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CNN TONIGHT

Death That Speaks For Every Life Wasted; Supreme Court Not Going The Same Path With President Trump; E. Jean Carroll Speaking Out About Sexual Assault By President Trump; Analysis Of Tonight's Democratic Debate. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 27, 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: I invite them on to make the case. They don't come, that's on them.

However, I do see a cogent argument that friends consideration are killing us. Close the camps, screams the left. Where do you keep the kids, in the cages? Well, they're keeping these kids, you know, to feed private businesses that manage their facilities. Wrong. They don't have enough space. They're desperate to put them anywhere that the law allows, the right equally hostile, pushing harshness.

None of it works. None of it is us at our best. It brings me back to the photo. This is the situation at its worst, Oscar and Angie. Everything about this is an indictment of our humanity. I cannot argue that this image has captured the imagination and changed what we will do. I can't. I don't see it. But I hope it does.

I hope we remember who we are and that our leaders decide to -- it's not time to take shots at each other. It's time to take action. I'm into Don's time. I don't want to do that. His show is important, too. It starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Well, I got a -- a couple of things I have to say before I let you go. Regardless of what, you know, the other side says or even our own side says about Nancy Pelosi, she -- if she believes in it, she's going to stand up for it, right?

So today she said I got to do this and I have to compromise. The progressive wing of her party is not happy about it. And there are many times when conservatives aren't happy with her either, i.e. Obamacare. If it wasn't for Nancy Pelosi, there would be no Obamacare.

But you're right, maybe this is a step in the right direction. Maybe now there will start to be some compromise. Listen, I don't know. Don't shoot the messenger. Maybe Nancy Pelosi is saying when it comes down to kids and photographs like that and what happened to that family, let's try to start here and see what the administration and what Republicans do. So, I don't know. That's what I have to say about that.

CUOMO: I'm not going to punish progress.

LEMON: Right. CUOMO: I just -- I mean, look, you and I have been talking about

this, unfortunately for months. I just don't know why it took this long. I just don't get it. It didn't have to.

They didn't fight for anything out in the open that mattered more than what they wound up getting. And I said to Cortez, I invite them on. Come make the case and be tested because if it matters that much then speak up. Don't just waste people's time and let kids live in squalor?

LEMON: Yes. Well, listen, do you remember back when the president wanted to do the emergency declaration? We were saying this is, you know, a problem of his own making, it was a manufactured crisis.

CUOMO: yes.

LEMON: It was.

CUOMO: It is.

LEMON: Here's -- you know what has been -- usually I don't like to respond to it. What has been infuriating is the -- not just the right, but the people who don't mean well who are supporting the president who are saying, my gosh, look at all of these people who are on CNN, including Don Lemon, now they've all of a sudden realized it's a crisis.

We've always said it's a humanitarian crisis. The sound bites that they play are in context of the president saying it's a national emergency and trying to get funds from places that he's not supposed to that that part was a crisis of his own making. It's disingenuous.

I know I probably shouldn't worry about it or think about it or even bring it up, but it's just infuriating because either they're dumb and/or they're doing it on purpose. So -- maybe it's a combination of both.

CUOMO: It's a fringe agenda. Look, the mistake was when he saw the caravans. He said look who's in there.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Get people on TV to say they're terrorists, they're murderers.

LEMON: Right

CUOMO: And they're bad people and some, I assume, are good people.

LEMON: Are good people.

CUOMO: That was the brown menace that I characterize.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: He was told at the time, you know, really, our concern are these kids. We don't have the right places to keep them and we don't have the rules to change it. LEMON: That's the crisis. That's the humanitarian crisis.

CUOMO: He knew it.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: And he knew it was coming. He knew the fence wasn't a fix and he did it anyway. And now these fringe elements far out on the right are defending him with these fugazi arguments and they're obviously easy to expose.

LEMON: Yes. That's it. I'm done, always a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of his own making, in terms of when he was trying to say, oh, this is a national emergency, and shutting down the government. Remember, he shut down the government.

