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CNN TONIGHT

House Judiciary Demands DOJ Release Communications Between Attorney General And Mueller's Office; House Judiciary Committee Authorizes Subpoena For Full Mueller Report, Has Not Issued It Yet; FBI Investigating Whether Mar-a-Lago Incident Was Espionage Attempt; Trump Announces Controversial Pick For Fed Board; Key House Democrat Requests Trump's Tax Returns From IRS; Boeing CEO Apologizes For Fatal 737 Max Crashes; Mayor Buttigieg Brings 'Religious Left' Message To 2020 Democratic Nomination Battle. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired April 4, 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. The pressure is on, Attorney General William Barr tonight. The House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is now demanding the Justice Department provide all communications between Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

That as sources tells CNN, that some investigators from the special counsel's team have been complaining that Barr's four-page letter on the Mueller report didn't adequately describe that the case for obstruction included derogatory information about the president's action. Nadler also making it clear that if Barr does not cooperate, a subpoena for the full nearly 400 report could come at any moment.

Also, tonight the president's former lawyer Michael Cohen says he discovered a hard drive containing over 14 million files. He is offering the new information to House Democrats hoping it will keep him out of jail a little longer. Cohen says he's gone to less than 1 percent of what's on the hard drive and needs more time to review the rest. As of now, Cohen heads to jail on May 8th.

As you can see, there is a lot to discuss. Former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean is here, as well as Jed Shugerman, the author of "The People's Court."

Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.

Shugerman, I'm going to start with you. There are major discrepancies between what Barr wrote in that four page letter and what Mueller's seem reportedly said was alarming and significant evidence that Trump obstructed justice, could this end fighting single concern of a cover up?

JED SHUGERMAN, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: I think it does signals some concern. I think, specifically we saw a back and forth where team Mueller was calling out team Barr, because they know, -- so, first of all, we start with "The New York Times," report form last night where team Barr says to New York Times, we could not go with these executives summaries, were team Mueller wrote summaries, we couldn't use them, because the summaries where intermingled with sensitive information, grand jury information, executive privilege.

And then three hours later "The Washington Post" has team Mueller saying, wait a minute, we wrote those reports -- we wrote those summaries specifically so that they could be used, right? So, I looked back at some of the old (inaudible) report, the Starr report from the Clinton era, they each included simple one-page summary that were designed for immediate release with nothing complicated in them.

It is completely implausible that the Mueller team would make such a mistake to write these summaries that would have such sensitive information, it exposes Barr for being non-credible.

LEMON: John, something fishy going on here, in your estimation?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Barr has certainly fumbled the same from the outset, Don. He's so called summary letter, he's conclusions, and his collusions raised many questions. It is very -- for such an experience washing hand, something is amiss, and it sounds like he is been instructed by the boss to watch out for his best interest and that is what he is doing.

LEMON: John, if we get pass mid-April, right? Without the full Mueller report, do you think that it is going to look like a cover up and you know, I don't know, and Barr really get the benefit of the doubt until then, John?

DEAN: I am sorry, Don, my audio is down.

LEMON: Yes. If we get to mid-April and still don't have the full report, will it start to look like a cover up and I'm wondering if people will still continue to give Barr the benefit of the doubt?

DEAN: He will lose the benefit of the doubt, if he protracted in his, you know, if he withholds information as he is right now. He's not cooperating, he's made a promise that he will have it out by the middle of the month. All of his many letters clarifying, past letters and past statements are just adding confusion. This has a smell of a cover up. And it is not a good thing at this point.

LEMON: Was there ever a disconnect between the Justice Department and the special counsel's team during Watergate?

DEAN: No, no. They were very blunt. Actually Leon Jaworski, the last special counsel, Watergate special prosecutor went right over and talk to the chief of staff, Al Haig and they communicated rather directly about their things. Some of the Watergate prosecutor staff was concerned about their relationships, but in the end it turnout that Jaworski was playing it straight. He did not want to make any mistakes and was his intentions were and want to understand exactly where the White House was coming from.

