Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Former DOJ Officials Started War Of Words; Consumers And Stock Markets Feeling The Brunt From Tariff Hikes; Mike Pompeo Headed To Russia; Donald Trump To Meet With Putin Next Month; Trump's Trade War With China; CNN Original Series: Champions For Change. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 13, 2019 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: My argument is, enough with the rationales, enough with reaching for reasons for why this might makes sense in some alternate reality. See it for what it is. This president says nice things about the people that he admires.

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

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Birds of a feather. I know it's cliche, but your mama always told you that, right, birds of a feather flock together, if you don't want to be, don't want to get fleas, don't lie down with dogs, don't befriend them either.

CUOMO: There's just been too many. I will give it to you with Putin, you know. Hey, it's better to be friends with someone that powerful than not friends. If you can work together, that's great. If you can find a better way, OK, if you can ignore some of what he is to get to more of what you need to be, that's great.

But it's bad guy after bad guy after bad guy. And his own ambassador, Don, his own ambassador says he'd love to be in a position like Orban, the guy is a despite.

LEMON: Yes. Well, that's the reason two administration shunned them in the White House since 1998. But Listen, I've got to tell you something.

CUOMO: Yes, sir.

LEMON: I moved. Did you know that?

CUOMO: You mean, studios?

LEMON: I moved. No. Won't studios too, but let me show you around a little bit.

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: I actually live here. I want to show you. Look at this. This is our new studio. Isn't it beautiful?

CUOMO: Wow. It is gorgeous. LEMON: It is gorgeous. Check this out, though, I'm going to show you,

I don't know if it's lit. I may be lit. I'm going to go up here. My apartment is actually up here, Chris.

CUOMO: Do those stairs lead somewhere?

LEMON: Yes, they go up here. This is --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: So, it's an upgrade for my studio.

LEMON: This is where I live.

CUOMO: If these stairs go nowhere.

LEMON: Yes. So, I live over here, there's a bathroom and a kitchen back there and so, there you go.

CUOMO: You have a bathroom and a kitchen?

LEMON: I've got a bathroom and a kitchen, I'm telling you, I live here and then, you know, a couple people -- I don't actually live here, you know I'm kidding. But isn't it beautiful? We're so happy to be here and you're going to be here soon. If they let you come over here. You got to make sure that your background check --

CUOMO: Is that why I'm still in the other studio, is there some type of process going on that I don't know about?

LEMON: There is some kind of process. This is where we put the dining room table and we eat here after the show is over.

CUOMO: Do you know how much an apartment of that size would cost in the city?

LEMON: In the city. No. Who could afford it? The only person who could afford an apartment like this maybe -- well, it wouldn't be Trump, it would somebody who's actually a real billionaire. Right?

But, I mean, you got to say, if you guys can spin this around, I mean, it is a total -- it's a total 360 set. It's really, really, really amazing.

CUOMO: Man, it's like I'm in this place now. Look at how nice that is.

LEMON: Look at that.

CUOMO: Let's look at how nice that is.

LEMON: Can you see that?

CUOMO: Now, Ely, show him where we are, we're sitting around with like six pack of coke and a couple of lamps. LEMON: Listen, I was at rehearsals the other day, I was starving,

right, I tried to eat food. That's nice, come on, Chris, that's beautiful.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Look at this. I got another fancy going on. These guys are playing craps in the corner.

LEMON: So, we'll see you next week in your new digs and you can show it off. I'll show you around --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You got a new haircut for the new place, huh?

LEMON: I got a new haircut for my Mother's Day and I got it for the new joint. You're high and tight too.

CUOMO: That's a fresh cut you got there, Donald.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, creepy Chris.

CUOMO: Donald J. Lemon.

LEMON: It's creepy Chris. Go for it.

CUOMO: One person called me that, and you see what happens during the --

LEMON: Don't be mean. I've got to run.

CUOMO: Creepy Chris, and I'm being mean.

LEMON: It's good to see you.

