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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 15, 2019 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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they rebound to african-americans and latinos, anybody with an ethnic background, lbgt, anybody who feels less than. this country is about uniting and it has to happen now at the top. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d. lemon starts right now. >> on what we ignore, we empower. you just said that, right? >> yes, sir. >> okay. i agree with you. and also, i know this is going to be controversial, so to challenge all the supporters of this president, when you said to john kasich, i know people who support donald trump, they're not bigots, but for people who look like me, other minorities, women who have -- well, let's just leave this to race, this president has said and done so many insensitive and bigoted and racist things that if you support for him -- if you support him, people like me want to understand why you ignored so
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much in order to support this man. you may not think you're a racist. maybe -- i don't know if you are. i don't think, you know, every trump supporter is a racist. but you certainly had to overlook racism and bigotry in order to make that decision. now, then, maybe you made that decision in the voting booth. and then, now, even after all of this, if you still, in your mind, can support this person, why the hell are you overlooking racism so much? it is personal and even deadly to people like me. that is important. >> i think this is a big moment for trump supporters. it is very hard for people to look at what steve king was saying. his plea of ignorance -- whatever! you know, that's about him. if he's not smart enough to know that what he's saying is stupid, that's on him. but for those who support the president, this is a testing
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moment right now. he says he's not a bigot. he says that he's the least racist person you've ever met in your life. >> he's told me that like three or four times in interviews. >> we only know what you show. now is the moment. this isn't something that you don't follow. first of all, that's b.s. he consumes media like this compulsively. you know, and he pays attention to the shows. he knows. that's b.s. it's an excuse. he's ducking it. don't let him. if you support the president, you should want him to come out on this, because it will give you the cover you want. to say, i don't support a bigot. he's not a bigot. then where is he right now? >> come on. really? he's not a bigot. i've already said, of course he is. look at the evidence. this is not just my opinion. this is evidence, that data that has been -- actions that have been collected and memorialized and even on tape, over the
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years. so where is -- what's in question about this? so, i don't -- listen, steve king is one thing, the president's another. i know you say the president should be speaking out about this, he can't. he can't because the bigots and the racists support him. he does not want to lose their support. if he speaks out against steve king, they're going to think he's not one of them again. so what does that say about him, that he can't really, in a very strong and important way, condemn them, fine people on both sides, that he can't do it. what does that say about him? again, trump supporter, who's overlooking some other bigoted, racist aspect of this president, for what? you think you're going to get a tax cut? how much? how much money is it worth to you that you have someone who is a racist in office? how much of a tax cut does it matter? there isn't that much money in the world for me. and for people who are discriminated against. for people of color.
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it's not that much money. >> i hear you. but first of all, you are aware and educated in a way -- >> are you saying trump supporters are not educated? >> i'm saying that, look, there is no monolith, right? some people are ignorant. some people in this country, i don't care what their partisan stripe is, are ignorant. some people don't want to see what's right in front of their face. they want to believe it's not true. other people will believe the president, when he says, well, i'm not a racist. and i'm saying, no matter what you believe about the president -- >> i'm not a racist, but i wouldn't want my daughter to bring home a black man. i'm not a homophobe, but i wouldn't want my son to be gay. really? come on. >> who's that? >> that's what people say all the time. i'm not a racist, but i don't think that blacks should be doing this. i'm not a homophobe, but i wouldn't want my daughter to be a lesbian. that's being racist. that's being home -- homophobic.
