tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 14, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
i'm don lemon and we're going to answer five big questions in the hour ahead. was the democratic debate a battle between the moderates and the progressives? and which side came out on top? what is the fallout from beto o'rourke? hell yes. we are going to take your ar-15s, your ak-47s. who does first daughter ivanka trump say gave her her moral compass? jerry falwell jr. facing backlash. can antonio brown play on sunday? we're going to begin with the democratic debate and the question of medicare for all. biden making his challenge to warren. my distinguished friend, the senator on my left has not indicated how she pays for it. >> direct question. you said middle class families will pay less but will middle class taxes go up to pay for the
program? >> what families have to deal with is cost. total cost. >> so let's get right to it now. the big picture. mark mckinnon is here. des ray barnes is here. joe lockhart. good evening. sounds like in this corner. you are all in the house. so good to have you. we're going to make you part of our fireside chat. this is our fire side chat. >> i love it. >> martin, going to start with you. we saw the top ten democrats on the stage. moderates, progressives. did voters get a better idea of how the people in the field differ, do you think? >> yeah, i think they really did. i think there was a much more forceful debate from joe bide dep and amy klobuchar particularly on health care. biden and klobuchar and others took on sanders and warren on the issue of the cost of the program and more importantly the idea that private insurance would be taken away. that's what's unpopular. elizabeth warren said people
don't like health insurance companies. a lot of people like the plans. that's the difference. that dividing line was much clearer than it has been in previous debates. you got a better sense of the divide and where the debate centered. >> did you find that there were that different -- are they that far apart on any one policy, joe? >> i think on this policy -- i think there's a myth that bernie sanders and elizabeth warren are more in touch and closer to the democratic electorate than the moderates, amy klobuchar, joe biden. >> good point. >> and the polling shows the exact opposite. the democratic party, i would say it's 30% of the democratic party -- >> say it again. i was busy trying to figure out -- >> about 1/3 or less of the party is supportive of the policy, warrens and sanders. >> got it. >> 2/3 is much more moderate. mark put his finger on what the problem is.
i think harry anton was saying this morning that 60% of democrats say they like their health care coverage and that 65%, too, i think 40 -- 55 to 40 say they would oppose any plan that took the choice of keeping their health care plan. so i think what the debate did is it kind of exploded that myth that somehow sanders and warren were the ones that captured the party's hearts. the strength in the party is with klobuchar, biden, the rest of the field. >> it's interesting there was no coordinated defense between them when people attacked their plans. they're pretty close ontheir plans. i'm sure you watched. >> i have watched. >> who did you think was better equipped to take on the president in a debate? >> overall? >> in general. >> well, i honestly was really stunned by mayor buttigieg's performance. to be the youngest candidates he seemed like one of the most
mature candidates and brought it back to what the american people care about, what is democracy? how is it supposed to run? and what government means to us. more importantly, he respected the intelligence of the voter when he came home and said, i respect your choice. i think that you have the best capabilities of deciding what the solutions are to the problems you face. and it's not going to be me telling you this is one way or this is the way that you should proceed in fixing your problems. i also think that senator warren came out -- i think people under estimate her and she is just a quiet storm. it's a -- >> did it show last night do you think on that stage? you didn't hear that much from her last night. >> i think it showed in the way that her personal story res significant nats with voters that i think folks think she would normally not play well with. saying that she paid $50 per
semester or a year to go to university of houston and working a part-time job and what that meant. i think that res significant nats with the american people. i think that was far more personal and that's going to play well on the general election stage if that nominee is her. >> if we can go back to the mayor because you talked about -- he also jumped in when they were fighting -- when secretary castro and joe biden, former vice president, when they were having their moment. he said this is why people hate politics in washington, hate debates, what have you. talking about the people at home. he had a very emotional moment telling his coming out story in the closing remarks. let's watch. >> i came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life and i was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer so i just came out. i had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently it was an
