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Trump: I Like Chaos, It Is Really Good; Trump Sparks Fears Of Trade War; Gun Debate Takes Back Seat In Congress; Mueller's Potential Subpoena List; Trump Organization May Be Misusing Presidential Seal; The Oscars Get Political. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired March 5, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Sparking fears of a trade war that could tip the global economy into turmoil. That is on the date a former Trump campaign aid Sam Nunberg said he refuses to comply of a grand jury subpoena of the Russian investigation. He did an all-day marathon on TV instead, eventually, going onto say well, he may corroborate. All this is proving that the only thing you can count on in this White House is chaos. You know who says he is fine with the chaos? The president himself. I want to bring in New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, P.J. Crowley who is a former assistance secretary of state under President Obama and author of "red line" American foreign policy in a time of fractured politics and failing states, thank you both for joining us here this evening. Never a dull moment it seems, Nick, the first question goes to you. I want to talk about chaos that we are seeing on the White House. Everyday there seems to be something new here. We are watching the same numbers on the poll today, do you have trouble keeping up? I do it every single day.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: You think after a while it is going to come down and the White House loses more experience and people definitely recruiting others and this may actually accelerate. I guess what really strikes me is that given the difficulty on trade policy, for example, President Trump's inability to listen to advisers or rational evidence based past, you wonder how indeed he is going to handle North Korea's policy, real war, that I found really scary. A trade war we can eventually disentangle ourselves from. A nuclear chain with North Korea, we can't.
LEMON: Interesting. Let's talk about policy, because I believe Nick is right on here when he talks about that on those tariff and how it may impact our policy. Let's take a look at what Paul Ryan said today, the house speaker's his office comment on this.
He said, we are extremely worried about the consequences of the trade war and we are urging the White House to not advance with this plan. The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains. Speaker Ryan is concerned of what a trade war would do to the economy. What does this all say of the role of this policy?
P.J. CROWLEY, SERVE IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, I served four years on the National Security Council staff at the White House and you know setting aside the merits here it seems to me that it is probably going to cause us more jobs than saves. This is something that is a priority for the President, he evidently believed this for 30 years and there is also a failure of not only on the merits but also a failure of the process. If the President is going to do this, there is a good way to do this, he does not set an impromptu meeting with few executives and they know just impulsively announce the tariffs. He is out making a speech at a steel plant, Secretary of State and advisers and engaging with allies and how to understand what the initiative means and does not mean. And how he has economic advisers on Wall Street, trying to make sure that the markets don't over react as they end up doing. We have a situation where we don't know the details yet. The ship is still on the piers, but it has already taken out water, making a very difficult to achieve this objective that this was the president wants to do.
LEMON: The President was asked about speaker Ryan's warning. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do about trade war? Are you going to back down with the tariffs?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, we are not backing down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
2LEMON: Listen, now that their reports tonight nick that the economic adviser Gary Cohn is planning a meeting this week between the President and representatives from the industry that could hurt the Trump's tariffs. Do you think the President could be swayed?
KRISTOF: Boy, I sure hope so. If it is limited to steel and aluminum, that is manageable. The impact on the economy would actually be pretty manageable. The real risk is twofold, one that Europe responds and other countries would respond. The other is this leads President Trump in the re-negotiation of NAFTA to take a hard line and causes NAFTA simply to fall apart and collapse. In either of it happens then the damage -- just goes all through the economy and undermines it at a time when it is should be really be strong.
[23:05:0] LEMON: P.J., I believe you have a response to that. You are shaking your head.
CROWLEY: I completely agree with what Nick just said. I mean even today the President, you know, said well maybe we won't include Canada if they agreed to re-negotiation on NAFTA of President Trump's term. Whether you are talking about Canada or Mexico, every time, the President intrudes publicly into the NAFTA negotiations he actually makes negotiations of a balance deal that is good for the United States and good for Canada and Mexico. Updates NAFTA as necessary. If NAFTA does collapses, out the window goes the Rosie economic assumption that the administration used for a number of initiative including tax reforms. LEMON: I want to talk about Russia now, U.S. state department is yet
to use tens of millions of dollars in funding that lawmakers allocated to counter Russia misinformation and propaganda, Rex Tillerson has left almost $80 million on the table for months. What do you suppose it is taking him so long, why is he taking so long Nicholas?
