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Potus plunging Poll Numbers; Athletes Pay A Price For Speaking Out On Politics; Trump At 200 Days; Trump's D.C. Hotel; Aired 11- Midnight ET

Aired August 7, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Bad news for the President in our brand-new poll. This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It's not just the President's plunging approval rating down to 38 percent. Now he seems to be losing ground with his base. And is potus profiting from the presidency? For the first time in history, we have a President with his name on resorts, hotels and buildings across America and around the world. And business is very, very good at some of those Trump properties. But is that because some people are trying to get on the President's good side? And are the Trump family's tangled business ties a conflict of interest?

Plus, a star quarterback who led his team to the Super Bowl, now nobody seems to want Colin Kaepernick on their team. Is it because he refused to stand for the national anthem? The sports star pays the price for speaking out about politics. Is that really the American way? Let's get right now to our brand-new poll with some pretty bad news for President Trump tonight. Here to discuss, CNN Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston, political commentator Margaret Hoover and CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley, the author of Rightful Heritage, Franklyn Roosevelt and the land of America. Good evening, everyone. Doing ok?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How are you, Don.

LEMON: Good. Mark, I'm going to start with you. Despite a strong economy, the polling numbers still look bad for President Trump 200 days into his presidency. A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS has Trump's approval rating at 38 percent, maybe the most concerning for Trump, the percentage of respondents that strongly disagree of him is almost double those who is strongly approve of him. Mark, what's your reaction to these poll numbers? Are they as bad as they look?

MARK PRESTON, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: They are. If you look at the first 200 days of his presidency, right now you can't necessarily identify what has been a major legislative accomplishment or identify or pinpoint what has been him following through on his campaign promises. Now, listen, campaign promises are campaign promises. We absolutely understand that. President Trump was very definitive in his campaign promises, not only through the campaign, but certainly at the beginning of his administration. Blame though he never accepts it himself. He tends to put it on

others. As we see the numbers drop, what's even more disturbing for Donald Trump right now is if you look across the board where the drop is occurring, we're seeing that amongst Republicans. If you go back to February, 73 percent of Republicans strongly approved on how he was doing, that number has dropped to 59 percent. If you look at white voters who do not have a college degree, if you look at where their support is then and where it is now, it's also a drop, 47 percent back in February strongly approved to where he is at. That number has dropped now to 35 percent. You're seeing it across the board.

LEMON: All right so let's take a look something else, Douglas, look at this. This is the poll compared to Trump's six-month approval rating to other Presidents going back to the 1960s. He is by far the lowest, by far. What do you think of these awful poll numbers?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They're really awful. You know, John F. Kennedy, for example, who you're putting up, you know he won a close election over Nixon, but he had a 70 percent approval rating after his 200th day. He was able to accomplished things like create the Peace Corps and the alliance of progress and get America going on the moon shot. Kennedy recognized how to unite the country. Donald Trump is trying to operate as a far right President when the country at best is center-right. And he just doesn't have the numbers, and one other thing, Don. I remember when Dean Atchison, the great Secretary of State for Harry Truman met with Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam war and Johnson said why are my poll numbers so bad. Atchison looked at him and said because you're not a very likable fellow. A lot of people don't like Donald Trump. And they're not going to be boosting his poll numbers up anytime soon.

LEMON: Let's put that last one back up, the six-month approval. I want Margaret to react to that. Margaret, what do you think? He said a lot of people just don't like Donald Trump. What do you put that 38 percent?

HOOVER: Donald Trump didn't get elected because of likability. He got elected because of 78,000 voters in three states, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and what we know is that Republicans even though they don't like the tweeting, they don't think the behavior in the oval office is Presidential, they don't particularly like him as a person or think his demeanor is befitting of the presidency, still supported him in really large numbers. You know high 80s, 90 percent voted for him. Now only 59 percent support him. That is a massive crack in his support.

LEMON: What is it?

HOOVER: I told you last week. I told you in the LGBT transgender military officials came out in strong support from Republicans against that ban and against the President. We were beginning to see cracks in the pillar and part of this, also the Russia sanctions, so overwhelmingly passed a bill against Russia against the President's wishes.

