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DOJ Drops Investigation on Andrew McCabe; Bill Barr Ordered to Review Michael Flynn's Case; Attorney General Bill Barr Under Scrutiny After A Whirlwind Week At The Department Of Justice; Washington Post; Students Using Trump's Inflammatory Language To Bully Others In School, Often Students Of Color; ADL, Incidents Of White Supremacists Propaganda Distribution Doubled In The Last Year. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired February 14, 2020 - 22:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And the news continues. I want to turn it over to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.

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

Coming to you live from Washington, D.C. where it is all happening right now. And for anyone who wonder whether Bill Barr's strongly worded message to the president yesterday was a set up a way for the attorney general to give the president a message. That message would be, Mr. President, I'm doing what you want, don't say the quiet part out loud.

What's happening right now just might give you the answer. On the same day the DOJ announces it's dropping the criminal investigation of former FBI director Andrew McCabe. We learned that Barr has quietly ordered a U.S. attorney to take a second look at some very sensitive cases. Cases including the case of ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Coincidence? Well, McCabe who is now a CNN contributor has been under the shadow of the investigation over a leaked reporter for two years now. I talked to him just a little while ago and asked him was it all worth it?


ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was absolutely the right thing to do then. And I would do it again tomorrow if I was in the same situation and looking at the same facts.

What, look, what we had seen through the multiple investigations so far all of the work of the I.G. looking at everything. Each one of us did the decisions we made. The communication around them. Everything you could possibly imagine. Millions of documents.

Even the biggest critics have concluded that we were absolutely authorized in opening the cases we did. In my judgment it would have been a dereliction of duty not to open the cases we did under the concerns that we had and the facts we're working with at the time. We are guilty of doing our jobs and nothing else.


LEMON: Just a small part of that interview. You're going to want to stay tuned too. We're going to have the full interview a little bit later on in the show.

So, the president predictably said to be upset that McCabe won't be charged. And officials telling CNN when the news broke the president discussed it with lawyers at the White House and there was no question that he thought McCabe should have been charged.

But he hasn't said a word in public. He hasn't tweeted about it. I mean, this from a president who never, never, ever let go of a grudge against someone who has crossed him or someone he thinks has crossed him. And don't forget it was McCabe authorized the bureau to investigate the president in the first place in May of 2017 after he fired James Comey. The president sure hasn't forgotten it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people that started that investigation are McCabe who is a proven liar and was fired from the FBI.

Well, I think Andrew McCabe was made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days. And he really looks to me like sort of a poor man's J. Edgar Hoover.

He's a bad guy. I think he's a sick guy, personally.

McCabe, certainly what he's done is just despicable.

You look at McCabe who is a bad, bad guy. He's walking around.


LEMON: Remember what I said last night. Projection.

And despite all the president's fuming the case is closed. But here's the thing, this is a case that has been dead for months, really. Though in all that time, what did we hear from the Justice Department?

That's what we heard from the Justice Department. Nothing. Crickets. And a federal judge made it clear none of that looked good.

According to court documents at the end of September Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee said this, and I quote. "I don't think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. I just think it is a banana republic when we go down that road and we those types of statements being made that are conceivably even, if not, influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive there's undue inappropriate pressure being brought to bear."

So that was back in September. It was only today that the DOJ announced it was dropping the investigation. The very same day that we learn that the attorney general has ordered a review of the case against Michael Flynn.


And let's not forget Flynn, the president's fired first national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

So, let's not forget that infamous Oval Office meeting. That was on Valentine's Day of 2017. The one where the president cleared the room to talk to Comey alone. Comey testifying to Congress. And I quote here again, he then said, "I hope you can see your way to clear -- see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He's a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

The president who never let's go of a -- lets go of a grudge sure does go out of his way to defend members of team Trump.


TRUMP: Michael Flynn, General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media. He was just doing his job.

Well, I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly. He's led a very strong life and I feel very badly.

And what they did to General Flynn is very unfair in my opinion. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. What they've done to General Flynn.


LEMON: Well, that last one was just three days ago. All of this from the president who admitted that he fired Flynn for lying to the FBI. It doesn't make much sense, right? And now his handpicked attorney general says that he won't be bullied by the president.


WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do and I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. And I said it at the time whether it's Congress, the newspaper, editorial boards, or the president.


LEMON: So he says had won't be bullied. But he sure seems to be doing exactly what the president wants him, ordering a second look at the case against Michael Flynn just days after undercutting his own prosecutors and recommending less prison time for another Trump ally. Roger Stone. Barr says the president never asked him to intervene in the criminal

case. Though he surely tweeted today that's just because so far, he's chosen not to.

And as for Barr saying the president never asked him to intervene, let's remember what a former Trump ally until he went to prison against this president, he went against this president, I should say, excuse me, and he went to prison, so Michael Cohen told Congress. Here it is.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: He doesn't give you questions. He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code. And I understand the code because I have been around him for a decade.


LEMON: Well, let's discuss all of this now. CNN White House correspondent Mr. Boris Sanchez is here, crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, former federal prosecutor Laura Coates, and Michael Isikoff, the chief investigated -- investigative correspondent for Yahoo News.

Man, I got everyone here. Thank you all for joining us. Good to see you a lot in person. You, I see. You.


LEMON: It's god to see you always. It's great to have you as well.

Laura, I'm going to start with. I want to read; this is a tweet from the president today and he's quoting Barr. He said, the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. A.G. Barr, this doesn't mean that I do not have as president the legal right to do so. I do. But I have so far chosen not to.

He says he hasn't influenced criminal cases. But he could. That's what he's saying.

COATES: Well, first of all, he hasn't spoken to anyone when we see this 1 a.m. tweets. It's a symbol of the president knows that he can't read.


LEMON: Barr can't read those.

COATES: They can't -- I mean, he must not be able to read them.


COATES: of course, that's that. But the idea of the president has his absolute right is actually belied by the Constitution. He keeps referencing article 2. And that takes there, takes the full faith to execute the law. But that doesn't actually give him an absolute authority over the Department of Justice.

He cannot undermine the bill of rights. He cannot undermine fairness to proceeding. He can't undermine due process. He can't undermine someone's First Amendment rights to be able to associate or be a part of a political party or speak their mind, and he cannot put his thumb on the scale for the -- in the future in favor of favoritism.

He has to actually enforce the laws as they are written. So, as the president says I could certainly go about and talk about the enforcement objectives or the enforcement priorities.

But he cannot go around saying this person I do not like throw the book at them. This person I love retreat from any prosecution. That would be giving the president more power than even King George had. And the founding fathers would neither have never done that at the revolutionary time.

LEMON: But you said that he can't. He shouldn't. Do you mean he shouldn't or he can't? Because he's certainly trying to.

COATES: Well, he should not and actually under the Constitution he cannot exercise absolute authority for corrupt purposes or motives.

LEMON: All right. All right. Shimon, walk us through this. Two big stories you have the investigation of Andrew McCabe being dropped. Again, we're going to interview him late. You got to watch his interview because he tells me how he found out, he and his family.



LEMON: And Barr quietly ordering a re-examination of the Flynn case. Walk us through this. What's going on?

PROKUPECZ: Well, on Andrew McCabe, he's been waiting for this decision for quite some time. Right? You're talking about months now where they have been trying to get answers from the Department of Justice where this was going.

And they were not returning their calls, they were not signaling anything. So that was very much up in the air. And of course, at the last second today really just early sort of afternoon we get notice that they're not pursuing these charges.

So that was that today. This was a case that's been going on for probably about two years. And as you said earlier, it had to do with him conversations that he had with a reporter.

LEMON: Which is interesting. Because I mean, you think about the climate and the environment that we're in right now. That the president and people around him actually thought that Flynn -- that McCabe did something wrong when he didn't. When everyone knows --


on a second. I mean, this case was not initiated by President Trump. It was initiated by the inspector general of the Justice Department.


LEMON: No, no, no. I understand what you're saying. That's not what I'm saying. But listen to what I'm saying.


ISIKOFF: Who was an appointee of President Obama who made a criminal referral --


LEMON: I understand that.

ISIKOFF: -- to the Justice Department.

LEMON: I'm talking about what happened --


ISKOFF: That's why there was an investigation.

