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CNN TONIGHT

Is Trump Obsessed With Obama; McCain Blast Half-Baked Spurious nationalism; Yahoo, Russians Learned U.S. Politics From A Popular TV Show; Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired October 16, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] ED MARTIN, AUTHOR, THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR TRUMP: Wait.

LAURA COATS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANALYST: And the volume of your voice does not change your argument in anyway.

MARTIN: The volume of my voice.

COATS: When you continue to talk about Harvey Weinstein or other cases you are very dismissive about the opportunity to have discovery simply because somebody has said that it's fake, you would undermine any ability for any --

MARTIN: I agree with Jeffrey Toobin.

COATS: Excuse me Ed. If I could finish my point. You undermine the entire civil litigation system where people are entitled to discovery even if they're saying there is in fact a falsehood. There is an --

MARTIN: People that file lawsuits against public figures alleging -- as Jeffrey Toobin said, she had no cause of action that was able to be brought under any real sexual harassment in anyway, so she filed a defamation of defending himself in a public setting.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: It is not because of statute of limitations, not because it's not true --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Guys, Jeffrey Toobin said --

LEMON: OK. Hold on. One at a time.

MARTIN: Jeffrey Toobin said --

LEMON: Hang on. Stop, everyone. Gloria, this is your case, so explain to him why it was brought and the reason you brought it.

MARTIN: Jeffrey --

LEMON: Jeffrey's not a lawyer. She is a lawyer.

MARTIN: Jeffrey is a lawyer.

GLORIA ALLRED, ALLRED, MAROKO AND GOLDBERG: It was brought because truth matters. It's as simple as that. Because a woman's reputation matters, and you can laugh and think that our daughters' reputations don't matter, but they do. And Summer, like many women, has worked her whole life to build a good reputation. And then with one fell swoop the President of the United States or the would-be President, soon to be President tries to completely destroy and does destroy her reputation when he calls her and all the other women who made allegations liars.

LEMON: And I've got to go.

MARTIN: Ten seconds, Don.

LEMON: Let her finish.

ALLRED: This is the way to get the truth. Because, for example, he has said we have asked for all documents concerning --

LEMON: Laura, we've got to go. Let him respond.

ALLRED: And that is not how -- let's see those documents and find out if it's true.

MARTIN: Gloria, I'm with Jeff Toobin. It's a weak case, and you're grandstanding for politics. And that is not right and it is fake news.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I appreciate him saying my name over and over again. I enjoy that part a lot. But I said it's a question about whether a Judge would dismiss it or not.

MARTIN: You said it was bootstrapped, meaning he didn't have a case, right?

TOOBIN: You know what, I think we should speak one at a time. But we're out of time now.

ALLRED: And I don't think Jeffrey Toobin that is what he said at all.

LEMON: Thank you all. Appreciate it. This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. A little bit past 11:00 on the east coast, and we're live with new developments.

President Trump in the Rose Garden today seemed to have an awful lot on his predecessor blasting him on health care and falsely saying he didn't call the families of fallen troops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at President Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate. President Obama after a long period of time was finally able to push it through but push through something that is failed. Really failed badly. Obamacare it's a wreck. It's destroyed lives. We want to get it in those states, the states I did so well in, but also in states I didn't win. I want to get health care that is much more affordable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Plus the man who sparked the NFL protest, Collin Kaepernick, fighting back tonight as President Trump doubles down and triples down on his condemnation. Kaepernick says NFL owners are punishing him for protesting, we are going to have more on that in a moment. We have a lot to cover, but I want to bring in now CNN political commentator Charles Blow, Matt Lewis and Alice Stewart and CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, author of rightful heritage, Franklin Roosevelt and the land of America. Good evening to all of you. Matt I will start with you. President Trump has done everything nearly in his power to roll back President Obama's policies. Here's what he said today about the affordable care act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Obamacare is finished. It's gone. You shouldn't even mention it. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. And I said this years ago, it's a concept that couldn't have worked. In its best days it couldn't have worked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So despite executive orders Obamacare is still the law of the land. So is the president off-page here Matt?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, first of all in the Rose Garden he has tendency to want to talk about Barack Obama. So I think there's an obsession. Now that it's not unique to Donald Trump, I felt like Barack Obama talked about inheriting a bad economy from Georg W. Bush more than I would have liked. I think Donald Trump has gotten to a point he is not able to pass a proactive agenda so all that is left is to teardown --

{23:05:17] LEMON: That is a diplomatic way of saying what? What are you saying?