[23:05:16] LEMON: I gave you credit for it at the top of the last show. I was talking to Scott Jennings because he was sitting right next to you and you said this is now you're going to see the President's support starting to fracture. And so you think you were right on this?

HOOVER: Well because of Republicans. I mean, the issue is he has still had support of Republicans because Republicans even though they didn't like him or even though they didn't trust him thought there was hope for policy proposals being passed. The affordable care act is being reformed, tax reform actually being implemented. Now it looks, because he is so ineffective at his job less and less likely that the things Republicans believed all along are going to happen.

LEMON: But the economy is helping him out, because 45 percent of respondents approve of how he is handling the economy. At least there's one bright spot for him in there, at least.

HOOVER: yes, and what has he done for the economy? Basically he has not done anything to encroach upon the economy. They're having been a few cosmetic gestures towards regulatory reform and stepping back from regulations.

LEMON: For months and months before Donald Trump, the economy was on an upward tick.

HOOVER: What it does signals confidence in the economy. He should get kudos for that.

LEMON: Mark, this question right here might get to the heart of the issue faced by President Trump. Just take a look at this, this is a full 78 percent of respondents say they don't trust what they hear coming from this White House. How can he rebuild a number like that? Is that even possible at this point?

PRESTON: Look, anything's possible. What a place to start out, 200 days into your presidency. That is more than seven in ten Americans right now who don't believe what they hear coming out of the White House, what does every world leader think right now when they're talking to Donald Trump and when they are talking about sending troops in harm's way, when they are talking about the markets, when they're talking about any host of issues that they're faced with right now. Can they trust President Trump? That is an issue of credibility that is of utmost importance. Looking back domestically, if you look at those numbers, Don, drilled down into them a little bit, you have Republicans right now split about 50/50 right now whether or not they believe what is being said out of the White House. That is number increases to over seven and ten independents.

We know that elections are not won on the base. I mean, sure, you get your base out. But when you look at numbers right now, if you want to get a taste of how somebody is doing in office, you look at where the independents are going. Right now, they are not going with President Trump and in fact, what's even worse is that you see Republicans starting to abandon him.

LEMON: I want to ask you Douglas, about this trust issue, they can't trust what's coming out of this White House. What does that say for the people who speak for the President? If you look at the person who speaks every day, at the briefing, if you look at the people who come on television? It seems that the public doesn't believe them. They think they're spinning or lying, as well.

BRINKLEY: Absolutely. They've become comedy fodder. Nobody thinks Sean Spicer was any good. Everybody laughed about Scaramucci. He was awful. He is never been able to handle the press aspect of being President. I think he decided he could war on the media and score points. Well, he does with the cult of Trump. But it hasn't served him very well. You know Ronald Reagan used to always say always operate above 50 percent of the box office. You want at least half the country to be on your side.

He is now operating at 38 percent. He is under the Mueller investigation coming upon him right now. And he had, I think symbolically when John McCain put his thumb down to the skinny bill, it was a lot of centrist Republicans saying I've had enough of this guy. It was more than a symbol of just the bill. It was a downward thumb for Donald Trump. Hence it, you're starting to get the talk of 2020 of who might be the Republican nominee, because it's not clear it will be Trump.

LEMON: Did you want to weigh in on that, Margaret?

HOOVER: Look, I think the numbers speak for themselves. This is serious for the President. But his base even though we see the numbers going down, you go talk to the folks in the base, they've become anti-anti-Trump, right? They just -- they believe the narrative that the media is against them, that everything is weighted against the President and you know, there is always going to be that be.

LEMON: Isn't that a shrinking number of people?

HOOVER: It is. But you know what? I continue to think we can talk 2020. Let's not get too happy, because the Democratic field is incredibly weak.

LEMON: It's just reality.

HOOVER: I passed today a sign in where there is Warren 2020. You know the best way to the secure a Donald Trump second term is Elizabeth Warren getting a nominee. I don't know where independents go, Mark Preston, if you've got Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump on the ticket. It's certainly easy to imagine.

