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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) Was Interviewed About The Growing Gap Between President Trump And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; President Trump Runs For Publicity Stunt; A.G. Bill Barr To Investigate The Investigators; President Trump Wanted Howard Stern To Speak At Convention; Legal Setbacks For Trump As He Tries To Block Congress From Gaining Access To His Financial Records; Most Diverse Graduating Class In West Point History Speaks Out. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 23, 2019 - 23:00   ET




President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at war tonight. And the president is making their growing feud personal after Pelosi accused him of engaging in obstruction of justice and a cover-up and of throwing temper tantrums like a spoiled child.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was sad when I watched Nancy all moving the movement and the hands and the craziness, and I watched it. That's, by the way, a person that's got some problems.


LEMON: She clearly has gotten deeply under his skin. Though in a rare admission that Pelosi has the upper hand, a source close to the White House insists that speaker, quote, "hasn't gotten under his skin but got his attention." I'll say she did.

Pelosi for her part calling into question the president's ability to handle his job saying he needs an intervention.


NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: That's up to his family and his cabinet and his staff and the White House. This is not behavior that is -- rises to the dignity of the Office of President of the United States.


LEMON: Let's discuss now. Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York who sits on the House Judiciary Committee joins us. And we're so grateful for you joining us. Thank you so much, sir. There's so much to ask you.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Great to be here.

LEMON: Listen, I want you to take a listen at what the president said about Nancy Pelosi today and then we'll talk about it.


TRUMP: It was sad when I saw Nancy all moving the movement and the hands and the craziness. And I watch it. That's, by the way, a person that's got some problems.


LEMON: I have to (Inaudible) for you. What do you think?

JEFFRIES: Well, Nancy Pelosi is a legendary legislator and one of the most brilliant legislative leaders in the history of the republic. She has accomplished a tremendous amount on behalf of tens of millions of Americans in many different areas including helping to usher in the historic Affordable Care Act back in 2010.

Now the president is forced to deal with a strong speaker who has the full support of the House Democratic caucus when during the last two years, essentially the House Republicans conducted themselves like wholly on subsidiaries of the Trump administration.

He clearly does not know what to do, and he's having a major meltdown in front of the American people.

LEMON: Nancy Pelosi is not afraid to spar with the president, though. This is some of what she had to say today. Watch this.


PELOSI: I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. I pray for the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your prayer comments almost suggest you're concerned about his wellbeing?



LEMON: OK. So, here's the thing. She knows exactly how to get under his skin. You know that. You said she's a smart woman by questioning his health.

And tonight the president, some of his supporters -- I got to ask you about this -- media amplifiers tonight they seem to be coordinating a message that there's something wrong with her health while doctored videos spread like wildfire online. What's going on here?

JEFFRIES: Again, dangerously close to embarking on the same type of sexist campaign that they tried to engineer against Hillary Clinton during the midst of the 2016 presidential race. That will not be effective at all in the context of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It's quite unfortunate. Why don't they just engage in a debate with us on the issues? We saw that the president walked out of a meeting on infrastructure as opposed to actually having a conversation with us.

We were there as Democratic leaders to talk about our plan to deal with the crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, mass transportation system that exists in the United States of America. We want to invest at least a trillion dollars we think could create 60 million good paying jobs.

[23:05:00] LEMON: You were in the room.

JEFFRIES: I was not in the room. It was Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi.

LEMON: And did you -- did you talk to Jim Clyburn and who else did you say was there?

JEFFRIES: Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi.

LEMON: Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi.

JEFFRIES: Yes, were briefed by all three of them.

LEMON: So, did they say the same thing about the president's demeanor as what the speaker said and the minority leader in the Senate said, Chuck Schumer?

JEFFRIES: That's correct. The president appeared agitated and erratic and the whole thing seemed staged. And three weeks ago the president had indicated to us that he wanted to have a real discussion to try to enter into a bipartisan infrastructure deal, and now he appears to be super sensitive based on the fact that we're calling him on the notion that his administration is clearly engaging in a sustained and systematic cover-up.

