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CNN TONIGHT

Shocking View on a Flight; The Trump Doctrine. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 10, 2017 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

We're going to begin with this outrageous story, a story you have to see to believe and I still can't believe it. United Airlines under fire tonight, Americans stunned over the sight of a passenger being violently dragged off an airplane.

It happened yesterday at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on a flight to Louisville. And I want you to keep in mind that this is a paying customer being forcibly removed after refusing to give up his seat for airline crew members. I have to warn you, that the video is tough to watch. Here's some of what passengers recorded with their cell phones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! Hey! Hey!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, hey, hey. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to -- kill me. Just kill me. I have to go home. Just kill me. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And as we warned you, it is very tough to watch that. They're still investigating to try to figure out exactly what's going on. But as we said, United Airlines under fire tonight. People all over the country, all over the world are stunned by just that video.

Joining me now on the phone is one of the passengers of United Airlines flight 3411, his name is John Klaassen. John, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate -- I appreciate it. How are you doing this evening?

JOHN KLAASSEN, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 3411: Doing all right.

LEMON: Yes.

KLAASSEN: I mean, as well as you can.

LEMON: This was just stunning.

KLAASSEN: I'm sorry?

LEMON: This is stunning. Tell us what you saw.

KLAASSEN: Well, from the beginning when we got on board the flight and the United Airlines representative came on and told us that we were stuck on the tarmac until four people volunteered to leave the flight, we knew it was -- it just ramped up really fast.

And then when the police came on, two fully decked out police officers came on trying to convince him to leave then the third officer came on who actually you see in the video pulling him off, wearing a plain clothes police officer. It was traumatic. There's no doubt about it.

LEMON: We could hear in the video -- you can see the blood right there. We could hear people in the video screaming, you don't have to do this, why are you doing this? Did you feel that they had to do this?

KLAASSEN: No. I don't know why they did that. I'm still in bewilderment. You know, when I look at the video, every time I see it, I see myself in the video and I'm just -- I don't know. How do you respond to something like that?

LEMON: Did anyone else ask for help or to try to talk to security personnel?

KLAASSEN: No. When security came on, it was -- it was clear that they were going to take him off the flight. There wasn't -- there wasn't anything anybody could do at that point. They were going to take him off the flight. Everybody knew it. And he was insistent that he wasn't going to go.

LEMON: And how much longer did you guys stay there until this situation was rectified to the extent that it could be rectified? Because I'm sure everybody on the plane was just shocked.

KLAASSEN: Yes, I don't know what rectified is, I don't feel like it's been rectified yet. We were -- he came back -- you see in the video that the (Inaudible) is showing, he comes back on the flight. They let some people -- anybody could leave at that point before they took him off again.

A number of us stayed, I think, wanting to be there to witness what took place. They then walked him out and put him on a stretcher I believe. I don't know, I didn't see that part of what happened. As they took him out of the airport. But, yes, it was traumatic. LEMON: Yes, so I want to read this, John, because -- and then get

your response to it. This is how United Airlines explained what we just saw. It said, "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked," they said. "After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbooked situation."

They apologized for the overbooked situation but not I guess for the handling of the passengers. What do you think of what they said right there?

[22:05:07] KLAASSEN: Yes, well, I don't understand overbooked. Especially when they said that four of you have to leave because they had to get their personnel on the flight. Yes, it just -- none of that makes any sense and to forcibly remove a guy like that, I think it's inexpensive for them to offer more airline dollars. They could have easily done that. They could have gotten more volunteers. It's just upsetting to see that over and over again.

LEMON: I want to read a statement, John, this is from United's CEO, released a statement saying in part, "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened."

He apologized for having to re-accommodate the customers but, you know, not by the, I guess, how they were treated. And then in an e- mail to United employees, the CEO, the CEO also said that the passenger was disruptive and belligerent. And you had been talking to the man earlier. What was he like, and how did he seem to you?

KLAASSEN: Yes, no, when we got on the plane, he's a sweet guy. One of my students was talking to him. Carrying on a great conversation. You know, he was a nice guy. His wife was seated a number of seats behind him and, yes, when she insisted that he get off the flight because he had been randomly selected and he said no, I guess that's when he got belligerent, if that's what belligerent is, saying, hey, I paid for this flight, I should be allowed to take the flight.

