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A Sigh of Relief for Mexicans; President Trump Back to His Signature Image. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired June 7, 2019 - 23:00   ET



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

We've got breaking news. President Trump announcing his threat on tariffs on Mexican goods are indefinitely suspended after reaching an agreement with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants to the border, or at the border, I should say.

Here's what he tweeted shortly after returning home from Europe. He says, "I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday against Mexico are hereby indefinitely suspended.

Mexico in turn has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico and to our southern border. This is being done to greatly reduce or eliminate illegal immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States."

Let's discuss now, Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS. He joins us now. Fareed, good evening to you. What do you think about what's happened here with President Trump and the Mexican tariffs? The tariffs that weren't, I should say?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Well, it doesn't appear that Donald Trump got what wanted. When he started if you recall, he said unless Mexico reduces this migrant flow essentially to zero or ends the migrant flow completely the tariffs will go into effect.

Perhaps we have to come to recognize that with this president the statements of, you know, statements of presidential authority are no longer sort of statements of fact but they are rhetorical metaphorical statements because obviously nothing that's happened is going to reduce the migrant flows to zero or end the migrant flows.

The Mexicans have essentially agreed to enforce their immigration laws more strenuously. They've agreed to take a few additional measures. It seems as though Trump wanted an end to this crisis because it became clear to him there was opposition from Republicans in the Senate. There was opposition from businesses that operate across the border and as a result he needed something from the Mexicans that would allow him to declare victory and say it crisis is over.

And the Mexicans gave him enough to say that but in no way does it represents t what Trump's original demand was, which was the migrant flows end or go down to zero.

LEMON: Yes. Whenever the reality of this deal ends up being do you think that it's going to embolden President Trump to threaten more tariffs with other countries in the future?

ZAKARIA: I think it's unlikely because Mexico is an unusual position. It's a very lopsided relationship. The United States has a lot of power, you know, the United States is the richest country in the world. Mexico is a developing country on its border.

It's frankly an extremely unwise use of that power because you have ignited an anti-American nationalism in Mexico. Mexico is a country which, over the last 30 years the United States has helped transform from an anti-American radical, socialist, left-wing country to a country that basically very pro-American.

Even now with the radical, socialist president, the Mexicans have been the grown-ups. They have been the ones constantly saying we are pro- American; we want to solve this. Let's work together. And Trump has been the kind of petulant bully in this whole process.

And secondly, it's important to point out the United States has been the leader in the world for free trade, for opening up markets, for getting countries to reduce barriers. For the United States to willy- nilly be threatening tariffs all the time, which by the way are in complete contravention and violation of the World Trade Organizations rules is utter hypocrisy.

Just to explain what we are accusing China of on the other side of the world is violating WTO rules. Everything Donald Trump has done with Mexico and by the way with China as well is in complete contradiction and violation of the WTO rules.

So, again, on one hand say China is a cheat because they are breaking the WTO rules while we do it constantly and with every country that we have a squabble with.

LEMON: I just want to read a part of your new piece. Your piece is called "Trump is destroying three decades of hard work with Mexico."

[23:04:57] And you write in part and you said. "Mexico used to be a reflexively anti-American country, radical and resentful towards its powerful neighbors to the north. But starting in the 1990s, through the careful efforts of leaders on both sides of the border, that changed until Trump came along." Do you still believe President Trump has damaged U.S./Mexico relations?

ZAKARIA: Absolutely. Absolutely. If you look at the levels of anti- Americanism in Mexico. And by the way, the same is true in Canada, the same is true in Europe. You've gone from countries that were very trusting of American leadership, that were very respectful of the United States and that support has collapsed.

And it's because we are using our power in a way that seems bullying, that seems petulant, that seems one sided. And it's totally unnecessary. We have been able to get the Mexicans to help the United States on the drug trade. We've help them, we've got them to help us on these migrant flows.

You know, the one thing important to point out, Don. People need to understand; these are not Mexicans trying to come into the United States. These are Central Americans crossing through Mexico who are trying get to the United States applying for asylum.

This is -- the Mexican government is sort of caught in the middle here between impoverished Central Americans fleeing violence and gang violence and poverty trying to get to the U.S. and the Mexicans have been trying to help and they are trying better. Mexico is not Germany. They do not have the most competent state in the world.