[23:10:03] BRINKLEY: My only -- the only reason I wonder about that, you're dealing with 3/4 of the country not trusting you. How do they suddenly re-trust you? That means they've decided that he is dishonest, because of a series of lies. I don't know how one builds that number back up. Well, I've sided he is honest.

HOOVER: We're 200-days in.

BRINKLEY: Yeah. But dishonesty that is the part of this poll that I would be concerned about if I were part of the Trump apparatus.

LEMON: What about this number where only 30 percent of people say that they admire President Trump? You're a mom and mother of two. What do you think when you see that?

HOOVER: I think it's very bad for the institution of the presidency and very bad for our government. It's very, very bad that people don't trust and believe what's coming from the White House. If you can't have faith that your public servants are telling you the truth, you're reinforcing every cynicism in this government. We already have a historic low lack of faith in our institutions. So this is reinforcing -- this is terrible for the traditions of Democratic republic.

LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. When we come back, the President pledging to bring jobs back to America, but some of his own businesses rely on foreign workers saying he is distanced himself from his business, as well. The Trump hotel in D.C. cashes in. We have a closer look.

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[23:15:05] LEMON: President Trump at his New Jersey golf course -- golf club tonight where he is taking a 17-day working vacation as he calls it, spending time at his own property is becoming a habit for him. He is been in office for 200 days. It turns out that for 51 of those days the President has visited one of his company's properties. That is 25 percent of his young presidency. So let's bring in Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer, CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The truth about Trump," and CNN legal commentator Matthew Whitaker. Gentlemen, good evening to all of you, Michael, I'm going to start with you.

I want to start with this new report by "the Washington Post" David Fahrenthold who found that Trump Mar-a-Lago club has been paying for this tiny ads to run in the paper for job vacancy and it is what he writes this is what he writes, late last month the club placed an ad on page c8 of the Palm Beach post crammed full of tiny print laying out the job experience requirements and classified ad shorthand. Three months recent and verifiable experience in fine dining country club, the ad said no tips. Companies like Mar-a-Lago are required to make steps to find Americans before going go the foreign route and that includes placing two newspaper ads and contacting U.S. employees who had been let go. The President is, the President is abiding by the letter of the law here, but how much does his business rely on foreign workers?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, quite a bit of it does. He actually first started this whole thick of relying on important work foreign workers when he was building Trump tower. Back then it was hundreds of guys from Poland who are undocumented. Some weeks they were paid in vodka and they slept at the construction site. So he has a history of cutting corners and maybe abiding by the letter of the law, but not by the spirit of it and that can go forward to today where you would find at Mar-a-Lago a lot of people who are not Americans employed. I was actually talking with some folks in the Irish press over the weekend. And they said that their concern in Ireland about the 50,000 undocumented Irish workers who are here and some of them employed in hospitality, many of them. So I think if we had the $200,000 to plunk down for a membership, we might hear some interesting accents at Mar-a-Lago.

LEMON: Richard, to you now. From an ethical perspective, do you see any red flags here?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, certainly. I have to say it has been 200-days and I don't think that President Trump has accomplished anything in office over those 200-days other than making a lot of money for himself and his family, putting his family members in important positions in government and promoting his businesses. And that Trump hotel in Washington is ground zero for political activity and quid pro quo and smoozing of Trump administration officials, and he is making money every time someone orders drinks there, gets a room there rents out a ballroom. The lobbyists are swarming all over the place. So that is really all he is done is made his family rich and himself rich and then the real problem is they can't seem to tell the truth about it. The President can't and others in the White House can't.

They're persistently lying about things that the American people really care about. The third problem is we have yet to figure out what his relationship is with the Russians and how much foreign money is in there including Russian money all we know is whatever Bob Mueller talks about looking at the finances, the President gets very upset and threatens to fire Bob Mueller which means maybe there's something there. This is a very, very unfortunate situation from an ethics perspective and also for those of us who are Republicans to watch really the destruction of the ideals of the Republican Party of limited government and good sound management in government. That is not what we're seeing here at all.

