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CNN TONIGHT

European Agencies Intercepted Communications Between Trump Associates And Russian Officials During The Campaign; United States Military Dropped America's Most Powerful Nonnuclear Bomb On Isis Targets In Afghanistan; United Airlines Says That They Are Offering Reimbursement To All The Passenger On Plane; Jeffery Lord Making A Statement Today That Raised A Lot Of Eyebrows. Aired 11:00-12:00mn ET

Aired April 13, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:00:06] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, the mother of all bomb strikes, ISIS strikes in Afghanistan.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The weapon is massive, weighing in at nearly 22,000 pounds and was only used in testing until today. It is the largest nonnuclear bomb the U.S. military has ever used in battle.

Plus, the Russia investigation latest. Sources telling CNN that British intelligence and other European agencies intercepted communications between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign and passed them on to U.S. officials.

And moments before a man was dragged off the United Airlines flight, he and an officer got into an argument. And tonight we are going to hear what was said and talk to the passenger who recorded the encounter.

Let's begin with the military targeting ISIS in Afghanistan with a massive bomb. I want to bring in a former congressman Jack Kingston, a former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. CNN military analyst major general Spider Marks and Colonel Cedric Leighton and national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, a former department of homeland security official.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you for coming on.

General Marks, I'm going to start with you. As we have been reporting today, the United States military dropped America's most powerful nonnuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan. This was the first time this type of weapon has been used. Here's the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you authorize it, sir?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody knows exactly what happened, so. And what I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world. And they have done a job as usual. So we have given them total authorization. And that's what they are doing. And frankly, that's why they have been so successful lately. If you look at what happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to what's happened over the last eight years, you will see there is a tremendous difference, tremendous difference.

So we have incredible leaders in the military and we have incredible military. And we are very proud of them. And this was another very, very successful mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: General Marks, what does he mean everybody knows what happened? It sounds to me like he is saying that military authorized that and he gave them permission before. But he is not saying whether he did it.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, that's what we call pre-designated delegation authority. I mean did he this all priority. He said secretary of defense, you have the authorization to use this weapon system when he issued that weapon system to the secretary of defense, to the department of defense. So, yes, I mean he authorized it because he had done it on priority.

The decision to deliver that ordinance was done by the commander on the ground, four star general Nick Mickelson. And it was the right target and it was the right ordinance to be used against that target. And you saved a lot of lives if you wanted to try to level that location, it obviously there was actionable intelligence. So it was the right weapons system to be used. And they went through the collateral damage estimate process to ensure there weren't civilian casualties. We will figure that all out when they do the bomb damage assessment.

LEMON: Except that he did say that he authorized the military and I think that you're quite right. I don't see that much confusion in that.

MARKS: Yes, that's right. I think we are, as we say, we are pole vaulting over mouse turds here.

LEMON: Right.

MARKS: It was done in advance.

LEMON: Yes. Colonel Leighton, we know the target was ISIS. ISIS- Qaeda tunnel complex. What kind of intelligence would have been gathered before this bomb was used?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Don, normally what would happen is they will look at the geography of the place. They would look to see how many people are entering tunnels like this. They would look to see who was in those tunnels. And if they had any links to ISIS. They obviously established a link to ISIS in Afghanistan and they also wanted to make sure that they knew what these people were up to. And our understanding is that they were doing things to include making IEDs and other weapons. And it proved to be a target that they felt they could not only prosecute with this weapon. But also you make sure that they would not only do that but protect the U.S. force that are stationed in Afghanistan.

LEMON: Juliette Kayyem, on Saturday, January 28th, the president signed an executive order ordering the joint chiefs to develop a plan to defeat ISIS. Here's what candidate Trump said on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would just bomb those suckers. And that's right, I would blow up the pipes. I would blow up every single inch -- there would be nothing left.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So my first question is about the timing of this. We are just two weeks away from President Trump's 100th day in office and he wanted a plan for his generals. Did he get it?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we don't know what the contents of that plan is. And obviously, when Donald Trump was talking about it as a candidate, he was actually focused on Syria and Iraq and not in Afghanistan. So the location of where we are bombing, you know, everyone to (INAUDIBLE) so speak to use his language is actually very different geographic space. And I have no way to judge right now whether given the alternatives this was the right thing to do or not. I mean, I have confidence in our military effort.

