Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Live Reality TV Drama Called Impeachment Debuts Next Week; Republicans Looking at the Three Amigos as the Fall Guy; President Donald Trump Impeachment Inquiry; President Trump is Making His Pitch to Black Voters; An Explosive New Book About President Trump; Changing the Cultural Stigma Around Women's Periods. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

There is a lot going on and we're going to catch you up on all the big headlines.

The president's chief of staff allegedly directed the quid pro quo on Ukraine. That is according to testimony released today from two key White House officials. Is there any way that Mick Mulvaney wasn't following the president's order?

Also, tonight, Rudy Giuliani arguing that defending President Trump is the nation's -- is in the nation's best interest. Is the president's personal attorney is he helping or hurting his client?

And we're not just -- we are now just days away from the first public televised hearings in the impeachment investigation into President Trump. We're going to break down what to expect.

Plus, the president courting African-American voters today. His pitch focus on immigration, claiming Democrats are fighting harder for illegal immigrants than the black community.

And the anonymous author behind a new book called "A Warning," claims that a group of senior Trump administration officials considered a mass resignation last year. But ultimately, they decided against it.

We have a lot to get to in the hour ahead. But I want to begin now with Ryan Lizza, Susan Glasser, and Matthew Rosenberg. Good evening one and all. Susan, you first, Hill and Vindman's testimony clearly points the finger at Mick Mulvaney for directing the shakedown. What do you do that without instructions from the president?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's hard to imagine. Again, he refused the subpoena to appear on Capitol Hill so we haven't heard his version of the story. But that makes it all the more significant that these two NSC officials, one current, one former came forward and did testify on Capitol Hill. We reviewed their testimony today. They both very specifically repeated Mick Mulvaney multiple times that he was a key contact for Gordon Sondland, the E.U. ambassador at the heart of this.

And remember, it was Mulvaney who, according to what his adviser -- his aides told other U.S. government officials, it was Mulvaney who was at the direction of Trump freezing the nearly $400 million in U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, that is at the heart of the matter in addition to the earlier questions about the quid pro quo for having a meeting with President Trump.

So, I think he's a central figure in this. He hasn't been as much discussed as the others, but clearly, he's a central figure.

LEMON: Interesting. Matthew, let's bring you in. The Washington Post is reporting that the House Republicans plan to float the idea that Giuliani, Sondland, and Mulvaney that they were freelancing, not following Trump's order. I mean, that's clearly at odds with the evidence. So, why make them the fall guy? What's going on here?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, you protect the president that way. but I mean, if you are the president, your chief of staff, your lawyer, your handpicked ambassador all freelancing, why didn't you fire them yet? You know, it does raise the question of what's going on here. This is how our government works?

So, it seems like that it's an attempt to protect the president but and not a very good one because it does raise kind of questions about what kind of --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Why would they want to be the fall guys for something that's potentially -- not potentially, but for such an abuse of power that can potentially land them in such trouble.

ROSENBERG: Look, they're loyal. They have their reason. I don't know what's in their head. Maybe they think they'll get pardons. Who knows in this kind of situation?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You read my mind. Yes.

ROSENBERG: But, you know, if this is how the government is running, this is how the White House is running, then the president really does need to clean house and get things in order.

LEMON: Yes.

ROSENBERG: But it's hard to believe these guys did it without any kind of knowledge entirely on their role,

LEMON: Ryan Lizza, here's another GOP tactic. Bring in a big Trump defender, that's Jim Jordan, now officially on the House intelligence committee. What does this move signal to you? RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it's a

huge vote of confidence and the ranking member -- the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee obviously they don't think he's doing a very good job because they think they have to bring in Jordan. That's the first thing.

The second thing is, it does -- it is another indication of this kind of sad decline of the intelligence committee as a, once kind of bright spot on the Hill in terms of bipartisan work. You know, throwing above, throw like Jordan on there simply to defend the president and throw sand into the gears of the investigative process.

You know, there was a time that that would have been considered sort of shocking, the breakdown of that traditionally bipartisan committee.

I just, you know one thing, Don, to go back to what you asked Matt on the fall on taking the fall for Trump.

LEMON: Fall guys, yes.

LIZZA: These three guys. I mean, you know, Matt made the essential point, you know, it's a little too late for that.

