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Hours Away From Robert Mueller's Public Testimony; Democrats Prepare Their Questions For Mueller; President Trump Misunderstood Constitution; Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Upcoming Mueller Hearing; Christopher Wray Testified That Growing Violence Is Due To White Supremacists. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 23, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And also remember, CNN's live coverage of Mr. Mueller begins tomorrow morning at 8 Eastern.

Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon is sitting right next to me.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Spending, spending. Did you see how young Paul Ryan looked?

CUOMO: That's what power will do to you. But he went from being this is what I'm all about --

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: -- till he got in there.


CUOMO: And he just swallowed that big tax cut.


CUOMO: And all the bogus rationales that he would have never accepted under an Obama administration.

LEMON: Yes. Well, I mean, it happens. And you get -- you get to see the hypocrisy is on display here in D.C.

CUOMO: But every once in a while, you get a pocket effect. You got it here.


CUOMO: Now seeing what the numbers are. You got it on a big one today. You're going to be talking about it at the top of the show.

LEMON: What you're talking about?

CUOMO: About what Christopher Wray.

LEMON: Yes. Well, do you know --

CUOMO: Sometimes facts come out.

LEMON: Facts are -- facts are stubborn, stubborn things. Sometimes the facts come out and people will talk about it. People know what I'm saying. We're talking about white supremacy, white supremacist and the biggest domestic terror threat in the country. And then people got mad, misconstrued what I said. But you knew what I was talking about.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: A couple people were mad and they called you about it. Right?

CUOMO: Yes. It happens a lot with you. But you know, you're not always wrong, though. You know, I remember you arguing hey, that you were doing some research on this and you said, you know, people keep saying when you let in a lot of immigrants you have more terrorism.


CUOMO: And you said, you know it's true but it's domestic terrorism.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: It winds up being the radicals in your own midst --

LEMON: In your own midst.

CUOMO: -- who don't like the immigration --

LEMON: Exactly.

CUOMO: -- and they do terrible things.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Well, Christopher Wray, the president's pick, major argument for you.

LEMON: He certainly did that today. I'm going to talk about that. But we're going to concerned -- I'm concerned about the argument or what happens tomorrow when it comes to Robert Mueller. What questions are they going to ask Robert Mueller?

Are the American people -- or you, guys who are watching us, are you going to get anything out of this? Or is it just going to be people who would picked their political side and have decided what they think is in the report.

If they're going to ask pertinent questions the Republicans are going to ask well, how did this start? Wasn't it a bonus start? Did he wiretap Trump tower? What about this and the phony dossier and all of that. And then Democrats are only going to ask well, would you charge him?

I want to know how our -- the electoral process in the country. How it's being protected. Are we safe from Russia interfering in our elections. Have we done enough? That's what I really want to know. (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Well, the answer is no. And I'll tell you what I don't like. So, I had David Cicilline on from Rhode Island. It's not him I don't like. He was making a good argument. And he said boy, the interference matters so much. It matters so much and people have to know that and understand how bad it was. I see that, but here's the problem.

LEMON: What.

CUOMO: You've all known that. But you've done nothing about it.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: And he says well, we passed HR1. Look, all that matters are laws not bills. Either you can make a deal and protect something and show you can get something done or people are going to be upset.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Mueller can't argue a lot of those points tomorrow. What he can do is tell you what he found and why they found it. And he can explain a few things that are outside the equivalence of that report that will really matter.

LEMON: But I also agree that I think that he can actually bring the Mueller Report to light.


LEMON: Because people -- people don't have time.


CUOMO: People don't read it.

LEMON: We barely have time to read all of this stuff.

CUOMO: Three percent --

LEMON: We have lives. Right.

CUOMO: -- they say of the population read it. And that's people probably lying in favor of having read it. You know what I mean. You don't want to say you didn't read it. So, you say you read it but three percent say they read it.

LEMON: But don't you think the expectation especially from the Democrats that it maybe -- I mean the folks who are going to be watching. That it may be too high. Just like in the Mueller Report. you and I kept saying during the Mueller Report like, don't expect this is not what's going to drive the president from office. This is not going to be the bomb shell you think it's going to be. We said that over and over and over. Yet people were still disappointed in it.

