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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Lashes Out At Robert Mueller While In France; Pelosi Wants Trump In Prison, Not Impeached; Joe Biden Beats Trump In Texas According To A Poll; Mexico Tariff Still A Go; Joe Biden Is Reversing Course; Graduation Controversy; Remembering D-Day 75 Years. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 6, 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. Thank you so much for joining us. The president of the United States, delivering a moving tribute today to the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy and France on D-Day 75 years ago today.

Praising the surviving veterans who are now in their '90s, as being among the very greatest Americans who ever live. Well, later in this hour, we're going to hear from some -- hear some intense personal stories of the battles of heroes of the Normandy invasion fought on that momentous day.

But in the midst of honoring them, it seems the president just couldn't leave politics and political attacks at home. In the shadow of the cemetery where thousands of fallen Americans were laid to rest, the president sat for an interview with Fox News and didn't hesitate to slam the people who he now considers his enemies including the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you mind if he testifies still? Before you said you didn't care if Mueller testifies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself the last time she -- because what people don't report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Nothing the president said there is true. Mueller has not testified. The entire debate right now is about whether and when he will. So let's discuss now, joining me now is Philip Bump, Matthew Rosenberg, and also April Ryan. Good evening to all of you. By the way, April is the author of "Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House."

Again, hello to everyone.

Philip, I'm going to start with you because you just heard President Trump just, I mean, he's yards away from the graves of these American heroes, anniversary of D-Day. He called a Vietnam veteran a fool. I mean, what is the point of continuing this bash of Robert Mueller?

PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: I mean, it's a great question. I mean, especially because if you think about it, he's actually already won this fight with Robert Mueller. I mean, he spent two years, the entire duration of the Mueller probe essentially, undercutting what Mueller was doing, suggesting that it was biased, these 13 angry Democrats, all these little tag lines that he came up with.

And the result has been that his base doesn't think that Mueller found anything that was problematic for the president. We've seen that over and over. We've seen it in polling. Yet for some reason, President Trump still feels compelled to say, to make these claims. I mean, obviously, the fact that he was doing it while sitting next to a cemetery, you know, Mueller is an honored Army Ranger.

I mean, that is obviously disconnecting of itself, but that he's having this fight still, that he still insists upon, he can't simply just say, you know what, Robert Mueller's work is done, we're done with that and move past it. It is pretty stunning even two years into this administration.

LEMON: Matthew, I want to bring you in now because, you know, the inappropriateness aside, can you give us some clarification on what Trump is talking about when he says "Mueller's testimony"?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, I guess he's talking about the brief press conference, well, press conference. The brief Mueller when Mueller came out, read a statement for about ten minutes and didn't take any questions.

I don't know what he has had to correct out of that. I'm not quite sure what the president's getting at here. And look, just to say what Philip said, you know, the president is not a man who likes to be challenged. This is a point he's going to keep making. His base certainly believes it.

And, you know, the more he does this, the more he is -- he has successfully raised a lot of doubts. That's a strategy that's worked for him and I don't think he cares if it's a cemetery or the Rose Garden. He's going to keep doing it.

LEMON: April Ryan, you know, "Politico" is reporting that in a closed-door meeting with Democratic leaders, that Pelosi said that she'd rather see Trump in prison than impeached, but I mean, if she believes Trump deserves to go to prison, how is that not grounds for launching an impeachment inquiry?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Don, remember just a few years ago Donald Trump was saying "lock her up" and now Nancy Pelosi is saying "lock him up." It's cyclical. It's coming back. You know, Nancy Pelosi is trying to be strategic.

Bottom line, she doesn't want the sentiment to go the way of the president. She feels -- we're talking about who's winning here -- she feels that she's winning. She feels that the American public is winning with the courts going after the president and them winning rulings in the courts to get more information that could lead, possibly, to impeachment proceedings.

But they're banking on these wins and banking on really being able to nailing the coffin shut. Right now, the coffin is closing. It is not shut. They're trying to shut the coffin before they go into any kind of proceedings with Donald Trump so that the American public will not sway the sympathy or support to him and look at the facts for what they are.

