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Trump Lies, Then His Inner Circles Lies About The Lying; With Hurricane Dorian Forecast Threatening Florida, President Trump Changes His Tune; The President Seems More And More Rattled By Warning Signs On The Economy; Former FBI Director James Comey Violated FBI Policy; Trump Cancelling his Visit to Poland; Hurricane Dorian Barreling Towards Florida. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 29, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: -- General Mattis just seem to do (inaudible) in his new book. Or how many would do the opposite, hold on, even double down as the divisiveness kind of creates the near delirium. Just be clear what this is about. It's not about petty gotcha's. It's not about pitting one side against the other. It's not about playing to advantage. And don't ever cheapen it by saying it's about personal animus toward this president.

This is about something much more basic. Holding power to account for what it says and does to and for the American people. Period. And whether it's one or two terms, this presidency will be long remembered and each and all of us will have to answer for what we did and said during this time. One simple question that will mean everything, how will you be remembered? Thank you for watching. "CNN Tonight" with D. Lemon. There he is.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I often say history will be the judge. And history will be a harsh one. Let me read this. So this is the definition of a lie. Merriam Webster, OK. An assertion of something known or believe by the speaker or writer to be untrue with the intent to deceive. OK. So, that with the intent. But here is the other "b." an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker or writer. It doesn't matter. They're still saying the wrong thing. It is a lie or a misrepresentation of the truth.

CUOMO: There are lots of words for it.

LEMON: A lie's a lie all day long.

CUOMO: That is exactly right.

LEMON: For these folks to say the president doesn't lie or you're maybe misunderstanding how he is communicating. I mean, come on. That is rich, but -- that itself is a lie as well.

CUOMO: There's a very simple test for it. Is it an excuse that they would offer to their political opponent? If they would say the same thing about their political opponent then they're fine saying it about this president, but it never is because they do whataboutism on everything. What about when President Obama said, you can keep your doctor? Being wrong isn't the same as lying. Two plus two is four and a half. Wrong. It's not a lie. Not if I didn't know that.

So, it's not just about being wrong. When the president says something that is wrong, OK, he was wrong. We can talk about his intelligence, his competence, his preparation. This is different. We both know it. He says things that he knows are untrue, that he knows are divisive. And he says them anyway and he does it to deceive.

LEMON: Yes. But there's a big difference too, because, you know, in your interview last night -- and they love calling out the media, right. We're the scapegoat. We're the easiest target. But guess what? When the media gets it wrong, what do we do?

CUOMO: Apologize. Correct it.

LEMON: We got it wrong, I'm sorry, we got it wrong. Here's the right information. Which that is what anyone should do, especially when you're in a position of authority, as we are. If you get it wrong you say, I got it wrong, I'm sorry, I'll do better next time and you keep it moving. You don't say, OK, just keep doing it and have other people make excuses for it as this president.

CUOMO: Well, you do if the currency changes. If the currency becomes that any giving in is weakness, and that this is all about strength and the perception of power and might, then you do what this president does. You deny, deny, deny, and if you accuse me, I say the same is true of you or worse, and I tell people if you're with me you'll believe me and not him.

If you're going to make the currency that anything about apologizing, anything about being wrong is weakness then you're going to act the way he does. And he does it all day long.

LEMON: Listen, I don't want to go back over last night, but, you know, it was -- which was a topic of discussion today among people about whether or not, you know, people are deceiving you, whether or not you should even give them the space to do it. You feel one way. Yours is legitimate. I feel another way. I don't think it serves the viewer. I would rather, you know, have someone on who is going to be --

CUOMO: How do you conduct the journalism of vetting this campaign if you do not have people on who represent it?

LEMON: You can have people on who represent it, but --

CUOMO: No one is ever acceptable to people who want to use that argument because it's very rare to see someone on the left to say that someone who supports Trump is not a liar about everything that they say. It's very rare that any of his defenders find him acceptable.

LEMON: I would disagree with you about that, because we have Trump supporters on all the time and we hold them accountable to the truth and they don't make excuses for everything this president does. But there are folks like the one who is on last night, excuse about everything. Excuse about everything. CUOMO: Well, she is working for the campaign and he does not suffer

anything short of that, Don. You will not be around him very long if you are in the business of exposing his flaws.

