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Rep. Denny Heck (D) Washington Was Interviewed About A.G. Barr's Assessment Of The Mueller Report; House And Ways Committee Chairman Wants To See President Trump's Tax Returns; A Teen Tells Police He Escaped From His Kidnappers After More Than Seven Years; Joe Biden Releases New Video; Descendant Of Gen. Robert E. Lee Speaks Out. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired April 3, 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: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here's our breaking news. The explosive report tonight in "The New York Times" saying that some investigators on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team believe their findings are more damaging for President Trump than what's been revealed by the attorney general.
We're going to talk a lot more about this coming up. I'm going to ask a member of the House Intel Committee to weigh in on it.
That news coming against the backdrop of multiple investigations of President Trump. Federal prosecutors in New York looking into the president's activities with an assist from Michael Cohen, his former lawyer.
Then there's the House Oversight Committee. They're investigating the president's financing -- finances. The committee's chairman now saying an accounting firm that worked for Trump will turn over financial documents once a subpoena is issued.
And there's also an investigation into the finances of President Trump's inaugural committee. The House Intelligence Committee seeking documents from one of the top contractors who worked for the inaugural committee who's a good friend of the First Lady Melania Trump.
Lots to talk about. I want to bring in now Congressman Denny Heck who serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
A gathering storm tonight. So, let's start with this New York Times report. Questions are being raised tonight about the attorney general and how he has portrayed the Mueller report.
As I said, the members of the team, their associates are reacting saying they're concerned about his portrayal. What do you say?
REP. DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: Well, I say nobody should be surprised by this. This is a little akin to a newspaper headline of dog bites man. After all Attorney General Barr did submit that 19- page, single spaced unsolicited memo last year, saying that the president could not be pursued or prosecuted for obstruction of justice on the rather suspect legal theory that unless the federal statute specifically set forth the president that he would not be subject to the crime.
In other words, it's against the law to murder, but unless it says and that includes the president, then you couldn't pursue it. So, nobody should be surprised that what he said is different from what may now become obvious as time goes on.
At the end of the day, what we've got to do is get the report. The public wants it overwhelmingly. The president said he wanted it. The precedent for doing this is there, and the U.S. House has voted 420 to nothing unanimously to do this. We just need to get the report and look at it and draw our own conclusions.
LEMON: So, the Times reporting is also saying that there are summaries that already existed of Mueller's report, but that the DOJ says they contain sensitive material. Does it raise questions about why at least some of that material wasn't included in Barr's letter?
HECK: Sure. For all the reasons stated above. Look, I'm -- the president is having yet again another one of those terrible horrible no good very bad weeks.
He proposed that we close the border on Mexico, maybe in an attempt to distract us all from this issue, and what happened but economists widely panned this as carrying with it the potential to induce a recession.
Then he proposed that we completely repeal the Affordable Care Acts taking away everybody's protections for lifetime caps, for those with pre-existing conditions, for women who hear it before the ACA had to pay more, and then "The New York Times" report came out.
And none of it seems to be of his efforts seemed to be successful in getting us distracted from the underlying question here, which is why is it that we can't see this report in its entirety so that we can judge it on its contents.
LEMON: OK. So, the Times reporting tonight says that Mueller's team also raised concerns that Barr's letter set the narrative that will gel in Americans' minds. Do you suspect a political motive?
HECK: I suspect that Attorney General Barr was biased in this direction dating back again to last summer when he submitted that unsolicited memorandum, and I suspect that the American people and the American public and the members of Congress are fully capable of judging the report and its contents on their own.
And, in fact, Don, if you look at the public opinion polls, since the Barr letter came out, the public hasn't changed its position on its desire to see the report in its entirety. So, if that was their effort, it didn't work.
LEMON: This is a first that we're hearing about possible tension between the special counsel's office, the special prosecutor's office and the DOJ. Do you anticipate that we're going to hear more?
HECK: Yes. I fully suspect that as this thing unfolds going forward that we will hear more. I think what we're heading into, Don, is redaction wars. The more redactions there are the more intense the war will be, and then I suspect that this will get litigated.
But if we look at the legal precedent, and if we look at past history as to what happened here, I'm fully confident that the courts are going to rule in favor of transparency and openness.
LEMON: Yes, listen, Congressman, I know you also wanted to discuss health care. Very important issue, so I want you to do that now.