CUOMO: Yes, I remember well.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: He's got that emergency declaration. Now he won't use it to help the real crisis. Anyway, have a great show, pal.

LEMON: There you go. There you go. We could go on forever. OK. I'll see you later. I'll see you later on tonight, too.

OK. So, this is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And something happened in the Supreme Court today that we -- we got to talk about it. It's about whether voters -- listen to this closely. Whether voters get to choose their politicians or politicians get to choose their voters.

A ruling on an issue that we have been following a lot on this show, and that is gerrymandering, and it's a big deal, the court ruling today that when politicians draw district lines to try to guarantee that their side wins, it's not the court's job to stop them.

[22:04:57] Chief Justice John Roberts writing his majority opinion. "Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust. But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with Democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.

We can collude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts beyond the reach of the federal courts."

Justice Elena Kagan writing a scathing dissent. Here's what she wrote. She says, "Of all times to abandon the court's duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenge -- the practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the court's role in that system is to defend its foundations -- in that system is to defend its foundation. None is more important than free and fair elections." That was Justice Elena Kagan in her scathing dissent. Gerrymandering.

It puts free and fair elections in jeopardy. And that affects every American. We're going to talk a lot about that. More on that in just a moment.

And there was another big deal in the Supreme Court today, a ruling that had the president angry tweeting at 2.30 in the morning in the Japan. The court blocking the White House from putting a question on the 2020 census about, asking about citizenship.

The president responding by asking his lawyers to delay the census. OK. Even though the administration has argued that June 30th is the drop-dead date to have a form ready in time.

So, it's going to be awkward if, you know, they backtrack and argue for more time now. Especially since article I, section II of the Constitution requires that the government count the U.S. population every 10 years. So, it's got to happen next year. It's got to happen.

And let's remember what is at stake here. The census determines the size of each state's congressional delegation. How many votes it has in the Electoral College and how the federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars.

So, like I said, it is a big deal. And we've talked about how this picture, one picture's worth a thousand words. Well, this picture has focused Americans on immigration in a way we really haven't seen before, including Congress.

The House voting today to pass the Senate version of a $4.6 billion funding bill. A bill that Nancy Pelosi had refused to consider just yesterday, but today clearly painted into a corner. The speaker apparently decided something is better than nothing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly put the Senate bill on the floor. As the Senate bill passes, it will not be the end of this debate. It will be the battle cry; it will be the battle cry as how we go forward to protect children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But have you heard this? The emotional moment earlier on the House floor from Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who represents Texas '16th congressional district on the border. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): The photograph that all of us saw this week should tear all of us up. For those of us who are parents, to see a toddler with her little arms wrapped around the neck of her father, there is nothing that we wouldn't do for our children, nothing, to give them a better life. Oscar and Valeria represent tens of thousands of migrants who have

died as they have tried to build a better life for themselves only to find that they are demonized and locked out of the promise that those of us who are natural born citizens are so fortunate to enjoy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The speaker had her own emotional moment talking about that photo earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your immediate reaction when you saw that photo? And who do you hold responsible for it? Is there anybody to blame?

PELOSI: Can you just imagine the father put the little girl on the shore to go back to get the mother and the little girl wanted to be with her father, she got back in and then he couldn't -- they couldn't save her and then he couldn't save himself. This is such a tragedy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, seemed to blame that migrant father for the tragedy. This is what he told Erin Burnett.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:10:05] KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: The reason we have tragedies like that on the border is because those folks -- that father didn't want to wait to go through the asylum process in the legal fashion, so decided to cross the river and not only died but his daughter died tragically as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That as we're learning more tonight about the latest woman to accuse the president of a past sexual assault.

Writer E. Jean Carroll confided in two friends about what she says Donald Trump did to her back in the '90s. And she told them about the alleged attack right after it happened. Those friends, author Lisa Birnbach and former news anchor Carol Martin spoke to the New York Post -- excuse me, "The New York Times" podcast, The Daily, about what Carroll told them and what they advised her to do.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

LISA BIRNBACH, E. JEAN CARROLL'S FRIEND: I said let's go to the police. No. Come to my house. No, I want to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

BIRNBACH: I'll take you to the police. No. It was 15 minutes of my life. It's over. Don't ever tell anybody. I just had to tell you. CAROL MARTIN, E. JEAN CARROLL'S FRIEND: I said don't tell anybody. I

wouldn't tell anybody this.