LEMON: I'm talking after that, Michael.

ISKOFF: Right.

LEMON: I'm talking about the president trying, as she said, trying to put his thumb on the scale.

ISKOFF: Yes, he did.

LEMON: Saying that he should be definitely be prosecuted.

ISKOFF: And the quotes were clearly --


ISKOFF: -- and totally inappropriate. And the idea that a president would be picking on an individual, you know, talking about he's a bad guy he should be prosecuted is way out of bounds. We haven't seen that.

But just, you know, let the record be clear.

LEMON: Right.

ISKOFF: There was a reason for this investigation. It wasn't initiated by the president. It was initiated by a finding by the inspector general that he lacked candor in multiple responses to the inspector general. So, you know, it just didn't come out of thin air.

LEMON: No, no, I never say it came out of thin air. ISKOFF: Right. OK.

LEMON: I'm just talking about the way that this particular administration and this president has handled the situation.

ISKOFF: Completely out of bounds.

LEMON: So, and then we have Flynn.

PROKUPECZ: So, the Flynn thing we started getting word of this yesterday. That the -- that there was an investigation another investigation into the investigation. Right? You have the whole Durham which is investigation which is looking at a broader view of the intelligence community and whether or not there's anything there that they were doing wrong in this Russia investigation.

Now we learn of course very -- it was private. Secret. They were not telling anyone publicly about this that the attorney general has decided that he wants to look into what was going on with the investigation. That we're looking at Michael Flynn, Peter Strzok was part of that other investigators.

So now he's assigned another U.S. attorney to look at this and assign an investigator. So, we have this, we have the Durham investigation. you have another thing that's going on out in Pittsburg with Ukraine and Rudy Giuliani bringing materials there. And this is what Barr is doing.

LEMON: Yes. Boris, I'm going to get you, I see you shaking your head. But let me just ask Laura real quick. So, Flynn pleaded guilty. So, what's there to re-examine? And then the president said he fired him because he lied to the FBI, and then he pleaded guilty so what's to re-examine.

COATES: Well, remember, he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea because he believes essentially got the short end of the stick and a plea deal. And so, he is now saying what the prosecutors are saying about him in furtherance of the sentencing that he did not agree to it or it was not actually on the up and up.

So, he's trying to say I want everything back. Now probably he is doing that because he sees the climate he's talking about. He sees the president of the United States essentially saying look, this is by innuendo this is all about a reason to investigate the investigator. There's no credibility here. There is reason to undermine their findings. There is reason not to trust the system.

And so, in many ways he's capitalizing that and hoping of course the president will exercise his commutation, his clemency, his pardoning power.

LEMON: So maybe he acted too fast and saying that I was guilty, right? Is hat --

COATES: Well, remember, he did it very early on.


COATES: Even before people like Michael Cohen before of course the impeachment trial, before, I believe it was before we had the Peter Strzok and Lisa Page excerpts of the I.G. report.

LEMON: The test messages, yes. Interesting. OK. Boris, your turn now. So, first the reaction, the White House reaction to the president's reaction to the McCabe news.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, sources tell us that the president had no idea that this was coming. So, he's blindsided by it, he was apparently furious and had to be calmed down by his attorneys who basically had to explain to him why McCabe couldn't be charged. They had to walk him through the legal rational.

The president, though, we're told, was adamant that McCabe was a deep state operator and that he should be locked up as we've heard the president say about many different characters who he finds reason to criticize. The president didn't enjoy hearing that. We're told that he left to Mar-a-Lago with a bad taste in his mouth. Not happy to hear that McCabe would not face criminal charges.

LEMON: So, you know, you have to wonder about the timing of all this.


LEMON: So, you know, he's upset about McCabe. But did they try to soften the blow by saying, but we're going to re-examine.

SANCHEZ: Well, it's certainly feels like a consolation prize coming from the attorney general. Right?


This news coming on a Friday afternoon before Trump is headed to Mar- a-Lago to take part in the Daytona 500 ride as we're hearing this news that Michael Flynn, one of his closest friends in the administration. Somebody who backed him early on, that his case was going to get re- examined.

