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Social Media a Platform Used to Spread Hate Crime; Forty-Nine People Killed in New Zealand; George Conway Says Trump is a Weak President; President Trump's Bad Week; Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) Interviewed About President Trump, Russia Collusion, White House limiting Congress Ability, Felix Sater Testimony, and Mueller Report; Trump Issues First Veto. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
It's already Saturday, Saturday afternoon in Christchurch, New Zealand. A city stunned by a savage hateful violence. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, saying the nation is united in grief. That's after a gunman killed at least 49 people, targeting innocent worshipers, gathered for Friday prayers at two mosques, targeting innocent men, women and children, simply because they're Muslim.
The suspect is a 28-year-old man. He's an Australian citizen with no criminal history in either New Zealand or Australia.
So he was apparently not on anybody's radar for his extremist anti- immigrant white nationalist views.
And in the age of social media, the gunman livestreamed video of the attacks, hoping for a worldwide audience to witness him committing mass murder. We will not broadcast that video. But he also posted a long manifesto online shortly before staging his murderous rampage. It's hate-filled so we won't quote from it excessively.
But CNN's Alex Marquardt has the details for you.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a diatribe filled with hate, anger and vows of revenge. Eighty-seven neatly formatted pages of ranting about immigrants, minorities and Muslims posted on social media in the minutes before the attack under the Brenton Tarrant.
The 28-year-old now charged in connection with the mass shooting. The attacker repeatedly calls immigrants invaders and says immigration must be crushed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASMIN ALI, RESIDENT, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: You don't think something like this could happen New Zealand. While in Christchurch of all places was such a small community. We're so kind and loving. I don't understand why someone would hurt us like this and in such a way, just like an animal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: The U.S. President is also referenced once, calling Trump a symbol of renewed white identity, though the shooter says he doesn't consider Trump to be a leader. The suspect claims to not belong to any organization and decided to carry out the shooting which he admits as terrorism on his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact, have no place in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: But around the world it is on the rise. Like other white nationalists, the New Zealand gunman falsely claims there's a genocide of white people underway. It's the kind of toxic message heard in the U.S., in Charlottesville, the Charleston Church shooter, Dylann Roof, was a white supremacist who gunned down nine African-Americans. He was mentioned in Tarrant's manifesto.
Here and across Europe, far right white nationalists feel emboldened. In Britain, Germany, and Italy, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic vitriol is on the rise.
The New Zealand attacker said the loss of a French nationalist candidate in the last presidential election help fuel his attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The whole environment is not just simply white nationalist violent extremist, but the whole environment in the west has become much more sympathetic to these ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: But today the president denied that white nationalism is a rising growing threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case I don't know enough about it yet.
[23:05:03] They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, a terrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: And, Don, shortly after President Trump made that statement. New Zealand's prime minister who's now leading her nation in mourning was asked if she agreed with the president, that white supremacy isn't rising, her answer, no. Don?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Alex, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Joining me now is Shawn Turner, Juliette Kayyem, and Mehdi Hasan. Both Juliette and Mehdi last night. When this news broke, and Mehdi wrote this piece just today, it's in the Intercept and it's titled, "Don't just condemn the New Zealand attacks. Politicians and pundits y must stop their anti-Muslim rhetoric."
I'm so glad to have all of you on this evening and it's an important conversation, it's a very important piece by Mehdi. So make sure you read it. We're going to talk about that.
Juliette, I'm going to start with you as our security analyst here. It's almost like this attack was produced to go viral, the manifesto, the livestreaming, the rampage, on Facebook, reposting on YouTube. Is social media adding to the rise of global white supremacy terrorism?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, when you think about why this is happening now, so there is a certain ideology which really is what I called the zero-sum game ideology. This is not your Archie Bunker racism where you accept the African- Americans moving in next door.
This is a sense that I don't -- I can't exist if they exist. And that sense is then magnified through globalization and social media platforms which are not only sharing the information but then also amplifying the violence so that everyone sort of gets energized by it and then the third piece is of course, you know, the public space, the politicians, the pundits, the people on TV who are, at best, simply condoning it, at worst, doing some dog whistles there.
And I think it's all three of them combined have led to where we are right now in this global phenomenon. This is not -- this is not lone wolf. You cannot isolate these things. This is a global phenomenon that must be addressed that way.
