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White House Asked McGahn To Say Trump Didn't Obstruct Justice, But McGahn Declined; Retired Supreme Court Justice Says Trump Has To Comply With Subpoenas; Key House Democrats Issues Subpoenas For Trump's Tax Returns; Don's Take; Trump's Attorney Rudy Giuliani To Visit Ukraine; Chicago Cubs Fan Who Flashed White Supremacist Sign Behind Black Sportscaster. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 10, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You know what? I'll take it. She is proud of you too. She really is. She loves you and tell Christina, is said, Happy Mother's Day and to your mom as well. Two really great women, I'm just surprised that you're not a better person being associated in around them all the time. Why is it not rubbing off?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Not everyone works out. Not everyone works out. There is darkness and light. That is why they need me and you. It's just our character as opposite from our complexion.

LEMON: I'm glad you did that, because, I mean, this week is -- I'm going to start out by talking about what a chaotic week it's been. There have been so many stories, right?


LEMON: This would have been a year's worth of stories in one week that we've done on the administration.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: So, I'm glad that you did people who are doing good things. It's -- that is nice to hear.

CUOMO: We get absorbed. People tell us all the time, sometimes when we're together, I can't take it I love you guys, but I can't take it, I've got to turn it off, man, it's just too much dark, it's too heavy, it's too constant. They're right. They are right. We've got to apportion it, we got to remember it's not Pollyanna to say there is good and bad. You got to highlight both to give people a reason to believe in the future.

LEMON: You know what I do, don't tell nobody, during the day -- because, I want to be informed, but I don't want to be inundated, so I'll watch the news in the morning and there's a big chunk of my day that I spend watching me TV, you know what that is?

CUOMO: Clips of yourself?

LEMON: That would be you. That was good though. That was good. You didn't even have a drink in your hand. Usually you come up with that stuff when you have a cocktail. So, I watch -- like I watch the rifle men and wagon train and bonanza and ponderosa and I dream of genie and Charlie's angels. And then I got to get ready to go to work and I flip back on to CNN, but -- you've got to take a breather every once in a while. I understand what they're saying.

CUOMO: It's good for you to do it. Not me.

LEMON: Yes, I know.

CUOMO: It is good for you to do it.

LEMON: Because you're obsessed.

CUOMO: -- 24/7/365. Let's get after it, baby. I'm here to get down.

LEMON: Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Sunday.

CUOMO: You too, best to mama.

LEMON: Yes, happy mother's day, Christina. See you. Chris. This is "CNN Tonight," I'm Don Lemon, what a week it has been, frankly a week of chaos. So many outrages from this administration it is hard to focus on just one of them. And today it's been really one headline after the other, if you don't believe me, I'm going to reel them off for you, OK?

This is our big story tonight. Our sources telling CNN that the White House asked Don McGahn, Don McGahn is the former White House counsel, asked him to publicly state that the president did not obstruct justice. McGahn refused. The source goes on to say that the president was upset by McGahn's refusal to say what the president wanted him to say. I'll bet he was.

The White House has since ordered McGahn to defy his subpoena from Democrats. Sure doesn't seem like the president believes his own line that he was -- he is been 100 percent exonerated from the Mueller report. If he really thought that, why would he need Don McGahn? This is all the more reason the American people need to hear from Don McGahn and from Robert Mueller. In their own words.

And there's more today. I told you. A top lawyer, the top lawyer at the FBI, when the Russia investigation began, is saying that he feels compelled to speak out. His name is James Baker. And he says the investigation was open for quote, lawful legitimate reasons and he calls conspiracy theories like those pushed by the president and the Attorney General quote, BS.

Oh, but there's more. A retired Supreme Court justice today accusing President Trump of overstepping his presidential powers, retired Justice John Paul Stevens, flatly telling the Wall Street Journal that the president quote, has to comply with subpoenas. Has to comply with subpoenas. A former Supreme Court justice.

Remember the president said, hey, this is going to go all the way to the Supreme Court, well the Supreme Court, one of them has already said, he is got to comply. All of this in the wake of the president publicly saying this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're fighting all the subpoenas.


LEMON: Then there's the president's personal lawyer encouraging a foreign government to interfere in American politics. I'll say that again. The president's personal lawyer encouraging a foreign government to interfere in American politics. Which sure seems like colluding right out in the open. Have they learned nothing?

