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Republican Lawmakers Storm Closed-Door Impeachment Inquiry Deposition; Syria Ceasefire: Trump Taking Credit; President Trump, A Wall In Colorado; Trump Lawyer Argues President Couldn't Be Charged Even For A Fifth Avenue Shooting While In Office; Giuliani Associates, Fruman And Parnas Plead Not Guilty To Campaign Finance Charges; Fact- Checking Trump's Speech; Is Trump Profiting Off His Presidency? Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired October 23, 2019 - 23:00 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. There is a lot going you on tonight and we're going to catch you up on five big headlines. Looks like everything is heating to tempers really, more than two dozen House Republicans forcing their way into the secure room where the Pentagon's Ukraine expert Laura Cooper was about to give her deposition. That as the president tries to cast a serious ceasefire as a big win, announcing he's lifting sanctions on Turkey even though his own Syria envoy says, Turkish-backed forces committed war crimes.
And then there is the president's -- let's call it a surprising claim that he is building a wall in Colorado. A state which I am sure you are aware does not border Mexico. And this is unbelievable. Remember when then-candidate Trump said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes? Well, now one of the president's attorneys is arguing in court that he could kill somebody and not be charged. We've got more on that.
Plus, new questions about the president's trip to his golf resort this summer and who pick up the tag, bit we All right going to begin with the anger in Washington and restore depositions today. Here's what they were saying just before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA), HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: It should be the people of this country who decide who's going to be the President Trump, not Nancy Pelosi and not Adam Schiff in secret behind closed doors.
REP. MATT GAETZ, (R-FL): The millions of Americans that we represent that want to see this Congress working for them and not obsessed with the attacking of the president who we believe has not done anything to deserve impeachment. It is a sham and it's time for it to end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening here is not fair. REP. DEBBIE LESCO (R-AZ): And it's a total political hit job on the
president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, I want to bring in now Catherine Rampell, Wajahat Ali and Jack Tomarchio. Appreciate all of you joining us. Thank you so much. So, Wajahat, you first. Everything is heating up. The impeachment inquiry has more steam than ever after Bill Taylor's testimony. Let's look at this video. House Republicans storming this closed-door hearing today. And you say this is only a sneak preview of what's to come?
WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It's a sneak preview. Look at these morons bringing in their cell phones basically compromising their own security and national security, but I digress. And some of them wanted to get arrested. So that is martyrdom for snowflakes for you.
But this is a sneak preview, we left -- I left, but at the same time we have to realize that we are looking at a Republican Party beholding to Trump which is not beholden to democracy, the rule of law, process or ethics. It's going to get a lot worse because Donald Trump, they got him dead to right on the Ukraine crisis, right?
They got the quid pro quo. Bill Taylor's -- Ambassador Taylor's opening statement is devastating. The phone call transcript is devastating. I just want to remind people that Donald Trump released that transcript thinking that would exonerate him. Just pause for a moment and reflect upon that. Also the Syria crisis is unfolding which is terrible for him.
So, what we are going to be seeing for the next year, Don Lemon, is more obstruction. We are going to see people like Matthew Whitaker come out and say that the president can't abuse power and we are going to see his attorneys say something like, oh, yes, Donald Trump can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, because he's the president and be above the law which is by the way what Donald Trump said in (inaudible).
We have an extremist like a minority party leaning authoritarian that will sink everything for Donald Trump. And it's going to get a lot worse. And I just hope people realize that this is a sneak preview of what we have to see for the next year as these people are willing to sink everything, not just themselves, but everything for Donald Trump.
LEMON: Well, it's interesting because watching -- I mean, some of the people give the press conference. Others were -- usually some are thoughtful about their comments. There are some in particular who are just so thirsty for a press coverage. And Catherine Rampell, you bring up a very good point. And I have been saying, and pointing out to people that there are Republicans who are on the Intel Committee who are actually invited into the meeting, into the deposition and had equal time.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Actually a quarter of the bone heads who decided to storm this meeting could have been in the meeting themselves. They didn't need to bust down the door figuratively or otherwise. They were allowed into this hearing.
Look, I think between Donald Trump banning the New York Times and the Washington Post from his safe space and Republicans doing their best to prevent someone whose speak, they didn't want to be heard from being heard by busting into the room and blocking that person from speaking, they're basically -- Republicans are basically turning into sort of a funhouse mirror caricature of the left-wing cancel culture college student that they love to make fun of, right?
