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CNN TONIGHT

Latest Forecast For Hurricane Florence; Trump Team: Non- Disclosure Agreement Null And Void; Serena Williams Fined For Violations In U.S. Open; Raiders' Players Sit During National Anthem; Tucker Carlson's Anti-Diversity Rant Sparks Outrage. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired September 10, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Just a little bit past 11:00 p.m., here on the East Coast, we are live with all the new developments for you tonight. There is a brand new forecast for hurricane Florence, an extremely dangerous category four storm, it is taking aim at the mid-Atlantic Coast. There is a shift tonight in the path of this storm, you see it there in your screen and fears that this category four storm could get even worse. OK?

So let's get right to it. I want to get to CNN's Tom Sater, also David Nolan, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami. They both joins us. Good evening to you, gentlemen.

So Tom, there is a new advisory that just came out. Are there any significant changes?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLIGIST: I would say the most significant change in this advisory would be on the track of the storm and the projection of where landfall could be. When it comes to the storm itself, it is still a formidable storm, it is still category four. Winds are still at 140. They did detect a little rise in the pressure which usually means that it is weakening somewhat.

But please do not pay much attention to that, because this is going to go through cycles over the next couple of days. Hurricane hunter aircraft has been in the system. When we talk about restructuring, Don, the eye will go through a replacement cycle. It is like it has lungs. Every once in a while it takes a deep breath and exhales. So it is going to go through fluctuations. So, nothing much on the strength. But when it comes to the path, what has changed at the 11:00 a.m. advisory this morning, the center of our cone of uncertainty was right over Wilmington. At 3:00 p.m. it shifted northward in about 20 miles from Wilmington. And now it is about 50 miles north. So there is a trend northward.

But again, I want to stress, this can change over the next couple of days. Now, it does have landfall Thursday evening. That was the same as last night. The problem is it says 8:00 p.m., 140. That is category four, could be a little bit stronger than that. But high tide is at 11:00. So that is going to add a little bit more of a problem with this. The thing we need to look at Don, is the waters continue to get warmer. So, it is possible this could reach category five, even sometime during the day tomorrow.

LEMON: Wow. Let us bring in David now. David Nolan, how bad will this storm be?

DAVID NOLAN, PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: I think this storm could be just as bad as everyone expects, something like a category four, possibly category five making a direct, you know, perpendicular impact on land. There will be a very high surge at the coast and there is going to be very high winds even inland. There is going to be some serious flooding. One of the things that could happen with this storm is that it is probably going to slow down after it makes landfall. And that will mean a lot of rainfall, hopefully not as bad as what happened with hurricane Harvey, but something kind of like that is possible.

LEMON: OK. So, Tom, what should people be doing right now?

SATER: Well, we were just talking in the weather department. If the U.S. Navy sends out 30 vessels from Norfolk, if they leave, you leave. I mean, this is really a system that you have to go back to Hugo. Don, I mean this is 29 years ago this month on the 22nd of September. Hugo moved in as a category four and not devastated the area, but changed the landscape here. It did move quickly unlike, it was mentioned, this one may slow down. But 27 lives were lost, 100,000 became homeless when this moved in the area, $9.5 billion in damages.

[23:05:03] And at the time it was the most costly U.S. Disaster. But now it ranks 17th, because so many more people are living on the coast line. So, that is really the benchmark right now. Hugo made landfall with winds at 140. This is could be pretty much the same song and dance unfortunately. There is a whole new generation, Don, who hasn't lived through something like this on the Carolina Coast.

LEMON: yes, listen, you talked about a just a little bit, but the change in time as it corresponds to the high tide, can you talk a little more specifically about that?

SATER: Well, I mean, when you have the time of high tide, the time of high tide, you already got the water that is coming into the coast line. What we are looking at and the possibilities of a storm surge, when something of this size and magnitude is so far away from the coast, it is bringing underneath it, this upwelling of water, this wall, and this storm surge. It's different if the storm is just going to develop off the coast and move in.

