tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 18, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
known as the american. you can see it kind of pushes it a little bit closer to the u.s. it's all because of this high. where that high pressure system ends up, if it stays in place, anderson, it will spin clockwise and stay in the atlantic. if it goes to the west, it would actually push maria into the states. >> thanks very much. thanks for watching. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts now. cnn exclusive. news on the russia investigation. and this is big. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thanks for joining us. cnn has learned that government investigators wiretapped former campaign chair paul manafort under secret court orders before and after the election. what were they looking for, and what does it all mean for the mueller investigation? we are digging deep tonight. also "the new york times" reporting tonight that prosecutors told manafort they planned to indict him. that is as president trump makes his u.n. debut surrounded by world leaders who are already
worried about the relationship between the u.s. and russia. so it's hard to imagine a worse time for two trump lawyers to be overheard in a popular d.c. steakhouse talking about the russia investigation and documents in a safe. overheard by a surprise "new york times" reporter. aren't lawyers supposed to keep you out of trouble? plus hurricane maria getting stronger. the storm a category 5 with winds 165 miles an hour, making landfall at dominica tonight and taking aim at puerto rico. we're going to have the latest on maria's path. i want to get right to cnn's exclusive reports. sources saying u.s. investigators wiretapped former trump campaign chair paul manafort under a secret court order before and after the election. cnn's evan perez and pamela brown broke the story of why the government was listening to someone so close to the
president. pamela joins me now. pamela, good evening to you. what are you learning? >> well, don, sources tell our team that the fbi got permission from the secret surveillance court to monitor paul manafort, the former trump campaign chairman, both before and after the election as you mentioned. this is an extraordinary step for the fbi to do surveillance of a high-ranking campaign official. of course manafort is now at the center of the russia meddling probe, and we're told that there are intercepted communications, don, that did raise concerns among investigators about whether manafort was encouraging russians to help the campaign. some sources told us though others cautioned the intelligence was not conclusive. special counsel robert mueller's team has been provided all of these communications, so it is part of the ongoing investigation into paul manafort. don? >> so what do you mean by encouraging, pamela? >> well, to be clear here and transparent, there's a lot we don't know about exactly what was said, but we are told that the fbi has communications
between suspected russian operatives relaying what they claimed were discussions with manafort as well as communications involving manafort himself. now, none of this has amounted to what people would consider a smoking gun in this investigation. there is still more work being done to determine whether there's a criminal violation here. we did not get a comment from paul manafort's spokesman, but manafort has previously denied that he ever knowingly communicated with russian intelligence operatives during the election. and he's also denied helping russia undermine u.s. interests, don. >> so, pamela, they've monitored him two separate times, correct? >> right. so we have learned that the secret order began actually in 2014 after manafort became the subject of an fbi investigation. that investigation centered on work done by a group of washington consulting firms for ukraine's former ruling party. our sources say that surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence according to one of the sources, and then the fbi
restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new fisa warrant that extended at least into early this year. now, the second warrant, don, was part of the fbi's efforts to investigate ties between trump campaign associates and suspected russian operatives. it's unclear when that new warrant started, but we have learned that as part of the warrant, earlier this year the fbi conducted a search of a storage facility belonging to paul manafort. of course that's in addition to that raid last july on his home when the fbi executed that no-knock warrant. don? >> do we know, pamela, whether president trump, the president himself spoke to manafort while he was under surveillance? >> so it's actually pretty interesting because we've been told by sources that there were conversations between the president and paul manafort even earlier this year in the same time frame that the fbi was listening to manafort's phone. so it's certainly possible that those conversations were collected, were swept up. >> so was the president right
that he was wiretapped? >> well, that certainly raises the question. the justice department has publicly denied the president's own lines were wiretapped. as you'll recall, he tweeted out months ago that president obama had his wires tapped. the justice department has come out and said that's not true. but what is possible, don, is that he was picked up on the manafort surveillance, and we should note that manafort does have a residence in trump tower, but it is not clear if the fbi did surveillance on him there. don. >> great reporting. thank you very much, pamela brown. i want to bring in cnn legal analyst laura coates, mark preston, rick santorum, and national security and legal analyst susan hennessy. we have a lot to discuss. mark, i'm going to start with you. manafort was wiretapped before and after the election. there's a chance president trump's conversations with paul manafort could have been recorded. we don't know for sure, but that is extremely significant. >> extremely significant and
