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CNN TONIGHT

House Judiciary Set To Vote To Hold A.G. Barr In Contempt; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Was Interviewed About ""The New York Times"" Report On President Trump's Tax Returns And His Platform For 2020; A Silhouette On President Trump's Wealth, Losses And Tax Evasion Revealed By ""The New York Times";" Women's Electability Questioned More Than Men; Presidential Race 2020; Wray Disagrees With Barr On 'Spying' Claim; Sandra Bland Recorded Her Own Arrest In 2015. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 7, 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.

And we have some breaking news to tell you. It's about the DOJ. The DOJ is threatening to ask the White House to invoke executive privilege to avoid the attorney general being held in contempt of Congress in a matter of hours. That because of his refusal to hand over the unredacted Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee.

This is just happening. We have more on this very important story in just a minute. Also, more on the bomb shell breaking news that may explain why President Trump is refusing to release his tax returns to House Democrats.

Tonight, "The New York Times" revealing Trump's tax information from the years 1985 through 1994, showing that over the course of those years Trump's businesses lost more than $1 billion. The Times is reporting that in that particular time period Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer, so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight years.

I want to get to the breaking news right off the bat. CNN's Manu Raju is on the phone. Manu, good evening to you. The Department of Justice responding tonight the House Judiciary Committee threat to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress tomorrow morning. Explain the significance of this breaking news.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very significant. But this is a breakdown in communication between the Justice Department and House Judiciary staff. That all day they have been negotiation to see if they can find any sort off middle ground over these Democrat's demands who laid out in their subpoena from last week that ask for the full unredacted Mueller report and the underlying evidence.

Now, after they have talked to see if they could reach a middle ground the head of that contempt vote, it appears those talks have broken down and Democrats plan to move forward, that contempt though. And in a letter tonight from the Justice Department to the House

Judiciary Committee, they make a pretty significant threat here. They are saying very directly to the Democrats that they will be -- that the Attorney General Bill Barr will be, quote, "compelled to request the president to invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena."

So, what they are essentially here, Don, is that they are saying that if the Democrats move forward with the votes to hold the attorney general in contempt tomorrow, that in response the attorney general will then ask the White House to essentially block the Democrats from getting access to all the redacted sections of the report and the underlying evidence, documents that they want to pursue their investigation.

This is something that we have not seen them do that to actually invoke executive privilege, but the attorney general here threatening to do that tonight, Don. And tonight, I'm hearing from Democrats that they are not -- they still plan to move forward with this vote tomorrow.

But nevertheless, we're seeing an escalation quite on all fronts the Democrats are asking for a range of information. The White House, the Trump administration pushing back on all fronts that this is very likely going to end up in court. It could take months and months to play out.

But tomorrow, expect a very contentious session as the Democrats move forward on this contempt vote and as the White House, they move forward to block the Democrats from getting what they're looking for.

LEMON: My goodness. Here we go. Another court battle when it comes to this administration. Manu Raju with our breaking news. Thank you very much.

We've got more now. I want to turn now to Walter Shaub, the former director of Office of Government Ethics. David Cay Johnston is with us as well, the author of "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America," and April Ryan joins us. She is the author of "Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House."

Good evening. Thank you all for joining us. I really appreciate it. So, Walter, I'm going to start with you. I just want to read -- this is a key portion from the report.

It says, "In the face of the committee's threatened contempt vote the attorney general will be compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena." So that would be executive privilege over the entire Mueller report? They're throwing down the gauntlet here, right?

WALTER SHAUB, FORMER DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: Yes. I mean, it's a completely bizarre letter. It smacks of desperation and more hardline tactics. They've already released part of that report. Some of report is grand jury material that's already been shared with

another branch of government and his stated reasons are along the lines of you're not playing nice with us, we don't like what you're doing so we're going to leverage this principal that applies to confidential communications between the president and his advisers to this other context just to see if we can get away with it.

