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CNN TONIGHT

Alabama's New Abortion Law Angered Other Women; Joe Biden Leading In Battleground State; U.S. Wants No War In Iran; 2020 Race; WAPO: Revenue Down Sharply At The Trump Organization's Golf Resort In Doral, Florida; The Growing Threat Of Online Extremism. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 15, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The Trump White House escalating its feud with House Democrats defying Congress' role oversight role over the executive branch. A power granted to Congress in the Constitution. Part of the founder's belief in the system of checks and balances. But it looks like that system is being trampled under this president.

We're looking at the big picture for you. Today, the White House flatly rejecting the House Judiciary Committee's request for documents, prompting the Chairman, Jerry Nadler to accuse the president of acting like a king, as if he's above the law.

But President Trump and Republican lawmakers are increasingly taking actions that a majority of Americans disagree with.

Trump is escalating his trade war with China; which Americans don't want. It's hitting more and more people in the wallet. And polls show Americans want everything from sensible gun legislation to sound immigration policy which isn't happening.

So, are we in an endless state of minority rule? That's a question we're going to ask and a lot to talk about. Alice Stewart is here. Hilary Rosen, and Max Boot. Max is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left The Right."

So good evening, everyone.

Max, let me start with you and ask you what I just said in the intro. Because on so many issues where the majority of Americans feel one way about it and the majority position and I mention them.

This new banning of abortions in Alabama, the latest example. But we see so many of the policies. The tariffs, we see it on immigration, we see it on sensible gun laws. We see it on Trump himself. Give us your big picture view of this.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I think the big picture view, Don, is that Donald Trump does not give a dam about 60 percent of the country. He sees himself as being the president of red state America, which is about 40 percent of the country and that's who he appeals to.

And he has made, it's just actually kind of stunning after more than two years he has made no effort to win over anybody else which is why his poll ratings are mired around 40 people even though the economy is in great shape.

Normally, a president with an economy this strong would be over 50 percent. Trump is not because everything that he is doing outside the economy is alienating a huge portion of the country.

Now in this particular case, I mean, some of those examples that we talked about with tariffs, I mean, he's actually hurting his own supporters here but it doesn't seem to matter.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: The farmers.

BOOT: The farmers. The great patriotic farmers as he calls them. They're being wallop by these tariffs by the trade war that he started. It doesn't seem to matter. They still seem to support him for whatever reason because he's pushing their other buttons on immigration, on abortion, on culture wars and all that kind of stuff.

But the rest of the country is very much turned off. He's not going to get a lot of approval outside the base for things like refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas. I mean, he is clearly in charge of a lawless presidency.

LEMON: Yes. So, Alice, I want to bring you in, because you're a supporter of the president I want to get your take on this. Because if we look at a study, this is from Pew Research Center. Fifty-eight percent of people feel abortion should be legal, and all or most cases, while 37 percent say it should illegal and all or most cases.

And yet, here we have this new Alabama law that bans most abortions. This is an issue that motivates the Republican base. Is that what this comes down to?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, this is a case that certainly motivates his base. His -- the base supports pro-life legislation. And look, while banning abortion is certainly not popular and certainly not the majority of opinions in Ivory towers in New York and the Coast of California, pro-life legislation resonates in the fly over country, in the bible belt with the red state America. And that's exactly what happened --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But just so you know that's a national poll, it's not just of New York and or just the coast. It's a national poll.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

STEWART: Right. But my point being is that this Alabama legislation was enacted by newly elected Alabama legislators that are pro-life and this is an issue that resonates with the people of Alabama. It's not a sentiment shared by people in the more blue states and liberal states but this is the way Alabama feels.

And there are 12 other states that have passed strict abortion laws this year alone. I expect there to be many more to come.

[23:04:55] Look, this legislation I think should have included a carve out and exemptions for rape and incest. I think that was an important part of this that was left out.

But that being said, these legislators made the step because they felt that the pro-life issue is important and this is the first step in a long step of taking this further to the Supreme Court. And ultimately, social Evangelicals that supported Donald Trump wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned and this is an important first step.