election year in my socially conservative community. what happened was that when i trusted voters to judge me based on the job that i did for them, they decided to trust me and re-elected me with 80% of the vote. >> he went on to indicate the election is not about any one person, not about president trump but about the collective trust, meaning as desiree said about the voters. >> i'm always compelled when i hear buttigieg speak because he talks about these issues in such a different way. you know, it's so refreshing. never sounds like a talking point. he never sort of says it the same way twice. it's not like he's reading a teleprompter. it's unique, fresh, he's talking about issues and ideas in a way we haven't heard democratic people talking about faith, his coming out story is a compelling human story. i think he has exceeded expectations more than anybody
in the field. a guy nobody knew with a name you couldn't pronounce came from a -- >> an out gay man. >> yeah. >> he's not so skinny. skinny kid with a funny name. you know what i mean -- >> yeah. >> i'm not saying -- >> probably nobody more different from donald trump than pete buttigieg. >> having said that he speaks about things in different ways. you heard what mark said. i'm wondering if this primary race is going to come down to whether people want someone who is a safe bet or do they want someone who is ready for transformational -- who's going to push transformational change. i have no idea. >> i think that's the right question. up till now, i expect this to continue for a while, it's a steady hand. you know, we have been through this period in politics where washington experience is something that people run away from as fast as they can. you don't have insiders running for national office in a successful way. in the cnn des moines register
pole thpoll what attribute was e toughest. >> dc experience. >> what happened was donald trump -- >> donald trump did that. >> that's why we're looking -- >> we want the opposite of that. by the way, i think you're putting your finger on the pulse. it's not just electability about joe biden, it's something people know. >> right. >> it's the calm. oh, i remember that time. it was different. it was predictable. >> okay. so here's what that -- what i've thought all along, not just this season but always, is that it's interesting to see -- to compare and contrast candidates in the debate but being a president is not about making decisions and answering questions in 30 seconds. >> yeah, exactly. >> absolutely. >> so is it fair to put people on stage and say, okay, here you go, you have 30 seconds, you have a minute. when you're president you have a minute. rarely does that ever happen. >> i think now the american
people want their leaders to not have their reputations just rely on strong rhetoric. i think the american people want their politicians and their leaders' reputations to rely on actual results. >> let me ask you this then. today joe biden said, be respectful -- former vice president said maybe the people on the debate stage should stop criticizing him because it doesn't end well. that's a little trumpian to me. does he have a point? you saw what happened to julian castro. you saw what happened with secretary castro and senator harris. she got a bump in the polls and then she went down. >> what i can say is what doesn't really work out on stage and i think what we noticed in every candidate yesterday is when you criticize former president barack obama more importantly in that regard. and i think i heard a lot of candidates who may have critiqued president obama in the past. we use that as a way to get to
former vice president biden. unfortunately that didn't work out well. i think you heard basically passive apologies from a lot of candidates yesterday who said that they owed a lot to former president obama but i think it is fair for the primary -- during this primary process to critique and to be objective to every single candidate on that stage. >> i love having all of you here. thank you so much. you probably want to sit and listen to the next interview. >> i do. >> thank you all. dramatic exchange on the campaign trail between bernie sanders and a veteran battling serious illness. i want to bring you annie. this is very emotional. emotions ran high tonight at a sanders town hall in nevada. let's take a look and then we'll talk about it. >> now they're saying that, you know, i didn't re-sign or do something or -- >> how are you going to pay off -- >> i can. i can.
