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President Trump Wants Smollett's Case To Be Investigated Again; Nine GOP House Intel Members Calling For Chairman Adam Schiff To Resign; Trump Asking Courts To Strike Down Obamacare Without Presenting Congress With A Replacement Plan; New Documents Reveal Trump May Have Misrepresented His Wealth; Legal Mix-Up May Send Connecticut Man Back To Prison After 12 Years Of Freedom. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired March 28, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: But prosecutors dropped all the charges against him on Tuesday, stunning just about everyone, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: Given that the he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check in the memo section, he can put the word, "I'm accountable for the hoax."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Even President Trump is condemning the move by prosecutors to drop the case saying this tonight at a political rally in Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said he was attacked by MAGA country. Did you ever hear of that one?
TRUMP: MAGA. Maybe the only time I've ever agreed with the mayor of Chicago. Maybe. That's a terrible situation. That's an embarrassment, not only to Chicago, that is an embarrassment to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, let's discuss now. Laura Coates is here, Scott Jennings, Charles Blow will be along in a moment. So, thank you, all, for joining us, when we get Charles, we'll bring him right in.
Laura, you know, the president says that he is -- he's asked the FBI and the DOJ to review this case. Is this something that they would even look into?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm sure that, frankly, it's probably a low priority given the number and the volume of cases they are looking at that actually do involve hate crimes, do involve violent offenses, particularly those that use interstate commerce or other means to do so.
The reason I point out that last part is, the one area on the hook here that may actually bring federal attention is similar to what happens frankly, in mob cases where they use the mail to engage in crimes as part of an enterprise of some sort.
That's only the hook where the federal prosecutors and federal agents to look at and say, was there some basis for the feds as opposed to a state or a state-level prosecutor to get involved?
I turn my attention to that letter that was sent the week before the alleged attack went down as part of the continuing crime or continuing allegation of a crime. That maybe the hoax we're looking into.
It also may be, of course, looking into the practices of the investigators if there is -- or of the actual prosecutors. Is there some connection or was there something about a political connection that led them to make a decision that otherwise they would not have had this person not had ties, perhaps, to communications with a former chief of staff, former first lady, Michelle Obama or member of Jussie Smollett's family?
LEMON: Yes, that is if -- if the letter was sent by Jussie Smollett they're then --
COATES: If. Yes.
LEMON: Then -- right. If. So, but the president is ahead of the executive branch and federal law enforcement, Laura. He is demanding an investigation while making his opinion while making his opinion on Jussie Smollett known. Is that appropriate?
COATES: Well, he's certainly has been doing a number of things, where he said that he wanted to have investigations about people who seem to be his political nemesis and what not.
There is an irony here, of course, I'm sure you recognize, Don, that the president of the United States is now asking for an investigation to confirm whether or not somebody is lying during a course of an investigation or somehow impeding the ability to find out the truth.
That is very stunning given his track record about a very well-known investigation where he, himself, was a part of. So, I am surprised by the irony there.
Having said that, yes, it is the prerogative of the president to say that he'd like his executive branch undermining the actual Justice Department who falls under it -- to be able to investigate if there is some sort of corruption involved in the prosecutor's office about this notion. Also, they oversee hate crimes. So of course, hate crimes is part and
one of the federal crimes and they definitely want to be able to ensure whether or not somebody is trying to exploit that particular legislation for their own good.
Of course, this is all based on an assumption right now that the prosecutor's office seems to belie in many ways, though they haven't confirmed he is innocent. They have also dismissed the charges. It will be telling to find out what basis and hook the federal agents actually do want to pursue this case.
LEMON: Charles Blow is here. We'll bring him in in just a moment and as we do that, Scott, I want to ask you this question. The president called the Smollett case an embarrassment to our country. Why do you think he's getting involved in this specific case?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the president is trying to speak on behalf of all of his supporters. I mean, Smollett, according to the mayor, according to the police, and according to what the prosecutors were recently arguing, essentially tried to frame the president's supporters in a hoax here and make it seem like that the president's political movement was responsible for a hate crime.
