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Supreme Court Says No To Citizenship Question; Nine Cities To Be Raided On Sunday; A Veteran Democrat Versus A Newbie On Race Issues; Fear Spreading In Communities Across the United States; Second Round of Democratic Presidential Debates. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 11, 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: Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with the one and only D. Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: One observation, when you were playing the sound bite Paul -- wasn't the same Paul Ryan. One of them had a beard. The other one didn't.
CUOMO: It's the same person.
LEMON: OK. I was just wondering why --
CUOMO: The good thing you won those spelling bees. What else is on your mind there, co-jack?
LEMON: You know what I want to say, right? I want to keep my job.
CUOMO: Why should tonight be any different? What do you want to call me on national television tonight?
LEMON: You're not such a great -- OK, so you went after the president on his spelling.
CUOMO: No, no, no, I'm not going after the president.
LEMON: You're just pointing it out.
CUOMO: He said that I'm a really good speller. And I'm not picking on the president --
LEMON: He also said he was the best looking, handsome and --
CUOMO: I thought, look, that's subjective. You think you're good looking, fine. You think you're a good speller but you keep spelling things wrong all the time, that's I can't give it to you. I'll give him incredibly persuasive. I'll give him that he plays the media like a fiddle. I'll give him a
lot of things. He's delivering on his agenda. he's got a tremendous base that's ridiculously forgiving. But great speller? I mean, you know, that's right up there that was saying like you're good at Sudoku.
LEMON: Have you seen your Instagram?
CUOMO: Yes. Why?
LEMON: It's funny sometimes.
CUOMO: Why are you trying to say?
LEMON: I'm trying to say your Instagram is funny sometimes.
CUOMO: Don't be so, it doesn't work for you. Why, why is it funny sometimes?
LEMON: Have you see it? The one where you're like on a treadmill --
CUOMO: With Sally Jesse glasses on?
LEMON: -- and you're sweating.
CUOMO: Why are you playing with your Sally Jesse glasses so much?
LEMON: Sally Jesse Raphael actually did very well with those glasses and so am I.
CUOMO: She did. She did. You're making a mockery of them.
LEMON: Don't try to change the subject.
CUOMO: Well, what's wrong with my Instagram?
LEMON: There's nothing. I said have you seen it? So you're thinking --
CUOMO: What do you mean have I seen it? I do it. How am I not seeing it? What are you trying to say? If you want to take a shot, take a shot.
LEMON: I think it's funny sometimes. When I need a good laugh at night, and I don't mean that in a bad way, I'll go to your Instagram.
CUOMO: No, obviously not. I think you're itching for a fight. I think you're spoiling for a little friction.
LEMON: When I need to get after it -- CUOMO: Yes, we're going to have the kid in the house. I'll see you soon enough, my friend. You laugh now, cry later.
LEMON: OK. Hey, listen --
CUOMO: Yes, sir.
LEMON: Family's back and they went right back to a possible hurricane. Can you believe that?
CUOMO: I know. Listen. One of the big frustrations is that place has done so little to deal with what is so obvious.
CUOMO: And its topography. And it's so sad because the same areas -- I mean, you grew up in it. And for those of us who just knew it through the coverage. I must have been down there 15 times over the years just to cover this. It's the same situation every time. It's a basin. And the water is coming in now. You see the pictures of that woman who barely escaped holding her two kids running through the floodwater.
LEMON: Yes. I saw pictures of people screaming.
CUOMO: And the worst is yet to come.
LEMON: Worst to yet to come. I've been talking to my family all day. They miss you already. Not really, but --
CUOMO: You see?
LEMON: Yes. Got to go.
CUOMO: You see? You're just buck nasty.
LEMON: See you, Christopher.
CUOMO: See you later, brother.
LEMON: Take it easy.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
You know, look, this is the headline. The president and his administration that they have been tying themselves up into knots trying to avoid. They wanted to avoid this particular headline.
He's backing down on the census citizenship question. He won't admit it. Can't admit it. Not to his base. But that's the fact, OK? I'm just giving you the facts here, whether you like it or not.
