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Don Lemon Tonight
Trump's Embarrassing Defeat On The Wall; Trump Warns It Could Get Very Bad, If His Police, Military, Biker Supporters Get Tough; President Trump Makes Fun Of Beto O'Rourke's Hand Movements; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) California Interviewed On The Recent Vote To Make The Mueller Report Public; Senate Republicans Sending A Message To Donald Trump; Donald Trump Sending A Chilling Threat. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 14, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It doesn't make what the president says OK. He's party may fear not having his favor, but we do not. We will call this out, because if we don't, who will? Thank you for watching us tonight. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: That last question is a good one, who will? Certainly not most people in the administration, his spokespeople. Including the person you had on tonight. They just cannot do it. I just don't understand.
CUOMO: Oh, they can. They choose not to. I've never seen Kellyanne less effective in defense of the president than she was tonight. I think, it maybe it's getting just too hard to do.
LEMON: So here's the thing, then, this is how I feel. OK? This is do what you want. She never answers a question. She berates you. She is condescending. She uses our network for, to give her talking points. For me, it feels beneath the dignity of this network to have someone on who just constantly lies and misconstrues things and I feel like having someone on like that is giving them a platform that they have not earned.
When you come on CNN, you have an obligation to be honest to the American people. You can give your opinion. You can give your take, but it is a privilege to come on this network and speak to the American people. And if you're going to do it, do it directly and honestly. And so all she had to do was answer your question.
She didn't -- I -- listen, it's tough because I would let her -- I would have -- if I had her on, which I probably wouldn't, because I don't think she ever answers a question, give her 10 or 15 seconds, lets her answer, she doesn't, I say you're not going to answer it and then move to the next question. Because she just doesn't. I don't get anything out of it. It's just you two guys arguing back and forth. I don't think its substance.
CUOMO: I get the frustration. But first of all, let me say this. We've had this discussion before. LEMON: Yes.
CUOMO: If I held that standard, I'd have very few people on this show. And by the way, it's not a coincidence that Hannity and Maddow have so few guests. OK? If you're going to limit who you have on this show to the people who only answer the questions and are truthful, you're going to be alone -- a lot of times.
LEMON: But that's never true -- no, no, some people will answer your questions. And you can get them to answer you if you push them.
CUOMO: Some do, many don't. And that is why the testing comes in. Here's what I think, OK? She is the president's first choice for his defense. I believe he gets that right. That if this it who you want to put out to defend you, fine.
LEMON: He could defend himself too.
CUOMO: And I want the audience to see -- yes he could. He knows there's an open invitation on the show. He knows that I have offered all the time we have to offer on topics that are mutually agreed. No matter where he wants to go about whatever it is. He doesn't want to take the opportunity. I understand that. That is his choice.
I get why he doesn't want to do it. If this is who he wants to come on, I want my audience to see what he believes his best defense to be. I get the frustration. It's frustrating for me, too.
LEMON: I take a different approach. You know that. I take a different approach, because I don't think that this is about traditional left versus right or ideology. This is about truth versus false. This is about facts versus alternative facts.
This is -- it's not the same thing, and I think that -- I just feel like we do a disservice when we try to give false equivalence to someone who is clearly, clearly obfuscating and clearly has an agenda to mislead people. I don't think that -- I think as journalist we should -- we should call them out or not give them the opportunity to be able to do that.
CUOMO: I choose to call it out. I choose to call it out in real-time and let people see for what it is. But look, I got to be honest. Stylistically, and to a degree, they have pushed the envelope in the way I've never seen before. But I'm telling you, Don --
LEMON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: You have to understand this. The reason the American people within the Republican Party have offered him the forgiveness that they have, is because they don't expect better from anybody because so much lying happens in politics.
CUOMO: And I've had people on during the Clinton stuff with the e- mails. They wouldn't answer the questions. They would come on, they duck, look, it's not unusual. In fact I would argue that Hillary Clinton is one of the best evader of questions we ever had and that was his opponent.
LEMON: So, but look where she is.
CUOMO: But stylistically, it was different. There was a different deference. There was a different tone. I get it. I just believe that is -- this is who the president wants out there, I want people to see what he considers his best defense. I want them to see what he thinks is appropriate for his main counselor to do on television.
LEMON: Well --
CUOMO: That is the saving grace.
LEMON: I understand that. I respect that. I'm giving you how I feel, and --
CUOMO: And you are not alone.
LEMON: Yes. I know. I know. Boy, do I know, because whenever it comes on, it's like, my texts are why, why? It's always why, why, why.