LEMON: Shawn, on social media allows a person with hateful ideologies a place to connect with like-minded people. Does this empower them to act on their hatefulness?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, you know, Don, there's a lot of research that points to how social media interactions and how those engagements in the virtual space actually influence people's behavior.
And so, when people go out there and they find like groups, they find people who share their ideology and they have conversations among themselves, you know, oftentimes it's very subtle. Sometimes it's people just kind of talking about other groups and talking about some of the things that concern them.
But ultimately, what you have in these cases is you have one person in that group that's triggered by something. And you know and we're probably going to talk about this a little bit tonight, but you know, it's not always -- that trigger isn't always in social media. Sometimes that trigger is in things that people who are in leadership positions are saying around the country.
LEMON: You want to speak to that, Mehdi?
MEHDI HASAN, HOST, DECONSTRUCTED PODCAST: Yes. I mean, first of all, Don I'm so glad you said in your intro that 49 people were killed in New Zealand for being Muslim. Because that is an important point.
I've seen -- I've read and watched a lot of news today. And a lot of journalists, well, meaning, liberals have talked rightly about white nationalism, hate, but let's also name what this hate was this specific hate was in New Zealand, it was islamophobia. It was anti- Muslim bigotry.
And Juliette makes the point about, you know, dog whistles. We've gone beyond dog whistles. We have the president of the United States, probably the world's most prominent Islamophobe now sits in the White House who uses the exact same language as the guy in New Zealand --
LEMON: Mehdi, let me play that for you and then let you discuss it. Here it is. Play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders, people hate the word invasion, but that's what it is, it's an invasion of drugs and criminals and people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you think his rhetoric mainstreams these ugly ideas behind horrible crimes like this?
HASAN: He's been mainstreaming it for years, Don. In the last hour of your show you showed us a clip from O'Reilly where he talked about the Muslim problem and we know how the Nazis referred to the Jews as the Jewish problem.
There he talks about invaders hours after one of the worst terror attacks that we've seen in a while killed 40 Muslim. He uses the same language. Invaders. I would say it's shameful, but the man has no shame.
But I would also say this. Notice how he speaks about these crimes. When it's an ISIS crime, he calls the Muslim attacker, scum, evil, loser, when it's a white nationalist, he says nothing about the attacker.
When it was Christopher Hasson a couple of weeks ago who targeted you, Don, and other prominent journalist and politicians, a self-styled white nationalist, Trump just said it's a sad, it's a shame. Today he said it's a horrible, horrible thing. Doesn't say anything
about the attacker because the attacker has a lot of sympathy who vote for Donald Trump, sadly.
[23:10:00] LEMON: Juliette, I want to ask you since we were talking about the president now, why do you think President Trump couldn't go further than he did today and acknowledge that the threats are growing?
KAYYEM: You know, I don't know what's in the president's heart. I just know what he does. And that I can judge from the perspective as someone who worries about radicalization across the board and worries about America's security. And that is simply he will never ever go further than he has to.
He does not accept his leadership role but instead plays to some base that apparently wants to hear him or does not want to hear him condemn white nationalism or condemn Islamaphobia.
And so that's essential. You know, I don't -- we're two years along now, Don, we're not going to change Donald Trump.
LEMON: Right. A agree.
KAYYEM: I think what we have to remember -- yes. I think what we have to remember is that there's other voices out there. And to the extent that those voices can either be amplified, right, either in the community or other Republicans who no longer can sit idly by because we now know what's -- what is happening out there, mayors and governors, community leaders whoever it is to try to amplify those voices because they may not be able to overwhelm the president's platform, but we're not going to get better than the president has said -- he's not going to do better. And we've known that since the beginning. It's hard to accept. I don't like it. I wish it weren't true.
KAYYEM: And -- you know --
LEMON: Shawn, hold that thought. Because Mehdi, did you want to say something since everyone is jumping --
HASAN: I just want to say which other voices, though? I wish there were some other voices. On the right I can't see any voices that are coming out here.