[23:05:03] And I think there's a possibility they may succeed in delaying things if it has to go to court but it doesn't seem like a strategy that's calculated to do more than delay, delay, delay and obstruct the legitimate congressional oversight of the executive branch.

And that's, I think the more disturbing aspect of it is just that they would try to do this, rather than fulfilling their responsibility as government officials to cooperate with congressional oversight.

LEMON: You know, April Ryan, this is really an escalation in the White House's battle with Congress. Don't you --

APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

LEMON: Where does this end up? I mean, this is really ratcheting things up.

RYAN: Just got off the phone with a source that has direct contacts with the White House. They are saying that this go as far as the Supreme Court. The White House is not going to budge.

This White House is very hard on information, giving information. Even though they say they are transparent. There are so many contradictions with this Mueller report, with the redactions, with everything that's involving this investigation.

And the best thing that this White House could do would be to allow this to go out. But now by holding back and saying, you know, we're not going to budge, this could go as far as the Supreme Court and it's going to be delay and delay and delay.

But the bottom line is it's not giving the American public confidence but at the same time this president is seeing his highest approval numbers yet. So, we have to figure out where this goes. But the American people want to know what it is -- what is -- is in this Mueller report.

LEMON: It's going to be interesting to see when the approval numbers come out after the Barr.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: Because that was before the Barr controversy. But still you're right. You're seeing his highs still low but for this president it is a high mark.

RYAN: For this president, yes. LEMON: Yes. So, David Cay Johnston, I want to bring you in. And the reason we brought you in and we're going to -- we'll discuss this in depth in the show more.

I want talk to you about this bomb shell New York Times reporting on the president's tax returns. We've discussed much of this and you've had -- you know, you managed to get ahold of, I think one set of tax returns.

But these returns show that the president lost more money than literally any other individual American taxpayer. I mean, look at this chart. Some years you reported a negative income of almost a billion dollar. For someone who claims that he loves winning that he is the best businessman he sure lost a heck lot of money.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, he did and this isn't explainable through normal tax sheltering by the real estate business. What it shows is that Donald Trump's claim to be the modern Midas, especially in the go-go '80s when people were making money left and right is a complete con job.

That Trump is in fact a business daunts. And then the data "The New York Times" relied on here was what's called a tax transcript. It's essentially how the IRS takes the key information off of your tax return so it can be a quick review of your information.

And "The Times" says they've obtained this from someone who legally had it. There are lots of people who would legally have that. Bankers he might have taken loans out from, litigants, people he had certain kinds of agreements with. So, and they also show the numbers line up perfectly with some other tax returns they have.

So, this is highly reliable information. And it explains why Trump on Monday had his administration openly break the law in refusing to turn over the last six years of his tax return to Congress which has the right to see them just as, by the way, President Trump has the right to see your return, Don, or mine.

LEMON: So, Walter, are they breaking the law?

SHAUD: Yes. The law couldn't be more clear. It says the treasury secretary shall release these. The letter that Mnuchin sent talks about this idea that somehow the Constitution and the executive branch's interpretation of it trumps the statute and guts Congress's authority to conduct not only legitimate oversight but oversight pursuant to a lawfully passed statute.

That's just bizarre and I think this bomb shell "New York Times" story heightens the need for Congress to be able to look at his report. For one thing, the information "The New York Times" reported tonight is so unusual and so strange.

The sheer magnitude of those losses and his reliance on tax breaks for write-offs really means that Congress has a need to look to see if the IRS is properly reviewing his taxes. They did that with Nixon and although the IRS had praised the accuracy

of this report found that it wasn't accurate at all. It also raises questions about how deeply the president may be dependent on others to fund his activities or may be in debt to him through his other businesses. And I think that kind of conflict of interest creates a vulnerability that Congress has a need to explore.

[23:10:03] LEMON: Yes. Well, that certainly put it into perspective. And let's -- one would -- April, 1994 up until the present I wonder what's their -- I'm sure many people are wondering what's there. And if this person who had legal access according to the Times maybe there are others who have legal access to at least the president's records, tax records.