LEMON: So you're proving the point then. Then what's the point?


CUOMO: The point is it's the job of us to test and expose and let people see it for what it is. One, so that they can believe their eyes and ears. And, two, if they're against it, they know how to oppose it.

LEMON: I'm not going to go over this again. That is in a normal world when it was liberal versus conservative, Republican versus Democrats. This is about truth versus lies. And I don't think people need the space to promote propaganda and lies.

[22:05:00] I think that is a disservice. It's not a service. It's not testing. It's allowing someone who -- giving them a platform that they haven't deserved, that they don't deserve.

CUOMO: Well, she is -- somebody is the main adviser to the president or when somebody is the main spokesperson for a campaign, that decision has been made fully.

LEMON: Coming on a major network like CNN, it is a privilege, it is not a right. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of expression. It is a privilege to come on to be able to talk directly to the American people, and if you have that privilege then you should respect the American people and the host of that show and the platform and the company, the brand, enough to come on and tell the truth. And if your candidate doesn't tell the truth you can say, listen, I can't answer for that. I don't know why. But this is where -- what I think he said or who should say, but you just --

CUOMO: Nobody does that.

LEMON: He doesn't lie, he doesn't lie, he doesn't lie.

CUOMO: This has been exaggerated, but you've never had a spokesperson for a campaign come on here and say that their candidate did something wrong or lied about something, they should have done it. This guy didn't start it. He is enhancing it and he's using it a new way.

LEMON: He is weaponized it. He is perfecting it.

CUOMO: This is why they go to our shows, Don.

LEMON: He's perfecting it.

CUOMO: he don't have a (inaudible), I will. That's why they need us both.

(LAUGHTER) It's a full employment plan.

LEMON: I agree. You know, listen, this is what we discuss. I respect you. I respect what you do. You do it very well. We do it differently but, again, you can respect what I do, I can respect what you do. It doesn't mean that you agree with it. It doesn't mean that you would do it the way that I do.

CUOMO: I mostly love what you do.

LEMON: That is what this whole thing is about, right? Don't you think?

CUOMO: That is exactly right.


CUOMO: Are you done with me?

LEMON: I'm getting yelled at.

CUOMO: Can I go back in my hole now?


LEMON: Now you get to go home and get yelled at and then you got to go apologize and make amends with your daughter and all that. Yes, dear and on and on and on. I don't envy for you that, but I have the same thing going on.

CUOMO: Yes, I was going to say. You know what it's like to apologize. I'll talk to you later brother.

LEMON: I'll see you later. This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. We got to talk about hurricane Dorian. It is taking aim at Florida, expected to slam the state on Labor Day, a big holiday weekend and FEMA says this one is going to be big.

Dorian currently on track to hit Florida. Check this out. Category four, which could make it the strongest hurricane to strike the state's East Coast since Andrew that was back in 1992. The governor of Florida declaring states of emergency across every single county. And here's the thing, this storm has been really unpredictable so far. We just don't know yet where or exactly when Dorian could hit. So the next few days absolutely crucial.

Listen, if you're in Florida right now, you got to keep a careful eye on the forecast and you got to do it all weekend. I know it's a holiday weekend, but you have to be vigilant. You got to keep an eye on the forecast. You got to be ready to move and to make certain provisions for things.

We're going to have all the latest throughout the next two hours here on CNN and beyond. And a sign of, you know, just how serious all of this could be, the president today cancelling his planned trip to Poland that was supposed to take place this weekend.


resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm, I have decided to send our Vice President Mike Pence to Poland this weekend in my place. It's something very important for me to be here.


LEMON: So that was after the president tweeted earlier, and this is a quote, "Be prepared and please follow state and federal instructions. It will be a very big hurricane. Perhaps one of the biggest." And listen to what he said this morning on Fox News radio.


TRUMP: We're very ready also in Florida, and we have a great governor there. He is incredible. Doing an incredible job. Very popular, too.


LEMON: The president heaping praise on the governor there in Florida, who is a Republican and not at all coincidentally a big Trump supporter. Quite a contrast with what we, you know -- what he had to say about Puerto Rico, remember? And the San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a Democrat who is definitely not a Trump supporter.

