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John Dean Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) Is Interviewed About John Dean's Congressional Hearing; History Repeating Itself With A Vengeance; Bill Barr's Review Of The Russia Investigations; David Ortiz Arriving In Boston For Treatment; John Dean Back Before Congress Today. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 10, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We need more information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reason. It was reason.
CUOMO: Right. Used the handgun, they believe? And that also helped. But, hey, Jimmy, thank you very much as we learn more, come back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for having me.
CUOMO: All right. We end on news tonight. Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You're right on, I mean you got to -- what is the motive? What is the motive? That is the question. Why would someone do that? And I mean, Big Papi is loved there.
CUOMO: Right. But you know, this is the complicating thing for me that I was talking to the gags about. And again, I know it's a little morbid and thank god it didn't happen this way, but I'm telling you, I've been covering this kind of stuff for a long time, Don, if I want you dead and I'm going to get you at close range you're going to be dead.
So, this then becomes the question of unless this person was unsophisticated or lost it in the moment, which you could be suggestive of how they tried to exit, not having a route done, falling over themselves, getting captured, not being able to fight their way away, that they were unsophisticated and that is why they blew the hit, thank god they did, but otherwise it's sending a message.
CUOMO: You know, we want to hurt you, not kill you.
LEMON: Well, something, I mean, something seems -- not a little sketchy, a real sketchy, obviously why would they pick him, if they wanted to rob him, they have ample opportunity.
CUOMO: Doesn't look like a robbery.
LEMON: It's got to be some sort of beef of some type. And I mean, it's really, really terrible. The end of the day, I am glad that he is OK and I'm going to talk about this at the end of my show. I lost a very good friend, a friend that I've had since college, you know he didn't show up for work last week, co-worker went to the White House. Died of a heart attack. I'm going to give a tribute to him at the end of this show, but life is so fragile. As you and I both know and as we discuss last night at the 90 seconds street wide.
CUOMO: People loved it, by the way.
LEMON: Oh, good.
CUOMO: I am always struck by how people are struck that we are actually friends, off TV the way they see on TV.
LEMON: They can't believe that I am friends with such a terrible person. They just don't understand it.
CUOMO: It's just speaks to your tender mercies that come from you're, you know, you're a very compassionate upbringing and I am thankfully a beneficiary of that.
LEMON: I'm always surprised and happy when people show up, right, and I'm humbled by it. I can't believe there was a line around the corner to see -- to see me. To see Chris. I couldn't believe it. Maybe me, but not Chris, jeez.
CUOMO: We packed the place.
LEMON: I know, it was good, it was good.
CUOMO: It was good. It was good being with you as always. Thanks for picking up the check. That didn't happen.
LEMON: It was a great show, your show, thank you very much. I appreciate what you did with Big Papi. We'll talk about it a little bit later on in the show as well. I will see you tomorrow my friend.
CUOMO: All right.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. You know, it's been a busy day full of breaking news. And we are going to catch you up on all of it tonight.
But you know what, there was some breaking news that took away, you know, the spotlight off of a lot of things today and you may not have seen what happened on Capitol Hill this afternoon. It was a moment that really brought home the uncanny parallels between the investigations of this president and Watergate. And nobody knows that better than John Dean, of course.
