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CNN TONIGHT

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) Is Interviewed About His Take On President Trump's Racist Tweets And About His Health Care Plan; Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) Is Interviewed About How Joe Biden's Plan To Solve The Growing Problem In Health Care; Democratic Congresswomen Respond To Trump's Racist Attacks; Why Aren't More GOP Lawmakers Speaking Out Against Trump's Racist Tweet Storm?; Sadie Roberts-Joseph Was Found Dead In The Trunk Of Her Own Car. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 15, 2019 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Four Democratic congresswomen, all freshmen, all women of color, standing up to the president, President Trump, rebuking him for his racist tweets calling for them to go back to where they came from.

The fact is, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, are native-born Americans. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia but became an American citizen years ago and today the congresswomen fought back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern, and consequence, to the American people.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I want to tell children across this country is that no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you. And it belongs to everyone. And today, that notion, that very notion, was challenged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders. He's a Vermont independent who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator, I'm so glad that you could join us. Thank you so much.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My pleasure.

LEMON: President Trump is denying his racist tweets were racist. That's what he says. Why is the president doubling down on this, senator?

SANDERS: I have not a clue, but I want to tell you, Don, that I never imagined in my lifetime that I would hear a president of the United States speak out in such a disgusting and racist way. What this president is trying to do, in the ugliest way imaginable, is

to divide the American people up based on the color of their skin or where they were born or their religion. And if there's anything a president of the United States should not be doing, that is not what he should be doing.

And obviously, our goal is to do the opposite, bring the people together around an agenda that works for all and not just the people on top.

LEMON: Listen, I know you heard the congresswomen say that this is about distraction. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues that weak minds and leaders challenge to loyalty to avoid debating policy. Is she right?

SANDERS: Yes, I think she is. I mean, Trump wants to divide the American people up rather than talk about how he tried to throw 32 million people off the health care they had, how his tax plan gives 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent over a 10-year period and how his budget made massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare and billions in cuts to social security.

So, what he would like to talk about is ways to divide us up rather than essentially the policies that he is fighting for as president of the United States.

LEMON: I'm going to talk to you about health care in just a bit, but I got a few more questions I want to ask you before we get there.

[23:04:56] The president is tweeting more tonight saying in part, "We will never be a socialist or communist country. If you're not happy here, you can leave."

I want to focus on this part, you know, just a minute, about not being a socialist country. We heard a similar sentiment from Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, this morning.

SANDERS: I know.

LEMON: Listen to this then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country. They're socialist. They're anti-Semitic. They stand for all the things that most Americans disagree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It appears that the president and his allies are trying to re- brand this attack on socialism. Do you agree with that?

SANDERS: Well, actually, you know, that's what Trump has been doing for many, many months now. And let me just respond to that, Don, by saying that virtually every idea that I am fighting for, whether it's raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, whether it's making public colleges and universities tuition-free or canceling student debt, whether it is guaranteeing health care to all people through a Medicare for All single-payer program, whether it's fighting climate change, these are exactly the ideas that the American people support.

They don't support Trump's ideas of giving tax breaks to billionaires and cutting Medicare and Medicaid. So, what I think he is trying to do is get engaged in red-baiting, it's the tried and true patent of position of right-wing Republicans. I don't think it's going to succeed.

LEMON: Are you surprised you're not hearing more Republicans speak out?

SANDERS: I am.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: I'm glad you asked me that because it's not only disgraceful and disgusting to hear what the president of the United States has said today, one might have thought that given all the Republicans in the House and the Senate there would be a vast number of them standing up and saying this does not reflect the views of the American people or the Republican Party.

And it is extremely sad and disappointing to the degree to which Trump's ideology has dominated the entire Republican Party.

LEMON: I got to tell you, I was surprised because when I was growing up, people would say go back to Africa. It was the oldest tropes and so unoriginal, and it's just surprising to hear it come from the president of the United States.

SANDERS: Absolutely.

LEMON: I got to --

SANDERS: Absolutely.

