tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 14, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
their classrooms one month after the deadly stoneman douglas shooting. the students demanded changes for congress, banning assault weapons, requiring universal background checks, passing a law that would allow courts to take away guns from people who show warning signs of veent behavior. there were walkouts in tanzania and the czech republic. that's all for us. cnn tonight with don lemon starts now. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. it must have been a tough day to work in this white house, a white house that's making excuses for the president's candidate losing a major bellwether election last night. a source tells cnn president trump has been complaining about his own handpicked cabinet and wants to purge what he calls the dead weight. so it's no wonder multiple staffers tell cnn they're on
edge, not sure who will still have a job tomorrow. one official is telling axios, this is the most toxic working environment on the planet. tonight whether you work for this administration or whether you're a republican up for election come november, are you more than a little worried about your job prospect. politics right now in this country is about one man people have strong feelings about him. you may have noticed that. right now that man, wants to get rid of the people he chose and replace them with people who will not restrain him, who will let trump be trump. that means between now and november's elections he is not going to change. harry truman had a sign on his desk, it said, the buck stops here. but it seems this president doesn't realize that. he constantly fails to take the
blame for the chaos he himself is creating. the blame for the race in pennsylvania that should never have been lost by a republican. or the one in alabama that should never have been won by a democrat. the cabinet reflects the president's choices, the post election spin doesn't reflect an embarrassing defeat. voters are sending a message, if the president isn't hearing it, a whole lot of other people are. let's get to david jolly and e rhode islarye ansah liz saturday. we have all the chaos coming up in this white house. a red district turning blue last night, and the president doesn't think it has anything to do with him. >> what you said is right, these midterm elections and re-election campaigns are always referendum on the incumbent
presidents. this entire year. and we're in an election year, is going to be about one person, and that's donald trump. and that -- you know, the election in pennsylvania, there were a lot of local issues that this democratic candidate campaigned on, it is a more conservative district. trump is what is driving the historic turnout for democrats, he's driving some republicans in the suburbs away from the republican party, and he's driving. increased turnout on the democratic side, and driving a lot of republicans out of congress, the thing to watch for in the next few days is who else retires. there have already been three dozen republicans that have announced their retirement this cycle. if you're on the cusp of should i stay, should i go, you see a race like the one in pennsylvania on tuesday, that might push you to the exits. >> april, you're there most
days. in the briefing room, that's your perch. the most toxic working environment ever. in the country. everyone is spinning around this president, does he know he's the cause of this chaos, do they know? >> let me say this? >> inside they know it's manic. the president is someone who never loses, he never sees it as its his problem we talked about this early on. the manic pace, and it's now exposing itself, what's done in the dark is coming to the light. and at issue is the fact that this president wants to shake up his administration. he's hearing from his ined froms. according to my sources, he's kwon sulting and hearing from his friends, his loyalists who are telling him, you need to make cuts now, and make major cuts now, not just one, not just
two, but get rid of people now. bring in those who are loyal to you. i'm hearing names from various sectors who this president is looking at to replace certain people. i mean, people that he brought in during the transition period. so this is real. this president is supposedly wanting to surround himself with those who are loyal, and his friends, those who are loyal around him so it will not be someone who is a nay sayre, per say. when he gets rid of the rest of the group he wants to get rid of at this moment. >> i want to know about your former colleagues in the gop. do you think any of them realize what's happening here. >> they're terrified. ryan's like -- you're going to see more deadlines coming up in
the next 4 to 6 to 8 weeks, you're going to see people begin to look at re-election, it's donald trump. every republic in a congressional special election has underperformed. republicans like to say they won five or six, they've only lost one, yes, but in every single one of those races republicans underperformed, last night they underperformed by 20 points. there are at least 20 to 25 seats in the house right now held by republicans that hillary clinton won. there's another 30 to 40 that are within two to three to four points. every one of those races is now in jeopardy, it's why republicans are more likely than not looking at a wipeout in november. >> i want to ask you this, the sources close to the white house say gop does not rely on a referendum. was it a referendum on this
president or ciccone. >> when you have a 20 point swing in less than two years, that is not because you had a weak candidate. what was the candidate's claim to fame. he said he was trump before trump. the president is the dominant factor in our politics. he is what everything revolves around. midterm elections are always a statement about the president. always a referendum on the president, most presidents lose obviously in their first midterm. what we're looking at with these numbers is a wave forming out there, and the last thing that was said there about the margin of the swing is much much more important than who wins or loses. i mean, if every house race in the country swung 20 points toward the democrats, obviously
not every democrat would win, but you would have a wipeout on the republican side, and obviously the democrats would take over. it was all local thing. these races are about trump. >> as i said in the open, now they're trying to embrace it and take credit for the -- win saying he embraced all of trump's policies, therefore he should win, that should be a lesson to every candidate. you have to admire that spin, that's a pretty good spin. i want to move on. i want to talk about russia and other things two big things hanging over the administration right now.