(END VOICE CLIP)

LEMON: E. Jean Carroll talked to CNN's Brian Stelter tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. JEAN CARROLL, TRUMP ACCUSER: My two friends did not want to come forward. They just did not want to have any part of it. And the Times convinced them it was very important. And my friends are very happy they have.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: What do you think changed their minds? Was it just the Times persuading them, reporters persuading them or was it something else? Maybe you asked them.

CARROLL: They want to say -- no. Well, I said they could do what they wanted because they both have families, they both have, you know, their lives are very happy and uncomplicated, and this was going to be a bit of a, you know, imposition. I'm deeply grateful that they came forward and put their names on record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We've got more from that interview coming up.

I told you about those two huge Supreme Court rulings that could affect every one of us. We're going to break down what all this means for you. Elliot Williams is here. Harry Litman, as well.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The Supreme Court dropping a really important ruling today on partisan gerrymandering, saying federal courts must stay out of disputes over whether politicians go too far in drawing district lines to try to ensure their side wins. This ruling could fundamentally affect the balance of power in state legislatures in Congress.

Here to discuss, Elliot Williams and Harry Litman.

Good evening to both of you.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Hi, Don.

LEMON: Elliot, I'm going to start with you, how consequential is this ruling about partisan gerrymandering?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ICE: It's gerrymandering. No --

LEMON: It is gerrymandering.

WILLIAMS: It is massive. And here's why. So, what they said is that they can't -- if it's political, they can't step in and can't rule and can't touch the districts.

So, what that means I think it opens up the door to pretext in districting. So, here's an example. Mississippi is a state in which Democrats are overwhelmingly African-American. A sinister state legislator could say I just want to suppress the Democratic vote in Mississippi, when in reality his intent or her intent is to suppress the black vote.

And now federal courts can't touch that decision. Now, if it were to come out that these individuals were trying to suppress the black vote, then obviously that's unconstitutional. But once you say it's political, now federal courts can't rule on it, and it sort of, you know, opens the door to a lot of sinister behavior.

LEMON: It seems surprising. Because all this talk about, you know, about elections and the bias and being rigged or whatever. I mean, this seems -- this is the rigging it seems. Are you surprised by this ruling?

WILLIAMS: No, I'm not, given, look, it's a court that is selectively activist, let's say. This was a remarkable amount of restraint where they said, you know, this is something we can't rule on.

This isn't the kind of restraint that the court exercised when gutting say, public sector labor unions a year ago, and you know, overturning a lot of precedence. So, I'm kind of not surprised because this is another instance of the court just trying to fix a conservative vision and foist it on their jurisprudence.

LEMON: Let's follow up on that because, Harry, because I want to know what you think about the Chief Justice Roberts. He acknowledged it as a problem but said the courts can't do anything about it. How do you reconcile that?

LITMAN: Yes, it's incredibly defeatist, as Justice Kagan says. It's sad. Look, we're not talking about I don't like to rank constitutional rights, but we're talking about the scaffolding of the entire political system.

The use of gerrymandering to disenfranchise or dilute votes in the most rank way absolutely deprives citizens of the franchise and of the one person, one vote principle.

Elliot is, of course, right, it gives mischief to pretext on the racial side, but much broader than that is the kind of rank, unapologetic, completely raw kinds of gerrymandering and protection of entrenched interests that were before the court today and that the framers were had abhorrence for.

This is now beyond the reach, first time ever for a constitutional violation. And the violation that is constitutive of so many other individual rights.

LEMON: Well, let me just read the quote because you mentioned Justice Elena Kagan and her dissenting opinion.

LITMAN: Yes.

