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CNN TONIGHT

Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) Is Interviewed About The Documents That Was Given By The State Department's I.G. To Congress; President Trump Uses Sharp Language To Discredit His Opponents; President Trump's Language Sounds A Lot Like An Authoritarian Leader; Joe Biden Delivers Strongest Remarks To Trump's Ukraine Scandal; Vladimir Putin Defends Trump; Ex-Policewoman Sentenced To 10 Years In Murder Of Unarmed Black Neighbor. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 2, 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.

A lot of major developments in the impeachment inquiry. And these are the big headlines that we're going to cover in the hour ahead for you.

As the inquiry picks up speed and expands, the president erupts in a meltdown, railing against Democrats and the news media.

The State Department inspector general giving Congress documents related to the impeachment inquiry including material that Rudy Giuliani gave to the White House which gave it to the State Department. We'll hear from a member of the House intel committee.

As the president feels the increasing heat from the inquiry, he's using dangerous language, words like treason, coup, and warning of a Civil War in the country.

And Vladimir Putin poking fun at the U.S., joking that Russia will definitely interfere in the 2020 election. But is it really a joke?

And as we get started here, a follow-up to a story we first brought you last night. "The New York Times'" reporting. That report based on interviews with more than a dozen White House and administration officials directly involved, that last March, when the president was considering shutting down the border and outraged that not being able to deliver on his signature campaign promise to build a wall, he suggested shooting migrants in the legs, reinforcing a border wall with, quote, "a water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators, electrifying the whole wall, and topping it with spikes that could pierce human flesh." Today, the president responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And they said, President Trump started screaming, ranting and raving that on the southern border where we are right now building a tremendous wall, it's unbelievable what's going -- army corps of engineers, we're doing a lot, we have - we'll soon have over a hundred miles under construction, completed. We're going to end with 400 to 500 miles, OK ready?

That I wanted a wall but I wanted a moat, a moat, whatever that is, not a word I use, but they use it can, a moat. And in the moat, I wanted alligators and snakes and I wanted the wall to be a fence and I wanted it to be electrified, and I wanted sharp spikes at the top so it goes piercing through their skin is somewhat the way they said it. Skin-piercing spikes.

But I want that whole wall to be electrocuted. And sir, you never said that, never thought of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, let's get to big developments in the expanding impeachment inquiry. I want to bring in Wajahat Ali, Catherine Rampell, and Max Boot. So good to see all of you.

Catherine, I'm going to start with you. If today's meltdown didn't make it crystal clear the president is clearly shaken by this quickly escalating impeachment inquiry, I mean, this has to be a sign. If that didn't do it.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, you could say any day he had a meltdown.

LEMON: What's next, is this a sign of what's to come here?

RAMPELL: Look, he's clearly freaked out because the Democrats have the goods on him because he has given the public the goods on himself, right?

LEMON: He's admitted, yes.

RAMPELL: He's admitted that he basically didn't use the word publicly quid pro quo but he has basically said, yes, of course I asked him to dig up dirt on my political opponent, who wouldn't do that?

So, understandably, he's freaked out about the fact that Democrats are finally moving with information that's incriminating of the president and the public seems to be supporting Democrats in that effort. So, yes, if I were Trump, I would be shaking in my boots too.

LEMON: Max, let's play some of what we heard from the president today. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We don't call him shifty Schiff for nothing. He should resign from office in disgrace and frankly, they should look at him for treason.

he can't -- you know, there's an expression, he couldn't carry his blank strap. The whistleblower was so dishonest. These are bad people. These are

dishonest people. And when the American people find out what happened it's going to be a great day.

They've been trying to impeach me from the day I got elected.

You shouldn't be asking two questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you want to answer that?

TRUMP: Do me a favor, ask one of the --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will but --

TRUMP: John, John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you want to answer this question, sir.

TRUMP: John, ask one of the Finnish president.

Look, Biden and his son are stone cold crooked. And you know it. His son walks out --

Did you hear me? Did you hear me? Ask him a question.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: I will, but --

TRUMP: I've given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question, don't be rude.

MASON: No, sir, I don't want to be rude, I just want you to have a chance to answer the question that I ask you.

