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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Knew How Deadly The Virus Was; Joe Biden Angry Over Trump's Irresponsibility Over Pandemic; Michael Cohen Out With A Bombshell. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 9, 2020 - 22:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Best part of the night, "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Really?

So, here's what I have to say. I caught the end of your interview with Peter Strzok, and interesting. I didn't get to see the whole thing. But it's fascinating what's going on right now, especially in light of the Woodward book, right?

You've got the Peter Strzok book. You've got the Woodward book. And you've got the Michael Cohen book, by the way, which I'm going to interview him in a little bit.

If you haven't seen it, "Disloyal," yes.

CUOMO: I've seen it.

LEMON: Yes. Anyway, let's talk about the Woodward book.

[22:00:00]

It's fascinating to me to watch politicians go on television and say this is a got you book when the president, when he is doing almost what we're doing. Playing the president's words back for the audience to hear but somehow, it's a got you hit job. And they don't want to really respond to it. It's just fascinating to watch.

CUOMO: I haven't seen it. I haven't seen it. I have to hear it for myself. They are --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well let me play --

CUOMO: They are FOS.

LEMON: -- let me play you the sound bite. Right.

CUOMO: They are FOS.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: They knew when he knew. I've been digging into this ever since it came out. I've been digging into it for months. OK?

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: They all knew -- did they get it wrong early on? Yes. They, is everybody. All the scientists everybody who is in there the consensus was, we don't think it's going to be like it is in China or Europe. We think we're going to be all right. They were wrong.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But when they made the shift, Trump refused to make the shift.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And he forced them to slow off the shift.

LEMON: I don't -- I don't know if everyone got it wrong. I think people were saying in the beginning, you know, they were going what the science showed. I don't think everyone --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: They didn't have the science.

LEMON: -- got it wrong. Right.

CUOMO: They had this -- they didn't have the science and they didn't think --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But people went in denial. People weren't telling people that --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Yes, yes.

LEMON: -- it's just going to be great.

CUOMO: No. You can be wrong.

LEMON: Right. And not be in denial.

CUOMO: You can be wrong. But then when you learn that you're wrong, now what do you do?

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: They all changed, he didn't.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And they wanted to do things that he wouldn't let them. And it's the same with the Russia story.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: He doesn't want you to say certain things because he doesn't like them. So, you're told not to say them. That's the essence of that story.

LEMON: And those folks are not all the people there, you know, they got it wrong. They're not getting the intelligence as well. I'm talking about politicians that the President of the United States is getting. The President of the United States is being briefed on things that other people are not being briefed on.

CUOMO: true.

LEMON: And we hold the President of the United States to a higher standard.

CUOMO: He's the commander in chief.

LEMON: He's the commander in chief.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: On the not accepting (ph), you're totally right. Russia.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But not on the pandemic.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: They knew. And if he doesn't want to cause panic, this is my last point, I'll let you go. I didn't want to cause panic, Don. You don't want to cause panic, that's why you say here comes Helter Skelter.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Here are the angry blacks and their crazy white friends.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Led by an animal known as Cory Booker. That's why you say that right, because you don't want to cause panic, right?

LEMON: Yes. Yes. Well, I'll just say --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Don't vote by the way, it's all rigged. But I don't want to cause panic.

LEMON: -- the key -- hey, Chris, look, I could have told you that the killer was at your front door. But I just didn't want you to panic.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I don't want to panic you, man.

LEMON: And I don't want to panic you. Yes.

CUOMO: I don't want to panic you.

LEMON: Yes. Sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I figured it would be OK.

LEMON: Sorry, I didn't take precautions.

CUOMO: Some people got to die, Don. Some people got to die.

LEMON: I love you. I'll talk to you later.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I've got a show to get to.

CUOMO: I will be watching.

LEMON: All right. I'll see you later. Have a good one.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Boy, we got a big show for you. As I told Chris we've got Michael Cohen. You want to hear -- we're going to have a conversation like he hasn't had before. He's done great interviews with some of my colleagues who I really admire. But we're going to do something that I believe that they didn't do. So, make sure you stay tuned for that. It's going to happen in just a couple minutes.

But I just want to cut right to the chase here. You know, as always, I'm always very honest with you. I always tell you I'm going to give you the truth. OK? And this is the absolute, 100 percent truth.

The president, this president has betrayed you. It's just plain out betrayal. It doesn't matter if you support him or if you don't support him. He's betrayed you. I just want you to think about, think about where we are.

You cannot live your life the way you could six months ago. Think about that. I'm in a little studio. I'm not in the big studio. I don't even know if you've noticed, the jib and the thing flying all around and guests everywhere. And you can see the fancy suit I'm wearing and I'm talking to people. We're going back. None of that is happening.

