tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN June 7, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
and women in marm's way in these deeptively label advise and assist missions that are getting them killed. thank you so much for watching. let's get after it again together tomorrow night. cnn tonight with don lemon starts right now. don? >> thank you, chris. we'll see you tomorrow night. nice job. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. there's a lot going on tonight and once again, you have to see it to believe it. the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, getting smacked down with a classic burn from the first lady's spokeswoman. and the president waging a twitter war the day before a big international um summit. but i want to begin with our big interview tonight with kim kardashian west. reality superstar to a woman with the president's ear. she surprised a lot of people when she turned up in the oval
office to plead the case of a alice marie johnson, the grandmother and first-time nonviolent drug offender who was serving a life term in prison. one week later, johnson was freed after spending 21 years behind bars. just a little while ago, kim kardashian west sat down with our very own van jones to talk about the cause that brought them together. ant her husband can yes west and about what happened when she broke the news to alice johnson. >> first of all, congratulations on the big when, but also just thank you, thank you, thank you. >> thank you. >> second of all, how did it feel to make the phone call to let ms. alice johnson know that it was over, she was coming home? >> well, i was on set of a photo shoot in new york. and once i got the call from the president on my cell phone and i knew it was happening and it was 100% happening and a press release was written and it was about to go out. so i called her and i let her
know, it's 100% happening. the paperwork is signed. >> the ink is on the paper. >> let's get alice on the phone. and you had assumed that the attorneys had already told her. and then alice gets on the phone. we call her, she was paged. to come to the phone. >> ion side the prison. >> inside the prison. she gets on the phone and i think she thought it was a routine phone call with her attorneys. and she was surprised and excited that i was on the phone. and then i was a little bit shocked because she was very calm. and i had assumed she knew. so i was just like wait, she doesn't know? and alice is like know what? and i was like you're going home. like i can cry thinking about. hearing her scream was like -- i know i'm going to cry so much when i see her. but just to know that we changed one person's life. you know? is like, we cried maybe on the
phone for, like, three minutes straight. everyone was just trying. -- crying. i have to get it together. >> that's all right. i understand. it's emotional. people don't understand. >> i mean, i think people might think oh, kim went to the wous, had this conversation, it was done and that's it. i saw this seven months ago, and i have been daily phone calls with the white house. maybe a dozen mails a day trying to get letter, letter from the warden. i mean, i have to give credit to where alice's whole team has been work on this for year ps. i mean, i did step in late in the game. so i don't want to take away what -- i mean, you've been working on this for three years. everyone has brought attention to this case. anticipate i just happened to see it on twitter. so i do want to give credit where credit is due to everyone that's been working so hard on this for so long for her. >> it's just an easy thing to
get done to your point. her family has been fighting for a long time. >> it was a really good team. i reached out to ivan ka. how it all happened was i reached out to ivanka. i said i know you have compassion for women like this. i explained her story. she immediately got it and felt it. she connected me with her husband, jared kushner, and he has really been amazing. he listened to her story, would always ask for more deill thats and more paperwork and letters. and he was, like, on top of it. >> what was it about this case that just grabbed you? >> well, i do think there's something to, i had happened to be on twitter at that exact moment.