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that doesn't erase your racism or your homophobia because you say that. the president saying i'm not a bigot doesn't mean -- >> that's why i'm embracing this moment. because no matter what you think about yourself or the president. everybody must agree that this is no time for somebody who is not a bigot to be quiet. this is no time to be that, especially if you are elected by this country to lead. because if there is one value that must define this country, as imperfect as it may be executed, it's equality. >> yeah. >> it has to. that's all we are. it is all that knits us together. >> it's equality. >> our respect for our constitution and our legal framework that makes us all equal in the eyes of the law. >> all men are created equal. >> that's right. >> and it's also, we are our brother's keeper. i may not be a woman, but i can empathize with the plight of women. i may not be muslim, but i can
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empathize with the plight of muslims. and on and on. but i don't see that trait and that empathy in other people, especially when it comes to race. and that is extremely frustrating. >> there is definitely a problem. there is a cultural problem. there is a generational problem. there are political aspects of it. it's all true. but, don, that's another reason that this moment matters. >> yeah. >> well, let's see if we're talking about it next week. >> you have an easy one. you have a layup here. you have a layup here. there are no facts that can confuse the picture. steve king's best defense is, i don't know why i say it. >> that wouldn't come out. >> i don't know why i say it. it's not in my head. i don't know why it comes out of my mouth. >> that's a point -- and to put a period on it, steve king says he's not racist. people who know him say he's not and then he says things like that. really? come on. we've got to wake up. >> and that's why the moment
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matters so much. and i can tell you -- >> chris, we will not be talking about this next week. >> i know, but that's the problem. >> because people don't care unless they're involved. >> but they have to be made to care. politics is persuasion. >> people care about money. that's it. if it's green, that's the only color, pretty much. i got to go. >> listen, things can be true, but cynicism does not make it any better. this is a moment for the president to step up. >> i'm just being honest. >> don't let him off the hook, d. lemon. >> this is who we are. maybe we should come back as dollar bills, people of color, and they would care more about racism. >> i would like to see your face on some currency, by the way. your head is perfectly shaped for a coin. >> i'm good-looking enough for a $100 bill. thank you, chris. i'll see you soon. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. tonight i want to talk to you about what we heard from william barr, the president's nominee for attorney general, and what the president himself might be thinking tonight now that he has heard that barr, what he's had to say to senators of the judiciary committee. the president might just be wondering, whatever happened to the guy who wrote that 19-page
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memo, arguing that robert mueller's investigation of whether the president obstructed justice was fatally misconceived. >> i will follow the special counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith and on my watch, bob will be allowed to finish his work. >> you heard that. on my watch, bob will be allowed to finish his work. here's why that is important, okay? because mueller revealing new evidence today in a heavily redacted court filing. here it is. 188 pages, detailing paul manafort's lies about his contact with team trump, well into the president's term. 188 pages. mueller also revealing that manafort has told a grand jury about a face-to-face meeting with russian konstantin kilimnik. mueller is keeping details secret of what the meeting was about and when it took place.
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but it's more evidence that kilimnik may be a key piece of mueller's investigation. an investigation that appears to be far from over, given the news today that mueller says manafort's associate, rick gates, is still cooperating with mueller's team. and that's not the only investigation casting a shadow over the trump white house right now. i want you to listen to what barr says about what he'd do if the president tried to derail the investigation into the southern district of new york. >> if the president sought to fire prosecutors in the southern district of new york, to try to end the investigation into his campaign, would that be a crime? would that be an unlawful act? >> well, i mean, that one, usually firing a person doesn't stop the investigation. that's one of the things i have a little bit of trouble accepting. the -- but to answer -- the basic point is, if someone tried to stop a bona fide lawful
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investigation to cover up wrongdoing, i would resign. >> barr had a lot to say today, that may not have made the president 100% happy, including this about the president's favorite slam on mueller's investigation. >> do you believe mr. mueller would be involved in a witch hunt against anybody? >> i don't -- i don't believe mr. mueller would be involved in a witch hunt. >> you know what the president says about that? >> it's a total witch hunt. i've been saying it for a long time. >> it's a witch hunt. that's all it is. >> they have phony witch hunts. >> the witch hunt continues. >> the entire thing has been a witch hunt. >> i call it the rigged witch hunt. >> the witch hunt, as i call it, should never have taken place. >> and then there's bill barr's description of his first meeting with president trump, the president in june of 2017. back when he was being considered for the president's legal defense team. the president wanted to know how
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well barr knows mueller. >> essentially, the president wanted to know, you know, he said, oh, you know bob mueller? how well do you know bob mueller? i told him how well i know bob mueller, and how, you know, the barrs and muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this is all over and so forth. >> and you know what the president thinks about mueller's friends? he told "the daily caller" in september, quote, i could give you 100 pictures of him and comey hugging and kissing each other. you know, he's comey's best friend. not so much. comey told congress last month he admires mueller, but they're not friends. and then there's this. in response to rudy giuliani's claim that the president should be able to correct mueller's report before it goes public. >> the president's attorney, mr. giuliani, said the president should be able to correct the mueller report before any public release. so, in other words, he could take this investigative report,
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put his own spin on it before its release. you commit that would not happen if you're attorney general? >> that will not happen. >> uh-oh. is the president having some buyer's remorse tonight? after all, we all know what happens when he sours on his a.g. >> i think of a great man and i want to just introduce you to him for a second. do you know who i'm talking about? senator jeff sessions! i told you before, i'm very disappointed with the attorney general. but we will see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. the attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself and we would have used a -- put a different attorney general in. so he made what i consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country. he took the job and then he said, i'm going to recuse myself. and i said, what kind of a man
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is this? and, by the way, he was on the campaign. you know, the only reason i gave him the job, because i felt loyalty. jeff sessions should have never let it happen. he should have never recused himself. why wouldn't he say, i'm going to recuse myself. i wouldn't have put him in this position. >> or is this all about the president choosing a nominee that could be confirmed or with the experience to win over the senate? one who vowed to protect the integrity of the justice department? and then there's the elephant in the room over in the house. members passing a disapproval vote over congressman steve king's remarks. that vote, 424-1. that one "no" vote was not congressman king. he voted for the resolution against him. while still sounding like he is making excuses for himself. >> that ideology never shows up in my head. i don't know how it could possibly come out of my mouth. >> but it is not like steve king hasn't been totally up-front about his hateful views.
