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CNN TONIGHT

Key White House Official To Leave Post After His Testimony; Former White House Hawk Will Testify Only With A Subpoena; Republicans Watching Closely The House Dems' Votes; House Set To Vote On Resolution Allowing Public Impeachment Hearings; Obamas Speak Out About Racism And Making Change; Acting DHS Secretary Could Stay On Longer As White House Eyes Loophole To Make Cuccinelli Successor. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 30, 2019 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The question is, good step? The Trump campaign calls it an attempt to silence conservatives. How? When it all ads that they're doing this too.

But anyway, be on the lookout because while this may have been nothing for Twitter other than a jab at Zuckerberg and company, it could set off First Amendment litigation and make Twitter itself a target of its biggest troll, this president.

All right. Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT with the man, D. Lemon, starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I admire what they're doing. I think it's a good thing. I think it's a good thing. You take the ads out of it, and then you don't have to deal with the fakeness of anything.

Well, you have to deal with the trolls and all of that. That's the next thing I think that they should deal with and the bots. They should check to make sure that everybody -- every person who pretends to be a person or whatever, every account is actually owned by a legitimate person. And I wish that everyone who is on there had to give their real identity. That would be great.

CUOMO: So, answer this, Mr. I trample all over the law.

LEMON: That's not -- that's not the law.

CUOMO: My ads are all fair.

LEMON: That's not the law. It's a private company.

CUOMO: My ads are all fair. You are excluding my ads. You are chilling my First Amendment rights.

LEMON: No. Start your own platform. Put your ads on it. You can put your ads on your own web site.

CUOMO: But you are clearly in the public domain. LEMON: No.

CUOMO: And you are putting on other ads and solicitations and you should on minus two.

LEMON: No. We don't put ads even on this network if we don't think that they are -- if they live up to the --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You're a public company.

LEMON: Nope.

CUOMO: You have rights and responsibilities.

LEMON: If they don't live up to the standard, if they don't live up to the standard. And guess what? You're not discriminating against anyone because you're not putting any ads on. So, I'm not putting -- I'm not putting --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But I want my ads on.

LEMON: Well, then go somewhere else. This is not right to have --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But you're a public company.

LEMON: No. It's not, it's not your right to have. It's not your right.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Where is the public company?

LEMON: If you want to put an ad on, then go get your own web site. You can start one. It's free. The internet is free. You can open your own web site, and you put your own ad on. And that's your --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You're chilling my speech for a public company.

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: CNN weekend do that. We can't say we are just playing no ads or some ads. If you are going to do it at all --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: If the ad does not live up to the standards of this network, we do not air them.

CUOMO: True.

LEMON: And so.

CUOMO: But they're saying that they're not doing any testing. They're just going to not let any.

LEMON: Well then that's it, then you won't discriminate against anyone because you're treating everyone equally.

CUOMO: That is their best case to make going forward is that we won't let any of them on.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And who is the attorney here?

CUOMO: Me, clearly. But I'll tell you what, I'm suspicious.

LEMON: I'm going to start calling it instead of closing argument, losing argument, take the c off. But go ahead.

CUOMO: No, no, no. That was the bolo by the way.

LEMON: Sorry. Sorry.

CUOMO: Thanks for watching the show. And just like that an empty chair. But what I'm saying is this.

LEMON: I just dropped my pen. Did you hear it? Can somebody grab my pen?

CUOMO: I didn't hear it. I was too busy laughing at what you had said before that.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: What I think is going to happen here is social media companies have to take responsibility for what's there. They just do. Zuckerberg is making a mistake here, and I bet you in time they change.

LEMON: You think they'll change? I don't know. I just like it because I'd like to take as much of the craziness out of Twitter and the hate and the fakeness, and I wish Facebook would do the same. I wish Facebook would have some sort of standard.

CUOMO: Where is it worse in your opinion?

LEMON: Well, I think Twitter is more toxic when it comes to immediate feedback and their policies. Like they never -- when you report someone, they always say this didn't rise to the level of -- so then what does?