KRISTOF: You know, this is in unfathomable, but it is part of a much broader pattern of unfathomable behavior by President Trump towards Russia. The way he defends Putin and the way he changes his Republican platform and the failure to respond to our Russian attack in our election system. The failure to tell Admiral Mike Rogers to give him the authority of the U.S. Cyber command to respond and confront Russia on these attacks. Now we find that the state department has $120 million and spends zero, I guess it seems part of this is a broader pattern that I think is explicable unless if there is another part of the puzzle that we don't see which is some kind of leverage that Moscow has over President Trump.
LEMON: P.J., intel chiefs are warning about Russia in 2018 midterm elections ironic because this administration to act, folks are wondering if this had anything to do with the President reluctance to acknowledgment or even respond to Moscow's interference. The state department officials pushing back to say that the delay because Tillerson wants to do a careful review. What do you think of this?
CROWLEY: I think there are three things going on here. I mean first of all, the fact that the President is not leading a conversation about helping us protect the integrity of our electoral process that is Presidential malpractice. Secondly, he has not learned from the experience of George W. Bush and Barack Obama both who made a significant effort to do business with Vladimir Putin and by the end of their respective terms were disabused that there could be cooperation's. I don't mind the fact that President Trump has tested that waters, but now when you look at just the interference of 2016, you look at what's happening in Syria and what's happening in Ukraine and what's happening in North Korea, and we do need a 2whole of government strategy on confronting Russia. It is not a new cold war.
At the state department, you have this global engagement centered. They have been focused primarily over the past several years on countering violent extremists and they have been given some money but they have no Russian speakers and no Russian expertise and the backdrop of this is that as the state department is increasing its global responsibility, Tillerson is trying to cut the state department's budget by anywhere from 15 percent or 30 percent. You got a hemorrhaging of experiences and talents in the state department. So I think there is real capacity there and given an important mission. They just need time to be able to build up the ability to do it.
KRISTOF: Of course, I agree with that and this is a context in which Russia seems to be preparing to interfere with our elections this year which they attempted to hack into 31 different states, electoral systems and the idea that we would be so passive in the state department and the U.S. Cyber command and its White House, I find it just inexplicable. LEMON: I want to ask you about the gun legislation in which in
Parkland. This has been three weeks. There has been zero gun legislation at the federal level. Lawmakers falling on the same cycle as they do every time we have one of these mass shootings now.
KRISTOF: I think they are. There will be a little bit of movement at the state level and Oregon just passed some state measures. There may be some measures on the state level on Florida, but we are missing such an opportunity here and you see 96 percent and even a gun owning households in America favoring universal background checks.
[23:10:10] This is something that is not even on the radar for congress. Maybe the federal government will move on bump stocks or do this next system and improving the database. These are just tiny baby steps in a context in which during your show more Americans will die of gun violence than die all year in Japan from guns.
LEMON: This fix in bump stock, they should do whatever they can but that is a sort of a fake out that is head fake by lawmakers?
KRISTOF: It does not really address the fundamental problem. One American dies every 15 minutes of gun violence. That is not going to change anything that they are talking about.
LEMON: Thank you Nick. Thank you P.J. I appreciate both of you.
When we come back the former Trump campaign (inaudible) Nunberg refuses Mueller subpoena saying because of a block response to Mueller subpoena, screw that. But will he agree to testimony in congress?
LEMON: Former Trump campaign aid Sam Nunberg says he will not appear in front of a grand jury even if serve a subpoena. He then went on to give a series television interviews. What does Robert Mueller think of all this. Let us discuss, CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin is here he is Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the justice department. National security analyst Juliette Kayyem is a former official at the department of homeland and security and Kim Wehle is a former assistant U.S. attorney and former associate independent counsel in the white water investigation.