LEWIS: No I'm --

LEMON: Tell the truth. What are you saying?

LEWIS: I think that you can't get something done, you can't proactively get something done -- I think he is trying to sabotage him.

LEMON: And as we saw Douglas Brinkley by executive orders, they can be overturned. As we saw he is overturning a lot of am executive orders that Barack Obama put in place. Is President Trump just governing to undo the former President Obama's legacy?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. Donald Trump doesn't have much of a legislative accomplishment this year, he has one note that is beat on Barack Obama. He feels that somehow makes him feel big. It's been stunning to see what he said. I mean it started with the birther movement with Donald Trump, and then the fact he is claiming that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama. And now Trump is making up things that Barack Obama wasn't caring about our soldiers that were killed in action. It's a constant trying to humiliate Obama. And I think that 30 percent that box and Donald Trump like when he does that, I don't know how much racism plays in what Donald Trump does, but I think there's a large chunk of it.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that last part. Listen, Charles, your piece I thought was fascinating today. It's called "Trump, chieftain of spite." you said if there's a defining feature of Trump as President it is that he is an always the anti-Obama. Trump isn't governing with a vision. He is governing out of spite. Why do you think President Trump is obsessed with his predecessor?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I actually don't know. It's hard to get inside of anybody's head, but you can analyze what they do. And his obsession Obama predates the presidency, predates the election. It was much deeper than that. It was he didn't go to the schools that he said he went to. His book was -- the first book was too good to have been possibly been written by him -- I mean it was everything single thing about him and everything that went wrong, he attached it to Obama. So every time even black lives matter protest, he would attach it to Obama. Why hasn't Obama fixed this? It was an intense fascination with one person that is inexplicable other than to be what we think it is, which is obsessive and that the only thing he can think to do and accomplish -- he doesn't have a legislative that is got through, and he also didn't have a legislative agenda. Even that was rolled back.

LEMON: Hold on. I don't think it's inexplicable. Have you met people that study you -- you cannot buy, no matter how much money you have, you can't buy class. President Obama whatever you think of his politics, he is a very classy man. He is a smart man. He is one of the kindest people you want to meet, he and his wife are. I'm not talking about politics. Having met them and knowing them. You can't teach that. I think that is something the President is jealous about. He doesn't have those qualities. Even with all the money in the world, it is just not there. You can't teach those qualities.

BLOW: I think there is something to him, that Obama was instantly granted a kind of cultural cache that Trump has been denied his entire life. Even when he was at his most successful, moving into Manhattan, building skyscrapers, he still was not part of New York City elite cultural life, because in fact he refused to do the things that are require. First of all, stop acting a fool. But second philanthropy. Like you donate things. Your name is on buildings because you actually give away money if you're a millionaire. But that is not part of who he is. And that kept him a bit apart from --

LEMON: Alice I am sorry go on.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I want to say it was another phenomenal piece by Charles, and I hope everyone reads it. I do want to point out one things he says in there. I'm one of the Americans that Charles talks about in this piece that recognize President Obama brought a sense of honor and decency to the White House, even though I disagree with his policies. He was a man as you say Don, a class and decency.

[23:10:02] But I do think it's important also to note a lot of what we're seeing out of President Trump is not a personal grievance. These are policy difference. And he campaigned on doing away with Obamacare. He campaigned on rolling back some of what they view as unconstitutional executive orders. And he campaigned on pulling back on a lot of the policies that Barack Obama implemented as President. And that is what we're seeing. That is why we're trying desperately to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is why we're seeing -- it's not about the personal grievance. It's about the policy differences. And they couldn't be on more opposite sides of the fence.