CUOMO: Hope. LEMON: Don't you think the expectations are too high tomorrow?

CUOMO: People who are against this president and how he abuses his power had hope. That was given them false energy by a lot of people who were playing to that hope of theirs.


CUOMO: Here's the thing. If he just reads from what they found tomorrow -

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: -- it's a good day. But for the Democrats they should be careful what they wish for. Because if he's compelling tomorrow they have to make a decision about how they'll hold this president to account.

Their job in the House is to see if there are enough facts to warrant a trial in the Senate.


CUOMO: Not to convict him.


CUOMO: That's an impeachment inquiry.

LEMON: I'll tell you what the biggest thing -- the biggest issue Democrats will face. Everyone thinks, you know, it's the squad. No, that's not it. Can the Democrats motivate people to go to the ballot box after winning the House? And because they won the House. Because many Democrats wanted the president impeached. Right?

Whether it would drive him from office or not Nancy Pelosi is not doing that. Is that going to galvanize her base? Is it going to motivate her base? I'm not so sure it is because I think most Democrats, especially the ones who are active and who are really against this president, they want impeachment whether it would drive him from office or not. And she's not doing that and I'm not sure what it's going to do to motivating people to go to polls.

CUOMO: I think that is the exact issue that comes to a head tomorrow.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, sir. Always a pleasure.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

LEMON: I'll see you soon. I'll see you right here tomorrow.

CUOMO: yes, sir.

LEMON: Same bad time, same bad station.

CUOMO: Please, away with you. [22:05:01] LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

We're live in Washington. Thank you so much for joining us.

And everybody here in D.C. counting down to Mueller time. When the former special counsel testifies before the House Judiciary and Intel Committees on live TV starting tomorrow morning. All of it is going to be carried here on CNN. People across the country will be watching. Even the president.

After all, mornings, you know, that's executive time when he spends hours hold up in the residence watching TV. So, you know he won't miss it. Sources are telling CNN the president is not anxious, he's irritated about Mueller's testimony. Not anxious but irritated about Mueller's testimony.

The proof, he's on Twitter tonight, of course, yelling at Fox News and repeating his phony phrase about the so-called phony witch hunt. But whether he's irritated or anxious or both he sure seemed to have Mueller on his mind today in front of an audience of conservative teens at a Turning Point USA event.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: How about this whole witch hunt that's going on. Should I talk about it for a second? The Russian witch hunt, OK?

First of all, it's very bad for our country, makes it very hard to deal with Russia. And we should be able to, our nuclear power. They have a big country. And we should be able to deal with them without having this artificial stuff. It goes on for years and years. No collusion, no obstruction.


LEMON: Putting aside the president's claim that it's hard to deal with Russia because he sure seems to be best buds with Vladimir Putin. We all know the president's no collusion, no obstruction mantra. We know it's false. But it bears repeating.

The fact is Robert Mueller did not say there was no collusion. He said there wasn't enough evidence that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.

He also never said there was no obstruction. Mueller said he could not charge the president with obstruction because of the DOJ guidelines that state a sitting president cannot be charged with federal crime while in office. And he's likely to say all of that again tomorrow.

So, no obstruction, no collusion, not true. But when this president gets riled up about Robert Mueller and it's clear he's riled up right now. You know what he does. Look over here and look over there. He looks where distraction, a distraction like his racist attacks on four congresswomen of color known as the squad. And apparently couldn't resist the chance to joke about them when someone in the audience today yelled out "one squad under God." A phrase from a recent Trump campaign video.


TRUMP: In America we don't worship government. We worship God.



TRUMP: No, I'm not disavowing that. They'd like me, would you disavow that? No, thank you. "The Squad."


TRUMP: Now it's very good. Very true.


LEMON: We don't worship presidents either. He won't disavow that. Not like he claimed to disavow the "send her back chant" that broke out at his rally last week. The chant that people said was the new "lock her up."

Well, it turns out lock her up is the new lock her up. Just look at the president's reaction when someone in the crowd yells out the favorite outrageous attack on Hillary Clinton.


