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Mueller Report to be Released by A.G. Bill Barr This Thursday; Fire Gutted the Roof of Great Notre Dame Cathedral. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 15, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I hope this is a moment that makes people reinforce our lady's legacy. Will the pope come to Paris? Probably not. It's too soon. Same ash in front of Notre Dame on Easter Sunday, wow, what a message that would send, that what matters survives. Rebirth and renewal is the Easter promise. Beyond what can be built but by what can be fed in ourselves and others.

So, in the French president's call to rebuild her together I hope they remember that that means far more than money and materials and time, and it can begin right away, no better time for that than this week.

Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight with D. Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Let's think about, Chris, all of the -- just the amazing -- I like to call them works of art you have there. You've got the Arc de Triomphe, you got the Eiffel Tower, you got the Pantheon, and then you had Notre Dame which really I think stood above them all with beauty and what it means to the world, especially Christian and giving people something to look up to and at, you know what I'm saying, and especially in this week, of all weeks, it's just -- I don't know it's just unbelievable. It's unfathomable.

CUOMO: It is. It could sour you. That's why I had Father Beck on. He has for many years in my life kept me from being sour.

And look, like I said in the closing, what consumes me is what remains. How do you inculcate that same feeling in people, that there's something bigger and better, there's a place to come, there's a place to be together no matter what you believe, because at the end of the day we all believe in the same things, we all believe in the need for love and loving mercy and what we see around us. And this was a big symbol of that.

LEMON: Yes. It sounds a little bit like the pep talk you gave me yesterday. By the way, thank you for that.

CUOMO: That's what friendship is about, buddy.

LEMON: I needed it. I needed it. As a matter of fact, I left my doggie bag. Can you believe that?

CUOMO: Where?

LEMON: I think it's in the car. I'm not sure.

CUOMO: That's no good.

LEMON: Yes. It's not going to be good.

CUOMO: Just to keep people light, you should have seen D. Lemon's face when he gets in his fancy truck that he has, right, and I come --

LEMON: What is that?

CUOMO: And he starts up this Tonka toy truck that he drives and he looks up and there is your man sitting in the Ford raptor, looks like I could eat that thing like the ribs we just ate -- to see your face drop.

LEMON: You've got a problem.

CUOMO: I don't take a lot of comfort in people's pain, but that worked for me.

LEMON: I love my car. Yours fits you, mine fits me. So just, you know -- leave it at that.

CUOMO: You couldn't make the turn to get out of there.

LEMON: The thing has zero turning radius. It's old, it's like 20 something years old, that's why. But listen, as where we started, thank you very much. I needed that. I really appreciate it.

CUOMO: Brother time spent with you is time well spent.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, I appreciate everything you said and I'll see you tomorrow. have a good night.

CUOMO: All right. We will.

LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

We have two huge stories, two of them, we have here in the United States of course and also in Europe. We're going to have much more coming up on the Notre Dame fire live from Paris. What a terrible, terrible, terrible loss. We'll update you on that.

We're also just days away from finally getting the Mueller report, finally, the report that has been nearly two years in the making. The report that the attorney general has kept under wraps for more than three weeks. He's finally releasing it. Who knows how many redactions, though?

That should happen on Thursday, just a couple days away. That's got the White House circling the circling wagons tonight. Administration officials are saying that they are betting the report won't change public opinion that much because the top line conclusions of Barr and Mueller are already known, which was exactly the point of Barr's March 24th letter.

Get out ahead of the report, make people think they already know what is -- the report is going to say. Even though Barr only quoted 101 words from Mueller's report, out of some 400 pages.

So, make people think the president has already been exonerated, even though Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. Barr quotes him saying while this report does not conclude that the president did not committed a crime it also does not -- there's that word -- exonerate. But that hasn't stopped the president from telling you exactly what he wants you to believe.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever. It was a complete and total exoneration.

The Mueller report was great. It could not have been better. It said no obstruction, no collusion, it could not have been better.