I think the question for some of us when we want to look at some notion of what are the policies surrounding these various missiles or bombing missions is what is the strategy in which you have a civilian oversight over the policy? I think with all due respect to the generals on the panel, they even recognize, right, that the bombs themselves, that's just a tactic. And I think one of the worrisome things about Donald Trump not even being able to directly answer whether he had notification or whether anyone in the White House had notification is that we are looking at a world now that is very different in which the military has a range of activities in which not only do they not seek authorization from the White House which maybe appropriate, but they don't even appear notify the White House and we have no clarity on that issue right now.

[23:06:00] LEMON: You think they should be more specific about whether he ordered it or not? I thought he was pretty clear that he had given the generals or given the leaders the orders. Do you think there is more?

KAYYEM: Yes. He had delegated the authority but the specific action it appears. And there is a difference between notification and authorization. The specific action we have no clarity on whether anyone at the White House actually knew it was going to happen. That's a very, very different relationship between the White House and the Pentagon and there has been tension since the country was born about that tension. Nonetheless, it is a change of strategy. And one that does not seem to be tied to any doctrine related to why this bomb in Afghanistan and why those missile strikes in Syria.

LEMON: Alright, Jack, what does this mean for the president's America first foreign policy?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER RO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I think this is consistent with his campaign that we are going to bomb ISIS. And he did not limit that to any geographic area. But I think it is also a message to our own military that this is a tactical weapon. You have the authority. You have the training. Use it if you need it. And go ahead, I'm going to be behind you.

Whereas I know with rules in engagement under Obama, there was always this let's check with Washington before we engage in the battlefield. And as somebody who had to represent the third infantry division, that's what was the number one complaint we heard about family members. So I'm glad to see the generals and the people on the ground making these decisions.

But I want to say something else. In an area where you are going underground and then tunnels and so forth, there is also a message to North Korea.

LEMON: That was my next question. What kind of message does this send to North Korea and other trouble hot spots?

KINGSTON: I think the message is, number one, we can use a bomb that is 13-year-old, 14-year-old bomb. Think what we have developed since 2003.

LEMON: All right. This was -- I want you to listen to this. This was candidate Trump in the fall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now this just came out. This just came out. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks. And I said write a couple of them down.

And by the way, WikiLeaks just came out with lots of really unbelievable things. Just minutes ago. In fact, I almost delayed this speech by about two hours it's so interesting.

By the way, did you see another one? Another one came in today. This WikiLeaks is like a treasure-trove.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And this was President Trump's CIA director today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is. A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: General Marks, that is quite a contrast. Was the president essentially touting an enemy of United States when it served his political purposes?

MARKS: I would say that candidate Trump really didn't have a sense of what WikiLeaks was in the totality and the depth of what it could go to. I would say maybe he had a clear understanding of what they had access to. But there were other sources of intelligence obviously that he didn't have access to until he was elected and wasn't able to really kind of delve into those fully.

So the contrast between what Mike Pompeo said today, the DCI, and what the president said as a candidate is a stark shift. And it comports with what we are seeing which is a president that now has to embrace the realities and make the realities his. And that's what we are seeing right now, an evolving president for the conditions around him having necessarily change. But he certainly is changing.

LEMON: All right. Standby, everyone. When we come back, British intelligence intercepting Trump's communications with Russians. We have new details on that.

And United Airlines facing more backlash after forcefully ejecting - they just dragging this man from one of their flights. We are going to speak to the woman who was seated right behind him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:13:38] LEMON: More breaking news to tell you about British intelligence and other European agencies intercepting communications between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign and passing those communications to U.S. officials.

