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CNN TONIGHT

Mike Pompeo To Hold A Dual Role; A Loss That Is Forever Carved To Every American; Sharpie Mess Not Cleared Yet At NOAA; House Judiciary Committee Will Vote On Impeachment Inquiry; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) In Interviewed About Democrats' Hesitation And Impeachment Inquiry; NFL Star Antonio Is Facing Allegations Of Sexual Assault And Rape; President Trump Will Visit Baltimore To Address House Republicans. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

We're going to answer five questions in the hour ahead. And we're going to begin with the breaking news.

After firing John Bolton, does President Trump already have a new national security adviser in mind?

And as we mark the anniversary of September 11th, what new information is being revealed about what happened on that terrible day?

Also, ahead of this crucial House vote tomorrow, why are some democrats reluctant to say the "i" word -- impeachment?

And how is an NFL star wide receiver Antonio Brown responding to assault and rape allegations against him?

Plus, what kind of reception is President Trump likely to receive tomorrow in Baltimore, a city he called a rat and rodent-infested mess?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They're largely African-American. You have a large African-American population. And they really appreciate what I'm doing. And they've let me know it.

No, Baltimore has been badly mishandled for many years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, part of Baltimore is in Congressman Cummings district. He and the president are fierce opponents. Tonight, we'll see what he is saying about Trump's visit. But let's go now to the big picture with Susan Glasser, Catherine Rampell, and Max Boot. Max is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism; Why I Left the Right."

Good evening, one and all.

Susan, I'm going to start with you. This is CNN's reporting that the president's considering tapping Mike Pompeo to be his national security adviser while keeping him in place as secretary of state. Good idea? Susan, sorry. I'm looking at Catherine. Sorry about that. Go on, Susan. Pardon me.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Nobody's tried this since Henry Kissinger and there's a reason. The nature of the job is that it's of course in practical sense really impossible to be both the national security advisor and secretary of state. It's I think a reminder of how difficult it has been and it is proven to be to find people who can successfully work with Donald Trump in the sensitive national security positions.

Mike Pompeo is the last survivor, literally, the last survivor of the president's original national security team. And as secretary of state he's proven he has, in particular, I think the key quality that is enabled him to survive, which is a determination to never, ever be called out publicly disagreeing with the president, which, of course, John Bolton took the exact opposite approach.

But I heard this and sources have told me this was out there as a possibly for several months as Bolton's firing was seen as eminent. I still think it's a farfetched idea and it would be a sign of Trump's difficulty in recruiting someone from the outside to do this tough job.

LEMON: Max, so the administration official is also telling CNN that Pompeo's having a dual role that it could be dangerous and make him too powerful for the president's taste.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think there's no question, Don, it would accelerate Pompeo's downfall. Nobody lasts that long with Trump and as Susan pointed out, Pompeo has lasted longer than anybody else. But you can imagine what happens if he becomes both national security adviser and secretary of state. First person to do that since Henry Kissinger.

There's going to be all this coverage about how Pompeo is the czar of Trump's foreign policy, he is the power behind the scenes, he is running everything and Trump is going to see that and hit the ceiling and you can imagine pretty readily that the relationship will sour after that.

LEMON: The president has said that he's looking, Catherine, at five people for this job, considering, you know, his turnover, right? And his loyalty he wants loyalty from everyone. Why would anybody want this job?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's really hard to say. I think is the answer to that question. It's very hard to say.

LEMON: Do you think many people would want it?

RAMPELL: I think people who have nothing else better going on because otherwise why would you sacrifice your credibility, particularly when you know that this president is not going to listen to you? He is going to humiliate you.

You know, there's that famous New Yorker cartoon hat shows whatever is like the five stages of a White House employee where they start out with MAGA hat and they are on a little conveyor belt and they end up with the knife in the back at the end and we've just seen that turntable happen over and over and over again.

So, if you literally have any other outside options, I don't know why you would set foot in this White House.