i just really fell for her. you felt that she's a good person. she lost her long-time job, got a divorce, her son died. just all of her -- everything was going so bad for her and she got desperate. and she had four other baby she is had to take care of. and she was desperate. and she made choices that i feel honestly, you know, maybe not to that extreme, but when you're in a desperate situation, you'll do whatever you have to do to take care of your kids. and i know that i would do anything for my kids. anticipate so i just felt this connection to her. i wanted to help her. >> you got ivanka trump's phone number. it must have felt like hey, listen, i eave got to do something. the meeting with president trump, that's a whole other level. how did that happen? >> when i initially called
ivanka. that took about six or seven months to get. and so once we got our file really strong we were able to plan a meeting. and it happened to be on alice's birthday. the stars are all aligned. the stars are in our favor. i just feel that this is the right day to do it. >> so you go in. >> we go in -- >> that's crazy. for normal people, kim kardashian going into the trump white house. >> the west wing. >> the oval office. >> i have to say, i never get star struck. i was star struck over the oval office. that oval office is so powerful. i just -- i literally had to take a second and take it all in and just inside -- >> this is not a movie set. >> yeah. like it was -- it really felt
powerful and felt like you can just feel the history in there. i had just a second to take it all in. and then we talked about it. >> you're not a republican. how do you make sense of that. you guys don't agree politically. how did you handle that? >> i think you for me i was very focused. i knewicn't go in and talk about all the policies i don't agree with. and i've always had a very open dialogue with jared about how i felt. trump is the last person i would
have thought was do this, he did and he pulled through. i knew there would be tons of backlash. i knew people wouldn't understand it. at that point, i had to make the decision that this was bigger than me. so i'm worried about my brand? and a woman's been in jail for 22 years almost? that to me, it wasn't even a question. i would have taken the backlash no matter what the outcome would have been, just to try for her. and i'm glad it worked out, obviously. >> it's just really amazing to hear you say that. i mean, you dependent know her. why did you feel that this was worth taking that kind of risk. a lot of celebrities are scared to take a picture with donald trump. a lot of athletes won't go in the bidding. why did you make a different choice? >> i still respect their choice. i never judge other people. and i do think sometimes situations are different.
but i just am focused. and i could separate my feelings on certain policies. to me it wasn't about policies. it was about, i can change someone's life. and if i have the doesn't to do that. >> just indulge me for a minute. what did you say? did he get up, shake your hand, hug you? give me something that i can work with. >> i have med him before. before he was the president a few times. so it was a hug. >> and sat down and he was like okay. so what's going on? why are we here? we started the meeting. >> i did take a second to say like wait a minute, we're in the oval office.
he said why are you here? i said really i'm here because i want to know why you kicked kloe off the apprentice. he felt it, he was compassionate. he was sympathetic to her. he said, you know, thisst a really long time that she's been in here. this just isn't fair. he knew that this was the right thing to do. and he said that from the start. after he had heard her whole story and situation. and he knew it was the right thing to do. and he said that and he was really honest with it. and he wanted to make it happen. >> so you said president trump actually called you? >> yes. >> so you're sitting there, the phone rings. it says donald trump. what happens? >> no, it says unknown. and i remember i was on the phone with my husband and i said babe, i've got to call you back.
>> and it was the secretary on the line that said she had the president on the phone. i knew it had to be some news. i was always really hopeful. i was feeling things were looking really positive. but that week after the meeting, you're just literally on pins and needles waiting to hear what's going on. so yeah, he called my cell phone. >> and what did he say? >> he said that he's really investigated this case and spoke to her warden, spoke to just everyone. and everyone had a unanimous -- from the people that he reached out to -- unanimous feeling of alice that she will live a great life and she will -- is this she
has dope her time, been such a model person in prison. she's never had any, like, in .fractions on, you know, behavior or anything -- >> almost impossible in prison, by the way. >> yeah. i mean, she -- yeah. anticipate she became an ordained minister. she got so many degrees. she just -- knowing that she's never going to get out, but she is still so amazing and is working on herself the whole time she's there. >> no good deed goes unpunished. you go in there, get this victory. some people are very skeptical. they're like, i'm just going to throw them -- you tell me who's right and who's wrong.
number one, this whole thing is just a pr stunt for you. you're a master media person and you know how to get media attention and this is just a way for you to get attention for yourself. true or false? >> that's very false. i mean, i could literally walk outside and it will be some ridiculous store are i. >> you're not desperate for media attention. you don't have to do anything extra to get it? >> no, these days i'm trying to dodge it and stay away from it. but i have kids. and why would i spend my time away from my kids to fly in just for something for a pr stunt? to a lot of people was a risky move to take going. i wouldn't take that kind of pr risk. >> gotcha. number two, trump is using you as a political pawn. so now you're sort of -- you've endorsed him in a way. you' given him legitimacy. you might be in a campaign video. he used you.