But I think as far as news value, I think Facebook is probably worse because people actually believe that Facebook is a real news site, and they believe the fake ads that are on Facebook and I have people passing them on to me all the time. I even have people on Twitter saying, did you see -- I can't believe

you, Don Lemon, you're not even running the video of Joe Biden bragging about getting rid of the person at Burisma. And it's like, well, of course he did. The entire western world wanted this person to get what's --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But he never mentioned his son.

LEMON: But he never mentioned his son. But they don't say, why aren't you running that? Because it's a bunch of B.S. that's why we don't.

CUOMO: Yes. I think you're spot on about it, that Facebook is taken much more seriously as a news source by people.

LEMON: I will say this. I can't remember the last time I've been on Facebook because of the toxicity. I rarely if ever go on Twitter because of the toxicity. Usually if I update, I update through Instagram because Instagram is -- it started becoming that way, but Instagram is -- it's a -- it has better mechanisms for weeding out the trolls and the people that you don't want on your pages.

But I don't go on Twitter. I don't go on Facebook because there are just no standards there, and it's just, honestly, they're cesspools right now.

CUOMO: You still have me blocked by the way?

LEMON: No. I never followed you. So.

CUOMO: You shouldn't. The discourse is way to highbrow.

LEMON: I got big news to get to.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

LEMON: You had a great show, though. Thank you, Chris. I'll see you later. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: All right, brother. I love you. Take care.

LEMON: I love you too.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And this could be really the biggest name to testify, OK? House Democrats asking John Bolton to testify next week in the impeachment inquiry.

[22:05:01]

The president's former national security adviser, who was in the Oval Office pretty much every day, who is mentioned multiple times in the testimony that we heard, who either quit or was fired depending on who you believe. Clearly knows a lot more than he is saying so far. Of course, all of these hinges on whether or not Bolton actually

testifies. His lawyer says that he won't appear without a subpoena, and his former right-hand man, Charles Kupperman, who shares the same attorney, is refusing to comply with the subpoena, asking a judge to rule whether he has to.

And then there's more tonight from the explosive testimony, that testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. Two sources in the room telling CNN's Jake Tapper that Vindman told Congress that he is convinced, convinced that President Trump personally blocked some $400 million, million dollars we're talking here, in military aid to Ukraine. Personally blocked it in order to force Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens.

And that testimony shows you just how all of this fits together, OK? How it all goes together. How each deposition builds on what came before.

Today Catherine Croft, a special adviser on Ukraine, testifying about a video conference. This video conference was on July 18th where she was told Mick Mulvaney had placed a hold on aid to Ukraine and saying, quote, "The only reason given was that the order came at the direction of the president."

That backs up Bill Taylor. Remember Bill Taylor? He referenced the same video conference in his own opening statement last week, saying, quote, "All that the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the president to the chief of -- to the chief of staff to OMB."

Now, I've said it before. You've got to wonder whether the president's defenders really want testimony like this in open hearings, on live TV. After all, the televised Senate Watergate committee hearing had so much impact politically and culturally that we still remember moments like these 46 years later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency, and if the cancer was not removed, the president himself would be killed by it. I also told him that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: They actually want open hearings or not, a source tells CNN that Bill Taylor is willing to testify in public. His written statement was a blockbuster so he could be a star witness here.

We've also learned that Tim Morrison, Time Morrison is the top National Security Council official, he is set to testify tomorrow, though that will be behind closed doors.

And in an interesting coincidence, OK, or maybe not, Morrison is leaving his job soon. A senior administration official says he's, quote, "decided to pursue other opportunities."

That as the president is begging his Republican allies to defend him, tweeting today, "Republicans go with substance and close it out."

And how is that working out for him? A source in the room for Colonel Vindman's testimony says New York Republican Lee Zeldin tried to suggest that Vindman was up to no good by meeting with Ukrainian officials even though that is literally part of his job as a top White House expert on Ukraine.

If you're going to be an expert on Ukraine, wouldn't you have to talk to Ukrainians? Not exactly going with substance, is it? More like unsubstantiated smears, Lee Zeldin and others.

The congressman going on to suggest that Vindman thought the president's order to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens was improper only because it wouldn't be to Ukraine's benefit.