I mean, they claim to be all about -- not only free speech, but also law and order and stand for all of these principles. And they condemn the snowflakes who can't take criticism of whatever their precious ideas are or their heroes are. And yet they are the ones who when the law are on their side, when the facts is on their side just shout down the opposition.
LEMON: Interesting. Jill, I want to bring you in here, because a federal judge today ordering the State Department to release Ukraine records within the next 30 days. Is the administration's stonewall strategy crumbling? Jack?
JACK TOMARCHIO, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEPUTY OF INTELLIGENCE, HOMELAND SECURITY: Would that be for me?
LEMON: Yes, sorry.
TOMARCHIO: Oh, yes. Don, I think what we see here is cracks in the thin red line. What we saw today I think certainly on the capitol was I would say its theater the absurd. Now we are seeing a federal judge coming down with this decision.
And again we are seeing cracks. I mean, everywhere we go, we see the indefensibleness of the president's position becoming glaringly apparent. And I see also a tremendous amount of diversionary tactics. I think we saw that again today on the Hill when these Congressmen were storming into the skiff which is a sensitive compartmentalized information facility, bringing their cell phones bragging about it.
It's just become theater of the absurd. And I think we are going to see -- you know, John Dean had a great comment today. And he said it before. He said, you know, these impeachment things has go very slowly until they don't, until they pick up steam. And I think with Ambassador Taylor's testimony, which is a nightmare testimony for the president yesterday, I think we are seeing the steam picking up.
LEMON: Speaking of steam, let's talk about steaming tempers here, Catherine, on the Hill today. This is an exchange between CNN's Manu Raju and Republican Congressman Mo Brooks about Bill Taylor's testimony. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Mr. brooks, Mr. Brooks, the opening statement says very clearly -- (CROSSTALK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The opening statement doesn't make any difference.
RAJU: Let me finish what I'm saying. Let me finish my question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should not be relying on it.
RAJU: What's not to be relying on public testimony?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were in a court of law, would you rely just on the opening statement of an attorney or the first witness called? Or would you have cross-examination? Would you allow rebuttal witnesses to determine, to explore --
RAJU: I am asking about the substance of what he said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't make any difference. We don't know whether what he said is true or not because of the sham process that is being used.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMPELL: Look, again --
LEMON: But he is calling the process a sham. This is where we are instead of talking about the facts and the testimony and the merits of what Bill Taylor testified about.
RAMPELL: How can he? Again if the facts aren't on your side and the law isn't on your side, your only option is to flip the table over. And I think that is what you are seeing Republicans doing here. They are just throwing temper tantrums. They are trying their best to distract from the incredibly damning evidence that has been released not only in that opening statement.
But also in the text messages that have been released and every constructed transcript in what Donald Trump himself is publicly saying into the camera on live TV. What Mick Mulvaney is also saying on live TV? It's all so damning that they can't defend it on the merits. They have to just make it about process. And, again, throw a tantrum.
LEMON: Go on. Is that Wajahat?
ALI: Smart rats jump from a sinking ship. It's not too late for many Republicans, especially those vulnerable Senators like Cory Gardner or Susan Collins or Thom Tillis. Some of these House Republicans though they know that they are stuck with Trump. So the theater as we have mentioned before as an analogy, the participants -- the audience that they are performing for is Donald Trump.
LEMON: Hold on, Wajahat. Let me put this up, while you say this. This is President Trump addressing the never-Trump Republicans calling them human scum. Go on, finish your --
ALI: There you go. Exactly. So you got two choices now. You made a fustian bargain with Trump. You know he's terrible, you know he is self-destructive, but you know a large part of your base loves him. They are going to ride or die with him. I mean that literally.
And so what are you going to do? So, you're going to be Matt Gaetz, the leader of this idiotic posse. Matt Gaetz is you leader, you know you are already stuck, but they are going to come out and they are going to do this theater. They are going to fundraise off it. They are going to try to please Trump. Because if they get in Trump's crosshairs, he's going to call them human scum.
Look what he did to John McCain. John McCain, a war hero is now trashed by the Republican Party. So, some of them are stuck. They are going to go all in and they are going to sink, but the other ones who are vulnerable, either going to retire like a dozen House Republicans already have. Or you've got to really think about 2020 if you're one of these five or six vulnerable Senators, think wisely and think about history and think about your legacy, because he is going down.