TRUMP: Remember deplorable? Yes, you do. Remember Hillary. The deplorables. She actually said a word that was worse. She said deplorables. And what was the second word? Go ahead.


TRUMP: Irredeemable. That's right. She said irredeemable.


TRUMP: She said --


LEMON: Seems like it's all funs and games for this president as long as he can distract and deflect. And then there is another of the president's favorite refrains, the utterly false claim of widespread voter fraud.


TRUMP: They're saying all of this stuff and then those illegals get out and vote because they vote anyway. Don't kid yourself. Those numbers in California and numerous other states, they are rigged.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: OK. So let's stop right there. None of that is true. You heard

the president claim that the system is, his words, rigged in California. It's not true. The fact is, remember facts first here, the conservative group Judicial Watch settled a lawsuit against California, settled a lawsuit against California that required the state to remove inactive voters from its list.

[22:10:08] Inactive voters, which means they weren't voting. Judicial Watch itself said that most of them had moved or passed away. So, again, they weren't voting. That's the opposite of voter fraud.

Let's fact check some more of the president claims.


TRUMP: You got people voting that shouldn't be voting.


TRUMP: They vote many times. Not just twice. Not just three times. They vote it's like a circle. They come back they put a new hat on. They come back they put a new shirt on. And in many cases, they don't even do that.


LEMON: Not true, either. The president claiming what would amount to pretty widespread and blatant voter fraud. Not true. Studies have shown that voter fraud is very rare in this country.

How rare? The Los Angeles Times reported that California officials investigated 149 cases in 2016. They found only six cases worth sending to local district attorneys. Six out of 23.1 million votes cast in the state. Six out of 23.1 million votes cast in that state. It doesn't sound like widespread voter fraud, does it?

But there's something else the president said today. You just have to hear it to believe it. He was talking about giving a commencement speech at the Air Force Academy when this happened. I don't even know how to describe it, but watch.


TRUMP: Their hands are a very strong. OK? And they're all shaking. And you know they're a little nervous maybe they're meeting the president. Shaking strongly, sir. But, you know, we're shaking 1,100 hands and saluting. We're saluting, shaking, turning, spinning. They're coming at all different directions. I felt like a great fighter pilot.


LEMON: Wow. Pure Trump. You know what else is pure Trump? This. The president claiming that article 2 of the Constitution gives him the right to do whatever he wants.


TRUMP: I have an article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president. But I don't even talk about that.


LEMON: The president thinks he has the right to do whatever he wants. The fact is, the president is not above the law. No American is. No American should be. This is not about his supposed right. It's about his responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. You know, like in the oath he took on inauguration day with the whole country and the whole world watching.


TRUMP: And will to the best of my ability --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preserve, protect, and defend.

TRUMP: -- preserve, protect, and defend --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the Constitution of the United States.

TRUMP: -- the Constitution of the United States.


LEMON: Preserve, protect, and defend. That's what the president swore an oath to do. It's what the American people deserve. And however you feel about Robert Mueller's investigation, it was about two concepts at the heart of our democracy. The rule of law and the concept that elections should be fair and free from foreign interference in our democracy no matter what the president says.

That's what Mueller's investigation was all about. It was for the benefit of the American people, for you, the American people. And that's why we should all be watching and listening tomorrow when he answers questions about his findings out loud for every American to hear.

I'm talking about Robert Mueller who is about to speak for himself. But there's a lot of misinformation out there about his investigation. We'll fact check. Next.


LEMON: And we're back. And we're now just hours away from Robert Mueller's public testimony set to begin tomorrow morning at 8.30.

Just a little white ago, the House Democrats wrapped up a mock hearing in preparation for his testimony and came out to talk to CNN. New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries calling it an important moment for Congress and the country.

So, let's bring in now some folks who can help me dissect all of this. Abby Phillip, Carl Bernstein, and Elie Honig. So good to have all of you here in Washington. Welcome to the big, the

big city. Yes.


LEMON: You live --.



LEMON: You're like, you're like, you know, welcome to the big city, Don. Right.

BERNSTEIN: I was born here.

LEMON: OK, all right. All right. All right. Hello, one and all. Abby, I'm going to start with you.

