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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Still Furious of "The New York Times" Op-Ed; Economy's Great Shape Exaggerated?; Donald Trump Responded to the Violence in Charlottesville; Omarosa's Release of Secret Recordings; CNN Poll Shows President Trump's Approval Rating Lower than Other Presidents. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 10, 2018 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We've gotten some things right. We've gotten some things right the right way in the name of progress, but we do have a long way to go.

Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Very well said. And no matter, I think, what you say, you have to be careful. Listen, I'm not a woman, so I can't speak for it. This is my -- that's your opinion, right, and your analysis, and my analysis, my Monday morning quarterbacking.

Look, I grew up in a family I'm the only boy, and for a while there without a dad when my father died. So I know that women are treated -- you know, aren't always treated equally.

But I just know that you've got to, you know -- sometimes it sucks, but you have got to put that face on. It is a double standard. It's awful. It shouldn't happen. But you have to put that face on and then figure out a way to be more strategic because the criticism sometimes can take away from what you're saying just as it took away from Osaka, Naomi Osaka, who we should be talking about right now.

CUOMO: And you know what? You know who did that right? Serena.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Everybody wanted to ask her these questions.

LEMON: No more booing.

CUOMO: She said no more booing. I'm not going to answer the questions.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: She deserved it. And she did.

LEMON: Right. CUOMO: She played amazing. She made history in her own right.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: First man or woman from Japan to win a match like that. Great for her. And your mom is a great woman.

LEMON: Thank you for being so nice to her. I know she--

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: She speaks the truth, Don.

LEMON: No, she doesn't. Not always. She said she watches us equally. Mom, that better not be right. Thank you for being nice to her, though.

CUOMO: Facts first.

LEMON: OK. I got to run, though. But I got it tell you something -- that's all right. I'll tell you later.

CUOMO: OK.

LEMON: It had to do with Serena. That's OK. We'll talk about that later. I'm going to get on the show.

Good to see you. We've got a big storm. So we have to talk about that. Here's our breaking news right now.

Hurricane Florence, an extremely dangerous monster category four storm taking aim at the Carolinas. More than one million people -- one million people -- ordered to evacuate.

We're watching the path of the storm, and we'll be getting a brand-new update on the path and the severity of the hurricane. It's going to come during this show, so stay with us. You want to stay tuned for that. We're going to give you new updates on this. It's major. So be careful, everyone. Lots of warnings there.

It comes as a storm of paranoia, by the way, is battering the White House tonight, just hours away from the release of Bob Woodward book. That book called "Fear" that we have been discussing here.

The publisher says it is printing one million copies to keep up with demand. In the wake of a Twitter tirade by the president, it just seems to be making more people want to read this book.

And apart from excerpts leaked last week, we don't even know what's in the book yet. But judging from the White House reaction, well, they're afraid things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Multiple sources telling CNN the feeling in the president's inner circle is that they're under assault from within from the Woodward book and from the anonymous New York Times resistance op-ed. And in the first press briefing in almost three weeks -- it's been a

long time, seriously. So long that they literally had to dust off the podium. I kid you not. Look at the video right there. They're dusting off the podium.

The White House doubled down on the president's outrageous claim that the Justice Department should investigate whoever wrote that times op- ed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything about what was published by the New York Times that would warrant an investigation by the Department of Justice?

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly if there's an individual, whether or not -- since we don't know who they are, if that individual is in meetings that where national security is being discussed or other important topics, and they are attempting to undermine the executive branch, that would certainly be problematic and something that the Department of Justice should look into.

And in the midst of the witch hunt over "The New York Times" op-ed, with the Woodward book looming, the president's approval rating is plummeting, down to just 36 percent in our new CNN poll.

The White House could choose to focus on some good news, OK? People always say,, you don't tell the good news about this administration. I'm talking about, you know, the surrogates. OK.

So let's give some facts. Unemployment is down to 3.9 percent. The GDP is up to 4.2 percent. There's even growth in blue dollar jobs, up 3 percent over the past year in industries including manufacturing, more growth than in service jobs. And Americans are hearing that message.

Again, facts first. Sixty nine percent in our exclusive new CNN poll say the economy is good today. So those are the facts. We're playing them out. Good news for the economy.