Just a couple people in this building. Many of you are not even at work. Most of you, probably. Your kids can't even go to school. Or play with their friends right now. Are you sending them back to school? What are you doing? What do you -- you don't know.

Some of you got sick, you felt scared. You weren't sure you were even going to get better. Think about what my colleague Chris Cuomo is going through and my other colleagues who have -- who survived. Thank goodness. Knock on wood, survived the coronavirus. A lot of people didn't. And people are still dealing with the consequences.

Some of you lost the jobs. Some of you had to wait in food lines, right? Maybe for the first time in your life you've been in the situation. Some of you lost your friends. And way, way too many of you lost loved ones, 190,000 of them.

Think about this when I say betrayal. Because most western nations, most developed nations are getting back to normal or almost back to normal.

[22:05:00]

Guess which nation isn't? This one. And guess who the president is? Donald Trump. We've known the president botched the handling of this pandemic on an epic scale. We know that. Even his supporters know that. They don't want to see it -- they see it. They just don't want to admit it.

They know it's wrong. So, they pretend that it's not real and there's not a lot of social distancing and masks are fake, and you're taking away my freedom because I can't walk into a place. You know it's all B.S. They know it.

But today, we all did, we all found out that he did it on purpose. He told you so. He told you how he betrayed you. It's all on tape. So, I want you to pay attention to what Bob Woodward, what he told Bob Woodward about the virus. This was way back, this is February -- remember, before you play this, he's the one getting all the -- of the intelligence. This is February 7. Watch.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: And so, what was President Xi saying yesterday?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We were talking mostly about the virus. And I think he's going to have it in good shape. But you know, it's a very tricky situation. It's a --

WOODWARD: Indeed, it is.

TRUMP: It goes -- it goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air you just breathe the air. That's how it's passed. And so that's a tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your, you know, even your strenuous flu.

You know, people don't realize we lose 25,000, 30,000 people a year here. Who would ever think that? Right? I mean, it's pretty amazing.

WOODWARD: I know. It's much --

(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: And then I said well, is that the same thing? This is more

deadly. This is five per, you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent, you know. So, this is deadly stuff.

(END VOICE CLIP)

LEMON: So, that's what he's saying behind the scenes. It's not necessarily it doesn't match up with what he's saying publicly. And is he sharing that information with everyone? That was early February. The president knew. He knew that the virus is airborne. He knew that it was deadly. We know that now. Most of us did not know that then. But he did. The president did.

You heard him in his own words. Telling Bob Woodward this is deadly stuff. He said that on February 7th. Are you taking these out of your ears? February 7th, the same day the State Department announced it had shipped nearly 18 tons of personal protective equipment. We now know it is PPE now. They sent it to China.

The president knew how deadly this virus was. He said so. Yet he sent tons of PPE that we would desperately need to China. So, he wasn't even doing anything behind the scenes to prepare for what he should have known was coming. Despite knowing things, the rest of us didn't know about this deadly airborne disease, he went on the road.

In the four weeks after that tape conversation, he held six campaign rallies. Were you one of the ones in those crowds? He knew. You didn't. Six campaign rally -- rallies, crowds of thousands indoors, no mask. Not a single warning. Manchester, New Hampshire.

Look up on your screen. Phoenix, Arizona. Colorado Springs. Las Vegas, Nevada, Charleston and Charlotte, the cheers of the crowd more important than the lives of real Americans as he says, his supporters, didn't tell them.

Hey, people, at that rally and everyone listening, he knew it wasn't the flu. You heard him say so in private. But in public, here's the evidence. OK? He went on comparing it to the flu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You treat this like a flu. We'll essentially have a flu shot for this in fairly quick matter. View this the same as the flu. This is a flu. This is like a flu.

[22:09:59]

Like if you have the flu you recuperate. You get better.

With the flu, on average, we lose from 26,000 to 78,000 people a year. Or even more than that in some -- in some cases some years, we haven't lost anybody yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Spin, spin, spin. Always spinning. The con. Are you the mark? Almost a month after he admitted to Bob Woodward that the coronavirus

was deadlier than the flu, the president visited the CDC, claimed to be shocked that people die of the flu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I was hearing the amount of people that died from the flu, I was shocked to hear it.

When people have the flu, you have an average of 36,000 people dying. I never heard those numbers. I would -- I would have been shocked. I would have said does anybody die from the flu? I didn't know people died from the flu.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He didn't know. He would have been shocked, those numbers. He didn't know people died from the flu. OK? Again, are you listening? He knew perfectly well people died from the flu. How do we know it? Because he told Bob Woodward that a month before. He also knew elderly people aren't the only ones at risk. Young people get sick too.