[23:05:02]

TRUMP: I've answered everything. It's a whole hoax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Listen, there's a whole litany of them. Max, go on. What did you think of -- what's your takeaway today?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, Don, the president is not exactly sane and stable in the best of times and this is clearly the worst of times for him so he comes across as unhinged and deranged. I mean, he's obviously having a meltdown and it's obvious to all of us why that is, why he is flinging so many crazy, inaccurate accusations and so many threats that are well beneath the dignity of any president.

It's because he's been caught, he's basically impeached himself, with those 10 words that will lead to his impeachment in the House. Those words being, I would like you to do us a favor though. He was caught demanding a quid pro quo from the president of Ukraine, asking for dirt on his political opponent. That's why he's being impeached.

And Trump is desperately trying to distract attention from that. He's trying to impugn the whistleblower; he's trying to impugn Chairman Adam Schiff. None of it matters. This is not about Adam Schiff, this is not about the whistleblower. This is about the president of the United States.

And it's pretty clear that he has repeatedly placed his private interests above the nation's interests and that's why he's being impeached.

LEMON: Yes. Wajahat, I know you want to get in on this. I want to ask you though, about this Washington Post reporting and your respond to all of it.

They are reporting Trump involved Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine. Though Pence's people are saying the V.P. knew nothing about the Bidens.

Now CNN is reporting that the Ukraine mess is leading to anxiety in Pence world. Sources are telling us that he -- he'll be on the road in the coming weeks to keep him away from all this mess. How will Trump view his V.P. trying to distance himself from this scandal now?

WAJAHAT ALI, OP-ED WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I've always said this is going to end like Julius Caesar, so it's going to be like orange Caesar who has the Shavuot and who's going to stab each other in the back first, right?

I think it was last week where Mike Pompeo said he had no idea about the phone call and then we found out today his own admission that he was on the call. So, you got Pence who is stuck, you got Barr who is stuck, you got Giuliani who should be on CNN every night and Chris should just give him 10 minutes to say whatever he wants because he incriminates himself and everybody else. And now you got Trump.

And what you're going to see is Trump get worse as the days go on. Right? You're going to see him be more unhinged, more conspiracy theories. And I think we just take a pause for a moment and realize this is the president of the United States of America.

And I said this several months ago, others did as well, that I don't think he's one of those people who leaves willingly or quietly. This is still the same man who won the election and is still relitigating the election and advancing new conspiracy theories, Don.

So, imagine if he actually loses 2020. And I also want to tell people that I think we've lost about a third of this country, perhaps for a long time, because they belong to the right wing media structure that believes in QAnon and the birther conspiracy theory and this new conspiracy theory he's thrown out about Democrats working with Ukraine. It wasn't Russia. It was the Democrats and Ukraine.

But the majority of Americans will see Trump for who he is. He's always been this way. He's admitted it publicly, that he's open to foreign interference, right, he admitted with George Stephanopoulos, he openly said he fired Comey over the Russia thing with Lester Holt.

And when it comes to this moat and alligators and snakes, I believe him because he called Mexicans rapists and criminals. But you're going to see a more exaggerated decline as he goes down.

LEMON: Boy. Exactly what we needed to hear. Obviously, that's sarcasm. Listen, --

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: Comforting note.

LEMON: Right, very comforting. Catherine, I just want to --

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: Let me just --

LEMON: What did you want to -- Max, did you want to say something?

BOOT: I wanted to toss out one thought, Don. Which is, imagine if Donald Trump were not the president. Imagine if he were the CEO of a major publicly traded company and if he were behaving the way he's behaving, how long would it take the board of directors to fire him? I'd say about 15 minutes.

LEMON: Yes. Good point. I want to play something that we heard today from the Finnish president about democracy. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT OF FINLAND: I just wanted to tell that I'm impressed, what American people have gained during these decades, 100 or so years, building up a very impressive democracy. So keep it going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's interesting, the contrast, Catherine, the Finnish president standing up for democracy.

RAMPELL: He actually said that twice.

LEMON: And the president, our president attacking Democratic institutions.

RAMPELL: So, I think the fact that the Finnish president said almost exactly those same words, that he's impressive by our great democracy or impressive democracy, please keep it going or keep it going, something to that effect.