[23:15:05] I am so glad all of you are here this evening. It is a significant story and deserves a lot of discussions here. Juliette, Sam Nunberg gave at least seven interviews today and three of them are from CNN. Here is how he responded to being ask if he thinks Mueller's team has something on Trump. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: The way they asked about his business dealings, the way they asked if you had heard anything everyone during while I was fired, it just -- it just made me suspect that they suspect something about him.
Now Gloria he may not have very well done anything. You know why, Trump may very well done something during the election with the Russians.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What makes you --
NUNBERG: If he did that, I don't know. If he did that, it is inexcusable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What do you think of these interviews?
What do you think of this, Julia?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They're obviously entertaining and I don't think it is credible or move the needle that much. What I take away from it is Nunberg is giving us a window and a good window in where Mueller and the team are heading and what they are asking about. We have not gotten someone leading the interview being as explicit as him and I am assuming he is telling the truth of what's happening and at least tells all of us that this investigation is really at the core about Trump and his family. That is what those questions were about and that is what Sam was disclosing and that is -- I think that is why tomorrow morning, we'll all wake up to a series of tweets in response to this.
KAYYEM: I can predict that much.
LEMON: What do you think, Michael, what does Mueller want to hear from Nunberg?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Can I say as an overarching matter and I watched that interview and my fundamental response to it is sadness. I am hoping that there is somebody out there who's a friend that'll keep an eye on Sam. It made me concerned for him. I wanted to say that because it is been weighing on me. In respect to your specific question, Mueller I thought -- the thing that Nunberg said to me that was most compelling was he is interested in Roger Stone's relationship with WikiLeaks, because that makes sense to me if Mueller's fundamental responsibilities in this case is counter intelligence and he issued indictment of social media part of this and Facebook and twitter and now he is going to look at number two of the hacking and the domestic hacking of Podesta and the DNC.
He thinks perhaps relate to that Roger Stone may have information on it. I think that is what drove Nunberg so off the rocket today because he tried to protect his friend and that is what he thinks is in jeopardy here. I think what we learn today is part two of the counter intelligence investigation is going to be looking at the hacking and as of the social media and now hacking, we are going to look first to that outside coming in and then we'll look to see anyone on the inside cooperate on the way out. That would be analytics of Jared Kushner on the social media stuff and Roger Stone and Don Jr. in communications with WikiLeaks. That is what I see.
LEMON: Kim, Adam Schiff, wants Nunberg to testify in the house intel committee, do you think he'll do that.
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANCE U.S. ATTORNEY: I think it is impossible to tell base on his behavior today, I think the threat of contempt before the grand jury refusal to testify.
LEMON: Do you think he should do it?
WEHLE: It is a much serious circumstances. Should he testify before congress? I said before that I think there are some liability in testifying before congress if you appear before the Mueller investigation, so you know how I would advise him as a lawyer is what's best for the country is another. What I think is really a concern here is that we had and we have Russians that are interfering with our democracy and we have two branches of government that is not functioning. The executive branch and the legislature. The judiciary is extremely important and the fact that this incident demonstrates and contempt for the process is a problem. I would expect that Mr. Mueller would make sure there are compliance of all the witnesses that he calls for the grand injury. The system sustains itself.
LEMON: I want to talk about something that is significant that he was asked about that June 2016 meeting. It looks like it may be the center of Mueller's investigation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[23:20:10] JAKE TAPPER, AMERICAN JOURNALIST CARTOONIST: President Trump says he knew nothing about the meeting, do you think that is true?
TAPPER: You don't think that is true?
NUNBERG: No. Jake, I have watched your news report, you know it is not true. He talked about it the week before and I don't know why he did this. All he had to say was yes, we met with the Russians. The Russians offered us something and we thought they had something. And, that was it. I don't know why he went around trying to hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Julia, how significant is that response?
KAYYEM: I think it is significant in the sense that a lot of us have suspected from the beginning. It seems unconceivable that meeting would take place and Donald Trump would mention the disclosure the next couple of days. That meeting took place of his top adviser and including his son. Whether Sam Nunberg knows for a fact or extrapolating from the way the campaign worked or the way Donald Trump works with his son or the way the interest that Donald Trump would have. Donald Trump's disclosure over the next couple of days, once you put two and two together, it often does equal four in some stage and I think Sam was sort of picking up on that. I have long thought that meeting was relevant and not so much for the attempt of the campaign to get the information whether that happened or not but the lying about whether Donald Trump knew about it is the more significant part and I think a lot of data points are now suggesting that is exactly what happened. He either knew simultaneously or immediately after.