LEMON: Yes. It's interesting. There was a headline I read yesterday that said Bolton left with everything but his dignity. Right? And that happens to a lot of people who are going to this White House.

RAMPELL: Yes. That headline -- that headline could apply to literally anyone who entered the White House with dignity and some of them didn't happen to have that as an accessory going in.

BOOT: I mean, Trump wants to be surrounded by yes men and sycophants but their job is difficult because he changes his mind all the time. He flip- flops from day-to-day, so it's very hard.

[23:05:01]

You really have to be super human and sycophants in order to keep up with him, and if you have an iota of self- respect you can't do it. And so that leaves a handful of people who can last with Trump.

LEMON: Susan, here's a part of what you wrote in the New Yorker, OK, today. You said, "Bolton's exit serves as a reminder that the intensive national security decision making process of previous presidents, Republican and Democrat alike has been abandoned by Trump, subverted to the president's ego and will not return for the duration of his tenure."

So, with no process in place and the president going with his gut is America's national security at risk right now?

GLASSER: Well, you know, we are talking on the anniversary of 9/11 and the anniversary that President Trump was about on the verge of marking by inviting the Taliban to Camp David.

LEMON: Right.

GLASSER: So, you know, you can say with or without a national security adviser this national security adviser reportedly disagreed with that idea but with or without one, you know, Trump has made it clear that he's the one who matters in a way that it's just so unusual. Our system already imbues the president with enormous power. But

imagine that the national security adviser if we had another horrible attack like 9/11 that's the person who is in charge of marshalling our response. And so now we have this sort of disorganization and confusion at the top of the government.

But again, the through line here is President Trump. Right? His previous national security adviser H.R. McMaster by all counts did have a very disciplined and organized process, lots of meetings and you know what, they didn't matter. Trump disregarded them.

So, John Bolton said, well, I guess why should I bother with that and try to influence the president directly? Now everybody was furious for the lack of process. So, they have had process, they've had lack of process. The through line here is Donald Trump and his decision essentially to subvert, you know, orderly decision making.

LEMON: Catherine, I want you to listen to how the president described North Korea and Iran today compared to how President Bush described them. This was in his 2002 State of the Union address. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think Iran has a tremendous, tremendous potential.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror.

TRUMP: North Korea has tremendous potential.

BUSH: North Korea is a regime with missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

TRUMP: This could be one of the most unbelievable experiments ever. North Korea. And I also say the same with Iran.

BUSH: States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So unbelievable experiments versus axis of evil. What does that say about the president's world view?

RAMPELL: I think what it says is that he doesn't have a world view or at least not one that's based on any sort of values whatsoever.

I mean, let's be clear. The problem with Trump's foreign policy is that there is no foreign policy. You could say that basically about any Trump policy, of course, but in this case, you know, he is not an ideologue. He's not a believer in real politique. He is not a hawk or a dove.

All he cares about is dictators, sycophants and photo-ops. And as long as he sees at least one of those elements, you know, he's ready to engage and beyond that he has no objectives. LEMON: And then there's the trade war. The president tweeting this

out tonight, Max. I'm going to give this to you. That he will delay new China tariffs from October 1 to October 15 saying it's a gesture of goodwill for China's 70th birthday celebration. Good more -- I guess you don't think it's a good move. You're laughing.

BOOT: Well, I mean I'm laughing because it's clearly a sign that Trump is nervous. He understands that this trade war is not working out the way that he thought it would when he said that trade wars are good and easy to win.

And basically, what happened with China is pretty much the same thing that happened with Iran. He's blundered into this confrontation with no exit strategy. He doesn't really know how to get out of it. He thought that both Iran and China would cave in very quickly.

In the case of Iran after he imposed sanctions, and in the case of China after he imposed tariffs and he is shocked. Shocked to discover that these countries are defending their own sovereignty and they're not actually caving in and now creating major problems for him with Iran the possibility of a shooting war.