CUOMO: I know, but, Don, that is all I get now.
LEMON: I know.
CUOMO: Any Republican I have on is not good enough. Any Congressman. Any Senator.
LEMON: No, I don't get that.
CUOMO: As soon as they defend the president --
LEMON: I don't get that with every Republican you have on.
CUOMO: Listen --
LEMON: Even, but it's the same thing with Democrats, too. I mean, it's not just Republicans. But the same thing if a Democrat comes on and does it, but mostly it's with some of the folks who come on and it's not just you. Listen, I don't mean to pick on you, this is just a conversation that we have all the time.
[22:05:04] CUOMO: No, I do it the most. I deserve the criticism. I do it on purpose. I do it intentionally.
CUOMO: I do it for what I believe is good reason. But I do it the most. And I understand that I should get the criticism.
LEMON: Yes. I think people are smart. They get it. They get it. So, thank you, Chris. See you soon. Keep trying.
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. The president of the United States smacked down by his own party. Twelve Senate Republicans joining Democrats to hand him a humiliating rebuke on his national emergency declaration to get the money for his border wall. The president promising in all-caps to -- in a one-word tweet to "veto" the resolution.
An administration official telling CNN that in true Trump fashion, they're planning an on-camera event for the president to wield his veto pen. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. So stay tuned. But that won't change the fact that he was crossed by his own party. And that is the kind of thing that makes him very unhappy.
We've got to talk about this as well. Playing the tough guy. And sounding a whole lot like he is threatening violence against people he views as political opponents. He did it again today in an interview with Breitbart news suggesting that he has supporters in our police forces, in our military, who could make things very bad.
So, the full quote here. OK? So you can see it for yourself. "I have the support of the police. The support of the military. The support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point. And then it would be very, very bad." No mention of Democrats in there, even though some will try to spin it that way, saying it was a compliment -- that is a good spin.
What he is saying here? So he says he has the support of tough people. He says that a certain point, at a certain point, things could get very bad. I would say it's absolutely shocking, but is it really considering the last couple years? It's the way this president thinks.
Last summer in the months before the midterms, he warned of violence if Republicans lost. CNN listened to a recording of what the president said during a dinner with the evangelical leaders at the White House and here's a quote. "They will overturn everything that we've done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa, these are violent people."
Fine people on both sides. Very fine people. We probably shouldn't be shocked. This is a man who suggested his 2nd amendment people, remember, could deal with Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the 2nd amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick -- if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the 2nd amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So, you should know that that comment prompted the secret
service to have more than one conversation with the Trump campaign. And there's what he said to Chris Cuomo in response to a question about what would happen if he didn't have the 1237 votes needed to clinch the Republican nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. You know, we have -- I'm representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A man who encouraged violence by his own supporters during the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Donald Trump I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they're in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks. The guards are very gentle with him. He is walking out, like a big high fives, smiling, laughing. I'd like to punch him in the face, I tell you.
If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you, seriously. OK? Just knock the hell -- I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise. Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court. Don't worry about it. Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.
There are no consequences to protesting anymore. They used to be consequences. I would have been out there fighting, folks. I don't know about what I would have done well, but I would have been boom, boom, boom, -- beat that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How do you defend that, seriously? Imagine any other president, let's -- I mean, just any president, Democrat or Republican, can you imagine Ronald Reagan saying that?
[22:10:00] Can you imagine George W. Bush saying that? Can you imagine John Kennedy saying that? Can you imagine Barack Obama saying that? Remember when someone, there's a heckler at a Barack Obama event, and he said, no, no, no, don't kick him out. Leave him alone, he has a right to protest. Remember that? Class.
That is classless. He is the president of the United States or was running to be president of the United States. How do you defend that? Let's not forget that one of the people who knew him best, his longtime fixer Michael Cohen said in his Capitol Hill testimony just last month. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: When Mr.
Trump turned around early in the campaign and said, I can shoot somebody on 5th avenue and get away with it, I want to be very clear, he's not joking. He is telling you the truth. You don't know him. I do. I sat next to this man for 10 years and I watched his back. He is sending out the same message that he can do whatever he wants. This is his country. Becoming an autocrat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And there's this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And when things don't go his way, big things, little things, this president does what he always does. Threatens and insults. He did it today to his newest Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I think he is got a lot of hand movement. I've never seen so much hand movement. I said, is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? So I've never seen hand movement. I watched him a little while this morning doing, I assume, it was some kind of a news conference and I've actually never seen anything quite like it. Study it. I'm sure you'll agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Crazy, huh? That is pretty ironic. Really ironic. Questioning somebody's mental fitness on the basis of how they move their hands? Or how they talk?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't know what I said. Uh, I don't remember. Bing, bing, bing. Bong, bong. Look at what happened in Syria. Boom, boom, bing. Little mouth on him. Bing, bing, bing. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. Those tunnels, Bing, boom, right under the toilet. Bing, boom. Stay on point, Donald. Stay on point. Knives, knives, knives.