LEMON: Right.

RAMPELL: Suggests that he came here prepared, workshopped, you know, to deliver that message. The question is, who was the intended audience for that message that really it would be nice such American democracy continued going.

[23:09:58]

Was it Trump, because he's behaving like a thuggish autocrat and threatening American democracy? Or is it the rest of us and the other people who are enabling this president to continue threatening democracy? Right?

I mean, Trump has been destroying our Democratic institutions and values not single-handedly, although of course he is the biggest threat. But without being enabled by Republicans in Congress, without being enabled by the people within the White House, his cabinet members going on TV and carrying water for him and lying for him, without being enabled frankly by Democrats who have been dragging their feet for so long, he would not be a -- he would not have been able to wreak as much destruction to our Democratic institutions as he has done so far. And I think probably we were all the intended audiences for those comments.

LEMON: Can you imagine, though, any of these world leaders, what the conversations are like once they get back on the plane or get back to wherever they're saying, like, my gosh, that was -- that was a nightmare.

I mean, Max, the Finnish president joins a number of world leaders who are getting dragged into this domestic story one way or the another.

BOOT: Right, because Donald Trump is misusing his power as president to try to involve our allies in this crackpot effort to discredit the Mueller investigation and also to discredit Joe Biden.

I mean, he is misusing the power of his presidency and he's putting our allies in a very uncomfortable position, especially countries like Ukraine which really depends on American aid. But even countries like, you know, Italy, Australia, and Britain, which Barr is now hitting up for, quote, unquote, "evidence to support Donald Trump's crazy conspiracy theories."

I mean, these are very close allies. It puts them in a very uncomfortable position which is, you know, why what Trump is doing is so wrong, it's so -- it's such an abuse of power. He is doing real damage to the country's interest in pursuit of his own interest.

LEMON: Wajahat, while the president continues to attack the whistleblower, more of this person's complaint is approving to be true.

I just want to read this from the complaint. It says, "During interagency meetings on July 23, July and -- on 23 of July and 26 July, OMB, Office of Management and Budget, officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend his assistance had come -- to suspend this assistance had come directly from the president, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale."

Well, an administration official confirmed to CNN's Sara Murray that interagency meetings took place on both those dates. It's just more confirmation that the whistleblower's complaint is accurate. Right?

ALI: Yes. And Trump admitted it and Rudy Giuliani admitted it on Chris's show and the whistleblower complaint admitted it. And it backs up in corresponds to the summary, not the transcript, not the word for word beautiful conversation because it wasn't a transcript, it was actually called summary, of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky.

And also, that was congressional approved aid that should have been sent to Ukraine $400 million because Russia has attacked and annexed Crimea and also eastern Ukraine. So, there was no reason whatsoever for Trump to hold it up.

And we know from the phone call itself the summary, not even the transcript, there was a quid pro quo because he asked for a favor. What could that favor be?

If you've seen any movie like "Godfather" or "Goodfellas," or seen "The Sopranos," this is mobster talk. It was so clear. And these people are so incompetent, Don, that they let the cat out of the bag. They admit it and the White House itself releases the call summary because Donald Trump thinks he did nothing wrong because he thinks he's above the law.

And I'll say one last thing also, because as the Finland president told all of us to keep democracy going on. This is the one-year anniversary of the murder of our colleague Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. journalist. And on that same day, what did Donald Trump do? He attacked the press, called us fake news, attacked CNN, called us corrupt, and attacked Jeff Mason for simply asking a valid question. This is why we should be deeply concerned as well.

LEMON: On a much better note, thank you for that. How is your little girl?

ALI: She's doing well, the surgery went well, thank you for asking. Hopefully she'll be released hopefully within a few days. I just left her, she put on lipstick, was wearing a dress, was watching "Tangled," and was eating ice cream and was charming the entire floor.

So, when things work out, man, things work out really well. Thank you to everyone who's asked. And I've always said this. Thank you to CNN and you and all the hosts who have proactively reached out.