But even when the news is good, it seems that this White House, this president, well, just can't help but lie. I want you to take a look at the president's tweet this morning. Falsely claiming that it's the first time in over 100 years that the GDP is higher than unemployment. OK? That is just not true.

[22:05:10] In fact, in the last 70 years, it has happened in at least 62 quarters, most recently in 2006. That's a fact as well. And by the way, economists will tell you that's an apples and oranges comparison anyway.

So why did the president lie in his tweet when the facts are so easy to see? OK. So here's the chairman of the council of economic advisers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: From the initial fact to what the president said, I don't know the whole chain of command. But what is true is that it's the highest in 10 years, and at some point somebody probably conveyed it to him, adding a zero to that, and they shouldn't have done that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: A top economic adviser forced to admit that the president's claim about the jobless rate and the GDP is false, and saying this about the president's tweets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSETT: I think at a previous presser, I once said that I don't run the council of Twitter advisers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: President Trump is lying, even about good news. You know if someone lies to you about good news, imagine what they do about bad news. And Americans are hearing that too.

Just 32 percent in our new CNN poll say they see the president as honest and trustworthy. The worst read in CNN polling. That's no surprise.

Just last week our friends at the Washington Post reported that President Trump has made a stunning 4,713 false or misleading claims, an average of about eight per day. Eight per day. That was just last week.

Since then we have heard the president double down on one of his favorite false claims, his insistence that he is building a border wall, one he now claims to have spent $3.2 billion building.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've started the wall. Everybody wants the wall. We've spent $3.2 billion on the wall. We've got to get the rest of the funding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Nope, not true. That's a lie. The wall has not been started. Congress has approved $1.6 billion to replace existing barriers and add some fencing in new areas, not to build a new wall. OK? And remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your plan still to have Mexico pay for the wall?

TRUMP: Yes, it will. One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the wall. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Another lie. Mexico's foreign minister tweeting they will never pay for a wall. It's all part of a pattern for a president who seems to think he can rewrite history with his lies. Remember this whopper from the president? This is aboard Air Force One.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to--

TRUMP: You've got to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney, and you'll have to ask Michael.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We know that's a lie. Michael Cohen, who was Trump's attorney, said so in his guilty plea just last month. He said he made payments to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. And he said he made those payments at the request of the candidate. This is Donald Trump.

Well, late Friday night, Cohen offered to tear up the nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels, apparently in an attempt to spare the president from having to give a deposition in the case. And we know what the president's own attorneys think about letting him answer questions.

In one of the early excerpts from his book, Woodward reports that former Trump attorney John Dowd warned the president he could end up in a, quote, "orange jumpsuit if he testifies before Special Counsel Robert Mueller." The White House today trying to call Woodward a liar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: A number of people have come out and said that Woodward never even reached out to corroborate statements that were attributed to them, which seems incredibly reckless for a book to make such outrageous claims, to not even take the time to get a $10 fact checker to call around and verify that some of these quotes happened when no effort was made, it seems like a very careless and reckless way to write a book.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So we always tell you about credibility. We've been talking about when you don't tell the truth and when you just flat out lie so much, how do you have any credibility? How can you believe that when it's the president himself who has lied thousands of times since he took the oath of office?

[22:10:05] Let's discuss. I want to bring in now CNN Global Affairs Analysts, Max Boot and Susan Glasser, and also CNN Politics Editor-at- Large, Chris Cillizza.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much. Chris is there despite the big gizmo in front of him. He's there. Trust me.

So, Max, good evening. The false tweet from the president is, you know, still up, right? It's still up on his Twitter feed.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You got to be more specific, Don. There's so many false tweets from the president.

LEMON: I'm talking about the one in 100 years. The mistake was admitted from the White House today at the podium from one of his advisers, but why is there zero -- I have to record 54.3 million followers that he has, I mean, it just adds to the credibility problem. It's still up there. He didn't say, I got that wrong, how the mistake was made. Or nothing. It's just up there.

BOOT: Right. Well, this is part of the pattern with Trump that he never apologizes and never corrects. He thinks that issuing apologies or corrections shows weakness, and so therefore he repeats lies time and again.

I think this is part of the frustration you hear from administration officials in the Woodward book and in the New York Times op-ed when they're saying that he is crazy and stupid and can't be educated. Part of it is he can't be corrected because he gets these false impressions in his head, and they literally cannot be dislodged.