i'm going o kill myself. >> stop it. you're not going to kill yourself -- >> i can't deal with this. i have huntington's disease. do you know how hard that is? you know, you probably don't, do you? i can't drive. i can barely takecareof myself. >> all right. let's chat at the end of the meeting, okay? >> thank you. >> annie, please tell us more about that moment and what happened after. >> yeah, don. so that was in carson city, nevada. senator sanders first public event since the democratic debate last night in houston and as you heard at the end of that, senator sanders promised that he would follow up with him once the town hall was over and as promised, as soon as the event wrapped and senator sanders took photos, senator sanders followed by his wife jean walked over to the veteran to continue their conversation. and this really just shows what's at stake with this health care debate and what senator
sanders who continues to hold smaller events, more intimate town halls allowing people to share intimate stories that they may not otherwise get the opportunity to share. >> annie, thank you. i want to bring my political analyst back in here. mark, what do you think? it shows the seriousness of health care. >> not only the seriousness of health care but a super emotional human moment out there that magnifies the issue but also gave sanders an opportunity to show some humanity which he doesn't do very often. he's the policy driven guy. he handled that the right way. gotcha. let's do this quietly and do it alone. he didn't try and, you know, take advantage of the moment for himself publically on television and took it away quietly which is a great moment for him. >> you hear people talking about polling. this is what americans want and pre-existing conditions and on and on. skinny repeal. this is real life and death,
possibly death. liefl and death issue and how people feel about their health care. >> it is, and i think the important point, i think kamala harris made this last night, i give her credit, is all of the democrats on that stage, they may have some policy differences but they are all committed to making sure that this guy gets taken care of. >> absolutely. >> and what they don't say enough is the republicans are in court right now, donald trump's justice department, to take away pre-existing conditions, to strip obamacare of the individual mandate so i think that is a much more powerful argument. it's -- you know, people aren't going to sit at their kitchen table and talk about my plan versus your plan. >> yes. >> what the democrats should focus more on is what bernie sanders did today and talk about this right of health care in this country is under attack. obamacare, if republicans are elected in 2020, will go away. >> i'll give you the last word.
>> i would say just from my own personal experience i was able to at 24 years old work for the federal government and i had private student loans that i had to pay back. i lived on a couch for two years and saved every piece of my paycheck from the white house and i was able to stay on my mother's health care and i was able to pay on my student loans. that should not be the reality for most americans. you know, if that is to go away where folks can't stay on their family member's health care until the age of 26, i think that could be destructive. you would not have me sitting here. >> thank you all. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. beto o'rourke's demanding a mandatory government buy back of assault style weapons. that's frustrating people. - in the last year, there were three victims
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assault weapons during last night's debate. >> are you proposing taking away their guns and how would this work? >> i am if it's a weapon designed to kill people on a battlefield. hell yes, we're going to take your ar-15, ak-47, we're not going to allow it to be used against americans anymore. >> some lawmakers saying that plays right into the hands of many republicans. >> shortly after that texas lawmaker tweeted this. my ar is ready for you, robert francis. twitter deleted that after o'rourke called his words a death threat. it's long been the unofficial motto of the state of texas, come and take it. gonzalez, 1835, the anniversary
is coming up. that's really what that means is come and take it. >> okay. so joining me now is rick wilson. he's the author of "everything trump touches dies." i'm going to start with you. what's the spin here? >> look, i think this was honestly -- i'm a little more cynical than most people on this whole factor. i think beto was looking for a way to break through in a race he's already pretty much lost. he's in the lowest possible tier of these guys. he went out there and waived his arms around and did something he knew would be inflammatory, he knew would be well out there well beyond where the majority of americans are on this matter. because he's not talking about background checks or red flag laws, he's talking about a police driven gun seizure across the country. he knows this is never going to happen. he also knows he's never going to be the president of the united states at this point. he understands what the race has
done for him so he's out there doing something that i thought was fairly cynical -- >> rick, listen. i'm not saying i disagree with any of it. what i'm saying is this congressman's representative saying somehow he is -- his tweet is being spun by beto. that's what i'm talking about. >> sorry. >> yeah. >> i understand what you're saying. look, these guys are spritzing on twitter and the guy made a statement that was -- that as much as he wants to like rep con the statement, it probably was a little bit over the line. i've said some things on twitter that were over the line. i always have a pretty good detector. that was right up there on the borderline. >> thank you for answering that. julia, listen, even democrats are calling out the remarks. chris coon said he's concerned this is going to be used, you know, in years to come in sound bites or by republicans by saying democrats want to take your guns away. this is what a recent washington post/abc poll said.