according to new documents, we're learning that a second trump organization involved in this ongoing legal battle is on the demand for arbitration document. she's a california based attorney for the organization, and then i thought the story was, this had nothing to do with trump or the trump organization. it's just michael cohen. now you see there's another attorney with the trump organization who is part of this. >> yeah, and basically sarah huckabee sanders got in trouble last week, by saying the president wasn't involved, by saying there was arbitration. this white house wants to stay as clear from stormy daniels and the stormy weather that follows as they can, but the -- it's true, the allegations the stories, the innuendos, it's all coming out, at some point they're going to have to address it again. if stormy daniels even attempts
to talk. and you find out more about who's involved, who's close, and more about david dennisen, they're going to have to speak. it's getting wider, they've got to say something, whether it be sarah huckabee sanders or the president himself. >> or michael cohen. >> yes. >> jill martin was asked by cnn about the documents, she says she was working in a private capacity on behalf of cohen's attorney lawrence rosen. if they wanted to keep this as far away from the president as possible. why not seek out the thousands of attorneys based in los angeles, not affiliated, not affiliated with the trump organization? >> look, that's exactly right, don, let's be honest. this is a terrible chapter in american politics. we're talking about the president of the united states caught in a scandal of paying hush money to a porn star. someone who has a kid about the same age of the length of this
scandal now. this is a president who kind of came in and said i'm going to be a different kind of candidate. i don't think the american people were asking for this. it's these moments that actually trip up a president, whether it results in some form of perjury or some other type of legal culpability that the president didn't see coming, it may be something like this. >> do you think that the -- michael cohen and the president have met their match. michael is -- he seems to be coming forward every couple days with new information, if i were on the trump side, i'd be a little worried, a lot worried. >> i would say. donald trump's lawyering protects him in this environment. i'm not sure stormy daniels has the leverage she thinks she has, she needs.
i do think that's going to be a real issue if this continues to proceed. >> the thing -- the talk last week was that stormy daniels could be much more detrimental to this president than the russia investigation. >> yeah, it's so interesting, i think back to bill clinton, i was there covering it, we were talking about the blue dress and monica lewinsky. the ken starr investigation was all about whitewater, it wound up going into this monica lewinsky scandal. i know, whitewater, how long ago was that. it went into monica lewinsky, this affair with an intern. i talked to chris darden, the former prosecutor in the o.j. scandal. i talked to him today, i said, what happens with this kind of thing? is there a broad scope, could bob pluler go into this stormy daniels thing, he said, with anything, he has a broad scope. it's like police officers and prosecutors, if you go in to do a drug bust and you see there's
a child that's been abused, you can't overlook the child. you never know, this could be a part of it, you have to look at the trail of money, and there's a trail of money here too with stormy daniels, it gets very interesting, and i would like to see if the scope of this mueller investigation, this russia investigation does go to stormy daniels. >> ryan, i want to ask you, let's move on to russia now, president trump wants both attorney general jeff sessions and andrew mccabe out. sessions is weighing whether to fire mccabe days before he is set to retire on march 18th, cnn has learned the fbi's office of responsibility made the recommendation after internal review, found he misled in1re69 gat gators. if sessions fires him, he loses his pension, what's your read on this? >> i think when most people saw the headline today about this
story, the first reaction was, wait a second, is this the justice department trying to punish mccabe at the behest of donald trump who has been very public about his dislike of this guy? the more some of the experts about internal fbi procedure spoke about this, it does seem that office has a reputation for being very independent and that their recommendation carries a lot of weight. i think the question i have is, should sessions himself recuse himself from making this decision? he obviously has quite a bit of political pressure from the white house to fire mccabe and do it in a way that reportedly will damage his pension. so that's where i think the politics get a little messy here, this independentity within the justice department made this recommendation, it was all in the up and up, they found some kind of wrongdoing, i think you have to respect that process, if
it was all in the up area up. is sessions now the person to make this decision, given the pressure he has from the president. >> david jolly, i know you want to weigh-in. >> it was the third week in december, donald trump said there's 90 days left before mccabe can get his full pension. if sessions does not fire him, what type of public humiliation does trump put sessions through for that? >> very good assessment. what does the special election in pennsylvania say about the midterms? we're going to talk to charlie dent who said this race should be a warning for republicans around the country.