LEMON: Matthew Whitaker, I want to ask you, given last week's announcement at the White House, it was announced that they are looking to cut legal immigration in half in part to provide more jobs for American workers, should Mar-a-Lago be making a bigger effort to hire locally for this jobs?

MATTHEW WHITAKER, LEGAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I don't really know much the operations in Mar-a-Lago and I would expect whoever is the manager of that resort is probably in the best position to kind of answer that question. But what I can tell you is that you know we should have a bias for American workers. Our unemployment rate at least nationwide is low. We've heard the President brag about that. We saw it on his own television newscast over the weekend. So we know that jobs are being filled in America by Americans.

[23:20:11] But you know, I think it is important that we should ask these questions and I think they should be answered. This President while he has taken -- is not involved in the day-to-day operation, he still has an ownership interest. I think it's a fair question for the media to ask him and I think he should answer quite frankly what is their plan to hire more American workers

LEMON: Here's what he said about during the campaign. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARCO RUBIO, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: You argue that

you're here to fight on behalf of the American worker but when you have chances to help the American workers you're making your clothes overseas and hiring your workers from overseas.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The other hotels during the season, they do the same thing. They take in a lot of people because you can't get them. Long-term employees we don't do that. But short term employees we have no choice, but to do it and other hotels in that very, very hot area. It is a very hot area. It is very, very hard to get people. But other hotels do the exact same thing. Just again, this is a legal process. This is a procedure. It's part of the law. I take advantage of that. There's nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: You could hear Marco Rubio saying there are Americans in hot area, as well - in that area as well. Michael, what's your response to that?

D'ANTONIO: Well, this reminds me of how the President has often used the law where bankruptcy is concerned is a good example, he'll say I used the law and that is all true. At the same time, in his political campaign, he talked a lot about how immigrants were taking jobs from Americans. I never quite bought that personally, because we know the competition for these jobs is not the same as the President described it. But nevertheless, he made this point. So if he is concerned about American jobs, he should be looking to American workers to fill them. Historically, the hotel industry in Florida relied on people who worked in the northeast in the summertime and came south in the winter. There's no reason that kind of thing can't happen today. So everywhere you turn, there's a conflict here either ethically or logically and yet, he stays within the letter of the law and I think that is what matters most to him.

LEMON: All right stick with me everyone. When we come back, an in- depth report by the "Washington Post" of how the President's Washington, D.C. Hotel could be profiting from his presidency.

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LEMON: Donald Trump the first American President to have his name on properties across the country and around the world but is the Trump organization profiting from the Trump presidency? Back with my panel, Michael you first. Speaking of Trump properties Jonathan O'Connell writes in the "Washington Post" Trump international hotel in Washington, D.C. has quickly become a White House annex since the election. "Trump as leader of the Republican Party has showcased the hotel as a destination of choice for GOP loyalists. Who spent every single day in the month of May at the hotel and reporters saw a range of events hosted by foreign groups with policy priorities to Republicans. What's your reaction to that?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I sort of have a heart for the Marriott across the street and the Willard hotel down the block. It must it be really difficult for them to compete and this would be the same as if there was an Obama hotel four years ago and before that a Bush country club. It's really challenging for anyone in any of those businesses in these locales to do business as well as Trump does. This is why we all wanted full disclosure of his holdings and ongoing disclosure of his financial condition. It's -- I recall the time that he appeared with all those file folders piled on a table and we all knew that most of them were empty. We actually still are waiting for good information about the reality of these properties. So it really does give a lot of us pause for concern.

LEMON: When you put it that way, it is interesting. Imagine if there was an Obama towers or a Bush country club or a Clinton hotel and you know plaza. I wonder if people would feel the same way about him releasing his tax returns or at least showing more about his business holdings. Go ahead.

D'ANTONIO: There would be no end to the criticism of those Presidents and rightfully so. This is why it's so problematic for someone in that highest office to have such far flung business dealings and today we hear that there's contemplation of using a mercenary army in Afghanistan that is owned by his education secretary's brother. You know, this is getting to the point where it looks like they're looting the treasure for their own gain.