RYAN: Right.

LEMON: He's bragged about his business, you know, acumen all along. Was this all smoke and mirrors?

RYAN: Smoke and mirrors. You know, I've heard from so many who've known this president when he was a civilian, when he was in entertainment, when he was in real estate. And they have said before, and they didn't have the actual proof like "The New York Times" says right now, but they used to say that he was the poorest rich man that they ever knew.

And this would go right to what they're saying. And what it does it goes back to what was just said. The vulnerability of this president, you know, and who he's working with, who he has worked with, who he can work with. It's about past, present and the future and the conflict of interest.

As a sitting United States president, and it is not law as of yet for any candidate to have to give their tax returns, but when you sit in that seat of power and there are questions about your connections with certain governments, there is a concern about what you will do. LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: You know, and it's on the table, it's real.

LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate your time.

So how will the news about the president's taxes play out in the 2020 race? How is it going to play out? I'm going to ask the candidate. Well, one of them. Congressman Eric Swalwell is next.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Our breaking news tonight. The DOJ telling House Democrats that the White House is prepared to invoke executive privilege over the entire Mueller report if they move forward with a vote in a matter of hours to hold the Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt.

And just a little while ago, I spoke to Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Eric Swalwell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us, Congressman. Give me your reaction to this reporting --

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: -- this new reporting about the president's taxes, over a billion dollars in losses in a decade?

SWALWELL: Yes, Don. And first, I just want to let the community in Highlands Ranch know that I'm thinking of them. This is just heartbreaking and cannot be the new norm in America. And I know you're covering that too.

But, Don, look, the American people deserve to know if their president is a commander in cheat. And when you look at his taxes and his failure to tell us what he's been up to in the last two decades, it certainly looks like there's a lot of questions.

What also what popped out from that "New York Times" reporting was that no individual, it appears, during some of those time periods, had lost more money in America. Now why is that relevant? Well, this person is the president of the United States leading our economy.

But second with 200 pages in the Mueller report about contacts that the president and his family had with the Russians and knowing that the Russians used financial compromise as a way to kind of get in and compromise someone, we need to see his taxes.

We need to understand whether there are ongoing vulnerabilities that make us less safe which would also explain this bizarre phone call last week where he would call Vladimir Putin and not confront him. So, there are lot of questions that we need to get to the bottom line.

LEMON: So, Congressman, listen, we're talking about, again, tax information from '85 to '94, which is not the time period at the center of the battle between the Trump administration and Congress.

Do you think this is what the president was hiding or there are other reasons that he won't release his returns?

SWALWELL: Well, leopards don't usually change their spots, Don, and I bet that the way he conducted himself during that time period probably really didn't change. If there's anything consistent about Donald Trump is that he consistently lies, cheats and steals.

And so, I wouldn't expect him to all of a sudden be more forthcoming or have less losses or carry over losses as we see. So, we're going to get to the bottom of this.

We just, you know, again, Steve Mnuchin is refusing to turn over the tax documents that he's required by law to give to the Congress. We're saying no is above the law, and we're probably going to move shortly on holding him and the president accountable.

LEMON: OK. So that's one issue you're dealing with speaking of holding people accountable. The House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says that your committee is going to move forward with a contempt vote tomorrow for the Attorney General, William Barr unless the DOJ agrees to his latest set of demands. Do you know what those demands are, Congressman?

SWALWELL: I do. We want to see the full Mueller report. And the DOJ is insisting that only 12 members of Congress in both the House and the Senate would be able to see it and they couldn't tell anyone in the world about it.

And again, how, if you have to hold the president accountable for what's in that report, how could you just rely on the word of 12 people who would say trust me I've read it but you can't see it. And the 12, most of the 12 people who would have access don't even want to be in that position.

And so, this is really about how do you protect this country from future interference if you can't see a report that describes the interference campaign. And we're going to -- we're going to see that full report. It may not come as fast as we want but we have tools now and we're going to use them.