The finding was very, very strong, no collusion, no obstruction.

[22:04:57] The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction. I could have told you that two and a half years ago, total exoneration.

Beautiful conclusion. I haven't seen the report. But there was no collusion at all, there never was.

They said no obstruction and so there's no collusion, there's no obstruction.


LEMON: That's not what Mueller said. No matter how many times the president repeats it. That is not what Mueller said.

Here's what the Wall Street Journal is reporting that lawyers for team Trump have prepared a 140-page counter report, one they hope to whittle down to about 50 pages or so.

And the administration officials tell CNN that they're curious about why Mueller didn't make a decision on obstruction. I'll bet, aren't we all? That is probably the biggest question in this, why didn't Mueller reach a conclusion on obstruction? Why didn't Mueller reach a conclusion on obstruction?

Well, we're going to have to wait until Thursday to see if we get an answer on that. But the president, you know, he has pretty much been singing the same tune on Mueller's investigation from the very beginning.


TRUMP: It's a total witch hunt. I've been saying it for a long time.

It's a witch hunt. That's all it is.

Witch hunt, witch hunt. It's just a terrible witch hunt. Witch hunt. Witch hunt.

The Russia witch hunt.

So far, this thing has been a total witch hunt. And it doesn't implicate me in any way.

This was a witch hunt.

Just a continuation of the same witch hunt.


LEMON: But just three days later the president did a 180, did a 180. He flipped, while basking in the glow of what he falsely insisted was total exoneration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you think that Robert Mueller acted honorably?

TRUMP: Yes, he did.


LEMON: Sure, he thought Mueller acted honorably when he thought he had been cleared. That didn't last long though.

Today, with the release of the report just days away the president was back on his I hate Mueller tear. Tweeting about 18 angry Democrats. Used to be 13, remember, but now it's 18 angry Democrats. But I digress.

The president also slamming so-called dirty cops, Dems and throwing in a slam at Hillary Clinton all for good measure. So, yes, the clock is ticking. The president sounds like he is in a bit of a tail spin. So, let's hope we get all -- you know, get some answers at least on Thursday.

All of this is happening as Paris and the world look on in shock and horror as the over 850 -- excuse me, 850-year-old Cathedral of Notre Dame is gutted by a massive blaze, the fire breaking out during mass.

Hundreds of firefighters battle to save one of the most iconic and beloved houses of worship in Europe, really in the world. One of these firefighters seriously injured hours after the cathedral's fire was consumed by the flames and fell onto the burning roof.

Fire brigade official says two-thirds of the roof has been destroyed. But the twin bell towers have been saved. The fire under control tonight, but there are a lot of questions about what caused it and about the fate of the priceless works of art and relics inside of that cathedral. We've got a lot more to come from Paris. But listen to what the president said earlier today.


TRUMP: It's one of the great treasures of the world, the greatest artists in the world. Probably, if you think about it, I would say it might be greater than almost any museum in the world and it's burning very badly. It looks like it's burning to the ground.


LEMON: So, he had good things to say, at least, Notre Dame by the way has not burned to the ground. Thanks to the heroic efforts of those firefighters though the damage is really stunning.

The president who probably -- you probably remember suggested that raking the forest floor would have been prevented the devastating wildfires in Northern California has a suggestion for French firefighters today. And here's what he tweeted.

He said "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out." Well, here's what the French civil defense agency said because they were not having that, and they tweeted this in English by the way.

"While the fire was burning, while it was burning, all means are being used except for water bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral."

Again, the president said good things but you would think the president made his name as a builder would know better. But this president can't seem to resist weighing in, playing the expert.

Just this morning he tweeted that "Boeing should fix and rebrand the 737 MAX going on to say no products have suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?"

[22:09:59] That's a good question. Let's not forget 346 people lost their lives in the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX planes. So, I'm not sure rebranding is the solution here. But this is a president who wants you to believe that he is an expert on everything, that he has all the answers. Remember, he alone can fix it.