Remember just yesterday with Dorian taking aim at Puerto Rico, the president seemed to blame more than 3 million American citizens therefore for there for not being for, I should say, being in the path of the storm. And slam the mayor as, quote, incompetent. He sure has changed his tune, hasn't he? He sure has nice things to say about Florida. Could that have to do with the fact that there are nine Trump org-owned properties in south Florida? Including Mar-a-Lago and the Trump National Doral golf club. Interesting.

[22:10:00] Or could it be Florida's 29 electoral votes and Puerto Rico's none? Could it all have to do with, oh, I don't know, the president's re-election chances? By the way, that Poland trip the president cancelled so he could be, you know, here stateside during the storm, he was supposed to meet with the president of Ukraine while he was in Warsaw. No word yet on whether the vice president will have that meeting.

A meeting that takes on new meaning with the news that the president is seriously considering a plan to block a quarter of a billion in military assistance to Ukraine. A quarter of a billion. You know who is going to love that? Vladimir Putin, a man this president has been campaigning to return to the G7, which would make it the G8. The man who was kicked out in the first place for seizing Crimea from Ukraine.

All that coming as this president seems to be more and more rattled by warning signs of the economy with 2020 looming and with new tariffs set to take effect on Sunday. Those goods from China including clothing and sneakers right at back to school time. The president telling Fox News radio this about his trade war with China.


TRUMP: I think they want to make a deal. I sort of think they have to make a deal.


LEMON: Slamming Pennsylvania's Senator -- state Pennsylvania Senator I should say Pat Toomey who says there is no question the president's trade war is weighing on the economy.


TRUMP: So what does Pat Toomey want me to do? Does he want to me say, let me put my hands up, China, continue to rip us off?


LEMON: He also had this to say about the American farmers who are being hit hard by his trade war. Remember when he said the trade wars are good and easy to win? There are a whole lot of farmers who don't see it that way.


TRUMP: They actually targets -- because they know that the farmers like Trump and Trump loves the farmers, actually. They don't want any subsidies. They don't want handouts.


TRUMP: But they also know something has to be done with China and they're with me all the way.


LEMON: With him all the way. I talked to one farmer earlier this week who says he's lost $400,000 in the president's trade war with China. Listen to what he says.


LEMON: Do you think the president is in danger of losing any of that support in 2020?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if he doesn't lose 100 percent of it from the farm belt then people are kind of crazy, because this is not going well for farmers at all.


LEMON: And with all of that, the trade war, looming hurricane, it seems the president just couldn't resist talking about one of his favorite subjects. That's right, the size of the crowds at his rallies. And this might tell you something about which candidates are making him nervous. He really wants to make sure that you know his crowds are bigger than Elizabeth Warren's. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have crowds that are many times what her crowds are. Nobody ever talks about them. Nobody wants to talk about them.


LEMON: Nobody talks about them? Well, at least one person talks about them. One person never misses a chance to talk about his crowds. He talked about them in the middle of a visit to the hospital where victims of the El Paso shooting were being treated.


TRUMP: I was here three months ago. We made a speech and we had a -- what was the name of the arena?


TRUMP: That place was packed, right? The judge is a respected guy. What was the name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was front row.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was in the front row.

TRUMP: Oh, good. Come here. That was some -- that was some crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, everybody.

TRUMP: And we have twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot. They said his crowd was wonderful.


LEMON: Wow. He talks about them all the time.


TRUMP: We have a tremendous crowd in New Hampshire. It's all over the place. Everybody's saying wow. Our competitor has virtually no crowd. I don't know what that means.

We have let's say 35,000 people tonight. And he has 200 people, 300 people. Not too good.

That last two weeks I had crowds like this everywhere. We had thousands of people outside. They couldn't get in.

Take a look at the pictures for the inauguration. We had some monster crowd.

This is beyond anybody's expectations. There's been no crowd like this.

The ballroom was packed. They say it was the largest crowd they've ever had for a political event.


LEMON: Crowds have been an obsession for this president from day one.


[22:15:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the largest audience to ever witness on inauguration period.


LEMON: Like I said, this president is rattled. He is rattled by warning signs of the economy. He is rattled by the Democrats vying for the chance to run against him. And now a massive unpredictable hurricane taking aim at Florida.

Everything you need to know about the hurricane, hurricane Dorian, we're going to go live to the storm zone, next.