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his latest comment, the one that prompted today's vote, telling "the new york times," and this is a quote, white nationalists, white supremacists, western civilization. how did that language become offensive? oh, but there is more. i want you to listen to this. this was during the 2016 republican convention. >> i would ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization? >> i'm not a racist. i'm not a racist. subgroup of people? yeah, he said that. we've talked before about his long history of saying things like this. about the children of undocumented immigrants. >> for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another
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100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. >> you can overlook that too, right? remember, he used to keep a confederate flag on his desk. he reportedly removed it in 2016 after the murder of two police officers by a man who was known to have displayed the confederate flag. and now steve king's republican colleagues seem, after 16 years of this -- 16 years -- to be uncomfortable, uncomfortable about sweeping his hate speech under the rug. but all of this raises another serious question. one that republicans in congress are still dancing around. yeah, another elephant in the room. the elephant in the room. if you finally had enough of steve king and his inflammatory language, what about donald trump? big developments in the russia
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investigation as a.g. nominee bill barr promises to protect mueller. lots to talk about. asha rangappa is here, harry litman, and we're going to dig into it. it was love at first slice pizza lovers everywhere meet o, that's good! frozen pizza one third of our classic crust is made with cauliflower but that's not stopping anyone o, that's good! they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale
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to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best to make you everybody else... ♪ ♪ means to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can fight and never stop. does this sound dismal? it isn't. ♪ ♪ it's the most wonderful life on earth. ♪ ♪ robert mueller's team filing a heavily redacted document in federal court revealing documentary evidence that paul manafort lied about his contacts with the trump administration. that happened on the same day that president trump's nominee for attorney general, william
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barr, told the senate judiciary committee that he won't interfere with mueller's investigation. so let's talk about all of this. asha rangappa is here, harry litman, as well. there's a lot to go over here. so, good evening. asha, on the same day that people are picking apart barr's senate testimony to see how he's going to treat the mueller investigation, mueller drops this heavily redacted filing on manafort. give me your takeaway from this filing that it's certainly more evidence of why mueller should be allowed to proceed, don't you think? >> certainly. and i think it raises an important issue that connects with what barr testified to today. so, we know that from these filings about mueller lying to -- or sorry, about manafort lying to mueller, that there is a counterintelligence component that mueller is still pursuing, specifically these contacts between members of the campaign and russia. in this case, manafort and kilimnik, who's associated with russian intelligence. so this is all happening in the background. what i homed in on with barr's
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testimony today is that he hedged about what kind of information he was going to provide to congress. that mueller would provide him with a confidential report and he might pass on some version of that. you know, what worries me is that what the special counsel regulations contemplate is for mueller to provide a report on the criminal charges that he wants to pursue or not pursue. it doesn't say anything about the larger counterintelligence story, which is like the movie that's playing in the background, not just specific scenes. and there's no -- there appears to be no mechanism and no commitment from barr about how that portion of the investigation will make its way to congress and potentially an unclassified version to the public. >> harry, let's bring you in now, because prosecutors say that they have documentary evidence that manafort lied about his communications with the trump administration in 2018. what does that say to you?