52% of people are in favor of mandatory gun buy back programs for assault weapons while 44% opposed. some democrats, some people may not like what he said but is he actually far off? >> no, he's not, and i'm so glad you raised that. there's a feeling like beto's so crazy. this idea is so crazy. let's put the numbers as we know them. vast majority of people believe in the assault rifle ban. the washington post poll that you said had a 31% of republicans support mandatory buy back. npr did a similar poll that showed 20% of trump supporters support mandatory buy back. why is that? since most americans support an assault rifle ban. you have 5 million ar-15s, for example, on the street? how are you going to get them off the street? do mandatory buy back, rolling amnesty, sort of over time you let people come in, get paid
back. you ban things like magazines and other things that would let people shoot lots of people quickly. that's been sort of my big concern now. the reason why you want the assault rifle ban, put handguns aside, is because of their capacity to kill a lot of people very quickly. so beto is clearly at the very least in an evenly divided american debate. this is not a fringe notion of a mandatory buy back that's worked in other countries. new zealand and australia were different. the idea we'll be threatened with the fear of what are gun people going to say? the gun people, many of them, are for these policies. >> in that same washington post/abc poll, rick, support for universal background checks is huge. 89%. congress has been unable to pass anything. does that show how far we are from any kind of mandatory gun buy back program? >> look, i think one of the things is a guy who's very experienced in polling and very
experienced in asking polling questions, if your second question in that poll is what is a mandatory gun buy back, most americans could not tell you what that means. most americans do not understand the implications of that and when they do, the answer changes. now, look, the phrase universal background checks sounds great. right now we have background checks that cover roughly 95% of all gun purchases through the nix system. almost every gun purchase goes through it. the marginal areas where we see gun crimes emerging are mostly, not from people who have legitimately obtained their firearm, done so by critical means, we do have to tighten that system up. we should work on that. we should focus on that. but i don't think that the flush of polling that we've seen after all of these events, and they're very tragic, i'm not minimizing them, but we always see the polls come out. they soar up there with those numbers and then they drop back. and as a percentage of the most
important problems in all the polling that people look at every time, it is panels of most important problems. gun violence is very rarely in the top ten. it's always things that are more relevant to people's immediate lives. these are tragedies. i'm not minimizing them in any way but there are bigger issues and bigger fish to fridy come election day. we'll see what happens. we'll see if congress is motivated to tighten up. there are areas that have to be carefully balanced on red flag laws and areas we have to tighten up. frankly, what we should be doing in the federal government is encouraging more prosecution of gun trafficking crimes, which is very little attention. >> thank you all. thank you both i should say. >> thanks, don. cnn and "the new york times" will cou-host the next democratc debate. it's coming october 15th right here on cnn. ivanka trump telling a bunch of donors she gets her moral
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so when ivanka trump was asked at a fund-raiser what person -- what personality traits she got from her parents, politico reports she, quote, told the crowd of roughly 120 high end donors that her mother gave her an example of how to be a powerful, successful woman and her father, he passed on to her his moral compass. joining me now to discuss, new york magazine's washington correspondent olivia knudsey and author of the wilderness and michael deantonio joins us. the truth about trump. what do you make of her, her moral compass remark. do you say she hasn't always thought that way? >> no, it's the opposite of what she told me.
she said her mother gave her her moral grounding and it was her father who taught her about business and achievement. this flip-flop actually is consistent with her dad so maybe she's telling the truth this time. maybe -- maybe he really is her moral guide and we're witnessing it. >> that was audible. that was an audible gasp. why do you say that, olivia? why are you laughing? >> it's a good joke. i think maybe -- i think that's probably true. i think she's been pretty clear-eyed historically about her relationship with her father and what she's gotten from him, but i think appealing to donors is completely different and donald trump is not someone who people readily feel a lot of empathy or traits like that from. i think it's her job to humanize him in some way and that's a difficult task. maybe by implying that she gets her moral compass from him, it seems like there's a lot to him that maybe we don't know.