LEMON: Jed, I find it interesting that you think that this will head to the Supreme Court. What does this mean for President Trump and why do you think that? SHUGERMAN: Well, I think that we see what Barr's behavior. That he

seems -- if he is willing to say that the executive summaries he could not include them because they are protected by executive privilege.

[23:05:03] He seems willing, or his team seems willing to invoke executive privilege for anything and everything. That suggests that the House in order to get just basic access to the report is going to have to litigate. So, if you look back to how this transpired with the Oval Office tapes and the Nixon era, it took about five months -- four or five months to go from the start of that litigation from the trial all the way out to the Supreme Court.

That was a 9-0 decision with U.S. versus Nixon, 8-0. The challenge now is can we rely on this Supreme Court to find the right balance with the public interest. Executive privilege is not a blanket absolute privilege, it has to be something balance. So, if they get the diction (ph) right, it should go out to the public. I just think we have to be concerned about this current Supreme Court.

LEMON: OK, so let me add, did you say in a previous answer, was it you or John Dean, I can't really remember who said about the summaries that it was fishy. Because I am just wondering -- the DOJ is saying that this summaries contains privilege material and there is no way Mueller would make that mistake. Did you say that?

SHUGERMAN: Yes, I think I said that.

DEAN: I didn't say that.

LEMON: Go ahead.

DEAN: It such a good point though.

SHUGERMAN: So, right, I mean, it seems ridiculous to think that team Mueller with all of its experienced lawyers so surely would have look back at past special counsels. I mean, they would be foolish to have written executive summaries that would then be subject to and vulnerable to this argument. In fact, they told "The Washington Post" explicitly, if you look back at the report, they said, we wrote these summaries so that they could be immediately released and not redacted.

So, they're calling Barr out. They know that Barr has made a mistake. And given -- it's remarkable that for two years there were no leaks from team Mueller until now. And they basically gave Barr a chance and they waited and now they're saying -- we want the public to know that Barr is not playing straight.

LEMON: John, why do you want Mueller's investigator -- Mueller or his investigators, his lawyers or investigators to speak out. And why are you calling them wussies?

DEAN: Because I think they should stand up. Many of them are no longer in the government. Some of them are in the government, I go to the Attorney General himself if they are working for him and protest. But I think those who are out of government ought to call a press right in and say, listen, I am not going to disclose any grand jury information, but I can tell you what's going on is not right. And this Attorney General better get it right or I am going to speak out more. And I think they're wussies if they don't do so.

LEMON: I got to get you to weigh in on this news about Michael Cohen tonight. Do you think Congress will buy that he has 14 million files that just popped up the month before he is supposed to report?

DEAN: I have been looking for when he learn about the files. One report has recent and another report I saw implied that -- when he got the material back that it had been taken from him in the raid, but it does not make it clear when they got that material back. That is when he started going through them. But this sounds like its material that the government already had in the Southern District.

So, they may have already been through it. Obviously Michael can find things in his own files and would have different meaning than the Southern District looking at those files in the raw. So, I think it is important that he be given an opportunity and 30 days is not much time to go through 14 million files. So, if indeed this is legitimate as it sounds and I can't imagine Lanny not playing it straight with the court or with the members of Congress. I think he ought to be given some time to do it.

LEMON: Jed, do you think that Congress will be able to persuade the Southern District postpone as Cohen and his team wants?

SHUGERMAN: Big picture I think, Michael Cohen is overrated in all this stories. I think, underrated is whatever else the Southern District is working on and big time overrated is what the New York Attorney General is working on such as potential money laundering through Deutsche Bank. We should keep our eye on that as we have our eye on Michael Cohen.

LEMON: Even with all the information -- even with all the information that comes to life the Stormy Daniels's hush payment, with the checks. You know, some of the information and financial documents that he's providing, do you think he is overrated when it comes to this?

SHUGERMAN: No, I think, this new news is overrated. I think the Southern District already -- probably has all of that and they probably have sufficient information to go with that already.