So all of this could have been done through cooperation in a way that recognized that Mexico was a partner of the United States. But for Trump it's important that it always be that he wins and you lose. And that's a very unfortunate tendency.

Because the other side has domestic politics too. Whether it's Mexico, whether it's Canada, whether it's China. These countries, these leaders have to be able to say to their people, their political system look, I got a good deal.

But for Trump it's so important that he's seem that he with wins, that it force the other side a to be humiliated. Now Mexico has to deal with it. But a lot of other countries don't. If you look at North Korea, China, these are much harder countries to just bully into accepting your way.

LEMON: Yes. I also want to get, Fareed to the president's overseas trip meeting with the queen, honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day. These are traditional ceremonial duties that usually put a president in the best light. He had a couple of moments.

But what does it say about the president that he also used this week to launch vicious attacks and interfere with other countries politics and lie on the world stage?

ZAKARIA: The president of the United States is unusual. There are other leaders like this but it's unusual that he is both the head of state and the head of government. And so, when the president travels abroad particularly, usually what you see is him fulfilling that role that head of state.

You know, in a sense he is our constitutional monarch as well as being our prime minister. And so generally, there's a message of unity, of cooperation, of harmony. What Trump did was he was the head of state. He was also the head of government. He was also a partisan political leader, picking favorites within among the Tory party as to who was going to be prime minister. Abusing the mayor of London.

I mean, it just felt very undignified and unseemly. And as I say, it's fine for our local politician, if fine if you're a partisan. Maybe it's even fine if you're just a prime minister.

But the President of the United States is the head of state, he represents the country in a way that the queen represents the country in Great Britain. And it was unfortunate that he didn't seem to recognize that that was his role and that is his role particularly when he leaves the shores of the United States.

LEMON: Fareed, I also want to get to this new report from the Washington Post that the White House blocked an intelligence official from submitting written testimony to Congress, a warning climate change could be potentially catastrophic because its clash would the president's stance on the issue.

And I should note that the Post was unable to reach the official and the White House would not comment. But I mean, this seems pretty disturbing.

ZAKARIA: Yes. You know what's sad about it was, I actually thought I saw a glimmer of a change in the president's attitude. If you watched his interview with Piers Morgan.

Piers Morgan asked him whether or not his meeting with Prince Charles had changed his mind because it seemed as though Prince Charles took the opportunity of, I think it was tea with the president to spend almost the entire time trying to convince Donald Trump that climate change was real that we had a responsibility to deal with it.

[23:09:55] And Trump seemed genuinely respectful, almost we are struck by the degree to which Prince Charles was concerned about this. Because he kept saying he's just worried about the future, he's worried about future generations.

I think it's so admirable that he thinks about the future. He didn't seem to get the idea that what Prince Charles was trying to do was to get him to think not just about the present and his present political advantage, but also to think about the future and also to think about his children and his grandchildren, you know, all the future generations out there.

So, I actually watched that and thought that in some way Prince Charles had seemed to move the president, at least slightly in understanding that this a much larger issue than a narrow partisan issue. But you read kind of these reports and you seem to see business as usual.

LEMON: Fareed Zakaria, I always appreciate your time. Thank you so much. We'll be watching this weekend. Don't miss Fareed Zakaria GPS, Sunday at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m.

Those threatened tariffs to Mexico, according to the report could have cost some 400,000 American jobs. So is it a coincident that the president announced a last-minute agreement on a day a weak jobs report came out?


LEMON: President Trump announcing tonight that he will not impose his threatened tariffs on Mexico after the two countries reached an agreement to stem the flow of undocumented migrants at the southern border. Economists had warned American jobs would be lost if a trade war with

Mexico are to occur. Earlier today, a weak jobs report for May was released, fueling suspicions Trump's ramped up trade war with China may be having an impact on the economy.

Let's discuss, Catherine Rampell is here. Van Jones, Alice Stewart. Hello to all. That's the first question, really, Catherine. The economy really is the issue. And when you, especially when you look at the polls right now, right? And so, this president I'm sure is it's do or die when it comes to the economy for the re-election process. Do you think he looked at this jobs numbers, only 75,000 added in May and did that scare him to this deal?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It well could have contributed to it. I think the combination of the lackluster jobs numbers and the catastrophic damage that was predicted for an economy, even if the economy were doing quite well and seems to be slowing.