i think maybe that's what she was going for. to suggest that there's a side of him that is good and that is just not visible to the public and that she is somehow, you know, evidence of that. she's the result of that. i think it's a way to convince people that there's more there that we don't see. >> so mccabe, early on as you know there was this idea that ivanka and jared would be a moderating influence on the president and on the administration, but in your atlantic cover story you said trump began to tire of ivanka and jared's incessant lobbying. new refugees one day, education the next. it never stopped. their efforts to change his mind on the paris climate accord exasperated him. it seems to suggest that their moral compass doesn't always point to -- in the same direction here. >> that's right. i mean, the clear trajectory of ivanka in the white house suggests that her own political
views, her world view is not aligned with her father's and that in fact her chief utility is as kind of a weapon that trump can waive to people that he can do something that's more respectable. ivanka is polite, well-mannered, properly socialized to get along with fellow rich people and maybe more centrist leaning rich people. when you have her in a room full of donors, she knows how to speak the language. she's able to kind of say, you like what you see? i got this from my dad. but behind closed doors when you're actually in the white house together trump is less inclined to listen to her on the political issues where he knows she's not aligned with her base. >> don jr. was asked today on fox and friends about investigations into whether the president is using his office to help his business. listen to this. >> it's ridiculous. first of all, he's not involved
at all. they also neglect to talk about the fact that we voluntarily stopped doing any international deals. i mean, just think of the opportunity cost. the amount of deals that i've done over the last ten years, extrapolate that over the eight years of what will be his presidency. that's a lot of deals. someone bought a cheese burger at the trump hotel. it's as si nine. >> so he's saying it's ridiculous but it's not? >> we see where he gets his ethical grounding as well. this is a fellow who's been over seas scouring the landscape for business during his father's presidency. the idea that this president isn't taking emoluments, both foreign and domestic, is really absurd. he can go on the propaganda network and issue the family line, but it's not true. >> but he 's also downplaying i.
it's bigger than a cheeseburger. >> oh, it's massive. it's millions of dollars and now the president is soliciting the next gathering of the g7 for doral. >> they eat it. no pun in tended, they believe that. >> i think they may. if you've ever eaten in one of the restaurants at a trump facility, i wouldn't recommend the beef. >> is it from trump steaks? listen, there's also the secretary of state mike pompeo making this joke today at an event at trump's d.c. hotel. listen to this. >> i look around. this is such a beautiful hotel. the guy who owns it must be -- is going to be successful somewhere along the way. that was for the washington post in case they're in the back. >> so he's trying to please the boss but is he also rubbing the allegations of corruption in everybody else's face? >> yeah, i think so. look, this has been central to the trump family ethos. you commodify everything.
you sell everything. you press your advantage wherever you can. there's been a lot of reporting on the fact that from the second donald trump was elected people in the trump family and organization started looking for ways to take advantage, right? and so people like mike pompeo, a lot of people in the president's orbit, frankly, they go out of their way to taught their boss's success but they also know the corruption allegations don't bother him that much because this has been so central to the way that trump has operated for so long that it seems like he barely even sees it as a -- as something wrong. this is just what you do. this is how you make your money. this is how you build your empire. >> well, olivia, even the republican house minority leader was defending using a trump property earlier this week. is this going to basically make a joke out of it and rub it in people's faces? >> i think so. to mccain's point, it's not just
that he doesn't see anything wrong with it, but it's a central part of his pitch and has been since he started running for office. he knows the system well because he's part of it and he knows how to exploit it. he will exploit it for the benefit of his reporters. that is part of his pitch. he is smarter than anybody else. >> that's got to be the last of it. i'm sorry, i'm out of time. >> okay. >> thank you. we're out of time. we'll be right back.
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jerry falwell jr., the president of liberty university under fire tonight by some students at the evangelical school in virginia. they're questioning their leadership and they want answers about emails he wrote allegedly belittling people at liberty university. >> reporter: losing faith. an uncommon sight. students protesting at one of the largest christian colleges in the world targets the president, jerry falwell jr. >> he's not being a great religious leader. >> reporter: founded in 1971 by his father jerry falwell, liberty university in lynchburg, virginia, boasts a student body of 110,000 students. jerry falwell jr. is facing a backlash over the culture and business dealings of the school. just this week the revelations from emails over the past decade in which fall well belittles a
student and staff member. >> we want to know the truth. we want transparency through that process and we want accountability for fall well himself. we want to know what our president is doing. >> reporter: counter protestors were also on hand supporting fall well. >> i think a lot of issues have been taken out of context to smear his name personally. i think some of it might be true. i think a lot of it probably is exaggerated. >> reporter: reuters this week reported on be dozens of emails, some of which contained offensive language. in one in 2010 fall well called a then student emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded. in a 2015 email fall well is quoted as lashing out about students parking in private lots instead of paying parking fees to liberty. quote, these students need to learn to play by the rules or they can go to another college. i'm tired of this crap, unquote. in other emails reported by
reuters, in another fall well calls another official a half-witt and easy to manipulate. speaking to cnn, fall well confirmed the emails were authentic but saying they lacked context. saying i would have to see the full thread to see what i was talking about, unquote. fall well told cnn that the emails had been stolen and he's asked the fbi to investigate what he calls a criminal conspiracy saying that former employees and board members have leaked documents and emails in aen attempt to oust him. fall well's demands for a federal probe follow a political story based on email and unnamed sources accusing him of presiding over a culture of self dealing. it would benefit family and dealings. >> when asked about his family he replied, quote, i really don't care what they say. in the end they are going to
look like fools so i am actually voech enjoying this week, unquote. don? >> martin savidge, thank you very much. should accusations of assault and rape keep a player off the field? that's a question for the new england patriots and star wide receiver antonio brown. what the league and his team are saying next.