And no negotiation was taking place by them. They had raised the dollar amount to $800 of, again, United Airlines flights, not $800 cash. But $800 in United Airlines flights. All they had to do was race that a little bit higher, I'm sure they would have gotten volunteers that they needed.

LEMON: I want to ask you, as you're looking at this video right here, and I want to play it. Because I want to play a clip of something that I believe this is when he got back on the plane, John. Let's listen and then we'll talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was tied to this. Can't they rent a car for them and have them drive? Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. Oh, my (muted) my God. My God. Guys, my God, what are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go -- just kill me. Just kill me. Kill me. Just kill me. I have to go home. Kill me. Just kill me. Just kill me. Just kill me. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, John, listen, I don't know the condition of this man, and, again, they're still investigating, but if someone had tried to pull me off a plane like that, I just think about myself as you said earlier, I think I would be pretty upset and stunned and I don't know what my frame of mind would be after being dragged off an airplane and bloodied. I don't know about you, but that's how I feel.

KLAASSEN: Yes. We were all in shock, and you look at that video, you see him, he's obviously in shock. He, again, talking to him prior to the event, he was a sweet, sweet man. Then violently pulled off, he comes back running on the plane and, I mean, yes, he's in shock at this point. There's just no other way to explain it.

LEMON: John, what was it like after -- like, getting on this plane and having -- you guys waited there for, what, you were two hours late, correct?

KLAASSEN: Yes, at least two hours, yes.

LEMON: And I think it's a four-hour drive. They could have driven, you know, to Chicago from Louisville -- yes, to Louisville. But what was it like -- what was it like being on this plane after this? I mean, this is unsettling.

KLAASSEN: It is unsettling. I just brought my team back from Athens where we were working with refugees so we were all exhausted as it was and so, yes, it was unsettling. It was a weird flight back. I don't -- I don't know.

You know, there were -- there were kids on that flight. There were students. And you think about the fact that it didn't have to get to that point. There's just no reason for that to have happened.

LEMON: Yes. John Klaassen, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

KLAASSEN: OK. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

[22:09:58] Now I want to bring in CNN aviation editor, Jon Ostrower. Jon, good evening. Thank you for joining us. What's your reaction to this video? JON OSTROWER, CNN AVIATION EDITOR: Well, it's been a wild day

covering this story which broke early this morning when video from last night's flight posted and went viral almost instantly. It was everywhere.

And United was in the crosshairs from minute one to explain what actually unfolded on this flight. And the outrage that ensued among both the passengers and everyone that saw this really left a lot of people wondering about what are -- what are the little known rights that you do have when you board an airplane?

And this gentleman certainly boarded his flight with the expectation that he was going to be flying from Chicago to Louisville and that didn't happen. And I think what -- watching this unfold today, I think a lot of people who travel, and it's a huge number of us that get on an airplane day in and day out, weekly, monthly, couple times a year, and they feel this frustration about not being able to get to your destination.

So there's certainly -- how the flying public is seeing it and combined with obviously what is United and United's gate agent and United staff versus Chicago aviation police and how they handled it. So it's important to disentangle the two of those but the reality is this conversation is being had with both pieces stacked on top of each other and United is inextricably in the middle of it when this is happening and it happened on one of their own airplanes.

LEMON: Yes, you mentioned it but I just want to get to, do we know what the -- is it legal to pull someone off a flight like this, Jon?

OSTROWER: It is.

LEMON: It is.

OSTROWER: It absolutely is legal. And I think the means of pulling someone off a flight is what's ultimately in question here. When you buy an airplane ticket, you buy your ticket, you're going to fly on a given day and you've got your itinerary, but with that itinerary you also get a 37,000-word contract that you've agreed to the contract of carriage.

And it's not only to protect the airline, what they want to do, it is very much an outgrowth of consumer protections that are in place for -- for the flying public about what you're entitled to if you do get bumped.

So there's this massive document. It is more complex, far more complex than the iTunes license agreement. I mean, you know, we kind of quick pass these things but they do govern our lives. So, you know, as far as this situation goes, yes, it is legal in a situation when a crew member that is deadheading to get to their next assignment needs a seat on the airplane, a seat is made available.

And there are all kinds of rules and policies that go along with this that say who ultimately gets pulled off first. And that can range from, you know, are you connecting anywhere? LEMON: Yes.