Millions of people are going to be watching the testimony tomorrow. The stakes are high. Do you think the stakes are high for the Democrats for this? Or is it higher for President Trump?

PHILLIP: I think it's higher for the Democrats. I mean, they are the one who wanted this hearing who have said that there's more to the report than is on paper. And so, they have to prove it. They have to ask the right questions. They have to make sure that they are -- that they are being clear about their questions and not grand standing.

Because Robert Mueller is not a novice to this. He knows how to do these hearings. He knows what he wants to say and what he doesn't want to say. And they have to be careful not to make it seem as if they're pressuring him to say things that he doesn't think are necessary in this context.

The onus is on them to prove either that there is something in the testimony that needs to be explored further by Congress. Or I think one key thing for them is getting to the bottom of this important part of it.

Did Robert Mueller intend for Congress to take up obstruction of justice or did he intend for it to just be left as an open question. I think that's probably the most important thing that they can get out.

LEMON: Listen, I promised the viewers that we would do some fact checking. So, Elie, let me -- let me -- let's start it here, a lot of misinformation out there.

CNN obtained some RNC talking points and I want to start the fact check though. First, the Mueller Report was complete and total vindication of President Trump and the Trump campaign.

[22:19:58] And the Obama-Biden administration investigators seized on the unverifiable Democrat-funded Steele dossier to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign should be Democratic. I don't know why they do that. But anyway, both of those are untrue. ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'll go false and false on the two of

those. First of all, clearly not an exoneration. And look, if I had to recommend what you're led off question assuming Representative Chair Nadler goes first. Lead off question. Is Director Mueller, did your report totally exonerate President Trump? Yes or no.

And that's what I recommend right off the bat. That addresses point number one. Point number two on the whole origins of the investigation the Steele dossier. If the Republicans go down that road and they clearly seem like they will. They could get smacked pretty hard by Robert Mueller.

LEMON: Because the dossier was launched it began with George Papadopoulos that prompted the FBI investigation.

HONIG: Exactly.

LEMON: It wasn't this, the dossier, right?

HONIG: Right. Robert Mueller says it in the report. He talks about why and how this investigation started. And I think where you might see him get his dandruff a little bit is when people start questioning his credibility, his impartiality, and that of his team.

LEMON: Yes. Well, sometimes, you know, some people don't let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

HONIG: Sure.

LEMON: OK. So, Carl, President Trump has made the false point before. I just want to play it again and then we'll talk about it. Here it is.


TRUMP: Then I have an article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president. But I don't even talk about that.


LEMON: Carl, 100 percent false.

BERNSTEIN: First thing it's important to realize this is an assertion of presidential authority that is demagogic, authoritarian. It runs contrary to article 2 which also incidentally contains the provisions for impeachment.

No president of the United States ever has asserted that kind of authority. And it's exactly why we are having this kind of forum that we're having tomorrow. Which is there are underlying devastating facts in the Mueller Report that go to the president's misuse and abuse of authority, his authoritarian actions, words, obstruction.

And whether or not the Democrats in particular are able to get Mr. Mueller to simply perhaps read from his report and say -- because the report is devastating. Very few people in this country have read it. You pick out the excerpts. Mr. Mueller reads them and they say to him, Mr. Mueller, is that

accurate? Is that an accurate reflection of what you found? That there are these instances that suggest obstruction by the president of the United States, et cetera, et cetera.

The Democrats are on trial here, too. They're on trial in terms of how they conduct this investigation, particularly because so much of the country has followed Trump and has moved on from this. Can that part of the country, some of them being reengaged by a responsible fact- finding hearing that will bring some elucidation some light in a whole series of events in which the attorney general of the United States and the president of the United States have attempted to bury the light.

LEMON: It's interesting when you said fact- finding. But, I mean, people -- many -- people just don't believe facts anymore. People believe ideology. And I'm wondering even if Robert Mueller says what's in the report, they've already done so much damage to his reputation, I would say. Right? Especially if you look at conservative media, if you look at what the president says. Are people going to even really believe the facts, Abby? I mean --

PHILLIP: That's a really good question. I mean, the views of the Mueller investigation of Robert Mueller himself and of this whole enterprise are really baked in. People feel like they know how they feel about this already.