He wasn't just a witness to history. He lived it as White House counsel to a president who resigned rather than face an impeachment trial. So just look at that side by side image that you see there on your screen. Today the Watergate star, the star witness in Watergate was back before the committee he last faced 46 years ago. Testifying for four hours about the Mueller report. The televised hearing intended to drive home to every American exactly what's in the 448 pages of the Mueller report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The last time I appeared before your committee was July 11, 1974 during the impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon. Clearly I'm not here today as a fact witness. In many ways the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate road map officially titled the grand jury report and recommendation concerning transmission of evidence to the House of Representatives was to President Richard Nixon. Stated a little differently, special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a road map.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A road map. That is more important than ever. As witnesses continue to stonewall and dodge testifying. And from one White House counsel to another John Dean laid out exactly why he thinks Don McGahn should testify, pointing out that McGahn is the only witness that Mueller expressly labeled as reliable and saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: I certainly hope Don McGahn is a key witness before this committee. Because of my testimony the muddle code of the ABA today makes very clear in rule 1.13 that Mr. McGahn represents not Donald Trump, but the Office of the President. His client is the Office of the President and I think he owes that office, his testimony before this committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:05:03] LEMON: Well, after all McGahn reportedly threatened to resign when the president tried to get him to fire Robert Mueller. Were the president's actions obstruction? Mueller couldn't say, but I want you to listen to what John Dean told Anderson Cooper tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: While this wasn't an impeachment hearing. I think all the signals are from Mueller that he expects the Congress to deal with the issues he couldn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But this was a day full of fireworks, especially this explosive exchange between Dean and Congressman Matt Gaetz, for the Republican and another Trump ally. You really got to hear the whole thing. He bounces around from demanding to know how much money Dean has earned from books that he has written to asking him about Medicare for no apparent reason to asking him if he should get out an Ouija board and summon the specter of Richard Nixon. No, seriously, he said that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ, (R-FL): Mr. Dean, how many American presidents have you accused of being Richard Nixon?
DEAN: I actually wrote a book about Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney with a title "Worse than Watergate."
GAETZ: So it's sort of become -- did you make money on that book?
DEAN: It was a very successful book, yes.
GAETZ: How much money did you make on it?
DEAN: I'm sorry, I don't have any idea.
GAETZ: More than a million bucks?
GAETZ: More than a half million bucks.
DEAN: I said, I don't have any idea.
GAETZ: How much money do you make from CNN?
DEAN: I don't really know exactly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm going to object to the personal --
GAETZ: Wait a second. Mr. Dean has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of acting like Richard Nixon, I would like to know how much money he makes based on making these accusations and exploiting them for his own economic benefit.
DEAN: You're saying Mr. Gaetz -- Mr. Gaetz, I appreciate you were not born at the time this all happened. It's not by choice that I've done a lot of this. It's that I've been dragged into it.
GAETZ: Who forced you to accuse George W. Bush of being Richard Nixon?
DEAN: Who forced me to? It was right after I had spent 10 years in a lawsuit knocking down false statements about what my role had and hadn't been.
GAETZ: Let's speak now to the truth or falsity of statements. Do you have personal knowledge regarding the truth or falsity of a single material fact in the Mueller report?
DEAN: I think if you recall the first thing I said, I'm not here as a fact witness.
GAETZ: You're here to provide historical context?
GAETZ: And throughout history you accuse presidents of acting like Richard Nixon and you make money off of it, right.
DEAN: Not all presidents. Those who do act like him, I point it out.
GAETZ: Let me ask you this question. How do Democrats plan to pay for Medicare for all?
DEAN: I'm sorry.
GAETZ: How do -- well, I figured if we were going to ask you about stuff you don't know about, we've start with the big stuff. So, do you know how they plan to pay for Medicare for all?
DEAN: Who, the Democrats or which candidate, can you be more specific.
GAETZ: Let's get specific to Nixon. Since that appears to be why you're here.
DEAN: Well, actually Nixon did have a health care plan.
GAETZ: Good, good. Well, do you believe if we -- if we turned the lights off here and maybe lit some candles, got out an Ouija board we could potentially raise the specter of Richard Nixon?
DEAN: I doubt that.
GAETZ: Well, it seems to be the objective. You know, here we sit today in this hearing with the ghost of Christmas past, because the chairman of the committee has gone to the Speaker of the House and sought permission to open an impeachment inquiry, but she has said no.
