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Standoff Between President Trump And House Democrats Blows Up; Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) Is Interviewed About The Impeachment Talks Within The Democratic Party; Vladimir Putin Manipulates His Meeting With President Trump; American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, To Be Released At Midnight; Treasury Secretary Refuses To Commit To Putting Harriet Tubman's Image On The $20 Bill; CNN Original Series. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 22, 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 standoff between President Trump and House Democrats really blowing up tonight. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is bucking pressure from some in her party to begin impeachment and impeachment inquiry, telling her colleagues to stay the course, continue their investigations and fight the stonewalling of subpoenas in court but also saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Would you believe that it's important for the -- to follow the facts? We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States and we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So those two words "cover up." enraging the president. Clearly, rattling him. He stormed out of a planned White House meeting on infrastructure with Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer and launched a rant in the Rose Garden. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk into look at people that had just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don't do cover-ups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, the president is also saying that he won't work with Democrats while the investigations are playing out. Speaker Pelosi saying Trump threw a temper tantrum.
Obviously, there's a lot to discuss with Douglas Brinkley, Neera Tanden, and Mike Shields. Good evening, one and all. Doug, I'm going to start with you, because everybody is wondering, you know, what the heck happened with the president today? What went on in the White House? You say there's a fear in Trump that you haven't seen before. Explain that.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: You know, lately, I've been noticing he just seems to be getting unrattled and unnerved. I think he really believed that when the Mueller report was, you know, the way they did it with Attorney General Barr that he was going to be able to put this behind him, instead the subpoenas keep coming.
And he's always most concerned about the taxes. And the fact that he very well by the fall we may be looking at the president's tax returns has him rattled and, the fact he's the -- the Democrats seem more unified than I think the media makes it sound in the sense of investigate, investigate, investigate.
It's not the i-word of impeachment. It's just keeps hammering at this issue. So, there's a frustration with him. You don't go into a Rose Garden and have a chart there and start -- it reminds me of Nixon saying "I am not a crook." You know, "I do not cover up."
And so, there's a -- also the political, he's used to the line like, Don, and now you have Democrats all over on town halls. They're building new stars out there and there's a kind of public tiredness to the Trump show and they are leery.
And if he would have kept, he might have to keep Mike Pence on with him, but there was always a thought that somebody like Nikki Haley might be able to be vice president. He could mix it up, be fresh. I don't think a lot of Republican women are going to want to be standing with Trump after Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana o abortion issues.
So, he's kind of more on an island on his own with starting to even have at least one Republican talking about impeachment from Michigan.
LEMON: Neera, let's bring you in. Because you spoke to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi right this whole ordeal. I understand.
NEERA TANDEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Yes.
LEMON: Here's how she explained. I'm going to get your -- what you say after this. But this is how she explained why the president was so enraged today. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: I think the president was so esteemed also this morning, because the fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice, and he's engaged in a cover-up and that could be an impeachable offense.
Ignoring the -- ignoring the --
(APPLAUSE) PELOSI: -- ignoring the subpoenas of Congress was article 3 of the Nixon impeachment, article 3. He did not honor the subpoenas of the Congress.
So, it's not just the substance that we're after and we want to have -- to give the truth to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, listen, I got to be honest. I was surprised to hear the speaker say what the president is currently doing could be an impeachable offense when she has been spending so much time trying to tamp down impeachment talk and the momentum in her party. So, what do you think, Neera, and did she say to you?
TANDEN: You know, I ask her this question of in a, what do you say to this. Who say why haven't you started impeachment given everything that's happened?
[23:05:00] And you know, I actually think what happened today really strengthened her hand. Obviously, with the news of more and more courts agreeing with the House, that the House Democrats is ordering the turning over of documents.
So, and she also had a real time demonstration that the President of the United States is (AUDIO GAP) investigation itself. He is not worried about what could happen with impeachment. He is worried about what's happening right now.
And let me just make an additional point because I actually started off on political career in the Clinton White House soon after and during the impeachment process. And what the president did today was such a break.
