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CNN TONIGHT

Nursing Home Shut Down After Questionable Deaths; Desperation Grows for People in the Caribbean. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 13, 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] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Here's our breaking news and it's a horrific one. Eight nursing home patients die in Florida in the sweltering heat. The home temporarily shut down now. A criminal investigation is underway.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.

The very latest on that story live from the ground just ahead. Anger and frustration in the Keys. People want to go home. They want to go back home but are being turned away by deputies. Look at that. So many homes there are damaged or destroyed. Millions across Florida still without power tonight.

And Hillary Clinton, she had her say with Anderson. Now it's our turn to discuss, quote, "what happened." Is she in need of a reality check?

Plus, the White House calls for an African-American female sports caster to be fired for calling the president a white supremacist. Are they using the bully pulpit against the First Amendment.

A lot to get to this hour, but I want to begin with the deaths of at least eight nursing home residents.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Hollywood, Florida, for us this evening. Miguel, good evening to you. What an awful story. You're outside of the rehabilitation center tonight. What is the latest, what exactly happened?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Look, the story has changed throughout the day as officials kind of dug into this and got better and better clarity on what happened here. The latest version of what they've told us is it's like a house of horrors in that place, it sounds like.

At 3 a.m. last night, they got a call that someone was in distress, they had a heart attack. Emergency services came around, picked him up, took him away. An hour later, 4 a.m., they got another call, this person is having respiratory problems. The sergeant they come, pick him up.

Shortly thereafter, another call. They begin to check this place out and realize that it's too hot, that the residents are not being cared for. They find three people deceased upstairs. They come then to find later that another person earlier in the

evening had been sent to the morgue. The medical examiner for Broward County orders that person returned and discovers that that person died from heat-related causes as well.

In all, eight people are dead now. Twelve are in critical condition, 158 have been evacuated in total. I mean, the death toll here could rise. It is just shocking. Don?

LEMON: It is shocking. I've got to read this. Let me read the nursing home statement. This was from the home administrator and it reads in part, it says, "While our center did not lose power during the storm, it did lose one transformer that powers the air conditioning unit. The center immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and continued to follow up with them for status updates on when repairs would be made. Outreach was also made to local emergency officials and first responders."

So, Miguel, my question is, it seems like a lot of people knew there was a problem at this center but did no one make the connection that help was needed?

MARQUEZ: Even the governor said that the agency for health care administration, the agency that manages these sorts of things is responsible for them was in contact with them for three days, knew that they did not have air conditioning, was told that they were using fans and spot air conditioners to keep the place cool but nobody seemed to actually visit the facility.

This is a place that has had problems for years in the last 12 months alone they've had 120 calls to emergency services. The fire chief saying simply that's too many. So -- and above all that, it's right next to a level one hospital, memorial hospital which has nothing to do with that center but a perfectly good hospital 50 feet away.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It's stunning. Let's put up the map. It's 50 feet away and we had a map of it, I thought, of -- I mean, it's just -- it's unbelievable.

MARQUEZ: Yes. Memorial Hospital is not a small hospital. This is a massive campus. You know, it's a level one trauma center. They handle all sorts of stuff. They were right next door. The governor's statement saying that a Memorial had lent them the spot air conditioners but it seems that nobody at Memorial knew what was going on as well.

When they discovered it, they treated it as a mass casualty operation and rushed dozens of their own people over there in order to bring all the elderly people in the center out. It's just an unbelievable story.

LEMON: It's awful. Miguel, thank you so much. I appreciate that. I should also say that Governor Scott is demanding answers tonight and the state is temporarily shut down the rehabilitation center in Hollywood Hills until further investigation, a further investigation is done also, in addition, there's a criminal investigation as well.

So joining me now on the phone is Ellie Pina, daughter of a resident at the nursing home. Ellie, we appreciate you joining us. I know your mom is in the hospital tonight. How's she doing?

ELLIE PINA, DAUTHER OF ONE NURSING HOME RESIDENT: She's doing good. She had some respiratory problems but she's finally doing good and I spoke to her and she's in good spirits.