And so instead of opening the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, which is what the chairman wants to do and what I presume a majority of Democrats want to do we're here reopening the impeachment inquiry potentially into Richard Nixon, sort of playing out our own version of that '70s show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That happened. And in the face of all that the president reacted pretty much the way you'd expect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Dean's been a loser for many years. So, I've been watching him on one of the networks that is not exactly Trump oriented and I guess they paid him a lot of money over the years. No, John's been a loser for a long time. We know that. I think he was disbarred and he went to prison. Other than that he is doing a great job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I started out talking about the parallels between the investigation of this president and Watergate. So, let's listen to what John Dean says about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: Congressman, when I worked for Mr. Nixon I was really never
worried about what the outcome would be and how it would be resolved. I've got to tell you that from the day Mr. Trump was nominated and I was following a separate set of polls of the Los Angeles Times as well as the Monmouth Polls and it looked clear to these pollsters that Mr. Trump had a very good chance of winning.
[22:10:06] And I began developing a knot in my stomach that sits there to this day. So, I'm trying to deal with that in the best way I can to try to tell people these are troubled times and we should go through these processes and sort them out. So anything I can do to add to the process I'm more than willing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Troubled times. The question tonight, and I've said this before, is how this whole process Dean is talking about will be resolved, with an impeachment trial or at the ballot box. So did the members of the Judiciary Committee get the answers they need from today's hearing? I'm going to ask one of them, Congressman Jamie Raskin, next.
LEMON: John Dean, the former White House counsel for President Nixon telling the House Judiciary Committee today that he sees parallels between Richard Nixon and President Trump. I'm going to talk about his testimony with Congressman Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, who is a member of the committee.
Congressman, I appreciate you joining us here. Thank you so much.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MARYLAND: You bet, Don.
LEMON: You had had chance to question the former White House counsel under Nixon, which is John Dean. I want to play a part of the exchange. Watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RASKIN: I wonder if you would just tell us why you decided at this point in your career to come forward to talk about what has taken place in America and in the Trump White House.
DEAN: What brought me forward was the invitation in this instance where I thought, yes, I could share with particularly a lot of the people who are on this committee who were either not born or they were very young when Watergate occurred. And it's quite striking and startling to me that history is repeating itself and with a vengeance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:15:20] LEMON: Congressman, was today helpful in shedding some light on what's in the Mueller report despite the partisanship and not having any of the key witnesses? RASKIN: Well, we didn't bring any new facts forward, Don. These were
not fact witnesses, but I think it was tremendously illuminating in the sense that John Dean essentially told America that there is a history to this kind of political corruption, this kind of lying, this kind of deception. And he is an expert in obstruction of justice. He saw it up close with Richard Nixon. He was able to identify the act same kind of patterns taking place in the Trump administration according to special counsel Mueller's report.
LEMON: Republican colleagues approached today's hearing very differently than the Democrats. You know, it was very obvious when you saw it. This is what some of the Republicans had to say about the former White House counsel John Dean. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Today Chairman Nadler brings in front of the judiciary committee a guy to talk about obstruction of justice who went to prison in 1974 for obstructing justice.
DEAN: I did not go to prison.
JORDAN: OK. You pled guilty to obstruction of justice. I'm glad you got to stay out of prison I guess.
GAETZ: Mr. Dean has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of acting like Richard Nixon.
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R), ARIZONA: You are trying to give us historical context. And when you try to give us historical context, I refer you back to number one, incredible witness, and number two, biased witness. So much of what you say seems very difficult to accept at face value, quite frankly.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R), TEXAS: Hearings featuring buckets of chicken and convicted felons unfortunately have become the norm for this once esteemed committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Are you troubled that so many of your Republican colleagues seemed to view John Dean as a villain in the Watergate scandal?
RASKIN: Well, you know what's so wild about that, Don, John Dean was not only Richard Nixon's White House counsel, but he was the Republican staff Director on the House Judiciary Committee itself and it seems like my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle are only troubled by lying by Republican presidents in their subordinates if the Republicans tell the truth about it and they confess to having done it. Then they get really upset with them.