Rudy Giuliani tells CNN that he stumbled on what he calls a damaging story in Ukraine about Joe Biden and his son, pretty convenient isn't it? Stumbling on an allegedly damaging story about the Democratic rival the president fears the most. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler saying this.


[22:05:00] REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We've come to a very sorry state when it's considered, OK, for an American politician, never mind an attorney for the president, to go and seek foreign intervention in American politics.


LEMON: So Giuliani saying that he is investigating questions about then Vice President Biden's call in 2016 to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian company connected to Biden's son.

Here's the fact. The fact is, that prosecutor's ouster was called for by many Western governments in an anti-corruption push and there's no evidence that Biden acted improperly. And get this. Giuliani claims it's not meddling, because the election is a year and a half away. The things that people come up with. Congressman Adam Schiff not buying that.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The fact that Giuliani is doing this in plain sight again raises the same problem, the same specter that we had in the last election when the president invited Russia to hack his opponent's e-mails. Here, Rudy Giuliani is inviting a different foreign nation, Ukraine to involve itself in our campaign by conducting an investigation of a family member of the rival, the president apparently fears most, Joe Biden.


LEMON: And listen to this. It's from Senator Elizabeth Warren.


think it is highly unethical for the president's personal lawyer to go meet with officials from a foreign government to see if they can influence somehow the upcoming presidential election. We've had enough of that. And Rudy Giuliani should just back off.


LEMON: Well, he said it doesn't matter, because the election is a year and a half away. Didn't you hear him? I kid. The president also lost another battle in the war over his tax returns today. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, has sent subpoenas to the IRS commissioner and to the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for six years of Trump's personal and business returns, all of that coming at the end of a week when we saw the former Director of the FBI tell CNN that he believes the president of the United States obstructed justice and would have been charged if he weren't president.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And so in your opinion there was corrupt intent at least in several of those episodes.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Sure looks that way from the report's factual recitation.

COOPER: If, you know, they're now -- what, I think it's up to 800 former federal prosecutors who've worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations who have signed a statement saying that Mueller's findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump if he weren't president. Do you agree?

COMEY: Yes, I agree.

COOPER: No doubt?

COMEY: No doubt.


LEMON: A week when the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt for refusing to hand over the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence. When the president of the United States was revealed to be a conman and a fraud after "The New York Times" reported that the man who ran on his reputation as a billionaire business genius, lost a staggering $1.7 billion on casinos, his own casinos, his own hotels and retail spaces, and apartment buildings for the 10 years, for 10 years from 1985 to 1994.

When the president's oldest son was subpoenaed and not by House Democrats, but by the Republican-led Senate Intel Committee. Oh, and yes, this happened. The president laughed when a supporter at one of his rallies yelled out that asylum seekers should be shot.


TRUMP: When you have 15,000 people marching up and you have hundreds and hundreds of people, how do you stop these people?


TRUMP: You can't, there's no -- that is only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff.


LEMON: All of that in just one week. Almost too much to take in. Seriously, all of that in one week. And all I was doing is just reeling off the things that happened, subpoenas, denials, someone should be shot, ha, ha, ha, but here's the big picture.

This is exactly the way the president wants it. He thrives on chaos. All this chaos, all these outrages. Plays right into his hands. Think about this, people. Can you really focus on one single thing? If you can't focus on any one single thing that means you are distracted, distracted from the issues that matter to Americans every single day. Issues like health care, income inequality, education.

[22:10:00] I've said this before, but Democrats, the American people, you're going to have to decide, decide how they want to respond to all of this, do they want to respond with impeachment, or do they want to respond at the ballot box? Maybe it's both. And the clock is ticking. I told you the White House asked Don McGahn to say the president didn't obstruct justice, but McGahn declined to do that. Don't we need to hear from McGahn himself about all of this? Lots to discuss, Juliette Kayyem, Renato Mariotti, Max Boot next.


LEMON: Tonight a Trump administration source confirming to CNN that the White House asked the former counsel Don McGahn to say publicly that the president did not obstruct justice, but McGahn declined to do it. The New York Times reporting that the White House made the request to McGahn twice before and after the Mueller's report first released to the public.