But I do think there's something different about where we are today with respect to Robert Mueller the person who, frankly, the public does not know anything about. We've only has seen him in this context one time.

LEMON: Right.

PHILLIP: And that was when he came out after the investigation to give that very brief press conference. So, this is going to be actually the longest period of time where we see Mueller , where we hear him speak and where we understand a little bit more about his thought patterns and how approaches the law. And I think that is going to be important, because there -- it has been an attempt at a character assassination. I'm not sure it's been complete. And Mueller could do a lot tomorrow to reestablish who he is as a person and his credibility.

LEMON: Elie, can you do a little lightning around here with me?

HONIG: Sure.

LEMON: Because let's go through some of the questions, OK?


LEMON: First, did president obstruct justice? What do you think? Is that direct --

(CROSSTALK) HONIG: I believe, absolutely. As a former prosecutor I would have charged him no question.

LEMON: Is that direct enough? Should they ask --


HONIG: Should that be asked?


HONIG: Yes. I think they should ask that. I think he will say I never reached that question because of the DOJ policy. But then you ask did you find substantial evidence that he obstructed justice. He said yes in the report.

LEMON: If Trump was an ordinary citizen would he have been charged with obstruction, what's the answer that do you think will give?

HONIG: I think Mueller will say I never reached that question because of the policy. But again, the counter is well, did you find substantial evidence of obstruction? That's in his report also. He has to say yes to that.

[22:25:00] LEMON: OK. Carl Bernstein, did you intend for Congress to act on the findings of your report? I mean, that's a key question. Remember, there's a footnote in the report that cited the Constitution's impeachment clauses.

BERNSTEIN: Wait and see. That's one of the big questions. And we don't know the answer. And it's going to determine part of his whole attitude of the hearing. Whether he's willing to embrace and answer a question such as that or is he going to stick straight with the language in the report. In which case if he does that, as I suggest, there's still opportunities for him to be assertive if the right questions are asked.

LEMON: Why do you think he asked for that guidance, Carl?

BERNSTEIN: I think he doesn't want to be a witness here. And he wants to be sure that he follows the Justice Department rules. But again, I can't be in his head either. I think -- I think it's time happily we're at the point of ending the speculation. We're going to find out what's going to happen.

I think we've been right to try and game it out to see what the Republicans doing, what Democrats are doing and to talk to the people who had worked for Mr. Mueller. And now we're going to see what happens.

You keep talking about the people of the country. I think all this takes place in the midst of a divided country, a divided people, a cold civil war that's been going on. And it perhaps 10, 15 percent of those people in the country may not have made up their minds about Donald Trump. And this is going to go to the question of making up their minds

perhaps about Donald Trump, depending on how the Republicans and Democrats conduct themselves.

LEMON: Carl, Abby, Elie, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

In just a few hours Robert Mueller will start answering questions on Capitol Hill. How are Democrats preparing and what are they hoping to hear from the former special counsel tomorrow?


LEMON: House Democrats wrapping up their final preparations before the most anticipated congressional hearings in decades. Here with me, Congressman Ted Lieu. He's a member of the Judiciary Committee and he will be questioning Robert Mueller tomorrow, Congressman, so good to have you on, thank you so much.

TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Don. Honor to be with you.

LEMON: So you guys have had a busy day, right? Preparations?

LIEU: We have. Busy two weeks.

LEMON: Yeah. So tell me about it. What can you tell us?

LIEU: Before the mock hearing today, each of us had mock interviews with judiciary staff. We reviewed the relevant parts on Mueller Report. We're ready to go.

LEMON: OK. So the DOJ told Robert Mueller to stick to what's in the report. But just tonight, the House Intelligence Chairman, Adam Schiff, sent a letter to the DOJ, objecting. And here's what he writes. He says the DOJ letters attempts unduly to circumscribe your testimony and presents yet another attempt by the Trump administration to obstruct the authorized oversight activity and legitimate investigations of the committee.

The committee categorically rejects the department's overly-expansive and baseless prophylactic assertions of executive privilege in all of its various forms. Do you expect him to invoke executive privilege tomorrow?