CUOMO: All right, buddy. Good to see you. Good show.

LEMON: All right. Thank you. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

And we do have breaking news we're going to start off with. Because there's a war between James Comey and Rod Rosenstein. You know Rod Rosenstein, he's the former deputy attorney general stepped down just a few days ago saying this tonight about the former FBI director.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Now the former director seems to be acting as a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul. I kid you not. That is disappointing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: And that was in response to Comey's remarks in our CNN town

hall last week saying he thought Rosenstein was not a person of strong character.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, Rod Rosenstein, you're saying, is a person of not of strong character.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: Yes, I don't think he is. Very bright but he's not strong enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, I ask for comment tonight, Comey told CNN, quote, "I wish him the best." We've got a lot more to come on that so make sure you stay tune.

This is happening as the president's oldest son is taking a page out of the defy all subpoenas playbook, sources telling CNN that Don Jr. is balking at the subpoena from the Republican-led Senate, the Republican-led Senate intel committee, to answer questions about that infamous Trump tower meeting. And about the failed Trump tower Moscow deal.

Trump allies going on the offensive, like none other than Lindsey Graham. Remember when he called Donald Trump a kook? Times sure have changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:05:00] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If I were Donald Trump, Jr.'s lawyer I would tell him you don't need to go back into this environment anymore, you've been there for hours and hours and hours. And nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation. I would call it a day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, let's remember this. Trump Jr. did not testify to Mueller. He declined even to sit down for a voluntary interview with the special counsel.

But there's more from Lindsey Graham today saying if he were Don Jr.'s lawyer he would tell him to take the fifth, adding, quote, "You'd have to be an idiot if you were his lawyer to put your client back into the circus, a complete idiot."

Graham, a committee chairman in the Senate encouraging Don Jr. to defy a lawful subpoena from another committee chairman, a member of his own party, encouraging the president's son to refuse to answer questions from Congress.

And if you need more proof of just how hypocritical that is, I just want a member of Congress to explain it to you. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: The day Richard Nixon failed to answer a subpoena is the day that he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress and he became the judge and jury.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Oopsie. Rah-rah. That was Lindsey Graham. That was the other Lindsey Graham, back in 1998, during the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton. I guess things are different when it's a Democrat being investigated.

That has some Republicans now fear that if Don Jr. returns to the Hill to answer more questions he'll be walking into a perjury trap, a perjury trap. You know the best way to avoid a perjury trap? Is to tell the truth. Pretty simple, really, just tell the truth.

So with his son -- with his son and name sake in investigator's sights, Russia is not as much in the rearview mirror as this president would like and that may be the reason that he's doing everything he can to try to polish his tough guy image, saying he is happy with the way his trade war with China is going.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There can be some retaliation but it can't be very, very substantial by comparison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the president may be happy, but Wall Street, not so much. Look at that. There are the numbers, stock market plummeting to do, the Dow closing 617 points lower, the worst one-day drop since January 3rd. American farmers, big part of the president's base feeling the pain, while he insists everything is awesome.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Our farmers will be very happy. Our manufacturers will be very happy and our government is very happy because we're taking in tens of billions of dollars. I think it's working out very well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yes, everything is awesome. One of those farmers who's running out of patience with the president's trade war will be here tonight.

So big picture. Here's here is where the president is right now, OK, think about this. I'm going to give you the big picture. You've got your trade war with China, scaring Wall Street, upsetting your base. You've got your son battling a subpoena from members of your own party. And you're sitting down in the Oval Office with a strong man, far right prime minister of Hungary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that's OK. That's OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Not really a good look. But this president really seems to love sitting down with dictators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'll be meeting with President Xi of China, yes.

(OFF-MIC)

TRUMP: Yes, I will be meeting with President Putin also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And just listen to this, another attempt to sound like a tough guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think the message is that there's never been anybody that's been so tough on Russia but at the same time we can end up getting along with Russia. It makes sense to get along with Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Tough on Russia? Tough like this, you mean?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think I have a good relationship with Putin, who knows? I mean, who knows?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin is a killer.