You know, you have Ted Cruz who talked about securing Muslim neighborhoods. Marco Rubio who talked about shutting down Muslim cafes. Former Governor Mike Huckabee who talked about Muslims coming out of mosques like uncorked animals. Senator Lindsey Graham, he said I'd monitor a mosque if you have to monitor a mosque.
When you have that kind of language, then are you surprised that people are turning up at mosques even here in Texas and other states with guns. There are people to - I I went to a conference in Texas last year of Muslims, there were people with guns standing outside shouting no to Sharia law.
HASAN: That is what's going on in cities in the United States right now encouraged from the very top.
LEMON: Go ahead, Shawn.
TURNER: Yes, Don, I was just going to point out, that you know, we talk about this as a threat to national security, and I want to be very clear here. That this is a threat to national security but there's something I don't think people realize about that.
When you talk about this being a threat to national security, if you are a white American who doesn't have a racist bone in your body but you are indifferent or disengaged from the rise of hate crimes in this country, then there is no threat to your security.
These individuals are going after people for beneficiary because of the color of their skin or because of their ethnic background. If you are a brown America -- American, who doesn't not have a racist bone in your body you don't have a luxury of being disengaged or disinterested in this issue and there's a persistent threat to your security.
So, you know, when we talk about this as a national security threat, this is one of the reasons why the president needs to do more because it is a national security threat but it's a national security threat who doesn't impact everyone the same way.
And so, he needs to come out and say there are people in our population, vulnerable parts of our population that these people who are engaged in these hate crimes and this awful rhetoric, there are people that every day, they're going to feel targeted and then there are other people who are going to be allowed to go about their lives. And he needs to address that directly.
LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate it. Thank you.
President Trump says he doesn't believe white nationalism is a rising threat. But how deep, how deep is it a part in our culture. We're going to discuss that next.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump is dismissing white nationalism. Here's what he said after 49 people were gunned down allegedly by a white nationalist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?
TRUMP: 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: But the facts show white nationalism is a major threat around the world and right here in the United States.
Here to discuss, Adam Serwer and Sara Sidner. Good evening to both you. Thank you for coming on. Sara, despite what the president says, how embedded is white supremacy in the U.S. culture right now.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now? I mean, I think it's been embedded for a very long time. I think we are seeing more instances of it and it's more in your face and I think there's a lot of facets for that.
When you talk to people who are experts who analyze this and research this, we do quite a bit of research trying to see what's happening out here. We go on some of the web sites, we go on 4chan, we go on GAG, when that was up and running. We take a look at what's happening on neo-Nazi web sites.
On one of the most popular neo-Nazi web sites right now, anytime there's a news story where something horrible happens to a group of people they despite, they make a joke about it, and basically what's on the front of that page of that web site is why genocide, pray for Christchurch.
So, there's always this sort of running joke, they try to say we're just joking about it. But the undertones are violence. The undertones are talking about the other. The undertones are black folks, Jewish folks, Muslim folks, anyone who is not white or Arian, and European and white, they basically think is -- are not smart, are not as smart as they are.
There's all sorts of memes out there. So, if you go online and you compare what they're doing and trying to get their message out not only to the extremes, but to the mainstream, it is similar to what ISIS did and it's similar to what Al Qaeda did.
SIDNER: Trying to get people to come on board by any means necessary.
LEMON: Wajahat Ali was on tonight. He wrote a column in the New York Times and tonight on this show, he said this is -- he compared -- he called white ISIS, those are his words. White ISIS.
[23:20:02] Adam, we've made a lot of progress in this country. We know that. We've had a black president. We currently have the most universe Congress in history. So, it can be confusing to some people to hear how pervasive white supremacy is. How do you explain that disconnect?
ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, this is really reflective of an argument that we've been having since this country was founded. I think on one side you have people who say that America is at its core is a white Christian country and without that it isn't really America and on the other side you have this civic nationalism that says anybody can be an American no matter where they come from, no matter their faith, their color, their creed.
And, you know, the entirety of American history is almost an argument between these two opposing camps. And I think, you know, what we're seeing today, what we've seen, you know, from Barack -- going from Barack Obama to Donald Trump is that argument is still very much with us and it's still a part of our politics.
LEMON: Your piece today, it was long, but I read it. It was very -- it's very good, Adam. Your piece in the Atlantic, you argue that --
SERWER: Thank you.