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>> yeah, it does. and you know, it says, first, there's a lot more to pursue, where manafort's concerned. one thing that really struck me, i agree with everything that asha said, but one thing that struck me about that document is that every third word is redacted, but there's a whole section detailing his lies about kilimnik, and he refused to inculpate him. so it wasn't simply saving his own skin. he is still about the business of trying to protect kilimnik and presumably the whole kind of russia operation. on asha's point, i think that's right. it's now, in fact, in some ways the movie in the foreground. i do think, though, that barr was saying, to the extent provided by law, he'll try to -- he'll try to be transparent and reveal it, but he was mainly sticking to the regs, which as she says, don't really contemplate this very important turn of events. >> so, let's dig a little deeper
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here. does this raise questions about what, if anything, the president directly or indirectly may have said to manafort? >> is that for me, don? >> does the actual file -- okay. the actual filing? look, i think it's pretty clear that we have a lot of redactions, but pretty much everything that manafort says and knows, you know, 80% of it were lies. and of course, part of that concerns manafort. now, remember, rick gates, as came out today, is still cooperating. he's manafort's right-hand man. he stays in the campaign, even after manafort leaves. and manafort and he, you know, talk freely. so it's likely, whatever it is, mueller has independent evidence of. but, sure, i think it's quite possible that part of what's redacted there has to do with conversations with the president or the president-elect. >> i'm glad you're eager to get in, asha, because now i want you to respond to this, but i'll play this sound, it's from president trump. during the campaign, i'll explain why. we all remember this.
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watch. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> okay. so, that was july 27th of 2016. and i played that because we learned in this filing that manafort communicated with his longtime russian associate, konstantin kilimnik, beginning august 2nd of 2016. the special counsel is keeping what they talked about confidential, but is the timing fishy here? >> well, the timing has already been fishy, don. we know from mueller's indictment against the 12 gru officers who did the hack on the dnc server, which details keystroke by keystroke what they did, that they actually made an attempt, a hacking attempt that very evening. the same day that trump said that. so, even quite apart from manafort, there are a lot of coincidences, not just with this incident, but with others, as well.
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so, i think that, you know, we're starting to see what is building up, leading up to the fbi opening up this counterintelligence investigation on the president. because i think the question is, as they're seeing some of these other things unfold, manafort, page, flynn, george papadopoulos, all kind of converging on this campaign, there has to be a question that when it culminates in the firing of james comey, of what role the president has in some of these russia connections going on behind the scenes. >> i want to read this to you, harry. i don't know if you know, i need glasses, because every other word is redacted, right, just to drive home how heavily redacted this filing is. everything that is not redacted, this is just on page 19. in the grand jury, manafort sought to -- redacted -- manafort was asked in the grand jury -- redacted. manafort explained that he had not told -- redacted.
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manafort was then asked what -- redacted. after a lunch break, manafort -- redacted. manafort's false and misleading statements about -- redacted. i mean, it's a full page of redactions, but let's look at it this way. that mueller knows that manafort -- what manafort said or did after a lunch break. that level of detail has got to scare anyone who is going up against him and who is reading this document. >> and it reframes the question, the always-puzzling question, what the hell has manafort been thinking? because that's right. mueller knows chapter and verse of his lies and that's what the document was today. it wasn't about what -- well, it was about what manafort said, but it was a documentation of why it was false. he knows it from gates, he maybe knows it from intercepted communications. and as asha says, the overall criminal investigation has almost been reframed now in
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counterintelligence terms, as all about russia's interference in the election. and this is where, you know, manafort is front and center. >> harry, what did you think about barr today in the senate? >> yeah, so, to me, he was really straight by the book. the thing that impressed me, i really -- he sold me on this notion, he's 68 years old, he has no reason not to play it straight, by the book. he struck me, and i -- from having worked with him, i already felt this, as somebody who would stand up to the president without hesitation and walk away if he needed to. he also allayed some fears i had and have written about, about some extreme legal views. i think there were things for both sides, but generally, the picture of him as his own person, well grounded, very smart, i thought, came through pretty solidly. >> but harry, how is that
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different than any -- when you look at the type of person who this president has appointed, has been in the administration, they're all older men who, quite honestly, are at the end of their careers, had the opportunity to stand up to this president and didn't. either they were fired or left and the president talked smack about them. how is he any different? >> yeah. well, first, he's of a much different stripe, don, it seems to me. you could tell from the conversation itself. second, i don't think that many of the people in his cabinet have ambition behind them, for whatever reason. but barr certainly sees this as his last stop. but the final point is, his character -- look, we could be proven wrong. donald trump seems to bring out the worst in everybody, but he had -- it seemed to me, it was the irresistible force that he was -- or the immovable object that he would be confronting in barr. barr just struck me as solid and a rule of law institutionalist guy. it wouldn't be the first time
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that trump had brought out the worst in someone. but barr struck me as an unlikely person for the president to try to demonize. >> harry, asha, thank you for your time. i appreciate it. william barr is vowing to protect robert mueller's investigation. will the president feel buyer's remorse over his pick for attorney general? james clapper seems to think so, and he'll tell me why, next.