>> i think kanye has already given him legitimacy. so in that way. so i don't think i would be used. you know? and at the end of the day, he heard me out. we got the job done. >> can yes co-signed and said he loves his personality and loves him. and it was very, very separate. like, you know, can ykanye knew i was doing and work on it ahead of time. so yeah, when i hear that and i've heard that, it doesn't really faze me. i also people like why don't you talk to him about this and about, you know, immigration. >> you do care about that?
. >> i care about that. but i just have to stay focused and know that if there's -- the only person in the world that could have done this for her, why wouldn't i go talk to that person? if i had the opportunity to? if i am the voice that goes in and tries to -- i mean, there's over 3,000 people in this same exact situation as alice. it doesn't mean that we're going to stop here. >> kim kardashian west might surprise a lot of people with what she said there. van, thank you so much for joining us. and airing the interview here. of course, the rest of it is going to run on your show this weekend. i've got to be honest, addressed
head on. you know, combined with her husband's advocacy for president trump is controversial to a lot of their people and their fans. we've been tough on him on this show, as have a lot of other people and gave her credit for going and doing what she did. but she was quite open about it. she didn't shy away from it. >> it's interest, she doesn't agree with the. . you've been tough on the president. kim kardashian has been tough on the president. she's quoted as saying her daughter could run the country better. yet when it came down to a human life, she was willing to set that aside and figure out how to get alice johnson home. alice johnson, of course, is a force of nature. now that she's home, she's going
to continue the fight. some positive things have started to happen. some domino's falling. you have to give kim kardashian some credit. when you have that kind of a platform, she's got 120 million enstra gram followers. she's got more instagram followers than some countries got people. if she decides to make this a part of her life now, fighting for positive causes, i think you have to give her the credit. >> as you were saying that, it's interesting you said she's been tough on the president. i mean, you know, just because you're tough on someone, it doesn't mean you don't want them to succeed. i'm wondering if there's a bl s lesson in here for the president of the united states to work with people who don't agree with
him to do good things. it seems like there should be some sort of lesson for him here. >> i think there should be and there could be. for whatever reason, this issue of criminal justice reform, prison reform, and partds seems to have become a common ground issue, a bipartisan issue. it used to be a marginali issue. now it seems the only issue that even a pelosi and a trump can sometimes agree on. and you have jared kushner in there who's been doing a good job of pushing the issue forward. his father went to prison so he has some sensitivity there. and then you have organizations out there like cut 50 and you have organizations, young attorneys, we talked about last night. we have young attorneys out there, reilike brittany barnett jessica jackson sloan. >> and helped with this. i want to ask you, get back to that. would you encourage other celebrities .s -- you know, this president loves celebrity.
do you encourage other celebrities to get things done in this country and work with him even if they don't agree with him? >> for the people at the bottom, we're talking about people who are locked up in prisons, people who are suffering poverty. people who are addicted and can't get free, i think on those common ground issues we have to come together and get something done. just because we get something done on those issues doesn't mean we can't fight tooth and nail on 999 other issues. i think we're talk about people who don't have a voice at all. i think on those issues we've got to be able to come together and get something done. >> nice job, van jones. and kim kardashian. give credit where credit is due. hope she continues to do it. i said this saturday, it's actually next saturday that it airs. thank you, sir. the entire interview, kim kardashian west on van jones, saturday night june 16th at 7:00 eastern only here on cnn. make sure your tune in. when we come right back, rudy
giuliani and what the first lady's spokesperson said tonight. trust me, it's an epic burn. ♪ ♪ because they'll never get a second chance to see their first concert. early ticket access to thousands of shows every year. another way we have your back. the powerful backing of american express. don't live life without it.