(BEGIN VOCIE CLIP)

TRUMP: Now it's turning out it's not just old people, Bob. Just today, and yesterday some startling facts came out. It's not just old -- older.

WOODWARD: Yes, exactly.

TRUMP: Young people, too. Plenty of young people.

(END VOICE CLIP)

LEMON: You saw the date there up on your screen. That was March 19. He knew young people could get it and die from it. And he said so in private. But, here's in public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now we know it's the elderly. It's especially elderly if they have heart, diabetes or they had problems. And we're watching it and we're watching it very closely.

Going forward, we must continue to remain vigilant and shielding the elderly and those with under lying conditions.

We strongly urge citizens to take extra precautions to shield those at highest risk which are in most cases, in many cases, the elderly, especially the elderly with medical problems such as heart or diabetes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He knew it wasn't just the elderly. He said so in private. But in public -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you look at children, I mean, they are able to throw it off very easily. And it's an amazing thing. Because some flus they don't. They get very sick and they have problems with flus and they have problems with other things.

But for whatever reason the China virus, children handle it very well. Their immune systems are very, very strong. They are very powerful. And they seem to be able to handle it very well. And that's according to every statistic.

I don't consider our country coming back if the schools are closed. And it's had very little, very unusual situation. It's had very little impact on young people. And I would strongly say they should open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And then the president tells Bob Woodward exactly why he said and why he did all of those things. He tells him. He was deliberately downplaying the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But look what's going on and --

(CROSSTALK)

WOODWARD: So, give me a moment of talking to somebody, going through this with Fauci or somebody who kind of it caused a pivot in your mind. Because it's clear just from what's on the public record that you went through a pivot on this to, my God, the gravity is almost inexplicable and unexplainable.

TRUMP: Well, I think, Bob, really, to be honest with you --

(CROSSTALK)

WOODWARD: Sure, I want you to be.

TRUMP: I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.

WOODWARD: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, it turns out that he wasn't in denial. He wasn't uninformed. He wasn't just ignoring the science that he had a strategy. He had a purpose to downplay the virus to keep the truth from you. And when asked how he could explain that now --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The fact is I'm a cheer leader for this country. I love our

country. And I don't want people to be frightened. I don't want to create panic, as you say. And certainly, I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He doesn't want to cause a panic on the virus. No problem at all he has causing a panic about violence and lying to divide us on race. Stoking fear in America's cities and suburbs.

[22:15:04]

TRUMP: Your home will go down in value and crime rates will rapidly rise. The end result is you will totally destroy the beautiful suburbs. Suburbia will be no longer.

We must never allow mob rule. Rioting, looting. Arson. And violence. There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat run cities throughout America.

You know what I say? Protest is your ass. I don't talk about my ass.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: They're not protestors. Those aren't -- those are anarchists. They're agitators. They're rioters. They're looters.

The suburbs are next. If you elected this guy, the suburbs would be overwhelmed with violence and crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Thank goodness he doesn't talk about his. That would be a big conversation. So, he doesn't want to cause panic but he's panicking people about things that we need not be panicked about. And folks, they are not going to stop lying to you even when the president's own words are on tape because in Trump's White House there is no shame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has never lied to the American public on COVID.

The president never downplayed the virus.

TRUMP: I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.

WOODWARD: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.

We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. And we have it under control. It's going to be just fine. When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple days is going to be

down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.

It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: An angry Joe Biden tells our very own Jake Tapper it's almost criminal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This caused people to die. And what are you doing the whole time? He acknowledged that you breathe it. It's in the air. And he won't put on a mask. He's talking about it's ridiculous to put on mask. What do you need social distancing for? Why have any of these rules?

It was all about making sure the stock market didn't come down. That his wealthy friends didn't lose any money and that he could say that in fact anything that happened had nothing to do with him. He waved the white flag. He walked away. He didn't do a damn thing. Think about it. Think about what he did not do. And it's almost criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How many people die because of the president's decision? His deliberate, cynical, appalling decision. We talk about numbers. But this is -- these are people. Would Samantha Diaz still be alive, a 29- year-old mom and medical assistance who was worried about going to work but took on extra shifts to help her family? Her mother is left to raise Samantha's three children.

What about Keith Jones? Keith Jones is a navy veteran how became a licensed practical nurse after he retired. His family says no one ever considered him passing. Would Rita Haro, Jose "Chico" Haro, and Manuela "Nellie" Johnson still be alive? Three siblings who, after a lifetime of being close died within seven days of each other. Or what about the Reverend Vickey Gibbs and her last sermon in June? She described what she called a fractured nation and the impact of coronavirus on our community in Houston. A little more than a month later, she died.