LEMON: Ok. And I want to bring and for sake of time, I want to being in Hilary in. Because, Hilary, I could see you're itching to get in here, but also, I mean, if you look at the people who signed this bill, you know, all men. Except for the governor.

ROSEN: Nice picture. Yes.

LEMON: Yes. There it is right there. So, what's your response to this?

ROSEN: My response to that is, not only do they not represent the people of the State of Alabama, they don't represent this country. And yes, Alice is right that there have been additional abortion bans passed in states across the country.

But to a person, this is just gone way overboard. And I think that actually the president and his allies are taking this too far.

Look, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch testified before Congress to try and get to the Supreme Court. And they wouldn't say what Alice is saying. They wouldn't say we want to overturn Roe v. Wade. Because they knew that that was not popular with the American people. They knew that that would mean that they would not, you know, get the votes in the United States Senate to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

You know, 70 percent of this country do not want to see this decision overturned. And so, I think what we have here is this kind of culture war that Donald Trump is going to rue the day that he started. It is one thing to talk about the economy. It is one thing to mess with people's heads on trade and give farmers subsidies while at the same time turning -- creating a trade war and putting additional tariffs on exports.

It is one thing to do that. But it is another to mess with people's lives. And that's what the Republicans are doing right now is messing with people's lives.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to -- ROSEN: It won't stand.

LEMON: I've got to ask you this and just stand by, Max and Alice. Because I'm just wondering if Republicans -- and Alice talks about this all the time, by the way. She'll say I don't like, you know, some of the things he says.

ROSEN: Yes.

LEMON: I don't like his behavior, I don't like his past, you know, but I like his policies and I like what he's going to do with abortion and that's my issue.

I'm just wondering are Republicans just more effective than Democrats at championing these issues and getting their people to the polls and not having a litmus test or purity test for candidates? They realize who their allies are, who their enemies are and they say that this person isn't perfect but this is who -- this is who's going to get my agenda through. Shouldn't Democrats learn something from that?

ROSEN: I think it's a big lesson. And you're really right, Don. Democrats have historically not made this place look like the Supreme Court and those kinds of appointments the number one litmus test of voting.

But look, Donald Trump didn't win Democrats in this last -- in his election to presidency. He won independents. And what I think we saw with independents in this last election in November was that his comments on Charlottesville, his comments on immigration, his activities around the divisiveness went too far.

LEMON: Yes.

ROSEN: I think we're going to see that again in this next election.

LEMON: OK.

ROSEN: That Democrats and independents are going to reject to the social --

LEMON: OK.

ROSEN: -- war that the president and his allies have started.

LEMON: I want Max. Go ahead, Max, weigh in.

BOOT: I just want to say, I mean, this whole base strategy, Don, has a long pedigree going back at least to Karl Rove and the 2004 Bush reelection campaign where Rove basically decided there is no need to enlarge the base of Bush support. All you had to do is mobilize the existing Bush supporters and that's essentially what Trump did in 2016.

But, you know, I think that there is reason to think that strategy may not continue to work because with this move on abortion, for example, there's a real risk that the president's supporters are going to mobilize all these women across the country to march in favor of abortion rights.

LEMON: Let me ask you this, Max. Because if we look at the president himself, right, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of this president in a Fox News poll released today. Or you know, if we look at the 2016 election, nearly three million more people voted for Hillary Clinton. Some of this has to do with the way the federal system is set up. I mean, it's kind of beyond that, though, isn't it?

BOOT: Well, no. I mean, that's -- I mean, that is the entire Trump strategy, which is to appeal to the states that have the electoral votes that can barely put him over the top, even though he's hugely unpopular with the rest of the country.

But again, what I'm suggesting is this could backfire because if you look at the politics of abortion going back to Roe v. Wade in 1973, basically, whichever side is losing is the one that is energized. And since 1973, basically, the antiabortion side has been losing and so they've been very energized.

[23:09:59] But now you're seeing what's happening in Alabama. The possibility of the Supreme Court weighing in and possibly overturning Roe.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Missouri as well.