The Supreme Court blocked him from adding the question to the census. He tried to do an end-run around that but he lost the fight. So today in a Rose Garden announcement the president said that he'll issue an executive order requiring government agencies like the IRS and Social Security to turn over citizenship records they already have.
But that is exactly what census officials wanted to do in the first place. Way back in January of 2018. Are you hearing me? All of this -- the census people wanted to do back since January of 2018. And now he is portraying it as a victory, as something that he came up with. That's exactly what they wanted to do.
I keep telling you don't fall for the OK-doke (ph). But the president can't just admit that he lost. So, what does he do? Blame everybody but himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm proud to be a citizen. You're proud to be a citizen. The only people who are not proud to be citizens are the ones who are fighting us all the way about the word citizen.
Today, I'm here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He blames Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:05:00] TRUMP: As shocking as it may be, far-left Democrats in our country are determined to conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He blames the courts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The case is already in three federal district courts that that have been, to be totally honest, extremely unfriendly to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: His own failure, really. A source close to the White House telling CNN TONIGHT, quote, "it reminds me of the bad news bears."
A different White House official said that the president's decision to drop the question was uncharacteristic. Quote, "He does not like to concede anything." That's for sure. But there was one bright spot for the president in this whole thing, another dear moment courtesy of the nation's top lawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Mr. President, and congratulations on today's executive order. I applaud the president for recognizing in his executive order that
including a question on the census is not the only way to obtain this vital information.
Congratulations again, Mr. President, on taking this effective action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow. Sure, knows his audience, doesn't he? What better way to get on the good side of the president, who just this morning in the middle of a Twitter rant against a candidate who seems to scare him most, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, he tweeted this. He tweeted about himself.
That he, President Trump, is so great looking and smart, a true stable genius. Sorry. No, seriously, he tweeted that.
Let's just review the twists and turns, though, that got us here. Incredibly, all of this happened in just the past two weeks, OK? So, follow along with me.
First, the highest court in the land told the president that he couldn't put the citizenship question on the census because the administration's explanation, and I'm quoting the chief justice of the Supreme Court here, John Roberts, he said this. "Appears to have been contrived."
So, the court just plain didn't believe Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross when he said the citizenship question was all about enforcing the Voting Rights Act because it wasn't.
The president's response, tweeting a request to delay the census. When that didn't fly and when the commerce started printing the census forms without the question, well, the president threw a Twitter tantrum again and threw his own administration into chaos, insisting that he was absolutely moving forward, leaving them to try to figure out how.
One DOJ attorney forced to tell a judge, quote, "The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the president's position on this issue. I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture."
So, enter the Attorney General, Bill Barr, insisting on Monday that he have a pathway for putting the question on the census in a day or two. That after the announcement, well, the entire legal team representing the administration on the question was being replaced.
The very next day a federal judge in New York said not so fast. Blocking the DOJ from swapping out the lawyers and in the process delivering another judicial smackdown. Quote, "Defendants provide no reason, let alone, satisfactory reasons, for the substitution of counsel."
All of that chaos. The DOJ twisting itself into knots trying to give the president what he wants, a win for his base, and now here we are. The president backing down on the citizenship question. But going ahead with those threatened ICE raids on nine American cities beginning Sunday and making sure everyone knows they're coming.
Raids expected in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. By the way, New Orleans was on the list but that's been postponed with Tropical Storm Barry predicted to batter the region this weekend. Otherwise they'd be on that list, too. It would be happening. They are on the list but they've been
The New York Times first reported on the raid saying, they'll include what's being calling it collateral deportations with ICE potentially detaining, quote, "immigrants who happened to be on the scene even though they were not targets of the raids."
The Times also reports officials say agents have expressed apprehensions about arresting babies and young children, arresting babies and young children. I would hope that people would have at least some apprehensions about that.
All that as we are learning tonight that the Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta, the man at the center of yesterday's scandal du jour, well, he may be on even thinner ice tonight.