LEMON: Yes. So, I got to ask you, you know, she has said, Nancy Pelosi has said that he needs an intervention. Congress could intervene with impeachment. You know, Justin Amash he's a Republican who called for the president's impeachment says that Pelosi is talking out of both sides of her mouth on the issue. Does he have a point with that?

JEFFRIES: No. We haven't ruled anything in, we haven't ruled anything out. What we're going to do is to follow the facts, apply the law, respect the Constitution, and see where that leads us.

At the moment, all of the relevant oversight committee chairs including Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Richie Neal, and Adam Schiff have agreed with the strategy to proceed methodically, yet aggressively.

Chairman Nadler on the judiciary committee has indicated we're going to hold hearings on obstruction of justice, we're going to hold hearings on abuse of power. We're going to hold hearings on the culture of corruption that appears to exist at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

LEMON: The president has said that he can't investigate and legislate at the same time. But yet, he recently announced new legislation with Chuck Schumer to decriminalize marijuana. Why is this such an important issue for you?

JEFFRIES: Well, we were able to advance the First Step Act in the last Congress which is going to help currently incarcerated individuals successfully transition back into society, as well as striking down some of the more draconian failed war on drugs sentencing laws that we put into place over the last several decades.

We want to be able to build upon that. You've had presidents in the past that were under investigation by Congress and were able to work together.

Richard Nixon was able to work together with House Democrats when he was being investigated connected to the Watergate scandal. Bill Clinton was able to work together with House Republicans during the so-called Whitewater investigation.

What's wrong with this president? He's supposed to be a stable genius. We want to drive down the high cost of life saving prescription drugs. But we need a partner to be able to do it.

LEMON: Congressman Jeffries, it is always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you for coming by and being on the studio tonight.

JEFFRIES: Great to see you.

LEMON: I want to bring in now Ryan Lizza and Susan Glasser. And there is so much to discuss with him.

Good evening to both of you. So, it is on, so to speak, between Trump and Pelosi. Is there any doubt in your mind, Susan, who has the upper hand here?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, we -- they both have a theory of the case. They can't both be correct. You have a notion that Trump thinks it's good for himself if Democrats proceed with impeachment. Pelosi thinks it's politically perilous to do so.

They can't both be right, and of course the frustration is we now have to live through all of this and see how it comes out.

But, you know, today, I mean, Don, watch that video. That seven-minute video in the White House, I just think it's like one of those extraordinary records of the kind of madness that we're experiencing, and that makes this presidency unlike any other spectacle we've seen before.

It's just the debasement of individuals today was just -- it's something that you want to put in a time capsule and you really wonder what are people going to think of this if you showed it to them 20 years from now. LEMON: I can only imagine. So, Ryan, what is it about Nancy Pelosi

that gets President Trump so rattled? I mean, why is she the one who always gets under his skin?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. I think he has a weird respect for her, and he knows that she has the respect of her own caucus and that even though there's some outliers, some people who buck leadership a little bit, she has incredible handle on the Democratic house.

She doesn't quite have the problems that John Boehner or Paul Ryan had, and I think he finds that extremely frustrating that he can't crack Democrats. He can't really divide them.

Now there are some division -- having said that there are some divisions on the question of impeachment, and this mightily logical divisions that crop up every once in a while, but for the most part, I think he is frustrated by the respect she commands, and look, he had a couple years where it was just a free ride. Right? And --


[23:10:08] LEMON: He also knows that she's extremely unpopular with his base. She's one of the boogie men or boogie people that he pulls out --

LIZZA: Of course.

LEMON: -- when he wants to rile up the base with Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton. It's one of those you can just whip out.

LIZZA: You know, that's right. She's been a boogie man for Republicans for a long time. But the 2018 midterms, a lot of the messaging from Republicans was trying to use Pelosi as that boogie man. It didn't really work. Right?

