Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Contradicts His Own Statement; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) Accused Of Being The Whistleblower; G7 Will No Longer Be Held In Trump's Doral Resort; Trudeau's Liberal Party Projected To Win Canada General Elections; President Trump Tells GOP To Get Tougher And Fight Impeachment; President Trump Claims He's The One That Did the Capturing Of ISIS Fighters In Syria; Mitt Romney's Undercover Twitter. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 21, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.
And what we've seen and heard from this president just in the past few hours really raises some serious questions about his fitness for office. And not for the first time, OK -- I'm very aware of that, but this is stunning. You may have been at work today. We're going to play some stuff for you.
It's not -- it's not just you -- you may not have seen it. It's not just the president of the United States contradicting the facts, though he is. It's not just that he's contradicting himself, though he is doing that too.
It's that he's being knocked back on his heels by his own party, by his fellow Republicans, who think that he's gone too far leaving our allies, the Kurds, defenseless and violating the Constitution by trying to steer business to his own resort.
This president clearly knows that he is in trouble as Republicans -- some of them anyway -- are beginning to call him out.
So, as I said, tonight we're going to -- we're going to fact-check what the president says. As we always say around here, facts first.
But if all that you've been hearing today are the short sound bites from the president, you really, really -- you haven't heard the whole story. You got to listen to -- you've got to listen longer to hear just how insecure this president sounds, how disconnected, how rambling, how worried.
So, here's what we're going to do. Again, maybe you were at work. Maybe you didn't see all of it, but he was on today, spoke for a long time just off the cuff. So, we're going to play some longer sound bites right now so that you can hear for yourself just how all of this sounded on live TV. OK?
So, listen to him talking about his call with the president of Ukraine that set off the whole impeachment inquiry. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This thing is all about a letter that was perfect. You never hear the letter anymore. It was all about whistleblowers. You never hear what happened to the whistleblower? They're gone, because they've been discredited. What happened to the informant?
And where is the I.G.? Why didn't the I.G. read the letter, read the transcript? He could have gotten it, I guess. I assume. I would have declassified it for him if I had to do that.
Why didn't he read this and then see that the whistleblower's account was totally different than the letter? Then he would have said, there's no problem here. The whistleblower gave a false account. Now you have to say, well, do we have to protect somebody that gave a false account?
You know, these whistleblowers, they have them like they're angels, OK? So do we have to protect somebody that gave a totally false account of my conversation? I don't know. You tell me. Do we have to protect the informant?
Now, I happen to think there probably wasn't an informant. You know, the informant went to the whistleblower. The whistleblower had second and thirdhand information. You remember that. That was a big problem. But the information was wrong.
So, was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff. In my opinion, it's possibly Schiff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's not just unpresidential. You got to be honest with yourself, come on. It's incoherent. So, follow along with me here. He claims the whistleblower's complaint was totally different from the rough transcript the White House released.
The fact is that complaint matched the transcript. It was not a false account. The whistleblower has not been discredited and far from it. That's what he says, but it's not the truth. It's not what the facts bear out. The whistleblower being discredited may be wishful thinking on the part of the president.
And by the way, the complaint was not even about a letter, even though the president repeatedly calls it that. It was about that infamous phone call with the president of Ukraine. After asking why whistleblowers should be protected -- answer, because it's the law -- the president first says that he thinks there probably wasn't an informant, OK?
Then just 15 seconds later says he thinks the informant -- remember, he said he probably wasn't an informant. But then 15 seconds later, he says the informant was probably Congressman Adam Schiff, who the president may see as his number one enemy right now.
So there probably wasn't as an informant, but the informant, the one he just said probably doesn't exist, was possibly Adam Schiff. Is your head spinning yet? It should be because everybody else's was who watched it earlier. It should be spinning because it doesn't make any sense. It does not make any sense.
And then there's this. Minutes after saying that he didn't want to leave troops in Syria, leaving the Kurds to fend for themselves after thousands and thousands of them died fighting ISIS, the president says that he is trying to get out of wars, but we might have to get into a war with Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In the midst of that I'm trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars too, OK? We may have to get in wars. We're better prepared than we've ever been. If Iran does something, they'll be hit like they've never been hit before.