The reality of what is going on, stemming from all of this Mueller investigation, which the president has not won as of yet. He's trying to win. This thing is still ongoing. It's not a win for the president as of yet.

LEMON: Yes, he thought it was after, you know, after Barr came out and said what he had to say about the report.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: Listen, Philip, you know, Trump was asked about Nancy Pelosi's comments that he deserved to be in prison. Here's how he responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[23:05:06] TRUMP: I think she's a disgrace. I actually don't think she's a talented person. I've tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She's incapable of doing deals. She's a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.

The Mueller report came out. It was a disaster for them. They thought their good friend Bobby Mueller was going to give them a great report and it came out with a report with 13 horrible angry Democrats who were totally biased against me.

A couple of them worked for Hillary Clinton. They then added five more, also Democrats, with all of that, 2.5 years, think of it. Before I even got elected, they've been going after me and they have nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What is he trying to get at here?

BUMP: I mean, I think what he's trying to do is I think he legitimately feels from a personal standpoint, threatened by Nancy Pelosi because she's the leader of the House Democrats.

The House Democrats have pushed forward on a number of investigations, not only things that follow up on the Robert Mueller investigation obviously, but also looking at the transition period, looking at his inaugural committee, looking at his private finances and his personal businesses.

All of those things are potentially problematic and I think to the point that we were just discussing. I think that the House Democrats are hoping they might just turn over some rock and find something which gives them a burst of energy to move forward on impeachment. I think that's part of what's going on here. Trump is aware of that.

RYAN: What about checks and balances? What about checks and balances?

BUMP: Yes, I mean, it's certainly fair. I mean, yes.

RYAN: The old thing that we used to do, checks and balances.

LEMON: Go ahead.

BUMP: Well, I mean, I think that President Trump has shown pretty consistently that he's not particularly concerned about Congress' ability to, you know, keep him in check, but I mean, the thing I like to come back to is the entire e-mail server investigation stemmed from the Benghazi Commission.

The Benghazi Commission discovered that Hillary Clinton had this e- mail server and that kicked off a huge amount of conversation in the 2016 campaign, and that certainly not what they started the Benghazi investigation to find.

I think that the Democrats are very aware that you never know what you're going to find once you start digging. And I think the fact that Trump and his administration are digging in so hard to keep them from getting information suggest that they know that.

LEMON: But it's different now to them. It's different now. You know, it's just -- it's politics. I got to ask you and April, I know you want to weigh in, because I just want to ask you because Nancy Pelosi, Matthew, is the one person who does not want impeachment or the main person, the one that has to be convinced.

So, why is Trump being so hard on her? I think I know the answer to that question because, you know, she's one of the boogiemen that -- I guess would be boogie people in this that he pulls out along with President Obama and on and on when he, you know, when he needs one. But go on, Matthew, sorry.

ROSENBERG: I mean, yes, I think you're right. You know, for a large part of the Republican Party, they thought well, we'll tar Nancy Pelosi as this liberal from San Francisco. It didn't work so well. You know, the Democrats did incredibly well in the midterm elections under her leadership and she's clearly trying to keep some discipline here.

She doesn't want them to look like they're going off the rails after Trump. And, you know, I think there are others in the party who feel the way she does which is better to focus on defeating him in an election and then if there are crimes for him to be indicted on, let him be indicted.

But let's not make this a political circus, which is, like, let's face facts. Impeachment, in the end, a political act and let's do that through elections if we can.

LEMON: April, you know, you said what about checks and balances? And what about those things, but listen, if you --

RYAN: That's true.

LEMON: -- when you think about it, Nancy Pelosi is in a very interesting position here because there are members of her party who are calling for impeachment. It appears to be a growing number.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: She's saying no. And now you have, you know, the House Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler, privately pushing her to open an impeachment inquiry. She didn't budge. What is going on here? What is going to happen? Where's the momentum going?

RYAN: Well, the momentum is for impeachment and so many people are saying it will be inevitable and she knows this, but she is trying to make sure once again that she has everything, she has everything nailed down and it's irrefutable.