OSTROWER: Are you going to miss your connection? Are you in a group? Are you an elite member on the airline? LEMON: Yes.

OSTROWER: And, yes, part of this is how much you paid for your ticket.

LEMON: Listen, overbooked is one thing but to make room for employee, I mean, especially when you're a paying customer, that's just -- I just personally find that offensive.

But listen, United was just in the news, Jon, just a few weeks ago after refusing to allow some girls with leggings onboard a plane. What's going on with this airline?

OSTROWER: Well, I think -- as far as that situation goes, I think that was a case of a lot of overhearing a situation, not understanding it and then it being amplified by social media.

I mean, the common thread here in a lot of respects is social media, not United Airlines certainly by in this particular case coincidence. I mean, we just finished several days looking at what happened coming out of the storms last week with Delta Airlines and you know, it ended -- probably a week from now it will be something with another airline, and so and so forth. This is the thing, type of things that happens when more people are flying.

So, as far as...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But also, Jon, if I can interrupt here.

OSTROWER: Yes.

LEMON: Is that, airlines often outsource to other airlines and I'm just -- this one could be outsourced. It can go two or three separate companies in, right? Other airlines use -- airlines used other airlines and other employees that aren't specifically under their umbrella but they'll contract other -- is that a problem?

OSTROWER: No, not necessarily. I mean, certainly the airline industry has operated with mainline carriers and regional carriers for decades and the bottom line is, this situation yesterday got escalated to a point where there was violence in the airplane.

LEMON: Yes.

OSTROWER: And there was -- in that respect, it is as much a question of how it got there as it is what were the conditions in place amongst both Chicago aviation police and right alongside that, how this situation unfolded with gate agents, cabin crews, to find a person that would give up their seat for these crew members? [22:15:12] Yes. I've got to go, Jon. But I think it's -- I think you

may not have the same standards for outsourced employees or companies than you have for your own employees and companies. So that should be an issue they look into as well.

We appreciate your time, thank you, Jon Ostrower, our reporter there.

When we come right back, we'll continue to follow this story, continue to investigate, by the way.

When we come back, did U.S. strikes in Syria accomplish anything? Is President Trump governing from the gut? And what's his next move?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Is there a Trump doctrine? Or is this president winging it on the world stage in the wake of the missile strike on Syria?

Joining me now is, David Gergen, our CNN senior political analyst, Robin Wright, joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Woodrow Wilson Center. And CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, the author of "Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America."

So good to have all of you on. Robin, I'm going to start with you this evening. Foreign policy is front and center for the Trump administration tonight, four days after the U.S. bombed Syria. Do you know what our policy is?

ROBIN WRIGHT, JOINT FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND THE WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS: No, I think the strike was instant gratification for tragedy, an egregious act, use of chemical weapons.

[22:20:01] But the fact is the process of making a doctrine to come up with a foreign policy takes months and this is a process that's been deeply delayed by the overhaul, the turmoil within the administration over personnel.

They're still the majority of foreign policy positions have not been filled. And so this process is much delayed. There is a sense that going into Moscow, which is arguably the most important meeting this administration has had, they have not thought through who comes next after this air strike. What do they plan to do, whether it's with Russia on Syria, or on the Ukraine, or in some of the bigger foreign policy challenges that we need to work through with Russia.

So, this is a pivotal moment and I think that we do not yet have the meat required to craft foreign policy or to understand the outlined of what the Trump doctrine might look like.

LEMON: And also being on the same page, you know, speaking with flamboyant voice. Because David, there are a lot of mixed signals on Syria coming from the administration. The U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said regime change is inevitable, Secretary Tillerson seem to say the opposite. I got a political solution is possible and the bombing was a message to Assad to stop using chemical weapons. And then today, the press secretary said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think it's -- you can't imagine a stable and peaceful Syria with Assad as in charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: David Gergen, which is it?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: If there is a Trump doctrine, it's very well hidden. We simply don't know. I do think that you have to say that the strike itself, was successful. It sent a message that this president is willing to use force and that needed to be emphasized to much of the world where people test a president in his early days.

And I think it sent a signal to Syria. But the aftermath has been a mess and it has undercut the force of what he did. It looks increasingly like it was a symbolic act rather than, you know, a real substantive act and change of policy.