LEMON: You mentioned John McCain, a war hero. Let's talk about someone who's dedicated his life to public service. And I am talking about Bill Taylor, the president trying to dismiss him, Jack, as a never-Trumper despite him being hand-picked by Pompeo, serving under both Democratic and Republican presidents. You say the White House response to this testimony has been pathetic.
TOMARCHIO: Yes. Don, I got to say that I was frankly offended by the White House press secretary yesterday said this was a smear campaign against the president. Not only that, but she said that the president is being pillared by, and I quote this, radical unelected bureaucrats. Now I assume that's an assault upon Ambassador Taylor.
If you look at Ambassador Taylor's record, here's a guy that graduated from West Point, he went in as an infantry officer into Vietnam. He was decorated. He's been a career foreign service officer for 40 years. I worked with people like this all the time. I know thousands of people like this. These people aren't political. They work for Democrats, they work for Republicans.
And you know, it's offensive to me having served in the government to see what one of my fellow public servants put up there for pillaring a guy like that when he's got an impeccable record. Deputy, assistant Deputy Secretary of State Nick Burn said the guy is a straight shooter. And everybody that has worked with him has said the same thing.
So, again, you know, there is not much substance here to the White House's attacks. They don't have the facts on their side. They don't have the law on their side. What they've got is essentially histrionics. And that's what we see, we saw it in the Hill, we see it coming from the White House. And there is just absolutely at this point unless something changes, they have got some big problems in River City.
LEMON: Well, listen. ALI: Everyone should read Ambassador Taylor's opening statement.
LEMON: Yes. Its 15 pages. Yeah, I agree with you. Take the time to read that. Listen, we didn't get a chance to talk much about what's happening in Syria, Catherine, but just on top of that. You've got Syria and you've got what's happening with Ukraine. Sources are telling CNN that some in the GOP are fed up and tired of being asked to defend the president. Do you think some of these Republicans will publicly turn on him or don't hold your breath?
RAMPELL: You know, I have not been terribly optimistic about this. I don't know how they could not be exasperated at this point, right. I mean, they have made their calculations so far.
LEMON: I think apoplectic may be.
RAMPELL: Yes. Well, whatever, you know, over the top adjective you want to use. I think they have made their calculations at this point, right, that they are either -- they are staying with Trump either because they are afraid of alienating his voters, having them call him scum, calling the politicians themselves scum and have the voters turn on them, neither will get (inaudible) from the right etcetera, or they think that they still have Trump's ear.
I think that is the case for Lindsey Graham. That is why Lindsey Graham defended the indefensible including -- whenever it was -- was it only yesterday the lynching comment, right. But maybe with something like our dereliction of duty in Syria, enabling ethnic cleansing, for example.
Maybe that would make someone like Lindsey Graham who feels like, you know what, I have nothing left to lose finally turn. I am not holding my breath, but I think that if there's anything that could, it would be these foreign policy, I would say missteps, but crimes for that matter.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. The president announcing today he is lifting sanctions on Turkey even though his own Syria envoy says Turkish-backed forces likely committed war crimes. Fareed Zakaria weighs in next.
LEMON: The president announcing today that he is lifting sanctions on Turkey claiming a big win for what a lot of people are calling a foreign policy disaster. And as his own top envoy says Turkish-backed forces likely committed war crimes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Early this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat. I have therefore instructed the secretary of the treasury to lift all sanctions imposed on October 14th. In response to Turkey's original offensive, this was an outcome created by us, the United States and nobody else. Now people are saying, wow, what a great outcome. Congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Perfect person to talk about this, Fareed Zakaria. He is the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. OK, good evening. Listen. He is taking a victory lap. Bipartisan condemnation on this. Didn't he set this whole foreign policy debacle in motion? How is he declaring a victory?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: yes, I mean, in a sense when he said this is an outcome produced by the United States, he is right. And the outcome is this. You had a stable situation in that part of Syria where the United States with a small number, a few hundred troops, was maintaining an enclave for itself, a base where it could essentially fight ISIS and people like that. It was maintaining stability and support for the Kurds. It was maintaining a barrier between the Kurds and the Turks.