She does not want to get there and for Donald Trump to say, see, I told you so. He keeps talking about collusion, collusion, but there is this real issue of obstruction of justice and they're trying to get all the facts. They're trying to investigate. They're trying to find the trail of money.

They're looking in every nook and cranny to make sure -- and not only that, Don, if you start the process, once you get to impeachment, it could happen after the election. So this is a very delicate time. They want to make sure that they take back the White House and they keep seats and add on to local, state, and federal seats that they are gaining.

They want to have the momentum behind them versus looking like its kneejerk and then making mistakes along the way that will empower this president and give him a second term.

[23:10:00] LEMON: Interesting. Matthew, our sources telling CNN that Jerry Nadler is privately -- he would like to issue Mueller a subpoena -- Mueller, within week -- to Mueller within weeks. What is he waiting for?

ROSENBERG: It's a good question. I mean, I think --

LEMON: Thank you.

ROSENBERG: -- they've been talking to Mueller -- you know, I think this is something they wanted to do without a subpoena. They wanted everybody to come along voluntarily. And I don't think they want to turn it into something confrontational or for it to appear that way, but I do think that they want him there.

And I think, you know, there's a difference between reading and hearing and we saw that today with the voicemail that was released from the president's lawyer to Michael Flynn's lawyer. And we had read the transcript of this voicemail a few weeks ago in the Mueller report. But hearing it made it seem much more real and much more present and I

think they understand, that even if Mueller gets up there and recites his report, it's still going to make it seem much more present and to a lot of Americans, as what they're going to see and hear and finally understand.

LEMON: Yes. I think, listen, think that's a very astute observation or analysis, Matthew. Philip, listen, I think he's right when -- because there are people who are out there and you saw some of the town halls and some of the people especially the woman who said I didn't know there was anything negative in there about the president in the entire Mueller report.

And you would think, well, where has she been? But people listen to the news that reaffirms their beliefs. So, you know, the Special Counsel getting up there and speaking, you know, at a hearing for the world to see in front of cameras live on television that could have a big impact.

BUMP: Yes, I mean, it could. The challenge though, is actually after Mueller gave his statement last week, I went back and I watched the Fox News broadcast that night and into the next morning, the "Fox & Friends."

And looked at how they covered it. And the way they covered it is exactly how you would expect defenders of President Trump cover it. They diminished Robert Mueller. Tucker Carlson called him, I mean, he used some really pejorative terms for him.

I mean, the way they present it was, this guy is a hardcore Democrat, he's off the reservation and what he's saying is nonsense, yada, yada, yada. Granted if you have Mueller on the stand for hours and hours and hours, it's a little harder to do that, but it is still the case that the wagons have been circled since May 17th, 2017.

They have been defending President Trump against Robert Mueller's investigation for years and it built up this entire alternate theory of what actually happened and how this investigation started that is deeply rooted by now.

And so that's why I think that from the Democratic side, yes, getting Mueller on the stand could provide interesting and important new information. Whether or not it's going to change minds I think is a much, much tougher climb for a lot of people.

LEMON: Weren't they just commending and praising him for the report and the way that when Barr summarized it?

BUMP: Sure.

LEMON: They're saying that Mueller did the right thing and he was a great American and then all of a sudden now.

BUMP: I mean, I would not say consistency is their strength.

LEMON: I heard you, April, "uh-huh." That was an official April response. Thank you, all. I appreciate it. Have a good night. I'll see you --

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: -- soon. Uh-huh.

The 2020 race is closer than you think and a new poll has people wondering, could a Democratic presidential candidate win Texas for the first time in more than 40 years? We'll discuss. Uh-huh.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So listen to this, for more than 40 years, Texas has gone Republican in every presidential election, but could that be changing? Why? Here's a new poll. It's from Quinnipiac. It shows President Trump losing to Joe Biden, 48 to 44 in the Lone Star state. Who better to talk about this than Mr. Mark McKinnon? He is here now. You don't call, you don't write. Long time, no see. You doing OK?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN: I'm kicking it, captain.

LEMON: All right. Rock on. Let's get into this. So no one knows Texas like you. Could the state actually go blue, you think?