And so, I have -- I'm not surprised this has caught the president's attention. It's, frankly, captivated the country and I think he's going to keep talking about it because not only was it an attempt, in his mind, to sort of frame his political movement, it's happening in the city of Chicago which, of course, for Republicans, you know, that's where Republicans believe the home of corruption is in our country.
[23:04:59] So it has all the elements of something that would captivate Republican attention and certainly catch the -- catch the president's eye.
LEMON: Charles, welcome. The Atlantic's Adam Serwer said that Trump really likes the Jussie Smollett case because for him and his base, it fits into the Trumpian Fox News narrative that racism against minorities is fake but racism against white people is real. What do you think of that?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I guess there may be some truth to that. It is striking to me -- it's not necessarily striking to me that he'd weigh in. People -- presidents weigh in on cultural issues. Even if it does involve police. Obama did it with -- (CROSSTALK)
BLOW: He did it with Trayvon Martin, he did it also with Kanye West, you know, just saying his -- giving his opinion on it.
This is a different quality to what, how Trump tends to weigh in on it which is to put his thumb on the scale and actually demand an action of punishment for people. Right? So, it wasn't just he weighed in on the kneeling football players, he literally was trying to get them fired. Right? Using the office to punish. Right?
And here, again, it's the same sort of thing. It's not that he's weighing in on the topic. He's trying to use the office to punish, and it does -- it does, you know, raise a couple of eyebrows that it is often people who are black or brown or who are the subjects of this for this particular president, and I do believe that it becomes a tool.
Scott was saying that, you know, part of it is that he weighs in because it's Chicago. And that's the seat of corruption. Not only that, though, he has used corrupt - he has used Chicago as an emblem of black pathology. Right?
That -- during the campaign, he continuously referenced Chicago as the place that was broken, that, you know, when he would say, black people, what do you have is to lose? Black people can't walk down the street. He was talking about Chicago, right?
And that became a reflection of a lot of people in America's way of putting onto black shoulders a pathology of violence, a pathology of lying, a pathology of insecurity, and all of that became wrapped up in Chicago.
BLOW: And so, I think we have to analyze that and look at that through that lens as well as through the lens of him saying, I'm just defending the people who support me.
LEMON: OK. Listen. But here's -- this is the very interesting part about this because, perhaps, this is where maybe the president somehow has found a bridge between many people of color against many people in the LGBT community and also his supporters because if it is, indeed, true that -- and, you know, the charges have been dropped.
But if what the mayor says is true, the police superintendent, and the prosecutors, if it is, indeed, true, then he gave, Jussie Smollett gave ammunition to the president to be able to call that behavior out, brought the attention on people of color, brought the attention on this is MAGA country, as he said, was alleged to have said, and so on.
So, he may have inadvertently given the president the ammunition and why would anybody be surprised, Scott, that the president is talking about this and that it is a pure play to the base? Is there anything wrong with that?
BLOW: But remember that Jussie Smollett can't actually gave -- can't actually give Donald Trump ammunition. Donald Trump is desperately searching for bullets on the floor every time he wakes up in the morning. He's just using Jussie Smollett as today's bullet.
So, I think we -- we are allowing this narrative to be created that Jussie's so much bigger than he is. If in fact, now he's useful at the moment. I think you're right into saying he's useful but not because of this small act. Even if he did it, the stupidness of trying to do this for whatever
your reasons are and by diverting resources and that's a big thing because those resources can be used for other things, but other than diverting resources, there actually is no other victim in this crime if it was a crime other than Jussie.
We are allowing them to use this the way they want to use it, which is to pump him up to make him a bigger person in the Zeitgeist than he is, and by -- once you pump him up, you can say, this represents all of the attacks on us and not the attacks by us. There are actually legitimate real documented attacks --
BLOW: -- by people who support Trump.
[23:09:59] BLOW: And there's also videotape of Trump telling people to attack people.