And we had Sean Spicer today not only -- you know, he couldn't figure out where he was about Assad, but very importantly, Don, he said today it's not only about whether the Syrians used chemical weapons, it's about whether they use any more of these bombs, these barrel bombs and they've been using thousands of them.

That if they do that, we will retaliate. And the White House tried to walk that back today. That was -- that really is symbolic, I think, the confusion and chaos in their policymaking that Robin Wright talked about.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes, it is startling. And I want you to, because the comments as you said were made from the White House press secretary today. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: When you watch babies and children being gassed and suffer under barrel bombs, you are instantaneously moved to action. I think this president's made it very clear that if those actions were to continue, further action will definitely be considered by the United States.

If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people, I think you can -- you will see a response from this president. That is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Douglas Brinkley, you know, as David just said, Spicer's office has since walked it back, but he said it at least twice. Assad has been using barrel bombs against his people for a year. Is this a new red line?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think it is something of a new red line. Look, there is no real Trump doctrine except they want to fight terrorism abroad and for free trade, you know, internationally and American first kind of here at home, but I think with Syria it's confused policy right now.

I mean, ultimately we're going to have to decide whether we want to get rid of Assad or not. If every -- but the reason that Trump's getting such kudos is that Americans have an aversion to chemical weapons, period.

And I think the visual of Nikki Haley holding those photos, the photographic that evidence moved Donald Trump and many Americans. My fear is that this strike worked and he may want to do more, but the next one may not be against Assad. It may end up going against ISIS and doing something with those oil fields he promised to bomb during the campaign.

LEMON: Robin, you know, after the gas attack, President Trump said that he thought -- he thought of himself as flexible and capable of changing. Is that lack of certain policy leading to all of this confusion?

WRIGHT: Yes, and I think the fact the administration has flip-flopped completely, one day Nikki Haley was talking about Assad being a hindrance, but that they weren't focused on ousting him.

Sean Spicer said that they were -- given the political rallies on the ground, it would be silly to try to replace him. And the next day Rex Tillerson came out and said there was no role for Assad in the future of Syria.

So, there's not just confusion, the fact is that once you engage in a military operation that also changes the diplomatic options that are on the table. And in some ways it can crump your style, it can limit the kind of outreach and I think that has probably done that.

[22:25:06] I think it's going to be tougher for this administration to deal with the Russians right now, to find common ground on what comes next in Syria. They have a very different perspective and that hasn't been clarified by the administration in the subsequent days. You had that morning-after glow that has faded very quickly less than a week later.

LEMON: And the Syrians flew warplanes from that same airfield hours after the attack, Robin. President Trump. He tweeted this. He said, "The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix, fill in and top."

I mean, does it seem odd that the president feels a need to explain a military decision? Clearly he is sensitive about how this is being perceived by the public.

WRIGHT: Yes, and what was interesting is the secretary of defense came out in a statement this afternoon and said that the strike had eliminated 20 percent of the operational Syrian air force. That was much more specific information.

Because it was in some ways an in-your-face move by the Russians and the Syrians the next day to fly off the very same air base and to show that, to try to show, anyway, the U.S. air strike had meant virtually nothing in terms of operational capabilities.

So we're now into a confrontation of kind of competition now on who's really having the most impact and is the U.S. able to in any way confine or restrict Syria's capabilities?

LEMON: Is it -- do you find it odd that he's -- that the secretary of state is going to meet with Sergey Lavrov, the Defense Ministry, is headed to Russia, and not meet with Putin? Is that out of the ordinary?

GERGEN: It was clearly intended when Tillerson went, after all, he knows Putin, he got an award from him. So I think it was clearly intended that they would meet. I think Putin is holding back. He make -- I still think he still may meet with him depending on what he gets out of that, you know, the initial conversation with the foreign ministry.

But look, you know, this aftermath, it is a one thing to tell another country like Russia or Syria that you got a president that's a little erratic, you know, that's what Nixon did with Kissinger, they wanted to send a message.

Everybody knows Trump is erratic, the question is does he have a firm, steady hand on the tiller? And I can't tell you, with ships moving toward North Korea, and you know, Sean Spicer and the White House uncertain what, where the red lines, and pink lines, and orange lines are in all of this, it fuels the biggest fear about all of this, and that somehow we can stumble into a conflict that we're not looking for.