What Donald Trump did today I think was a real mistake. Because what happened with President Clinton is, he was laser focused. You know, people said he compartmentalized. He was laser focused on actually demonstrating to the American people that he was still -- that he was still focused on making their lives better, and passing legislation and trying to improve health care and child care and a whole range of issues despite the investigation.
And I think that's actually what kept, you know, general opposition to impeachment. Once you, once Donald Trump tells the American people I am not focused on making, you know, investing anything. I'm really just focused on me. I'm not going to pass any bills with the Democrats.
And if you don't pass bills with the Democrats --
TANDEN: -- you're not passing bills. So I just think that's a -- I think he made a big mistake and I think he'll lose support --
LEMON: OK. TANDEN: -- and support for impeachment may go up.
LEMON: I want to bring Mike. And Mike, two things. The first question is what is your reaction to what Nancy -- Nancy Pelosi's comment?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think the idea that either Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer were ever serious about striking a deal on infrastructure is a joke. And for Chuck Schumer to come on the show and for either one of them to go in public and say we were going to work with the president and then he doesn't want to work with us is a joke.
LEMON: Mike, I want to talk to you about that. I want to talk to you about that. I just want to ask you -- that was my next question. Just honestly, what do you think of Nancy Pelosi's comments that we just played? And then I'll ask the other --
SHIELDS: I think Nancy Pelosi's comments are that she is trying to walk an extremely fine line with the left wing base of her party that's in control of the house that is demanding impeachment and her understanding that voters in this country are going to be really angry with the Democratic Party for not doing things to make their lives better following that path.
She's actually smart enough to know that. She kept Democrats from talking about it after the 2018 election but she's getting pulled more and more over to the left side where they want to force this issue. She got to keep --
LEMON: OK. Now to the larger point about what happened at the White House today, what's your reaction to that?
SHIELDS: Look, let me give you an example. There's a bill on the floor in the House this week to lower drug prices. Not exactly something Republicans have made at the top of their agenda for a while. And yet, Republicans were on board with it. Democrats were on board with it. They negotiated together and suddenly a poison pill was put into it.
There's something called a poison pill which means when you add something to a bill that you know the other side is going to hate, they just -- they can't vote for it and the only reason you put it in there was to kill it.
LEMON: This is going to get around to what happened at the White House today, right? The president saying, he can't work.
SHIELDS: Yes. LEMON: OK.
SHIELDS: Nancy Pelosi throw a poison pill in the exact same way. I'm going to attack the president -- when actually -- I'm acting like I'm going to negotiate with him to do something for the American people and I'm going to communicate. I actually I'm not serious about it because I'm going to start attacking him because my entire party is just obsessed with investigating the president instead of doing the business of the people.
And by the way, I appreciate what Neera said about the '90s. I work for Newt Gingrich in the '90s. We paid a heavy price as Republicans for being the get Bill Clinton party as oppose to doing what the American people wanted and the Democrats are walking right into that same trap.
LEMON: OK. So, I'm a little thick --
TANDEN: Actually, I would just say --
LEMON: Hold on, Neera, hold on, hold on.
LEMON: Actually, I'm a little thick because I was trying to get your reaction to what the president said about not working with Democrats today and -- I'm not sure --
SHIELDS: I think he was just telling the truth. I think he was saying they're not serious about this. They're not serious about anything but investigating me and they made that clear when we -- I tried to bring them up for a second negotiation on infrastructure.
And before that, they made it clear by saying, you know what, he's involved in a cover up. We're just trying to attack him as a way of saying this isn't serious. So, he's saying, you know what, I'm going to be honest about this. They're not serious about it.
LEMON: But Mike, you realize all the signs that were made and all the cards and things that he had were already made when Democrats were at the White House today.
SHIELDS: Think about -- yes. Think about what's happened from the first infrastructure meeting to the second infrastructure meeting. All they've done is issue subpoena after subpoena and they're obsessed - obsessed in Capitol Hill with getting Donald Trump by any means necessary. That's what their party is for.
They got elected a House majority and no one in the American people, no one in the American public understands what they're actually for other than investigating him.
LEMON: OK. Douglas --
SHIELDS: And the White House knows that.