LEMON: -- white nationalism has deep American roots. And here's part of what you write. You said "the seed of Nazism ultimate objective, the preservation of pure, of a pure white race, uncontaminated by foreign blood was in fact sewn with striking success in the United States.
What is judge extremist today was once the consensus of a powerful cadre of the American elite well-connected men who eagerly seized on a false doctrine of race suicide during the immigration scare of the early 20th century."
So, are you saying America is the birth place of white supremacism?
SERWER: Well, I wouldn't say that the 1924 immigration law was passed, you know, in large part because of a group of elites who believed that the original sort of nordic race of American settlers was being contaminated by immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, mostly Italians and Jews, and they wanted to shield American genetic purity from these inferior specimens from overseas.
And I think that while -- you know, that law was repealed in 1965. But I think that that -- I mean, the fact is, that this belief that the mere presence of immigrants of people who are different, irrevocably alters the country for the worse and makes it into something that isn't America anymore is a thing that has been part of our culture for a really long time.
And now today, you hear it on Fox News, you hear it from the president, you hear it from the manifesto of the shooter in New Zealand who was motived by fears of what he called white genocide which is simply the loss of white political and cultural dominance in countries that he considers to belong to white people.
LEMON: Sara, you know, listen, you have covered countless hate crimes in this country recently. We've been on the road for sadly for some of these things you've been on the show. What do you think is the -- behind the rise in white supremacy right now?
SIDNER: So, I will put it this way. The political discourse that we're having now and the administration in power now, Donald Trump himself has said so many things that match what white nationalists say, it matches their message.
And so even though he will come out and say I'm against this, I denounce white supremacy or I denounce hate, if you look at some of the words he's used, they are very similar to some of the words that white nationalists use.
And I'll give you an example. In the so-called manifesto, I don't -- it's not good enough to be a manifesto, to be perfectly honest. It is a lot of desperate writing about, you know, from someone who obviously has a lot of issues.
But in that, if you count the number of times a version of invade is in there, we did, it's about 67 times. Where have we heard that word before, Don?
LEMON: Yes. President --
SIDNER: From the president of the United States. And so, it's this idea of dehumanizing the other and there is a power in that and they know that and they try to bring people in. It's about fear and it's about power.
I have talked to countless people who are neo-Nazis or white supremacists, and one of the things you hear over and over again is that they are afraid of the, quote, "browning of the world or the browning of America."
Meaning they are afraid that the numbers of whites are going to dwindle so that the white folks are the minority in power, in power, and that people of color are the majority.
One of them said to me, I think what's going to happen to me is we're going to get taxed just for being white. There is a fear that they are spreading throughout the white population trying to bring people over to their side to understand their issues.
[23:25:06] LEMON: All of the talking points about economic anxiety --
LEMON: -- which put this president in office. Every single study shows it's not that. It's far of losing power --
LEMON: -- which is where the bulk of his support came from.
Thank you both. I appreciate it. Thank you, Adam. Great article in the Atlantic.
SERWER: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: White nationalism's deep American roots. So, check it out. There it is up on your screen. Attorney George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, he's not one to shy away for criticizing his wife's boss. And now he is speaking out again. Why he says Donald Trump is a weak president, next.
LEMON: One of President Trump's most outspoken critics happened to be one of his top advisers -- married to one of his top advisers. I'm talking about George Conway, husband of counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway.
Susan Glasser interviewed him for the New Yorker and she joins me now. Susan, this is so good. Congratulations on this interview and thank you for coming on. Let's talk about it.
[23:30:02] Because you spoke to him about why he thinks the president is putting the country at risk of becoming a banana republic and the only thing standing in the way is the checks and balances of the U.S. constitution.
Conway said this, "Ultimately, you become a powerful president only if you are able to persuade others to go along with you. His narcissism means he has to retreat to the people who worship him. He cannot reach out and persuade, like every other president tries to do. His narcissism causes him to be a weak president."
So according to Conway, it all comes down to narcissism?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's very interesting. I would say he is the first and only guy so far I've heard fuse this kind of armchair psychology of Trump watching which we're all engaging in with a legal argument, right? Essentially, he is sort of saying that constitutionally, Trump is impaired as president because he's unable to work with the other branches of government in the way that the founders envisioned.