So, let's talk about it. Juliette Kayyem is here, Renato Mariotti and Max Boot, the author of "The corrosion of conservatism, why I left the right." Good evening. Max, this reporting by "The New York Times" about White House counsel Don McGahn being asked twice, before the report and after the report, just say I didn't obstruct justice, does it make it crystal clear that the public needs to hear directly from Mueller and Don McGahn?

[22:15:00] BOOT: Of course, and that makes it crystal clear, Don, why the White House is trying so hard to block Don McGahn's testimony. Needless to say if McGahn were willing to go before Congress and say Donald Trump did not obstruct justice. Trump would do everything he possibly could to expedite his testimony instead of trying to invoke executive privilege to block it.

I mean, of course, even if McGahn said Trump did not obstruct justice that would not actually exonerate Trump. Because the evidence is pretty clear in the Mueller report, but it's pretty damning that he will not go out and say that. And obviously under oath before Congress he is going to have to testify the same things that he told Mueller, which is a pretty ironclad case of obstruction of justice.

LEMON: A very interesting. Juliette, I want bring you in now and just let me read this from the Times reporting. OK. It says, the White House made one of the requests to Mr. McGahn's lawyer, William A. Burke before the Mueller report was released publicly, but after the Justice Department gave a copy to Mr. Trump's lawyers in the proceeding days, what do you make of the timing here Juliette?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The White House may on its own have had some sense that Don McGahn was sort of the loose -- the guy that may had gone loose, saying, you know, he testified for a couple dozen hours, he had been making statements since he had left the White House that suggested his relationship with Donald Trump was not good. And he is also someone who is going back to law practice and definitely wants to protect his reputation.

So the timing does look suspicious, but it may have been -- it didn't take a genius to know that Don McGahn, one, does not -- when you're speaking for a couple dozen hours you're generally saying something, right? It's always like he was saying everything was fine. And so, I think that is what they were clearly worried about and Don McGahn is now as a private citizen and a lawyer pushing back and saying I'm not going to do that story line for you guys, because Mueller refutes it and presumably Don McGahn would refute it.

LEMON: Renato, here's what Don McGahn's lawyer is telling CNN about the White House request, he said, we did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister, it was a request professionally and cordially made. So, I just want your reaction to that, but also, you know, is there anything illegal about these attempts by the White House? Does this feel like witness tampering or obstruction in any way?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, it -- I can understand why people are saying that it certainly has a -- looks like that in a way but, you know, technically speaking he is not asking Don McGahn or the White House isn't asking Don McGahn to change his factual testimony. In other words, Don McGahn has whatever opinion he has about whether or not Donald Trump obstructed justice or broke the law.

As Max said a moment ago, regardless of McGahn's opinion the evidence is what it is. Here they're asking him, hey, will you proclaim as a lawyer that he hasn't obstructed justice? Don McGahn is, I think, walking a tight rope here where he is trying to stay friendly with the Trump White House, but keep his integrity as a lawyer and a human being and somebody with a reputation. He said, I think in the Mueller report, he is quoted as saying, he doesn't want to start a Saturday night massacre, he didn't want to be the Saturday night massacre Robert Bork. So, I think he is trying to, you know, have an eye to history at the same time.

LEMON: But it certainly -- I understand what you're saying, because he is a witness, he certainly has his own opinion about it. He can read it whatever -- if he just says listen, I don't think the president obstructed justice, it doesn't mean he didn't, he is not changing his testimony, they're asking him his opinion or he is giving his opinion --


LEMON: -- about the report. And then --, but keeping his integrity because maybe at the end of the day he does think that the president tried to obstruct justice and he just doesn't want to say it, interesting.

BOOT: It doesn't matter in a legal sense for sure, but it does matter in a public relations sense.

LEMON: Well, it matters if the White House is trying to get the attorney to --

BOOT: Sure. Yes, but I mean Trump understands that there's a battle for public opinion, as Renato and I are saying, it doesn't matter legally what Don McGahn's opinion is whether Trump committed obstruction, but it matters greatly whether you see this picture on TV of McGahn saying, yes, he obstructed or no he didn't obstruct, that's what Donald Trump cares about.

LEMON: So, what does it say, Max, if the try to get keep him from testifying -- they are trying keep him from testifying on Capitol Hill altogether?