LEMON: Douglas, stand by. I promise we'll get you back in. But Neera, I cut you off. I see you chuckling with that.
TANDEN: No, no, I'm sorry.
[23:09:59] LEMON: And you want to talk about Clinton in the '90s and you mentioned Newt Gingrich as well.
TANDEN: No, no, let me just say very quickly. You don't really have to listen to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer. You can listen to Donald Trump. Donald Trump said I am not going to do any work with any of the Democrats on any substantive legislation unless they stop investigating.
Now I will say there are a lot of people who did vote in November. Millions of people voted. And they voted for accountability for this president. Nancy Pelosi hasn't started impeachment, and clearly, she has oversight. The Congress has oversight. The president is objecting to any oversight.
I'd say millions of Americans voted in November for some accountability and for legislation and now Donald Trump is the one who is saying very clearly he's going to take his balls and go home and he's not going to help get anything done for the American people even though his job is to be president for the American people unless oversight ends. And I just think that's an untenable position and demands for more accountability will go up. You see accountability --
SHIELDS: He's trying to work -- yes.
TANDEN: It's -- that's not --
SHIELDS: The USMCA is on Nancy Pelosi's desk right now. American jobs, pro-trade.
SHIELDS: She could pass it. She's not serious about it. Her party won't let --
LEMON: Listen, Doug, let's bring this back to today. OK.
LEMON: A source tells CNN that Pelosi's comments accusing the president of, you know, engaging in a cover-up. That's what really set him off today. But as I mentioned earlier to Mike, those no collusion, no obstruction signs that little -- you want to call it numbers because it wasn't actual -- the facts didn't actually add up. They were already printed on his podium. What does that say to you?
BRINKLEY: That this was a Rose Garden stunt that he was holding. This was a golden opportunity or a real president of the United States to talk about infrastructure. If he wanted to say Democrats don't to do business, they want to investigate. I want to fix a bridge on the Ohio River, I want to help repair i-75, I want to do a Great Lakes initiative. You know, I want to build a new space board in Florida.
You know, he could have use that as a big moment to look good. Instead he got petulant, he got small because Pelosi got under his skin with her --
BRINKLEY: -- with that comment.
LEMON: I've got to go. And listen, and if to say, I know that they don't want to work with me --
SHIELDS: How can this be about her getting under his skin and the signs were already prepared?
LEMON: Hold on, hold on, hold on.
SHIELDS: Those two things don't match.
LEMON: Here's the larger point that doesn't match for me just looking at it objectively. If you want to work with someone, you don't at the start of a meeting say, I'm not, you don't want to work with me so therefore I'm not -- you haven't even heard what I have to say about it.
We haven't sat down and have any discussion about it. So then to come out and say the Democrats don't want to work, what proof do you have in the moment that they don't want to work with you if you haven't even ask or gone around the table to see what the offer is? It just does --
SHIELDS: I have two examples of why they won't --
LEMON: I got to go, though. We'll get next time. We'll be right back.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president suffering two big legal setbacks this week which raises questions are his financial secrets about to be exposed?
Joining me now to discuss is Congressman Jimmy Gomez, a member of the House oversight and Ways and Means committees.
Good to have you on. Thank you, sir.
REP. JIMMY GOMEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Listen, a federal judge in New York today cleared the way for the House intelligence, financial services committees to get Trump's financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capitol One. When do you think you'll see those records?
GOMEZ: You know what, first, I think these court cases, the one that just reaffirmed that oversight has the right to get the financial documents from Mazars. This court case shows that this -- the law is on our side and we're going to keep going forward. We're going to push to make sure we get those documents.
I don't think -- I think the Trump administration is going to drag their feet, they are going to try to block us every step of the way but we'll get them and hopefully we'll get them sooner rather than later.
LEMON: Congressman Gomez, on Monday, another federal judge ruled that the accounting firm as you said Mazars, that they are going to need to turn over the Trump's records before -- from before he was president.
LEMON: Both judges are confirming Congress's authority to investigate to have oversight to investigate the president. Do you think that undermines his whole legal strategy?