I mean, she's not a-- you know, Democrats took back the House anyway. But look, the House is very powerful. He's realizing despite trying to thwart all of their investigations that they -- you know, Congress is a co-equal branch of government and having a Democratic House is no fun.


LIZZA: She's the speaker there and she's leading the whole thing.

LEMON: Well, we warned. Get ready. A lot of people warned get ready when they saw the new Congress, the Democratic-controlled Congress coming in.


LEMON: Susan, you know, Trump's attacks on Pelosi very similar to how he went after to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Does this problem -- does this president have a problem, I should say, with strong women in power?

GLASSER: Well, it seems to me that the answer is unequivocally yes to that. I was struck as you were today listening to him talking about crazy Nancy Pelosi, and suggesting that she was really losing it or had a problem.

That's very similar to some of the criticisms and the effort to implant the idea with voters before the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton was unwell. Remember, she then had that, of course, terribly ill time bout of a cold that turns into pneumonia, remember after the Labor Day in 2016, and Trump was all over that in a very reminiscent way.

There was the debate stage where he stood up on the debate stage in 2016 and seemed to physically menace Hillary Clinton.

You know, the thing that's interesting is that there are no real senior women in Trump's cabinet. There are no women in real high- ranking leadership positions. Now, you have this spectacle today of officials he's put forward publicly who include women. Kellyanne Conway today. Sarah Sanders. Mercedes Schlapp.

It was -- it's really interesting to see that he really seems to only be comfortable with women in a more subservient position, and I don't think he's ever had an adversary like Nancy Pelosi who is a powerful independent woman whose stature has nothing to do with his. It's not derivative of him in any way.

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

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: You know, I told you about the president's latest effort to distract and deflect. Announcing that he is directing the intel committee to assist his hand- picked attorney general with his investigation into what he's calling surveillance activities during the 2016 election.

I'm going to ask the former director of National Intelligence James Clapper about that. He's up next.


LEMON: President Trump announcing tonight that he is directing the intelligence community to assist Attorney General Barr with his investigation into what he's calling surveillance activities during the 2016 election.

Joining me now is a former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. James Clapper. Director, thank you for joining us this evening. So, I got to get your reaction to the president giving the attorney general authority to declassify and release information about 2016 election interference.

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, that could be concerning, because there's already been so much information declassified already that particularly in the form of the Mueller report, and the previous indictments going back to our original intelligence community assessment that we did in January of '17.

So, I wonder what else is going to be declassified that risks jeopardizing source and methods. I just -- I don't know.

LEMON: According to a memo released by the White House, OK, it says "The heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the attorney general may request in connection with that review."

What does this do to the people in those agencies?

CLAPPER: Well, the currently serving ones it doesn't do much of anything. I think looking to the future, and I'm particularly concerned about the FBI and the already I think damage has been done there.

In terms of precedence, because I think this is going to have a chilling effect on any kind of future, such, God forbid, we have one, but if we did have a chilling effect on the law enforcement intelligence community generally but specifically because of the investigatory responsibilities that the FBI has only, I worry about that. The chilling effect.

LEMON: Yes. Sorry for coughing in your ear. It came up on me suddenly.

So, listen, you know, Trump had a bad week, Director. He's been ripped apart by Nancy Pelosi.


LEMON: Multiple federal judges ruled that he is not exempt from congressional oversight. Do you think this is a diversionary tactic him announcing -- making that announcement tonight?

CLAPPER: Well, it could be. I mean, I think this is in a small way, people are getting tired of it, it's a way to sort of focus attention away from not such a great week for him by let's investigate the investigators and this sort of thing. It certainly plays to his base.

[23:20:06] And by the way, Don, I think such an inquiry done fairly and objectively would be useful. I'd welcome it. In fact, I'd like to speak about it publicly if given the chance.