LIEU: I do not. And Special Counsel Mueller doesn't have to listen to the DOJ. He's a former employee. I think the American people should be asking what is the Trump administration trying to hide? Why are they so scared of Robert Mueller saying whatever he wants to Congress and American people tomorrow?

LEMON: The most important answers you're hoping to get from Robert Mueller.

LIEU: We don't need Robert Mueller saying anything breathtaking. We just need him to highlight the main parts of the Mueller Report, because it is so devastating. And at the end of the day, people are going to know that the Russians attacked our elections in 2016. The Trump campaign embraced their interference and gave them internal polling data and wanted it to happen.

And then that the president engaged in numerous acts of the crime of obstruction of justice to interfere in that election.

LEMON: I want to read something from (Inaudible) in The Atlantic titled Barr Already Won. President Trump's attorney general had the first word on the Mueller investigation that may end up being the final word, OK? She is raising the idea that Barr's spin on this report was so favorable to the president that it may not be undone. Are you worried about that?

LIEU: I am somewhat worried, which is why we're doing this entire hearing. For people who have read the Mueller Report or followed the issues, this will not be surprising tomorrow. But for people who have not read the report or have only listened to Bill Barr or Donald Trump, their minds maybe blown, because they're going to see facts that they never saw.

They're going to be seeing that the president directed his White House counsel to fire the Special Counsel. That's a crime. They'll see that the president directed his White House counsel to then cover that up and create a fake document. That's a second crime. And then they're going to see that he directed Corey Lewandowski to ask Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation into Donald Trump. That's a third crime of obstruction of justice.

LEMON: And, you know, Mueller took issue with Barr's four page summary of the report, right? And he talked about that. He wrote in a letter this. He said the summary letter to the department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 didn't fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions. Do you think Mueller's going to answer questions about Barr's spin on this report?

LIEU: So essentially what Robert Mueller said is Bill Barr lied to the American people. Now, the American people are going to see firsthand Robert Mueller lay out the facts of the Mueller Report, which is again going to contradict what Trump and Bill Barr have been saying. It's going to show that there was obstruction and that there was a lot of communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And that they knew exactly what the Russians were doing.

LEMON: But -- you know that Barr says that he believes that Mueller could have reached a conclusion on obstruction. This is what he said back in May. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally felt he could have reached a decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your view, he could have reached a conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. He could have reached a conclusion.


LEMON: So given that what he has -- that he said that, does the Judiciary Committee plan to ask Mueller directly whether he could have charged the president?

LIEU: Well, think how ironic Bill Barr's statement is, because now he's telling Mueller he can't answer that question. He doesn't want Mueller to go beyond the four corners of his report. So Bill Barr actually doesn't want Mueller to answer that. And you can simply infer from what Robert Mueller said, which is he could not indict a sitting president.

Why would Robert Mueller say that? Because there's all this evidence showing that he could indict a president, but for the OLC memo, (Inaudible) guidelines saying he could not.

[22:35:00] LEMON: I want to turn now to the president's attacks on these four congresswomen of color. You heard what he said about them last week, and what he's been saying. And he released a campaign video last week that ended with one squad under god. And then this happened during his remarks today in Washington. Here, watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So above all else, we know this, that in America we don't worship government. We worship god. I am not disavowing that. They'd like me to. No thank you.


LEMON: What's your reaction?

LIEU: I think Donald Trump is again trying to divide America. When he goes after immigrants and U.S. citizens and tells us to go back to our country that is racist. It is hurtful. I served in active duty in the United States military because I love America. People have told me throughout my career to go back to China or North Korea or Japan. It's always very hurtful when I get that. I never thought the president of the United States would say words like go back from where you came.

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate it. Everybody's going to be watching tomorrow.

LIEU: Yup. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. The president has said he doesn't think that white nationalism is a problem. Well, his FBI director certainly thinks so. Why Christopher Wray says white supremacist violence is a motivation for more and more cases of domestic terrorism.


LEMON: FBI Director, Christopher Wray, testifying on Capitol Hill today about the growing threat of white supremacist violence in the United States. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Just in the first three quarters of this year, we have had more domestic terrorism arrests than the prior year. I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we have investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence. But it includes other things as well.