Certainly, the president likes to hear that. And obviously, this news that McCabe wasn't getting charged. Look, this case has been stalled since at least September. That news could have come out at a different time. In this tumultuous week with the Justice Department I don't think it's a coincidence that Barr put this out when he did.

LEMON: OK. Now let's get back to Michael. And Michael, more on what I was talking about.


LEMON: This president tweeting about his perceived political enemies and people saying he's sort of putting his thumb on the scale. He is griping about how his buddies are being mistreated. It is hard not to know what this president wants. ISIKOFF: Sure. And look, I think the most important development of

many this week was Barr basically laid down a marker there. That if he said it's impossible for me to do my job, if you continue tweeting and --


LEMON: Do you think that's real?

ISIKOFF: Well, whether it's real or not he said it. And the question is, is President Obama going to stop his tweeting at this point.

LEMON: President Trump.

ISIKOFF: I think those were true. Yes, President Obama. What did I say? I say Obama. Sorry. President Trump. I don't -- I don't think Obama even tweets that much.

Anyway, Trump. No. Most people do not expect that he will. And so, if that's the case, what's Barr going to do when Trump is unable to control himself and continues to tweet. I think that's the real dynamic to watch there. Because if he says it's impossible to do his job and Trump continues to do it, then he's really got no choice.

LEMON: He did --

ISIKOFF: Other than to resign or to back away from what he just said.

LEMON: Hold on. We're going to talk more because I'm going to get on the other side of the break.


LEMON: But a very interesting point. You know, we've said so far, he hasn't said anything. But we all know about the Saturday morning tweets.

ISIKOFF: Of course.

LEMON: Right?


LEMON: Because what you're going to say, who knows that we're going to wake up --


SANCHEZ: Well, you wonder if Barr said that in anticipation of what was coming with McCabe and trying to get Trump to hold off where he frequently doesn't.

LEMON: Stick around, everybody. We have a lot to talk about. The president loves his deep state conspiracy theory. Facts be dammed. But does today's Andrew McCabe news smash his favorite conspiracy theory into smitheries? [22:20:00]


LEMON: And we're back.

The Justice Department dropping its criminal information into Andrew McCabe. An investigation that took two years.

Boris Sanchez is back, Shimon Prokupecz, Laura Coates, and Michael Isikoff.

Shimon, I know you wanted to jump in on this so let me ask you this question. On McCabe a district judge warned that the Justice Department -- one in the Justice Department back in September that it was looking like Trump was putting his thumb on the scale.

And I just want to read part of it. He says, I don't think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. I just think it is a banana republic when we go down that road. And that was from Judge Reggie Walton. He was warning prosecutors questioning why this case was being dragged out.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. And they were coming up on a deadline, the Department of Justice on this whole thing. Right? They -- there people who were seeking information about this investigation. McCabe's lawyers have been seeking information.

There's some speculation that the reason, one of the reasons why the U.S. attorney office decided to announce this today was that they were up on this deadline with this judge. This judge is really not happy about what was going on.

I remember when all of this was developing and the judge went after the U.S. attorney's office and the Department of Justice really over this. Really puzzled by what they were doing because they weren't giving any answers to McCabe, really to his lawyers who were just in the completely in the dark. You know?


PROKUPECZ: There was speculation and they got really nervous that Andrew McCabe was about to be indicted. And then when they started asking questions of the U.S. attorney, they just would not return their calls. And then there was maybe they were about to indict him and then they thought they weren't going to get the charges so pulled it back. And then maybe they were going to bring in a new grand jury. So, there was some concern about that.

SANCHEZ: Here's the bottom line, Don. What's really is concerning what people should be concerned about is that no one trusts what's coming out of the Department of Justice.

LEMON: We have no trust in our institution.

SANCHEZ: That is what's going on right now.

LEMON: And one, because the president is undermining himself.


LEMON: The president is undermining the institution. And it appears that the attorney general is undermining the Department of Justice as well.

Listen, you know, I know that you said that this started with Obama. Right? Under the Obama administration. Correct?

ISISKOFF: No, no, no. Not on Obama. An Obama appointee.

LEMON: Obama appointee.

ISIKOFF: The inspector general who made the criminal referral.

LEMON: OK. But this one, this ruling now is coming from Judge Reggie Walton who is a --


ISIKOFF: A Bush appointee.