LEMON: Interesting. Richard, you and others have a lawsuit against the President for violating the emoluments clause which means for taking money from foreign leaders and governments. What about taking money from other Republicans and other domestic leaders?

PAINTER: Well it's corruption when people in order to get their legislative agenda through or get whatever they want out of the executive branch agencies, they feel they need to go book a room at the Trump hotel, get a ballroom there, pay tens of thousands of dollars, have a big party and then all the Trump administration officials come over and the President is getting a cut of the action. That is paying money to him to the Trump family for access to the United States government officials. And I could say when I was the chief ethics officer for the Bush administration, if anyone in the Bush family thought of opening a hotel near the White House where lobbyists would come in there, I would have walked right off the job. I would have told the President that hotel is shut down or I'm walking out. It is unacceptable for a family to try to make money off the presidency. And that is what's going on here with that hotel and with the other Trump properties where they --

HERE

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[23:30:00] RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: ...I would have told the President that that the hotel is shut down or I'm walking out. It is unacceptable for a family to try to make money off the presidency. And that is what's going on here with that hotel and with the other Trump properties where they doubled the Mar-a-Lago initiation dues, from $100,000 to $200,000 when he won the presidency. This is corruption. It is embarrassing for the Republican Party to see this going on, because Americans want small government. They want clean government. They want government that serves the American people, not the interests of the Trumps and the Kushner's and people who want to use public office for private gain.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Matthew, speaking of mixing family with business, Laura Trump, the wife of President Trump son Eric Trump, now hosting a campaign style video of the President or videos of the President's Facebook page. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARA TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: Lara Trump here. I bet you haven't heard about all the accomplishments the President had this week, because there's so much fake news out there. We wanted to give you a glimpse into his week. The stock market is up, the committee is booming, ladies and gentlemen. And jobs, there have been almost 800,000 new jobs created in this country since Donald Trump took office in January.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What do you think?

MATTHEW WHITAKER, LEGAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Great times are here, Don.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I mean, it's unbelievable, go ahead, what do you think, Matthew?

WHITAKER: Well, you know, listen, the videos were a little over the top and obviously.

LEMON: A little?

WHITAKER: There's no doubt who had produced them. In the backdrop said Donald J. Trump, it was very much to tell the version of the story they would like to tell. But back on the subject that Richard was talking about, I think this is very important. You know that, hotel was under construction for two years before Donald Trump became President.

LEMON: It wasn't doing so well, by the way.

WHITAKER: Unless he is clairvoyant and knew he was going to be President in fact, he didn't probably know he would be President till election night like the rest of us believed. So I think it's a little much to suggest that this was some sort of a planned way to profit from the presidency. Now, the fact that it is being used it's not where I stay when I'm in the district. The fact that it's being used by folks that is on them to think somehow the President is checking who is staying in his hotel any given night.

LEMON: Doesn't that make the argument for the people who say he should have divested himself from his businesses or sold them? WHITAKER: I think it's going to be hard for him to divest all of his

things. As Richard knows, the ethics laws and the conflict of interest rules do not apply to the President or the Vice President. Ultimately, the decider of whether the President should or shouldn't do those things, are the people in congress who if they disagree with him could hold him accountable through the process of politics.

LEMON: Do you want to respond to them.

PAINTER: The emoluments clause, the constitution applies to the President and so do the bribery and gratuity laws.

LEMON: You're right.

PAINTER: These laws apply to the President.

LEMON: The emoluments clause.

PAINTER: The emoluments clause does not apply to the president that is wrong.

WHITAKER: The emoluments clause you know is all about gifts from foreign countries. To suggest that applies broadly to this situation is a complete misreading of history and the constitution.

PAINTER: The bribery and gratuity, we have bribery and gratuity laws, obstruction of laws, a lot of laws apply to the President.

WHITAKER: I agree with you on those laws. I'm talking about the emoluments clause.