I mean, we have things that we're looking at. But can you imagine I have to fight off these -- these low lives at the same time I'm negotiating these very important things that should have been done during Obama and Bush and even before that. All right? So that's where we are right now. Go ahead, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --
TRUMP: Go ahead, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will the troops from Syria come home or will you send then to other nations?
TRUMP: Well, they're going to be sent initially to different parts and get prepared. Then ultimately, we're bringing them home, yes. We're bringing our troops back home. I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home.
Now, it's not very popular within the beltway because, you know, Lockheed doesn't like it, and these great military companies don't like it. It's not very popular. Outside the beltway, my largest cheer in Dallas -- I had 25,000 people, close, in that arena, a record crowd. I had so many people outside of the arena, thousands.
My largest cheer that night was two things. We're building the wall. That's number one. And number two and probably tied for number one was we're bringing our soldiers back home. That was our largest cheer in Dallas. Great place. Great state, Texas. Tough state. They're tough. When I said we're bringing our soldiers back home, the place went crazy.
But within the beltway, you know, people don't like it. It's much tougher for me. It would be much easier for me to let our soldiers be there, let them continue to die. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's the president. Would you guys have given me the hook by now, like right off the anchor desk? Like OK. They've made speed flying Laura Coates here to come fill in. Anderson would be staying late or Chris or something.
I mean, come on. Did you hear that? He says he's trying to get out of wars, and then immediately threatens war with Iran. Contradicting himself.
That is a contradiction one sentence to the next. I'm trying to get out of the war, then we may have to get into a war.
He goes directly from outrageously claiming that people in Washington don't want to bring troops home to bragging about the crowd at his rally in Dallas last week, to actually saying that it would be easier on him to let our troops continue to die.
That's what he said. I'm not saying that. That's what he said. I just played it for you. The commander in chief. And then there's what he says about the diplomats giving depositions to Congress behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They're interviewing ambassadors who I've never heard of. I don't know who these people are. I've never heard of them. And I have great respect for some of them. One of them said just recently, a very, very highly respected man.
I'm not going to get into their names, but a highly, he said, no, no, we were very, very bothered by Joe Biden and his son back during the Obama administration. He said, we were very -- he's supposed to be their witness.
Don't forget, many of these people were put there during Obama, during Clinton, during the never-Trumper Bush era. You know you had a never- Trumper Bush. You have heard of those. Those people might be worse than the Democrats, the never-Trumpers.
The good news is they're dying off fast. They're on artificial respiration, I think. But, no, impeachment -- they want to impeach, and they want to do it as quick as possible, and that's pretty much the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So I would play it for you again but, listen, we've got a lot of show. But he says ambassadors that he's never heard of, he doesn't know who they are, but then the next sentence he says, but I have great respect for some of them.
He doesn't know who they are, never heard of them, but he's got great respect, though not quite enough respect to be able to name any of them. Yet he can repeat what they have said if what they have said fits with the story that he wants you to hear.
Are you listening to me, people? Are you listening to the sound bites here? Then he goes directly to blasting people he sees as his enemies, including in his own party, doubling back to what he's really worried about -- impeachment.
Like I said, he knows he is on thin ice. He knows he's on thin ice with his own party over Syria and over his blatant attempt to use the G7 to drum up business for his Doral resort, which he just cannot resist bragging about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, I have a place that's in the best location. I'm very good at real estate, very, very good. Much better than you even understand. When you see my financials, which I'll give at the right time, you'll say, man, he was much better than we even thought.
This guy knows right here, Mnuchin, because he was in the private sector. He knows very much what I have. He would tell you. Someday maybe he'll tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Seriously? I mean come on, seriously? He actually says -- and he said it out loud -- maybe Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, will tell you about his financials. The treasury secretary.