I never asked you guys but you guys have always going to call it out. And whoever wants to be a donor, an anonymous donor, Shan Shahir (Ph), he's now not anonymous, stepped up, he doesn't know my family gave a piece of his liver, the liver will grow back and now my daughter has a second chance at life. So, think about donating a liver.

LEMON: Well, you are family. And thank you for the picture for -- Wajahat sent a picture saying this is the first time that she has been without the tubes, for how long?

ALI: Months.

LEMON: For months. Yes. She's beautiful too. Thank you. ALI: Thank you, sir.

[23:15:00]

LEMON: Congratulations, Wajahat. Keep us updated. And thank you all for joining us. I appreciate it.

ALI: Thank you.

LEMON: As the president's impeachment inquiry grows, Rudy Giuliani seems to keep hopping up. I'm going to ask a member of the House intel committee what he knows, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, here's our breaking news. Rudy Giuliani telling CNN he was the source for some of the documents the State Department's inspector general gave to Congress today.

Here is how Congressman Jamie Raskin described those documents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): If you read the packet of information, it's a series of somewhat hallucinatory propagandistic suggestions that is very -- that are very consistent with the things that Rudolph Giuliani has been saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you --

(CROSSTALK)

RASKIN: I put it this way. If I had to guess who was behind it, if it really did not come directly from the White House, I would guess that it was Giuliani but I have no way to know. Giuliani's name is all over it. There are a series of memos in there where Giuliani was present.

[23:20:01]

LEMON: Well, there you go. Joining me now to discuss, Congressman Denny Heck, a Democrat on the House intel committee. Congressman, I appreciate it. Tonight, it seems like the investigation is getting wider and it's getting more complicated. Tell us what's going on with Rudy Giuliani and these documents.

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): I'm pretty disinclined, frankly, Don, to give any more oxygen than is necessary to Rudy Giuliani who appears to be playing no function other than to run around ranting and raving and throwing out these conspiracy theories in hopes that someone will stick and start being repeated in the echo chamber.

However, I stick to the facts. And the facts are that the president of the United States attempted to shake down the leader of another country and coerce him into interfering in our election, putting the president's own political interests ahead of our national security. And then secondly, we are experiencing the continuing revelation of a

coverup on a scale that only gets bigger every day. We had to begin with the acting director of national intelligence refuse to advance to the intelligence committee the whistleblower complaint even though the law requires him to.

In fact, he reached out to the White House, the subject of the complaint, to ask for their advice first. We know now that the document, the record of the telephone conversation, was moved to the codeword server in violation of the previous executive order.

We know all manner of coverup has gone on here to hide the shakedown that the president engaged in. But it's all out there now and the American public knows it.

LEMON: I like the part especially when you said about not giving Rudy Giuliani any oxygen, that was a -- that is a very respectable answer, thank you for that.

CNN is also reporting tonight that President Trump saw an opportunity to use newly appointed conservative prime ministers in the U.K. and Australia as another avenue to discredit the Russia investigation. I mean, this seems like a full-scale international operation, doesn't it?

HECK: It does. And it all seems a little bit retro to me. I mean, the Mueller report is out there and it established clearly and firmly that there was a, quote, "sweeping and systematic interference on our elections by the Russians." And it says though, the president just can't let go of it. You know, there been a lot of questions raised.

And I'm not professionally qualified to make this judgment about whether or not the president has some form or degree of narcissism, frankly, and it makes you wonder if there is a little bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder at work here too, because he just can't let go of it.

And again, however, and Don, you and I have had this conversation a couple of three times, I believe the president only has four plays. Deny, attack, play the victim, and then change the subject through outrageous suggestion. And anything that comes out of his mouth plays into that.

We've certainly seem -- seen an awful lot of him attack, a lot of him play the victim, and a lot of him try to change the subject in the last several days as he's seemed to become more and more desperate.

LEMON: The Times reported today that your chairman, Adam Schiff, knew about the outline of the whistleblower's concerns before the complaint was filed. The president has attacked him saying, you know, without evidence, that Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I think it's a scandal that he knew before. I would go a step further; I think he probably helped write it.

He knew long before and he helped write it too. It's a scam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The whistleblower's attorney told CNN that allegation is false. Is Trump trying anything he can to just put it out there, to muddy the water? I think you just answered it in the question before, in your answer before.