But it's the corruption is ongoing with all of the lawless activities taking place right now they don't care about it, they bury their heads in the sand. So, I thought that they really embarrassed and disgraced themselves today. John Dean, even though he is a Republican, even though he was the Republican staff Director in Nixon's White House counsel and got caught up in Watergate, he told the truth about it and everything that he said about it was verified when the Watergate tapes came out and so these Republicans, had they been on the scene back during Watergate they would have been cheer leading for Richard Nixon right up until the end.
That is not true of all of them. It's not true of Justin Amash who's an honest Republican who read the report who said to his colleagues. Read the report, you cannot, but come away with the irresistible conclusion that this president committed multiple acts of obstruction of justice. And that is exactly what John Dean testified to and our other two academic witnesses, who testified really on behalf of more than a thousand former federal prosecutor in U.S. attorneys.
We're talking William Barr's colleagues who said anybody else in America would have been marched out in handcuffs had they done what Donald Trump did, but simply because of the Department of Justice rule that the president is not indicted, he got away on that technicality. Now, it's up to Congress to act.
LEMON: You asked John Dean about President Trump's Oval Office meeting where he asked Comey to let the Flynn thing go, that's according to the Mueller report. Dean compared that to Nixon instructing his Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to have the CIA ask the FBI to stop its investigation. What do you make of that comparison? Do you agree with that?
RASKIN: Well, he was drawing historical analogies throughout the entire afternoon. One of the other witnesses said that this was actually not one of the most striking cases of obstruction in there. And there clearly are cases with more vivid facts, like telling the White House counsel that he would be fired.
And firing him, if he did not go ahead and fire the special counsel. In other words, ordering the White House counsel to fire Mueller and then ordering him to cover that up. There were just very dramatic episodes of obstruction of justice that were discussed today, but I was always struck by this particular vignette and I wanted to get John Dean's thoughts about it. And he definitely saw a historical parallel there.
[22:20:11] LEMON: Congressman Raskin, thank you for your time.
RASKIN: Delighted to be with you as always, Don.
LEMON: Democrats and Republicans seemed to have very different agendas at today's hearing, but is the Mueller report getting lost in all the political sniping?
LEMON: John Dean telling the House Judiciary Committee today that history is repeating itself with a vengeance. I want to bring in now Dana Bash, Mark Mazzetti, Laura Coates.
Good evening, wow, what a fantastic dream team. Appreciate having all of you on. Dana, I'm going to start with you. So, before we get into the hearing
tonight we got some news about the lone Republican who has been calling for impeachment. What can you tell us about that?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is right, Justin Amash, we've heard a lot about him, because, as you said, he has been speaking up pretty aggressively, mostly on Twitter, but also in a town hall back in his district saying explicitly that the president should be impeached and explaining the reasons why.
So, he actually gained prominence when he came to Congress as part of the Tea Party movement in 2010 and had been a very sort of active part of the House Freedom Caucus. And remember the House Freedom Caucus had been extremely powerful, still is, but extremely powerful when Republicans were in charge, made John Boehner's life pretty miserable, effectively pushed him out as speaker.
[22:25:24] But since Donald Trump has been president, Don, the Freedom Caucus has become very much behind Donald Trump and Justin Amash is not.
BASH: And so he is left the Freedom Caucus that is according to our Haley Bird, who got this reporting this evening. And, you know, we're still doing reporting as to whether he left voluntarily. Officially the answer is yes. He left voluntarily. Or whether or not the very much pro Trump forces in this powerful wing of the Republican caucus in the House forced him out or whether it was maybe more mutual.
LEMON: yes, it says -- the reporting says that he stopped -- he told CNN in Martha, he had stopped going to the Freedom Caucus meetings after clashing with the members over group's directions under President Donald Trump.
BASH: Yes, very much so.
BASH: Huge differences.
LEMON: Yes. Interesting time for him. So, we'll see how that -- what transpires with that. Dana, thank you for bringing us that. I want to bring in Laura in now.