Yes, that is the same Steve Mnuchin who refused to release the president's tax returns to Congress. Yes, you know, I'll bet he does know what the president has. And then there's Doral, right? A great business which the president admits -- he admits that it is losing money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have a great business. I have the best properties. But between what I lose and in all fairness some properties -- Doral is an example. Doral, we're setting records when I bought it because I owned it for a period of time. Setting records. It was going -- there was nothing like it. It was making a fortune. And then what happened?
I announce I'm going to run for office, right? And all of a sudden -- and I say we got to build the wall, we got to have borders, we have to have this, we have to have this. All of a sudden, some people didn't like it. They thought the rhetoric was too tough. And it went from doing great to doing fine. It does very nicely now. It's actually coming back, I understand, very strongly.
But Doral was setting records, and I knew this would happen. Most of the stuff that I have, because now instead of having 100 percent of the market that loves you and they love your brand and its luxury and it's great, now you have 50 percent of the market. That's called politics. I fully understood that. So, it's cost me between $2 billion and $5 billion, and if I had to do
it again, I'd do it in an instant because who cares? If you can afford it, what difference does it make?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He says -- yes. Wow. He says he has the best properties. He says Doral was setting records but admits that business is down since he ran for president. So, which is it? Better than ever or losing money?
Like I said, this president is contradicting himself to say the least. Contradicting the facts. His own party has forced him back down, to back down on Doral and on Syria. And the more we hear from this president, the clearer it is. He's reeling.
And if you think what the president said in that cabinet meeting was unpresidential and incoherent, wait until you hear what he's saying tonight.
Charlie Dent, Toluse Olorunippa, Max Boot here to discuss, next.
LEMON: Our breaking news. President Trump claiming tonight he has an obligation -- that's the word he used, obligation -- to ask Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election over his debunked claims. That as he continues to attack the whistleblower.
Joining me now is former Congressman Charlie Dent, Toluse Olorunnipa, and Max Boot, the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right." Good evening, one and all.
Max, President Trump was on Hannity tonight, and when he was asked about the transcript of the call with Ukraine's president, here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would like the attorney general to find out what's going on because you know what? We're investigating corruption, and I actually heard Gregg Jarrett and numerous people the other day say I have an obligation to do that. That's not a question can I do it or don't I do it. We have an obligation to investigate corruption.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Faithfully execute --
TRUMP: And that's what it was. In my opinion, that's what it was, was corruption. And if Ukraine would know something about the 2016 election, you have to give that information. I hope that they would give the information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he's trying to make this a call saying it was all about the 2016 election. But he also wanted dirt on the Bidens for the next election too, right?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. And of course, his concern over the 2016 election was not actually about, quote, unquote, "corruption." I mean, Trump has shown zero interest in any corruption -- so-called corruption that does not involve his enemies.
I mean, when he's talking about 2016, what he's really talking about is this crazy conspiracy theory about how it wasn't really the Russians who hacked the DNC. It was somehow the Ukrainians. It was part of this deep state plot to frame Trump.
So, he's promoting this crazy conspiracy theory. He really won't let go of it. But the really frightening thing here, Don, is I think he might actually believe this. I mean, it may not just be for show. I think he actually believes this craziness.
LEMON: Come on.
LEMON: Who would believe this stuff? It's -- you don't think it's just a political talking point that --
BOOT: Well, I think it is a political --
LEMON: -- how -- it's so outrageous. He actually says on the call, I need you to do me a favor, though. I need you to look into the Bidens.
BOOT: Right. But remember he doesn't just say this -- he doesn't just say look into the Bidens. He says look into the CrowdStrike server.
BOOT: So, I think Trump actually subscribes to this completely wacko internet conspiracy theory about how the DNC server somehow wound up in Ukraine. It doesn't make any sense and it is a convenient talking point for him. But I think the really funny thing is the president of the United States actually believes this.
LEMON: But it's also frightening too, Charlie, it's frightening that Republicans are coming on television, and they are -- and everywhere and repeating this bizarre conspiracy theory, which has been debunked.