LEMON: And there's more. All right? You've mentioned Steve Mnuchin, you've mentioned Bill Barr. Now your committee is also threatening to hold former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt after he was ordered by the White House to defy today's subpoena deadlines.

What are Democrats actually -- what will they achieve by holding all these people in contempt?

SWALWELL: Well, show the American people that no one is above the law, especially White House officials or former White House officials.

And Don, I just want to say about Don McGahn. He cooperated with special counsel. The privilege was already waived when he went in and talked to Robert Mueller. He doesn't have to listen to the White House's demands that he not come forward. He can come forward on his own. And there's no penalty at all for him coming forward.

[23:19:55] The right thing for him to do would be to come forward, tell the American people what the president ordered him to do which was to fire Bob Mueller and not go along with this lawlessness of Donald Trump and the people working for him.

LEMON: And Representative, I want to talk to you more now about the student that died and several others hospitalized after that school shooting in the Denver area. You say you're running for president as the gun's candidate. How are you going to put a stop to this senseless violence?

SWALWELL: Well, Don, it's saying enough is enough. I'm trusting that there is a gun safety majority in America made up of the students and their parents and survivors and people who believe that their right to come home from school and the right to pray at a church or a synagogue or a mosque or the right to dance at a concert as we sit here in Las Vegas is greater than any other right in the Constitution. So that means passing background check, banning and buying back

assault weapons, putting in place gang violence prevention programs in our cities. Now there's a lot that we can do and not be intimidated anymore by the NRA, a vocal tweeting minority who has us believe that this is a divisive topic when the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to do something.

LEMON: Congressman Swalwell, thank you.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Well, Congressman Swalwell is one of 21 Democrats running for president. Who has the best chance of beating President Trump? And why is the question of electability setting a lot of people on edge?

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Poll after poll shows Democratic voters are looking for the presidential candidate who can beat Donald Trump. So why are women facing more questions about electability than men?

Here's what Senator Kamala Harris had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the voters are smarter than perhaps pundits sometimes give them credit for. I think voters are able to distinguish who can best do the job at this moment and they are able to overlook who has traditionally done the job in favor of who should do the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, let's talk about that. Keith Boykin, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Astead Herndon, all here to discuss.

Good evening, one and all. I'm so glad you're all here on this set --

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes.

LEMON: -- just like one big happy family. So, you just heard from Senator Kamala Harris. I'll go to Aisha, it's your first time here, so. She said voters can overlook who is traditionally being president in favor of who should be president. Is she right?

MOODIE-MILLS: She is right. If voters have the opportunity to actually hear from every candidate equally, I think that what's happening right now is there's such a bias in the coverage where there's an obsession with these white guys in the race that many of the women, women who are raising significant money, women who have never lost a campaign before, women who had actually won more Republican votes than anybody else in the field are just not getting the coverage and not able to have the conversation directly with voters. So, yes, I think voters are very intelligent. They are very smart. The question becomes can they get in front of enough of them and who are the gatekeepers of that. And unfortunately, for, you know, many of us we are the gatekeepers as people in the media so we've got to do better and being able to have broader conversations.

LEMON: Astead, you're on the hot seat now. And "The New York Times", here's what you write. You said, "Ms. Warren, Ms. Gillibrand, and Ms. Harris and Mr. Klobuchar can all claim an interesting distinction. They have never lost an election in their political careers. All of the most prominent male Democratic candidates, including Mr. Biden, Mr. Buttigieg, Mr. O'Rourke, Senator Bennie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey have lost at least one."

So, then why are they facing questions, meaning the women about electability and not the men?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. It's a question of facts verses reception. And so, what we are trying to do in that story is kind of lay out to people that these -- the women have won significant amounts of Republican votes. They have cleared hurdle after hurdle in their kind of electoral history.