BOOT: That's going to -- That has the potential to have a huge backlash. In fact, you had something like this happen in Poland a few years ago where the Law and Justice Party tried to outlaw abortion and they couldn't do it entirely because all these women marched for their rights.

LEMON: Alice, are you worried about a backlash with moderates or centrist women?

STEWART: Now I think more than anything what this is going to do. This will more than we saw in 2016. This will motivate, certainly the Trump's base and the social Evangelicals that came out to support him because they realize this issue and the Supreme Court is not something that's just a winning issue for this election.

But people that are on the Supreme Court are there for decades and they realized the significance and importance of this.

In terms of the many moderate women out there that may or may not vote for Trump, this may not be their defining issue. It is for me. Supreme Court, and life and religious liberty is for me. But a lot of women, the undecided and those in the middle they are concerned with pocketbook issues. And so, not to change the topic, but this isn't going to be a deciding factor for them. They are going to be more concern that the economy is good.

LEMON: OK.

STEWART: And they have jobs. That would be a big factor. ROSEN: You know, if people's lives --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I'm out of time.

ROSEN: -- are taken care of, then maybe they don't vote on their lives. But once you threaten people's very existence, once you ruin their healthcare, once you take away their civil rights, Democrats are waking up and you know, they've gotten -- you know, we've been complacent over the courts for too long --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Got to go, Hilary. Yes.

ROSEN: Not so much.

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

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Fascinating conversation. With a threat of war with Iran, just how worried should Americans be? I'm going to ask Fareed Zakaria, next.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, it looks like this president may be president this -- the president may have us on the brink of war, as I should say. His trade war with China and his looming war with Iran.

The president threatening to send, his words, "a hell of a lot more than 120,000 American troops to the region." Can the chaotic Trump administration manage on two fronts?

Let's discuss now. Fareed Zakaria is here. He is the host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." So much to talk about. Thank you so much for joining us here. You know, it's almost unthinkable but the Trump administration appears to be hurdling towards confrontation with Iran. Should Americans be worried now about this?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: I think so. I think so. I mean, I think that the thing you have to give Donald Trump on China is, he is in control of that policy. It is something he has long believed. he's been bracing the states. He's been raising the ante. It's difficult to know whether it's the right strategy or not but the Chinese have been bad actors in the international trade stage.

This policy toward Iran, it seems almost like we're sleep walking into a war. The Trump administration does not seem to have a plan. Donald Trump seem to essentially have subcontracted this incredibly important policy, diplomatic political military to John Bolton, his national security advisor who has long believed that what the United States needs is an active, aggressive policy of regime change against Iran, like regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan has worked out so well for us. Right?

I don't think that's Donald Trump's policy. But John Bolton is pursuing a very confrontational policy toward Iran. And it's quite possible that you add to that accidents, mishaps, signaling that goes badly and we do stumble into war.

LEMON: But the administration is saying that Iranians are -- that the Iranians are threatening Americans. And as you said, you know, it's John Bolton. People are pointing fingers at John Bolton. But Mike Pompeo, as well.

ZAKARIA: Pompeo himself another Uber hawk on Iran. These guys have, for a long time, believed that the solution to the problem in Iran is not to manage it, not to have diplomatic relations, not to cut deals with Tehran but to go in and try to replace the government, which is -- you know, it's really a fantasy that that would get us anywhere.

Again, as I said, look at record of regime change in the Middle East. But the signals they're pointing to, Don, it's important to understand, are very thin signals that seem to me more manufactured pretext for the United States to take some military action.

It reminds me of nothing less than the Gulf of Tonkin incident which got us into the Vietnam War. The Johnson administration was looking for something and they were able to manufacture out of a very small incident that actually turned out historically to be not even a clear- cut case of aggression.

They used it as a pretext to say look, we got attacked, we have to defend ourselves.

LEMON: Yes.

ZAKARIA: I think something very similar is happening here. There's no evidence the Iranians are preparing for an attack.