We will never know. But what we do know is that it did not have to be this way. If the president would just have said in public what he said in private on tape to a journalist, that he was trying to impress. There are no words for just how sad a thing to say that is. No words. Didn't have to be this way.

The president betrayed you. He betrayed all of us.

Our White House correspondent is Kaitlan Collins. She is here. Our chief medical correspondent is Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I welcome both of you. Good evening. Thank you so much.

Doctor, let's start with you. The president told Bob Woodward on February 7, that he knew the virus transmits through the air. That's way before the public knew. That's huge information yet he still minimized the threat instead of mobilizing a response.

[22:19:58]

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: He also said that he knew it was five times more deadly than the flu. I mean, that was -- that was quite extraordinary, Don. Because, you know, we've heard him sort of characterize this coronavirus and again, the comparison to the flu for many months after that.

I interviewed him or asked him a question, rather, at this press briefing just about 20 days later on February 26. Again, he told Bob Woodward that he knew not only it was deadlier than the flu but five times deadlier than the flu. But here's how he responded when I ask him about this on the 26th.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Dr. Fauci (Inaudible) the flue and the comparison to the coronavirus. Flu has a fatality ratio of about of .1 percent.

TRUMP: Correct.

GUPTA: This has a fatality ratio of somewhere between two and three percent. Given that --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: We don't know exactly.

GUPTA: -- base on the numbers so far --

TRUMP: And the flu is higher than that. the flu is much higher than that.

GUPTA: There's more --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: So, Don, what do we -- what do we supposed to do with that? Right? I mean, you know, it always nagged at me, you know, after that press briefing. Because it was clearly wrong what he said. But I didn't know if what he said was wrong because he just hadn't been paying attention. He hadn't been briefed on this. Or he was deliberately misleading people.

And now, you know, three weeks earlier almost we know that he had a really good idea of just how deadly this virus was. And that it was five times, his words, deadlier than the flu. So, I mean, he was receiving briefings, he was talking to people in China. That had some of the earliest data and they had told him this and then three weeks later he's saying the flu is much worse. I mean, you just heard it there with your own ears.

LEMON: Kaitlan, listen, I spoke with Chris about this a little bit earlier. It's so embarrassing to watch lawmakers come on. Especially I saw one on earlier from my home state of Louisiana. It just made me embarrassed to be from there because it was just -- it was just terrible the way he answered.

But the president is on state TV tonight, saying that this book is a political hit job. It's pretty hard to say that about a book you gave 18 taped interviews far -- for when all we've heard so far are the president's own words.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's been one of the biggest questions. Bob Woodward is not new. He helped bring down Nixon, and of course, chronicled his fall from, you know, one of the highest jobs in the world that you can get because of what he did. And he has written a book on many presidents since then.

And as Karl Rove who was an adviser to George W. Bush said, most of the presidents who have sat down with Bob Woodward have regretted it. But Donald Trump thought he would be different. He did not sit down with him for his last book and he regretted that. He was irritated with aides over that.

So, he wanted to sit down with him for this book. Because essentially as someone described it to me, he thought he could out maneuver Bob Woodward, and he thought he could make Bob Woodward see his side of the story.

And so, consider that why the president talked to him 18 times for this book. And then listen to how the president described why he did this to Sean Hannity tonight.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

TRUMP: On the Bob Woodward book, on the book itself, he called. I didn't participate in this last one. And he does hit jobs with everybody. He even did it on Obama. But constant hit jobs on Bush, I guess they did three books. They were all terrible. So, I figured, you know, let's just give it a little shot. I'll speak to him. It wasn't a big deal.

(END VOICE CLIP)

COLLINS: So, you see the president there defending it. Trying to explain why he sat with him. Right now, there's a lot of finger pointing happening inside the White House. A lot of blame over who it was that let the president talk to Bob Woodward this much to really indict himself this much.

But of course, Don, it's the president who makes the decision to call Bob Woodward late at night from the Oval Office from the residence. He is the one who made these decisions and he is also the one who is the -- made the decision to tell Bob Woodward as Sanjay was noting on February 7, this is airborne and we do know this.

Yet for weeks after that, for five weeks after that, he continued to hold rallies with thousands of people indoors, without masks way before that was even a thing, rallies that I and many other people attended. Knowing as the president said in his own words that it was an airborne disease.

LEMON: Yes. It's just fascinating to me. I see people making excuses for this saying that Bob Woodward had some sort of obligation to report this. He's not a working member of the press right now. He was. He's acting in the capacity of a book author.

But it's fascinating to me that people are holding Bob Woodward a, an author to a higher standard than the President of the United States. That says a lot about the excuses people will make up in their heads to try to defend whatever this president does or does not do in this case.

Thank you both. I appreciate it.