But I want you to listen to what we heard from the president -- President Trump's acting chief of staff. This was Mick Mulvaney. This is what he talked about last week. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy. And I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, I mean, listen, Mulvaney, he said it. He said the quid pro quo is exactly about what President Trump is now describing, a demand to investigate the 2016 election. Is that not what he said?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, he did. What Mulvaney did was not only an admission but a confession. You know, it's simply stunning that he would put it out there.
I mean, look, I think a lot of this nonsense and this incoherence we're hearing from the president is simply a distraction. They have a problem with Republican members right now over Ukraine, the Syrian/Kurdish betrayal, the shameful betrayal of the Kurds, this Doral self-dealing, the meltdown meeting last week, and there are other situations that are arising.
I mean that's what the president -- that's his problem. And these are severe problems, and the substance of the issues that are being addressed with respect to the phone call transcript, the whistleblower complaint, the betrayal of the Kurds -- this is real. And so, they're trying to distract. Let's talk about process. Let's talk about other things. But the real issue is they're in some very real trouble and --
LEMON: OK. Charlie, let me ask you this, then.
LEMON: Honestly, then why would anyone in their right mind repeat this conspiracy theory again, which has been debunked. Not only this has been debunked by just about everyone, including Republicans, including people who are in intelligence in the Trump administration appointees.
How do they have the gall -- or I'm not sure what you would call it -- to come on and continue to promote this to the American people as if it is something other than a debunked conspiracy theory?
DENT: Which conspiracy theory, Don, are we talking about?
LEMON: I'm talking about the CrowdStrike thing --
LEMON: -- and what the call was actually about and that it had nothing to do with a quid pro -- all of those things, which I mean, come on.
DENT: Well, look, they're assuming that we don't have eyes and ears, that we shouldn't believe our lying eyes. It's just stunning. I mean, look, anybody can read that phone transcript, and they can read the whistleblower complaint. Those two documents are pretty much aligned.
I mean there is no question the president of the United States used his office. He was trying to use his office to get a foreign head of state to investigate his principal political opponent. Can't use official resources to do that.
Then there's the issue of the quid pro quo. It was clear, and Mulvaney confessed to it. They were trying to basically withhold military aid in exchange for, you know, information, dirt, and also perhaps a White House visit. I mean that's clear.
DENT: I mean, we can -- you know, we can spin this any way we want, but the problem for the Trump administration is most of us can read.
DENT: And we can make these decisions on our own. We don't need their help. We don't need them to distract us and push us off onto some tangent or chase some into some rabbit hole or some conspiracy theories.
LEMON: Toluse, you've been very patient. Let's bring you in now. First, I want you to listen to what the president said tonight. Then I'll give you your turn. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Think of this. I've gone through the impeachment now since the beginning on Russia, on Mueller. All this stuff, OK? And then they come up with this crazy concept of a perfect conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The president did not go through impeachment with Mueller. What's happening now is different.
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's exactly right. What the president did there just on that show was basically give a motive for why he was so obsessed with getting Ukraine to get involved in investigating the Democrats.
He feels that he has been pressured unfairly in his view for the last two and a half years with the Mueller investigation and all of the allegations that he had, ties with Russia, several people within his campaign lied about their contact with Russians.
And so, he feels like it's time to turn the tables, and Rudy Giuliani has been at the spearhead of this, going to Ukraine and trying to dig up dirt and say it was actually Ukraine and the Democrats that were involved in foreign interference in the election.
And that's part of why the president was so obsessed with getting the Ukrainian president to investigate 2016, investigate this conspiracy theory about CrowdStrike and the 2016 election, and also investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, because he felt that he was, you know, investigated for two and a half years. Now he wants to turn the tables on the Democrats.
It's a motive. He's basically saying why he did it. We've already heard from the White House acting chief of staff that there was a quid pro quo, and now we're hearing more about why the president was so adamant about pursuing it.
He's not doing himself any favors, and Republicans who are trying to defend him are not getting a lot of help from the White House as the president continues to give more evidence to Democrats who are pursuing this investigation and getting more and more closer to the idea of launching articles of impeachment. And the president is giving them a lot of the material they're going to need for those articles.
LEMON: Anybody seen Rudy Giuliani lately on TV anywhere? No?