Vindman insisting that he believed that the order was wrong. Congressman Zeldin claiming to CNN that the source's description was untrue and doubling down on the GOP's focus on process over substance, saying that the hearings should be televised. They should be televised live.

Like I said, better be careful what you wish for. The House holding its first vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry tomorrow, so look for that. Democrats say open hearings could begin before Thanksgiving.

So how are other Republicans responding to the president's demand that they defend him with substance? Well, they're pretty much avoiding talking about the president's so-called perfect call with Ukraine and doubling down on, you guessed it, complaining about the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: No due process now. Maybe some later but only if we feel like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been an unfair process.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Speaker Pelosi needs to end this infatuation with impeachment.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It's a star chamber-type inquiry, and it's a substantial deviation from what the House has done in the past.

[22:10:02]

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm asking about the substance of what he said. He said that --

(CROSSTALK)

REP. MO BROOKS (R-LA): That doesn't make any difference. We don't know whether what he said is true or not because of the sham process that's being used. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: None of the substance. None of what the -- the testimony, nothing. The process. Wow.

And then we can go -- there's the latest from Rudy Giuliani. Here's Rudy again, contradicting himself in what you might call the case of Rudy versus Rudy. It's usually Trump versus Trump, right? There's a sound bite from just -- even in the same sound bite, he contradicts himself.

But this is Rudy versus Rudy, the president's loose cannon of an attorney, who has been lying low really for some time now, taking to Twitter today in response to this from Trump's Russia ambassador pick, John Sullivan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): You were aware that there were individuals and forces outside of the State Department seeking to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch, is that correct?

JOHN SULLIVAN, FORMER ACTING UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I was.

MENENDEZ: And that, and t seeking to remove her, is that correct?

SULLIVAN: I was.

MENENDEZ: And did you know Mr. Giuliani was one of those people?

SULLIVAN: I believed he was, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Giuliani slamming Sullivan, claiming he doesn't know what he's talking about and insisting all the information he obtained came from interviews he conducted as he worked as private defense counsel to the president, which is not at all what he said to Fox News just last month. Rudy versus Rudy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: You know who I did it at the request of? The State Department. I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Rudy versus Rudy. I like that. Rudy versus Rudy. So, who was he working for? Who are you working for? The State Department or the president?

And bear in mind that hearing with John Sullivan today was not even part of the impeachment inquiry. That was Sullivan's confirmation hearing, his televised confirmation hearing. So, like I said, Republicans, you should be careful what you wish for. This is a taste of what will be coming from public hearings.

A big day tomorrow as the House is gearing up for its first vote on the impeachment inquiry, and today -- and tonight, I should say, Nancy Pelosi says she's gotten a good report from her whip. So, what are the next steps in this? We're going to discuss. Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Lizza, next.

[22:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, tomorrow is shaping up to be a big day in the impeachment inquiry. The House voting on a resolution that sets up the rules for public hearings. That as President Trump's top National Security Council official for Europe testifies behind closed doors.

I want to bring in now Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Lizza.

Gents, good evening. Thank you so much.

Ryan, Tim Morrison, he's the NSC's senior director of Europe and Russia, expected to testify tomorrow, as I said. CNN is now reporting that he is leaving his job soon. Does that tell us anything about his likely testimony?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the timing is certainly, you know, a little bit unusual. And these witnesses have had more flexibility to go up there if they're not working in the administration than if they are.

You know, if your boss is working -- if you're working in the White House and your boss in the White House says you're not going to testify, you can't do it. Now, he's not left yet, and he is still testifying --

LEMON: Yes.

LIZZA: -- but you have to see what his testimony is. I don't want to speculate. But it might suggest that after his testimony, maybe he won't feel so welcome in the White House anymore, or he may have been pushed out because they're not -- they want him to be a fall guy because they're concerned about his testimony. So, I think we're right to be suspicious and intrigued by the timing, though.

LEMON: Yes, the timing is suspicious. Listen, he's saying -- Matthew, he's saying that it may be untenable, and I'm sure you can agree with that.