[23:04:54]

You know, you sort of have to -- you know, we've learned quite a bit if you are the president and you are really shocked by all of this and you just had no idea that your chief of staff, your personal lawyer and your million dollar donor ambassador to the E.U. were cooking up this deal, you probably would have a conversation with them by now and said, you know, this is awful, you guys are gone.

But one way I disagree with Matt is, I don't think they -- I don't think anyone has identified a crime that they may have committed. Right? That's sort of unusual nature of this, you know, what most people describe as an abuse of power, it's not necessarily a criminal thing.

So, I don't think they are -- are necessarily in any legal jeopardy for the sort of -- you know, as Bolton called it the drug deal, the quid pro quo.

LEMON: At this point.

LIZZZA: So that would make it -- at this point.

LEMON: Yes.

LIZZA: So that would make it a sort of, you know, hey, you guys take the fall, there is no crime here. But I just think it's too late to do that.

LEMON: Yes. And even -- but it also shows you that they really -- they really don't have a succinct and smart strategy here. I mean, they just --

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: No.

LEMON: They just put together a war room, right, or they are in the process of doing it so they're just kind of spinning it and throwing things against the wall.

LIZZA: Everything is not to -- but everything is headed towards them basically saying all right, we can't fight the facts anymore. We just have to argue this isn't impeachable. Yes, we did it but you can't get rid of the president over it.

LEMON: Yes, I mean, there is the whole campaign financing, too. That could be violation of the law.

But let's move on. Susan, listen, the transcripts also paint a picture of Ambassador Sondland as incompetent. Hill says that he was clueless. He would text officials from his personal phone and made himself a target for foreign power. So why would the president apparently say that this guy was in charge of Ukraine policy?

GLASSER: Well, there is this dramatic moment actually not once but twice Fiona Hill describes this in her testimony where she's becoming increasingly like mystified, like, who are these sorts of crazy outside actors who are all of a sudden interfering in Ukraine policy.

Our ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a respected professional is getting fired. She said that was the turning point. So finally, she actually confronts Gordon Sondland in the White House. And she says, you know, who died and made you in charge of Ukraine policy?

And he cuts her off basically by looking in her in the eye and saying the president. And she says I have no idea if that's true or not at this point but, you know, if somebody claims the authority of the president of the United States and says he has a direct line both to the president and to the chief of staff.

In fact, she said that Sondland was pitting the chief of staff's office against Bolton's office and the National Security Council and creating divisions inside the White House as well.

And so, you have this sort of rogue actors so I think that's what she referred to as the kind of risk to the government. She said at another point in her testimony that it was like a guy careening down the highway without the GPS and without the guard rails. That he basically is this amateur who gave a million dollars and wins not only an ambassadorship but basically a ticket to interfere in matters far beyond his knowledge or jurisdiction.

LEMON: Yes. Matthew, Hill also testified that Representative Jim Jordan tried to argue that in the end that it all worked out because Ukraine got the money. And he responded, "Well, it depends on what you mean about working out."

Are Republicans saying everything is fine because the plan was thwarted by the whistleblower? ROSENBERG: I mean, that seems to be some of the implication here

like, look, it all happened, nothing to look at here, let's move on. As Ryan said, it's not an impeachable offense. It sounds like that's the direction they're going.

You know, I would like to make one point on Sondland, he stumbles around it seems unaware of how to do his job, he makes himself a mark for foreign powers. It sounds a lot like the description of President Trump. You can kind of see President Trump looking around and saying hey, this is the guy, he seems smart and gave me a lot of money. And that's sort of how our government is being run at this point.

LEMON: Yes. Ryan, it's interesting they're saying, well, Ukraine -- the Ukrainian president said they didn't know of any quid pro quo. Well, that doesn't mean that you weren't trying to do it just because they didn't know about it.

I got to run though. Thank you all.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: That's right.

LEMON: I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: What a week. Transcript after transcript in closed-door testimony laying out the shakedown between the U.S. and Ukraine.

Our Tom Foreman has more now.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. All week long the impeachment uproar has been intensifying. And the president himself brought it to a roaring crescendo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a hoax. It's a disgraceful thing. It's a witch hunt. It's a crooked deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Against an ever-growing army of witnesses raising alarms about the Ukraine scandal President Trump is throwing hay makers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean, for the most part I never even heard of these people. I have no idea who they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Dismissing the bit players attacking the big names.

