Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

Eve of the New York Primaries; Trump Leads GOP Delegate Count; Trump's National Field Director Resigns; George Clooney Fundraiser For Clinton; Free Speech and Political Correctness; Trump Blasts Delegate System as Corrupt and Rigged; Nicknames from the Campaign Trail. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 18, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No New Yorker can vote for Ted Cruz, and no New Yorker can vote for Kasich when he was one that approved NAFTA. He voted in favor of NAFTA which has been a disaster for your state and for this country.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Let's begin our New York coverage -- our coverage of the New York primary, shall we, with CNN's Jim Acosta, who was at a Trump rally tonight. Hello, Mr. Acosta. Donald Trump looking strong coming into the New York vote.


LEMON: Yes, how you doing? Could this race -- could he put this race away with a big win tomorrow?

ACOSTA: Well, that would be a little too optimistic for Donald Trump at this point. I think what they're hoping for is to really run the table in New York. They want to run up the score on Ted Cruz and he does have the potential to really run a clean sweep. If he gets more than 50 percent statewide, more than 50 percent in these individual congressional districts, he could sweep up all 95 delegates in New York State. That would put him well on the path to securing the nomination, that magic number of 1,237. It won't get him there, obviously, but the terrain is pretty friendly after New York. In just another week from tomorrow, he'll have more Northeastern states where he's favored to win Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, and Maryland, and all of those states he's favored to win at this point. And so the map is looking increasingly more in his favor after some bruising weeks. It was tough in Wisconsin all the way through Wyoming, which we heard about over the weekend, but he's heading into friendlier terrain. And we heard Donald Trump earlier this evening at this rally here in Buffalo predict that he will get to that magic number of 1,237. It's not something that you hear from Donald Trump too often, but he was sounding very confident earlier this evening.

LEMON: And he is pulling no punches when it comes to his criticism of the Republicans and the party rules today. Listen.


TRUMP: You can take them out to hotels, the delegates. You can take them on planes, you can do whatever you want to do. You know what? I said, no way. Because we're going to get there. We don't need it. We're going to get there. It's a rigged and it's a corrupt system, but we're going to get there and I believe we're going to do it much more easily than people think, and we're going to do it on the first ballot. We're going to get to that big 1,237.


LEMON: So, as you mentioned that he's already looking forward to this in this campaign, looking forward to what happens next, but do you think the feeling, Jim, in his campaign is that he can wrap up the nomination before the first vote at the convention, even if he just gets close to 1,237?

ACOSTA: I think that is the question right now, Don. I talked to a Trump source earlier today who said it would be very damaging to the RNC if Donald Trump were to go into the convention in Cleveland somewhere near 1,237 but maybe not have that magic number of 1,237 and then behind closed doors, the party operatives, the party leaders wrestled this nomination from Donald Trump. This Trump source was saying that this would essentially disenfranchise millions of Donald Trump voters, that it would have a trickle-down effect, it could potentially affect congressional candidates down ballot. So they're warning of dire consequences if that were to take place. But when you heard Donald Trump earlier this evening, Don, say he's not going to wine and dine people, he's not going to do these sorts of things that you're hearing about in places like Colorado and Wyoming, Don, you have to ask the question, did Donald Trump ever wine and dine business executives when he was closing all these hotels deals all around the world? When you talk to people outside the Trump campaign, when you listen to the candidate himself, he is insisting he is not going to do that. He is going to play it straight and he wants this to be a Democratic process. He wants every vote to count.

LEMON: Jim, I'm sure you're aware who Stuart Jolly is, the national field officer for Donald Trump, resigned today. Why did he leave? And do you have see more changes coming?

ACOSTA: Well, I think that was a very interesting development. I think it's more fallout from this campaign shake-up that we saw a couple of weeks ago when you saw Paul Manafort come in and be named the Convention Manager to work, essentially, alongside Corey Lewandowski as the campaign manager. They're sort of in a dual power sharing role. Stuart Jolly, from what we understand, from a letter that was obtained by CNN, of his resignation at the Trump campaign earlier today, essentially says in this letter that he was very loyal to Corey Lewandowski. I talked to a couple of Trump sources earlier this evening, Don, who tell me that this is essentially another sign that Paul Manafort is getting more control of the day-to-day strategy and groundwork operations of this campaign. But that doesn't mean Corey Lewandowski is going to go anywhere. Remember, Donald Trump is very loyal. You talk to people inside the Trump campaign, they say Corey Lewandowski is not going anywhere, and if you take the word of the candidate himself, Lewandowski is there for the long haul, but no question about it, when you talk to people inside the Trump campaign, they say that this is another indication, this departure of Stuart Jolly is another indication that Paul Manafort is getting more control of this campaign at this point.