I want to bring in now CNN national security analyst Steve Hall, retired chief of CIA Russian operation and Matthew Murray who is a deputy assistant commerce secretary for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the Obama administration.

Gentlemen, good evening to you.

Steve, you first. British intelligence passed on communications between the Russians and Trump associates to U.S. counterparts. What is the significance of this?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we developed over decades really, Don, this excellent relationships with this group called the Five Eyes which our closest intelligence allies. We have a very robust sharing relationship with them especially with the British.

It's sort of similar thing that has happened here in the United States. You have GCHQ and the British intelligence and security structure looking and trying to figure out what hostile intelligence services are doing in Great Britain. In this case most likely the Russians and there was incidental collection just like we had, you know, here in the United States apparently.

What happens in these circumstances is that information is then passed to the U.S. government and ends up with the FBI. And the British service really doesn't have much to do with it beyond that except that they are, of course, making sure that we don't -- we try to protect the sources and methods just as we would protect ours.

But it's important to note, Don, that the whole idea that somebody may have reached out to GCHQ as I think the current administration has implied or openly said, it would actually be illegal. We cannot ask a foreign intelligence service to do something that would be illegal for an American, for U.S. intelligence service or law enforcement organization to do. So that whole theory if it's out there doesn't really fly.

[23:15:25] LEMON: It makes you wonder when people are coming up with the theories about how to, you know, make all of this work or make the president's initial tweet right if they understand how the processes work.

Hall: Yes. And I would say that, you know, if you are making claims like, you know, some -- the Obama administration or really any administration, past or present, reaches out to a foreign intelligence service and asks, hey, can you spy on an American for us? That is just ludicrous. I mean, on all sorts of different levels, legally, morally. It just wouldn't happen. And yes, it speaks to really not understanding how the whole system works.

LEMON: Matthew, I want to ask you this. Because Steve mentioned the five eyes. So the U.S. and the UK are part of the so-called Five Eyes. OK? And the reporting according to them says the FBI and CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump team and Moscow ahead of the U.S. election. And that essentially seems as if the U.S. agencies were asleep. Tell us about this. Does that infer if that to you?

MATTHEW MURRAY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMERCE SECRETARY FOR EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well this is, you know, what this demonstrates, the guardian story shows that the system actually worked very well. And as Steve described it, you know, we have the very cooperative relationships with the members of the Five Eyes. They are our allies. They are also NATO allies, most of them. And they acted here as whistleblowers which is exactly what we hope the system will do. This is what it is designed to help us appreciate is to pick up something that we may not actually, you know, get through our own signal system.

And the most interesting thing about the story is that they were hearing these conversations. They were picking up this intelligence back in late 2015. And so that raises the question of who? Who in the Trump world? Were they observing or caring or listening to? You know, both Carter Page and Manafort who are the party's most talked about is being sort implicated in the middle of this do not really join the Trump campaign until later. And were not active until, you know, the march and May timeframe. So these stories, the file on this investigation is getting thicker

together with the development that we witnessed this week with the story coming out about the FISA warrant for Carter Page. It's becoming clear that there is some real texture to this. And that the pattern of activity started as early as 2015 and it may have involved more people.

LEMON: So you are asking who in the Trump campaign would be talking to Russian officials in 2015. Why is that important?

MURRAY: Well, I mean, the pattern of activity that is being alleged includes a level of discussion with Russian official in which the Russian officials may have been making initial contact, who knows? The Trump campaign officials may have been sort of targets or assets that were declared as interesting by the Russian intelligence. So we don't know yet exactly whether this will lend any further credence to the theory of collusion.

But what it does demonstrate is there was a pattern of activity that started early on and that continued right up until, you know, December of 2016 after the election was won. And so that's significant. And if there's a broad, you know, the Carter Page, let's turn to him for just a minute. Right now, what we know, the FISA warrant was issued, is that the justice department and the FBI may have felt that he was knowingly active as an agent of the Russian government.

LEMON: OK.

MURRAY: And that would imply that he was doing it in a very concerted way and the question is who was he doing that with within Trump's --?