HECK: It's attack Adam Schiff and attempt to outrageously -- excuse me -- change the subject, is what that is.

Look, Don, the United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility under article I to provide oversight of the executive branch. And I know the president doesn't like that, he doesn't like being held accountable. The fact is that's our responsibility.

Furthermore, what occurred here was precisely in keeping not only with the law but with the past practice, which is that whistleblowers should feel free to come to the oversight committee and share their information with them.

And the committee staff did exactly what has been the practice and is appropriate, which was to recommend to them that they get a lawyer and file a whistleblower complaint.

And you know, Don, I think it's a little bit ironic when you consider for example the Republican portion of the oversight committee web site actually has a tab marked blow the whistle. So, this is a standard practice within the Congress, is to invite people who think they've seen waste, fraud, abuse, or wrongdoing, to come to us. It's our job.

LEMON: Well, there you go. Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate your time. Travel safe.

President Trump's language becoming more and more inflammatory as this impeachment battle grows. And it's sounding a lot like what you might hear from an authoritarian leader.

[23:25:01]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump has never been shy about his love for authoritarian leaders around the globe. Well, he defends Russian President Vladimir Putin every chance he gets, refusing to hold him accountable for his interference in the 2016 election.

He has no qualms with meeting with Kim Jong-un despite his history of brutal violence and oppression in North Korea. And he's turned a blind eye to the barbaric murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, one year ago this day.

[23:29:55] That despite the CIA concluding that Khashoggi's murder was likely ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And if paid attention to the president at all over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed an increase in his use of language that wouldn't sound out of place coming from an authoritarian dictator, words like treason, spying, coup d'etat and civil war, the language of authoritarian leaders around the globe.

Joining me now to discuss is Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She is a professor of history at New York University. Professor, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us here.

The president's language seems to have gotten a little -- taken a really dark turn, a darker turn since House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry. What is the danger here?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: So the danger is that he could be inciting violence, which through his civil war -- use of civil war, invoking civil war, because this is a talking point already for Fox News and the right.

He also, as people have noticed, is becoming much more volatile and this is in keeping with authoritarian leaders who are their most dangerous when they feel vulnerable, when they feel their back is against the wall, and they become unpredictable and volatile.

LEMON: Earlier today, the president expanded on who he considers treasonous. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you consider anyone who opposes you treasonous?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I consider when they lie, when they stand before our great body in our great chamber, and they make up a story that's fiction, like Schiff did. He took that perfect conversation I had with the Ukrainian president, and he made it into a total lie. That's what I call a lie. And because of the fact that he's -- he is lying about the president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The irony here is that he is calling someone else a liar. By The Washington Post's count, Trump has lied over 12,000 times or made misleading statements over 12,000 times since taking office. But to this president, lying, you know, about him is the definition of treason, a capital crime, but him lying, fine.

BEN-GHIAT: Yeah. That's because one of the things that distinguishes authoritarian leaders is that they have completely proprietary vision of public office. They do not serve the people. They want the people to serve them. And holding power is about, you know, accumulating riches and more power and having people indebted to them.

So, of course, being opposed, anything that threatens him personally is going to be treason and all of this language of war and violence gets adapted to him personally because he has to be the victim. So part of this is his victimization. That's also consistent with authoritarian leaders from Mussolini, Hitler, and Gaddafi. They always have to be the biggest victim.

And so you have a combination of aggression that's going to increase, I believe, as he gets more desperate, and victimization. It's quite a dangerous and toxic mix.

LEMON: It was just last Thursday that the president said this. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP (voice-over): Who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that's close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: He is equating a whistleblower's lawful by-the-book complaint to treason, alluding and executing them for it. I mean -- I don't know. Is he confusing lack of loyalty with him? What is he doing here with treason?

BEN-GHIAT: Absolutely. Authoritarian leaders demand total loyalty by everyone to themselves and they settle for nothing less. And this is why they also hire and fire with such frequency, because they have to find the right co-conspirators in government.

And so now he has William Barr and he has Pompeo, but these are people who are in place in general because of their loyalty rather than their competence.