LEMON: Here's our breaking news tonight. Hurricane Dorian now threatening to smash into Florida as a major category four hurricane. A state of emergency has been declared for all 67 counties there. This could be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida's East Coast since Andrew back in 1992.

Georgia's governor also declaring a state of emergency. This is what Dorian looks like from space, and if you think that looks intimidating, remember the storm is right now only a category one. Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam tracking the hurricane at the CNN Weather Center for us. Derek, good evening to you. Give us the latest of how strong this storm could get and where it's expected to hit.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Don, if 130-mile-per-hour winds isn't enough to prompt you to listen to potential evacuations, well, then maybe the potential of a stalled out hurricane over the state of Florida for several days and then dropping copious amounts of rain is enough to make you act.

[22:20:02] That's the variables at play here. Plenty of things on the table at the moment. We're looking at all possibilities. What we know right now from the National Hurricane Center, 85 miles per hour as you so aptly put. This is a category one, but the storm is strengthening quickly. We currently have two hurricane hunter planes. This is actually a new figure that just came out, 106-mile-per-hour wind found within the center of the circulation.

It is likely by the 11:00 update this evening, we'll see this pumped up to a category two. This is the projected path. Look at how large the cone is at the end of the four and five-day period. This indicates to meteorologists that they're expecting a stalling pattern to take place. On Monday at 2:00 p.m., here's its location right around the East

Coast. Only 24 hours later it moves inland by let's say 75 miles. You can imagine what that means. A prolonged wind event and a prolonged wind event. That is not a great scenario heading into Labor Day weekend, Don.

LEMON: Derek Van Dam, our meteorologist, standing by.

Millions of people across Florida are stocking up on emergency supplies as Dorian approaches. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Port Canaveral for us along the space coast. Hello, Leyla. How are people from fairing where you are? Tell us what's going on there.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I've been a little surprised by the mood, but it makes sense. A lot of folks still saying it's still very early, but they are very much monitoring this, keeping a close eye. As you mentioned, the supplies. We went to a few stores. They are starting to limit the amount of water that people can buy. We saw waste management making the rounds, picking up any tree branches.

And tomorrow the city of Cocoa Beach says they're going to have two truckloads of sand ready for folks to make bags. So they are preparing. And part of the preparation is also for businesses, who as Derek mentioned, you know, this was supposed to be a long weekend, Labor Day weekend. And so that is going to be quite a blow for them. I want you to listen to part of the conversation I had with a hotel manager here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole weekends ruined.

SANTIAGO: In terms of money, how much will you lose here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This hotel, in excess of $120,000.

SANTIAGO: For this hurricane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, for this hurricane. Two days in August. And then September because the 1st of September is Sunday/Monday. Another 50, 60. It's costly to the whole area. Its bad timing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this could be a scary one, too.

SANTIAGO: What's your biggest concern?



SANTIAGO: And we checked in with Port Canaveral where we are right now, and they said they had two ships today. They expect three tomorrow. After that, they could see some adjustments to the itineraries for cruise ships. So, again, very much a concern for those businesses, but they're not alone.

No, Kennedy Space Center also prepping for hurricane Dorian. They actually had, and this is incredible video, they had to move the mobile launch platform today. And that is something that took a 600 million-pound vehicle to kind of roll right along for 3.5 miles to get that platform into safety inside in preparation for hurricane Dorian. Don?

LEMON: Leyla Santiago, stand by. She is at the ready as well.

Joining me now is the Vice Mayor of Palm Beach County, Dave Kerner. Vice mayor, thank you so much for joining us. You are closely involved with the emergency management plans for Palm Beach County. Can you tell us how officials are preparing for hurricane Dorian?

DAVE KERNER, VICE MAYOR OF PALM BEACH COUNTY: Good evening, Don. Thank you for having me on the show tonight. And, yes, we are -- it's not our first rodeo here in Palm Beach County. We have an incredible staff that has been preparing for scenarios like this every day of every year. And we're getting into full swing right now and we're preparing for the worst, hoping for the best serve.

LEMON: You know, it looks like -- this storm looks like it's going to be a major flooding event. What will that do to Palm Beach County?