[23:09:58] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi is a corrupt politician. Shifty Schiff is a double corrupt politician.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: At the Capitol, however, the allegations of presidential misconduct continue gaining momentum. In a dramatic reversal of his early statements largely favorable to Trump, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland now says he recalls telling the Ukrainians resumption of U.S. military aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement we have been discussing."

In other words, another top diplomat, Bill Taylor says he was told for the White House to release the military aid it was withholding from Ukraine, the Ukrainian president would have to go to a microphone and say he's opening an investigation into Joe Biden and 2016 election interference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): All of the witnesses agree that the president engineered a shakedown of the Ukrainian government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Other witnesses raised their own concerns about the transactional nature of the now infamous call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. The former top Russia advisor said she was shocked by the blatant push for investigations.

And aide to Vice President Mike Pence said the call was not normal but political. A State Department official accused the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani of waging a campaign of lies against the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to get her removed from her post and out of the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: the NSC top Ukraine official, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman said he understood acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was coordinating a trade. Ukraine would launch the investigations in exchange for meeting Trump.

Sondland just said that he had a conversation with Mr. Mulvaney and this is what was required in order to get a meeting. Mulvaney like some others says he won't testify. His lawyer citing absolute immunity. The White House is dismissing all the proceedings as even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham. More Republicans howl for the whistleblower who triggered the probe to be unmasked. The whistleblower's lawyer sent the president a letter demanding he stop attacking his client. He didn't take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country. He should be sued and maybe for treason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I don't mean any disrespect but it must suck to be that dumb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: At a Trump's rally jabs at Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others drew huge cheers. But closer to the hearing rooms as the evidence mounts, Republican lawmakers are mostly dodging questions about the president's behavior. And when they tried to explain it -- well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine it was in coherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: The response from Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extraordinary. The only thing missing in Lindsey Graham's defense is an insanity plea. Which actually might work better than an incompetence plea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: And the president --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Despite all that, we are kicking their ass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Precisely who is kicking whom is debatable. But this is not the full context. Politics will only get more intense when the impeachment inquiry hearing goes public next week. Don?

LEMON: Tom, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, claiming that defending his big client is in the nation's best interests. Really? We'll discuss, next.

[23:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney refusing to comply with a subpoena requiring him to testify in the impeachment inquiry and using an interesting legal tactic.

Here to discuss Guy Smith and Michael D'Antonio. Gentlemen, good evening. Good to see both of you.

Guy, I'm going to start with you. The White House blocking Mick Mulvaney from testifying despite the congressional subpoena. Absolutely immunity is what they are asserting. Is that a real thing?

GUY SMITH, FORMER CLINTON IMPEACHMENT ADVISER: No. They are made-up things. And which was coming out of the Nixon era where court, you know, found that people had to testify in this sort of thing. And the Democrats are just going to carry on. They've got, Tom Foreman speech you just ran shows how much evidence there already is.

And so, Mulvaney, you know, he clearly is a participant in this. And so, we would, maybe instead of the insanity defense which was said before, maybe it ought to be the Fifth Amendment, self-incrimination defense.

LEMON: All right. Well, that's all you think because I wanted to ask you. You said that this whole, what is it, absolutely immunity, you said it's a made-up thing. But 'm wondering if it's a bigger or maybe better defense than executive privilege? Because a lot of people have been claiming executive privilege.

SMITH: I think they're trying to say it's all the same thing.

LEMON: Got it. Yes.

SMITH: You know?

LEMON: Yes.

Michael, then there is Rudy Giuliani today. Let me read this. This is his tweet. He said, "The lunatic Dems."

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There we go. We're off to a great start from Rudy Giuliani.

LEMON: "The lunatic Dems now say defending POTUS is a personal not national interest. They ignore that defending a POTUS against false charges is the nation's -- is in the nation's best interest."

So, he's now saying that he's taking care of the president which is akin of taking care of the nation. Is that what he's saying although he's not appointed or elected. What is he saying?