LEMON: So, Chris, I gave some of the good economic news, the positive economic news, you know, in the open there. The economic story for the president, all right?

So the Washington Post is reporting that under Trump, the jobs boom has reached blue collar workers, which is important.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes.

LEMON: And yet the president still can't get it right when he tweets out wrong information.

CILLIZZA: Yes. A couple things. One, Don, I really do -- people laugh at me when I say this. But I think if Donald Trump never left the White House and never tweeted, which obviously wouldn't happen, he'd be pretty popular in that traditionally good economic news, people feeling confident about the economy almost always translates into presidential popularity. I'm not sure presidents deserve as much credit as they get for it, but

they usually do. The problem is he steps on his message over and over and over again, whether it's sort of personal grievances he's trying to settle against Jeff Sessions or Bob Mueller, or it's this, which is so clearly a mistake.

Somebody said 10. He either heard 100, or it was 100 on a piece of paper, and he tweeted it. The inability to say, know what? Honest mistake. I got it wrong, erodes out public trust. It just does.

If you can't admit when you made an obvious mistake, what can you admit, right? This is honestly an easy one that he still -- and he never does. Max is right. This is Roy Cohen playbook 101. Never show weakness. Again, it's what we get from this president but it is what we get from this president. It's not the first time or the last time.

LEMON: When someone lies to you in the good times.

CILLIZZA: Right, and about the easy stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes, that's easy.

CILLIZZA And about stuff that, again, you can easily see how 10 would be turned into 100. I mean there's no maliciousness necessarily in this.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: And yet--

LEMON: But the weird thing though, is that there are a lot of people who will believe it because he won't take it down. That's the reason I ask that question. Because you go and you ask people about facts when you speak to some of the supporters, and they just don't know them. And that's really sad.

Susan, the White House is trying to win a credibility battle with Bob Woodward. But I m ea, even now we're learning that the National Park Service edited an inauguration photos to remove empty spaces after calls from President Trump and Sean Spicer. I mean, really? I mean, this credibility deficit started on day one, but this is just outrageous.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I think it's very interesting from purely the point of view of tactics, right, you have Sarah Sanders -- you showed the clip -- going out there, attacking Bob Woodward, saying it's fiction. Saying, well, gee, they've denied, therefore it must not be true.

You know, I thought it was unintentionally revealing last week when Sarah Sanders said, well, I haven't read a lot of Bob Woodward books. Now you know, Bob Woodward has given eight successive presidents that the Woodward treatment. You know, I can tell you from having worked with Bob at the Washington

Post, you know, he's one of the most methodical, least ideological, most thorough reporters I've ever seen in my life.

He came out, in one of his interviews, he said, you know, I did nine interviews with one of these sources. There were 500 pages of transcripts with one of these sources. And he has tape recordings of these officials.

And, you know, the White House hasn't even begun to make any kind of a specific rebuttal of any of the information there, and simply setting it up as a credibility contest, unfortunately what it does is it underscores those numbers in your poll.

[22:14:57] I was looking at that earlier. You're talking about two- thirds of the country who believes the president of the United States is not honest and credible.

This is not a good thing for the United States. Whatever your partisan point of view is, these are extraordinary numbers, and it seems to me that in a way actually by talking so much about the Woodward book, the president is tweeting over and over again about it. Sarah Sanders is talking over and over again about the credibility of Bob Woodward.

They're simply reinforcing this very unpleasant fact, which is that the president of the United States right now doesn't have credibility with the American public.

LEMON: Yes. I know you wanted to jump in here, Max, but I got to get to the break. And then we'll hear from you on the other side. But I do have to say -- it comes out at midnight, right? I wonder if they're assigning chapters. You do chapter one through 10. You do 10 through 30 and what have you to get ahead of it for tomorrow, but who knows. Who knows?

When we come back, the White House using its first press conference since August 22nd, OK -- since August 22nd. It's September 10th right now -- to call for an investigation into the identity of an anonymous op-ed writer. But is this just another White House which hunt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The White House now calling on the Justice Department to investigate the anonymous writer of last week's explosive New York Times op-ed.

Back with me now, Max Boot, Susan Glasser, and also, Chris Cillizza. Max, I know you want to jump in now. Let me just ask you this question and what you're going to say here.

[22:19:56] Because the president has great economic numbers. We see there's this conflict of what's going on. They so run on, you know, divisive culture issues like the NFL and kneeling, right?