GOMEZ: I think it does. I think that he was -- he was -- he believe that he could just, what I would say dodge, delay and lie and he was trying to drag his feet and say that we were being unreasonable. But the law says that we are the reasonable branch of government. We are following through on our investigations to determine the facts if he's violated the law, manipulated his finances or his taxes. And I think that the American people want to go know that.
LEMON: All right. You mentioned the taxes. but your committee, the Ways and Means committee has subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for the president's taxes.
LEMON: Do you think these ruling helps your case?
GOMEZ: I think they do. I think also that the law has been on our side. The statute 6103 was very clear and I think that the release of that draft memo by the IRS that says that they have to follow through unless the president invokes executive privilege also supports the fact that the law and the statute is on our side.
LEMON: Yes. The Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has also refused to release the president's taxes saying Congress had no legislative purpose. And at a hearing today he was confronted with a leaked IRS memo from last fall that said that his treasury --
LEMON: -- would legally have to comply with the requests. Watch this and then we'll about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES TREASURY SECRETARY: I would also just comment the memo is marked draft. It was not a final memo. But I don't know how it got to the Washington Post. It would have been more interesting if it had got to me or the commissioner to review.
I have been advised I am not violating the law. I never would have done anything that violated the law, and quite the contrary I've been advised had I turned them over I would be violating the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:20:03] LEMON: So how long before this case ends up in court?
GOMEZ: I think it's going to end up in court relatively soon. I think first the IRS commissioner as well Mnuchin have refused to answer our subpoena from the committee. The committee is looking at its options on what steps to take next.
But this, I want to be very clear. Also this chairman, Chairman Neal always knew that this would end up in court. But I think that all these court cases that are going our way is going to continue to do that, especially when it comes to these tax returns.
LEMON: You were at a caucus meeting this morning where Speaker Pelosi tried to calm calls for impeachment. She's taken a methodical approach. Something that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told me earlier tonight that he agrees with. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think again leader Pelosi is doing it the right way. Let's try to unearth as much information as we can to convince as many of the American people as we can how poorly this president is performing in protecting America, in respecting rule of law, in obeying the basic rules that have governed this country for hundreds of years.
And once those facts come out, both the American people and the House, and then who knows maybe even the Senate will make decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Listen, I've got to ask you, are members losing patience with the speaker's approach?
GOMEZ: I don't think they are. I'm not. I actually -- first, I ended up voting twice, twice to debate on articles of impeachment, you know. And if articles came forward again I would do it again.
However, I also understand that the votes in the Senate are not there and we need to bring the American people along. And I think that's what we're doing as we're laying out the case.
Listen, I'm frustrated that this isn't moving faster. But do people want us to be successful or do they just want us to move quickly? I think we need to be successful. And the way we do that is by having all these investigations that bring out more information and really paint a picture of what this president is truly like behind closed doors.
LEMON: She did say that the reality of what's actually happening with the caucus is not what's being portrayed in the news. That there's not the dissension that was being reported.
GOMEZ: I was there this morning. It wasn't that contentious. Actually, I've seen more contentious in the Democratic caucus when it comes to other issues like, you know, MTR, for example. That was more contentious.
This, it's a discussion. And people are playing different rules. Remember, the Democratic caucus is very diverse from all over the country. Some are progressives like I am. Some are moderates. But you know what, we do understand that we are a co-equal branch of government, people play different roles and each person is going to push their agenda. But in the end, we're on the same page.
LEMON: That got to be the last word. Thank you. We appreciate your time. We'll see you soon. Please come back.
GOMEZ: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Explosive new details coming out from Rex Tillerson's behind closed-doors meeting with Congress including a Trump/Putin meeting that left the former secretary of state concerned.
[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So, the president -- well, we're learning about some information about new details tonight, President Trump's first meeting with Vladimir Putin from someone who was in the room.
And I'm talking about Rex Tillerson. The former secretary of state telling the House foreign affairs committee that the Russian president was more prepared than Trump which put U.S. officials at a disadvantage.
I want to discuss no. David Rohde is here, also Juliette Kayyem.
Good evening to both of you. So, David, Tillerson told lawmakers all about this mysterious Trump/Putin meeting which took place in Hamburg, Germany.