LEMON: -- George W. Bush appointed judge.


LEMON: So, they can't say that that was coming from an Obama guy.

COATES: They can't. But you know what they can still say it which is the most concerning of all this. I am from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. The federal prosecutor for main justice as well.

And one of the honors of my life has been to say Laura Coates on behalf of the people of the United States America of America. But that carried credibility and gravitas and decorum, not because it was me personally, but because it carried the credibility of all of my colleagues.

That when the U.S. stood before a court they would be believed if we made a statement, our case law was on point. We had a reason for why this case, why this sentence, why now. Why this lenience, why this opposite of lenience.

Here you have judges questioning about the methodology, questioning the political influence, questioning whether U.S. attorneys understand the content of equal protection of the law. That is not where you want the Justice Department to be. By virtue of the name being Justice Department, you want to have the impression not because you want to mislead people, but the sincere impression that Lady Justice is blindfolded and that she keeps it on even when the president tweets.

When you have Attorney General Barr, when you have U.S. attorneys quitting and resigning entirely from Department of Justice. LEMON: Unprecedented.

COATES: One who, by the way, is the former Merrick Garland clerk, a Justice Breyer clerk. People who are not looking to have anything other than a life of service.


Saying, hold on, if I can't walk into a courtroom tomorrow for the next person who has lied to Congress who's made a false statement or has had an assault charge and say I think this person has appropriate reason to be under the guidelines. It's all lost. And we continue to lose faith in the justice system.

And frankly, you would think Attorney General Barr would hold that so close to the vest and the honor of being the attorney general. And the president nonetheless, who is supposed to be the head of the executive branch to enforce the laws.


COATES: It's a scary time.

ISIKOFF: The judge to watch right now is Amy Berman Jackson who has the Roger Stone case. And if the sentencing hearing comes off this Thursday and there's some question about that because Stone's lawyers today filed a motion for a mistrial because the lead juror turns out to have been a partisan Democrat who was posting things on Facebook that were critical of the president.

So, there may be a delay because they'll be motions filed. But regardless. When the sentencing hearing comes, she will have the opportunity to grill the Justice Department prosecutors about the withdrawal of the initial sentencing recommendation and how it came about and why the new one was submitted. We will see how she handles that. But we could learn a lot from how she handles that case.

LEMON: How much of this has to do with the Mueller investigation and undermining that? Does it have anything to do with, because --


ISIKOFF: Well, the Stone case grew out of the Mueller investigation. It was the last prosecution of the Mueller investigation.

PROKUPECZ: And these prosecutors were all Mueller prosecutors.

ISIKOFF: Yes, they were all Mueller prosecutors.

LEMON: How much longer do you think the president is going to listen to Bill Barr and -- are you having a busy morning sending at the White House?


SANCHEZ: I've been refreshing my Twitter. Yes. No. Honestly, I think a response is inevitable because the president has built such a mythology about the deep state.


SANCHEZ: I was glancing at conservative media and they are up and arms about it. Some of his favorite hosts on cable TV are questioning the justice system right now.

LEMON: No way.

SANCHEZ: A little bit, yes. So, I expect the president will respond. I don't think that he's going to go after Bill Barr though. Those two have been in lockstep about so many things even though there's this --


LEMON: And he needs Bill Barr.

SANCHEZ: -- disagreement about tweeting. I mean, the end of the Mueller investigation, the Horowitz report. Questions of executive privilege. And now this Michael Flynn thing. I can't imagine -- and Roger Stone. I can't imagine that he's going to go after somebody who's done so much for him by any measure.

PROKUPECZ: Maybe he goes after the U.S. attorney in Washington.


PROKUPECZ: I mean, this is now -- it's the same office that Roger Stone is --

LEMON: Thank you all. Happy Valentine's Day.

So how is the Justice Department rank and file reacting to Bill Barr is doing, what he's doing? Well, I'm going to ask someone who worked in the same office as the four Roger Stone prosecutors and knows two of them personally.



LEMON: Well, you can say it's been some week at the Justice Department. The president publicly criticizing the recommended sentence for his longtime friend Roger Stone, the DOJ. Then downgrading to that ask prompting four prosecutors to quit the case. Trump actually congratulating the Attorney General for stepping in.