LEMON: OK. I got your point.

SO Listen. With these foreign intelligence agencies have passed that information on to their leaders? Meaning, is there stuff out there, the things out there, communications known in other world capitals? That's to you, Steve.

[23:20:00] HALL: Yes, absolutely. I mean, any intelligence service, you know, it is first masters are its own government. And so, you know, the Brits, you know, the British leadership and what other five eyes were involved. Their leadership will certainly see that routinely as they see other intelligence. So that would be the normal thing. Returning, if I might to --.

LEMON: Before you go on, I will let you go on but will they hand over everything they have or would they withhold some of the information and intelligence?

HALL: It would depend on the individual service. I mean, one of the issues, and this is also part of your discussion just a second ago is I think your question, Don, was you know, was CIA or NSA perhaps a little, you know, rather center or not surprised by what they saw? There are political sensitivities that even intelligence service that's try to hold them apart from the public do understand. So I think if you have raw intelligence of the Russians talking to an

associate of an American politician, I think would cause some pause in London just as it would here. I mean, this, you know, would it be treated routinely in the United States that they are incidental collection that turned out to be political explosive. There are sensitivities in that regard.

LEMON: You are making a point. Does you get to make your point?

HALL: The other point you mentioned, I think with Carter Page, it was a very important question with regard to, you know, so when did this all happen and why is that important? It's important because this is really textbook Russian espionage. What Russians -- what the Russian services will do, particularly the external service, it is part of their job to try to identify people who in the near future in the U.S. or in other countries that they are trying to spy on will be close to power or be involved in the power structure. Somebody like Carter Page. Somebody potential like a Paul Manafort or even a Mike Flynn.

And then to begin a relationship with those people that starts off extremely, you know, low key. Hey, can you just show me some of the lectures that you have given. And then hopefully it develops into more of an espionage relationship. We don't know whether that happened because it depends on the target in this case a guy like page saying, yes, I'll do that and I'm sure that's what the FBI is taking a very hard look at.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you, Steve. I appreciate it.

MURRAY: Thank you.

LEMON: United Airlines under crisis control after passengers dragged off one of the flights. We are going to talk to a woman who was seated right behind the ejected man with her now traumatized 2-year- old son.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:26:23] LEMON: The video travelled around the world faster than the plane itself. According to his attorney, United Airlines passenger David Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose and he lost two teeth when he was dragged off flight 3411.

Also onboard was Joya Cummings. She recorded video right before this incident took place. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID DAO, UNITED AIRLINES PASSENGER: No, I'm not going. I am not going. Can you drag me, I'm not going. I'm not going. I'm staying right here. It take a long time. I stay almost 24 hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joya Cummings joins me now. Thank you so much. I can't imagine what, especially what he is going through and the passengers around him. We just watched the cell phone video that you recorded. And we can hear Dr. Dao and the Chicago aviation officer arguing about getting off the plane. So can you please walk us through what happened next?

JOYA GRIFFIN CUMMINGS: One of the airline agents came on and she was separate than one of flight attendants and she came on the plane and she stopped at his aisle and said you are selected to give up your seat. And he said, I -- first questioned why he was chosen. And then, you know, told her he wasn't leaving. He couldn't go. He had to work in the morning. He was a physician. And he kept saying he didn't feel like it was right.

LEMON: So based on what you witnessed, was Dr. Dao being disruptive?

CUMMINGS: I think that he was irritated and a little bit angry that he had been picked to give up his seat. And I think that's pretty typical of any weary passenger who had been traveling for many hours. He said in the video that he had been traveling from L.A. So it was a long day for him. And I think that a lot of passengers would have reacted in that way. I never heard him cursed. He never raised his hands at anyone. He just questioned yes was chosen and then why he had to give up his seat really and explain that he had to be at work the next day. He said, you know, who is going to see my patients? And she said well you really have no choice and then she called -- had the first officer come onboard.

LEMON: And you knew it was unusual and that's why you started recording, I'm sure.