Laura, let's turn to today's hearing, the former White House counsel under Nixon, CNN Contributor, John Dean in the hot seat today and he made this point. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: I think that this committee does have a role, and it is adding something that the special counsel could not, and that is public education. This report has not been widely read in the United States. It's not even been widely read in the Congress from some of my conversations, but I think it's a very important function that the committee is serving by bringing these matters to public attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, you hear John Dean saying that this is about public education here. I'm just -- I'm wondering, you know, were Democrats successful in keeping the focus on the Mueller report? Because Republicans seemed to have a very different agenda if you watched the hearing.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, John Dean is right about the power of television. He knows very well what it was like in the Watergate hearings to have the power of television to be able to educate the people. Knowing that impeachment is really a political process that requires the support of the people who actually vote the congressmen in.
So, he is right about that, but also the notion of whether or not the focus was there. It was much more of an attack on John Dean by Republican members of the actual committee than it was about an exploratory information gathering session.
What most people learned today was not about the underlying reason he was there which is, listen, here is the breadth of knowledge that a White House counsel has, here's where the loyalties are supposed to lie if you were from the office of the White House counsel, not for the incumbent, but the actual office of the presidency and here are the type of information that can actually be gleaned if for example a man named Don McGahn were there to testify.
Instead it was very much about analogies and trying to vilify him and make him out to be the villain in a case where really history says he was not the villain, but a bit of a whistle blower that actually perhaps helped the nation.
LEMON: Yes. Mark, John Dean drew parallels to Watergate. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: In many ways the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate road map officially titled "The grand jury report and recommendation concerning transmission of evidence to the House of Representatives," was to President Richard Nixon. Stated a little differently, Special Counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a road map.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, Mark, the issue here is Republicans don't view the Mueller report as a road map. They're taking the president's view that this is a case closed.
MARK MAZZETTI, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That is right. And, I mean, this was a history lesson in many ways of events of 45 years ago. And it was in parts quite interesting and sometimes it was quite dramatic, but it didn't change -- seem to change anyone's minds on the committee. And, I mean, let's be frank, if Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the committee had had his way John Dean wouldn't have been the star witness.
MAZZETTI: It's Bob Mueller or its Don McGahn.
MAZZETTI: Or someone who is more relevant to the current situation. It does appear that, though, they are trying to keep these issues in the news, in the public consciousness, perhaps just playing out for more time so they can get more documents as they seem to have done today and maybe get more relevant witnesses. And to try to keep people focused on this issue. And you're right.
[22:30:00] The Republicans don't see, you know, today's hearing is legitimate. And nor do they see the Mueller report as any kind of real roadmap for what might happen down the road.
BASH: That's such an important point, Don, because the idea that John Dean is the first star witness of the semi-newly minted House Democratic leadership, you know, their hearings on this after we got the Mueller report is one of the last things, I think, that they wanted to do. We know that they wanted to do it, because the star witnesses that they need are those who worked for Donald Trump, the John Deans of this administration, not the John Dean of the Nixon administration.
And they can't get them. They're being blocked by the Trump White House. Robert Mueller is resistant to testifying himself. And so this is what they were left with. Not ideal, but they are working aggressively behind the scenes to try to figure out how to get at least some of those key people before their committee in the public.
LEMON: Yeah. And they're being stonewalled. They're just not responding to testify at all. Laura, the former U.S. Attorney, Joyce Vance, also testified. I just want to get your reaction to this exchange with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee where she reads in the Mueller report about the call Trump made directing McGahn to fire Mueller. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McGahn recalled the president saying Mueller has to go. And call me back. When you do it, McGahn understood the president to be saying that the Special Counsel had to be removed by Rosenstein. What do you believe or what is your reaction to this exchange? And would you find such behavior concerning, Professor Vance and then Professor McQuaid?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. This conduct to me seems to have all the elements prosecutors would need to have to successfully charge obstruction of justice. There's an obstructive act, the effort to go ahead and have the Special Counsel fired. There's a nexus to an investigation. At this point, the president is aware that the investigation is ongoing.
