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Donald Trump Jr. Wants No Redundancy; Name Recognition Works For Joe Biden In The Polls; President Trump Welcomed And Praises Hungary's Far-Right Prime Minister; Rod Rosenstein And James Comey Hitting Each Other's Caliber; The 2020 Presidential Race; Anti-Semitic Violence On The Rise In America. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 13, 2019 - 23:00   ET




Donald Trump, Jr. battling tonight with the Republican chairman of the Senate Intel Committee. Multiple sources telling CNN he doesn't want to answer any more questions about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians who were promising dirt Hillary Clinton or about the Trump Tower Moscow project.

He has been subpoenaed to appear before the committee again. And Senator Lindsey Graham who went from Trump's enemies list to remaking himself into someone who will take Trump's side no matter what, he says this.


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.


LEMON: Also, tonight, Rod Rosenstein who just stepped down from his post as the deputy attorney general taking a very public swipe at former FBI director James Comey.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.


LEMON: Well let's bring in some folks who can talk about this. Jennifer Rodgers, former Congressman Charlie Dent, and Ryan Lizza. Good evening to all of you. So glad that you're on.

Ryan, I'm going to start with you. Some pretty tough words from Rosenstein. Let's remember, this is what Comey said about him. This was to Anderson just last week. Watch this.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: I think people like that like Rod Rosenstein who are people of accomplishment but not real sterling character, strong character find themselves trapped, and then they start telling themselves a story to justify they are being trapped, which is yes, he's awful but the country needs me.


LEMON: No love lost there, right?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, remember, if you go one chapter back in the Rosenstein/Comey story it is of course Rosenstein who infamously wrote the memo that Trump used after the fact essentially to justify Comey's firing. Rosenstein, you know, put the Trump stuff aside. Rosenstein did not like the way that Jim Comey handled the Clinton e-mail episode, right?

And he brought that grudge into the Trump administration and very publicly attacked Comey when Presidents -- when President Trump fired Comey. So Comey's no fan of Rosenstein. That's not to say that, you know, what he said on CNN to Anderson was all personal.

I think he has a pretty common view of what happens to senior people who work through the Trump administration is that you slowly become compromised and Jim Comey is not the first person to say that but Rosenstein obviously took serious offence to that.

LEMON: Yes. You've become call-up that he feels. Jennifer, let's bring you in. Rosenstein defended his handling of the Mueller investigation, saying that he wasn't partisan. But there's some serious questions about his role and all of this, telling the president that he could land this plane when it came to the investigation.

[23:05:02] JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. And it was more than that, too, then when he submits his resignation letter, it's about all, you know, you're so funny, we had so many great personal conversations.

And don't forget the really most meaningful thing here which is that after 48 hours reviewing the Mueller report, allegedly without having reviewed any of the underlying evidence, Rod Rosenstein, who's the only one who's the only one who's between him and Barr who has a single day of prosecution experience determines that there is no obstruction, contrary to the weight of evidence that, you know, 800- plus former prosecutors think.

So, Rod Rosenstein has lost a little credibility in a lot of people both for that reason.

LEMON: Charlie, I want to bring you in and talk about Don Jr. now defying a subpoena from the Republican-led Senate Intel Committee. Is he taking a page from the Trump playbook here acting like the rules just don't apply to him and he can just ignore the subpoena?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's what appears to be happening here, Don. I was a committee chairman and I authorized subpoenas. And I'll tell you what, I'd be more than a little steamed if somebody was going to simply deny or fragrantly just not try to honor the subpoena request.

We want him to come in. The only time I've read somebody deny a subpoena request is somebody who was overseas, we couldn't get to them. So, I'd be pretty steamed up right now if I were Richard Burr with all this whole situation.

LEMON: So, then what -- so then what gives then? Why are folks like Lindsey Graham and people who have been apologists for this president -- why are they not on the side of the rule of law or oversight from our lawmakers, from separate branches of government?

DENT: They ought to be backing up Richard Burr right now. Look, I know how these investigations go. They had him in previously. Had Don Jr. in previously. I'm sure there are things that he said that maybe they didn't clarify.