MCKINNON: No. I really don't. And I -- my advice to Democrats -- I've worked for Ann Richards when she, you know, as a Democratic governor. I worked for George Bush as a Republican governor, spent 40 years in Texas. It's a really conservative state and my advice to Democrats is do not get distracted.

I mean, if Democrats are winning Texas, they're going to win 48 states. Texas is, you know, demographics are changing and Democrats get seduced every cycle that this is going to happen, but Democrats need to pay attention to swing states.

That's where the election is going to be decided and the mistake that Democrats made last time is I remember covering for "The Circus" and we're following Hillary Clinton in the last week down to Arizona. And the question is, you know, it's clear what they were trying to do, which was put more points on the board.

They were trying to just run up the score and ignored Pennsylvania, ignored Wisconsin, ignored Michigan. So, the fact is, yes -- does this say something? Yes. It says that there's -- that the president has trouble out there and that there's an opportunity for Democrats, but the opportunity is not in Texas. Pay no attention to Texas.

LEMON: OK. Does it say this -- and I'll -- a question at the end, because I just want to put this up. In 2012, Romney took Texas by almost 16 points. In 2016, Trump won by nine. And then, you know, those 2018 midterms that we talk so much about, Cruz beat Beto O'Rourke, by less than three points.

Listen, the election is a long way off and as you said, you know, it's -- chances are Democrats aren't going to take Texas. But given the numbers that I just gave you, is this a troubling trend for Republicans?

MCKINNON: Well, it's a troubling trend for Trump. No question about it.

LEMON: Got you.

MCKINNON: He's underwater there. He's underwater in states that matter more than Texas. But Trump won by nine, Ted Cruz, you know, had a very tight race, but think about this, he was the most unpopular senator not just in Texas but in America at the time.

And Beto ran a great race, got close. Ted Cruz isn't on the ballot, John Cornyn is. John Cornyn is a very popular Republican in Texas so, he's not going to be a drag on the ticket. He'll be at the top of the ticket right under the president.

[23:19:58] So, you know, again, I just -- yes, it testifies that there's trouble out there for Trump and Republicans and have to pay attention to it, but Democrats should just not get distracted and go spend a bunch of money on Texas.

LEMON: When you said -- right off when you said it's a troubling trend for Trump, I knew where you were going with that. This poll was taken before Trump's announcement on Mexico tariffs, Mark, I mean, which could cost Texas along more than 117,000 jobs. That's according to a new report. Could this make it more troubling, Texas' trend for Trump to move Texans away from him?

MCKINNON: Absolutely. That's a huge x-factor and that could be -- and an x-factor could be significant. Think about this, I mean, as always, is the case with this president, that very few Republicans even though ideologically on a policy level oppose tariffs, aren't standing up to the president.

And, you know, a lot of them are saying they just want to allow him to have the leverage. But the people who are making a lot of noise about this are Ted Cruz who said there's not a yes vote for this idea in the Republican Senate, John Cornyn, who's going to be up for re-election because he understands the potential consequences, not just for the party but for him in Texas, and Dan Crenshaw, the very popular congressman from Houston --

LEMON: Right.

MCKINNON: -- who's been way out front on border issues. So those three very significant Republicans in Texas are screaming about this and they think it's a really bad idea.

LEMON: Yes, well, we know, you know, when it comes to these tariffs in Mexico, the Republicans aren't really happy about it. The question is, will they actually do something about it or will they continue to cower before Trump like they've done with almost everything else?

MCKINNON: Well, I think if recent history's been any guide, that they're not going to, they're not going to stand up other than these Republicans in Texas making a lot of noise. But at the end of the day they want to give him the leverage.

And, you know, the interesting thing about Trump is that, you know, most Republicans are wed to him not because of ideology, not because there's a personal relationship or they really like the guy, it is strictly all about power. And that's kind of a sad thing -- sad state of affairs.

LEMON: Well, I have got to ask you, you know, we had Ana Navarro on the other night. She gave this story about, you know, when a baby comes, you know, and the baby comes and it's born, they look at the baby and they say, are you anti-tariffs, are you, you know, pro-small government, are you ever -- then they say, OK, this baby is Republican. Is there anything that is more anti-Republican than tariffs?