[23:05:01] The president now punting saying Republicans will handle it after the 2020 elections.
HECK: I heard that before, Don.
LEMON: He thinks that Republicans shouldn't run away from talking about this. What do you say to that?
HECK: I say that for 10 years they have been rattling their sabers and demanding that the Affordable Care Act be repealed and that they would replace it, and they have yet to come up with a replacement period, full stop.
They're intellectually bankrupt when it comes to this particular issue of health care, and all they seem to be able to do is advocate for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which of course, for example, in my state, Don, would subject up to a half a million people of losing their health care.
This is the wrong-headed approach to take to health care. What we ought to be doing is lowering prescription drug prices and shoring up the Affordable Care Act and making sure people's premiums don't get out of hand nor their copays nor their out-of-pocket exposure. That's what we ought to be doing.
And before this calendar year is over, that's precisely what House Democrats will be doing.
LEMON: As many Americans believe improving the system that we have to make it work for as many people as possible, all people would be the optimum.
Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
HECK: You're welcome, sir.
LEMON: I want to brink in now Elie Honig, Juliette Kayyem, Ryan Lizza, and Max Boot. Max is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right."
Good evening, so why don't we start with Max since I just read that introduction. Give me a reaction to the congressman, is there even more reason now for everyone to see this report from Mueller in full? MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, of course, I mean, Don,
we should have seen it from the beginning, and this clearly indicates that Barr was very deceptive in the way that he summarized the report in this very short letter, you know, something like 82 words of direct quotations from a report or something like 400 pages.
And clearly, the attorney general was cherry picking the most favorable possible interpretation. And I'm kind of thinking here about what it says in the bible about what does it profit a man to gain a country and lose his soul.
In this case, I would say Bill Barr has lost his reputation for independence and integrity and returned for basically owning a 24 or 48- hour news cycle. It really was not worth it. It was a short-term play. And it's coming unraveled.
The cover-up is rapidly disintegrating, and of course, we need to see the full report to see what it is that Mueller actually concluded which clearly was not all that was in the Barr letter.
LEMON: Yes. Juliette, in this reporting again, it's a "New York Times" reporting. It's unclear how many members of Mueller's team --
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: -- feel the report is being mischaracterized meaning the summary letter from Barr. Do you think that it's an indication that we will hear from them if the full picture doesn't come out?
KAYYEM: Yes, and most of them have gone back to private practice so there would be no reason why they can't be subpoenaed and discuss issues that are not protected by any legal privilege.
And I will say, you know, I can't get -- let's put it a different way. Let's assume Barr's motivation is clean because everyone's trying to figure out Barr, let's just assume he has no motivation.
You cannot look at this today and think he did not screw this up badly. He has lost the American public; the polling is horrible. He has lost Congress, and now he has lost members of the Mueller team.
So, in other words, whatever his motivation is, this is a disaster for anyone who thought that Barr being obstructionist would help the White House.
At this stage, we're going to know what the Mueller team believed either because Barr is going to give it up because he's reading the writing on the wall or because these people, members will be asked to testify or maybe even some of it will leak.
LEMON: Elie, I want to ask you, I said we haven't -- "The New York Times" reporting here, but when you see in this reporting that there were summaries that already existed, right, that were given by Mueller's team and they're reportedly -- they don't know why it didn't make it to the public, what does that tell you? ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. It just raises even more
questions about what William Barr did. And I think Juliette is right. I think the more distance we get between William Barr's four-page letter the more it seems like a strategic and perhaps political act.
Now, of course, we won't know the full answer until we see the Mueller report. If there are summaries, if Mueller's team itself produced these summaries, why not turn those over? And Barr is hiding behind this whole redaction theory, and watch this.
This is going to come to the forefront, this whole idea of redactions. There are some things that clearly need to come out, classified information, information and let's keep this in mind, about multiple ongoing criminal investigations. Clearly, that needs to come out.
But this stuff about keeping out grand jury material, about potentially keeping out executive privilege material, about we don't say anything bad about people who haven't been indicted. All of that I think is pre-textual. There's easy ways around all three of those things if you want the information to come out. But if you're trying to hide then you hide behind those legal principles.