LEMON: Yes. And Douglas, on that because it's clearly it is, I mean, a lot of presidents learn on the job, you don't know what it's like until you actually sit behind that desk in the Oval Office. But this is clearly learning on the job.

BRINKLEY: Yes, and we're looking at what is a Trump doctrine, I mean, he did push in his budget proposal $54 million, you knows, defense increase yet he cut the State Department by, like, 28 percent, meaning diplomacy seems to not interest Donald Trump as much as the military.

And you can see that with the amount of advisers he's put, you know, talk about a flip-flop on the campaign with Secretary of Defense Mattis said that he's opposed to torture and waterboarding. Donald Trump on the campaign trail said he was for that. Now Trump's listening to Mattis.

I think we have a president that's listening to our U.S. military more than he is the diplomatic corps.

LEMON: All right, everyone. Thank you very much. When we come right back, President Trump racing to get things done

before the all-important milestone of his first 100 days in office. What has he accomplished so far? And is it enough?

[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Battles between President Trump's closest advisers have some predicting a major shakeup soon.

Let's discuss now. Oliver Darcy is here. He is the politics editor at Business Insider, CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson. CNN politics editor-at-large, welcome, by the way, Chris Cillizza. And also CNN political analyst, April Ryan, the author of "At Mama's Knee."

Well, we have three people. I mean, Nia, you're old school. You've been doing this. Oliver is new to the show. Chris is new to CNN. And so is April. So, welcome, everybody. Nia...

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Good group.

LEMON: Nia, let's help them along.

APRIL RYAN, "AT MAMA'S KNEE" AUTHOR: Thank you.

LEMON: I'm going to start with you. This missile strike on Syria on top of this rocky start to the administration really throws division between the president and his advisers. It puts that division into focus. Who has the presidents he ear at this current moment, you think?

HENDERSON: I mean, quite possibly you, Don Lemon, right? We know this is a president who likes to consume cable news, in some ways even his decision to strike in Syria had to do with what he was seeing on television.

So you have a White House, I think, where the president is consuming a lot of information, consuming a lot of advice from various people of different factions, but there isn't a real hierarchy of who he should be listening to on any particular issue.

So in some ways, it's like this, everybody and nobody in terms of his advisers, and so that's, I think, why you've seen a lot of this chaos. Because there's so many voices in the president's ear at any given moment and he hasn't been able to really sort out what his own ideology is, right?

LEMON: Yes.

HENDERSON: This is a president that didn't come into the White House with any formed policy idea. It was more an attitude.

LEMON: Right.

HENDERSON: And you see this White House now trying to figure out what that means in terms of policy. LEMON: And we're going to shake things up and change everything, and drain the swamp, sort of slogans. Oliver, let's hear some of your reporting because you've been reporting on Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner at Breitbart. What do you know?

OLIVER DARCY, POLITICS EDITOR, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right. So my reporting indicates that senior editors at Breitbart news were told, they told their employees today to lay off the hit pieces on Kushner, to lay off criticizing him directly and if you have to cover him, cover him very, you know, down the middle which is a big drift.

Obviously, last week they were unloading on Kushner as Bannon, who was the former chairman of the web site, was feuding with him. So complete shift.

LEMON: Why?

[22:34:55] DARCY: Well, Kushner allies according to the New York Times had complained to the president and said that we are -- this made by the coverage that Breitbart is giving Kushner and, you know, coincidentally or not, the tone on Breitbart changed quick soon after.

LEMON: Yes, it's interesting, April, this White House is so hyper focused on coverage, especially the coverage of a site like Breitbart. But listen, this -- the White House is divided. I mean, you have team Trump, you have team Bannon, you have team Priebus, and of course, Kellyanne Conway and some of these teams have already lost members who have either been fired or reassigned.

You say this is like a roulette wheel? What do you think is going to happen in the next, you know, 100, 1 days in the shake? Is there a shakeup?

RYAN: Well, let me say this. It could very well be. You have 19 days left or so before you hit 100 and with this president, anything can happen. I mean, think about it, when we first had the Trump administration which seems like three years ago, but 81 days ago there were people who were already in the spotlight to be let go.

And some of those same names keep coming up so you never know with this president because it's -- he's not used to governance and it's almost like it's another TV show again for him.