He's now in the middle of a trade war with China which he's afraid might torpedo the economy and his re-election chances and you know, he's frantically looking around trying to figure what to do and he blamed John Bolton for the fact that he got himself into this unwinnable confrontation with Iran.

But ultimately at the end of the day, the person who's responsible for getting Trump into this mess with China, with Iran, all these messes, it's not John Bolton, it's nobody else. It's Donald Trump himself.

LEMON: Yes. Susan, the Supreme Court ruling tonight that the president's asylum restriction on Central American migrants can go into effect. Those restrictions that if immigrants have to seek asylum in the country they travel through before seeking asylum in the United States.

[23:10:02]

The president said this is a big win. But what does it mean for the millions of people trying to get into the U.S. to live the American dream?

GLASSER: Well, look. Immigration has been at the centerpiece in effect of what Trump wants to do. Where I differ a little bit is that, I do think that President Trump has objectives. Number one is of course to win re-election and to advance his own political objectives.

And immigration from the very beginning has been at the heart of that along with this notion of himself as a grand deal maker and that's where a lot of these other foreign policy issues come in.

But I do think this is a significant win for him. And it also underscores the extent to which his reshaping of the Supreme Court and of the lower court's -- the lower federal courts will be a legacy that persists long after the deals that have so far not materialized on the international front. I mean, this is in fact a classic example of that.

LEMON: Susan, Catherine, Max, thank you. I appreciate it.

Now I want to go to the news on the controversy over the president's false statements about Hurricane Dorian. A White House official confirms to CNN that acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney spoke with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross about NOAA's handling of that tweet that contradicted the president. The Oval Office adding that Mulvaney urged Ross to fix the problem.

"The New York Times" is reporting that Ross pressured NOAA officials to disavow that tweet.

So, joining me now to discuss is D. James Baker, he's a former NOAA administrator. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

D. JAMES BAKER, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, NOAA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: First, have you ever heard of a White House administration getting so involved in NOAA's forecasting as to threaten to fire staff?

BAKER: No, I haven't. And in fact, it's illegal for the president or anybody else to put out a false weather forecast. Congress passed a law in 1894 providing for a fine or an imprisonment for anybody who puts out a false weather forecast.

So we haven't seen this for a long time, not since something like 1954, I think there was a tornado hoax but it was just last week was the first instance we've seen since then so this is something brand new.

LEMON: "The Washington Post" reporting puts it all the way up to the president himself, right? They say that he told Mulvaney to put the pressure on NOAA to support his false forecast. The president is denying this. But look, it's actually a federal crime to put, you know, out the information as you said. So, is that a prosecute -- is that a federal crime? Can they prosecute it?

BAKER: Absolutely. This is a federal crime and it's punished by either a fine or a jail term. And it's not a large fine. It is like $500. So in my view Trump should be prosecuted and he should pay the fine. He can afford it.

But you know, the other players are also critical here. It was not just the false forecast that led the people of Alabama to be disturbed about what was going to happen but it was also the cover-up that the secretary of commerce tried to push by asking the NOAA officials to issue a false statement about what the Birmingham office had done and then the political office -- the political people in NOAA did the same thing.

Forced a false statement and then demanded that that be published. So, we are seeing three things happening here which violate the scientific integrity of NOAA.

LEMON: So, Jim, I want to ask you about NOAA's acting chief scientist, Craig McLean send out a memo saying that he is investigating why the agency leadership backed Trump's false claim.

Writing in part, quote, "My understanding is that, this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance or simply put political. If the public cannot trust our information or we debase our forecasters' warnings and products, that specific danger arises."

So, are you encouraged at least by his response?

BAKER: Absolutely, Don. Yes. Absolutely. This -- the public depends on weather forecast being accurate. They can't be over warned, they can't be under warned. In this case, Trump was giving a message that there was a serious problem when, in fact, according to the latest information there wasn't.

So, there was really false information here. And Craig McLean is absolutely right in calling for an investigation to make sure that we look into this in detail.