LEMON: Yes. I think that's the consensus from most people, as long as it's done fair and, you know, and it's a thorough investigation, I think with no preconceived notions, I think people are fine with this investigation.

Listen, you know, he's also going after his former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson saying that he is "dumb as a rock." This is after Tillerson told the House committee Trump was not prepared for the 2017 meeting with Vladimir Putin. Why do you think this got the president so enraged? I mean, is it because it has to do with Putin maybe?

CLAPPER: Well, that, yes, that. I think any time somebody alleges some imperfection for our stable genius, I think that, you know, that enrages him. He just can't -- you know, he's not very good at taking criticism.


CLAPPER: And he's in the wrong job for somebody that doesn't like criticism. You know, I can't help but think about a friend of mine, a former boss and a mentor and an iconic American of Bob Gates. I often wonder what Goes through bob's mind. He introduced Tillerson to then president-elect Trump in Trump tower, and it was through mainly through Bob's and Tillerson's associations with Boy Scouts of America, and I have to think Bob, you know, probably wishes he hadn't done that.

LEMON: Look, maybe so. You know him better than I do. But he said all these things about Tillerson. But him calling Tillerson dumb as a rock, this is what he used to say about him. Here it is. Watch this.



TRUMP: We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson.

As you know, Rex, Secretary of State has done an incredible job.


LEMON: So, of course this is a theme with the president. Michael Cohen was a very talented lawyer. Now he's weak. Christopher Wray was a man of impeccable credentials. Now he provides no leadership. Don McGahn was a really good guy. Now Trump says that he ever was a fan. So, what does this pattern say to you?

CLAPPER: Well, it says to me that boy, think twice before you go to work in the Trump administration, because one day you're getting praise. The next day you're getting knocked, and it's -- it's all about him. You know? People that turn on him or have an independent mind --


CLAPPER: -- is not a good thing in this administration apparently which is, by the way, not good for the country.

LEMON: Director Clapper, it's always a pleasure having you on. Thank you so much.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

Howard Stern has two words for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Quote, "publicity stunt." Well, he's actually got more words than that to say about the president. And you're going to want to hear them next.


LEMON: House Senate says Donald Trump's candidacy for president was a publicity stunt. I want you to listen to what the radio shock jock tells my colleague Anderson Cooper.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: Well, first of all, it's unbelievable to me. I've documented my thoughts about how this whole candidacy came about. This was a publicity stunt. I happened --


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You have no doubt about that?

STERN: I have no doubt. Because I have some inside information, and the thing is that it started out with "The Art of the Deal," the book, and it was a P.R. guy's idea. He said Donald, what you need to do is we'll make a sort of a rumor that you're running for president. And Donald is like.

So, all of a sudden, he was being interviewed. The book went to number one. When he had a second book came out, that's when he decided to start the rumor that he was going to run for president, and then this time around in the last election, the "Apprentice" ratings were not what they were. NBC was not going to give him a raise, and what's a better way to get NBC's interest? I'll run for president and I'll get lots of press. I think that's what happened.

COOPER: Do you think he likes being president?

STERN: I don't think he likes being president at all. I think he liked winning the presidency. He likes to win.


LEMON: Let's discuss now with comedian Colin Quinn, his CNN original series, "Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State." It premiers Monday night at 9. Good to see you. I want to know what you think.


LEMON: I think Howard is right on. I've heard him say that before. I think he's right on the money.

QUINN: Yes. It seems like it would be true.


QUINN: Not a bad move.

LEMON: Listen, when you -- he's a wealthy man. Not as wealthy as he says he is. Right?

QUINN: Right.

LEMON: Free to do whatever he wanted. People aren't chasing him and following him in every word, why would he give that up?

QUINN: Right. He's probably asking himself that right now. Yes.

LEMON: If he's -- I don't know if he had in his perspective. He may just like the power that comes with it but hasn't checked enough to realize that maybe life would be better if I wasn't president of the United States.

QUINN: Right.

LEMON: I got to play, how are you doing?

