tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 5, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT
this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. a little past 11:00 here on the east coast. live with all the new developments for you tonight. we're talking about journalist bob woodward dropping a book which has the west wing in fear damage control right now. and he says what's released from the book show's that the president's inner circle are worried that he's a danger to national security. so let's discuss now carl bernstein, max boot and timothy natalia. as you know bernstein and
woodward, depending on who you're talking to, so carl i've got to start with you because a couple of questions, no one knows his work better than you. many administration officials are being quoted in this book, right, and here's what he said tonight. he gave an interview. he told the daily caller it's just another bad book -- >> the president. >> the president said this, yeah. the president, not bob. he says disgruntled employees just made it up. it could just be made up by the author. talk to me about how woodward
works, his methodology. >> well, the methodology goes back to the watergate reporting, particularly the final days of the book he we wrote about nixon's last year, the final year in office. of which we went to literally 100, 200 people, tape recorded all our interviews, the major participants, those closest to the president. and what emerges and what's so important about this book is that it's not about using the word idiot. it's not about a phrase here or there. this is a disturbing narrative scene after scene after scene of those closest to the president of the united states in his white house and administration saying we must save the country from the president of the united states. >> what about -- >> don, that's nonsense. it's not a book about palace
intrigue. it's about the most intimate of those in the inner secrets saying it's their job to save the country from the president of the united states's from his recklessness, from his lying, from his ignorance. now to hear these denials knowing the methodology and knowing how bob goes about his meticulous reporting and listening to the president talk about, well, maybe bob is a democratic operative. look, woodward has written books about democratic presidents that democrats presidents have hated. i've written a book about hillary clinton that hillary clinton has hated. the idea of reporters as democratic operatives here, this is book by the preeminent reporter in america using the methodology that has given us
the history -- tim can tell you we know what we know about the presidents of the united states going back 45 years because of bob woodward. more than any other thing in these books have held up book after book after book -- >> let me get into timothy here. the president's closest advisor and this is according to wood ward, the white house chief of staff john kelly, idiot, unhinged. defense secretary, a fifth or sixth grader. former secretary of state tillerson, an effing moran, cohn, a professional liar. john dowd, an f'ing liar. >> two things, if you want to test the woodward and bernstein approach because you're sitting there, i would say go and look at their interviews for the final days at the university of texas and then you can say how they've built the book.
this is really damning because woodward is moving the story beyond where wolf or whipple took it. and let me tell you where it's different, mattis is in this story. in my mind the biggest deal that i've heard so far is we're hearing not from the secretary of defense because he's in awfully quiet, but people close enough to him that woodward is confident that he has a sense what mattis is thinking. mattis is playing a role i believe in this administration similar to the way melvin laird played in the nixon administration. he is slow walking things, he is calming down the national security state because the president cannot be relied onto make smart national security or defense decisions. so one of the big windows woodward appear tuesday have
opened in this case is the window to the dod, especially to mattis. >> and tillerson, and the assistant to the president, keep going through the list. >> let's talk more because, max, i want to bring you in. this is what chief of staff john kelly said, again according to the book, he's an idiot. he's gone off the rails. we're in crazy town. i don't even know why any of us are here. this is the worst job that i had. and kelly released a statement the idea i called the president an idiot is not true. it's another pathetic attempt to smear people close to the president trump and distract from the administration's many successes. >> maybe he called him a moron like rex tillerson. clearly when you get into a battle of credibility between bob woodward and this white house bob woodward wins hands down.
i'm sure he learned everything he knows from carl, he has a 50-year track record of get things right. on the other hand you have president trump, just today they came out with the latest fact checker saying president trump lies an average eight times a day. they lie more than the nixon white house did. they have negative credibility, less than zero credibility, so it's just hard to take on faith anything they say and denying anything in this book especially because it paints a consistent picture if you read like what michael wolf said or omarosa said, it's very similar where people around trump have contempt around him. they view him as an an idiot, a liar. >> and it's very consistent the credibility -- >> yes, he adds details.