[22:05:03] LEMON: Ellie, can you...

PINA: Go ahead.

LEMON: Can you please, sorry to cut you off, can you please describe what conditions were like this week when you were visiting your mom, how hot was it, what was going on?

PINA: OK. I visit my mom every day for a few hours every day so she could have my company and before the hurricane, everything was fine, the air conditioner was working well. They were being well treated, as always.

During the hurricane, I went the next day and I started feeling that the air was not working properly. I asked if they had electricity and they told me that they were working on generators.

I went upstairs, especially yesterday, I went upstairs and it was very hot upstairs, also. I saw the nurses trying to help the patients. They had them -- most of them in the hall outside the rooms and they had air conditioner units, but the portable ones. They also had fans and they were trying to get them all together so they were able to breathe.

I can tell you this. I personally called Florida Power & Light and I have a ticket number 4301, where I several times reported to them the problem in this facility, that they needed help and they -- this is a medical place and they needed -- they need priority as everybody else. What I'm hearing now...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Who did you report that to again? Who did you report that to again, Ellie?

PINA: They -- I reported it to Florida Power & Light.

LEMON: And what was their response?

PINA: Their response was nothing. We'll take care of it. We have orders. We'll be there. And I kept telling them, especially yesterday, that this is a life and death matter. They're in bad condition over there. You need to get over there.

I even mentioned I saw like four or five trucks south of here. Get one of them to go ahead and do something for them until you can get completely to them. LEMON: Yes.

PINA: They need air condition. They are elderly people.

LEMON: Let me read what Florida Power & Light said in a statement, Ellie. "What we know now is that a portion of the facility did in fact have power, that there was a hospital with power across the parking lot from this facility and that the nursing home was required to have a permanently installed operational generator. As we emphasized before and during and after hurricane Irma, we urge our customers who have electricity dependent medical needs and don't have power to call 911 if it's a life threatening situation." So, did you call 911?

PINA: I did call 911. They said they would take care of it.

LEMON: Yes.

PINA: I went ahead and called again Florida Power & Light and I got the same thing, like they were reading a script. I said, you need to get over there. It's a life and death matter.

LEMON: Were members of the staff...

(CROSSTALK)

PINA: If they would have gone yesterday, this wouldn't have happened. This was a crime committed by Florida Power & Light and the officials of Broward County are to blame, too, because if they say they had violations, why don't you -- those violations, and nothing to do with what's going on right now. Nothing to do.

If they had violations, they should have been closed a long time ago. I go there every day and I don't see anything wrong.

LEMON: Yes.

PINA: That's the problem here. These people are dead, unfortunately, because of the neglect of not showing up, Florida Power & Light, when they were supposed to be at that time.

LEMON: And Ellie, again, I asked you in the beginning but I caught you off, there was a bit of a delay, sorry. So your mom is doing OK, right?

PINA: She's doing OK, thank God. And I just -- you know, I'm glad that I've been able to talk to you guys and so that the people out there know the truth of what's going on in there.

LEMON: All right, Ellie.

PINA: It's not the nursing home. It's the official of Florida Power & Light that made the priority better for other people and not for these people. They have a hospital next to them. We have nothing to do with them. Of course they had lights. The other people had lights. But if the facility and me, myself, and other family members report this problem several times, why wasn't this taken care of by now. Now everybody...

(CROSSTALK)

[22:10:03] LEMON: There's a lot of questions.

PINA: They have excuses for what happened.

LEMON: There's a lot of questions when it comes to this but we do appreciate you joining us, and we hope they get to the bottom of and help all other patients who also by this...

(CROSSTALK)

PINA: I hope so, too, because it could happen to you and me again.

LEMON: Ellie, thank you.

PINA: Or our family.

LEMON: Report back to us and let us know how your mom is doing. Thank you so much, OK?

PINA: Thank you so much. Have a great day.

LEMON: You, too. Thank you.