LEMON: We got a lot more to discuss and I want all of you to stick around. When we come back, who else is mentioned in Sam Nunberg's subpoena and what that list tells us about where the investigation is going?
[23:26:32] LEMON: Former trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg did a lot of talking today to CNN and several other media outlets, but he also releases subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller. Back with me now Michael Zeldin, Juliette Kayyem and Kim Wehle. Kim it is interesting that we have a copy of this subpoena. Robert Mueller's team is asking for all communications between Nunberg and Trump's associates, carter page, Corey Lewandowsky, Donald J. Trump, Hope Hicks, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick gates, Roger Stones, Steve Bannon, I mean that is a lot of who's who and Trump's closest allies or associates here. What does the subpoena tells us about the investigation Kim?
WEHLE: One thing that I did learn from the White water investigation is what's happening inside is different than from what the public or media understand. That being said, we can all tell a story about of everybody up on that screen at this point. The question is whether it is going to lead to the President of the United States. The meeting in June of 2016, that was just discussed as important of additional reason which is that if Mr. Trump was aware of that meeting could create liability for aiding or abetting, the WikiLeaks leaking which was actually a crime or in addition of obstruction of justice. It is quite serious of a criminal matter and we open the question whether the President could be indicted. Clearly the Mueller investigation is getting closer and closer to the upper echelons of our executive branch right now.
LEMON: When you see that list Michael, what do you have in mind?
ZELDIN: Well, Nunberg left the campaign in 2015, so a lot of these guys, Lewandowsky, Page, they are early members of the campaign. I think that this is an effort by Mueller to understand the origins of the Trump campaign and their evolution and that may include who they communicating with. What are they communicating about? I am not sure if it paints a picture of obstruction or collusion or indictable offense or anything like that. I say this more broadly base as an effort of Mueller to understand foundational stuff as this campaign got underway and from that, he'll extrapolate and make the determinations.
LEMON: Juliet, you have been reading the tea leaves. Most of what you have said, you predicted correctly. When you look at this list of names and they were actually tea leaves, how would you read that?
KAYYEM: I think very similarly which is clearly this is the inner core of the Trump's team. I think it is interesting that the family is not on that list and so you sort of wonder why not. And where this investigation is going. I think the most interesting character, there are two interesting people in that list sort of standing out. One is Roger Stone. There is a lot going on with Roger Stone including his communications with WikiLeaks and what WikiLeaks was going to do and the question is how much of that did he communicate to the campaign and who knew that in the campaign. I think we constantly need to be looking at Roger Stone as someone that is sort of a lynch pinch in this dynamic and the other is of course Hope Hicks who is now about to leave, maybe kept a diary and she is young and she is in the inner circle and she has parents who may be urging her to get out of this mess that she may have found herself in. I sort of -- well, keep my eyes opened to see what Hope Hicks' moves are considering the investigation will have a lot of interests in her at this state.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: You know Kim, Nunberg also deny having any communications with former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter page, and he believes Carter Page was colluding with the Russians. The White House really wants the word collusion to go away, but now there seems to be a new angle on collusion.
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANCE U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, collusion should really go away just because it is criminal investigation, collusion is not a crime. Conspiracy is a crime, aiding and abetting, another crime is a crime. And at this point, it is difficult to determine whether anything that this witnesses is saying is something that we should all put a lot of faith in. It certainly suggests after the grand jury testimonies, prosecutors decided they need these documents. They wanted to see if he communicated with other members of the campaign and who knows what he said in the grand jury and if these e- mails are going to be consistent or inconsistent of what he said in the grand jury.