[23:09:59] LEMON: Ryan, I want to bring in now. The officials and others interviewed by the Times say they did not go into detail about why some of the special investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president. Do you think they want the report to speak for itself instead of having someone summarize it? Because they did -- they wrote summaries as well, already in there.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, it sounds like -- look, ever since the Barr's initial letter came out and any journalist or commentator raised some skepticism about this Trump appointee summarizing this very long and complicated report in such a brief manner, everyone said Republicans and conservatives and defenders of the president and Barr said, well, there's no way he would obfuscate what's in the report because people on Mueller's team would obviously point that out.
And I thought that was a pretty good argument. He couldn't get away with that. Well, lo and behold, people on Mueller's team have now apparently spoken out, or at least spoken to people who the Times spoke to.
So, this gets curiouser and curiouser. And for those of us who, frankly, you know, I put myself in this camp, who are very willing, especially on the collusion piece of this to accept Barr's conclusion, because, my God, how could someone not accurately characterize something that was obviously going to be public. You know, this seems more and more like, you know, -- Max used the word cover-up.
I don't know if I'm willing to go that far, but it seems like a political actor trying to defend the president and it's just another reason why the public needs to see the entire report.
LEMON: Interesting. I want to ask you about this, something else that "The New York Times" is reporting, Juliette. That the attorney general and other Justice Department officials believe the special counsel's investigators that they fell short on the obstruction call, that they believe that Mueller should have made that call.
LEMON: But given Barr's views on obstruction, does that make sense to you?
KAYYEM: No. I mean, this is -- this was my favorite part of "The New York Times" article. One, because it's non-responsive to the issue, which is the disclosure. So even if they felt like he fell short on something, why don't you release the information. Let us determine where he fell short.
But this is also where I'm going to be critical of the left that seemed so willing to say Mueller punted the obstruction of justice question and were sort of critical of him last week. We don't actually know that now. I mean that honestly. Barr has lost any credibility in terms of summarizing this.
LEMON: You said this all along.
KAYYEM: Yes. I didn't believe, listen, if you don't get behind people's motives and just sort of look at it, you go why should I believe a four-page summary that says that he did not decide this question.
It is just as likely and your previous guest in the last hour said it, it is just as likely that Mueller said because we can't -- because I accept the Department of Justice's determination that we cannot indict a sitting president, it is not my determination to say he absolutely obstructed justice.
Instead, he could have very likely said it is inconclusive because I don't know if he can be indicted so here Congress, this is your political question, this is your political decision. And that explanation seems to me much more likely now than Mueller was like, you know, twirling his fingers going, which is 49, 51, I mean, come on.
LEMON: Yes. Well, that is indeed what happens when the report is finally released.
LEMON: I know one person who's not going to be happy about that. Stick around, everyone, we have lots to talk about. There's a huge battle brewing over the president's taxes as a chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is formally requesting six years of the president's returns. Will they get them? We're going to discuss what comes next.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight, House Democrats are setting up a battle royal with the White House. The chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee asking the IRS to turn over President Trump's tax returns from 2013 through 2018.
Back with me now, Elie Honig, Juliette Kayyem, Ryan Lizza, and Max Boot. OK, Mr. Former federal prosecutor, right? Mr. Prosecutor.
HONIG: And state.
LEMON: And state. So, listen, I just want to get your legal opinion with the House Ways and Means Committee is doing. The chairman by the way is Richard Neal making the formal request. It's going to go to court, right?
LEMON: The Democrats can win this battle?
HONIG: I think they will. So, this is sort of an obscure provision of the law. But essentially what it says is the House Ways and Means Committee, the chair has the right to request tax returns of any person from the IRS and the IRS shall provide them.
Now shall is a legal term that means shall. It means what it means in regular life, shall, must, has to.
Now the response, and we saw Secretary Mnuchin saying this in the prior hour is well, but this is unprecedented. Nobody has ever tried to get the president's tax returns this way.
Right, because every other president has made them public, and there's never been a need. So ultimately, if it comes down to those two arguments, I think the House has the better -- the legal arguments here.
LEMON: Interesting. Max, the president even today still maintains that he is under audit. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the chairman of the Democratic House Ways and Means Committee moments ago asked the IRS for six years of your tax returns.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is that all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all.