It may not -- it may be fairly innocent for all we know.

LEMON: Right.

DENT: But I think Richard Burr probably has a real reason to issue the subpoena. He clearly was trying to get him to come in voluntarily and that's why they issued the subpoena. And by the way, if Richard Burr had made statements to another committee chair that potential witnesses not honor a subpoena request, I'm sure those committee chairs who have buried over the whole thing, they've been flip out.


DENT: And so, I've never seen anything like this. I think it's very -- it's very disrespectful to the chairman of the very important committee.

LEMON: That would never happen. Of course, it would happen. Ryan, listen, Don Jr. told lawmakers that he was only peripherally aware of the Trump Tower Moscow project. But then Michael Cohen, remember when he testified under oath that he said that he briefed Don Jr. and Ivanka about 10 times.

Don Jr. also said that he only told Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Paul Manafort about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting but the deputy campaign chairman who is Rick Gates told Mueller that Don Jr. brought it up to top campaign staff and family. Plenty of reasons to bring Don Jr. back, don't you think? LIZZA: I think so. I mean, I think look, they're not -- they're not

-- it's not even a criminal investigation of course. Right? It's Congress' won bipartisan attempt to get to the bottom of the Russian interference campaign in 2016.

And, you know, Burr to his credit -- I'm sure it was not an easy decision for Burr to issue this subpoena. He knew that the full weight of Fox News and the Republican -- his Republican colleagues was going to come down on him for doing this.

But to his credit, he see a gap in testimony or he sees a witness who may not have told the full story to his committee. He wants to get back in there and clear things up. What's Lindsey Graham going to do the next time as a committee chairman subpoena someone and that person just says no, I don't care, you know. I don't have to come before Congress, you know. You guys don't matter. What's Lindsey Graham going to say? He's the United States senator?


LEMON: He'll go back to the 1998 Lindsey Graham. That's it. He'll just --


LIZZA: I mean, it's just so short sided. What's he going to say when Democrats control the Senate or it's a Democratic president? I mean, it's just such situational ethics like I've never seen.

LEMON: Well, he's a shape shifter so he'll just go back and say, well, that was different. They'll find something that he believes was different in his own mind and then he'll make that the excuse.

Jennifer, you heard what Lindsey Graham. This was him and when I said 19 -- it's 89 or 1998. This is what he said about Richard Nixon ignoring a congressional subpoena. Watch this.


GRAHAM: The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that 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 became the judge and jury.

LEMON: So, refusing to comply. Don Jr. is refusing to comply with the subpoena, the president is telling, you know, his folks have refused to comply. I mean, when it is a Democrat president or when it's, you know, when he can use Richard Nixon as an example, it's OK. But not this president. What gives here?

[23:09:59] RODGERS: Yes. I mean, part of it is just the apologies for the president, you know, it goes on and on. But worse to me is the fact that the president is defying Congress.

LEMON: Right. RODGERS: I mean, this is a separation of powers issue. So, you have Lindsey Graham who's in the Senate. So, he's not even sticking up for his own entity, right, his own institution. I mean, this is really --


LEMON: Does he want to be reelected that bad?

RODGERS: I don't know. This was supposed to be a co-equal branch of government, right? And they are basically being undermined by the president left, right and center and he is not trying to defend his own branch of government. It defies logic.

LEMON: Well, that's a good question. Did you say bright --


LIZZA: It's absolutely right.

LEMON: Who said that? Who was that?

LIZZA: No, I'm saying it's absolutely right because the other part of the clip from Graham is, he's saying, well, Mueller got to the bottom of this, that's good enough for me. Well, the executive branch did do an investigation and did their own thing.

Richard Burr and Senator Warner are the chair and co-chair -- the co- chairman of the Senate intelligence committee. They are separate branch of government and you would think Lindsey Graham as a committee chairman would care about that and not just defer to the executive branch investigation and say the matter is over for me.

LEMON: Go ahead, Charlie.

DENT: Hey, guys. Hey, guys. You know, look, I used to think we had a system of separation of powers. What we have now is a separation of parties. And I've seen this for some time that the party that controls the White House well, their party in Congress thinks their obligation is to protect their president.