BLOW: I would agree with that if Donald Trump exhibited any kind of facility with the policy that he fabricated. When people put the question directly to him, he can't answer the question. That says to me that it is actually not a policy debate. Because if you had a replacement policy that you could articulate, you would do that. This is really about rolling back what Obama did. Whether you liked Obamacare or not, he went on the road and tried to sell it. And he could talk to you about it. And you might not agree with what he said, and a lot of the things weren't fulfilled in the way he said they would be, and they weren't -- but he could talk about the policy the (inaudible). Donald Trump to this day, exhibited that he could do that.

LEMON: Douglas, you said something very interesting. It's just about race. Let's be real, the story here. Can you hear, Douglas?

BRIGGS: Yeah, sorry. Just beeped out for a second. I hear you now.

LEMON: I think that -- go on. Go ahead.

BRINKLEY: Who do you want?

LEMON: There's a strange delay. Go ahead, Douglas.

BRIGGS: Okay, I say when you deal with Donald Trump in this issue, you have to look at the race debate, the Mexico, the comments he said after Charlottesville that he feels by beating up scoring points with people that didn't like the idea of a first African-American President. It seems pure and simple, and he goes back to it time and time again.

LEWIS: I'm not saying Donald Trump is pretty nasty to Hillary Clinton. He likes to take shots of her too, I am not saying there isn't a racial component. There very well may be. I do think he is obsessed with Barack Obama. He is also obsessed with crowd sizes and also obsessed with Hillary Clinton, too.

LEMON: You just made my point I said. Some things you just can't teach.

LEWIS: That might be different than the race thing.

LEMON: He can never had, no matter how much money, he cannot buy what Barack Obama has and that is class. OK. We going to talk about John McCain, asserting some of the things that we set here tonight. We'll do that right after the break. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:16:26] LEMON: An emotional Senator John McCain choking up tonight as he blasts those who would abandon America's leadership in the world for the sake of what he calls half-baked spurious nationalism. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: The fear in the world we've organized and led the three quarters of a century to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.

(APPLAUSE)

Is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans can sign to the trash heap of history. We live in the land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home and their champion abroad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Back now with my panel. Alice, what do you make of this? It's a very deliberate strike from Senator McCain.

STEWART: Absolutely. It was another thumbs down from Senator McCain to this administration. And he was basically making his views known that, look, we cannot continue this nationalism America-first policy or in his view, it would the U.S. in the back seat of the world stage. And that is John McCain's view, it has always been his view. And certainly this speech was directly specifically at the President and the views he has with regard to foreign policy. And the two of them disagree fundamentally on many issues, but hats off to John McCain for taking this opportunity to make his feelings known with regard to our national security and his position given his service to our country.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, that blood and soil reference I think was a clear reference to Charlottesville and the white supremacists there shouting blood and soil, Jews will not replace us.

BRINKLEY: Well, absolutely. And I think John McCain did us a great service by delivering this speech. It reminds me in a way of Dwight Eisenhower's fair well address, that someone who has unimpeachable great credentials as a war hero like John McCain and Eisenhower are warning our country about this half-baked nationalism that is going on in our undermining international order in U.S. foreign policy. It's brace of John McCain. It's going to play well in history. And he constantly impresses me, just a hero always stepping up with our country needs his voice.

LEMON: Charles, this is McCain's 2008 rival. President Obama tweeted out tonight, I'm grateful to Senator John McCain to his lifetime of service to our country. Congratulations, John, on receiving this year's liberty medal.

BLOW: I think the President's giving a lot of leeway. I would like to say this to all of these Republican leaders, Donald Trump has a name. Use it. Say his name. Say that it is him who is doing this, because these kind of oblique inferences are not enough. You had Mitch McConnell standing in that Rose Garden looking as uncomfortable as I've ever seen anybody look.

[23:20:05] But they won't go the extra step and say this is a problem, Mr. President, this is too far. You have to pull back. You are hurting America. You are hurting our standing in the world. You have a name, and I'm going to call it out. And until one of these leaders does that and not give me oblique references, I have to reserve my applause.