LEMON: Wray highlighted examples of violence in the last year inspired by white supremacist beliefs, including the massacre at a Pittsburg synagogue last fall that killed 11 people, and also made this point.


WRAY: Our focus is on the violence. We don't -- we the FBI don't investigate ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology when it turns to violence, we're all over it.


LEMON: With his testimony, the FBI director is confirming a dangerous truth that a lot of people don't like hearing. The biggest threat to Americans is not Jihadists overseas. It is home grown domestic terrorists inspired by white supremacists, white supremacists like the men who carried torches through Charlottesville nearly two years ago. Chanting Jews will not replace us.

The ensuing violence took the life of Heather Heyer. President Trump said there were very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville. Very fine people don't carry torches spouting anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks hate crimes, reports that between 2009 and 2018, right wing extremists were responsible for 73 percent of extremist-related killings in the United States, compared to Islamic extremists at 24 percent, and left wing extremists at just 3 percent.

Look at the numbers. Look at the facts on your screen. There it is, in living color. A lot of people don't want to hear that. They don't want that to be true. They don't want to believe it, including, of course, the president of the United States. Who despite what the FBI director says has denied that white supremacist violence is a growing problem.

After a gunman opened fire at two mosques in New Zealand back in March, killing at least 50 people, the president was asked about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is white nationalism a rising threat around the world? TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that

have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. We're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, terrible thing.


LEMON: And then just last week, the president refused to accept that his tweets against four congresswomen of color are racist, even though he used the old racist trope go back to where you came from, to the delight of white supremacists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist, and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that?

TRUMP: It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me.


LEMON: Unfortunately, a lot of people do agree with racism. That doesn't make racism right, obviously. A lot of people don't want to believe we face significant domestic terror threats from white supremacists. Ask yourself why that is. In the meantime, the president might want to listen to the FBI Director, Christopher Wray. The stats showing an uptick in domestic terrorism arrests, much of it motivated by white supremacist violence, the stats don't lie.

Are the laws of our -- on our books now, are they enough to protect us from the dangers of white supremacists? We'll discuss that next.


LEMON: So you heard that the FBI Director Christopher Wray had to say today about the growing threat of white supremacist violence here in the United States. Joining me now to discuss, Wesley Lowery and Juliette Kayyem.

Good evening to both of you.

Juliette, we have been talking about this for a while here. The stats don't lie. Are you pleased to see that the FBI is acknowledging the extent of the domestic threat posed by white supremacy now?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, because if they don't name it, then they deal with it. So I thought -- I was really pleased with Wray's testimony. I'm not pleased with the fact that -- but that the FBI is taking this seriously, especially since the president clearly is not. Two points just quickly about what wasn't said.

What people need to know now from these statistics is is terror threat in the United States is not Islamic-based. Not the majority of the threats. Nor is it immigrants. And the president runs around the country sort of saying that, you know, immigrants or unlawful immigrants are the national security threat. And the -- you know, sort of has this, you know, Islamophobia when it comes to the Muslim ban and things like that.


[22:50:08] LEMON: But it's not left wing either. I mean...


LEMON: Because, you know, you see that you watch conservative media. It's, like, well, you know, they're doing this. And they're threatening -- it is -- the biggest threat is right wing extremists. That's what it is.

KAYYEM: That's exactly -- and so you want the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI. Look, we shouldn't be shocked by this. I've been saying on your show, you know, this is sarcastic terror. This is what people in my field call sarcastic terror. It's the use of mass media to insight terrorism or violence. You know, (Inaudible) that is predictable, in other words you know there's going to be more violence.

But the specific event is unpredictable. We don't know who's going to do it. That's what we're seeing. The president is motivating people in ways that we haven't seen before.

LEMON: Wes, why do you think he's so dismissive of the danger of white supremacy, and does that give encouragement to the haters?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's certainly encourages this. And I think that broadly -- I think collectively we -- collectively dismissive of this threat. Like we -- as you noted, there are members of Congress this week who are railing about Antifa and how they needed to be declared a domestic terror organization. I've heard no rants from Republican lawmakers about how we need to be more aggressively going after white supremacists groups.