TRUMP: A lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?

Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e- mails that are missing.

I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. I mean, it could be Russia but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people.

[22:09:57] My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia.

I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.

He actually sort of, smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse but he knew that because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever. So pretty much that's what it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the last thing that this president has been is tough on Russia, and you've got to wonder just how tough he'll really be when he meets with Vladimir Putin and with President Xi.

So, his son fighting a subpoena. Trade war with China heating up. And Russia, those question -- questions just lingering now. Can the president shake it all off? Let's dig into it. Frank Bruni, Catherine Rampell, Max Boot, Michael D'Antonio, all here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, the trade war with China is heating up. The president's son is battling a subpoena and the president is still facing Russia questions. So, what's the state of his presidency right now?

Let's discuss now. Frank Bruni is here, Catherine Rampell, Max Boot, and Michael D'Antonio. Michael -- well, Max Boot is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right." Michael D'Antonio is the author of "The Truth About Trump."

[22:14:59] So good to have you all. Thank you. Welcome to our new digs. I hope you like it.

Frank, I'm going to start with you. That's the big picture. The president wants to move on, he wants to shake off the whole Russia investigation but he just can't seem to let it go. Why is that? He just can't seem to quit it.

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He can't seem to quit it. Well, I mean, he's never been honest about this, there's never been any kind of reckoning about this.

I mean, you were talking earlier in your intro about the romance that's going on for so long with Putin. You know, because of that we have a president who has ignored not just the parts of the Mueller report that deal with obstruction but the whole long beginning which I think is the part that we don't talk enough about that deals with just how extensive and invasive of the scope of the Russia interference in the election.

And I can't believe that we still have a president who ignores that, who doesn't talk to and, you know, exhort his people to make sure to safeguard the system from that and we don't talk enough about that. He can't get right with Russia in any way whatsoever.

LEMON: So, the president wants to be viewed as a tough guy, a shrewd negotiator, but the Dow, Catherine, I mean, it plunged today, it was the worst day, I think since January, right, a single-day drop because of the retaliatory tariffs by China. This is the president speaking today and then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: This is a -- a very positive step. I love the position we're in. There can be some retaliation but it can't be very, very substantial by comparison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he loves the position he says he's in. He's threatening more. Is this a mistake? Is he going to --

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think Trump thinks he's cleverly engaging in some sort of mafia style shakedown. It's just that he doesn't realize he's shaking down Americans rather than shaking down the Chinese?

LEMON: How so?

RAMPELL: Well, it's like, you know, stop or I'll shoot myself in the foot, essentially. If you look at two studies both by topnotch groups of economists, from places like Princeton, Yale, Columbia, the New York Fed, they have all found that 100 percent of the tariffs imposed thus far not only on China but on all of the countries that we've waged trade wars with so far have been paid by Americans.

That those costs are being passed along to Americans, that they are suffering the brunt or not only the brunt all of the pain here, not only because, of course, we're raising the costs of the things that American producers buy and use to make their own goods, but of course their own stuff is being taxed when it gets sent abroad. Soybean farmers obviously are the quintessential example.

LEMON: We'll have one a little bit later on. Yes. Listen, I've got to ask, and this is what our White House team is reporting. This is for you, Michael, that the president has come to view all of his moves through the lens of his reelection, confronting crisis all over the world. He's worried about Biden, reportedly questioning the advice of his aides. What is the state of Trump right now?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he's desperate. This is a man who's failing on many fronts. He's got the economy going well for him but he steps on his message every time he gets positive news. So, he has to go back to talking about Russia.