And I've seen this go on for some time. And you know, it's gotten much worse obviously with this president. But again, it's separation of party, not separation of powers. And Congress is going to have to reclaim its role. Its authorities are being trampled. We saw it with the emergency declaration on the border security taking appropriate moneys for a purpose that wasn't authorized or approved by Congress.

I mean, these type of flagrant abuses of Congress' power have to be reclaimed at some point. And it's up to the members of Congress to stand up for their Constitution

LEMON: Well, good luck with that, don't you think. Jennifer, this is today Graham suggested that Don Jr. should take the fifth. This is what he says. "I'm not advising him one way or another. I'm just saying if I were his lawyer, you'd be -- you'd have to be an idiot if you were his lawyer to put your client back into the circus. A complete idiot."

OK. So here is a member of the Congress, he is a member of the Senate, making excuses for someone and acting as a lawyer. Shouldn't, as a politician, as you said, shouldn't he'd be standing up for what he's does for a living with the oath that he took --


RODGERS: Of course.

LEMON: -- to represent the American people.

RODGERS: Of course. I mean, Don Jr. has a lawyer. He probably has multiple lawyers. Look, he has real exposure here. I mean, taking the fifth for him is a logical thing to do. I think he is worried about potential perjury charges and being exposed to that. So that's a -- it's not that it's a bad --


LEMON: He's a private citizen. Can he ignore the subpoena? Don Junior?

RODGERS: He can't ignore it there, but he could take and plead the fifth. But it's not up to Lindsey Graham to tell him that.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, all. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

DENT: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: President Trump seems to just love a strong man. He invited another one to the Oval Office just today when he sat down with the far-right prime minister of Hungary. What message does that send to our allies?


LEMON: Today, President Trump welcomed Hungary's far-right nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the Oval Office. Now this is a man that the European Union calls a systemic threat to the rule of law. Orban and his party have been accused of rolling back human right, rewriting the Constitution, allowing corruption, controlling the media, gerrymandering, and thwarting the opposition.

Now, Orban was shunned by both the Obama and the Bush administrations. But here is what President Trump said about him today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Viktor Orban has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. Highly respected. Respected all over Europe. Probably likely a little bit controversial but that's OK. That's OK. You've done a good job and you kept your country safe.


LEMON: So, here's who Orban is. In a speech last February, he said this. He said, "We do not want to be diverse and do not want to be mixed. We do not want our own color, traditions, and national culture to be mixed with those of others."

Well, Trump's former senior adviser Steve Bannon called Orban Trump before Trump. And President Trump is closely monitoring Orban particularly his anti-migration stance. After all, Orban blocked migrants from entering his country with a fence. Where have you heard that before?

Joining me now is a former deputy assistant secretary of state under President Obama, Rob Berschinski. He is now a senior vice president at Human Rights First. So good to have you on. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: So, you know his story. You probably know way more about him than I do. Not only did this president invite Hungary's far-right prime minister, but he praises him. What kind of message does that send to the world do you think?

BERSCHINSKI: Well, it sends a message that we've heard out of President Trump several times now. He loves a good strong man. What Viktor Orban is looking for is validation for his program, which you just described. Extreme xenophobia and a platform that's basically based on fear of migrants.


BERSCHINSKI: That's what he got out of the White House meeting today.

LEMON: Last week, a bipartisan group of senators on the foreign relations committee warned Trump that under Orban democracy in Hungary has significantly eroded. How bad have things gotten under his -- with him being a prime minister?

BERSCHINSKI: They're pretty bad. I mean, at this point we're not seeing political prisoners in jail but under Orban we've seen actions like NGOs that want to support refugees fleeing persecution being subject to potential criminal penalties.

We've seen the media consolidated what once was a free and independent media is almost entirely under the control of Orban and his allies. We've seen the country's highest educational institution, essentially European university effectively kicked out of the country. So, he's really consolidated power.