So creating this wall of water the storm surge is upwelling is carried quite some distance. That is going to have power. And you kind of add that on to the time of high tide and it just exacerbates the situation. So, I mean, if you are going to have high tide it is best not to have it when you have a landfall hurricane of category four. I mean, it will just add more problems I think in a broader area up and through the outer banks to Delmar bay area.

LEMON: David, are we seeing -- I don't know if you want to add to that, but these hurricanes, are they getting worse? Are we seeing more severe weather now? NOLAN: It is very hard to say. A lot of people want to associate

global warming with having more hurricanes or having worse hurricanes. There has been a lot of research on that over the last ten years. And unfortunately, at this time it is not really conclusive. I think most scientists agree that because of global warmings, hurricanes, I should say the strongest hurricanes will get a little bit stronger. Whether or not we are going to have more hurricanes to the extent that we can measure it is just not clear at this time.

LEMON: What storms would you compare this to? Any that we have seen in the past, David?

NOLAN: Well, we were talking about hurricane Hugo a few minutes ago. That is a very good analogy, you know, a major hurricane going straight at the Carolina coast. This one may be a little different as it said, it might be slowing down when it approaches which unfortunately would make it worse. I think Katrina is another good example. That is a storm that went through one of this period of rapid intensification just a few days before approaching the coast.

And the other thing that this storm will have which is similar to Katrina is it is going to have a very large wind field. The area of winds that are strong are large. That makes the surge worst. So having the strong winds, but really not having that large area of strong winds is what maximizes the surge.

LEMON: Yes. Tom, David, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Tom, standby. We will be getting back to you a lot as this thing gets closer to making landfall. We appreciate it. Thank you gentlemen.

I want to bring in now the mayor of Southport, North Carolina, Jerry Dove. Southport sits right in the hurricane's path and Mayor Dove joins us via phone. Mayor, good evening to you. You have a mandatory evacuation for your residents that started at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. Are you preparing for the worse, right?

MAYOR JERRY DOVE, SOUTHPORT, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes we are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. We met today with our emergency staff and all of the agencies that combine to help us to make our city and our citizens safe.

LEMON: It seems that you are calling for this evacuation early here, this mandatory evacuation. Are you expecting everyone will be able to get out?

DOVE: Well, we are just following suit. Our governor was down here, Governor Cooper today was in Wilmington. Which we are about 30 miles south of Wilmington. Everyone in all of the models that we had been looking at from what we hear this will be a very terrible storm. So we want to be prepared. Like I said, we are planning for the worst and hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

We are just following suit. Our other coastal towns are right close to Oak Island. They required mandatory evacuation, also.

LEMON: OK. You talked to me about the governor. What else are people in your community doing to prepare for the hurricane?

DOVE: We are doing like I said, at 2:00 we have met with our emergency staff to prepare for that. We meet with our local hospitals, the local electric corporation. Usually you can plan on these events. We have had several storms that have come through Southport in the last several years. We are no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, but you can count on things like out of our falling limbs, falling trees, flooding, a lot of water hazards and things like that.

[23:10:07] We met with all the people that are involved, law enforcement, the electrical company, the hospitals, our EMS staff making sure that we have all of our resources in place.

LEMON: Yes. While people still have power you can still get the word out. What is your message to folks there?

DOVE: My message is make sure you make all of your emergency contingency plans and preparations within the next few days and if you do decide to stay here and weather the storm out, make sure that you have plenty of resources at your home like food and water. Remember that if you decide to do that and during the storm we cannot come out to save you.

LEMON: Mayor Jerry Dove of Southport, North Carolina. We appreciate your time. Best of luck to you. OK? Thank you for coming on.

DOVE: Thank you sir, and thank you for having us on.