TRUMP: Usually it's 10, so I guess they're giving up. Now we're under audit despite what people said, and we're working that out. I'm always under audit it seems, but I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you're audited, but until such time as I'm not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:20:02] LEMON: All right, Max, so here's the thing. Democrats are going straight to the IRS, the commissioner. How does this look politically?
BOOT: I mean, I think certainly the Republicans will spin it as, you know, Democrats are on a political witch hunt, but I think that the Democrats in fact, have a very legitimate case.
I think there is a public interest in seeing President Trump's tax returns. We need to know is President Trump governing for the benefit of the Trump organization or is he governing for the benefit of the United States of America, and there are serious questions because he has not divested his business interests.
We don't know where his money comes from. We don't know where all his investments are. We don't know if possibly he has been financially compromised by Russia, by Saudi Arabia, by UAE, by some other country, although we do know that he has a lot of business dealings in various foreign countries.
And by the way, that's another part of the Mueller report if it's even in the Mueller report that we still need to get which is on the counter intelligence side and whether in fact, beyond the issue of whether President Trump has violated any law, the issue is whether he has been compromised by a foreign intelligence service, whether it's the Russians or somebody else.
And I think that is something we need to find out, and given the way that President Trump intermingles the public business with this private business, and you see it down at Mar-a-Lago where he is running a for-profit club even as he's president and granting access to almost anybody including a woman who has been arrested on suspicions of being a Chinese agent.
I mean, there is clearly a public interest here in disentangling President Trump's financial affairs, and there is no good reason for him to keep his tax returns secret when all previous presidents going back to Richard Nixon have publicly revealed them.
LEMON: Juliette, I want to get your response, weigh in on this, please.
KAYYEM: Well, I mean, it's really funny is maybe the wrong word, I live in Massachusetts and Neal who's now a household name after what he did today is probably one of the less shiny characters in Massachusetts politics, so to speak, very by the book and he clearly waited an appropriate time to ask for a certain number of years.
If I were Neal and you're going to get a fight from the White House, I would pull back next and simply ask a simple yes, no question of the IRS commissioner. Which is, is the president actually under audit? Because I think the answer is no, and I think then that sort of exposes the lie that we've all been living under or some people have been willing to believe about Trump's taxes.
I also want to talk a little bit about Max's points and I think it's important generally. If we are going to learn from this administration Democrats need to learn too. I'm not going to get political about certain candidates. But I think it's time that the parties determine that no one can run for federal office unless they can -- they disclose their taxes.
You cannot have the Democrats going after Donald Trump but then be willing to have people run on their side who aren't. I mean that honestly as a national security issue because that's where we are right now.
This is -- as Max said, we have no idea what money is behind these people, and this is a good government lesson out of this nightmare essentially, we've been living with vis-a-vis, who's paying for Trump at this stage.
LEMON: And it would have preempted a lot of this. Because then the American people would know if the president was compromised. And if he didn't know anything to Russia, if he had no dealings in Russia, he wasn't getting anything from Russia according to his tax returns and that would be an avenue that the special counsel probably would not have to go down or others as well, and at least Democrats or many people have them speculated about it.
The interesting thing to me is before the election most Republicans, most of them, especially the ones who were running against him said this man should release his tax returns and now crickets. Not saying anything.
So, Ryan, listen, this is your latest piece in Esquire, and you write about how Trump's legal problems are far from over, and you point to what we're seeing in New York and how Michael Cohen has given them a road map of where to look. Explain how.
LIZZA: Well, this is a great lead-in from the tax return discussion because I'm actually not -- I think the reasons that Juliette and Max laid out for why you want to see a president's tax returns are very good. You want to make sure they're not governing in the interests of their companies.
You want to make sure there's no foreign influence that's reflected on those tax returns. I'm sort of skeptical that that's the issue and that's why Trump doesn't want them out there. I think he probably just cheated on his taxes. I mean, let's be honest. He cheats at golf. He lies on a daily basis. What are the chances that Donald Trump over the last six years did not cheat on his taxes? I think everything --
LEMON: But Ryan, let me jump in here for just a second.
LEMON: So, we all know that wealthy people through lawyers and accountants that they can -- they have all of these loopholes where they pay less taxes.
RYAN: There's all kinds of legal things you can do, but you can also cross the line and maybe not report something. [23:24:59] So this is what -- you know, when the Southern District of
New York used all of their incredible powers to go after Michael Cohen and basically turned his life upside down, it wasn't very hard for them to find a crime, especially a financial crime, right?