And you have a new op-ed column about this on why President Trump doesn't get protesting is an American -- as American as football. Talk to me.

BOOT: Sure. Well, first I just want to briefly jump in on the point that Susan was making about the Bob Woodward book, which one of the things that makes the Trump defense all the more preposterous is they can't figure out if they're denouncing leaks or lies, right?

Because on the one hand they're saying that everything is made up. On the other hand, they're looking for the leakers. So it can't be both a leak and a lie.

But you know, the way constantly when you see this kind of bad news coming out for the White House, they resort to the cultural issues including attacking the NFL players.

And as I wrote today, initially I was sort of sympathetic to the complaints that you heard from people in the military and veterans groups saying that this was disrespectful to their service and all the people who had sacrificed for the flag to protest during the playing of the anthem.

But, you know, as this has gone on for the last couple years, Trump has just turned this into an issue of trying to stifle dissent, and frankly trying to appeal to racist Yahoos out there who are peeved that they're these rich African-American athletes that are doing well.

He keeps pounding on this and pounding on this and pounding on this even on this weekend there were only two NFL players who were actually protesting.

So this is not a mass movement, yet you see tweet after tweet from him. This is just a very cynical, calculated, and dishonorable strategy to try to divide the country and to stem this loss of support he's feeling in all these polls.

LEMON: Yes. Well, and a lot of people don't -- they don't even see that they're upset about what you said, which is, you know, that's -- that's a pretty insightful thing that you said, but people don't understand why they're upset by someone doing what is, as you said, is as American as apple pie, protesting.

BOOT: Exactly.

LEMON: Yes.

BOOT: I mean, that's what this country is all about. This is a country founded on protests, like the Boston tea party.

LEMON: Let's move on, Susan, because I want to talk about Sarah Sanders repeating the president's claim that the Department of Justice should look into the writer of that anonymous New York Times op-ed. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: If that individual is in meetings where national security is being discussed or other important topics and they are attempting to undermine the executive branch, that would certainly be problematic and something that the Department of Justice should look into.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So would that be a suggestion of misuse of classified information? I mean, what realm would that fuel into?

SANDERS: Once again, it's something that the Department of Justice should simply look into. That's for them to make that determination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: They're putting this on national security. Nothing was classified. Nothing that would even affect national security. Is that what this is all about?

GLASSER: Well, no, it's not what it's all about. As you know, the national security element of the op-ed we're discussing policy issues and policy disagreements that the anonymous author seems to have with President Trump, particularly on his handling of Russia. That doesn't fall into the realm of classified information.

I thought it was a notable effort on the part of the White House press corps to get Sarah Sanders to articulate by what legal standard the Justice Department would even look at this. As you know, you don't just send things over to the Justice Department and say, hey, guys, you know, can you come up with a law that might have been violated here?

It just -- it's part of the general politicization of the legal system that you see coming both from the president and from Sarah Sanders at that White House podium again and again.

Remember, it was only last week before the anonymous op-ed came out that the president was tweeting, suggesting that his Justice Department ought to reconsider apparently for political reasons charges against two Republican members of Congress.

And so I think it fits very much in the idea that if it's something we don't like, it ought to be criminal even if we can't cite any law whatsoever that would be broken.

Now, that being said, in some ways I thought the news at the briefing today was Sarah Sanders acknowledging, despite the evident fury and, quote, unquote, "volcanic anger of President Trump about this op-ed," that in fact they are not talking about subjecting those around President Trump to lie detector tests at this time.

So in a way, that was admitting that they're basically backing off, you know. It underscores -- the whole controversy underscores the isolation and the potential well-founded paranoia of President Trump.

Is there anyone around him he can trust? Unlike other presidents, including by the way, Richard Nixon, you know, who had some of these same personality traits.

President Trump is really much more isolated in many ways than his predecessors. He did not come to office with a cadre of people who were there, who were effective or who were going to be effective in those jobs and were also true believers in a vision for the country that President Trump brought. And I think we've seen that weakness from day one, that he just -- he is basically a man alone in many respects.

[22:24:57] LEMON: Yes. I want to get back to this idea of the polygraph. Who would administer it? I mean, does this particular administration really want to open themselves up to polygraphs? I mean, boy, that would be, talk about reality TV. I would love to see that.