But right now, and especially coming out of 2016 you're seeing voters now would agree that there's also kind of media driven, so obsessed with the idea of electability that's been in really narrow lens. Not just who can beat Donald Trump using all the kind of criteria but who can win a certain type of white working class, white non-college educated in the certain part of the Midwest voter that we've kind of created as a figment of our imagination.

And so, you'll see. I just came back from South Carolina, you'll have people who don't even, who are in a different part of the country who look differently saying well, I want Joe Biden because I think he can win that guy in Pennsylvania.

LEMON: Yes.

HERNDON: Or I'm thinking about Beto O'Rourke because he can speak to that person in Wisconsin when there's a lot of different ways to win and it doesn't have to just speak to that one.

LEMON: So, it has nothing to do with that it's harder for women to stand on tables with heels. I'm just being fictitious or countertops. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

MOODIE-MILLS: You like me to try?

LEMON: You see -- I'm just saying that we see that, so listen, I know it goes beyond but that's what you see or not wearing jackets and appearing, whatever.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. LEMON: Women don't have that luxury to just like, to do that, right? So, do Democrats believe, let's just put it bluntly that they need a white guy to win.

BOYKIN: Some Democrats do. And I remember Michael Avenatti, I don't know if he's a Democrat or not, he was saying a few months ago before he was indicted that Democrats need pick a white man like himself in order to take on Trump. And I don't think that's an effective argument.

I mean, look at something like Joe Biden as Astead was just mentioning. I remember I was working in 1988 campaign for Michael Dukakis. Joe Biden lost to Michael Dukakis in 1988. He ran against Hillary Clinton in 2008. He lost to Hillary Clinton in 2008.

What makes us think that he's going to beat Donald Trump in 2020? The guy has a record of losing. I'm not saying that he won't win in 2020. I'm not saying that he won't -- he won't be the nominee in 2020. But let's start to reevaluate our concept of what is electability.

Meanwhile, the two people who've gotten the most votes for president of the United States in the history of this country, one was Barack Obama and the other was Hillary Clinton. Neither of them are white men. Why do we keep with this fictitious notion that you have to have a white man in order to beat Donald Trump?

[23:30:00] LEMON: But also, people will tell you we are up in extraordinary times. That there was no Donald Trump back then. And this is extraordinary. These aren't traditional elections.

But my question is -- he mentioned Hillary Clinton. He said he got more votes than Donald Trump. Women are always asked about Hillary Clinton, right? Well, Hillary Clinton was defeated, so do you think you can win? The guys aren't.

MOODIE-MILLS: So here is the problem. We're having a completely wrong calculus on the Democratic side right now. The conversation needs to actually be about why Hillary Clinton lost and what happened to the stimulation of the base that in 2016 ended up in a situation where so many people stayed home that actually participated in 2012.

I think the challenge with this assumption that we just need to go and talk to white men is that the Democrats aren't really thoughtful about the strategy of bringing back the voters who have been disaffected, who did not necessarily like Hillary Clinton enough to actually show up at the polls.

If we can make up that gap, then it doesn't matter if you pull all of these mythical white men back from Trump land. I think the Democrats need to focus on who is going to excite the base and that is the way that they are going to actually win.

HERNDON: I would say, though, the complicating factor there is Joe Biden does great among black voters, right? It's not just white voters, older black voters as we wrote in "The New York Times" this morning, right? There's not just a sense of has to be someone who can talk to white people among only white moderates. That's something that actually other demographics have ingested and believed, too.

I mean, I was in South Carolina and Colombia with black voter after black voter telling me the reason they like Joe Biden is not just because of his vice presidency with Barack Obama, but because they feel like he can bring the country together.

And so it is one of those things that may not be based on facts as we are saying, but it's so perception-driven, it's so pundits-driven, that Democratic voters are out (INAUDIBLE) themselves.

LEMON: People will vote on feelings, quickly because I got to go.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I also remember that black voters liked Hillary Clinton in 2007. They liked her more than they liked Barack Obama until Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses and then black voters fled Hillary Clinton and moved to Barack Obama.

