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Barr Presser At 9:30 a.m., Congress Will Not Get Redacted Mueller Report Until After 11 a.m.; President Trump On Release Of Mueller Report; Interview With Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) About The Timing Of Release Of The Mueller Report To Congress. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 17, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Where is that new rigs? And when is this being release? Right before the Holy days, Jews and Christians are going to be distracted, right when spring break starts for so many in this country. It is all as ugly as it is obvious. If you have nothing to hide why do it this way? Thank you very much for watching us tonight. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Very good.
CUOMO: Golf clap from my man.
LEMON: Yes. I can't see you though. Can I --
CUOMO: I look good.
LEMON: I mean, I see you, I don't see me. So, I guess I'm on the air. But anyway, I think you're exactly right.
CUOMO: No, it's just us, Don, speak freely.
LEMON: So, I think that -- I'm so glad you said that because there is no other way of describing this man's behavior other than being a political operative.
CUOMO: No holds Barr. You can use it.
LEMON: No holds Barr. If you look at everything that has gone on, what he wrote about, special counsel, before he even became Attorney General, what he said in his hearings. And all -- a lot of people who gave him the benefit of the doubt, I sat here and watched them, like, OK, all right.
Now they're eating a whole lot of crow. And people who were big fans of his gave him the benefit of the doubt saying, you know what, I can't -- the only thing I can say is that he is being a political operative and he is not being transparent.
CUOMO: Look, it's not the first time we've seen it. I know I don't want you to hit me with the both sides stick or I will -- I take that beating freely, because that's my job. However, you know who got it right? The president. Once bitten, twice shy. He wasn't going to have another guy in there who wasn't going to do what he wanted him to do.
CUOMO: You know that for sure. And that is what he got.
CUOMO: A man who's been tested before and he stuck by his president. That is what he wanted. That is what he is getting.
LEMON: Well, you saw with the "Washington Post's" reporting tonight that they're saying that a senior White House official said Trump has praised Barr privately for his handling of the report.
CUOMO: Yes. Of course he has.
LEMON: Compared him favorably to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. So comparing him to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
CUOMO: That is pretty low bar. Yes, he probably compares you and me favorably to Jeff Sessions, trash talks the guy all the time. Never seen anything like it, but look, look, Mr. Barr is at the end of his influence. When this comes out tomorrow, assuming the light redactions are something that don't spark a huge court battle, now it's out there. And I've got to tell you this Congressman Jim Himes was on tonight, he surprised Democrats from Connecticut.
LEMON: I talked to him back in the green room.
CUOMO: Yes, he's spot on. It's not about the law. It's not about a crime. It never has been because they were never going to indict him anyway. And that is why, you know, I spent so much time on this show getting beat up by the left saying, don't believe the hype. This report can't end the presidency. I don't see the criminality. It's always been about what Congress thinks. And I believe we're going to hear from Mr. Mueller. That is why he crafted his argument on obstruction the way he did.
LEMON: Yes. And, well, yes, we will hear from him, but also, I think Barr is really concerned about that initial summary. One thing that you left out when you talked about, you know, what Barr did, Barr could -- or didn't do, he could have released the letters of summary that the Mueller team had already written. He didn't do that. I would surely love to see those. And compare it to what Barr wrote.
CUOMO: You probably will. They say they didn't release them, because they had classified information as well that required redaction.
LEMON: Yes, right.
CUOMO: Look, we'll only know when we see them. I'm always looking to give them the benefit of the doubt of their argument. Because the truth will always tell the story in the end. So, you know, you can have your argument. Here's what it is. Once he puts out the report, then people will be able to make their assessment. My only concern, my word of caution, do not expect any drum beat for impeachment. That is a political process. It's about popularity of votes.
LEMON: That is a whole other show.
CUOMO: This president is at 90 percent.
LEMON: that's a whole another show and by the time that happened we'll be around to the election. So, I mean, don't even get your hopes in that. Listen, you give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm a little bit more skeptical. I grew up in Louisiana, there were actual turnip trucks and I didn't fall off one of them. So, I just --
CUOMO: You fell off something right in your (inaudible).
