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President Trump Imposes New Tariffs On Mexico; Mueller's Statement Not Music To Trump's Ears; Trump Bashes McCain While Denying Ship Controversy; Attorney General William Barr Criticizes Special Counsel Robert Mueller; Rep. Steve King Responds To Being Called Racist; CNN Original Series: United Shades Of America; CNN Heroes. Aired 10:55p-12a ET

Aired May 30, 2019 - 22:55   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you very much, Dana Bash.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And you just watched our CNN Town Hall with Senator Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat and presidential candidate answering questions from the audience for just about an hour. Questions about health care, his support for a public option and his clean bill of health after a cancer treatment. Questions about gun laws, climate change, education, and so much more.

[22:59:57] But we got to talk about the president's tantrum today. It is getting to be a regular thing. Presidential tantrums, tirades. But it's absolutely no coincidence that this one happened the day after Robert Mueller finally spoke out about his investigation.

Did you catch this? The president slipped up this morning. Tweeting this. "Russia, Russia, Russia. That's all you heard at the beginning of this witch hunt."

Spoiler alert, it wasn't a witch hunt, but let's continue, "and now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected. Russia helping me get elected."

I guess the president didn't need to be quite so truthful there because less than an hour later, he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think helped the other side.


LEMON: Well, that's not what Vladimir Putin said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yes, I did. Yes, I do. Because he talked about bringing the U.S./Russia relationship back to normal.


LEMON: Well there you have it, straight from the horse's -- I mean the strongman's mouth. But that's not all. The president back on his utterly false no obstruction, no collusion kick today.


TRUMP: There's no obstruction. You see what we're saying. There's no obstruction, there's no collusion, no nothing. It's nothing but a witch hunt.


LEMON: Well, that in spite of the fact that Mueller did not say there was no collusion. He said there wasn't enough evidence to charge anybody with conspiracy. He also didn't say there was no obstruction.


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.


LEMON: So, the president, of course, lashed out with personal attacks on Mueller.


TRUMP: I think he's totally conflicted because as you know, he wanted to be the FBI director and I said no. As you know, I had a business dispute with him after he left the FBI, we had a business dispute. Not a nice one. He wasn't -- he wasn't happy with what I did. And I don't blame him, but I had to do it because that was the right thing to do.


LEMON: None of that is true. None of it's true. The fact is, the Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts. He did meet with Trump, but that was at the White House's invitation and Mueller wasn't looking for the FBI job.

But the thing the president really seems to be steamed about, that business dispute which amounts to nothing more than Mueller quitting his membership at Trump's Virginia golf club and requesting a refund. That's it. Doesn't really seem like much of a conflict, does it? According to Mueller's report, Steve Bannon recalled telling the

president, that was ridiculous and not a real conflict, but the president had another personal attack to lob at Mueller today.


TRUMP: He loves Comey. You look at the relationship that those two -- so whether it's love or deep like, but he should -- he was conflicted.


LEMON: OK. Here's the fact on that one. The fact is Comey told Congress that he admires Mueller as a colleague but they're not friends. You know who told the president he is the friend of Mueller's?


WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told him how well I knew Bob Mueller and how -- you know, the Barr's and Mueller's and would be good friends when this is all over and so forth.


LEMON: And speaking of the attorney general, he is not exactly taking his old friend side in the dispute over Mueller's saying that he couldn't even consider charging the president with obstruction. Specifically, because of the DOJ regulations against charging a sitting president.


BARR: He could have reached a conclusion of the opinion as you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could have reached the decision as to whether it was criminal activity. But he had his reasons for not doing it which he explained. And I'm not going to, you know, argue about those reasons.

But when he didn't make a decision, the Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the department to reach that decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I mean, he seem to suggest yesterday that there was another venue for this, and that was Congress.

BARR: Well, I'm not sure what he was suggesting. But you know, the Department of Justice doesn't use our powers of investigating crime that doesn't adjunct to Congress.


LEMON: So, the attorney general says that he doesn't know what Mueller was suggesting. But it sure sounds like impeachment. The president's dreaded "I" word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: To me, it's a dirty word, the word impeach. It's a dirty,

filthy, disgusting word. And it had nothing to do with me.


LEMON: A dirty, filthy, disgusting word. Well, words matter. And hat tip to our friend Ana Navarro who tweets this. "That this president boasted of grabbing women by the 'p' word. Calls some countries with mostly black and brown populations shit holes. Referred to some African-American athletes as sons of bitches.