KERNER: Well, as you can imagine a large majority of our population lives within the close coastal areas of the Atlantic Sea and we're contending with the king tide right now as well, so it's sort of a confluence of events that are very concerning. And people tend to focus on the wind speeds as the major source of danger in a hurricane. And I can tell you having been born and raised in Palm Beach County, having spent my 10th birthday in hurricane Andrew in August 24th of 1992, it's less about the winds, it's more about the flooding and people need to be very cognizant of that danger.

LEMON: So, and listen, you mentioned a little bit of it, but can you tell us specifically, what are you telling residents to do to prepare? You know, like, how many days of water? Refilling prescriptions and on and on and on.

KERNER: There is varied metrics for that. It obviously depends on the impact of the storm and the county. We want you to be overcautious. We want you to be well-prepared in the event that the storm hits here in Palm Beach County directly.

[22:25:03] We would like you to have five to seven days of food and water. If you live in a coastal areas and there's evacuation orders, which we'll start to make some of those decisions later on tomorrow, you got to be prepared to leave. You don't have to go hundreds of miles away. Remember, we don't know where the storm is going to hit and where it's going to continue on. But you need to be prepared to hunker down in your home if possible as long as you're not in the coastal areas.

LEMON: Vice Mayor Dave Kerner. Thank you so much, I appreciate your time. Best of luck. I'm sure we'll be talking to you over the coming days. Thank you.

KERNER: Thank you, Don. And we look forward to it.

LEMON: Yes. We've got a lot more on hurricane Dorian to tell you about. I'm going to ask a coast guard captain, how they are preparing for what could be a massive storm. That is next.


LEMON: We're covering the breaking news tonight. Florida facing what could be a direct hit from hurricane Dorian. Predicted to be a category four by the time it strikes. Sources telling CNN, the navy and air force are moving ships and planes out of harm's way.

So joining me on the phone, Jacksonville captain from Jacksonville is Captain Mark Vlaun of the Coast Guard. He oversees the port of Jacksonville and Port Canaveral. Captain, we appreciate you joining us. There is a large port in Jacksonville. What preparations are being made right now?

CAPTAIN MARK VLAUN, U.S. COAST GUARD JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Thanks for having me, Don. We're actually doing a lot. It really begins with talking to our federal state and local partners and doing everything we can to secure our maritime facilities and the ships that either have remain in port or in some cases as you mentioned with cruise ships in Canaveral, we're actually diverting some to other locations to try to keep things as secure and stable as possible as the storm goes through.

[22:30:00] And then secondarily, we're really moving a lot of our assets out of harms way, but too far out, because we know that those assets will be needed potentially for lifesaving search and rescue once the winds starts to subside.

And that includes bringing a number of flood pumps in from other areas. As your last guest, the vice mayor mentioned, the storm surge and flooding is a big, you know, is a big risk for us right now. And we're trying to pre-stage as many assets as we can to be able to respond to that. Getting these ports open is critical, as you mentioned.

Jacksonville's is a very large port as is Canaveral, a lot of our jet fuel comes into Orlando comes through Canaveral. A lot of containerized cargo used really throughout the entire southeast United States comes in through Jacksonville. And it's important that these are important hubs for our domestic trade with Puerto Rico, USVI.

So getting these ports back open and getting them back open fast is obviously important to both the southeast United States and our domestic partners.

LEMON: Listen, you know one of your main jobs is to inform the public about the dangers from this hurricane. There are always people who are going to go outside, go to the beach when they shouldn't. What are you telling those people, Captain? VLAUN: You know I am really glad you mentioned that, Don. Actually,

our number one concern right now is that Labor Day is often looked at as a boating weekend. And we're trying to make the statement very loud and clear that Labor Day 2019 is not a boating weekend in Florida. This is an incredibly unpredictable, powerful, and dangerous storm.

Saturday and Sunday, even if it's sunny, it's just not safe to be out there on the water. This storm could come in very quickly. It can be unpredictable. It could cause a lot of uncertain seas. And our plea really to everybody is secure your boat this weekend but don't go out in it.

LEMON: Captain Mark Vlaun, we appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

VLAUN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. Joining me now from Gainesville, the former FEMA administrator, Craig Fugate, Mr. Fugate, always a pleasure to have you on. Unfortunately, we have to talk under such circumstances most of the time. Hurricane Dorian has proven very difficult to track. There is a huge cone of where it could make landfall, all 67 counties down in Florida under a state of emergency. So can you take us behind the scenes right now? What is FEMA doing now across that state?

CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, they're already staffing the state emergency response team up in Tallahassee with Governor DeSantis (Inaudible). And they're looking at counties in the state as far as what kind of resources to be needed, prepositioning supplies. Getting urban search and rescue teams that have water rescue capabilities ready to go, and again, the whole federal response mechanisms from our partners with the Coast Guard, Northern Command for any DOD missions.

They're all on these conference calls listening to what the counties in the state are saying as they get ready for this storm.

LEMON: Listen. There are lots of resources. Talk to us about that. What kinds of resources go into preparing for a hurricane like this?

FUGATE: Well, the first thing is supporting any evacuation. That's primarily going to be state and local government. But again, FEMA can provide some assistance with durable medical goods and other supplies. You know, Governor DeSantis is already calling up the Florida National Guard, getting them ready. But the big thing is anticipating disruptions to infrastructure, power and water outages.

So, you know, making sure that generators, commodities, like meals, you know shelf stable meals, water. In addition, the state of Florida counties already have or contracted for based upon all of the variations in the track. This is very early in the storm. So you're not going to be able to say with certainty what's going to get hit.

So you're basically planning for all the way from the Keys all the way up into the Georgia, possibly into the Carolinas along the coastal areas as this storm tracks. LEMON: Well, let's talk a little bit more about that, because you're

planning for a lot of things. Bust most likely, major rainfall and that means flooding, the challenges that that poses.

FUGATE: Well, again, our -- you know, when you're doing this, the first thing you're going to focus on the storm surge. That's what you primarily evacuate against. But, you know, the concern about a slowing storm is that you could get so much rain you start measuring in feet. And as that falls, that's not going to be coastal. That's going to be well inland.

So areas like Orlando, you know, potentially what could happen there if you're getting feet of water. We saw in Houston with Harvey. That's really early to start talking about. But those are the things you're going to have to factor in. So what will you going to need to respond to that? You're going to need a lot of boat teams.

Florida has the Fish and Wildlife Commission, has tremendous capabilities. This is one of the primary things they train for in disaster response, and then looking for augmentation from the federal partners. What the Coast Guard brings in but also what would possibly be needed from the Department of Defense, a pair of rescue helicopters and other capabilities.

So all that's being dialed in, getting ready, it's just where does it go and how much do you need is still the question.

[22:34:59] LEMON: Craig Fugate, thank you, sir. I appreciate your time.

FUGATE: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: The Justice Department concluding today that James Comey, the former FBI Director, violated FBI policy when he retained and then leaked memos that he wrote about his meetings with President Trump early in 2017. But the DOJ inspector general is also saying Comey did not release any classified information. So I want to discuss this now with Elie Honig, Shawn Turner, good to see both of you.

Elie, you know, this is a really complicated story. You know, it continues with this new report, talking about Comey. The DOJ declined to prosecute Comey. Do you think -- they said that he violated FBI policy, but was this -- do you think this was a correct outcome?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do. I think it was a rebuke of James Comey and a serious one, because the main thing that James Comey did wrong is he took information, sensitive information, not necessarily classified, but sensitive about an ongoing criminal investigation. He gave it to a friend of his outside the department in order for that person to give to the media.

[22:40:10] An ordinary prosecutor like I was does that, you get fired. I mean, that is a breach of the FBI rules. But what I think we should not lose sight of is none of this is any sort of vindication for Donald Trump. It doesn't change anything about what Comey was writing about in those memos, which was Donald Trump demanding loyalty of him, and Donald Trump trying to get him to shutdown the Flynn investigation.

Those are still -- I believe obstructive acts. And today's finding on Comey has nothing to do with clearing Trump of that.

LEMON: Let's bring Shawn in. Shawn, you know, I want to play this moment. It's from Comey's congressional testimony and then we'll talk.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn't do it by myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a Special Counsel. And so I asked a close friend of mine to do it.


LEMON: So he talks about hoping for a Special Counsel appointment. A report says that he set a dangerous example for FBI employee to "achieve a personally desired outcome." And yet, they declined to prosecute. What do you make of this rebuke?