LEMON: That's what -- I had Congressman Jim Himes on earlier and he said the very similar things to what you're saying. Listen, there are signs that things could be changing. And this is -- I want to read, this is a Washington Post headlines.

It says, "Trump frustrated by advisers. He's not convinced the time is right to attack Iran." It's seeming to insinuate that he feels that he may be being led on by his advisors.

ZAKARIA: I think that report makes a lot of sense. Because Donald Trump's views on foreign policy do not seem to be consistent with Bolton or Pompeo. But Trump's problem in foreign policy is he's been trying on advisors like new suits because he's not quite sure what his own views are, other than as I say on China where he has long-held consist views on all these other things.

It's not clear what he really believes. So, he tries out these advisors, watches them and discovers, wait a minute, that's not exactly what I think. But what he has got in Pompeo and Bolton are two very hard lined Uber hawks who really believe that the path to some kind of durable security in the Middle East is basically to go to war with Iran.

[23:19:57] It strikes me the highly dangerous strategy. It doesn't seem to me Donald Trump's strategy but the danger is once you go down this path it's very hard to back down without seeming like you're caving, you're conceding. And Donald Trump doesn't like to concede. So that's going to be the problem.

They're going to put in a position where the only way you can get out is to seem like you're backing down. Seem like you're caving.

LEMON: Yes. Well, even the president's usual whisperers on Fox News seem to be speaking out against any conflict with Iran. Tucker Carlson question how it's in America's interest to go to war with Iran. Laura Ingraham said it would hurt the president's reelection chances. Do you think that will make him think twice? And maybe that has to do with this Washington Post headline?

ZAKARIA: I would hope they're thinking twice fundamentally because, a, it's a really bad idea. B, it doesn't seem consistent with his own views. But this is the problem with a president who is basically subcontracting foreign policy because he doesn't really know or care much.

So, he's subcontracted Middle East policy largely to Israel and Saudi Arabia. He's subcontracted Cuba policy to Miami Cubans, to Senator Marco Rubio. Most of his Latin America policy is essentially an outgrowth of immigration policy.

So, there is no, you know, there is no actual American foreign policy. It is a series of subcontracted deals to the Saudis and the Israelis in the Middle East to, you know, to immigration interests in Central America.

The result is we don't know what his core instincts are. But he -- maybe he's realizing when he's confronted with this, yes, I don't believe we should be going to war with Iran. And let me point out, an unprovoked war with a major power.

LEMON: It sounds like what I read from Eugene Robinson yesterday about the president just sort of winging it. I have to ask you quickly about this trade war because the president says he is OK with it. And you can see it's hurting farmers and what have you. How much damage could this do?

ZAKARIA: It could do a lot of damage. Look, Trump here, as I said, I think he's in control and he has a consistent view which is that the Chinese have been bad actors. They've been misbehaving. He's got to reign them in. He's -- you know, exacting a price.

Where he doesn't seem to understand basic trade economics, is that we're paying the price. He keeps making it out so when you put tariffs on the Chinese, they are -- you know, suddenly they're paying a lot of money and it's all going to the U.S. treasury.

The money is being paid by the American consumers. It's a tax. And so, you know, it's worth it if you can get a better deal with China. LEMON: Yes.

ZAKARIA: But it's not worth it because of the revenues you're getting. I mean, we could raise taxes on Americans anytime and get revenues to the --

LEMON: Get the same result. Thank you very much, Fareed Zakaria.

ZAKARIA: My pleasure.

LEMON: Always a pleasure. Don't miss "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" right here on CNN Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. We'll be right back.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A new poll gives Joe Biden a substantial lead over President Trump in Pennsylvania, one of the key battleground states in the 2020 election. Symone Sanders joins me now.

Symone, good evening to you. I want to talk to you about this new poll. The Quinnipiac poll puts Joe Biden with a wide margin over Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent with Trump at 42 percent in the key battleground State of Pennsylvania. I know it's early but that is a big lead.

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT: It is a big lead, Don. And thanks for having me. And I'm always happy to be back.