Despite the fact that dating back to the Obama administration, there has been this massive uptick in this right wing white supremacist terrorism. Now again, part of the issue here is that some of these folks do make up the Donald Trump space, that the language that they are attracted to and motivated by is the same language that they are encouraged by, that his base is encouraged.

But at the same time, this is a worrying moment. When you look at the court documents with Cesar (Inaudible), the person who threatened CNN and other people with bombs, when you look at the Facebook post of the white supremacist shooter in the Pittsburgh synagogue, right, what you see time and time again is it's people who are motivated to attack the enemies of the -- the perceived enemies of Donald Trump at a time when Donald Trump is out there calling for Congress...


LOWERY: That's un-American.

LEMON: Are you concerned about that -- about that about him sort of normalizing what is racism and saying that it's not racist at the same time, and also putting these people in danger?

LOWERY: And deputizing. And we talked about this a few times, right? When you use extremist language like this, if Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are actually un-American anti- Semites, right? If they're actually the things the president says, it deputizes his supporters to do something about it. If there is some person who hates America out there, someone is going to say I am going to do something about this.

And that's the way this works. It deputizes the listener to carry out. So when you have a powerful person, one of the most powerful people in the world, with millions of followers, attacking individuals by name, and individuals who themselves are minorities, who belong to groups that have been ostracized, that have been stereotypes about -- and he's attacking them personally and saying this person is un- American.

This person is dangerous. That is going to lead to some people to call for violence against them, like the police officer we just saw who was fired, and other people to actually attempt to carry out that violence.

LEMON: And it's amplified on Fox News. And I want you to weigh on this, because attorneys for Cesar Sayoc, Wesley mentioned it, the man who pleaded guilty to sending explosive devices to CNN and prominent Democrats, they are arguing that -- for a lenient sentence, OK, that they describe Sayoc's struggles as mental health.

They write that after Trump announced his candidacy, Sayoc "began watching Fox News religiously at the gym, planning his morning workout to coincide with Fox and Friends, and his evenings to dovetail with Hannity." So the folks over there are repeating racist nationalist tropes. How dangerous is that?

KAYYEM: It's very dangerous. And so look, I mean -- as Wray said today, you know, the FBI can't control ideology. They can only control action or violence. And that's understandable. Someone thinks something horrible. You don't want them to be -- necessarily be arrested. You may not want to be their friend, but you don't want them to be arrested.

The challenge for law enforcement and Homeland Security right now is that the president does not set the tone that would minimize, or what I like to say shame these people. In other words, I don't believe...


LEMON: Elevates him.

KAYYEM: I am not so naive to believe that racism is going to go away if only Trump were president. I mean it has existed -- what I do hope from a president is that you shame those people, right? In other words, they are not out there on Fox News saying the things that they are saying that they're not emboldened by the leadership. And so when you ask how does radicalization happen? Some of it is social media.

Some of it is loneliness derangement, whatever. It comes from the person themselves. But it's impossible to deny now that the tone, the condoning, the lack of shame from our leadership, the lack of shame for having these opinions, does not impact what Wray testified today, which is obviously that white supremacy is our biggest issue.

[22:54:55] LEMON: Real quick, Wesley. But if you look, there is this Jedi mind trick, like, you know, the people who talk about it, they're the real racists. And it's not the actual people who are committing the terrorist acts, the white supremacy, the racist acts, who are the real racists.

LOWERY: Of course, you've seen this framing time and time again, right? It's a Republican defense that's happened before Donald Trump. But Donald Trump is also deploying it, that the people who call me racist, they are the real racists. They are the real threat. Be afraid of the Muslims and the brown people and these loud-mouthed congresswomen, right, when in reality what we know is that this president, his entire political career has been based on white grievance and white fear, and it is endangering people of color around the country.

LEMON: Quickly. Before we go to break, let's put the graphic back up there so you can see who is responsible for most of the domestic terror in this country. There we go, OK? So look at that, everyone, not making this up. This is not opinion. Those are facts that you're looking at on your screen right now. Right-wing extremists, 73.3 percent of the terror in this country, they commit it. We'll be right back.