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President Trump Sticks To His False Claims; Russia Always A Threat To U.S. Democracy; Nadler Will Go To Court To Force Don McGahn To Testify; Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) Is Interviewed About The Chairman Of The House Judiciary Committee Speaking Out Tonight About Robert Mueller's Testimony; Ole Miss Students Posed With Guns In Front Of Bullet-Riddled Emmett Till Memorial; Fox News Poll Reveals Voters' Attitudes On President Trump And Racism. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 25, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And now the ultimate new appeal to harshness. Here, we killed people. You won't find a justification in the numbers or comfort in the law books or certainly the good book.

This is about the soul of society. What do you want to be about? The instruction here is, death begets death. Death begets death. Therefore, killing can be OK. The president sees this for what it is and he likes it. Do you?

That's all for us tonight. Thanks for watching. "CNN TONIGHT"with D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You laid out the fact there. I couldn't do it any better. We used to have also a shared sense of reality and a shared concept of facts of what's true and what's not and now we don't. It's really unbelievable.

From your conversation you were having earlier with Kayleigh about what Obama did, the former president did, what the current president did as it relates to the Russian interference in the election completely misrepresenting what the former president did, completely misrepresenting what this president is doing.

CUOMO: Well, look, what aboutism is one thing. Playing with context is another. This issue is not about the facts. You're not going to win this on the numbers.

LEMON: Which is sad.

CUOMO: This is a social instruction, the death penalty. It's about what you want to be about. It's about identity. And that's what this election is going to be. And here's the tricky part of it. God forbid, God forbid, somebody ever did something to one of my own.


CUOMO: I don't know that I would be able to stop myself --


LEMON: I agree.

CUOMO: -- from trying to end --

LEMON: I agree.

CUOMO: -- but that would not be me at my best.


CUOMO: That would be me at my worst.

LEMON: Well --

CUOMO: And the question is what is the instruction to your society, how to be its best.

LEMON: Well, we always ask you want to be judged on your worst day, on your worst behavior, and do we want to be a country that deals with issues that come from our worst behavior or do we want to elevate and evolve beyond that. So, I don't know. But I agree with you. If someone hurt or killed one of my own, I'm not sure what I would do. I probably want to take them out too.

CUOMO: But it wouldn't be you at your best.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: But I'll tell you what, there is genius in this choice by the president and the A.G. Because this is one of the best issues to divide people along the lines of what are we about?

LEMON: And that's the point.

CUOMO: Who are we? Will we kill? And they want to say that this isn't about race. You can't look at the death penalty and not see racial disparity. You cannot look at it and not see that for what it is.


CUOMO: But this is about something more, isn't it? It's about who wants to feed.

LEMON: I got a moment here but when you -- you know, we often talk about this, Chris in our -- about how race runs through everything and we see race in everything but it is the third rail in American culture and American society. It is the thing that we have not dealt with in a substantial manner in this country since the -- since the inception or the conception of this country.

We have not really dealt with it. And you know, everyone keeps saying we have to have a conversation. We had plenty of conversations. I think what the real issue is that I, and in my life that I think that may stop people from doing what this president is doing, doing what this administration is doing stop all the hatred that's going around.

It's actually having a relationship with people which we don't. If we look at most places, most churches, houses of worship, you look at most businesses where people go to work every day. People have very little interaction with someone from a different race. Mostly white people in this country have very little interaction with black people or brown people, especially on a personal level. And I notice that --


CUOMO: Yes. It's in the big cities the percentage start --

LEMON: But I notice that every --

CUOMO: Only what? Twelve, 13 percent of the country.

LEMON: Yes. But even if you go to work you ride alongside somebody on the subway or on the bus or what have you, you know, you go home and you rarely spent time with people who don't look like you. That is the issue and I don't know how we get to the bottom of that.

It is having a relationship with people, establishing a relationship with people who don't look like you and until you do that, it is not going to happen, it's not going to make one bit of difference.