LEMON: That's true.
RYAN: So, they got him on tax fraud because he didn't report, I think it was like a million, or a million and a half dollars over a several year period. Boom, you know, that's a tax crime.
He applied for that HELOC to pay off Stormy Daniels, and he didn't include in the application all of his liabilities, right? It might seem to a lot of people kind of minor. He's going to jail for that.
LIZZA: So, imagine the same powers that were directed at him investigating Donald Trump's tax returns? His entire financial history at the Trump Organization. What are the chances that the Southern District of New York won't find some tax issue or some --
LIZZA: -- instance where he did not tell the truth to a bank, which has already been reported repeatedly, and he'll have the same issue as Michael Cohen.
LIZZA: I think that is the lowest bar but highest, the greatest danger for Trump in that Southern District of New York. That's easy --
LEMON: I've got to run because we've just added to the show, so I've got to cut this a little bit short. Thank you very much.
LIZZA: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Elie, happy birthday to you.
HONIG: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, the story that we added a little bit, and you've got to see this next story, a teenager telling police he's a boy reported kidnapped more than seven years ago. He says he just escaped from his kidnappers and ran for hours until he was found. You want to see the details next.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: This is a really incredible story that we are about to tell you about right now because tonight, a possible break in the case of a kidnapped child. Police are investigating after a teenager who identified himself as a missing Illinois boy told police that he just escaped from his kidnappers and ran for hours until he was found. The boy says he is Timmothy Pitzen. He went missing in May of 2011 when he was 6-1/2-years old.
Ryan Young joins us now with some details on this story. Ryan, good evening. Fascinating, amazing story. This could be a break in that case that started in 2011. Bring us up to speed in the latest.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly could. Tonight, this is a big mystery with few details but lots of questions, Don. Timmothy Pitzen went missing in 2011. And for years, nobody knew what happened to the 6-year-old. Some of the last known video of Timmothy is this surveillance video of the young man walking with his mom.
On May 11th, 2011, Timothy's mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, checked him out of the elementary school for a vacation. Three days later, his mom was found dead from suicide in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois. There was apparently a note left behind saying Timmothy was safe with people who were loving and caring for him, but he would never be found.
And for years, no one has seen or heard from the young man. That all changed today, Don, a potential big break in the case when a call to a Red Roof Inn near Cincinnati brought cops to an area where a teen claimed to be the missing boy.
Now, just think about all this. Tonight, police are looking for two men considered white, who are maybe body-building type, driving a newer model Ford SUV with Wisconsin plates.
So many people are waiting. There's a DNA test being done. Don, lots of questions on this one. People are crossing their fingers, but still so many unanswered questions. Have to figure out exactly what this young man may have been through.
LEMON: Ryan Young, thank you very much. I appreciate your reporting. I want to get now to Sharon Hall. She says that she saw the teenager who identified himself as the missing Illinois boy, Timmothy Pitzen, this morning. It was in her Newport, Kentucky neighborhood. She joins us now on the phone. Sharon, hello to you. Can you hear me?
SHARON HALL, WITNESS (via telephone): Yes, I can. Hello.
LEMON: Thank you for joining us. Tell us what you saw today.
HALL (via telephone): I've seen looking out my window that a boy was leaning against one of my neighbor's cars. We'd been having some crime fear with crime here, so I called her to tell her that, you know, hey, look out here, there was a boy standing there I thought was actually going to rob her car, so I took the picture in case he did something and, you know, ran off.
I didn't know anything. There was actually a minor who her mother does not want her to be disclosed. She called the police. He approached her. She called the police and waited. She was on her way to school and waited for the police to come and was late for school. I do want her story to be told, too.
HALL (via telephone): She's actually the hero.
LEMON: So right on with that, so you said your neighbor's daughters were getting into a car to head off to school when you noticed the boy, right?
HALL (via telephone): Yes.
LEMON: And he told the girls that he had been running for two hours, Sharon, and that his stomach hurt. He was tired, that he had been tossed around, and he didn't know where he was.
HALL (via telephone): Yes, that is all correct. This is what she told me, yes.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. And then did you see police come to pick up the boy?