LEWIS: But I also think -- and that is a fair point. But I also think that the forces that we're up against, that John McCain is up against, isn't just Donald Trump's presidency. Its forces that are happening internationally with like Le pen in France, with Brexit. And some of these forces Donald Trump really latched onto and exploited. We've got the alt-right in America, the Richard Spencer. And I do think that right now, you know, John McCain's sort of life has been lived in this post-World War II consensus world, where, you know, the Republicans had pre-World War II had been isolationist, but after World War II everyone was not globalist or internationalist. And we all sort of agree on a lot of the same things. And that is coming apart. Our culture is coming apart. And there's a real debate on the right, right now, sadly, over what makes it American. Is it blood and soil? Some people believe that is what's it is. Is it a griddle thing, is it something that we believe at.

BLOW: I happened to stumble across a book in a store today, and it was printed in 1903. The first essay in that book was from Theodore Roosevelt about what Americanism is. And it was a great Republican. It is almost everything that Donald Trump is not. Everything he is not saying. He starts off by saying we cannot have a religious test. And it is almost like a counter point to now and the Islam phobia that is happening. Everything about what Donald Trump is doing is against everything that is the bedrock of America and they have an obligation to use his name.

LEMON: I've got to ask you this, Douglas, and I know we have to go. If you could respond quickly. The President was asked about the public silence for nearly two weeks. Those four green berets that were killed in Niger. He says he hasn't spoken to their families, he is written letters and they will be arriving soon. However, in these 12 days he has manage to find time, to apparently play golf five times, tweet about other things, and call people out. How bad are these optics?

BRINKLEY: It's terrible optics. It's embarrassing. And I hope he gets on the phones to make sure those letters get federal expressed. There is no excuse for him. Not to reach out to the families of those Green Beret.

LEMON: Thank you all, I appreciate it. When we come back, you may be surprised to find out exactly how Russian trolls try to influence our election. Did they take their cues from a popular American TV show? That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:27:36] LEMON: Is there anything the Russians didn't try to influence our election? We're learning tonight they even used a popular American TV show. Here to discuss that now the man who broke that story, Michael Isikoff the chief investigator correspondent for Yahoo News and CNN's Contributor Jill Dougherty. Fascinating, Michael. You posted a great story for Yahoo news. And you posted the Russian internet trolls trying to disrupt the U.S. election were made to watch the House of Cards TV series for pointers on how American politics worked. What did they learn from the show?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATION CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Who knew? You know, they got a very dark view of the American political system. Look, in some respects one could argue that it is a view of how the world works, how government works, how politics works. That is closer to the way life in Russia has been than it is in the United States. Certainly, you know, Frank Underwood, the Kevin Spacy character murders a journalist, murders a political opponent. That is the kind of thing we've seen or at least heard allegations of under Vladimir Putin in Russia. But if you take that part away and grant that the "House of Cards" is in some respects caricature, it's some respects it's not off the mark. Planting damaging stories in the press to corrupt dealings. All of that is not totally off the mark of the way our political system works. So perhaps one could understand why the Russians would want their English language trolls to be studying this show.

LEMON: You know, what can Russian hackers get from "House of Cards" they couldn't get from watching the evening news?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know it's different. You can go onto the website of any newspaper, you can get all the facts you want, you can get various cogent stories, but you don't get the flavor. And what these guy were doing is they were making comments in English in stories that appeared let's say "The New York Times," "the Washington Post," et cetera. So what they wanted to do was pick up on what are Americans talking about? You know, what's popular? What give them an insight into the psychology of Americans?

So this guy apparently, Maxim, was working a couple of years ago at the house of trolls in St. Petersburg, and he was trying to understand it. You pick up things like lingo, you pick up, how do you say things? What are people worried about, what are they commenting about? And some of the things we find out now, taxes, gays, and guns are things that Americans really feel. I thought it was very interesting in that article, by the way, where you said, Michael, that one of the things that he, Maxim, talked about was how religious Americans are. And that religion plays a role in some of this discussion on the web. That is not something that you would hear, let's say, from the Russian government. The Russian government would say the American system is corrupt and all of that. But here's a guy who really wanted to apparently understand for bad purposes, but he still wanted to understand.

LEMON: Let's talk more about the Russian investigation. Now, Michael, the President says he is not considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel -- but I want you to listen to what he said about the investigation today. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'd like to see it. And look, the whole Russian thing is excusable. There's been absolutely no collusion. It's been stated they have no collusion. They ought to get to the end of it because I think the American public is sick of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: From what you're hearing, how close is Mueller to wrapping this up?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATION CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: I don't think he is close at all. I mean we are at a critical stage, because we know that Mueller has begun questioning folks in and around the White House relating to the obstruction part of the investigation. That is the firing of James Comey. And we know he interviewed just the other day Reince Priebus who was then the chief of staff when all this went down. Look that is the part of this investigation that gets closest to Donald Trump, based on the evidence we know.

It was Trump who decided to fire Comey, because he said of the Russia investigation that the FBI was doing. So we are at a part of the probe that is -- is probably the most precarious for the White House. And that may be why Trump is backing off of a bit, attacks on Mueller. He doesn't want to antagonize him and his team right now when they are questioning people in and around him. You know, one big question here is Mueller going to require an interview, a deposition or a testimony from the President himself under oath. That is clearly where it would be most perilous for the President.

LEMON: Jill, very limited to time here. Are the Russians worried about what the investigation may uncover?

DOUGHERTY: You know all they say is where's the proof? We haven't seen anything. And I think you have to say yet. We don't know. That is pretty much across the board.

LEMON: Thank you, Michael, thank you, Jill. I appreciate it, see you next time.

When we come back, Colin Kaepernick, filing a grievance against the NFL. Did team owners collude to keep him from being signed? We're going to break that down, that claimed, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:38:03] LEMON: Colin Kaepernick filing a grievance against the NFL claiming owners have colluded to keep him from being signed by a team as punishment for kneeling during the national anthem last year while playing for the 49ers. President Trump again blasting players who take a knee and even trying tying that to Hillary Clinton election lost. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You are disrespecting the flag and you are disrespecting our country. And the NFL should have suspended some of these players for one game, not fire him. Suspended him for one game. And then if they did it again, it could have been two games and three games and then for the season. You wouldn't have people disrespecting our country right now. And the Hillary Clinton actually made the statement that in a forum sitting down during the playing of our great national anthem is not disrespectful, then I fully understand why she didn't win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN Legal analyst Laura Coates, Denise White CEO of EAG Sports Management and CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan, sports columnist for USA Today. So much to discuss. So let's talk about how is this going to be difficult, Laura. I want to get sort of a legal angle here. What does Kaepernick need to do to prove he is being colluded against, and how difficult, is that going to be if that is a term, colluded against. Is that going to be difficult?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Well it is ironic that collusion is the term that continues to hunt President Trump either we are talking about the NFL. The collusion in this context is particularly a hard thing to prove. And here's why. You have to show that two or more teams, and I think 14 or more of the teams had decided to conspire against you to deny of you a right that you think you were otherwise entitled to. It's not enough to simply have a suspicion this happened or suspect that you were black balled or suspect there was a conspiracy afoot. You actually have to have evidence. A smoking gun evidence towards this. And that would be very hard to prove. And if he was in fact successful, he could face treble damages, meaning three times whatever he was facing initially losing in terms of income or salary. So there is a risk to be taken, but it is an uphill legal battle.

[23:40:15] LEMON: Denise according to a report from Pro-Football talks Mike McCarthy, the last straw for Kaepernick was when the Tennessee Titans lost their starting QB two weeks ago and the team didn't consider Kaepernick, does this suit -- do you think its Kaepernick way of sticking to the league on his way out? Has he essentially given up playing for the NFL?

DENISE WHITE, CEO EAG SPORTS MANAGEMENT: Of course I don't want to speak on his behalf, but I think there's a line in a sand that you draw. And once you step over that line, I think he feels he is not going to get a job in the NFL. We had the Titan's quarterback go down just this past weekend, we had Erin Rogers go down. But I would like to comment that, you have to remember, coming into NFL offense is not easy. These guys study play books. There's a special type of offense each team plays. You don't just pick up a quarterback on a whim and think, ok, we're going to throw him in and he is going to learn this offense right away. That is why we have backups quarterback and third string quarterbacks. You have to look at that and think this situation is the right situation for Colin. He probably feels so, but that doesn't necessarily mean the team feels so.

LEMON: Christine you are shaking your head. I want to get your response, but let me just say this, because you mentioned it. The superstar quarterback Erin Rogers went down with an injury yesterday likely he is going to miss the rest of the season. When Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked about whether they had interest in Kaepernick, here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MCCARTHY, COACH, GREEN BAY PACKERS: Did you just listen to that question I just answered? I got three years invested in Joe Callahan. The quarterback is right where it needs to be. We're committed on the path we're on. We need to play better as a football team. And Bret Hanly will be starting this week and Joe Callahan will be the backup.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: McCarthy very firmly shutting down any idea the Packers have any interest in Kaepernick. Is he - he lack of appointment about his skills or his activism? Christine?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I think it is a little bit of both. Colin Kaepernick down, going to turn 30 on November 3rd. That is old in quarterback years. It's been five years since he took a team to the super bowl. I think that is important to mention. He took a team to the super bowl. This I a quarterback who played in the super bowl and actually nearly won the super bowl.

LEMON: Tom Brady is 40, by the way. Erin Rogers is not exactly 21 --

BRENNAN: No, but what I am saying is absolutely. But he is not 23 either. I think he should have had a chance. There's conversations about, well, has he shown enough interest? Because he left the 49ers. Well, you had Jay Cutler, a quarterback who was retired that was signed by the Miami Dolphins. So Cutler would have shown no interest whatsoever because he was retired and he was brought back. I think Kaepernick, we may never know, Don, is the final answer here. We'll see Laura's points are great points about the legal side of this. We may never know. I've got to believe that Kaepernick is, again, the issue of the kneeling is certainly something you could even hear that in McCarthy's voice like, no, don't even bring that up. I don't even want to deal with that because a lot of these teams didn't want to have him be a part of their team, which is important because I think Kaepernick bricks us to a conversation which we need to have.

LEMON: I want to put this - go on.

COATES: Timing is so important in talking about legal claims. This are reasons that he has filed this grievance just a few days before the owners not meeting in New York. It's not coincidental that he is doing this in the wake of what the President of the United States has been tweeting about and making comments. You got about a 90 day window to file these grievances. You're looking at a very fixed period of time, not what happened last year necessarily but what's been happening recently. I think the base of his claim is what has been happening recently among the teams maybe recently with the President of the United States, that is information going to be so key to this case.

LEMON: When we come back more on Colin Kaepernick's claim.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:48:54] LEMON: President doubling down on his criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. I want to bring in now CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson and Mark Lamont Hill. Good evening gentlemen, so Mark, President Trump played the hits earlier today going after both protest in NFL and his old foe Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In an interview earlier today, Hillary Clinton said she did not believe players taking a knee in the NFL was about disrespecting the flag, at complete odds in a way that you have portrayed this. You fired back a tweet saying you hope that she runs again in 2020.

TRUMP: Oh, I hope Hillary runs again. Hillary, please run again. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she at odds over whether or not this is disrespecting the flag? Is she right or she is wrong?

TRUMP: I think she is wrong. There's plenty of time to do knees and plenty of times to do lots of other things. That is why she lost the election. I mean honestly it is that thinking that is the reason she lost the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That thinking is the reason she lost the election. What do you say to that, Mark?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is historically unprecedented pettiness. You won the election, you're President. To constantly jab at Hillary Clinton is unnecessary. If Hillary Clinton makes a public statement as a private citizen, he has every right to respond. I don't think he should, but he has every right to and I wouldn't have any issue with that, but when you start making the kind of petty marks, that is why she lost the election, please run again. It is just unnecessary, it speaks to a deep insecurity in the president, but to the actual substance of the question which is, is it disrespectful? I think Hillary Clinton is right. It is not disrespectful. The players certainly aren't intending to disrespect the American flag by taking a knee.

[23:50:35] Do other Americans have a right to be offended? Sure they do. But you can't state for someone else what their intent is, what the meaning is. And you can't define the boundaries of patriotism or respect for the American flag. As you pointe out Don, many times, there are all kinds of flag rules that people ignore and disrespect. And suddenly Donald Trump puts himself as the arbiter of what's right and wrong and that is not ok.

LEMON: He apparently liked his line at that press conference so much that he decided to tweet it out later today. Look at that, Ben.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look --

LEMON: Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2020. My answer was, I hope so.

FERGUSON: I do too. I hope she is the author of another book that is entitled it happened again. I mean, for the first time in my life I stand with her. I want Hillary Clinton to run for re-election. That would be amazing. But to say that it's petty for Donald Trump to respond to a former Secretary of State, a former Senator, the woman who has run for President not once but twice and with a nominee this time, to say that he shouldn't respond to her is just absurd.

LAMONT HILL: I didn't say that.

FERGUSON: I mean she is the highest (inaudible) out there right now. Well, first of all, she is not a -- well, she is not a private citizen. She is a public figure. Very much so. She is out there publicly criticizing the President. It is very fair when someone asks you a question in the press in the Rose Garden to respond to that question about the person that you just beat in an election.

LEMON: Okay, Ben.

FERGUSON: To say that somehow he is picking on her is absurd.

LEMON: Mark, I want you to respond because I didn't hear you say that.

LAMONT HILL: This is a dishonest argument. You're suggesting I said he shouldn't respond Hilary Clinton when actually I said he should respond to Hillary Clinton. He has every right to respond to Hillary Clinton. What I said he shouldn't do was point out that is why she lost the election. That is the part that I caught petty and to say that I say he was picking on her. I didn't say he was picking on her. Again, she made a public statement. I said it was a public statement. But, yes, Ben, you're incorrect. She is a private citizen unless she holds a public office that I don't know about. Please tell me what it is.

LEMON: Let's move on. She is a private citizen. But Ben, she is a public figure, but she is a private citizen. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker sent out a letter today to the NFL and the NFL players association. He writes in part and says, it is time for players in the NFL to stop protesting during the anthem and move on from what has become a divisive political side show. Instead I encourage them to use their voices and influence take a stand against domestic violence. Now we would be -- now would be an especially opportune time to strongly condemn domestic violence and lead the charge in supporting safe families across America. Not to take anything away there that cause, that is a very good cause, but why does Governor Walker think that he can just tell the NFL players what causes they should be using their platform for?

FERGUSON: Look, I think he is as a governor has a right to say what he wants to say. I don't think he is forcing them. He is giving them another idea. I'm kind of over this NFL protest thing. I think the NFL is in serious trouble with their fan base now. I think they completely misjudge this issue and I think the majority of Americans think that the way that they've handled this has been wrong. Look at the stands this weekend in big games where there was a lot of empty seats. The ratings were also down again at week six. So I've moved on. A lot of Americans have moved on, on Sundays. They're moving past this. I think the governor has a right to have an opinion here and I think he is giving good advice to the NFL which is you don't want to keep doing this. Let's move on to something positive that we can all agree on which domestic violence is a month that we should be able to highlight and maybe the owners (inaudible) --

LEMON: We base what's wrong and what's right on ratings and -- but go on.

FERGUSON: I just think --

LAMONT HILL: Got this one wrong.

LEMON: Go ahead, Mark.

LAMONT HILL: It must be an extraordinary feeling to be able to just say, hey, let's move on and past this whole racial injustice thing.

FERGUSON: I'm saying the NFL issue in general at this point is just getting annoying, because I'd love to watch a football game without it being all about what you and I are talking about right now and I think they're ruining the game --

LEMON: I watched it all weekend and no one --

FERGUSON: I watched it on Saturday. I didn't watch it on Sunday because I'm over the NFL.

LEMON: I watched it on Sunday with a whole lot of people and it was fun. Go ahead Mark.

LAMONT HILL: I'm not so much over the NFL. I'm moreover black people being shot in the street by police. I'm more worried about unarmed people dying. I'm more worried about mentally ill and people under the age of 18 being killed by law enforcement. That I'm actually really, really over. So if people taking a knee can stop any of that, I am so much on board with that that I don't mind missing an NFL football game or hearing some conversation I don't want to here.

23:55:18] LEMON: I've got --

LAMONT HILL: We don't all agree.

FERGUSON: Then you should stand by Governor Walker and what he said on his letter. Stand up on domestic violence issues. I would agree.

LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow. Good night.

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