CUMMINGS: Right. Something was going to happen next. I mean, you could tell. He was really just trying to stick to his grounds.

LEMON: Yes. I want to play part of the attorney's press conference. This is today where he talks about you and the video you recorded. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS DEMETRIO, ATTORNEY FOR UNITED PASSENGER DRAGGED OFF FLIGHT: I think many of you might have seen the second the video of the 19-week old - I mean, 19-week pregnant behind Dr. Dao, Ms. Cummings, with her 2-and-a-half-year-old sitting on her lap. And you can see Dr. Dao not striking anybody, trying to strike anybody. He just wanted to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I find it interesting that you said you were fearful for your own safety after watching this passenger being dragged out by three officers. How upsetting was it to you and your 2-year-old son?

CUMMINGS: I think I really just didn't know what was going to happen. You are always, I guess, concerned about an altercation in a small space. I had my son with me. You know, what was he going to witness? What was he going to hear? I definitely didn't want to be directly next to the situation when it occurred especially with my baby.

[23:30:06] LEMON: United Airlines says that they are offering reimbursement to all the passenger on that plane. But I mean, that comes with the catch you have to agree not to sue the airline in order to get your reimbursement. What do you think of that?

CUMMINGS: Is that the case? I actually have not responded to their reach out, I guess.

LEMON: So they reached out to you?

CUMMINGS: They have reached out. But I haven't spoken to anyone.

LEMON: Do you think you would take it on that condition?

CUMMINGS: No. Not at this point.

LEMON: Why not?

CUMMINGS: I'm just not ready to give up -- I don't know how to put it. But I'm not ready to give up my rights and, you know, I think an airline ticket being refunded is nice but it's probably not enough.

LEMON: You seem like you were really rattled by it. I think most people were. And they we were not even on the plane just by looking at the video.

CUMMINGS: Definitely. After it happened initially, there were some people crying. There were children in the back of the plane that were visibly shaken up. When they evacuated us from the plane, we were all in the jet bridge and people were calling family members and explaining to them what happened and in disbelief.

LEMON: Will you ever fly United again?

CUMMINGS: Probably not at this point.

LEMON: All right. Joya, thank you.

CUMMINGS: Thank you.

LEMON: I'm going to bring now CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien.

Miles, I want to get your reaction. You just heard Joya Cummings. What do you think?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, Don, she went through a lot. And, of course, she shouldn't take the money and sign her rights away because what she and more importantly her young baby witnessed was horrific. And none of us should have to go through. And really, it's, you know, it is kind of like they were terrorized on that flight. And frankly, we have all been terrorized watching it because we have all been in those seats and have endured a system that is under tremendous stress. These planes are all full. There is tremendous pressure on these crews to push back on time. They work rules are difficult. Their pay is low. And there is very little knowledge or forethought for the paying customer. It's about pushing tin. That's the term they use, pushing the tin and the customer gets lost.

LEMON: Miles, attorneys for the passenger say that he suffered a concussion. He had a broken nose. He lost teeth and injuries to his sinuses. Listen a bit and then we will discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEMETRIO: Here is what he told me. He said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell. And he was on a boat. And he said he was terrified. He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Miles?

O'BRIEN: You know, it occurs to me when we look at those Chicago aviation police, you know, in the past few years we have been seeing the authorities in a broad -- I'm talking about a much broader picture outside of aircraft really forgetting our civil liberties here. You know, what I see on that airplane is not America and shouldn't be. And that -- the reason he got on that boat or however he got to the United States was to avoid oppression and that is oppression. That is trampling on people's rights for no good reason and we should all stand up and say no to this.

LEMON: United issued a statement after the press conference promising to fix what is broke son this never happens again and saying they will make big change that's will take effect by April 30th. Of note, the airline said that they won't ask law enforcement officials to remove passengers from our flights unless there say matter of safety and security. A good place to start you think?