[23:05:03] He says re-impeachment, the 'I' word is a dirty, filthy, disgusting word."

And those words aren't my language. Those are direct quotes from the president. She is right. Irony is dead. But the president is not letting go of his grudge. His grudge match with Robert Mueller and his team.


TRUMP: I think Mueller is a true never Trumper. He's somebody that dislikes Donald Trump. Despite $40 million, 18 Trump haters including people that worked for Hillary Clinton and some of the worst human beings on earth. They got nothing.


LEMON: Worst human beings on earth? Is he talking about these guys? No. Those guys, those are the people this president makes excuses for. He praises. He sides with against his own intelligence agencies. Won't call on the culprit for murder.

The president's fine with dictators and strongmen, but he unloads on U.S. law enforcement and counterintelligence officials. He's calling his fellow Americans including lifelong Republican Robert Mueller the worst human beings on earth for doing their jobs and investigating Russia's election interference. An attack on our democracy.

And what is the president doing tonight in the face of all this? The same old strategy. Distract and deflect. With an announcement that he teases earlier as a big league, he says.

The announcement that he'll slap new tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico if the country doesn't stop the flow of migrants by June 10th. But the thing is, that's only going to end up forcing you to pay more for anything from Mexico that's sold in this country.

That includes everything from beer to tomatoes, avocados and berries, from phones to computers, from refrigerators to air conditioners. And cars like the Chevy Cruise and Equinox and the Ford Fiesta and Fusion.

Sounds like a tax to me. So, it's just another distraction? Just like his tirade this morning? We're almost used to the fact that this president seems to be willing to say or do anything to fend off his perceived enemies. But here's why his tirades and tantrums matter because the president

is using his bully pulpit to lie, to deflect, and to distract. And to do it all out loud. That's why Robert Mueller needs to testify. He needs to state the facts out loud.

The report is not enough. He's 10 minutes statement yesterday was not enough. He needs to speak the truth and Congress, if they're devoted to transparency, if they really want answers, Congress should treat him exactly the way they would any other witnesses that they need to hear from. We all need to hear what he has to say. And like I said, the president had a complete meltdown today.

So, what was it about Robert Mueller's statement that sent him over the edge? That's the question for former Governor John Kasich and David Axelrod, and they're next.


LEMON: Well, President Trump unleashing a tirade of lies today. For over 17 minutes he ranted on the South Lawn in an apparent attempt to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller who made it clear yesterday he could not clear the president of wrongdoing.

So, let's discuss now, the former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich is here, as well as David Axelrod, the former senior adviser to President Obama.

Gentlemen, I'm so glad to have both of you on. Welcome to the program.

David, you're up first. So, listen, you know, we did a lot of fact checking here. The president did lie after lie today from the South Lawn. Why do you think Mueller's statement caused him to completely melt down like this?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, because I think he thought he had this in a box, you know, after the release of the report and the way the attorney general handled it. He had his mantra, no collusion, no obstruction, and he thought that they were past this story.

And Bob Mueller nine minutes simply by emphasizing elements of his report left real doubt about the things that the president had been saying, and he rekindled the story, rekindled and fueled new talk of impeachment, and I think the president just boiled over and did what he does which he went into paroxysms of hysteria and lying.

LEMON: You know, John Kasich, it was interesting because Mueller didn't really say anything other than what was in the report and it sounds to me like the president and his acolytes and his apologists were counting on people not reading the report and by Robert Mueller going just out and saying this is the report, this is what I said, if I thought the president did not commit a crime, I would have said so. So why is he angrier than usual about this today?

FMR. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH): I think David hit the nail on the head. I think that when that report came out, they felt, OK, this is where it is and we can move on, and the thing just doesn't go away. That's why he's so upset with these members of Congress that are trying to, you know, conduct some oversight, which they have a right to do.

And I -- I just think he wakes up and says, God, this should be over with and it's not. So, I don't think it's anything that's more complicated than that.

And you mentioned that he's now saying he's going to levy a tariff on the Mexicans if they don't stop the influx of people trying to get to the border. I mean, how's he going to do that? It may be a distraction. I mean, that's like --

[23:15:02] AXELROD: Yes.

KASICH: Are you kidding me? But look, I think --


LEMON: When I saw it, John -- John, I'll let you finish.