It's really interesting and very novel argument. Of course, there's no question that it gets more attention because the guy writing this is the guy that President Trump termed "Mr. Kellyanne Conway." But, you know, I think it's a very interesting legal argument or, you know, sort of observation that he's making really about President Trump and why it is in some ways you can see President Trump ending up leaving the office with less power than he brought into it.
LEMON: Yeah. On top of calling the president a narcissist, Conway has been tweeting about Trump's fitness for office. He's called him a pathological liar. He has called his lying a disorder. Again, Conway is married to Kellyanne Conway, one of the president's top advisers who goes and works closely with him at the White House every single day. Should we be alarmed about this?
GLASSER: Well, you know, it's interesting. The same day that I had that interview with him, you know, he was, I would say, even more unrestrained on Twitter than he was in the conversation with me. And he talked about have we ever seen such a level of brazen pathological mendacity in a leader, I think it was a rhetorical question, and he had a clear view of the answer.
I know you didn't think it was a good idea for his wife, Kellyanne, to be on CNN yesterday with Chris Cuomo. And, you know, this is one of the things I think we'll all remember from this Trump presidency is, you know, that it's divided the country and here's this Republican couple basically that couldn't apparently see the world more differently. It's a real oddity.
But George Conway has such a long background as a conservative legal activist. I thought to me it was very interesting, I wanted to talk to him about the specific challenges that he sees to the rule of law from President Trump and that seems to be what really has gotten him tweeting and speaking out publicly.
LEMON: Yeah. You mentioned Kellyanne Conway. Listen, this is not about having dissenting voices on. This is just about having -- I was saying to have someone on who constantly lies, I'm not sure if the American people get anything out of it. It's not even worth it. But I digress.
I want to go back to this infamous profile to The Washington Post about the Conways. They were both asked about George's tweets. Kellyanne called them disrespectful of her but George said, "If the president were simply mediocre or even bad, I'd have nothing to say. This is much different."
LEMON: What does he know that we don't?
GLASSER: You know, I would say that in my conversation with him, it's clear that he is just deeply offended by the president, in particular his -- what he perceives to be threats to the rule of law in the country and it's very interesting.
This just seemed to me like a guy who having started speaking his mind, you know, he just -- he can't be quiet about it. It's something that goes to the core of what he believes at this moment in time. It's a fascinating debate.
I'm sure people will, I think, get an answer by the way definitively to my question of why exactly is he doing this or, you know, what kind of situation is it, but I think this is somebody who's views are very deeply held, who doesn't want to be quiet.
After we were talking, I then got another flood of text messages on my phone the next day when the emergency declaration vote was happening in the Senate. This is a person who's decided very consciously to start speaking out even obviously at some sort of personal cause.
LEMON: Interesting. Susan, it is fascinating. Thank you. I'll see you around.
GLASSER: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. From GOP defections on the border wall and the Mueller report to leading from behind on airplane safety, it was not a good week for the president. We'll break it down, next.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president had a bad week. Democrats and even members of his own party are rebuking him over his emergency declaration to get the money for his border wall. The House is voting unanimously to demand the release of the Mueller report. And then there is what the president said after the New Zealand mosque attacks.
Let's discuss now. Keith Boykin is here and Alice Stewart. Good evening to both of you.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey.
LEMON: Alice, the president offered his condolences following the New Zealand mosque attacks. Then he said this while signing his veto.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People hate the word invasion, but that's what it is. It's an invasion of drugs and criminals and people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's the same language, by the way, that was used by the New Zealand suspect.
[23:40:03] Why would he say those words?
STEWART: Look, he has been talking about the invasion of drugs and sex trafficking and illegal immigrants in this country since he ran for president. So the fact that he used them today is not a surprise. And I think more than anything, using the veto power today from his standpoint is a sign of strength.
If he is ever going to use a veto power and his ability lawfully to do so, it should be on his signature campaign promise, and I think this was the right move for him to do. I wish we hadn't gotten to this point, but if he was ever going to flex his veto muscles, this is the issue to do so on.
BOYKIN: You know, it's funny, some reason I think -- I seem to recall that his signature campaign promise was that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Did I hear that wrong?
STEWART: No, you heard that right.