[22:10:07] Sources are saying the president is questioning whether Acosta's self-defense press conference yesterday, whether it was enough. You know the press conference the president told him to do? One source says aides tried to convince him that Acosta had performed well, but he has since been asking people around him whether the secretary has really done enough to tamp down the scandal.
Maybe Secretary Acosta should talk to the Attorney General William Barr about how it's done around there. The president's concern -- his concern is reportedly not so much about how Acosta handled the Jeffrey Epstein sweetheart deal, but more how it reflects on him and his administration.
We've seen it again and again. A scandal that would make headlines for weeks in any other White House gets drowned out in an administration that seems to have a new one every single day, every single day.
You wonder was today really to distract from the bad headlines from earlier in the week. We'll see what happens this time, the president and his attorney general claiming victory from the jaws of defeat. Are you buying it? That's a question for Nia-Malika Henderson, John Dean and Philip Mudd next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump tonight something he really hates to do, backing down. This time it's over his attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead he is ordering government agencies to turn over citizenship information they already have to the Commerce Department, which is what census officials wanted to do all along.
So here to discuss, Nia-Malika Henderson, John Dean, Philip Mudd.
Good evening. Nia, I'm going to start with you. Let's see. Can we take a step back here? Because the Supreme Court ruled that the administration's argument on the citizenship question was contrived.
Then you had a federal judge say that the DOJ couldn't switch lawyers. Now the president is backtracking, backing down but still attempting a work-around and claiming victory. I mean, seriously, what is up here?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, this was something that's very important to the president, right? Elevating this issue about the census. Elevating this issue about American identity and who can make claim to American identity, who can make claim to America's resources, who can make claims to being represented in Congress.
And this is obviously been a theme that has been with him since the very beginning, right? If you think about the speech, he gave in 2015 announcing his candidacy, right, it was all about him coming on the scene to protect Americans against what he saw as the bad folks coming up from the southern border who were rapists and murderers. And I think this is sort of a bookend to that.
It's still on this same theme of identifying these folks and prevent them from being treated equally in many ways. I mean, if you listen to that speech, he was almost suggesting that there would almost be some sort, like, federal registry that the government would have track of who illegal undocumented immigrants are and thereby prevent them from getting a representation in Congress. Thereby prevent them from voting.
Something else he has been obsessed with, this idea that illegal immigrants are voting. So, I thought in some ways it was a masterful kind of weaving together of all of these kind of stereotypes about illegal immigrants that are held on, particularly the right and that the president has been sort of masterful in peddling.
HENDERSON: So, you know, I think it was -- it was -- works for his base.
HENDERSON: You know, that initial question was like, you know, this idea of erasure of American citizenship, right? Are you an American citizen? I think in that way he was talking directly to those folks who feel like they're being blocked out by illegal immigrants.
LEMON: It worked for -- it worked for his base.
HENDERSON: Right. LEMON: It didn't work for the Supreme Court.
LEMON: It didn't work for the courts. And then ultimately it didn't work for him. But what is the president's goal, Phil, with determining the populations of citizens versus non-citizens. Why it's so important to him do you think?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think this is pretty simple. And I think he's actually winning.
MUDD: We think about the defeat in the Supreme Court.
HENDERSON: I think so.
MUDD: This is about starting from day one about a Muslim ban, telling his supporters. Look, these people who don't like -- looked like --
LEMON: You and Nia sound like two -- like you're, you know, in stereo here.
MUDD: If I'm going to disagree with Nia, it's going to be a difficult day. Look, the point is from day one you go with the Muslim ban. It's not about whether that ban works.
Remember, there is a lot of legal arguments against that Muslim ban from day one. It's about telling his supporters people who don't look like you don't belong in this country. I represent you.
In this case, it's not just about citizenship on a questionnaire, it's about telling supporters a year and a half before an election, regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court says no, regardless of whether I get blocked, we won.
You have somebody who represents you to try to keep people who don't look like you, whether they're from Guatemala or El Salvador out of this country. I think even if he doesn't get the question on the questionnaire, he offers the same response he offered two and a half years ago. I represent you in trying to keep people out of this country. Vote for me again. I think he's winning.