Plus, all of the business groups that have come out against him. One hundred forty of which signed onto a letter today organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the threat off an eventual confrontation with Republicans on the Hill who seem to have finally maybe sort of kind grown a spine.

I think all of those things put together made Trump look at this deal or look at this arson, essentially that he had set and said -- and say you know what, I'll take whatever minor relatively meaningless concessions that I can get and declare victory.

LEMON: Did we say it was going to end up earlier in the week. I mean I don't know if it --


RAMPELL: Yes, yes. I mean, I've said this multiple times.

LEMON: That is you.

RAMPELL: Other people have said this multiple times. This is not, certainly not the first time that observation has been made.

LEMON: Van, the president seems to relish drama as we know, right, that's no secret, making this 11th hour deal. But had those tariffs gone into effect. I mean, it's set to hit every American in their wallet. Did he have more to lose do you think or maybe us and Mexico.


LEMON: You think?

JONES: He didn't get much. He folded and he was bluffing. And part of the problem that we have is a lot of people in the Trump base are hurting economically. And by the way, don't forget, you know, Don, you remember back when Obama had completed his term. Hillary Clinton was running. She is saying the economy is great, the economy is great, and it was healing. But there were big pockets of people who were hurting and it sounded tone deaf. You got Trump now about to be in the same situation. He keeps talking about how great his economic reforms are. And listen, on paper, those numbers are unbelievable.

But you get into some of these communities, as you know I go to red states and red counties all the time. These folks are hurting and they're scared, they're hurting, and uncertain.

LEMON: Right.

JONES: They are huring and uncertain. And Trump is making it worse for them. You got, listen, when farmers lose markets they don't want to be on welfare, they don't want to bailout. They want to be able to sell their products. You do not put the gun to the head American farmers with not -- before you open up other markets for them.

This guy is playing fast and loose with the economic future of his own base. They are hurting and uncertain and he blinked, he folded today. But you shouldn't be playing games. If you want to get into this kind, you know, push and shove with other countries, you got to think it out, plan it out. This was I think it was reckless. He had to blink but we shouldn't have gone through this.

LEMON: OK. So, Alice, let's bring you in. Now I want to pick up on what Van says because the tariffs, you know, they may be avoided for now. But we have been talking to people who were worried about their family businesses, their livelihoods.

And listen, we had on the owner of a car dealership this week. We had on a farmer. We have a couple farmers in the weeks before. They were all extremely concerned in saying that this was basically a tax to them and to people who could least afford it. Negotiating like this does have an effect of putting a lot of people through the ringer. No?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, it does. It puts all of us not just those whose jobs relied on this but people who buy products that come from Mexico. It's a tax on everyone. But we can all agree that the trade war should never have been stirred in the same pot as border security. We can take a sigh of relief tonight and knowing --


[23:19:58] LEMON: Wait, wait. Say that again. Because that has been the question I have asked. Is this the right way to do it? Yes, there is an issue with the border. But go on, Alice. Sorry.

STEWART: These are two separate issues. Let's deal with the trade issue on one lane and let's do with border security in another. They should not be in the same pot. But tonight we can take comfort in realizing that at least for now the tariff issue is on the back burner. And that is a good -- that's a good sign.

Look, Mexico, until now, has been looking at this, the border security issue as a spectator. They are not caught in the middle off this. They're on the front lines. So, like it or not despite the way that the president dealt with this issue, he has brought Mexico into the conversation and that is the way to deal with this.

Look, we need to work with Mexico. This is the first step in many steps. There's a lot of ways we can do this. The reason people are coming from Central America because they're fleeing violence, they are fleeing gangs, they are fleeing corruption.

We need to work with Mexico. We need to continue to fund programs like USAID that helps to stem the flow of gangs and corruption and violence in Central America. So if we can focus on issues such as that, stemming the flow coming from Central America and working with Mexico, that is a good first step.

How we got here is not desirable. But the fact is we have got here and now Mexico is pulling their share of helping to stem the flow.