LEMON: we have to go, can you give me five seconds, give your last word.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We have the first example of emoluments even before he took office when one of the Gulf States invested $100,000 in an event at the Trump hotel in Washington. So these are not small matters. They're substantial amounts of money and it's really the appearance that matters.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. When we come back, two of the President's most senior advisers locked in a major feud and it's spilling out into the public. We'll go behind their power struggle. That is next.

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[23:37:41] LEMON: 200-days into the Trump presidency and many jobs in the administration still haven't been filled not to mention the people who have already been fired and replaced. According to our brand-new CNN SSRS poll, 62 percent of the Americans think the President has done a poor hiring his team. Two of the president's top advisor, Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster are reportedly locked in a power struggle. Let us discuss now, there they are, Kurt Bordello, former Breitbart spokesperson and CNN global affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier who wrote about this for "The Daily Beast." Good evening so good to see you - both of you. Kim, I want to start

with you, just as the President's new chief of staff seems to have found a way to tone down the palace intrigue coming out of the White House, at least for a little while before the story breaks. So what is going on here? Can you help us make sense of the feud between Bannon and McMaster?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: do1 Well, the story broke because a few people got fired and when people leave employment, they often have a story to tell or their friends are telling their stories which is what is happening with this. It all stems back to an enemies list that people tell me Bannon and Mike Flynn and others created during the transition of people they knew who were working at the White House at the National Security Council who they thought needed to be fired when the Trump administration came in. So just about the time that Mike Flynn was leaving, resigning and H.R. McMaster was taking up the post that is when they considered this enemies list. And they brought in one of the staffers that got fired in the past couple weeks, a man named retired Colonel Derek Harvey and said well, what do you think? Harvey said you know what? Most of these people are temporary assignees from other agencies. They'll be gone by the summer. It won't be worth the aggravation and the press coverage that is going to happen if you fire them, so just let them be.

Well, he never told McMaster about that meeting and that was cited as one of the reasons that I was told that he was fired though he is in line for a job elsewhere in the administration for a couple of the other people who were let go who were originally Flynn acolytes, there's no such job waiting in the wings for them. The combination of the three being let go at the same time has created this firestorm of attacks aimed at General McMaster saying that he should be fired, he should step down. And the President himself had to step in and defend him. So that is a little bit of the twisted back story that I've been hearing.

[23:40:21] LEMON: And the palace intrigue they've been trying so much the new chief of staff trying to stamp out. Kurt, much of the conflict between McMaster and Bannon has been fueled by the alt-right. Why has the Alt-right turned against McMaster so strongly?

KURT BARDELLA, MEDIA CONSULTANT FOR BREITBART NEWS: Well, because I think when you look at some of these platforms, particularly Breitbart they exist to does Bannon's bidding. There is no line of separation between a platform Right Breitbart and Steve Bannon on the White House, right now at this very second, you go to Breitbart, there's a story out there they have on their homepage alleging there is some crazy ties to McMaster and Iran.

This is exactly what they do. This is how they operate. They take their cues from someone like Steve. There's the enemy. They try to dissect every single part of his life and try to create any type of scrutiny and any type of controversy, anything that they can use as ammunition to try to take out their Steve's enemy which is all one and the same. LEMON: If you look at all the people speaking out, many of it is

believed to be bots, sort of a computer or whatever bots that just retweeted fire McMaster, whatever. How much of this is an echo chamber and does it really mean anything?

BARDELLA: Regardless of whether it's an echo chamber or not, they know that the President pays attention to this. Today it was reported he may have liked or re-tweeted something from a bot. As long as he sees it, that is the intended audience. All of this is about an audience of one and that is Donald Trump.

LEMON: Do you want to respond, I thought you wanted to jump in, Kim.

DOZIER: The thing that all of these critics are ignoring is that there are a number of Flynn hires who have been kept on in the administration who H.R. McMaster promoted to senior posts. One person has gone to work for Jason Greenblatt, Victoria Coats. Another person who Flynn had hired has taken Derek Harvey's place. So they conveniently gloss over that. What's happening for the people inside the National Security Council, they're also listening to and watching all this and wondering, where should my loyalties go? My boss is lieutenant general McMaster but I also know that Steve Bannon has a lot of influence with the President. And this is the kind of challenge that General Kelly has as he is trying to impose some sort of order on the White House and this kind of purge was going to kick up this kind of dust. I think that is again why they let H.R. do this early in Kelly's tenure in August so that by September, this all blows over and they can move on.