CUOMO: Well, it starts with a seed that is planted or not planted which is to be open and to see people with a positive possibility and not negative ones. This president has made a different choice. And I don't care what anybody says. It's no irony that he's a white Anglo- Saxon Protestant male because they are the most threatened group by what multiculturalism can symbolize to certain people and what diversity means in terms of replacement, culturally and practically.


CUOMO: You wouldn't see an ethnic person making this kind of argument. You certainly wouldn't see an African-America one. So, this is set up to be exactly what it is.


CUOMO: Who does this country want to be, what does it want to accept what does it want to reject.


CUOMO: And those are tough questions, it's much easier to argue about something surficial, somebody's sex life or some B.S. like that.


CUOMO: This matters more and this is what it's going to be about.

[22:05:02] LEMON: It's much easier to be detached or have cruelty to have someone you don't have a relationship with.

Thank you, Chris. We're going to go through a lot of this in the opening of my show tonight. I'll see you tomorrow.

CUOMO: Love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: You, as well, sir. You as well.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. And I'm live here in Washington. We got a lot to talk about.

So, remember here I always say this. I've said this before. If you will lie about anything, you will lie about everything. For this president, for this administration, the lying is the feature, it's not the bug. It's not the bug. It is the feature. But what he just said to Sean Hannity is absolutely stunning.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again. This was treason, this was high crimes. This was everything as bad a definition as you want to come up with. This should never be allowed to happen to our country again.


LEMON: Did you hear that? The president falsely claiming the Mueller investigation was treason and high crimes. Even though six separate federal courts, six of them upheld Mueller's appointment and authority.

And then there is Sarah Sanders. Remember her? She left the administration last month. But she didn't leave the lying behind. Look at your screen, falsely claiming today that Robert Mueller vindicated the president, falsely claiming no collusion, no obstruction. And falsely claiming that Mueller admitted his investigation was a witch hunt all along.

All of that in one tweet. And none of it is true, not one word. Not one word, mind-boggling. The fact is, remember, facts first here. Mueller did not vindicate the president. Did you watch the hearing? Mueller did not vindicate the president. He found there was not enough evidence to charge the campaign with conspiracy.

He did not clear the president of obstruction of justice. He certainly didn't label his own investigation a witch hunt. In fact, he said the exact opposite.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it --



(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Sarah Sanders is just not -- it is not a witch hunt. Mueller

testified under oath that the president lied in his written answers to questions.


REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Director Mueller, isn't it fair to say that the president's written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn't answer many of your questions. But where he did his answers showed that he wasn't always been truthful?

MUELLER: There -- I would say, generally.


LEMON: And there is more. More lies from this administration. Let's face it, it starts at the top. Like the racist birther lie that Donald Trump pushed for from the very beginning of his political career. Peddling false conspiracy theories that Barack Obama was not born in this country.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want him to show his birth certificate.



TRUMP: There is something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like.



TRUMP: People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. Now, he may have one, but there is something on that birth -- maybe religion, maybe it says he's a Muslim, I don't know.

And if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility. I'm not saying it happened, I'm saying it's a real possibility, then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.


LEMON: Well, he's not the only one in this administration to push lies like that. The president has appointed former Fox News pundit Monica Crowley for the top spokeswoman job at the Treasury Department.

CNN's K File team found multiple comments that she's made suggesting that President Obama was secretly a Muslim who was sympathetic to America's enemies. Comments like this one.

Suggesting that then President of the United States Barack Obama was on the side of terrorists. And here's the quote. "The Muslim Brotherhood is a sworn enemy of the United States. In Obama, they have found an ally. What does that say about Obama? I'm sure you can figure that one out."

I'm sure you can figure out that's a lie and what about this? After House Democrats demanded today that the president receive the same election security briefing already given to members of Congress, which you'd think the president would want to know about, given that the integrity of our free and fair election is at stake, the White House put out a statement.

[22:09:54] Here's what the statement says. Quote, "You think the Democrats would have learned to stop grandstanding and actually take election security seriously, especially when you consider it was President Obama who knew Russia was trying to interfere with our elections but did nothing about it."

Well, the claim that President Obama did nothing to stop Russia from interfering in our elections, that is another lie.