LEMON: Interesting. John, let's bring you in. You heard the multiple -- John, before I ask you this question, do you think he's winning with this?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think he's winning. What his goal was -- what the effort to put the question on the census was because it would decrease the people who would respond to the census. In other words, the census really is counting people and not
necessarily citizens. And by adding the questionnaire, are you a citizen, testing showed, and there was pretty solid proof of this in the lower courts, that this would depress the number of people who would respond to the census. And that's really to get a full count of how many people. So, today's move he did not win.
DEAN: In fact, that question not being on there means it will be a good census in 2020.
LEMON: You heard, john --
HENDERSON: But --
LEMON: Go on.
[22:20:00] HENDERSON: I think it will still depress folks answering the census, right? Because in some ways he's framed the census as sort of an off chute of his government, right?
In the speech today, he sort of, wedded the idea of all of this data collection and somehow was still going to be connected to the census and still connected to redistricting.
So, I think he wins on that. I think you're going to have folks who are afraid to cooperate with the census because, remember, this is also a government that is announcing all of these raids, right? You can't separate that from this census question.
So, he elevates the idea that there might be this question. And with all the sort of misinformation, if you're an undocumented immigrant, do you really want to cooperate with the census after the president has made such a, you know, topic of it over all these many months?
LEMON: That's a very good point. Very good point. You heard the multiple congratulations from Bill Barr, though, to the president. I played some of them. If you were watching it, I sat there and I was like, wow.
Did you find that strange, John? I mean, for one thing, they did fail to get the question on the census.
DEAN: It was pretty disgusting for an attorney general to be that much of a sycophant right in public. And four times sort of kissing up to the president about what a great job he had done in failing to get this thing accomplished the way he wanted to, but now we've given you a back door that makes it look like you've got something when you really have got nothing.
You know, from -- it's just not the way the relationship between the attorney general and the president should be in public. If they want to have that private relationship, that's fine, but Barr should show some scintilla of independence which he doesn't anymore.
LEMON: Nia, I got to ask you something before I go back to Phil. You know, Gloria Borger, our colleague Gloria Borger said this flattery, she said it was a dear leader moment. I mean, we've seen that before, but it's a little unsettling when it comes from, you know, the top lawyer in the country, the attorney general, no?
HENDERSON: Unsettling, but in some ways not surprising, right, for this attorney general in particular because he essentially campaigned for this job, writing that big memo about the Mueller investigation.
And so far on the job we have seen him sort of carry water for this president might be putting too fine a point on it. So, it wasn't exactly surprising. He has gotten the attorney general that he wanted in Bill Barr. He finally ran off Jeff Sessions who he saw as disloyal.
And so, we have I think in Bill Barr somebody who is an establishment figure but certainly toes the line and does what Donald Trump wants him to do.
LEMON: You always know where he is going to stand on an issue.
LEMON: He know he was going to come out there and somehow defend. I was surprised when, you know, as the press conference went on, Phil, that, you know, as the attorney general kept talking, I said, well, he keeps saying we're not going to do this and it would take too long and this is not a victory, but he's trying to make it sound like a victory.
You know, it is -- it is so important, Phil, for this White House to always look -- this administration to always look like they're standing strong on immigration. So, when you look at the timing of all of this, the planned raids, right when he failed the citizenship question, is that -- is that a coincidence? Is it a distraction? How do you see it?
MUDD: I don't see it as a coincidence. I see this as pretty simple. This is not about the law. This is not about the attorney general. This is about messaging. Whether you're looking about what the president said about his relationship in North Korea, this is a victory. I have a great friend in North Korea. We're not going to have war.
Meanwhile, the North Koreans have a nuclear weapon and they have ballistic missiles. This is about a victory in Iran. We told them no on the Iranian nuclear program, and meanwhile, the result of the president trying to back down the Iranians is we have a standoff in the Arabian Peninsula.