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gop put out talking points today in the wake of a stunning loss in the pennsylvania district. the race between conner lamb and rick ciccone was a unique set of circumstances, are they missing the point and how bad is all of this for the gop? joining me now, a man who currently is serving his 7th and final term in congress. charlie denlt. congressman, appreciate you joining us here on cnn. i want to first get your reaction could conner lamb's apparent win about he's claimed
victory in pennsylvania's 178th district last night as a five alarm fire for the gop, is it? >> yeah, this is certainly a clarion call to my republican colleagues. that this election cycle is going to be a referendum on the republican party, the president of the united states and his conduct in office, plain and simple. this election in my view was quite a bit more about the national political environment than the candidates themselves. with respect to this election, rick ciccone said he would be donald trump's wing man. i would argue, basically that's a narrative that people were going to take into consideration as they voted. and if you're -- i always tell my colleagues, you better be able to demonstrate a certain degree of independence from the republican branch. a pretty safe reliable district
like this seat in pennsylvania 18. you have to be able to do that, they expect you to show some independence. you need to be able to stands up in front of people who oppose the president and tell them why you support the president. that's part of being a congressman, you have to show that you're independent. >> you're always honest, i want an honest answer from you. all day we've been seeing people downplaying it, even the house speaker saying, well, he's really a -- he ran as a conservative, on and on and on. we hear behind doors people are saying. they're really scared. are republicans freaking out? what are you hearing? >> i think most republicans, certainly those in the swing districts where they're going to be running in an enormously difficult environment. those members are prepared for
that fight. they can, they're good candidates, battle tested and they'll run good races, even the best candidates and the best campaigns can lose in a wave election. the concern i have, may be ilprepared for what's coming at them. and they'll be shocked on election day. trust me, this is a very real issue. the democrats have a challenge too. they're going to need to nominate candidates who are more centrist and there's a lot of pressure on democrats to go full bernie or elizabeth warren, those candidates will do poorly in a lot of these districts. at a fund-raiser this evening, the president called the election results virtually a tie. then he said this about conner lamb's victory. the young man last night that ran, oh, i'm like trump, second amendment, everything, i love the tax cuts, everything. he ran on that basis, he ran on
the campaign that said very nice things about me, is he trying to take credit for it? >> well, i -- that's quite a spin. >> it's good, right? it is good. before you answer, he didn't talk about this. lamb criticized the gop's attempt to repeal obamacare. he called the tax bill a giveaway to wealthy americans. he's for medical marijuana, he supports unions and is endorsed by the afl-cio. he wants to protect medicare, social security, and medicaid, those aren't exactly trump platforms. >> correct, as i followed the campaign, it seemed like conner lamb was running more against paul ryan than donald trump. i think it's fair to say that. i don't think we should ignore this. this is a referendum on the
party in pausch, the president. many voters will want to check this. this isn't 2010. when i ran, the democrats had full control, and a number of us said we were going to be a check and a balance to president obama and nancy pelosi and harry read. a lot of voters understood that, that's what the democrats are going to be saying about us, they need to have a better check and balance on the executive branch. i think that's what you saw in southwestern pennsylvania, people wanted to check. even people who may have supported donald trump, you need to keep an eye on him. >> last night, were you like, glad i'm going going to do this again? >> when i announced i was not running in department. i had no serious threat from the left or no serious threat from the right. i knew it would be a difficult environment. a lot of my republican colleagues were concerned before primaries. your problem in this election is not going to be the enemy behind you, but the enemy in front of
you. you better be worried about that. that's what's come willing at you. if you're worried about the primary, you don't understand what this election is all about. >> thank you very much. when we come back, a new book out with shocking revelations connecting the trump campaign with russia. how moscow got its hooks in the campaign. the two veteran journalists who wrote the book, they join me next many what's critical thinking like? a basketball costs $14.
