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Sanders Vs. Clinton; CNN Democratic Debate Next Thursday; Clinton: "I Almost Want To Apologize"; The People Vs. O.J. Simpson; The Battle For New York; Sanders To Visit The Vatican; Reliving The Clarence Thomas Hearings
Aired April 8, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:02] JAMES CARVILLE, BILL CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: ... is the most vigorous response that we can give to deal with this. You knew you had to be aggressive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: "Race for the White House" Sunday, 9:00 p.m. eastern, that's another good one.
Right now, "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT ANCHOR: The battle for New York is getting personal.
This is "CNN Tonight" I'm Don Lemon.
If you are Bernie Sanders, you probably wish you'd never said Hillary Clinton was unqualified to be president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Seriously, I've been call a lot of things over the years, but unqualified has not been one of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But the senator is not done with his criticism of Hillary Clinton. Listen to what he tells our Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Imagine what will happen when they go head-to-head in our CNN Democratic debate next Thursday.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has second thoughts about his confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I did something yesterday in Philadelphia I almost want to apologize for but I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here's a good question. Is the campaigner in chief helping or hurting his wife's White House run? And what will it mean for black voters?
Plus, how much have we really changed in 21 years? I'm going to talk to the creators of the hit T.V series "The People V O.J. Simpson." The people versus O.J. Simpson.
But let's begin with the battle for New York. Joining me now is CNN's own Michael Smerconish. It's good to have you here on a Friday evening sir.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: It's good to be back.
LEMON: I can't wait to watch you tomorrow. So it's Bernie versus Hillary an epic showdown in New York, what do you think of this battle?
SMERCONISH: Stakes are huge, I think, for him and for her. But, you know, he needs to continue the momentum. If he can defeat her here in the Empire State, then all of a sudden, I think it's a totally different race. Otherwise he's run a wonderful race but he's just not going to get there.
LEMON: Yeah, Bernie Sanders isn't back pedaling, I'm sure you heard about, you know, whether not she's qualified to be president, listen to what he tells Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I just want them to understand that, you know, we have tried to run an issue oriented campaign but we are not going to be attacked every single day. Our record is not going to be distorted, we are going to fight back.
And what I said is that a candidate like Secretary Clinton who voted for the disastrous war in Iraq, who has supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs and who receives incredible amounts of money. We're talking about tens of millions of dollars through a Super PAC from every special interest that you can think of and from the billionaire class, you know, I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Before you answer, I want to tell our viewers that you can catch that full interview that's on Sunday on "The State of Union" at 9:00 Eastern that begin at noon as well. So clue and some frustration between these two the candidates?
SMERCONISH: I thought he looked pretty when he said she started it. And it caused me to go back and look at the chronology of the week.
LEMON: It's like Donald Trump, right ...
SMERCONISH: Absolutely, yes, I'm like a counter puncher.
SMERCONISH: It's exactly what I thought of. But the reality is she didn't really start it and she really didn't question his qualification for office. He waded into this. It was a mistake. There are many, many things that you can say about her. I don't think this is one of them.
LEMON: Yeah. The former President Bill Clinton was asked about the original comments today. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to ask you, on these comments that Bernie Sanders has made about Hillary not being qualified. If a man with the same resume has that, do you think that look happen that gender is a piece of this at all?
B. CLINTON: Of course it would but I think he walked it back today did he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did a little bit but for him to say it at all, do you think gender was a factor?
B. CLINTON: I don't know, I'm -- you guys commented and I think she be the best president and I think it's obvious by a country mile and that's all that matters to me. Yes, I think there are some different standards, some were self conscious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know, it's interesting watching the former president because he has to weigh every word. He is not running, when he's running, he can be.
SMERCONISH: You can see the wheels turning.
LEMON: Yes, the other way yeah, yeah, what's your reaction?
SMERCONISH: Listen, I think every time a microphone is put in front of him and they are asking about her qualifications, they're loving it. No matter what his answer is, it's playing right into their wheelhouse.
Look at the remainder of the stage both Republican and Democratic side and tell me who has more qualifications than Secretary Clinton? Again a lot of negatives you can raise about her. This isn't one of them.
LEMON: Qualification there ...
LEMON: ... not one of them. Do you think she should be worried about New York?
SMERCONISH: I think she needs to be worried about New York only because the momentum it seems to be on his side. If you believed the polls when she's got a great comfort level but she can't take anything for granted at this stage.
LEMON: Did he -- so Bernie Sanders announced today that he received an invitation from the Vatican to go four days ...
LEMON: ... before the New York primary. Do you think a trip like that is going to help him or hurt him leaving the country?
[21:05:00] SMERCONISH: Don, does he get the meeting or not? Is he going to get the meeting with the pontiff? Because to go over there and come home without having been in the company of the pope, I think makes it a trip that was perhaps not worthwhile. I get why he'd want to go.