And here's how a foreign affairs aide describes Tillerson's conversations with the committee. He said, "We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin sees every opportunity to push what he wanted. There was a discrepancy in preparation and it was -- it created an unequal footing."
Now this is from "The Washington Post." An unequal footing with an adversary like Vladimir Putin. How dangerous is that?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's very dangerous. And this leads to really big questions about a separate meeting the one in Helsinki when Trump and Putin met alone. One of the many fights about documents is the House trying to get access to notes from that meeting and speak to the translators. So, it's sort of a bad sign.
This is where the Trump goes in and he's going to wing it, you know, use his instincts. It did not go well according to Rex Tillerson.
LEMON: Juliette, according to Andrew Weiss who is a Russia scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Here's what he told the Post. He said "The Hamburg meeting sounds like it was one of Putin's wildest dreams. A freewheeling backroom-style conversation with a U.S. president."
Is that how you see it?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, Putin was the head of the intelligence agency. He knows how to play people and he knows how to essentially manipulate their ignorance.
So, this is, for Trump, things if you remember in the campaign he said, you know, I speak to myself, right when you said how do you get information? And so, this is a man whose arrogance and ignorance combine to be sort of Putin's dream. Right? And so, he took advantage of it in ways that status have played out in Helsinki.
I just want to add one more adjective to this. Because I worked in an agency in which your job is to provide information to the president and the White House that would protect America's interests.
Trump's behavior is so disrespectful to the first responders, to intelligence agents, to defense military people, the law enforcement people, who are working day in and day out. And he goes in and he -- you know, to provide him information -- he goes in and he wings it. Right? It's just so disrespectful as well.
LEMON: Yes. You mentioned the Helsinki meeting, right? Can we draw down and talk about that a little bit more.
LEMON: Just imagine Rex Tillerson is in the room for -- he was actually present. Imagine meeting when he wasn't in the room, when he's not in the room.
ROHDE: That's the scary thing, and again, the sort of the affections --
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Without any advisor.
ROHDE: No. There's no one in the room. Putin is very good at manipulating him and there's a broader question of whether the president is sort of out of his depth with foreign affairs. What did he say in Helsinki? Why is he so affectionate towards Putin?
[23:29:59] I was meeting today with Senator Ron Wyden. He wants to push to continue to look in the president's finances. Is there any Russian money in there? That issue is not going away.
More broadly, he is struggling internationally, Donald Trump. I think the Chines, the North Koreans, these various countries and Iran are just going to wait out his term. There will be no big trade deal with China is my guess. Iran will sort of tough it out and that stared a new negotiations and the feeling North Korea as well, they essentially, if they can get through these economic times, China, Iran, North Korea, they will see him as a lame duck.
LEMON: Beyond that. Was he in the meeting today?
ROHDE: Ron Wyden was in the White House meeting.
LEMON: Was in the White House meeting. What did he said? Did he --
ROHDE: He said, he has never, you know, Ron Wyden is a veteran on being on Capitol Hill. He is interacted with every president since Ronald Reagan. He thought it was plan and a sort of scene that was created, but he is never seen an American president do what Donald Trump did today in the White House.
ROHDE: And it disturbs him. I mean, his argument too is that this sort of gets back to Russia. That nothing's happening. There's all this kind a noise and talk of impeachment and the president pushing back. Ron Wyden is very worried about Russian interference in the election or just, you know, another expert was telling me, they're worried about all kinds of hackers, domestic hackers, right-wing people, left-wing people, you know, hacking in to emails or just creating fake things online.
And we are not ready for this election. We are not ready for what Russia is going to do, you know, we are not preparing as a government because we're so divided.
LEMON: Juliette, it sounds like you want to weigh in on that.
KAYYEM: Absolutely. You know, look, there's a substantive reason why Donald Trump should be tough on Putin. It's because of 2016 and the vulnerabilities that were taken advantage of by the Russians to essentially manipulate both our public discourse as well as our elections.
We are not ready and we need to say this every time we are on air, we are not ready to protect our election systems in 2020s. We know this because vulnerabilities were exposed in 2018. We know this because Mitch McConnell is not allowing any legislation to go through to protect our election system and state and localities are sort of running around, trying to figure it out on their own.
