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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) Maryland Was Interviewed About President Trump Not Allowing McGahn To Testify And Attorney General Barr's No- Show At A Hearing; No Such Thing As Friend In Politics; NYT: FBI Investigator Met Undercover With Trump Campaign Aide In 2016; Trump Insults Kamala Harris, Calls Her "Nasty"; Remembering Riley Howell, College Student Who Lost His Life Stopping School Shooter. Aired 11p- 12a ET
Aired May 2, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. President Trump saying tonight that he will block Don McGahn, his former White House counsel, from testifying before Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They had him testifying already for 30 hours --
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: So, is the answer no --
TRUMP: -- and it's really -- I don't think I can let him and tell everybody else you can't because -- especially him because he was a counsel. So, they have testified for many hours, all of them, many, many --
HERRIDGE: So, as far as you're concerned, it's really -- it's kind of done.
TRUMP: It's a blanket already. I can't say one can and the others can't.
HERRIDGE: So is it done?
TRUMP: I would say it's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Don McGahn was interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller's team for more than 30 hours. So, there's a big question, whether or not the president can still invoke executive privilege to prevent him from testifying.
McGahn told investigators that Trump called on him to get rid of Mueller, but that he refused. He has been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee in its investigation into possible obstruction of justice. And meanwhile, the attorney general, William Barr, was a no-show today at a House Judiciary hearing. Committee chair, Jerry Nadler is threatening to hold Barr in contempt of the Congress, not because he failed to appear but because the Justice Department has not complied with the subpoena to turn over the full unredacted Mueller report.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi making this explosive charge today about Barr, the nation's top law enforcement official on his testimony in front of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: But what is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot to talk about with Congresswoman Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who sits on the both the judiciary and oversight committees.
Congressman, thank you. I appreciate you joining us this evening.
The president won't let Don McGahn testify --
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MARYLAND: Happy to be with you, Don.
LEMON: Absolutely. So, the president won't let McGahn testify, Barr was a no show today. How do you deal with an administration that stonewalls you guys at every turn?
RASKIN: Yes. The president is pulling down a curtain over the executive branch of the government and saying he's not going participate or cooperate in any investigations of Congress. That is in absolute defiance of the constitution and the separation of powers.
The Supreme Court determined long ago that it's an essential power of Congress to engage in inquiry and to engage in investigations, both so we can see how current laws are working and also we can see how new laws would work and also so we can superintend the executive branch to make sure that it's not filled with corruption and fraud and abuse.
So, the president is acting in contempt of Congress. The attorney general is acting in contempt of the Congress. And they have forgotten the proper order of things in our constitution. Under Article 1, we are the lawmaking branch. We represent the people. The president's core job is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, not thwarted, not frustrated, and certainly not violated, but that's what they're doing.
LEMON: The Democrats, one of the committee attorneys who asked questions to Barr that Barr wasn't cool with that and then he refused to testify.
[23:05:03] So, here's the question. Did Chairman Nadler's strategy backfire because you were left with an empty chair today?
RASKIN: That was a side show, Don. They would have found any reason not to come today. Obviously, lots of committees have used staff counsel to ask questions in a supplementary way. The Republicans did it, of course, during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings not many months ago. So, we see that all the time.
Look, Attorney General Barr didn't want to come to testify again because so many holes were blown into his story yesterday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. You know, his whole alibi is falling apart and the public is looking at the difference between the things that he said about the actual Mueller report and the things that are in the Mueller report, as people finally get a chance to read it and see it.
For example, they've been repeating the absurd Trump talking point, no collusion. When on page two of the Mueller report, Mueller says we don't address the colloquial question of collusion, which is a distraction from the real issue, which is did we find enough to criminal evidence to charge conspiracy, which they did not. Although they found dozens or hundreds of contacts, of course, between Trump campaign officials and people from the Russian government and people representing other Russian interests as in the Trump Tower Meeting.
LEMON: Congressman, let me -- let me get this question in because I have to -- let's talk about tone here and optics because your colleague, Congressman Steve Cohen, mocked Barr as a chicken by munching on some KFC. I mean, how does that look when you're trying to tell the American people there's a real crisis here?