This is about messaging, saying regardless of what happens in the real world, we won. Regardless of whether the Supreme Court said no, we won. So, Bill Barr is supporting the president, saying I don't care what the facts are. Tell the American people who don't read the news every day, we won, Don. That's the story. We won.
MUDD: That's the messaging.
LEMON: Yes. Nia, I'm looking at your face. You're all of us tonight. That expression you're making, it's all of us. What's going on here? All right. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon.
HENDERSON: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: It is the squad versus the speaker. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accusing Nancy Pelosi of singling out women of color. Is this really about race or is there more to this story and how is it all affecting the party?
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The clash of the Democratic caucus going public with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and telling "The Washington Post," and this is a quote, "but the persistent singling out, it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful, the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."
She's referring to herself and her fellow congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and also Rashida Tlaib. The four freshmen members call themselves the squad. Speaker Pelosi voiced annoyance with their opposition to a largely partisan border spending bill calling them "just four people."
Let's discuss now. Sarah Jones is here as well as Aisha Moodie-Mills and Rick Wilson. Rick is the author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies." Hello, one -- and I love the finger on the cover. Hello, one and all. Thank you so much -- or the hand, right? I got it.
Aisha, I'm going to start with you because Manu Raju, our reporter on Capitol Hill, caught up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and asked if she stands by her claim that the speaker is unfairly singling out women of color. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's really just pointing out the pattern, right? We're not talking about just progressives. It's singling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we're operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of attention, I think it's just worth asking why.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think she has a racial animus? Do you think she is a racist?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: No, no, absolutely not. Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [22:30:01] LEMON: Do you think that she's right, this thing that, you
know, she's singling out or she's somehow targeting women of color? Is she making a mistake by saying this?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don't really believe that this is specifically about targeting women of color. I mean, at the end of the day, I think that what is misguided about all of this is, as you just discussed on your last segment, there are literally children at the border in cages right now. But the Democratic caucus has infighting.
And I think that what the Democrats, what Biden, Pelosi, what they risk doing right now is really a Democratic self-voter suppression by dismissing, by disregarding the progressive energy and base that supports these women in the cavalier way.
LEMON: Is it that big, though?
MOODIE-MILLS: I do think it's that big. And as someone who is part of the progressive energy, I feel a little bit dissed and disrespected by the way that she is me neglecting these women and really invalidating what they have to say. And what I fear, what I fear is that come the general election the people who support them, the progressive energy, is going to kind of shrug their shoulders and not show up because this is the kind of thing that turns them off.
LEMON: But you -- it seems like you're shaking your head in agreement, am I right? I don't want to --
SARAH JONES, WRITER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I agree with Aisha. I think it's really counterproductive for Pelosi to pick this fight with these members of the Democratic caucus right now. And they're young. They have prominent followings. And she should follow where the energy is.
LEMON: Do you think she's picking a fight?
JONES: I am not sure how else to read her interview with Maureen Dowd. That seemed to sort of instigate a conflict where one hadn't necessarily been to begin with.
LEMON: OK. Rick, I want to bring you in. You put out a threat on Twitter predicting how all of this will go down. You said is Democrats keep up this infighting, the only winner will be Trump. So give them some tough love now, Rick. Say what you mean.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's all I do, Don. It's -- all my love is tough. Here's my concern right now. Is -- Nancy Pelosi understands that the Democrats right now control one thing. They control one half of the legislative branch. She recognizes also that about 25 of those new members of the 40 new members are not from districts that look like AOC's. They're from districts that look like Katie Porter or Connor Lamb.
They're from moderate districts. They're from swing seats that they took from Republicans. Those seats are by no means ensured in the reelection. And she also is smart enough to know that no matter who the Democratic nominee is that this is a race wherein 35 states the campaign is already largely over. We pretty much know how Mississippi is going to vote.
We pretty much know how California and New York are going to vote. And a lot of the swing states that are going to be coming up no matter who the Democratic nominee is are not as deep purple or as deep blue. They're more purple. And so there's going to be a moment where, you know, the Democratic nominee is going to have to appeal to people who are not just on the AOC part of the Democratic coalition, which is, by the way, about 20 to 30 percent of the Democratic coalition are hard progressives.