You heard the president in his own words in interviews for Bob Woodward's new book. Admit to downplaying the coronavirus. And why would he give 18 interviews taped to Bob Woodward?

[22:25:01]

Well, my next guest is the president's former attorney who has a lot of insights into all of this, a lot more. Michael Cohen has a new tell-all book. And he's here live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right, everybody. Sit tight. And watch this. The President Trump's former personal attorney, self-proclaimed fixer, Michael Cohen out with a new book. About his years working for Donald Trump. Cohen doesn't mince words. And calling him a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, and a con man.

The book is called "Disloyal: A Memoir. It's a True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to Personal Donald Trump, Donald J. Trump." Michael Cohen joins me now. Michael, we have a lot to talk about. Good to see you.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: How are you doing, Don?

LEMON: I'm doing well.

COHEN: Good to see you as well.

LEMON: Are you OK?

COHEN: Thank you. You know, as good as can be expected under the circumstances.

LEMON: What do you mean by that?

COHEN: Well, you know, it's great to be home. You know, I still feel for all the guys still back in Otisville, you know, that COVID not going away. Science is real. COVID is real. You know, it's a --

LEMON: Yes.

COHEN: -- it's an adjustment coming back home.

LEMON: Well, I just going to say that. Because listen, let's talk about this Bob Woodward book.

[22:30:02]

Because there's a -- in chapter eight of your book, you talk about this Fox coronavirus mind meld, right, and you talk about members of the administration just repeating things that aren't true and when you were there as well, just keep repeating it and all of a sudden, you start believing it. Because -- tell us how this works. How -- why do people end up repeating lies for the president and becoming coopted by them, quite frankly, like you did?

COHEN: Unfortunately, the Trump organization as I've described it is very much like a cult. And it's interesting that he used in the Woodward tape today the word Kool-Aid, which we all know from the Jonestown massacre. Which I thought was somewhat interesting.

Not only is the Trump organization like a cult, but so is the White House. And anybody that wants to work there, God forbid you say something wrong, God forbid you do something wrong. You're fired. And that's exactly why there's been so many people coming in and out of the administration. Right? I mean, I think he set all sorts of records. He likes records, but he certainly set the record for the most people in and out of the administration.

LEMON: Yes. I'm sure people are watching this, Michael, and they're saying, why should I believe him?

COHEN: Yes.

LEMON: He helped the president. He did his bidding. He went to jail for this. He went to prison for this president. Well he's got an ax to grind. Why should they believe you even in terms of, we know the science he's spreading disinformation, we know the tapes say that he's lying about what he knew and when he knew it. So, why should people believe you?

COHEN: Don, is there -- is there anything that I have said so far that hasn't been corroborated by now the Woodward tapes, by Mary Trump's book, but Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's book?

Yesterday I called Mary Winston -- Mary Trump and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff's book in mine the trifecta of truth. Now you add Woodward into it and you have the quartet of truth. And by the end of next week or by the end of next week you may have the Pentagon of truth.

Because what you keep finding out is that everything that I have said, going back to my House oversight committee testimony has been true. And the things that I lied about, I lied for the benefit of and at the direction of Donald J. Trump.

LEMON: So, you talk about this about him being able to -- him feeling that he can convince anyone of anything if he -- if he repeats it enough that the whole idea of being with a Playboy model or a porn star was scary to him if the public found out. But it also it bolstered his sort of manhood that he would want people to know.

So, I say that because I want to ask you about Bob Woodward. Why would he think that he could do 18 interviews on the record with Bob Woodward and this information not come out. Was it -- does it fascinate him to be able to say this stuff and people are possibly catching him in a lie? Why would he do that?

COHEN: I don't know. The person who set it up, I heard through the grapevine that it was Kushner that set it up. I guarantee that it's not going to go well for whoever it was.

LEMON: Did he think he could out smart Woodward?

COHEN: Of course. Donald Trump is the smartest guy at any table that he sits at. Just ask him.

LEMON: You mentioned Jared Kushner. I'm going to go off a little bit. You didn't like Jared Kushner. You thought he was pompous. You thought he --

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: No, look, it's true. It's true. I -- look, I've spent quite a bit of time with Jared over the years. And yes, Jared is pompous. But once he decided to become a special adviser, and I remember this thing with sitting with Jared and Ivanka and Mr. Trump in the office.

And I said I don't think that the two of you should go in. I think that you have issues with nepotism. And you should go to Washington if that's what you want to do. Go spend time with dad and make sure that he's OK. But at the end of day, you shouldn't be working in the White House.

I mean, there are reasons that there are rules. But for the Trump's there are no rules. They live by their own rules. Including him thinking that he can actually get the better of Bob Woodward sitting down with a tape recorder in front of his mouth. And sitting there and spewing lies that he knows are lies.

And again I -- I've talked about this. It's very Stalinistic. If you say something enough times people will begin to believe it.

LEMON: OK.

COHEN: And that's something that he manages to do. And he's managed to do that to 38 percent of this country, his base. They listen to what he says. They accept what he says. And then they go and they promote it. As if it's legitimate.

LEMON: So, OK, OK.

COHEN: Donald Trump.

LEMON: All right. So then why -- OK -- you have explained Jared, you have explained Ivanka. Obviously, they're family. And other people who are close to him. [22:35:01]

But why would the entire administration and Congress and Republican congressmen and senators and men and women and senators, why would they go along with this? Because it is obvious, he has, for lack of a better term, problems with the truth?

COHEN: Yes, but he also hijacked the Republican Party. He's made it into the Trump party. They're doing -- you may remember at the House oversight committee I said to one of the Republican congressmen, I know what you're doing. And it's not going to work. He says what am I doing? I said I know what you're doing. You're following the Trump play book and how I know because I wrote it.

Look at what happened to me. So, knock it off because nothing good comes out of it. I mean, why would Mark Meadows, why would Attorney General Bill Barr take a prestigious career that he had and throw it the away? Why would he go ahead and retaliate against me, remand me back to prison because President Trump told him to do it.

LEMON: And that's it. That's the answer.

COHEN: He violated my First Amendment constitutional right.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: What is the answer? That's the answer because the president told him to do it?

COHEN: Because he's a cult leader. And people somehow follow him. Why? I don't know. Why I did it when I had my wife, my daughter, my son continuously telling me, stop. We don't want you to work for him. Quit. You don't need to work for him. What are you doing? Right? The things that you're doing are morally wrong. You've lost your moral compass. Wake up. And that's what really why I wrote the book.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Why did you keep doing it?

COHEN: And if you look, Don -- Don, if you look at the end of the book, it's really a cult. It's a warning call. To anybody who is reading the book put the Visine in your eyes. Clean your eyes out and see that Donald Trump cares for no one or anything other than himself.

So, he doesn't care if your family member dies as long as it's not him. He doesn't care about anything other than himself and this election. And he's willing to sacrifice your life so that he has four years.

LEMON: So, you talk about a lot of things that I found fascinating when it comes to race. And you and I have discussed this personally about why you did it especially considering how you feel about diversity in your life.

You talk about Kwame Jackson who was one of the original apprentices. Right? You said --

COHEN: That's correct.

LEMON: You quote, you said, "there's no way I'm going to let this black fag win." That's what he said during the apprentice. You talk about President Obama. He said his victory was infuriating and that opened your eyes to his Archie Bunker like racism. That he had no black friends only celebrities like Don King and Oprah, but everything else, everyone he hated including Mandela and President Obama.

He said f-Mandela, f-President Obama. He called him, what did he say, he was idiotic and that he was a Manchurian candidate and that he was an f-ing phony. What this president says about race to Michael Cohen and Michael Cohen's response right after the break.

[22:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: My guest is Michael Cohen. He has a new book it's called "Disloyal." Michael is back with me. Michael, let's talk about race. I mention some of the quotes if we can put some of them up.

And this is from page 272. Trump on Nelson Mandela. Mandela f-ed the whole country up. Now it's a shit hole. F-Mandela. He is no leader. And then on page 107 you said, as a rule, Trump expressed low opinions of all black folks from music to culture and politics. Africa was a hell hole he believed. nelson Mandela to use but one example was an object of contempt for Trump.

You talk about how he feels about African-Americans and that not that they were friends with him. But he only liked people who were very famous if they were black people. But he really didn't know any black people or have any black friends. Tell me about Trump as it relates to black people specifically.

COHEN: Well, let me say that there was also only one black employee in the entire Trump organization. You may remember again I said that the House oversight when Mark Meadows paraded her out in order to discredit me and state that Donald Trump is not a racist. I'm not really sure why people don't get it.

Donald Trump is a racist. His sister said it, his oldest sister said it. I'm sorry -- his niece said it. I'm saying it. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is saying it. Everybody who technically knows him is telling you that the man is a racist. I'm not sure why people just don't get it. The things that he says --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But you worked for him and you did his bidding. You did the bidding of a racist.

COHEN: Well, what I did is I created the national diversity coalition hoping that I can actually paint a different portrait of the man. That he would understand that it doesn't work. You can't be a racist and run for president. Right? You're going to need to do things like I did with the great Jim Brown with the American program.

My hope was that he would actually rise to the level of being the president for all people and not just his friends and cronies.