LEMON: When I saw that today, that's the first thing I thought, I was like, well, that is a distraction when, you know, saying that you are going to --

AXELROD: No doubt.

LEMON: -- levy these tariffs. So, he wanted to change the news cycle and, I mean --


LEMON: -- I think it sounds like a tax to me on the American people, but, John, I cut you off. Go on.

KASICH: Well, look, I always look at it and can't figure it out, these people, no matter what the president does or says or how he acts because he's not conducting himself like any other president, I mean, that has been in modern history, they just keep sticking with him. And they just make excuses.

So, you got the tariffs on now, the war with China, the price of goods going up. The farmers got problems. Now he's threatening to put tariffs on Mexico. I mean, you know, it's -- I just can't figure it out. David, can you? I mean, they just stick with him no matter what.

AXELROD: Well --

KASICH: It doesn't make any sense to me.

AXELROD: Well, look, I think part -- you know, when you say he hasn't behaved like any other president, there are people out there who don't feel like they've been well served by the system as it's working now.

KASICH: Yes. AXELROD: And they, you know, they hired Donald Trump to kick the

thing in the butt and shake things up and he's doing that. And so maybe some of those people respond to that, but I just want to say something about this changing the story thing.

One of the most disturbing things about this president is he does make policy in a serious way. Everything is part of his reality show. And the episode wasn't going well so he wanted to rewrite the ending of the day.

And so he declares that he's going to -- he's going to impose these tariffs which is no small matter, you know, in terms of the economy, in terms of the markets, in terms of the relationships between our countries, and I really think it was just a means of changing the -- changing the story line. And that's a hell of a way to make policy.

LEMON: Yes. Before all the lies today, and the changing of the story lines, he accidentally admitted the truth today. Here's what he tweeted. He said that Russia helped him get elected. Of course, that was just a moment of truth because 42 minutes later he walked it back. I want to play that again.


TRUMP: Russia did not help get me elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got he elected? I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all.


LEMON: So, John, what does it say about this president that he's unable to stick with truth even for 45 minutes?

KASICH: Well, you know, when I hear him say who got me elected? I got me elected. I -- it's just -- it's just bizarre is all I can say. And I don't know why the people, again, I hate to keep going back to this, but why the people -- David makes a good point. You know, they wanted to put somebody in there to shake it up. OK.

So, you look at Youngstown, Ohio, in Lordstown, G.M. has shut their plant. They're not any better up there. Somehow, they make an excuse for him. It's -- I don't understand it. I've been in politics a long time. And I just don't understand the fact that people just will not begin to question all of the things that he's doing.

And remember this, this is a thing I sometimes think we forget. These are people that have to explain the actions of the president to our kids. I mean, the name calling, the division. I just don't understand why so many of them keep sticking -- they say about 90 percent of the party, but, David, I think the party has shrunk.


LEMON: But obviously, I think that (Inaudible) They have to approve of it in a certain way and it doesn't matter to them. Again, I don't want to disparage every Trump supporter but if you're standing there, if you're sitting there and you're making excuses --


LEMON: -- for everything that this president says, then the problem is you and not the president of the United States, David. Am I wrong with that?

AXELROD: Yes, well, you know, look, you know, the God's-honest truth, Don, I think a lot of those folks, you know, they look at this conversation, our conversation, and I think everything that's been said here is true.

But, you know, one of the things you hear when you hear about focus groups with these voters, particularly swing voters who voted for Trump and maybe voted for Obama, is well, there's this media beat-down and he's fighting back and the elites are after him. They don't use the word, elites. It's sort of like the enemy of my enemy is my friend. He works those levers very, very well.

But I want to return to a point you asked before. You asked the question, why, you know, why did he react the way he did? The thing that irks him the most, and you could see it in that last bit of tape you ran, is the suggestion that somehow the Russians were the ones who put him over the top. The Russians helped him, that he needed their help. This is the story line --


LEMON: Well, he said it in a tweet, David.

AXELROD: -- that's driven him nuts from it. But this is the -- I understand that. But this is the story line that has driven him crazy from the beginning. And that is the notion that somehow, he's illegitimate because the Russians helped him get elected.

[23:20:04] And, you know, you can see it in all the reporting that's been done from the -- I can't explain the tweet. Maybe it was his subconscious speaking. You know, I can't explain it. But all I'm telling you is it's clearly a hot button for him.