LEMON: Yes, I fell off into the truth, right into landing, right in this CNN. Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: Well done, D. Lemon.
LEMON: I'll see you. Listen, I want to hear from you, because I'm going to do a segment that everyone wants to watch, everyone should watch this segment. It's about halfway through the show. And I want to hear from you, text me.
LEMON: OK? See you later. This is CNN Tonight, I'm Don Lemon, we've got a lot to talk about, so much, so much for transparency. Remember how they used to criticize the former president about this administration is not transparent. So much for transparency. So much for giving you, you should be pissed off. So much for giving you the American people the chance to make up your minds about the Mueller investigation for yourselves. They're treating you like fools. Let's tell them what to think. Like that was ever going to happen, that they were ever going to let you make up your own mind.
[22:05:00] Time after time this Attorney General has done everything he can to get out ahead of the report and make people think that they already know what it says. They don't. People, you don't know what it says. You haven't seen it. So, why not just put it out there and let you make up your mind instead of, I'll do a press conference, I got to do this, do this, put out a letter, why do that? You can read, I can read. You can see it for yourself.
So the Attorney General seems to be doing that again. He wrote his March 24th letter laying out his version, his version, by the way, of the principal conclusions of Mueller's report and he only quoted 101 words that Mueller wrote. He did not use the summaries that Mueller's team wrote. He spent three and half weeks since then keeping the report from you the American people and redacting who knows how much?
We learned today that DOJ officials have been talking to the White House lawyers for days about the conclusions Mueller reached. They didn't talk to you. Did you hear anything? Didn't say a word. That is a nice head start for the White House, don't you think? And now the Attorney General is holding a news conference tomorrow morning at 9:30 to answer questions from reporters. And get this. Reporters are going to be asking questions about a report that they haven't even seen. That makes sense, right?
It's a pretty obvious attempt to keep the American people from knowing the whole truth and nothing, but the truth. The truth, truth. That is a very hard word for this White House. The chairs of the house judiciary, the intelligence, oversight, financial services, and foreign affairs committees issuing a joint statement, just moments ago. Here's what it says, and I quote, the Attorney General should cancel the press conference and provide the full report to Congress as we have requested. With the special counsel's fact gathering work concluded it is now Congress's responsibility to assess the findings and evidence and proceed accordingly.
But as things stand right now Congress won't even get the report on disks, on disks until sometime after 11:00. Press conference is at 9:30, they will get it sometime after 11:00. It will be posted on the special counsel website after that. And let's not forget, the timing of all of this, OK? Chris talked about it just a little while ago, Attorney General Barr released his first letter, first one, announcing the end of the Mueller investigation. That was late on a Friday.
You know Fridays are news dump days, things you don't want to get a lot of attention, you dump it on a Friday. He did that late on a Friday. He released his second letter on Mueller's principal conclusions on a Sunday. Also not a huge -- Sunday afternoon, a big news day, Sunday afternoon. People are at church, spending time with their families.
And now he is releasing the report itself on the eve of Passover and Easter weekend. Coincidence? I don't think so. Or as the old folks say, I think not. A source telling CNN the publicly released version of Mueller's report is expected to have relatively minimal redactions in the section on obstruction of justice.
And the "Washington Post" is reporting tonight that sources say Mueller decided that he could not come to a conclusion on obstruction, because it was too difficult to determine Trump's intent. And some of his actions could be interpreted, interpreted innocently, but those sources say the report will include what's called a detailed blow by blow of the president's alleged conduct, but the president claims he has been completely exonerated. Even though, fact, factually challenged, even though the fact is the special counsel did not reach a conclusion on obstruction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
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. There was no collusion at all, there never was.