[03:19:57] LEMON: Interesting. And he also wants to coordinate with the United States because earlier this month Hungary's foreign minister told the state media that he is meeting with Trump, that they could coordinate his anti-immigration position if he met with Trump with the U.S. And today, the Prime Minister Orban specifically said that he would be "proud to stand with the U.S. on fighting illegal immigration." And that was a quote. What does that say to you?

BERSCHINSKI: Well, as you heard in the quote from Steve Bannon there, Orban has been at this for quite some time. His entire political ethos at this point revolves around vilifying the other. And so, to have him be able to come in to the Oval Office to have Trump praise him the way he did today, that just gives considerable validation to Orban.

He's going into European parliamentary elections in the coming weeks. So, this is exactly what he needs in order to fulfill his program, which is really about bringing far-right voices into Europe.

LEMON: But it's also said that he was -- his administration official said that it was his visit was part of a concerted effort to reengage Hungary as Russia and China try to exert influence in the region. Is that a smart strategy on his part?

BERSCHINSKI: Well, I don't think much of the evidence points to it being a smart strategy. When I was in the Obama administration, we went through pretty good lengths to keep him Orban at hand's length given what he's done in his country in terms of taking apart Hungary's democracy.

The Trump administration has gone in exactly the opposite direction. Its theory of the case is essentially that by not bringing up human rights and the rule of law, the U.S. government can keep the Hungarian government on side against Russia and increasingly against China. But the evidence simply doesn't support that theory.

We've seen over the past two years Orban grow closer and closer to Vladimir Putin as --

LEMON: Interesting.

BERSCHINSKI: -- Trump has withheld this criticism.

LEMON: This is the first time that this president has invited a controversial leader and has embraced a controversial leader. Check this out. Take a look at the folks up there. I mean, if you look at all these people you can see them there on the monitor, Rob. What do you think the president is trying to accomplish by making friends with so many strong men?

BERSCHINSKI: Well, clearly, Trump prefers strong men to America's traditional closest democratic allies. He sees in these individuals what he wants to be.

Recently, President Trump's ambassador in Budapest, Hungary gave a very candid interview to a reporter from The Atlantic, in which he outright stated that Trump wishes he were Viktor Orban. What our ambassador meant by that quote is that the president believes that he would be better off if he weren't constrained by Democratic checks and balances. That's really what he sees in individuals like this. LEMON: And you're paying attention earlier I'm sure. Around the globe

we're seeing a lot of far-right leaders gaining power, right? Populist leaders gaining power.

BERSCHINSKI: Perceivably.

LEMON: What does that -- what do you make of this? It's a global trend it seems to be. What do you make of this?

BERSCHINSKI: Yes. It definitely seems like these individuals are on the march and each time a U.S. leader essentially validates them in the way we saw with today's meeting in the Oval Office, it gives these leaders a little bit more strength.

As I mentioned, Orban is really leading the charge within the European Union to take political parties that were centrist, both center-right and center-left and move the center-right faction to a far-right explicitly populist and ethnonationalist faction. And this meeting helps.

LEMON: Rob Berschinski, I love having you here.


LEMON: We learn a lot from you. Will you come back?

BERSCHINSKI: I will. Thank you.

LEMON: We love to have you. Thank you very much.

BERSCHINSKI: I appreciate it.

LEMON: Joe Biden is making the most of his commanding lead in the early polls, not only painting himself as the candidate to beat but going straight for the president. And as his Democratic competitors are taking notice of that.


LEMON: Joe Biden who is leading the polls in the Democratic race for the nomination hitting the campaign trail in the key state of New Hampshire for the first time today.

Let's bring in Democratic strategists, two of them Aisha Moodie-Mills and Keith Boykin. Hello to both of you.


LEMON: My gosh. I'm sure you guys are seeing what's going on with the polls and Joe Biden. Aisha, you first. Dominating early polls, stronger early fund-raising numbers. You say that he needs to bring some fresh new ideas to communities of color. Why do you say that?

MOODIE-MILLS: Because he does. Look, here's the thing. So, I know it's very, very early. The polls to me don't excite me or animate me. He's the deal. Joe Biden has actually been the guy who we've known the longest. He's had a very illustrious career. He already ran for president twice. Of course, the polls are going to show --


LEMON: The biggest name recognition.