In 2016, here are the facts. In 2016, the administration tried to get support from both sides of the aisle to send a letter, warning state governors to defend their election infrastructure, but it was the Republican leaders, including none other than Mitch McConnell, who refused.

The Obama administration later slapped sanctions on Russia for its election interference and booted 35 Russian diplomats out of the country. Remember that, everyone? Compare that to this president who joked with Vladimir Putin about his election interference.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the next election?


TRUMP: Don't meddle in the election. Don't meddle in the election.


LEMON: Compare that to this president who said he would take dirt on a political opponent from Russia or other foreign governments.


TRUMP: Somebody comes up and says, hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI? I don't think --


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: If it's coming from Russia, you do.

TRUMP: I'll tell you what. I've seen a lot of things over my life. I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI. In my whole life. I don't -- you don't call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office. You do whatever --


STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book. He called the FBI.

TRUMP: Well, that's different, a stolen briefing book. This isn't a -- this is somebody that said we have information on your opponent. Let me call the FBI. Give me a break. Life doesn't work that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The FBI director says that's what should happen.

TRUMP: The FBI director is wrong.


LEMON: When you're running for president you shouldn't -- OK.

Compare that to a president who took Vladimir Putin's side against his own intelligence community's warnings about Russia's election interference.


TRUMP: My people came to me. Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.


LEMON: The fact is our democracy is under threat. And the president consistently refuses to acknowledge his responsibility to protect us. Even in the face of his warning from his own FBI director just today.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We've seen many examples of cyber actors targeting political campaigns to glean intelligence and directing bots to propagate divisive messaging. We expect much of the same in 2020, especially with new cyber tools that are continuing to fall in the hands of adversaries who would do us harm.


LEMON: Even in the face of this from his DHS cyber security chief.


CHRISTOPHER KREBS, DIRECTOR, DHS CYBERSECURITY & INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: This is all part of the Russian playbook. I talked about it earlier. This is part of the Gerasimov doctrine. Russia is not trying to win anything. They just want everybody else to lose. And in doing so, they win by default.


LEMON: OK. So, it's not just a Russian threat. Here's what the Washington Post is reporting. Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela are on the short list of countries with a history of online interference.

And let's remember, we are literally under attack. Make no mistake, that's what election interference is, an attack on the heart of our democracy. And Robert Mueller who took the oath of office as FBI director just one week before 9/11 had some stark words to say about Russia's attack.


REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): In your investigation, did you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election or did you find evidence to suggest they'll try to do this again?

MUELLER: It wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign.


LEMON: But at this very crucial time in our history, with the 2020 election looming, the president doubles down on the lies.


TRUMP: It was a witch hunt, a total witch hunt.


LEMON: What else can you expect from an administration built on lies? Built on falsehood, built on distractions and deflections. What else can you expect from a president who told you this?


TRUMP: Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.


LEMON: So, who are you going to believe? The president, who by our count made 61 false claims just last week, just last week. Or are you going to believe your own ears and your own eyes?

[22:15:02] The answer to that is more important than ever with 2020 looming on the horizon. You heard the president tonight taking a victory lap despite Robert Mueller's testimony he was not exonerated, exculpated. That word. Russia's election was no hoax and his investigation was no witch hunt.

We're going to fact check the president, what the president said. Nia- Malika Henderson is here, Daniel Dale, that's our fact-checker, Phil Mudd, that's our security guy. Next.


LEMON: So, the president calling into Sean Hannity's show on Fox tonight slamming the Mueller hearings and making outrageous and false charges about the Russia investigation.

Let's bring in Nia-Malika Henderson, Daniel Dale, and Philip Mudd. Good evening, one and all.


LEMON: Not surprising he's taking a victory lap, right? And he was -- can you believe it? He was on Fox.

HENDERSON: I can't believe it.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: This is a shocker.

HENDERSON: This is a --

LEMON: This is a shocker.


LEMON: He's continuing to take his victory lap tonight after the Mueller hearing. And, remember, he said that he really wasn't going to watch the hearing. Well, listen to this.