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: You know, you're in the hot seat today and you pull back, it's something that he knows how to do but what I will say, he is really eyeing two people right now. He's very concerned about Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus from what we're hearing on the inside.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, hold on one second, April.

RYAN: We'll see, I mean, who knows? It could be someone else next week. LEMON: April, this is what, since the very beginning, and you know

this, because you just sort of alluded to it, there was a Reince Priebus has been mentioned as, Reince is, you know, you got the Reince faction, then you got the Bannon faction and Reince is on his way out and you've been hearing that from the beginning. But so far that's all just been sort of just...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Even Sean Spicer.

LEMON: Chatter. Yes. And Sean Spicer, I mean, after the first couple of press conferences. Do you get -- and you're there. Do you get a sense that any of this is actually legit?

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: You do.

RYAN: Most definitely.

LEMON: OK.

RYAN: We understand -- we understand the president was not happy at all with finding out about Bannon being in the National Security Council and he's not happy with the SNL skits with Bannon being the de facto president.

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: So there's a lot going on. It's more than just policy. It's also perception, too.

LEMON: OK. Chris, I want to get you in here because this is a White House press secretary -- this is a White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today about the president, what he thinks of the White House spats. Watch this.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He understands that we have some pretty smart, talented individuals who are opinionated on a lot of subjects but that our battles and our policy differences need to be behind closed doors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So who does he favor? I mean, you know, the policy difference seems to be behind closed doors, but who does he favor, do you think? Who does that favor?

CILLIZZA: Well, I think that you see a little bit of Sean sort of trying to issue a warning, channel Donald Trump and say this has gone too public for me. I don't know who he favors. I mean, I think I return to Nia's point which is it's very hard. Everyone I talk to who, you know, deals with Donald Trump says sometime it's the last person that he deals with.

It's the last thing that he sees on television. I think it's important to remember, this is a guy who started from a base of almost nothing in terms of ideology. He has said so, Don. He said, you know, basically I was one of those guys, I gave money to whoever they told me to give much to help my business.

So he starts from almost zero in terms of domestic and especially foreign policy. That's why the competition to be the chief adviser, the whisper in the ear of the moment is even more sort of treacherous and fraught than it is, and it is a little bit treacherous and fraught in any administration. But even more so now because of the influence you can potentially exert.

LEMON: All right. Stick around, everyone.

When we come right back, what may be President Trump's biggest victory of his first 100 days.

Plus, why did United Airlines forcibly eject a passenger from one of their flights? We'll speak to someone that was on the plane when it happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Today marks an important milestone for President Trump. One that may prove to be the high point of his first 100 days.

Back now with my panel. And back to Nia-Malika Henderson. This was the president this morning at his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch -- Neil Gorsuch is swearing in. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've always heard that the most important thing that a President of the United States does is appoint people. Hopefully great people like this appointment to the United States Supreme Court. And I can say this is a great honor.

(APPLAUSE)

And I got it done in the first 100 days. That's even nice. You think that's easy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So the president is joking, you know, it was hard fought, they had to go nuclear in order to do it. But how significant was this for him in the first 100 day mark?

HENDERSON: It's huge.

LEMON: Within the first 100-day mark?

HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, this is huge. As you said before, this might count as one of his few victories. You saw Sean Spicer today at that podium really trying to frame this first 100 days and listing what they see as the litany of successes talking about the stock market being up 12 percent, talking about border crossings, illegal border crossings being down 60 percent. A rise in consumer confidence.

So they are very conscious of this. I mean, the other numbers that I think are going against them is zero major legislation, 35 percent approval rating. If you compare him to other presidents at this time, Obama 65 percent approval rating at the end of the first 100 days. A major piece of legislation with the stimulus package.

And so you have all, I mean, maybe at some point Syria will count, too, but, again, it isn't clear what the next strategy is beyond that.

[22:44:59] So they are very conscious of this. I mean, in many ways this first 100-day marker goes back to FDR and more right now it's kind of a media construct, it isn't a real thing, but we do know that the president, again, pays attention to this type of metric and measuring sort of stick and it also gets to the fact that this president, I mean, time is of the essence. It doesn't get any easier to get major legislation done as the time ticks away during, you know, during this -- during this presidency.