RASKIN: Yes. Look. I mean, what our focus that's got to be on is the fact that we have a president who has converted the government of the United States into a moneymaking operation for himself, his family and his business, and seems to think anything goes in terms of lying to the American public. I think "the Washington Post" just said the president's lies went over 10,000.
And now, this blanket bad faith defiance of all congressional subpoenas and demands, for example, with the White House personnel office, we have a whistleblower who has come forward, Tricia Newbold, to say that there were 25 cases where the professional staff said someone should not have a security clearance because of a conflict of interest with a foreign government or their own business. And yet, they were overruled by their president or by political operatives in the White House.
So, we have tried to subpoena to get information from them and get witnesses to come and testify, but they have pulled the curtain down. It's the same thing with the president's taxes, of course, the first president in many decades to not turn over his taxes. There's a statute which allows the Ways and Means Committee to subpoena the president's taxes and they just say they're not going comply.
That's totally unacceptable. And we hope that the Republicans would join us in saying the executive branch of government is not beyond the law and the president is not a king under our constitutional system.
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman Raskin, I appreciate your time. Now, I want to bring in Philip Bump and also Renato Mariotti.
Good evening to both of you. You heard that conversation.
Let's talk about -- I talked about optics here. But Philip, let's talk about public opinion on the Mueller report. There's a growing concern about Democrats going too far in their investigation of Trump, 44 percent in CNN's latest polling. But at the same time, 58 percent say they want Congress to investigate whether Trump committed obstruction of justice; 61 percent say they want Congress to pursue legal action and get the unredacted version of the Mueller report and that is before we learned about Mueller's letter and yesterday's testimony. What do you think of that?
PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, the Democrats are in an interesting spot where they have a lot of public energy behind taking a stronger action against President Trump, particularly from their own base. I mean those majorities they are primarily Democrats and a lot of Democratic-leaning independents.
The Democrat haves their base shouting saying, we -- you should do more. You need to -- I mean, a lot of them are saying that they should initiate impeachment -- an impeachment effort against the president. But there is this call to do more. At the same time though, there is a sense among Democratic leaders that doing more is politically risky, particularly with 2020 looming.
So, they're sort of in this bind between hearing all of these calls to do more, recognizing that the election is looming, but then there's this third issue, which Renato can speak to better than I can, which is that Congress doesn't really have a lot of power here.
BUMP: Beyond starting an impeachment trial, they don't really -- there's not a lot they can do. There's not a lot they can do to compel people to come talk to them necessarily, and that's problematic in of itself.
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I will say, as to compelling them, I think that there are some unrealistic expectations out there that the Congress is going to issue the subpoena to hold someone in contempt, and then I guess the sergeant at arms -- he's going to --
LEMON: And cops will come pick them up or something, right?
MARIOTTI: Yes. Go rush to the Justice Department building and drag Bill Barr out or Don McGahn or whoever. It's not going to work that way.
[23:10:04] MARIOTTI: You know, some of this, the people like Jerry Nadler they know they're going to have to go to court. And I think that helps explain the careful strategy that they have had so far.
LEMON: OK. Let's talk about this. I want to go back to the Mueller report. Because "The Atlantic's" David Frum pointed out two key lines, Renato. Listen to this.
"As describe in volume one, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer hacking or active measure conspiracies or that the president otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns."
That second line is key. Where does that leave the president?
MARIOTTI: Well, I think that the president had a reason to try to obstruct justice for one thing. I think that demolishes that talking point that we've heard.
But I think more importantly, beyond whether there's some crime that could be proven in a court, which is never going happen, there are issues I think that Congress needs to take a look at for the American people that go above and beyond whether there's a crime that could be proven in a court of law.
The question is whether it will, I think you've discussed some of those issues already whether the Democrats will actually do it.
LEMON: OK. So, let's talk about more polling. All right. You took a look at the Quinnipiac, right, the polling data for your Washington Post piece. So, I want to check out this graph. We'll put it up there.