LEMON: Jed Shugerman, John Dean, thank you sirs, I appreciate it.

Even Mar-a-Lago is no escape for uncomfortable question for this president. We are going to dig into the latest of the security breach of the president's private club. Next.

[23:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The Chinese government is now providing consular services to the woman arrested for illegally entering President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. She had suspicious items including four cellphones and a thumb drive with malicious software on it.

So, could she be a foreign spy? The FBI is now investigating. Let's discuss now, Matthew Rosenberg, and Phil Mudd are here.

Gentlemen, good evening to you. Matthew, you say if you were a foreign spy, you would have a Mar-a-Lago membership. Si there anything stopping someone with that same idea?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, if you run a foreign spy service and you're not either a member -- have a member there now or aren't working the members or trying to become a member, you are not doing your job. And I think that includes our allies as well.

You know, every weekend the president goes down there. He talks to club members about policies, business. He also get a sense of what his life is like, what's his interests are, you know, people around him to talk to. It's all these atmospherics, of course you want to be in there. He's the most powerful man in the world. What are the things to find out? Why would you not want to be in there? And the fact that somebody is coming in there with three or four cell phones and a ton of malware.

[23:15:13] LEMON: Four cellphones.

ROSENBERG: Malicious software. That sends a lot of red flags.

LEMON: OK. Phil, I want to know what you think of this, if you think Mar-a-Lago was a prime target and let's talk about with this woman and she had -- with her four cellphones, a laptop computer, external hard drives type device and a thumb drive with malicious malware on it. I mean -- Game out some of the things that should have been done or could have

been done with this equipment, I should say, at Mar-a-Lago.

MUDD: I mean, if you look at the malware, obviously it was a couple of questions you would ask, number one is whether she is going to introduce something to the software there that allows that malware to sort of penetrate the system of Mar-a-Lago. The bigger question I would add is whether theirs is something that enables you to play a listening device.

But, I mean, it's a rare day, Don. I have to agree with the journalist, with Matt. I mean, this gives me tremendous pain at 11:20. I mean, I look at this and say if you are conducting espionage and you can spend 200,000 bucks to get somebody in there or find somebody who is sympathetic to China and just say can you bring a few friends and -- why the heck would you send a woman who can't figure out where a cover story is and looks like she just ripped off the electronic section at target?

I mean, there is something weird here, but this cannot be a classic espionage operations. There is too much inspector (inaudible) going on here.

LEMON: So, at a hearing today, Zhang says that she works at a Shanghai private equity firm, but had paid per project has not made any money in 2019 and she also said that she owns a $1.3 million house in China, drives a BMW. Does that raise any questions about someone who has not worked this year and have that kind of capital and conflicting stories about what she was doing, Matthew?

ROSENBERG: Look, beyond the foreign spy services, foreign private equity firm. They're probably thinking, you know, maybe she is some kind of peace contractor. She goes in there and she finds out some good tips. Some changing U.S. policies, some China trade issue, somebody who cash in on that. I mean, it is a place that is wide open and all kinds of issues are being discussed.

LEMON: But if you're a real spy, you got bumbling and maybe they do it on purposes. It's like, right in front of your face, you know what I am saying, I don't know, Phil?

ROSENBERG: I mean, I suspect that you know, they are probably are all kinds of kind of drifters and others hangers on trying to get in there. You are thinking there must be some kind of pot of gold that you can find out there. There's a lot of great information.

LEMON: Yes. Phil, go on.

MUDD: Well, I think, there's a secondary question that you are touching on here, Don. And that is, we keep on talking about a spy. If it is someone who has to be sent by the Chinese state.

LEMON: Right.

MUDD: I look at this and say the secondary question that you are talking about that is -- for example, industrial espionage, what are her business connection and does someone have a business interest in determining what's going on in Mar-a-Lago. There is something behind this. I just don't think it is the Chinese intelligent service per se. I don't think so.

LEMON: When you are talking about businesses, she also had -- said that she had a Wells Fargo bank account, because she was looking for a business partner in the United States, but nothing had panned out. Does that raise any red flags to you?