But, Chris, the vice president offered to take a lie detector test to prove that, you know, he didn't write this op-ed. Here's what Sarah Sanders said, and then we'll get you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he believe that lie detector tests should be issued as the vice president volunteered to do on Sunday?

SANDERS: No lie detectors are being used or talked about or looked at as a possibility. Frankly, the White House and the staff here are focused on doing our jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean, listen, she is shooting it down, but this is where we are where we have a administration where the vice president of the United States is offering himself up to take a polygraph. Shouldn't the vice president be above that? If it's not him, just keep it pushing. Keep moving.

CILLIZZA: Well, look, remember, Mike Pence's path to the presidency goes through Donald Trump and unstinting loyalty and love going both ways.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Because that protect too much?

CILLIZZA: Don, I mean, I think this whole denial story is fascinating because you have to be careful you don't deny too much. The other thing I would say though, on that Sarah Sanders thing, nobody has told the president that the White House and the staff is moving on because he is quite clearly, on our reporting and his Twitter feed -- he has not moved on from the op-ed.

So I guess if you exclude the president from Sarah Sanders' idea of the White House, then that's true. But we know the president of the United States is choose the word, obsessed, fixated, focused on, whatever you like, finding this. He has a short list of people. There's a reason all these cabinet folks are coming out and denying it--

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: -- because they know he wants to find out who it is. LEMON: I got to go. Quick, what do you want to say?

BOOT: Well, fast point is all this stuff is not new in some sense. This is kind of the crazy town we've been inhabiting as John Kelly said in the Woodward book. What's new is you're seeing the public start to reject it.

I mean, it's really noticeable how the polls have slid from the low 40s to the mid-30s. And the most amazing finding, Don, in that new CNN poll, his support among independents has collapsed within the last month, down 16 points to 31 percent approval, with fewer than 60 days before the midterms.

So we've seen the craziness before, but what's striking is that the public, I think, is finally getting fed up with.

LEMON: If you dig deeper, 45 percent say that the president is less honest than most other politicians in Washington. Forty one percent say -- see him as more corrupt. Those are not good numbers.

BOOT: Those are stunning numbers. With little time to go before the midterm.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you all. Race, diversity, presidency maybe. Mitch Landrieu joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:30:01] LEMON: And we're back now. President Trump infamously responded to the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville by claiming there were -- his words, fine people on both sides. He's still slamming African-American NFL players for protesting racial injustice in this country, and in an atmosphere where Americans are at odds over race.

My next guest says there's no better time for us to confront the truth about race. Joining me now is Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, former mayor of New Orleans. He is the mayor. He's also the author of In The Shadows of Statues. Thank you for joining us.

MITCH LANDRIEU, FORMER MAYOR, NEW ORLEANS: Great to see you.

LEMON: You know you're my homeboy.

LANDRIEU: I know.

LEMON: I have to say that. Let me just say this. One of the first people who called me after my sister died was Mitch Landrieu.

LANDRIEU: I am sorry about that. You're welcome.

LEMON: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you for caring about me and my family. And we spent an hour on the phone. Thank you so much. When you come, I start talking like this.

LANDRIEU: I am sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So let me ask you.

LANDRIEU: I am one of those dumb southerners the President talks about. We take offense at that.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: My mom is here visiting from Port Allen right now, so I understand.

LANDRIEU: Give her a hug for me.

LEMON: So are you going to run? That's what she...

LANDRIEU: I am not.

LEMON: You're not going to run at all. OK, good. Let's get that out of the way.

LANDRIEU: Good.

LEMON: And you wanted to talk to me about Serena. What did you want to say?

LANDRIEU: Well, you know, it's crazy because I listened to Christopher before. I have five sisters, two daughters.

LEMON: Right.

LANDRIEU: I have five kids. I coached them all. I played college tennis. I mean watching that was a painful episode, and not just for the tennis world but for the country. I mean that was just an awful day, and there were no winners. Naomi Osaka is a great young new champion, and it was painful to watch her go through that joyful experience, especially if she was playing against her idol.

It is true that when you're coaching people, you know, players have to follow the rules. And Serena got out of the way in some instances. But at the end of the day, at least to me, that there's a differential in how the application of those rules was handled on that day. And it would be very rare for an umpire or a referee to insert themselves that aggressively at that point.