A lot of Catholics in this Midatlantic states like my own, Pennsylvania, that are about to vote. But I hope they've done the advance work and they know they're going to have that papal audience because otherwise, I think it doesn't look so good.
LEMON: But if he does meet with him, I mean don't you think that will make him look like a statesman?
SMERCONISH: Absolutely, on my God, if it puts him in a different light because I think foreign policy is his Achilles Heel. Now you've to wonder what's going on behind the walls of the Vatican because they must be assessing the United States political situation and deciding, hey, this guy Sanders from Vermont, are we going to give him a meeting with the Pope.
LEMON: That's it, you have him.
SMERCONISH: And by the way, you've got the former Secretary of State. Don't think that she doesn't have some pull at the Vatican. You don't think that ...
SMERCONISH: ... behind closed doors they're working the phones and they're saying ...
LEMON: Don't meet with him.
SMERCONISH: ... don't meet with him. Right, don't give him the audience. Yeah.
LEMON: You took the words out of my mouths. So you got him, you know, going to the Vatican, right? Possibly meeting with the Pope. You have Ted Cruz making matzah, you know, in Brooklyn. She is riding the subway and on and on and on I mean.
SMERCONISH: Right, she looked like me at the subway by the way, that's always me. You know, three and four times trying to use the pass card.
LEMON: I went to subway all the time so sometimes it takes me a couple of swipes.
SMERCONISH: Yeah, that the only people who are critical of that, they've never been on the subway of New York City.
LEMON: I don't think it ride in limousines or taxis all the time you've never been to New York City. Yeah.
So I want to ask you, this is about the GE CEO, all this remark say Bernie Sanders is taking some heat. He says that GE is destroying the country's, "my countries moral fabric" right and so they are upset about that and firing back. Is this good for Bernie Sanders to be doing?
SMERCONISH: I don't think it's good for Bernie Sanders because I thought that Jeffrey Immelt had quite a strong response to Bernie Sanders. I wonder why. I get the income inequality discussion that has initiated, he's deserving of a lot of credit for that but would it kill Bernie Sanders every once in a while to use the word entrepreneurship.
SMERCONISH: And to talk about the virtue? GE is not a small business. But to talk about the virtue of small businesses in the United States he never says those sort of things. And I think it's just, it's a disadvantage.
LEMON: GE, and I think the statement was they pay lots of taxes ...
LEMON: ... but it never been popular with socialist. I'm paraphrasing here, right.
SMERCONISH: It's a good paraphrasing.
LEMON: Yes, which was a good thing. Let's talk about the Republicans, now, all right?
LEMON: Donald Trump canceling his campaign trip to California saying, you know, I have to stay away from the campaign trail. Here is what was he tweet, he said, "So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things, remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign and loving it"
Do you think it's bad for him to be away or good to remind people that he is a businessman? Does this help him out?
SMERCONISH: I think first of all, I don't believe he ever takes a day off. I think behind closed doors he is now working a different strategy that is focused on retail politics only in New York but also in a strategy to get to 1,237 pre-Cleveland.
I watched that interview this morning on "New Day" with Chris Cuomo. I was very impressed with Paul Manafort's presentation.
LEMON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SMERCONISH: It seemed to me that Donald Trump had hired an adult and it was a recognition on Trump's part that he's brought it this far but he really needs professionals to carry him over.
LEMON: Were you right finally, this ...
SMERCONISH: Well, you know, and listen.
LEMON: ... there's an adult in the room.
SMERCONISH: His chief virtue does far has been but he does this all himself. No focus groups, no advisers. It's based on the strength of his personality.
LEMON: You can only do that for so long.
SMERCONISH: Correct and he reached that point. Maybe he reached that point too late that recognition point. And by the way, you got to believe behind closed doors there will be going to be some tussles between the current campaign apparatus and the new guy.
LEMON: So I mean, he's going to do well here in New York right, Donald Trump is in to do, he's a New Yorker. Do you think, he's going to get to that magic number as New Yorker when he get there?
SMERCONISH: I think he's going to come up shy.
LEMON: You do?
SMERCONISH: Yeah, I think he's going to come up shy of 1,237. I really do. And, Don, if he doesn't go into Cleveland with the majority of delegates, I don't think he comes out with the nomination. And I think that's why Manafort was brought in.
LEMON: You are a straight-shooter. So what do you think of this New York values thing? Do you think that it was, some people are saying it was an anti-Semitic trope? Do you think it was?
SMERCONISH: I think when you ...