I want to bring in CNN's Ed Lavandera who is in Naples, Florida, tonight. My goodness. What an awful story, Ed. Ed, thank you for joining us. I mean, this goes to speak to what people are dealing with right now. This is an extreme circumstance, but still among the circumstances that people are dealing with tonight. You have been closely following the Florida Power & Light story as well. Did Rob Gould say if the rehab center was considered a top tier facility?

ED LAVANDERA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It doesn't appear that that rehab center was considered a top tier facility. However, the hospital across the street was considered a top tier facility. And just so people understand this is the process that, you know, FPL says that it met back in March with Broward County officials, ahead of storm season, to lay out those top tier facilities.

Essentially, that is what determines what power gets turned on first, what is on the high-priority list after this -- after the storm and their repair process begins but it doesn't appear that that rehab center was on that top tier list.

LEMON: So statewide, how much power has been restored tonight in Florida?

LAVANDERA: Well, you know, it's slowly kind of trickling down. There are 3.1 million customers statewide still without power. That was at the peak of all of this, there was 15 million people across the state who had lost power, that's according to the Department of Homeland Security.

But just to kind of put all of this in perspective, almost 30 percent of the entire state is still without power and it really is debilitating, Don. It just paralyzes what people can do, getting their lives back together, schools opening and that sort of thing. So, it is paralyzing.

LEMON: Ed Lavandera in Naples for us. Ed, thank you. I appreciate it.

When we come back, islands in Caribbean decimated by Irma. The scope of the damage is apocalyptic and CNN is on the ground there tonight.

Plus, Hillary Clinton she's not hiding in defeat. She's coming out swinging tonight and we're going to break it all down for you.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A top British official calls hurricane Irma's devastation in the Caribbean a nuclear landscape. Most of the islands destroyed by the massive storm are still without power with dwindling supplies of food and water.

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner reports tonight on the dire situation in the U.S. Virgin Islands She is on St. Croix.

SARA SIDNER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Don, what we saw on St. John is utter destruction. We started here in St. Croix where everything is pretty much the same. It's pristine. Just a little bit of wind damage. Just 35 miles away on St. John, a completely different story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: On St. John, the smallest of the three major islands, an arguably most ruggedly beautiful hurricane Irma swept away life as we knew it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing left.

SIDNER: Nearly 30 square miles of island wiped out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in our shelter hurricane called hurricane hole. It was about, I would guess, about 200 boats out there in all.

SIDNER: Wait, you were on a boat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on my boat, yes.

SIDNER: How did you survive in a boat of all things?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was lucky. A lot of the boats sunk.

SIDNER: It took life here as well. The struggle for survival, crushing. The suffering, endless. Most of the inhabitance on this island lost what little they have. Most have no means to rebuild without a Herculean relief effort.

So, nothing has been left touched here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just everything been touched. SIDNER: Help is on the way but it's taken far too long. Nearly a week for it to arrive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A week ago today it's all going down, man.

SIDNER: But relief is only trickling in here instead of flooding in. The reason for that is twofold. Communication is nearly impossible here and security is precarious. Crime has shot up, residents say, a dangerous desperation has emerged as human beings try to get their needs met by any means necessary.

A few miles away on another island, more tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to get food, water, gas. It took us three hours just to get ice. The mosquitos and I'm worried about diseases. I don't know if I can do it.

SIDNER: In St. Thomas, the stunning landscape that attracts tourists from around the world is decimated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're getting hungry. I got some water for you.

SIDNER: The sheer force of sustained winds at tornadic speeds turned this island inside out in spots.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: There's a telltale sign that the eye wall of the category 4 or 5 has hit and it's this. There are no leaves on the trees. With wind speeds up to 185 miles an hour, the hurricane has stripped every branch on this island bare.

From St. John to St. Thomas, there is no end to the destruction. Right now, in much of the Caribbean, life is anything but paradise.

Now we're back on St. Croix because there is a curfew on St. John. They want people to leave that island before nightfall and that was partly because there was a serious security problem. People felt very in danger because there was looting that was going on.

That, we're told by those who live there, that has subsided quite a bit because the police are now patrolling the area quite heavily, but for a while there, it was pretty hairy.