extraordinary in many ways, don. when you look at how things have transpired over the past few months, we never thought that one could be one up, so to speak. we never thought that we'd actually see empirical evidence, evidence from donald trump jr. in a written e-mail acknowledging that he wanted to get the goods on hillary clinton from russian operative. we never thought that we would hear that paul manafort was continuing to talk to president trump after he was in office and was only stopped from doing so when president trump's lawyer and manafort's lawyer told them that they needed to stop talking. and of course as you said, who knows what was said during these conversations? let us not jump to conclusions that there was any talk about russia. but you have to wonder if there was, what does that mean? in addition to president trump, who else was paul manafort speaking to, don? i'm sure there are a lot of people out there tonight right now wondering if there's caught on those tapes. >> absolutely, and they should be wondering that. susan, the fbi restarted surveillance after obtaining a
new fisa warrant that extended into 2017. of course getting a fisa warrant is not easy to do. what does that tell you about this investigation? >> so at the outset, obtaining a fisa warrant means that the government was able to prove that they had probable cause that paul manafort was the agent of a foreign power. the definition can encompass a lot of different activities but typically it does indicate there's some evidence here of there being criminal wrongdoing. >> so considering the surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, it means when they got the fisa warrant again, they must have learned something new, right? something that rises to that level that you just stated. >> right. so it does appear as though obviously there are connections here, that there are really two separate investigations. one is a previous investigation related to mr. manafort's contacts and work on behalf of the ukrainian government. that warrant was concluded for lack of evidence after a period of time. then there's some gap, and then
the warrant was restarted in relation to the investigation between the trump campaign and contacts with russian officials. so it does sound like there are two investigations, but obviously paul manafort's connections to either russian officials or ukrainian officials sympathetic to russian interests are sort of our connective tie here. >> laura, there's also "new york times" reporting that federal investigators picked manafort's locks on an early morning raid. but here is the kicker. it says, special counsel robert s. mueller iii then followed the house search with a warrant. his prosecutors told mr. manafort they plan to indict him, said two people close to the investigation. what do you make of that? >> well, it's likely that the people who were doing the investigation or who were carrying out the search warrant had some indication as to the amount or the weight of the evidence that they were going to find. but it's very important as your last guest susan was talking about, the idea you cannot conflate two very separate investigations. it may be that he has a possible
indictment with respect to what happened with his ukrainian ties or what's happening, of course, that he's already being looked at by the new york attorney general for his different financial dealings, et cetera. so this may be an indication of a threat that was not founded in the collusion-based criminal probe, something different. but either way what you're seeing here is a clear indication not only that the wall is narrowing in and closing in on paul manafort, but there is not only a fisa court but now evidence that is being taken and possibly used in furtherance of pursuing criminal charges. we're way beyond the idea of speculation at this point in trying to define that nebulous term of collusion, and we're starting to narrow in on potential criminal charges. and paul manafort has an overlap with not one, but two fisa warrants and now a threat of the word indictment. >> big picture here, rick. how do you suppose president trump is going to react all of this, especially considering he falsely accused the former president of wiretapping him before? >> well, i mean, i think he's probably going to say, see, they
were wiretapping me. see, they did have potential wiretaps in trump tower. that would be my guess. >> there's no evidence they were wiretapping him. >> some indirect vindication of what he said earlier. look, this is a serious matter and something that the president and his team should be concerned about. i mean depending on what the nature of this potential indictment is and whether it implicates manafort and some activity in the campaign or something outside the campaign, i don't think we know that yet. but it certainly has to be a concern to them, and from my perspective, you know, best left alone and focus on the things at hand, which is what he's doing at the u.n. and hopefully trying to get a health care bill passed here and other things that would not add to the story if i were them. >> mark, is this vindication because his own justice department came out just a couple weeks ago saying there was no evidence, and wouldn't his justice department know about this as well?