You know, the windmills. Boom, boom, boom. Bing. That is the end of that windmill. Nice little tweet. Bing. Bing. The road is no longer a straight shot. It's now wa. I got to make another turn. Anybody can act president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There's videotape and a tweet for everything. It would be funny if -- actually, it is pretty funny, but seriously, who is Donald Trump to question anybody else's mental fitness? Projecting much? Listen to what somebody who's got the inside track in the White House, in the Trump White House, says, and this is a quote, "At any level of government in this country, in any party, have we ever seen anything like this? It's beyond politics.
Its nuts. It's a disorder. Whether or not impeachment is in order, a serious inquiry needs to be made about this man's condition of mind." You know who said that? That was George Conway, husband of Kellyanne. You got to wonder. Is he right? So, what message is the president sending with his tough talk and insults? What does he think the tough guys and bikers who support him are willing to do that would be very bad?
That is the question for Ana Navarro, Bob Astorino, Rick Wilson, next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump in a new interview sounding like he is issuing a vague threat of violence against his political opponents, claiming that he has the police, the military, bikers, those he calls the tough people, on his side. Let's discuss now. Ana Navarro is here, Rob Astorino, Rick Wilson, the author of "Everything Trump touches dies."
Hello, everyone. Good evening to you. So, Miss Navarro, by the way, congratulations on your marriage. I have to say that. So, I want to read again exactly what the president is telling Breitbart, OK. He says, "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad." He, this is a president who has alluded, advocated violence before. Does this sound like a threat to you?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It sounds like the incoherent babbling of a, you know, a man who's not all right. I mean, honestly, so many times I think to myself, if I didn't know he doesn't drink, I'd think he was drunk when he was saying some of this stuff, because it just makes no sense what he is saying.
Look, does he issue threats? Yes. Can there be consequences to crossing Donald Trump? Yes. Particularly for a Republican. We have seen that practically every Republican who dared oppose him or speak against him in any way either had to retire or lost in primaries or lost in generals or died. And even then, he has continued walking over their grave and continued attacking them even after these losses.
LEMON: Rick Wilson, I want to bring you in, because you tweeted this. You said, "So Donald Trump is threatening to unleash state violence, cops, military, and extrajudicial violence, bikers, against his political opponents. Cool Republican we had. Shame about the -- cool republic we had. Shame about the new ownership." Expand on that for me. What do you mean?
[22:20:02] RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, this is the kind of thing that normal presidents who are sane and normal presidents who respect and adhere to American tradition and acknowledge institutions, normal conservatives, would never say. We do not in this country use the power of the state against our political enemies in the way that Donald Trump described.
What he is doing is saying -- is saying impeach me or investigate me, and I'm going to have cops or the military attack you and I'm going to have my swag belly biker guys come and kick your ass. And unfortunately, for Donald Trump, this is a man who loves this language, Don, because he is not really an American president.
He is a wannabe authoritarian, he is a wannabe thug. He is a guy that looks at dictators and looks at authoritarians and looks at strongmen and looks at warlords around the world and says, that is the best role model for America, not traditional small "d" Democratic, and small "r" Republican governance.
So, you know, this is a real window into Donald Trump's character. It's not joking. It's not funny. It's not Donald Trump being like ha, ha, ha. This is what Donald Trump actually believes inside and it's a revolting, disgusting, pathetic way to live as an American president.
LEMON: So, Rob, I want to bring you in, so is he saying that, it sounds like he is saying that at some point these groups who support him will stop or may stop showing restraint or should stop showing restraint and that could happen to people who --
ROB ASTORINO, TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY BOARD: No, I think what he meant by that, and certainly the way I took it, is not that they won't be used in their uniforms. The military not coming out, cops are not coming out in their uniforms with their sidearm and they're going to do the work of Donald Trump like they're doing in Venezuela and other places.
That people who support Donald Trump, no matter what they are, whether they are tow truck drivers, nurses, educators, it doesn't matter, are going to support him, and we've seen, by the way, we have seen -- I mean, what we're seeing tonight is the one side, but we're not seeing some of the other stuff and the violence and the threats that have come from the other side. . And I think what --
LEMON: Hold on.