Also I should mention that communications are terrible still having a very difficult time not just us but the entire island trying to get communication to other people on a daily basis. Don?

LEMON: Sara Sidner, St. Croix, thank you very much. When we come back, one woman's story of survival on St. Thomas. She'll join us live to tell us about the horrifying conditions she's facing and while she's terrified of looters on the island.

[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Chaos in the Caribbean tonight on the islands decimated by Irma. Many people without power growing concerns about dwindling food and water supplies.

Joining me now by phone is Connie Waddell, a resident of St. Thomas. Connie, we're so glad that you could join us this evening. You moved to St. Thomas, as I understand it, from Florida just over a year ago to live in paradise. The past week has been anything but that. Why did you decide to stay so far?

CONNIE WADDELL, ST. THOMAS RESIDENT: Well, I work for a dentist and that's been on the island for 40 years and, you know, basically, we're trying to -- we just reopened today for a couple hours just to see emergencies. I don't know what's going to happen within the next two weeks.

I probably will be leaving but right now it's just -- there's so much need here, in desperate need for supplies and, you know, we hear of, yuo know, the troops. There's like 6, 700 troops on the ground, FEMA is here but, you know, we haven't seen any of that.

And the desperation of these people are causing, you know -- people are held up at gunpoint, you know, when they're stopping and, you know, these people are fearing for their lives.

[22:25:06] And I understand that the -- you know, how desperate they are but, you know, we fear for our life every day.

LEMON: I understand, Connie, that your landlord brought you a gun, a machete and a can of (Inaudible) to protect yourself?

WADDELL: Absolutely. I have that. I sure do. It's right by it, in the bed with me. Absolutely. Because you just -- you can't take -- you know, the curfew starts at 6 p.m. and it goes to 12 noon. So when 12 noon comes, this island is only 32 miles -- you know, 32 miles square and they - - you have 60,000 cars out at 12 noon.

There's no one patrolling traffic. People are getting very, you know, impatient. You stand in line for three hours for gas. Actually, I was in line yesterday for a bag of ice and I waited and waited and when I got up there, the ice had -- they said it was gone and these people were just really -- they had to take some -- they did have patrol guys up there where you were buying the ice.

But you know, these people are threatening your life, you know, and they found several people with, you know -- armed, and you know, and they had knives on them and things. It's just not safe.

LEMON: Well, I understand as well that, you know, getting ice and also getting water is also terrible. And you know, you can't get your hands on it.

And said that FEMA isn't getting to you and you paid $20 for a -- for that bag of ice that you waited in line for was 20 bucks?

WADDELL: I didn't wait in line. I was leaving the line because we were told to leave and a gentleman had two bags and I asked him, I said, can I buy a bag of ice from you and he said $20 and I took it and I'm -- you know, it was worth every penny, you know, just to try to cool things down that he wants to try to keep but that's not going to happen, you know, after tomorrow.

LEMON: What do you want people to know, Connie, about your suffering and what you're dealing with there?

WADDELL: I just want -- I just want people to know that, you know, we're U.S. territory and we need help. And that if we have that many troops on the ground, they really need to be focused on going on these outer parts, like up in the mountain area where they're distributing the food, and water or ice.

What I've heard, these are local people that live right in that area and they can walk to this place. But by the time you get in the car and you drive, you know, my job is like, maybe a 10-minute drive but it's like an hour and 45 minutes to get there.

No one is directing traffic. You're at your own risk when you leave in a vehicle from here.

LEMON: Yes.

WADDELL: And I just -- I just want everybody to know that we really need the help. I don't know what it's going to take. It's hearsay when we heard about the troops and FEMA here. I have not seen any sign. I've seen maybe a dozen military people. I think they might be from Puerto Rico in vehicles but all I've seen is they were driving.

LEMON: Well, Connie, we hope that people are watching and the government is watching and anyone that can help is watching as well, and you guys can get some relief and some help. Thank you so much. You take care of yourself.

WADDELL: Thanks, Don. Have a good night.

LEMON: Thank you. You, too.