RAMPELL: I don't know. I mean, Mexico basically just said we're going to try a little harder. It's not clear that they made any enforceable commitments here. They didn't give Trump the main thing that he wanted, which was this safe third country agreement.

So it's not clear that Trump really got anything out of this. If he wanted to just work with Mexico, he could have picked up the phone --


RAMPELL: -- and not put all of us through all this drama.

LEMON: With that said, because the -- basically what the tone and tenor has been -- have been is that Mexico hasn't been doing nothing. This a statement release on Monday. Mexico's government said that authorities there deported 80,537 people since December. That's a 33 percent increase from the number of migrants Mexico deported in previous sic-month period.

And also Mexican authorities have also been apprehending more people. That's according to the director of Mexico and Migrant Rights in Washington.

So they have ramped up their efforts with deportation, also with placing authorities. So with some of what the president is saying, this agreement that they've come to -- Mexico had already been starting to do that.

RAMPELL: I mean, if you look at the actual agreement there's very little there, there. Which is part of the issue.


RAMPELL: Look, I'm glad we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we don't have to deal with this probably very painful and catastrophic tariffs that could have gone into effect on Monday and been ramped up down the road. But I don't think that there was no damage done.

LEMON: Yes. RAMPELL: Just because we didn't have a catastrophe, doesn't mean that there won't be lasting damage from this including to our ability to continue negotiating in good faith with China, or with the E.U., or with Japan. Because remember, we just signed a deal with Mexico the USMCA and went back on our word.


RAMPELL: And besides that, I mean, if you're a businessman or a businesswoman for that matter and you're thinking about expanding, let's say -- which costs money, you're thinking about putting down a factory, opening a new factory, hiring new workers, why would you do that in this environment when there's so much uncertainty.


RAMPELL: Maybe you'll just say like, I'm going to wait 18 months and figure out if there's going to be a new person in the White House because I just don't know what the policy environment is going to look like.

LEMON: Well, I got to move on and talk to my man, Van. I thank you very much, Alice, and I thank you, Catherine for joining us. So, Van, stay with me. I want to talk about this week's episode of your show, OK? If we can. Redemption Project.

Did you travel to Sacramento to meet Joshua Gunner Johnson, along with a friend who was shot him multiple times and let him die. Left him -- excuse me, to die 25 years ago. I want you to listen to this and the we'll talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being the victim of a violent crime I went down a real dark path. I wanted to go there to murder someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He pointed a pistol at me and me twice. No one can go through that without being scarred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted that bad like (Inaudible). I wanted people to fear me.

JONES: You got to be sitting across from the guy who tried to take your life who killed your friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you expect me to forgive you, you have to come to a place in your life where you're honest about what you did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not asking for his forgiveness.


LEMON: Wow. That's so powerful. Tell us a little bit more about these two men and how that violent evenings in both of their lives spiraling. JONES: Look, both of these have gone in a negative direction in their

life. And they came to the place where one of them tried to take to take the other one's life.

[23:24:57] This is 25 years later. And what you're going to see is the power of transformation. Look, we get to the point in our country now we can't forgive each other for who voted for who, or who tweeted about who. And it's getting worse and worse.

This show, the reason it's 99 percent positive on Twitter is because it's such a breath of fresh air. These people should never forgive each other. I won't give away the ending of it, but it's a very, very powerful show, it's a very, very powerful journey.

And we've got to get a place, Don, where we start listening to each other, forgiving each other, having empathy for each other. And if folks in these kinds of situations who can do it, maybe the rest of us can too.

LEMON: Look, you're saying a lot. Van, it is a really powerful impactful show. thank you so much for doing this. Thanks for coming on and thank you for doing the show. I'll be watching this weekend. Thank you so much.

JONES: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: So the all-new episode of the Redemption Project with Van Jones airs Sunday night at 9. Make sure you tune in.

A judge ordering the FBI to release some redacted parts of James Comey's memos about his meetings with President Trump. John Dean tells us what we're likely to learn. That's next.