LEMON: It's hurting him? SMERCONISH: ... so I parsed that paragraph. As I like to say, that's the brooder of the field and, you know, like three-fifths of it are fine. It's the usual sort of an argument that you would hear made by a conservative about liberal values. But why money and media? It's like my antennae went up immediately when he gets to money and media because I said this on radio today. When you say money and media and put it in the context of New York, I'm thinking Jewish.
SMERCONISH: And I think that's probably what he had on his mind.
LEMON: Yeah, it sounds like a dog whistle.
SMERCONISH: It does. And so some people would say, will why would he say that in New York? It will wreck him here, yeah it may wreck him here. He's not going to win here anyway and that probably help some him with his base in the south.
LEMON: Yeah, thank you, Michael Smerconish.
SMERCONISH: OK, my friend.
LEMON: I will remind you, 9:00 a.m., "Smerconish" airs right here on CNN.
Also Donald Trump takes questions in voter in our town hall, moderated by our Anderson Cooper. The candidate's wife Melania and daughter Ivanka will be there also. That's going to start on Tuesday night at 9:00 Eastern, we've got you covered, Smerconish, Anderson, Wolf, me, all of us. All of us, Jake.
[21:10:03] SMERCONISH: It's good team.
LEMON: Yeah a good team.
LEMON: When we come back, why Bill Clinton says he almost wants to apologize for his dust-up with Black Lives Matter protesters. Is he helping or hurting Hillary Clinton's campaign?
LEMON: Bill Clinton says he almost wants to apologize for getting into a shouting match with Black Lives Matter protesters at a rally for his wife. In fact, he didn't quite apologize saying he didn't like the protesters trying to drown him out. But is there more to this public dust-up?
I want to talk about this now with Van Jones, CNN political contributor, Angela Rye, CNN political commentator who is the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus and political commentator -- oh I thought is its Larry King. It's Bob Beckel who looks like he's raided Larry King's closet tonight.
BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, yes, you have no idea.
LEMON: Good. Hello to all of you. So Bill Clinton has had an interesting 24 hours. So let's look at yesterday's rally in Philadelphia, when he and Black Lives Matter protesters faced off over his wife's use of the word super predator and the effects of the 1994 crime bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. CLINTON: I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on to the street to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn't. She didn't. You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:15:11] LEMON: But here he is today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. CLINTON: I like and believe in protests. I would be a hypocrite if I didn't because I engaged in some when I was a kid. But I never thought I should drown anybody else out. And I confess, maybe it's just a sign of old age, but it bothers me now when that happens.
So I did something yesterday in Philadelphia I almost want to apologize for but I want to use it as an example of dangerous threatening our country. We all have different experiences. We cannot learn anything unless we listen.
And we are all just, as I was yesterday vulnerable to getting point when somebody says something, I don't want to listen to this anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Mr. Van Jones, did he get a talking to?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well he definitely got a talking to, you know, but basically everybody that I know either got to him or tried to get to him or was online. But let me just say this.
First of all, that's was -- I don't want to go back to the bad old days of the Clinton. That was a triangulated apology. We had triangulation up to the 90. You can't -- just give a straight apology? We're triangulating on apology didn't even in the White House yet.
I was the guy, Don, and you know I was the guy when they said they're going to bring Bill Clinton back. I said let the big dog bark. I can't wait. I love this guy. I want to hear from his great. They said he's going to make mistakes, because I don't care.
I take it back. Put the big dog in the dog house. That was horrible. It wasn't just the tone of what he said. The content of what he said. That's super predator tag, was a racial dog whistle that did untold damage. He's got to know that. He's not a dummy.
LEMON: So you think it's more than off message? He didn't pick this fight intentionally, right?
JONES: Hey, listen. I don't know if it was intentional not intentional. It was stupid. It was wrong, it was mean-spirited. And I'm going to tell you right now. You don't want Black Lives Matter to go to war with the DNC or to go to war ...
JONES: ... with the Clintons over this. There's no excuse in the world for Bill Clinton to be yelling at those young people and defending the indefensible.
JONES: He's wrong. The dog needs to go in the dog house.
LEMON: Bob, go ahead, Bob.
BECKEL: Yeah. You know Van, I'm amazed you're saying this. I mean, what he said, and, you know, this was a little of the sister soldier moment, remember when he did that and then ...
JONES: It was also despicable.
BECKEL: Yeah. It's also got a sample forsake in South Carolina when he said well Jesse won this state, too. But ...
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right.
BECKEL: ... when he says that these predators who ...
JONES: Are you guys even in charge.
LEMON: Let him finish, Van.
LEMON: Van, let him finish.
BECKEL: Wait a second. I remember -- because I remember recovering drug addict. I've seen it. I've seen what happens ...
BECKEL: And these guys are do it, they are preying a little kids and you know it and I know it.
RYE: OK. But who are these guys? I think we need to start being really careful with the terms that we use.