[23:05:05] LEMON: Jim Acosta, much appreciated as always. So the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are stumping for votes on the eve of this New York primary. Jeff Zeleny's here, I want to bring him in now. New national poll, you've seen it, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, statistical dead heat, right, 50 percent for Hillary Clinton, 48 percent for Bernie Sanders. What does that say to you? Could Sanders pull off an upset tomorrow?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It tells us a couple things. One, it tells us, this race is a long one, and people now know who Bernie Sanders is. That was not true a few months ago during the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. People know him after all our debates and what not. So People like his message, we see these people flocking to his rallies, but national polls are not how these races are done. It's a state-by-state thing. So A, a lot of those people in that poll have already voted. The Clinton campaign says look, remember, they're looking at us 56 to 43. That is the number of states that have already voted, she has won 56 to 43. So the national polls are a sign that Bernie Sanders is not going away, that he still is going to be able to raise money and have enthusiasm, but it doesn't really say who is going to win this contest because it's a state-by-state-by-state affair.

LEMON: So she goes in tomorrow into New York with a healthy lead. If she does win a majority of the delegates tomorrow, this is a different race, isn't it?

ZELENY: It is. I mean, first, she has to win New York, because it's her adopted home state. Can you imagine the headline of her not winning New York? Her campaign is confident. They do not believe it will be a blowout because, look around at the issues he's talking about, income inequality, criminal justice reform, fracking upstate. These are issues that the party's on Bernie Sanders' side here. But the New York primary is closed. That means independents can't vote, that means people can't crossover, you can't just show up tomorrow and pop in and vote. So a closed primary always benefits the establishment candidate, which is her. But they are a little bit worried. They see the size of these big rallies as much as we do. They watch them on TV and say, whoa --

LEMON: They didn't think he'd still be here.

ZELENY: Of course not, of course not. I mean, a year ago, last week it marked a year that she had been in. She didn't think this was going to be a competitive race with Bernie Sanders, of all people?

LEMON: The talk of the town, especially Tinsel Town, but the talk of the town really everywhere has been this big fund-raising effort that she had with George Clooney over the weekend. George Clooney has said, yes, it is an obscene amount of money, but he said that's what you need to run for president. Now the Sanders campaign is accusing her of violating campaign financing laws. That's a serious accusation. What proof do they have?

ZELENY: It is a serious accusation. And I think George Clooney was pretty honest about it. He said, look, it is obscene. But the proof that they have, they say -- this is in the weeds, but just really quickly here -- the reason that they can raise so much money, it's a joint fund-raising committee. So she is raising a lot of money for other Democrats, to help Democrats down the ballot. Sanders campaign says look, this joint committee, actually, is helping her, it is benefiting only her. The problem here is Sanders, he could be doing the same thing. The Democratic National Committee, I talked to someone there tonight, they said look, Sanders had the opportunity here to do the exact same thing that she's doing in terms of having these big fund-raisers. He has chosen not to. But they say that $2.6 million has gone to actually helping her campaign that shouldn't have. I think this is more of a sign of this, that the Sanders campaign wants to keep alive the fact that she's raising big money and they're not. I think it's a little bit of a stink here that they're trying to throw the night before the primary.

LEMON: They question whether Clinton's campaign violated legal limits on donations by paying her staffers with funds from the joint fundraising effort. I don't want to get too far into the weeds, here --

ZELENY: Yes, 2.6 million --

LEMON: Yes, Democratic National Committee, the DNC, but you're thinking it's just a --

ZELENY: This is how it's always done, not that that makes it right, necessarily, but the prospective nominee always raises money for the other party. The thing is here, Sanders could do the same thing. He could be doing these joint fund-raising things, but that's not how he operates, because it comes in online for him. We'll see where this goes. So far, they've written a letter. They haven't filed suit. We'll know they're serious about it if they actually file suit on this. I'd be surprised if they would do that.

LEMON: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

ZELENY: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: As we just talked about, George Clooney hosted not one but two star studded fundraisers for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats this weekend. A single ticket went for $33,000 a pop. Outraged protesters lined the streets, they were showering Mrs. Clinton with dollar bills as her motorcade arrived. One of those protesters was Clooney neighbor and Bernie Sanders supporter, Howard Gold. Howard joins me now. Howard, thank you so much. Tell us why you decided to throw money at Hillary Clinton.

HOWARD GOLD: Hi, how are you? The decision was basically along the lines of what George Clooney was saying. It was just to illustrate the influence of money in politics, was the whole goal, and it was our way of doing it.

LEMON: Some people say, they saw it as sexist, that you were making it rain, as they do in strip clubs.

[23:10:01] GOLD: The only people I've heard who have said that are commentators are TV who are playing the scene with the music turned way down. You blast the music that we played, that we blasted, and I haven't heard a single person with that impression. It's so clear -- it's actually Rosemary Clooney's version of "We're In the Money", is what we're playing.

LEMON: So, listen, Howard, there are estimates that the event raised $15 million. It cost $350,000 to be a co-host and that only got you two tickets. Even George Clooney, as we have said, and you mentioned as well, said it was obscene. Listen to this.


GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: -- when we pulled up in San Francisco. And they're right to protest. They're absolutely right. It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree completely.