LEMON: Absolutely. So make sure you stay with CNN all night for the latest on hurricane Florence. And when we come back, President Trump trying to get out of the Stormy Daniels lawsuit. We will talk with her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A lawyer for President Trump filing papers in an attempt to get the President out of the lawsuit brought by adult film actress, Stormy Daniels. I want to talk about this now, with her attorney, Michael Avenatti, I am talking about Stormy Daniels. Good evening sir, how are you?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIEL'S ATTORNEY: Good to be here.

LEMON: So, it looks like President Trump and Michael Cohen are giving into your demand, right? Releasing your client from the MDA, why aren't you declaring victory right now?

AVENATTI: Well, they are surrendering, but they are not surrendering on appropriate terms, Don. You know, we filed this case back in March. It was a very straightforward complaint. We had numerous allegations. We did made an offer of settlement. Donald Trump and Michael Cohen blew us off. They did not accept the offer of settlement. We did amended the allegations which was part of our strategy. And now basically they want to unwind the clock and go back to the settlement that was offered back in March. And we are not willing to agree to that because there is a number of

things that we demanded. And at the top of the list is we want an admission by Donald Trump and Michael Cohen that this was an illegal contract that was entered into to violate campaign finance law. Now, Michael Cohen appeared in a federal court, a criminal court and admitted to that. So we are half way to home. Now we want Donald Trump to do it. He is not going to do that. And so therefore, we are going to proceed with proving that point. We want a judgment finding this contract was illegal.

LEMON: OK. Do you think the President will ever do that? You said isn't that something that should be decided by a court of law. Before I got to ask you, you said Michael Cohen admitted that in a court of law. But do you think the president will ever do that?

AVENATTI: Well, the President is either going to admit it. He is going to be cross examined on the topic of a deposition and then we are going to have a trial on this exact issue. Look, the --

LEMON: That is the last thing he needs.

AVENATTI: Well, I think there is a number of things that he doesn't need in connection with this case and hasn't needed for six months. But he has been mart enough to figure that out. He is continually obstructed and delayed along with Michael Cohen.

LEMON: Can I ask you something? If when you came out, remember and you did the big 60 minutes interview with Anderson -- even before that, because it was talked about Stormy Daniels, if he had said yes I did it. I did it because I just didn't want my wife know -- whatever reason, do you think it would have been gone by now? It would have been over?

AVENATTI: Well, I think there is no question about that. But he didn't have the sense to act in that way. Look, he stayed at the table too long. He thought he could intimidate people, outsmart people and I turn out not to be the case. And let's remember this ---

LEMON: You predicted all of this. I do have to say that. I mean, I have to give your props every time we question you, something else comes out that you predicted. You feel good about that. I mean people, you know, there is a lot of hate for you. People are calling you on some channels a creepy porn lawyer and on and on. But things -- most of the things that you predicted have come true. You said they are going to stay too long on the table, this is going to bite them.

AVENATTI: And look, I appreciate that. I mean, my prediction rate has been very, very good over the last six months. You know the creepy porn lawyer, I don't pay much attention to Tucker Carlson. I mean, the guy is a complete buffoon. He is not a confident journalist, by instruct by imagination. They won't have me on that network to go on Sean Hannity. I have asked repeatedly to go on, but I don't want to get distracted by that.

Look, here is the bottom line. Let's not also forget the following. Donald Trump utilizing Michael Cohen and a Trump organization lawyer, they filed first. They went after my client in a bogus arbitration in California relying on this agreement. They claim the agreement was valid. They went after, they tried to sue her for millions of dollars in damages. And now come to find out for the last 72 hours, they want to claim that it was all null and void. And they just want to start over.

LEMON: OK. So let me ask you this. I got a bunch of questions. So, $130,000 will Stormy Daniels give that back now? If she is released from this, she is going to make ten times that amount if not more.

AVENATTI: If the contract is determined to be illegal then she doesn't have to return the money. If the court orders the contract was (inaudible) then she would have to return the money and she is prepared to return the money.

LEMON: Do you think the court will allow this? I mean if all of a sudden they say, OK, this is null and void, do you think the court will allow this long enough for you to get the opportunity as you want to depose the President?