husband and not stormy daniels? >> she believes in her husband. it's not true. i don't even believe there's a slight suspicion when you look at stormy daniels. i know donald trump and look at his three wives, right? beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. stormy daniels? >> geez. well, the fist lady's spokesperson delivering an effortless smackdown today. this is a quote. i don't believe mrs. trump has r d ever discussed her thoughts on anything with mr. giuliani. rud? wrong. let's bring in our panel. rick wilson worked or giuliani's senate campaign. i hate to throw this word around, molly, good evening to all of you, by the way. i hate to throw this word around, but that was some shade,
epic clapback right there from the first lady's office, isn't it? >> it can certainly be read that way. i honestly also read it as a simple fact. it is well known to pretty much everyone in the white house that rudy giuliani is freelancing. he is not coordinating his message with anybody else. he isn't, in fact, talking to the first lady. he's just saying whatever floats into his head. and it's actually become a sort of parlor game among people in and around the white house about whether there is a grand plan here. or if he's just kind of shooting his mouth after. i mean, our cover story in "time" magazine this week is about the public relation strategy that's paralleling the legal strategy and that giuliani is in charmg of. he all but toll us explicitly, this is an insurance policy against impeachment. we're just going to say a lot of stuff that puts doubt into people's minds. here i'm talk act the mueller probe, but i say this, too. he's going to say a lot of stuff. do you remember when he said a
lot of stuff about the stormy daniels payment then maybe it was true maybe it wasn't? he's just muddying the water, clouding the air and it's on purpose. >> chris, that stopped giuliani, didn't it? no, it did not. giuliani spoke to dana bash admitted that he had never talked to melania about stormy daniels, the first lady. but giuliani stands by what he said. here's what he told dana bash. yes, i believe she knows him well enough to know this one is -- what's the word? fakakta? >> why would giuliani double down speaking on behalf of the first lady, chris? >> i believe he's broadly freelancing and it's a pr strategy designed to sway public opinion and in particular the trump base public opinion, not broad scale public opinion. i think the reason why he would double down, don, is because he hasn't heard anything negative from the president of the united states about it. outside of that first rudy's new, we need to get his facts
straight. that first smackdown about stormy daniels payments from donald trump to rudy giuliani, rudy giuliani has said a um until ber of things i thought donald trump is not going to be happy about that. or donald trump may just say out the door you go. we haven't heard anything like that. and why? because what strategy is rudy giuliani following? the one that donald trump has made famous. say as many things as possible, see what stick, see what your base responds to, and go with those. 13 angry democrats, witch hunt, hoax. it's a strategy that works and one that we know donald trump likes. >> rick, i'm wondering if it's doing more harm than good for the president now. he's kind of like, he's become a funny meme on the internet. in the media, people are like, what's going on with him? >> i think rudy's job is not to be a lawyer. rudy's job is to throw bombs. the president wants bombs to be thrown. trump grew up in this whole,
like, new york post tabloid beeves, all these fights back and forth. and so he wants that stuff around him right now. now wanting that is his gut. but the legal side of that -- rudy is not helping him build a legal case here. eh he's build only a political case. >> publicity case. >> if the tides turn on that, we're going to end up with rudy looking to trump like a villain because trump turns on people very quickly if public opinion sways in a way he doesn't like. >> i don't know if you heard that. that was someone's cell phone talking. "i'm not sure if i understand." sometimes if i say seriously, siri will answer. that wasn't mean. >> that was yours? >> rudy giuliani also made an inappropriate comment about kim jong-un saying he got back on his hands and knees and begged for the summit after the president canceled it.
pompeo had to walk that back. watch this. >> i took him as being in a small room and didn't take the comments seriously. he said it in jest. we're moving forward, to us canned on the important things. i know rudy. rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues. >> how much of a problem is giuliani creating here, rick? >> look, the fact of the matter is trump believes if he creates this public of illusion around him, he creates this tornado of bs all the time, that robert mueller will go away or the case will go away or magically something will happen one day and jeff sessions will wake up on the wrong side of the bed and say i'm done with this. that's not how the law works. that's not how prosecutors work. that's not how this grinding process of a guy who's going after the details and working the cases that are around this entire collusion story and working the influence, the obstruction cases around this entire thing. that's not how mueller operates.
he's going to keep grinding away. he's going to keep grinding away at this thing. and all the illusion of making the guys on hannity happy every night is not moving robert mueller's case away from conclusion. he's still going to grind away at it. >> hold that thought, chris. but it is again informing -- well, influencing public opinion and he's emanating the base for the president. we've got a lot more to talk about. when we come back, after he requested a grand military parade in the capital and said i have the absolute right, "time" magazine is portraying the president as a king. molly ball is the co-author. just how far can the limits of executive power be pushed?