[23:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: A federal judge ruling tonight that the FBI must unredact more portions of James Comey's memos about his meetings with President Trump, that in response to a lawsuit from CNN. The Justice Department confirmed all of Comey's memos about Trump were part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean joins me now. He will be testifying about the Mueller report in front of Congress come Monday, in front of the Judiciary Committee, the House Judiciary Committee. Thank you so much for joining us, sir. I appreciate it.

So this ruling means that we'll learn the countries, the world leaders that Comey mentioned to Trump when expressing his concerns about Michael Flynn. Do you think this is significant? If so, how significant is it?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I'm not sure why the redactions were there. Was it a national security reason or was it a political embarrassment reason? Was Trump somehow making light of these people or some sort of derogatory statement? Nixon used to do that a lot and a lot of the tapes stayed redacted for a long time for that reason. So I'm not quite sure why this is going to happen or what it will reveal, but it's always good to be transparent. I appreciate CNN's suit (ph).

LEMON: Also tonight -- I'm sure to get more information, right? Also tonight, you know, we are hearing that House Democrats are adding more hearings on the Mueller report like the one that you're going to participate in on Monday. None with the key witnesses though. I'm sure you would rather hear from Mueller or Don McGahn than be up there yourself. Am I wrong?

DEAN: Absolutely, would much prefer. All I can do is add context and perspective. I have no hard information to add that is beyond what's already in the Mueller report. Maybe I can encourage a few people to read it because it's a really important read. But I think we need some of the big witnesses. And I don't know that's going to be very quick and happening.

LEMON: Interesting. Democrats say that these hearings will highlight findings in the special counsel's investigation. But do they need to stop talking about investigating and start actually doing something?

DEAN: Well, I think they are, Don. The problem is they're reaching a blanket problem in the administration. They don't want anybody to come out from underneath the blanket or it's the traditional Nixon stonewall where they don't want to let anybody get on the other side of it. That's the problem. It's just going to take time to wear this down.

They issued a memo on May 20th that really says people don't have to show up. And all these means is if you're not working for the government, they're not going to prosecute you because you've got an office of legal counsel memo saying you don't have to show up.

LEMON: Yeah. You're talking about the White House continuing to defy the subpoenas and any congressional requests. The question is, though, is there any way for Democrats to stop the stonewalling?

DEAN: Not really. In fact, what's really interesting -- and I went back and looked at this. When Nixon did cooperate was early and during the Senate Watergate committee hearings, for example, he was more cooperative than when the impeachment proceedings started. That's when he really stopped supplying any information at all.

So I'm not sure that those who are encouraging that we get on with an impeachment proceeding realize the consequence may be he will be more resistant, he'll be less inclined to do anything to provide information. So that's one of the dilemmas we face.

LEMON: Sources are saying that Judiciary Chairman Nadler could issue a subpoena to Robert Mueller within weeks. What is he waiting for? Why not subpoena him right now, John?

DEAN: Well, he could. They may be in discussions and negotiations about how that testimony might transpire. Don, again, let me refer you to history. Leon Jaworski never testified before any committee when he was Watergate special prosecutor, and yet he supplied a lot of information that pushed on the proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee.

LEMON: What do you think is the most important thing you can offer to the Judiciary Committee when you testify on Monday?

DEAN: I think the most important thing is the importance of the documents that they have in front of them right now and the understanding of obstruction of justice.

[23:34:59] It's a very difficult crime for non-lawyers to grasp. It is not a bright line crime. It's also an endeavor crime. You can just plan to obstruct and be guilty of the statute. I think that education process can start. The people who are at the table with me on Monday are two former U.S. attorneys who are very familiar with the obstruction statute. I think they will be very good.

LEMON: Is what this president doing the opposite of making America great again? That is what we are going to talk about, John, and all of this stuff that you've been dealing with, brings that into question as well. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. We'll see you next time.

DEAN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: President Trump campaigned on making America great again. My next guest says the most significant threat to America's greatness is the very person who promised to restore it.

Joining me now is Timothy Egan, whose latest piece in The New York Times is entitled "Trump Destroys American Greatness From Within." Thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us. Let's discuss now, because you say that the president is corroding and destabilizing the institutions of democracy, and it is one thing to corrupt a politician, the natural osmosis of the species, it is quite another to debase the foundations of a great democracy.

Listen, we have all been living through this, but -- I mean, give us some examples.