When we come back, we have some breaking news tonight that you want to watch. It is on President Trump's meeting with democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Here's a question. Could he now side with democrats on key issues instead of his own party? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, tonight, the president dined at the White House not with republicans but with democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and the democrats say they made an agreement with him to work on the two most controversial immigration issues, DACA and the border wall.

And person briefed on what happened in that meeting confirms to CNN. But Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is disputing some of their account tonight. So what really happened at this dinner? I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, and

senior political commentator David Axelrod. Good evening. This is going to be a fascinating conversation. So, David Axelrod, you first. We have this breaking news tonight after President Trump's dinner with the democratic leaders.

Those leaders put out a statement tonight and I want to read them, as much of it as we can read. He said, "We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security excluding the wall - excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides." And that's Chuck Schumer.

So, what do you think of this, do -- I mean, I don't know, the president...

(CROSSTALK)

DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes.

LEMON: ... they agreed to enshrine DACA outside of the wall?

AXELROD: What I think is that a lot of people in Washington are going to be walking around with neck braces tomorrow from whiplash because things have changed so dramatically, so quickly.

But look, let's understand something about Donald Trump. He can be a demagogue but he's not really an ideologue. There aren't that many things that he seems to have deep convictions about. The thing he has a deep conviction about is his image as a deal maker, his image as a guy who gets stuff done.

And for the last seven months, he's gone down that partisan road and he hasn't gotten anything done and now he apparently has made the decision that by making these bipartisan deals he can get things done. The real question is, how do the republicans react to this and how exactly, how quickly will the republican leadership put whatever deal was consummated if indeed there was one, on the floor of the Congress.

[22:35:06] LEMON: Yes. I wonder what republicans are doing, to be a fly on Paul Ryan's wall right now would be interesting. So listen, by the way, that statement I read was a joint statement from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. David Gergen, before I read the White House statement, what do you -- what do you make of this?

DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, I'm hesitating on it. But I think we have to separate two things. One, is it good for the country? And I would have to tell you, Don that I think this deal, just like the earlier deal they got, is good for the country.

Look, I work with DREAMers. I think they ought to be here, that DACA was a good idea and getting rid of the wall is a good idea. Having said that, and when you look at the politics of it, it's a very different sort of equation because I think there are going to be a lot of republicans that look at this and say, you know, this guy -- this guy may cut a deal but he gets rolled in the deal. I mean, he gave up the wall and he gave up DACA and what did he get

back in return? We don't know yet but I can't tell you if it's going to be very much. It's going to be some more enforcement. Obama did that. It's not a big deal.

So, he's got, on the deal itself, he got rolled and I think there's going to be a lot of conservatives who are going to be reacting very angrily. He may carry some of it and continue to carry some of his base. I don't think he will pick up a lot of democrats.

David Axelrod can speak to that very well. I don't think this is going to change their opinion of him. And I think he can really have trouble governing on a big issue like tax reform is just around the corner.

LEMON: And I think you're right, you have to see if it's real or not if it's going to be put into practice. But listen, if it is, this is indeed bipartisanship and this is what people all over the country have been hoping for, for so long.

But here's the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders statement pushing back against the idea that they discussed exclusion of the wall. Releasing that statement, saying, "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."

So, where is this conflict likely coming from, David Axelrod?

AXELROD: Well, it may be that they agreed on general language about including additional money for border security without specifying how that border security money would be used. In other words, there would be no specific allocation for the wall but there would be some discretion on the part of the administration about how they used that money.

But I can't stress enough -- first of all, I agree with David Gergen. If this is in fact true, I think it's a great, a great thing for the country.

But I have to say, I listened to Steve Bannon the other night talk about how this could be the thing that triggers a civil war within the Republican Party. And I'm wondering what he and some of those in his faction of the Republican Party are thinking tonight about this report and one thing we've learned about Donald Trump is that nothing's final until it's final.

LEMON: Right.

AXELROD: This is a trial balloon that the democrats launched if in fact the blowback is intense, he could very well walk away from whatever was said tonight tomorrow.