But as I said, publishing a false forecast is something that is a federal crime and the cover-up is also something that should be punished here. And in fact, the Birmingham office, which issued its statement saying there is no problem they should get a gold medal to go with the silver medal they already have from the Department of Commerce for doing the right thing.

LEMON: Yes. D. James Baker, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

BAKER: Thank you.

[23:14:54]

LEMON: On this, the 18th anniversary of 9/11, new information is being revealed about exactly what happened on that terrible day. I'm going to talk to the author of a brand-new book, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Today, marks the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Ceremonies held around the country to honor the thousands who lost their lives that morning. Here in New York, the annual tribute in light symbolizes the fallen World Trade Center Towers.

Garret Graff is author of "The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11" with firsthand accounts from everyone from senior cabinet officials to a White House housekeeper. And Garrett Graff joins me now.

Fascinating, Garrett. Thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us. You have the first interview. It's with the navy officer who asked then Vice President Cheney for permission to shoot down the hijacked airliners on 9/11. He is Commander Anthony Barnes, right? GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

LEMON: What did he tell you about that conversation?

[23:19:56]

GRAFF: Yes. So, this is one of the most surreal moments of that first hour as the attacks begin to unfold. Vice President Cheney, of course, hustled after the second crash into the bunker under the north one at the White House. They are the Commander Anthony Barnes; Navy officer naval aviator is effectively the director of the White House bunker that day and he becomes the liaison between the Pentagon and the White House.

And remember, the confusion of that morning, they thought at one point that there might be as many as a dozen other hijacked planes still in the air, and so Commander Barnes ends up being the one going to Vice President Cheney asking for the authority to shoot down a hijacked airliner.

LEMON: Yes.

GRAFF: And he's never spoken publicly before. He speaks as part of this new oral history and explains that conversation as he went to Dick Cheney, asked for the authority, Dick Cheney quickly gave it and then he went back again and then he actually even went back a third time with Dick Cheney to sort of make sure that the vice president knew exactly what he was ordering and that there was no confusion about the order because Commander Barnes understood just how unprecedented this order was.

LEMON: "The Only Plane in the Sky" is a reference to Air Force One since the FAA grounded every single commercial plane quickly right after the attacks. Again, when President Bush boarded it to Florida that morning where he was, you know, where he was going is unknown. And here's the pilot. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew I was delivering a message.

MARK TILLMAN, PRESIDENTIAL PILOT, AIR FORCE ONE: The initial conversation was that he takes him to an air force base no less than an hour away from Washington. Maybe try to get him to Camp David. That all changed when we heard there was a plane headed towards Camp David.

I made the takeoff, climbed out, probably 25 to 30,000 and I gave it up to the backup pilot. I had three pilots on board that day. I said to keep flying towards Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It ultimately ended up at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Why is that?

GRAFF: Because they ended up -- as he was saying the first reports of flight 93 was that the plane had crashed close to Camp David and so they wondered whether it was an attack on the presidency. And they ended up flying over the Gulf of Mexico, landing eventually at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.

And as they get off plane, the passengers, the crew, the president, look around and realize that they're surrounded by armored vehicles, 50-caliber machine guns, men in flak jackets and M-16s and they realize that they took off in peacetime and that Air Force One has now landed into an America at war.

LEMON: Yes. What's interesting, you know, is that 18 years ago, it seems like yesterday for those of us --

GRAFF: Yes.

LEMON: -- who were around but I mean, the kids who were born can vote now.

GRAFF: Will vote.

LEMON: Will be voting. But we vividly remember that day but we also now have an entire generation whose knowledge of this event is historic. How do you attempt to describe to them just the -- what changed in this world as a result of 9/11?

GRAFF: Yes. That was really the goal of this book. I mean, so much has been written, great narrative about that day. But 18 years on what I felt we needed to remember was what that day was like to live.