Let's talk about John Bolton, though, right? John Bolton is invited to testify next week. His lawyer is telling CNN that he won't do it without a subpoena. Will he show if he gets one, do you think, and what will he say? Who knows? I forget someone was calling him -- I think it was Mark McKinnon, the big white shark, right, because it may bite everybody.

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This is a guy who is not happy. That was clear. He wanted no part of this Ukraine thing. I think he referred to it as a drug deal at one point --

LEMON: Right.

ROSENBERG: -- according to another witness. Look, we're going to find out kind of which is supreme here. Is the congressional subpoena supreme, or is the president invoking privilege?

Bolton is represented by a lawyer that also represents Bolton's former deputy. They are already going to court because they are in the same situation. The guy have been subpoenaed. There's this, you know, the president saying, no, you can't testify. They're going to find out. The court's going to rule at some point.

I mean, does Bolton have a lot to say? I think so. Does he want to? I don't know what's in his head but the guy clearly has a lot to say.

LEMON: And if he does, I mean, it could be -- especially considering what the testimony has been and the readout of the phone call, what have you, John Bolton could be a really interesting witness for --

(CROSSTALK)

ROSENBERG: He was in the room for everything, you know.

LEMON: Yes. Ryan, Rudy Giuliani has been laying low recently. You know, I talked about it in my opening take here. Now he's taking to Twitter. He's talking about everything that he did. He's saying he was Trump's personal attorney, wrapping himself around the president. Is that what he's doing? Is that going to work?

LIZZA: You know, it seems like what's happened with Rudy is he's suddenly become very defensive, right? He's no longer aggressive, no longer going on offense, trying to smear the Bidens as much.

LEMON: So, he's a victim now.

LIZZA: Well, it seems like he might -- he might be trying to refashion his role to comport with whatever is going on with what's been purported to be a criminal investigation out of New York.

[22:20:06]

So that's, you know, that's one way I read his comments is maybe he thinks for whatever reason, arguing that he was strictly Trump's personal attorney, not this, you know, State Department special envoy, which he's sort of argued in the past, maybe he --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, that's what he said. He said on television, you know I was working with the State Department. They told me to do it.

LIZZA: Look, he's like -- he's like Trump. He says a lot of things, many of which are not true. And when he speaks, it's usually -- if it has -- if it has -- if it accords with the truth, it's often just coincidental, right? I mean he just -- you know, we've seen him in recent interviews.

So, I do -- but I do think that ever since the criminal investigation was reported, he has changed his demeanor a little bit and seems a lot more concerned and a lot more trying to hug Trump as a life raft and not try and do, you know, as Bolton called it, you know, the drug deal. He seems unconcerned with Ukraine any more and more concerned with saving his own skin.

LEMON: Yes. When his two associates being arrested that his whole, everything is sort of, has changed with him.

Matthew, Jake Tapper, my colleague, has had some excellent reporting on this, saying that a source is saying that Vindman was convinced that President Trump personally withheld that $400 million to force Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden or into the Bidens. I mean, this puts this directly to the president. That is a big deal.

ROSENBERG: It's a huge deal. I mean that's -- that's the quid pro quo that everybody has been saying, well there wasn't one. There has to be one.

LEMON: You know, I hate that phrase. You know I do, let's call it what it is, a shakedown or extortion.

ROSENBERG: Fair enough. Fair enough. I mean, that puts the president directly in the middle of this. And at some point, you know, the people who are defending him are going to have to decide are they OK with it or not. They're going to have to defend it on its merits.

You know, you've got the House vote tomorrow. At some point you can't go over the process, and you have to decide if this is something you want. And this is not how most countries do business, not how most presidents have done -- not how any president that we know of has done business in the past. And is that how you want foreign policy conducted?

LEMON: Yes. Quick question I have to ask, if you can answer quickly. Is this, you know -- I seem to think, Ryan, this is the court of public opinion. Will it matter? Because remember, the Mueller report was actually pretty damning except in the court of public opinion. How is that going to play when it comes to this impeachment inquiry or impeachment?