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you'this january 18th-24th, would like to say, "thank you." enjoy a free week of movies on us- from networks like epix, lifetime movie club, hallmark movies now, and history vault. just say, "show me movie week." that's a full week of your favorite hit movies on your tv, online, or on the go with the xfinity stream app. [shouting] it's all on us, and it's all coming soon. you've got some serious watching to do. prosecutors on robert mueller's team revealing evidence today of how former trump campaign chairman paul manafort allegedly lied to investigators. mueller's team citing tax documents, text messages, e-mails, all as evidence. here to discuss, james clapper, a former director of national
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intelligence. it is always a pleasure to get your perspective, so thank you for coming on. so, let me first get your reaction to this manafort filing. he's accused of lying about his contacts with konstantin kilimnik, his continued contacts with the trump administration, a $125,000 payment made to a company that worked for him. are these significant? >> well, sure, they're significant. and i think the major takeaway from this heavily redacted document is, don't mess with mueller. it's not a good idea to try to lie to him. because, you know, the information that he has access to, particularly in this day and age of, you know, e-mails and texts and all -- and telephone records and all this sort of thing, so all of these contacts, to me, just add to the story here. and of course, i'm still struck
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by -- dumbstruck by the sharing of polling information by the -- in the campaign, with a russian operative. so this just kind of adds more fuel to that fire. but, again, bottom line, don't mess with bob mueller. >> well, it's interesting that you put out the sharing of polling. like, how many days ago was that? >> it seems like eons. >> and then there was the -- the development before that and the crisis before that, and it's just, it's just exhausting. listen, director, manafort's former deputy, rick gates, is claiming that even after manafort was indicted, he was working through unnamed intermediaries, trying to get people jobs in the trump administration. what kinds of questions does that raise for you? >> i think, in the in the first place, it reflects a level of corruption and a disdain for the law. that's one thing that just kind of struck me about paul
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manafort, that he somehow thought he was above the law and i guess old habits are hard to break, even after his legal difficulties, he was -- and i don't know whether that was a way for him to, you know, get debt relief, which i think was the principal reason he ingratiated himself with the campaign, got hired on, and then worked for free, which to me would be suspicious, in order to avail himself of funds to pay back some of his debts. >> you know, as i was watching this today, i was thinking, well, is this the guy that the president thought he was going to nominate? and then we got -- we got -- when you said yes to coming on to the show, i thought, i can't wait to talk to you about this. but i want to play something before i ask you the question, because bill barr and robert mueller overlapped serving at the justice department in 1990.
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this is barr's recollection of a conversation about mueller that he had with president -- with president trump and how he describes mueller's character. watch this. >> i told him how well i knew bob mueller and our -- and how, you know, the barrs and muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over and so forth. and he was interested in that, wanted to know, you know, what i thought about, you know, mueller's integrity and so forth and so on. and i said, bob is a straight shooter and should be dealt with as such. i have known bob mueller for 30 years. we worked closely together throughout my previous tenure at the department of justice. we've been friends since. and i have the utmost respect for bob and his distinguished record of public service. and when he was named special counsel, i said, his selection was good news and that knowing him, i had confidence he would handle the matter properly. and i still have that confidence today. >> how do you think the president feels about his choice now after this hearing?
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>> well, first of all, i think it's kind of amazing that the president went ahead and nominated him anyway, despite that. and you showed earlier what, you know, trump had alleged about the supposed friendship between jim comey and bob mueller, which really isn't the case. i would like to say something, though, about barr. i was really impressed with his testimony today and i really resonated with his statement about his age and where he, you know, where he is in life today. and that that's going to give him a sense of independence. i was exactly the same age as he is, that was my age, when i was confirmed to be director of national intelligence in 2010, a job i didn't want and certainly didn't campaign for. but i took it because i was asked to do it.