LEMON: I promise you I'll talk about health care, so let's talk about health care before we ran out of time.

Joe Biden released this plan. He's calling for new subsidies to make Obamacare coverage cheaper. He's calling for a new public option with a Medicare-like program. You don't agree with this approach. Why is that, senator?

SANDERS: Well, I don't agree for a couple reasons. I think the time is now where we have to do what every other major country on earth is doing and guarantee to all people as a human right. The most cost- effective way to do that is through a Medicare for All single-payer program.

The system that Joe and others are trying to prop up is the most wasteful, bureaucratic, and expensive system on earth. We have 80 million people, Don, who are uninsured or underinsured, yet we end up spending almost two times as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country.

The function of health care in America today is to make billions in profits for the drug companies and the insurance companies. We need a health care system designed to work for ordinary Americans, not make the CEOs of the drug companies even richer than they are.

LEMON: OK. Let me ask you this. Because listen, I'm sure you've studied this more than I have, I'm sure. If Vice President Biden is able to dramatically reduce costs for people by increasing subsidies and offer a Medicare opt-in to expand coverage, isn't that a huge step toward your stated goal of making health care a right --

SANDERS: No.

LEMON: -- and not a privilege?

SANDERS: What you're talking --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Make it more affordable --

SANDERS: Well, yes and no. Don, yes and no. You're looking at a guy who not only helped write the Affordable Care Act but probably worked as hard as any member of the Senate to defend the Affordable Care Act against Trump and the Republican effort to repeal it, but we have got to go further.

And when you talked about subsidies what you're talking about is spending even more money, in this case, taxpayer money on a dysfunctional, wasteful and bureaucratic system.

We need a simple system. So, when you walk into the doctor, you get the health care that you need without premiums, without co-payments, without deductibles.

We need freedom of choice in terms of the doctor that you go to or the hospital that you go to. The current system is unbelievably wasteful.

LEMON: Yes.

SANDERS: It is discouraging to patients and to doctors. We need to do what other countries around the world are doing. Health care is a right. Let's guarantee it to all people. Let's do it in a cost- effective way. That is Medicare for All.

LEMON: Senator Bernie Sanders, we're so happy that you came on. Please come back. Thank you, sir.

SANDERS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: And you heard Senator Sanders trying to make the case for his health care plan. Next, we're going to dig into Joe Biden's plan.

[22:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Former Vice President Joe Biden who is now running for the Democratic nomination rolling out his health care plan today. He aims to build on Obamacare with massive new subsidies to bring down the price of health coverage.

Biden's plan also offers a public option which would allow people to buy into a program that the campaign says is similar to Medicare.

So, let's talk about this now with Congressman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who's national co-chair of the Biden campaign. Thank you for joining us, and I hope everybody down in Louisiana is OK. Right?

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): We are.

LEMON: OK.

RICHMOND: We're resilient people. And you know, we'll get through it. It wasn't what it could have been.

LEMON: Good. Good. We're glad it wasn't worse. So, thank you for joining us here, congressman.

Let's go through Biden's health care plan. OK? He's calling for massive subsidies to make coverage through Obamacare cheaper. Launch a public option program similar to Medicare. Let Medicare negotiate drug prices.

[23:14:56] The campaign says it would cost $750 billion over 10 years paid for by raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans and reversing part of Trump's tax cut law.

Why is building off Obamacare the best option here, you think? Or does he think?

RICHMOND: Couple of reasons. One, you have millions of Americans who have private health insurance that want to keep their private health insurance. That's one.

Number two, you have a number of -- millions of Americans who like the fact that they no longer have annual or lifetime caps on their benefits that they can no longer be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions.

And all of the things that Obamacare's offered. All of those things that all of the people came out in the midterms to protect when they came out over health care and making sure that we protected Obamacare.

So you have a system in place that people like, and the system -- the other system that people propose, and I love the energy for it and the creativity, but the truth of the matter is, you would have to raise taxes on everyone in order to pay for that plan.

Vice President Biden's plan, you only raise taxes on the super-rich. And that's how we get to funding what we need to do to make sure that 97 percent of the people in this country have access to affordable health care.