>> this is something because when you were telling me to go down the line and name all these people. this is cohn and one that illustrates a level of distrust for president trump. president trump was about to sign a letter that would have ended an agreement with south korea, and gary cohn it could have destroyed a top secret program to detect top secrets launches. i stole it from his desk, i wouldn't let him see it. i've got to protect the country. and rob porter also stole documents from the president's desk so he wouldn't see them. a third of my job, he says, was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren't such good ideas. have you ever heard of that in. >> only in the final days of the
nixon presidency where those around nixon were afraid of what me might do because of the pressure he was under. but what gary cohn concluded was that the president of the united states is a threat to the national security of the united states, that's what aide after aide, principal after principal in this administration will say about this book. and those who will recognize the truth about this book more than any others are republicans on capitol hill. because they have been sources for bob woodward in previous books. they know that bob woodward doesn't make these things up. so the question now is are some of the republicans on capitol hill going to finally put national interest above partisan interest and call general kelly in there for a executive session or kelly resign and have some principle and say i need to tell
the congress of the united states in executive session what it is that this president has done, what he hasn't done, whether or not he is a threat to the national security of the united states. because that, if you read this book it is very clear that kelly believes that the president of the united states is a threat to the national security. >> well, that was my question. >> so enough of this nonsense from sarah sanders. let's get down to what this is really about. >> that was my question. why coo they continue to do this and standby -- >> because of what's happening in the senate today. i am convinced that a lot of this is a bargain -- is to bargain. what they're doing, these republicans that have decided not to tell the truth about -- >> or not to have a backbone. >> here's the thing, republicans used to believe in free trade. and the cohn antidotes are so powerful because they're showing that there were people in the white house, republicans were trying to stand up for republican values and the president has no interest in those. but here's what i think is going
on, they have made a faustian bargain, and if we have to put up with short-term crazy, we're going to deal with it for the long-term. >> a lot of people support people who do the wrong thing. >> right, i mean there's no question that trump has done a pretty clever job of inoculating his supporters against believing the very credible reporting coming out about the craziness in the white house because he's attacked the fake news media, painted the media as the liars, and yes he maintains 78% among republicans which is also part of the reason why republicans on capitol hill are too cowardly to earn turn on him. but let's remember republicans are only 26% of the country and in the country at large people have woken up to what's going on. and more people approved of impeaching him than approved of his job performance. so with this nonstop stream of falsehoods and attacks on the media he's managing to keep his base together, but he's not convincing the rest of the
country. and if that trend holds in november he's going to pay a big price in the mid-term election. another shocking revelation from bob woodward's book. why president trump called his speech denouncing white supremacists after charlottesville the biggest mistake he's made. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely.
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breaking news, a bombshell revelation of president trump's cleanup after his explosive both sides remark on the charlottesville attacks. according to bob woodward's new book trump called his revised comments on the white supremacist rally the biggest effing mistake i've made. and to remind everyone here's what the president originally said after the attacks in
charlottesville. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. on many sides. >> okay and here is that cleanup speech president trump was so reportedly upset about. >> racism is evil and those who cause violence in its names are thugs including the kkk, neo-nazis and white supremacists that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as citizens. >> i guess it's no surprise one day later the president backtracked saying this. >> i think there's blame on both sides. you had a group on one side that was very bad and another group that was very violent.
>> notice the difference between the first one that he was read ing and the second one where he really said what he meant, just rolled off the tongue? and joining us now. must be a lot of love going around, amanda. good evening, everyone. i hope you guys had a great restful labor day weekend. so adam, woodward reports that president trump called his revised statement on the charlottesville rally the biggest effing mistake i've ever made, you never make those concessions, you never apologize. i didn't do anything wrong in the first place. why look weak? okay, those were his words. that was stunning for what went on during that time. >> what we're talking about here is terrorist attack. the president thought it was a
mistake to condemn a white supremacist terrorist attack because he was worried how it would play among his base. in fact when the president came back and repudiated his own statement, white nationalists said they were proud of him for drawing equivalents and that's just a disgrace. >> amanda, woodward reports trump went onto say this. i can't believe i got forced to do that. that's the worst speech i've ever give mchb i'm never going to do anything like that again. and he writes this was a turning point for a trump white house, for many of his advisers in the trump white house. >> i think more than anything this shows that donald trump isn't a team player even when
he's leading the team. you know, his team tried to convince him to do the right thing. they marched him to the podium, gave it their best shot, gave him a script, he read it and it's like they're trying to stuff the genie into the bottle. and he gets out and hurts what he's saying. a lot of people when these incidents come up say, well, why do they stay? and i think you need to reflect on the title of that book, fear. someone like john kelly, you know, a lot of senior people have been quoted calling the president an idiot and then stay. i think they are fearful because of what happens when they leave and they're thought people like
them trying to run into the gap to try to get him to do the right thing. let's admit, the president has leverage over them, over us, over the whole country. and someone needs to occasionally try to get him to do the right thing knowing full well that he'll probably undo it days later. and this is just a vicious cycle we're in. and frankly, i worry how many times we're going to go through this in 2020 and what this unleashes. >> you seem completely disinterested. you don't have anything to say about this conversation. i'm kidding. i'm going to give you a quote because everything else got a quote. in one instance trump said, this guy is mentally retarded, again according to the book. he's this dumb southerner, adding he couldn't even be a one person country lawyer down in alabama. so how do you explain that to folks in alabama, sessions' home state and the state that voted for trump?