MUDD: Not really. I mean, I look at all the data behind her including the Wells Fargo case you are talking about. And there is a lot of information that suggests that she did have some planning behind this. So that piece of data tells me that she didn't just throw in the United States and say I want to walk up to Mar-a-Lago, but, man, that the unanswered questions here are bigger than the answered one.

I can't quite figure out what she is up to and by the way what she thought she was going to do when she got in there. She could not even figure out whether she is going to a pool or to claim that she was going to a U.N. event, and that's her story, something is wrong here?

LEMON: It's just, you know.

MUDD: Come on, Don. She is an embarrassment for spies globally. I'm trying to get a --

LEMON: We don't know if she is a spy or just someone who got some issues, right? I mean, this is -- the president says he is not worried about it.

ROSENBERG: That's the big issue here. Look, we know the president has a loose relationship with his own security. We know about a cellphones. Those cellphone calls that he talks to his friends that are totally unsecure. You know, we know he's bragged about classified information with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval Office.

You know, that is something I think voters have to decide. Like, the president can do all of this. Not that it's illegal, he has the right to classify or declassify or anything he wants. There's an election coming up sooner or later. If voters are OK with this, they can vote that way. If they are not, they can, but it is something worth to debate over.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. Spies everywhere.

ROSENBERG: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. The president has another recommendation for the Fed board. This one, a friend, you won't guess who it is, but can I give you a hint? 999.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump says that he is recommending Herman Cain a former Pizza Executive in a 2012 Republican presidential contender for a seat on the Federal Reserve board. Cain dropped his bid for the president. He admits sexual harassment allegations, allegations that he denied, by the way.

Joining me now is Catherine Rampell and Scott Jennings.

Good evening to both of you. So, Catherine, the Federal Reserve is the most powerful central bank in the world. Herman Cain, do you think he is a good choice?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: No. Absolutely not. Look, maybe the Federal Reserve the most powerful central bank in the world that is in the very ad description, can withstand one very disruptive factually challenged appointment to that board, i.e., Stephen Moore who was announced as a potential nominee a couple weeks ago. I do not think it could withstand to both of these two candidates knew of which (inaudible) nominations submitted to the Senate, to be fair at this point.

LEMON: Right.

RAMPELL: Both of them would politicize what absolutely needs to be (inaudible).

LEMON: You mean the other candidate being Stephen Moore.

RAMPELL: Stephen Moore and Herman Cain. Who are both historically inflation hawks, people who would advise the central bank to raise interest rates, because they are very worried about inflation, have suddenly changed their tune now with a Republican is in office. And instead, they are saying that we should fear nonexistence deflation and we should pump more money into the economy just as of course that Republican in the White House is up for reelection.

[23:25:06] LEMON: Is he a good choice, Scott?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is going to need a very thorough vetting. You obviously have a background check process before your nomination gets submitted and then he's going to need a very thorough vetting by the committee.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Do you think he would be confirm?

JENNINGS: Well, I think, when you go before a committee like this, you're going to get a lot of questions about your views on monetary policies and current, you know, events and how you want to handle the economy and we are going to have to see how he stands up to that.

So, if I were Republican senator looking at an unconventional nomination for a technical board like this, I would come ready with a lot of technical questions and I would withhold my judgment until I could see whether that person can handle those sorts of questions.

RAMPELL: I mean, I would say it's sufficient to say that Herman Cain supports the gold standard, which actual economic experts everywhere have roundly rejected as a good form of monetary policies. I don't know if you really need much more technical question in that.

LEMON: Well, you remember the 999, that was going to --

RAMPELL: I do.

LEMON: -- that's right. People -- I mean, he wanted to be catchy, it was, he caught some fire and then I have to ask you about this Scott, because this was all a part of it. November of 2011, at the initial accusations, there were accusations of sexual harassment against Cain. Trump told Fox News, Greta Van Susteren that the women were seeking fame even though were both were anonymous at the time. Said the same thing about his own accusers, it's just -- why would I nominate someone with similar baggage, because it would be brought back up to you, see that?