BLOW: Jussie didn't do that and Jussie couldn't do that.
LEMON: I got to get Scott in because I'm running out of time. Scott, I want to give you the last word. Hey, listen, I'm just analyzing the strategy, and if someone hands you, you know, a talking point or hands you the bullets, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't use it.
Maybe it's out of character for the President of the United States, but that's what this president of the United States is like. That's what he's about. Go on, Scott. Last words, please.
JENNINGS: Well, not only should he be using it, I think it's right for him to be using it because they were trying to set up a situation here to make it look like his supporters had done something terrible.
But also, he's in full agreement with people in both parties here. You have Democrats in Chicago who agree with Trump, and so it's also a moment where he's not by himself, you know, making an issue out of something. He's actually got a whole lot of supporters.
If I might, Don, I do disagree with Charles on one point. This was a big deal when it happened. I know Smollett is not the most famous person in the world, but he is well known, and when this happened, it was a huge story in the media when the narrative started to come out that it was Trump supporters that had attacked this guy in Chicago. It wasn't Smollett's fame that made it a big deal.
This became an enormous story and so it was famous when it happened all over the country and then of course when it became a hoax, it got even more famous.
So, I recognize he's not the biggest star, but you have to admit, this story was global almost instantly because of the narrative that a lot of people wanted to believe but turned out be a, out to be a hoax.
LEMON: Yes, that's all we have time for. I got other stuff to get to. Thank you so much. I appreciate everyone's input on this.
The president's congressional allies are on the attack against one of his harshest critics, Congressman Adam Schiff who chairs the House Intel Committee.
The nine Republican members of that committee calling on Schiff to resign but he's definitely not backing down. His fiery response, next.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The nine Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are calling on Democratic Chair Adam Schiff to resign, accusing him of knowingly promoting false information about the Russia investigation. But Schiff, well, he isn't backing down, rebutting Republican accusations in a committee hearing this morning.
His fiery response, well, it lays out point by point every action he calls corrupt and evidence of collusion. So, we're going to play it for you, all four minutes of it. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as chairman of this committee, which, alone, in the House of Representatives, has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.
As such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your constitutional responsibility, and urge your immediate resignation as chairman of the committee.
Mr. Chairman, this letter is signed by all nine members of the Republican side of the House -- of the committee -- and I unanimous consent it be entered into the record of today's hearing. I yield back.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Without objection. I'm going to turn to our witnesses who are the subject of the hearing today, but before I do, and as you have chosen instead of to addressing the hearing to simply attack me consistent with the president's attacks, I do want to respond in this way.
My colleagues may think it's OK that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the Russian government's effort to help the Trump campaign.
You might think that's OK.
My colleagues might think it's OK that when that was offered to the son of the president who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president's son did not call the FBI. He did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No, instead, that son said that he would love the help of the Russians.
You might think it's OK that he took that meeting. You might think it's OK that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience in running campaigns, also took that meeting.
You might think it's OK that the president's son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it's OK that they concealed it from the public. You might think it's OK that their only disappointment after that meeting, that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn't better. You might think that's OK.
You might think it's OK that when it was discovered a year later that they lied about that meeting and said it was about adoptions. You might think it's OK that the president is reported to have helped dictate that lie. You might think that's OK.
I don't. You might think it's OK that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness. You might think that's OK. I don't.
You might think it's OK that that campaign chairman offered polling data. Campaign polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don't think that's OK.
You might think it's OK that the president, himself, called on Russia to hack his opponent's e-mails if they were listening. You might think it's OK that later that day, in fact, the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign.
I don't think that's OK. You might think that it's OK that the president's son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communications with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility.
I don't think that's OK.
You might think it's OK that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU through Guccifer 2 and WikiLeaks and considered -- that is considered a hostile intelligence agency.
[23:20:01] You might think that it's OK a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent.
You might think it's OK that the national security adviser designates secretly conferred with a Russian ambassador about undermining U.S. sanctions, and you might think it's OK he lied about it to the FBI.