>> well, you know, i explain it pretty easily, by the way. and to quote my favorite politician of all-time, ronald reagan, there you go again. there you go again, amanda, don when here you go with this mantra that somehow this president has hoodwinked people -- >> i think he's telling us what he thinks all the time -- >> so now you're blaming us for asking a question about book that was written about him? >> amanda, you're saying general kelly is fearful of the consequences of not serving him. >> yeah, i think he has a higher cause and he's trying to help america. u, i totally believe that. >> and to that i say there you go again because you know what, too, this is the attitude of elitism that cost you the 2016 -- >> really? >> yeah, that cost you the 2016 election and which will cost you the 2020 election. >> amanda is a republican, not a democrat. >> you don't know where i live,
you don't know what i do. you have no basis for that. >> where you live nothing has to do with elitism. elitism is a frame of mind. >> steve, listen. i love having you on, but you're very good at sidetracking us and the panel into something we're not talking about because you can't really defend what's happening. so can we stick to -- >> yes, i can. >> so respond to what i asked you. >> let's talk facts, i don't believe any of this book. and you know why i don't believe him because i know john kelly and general kelly is an american hero. and if he says this is bunch of b.s., which is his act phrase, then i believe it's a bunch of b.s. and i will take his word over the word of a pseudo journalist any day. >> who's a pseudo journalist? bob woodward is a pseudo journalist? >> yes.
>> did you think bob woodward was a pseudo journalist when he reported on nixon? >> the reality is when he says it doesn't matter -- no, i understand you have to repeat whatever dear leader says. that's the reality is you have to repeat it. >> so hold on, so what is unusual -- >> you're sitting here saying oh, it's b.s. but you you have no evidence that it's b.s. you're just saying whatever trump wants you to say. it's like something out of north korea. >> no, no, i'm an american who loves what he's doing for this country. i don't work for this president. you just said i have to -- >> listen, guys, hold on both of you. >> please, please, steve. so listen, you're saying that general kelly is lying. we've heard general kelly lie. remember he lied on congresswoman wilson when he lied about what she said? he's not above lying. he's lied before. we've caught him in lies. there's a tape to show his lies, so would he possibly not be lying about this? >> i'm saying that when i look
at general kelly, a man who has served this country immeasurably, far beyond the way i have, the way any of us have -- >> it doesn't diminish his service to the country. you can serve the country and you can also be a liar. you can serve the country, you can also be complicit. you can serve the country, you can also be power hungry. you can serve the country and also be a bigot. you can serve the country and be a lot of things. i'm giving you examples.
hold on. but answer my question. you can be a liar and you can also serve the country. you don't think he can do both? you think he's capable of both? >> don, you are choosing because of your prism and bias -- >> no, because -- no, no, stop. because i sit here every night and because i'm not stupid and because i don't let someone hoodwink me, because i know the man donald trump from new york city, because i know when he lies, because there's a record of his lying, there is a record of his bigotry, there is no prism that you're talking about. this is about truth and this is about reality. so don't sit here and say because of the prism of my own bias. -- fact is fact, lies are lies. >> that's your perception. what i know is the truth in america right now is a country that's exploding with optimism, with growth. >> and thank you to the former president for putting us back on the right direction so donald trump did not inherit a bad economy. donald trump inherited a country that was positive. so i mean it's not just because of that. >> take a look at any survey and see the way --
>> what does that have to do with the subject that we're talking about right now? >> here's what it has to do -- >> it has nothing to do with it. it doesn't. >> it doesn't. we just got sidetracked again. >> no, here's what it has to do with it, don. i'm the first to admit my bias. i am pro-trump and i love what he's doing for the growth. that's part of the reason i agree with general kelly, because you will not admit your bias. >> i'm not bias. >> yes, you are. you believe any lie about him. >> i'm sorry if the truth or facts or reality are not on the side of this administration, but that does not mean that i'm biased. you may see it that way -- >> i will admit, you don't. >> well, speak for yourself. you call yourself biased, i am not. thank you. we'll be right back. i landed.