LEMON: Yes, and what is it, three weeks now, three weeks away, less than three weeks away from the first 100 days. April 29th. So, Chris, how might this administration try to spin it? The consumer confidence, the stock market which is not really an indicator, I don't think, but Gorsuch, that's one.

CILIZZA: Yes, well, it's basically one, two and three, Don. It's the gold, silver and bronze medals, honestly. And for conservatives, that's probably enough. Look, Neil Gorsuch is going to be on that court for decades to come very likely and that's a huge deal.

The best days of Donald Trump's campaign as it relates to unifying the republican base was when he talked about or released a list of Supreme Court justices, so he has done what he promised there. Nia is right, legislatively he's really nowhere. Tax reform sort of stopped or certainly the talk of it has quieted.

LEMON: Yes. I got to...

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: I don't think you're going to see anything big legislatively. So I think it's going to be Gorsuch and some regulations that he has rolled back by executive order.

LEMON: I have a short time here. So just quickly, April, do you think that they'll get tax reform planned in the next, what is it, 19 days? Not 29 days, 19 days.

RYAN: Yes, 19 days. It may not be likely in the next 19 days because you have the freedom caucus is not happy with this. And not only that, it's just like ACA, the devil's in the details with the numbers, scoring of it.

So that's the problem. That's one of the reasons why in this budget, the skinny budget and the even in May, you're not going to see the president come up with deficit reduction or elimination because of the price of infrastructure, the price of tax reform, and also ACA. So it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

LEMON: OK. And I've got to ask just the last thing, Oliver here, with my friend, John King, does. Tell me something I don't know.

DARCY: I think one thing that no one's talking about is how it's going to affect Trump's base.

LEMON: Yes.

DARCY: And I think that depends on how conservative media in large part covers this. And so far, you're seeing them spin it as a huge success every time something happens, you know, the drudge report banners, America great again, and Hannity has been, you know, putting on a screen all these executive orders that he's issued and saying he's been very busy and successful.

So, I think that, you know, whether it affects Trump's base depends on how it's covered in the conservative media.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Oliver. Thank you, April. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Nia. I appreciate it.

RYAN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, reports Fox has hired a law firm to investigate sexual harassment claims against its biggest star. I'm going to talk to the former O'Reilly guest who forced the company's hand with her accusation.

Plus, more eyewitness to the shocking moment when a passenger was dragged off a United Airlines flight. What they say really happened.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Parent company of Fox News reportedly opening an investigation into sexual harassment claims against Bill O'Reilly.

Let's discuss now with former O'Reilly guest, Wendy Walsh who went public with her allegation with the Fox star this month, and her attorney Lisa Bloom. Good evening to both of you. Wendy, hi.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Hello.

LEMON: What are the latest developments regarding your case against Bill O'Reilly? WALSH: Well, last week we've called that hotline. My attorney Lisa

Bloom and I made an official complaint. Curious to see how they would respond and they did respond with a cadre of lawyers who on speaker phone today basically grilled us for two hours. Very detailed. I was just encouraged that they were asking questions. Although, you know, they weren't there to protect me.

LEMON: Yes. So, Lisa, how did the phone call go do you think? Were they -- was it a grilling as Wendy put it?

LISA BLOOM, THE BLOOM FIRM FOUNDER: Well, it certainly was and they asked in a lot of very detailed questions no doubt about it. Let's be clear that this is not an independent investigation, these are four attorneys from the law firm of Paul Weiss which represents Fox News and its parent company. Their obligation is to that company not to any of the women, not to us, not to Wendy.

And nevertheless, as Wendy's attorney, you know, I just think there can't be a wrong without a remedy and her case is four years old. The statute of limitations has run but we had to do something and what we did was take them up on their offer of calling the hotline. And I'm very proud of Wendy she is seeking justice, she's not seeking any money and we expect them to do justice by her.

LEMON: So this is, correct me if I'm wrong, Lisa, but this is the same law firm that conducted an informal investigation into Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News. I mean, as we know he was eventually dismissed from the network. Do you think the same might happen or will happen to Bill O'Reilly?

BLOOM: It is the same law firm. I don't know if investigation is even the right word because it is their job to protect the company. Any woman who walks into that without an attorney is really walking into a lion's den answering questions by the company's attorney.