And then Bill Barr, the Attorney General, goes on TV saying Trump has never asked him to intervene in a criminal case. And the president tweets that he could. And then today the DOJ drops charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Barr orders a second look at former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn's case.

That's a lot. Let's talk now. Chris Macchiaroli, he is a former federal prosecutor who worked at Bill Barr's DOJ until recently and knows four Stone prosecutors -- the four Stone prosecutors personally. Thank you. I really appreciate you joining us. Am I right? What a week at the Department of Justice?

CHRISTOPHER MACCHIAROLI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Unprecedented, Don. Completely unprecedented. Let's just start with Tuesday which feels like it's been a year ago. We have a thorough 26-page sentencing memorandum written by the four prosecutors that lays out all the relevance sentencing guidelines. Lays out the enhancements, lays out the facts of a lengthy investigations. Hard work went into that. It was filed. And then only hours later, we hear that the Department of Justice is changing its position.

Changing it position from asking for a sentence outside the guidelines. And I can tell you, Don, as a prosecutor who did this for a number of years, who wrote a numerous sentencing memorandums that is unprecedented to imagine that after a trial and you are advocating, and you are fighting hard to have somebody come in from main justice and tell you, no you can't ask for that recommendation.

LEMON: What do you think happened, Chris?

MACCHIAROLI: I'll tell you what happened. It got to the news. And somebody at the Department of Justice found out that, you know, its five to seven years and the reaction was that can't be right, we are not going to happen. And then calls were made and decisions were made. And at the last minute you have this, you know, frenzy where prosecutors are told they are going to have to change their position. That they're going to ultimately have to advocate for something that's inconsistent with the policy of the Department of Justice. A sentence below the guidelines and prosecutors said no.

LEMON: Where did the call come from, you think, to change?

MACCHIAROLI: Well, I think it's very clear that this the call came from the Department of Justice. Ultimately, I often refer to former Associate Justice Jackson, who talked about the roles of assistant United States attorneys and talk about the sacred duty that one has in representing the United States and then one should strike a blow, but should always strike a fair blow. And in this case, that authority that was given to them was overruled by individuals who were not in involved in the case for two years.

LEMON: You know, you worked there so recently, right. In the Barr Department of Justice, right?

MACCHIAROLI: That's correct.

LEMON: How are people feeling there now?

MACCHIAROLI: I think they are all shocked. I think they're all shocked. You work hard on the case, you and believe that the rule of law applies. And ultimately you're told that, no, you have to make exceptions.


And for certain cases, you know, things should be done differently. And I'll tell you this, there are sentencings all across this country in district courts and Alaska, and in Florida, and individuals are being sentenced and to imagine that the Attorney General Barr would feel that this one sentence among all the sentences in the country deserve special treatment. And that was Mr. Stone.

LEMON: You also worked with Jessie Liu. Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney whose nomination for a top treasury job was yanked because she ran the office that oversaw Roger Stone's prosecution. And she also resigned this week. Do you expect that there are going to be more resignations? You have these four folks, you have this yank, do you think more people are going to resign?

MACCHIAROLI: Well, let me just clarify. One individual actually left the Department of Justice.

LEMON: One left, right.

MACCHIAROLI: All four --

LEMON: -- resigned from the case.

MACCHIAROLI: -- resigned from the case which is unprecedented.

LEMON: Right.

MACCHIAROLI: Could you imagine --

LEMON: And one left completely. Left the department.

MACCHIAROLI: Walked out. I think if this continues, we are going to see that happen again. And just so you know, Don, we're not out of the dangerous waters yet. Today, we hear about revisiting the Flynn case. Asking new prosecutors to come in and take a second look. Don, this is somebody who in federal court, through a lengthy procedure accept the responsibility for what he did.

Acknowledged to signing a document saying that he committed a felony offense. Careful questions were asked to make sure that he was not pressured to reach the decision. That he was not coerced. That he understood what he was actually admitting to. Now, he's trying to walk away from that. Now, they're saying that there was some kind of investigation to see what was done in that case. What's the investigation to see that he was put on duress in order to accept responsibility? It just doesn't make sense, Don.