It shows that in a Quinnipiac poll conducted partly after Barr's letter was released, nearly half of Republicans said the investigation was fair. That was nearly half. After the report came out, two-thirds of Republicans thought it was fair. It's all the more interesting because the White House is trashing Mueller again.
LEMON: So, is it fair? Is it not fair? What is it?
BUMP: Well, I mean, I think that we -- you know, not to -- not to reduce it too much, but I think a lot of people have a general sense of what the Mueller report said. A lot of Republicans. The sense is no collusion, no obstruction. Precisely what President Trump said after Barr released that initial letter.
There's not a lot of sense of, there's actually really damming stuff here about obstruction and really damming stuff here about ties to the Russian -- to various Russian individuals which is certainly part of the Mueller report.
The fascinating thing about that graph is that's the only graph -- Quinnipiac has been asking questions about this for months now. That's the only graph where there was any change.
For example, they ask since June 2017 about obstruction. Do you think President Trump committed any act of obstruction or try to derail the investigation? It's just flat. Democrats, yes, absolutely. Republicans not at all.
Even after the report came out, Republicans like 20 percent of them say, yes, Donald Trump tried to derail the investigation. He obviously tried to derail the investigation whether or not it rose to criminal obstruction is a whole different issue. But that didn't change at all because perceptions to the Mueller report are very, very reduced to a simple understanding of what actually it said.
LEMON: So, the White House, Renato, want, they want to preserve now in the future to claim executive privilege for any other proceeding. Is that going to work?
MARIOTTI: No, it's going to fail. And the reason why is that not only did they allow all these people to talk to Robert Mueller, but then they released the Mueller report with all these conversations to the public. So, there's no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Essentially, once you let it out to the public you can no longer claim privilege.
LEMON: So, you said that Democrats were in an interesting place. So, as we see these battle lines being drawn here, and they're really like deep battle lines, right? Where does this leave Democrats on things like impeachment proceedings or 2020 Democrats facing Trump? Where are we?
BUMP: I think 20 Democrat have sort of an easier time of it. Because they only need to appeal to the most hard-core Democrats who are going to come out and vote in the primaries. That's why you saw Elizabeth Warren very early on coming out saying, yes, we need to move forward to impeachment.
Nancy Pelosi is in a very different situation, you know. But I mean, I think that there's a lot of nuance to a lot of these different fights. Like the lawsuit that Trump filed against Deutsche Bank is a very different thing than Barr being called to testify. Like this Don McGahn thing. I don't understand how on earth Trump thinks he can prevent Don McGahn from testifying.
LEMON: Do you think we'll see McGahn testify?
BUMP: Yes. I mean, I think he can make an executive privilege claim. I think, as Renato point out, it's going to be thrown out pretty quickly. I spoke with a Duke University law professor who said Don McGahn is a private citizen. He doesn't work for Donald Trump. There's a -- you know, I don't know how he thinks he's going keep him out of that room.
BUMP: A lot of nuance and a lot of different ways he seems can break up.
LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.
MARIOTTI: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Back in January, which wasn't that long ago, William Barr had nothing but good things to say about his friend Bob Mueller. Things sure have changed. Wonder if they're still be friends now.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: There is a new conflict consuming Washington. The Attorney General William Barr versus Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Barr took swipes at the special counsel in his testimony to Congress. We haven't heard from Mueller and probably won't for some time.
Let's discuss. Harry Litman is here.
Harry, good to see you. Let's get right to it.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thank you, Don. Good to -- yes.
LEMON: Barr was wrapping his arms around Mueller during his confirmation, now he is throwing him around the bus. So, what gives here, what happened?
LITMAN: Yes. I mean, what happened is he was completely rejecting what he did. So, I mean, it's a root and branch rejection on everything Mueller did over 22 months the whole idea of it. And you know, Barr sat there and said, I don't even know what Mueller was you thinking. That's a hell of a thing to say for the core conclusion of the report.