[22:10:12] They said no obstruction. And so there's no collusion. There's no obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, then why doesn't he want it out there? There's no -- there's no collusion, no obstruction. Then why not put it out there? Why are you acting like you're guilty if he claims he is been totally exonerated, right? So why is he acting that way and why is his own A.G. acting like the president is guilty of something? House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler saying this about the Attorney General in his own press conference just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Rather than letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, the Attorney General has taken unprecedented steps to spin Mueller's nearly two-year investigation. One. He summarized the report and cherry picked findings in his March 24th letter to Congress. Two, he withheld summaries written by the special counsel that were intended for public consumption. Three, he has briefed the White House on the report before providing Congress a copy which has helped them prepare a rebuttal response for the president.
And now the evening before the report's scheduled release the Department of Justice has informed the committee that it will receive a copy between 11:00 a.m. and noon, well after the Attorney General's 9:30 a.m. press conference. This is wrong. It is contrary to the Attorney General's own words to the committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, now I want you to listen to William Barr's own words during his confirmation hearing. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK: My objective and goal is to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public. I am going to try to get the information out there consistent with these regulations and to the extent I have discretion. I will exercise that discretion to do that.
Well, I can say right now, my goal and intent is to get as much information out as I can consistent with the regulations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is it any wonder this president just loves his Attorney General? After all, it was Barr who just last week doubled down on the president's false claim that his campaign was spied on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARR: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It's a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?
BARR: I don't -- well, I guess you could -- I think there's a spying did occur, yes, I think spying did occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was a really long -- thinking, thinking. All have got to be kidding me. Don't fall for they okey dokey. While the president may not have seen the Mueller report itself yet, he sure seems to have a pretty good idea of what's coming. This was him in a radio interview today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You'll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow, Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference. Maybe I'll do one after that. We'll see, but he is done -- he is been a fantastic Attorney General. He's grabbed it by the horns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A White House official tells CNN tonight that the president is not worried and went on to say the main results of the investigation are already known. Like I said Attorney General William Barr has been controlling the narrative from the very beginning, and he is doing it again now.
He'll do it tomorrow with this planned news conference before any of us get to see the Mueller report. The question is, what will we learn from Mueller's report?
Evan Perez is here. He joins us by phone and we're happy to have him. Evan, you're learning tonight about this report, the part of the report involving potential obstruction by the president is lightly redacted. How do you know that and what can you tell us about it?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Don. I think a person familiar with the report and the process that's undergone behind the scenes has told us that the redactions are mostly concentrated on the other parts of the report, the parts having to do with Russian interference and any potential ties with the Trump campaign. And, you know, a lot of that was intelligence information, information that was collected through the grand jury process.
[22:15:05] The obstruction part of the investigation was done with voluntary interviews, people who worked for the president in the White House, on a White House -- people who were working with the president right after he took office. That they would have seen a lot of that stuff. And, again, that happened before the Mueller investigation. It did not happen in the grand jury. So it makes sense that there would be fewer redactions. Certainly what we were hoping here. And certainly now that we're hearing from sources that are familiar with the report.
So again, this is kind of what we expected to happen because of the nature of the investigation itself. As for -- as you mentioned, Don, earlier, "The Washington Post" saying that, you know, Mueller could not reach a decision on obstruction. Well, you know, that is one of the things that I think we're going to be reading the report closely for tomorrow is simply the fact is, they never interviewed the president. There was no subpoena issued to the president.
So getting to his intent, as far as obstruction, was probably very difficult for the team to get to. And so that is probably why they were never able to reach a decision on obstruction. And so I think tomorrow when we read the report that is the first place I'm certainly going to go to when I get the report.
LEMON: You're going to -- as a matter of fact, we're going to have Elie Honig going a little bit later, he's going to control (inaudible) which means fine, or search and he's going to tell us exactly what he is going to be searching for. And I'm sure you'll be doing that as well.
Well, we'll all be reading it. Let's talk a little bit more about your reporting, Evan, because your reporting characterizes the conversations between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers as numerous. What can you tell us about those conversations?
PEREZ: Right. I think there have been a number of conversations, and a lot of them were prepping for the White House counsel. The White House counsel is the lawyer for the president's office. The president, you know, he works -- he is the boss, after all. So it is normal for the Justice Department to provide some top lines, to provide some basic information about how the report is coming.