STEWART: And I have said this until I'm blue in the face as well. Yes, Mexico was supposed to pay for that wall. And no, we shouldn't have to be to the point where we're still having this conversation because all Americans agree we need secure borders and we need to strengthen our immigration process. But here we are at this point. He is committed to securing the border. He is committed to immigration reform. This is what he is dong to make sure that happens.
LEMON: OK. We know he's committed to the wall because he vetoed it. That's what he wants. OK, I got to -- this is The Washington Post. A report in The Washington Post asks, "What happens if President Trump loses to a person of color in 2020?"
And the author who is Paul Waldman says, "What happens if Trump loses in 2020?" "What if he loses to a person of color?" "As non-white Americans become more numerous and gain political, social and cultural influence, whiteness becomes more salient and important to a subset of white people, which means that a Trump defeat would almost certainly intensify feelings of white identity among a significant portion of the Republican base."
So, they say white nationalism would increase.
BOYKIN: We're seeing a rise in white identity politics for several years now. We're seeing a rise in white nationalism as well. Part of the issue is that Donald Trump ran on this. He started his political career with a five and a half year lie about Barack Obama's birth certificate. He started his political campaign with an attack on Mexicans saying that they were bringing drugs and crime. He started his political ascendancy with an attack on Muslims calling for a ban on Muslims entering the country.
And it is not a surprise that he continued this sort of rhetoric as the president of the United States. We are seeing the results of this in place after place after place, incident after incident, white nationalist being emboldened by the president of the United States, never thought we would see something like this after Barack Obama, the first African-American president.
LEMON: I got it. You talked about the signing of the veto today, Alice, overriding a rebuke from Congress of his national emergency power to fund this wall.
LEMON: It had the support of 12 Republican senators. Even with today's veto, that is a big defeat from inside his own party. You're spinning it as a positive but it's still, you know, 12 people in his own party went against him.
STEWART: What it boils down to is many members of Congress looked at this from a constitutional standpoint as opposed to a policy, and they were concerned about the precedent this would set if he were to go ahead with declaring a national emergency in a situation on an issue and in a fashion like this.
They were concerned about the precedent it would set in the future. But if you look at the way this is and the language that he used and the reason he's doing this, he is within the legal grounds to do so. BOYKIN: Alice --
STEWART: A lot of people may not like it, but legally he has the authority to do so. And, look, this is a --
BOYKIN: Alice --
STEWART: -- over the past 40 years, 60 national emergencies have been declared. He has a legal right to do so. Many people may not like it but he is legally --
BOYKIN: Fifty-nine, 60 national emergencies have been declared. And this is the first time Congress has ever passed a law that is rebuked and terminated a president's national emergency.
That's an incredible statement about how out of line Donald Trump is with this fake national emergency, not to mention the fact that Congress this week also rebuked him on Yemen, the first time it ever invoked the War Powers Act to strike down a presidential military intervention, and a 420-0 unanimous vote in the House of Representatives demanding a clear public release of the Mueller report only to be stopped because of Senator Lindsey Graham and a few other --
LEMON: I got to go. I got to go, guys. Alice -- next time. I got to go. I got to go. I'm in time crunch, I'm sorry, next time.
[23:45:00] Have a great weekend. Thank you both. We'll be right back.
STEWART: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: News on the Mueller investigation today. We learned the status of two key people cooperating with the investigation, Michael Flynn and Rick Gates. That as the president publicly declared that there should be no Mueller report.
Let's talk about that and the investigation into Trump, Russia collusion, on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Val Demings, who serves in the House Intelligence Committee. Congresswoman, it is so good to have you on, thank you so much.
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D), FLORIDA: Don, it is so good to be with you. Thank you for inviting me.
LEMON: I have to start with this terrible news and get your reaction to this terror attack in New Zealand. What do you think about the president saying today that he doesn't see white nationalism as a rising global threat?
[23:50:03] DEMINGS: Don, you know, it is just unbelievable, every day that I think he cannot stop himself (ph). My heart just goes out to New Zealand 49 additional casualties of hate. It is extremely painful for Orlando because I'm sure you remember, 49 people died in the Pulse Nightclub, yet the president is in total denial. This is the time where we need to see America's leadership around the world and yet again he's absent. It is just unbelievable. But this is the same person who said there were fine people on both sides at a white nationalist rally. So, can't expect any better.