And he second-guesses every evidentiary determination. And of course, now the camps are at war. There's a war, and you know, they are sharp antagonist. Maybe the most telling piece of testimony yesterday was when Barr said, Bob, why did you put this in a letter? Why didn't you tell me? That means why did you create this trouble for me and --
LEMON: Let's listen to that, Harry.
LITMAN: -- it's going to come.
LEMON: Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I said, Bob, what's with the letter? You know, why didn't you just pick up the phone and call me if there's an issue?
I don't consider Bob at this stage a career prosecutor. He's had a career as a prosecutor.
[23:20:02] SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, he's a very eminent prosecutor.
BARR: He was the head of the FBI for 12 years.
BLUMENTHAL: He's a career law enforcement professional.
BLUMENTHAL: I know of no other instance of --
BARR: But he was also a political appointee and he was a political appointee with me at the Department of Justice. I don't -- you know, the letter is a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. The idea, first of all, there's a lot there, but that's something this consequential would be written by a staff person. Maybe he did but I would doubt it.
But listen, we already know they had two letters and a phone call. Did he describe the Mueller that you know? What's that all about?
LITMAN: Yes. Look, I mean, they are little different, right. Mueller, he described the Mueller that I know, but the Barr that I know has been absent from the scene for weeks, you know.
We have basically Mueller going all in as we expected for the rule of law and Barr going all in as we didn't expect for the rule of Trump. And, you know, Mueller is painfully aware, as is his entire staff that worked together so meticulously for 22 months that Barr isn't playing it straight.
I mean, he gave a rendition of his -- of Mueller's report that just doesn't describe what Mueller found and just took it out of his hands and completely rolled him, you know, with no deference whatsoever, even though the rank said he was supposed to have it. I don't see Mueller going to the next Barr wedding. You know, they are really now antagonists. You're going to see a war of words. A war of leaks, you know.
LEMON: It's surprising that he would downplay Mueller's experience and resume. But you say -- I find it fascinating that you say Mueller and Barr run in different Republican circles. What do you mean?
LITMAN: Yes. Well, so here's what I mean. They're in, you know, you have to do a little sort of sociology of Washington Republicans. But I think Mueller really is the real deal. As a prosecutor, a straight up guy. And I think Barr, you know, in his sort of dinner parties and social circles is more sort of true-blue partisan Republican, whereas, Mueller is fastidiously nonpolitical.
So even though they're both long-term well-regarded people in Washington, they are in different social circles and now those circles have completely cleaved. They are now antagonist. They are now, you know, Barr has come out whole hog for Trump and Mueller is doing his job as a prosecutor and Barr's work has made it essentially -- you know, essentially has trashed Mueller, you know, publicly, which is sort of astonishing.
LEMON: If you're -- if you're -- quickly if you can -- if you're Mueller and you're listening to the White House and the attorney general trash your report --
LEMON: Say, you are acting politically, shouldn't have investigated if you couldn't come to a conclusion, what are you thinking?
LITMAN: I'm thinking they are pernicious and I'm stay thinking about the public here. I mean, that's the missing factor with Barr's little, you know, intramural dispute with the Congress.
It's the public's right to know about what Barr did, what Barr said, what Barr decided. Mueller, I think is thinking in those terms but I think he's also in a terrible ambivalent situation. He is a good soldier. The attorney general is the attorney general. He gave this, you know, sharp letter internally.
But when he's called will he really, like, have it out with Barr publicly? Just so much against his DNA. On the other hand, this is the work of a lifetime, and it's been truly trivialized and trashed, and he and his people, who he's been with for 22 months --
LEMON: This is --
LITMAN: -- I think feel deep resentment about this.
LEMON: This is Mueller's legacy and reputation.
LEMON: But also, Barr's as well.
LEMON: And you say he's killed his own reputation.
LITMAN: I know.
LEMON: Thank you, sir. I appreciate your time.
LITMAN: Thank you, Don. Good to be with you.
LEMON: You, as well.