JENNINGS: Yes, I definitely see it and these questions are all going to get asked in a confirmation hearing and obviously they're all -- also going to be investigated as part of a background check. So, I think, we are probably pretty far away from these nominations being submitted.

And once they are submitted, you know, typically this things don't get a ton of news, because people come and they answer questions and they get confirmed. This one is going to get a lot of attention. It is not going to be a quick process. I wouldn't imagine and I think the president is going to run into more resistance on this than perhaps he would want out of something like this appointment. LEMON: Catherine, can you talk to us about the Fed, isn't it supposed

to be -- you are supposed to place people on it who have experience, not political cronies, supposed to be non-partisan. It is a very big deal.

RAMPELL: Yes. Yes. It is absolutely critical for the Fed to function for it to be politically independent, both in actuality and in perception. And the reason why is evidence from lots of counter examples that we've seen like Venezuela and Argentina and prior Italy and lots of other places where the printing press was in the hands of politicians.

Politicians again, always have an incentive to print a little bit more money especially into an election year or heading in to an election year. So that they can get growth a little bit stronger and make them look a little bit better.

But the long run tradeoff of that is that you can have inflation. So you want a central bank that people credibly believe, is willing to do politically unpopular things, as Paul Walker famously did in the 80's. And if they don't believe that the Fed is independent, if instead they think that the central bank is doing the bidding, whoever is in the White House or whoever is in Congress or whatever.

Then it can be kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, the two things that the Fed is responsible for is price stability and maximum employment and it's very difficult for them to maintain price stability of people just believe that they are there, you know, to sort of (inaudible) to the president.

LEMON: I want to make a turn and talk to you guys about "The New York Times," reporting that is as far back as February, the president asked Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the IRS. I'm just wondering, first an answer from you, Catherine, was he trying to fast track and ally in anticipation of Democrat demands for his taxes?

RAMPELL: It certainly looks that way. I mean, not just an ally, but a person who had provide the Trump organization briefly at one point tax advice. That Bloomberg broke this last year, in fact. Look, Trump is clearly very afraid that whatever in his tax returns will come out and it will become public.

That is why he has broken with more than four decades of presidents, four presidents to not only divest from whatever might present a conflict of interest, but to be transparent about what's in their tax returns. Jimmy Carter had to give up his peanut farm for God's sake.

You know, Trump has this sprawling multinational empire and we don't know who's been paying him money, who he owes money to and how easily they could call those loans. We don't know if he is making money off of the presidency and we don't know if he has been breaking tax laws or committing other financial crimes. And there is ample evidence in the public domain at this point to suggest that -- we should be at least be asking questions about this.

[23:30:00] He wants to safeguard whatever financial documents he can that might help answer those.

LEMON: OK. Scott, I want you to weigh in, because the Time also reports that it was a bigger priority than Attorney General Barr. So talk to me about -- does the timing seem suspicious to you?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I can't speak to why he wanted it fast track, people can speculate. I mean, I think regarding the tax return issue generally, he needs to be prepared for these things to become public. I think that Democrats are not going to give up on this. They obviously have some lines of inquiry here. They could bear fruit.

I heard Lindsey Graham today say that if he will run for president in 2020, he thinks all the candidates should disclose their tax returns. I presume that would include Bernie Sander who is still not giving his up. So, my view is it would probably be in the president's best interest to prepare for these things to come out one way or the other.

And if you are going to have to produce them, if your lawyers ultimately decided that is going to happen to do it on terms that you can get out there and explain yourself. I'm sure he has got a complicated tax return and there will be things in there that people are going to want to have to, you know, pick apart.

I would say this. At one point in our most recent history when we've had discussions using the IRS for political purposes, it was a Republican president trying to get the IRS to use their powers to harm his political enemies. The IRS commissioner at that time resisted that so did the treasury secretary.