LIZZA: Well, the Mueller report, I think, partly was the way it was presented in this very dense, long document that was then spun by the attorney general in that he got the first bite out of the apple, and it really left Democrats having a difficult time explaining what the alleged crimes were in the report.

Where we're going with impeachment -- and I do think it is very important for the Democrats to be impeccable in process. I know a lot of the process concerns have been, you know, not great arguments. But for -- remember, the jury is Republicans in the Senate, right?

If you're prosecuting a case, you know, you don't -- you don't get to choose your jury. You have to fashion your argument and the evidence towards that jury. And I don't really see the Democrats doing that yet. I see them -- and I know it is early, and just to come back to your question. This is all going to be in a public trial eventually in the United States Senate.

LEMON: Got it.

LIZZA: It's all going to be laid out. It's going to be solemn, and a lot of the B.S. and spin that's going on recently is going to be a little bit more difficult to pull off.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

ROSENBERG: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Key Republican senators warning that colleagues not to try to jam through a motion to dismiss the impeachment case quickly. What else they're saying behind closed doors. That's next.

[22:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, the House set to vote tomorrow on the impeachment resolution expanding the inquiry significantly. Key Republican senators saying tonight they'll conduct a full trial if the House votes on articles of impeachment and that a quick dismissal of the case on a partisan vote is not a smart move for the GOP.

A lot to discuss. Charlie Dent, former Republican congressman is here, as well as Alice Stewart. Hello to both. Let's see. Charlie, you first.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.

LEMON: Hello. Charlie, you first. So far, the Republicans who are speaking out on impeachment are focused on the process, not the substance, right?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

LEMON: Will that strategy work after tomorrow's first full House vote?

DENT: No, Don, I don't think so. I learned a long time ago in politics if I'm arguing process, it means that the policy is working against me, or in this case they're arguing -- they're arguing process and procedure because the facts are simply against them.

I mean, yes, you can storm the SCIF. You can introduce meaningless resolutions in the senate complaining about the House, which is a first by the way. It's usually the House complaining about the Senate being too slow and the filibuster rules. This is kind of interesting.

The bottom line is those are meaningless gestures and at some point, they're going to have to address the facts and the substance of the issue, and the facts are bad for president.

LEMON: Well, Pelosi says, Charlie, that she's gotten a good report from her whip on the vote tomorrow. Any reason to doubt that she has the votes?

DENT: No. I mean, Nancy Pelosi, you know, say what you will about her, but she's really good at counting votes, and she would not bring that resolution to the House floor tomorrow if she did not have the votes. If that vote were to be postponed, that would be a bad signal. But she's bringing it up. That means she has the votes, and it will pass.

[22:29:58]

LEMON: Alice, the president is practically begging Republicans to defend him on the substance. He maintains this call was perfect. You've heard him say it over and over. The call was perfect. But as one GOP source told our Jaime (inaudible), how to do you defend the indefensibility? What do you say to that?

STEWART: Well, it's one thing for the president to say the call was completely above board and followed all the letters of the law. But when you have someone like Vindman come out and question the accuracy of the transcript of the call that raises questions.

And, look, I think what we're going to see moving forward, we'll continue to see Republicans question the process moving forward, because when you have the facts and law on your side, you pound the facts and law on the table. When you don't have the facts and law on your side, you pound the table. And that is what we're going to continue to see.

But here's the thing. Republicans asked for the House to bring this to the floor for a vote, to have full and open transparency. That's exactly what they're getting. We're putting this out there, getting the information out there for all to see. I think that's important. But mark my word, we're going to see Nancy Pelosi is good at math. She has the numbers. I expect to see the House vote for impeachment and while Adam Schiff is driving this full speed down the highway towards impeachment, he will hit a brick wall when it goes to the Senate.

You talked earlier about the court of public opinion. Well, the court of the Senate is really what matters here, and they are not going to vote to convict. So we're going to spend a lot of time like we did with the Mueller report putting out a lot of information, and it may get through the House, but the Senate is not going to move forward with this.

LEMON: So, listen, the question that I asked earlier about the quick dismissal, Alice, they may not vote to convict. But a quick dismissal, they're saying, will be bad for the GOP.