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. I mean, look, I think right from the very beginning it was clear that this was not a case that was going to be prosecuted. And I take a little bit of issue with that language with regard to saying that this was a personally desired outcome. Look, as Elie said, you know, we can't lose sight of the fact that this was not a vindication for Donald Trump.

But I think there is another thing we can't lose sight of, too. We can't lose sight of the fact that, for James Comey, he did this because he was motivated by concerns that the FBI would not be able to maintain its independents based on these meetings, these discussions with the president and based on the president's behavior.

And so I think, you know, while the report goes to great lengths to say that he set a bad example for the 35,000 members of the FBI. I think it's also the case that we have to look at what his motivations were. And so the message that they don't want other members of the FBI to do this, that we can't look at that separate and distinct from why James Comey did this.

There were legitimate concerns that he had. And I think that the investigation that Mueller did and the other investigations that are going on are legitimate investigations to look at what we still don't understand about this president's behavior.

LEMON: But Comey tweeted this, Elie. He says I don't need a public apology from those who defamed me. But a quick message with a sorry, we lied about you would be nice. So listen, you said this doesn't vindicate the president, but Comey is feeling like it vindicates him certainly, right?

HONIG: He's acting like it. I think that tweet showed a little bit of chutzpah, as my people say. I think he was reaching a little bit there. Look, he did wrong. I mean, there is no getting around. He did wrong. It's not on par with the president demanding loyalty and trying to shut things down. But he took information about an ongoing case and tried to leak it to through a friend.

And by the way, why would he give it to an outsider, a friend, to give to the media. We saw clip, and he kind of skimmed over that. He said well, for various reasons, I don't want to get into. But to me, that shows he knew he was doing something wrong. He may have had good motivations, but you still have to follow the rules, especially when you're the director of the FBI.

LEMON: Let's talk more about, you know, vindication with a slap on the wrist.


LEMON: Go ahead, Shawn. Sorry. Go ahead. Go ahead.

TURNER: No, no, listen, Don. I agree with Elie that he did wrong. And people are going to judge him for what he did. And the American public has every right to judge James Comey for his efforts to take and preserve and turn these documents over. And that's -- there's no question about that. But I think that when we separate what he did, as wrong as it may have been, from the reason that he did it, then I think we're losing sight of the big picture here.

LEMON: Do you think this vindicates the president? Elie said no. What do you think, Shawn?

TURNER: No, it absolutely does not vindicate the president, and nor does any of the other reports that have been done. Look, you know, when we look at the most important report here, the Mueller report, people who support the president will often say that because there was no finding of conspiracy with Russia and because there was no prosecution over the obstruction of justice that we know took place, that therefore there should not have been an investigation.

Yes, there should have been an investigation. And it was an important investigation, and it did not vindicate the president. And this report also does not vindicate the president. These IG reports are very limited in scope, looked at a very specific set of facts. I think that if this IG report had looked at the motivation that Jim Comey had, then we may have had a very different outcome with regard to whether or not this vindicated the president.

LEMON: All right, thank you, gentlemen.

HONIG: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: I appreciate it. The president doubling down on his criticism of Fox News and some of their staffers are pushing right back. I am going to ask former -- excuse me, a former ABC News anchor, Sam Donaldson, what he thinks about the feud. That's next.


LEMON: President Trump announcing today that he is cancelling his trip to Poland this weekend because of Hurricane Dorian. The Poland trip was intended to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. The Vice President, Mike Pence, will attend in the president's place. Let's discuss this and more now with Sam Donaldson, the legendary former anchor and reporter for ABC News, always a pleasure to see you, sir.

Give me your reaction to the president's decision not to go to Poland and send the vice president instead.

SAM DONALDSON, ABC NEWS FORMER ANCHOR AND REPORTER: That's OK. He decided not to go to Denmark for another reason, selling Greenland. He likes Poland. He's been there before. He likes the fact that the polish government, at the moment, is hard right, and there are a lot of problems in trying to keep some Democratic (Inaudible). So I'm thinking he's a little bit sorry he can't go, but the vice president will be OK.

[22:50:02] LEMON: So the president is reportedly rattled about the potential of an economic downturn ahead of the election. And we see him lashing out at Fox News. He tweeted this yesterday. The new Fox News is letting millions of great people down. We have to start looking for a new news outlet. Fox isn't working for us anymore. The working for us, what did you make of that when you heard it?