ASTORINO: No, no, I want to finish. What he --
LEMON: I promise, I'm going to let you.
ASTORINO: OK. All right, all right.
LEMON: But let's just -- remember, you're talking about the other side and the violence. All right, but hold on. Let me say this. If you said if he is talking about military, not in uniform, police not --
ASTORINO: Right. That is not what he was talking about.
LEMON: Why bring them up?
ASTORINO: He says my supporters --
LEMON: Those folks are just everyday people.
ASTORINO: Yes. They go to their kids' games -- just like everybody else.
LEMON: Why not say working class people?
ASTORINO: You could.
LEMON: Why is he bringing up bikers, why is he bringing up police, why's he bringing up -- why, if he is not talking about them?
ASTORINO: Doesn't matter. He is not talking about --
LEMON: Yes, it does matter.
ASTORINO: No, it doesn't. He is not talking about them in uniform saying I will command them to go in the streets and shoot everybody who doesn't support me.
LEMON: He didn't say nurses, teachers --
ASTORINO: That's not what he meant.
LEMON: -- stock brokers who also supported Donald Trump. He didn't say any of that. He said very distinctly, he pointed out three groups.
LEMON: So --
ASTORINO: I'm saying --
LEMON: So what --
ASTORINO: If he was talking about violence then it's way too far.
LEMON: Hold on.
NAVARRO: Let me tell you what we are not taking it but why we're not taking it to this whole new level. Because people like Don Lemon have received threatening devices through the mail. Because people here at CNN have received threatening devices from a triggered madman, triggered by political speech. Because a triggered madman triggered by political speech went into the Tree of Life Synagogue and shot people. Because triggered mad people went to Charlottesville --
ASTORINO: Disbeliefs and many other people, correct.
NAVARRO: Right, so --
ASTORINO: It's not because Donald Trump told them to do this. NAVARRO: They got triggered by some of the stuff and we can see, you
know, with what was in the writings. We can see with what was in the Twitter feeds. We could see that it was a reflection of what he was saying. And you're right, we have to condemn it on both sides.
NAVARRO: I agree with you. It is imperative that in American politics, we be consistent. And that we condemn violence on both sides. I don't like it when Maxine Waters says something.
LEMON: That is right.
NAVARRO: But there's nobody that has the bully pulpit that the president of the United States has.
LEMON: Now, I cut you off. You were saying, on the other side -- hold on, Rick, I'll let you get in.
ASTORINO: No, I'm just saying, the rallies where you played the clips of him, you know, if he is going to throw a tomato, you know, I'll hit him or whatever. What we're not showing are the people outside, the protesters who were getting violent the anti-Trump protesters. The anti-Trump protesters --
LEMON: Who were outside?
ASTORINO: Who were outside the arena, who were harassing people trying to go into the arena to the rally? Or in Arizona, I remember during the campaign, where they were blocking the roads. These are --
LEMON: So violence with violence. And those people who were not in the room --
ASTORINO: No, what I'm saying is that is the other side that is not being discussed.
LEMON: And shouldn't the people who he is talking about, the police who are there, shouldn't he leave that to them?
ASTORINO: He did.
LEMON: To take care of?
ASTORINO: Yes, of course, they should.
LEMON: Ok. So he is telling them that they should not come out?
ASTORINO: No, I think he was playing to the crowd, obviously.
LEMON: Ok. Go ahead, Rick. Sorry.
[22:25:00] RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, Don, I think the real irrelevant portion -- I think what Rob frankly did in a disservice to the truth just now, is that Donald Trump didn't say, oh, the cops and the military and the bikers are going to come out and organize and vote for me and they are going to rally political support to me. He was saying, they're tough, they're physically tough, and if you cross a line, they're going to go.
ASTORINO: Yes, Antifa, if you come after us, if you come after my supporters, they should defend themselves. That was insane, Rick.
WILSON: This was clearly about, this is not about them empowering themselves politically or supporting the president politically, this was about the president saying, if you go too far and investigate me or try to impeach me, my people will engage in violence.
ASTORINO: Come on.
WILSON: He was explicitly not saying, oh, they're going to be a political force. He was, in fact, going over a very bright red line as a president where you say, I'm going to deploy the military and the police against my political opponents by encouraging them to step up and defend me when I am under investigation. This is something that as a conservative --
ASTORINO: When did he say that?