AVENATTI: Well, I certainly hope so. And I think the court is going to do it. Look, this is a case of national public interest. And people want to know the facts and the evidence relating to what happened here. It has come time for Donald Trump to swear to those facts in evidence under oath and answer questions about exactly what happened. And we intend to pursue those questions, those answers aggressively.

[23:20:06] LEMON: So, I had Mitch Landrieu on earlier. And Mitch Landrieu said, because you just talked about running for president and he said I'm not going to do it, Don. You know he is from Louisiana. No one has been kinder to me as a politician than Mitch Landrieu. My sister passed, he called. He is a nice person.

AVENATTI: I have a lot of respect for him.

LEMON: He said no, I am not going to run. You have told me that you are considering running. If this goes away, what does that do to -- because you have been provided a platform to come on all the news channels to talk about the Stormy Daniels case? If it goes away, what does that do? The critics have said you are using this as a platform to run for President and you need it to stay in the news and the case to keep going?

AVENATTI: That is ridiculous. If I declared my candidacy tomorrow I would be in the news. This case has nothing to do with whether I would run or not run. I have got 50 invitations from around the country to travel around and raise money for Democrats. I am going to continue to do that. I am going to continue to talk to people. People are very enthusiastic about the potential of me running. If there is a need I'm going to run, because there is too much at stake in 2020. And the Democrats cannot afford to take the approach they have taken in elections past and nominate someone that is not a fighter. We need a fighter. When I talked about a fighter, Don, I'm not talking about a paper tiger. I'm not talking about someone that is all of a sudden become a fighter in the last 60 days, because they heard about some of the things that I have been talking about around the country. I'm talking about a real fighter. And these people know who they are. And guess what, the electorate can tell a real fighter from a make believe fighter.

LEMON: So, people ask me about you, right. Because they see us together here on CNN. They will say is he serious? I don't know if he is who we need right now. He is just like Trump, but on the Democratic side. And I say OK, would you vote for him in a primary and they say no? I say what about in a general? They say yes. Because he would be my choice. Yes I do think he is a fighter and the debates would be great and all of that, but I am not sure if he is what we need right now. What do you say to that?

AVENATTI: Well, I would say is whether I run or I don't run, here is the bottom line, people need to look at the nomination process on the Democratic side in 2020 in only one way. The Party has to nominate the person that has the best shot of beating Donald Trump, period. That is the question that has to be answered. If that person who is nominated might make a great President, but they can't beat Donald Trump they have no business being the nominee whatsoever. Because it doesn't matter how much experience you have. It doesn't matter how smart you are on policy decisions, if you can't beat this guy in 2020 you are wasting your time.

LEMON: Someone said do you think it would be odd if you were all of the sudden in a few years -- do you think you will be saying I used to interview that guy as Stormy Daniels' attorney and now he is the President of the United States? I looked at him and say, well, that could happen, because I used to interview Trump about other things and talk to him about the birther, being a birther and all of that. He is President of the United States. Anything is possible. I don't -- I mean, that is where we are right now. I'm sure you don't like that comparison. But I am just saying anything is possible. I'm saying don't under estimate you or anyone. People under estimated Donald Trump, as well.

AVENATTI: People have been under estimating me my entire life, Don. You know, I think I have been proving people wrong for a long time.

LEMON: All right. Thank you sir. I appreciate it. When we come back, Superstar Serena Williams shocking U.S. Open loss after repeatedly clashing with the umpire. Was her punishment fair or the result of a double standard? That is next.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Superstar Serena Williams fined $17,000 for three violations during her shocking loss in the women's single final at the U.S. Open on Saturday. Williams repeatedly clashing with the umpire and at one point smashing her racquet. But is the punishment to harsh? And is Williams being held to a different standard because she is a woman? Here to discuss, Jerry Bembry is the senior writer for ESPN's the Undefeated. And also CNN's Sports Analyst, Christine Brennan, a columnist at USA Today. Thank you both for joining us this evening. I appreciate it. Christine, tennis legend Billie Jean King who championed gender