DONALDSON: He sees everyone around him, including Fox News, as part of his team. And if they're not part of his team 100 percent of the time, they're disloyal. They're treacherous. They're terrible. They're bad people. He doesn't understand that the news business -- and Fox is a good news business between the hours of about 10:30 in the morning and about 6:00 at night. They have good reporters.

And you can get the news straight there. It's the people who are doing the opinion-making that are the problem from the standpoint of just being on his team. And so when he saw a reporter actually interview some Democrat, he said they're not working for us. You're right, Mr. President. They're not working for you. I hope they keep on not working for you.

LEMON: Well, I want to play this -- it's from a radio interview that the president did this morning with a Fox News host. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I am not happy with it. I am not happy with Fox. You know, people think Fox is for me. Fox is -- look, Sean and Laura and Tucker have really very been good for -- well, Tucker is a little tricky, but that's OK. But he's been very good. And, you know many of them, you guys in the morning, (Inaudible) and Steven, you become -- you know, I used to say you were solid six, maybe a seven. But you're getting much better. You're getting great.


LEMON: It's interesting because all the people he mentions that he likes are opinion hosts. Is that telling?

DONALDSON: Right. That's right. No, Chris Wallace, wonderful man, his father, of course, Mike, set the stage. But he's tough. He's tough on Trump. He's tough on everyone. Bret Baier, exactly, Shepard Smith, there's a whole bunch of people that work for Fox and have worked for Fox that I would hire in a moment in a good news organization.

But unfortunately, Fox is tagged because it wants to be tagged. Now, let's be honest about it. No one is dragging Fox, kicking and screaming, the poor Murdoch's, oh, my goodness, they like it. They like the fact they've got a big audience, cable audience, not as big as the commercial people, but a big audience, and they're making money.

LEMON: Let's talk a little about the G7 and what happened there. In addition to pushing for Russia to rejoin the G7 this past weekend, the president is also reportedly considering a plan to block $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine. Something Putin would certainly like. Why does the president seem to go out of his way to help Russia and Putin?

DONALDSON: He helps Putin whenever he can, in every way. He still denies that Putin had anything really to do with our election in 2016, certainly not to help him. We've been helping the Ukraine, because Russia clearly has invaded Ukraine, has invaded the country. And we're trying to help them stay alive. And what is Trump doing? Well, we don't want to send any money to help them.

I wonder why. I think it's easy to figure out. And you know, Don, as far as that summit was concerned, there's so many lies, so many misstatements, so many reversals of position. But my favorite is this. He said early on that he didn't know who the bigger enemy was, Jerome Powell, who is the Chairman of our Federal Reserve Board, or Xi Jinping, the Communist President of China. Well, I can tell him.

To the best of my knowledge, Jerome Powell is not building nuclear submarines who can set off our coasts with nuclear missiles and launch them, and seven minutes later, destroy our cities. So I vote for Xi Jinping being the biggest enemy. If he can't figure that out, we're in big trouble.

LEMON: Before I let you go, I want to talk about the economy, because the president's trade war shows no sign of stopping. Meanwhile, farmers and people working in the manufacturing sector are really struggling. This is more from his Fox interview this morning. Watch this.


TRUMP: The farmers have been targeted. That's how vicious they play the game. They actually target because they know that the farmers like Trump, and Trump loves the farmers, actually. I love what they do. They're incredible people.


LEMON: I wonder how that sounds to farmers, because -- and I wonder if the president has any idea of what these farmers are going through.

DONALDSON: Well, I don't know, because the polls say that the farmers aren't loving Trump, at least not the ones that used to, the soybean people, the people who have produce, the people who have meat that China is not buying. You say, China, how dare it not buy. China is retaliating with their tariffs and suppressing buying our goods because of the fact that Trump started the war, the trade war.

Did he expect that Xi Jinping, who can control 1.4 billion people -- they may not like it? They're going to suffer because of what we're doing and what they're doing. But he can control them. Can Donald Trump control voters in this country? That's why he's worried. He sees a recession coming, and he doesn't know what to do about it except lash out at everybody else.

[22:55:11] LEMON: Sam Donaldson, thank you.

DONALDSON: It's my pleasure.

LEMON: Hurricane Dorian barreling towards Florida. We're going to have brand new forecast for you next.