You take a game away from a tennis player. It's really somewhat of a death sentence. And I think that overall, writ large, we have some larger issues about gender equality and about the fair application of rules throughout sports, and especially as it relates to Serena and the context that she was in there, because of her pregnancy, what happened at the French Open, what happened with the drug testing. And she was in a moment. I think the referee just could have handled it better. And it

requires to all go back to the drawing background and to think a little bit more about it.

LEMON: I think you're right. And, you know, I didn't say it as articulately and as eloquently as you said it. I mean obviously, I feel the same way, especially as a minority. All women in my family -- I am the only boy. I feel the same way. I just know that sometimes for me, you know, you have to conduct yourself in a way, right? But it's a very -- it's highly intense, very competitive sport. So, you know, it got the best of her.

LANDRIEU: Well, I think that's true. But maybe the greatest athlete of all time, high pressure environment, and just at the end of the day from where I sit, I think Ramos could have handled it much better. And I don't think that there's any doubt. You can roll the tape, that there are men who have done things much more aggressively.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: I love John McEnroe. I mean I tried to pattern myself after him, but...

LEMON: Are you kidding me? That's McEnroe.

LANDRIEU: I mean when you call somebody a thief -- I mean they used expletives and they were not penalized. So I just think that they've got to back and be fair, the fair application of (Inaudible) go back to home base.

LEMON: I think we all agree on that, and very well said. So let's talk about this, right, because you wrote a very powerful piece for USA Today. I want to read part of it. Racial reconciliation will help us live up to our nation's values. And you say there's no better time in our nation's history to confront the truth about race as it means to bring people together.

For generations, our diversity and multi-culturism has been seen as one of the nation's great strengths. And you added this. There is nowhere in this country where we have fully reckoned with our past or the issues of race and identity. You say ignoring racism allows it to grow.

[22:35:09] LANDRIEU: I think that's absolutely true. I think that when people who are concerned about this say, listen, we've dealt with it, you know. We had slavery. We had Jim Crow. We have the Civil Rights movement. We're past it. I think that that's just not true. I think there's a lot of pain about this in the country. And I quite frankly don't think we talk about it well with each other.

I have said many, many times on the issue of race, you can't go around it. You can't go over it. You can't go under it. You really have to go through it. And you have to deal with people's pain. And you really cannot get past it, unless you actually acknowledge that it happened. Acknowledge what was correct. And then talk about how to get to the other side. LEMON: I think this is important, Mayor. I want it play this for

you. This is a clip from Fox News, the host Tucker Carlson, his segment about diversity.

LANDRIEU: Right.

LEMON: Last Friday. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How precisely is diversity a strength? Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don't know, marriage or military units, in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are? Do you get along better with your neighbors or your co-workers if you can't understand each other or share no common values?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So answer that question.

LANDRIEU: I love Tucker. He's a good guy. But he completely misunderstands what diversity is about. The more you know about different cultures, the more you know about different people, god created us all. He created us different for a reason. And the more you learn from each other and share with each other, the better we all are. That doesn't mean we can't have common purpose, common language.

And we can't run in unison towards a thing. But think of yourselves as a mosaic rather than black and white, equal and grey. And then you get the picture of what the great city of New Orleans is, which is our great diversity and history, which makes it fun, creates a great soul, and it just makes everything better.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: Tucker will be all right. He'll figure it out.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: (Inaudible) some gumbo.

LEMON: I got to go, but my mom made some -- I should have brought you some.

LANDRIEU: Tell your mom I love her.

LEMON: I screwed that one up.

LANDRIEU: It's all right.

LEMON: Can you just talk to me about the NFL kneeling -- Kaepernick? And you know the mayor of (Inaudible).

LANDRIEU: Yeah. I saw that.

LEMON: Yeah.

LANDRIEU: Well, I'll say this. In Louisiana, and I think writ large, and I think Max Boot was right. If we think about where we came from as a country, we were born out of protest. We actually peeled ourselves away from a government, because we thought they were being oppressive. The first amendment of the constitution says that if we're going to be a strong country, you have to be able to get along with people, not that you love or that are like you, but people who are different who you disagree with.

And protest is an essential part of who we are. It's a very patriotic thing to do. Colin Kaepernick says that the reason he kneeled is because he was protesting criminal justice, not the military. And I think it's absolutely clear that we have a problem with the criminal justice system in the United States of America that we're working through.