""The New York Times"" reporting that the FBI sent an undercover investigator to meet with the campaign adviser two months before the 2016 election. Trump campaign is calling this spying but is that what that really is? Is that what really happened? [34:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: New tonight ""The New York Times"" reporting that the FBI sent an undercover investigator to meet with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and gather information. But her effort did not yield anything useful to the investigation.
Joining me now with more is Josh Campbell and Shawn Turner.
Gentlemen, good evening to you.
Josh, I'm going to start with you. Explain what we know about this FBI investigator and her meetings with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos just before the 2015 election.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. So, this is coming from "The New York Times" report. And I'll mention that this is not based on anything from my time in government. This is coming from their great reporting.
They describe that a woman set up a meeting with then campaign adviser George Papadopoulos there in London. That she was apparently posing as a research assistant when in fact the Times reports that she was a government investigator that was working as part of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation at that time.
You know, the FBI eventually ended up having four people in Trump orbit who were under investigation based on the shady, you know, suspicious ties to the Kremlin. And so, this investigation was set up to gather information.
The one thing that I will take exception that I push back a little bit on this reporting is they described it as signaling or at least explaining this state of alarm inside the FBI which I disrespectfully disagree with.
I mean, I think this is investigation 101. Informants, undercover agents or investigative tools that are used in a number of different cases they take you places that FBI agents can't go. They can't announce themselves and then start asking questions.
So, I think that this is, you know, the president he's going call this spying. This insane notion that the Obama administration was directing this effort is just pure politics.
[23:30:00] But again, at the end of the day, this is investigation 101, where the FBI is trying to investigate a string of bank robberies or a terrorist group or a motorcycle gang. And yes, even a campaign that has suspicious ties to a foreign adversary, this is a tool you would use.
LEMON: Shawn, the Trump team is already claiming that this is, you know, calling this spying. You say that is not accurate. Why do you say that?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. You know, Don, the problem with the term spying as Attorney General Barr well knows is that it's typically a term that is used in the Intelligence Community to refer to someone who is either an adversary or competitor.
So when AG Barr talks about the lawful surveillance of individuals who were part of a counterintelligence investigation, when he talks about them in terms of spying, what he's essentially doing is saying that there is already a construct in which they are either acting as enemies of the president of the United States or the administration or they are seeing the president -- sets up really adversarial sort of relationship.
I think he knows that. You can tell certainly by the way that he talked about the administration, the investigation throughout his campaign. The truth is that this was lawful surveillance and that this counterintelligence investigation was something that was absolutely necessary.
I just have to, you know, I kind of agree with Josh here. You know, there are a lot of people out there who are kind of buying into this idea that this investigation was either unnecessary or was a witch hunt. Based on all the evidence, Don, based on the fact that we knew that Russia was launching an information operations campaign unlike anything we have ever seen before, we know that campaign involved hacking into our election infrastructure.
We also know that that campaign involved unusual and suspicious contacts between Russian individuals and people associated with the campaign. The FBI would have been derelict in its responsibilities, derelict in its duties if it had not launched a counterintelligence campaign. So this investigation was absolutely necessary, lawful surveillance, nothing to do with spying and Attorney General Barr should not use language like that because it is just inflammatory.
LEMON: Josh, under what circumstances would the FBI initiate this kind of operation?
CAMPBELL: So something like this would be highly scrutinized on two levels. First of all, undercover operations aren't just done willy- nilly inside the FBI. You just don't decide, OK, I'm going to go and infiltrate a group. They are highly scrutinized. There are processes that are in place. In order to manage this, you have to get approval, you know, every step of the way, so that would be a high level oversight.
But also this would fall into what is called a sensitive investigative matter. When you're talking about an investigation into an elected official, a campaign, member of the clergy or the media, for example, the Department of Justice actually gives, you know, high level oversight over those types of operations up to the Department of Justice requiring high level coordination.
So, again, this isn't something that they would just do on their own, which is why I really take exception with this idea of deep state because, you know, the number of people that would be involved in this from the investigative level all the way up to the highest levels ensuring that this was done within the bounds of the law, that would require a lot of people. This isn't some cabal that was out there again trying to go after Donald Trump which is just ridiculous.