So, all, you know, it was basically created a very stable situation and giving the U.S. an easy way to go and strike ISIS if it needed to at very low cost. Right? He upended the entire situation. The outcome that he is now (inaudible) is, that you have had a quarter of a million people displaced. You've had Kurds fleeing. You've had unquestionably war crimes committed. Y
You've had the United States have to air lift its troops out, destroy its own weapons caches so that they don't fall into enemy lines. Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia have carved that part of Syria for themselves. The United States is now completely absent. So you look at that and you think that is a foreign policy victory? I'd love to see what a failure looks like.
LEMON: That's a disaster, right?
ZAKARIA: Yes, look, there is an argument about getting out of Syria. I don't even, you know, that is a complicated issue, but the way in which he handled this. Look at just the thing with Turkey right now. He threatened the Turks and said don't go in.
They went in. He says I am going to impose sanctions on you if you go in. They go in and do what they wanted to. The Turks stop their military action just because they had finished, they had accomplished their goals and Trump declares victory and says all sanctions are lifted. What Donald Trump is now revealing to the world about himself is, he is a paper tiger.
He never actually follows through on any of his threats. The sanctions against Turkey were toothless. The threats against Iran have been toothless. The threats against North Korea have been toothless. He is very good at the kind of braggadocio and the bravado on the podium. But he never follows through. So the Turks were told this is a red
line, you know, do not go in. They went in. He said we are not going to send the army, but we are going to put sanctions on. The sanctions lasted, what, five days?
LEMON: Right. If that long. Yes. The Dallas morning news is reporting tonight that the Republican Texas Senator, John Cornyn, said in a call to report his quote, if Turkey was planning on coming into northern Syria and trying to ethnically cleanse the Kurds and U.S. troops were caught in the middle, I am not completely convinced that it was a bad idea to get them out of harm's way. The Kurds are our allies. Is this the length that the president's supporters is apologizing that they are going through to have to defend his policy?
ZAKARIA: Well, they've misses the point you made at the start, which was that we began this whole process. Yes, once you are in the middle of a free for all and the Turks are firing on the Kurds, should the American troops be in the middle? No, but the point is we created this conflict by signaling to the Turks we would -- Turkey has wanted to do this for five years.
(Inaudible), the former defense secretary said on my program, we used to get these calls all the time from everyone and we would just manage it. You'd just, you know, you'd get both sides to kind of agree to stay in their corners. Trump was -- you know, trump -- Erdogan, the Turkish president must not have believed his luck. He did one of these routine phone calls badgering the Americans and the president says, yes, all right, we will withdraw all troops.
LEMON: What if the president said, listen, without the conflict that happened over the last couple of days we could not have reached this deal, the conflict was needed, the lives needed to be lost.
ZAKARIA: Well, for five years you had had more stability than you have in that part of Syria. You had an American presence to be able to fight ISIS, all at virtually no cost. So, I don't understand, yes, it's true that you can only get a ceasefire after you've had fighting, but what was the fighting in (inaudible), you know?
LEMON: Right. He's saying that he did this because he wants to stop endless wars. And I am just wondering -- the fact of the matter will be, maybe, people will hear this and they will say, oh, it's a promise that the president made, promises made, promises kept.
ZAKARIA: Well, you know, it's certainly fair that he doesn't like endless wars, but there wasn't a war going on in that part of Syria. We were actually maintaining the peace. And you know, part of what Trump has turned this into is a generalized attack on America having to presence anywhere.
LEMON: He started the war in a sense.
ZAKARIA: Right. Exactly. We started, we precipitated a mini skirmish which then just ended, but he stirred this into a generalize attack on America being anywhere in the world. And you know, look, the United States has sometimes overextended
itself, has done a lot of bad things, but in a lot of parts of the world, American forces are what keep the peace. America's word is what maintains stability. American support is what has upheld democracy and the rule of law.
And to throw that all away because there are few hundred troops, this was such a small use of American power, small effective limited. You know, these troops are going to go home to Fort Bragg, or Fort (inaudible), or some place, we are still going to pay for them.
LEMON: Is that -- does he believe that or is that what he is saying? Is that what's really behind him wanting to bring that?
ZAKARIA: What does Donald Trump believe really? Do we know other than in his own --
LEMON: He is downplaying reports of ISIS prisoners escaping Kurdish jails as Turkey moved in, but just an hour earlier, this is his own envoy for Syria painting a much grimmer picture. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There were a few that got out, a small number relatively speaking. And they've been largely recaptured.