[22:20:04] TRUMP: So, I wasn't going to watch at all, and then I started thinking about it and then I watched a little bit at the very beginning and I couldn't believe what I was saying. I ended up watching more than I wanted to.

Then I watched the afternoon because, you know, it was such a big crater at the beginning, and I said now I have to watch -- I have to watch shifty Schiff because he just went through three hours, and now he has to go through Schiff. And I said this is going to be very interesting. And I've never seen anything like it.


LEMON: So, he's not going to watch but he watched a lot.

HENDERSON: Yes, yes, yes, he was always going to watch. I mean, to sort of fact check what his statement was there, I wasn't sure if I was going to watch. And then I started seeing.

He was always going to watch. He was always thinking about this big day, which was built up obviously by Democrats. In some ways Mueller delivered, in some ways he didn't in terms of the performance aspect, but the substance aspect of it was pretty damning for this president.

This is what this president does. He watches TV. He watches TV a lot. He may have watched more TV than all other presidents combined. This is the way he understands the world. He's not much of a reader. This is the way he gets his information.

So, it's not surprising, it is, you know, it's not a very good commentary on his presidency, that he blocked out seven hours of his day to watch TV, as if it is his job, in the way he had to --


HENDERSON: -- because it is our job.

LEMON: But it's an important hearing.

HENDERSON: But this is -- it is an important --


LEMON: And the reason he said -- but he said I'm not going to -- why couldn't he just say, look, I love to watch TV.

HENDERSON: Yes, yes, yes.

LEMON: I got to tell you. One of the -- one in local news, one of the best television producers I had was not much of a reader but was just a veracious television watcher and knew television like none other. There's nothing wrong with that.

HENDERSON: No. I don't think so.

LEMON: Right?


LEMON: So, anyway, we have Daniel Dale here. Daniel, listen, you've been fact checking what the president, the president's interview tonight. One of the false claims he made and then we'll talk right here.


TRUMP: This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again. This was treason. This was high crimes. This was everything as bad a definition as you want to come up with. This should never be allowed to happen to our country again.


LEMON: Fact check that for us, please.

DALE: Well, speaking of bad definitions, Don, the word treason has a definition and it means waging war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to people who are waging war against the United States. The U.S. enemies.

A legally authorized investigation, an investigation authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice simply isn't it. As fact checkers, we like to delve into complicated claims and explain the nuances of why someone was wrong. With Trump, so often, and this time as well. It's just incorrect. There is nothing more to say, this is just -- this is just wrong.

LEMON: Yes. To say that it was, what did Robert Mueller say? He said was this a witch hunt? He goes, he said, no, it was not. Directly contradicts what Robert Mueller said during the hearing.

DALE: Absolutely. And so, the president and his allies, you pointed to Sarah Sanders' tweet, have simply reasserted what they were asserting before Mueller contradicted them. And so, this is what they do. They develop a line, even if it's at odds with the facts and when people point out it's at odds with the facts, they simply stick to it as if nothing has been told.

LEMON: Let's talk about interference, OK, Phil?


LEMON: The president who was trashing the hearings yesterday, while he was doing this, we have this new Senate intel report. It found that all 50 states, all 50 states were likely targeted by Russia in 2016.

Mueller's report found that 2016 Trump campaign expected that they would benefit from Russian interference. Do you think anything has changed now as we're coming -- you know, changed the score on that as we're coming up to 2020?

MUDD: I think a couple of things have. First, if you're looking at this as an intelligence officer from the Russian perspective, you would say covert action one, number one, we got the candidate we wanted. That's not me speaking. That's Vladimir Putin, Helsinki. We wanted this guy to win. He won.

The other thing you'd say if you're a Russian is, hey, what are the repercussions? The president of the United States says this is a hoax.

So, if you're sitting back in Moscow saying how do we reinstall not only in this election but in four years, eight years, 12 years, if we try to influence or reinstall somebody we like, what are the implications for us? The implications are we can do it and a president might say not only am I not going to say anything about it, I'm going to say this is all a joke, bring it on.

LEMON: Bring it.