wouldn't they have this? >> well, they would, and i think rick's absolutely right. i mean what we probably will hear from president trump is that he has been vindicated, that he was wiretapped when, in fact, what he would be doing by saying so is that he'd be clouding the facts. he'd be distorting the facts to try to fit the narrative for him to push back. and we should note that will probably work with his base. his base has been very loyal to him. they think that not only is official washington out to get him, the republican establishment is out to get him, and of course us in the media are out to get him. so i would suspect that's what we will hear from him, but it doesn't make it correct, don. >> susan, i want to get your reaction to this part of the reporting that some of the intelligence collected includes communication that sparked concerns that manafort had encouraged the russians to help with the campaign. two of three sources on that caution that evidence isn't conclusive. what's your read there? >> look, anytime that you're getting information from a signals intercept, it's hard to say that's conclusive evidence.
all you can say is that two people said something. so we heard pam earlier say that some of the communications in question are between manafort himself and other people. obviously that's going to be more indicative. but some of the most potentially significant things might be what other people said about their communications with manafort. we always want investigators to go slowly, to not sort of get ahead of the evidence. so i really think that that is an indication that the current investigative team, you know, is being careful here. they don't want to jump to conclusions. they're saying there might be something here. >> what do you make of this not conclusive, laura? >> well, you're right that it's not conclusive. you can't really predict what all the charges, the scope of the investigation is. remember, mueller has a very special charge, and he's able to go through different rabbit holes with the consent of his authority. but the issue here more specifically is whether or not what they're pursuing in terms of manafort is leading -- concluding whether or not there is a criminal probe that is justified about the russian collusion investigation. to that end, we don't have the
answers. what we do have is further evidence that manafort is somebody who is a key piece of the puzzle, and he has a lot of different pressures on him right now, including a possible indictment. that could lead to him cooperating with the special counsel mueller and his team, which will inure to the benefit of the justice department but not the president of the united states if he's involved. >> we have a lot to talk about, everyone. so stay with me. when we come back, more bad news for the president. two trump lawyers spilling the beans about the russia investigation at a popular d.c. steakhouse overheard by a reporter for "the new york times." talk about loose lips. plus hurricane maria, an extremely dangerous category 5 storm, hits dominica tonight. we'll show you where it's headed next. 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico. goin' up the country. later, gary'
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preston, rick santorum, and susan hennessy. if you had told me this, susan, i would not have believed it. i would say that is absolutely not true if there wasn't photo evidence. more news on this russia investigation. president trump's lawyers ty cobb and john dowd were overheard chatting at a washington steakhouse by a new york times reporter. the president's legal team is clashing on how much to cooperate with special counsel mueller. can you believe this? an open conversation right next to the times washington bureau? >> so it is shocking. there's sort of two parts to it. one is the substance of the conversation they were having, which isn't actually all that surprising. in the past, any investigations involving the president, there's going to be questions about the scope of executive privilege. there's going to be potentially disagreements about how much you might want to cooperate with investigators versus wanting to assert that privilege. so the fact that there were some clashes, that's not necessarily so significant. what is incredibly significant is, one, that these lawyers saw
fit to have this conversation sort of in public in the first place. it really is shockingly bad judgment. the second is that it appears sort of the conflicts here aren't just about whether or not special counsel mueller can get access to these documents, but actually it appears as though there are factions of trump's own lawyers that are withholding documents from other portions of his defense. so that itself raises some sort of questions about the coordination and cohesion of his own team. >> rick, your face is speaking a thousand words there. you don't think it's a big deal? >> well, no. i mean i think it's sort of legal malpractice to be having these types of discussions in a washington restaurant. i mean it's just -- i'm flummoxed by the amateurishness of the folks involved here. so that's been my -- that's my reaction. i think it is a legitimate conversation to have, how much
cooperation you have and the whole issue of privilege. but to have it at a restaurant in washington, d.c. is -- is stunningly stupid. >> it is stunning. when i saw the story coming across, i'm like, there is no way this is true. then i saw the photo evidence, and i said, well, it's absolutely true. so, laura, you can't write this stuff. i'm going to read a little more from the article. it says mr. cobb was heard talking about a white house lawyer he deemed a mcgahn spy and saying, mr. mcgahn had a couple documents locked in a safe that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. a couple of documents locked in a safe? i mean we don't know what those documents are, but certainly mueller and the congressional probes, they're going to want to try to find out now. >> absolutely. and everyone knows and you're even trying to be a law student in law school, you would know about the rules of discovery and about trying to comply and about attorney-client privilege. yes, it's true that you have the idea that you are going to wrestle with just how much information the president and his inner circle were going to have to turn over.