BOOT: They're frightened just as -- they are frightened of what Mueller is going to say and they are trying to block Mueller from testifying, because Trump understands that almost nobody in this country has actually read the Mueller report and putting Don McGahn on TV or putting Mueller on TV, having him testify before Congress is going to give a much wider audience to the findings in the Mueller report than simply what's printed on the page. And that is going to be devastating, potentially, for Trump and the court of public opinion. He is very concerned about that.

LEMON: Has the president, has the White House, Juliette, learned anything from the last two years?

KAYYEM: No. I mean, I think it's a little bit like your opening that, you know, create confusion, throw weird ideas out there, get people talking about side issues, so that we're not confronting not simply volume two, which is the obstruction of justice issue, but we barely talk about Mueller volume one, which is, you know, at the core of the Russia interactions with the Trump campaign and now we're seeing sort of a focus on it with Don Jr. and the subpoena to get him to talk about what was going on with the Russians.

[22:20:15] So I don't -- I think that they think that this is working and I think elections matter in that sense whether it is working, and I also think it just shows that they don't care. I mean, I think this Giuliani story about the Ukraine is -- even if -- there's no embarrassment, there's no shame, it's not like, sorry we did that, you know, we didn't think we'd win. This is totally -- this is legitimate behavior and that to me is absurd (ph).

LEMON: Juliette, he says it doesn't matter, because the election is a year and a half away. I mean, come on.

KAYYEM: Yes, well, yes, exactly, right, yes, and this is about the time that the Russians started to make some noise too, but it is -- you know, they -- I think, you know, the lack of shame, I think, never ceases to amaze me.

LEMON: Well, a former Supreme Court justice, the president has always said, listen, we'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court, right, I'm not going to give over my taxes or do what the Democrats say. The former Supreme Court justice says, yes, you got to. And we'll talk about that next.


LEMON: Tonight the former top lawyer at the FBI rebuking President Trump saying the Russia investigation was started for lawful and legitimate reasons. Back now with Juliette Kayyem, Renato Mariotti, and Max Boot.

Juliette, so, James Baker, top lawyer at the FBI, when the Russia investigation started is pushing back on these conspiracy theories by Trump and defending the origins of the Russia investigation. Watch this.


JAMES BAKER, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: There was a point in time relatively recently where I just became sick of all the B.S. that is said about the origins of the investigation and I just got fed up with it, but I want to talk about the origin of the investigation to reassure the American people that it was done for lawful, legitimate reasons and was a political. The case was about Russia. We've written about this. It was about Russia. Period full stop.


LEMON: So what does it say that he felt compelled to speak out?

KAYYEM: Well, it's essential that he does, because there's narrative out there that somehow this whole thing started, because, you know, the FBI had it out for Donald Trump. And so what we have to remember is, as Baker says, is it started because of concerns about what the Russians were doing to influence the election and no one believed at that moment that the Trump campaign would work with the Russians, you can fill in the verb, or accept what the Russians had, or, you know, ask WikiLeaks to release emails, so the Trump part of it came later.

It was the concern for our elections, for our democracy, for our constitutional system that the Trump campaign was willing to dance with the Russians, was of no concern to the FBI until they started actually investigating.

LEMON: Yes. Max, I want to get your view on this, especially when you consider Barr's testimony and how he tried to make the president -- he made the president out to be a victim in all of this. It's a stunning rebuke of Barr and the president.

BOOT: Yes, I mean, I think, what Jim Baker is saying echoes what you heard Comey saying on this network. And it's what other veterans of the FBI have been saying. I am glad to hear him, you know, telling the truth. Because Trump has been engaged in this horrific smear of the FBI in order to undermine his accusers and to claim that he is the victim of some kind of crazy deep state conspiracy, which is obviously this fantasy, but one that he has fed to a lot of his supporters.

And unfortunately I think, he is done it pretty effectively. So, when Comey or Baker or others speak out, Trump's supporters are not going to believe them, because Trump has already told them these guys are part of the conspiracy, you can't believe anything that they say. They're this lying deep state conspirators and so, it's been actually dismayingly effective on Trump's part to inoculate himself against the truth that these dedicated public servants are revealing.

LEMON: But -- it comes out that he will say, oh well, it's the liberals, it's the Democrats and they'll say, I'm not a Democrats and say it's the deep state or it's a -- never Trumpers --

BOOT: When are facts going to stop Trump?

LEMON: Never.

BOOT: I mean, he is calling the Mueller investigation 13 angry Democrats when Bob Mueller is a lifelong Republican who was appointed by Republican presidents.