BOOT: He might be in the witness protection program, Don.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it.
Is President Trump starting to sound a lot like President Nixon? Nixon's former White House counsel, John Dean, weighs in next.
LEMON: Breaking news, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party is projected to win Canada's general elections. That is according to the CBC News and CTV News as well. Whether it will be a minority or a majority government, well, that remains to be seen. Trudeau, as you know, has faced a difficult campaign after revelations that he wore blackface in the past. He says that he didn't know how many times he wore the blackface makeup.
Now I want to turn to President Trump attacking the Ukraine, the whistleblower and calling on the GOP to back him on impeachment, but some in his own party are not listening. Let's discuss now, get some perspective from John Dean. John, good to see you. Thank you for coming on.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: You saw the president on the defense, right, in that rambling cabinet meeting today. He is attacking the whistleblower and Democrats and on and on and on. Did you see the same sort of behavior from Nixon?
DEAN: Not really. Nixon was always pretty organized and articulate in public. In private, however, on the tapes, as long as that machine was still hooked in, you would see this kind of -- just kind of confused monologues and self-pity sort of thing that Trump is very open about. So that is the big difference between Trump and Nixon is, one was behind doors dealing with these kinds of situations and not doing it well. Trump is not doing it well in public.
LEMON: House Republicans or in one case, Justin Amash, who is a former Republican, they're speaking out. I want you to listen to what they had to say tonight to CNN. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL): I think its fine to have the inquiry. I haven't heard anything yet that would tell me that we should impeach the president of the United States, but I'm very interested in hearing the rest of the testimony.
REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI): You're asking a lot from these officials to go out onstage and try to keep the story straight. So, I think Mick was telling the truth there, that there was a quid pro quo, and then he went back and realized, oh, well, that is not what the president wants to hear.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You can never involve a foreign government in a domestic election for political reasons. So, I'll see what all information comes out, and I'll ultimately do whatever the right thing is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, John, what do you think of these remarks in light of President Trump demanding Republicans stay unified and be tougher?
DEAN: It's going to get tougher and tougher for Republicans who have any kind of respect for the rule of law, for our constitutional system. Nothing could be clearer, Don, from our founding till today is that we do not want foreign involvement in our elections.
Here's a president who reached out and enlisted it and solicited it. If this isn't a high crime and misdemeanor, there's really just no boundaries on what a president can do, because it's these kinds of offenses that the founders had very much in mind when they designed the impeachment clause. So, I think we're going to see some Republicans hard put to defend this kind of behavior.
LEMON: Interesting. I just want you to listen to something the president said today versus something that we heard from Nixon in 1973. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president of the United States should be allowed to run the country, not have to focus on this kind of crap while at the same time doing a great job on Syria and Turkey and all of the other things that we're doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But now we must move on from Watergate to the business of the people. And the business of the people is continuing with the issues we began the first administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The argument that impeachment gets in the way of running the country, what do you think?
DEAN: Very similar arguments and disposition is similar. These presidents have really no defense for their behavior, so they're trying to appeal to public opinion, that they're doing such a good job, Nixon in the area of foreign affairs. He didn't really emphasize and look at domestic policy. And Trump in -- he is the beneficiary of what was done before he arrived by Obama on creating a strong economy that he is now inheriting and claiming.
So he says look elsewhere because I'm doing such a wonderful job, I shouldn't be impeached. And they're both very confused about the nature of impeachment, which is because you've done something wrong. You've committed a high crime or misdemeanor.
LEMON: Yeah. I want you to -- let's take a quick look at this. This is a New York Times headline from just a few days after Nixon resigned. It says Nixon's slide from heights of power. Former defenders gave final push. Nixon didn't have Fox News and the majority of Republicans are still with the president, but there are a few cracks. Are they significant, do you think?
DEAN: You're right. And that's what we don't know how it's going to play out is the fact that Trump does have Fox News. And one of the reasons Nixon wanted to create a Fox News for this very kind of situation where you have somebody who can go out and pound the drum for you. And they do pound it for a significant part of the electorate.