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and i really resonated with that personally. so a lot of things he said today made me wonder whether the president isn't -- doesn't have a case of buyer's remorse. his praise of mueller, his acknowledgement that jeff sessions did the right thing by recusing himself. his commitment to let mueller finish his investigation. and in general, i thought he did extremely well. he didn't please everybody all the time. >> no one can do that. but before you get to that, you don't think that that could just be lip service? that he's doing that, putting on -- >> that was not my take. certainly, it could be. maybe it's a misread. i don't know mr. barr. today was the most i'd ever, most exposure i'd ever had to him. but he just didn't -- he came across to me as genuine. and straightforward. and i thought, i thought the caveats, for example, his
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reluctance to commit to fully exposing the results of the mueller investigation, which he may not have -- he may not know what's in it yet, is appropriate. and members, you know, and i have been through three confirmations myself, and they like to pin you down and make you make commitments that you really shouldn't make, particularly when you haven't even got the job yet. >> hypotheticals, right? >> exactly. >> director, there's also "the new york times" reporting on president trump's multiple conversations about leaving nato, brexit imploding, the u.s. pulling forces out of syria, the longest government shutdown. this seems to be vladimir putin's wish list. all of these things. >> well, this has been the mystery for some time. you know, what is up with this deference of president trump to putin? a personal deference. and if, you know, i don't know
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what went on during these five meetings, nor does anybody else, it appears. but if one of the topics they discussed was u.s. pulling out of nato, which would just delight putin, that's been one of his -- that's been one of his primary objectives, is to sow discord between and among the european nations and drive a wedge between europe and us. and if we were to withdraw from nato, it would be devastating impact on the alliance. and, by the way, nato serves our defense interests. this isn't a case of, you know, u.s. being military mercenaries and providing for free nato's defense. we get great benefit out of it, as well. which the president doesn't seem to understand or recognize. >> thank you, director, always a pleasure. >> thanks, don. the house overwhelmingly voting to condemn congressman steve king's racist comments. yet his colleagues line up to
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voice outrage over king's latest offense. why the deafening silence about the president? (whispers) with the capital one venture card... you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day... not just "airline purchases". think about all the double miles you could be earning... (loud) holy moley that's a lot of miles!!! shhhhh! ♪ what's in your wallet? shhhhh! cohigher!ad! higher! parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again.
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congressman steve king facing growing pressure to resign, even from some in his own party. the house voted 424-1 on a resolution to reject white supremacy in light of king's racist comments. the question is, why are republicans condemning congressman king for his racist language but staying silent on president trump? here to discuss, frank bruni, alice stewart, symone sanders. good evening to all of you. frank, you have a new piece up, and i'll put it up for people to read, but i want to get your -- what you think about it, in the conversation. why condemn congressman king and give the president a pass? >> because people are frightened, republicans are frightened by the president. they're frightened by his power
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and his wrath and they're no longer frightened by steve king. it used to be if you had any sort of presidential ambitions, if you wanted to go through iowa, you needed steve king's favor. you needed him on your side. he just almost lost to a democrat in the midterms. he's a much-weakened person and they don't have to fear him the way they used to. donald trump, they still fear. donald trump has 57 million twitter followers and uses that twitter account, as we know. steve king has 111,000. donald trump has carried many republicans to victories in primaries, just in the midterms. so republicans don't want to cross him. they feel comfortable crossing steve king now. and they're sort of making up in their own minds and their own hearts, they're making up for their silence with trump by speaking out against steve king. they're exorcising all of the shame they feel about what they've tolerated with trump and about how quiet they've been by speaking out way too late on steve king. >> so, it's not about what's right, it's about power and fear? >> well, they're doing the right -- >> and guilt. >> they're doing the right thing
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now, but it would have been the right thing to condemn steve king a year ago, two years ago, three years ago. so, why now? >> or 16 years ago when he started. >> go ahead. >> if i can follow up on that, frank is right to a degree that republicans running in the primary for president, not only wanted the favor of steve king, they needed it. i worked for the last three winners of the iowa caucus and steve king escorted us around the state of iowa and it was tremendously helpful. that being said, his word right now is certainly not as heavy as president trump. and what happened today was certainly a vote by members of the gop and members of the house, which denounced terrible language, white supremacist, white nationalists with and let me just go on record by saying, this language is not tolerated. it should not be tolerated. there's no place for it. not only in the gop, but in our language. and that is key. but i talked to steve king tonight, after this came down today, and he voted for this,