LEMON: Shawn, Trump campaign staffer once called Papadopoulos a "coffee boy." Here is my question. Can the Trump team downplay his role while claiming this is an egregious act of spying?
TURNER: Yeah, you know, that seems somewhat disingenuous. Look, we know that when you look at the Mueller report, the Mueller report found something very interesting. I think we need to look at this language. It found that there was no agreement between the Russian government and the Trump campaign to collude in our campaign.
Now, what the report doesn't really get at is the degree to which there are individuals like George Papadopoulos who were engaged in reaching out to and leveraging contacts that they had with Russian officials in support of the Trump campaign. We know that happened. We have seen that in some of the indictments that have been levied.
So, you know, the idea that he was just a coffee boy, he wasn't actually in power to actually do things on behalf of the Trump campaign in some of the meetings that he had, some of the individuals that he contact with, again, it doesn't hold water, you know.
I just want to point out that, look, the investigation has been clear that there was no agreement here, but there were still individuals who were having unusual or suspicious contacts with Russians.
LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you.
CAMPBELL: Don, can I just add one quick --
LEMON: I've got run, Josh.
CAMPBELL: Yeah, OK.
LEMON: Sorry about that. Why does the president keep calling formidable female opponents "nasty?" It sure seems like he has a problem with women and people of color. Van Jones, W. Kamau Bell, here to discuss, next.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is running for the Democratic nomination, is brushing off an insult by President Trump. Listen to what he said and then her response.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Kamala Harris.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, she was probably very nasty.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, let me be very clear about how I think about what is important and what is before us. We have a president of the United States whose primary interest, I think, that has been clear as a result of what we know from the Mueller report, his primary interest has been to obstruct justice. My primary interest is to pursue justice. And you can call that whatever name you want, but I think that's what the American people want in a leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Van Jones here, W. Kamau Bell here as well. There they are! Good evening.
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: Oh, look it, look it (ph).
BELL: Oh, don't start --
BELL: You know.
LEMON: She came with it!
LEMON: OK. All right, let's get this on track. I want the start with you, Kamau, because you're a fellow Oaklander, right? Sen. Harris addressed the insult again in a fundraising tweet and e-mail. Here is what it says.
[23:39:59] Fundraising e-mail saying, "It seems like anytime Donald Trump feels threatened by a strong woman, he lashes out with this gross weird attack. It's the kind of sexism that makes me want to run my head through a wall."
Why are all women who challenge the president nasty or, you know, some iteration of that or dumb or something?
BELL: Let's be specific. He really seems to take a lot of pleasure when it's a black woman with an opinion, if he goes Maxine Waters, April Ryan and Abby Phillip from CNN. It seems when he is challenged by black woman specifically, he gets even nastier than he normally gets. I don't want to overlook the racial component to this.
LEMON: What do you say?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Amen. I tell you, he goes after people he thinks can hurt him. Look, Kamala Harris ain't nobody to mess with, man.
LEMON: You said --
JONES: You can mess with the wrong woman.
LEMON: Why did he go from calling Democrats -- he called Democrats' toughest candidate, calling her the Democrats' toughest candidate, to nasty woman?
JONES: Well, it is two sides of the same coin. In other words, he recognizes how formidable she is. Man, listen, a bunch of senators tried to lay gloves on Barr. It was interesting or whatever. Kamala Harris lit Barr up. She --
JONES: Barr didn't know what to say. He said, "Can you repeat the question?"
JONES: Like, down goes Frazer (ph).
BELL: Ah, ah, ah.
LEMON: Uh, well, I mean, yes, attorney general was appointed before.
JONES: I mean, listen, he's looking at that. He said, "I don't want to deal with that on a debate stage." He's never been on a debate stage with somebody who can do what Kamala Harris can do to him. He's trying to diminish her. He's scared. It's a tell. It's a tell. Whenever he starts going down that name-calling, it's a tell. Kamala Harris had a great week this week. She lit up Barr and now she got Trump pulled in.
LEMON: I have been on the stage with her, just as a facilitator of questions at the town hall. She is formidable.