MOODIE-MILLS: -- the biggest name recognition. So, I don't think that this is that all black women love Joe Biden. So much as he's the person whose name that we know. He's not saying anything new though.


LEMON: I don't know about that.

MOODIE-MILLS: he's not saying anything new right now --

LEMON: All black women I talked to love Joe Biden.

MOODIE-MILLS: -- about what he's going to do for the community.

LEMON: Listen, I used my mom as a reference. My mom loves Joe Biden, all of her friends love Joe Biden.

MOODIE-MILLS: And what about everybody who got a 50--


LEMON: They just, they love -- they love Joe Biden, too. If you -- but if you -- I'm just saying I'm just being honest. If you look at the numbers, if you just look at the numbers, even Bernie Sanders has huge name recognition, Kamala Harris has a name recognition. But they don't poll like Joe Biden.


MOODIE-MILLS: (Inaudible) -- I have with the polls is that a lot of the ones I look at do not hold voters under 50 in a real significant leg.


MOODIE-MILLS: So, we'll see. We'll see.

LEMON: Who goes to the polls?

MOODIE-MILLS: We'll see what happens.

LEMON: Who goes to the polls?


MOODIE-MILLS: Well, Obama got everybody going to the polls.


MOODIE-MILLS: Obama got everybody, yes.

LEMON: Go ahead, Keith.

BOYKIN: I like Joe Biden. I think he's a wonderful person but I don't know if that makes him the first aspiration to be the Democratic nominee for 2020.

LEMON: No. I'm not just saying. I'm just saying people like Joe Biden.


[23:30:00] LEMON: That doesn't mean they're going to vote for him.


BOYKIN: No, that's exactly --

LEMON: But if you call and ask maybe they know his name, and to that point -- maybe they know --

BOYKIN: That's exactly my point. I feel like I'm in a movie "Groundhog Day," where the same thing happens every cycle over and over again. I went to this in 2007, 2008. Everybody was just assured that Hillary Clinton will have a lock on the black vote because she had the connection with Bill Clinton and black people loved her. She had the sunglasses on in the plane. People thought she was great.

MOODIE-MILLS: Hot sauce.

BOYKIN: I'm sorry. That was before. That was before the sunglasses in the plane.


BOYKIN: But she -- but then -- then we came along and we found that there is another guy named Barack Obama who was running. People didn't even know him. I knew him because I went to law school with him. But a lot of people never heard him. They don't know how to pronounce his name. Suddenly he sort of became more popular.

I'm starting to see the same thing. Most people probably have never been heard of Wayne Messam. He's a mayor from Miramar, Florida who is running for president. He is an African-American. I bet 95 percent of people never heard of him. People don't know much about Cory Booker. They don't know much about Kamala Harris or other African-American candidates.

I'm not saying the only candidates that black people would support would be African-American candidates but let us have a chance to have some debates next month so we can start really evaluating the candidates one by one, side by side instead of jumping to conclusions in May.

LEMON: OK. I think you're right with that, but I mean you cannot deny when you see someone who is that strong who comes out because even -- I mean, look at -- I can't remember who was ahead last time, but Trump wasn't even in the race. (CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: That's exactly my point.


MOODIE-MILLS: -- there are plenty of people running at this point. Here is what I'm predicting. I am predicting that these folks are all going to get on the stage in June and then go back in July, and what black voters particularly young black voters are going to be looking for is who has ideas to change the outcomes of our lives.

It's great that we know Uncle Joe all this time but nothing has changed in the condition of black people in America in the 40 something years that he's been in office. So, I mean, I think that that's going to be the question at least for me and for a lot of people I talked to that are under 50. They are wondering who has got big, bold ideas.

LEMON: The unemployment rate in the black community is still not great, even though he touts it. OK, so listen, let's -- this is during a speech to LGBTQ activists over the weekend. This is Mayor Pete Buttigieg warning his own party against using what he calls identity politics. Listen to this.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: His divisive lines of thinking have even entered into the consciousness of my own party. The most divisive form of such politics, peak white identity politics designed to drive apart people with common interests.