You might say that's all OK. You might say that's just what you need to do to win. But I don't think it's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Joining me now to discuss, Keith Boykin, Alice Stewart. Good evening. ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
LEMON: Bet they never saw that coming. That was a remarkable exchange. What did you -- I mean, that's what we call, you know, that's called a read.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, that really backfired on the Republicans. They came in thinking that they had him calling for his resignation and he turned the tables on them. He made them look ridiculous.
In fact, after looking at that, clearly those nine Republicans are the ones who should resign from office, not Adam Schiff. In starting with Devin Nunes and Mike Conaway and Will Hurd, all nine of those people who signed onto that letter have the nerve to attack Adam Schiff for doing the job that they should have been doing for the past two years, that makes no sense.
All we have is four pages. Sixty-four words from Robert Mueller, himself. Out of 150,000 words in a 300-plus page document. That's nothing. And they are going on and making conclusions off of that. They should be outrage and ashamed.
LEMON: Alice, I want you to weigh in but I want to play something. Because one of the president's favorite TV judges actually took Schiff's side here. Fox News's Andrew Napolitano. Watch this. This is earlier this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: I think that Congressman Schiff is correct in that report will be evidence of the existence of a conspiracy. Not enough evidence to prove the existence beyond a reasonable doubt.
In that report will be evidence of obstruction of justice. Interfering with an FBI investigation for a personal gain. But not enough evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Congressman Schiff wants to dwell on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President is not going to like that. Give me your response.
STEWART: I think he's probably the only one on that network that's saying something along those lines.
Look, I think all Americans will agree with a lot of what Schiff said was that it is not OK that the Russians interfered in our election. It is not OK that the Russians tried to impact the outcome of this election.
But at the end of the day, we can acknowledge that just because they acted in a way that was to benefit President Trump, it does not mean they did so at the request of President Trump and the campaign.
And while, yes, it was ignorant and, yes, it was incompetent to try and take this meeting and accept this information, it was not criminal and based on what we do know of the Mueller report, there was no evidence that they conspired with the Russians or that they coordinated with the Russians. We will have to wait and see when we get more information. I think --
BOYKIN: If we get more information, Alice. Nobody's even -- the White House doesn't seem like they want to release the Mueller report in the first place.
STEWART: Sure, they do.
BOYKIN: How are we supposed to draw conclusions if we can't see the 300-plus page report?
STEWART: We'll see a lot more but there's information that does need to be protected the grand jury --
BOYKIN: We will? How do you know, Alice?
STEWART: They do want to release it. There's grand jury information that needs to be protected. There's information on people that were not prosecuted that needs to be protected. They're going to redact that and then put out as much as they can. I think it's a smart --
BOYKIN: But nobody has said that except you.
STEWART: This was a --
BOYKIN: Nobody -- nobody -- who in the Justice Department had said they are going to release the report? We didn't even know how long it was until today and we only have an estimate of 300-plus. We don't know the exact number.
STEWART: Attorney General Barr --
BOYKIN: So, people have been talking about it for the past three days. But nobody has actually seen the report except for --
LEMON: Quick, Alice then I got to go.
STEWART: Attorney General Barr says -- Attorney General Barr says that he will release more when he gets the information redacted. Look, this was a wide show of unity by the GOP members of the House Intel Committee to --
BOYKIN: Why you say?
STEWART: -- to send a message --
BOYKIN: You say why?
STEWART: -- to send a message. This was wise. Wise, w-i-s-e, as a way to --
BOYKIN: No, it was unadvised --
STEWART: -- to show a sign of unity that --
STEWART: -- Schiff can't go out and say there's direct --
BOYKIN: It shows them to be sycophants in defense of Donald Trump's corruption and that's --
STEWART: -- complete absolute --
LEMON: I got to go, guys. I got to go.
STEWART: So, to say there's evidence of collusion, that's not true.
STEWART: There may be when we see the report, but right now, there's no evidence of that.