Number one the first mistake that Bill Clinton made yesterday was he doesn't understand what the Philadelphia Coalition for real justice stands for. This is a Black Lives Matter chapter basically in Philadelphia. He has no idea what Black Lives Matter is all about. It has nothing to do with defending gangsters and drug dealers. It has everything to do with the value of a black life and ensuring that people of power begin to recognize what it means to want to be alive and free in this country in 2016.
So he -- it was an epic fail yesterday for Bill Clinton. Because he not only did he have to walk back anything everything that Hillary Clinton has done this campaign to demonstrate her remorse for the '94 crime Bill. Her remorse for the 1996 super predator comment.
And, now here he is undoing all of that after just last year, Bill, he was -- I mean Bob, he was in the space where he was trying to apologize and saying he regrets this Bill when he talked to the NAACP convention in Philadelphia, this very same place. And now he is saying something completely different.
JONES: And nobody is - preventing ...
LEMON: Van, Van, let him respond and I promise I'll let you. Go ahead, Bob. I'll you response.
BECKEL: Nobody is defending that Bill or the Welfare Bill. I was against both of them. I thought it was ridiculous and horrible. But I have a hard time when I see that organized African-American groups, like Black Lives Matters, and they are very good at what they do. Has anybody said a thing about the gang warfare in Chicago that's killing kids left and right?
JONES: Every day.
RYE: That's a Fox News talking point. You cannot be serious. About he will literally organizing over a couple of year.
BECKEL: Who is in Chicago?
RYE: Are you serious?
BECKEL: Name me one, name me one ...
JONES: Al Sharpton, Reverend Jackson, Prince the rock star -- Prince the rock star, went and did multiple concerts. You don't know what you are talking about. We go to those funerals. We have to live in those neighborhoods, we look at those teddy bears and those flowers on the sidewalk everyday. We protested everyday. We fight everyday. And these people like you on TV ...
[21:20:02] RYE: And there's Town Hall meeting, that's the town hall meeting ...
JONES: Look who's talking about.
RYE: ... like that is not true.
BECKEL: Now that's not right Van ... RYE: Like it's Fox News talking point. It just actually not accurate.
JONES: You can spend too much time on Fox. That's terrible.
LEMON: Go ahead, Bob. Go ahead, Bob. How do you defend yourself?
BECKEL: Defend myself? I don't feel like to defend myself. I have said all along that when I deal in the recovery community and see the addicts that come out of the organized like the black Mafia people who organized most of the cocaine distribution in this country for a long time and who got addicted and who died?
It was black kids. And I have no place in my mind for them at all or any of these people who don't -- are not willing to stand up. You may say Prince gives a concert and Sharpton goes in for a day. But it's an organized issue ...
JONES: Hey listen dude.
RYE: That is literally not true.
LEMON: So, listen. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you guys this. Angela and Van, so to -- I think here's what Bob is saying. When you look at Black Lives Matter, it's a great cause, you know, police brutality, incarceration, mass incarceration and all of that.
He's wondering where are the groups with the stature of a Black Lives Matter who are saying, let's stop the gang violence. Is that, I mean, is that a fair point?
RYE: No. It's not a fair point because it's -- sorry, go ahead Van.
LEMON: Either one of you.
JONES: Listen. There are groups that -- there's so many organizations that spend so much time trying to deal with this. You have people like Shaka Senghor who is now our rising star who came out of prison remorseful ...
LEMON: But Van, I understand you are absolutely right. But what I think what Bob is saying, where are the people who are shouting down to presidential candidates and who are yelling at presidential candidates and who are going on television who are making their voices heard at events?
JONES: Don, Don?
RYE: It's totally different. Do you really expect for -- Don, and I'm sorry.
JONES: I'm just asking a question that's it.
RYE: ... Do you really expect that a gangster who is shooting and organizing drive-byes to have the same level of accountability as a presidential candidate? Please tell me we understand the distinction between law enforcement utilizing excessive force, killing kids, killing women, arresting people without cause and gang members who ...
BECKEL: What does that have to do with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton?
RYE: Everything to do with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Because of them, mass incarceration. We should have called the '94 Crime Bill, the Mass Incarceration Bill. It was literally the tipping point that started everything else.
Three strikes you're out whether it's on the federal or state level. The federal level is starting -- those are Bill Clinton's words. He has actually said that that he has acknowledged that that federal crime legislation paved the way for states. It ensured that there would be more prisons. That it ensured that there were more police officers ...
BECKEL: Yes, I agree.
RYE: ... whether they engage with communities in a good way or not.
LEMON: I think people agree with -- I think he admits that.
RYE: That's right.
LEMON: The secretary, everybody admits that. It was a bad bill. It was a bad bill. But -- we'll talk. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. Let's go to a break and then we'll talk right after this. Don't go anywhere.
We'll be right back.