Seems like you and your neighbor, Mr. Clooney, agree on this.

GOLD: Well, you know what, we do, and he's a great guy, a great person -- how this whole thing started, I don't know if anybody knows this or anybody in the news has covered this yet, how this whole thing started was, after I heard that he was having the fund-raiser for Secretary Clinton, I actually went up to his house and I taped a little note to his address sign and I thought it was -- and that's kind of the first thing that I did in response to his announcement that he was going to do this fund-raiser.

LEMON: Howard, he did stress that cash doesn't all go to Hillary Clinton. Here again is NBC's "Meet The Press". Look at this.


CLOONEY: The overwhelming amount of money that we're raising, and it is a lot, but the overwhelming amount of money that we're raising is not going to Hillary to run for president. It's going to the down ticket. It's going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back congress.


Howard, what do you think of that?

GOLD: You know what, I read the -- all I've read about it is Politifact's write-up on the facts. It was unclear from reading theirs. They said a small portion goes to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the rest to the Democratic Party. The thing they didn't me clear is how much of the stuff that goes to the Democratic Party could get shot back to the Hillary campaign, which I don't know. It might be a low number and he might be 100 percent correct, I don't know. But no one has really explained it to me yet.

LEMON: If Hillary Clinton does win the nomination, would you support her?

GOLD: I think that we'll cross that bridge when we get there. There are some things that I really wish, that really bother me, and I passed that message to George Clooney. I don't know if he saw it. I taped a little message on his sign, and I really think that if she really can change her message and then that would be something that would be really big to me.

LEMON: All right, thank you very much. Howard Gold, we appreciate that.

GOLD: You're not curious what I passed to George Clooney, no?

LEMON: No, and I don't have time right now. But thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us.

Ahead, Donald Trump's new nickname for Hillary Clinton, and are Bernie Sanders supporters undermining Democrats? We're going to talk about that next.


[23:16:48] LEMON: Hours away from the New York primary, polls show Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders among Democratic voters. Joining me now, defense attorney, Alan Dershowitz, the author of, "Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law", CNN political commentator Sally Kohn, and Marc Lamont Hill. Sally -- good evening, everybody. Sally, you endorsed Sanders yesterday, a huge rally in Prospect Park, what was it, 28,000 people?


LEMON: So, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders overlap on 90 percent of the issues. So why make a decision to stand behind Sanders?

KOHN: That was my assertion, right. On 90 percent of the issues, at least, I agree with Hillary Clinton. I think she would make an excellent president. My concern is the ten percent of the issues I don't agree with her on, on which I also think she'd make an excellent president. Foreign policy, bank policy, economic policy -- look, she's just too centrist, middle-of-the-road Democrat for my taste. But, look, I still think that both for Democratic voters at large and for the majority of the American people, that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders align with the majority of the country, but Bernie Sanders is the kind of change we need. We've seen what center of the road/conservative policies have done for far too long. It's time for a change, actually make this country work for working people.

LEMON: So, you're not in a two party household, but there is some dissention, because what does your daughter say about your -- KOHN: Well, my daughter, Willa, who is 7 years old, hi, honey, you

better be asleep right now but you'll see the video later, she came on the stage with me. I said, she supports Hillary, and good for her. And she still does support Hillary. When the crowd was chanting "feel the bern, feel the bern", she pulled on her shirt and said, "Hillary, Hillary". So she -- and you know what, I love that. I love that she is able to do that --

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AUTHOR, TAKING THE STAND: I love your daughter. Standing up to a parent --

KOHN: -- I want to support her and I want her to have her own opinion.

LEMON: So, what does Sanders need to do tomorrow? Do you think he's going to win, or run a tight race?

KOHN: I think he already can claim a modicum of victory just by closing the margin way more than you would expect it to be. And by the way, he's also starting to close the margin nationally --


KOHN: Are you OK there, Mr. Lamont Hill?

LEMON: I was going to say, Marc, how many times do we hear -- not a win is a win? You hear that -- come on.

KOHN: Well I mean, if Hillary had come close to winning in New Hampshire, you would have heard the same thing.

DERSHOWITZ: Well I'll go a step further. I think that Sanders increases his strength if he loses the nomination to Hillary Clinton if it's close.

LEMON: Why do you say that?

DERSHOWITZ: But if he wins the nomination and becomes the Democratic candidate, he's going to win two or three states, and it will do a devastating result to the left of the Democratic Party, and so I think he is much more likely to have impact as a loser than a winner.

LEMON: This is almost like, it's better to lose with Cruz than win with Trump? I mean, why --

KOHN: I mean, I disagree with that. We are a center left country that's been governed by the last 40 to 50 years by center right politicians.

LEMON: Let Marc get in this. Marc, you say it's absurd?