LEMON: So, listen, you know, President Obama unsuccessfully lobbied a Democratic-run Congress to include a public option back in 2009. What makes the former vice president believe that he can get this done now?

RICHMOND: I think part of his experience from being out on the campaign trail for so many candidates in 2018. You heard the people. They spoke loud and clear that health care was a primary concern for how they voted.

Now, let's go back to 2012, 2014, when we took a shellacking over Obamacare. It was very unpopular, but now that people have it, people like it, people want to keep it. And I think his pledge is to the American people that we won't take away what everyone has worked so hard to create and to keep the Republicans from repealing.

And now the American people support Obamacare and I think that is the driving force that will help you, or help the vice president, get it through the Senate.

LEMON: Congressman, I want to ask you about the president's racist attacks on four congresswomen. Here's what Joe Biden said on it tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As recently as the way he spoke about four members of Congress, women members of Congress, no matter what you think of their politics, he talked about going back to the awful countries they were from. Brooklyn, Michigan, you know? But, I mean, it's a flat racist attack. He said they should go home. He should go home. He should go home.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do you think should happen to the president over those remarks? Should he be censured? What do you think?

RICHMOND: Look, the president is who we thought he was and he keeps showing us who he is. And when it comes to racism, he's a one-trick pony. That's his go-to every time he can't explain or justify what he's doing in this country, every time he's embarrassed, every time he gets caught in a lie he goes to a racist trick.

So, whether it's about NFL players being unpatriotic, what it's about immigrants, that is his fallback plan. I just think at some point, it's sad to say, we have to ignore him because he is what he is.

And, you know, Don, I'm sure you remember this, during the storm, (Inaudible) came out and told people that they were stuck on stupid. Well, that's the president of the United States, unfortunately, he's stuck on racism because it works for him.

So, the problem is, why do we have so many people in this country that allow him to spit racist views just to get their support? At some point, they're the problem, not the president. He is exactly who we thought he was.

LEMON: You said it right there. If someone continues -- if you continue to allow someone to get away with something, then isn't part of the onus on you as well because you allowed it to happen?

RICHMOND: Absolutely.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, this racist trope, go back to your country, as a black man, I know you're from Louisiana, look, I used to hear that. I graduated high school in 1984. I've use to -- I've heard that a lot. You've heard those kinds of remarks. What do you think of when you hear that?

RICHMOND: Well, we're in a different day. In our day, Don, those were fighting words. I mean, physically fighting words. We've grown past that and we've matured. And now we know better ways to deal with bullies.

And the good news with Donald Trump, we'll be able to get rid of him in a year or so. That's if what happens with Mueller in the upcoming days doesn't give us the ammunition and the momentum to impeach him.

[023:20:05] But he's a sick individual, and at some point, we need to stop making excuses for him. We all say something must be wrong with him. No, he's evil and he's sick and we need to call it for what he is because to go pick on four outstanding young women who are serving in the United States Congress, the hallowed halls of Congress, and to say something that remarkably racist, that remarkably insensitive, that remarkably stupid, at some point, I just have to keep saying, that's not on him, that's on us.

And we shouldn't allow it and my colleagues on the other side who have been neutered, who are scared to stand up who have spines like a wet noodle, they're the problem. I think at some point, they'll have to man up or woman up and do something about it.

LEMON: The four congresswomen responded tonight. I just want to play what we heard from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

RICHMOND: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat rooms or it's happening on national TV, and now it's reached the White House garden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: An agenda of white nationalists. I wonder if you agree with that, but as I sit there and I look at -- I looked at those women, from someone who came from New York City, New York City is filled with all kinds of people, right? Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, obviously, who's from here. Ilhan Omar.

Ayanna Pressley. Like all filled with people of color. He doesn't -- I don't know if he really cares about that. He just thinks that his base will react to it. And if will keep him in power and it will help him with his base. That's my thinking. I don't know what you think.