So, either Trump is scared of Putin or Trump needs to protect something that Putin knows, right? Neither of them is a good option. Nonetheless 2020 comes without any changes to how we are going to vote that is going to make us better off than we were in 2016 or 2018.
LEMON: Quickly, David, if you will. We're told that Tillerson said that Jared Kushner did not consult with the State Department or other agencies in that his naivitate (ph) put him at risk of being out maneuvered. How concerning is that?
ROHDE: It's very concerning. It's the same issue of you don't want the president along with Vladimir Putin that Jared Kushner could be giving (inaudible) to the Saudis that would, you know, endanger American national security. Again it's the lack of preparation. Maybe they've learned this was the beginning of the administration, but that's another bad sign.
LEMON: David, Juliette, thank you both. I appreciate your time.
The man known as the American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, well, he could be freed just minutes from now after serving 17 years of a 20- year sentence. I'm going to talk with the daughter of Mike Span, the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan who lost his life during a prison revolt that Lindh participated in. She speaks out next.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: In the weeks after 9/11 the story John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban captured the country. Americans who are still stunned by the worst terror attack in this country's history. Wondered how a 20-year-old from California could betray his country by fighting with the Taliban. Now after 17 years of a 20-year sentence, John Walker Lindh is set to be free, a free man in a matter of hours. CNN's Barbara Starr reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is an American citizen, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, right now you are a prisoner.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was in this exclusive CNN video that America first saw John Walker Lindh, a then 20-year-old from California once known as the American Taliban.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What injuries do you have?
JOHN WALKER LINDH, AMERICAN TALIBAN: Bullet in my leg and several shrapnel wounds. STARR: Now Lindh is about to be a free man after serving 17 years for
fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan where he was even introduced to Osama Bin Laden. Taliban fighters stormed the compound where Lindh was being held and claimed the first American casualty in the global war on terror, Johnny Michael Spann, an undercover CIA officer who had interrogated Lindh. Lindh is now being released three years early for likely for good behavior, but there will be restrictions on his freedom.
MITCHELL SILBER, FORMER NYPD, INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS DIRECTOR: He won't be able to access social media on his own. He won't be able it to have his own email address and he probably will have some limitations in terms of even who he might be able to meet with. What he won't have is any restrictions on what he can say and doing media. So, it's likely that he'll be out there in the public domain, potentially even espousing his same pro-Al Qaeda beliefs that got him arrested to begin with.
STARR: Documents from the National Counter-Terrorism Center obtained by foreign policy magazine say Lindh continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremists text and in this U.S. Bureau of Prison's document, Lindh wrote to his father that he was not interested in renouncing my believes. Those feuds are what concerns Mike Spann's father, Johnny, who petitioned federal court this week to investigate.
[23:40:02] JOHNNY SPANN, FATHER OF MIKE SPANN: You need find out for sure, is this guy still the same Al Qaeda member that we put in jail? If he is still Al Qaeda member we put in jail, then we need to fill the plea agreement away and do something else.
STARR: Lindh's parents continued to claim his innocence over the years, maintaining he was too young to understand what he had got himself into.
MARILYN WALKER, MOTHER OF JOHN WALKER LINDH: It's been exceedingly hard for us to think that most of the citizenry of this country believes that your son, your child is a terrorist. And it's a difficult moniker to, you know, to remove.
STARR: Lindh will now be on a three-year term of supervised release. It has not yet been made public where he will live, Don.
LEMON: Barbara Starr, thank you so much. I appreciate that. Joining me now is Alison Spann, she the daughter of Mike Spann, the first American killed in the war in Afghanistan.
We appreciate you joining us Allison, thank you so much. You were just nine years old, the last time you saw your father. We have pictures. We put them up on the screen of you and him now. Can you tell us what you remember about your dad?