To our understanding they have not seen the actual report, the full report, but certainly, I mean, Don, I think you played enough audio there of the president who feels very confident. It tells us that there's enough information that is flowed towards the White House that the president feels pretty good.
After all, he is the one that broke the news that the Attorney General was having a press conference, by the way, which is kind of a little odd for the president to be saying something when this is supposed to be an independent investigation. The focus is on him, by the way, and the Justice Department traditionally tries to make its own announcement on this type of thing.
LEMON: Evan Perez, appreciate your reporting. Stand by. Who knows, there may be more new developments before we are off the air on this particular program this evening.
PEREZ: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
So, the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is among top Democrats demanding the Attorney General cancel his press conference tomorrow. So with me here, a member of that committee, she was also at Nadler's press conference tonight, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, she is going to join me next.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Attorney General William Barr is holding a press conference about the Mueller report tomorrow morning at 9:30. At least an hour and a half before Congress or the American people will even have a chance to see the redacted report. The House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler bluntly says that that is wrong.
I'm going to bring in now a member of that committee. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean. Thank you so much for joining us.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): My pleasure to be here.
LEMON: You are here in New York tonight. You were at the press conference that Representative Nadler -- or Chairman Nadler held earlier tonight where he said Barr is waging a campaign on behalf of the president to spin the Mueller report. What do you think?
DEAN: I think it's very puzzling. Why is it that the Attorney General is having a press conference at 9:30 in the morning? He's been teasing when he is going to release this report. It was going to be last Friday. It was going to be Monday or Tuesday. Now it's going to be Thursday before Good Friday and he is hosting a press conference before releasing the report? How backwards is that? And actually my thought is, why is he hosting a press conference at all?
LEMON: That is a good question. Talk about that.
DEAN: Well, the report should speak for itself. The Mueller report needs to stand on its own two feet and speak for itself. The American people and this Congress have a right to see the entire report. Why would he have a press conference?
LEMON: Because this is Mueller's report, it's not Barr's report?
DEAN: Correct, he didn't do the investigation. He stepped into the arena very recently and in fact, in his audition for this position he said it was not in the public's interest for him to in any way summarize or chop up the report. So why the change of heart?
LEMON: So, then let me ask you this. So what happened with his repeated promises, do you think, of transparency? What happened?
DEAN: I don't understand it. And you remember also the president said, let the people see it back in March, he said let the people see it, let them see the full report and Mueller -- excuse me, Barr, Attorney General Barr promised the Senate that that is what he would do. I don't understand it. The other puzzling and very troubling thing to our committee is the fact that apparently over the course of the last week the reporting shows that the Department of Justice has been coordinating with the White House on the release of this report so the White House can begin to respond or write up its own counter report. All of that is entirely inappropriate. LEMON: So the -- several very prominent committees, this was in the
past few minutes, house committees for judiciary, intelligence and oversight also financial services and foreign affairs, they're calling for the Barr press conference, for Barr to cancel his press conference or postpone his press conference until after the report is released. Also a very powerful committee. Do you think that they have a chance?
DEAN: Their call is absolutely correct in conversations with Chairman Nadler tonight before the press conference he and I discussed that very same thing. Number one, why have the press conference at all, but at a minimum it should be after the report is out so that members of the press and members of the public can ask informed questions.
LEMON: Well, he said just last week that he did not want to talk about the Mueller report before it was released and now he is having a press conference hours before it's released.
DEAN: And so, Don, your question is my question, why the contortions? Why the drapery around this report? What is it they're afraid of?
[22:25:03] LEMON: Do you think it makes it look like they're afraid of something?
DEAN: It does to me. Otherwise, just transparently let the report stand for itself and of course our committee has every right to see the entire report.
LEMON: So you heard the report at the top of the show from Evan Perez and also "The Washington Post" reporting tonight that the Mueller report will be lightly redacted, revealing a detailed look at obstruction of justice investigation and the "Post" is citing people who are familiar with the matter, and I'm going to say what they say, but again, CNN has that reporting. Evan Perez, did it at the top of the show. Here's what they say.