. britain taking drastic action against vladimir putin's government, expelling 23 russian diplomats, after concluding the kremlin is responsible for attempted murder of a former spy, by exposing him to a nerve agent. nikki haley saying the u.s. supports britain's conclusion. president trump didn't go that far yesterday. britain's theory might be right. the white house issuing a statement blaming russia for the attack. russian roulette, the inside story of putin's war on america, and the election of donald trump. it's a fascinating read. who named this book?
>> well, it was 17-year-old daughter. we were struggling she came up with the obvious name. >> it's a good read, a great name. >> i have to start by asking you, michael, the response directly from the president, as opposed to his cabinet officials, as soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, they say we'll condemn russia, whoever it might be, why add the whoever it might be. >> because that's what he always does. look what he did during the debates, during the campaign. when the u.s. intelligence communities had made clear that there was -- this was the russians who hacked the dnc, this was the russians who provided the e-mail to dump on wikileaks the podesta e-mails and yet trump couldn't accept it. we don't know it was the russians, it could have been some 400 pound guy in his basement. i mean, and so there's a pattern
where he clearly resists blaming putin for anything. as we describe in the book, it really goes back to trump's intere interests, all these years to doing a business deal in moscow, miss universe pageant in 2013, he flies there, it's all about a business project getting a trump tower built in moscow, and he can't do it without vladimir putin's approval. >> let's talk about the house intel committee. they shut down the russian investigation saying russia did interfere but not to help donald trump in the 2016 election, although your reporting agrees with the intelligence community that -- >> yeah, let's start with the u.s. intelligence community. they've said now, definitively. and you even have trump appointees in the intelligence community sighing they agree with this assessment, the operation was done in part to
sew discord in the united states. and to get donald trump elected. we quote in the book, i don't know if the house republicans didn't look at this, in which their reports after the election of russian officials high fiving each other. and there's a report that came out prior to the election that really was shocking to people who read it in the white house and elsewhere. >> it doesn't come out, it was a classified report. >> it was produced, people saw it in a top secret capacity. it said that the russian officials were taking credit for the dnc hack, and the turmoil that was caused when these e-mails were released at the democratic convention. there's really little if any doubt, i hate to say it, but i feel in some way, the book that we produced after a year's worth of work, is somewhat of the antedote to the investigation, and we have things in it. mike can talk about this too, that the committee, we know, we've learn in the last couple days, has not bothered to
investigate. >> right, there are details in our book, that the house intelligence committee was completely unaware of. republicans send the investigations over, they reached their conclusions. george papadopoulos, the foreign policy adviser, the young kid who has plead guilty and is cooperating with robert mueller, we talk about a critical march 31st, 2016 meeting with donald trump, with the foreign policy adviser. >> in the book you said it was at that meeting that papadopoulos first informed trump that he had contacts in britain who could arrange a summit between the gop candidate and putin. >> that's right. and trump's reaction was to give him a green light to encourage him to say he's interesting, to go forward. that contradicts all the public accounts so far of what took place in that meeting, in which others -- another person there said no, jeff sessions had put
the ka bosh on it, but this is what papadopoulos has told mueller's investigators, the house republican intelligence committee never spoke to papadopoulos. they didn't know what he has said. that's critical testimony. >> and the democrats on the committee who i have interviewed say, when they come on, the people who they did interview, they didn't press them, theyen did the follow up on them, it's as if they're not looking for -- >> it's pretty obvious, if you look at what devine nunes has done over the last year, he's put out distractions and tried to deflect, dinner story lines that have nothing to do with russian intervention in the election. they are democrats, they are partisan, they've all said the same thing, when witnesses do not answer questions, they are forced to produce records the democrats want.
and adam schiff has a list of 30 or so witnesses that the democrats have wanted to bring, in that republicans have said no to. and it's a highly partisan time we live in, but mike and i and you, we've all been covering congressional investigations for a long time, even when they get kind of partisan, it's never like this. you still have people on both sides who try to get to the bottom of things and they at least do the investigations by the numbers. this is -- it looks like they're in the tank on an issue that is of fundamental importance to american democracy. >> i want to talk about that more, you say building a trump tower in moscow, and also about the miss universe pageant there. >> we have a lot of new details on that. >> we'll talk about that when we come back.