RICHMOND: He doesn't care about it. Remember, he was sued for not renting apartments to black people. Then you have the Central Park Five where even after the exoneration, he still will not apologize for asking for the death penalties for those innocent young men.

This is just who he is, but I will say one thing that Representative Omar is right about, that this is the language of white nationalists. And what President Trump was trying to signal to his base of fearful white men who think that they're being replaced in this country, is the same stuff he said about the people in Charlottesville as they were screaming, Jews will not replace us. he said there were good people on both sides.

And you can't have good people on both sides. So, I think his dog whistle this time was to his base, not all of his base, but his base that is fearful of their place in the country and where they will be in the future.

And I think it was just a dog whistle that they needed to go back where they came from because his focus is on white men and people that he relates to. And so, I think that the congresswoman is exactly right.

LEMON: What do you think of him and others trying to spin it as some sort of, well, if this is about socialism, this is about politics, and not about racism.

RICHMOND: That's old-fashioned B.S. and there's no way we can say anything else about it. Those words come from people who are too scared, too weak, to stand up to the president of the United States and say, hey, you're wrong. And so, they needed to find a way out and they went run and hide behind communism which has absolutely no relationship to what's going on here.

LEMON: Yes. Congressman, thank you. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

RICHMOND: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: So, is this a new low for the president? We'll discuss. That's next.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The president doubling down on his attacks on the four Democratic congresswomen known as the squad. And those congresswomen are responding tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESSLEY: This is a distraction, and we should not take the bait.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): This is not the first nor will it be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language, from the president.

OMAR: This is the agenda of white nationalists. This is his plan to pit us against one another.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I want to tell children across this country is that no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you. And it belongs to everyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's discuss now. Bakari Sellers is here, Alice Stewart, David Swerdlick, and Tara Setmayer.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much. So, let's have it, let's do it.

All right? Bakari, the women were defiant, unafraid to condemn the president. What did you think about their response?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was very proud. I mean, there are few facts, the first is the president of the United States is a racist. I mean, we know that. And the second thing is something that those women, they were able to show through their actions, their words, and their demeanor which is simply put that black and brown people in this country, especially if you're in public life, have all at one point or another been told to go back to their country, go back to Africa, go back to wherever.

And so, racism isn't new. And I want the viewers to completely understand this. Racism is not new. And that's what they were echoing today.

However, it manifested itself now at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it wears Brooks brothers suits and it looks like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. I mean, that's what, that is how racism has manifested itself.

And so, those ladies today did an amazing job at beating back at that. And now we have to beat back at every single day, I mean, that's what we do. That's why it's so exhausting because we have to fight these institutions of oppression and we have to fight these systems of racism that permeate themselves from the highest levels in this country.

[23:29:58] LEMON: You know, Tara, even today he doubled down. As a conservative, as a woman of color, what was your reaction when you heard the president's racist attacks?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's infuriating. I just shake my head and I say I cannot believe how many Americans were willing to put aside what an awful human being Donald Trump is in order to vote for him to get a tax cut or to get a Supreme Court justice or, you know, the pro-life issue. We had respectable Republicans who were running that weren't racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigots.

And this is who they put in the Oval Office. This is who they continue to defend. You know, Donald Trump is who he is. I'm over getting upset with him because he has already shown us who he is. I am the most upset with the enablers because they're the ones that have continued to rationalize, to defend, to take a posture like we're all crazy for calling out Donald Trump for what he is.

And I'll tell you what, I've got enough testicular fortitude to let into a couple of people including a lot of members of the GOP because they have been just disgustingly silent through a lot of this. You had a sprinkle here and there who said that it was racist or racially offensive but not enough. Where are the 200 others? This is a disgrace.

LEMON: Yeah.

SETMAYER: It keeps happening and they keep allowing it. Is this what we want for the future of this country? That's what these voters need to decide.

LEMON: David, when it comes to Trump's actual comments, telling women to go back to where they came from, implying that they are not Americans, is this new low for the presidency?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is yes and no, Don. It's not new in the sense that President Trump has a history of this, going back to his political rise due to birtherism. That's what supercharged his political viability and his candidacy in the first place.