TIMOTHY EGAN, CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: It's a really important point because you've had a lot of people on your show talking about how individuals have lost whatever integrity and honor and self-worth they have by their association with Trump. Most of those people are politicians so I'm not going to really weep for them because, as I said, it's the osmosis of the species.

But my concern is if you break a democracy, can you put it back together? My thinking is evolved (ph) on the stone. I used to think that you couldn't, that the foundations were fairly strong, you really couldn't chisel rust, rot, mold them into something else. But we're really seeing that now and it's about five different areas. It is in the judiciary, it is in the press, it is in our -- much competent allotted bureaucracies. You see it right now with the Census Bureau where they're trying to force the citizenship question into that constitutional mandate. I look at about five different institutions there just being not slowly but rather quickly corroded by Trumpism.

And so my concern is that it's gone beyond -- again, people who have been close to him have been ruined by that, but now our institutions themselves, will they survive long after he's gone?

LEMON: Who do you think is helping or enabling the president in his efforts?

EGAN: I mean, everyone knows who is helping or enabling him. If you mean the senators who took an oath to uphold the constitution, who let the constitution be broken, when the powers act, we saw him using the spending powers specifically for the Congress. And we know why they are enabling. Mitch McConnell got his two Supreme Court justices and he got his tax break.

But I am more concerned now about, again, getting deeper into those foundational things. Think about it as rust. And rust eventually causes something to break. And that is what I am concerned about right now, the things I didn't think he could get into. One of my favorites is the National Park Service. I live in the west. I love the park service.

On the very first day -- excuse me, second day of Trump's presidency, he tried to conscript (ph) the park service into this lie of how big his crowd was. Well, I just heard today there's a sign now outside of Glacier National Park saying that the glaciers won't melt because of climate change as have been posted and as everyone says.

If you start getting into the professional class, the non-political class, then I get really concerned, because how do you go back? Again, once you're broken, how do you go back? It's one thing to cross all these norms, to cross all these things, these unprecedented things that have never been done before, but now you're getting deeper into those foundational things. That's what my concern is.

LEMON: The Trump administration has had --

EGAN: The courts --

LEMON: I want to talk about the courts. So this goes right into what you're talking about. They've had numerous cases rejected by federal courts. This is from The Washington Post. It says, "The normal 'win rate' for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as off mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law shows Trump's win rate at about six percent."

I mean, six percent is --

EGAN: Yeah, so --

LEMON: That's really --

EGAN: It's an amazing --

LEMON: Has that changed with William Barr? But go on. Will that change?

EGAN: No, and I would tell you that the courts are doing their duty. I wrote a piece about a month ago called "Revenge of the Coastal Elites." I'm just sort of playing on the idea that the West Coast is full of coastal elites.

But their win rate, of Washington, Oregon, and California, I mean, they are just kicking ass. It was something like 27 to one, in cases they've brought against the administration. So that would seem to tell you that the courts are doing their job. But the effort by the administration is to delegitimize them.

So he talks about, oh, that's Obama judges and this prompted the Supreme Court -- excuse me, Justice Roberts to step in and say there are no Obama judges. He earlier had said a Mexican judge. So, it is as with what he did with the electorate when he said it was fraudulent there were three million illegal voters there. It is an attempt to delegitimize these institutions.

[23:45:00] So, yes, while they are losing, Trump is losing, and the courts are holding. The response -- and I don't know how many people believe this, Don. I'm worried about this. The response is that all the courts are all on one side or the other. There is partisan (ph) everyone else. I am dirty. You're dirty. You're either for me or against you're against me.

LEMON: Yeah. I'm out of time. It's a fascinating article. "Trump Destroys American Greatness from Within" by Timothy Egan of The New York Times. I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

EGAN: Great. Thanks for having me on, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: Tonight, a moment in history that we definitely want to acknowledge. Yale University just elected its first black student body president which is a real milestone.

[23:50:00] His name is Kahlil Greene. And guess what? He joins me now to talk about it. Welcome, Kahlil. Congratulations, by the way.