And there appears to be a corrupt motive as well curtailing the Special Counsel's investigation. So this entire series of conversations and conduct is deeply troubling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Laura, all the elements to successfully charge obstruction, and that's just one of the episodes Mueller lays out in his report.
COATES: She's right on all fronts. And frankly, this highlights again what not only Mueller said in his written report, but also in his press conference. And that William Barr, the Attorney General, really just was dismissive about. And that is but for that OLC opinion, that you cannot indict a sitting president.
Perhaps they would have either made a decision or acted differently. And you have the elements laid out. And again, the fact that the president of the United States is indeed the president of the United States is really in many ways inoculating him and immunizing him from the actual inevitable. You know, the interesting thing here, of course, is that where do you go with that?
This was all laid out prior to today's hearing. This was basically adding another log to an already blazing fire. And so Congress, again, the roadmap though it may be, it is also a neon sign pointing to say what are you going to do about this whole thing we call separation of powers, checks and balances, and what the Constitution actually gives you the right to do, which is at least opening an inquiry.
LEMON: Mark, let me get your final thought on this.
MAZZETTI: Yeah, I mean, I thought it was interesting that in many ways the idea that Robert Mueller hasn't come to testify yet. In a way, it has become like sort of a taunt by Republicans to the Democrats. You know, they said early on, if you watch the beginning of the hearing, you know, why don't we have Robert Mueller up here? You know, if this was a serious investigation, a serious hearing, we'd be hearing from Robert Mueller.
In other words, bringing them -- putting their own words back at them. And the fact is, as Dennis said earlier, they have been unsuccessful in getting him. He said, quite publicly, he doesn't want or expect to testify. And now, the question then is do they take the next step? Do they subpoena him? Do they put pressure on him? And that's where, you know if they want to keep this going and really get him to testify, it might come to that.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, all. I appreciate your time. Director James Clapper joins me next.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Attorney General William Barr's review of the Russia investigations beginnings is being described as broad in scope and multifaceted, examining not only actions by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies but what's being called non-governmental organizations and individuals. Let's discuss now with the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, Director, thank you. Appreciate your time.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: The description I just mentioned, it comes from the letter from the Justice Department to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. Are you concerned about how political this already looks to be?
CLAPPER: Well, actually, Don, I was kind of -- to be honest, reassured by the tone of the letter. It avoided the use of the S- word, spying. And I thought it actually was temperate. And, you know, I guess it's appropriate to do that, (Inaudible) investigate the investigators. But, you know, we seem to have lost sight here, I think, in what was the predicate. What started all this?
What was the Russians? And that's what really concerns me is nobody pays any attention to volume I of the Mueller report, which lays out in great detail what the Russians did to us and they're continuing to do to us. And we don't seem to be very focused on that, you know? We're all consumed with investigating investigators, and forgetting what is -- what were the origins of this?
[22:39:53] And it's the many inroads that the Russians attempted to make, as it turns out, dozens of contacts with Russian operatives of one sort or another with the Trump campaign. And it wasn't that, you know, we're going to surveil the campaign. It is what were the Russians up to here? And we're just sort of lost perspective, I think.
LEMON: Yeah. You know, also new today, the president threatening to impose more significant tariffs on China if Chinese leader Xi Jinping won't meet with him later this month. You know, as with Mexico last week, Trump seems to be conducting foreign policy by threats. Is he likely to get results?
CLAPPER: Well, that seems to be his default technique -- is coercion. So we're going to coerce Iran. We're going to coerce the North Koreans by ratcheting up sanctions. Coerce -- and then worse, coercing allies like Mexico. And so that's a favorite technique. And I, you know, I think Chinese, they have a little different stripe here, because they have tremendous economic power and economic capacity.
And if they want to could do us a lot of harm, if they wanted to start coercing us, that could be not so nice. And I just don't know that -- and I think if Xi is -- I didn't realize that, if Xi has said he's not going to meet, that's not good.
LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about this "New York Times" story out tonight. It is about Trump's reelection efforts, which mentions his use of his old personal cellphone to call former advisers. What kind of red flags does a president using a personal cellphone raise for you? CLAPPER: Well, all kinds of OPSEC, as we say it's called operational
security, potentially a tremendous counterintelligence threat. And, of course, whenever I hear stories about his use of personal communications, particularly conducting official business, of course, that's a goldmine for any foreign intelligence service like Russia or China.
And I always think about the irony of, you know, taking Hillary Clinton to task for her private survey -- server, a practice dangerous to security, and when, you know, what he's -- the practice that he's engaging in are just as bad, if not worse.
LEMON: Do you think he already knew that he was using that phone before it was reported?
CLAPPER: That he knew?
LEMON: Do you think that they knew? The people around him knew that he was using the phone?
CLAPPER: Oh, I -- it's hard to believe they didn't. They don't.
LEMON: I seem to remember something. I could be wrong, that he was doing this before. Maybe it was just calling old friends at night or whatever.
CLAPPER: Well, whatever. I mean, using a phone like that, for one, you can locate it. And there are all kinds of things, if you're able to listen in, all kinds of things that you can pick up, even though it may not be reading from a top secret document. There are lots you can learn...
LEMON: Do you think the Russians and the Chinese would be monitoring that?
CLAPPER: Oh, absolutely. If they -- they wouldn't be earning their keep as an aggressive intelligence service, of which they are.
LEMON: Yeah. Director, I always appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. Red Sox legend David Ortiz, landing in Boston just minutes ago for more medical treatment after being shot in the Dominican Republic, the latest information next.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So this is our breaking news, and the pictures are up on your screen. The former Boston Red Sox star, David Ortiz arriving in Boston just a few minutes ago. He is being taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment after he was shot in the back last night at a nightclub in his native Santa Domingo. So joining me now to discuss this is Jemele Hill. Jemele is a staff writer at the Atlantic.
Jemele, thank you so much, I appreciate you joining us.
Before we get to your piece that I want to talk to you about in the Atlantic, I have to ask you about David Ortiz on the ground in Boston, the continuous treatment after being shot in the back Sunday night in the Dominican Republic. What's your reaction to this story?
JEMELE HILL, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, it's obviously very tragic. And I think what people need to understand is how beloved that David Ortiz is both in his home country, as well as in Boston, and really throughout America. I mean, he's considered to be a hero. He's arguably the greatest designated hitter of all time. He's won three World Series titles. I mean he is a for sure first ballot hall of fame kind of player.
And I think to see him be a victim of this level of violence is just very surprising. And just to give people some sort of idea of his reach, I mean you saw President Obama tweeted about him getting well and wishing him a full recovery. I mean, that's how beloved that he is in this country, and certainly in his own home country.
LEMON: Thank you for doing that. And again, he just arrived back in Boston. We showed the pictures. Jemele, I appreciate you responding to that. So let's turn to your piece. Now, let's turn to 2020 and talk about electability. I'm going to read a portion of your new piece that's out in the Atlantic, and it is called Trump has Killed Democrats' Sense of the Possible.
And here's what you write in part. You said more than likely, the Democratic nominee for president won't be the person with the best and most progressive ideas or the person most capable of galvanizing a fractured country. The nominee just has to beat Trump, even if the cost of that victory is re-enforcing the idea that only an older white man is capable of getting his country back on track. So you think voters are placing too much importance on electability?
[22:50:04] HILL: I think that's become the central focus. And look, I realize that it's early. We have a long way to go. And we still have debates and all these other things to get through. But I think right now that there is a focus on does this person, whoever is the nominee, obviously on the Democrat side. Do they look like someone everybody would vote for?
And we all know, especially given the fact we've had one black president out of 45, that for a lot of people would looks like the person that should be the leader of this country is an older, white man. And I think even people of color have become resigned to this when you look at the level of support that Joe Biden has in the African-American community.