HILL: Yes, I have to disagree. I agree that Bernie may have some troubles in certain states, but to say he'd win three or states against Donald Trump seems to me a bit unreasonable. Not because I think Donald Trump is an extraordinary candidate, or that Bernie Sanders doesn't have faults, but -- [23:20:01] LEMON: It could be Ted Cruz.

HILL: If it's Ted Cruz, I mean, Ted Cruz could actually destroy Bernie Sanders in a 50 state race, but I think if Donald Trump is the nominee, I think he wins more than two or three states. I think that's the kind of fear tactic people use to prevent people from exercising their own Democratic options, and they make you feel as if Hillary's the only option so I've got to go with Hillary, even though I might prefer Bernie, and many voters feel that way. I don't feel that way. I don't like either of them, but may people feel that way.

LEMON: Tell us how you really feel.

DERSHOWITZ: We're a centrist country. We thrive at the center. I'm actually writing a book called, "Why I Left the Left But Couldn't Join the Right: The Case For Centrist Liberalism". The real loser in this election has been liberalism. You don't hear the word liberal anymore. Either you're a progressive or a repressive or a socialist or somebody who wants to stop other people from talking, as some people on the left part of the Sanders campaign want to do. I like the kind of protests that throw dollar bills. I don't like the kind of protests that stop Donald Trump from speaking and --

KOHN: Donald Trump, I just would like to reassure you -- Donald Trump has had no problem being heard in this election. Rest assured, he's doing just fine. Come on.

LEMON: OK, but why do you say free speech for me but not free speech for thee has become prevalent in this election?

DERSHOWITZ: I think it's become prevalent on college campuses. I think it's become prevalent in many parts of the United States. People are intolerant of hearing views that are different from their own, and they try, through speech codes, through stopping speakers from speaking -- for example, I support the goals of Black Lives Matter, but some Black Lives Matter activists try to prevent a gay coalition between Israeli gays and gays in Chicago because they didn't want the gays in Israel to be heard. Move on, support it. The claim of those who try to stop Donald Trump from speaking. And so I think there is a repressive element on the Sanders hard left that we have to be very worried about and I want to hear Sanders say, I don't support that attempt to try to repress free speech from my supporters.

LEMON: OK. You said, Marc, that that simply -- you said there's a difference between preventing people from speaking and protesting. Is there?

HILL: Of course there is. But I will lay down a few things that I'd like to disagree on, and also agree on one thing. Alan Dershowitz and I actually agree on something for once, and that is that I think people should have an opportunity to articulate their voices. People should have an opportunity to articulate their opinion. People should be heard. I don't think you should engage in protest that doesn't allow Donald Trump to speak. I think the more Donald Trump speaks, the more the world will appreciate how unfit he is to be president. I want him to talk. I disagree with Alan Dershowitz. I did my best not to cut him off because I want people to hear him because I think he's wrong and I think the world should hear that. I think he may feel the same way about me, I think that's great. The protestors were not trying to stop gay protesters from connecting with gay Israeli protestors. What they were trying to do was challenge the notion of the occupation of Palestine. Their goal was not to silence gay activists on either side of the aisle.

DERSHOWITZ: They cancelled -- the event was cancelled. The event was cancelled!

HILL: Let me finish. I just applauded you for not cutting people off. The other thing here is that on college campuses, the goal is not to stop people from talking, nor is it to say, we don't want speech that makes us feel uncomfortable, which is what Alan said in his op ed. It's not that at all. It's that we don't want it violate free speech codes, but we do want to create a healthy campus climate, and there are codes in most college campuses, in their handbooks, that say, a healthy --

LEMON: Marc, Marc, I've got to challenge you on that. Do you really think on college campuses they're not -- they're saying, we don't want to hear your side because we don't feel comfortable with your side. That's exactly what they're saying on college campuses.

HILL: Let me respond.

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc.

HILL: We can choose anecdotes or moments where that's happened. I'm not saying that's never happened in the history of America. I've been rejected from college campuses for things I've said on TV. It's happened before. However, the bulk of the activism, Don, is not people saying, I don't want you to speak because you don't represent my position. That's not what school handbooks say. That's not what college campuses say. I'm on a hundred college campuses a year, I work at a university, I study universities for a living. That is simply not factual. Are there extremists in every element? Absolutely. That's why I was a little surprised that Alan only pointed out the Bernie people, because there are some nut jobs in the Trump camp, the Hillary camp, the Rubio camp, the Cruz camp, the Christie camp, everywhere. I think that's just a part of American politics.

KOHN: All camps. Look, there is no question that we have -- that there are extremes we could find on either case. Marc is exactly right. There's a certain example of hyper-partisan unwillingness to have civil conversations across the aisle --

LEMON: Can I read your quote before you -- because you wrote about this. You said, I happen to think that Senator Sanders is 100 percent realistic about his goals, right, is this the right one we're talking about? Yes -- for our nation, but his supporters are completely delusional if they think Secretary Clinton is evil. We can think Bernie Sanders is the better candidate without thinking Hillary Clinton is bad. And that sort of goes -- [23:25:01] KOHN: Well that does go to my point, which is, the more broad point here vis-a-vis political correctness is look, if we're having honest, we've had political correctness in this country over 260 years, it's just only been applied to women and people of color, and if they transgress the lines of acceptable speech and behavior, they faced consequences. Now, suddenly we're saying, hey, by the way, straight white men of the United States -- you also treated women and people of color with the same kind of respect that has always been enforced against them --

LEMON: Alan wants to get in quickly, then we're going to take a break.