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grappling with an important question tonight. should serious accusations against a player keep him off the field? star receiver antonio brown has been accused of rape and sexual assault by his former trainer and bible study partner, brittney taylor. she filed a formal lawsuit on tuesday. brown and his lawyers deny the allegations. but while he's eligible to make his debut, the team has not said whether he will take the field. let's discuss now. donte stallworth is here. as well as meina kines. >> donte, i'm going to start with you. since there isn't a criminal investigation brown can technically still play while the league investigates. do you agree with how the team is handling this? >> i played for that organization for two years and i understand how they operate. they try to do their best to put aside all distractions, any possible distractions. they try to focus on the game and focus on football.
anything else is pushed outside and left to the media to talk about and discuss but the players in the locker room and the head coach specifically bans players from speaking about things that are not -- that are not detailed towards the game and towards playing the game. so that's the typical way that they handle it. i don't know if it's morally right or not, but that's the way that belichick has handled things for decades in that organization and it's worked for him on the field. >> considering how the allegations here, the accusations, what does the nfl stand to lose if antonio brown plays this weekend? >> well, i think it's tricky from the nfl's perspective. there is something called the commissioner's exempt list status that they can impose on players putting them on paid league while they're deciding whether or not to suspend him. the reason why he's not on the list, they're not making any
decisions before speaking to the accuser. i get that from a labor perspective. when he's out there in uniform, it sends a message about the league's priority. if there is, it will be a bad look for the nfl. >> the nfl has struggled really. it's been in public struggled to adequately address issues of domestic violence and violence against women. brown is the highest player in terms of marquee. how crucial is it to get this right? >> absolutely crucial. i understand why they don't want to set a precedent by acting too quickly. they need to gather information and convey to people that they're taking this very seriously. that's the nfl. i don't understand why the patriots would be rushing him out. football doesn't matter here, but it bears mentioning. they're playing the worst team in the nfl. they're one of the best teams. they absolutely do not need
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detroit's troubles are well known. more than 1/3 of the residents and half the city's children live in poverty. this week's cnn hero is working to change that. she's a nurse who found her mission while making a house call more than 20 years ago. meet nuja base. >> working as a nurse i went to visit this iraqi refugee family and an infant that was dieing and there at the house they absolutely had nothing. there was no refrigerator. there was no stove. there was no crib. the baby was in a laundry basket. i decided that this wasn't going to happen on my watch. how's your apprenticeship going? >> pretty good. >> nurses are supposed to fix things. we are healers and this is just
a place that heals the world. >> to see how nuja is providing basic need, education and hope to thousands a year go to cnnheroes.com. thanks for watching. our coverage continues. brausing, a new tropical storm in the atlantic. it has the bahamas waiting to see where it goes after hurricane dorian did so much damage there. plus, a democrat running for president says the u.s. government should confiscate assault-style rifles. some other democrats are now concerned those remarks from beto o'rourke could be a huge gift to republicans come 2020. also ahead this hour, actress felicity huffman is sentenced to jail for her role in the college admissions cheating scandal. live from cnn world headquarters at the mothership here in atlanta. we want to