Just as about 20 to 30 percent of Republicans are like super hard conservatives. And there is an actual middle in this country. You have to address it. Just having progressive energy is great. But if Donald Trump isn't enough to get progressives to kick them in the ass and get them out to vote on Election Day, then they should just form their own party and enjoy 32 years of Trump, you know, family members holding the office.
MOODIE-MILLS: I don't necessarily agree with that.
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Rick, do you know who else agrees with you? Donald Trump Jr.
WILSON: What's that?
LEMON: Do you know who else agrees with you? Donald Trump Jr. He just put out an op-ed that's entitled Donald Trump will win the Democratic Party civil war. Although, he claimed the reason won't be division, per se, but called extremists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are in charge of setting the party agenda. So how do you feel that you're -- you know, you and Donald Trump Jr. agree?
WILSON: Well, Donald Trump Jr. and I don't agree on a whole lot in this world. But somebody wrote that editorial. I am doing this out of concern. He's just doing this out of straight up trolling, because they're in a mode of trying to stoke this further. And look, Donald Trump will elevate people that they believe are going to do harm to the party's long-term image.
Look, when Ted Cruz came along in 2012, there were a lot of Republicans who lost their minds and thought he was the second coming, and basically he became this force inside the party that was a big divider.
WILSON: In a lot of things that they were trying to get done in the minority. And so there are some parallels between Trump -- Ted Cruz and AOC in a lot of ways. Very popular with the -- an edge of the base and very, you know, very aggressive as a new member. [22:34:58] LEMON: Yeah. And you also have as a member of the Tea
Party. But go on. I know you want to jump in. What did you want to say?
MOODIE-MILLS: Yeah, do I want to jump in. I mean here's the thing. We're trying to denigrate these women, which I completely disagree with. And I just want to offer something --
WILSON: I am not denigrating her at all.
MOODIE-MILLS: The leadership, the conversation is, oh, it's only 20 percent of the Democrats might be progressives.
LEMON: But that's facts, though. Hold on. Hold on.
MOODIE-MILLS: Here are the facts.
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on, and then I will let you finish. I didn't mean it that way. But if you look at the actual demographics of the Democratic Party, it is more moderate than it is progressive. The people who actually turn out to vote are more moderates in the Democratic Party. The majority of the party are -- is moderates, centrists.
And so I don't think he's denigrating, he's just -- you know, he's just spewing a fact. And I understand -- I agree with you about the energy. You want the young vote.
MOODIE-MILLS: I don't agree with that strategically, though. And that's the thing, is that I don't agree that we should be playing to the lowest common denominator of the lowest possible turnout, where the regular centrists just show up. When you think about the Obama coalition of who came out to vote, which, frankly, is what we need to duplicate for the Democrats to take back the White House.
You got to actually incite what I consider to be the swing voters of the Democratic Party, which are young people, people of color, and women who tend to lean more progressive and get animated and excited about progressive values to vote more regularly, so that they're actually spending.
LEMON: Aisha, all the women who came out in Alabama to vote, those weren't necessarily progressive. Those were centrist women who go to church on Sunday and who wear hats.
MOODIE-MILLS: In 2018 --
LEMON: Those are people who show up for caucuses.
MOODIE-MILLS: All of those Democrats that switched those seats won because of the progressive energy of the electorate that increased turnout. That's exactly what happened. So from the women's march on, it was that energy in those moderate districts that flipped those seats.
MOODIE-MILLS: That made them the --
LEMON: Sarah, we will get you in on the other side of this break. We won't just let these two walk. So we're going to right back. We'll continue this conversation. Don't go anywhere.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Back with me now, Sarah Jones, Aisha Moodie-Mills, and Rick Wilson. Sarah, would you like to do some talking? And here's what you write. You write in your New York Magazine piece, you write that Speaker Pelosi -- about Speaker Pelosi. You say the only legible explanation for her reluctance to investigate Secretary Alexander Acosta or center Trump is that she fears a backlash that would cost her moderate members their seats.