He's, I think, embraced Vladimir Putin as his mentor. I think we're now in this sort of slow motion, soft push towards authoritarian rule and he wants to solidify it so he gets reelected. I think he's terrified of what could happen to him legally were he not reelected. You know, this opens him up to prosecution. He's desperate to protect his son Donald Jr. This is all terrible.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, let show that. Let me put this up, this is his tweets over the weekend, I mean, on a Twitter tirade, 64 tweets in less than an hour, including -- that was at one point, including retweeting his own tweets. You can retweet your tweets, I never even thought of that on the Mueller investigation, on China, on and on. Do you think he's agitated, he's nervous, what's the deal here?

D'ANTONIO: He's agitated. He's handling this the way he handled his business in the 1990s when he lost a billion dollars, look at the way he's managed things with China. Gee, who would have guessed that the stock market would go down 600 points on a day when the trade war gets ratcheted up? Everybody knows this stuff.

So, it's not the -- the banality alone, it's the incompetence as well. This is a person who's way out of his depth.

LEMON: I think -- do you think he's come realization, Max, that even though, you know, Barr gave him cover with the whole, you know, getting the memo out before, or the summary out before now Congress still wants to talk to McGahn, they want to talk to Mueller and on and on plus the Senate intel is subpoenaing his son.

I mean he's got to be like, wait, there's still lots of open questions. He's going to be I thought this was over with.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's not going to end until he leaves office and probably not even then. And I think he's waking up to that fact. I mean, you know, my concern, Don, is today he was receiving Viktor Orban in the White House. The leader of Hungary who has basically undermined and essentially, destroyed democracy in Hungary through the salami-slice tactics of going after opponents, going after the media, and going after the judiciary.

[22:20:08] And my concern is that Trump sees that as a template to emulate. And you just see, look at the news that's coming out tonight, that Kirstjen Nielsen resigned or was fired as the DHS secretary in part because she objected to Trump's plans for this blitz to round up thousands of parents and children.

Barr is appointing a U.S. attorney to investigate the origins of the FBI investigation of Trump which is the third investigation of that. Investigating the investigators, classic tried and true authoritarian tactic.

And this weekend, Trump for the very first time attacked his own FBI director Christopher Wray. So that adds up to in my mind a fairly ominous picture of the way that Trump is trying to destroy the checks and balances on his power.

LEMON: And not to mention here's one more, the Senate Intel Committee led by Republicans subpoenaing Don Jr. and Don Jr. is balking, Frank, at answering more questions about the June 20 -- June 2016 meeting, the Trump tower meeting with the Russians and the Trump Tower Moscow project. What's he afraid of, do you think?

BRUNI: Well, he's afraid that he's going to tell a different version than he's told before, he's afraid of getting caught in a lie. Because I don't think he has been truthful with us and he certainly hasn't told us the full story. And there are all these questions that remain.

And you know, Don, when you talk about why Donald Trump is so -- why President Trump is so frustrated, he wants to take a victory lap and he feels like he's never, from the moment he was elected, been able to take his victory lap and that desire is perfectly manifested in that notion last week that he floated about making the Fourth of July the fourth of Donald Trump.

That's the way he wants to inhabit and be celebrated in office. And instead it has been, you know, a constant siege from day one. But that's not because there's some great witch hunt against him. That's because there are really grave questions about how he came into office.

LEMON: Yes. This is, Catherine, remember he avoided the cameras for a whole day after the -- remember the whole thing came at about him and his taxes and how much money he lost, for decades he was in the red. You know, he was saying I'm in the black, I'm a great businessman.

Do you think he's looking at everything through a 2020 lens right now and saying, maybe, I don't know. Does he double down on the I'm a great businessman thing or does he think that whole strategy?

RAMPELL: I think for Trump reality is overrated. Right. This is something that has served him very well in his business practices, where he maintains the same lifestyle somehow despite losing a billion dollars where he claims his wealth, his net worth is much greater than it actually is by inventing essentially a brand value that's like a suspiciously large number that happens to be about half of his total net worth.

And I think he kind of takes the same lessons for his presidency. Right? He just ignores the idea that there's any evidence out there that he's a bad businessman, that he's not been a stellar president, that America loves him or whatever. And he hopes that that will carry him through, that if he repeats the lie frequently enough, Americans will believe it.