The Laquan McDonald trial is going on right now. I think the country is big enough to sustain people protesting its government and redressing your grievances against the government. I may disagree with whether people should kneel or not, but I certainly agree that they have a right to protest in the way that they want. And I think we're big enough as a country to understand that that's what real patriotism is like. Right now, we're being asked to do is to buy false patriotism, fake nationalism. That's not who we are as a country.

LEMON: I have been saying that over and over. Listen. I may not even agree with you kneeling, but you're right to do t. I stand for the anthem.

LANDRIEU: I would stand for the anthem. And I don't like when people don't.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: But I am big enough to understand that it's not encroaching on my freedom if he does that.

LEMON: Exactly.

LANDRIEU: And that we can honor clearly the men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice for our country that we all love.

LEMON: Everywhere I go, people are saying, I like that guy. I like your homeboy. He better run. You better get out there.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: If you love me, you wouldn't ask me to do it. You know it.

LEMON: Put the book up if we can, In The Shadow of Statues, In The Shadow of Statues from Mitch Landrieu. Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: Tell your mom I said hi.

LEMON: How are your mom and them?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:40:00] LEMON: Sources telling CNN they believe Omarosa Manigault Newman's release of secret recordings from her employment at the White House is what's behind the change in White House phone policy. Staffers are now required to check their personal and government- issued phones in lockers outside the West Wing or leave them in their offices before they can be buzzed in, wow.

Joining me now, CNN National Security Analyst, James Clapper, he's the former director of National Intelligence. Can you imagine that?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, what's kind of...

LEMON: Good evening by the way.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don. Well, what's surprising to me about this is like this is some grand new policy.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

CLAPPER: Which is the policy that should have prevailed from the get- go.

LEMON: Yeah.

CLAPPER: And so now they're only getting around to reinforcing what has certainly, I think, been a tradition in the White House, certainly was in the last administration, where everybody got rid of cell phones, whether official or not. And certainly before you walked into the White House sit room.

LEMON: Yeah. So listen. The administration has been hamstrung with countless leaks. We've had so many, Director. I mean it strikes me that the problem here probably isn't with the phone policy.

CLAPPER: Well, no, it's not. I mean I think that's the least of their worries from a leaking standpoint. It's a big deal from a security standpoint. But there's lots of other -- as we've seen, lots of other ways for people to convey information outside the White House besides phones.

LEMON: Yeah. The policy change comes in the wake of Bob Woodward's new book and "The New York Times," this anonymous op-ed. Kellyanne Conway said earlier today that the White House is zeroing in on who that might be. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:44:56] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President, just today, said he believes it's somebody in national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So who might that -- who does that sound like?

CLAPPER: That's a big population. They believe it's somebody in national security. Well, duh. Yeah, I guess so. If you read the context of the op-ed, it is obviously someone in the national security arena. Well, that's a big population of people, not just the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, the intelligence community.

So you're talking about a pretty big population. So if they think that they've zeroed in on it, well, good luck.

LEMON: Yeah. I think the calls are coming from inside the house closer to him than...

(CROSSTALK)

CLAPPER: Well, probably so. But potentially you don't know, you know.

LEMON: So let's talk more about Fear. It's set to release tomorrow. Bob Woodward, here he is on what he wants to make sure people get from this book. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the things Trump did and does jeopardize the real national security. This country does some things in the intelligence world which are so important to protect the country. They are astonishing. They are secret. They are called special access programs, and he jeopardizes them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That's a pretty serious allegation. In your estimation, is that a fair one?

CLAPPER: Well, it is a very serious allegation, and he has a good point. And you know I have been interviewed for this book and a couple others that Bob Woodward's done. And I have found him to be a very serious, methodical questioner who checks his sources, seeks corroboration, and is very detail-oriented. And you know he's done about eight of them and gotten at least one Pulitzer Prize that I am aware of.

And so I think although he's been accused occasionally of taking literary license, but I think overall, you have to regard what he says as credible.

LEMON: Yeah. Director Clapper, always appreciate your time. I went to my barber on Friday, and I said, I wanted the Clapper, and this is what he did to me. CLAPPER: You know, Don, I want to comment on that. I mean I really

-- I think your new do is great. And as you know, grass doesn't grow on a busy street. But as my wife is quick to remind, it doesn't grow out of a concrete block either.

LEMON: Tell your wife I said thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

CLAPPER: She keeps me humble.