Getting back to the Mueller report is probably why he is so rattled these days. He doesn't have all the answers when it comes to Mueller. And he sure seems like he's worried about what's in store Thursday when the report comes out. So, stay tuned.

What will we learn from Mueller's report? Will we get an answer to the obstruction question? I'm going to dig into it with my guests. Renato Mariotti, Susan Hennessey, Ryan Lizza, next, and then we're going to go live to Paris for the latest on the Notre Dame fire.


LEMON: The Justice Department now expected to release a redacted version of Robert Mueller's report Thursday morning. So, what should we expect?

Let's discuss now. Renato Mariotti, Susan Hennessey, and Ryan Lizza. Good evening. We are expecting this to come on Thursday. Renato, you have been examining what will really matter in the Mueller report, and you've got a piece out in this -- in Politico and it's about what to look for. And you say the most important legal questions of all have to do with obstruction. So, what are they? Talk to us about that.

[22:15:01] RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think one thing that we all are going to be looking for is why Mueller refused to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment as to obstruction of justice.

Whenever I was faced with a question as a prosecutor I had to come up with an answer, either we charge or we didn't charge. He didn't do that here. There must have been something significant that gave him pause. There are a lot of potential reasons why.

One, obvious one is that we really don't know what is going on inside Trump's head at any moment. So, proving beyond a reasonable doubt what Trump is thinking or what he intends can be a challenge.

And so that be, for example, one reason. That's where I'm going to be looking first in the report. Why did Mueller not come to that judgment and what are the difficult factual issues that led him to that conclusion?

LEMON: Susan, President Trump has gone back to attacking Mueller and his team ahead of the release of the report. What's at stake when all of this comes out because we know the president falsely claimed total exoneration?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, we know that this report, that at least Robert Mueller believes that there are essentially strong arguments on either side of the obstruction question. And now Bill Barr, he -- Mueller declined to render a traditional prosecutorial judgment, Bill Barr weighed in and said that he didn't think it qualified as obstruction but the people who have the real final answer here is the United States Congress.

And so, if there is evidence on both sides of the question this is ultimately going to be a political battle in which members of Congress, Republicans are going to say that this doesn't qualify as legal obstruction, Democrats are going to suggest that it does qualify as legal obstruction.

But the question that's still going to remain out there is legality aside, was this acceptable conduct for the president of the United States to engage in? Whether or not it meant that very, very high bar of being an actual crime or not.

LEMON: Yes. Ryan, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni over at the New York Times, they are reporting that Trump's plan is to act as if the report itself is that it's extraneous in some way. You know, to the letter, like it's secondary. The letter is the thing that really holds the weight. Do you think this is going to work? Is the White House right to think the report won't change public opinion?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think -- I don't think that's right, actually. I think that the best day for Trump when it comes to this report was the day that Barr put his sort of stamp on it and his characterization of it without any of the underlying detail that is going to be much more complicated and have lots and lots of facts that are not necessarily great for the president, right.

You know, the top line, you know, no obstruction, no collusion, that's pretty good -- that's pretty good for the White House but without any of this sort of messy backup, you know, I think there's only going to be facts in that report that we all chew over that the president is not going to like.

So, I think -- I think he's wrong to suggest that public opinion is set in stone by the Barr letter. I think things will get a little bit rockier here.

LEMON: Renato, let's talk about Rudy Giuliani. This is what he told our Dana Bash, that Trump's defense lawyers are planning to put out a short statement first and then a longer, reworked rebuttal report.

Giuliani is expected to take a big public role between Trump's tweets, the interviews. We're seeing all the ways that they're already trying to rebut Mueller's findings and to muddy them.

MARIOTTI: Yes, I've got to say I've never won a trial and then come out with a 55-page report as to why I shouldn't have won, right.

In other words, you know, if he really is exonerated, if it's full exoneration, you wouldn't need a 55-page rebuttal. The reality of it is that there are a lot of regular basis to believe that Barr's letter doesn't summarize the report, the least of which is that Barr himself has said that it's not a summary of the report. There's not a complete sentence from the report that is contained in that letter.