LEMON: And yet here we are. Today was a deadline set by your committee among others for the State Department and the White House to provide more details about President Trump's meetings with Vladimir Putin. CNN is reporting that the committee has not received a response. What happens next, congresswoman?
DEMINGS: Well, we have not received a response. But, you know, Chairman Nadler nor the rest of us on the committee, we are not surprised. It seems like the only person who is trying his best to hide everything is the president of the United States who has screamed at the top of his voice over the last two years, no collusion, it is a witch hunt. Well, if that were true, you would think that he would be willing to cooperate.
But we are not going to of course go away. I am sure Monday morning, first thing, there will be additional contact with the White House. And as Chairman Nadler has said before, we are going to -- don't want to but we are certainly prepared if we have to issue subpoenas to get the information that we need. We are not going away. The president should know that.
LEMON: I'm sure you know the White House pushed back on efforts by the House Oversight Committee to reach out directly to former officials like former Chief of Staff John Kelly. Is the White House limiting Congress's ability to do its job?
DEMINGS: Some of the things that we have talked about on Judiciary as well as in Intel are looking at abuse of power, looking at obstruction of justice, looking at conspiracy. And look, if the president is as innocent as he would like all of us to believe, as I have said before, he should be the number one person who's cooperating in a show that he has nothing to hide.
I believe standing in the way and trying to heat the committees who have the authority to do what we are going to do from being able to interview witnesses certainly could rise to the level of obstruction of justice. So I am hoping that he'll get that, his advisers, his attorneys, those around him will help him to understand that we are an equal branch of government. We are here to uphold the constitution. We are nation of laws and nobody is above it, including him.
LEMON: Good luck with that. Listen, I got to ask you about Felix Sater testimony to your committee. It has been postponed to the end of the month. Felix Sater, by the way, is a Russian-born Trump business associate who worked with Michael Cohen on the Trump Tower Moscow project. Where does he fit into your committee's investigation? Can you talk about that?
DEMINGS: Well, what I can tell you, Don, is we are particularly interested in the Russia, the Trump Moscow deal, and certainly Mr. Sater has played a major role in terms of his discussions, negotiations, if you will, and communications with Michael Cohen.
We are particularly interested in talking to him about the extent of the president's involvement or those around the president to attempt to make that deal happen that may have certainly provided some ground or motivation that centered around the 2016 election.
LEMON: Earlier today, the president tweeted that there should be no Mueller report just a day after the House unanimously passed a resolution that supports public release of the report. Why do you think the president doesn't want Mueller's findings on the public eye? Why do you think he wants no one to see it?
DEMINGS: Isn't it interesting? Again, this person who says that there is no collusion, it's a witch hunt, he should be the first person. He should release the report as soon as he receives it.
LEMON: If it exonerates him, right?
DEMINGS: Exactly. You would think that he would be the first person to want the public to know what the truth is. And it just amazes me, Don, and we have seen it a couple of times now, the president don't seem to understand that the legislative branch is an equal branch of government.
We are equal to the executive branch. And so look, we voted overwhelmingly that the report is released. It has been a couple of years. The American public deserves to see the report.
[23:55:01] We are certainly going to do everything in our power to make sure we are already setting the stage right now and we are going to make sure that that report is released.
LEMON: Congresswoman, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
DEMINGS: Thank you. Take care.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: The death of a parent is a trauma that leaves a lifelong impact on children. After losing her dad when she was 14, this week's CNN hero struggled with depression into her late 20s, when she finally got help.
For nearly two decades now, Mary Robinson has dedicated herself to making sure other children don't lose years of their lives to unresloved grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Bella, and my dad died.
MARY ROBINSON, CNN HERO: Kids in grief are kids at risk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Jedin (ph), and my mom died.
ROBINSON: Time does not heal all wounds. Time helps, but it's what you do with that time. And what you need to do is mourn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you hear other peoples' stories, if kind of brings comfort.
ROBINSON: So that's why a place like Imagine exists -- to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out that they're not alone.
LEMON: To meet some of the families Mary is helping, and to nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to CNNHeroes.com.
Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.