LEMON: And to think that a trend, anything is a trend with this president would be naive. But let's hope that there's some sort of bipartisan consensus and that would be great and, if so, did he should get credit for it and his administration.

AXELROD: Absolutely. LEMON: But maybe, David Gergen, maybe someone has gotten to him and

he realizes that there's more fertile ground for people that he can bring in to the tent other than that small number or the minority number of people who are his strongest supporters.

My question, though, is, is he going to side with Pelosi and Schumer over his own Attorney General Sessions?

GERGEN: Look, he obviously sided with them already on the question of the debt. I have a hard time believing that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi walk out of there and issued a statement that wasn't very close to the truth. I just don't think it was in their interest to put out a statement that mischaracterized the conversation.

So, you know, I will take it until proven otherwise. I think it's a good chance. I think it's likely that this statement that they put out is true.

Now, if David Axelrod has a good point about whether in fact the president wanted to have discretion over how he uses money and he could do it and all that, we'll have to wait and see those details.

But I think overall, this is a second major from the point of view for the conservatives, the second major victory for the democrats and I do think it's going to cause -- I'm not sure if civil war is the right word but I'm just going to call it enormous friction in the Republican Party.

And you know, if republicans don't feel that they have a reliable friend in the White House after the Republican Party just won, you know, the control of the White House and the Congress and increasingly the courts, you know, that's going to be -- it's going to cause an enormous upheaval in the sense that you can't trust the guy and trust still remains very important to politics to governing.

LEMON: Yes, OK.

AXELROD: Here's...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to run, David. I'm sorry.

AXELROD: OK. Go ahead, Don. I'm sorry.

LEMON: That's All right. David and David, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

[22:40:01] GERGEN: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, the one thing that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree on. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We've got some breaking news tonight. And has president -- the question is has the president made a deal with the democrats on DACA and the border wall.

I want to discuss this now with Michael Isikoff, the chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, CNN political analyst April Ryan, and political commentator Matt Lewis.

It's kind of an alternative universe I think at the moment if this is indeed true. So Matt, what do you make of this story and the differing reads we're getting from democrats and then from the White House tonight?

MATT LEWIS, COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think there's a deal made. I think that the distinction is Donald Trump hasn't given up on the border wall. It's just not part of this specific deal. This is so interesting.

I think it's, you know, it's like only Nixon goes to China, you know. If Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan tried to cut a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for DREAMers, they would be pilloried but I think that Donald Trump, that he's so tough on the border, he said horrible thing about immigrants, he gets away with this compassionate deal with democrats, so I think that's part of it.

[22:44:58] But if you look at the polling, the interesting thing is, even among Trump supporters, Trump voters, this -- you're doing something to protect these DREAMers, whether it's citizenship or just not deporting them. That polls about 70 percent even among Trump supporters. So in a sense, it's a no-brainer.

LEMON: Does it among the hard core supporters that you hear out there screaming build that wall, April. And isn't this exactly what the never Trumpers and the people who were telling, you know, the Trump voters or republicans that Donald Trump is not a real republican, he's not a real conservative, he doesn't really believe in anything except for what will get him elected and what will make him win?

APRIL RYAN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: He's not a real republican and he's a democrat converted to a republican. I don't know if you call him dem-pub or pub-dem at this moment. But I go back to something that Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today in the briefing.

She was asked over and over again who was the president representing in this meeting with the dems tonight and he said -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the American people. She didn't say it was about the republicans. It was about the American people.

So, and also, I find it interesting that the president is very upset with his own party and his own party leadership, he will reach out to democrats. So we'll see -- we'll see how the tide turns and how the president feels and when he changes, when the wind changes and how he feels then. So right now it's very historic for -- a historic moment for this president.

LEMON: So the joint statement though that we have here, Michael, is coming from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Right.

LEMON: Listen, if this is indeed the case, this is great. It's bipartisanship. The president should get credit, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer should get credit. But again, the White House -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders is pushing back. You're not.

ISIKOFF: Yes.

LEMON: You buy, you're not.