STEWART: Look, I think the most important thing we can do is to put all the information out there. Don, I've said a million times what he said on the phone call was inappropriate and ill advised. Whether or not it's worthy of impeachment remains to be seen. The Senate led by Mitch McConnell is pretty much --

LEMON: At this point -- let me ask you this, Alice. I'm not cutting you off. I do want you to continue. But -- because -- more information is coming out. You know, Vindman is saying now that he believes that it was -- the president was asking for a favor, and he was holding back the aid. Jake Tapper's reporting about the aid being held back and so on and so forth.

What if other information continues to come out? Do you think still, even if it's damning, even if it's more credible witnesses, you think the Senate will still say, you know, I'm not going to do it regardless of what's on the table of the evidence?

STEWART: I don't, Don. Look, to your point, if more damning information comes out, I think any Senator would be foolish not to vote to convict. But what we have now, what we know right now and what we're hearing from the Republican-led Senate, what we have on the table right now, they would not move forward with voting to convict.

But, yes, if something further comes out and it does prove to be much more damning for the president, I see them moving forward. But given the facts that we have right now and what we're hearing from them, that's not going to happen.

LEMON: I don't disagree with you on that. And even if more damning evidence comes out, I think they may consider it, but I don't know if they will -- because I think they've dug in their heels, but we shall see. We'll see.

Charlie, you know, there are very vocal defenders like Congressman Jim Jordan and others, and then there are Republicans like the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, making every effort to avoid answering substantive questions. This is him today. Watch. Yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: lieutenant Colonel Vindman says that what he heard on the president's call, that conversation with the Ukrainian leader was so concerning that he worried it might undermine U.S. national security. Does it concern you? Are you worried about the president's behavior at all?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Look, I'm not going to question patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward. The action is in the House now. I think the vote that they're now going to have to open the impeachment inquiry will be very interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what did you make of these allegations?

MCCONNELL: I said I'm not going to comment on the merits of what's going forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was yesterday by the way. I said today. But even leadership doesn't want to go there. He is making every effort not to say anything, Charlie.

DENT: Well, yeah. I think the safe position for many Senators is to simply say we're going to be jurors in this matter, and we'll have a lot to say about this matter after the trial, after the Senate trial. That's what they're going to do. Look, they can't -- they know they can't defend the indefensible.

And by the way, if I were a House member right now, rather than make these silly arguments about process or try to make, you know, fools of themselves attacking these witnesses, the best thing for them to say is just acknowledge the president's conduct is really atrocious and quite bad. The issue is, does this rise to the level of impeachment, and that's probably their best argument to say that we should have an election to settle this, because I think they just can't defend the behavior.

But McConnell, I think, is smart not to try to weigh in on this or any Senator because they're just going to look silly if they try to defend this, and they know it.

[22:35:07]

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

The former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: New details is coming out about key testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Joining me now is Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm delighted to be here, Don.

LEMON: I juts -- I want to get your reaction to Colonel Vindman telling Congressional investigators that he was convinced that President Trump was blocking hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe Biden and his family. As more evidence like this comes out, do you think impeachment and removal will be successful?

JARRETT: Well, I think we have to wait and see how the process unfolds. I think he made a very compelling case, and I want to compliment him. You know, it takes a lot of courage when you're in the military to contradict the commander-in-chief, and it shows he puts patriotism first, country first, and that's what we should expect actually from everyone who is serving in the administration. But it's tough to do, particularly in this climate.

[22:40:20]

LEMON: What do you think about the people who are trying to sully his reputation? JARRETT: Well, it's outrageous. And his reputation stands for itself.

I think the fact that --

LEMON: Or question his patriotism really, sorry.

JARRETT: Well, his patriotism, his service, undermining him. All of the ridiculously hostile, untrue things that they're saying diminishes them and frankly, it gave us a chance to get to know him better. And I think the press has done a terrific job of describing his background and how he served our country so honorably. And so, I think that has hopefully lifted him up. And in the end I'm sure that he's confident he did what was right for our country. And that's his ultimate duty of office.

LEMON: This current president is very open about his grievances against Democrats. President Obama also had strong opposition from Republicans during his administration. Never found himself in the position that Donald Trump finds himself in now. Why is that?