HALL (via telephone): Yes, I did. At the time, of course, I didn't know anything about him. I was confused. I thought maybe he had been jumped in our neighborhood or something. They didn't handcuff him. They did search him, and they pulled back his hoodie. And the left side of his face, I could see, it looked like he might have slid on concrete or something. It wasn't bloody. It just was scarred up really bad.
LEMON: A bruise or maybe some scars or like a rug burn of some type?
HALL (via telephone): Yes, yes.
LEMON: So listen, just real quickly here, so you saw him, and I was going to ask you what condition he was in, but you already told me that. You'd seen the picture of him before, the last one they had?
[23:35:00] Have you seen --
HALL (via telephone): I took that, yes.
LEMON: No, no, no, the older picture when he was younger.
HALL (via telephone): Yes.
HALL (via telephone): Yes.
LEMON: Did he resemble that child to you? It may be tough --
HALL (via telephone): To me --
HALL (via telephone): -- he resembled more of the 6-year-old child than he did the one that they predicted for him to be at this age.
LEMON: When they did the age enhancement. HALL (via telephone): He still had the features. Yes.
LEMON: Right. Well, Sharon, nice job. Thank you for relaying what you say is the young girl who is a hero here, and we really appreciate you joining us. We hope it's him and that this story ends well. Thank you.
HALL (via telephone): I do, too. Thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in now Neill Franklin, a former Maryland state police officer. Neill, I appreciate you joining us.
NEILL FRANKLIN, FORMER MARYLAND STATE POLICE MAJOR: Hey, Don. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: You've got over three decades of law enforcement experience. So walk us through the steps that investigators might be taking right now to confirm that this boy is who he claims he is, claims to be.
FRANKLIN: Yeah, sure. So there's going to be a lot of communication with the family regarding the boy's history to see if the boy can remember anything from -- I mean it's been a while. It's been a few years. But he wasn't that young. So he's going to have some memories, some recollection of what it was of that time with his mom and with other family members.
So, they'll be trying to get information from the family to ask the boy questions. But again, the DNA test is the most important. And luckily, we've reduced the time of getting those results to, I believe, it's going to be somewhere around 24 hours for this particular case. This is a very important case, so you're going to see them pulling out all stops.
They're definitely going to be looking for the two men that Timmothy, if he is in fact Timmothy, that he reported, the description that he gave of the vehicle, the tag. So, you better believe that they're out in numbers looking for that vehicle occupied by two men that fit that description.
But again, the most important piece here is identifying him. I would think that if it were not him that they would also be getting information from maybe other people. But from what I understand, they haven't released his current photo yet.
FRANKLIN: Is that correct?
LEMON: They haven't released his current photo. Just so you know, his mom committed suicide, so they would be -- they will return him to his rightful guardian, which will most likely be his grandmother, I would assume, I'm not sure about his father in the picture because, again, this is just coming in.
FRANKLIN: I tell you, Don, you've really got me interested now in the actual case of suicide regarding his mother and that note. I do recall a little bit about that case a few years back, but I didn't really look into it in any depth.
But, you know, a mother and their child, to turn their child over to someone other than, you know, a close family member is -- I don't know. It's got me interested in that initial case of when he went missing. So, I guarantee there's probably going to be some looking into that as well.
LEMON: Well, someone takes her life and obviously there would be some extenuating circumstances there.
FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think there might have been something else involved.
LEMON: Yeah. The note says you'll never find him. You'll never find him.
FRANKLIN: There's a lot happening behind the scenes here.
LEMON: Thank you, Neill. I appreciate it. We wish him well, the family as well.
FRANKLIN: We do.
LEMON: Actually, I hope it is him. I hope he gets back to who he should be with. Thank you. We'll be right back.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We have some new developments tonight from "The Washington Post". Three more women have come forward to say that Joe Biden made them uncomfortable. The news comes after the former vice president said in a video that he will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Social norms have begun to change, they've shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they're saying. I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful. That's my responsibility. My responsibility, and I'll meet it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So let's discuss now. Keith Boykin is here, Joe Lockhart and Jennifer Granholm. Thank you all for joining us. So today -- today's video is the fourth time the Biden folks have tried to put a rest to concerns about the way he interacts with people. Do you think it's going to work, Joe?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think this is the one. It did take several tries and it's a little bit surprising it took this. I thought earlier in the week he ought to just pick up the phone and call the woman and talk to her directly from New Mexico, Lucy Flores.