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told the daily caller. maybe there's a reason they're doing it, but i think as far as sending a message i think it's a terrible message and message that shouldn't be sent. i guess he didn't like the message. there's no reason for it. joining me now is the chief national correspondent for "the new york times" and author of "big game, the nfl in dangerous times." hold it up. yeah, it's a fascinating book and i've seen some of your interviews and i thank you for coming on. >> my pleasure. >> give me the reaction to colin kaepernick and nike. >> well, first of all i think they're doing a great job trying to sell my book, which i think
is there initial intent here. they've had five, six years of either self-inflicted wounds or self-exacerbating wound. the season is starting in two days. you know this isn't going to be resolved. i'm surprised it took the president as long as he did to weigh in on this. and he loves the issue. who knows if he'll ever get around to paying attention about football. >> what if the nfl said, listen, we don't tell people what to do. it's un-american to do that. if people want to sit, they sit. if they want to kneel, they want to kneel. that's their business. what do you think would happen? >> it would burn out. essentially that's what they did last year. they didn't slap any draconian rules on them. the people i talked to got a fair amount of praise and were just riding it out. conservative owners wanted him to do something more definitive, and the thing was basically
dealt with. and then they kind of did this sort of haphazard, all right everyone stay in the locker room in may. and a lot of the owners were caught off-guard and now we're in this holding pattern. >> you say kaepernick was a trumpian villain straight out of the central casting big fro, swarthy skin and a san francisco jersey. if kaepernick did not exist some ingenious russian troll-bot would invent him. >> and colin kaepernick is like the vegan quarterback who is read meat for the base, right? he is just someone that the president seized upon and you just know that 60% of the population or a pretty good majority of the population is going to be behind him on this. so kaepernick is a perfect donald trump foil, and it's become like a culture war issue. >> you've talked about how the
nfl, you think if they responded what would happen. but this is more from your book. you say commissioner goodell, under his watch it's gone to being the most unifying institutions in america to the country's most polarizing sports brand. >> you look at these super bowls, the first super bowl after donald trump was inaugurated, about two weeks in the patriots were seen as trump's team and atlanta was like the heart of the resistance. rise up was their slogan. and you would have like okay atlanta, 7, trump nothing. i remember being on twitter for the first half of that game. and it was -- look, that's sort of where we are as a country.
i asked the commissioner about this. i said how did this game get so polarizing and do you bear the responsibility? and he said it's part of the times, everything is politicized. i think he was not taking responsibility, but i think he's pretty right also. >> the people inside, the people who know trump, the people who know how he acted in business, how he conducted himself -- >> a lot of these people did have experience with him. >> you know what i'm talking ability. how much of this antagonism in the nfl had to do with them blocking him -- >> most recently he tried to buy the buffalo bills. he tried to buy a number of teams over the years.
he's always been thwarted by the owners. it's sort of a classic case of donald trump's nose being pressed up against a glass, and the ultimate club doesn't get to have him as a member. and you hear the degree of which they're all just obsessed with how do we not trigger the next tweet. there's a lot of people who have given them money and known for years. these are the two biggest reality shows we have going in america right now. >> i just can't believe the owners are that afraid. because how do you stand up to a bully, you stand up, you punch him in the nose. the book is called big game, the nfl in dangerous times. mark, thank you. >> good to be here. we'll be right back.