And this trickles down to the bureaucracy which has been purged. Look at the State Department, it's been decimated. And so what happens in authoritarian states even in nominal democracies is that over time expertise and professionalism get replaced with lackeys, flatterers, and above all, people who are willing to do the bidding, even if it's immoral or unethical, of the leader.

LEMON: Mm-hmm. You said that you think he is going to get more volatile when he feels more vulnerable. You just said that a moment ago.

BEN-GHIAT: Yeah.

LEMON: You wrote in an op-ed for CNN.com, you said, "Authoritarians are never more dangerous than when they feel vulnerable." What does that danger look like if this impeachment inquiry goes on for a while?

[23:34:58]

BEN-GHIAT: It's very difficult to say, but you can -- you can bet that he will be exacerbating all of the behaviors you've seen. I would like to point out, wherever this goes, Americans have a lot of reflecting to do because this violent language with the alligators and the spiked fences and all of this language he uses, it started before he got the nomination when in January 2016, he said, and we all know this by now, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue.

So he already associated himself with being capable of violence, and the GOP gave him the nomination anyway. So, we have a lot of reflecting to do about why this person was allowed, clearly a violent person with lots of legal troubles was allowed in the system, because the rule of authoritarian history is once they get them in, it's very difficult to get them out.

LEMON: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, thank you so much. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

[23:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Here is breaking news. Joe Biden responding tonight to the president's Ukraine scandal in his most heated remarks yet in a speech in Reno. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, let me make something clear to Mr. Trump and his hatchet men, and the special interests funding his attacks against me. I'm not going anywhere.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: You're not going to destroy me. You're not going to destroy my family. I don't care how much money you spend, Mr. President, or how dirty the attacks get. Trump knows there are no truth in the charges against me, none, zero. Every independent news organization that has reviewed the charges at length has found it to be a flat out lie, his assertions, every single one of them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: While this is happening, Vladimir Putin said just what President Trump probably wanted to hear today, poking fun at the impeachment inquiry facing the president and joking about Russia's election interference.

So let's discuss now. Juliette Kayyem is here, as well as Steve Hall. Good evening to both of you. Juliette, Putin was asked at a panel during Russian Energy Week about concerns that Russia might once again try to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I'll tell you a secret. Yes, of course, we'll do it, to finally make you happier.

(APPLAUSE)

PUTIN (through translator): Just don't tell anyone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: So he's trolling -- maybe the reporters are trolling the president, definitely the United States. What does it say about Putin that he has the audacity to do that at a public event?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. He's hilarious, right? I think that's right. Look, 2016 worked for Putin and it worked for Trump. So, we would be idiots to think that they are not going to try it again or that they are not doing it again in 2020.

Trump clearly is -- he got caught with the Ukraine incident.0 And Putin has through 2018 to 2020, whether it's a disinformation campaign or just a sense that our election system is not stable because, you know, the president essentially has everyone sort of up in arms about various issues, whether it's, you know, a coup attempt or martial law, whatever the next thing is that Trump is going to mention.

So, audacity is the right word because unlike most intelligence operations, Putin is going to thrive on audacity. What does audacity do? What does publicness do as compared to a normal intelligence operation which we classified?

It freaks everyone out, so that at the end of this, whether Trump wins or not in 2020, if Trump wins, his opponents think it wasn't fair, if Trump loses, Trump supporters think it won't be fair. That's a victory. Putin has already in 2020. It is just a matter of who is in the White House.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, Steve, let's just remember, just last week, The Washington Post reported that Trump told two top Russian officials in the Oval Office meeting in 2017 that he was unconcerned about Russia's interference because the U.S. did the same in other countries. I mean, they've had that message for a long time from this president.

KAYYEM: Yeah.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, sure. Absolutely, Don. When the president of the United States tells a senior guy like Lavrov, yeah, look, you know, don't worry about it, it is not a big issue, you know, that is a big, big green light for Vladimir Putin, who by the way when he wakes up in the morning these days, it's -- every day is like Christmas.

I mean, it's the gift that he keeps on getting. He has got the United States with this huge chasm that he started creating in 2016 when he influenced the election and tried to get -- tried to influence it to get Trump elected. That is not just here in United States. He has been doing it in Great Britain where you get the Brexit thing.