LEMON: She said "If left unchecked, gerrymanderers like the ones here may irreparably damage our system of government. Of all times to abandon the court's duty to declare the law, this one -- this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the court's ruling in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections." And she ended her dissent by saying "it is with respect and deep sadness."

LITMAN: Yes.

LEMON: President Trump got the conservative, you know, majority on the court here. They are mostly conservative. Does that all come down to elections having consequences, do you think? That's for you.

LITMAN: Do I think?

LEMON: Yes.

[22:19:56] LITMAN: No. No, look, I don't think. It's much, much broader than that. You could make it -- it comes down -- well, in this sense he's put on the court a vision of really limited judicial power.

It's not simply a Republican/Democratic idea, it's an -- it's an idea of judicial power that is -- is powerless in front of maybe the most important violation we have.

You know, Don, we were -- for many years we were leading to a point where the court was saying again and again you go too far, we're going to come with something here. That's including Justice Kennedy.

Now with Kennedy gone, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch there, they throw their hands up and this means, you know, forever more the kind of outright -- everybody agrees, including Roberts, unconstitutional treatment is just beyond the reach of the court. Deep sadness is absolutely the proper response here.

WILLIAMS: And it can't be the case that the mere fact that elections -- this is on the elections of consequences point. It can't be the fact that the mere fact that a party loses an election means that civil rights sway every 10 or 20 years or whatever. Some rights are so fundamental.

LITMAN: Right.

WILLIAMS: Such as the integrity of our elections, but also the right to have your voice heard as a voter in the United States. And I just -- and I think we should be careful about this notion that, well, you know, the president won and there is a Republican Senate. QED, they're going to gut the right to have free and fair elections in the country.

LEMON: You know, it's interesting. Because when you say elections have consequences, usually people think that's for four years or that's for eight years or whatever, but when you're talking about the person who actually nominates, who should or gets to decide in some way who should can be on the Supreme Court. That can be a life -- that can be decades. That's a decades' decision.

WILLIAMS: Yes. That's a decades' decision and the decision itself --

(CROSSTALK)

LITMAN: It's a forever decision. Yes. The constitution puts this off the table now.

LEMON: Yes. Wow. OK. Stand by, everyone. Both of you, stay with me.

The Supreme Court blocking the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the census, but the president doesn't seem to be backing down.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump suggesting he may try to delay the 2020 census after the Supreme Court ruled it would block a citizenship question, at least for now.

Elliot Williams, Harry Litman are both back with me. You're shaking your head. Why is that, why while I was saying that?

WILLIAMS: It's like, you know, have you seen the Simpsons movie where Mr. Burns is trying to block the sun.

LEMON: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Basically, it's like, come on. But I don't think he is going to delay the sun.

LEMON: You have to, yes, OK.

WILLIAMS: yes.

LEMON: So, you say the Supreme Court ruling is much bigger than just the census. Why is that?

WILLIAMS: Yes, because, you know, this is about -- this is sort of what we were talking about before. It's about whose voice is heard in society. It's about how people are apportioned, how people can cast their votes and you're grafting on top of that these questions of race and identity and so on.

And so, this is actually a big deal. We think about the census is just being this thing we do every 10 years for figuring out where the post offices are. But this is really about people's voice in our electoral system.

And to some extent this was a more political case than the gerrymandering one. Well, now it wasn't decided in the same political way, but the issue at its core is fundamentally more political.

LEMON: Harry, the president tweeted -- President Trump tweeted today, "I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the census, no matter how long until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter."

This, well, I'm not sure if he wrote that, but anyway, it came from his Twitter feed. The census, it's in the Constitution. Can he delay it?

LITMAN: Can he delay it? Well, it has to be done by -- on 2020. You know, who knows if he can try to, you know, play hurry up and -- after delaying it. But they certainly told the court again and again we're at the 11th hour, really the 12th hour.

There is a great line in that opinion that -- from Roberts, who joins the liberals in striking it down. He does an amazing thing, which is to disbelieve the executive. He says it's a pretext and he quotes Henry Friendly, who is sort of the Merrick Garland of his day, the best judge not on the Supreme Court saying, yes, "we're deferential, but we don't have to exhibit a naivete from which ordinary citizens are free."