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so reaction to nike's new ad featuring colin kaepernick has been swift on both sides. joining me to discuss is bakari sellers, james, a retired special fbi agent. james, beautiful tie, by the way. america. >> i thought about you when i put it on. i know you like the stripes. >> yeah, nice tie there, bakari. so listen, james, here's what
you wrote, a hardy cheer for your selection for colin kaepernick as the face of your iconic just do it campaign. will his newest line include these sock beauties be advised cops buy sneakers too. respectfully law enforcement. >> let me put this in context first, my family goes all the way back to the civil war and fought for the union. i come from a long military history and lineage where we believe in first amendment rights, we believe in going after the oppressor, and listen, i don't think that colin kaepernick should not have a right to protest. i don't think he should do it on company time. it's like me coming on and saying i'd like one minute just now for fallen officers. you can't do it on company time. it's not a company issue it's a
civil rights issue. you're a not a poster child for your cause when you pair of socks that are defamatory like that, and you're not a great poster child when you send out birthday shut outs to -- who's in cuba right now who killed police officer in 1973. those things are visceral for us cops. and we struggle to deal with respecting his and his views and the way he feels oppressed. >> bakari, go ahead. >> i want to acknowledge i have on nike shorts, so i did come dressed for the show tonight. >> there is so much wrong with that statement. let me address it. first the audacity to say colin kaepernick cannot protest on company time, that's just simp lee like saying rosa parks
should have just chosen one of the open seats she had. just because a protest makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it's somehow incorrect. no, colin kaepernick may not be the perfect spokesman as you say, and yes even i had a problem with the socks and even a problem he didn't vote in the last election. but i think the audacity for someone to have this level of outrage without having outrage about the level of injustice colin kaepernick is protesting is exactly the problem. i think i would want to see you and everyone else stand up with me when we're talking about young african-american kids unarmed being explain in these streets night and in and night out. i want to be clear. i'm not saying every officer in
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celebrities coming to a tv actor's defense after he was job shamed on line, best known for the role on "the cosby show" in the 1980s and '90s and now he is making headlines for these photos showing him working as a cashier at trader joe's grocery store. jeffrey owens joins me. >> they were photo shopped. yes. >> you were just back from the gym. >> absolutely. they call it hair brushing when they make you look worse. >> it's a pleasure to meet you.
i grew up with cosby and i watched you. what's going on? what's happening? >> what's going on? i took a regular job so i could support myself and my family and it all went crazy. i never in a million years would imagine i would be in this position. it's surreal. >> it's reader to me that this became an issue because -- i think you are a great actor and loved that you were so animated on "the cosby show." i see actors taking other jobs and doing things between gigs. it's not unusual. >> no the at all. >> why the big deal? >> because i was on "the cosby show" which at the height of its popularity was one of the most
famous shows ever view bide over 55 million people at a time. it was iconic and i was a member of that family. it's one thing if the average actor has another job and 98% of them do, but you know, for seeing somebody on that show working in the local grocery store is kind of jarring. i imagine and i can understand, imagine if i went into a store and saw al pacino working there. i would be sensitive and nice about it, but it would be shocking. that's what it's like for some people. it doesn't make sense. >> one would think you are on "the cosby show" and that was one of the biggest sitcoms. is it because the show was taken off or are you no longer getting residuals in. >> it ended 26 years ago. people don't realize that because they were watching
reruns. for the past 26 years, i have been since that job ended, i haven't had a job that lasted more than 10 weeks at a time. most of the jobs are theater jobs that are a lot less than tv and film. there is the impression that because the reruns you see on tv all the time, i'm still making that kind of money. residuals dwindle away and sometimes they don't -- i only did a certain amount of the shows. people have a very false erroneous impression of the kind of income i make being on that show. >> do you think that you were shamed by the people who put those photos out or by news organizations? >> well, both. i think they both conspired to kind of exploit a shamed situation. the people who saw me in the store, i think tried basically
to take advantage of me. i blamed the news organizations more. i understand the impulse to try to maybe take advantage of a situation. >> specifically how? >> because they see someone in my position recognize me and they know that there is a taste, unfortunately, there is a little bit of a taste in all of us that have a curiosity and a negative curiosity about seeing the exalted fallen. >> people offers you jobs now? >> i have gotten offers. none of them have been substantiated or worked out. >> why are you not comfortable taking a job now? >> if you note what i said, i didn't say i wouldn't take a job. i said i would be uncomfortable. i wanted to make that distinction.
i'm a kind of person that i always have been this way. it's strange. when i was in school, i was offered a scholarship and for some reason i was not worthy of it. i don't like getting anything that i feel like i haven't earned. that makes me more uncomfortable about something that i should have earned. that was the impulse behind what i said. if this situation leads to work, i would be very grateful, but i don't expect it. >> we can put up the tyler perry tweet. the number one drama. and now people like cruz said i would do it again. i worked in wether spoon's kitchen. i told you what i would do. are you a christian author with
a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! well, it seemed like change is on the way. >> another democratic challenger pulls off a major primary upset. tropical storm gordon turning deadly as it makes landfall near the alabama/mississippi border. the trump white house blasting the explosive allegations in that new book from watergate legend bob woodward. protesters rattle the