DERSHOWITZ: I've been fighting against political correctness since the McCarthyism in college. It used to come from the right, but now it's coming predominantly from the hard left. That's the reality. On college campuses, they want to stop pro-Israel speakers from speaking. They want to stop Christians who disagree with all of us on gay rights from speaking. The answer to bad speech is good speech. Correct them. Show them that they're wrong, but don't stop them from speaking.

LEMON: Hold that thought, I have to take a break. We'll continue right after.


LEMON: All right, so it's the eve of a very crucial primary here in New York. Back with me now, Alan Dershowitz, Sally Kohn, and Marc Lamont Hill. Where did we leave off?

[23:30:01] Sally, you were trying to -- you were trying to get in on --

KOHN: Well, the whole conversation in the interim, in the break, has thrown me a little bit.


LEMON: I don't even want to know.

KOHN: I'm losing my voice. But I'm going to try to say this, which is --

LEMON: We actually were talking about college campuses and talking about (INAUDIBLE).

KOHN: Well, I think all pendulums swing, right? So the fact that we are having a debate about whether political correctness is going in some instances a little too far to me is overall a reflection of the fact that it is a general positive thing that people are thinking about their language and their speech and how it affects and whether it hurts other people. Is it maybe going too far in some instances? Yes. Overall, the trend is good.

(CROSSTALK) KOHN: The comparison to McCarthyism is a little overboard.

DERSHOWITZ: And it's exactly because pendulums swings widely from the right to left that we must have a neutral support of all free speech, and when in doubt criticize, let it be said. Criticize it, argue against it --

KOHN: That's what's happening.

DERSHOWITZ: -- but never try to stop anybody from speaking.

LEMON: Marc?

HILL: I don't disagree with that. I've always been an advocate of bringing as many people into the conversation as possible, even when I fundamentally disagree with them. But do I think there are boundaries and limitations.

For example, there are times at a college graduation where certain people will be asked to be the speaker. Being a college graduation speaker isn't just an invitation to offer your opinion; it's an honorific. We often give people degrees to go along with that. That is a kind of -- that's something bigger than simply an invitation. So that's something that I wouldn't want to give to a war criminal. That's something I wouldn't want to give to someone who endorses the occupation of Palestine. That's something I wouldn't want to give to someone who promotes rape culture. That's something I wouldn't to give to all sorts of monsters in the world.

So absolutely not. I do think we do have to draw some sorts of boundaries. I also think that there's a difference between saying we're going to let you speak, however, we're going to protest demonstrably. When I saw that courageous young sister interrupt Hillary Clinton and force her to talk about this idea of the super predator, it sparked a national conversation. Hillary got to finish, but we got to have a conversation that we otherwise would not have. The reason that people are so aggressive in having their voices heard is because black voices have been rendered marginal for so long, queer voices have been rendered marginal for so long, that we have to fight to be heard. We have to scream to be heard. And sometimes we have to interrupt to be heard.

DERSHOWITZ: But the end result is that nobody gets to speak at colleges, nobody gets honorary degrees anymore, nobody gets to be college graduation speakers anymore unless they're milquetoast. Unless they have no record. Unless they have never said anything controversial in their life. And it sends a terrible message to college students about how to conduct their lives and how to make sure that they never --

HILL: Can I ask you a question, Alan

DERSHOWITZ: -- go outside the boundaries. You're saying that nobody should ever get an honorary degree at a university if they disagree with --

KOHN: That's not what he's saying.

HILL: No, that's not what I'm saying.

DERSHOWITZ: I just heard you say if they believe that Israel should hold on to the Golan Heights, that's a disqualifies factor for you --

HILL: That's not what I said.

DERSHOWITZ: -- in getting an honorary degree, because you talked about occupation. Well, that's a debatable proposition. And just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean that necessarily --

HILL: That's what I'm not saying ,Alan.

DERSHOWITZ: You're not the president of the university or the chairman of the board. Why do you get to decide who speaks at the colleges?

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc.


DERSHOWITZ: (INAUDIBLE) different views.

HILL: That's not what I'm saying, Alan. No, I agree with you. First of all, we'll have another conversation about how you just mischaracterized what I think the occupation of Palestine it. It's not purely holding onto the Golan Heights, but that's another conversation for another day.

What I'm saying is if I were at a university right now, and someone said Israel should be wiped off the map, I think that that is morally repugnant position and I would not want them to be the graduation speaker. And I suspect you'd be here on TV with me saying they should not be the graduation speaker.