What's that mean? It basically means we know here when you're trying to hand us a bill of goods, and I really think that the overall record of just, you know mendacity from the Trump administration maybe came back to bite them here.

The court was saying, you know, you're not going to pull this one over on us. Of course, you were trying to do this for race and political advantage.

WILLIAMS: So, yes, after the decision -- after the oral arguments, some additional evidence came out. Let me read a statement from an adviser to Trump.

LITMAN: Yes.

WILLIAMS: It was, you know, putting this question on would be, quote, "advantageous to Republicans and non-white Hispanics."

They are literally saying -- they're literally drawing on the advice that they know they're trying to help Republicans and people who are non-white Hispanics. This is what they're trying -- it's rare in a civil rights case that you get that clear evidence of intent put on the record, and I -- and the two district courts --

(CROSSTALK)

LITMAN: And then, Elliot --

WILLIAMS: Yes.

LITMAN: -- what they're saying out of the other side of their mouth to the court is we're just doing this to help the Voting Rights Act policy. And the Supreme Court said, that's too much for us.

WILLIAMS: And the judges -- yes. And the judge -- the three federal judges who weighed this before all thought that that was clear fabrication. And even the Justice Department to some extent thought, hey, you know, you're being a little cute here, Mr. Secretary of commerce. Just twisting things.

LEMON: In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add this question. And he writes "The sole stated reason seems to have been contrived." So, he's telling the Trump administration, he's calling them out on their lies, no?

WILLIAMS: Very rare.

LEMON: Or lying.

WILLIAMS: I think it's rare -- it's pretty rare. Number one, to be that pointed in a decision. Number two, you know, for that much -- for that little daylight or that much daylight between the chief justice and the administration.

[22:29:57] But it's just on its face so patently obvious that they were trying to come up with and gin up this phony decision for, like we were talking about pretext. I mean, literally, they had one thing they were doing and another explanation for what they did that was completely untrue and completely made up.

LEMON: Harry, were you surprised the chief justice was so assertive in his opinion?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I was. You know, he's deferential. Think about the immigration decision where it seemed pretty clear that Trump was pre-textual, but they said we have to defer. But I was, you know I was impressed, just the way I said, with his ability to say, you know, we're nine guys in robes but don't think we're idiots up here. We, you know, we can -- we can hear facts like ordinary people can. That did surprise me.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you both. I appreciate it. Two women coming forward to corroborate E. Jean Carroll's story, of what she says Donald Trump did to her in the 90s. And tonight, Carroll herself is speaking out to CNN about all of it. We'll have that for you next.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Two women, longtime friends of writer E. Jean Carroll speaking out, telling "The New York Times" she told them about the alleged attack by Donald Trump right after it happened in the mid-90s. Well, the president denies the accusation. I want to bring in now CNN's Chief Media Correspondent, Mr. Brian Stelter, who spoke with E. Jean Carroll today.

Brian, good evening to you, the two women are now on record backing her allegations against the president. What do we know about these two women who -- they're revealing their identities?

(CROSSTALK)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And this is really significant. Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin asked for anonymity for the past week. They did not want to have their names revealed. Numerous reports included CNN's Sara Murray spoke with them, corroborated their accounts. But they remained in the shadows. Now, they've chosen to speak publicly.

And I think that is very important, because it gives another layer of detail to this allegation. Bottom line, E. Jean Carroll told her friends what she says happened right away. I asked her, did you also take notes? Did you write it down? She can't find anything like that. But it is notable to have two friends who can testify to what she says happened that day.

That is rare in some of these cases. And you think back to the Kavanaugh case, for example. It is not always assumed that when something traumatic happens to a woman or a man that they're going to tell their friends or family. In this case, E. Jean Carroll did tell two friends. The friends are backing up her account, so that makes her allegation stronger.

LEMON: It was rare then, but now people know about it.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yeah. So listen, there is an episode of Law and Order SVU about an alleged rape in Bergdorf Goodman, very similar to the account that E. Jean Carroll describes. And, you know, what to happened to her and Trump, you asked her about that.