The wall I worry about the most is not the president's fantasy wall on the Mexican border that's never going to get built anyway. I am here to build bridges and to tear down walls.


LEMON: So, what he's saying is he's arguing that voters shouldn't have to choose between supporting interests of one group over another. Do you think he speaks with some experience?

BOYKIN: I think you have to understand intersectional of identities as well. Yes, he's a gay man, but he is also a white man. So, he has a certain amount of privilege. You can have privilege and still have oppression (ph) at the same time. There are --

LEMON: I have gay friends who have said to me -- especially my gay black friends, like, what is he saying, I have no idea what he means right here about this.

BOYKIN: Yeah and --


MOODIE-MILLS: So -- BOYKIN: I don't know what he means either but I can tell you this though. As a gay man --

LEMON: They say that because -- let me tell you why they say -- because he is -- he has a certain privilege, as you said, as a white man but also his gayness is part of the identity that people are using to vote for him. So he is also a recipient of that form of identity politics as well. So does he not want people to --

BOYKIN: That's the point I was --

MOODIE-MILLS: Identity politics is a dirty word. So I just want to start there. I believe it matters that we show up as people who are voting and we certainly should show up as candidates through the full lens that we experience and we see the world. That's what intersectionality really means.

So, I am a black woman. I also happen to be a lesbian. It matters to me that my experience is counted. I think that what he is trying to do is kind of flip this whole idea of identity politics on the head and making it less authentic. At the end of the day, we are talking about authenticity. I think people are going to be looking to see if Pete Buttigieg is showing up wholly as who he is in a way that resonates with them. Maybe some --

LEMON: But aren't Trump voters the biggest identity politics players of all?

BOYKIN: That's exactly my point. We are talking about identity politics. You really think of identity politics, you're referring to black

people primarily. But even within the gay community, LGBTQ community, people keep saying to me, for example, why don't you support Pete Buttigieg because he's gay or something like that.

I feel like there are 22 candidates out there. There are African- American candidates out there. There are progressive candidates who are necessarily black or gay.

So, I don't feel -- it seems hypocritical that we expect people who are within the LGBT community to sort of fall in line and we don't necessarily take into account their intersectionality, but we don't -- we also ignore that and we dismiss that when African-Americans try to support people of their own community.

So let's all step back, take a step back as I've been saying before, and let's have a chance to look at the candidates before we start to jump to conclusions and pick horses at this early stage.

[23:35:06] MOODIE-MILLS: Don, I don't want to lose your point. Absolutely, the base of Trump supporters is absolutely white identified. This country was built on white identity politics and we have to acknowledge that because that's absolutely why you see the 38 percent on any given day that are always going to be for Trump.

There's a lot there that has to do with undertones of white people who support him wanting to preserve something, a sense of something that has to do with their identity.

LEMON: But even the -- what about the Midwestern voter? What about the coal mine? What about the Rust Belt? What do you think you're talking about? You are talking about people --

MOODIE-MILLS: Dog whistle politics.

LEMON: People who have a certain identity.


LEMON: And that's identity politics. People tend to --

MOODIE-MILLS: Which is fair. I think --

LEMON: -- support people who are like them in many ways.

BOYKIN: I wanted to ask the question about your farmer friend who was on earlier today. He was talking about Trump and the farm bill and tariff issues. There are a lot of reasons why people support Trump. And part of the reason why a lot of people will support him is because they identify with the politics, not just the economic politics but the racial politics that Trump communicates.

LEMON: Identity politics. But we don't know but that guy -- I don't know if that's him specifically --

BOYKIN: I don't know if that's him either.

LEMON: He seemed to be very genuine and he said -- listen, he voted for the person who was best the last time. And it seems this time, if he continues that, Trump may not be the best person for him. They're hurting. They're getting inundated by flooding there.


LEMON: And also, he has got all these soybeans that he can't sell.

MOODIE-MILLS: Ideas and solutions --


BOYKIN: It raised a question of why would you continue to support somebody who is not working in your economic interests?

LEMON: We'll see. We'll see come 2020, right? Thank you both. I appreciate it.

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you.