But I think it will work. I think there's a large reservoir of goodwill towards Joe Biden among Democrats. But the really interesting thing to me is that we're watching a cultural norm, the line being drawn in real time in front of us.
LOCKHART: And putting Joe Biden aside, putting the Democratic politics aside, this is a really good thing in the end because people now are aware and mostly men are becoming aware in sometimes painful ways that the things they think are innocuous to women are not innocuous. And if it means that a politician has a really tough week or someone doesn't win some campaign and that awareness grows, that's a really good thing.
LEMON: Does it matter to you -- I'm going to bring you guys in. We're looking at -- people would say, well, he doesn't do that with men, of course he does.
LOCKHART: Of course he does.
LEMON: There are photographs of him --
LEMON: -- doing very similar things with men.
LEMON: That's who he is. Whether it's appropriate or not, I'll leave that, but it's not like he is --
LOCKHART: No, I don't even think there's anyone suggesting that he has a sexual motivation --
LOCKHART: -- but I think it's important when women say they're made to feel uncomfortable, that you just don't do that.
LEMON: Jennifer, you know, none of the women who say that they were uncomfortable with Biden's behavior say that they considered it sexual, and people, you know, have known Biden for decades say his brand of politics is tactile. What do you think of this? Can that change? Can he said, you know, I know I have to change with the times, but what do you think of all this?
[23:44:59] JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I totally think he gets it. I think that video, Joe is right, is clearly an expression that he understands that women are now feeling more comfortable stepping up and saying, hey, this is not good. And I agree 100 percent this is a great conversation to have. I'm a huggy person and, you know, I -- even though I'm a woman, I got to like listen to that as well. A lot of it is like people have their own personal boundaries and some people just don't want you to violate their personal space, whether you're a man or a woman.
But if you are a woman, there is a feeling of being threatened or how far is this going to go. Joe Biden clearly demonstrated in that video. I think that he gets it, that he's going to learn from it. Obviously, his behavior will be watched.
This is not going to be the last we see of it. Especially it's not going to be the last we see of it because the Republicans love the fact that Democrats are turning on their own again and have made even a Trump-related Super PAC, made a video, a commercial about it already.
LEMON: Do you know it's Democrats? Are you sure it's Democrats who are doing it?
GRANHOLM: No, no, I'm saying the Republicans are loving this, that -- well, Democrats, we expect perfection of our candidates and the minute anybody shows a chink in their armor, we all are like, ah, this is terrible!
And so we've got to realize our candidates are as human as we are. And yeah, people have made mistakes in the past, and it makes them better people once they recognize it, own it and change. And the Republicans are going to exploit it. That's my point.
LEMON: Keith, you question why Biden would even want to run given the environment and how long he's been in public service. Why do you say that?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For exactly the same reasons that --
BOYKIN: -- Jennifer and Joe already articulated.
LEMON: That was a big sigh, by the way.
BOYKIN: He's well-liked. There's a reservoir of goodwill for him. He's respected. He's connected to a very popular ex-president. Why put yourself through this at his age after everything he's accomplished?
GRANHOLM: Why anybody should, though?
BOYKIN: I've been saying for weeks, until today I didn't think he was actually going to run. His statement today, his video today was the clearest inclination to me or sign to me that he probably will run. I still don't understand why because there is the possibility -- I mean, he has every right to. I'm not taking that away. I respect the work that he's done, but there is the possibility he may lose. Is that the legacy he wants to have? There is also the possibility he may tarnish his reputation by having so many attacks. It's not just about violating people's personal space. It is about Anita Hill, it's about the crime bill, it's about the comments he made in the 1970s, and it's about everything that he has ever done over the course of his long history to be judged in the context of 2019. Is that really something you want to put yourself through?
LOCKHART: I agree with what he says, but I think I understand why he's running, and the name is Donald Trump. I think this is a guy who has devoted his entire life to this country, to public service, and he's just appalled and disgusted by what Trump has done to the office of the presidency. And he sees himself as someone with the experience that can come in and step in and do that. And he's willing to take this personal --
LEMON: Don't you think an astute politician, Jennifer, and he is one, don't you think they can turn this into a positive, that he can turn this into a positive? All of this, even the things that Keith mentioned, and take them head on and go directly to the American people and say, yes, I am all of these things, but that was a long time ago, and so let's talk about that. I want to right some of those wrongs, and I also want to take on what's in Washington right now.