LEMON: Yes. Governor, listen, impeachment --


KASICH: You know, there's one other thing.

LEMON: OK. I want to talk to you about impeachment, though, if you can make it quick.

KASICH: I just want to say that this cannot be the new normal. I mean, we cannot settle into this kind of behavior for our leaders. This is just totally unacceptable.


LEMON: But we are. We are, governor. KASICH: And so, you know, the idea -- well, I don't know that we are.

I don't think so because that's (Inaudible) that doesn't support that.


LEMON: He's two years in. He's two years in and the conversation we're having now is that people are making excuses for the terrible behavior. Even the Mueller report says that there was evidence that they tried to, but they couldn't, you know, they couldn't -- they didn't reach a level of criminality and people are still believing that it is not true, that it is a witch hunt.

KASICH: Don, he only has 40 percent -- he's got 40 percent support. That's 40 percent of the country --


LEMON: That's a lot of support. Forty percent that's a lot of people who are believing lies.

KASICH: I know. Forty is a lot but you know what, 60 is a lot more. And so, you know, this is not like people are just going along and approving him, approving this, they're not.

And remember, it's going to get down to state by state. It's going to get down to Pennsylvania. It's going to get down to Michigan. It's going to get down to Wisconsin. When I talk to people in Michigan, they don't think he can win Michigan.

I think these tones, all the way that he's behaving, has taken a toll and it's made those who don't support him -- they're just like don't even want to listen anymore and those who do support him, I think in a sense, have shrunk in numbers particularly in the Republican Party.

LEMON: Listen --

KASICH: No one knows what the party is going to be like when he leaves.

LEMON: I do want to get in impeachment just real quickly, because I want people to be very clear when watching. And, John, you and I talk about this, this is not about ideology, this is not about left versus right. This is about right versus wrong. We're pointing out right versus wrong here, truth versus lies. Not Republican versus Democrat. Am I wrong, John?

KASICH: No. I mean, I think the Congress has a right to have oversight, but, look, at the end of it all, the people are not going to vote for or against Donald Trump, in my opinion, on the basis of the Mueller report.

LEMON: Right.

KASICH: And I would like the Democrats to get out there, present their case on health care, what they're going to do to deal with income inequality. These are the things that they have to talk about. A better tone.

You see Mayor Pete talking about a better tone. Bringing people together. I think that's how they win. I don't think they win going through impeachment because I don't think the public wants to go through that with them.

LEMON: All right. David, let's talk about this. Because you know the impeachment talk ramping up after Mueller essentially punted obstruction to Congress yesterday. Here's, again, what Trump had to say about that. Here it is.


TRUMP: To me, it's a dirty word, the word, impeach. It's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me.


LEMON: So, listen, Pelosi says that Trump is goading Democrats to impeach. Sources close to the president said that he thinks impeachment will motivate his base. But does this sound to you like someone who thinks impeachment would help him politically?

AXELROD: No. You know, I think he sounds like a frantic person, and, you know, I think he fears these investigations. I think he fears impeachment. It doesn't mean necessarily that it would help Democrats.

Remember, one of the things that Pelosi is thinking about is that she's got 31 Democratic representatives, new representatives elected in districts where Trump was elected. And in most of those districts and, frankly, in a lot of the country, as Governor Kasich suggested, their concerns are much closer to home having to do with their health care and their jobs and their -- and fundamental issues that touch their lives.

And this Russia issue is wearisome, you know, it's been talked about a lot. It's wearisome. It isn't quite as tangible. It is horrendous that the commander in chief of the United States of America would sit by and let his narcissism stand in the way of saying we're not going to allow the Russians to interfere and meddle in our elections. Absolutely horrendous. But for most people, there are more immediate concerns in their lives.

LEMON: All right. Lots more to talk about. I want both of you to stay with me. We're going to talk about this. The White House asked lower- level U.S. Navy officials about keeping the USS John McCain out of the president's sight during his trip to Japan.

The president says that he didn't know anything about it, but what does the whole thing say about who he is and how this administration operates?


LEMON: Well, two navy officials have confirmed to CNN that someone in the White House's military office asked lower-level navy officials about keeping the USS McCain out of view during the president's recent trip to Japan. Trump denies having anything to do with that.


TRUMP: I would not have done that. I was very angry with John McCain because he killed health care. I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way, shape or form. I would never do a thing like that.

Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him. OK? And they were well meaning, I would say. I didn't know anything about it. I would never have done that.


LEMON: Let it go, let it go. What does it say about this president that his staff apparently thinks that he's so fragile that he can't even bear to see the name, McCain?

[23:30:00] Governor John Kasich, David Axelrod is back with me. Isn't that your first reaction? It's like, come on, man. Just let it go. The man is dead. He's a war hero. His family is still grieving, like, just, I mean, what do you think, David?

AXELROD: Well, I mean, I think the -- you know, it's -- it obviously is -- I mean, it is incredibly small and, you know, the fact is that he used the occasion to say he didn't do that to take another swipe at McCain and say whoever did it was well meaning.

Which tells you everything, but beyond that, Don, after that, later in the day when Senator Thad Cochran died, the late Senator from Mississippi who was the consummate gentleman or known as such in the Senate, he used a tribute tweet to Cochran to take another swipe at McCain. And I think that would have horrified Cochran to have his name used that way in death.

But, I mean, you know, the fact is the president defines himself with his gestures. It -- you know, he doesn't recognize how much it diminishes him, how small and petty --

LEMON: It took him four seconds in that sound bite to do that. And since you put that up, I just want to read this for our viewers. "This is very sad to hear the news of the passing of my friend, Senator Thad Cochran. He was a real Senator with incredible values. Even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important health care vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our country or me down." That was a backhanded sideswipe, right, to McCain?

KASICH: On who?

LEMON: (Inaudible) by the way.

KASICH: Who attacks -- who attacks a dead man over and over again? I mean, think about this in our lives. You've ever heard any of your friends or anybody you know go out and attack a dead man? I've never heard anything like this. And then to say he's mad because McCain killed health care? Let me tell you, what was going on at that point in time was to -- was

to basically take health care away from 20 million people. And John McCain went to the Senate floor, by the way, I called McCain after he voted no, because there needs to be improvement with Obamacare, but they just have no replacement. I saw Fred Upton today over in Michigan. He said I didn't vote to just get rid of the thing, there was no replacement. How are you going to strip health care away from 20 million people then you're bitter at somebody because they said, no, I think these people need to have help.

LEMON: But the people -- John, the people who needed it the most, who need the health care the most, are people who voted for Trump. They're in red states.

KASICH: Some of them.

LEMON: So --

KASICH: Yes, some of them.

LEMON: It makes absolutely no sense. Listen --

KASICH: I know. That what I'm trying to tell you earlier. If you lost your job at Lordstown and you don't have a job, and you don't -- and who -- and then he said he is going to make sure you get the job, but you don't have the job, and go well, it wasn't his fault. And then if you say, if they found out -- well, they were going to get rid of health care and you would have lost your health care, but somehow that is OK, it doesn't add up to me.

I just honestly, maybe I should start, you know, sitting in and doing these focus groups or something to figure it out, but it just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't understand it.

LEMON: David, I want to play this because, and get back to John McCain. This was his daughter, Meghan McCain, said. This is her reaction.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S DAUGHTER: The president's actions have consequences and when you repeatedly attacking my father and war heroes, it creates a culture in the military where people are clearly fearful to show, you know, my father's name in one way or another. It's impossible to go through the grief process when my father who's been dead ten months is constantly in the news cycle, because the president is so obsessed with the fact that he is never going to be a great man like he was.


LEMON: Again, as I said, he can only go for four seconds without attacking when he, you know, when he spoke today at the White House lawn. Four seconds without attacking him. And then saying, David, that the -- he said the president -- he called a person who made the call about the "USS John McCain" well meaning. What the hell does that mean, "well meaning," that he can't stand to see --

AXELROD: Well, it means that he well understood what the president means every time he says nasty things about John McCain. You know, I mean, all you have to do is listen to what he said today and what he said in that tweet to understand why fearful underlings would quiver at the notion that the president might be upset to see John McCain's name on a -- on a ship which was, by the way, named for John McCain because of service to the country. So, you know, look --

KASICH: There's another -- David, there's another point that needs to be made here. David, one point that needs to be made here. You get an order like that, quit. I mean, there are so many people hanging around and making excuses when they see this, when they look back on what they've been doing here, how are they going to feel about it? Are they going to feel great? All the division and the chaos and the name calling.