[21:26:50] LEMON: OK. I'm back now with my panel and we're talking about Bill Clinton, the former president's comment yesterday to Black Lives Matter protesters. The secretary, former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate. How she has responded as well.
So, Bob Beckel is back, Van Jones and Angela Rye, we're having a very good conversation.
So, you know, Angela and Van, I'm not sure if you understood my question. Yes, I agree. Black Lives Matter very important. But I asked the question I have been what I think this was Bob was trying to say. Where are the people who are shouting down presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle for kids who are gunned down innocently, for people who are killed every single night, and you're -- explain that to our audience.
RYE: I think a couple of things. One is you know, that's the gun control movement. That is what folks are standing for, whether you are talking about Lucia McBath who is Jordan Davis' mother who is standing with other moms whose kids have been lost to gun violence whether it was from a gangster as Bob said or it was from a rogue police officer or vigilante, it's the same thing.
And so that is a battle that there are bills that have been proposed. We couldn't even get background checks bill cleared through the Senate. And that should have had bipartisan support.
LEMON: Van, it doesn't get covered but you say it happens every day. I don't ...
JONES: Yeah ...
LEMON: Go ahead.
JONES: ... hey listen, there are stop the violence organizations all over. You can go to any city and you can find multiple stop the violence organizations. They go every week and yet it's not but -- listen ...
LEMON: But are they at Hillary Clinton's rallies or they are at Bernie Sanders rallies or they at Donald Trump rallies?
JONES: Listen, they don't get attention. They go to every city council meeting that you go. You go to state that's they've beg for help. They've beg for program dollars to do something. Get kids off the street. They get their programs cut and then the funerals happen and they don't let them get covered in the local papers sometimes. The People have been crying about this.
So this lie that black people are not screaming about this, we're not heard when we scream about that. But when there's a police thing, yes, we get more attention for that.
But I got -- I got to say something now. This does not make any sense. Bill Clinton himself just months ago took this off the table. Hillary Clinton said that this was a bad thing. Bill Clinton then under pressure it turns out he thinks it's a good thing to call children super predators. He defended the indefensible racially coded term super predators. We thought that had been taken off the campaign. They put it back in play. That is horrible.
LEMON: So he's hurting her now to the public now, right?
JONES: And he won't apologize.
BECKEL: But what -- can you tell me what the value of using your energy, which is so well used in city councils and the rest of it, against Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton? I mean I understand ...
RYE: That's not what he said. That's not what he said. His point was that black people are organizing our all levels to stop gun violence and have for years whether the cameras are covering it or not.
BECKEL: I think, I agree with that.
RYE: It's the point remain. The point remains that this is Bill Clinton's bill. He signed it into law. I know that ... LEMON: Angela again and so listen. I agree with you. And I know about those organizations. And I have worked in local news and they don't get coverage.
But what Black Lives Matter has figured out is that they get the attention because they go where the cameras are. They go to the presidential rallies and other people are not doing that.
JONES: But Don.
LEMON: Is it time for people to do that as well to draw some attention to that as well to draw some attention to that?
[21:30:03] JONES: Hey, Don, we can critique the strategy of black activists. I want to critique the strategy of the Clintons who want to go back into the White House. And if they cannot, the base vote of this part is the black vote. We give not 50 percent, not 60 percent, not 70 percent, not 80 percent, 92 percent of our vote to this party. I've never seen a Republican go on TV and insult their base voters. Their base voters are white evangelicals.
LEMON: It's a very good point.
JONES: They threat white evangelicals with total respect. They would never, ever have a Republican candidate front-runner, spouse, stand up and disrespect white evangelicals at anything. And yet Bill Clinton feels like he is free to stand up there and say not just mean things or rude things but content free racially -- to defend super predators? To defend that term? That's wrong.
BECKEL: Do you not think that.
JONES: That's wrong. It's wrong.
BECKEL: Do you think that a vast majority of African-American community agrees with that about predators? They live with them everyday.
RYE: Wow. Wow. Did that just -- really?
RYE: Bob, that is not true. No, it's not true. I'm not going to ...
BECKEL: What's true they don't to live them with?
RYE: I'm not going to sit here and allow you to call black people predators. I'm just not going to do it.
BECKEL: I'm not calling that -- and neither was Bill Clinton.
RYE: Yes he was.
BECKEL: He's talking about people who are drug dealers and shoot people.
RYE: That is absolutely when Hillary Clinton made in 1996 and that's what he defended yesterday although he tried to walk it back today.
JONES: He didn't try hard.
RYE: We have to start acknowledging at some point why crime existed in communities like this anyway. Where were the jobs?
BECKEL: You know, it would be a good idea if you didn't take people who have been very strongly in support of black lives and ...