As you were saying, you know, what the fear, the chaos, the trauma, the confusion of that day is what we lose when we sort of look back and think of 9/11 simply as a series of facts. You know, 3,000 Americans dead. Four planes. The Twin Towers, Pentagon, Shanksville and what you begin to lose is the confusion but also the innocence.

And you see that in the first crash that morning. You probably remember this. America sort of looked at that first crash and shrugged and we're like weird accident. Maybe the pilot had a heart attack, maybe it was an air traffic problem.

I tell the story in the book one of the -- my favorite stories that I came across was a ferry captain who watched that first crash from the ferry in New York Harbor, comes in to the Wall Street terminal and drops off everyone on his boat.

Every commuter on that boat that morning gets off and walks into lower Manhattan to go to work even as the letters and envelopes and papers are fluttering down from the crash at the north tower. Because sort of everyone just looked at it and was like, that's weird. It's New York. Weird stuff happens in New York.

LEMON: Yes. It is really unbelievable. I remember almost, you know, if you ask me about it, you know, almost every single aspect of that day, maybe not moment by moment, but just the whole thing of watching it and then it's not a big deal and then like it's a really big deal. OK, we need to run into work, OK, now we need to get downtown. I was in Pennsylvania or get to New York or wherever they were sending

us and then the fear of the people that you knew trying to get in touch with them and there were no camera phones then. Right? Cell phones were not as popular as they are now. We did have them. And texting was different. So, it was a lot of fear and anxiety from everyone across the country.

GRAFF: And that was -- you know, our experience as ordinary Americans and the president's experience that day, too. I mean, one of the most amazing things --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Communication.

[23:25:01]

GRAFF: In 2001, Air Force One had no e-mail, it had no cable or satellite TV. So, the president is just picking up local TV news on basically rabbit ear antennas on Air Force One as he as flying around the country that day.

For most of the day the president of the United States on 9/11 less informed than the average American sitting at home watching CNN.

LEMON: I've got have to run. But this is different than breaking news. You know, we have the shootings, mass shootings and on and on but this was really quite, quite different than that. I can't really explain it.

There's another one -- another network used to do every year they would run the entire coverage over and I would sit there and watch every second of it. I've got to run, though. Thank you, Garrett. Fascinating.

GRAFF: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The House Judiciary Committee gearing up for a critical vote tomorrow that will set the rules for its impeachment inquiry. Not all House Democrats are on the same page about whether to call it a full impeachment investigation.

So, let's discuss now, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin is here. He sits on the House judiciary committee.

[23:30:01]

Thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us. You say we're in an impeachment inquiry now. Why the hesitation by some of your colleagues to just even call it that? REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, the Constitution doesn't really define the term so it means different things to different people. Some people are saying investigation. Some are saying inquiry. It is very clear that we are looking at possible high crimes and misdemeanors of the president.

There are not articles of impeachment that have been written up, so we are not set to vote on anything. We are still in an active investigative mode and there are a lot of things that we can do even short of impeachment in the meantime to counter the lawlessness of this White House.

LEMON: If I can speak for just -- this is a question that I get on the street, and I think it's a fair one for you because I can't really answer it for people. They say, are Democrats going to impeach the guy or not? What's with this, well, we are investigating and we are trying to figure out? Are you going to do it or not? I think that's what most people want to know, whether they agree with --

RASKIN: Well --

LEMON: -- it should be impeachment or not. Are you going to do it or not?

RASKIN: It seems like another unfortunate consequence of the Trump administration is that everybody has a Trump style attention span right now. That's really not how the Constitution works. It is not like an up or down, yes or no, and then it's all over. This is a process where we're really investigating what is taking place.

There are complicated things going on here that are simple, in fact, OK? The president has converted the presidency into an instrument of self-enrichment. In Scotland and Ireland, he is spending hundreds of thousands, millions of taxpayer dollars to aid his business enterprises. He is pocketing money from foreign governments all over the world in violation of the foreign emoluments clause. But it's complicated --

LEMON: Congressman, congressman --

RASKIN: -- to explain all of this.