So whoever is winning the black vote right now is completely meaningless to what might happen in January and February of next year.

LEMON: We shall see.

MOODIE-MILLS: So early.

LEMON: Fascinating. Thank you for coming. Please come back. I like having you guys here. Thank you. It's good to have you. Thanks.

FBI Director Christopher Wray disagreeing with the attorney general after William Barr brought in to the president's baseless conspiracy theory that his campaign had been spied on. We are going to discuss that, next.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: FBI Director Christopher Wray is distancing himself from the Attorney General William Barr's use of the word "spying" when describing the FBI surveillance into the Trump campaign. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: Well, that's not the term I would use. Lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes. And to me the key question is making sure that it's done by the book consistent with our lawful authorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's discuss now. Chris Swecker is here, also Steve Hall. Gentlemen, I appreciate you joining us. How significant, Chris, is that the president's hand-picked FBI director took exception to the attorney general's use of the word "spying?" Is it significant?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: Well, I worked under -- with Chris, around Chris. I know him reasonably well. I would say his life's work is to keep the FBI out of political controversy. So he's not going to use words like "spying."

He's going to issue caveats like he just did that basically say that the FBI is going to do things by the book. So, you know, his whole goal here is to get the public back to talking about FBI cases and not FBI controversies.

LEMON: Good answer there. Listen, Steve, the director, Director Wray, he was pressed about spying, but was asked if the Trump campaign had been subject to any illegal surveillance. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: And at this time, do you have any evidence that any illegal surveillance into the campaigns or individuals associated with the campaigns by the FBI occurred?

WRAY: I don't think I personally have any evidence of that sort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, so, then no evidence of spying. He said he personally doesn't have any evidence. No evidence of any illegal surveillance. So how does that square -- does it square with the A.G.'s belief that spying did occur?

SWECKER: No, I don't think it does.

LEMON: It's for Steve.

SWECKER: Sorry.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, it doesn't square, Don. The reason is because the director of the FBI is acting as a professional and Barr is simply not. He is acting as a partisan supporter of President Trump, which is unfortunate. Look, I worked in CIA for 30 years and the word "spy," we just don't use it.

Professionals -- and Chris would probably attest to this, too -- professionals just don't use that term. They use terms like "collection." You do all sorts of other types of technical terms but "spying." It is because he's got a pejorative Hollywood-kind of thing.

That's precisely why Barr used it, to stoke people primarily in Trump's base to think that there is some sort of deep state ridiculousness going on. This is all ordered by court, very closely monitored. So the use of "spying" by smart guy like Barr is no accident, no misplaced word. He did it on purpose.

LEMON: Does that reinforce, Chris, the belief that Barr is not politically neutral and has been put in this position to protect the president?

[23:39:58] SWECKER: Well, I served under Bill Barr in the 90s, and I thought he was a good attorney general. Honestly, I don't see where Bill Barr is a partisan here. I think there are many people who want to take a look at whether this investigation was predicated, whether there was some sort of FISA abuse.

And I don't think it's wrong to say we're looking into it. I don't think he judged it yet. I don't think he's drawn any conclusions. We got an I.G. working on it. There was someone else already looking at it before he got there. All he said was, "We are looking at it." And I don't think there's anything wrong with that because -- we don't want to see the FBI uses a political tool.

LEMON: He did say, "I think spying did occur."

SWECKER: He did. That was a question asked. "Do you think spying occurred?" He said, "Yes, I do." He ran with it, granted, and it's not a great word to use. I agree it's a Hollywood word. It has connotations. I would use the word "surveillance."

LEMON: Yeah. So Steve, FBI Director Wray also said today that Russia's election interference efforts are alive and well. That was a quote. He also said more needs be done ahead of the 2020 election. Are you concerned that this aspect of Robert Mueller's investigation is getting overlooked?