BECKEL: ... and dump on them
JONES: Don't explain to us, why we should be grateful to the Clintons. Hold on a second ...
RYE: I'm not going to be grateful to anyone who disrespects people who look like me. I am not OK with people who look like me being called predators and inherently violent and playing into that very dangerous rhetoric, particularly in this campaign cycle. It's time-out for that. It's 2016. If they were wrong in 1994, they are still wrong today. And we've reaped the consequences in unbearable ways.
These communities and families have been ravaged. That's why a child who was born in 1994 can go to a rally tomorrow or yesterday and say to Bill Clinton, enough is enough. You jailed my brothers and my sisters and my uncles and my fathers and my mothers and you need to answer for this because we are not predators. That language has to die.
BECKEL: Who in the world said predators?
JONES: Bill Clinton.
BECKEL: No way, he didn't. He said that there are predators out there who are drug dealers. I know a lot of them and they kill people.
JONES: Hey listen, nobody is up here defending drug dealers and killers, the problem ...
BECKEL: But that's always you were talking about when we talk about predators.
JONES: No, no, no, no, so that term.
RYE: If Bill Clinton he says some of these people who were incarcerated spent too much time in jail and they spent so much time in jail that they wasted the resources that's would have educated them and employed them ...
RYE: ... there are something wrong with that system. BECKEL: That's for sure.
LEMON: Stand by. I want you guys hold your thought. We were going to go longer with this conversation right after this break. Don't go anywhere.
[21:36:54] LEMON: Back now, Van Jones, Angela Rye and Bob Beckel.
OK so let's continue our conversation here. So Van, I asked you earlier and, you know, you brought up triangulation and all that. I asked you earlier if Bill Clinton was trying to -- if he did it intentionally -- if he was trying to pivot towards the general, turn this toward the general for Hillary Clinton maybe even trying to pick up some conservative votes. I don't know.
JONES: I can't get inside his head and some are saying this is a part of the strategy. You know, Bill Clinton did this despicable thing in 1992 and attacked the young rapper named Lisa Williams and that also sister souljah.
LEMON: Sister souljah. Let's play that let's play that when we talk about here. Here's the sister soldier moment that they call it here it is. It's coming here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. CLINTON: Just listen to this. What she said she told "The Washington Post" about a month ago and I quote, "If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people. So you are a gang member and you normally kill somebody. Why not kill a white person."
Last year she said you can't call me or any black person in the world a racist. We don't have the power to do to white people what white people have done to us. And even if we did we don't have that lowdown dirty nature. If there are any good white people, I haven't met them where are they? Right here in this room that's where they are.
I know she is a young person but she has a big influence on a lot of people. And when people say that if you took the words white and black and reversed them you might think David Duke was giving that speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was a turning point for his bid for the White House.
JONES: Well listen, first of all, Lisa Williamson was completely taken out of context, she was trying to explain what other people were thinking, what other people were saying. She was trying to be a translator, he knew that, he took it out of context and used that to send a message that that was by the way done at Jesse Jackson's rally with the young woman sitting there, her career being destroyed seating right next to him. He did that to show white America that he could stand up to Jesse Jackson, he could stand up black activists.
And the same -- and what that did, I tell you I was at that time 23 years old. At that time I was a very moderate Democrat. He pushed me out of the Democratic Party and a whole generation of African- Americans who felt we were being used as toilet paper. Come to us for the vote that then also all of this racially coded move that he did. And it hurt a lot of people and then he went from that speech to the White House where he went with this crime Bill, which did so much damage.
LEMON: So bring it back to today, bring back today for us.
JONES: And so tonight, you have a lot of African - Americans and people who understand these issues angry and hurt and disappointed and shocked that a Bill Clinton all these years later would do a similar move. And if it's a calculated strategy to chase white votes at the expense of young people who are hurting because their communities have been devastated by excessive incarceration.
[21:40:04] I don't like criminals and I don't like crime but the way that the police have responded in our communities has hurt us and let me say one more thing Don, I'm watching now heroin being treated with compassion when cracked was treated the opposite way. I'm watching white communities devastated by heroin and they're helped and what can we do? Both parties, how can we help you? We understand it's a health issue.
But 20 years ago when it was crack it was send in the cops ...
JONES: Ad put everybody in prison.
JONES: This is why people are upset tonight Don. And he's wrong. And he should apologize and not do a triangulated half apology. Don't go back down this same road because we're not going have (inaudible).
LEMON: OK Van. Bob, this is -- this is your issue addiction and this issue with the Democrats. Because if -- listen if they deflect, I want you to talk about this. Because if black voters defect from the Clintons, I mean where did they go? Is it Bernie Sanders? Is that the only viable option for them?
BECKEL: Well, probably, but, listen, the fact is that it is very true that not only was crack ignored, but if you had crack, you spent more time in jail than if you had powder cocaine. Same amount, which is ridiculous.
Now I happen to be involved in the heroin opiate project now with my foundation in California. And it is a critical thing that needs to be done. But I also have sat in prisons. I've lived in a crack house myself. And I can tell you this, that if you don't believe that there are, you don't do that paint brushes here. If you don't believe there's 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 predators out there who are black who are taking advantage of these kids and poisoning them, then you're kidding yourself.
JONES: Bob, let me talk to you now. Look yes, there are bad things that are happening in our communities. It's the label of super predator that was so dehumanizing. That label became the grease to pass all of this stuff.
LEMON: So Van, I know where you're going. You're right. OK. But listen to this. Where do we go from here? And I want Angela, and I don't know which of you wants to wrap this up, because I have to go we gone a long time with this.
So where do we go from here? Hillary Clinton has apologized for she told me in the debate that it was wrong that the 1994 crime bill was wrong. Her support of it was wrong. Using the term super predator was wrong. She'll never use it again. So now what? Now what?
RYE: So Hillary Clinton rolled out a robust criminal justice reform plan when she launched this campaign. And I think they need to get back to the heart of that. Bill Clinton needs to stop trying to defend his legacy. And if he wants to be helpful to his wife as a surrogate, he needs to be knocking on doors and staying off the mike unless he can let go of ...
LEMON: Is this a mortal wound for them Angela?
RYE: Say that again?
LEMON: For the campaign, is this a tough blow to the campaign?
RYE: It is a tough blow, but I think that they can scale it. I think that there are people like Bob who agree with him who are also black. They are all in my Twitter feed. But I still think that they are potential
LEMON: I see it now on social media saying, yes they are predators, yes.
RYE: That's right a substantial number of people who also find this language offensive and find the results of that 1994 mass incarceration bill offensive because they've lived through it. They have to let it go. They've got to change course and they should pick up where Barack Obama left off and Bill Clinton should stop ...
LEMON: I've got to run.
RYE: ... saying things like he's not a change maker. He actually he is and Bill Clinton needs to follow soon Bill Clinton.
LEMON: I appreciate your candor so much. I love having you guys on your honesty. Van, thank you. Angela, thank you. Bob, thank you as well ...
RYE: Thank you. LEMON: ... and you guys have a great weekend. I'll see you soon.
RYE: Thank you.
LEMON: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will each be guests on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN. And they're going to go head-to-head in CNN'S Democratic Presidential Debate in Brooklyn next Thursday beginning at 9:00 Eastern.
Coming up, in this broadcast we all remember where we were when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down. Even president Bill Clinton weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My god, it's Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got the president.
B. CLINTON: Americans see the world differently generally based on their race. That troubles me. I think the only answer to that is for us to spend more time listening to each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:47:57] LEMON: We all remember where we were when the O.J. Simpson when that verdict was announced. 150 million people watched it live. Now, 21 years later, the smash hit FX Series chronicled the trial of the century.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson, would you please stand and face the jury.
I would caution the audience during the course of the reading of these verdicts to remain calm. If there's any disruptions, the bailiffs will remove the persons responsible. All right, Mrs. Robertson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles in the matter of people of the State of California versus Orenthal James Simpson, case number BA097211.
We, the jury, in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of Penal Code Section 187A, a felony upon Nicole Brown Simpson of human being as charged in count one of the information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Oh, my goodness. Do you remember that? I mean, and my heart is beating just like it was then. Joining me now is Larry Karaszewski, he is -- and Scott Alexander, the writers and executive producers of "The People Versus O.J. Simpson, American Crime Story." That is amazing that when you watch the scene, we all knew what happened. And here it is 21 years later and there's still such drama. Why is that, guys?
[21:50:01] LARRY KARASZEWSKI, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE PEOPLE VS O.J. SIMPSON: Well, it's really interesting. I mean, there's been this joke on social media, the entire season where people say, you know, no spoilers, don't spoil the ending premiere which you totally just did. You ran the verdict. But strange (ph) even we were worried about it. We knew that we can feel the other nine episodes with a lot of drama and a lot of attention, and lot of us people didn't know that serve our marching orders that is it tell you a side of the story that you didn't know. But we were always worried about episode 10, the final verdict.
But, what we found was actually knowing the ending, knowing how it turned out, it actually gave the episode almost more power. It was almost like the "Titanic" or "United 93", were, because you knew this horrible thing was about to go down it was going to ruin all this people's lives it gives this tension in your belly that you wouldn't have if it was a surprise verdict. This is a suspense even that scene it was suspensible.
LEMON: It was interesting. I didn't interview the other night and they asked me what I was watching and I said the only, you know, the news is better when you look at politics when you look politics and what's happening with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on and on that you can't write this stuff.
And, you know, I haven't watch a lot of script on television my DVR is backing up because I'm watching, you know, the news. But this, I mean this is been -- this is been amazing to watch. So my question is, the show is based on a book by my colleague and friend Jeffrey Toobin. It's called "The Run of His Life." So were you true to the book and to the story line? And where did you deviate?
SCOTT ALEXANDER, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE PEOPLE VS O.J. SIMPSON": I think we were very true to the book. Larry and I are research freaks, we love getting it right. Jeff's book is the gold standard for journalism on the O.J. trial. I think where we made it different was we ended up really liking all these people, and Johnny, Chris and Marsha, particularly, who kind of had become caricatures over the last these 20 years, the more we read about them, the more we felt bad for them and you see what they're going through and how passionate they were and how much they cared.
And, so I think we wanted to feel for them in a way that you don't necessarily have to do in a piece of journalism like Jeff was writing.
LEMON: OK. So, let me ask you this because you did a lot of research and, you know, you did 10 episodes. So, what do you think?
LEMON: Did he do it or not?
KARASZEWSKI: I think, you know, all the evidence points that he did it. There isn't another suspect. When O.J. in the final episode says he's going to go off to find the real killer, he never went off to find the real killer.
So, all evidence assumably points that O.J. Simpson was the killer. What the plot of our show is, though, is more about trying to understand the verdict, to try to understand how this trial became about something that -- else, that way were stopped being a trial about the murder of these two innocent people and it became this circus and also this -- this imperfect vessel for Johnnie Cochran to prove a bigger point about police brutality about relationship between the African-American Community.
So, you know, we wanted people to come to the end of 10 episodes and understand the verdict. Almost say that, oh even though I think O.J. may have done it, I understand how those people in the jury room came to their decision.
LEMON: Was there discussion among the cast and was there disagreement about whether or not he did it? Did you guys talk about that?
ALEXANDER: I don't think -- the cast talked about it a lot. I mean, obviously everyone kept asking "do you think he did it? Do you think he did it?" And because we didn't have the benefit of the book -- the book says on page one "he did it." And for our purposes we're going to show all the evidence. It really looks like he did it. O.J.'s blood is in her house, her blood is in O.J.'s house and then we're going to spend nine weeks showing how everything got questioned and all these little chips that taken out of -- that solid idea that he could be the guy.
So O.J. was played neutral by Cuba in the show. He wasn't necessarily guilty, he wasn't necessarily innocent. It's a bit of a Rorschach test where you read into it.
LEMON: Yeah. Just about everybody involved has been revisiting this case including Prosecutor Marcia Clark. She spoke with slate about this case and the impact of this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIA CLARK, PROSECUTOR: And if that's the case I think a lot of us felt it was largely a pay back verdict for Rodney King and in general a payback verdict. And I'm sure that for some of the jurors that's true. One of the man left the jury box raising a fist, but I don't think it was true for all of them.
I'm convinced some of them really did come in with a frame of mind that said I'm willing to look at the evidence, I'm willing to convict if I need to. The trial was so out of control and became so awash in racial epithets and racial slurs that I think it became impossible to believe anything beyond a reasonable doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [21:55:06] LEMON: Would it ever have been possible to separate the racial climate of the time from this case, considering Rodney King had happened not long ago not long before that?
KARASZEWSKI: Well, when we opened the series with the Rodney King verdict and the riots and so, we wanted to definitely put it in the context of that. The thing is when the murder happened and O.J. ran off in the bronco, it wasn't a racial case yet. It was really a case about celebrity. It was about, you know, a very famous person who most likely murdered his wife and went on the lam.
It was until Robert Shapiro sort of got the idea of trying to bring Johnnie Cochran in to put together this defense that really started to became about those issues. And once Cochran got involved, he, you know, he solidified that.
LEMON: Yeah. Scott, thank you. I appreciate it. Did you want to say something real quick?
ALEXANDER: In terms of the race issue, we set out to make a period piece. And as we were writing the show over the last three years and all these events started happening in the country in terms of Ferguson and Eric Gardner and all these actions of police brutality against black Americans, we realized that the show was about today.
ALEXANDER: We were not writing a period piece anymore and it was really important sort to keep this overlay over the whole story. That it's a show about the country we're living in now and we wanted to show people that black Americans and white Americans have different perspectives and live different lives and have different experiences. And hopefully it starts a conversation.
LEMON: Again, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, it's an amazing series. Congratulations. And thank you for coming on. I really appreciate it.
KARASZEWSKI: Thank you.
ALEXANDER: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you.
When we come right back, another story that shocked America in the '90s. I'm going to talk to you one of the stars of HBO film "Confirmation", the story of the Clarence Thomas hearing 25 years ago, hearings that exploded into accusations of racism and sexual harassment.