But if that's the case, she overestimates the risk. Trump is an unpopular president, and the disgraceful events of his tenure mobilized voters and flipped House districts. So you're echoing what she said, what Aisha said. Do you think that more aggressively pursuing the president, pursuing impeachment could hurt Democrats in moderate districts? What are you saying here?
JONES: I don't believe so. I think that voters voted for Democrats and flipped these House districts because they wanted the party to act as a check on the president. And there's really no other reason for them to flip those districts and they did. And at some point, the party is going to have to decide whether or not it's going to exercise the authority that the voters handed to them, or whether they're going to continue to sit on their hands.
It's all well and good that we're having all these investigations. It's important. But if impeachment is completely off the table, then it does seem like we're at an impasse.
LEMON: Yeah. But when you -- when we were talking earlier about women of color and all that, that she's singling out. But I mean Nancy Pelosi has the support of the Congressional Black Caucus. They're on Pelosi's side, many, many members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
JONES: Go ahead.
MOODIE-MILLS: You know, Don, I just want to add to that.
LEMON: Is that age, you think? Is it a generational thing? MOODIE-MILLS: So I love the CBC. They raised me. I used to work for
them. I just want to offer, though, that we're in an interesting generational kind of divide time right now, where the Congressional Black Caucus does not represent the entire African-American electorate. And so I think that, you know, it's -- it matters when you look at 2016 and you look at younger black voters who went for Bernie Sanders and then didn't come back out and vote for Hillary Clinton, even though the CBC was all for Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: Whoa, whoa, whoa.
MOODIE-MILLS: We got to figure out how to speak to them.
LEMON: But isn't there a lesson to be learned there?
MOODIE-MILLS: The lesson to be learned, absolutely, is that you don't marginalize Ayanna Pressley's voice.
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. It's not about marginalizing anybody's voice. The lesson to be learned there is you cannot win with a minority. You cannot win with a minority. That is the lesson for Democrats. You cannot win by eating your own. And maybe at this point you don't --
MOODIE-MILLS: Which is why Nancy Pelosi should stop eating her own, I mean you make the point exactly.
LEMON: But how is she eating her own when she is saying the best way to win is by getting -- the only way that you win things is by having the majority. You have the majority of votes. You have the majority of states. You have the majority of the Electoral College. You cannot win an election with a minority of the Electoral College, with a minority of voters, with a minority of your party.
MOODIE-MILLS: Well, Hillary had the majority of voters, but that's because we have a structural deficit, right? Democrats keep winning the majority of voters.
LEMON: But the thing is, and I say this every single time, and this is an observation that I give every single time. Rick, help me out on this. Both conventions, I sat here and reported on this entire election. Every single Republican hated Donald Trump. Said he was awful for the party, awful for the country. That he -- hated him.
And when he became the nominee, every single one of them fell in line. Democrats were at the convention shouting Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, and Hillary Clinton lost. Has anyone learned a lesson in the Democratic Party from this, Rick?
[22:45:02] WILSON: No. Look, if you're in a situation where your base as a Democrat is not motivated enough by this point, by Donald Trump to patch over whatever the little small ego bumps are, and not everybody's going to get everything they want, but this is an election that we fought in about 11 or 12 moderate states that are not deep blue. They are not California.
They are not Oregon or Washington or New York or Massachusetts. They are places like Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota. They're places where Democrats can win if they don't burn themselves down. And they can win also -- and I am not saying you have to abandon your principles. I am saying you have to go into these states with a campaign that is designed so it doesn't scare off people in the center, because there are a lot of people in the center.
And getting your base motivated -- if you're -- if you're part of -- if you're part of your base, like, you know, like evangelicals with Republicans have occasionally said we're going to walk away. We won't vote if you don't nominate so and so. Well, you know, if you're in that situation where you're basically blackmailing your party and the result is Donald Trump, then you've got to really examine your priors about how much you want to win.