KAHLIL GREENE, STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT, YALE UNIVERSITY: Thank you so much, and thank you for having me on air.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, what kind of meaning does this hold for you, the first black student body president at Yale University? GREENE: It's a huge weight. I feel like it's super important to recognize all of the black students who came before me. Definitely I want to give a shout out to Edward Bouchet, who was one of the first black Yale graduates, all the way up to the students on campus today.

Right now what I feel like I symbolize is the progress that we've done in the past, but there's also a journey ahead of us. That journey is going to include making sure that the campus is more diverse and more inclusive. I'm just glad that I get the chance to drive that goal on campus.

LEMON: You said more diverse and more inclusive. How do you plan to help make that happen?

GREENE: So I think one of the things that is really important about Yale is that we're in a city with a lot of talent and that city is majority people of color. So that's New Haven, Connecticut. So, definitely increasing outreach efforts to students in New Haven while also making sure that the students on campus are representing diversity that we see on the globe today.

So by making sure that we are in these spaces, that I'm out inspiring students who may think that they can't get into Yale, both students and the DMV, by making sure that our faces are seen and our voices are heard, we can inspire people to achieve their dreams and go wherever they want to, if that includes going to Yale, then here, or wherever that may be.

LEMON: I want to talk issues with you, OK? Is that cool?


LEMON: Some issues that are really important right now and particularly to students and to young people, OK? So, what are your thoughts about how to help create a place where peers and speakers can speak freely on campus while not having to really deal with the toxic effects of hate speech?

GREENE: So I think it's important to note that school is a place where students have both the opportunity to develop their intellectual side, but it's also a place to foster community. And I think that on those two tenets, it's definitely something I want to focus on, making sure we're able to do both.

And I think it's a key thing to balance. How are we going to make sure that students are being intellectually challenged, that they are thinking about things in ways they haven't before, that they're also getting the experience of college where they are bonding with people, where they are meeting friends, and then developing these lifelong relationships that will help in the future and that really encompass a full Yale experience and a full college experience.

LEMON: You realize you also have to build up the tough side of your personality, right, because people --


LEMON: When you're in the real world, people say and do things all the time that you may find offensive, and so part of that is maybe speech that you find offensive as well.

GREENE: Yeah. I definitely think that the real world is a place where there's almost anything you can encounter. And I do think that having a space where you're able to kind of build your community and foster relationship doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be ready for stuff that goes on in the real world.

LEMON: Yeah.

GREENE: It's like you have a home, I feel like, and at your house you probably don't want to deal with things that you're going to encounter out on the road. And I think having places and making sure that our community is strong doesn't necessarily mean that you can't be prepared for what's to come in the real world.

LEMON: Let's talk about next fall, next fall you'll be a junior.

GREENE: Yes, finally.

LEMON: Right. So you've got plenty of college left.

GREEN: Yes, two years.

LEMON: What do you want to do? What are your plans for the future?

GREENE: So right now, I'm looking into what professional school I want to go into. I think that's the next big step that's almost guaranteed at this point. So I mentioned I might go into business school or law school. Right now, I'm just deciding where my interests lie.

After that, I think that's the next step in the journey, and that will kind of catapult me into the future. Of course, law school would be a good stepping stone towards a public office position and then business school, of course, would be a good stepping stone towards maybe running my own company one day.

LEMON: Wow, don't forget about us when you're a big boss.

GREENE: Definitely not.


LEMON: So hey, I was at Yale a couple weeks ago, and I didn't get to see you, right, you weren't there. Did you get a chance to hear me speak?

GREENE: No, because I'm on summer break right now.

LEMON: OK, all right. So, I wasn't important enough for you to show back up.

(LAUGHTER) LEMON: I'm kidding. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us and congratulations to you and go out and continue to do good things. Thank you.

GREENE: Thank you so much, thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: When he was 20 years old, this week's CNN hero was convicted and locked up in a Texas prison for 15 years. After a full exoneration and starting his life over in his mid-30s, Richard Miles has spent his newly found freedom reaching back to help others transform their lives after leaving prison.


RICHARD MILES, CNN HERO: My mom would always tell, me when you look out the window, don't look at the bars, look at the sky. I could change my perception within the place of incarceration. At the end of the day, be confident in your change. The idea really started from inside, people get out and they come right back in. I said if I ever get out, man, we're going to start a program and we're going to help people.