I think there are ethical and moral boundaries. If someone says, look, I believe in the occupation of Palestine and I say I believe the opposite, I think we can have a debate about that and I think you can be a graduation speaker. You and I may have different views on that, Alan, but I would still let you come to my school and speak, and I hope one day I can come to yours and speak. That's a different kind of issue.

DERSHOWITZ: But there are students who would not allow you to come to certain schools and would not me to come to certain schools, and that has to stop.

KOHN: You're saying --

DERSHOWITZ: We have to have complete wide debate (INAUDIBLE).

KOHN: I'm sorry, but you're saying that these students have to stop is in and of itself a form of what you seem to be against. In other words -- first of all, let's be clear what we're talking about because we're not talking about free speech. Because we're not talking about government clamping down and saying you can and cannot speak. Number one. But number two --

DERSHOWITZ: Universities have free speech, too. It doesn't have to be only the government.

KOHN: Number two, you're saying that therefore those students shouldn't speak. That's what you're saying.

DERSHOWITZ: No, they can speak. They can advocate what they want; they should not be listened to.


DERSHOWITZ: That is, the university shouldn't accede to (INAUDIBLE) demands.

KOHN: Let's go back to something that Marc said, which I think is really profound, which is that -- and good lord knows how much I respect you so I don't want to sort of pull you into this too much. But let's be very fair. The reason that you're seeing some of these protests, you're feeling that it's infringing, as you're suggesting, on speech as we've known it, is because there are communities in this country who are so desperate to be heard, who feel so systemically locked out of power. And let's be clear, the only reason we're talking about race, for instance, in this presidential election, the only reason we're talking about the 1994 crime bill, the only reason we're talking about quote-unquote "super predators", over incarceration of black and brown folks, drug policy, we're talking about that because of Black Lives Matter, because of those protests -- not because they stood nicely with signs but because they interrupted speech in order to use that platform to make their own speech.

[23:35:17] That is America. That is free speech. And, by the way, that progress and it has always -- it has never been toward the center, it has been toward progress -- that progress has been the greatest part of our American history. The tradition in which we have moved from the abolition of slavery, to women's suffrage, to civil rights, to gay rights. It has always been through protest and challenging --


LEMON: Hang on. I completely agree with you, but there are other people who before -- and listen, Black Lives Matter, a big reason, a big reason we're talking about this. But if you look at Dr. Cornel West and other people, they have been talking about the prison pipeline and about over-incarceration for a very long time before there, and we were discussing it. And we discussed in 2008, we discussed in 2012, and we would be discussing it now, maybe not to the extent, but still, you know.

DERSHOWITZ: As an liberal Democrat, I wrote against the crime bill in 1994 and 1995. It was a disaster and I was opposed to it then and I'm glad there's a debate about it. Just don't stop other people from expressing different views.

And I just have to correct my friend over there. We talk about that gay rights demonstration in Chicago. They stopped it. They made the event end. It wasn't just protesting; it was not allowing it to go forward. And that's the goal of some of these obstructionists and repressives. They call themselves progressives; I call them repressives when they don't want to allow other people to speak.

LEMON: Marc, you get the last word.

HILL: Alan Dershowitz -- Alan Dershowitz has the most -- I want to live in his universe where Black Lives Matter are repressing folks.

DERSHOWITZ: OK, they are. Some are.

HILL: They are responding to a repressive -- they are responding to a --

DERSHOWITZ: And can you do it in a repressive way. You can respond repressiveness --

HILL: Like you're doing right now by not letting me have the last word.


HILL: I feel repressed, Alan. I feel real repressed right now. I was promised the last word. Look, the point here is that you're mischaracterizing, in my estimation, Black Lives Matter. You're framing them as this repressive group that's going around silencing free speech. That is not what they're doing --

DERSHOWITZ: Some within their group.

HILL: Of course you can find one or two examples of people who may have gone too far. But in general their mission is to be heard in a world that does not want to hear the voices of the marginal, that wants to silence people, and they are forcing themselves to be heard. And at this moment in history, the stakes are so high that we can't always afford polite speech, we can't always afford to be completely respectful in that way you imagine. But I agree with you 1000 percent, we cannot silence people. We cannot silence people.

DERSHOWITZ: That's exactly my point.


LEMON: As much as I love this conversation, I've got to go. You guys don't have to go home, but you got to get out of here.


LEMON: Thank you very much.

HILL: How black of you, Don. I love you.

KOHN: Oh, my god. He went there.

LEMON: Coming up, Ted Cruz picks up more delegates in what Donald Trump calls a rigged nominating system. We'll be right back.


[23:41:48] LEMON: Donald Trump is a GOP front-runner, yet he continues to lose delegates, making tomorrow's New York primary even more critical.

So joining me now, Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of, and Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise 1 PAC, a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz.

So Donald Trump is saying that this election is rigged. He may be ahead in the national polls but it's the delegates that really count here, as we know. And so Ted Cruz is quickly gaining ground because he's doing this thing where he's going and he's getting these delegates behind Donald Trump's back. What happened to this new guy? What's going on here?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, Donald Trump -- I mean, Donald Trump is still leading. I mean, Donald Trump has to earn 60 percent of the remaining delegates. Ted Cruz has to win 98 percent of the remaining delegates.

LEMON: So should he not be complaining? You think he has no right to complain about this?

HOOVER: He doesn't have a lot of ground to stand on. He doesn't. And , you know,by the way, he's about to start winning big time. So I -- you know, Donald Trump didn't -- we all know what happened. Donald Trump didn't know the rules, he started losing. Now he knows the rules, now he's got a team in place, and he's going to start winning. The question is --


LEMON: You're agreeing that he shouldn't be complaining?

CONWAY: He should not be complaining. They cry foul when they lose delegates, but did we cry foul in Missouri when Donald Trump won by 0.2 of a percentage point and got 70 percent of the delegates? Did we harrumph and say that's not fair? Those were the rules. You have to move on to the next set of states.

But we keep hearing about this magical new team around Donald Trump, the convention gurus. Where the heck are they when people in Colorado, your home state, Margaret, are having conventions? Where are they, in Wyoming? Where were they in North Dakota? Where were they this weekend in Georgia? Where were they in Virginia (INAUDIBLE)?

HOOVER: (INAUDIBLE) two rounds of them in Colorado.

CONWAY: Yes, they're like on TV complaining that Ted Cruz is winning the delegates. Go get yourself some delegates.

And so, look, I don't know how somebody who has gotten $2 billion plus free air time can ever complain about not being treated fairly.

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THEHILL.COM: I'm going to take the counter here. There are some rules that seem a little unusual, like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, other states. If Donald Trump, as expected, is going to do very well in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, there are delegates that are not going to be bound to vote for him. I think most people think that is highly unusual, and that's -- the delegates have said to the press, OK, I'm going to honor my district's vote. But what if one or two or five don't? That does seem unfair. As far as other rules, they have been out there a long time.

CONWAY: The way to get those delegates to remain loyal to you is not to call delegates corrupt or the system rigged or the chairman RNC whatever bad words he's saying about him. Look, in the former segment, too, Don, we were talking about is Reince Priebus's job on the line? He was elected by 167 of the Republican National Committee --

LEMON: But the rules are the rules. If Donald Trump does become the nominee, he has the right to say, as you said, you're fired.

CONWAY: And that's what we know. Any time there's a president of a sitting party, they appoint the RNC chair and that's what happens.


LEMON: So let's talk about this shake-up. Let's talk about Donald Trump's national field director, Stuarty Jolly, leaving today, tendering his resignation. Is this the start of a campaign shake-up, do you think? Because you're saying it's not good to be changing right now.

CUSACK: No, you don't want to be changing, especially at this time. As far as a shake-up, I don't think a shake-up. I mean, remember, Donald Trump calls all the shots here and Roger Stone he felt like was getting too much press before, and then Roger Stone was no longer part of the campaign.

[23:45:05] Overall I don't think we're seeing a shake-up, but we're seeing I think them play catch-up to Ted Cruz in the delegates. And they know if they get to 1,237 they've got it, they're going to win. OK. But if they don't get to 1,237, they've got to be in a better position going into Cleveland because if he doesn't get 1,237, who has the momentum and who is the likely nominee? Ted Cruz.

LEMON: It's Ted Cruz. So, to Kellyanne's point, get your ground game together. So what happened? Even now with them going back to get these delegates, the Cruz campaign, you know, this guru, Paul Manafort, that's supposed to be so with --

CONWAY: Establishment.

LEMON: Yes. So what's going on?

HOOVER: They're just looking -- I mean, they're looking forward to where they can win their votes. LEMON: Does the Cruz campaign just have a better ground game than the Trump campaign?

HOOVER: Yes, but -- let me put a finer point on it. It's not just that they have a better ground game, which they do have a better ground game. They also have had, by the way, the best data team, the best digital, and the best field team. They have the most sophisticated Republican national apparatus than we have seen since Obama came on the scene in 2008.

That said, the reason he's doing so well in a lot of these states, especially these caucus states -- it's Colorado, Wyoming, he's going to do well in Nebraska, he's probably going to do well in Indiana, as Kellyanne will tell us -- it's also that the Republican establishment, and not just establishment, the movement conservatives ,have coalesced around Ted Cruz as the anti-Trump candidate. And so you have these in-state infrastructure and national infrastructures that are part of the movement conservatism that's been around for 50 years, they have all decided to put their ducks in Ted Cruz's basket. He's benefiting as much from the grassroots organization that have decided to support him as he is from his own top-down approach.

LEMON: Kellyanne, I know you want to hear this tonight, because Donald Trump tonight in Buffalo saying that Ted Cruz is just buying delegates. He says that's something that he won't do. Here, let's watch.

CONWAY: That's rich for a billionaire.