STELTER: Yeah. It's a very interesting coincidence. And she says it's just a coincidence that in this 2012 episode of Law and Order, there is this description of an assault at a department store like this. And so I asked her about it. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: So what's your reaction?

E. JEAN CARROLL, ACCUSES PRESIDENT TRUMP OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING HER IN THE 1990S: I'm startled. I've always said there are like nine plots in the entire world, right? This is a huge coincidence. I generally know every Law and Order episode and Law and Order Criminal Intent. I never see Law and Order SVU, because it's a little violent.

But, of course, this, I guess, is, you know, a fantasy that many people have. I am not surprised, because it was enacted with me. So it's -- I am not shocked that a man would be on this television show with that very thing.

STELTER: But you're saying it's a coincidence.

CARROLL: Total coincidence.

STELTER: That it showed up, the idea of something happening like this, you know, in a department store is a coincidence.

CARROLL: Complete and utter coincidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STELTER: Some of her critics like Donald Trump Jr. are saying, oh, well, she's a nutjob. This is where she got the idea. She got it from SVU. Well, that doesn't make sense, because she told her friends about what happened in the mid-1990s. Another theory is maybe she saw this episode -- maybe one of her friends told a writer who then used it on NBC. But NBC says that's not true.

A source told our colleague, Sara Murray, that this was completely coincidence. No connection between her friends and the writers of the show. So this is one of those strange situations where TV and reality connect.

LEMON: And, you know, they said -- I don't know if you guys remember the beginning days of Law and Order and Law and Order SVU. It was ripped from the headlines.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yeah. It's interesting -- I mean Bergdorf's -- I mean it's coincidence. You mention the president's son. What are they saying?

STELTER: Well, they're trying to discredit her. We've seen for the past week a campaign to discredit her, starting at the top the president saying that she's not his type.

LEMON: Interesting.

STELTER: We've all talked about that. And you've talked about that's a sickening thing to say. But it is notable that she's out there defending herself, speaking out. Her book comes out next week. But she says her book is not about Trump. It's about men in general. Of course, the Trump allegation is still getting attention, and rightly so.

We can't let this kind of allegation just disappear after a couple of days. And I think her friends speaking out helps with that.

LEMON: Let me play one more clip from your interview here. And she talks about why women are afraid to come forward. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: There is a reason why women hesitate to come forward and tell the truth, a really strong reason. A, they will be dragged through the mud. B, they will be dumped on the muck heap of, you know, this back and forth. C, they'll be threatened. And D, they'll put their reputations, their very reputations on the line. They'll put their lives on the line.

And they'll put their livelihoods on the line. There is no reason for me to come forward and put everything on the line, unless I thought it would help other women. And that's exactly what I am doing. And I am not sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So she's saying there is no reason. Her critics are saying she does have a book.

[22:40:00] STELTER: A book deal, right. And it comes out next Tuesday. Her response to that is, look, Harvey Weinstein changed everything. This was a memory she had buried deep down inside from 20 years ago. She thought no one would ever take her seriously. And then after the Weinstein scandal and after the MeToo movement began, she started hearing from so many readers, so many women with their own accounts, with their own experiences, with their own histories of being assaulted by men.

And she felt, you know what, maybe I do need to share my own story. So that's in the book. But, you know, the book is 200-plus pages long. Trump is 10 pages. You know, my impression is she doesn't want this to be a book about Trump. It's about so much more. Of course, how can you avoid that? She's made an allegation against the most powerful man in the world.

She has a very detailed description of what happened. She has two friends who say they heard about it as well.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Does she have any regrets?

STELTER: She says she has no regrets about coming forward. And she was struck by how many women are coming up to her, and men, saying thank you for coming forward. But whether that has any more impact, let's see. It's in the court of public opinion. This is never going to be before a court, only in the court of public opinion.