WILSON: -- I find utterly repugnant and it's incredibly dangerous to our country, Rob. This is -- you can't make -- you should not making excuses for this, because it's a horrifying precedent.
ASTORINO: I'm not making excuses. I don't see it the way you see it. You are seeing it in a different point of view than I am.
LEMON: Can we put the quote back up? Please. Can we put the quote back up?
Can we put the quote back up, please?
ASTORINO: Rick just -- Rick just described. I'd read it.
LEMON: Just read that quote.
ASTORINO: Rick just described people as I just said.
LEMON: Just read the quote.
ASTORINO: They're not in uniform.
ASTORINO: "I can tell you I so have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough. Until they go to a certain point, then it would be very, very bad."
ASTORINO: Until they're getting pushed, until Antifa, until the anti- Trump protesters are going out to the resistances --
WILLIAMS: For god's sake, you know what Antifa is? Antifa is a couple of dozens jackass -- who wore black hoodies.
ASTORINO: Really, Rick?
WILLIAMS: there is no Antifa, it's a fantasy.
ASTORINO: Rick, are you kidding me?
WILLIAMS: Don't embarrass yourself. Antifa is a couple dozen jackass kids in Portland who wear hoodies.
WILLIAMS: They're not a national movement, for god's sake.
NAVARRO: I believe in the integrity of the American military, the U.S. Military. And I believe in the integrity of most, not all, police officers. And I think that if a madman who happens to be president gives some sort of ridiculous order, they're not going to follow it. Will there be triggered madmen? Yes. We've already seen that.
LEMON: Hold that thought. Hold your thoughts, everyone. We'll be right back.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Senate Republicans sending a message to the president that they may not always follow his lead, 12 of them voting with Democrats to pass a resolution overturning the national emergency declaration, even though there aren't enough votes to override a promised veto. Back with me, Ana Navarro, Rob Astorino, and Rick Wilson.
Rick, let me ask you about this. Like I said, you know, there were 12 Republicans who bucked the president and joined Dems to block the president's emergency border declaration. Are we going to see Republicans standing up to Trump more now, you think?
WILSON: Well, Don, I think there are two factors here. This was a particularly egregious and unconstitutional act by the president. It was a very big lift for a lot of traditional conservatives to say, this is cool, and it was a very big risk factor for a lot of them who can see into the future where a Democratic president will simply say, well, gun control's an emergency.
I am declaring an emergency. That's it, climate change or whatever. And so they're very concerned that we set a terrible precedent by doing this. But I don't think you're going to see this as a moment where the dam truly breaks.
I think we're going to have to be deeper into the 2020 election cycle where a lot of these guys recognize that in their states, the risk of a primary from a Trump person is less of a possible disqualifier than following Donald Trump where his popularity is hovering in places like Colorado where it's in the low 30s. A guy like Cory Gardner is going have to really to keep an eye out for opportunities to open up some distance between himself and the president.
You're going to see that particularly with the guys in 2020 as we go further down the track, pending any other externalities that come around, you know, Donald Trump getting on videotape, getting a bag of money from Putin or whatever. We'll see how that shakes out. But most of them are going to be very slow to break off completely, because they still suffer under what I call FOMT, fear of mean tweets.
LEMON: But, you know, the Republicans who -- most of it was not about policy, it was just about the precedent that an emergency declaration would set.
LEMON: So, listen, President Trump, Ana, is vowing to veto this. White House officials say there may be a public event, maybe even as early as tomorrow. Here's what the president tweeted, right? He said I look forward to vetoing the just-passed, Democrat-inspired resolution which would open borders, while increasing crime, drugs, and trafficking in our country.
I thank all of the strong Republicans who voted to support border security and our desperately-needed wall. So he thanks the Republicans. I am wondering if it's a shot across the bow against anyone who crossed him there.
NAVARRO: He's doing two things. One, it is a shot across the bow, but it's also trying to change the narrative. He does not like the narrative that we're talking about right now. He does not like the fact that 12 Republicans defied his purity test, defied his loyalty test, and voted against something that is so dear and near to his heart, in which he has made the center of his campaign.
Look, I think it is a crack in the armor. I think it is a glimmer of hope. Many of those Republicans that voted on that, they've got to do it. They've got to do it, because they got to stand for principles and convictions, and because they've got to have some level of consistency.
If they criticize Barack Obama, many of them, for doing executive actions that bypassed the legislative branch, how -- you know, how can they live with themselves and look in the mirror and not see hypocrites on the other side if they go along with it when it's somebody of their side?