LEMON: Michael, this is a report from The New York Times reporting that Mueller's team is investigating in there is any attempt by the United Arab Emirates to gain influenced by donating money to Donald Trump's campaign. Previously Mueller's campaign appeared to be focus on Russia, is he expanding the probe now or is it apart of it, the scope?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The mandate uses the word Russia in the first sentence when it say counter intelligence, remember the mandate says Mueller is to continue the counter intelligence investigation that Comey testified to in March, that is the Russia counter intelligence investigation, but within that mandated, he also said he may look into other matter that had arisen of. In the course of his Russia, counter intelligence investigation, he sees evidence that are similarly situated or made themselves have been coordinating, I think that is part of his mandate. If it is completely untethered to that, I think he has to go to Rosenstein, and say we come across this, what does you want us to do? Whether he wanted Mueller to continue with the work he comes across.
LEMON: At one point Nunberg today called James Comey pathetic and he was a disgrace and deserved to be fired and he called Mueller honorable and professional. What do you make of that, Kim? WEHLE: I mentioned it before and I think other guest mentioned this
particular person is not in a position where he is making measured comment and any lawyer would not recommend that he basically be speaking to multiple networks as if they were his personal therapists about his off the cuffs used on this things. I would not put a lot of stock in him and as I mentioned before, we don't really know and it is like reading Moby Dick every 35th page of the book trying to piece together exactly what is happening inside the Mueller investigation. I don't think Mr. Nunberg is really a great indicator of the kind of careful work they are doing.
LEMON: You want to say something Julia?
KAYYEM: Don, can I just say one thing? I think it is an incumbent and maybe because I am a female. Sam also said some horrible things about Sarah Sanders. I just think we should -- people may feel sorry for him or maybe he was drunk. I am no fan of Sarah Sanders, it is incumbent at us to be outraged at that as well. I just wanted to say that because it is horrible things that Giuliani should not be saying stuff like that about Hillary Clinton and Nunberg should not be saying things like that about Sarah Sanders.
LEMON: Yes. She he did tell that he was not talking about her weigh, and you notice I didn't bring that up in the discussion, because I thought it was just out of bounds.
KAYYEM: It is outrages.
LEMON: Real quick. I got to go.
ZELDIN: The one thing you have to keep in mind about this man, Nunberg, his opinions matter not at all. It is only the facts that underlie, the basis of those opinions of what of interest to Mueller. What matters of what Bannon thinks is irrelevant. What he know factually is all that matters to Mueller.
LEMON: Well said. Thank you, all. I appreciate it.
When we come back. What the Trump's organization is doing now that could be in violation of the law.
[23:39:04] LEMON: A report tonight the Trump organization maybe violating federal law over used of the presidential seal. I want to bring in now Eric Umansky he is a deputy managing editor of ProPublica co-host of the podcast Trump's incorporated. And Richard Painter the former White House ethics lawyer. Gentlemen, good evening to you. ProPublica, Eric is reporting that the Trump's organizations have ordered dozens of 12 inch replicas of the Presidential Seal to use as a marker of Trump international golf course, federal law says it is pretty clearly here that he presidential seal cannot be used for any purpose which implies the endorsement of the federal government. So fill us in, what mark can you tell us about this story?
ERIC UMANSKY, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, PROPUBLICA: Well, I think the key thing is we ask readers to help us out on the podcast to investigate, Trump Inc. with us WNIC with our partners.
[23:40:00] We had a tip that Presidential seals have been ordered by Trump's organization to be used as golf tee markers at a Trump's golf course. That is the basic of it. It turns out indeed, using Presidential seal for commercial purposes is a criminal act, punishable by up to six months in jail.
LEMON: Richard, I am sure you see a few problems here.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Yeah, we had one incident where somebody was using the Presidential seal when I was in the White House and one of my co-counsels in the White House counsel office wrote him a letter and let him know very clearly that you do not use the Presidential seal that way. You could get into some very serious trouble and yes, there are criminal penalties. The idea that the President of the United States would allow his businesses or perhaps himself instruct his own businesses to use the seal, golf tees, this is really -- this is disgusting and it is illegal. They can get into serious trouble for that. The President is there to serve the country. This is a public office. It is not there -- he is not there for the enrichment of the Trump's organization. The presidential seal should not be used in that manner.
LEMON: It appears it is all about the money. You said it could get into trouble. What kind of trouble, Richard? 2
PAINTER: This could be criminally charge. This is intellectual profit of the United States the presidential seal, it belongs to the United States, the government. You don't just put government and stick it on your commercial goods that you want to sell in a store on your golf tees. You don't do that. He could get in trouble. The Trump's organization could get in trouble for this. What's more important is the message is being sent here. Public office is being used for private gains. Whether it is use of the Presidential seal or the President receiving payments from foreign government or his son is running all over the world cutting business deals while they're talking about United States government business. Jared Kushner meeting with banks and the White House and those banks are giving good deals to his family. All of this -- it has hypocrisy written all over it. Used of public office for private gaining in an extreme. That is a travesty for our country.
LEMON: Aside from the golf tees, do we know about any other conflicts of interest between the president and his family dealings?
UMANSKY: We know the President repeatedly using the purge of the presidency to promote his own businesses. That is not a secret. We did not need to do a big investigation about it. He is done it out in public. To give an example after the violence in Charlottesville, he had a press conference, one of the things he said, I have a fine winery in Charlottesville and people should visit. He mention his golf courses in speeches, of course he stays at his hotels and retreat for 100 plus days now. He is repeatedly invoking and using his place in the oval office to cite and promote his businesses and plus, there are direct money line such as when they double the fees at Mar-a-Lago after he was elected President. LEMON: Interesting right? Richard, I want to turn to the Wall Street
Journal the reporting of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen complained to friends that he has not been reimbursed for paying porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen said that he paid her $130,000 as part of the non-disclosure agreement. She agreed not to speak about alleged affairs she had with Donald Trump in 2006. Cohen has said that he made the payment completely on his own to protect Trump. What's your reaction to that payment from Cohen?
PAINTER: First of all, he should not be surprised that he does not get paid. Donald Trump did not pay his trades people in New York and he stiffed a lot of people. The idea that he is going to stiff the lawyer that is nothing new particularly for this payment to the porn star to keep her mouth shut. But, one of the concerns I have and we have raised this, we wrote a letter to the government of ethics about that, -- that was supposed to be on the President's financial disclosure form. It is not on the president financial disclosure form.
[23:45:02] What's going on there? Because he is required to disclose all of his assets and entities that he owns. He has a secret LLC for slush money to porn stars. What other secret LLC does he have that were not disclosed in violation of federal law and that is just the beginning of it? This is typical of the way things have been done in this administration. A lot of secrets and side deals and whether it is porn stars or Russians or whatever else, very little disclosure and a lot of people lied about it, but I will say once again I don't think Mr. Cohen ought to be surprised that he is not getting paid. He is got to get in line with everybody else that Donald Trump owns money to.
LEMON: Richard, Eric, thank you. I appreciate your time. When we come back Hollywood getting political at the Oscars, we'll bring you all the buzzy moments and the creator of #Oscarsowhite will join me to discuss next.
LEMON: The 90th Oscar ceremony has come and gone. I want to talk about the memorable political moments with April Reign. We have April Ryan here. Forgive me. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALIST: I'm humbled to be --
[23:50:00] LEMON: Creator of #oscarssowhite and CNN political commentator Angela Rye and Alice Stewart. So I'm going to start with April because I screwed up her name.
The Oscars, plenty of political moments and performances. Last night a performance by common and Andrea Day, performing the song, stand up for something from the film Marshal. Common called out the NRA in his rap. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMON, ARTIST, ACTIVIST: On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell. A land where dreamers live and freedom dwells. Immigrants get the benefits. We put up monuments for the feminists. Tell the NRA they ain't god's way. And to the people of Parkland, we say I say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He is talking about Parkland. What's your take on that, April?
RYAN: I think it was fantastic. It is imperative that public figures and celebrities use the opportunity that they have when they have it with their platform to speak out on social justice issues. Not only was common and Andra Day there, but behind them were Dolores Huerta, Patrice from the black lives matter movement, Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood. Tirana Burke, the founder of the "#metoo" movement. It was incredibly powerful statement that they were in fact standing with these women.