LEMON: Yeah. By the way, the President released a statement supporting McMaster saying General McMaster and I are working very well together. He is a good a man, very pro-Israel, I'm grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country. Not exactly a ringing endorsement but at least it's a statement of support.

BARDELLA: That is a lot more than Jeff Sessions got.

LEMON: Yes, exactly. Thank you both I appreciate, when we come back, Colin Kaepernick is without a job after protesting the national anthem during games last year. Is the NFL sending a message?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:47:19] LEMON: Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to the super bowl in 2013. Now four years later, nobody seems to want him on their team. Is it because he refused to stand for the national anthem? Is he paying a price for his protest now? Let's discuss, Josina Anderson ESPN NFL insiders here, former NFL players Jack Brewer and Donte Stallworth, good evening to all of you. This is a fascinating conversation. We all remember Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the national anthem. Still without a team weeks before the season starts. Is he out of a job because of his beliefs?

JOSINA ANDERSON, ESPN NFL INSIDER: There are I think a variety of reasons that people can point to as to why Colin Kaepernick is currently unemployed in the National Football League. You look at a man who has a passion for the NFL and to play for it and it's probably feeling more to him like a business and less like a meritocracy. This is a league where it has a lot of player who are good citizens but has also given second chances to people who had been accused or charged with domestic violence with, sexual assault, murder, abuse against animals and here he is trying to do just a silent protest. A legal protest, make a social political stance against what he says was the oppression of black people and people of color who were disproportionally targeted by police brutality and albeit during the national anthem where people have taken offense to that. You know, his protests didn't come out in the most smooth way. And there are a lot of people who took that in the wrong way, but he has since tried to clear that up.

LEMON: I want to ask you, is he being black baud? Jack I want to ask you, because she brings up a good point. Ray Rice played for the Ravens at the time of his domestic violence incident that was back in 2014. He was welcomed back with a standing ovation at practice session after the incident, so what does this say about the culture of the NFL about American culture that they can tolerate someone who you know, has dealt with domestic violence, but someone who stands up for their beliefs, they don't tolerate that so much.

JACK BREWER, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I think we are judging a little bit too soon. Ray Rice actually his career ended, I don't think he has played since. With Colin, this is a different situation. This is a business. This is training camp, right? Teams are getting prepared for the season and they don't want any distractions. I don't think it has anything to do with Colin Kaepernick kneeling, for example, but fans drive tickets, they drive revenue.

[23:50:03] You have to appeal to your fan base. I think right now it's just a lot of risk for an organization to take. Colin Kaepernick will play on a football team this year. He is a backup quarterback. If he had won games last year, this wouldn't be the case. I think it's more about his play. I think it's more about the situation and, believe me, you'll see Colin Kaepernick playing Football this season.

LEMON: You disagree with that?

ANDERSON: I definitely disagree with that Don, because when you look at some of the quarterbacks that have gotten employment in the NFL before him. Austin Davis, Gino Smith, E.J. Manuel. And you look at Colin Kaepernick's resume, although his play has fallen off a little. Just three completions away to Michael Crabtree from winning a Super Bowl and did very well under the Harbaugh. He is definitely a player who some would say actually has starter qualities. To say it's just because of his football ability or look thereof or regression in that, I don't think is the case. Even though, you know, you want to take the fan pulse and stuff like that, at the same time, you know, how much do you leverage what is right? How much do you leverage what is fair to all people in all races and --

LEMON: Especially when people talk about the first amendment and the freedom of expression so much, so much in this country. Dante, go ahead and weigh in. I know what Jack thinks. What do you think, Donte? DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I think there's a little bit of

both, to be honest. I think these NFL organizations are doing exactly what any major corporation or any major entity would do. And that is acting in their best interest, doesn't mean that Colin Kaepernick is not better than some starting quarterbacks that are currently on NFL rosters and especially the backups that are on rosters now as Josina just named some of the guys that were signed before him that can't hold his jock for lack of a better term.