It is a big lead. But I want to caution folks that it is still early. You know, if you live by the polls, you die by the polls. When you're doing good, if you're laying on the polls, when you're not doing good and the polls are ebbing and flowing, you should be responsible for that too. Kind of like the president and the stock market.

But look, we won, the vice president is running to be the Democratic nominee and then yes, eventually going to be in the general election and beat Donald Trump. And while this poll -- absolutely it should make everybody feel good.

But we still have to run this primary. And so, we know this is going to be a fight. We're not taking anything for granted. And you saw Vice President Biden out there in New Hampshire just a couple days ago. We'll be back on the road soon. We have a big kick off campaign launch rally event this Saturday in Philadelphia. So, we're excited. We're optimistic but it's a fight.

LEMON: You're in campaign mode. This is Symone Sanders in campaign mode instead of political analyst, Democratic analyst or strategist mode.

Listen, today, Senator Kamala Harris was asked about her interest in serving as Joe Biden's running mate. And you may have heard this today because it got a lot of attention. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that sure,

people want to speculate about running mates, I encourage that because I think that Joe Biden would be a great running mate as vice president. He's proven that he knows how to do the job and there certainly a lot of other candidates that would make for me a viable and interesting vice president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do you think of her response?

SANDERS: Look, I think it is very early for folks to be having conversations about vice presidents. I think Vice President Biden is in this race because he wants to be the Democratic nominee and the next president of the United States of America.

I'm sure a number of the other candidates in this race feel the same way, so we look forward to seeing all the candidates on the debate stage next month and out there on the campaign trail. But I'm not going to get bogged down and what -- you know, the salacious campaign trail gossip of the moment in terms of vice presidential picks, if you will, Don.

We're focused on taking our message to the American people. You know, again, Vice President Biden is in this race because he believes we need restore the backbone of this country, restore the soul of this country definitely given who's in the White House and unite America. So that's what we're talking about on the campaign trail.

[23:29:58] LEMON: Symone, Biden was asked about the impact on mass incarceration rates of the 1994 crime bill, you know, that he wrote when he was a senator from Delaware. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ninety-two out of every 100 prisoners end up behind bars or in a state prison, not a federal prison. This idea that the crime bill generated mass incarceration, it did not generate mass incarceration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But, Symone, here is what critics say, that this law disproportionately harmed the poor and African-Americans. Senator Harris, a former prosecutor, says that this bill did contribute to mass incarceration. What's your response to that?

SANDERS: Well, I think the vice president was very clear in his statements. Look, I think we're going to continue to have a conversation about the impacts of the 1994 crime bill and campaign trail, and I think the vice president is more than willing as you see in that clip to have a candid conversation about his role in that and things that that bill did and did not do.

I mean, to be frank, he's right. A number of -- he's right in the fact that a number -- the disproportionate number of folks who did go to jail -- one could argue, I think critics have as a result of the "crime bill" -- went to downstate prison. That goes to something called prosecutorial discretion, district attorneys, and attorney generals. Again, this is a conversation we're going to have to have on the campaign trail.

LEMON: I guess your point that people are looking at 1994 through a 2019 lens and times were different, I understand all of that, but I am just wondering if this is the kind of endorsement he wants because earlier today, the president's attorney and the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted this.

He said, "The 1994 crime bill passed by President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich, with Biden and Schumer as leaders in Senate and House, helped me and the NYPD reduce murder from 1,900 a year to 500 and then under Mayor Bloomberg to 350. That's over 20,000 lives saved. Joe don't cave." He wants that endorsement?

SANDERS: We're not engaging Rudy Giuliani. Look, the facts speak for themselves. Again, the crime bill, in a number of respects is problematic. There were other things that the crime bill did do that the vice president talked about in terms of taking on the NRA.

One of the first times we beat the NRA was in that crime bill. So, look, I think any legislator will tell you, any legislature will tell you that sometimes you pass legislation and you don't get everything you want.

There were some grave mistakes in that crime bill that the vice president has absolutely acknowledged. And it is the conversation he is willing to have but no one is worried. We don't want the endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. We're worried about the American people.