You talk about Charlottesville. You talk about some of the other smaller comments he's made like pointing to someone in the crowd and saying, there's my African-American. You talk about his comments directed at African-American women in Congress. Congresswoman Wilson, Congresswoman Waters. It's not new in that sense.

It still was jarring, at least to me, to wake up on Sunday morning, a church day, and see the first thing in the president's Twitter feed was him basically saying, I said this a couple times already, but If anybody's seen the movie, "Do The Right Thing," the monologue from the pizzeria where he says --

LEMON: Go back to Africa.

SWERDLICK: -- go the "F" back to Africa. I mean, that was all that was missing from those series of tweets. So in that sense, the boldness and brazenness and un-dog whistleness of this was a little bit new.

LEMON: Alice, what is your reaction when you heard the president's comments?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was disgusted. I was frustrated. I was unfortunately not surprised. You say this is a low bar. I think the bar was set low a long time ago. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like anything is going to change.

Look, there are plenty of things to attack "The Squad" on when it comes to policy. It's an open book when it comes to whether we're talking about their anti-Semitic comments, when it's about the green new deal, when It has to do with their insults of Israel, when it has to do with them talking about 9/11 was something that someone did.

Those are valid policy political attacks that he can and should use against them and others on the left. But for him to take it to this low level and make it personal and make it insulting and make it racist, that completely washes away any valid argument that he possibly has.

I will say this to piggy back on what was earlier said. I was impressed with the way these women responded. They responded. They basically took the advice of Lindsey Graham. Go high. They didn't take the bait. They stuck on the issues. They defended what they have said and what they have done. They renewed their calls for impeachment. I commend them for their actions.

But this is really important, that Republicans understand that there are plenty of policy arguments that we can take against these people and many on the left, but we do not need to go to this level. Make it about policy and not personal.

LEMON: Tara, you're shaking your head. Why?

SETMAYER: Because I can't believe we have to have this conversation with grown adults that are elected members of Congress. We actually have to lecture them about the Importance of calling out racism when we see it. I mean, the fact they just cower behind the president because they don't have the courage to call out what they see is really upsetting to me.

I'm not going to give a gold star to the few who did come out and say something because they did the right thing. No. The soul and fabric of our country is being ripped apart by Donald Trump. And he's using this racial resentment in order to gain favor with people in the base who are -- because fear and racial resentment is a motivating factor, unfortunately.

And it's really unearthed how deep that goes in this country. And you have people who are in positions to take a stand not doing the right thing.

[23:35:00] History is not going to look back kindly on these people.

LEMON: Yeah. OK. Why aren't more Republicans speaking out? You're going to hear it from "The Squad" and you're going to hear from the president right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back with me are Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, David Swerdlick, Tara Setmayer. OK, so, Alice, why are so few Republicans speaking out against these comments, these racist comments?

STEWART: They look at what's happened to others that have spoken out in the past and they don't like the outcome of that. I commend those who have spoken out and said that these words are inappropriate and certainly not in keeping and do not rise to level of the presidency of the United States.

[23:40:06] And more than anything else actually, Don, from a political standpoint, aside from the nature of the comments from a political standpoint, you never get in the middle of a circular firing squad. The Democratic Party was in the middle of circular firing squad not just from the 2020 candidates but amongst Congress.

Nancy Pelosi wasn't able to get them on the same page, and they are very divided lately. And unfortunately, what this has done is united the Democrats against the president more than Nancy Pelosi has been able to do so herself.

LEMON: So you think it was a favor in a way at least politically for Nancy Pelosi and her caucus, you think?

STEWART: From a strategical, political standpoint, yes.

LEMON: OK.

STEWART: They have been very divided lately. Now, they're on the same page. Donald Trump is their big political foe.

LEMON: Bakari, here is what Congressman Elijah Cummings said about Trump's comments. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): The sad thing is that we've gotten so used to the president making this kind of vulgar, racist statements, and I don't use that word lightly. And the question is: What is going to stop it? I don't think anything is going to stop it.