They say that the report will reveal that Mueller decided he could not come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction, because it was difficult to determine Trump's intent and some of his actions could be interpreted innocently, these people said, but it will offer a detailed blow by blow of his alleged conduct, analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller's inquiry. What do you say to that, congresswoman?
DEAN: Well, I'm hoping that it's redacted, not at all. Unfortunately I'm skeptical of how much it will be redacted. What we got in the letter from Attorney General Barr were four categories of information, and the last one was rather a kitchen sink of information, anything that might be personally embarrassing.
So I'm worried about redactions whatsoever. In terms of interpreting his intent, again we need to see the evidence. We want to see what Mueller and 22 months of study, independent study, said about this investigation. If you remember what this investigation was about it was about Russia interference with the 2016 election, which we know took place. We need to see the report unredacted.
LEMON: Do you think all this rigmarole that is happening now with the Attorney General, is that too blunt or dull criticism?
DEAN: It's that too.
LEMON: Blunt or dull criticism of the report and the president?
DEAN: I fear it is. I fear it's trying to get in front of the media cycle, drop this later in the day before important holidays and holy days with the hope that maybe the public really won't focus on it, but I want to let the public know, we're going to do our job. We have a constitutional job to do on behalf of the American people to make sure we get at the facts and the evidence about what happened with the interference in our elections.
So we'll continue to do our oversight. And I don't think the contortions that the Attorney General and Department of Justice seem to be going through will last very long.
LEMON: Congresswoman Dean, thank you so much, I appreciate your time.
DEAN: My pleasure. Thanks, good to be with you.
LEMON: More on Robert Mueller's report and what's being called a detailed blow by blow of the president's alleged conduct, what will all this mean for President Trump?
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So here we are, just hours away now from the release of the redacted Mueller report. And we're already getting a possible sneak peek at it. A source telling CNN it's expected to have relatively minimal redactions in the section on obstruction of justice, minimal redactions on the section of obstruction of justice.
The Washington Post is reporting that Mueller decided that he could not come to a conclusion on the obstruction question because it was difficult to determine Trump's intent. Lots to talk about, Renato Mariotti is here. Renato Mariotti is here, had been directed (ph), so all of that said about the minimal -- what our reporting is and The Washington Post is reporting the same thing.
You've been skeptical of that. What does that mean? What do you think? How do you feel about that?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I am skeptical of the approach here. I mean we have a press conference before we see the report. I've never heard of such a thing. There are press conferences at the Justice Department all the time, usually the document that is the culmination of the investigation is handed out to reporters beforehand or at the event.
The people who handle the investigation are up there on the stage. Here we've got a guy who had nothing to do with this investigation other than overseeing the very end of it up there. Mr. Mueller's not there. His team's not there. We don't know what the document is. What's the point of this? And what galls me is that the woman you had here on here before, the congresswoman. Yes, she has a complete right to see that report. Congress has not
only an oversight role, but they have an impeachment role here. And instead of showing it to them, he's stonewalling them, and yet he's been showing it to the White House, very concerning.
LEMON: But she also raises a good question. Why is he even having a press conference at all?
MARIOTTI: It's seems to me like this is the culmination of the strategy that began a few weeks ago, which is release a letter, that didn't contain even a single full sentence from the report, to spin the conclusions. And he's been trying to control the media and kind of weave a media narrative for the president.
So he'll have sound bites on this morning that we'll be writing all day. And in the meantime, we don't what's in the report.
LEMON: So The Washington Post is reporting tonight that Mueller could not come to a conclusion of obstruction, because in part, it was difficult to determine Trump's intent. How much do you think that's because they didn't interview the president, it was only questions?
MARIOTTI: Well, there are no questions.
LEMON: Written questions.