So, what I expect to see is a very complicated picture as to obstruction of justice, some details that are very disturbing. What we've seen in the public view frankly looks a heck of a lot like obstruction of justice to me. It looks like something I could prove.

I'll wait to reserve judgment until we see the, you know, whatever Barr is going to let us see which obviously won't even be the full report. But even as to this question what people like to call collusion, I mean, there's certainly a lot of damaging facts out there. Even if you don't, you know, reach a conclusion that there's been a proven -- conspiracy proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, there's probably a lot to rebut in there. You know, and I think what Barr did, and it's frankly unfortunate because the American people deserve someone who is acting in a nonpartisan way to have full transparency as he promised the Senate.

[22:20:00] What he did is he essentially put a story out there and allowed that to sink in before the American people got to see the truth.

LEMON: So, before we got the letter, Susan, I had said that whatever came out would be a political Rorschach test, right, that, you know, Democrats would feel one way about it, Republicans, it seems that's what's happened. But we haven't seen the full report, right? Even with the letter that's what's happened. It's a political Rorschach test.

Do you think that this will be the same thing with the redactions, are we going to learn anything new on conspiracy?

HENNESSEY: So, I think people are underestimating the Mueller report sort of potential to confirm existing facts. Keep in mind that the president of the United States still denies that he directed Jim Comey to see his way to letting Michael Flynn go. He has said that Comey lied under oath. He's accused him of that multiple times.

One of the things that the Mueller report is going to contain in all likelihood is Mueller's assessment of who is telling the truth. Even on this really basic factual information.

And one thing we've seen over the course of the past two years, especially among congressional Republicans, Dem, sort of refusing to engage with the bad facts and really serious facts that are being unearthed in reporting by basically saying well, you know, the New York Times says that or CNN says that but the president said it didn't happen and sort of sidestepping needing to respond to that question.

What the Mueller report is going to do is put a common set of facts on the table, and of course there's going to be sort of a rush to political spin but there's also going to be a moment in which congressional Republicans are also going to have to decide whether or not they accept these facts as a common set of reality.

LEMON: And yet with the president slamming the investigation, Ryan, is it clear that this White House, that they are taking Russia's efforts to interfere in the U.S. election, they're not taking it seriously?

LIZZA: They've never taken it seriously. I mean, they not only did they not take it seriously in 2016 but they were obviously beneficiaries of those efforts and Trump was essentially all for those efforts as long as it benefitted him. Since he's been president, he's been extremely reluctant to admit that those efforts even took place and to direct the government to do much about those ongoing efforts.

And, you know, I think Susan's point is really important about Republicans being confronted with the facts in the report because, forget about Republicans and Democrats, we're -- if -- we're going forward, what we decide here on obstruction of justice, and what we decide in terms of Trump's behavior with respect to how he handled the Russian, you know, hacking and social media campaign in 2016, we're going to be setting a precedent for future presidents, right?

And the set of behaviors that Mueller outlines that -- if we all decide all fall short of any kind of crime, both on the collusion and on obstruction, that, going forward, a Democrat, independent, whoever's president in the future, they will pocket that and they will say, OK this is the new line about what a president can get away with.

So, Republicans will have to think really carefully about whether that's -- you know, they're willing to live with that and for a Democrat going forward.

LEMON: Ryan, Susan, Renato, thank you. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: We know what we learn to learn from Robert Mueller's report, but how many answers will we actually get on Thursday? I'm going to ask Robert Mueller's former deputy at the FBI next.


LEMON: When Robert Mueller's redacted report is finally released, what might we learn about the special counsel's strategy during the Russia investigation?

Well, one person who can give us some insight is John Pistole who was a deputy to then-FBI director Robert Mueller and is now president of Anderson University. John Pistole, good to have you here. You're going to tell us what to look forward to.


LEMON: Yes. Good evening. So, you've worked with the special counsel.

PISTOLE: Well, right.