MCKINNON: No, and, you know, ironically an interestingly, at least in my case, you know, I was a Democrat in Texas for years until this guy named George W. Bush came to town and said I'm a compassionate conservative. I was getting a little older, a little more conservative. I didn't like a lot of Democratic sort of the way the party was headed in a lot of ways nationally.

And it was a big part of the message that attracted me to George W. Bush was his forward-leaning embrace on the immigration issue. And when we ran the presidential campaign in 1999, he wanted to talk about immigration and embracing our southern neighbors in a very compassionate way.

And even though our pollsters said that's trouble, that's kind of a third rail, he said, I don't care, I care about this issue and I want to do something about it. And I thought about this just before the show came on, and I realized that was 1999. So this is 20 years later.

That's a third of my life that we've been talking about this issue as a policy and haven't been able to do anything about it. In fact, ironically, Donald Trump ran on this issue and it's worse than ever.

LEMON: Yes, I mean, listen, George W. Bush really took a lot of heat for how he wanted to handle the immigration policy.

MCKINNON: He did. So did John McCain. Yes.

LEMON: And it was the opposite of how, you know, Republicans in this moment want to deal with it. So, times certainly are different now. You know, Mark, the administration still has not said specifically what Mexico can do to stop the 5 percent tariffs from going into effect. Do you think anyone including the president knows what it will take or you think it's vague on purpose so that the president can say, oh, well, they gave some concession, I don't know, go on. What do you think?

MCKINNON: Yes, I think it's vague on purpose. And it's been interesting to kind of try and read between the lines about what's happening and this notion of Mexico creating the sanctuary for those coming across from Central American countries, you know, as the initial stop for asylum or other than United States. So this -- LEMON: Do you think it will go into effect or is it just bolstering?

MCKINNON: I think it's a lot of kabuki. I mean, you know, at the end of the day, Donald Trump has run out of legislative options which you can put at his doorstep. There was a plan if they had just accepted the DACA idea from Democrats, which I think would have been a good solution, everybody would have won. Missed that opportunity and has now run out of legislative solutions.

He's running -- he has run in 2016 on this issue. He's going to run on this in 2020. It's worse than ever so he's got to do something and the one thing that he's got is the hammer of tariffs to hold out there over their head.

[23:25:04] LEMON: Mark McKinnon, well we don't -- we use it on a fireplace with a fireside chat, so I know we don't have that, but I know you got a hat for us.

MCKINNON: I always got a hat, man.

LEMON: Thank you, buddy. Always a pleasure. Kick it.

MCKINNON: Kick it.

LEMON: See you soon. Mark McKinnon.

All right, Joe Biden changing his mind about a major piece of abortion legislation. What he is saying now and what the political fallout might be. Nice hat.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:29:51]LEMON: After coming under increasing fire for his support for the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old ban on federal dollars being used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger, the former vice president Joe Biden is reversing course. Here's his explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have supported the Hyde Amendment like many, many others have, because there were sufficient moneys and circumstances where women were able to exercise that right, women of color, poor women, women who were not able to have access, and it was not under attack as it was then as it is now. But circumstances have changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. So joining me now to discuss, Hilary Rosen and Keith Boykin.

Good evening to both of you. I'm so glad to have both of you here in the studio. Usually you're in D.C. I'm glad you're here.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Happy to be here. LEMON: Thank you. Let's start with you, then. So he's -- recently,

the vice president, he's recently taken heat for reaffirming his support for the Hyde Amendment. So he has now -- he affirmed his support and now he is having to reverse course on it. Is this the right move and what is the political fallout?

ROSEN: Yeah. Well, it's clearly the right move because it's the right position to take. He should have taken that position all along. The Hyde Amendment which prevented funding for abortion, most disproportionately affected poor women.

So, he was wrong all those years, in my view, and, you know, honestly, if it takes change and a new day to get people to turn around, I'm OK with that. I care about where they are now, but he was clearly wrong all those two years.