LEMON: Anti-Semitism rising to hear historic highs for the third year in a row. That is according to the Anti-Defamation League. We're going to look at what's behind the alarming growth in hate. That's next.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Anti-Semitism sharply on the rise in America. The latest incident, two deadly synagogue attacks in just the last few months. Tonight, in her one-part series, I should say, in part of one of her series, excuse me, CNN's Sara Sidner looks at the spike in anti-Jewish violence and what's behind it.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Orthodox Jew beaten in the streets of Brooklyn, another sucker-punched in New York. In Los Angeles, a driver targets Jewish man with his car screaming "f- ing Jews." And exactly six months apart, shooters are attacking American synagogues during services with the intent to kill Jews.

Pittsburgh last October, 11 lives lost in the worst act of anti- Semitic violence in American history, Poway in April killing one worshipper. The direct threat against American Jews as victims of vandalism, assault and even murder is at alarming levels.

GEORGE SELIM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: We're talking some of the highest numbers of incidents that we've seen. It's really kind of unfolded itself in a very ugly way.

SIDNER (voice-over): For a third year in a row, the Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic incidents in America rose to near historic highs. Each of the 1,879 dots is a physical manifestation of hate in 2018.

SELIM: The threat environment today is one that we haven't seen in this country in recent memory.

SIDNER (voice-over): George Selim oversees the ADL Center for extremism. He has also spent more than a decade working to fight extremism and radicalization at the Department of Homeland Security. The growing deadly threat, he says, is home grown and overwhelmingly far right and white.

SELIM: There is this concept within white supremacist circles of accelerationism. That means that individuals feel like the white race is in danger and they need to act now.

SIDNER (voice-over): The evidence of the growing threat is plain to see. Synagogues now with bullet holes.

YISROEL GOLDSTEIN, RABBI, POWAY CHABAD: I was centimeters away from death. I still feel the power of the bullets flying.

SIDNER (voice-over): Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein came to Poway, California in the 1980s with the dream to build a safe oasis for the Jewish community, but his sense of security was shattered in seconds.

(on camera): At what point did you see a gunman walk in to your synagogue?

GOLDSTEIN: It's hard to go back to the moment. It's like unimaginable. Right there in flabby and feet away from me, 15 feet away from me, standing there, his feet spread apart in aiming position right at me.

SIDNER (voice-over): The first blast marking the door and wall hit and killed congregant Lori Kaye, who was there to pray for her recently deceased mother. Then the rabbi was hit.

GOLDSTEIN: My granddaughter says, "Grandfather, you're bleeding."

SIDNER (voice-over): You didn't even know you were hit.

GOLDSTEIN: I didn't know I was hit. I looked at her face. She is so traumatized. She is just four and a half years old. Here are the pictures you see from black and whites during the holocaust. It's where we see those images, not 2019 in the United States of America.

SIDNER (voice-over): Eight-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle were also injured by gunfire in the synagogue.

NOYA DAHAN, SHOOTING VICTIM: He was aiming at all the kids. He was aiming where the kids were. It was terrifying, scary.

SIDNER (voice-over): The 19-year-old white male suspect wrote of killing Jews in an open letter before the attack. "I feel no remorse. I only wish I'd killed more."


[23:45:03] SIDNER (voice-over): He said his inspiration came from the slaughter of 15 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and the massacre of 11 Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, both of which police say were perpetrated by white supremacists.

Poway's mayor says this was not representative of the city he loves.

KIM GARNIER, POWAY RESIDENT: There's swastikas spray painted in our schools. Just last Hanukkah, a family had swastikas spray painted on their house.

SIDNER (voice-over): Lifelong resident Kim Garnier says the attack didn't surprise her one bit.

SIDNER (on camera): How do you see Poway?

GARNIER: I want to hear this isn't Poway. That's a slap in the face to the people who have experienced the bigotry, the hatred, the racism, the anti-Semitism. There's another element and to ignore it is so disrespectful to those who have experienced it.

SIDNER (voice-over): According to the ADL, all but four states are incidents of anti-Semitism last year, down slightly from 2017 where all 50 states had incidents for the first time ever, the most deadly at the hands of far right wing extremists.