the white house releasing a statement agreeing with britain and blaming russia for the attempted assassination of a former russian spy on british soil. president trump has not yet called up vladimir putin about this incident. why is that and what might he be holding back? back with me now, michael i
issokoff and david korn. juicy nuggets from the information you uncovered. >> this is a saga that i think is key to understanding everything that came afterwards. it really goes back before vegas, before moscow to las vegas. five months before in june of 2013, it's the miss usa pageant, the feeder to miss universe, that's where trump first meets the oligarch, his son the pop singer and his publicist. they reach the agreement to have the miss universe in moscow. trump is eagerly into this. he thinks with agularov's
backing he can get the trump tower project he's always wanted. we described some of what happened in las vegas, it's been known they all met and went to dinner. we talked for the first time about what happened afterwards, they went to this raunchy las vegas nightclub partying late at night. >> a club that has since closed down because of its lewd and obscene performances, under investigation by the nevada gaming commission at the time. i'll let readers take a look at the book about the kinds of performances that were performed there, the important thing is the bond between trump and the agularov's forms there, where trump is obsessed about meeting vladimir putin, we talked to people around there, where is putin? is he coming? have we heard from him yet? he never gets to meet putin in
moscow, that's where you start to see all these fawning flattering comments that trump makes about putin, because he knows it's key to getting that business deal approved. >> let me read the quote from the book, i'll pose a question to you. at the time, trump tweeted, do you think putin will be going to the miss universe pageant in november in moscow? if so, will he become my new best friend? was putin playing trump here, do you think? >> i think he's been playing trump all along, that's one of the main big points that steele makes in the dossier, they had a year's long campaign to cultivate and co opt trump. you see in 2013, as soon as he envisions the idea of doing a ploj in pros cow with miss universe, maybe a tower, he's been chasing a tower in moscow for almost 30 years at this point. starting in the 1980s, he starts these fawning comments about putin, it's important to remember, this is at the point
in time where putin has passed a law that if you say anything positive about gay rights you can go to jail. he's also now later on in the year moving into ukraine in the beginning of 2014. he's by now an autocrat, running a regime where it's known that dissidents and journalists can lose their lives for criticizing him. throughout all this period, and people are puzzling about this then as they continued to. he acts as if putin is a good guy. he wants to preserve his right to do business. he wants to be a strong man himself. he wants to be a global oligarch. he seems to identify with putin and his new friend agularov. trump is going to be an american oligarch. when you go back and look at it, we put together these pieces, and you can see a pattern that
looks kind of obvious. >> this is something you report on that's very disturbing to me. and probably to most people, a note about the contest. okay? you write, trump would toss out finalists and replace them with others he preferred. if there were too many women of color he would make changes. another miss universe staffer recalled, he thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark skinned, he had a particular kind of woman that was a winner, others were too ethnic. another example, if you need one about this president's views on race. >> under the rules of the miss universe pageant which were -- it was his contest. his rules, he had the right to select the finalists for the miss universe pageant, so whatever the judges selected he could overrule them, he could pick the women he wanted. it is interesting that he had
this preference or aversion having people look too ethnic, he did seem to like eastern european women for whatever reason. you could make of that what you will, he liked women -- but miss universe people told us they could get through to him by saying, well, this woman, this contestant is -- >> is dating a football player. >> or is from royalty. >> something special about her. and then he might be persuaded. but look -- >> too ethnic, there's another quality that would get him over that hurdle. >> oh, got it. >> go on. >> no, no, that's okay. you reported the existence of that infamous dossier put together by christopher steele. a lot of it has been made fact. it's raw intelligence, how much of it has been verified?