BOYKIN: So, you can't say it's not true until you see the report, either, Alice.
LEMON: OK. So, listen, the report doesn't say that there's no evidence, they say it simply did not -- they did not meet the --
BOYKIN: And that's what Barr said the report says.
LEMON: Did not establish that members of the Trump campaign. They didn't say that there is no evidence.
[23:24:56] Listen, I have to go. Here's the thing that I think -- when Kenneth Starr released his report, which is 400 and some odd pages, there's the report and then the one that didn't -- you know, without all the information that people shouldn't have.
Two days later, the report is longer than this report, two days later the public had it so there's definitely something different about that. I don't see anything wrong with trying to get to the bottom of it. Thank you, both. We'll be right back.
STEWART: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: President Trump holding a political rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan tonight, and telling cheering supporters that he'll use the courts to strike down the Affordable Care Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a chance of killing Obamacare. We almost did it, but somebody unfortunately surprised us with thumbs down.
The Republican Party will become the party of great healthcare. It's good. It's important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. There's at least one big problem with that, and it has Republicans on Capitol Hill, quite frankly, scratching their heads.
The Trump administration has not presented Congress with a replacement healthcare plan if Obamacare does go away. That's one of the things I want to talk with, discuss with, John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Kasich.
[23:29:59] Listen, President Trump has said that he wants Republicans to be the party of health care, but they don't appear to have any plan to deliver on that. What is -- can you explain what is going on here?
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I really can't, Don, because by supporting this court ruling, not only are we going to upset everything in terms of health care, but people -- you know, that whole provision that protects pre-existing conditions will be gone.
And look, also, if you were to just get rid of the program we have now we would have about 20 million Americans who would lose health care. I don't -- I can't figure this out.
LEMON: Why not just improve what we have?
KASICH: Don, the other -- well, that's what it -- that's what should happen. You know, John Hickenlooper, a Democrat candidate for president, Brian Sandoval, former governor of Nevada, and myself, we presented a plan that we thought could improve the system.
So, you know, we've gotten to the point where if you're for Obamacare, you say OK, it's perfect, if you're against it, you say we ought to abolish it. There's a middle ground, fix it.
KASICH: And because if you don't fix it, people lose health care because of pre-existing conditions. We take away the benefit of Medicaid expansion where we have 600,000 people in Ohio who now have health care that didn't have it before, a low uninsured rate now in Ohio, and that money went to help people who were drug addicted, mentally ill.
In fact, when people got that kind of coverage, it actually encouraged them to work, and it doesn't make any sense what we're talking about here.
LEMON: Well --
KASICH: I think that Republicans are very nervous on Capitol Hill. It's not a winning issue for Republicans.
LEMON: I've got a lot of things that I want to get to here, so, listen, the last time Republicans tried to get rid of Obamacare, it cost them control of the House. I mean, with a huge midterm losses. Is this -- do you think this is a winning strategy heading into 2020? Is this not a gift for Democrats?
KASICH: I don't know if it's a gift. It depends what the Democrats are going to say.
LEMON: In messaging, I'm saying, going in.
KASICH: Well, yeah. I mean, look, Don, I have been saying all along, heading up to the midterms, that this issue of health care was so big. It was a big issue out here in the race for governor. And the Republican governor had to go stake out a position, you know, late in the game in order to save his chances to be able to win.
When you start telling people you're going to take their health care away, they're not going to vote for you. So, I don't understand what's going on here. I mean, maybe, you explain it to me because I can't figure it out.
LEMON: Wait, I had you on --
KASICH: It's not a winning issue.
LEMON: I had you on to do this. Let's talk about that because --
KASICH: What I wonder is --
LEMON: He's riding high on the results of this Mueller report. Why would he trample all over that by bringing up this minefield like health care, governor?
KASICH: I mean, maybe if it didn't have Obama's name on it or something. I don't know. Now, the system needs to be fixed.