but what you should all be shocked about is not only the form of malpractice that rick alluded to, but the idea that there seems to be this misperception that the office of the white house counsel, which is the counsel of the office of the president, not the president himself, and his own personal team are at odds with how to comply with directives and other obligations. and that's surprising because it alludes to the fact the president of the united states may, in fact, be one of the people who is a target of an investigation because he is trying to withhold perhaps information that is necessary in the investigation. and that should speak volumes to a lot of people. now, it's inconclusive whether or not that's in fact what's happening, what these documents are. but what it's showing to you is this level of hubris between the president's personal counsel that seem to think they are above reproach and certainly above having to even hand over documents to the special counsel or anybody else. >> mark, i mean it's stunning.
when you and i see each other in the building and we're having a conversation, we kind of go -- we kind of look over our shoulder even in a secure building like the cnn center. i mean to imagine -- or the time warner center. to imagine these men having this conversation about the highest office of the land and things that are just top secret, it's just -- it's unfathomable. it's shocking. and you know this place, right? >> i do know this place very well. you know, i'm one of these people who has these conversations all the time all around town. but to your point, you certainly keep it at a decibel that can only be heard by the person you're speaking with. what amazes me is not that they were having this conversation. i mean i think you would expect they would have a conversation, but at a level, though, where the person which -- if you look at that picture, it was a pretty good distance between those tables, that they could hear so clearly what was being said,
that "the new york times" reporter could hear what was being said is amazing, and is malpractice again. rick santorum is right about that. it is legal malpractice that they would be doing this, especially given the subject matter. this isn't some politicking or talking smack, so to speak, about colleagues at a congressional office. >> this is documents, legal documents hidden in a safe. >> correct. >> that's part of a very crucial investigation. so what does mueller do now, rick santorum? >> well, obviously, you know, that's another piece of evidence that's out there that leads him down another rabbit hole. whether that rabbit hole has a rabbit in it or not, i don't know. whether there's some sort of obstruction as a result of this claim, i -- i don't know. it just -- i mean let's just -- >> i think what he does -- >> the president is not being well served. that's all i would say. >> he wants to seek the documents. we can all agree that's what he's going to do next, correct?
absolutely. listen, "the new york times" is reporting that some white house officials are concerned that colleagues might be wearing wires to record conversations for mueller. this goes far beyond palace intrigue, doesn't it, susan? >> absolutely. it would be unprecedented to have sort of an investigation that used that particular investigative tool, which is something that the fbi does use in the course of its own investigations. you know, it raises real questions about whether or not you really could even do that. it also just speaks of the general level of paranoia among trump's staff. they don't trust each other. they worry people are going to be recording their conversations. they're worried about potentially people cooperating, cooperating earlier than they are. i do think it speaks to the depth of how much this investigation sort of controls the thinking in the white house, and it really is a rather surprising thing for these attorneys to be concerned about. >> fascinating. go ahead, laura. >> if i could just say, one of the things that is so important to think about is the type of chaos this is breeding within
the administration or within the circl circles. chaos breeds cooperation. if you're a prosecutor trying to get an information from unique sources that you wouldn't be able to get otherwise, you want that sort of paranoia to fester in the mines of everybody so you have an opportunity for people to come forward with information. and the first in time is often the first person to get the best deal or get the best immunity action. so you have that chaos breeding exactly what the prosecutors in this case and the special counsel wants to accomplish. the paranoia will serve the prosecutor very well. >> thank you all. appreciate it. speaking of chaos, when we come back, white house staffers at odds as the russia investigation heats up. is it paranoia, or do they have good reason to be worried? plus hurricane maria makes landfall on dominica and takes aim at puerto rico. we'll have the latest for you. i work overtime when i can get it. i need my blood sugar to stay in control.