JONES: Oh, yeah.
LEMON: I think she would be formidable in a debate with the president. So, let's talk about last time. It took us a while to get to your projects, but they are important projects, and I want to talk a bit more about them.
Kamau, in your season premiere of "United Shades of America," you're in Seattle, you're talking to people fighting back against racism, white supremacy and the rise of extremist groups. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the NRA membership is required to shoot at certain ranges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I begged them. I said, "Is there any other Second Amendment organization that I can join?" They said, "No, this is the only one." BELL (on camera): Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate the NRA. I think they're a cowardly organization. I have no respect for them.
BELL (on camera): That's clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
LEMON: What's motivating these people?
BELL: I mean, what's motivating them is what -- it's sort of goes back to what we have seen all day. Our elected officials are not willing to stand up against the, you know, the force of evil that are permeating that country, and so therefore people have to do it themselves. A lot of times when I travel, white people over the country are saying, "Kamala, what can I do as a concerned citizen? What can I do?"
This Sunday in "United Shades," we are talking to mostly white activists in Tacoma and Seattle who are standing up for themselves and their communities.
LEMON: Yeah. Listen, just today, the NYPD announced that while overall crime is down, hate crimes have surged 67 percent from last year. The president continues to downplay this threat. How do we tackle this issue, Kamau?
BELL: I think the 2020 election is a big part of that. I mean, you know, hate crimes have tracked (ph) with his election into the White House. I think that the way we attack it is by getting new leadership in Washington, D.C. and hopefully having Kamala Harris. If she can have a Senate hearing every day until the election, she'll be our next president.
LEMON: Yeah. I mean, it is surprising. I've seen -- it happened, heard the language, you know, and it's shocking to hear personally someone say racist language in your presence. It's unbelievable, Van. Your show is called "The Redemption Project."
LEMON: It looks fascinating. I was traveling. I didn't get to see it this weekend, but I promise I'll catch up and I will watch this weekend.
LEMON: It also airs Sunday. You travel the Metairie, Louisiana. You went to Baton Rouge.
JONES: Yes. LEMON: You traveled to Metairie, Louisiana to meet the Stokes family. Their daughter was badly injured by a drunk driver at the age of 15. Watch this.
JONES (on camera): You got a dad. You got a mom. You got a baby sister that's in a wheelchair. Why do you want to sit across from all that pain?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was -- I've always wanted to meet Ashlee. And I know -- I'm unworthy of forgiveness.
LEMON: How does a family get to the point where they have a conversation between the offender and the victim?
[23:44:58] JONES: Part of this is -- you know, we are at a place in the culture where forgiveness, compassion, empathy has just gone out the window. And so this show is really going at 180 degrees to other direction and trying to show people who really have -- not in some tweet or whatever, have real reason to have pain, to not speak to each other, and show them go the process of going from heartbreak to some kind of hope, heartbreak to some kind of healing.
It is a remarkable series. We have eight episodes. People who have been really messed up, they want to ask for forgiveness. They don't know how. You got families still hurting and suffering. When they come together, amazing stuff happens. It doesn't always end up warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it doesn't. But when it does, it's unbelievable.
The thing about this show is that, you know, we launched last weekend. You know, usually Twitter should be called "hater" because it's a bunch of --
LEMON: They loved it.
JONES: It was unbelievable.
LEMON: So with that said, let me ask you this.
LEMON: You said the social media traffic was --
JONES: Yeah, very positive, yeah.
LEMON: How do -- so in a time where this administration and one person is sowing division as a means to stay in power, how do you sell something where people come together that doesn't sow division and that talks about unity? JONES: I think that --
LEMON: Are we crying for unity?
JONES: I think that people got addicted to the division, got addicted to the outrage, and it's a sickness. This show is some medicine, trying to put a little bit of medicine back into the system so that people can actually find their way back home.
LEMON: Well, it's very interesting. It's very interesting. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. You could have come to New York, Kamau, but that's all right.
BELL: I can't do it. West Coast. Best coast.
LEMON: He's just nasty.
BELL: 510, baby.