LEMON: -- with all due respect, I understand that. As you said, it's complicated. So, the question is, are you going to do it or not? How do you answer the average person who doesn't have time to sit there and say, well, it's nuanced? Are you going to do it or not?

(LAUGHTER)

RASKIN: Well, look, our Constitution was written in the 18th century where they were a little more reflective --

(LAUGHTER)

RASKIN: -- and a little meditative about stuff.

LEMON: I know but it's not the 18th century.

RASKIN: We got to analyze this.

LEMON: Listen, I hate to put you on the spotlight, but this is not the 18th century.

RASKIN: Yeah.

LEMON: This is a, you know, 24-how news environment. This is --

RASKIN: OK.

LEMON: -- social media and Twitter and whatever and things happen really fast. You're talking about a guy who just does whatever he wants. And if he said -- he would just come out and say, yeah, I'm going to impeach him or no, I'm not going to impeach him. You guys can't --

RASKIN: Right.

LEMON: Why can't you just say it? Why can't you just make up your minds?

RASKIN: Because he'll say something whether or not it's right or wrong and then he contradicts himself 20 minutes later or the next day. So we have to have more respect for the rule of law --

LEMON: But it doesn't matter because everyone around him falls in line. Everyone around him falls in line and then they eventually do what he says. And so why can't you guys decide --

RASKIN: We are not doing that.

LEMON: -- or not impeachment and then get together like the Republicans do and support each other?

RASKIN: OK, all right, here's my clairvoyant prediction because I understand that's what all news have come down to. I have introduced -- I got a resolution which I'm going to introduce to have the House of Representatives disapprove of every foreign government payment that Donald trump has pocketed from Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, United Arab Emirates ever since he came into office from the Trump office towers or the golf courses or the Trump International Hotel in Washington which I call the Washington emolument.

We are going to disapprove all of them, I hope, and I hope that we are going to demand that the president turn over all of his ill-gotten gains under the Constitution over to the U.S. Treasury.

I believe that we are going to do that. That's something I'm willing to predict because I'm throwing myself into it. I think that's something everybody can agree to, and I think the Republicans should agree to it, too.

We have never had a president, Republican or Democrat, who has done what this president has done in terms of turning the office of the presidency into a for profit enterprises.

LEMON: OK, I get what you're saying.

RASKIN: So I know I'm not --

LEMON: Listen --

RASKIN: -- speaking to the talking points of impeachment here and there, but that is something that I think we can do right away real soon.

LEMON: Congressman, I don't mean to beat you up. I'm just speaking to the frustration of people, the questions of people on the street and that I get.

RASKIN: I feel their frustration.

LEMON: Yeah.

RASKIN: I get you.

LEMON: So, listen, committee --

RASKIN: I understand where people are coming from.

LEMON: Go on.

RASKIN: It's a big country. We have lots of political sub-cultures out there. We got to keep our democratic caucus together. We are moving everything in the right direction. We are unified in wanting to counter the lawlessness, the criminality and the corruption coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

LEMON: Let's look ahead, congressman, to tomorrow's democratic debate. Shall we? You like Elizabeth Warren but haven't endorsed her yet. Do you expect fireworks between Warren and Biden tomorrow?

RASKIN: Well, I think the field shrinks and there is a smaller group of people just by the nature of the debate format.

[23:34:59]

RASKIN: There are going to be much more direct collisions on public policy. But Joe Biden seems to be very gentlemanly in these exchanges and Elizabeth Warren has really been focused on the issues and she doesn't get into the ad homonym personality attacks. So I think we are going to have a very lively and vigorous exchange of views.

The main thing is to keep everybody together. I'm trying to emphasize to all the candidates, we are now not just the progressive and the liberal party, we are the conservative party, too. We want to conserve the land, the air, the water, the climate system, the Constitution, the bill of rights, social security, Medicare, Affordable Care Act.