LEMON: Have you been following this for the last --
NAVARRO: Yes, and I have been saying, you know, you hypocrites. I remember when you used to criticize the exact same thing when Barack Obama was doing it.
LEMON: Right. NAVARRO: And I am glad that people -- you know, some of these
Republicans do it because they can. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, are more popular in Utah than Donald Trump is. And if you're a Mitt Romney, are you going to get there at this stage in your life being a statesman? Damn it, you know, vote your conscience. And I am glad he did.
LEMON: So let me just ask you this, because I think Rick brings up a good point, and you're the right person --
ASTORINO: No, he doesn't.
LEMON: Hold on. When he talks about the possibility of re-election and people being concerned about going up against the president for the possibility, because if you look at Thom Tillis, right? He wrote this scathing op-ed in the Washington Post against the president's emergency declaration. And then (Inaudible) today, he switched his vote to support the president.
[22:35:14] He's up for re-election next year. I mean, does that say it all?
ASTORINO: First of all, this is -- Obama had one veto, one veto override, period. So it always happens. The president in power, his party basically stays in line. This is not unprecedented. Since Carter, we've had 60 of these, 30 are still on the book. This arguable is more of a -- is a better use of a national emergency than some of the other ones, including Bush taking money from TARP, Obama taking money to prop up from the National Treasury to prop up Obamacare and give it to the insurance companies.
LEMON: Listen, to your point --
ASTORINO: Everyone's saying it's unconstitutional.
LEMON: Why did 12 Republicans cross the line --
ASTORINO: For the wrong reason, by the way. I think -- look, do I think that the president should go this way? I am iffy on it. Do I think he has the right? Absolutely, that right was given to him by Congress. That's unquestionable. He can do this. There's not a question. Whether he should, we can have that argument.
ASTORINO: But they can't say -- Congress gave you this power, now don't use it.
LEMON: Let's just say there's a President O'Rourke or a President Harris or a President Sanders or a president --
NAVARRO: Make it really scary for Republicans, President Ocasio- Cortez.
LEMON: They said climate change is a national emergency. We're going to -- gun control a national emergency. What would you -- honest -- be honest with me, what would you be saying?
ASTORINO: I would say no. That is not true. Because right now -- look, you can't argue that we don't have a crisis at the border. Obama said we had a crisis. He was right.
ASTORINO: We have had a massive crisis.
LEMON: You can argue that --
ASTORINO: That's not the issue.
LEMON: There's no crisis at the border.
ASTORINO: Can he or can he not do this? He can by law.
LEMON: We said that. He can by law.
ASTORINO: But Rick said it's unprecedented and it's unconstitutional. It's not unconstitutional.
LEMON: He doesn't mean that he can't do it. Hold on, Rick. Hold on. Hold on, because I want to make this --
ASTORINO: Congress gave him that authority.
LEMON: You don't think we have a crisis when it comes to guns?
ASTORINO: We have an issue with mental illness and many other things with guns, absolutely. Is it a crisis? We have crises situations but also have a 2nd Amendment, which I know you and others --
LEMON: We also have a constitution.
ASTORINO: -- want to cut in half. We do have a constitution. And in our constitution, Congress gave him the authority. Why was it OK for every other president...
LEMON: We already made that point.
NAVARRO: -- going to be judged upon by the courts.
LEMON: Nobody wanted to cut the 2nd Amendment in half. Didn't you just say that?
ASTORINO: Come on, I was teasing.
LEMON: How many guns did Obama --
NAVARRO: Listen, if you cut the 2nd Amendment in half, you're left with the 1st Amendment. That's my favorite, anyway, freedom of the press.
LEMON: Rick, quick last word. Please. Please. I am over time.
WILSON: OK, last word. Listen, Rob, the problem here isn't the declaration of the emergency. That is legal. The problem is the declaration of the emergency seeks to abrogate article 1 section (Inaudible) of the constitution which says Congress must allocate and appropriate the money and decide how it is spent.
WILSON: The president is in defiance of Congressional appropriations.
ASTORINO: That's not true.
WILSON: He's trying to shortcut article 1.
LEMON: You guys -- I will pass along your contact information. You guys can argue. We'll be right back.
ASTORINO: On the back of a napkin.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So Beto O'Rourke entered the race to make President Trump a one-term president today. And the president went back to his old bag of tricks, trying to define the enemy. Tag them with a demeaning nickname or make fun of a particular trait. It's very mature, isn't it? Well, what a way to use the Oval Office. Be best. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think he's got a lot of hand movement. I've never seen so much hand movement. I said is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? So I've never seen hand movement. I watched him a little while this morning during, I assume it was some kind of a news conference, and I've actually never seen anything quite like it. Study it. I am sure you'll agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: If you watch me enough, you know normally I wouldn't give this dumb remark any attention, except for the fact in trying to define his newest opponent the president did us a favor and he opened up a conversation that we should all be having about his own fitness for office. So joining me now, Frank Bruni and Michael D'Antonio, Michael is author of "The Truth About Trump."