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underneath them. the cover artist says trump is also making eye contact with americans. with me now, molly ball, chris cillizza and rick wilson. does president trump know enough to understand our entire system was built so we didn't put in place a king here in the united states. >> i have no idea what he does or doesn't understand, but the implications -- we were talking about the parallel legal and political strategy. and so we sort of are trying to lay it out with reporting on this investigation. one thing that's interesting that people might not realize is it's relatively recent this escalation on the war on the special counsel. he wasn't always in full fron
call attack mode against the special counsel. he never mentioned bob mueller's name on twitter until march, just a couple of months ago. this is a reals ka lags. it mirrors the escalation in his legal strategy. to your question, what distinguishes what he's doing now compared to ken starr, which was also a strategy to discredit the special counsel so when he came up with anything, impeachment would be impossible because of public opinion what is distinguishing about this war that trump is waging are these wide-ranging claims of imperial executive power. very much, almost a literalization of richard nixon's hair-raising claim that when the president does it, it is not illegal is basically what the president and his lawyers have been arguing in giuliani and his public arguments and in the january memo that was recently leaked saying the president can pardon him and all
these things. >> i'm wonderingn't a, look, themes here, chris. between the president's interest in pardons, his claim that he can even pardon hymn, his love of parades, military pomp and circumstance. daung imperial power is a theme of the trump presidency? >> well, i think what he knows is, what he comes from, don, is his way goes. everyone in the trump organization works for him. donald trump wants to get rid of you, you're gone. that's the experience he has. his form of experience is that and a reality television show that was based on three people being in a board room begging him not to fire them and him deciding up with of them gets fired. so he has brought those experiences to the government is i don't think terribly surprising. that he has failed to either by choice or by willful ig grans, basically amounts to the same thing, chosen not to understand
that the federal government does not work that way that, sure, you're sort of the boss of the justice department, but there's a long tradition of independence there. they don't -- they work for you in the broadest sense, but you can't just tell them what to do and what not to do. he's never seen those lines. i hesitate to say he's never understood them. i don't know if he understands them or not. but he chooses no the to regard them. it winds up being the same thing. being president is different than being the head of a company. >> he's not gong to want to hear this. they all work for us, including him. right? at the end of the day, they all work for us. >> exactly. this is up with of the most fundamental elements of our government and our history. we fought a war to free ourselves of a monarchy. we built it into our constitution that we don't have
titles of nobility. the presidency a part of a trip triparheid government. the executive power was always treated with caution. george washington could have become a king and didn't want to because he understood the peril of it. donald trump is as close to an imperial president as we've had in our lifetimes. and the fever dream of some of the people around him is that now we have a dynasty of trumps and they're treating it like a royal family. and trump loves that because it also plays in, as chris said, to the reality tv star, fake corporate ceo mogul. and a lot of his base, a lot of his fans are content with that. >> but now, he's reportedly crowing about attending the g-7 summit, the meeting, because he feels like he would be the odd man out. and maybe in part because, listen, he's at, you know, at
odds with emmanuel macron tweeted this, the american president may not mind being isolated but neither do we mind signing a sick-country agreement if need be. because these six countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force. are allies calling his bluff, molly? >> well, they're certainly heading in that direction. but look, i think for trump and some of the more scholarly or cerebral theorists behind some of his foreign policy, it is sort of the whole point to isolate america. they belief that that is good for our interests long term. and that all of these, however many country agreements of every sort, that the united states has been enmeshed in, haven't been in support of american interests. this is going to be a test. is that actually the case? this has now gone far enough where other countries are starting to take hmm seriously.
they can't manhandle him and flatter him into continuing to play america's traditional role. if he's going to walk one way, they're going to walk the other. they are preparing to call his bluff and then see where the chips fall. i mean, the problem is that these have been, at least to the people who forged these agreements, these have been the idea of mutual interest. there's a sub instagram about what's happening at this white house every single day. this is a photo of president obama and other world leaders and it captioned back when the
g-8 leaders respected each other. he does it every single day and it's really brilliant trolling. go ahead, chris, quickly. >> two things are true. donald trump is a radical break from anyone who's been president ever before. the 43 people say radical break. it is also true that that's what he ran on being and that's what the people who support him like. >> yeah. >> i can't square that circle, but he didn't pretend he was going to be in a long line of how presidents have done things. he ran on the opposite. >> gotta run. >> this is what the opposite looks like. >> i go the to run. rick, we'll talk more. thank you all, appreciate it. >> when we come back, you heard kim kardashian west talk about her role in convincing president trump to commute alice johnson's sentence. that's next.