It is the White House which now wants to wreck everything. They're destroying everything. We got to run as the conservative party in 2020, in addition to everything else.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you so much for coming on and taking the questions. We appreciate having you on every single time.

RASKIN: I will take the slings and arrows for you, Don. I appreciate you having me.

LEMON: Patriots star wide receiver Antonio Brown is facing allegations of sexual assault and rape. How the NFL is responding, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:40:00]

LEMON: The NFL and New England Patriots are investigating sexual assault and rape allegations against star wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Let's discuss that and more now. Jemele Hill, staff writer for The Atlantic, is here.

Jemele, thank you so much. So break down what is happening with Antonio Brown, that situation.

JEMELE HILL, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: So, right now, as you pointed out, the NFL is investigating. Look, these are allegations that came to light through the course of a civil lawsuit that was brought on by his former trainer. At least what has been reported, I believe, by ESPN is that the NFL will meet with his accuser next week.

So, right now, I think the decision that the NFL has to make, especially with the Patriots playing this Sunday is, do they put Antonio Brown on the commissioner's exempt list, which is a list they have used in the past when they're still investigating a player and they know that there is a lot of questions about whether or not they should playing under such serious allegations.

So, now, if you're the commissioner in the NFL office, you have to decide what to do with Antonio Brown because what you don't want is on Sunday, a lot of the conversation that should be about the game, that will be about Antonio Brown and these very serious allegations.

LEMON: Domestic violence and violence against women are issues that the NFL has struggled to deal with for some time. You have been discussing this for years. They have been accused of turning a blind eye to some of the similar allegations. How much is riding on their investigation of Brown?

HILL: I think unfortunately at this point, I mean, for anybody to look at the NFL and expect anything other than being consistently inconsistent, that's what your expectation level should be. I mean, we have seen them frankly mess a lot of these investigations up through either incompetence, through -- like a whole myriad of reasons.

And because this is a civil suit and not something that was brought through the criminal court, I think I expect this to be just as messy and inconsistent as some of the previous allegations had been, but it will be a little bit different in this regard because you're talking about a very high profile player, the best arguably in his position, and a very high profile team or organization.

So, I would like to think that the NFL would look at this situation a little bit differently, not that the other cases were as serious, but the fact is there would be a lot more eyeballs and attention on this as opposed to maybe some of the other cases that they have to dealt with and frankly haven't dealt with correctly.

LEMON: Let's talk about your piece in The Atlantic. It is entitled "It's Time for Black Athletes to Leave White Colleges." Here is part of it.

You said, "Black athletes have attracted money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them. Meanwhile, black colleges are struggling. Alabama's athletic department generated $174 million in 2016 through 2017 school year, whereas the HBCU that generated the most money from athletics that year, Prairie View, A&M, brought in less than $18 million."

Listen. Do you know that this has sparked a lot of controversy? There has been a lot of backlash. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. Why are you proposing this?

HILL: Well, because I'm looking frankly at a system that doesn't benefit black athletes. Look, we know that regardless of who they played for, there are going to be some inherit financial kind of questions. But, you know, you look at the shape of what HBCUs are in.

The fact that for a long time this is the only place where black people could educate themselves, this was the only place that black talent, black athletic talent could showcase itself, and looking at the condition of some of the schools and the fact that you all these black athlete who are making millions, who have turned college football and college basketball into a billion-dollar industry, I just wonder from a community standpoint, I realize there's a difference in facilities and coaching and other things between an HBCU and a school like Alabama or Clemson.

I understand those differences. But I also understand, as I pointed out in the piece, that, you know, black people, we are the talent. So, if that's the case, wouldn't it be better off and better served benefiting your own community and helping the residual effect of benefiting that community really make an impact as opposed to making money for schools that already have so much money that has built off your back?

LEMON: You know that people like to compare one industry to another. I'm not sure if it is equal, right, when you do that, but there are a lot of successful black people in mainly white industries.

[23:45:03]

LEMON: You and I both, you know, have that experience. If all of us decided that we would only work within the black community, would that be a problem?