Many companies will hire an outside agency. I asked the Fox News attorneys today to please do that, do a real independent investigation. They rejected that. As to whether they're going to fire Bill O'Reilly, any other company in America would do that with six complaints including other women who allegedly have recordings of him calling them while he was engaged in sex acts.

Wendy's allegation are that she didn't get a job because she refuse to go to a hotel room with him. This is serious stuff, and of course he should be fired.

LEMON: Wendy, after the New York Times reported that since 200o to a total of $13 million in settlement -- settlements have been paid out to five women, President Trump spoke about this scandal and he said that he didn't think Bill O'Reilly had done anything wrong and he shouldn't have settled. What do you think of that?

WALSH: We are talking about two birds of a feather, two men of a certain generation who have particularly strange ideas about women in the workplace and women their role in their lives. It doesn't surprise me one little bit. And I speak for the five women who are facing financial ruin and

potentially being black balled by the industry and now are silenced, forced to sign confidentiality agreements unable to tell their stories.

You might say that my story is relatively mild but at least I am free to speak. And I can speak for all women in America who suffer sexual harassment in the workplace. Don, I'm here because I want to change the workplace for my daughters. That's the only thing that's in it for me.

LEMON: I want to bring in CNN's senior reporter for media and politics, and that's Dylan Byers. Dylan, good evening to you. Bill O'Reilly has yet to address the controversy on his show. Do you think he should?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, I do think he should. I mean, there's no question that this has gone beyond what I would call your usual media industry story. It's become global actually. I mean, I've seen French media outlets cover this. I've seen the BBC cover this.

I mean, you know, really this is a huge issue and it gets not just to Bill O'Reilly and Wendy and that whole story, it gets to sexual harassment in the workplace. It gets to the corporate culture at 21st Century Fox.

[22:55:00] Remember this is the same media company that dealt with the phone hacking scandal in the U.K. back in 2011, dealt with Roger Ailes just last year. It promised that it was going to be a work environment where there would be zero tolerance for sexual harassment or any sort of behavior that made female in place feel uncomfortable.

These are big questions. And you know, I would also say that in the current climate where so many people are paying attention to what's going on cable news these days in large part because of the political atmosphere. You know, these companies play a sort of leadership role in a way.

And I would just argue that, you know, 21st Century Fox has a duty if not to its secure at least to its shareholders to come out and sort of say what it intends to do about this controversy.

LEMON: Especially with a platform like that where you are indeed shaping public opinion. And this is -- this is quite different than so people understand. This is quite different than the sort of, you know, regular tit for tat or people, you know, if someone makes a controversial statement on their show or says something that is news worthy on their show and then cables other people cover it or may not cover it. This is something completely different. This is much more serious. I mean, go on.

BYERS: Yes. Well, and you know, to that point, I would just point out, you know, the sort of hyper partisan nature of the national conversation right now the way that Donald Trump hasn't, you know, fake news and media outlets you can't trust. And this sort of bifurcated media environment has enabled his

supporters to really get behind him and to sort of discount any argument against him, to sort of say that anyone who attacks him for any reason whatsoever shouldn't be listened to or can't be trusted even if that issue might be very real accusations of sexual harassment. So real in fact that they resulted in payments of $13 million to five different women.

LEMON: It's...

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: Don, can I say something?

LEMON: It's interesting; I don't see where this has anything to do with politics or partisanship, Wendy. Go on.

WALSH: Exactly. This is about gender and this is about American values. What I hear from people all the time is, they are not going to fire him. He makes almost $200 million a year for the network. He's a revenue machine. His ratings have gone up because of the curiosity factor they want to know whether he's going to address this.

And I'm concerned because these advertisers have not pulled their advertising dollars from Fox News. They've simply shift them around. Are they waiting for the heat to die down so they can come on back? The values we need to think about and talk about as good Americans and parents is money and profit more important than women?

LEMON: Yes. You bring up a very good point than I have been thinking this. It's kind of sleight of hand from advertisers. Because again, Fox is still making the money. They have just taken the money from the show and if I had less commercial breaks, ratings might be better as well because tend to tune away during the commercial.

BLOOM: Yes.

LEMON: Maybe that has something to do why his ratings are up as well, although he is a ratings machine.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

BLOOM: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. When we come right back, that shocking video of a man being dragged off of United Airlines flight. More eyewitnesses speaking out tonight.

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