LEMON: Do you think there will be a chilling effect with other players to keep them from speaking out, Donte?

STALLWORTH: I think that is a natural effect. It's going to be the younger players, the ones who aren't solidified on a roster or the ones who aren't financially stable. It's going to be those guys who are going to fear the most. You'll still have the Richard Shermans and the Bennett, the guys who will continue to speak out no matter what opportunity they get.

LEMON: You disagreed at first, Jack, and now you agree.

BREWER: I agree with Donte because his fact is right on point and you see athlete's like Lebron James across the board. The biggest athletes in the world speak out. The fact of the matter, if Colin Kaepernick had won games last year he'd be on an NFL roster. He will get signed at some point, probably before the season.

ANDERSON: He had 16 touchdowns, 4 interceptions last year.

LEMON: Josina, this is for you then.

BREWER: Look at his passing percentage. If he was completing passes, he'd be on a roster.

LEMON: You can weigh in on this. I watched some of it. Take a listen to this moment from LaDainian Tomlinson's speech. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADAINIAN TOMLINSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: In sports, we're evaluated on our desire, ability and giving a chance to compete. America is the land of opportunity. Let's not slam the door on those who may look or sound different from us. Rather, let's open it wide for those who believe in themselves that anything is possible. And are willing to compete and take whatever risk necessary to work hard to succeed.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So Tomlinson's speech was almost universally well received. Is it hypocritical for NFL to embrace L.T.'s politically speech but shun Kaepernick's protest?

ANDERSON: the thing is LaDainian Tomlinson wasn't making that speech while kneeling during the national anthem. That is where the contrast comes in. But at the same time, LaDainian Tomlinson's speech was fearless. I thought it was timely. I thought it was clear. For him to talk about his roots and his great grandfather, great, great, great grandfather coming over from West Africa and all the hardships that he went through and for that same family to then live on that land that he tilled and rename it Tomlinson hill and to kind of really engender this message of unity is timely and apropos and hopefully will inspire athletes in the NFL to do the same and not be fearful of losing their employment as a result.

LEMON: I got 30 seconds left for both of you gentlemen to respond as well go ahead Donte you first.

STALLWORTH: I think L.T.'s speech was amazing. I enjoyed it. He is not a guy that is known to speak out much, but it was interesting to hear his story. And to hear him speak about the realities of what a lot of African-Americans dealing with not just, you know, general racism but also being a part of this country coming from ancestors that were slaves. I thought that was important. He made a good point.

[23:55:06] LEMON: Jack?

BREWER: That speech was amazing and moving. One of the greatest I've ever seen. At the end of the day, it's about unity, bringing people together. You can have your perspectives on either side of the aisle. At the same time, you have to remember that we have kids watching. And as athletes we use our platforms in the way that we do. We don't have to be divisive and call police pigs. Black people, we have a lot of issues that we're standing up against that go beyond and above police officers and above and beyond the athletic field. We just have to come together at the end of the day. When we see Kaepernick hopefully come back and play this season and becomes a star in the NFL again. Thank you, Don, for having us on.

LEMON: You're not saying he shouldn't speak his mind.

BREWER: He has the right to speak his mind, Don, but I'm saying the reason he is not employed right now is because he is not winning football games.

LEMON: Period.

ANDERSON: Disagree, Don.

LEMON: Thank you all. Sorry to rush you along, but I have to go. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: At 14, this week's CNN hero was living alone on the streets. After years ever struggle she managed to create a stable life and for the past 32 years has dedicated that life to helping vulnerable youth in Israel providing them not only with a safe haven but something more, a family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) To be homeless at a young age, it's very lonely. When you don't have

your family, you will always have this black hole. I know exactly what they're going through. I want children to breathe. I want them to feel alive. I want them to feel secure and feel that they can be hugged and they will not be in danger. We can see it in a different way and win life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: To see how she helps these young adults win at life, go to CNNheroes.com. While you are there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN hero. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.