JIM JEFFREY, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA: We'd say that the number is now over a hundred. We do not know where they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, who's right?
ZAKARIA: Well, of course the ambassador's right. You know, the point is it's not even what's happened in the past. Here is the problem. What we do know about ungoverned spaces in the Middle East is the bad guys do come there. The United States tends to be target number one. So it's quite likely that in the future in one of these ungoverned spaces since we have withdrawn, and it is more chaotic, you are going to get some group of bad guys who are going to have plans to attack America or Americans.
And here is the problem. We won't be able to use the Kurds to do the fighting. American men and women will have to go in, because we had this great infantry that we used in combination with our air power and intelligence. They would do the fighting which it made a lot of sense because they knew the lay of the land, they spoke the language. They were not seen as occupiers, but we can't use them anymore.
So the next time this happens, because of what Trump had, look at the last 20 years. Because of what Donald Trump has done, it's likely, it's more likely that American men and women will have to go and do the hand to hand fighting. LEMON: Wow. Thank you. Always a pleasure. Be sure to tune in Friday
night at 9:00. Fareed Zakaria investigates impeachment and its role in our democracy with the CNN Special Report, on the brink when a president faces impeachment. And make sure you catch "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Sundays, 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. as well.
Remember when then candidate Trump said this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters. OK? It's like incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, the president's lawyer is going even further. You have got to hear what he is saying would happen if President Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue.
LEMON: Remember when then candidate Trump said this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's like incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yeah, it's like incredible because in federal court today, one of the president's lawyers is making the argument that if he did shoot someone while in office, he couldn't be charged for it.
So joining me now to discuss are Shimon Prokupecz and also Jennifer Rodgers.
Good evening to both of you. Shimon, I want to play this audio of the discussion between -- this is Chief Judge Robert Katzmann and the attorney for President Trump. Watch this.
LEV PARNAS, ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: Many false things have been said about me and my family in the press and media recently. I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court. And I'm certain that in time, the truth will be revealed and I will be vindicated.
ROBERT KATZMANN, CHIEF UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT (voice-over): What's your view on the Fifth Avenue example? Local authorities couldn't investigate. They couldn't do anything about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I think once a president is removed from office, any local authority -- this is not a permanent immunity.
KATZMANN (voice-over): Well, I'm talking about while in office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): No --
KATZMANN (voice-over): That's the hypo. Nothing could be done. That's your position?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): That is correct. That is correct.
LEMON: For the first part, that was Lev Parnas. We are going to talk about that in a little bit. That's Lev and then there's Igor.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Igor Fruman.
LEMON: All right. Got it. So that infamous boast from the president has now turned into an actual legal argument in court. So what's going on?
PROKUPECZ: Yeah. Today, they were in court to argue about the taxes. Of course, the Manhattan DA's office is trying to get the taxes. The president's lawyers are saying, no, you can't get them. The president is entitled to essentially immunity. He can't be prosecuted. Specifically they are arguing while he is in office. And so today, they went before the appeals court.
It's funny, this idea of immunity. The judge, as you heard there, this came at the end of the almost 50-minute hearing where the judge said to him, OK, so let's look at this hypothetical using the president's own words and said if the president was to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, could investigators not do anything? And his attorney essentially said, no, not while he is in office, unless he is impeached.
LEMON: All right. Let's read this up from the attorney because this is where we are going. Attorney in Vance's office posts a question. This is for Jennifer. "If he did pull out a handgun and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, would the local police be restrained? Would we have to wait for impeachment?"
I mean, the argument is to say that there are limits on presidential immunity even while in office. What kind of legal precedent is there for this on either side? What is going on?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So the president's position is it is not only that he can be prosecuted while he is president, he can even be investigated. I mean, they're saying that local prosecutors can't do anything. They can't issue any subpoena, they can't start any criminal process against the president, whatsoever. So --
LEMON: So who is supposed to do that? RODGERS: Well, nobody is going to do it. That's the point. So we know that the office of legal counsel has said that, you know, federal authorities can't charge the president. You can investigate the president in theory, but they are now saying local prosecutors can't do anything at all.
So the point of the EDA (ph) was well, listen, so literally he picks up a gun and shoots someone. Are the police not even allowed now to interview eye witnesses? I mean, where we are taking this? This is why there is absolutely no legal precedent for that position whatsoever.