MARIOTTI: Yeah. There's no question if you want to find someone's intent, the best thing to do is have a conversation with them. I don't know why Mueller did not interview the president. I suppose we're going to potentially learn about that, if Barr doesn't redact it tomorrow. I will say it can be difficult to determine what Trump is thinking or doing at any point in time.
And I think it's fair that Mueller may have had questions about it. But his careful and cautious approach to that question seems totally at odds with the way that Barr has handled this, which, you know Barr told us he'd be transparent. He's going to be the adult in the room, and instead it seems like he's spinning it and hiding things from the public.
LEMON: We've got a big show ahead of us. Our time is running short. Thank you, Renato Mariotti. I appreciate it. We've got a lot more to come on the Mueller report, but also something that you need to see, and you have to hear it for yourself. Just please believe me. It is a closer look at the cozy relationship between the White House and Fox News.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So tonight, a White House official telling CNN that President Trump's not worried about the release of the redacted Mueller report tomorrow morning. Democrats slamming Attorney General Barr's decision to hold a news conference about it before even releasing a report to Congress and the public, we're going to have much more on that straight ahead. Trust me. But right now, there is something that I really want you to see. It's
an absolutely incredible video. Trust me. Three minutes, forty six seconds, worth every single second. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is wrong with this president? How dumb is he?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The purpose of a journalist is to hold people in power accountable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we're going to vet the president. We're going to talk about his vacation, his golfing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two golf outings for the president that cost $2.9 million. That alone is amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should a president, the leader of the free world, be on a social network tweeting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's kind of a celebrity president. He's kind of like Ryan Seacrest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who does not really know what he wants to do. He simply wants to be popular with everybody, every audience before which he stands.
[22:39:59] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president seems almost obsessed with cable TV, or am I wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who rules by executive authority, executive action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he's not doing executive actions, he's out on the golf course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president heads to Florida for a boy's weekend of golf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this president is the beneficiary of the vision and the action of his predecessor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rule used to be a sitting president doesn't criticize his predecessor, especially by name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has any president in your lifetime --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- aken on this kind of tone, this kind of harshness, either towards his predecessor or towards a single media outlet? I have never seen this before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without the teleprompter, the president doesn't know exactly what to do correctly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's budget that he gave today, all right, doesn't cut any deficit. It increases the debt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the man who said we have to get our deficit under control, he's not doing it. He's -- maybe he's -- it's like -- it's like golf, Mr. President. You play a lot of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's certainly not acting like the most transparent president in history, is he, Juan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's in those records that you don't want us to know about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, he's pandering to the worst regimes and thugs and dictators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president that is acting like a dictator. This is a president who joined the rule of law and siding with lawbreakers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president now who's demonstrated that he will lie to push through a program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once the president tweets it, then it becomes canon. That's a fact. The president says it's a fact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in love with campaigning. He's going to fundraisers tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He achieved that significant accomplishment earlier today, while vacationing in Florida on your dime. This president and the people around him are convinced that God has anointed him to fix everything in one fell swoop. That's not how American politics work. That's not how life works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a president who is becoming known to the public as a blamer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never makes any concessions. He always treats his opponents as though they're enemies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a president who can never admit he's wrong. He's so insecure and vain at the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't realize that the president has that power to set a tone and other people follow it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he's really trying to do is to divide the country and to get his people to turn out to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He simply doesn't like being mocked. Maybe he's a little thin-skinned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been saying, Mr. President, put your pants on. Sit at the table. Man up. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Skip the trash talk. It only diminishes the
Office of the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to work with somebody, you don't call them names.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a very quick and easy, cheep way to score political points, but it's a terrible, corrosive way for a president of the United States to govern a country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you talk in an aspirational way to people. That'd be more positive and more uplifting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you need to stop acting like a schoolyard bully and start acting like the leader of the free world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, everyone is laughing at us. You're like a schoolyard bully. No one's afraid of you. Putin sure as hell isn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With all due respect, Mr. President. Maybe it is time you stop looking at a TV tuned to Fox and look in a mirror. I don't know, tuned to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr. President, for watching tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The glaring double standard that exists here is nothing short of incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Oh my, gosh. Oh my, gosh. I bet you thought at first they were talking about President Trump, didn't you? They weren't. Every word of that was a slam on President Barack Obama, every single word of it. But the fact is every bit of that could have been said about the -- this president, President Trump. The hypocrisy in that is stunning, and it's right there in your face.
