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Trump Tower Meeting Known Attendees; White House Lawyer On Russia Investigation; Flynn Said Russia Sanctions Would Be Ripped Up; House GOP To work On Entitlement Reform Next Year. Aired 11-Midnight ET
Aired December 6, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: We'll talk about it next hour. Where was Gretchen Carlson? Where was she?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a great question. I don't know the answer.
LEMON: Thank you. See you soon. This is CNN tonight. I am Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, we are live at breaking news tonight. The President's own son and name sake Donald Trump, Jr., refusing today in a marathon all day session to tell the house intel community that he and his father discussed after news broke about his June 2016 meeting in Trump tower with a Russian lawyer who Trump, Jr., believed had dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign. The president's son invoking attorney-client privilege. The committee's top Democrats Adam Schiff saying this about Trump, Jr.'s testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: He answered the overwhelming majority of our questions there was one significant area where he declined to answer. He acknowledged having discussed the June 9 meeting and the e-mails that went into establishing that meeting after those e-mails became public. He acknowledged discussing the matter with his father, but refused to answer questions about the discussion on the basis of a claim of attorney-client privilege. In my view there was no attorney- client privilege that protects a discussion between father and son. This discussion revolves around a pivotal meeting, that is where representatives of the Russian government who were portrayed as providing dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government effort to help Donald Trump to the campaign and therefore is a central issue we need to fully investigate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bring in our CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju who has more on our breaking news tonight. Manu?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Don, earlier tonight Donald Trump, Jr., would not answer questions about a meeting that he had with his father early this rear and the aftermath of those report that showed that Donald Trump, Jr. did in fact meet with Russian operatives at Trump tower with Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort after he was promised dirt on the Clinton campaign. After the reports surface this summer that he did meet with his father. When he was asked about this at the House Intelligence Committee's meeting earlier today he said, I won't answer those questions because of attorney-client privilege. The reason why he said he had attorney-client privilege Don, was because there were lawyers in the room. He said he was under no obligation to disclose this information because of attorneys in the room. Now at the same time he told the committee that his father was not involve in that initial response to the New York Times story about this meeting the Russians as you recall. Initially this was a rather misleading response to the public about how this is mainly a meeting about Russian adoptions, and really had nothing to do with what we do know now about dirt, kind of get dirt on the Clinton campaign that was mentioned in the initial statement, but what we do know now is that Donald Trump, Jr., did tell the committee he communicated with Hope Hicks. Now the Communications Director text with her about that response. And from our own reporting we do know that President Trump was involved in that response through air force one trip he discussed it with Hope Hicks and it didn't come up. Donald Trump, Jr., said he was not directly communications with his father at that time, but I can tell you just the fact that Hope Hicks was involved in this and raised questions. Particularly among legal experts who say, look. You cannot mislead the public, particularly the time of the criminal investigation that is going on. That will raise a lot of questions going forward.
LEMON: Manu Raju, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Now I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and CNN political commentator David Axelrod. Gentlemen, good evening. David Gergen, what do you think it's like inside the White House now, Don Jr. spent eight hours. Axelrod, you're chuckling there. Testifying.
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYT: Talking to some people on Trump side they seem relieved tonight. I think it's a false sense of Hope and complacency. I think the attorney-client privilege has been invoked just as it will collapse on its face.
LEMON: David Axelrod, we'll talk more about it. Considering you reaction when I asked the question to David Gergen, do you think that is real, that you know they feel pretty good or is that like, go back to bed kids, everything is fine, mom and dad having an argument?
[23:05:04] DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is the migraine headache that never ends. It is very, very hard to be on the White House. You can only imagine given the pressures that you are under already. Hope Hicks will be a person of great interest. Special counsel reportedly has or is going to talk to her. The thing that strikes me about this is the speculation at the time was that the special counsel was interested in what the President was doing with the statement that was released after Don Jr. acknowledged that he met with the lawyers. These Russian representatives. Because the statement that was put out was greatly misleading. The question is was that part of a cover-up of something more nefarious and we now know more details about the meeting and did the President know about what the details of the meeting are and did he instruct either directly or now, I guess, through Hope Hicks did he instruct his son to release this misleading statement. So I don't know if any of that holds up. You can see where the puzzle pieces are beginning to fit.
