let's put some of the pictures up. It was a 2000 protest, 125 countries, you were out there today in New York with these young people. Tell me what you saw and heard.
INSLEE: Well, I saw hope and challenge, both. Both are important. These are young folks who are challenging their previous generation not to degrade the world they're going to live in.
One of the most interesting women I talked to -- young woman -- had a sign that said there's no planet B and how true it is. And her sort of challenge is, look, do something. Just do something. You're hurting our generation.
I met -- a fellow I had met at an international conference a couple years ago who was on a panel with Al Gore and myself and a bunch of other folks, and he said the thing that was most impressive to me, which was your generation is damaging my generation and you should -- this is unacceptable to us. And that's what these young people are saying today.
LEMON: Can you get them out to vote? Listen, if young people voted, right, if they actually did --
LEMON: -- they could change things in this country.
INSLEE: They are.
LEMON: It's a big voting block, right? And your platform is what -- you're fighting what you call environmental justice.
LEMON: Do you think you can win the white house on environmental justice?
INSLEE: Yes. And the reason is people now are understanding the damage in their own lives. They are witnessing this is no longer a chart or a graph. I co-authored a book 11 years ago about this. And at that time, it was a chart or a graph. Now, it's Paradise, California, 25,000 person town burned to the ground, it's floods in Houston, it smoke in Seattle so bad kids couldn't go outside. People are now experiencing this.
This is why in Iowa the poll shows amongst voters or Democratic voters it's number the one issue tied for healthcare. And I'm saying finally we're going to have a candidate who says this has to be job number one for the United States. It has to be the first foremost and paramount duty. And the reason is, if it is not job one, it won't get done. And we need to sweep away objections to climate change including the filibuster. I'm the candidate who says we got to get rid of the filibuster so we can pass climate change legislation.
LEMON: You know I enjoy having a conversation with you and you are on often and I appreciate that that.
INSLEE: Thank you.
LEMON: Will you please come by and we can spend more time together?
INSLEE: Any time.
LEMON: Good luck to you on the campaign trail. There's a lot of you. You guys are bumping into each other everywhere.
INSLEE: People want to retire this president, we're up to that. I want a piece of him.
LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it.
INSLEE: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.