LEMON: He didn't even hear that. Thank you, Kamau. That was a joke. Thank you. I appreciate it. Be sure to watch "The Redemption Project" with Van Jones, Sunday night at 9:00, followed by W. Kamau Bell's "United Shades of America" at 10:00 right here on CNN. Thanks, gentlemen. We'll be right back.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is in mourning, grieving the loss of 21-year-old hero student Riley Howell. He rushed a gunman who opened fire inside a classroom Tuesday night. Riley lost his life stopping the shooter. The gunman killed a second student as well. But Riley is being hailed as a hero. Police say he saved lives when he took the action he did.
Joining me now via Skype is Morgan Moylan, Riley's aunt. Morgan, thank you so much. I can't imagine what you're going through and my heart goes out to your family for the loss of your nephew. He was such a great guy, we hear. Tell us about Riley.
MORGAN MOYLAN, AUNT OF RILEY HOWELL: It's interesting when we -- everybody who's talked about Riley says the exact same thing. He was fun and a big teddy bear, a lover of adventure, a lover of dogs. He took in every stray dog he could find. He loved his family. He loved the outdoors. He loved to cook. But most of all, he loved to serve. He dreamed of being in the military. You guys all know that by now.
LEMON: Yeah. And there's his picture right there. Listen, I want you to listen to what the police chief had to say about Riley. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERR PUTNEY, CHIEF, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT: Seeing exactly what was going on, did exactly what we train people to do. You're either going to run, you're going to hide and shield, or you're going to take the fight to the assailant. Having no place to run and hide, he did the last. But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Morgan, there were about 30 other students in that classroom alone who could have all died. Because of Riley, they are alive.
MOYLAN: Actually, several of those parents and grandparents have reached out to family members to say that, thank you, my child is alive because of Riley, and that's been incredible to hear.
LEMON: So Morgan, we heard what the police chief said about him. I want to you to hear now what the parents had to say about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HOWELL, FATHER OF RILEY HOWELL: Everybody ran and Riley chased.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL, MOTHER OF RILEY HOWELL: We are just beyond proud of what he was able to do. While kids are running one way, our son turned and ran towards the shooter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It has to be crushing to lose someone so young with so much promise but -- I mean, you have to be proud of how brave he was when it came down to saving others.
MOYLAN: We're not as proud. We are -- we're not shocked. I mean, this was who he was. He was so true to himself.
LEMON: I know that you have two of his aunts there. Can you just show them? I know that you guys are grieving, but you loved him so much and you're very proud of him. And that is April and Jenny, correct?
LEMON: Yeah. Thank you. You guys -- thank you so much. I just want to know how he has a brother and two sisters, all younger. How are they doing?
MOYLAN: Yeah. Oh, they're hurting. I mean, they're hurting. But the best -- the most true thing was after some reporters left yesterday, Teddy, the youngest, looked and said, everyone is talking about what a hero that Riley is, but I've always known that he was a hero. He's always been mine. And Jenny's son, Hank, said the exact same thing.
So, they are supported by cousins, which is really a tight-knit group. It was kind of cool they'll tell a story and then go play volleyball for a second and tell a story and cry together.
[23:55:02] At least they have each other to support each other.
LEMON: What do you want people to know about Riley?
MOYLAN: I want you to know or want them to know that all the tributes, the procession today with the police and the firefighters and the Green Berets inspiration photos from Fort Bragg and all of that, that is Riley's dream. And he is looking down from heaven, smiling and nodding his head and saying, I don't understand why everybody made such a big deal about it. But this is just who he is.
LEMON: It's -- no one knows what they would do in a situation like that and he stepped up and this -- he is the definition of a real hero. That's heroic, what he did, and you guys should be proud of him. I know you're mourning, but thank you so much and our thoughts and prayers and our hearts certainly go out to you. Thank you.
MOYLAN: Thank you. It's a gift to be able to hold onto heroism versus horror.
LEMON: Thank you, Morgan.
MOYLAN: Thank you.
LEMON: Good night.
MOYLAN: Good night.