LEMON: What's interesting David Gergen is this whole time we have been talking about, why is Don, Jr. even involved in this, crafting statements and all of that, because Don, Jr. and Eric were supposed to stay behind and run the business.
LEMON: Do you think there's been a clean break?
GERGEN: No, no. There is much more integration than we ever imagined. That is the reason the Flynn story became interesting. He was supposedly talking to a private company about profiteering.
LEMON: Let me read that. People need to know and then you can respond. Gloria Borger is reporting tonight that White House lawyer Ty Cobb, Trump Jr. and Hope Hicks in fact that - that is the wrong statement, I am sorry. Apparently Flynn on the day of the inauguration said they would tear up sanctions and they could start over and it would be fine. That is what you are discussing tonight.
GERGEN: Yes. The story that emerged earlier today was that there was a whistleblower saying that Flynn -- imagine this scene. At the inauguration, Donald Trump, your new boss is taking the oath. You are the incoming national security officer. 11 minutes into the speech you are seeing a text message out to somebody to say, we've got it. It's going forward. We have a nuclear deal. We'll have nuclear plants in the Middle East. Everybody will get rich. It's as profiteering right at the moment, right in the middle of the inauguration.
LEMON: The White House is denying that. They are pushing back on this.
GERGEN: I'm sure they are pushing back and the company is pushing back. They have to come up with some proof.
AXELROD: Flynn is cooperating with the government now. Flynn is cooperating with special counsel. He knows what he did and didn't do. He knows the communications that he had and they know the communications that he had. So the White House can say what the White House will say, but Flynn knows the truth. Now presumably the special counsel knows the truth. That ought to be greatly unsettling if you are the President and his team.
GERGEN: I agree. Yeah.
LEMON: David Axelrod, the President did keep one campaign promise today and that is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capitol. He tweeted, a history will judge, but of ending seven decades of U.S. policy to embrace a dangerously divisive position. Hardly seems a way to advance the peace process. Seems more about advancing his own narrow politics. Tonight one official said the peace process we are prepared for derailment temporarily, I hope. How big of a gamble is this? AXELROD: I think it is a huge gamble but I think it wasn't as the
president suggest a gamble for peace. Tom has a great column tomorrow in the New York Times and Tom obviously a great expert.
LEMON: He was on with the wolf earlier.
AXELROD: He was terrific. He said what I believe which is, it's one thing to upend seven decades of American policy. You ought to get something for it. If you are trying to advance the peace process inflaming the Palestinians, defying your allies including allies in the Arab world and getting nothing in exchange like a freeze on settlements doesn't make any sense at all. What he was doing was fulfilling a promise to Sheldon Adelson and some of his supporters from the campaign to summon the evangelical community. Maybe that is why Steve Bannon was talking about it in Alabama last night.
[23:10:16] I think it is pure politics. I think Donald Trump sees most of the things through the prism of his own politics and not through the lens of history. I think history will be very, very hard on him for this decision.
GERGEN: Yes. I basically agree with what David is saying. Put it this way. You know, Colin Powell called it the pottery barn rule. If you break it, you own it. And we just broke it. We just broke the Middle East peace process. It wasn't doing well to be sure. If Donald Trump turns out to be right, he'll deserve a lot of credit and be a hero. If there is violence and people are killed as a result of that and that is also his responsibility. If there is violence and this things breaks out, we have a new Antifa and all the rest, he owns that.
LEMON: I want to ask you about because today the House speaker Paul Ryan said the house GOP caucus plans to work on entitlement reform next year as a way to quote tackle the debt and the deficit. Is this a big admission?
GERGEN: Yes. There are so many things going on. The country isn't focusing. It was attention deficit disorder in this administration. Things happen every five minutes and you can't keep your eye on the big prize. The Republicans are passing a tax cut and this was important to lower taxes for the corporations in this country. They are passing a tax cut that greatly increase it is deficits. Now they are saying because the deficits are big we have to cut back on programs for the poor. You're going to give tax cuts to the rich and cut programs to the poor? Is that really the Republican Party?
LEMON: Isn't that supposed to be part of it that it was supposed to reduce?
GERGEN: It was supposed to be serving the middle class. The middle class, depends on where you define it. People under $75,000 were seeing taxes go up over time. To pass this tax cut, use that deficit and then use that as an excuse to cut programs like the chip program or food stamps. Actually a lot of Americans will say you know I could have done it without that tax cut.
LEMON: Do you want to say something, David Axelrod? Quickly if you will.
AXELROD: yes, just want to say. It's more like lack of attention to deficits disorder, I think that is what afflicting congress now.
LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. When we come back, Donald Trump, Jr. invoking attorney-client privilege apparently because there were attorneys present during his conversation with his father. Can he do that? And why is he doing that?
[23:16:34] LEMON: Here's our breaking news tonight on the Russia investigation. Donald Trump, Jr. won't tell lawmakers what he and the President discussed about his Trump tower meeting with Russians. Let us discuss now, CNN contributor Walter Shaub, a former director of the office of government ethics, also CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the DOJ and John Flannery the former federal prosecutor for the southern district of New York, they all join me, good evening. Thank you so much. Michael, you first. I want to get your reaction to this news about Donald Trump, Jr. that he would not speak to house investigators about his communication with his father after that Trump tower meeting. As a matter of fact, inciting attorney-client privilege. What are the implications here?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The implications are that if he comes back before congress under subpoena and refuses to answer questions then he can be held in contempt. As a voluntary witness before the committee, he has -- there is no contempt powers over them. With respect to the assertion of the privilege if he tries that with Mueller -- because he is going to be interviewed with Mueller under oath, Mueller will have the Judge hold him in contempt. It is an improper assertion of privilege. The fact that a lawyer is in the room when you are talking with other people there is a waiver of the privilege. It is inapplicable. I think he has set himself up for a problem with Mueller and potentially if congress gets some backbone, a return visit under subpoena power where contempt can be the result.
LEMON: John, again, under the attorney-client privilege, there were attorneys in the room at the time. Can he do that?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: No. It is not electricity if you have an attorney in the room it's enough. They were talking about disclosing information. If you are having a discussion to disclose information it is not privileged. In addition to that if you are using the privilege to conceal a fraud then the privilege takes flight. The theory is a privilege should not be used to protect a crime. It is actually divided into two parts. The first part, it sounded like the theme was let's be transparent, lay it out there and get ahead of it. Mr. Trump and Hicks, the communication Director, and his son, Trump Jr., they were talking to each other and there were no attorneys involved in that statement that Trump had with his son without any attorney being involved. That was made public and apparently to the surprise of the others in the first meeting that had the conversations about it being transparent. There is no possible attorney-client privilege. I think it was just a delay. To avoid talking about it today. I supposed the only privilege he could assert would be the Fifth that he wasn't deemed to avoid by talking about the subject back in September when he was there. This is a way to deflect the swing.
LEMON: Mr. Shaub, I want to bring you in. You also learned that Donald Trump, Jr. He says he never spoke directly to his father about the news that he met with Russians in 2016 at Trump tower, only White House aide Hope Hicks. What do you make of that news?
WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't know what to make of that. We have to wait and see what the further investigation reveals. This hasn't been a great week for the Trump family attorneys. Between one of them claiming he wrote a bizarre tweet. Another claiming -- or maybe it was the same one. Claiming that a President can't be held liable for obstruction of justice. Whoever gave Donald, Jr., that advice that he has attorney-client privilege, I was pretty excited to hear that, because I thought, I'm an attorney and I talk to myself a lot. Maybe my ramblings and murmurings are privileged as well.
[23:20:35] LEMON: That is perfect.
FLANNERY: Well you know, maybe they are building an argument for ineffective stance assistance of counsel.
LEMON: Laura Coates said earlier if that rule apply to anyone within the sound of anyone's voice would be attorney-client privilege, even people just watching television. Let us move on Michael. Hicks was on air force one with President Trump at the time the conversation occurred. Does it matter if she spoke directly to the President or if he spoke directly to the President or not?
ZELDIN: id on think so, what we are talking about is the drafting of the statement which was false. Then maybe Don, Jr., is trying to protect his father by saying I only talked to Hope Hicks which may be technically true, but of course Hope Hicks was talking to Donald Trump, Sr. and relaying back the information to Donald Trump, Jr. Who I think, John, was with his lawyer at the time which maybe is how they tried to concoct this crazy attorney-client privilege.
But remember, Donald Trump sent his lawyer on to meet the press, July 16. His lawyer said Donald Trump had nothing to do with the drafting of the statement that was what was at discussion here and which was untrue. Maybe Don, Jr. is trying to somehow figure a way to protect his father from that false statement made by his lawyer on "Meet the press." I can't really divine the true intentions of the people. It does, I think, to John's point indicate some sort of delay. None of these privileges and the fact they talk through Hope Hicks is of legal consequence in terms of shielding them from liability.
LEMON: But if you are preparing for testimony, is that a crime to get together and get your stories right?
ZELDIN: No it is not a crime at all. It is just foolish to lie about it. LEMON: Go John.
FLANNERY: The theme here, this is the trouble. We take things we close down on it. What's really going on? What's going on is to conceal the fact of the meeting with the Russians they kept saying never happened. Their first imperative, certainly Mr. Trump and Trump, Jr. was to say, oh, it's nothing. It is about an adoption. When it had nothing to do with it. They knew when they proposed it. We are just lucky that these people are bad at this. Otherwise, I used to say as a prosecutor on a white collar case you don't catch the geniuses. These guys are not geniuses. This is the worst cover-up I have ever seen. I'm glad for it. Otherwise we wouldn't have a chance of getting at their misconduct. Their misconduct was to conceal the deal with the Russians and all the conversations they had with them. That is why we have this false statements.
LEMON: Walter, Michael and John talk a lot. They will try to speak over you in this segments. We'll hear from you in the next segment so I want all of you to stick around. When we come back, a new report that Michael Flynn was texting someone in the middle of Trump's inauguration. What could be that important that he had to do in a middle of the inauguration? More on who it was and who it was too and what was in that text, in a moment.
[23:28:10] LEMON: New developments tonight on Michael Flynn and what he may have texted a business colleague right in the middle of President Trump's inaugural address. Back with me now, Walter Shaub, Michael Zeldin and John Flannery. Walter, you first let's talk about Michael Flynn. We learned today that a whistle blower told a member of the house oversight committee that Michael Flynn texted a former business partner on inauguration day saying get rid of U.S. sanctions on Russia was a priority for the Trump administration. If that is true what does that tell you?
SHAUB: So there's two things that you really need to take away from this. First is the incredible importance of protecting whistleblowers. Really, that is just absolutely paramount to any integrity or ethics program in the federal government. It looks like this person whose name has not been revealed publically has so far been protected. Once it comes out it will be incredibly important to protect this person because if anything happens to him, no one else will come forward with the truth. The underlying issue is also important.
We talk a lot about ethics rules and criminal conflict of interest laws and ethical principles and norms. If you are trying to explain the program to someone new at its heart it all boils down to misuse of position for private gain. I can't think of a more sickening example than Michael Flynn sitting up there while the President is being inaugurated and sworn into office sitting there with greed oozing out of his fingertips so frenetically that he couldn't resist texting somebody about their sinister plan to profit from his new position. It is the most grotesque display, something if you put it in a movie script would have probably been rejected as unrealistic. LEMON: Not the way you put it. That was quite vivid the way you just
described it. Michael, I have to ask, is there any evidence that Flynn or the administration were getting anything in return for this?
ZELDIN: Well, that is the $64,000 question. The deal that we are talking about was a deal that Flynn had concocted. There was a paper put forth before the national Security Council where there would be a partnership where Russia was going to build nuclear plants in the Middle East. Of course at that time Russia and the whole sector of power was under sanctions and therefore it was impossible to deal with it. They were trying to figure out a way to bust sanctions so they could do this profitable deal for the partners of -- the ex-partners of Flynn. In and of itself that is a problematic proposition.
The conspiracy theorists might also say and we'll see whether it proves to be a conspiracy theory or fact, that this whole sanctions- busting operation is the payback for the front end collusion, as it is called, conspiracy between Russians and Russian cutouts like WikiLeaks to help elect Donald Trump and we are seeing in this the first payback of the collusive deal on the front. The Russians will get out from under sanctions and will start building power in the Middle East.
LEMON: So this whistleblower, John, I want to talk more about this. This whistleblower says Flynn texted the same business partner about that plan with Russia to build the nuclear reactors he spoke about in the Middle East saying it was good to go. A deal like that would have been highly lucrative if true. Does this point to financial motivation, collusion or both?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think it does. You have to look at the sequence. We had had the emirates meeting with Trump transition in December. Then we have two that have been accused of cutouts. On the 11th of January we had Eric Prince going to Seychelles and meeting with a very prominent, connected financial representative of Russia. Then on the 16th, we had in Switzerland, a meeting with the same Russian official with Scaramucci. I think if you emphasize what Flynn was doing on the day of the inauguration on the 20th it was like spiking the ball to use a football reference. Like, there, we'll get rid of the sanctions, go forward and do big business. So it is a confirmation, I think, of exactly the quid pro quo. You help us get elected and we take care of the sanctions.
LEMON: Go ahead Walter.
SHAUB: If I could add one more thing, right now we are in the midst of a number of criminal investigations and congressional oversight. We shouldn't lose sight of the matter that if there is quid pro quo you have a crime. Even aside from whether or not you have a crime, the ethics rules which are noncriminal, but set the standard for how the federal government is supposed to behave prohibit this sort of misuse of position for a colleague and if these were former clients or former employers, he was supposed to recuse from anything involving them. I know that is not as sexy as the criminal stuff, but the reality is it's a strong message about the culture of this White House which is just rotting from the top and both the President's example of not resolving his conflicts of interest and the counsel to the President Don McGahn sending the message that anything goes unless it is strictly illegal and will get caught.
LEMON: Michael, listen, there are so many Trump associates with ties to Russia. We know Jared Kushner had spoken to Russian bankers about financing for one of his family's construction projects. Paul Manafort had lucrative dealings with Russian-backed Ukrainians. In addition to money we know he was paid by a Russian broadcaster Flynn was possibly involved in a deal to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East. What picture does this all paint to you?
ZELDIN: It paints one of two or both. One, these are very greedy or money driven people who will do virtually anything, irrespective of the ethics laws that should govern their behavior to make a profit. We see that a little bit in the last activity of Manafort last week where he was writing an op-ed for money to further his interests notwithstanding a gag order by the courts. These people operate under a different ethical standard that is one driven by finance. The second one, the and/or or both is that this is, as we talked about a minute ago, the payback for the assistance that was given through perhaps Don, Jr. and then June 9 meeting and WikiLeaks and Julian Assange through the distribution of hacked e-mails and knowing facilitation of that by Don, Jr. and the campaign as a response to their helping them get elected.
[23:35:15] LEMON: Yes.
ZELDIN: You could have either or both of those things, neither of which is either ethical or in some cases perhaps not even legal.
LEMON: All right. Michael, Walter, John, thank you. That is all we have time for, I appreciate it. I have breaking news to tell you about now. Firefighters are right now trying to gain ground in southern California. Look at these live pictures from our affiliate KCAL-KCBS out there in Ventura County, California. Dry conditions, high winds up to 70 miles per hour. Driving a series of wildfires in and around the Los Angeles area and Ventura counties. Tens of thousands of residents forced to flee on very short notice. The outlook is not great with containment either at just 5 percent for the largest of the fires. Some 150 homes and businesses have already been destroyed. This video, it is just terrifying. Take a look at this. Flames on both sides of traffic. Look at that along California's 405 freeway. Nearly ten miles of road on one of the nation's busiest highways forced to shut down as stunned motorists watch. Unbelievable.
When we come back, 32 of his Democratic colleagues telling Senator Al Franken to resign only days after Congressman John Conyers retired. What about the President who's also been accused of sexual assault? Kellyanne Conway defending him, citing his tremendous moral standards today.
[23:40:56] LEMON: Here is a good question. Is Al Franken staying in the senate or is he resigning? We'll find out tomorrow. Aids say the Democrat accused of sexual harassment, he is going to make an announcement, but tonight more than 30 of his Democratic colleagues calling on him to resign. Let's discuss now with CNN political commentator Alice Stuart and Keith Boykin and Tara Setmayer, the former communications director for our congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Good evening to you all. Thank you very much. Democrat lawmakers today led the way with these call for Al Franken to resign. Multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. Over 30 Senators now, did it take all these women to come forward to get the ball rolling? At first they were like, I'm sure he'll do the right thing. He said I'm sorry.
TARA SETMAYER FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER: Right. They were trying to give him a chance. That is because he is fairly well like on most of his colleague and usually if they figured OK, he apologies, it happen before he was a Senator, he had call for a Senate ethics committee investigation, I think they thought he could weather that, but then I always felt if Moore accusers came out, that would be an impossibility for them politically. You have had several women now come out and he has not apologized for the other accusers. It was really only the first one, the photograph.
LEMON: Lee Anne Tweed.
SETMAYER: Right. The other one he didn't admit any wrongdoing with the other ones. He said he is sorry if he offended anyone. I think right now he is persona non grata. You can't have that many Democratic (inaudible).
LEMON: Do you think he'll step down?
SETMAYER: I think, I mean Chuck Schumer is calling everyone.
LEMON: I was just going to say Chuck Schumer is calling him to step down. No final decisions had been made. How do you think the Democrats are handling this?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I called for him to step down, too along with John Conyers last week on Twitter.
LEMON: Join the club.
BOYKIN: People should be held to the same standard regardless of Party. I have been critical of Roy Moore and Donald Trump. I think if we are doing that we have to look at what's going on in the Democratic Party. Democrats were slow at first to respond to this, but it is a serious issue. You can't beat a party that tries to appeal to women's interest and then not take seriously the claims of multiple women who are accusing Democratic candidate.
SETMAYER: Exactly right.
LEMON: Responses you get when someone you don't know like you hear Democrats and even Republicans say he should do this. When it's someone you know --
SETMAYER: This discussion I think is opening the doors to show people how hypocritical that can be. You can't have it both ways. If you want the high ground on this, you have to be consistent across the board and Democrats are looking at 2018. They want to be able to hammer Republicans if Roy Moore wins on Tuesday. The Republican Party will be Roy Moore.
LEMON: Alice is back there and she wants to get in. Go ahead.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think look, I mean the Democratic Party has for many years has claimed to be the Party for women. Equal rights for women, equal pay, and supporting women. I applaud them for coming out in full force today standing up for women. I think the volume of those here in Washington that came out to call for Al Franken to step down really said a lot. Senator Gellibrand has been leading the charge on this, saying one charge or allegation of sexual harassment is too many and the volumes we have here is not acceptable. I applaud them for coming forward. Even DNC chairman Tom Perez saying, look, we have to take a stand. I see some have come out and talked to Al Franken. They like him, respect him. But they say he is humiliated, he is embarrassed. At this point he needs to be history in Washington.
STEWART: That being said, this needs to be across the board. Sexual harassment is nonpartisan. If the standard applies for Al Franken and John Conyers it should be the same for Republicans.
STEWART: That means Roy Moore.
[23:45:04] LEMON: Oh! Perfect segue way to what I'm going to ask you next. Alice, because Kellyanne Conway appeared to CNN this morning to defend the President endorsement of Roy Moore. Here is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The President has tremendous moral standards. He is said the allegations are troubling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: She praised the President's, quote, tremendous moral standards, Alice?
STEWART: If these allegations are truly troubling in the eyes of the President and anyone in the White House or in Washington they wouldn't be standing behind Roy Moore. Look, we have to look at what's in the best interest of the character, the priorities and the principles of this party. It's more important to stand for what's right as opposed to the next vote here in Washington. I think it would be much better served for any Republican to stand behind someone who has much more character and principles as opposed to someone that is simply a check in the Republican Party.
LEMON: I got to ask, hold on, because I want to get to the next segment I think it is very important. I don't want to lose time here. Quickly, I still here people saying don't put Al Franken in this category of Roy Moore. What he is accused of isn't the same thing. That is hypocrisy.
STEWART: You can't.
LEMON: All right. Everyone stick with me. When we come back, Time magazine naming their person of the year today. No, it's not you know who.
[23:50:22] LEMON: "Time" magazine out with its person of the year for 2017, in this case, its people. Back with me, it's a number of people, persons. Back with me now Alice Stewart, Keith Boykin and Tara Setmayer. Here's my question. Let me put it up here. It's called the silence breakers. That is what the magazine named the persons of the year. Individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment, its person of the year 2017. However, noticeably absent from this. This is my question -- where is Gretchen Carlson in all of this? She got Roger Ailes ousted from Fox News, from a conservative network, leading six more women to come forward and accuse Ailes -- she was the catalyst for this whole movement. Where was she? Didn't matter that it happened last year, I mean --
SETMAYER: Right. That is what I thought, that maybe because it was -- started last year and that is why she wasn't included. But without question, Gretchen Carlson you could say she was the catalyst in the media world for women to come forward, as well.
LEMON: People in the media world did not come out until Gretchen Carlson, even people at her own network.
SETMAYER: That is absolutely true. And Megyn Kelly, she was a star at Fox News at the time, when she confirmed that she had been a victim of Roger Aisles as well. That is when the flood gates went open. It started with Gretchen. I think she was unfairly left out.
LEMON: Why leave her out, Alice?
STEWART: That crossed my mind today, as well, as to why she wasn't included in there, but I think the tremendous thing with Gretchen is, she is here in Washington today helping to lead the charge to further attention to the me too act, which will help really blow this out of the water and really shed light on these, the sex slush fund here in Washington that uses taxpayer money to pay off some of these cases of sexual harassment and put, shine the light on these confidential agreements where women have to hide in shame after they're paid out for this. So, she is going to do a lot more.
LEMON: Alice, that is all the more reason, because she is continuing the fight. She is continuing to be a trail blazer.
SETMAYER: Maybe she refused to do the photo shoot, because it was only a probably.
LEMON: That is some shade.
SETMAYER: That is what the President of the United States said.
LEMON: Well, let's talk about the President. Gave a speech today and towards the end, many people noticed, it went crazy on social media, you noticed that, right, his speech pattern changed and he started to slur his words. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: God bless you, god bless Israel, god bless the Palestinians and god bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I think that was the most noticeable, but also during -- earlier in the speech, as well, it was a little bit odd. Here is what Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, there is clearly some abnormalities of his speech. You could call it slurring or a little bit of difficulty forming the words. It doesn't appear to have any motor weakness. Of course, it is difficult to diagnose someone only from a video. But then he goes on to say the problems may stem from mouth issues. Is it fair to ask about the President's health here?
SETMAYER: Of course it is. I mean, it's tradition for the President to have --
LEMON: So noticeable. Everyone noticed it.
SETMAYER: Yes. This isn't the first time. But you have to remember, the idiocy of the President getting this letter from the doctor during the campaign, and then the letter, Trump was tweeting out, thanking his father, who died, like, ten years ago? The whole thing, and he was in perfect health, whatever, the greatest health ever. I mean, it's just so ridiculous, because clearly --
LEMON: You noticed it.
SETMAYER: Clearly. And Donald Trump is not in perfect health. We've heard about his eating habits. He is gained how many pounds since he went into the White House. He went after Hillary Clinton, saying she didn't have stamina, she was sick and all this, yet here he is, it's fair for us to speculate something is going on.
BOYKIN: I think this is a serious issue. I think there's going to be reforms that come into effect after he leaves office. The other thing may be requiring people to reveal their tax returns. The other thing has to be having the medical, physical evaluation of the President of the United States on an annual basis. The President has the capacity individually to launch nuclear weapons. There's no reason why that person should have that ability and we as Americans don't know whether that person has the physical and mental capacity to function correctly.
SETMAYER: Kennedy concealed his ailments.
LEMON: here is the thing, the Trump campaign Alice, was not kind to Hillary Clinton regarding her health. I'm wondering if they opened the door to such personal scrutiny here.
[23:55:09] STEWART: Look, I was listening to that like a lot of other people, I was listening to it on headset. I was really listening closely to it and to me, it sounded like he was thirsty and he needed to get a glass of water and do the Marco Rubio routine and drink some water.
LEMON: That could be. I thought he might have had dry mouth, but it was just -- yeah, go on.
STEWART: I think it's been -- I'll attack him on a lot of things, and this one, I think he just had a dry mouth, was thirsty. And we all know, if we did go to the doctor and asked for a physical check, we saw his doctor, he is the modern day version of Patch Adams. He would give us another note that he is in perfect health and he is the most healthy man in America.
BOYKIN: That is why we need an independent physician, Walter reed physician in order to give an analysis.
SETMAYER: Go to the NATO hospital.
BOYKIN: Not some quack doctor.
LEMON: This is what the White House says. The White House has responded. They say the President is perfectly healthy.
SETMAYER: I'm sure he is.
LEMON: The fact is, the meetings all day and he is still here working now. And I'm sure he is watching CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and Tara Setmayer and Alice Stewart and Keith Boykin.
SETMAYER: Eating his two filet of fish from McDonald's.
LEMON: Hello Mr. President and good night. We'll see you tomorrow.
SETMAYER: Good night.