So this is where the rubber meets the road. Let's talk about him and not necessarily about Beto O'Rourke. Because, you know, Beto announced his candidacy today. Frank, the first thing -- good evening, by the way, the first thing that Trump mentions, hand gestures, you know, and saying that he's crazy. Let's stop and think for a moment about this president questioning someone's fitness for office on that basis.
FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Going straight to the hand movement. Well, I mean that's insane, right? I mean -- but he always turns it around like that. I mean we're just a couple of days away from when Nancy Pelosi basically very bluntly said that he's not fit for office. I think this is particularly psychologically fascinating, though. Because I think Beto threatens him in a very particular way.
LEMON: That he has big hands?
BRUNI: What does Trump respond to and respect? Celebrity, Beto's on the cover of Vanity Fair, right?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Charisma.
BRUNI: Looks, Beto is not tough on the eyes. Crowd size, Beto matched him person for person. I think he had more people when they had those dueling El Paso rallies. So I think Donald Trump is threatened by him, and that's why he goes to this sort of absurd, superficial thing.
LEMON: And he's thinner and taller and has more hair.
LEMON: And he knows policy more.
BRUNI: One more thing about the hands, because it really is sort of like you can't make this stuff up. I mean Trump says he's never seen hand movements like that. What about when Trump was making fun of my disabled colleague at "The New York Times" and waving his hands around? And of course, Trump is the one who has always long-called the short-fingered Bulgarian by Spine Magazine and actually in a presidential debate defended his hand size and what it was supposedly a metaphor for.
[22:45:10] LEMON: I mentioned this earlier, Michael, because George Conway, you know, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, the senior adviser to the president, made multiple tweets questioning Trump's fitness for office yesterday. And here's what he wrote. He said have we ever seen this degree of brazen pathological mendacity in American public life?
One day, he makes the harmless slip of the tongue, something any mentally balanced person would laugh off. So he says a serious inquiry needs to be made about the president's state of mind. Is it a coincidence today that he is questioning Beto's fitness?
D'ANTONIO: Absolutely not. And you think the one thing that the president said that I thought was really telling was he said is he crazy or does he just act that way? This is precisely what people have been asking me about the president for three years now. Everyone comes up to me and says is this guy really crazy? Do we need to be worried about him, or does he just act that way?
And the truth is both are bad. If you're the president and you want to act the way that he acts, you've got a problem. And if you are that crazy, that -- as crazy as Trump often seems to be, then the country has a serious problem. And the last thing I thought of as I was listening to the president talk about Beto was is that all you got?
I mean is this all you have to say that's critical of this man? He's obviously frightened by him. I think Frank is right that this is a guy who is as tall as he seems to be. He is as slender as he seems to be. He has his...
BRUNI: Doesn't need a team of elves s to make his hair happen.
D'ANTONIO: No, no, he doesn't.
D'ANTONIO: And so he's also -- you know -- and this is a risky thing to say. He's a white heterosexual male. The president knows how to beat up on women. He knows how to beat up on black people, Hispanic people. But white heterosexual males are his base. And he's a white heterosexual male who has charisma. So what's he going to do?
Go out and say, well, Beto, well, that's a play too. He must be Mexican. Well, he's Beto O'Rourke. It's going to be really hard for him to otherize this man.
BRUNI: But it's also -- he's so superficial. I mean if you wanted to criticize Beto coming out of the gate for that video announcement, I mean it was all gauzy generalities. It was a Hallmark card. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: I didn't hear any policy today.
D'ANTONIO: He could have really gone after him in a meaningful way, but no.
LEMON: Yeah, thank you, gentlemen.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you.
LEMON: I appreciate it. I don't get the chance to say this very often, but there was a big moment of bipartisanship on the Hill today, the House voting 420 to nothing to pass a resolution calling for the Mueller report to be released publicly. So why is something that every single lawmaker supported going nowhere? Why is it going nowhere? I am going to discuss that with Congressman Eric Swalwell. There he is. We'll do it next right after the break.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Stunning blows to President Trump in Congress today, 12 Republicans in the Senate crossed party lines to join Democrats in passing a bill rebuking him for declaring a national emergency, and there was a unanimous vote in the House, passing a resolution to demand the public release of the Mueller report. Joining me now to discuss Democrat Congressman Eric Swalwell.