LEMON: But you know people believe that sh--, I said believe that stuff.

BOOT: Yes.

LEMON: Oops, that was close. Renato --

BOOT: You got it right the first time.

LEMON: Whoo! That was close. So -- did you hear that, Juliette? I almost said it. Renato, it's so sad because people -- oh, my gosh, it's crazy. There is an alternative universe out there. Then there's this Renato, the house ways and means Chairman Richard Neal issuing subpoenas for the president's tax returns. Now I just want to read this, this is from Richard Neal's letter. And it says, compliance is not discretionary under any circumstance even if the taxpayer is under audit. So this fight is clearly intensifying. Setting the ground work for a big court battle. Yes?


MARIOTTI: No question about that. This is going to get litigated. I have to say that Congressman Neal, Chairman Neal is correct based on the law. The statute is clearly -- it really -- there's no discretion there, it's pretty mandatory. I will say this. I do think that Neal is taking the wrong tack in the way that he is trying to obtain the returns.

I think it would be better if he took the rationale that he needed to take a look at the returns, Congress needs to take a look at the returns to see if there's conflicts of interest. Potentially now, I guess we just learned this last week from the "New York Times" that perhaps even if Donald Trump was a private citizen they might want to take a look at those tax returns, just to see if he has been paying his taxes, and whether or not they want to close the loopholes, based on what he had been claiming in losses, but in any event I'm not sure they're using the right rationale.

LEMON: Juliette, I just -- can I get a quick last word from the Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens now saying that -- telling "The Wall Street Journal," I think -- I think that there are things we should be concerned about.


There's no doubt about that. The president is exercising powers that not only belong to him -- that don't really belong to him, excuse me. I mean, he has to comply with the subpoenas and things like that. So that is pretty direct. He is got to comply with subpoenas.

KAYYEM: Yes, I think, one of the benefits of being a former Supreme Court justice is you get to say what you want. Stevens is 99 this year and I think what's more important here is this sense from, I think, you know, elders, right, so you see people who had been prosecutors, like that memo that went -- came out this week, former Republicans who come out that this is not your typical, you know, Democrat versus Republican, you know, Bush v -- it's not even Bush v Gore, that this is -- there's something substantially different in terms of the Donald Trump and his team's approach to rule of law and to oversight.

They are making it difficult. We know that. They do not want -- the approach since the Mueller report has come out is fight everything. That says something to me not just legally, but also politically. They do not want any more conversations about this. And yet they'll lose. I mean, I think the longer this extends the longer you and I are talking about the report, and Mueller, and the Russians, and everything else. So --

LEMON: Well, I think --

KAYYEM: A year and a half more.

LEMON: The approach has been -- the rules don't apply to me. The rules don't apply to me. You follow the rules, but we don't have to follow the rules.


LEMON: People are -- as I said, buying into that "S" word. Thank you.


LEMON: We'll be right back.

Hey, happy mother's day. We'll be right back.

KAYYEM: Thank you.


LEMON: The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani is heading to Ukraine in an effort to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. He said so himself telling CNN that he is hoping to pressure the Ukraine government to open an investigation into Biden. So, I'm going to bring in Ryan Lizza and Steve Hall.

Steve, you're shaking your head in the introduction. Why are you shaking your head? It's unbelievable, right, maybe he'll find the investigators, the same ones that were trying to figure out where Barack Obama's African birth certificate was. Go on.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Don, it's just like the crazy train rolling into town. I mean, first of all, let me, you know, give credit where credit is due. The Ukrainians and the Ukrainian government are, you know, they are in a difficult position. They live in the shadow of the Russian bear, there's a war going on in the eastern part of the country which, you know, is instigated and continued to be run by Russia. So, I have respect for the Ukrainians.

But they're not a Jefferson democracy they are a brand new democracy. I could get up tomorrow morning and tell my dog, you know, get on a plane and find somebody in Ukraine who will sign, seal, deliver something and says the earth is flat and they'll be able do that for you. So, Rudy Giuliani is going on a fool's errand. He's going to -- he certainly going to find people who are going to tell him what he wants to hear, but the whole thing is ludicrous.

LEMON: But that doesn't mean it's true.