LEMON: Yeah. Symone Sanders, thank you so much. The president's prized Miami resort is reportedly losing a lot of business. I'm talking losses in the millions, and wait until you hear why.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump's golf resort in Doral, Florida is one of the prized properties of the Trump Organization. But The Washington Post is reporting that revenue there is down sharply since Trump announced he was running for president. Well, it turns out the president is hurting his own brand.

I want to talk about this now with Jonathan O'Connell who helped break the story. Also, Rick Reilly is with us. Rick is the author of "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump," which is a fascinating read.

Good evening, gentlemen. I'm glad to have both of you on. Jonathan, I'm going to start with you because yesterday it was Trump Tower, today it is Trump Doral, but you are reporting -- your reporting reveals that the first time a representative in the president's own company is admitting the Trump name is not good for business. Tell me about that. JONATHAN O'CONNELL, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. I mean, the Trump family for years of course has talked about how much money their brand is worth, how they have the best properties and the best cities in the world, and how they're sort of been unbreakable as a luxury brand.

But, you know, again, behind closed doors, when they're looking for a tax break in this case in Doral, Florida, their attorneys now are saying, well, you know, actually the brain is hurting us quite a bit, it is driving down revenue, it is turning away customers and it is causing a big problem.

LEMON: Interesting. Rick, let's bring you in. Tell me about the significance of Trump Doral, that it holds for this president.

RICK REILLY, SPORTSWRITER AND AUTHOR: It's the biggest golf resort he bought. But he wrecked it. He changed the design completely and made it just for the big bangers like (INAUDIBLE) long way. And then he drilled them so crazy. It used to be a great tourist stop on the PGA Tour.

But he drilled them so crazy, landing his helicopter during the tournament and buzzing (ph) them for the 727. The Cadillac pulled out. The whole tournament jumped the wall and is now in Mexico. So that is gone.

And he hacked off all the neighbors by saying I don't like the stuff you used, you do in your backyard, hanging laundry, playing rock music. And he sued his neighbors for 15 grand each. They are, like, I'm not part of your club, I'm just living.

LEMON: Yes.

REILLY: And so he just -- and then his immigration stuff doesn't play that well in Miami. But basically, people told me that was a convention place.

LEMON: Yes.

REILLY: And companies don't want to take their convention with the Trump name on it.

LEMON: Rick, he said, you know, I know that I've lost a whole lot of money being president, but it really doesn't matter. It matters to him, does it?

REILLY: Well, everything is about money, ratings. I have more money than you. But the irony is this. His friends told me he did this just to build his brand. He ran for president to build his brand. And now the brand is dying.

LEMON: Yeah.

REILLY: Quick story. I went there a year ago today, and I spent the whole day. I couldn't find anybody there. I checked out at 1:00. That night, you remember the machine gun guy came in and shot up the lobby. LEMON: Yeah.

REILLY: Nobody was hurt because nobody was there.

[23:40:01] LEMON: Oh, wow. Listen, I want to ask you this. There are other things that I want to ask. Let me go to this, because in your piece, Jonathan, you talked about the Marriott Hotel in Miami, Doral's top competitor, right?

You said it's crowded and it's bustling. But if you look at the lobby, as he mentioned, the newly-renovated Doral, it's just a few people in the lobby. They didn't think that Doral would take as big a hit as some of the other properties. So, why did they think this would be different?

O'CONNELL: I think the pool of customers including luxury travelers, golfers who are willing to travel for the best golf courses, and also corporations that are either board meetings or retreats or other sort of meetings, all of those customers are thinking about whether they want to be associated with the Trump brand.

And if they are not really closely align with Republican politics or with Trump's politics, what we're seeing in the numbers is that they're saying we don't want to be.

LEMON: Yeah.

O'CONNELL: And it could be, you know, it maybe not a majority of those customers or those corporations. But even if one board member doesn't want to do it, probably go choose somewhere else. So if one member of your golfing foursome doesn't want to do it, you probably choose somewhere else. And I think you're seeing that in the numbers on ongoing basis. It's causing a problem for the Trump Organization.