It goes way, way beyond anything that has ever been done or even suggested before, which is by the way why even Bill Barr's Department of Justice is not behind that position. So they are going to lose. The question is, you know, what is the Supreme Court do when they get it?
LEMON: So basically the president is above the law they are arguing?
RODGERS: Well, he is the president. That is what they are saying.
LEMON: What does that have to do with his taxes?
RODGERS: Well, so the D.A.'s office has issued a subpoena for the taxes and they are saying, you can't issue the subpoena, the subpoena has to be --
PROKUPECZ: I guess the thing in listening to these judges, these questions and the arguments is I think they even found some of this kind of ridiculous. I mean, these are high-level judges. They are not going to show any kind of emotion.
PROKUPECZ: But I think that hypothetical in listening to what went on here today, you can tell that they do not believe that the law is on the president's side here. They essentially ended the hearing by saying, you know, I think we are going to see you guys, you guys are all going to see each other in Washington, because everyone fully expects that this is going to go to the Supreme Court, whether or not they take it up.
But at least you can tell from these judges today they were not on the president's side on this argument. It certainly seemed that way.
LEMON: Gees, all the litigation that's going on with this. It is unbelievable. And keeping up with these names, I'm like wait a minute, is that Igor or Lev?
We saw just a little bit of it before. Two of Rudy Giuliani's associates indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. elections are pleading not guilty. This is Lev Parnas just after the hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PARNAS: Many false things have been said about me and my family in the press and media recently. I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court. And I'm certain that in time, the truth will be revealed and I will be vindicated. In the end, I put my faith in God. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here today was Parnas's attorney arguing that some of the evidence against him could be subject to executive privilege. What did you make of that move? Is there -- I don't know. Is this a legal thing? Can you --
RODGERS: So it's interesting. So the prosecutor said that there is a lot of discovery here. There are some 50 bank accounts they were looking into, some dozen search warrants. So they have a lot of material to turn over.
And Parnas's attorney tried to say, well, we don't know, there may be executive privilege which really raises two issues. One, there is no way in the world that legally that is going to hold up whatsoever because it's too many people removed from the president.
But secondly, are they now saying that the president actually has some involvement in the campaign finance violations that have been charged? We know that the president is involved in the whole Rudy Giuliani, you know, running around with these guys in the Ukraine, but is he also involved in this? That's why it was so puzzling when they brought this up today.
LEMON: Parnas's attorney at one point told the court the following: He says, "Mr. Parnas was using Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer. Some of the companies were using Rudy Giuliani as their lawyer. And then we had the issue of Mr. Giuliani working as personal attorney to the president."
U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken then asked him, "So he was working for Mr. Giuliani, and Mr. Giuliani worked for him?" OK. He didn't answer the question here, the attorney for Parnas in court. But he later told reporters yes to both. Does that mean Parnas is saying that he -- that he worked for the --
PROKUPECZ: Patience (ph). That probably captured some things that were information related to the president, some of the information that Rudy Giuliani perhaps are sharing with the president. So prosecutors have set up a filter team. They have set up a team to review all of these communications. It's a very bizarre argument. It certainly caught everyone --
LEMON: But didn't the president say he had no idea who Parnas and Igor were?
PROKUPECZ: Right, even though there are pictures with --
LEMON: Right. PROKUPECZ: -- the president and these men. The other thing is Parnas has paid -- and this is a big thing in this investigation -- pain Rudy Giuliani half a million dollars, $500,000 from Parnas to Rudy Giuliani. What's that about, right? So, all of that is part of the investigation. It's a weird argument. I think it caught all of us by surprise, this idea that there was some kind of executive privilege.
LEMON: That's got to be the last word. Thank you both. I appreciate it. The president today is saying that he is building a wall in Colorado, as in his border wall in Colorado. But facts first, Colorado is not on the southern border.
LEMON: The president is making a speech in Pittsburgh today, and I've got to assume that he went off script because he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we are building a wall on the border of New Mexico, and we are building a wall in Colorado. We are building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works that you can't get over, you can't get under.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So joining me now is CNN's resident fact-checker, Mr. Daniel. Dale --
LEMON: Sorry. Daniel --
LEMON: All right. Facts first. Colorado isn't on the border with Mexico.
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: It is not.