ALISON SPANN, DAUGHTER OF MIKE SPANN: So, all I can tell you about is what I remember from a nine-year-old. You know, I'll never get to know my father as an adult. But as a nine year-old, he was a leader in church. He was a leader in our family. He was someone who is strong and even at nine, he instilled so many values in me and taught me so many lessons that I still carry with me today. I'm 27 now. It's been 18 years since I've seen my father, but I still remember everything that he taught me till this day.
LEMON: And again, I want to just apologize to the viewers for the long delay here. But that's how it worked out. Listen, Alison, John Walker Lindh's story really shocked the nation. He is scheduled to be release tomorrow. And I know you feel that his earlier release is a slap in the face to you and your family.
A. SPANN: We do. It feels very personal. You know, my father died 18 years ago. He sacrificed his life for our freedom and to learn that a terrorist, a known terrorist, who there are reports that he is still carrying out his terrorist activity while in prison is being let out early for good behavior. It does feels like a slap in the face to my family and it does feel very personal. And we would like for there to be an investigation to this reports to see if in fact he is still radicalized before we release him to the public.
LEMON: And listen, that is what I want to ask this next question. But let me read something, because this is back in 2017. This is what foreign policy magazine reported on details from a leaked National Counter-Terrorism Center, report that says quote, as of May 2016, John Walker Lindh continues to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist's texts. Do you believe that Lindh will try to reconnect with extremists?
A. SPANN: If he was trying to reconnect with extremist while in prison, I mean, what can we expect from him when he is in the free world? He is on the record with a member of the media saying that ISIS was quote doing a spectacular job and he is done all these things while in custody. You know, the things that we want to know, we want to know since he is being let out, who is going to be regulating and monitoring him when he is on the outside?
LEMON: Yes. Listen, he is going to be subject to -- let me tell you about some of the terms, OK. He's going to be subject to three years of supervised release, he is not allowed internet access without permission and constant monitoring. He won't be allowed to be online and have online communications in any language other than English or with any suspected extremists and can't possess any material that espouses extremist's views. Does any of that make you feel any more comfortable at all, Alison?
A. SPANN: No. Based on the reports of what he's been doing while in prison, those restrictions on him while he is outside of prison, they don't make me feel any better. I think that there needs to be a thorough investigation to see if he has in fact been carrying out this activity while in prison. And if it's proven that he hasn't and he has served his time -- you know, we are a law abiding citizen, we will respect that and he can walk free. But until we know for certain they were dealing with the same
radicalized Al Qaeda member that we put in jail, I don't think he should be let free, not only does it scare me, it should scare everyone. It should scare everyone in the United States and also the world.
LEMON: Yes. Listen, you're in this business, you are an anchor there at the local station and you also worked in Washington. So, I'll put what you wrote to the president about to try to stop this early release and I'll just let the viewers read and put my question is, what kind of response did you get from President Trump after saying this basically saying that, you know, this man is a terrorist and he killed your father. He's -- in part responsible for your father's death. What do you think?
[23:45:22] A. SPANN: So I didn't get any response from the president personally. I was told that he has seen the letter. I ended up -- I wrote it two months ago. I ended it posting it to Twitter this week as sort of a last ditch effort, not even to see if anything would actually change the outcome of what is going to happen tomorrow, but so that maybe somebody would see that tweet, see that letter and remember who Mike Spann was.
A. SPANN: Johnny Michael Spann was not only the first American killed in action. He was someone who was a father, a son, a husband. He is loved, he is missed. He made an impact here in the United States and he made an impact abroad. And I wanted people to know that it's not just John Walker Lindh being released tomorrow. There's another aspect to the story. And I really, you know, it's been 18 years. And as the daughter, I want to make sure that he is always remembered.
LEMON: Well, we are going to put this picture up and we will leave our viewers with that. No better words. I couldn't have said any better words than you said about your father. There was a picture of the two of you and we appreciate you joining us, Allison Spann. Thank you so much. We will be right back.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, refusing again to commit to putting the image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The Obama administration decided to replace the face of Andrew Jackson, the president who own slaves with Tubman and escaped slave who became a hero of the Underground Railroad. I want you to listen to these exchanges at today's congressional hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you support Harriet Tubman being on the $20 bill?
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I have made no decision as it relates to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So does that mean you have no intention of executing the redesign as planned by your predecessor?