LEMON: Let's talk a little bit more about that, Jonathan, because while many are abandoning the Trump name properties, the president continues to draw significant income from political allies, right?

O'CONNELL: Yeah.

LEMON: And then -- so, you write this. You said, "Republican groups have spent $4.5 million at Trump properties to hold fundraisers and retreats, according to campaign finance reports. Other right-leaning groups have become consistent customers at Trump's D.C. hotel and Mar- a-Lago Club in Florida."

So, how big an impact does the influx of money from Republican supporters have on his business?

O'CONNELL: You're absolutely right. The flipside of this is that the people and the customers and the corporations and in Washington's case, the lobbyists and the trade associations, who are aligned with Republican politics or who adore Trump are willing to pay a premium to stay at his properties, right?

So you see this particularly at his D.C. hotel at Mar-a-Lago where being associated with the Trump name and Trump politics, the Trump family, sort of the Trump mystique is really meaningful to these groups, and they're willing to pay a premium to go there.

And that's where you see like the D.C. hotel charges some of the highest rates in Washington because people feel like they really, really want to be there, whether they are there traveling and the are Trump fans or whether they are lobbyists having a convention in Washington and really want to align themselves with the president. Those are places where he's cashing in right now.

REILLY: But across the board in golf, any course that is open to the public and he needs the public to come up, to come see it, has been terrible. Eric Trump got up at the opening of the club house at this Bronx Ferry Point (ph), and he said, this is great. You can't get a tee time out here. It's amazing.

That moment, I went online and it was a Friday, I could get any tee time I wanted for Saturday or Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00. So, Eric is just lying. Same as in Doral, our business is great. No. Scotland, his course in Aberdeen, I was there two days. I walked the course two days. I saw one group each day. People are staying away from this guy like it is anthrax.

LEMON: Well, it's interesting because you mentioned this, he did this, you said, to build his brand. It appears to be doing the exact opposite. Maybe in the calculation, he didn't realize that the people he -- that he was -- his base, right, that he's appealing to can't afford his properties.

REILLY: Or maybe in the calculation, he didn't think he was going to win. Never thought he was going to win.

LEMON: Fascinating. Thank you, Rick. Thank you, Jonathan. I appreciate it.

O'CONNELL: Thank you.

REILLY: Thank you.

LEMON: There's a clear link between online extremism and violent attacks like the one against a synagogue near San Diego. So why is the White House refusing to sign on to an international poll to combat online extremism? We are going to take a look at that, next.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In a tweet today, the White House asked followers to submit examples off being censored or silenced because of online political bias. The tweet takes users to a White House page where they can submit examples of being suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear violations of user policies.

That is what the White House also said today, that it would not sign an international accord called the Christchurch Call that commits countries and tech companies to be more vigilant about social media and fighting extremism and terrorism. The administration citing free speech concerns. But is this White House taking extremism and hate online seriously? Because experts say it is a growing problem and one that needs to be stopped.

CNN's Sara Sidner has the story.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Total of eight down, one rescued at this time. We need armor.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history last year shocked the world. It also triggered something shocking online. More people in the U.S. conducted anti-Semitic Google searches the days following the attack than any other time in the preceding 12 months. That is one of the alarming trends we found when CNN investigated what happens online after an attack based on hate.

There was also a spike in anti-Semitic searches following the latest synagogue shooting in Poway near San Diego. While the world mourned the loss of 11 Jews who were shot to death while praying at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by a suspect with white nationalist ideals, users took to Google and searched for "Jews must die" and "kill Jews" and "I hate Jews" at a much higher rate than on average, CNN found.

[23:50:02] Chatter on sites like 4chan and 8chan which are havens for anti-Semitism and bigotry, revealed another trend, no sympathy for victims. Hyper-focused on the shooter, who is either depicted as a saint, give him a medal, one post reads, or a failure, because he didn't kill enough Jews.

JOANNA MENDELSON, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHER, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: There seems to be a formula. Right after a massacre, we see white supremacists embracing the attack as someone who has engaged in violence against the system.