D'ANTONIO: Well, to quote the president's role model Louis the 14th, 'L'etat c'est moi', the state is me. So, Donald Trump thinks that he's the state and I think that Rudy Giuliani agrees.

[23:20:00]

So, these two fellas are going to be say well, when I am representing the president as my private client, I'm also representing the United States of America. I'm not sure it is good for the president because that ties him directly into the scheme.

And we now know from the Washington Post tonight that this started with the previous president of Ukraine. Lev and Igor were running around trying to get that guy on board before the election over there. So, this is a complicated perilous thing and I don't think Rudy Giuliani is doing his client any favors.

LEMON: It's interest -- I mean, this whole thing started from a conspiracy theory from conservative media and look how this is ended up.

D'ANTONIO: Right. Well, it started with Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort got in trouble because of the famous black ledger where the Ukrainians discovered the payoffs given to various political figures.

Paul Manafort was down for $12.7 million. That's how he got in trouble. He immediately started saying no, the Ukrainians were the ones hacking the election. I'm the good guy. We are going to end it Donald Trump latched onto this. The right-wing media went crazy with it. It's all a conspiracy theory.

SMITH: And Rudy Giuliani as we were saying the other night. He's in serious legal jeopardy here. He has a registration as a foreign agent problem.

LEMON: Wait. Let me read this.

SMITH: Yes.

LEMON: Because I think this will help you. Just a couple of days ago he tweeted this, Guy. And then I'll let go on with this thing.

He says "The investigation concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges."

So, again, I want you to continue what you are saying, but he is wrapping himself around the president there. And I don't know if that makes it good defense. But go on.

SMITH: Well, you can wrap yourself around the president but if you're committing a crime while doing it, it creates serious legal jeopardy. He's got this foreign registration when he was lobbying the president on this Turkish (Inaudible) who violated the Iran sanctions. And now he's doing Trump's bidding with the, both the extortion which is a violation of the Campaign Finance Act, and bribery with the quid pro quo and holding up the money. And he is the one that's been communicated this both to the Americans, the America who had been testifying, and through the Ukrainians.

So, while Trump was in the same legal jeopardy or impeachment, political jeopardy, Giuliani is in legal jeopardy because he's not immune from anything. He has to abide all the laws and the law in the campaign finance says if you invite a foreign, any foreign person into an American election, you are violating the law. And this is a foreign government and a foreign person.

LEMON: For this people who we did in the previous segment, who may be part of the strategy is to take the fall for the president. That would put them in legal jeopardy.

SMITH: They are. That's what I say about Mulcasey (Ph) is in trouble, too.

LEMON: Mulvaney.

SMITH: Mulvaney?

LEMON: Yes.

SMITH: Mulcasey (Ph) was the other guy.

D'ANTONIO: These are two guys in the sidewalk and the bus is coming and they're struggling over who's going to get thrown under. Trump or Giuliani.

LEMON: Listen, you know this. And I've been watching for a couple of days, and everyone is like, you know, the president and Giuliani are close-close. They haven't always been close. They have an off/on relationship, a love/hate relationship throughout the decades really.

But then for a long time, he was really upset with Rudy and now they thick as thieves. Our reporting is that he and the president remain close during all of this drama. But do you think that could change as these heats up?

D'ANTONIO: Yes. These are two ego maniacs and they're out for themselves. The president is out for himself. Rudy is out for himself. Which one is going to go down in greatest disgrace? It's a race to the bottom.

LEMON: Thank you, Michael, and you, Guy. I appreciate it.

Closed-door testimony moving out to the public with televised hearings beginning next week. Could these hearings live on TV for the whole world to see make all the difference in the impeachment inquiry?

[23:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry broadcast on live television set to begin on Wednesday.

I want to discuss now with Douglas Brinkley, a very famous historian and CNN contributor. Thank you so much I appreciate you joining us, Douglas.

This will be the first impeachment inquiry in --

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks.

LEMON: -- a digital and social media age. Trump is the reality TV president and the Twitter king. Right? How is this going to compare to the Nixon and Clinton hearings do you think?

BRINKLEY: Well, I do think it's going to be different. I mean, you know, it went on for a couple of years actually on television with Watergate. This is going to be pretty quick.

We do know that CBS and it looks like the other network are going to preempted their afternoon television program to cover on all the networks.