LEMON: Do you think that -- I've got to run. Do you think he would have made more money if he had just left it in the bank?

RAMPELL: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

BRUNI: He definitely would have.

RAMPELL: If he'd invested in the S&P 500. Yes. I mean, this is an answerable question. We know what markets have done over the last few decades. If he had taken daddy's money and just put it in the S&P 500, he'd be a richer man.

D'ANTONIO: There you go with your facts.

LEMON: Yes. Great businessman.

RAMPELL: Yes.

LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate it. Tonight, Rod Rosenstein slamming James Comey calling him a, quote,

"partisan pundit" that is after Comey said that he thought Rosenstein was not a person of strong character. I'm going to ask the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. James Clapper why these two former Justice Department leaders are going after each other.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Rod Rosenstein, slamming James Comey tonight, a former deputy attorney general responding directly to Comey, telling a CNN town hall last week that Rosenstein's character wasn't strong and that his soul had been eaten by his time in the Trump administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSENSTEIN: But now the former director seems to be acting as a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul, I kid you not. That is disappointing. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Here to discuss is the former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. James Clapper. So good to have you on.

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.

LEMON: So, tell me, give me your reaction to that, you got James Comey and Rod Rosenstein going back and forth, Comey was pretty scathing last week.

CLAPPER: Well, I know Jim Comey personally, you know, we served together when he was director of the FBI and I was DNI and I have great respect for Jim. He's a friend and a great colleague and I think he's been a great public servant.

I do not know Rod Rosenstein personally. It struck me, though, that he did an admirable job in his, in a very difficult position, saw the Mueller investigation through to the end.

So, I think it was a case of two honorable men that were put in very difficult circumstances and made some decisions that, you know, are controversial. And I think Jim make -- Comey makes a good point about how people somewhat end up compromising maybe their standards and values by virtue of service in a Trump administration.

And you have an example with Jim Mattis as somebody that drew the line and resigned because of it. So, I think it's the exchange is regrettable.

LEMON: So, I've got to ask you about this. Tonight, we're told that the top federal prosecutor director in Connecticut is assisting the Attorney General Bill Barr in his review of the origins of the Russia investigation. The Justice Department's inspector general and the U.S. attorney in Utah are also looking at different aspects of the investigation.

[22:30:03] What do you think, is it a waste of time investigating the investigators?

CLAPPER: Well, I think first of all, there's already an investigation well underway, in fact, nearing completion, which is by the Department of Justice inspector general. I don't quite get the involvement of these state attorneys general, and I hadn't heard that before. So I -- you know, if I were king, I would prefer to wait until the outcome of the Department of Justice investigation about the origins of the investigation. I have to say, Don, though, that, you know, we're kind of losing sight here of --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Interference.

CLAPPER: Exactly. The big deal in my mind is the threat posed by the Russians. We don't discuss volume one of the Mueller report very much, which to me is the issue at hand for the country, the threat posed by the Russians. And we've gotten all consumed with collusion or not, obstruction or not, when to me the big deal here is the threat posed by the Russians.

LEMON: Yeah. But it is also a big deal, too. If you look at oversight, and if you look at what's happening with the Senate now, was just happening with the Congress. But Don Jr. got subpoenaed from a Republican-led Senate. They say that there are two specific topics that he won't talk about, the Trump Tower in Moscow, and the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Does that say anything to you?

CLAPPER: Well, not surprising. I guess the new normal now is becoming that responses to subpoenas are kind of optional, and that's certainly not ever my experience. I never appeared under the direction of a subpoena. I was threatened with subpoenas a few times. So I guess it tells me that there's concern about whatever had been said before, whether there would be inconsistencies.

And I think, as you noted in the top, that he -- Donald Trump Jr. did not appear, did not agree to appear before the Mueller investigation.