You know, it's a good place to start. Let's see what happens. You know, I'm going to hang on to my wallet on this one because we have got a system that is under great stress here. With the passenger loads, the amount of traffic in the system in general. It's bulging at the seams. And this is a manifestation of that. And unfortunately, Mr. Dao literally took it on the chin for this. But we are all witness to this and it's right on the edge so often.

LEMON: You know, not to blame the passengers at all, I'm not doing that, but it's interesting, you know, almost to a person that spoke to and talked to me about this in the street or they come on the show and say why didn't anybody stand up? I think people on the plane may feel that they are sort, you know, they are at the mercy of the airlines and maybe they might be the next ones dragged off if they stand up for this person.

[23:35:21] O'BRIEN: Well, I guess we have all kind of been cowed a little bit and shame on us for. But that is the environment we fly in. We pay good money, we sit down and we keep our head down because we are afraid that they are going to throw the peanuts at us or whatever. And we, as passengers, need to demand more. And ultimately, when we book, what do we do? We look for the lowest fare, period. Maybe we should be thinking about some other things as we choose what airline we fly on.

LEMON: Miles O'Brien, always a pleasure. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You are welcome, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, Jeffrey Lord here to explain this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think of President Trump is the Martin Luther King of health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Can't wait for that conversation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:40:06] LEMON: Our very own Jeffery Lord making a statement today that raised not some eyebrows, a lot of eyebrows.

Let's discuss it now. Bakari Sellers, Salena Zito, Symone Sanders and Jeffrey Lord is here.

Jeffrey, you have anything you want to say before we get started?

LORD: No. I mean, I think the coverage of me by CNN today has been very fair. I mean, I have no quarrels with it. I had every opportunity to speak up and present my point of view. We disagree.

LEMON: OK. All right.

LORD: You know, beyond that --

LEMON: All right. Let's play it then. Here is what you said earlier this morning on CNN about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and about President Trump, a comparison. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORD: I want to say something here that I know will probably drive some people crazy. But think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Jeffrey. Jeffrey.

LORD: When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn't popular. He didn't have the votes for it, et cetera. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm's way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced.

SANDERS: Jeffrey, do you understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that look like me were being beaten. Dogs were being sick on them. Basic human rights were being repelled from these people really because of the color of their skin. So let's not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and Noble Peace prize winner to the vagina grabbing president Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wow.

SANDERS: Never forget.

LEMON: OK. Listen. That was morning TV. So Symone, you know, hey, I got to commend you. You understand, Jeffrey, that, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a civil rights hero. Did you realize what you were saying there?

LORD: Sure, because I'm a Dr. King is a hero of mine and has been since I was a kid.

Don, look, I used Dr. King. Let me go to other races. Let's go with Gandhi, Dr. King's hero. Let's go to Senator Eugene McCarthy or Tom Hayden on the Vietnam War who used the same tactic, at least Tom Hayden did, of shutting down things to draw attention to the Vietnam War. It is a tactic. It is a colorless strategy that was used very effectively by Dr. King for civil rights, by Gandhi to get independence from India, by Vietnam protests for which I was once one for a bit in the 1960s and 70s and the Vietnam War.

LEMON: Jeffrey? Jeffrey, that's a reach. I mean, and you do you remember --?

No. It is not a reach, Don.

LORD: You do remember two days ago what happened with Sean Spicer with a very ill thought out comparison as well. Some things you just -- some comparisons you just don't make.

LORD: Dr. King wanted to shut things down to draw attention to the lack of civil rights. He was right to do so. I believe it then. I believe it passionately now.

LEMON: I think you're very --

SANDERS: So Don, I have talk a lot about on CNN about the importance of protest. And protest is designed to make people uncomfortable. So the way Jeffrey talks about the "tactics" quote-unquote that Dr. King and other civil rights leaders used, it really does not encapsulate everything that was going on. People were putting their bodies and their lives on the line because their right to exist was being threatened.

LORD: I agree.

SANDERS: And so what you said this morning, Jeffrey, is that you equated people literally putting their lives on the line for basic human rights, civil rights. You equated that to what Donald Trump is doing in terms of talking about withholding -- withholding health care for millions of people and letting it collapse in an attempt to get his way to serve his political leanings.