LEMON: We're expecting the redacted report on Thursday. So, take us forward. What are you looking for?

PISTOLE: Sure. Well, there's several things, Don. I think what we'll find is that it was a comprehensive investigation. It was thorough as to his mandate from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

And what really, I think people should focus on this idea of a prosecutorial discretion, meaning the discretion a prosecutor has to either bring charges or not based on the evidence that is uncovered.

So obviously, with Robert Mueller being a career prosecutor, FBI director for 12 years he knows that as well as anybody. And I think what will be interesting to focus on is how close did he come to indicting the president, even with the Department of Justice standard policy of not indicting a sitting president, but is there evidence that might be tantamount to an indictment, but because of that Department of Justice standard operating procedure of not indicting, how close did he come? And then how much prosecutorial discretion did he actually exercise?

LEMON: So, you said -- and then the redacted information from four of those categories. If there's -- what did you say about that?

PISTOLE: Right. So -- well, so I think it's just important to discern what we can on the redactions.

So, we know there's four categories that the attorney general identified that have been redacted or blacked out of this report. And one of the key sources of information that might be redacted, that will be redacted out, presumably, based on the A.G.'s -- the attorney general's comments to protect sources and methods.

And what that means in the intelligence world and even law enforcement world in some respects is if there's information that is so sensitive because of it might tend to identify the source of the information, typically a human source, but it might be what's called signals intelligence, a wiretap even, or FISA intercept.


If the information became public, it would tend to compromise that source, meaning identify that source. So it has to be protected. What will be interesting to see from a career FBI agent's perspective and obviously from the intel community, is there information that is redacted that is protecting sources and methods, that if used in an open court could be used to indict the person, whether it's the president or somebody else?

That has been done, not frequently. But in my almost 27 years in the FBI, decisions were made by the Department of Justice in concert with the FBI agents investigating the matter, typically national security matters that a case not be brought to court that an individual or corporation, such as we have three Russian entities in this situation not be charged, because it would identify and compromise either a source or a method of collection that may not be known by the subjects themselves. So those are some key areas that I think people will be looking at.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Can I ask you, because -- again, you've worked with Mueller. How do you think about if -- you know, you worked on his team, how do you think he feels that some people on his team are upset, and they're -- you know, they're talking to people about their frustration?

PISTOLE: Well, I don't know how he feels about that other than, obviously, we haven't had any leaks up until the Barr four-page memo was made public. So he's very much focused on just doing the job, keeping out of the limelight. The concern is obviously by some who have provided some of those insights of information, is that the attorney general did not accurately depict or report or summarize this nearly 400-page report.

I think that the one takeaway is that it may be more damaging to the president than the attorney general let on.

LEMON: Yeah.

PISTOLE: And, in fact, there may be evidence that would normally be subject -- tantamount to an indictment, but because it's a sitting president, that prosecutorial discretion --


LEMON: They didn't do it.

PISTOLE: No. I'll do my job and submit the report, and have the attorney general make the decision.

LEMON: Before we run out of time, I want to ask you about this, because the president jumped on the attorney general, saying that there was -- and this was a quote, "spying on the Trump campaign." Barr didn't offer any evidence. But I just want to play that moment from Barr's Capitol Hill testimony. Watch this.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It's a big deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred.

BARR: I don't -- well, I guess you could -- I think there's -- spying did occur, yes, I think spying did occur.


LEMON: But then he went on to walk that back. I am sure you saw the testimony. So the Trump campaign is falsely quoting Barr as saying unlawful spying did occur. He never used that phrase. And I want to take -- you know, I want your take on all of this because we know that Barr chooses his words carefully. You can see that. He thought about it while he was doing it. Was all of this intentional to help steer a narrative, do you think?

PISTOLE: Well, that's a good question. And the concern is that the negative impact that has on the reputation of the FBI, the Department of Justice. It's like from a lawyer's perspective, what they call the evidentiary harpoon. You get something in, in evidence and then, oh, I withdraw that, or -- but the damage has been done.