LEMON: I mean, listen, there's no question that within the party, right, that the party that is for pro-choice, pro-choice party, that this puts him more in line with his party. So was this -- what was this all about? Is that what this is all about? To --

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it was necessary because he's running for president in 2020, and he can't be bogged down by ideas from the 1970s and 80s. Bill Clinton supported repealing the Hyde Amendment. Barack Obama supported repealing the Hyde Amendment. Hillary Clinton supported repealing the Hyde Amendment.

To have Joe Biden be the front-runner of the Democratic Party in 2020 to go backward to before Bill Clinton would be a catastrophe for the party. It is not where the base is. It is not where the party needs to be.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, he's got a long voting record.

ROSEN: Yeah.

LEMON: Any other issues you think that may come up that he's going to have to explain and that he --

ROSEN: Well, he's got a thousand issues, right?

LEMON: Yeah.

ROSEN: You know he went through this when he first announced. There was a lot of discussion about criminal justice and his vote on the crime bill. He's going to have to deal with that. Still, he's going to have to talk about the Hyde Amendment. There are -- look, I have -- I'm of two minds of this. First and most importantly, I think, you know, the three of us are gay, right?

If I came out in politics when politicians wouldn't even talk -- when politicians wouldn't even talk to me, when they would see me coming and turn around and run the other way because they knew I was going to talk to them about gay rights. Now, it's a completely different story. If I didn't give politicians some room to evolve on issues, like, we'd never have friends. And so I do think that it's OK if people switch their positions, but they ought to be honest about it. They ought to say, this is what I was thinking now, my position has evolved, and I -- this is where I am now. And most importantly, this is how -- what kind of a leader I intend to be.

That doesn't mean that you have to trust everybody and everything. You have to judge their authenticity. You have to judge whether it's real. But I do think that we can take people where they are today.

LEMON: The good thing about -- for -- the good news for Joe Biden is that he's been in politics for a long time. He has a long resume. The bad news is that he's been in politics for a long time --

ROSEN: For sure.

LEMON: -- and he has a long resume. Go on. Do you think he's going to have some explaining to do, more explaining to do, on the 1994 crime bill if he's going to change that? Because even President Clinton admitted that that was a mistake, because he's saying now that, well, it didn't lead to mass incarceration. Go on.

BOYKIN: Well, I mean, yes, the crime bill will be an issue that will dog his campaign for a long time just as it did for Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton wasn't even in the Congress at the time. She was the first lady. She didn't sign the bill like President Obama did. She didn't author the bill like --

LEMON: She supported it and she made comments.

BOYKIN: Yes, she did, but she wasn't the author of the bill like Joe Biden. She didn't sign it. She didn't vote for it like Bernie Sanders did. She got so much criticism for the crime bill that she had nothing to do with the construction of. Why shouldn't Joe Biden be charged with responsibility for the crime bill, too, since he was the one who was the author of the bill?

I'm not saying that that means he's disqualified from the race, but I think it would be completely inconsistent for people who call themselves progressives to hold Hillary Clinton to a higher standard than they hold Joe Biden.

ROSEN: He takes responsibility for it because he wants the credit for other pieces of the bill, you know, whether it is --

LEMON: Violence against women.

ROSEN: -- community support --

[23:35:00] BOYKIN: Policing.

ROSEN: -- and community policing and then later violence against women. So, you know, you're not going to get the credit without being willing to take responsibility for it. But, you know, anybody was in the Senate then. Bernie Sanders has been noticeably quiet about the crime bill and his vote there. He's letting Joe Biden take all the heat. You know, it's interesting. Sanders has as long a voting record as Joe Biden does.

BOYKIN: Longer.

ROSEN: We'll see. We'll see if people are as, you know, scrutinizing of Bernie Sanders as they are of Biden.

LEMON: I'm thinking about what said about allowing people to evolve and change because we tend to look back on some things with a 2019 lens or 2018, whatever year it is, right?

ROSEN: Right.

LEMON: And we look back and we have to remember that even then, not that it was right, it did, you know, cause many people to go to prison and disrupts a lot of lives, but there were many African-Americans --

BOYKIN: There were.