LEMON: So obviously the border wall isn't being constructed in Colorado unless there is something we don't know. But we do know the current status of Trump's border wall. What do we know about it? Is anything new being constructed?
DALE: No. So the last data we have from the government is through September. That data says that 69 miles of replacement barriers had been constructed in place of what they call the lapidated and outdated barriers. But zero new miles have been built where barriers did not exist before.
LEMON: OK. So he told another one of his -- what you call his "sir," S-I-R stories today. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We revoked the ridiculous waters of the United States rule. When I did that, I had people in my office. I had miners and I had farmers and I had builders building homes. And many of them were tough, strong men and women, and almost all of them were crying. They said, sir, you have given our life back to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So tough men and women crying. What is the issue with the claim and give the low-down on the "sir" story, please?
DALE: So, Don, Trump has a habit of telling stories in which unnamed people call him "sir." Through my fact-checking, I found that almost all "sir" stories are false in some way. The word "sir" is tell like in poker.
Now there is a subset of "sir" story that involves crying people. These are usually big, burly, tough, muscular, strong, central casting men who in private in some setting approached Trump, call him "sir" and then profusely thank him while crying for saving the country or saving their life.
These are hard to fact-check because he situates most of them backstage or in places where there are no witnesses. But in this case, the Waters of the United States signing (ph), we actually have video. This was an event that was filmed by the White House and others. And when you watch the video, you see that no one was crying at all. People were smiling, people were happy. And so this is completely made up.
LEMON: Yes, sir. So here's another claim from today. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are now energy independent. Who would have thought that? That wasn't going to happen for a long time. We have ended the war on American energy. In the process, we set off an economic boom of truly historic proportions, bringing prosperity back to cities and to towns all across America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what is this war on energy? What is he talking about? Is this like "The War on Christmas?"
DALE: Well -- basically. So the Obama administration did do more regulating various energy sectors than the Trump administration has. They wanted to get the U.S. out of coal in particular. But energy production boomed under Obama.
The U.S. set records in natural gas production. We had the shale boom. It became number one in the world in petroleum production. So the idea that this was a war rather than some regulation at the margins is simply unfounded.
LEMON: Daniel Dale, thank you, sir.
DALE: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: It's been a common refrain from President Trump. He is not using his presidency to promote his properties. These weeks, well, he is going so far as to thrash the part of the Constitution that says he cannot profit from his office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't run my business. I actually put all the stuff in trusts. They run my -- and I didn't have to do that. I've been under no obligation to do it. I don't think you people with this phony emoluments clause -- and by the way, I would say that it has cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Comments are coming after the president was forced to reverse his decision to host the G-7 summit at his Doral golf resort in Florida, after blistering criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
And now new questions are emerging about his two-day trip to Ireland in June, where he stayed at his Doonbeg golf resort. The Irish Times reporting that Doonbeg billed the Irish police tasked with protecting the president to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are the invoices. This one shows the Irish police were billed nearly $120,000. All of that simply for catering costs. One of the specific charges, 875 Euro for, quote, additional tea and coffee due to inclement weather. That's more than $900 for storm-induced tea and coffee.
About $400,000 was spent on the catering for the president's trip shared among Doonbeg and 10 other companies. That means more than a fourth of the catering costs went to Doonbeg, which brings me back to the president's desire to host the G-7 at Doral.
Here's how the acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tried to defend that decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surely there were other places that this could be held, and you can't make the argument that the president is not going to profit because we can't know how much he might profit in the future, right?
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Yeah. To your first point, again, he's not making any money off of this, just like he's not making any money from working here. And if you think it's going to help his brand, that's great, but I would suggest that he probably doesn't need much help promoting his brand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So the Trump administration would have you believe the president doesn't need much help promoting his brand. But The Washington Post reported this headline in May. "Trump's prized Doral resort is in steep decline, according to company documents, showing business problems are mounting."
And on Doonbeg, the Post says, "Doonbeg has never reported turning a profit, losing more than $1 million every year from 2014 to 2017, according to Irish corporate records."
It sounds a lot like a little promotion might not be so bad after all, which is why it was even more head-scratching when Mulvaney said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business. And he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The president of the United States still considers himself to be in the hospitality business. That's exactly why the emoluments clause isn't phony, why the founders set it up the way they did, because the only business interests the president of the United States is supposed to be concerned with is the people's business and American interests.
LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.