Because if you want to win, sometimes you have to do things and take steps that aren't comfortable, that don't get you the prizes you want right away. But that, you know, you are dropping the radical pose to achieve the radical end.
LEMON: OK. To be continued. Thank you, all. I love this conversation. We can have it over and over and over again. Thank you. ICE is getting ready to begin raids in nine cities across the country targeting migrant families and thousands could be arrested. My next guest says it is going to wreak havoc. He is Houston's chief of police. He's going to join me next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So fear is spreading in communities across the country as ICE is preparing to launch deportation raids in nine cities on Sunday. Take a look at your screen there. One of those cities is Houston, Texas. I am joined now by Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department. He's also the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents 70 cities across the country. Chief, I am so glad you could join us tonight.
Your perspective is very important here. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in this nation. How are people feeling there as word of these raids spread?
ART ACEVEDO, CHIEF, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, there's a lot of fear across our immigrant community. And we're not one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and so there's great fear in and amongst our immigrant community as to what's going to happen. I've had children come up to me at forums saying what -- I am afraid to go to school. I am afraid to leave house.
I am afraid to come home and find that my parents are gone. And these are American children, U.S.-born children, so it's creating havoc in our community.
LEMON: What do you tell them?
ACEVEDO: And our job is to -- well, what I try to tell them is look, first and foremost, make sure you obey all criminal statutes, because we remain hopeful in that ICE will do what local law enforcement does. And in a world of limited resources and focus on dangerous people, on people that are committing violence offenses out here.
LEMON: But what do you tell the children?
ACEVEDO: And we'll also tell them -- we tell them, hey, first of all you need to go to school. And secondly, don't worry about the adult issues, you know, because you've got to encourage these kids, you know? Your parents will be fine. And you try to allay those fears but those fears are real. And when we make pronouncements that we're going to go round up a million people, all that does is create havoc.
And quite frankly, it pushes people further into the darkness, further into the dark, and further outside of the realm of society, which means we have a hard time investigating crime.
LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, the New York Times is reporting and sort expressing what you say there, that some agents have apprehension about taking babies and children into custody. And you told our Ed Lavandera that you prefer to chase crooks and not cooks.
LEMON: Are these raids targeting the wrong people, do you think?
ACEVEDO: Yeah. Well, you know, I think we should be chasing crooks, not cooks? We've got gang members. Here in the city of Houston, the Houston Police Department is a very welcoming city. Our Mayor, Sylvester Turner, welcomes everyone that is here to live responsibly and earn a living. But we do work with ICE as it related homeland security investigations going after real hardcore criminals.
There are a lot of them out there. And we're just hopeful that we don't create greater problems for society by separating families. Families belong together. They certainly don't belong apart. And I think you add insult to the wound and salt to the wound when you announce these starting on the Sabbath, which is Sunday, that for a Judeo-Christian society runs contrary to everything we stand for.
LEMON: So is that -- do you think that's strategic?
ACEVEDO: Yeah. Look, we live in an era in society. I listened to your previous segment when it comes to politics. Too many elected officials are more worried about political theater and feeding the base. And that's both sides of the equation, right? You've got -- we're going to deport 2 million people to feed the base.
We're going to start on a Sunday to feed the base on the right. And on the left, you've got the other idiocy of we're going to get rid of ICE. You know, they are not going to deport a million people. They're not going to deport two million people because it would destroy our economy. And we're not going to get rid of ICE, because ICE does play a role. And its role needs to be focused on -- based on threat assessments and based on public safety.
LEMON: Chief Acevedo, I know that you're busy. It's an interesting time for you. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you joining us here.
ACEVEDO: Thank you. Take care.
[22:54:54] LEMON: Yeah, leading candidates for Democratic presidential nomination speaking out tonight. They are taking shots at each other. And they are taking shots at President Trump as well. We're going to tell you what they are saying. That's next.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. We're now less than three weeks from the second round of Democratic presidential debates to be held right here on CNN. These debates will likely be make or break for some candidates, especially those who are trailing in the polls, the leaders trying to differentiate themselves from each other and take on President Trump.