SELIM: Let me be very clear on this. White supremacy and white nationalism is a real and persistent threat. Law enforcement at the federal, state and local level need to take this threat much more seriously.

SIDNER (voice-over): If it isn't, he says, the deadly trend (INAUDIBLE).

GOLDSTEIN: You're never safe again. You don't feel safe again. If this could happen to us, it could happen to anyone and everywhere.


LEMON: Sara Sidner has a lot more to tell us about the rise of anti- Semitic violence and white nationalism. We will discuss, next.


LEMON: Tonight, we're looking at the sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence in America and also white nationalism. Let's speak now with Sara Sidner. Sara, I really enjoyed it. That piece was very informative. So give us a sense of how -- how significant the rise is in anti-Semitism.

SIDNER: It is at historic highs. I mean, really, the incidents remain near those highs with 1,879 incidents against Jews and Jewish institutions. That is according to the Anti-Defamation League. We should mention that they have been tracking hate in this country for four decades. They are saying that it is at historic highs, anti- Semitism, right now in this country.

The good news though from the report for this year is that there are about 110 incidents or so that are down. In other words, it is about five percent down anti-Semitic incidents than last year. But here is what is particularly disturbing, the number of assaults targeting Jews doubled in 2018 from 21 in 2017 to 39 in 2018.

The numbers of murders doubled in part due, as you know, Don, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent American history in Pittsburgh last year. The violence is rising, Don.

LEMON: Yeah. So the people who study this, the authorities, do they have any insight as to why this is happening?

SIDNER: They do. You know, there are people who have been studying this for a long time and who have been tracking hate in this country for a very long time. There are a few trains of thought, if you will. The toxicity of politics right now is one aspect.

Let us be clear that the president certainly did not create racism or anti-Semitism, but when experts look at what's happened, they feel he has emboldened people who do feel that way.

When you have a president who on the one hand has, and we've seen this two or three times now, strongly condemned anti-Semitism, but on the other hand he talks about being a nationalist or re-tweeting anti- Semitic memes or far right group's hateful messaging, there is a dog whistle that's loud and clear.

And those mixed and double messages are seen by some white supremacists as the president basically saying one thing because he has to publicly but really believing in their cause.

There's another big influence here that we have to talk about and that is the subcultures that exist on social media sites. There is this notion that's being pushed out here online and I know you've seen this, Don, white supremacists are basically saying that white people are enduring genocide right now and need to fight back.

And who do they blame? They blame Jewish people for what they say is like coordinating their demise. Now, white genocide is not happening. Every expert you talk to will tell you that. But there is this idea in the minds of white nationals and white supremacists of acceleration being called being called for.

Basically what they're calling people to do is they're basically telling white folks that they are in danger and that they need to act now because they are being wiped out. And some people are doing that violently, killing Jewish people, killing black folks and anyone else they think is a threat to the white race.

And by the way, this stuff is not just on the dark web. These are on all manner of social media sites and it's really not that hard to find, Don.

LEMON: It's not like these anti-Semitic incidents are appearing out of nowhere. Let's be honest. The threat is home grown. So how do you stop this rising tide of hatred and bigotry? That is the question. I mean, what can you look out for when -- many of the people I saw in your story, they look like the guy next door.

SIDNER: Right. I mean, I think one of the things in talking to folks who really, you know, study this and we've spent some time looking at this, there has to be a very strong and very serious condemnation of all this. But words are also just words.

When you talk to law enforcement, they will say, look, you have to put some money where your mouth is. You have to put money into programs that try to stop this. People are going online, right? You've got to deal with the online threat.

[23:54:58] The social media companies like Facebook and YouTube --

LEMON: Right.

SIDNER: -- have been called to account and they have done some things like just recently they got rid of white nationalist sites, for example. But a lot of Americans are looking at some of these websites and they're being radicalized online, just the same way ISIS radicalized folks.

LEMON: Yeah.

SIDNER: So I think there has to be a plain, clear plan put in place but it has to be taken seriously, and some folks say this administration is not taking it seriously enough, Don.

LEMON: We are out of time. Thank you, Sara. I always appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.