KASICH: There are ways in which you can lower the cost of it. There are ways in which you can improve Medicaid. These things are all necessary, but there are improvements that can be made and they are going to have to be made in a bipartisan basis.
You know, when I was reading some of the stories about what senators are saying and you think we don't know why they're doing it, doesn't seem like they know why he's doing it. They almost look like they're, you know, kind of shell shocked over the idea that we're going to go back into this health care debate again.
LEMON: I think you hit the nail on the head. It's got a name on it like Obama that he doesn't like. So earlier this evening, the president announced after a huge public outcry that he was restoring funding for the Special Olympics in the administration's latest budget. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people. I want to fund the Special Olympics. And I've just authorized a funding of the Special Olympics. I've been to the Special Olympics. I think it's incredible. And I just authorized a funding. I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people. We're funding the Special Olympics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here I come -- I'm doing this. He said he heard about this this morning, but Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has spent days defending the cut, and it was Trump's own budget. Is this a classic case of his administration, they cause an issue and then he comes in and says, oh, I'm the only one who can save it, save the day?
KASICH: Well, you know, Don, as the president, you got to give the president, you know, fair play here. He doesn't know all the specifics in the budget. I guarantee you what happened is there were a lot of people who could get to him who said, what the heck is going on here, and you can't do this because the Special Olympics is almost kind of part of our country right now because it gives people a chance to be able to rise.
It gives people a chance to be able to be mainstream. It brings the community in where the community is part of the effort to work with folks who have these disabilities.
It is such an enormously successful program and the reason why I felt so strongly about it is because I happen to run a program in Ohio, the Department of Developmental Disabilities.
[23:35:01] And in that program, we always made sure it was funded. In fact, even in tough budget times, we made sure it got funded because if you can integrate people, if you can show them the respect that they deserve, and if they can begin to live their dreams, I mean, what could be more important than doing that for somebody else?
LEMON: John Kasich, I always love talking to you. I wish we have more time and unfortunately we are out. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. See you soon.
KASICH: Don, thank you. God bless.
LEMON: You too. "The Washington Post" coming out with some detailed reporting showing how Donald Trump inflated his net worth to impress lenders and journalists. The question is, did any of this break the law?
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: New details about how President Trump reportedly inflated his net worth by exaggerating the value of certain assets. The Washington Post obtained a Trump financial statement from 2011, where he claimed his golf course in Southern California was zoned for 55 homes. It was actually zoned for 31.
He also claimed his vineyard in Charlottesville has 2,000 acres, even though it only had 1,200. And according to his statement, he claimed Trump Tower in New York City is 68 stories, but in reality, it's 58 stories.
Michael D'Antonio is here to discuss. He is the author of "The Truth About Trump." Also, David Cay Johnston is here. He is the author of "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America."
Good evening, gentlemen. Look, barring whether it's legal or not, I was just going to say, are we surprised -- should we be surprised by this? I mean --
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is standard operating procedure for Donald Trump.
LEMON: OK, so I gave you the ones -- the assets that he reportedly inflated. You say Trump and Michael Cohen actually showed you similar statements?
D'ANTONIO: Yeah. They trotted out a number of different statements on different occasions. And by 2014, when I was dealing with them, everyone knew these statements were worthless. They were just practically random numbers put down on sheets of paper with a huge inflated net worth. But by this time, two banks had caught Trump inflating his net worth, North Fork Bank and Deutsche Bank.
He had been caught claiming all kinds of crazy ownership schemes. He said he owned a building in Waikiki when he didn't own any of it. This was just the normal thing that he does.
LEMON: David, you said that this story -- it lines up with your investigative work into Trump. Explain that.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, back in 1990, I got Donald Trump's net worth statement and showed he wasn't a billionaire at the time when he was claiming on the same day that he was worth $3 billion and $5 billion, which tells you he makes it up. He went on calling me a liar for four months until his bankers put his net worth statement in that showed negative $295 million.