LEMON: And we'll see, because remember with the other allegations, they just sort of faded away. See what happens with this one, right? He became president even after there were women who --

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: And I keep wondering are there more E. Jean Carroll's who haven't shared their stories? We may never know.

LEMON: Interesting. Thank you, Brian.

STELTER: Thanks.

LEMON: Now that two of E. Jean Carroll's friends are on record supporting her, as Brian just said, will it make a difference in the court of public opinion? We're going to discuss that next.

[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: E. Jean Carroll's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Donald Trump more than two decades ago backed up by two of her friends. How significant is this? Let's discuss now. Alice Stewart is here as well as Areva Martin, the author of "Make It Rain."

Good evening both of you. Areva, her friends are both on record sharing their stories publicly. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said let's go to the police. No, come to my house. No, I want to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will take you to the police, no. It was 15 minutes of my life. It's over. Don't ever tell anybody. I just had to tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said don't tell anybody. I wouldn't tell anybody this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How significant -- as an attorney, how significant is it that two prominent New York figures are speaking out publicly about this?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, these are really powerful statements, Don. They are the types of corroborating evidence, that if this case were to be tried in a criminal matter and definitely in a civil matter, these witnesses would be very critical to Carroll's case. And they would corroborate her case.

And unless there is something terribly wrong with these women or unless they have some kind of history of making false statements or somehow they're not believable witnesses, this would make it almost impossible, I think, for anyone to disbelieve that the rape occurred in the exact way that she describes in her book and in the way that she describes in her interviews.

So I think given particularly Donald Trump's history, his history -- over 10,000 misstatements he's made since he's been in office, and the way that he's treated women. The number of women that have come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct towards him, I think this just makes Carroll's statement, allegations of rape even more credible and more substantial.

LEMON: Alice, just the other day, you and I were talking. We had a conversation on the air about this. You said that Carroll's accusation is extremely credible. You were concerned about it. You said they should be investigated. Now that this is happening with the friends, what do you make of the allegations? It's harder to ignore now?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It was hard in my view to ignore from the very beginning. But the -- this just adds more credibility to what she already said previously. Look, there are two ways to look at this. In the court of law, this would be significant. And this -- as corroborating information at the time that this happened to what she has said.

But the reality, Don, in the court of public opinion, which is what Donald Trump is really concerned with, is this is not going to change anything, because this is nothing new. Those who supported him realized prior to his election, these kinds of allegations were out there and they voted him in. Those who are opposed to him, his critics knew he had moral shortcomings.

And they want even more to move him out. But what this may do, more than anything, the fact that Carroll has said that she is not going to press charges. This, in my view, will die on the vine. But I hope this does what many people hope this happens. This will add voice to the voiceless. Other women that this happens to, hopefully they will realize they can come forward.

And as Areva has been a great advocate for victims of sexual violence and sexual assault, I hope that this gives them the courage to come forward in the event something like this happens to them.

LEMON: I have got to ask you -- let me -- you say, Alice. Areva, I will get back to you. You say that President Trump's denials don't include the luxury of the benefit of the doubt. And you said it in so many words the other day that he has no credibility on this topic. A few Republicans, though, are saying, you know, are saying credible allegations should be examined, but what about the rest?

STEWART: Well, the reason he has no reason for error or no credibility is because of his own words. The words he said himself on the Access Hollywood tape are virtually a play-by-play of what happened in this allegation. And he himself has acknowledged that he engages in this kind of behavior. So it's really hard to believe that this didn't happen when he has talked about it in the past. That's where -- that's how I view this, and his own words can --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK.

[22:50:11] STEWART: And are being used against him in this case. But at the end of the day, it won't change the outcome.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to get Areva in. Areva, I have 30 seconds. George Conway, Alice and others are saying that it's inconsistent to believe Juanita Broaddrick when you say Bill Clinton raped her, but not believe E. Jean Carroll.

MARTIN: Yeah. There was such an outcry, Don, from Republicans and the Christian right with respect to the allegation against Bill Clinton. And we should note that Juanita Broaddrick made a statement under penalty of perjury that the assault did not happen, and then she went back and said that it did. So if you're going to judge credibility, here is a woman who made an inconsistent statement.