And so the question is, was it a strategic move or a ploy, if you will, to cause doubt, or was it simply something that he truly believes based on the information or intelligence that he has seen that others haven't? The fact that he did walk back from that assertion later on would, to me, indicate more the former rather than the latter, that there's probably something there that he's been told but there's not evidence of that. And so it's unfortunate, if that's the case.

LEMON: Thank you, John Pistole, appreciate it. I am sure we'll be talking to you later on in the week. Thanks a lot. Notre Dame is in ruins tonight after burning for hours on end. We have a live report from Paris, that's next.


LEMON: Tonight, the president of France vowing to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was ravaged by fire earlier today. Much of the historic and beloved cathedral destroyed, flames that seemed to reach to the heavens, causing the cathedral's roof and its iconic spire to collapse. But firefighters managed to save Notre Dame's two world famous bell towers. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Paris for us, also with me Dominic Thomas, Chair of UCLA's Department of French Studies.

Good evening to both of you. Just a really, really horrible day, considering what happened. Nic, I am going to start with you. A tragedy for the people of France, this fire burned so quickly and for so long. What can you tell us about the damage here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We can see the firefighters, Don, still inspecting the outside of the building. Although the French president has said the facade, the structure of the towers is intact. It's very clear to us from where we stand that the firefighters are extending these hydraulic lifts up with platforms on the outside of each of the towers, shining flashlights, inspecting it closer. You can see flashlights being played inside the building.

[22:40:03] So again, clear from where we stand, this vantage point that inside the building firefighters are going through it, taking a thorough and careful look. But of course, it is still night time. So although the structure remains safe or standing, the roof has completely burned through. As we know, the tower tragically collapsed as well.

I think the full extent of the damage is yet to be revealed and likely may take many more hours to figure out. But what we can see and what is evident at the moment, Don, is that more and more of the firefighting trucks are leaving to rounds of applause by the people still standing here and the firemen rolling up hoses. They're not entirely done.

The fire's under control, we're told. But the possibility of flames breaking out again clearly hasn't been ruled out. There are still many hoses down there, but some of the firemen are packing up for the night.

LEMON: So we know French authorities, Nic, have opened an investigation into the fire. Do we know at this point what might have caused it?

ROBERTSON: We don't. They don't believe it was malicious. They don't believe it was started intentionally. The chief prosecutor who announced the investigation appears to believe that it was unintentionally started. It's not clear whereabouts, although it is understood that possibly it started towards the roof of the building in an attic space. And of course, we know that renovation work is going on at the moment. And it's not clear if it was connected to that renovation work.

Undoubtedly, that's clearly going to be an area where the chief prosecutor is going to want to examine and have the firefighters examine very closely and carefully. But I think very important for the French people to learn quickly that this was not the work of some arsonist or somebody who bore the cathedral or the people of France some sort of grudge. This was accidentally set. That's the understanding at the moment.

LEMON: OK. Dominic, I want to bring you in now, because Notre Dame is more than an iconic building. It's one of the most well-known historical sites in the world, really. And it's filled with priceless artifacts and works of art. How devastating could the loss of these relics be?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that there's the question of the relics. But there's also the broader question, which is that this is both an architecturally and artistically such an important structure. So even though we don't know for sure what pieces of art were being held there at the moment, which ones had been taken, for example, to the moved or being restored elsewhere.

What we do know is that part of the iconic structure, the spire itself, restored in the 1860s, and this incredible roof known as The Forest, that has wood in it dating back to the original structure all the way to the 12th century, 2 to 300-year-old trees, has been almost completely destroyed and will never be replaced. Then there's the other significant question that has to do with the value of what is lost there is the religious component and items that are held in the cathedral that are of tremendous symbolism to Christian culture.

The question of the Thorn of Crowns and Fragment of the Cross, and even one of the Holy Nails that is attached to the Question of the Crucifixion, so at this particular stage, there is significant question marks around those. But less so around this incredible and iconic structure of gothic art itself, which unfortunately has been partially destroyed.