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>> do you have issues of how this pardon played oit? >> i don't think it should take kim kardashian walk into the oval office to effect something like this. the justice department should be involved in this. as you know, president obama pardoned and commuted many, many sentences of nonviolent drug offender, in concert with the justice department and app applications were previewed. there is no process here. we're living in an ongoing reality show and this is now celebrity pardons. so kim kardashian walks in and makes the case and he says sure, let's go. or siylvester stallone walks in and let's do jack johnson. it's not that the results of these are wrong.
>> the criticism is that the pro-kept her sentence from being commuted in the obama administration. >> yeah. and the process can fail and people should make that case. i guarantee you that president trump didn't review the process or ask about -- the fact that it wasn't done in the obama administration was probably enough for him to make this decision. that's not the way decisions should be made. i'm not arguing about the end result. the obama administration focused on nonviolent drug offenses in for possessions of drugs. this was about trafficking of drugs. but it still may be the right result. it's not the right approach. and ultimately, we're going to see a flurry of pardons and the rationale behind them are going to be in the main more political
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all right. so david axelrod is back with me. let's talk the upcoming summit with north korea. in a photo-op with japanese prime minister shinzo abe today president trump was asked about it today. so i want you to take a listen to this. >> what are you doing to prepare? >> it's about attitude, about willingness to get things done. >> first, what did you think when you heard that? are you concerned the u.s. is going to get taken? >> yeah, i've been concerned about that. first of all, let me just say i applaud diplomacy. dwr i was horrified when president trump told rex tillerson to forget about diplomacy with north korea, it wasn't going to lead to anything. i thought that was the wrong attitude. i think diplomacy is right. but we also have to go into this eyes wide open and understanding how complex this is and the history of lying and consealment
on the part of north koreans. and, you know, this is such a complex issue, and for him to say, yeah, man, i got this, i don't really need to prepare for it, we're not in atlantic city. this isn't a real estate deal. these are mortal issues, grave issues and really deeply complex. and i'm worried he's so eager to produce a great photo-op, a great story coming out of it that he's going to get taken. and the north koreans know that he's eager for the deal, that he wants the deal. and you do worry about him getting played. and you hope the people around him will keep that from happening. >> let's talk about a new poll out today and found that president trump's approval rating has ticked up to 44% compared to 53% disproval. that was back in april. what do you think he owes that bump to? >> you know, i think he has
strengthened his support particularly among his base. i've said for some time he's kind of made a fig sophical shift since the first of the year, he was going to go back to the trump that got elected. basically not taking the advice of experts, not taking the advice of wise people in washington but going on his own. so he initiated this north korea thing on his own, the tariffs on his own. he is basically doing what he wants to do because he thinks his instincts are what got him here. and it may be that his supporters like that, that they appreciate that. and it may have strengthened his base a little. i don't think it's substantially changed the equation in the follow-up to the election. but the ratings in the low 40s, that's still pretty low going into a mid-term election, on the average if you had that kind of
rating you'd lose 40 seats. doesn't mean he's going to, but remember democrats only need 23 to take over control of the house. >> it's important to point out, too, that same poll found 48% of respondents are more likely to support a candidate that promises to provide a check on the president. so americans should remember that, and he should as well. thank you, david axelrod. >> always good to see you. when we come back rudy giuliani gets slammed by the first lady spokesperson. first wait i will you hear the latest thing epa chief scott pruitt wanted his staff to do for him. with a protective shield and target weeds more precisely, right down to the root. roundup. trusted for over 40 years.
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