QUINN: Good, good, good.

LEMON: You're doing great?


LEMON: So, listen, I want to play -- this is another clip from Anderson's interview with Howard Stern. And the full interview will air tomorrow at 10 p.m. But watch this.


[23:29:54] STERN: So, when he secured the nomination and now, he was thinking about the convention, I think he wanted some showbiz there. He picked up the phone and he called me personally, and he asked me if I would go to the Republican convention and endorse him. And I was like, oh gosh, you know, for about a split second, can you imagine if I was all in? I would be the head of the FCC. I could be the Supreme Court -- I can be on the Supreme Court. I think Donald would give me anything.



LEMON: Can you imagine him on the Supreme Court? Do you think he would give him a cabinet position? Howard Stern on the FCC? Remember how much trouble he had --


LEMON: -- with FCC in the 90s?

QUINN: I can't see him in Supreme Court. I'm still recovering from him being on "America's Got Talent."


LEMON: Uh-oh. That was shade, Howard. (LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Do you think he would have done it?


LEMON: -- people in positions who not qualified. Go on.

QUINN: Yeah, of course. I mean, you know, are you going to turn something down like that? We just do it for the radio. Why not?

LEMON: So you think he would do it? Not --

QUINN: But he would only do it three days a week. Sorry, Howard. More shade.


LEMON: I know. I know. I know. We need more Howard.

QUINN: Yeah.

LEMON: He's going to screw you. I want to do less. No, but do you think the president would do that? Obviously, he wanted the support of Howard Stern. It's a very big -- I would imagine a lot of people who do it to Howard are -- is demo.

QUINN: Yeah, but don't they do like -- usually give you like an ambassadorship to someplace fun?

LEMON: Right. Yeah.

QUINN: You know, some like corrupt little mini states? That's the way you do it. That's the way you pay back.

LEMON: Would you do it? Would you be on a --



LEMON: -- Supreme Court.

QUINN: I got enough problems.

LEMON: You're good. You're good being Colin Quinn.

QUINN: I got no problem being Colin Quinn.

LEMON: "Red State Blue State." Speaking of, let's watch a clip from your show.


QUINN (on camera): John Adams said the two-party system is the greatest political evil under our constitution. George Washington cautioned in his farewell address against excessive political party spirit and geographical distinction. Wise words. They tell us what to do about it? They did not. They just said it and they died.


QUINN (on camera): Now, they left us to figure it out.


QUINN (on camera): Real geniuses.


QUINN (on camera): America, two parties. Still, all these years later, two parties. There are 350 million people and there's two parties. There are 15 genders and there are two parties.


QUINN (on camera): There are four bathrooms and there are two parties.



LEMON: Listen, you have been saying this for a while.


LEMON: You think America is so divide that it's time for us to become un-united.


LEMON: Do you really mean that?

QUINN: Yes, absolutely.

LEMON: That's not just you joking around as a comedian?

QUINN: No. All you do is look at abortion, look at guns, and look at religion. Do you think either side is ever going to say, you know what, they're right, I'm going to change my opinion? And why should they?

LEMON: What's been the reaction?

QUINN: So far?

LEMON: Yeah.

QUINN: It's been very muted, almost like I'm being ignored, but that's OK because -- no, there's no reaction yet. I mean, people see the play. A lot of people say I'm trying to be funny, and everyone goes, I almost cried during your show. I'm like what? I'm a comedian. But yeah, people are very sad because it does feel true.

LEMON: When you watch what's going on --

QUINN: Yeah.

LEMON: -- and you think about like Trump may be having another term or there are all these Democrats, but if you think about what's happening in the division, are you hopeful? Are you pessimistic about the future of the nation?

QUINN: I mean -- no. I mean, I can't see -- I just feel like from day one, it was divided. And now social media has highlighted how everybody really is different and no one is going to give because the whole point is you shouldn't have to give.

LEMON: Yeah. You know what?

QUINN: What? Screw you.