I don't know if it will be enough. I don't know if it will change the dynamics, but there's just no question it's helping Trump. And Nixon, he didn't lose the real, solid conservative part of the Republican Party until the very end and not in total ever, Don.
He only lost it on the obvious obstruction of justice. Never lost it on abuse of power or on failure to respond to congressional subpoenas. They stayed with him all the way through on that. So it was only the obstruction that he lost them.
LEMON: John Dean, I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
DEAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: The president bragging about his success in the Middle East today, contradicting the facts really. He said, we're doing a great job on Syria and Turkey. Really? The fallout from his foreign policy and what it's doing to Americans' authority overseas. That is next.
LEMON: The president addressing Syria in his cabinet meeting today, claiming there was no agreement to protect the Kurds, who lost thousands and thousands of fighters in the battle against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're working with the Kurds. We have a good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to, you know, protect the Kurds. We fought with them for 3.5 to 4 years. We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I'm happy to have with me Nicholas Kristof and Robin Wright. Good to have both of you on, thank you so much. Robin, I'm going to start with you, because -- take a look at this video, you and everyone at home. Syrian Kurds pelting U.S. troops with rotten vegetables as they pull back in Syria. And the president says nobody promised we'd protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives, but what the U.S. has done, I mean it's an utter betrayal, Robin.
ROBIN WRIGHT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: It is indeed. And in many ways, the United States' relationship with the Kurds was one of the most successful relationships we had. Together we defeated -- ran the most effective campaign ever conducted against jihadi extremists, and in four years eliminated the caliphate, killed tens of thousands of jihadi fighters, arrested 12,000, eliminated the caliphate, and today our allies were pelting us with rotten tomatoes and rocks.
And that is a metaphor for not just what's happened in Syria, but it's true, I think, in the wider Middle East and the growing skepticism about any alliance with the United States and what our commitment is and what our endurance is.
LEMON: Yes. You were shaking your head in agreement with a couple things Robin said, Nick.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah. I mean absolutely. The -- you know, I think those soldiers who were out there, I think they felt the same -- the same frustration because these are people that they had fought with. These are people who had helped protect their lives, and they had helped the U.S. avert a genocide in 2015 of the Yazidi.
They had tried to build a Democratic little enclave that empowered women, resulting in a 34-year-old female politician becoming a prominent figure, who was then -- when the Turkish forces came in, was pulled from her car, was beaten and shot. And, you know, we -- these American troops out there, they see this betrayal. They see how the people who helped -- who worked with them to prevent
a genocide now are subjected themselves to an ethnic cleansing that somehow we promised to be a part of, to facilitate in our agreement with Turkey. It's just grotesque.
LEMON: Did Trump get played by Erdogan?
KRISTOF: He completely did. I mean, you know, this is a brief phone call. He hadn't consulted experts, and so he capriciously and impulsively decided on a policy without understanding the consequences. And then we -- then we sent Mike Pence to Turkey, and the result was this agreement that completely benefited Erdogan and Turkey.
A U.N. official told me that it was like the 1938 Munich agreement except the difference was that in 1938, Neville Chamberlain hadn't promised to help remove the Czechs from (Inaudible). This was, it was just appalling.
LEMON: Robin, I want to read this to you. This is from Senator Chris Murphy. He tweeted this, he said, it's hard to overhype how terrified you should be about the free fall of American global credibility right now. The Doral disaster, Ukraine, quid pro quo, double cross of the Kurds, the Afghan Camp David debacle. It's just one mind-blowing embarrassing fiasco after another. I've got to ask you, is America's global credibility in a free fall right now, Robin?
WRIGHT: Oh, absolutely. And this is the thing that is worrying. This is not a light switch that you turn on and off. This is something that you have to prove over years, even decades of a relationship.
And we have in three years walked away from not just the Kurds and what was the most stable part of Syria, eliminating a jihadi threat, we've also walked away from the Iran nuclear deal, the most significant nuclear -- or nonproliferation agreement in more than a quarter century. We are undoing the fundamentals. President Trump has challenged the relationship with NATO. He is talked about -- he's encouraged Britain to walk away from the European Union, something we built in the aftermath of World War II.