equality when she was in the court, she writes in the "Washington Post" she says, women are taught to be perfect. We aren't perfect. Of course, of course and so we should not be held to that standard. We have a voice. We have emotions. When we react adversely to a heated professional situation far too often we are labeled hysterical. That must stop. And on another hand, another tennis legend, I am talking about Martina Navratilova, writes in the "New York Times" that Serena got part of it wrong. I don't believe it is a good idea to apply a standard that if men can get away with it women should be able to, too. Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this. What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?

So, we have two tennis icons there, both voicing two very different opinions, what do you think Christine?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I think I actually agree with both at least to some degree, Don. And when I say that I mean this. You can believe that Serena misbehaved, that she crossed the line and that she went too far. You can definitely believe that. And you can also believe that there is a double standard, that Serena was held to a different standard than the many men in tennis who have berated chair umpires. Some of the names are legendary. Even names like James Blake who literally put on Twitter that he has done worse and has not been penalized.

And there is this double standards, you can both thoughts and I think frankly it is a great national conversation to have about what kind of demands we're placing on our female athletes. Do we want them to be feminine? What is about this chair umpire?

[23:30:00] Obviously, he is the one person on earth who is not speaking about this.

LEMON: Yes.

BRENNAN: But, you know, is it because Serena is a woman? Because she is an African-American woman? But no doubt, he was calling, for example, the coaching penalty that started the entire cascade of events, he was calling and penalized Serena and her coach -- the coach actually for coaching.

Apparently, according to everyone in tennis, no one calls that penalty. And yet this man, Carlos Ramos, actually called that penalty on Serena Williams. Why did he choose that moment to call that penalty on one person in tennis, Serena Williams?

LEMON: Yeah.

BRENNAN: And so there are a lot of questions, obviously, out there.

LEMON: So, Jerry, you are -- listen, I think that you can -- so many people think you have to see it one way or the other. I think it is possible, as Christine said, to see both sides of it. I said this earlier. I know people are very critical of it. It is kind of similar to what you said. I just want to read your quote here, OK? And then we can talk about it.

You argue that in "The Undefeated" that Serena's reaction on the court was not a good look for her, you say. Then you add this, "Williams and the other women on tour, especially women of color, have to be twice as good and half as mad to succeed. It is a criteria that they have to navigate in tennis and in life."

OK, I understand that that should not happen. But the reality of it is, is yes, there is the criteria, there is double standard. But isn't it time to call that out instead of just saying it exists and live with it?

JERRY BEMBRY, SENIOR WRITER, ESPN: Yeah, we should definitely call it out. You know, women on tour always have to put their emotions in check. And so it's an unfair standard on the tennis court. It's an unfair standard in the work place. I'm with Christine that we can both agree on the points of both of those tennis legends and what they had to say.

The first coaching penalty should not have been called. And that said in effect a series of an events that really took this to another level. I'm really upset with Serena the way that she -- I am going to say she overreacted. You are in the heat of the moment of a big grand slam tournament.

You have an opportunity to win a title that is going to tie you for all time wins. And I think she should have just let it go. She voiced a concern with the coaching penalty. She got the code violation for smashing a racquet which is very justified. But to continue that conversation with official, when you do that, it is a line in the sand.

You know, some officials ll let you go. This chair umpire probably should have. And some officials will call you for it and they will penalize you. That's what happened. And that cost her a match. It's unfortunate because Serena has come back in so many tournaments during the course of her career and then denied (ph) as an opportunity to see if she had that in her against Naomi Osaka who is a great opponent.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, we should be saying Naomi Osaka, that's really who we should be talking about, but we are talking about this. I mean, you know, she played better, right? She won. She is a champion. We should be talking about her.