GRANHOLM: Right. I mean, everybody is human. They understand that everybody has made mistakes in their past, and if you own up to it. But here's what Joe Biden brings that I think almost -- I mean, everybody has some empathy in it.
But the fact that Joe Biden has gone through so many personal tragedies, he's the guy that people call upon to give eulogies to comfort families because of what he's been through. And anybody in America who's been through something horrible wants a president who will be compassionate, who sees them.
And unlike the guy in the White House, I mean, yeah, there's so many comparison. You could say, oh, we've got a sexual predator in the White House and we have somebody who's a hugger. That's a big comparison. But I think one of the biggest comparisons is that Joe Biden has unbelievable reservoir of empathy.
GRANHOLM: And we want that in a president.
GRANHOLM: I hope he runs.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you all. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Another fascinating story. Reverend Robert W. Lee is all too familiar with America's complicated history with race. He is a descendant of General Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army. He has written a new book. It is called "A Sin By Any Other Name: Reckoning with Racism and the Heritage of the South." He joins me now. Thank you so much for joining us.
This is really loaded, especially when you're talking about issues of racism in America. Why did you -- given your family's history, why would you take this on?
ROBERT W. LEE, REVEREND, DESCENDANT OF GEN. ROBERT E. LEE: Silence is complicity. If I'm going to sit here and proclaim to be a Christian pastor and proclaim that I know something about Jesus, then I have to proclaim that it is time to stand up and speak up in a world that is filled with evil and hate and white supremacy, things that I know that my god is ardently opposed to.
LEMON: So, I'm sure you remember Charlottesville, right?
LEMON: Charlottesville in 2017, hundreds of white supremacists who opposed the removal of a statue honoring General Robert E. Lee and the ensuing violence, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was mowed down, killed by a white supremacist. There were dozens of others who were injured in that. Was that a turning point for you, and if so, why?
LEE: It was most certainly a turning point for me for two reasons. The first reason was those people that were marching in the riots looked just like me. They were white people who were my age. They were complicit in this awful, terrible event.
And after that, I went on the MTV VMA with Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, and spoke about what happened at Charlottesville. And it was a powerful moment of reckoning with my heritage, but also speaking with Susan who had a fresh loss.
LEMON: Did you -- maybe I'm wrong. I seem to think -- didn't you speak -- did you speak out about this before Charlottesville? Didn't you do that?
LEE: Yeah. I had a piece in "The Washington Post" around the time of the Emanuel shootings.
LEE: I talk about that in the book as a real turning point for me because as churches started to see that I was speaking out about these issues, they started to back away and they didn't want to support this because churches are so good at maintaining the status quo. Right now, we live in a country where white supremacy is the status quo.
LEMON: Yeah. You've heard people say, even the president who has been out in the country saying, oh, they want to change our history, take away, whatever take away the history, you say that the Charlottesville statue of General Lee must come down in order -- and I think others as well. It must come down in order for society to move forward. How did you get there? What brought you to that conclusion?
LEE: Well, again, it goes back to my faith that my parents and my confirmation mentor who is a woman of color, and the person who cared for me when I was little who is a woman of color taught me is that these are idols.
[23:55:01] These are idols of white supremacy. And as a person of faith, looking at what happens when we have idols, we have to tear them down. And that's pretty plain and simple in what I learned in seminary and what I learned in Sunday school. It's across the board. You know what to do with idols. We cannot have idols of white supremacy in our city square where people go to vote, where people got to live out their lives --
LEMON: Go to school.
LEE: Go to school. I mean, it's not only empathy, it's also education. It's realizing that for someone who is a person of color, there is a -- they walk by these statues every day. And it may not affect me directly, but it certainly affects them in some way. There's a reaction to it, whether it's small or whether it's large.
And what we have to do as white folk is realize that it's time for us to get together and say enough is enough. You know, people of goodwill everywhere have to band together and find solutions to these statues and to these school names and to all that we face as a country.
LEMON: Thank you.
LEE: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you very much. The book again, "A Sin by Any Other Name: Reckoning with Racism and the Heritage of the South" by Robert W. Lee. Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.