HILL: No. I think you do have to compare the industries and why it's a little bit different. I mean, one of those things is that obviously black athletes I think right now under the current construct, they are being exploited for their talents. They are not being paid. They are generating all of this money.

Now, the other part where I wish I would have taken a step further in my piece is to talk about how one way that black colleges could maybe appeal to a little bit differently than what we see right now is what if they decided that they were going to break off from the NCAA and create their own pay for play system?

That would be an attractive lure for black athletes who are already being exploited under the current system. As you said, Don, all of us, we have spent our careers, a lot of us in this industry, of working for predominantly white media organizations, predominantly white places and spaces. And while I do still feel like that's necessary, but we also at the same time continue to showcase a commitment to certain black institutions.

I went to a predominantly white institution. I went to Michigan State University. I didn't go to an HBCU. But even I understand as a black person in this country --

LEMON: The importance of that.

HILL: -- what HBCUs have meant to the overall advancement of black people.

LEMON: I have to run. Jemele, thank you. Fascinating conversation. We will see you back here soon. Thanks so much.

HILL: All right. Any time.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

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[23:50:00]

LEMON: President Trump is set to visit Baltimore tomorrow evening. He will address House Republicans who are gathering there for retreat, delivering remarks at their opening dinner. Lawmakers will likely greet him warmly, but the president shouldn't be surprised if the people of Baltimore don't welcome him with open arms.

You'll recall that back in July, he harshly criticized the city and local democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings in a Twitter tirade. The president is angry with Cummings, who is chair of the House Oversight Committee and one of Trump's fiercest critics on Capitol Hill. He's especially critical of the president's policies regarding migrant conditions on the southern border.

We all remember what he tweeted this summer, "As proven last week during a congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded. Cummings district is a disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place."

He went on, "Why so much money sent to Elijah Cummings's district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States? No human being would want to live there."

Well, The Washington Post is reporting the president's tirade came after Republicans had already decided to hold their meeting in Baltimore. Lawmakers figured he'd opt to skip it. He's not, and his criticism didn't stop with his tweets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They're largely African-American. You have a large African-American population. They really appreciate what I'm doing, and they've let me know it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But he didn't offer any evidence that anyone in Baltimore appreciates that he called their city a rat and rodent-infested mess or that no human being wants to live there. Many people call Baltimore home, and no doubt love their city, despite the difficulties that any major American metropolis grapples with.

And remember that Baltimore has a majority African-American population. The president is describing it as infested, kind of like a few weeks earlier in the summer when he suggested in a tweet that four congresswomen of color should go back to the crime-infested countries they came from. In fact, three are American-born, and one is a naturalized citizen.

But they used that word "infested" again -- but he used, I should say, that word "infested" again, aimed at people of color, hinting subhuman. President Trump continued his attacks on Congressman Cummings. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Baltimore has been very badly mishandled for many years. As you know, Congressman Cummings has been there for a long time. He's had very iron hands on it. It's a corrupt city. There's no question about it. All you have to do is look at the facts. The government has pumped in over the years billions and billions of dollars to no avail, to absolutely no avail. Baltimore is an example of what corrupt government leads to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Again, the president offered no facts to back up his statements. It was more about venting his assumptions about a majority black city and its veteran congressman. Fifty-two percent of the district's population is black while nearly 36 percent is white. The president likely doesn't know that. Maybe he does know something about rodent infestations in Baltimore. There is a company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, his son-in- law and senior adviser, owns thousands of apartments there and has been cited numerous times for rodent and bug infestation in its properties.

Protests are planned for downtown Baltimore tomorrow when Trump is in town. No telling how many people will turn out. But Elijah Cummings despite Trump's ugly words is offering friendly advice to the president, wishing him a pleasant visit and encouraging him to get out and see Baltimore because, he says, it's a beautiful city and a lot of hardworking people live there.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.

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[23:55:00]