In this case, we have Democrats trying to, I think, use the IRS as a political cajole (ph) against a Republican president. I am not saying there couldn't possibly be legitimate reasons to see these tax returns, but I think we have to be very careful that the two parties don't start using the IRS no matter who's in power to go after their political enemies.

RAMPELL: Look, I think that the American people absolutely have a right to know whether their president, whether the most important and most public figure in the world is running the executive branch for Americans' benefit or for his own. And we could answer these questions easily if Trump abided by these nearly half-century norms that have been in place and he voluntarily released those documents himself.

No one would need to be "using the IRS as a political cajole" if in fact Trump just volunteered the information that has been widely expected of presidents with much less conflicted portfolios within their private ownership.

LEMON: I'm out of time. Thank you both. I appreciate it. Boeing, the manufacturer of the Ethiopia Airlines flight that crashed last month, killing everyone on board, apologized today after a report confirmed the doomed crew followed all instructions. What we are learning about what exactly went wrong and questions about the 737 Max's safety.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Tonight, CNN has obtained the preliminary report on the last moments of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 which crashed last month, killing all 157 people on board. The report shows the cockpit crew battled with the plane's automated flight control systems beginning just after takeoff. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The report says the trouble starts right after takeoff with air speed and altitude reading from the left side of the 737 Max 8 that don't match the readings from the right side, and two sensors on the front disagreeing about the angle of the aircraft's nose. The sensor on the right shows steady readings around 15 degrees, but the one on the left swings wildly from 11 to nearly 75 degrees steep as if the plane is rocketing upward.

Those readings are false but they appear to trigger the MCA system, an on-board computer which starts pulling the nose down. If the plane were climbing steeply, that would prevent a stall. But because it is climbing normally, the system erroneously starts pushing it toward the ground. The report does not name MCAS but Boeing has now acknowledged it was involved.

The captain asked the first officer to pitch up together to pull back on their control simultaneously. It does not work. Instead, the flight data recorder shows the plane diving in all four times without pilot's input, an impact warning sounds in the cockpit, "don't sink," "don't sink."

DAGMAWIT MOGES, ETHIOPIA'S TRANSPORT MINISTER: The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.

FOREMAN: The report says the cockpit crew even figured out what is wrong and disabled the MCAS system. Then, the captain asked his first officer about a key part of the plane needed to regain control, the trim. The reply, it is not working. Less than six minutes in, once again, the aircraft began pitching nose down, eventually reaching 40 degrees, and it slams into the ground with 157 people on board at nearly 600 miles an hour.

It is all eerily similar to the crash of an identical jet near Indonesia last fall, killing 189 people. Even though this is just a preliminary report which does not find the probable cause, Boeing is promising a software update for MCAS, some additional safety measures, and trying to regain public confidence.

DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: This update along with the associated training and additional education materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[23:40:02] FOREMAN: Still only a couple of years ago, Boeing was talking about how much it appreciated the government's new streamline approach to regulation, particularly in regard to the Max line of planes. And now, investigations are swirling around all these claims about their development, their testing, their certification, and whether people can ever truly trust them again. Don?

LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

I want to bring in now CNN's Richard Quest. He is the host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." I mean, Richard, it's just the worst nightmare. Listen, before we talk about what happened, the failure of the system has left families devastated, the company is reeling. Officials are now saying that there is an additional software problem in the 737 MAX flight control system. What do you know about that?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Boeing has said there is this additional software issue that they are looking at. They described it as a minor issue. I suppose it is to be expected in a way that any parts would have been found now and would have to be dealt with as they are putting the whole thing back together again. We don't know the full severity of it but (INAUDIBLE) that yes, it does exist.

LEMON: Can you imagine -- I mean, the claim, you know, pitching up and down, it is the worst nightmare.

QUEST: Right.

LEMON: So tell us what went in the cabin when this was happening, explain to us.

QUEST: Tonight, I was flying back from Oslo (ph), and I was reading the report in its fullness. I was trying to imagine what it would be like to go flying on and you take off and you are just wobbling a bit, nothing much, and then suddenly the nose goes down, and then suddenly the pilots managed to pull the nose back up again so you are going back up. It is all happening very fast. The plane is accelerating, accelerating to very high speed.