But the reason we are talking about this, Serena has changed some things when it comes to tennis, right? She has been, as you said, Christine, there have been issues when it comes to Serena and her being a woman. But I want you guys to look at this cartoon drawn in Australia's Herald Sun.

It shows a cartoonist version of Serena breaking her racquet and appearing to cry after spitting out a pacifier. She really carries the weight of women, black women, young girls on her shoulders. What messaging does a cartoon like that send, Christine?

BRENNAN: Oh, it's a terrible message, Don. You know, Serena has crossed over from the tennis court into our culture in a big way, especially just this year, giving birth almost exactly a year ago, a year and a week.

And obviously the cat suit, for example, that was much more than just an outfit. It was important for her medically for the blood clots, for the compression to her legs, but also as a message to new mothers everywhere.

She is reaching out to people and saying, hey, it's tough, I'm struggling, I understand your struggles, too. I think you can make a case this has been the most important year in Serena's life and not just because she gave birth and has a beautiful daughter, but Serena has branched out in amazing ways.

And, of course, the greatest of all time in tennis, I think the greatest female athlete in any sport ever, but much more important, I think even in terms of our culture. And here she is again right in the middle of this terrible cartoon.

But everyone focused on Serena. Serena is going to take us to another conversation about equality that we should absolutely have. The game of tennis should be figuring out --

LEMON: We should welcome that conversation. We should all welcome that conversation.

BRENNAN: And the rules. One of the rules --

LEMON: I'm almost out of time.

BRENNAN: Yeah.

LEMON: Let me get Jerry. I just want to get your response. Put that cartoon back up. Jerry, what do you think of this, what I just say?

BEMBRY: You know, that was so horrible when I saw the exaggerated features on Serena and even penning Naomi as a white blond. I just thought it was an awful cartoon. I saw the cartoonist. He defended his cartoon. But it was just a really bad look. It's just really uncalled for and unfair to depict Serena, you know, iconic figure in sports in that way.

[23:35:01] LEMON: You two are great. I love having you on. Fantastic conversation. Thank you so much.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem tonight. But is the message behind the NFL protest being lost? We are going to talk to Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints. He is trying to cut through the controversy and refocus on racial justice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The NFL's 2018 season is underway. Despite not playing in the league anymore, Colin Kaepernick remains front and center. But has the message of the protest he started gotten lost? Joining me now to discuss is Demario Davis, a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints and a member of the Players Coalition.

[23:40:03] Good evening, sir. Thank you for coming on.

DEMARIO DAVIS, LINEBACKER, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Thanks for having me on.

LEMON: Let me put this up because three players for the Miami Dolphins either knelt or raised their fists during the national anthem before their game. And Colin Kaepernick responded.

He said, my brothers, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed. They have not backed down. Even when attacked and intimidated, their courage will move the world forward. So, what was your reaction?

DAVIS: Yeah. I think it's an ongoing conversation. It's no secret that our country is plagued by issues, mainly in black and brown communities and poor communities. And I think the reason why athletes and players are taking to it so much is because a lot of us players are recruited to college from the same neighborhoods that a lot of these issues are taking place in.

That's why we as players just try to bring awareness to these issues, find solutions to these issues whether they are in the education disparities, whether it is police brutality and accountability in communities or if it is in criminal justice reform. And so you see us not just people who are talking about these issues, but people who

are in these communities and trying to take action.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, I think people who are dialed in and people who care know that players are doing this. I interviewed Warrick Dunn last weekend. My mom said, why didn't you bring up the fact that he helps build houses? I'm like, mom, I can't get everything in. But you wouldn't know that especially if you listen to the press. This is one of his recent tweets, OK?

He said, he thought NFL players were "unable to define what exactly they are protesting." I mean, obviously, the players know why they are protesting or else they wouldn't have done it in the face of so much criticism. Do you think the president is being deliberately misleading when he says stuff like that?

DAVIS: I don't know. I mean, you just look at it from a standpoint of most people are only going to read the headlines. And so we try not to get caught up in the headlines. We try to just focus on the issues that we are working on in the communities that we are working on. Everybody can get caught up in the big picture.