>> well, a lot of the particulars have not, a lot of them can't be, he's citing inside information from sources, working with people in the kremlin or near the kremlin, i think if you look at the big picture. in june of 2016, he is reporting that moscow has an operation to help donald trump. this is before we know about the infamous trump tower meeting where russians sent an emissary who meets with donald trump jr. paul manafort and jared kushner. they think they're getting dirt on had hillary in this meeting. he does say, he's been telling colleagues that he believes if you look at all the major themeat tic issues in the dossier, he was 70 to 90% accurate. when it comes to the salacious
aspects, maybe 50/50. >> on the salacious stuff? >> it's not been confirmed, we quote someone else in the book who talked about trump taking trips to meet women in russia. all i know is this, if you're a prominent person and you go to russia, and this time frame and probably even now, and you do anything untoward. they are watching you and they probably have evidence of it. >> david, michael, thank you very much. russian roulette, their new book is called russian roulette. the election of donald trump. we will be right back. time to bask... in low prices!
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thousands of students across america walk out of class today for national student walkout, calling for stricter gun laws. they left classrooms for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the people killed in parkland, florida one month ago today. but it was a slightly different story in wilson, north carolina. where out of 700 students one lone young man got up and walked out. he posted his lonely protest on social media. >> hello twitter this is like six people watching this hopefully. that's about it. but it's national walkout day. i'm the only one in my school
out here. no one here but me. no one really said anything besides my home room teacher. i'm in spanish class right now. he didn't really care. it's going to be chilling here the next 15 minutes. >> well a lot more than six people saw that. millions have now seen it since this morning. that young man is justin blackman. he joins me now. i heard your laugh there. justin, hello to you. why did you want to walk out? and how did you feel when you found you were the only one who did at your school? >> well, i wanted to walk out when i realized that there -- there is a constant issue in the united states, the school shootings. it happens toomts. once is toomts let alone i think it was 17 times at the time of the incident on valentine's day. that's what like three every two weeks or something like. that's crazy.
like, i think we need stricter gun laws. i'm not saying gun laws per se but maybe like we need someone in the schools to protect the students, because if the students -- we are the future. if we all just -- if someone gets gun blazing one day, that's the future gone. >> um-hum. >> in one incident. >> how did you feel that you were the only one at your school who walked out? >> i mean, it wasn't -- it wasn't really i felt bad. i felt like surprised sort of, because i was expecting at least like one or two people to come outside with me. because i talked about it a little bit before i did did. a couple people didn't know about it. a couple of people said they would. but then first period my teacher said that he -- he don't think -- he doesn't think i should go out but that i should write a letter. but i guess the video was more
powerful. >> any time you go from your heart and do what you think is right that's where your power is. we know your mother is there with you. and she must be really proud. what did the other students and teachers say to you afterward? >> they're all just happy for me. they're all like next time next month because on the 14th they will do it again. they are saying next month we're going to do it too. with he with he to it next month we're going to put it on twitter again. i mean, it's what -- it's the same thing, just more people will see it. >> do you think you start add little mini revolution there? >> i wouldn't say that. >> no? what are the attitudes among your school kids when it comes to guns and school violence? do you guys talk about it? >> oh, yes, definitely. our sixth period class is world history. it's advanced and we finished the class early. we have two months left. it's a current events class and
all we do is talk about politics or might talk about something that happened like a hundred yearsing a and somehow related to politics. it's just -- we talk about politics a lot in school. >> we just played some of the video that you recorded while you were outside your school. even some celebrities like chelsey handle he we are chelsey clinton, they reacted on twitter. i'm sure that's surprising to you. but why did you decide to record this? >> i mean, because really it was only because i saw my friends that i have in new jersey post-going. i was like all right everyone is post-ing their fun. let me post-my loneliness. i post-to do on twitter because i have the least following on twitter. all right i'll just positive it here. not that many people will see it but i don't have to worry about looking good in the video. i was wrong. it was like 2.6 million before i
got here i'm sure. >> it's going to continue to climb. why is it so important, justin for you to participate in the walkout? and what would you like to see our leaders do when it comes to guns? >> well, it was important because the 17 people that died in florida, they can't protest for anything anymore because they're dead. and i can. so now that i have this platform that i have now to be able to use the voice that i have like i'm going to do the same thing i would like people of a big are platform to do. and that's speak. don't just hold back your words. just like lebron said -- he is one of my biggest role models. he is the only reason i try to be as good as can. he said strive for greatness. he says he is not just an athlete. athletes have voices. and all celebrities have platforms noon and need to use it for something good. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> when we come back another attorney appearing on a legal
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