HALL: No. Absolutely not. And there's a whole setup by which the American embassy and you know, others in the Ukraine are set up to find whatever information out that they need to. So this is just, it's kind of a ludicrous.



LEMON: Here's what Giuliani told the Times, he said, we're not meddling in an election, we are meddling in an investigation, which we have the right to do. What do you think?

LIZZA: I think this is -- I mean, there's been so much news this week, and I know it's hard to stay, you know, sort of surprised and outraged by a lot of the outrageous stuff that happens in politics right now, and especially this administration, but this is a new one. This is a new low, pressuring -- I mean, Ukraine is not exact a client state, but it is a country that is dependent on the U.S. and the West for protection against its hostile neighbor.

And the idea that the president's lawyer is going to go over there and pressure this country that is dependent on arms and influence of the United States for dirt on a former vice president is just scandalous. And, look, this is what happens when nobody in the president's own party will speak up for anything. He and his allies will keep pushing the envelope and pushing the envelope, because nobody on the Republican side wants to speak out and that is the only way really to hold Trump accountable, frankly, because so much of what the media and Democrats say is not listened to by his people.

And look, I mean, I'm trying to think of an historical example that is anything close to this. I mean, imagine Bill Clinton in 1991 -- oh, excuse me, imagine someone trying -- because the back story here, excuse me, Don, the back story you have to understand here is, Joe Biden, his portfolio when he was vice president was Ukraine.

LEMON: Right.

LIZZA: He was engaged in a lot of sort of complicated diplomacy in Ukraine. Frankly pissed off a lot of people in Ukraine. So, they are -- Ukrainians are incentivizing to serious ways. One, there are some people who don't really like Joe Biden, because they don't like some of the policies of the Obama era and two, they're dependent on having a good relationship with Trump right now.

So, for Giuliani to leverage those two things is really, really despicable. And think about what our allies around the world are thinking about this. This is how United States is going to conduct foreign policy now, the president's lawyer is going to go as a personal --

[22:40:02] LEMON: Yes, they are saying -- that is what they're saying. He's doing it. See, listen, the president told --

HALL: And they are Republican.

LEMON: -- the president told, this is for Steve, the president Politico that it would be appropriate to discuss investigating the Biden -- with the term Biden with Attorney General William Bar. Is that the end game, leveraging a politicized DOJ against the Democratic front runner, which is basically what Ryan just said, is that the strategy now, is that what we're doing?

HALL: You know, it certainly sounds like it to me, because it doesn't sound like that this is any serious endeavor on the part of really anyone going to the Ukraine to try to get to the bottom of this. I mean, if you want to investigate Biden and his son or if you want to investigate how the Manafort thing started, you don't start in Kiev. You don't start in Ukraine which by the way, the Russians have a really significant, you know, presence there. It's mostly clandestine, but you can be sure that there's going to be Russian spies on the ground watching exactly what Giuliani is up to and perhaps trying to get in front of him to get a certain line as well. So, I mean, this is -- there's so many -- this is fraught with so many bad endings, it's going to be fascinating, but not in a good way to see how it all shakes out.

LEMON: Steve, Ryan, thank you. I appreciate your time.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Have a good weekend.

Chicago Cubs banning a fan who flashed a white power sign behind a black sportscaster on live TV. Why racists feel emboldened to spew hate out in the open now. That is next.


LEMON: OK, so on Tuesday in Chicago, Doug Glanville, a former Cubs outfielder and now a reporter for NBC sports had this happen right behind him when he was reporting live at the Cubs game.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The offense has been hot here lately.

DOUG GLANVILLE, NBC SPORTS REPORTER: Well, it has, especially when you think back and look back.


LEMON: OK, so if you look at that, that is a white nationalist sign. And that fan is now banned from any future Cubs game. That hand gesture what used to just mean OK, started as a joke by internet trolls on (inaudible) messaging board, but it was quickly adopted by white nationalists, and now that symbol has gone from the internet to our TV screens. I talked about the threat of racist violence and how racism is coming out in the open in our politics and it's happening now in our sports too.

Major League Baseball is investigating racist Instagram messages received by Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. after a rough start to the season. Back in March, Utah Jazz banned a fan who was white for allegedly telling NBA star Russell Westbrook to get down on your knees like you used to. You can see Westbrook responding to that fan in the video here, he was fined for using profanity. The man denied saying anything inappropriate and this wasn't the first time Westbrook was taunted by fans. In 2018 Westbrook was called a boy, by a white spectator when he was dancing by the bench during warmups.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go, boy.