It is actually the grassroots level, what is going on in the ground. The people who aren't being heard and people who aren't being seen, who these issues are affecting. Like here in Louisiana this season, we are going to do month-long campaigns. This month in September, we are going to be focusing on bail. Next week, we are going to be focusing on voter registration. After that, juvenile. The month after that, policing. And then people who are the people when you vote who really matter, district attorney, sheriff, mayors, all of those people who are on the ground. We try to focus on those issues, not so much about the headlines. We like to be on the ground and working.

LEMON: Let me just say this, Demario. I'm glad you brought it. Just a portion of a piece the Players Coalition published ahead of the NFL season kicking off.

It says, "Our work will continue this season. We hope the media stops asking the same old questions about will they or won't they protest? Instead, we want them to focus on our efforts to create a better country for every citizen and on the reasons why we have not yet met that goal."

So, it sounds like, obviously as you said, either you are worried or concerned. You know, I don't want to frame it for you. But there is some concern that the message about reforming criminal justice that started all of this is now getting lost, right?

DAVIS: Yeah. I think it can easily be lost. You think about here in the state of Louisiana, I have only been here for a short time. We already had a major win on March 1st where about 43,000 people got their voting rights restored. That is huge.

You know, that can be lost. That's a major victory when you talk about 43,000 people who weren't able to vote, who were being treated like second class citizens because they committed a crime. They were out of prison, not on parole, not on probation, but they didn't have their voting rights.

Those are the wins of what we are concerned about and what we like to focus on. The conversation is not going to stop our work. We hope that the light shines on these issues and the work that we are doing in these communities because it is amazing.

LEMON: Because the president has tried to define the protest as anti- flag. I want to read what you want to do. Anti-military. This is another quote from the Players Coalition piece, OK?

It says, "In fighting for the rights of our most vulnerable citizens, we are not fighting against others who sacrificed so much for this country. We respect our police who do much of their work on behalf of our most needy. We are grateful for our military. Fighting on behalf of those who have no voice does not mean that we disrespect anybody.

[23:45:03] We envision a better world for all."

You know, Colin Kaepernick started this by sitting during the national anthem. He didn't move to kneeling as suggested from a former green beret who played in the NFL. Does it frustrate you when you see the president and others try to make the protest about disrespecting the anthem or our service members or the country?

DAVIS: Yeah. I mean, I think we will be the first to say that we don't want to disrespect anybody. A lot of us have ties to police officers and have ties military. My father has been in the military 28 years, multiple tours. And so I know what it means to have family members to put their life on the line for our country.

We are super grateful for that. I have family members who are police officers and put their life on the line to protect and serve. And so the first thing, you know, we praise these people because they are doing the right thing and putting their life on the line to protect other people.

That's the same thing that we want to do is put ourselves up in front to help people who can't help themselves. I think that is what it means to have a human being and to have compassion on other people.

LEMON: Demario Davis, thank you. Your message is clear, crystal clear. We thank you for coming on. Continue the great work and good luck, OK?

DAVIS: Thank you so much and God bless.

LEMON: When we come back, Tucker Carlson's anti-diversity rant sparks outrage, but he insists he is not a racist. We are going to dig into that, next.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Outrage spreading over Fox News' host Tucker Carlson's recent anti-diversity rant. Let's discuss now with CNN Political Commentators, Tara Setmayer, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart. They are all here. The gang is all here. Good evening. So, let's play Tucker's rant and then we can discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: How precisely is diversity our strength? Can you think for example 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 coworkers if you can't understand each other or share no common values?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, criticism was swift and scathing on social media. Twitter calling Tucker racist. Bakari, what's your response?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's pretty simple. There was a time in this country when individuals used to use bullhorns and water hoses. But now those same individuals, they now wear Brooks Brothers suits and get late night cable T.V. shows.