LEMON: Wow.

BRINKLEY: So, in that regard, it's going to be a big deal this coming week. But you know, Don, I think the big thing it does is it introduces the American people in a real way to somebody like Bill Taylor who is, you know, a Vietnam veteran, a bronze star, was with the 101 which is the famous Band of Brothers group out of World War II.

I mean, a real authentic American hero, Bill Taylor, and he is going to be talking about what the Trump administration has been obfuscating and lying about and being disingenuous about.

[23:29:56]

So, some of these people like Bill Taylor or George Kent and others are going to start becoming household names in a way they're not. Right now, they're cable TV names. But I think next week, they will be wider. But the fight on the social media is just going to be ugly and fierce. It's going to be so brutal to read.

LEMON: Very smart assessment. Having said what you just said about, you know, introducing these people to the wider, you know, audience in America, how important are televised hearings in influencing public opinion?

BRINKLEY: I think it's gigantic. I know we live in the world of CNN and there are people that are glued to every nuance what's happening, but there is a lot of the public that just knows, hey, there's something going on with the Ukraine. You know, the polls show about -- you know, over -- most Americans are favouring the impeachment inquiry, but they don't really know what really transpired. And I think just getting to hear the voices, not just reading depositions and transcripts or something, but getting to see, you know, who is Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, you know, she is just somebody -- these incredible federal government civil servants, people in the military coming one after the other after the other basically building a case against the president of the United States, it is large.

I think it's of a Watergate scale. I think the Clinton impeachment, which you asked about earlier, was a little less than this because it was about something out as big as trying to influence the country like the Ukraine and hold on military aid.

LEMON: You mentioned the Watergate. When the impeachment inquiry into Watergate happened back in 1973, there were only three TV networks, right? You said the other networks, they say they're going to carry it, but still you got, you know, way more stations now. But I want you to watch. This is our colleague John Dean, a former White House counsel under President Nixon. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL UNDER PRESIDENT NIXON: The Watergate matter was an inevitable outgrowth of a climate of excessive concern over the political impact of demonstrators, excessive concern over leaks, an insatiable appetite for political intelligence, all coupled with a do-it-yourself White House staff regardless of the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That testimony, Douglas, was blockbuster. Should President Trump be concerned about the testimonies and the witnesses to come?

BRINKLEY: I would be deeply, deeply concerned because there is going to be one after the other. It is going to be filled with surprises. The whole country is going to be leaning forward. The presidency of the United States is at stake. We're going to get to see the drama of whether Republicans are actually willing to listen and learn or that they already predetermined their mind in Congress.

LEMON: Surprises, Doug, even though we have seen so many transcripts and statements and the transcripts are out. Do you think we will see surprises?

BRINKLEY: I think so because of the way they're going to answer. We are playing now with nuance to answers a lot. And, you know, I do write books and I do interviews with people. You can talk to somebody five different times and get things that are a little nuance, little shades different, but it really puts a face that these are outstanding Americans saying these.

These aren't people that are just Democrats after Donald Trump. These are -- many of them Republicans that are going to be speaking. They're not glad that the president of the United States did this but the Ukraine policy and the role of Rudy Giuliani -- and Giuliani -- some of these people like Rudy Giuliani may -- there is a good reason why he lawyered up, Don and got a lot of lawyers very quickly because he could be in great legal jeopardy.

So they're going to be just box full of surprises around every corner and bend.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley. Thank you, sir.

BRINKLEY: Thanks, Don. Good luck with your Alabama.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: LSU! LSU! LSU!

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. A man from the Ohio State. Thank you.

BRINKLEY: All right.

LEMON: Make sure you tune in on Sunday. I am going to be hosting a CNN special, "The White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry." That's Sunday night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It is, of course, right here on CNN.

We are now less than a year from the 2020 election. The president is making his pitch to black voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Blacks for Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Black voices for Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: African Americans for Trump. Call it whatever the hell you want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Hear what else he has to say, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The election -- can you believe this? -- is now less than a year away and President Trump is looking to build support among black Americans. So, today, the president, vice president, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson spoke at a campaign event in Atlanta, launching their "Black Voices for Trump" coalition. Here is part of the pitch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Think of this. Blacks for Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Black voices for Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: African Americans for Trump. Call it whatever the hell you want. What do you prefer? Blacks for Trump or African Americans for Trump?