LEMON: Should Barr resign?

MACCHIAROLI: I think that's the question for William Barr. I think only he knows what he should be doing on the United States right now.

LEMON: Do you think we can recover from this?

MACCHIAROLI: I do. I do. I have faith in our system. It requires the checks balances of all three branches. It requires the fourth branch, which is the media and often its regular individuals. That we don't know about their names. They just go about doing their job on a daily basis. You could start with a four prosecutors who are involved in this case. You can see all the people at the State Department who we saw before Congress. Regular people. Patriots. Public services, public servants. Doing their job on the regular basis. That is what protects democracy. And when those four people said, I'm not going to sign onto that sentencing memorandum, they stood up for all Americans.

LEMON: Thank you, Chris Macchiaroli.

MACCHIAROLI: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

LEMON: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. You know what that say out of the mouths of babes. Well, next, how kids as young as six are reportedly picking up the president's toxic language. Hurling insults. Many at children of color.



LEMON: Tonight a really disheartening report about a new strain of bullying in America's schools. The Washington Post finding that some of the nation's students are picking up President Trump's insulting and inflammatory language and often using it against classmates who are black, Latino or Muslim. So, I want to talk about this with John Woodrow Cox, one of the Post reporters on this story. Susan Glasser, staff writer for the New Yorker. Thank you so much, both of you for joining us.

John, you report that since Trump took office, his provocative and xenophobic language has seeped into schools and children as young as six years old, six, are mimicking his insults. Tell us about that.

JOHN WOODROW COX, LOCAL ENTERPRISE REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes. So, we found in excess of 300 cases over the last several years since 2016 of kids, like you said, as young as six saying things like build a wall. Go back behind the wall. Go back to where you came from. Often kids will just surround children of color and just yell the word Trump at them. Obviously mean it as if it's a slur. So, we've seen this at sporting events. We've seen this in classrooms. We've seen adults, teachers, coaches who had said these sort of things to students. So, you know, clearly the language that he's used in tweets that he's directed at his enemies, kids are hearing that and they are repeating it over and over. And this is never stop.

LEMON: Remember when this started happening a couple years ago, that this started happening, we start hearing kids saying build a wall. Go back at -- I think we did a report on it on this show, a while ago. At least a parent talked about it on this show, about someone saying build a wall to her kids of color. Brown Latino kids. Kids are paying attention to what Trump says. I just want -- listen to just a few examples of his remarks. Here it is.


TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.

Illegal immigrants that in many cases are treated better than our great veterans.

Countless Americans are killed by illegal immigrants. We have some bad hombres here and we are going to get them out.

Remember I said we have to do a temporary ban on the Muslims, look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Yes, sir we have barb wire going up. Because you know what, we're not letting these people invade our country.


LEMON: Susan, he's the president of the United States. And they are following his example.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, Don, I think this was a really powerful story. And I -- you know, I mean, and we're not doing justice to it. You know, people should read it for themselves in the Posts.


In many ways it seem to me that it is actually a powerful political document as well. In this sort of cultural divide that having a president who speaks like this, you want to know why there's a gender gap that's unprecedented in American society. My view is like that as a mom, no mom could read this and not be horrified.

You know, the other thing, I think that's interesting to point out is that this of course, is just sort of a tip of the iceberg type thing. You did essentially a data base search that showed these incidents, these were the ones that were bad enough or notable enough to be covered in local media. You know, culturally, we know that this is actually much more widespread. Think of the enabling of bullying that language that might not be even some of the more overtly racist language.

I spoke recently with an educator here in Washington who told me every single day it's something that he has to worry about with middle school boys. And their using insults and language directly taken from the president in a way that, you know, the president himself is like merchandising t-shirts on his campaign web site. Calling senior officials in U.S. Government pencil neck. Liar. Cry baby. I mean, you know, we wouldn't tolerate this behavior and we don't tolerate it in our children.