LEMON: Do you think Dr. King, Jeffrey, would agree with taking health care away from 20 so odd million people?

LORD: I think if Dr. King talked to some of people I have who lost family members to Obamacare that he might agree with them.

SANDERS: You know what? Let me tell you something really quick. My father passed way a month ago Saturday. He had a stroke. And he received excellent care up until his last breath because we had coverage. There are millions of people across this country who depend on this life saving coverage of the affordable care act. My mother, she had cancer. She is cancer survivor because of programs like the mammogram program that's exist at Planned Parenthood where folks can go in catch it in stage one. And before it takes their lives.

LORD: We are straying from the point here.

SANDERS: No, we are playing with people's lives here. And what happens when people like Donald Trump, when folks like you equate, try to minimize it, try to politicize it, it is horrible and it is wrong.

LORD: I'm not minimizing anything.

[23:45:01] SANDERS: Health care is damn important in this country. Republicans, Democrats, and independents, I think they all agree. No one is going to tell you Obamacare is perfect. Things need to change. But we have to build on the success. People have to come to the table. We cannot play with people's lives here and that is exactly what is happening right here, right now on this program.

LORD: Absolutely not. I mean, you are making this all up from -- you know, there is example after example. This is a strategy.

LEMON: Did you take in mind when you made those comments, Jeffrey, did you take in mind that there are people out there that Symone who feel like Symone who are living with this every day, people who would be insulted by a comparison, quite frankly, to someone who said he had at will can grab people by the genitals or women to make that comparison to --

LORD: But I didn't do that, Don.

LEMON: You did, Jeffrey. I mean, we were all listening. We all have ears. And listen. You are a nice enough man, but I don't think you understand the comparison that you were making.

LORD: I compared the strategy, Don. I compared the strategy.

LEMON: Was it necessary? Was it necessary to make that comparison? Because you can compare a lot of people just like Sean Spicer when he compared - when he has made the Hitler comparison. But was it necessary, Jeffrey? Do you understand? Was it necessary? Do you think it was necessary? You couldn't have made your point by doing something else?

SANDERS: Sure. It's a tactic. It's a color blind tactic. Strategy.

LEMON: We don't live in a color blind society. But, go on. Go ahead.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If I may because this conversation is --

LORD: That's what he is working for every day.

SELLERS: This conversation is amazing. And my heart goes out to Symone and her family and my prayers are with them every single day just like the other Americans that are going through trials and tribulation that's that many people cannot imagine.

But the fact is as quote earlier, I have to quote again, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said of all forms of inequality, injustice and health is the most shocking and inhumane. So I think that when people -- you can't just talk about Dr. King and whitewash him and eliminate the context. And that is what we are talking to you about, Jeffrey. You can't say it's the same tactic but one was talking about taking away health care and one was talking about making sure that black citizens had equality under the law. You can't look at this in a vacuum.

And even more importantly - I mean, I think that the level of political discourse that we have and whether or not it comes from you or whether or not it comes from Sean Spicer or the president of the United States is extremely low in this country right now. And that is the trouble that many people have. Many people are aghast by the fact that you can make a comparison between Donald Trump and Martin Luther King Jr., something that is unfounded.

LORD: I did not do it. And how many time you set up the straw band, I did not do that.

SANDERS: You did.

LEMON: OK. Jeffrey, let me ask you something. You have three people you work with, right. You work with Bakari, you work with me, you work with Symone, three people of color. And --

LORD: No. No. No.

LEMON: Let me get the point out. We are telling you that that comparison was insulting and you are ignoring it. Don't you think you should take that into consideration? And whether or not you're trying to make a point or not, even if it's to the point that I offended you and I'm sorry.

LORD: Don, when I lived was a teenager in the south and my dad lost his job standing up for a black waitress --.