LEMON: Whatever. I don't care about what you say. I'm joking.

QUINN: More important than what I said, should I have worn a blazer in the special?

LEMON: No, I think you look good.

QUINN: Really?

LEMON: You wear a blazer on this show, so I like it.

QUINN: All right. Thanks.

LEMON: You got to watch this. It's a really good original series. Don't miss this CNN original series special presentation of Colin Quinn, "Red State Blue State." It premieres Memorial Day, 9:00 p.m., only here on CNN. We'll be right back. Colin won't, but we'll be right back. Thanks, Colin.

QUINN: Thanks, Don.



LEMON: This week, we saw two legal setbacks for the president as he tries to block Congress from gaining access to his financial records, two big defeats for the president and his legal team.

Let's discuss now with Dan Abrams, chief legal correspondent for ABC News and the co-author of the new book "Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy." It looks like a good read. I haven't gotten to it yet.


ABRAMS: Thank you.

LEMON: Before we talk, let's talk about the breaking news that we have now. You know, the president's legal woes, we'll get to that. But I want to ask you about the breaking news. He has directed his intelligence community to assist the attorney general, William Barr, in the investigation to surveillance in 2016 election.


LEMON: Is that an appropriate use or method or something that the Justice Department should be doing?

ABRAMS: Here is the concern. He's also saying let's declassify everything right now. So, is it fair to look into how the Russia investigation started? Yeah, except that there is no at this point credible accusation of wrongdoing up to this point.

So, I have no problem, for example, the inspector general of the FBI is actively investigating right now the FISA warrants. Terrific, I look forward to reading that report.

If there was wrongdoing, great. But this idea that the president is pronouncing right now the declassification of all the material leading up to the 2016 Russia investigation, look, we know pretty much how the investigation started.

LEMON: Right.

[23:40:00] ABRAMS: We know why it started. If there's new information that we don't know of, hey, I'm all for it. But Chris Wray, the director of the FBI, has even said, you know, I haven't seen anything out there --

LEMON: Right.

ABRAMS: -- that involves --

LEMON: Unless you listen to conspiracy theorists or the propaganda spreaders that are saying it was illegal and all of that, but we know the origins of the investigation.

ABRAMS: We know the origins of the investigation.

LEMON: Yeah.

ABRAMS: We know -- and you can actually connect the dots.

LEMON: Right.

ABRAMS: I mean, you can go from, you know, Carter Page in 2013, Papadopoulos in 2016, et cetera.

LEMON: Let's talk about -- listen, from a legal perspective, there is now way to say, this was a bad week for the president when you look at the two legal setbacks for him. Is this serious rebukes for his legal strategies because in some ways it seems like they're mocking his attorneys?

ABRAMS: Oh, there's no question. One of the judges in particular compared him to one of our worst presidents ever, James Buchanan, in mocking him.

LEMON: That's what Preet Bharara, who was a former U.S. attorney, said. "Courts are not just ruling against Trump. Courts are mocking his lawyers' arguments as they should."

ABRAMS: Yeah. No, they are. And -- but one of the worst legal arguments that the president has is that his tax returns have to stay private, that you can't subpoena his records. He's going to lose on the issues of records related to his finances and his tax returns.

LEMON: Even the thing -- the next one is -- ruling would be July 12th. He's going to lose.

ABRAMS: He's going to lose on those. The tougher questions are the testimony questions, right, about the subpoenas, who's going to have to testify and who's not. There are some real legal issues to unpack. But on this question of the subpoenas of the records, their argument is really just incredibly weak.

LEMON: Let's talk about this. I'm sure you want to talk about it. Theodore Roosevelt for the defense. Roosevelt has larger than life figure. He insulted journalists. He slammed court rulings that he didn't like. It sounds familiar, doesn't it?

ABRAMS: Right.

LEMON: He pushed the limit in immigration. He even had an attorney general who resigned because of his autocratic tendencies. There's a familiarity here.