LEMON: Yes. And it's interesting. He said, he's following -- their following the president, because when you think about what other presidents have said. What can you mimic about, you know, yes, we can or you know, something that a thousand points of light or whatever. Those aren't the sort of racist, xenophobic statements. The Washington Post reviewed 28,000 news stories of Trump inspired harassment in schools and found that at least three quarters of the attacks were directed at kids of minority ethnicity. There are also cases of backlash against students who support Trump. Bu this polarization now is in our schools. But in the vast majority is coming from the racist inflammatory language of this president and his supporters. WOODROW COX: Yes, I mean, that's certainly what we saw in our review.

And we know to Susan's point, it's the tip of the iceberg. I mean, really, there are -- we found an excess of 300 cases that were publicly reported. But those were just the ones that were that bad. We know even from talking to the kids who we interviewed. We have interviewed kids all over the country and you know, they told us dozens of other incidents that they knew about. I mean, this were in some cases, daily events where kids would hear language that was directly taken from the president and directed at them because of the color of their skin.

LEMON: Maybe someone should show them the first lady's initiative. Be best. And not being their best. Thank you very much. I appreciate both of you.

And alarming warning from the ant defamation league. White supremacist propaganda doubling from 2018 to 2019. Why hate is on the rise? Next.



LEMON: White supremacist propaganda growing at an explosive rate in the U.S. That is according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League just out this week. The ADL is reporting that most incidents of white supremacist propaganda distributions they had ever seen, and that the number doubled between 2018 and 2019. Sara Sidner has more on the story. Sara, what are we learning about this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, this is as much about trying to mainstream racist rhetoric as it is about trying to grow their ranks and recruit.


SIDNER: These are the mechanics of hate. A promotional video made by a white nationalist group as it spreads propaganda.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: We saw white supremacist propaganda distributions last year in 49 states.

SIDNER: According to the Anti-Defamation League's new report in 2019 white nationalists or supremacist propaganda exploded across the United States.

GREENBLATT: The ADL has been tracking extremists for decades and decades. And this year was the highest number of propaganda distributions we have ever seen in our hundred-year history.

SIDNER: ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said their reports found incidence of white nationalist or supremacists groups putting up fliers, stickers, banners, and posters in public places has more than doubled, from just over 1,200 in 2018 to more than 2,700 in 2019.

GREENBLATT: I think there's a charged political environment. And they're trying to capitalize on the division that is so pervasive throughout society. You've seen elected officials literally adopting some of their language, using their memes and injecting their poison into the political conversation.

SIDNER: Last year the president of the United States attacked progressive Congresswomen of color, tweeting, why don't they go back and helped fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?

TRUMP: If you're not happy here you can leave.

SIDNER: Even though, three of them were born in the United States and the forth is a naturalized citizen. Online white supremacists praised the president's comments. One saying, this is the kind of white nationalism we have elected him for. The propaganda is often made to look innocuous, but there is often a website associated with it that leads you to the true hate-filled intentions of the group. The messaging have shown up in many forms, from banners being dropped in public places, to stickers outside a politician's office, to posters on college campuses. Last year, we visited Chapman University in Orange County, California after white nationalist stickers were pasted over school fliers about an educational project exploring immigration and borders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're flying all over the country, they do this on college campuses, and quite a bit they really focus on college campuses.


SIDNER: Chapman University Associate Professor Dr. Peter Simi has studied hate groups for decades, even living with members of the groups to get deeper insight. He says the groups are working to intimidate groups of people they hate and entice like-minded people to join their ranks.


Patriot front is one of the groups spreading large amounts of propaganda. At times its members come out from behind their computer keyboards and onto the streets with their hate-filled message. Its public gatherings are not widely publicized. They're over quickly but given enough time to create videos aimed at promoting their anti- immigrant racist agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't see any signs that this extremist activity is going to slow down.

SIDNER: Case in point the video you're seeing, the white nationalist group uploaded this month to highlight their small masked march through the nation's capital.


SIDNER: Yup, that happened in 2020, in the nation's capital. About a hundred or so masked men in a group that says things like deport them all, yelling reclaim America. And experts who track this kind of rhetoric say that 2020 is ripe for more of this kind of rhetoric, not less. Don?

LEMON: Sara, thank you very much for that.

President Trump said to be angry, the McCabe investigation was dropped today. But Andrew McCabe himself tells me, opening the case against the president was worth the hell he went through. My interview with him just ahead.