The same trace that they said made Obama weak, that they criticized him for are the same ones they are now claiming make Trump strong and they're giving him praise for. Just imagine what it would be like if Fox News reported on President Trump, the way they covered Obama. Nico Pitney is here, the Political Director of NowThis, the group that produced that video. Thank you. That was amazing.
NICO PITNEY, NOWTHIS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Absolutely.
LEMON: So what -- it puts the hypocrisy and the double standard of Fox News front and center. Tell me about this video.
PITNEY: Yeah. I have to give a shout-out to my colleague, Mike Lester, who -- that was his brain child. And NowThis, we reach 70 percent of 20-year-olds in the U.S. every month. We have a big responsibility to young people. And they have grown up. They have found their political consciousness in an age where fake news is everywhere.
And one thing that we want to communicate to them is that the vast majority of reporters, of news outlets, are legitimately interested in the truth. They care a lot about that. But the elephant in the room is this very powerful cable network that is the largest purveyor of fake news. And calling out that hypocrisy is really important.
[22:44:53] LEMON: Yeah, it is. And that's why we're doing it. So let's just point to a few things that they hit Obama on, right, and didn't say a word about Trump. They criticized Obama for golfing. President Trump has spent 181 days at a golf club in first two plus years. Guess how many Obama did, 64, right? And they're always criticizing -- always criticized him. They called him the golfing president, and on and on and on. What's your take here?
PITNEY: Well -- and I don't think the problem is, you know, expressing opinions. It's not even -- it's almost worse than hypocrisy. It is bad faith, you know? Do they believe any of those criticisms, or are they entirely used as a cudgel against someone they disagree with on a totally different issue? And that's, you know, that's a whole other level.
LEMON: It's interesting. As I was coming into the studio tonight, I walked by the monitor, one of the monitors in the news room. And on one of the shows, it's says selective moral outreach from the media. And I just laughed, because I knew I was going to do this segment. And then I said I'm going to show you some selective moral outreach here.
I want you to stick with me, Nico. We have a lot more to talk about. The connection between Fox News and the president goes far beyond their airwaves and all the way to the White House.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: And we're back now. The attorney general moving to control the narrative over the release of the redacted Mueller report, holding a news conference at 9:30 a.m. before even releasing it to everyone around 11:00. So -- and no one knows better about controlling the narrative than President Trump. He does it a lot, and he does it through his allies at Fox News.
Nico Pitney is back with me, and I am joined now by Brian Stelter and Rick Wilson. Rick is the Author of Everything Trump touches Dies, Brian, welcome.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I wish I had made this video.
LEMON: Not that you needed any proof. And then the frustration -- listen, here's the interesting thing. I don't really think about them, but every -- almost every night, one of those guys over there opens up with something -- saying something terrible about CNN and fake news and whatever.
STELTER: It's part of the stake. LEMON: Talk about as far as the stake, rIght?
LEMON: So it felt a little odd doing this segment, because we really don't care. But it just points out the hypocrisy and how the cozy relationship between the White House and Fox News, and how Fox News has become really state-run TV.
STELTER: There's a fundamental dishonesty in some of the rhetoric that we hear from the opinion host on Fox. And I think this video that's going viral today shows that, because it does turn the tables on a lot of Fox's talking points. Ultimately, what the host on Fox News, and I'm talking about the most loyally pro-Trump (inaudible).
LEMON: I am not talking about people like Shep or Brett.
STELTER: But what the pro-Trump guys do is they do a disservice to their viewers.
STELTER: Because no matter how this presidency goes, no matter who is elected next president, the voices on Fox are misleading their audience about what's really going on in the White House. And that's going to especially true tomorrow when this report drops.