The challenges to the global order are so profound and so little understood, and it's going to be with us for a very long time to come. And the question is, is American greatness at stake? Is America ever going to be able to recoup from where we are today?
LEMON: Yeah. Nick, the president is claiming that he was the one who captured ISIS fighters. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Most of the ISIS fighters that we captured -- we, we, not Obama, we. We captured them. Me. Our country captured them, working with others, including the Kurds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does he feel he needs to brag like this because Obama is the one who oversaw the capture of Osama bin Laden? Like -- what is that?
KRISTOF: I mean it sounded like he was personally going out and busting in houses and grabbing ISIS vehicle. And you know, this is one of those normally are values and are interest or sometimes in collision. We have to choose between our values and our interests. This is one of those cases where we managed to damage both our values and our interests.
We betrayed the Kurds, and we also undermined the fight against ISIS. This has been a gift to ISIS, a gift to Syria, a gift to Russia. And, you know, I completely agree with the point that our -- Robin's point about the loss of our credibility. In the 70 years in the post-World War II period are the currency that has led to America's influence around the world has been a combination of our credibility and some sense that we genuinely have values.
And, look, people know that we're not always reliable. They know that our values don't quite match our rhetoric, but they do believe that there is something to our credibility, something to our values. And when we do this and we show that we are completely contractual and that you can't count on us, that we tell the Kurds, yeah, go ahead and destroy your defensive fortifications. We'll have your back.
And then they do that, and then we say -- then we unleash the Turkish forces on them, then that is going to resound not only in the Middle East. It resounds in Taiwan. I was in Taiwan recently. You know, what do the Taiwanese think? What do the South Koreans think? What do the Latvians and Lithuanians and Estonians think?
LEMON: Yes. Nick, thank you. Robin, I appreciate it as well. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Republican Senator and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has a secret Twitter account. Well, it was a secret until everyone found out about wait for it, Pierre Delecto. Tom Foreman has all the details. Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. Like batman accidently answering to the name Bruce. Romney outed himself by telling the Atlantic that he sometimes uses a Twitter account under a different name. That got Ashly Feinberg over at Slate investigating. Remember she is the person who figured out the alias for former FBI Director, James Comey, on Twitter. And soon enough she had Romney's secret identity too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Business mogul. Governor. Presidential contender and now Mitt Romney has another line for his resume. Lurker. The Utah Senator admits he is the real person behind the fake Twitter name that sounds like a French cook, Pierre Delecto. The alter ego was suss out by Slate before Romney took it private and it appears he was using the decoy account to follow about 700 folks.
Among them. Late night host Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel. Athletes, Tom Brady and Brett Favre. And a host of conservative political and media figures, but notably not the tweeter-in-chief, President Donald Trump. A long time target of Romney's scorn.
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UH): Donald Trump is a phony. A fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.
FOREMAN: Of course Trump has returned Romney's fire frequently. Tweeting just recently that Romney is a fool and a pompous ass. Who never knew how to win against Barack Obama?
TRUMP: That was a raise I have to say folks that should have been won.
FOREMAN: Never mind. Pierre Delecto has sailed on seemingly oblivious. Only occasionally tweeting anything such as the time a blogger suggested Romney's approach to Trump was verging on spinelessness. And Pierre Delecto jumped in. You need to take a breath.
Maybe you can then acknowledge the people who agree with you in large measure even if not in every measure. Another time according to a slate screen grab. Delecto tweeted at conservative commentator, Brit Hume. Loyal to principle. Trump's loyalty to party or person, right, Brit?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Romney says he mainly used his secret identity to anonymously track political and social chatter. But now, it's no longer secret and no longer anonymous. So the days of Pierre Delecto, may be numbered. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you so much. I appreciate that. The president and angry and rambling monologue today spouting off at least 20 lies in just one cabinet meeting. Has the country ever seen anything like this? I'm going to ask two men who would know and that is Dan Rather and Sam Donaldson, next.