So, I think that this is a vein of white nationalism. I think that Tucker Carlson -- I don't know him personally so I don't want to call him racist -- but he's trafficking in the political currency, the same political currency that the president uses, which is racism. Because what he just said was probably the most asinine, ignorant thing that I think anybody gets actually paid to actually say.

LEMON: He's standing by his statement, defending it on Twitter, Alice.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Tucker Carlson is a smart man. He has worked really hard to get where he is and have his own show on Fox News. But for him to sit there with a straight face and say that diversity is not a strength is beyond comprehension.

That's what makes this country great. That's what makes America unique to other countries. And bringing in different genders and races and ethnicities and minds and thoughts and religions, that's what makes America great. And I think to say that diversity makes us not strong, I think, is completely wrong.

And unfortunately, Donald Trump sits there and watches that every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that's where he gets a lot of his ideas that he spreads out that not only divides this country but in the president's mind unites and ignites his base. That's why he uses Fox News quite often for his tweets and his talking point.

LEMON: So, Tara, generations of immigrants, you know, have come to this country with different backgrounds and cultures, embraced America's core values, built the country. Is Tucker's argument ignoring where almost all Americans come from somewhere else?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I mean my great- grandparents came through Ellis Island from Italy and Germany on my father's side. They escaped tanks in a revolution in Guatemala. You know, it's really -- to borrow Bakari's word and also one of my grandmother's favorite word, it is asinine to make that argument, that diversity isn't good for America.

I think what he is trying to say and what the conservative movement for a long time argued about was the idea of voicing multiculturalism in schools and multiculturalism agendas where in certain school districts to kind of take away from what Americanism is and assimilation.

And that's always been something that the conservative movement has been concerned about because they say, well, we're focusing on that instead of what unites us as Americans. That has been co-opted, though, into this very ugly, racial, xenophobic attitude that I don't know where this came from, this level, and was not OK before Donald Trump to be this all worried about it.

And Tucker Carlson is a smart guy. I don't know who this Tucker is because that's not the same Tucker Carlson who was on Crossfire and making those arguments. Now all of a sudden he's turning into this nationalist because it seems to be what Fox News wants to do --

LEMON: Well, you just answered your own question.

(LAUGHTER)

SETMAYER: Yeah. Yeah, I did.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Come on. It is what it is.

SETMAYER: It's a shame. It's a shame because you're fomenting more racial division in this country, which is the last thing that we need given what Donald Trump has done.

LEMON: Bakari, he is trying to blame the blow back he's receiving from this on the organized left, trying to silence dissent.

[23:55:06] Is that just a deflection?

SELLERS: Yes, it's a deflection. There is no organized left. It is Americans who are tired of stupidity. It's the ATS, as we call ourselves, I guess I just made that up. But we're just sick and tired of stupidity. We are sick and tired of nationalism. And my concern is not Donald Trump.

I know that many on the right are concerned about Donald Trump getting satisfied from Fox News. But my concern is the millions of people who watch Tucker Carlson every single night that I may work with, that I may work out with, that I may play basketball with, who actually absorb that, who take that in.

And my hope is that they know that Tucker Carlson is channeling nationalism and that is not what makes America great. Tucker Carlson is ignorant. He is showing himself to be ignorant.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got to go.

SETMAYER: Listen, as far as the organized left thing, a Trump supporting Republican is on the panel and is saying that he's off the mark here.

LEMON: So there you go, Alice Stewart.

STEWART: Diversity is great. And everyone, tune in to Tara's podcast tomorrow.

LEMON: Oh, that's right.

SETMAYER: Oh, thank you.

LEMON: Where is it, Tara?

SELLERS: There we go.

SETMAYER: It's everywhere podcast can be downloaded.

LEMON: Got it.

SETMAYER: "Honestly Speaking with Tara Setmayer."

LEMON: Just Google it if you can't find it.

SETMAYER: That's right.

LEMON: Thank you, guys.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

[24:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)