ISIKOFF: Yes, I think there maybe like Pelosi and Schumer are maybe trying to roll the president here by putting out this statement with their version of what the deal is. But, you know, look. That fact that trump is...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It makes too much sense?

ISIKOFF: ... is even having this discussion, you have to wonder how this is going to sit with not just his base but the people working for him. Steve Miller, a hardcore on immigration, Attorney General Sessions, a hardcore on immigration.

The idea that the president, their president is going to cut deals with Schumer and Pelosi to protect the DREAMers and leave out the border wall, which was central to his -- which was perhaps his single, central message is pretty astonishing. And if it's true, you know, it says a lot about Trump's willingness to abandon his core message with -- during his campaign.

LEMON: So listen, this is from Schumer...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: But, Don.

LEMON: This is his spokesperson tweeting tonight. "The president made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement."

ISIKOFF: Yes. So, I mean, that -- that's plausible, but, you know, to reach this agreement without funding for the wall is not going to sit well with the base and with people like Miller inside the White House.

LEMON: So...

RYAN: But, Don...

LEMON: Go ahead.

RYAN: On the wall issue, on the wall issue, you have to remember, this is not the time for the wall. Particularly as you're looking at what's happening with hurricane Harvey and Irma. How are you going to talk about the wall right now when you're dealing with people who are affected in Texas alone, you have a large population of Hispanic community there?

You talk about building a wall. It does not -- this is not the time and I believe this president understands, you know, this is his key piece that he wanted to push forward but this is not the time. It is not politically correct.

LEMON: April.

RYAN: And it's just not the time, and especially with money as well. yes.

LEMON: I was just going to say, when have you known this particular administration to be politically correct? As a matter of fact, they fight against political correctness. So, Matt, I've got to ask you...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: They do. But let me -- let me this.

LEMON: OK.

RYAN: They are watching the numbers. They are watching their base. They are watching the numbers erode and he understands keenly.

LEMON: That's a very good point.

RYAN: Just like his meeting with Tim Scott, he is listening. So he's got to shift a bit to understand what people are -- the vast majority who disapprove and those who are shifting away from his core base, that he's got to change a little bit.

LEMON: But that's a very good point. That's a very good point. But listen -- and I made that point to David Gergen. The ground is more fertile with the people that he hasn't been reaching, Matt Lewis, but that base, the people who really support him that will come out to all of those rallies, that will absolutely go to the polls for him, how is it going to sit with them?

LEWIS: Well, I think that, you know, we're seeing people like Ann Coulter who is a big supporter of Donald Trump base on, I think she tweeted at one point that she doesn't care if he performs abortions in the White House as long as he deports all of the immigrants.

[22:50:04] I'm paraphrasing, of course. But people like Ann Coulter, Steve King, people who are, you know, sort of single issue restrictionists, immigration restrictionists will not be happy with this. That is a very small contingent, though, I would say.

Remember, Donald Trump also said I can stand on 5th Avenue and shoot people, shoot somebody.

LEMON: In the middle he said.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: In the middle, yes. LEMON: I'll just shoot in the middle.

LEWIS: And my supporters would stick with me. So I think that Donald Trump is so beloved right now. He is the only game in town if this is your issue. So I think that he is -- I think that he's got a lot more leeway with his base than we think.

LEMON: OK. All right. Listen, so what have we talked about when it concerns that. But Hillary Clinton today giving lots of interviews, talking about what happened. But we're going to find out. I mean, I have to ask, is she in need of a reality check? Is everything she is saying true?

And also the president is tweeting about it tonight. We'll show you the tweet and we'll discuss this coming up right after this.

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: My colleague Anderson Cooper is sitting down with Hillary Clinton discussing the consequences of her presidential election loss. President Trump came out of that dinner meeting with the democrats that we have been discussing and started tweeting about it immediately.

Back now with my panel, Michael Isikoff, April Ryan, and Matt Lewis.

So, here is what the president is tweeting, Michael. "Crooked Hillary Clinton blames everybody and everything and herself for her election loss. She lost the debate and lost her direction."