[23:35:17] AXELROD: Well --

KASICH: I mean, if you -- if somebody tells you, well, you know, you got to just move that ship out of there, somebody says, you know, sir, I can't do that. That is -- that is because we have a conscience. That is where heroes come from. No, I won't do that. That is not right. Somehow, people just kind of, you know, go past it. People --

LEMON: they did not follow through on his request, but go ahead, David, I'll give you the last word.

AXELROD: Well, people have quit. General Mattis, for one, who was his Secretary of Defense has quit when he was asked to do things that he thought -- thought weren't right. But let me just make this last point. You know, you guys keep asking like, how can these people vote for him when they took his health care.

There are a lot of people who voted, I mean, there are a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump who feel discarded and, you know, by the economy, culturally discarded, disdained, and my guess is that all of this -- and I'm not excusing anything, but all of this chatter that suggests that there must be something wrong with you if you vote for -- if you voted for Donald Trump, I think only strengthens their resolve to vote for him again because basically, you're saying --



KASICH: Look, I've been in the Republican Party all of my life --

LEMON: I got to go, John.

KASICH: -- all of my life lifetime. And when it got at 90 percent of the people supporting him, we're not just talking about those that wanted to turn over the table. We're talking about a lot of people, who -- maybe they have self-interest. Maybe that is why they do it.

AXELROD: Well, that is true, John, I agree with that. KASICH: I just think what's happening in the country, it's just


LEMON: Yes. All right, guys. Thank you.

AXELROD: But those people -- those people, John, aren't the people who lost their health care.

LEMON: Yes. All right, thanks, guys. To be continued. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The Attorney General William Barr is contradicting Robert Mueller just a day after the special counsel broke his silence. Here's what Barr said about Mueller not reaching a conclusion on obstruction.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: He could have reached a conclusion, the opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.


LEMON: Let's discuss now with Mr. John Dean.

John, welcome to the program. Good evening. So, Barr says that Mueller could have reached a decision, but Mueller says Justice Department rules meant he couldn't. So help me understand this. Why couldn't Mueller have said, you know, it is my view the president committed obstruction, but we can't indict him?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: He theoretically could have said that, but if you read the opinion closely, which I just did, when not distracted by the warriors in Toronto, it's very clear that that opinion says you can't burden the presidency, and to indict is a burden.

To have a sealed indictment is a burden. And the other thing it says is you can't tarnish the president. So it's a very broad opinion as to what a prosecutor can do and you can investigate and put the evidence away. You just can't burden or tarnish the presidency.

LEMON: So I was watching yesterday and I actually emailed, you know, some of my colleagues when I said, you know, did he just essentially say I think the president obstructed justice, but I can't charge him. Now, the other part was, now over for impeachment to the Congress. I mean, it's just not sinking in for some reason.

DEAN: Well, the opinion that Barr is referring to, you can't indict a sitting president, makes it very clear that you -- it's the Congress' job if there is criminal evidence that it can go forward and burden the president with impeachment proceeding. There's just no question on that, and I think that is what -- I think that is the position that Mueller took. He provided all the evidence from his investigation on obstruction.


DEAN: He also provided a lot of evidence, about 140 contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That obviously needs more examination as well and that could come up again in the impeachment context. It doesn't clearly say there's no collusion. It just said there's no criminal conspiracy.

LEMON: Right. Exactly. So, you know, here we are, John, six weeks after Mueller, the report was released, we've heard from Mueller, himself. Yet, there are still so many questions. How important do you think it is for Mueller to testify?

DEAN: I think it is important. I think ultimately, he will testify. He may do part of it with an opening statement and then go behind closed doors. He is not -- he's got grand jury information. He's got national security information. He's got referral cases that can't be revealed.

So it would have to be guarded. There is going to be some un- redaction of any material that relates to Flynn. Judge Sullivan ordered that. So we can anticipate that in probably the next 24 hours.

But, anyway, I think Mueller will testify ultimately and what he doesn't want to do is go into a lot of political theater where he is being attacked by either the Republicans or the Democrats and rather to keep it civil. If you get it off camera, it will be civil.

[23:45:08] LEMON: Yes.

DEAN: That is where those things work best.

LEMON: All right. John Dean, thank you. I appreciate your time.

DEAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Congressman Steve King is in hot water for something he said, again. Something racist. What he said while trying to defend himself against accusations of racism. Kamau Bell weighs in. That is next.


LEMON: Iowa Congressman Steve King at it again. The nine-term Republican who has a long history of hateful views tried to answer an angry constituent who accused him of being racist that by arguing that not all cultures are equal.