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

CROWD: Blacks for Trump! Blacks for Trump! Blacks for Trump!

TRUMP: I think so.

CROWD: Blacks for Trump! Blacks for Trump!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joining me now are Keith Boykin and Joseph Pinion.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: What do you prefer to be called, black of African American?

[23:40:00]

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I prefer Trump not to address me at all.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Keith, here is more of the president's pitch to black community. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The Republican Party was the original home of African Americans. And now, African Americans are returning. It was 100-year trip if you think about it. To every African Americans across our land, you don't have to choose to leave the Democrat Party because the Democrat Party already left you a long time ago. Today, we say welcome to the Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do you think of his arguments? I mean, it sounds like, you know, for the black voters, it sounds a lot like 2016. Remember when he said, what else do you have to lose? BOYKIN: Yeah. It is not a sincere argument. It is not designed to appeal to black people. It is designed to appeal to his white base to convince them that they are not racists and to a select very, very tiny miniscule group of people who happen to be black Trump supporters. But that is a small population of the universe, of African Americans.

What Trump is doing here is he is ignoring or asking people to ignore his history, to ignore the history of discrimination in his administration, to ignore his lies about the Central Park Five, to ignore his five and a half year lie about Barack Obama's birth certificate, to ignore his comments about S-hole countries in Africa, to ignore what he said about the SOBs who are the black football players, to ignore his comments about comparing impeachment to a lynching, to ignore his speech just a few weeks ago where he went to an HBCU and he didn't even speak to any black students there. Only seven students were allowed.

This guy has never made any serious outreach to African Americans voters or black voters. And the idea that he is pretending to do this is a farce.

LEMON: Here is the vice president, Joseph, making quite the prediction. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I know this movement will reach more African Americans than ever before. And come Election Day 2020, I know that we'll re-elect President Donald Trump with a historic percentage of African Americans for four more years in the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Sorry, but that was like his chip (ph) needed to be changed. Four more -- I mean, there is a lot of monotone going on there. But listen, he only got eight percent of the black votes in 2016. That is according to the exit polls. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement, but do you think that he will?

JOSEPH PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Look, the biggest problem that we face right now, I think, is -- I don't care if we are talking about Bernie Sanders. I don't care if we are talking about the Republican Party. If you got to go back 100 years to talk about, you know, the reasons why people should be voting for your party or in the case of Bernie Sanders, you got to go back 60 years, 40 years to find the picture and dust it off and say this is why you should vote for me, it turns out you haven't done for me much lately.

I think this is the problem we face as a party going back to the growth and opportunity project (ph) in 2012, when we've had concrete evidence saying that we need to go into communities of color in earnest, not for their vote but to earn their trust. Right now, as a party, we struggle to maintain and earn that trust specifically because, again, when it comes to the Trump administration, it is not about people voting Republican in the name of President Trump, it is about black and brown people choosing to choose and put themselves first.

LEMON: Yeah.

PINION: I think the Republican Party is able to embrace that notion. You know, there are good people working on that black outreach but we have to make sure that that message is going to be affecting black and brown people.

LEMON: People like to pretend that black people aren't part of the Republican Party. Black people have always been a part of the Republican Party. That is not an issue. People question why many African Americans are not many -- why the African Americans who support this president do because of all the things that Keith mentioned. This is the HUD secretary, Ben Carson, also addressing the audience today. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: I'll tell you something. If he's a racist, he's awfully a bad one.

(LAUGHTER)

CARSON: He needs to go get a lesson from the real racists, the people who look at somebody like you and me, and they say because your skin is a certain color, you have to take a certain way, and if you don't, there is something wrong with you and they start calling you names. Those are the real racists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Who is that message for, Keith? Who is he trying to convince? That's not exactly what people are saying about the Republican Party. They're saying that about what you said about this president. I don't think his argument makes sense there.

BOYKIN: I was asking during the segment what exactly he was trying to say. I'm not sure I understand what he is saying. Maybe you guys can explain to me what he was saying.

PINION: Look, I think the big issues we have right now as Republican Party but I think also is this notion that yes, it is true that if you are not a black or brown person who votes a certain way, who thinks a certain way, that you can be outcast.