And as far as we know, Carroll has been completely consistent. And one thing I think is so important, and Alice hit this. Alice hit this. We've just got to keep talking about this, no matter if there's a criminal trial or a civil trial. Carroll doesn't want to prosecute this in any form, but that doesn't mean that women and men all over this country should be constantly talking about we have a president sitting in the White House that's been accused of rape. That's a problem.

LEMON: Yeah. I've got to go. Again, die on the vine or we'll see if it continues. But it'll be interesting to watch. Thank you, both. I appreciate it. CNN's live analysis of the Democratic debate is coming up next. Make sure you stay with us.

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And we are back. I am going to hand it over to Anderson Cooper and his team, who will bring you all the analysis of tonight's Democratic debate. The candidates are wrapping up as we speak. Take it away, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Don, you don't want to stay until like 1:00 a.m.?

LEMON: No, I will let you do that.

COOPER: OK, all right.

LEMON: Have at it.

COOPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: I will be watching.

COOPER: Good evening again, night two of the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 campaign. There were fireworks on the stage of Miami as some of the top polling candidates sought to distinguish themselves from one another, plenty of heat, a few verbal shots, a lot of rhetorical pushing and shoving, some policy wonkery, and a few curveballs.

In short, whether you're invested in the outcome as so many Americans say they are this time, or simply interested in how the candidates make their case, this is a good night to be tuning in, a lot to get to onstage. Tonight, self-help speaker Marianne Williamson, former Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Senator Kamala Harris, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, and California Congressman Eric Swalwell.

We'll be bringing you all the key moments from Miami and talk to many of the candidates. Right now, our team of political reporters, analysts, and former participants in the process were all watching it unfold here, deep breath here. I'll only do this once. Former Obama Senior Adviser, Currently the Host of the Axe Files, CNN's Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod, CNN's Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN's Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN's Political Director, David Chalian, Jess McIntosh.

(Inaudible) Director of Communication Outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign, she's a CNN Political Commentator, also with us, CNN Political Commentator, Van Jones, host of CNN's "VAN JONES SHOW," and former Special Adviser To President Obama, finally, CNN Political Commentator Terry McAuliffe, former DNC Chairman and former Governor of Virginia. I am Chris Cuomo. Thanks for being with us.

David Axelrod, I want to play some sound and talk about it a little later on that confrontation, but just some quick thoughts from you.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think this was a good night for two new generation candidates, for Mayor Buttigieg of South Bend and particularly for Kamala Harris, the Senator from California. I think they took full advantage of the platform tonight. I think it was a tougher night for the most seasoned candidates on the platform.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Why do you think that was?

AXELROD: Because they seemed like part of the past rather than the future. At times, the vice president seemed somewhat confused to me in handling some of the questions and following some of the -- he seemed a bit defensive. And Bernie Sanders, we joked earlier. He might have been a hologram, because a lot of what we heard tonight, we've heard many, many times before.

So I think they seemed a little bit mired in the past. And these other candidates seemed like fresh new faces and really profited from this evening.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think Kamala Harris owned the night. It was a masterful performance from her, unexpected in many ways. I think a lot of us went into this debate thinking it would be a brawl between Sanders and Biden. And it was unexpected to have her go for this topic around race and around busing and use her personal story to really prosecute the case against his position on busing.

COOPER: She also used her opportunities very well.

HENDERSON: Yeah.

COOPER: It wasn't -- Kirsten Gillibrand was kind of jumping in a lot.

HENDERSON: She went in with a purpose.

COOPER: She kind of waited until the moment, and then she really commanded that moment.

HENDERSON: She did. And, you know, she obviously, a black woman onstage, we haven't seen a black woman onstage in a presidential debate at this level, in the top five in polling right now. So it was a real moment. And she was making a case. Obviously, her story matters. Her experience matters of being a child who was (Inaudible). And also odd was that you had Biden actually arguing for state's rights, which is a terrible argument to be making at this point if you know anything about the history of segregation and the history of this country.