ISIKOFF: Well, I don't think she lost the debates. So I think most people thought she won the debates. But, you know, there is some truth in what the president is saying there. She is blaming a lot of other people, principally FBI Director Comey for her loss.

And while she is taking some responsibility for her own mistakes, I don't think people think she is taking full responsibility for them and don't really think the way she is sounding now that her admissions of her own mistakes are all that sincere.

So, yes. Look, Hillary Clinton has been playing to her base in these interviews as just Donald Trump plays to his base. I'm not sure she is persuading a lot of people who weren't already convinced.

LEMON: Well, Matt, it's interesting sitting there having lived through it and covered both campaigns. I was on the campaign trail with him, and then just watching these interviews. And that, you know, I looked up at the interview and there were I could point to probably three or four interviews that I did at Trump Tower that looked very similar, soft lighting, you know, and the setting and 50 or more probably from other networks.

Hillary Clinton didn't do that during the election. Donald Trump would call them up and say can you do an interview, can we come to Trump Tower and he would say, yes. Hillary Clinton didn't do that during the election. He flooded the zone. She picked and chose who she wanted to do an interview with and she

didn't think you were substantial enough figure or did not, you know, want to-do it. She just would -- she wouldn't do it. That's her fault. That's not the media's fault who she's blaming.

LEWIS: Absolutely. And I think that is a microcosm of the problem that she had in this campaign is like when a football team is up, you know, by a couple of touchdowns they start planning the prevent defense which usually prevents them from winning, you know.

You try to protect the lead and you play very conservatively and you play it safe and I think that's basically what she tried to do. She thought she was probably going -- probably going to win. She didn't take any chances. This might factor into her personality, as well. And of course, Donald Trump was out there sort of gripping and experimenting and trying things.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Donald Trump was on Fox. Donald Trump was on NBC. Donald Trump was on MSNBC. Donald Trump was on ABC. Donald Trump was on CBS. Donald Trump was on every single person who pretty much asked him for an interview...

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: And it's interesting...

LEMON: ... which was a smart. And fought back when there were huge accusations against him. And he fought back. Listen, I have to give credit where credit is due. I'm sure initially he didn't want to do an interview with me because my last interview with him was on the night that Bin Laden was killed. And we had a huge back and forth about the birther issue.

And so, I spoke with him. My producer spoke with him. My booker spoke with him and we talked about it and there I was doing interviews with him. Hillary Clinton never, ever did that. She was too safe. She didn't hit back at him as much as she could have during the debates. That's her fault. That's not anybody else's fault but hers. April?

RYAN: Wow.

LEMON: It's the truth.

RYAN: Well, first of all, Don, I didn't get any -- well, wait a minute. I didn't get an interview with Donald Trump. I asked and I continued to ask and I haven't gotten one yet. So you are wrong on that piece. But let me tell you where you are right.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, not exactly but go on. Go on. I take your point.

RYAN: Well, let me say this. Hillary Clinton, I'm not going to say she played it safe. I'm going to say she played it the way it had been played before. Donald Trump came in like a bull in a China shop and just took it over. He changed the game.

And, you know, she and other people kept saying, you know, he is not going to win, he is not going to win, but he won.

LEMON: OK. But that's the point, April. She's playing it in a time that no longer existed.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: And it was not expected. So she played -- she played the game the way it used to be played.

LEMON: Exactly.

RYAN: She played the game the way it used to be played and not only that, James Comey changed the game, too.

LEMON: Absolutely. That's all truth.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: So there was couple of things I do agree.

LEMON: And don't get me wrong.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: Listen, she has some very legitimate gripes and concerns.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: And she should be able to tell her story. You know, the FBI, the James Comey piece...

(CROSSTALK)

[23:00:00] RYAN: Exactly.

LEMON: ... and all of that. But still, she didn't read her opponent and her folks didn't read it, as well, and the situation. She just simply didn't do it. Why can't you just say that I did not run a good campaign. I ran a campaign that could have been run four years ago or eight years ago.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: People view...

LEMON: But not in that...