TRUMP: Now, I could have done really well because I'm very good at dealing with the bosses, but you know, you've had it and you say, forget it. You can take them out to hotels, the delegates, you can take them on planes, you can do whatever you want to do. You know what? I said no way. Because we're going to get there. We don't need it. We're going to get there. It's a rigged and it's a corrupt system but we're going to get there and I believe we're going to do it much more easily than people think. And we're going to do it on the first ballot. We're going to get to that big 1,237.


LEMON: So if it was a matter, Kellyanne, of wining -- wining, W-I not W-H-I, wining and dining, wouldn't a billionaire candidate have the upper hand there?

CONWAY: Well, certainly have the capacity to do those things. And, look, there's no evidence that anyone has done that or would do that. So I think he should be careful. But again, using word like rigged and corrupt -- and I see his people all over Twitter, all over CNN and elsewhere -- using the same words. I think you have to be careful because insulting the voter is never good. Look, the gentlemen on this segment with us an hour ago, Don, saying, yes, but Ted Cruz won delegates in states where nobody lives. Nobody lives in North Dakota? How do people in Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado feel tonight being told --

LEMON: But are you taking it too literally, where he means there aren't as many people, it's not as populous, it's not as diverse? It doesn't --

CONWAY: All I think is happening here is something we haven't discussed yet tonight, Don, and it's this. Donald Trump isn't having as much fun in late April as he was a couple of months ago when he was winning. He was told this would all be wrapped up by March 15th the latest and I think there's a little bit of an out here if he doesn't win.

HOOVER: Of course he's going to have this wrapped up by March 31st.

LEMON: So is Hillary Clinton.

CONWAY: Anyway, no, seriously speaking, if Donald Trump does not become the Republican nominee, he has set up a great narrative here. The system is rigged, the system is corrupt. It's not his fault.

LEMON: That's my question to Bob, who gets the last word here. But is this strategy of corruption, so is that working for Donald Trump right now?

CUSACK: I think it's working because he's putting the party on notice that he's not going to go quietly in the night. You got to give it to me or I am going to be spending the summer and fall going after the process, going after the party. And to Margaret's point, that doesn't really help the Republican Party. But it's not -- I don't know how they're unified after Cleveland in any shape or form.

HOOVER: One word, Hillary.

CUSACK: It's going to take a while.

HOOVER: She's a unifier.

LEMON: All right, thank you, everyone.

HOOVER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Coming up, Little Marco and Lyin' Ted. Sounds like a country band, right? But they're actually just Trump's nicknames for his rivals -- and he's dropped a new one. You don't want to miss it. Coming up.


[23:53:12] LEMON: Donald Trump is an expert in branding and he's taken it to the next level when it comes to his political rivals. Jeanne Moos has more.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are nicknames designed to more than just nick an opponent. TRUMP: Lyin' Ted, Lyin' Ted. What's your name? My name is Lyin' Ted


MOOS: From Lyin' Ted to low energy Jeb to --

TRUMP: Little Marco.

MOOS: Donald Trump revels in misspelling them.

TRUMP: How would you spell that? L-Y-E-N. Lyen.

MOOS: And now, he's got a new nickname intended to torment --

TRUMP: Crooked Hillary, crooked Hillary, folks.

CLINTON: I don't respond to Donald Trump and his string of insults.

TRUMP: She's been crooked from the beginning.

CLINTON: He can say whatever he wants to about me.

TRUMP: Crooked Hillary Clinton.

CLINTON: I really could care less.

MOOS: Sometimes the Donald dispenses a nickname that doesn't stick.

For instance, all those crazy Megyn Kelly tweets never took off.

Trump suggested a nickname for himself when the candidates asked what they'd like their Secret Service name to be.

TRUMP: Humble.

MOOS: Actually, the Secret Service ended up code naming Trump "Mogul".

Mogul has been the target of nicknaming retaliation from Ted Cruz.

CRUZ: Donald wakes up at night in cold sweats that people will call him Losin' Donald.

MOOS: And on Monday, Hillary went on a radio show that bestows "Donkey of the Day" dishonorable mention, a zinger once aimed at her. Hillary nominated Trump.

CLINTON: I think he's the donkey of the decade.

MOOS: Of course, the nickname for Donald is "The Donald." Where'd that come from? His first wife Ivana born in Czechoslovakia called him "The Donald" as she was learning English.

[23:55:00] It turns out The Donald's ancestors changed the family name to Trump. When John Oliver heard the original name, everything old is new again.

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, HBO'S "LAST WEEK TONIGHT": And this is true, Drumpf, yes. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Drumpf.

MOOS: Hats off to nicknames.

OLIVER: "Make Donald Drumpf Again" hat.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: It's almost time. We're just hours away from the crucial New York primary. 95 Republican delegates are at stake, and on the Democratic side, 247 delegates are up for grabs. So make sure you stay with CNN for the latest on that.

That's it for us tonight. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you back here on Wednesday night. "AC360" starts right now.