JARRETT: Well, I think they're like night and day if you ask me, Don. Obviously President Obama focused on the country and his sworn duty to look out for the country. He was all about we, and I think this president is all about I. He was about us. This president is about me. And I think that shows.

LEMON: He didn't give him any ammunition. This president gives all -- he's giving the ammunition to Democrats to ask -- to call for an impeachment inquiry. President Obama never did that.

JARRETT: Of course not. I mean we're very proud that throughout his administration, he did not have any scandals. He was very selective of the people that he chose to surround himself with, both in his cabinet and the White House. I think we all were there for the greater purpose of trying to be a force for good and improve our country, and it wasn't about us, as I said. It was about all of you, the American people.

LEMON: You know, a couple things I want to get in, so let's try to do it before we run out of time. You were at the Obama foundation event yesterday.

JARRETT: Yes.

LEMON: This is the former president. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the word, wrong verb, or then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, man, you see how woke I was? I called you out.

(LAUGHTER)

Let me get on TV, watch my show, watch grown-ish. You know, that's not -- that's not activism. That's not bringing about change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Listen, he's saying there's no perfect person. Stop looking for people, especially leaders, to be perfect, because they aren't. Sometimes good people do -- good people are flawed as well. And who is that message for, you think?

JARRETT: Well, I think it's reflective of the kind of culture we're seeing right now. Look, he's urging us all to do better, to not rely on tweeting at one another, but talking to one another. And I think the fact that yesterday he was surrounded by 400 people from around the globe, 40-plus different countries, all over our country, many, many more people watching online, all who are committed to trying to be forces for good in their own community, who are doing the hard work, who are willing and curious to listen to one another, Don, and engage and learn from one another.

LEMON: OK.

JARRETT: And I think President Obama was appealing to our better selves and say let's do better.

LEMON: I don't want to cut you off. I just want to get this in, because this is the former first lady. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE U.S.: But unbeknownst to us, we grew up in the period, as I write, called white flight. That as families like ours, upstanding families like ours, you know, who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better, as we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented. And I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world, because, you know, I want to remind white folks that you all were running from us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So she says white Americans are still running from minority communities. We still have that far to go, do you think?

JARRETT: We still have a long way to go. That's not to say we haven't made progress. But I think who better than Michelle Obama to say that I am the person you are so afraid of, and really? Really should you be afraid of me? And the other thing point that she made yesterday, which was so important, Don, she said her mother always said, look, I raised these two children, and they've done great things. But there are plenty of young folks in our community who are just as smart, just as talented, and what they lack is opportunity.

[22:45:08] And that was another part of, I think, Michelle Obama's powerful

message is that there are a lot of kids out there that just need a break. They need an opportunity and a chance, and it's up to us to give it to them.

LEMON: Yes. A message of bringing people together rather than division. Man, that's lacking.

JARRETT: Absolutely.

LEMON: It was fantastic just to hear that.

JARRETT: Breath of fresh air, right?

LEMON: Yes. Absolutely. Valerie Jarrett, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

JARRETT: My pleasure.

LEMON: A member of the Trump administration declares that he is not a white supremacist in a hearing today. You're going to want to see what happened, and we're going to show it to you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Ken Cuccinelli getting grilled today on Capitol Hill over the Trump administration's immigration policies. The acting citizenship and immigration services director really getting an earful from Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

[22:50:12]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): You and Mr. Trump don't want anyone who looks or talks differently than Caucasian-Americans to be allowed into this country.

KEN CUCCINELLI, U.S. CITIZENS AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES ACTING DIRECTOR: That's false.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You want to block all immigration and make life harder for immigrants, and you have demonstrated that you will pursue this heinous white supremacist ideology at all costs. Even if it means making critically ill children your collateral damage in the process. And this goes to a comprehensive pattern of harm at USCIS under your leadership.

In August, you announced the administration's new public charge rule, for example, which would deny legal status to immigrants who use social services. Mr. Cuccinelli, has USCIS done analysis of how many children may stop receiving critical services due to fear of losing legal status under this rule? And I'd like you to answer that question, please.