And then for the next, once, and then again, and then again, MCAS pushes the nose down to the point where you're 40 degrees going down. I mean, I sat on this plane tonight, and I try to imagine. Luckily, I was unable to imagine what it must have been like because the horror of it is extreme.

LEMON: Ah! Six minutes of that. The CEO, Boeing's CEO, in a statement that he acknowledges, he admits gravity and devastation of the families and current situation has caused, what does Boeing need to do to restore confidence, Richard?

QUEST: Very simple. Repair it. Repair it. Repair it to such an extent that everybody including the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, who I interviewed today -- and he said, I will be the last one to put my planes back in the air because I am going to want the ultimate proof from Boeing that it is safe.

Muilenburg's statement tonight went a long way to doing the mea culpa. He actually said, "We own it," talking about the unintended consequences of MCAS. Don, you have to ask the question, whether or not MCAS was fit for purpose.

LEMON: Hmm.

QUEST: Because you have two crashes in very small order and the sort of reasoning, redundancy in the systems, manual override, ability to pull back within a false (ph) that is going in should have all been there before.

LEMON: Would you feel comfortable flying on these planes, Richard? You fly all the time.

QUEST: Yes, that's a very -- very (INAUDIBLE) question.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: You know, the number of flights that there have been without incident versus the two horrible ones with horrible consequences. I keep coming back to this point of Boeing. Boeing is devastated. The men and women at Boeing who make these planes know that we get on them and fly. If you think about tonight, tens of thousands of Boeing planes in the sky that will make their journeys perfectly safely.

So, I think we -- we don't necessarily need to cut Boeing slack, but I think we need to recognize that they, too, are as engaged now. My caveat to this of course, Don, is when the final investigation comes through and the final report and the FAA has looked into its own and worked out where it also went wrong, then there will need to be a complete rethink of the certification of aircraft. You can never have this again.

LEMON: Richard Quest, much appreciated. Thank you, sir. We'll be right back.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Pete Buttigieg has surprised some people with his momentum in a really crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls. The mayor of South Bend, who is a gay Episcopalian, is calling for the re- emergence of the religious left. Kirsten Powers wrote in her column for USA Today that his countercultural approach to Christianity is what America needs now.

Kirsten is here to discuss. Kirsten, good evening. Thank you so much. Fascinating piece, by the way.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.

LEMON: So why is Mayor Buttigieg's countercultural approach to Christianity what we need now?

POWERS: Because I think that we have for quite some time had a dominance of religious right where it has gone to the point where I think a lot of Americans think that to be Christian is to be a member of the religious right to hold the kind of theology they have, to vote the way that they vote. In fact, there is a long history of progressive Christianity and that has really gotten lost. Most people know that, of course, we have civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. and it was driven by their faith, but I think in the more modern society, we sort of seated that to the right.

[23:50:02] And liberals have said, you know, we're not the religious people, we believe it is a separation of church and state, which of course, you know, everyone should believe in. But there is no reason to seed that ground in terms of Christianity to the religious right, who are often misrepresenting, frankly, what Jesus taught.

LEMON: You write about Mayor Buttigieg. You said, "Saying so much about what Christ said so little about applies to the religious right's treatment of abortion as a litmus test for Christian faith, when in fact Jesus never mentioned the issue. That omission has not stopped many right-wing Christians from using President Donald Trump's anti-abortion rights judicial appointments as the president's 'get out of jail free card,' and license for them to support a leader who consistently behaves in a way that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus."

OK, so, do you think someone like Buttigieg could appeal to evangelical voters or is he just, you know, not in line with what they believe?

POWERS: Well, I think that --

LEMON: How they believe.

POWERS: Yeah. He would have a hard time appealing to them, I think, because he is obviously -- doesn't believe homosexuality is a sin which is very core to their theology, also very core to their beliefs is, you know, being anti-abortion rights. And so -- and he's not. He's pro-abortion rights.