This story in "The Washington Post" has some new details, but it simply adds to the fact that we have established that Donald just makes it up. He just cannot tell the truth. When I got his tax return from two years ago that showed $150 million in income, Donald went on Tucker Carlson and said he had $250 million of income, when you could look at the document.
LEMON: Yeah. Listen, he's a real estate developer. They inflate their wealth for projects, right? That happens. So, did he break the law, David?
JOHNSTON: You can do puffery. This is the most beautiful building in the world. But when you falsify and produce a bank statement or a financial statement, the banks make loans on, there's bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, possibly tax fraud and investor fraud.
LEMON: Yeah. Who else could be implicated in this, his children, anybody else?
D'ANTONIO: Well, I know in some of these schemes, his children were involved, especially claiming that units in buildings had been sold. They would say this development is 90 percent sold when it was really only 70 percent sold. That is fraud.
And Allen Weisselberg, the chief accountant for the Trump Organization, prepared these statements. So, he is now cooperating with prosecutors. I would say it is good for him because otherwise he'd be in a whole lot of trouble himself.
LEMON: And there are more investigations coming. We are going to see the outcomes of that. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
A man does his time in prison, rebuilds his life, and becomes a productive member of society only to be told he has to go back to prison over 12 years later because of some clerical mistake. That man joins me next and you're going to -- what you'll hear is shocking, really.
[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Demetrius Anderson has been a free man and by all accounts a law-abiding citizen for more than 12 years now. That's after serving three years in a state prison for possessing and passing counterfeit currency in Connecticut.
Well, last week, federal marshals pounded on his door while he was in a shower, saying he still needed to serve 16 months in federal prison on similar charges. All this time, he thought that he had served his sentences concurrently, but it is the state that made the mistake.
Well, tonight, Demetrius Anderson is fighting for his freedom. I want to discuss this now with him and with his attorney, Mike Dolan. Thank you so much, gentlemen, for coming. This is a really bizarre story. You've been free now for almost 13 years. So, tell us in those 13 years, you've been rebuilding your life?
DEMETRIUS ANDERSON, MAY BE SENT BACK TO PRISON OVER CLERICAL ERROR: Correct.
LEMON: How so?
ANDERSON: By coming back into society, doing right, a parole finding gainful employment, staying out of trouble, founded a church home community that I'm involved with, currently active in my church, in my community, and just living life, just rebuilding, living life and doing what I'm supposed to do.
LEMON: You have suffered tremendous tragedy even after coming out. Turning your life around, as you said, doing all those things. Your brother murdered your parents?
LEMON: That's just horrific.
LEMON: How are you dealing with that?
ANDERSON: I've been getting therapy because of deep trauma, victim of homicide, support that I just deal with day-to-day to get me through and it's --
LEMON: Even people who haven't gone through what you've gone through would have fallen apart.
ANDERSON: Of course.
LEMON: How are you getting through it? What are you --
ANDERSON: My faith. I'm strong in my faith. I couldn't have done it without faith. You know, trusting on the lord.
[23:50:00] LEMON: When you look back at all that you've accomplished, the thought of going back in --
ANDERSON: It's scary. I'm scared. It's bleak. It's dark. I can't imagine it. I don't think I can handle it considering what I'm going through.
LEMON: So, listen, let's talk about, Mike, let's bring you in and talk about the law here and how the way things usually go because the Department of Corrections, don't they typically do a check to see if there are any outstanding holes, if there are any additional warrants, before releasing an inmate? He thought he was finished.
MICHAEL DOLAN, ATTORNEY FOR DEMETRIUS ANDERSON: Yes. He -- that is correct. The Department of Corrections will do a warrant check, a detainer check. We presume that that was done back in 2006. He was released on parole. He served his time out on parole, found employment, and began to live in the community in a law-abiding, productive life.
LEMON: Yeah. So, what took 13 years to discover? Because they're saying this is a clerical error. U.S. Marshals before they let you out, again check, but what took 13 years to discover this?