LEMON: Alice --- Lupita Nyong'o and -- are both immigrants and they gave a speech paying tribute to dreamers. Here's some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUPITA NYONG'O, ACTRESS: Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Beautiful examples, I thought. Alice, what do you think?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think they were phenomenal, and I think his statement following up with what she just said was stating that he was from Pakistan and Iowa, two places that people in Hollywood wouldn't be able to recognize on a map because so many times they're so focused on Hollywood and what they have going on there, they don't understand what's going on in middle America, in the heartland of America, because they're so focused on themselves. Let me just say on this NRA comment, what common said about the NRA getting in god's way, it's the hypocrisy in Hollywood sitting there with armed guards around them to be trashing the NRA. I applaud the NRA's response that they put to that, saying let's stand up for our veterans. Let's stand up for our heroes. Let's stand up for those who fought for our freedom. Let's stand up for those who gave their lives and blood for Hollywood's opportunity to give their free speech. I just think the hypocrisy of these celebrations are so obvious.
LEMON: Go ahead, Angela.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Alice, are you on retainer? Like last week we were sitting right here. We're not in the same place. We were sitting right here on this show, and you did this same NRA public service announcement. Like these folks are wrong as two left shoes. They are wrong. This isn't about the NRA standing up to protect people in Hollywood. This isn't about people who are out of touch. The NRA is out of touch. Like if you don't know anything else right now, let's lay partisanship aside. Let's lay all of this aside and say, kids have died. The NRA is out of touch. They are in god's way. Common had it right, right? Like we didn't need anybody to tell us that. We don't need you on here telling us how amazing the NRA is. They're not. They're terrible. They are terrible. And it's high time that somebody that wasn't just standing up for the second amendment -- and we don't even have time to unpack all of that. But it's high time that there is an organization that competes with them to say, we are not going to allow you to buy public service. That is not for sale. You owe everything to this country. You owe public servants. You have to protect your constituents. Like please stop with the -- I can't deal. I can't. Not with the NRA. I just can't do the NRA pass tonight. I can't do. I can't. Maybe it's because my throat is sore. I'm not in the mood. I can't.
STEWART: The hypocrisy of Hollywood to be sitting there criticizing the NRA when they have armed guards --
RYE: Alice do you know where this people are around, Rashid is from Chicago. Like stop. Just stop. I like you as a person, but this is crazy. Stop.
LEMON: Also, Alice, when you talk about armed guards, the people there protecting are police officers. Many of them are retired police officers. Some of them are on the job. They're trained to carry guns. Those are the people who most Americans around the country are saying should be able to carry guns. Most Americans want, you know, very stringent background checks. They want some sort of gun control. The NRA members are a very small minority of what America actually wants. They're holding the rest of us hostage.
[23:55:05] STEWART: First of all, let's not be mistaken. The NRA has 5 million members. People that own guns --
RYE: How many people --
LEMON: But, Alice, the people in the audience weren't packing guns.
STEWART: No. Look, what I'm talking about is tens of millions of Americans own guns. They may not necessarily be NRA members, but they want to have the opportunity to have guns.
RYAN: But the majority of them are saying that they want stricter gun laws. The majority of gun owners in this country say that they want to have stricter gun laws. So what you're saying is antithetical to what we see with respect to the demographics in this country. No one is trying to take guns away, right? Obama left in 2017, so we can get past that. The guns are going to stay. We understand that. But we need to ensure that there is going to be safety for our children, and that is not what the NRA is talking about.
RYE: And for people in places of worship.
RYAN: Also talk about the fact that the NRA is incredibly selective because when we're talking about black individuals being killed, the NRA is silent. LEMON: I've got to run. Listen I have to say, first of all, my
apologies to Kamal because I saw his name on the prompter and it didn't look right. So I miss pronounce your name, but here's the thing. I went last night to the Oscars. I was there this weekend. The only time I embarrassed myself, Angela, was I kind of fanned out for Drake. Tracy Ellis rock laughed at me and I'm sure calling me such a nerd. It was beautiful to be there and for people to raise money. I was at Elton John's Party raising money for HIV and aids research. And folks who stood up talked about the NRA and talked about social justice and immigration.
RYE: Imagine that. They weren't so out of touch after all.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. I will see you soon. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. See you right back here tomorrow.