ABRAMS: Look, there's no question there's some similarities between Theodore Roosevelt and Donald Trump. And remember, Donald Trump is also being sued in civil court. So, we may see as we did in Theodore Roosevelt's case, Donald Trump on the witness stand. Roosevelt testified in this trial for eight days. He was the defendant. Think about the former president of the United States on the stand for eight days.


ABRAMS: The country was watched. It was front page news everywhere. We have the full 3,000-page plus transcript of the trial. Franklin Roosevelt testified in his defense. Somehow it has become a footnote to history. I should say I talked about some of the similarities. There are also enormous differences between Theodore Roosevelt and Donald Trump --

LEMON: Yeah. ABRAMS: -- as well. I mean, he was one of the great conservationists, the reason we have national parks. In large part, thanks to Theodore Roosevelt. He cared about alliances with our allies, et cetera.

LEMON: So the year is 1914, Theodore Roosevelt writes an article, endorsing an independent gubernatorial candidate, lashes out at the leaders of two-party system, one of whom he sues for libel, and he writes this, you call it the trial of the century, right?

You write that there had been many trials in the century, but only one of them involved a former president of the United States testifying to his own defense for over a week.

Do you think Trump would be taking the stand? Would it look much different than Theodore Roosevelt?

ABRAMS: Yeah, I think it would. I think back then, it was the iconic figure Teddy Roosevelt. You liked him or didn't like him. The lawyer who is cross examining him didn't like him at all. I think these days it would feel sort of more politicized.

I think that -- I don't know what would be the level of interest. If this is former President Donald Trump testifying in a libel case, I think there will be interest, I don't think the kind of interest that there was back then in Teddy Roosevelt.

LEMON: What did you learn from writing this?

ABRAMS: That there are a lot of issues that existed then that are still existing today.


ABRAMS: Meaning, that one of the big fights they're talking about is money and politics.

LEMON: Yeah.

ABRAMS: Corruption. Those are some of the same issues we talked about today. It was the same issues that came up in this trial.

LEMON: And so it goes. There it is. There's Dan Abrams there. Here's the book. It is called "Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense." Thank you, Dan Abrams. Always a pleasure.

ABRAMS: Don Lemon, thank you.

LEMON: It is good to see you.

ABRAMS: Appreciate it.

LEMON: West Point is graduating its most diverse class in history. How will that help them serve America in the armed forces? We'll talk about that, next.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: West Point is on the verge of making history this weekend, graduating the largest number of African-American women in its 217- year history. Look at that picture. The school says its 2019 graduating class is also the most diverse ever by both race and gender.

Joining me now are six members of that class. Let's see if I can do this properly because I want to honor you guys properly. You're doing a great job. Dalton Stahl is here, Adewunmi Oyetuga there, known as Tuga, Katherine Guettlein, Mimi Mejia and Kate Campbell, also Gabrielle Alford. How did I do?



LEMON: Ah, thank you. Congratulations. I'm so glad you guys are here. I am going to start with you Gabrielle. How does it feel to be part of this historic class?

GABRIELLE ALFORD, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: It feels amazing, sir. I'm extremely honored to be part of this class, and I'm grateful for all the people who have paved the way for me to be part of this historic class.

LEMON: Kate, I want to get your thoughts on the significance of this picture because I think it is pretty awesome, women of color in uniform graduated in record numbers, 34. What does that represent for you personally?

[23:50:02] KATE CAMPBELL, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: Well, sir, it represents a lot of things for me. On one hand, these are the women that I started this journey off with. So, to be able to be closing off with so many of us still making it to this finish line is extremely empowering.

Every woman to the left, right and behind me in that picture is a source of inspiration for me. I'm so grateful to be in it with them. But more than that, it's a testament to the brotherhood and sisterhood that we've built over the course of our four years at West Point. It's a team-based academy and that is what this picture represents ultimately.

LEMON: Yeah.