HALL: Yeah, absolutely. First to jump to Chris's point, yeah, I would agree in terms of -- and this actually addresses your question, too, in terms of trying to protect ourselves as the United States as well as we can against Russia's plans and intentions in the future.

There's no doubt that it's worth looking into to try to find out whether anything inappropriate happened, whether it's possible that several federal judges screwed it up, whether or not the FISA process somehow went awry.

That is worth looking into because that strengthens our rule of law and a strong rule of law is what's going to be really the only thing that is going to keep us, I think, from the next attack that Vladimir Putin is probably already planning for 2020.

There's no doubt that threat is not abated and indeed when the president doesn't address this wit Putin, doesn't confront him with it, and in fact never says anything negative really about it except to call it a hoax, our investigation of it, that empowers Putin to say, well, look, we didn't pay much of a price last time. We got a lot in our return for investment. Let's give it another fling in 2020, learning the lessons that we did from first time around. So, yeah, I'm very concerned about that.

LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There is newly-released video in the case of Sandra Bland and it's from her cell phone. This new video shows part of her controversial 2015 traffic stop arrest from Bland's perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Get out of the car now!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Why am I being apprehended? You're trying to give me a ticket for failure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I said get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Why am I being apprehended? You just opened my car door -- you just opened my car door. You're threatening to drag me out of my own car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will light you up! Get out!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): For failure to signal? You're doing this for failure to signal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get over there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Remember, the 28-year-old African-American was driving from Chicago during the summer of 2015 on her way to take a job at Prairie View A&M. That's when she was pulled over for failing to use her turn signal. Three days after her arrest, she was found hanging in her Waller County jail cell, a death that authorities ruled a suicide.

Her death drew national attention to the case with her family arguing she never should have been arrested. Prosecutor said that her arrest was an example of bias -- and protesters, I should say, said that her arrest was an example of bias and excessive use of force by police against African-Americans.

Brian Encinia, the Texas Department of Safety Trooper who arrested Bland said he feared for his personal safety during the incident. He was charged with perjury because a grand jury did not believe his claim, that he took Bland out of the car to more safely conduct the traffic stop.

That charge was eventually dismissed because he agreed to surrender his law enforcement license. The attorney for the family says this is the first time he or the family have ever seen this video. The original dash cam video which came out at the time showed the tense conversation between a weapon -- before a weapon, I should say, was pulled on Bland. I want you to remember this. This is how the situation escalated. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car. Step out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): No, you don't have the right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): You do not have the right to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do have the right. Now step out or I will remove you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out or I will remove you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I am getting removed for a failure --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out or I will remove you. I'm giving you a lawful order. Get out of the car now or I'm going to remove you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And I'm calling my --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to yank you out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): OK, you're going yank me out my car? OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): All right. Let's do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we are going to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Don't touch me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Don't touch me. I'm not under arrest. You don't have a right to say --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are under arrest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The situation continued to escalate. Bland was taken out of the car and what happened after that was not caught on dash cam video. The officer in his report said that Bland began swinging at him with her elbows, but we can't see that.

In a separate video taken by a bystander on a cell phone, we can see some of what happened next. And by this time this video starts, Sandra Bland is being held on the ground.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't even feel my arms. You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:50:01] LEMON: A new cell phone video taken by Bland herself raises questions about what prosecutors had as evidence in this case against the arresting officer. And Bland family's, attorney, well, believes that the video's emergence confirms the family's fear that the special prosecutor didn't do enough to ensure a fair case. And before, we only saw one side of this arrest. But now, we can see what Sandra Bland saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will light you up! Get out!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): For failure to signal? You're doing this for failure to signal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get over there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Right, yeah. Yeah, let's take this to court. Let's do it. For failure to signal. Yeah, for failure to signal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Get off the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): On my school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Get off the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I'm not on the phone. I have a right to record. This is my property. This is my property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Put your phone down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Sir --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Put your phone down right now!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Joining me now, Sharon Cooper, Sandra Bland's sister, Cannon Lambert, former attorney for Bland's family.