LEMON: So what's been destroyed, really, you cannot put a dollar value on it. It is beyond that.

THOMAS: Absolutely. And these woods, I mean everything, you know, can be rebuilt. And we're fortunate that as far as we know right now no human life was lost. But beyond the artistic objects, the dozens of paintings that are held in there, the sculptures, this is a multilayered building that has very old components and sections that have been restored over time.

But the destruction of that tower, on the top of which sits a (Inaudible) that contains relics of the patron saints, of the history of the city of Paris, and also a section from the Crown of Thorns. And it's that sort of -- this is an architectural feat, something that was built during several people's lifetimes. And that will never be restored to the kind of level and quality and historicity that it has at this moment.

LEMON: Dominic, Nic, thank you both. I appreciate it. A black student pinned down by campus police, the school says he didn't show his ID, which is campus policy. But he says he was racially profiled. That student joins me next.


LEMON: Barnard College here in New York City investigating a confrontation between the school's public safety officers and a black male student from neighboring Columbia University. The incident caught on video has gone viral. So let's discuss now. Alexander McNab, he's a Columbia student pinned down by police, and also Caroline Cutlip, a Barnard student who videotaped the incident. Good evening to both of you. Thank you so much for joining us.


LEMON: Alex, let me talk to you, because I have to say that Barnard, you have access to Barnard, right?


LEMON: With your Columbia ID, because they're sister colleges. So you have access to each other's libraries. So walk us through what happened last Thursday when you tried to enter the Barnard Library Building.

[22:49:56] MCNAB: Right. So I just passed through the front gates of Barnard College. And not long after, I had passed through those gates, I heard someone yelling hello, sir, hello, sir. I didn't look back to see who it was, but based off of past experiences that I have had with public safety officers at Barnard, not passing through the gate necessarily but in different contexts, I was pretty certain that it was a probably public safety officer who was trying to ask for my ID.

And because the situation -- similar situations that happened to me before, I knew very easily how to diffuse it. I just show them the ID and that would be it. That's what I had done before. But this time I decided I didn't want that to be it, because I wanted to communicate to people what it was that was happening not just to me, but what I knew what was happening to other students also, right?

So what I decided to do was ignore the person yelling hello, sir, hello, sir, and continue to where I was going, which was this library building. When I got into the library building, a public safety officer enters, asks for my ID, and I raised my voice. I raised my voice because I wanted to communicate to the people around what was going on.

So I want to make sure that I was heard. And I tell him I say this is the third time that I have been asked for my ID this year. Why are you always following me? I am not going to show you my ID. He asked me again. I refused again. Then a public safety officer put his hand on my shoulder and says I am going to have to ask you to leave the building, and I said I am not going to do that.

LEMON: Alex, let me ask you something. Because I am here, the security guards know who I am in this building. I am on television. They know. Some of them escort me to the building. They ask me for my ID almost everyday. So there are people who are not going to understand why you just wouldn't show them your ID. That is the policy. And as a matter of fact, here's what they said.

They said our policy states that anyone entering our gates after 11:00 p.m. is required to show student identification. This practice was established in 2013 when the students expressed concern about safety after a woman pretending to be a Columbia University student failed to produce student identification and trespassed on Columbia's campus.

So that is the policy. You don't think officers were just doing their jobs? Even if they don't ask other people, it's still the policy of the school to ask you for your ID, and you have to show it in order to enter.

MCNAB: There are two things I'd like to say about that policy. The first thing is, is that this is my last year at Columbia, right? I am a senior. So -- and in that time, there have been other instances in which I have gone through these same gates in the similar at night, and I haven't been asked for anything, nor has anybody I have known been asked. I'm sure it happens sometimes, but --

LEMON: Maybe they weren't the same officers. Maybe the officers --


LEMON: I mean --

MCNAB: What I'm saying because I have had these past experiences of not being stopped, I wasn't immediately aware that that is the reason why I was being stopped.