So this has just been a wonderful period. He has got to sit back and go, wow, I got to do more of this because the past three and a half years has been really, really good. You know, if he keeps it up, it's going to continue to look good for him over the next coming years.

LEMON: Putin has never been more popular, Juliette. At a panel, Putin gave his thoughts about the impeachment inquiry, parroting President Trump's unproven claims. Listen.

[23:45:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PUTIN (through translator): They began with this impeachment proceeding and they always recall Nixon. Nixon's team was wiretapping, listening to their rivals. But this is a completely different situation. Trump was wiretapped.

Some anonymous special service staffer leaked this information. And based on what we know from the call, there was nothing wrong there. Trump asked his colleague to investigate possible corruption schemes of previous administration.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Wow! OK, first of all, Juliette --

KAYYEM: Yeah.

LEMON: That is shocking, right? First of all, the president was not wiretapped. Putin is helping to spread the president's conspiracy theories. What must our allies be thinking at this spectacle?

KAYYEM: Yeah. I mean, there are three audiences for what Putin just said. One is clearly Trump, which is I'm going to parrot what you're saying either because I own you or because you own me. This is the question of why they have such a relationship.

The second is, of course, Ukraine. He is parroting -- Putin is sort of mimicking what Trump said, that it wasn't a quid pro quo. Ukraine clearly saw it as a quid pro quo.

Third is our allies. We talk about our enemies all the time. If I'm the prime minister of an ally nation right now and I am looking at what Trump is doing, I am telling my intelligence agencies, don't share, don't share, and that's going to impact stuff not just related to the election but to counterterrorism, to espionage, all sorts of threats.

LEMON: I want to get Steve. Steve, you have 10 seconds. I'm sorry. What do you think of what Putin has said?

KAYYEM: Sorry.

HALL: Juliette is absolutely right. She was saying what I would have said. Any service out there is not going to want to do business with us. You've got this weirdness where you got the attorney general and other senior folks showing up and asking questions about the Mueller report, which of course everybody knows that the president thinks is a witch hunt. It's just wrong on so many different levels. I don't even know where to start.

LEMON: Steve, Juliette, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

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[23:50:00]

LEMON: A dramatic ending to a trial of a white ex-policewoman in Dallas convicted of the murder of her unarmed black neighbor. Amber Guyger sentenced today to 10 years in prison for killing Botham Jean in his apartment. As Ed Lavandera reports, Guyger's sentence today sparked both outrage and an emotional moment of forgiveness.

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TAMMY KEMP, JUDGE, DALLAS COUNTY DISTRICT (voice-over): We, the jury, find unanimously that the defendant did not cause the death of Botham Jean while under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause and assess the defendant's punishment at 10 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The words left Botham Jean's family appearing dismayed and shocked. Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison. She'll be eligible for parole in five years at just the age of 36.

CROWD: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Outside the courtroom, the sentence angered protesters, sparking chants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police department around the country --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a joke. This is our lives.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But at the same time, inside the courtroom, a dramatic scene was unfolding.

BRANDT JEAN, BROTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: I forgive you.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Botham Jean's 18-year-old brother, Brandt, spoke directly to the former Dallas police officer who killed his brother. He told Guyger that he didn't want to see her rot in prison and that he had one request before she was taken to her jail cell.

JEAN: I love you as a person. I don't wish anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible, but can -- can I give her a hug, please? Please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Yes.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Guyger's attorney called it humbling and the most amazing moment he had ever seen in a courtroom. The emotion lingered long after the case ended. Judge Tammy Kemp hugged Botham Jean's family, and in a rare move also hugged Amber Guyger, the convicted murderer, and gave her a bible.

KEMP: You can have mine. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month.

I'm proud of you, young man.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Allison Jean, Botham's mother, shared her hope for how Amber Guyger spends her years in prison.

ALLISON JEAN, MOTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: That 10 years in prison is 10 years for her reflection and for her to change her life. If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Right.

A. JEAN: -- my son would be standing here today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He was no threat.

A. JEAN: He was no threat to her.

[23:54:56]

A. JEAN: He had no reason to pose a threat to her because he was in his own apartment, in his sanctuary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

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