MNUCHIN: Well, that is correct. I have not made a decision to execute on a redesigned or haven't made a decision. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you commit to submitting a currency redesign
timeline to this committee?
MNUCHIN: Again, the currency timeline will be most likely 2026, which even the most optimistic scenario is probably beyond my term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, President Trump's on record calling President Obama's decision to put Tubman on the $20 purr political correctness. So, let's talk about it now. W. Kamau Bell is here, he is the host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA."
OK, there you go, you heard it Kamau. Good evening. The redesign was supposed to be ready for 2020 to celebrate the 100 anniversary of women getting the right to vote. Do you think Mnuchin is being petty, is he being disrespectful? What do you think?
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: I mean, I think every black person who's excited about the idea of a Harriet Tubman $20 bill, (Inaudible) Rose has already called it Tubman's knew as soon as Trump was elected that that was not going to happen in the timeline that Obama put in place. You have to file this under things Obama should have done while he was in office, because it probably it -- nobody expected that Trump was going to do everything he did and also put a black woman on the $20 bill.
LEMON: Yes, at some point someone had to make a decision about who to put on any of the currency, so I don't know why this would be political correctness when you choose a person of color. When the idea first floated in 2016, then candidate Trump said it was, you know quote, pure political correctness, do you think this Mnuchin is trying to please his boss, because, you know, Trump is a fan of Andrew Jackson.
BELL: Yes, well, I think Trump's a fan of hateful things. So, I think, of course, the way you keep your job in the Trump administration is that you give press conferences when you're playing to an audience of one. Maybe people will talk about on CNN, you know, it's like the Ben Carson yesterday was playing for an audience of one.
So, Mnuchin if draw there and says yes, we are rushing the Tubman's through, they'll be ready by 2020, he would be without a job today. So, I think he knew, you know, that this -- he is playing to an audience of one.
LEMON: Let's talk about your show, Mr. Bell. In the newest episode you talk to the real people who live in Washington, D.C. about neighborhoods changing. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Is it convening here, it has nothing to do with what's going on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, you recognize it as national news, but it's just a lot of noise. It doesn't really affect our day-to-day.
BELL: That is exactly right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because, worse than this has happened to us. It's kind of how the people here are like we've been through worse than this. This will be out and we'll move on with whatever else we are dealing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. In this City? People don't care about no Donald Trump. We were here before you, we will be here after you, not an issue.
BELL: Politicians over there aren't even thinking about the other D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. When they want to play God with the rules. In many ways D.C. has more in common with Puerto Rico and Guam. I mean, it's an occupied territory. The heart of this city from the beginning has really been its African population and it's always been a tension to keep that presence here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: They're not worried about getting pushed out?
BELL: I mean, they're not -- there's two issues there. There's one, the issues of gentrification in D.C. which we talk about that in the episode and the second issue is, are you worried about Donald Trump, are you afraid of him? And the reputation? And that is what they're saying they're not worried about.
They're saying that, like, we will survive this, we will keep surviving. Yes, they have the same issues that many urban environments do with gentrification. And they have to respond to that. The tea shop is a newer tea shop, but it's owned by a black woman who wanted to make sure she was catering to the neighborhood, which is why we have that black filed meeting there.
[23:55:03] But yes, it was really quite a conversation about like -- it was really a conversation about like, does the national reputation of D.C. affect the people of D.C., the good people who live outside of Capitol Hill and they're like, no, we just keep doing what we do.
LEMON: This is so interesting, because that is a whole other D.C. That is not the people we're used to seen in D.C., right? You see the people who work on Capitol Hill and can't get a long, can't get anything done.
BELL: Yes, I think D.C. has a proud history of getting things done? And I think one of the things that Dr. Carr brings up is the idea that like, D.C. can't govern itself because it's run by the federal government who really doesn't care that much about it. So, that's one of the main issue we bring up in the show, it's like, why can't D.C. be a state, so it can govern itself?
LEMON: yes, I mean that's -- they're in a tough place. Thank you, Kamau, I appreciate it, see you soon, peace, be sure to tune in an all new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell, premieres Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.