LORD: You are not answering my question now. You are not answering my question in the moment. Don't take me back into some before the war crap. I want to hear what you are saying to the co-workers you work with now, Jeffrey. Answer the question now. I don't want to hear about something from 50 damn years ago. I want to hear now to the co-workers, to the people of color you work with on this network every single day who were offended by your remarks. You are not listening to us.

LORD: Don, come on. Come on. This isn't right. This is not moral. We don't judge people by color in this country. That is racist. It is wrong.

SANDERS: Jeffrey, let me tell you something.

LEMON: You know, Jeffrey, you are crazy if you think we don't judge people by color in this country.

SANDERS: I am a black woman, Jeffrey. I don't have the luxury of --

LORD: You're an American.

SANDERS: Every single day I walk out of my house. Someone sees me as a black woman, regardless of how I see myself, I'm a black man. Don is a black man. Bakari is a black man. You have the luxury of walking out of the house and just being an American.

LEMON: You don't have to think about it.

SANDERS: You do not have to think about it. And that my friend is a position of privilege. When you have the opportunity to hear from the other side to listen, to have a real dialogue, you should take it.

SELLERS: To Symone and Jeffrey, I think this is the conversation that - this is gap in America that we have today. Because there are so many people who have these racial blind spots.

Jeffrey, genuinely does not believe -- does not believe that anything he said this morning was incorrect, disingenuous, wrong, or harmful. That is a problem. And we can't -- if you can't have that empathy for someone who just literally told you that their father died or I told you my father was shot or Don is -- we have two black personalities on late night TV and one of them is telling you he is offended by it, sitting here before you. If you can't understand that empathy, then --.

LEMON: We got a problem. I got to take a break. We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:53:58] LEMON: Back thou with my panel.

Salena, you haven't had a chance to speak. What do you think of this conversation?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, as a child of the '60s who grew up with the civil rights movement that played out in front of any front yard, from the kids I went to school with, to the preacher who lived across the street from my family and was very involved with the movement, I struggle very much to see the comparison between the tactics of the civil rights movement and the tactics of President Trump with the health care movement. With all due respect, Jeffrey, the civil rights movements like great

movements in this country that had good results, women's suffrage, the civil rights, the civil war, the American revolution, these were brought up through churches and through activism. And they were about making people's lives safer and better. And what Mr. Trump is doing on health care is a boardroom tactic. It's smart. It's politics. But I don't see the comparison at all.

[23:55:05] LEMON: Jeffrey, I'll give you the last word on this.

LORD: I see the comparison with everything you have said. The American revolutions stopped the British government in its tracks. It upended things. Think the Boston tea party. So too the civil war. So too did countless other movements that was the point. That is the objective. The strategy is an old one. Dr. King used it. He was not the first. He is not going to be the last. He hasn't been the last. People in the pro-life movement try and use this by shutting down abortion clinics. I mean, the objectives is to so disrupt that you get the other side to negotiate to an agreement. That's the objective of the strategy no matter who uses it.

LEMON: Jeffery, you haven't listened to anything we said.

LORD: Don, Don, you're talking liberal to me. That's what you're doing.

LEMON: No, I'm talking real. And this is real. I'm talking human. You are going to sit here on television and tell us that you don't notice the color. I notice the color of your hair. I notice when someone has red hair. I know you have white hair. I know Symone is wearing white. I know I'm wearing blue. It's insulting when you are stating something that is not -- that is not in reality. And we are sitting here --

LORD: Don, you have to make it reality.

LEMON: Will you let me finish? Jeffery, I'm talking to you. Will you let me finish?

LORD: Make it possible. It's denial of Dr. King.

LEMON: Dr. King means something different to the people who are sitting here than he meant to you. He wasn't just a tactic for us. He is a real person who helped me to be able to get here and Symone to be able to sit here.

LORD: Yes, yes, exactly.

LEMON: And for Bakari to be able to sit here and Salena and for you to come on.

LORD: Yes.

LEMON: And give some reckless comparison to his legacy.

Good night. LORD: You should not be judged by the color of your skin.

LEMON: Good night. We're done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)