LEMON: You're saying that you think it was racial profiling.

MCNAB: The reason I didn't think that it might be is because in the past two instances that I have had this past year of (Inaudible) public safety officer stopping me, it hasn't been with regard to any policy whatsoever, right? This was the only time of the three times that I've been stopped at Barnard that it was with regard to an ID- checking policy.


MCNAB: So there was nothing to indicate to me that this time would be any different. It wasn't until they told me we're checking your ID because of this rule that I understood that was why.

LEMON: So Caroline, you filmed this incident between Alex and the officers. What made you decide to start filming this? And what were you thinking when you saw the officers push Alex back on the table?

CAROLINE CUTLIP, BARNARD COLLEGE STUDENT: Yeah. So the reason I sort of filmed them was when they put their hands on him, because -- and when they started to push him back onto the table, because it just felt so reminiscent of police brutality videos that I have seen and instances such as that. And I didn't know where it was going to go from there.

So I wanted to be sure to document what was happening. And I was also just so in shock in what was happening that my friends and I were, like, what do we do? What do we do? We knew what was happening was wrong. We felt uncomfortable about it. Just weeks prior, I am on student government, and just weeks prior public safety had come to our meeting and said we're civilians, we don't put our hands on students.

We are not here to harm students. We're here to protect you. We're not weaponized. So I was, like, this doesn't seem in line with that.

LEMON: So you're a bystander watching. Do you think that they treated him unfairly? Do you think they were overzealous or there was -- that their actions were too harsh?

CUTLIP: Absolutely. I don't think this ever would have happened to a white student on campus.

LEMON: Why not?

CUTLIP: I think the culture of public safety is protective of white students and is there to serve white students and black students on campus from what I have heard talking to them don't have that experience.

LEMON: I want to put up the president of Barnard that followed up with a letter to the students. And you can put it up on the screen. But basically saying that the confrontation puts in stark relief that some members of the Barnard College community, particularly people of color, have been saying about their relationship with public safety officers, and that they're willing to -- everyone should be treated equitably, and they're willing to try to make a difference. Does that satisfy you over them -- what they're addressing?

MCNAB: So I would like to say something about this statement, because this is the second statement that was released by the president of Barnard (Inaudible) last night, right? The first statement was released Friday afternoon. Friday afternoon, the language that was used to describe this incident by Barnard was as an unfortunate incident.

[22:54:59] It didn't use any of the language of race that you now see. However, that same time, the other three undergraduate colleges of Columbia University, which is the School of General Studies, Columbia College, and Engineering School, released a joint statement in which they used that language at the same time, right, at Friday afternoon as Barnard was saying unfortunate incident.

The day after, on Friday -- no sorry, the same day, on Friday, there was a listening session held by Barnard, in which students, for over an hour, asked the administration why do you not use this more overt language of racism? And they continually said we don't want to use any language like that until we have completed our investigation.

Another (ph) person like to stress is that what the president's newest email, the one that you quoted from, does a very good job of doing it, laying out how public safety will be fixed. But that's not the only problem that there is. The administration's response to what happened perpetuated the violence that was caused by public safety. The ambiguousness of their statement, especially when compared with the specificity of other statements that are made when -- university released what's called clarity (ph) crime alerts for incidents that happened on campus.

It caused a lot Barnard student to feel afraid, because they didn't know what was going on. And so I think that this change needs to happen not only with public safety but the Barnard administration needs to not just point at them, but point itself and say how can we do better?

LEMON: Yeah. Well, I think you got their attention. And I think because of the media attention, if the public safety officers did anything wrong, I think that they're going to address it at this point. And if they don't, then I am sure you'll be back here. And we'll be talking to you. So thank you so much. Sorry it happened to you. And thank you for being here. We really appreciate it.

MCNAB: Thank you. I appreciate you.

CUTLIP: Thank you.

LEMON: And I have to let everybody know that we reached out to Barnard College and invited the president to join us in studio here tonight. She declined. We'll be right back.