LEMON: Right, voluntary interview. So I am going to ask you about the president really going after his FBI Director, Christopher Wray. And here's what he -- he quoted a supporter on Twitter who said this. He said the FBI has no leadership. The director is protecting the same gang that tried to overthrow the president through an illegal coup. Do you think he's trying to undermine Wray and deflect any criticism there?

CLAPPER: Well, you know, this conjures up, you know, a very similar scenario with Dan Coats, my successor as director of National Intelligence. I disagree. I think Director Wray has been an outstanding leader under very difficult circumstances of the FBI. There was no coup here. And again, what we've lost sight of is what was the predicate for all this? "Was not spying," on the campaign, it was what were the Russians doing? You know, what we've since learned were dozens of engagements, or

attempted engagements, between Russians. Some of them were connected with Russian intelligence and members of the Trump camp. That's what the predicate was here, not the campaign per se.

LEMON: Well, speaking of the Russians. Tomorrow, the Secretary of State Pompeo is meeting with Vladimir Putin. And today, Trump announced that he's going to meet with the Russian president again next month. We don't know what either of these meetings are about. But does that concern you?

CLAPPER: Well, I don't think anything's going to come of it. I think the president's narrative now is hail the witch hunt. The hoax is all over with. And I was completely exonerated, which of course he wasn't. So I mean as far as confronting Putin with the meddling and telling him not to do it again, I don't see that's going to happen.

I think this will be much like the phone call where they barely mentioned it. And as far as Putin, he's not going to change. He's not going to acknowledge anything. And Lavrov, the Foreign Minister, is kind of a lapdog for Putin.

LEMON: Status quo. Thank you.

CLAPPER: Exactly.

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

CLAPPER: Thank you.

LEMON: Some Trump voters are having a tough time right now, because the president's trade war with China is harming some of the very people he promised to help. One farmer hurting from the tariffs is going to tell us his story, and that's next.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So the trade war with China is heating up tonight, and some of the people hit the hardest have been our nation's farmers. Since the trade war began last summer, the price of soybean exports has dropped by about 20 percent to a new 10-year low. President Trump has insisted that the farmers bearing the brunt of the trade of his trade war can take it.

I want to talk with one of those farmers now who voted for President Trump. And joining me is Bret Davis. He's from Columbus, Ohio. We're so honored to have you on. Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.

BRET DAVIS, FARMER IMPACTED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP'S TARIFFS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. So listen, tell us about your farm and how this trade war has impacted you and your family.

DAVIS: Sure. It's a family farm. We're about 3,500 acres, corn, beans, and wheat. I farm with my stepson, who's my partner. Hopefully, he'll be the fifth. And then hopefully, one of the grand kids or so will be the sixth generation. We've worked for this. We've had a lot of detriment here in the last year so with the tariffs. We've went from beans -- go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

[22:40:05] LEMON: No, there's just a delay. Go on, I don't mean to cut you off, there are beans --

DAVIS: We had beans that we had sold, and we could have sold a year ago. And we were getting a little bit better than $10 for. Bean price today is around $7.40. We did get a payment from the administration, which helped. But it's a band-aid. We're looking at we've spent 40 years growing our market in China and other countries, too.

But they imported one-third or one out of every three rows that we raised went to China. And then when you cut that off, it's pretty hard to deal with.

LEMON: You're worried about losing your farm, right? If this continues any longer, much longer, how long can you hold out?

DAVIS: That's the trouble. We are working that deficit right now with the price of soybeans today. And what I am worried about is the next four and five years, because we can't sell soybeans at a profit for the next four to five years because of the glut of soybeans we have in this country, because of the tariffs.

LEMON: What will help you, Bret? What will help?

DAVIS: Free trade. That's the first thing we need. We need free trade with many countries. We've worked on the trade with China. Another good buyer of our soybeans is Canada and Mexico. We need those trade deals. We need the Japanese trade deal that they were over here a week ago and talked -- started to talk. We need a trade deal with the Philippines. That's the thing that we need. We want free trade.

LEMON: You need free trade.