And so I think that he probably would be speaking to more, you know, independent-minded people, people who -- there are a lot of religious people on the left. I mean, African-Americans are very religious and they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. There are a lot of Democrats who are faithful Christians.

LEMON: You also asked him if he believed President Trump was a Christian. How did he respond?

POWERS: He said, looking -- it's very difficult to look at his actions and say that they are the actions of a person who believes in god. I saw a lot of conservatives complaining, saying that Trump wasn't a Christian or didn't believe in god.

But he actually was just saying, we can look at how this person behaves and say this isn't really consistent with the teachings of Jesus. And I think that that's a completely fair thing to say. I don't honestly know how anybody can disagree with it.

LEMON: Yeah, it's a fascinating article. Why don't we bring in Bakari Sellers? Bakari, like so many other Democrats vying for the White House, Mayor Buttigieg is making a big push to appeal to African- American voters. During a speech today before Al Sharpton's National Action Network, he clarified, this is a comment he made in 2015, about all lives matter. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: What I did not understand at that time was that that phrase, just early into mid -- especially 2015, was coming to be viewed as a sort of counter slogan to Black Lives Matter.

And so, this statement, that seems very anodyne and something that nobody could be against, actually wound up being used to devalue what the Black Lives Matter movement was telling us. It's a reason why, since learning about how that phrase was being used to push back on that activism, I've stopped using it in that context.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Does that explanation work for you?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It does. I mean, I think Mayor Pete, I won't maul his last name this late at night, but Mayor Pete has done a good job at least verbalizing the fact that he has an African-American agenda, talking some of those mistakes.

This race is not a sprint, it's a marathon over time, and so you're going to see candidates evolve, you're going to see candidates come out and apologize for things that they may have said that were -- I mean, like I told Mayor Pete, I said that was a very, very stupid statement and it is good to address that head on which he did.

But to harp on something that Kirsten said earlier from her very, very outstanding op-ed piece in USA Today, one of his advantages is he's going to go in these areas and be able to talk about his faith, especially when you're talking about the black community, especially when you're talking about the African-American vote in places like South Carolina. It is going to resonate.

LEMON: I wonder if the issue of Black Lives Matter -- listen, obviously, criminal justice reform, prison reform, those are going to be big issues. But remember, the Black Lives Matter -- I mean, that played huge in 2016. We had countless conversations about it, all three of us, right, on this very network, on this very show.

I'm just wondering if this could hurt him with African-American voters because in some ways, it may have hurt, correct me if I'm wrong, Bakari, may have hurt Hillary Clinton, but do you think it's going to hurt him?

SELLERS: I don't think so. I think that African-Americans are currently -- trust me, one of the things I always tell people is I don't speak for all black folk -- me, Don lemon, Symone Sanders, Angela Rye, we don't speak for all black folk. But what I can tell you though is that voters are paying close attention in this race with all of these candidates. They are holding the candidates accountable. What they want to see is policy points which are going to uplift black folk.

LEMON: Kirsten, on Friday, even more White House hopefuls are to address the National Action Network, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, almost all of them. What's the significance of these appearances, you think?

[23:55:09] POWERS: Obviously I'm not an expert on this, but I do think that a lot of the way to reach African-American voters is frankly the same way you reach any voter. You know, they are interested about the same things that everyone else is interested in.

They have -- we talked about the working class all the time. Well, guess what? There is a black working class.

SELLERS: Amen.

POWERS: And you know, you need to go into black communities the same way you go into, you know, Pennsylvania to talk to white working class people. You need to go and talk to black working class people. You need to talk to people who are, you know, upper and middle class. You need to talk to people who are really struggling and even are poor.

LEMON: Great conversation. Again, it's a great article by Kirsten in USA Today. "Mayor Pete Buttigieg's countercultural approach to Christianity is what America needs now." I suggest that you read it. It's a good stuff. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

POWERS: Thank you.

SELLERS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

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