LEMON: 2017, Adam Jones, a center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles said, he was called the "N" word multiple times and a bag of peanuts was thrown at him during a game with the Red Sox has been in way part. The Celtics banned a spectator who was a minor for two years after he called Golden State Warriors players DeMarcus Cousins the "N" word, cousins says he is been called the "N" word multiple times during his career and explains why athletes sometimes feel they need to react.


DEMARCUS COUSINS, NBA STAR: I've been called (BEEP) --

Is that right?

It's crazy because I -- it's happened to me on a few occasions. It's a line that shouldn't be crossed. At the end of the day our heartbeat the same way yours does, we bleed the same way you bleed. Our emotions are the same as yours. Like, if you were walking on the street and somebody say something crazy to you, you're going to react. So just because it's a basketball event it doesn't mean those emotions go out the door or us being a human being goes out the door. Like it's the same thing.


LEMON: Racism in sports isn't a new phenomenon, but you've got to ask, what makes people think that they can flash a sign for white nationalism live on TV in 2019? Could it be that people like that person are emboldened or encouraged by someone in the White House who race baits and dog whistles and refuses to acknowledge the threat of white supremacist violence or even to acknowledge that it's on the rise? That is all the evidence shows. Let's discuss now. Rob Astorino, Keith Boykin. What's going on here, Keith, 2019? Good evening to both of you. People do that, it's 2019.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, you're right, because this has been going on for decades, long before Donald Trump became president. Donald Trump did not invent racism, but what he has done is by giving winks and nods and dog whistles, he has encouraged and emboldened racists to come out of the woodwork and engage in behavior that was socially unacceptable before.

So you have people saying things to football players and basketball players, you have people who were flashing the white nationalist signs and things like that. And when the president of the United States is out there saying get that son of a -- can I say the word?


BOYKIN: Son of a bitch off the field, referring to black NFL players, what do you think that his followers are going to say? One thing they should be aware of though -- is the president of the United States has secret service protection. Those other white racists do not have secret service protection. So, they better make sure they don't get their asses whooped when they do that stuff.

[22:50:02] LEMON: You dint ask me you can say that word.

BOYKIN: All right sorry, I can't say that word either.

LEMON: What do you think, Rob?

ROB ASTORINO, CNN CONTRUBUTOR, TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY BOARD: You know, well, obviously, the Cubs have every right, just as all the teams do, to eject a fan, not only for violence, like throwing things on the field, but for doing objectional -- objectionable things or saying things. But you know, with the Cubs too and this is where the disparity is in baseball and sports. Addison Russell, who is their second baseman has just come off a 40-day suspension for domestic violence. So, you know, you can make the case, they are both bad, but domestic violence and assault on his wife and the Cubs said, we have zero tolerance for one, but we didn't think zero tolerance for what he did.

LEMON: Listen, I'm going to say this to you. They should deal with those things --

ASTORINO: They should.

LEMON: -- and we have conversations about that on television, but that is not what this conversation is about.

ASTORINO: What I'm saying is they have every right to do it. I said they have every right to do throw that guy out.

LEMON: But that is not what the conversation is about. The conversation is about people who are doing racist things. If there was an incident that just happen with domestic violence, we will be discussing that.


LEMON: We are discussing this, so let's leave that for that occasion.

ASTORINO: The only reason I brought it up is because literally it's basically overlapping the same day when Russel is coming back.

LEMON: So, let's talk about, let's have this conversation and we'll have the other conversation on another time. But what about my question was, do you think the presidents is contributing to this atmosphere, this environment where people feel emboldened. Like Keith said, he did not invent racism. Racism is not something that is all on Donald Trump, but he certainly doesn't emphatically say I don't want the support of these nationalists, he doesn't emphatically do it and he sort -- he tip toes around it.

ASTORINO: But he -- you know, look, here we go with Charlottesville, right? And I criticized his comments on your show, on Chris's show. He did specifically call out and go after KKK, Nazis, white supremacist and condemn them.

LEMON: How is going after them?

ASTORINO: He did, right after Charlottesville, the day after he did that. He specifically.

LEMON: Did he sponsor legislation for -- (CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: That is not what he is asking about.

ASTORINO: Let me finish.