CUCCINELLI: After declaring that I'm not a white supremacist, as you alluded --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You have -- you have --

CUCCINELLI: Nor is the president.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: OK.

CUCCINELLI: And --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Facts matter.

CUCCINELLI: Yes, they do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wow. Joining me now is, Juliette Kayyem and Shawn Turner. Good evening to both of you. That was pretty heated there. Shawn, a lot of people think these policies are rooted in racism. But did you think -- do you think that Representative Schultz overstepped claiming them a white supremacist ideologies or white supremacist policies?

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, you know, I think that to label someone a white supremacist is an extremely damning and serious charge, so it's not the kind of thing that I think that anyone should do without cause. Now, that said, I do think that the broader point that she was making with regard to the administration's immigration policies are pretty clear.

I mean, look, this administration has policies and proposed policies that clearly assign value to people based on where they from -- where they're from and what they look like. And the policy that we were talking about here is one that clearly targets people of a particular race and from a particular place.

And I think that the point that she was making is one in which she was saying that this is not the American way. This is not who we are. So while I do think that, you know, to throw that term around is -- kind of pushes the envelope a little bit, I think that we need to take a step back and see the broader issue that she was making about this administration's policies.

LEMON: Juliette, to you, Cuccinelli is one of two men that President Trump is looking at to be the next acting DHS secretary. One is acting. It's interesting in this administration. To be the next acting DHS secretary. Just last week, White House officials determined that he wasn't eligible, but they're trying to find, you know, workaround for this. Is that because he's willing to implement such harsh border control measures you think, such harsh an immigration policies?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, just look where Ken Cuccinelli is right now. He's at USCIS which is actually the lawful immigration agency within DHS. He's supposed to be the one who's bringing people in, figuring out citizenship standards and he's been at the forefront the last couple months on the exclusion rules, on all the rules that Schultz -- Congresswoman Schultz was talking about. So, I've always thought that he was going to be number one. But I will

tell you, this is a really weird strategy by the Trump administration, because the Republican Senators are against it, they've already said that they're against it. I'm not quite sure why you would go against the Republican Senators right now and it's really going to harm Cuccinelli's effectiveness.

Secretary of Homeland Security gets most of their power and authority by engagement. You don't -- you can't tell a governor what to do, you can't tell a mayor what to do, you can't tell another country or their airport what to do. You basically have authority by, you know, the power of the office and the power of the support of Congress and the president. And so by doing this, Trump is really going to undermine Cuccinelli rather than have an effective Secretary of Homeland Security regardless of what you think of the policies.

LEMON: Shawn Turner, the current acting DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, was on Capitol Hill today, warning Congress about a rise in white supremacist violence. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETRAY: Most significant emerging threats over the past years has been domestic actors' adoptions of terrorist techniques to inspire and direct individuals often via the internet to carry out acts of terrorism and targeted violence of specific concern has been an increase in racially and ethnically motivated violence particularly the threat posed by violent white supremacist extremists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Shawn, you say that domestic terror groups are using similar tactics to international terrorists in the Trump administration. I mean, in this era. But do you think the Trump administration is focused enough on this threat?

TURNER: No, absolutely not. Look, you know, we've seen a rise in increase in the growth of these terror groups. It actually started under the previous administration, but with the election of Donald Trump we saw an acceleration in how these groups are operating and if you look at the tactics and strategies that they're using to recruit new members to radicalize new members, they mirror almost exact -- exactly what we saw when it comes to Islamic extremism.

[22:55:13]

They're identifying young people who are vulnerable, who somehow feel disenfranchised and they are subtly bringing them into the fold and initially just kind of filling their heads with this rhetoric and then there's a call to action.

So, it looks very much like what we've seen before. There's a lot that we have on the table as a government in order to deal with what we saw with foreign terrorist organizations, but we're not looking at these in the same way and applying those tactics and strategies to these domestic terror organizations.

LEMON: Thank you, both. That's got to be the last word. I appreciate it.

STEWART: Thank you.

LEMON: A look at the impeachment, a week of impeachment, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)