DAVIS: That's what we do, is raise a great crop that's wanted all over the world. But we need to be able to sell it.

LEMON: I want to play something for you and listen and then get your response to this. This is Arkansas Senator, Tom Cotton, what he said this morning about sacrifices being made by farmers. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans. I grant you that. But I also would say that that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heroes are laid to rest in Arlington make. If we remain the world's largest economy and the world's dominant superpower in the short term, I say it is worth that cost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do you think of that?

DAVIS: Yeah, that's a short-term view of it. Yeah, we're going through it right now, as the outside looks in, and thinks it's a short term. But the trouble is, is we're losing farmers everyday to not just economics, but, you know, it's hard on a person's mentality in farming. We've lost some farmers through suicide, because of the -- you know, you can't make a living.

You've seen everything that you worked for your whole life, and especially if you're looking down the road and cannot see a way out of this, if we have this glut of grain sitting in America right now.

LEMON: Oh, boy, that really brings it home, Bret. I've got to ask you. And listen, I know that you're a supporter of the president and may continue to support him. You voted for him in 2016, whatever. That's your prerogative. But if this continues to happen, are you going to vote for him again?

DAVIS: Well, I voted for the best candidate that was out there at the time, I felt. And we'll see what happens from here on out. The president has had a lot of things that's come true that he's worked on. But this is something that directly affects not just us as farmers, but it actually affects everybody in a rural economy.

Because we as farmers, we -- you know, support our schools and our ball teams and 4H, and the stores and the local towns, and this is detrimental to the whole rural economy, not just the farmer.

LEMON: Bret Davis. Listen, thank you so much. I am glad America got to listen to you. And I hope that the president hears you as well. And we wish you the very best. And I know you've had some tough times because of the rain as well. So you're really being inundated there from a number of ways. We appreciate it. Good luck to you, OK?

DAVIS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.

[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So this week, we're bringing you the stories of remarkable people who are making lasting impacts all around the world. We call the series Champions for Change. Well, tonight, Mr. Bill Weir catches up with the best selling author, Dan Buettner. They last met during an episode of CNN's The Wonder List in Icaria, Greece, one of the five so-called blue zone places.

Blue zones, places where active, healthy lifestyles are common, and people often live beyond the age of 100. I want to move there. Dan is now bringing that research home to America. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [22:49:53] BILL WEIR, CNN CLIMATE CHANGE CORRESPONDENT: If you take a ferry from Mykonos, past landmarks of Greek mythology. You will discover Ikaria, the island where people forget to die. A place where people live to age 90 in rate up to 4 months greater than Americans, with a fraction of our rates of Dementia and Alzheimer's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So life expectancy in America is 79. We should be up in 92. Somewhere along the line, we're leaving 13 years on the table.

WEIR: And when a National Geographic explorer named Dan Buettner found this place, something clicked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my question is how do we get those extra 13 years, and how do we make those extra 13 years good years?

WEIR: That one question sent him on a lifelong quest to bring back the secrets of the happiest, healthiest centenarians in the world. Every time his team found a pocket of longevity, they'd circle it on a map in blue ink, and they learn that in these blue zones, nine key lifestyle choices matter just as much or more than good genes.

WEIR: Can you write off the (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move naturally everyday, be able to articulate your sense of purpose, have daily rituals that reverse the stress of everyday. Have a load of wine at five. East mostly a plant based especially beans and nuts. Eat a huge breakfast. Belong to a faith based community. Put your family first. Keep your aging parents nearby, and can curate a special group of friends, four or five friends, who are going to nudge you in the right direction.

WEIR: His lessons stuck with me. And as I travel the world over the years, I saw the blue zones are only for small, simple, isolated societies where the healthy choice is the only choice. This could never work in the modern land of the free home of the whopper, right? Wrong. Bucking the status quo with science and commonsense, Dan has entire (AUDIO GAP) states of Iowa and Hawaii, 45 American cities, including one of the biggest and unhealthiest in the land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I asked for a blue zone in the United States, and you told me Fort Worth, Texas, I thought you were pulling my leg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When my kids were in high school, I watched their friends just getting more and more out of shape. And that's happened to our whole population, particularly in Texas, land of chicken fried steak, barbecue, and Mexican food.