LEMON: But as I understood in the book, Michael, you did that because you were trying to change the narrative that you were trying to rebrand the president, so to speak, as not being a racist. Not necessarily trying to change his mind. Because he put, I think it was a diversity but he didn't want minority or anything like that in the title of the coalition. So, were you doing it to rebrand him or were you doing it to show him a better way?

[22:45:04]

COHEN: I was doing -- I was doing it for both. My hope was that, again, he would rise to the level of the president for all people. Not just for his base.

LEMON: So, I want -- the thing the stuff that you write about Obama, it was really just it's amazing because he has this fascination with Obama. That he really deeply admires him but he can't admit it to himself or publicly so therefore he lashes out at the former president.

And then just some of what he said about the former president. He said, you said, when Obama -- you talk about when Obama won against Mitt Romney and against even Hillary Clinton. That he could not stand it. It was an out of body experience for him. That he thought -- this was about the Nobel Prize.

But he thought that the universe was playing a cruel trick on him because there's no way that a black man who was graduated magna cum laude was the editor of the Harvard Law Review that he -- there's no way he could be president that it must be an affirmative action hire or a student because there's no way he could do that.

COHEN: That's correct. It's -- and the way he started this as of course being the chief of birtherism. He saw that it was appealing to a large population. And as he watched his name appear on the front pages of the newspapers more and more, he just ran with that popularist view that he thought was going to help him.

So, Donald Trump, again, he doesn't care about anyone or anything other than himself and his need to feed his ego. It's so great. He needed to see his name in the newspaper. He was willing to say whatever it took.

LEMON: All right.

COHEN: Even if he knows that it's racist and it's wrong.

LEMON: So, he knew -- he knew that there was nothing to the birther thing. Because he said --

COHEN: Of course.

LEMON: When you said, what he told you --

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: of course.

LEMON: -- when he told you as I recall from the book, he called up a reporter and said I've got a team of investigators in Kenya and in Hawaii. And you wouldn't believe the things that are coming of it. He just made it up. Called a reporter and you said well, I don't believe we have anybody in those places. You want me to send someone? And he said no, I don't care because you think Obama wait until the headline comes out. You think he hates me now?

COHEN: It doesn't -- it doesn't matter what was the truth is. It's his truth.

LEMON: But he knew it wasn't true.

COHEN: He's so eager -- it's not true. We never sent anybody. He never sent anybody. He's too cheap to send anybody. I mean, the notion that he was sending somebody to Hawaii. He didn't care. He was going to get the same bang for his buck by telling somebody he sent a crew. And who wouldn't believe it? I mean, Donald Trump has money. He's a billionaire. So why would Donald Trump if he wants to prove that President Obama was not born in the United States, why would he not send investigators? Well, because --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And you said the media fell for it. The media helped him spread that lie.

COHEN: Hook, line, and sinker, my friend. Hook, line, and sinker.

LEMON: So, he -- so he says that -- you said that he knew better he didn't care. And then we have this thing about, you tell -- we put it up when he won the Nobel Prize. You said that Trump went ballistic, as you know, as if the universe were playing some trick on him to drive him out of his mind. But then we have this faux-bama that he hired which is really --

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: Nobel Peace Prize what he wants. Nobel Peace Prize. What did he do? So according to President Trump, what did he do to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Right? Because he's black and he became the first black President of the United States? He's not entitled to a Nobel Peace Prize. What did he do? And that's why Trump is so fixated right now on getting this Nobel Peace Prize. That he got, you know --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: In fairness, people ask that -- people ask that question. But you say what was behind it for him and the anger was quite different than people who are legitimately saying why did this president get the peace prize. COHEN: He wants that peace prize. If Barack Hussein Obama is capable

of getting the Nobel Peace Prize why should he not? For the same reason why, you know, he wanted David Pecker to become the editor and chief of Time magazine so he could be Time's man of the year every year. It was all about --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You said he was actually afraid of being --

COHEN: -- (Inaudible) his ego.

LEMON: He was actually afraid of going head to head with Barack Obama in the election and also just in a debate or, you know, even intellectually. Because he knows the former president is much brighter than he is. He was, that was a real fear for him.

COHEN: That certainly upsets him.

LEMON: Meaning?

COHEN: Well, that Barack Obama graduated top of his class from Harvard. Got it on his own volition. Right? And clearly, is a master orator. And he's also a, you know, a skilled debater. Donald Trump will turn around and tell you he's never debated before in his life. And therefore, you know, but he knows better and he knows more.

[22:50:08]

LEMON: You --

COHEN: And the reason he's believed that is because he doesn't work well for facts. I mean, look at --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You said that he was a middling student. You didn't -- you think that he was -- he was -- he asked to see Barack Obama's student records, but people who saw his or if they saw -- actually saw his records, they'd find out that he was not a great student and had some disciplinary problems, and so you masterminded this deal to have him -- have it removed so that people couldn't see how bad of a student he was.