And so my position is very simply to save him through your camera lenses. Mr. President, you need to stop this. This is not bringing our country together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Bakari, what do you think of that? Does Trump even want to bring this country together or is it the best interest to divide it -- his best interest?

SELLERS: I have nothing but respect for Representative Cummings but that ain't going to work. Attempting to change this man who is over 70 years old, who has been racist every single day of his life, and all of a sudden expecting him to wake up and one day be not racist or attempt to be a unifier is simply not going to happen.

What I would encourage -- Alice is actually correct. I mean, we were in the midst of what can only be described as some type of internal food fight between different factions of the party. But what I would ask my House Democrats to do and leadership to do is displace some similar fortitude and actually put an impeachment resolution on the desk and begin to do those things that are necessary, the reason why we elected to you to have the majority in the United States Congress.

And to act as if Republicans are going to do something, I mean, white evangelical men in this country have flat-out just given up and let this country down for a long period of time. And I don't expect that Lindsey Graham or the Rand Pauls or the Marco Rubio -- Marco Rubio tweets out scripture like every other day --

SETMAYER: Yup.

SELLERS: -- but he doesn't do anything about it. And so I don't anticipate they'll do anything other than twiddle their thumbs and prop up Donald Trump.

LEMON: You know, David, we are talking about racist attacks, a racist attack on four fellow lawmakers. Why haven't more Republicans in Congress been speaking out?

SWERDLICK: Two points, Don. One is, like Bakari and Alice are saying, I think Republicans look at this situation, they take the temperature, and they see that what the president is doing works to their advantage at least with the hardest core of the base. I'm not sure how big or what percentage that is.

The president doesn't do this by accident. If he didn't think this was working for him, he wouldn't do it. If other Republicans in Congress thought this was going to hurt them, they would have condemned him. But they want the same 30 percent to 40 percent to 45 percent of the electorate to vote for them as is solidly behind President Trump.

And as long as they want that, with rare exceptions, they are not going to condemn this or they're going to give some mealy-mouth explanation as to why it is not racist, even though the statements in that tweet thread were plainly racist.

One quick point about the four congresswomen, Don. This is a small point but I think an important one. I've heard some of the Republicans like Senator Graham coming out today and talking about them and referring to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez as AOC. He likes to be called Senator Graham, I assume, and he should be. Why is he calling her AOC? She is a fellow member of Congress.

People in Congress are not on a pedestal. What the president said was wrong to say to anybody. But you're talking about four women who took the same oath that he did. Their names are Representative Pressley, Representative Tlaib, Representative Omar, and Representative Ocasio- Cortez.

The idea that people just think, oh, they're young women, they're girls, they just got here, it totally undercuts what we're doing here in this democracy.

LEMON: I just want to ask real quick, Tara, literally I have less than a minute here, but you saw what George Conway wrote -- the husband of Kellyanne Conway, who is the senior --

SETMAYER: God bless him.

LEMON: Right -- who is a senior advisor -- to "The Washington Post." He said, "Trump is a racist president."

[23:44:59] Here is why he says Republicans are silent. "They're silent because, knowing that he is incorrigible, they have inured themselves to his wild statements," and he goes on and on. What do you make of Conway's tweet? We'll put it up while you respond.

SETMAYER: Yeah, I mean, he says that they know that he's a fool. They don't want to say anything. That's true. That has been my experience talking to my Republican friends in Washington. They say all of these things about Donald Trump in private.

But like I said before, there are no profiles of courage here with anyone who is elected. And I think that is a disgrace. Where is Mitt Romney? Where is Ben Sasse? Where are they when it matters? And where is the evangelical church? Where are these people?

They preach these things from pulpit every week about loving each other, about, you know, accepting -- we're supposed to help the poor and all these things. They are some of the most rabid supporters of this president. They sit here and rationalize it. Shame on them, too.

And what you had the author of "American Carnage" on earlier on your show where he talked about an incident where the president said those f-ing evangelical, laughing about that because he's duped them, yeah, here's another example. Where are they? This is on their hands, too.