LEMON: -- who were in Congress and who were in politics who wanted this. Many people in the community wanted this bill to go through. And now people are looking back and this was wrong, this is terrible. None of those people are getting blamed except the people who are running for president of the United States.

BOYKIN: Well, yeah, because politics is a process of evolution and these people who were in Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus was split on the crime bill in the 1990s. But that's also reflection of the fact that people actually were against it at the time. It's not revolutionary to stand up and be against the idea of mass incarceration in the 1990s.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you, both. I appreciate it. Good seeing you.

ROSEN: You, too.

LEMON: Always good seeing you, but you're always here in New York.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: She's not always here.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you, both. A valedictorian says that she was silenced in the middle of her graduation speech because she mentioned the names Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice. She's going to tell me what happened, next.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It is graduation season and valedictorians across the country are delivering their commencement addresses. But one Dallas high school valedictorian, Rooha Hagher, says the principal ordered her microphone cut off when she mentioned the names of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice. She called them victims of injustice. Rooha tells The Washington Post she was advised beforehand not to mention their names, but she did, anyway.

Let's look at what happened and I want you to notice, it appears the principal signaled for the mic to be cut off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROOHA HAGHAR, DALLAS HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN: To the kids that were murdered in senseless mass shootings, to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and all the other children who became victims of injustice.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry the mic (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So the Post says the principal told those in attendance that it was a technical difficulty. Joining me now, though, is the valedictorian, Rooha Haghar. Hi, Rooha. In the clip --

HAGHAR: Hi.

LEMON: -- he said technical difficulty, but all of a sudden when he got to the mic, it magically worked again. We'll talk about that. So in this clip, your principal -- I'll put up the video for people to see -- seems to be signaling someone just after you mentioned Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice. You say that you were asked beforehand not to bring up their names. Who approached you and how did that conversation go?

HAGHAR: You mean the conversation before my graduation?

LEMON: Yes, ma'am.

HAGHAR: So I had actually two meetings with my principal where he explained to me why mentioning the names would be outside of the valedictorian speech guideline, which I never read and I don't think any student has access to. He also tried to tell me that until you are in a position of power, that there's no point in mentioning Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, which I also disagreed with.

And we spoke for a few minutes and ultimately the decision was mine because though they did edit my speech and the edited speech was in the binder, I still had those lines memorized, and I went ahead and said them, anyway.

LEMON: So what were you thinking when your mic stopped working?

HAGHAR: I don't exactly remember. I know that I was expecting some sort of consequence, but mostly in the form of them holding my diploma for a certain amount of time. I never expected them to cut the mic off right there. So I was -- I was really disappointed.

LEMON: Hmm.

HAGHAR: I think that's the way to explain it. I was disappointed that adults who always encouraged us to think for ourselves and we are the leaders of tomorrow, decided to silence me. I was very disappointed.

LEMON: In your speech, you asked classmates to remember not just Trayvon and Tamir but all the kids who don't have a chance to get an education. Why is it so important that you call attention to those children?

HAGHAR: So, Don, the more I think about it, the more graduation feels like a privilege, and I'm going to tell you why, because, yes, it is hard work. It is a lot of hard work. High school is. But there are also circumstances that have allowed us to get to this point.

And there are so many students, so many students that just are simply not allowed, you know, because maybe they are gunned down by the police or simply there isn't a school surrounding them and that's why they don't get to graduate high school.

So when I was writing it, I was reflecting, and graduation feels like a privilege. I wanted the graduating class to know that you have an opportunity.

[23:45:00] And, you know, don't waste it. And always remember the students that were left behind. So maybe in your future work, you will find a way to help them or make sure it doesn't happen again. So that was basically me just reminding them of basically putting their graduation into context, into global context.

LEMON: I just want to read the statement from the school district, OK? Then you can respond to this. "In Dallas ISD, we educate leaders of tomorrow and encourage student voices, and we are looking into this matter." So, they encourage student voices. How do you feel about how this was handled?