LEMON: Yeah. I want to play one clip from the NowThis news video. Rick, this is for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He simply doesn't like being mocked. Maybe he's a little thin-skinned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been saying, Mr. President, put your pants on. Sit at the table. Man up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Skip the trash talk. It only diminishes the office of the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to work with somebody, you don't call them names.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Thin skin, don't call people names. I mean we have a president now who relishes in being a bully. Don't say anything about that. Just give me your reaction to this video.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, I think the video is -- I mean it captures this incredible moment where the Republican Party's fundamental principles, things like deficit reduction, and dignity in the Oval Office, and all these other categories that we use to claim were utterly vital to the presidency are now completely dismissed. And every single thing that those guys said about Barack Obama apply to George -- applies to Donald Trump in an enormous, gigantic, multiple of thousands of times more.
And it's remarkable to see how shameless they are about it. And, you know, the golf thing used to be -- and now he's the president. He deserves some time off. The whole thing is -- it's an amazing, you know, capture of the hypocritical nature of Fox and the enterprise and the gigantic grift that's going on there with these conservative viewers.
LEMON: And Nico, the line from disgraced host Bill O'Reilly, the former host of Fox News about the president seemingly obsessed with cable news. I mean it's laughable when you look at the amount of executive time that this president has slated everyday, to watch cable news and how much he tweets about it, right? This president's, talking about Obama, he talked about -- the president has tweeted 422 times about -- since being sworn in about fake news.
That was about being -- since being sworn in. He has tweeted about Obama, his predecessor, because I said you don't -- Obama criticized his predecessor by name 276 times since being sworn in.
PITNEY: And it's really sad for democracy, because it results in millions of people who watch this network, living in a bizarre fantasy world with no connection to real important facts about, you know, the people that they're being governed by.
STELTER: And again, we're going to suffer from that tomorrow, because the alternative reality about the Mueller report is so strong from these hosts on Fox. Claiming it was an attempted coup. Claiming it's all been a hoax. I hope the news anchors on Fox break through that narrative tomorrow and in the days to come and try to help the public that watches Fox know what actually happen.
LEMON: Yeah. One more thing I want to talk to you about, the deficit. And you're a Republican. You're still a Republicans, right, Rick?
LEMON: The Republicans used to be concerned about deficits. Now, the deficit grew $146.9 billion in March for the fiscal year 2019, $609 billion. That's a 15 percent increase from a year ago. They criticized the former president -- the stats are up there -- so much about the debt, but you never hear them talk about how much this president, this administration is increasing the deficit.
[22:54:57] WILSON: Right. Fiscal conservatives like me spent eight years of Obama tearing our hair out, screaming up and down that the debt and the deficit were unsustainable and out of control. Federal spending was unsustainable. And now, the reaction to it when Trump has blown our deficit out to numbers we could never have conceived before. When we're talking about trillion dollars a year deficits, now it's a
shrug. It's like Donald Trump bankrupts casinos. It's like, whatever, we can walk away from the debt. We can't. We're a sovereign. And so this is going to something that we pay a very, very hard price for economically, because money is actually a thing. It's not just completely imaginary.
And there will be financial consequences for this. And Republicans have completely abandoned. I mean they've, ironically, left open the fiscal conservative lane now for smart Democrats to go, wait a second, we're going to pay for things as we go.
WILSON: Wait a second. We're not going to just spend money like drunken sailors on payday.
LEMON: The question is will anyone care. Brian, I'm over, I know that Bruce (ph) is going to be mad, but I just want to get into this news about Monica Crowley, because it's a revolving with Fox News. CNN is reporting that Fox News commentator Monica Crowley is in talks to be a spokeswoman for the Treasury. That's the latest example of the revolving door. Look on your screen. That's all the people in the Trump administration...
STELTER: Crowley is a clear plagiarist. CNN.com stories have the proof of that. But look, she'll probably get the job. I think all this conversation, all we're looking for, a little consistency? How about a little consistency?
LEMON: How about a little consistency in the truth.
LEMON: Thank you, all. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.