[23:50:00] REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If we presume that every culture is equal and has an equal amount to contribute to our civilization, then, we're devaluing the contributions of the people who laid the foundation for America and that is our founding fathers. We need to hang onto those principles and restore them and refurbish the pillars of American exceptionalism.


LEMON: Lots to discuss here. W. Kamau Bell, the host of "United Shades of America" is right here, right now. He don't know. He doesn't even know he is being racist, Kamal. He don't even know.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: I appreciate Steve King giving us a working definition of white supremacy, it's like, yep, that is exactly what it is, being afraid of other cultures, yep, and feeling like you have to be better no matter what. That is the working definition of white supremacy.

LEMON: He is saying that is not racist. He is saying it's not racist when he's actually saying something racist coming out of his mouth.

KAMAU BELL: Well, luckily, the thing is, you don't actually get to determine if you are being racist yourself, that is for others to determine. So, it's fine that he believes he is not being racist, that's not how it works. You don't get to determine if you stepped on my foot, I get to determine if you stepped on my foot, so --

LEMON: And how it feels, right, because I don't know the hurt until --


LEMON: So, listen -- he also told the audience that he does not deal in race. He said it is not about race. It's not -- it's never been about race, it's about culture. So, roll the tape, and then we'll talk.


KING: If you go down the road, a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I'd like to see an America that is just so homogeneous (ph) that -- we look a lot the same. Everyone who is a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calf's the size of cantaloupes, because they're all on 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

I'd ask you go back to your history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?


LEMON: OK, so, this is a Congressman who is asked -- don't -- Kamau -- Kamau. Kamau, look.

KAMAU BELL: Sorry, sorry, I'm back. Sorry. I blacked out for a second, Don, I'm back. I'm back. Yes. All of that was racist. All of it. Next question. "United Shades" this Sunday on CNN. Everybody in Iowa, you should be running against Steve King, everybody should be registering to run against Steve King in Iowa. "United Shades" this Sunday.

LEMON: OK, all right. Let's talk about your show. "United Shades of America." You're going to travel to Salt Lake City where the Mormon Church is struggling to accept the growing LGBTQ community. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been really hurtful, because some people can't wrap their minds around like, being gay, being transgender, being (inaudible), and I'm like, I can't wrap my mind around the fact that I can't wrap their mind around it. That is like saying like, hey, I don't agree with mountains, and it's like -- well, the mountains are there, like, they've always been there, whether you agree with them or not.

KAMAU BELL: So, what do you two think about your religion?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to be in that church for my family, but I was sat down, like, OK, we've heard some things. We've heard that you're gay and then we've heard this other thing and they didn't even want to say transgender. They just said, that other thing.


LEMON: So, listen, we know Mormons don't have a good history when it comes to accepting LGBTQ community. Why are so many people moving to Salt Lake, the headquarters of the religion that opposes them so strongly?

KAMAU BELL: You know, Salt Lake is a big urban environment that is surrounded by a lot of small towns. So, it's like that thing, that the urban environment always attracts the most liberal and sort of progressive and artistic people. And Salt Lake City this dichotomy between -- it's basically run by the LBS Church, but also it has a barging LGBTQ community and there's a lot of conflict in there and a lot of great conversation in there, just (inaudible).

LEMON: I can't wait to watch it. I needed that laugh too. Thank you. W. Kamau Bell. Always a pleasure, sir. Don't miss an all new episode "United Shades of America," with W. Kamau Bell. It's Sunday night at 10:00. We will be right back.


LEMON: In the United States, domestic violence is a leading cause of injury to women. Many of these women have pets they love and they don't want to leave behind if they flee the abuse. Yet only three percent of domestic violence shelters will accept animals. This week's CNN hero came up with a groundbreaking solution that is keeping women and their pets together. Meet Staci Alonso.


built right on the campus of the women's shelters.

Good boy!

So that women fleeing an abusive relationship don't have to choose between leaving and leaving their pets behind.

We've had clients from 21 states. They're driving thousands of miles. That tells you the need and that tells you the power of the relationship between the woman and the pet. When you watch the woman come through the door and then they see their pet, and everything is right in the world for a little while.


LEMON: And to learn more about Staci's life-saving work or to nominate your hero, go to cnnheroes right now. Thanks for watching everyone. Our coverage continues.