Congressman, thank you. So the House voted unanimously on a resolution in favor of the public release of the Mueller report. Just last week, the House couldn't get a unanimous vote on a resolution against hate. Were you surprised to see support at this level?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I was. But I welcome it, Don, because I think it shows that increasingly it's becoming the president and us. And for us, we want transparency. So 420 of us who represent, you know, this country, we wanted to make sure that every sentence of this Mueller report is seen. It's a big deal, this investigation.
What's at stake is our country having been attacked by a foreign adversary and the possibility that people inside our country worked with that adversary. We should see all of it. When it comes to the national emergency, again, when it comes to us, we want to make sure that our money is spent wisely on smart border security. And we don't steal from military families, housing, and hospitals to pay for a wall that we just don't need.
The president is on the opposite sides of both of that, of the rule of law, and on border security. And I think he's becoming more and more alienated.
LEMON: So listen. Unfortunately, it's going to go nowhere, because Senator Lindsey Graham, he blocked the resolution from being brought up in the Senate unless it would include a special counsel to probe the Clinton e-mails server and Carter Page FISA warrant. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I want everything looked at, not just Mueller. Mueller's got to be able to do his job. He's just about finished, I think. But nobody's lifted a finger to call for an investigation of the other side of the story. Was there two systems of justice, one for the Democratic candidate, one for the Republican candidate?
I think a special counsel is more than warranted. And let's see if people will agree with that part of the resolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So I haven't seen much lately of President Hillary Clinton. Oh, wait a minute. What happened to Lindsey Graham?
SWALWELL: Yeah. Senator Graham is living in the past, Don. And most Americans want us to focus on the election we have coming up and making sure that it's secure. Hillary Clinton, I hope she lives for many more decades. She's not going to live forever. I don't know what people like Lindsey Graham and my Republican colleagues are going to do when they don't have Hillary Clinton to vilify --
LEMON: -- Barack Obama. I'll tell you, but go on.
[22:49:58] SWALWELL: Yeah. Exactly, there's a long line of them. But again, people want us to focus on securing the ballot box, knowing who worked with our adversaries. That's not a partisan issue. That's just making sure that what we rely on in this country, free ideas, free markets, freedom of speech, is still around. And Senator Graham, with the president, is isolated and on the wrong side of that.
LEMON: So this unanimous resolution now going nowhere just -- because of Senator Graham.
SWALWELL: Well, but -- it's not going nowhere with the American people. The American people are with the 420 members of Congress and the majority of the senators who wanted to see the Mueller report become public. And so their voices at home count. They gave us the majority. And they're going to have an opportunity in November 2020 to vote on whether Senator Graham should be returned to office or not.
And he may think he's protected in a red state like South Carolina. But I know candidates who are getting ready to run there who are going to give him a real run. And I think the rule of law will be on the ballot.
LEMON: So I got to ask you. You know what I am going to ask you right now, right?
SWALWELL: Yeah, I know.
LEMON: Beto O'Rourke jumped in officially into the race. It's a crowded field.
LEMON: Well, should we expect it to get even more crowded with an announcement from you?
SWALWELL: I am going to make one by the end of the month, Don. Beto is a good buddy of mine. We both got elected in 2012. He brings a lot of energy. And I think it's great for the field. What I think right now, though, you know, the voters care about the most is whether we are in a top floor economy, or we are in an economy where every person on every floor of a building who works hard can see the benefits of this economy.
And for me, I lived, you know, a life where my parents worked hard. Believe that that hard work would add up to something. And I see now across America that too many people work hard and they're not seeing it add up to something. They're just running in place. And so investing in education, healthcare, reducing gun violence, that's the path forward to make sure that the promise of America reaches all Americans. That's why I'm getting very close, Don. And I have promised you that you will be among the first to know.
LEMON: OK. So you said you're a good buddy with him. And he's been on -- we've interviewed him before. He hasn't been here in a while. Will you please extend the invitation?
SWALWELL: Yeah, I am texting him right now.
LEMON: All right. Seriously, I mean that. And then when, you know, we'll keep having you on. Thank you, Congressman. We appreciate it.
SWALWELL: Thanks, Don, goodnight.
LEMON: The president making a chilling threat, hinting that his supporters in the military, the police, and the bikers, bikers for Trump, could make things very bad. Is he threatening violence against people he sees as his political enemies?