LEMON: Right.

PINION: I think that there is room again for us to say that people of color have been pigeon holed in many ways.

[23:45:02] PINION: I think that outside of President Trump saying it, there are many people who would accept it. There are things that have happened that are --

LEMON: I hear what you say but I don't think --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I think -- look, black people should -- if you want to be a conservative or Republican, you should be, right? That's what this country is about. I think it is OK to question -- to question the loyalty to this president considering he -- how the lack of outreach to African Americans and his rhetoric. I got to go. I'm sorry. I don't mean to hang this segment. But you understand what I am saying, right?

BOYKIN: Why choose to be a Republican now if you are a black person? All the times to be a Republican --

LEMON: I am just saying --

BOYKIN: -- why now with Donald Trump, you know.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: An explosive new book titled "A Warning" is due out later this month. It's written by an unnamed author known as "anonymous" who may or may not still be a senior Trump administration official. CNN's Brian Todd has a look at some of what the book alleges about President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: We're kicking their ass.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His top officials would wake up in a full-blown panic over his tweets. Working for Donald Trump at the White House is "like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. Only your uncle doesn't have to lead the U.S. government once he puts his pants on."

These quotes are from the explosive new book, a warning, written by an anonymous Trump administration official, excerpted by The Washington Post, excerpts which some say will likely drive the president crazy.

GLASSER: Donald Trump, as we know, is pretty loyalty-obsessed and he is in particular concerned with this idea of treachery inside the White House. This is a moment where Trump is going to be particularly worried that he is surrounded by people he fundamentally can't trust.

TODD (voice-over): The author is the same unnamed person who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times last year, claiming to be part of a so- called resistance to Trump within the White House ranks. It's not clear if the president is still working for the president or has left.

According to the Post, the new book says senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a "midnight self- massacre" to warn the public about President Trump's behavior.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: If it was pretty senior people and it was a lot of them, it would not only have affected the actual operations of the government, but it would have underscored and made very real one of the big concerns about this administration, which is that people are concerned about the president's very erratic nature, and I think it could have had a big impact.

TODD (voice-over): The author says the officials decided against mass resignations, fearing it would destabilize the government even further. The book depicts Trump as incompetent, a danger to the country, paranoid of those around him, including note-takers and profoundly cruel.

TRUMP: Be quiet. Quiet.

TODD (voice-over): The author says Trump once spoke with a Hispanic accent in the Oval Office to make fun of migrants crossing the border. And when discussing women, "he comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He uses words like 'sweetie' and 'honey.'

GLASSER: That's the kind of amazing thing about Donald Trump. He makes racist remarks in private, and he makes racist remarks in public. He says anti-woman things in private, and he says anti-woman things in public.

TODD (voice-over): The White House is calling the author a coward, saying the book is nothing but lies, a work of fiction. One Trump biographer warns the pushback won't stop there.

D'ANTONIO: God help you if you occupy an important position in service to the president and you evidence any lack of loyalty. He's going to come after you hard, and there's no threat that he won't make.

TODD: Last year, when that same author published the anonymous op-ed, the White House went on a mole hunt, a furious effort to out that person with Trump said to be obsessed with uncovering the person's identity. Analysts say that's likely going on now as well. But according to the Post, the author claims to be ready to reveal his or her own identity in due course.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thank you, Brian. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Menstruation is an essential fact of life. But in many parts of the world, it is considered taboo. This not only makes monthly periods extremely stressful for girls but it also limits what they can achieve. Freweini Mebrahtu struggled with this growing up in Ethiopia. Now, she has designed a solution and it's changing her country's culture. Meet one of this year's top 10 CNN heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREWEINI MEBRAHTU, CNN HERO: In Ethiopia, most women and girls do not have access to sanitary pads. Many girls stay at home during their period. They are scared and ashamed. Half of the population is dealing with this issue but no one is willing to talk about it.

I knew that I have to make a product that helped these women and girls to get on with their lives.

All I want is all girls to have dignity, period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Nearly 800,000 girls and women have benefited from Freweini's work. Go to cnnheroes.com to vote for her for your CNN hero of the year or any of your favorite top 10 heroes.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)