SIDNER (voice-over): Joanna Mendelson is a senior investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League's center on extremism.

MENDELSON: What we have now are attacks that are not only designed to kill, but they are designed to be replicated online. They are designed with that in mind to be spread like wildfire, to spread their poison across the internet and to inspire others.

SIDNER (voice-over): It is working. The 19-year-old Poway synagogue shooting suspect and the 46-year-old suspect in the Pittsburgh killings, both repeated poisonous rhetoric being spewed on an 8chan forum or Gab, which has become a bastion of bigotry.

The suspected gunman in Poway posted praise for 8chan just before the shooting, saying, "I've only been lurking for a year and a half, yet what I've learned here is priceless. It's been an honor." The 8chan was also used by the suspect in the worst mass shooting of Muslims in New Zealand. The gunman linked to his manifesto and to Facebook where he live streamed the massacre.

The Poway suspect tried to copy his tactics but his live stream failed. On his Twitter account, 8chan claims they deleted the post nine minutes after it was published. There are only screen caps available and no archives exist since the post was deleted so quickly. But other calls to violence remain.

In the latest congressional hearing on domestic terrorism, Republican House member Mike Rogers asked the Department of Homeland Security about how to deal with Gab and 8chan.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Do you have any recommendations for what can be done to address the viral hate speech and incitement of violence found on fringe sites like 8chan and Gab? That's for any of you. You all don't have any suggestions for us? That's scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir -- sir, I would add that --

ROGERS: We can't make policy without good advisement.

SIDNER (voice-over): George Selim says therein lies one of the problems. The other is funding to fight home grown radicalization. Selim led the Countering Extremism Violence Task Force at the Department of Homeland Security. He worked under presidents Bush, Obama and for a few months, President Trump.

GEORGE SELIM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: In the first seven months of this administration, there continued to be a decimation of their people, resources and prioritization placed on federal government programs, specifically at DHS. They were aimed at addressing and intervening in the process of radicalization.

SIDNER (voice-over): DHS says there are tens of millions of dollars in funding to fight domestic terrorism. For Selim's former office at DHS, though, funding numbers show the budget dropped from more than $21 million in 2017 to $2.3 million in 2019.

Ultimately, experts who investigate hate say the trend towards violence is being fueled online and more must be done to stop it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Sara Sidner joins me now. Sara, in an environment where we have talked so much about the president's own rhetoric possibly contributing to the uptick in extremist behavior, how can the White House not sign on to this international call to fight online extremism?

SIDNER: Look, I know you've mentioned this and this is what they're saying, that it is a concern about the constitutionality of doing something like regulating speech, worried about free speech, and the Supreme Court, to be fair, has ruled that hate speech is a part of free speech.

The question that we're all grappling with, though, is at what point does that speech turn into action when you have violent speech online and then it turns into action as we have seen in a couple of cases, then you have a problem.

And we have seen that over and over again in these mass shootings. The one in New Zealand, the person using Gab or 8chan, the one here at Pittsburgh, the person using Gab and talking about their attempts at violence and that they're going to do something violent.

It is a very, very scary situation when you look at all the stuff that's online and we should mention that these are our allies that are signing onto all these. New Zealand, France, Jordan, Canada. And then you have the tech companies.

And part of the reason why the governments there are talking about regulating this is because they're frustrated with the online companies. But now the online companies are also signing on. They recognize there's a problem.

[23:54:51] Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, all of them signing onto this as well because they want to stop this from happening again, from someone being able to, for example, go on Facebook live and show the massacre they're doing at that very moment. That happened in New Zealand, which is disgusting.

You know that in Poway, just recently, here in California, the synagogue attacker, the suspect in that case, he was trying to do the exact same thing, trying to be a copycat.

LEMON: Wow.

SIDNER: Luckily, the reason why it was stopped, his technology didn't work. Don?

LEMON: Let's hope some of these safeguards or actions work. Thank you, Sara Sidner. I appreciate that. And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.

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