LEMON: Yeah. I think Mitt Romney did speak out today. But, you know, as we have said --

SETMAYER: Not Initially.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you all. I appreciate it. We will be right back.

STEWART: Thank you, Don.

SELLERS: Thanks, Don.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight, police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are on the hunt for the killer of 75-year-old Sadie Roberts-Joseph. She is the founder of an African-American museum in Baton Rouge.

I want to bring in now Chief Murphy Paul of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Chief, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. As I understand, you just have gotten the result of Sadie Roberts's preliminary autopsy. What does it reveal?

MURPHY PAUL, CHIEF POLICE, BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, the autopsy report shows that she was suffocated. It has been officially ruled a homicide. You know, we treated it from the beginning, from day one, when we learned of the body in the car. We called our homicide detectives out.

So we've been treating it from the beginning initial stages of this investigation as a homicide, even though we just got the official results today. So we've been on the ground ever since working -- exhausting all investigative leads.

LEMON: Baton Rouge police confirmed that Sadie was found in the trunk of a car that she own. What else can you tell us about the investigation and the leads you have right now, chief?

PAUL: Well, we are still investigating those leads. You know, this happened on a midst of a storm, as we were preparing for storm to come through. So we reassigned our detectives and other group of officers to work this investigation during the midst of a storm.

We knew that -- we learned that it was Miss Sadie. This particular investigation is going to get a lot of attention because she is (INAUDIBLE). So we've been working on it from day one. We put a team together. They were out there in the midst of a storm, in the rain, interviewing, looking for evidence.

Initially, we received a call that there was a body in the car. We responded to that call. We didn't know initially that it was Miss Sadie. We didn't learn until later, once that car was transported to our crime lab and processed.

LEMON: Any motive of her suspect?

PAUL: So we are getting a lot of information from the community, Don. The community has been working with our detectives. We are getting calls. We are getting e-mails. We are getting text messages. She was so loved in the community.

We have people hearing things on social media, reading blogs, sending information to us. So our detectives are following up on a lot of leads. As you and I speak, our detectives are doing investigations, interviewing individuals and witnesses. We are also waiting for forensic evidence to come back from our state police crime lab.

LEMON: As you know, you call her Miss Sadie. She was a prominent community leader, a civil rights activist within Baton Rouge, which is my hometown, as you know. She was a tireless advocate for the less fortunate. Do you have any idea why she may have been targeted of someone? What is the reason that someone might target her?

PAUL: We don't know. That's what we're still trying to find out. We're going to let the evidence take us there, Don. But here is what we do know. She's a jewel in this community. This community is suffering a tremendous loss. As you well know, she was involved in so many community events. Every community event, there was Miss Sadie.

She was very active at our city council, holding us accountable. And, you know, with her African-American museum. She was involved in helping at-risk kids get on track, teaching them their heritage and importance of understanding your heritage, so you know where you're going. She was just involved in everything in this community. She is one of those faces. She had a smile everywhere you go. When we first learned, there are so many police officers in my department that had a story to say about Miss Sadie. She was just that type of person, very inviting personality and loved by everybody. I haven't met anyone who has had any negative comment, and I've never heard her say anything negative about anybody.

LEMON: What should members of the community be on the lookout for, chief?

PAUL: Well, anybody in that community. As we all know, anybody who saw anything, we ask you to call us at 225-34-44-stop. That is our crime stopper number. If you have any information, if you have seen anything suspicious on that date and that location, we ask you to give is a call.

Our detectives are following up on all investigative leads. There will be no investigative lead what will not be exhausted in this investigation, sir.

[23:55:04] LEMON: Chief Murphy Paul, thank you so much for your time. Keep us updated.

PAUL: Yup. Thank you for having me. I'll tell you this. The community is coming up and is stepping up. I am very confident that we are going to make an arrest in this case. We are working side by side with the community. You know, she is such a special person. We will love to have this type of cooperation from the community on all homicides that happen. So we are very confident that we are going to make an arrest on this one.

LEMON: Thank you, Chief. And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.

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