LEMON: You're talking about a prompter speech and then he went off an prompter in Trump Tower.

ASTORINO: He is not responsible.

LEMON: Listen, Rob, --

ASTORINO: he is not responsible.

LEMON: We didn't say he is. We just said he is not responsible. Is he only contributing to the environment that makes people think it is OK to do these things?

ASTORINO: I think it's on both sides right now.

LEMON: What's the other side?

ASTORINO: Anti-Semitism.

LEMON: We are not talking about anti-Semitism.

ASTORINO: We can't put everything into a neat little box.

LEMON: No, no, no. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.


LEMON: We put everything into a neat little box.


LEMON: OK, listen, we're having a conversation Rob, about neck ties. Don't bring up pickles. So, we're having a conversation about racism against -- we are talking about White supremacists. We are not talking about anti-Semitism.

ASTORINO: Anti-Semitism is racist?

LEMON: We can talk -- yes, it is racist. That is not what we are talking about, stick to the subject. Is it the president contributing to an environment that emboldens people like that guy to give a racist sign on television?

ASTORINO: No, I don't think so at all. That guy is a loser. That guy is obviously has some really bad thoughts in his head and that guy did something enormously stupid and that guy is paying the price.

BOYKIN: Rob, how long have you known Donald Trump? ASTORINO: A while.

BOYKIN: I don't even know if Donald Trump is a racist, quite honestly, but I know that he has behaved as one for as long as he's been public about it.


LEMON: QUEST: you don't know, come on.

BOYKIN: Well, I mean, I think he is a racist, but I mean, honestly for a guy who lives in New York City, who grew up in New York city, who was around people of different colors and backgrounds, you'd think he'd have more sensitivity.

LEMON: Keith, Keith. Let me just say -- I'm going to let you finish.


BOYKIN: I'm not saying he is not a racist. I'm just saying that --

LEMON: Someone called me the "N" word and the "F" word, someone called me Nigger faggot in the Central Park, a New Yorker the other day and I had to talk to NYPD about being assaulted in Central Park. So, to say that you live in New York City that does not make you immune from being a damn racist.

BOYKIN: I see racists and homophobes in anti-Semitism in New York City. But my point is though, I feel like Donald Trump has been living in an environment where he has been accustomed to people of different backgrounds and races and genders. So he is used to that, but I feel like, regardless of what his true motivation is, he is behaving this way because he thinks it gins up his base. I don't even know which is worse, to be a racist or to do that just for the sake of trying to gin up your base. But my point is, that Donald Trump is definitely contributing to the atmosphere and Rob, and the reason I asked how long you've known him is because, you've probably never experienced it in the way that we are seeing right now. But this is different Donald Trump. This is a guy who spent five and a half year lying about Obama's birth certificate.

LEMON: Rob, listen, you know how I feel about giving -- people a platform when they come on and they spewing propaganda, they are not honest. I'm telling you, there's more incidents of it. I feel it. It happens to me more. It's happening more and you know when it is happening? Just over the last two years and the only thing that's different over the last two years in my life, is Donald Trump.

[22:55:18] ASTORINO: OK.

BOYKIN: In just the last two days. What about the speech the other day? When the guy is talking about shooting immigrants.

LEMON: Let him finish.

ASTORINO: Here is what different too. We came off an election where this country was extraordinarily divided from a million ways.

LEMON: Not this divided.


LEMON: No, it wasn't.

ASTORINO: I walked out of the Hilton that night at 3:30 in the morning, and they were protest, not my president, impeach. This, that, no thing. It started moments after he won.

LEMON: We're never going to let him. We are going to make him a one- term president. What's the difference?

ASTORINO: What do you mean?

BOYKIN: That is what Mitch McConnell said about Barack Obama.

ASTORINO: OK. That is different. That is about politics.

LEMON: I got to go.

ASTORINO: I mean, seriously, it's not -- I think we had a good conversation where it didn't start with Donald Trump. It certainly didn't.

LEMON: I got to go.

ASTORINO: But this got through (ph) right now is divided --


BOYKIN: Donald Trump is making it worst. That's what I'm saying.

And I think Rob knows that. I think he does.

LEMON: Conspiracy theories, all kinds of things. I got to go. They are telling I have to go.


LEMON: You just take my word for it, just take my word for it, people. It's happening more. OK? We will be right back.