WEIR: When Mayor Betsy Price realized her city full of centenary and obese smokers ranked near the bottom of national wellness surveys, she started holding rolling town halls, and then she brought in Dan and blue zones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the response from all the leaders there up the 15th in the Fort Worth Club, was I don't know. It sounds like you're taking our freedoms away from us. And I said fine, then keep doing what you're doing. And Betsy Price said no, no. I think we ought to give Dan a chance.

WEIR: The Republican mayor built more parks and sidewalks and got behind the blue zone's idea to create walking school buses, which gives seniors a sense of purpose each morning, tightens community, and gets kids moving. While the city bans smoking in bars and restaurants, Dan's team convinced convenience stores in food deserts to sell more fruits and veggies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much do you end up throwing away? That's fantastic.

WEIR: They got steak houses to offer more healthy options. This may be the first time in my life I ever ordered vegetarian taco. And he taught the folks at Texas Health Resources that the most coveted parking spots should be the ones furthest away from the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know doing a row of the blue zones parking spaces encourages people to just take a little walk. Not big one but a little walk.

WEIR: As the CEO explains, this only works with buy in from everyone, government, business, faith communities. And in five years, he says they've moved up in wellness rankings from 185th in the nation to number 31, saving around $250 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people we saw in Ikaria, if you ask them how they got to be 100, they probably couldn't tell you. You know, they just live their life. They herd their goats. They tended their garden. They spent time with their family. They went to church on Sundays. They wanted to party during the summer, but they were getting good sleep. They were eating mostly plant-based food.

They were nudged into movement every 20 minutes as a residue of their environment. And we're just trying to take that blue print from places Ikaria and places like Fort Worth, Texas, and low and behold it works.

WEIR: It works. And that is why Dan Buettner is my champion for change, proving that with a few healthy nudges, we can all create our own islands where people forget to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:55:06] LEMON: Wow. Mr. Bill Weir joins me now. I've got like two more years left. None of these things -- I do very few of those things right now. I just mostly work.

WEIR: You make a nice hydroponic garden up in your new set...

(CROSSTALK)

WEIR: We'll make you climb the stairs everyday to water it. That's one step.

LEMON: Move naturally. Have your parents near. Have a ritual. Drink wine. Be able to state your purpose. WEIR: Right.

LEMON: I mean it's making a huge difference in 44 -- is it 44 other blue zones?

(CROSSTALK)

WEIR: The tragic part is the blue zone is going extinct. These people in Ikaria, Greece, and Sardinia, and then (Inaudible) Costa Rica, they live in a sweet spot where they have modern medicine to fight off infectious disease, but they haven't adopted all the stresses and bad diets and our habits that bring on chronic disease.

But Dan and his team captured that blue print. And it is. It's not a magic bullet. It's not in the water in these places. It's a lot of just healthy choices everyday. They didn't have any other choice but to move uphill to pick that tomato.

LEMON: But it's very simple things that everybody can do.

WEIR: Right.

LEMON: If you -- even when you're on the treadmill, you can still do this.

WEIR: Absolutely. And I highly recommend all of Dan's stuff, the blue zones. He's got a cook book coming out.

LEMON: I don't mean the treadmill. You know what I mean.

(CROSSTALK)

WEIR: Exactly.

LEMON: Always a pleasure to see.

WEIR: Likewise.

LEMON: Good to see.

WEIR: Yeah, likewise.

LEMON: Come by more often.

WEIR: Congrats on the new set.

LEMON: Make sure you knock before you...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. Bill Weir, everyone, and we're going to sharing these inspiring stories all this week. Tune in this Saturday night, 8:00 Eastern, for an hour-long Champions for Change special. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)