DOLAN: Apparent the marshals in the eastern district of Pennsylvania did an audit. I'm aware that the audits are done regularly in Connecticut every three months, and they never have the need to go back that far. So the marshals in Connecticut were surprised that anybody would even check, would go back that far to check.
You know, I can't speak for why they went back that far or why this wasn't caught earlier, but that's the information that was relayed to us.
LEMON: How typical or atypical is this? Is this extraordinary that this is happening?
DOLAN: In my over 20 years of practice, I've never experienced anything like this.
LEMON: I want to bring in CNN's Van Jones. Van, thank you for joining this conversation. Van first brought this case to our attention, by the way, on social media. This really smacks of a lot of what people say is wrong with the criminal justice system, Van, right? You've been working hard on reform. What else can be done to help Demetrius?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me just point out how absurd this is. Why do we put people in prison? We call it the Department of Corrections because we're supposed to correct people. You're talking about somebody who for 13 years almost has not, as best we can tell, had an overdue library book.
This is somebody who's doing better than me and you in life. This is somebody who is gainfully employed. This is somebody who is a member of a church community, who is doing all the things we want people to do. Why would you then go back in the back of the sock drawer to find some clerical error to destroy this man's life? It makes no sense at all.
Where is the grace? Where is the mercy? Where is the justice in destroying this man's life? It makes no sense. Meanwhile, you see big celebrities and, frankly, people in high positions getting away with all kind of crazy stuff. I do not understand why. We do not have elected officials, the president of the United States, judges and everybody else lining up say this should not be happening in America.
If -- listen, there should be a statute of limitations on a clerical error. To destroy somebody's life -- this guy is doing great. We should be parading this guy around the country as an example to other people in trouble not destroying his life. It's wrong.
LEMON: OK, Van, you mentioned the president. You know, listen --
LEMON: Listen, you've been very vocal and very present about working with the White House on criminal justice reform. Have you reached out to the White House or Jared Kushner you've been working with?
JONES: Listen, I am going to do every single thing that I can to get justice in this case because it's just wrong. Listen, the president could do something and if he's watching, he should do something. If he's not watching, I'm going to reach out to him. I'm going to reach out to everybody in the White House. I'm going to reach out to everybody in Congress.
Everybody -- you can't do stuff like this. How can -- what hope does somebody have now when they come home and they do the right thing and they parole -- you know how hard it is to get off a parole without any violations? It's -- you can be late 10 minutes for a meeting and your parole is violated.
It's almost impossible to do what this man has done. And now you're going to have people out there right now who think that they're free and they're still not free, when do you get do be free in America? When do you get to be free, if this man is not free? I'm upset about this.
LEMON: Demetrius, you lost most of your family, so much of your family. You lost your freedom. You could lose it again. And go back. There's a bench warrant out for your arrest now, correct?
DOLAN: That is --
LEMON: There's a warrant out for his arrest?
LEMON: And there's a hearing, right, that he has to go to. Is he going to go to that hearing?
DOLAN: He's going to go to that hearing although the bench warrant seems to indicate that the judge may not even want to have a hearing.
[23:55:05] The judge -- the bench warrant suggests that he is to report directly to Philadelphia Detention Center or he needs to be transported directly there.
LEMON: So what are you going to do, do you know?
DOLAN: Well, I will contact the Bureau of Prisons. I'm going to see if they will honor the time that he has served. There's a doctrine known as credit for time at liberty. In addition, Demetrius anticipates filing his request to the president for commutation of his sentence.
LEMON: Have you heard -- do you want the president to commutate your sentence?
ANDERSON: Yes, correct.
LEMON: Have you made that request?
ANDERSON: I'm submitting it as soon as we're done with this interview.
LEMON: What do you say to him?
ANDERSON: Please help me for this mistake that's taken place. I'm at the mercy of the president right now to help fix this. I still have faith in the judicial system that they can rectify it.
LEMON: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you. Please keep us updated. Van, thank you as well. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We will follow this story.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Van. Thank you, Don.
JONES: We're going to fight hard.
ANDERSON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Van.
LEMON: And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.