MUDD: I mean, this is a success as an intelligence guy.

LEMON: So, have we let the fox in the hen house when it comes to Russia, that they're in? How do you reverse it once there is another president and another administration?

MUDD: Yes and no. This is frustrating as an intel guy because there is an inside piece -- as an intelligence officer --

LEMON: Yes. MUDD: -- whether you're at homeland security, FBI, CIA, I don't care what the president says, I got to protect America.


MUDD: So, on the inside, you're working against -- I'm sure that's happening. There is another more significant piece. What the heck would you do in Missouri, in Mississippi, in California, if you wanted a message from the central government, that is the White House, about how to protect yourself?

[22:25:07] I think you would say, who is going to speak to me? That is not the FBI director.


MUDD: That is not the secretary of homeland security. That's the president. He's never going to speak.

LEMON: What is more concerning, considering what happened today with the bill, Republicans blocking this bill to protect our election? Why?

HENDERSON: Yes, and Mitch McConnell was pretty plain about this. Essentially saying this was a partisan bill and, of course, passed out of the House. I think one Republican voted for it, even though there is some support for this bill in the Senate among some Republicans.

He just sees it as partisan, primarily because the president himself sees this issue of sort of cybersecurity around elections as a partisan issue. It reminds him of the notion that the Russians and Putin sided with him, meddled in the election, and, you know, put the thumb on the scale for him.

So, he doesn't want anything that sort of touches on that at all, so I think Republicans are standing behind this president who has very much taken a hands-off approach to this.

He has at one point said he's for sort of, auditing, maybe going back to paper balloting, which is part of this bill as well. But so far, you've had Republicans essentially stonewall.


HENDERSON: And it's also about states' rights. You're from the south. You know about states' rights.


HENDERSON: These are election systems that are basically state controlled. There is a postage of like, 10,000 election systems really across the country. And so, you've got Mitch McConnell basically saying these should be left to the states.

LEMON: Another fact check for me. Watch this. Again, it's false. Watch this.


TRUMP: Nothing affected the Trump -- you know, all of these things like the Russian bloggers, they had nothing to do with us, and everybody knew it. In fact, there is a little sentence in there saying that it had nothing to do with the Trump administration, but it was like a lot of people, 24 people or something, a lot of bloggers, bloggers in Russia. They'll never see these people. They know that.


LEMON: He keeps saying bloggers. That's false.

DALE: It's hackers. Hackers. Russian hackers. That's the whole thing with the report.

LEMON: Bloggers.

DALE: So, either the president is confused about what happens on the internet, which is possible, or he is use -- deliberately using the wrong word to try to make what happened seem more innocent. This was an elite Russian military --


LEMON: And not just hackers, Russian intelligence as well, right?


DALE: Yes. And as the report points out, they first attempted to hack Clinton's personal office hours after the president made an appeal to Russia to find her e-mails. So, these were not only hackers, but hackers who seemed to be motivated in part by his own actions.

LEMON: Daniel, Phil, Nia, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Judiciary chairman Jerrod Nadler saying tonight Robert Mueller's testimony was important to counter the president's lies. Did it work? I'm going to ask Congresswoman -- a congresswoman on the House judiciary committee next.


LEMON: The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee speaking out tonight about Robert Mueller's testimony. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean on the committee joins us now. So good to have you here.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Thank you. Pleased to be with you.

LEMON: Thank you so much. It's been a -- it's a very busy time. And so we're glad to have you.

DEAN: Important time.

LEMON: I want to play something for you. This is the House judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. He said this a short time ago about what he thought of Robert Mueller testimony and then we'll talk. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): It's very important for him to get his conclusions out to the American people, because it was very important to break the lies that we were being told by the president and the Attorney General, that there was no collusion, no obstruction, that the report totally exonerated him. All of those were lies.


LEMON: Mueller did call out the president's lies. Did that bring you or the country or you guys any closer to impeachment?

DEAN: I think it did. I think you saw at least four of our colleagues came forward and said, they'd join me and many -- 80-some of our colleagues with the call for impeachment inquiry. The very question area that I went for was what Jerry Nadler just talked about, public confusion as a result of A.G. Barr.

A.G. Barr came out after the delivery of that report and what did he do? He came out with preliminary findings, a conclusion of law that misrepresented completely the underlying report. And guess what? -- Mueller said, you have now created public confusion, no obstruction, no collusion, a total falsehood. That is exactly what Mueller was worried about and he repeated it for us yesterday.

LEMON: The key player in all of this, especially lately, has been Bill Barr.

DEAN: Yes.

LEMON: He is the one that --

DEAN: Yes.

LEMON: -- created the whole public perception --

DEAN: Yes.

LEMON: -- about what was in the report which actually wasn't --

DEAN: Was not true.

LEMON: Was not true. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I mean, she is been against impeachment, but we're hearing that Democrats close to her are telling CNN that her tone is possibly changing as it comes to that. What can you tell us?

DEAN: I think she has been so smart, so savvy. She understands this is a very big picture. A very long game. And that the American people need to know actually what the facts and the evidence are. That was what was so important about yesterday.

Robert Mueller came before us and brought to life his report of 448 pages. The extraordinary wrongdoing of our foreign foe. The extraordinary welcoming of that wrongdoing by the Trump campaign and then the extraordinary obstruction of justice by the president of the United States, and then you layer on top of that, Attorney General Barr, hand-picked by this president to now obfuscate exactly what went wrong.

I totally understand why the speaker is where she is and I don't think that the Judiciary Committee and those of us who have called for impeachment inquiry are at odds with her.

LEMON: So, you know, Chairman Nadler says he is going to go to court to try to force Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, to testify. Do you think that is going to be effective? How effective getting a subpoena is going to be, because this administration has been very effective at stonewalling.

DEAN: Yes, but you have seen how the courts have actually been on our side. The courts have seen that the injustice and the obstruction of this administration, and so you know that we have two lawsuits moving forward by way of the Judiciary Committee. One is to release and unleash the grand jury material, the 6E material, and also the second one is to get Don McGahn to come before us. Once we get Don McGahn and that subpoena released before us by way of a judiciary -- a judicial decision, that will be -- that will break the logjam of the other witnesses we need to come before us.

Know what the answer is here. The American people deserve the truth. The grave truth that Robert Mueller talked about yesterday. I was so amazed and saddened by what he said. He worried -- and this was not before my committee, but the committee in the afternoon. He worried that this would be the new normal.

[22:35:04] Imagine a presidential campaign would welcome and wallow in a foreign foe's interference with our election. Don, imagine if I had done that in a simple congressional campaign. What if I had just allowed and wondered and welcomed interference by Russia in my campaign?

LEMON: Well, you heard what the president told George Stephanopoulos just a few weeks ago. He said, I'd never call the FBI. Who would do that? They wouldn't want to hear it. That is normalizing it.

DEAN: And he said I would take help again.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, congresswoman. I appreciate your time.

DEAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you for coming in.

DEAN: Thank you.

LEMON: You know, this is a really shocking story, really shocking. Three Ole Miss students pictured in front of an Emmett Till memorial holding guns. This would have been Emmet Till's 78th birthday. We're going to tell you what happened after that photo came to light. That is next.


LEMON: So, today would have been the 78th birthday of Emmett Till, which is why this story is show shocking. A Mississippi Senator for investigative reporting and ProPublica bringing to light a photo showing three Ole Miss students holding guns and posing in front of an Emmett Till memorial riddled with bullet holes. Now remember in 1955, Emmett Till was just 14 years old, a child, when he was dragged from his bed, tortured, brutally murdered and dumped in a river, all because a white woman claimed that he whistled at her an account she later admitted was false.

So, if you're wondering why the faces of these students are blurred, it's because we have reached out to them. We wanted their response, we haven't heard back at this time. We don't know whether they were the ones who shot up that sign, but the three students have been suspended from their fraternity and a spokesman from Ole Miss University is calling the photo offensive and hurtful.

So let's discuss now with the man who wrote the story, his name is Jerry Mitchell, he is the founder of the Mississippi Center for investigative reporting. He has spent his career investigating civil rights era killings. His work has led to the arrests and convictions of people responsible for the assassination of Meg Gregor's (ph) in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham Church that killed four young girls. Mr. Mitchell, thank you for coming on. Talk to me about this picture and how it became public.

JERRY MITCHELL, FOUNDER, MISSISSIPPI CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Well, we basically were contacted and provided the photograph and also were able to get our hands on the complaint as well. And we were -- we were -- we were surprised by this photograph of what did it mean? We weren't sure. So we wanted to dig into this and find out. And regardless of what it means completely, obviously just to the eye it's -- as Ole Miss says, its offensive.

And so we -- we've been working on the story for quite a while and we were able to -- and we asked the fraternity, the national fraternity, Ole Miss for comment, and literally in less than 24 hours they suspended the students from the fraternity.

LEMON: You say this photo reminded you of a trophy shot. Explain that.

MITCHELL: Well, I said somebody else said that actually I didn't say it reminded me of that. But yes, that is a journalist friend of mine said that and I was like, wow, I hadn't thought of that. You know, that is a -- that is his opinion. You know, and I think other people, you know, reactions today, some say, well, it's youthful indiscretion and then others really feel like they should be prosecuted for this. You know, it's a civil rights violation. Some, of course, suspecting that they shot the sign and then posed in front of it.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, we'll let law enforcement deal with what should happen and what will happen.

MITCHELL: Yes. LEMON: And you said, you know, youthful indiscretion, but, I mean --

MITCHELL: I didn't say that. I'm saying that is what some people are saying.

LEMON: Some people say it, right. But I mean, a youthful indiscretion, but why would -- why would it even enter someone's head to stand in front of a sign like that with guns considering what happened to Emmett Till? That is ignorance and --

MITCHELL: I don't know. I don't know.

LEMON: Taught to them by someone.

MITCHELL: Yes, and, I mean, I think one of the sad parts of this is, you know, they don't completely know who Emmett Till is. Maybe they understand sort of who Emmett Till is, but you're absolutely correct, if they really understood who Emmett Till was, they wouldn't have anything to do with this.

LEMON: Right.

MITCHELL: Because he -- his death, as you well know, propelled the civil rights movement, really, in America. His mother's courage to stand up and say, I wanted the world to see what was done to my baby.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, again, we want to be clear, we don't know if the men vandalized that sign, the ones who were posing there.


LEMON: But it's not the first time that sign has been vandalized. It's been vandalized before.

MITCHELL: No. Repeatedly.

LEMON: Right. Which is -- that is a whole another story. The University of Mississippi issued a statement and it reads like this. It said, "While the image is offenses, it did not present a violation of University of code of conduct. It occurred off campus and was not part of the University-affiliated event."

However, representative from the men's fraternity Kappa Alpha emailed you this statement. It says, the chapter has suspended the men in the photo, the photo is inappropriate and sensitive and unacceptable, it does not represent our chapter. I mean, beyond those statements, you know, how have both the school and the fraternity handled this in your estimation?

MITCHELL: Well, I mean, they've handled it the way they've handled it. I mean, obviously suspending the students, you know, you would say that is a step toward, you know, punishing what we see in the photo.

[22:45:08] And then -- but, you know, there is also some troublesome aspects to this, and not to cast blame, but Ole Miss got this complaint back in March. And the photo stayed up on Instagram. Now, I don't know why or what happened or any of that, but that's kind of troubling to me. I mean, the fact that here's this photograph that should be obviously offensive to anybody and it's still up on Instagram? It didn't come down until we started asking questions.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, it's interesting. We keep saying -- I hear people say all the time, well, all of this stuff is going to change. All this race stuff is going to change with the youth and then you see the young people doing things like this and the number of hate crimes growing. Jerry Mitchell, I appreciate your work and I thank you so much for coming on.

MITCHELL: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Mr. Lemon.

LEMON: Absolutely.

A new poll reveals some surprises about how voters feel about the president and racism. Details next.


LEMON: President Trump doubling down on his strategy, playing politics with racism. His focus for congresswomen of color who he is relentlessly criticized including on social media saying that they came from countries who's governments were catastrophe and where -- from broken and crime infested places. But the American people may not be buying that. This is what the Fox News poll has found. Only 34 percent of all Americans believes the president respects racial minorities, 57 percent do not.

I want to talk about this with Scott Jennings and Ana Navarro. Hello to both of you. Listen I know both of you have said that you believe that the president went way too far in that last tweet. But I want to talks to you about these polls, not the last tweet, but that tweets about -- his tweets about the congresswomen.

Ana, the Fox News poll shows 63 percent of all registered voters say that the president's tweets about the squad crossed the line, 27 percent thought it was an acceptable political attack. Are the attacks backfiring do you think on the president? What do you think of that polling?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it makes even Republicans who usually side with the president feel uncomfortable which is why he did something which is very unusual for him and he's backed down.

When I was in the make-up room just before coming here the make-up artist was Hispanic and there were two African-American women there. And I asked them have you ever been told go back to where you came from, and everyone in that room including me, there were four of us had heard that.

And so, I think, you know the title of that book "Men are from mars, women are from Venus," I think that term sounds different and triggers different emotions on people who may be white, Caucasian, and people who are not. Right? Because it's very hard to meet somebody, Don, who looks like you or looks like me or sounds like me who hasn't been told go back to Mexico or go back to Africa or go back to where you came from.

LEMON: Yes. Scott, I want you to listen to what the president has been saying about the squad and get your response.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They can leave, they can stay, but they should love our country. People want to leave our country, they can. If they want don't love our country. If you're complaining all the time, very simply you can leave. You can leave right now. Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screens.


LEMON: So, Scott, in this Fox poll voters are asked if it was racist to say go back to a person of color, 56 percent said yes while only 23 percent said no, 18 percent said it depends. Looking at these numbers it seems most people get that this is not something the president of the United States should be doing.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I thought the tweets crossed the line and I said so at the time. And I don't want to send anybody back. Look, I think we can win on ideas. I think the president got a record he can run on and win a re-election on and you don't have to win ugly like this.

I understand the tactic. He wants the squad to be the face of the Democratic Party. He thinks their extreme ideas juxtaposed against his ideas and his record give him the best chance for re-election, but my view is there's a way to get there and get that result without having to go over the line which I thought the tweets were.

And look, the rubber will hit the road on this, Don, at the next rally because I assume the people will chant send them back or send her back again and the president who had said he wasn't happy with the chant, is going to have to put a stop to it. So at the next rally we'll see what he does.

LEMON: Yes. Hey I got to get a quick response Ana, from this, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar out with an op-ed in "The New York Times" and she writes, the president of United States is using the influence of our highest office to mount racist attack on communities around the land. The president's rally will be a defining moment in American history, reminds us of the grave stakes of the coming presidential election. That is that this fight is not merely about policy ideas. It is a fight for the soul of our nation. Quick reaction, Ana.

NAVARRO: Look, I just agree with Ilhan Omar on many times on many issues, but she is right on this. You know, there's a lot of Republicans, there's a lot of friends of mine who said I'm going to vote for Donald Trump because of the Supreme Court or because of the tax policy or because of the economy. [22:55:00] So, at some point you've got to look at yourself in the

mirror and you got to ask yourself, is a Supreme Court justice, is a tax policy, is it -- you know, is it worth voting for somebody who I believe is a racist?


NAVARRO: That is something that only, you know, each person has plans for themselves.

LEMON: Is it, Scott? Is it worth it?

JENNINGS: Well, look, I think Republicans believe that there's two general views of which direction we're going to take the country. We're going to take it in a conservative policy direction or we're going to turn over to socialists and most Republicans according to that poll you just read don't -- they're not ready to do anything to turn the country over to the squad when frankly from a policy perspective they've gotten basically what Donald Trump has promised them on the economy and a lot of other issues.

LEMON: Thank you, both. I appreciate it. The Senate Intelligence Committee warning of new Russian election interference and threats for the 2020 election. We'll dig into that next.