LEMON: Always a pleasure, good to see you.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, our new CNN poll shows President Trump's approval rating lower than any President at this point in his administration in more than 50 years. What it means for the midterms and beyond that. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:50:00] LEMON: So CNN's new poll has some really bad news for President Trump. Only 36 percent of Americans approve of his handling of his job. A whopping 58 percent disapprove. I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentators, Scott Jennings and Ana Navarro. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you. Listen.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi.

LEMON: The President's approval rating trump, trump, the President Trump's approval rating, Ana, excuse me, it has fallen six points overall in the last month. Why do you think that his approval is taking such a hit over the -- just the last few weeks? What do you think happened?

NAVARRO: What hasn't happened in the last few weeks? Don, I was away for three weeks out of the country. And everything that was going on was crazy when I left. I came back, and except for, you know, John McCain dying and being buried, everything is just as crazy, nothing has changed. I think Americans are getting exhausted, drained, and tired by what is this hamster wheel-like administration and government, scandal after scandal, the pettiness, the lies.

Donald Trump is like that pathological Jon Lovitz character on Saturday Night Live. He just cannot help lying on a daily basis. The pettiness we saw towards John McCain during that funeral, not lowering the flag to half staff, the chaos in the White House. I've now lost track of how many White House officials and administration officials have called Donald Trump allegedly an idiot.

You know it began -- remember, it began way back with Rex Tillerson who called him an f-ing idiot, and the f-ing wasn't for fantastic.

LEMON: Well, for the sake of time, I've got to get Scott in because we're short on time. Scott, CNN polls show the President's approval rating also fell six points among Republicans in the last month and fell 16 points among independents. I mean he's lost support from them, even those who generally support him. What do you think is going on here?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'll tell you one thing that is not going on, Don, is that people are not connecting the good vibes they are having on the economy with the President's job approval. I mean the economy remains the President's best issue. And I think 69 percent of people...

(CROSSTALK)

JENNINGS: -- say the economy is good. But they are not connecting it to Trump. And I know I have been screaming this on your show and others for the last several months. But they have to relentlessly focus on every single day connecting him to the economy. Failure to do that means you are never going to get the positive vibes spilling over into your politics that people are getting on the economy out there.

[22:54:58] This is where he is actually in better shape than Obama was heading into the 2010 midterm. The economy was in bad shape. People were not optimistic. This is the one metric where Trump is in better shape than the Democrats were in 2010.

LEMON: Scott, with all due respect, we are talking about the one metric. But the other metrics are so bad. And listen. I give credit where credit is due in the economy. And I said some it before, 6.7 million open jobs, and 6.3 million job seekers. So that's -- wages are up 2.9 percent from 2017. But if you actually look at the models, the models are no different from the Obama economy. Actually unemployment was better. Jobs were better under President Obama.

NAVARRO: And look, I think Americans...

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: They can be happy about the economy, but decide that character matters, fitness to serve matters. One of the questions, you know, some of the questions that are so concerning in this poll, he comes out as -- the American people think he is more corrupt than most politicians, less intelligent than most politicians, less honest than most politicians. Now, you are not comparing him to a bunch of choir boys. You're comparing him to politicians.

The approval rate of Congress is 11 percent. You cannot get a lower bar than getting compared to other politicians. And even then, he's failing miserably.

LEMON: OK, so listen. The reason I say that Scott -- listen. I am really out of time here. But in the 19 months since President Trump took office -- and this is why I'm saying that. The economy has added 3.58 million jobs, right? That is a monthly average of 188,600. That's the 19 months. In the last 19 months of Obama Presidency, the economy added 3.96, OK, 3.96 million jobs as compared to 3.58, a monthly average of 208,000 -- 400,000 jobs, so -- 400 jobs. So that's why I say that about the economy. I mean give credit where

credit is due. It is reaching down to blue collar workers. But the economy is simply on track to do what it has been doing for the last nine years.

JENNINGS: Yeah. I was simply comparing this time heading into the midterm versus Obama heading into the 2010 midterm. I mean unemployment in September of 2010 was over 9 percent. Today, it's below four percent. My point is simply this. The President could be doing better if they could find a way to connect what is happening on the economy to his job approval.

They haven't found that gear yet. But they better find it with 60 days to go otherwise Republicans are in for a rough election night.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)