COHEN: Well, I think the use of the word masterminded is a little wrong. I followed my boss' direction. He said to me I want you to ensure that my grades are never revealed, and I need you to go back to New York Military Academy, go to Fordham, go to University of Pennsylvania. Because I don't want them, I don't want them coming out, and so I followed my boss' orders.

LEMON: You -- you talk about --

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: And by the way, just to let you know, Don, just to let you know, it was actually Judge Barry once while we were sitting at the "Apprentice" and were talking about it, her comment to me was, he was at best a C student, at best. And, you know, that's also verified by the recordings that Mary Trump has.

LEMON: That explains his insecurity about the black man who was smarter and a better president than him.

Michael Cohen, I want you to stick around. Less than two months to the election and you're warning the president will do anything to stay in office. How far will he go? And I have some other questions about who knew about the Stormy Daniel payment? There is someone else I want to ask you about with that.

And then another thing, I look at my notes, I think is very -- the moment that you said you knew he was going to be president one day. We'll be right back.

[22:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Michael Cohen is back. Michael, you're sounding the alarm that we -- this may not be a peaceful transition of power. Why do you say that?

COHEN: Well, I said it --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: If he does win.

COHEN: If he does not.

LEMON: If he does not win.

COHEN: Right. Because Donald Trump believes that he should be the ruler, the dictator of the United States of America. He actually is looking to change the Constitution. When Donald Trump jokes about 12 more years, you know, you'll see that in my upcoming podcast called Mea Culpa, I talked about that, he's not joking.

Donald Trump doesn't have a sense of humor. So I want you to understand when he says 12 more years, if he wins, he's going to automatically day number one start thinking how he can change the Constitution for a third term and then a fourth term, like he said to President Xi and like he said to so many other people. It's why he admires the Kim Jong-uns of the world.

LEMON: Well, let me ask you this. So, you write about once you had, when you know, the Stormy Daniels thing comes around more than once, right? And then finally when you have to do the payment, and ultimately, he doesn't pay you back.

But you said you called his office. And correct me if I'm wrong -- in the book. You call his office. You want to tell him that the deal has been done with Stormy Daniels but he doesn't actually pick up the phone, but you somehow relay the message to Kellyanne Conway. Am I correct about that? In the book.

COHEN: No, no, no. The deal was done with Stormy Dniels prior to the election.

LEMON: So what do you relay -- you said that he did not pick up your call and you knew something was up and you have to relay that cause I'm wondering who knew about -- if there was anybody else other than you and --

COHEN: Regarding the Stormy Daniels matter?

LEMON: Yes.

COHEN: Absolutely. Well, first of all, obviously her lawyer, to start. Number two was Allen Weisselberg.

LEMON: Right, we know that.

COHEN: He's the one who structured -- he's the one who structured the deal between myself and Mr. Trump in terms of how it was going to be made -- how the payment was going to be made.

You'll remember in the book I talk about, you know, how we sat in his office first thing in the morning. He asked me whether or not I can find somebody who would buy a membership to one of his clubs or maybe they were having some type of affair, a wedding, a Christening, a bar mitzvah that they can pay to her lawyer instead of paying to the Trump org, or maybe use one of the golf courses in order to hide the funds.

Ultimately, I had asked Allen Weisselberg, well, you're the CFO, you make a good salary, why don't you pay for it?

LEMON: Yes.

COHEN: He'll give you the money back.

LEMON: Michael, I have less than a minute. I'm really a bit over here. But you said the moment you knew he would be president is when he -- when he bamboozled Evangelicals, when he was considering running for president. Because you said that he did not believe in anything he said, especially when it comes to Christianity, and you said that he believed Planned Parenthood was poor people's way of paying for contraception. But he bamboozled a lot of people, including Evangelical or Evangelist Paula White and others.

COHEN: Yes, I watched -- I sat in that room and I watched as they asked him questions and he answered those questions exactly the way that they would want him to answer them. And I realized, wow, you know, he would make a -- he's perfect as a politician because he can look you straight in the face and he can lie with -- without blinking an eye. And no different than what he did with Bob Woodward with the COVID-19. He just sat --

LEMON: Yes.

COHEN: -- and he lied to the American people, just blatantly lied because it made -- it was a benefit to him.

LEMON: Yes. Michael Cohen, thank you.

COHEN: Don, good to see you.

LEMON: Good to see you. Thank you as well.

COHEN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: The book again is called "Disloyal: A Memoir. The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump." Michael Cohen, again, my thanks to him. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)