CAMPBELL: And that there is diversity amongst us as black women as well.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, very well said. Mimi, this is a very divisive time in our country's history, but you all have an opportunity to show the strength that comes from diversity. How are you going to demonstrate that in your military career? I mean, if you look at the military, the military is a really diverse place. How do you plan to demonstrate that in your career?

MIMI MEJIA, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: Well, sir, I think our class is ready to demonstrate that as a whole. Being one of the most diverse classes to graduate from here, we are ready. I think we've interacted with each other in positive ways just through training and classes and we'll continue to do that in our careers and when we're platoon leaders and going forward.

I think we have an immense opportunity, sir, to change the army and just continue to make an impact in that way because of the people in this class.

LEMON: So, Tuga, if i may call you that, to you next, what do you want to accomplish now as you graduate the academy?

ADEWUNMI OYETUGA, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: Well, as a future leader of this academy, I want to make sure that I can lead everyone as I need to and I think that's something that they do a great job of instilling here, making sure that you are responsible for those around you, those you're in charge of, and it's an incredible opportunity to do it because now we'll be able to go out in a few months and we'll have our own platoons and it's something that we can never imagine doing anywhere else.

LEMON: Katherine, in 2014, West Point moved to not just actively recruit more women and minority students, but to diversify its leadership. How important is it to have leader or classmate from the same background as you?

KATHERINE GUETTLEIN, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: One thing that I think is -- West Point in general is really -- it's a cooperative effort. We all have to work together to graduate and it's very nice to have people by your side who come from the same background. They may have the same way of looking at things. But even more, the environment that we're in, we are exposed to so many people with so many different ways of thinking.

And I think as much as it's important to have people who I like you, it's important to have people who are different, who think differently because that will teach you to think in a more well-rounded manner, which will ultimately help you to lead soldiers, which is what we're here to do, we're here to learn how to lead, to care for the sons and daughters that the United States is entrusting to us to lead not only in the army but beyond that.

LEMON: Very nice. So Dalton, what's the most important lesson you've learned from your time at West Point? It's pretty prestigious to go to West Point and to graduate from West Point. What is the most important lesson that you've learned?

DALTON STAHL, GRADUATING CADET, WEST POINT: Sir, I think it's to step outside your comfort zone and to take on as many tasks as you possibly can. That was something that I wasn't super willing to do before West Point but now that I've come here, it's a learning environment. They're willing to let you make mistakes and that's OK, but you make as many mistakes as you can while you're here, so you don't make those mistakes in front of soldiers in the army.

LEMON: So you guys look great, you're very buttoned up. I can see that you're professionals. My last question is do you guys ever have any fun?





LEMON: I guess that means yes, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess you missed the time ahead of this. I enjoy laughing a great deal. I think I get people going quickly. It's definitely not the same as civilian school, but we have our own version of it, I would say, sir.


LEMON: So Dalton --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hard to believe, but we promise.

LEMON: Dalton, Tuga, Katherine, Mimi, Kate, Gabrielle, did I get everybody? Yes?


LEMON: We're so proud of you. Congratulations and best of luck. Go out and run the world, OK?


LEMON: Thank you.

[23:54:59] And we'll be right back.


LEMON: It's almost Memorial Day weekend and for many people that means the unofficial start of summer and spending time with loved ones. But the holiday which honors the service members who have given their lives for our country, it can be difficult for anyone mourning a family member. This week's CNN Hero lost her dad when she was 14 and struggled with depression for more than a decade.

Now, Mary Robinson is making sure other children don't lose years of their lives to unresolved grief.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Bella and my dad died.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids in grief are kids at risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Adrian (ph) and my mom died.

MARY ROBINSON: Time does not heal all wounds. Time helps but it's what you do with that time. And what you need to do is mourn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you hear other people's stories, it kind of brings comfort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why a place like Imagine exists to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out that they're not alone.


LEMON: And to meet some of the families that Mary is helping and to nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.