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because he agrees with the fact that language of white nationalists, white supremacists should not be tolerated. but he once again, as i mentioned last night, he wasn't referring to that. he was talking about, when did the words western civilization become something that should not be tolerated and offensive in this language. that's what he was talking about. and he went on to say, with regard to why he is being targeted, because he feels like he is a scapegoat right now. and he says donald trump is next. he says, if the gop and democrats and those in congress are able to ostracize him and push him out, he says, he believes -- i'm just saying, this is what he believes. >> he has no responsibility in any of this. and by the way, i'm sitting here and i'm thinking, man, oh, man, what alice is saying, i just want to put people who feel that way, i know it's your analysis, on the therapist couch. because you're saying, you needed steve king, therefore you did not speak out about his bigotry. you overlooked it because it was
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helpful to you. because you were getting something out of it. not because what you thought what he was doing was wrong by saying racist and exhibiting racist behavior, but because in this transaction, you got something out of it that was helpful to you. >> don, let me just say this. i'm talking two years ago, i'm talking six years ago, i'm talking ten years ago. in the state of iowa, steve king was helpful. the people of iowa certainly in his district and across the state, he had the great support. i've been with him flying over his district when they were, they were suffering from floods. i've been with him when he was talking about the need for the support for ethanol, when he was talking about agriculture in iowa. these are issues that -- >> alice, i've got to get to the break. i'm going to get in trouble. symone, i'll let you speak on the other side, because i have to get to the break and we'll play what the president says and see if it's different, how it's different than steve king. we'll be right back. improve our workflow.
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to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best to make you everybody else... ♪ ♪ means to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can fight and never stop. does this sound dismal? it isn't. ♪ ♪ it's the most wonderful life on earth. ♪ ♪ we come back here with frank, alice, and simone. sorry to cut you guys off. we had to get to the break. i'm sure you guys understand that. here is what a reminder of a racism we have heard from president trump. watch this. >> barack obama should end this
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and he should provide the public with a birth certificate. >> they're bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rapists. and some, i assume, are good people. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> i think there is blame on both sides. >> there are some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. >> i'm a nationalist, okay? i'm a nationalist. >> is it different than congressman king? >> who can forget about that time the president of the united states of america referred to himself as a nationalist? i was hoping you would also add in the clip, don, that one time the president said that a judge who was of mexican descent could not do his job because he was of mexican descent, even though he is born in america. you know, i think the reason republicans outside of, you know, them being scared of
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donald trump, the reason the republicans have not ran away from the president like they have ran away from congressman steve king is, frankly, because the president has yet to openly opine in the paper of record about if white supremacy or nationalism or western culture is a bad thing. to be clear, steve king would still have his committee assignments. he would not have been rebuked via resolution on the house floor today, no one would be talking about him resigning. the sioux city journal, which a notable paper would not have come out with an opinion editorial today saying he should resign if he did not openly opine in "the new york times" about why white supremacy is not such a bad thing. the fact of the matter is i think a lot of people in the republican party frankly didn't care about steve king's racism. and this isn't something new, frankly. this is before he was elected. his crowning piece of legislation when he was in the iowa state legislature was introducing a bill that said english should be the official
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language of iowa. this is while there was an influx of latin workers in the meat packing industry. while i'm glad many in the republican party are standing up, the fact of the matter is they're not standing up because they finally woke up today and decided to be on the right side of history, on the right side of frankly what's just right. they're standing up now because it's politically expedient. i guess you just can't opine in "the new york times" about being racist. >> i wish we had shorter breaks. we have to pay the bills. i have to go. you said it much more eloquent than i did on the break. what did you say? political expedience? >> republicans indulge steve king because it was the triumph of political expedience over principle, and it's the same reason they're indulging donald trump now. >> thank you, all. we'll be right back. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? great tasting, heart-healthy california walnuts.
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this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. we have a lot of major developments tonight in robert mueller's russia investigation. this is important, and you need to know what we have learned today. so we're devoting this entire hour to an in-depth look at all things russia. first up, this is it. robert mueller seen filing a heavily redacted court document in the case against paul


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