The one poll that I sited, 61 percent of African-Americans favored Joe Biden. And the fact that he has a 72 percent favorability rate, despite the fact that he does have some issues and some questions. A lot of the things that people have said in terms of criticisms about Kamala Harris, those things tend to bounce off Joe Biden as well as other things.
And a lot of it has to the do to people see the picture. It's the older white person who was with President Obama, who is an experienced politician. This looks like the picture of someone everyone would vote for. And I think a lot of people are buying into that and not really -- I won't say they're not caring about his ideals or his policies or what he plans to do in the future. But they're not holding him to same standards as other candidates.
LEMON: Surely, you're not saying electability is not important, right?
HILL: No. I'm not saying that. I think it's a factor. But I think, in this race, because we're talking about the person who will ultimately go against Donald Trump. And they're looking for someone who can woo the people that voted for Donald Trump. They're looking at somebody -- who does that Trump voter want to see in office if it's not Donald Trump on the Democratic side? And that's why electability has suddenly become the buzz word before we head into 2020.
LEMON: Because certainly, it wasn't in 2016 when it came to Donald Trump because no one -- I there were -- I shouldn't say one, but there were few people, even him, and folks in his campaign thought that he wasn't going to be elected, even on election night. They were surprised by -- let's dig in to your piece a little bit more.
And you say this is perhaps the most critical victory yet, successfully persuading Democrats, especially African-American voters, not just to lower the bar but to abandon the idea that inclusion and bold ideas matter more than appeasing the patriarchy. You just mentioned, you know -- you said 60 some percent favorability rating among African-Americans.
That message -- you know, what message do you think it sends to nominate Biden as opposed to a younger, more diverse candidate?
HILL: Well, I mean I think the message that it sends is that, you know, there's this idea that no one can afford to take a chance on somebody who is unknown, an Elizabeth Warren, a Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete, any of these other candidates that that would just be too risky and might be insuring that Trump is the president is reelected. And so now, you get into this idea that about again, the pretty package, it being somebody that everybody can get behind and say hey he's not perfect.
Maybe all the policies aren't something that I would go for. I would like for him for a little bit more progressive. Whatever you want to say, whatever parsing you want to do. But at the end of the day, if this is somebody who could beat Donald Trump, I think a lot of people are going to rally behind that and forget about the fact that progress ideas, a lot of these other things, why we should be voting for people or voting for someone to lead this country.
They should matter just as much. Electability, to me, is only a factor, all right? The rest of the package has to be how is this person suited to move this country forward. Because there will need to be some progress. And I just think that right now people are willing to undermine a little bit of progress to maybe talk a step back in order for a larger victory of beating Donald Trump.
LEMON: What if it comes down to Joe Biden? What do you say then? At the end -- if people say we want Joe Biden, are you on board?
HILL: Well, I mean if it comes down to Joe Biden, I mean that's just what it has to be. What I don't want to do is for people to make the same mistake that they did in 2016, which is really making it seem as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the same. They were not the same. There was a false equivalency that got out there as if it was oh, you know, we're choosing the lesser evil. No one was clearly more evil than someone else.
LEMON: You're right, yeah.
HILL: Exactly. It was not a lesser off two evils. It was one that was pretty stark and clear. And so I don't -- I think it's dangerous for people to already get into that mentality that they're settling. Because then if it is Joe Biden, you will hear some of this lesser of two evils talk again.
LEMON: Well, to your point, OK, and as we have to run because we're out of time. Biden is the undisputed frontrunner according to CNN's new poll today, beating Senator Bernie Sanders by eight points. I mean it's hard not to miss the symbolism of the Democratic Party being led by two white men in their 70s. So there you go, and there's the new poll. Jemele, always a please, thank you.
HILL: Thank you. Appreciate it, Don.
[22:55:11] LEMON: The star witness of the Watergate hearings, John Dean, back before Congress today testifying that the Mueller report is a road map to impeach President Trump. And you can bet that the president is lashing out at him.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon.