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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump And His False Claims About Windmills; Ken Cuccinelli Rewrites Words In The Statue Of Liberty Poem; Julian Castro's New Ad Calls Out President Trump's Racist Language; Anthony Scaramucci: President Trump Is Unstable And Getting Worse; President Trump Goes After His Democratic Opponents. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 13, 2019 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: She is 11 years old. She is one of many children stripped to their parents, with her father in this case after recent immigration raids. She begged for her dad's release after ICE took him into custody in Mississippi last week. Her family didn't even know where he was.

CNN has now learned that he has made contact with his wife. She says she called her and told her he is a little sad but doing OK. He's being held in a correctional facility. He also said he may appear before a judge on Friday or Saturday.

The news continues. I want to turn things over right now to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.

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

And we got to talk about what we heard from the president of the United States today. Because let's be clear, this is not politics as usual. This is not normal.

This is the president going off the rails during an official taxpayer funded event, a speech that was supposed to be about energy policy but quickly turned into a rambling campaign speech, joking about calling off the 2020 election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, look, let's go. Go on, four more years. Yes. And then do you want to really drive them crazy. Go to hash tag third term, hash tag fourth term. You'll drive them totally crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joking doesn't make it OK for a president to say let's call off the election. There's nothing funny about that. It's also not OK. Not normal for a president to use an official speech to attack his political rivals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't know who's going to win. We'll have to hit Pocahontas very hard again if she does win. But she's staging a little bit of come back. What a group, Pocahontas and sleepy Joe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It is not OK for a president to attack his predecessor for of all things, a book deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This thing is costing me a fortune being president, lawyers, because every day they sue me for something. These are the most litigious people. It's probably costing me from three to five billion for the privilege of being -- and I couldn't care less. I don't care.

Nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book. That's OK. Even though nobody in history got that much for a book, Obama got $60 million.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: This president cannot get over Barack Obama. He just can't quit him. He sure seems to be steamed about Barack Obama's book deal. And you know why? You know why Barack Obama and Michelle Obama got that big joint book deal? Because that many people wanted to read what they had to say. Millions of people.

Maybe it's sour grapes from the man who claims that he wrote "The Art of the Deal." In fact, we know he actually had a ghost writer. And then there's no evidence that the presidency is costing him anything like three to five billion.

In fact, we know he's making money from some of his properties including the Trump international hotel which is just five minutes away from the White House, and all of that in the president's speech today. None of that is normal. Neither is this. Arguing that African- Americans should vote for him because his words, by the way -- they have the worst crime rates, the worst education, the worst everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Remember, when I was running, I was saying we're going to do this, we're going to create jobs. Everyone, you know, big yawn. You know, we like it. Let's give him a shot. What do we have to lose, right? I said that with African- Americans. They had the worst crime rates, the worst education, the worst everything. They had like 10 things I'm reading it off a list. I looked I said what the hell do you have to lose?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Now the fact is, remember facts first here on this show. That argument is not exactly resonating with African- American voters. In a new Fox News poll last month, the president had just a 22 percent approval rating and a 75 percent disapproval rating with black voters.

All this in a speech that was supposed to be about energy policy. But the president did have a few things to say about his least favorite kind of energy, windmills.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And when the wind stops blowing, it doesn't make any difference, does it? I'd like those big windmills that destroy everybody's property values kill all the birds. Someday the environmentalists are going to tell us what's going on with that.

And then all of a sudden stops the wind and the televisions go off. And your wives and husbands say darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the winds stopped blowing and I can't watch. There's no electricity in the house, darling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:05:06] LEMON: You probably remember the Donald Trump battle Scottish officials over a plan to build a wind farm with inside his golf resort in Aberdeen and he has been complaining about wind power ever since.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You'd be doing wind, windmills.

In times of war you can blow up those windmills. They fall down really quick.

You can blow up the windmills. You know, the windmills. Boom, boom, boom. Bing. That's the end of that one, though, if the birds don't kill it first.

The environmentalist, we like windmills. What about the thousands of birds they're killing?

Just like a killing field of birds.

If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value.

Try going to the bottom of a windmill someday. It's not a pretty picture.

When the wind doesn't blow, they tend not to do too well.

If it doesn't blow you can forget about television for that night.

Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television, darling.

And they say the noise causes cancer. You told me that one, OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: The president. Did I say the noise does not cause cancer? The American Cancer Society says so. None of this is normal.

The president also made sure he got in some digs today against his former top communication aide who not at all coincidentally is saying the GOP should replace Trump at the top of the ticket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Anthony didn't support me at the beginning. He was with somebody else and then he went to somebody else. And he only supported me after it was a foregone conclusion that I was going to win. I'm not a fan of Anthony. I haven't been for a long time. I think Anthony is really somebody that very much out of control and he doesn't have what it takes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yet, he made him his communications director. I'm going to talk to Anthony Scaramucci just a few minutes, so stay tuned for that.

But in the midst of all of this here's what the president is not doing. He's not doing anything. Not doing anything. Anything substantive about guns. Less than two weeks after 31 people were killed in mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Well, a source tells us that the first daughter Ivanka Trump is talking with lawmakers behind the scenes. And you know how that kind of thing tends to work out.

Let me explain to you. Remember the Paris climate accord? Remember her reported displeasure with the send her back chant? Remember when she tried to get her father to stop his family separation policy at the border? You remember how all of that worked out. But I digress.

The president claims Republicans support him on strengthening background checks. But there is no evidence of any kind of aggressive arm-twisting campaign by the president to get a specific piece of legislation.

But here's what he is doing. Pushing an immigration policy that would make the Statute of Liberty hang her head in shame. There's the poem. You remember it. "Give me your tired your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

I said this president's immigration policy is so cruel it would make Lady Liberty hang her head in shame. But it seems there is no room for shame in this administration. Just listen to Ken Cuccinelli, the man at the top of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rewriting that famous poem. The one people around the world think of when they think of America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He is literally rewriting what this nation stands for. What it stood for until now anyway. And attempting to defend himself to Erin Burnett tonight. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class. And it was introduced, it was written one year, one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Whatever happened to the land of opportunity? The land that welcomes those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Welcomes them without asking whether they can pay for their, pay their way? But there's more from the nation's top immigration official. Ken Cuccinelli is also threatening more ICE raids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUCCINELLI: You can expect to see more of that as part of the message this administration we're going to enforce the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:09:59] LEMON: More raids. Like the ones last week in Mississippi that led to nearly 700 people being arrested. Including the father of an 11-year-old Magdalena. She was born here like her siblings. A child sobbing, begging for her father to come home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need my dad. My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: After days with no word, that little girl's father finally had a brief phone call with his family today. But they fear he's going to be deported. His wife told CNN, quote, "he came here to work. It is out of necessity." Yet the president says this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Seeing our taxpayers paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things. So, I think we're doing it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, there have been other presidents who saw all of this very differently, presidents who believe in the American dream, in America's promise to people around the world. Listen to President Ronald Reagan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I have spoken of the shining city all my political life. In my mind, it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind- swept, and God blessed and teaming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace.

A city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors. And the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Doors open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. Wise words. The president would do well to listen to them.

In his new campaign ad, Democratic candidate Julian Castro has a message for President Trump and he's putting that ad some place for the president is pretty sure to see it. There he is. Julian Castro. I'm going to talk about that with him next.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: One 2020 Democratic candidate has a noble way of taking President Trump to task for his racist language. And that candidate joins me now. He is Julian Castro. He is a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama. Secretary Castro, good to see you. Thank you so much. I want to -- you have this new ad out.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), FORMER HUD SECRETARY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.

LEMON: Absolutely. You have this new ad out. And in it you speak directly to President Trump. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASTRO: You urged American congresswomen to go back to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists. As we saw in El Paso Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you because they look like me. They look like my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Secretary, your campaign purchased local air time. So that what we just saw will play on Fox News tomorrow during Fox and Friends, specifically in Bedminster, New Jersey where Trump is on vacation. Why are you targeting the ad to the president directly?

CASTRO: He needs to hear it, Don. What I said in that ad was that his words have consequences. And we know that he stirred up the passion of people like that shooter that went to El Paso and killed 22 people because he said that he was hunting Hispanics.

And this is the kind of America that we're living in right now. So, you know, we want to deliver the message to the president. But just as importantly, we want to remind the American people it doesn't have to be like this.

LEMON: Yes.

CASTRO: We can have an America where we can bring the country together, we can stop scapegoating immigrants or anybody else and recognize that we can be a stronger and more prosperous nation if we do what we've traditionally done in the United States, which is to welcome people from around the world. And to do it in a way that doesn't just allow people who are already well-off, wealthy to come in.

LEMON: The president has been using racist and racially charged language as a campaign tool. What makes you think that he's going to listen to you and stop doing it?

CASTRO: Well, you know how the president is, Don. First of all, he watches Fox and Friends every morning so we know that he'll be watching. And I think that he listens to those things that you put directly on his radar screen. And I'm challenging him with this ad to recognize that he has to be more responsible as the leader of the country.

Do I believe that he's going to do that? I'm not holding my breath. But I do believe that there are a whole bunch of people out there that have had enough. I say at the end of the ad "ya basta," which in Spanish, you know, it basically means enough.

I have heard that over and over during these last 10 days since the shooting in El Paso. People have had enough of the president's divisive rhetoric of him stirring up the passions of these racist. And we have an election that's coming up. I believe that we need new leadership. I can offer that leadership to try to bring our country together instead of tearing it apart.

LEMON: You heard Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services. He suggested that the words on the Statue of Liberty should be updated. And he said, "give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." What do you think of that, Secretary Castro?

CASTRO: You know, it reads like a headline from the onion. My grandmother, for instance, came over here in 1922 when she was seven years as an orphan because her parents had passed away, had hardly anything. But just two generations later one of her grandsons, my brother, Joaquin is a member of the United States Congress, the other one, me, served in the president's administration and he's running for president of the United States.

Whether people came here from Europe or from Asia or Latin America or anywhere, wherever people came from, people have worked hard, started off with nothing. And in this country have made better for themselves and for their family members. That's what built up the great country that we have today.

I don't understand what in the world this administration thinks they're doing believing that we should only let in people who are already well-off. That's now how we built the America that we have today.

[22:20:04] LEMON: Yes. You know, earlier tonight, Cuccinelli defended his statement with Erin Burnett, saying that he was just answering a question then that the left was twisting his words. Is there any other way to interpret what he said?

CASTRO: I don't think so. This is what these guys do. They throw things like this out which is red meat for their base of people who want to create a whiter nation. And then when you challenge them on it, they try and create some plausible deniability that hey, that's not really what we meant. Come on. Why are you interpreting it that way?

You know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a thousand times, no way. Look, shame on them for trying to push this racist agenda. And worse, enacting policy like they did yesterday that discourages even legal immigrants from becoming citizens.

They're clearly trying to establish a whiter nation. That's his agenda. He's shown that on so many different occasions and he's gotten people like Cuccinelli to do his dirty work.

In 2020, people who believe that our diversity is our strength. That we can have an America where people of different backgrounds live well together and work well together and create an even greater nation. I believe that people are going to come out and they are going to replace this president.

LEMON: Secretary Castro, thank you for your time. You're making me miss my hometown in the south with that freight train going by. I used to hear that every night and fall asleep to it, on queue.

CASTRO: I thought I finally have my name in lights.

LEMON: In lights.

CASTRO: Yes.

LEMON: I do. I like the sign behind you as well. Thank you.

CASTRO: Thank you.

LEMON: Tonight, Secretary Julian Castro here on CNN, I should say there. Thank you, sir, I appreciate it.

CASTRO: Good to see you.

LEMON: President Trump back on the offensive against Anthony Scaramucci, accusing him of begging to rejoin the administration. I'm going to talk to the former White House communications. He's here, next.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump doubling down on his attacks against Anthony Scaramucci. The president claiming his former White House communications director is desperate to get a job back at the White House. That after Scaramucci said that Republicans should consider replacing Trump at the top of the 2020 ticket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think Anthony is really somebody that is very much out of control and he doesn't have what it takes. he really doesn't. He wanted to come back into the administration for the last five months, begging me to come back in. I said, Anthony, I can't take you in, I'm sorry. He called so much. He's a nervous, neurotic wreck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARAMUCCI: My God.

LEMON: Anthony Scaramucci is joining me. He said you called him up, you begged him to come back --

SCARAMUCCI: Yes.

LEMON: -- and you were a nervous neurotic wreck.

SCARAMUCCI: OK.

LEMON: By the way, good evening. Welcome to you.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: It's great.

LEMON: What do you think of the president's response?

SCARAMUCCI: I mean, if he called me tall and thin that's just as bad as nervous and neurotic. But look, totally fine. It's unfortunately for him it's like a little bit of a projection. Right? He's obviously very nervous and neurotic. You can just tell by the way he's talking at his campaign rallies. I sort of feel bad for that.

Secondarily, I never begged him for a job. So that's sort of ridiculous. If anything, I've been working on the last two years as you know, repairing my marriage. So, I think the worst thing I can do is go back to the White House and blow up again. Right?

I mean, everyone is blowing up. You saw my tweet about the revolving door with the back stabbing. LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: So, he can say what he wants to say. And unfortunately, you know, he's he dug in deep with the lies. He can't himself. You know, that's the White House employment agency right there. That's what happens to everybody that goes through there.

He needs to know that there's a lot of people that he's burnt that are like OK, he's unstable at this point.

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: He's only talking to himself.

LEMON: You're saying you started with a MAGA hat and you ended with a knife in your back.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, a 100 percent.

LEMON: Is that what you're saying?

SCARAMUCCI: That's not what I'm saying. That's an obvious fact. I mean, the cartoon has said it. Of course, it's happening to me right now. I was -- you can ask Catherine Rampell, OK. She was on the show with me and Bill Maher. I was actually defending the president.

LEMON: I saw it.

SCARAMUCCI: Defending him and when it came up about issues around race, I said --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: She challenged you.

SCARAMUCCI: She challenged me. I said, hey, he should be less like that. There's certain things he's doing I can't defend. But 90 percent of the show I was defending him. So, he's lost his mind.

Because let me tell you why, OK. You got a guy like me actually out there defending you after you brutally fired me and humiliated like that. And I'm out there for two years defending you.

And now you're sending out racist treats and -- tweets and trying to destroy the nation. And I say, hey, you may want to dial that back a little bit. And then he goes full on me on Twitter. The guy has lost his mind.

So now here's what goes on. He's bullying me. Which of course, I can take it. I don't really care. But he does it to everybody. And not just to suppress people from speaking up their minds.

LEMON: OK.

SCARAMUCCI: So, I hope my friends in the Republican Party --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: All right. Let me talk to you, Anthony.

SCARAMUCCI: It's your show, go ahead. It's fun getting -- it's all in my head. I'm trying to get it all out.

LEMON: So, listen, I'm going to go behind the scenes a little bit.

SCARAMUCCI: OK.

LEMON: Because you and I talk. And I have asked you the same thing. I was like, well, Anthony, why do you continue to support this guy when he says and does this stuff?

SCARAMUCCI: Because I --

LEMON: What took you so long to get to the party to understand that he's not going to change?

SCARAMUCCI: OK. We're just talking to one of a mutual friends, OK? Everybody grows up differently. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood where we hung and stuck together.

LEMON: So, did I.

SCARAMUCCI: OK. So, there was loyalty in your neighborhood. There was loyalty in my neighborhood.

LEMON: Got it.

SCARAMUCCI: I was loyal to the Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You're talking about Queens where you guys you both --

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I grew up on Long Island. I grew up in Port Washington. My uncle has a motorcycle shop in Port Washington. I worked there for 10 years. I learned how to drive a car when I was 14.

This guy I was loyal to him because that is the nature of my background, that is the nature of my neighborhood. And I was trying to do everything I could to stay loyal to him but he's going crazier and crazier.

So, it's like the pendulum is coming through. That's not so bad, that's not so bad. That's not so bad. And now he's here. He's not even at the top part of the pendulum yet. He's going to keep going because he's out of his mind.

And so, when he gets there, I can't stay for this. I'm leaving here now. I don't appreciate the personal attacks on Twitter because that's like bullying from the highest office in the land --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You said that's the most un-American thing as someone --

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. It's classically un-American. He's saying that Representative is Omar is un-American she should go back to the country that she came from. But that's more un-American to be a bully. You know that. I mean, what Hollywood movie has a bully winning?

LEMON: Anthony, he's been attacking people on Twitter for years. Is it because it's you? That's what everyone thinks, like Anthony has been a staunch supporter of this president.

SCARAMUCCI: Here's the thing that's going to happen, OK? I love the left because if you don't break from the president, they hate your guts. If you decide that hey, the guy has gotten too far, now he's completely crazy. You didn't break soon enough so we still hate your guts.

[22:30:04] I'm not going to be a prop for people on the left. I'm my own person. I'm not a guy that has Trump derangement syndrome. But I think like most Americans, I have Trump fatigue syndrome. Like, we're all sitting here saying OK, he's going to be the head of the news tomorrow.

He's going to tweet nonsense and everybody in his (Inaudible) and he's going to try to trigger everybody. And instead of running the country and doing a good job for the American people, he's going to try to divide the country. And so, you know, last night, I was on Anderson Cooper's show, three different cabinet officials that were with the president called me, three separate times last night.

And I had conversations with them. And it's all universal. Now, here's the problem. Are people willing to step forward and tell the truth? Tell what you know as a journalist what's really going on in Washington, and what people really think of him. You want to talk about nervous and neurotic? This guy is nervous and neurotic, because he knows his people hate his guts.

And he knows that there's a lot of unevenness and uncertainty related to the trade deal and all the other stuff that he's doing. And he's very divisive.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: And if you want to say hey you didn't get out early enough. I accept that.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I have to ask you the question.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Hold me accountable.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But I think that's a very fair point that you're making. SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

LEMON: No matter -- if you, you know, said, if you did it a year ago, people would say, why did it take you so long, right? So there's no winning. I think that's...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Genuinely, when I joined that campaign and I had a, you know, preexisting relationship -- it wasn't great relationship or anything that he says I'm over-exaggerating. I wasn't trying to over- exaggerate it. We knew each other.

LEMON: Yeah.

SCARAMUCCI: When he ended the Apprentice, he invited me for breakfast. We had breakfast. He said he was running. I didn't believe him. I ended up with Jeb and Scott Walker and Jeb before him. But when I joined the campaign, I enjoyed it. And when I was going to those rallies, I enjoyed. Let me tell you something.

In fairness to the president, he was advocating for blue collar people. And there's been a vacuum of advocacy in the United States by establishment politicians for those people, and I applaud him for that. I grew up in a blue collar...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Has he delivered for those people?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, you know, I think it's mixed. But I think that the lower income people have experienced positive wage growth. You know, I am not going to go Trump deranged and say stuff that's not true. He had a 5.4 percent increase in wages on the bottom 10 percent of this society. The African-American and Hispanic-American numbers are better. But there's a lot of mixed bag.

He's spending a lot of money, heavy deficits spending, the trade thing and the tariffs, I don't like them. I can explain why but you don't have time.

LEMON: Yeah.

SCARAMUCCI: And to me, you know, it's a very mixed bag. That's why he's so nervous and neurotic.

LEMON: Why?

SCARAMUCCI: He knows a dam's going to break with all these other people announcing how nuts he is. So that's going to happen soon.

LEMON: I'd have you on longer, but I got a lot of show to get to.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I appreciate. (CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: -- defending him by the way.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I appreciate whenever someone gets to it and they start to tell the truth. Not that you weren't telling the truth.

SCARAMUCCI: I was telling the truth before.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: There's no reason to never to tell the truth.

LEMON: Yeah. Whenever you come to that realization, I think people come around in their own time.

SCARAMUCCI: Remember that. For the American people, loyalty is symmetrical. It's not asymmetric, OK? And when people drop you like you're a piece of Kleenex tissue -- forget about me, I could care less. But he does it to everybody. You got to be careful about guys like that. They're dangerous.

LEMON: Yeah. You're much taller and thinner than I thought, and you're not neurotic.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. I'm nervous and neurotic, but if I'm nervous and neurotic, I'd like to be tall and thin.

LEMON: Nice hairpiece. I like it.

SCARAMUCCI: This is Italian chia pet up here, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.

LEMON: I appreciate it. A lot to discuss, former Governor John Kasich is next. Now, follow that after this break.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So you heard Anthony Scaramucci just a moment ago not pulling any punches when it comes to his former boss, the president. Joining me now to discuss is the former Ohio Governor, John Kasich.

John Kasich, good to see you. You just heard Anthony Scaramucci. He told me the president is unstable, getting worse, and that's after his appearance on AC360 last night. Three different cabinet officials called him after his appearance. What is your reaction?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't really have a big reaction. I mean I have been opposing Donald Trump for his rhetoric and division for a long time. But I try to be pretty careful not to make the attacks personal, Don. That's the only thing I can say. And in terms of -- everybody can have their say. And he's pointing some things out that bother him a great deal, which includes division.

And that's been my concern about the president since before he became president. I don't like the division. I don't like the negativity. We have two ways to go in America. We can either tell people they're victims and drive them down, or in fact, we can lift them up and say yeah you have problems but I think we can fix them.

And I chose and I do choose the latter, which is to be able to say look. We know you have problems. We can fix them. Not that, you know,

somebody else took your job or these immigrants are coming in and that's why you don't have work.

That is not the way to build any unity or hope or optimism. And, you know, when -- as you know, when people lose hope, there's not good things that come from it. And hope is important. Not phony hope, but real hope.

LEMON: You heard the president's remarks in western Pennsylvania this afternoon. This was a taxpayer-funded event, by the way. But from watching it, you would think it was a campaign rally. This is him bragging about how well he did there in 2016. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did very well here. We did very well. How many points did we win by? Does anybody know? I will tell you, I think 28 points. That's a lot. That's against a Democrat or whatever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:39:59] LEMON: He actually won by 18 points, but had said 28. But he won by 18 points. Why does he think that's what voters want to hear?

KASICH: Don, when I did formal events, you know, whether -- when I was in Congress or was governor, I make them formal events. I really don't know. And do I think people want to hear bragging? I don't really think so. I don't think that's what people are into. They want to know what are you going to do. What are you doing moving forward? And by the way, Pennsylvania is absolutely in play.

And it's in play because these things that have been promised to them really haven't been delivered in many respects. And so Pennsylvania is in play. Michigan is in play. Wisconsin is in play. And those are critical states. And that's why he was there today. He's trying to shore it up.

LEMON: So let's talk a little more here. President Trump caved today on tariffs against China. Last March, he said that his trade war would be easy to win. Is he out of his depth with the Chinese, do you think?

KASICH: Don, look. You and I don't agree -- we do agree on the fact that China shouldn't be taken advantage in cheating and lying and stealing our secrets and not giving us a fair trade practice. I don't think there's anybody that disagrees with that. The problem is we try to do this alone. And we didn't work with the rest of the countries who are normally our allies.

We're strongest when we work with other people. But he chose not to do that. So it's this one on one thing. If the entire world, that shares our values, had stood up with us and told the Chinese we mean business through an organization called the World Trade Organization. I think it would have been far more effective than what we're seeing today.

So one minute, they're going to go up, and the next minute the tariff -- they're going to exempt these things and there's fighting inside the Trump administration. Most people telling him don't impose these tariffs on more goods, one or two guys saying not -- then the market goes down 400 points. And does what's that mean?

Whoa, whoa, whoa, we better put the brakes on here, because we could damage this economy and damage the world economy. And that is our strongest card to play. So we better back off here. And I don't think it's more complicated than that. I mean most presidents would do that. They want to run on a good economy. And when the economy goes south, it's really hard for them.

LEMON: Yeah. I -- that was my next question and you answered the next question I was going to ask you, especially with the holiday shopping season coming up and all -- you know, everything happening. That's probably -- and the election, obviously. That's the last thing he needs is a struggling economy. Listen, I want to get your thoughts...

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: The farmers, Don.

LEMON: Yeah.

KASICH: The farmers are unhappy. You know, they can't sell their products.

LEMON: John.

KASICH: You know, if moms and dads -- you know, it's all -- it's a mess.

LEMON: Yeah. I want to move on because I want to talk about these massive protests that are going on in Hong Kong. And you tweeted this. You said the United States government should speak out in support of Hong Kong's freedom and democracy. While we spend our time fighting over trade, let's not forget the need to fight for human rights in and around China. So this is an opportunity for leadership. What should the president be saying and doing right now? KASICH: I read something here, Don, today. This is a quote. Mr.

Trump called developments in Hong Kong "a very tough situation and said he hoped nobody would be hurt or killed. I hope it works out for everybody including China by the way."

Are you kidding me? China engages in human rights violations round the clock. It happens in many parts of their country, Hong Kong, which in my opinion -- I was saddened when I learned many years ago the British were going to turn this over to China overtime.

And what's happening now is China is trying to impose their will. And these -- Don, think about these people in China. Think about what it must be like. If they get caught, they're going to be thrown in prison. And yet, they're gathering saying we want democracy. We want rights. We want freedom. And the Chinese are rumbling about maybe sending troops in. They're doing crack downs. Think of what it must be like.

To be a person who is willing to stand up for freedom against a regime that will do anything to try to stop you. And it's remarkable to me. This is the human spirit. And what the president ought to be doing is he ought to be siding with the protestors, telling the Chinese to back off, telling this phony puppet government in Hong Kong to back off.

Now, if they would just give them some space, I think it could calm down. But ultimately, China is going to get control. And when they get control, there will be many, many people who will not have the kind of freedom and democracy.

And Don, we are the enablers of that. We and our allies around the world have stood for freedom of speech and democracy and human rights. And we can't think that it doesn't matter what America does.

[22:44:48] It matters what we do to freedom-loving people all over the world. And frankly, some of those freedom-loving people are people who are trying to come to this country because they're under attack, that their freedom is not only threatened but their lives are threatened and the lives of their children. One final thing, Don, my grandfather and my grandmother came from overseas, on my mother's and my father's side.

They were not people who were prosperous. They were people who came here and made a living, and guess what? One of them had a grandson who ultimately ran for president of the United States and was Governor of Ohio. And when he came here, he was nothing more than a coal miner.

You can't say immigration just should be these rich people. That's not what made our country great and won't make our country great in the future if we cut those people out. Thank you for letting me say all of this.

LEMON: So I enjoy our talk tonight, but there's one thing I didn't like.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: I didn't like that we didn't fight. So next time, let's disagree about something. Let's have a fight.

KASICH: Will do.

LEMON: Governor Kasich, I appreciate it.

KASICH: All right, Don Lemon. Thank you.

LEMON: The Trump administration putting its own spin on the famous poem in the base of the Statue of Liberty, trying to make a case for its new policy targeting legal immigrants, what the former immigration attorney for Melania Trump has to say about that. That's next.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So you heard me say it at the top of the show. The Statue of Liberty would hang her head in shame over this president's immigration policy. Remember the poem on the base of that statue? Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Well, the nation's top immigration official is rewriting that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN CUCCINELLI, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES ACTING DIRECTOR: Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ken Cuccinelli is attempting to defend himself to Erin Burnett tonight. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class. And it was introduced -- it was written one year, one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So let's bring in now Michael Wildes, the immigration attorney who represented First Lady Melania Trump among other clients. He is the author of Safe Haven in America as well. Good evening, sir.

MICHAEL WILDES, SAFE HAVEN IN AMERICA AUTHOR: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Your response to Ken Cuccinelli, what he said today, twisting the iconic words to defend his policy, you think?

WILDES: Poor taste, just poor judgment, poor taste of words with the magnificence of Lady Liberty but a few miles from this studio, and the founding mothers and fathers having sought our shores to create this beautiful golden experiment. The book that I wrote was Safe Haven in America, Battles to Open the Golden Doors. Those doors need to be opened on a hinge to protect us against those that would cause us harm, but to be open to the newest entrepreneurs and risk-takers historically that immigrants have always been through the millennia.

LEMON: Yeah. Did you hear Ben up here for -- I think he was saying that's what happened. It was a class-based society. And so therefore, that doesn't manager. I was sort of shocked to hear. You winced when you heard that.

WILDES: It bothers me. I am a grandson of holocaust-surviving generation. This country means so much. My grandfather told my father, you're a citizen by choice, by chance. I am a citizen by choice. People work harder when they come to this country. And they travel through a historic discrimination and challenges. A person who talks like that writes off history in the poorest of sense.

LEMON: Why do you think the president is taking this stance? What's his intention with...

(CROSSTALK)

WILDES: It's optics. You know, I don't believe, having represented the president for many years, and he understands the business metrics of good immigration. Why should we not find a way to onboard foreign students and talents into the workforce, and then compete against them in another constituency? I think that the president sees this as a good political opportunity, quite honestly.

Right now, what they're going to do is increase and marginalize the demographics to people who can afford to sponsor people. You're a marine. You've fallen in love with somebody abroad. Unless you're making enough money, you can't then issue an affidavit of support to bring them in. This is going to shoot ourselves in our own feet.

LEMON: Interesting. You know, we've heard the president rail against the calls for chain migration, the policy where Americans citizens are to able to retain residency for their extended family. I want you to listen to this and then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. We want to get rid of chain migration. Ending chain migration, you have chain migration. We have to get rid of chain migration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So the first lady herself, who you represented by the way on immigration issues, sponsored her parents for their green cards. Didn't Melania Trump use what he's calling chain migration, or which is actually called family re-unification?

WILDES: I think I got awarded one of the New York Times best quotes of the last year, where my response to that was, I suppose. Look, that is the golden tradition. A person comes to America, they get a green card. They become a citizen.

They bring those that they love. The president misspoke. You cannot bring in 30 relatives. You can only bring in immediate relatives. And the first lady expressed herself at the time that she would love to have her parents babysit.

She would love to know that her parents are citizens of this nation and then went through the process. And mind you, I had the privilege of sitting with them when they like any other family were asked questions and were, in pure jubilation, when they became citizens of this great country. That is a tradition that is magnificent each time an immigration lawyer goes through it.

[22:55:08] LEMON: It's a pleasure. Thank you, Michael Wildes. I appreciate it. President Trump goes after his Democratic opponents during an official event today. I am going to get reaction from 2020 Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang. I am going to ask why he thinks he is the best choice to take on the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon.