tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN November 16, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST
mixed up all the time, especially when we're talking about this. when you're talking about jim acosta even at the white house, right? the president is in power. he deserves to be challenged, and that's not always done in a nice way. >> yeah. and, look, one of the main problems we have -- and i don't know how we get past it to be honest -- is if you're not going to be honest, it's hard to be civil. >> yeah. >> and you can't say that jim acosta, hey, man, he's too aggressive. okay. maybe. maybe not. >> you can debate that. you can debate his style. >> if you feel, hey, you got to be more respectful when you talk to the president, fine. but then you better apply your sense of civility and standards to the president. and when he talks to the people in the media and people he doesn't like, like they were dogs, then you better call that out. and his people won't own it. and that's the problem. even corey lewandowski, and i respect him for coming on the show. i really do. it's important to hear the voices that are close to the president. you know how i feel about that.
but for him to say, you can't say i challenge you, mr. president. oh, but you can look at him and say, hey, reporter, you're evil. you're the enemy of the people. you're a bad person. come on. it starts at the top. this is the most important man in the world. there's only one of them. and to think that you and i have to be careful, hey, don't act like the president, don. be better than that. >> two things. one, the corey lewandowski thing, this is not a personal thing, but i think that anyone who has signed -- i'm pretty sure that corey has, correct me if i'm wrong, an nda, right? how honest and critical of someone can you be when you have -- >> very. >> -- have said that you are not going to disparage them? >> very. disparagement goes to defamation and saying things that are hurtful and wrong and untrue. >> i don't know. money talks. and i think that people -- most people who are not attorneys, they'll be careful of what they say because they don't know what
disparage -- they think that means you can't actually criticize the person and call them out when they're wrong. listen, you can debate anyone's tactic and style. you can debate jim's style. but when you -- that's different than restricting someone from actually doing their job. >> true. >> but i think what they mean by decorum in this white house is control. >> yes. >> they're trying to control you. >> 100%. i mean look at their reaction today. no big deal. no big deal. we'll make up some rules, and if he misbehaves, we'll throw him out. wrong. that's not going to cut the mustard. >> that was spin. >> it shows he doesn't get it. sarah sanders saying, the judge said there's no absolute right to the first amendment. first of all, he didn't say anything about it. he didn't rule on it. and he said cnn is likely to win about. and their lawyers -- actually our lawyers because we pay their salaries at the doj. they were arguing that, you know, the president does have a right to do this, which is offensive and expensive. but they wouldn't defend that infowars tape, and the judge even said -- i mean i laughed because it's so absurd. that her suggestion about what
the reporter did was likely untrue. >> yeah. >> and based on questionable proof. >> yeah. >> they used infowars. i mean come on. >> listen, in normal times and previous administrations, you know how this would have been solved? you get call today the principal's office, right? say, chris, you had an interview or whatever. they thought you were acting up at at press conference. they'd say, hey, chris, can you take it down a notch? i know that this president is- whatever, he's under a lot of pressure. we love having you there, but can we just agree to take it down a notch and try to work on this? boom, done, over. but not in this administration. >> that's true. >> it's shorts versus the skins and you got to go to the mat. >> it's gotten worse. i will tell you for all the enemy of the state and all that b.s., i've had conversations with the president during the election where he was not happy about certain things, thought they were unfair. i hadn't reported them. i said, i'll take a look. if it's wrong, it's wrong. i'll find out. >> you mean previous
administrations, or this one? >> no, no, no. this one. but it's gotten worse. i've had people close to him say, hey, they're reporting this about me. this is wrong. i know you guys are going to come after me about it. i get it, but this part's wrong. and i check. we have zero interest in being wrong, zero. every time we are wrong, it's much more dangerous for us than it is for the president. he's a politician. there is a different standard for us. so it used to be that way. they've changed the rule. they don't want to come on. they won't engage. that's their call. >> but when was -- when was the last president you heard say -- i mean i've seen people -- i've seen presidents since -- what i can recall since nixon is really what i can recall, barely nixon. >> you're much older than i am, so -- >> by about a month. but i can recall presidents, you know, sparring with the media, but never you're a terrible person. >> no, never. never i've never heard an alderman talk like this. >> what a dumb question. and then you call for decorum. really? decorum in the white house. people should have decorum in the white house. >> of course. >> kanye dropped the f-bomb in
the white house. is that decorum? didn't call him out, did they? right? what did he say about stormy daniels? that she had a horseface. >> yeah. >> nobody said anything about decorum for that. >> no. >> and i'm just saying there are all kinds of things that happened coming from the man whose in charge. >> right. >> why should a correspondent have more decorum than the president of the united states? >> look, again -- and i know that a lot of people won't like this. they never do when i say it. i don't believe that you act the way you're acted to in this particular context. >> i agree. >> i believe that the job demands that we be our best and we be our most respectful. >> take the high road. >> i just think it's the only road because when you're right and you're making good points and you have good questions, you never need to go at the person that you're talking to personally. when it's personal, that's a function of weakness. >> yeah. >> you know? it's like you and me. when we're going back and forth about something, you always wind
up saying something about me being ugly or old or fat because you run out of ideas. >> you're the one who just said i was way older than you. you started the insult. >> it's a fact. >> not really. >> what? what? >> yeah, but who looks younger? okay. >> i do. >> we have a lot to be thankful for considering the judges ruling, considering we're healthy and our families. >> true. >> i'm talking about you and i. and that which actually get along, which is shocking. >> i love being with you on tv. i love being with you off tv. you're a good man, d. lemon. i'm thankful for you, gramps. >> not so much. >> see you. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. a legal setback today for president trump and his administration. a federal judge in washington, a trump appointee ruling in cnn's favor and ordering the white house to reinstate a press pass to cnn's chief white house correspondent jim acosta. cnn sued trump and top aides, claiming violations of freedom of the press and due process, and the judge said the white house couldn't do what they did. the rule of law must apply.
but it got us thinking. how often does president trump challenge the constitution and therefore the rule of law? it has been happening all throughout. the headlines are shocking. trump is a one-man assault on the rule of law, and trump's all-out attack on the rule of law among others. so let's look at some notable examples starting with the president's executive order issued a week after he took office, the one that banned entry -- or wanted to ban entry into the u.s. for 90 days of citizens from iraq, syria, iran, libya, somalia, sudan, and yemen, countries that are primarily muslim. opponents called it a muslim travel ban, and they filed
lawsuits. a series of federal courts initially blocked two separate versions of the travel ban, citing among other things violations of due process and equal protection. president trump insisted that the courts were wrong and that he had the authority to block people coming into the country. >> if he thinks there's danger out there, he or she, whoever is president, can say, i'm sorry, folks. not now, please. we got enough problems. we're talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people. this ruling makes us look weak. >> well, he may have felt that way, but the court cases forced him to make changes to his initial ban. the case ultimately went all the way to the supreme court but not until this past june, a year and a half later, and at that point it was a revised executive order that the court ruled was within the president's authority.
but nonetheless, the president and the administration were subject to the rule of law. another example of the president's overreach, well, it's also had him in a rage for nearly two years now. it started with the former attorney general jeff sessions, him recusing himself from the russia investigation. >> i have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the united states. >> sessions did the right thing. as part of the trump campaign, he met numerous times with russia's ambassador to the u.s., but he didn't own up to those meetings during his confirmation hearings. there was an uproar on capitol hill. sessions checked with justice department guidelines, stepped aside from oversight of the investigation. it was the right thing to do, except in the mind of the president. till this day, as far as he's
concerned, sessions betrayed him. >> the attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself, or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a -- put a different attorney general in. so he made what i consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country. he took the job, and then he said, i'm going to recuse myself. i said, what kind of a man is this? and by the way, he was on the campaign. you know, the only reason i gave him the job, because i felt loyalty. he was an original supporter. he was on the campaign. he knows there was no collusion. >> the rule of law didn't matter to the president, who never seemed to grasp that the attorney general is not his personal lawyer. we're told he berated sessions every chance he got. many wondered why sessions put up with all the abuse, but he did until trump fired him last
week and installed an acting attorney general who is on record criticizing the russia investigation. and let's not forget that trump fired former fbi director james comey, who initially opened the investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election. here's what he said. lester holt. >> regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. and, in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> sessions had already recused himself. president trump fired comey and said out loud, on national television, that it was because of the russia investigation, except that is not what happened, is it? deputy attorney general rod rosenstein took control of the
investigation and hired special counsel robert mueller himself a former fbi director and a man who has a stellar reputation in law enforcement, hired him to run it. trump hated that move but failed to realize that by firing comey, he himself triggered a more intense investigation. so as we know, the president rails against it every chance he gets. this is one of his unhinged tweets from yesterday, okay? here it is. the inner workings of the mueller investigation are a total mess. they have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. they are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. they are a disgrace to our nation and don't care how many lives they ruin. a total witch hunt like no other in american history, all caps at the end there. there has been reporting that trump has considered firing rosenstein. he has not. but he did order former white
house counsel don mcgahn to fire mueller. mcgahn refused, threatening to resign first. he also cooperated with the special counsel's investigation, sitting down in interviews spanning some 30 hours. mcgahn and the rule of law held the line. and then there's trump's laughable, phony allegation of rampant voter fraud. experts say it doesn't exist. because he lost the popular vote to hillary clinton, trump tweeted this right after the election, okay? in addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, i won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. he harped on this claim, attacking the very foundation of our democracy and established a commission headed by kris kobach to look into this made-up scourge. that commission he created to investigate voter fraud, well, it was dissolved because there
was no evidence. and the man who headed it up lost the race for governor as a republican in kansas. still this all didn't stop the president from telling the right wing website the daily caller after the gop lost the house, he said if republicans don't win, and that's because of potentially illegal votes. when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles, sometimes they go to their car, they put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in, and vote again. nobody takes anything. it's really a disgrace what's going on. a disgrace, you could say that. okay? but let's get back to jim acosta and the rule of law displayed today in the courts. here's the exchange that set off the president the day after he and republicans lost big in the
midterms. >> they're hundreds of miles aways, though. that's not an invasion. >> honestly, i think you should let me run the country. you run cnn. >> all right. >> and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better. >> if i may ask one other question. are you worried -- >> that's enough. that's enough. >> mr. president, i was going to ask one other -- >> that's enough. >> pardon me, ma'am. mr. president -- >> that's enough. >> i have one other question if i may ask. >> that couldn't be me because i would say, what about your ratings? i digress. the white house then revoked acosta's credentials, sarah sanders saying in a statement, the white house cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional. if there is no check on this type of behavior, it impedes the ability of the president, the white house staff, and members of the media to conduct business.
so much to dissect there, but we'll do it in this show. after the judge ruled in cnn's favor, the president said this. >> just people have to behave, and they have to do -- we're writing up rules and regulations to make our position. i think you were treated very unfairly, both of you. i think you were treated very unfairly because you have somebody interrupting you. and if they don't listen to the rules and regulations, we'll end up back in court, and we'll win. >> the rule of law. a lot to get to tonight. phil mudd is here, jack quinn, susan glasser, and max boot, including a report that the cia now concludes that saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman personally ordered the killing of journalist jamal khashoggi, right after this.
so we're back here on a friday night. another crazy week. developments on multiple stories, both at home and abroad. so joining me now to break it all down, philip mudd, jack quinn, susan glasser. max boot. max is the author of "the corrosion of conservatism: why i left the right." good evening. we're at the end here of a slow week. that's not true, but we have some serious breaking news. there was big breaking news tonight, max. there's this "washington post" report tonight. the cia concluded the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman gave the order to assassinate khashoggi in istanbul last
month. what's your reaction to that? >> that sounds very credible. this was a high confidence cia finding, which is something i think you can really have confidence in because the cia is confident and, you know, there's tapes that have come out from turkey. so there's overwhelming evidence, and this simply -- you know, it simply fails the test of elementary logic to imagine that the saudi government could carry out this elaborate plot to murder and dismember a prominent journalist like jamal khashoggi and that crown prince mbs, mohammed bin salman, was not on top of this, that he did not know about it, he didn't authorize it. >> the government it denying it by the way. let me read you the quote. here's what the official tells the post. he says, quote, the accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him, meaning the saudi crown prince, being aware or involved. go on. >> and of course the saudi government denies it. and what's really troubling is that the trump administration has so far tried to run away from this inescapable reality that their close ally and pal in
riyadh, mbs, was responsible for this heinous crime, and now he has been caught out by turkish intelligence. he's been caught out by u.s. intelligence. and just this week you had this kind of charade where the saudis said they were going to prosecute 11 individuals and the trump administration said they were going to put sanctions on 17 individuals, but these are lower level saudis and they're basically trying to create a cover so that mbs can get away with this crime. now that becomes much harder to do because the cia has fingered him as the culprit, which he obviously is. >> phil, let he bring you in. here's what the post is reporting tonight, that the saudi ambassador to the united states, khalid bin salman, who is mbs' brother, encouraged khashoggi to go to turkey, pick up the documents he needed to get married, assuring him that he would be safe, and they say this, which is important. let me read it here. it says, it is not clear if khalid knew that khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call
at his brother's direction according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by u.s. intelligence. so there's an intercepted call revealing this? what's up with that? >> well, hold on just a second here, don. this party is not over yet. let's go back to the fall of 2016. the intelligence community with high confidence talked to the president-elect. at that point president-elect trump, and said we have a lot of information about russian meddling in the election. what does the president say? it could be a 400-pound person in the basement. max is dead on on this. the white house doesn't want to be near this issue because they want to remain in alliance with the saudis. my point is we now have the intelligence community again saying we have high confidence that we think the saudi crown prince was involved directly in the assassination of the journalist. i think we still have a chance that the white house is going to come out and say, high confidence, conclusion, that's not a fact. we want to see more information.
we still have questions about the difference between whether you conclude the saudis were involved and whether you have facts that the saudis were involved. i think there's still an air gap, and there will be between the white house and the intel guys. >> i want to get your gut on this one because the ambassador denies this and tweeting in part. i never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to turkey for any reason. that's according to the post sources. it's unclear whether khalid knew that khashoggi would be murdered. give me your gut here. what does it tell you? >> this is pretty simple. what the heck is he supposed to say? yeah, i got a phone call, and it appears that phone call was directly related to a murder operation authorized by the crown prince, who is the main man in saudi arabia? he doesn't have any option but to say that. and by wait, as a former intel guy, any intel guy is going to sit there and say the same thing. he can't say, i knew. and he can't say, i participated in that phone call because all
of a sudden then he makes the crown prince implicated. he gave the only answer he could, don. >> susan, considering what phil just said, max as well, these lower level guys when it's really at the top, what does the white house do now? >> well, first of all, to your point about the ambassador who is the brother of the crown prince, he did leave the country very suddenly after the disclosure of khashoggi's disappearance and is not expected to return, which suggests that he or others in riyadh consider him to be in some kind of jeopardy. perhaps they knew about this phone call. so i do think that his leaving the united states and not coming back is something that's very relevant to the conversation. number two, the politics of this are very interesting. so the white house clearly has tried bobbing and weaving in every way possible to avoid being tarred with this, especially because there's jared kushner's friendship with mohammed bin salman as well as president trump's overall strategy in the middle east riding on it. but up on capitol hill, you have an interesting situation with republicans as well as democrats increasingly putting pressure on the administration. you see this. this was happening already
before a lot of concern about the brutal war in yemen, which is causing an absolute catastrophe of manmade famine in addition to the toll of the war itself. the united states effectively has been supporting that war, supporting saudi arabia conducting it. i think you'll see a lot more concern that the united states should be withdrawing its support from the saudi war in yemen, number one. number two, there's a movement afoot to impose magnitsky act sanctions including potentially the prince who carried this out. >> let me ask you, jack. what does the white house do now? have they backed themselves into a corner? what's the strategy? >> they are in a corner. but first let me again, in the interest of full disclosure, i represent thousands of 9/11 family members. that said, you know, yes, the white house is backed into a corner. i believe the ambassador left because he had denied this murder occurred in terms that were demonstrably false. so i think it was absolutely
inconceivable that he could stay here, particularly in that role. and the other thing i would mention, and i think phil will support this or correct me if i'm wrong. but when the cia says they have a high degree of confidence that these are the facts, that is cia speak for saying, they're absolutely certain this is what happened and that mbs ordered this. all right. all of you stay with me. the president says that he has personally answered robert mueller's questions. should his lawyers be worried? the president pushing back (music throughout)
the president pushing back against reports he's in a dark mood and has fears about robert mueller's russia investigation. phil is back. jack as well. susan and max. okay. so, susan, let's talk about trump and mueller. the president was asked today if he was agitated over the mueller investigation based on his twitter tirade yesterday, right? he says he wasn't, but he says something that is pretty telling. watch this. >> there should have never been a so-called investigation, which in theory it's not an investigation of me. but as far as i'm concerned, i like to take everything personally because you do better that way. the witch hunt, as i call it, should never have taken place. it continues to go on. i imagine it's ending now. from what i hear, it's ending, and i'm sure it will be just fine. and you know why it's going to be just fine?
because there was no collusion. >> now, he says he likes to take everything personally. it's unclear to me. is he admitting that he is thin-skinned, or is he talking about answering the questions? i don't know, susan. what's going on here? >> you know, there's an awful lot to unpack. as far as i know, none of us on this panel are psychologists, so you might want to have a different panel for that conversation. but, you know, i found it to be a revealing comment. trump -- often he can't restrain himself in a way from telling us what's on his mind, and he doesn't seem like somebody who is not worried about the mueller investigation in the way that he talks about it. that being said, i wanted to point out something about that tweetstorm yesterday. he called it the worst witch hunt in american history ever. the witch hunt actually went away for a crucial six-week period, from september i believe it was 17th until the election day, we didn't hear a word from
president trump and his twitter feed about the witch hunt. after months in which he was escalating over and over, as you know, obsessing about it, publicly ranting and raving. when he went on the campaign trail, he clearly made a political calculation that it wasn't in his interest to rant and rave about this at all times. and he showed at least a modicum of self-restraint in not going on about the witch hunt. now, as you know, the second that the votes were counted and the election was over, he's back to obsessing about it in a way that shows, i think, how much he has been brooding on this subject. i imagine his lawyers did not have a lot of confidence when president trump said today, oh, it was no problem. i just gave the answers. i don't need anyone to help me. i imagine that that's probably why they haven't actually been submitted yet to the special counsel. >> the president says that, you know, he's written the answers to mueller's questions, not his lawyers, right, jack? but maggie haberman is reporting at "the new york times." she says that's false.
it's his lawyers. he also says this. watch this. >> my lawyers don't write answers. i write answers. i was asked a series of questions. i've answered them very easily, very easily. i'm sure they're tricked up because, you know, they like to catch people. gee, was the weather sunny, or was it rainy? he said it may have been a good day. it was rainy. therefore, he told a lie. he perjured himself. okay? so you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. but, no, it's -- the questions were very routinely answered by me, by me. okay? >> so if they're so easy, why not just submit them already? >> well, i think he has been working with his lawyers, it's fair to say. he hasn't been doing this in a room off by himself. on the other hand, his lawyers
didn't write these answers for him. he adopted these answers. whoever put the words on the paper yesterday, whenever he gave that statement, he adopted them. i was a little bit surprised because i would have thought that someone like president trump would leave room so that he might later say, no, no, no. those were my lawyer's words. i didn't say that. i didn't make that admission. i didn't make that error. he has now -- whatever the answers say, they are his. he has lock, stock, and barrel adopted them. the second point i would make is i'm frankly not sure and have a hunch that the special counsel doesn't really need these answers. my sense of where this is going -- and it's just a hunch -- is that robert mueller has what he needs to finish up this case. he was duty-bound, i think, to give the president the opportunity to provide answers, the opportunity to testify, which the president has chosen not to do. >> maybe to defend himself. >> i think mueller wanted to give trump the opportunity to defend himself.
i think he knows where he's going, and he doesn't need the president's testimony to get where he's going. the last thing and just in terms of what has changed here, remember, in recent days and since the election, the president has gotten probably a pretty decent line of vision into the special counsel operation through mr. whitaker. whitaker no doubt, among his first chores, was sitting down with robert mueller and people on his staff and figuring out what's going on. and i think the president's mood lately is probably -- and, again, this is a hunch. i don't know if this is true. but it wouldn't surprise me if the president's sour mood recently isn't because whitaker
has let him know that this investigation is far-ranging, is deep, is professional, and serious. and i would guess that the report back to the boss did not put him in a good mood. >> phil, i'm going to get you on the other side, okay? old tight for me. everybody stick around. a judge ruling that the white house has to reinstate jim acosta's press pass. the president's reaction next.
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a federal judge sides with cnn and orders the white house to restore the press credentials of cnn's chief white house correspondent jim acosta. in granting the temporary restraining order, judge timothy kelly said acosta's fifth amendment rights were violated as his press pass was revoked without due process. it's just round one.
back again with me, the panel. phil, here you go. you know what happened with jim acosta today. the judge ruled in cnn's favor. he's back at the white house after a judge ordered that his pass be reinstated. what's your take on today's round one win for cnn and how this may play out? >> there's only two words you used, don, that i paid attention to, and that's round one. i think you're dead-on in characterizing this as a significant issue, but i think we're way too fast in looking at this as a potential victory for the press. the president from day one has portrayed himself as a victim of both the press and conventional republicans among everybody else, the deep state people like me. he will use this over time to make the statement point a thousand times. to his base, he's going to say these people who are aggressive in the press room are the people who are preventing me from reaching the agenda that you
elected me for. this is round one, you're right, don. i think this is far from over. >> okay. max. president trump now vowing to create rules and regulations. sarah sanders as well for the white house, the way that they can act. calling for decorum. i want you to take a look at some of these moments of decorum from the white house, okay? >> we might not have expected to have a crazy mother [ bleep ] like kanye west run up and support, but best believe we are going to make america great. >> on the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. now people are also saying did. >> i don't know why you say that. that's such a racist question. >> mr. president, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation? >> you are a rude, terrible person. you shouldn't be working for cnn. >> you want them to rein in robert mueller? >> what a stupid questions that is. what a stupid question. but i watch you a lot. you ask a lot of stupid
questions. >> mr. president -- >> so that was stupid. how about name-calling, calling stormy daniels horseface in a tweet. i'm just going to say again, the current president of the united states is calling for decorum at the white house. >> which just goes to show, don, that this president is utterly lacking in any self-awareness because this is the rudest and crudest person ever to occupy the oval office. so it's a joke that he thinks that it's the press that is not being decorous. but to get back to the decision, i think this is a great moment, and i think this is something we take for granted because in countries like germany or italy in the 1930s or russia or china today, there is no check on executive power. the executive can do whatever they want to the press, and in this country, we have something called the rule of law. and in this case, even a judge appointed by president trump ruled against president trump, and now jim acosta gets to report because even donald trump, who has such contempt for the rule of law, even he takes seriously the ruling by this judge. so i think that is really a tribute, don, to american democracy and our checks and
balances in operation. we should not take this for granted. this is a very good news story, even though it is a small story, and phil is right. this is only round one. it's not going to end here, but this is a good day for press freedom and the rule of law in america. >> today was so frustrating for me when they kept saying, there were other reporters in there who didn't get their questions answered. there is a very simple way to fix that. stick around and answer all the questions. >> right. >> right? for the press secretary and for the president. >> what he wants is a confrontation. that's why he calls on jim acosta. he wants that blowup because he knows attacking the press is going to energize his base. >> yeah. you said that. i didn't. i just want people to know that. so, listen, i want to switch gears, now. susan, i want to ask you about this. this is what a senior administration official told our jake tapper about sending u.s. troops to the border, okay? he says, it's a paper tiger, a total joke of limited operation
utility and a waste of our troops' time. mattis knows it. nielsen knows it. kelly knows it. but the battle was lost with the president. he was hellbent on troops. >> that's one of those things people are joking if you get somebody to say it on background, it's a big scoop, but actually it's already been said publicly. i don't think there's anyone, right, left, or center, who hasn't seen pretty transparently through this decision to send almost 6,000 u.s. troops to the border for an operation that nobody knows what it is. now, by the way, it looks like just tonight, donald trump has finally tweeted about the caravan, the alleged pretext for this military operation, after basically being silent on it ever since the election and the balloting and its political utility was past. this is one of the most breathtaking, i think, developments of the last couple
months, and it shouldn't get lost in, you know, we're leaving in this outreach fatigue moment. but for me, i will never forget. i will never forget the pictures of u.s. military forces in their battle gear, in bulletproof vests, being deployed, looking miserable about it the day before the election. how is this not terrible for the republican party as well as for the democratic party? the misuse of resources is staggering. and by the way, i would definitely put that high on the list of things that i imagine that the incoming democratic house of representatives will be looking into. what's the final cost of this deployment? what were the reasons -- you talk about due process in the acosta case. one of the striking things that the judge found there was that there was no apparent process whatsoever that the judge could find for making that decision. what was the process for sends these thousands of people to the border? i would love to know the answer to that question. >> that's a good question. let's hope it gets answered.
all right. kellyanne conway is one of president trump's closest advisers and counted on to defend the president no matter what the situation. her husband george conway, on the other hand, has become one of trump's most prominent conservative critics. this weekend he called trump's appointment of matthew whitaker unconstitutional. conway has created a new group called checks and balances to speak out in favor of principles
they feel are under attack in the trump era. he's been reluctant to give interviews which is why when my next guest was able to get him to appear on his podcast, we knew there would be some spicy comments. so listen. >> i'm watching this thing and you know, it's like the administration is like a shit show in a dumpster fire. >> wow, michael isikoff, the chief investigative correspondent for yahoo news, the host of yahoo news skulduggery podcast. good evening. what did you think when he said that? >> good evening. yeah, look, it really was a remarkable interview. george conway is a fascinating guy. he is clearly a conservative, you know, charter member of the federalist society, believes very deeply in conservative principles. and you know, when donald trump was elected president, as he
told dan my co-host and i, he wept for joy in large part out of pride in -- over his wife. his wife was at campaign manager, kellyanne conway, now senior counsel to the president. >> i want to get more sound bites in. go on. >> yeah, and his evolution from you know, pride in the victory of donald trump, joy, weeping for joy to where he is today where clearly contempt for what this administration has become is such a striking evolution. >> okay. >> it really is worth hearing him describe it. >> let the people hear some of it. this is him talking about why he took himself out of the running for a justice department job. listen to this. >> i'm like, i don't know. and hen it's like, then you got the comey firing and then you
got him going on tv saying, i had russia on my mind. it's like oh, no. and then it's like, then i'm driving home one day from new york and it's like, robert mueller appointed special counsel. i realize this guy's going to be at war with the justice department. >> okay. he's critical of trump on twitter. that's a scathing assessment of the sitting president. and his wife's boss. >> right. and what's remarkable about that is george conway was offered a top job in the justice department to be the chief of the civil division, the guy who would be defending donald trump and the administration in lawsuits all across the country. so he would have been the point man in formulating trump administration legal strategy and he concluded very early on as these developments were
unfolding, i can't do that. and he took himself out of the running. >> oh, my gosh. michael, i wish we had more time. listen to this podcast. >> there's lots more. >> it's amazing. thank you, michael. i appreciate it. have a great weekend. so the president says he's done answering robert mueller's written questions but won't say when he's going to submit those answers. what's ahead for the investigation? that's next. ♪ the whole world's coming together now ♪ ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it
this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. lawyers for president trump are expected to submit written answers to questions posed by the special counsel soon. well, the president met multiple times with the attorneys over this past week amid a scaled back public schedule. when asked about answering questions from mueller's office, he said there. >> i write the answers. my lawyers don't write answers. i write answers. i was asked a series of questions. i've answered them very easily. >> the mueller team has been tight-lipped about their work but a number of things happening in the past week suggest things are picking up on monday is, veterans day, a federal holiday at least eight mueller