HAGHAR: So I'm going to -- I'm going to be honest with you guys. I know Twitter and I know social media, it's easy to just go ahead and name call and then cancel people and say, oh, they should get fired and I don't want to deal with them. But I don't see it that way.

I'm not mad at my principal to the point of me wanting him to lose his job. I'm certainly not mad at the DIC enough to want to take legal action or any sort of that thing. I just feel like this situation is just a learning opportunity. I know that my principal does not hate me because he's been my principal for to two years. I know his decision was not rooted in hate,

So maybe it was just him fearing for his job or just simply not understanding where I'm coming from. So I want this moment and this opportunity to just be for education and for people to have these conversations so maybe he will learn. I don't want him to lose his job because that's just not -- not the way that my brain works. I want him to learn from this mistake and we can all move forward from it, so yeah. LEMON: It sounds like you're really way ahead of the game because, you know, everyone is aggrieved now. Everyone wants to be upset by some reason, looking for reasons to cancel people, to be outraged on social media. And you are much more mature and you have a fantastic outlook. That is the outlook that's going to make you successful. Don't ever stop that. Don't ever forget that.

HAGHAR: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

HAGHAR: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you so much for that. I'm so glad that you said that. I really appreciate it. Listen, I have no doubt that you are going to go on and run the world one day. I encourage you to do so. Thank you for coming on CNN. OK?

HAGHAR: Thank you. Thank you so much, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Seventy-five years ago today, thousands of young American men, many still teenagers, took part in one of the largest and bloodiest battles in world history, the stormy of the beaches of Normandy and France to free Europe from the evil group of Nazi Germany.

Thousands and thousands never made it home. But those who did never forgot their comrades. Tonight we honor the heroes of D-Day. Here's Scott McLean.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For most people north of 90 years old, the trip overseas is a massive undertaking. But not for veterans of the Normandy invasion, not for the men who took these beaches 75 years ago on D-Day.

From the air and from the sea, more than 160,000 allied American, Canadian and British troops stormed the beaches, aiming to take back France. They were greeted by German land mines and machine gunfire.

Vern Ollar almost didn't make it even to the shore of Omaha Beach. He was on board a military landing craft that was hit. Weighed down by heavy equipment, Ollar almost drowned, but he was one of the lucky ones.

VERN OLLAR, D-DAY VETERAN: Lost a lot of guys. And I always get a little lump in my throat as all those guys -- we had almost 2,000 D- Day just on Omaha, 18, 19, 21-year-old guys. It makes me -- I get choked up.

MCLEAN: Some 10,000 allied troops were killed, wounded or missing in action that day, most of them American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very nice to meet you.

OLLAR: You take care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, too.

MCLEAN: At 97 years old, it's not easy to get anywhere. But this tour of Normandy is a lot nicer than his first one, aboard a luxury cruise ship with 17 other American veterans on a tour organized by the National World War II Museum.

Paratrooper Guy Whidden is on the same tour. On D-Day, he was on one of the first planes to reach France. He has a wheelchair under him today, but back then he needed only a parachute above him.

GUY WHIDDEN, D-DAY VETERAN: I always thought God was with me. I don't remember any fear at all. Some apprehension. Not knowing exactly what was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staff Sergeant Tom Rice.

MCLEAN: Tom Rice got a hero send off on his flight back to Normandy. As he flew over the beaches, the pilot even pointed out where he had landed. Seventy-five years later, it took a lot of preparation to get there.

TOM RICE, D-DAY VETERAN: I've been strengthening up all the muscles on my body wherever I possibly can, going twice a week to a gymnasium.

MCLEAN: Preparation because the 97-year-old planned to arrive the same way he did on D-Day, out the side of an airplane.

RICE: They're not shooting at us this time. That makes it much safer.

MCLEAN: At a ceremony to mark the anniversary, President Trump said that more than 100 vets in attendance were among the greatest Americans who ever lived.

(APPLAUSE)

MCLEAN: With all of them in their 90s, some were helped or wheeled to their seats or had blankets to keep them warm.

[23:54:58] It's likely this was their final chance to visit the country they restored freedom to, and a chance for those deliberated to deliver one last time a message that can't be said enough.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: I just want to say thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)