I know it's disturbing. Thank you so much for joining us, both of you, and Sharon, especially to you.

I know it is disturbing to watch that, but we want to discuss it and we want to see it from her perspective. This is the new video. My question to you is why do you think it took four years for this critical piece of evidence to come out?

SHARON COOPER, SISTER OF SANDRA BLAND: I think that there is this general swath of understanding that police, law enforcement are sworn to serve and protect, and sometimes that's viewed as by any means necessary. And so I think that what is happening is there -- the reason that we continue to hear the call for greater accountability is because there are instances, in Sandra's instance in particular, where she's literally speaking for herself, even beyond her grave, through the ability for her to have ownership over her space and agency over her body by recording on her phone.

And so I think that what we are seeing is that even those who are being impacted by situations where there is excessive use of force, there is indelible proof that these things are happening. And so there is an effort to conceal such things in a hope to not reveal some of the bad behavior that continues to go on by some law enforcement officials with regard to engaging with citizens, especially those citizens of color.

LEMON: I know that you and your family have always thought that -- suspected that investigators may not have been truthful and had concealed evidence. Are you concerned there may be more than just this video?

COOPER: I think that one of the things that we've always demanded from the outset was consistent transparency, and I think that the revelation of this video existing to us and it not being revealed to us throughout the duration of the case at all, what that does is that puts our trust in them and their credibility on shaky ground with regard to taking what they share with us at face value.

We've always from day one been digging for more answers and just trying to get to the heart of what transpired, not just in the field. And I feel like we can clearly see that as well as what happened in the jail. And unfortunately, there still that space for unanswered questions that we feel like we'll never receive because it shouldn't take this long for families who are impacted by tragedies such as these to get the answers that they're seeking.

LEMON: Cannon Lambert, you represented Bland family in their federal civil rights lawsuit. You say this video was never turned over to you. Do you think this would have changed anything?

CANNON LAMBERT, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR SANDRA BLAND'S FAMILY: So, we never saw this video. What I will say is that from the civil perspective, the case that I brought, it didn't really have and it doesn't have a lot of import in the sense that the Texas Tort Claims Act limited my ability to recover from DPS to $100,000. They tendered that. We got that.

Where this video is more compelling and where there is more consternation, I think, is in the fact that the special prosecutors, if they had this video and had an opportunity to prosecute, they should have. They charged Mr. Encinia with a perjury charge and they had evidence that was clear and unadulterated in the way that it showed that Mr. Encinia had lied about why it was that he ultimately pulled Sandy out of the car.

LEMON: Because he said he feared for his safety. You don't think this video shows that, correct?

LAMBERT: That video shows -- it is unabashed in its ability to show that he had no basis to fear for his safety. And I'll say this. The special prosecutor sat with Shante and they sat with me and they sat with Ms. Geneva (ph). They promised those women that they were going to prosecute Mr. Encinia. In fact, when we said to them, we would rather see you prosecute and lose than cut a deal.

[23:55:00] They in turn promised that that's what they would do --

LEMON: Yeah.

LAMBERT: -- and they cut a deal anyway.

LEMON: Listen, I've got to go before we get cut off here. Sharon, if you can just tell me quickly, your family now wants this case re- opened. Do you know what the status is of that request?

COOPER: I think what the special prosecutor stripped us from at the time is to do just that when they decide to drop the charges against Brian Encinia. So despite the fact that we ideally want that in an ideal world, that would be able to happen where equity and fairness exist, and that's just not what our experience has been.

So what we do focus our efforts on is trying to build and maintain Sandy's legacy rooted in, continuing to amplify her story, but not just hers, the stories of other black women and girls around the world who are suffering at the hands of police violence similar to that of black men and boys.

So unfortunately, the special prosecutors have robbed us of that, but we some way through sheer will, and determination have found a way to move forward.

LEMON: Sharon, thank you so much. Cannon, thank you. Please come back and update us.

COOPER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. I really appreciate you joining us and give our best to your family. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)