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former nixon white house counsel is here and the author of conservatives without conscience. also here, former federal prosecutor renato mariotti. thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining us. john, i'm going to start with you. i want to get your reaction to cnn's new reporting that the fbi wiretapped former trump campaign chairman paul manafort under secret court orders, surveillance that continued until this year when manafort was still talking to the president. they also raided a storage facility of his. what are the implications of all of this? >> well, it certainly is a very aggressive investigation, much more so than is the norm for special prosecutors, certainly historically. they must see something because to get a warrant, which they've done on three occasions with manafort, they have to show probable cause that there's a -- not only is he a foreign agent, but there's likely an espionage or similar crime.
so this is a pretty high standard. so that's why i say it -- you know, they have some evidence, and they're being very aggressive in going after it, and they're not hiding that fact at all. >> a short while ago, the norm "the new york times" report the some of the aggressive tactics special counsel robert mueller is using in his investigation. here's a part of what they said about the raid of manafort's home in july. they said, federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his virginia home. they took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files looking for evidence. mr. man afford, president trump's former campaign chairman set up secret offshore bank accounts. they even photographed the expensive suits in his closet. the special counsel robert s. mueller iii then followed the house search with a warning. his prosecutors told mr. manafort they plan to indict him, said two people close to the investigation. is he likely going to indict manafort, or is he trying to flip him to get him to divulge information about others? >> are you asking me? >> this is for john. >> oh, sorry.
>> federal prosecutors do not use that term lightly. it sounds like this was -- we don't know if this was the investigators who were saying they were likely to indict or the prosecutors themselves who were saying that. if so, he probably received a target letter. that might be what they're referring to at this point. if they've sent him a target letter, very likely they will indict him unless he decides to cooperate. >> renato, go ahead. >> i have a very similar answer. what i would say is this indicates both to me. it certainly indicates, as john said, that mueller is intending to indict manafort. but the fact that he is telegraphing that to manafort in an aggressive way is something that is fairly commonly done in my experience when you are trying to flip someone. so really one thing that i took from that "new york times" story is that mueller is trying very
aggressively to flip manafort. >> i want to ask you more about other "new york times" reporting, specifically the comment by ty cobb, the president's attorney, specifically brought into a deal with the questions about russia. he said that the white house counsel, don mcgahn, has a couple documents locked in a safe. what kind of information would mcgahn have in a safe that he wouldn't be sharing with the rest of the legal team? >> well, i will tell you my first thought was something from an earlier "new york times" piece where they talked about how don mcgahn saw an early draft of a letter that stephen miller wrote at the direction of the president about why he wanted to fire james comey. and what "the new york times" had said in that earlier story is that mcgahn had deleted parts of that letter, had edited that letter, and had comments he put in that letter with his advice. that would be extraordinarily important evidence for mueller because it would tell mueller what advice the president was getting from the white house counsel before he fired comey.
so that would be very important to the obstruction case. i would imagine that, you know, mr. mcgahn might want to keep that from others to try to minimize the extent to which, you know, knowledge of that came out if he was going to try to, you know, assert some sort of privilege. but i will say the fact that you have one lawyer on a team that is keeping information from other lawyers is very unusual. both when i worked in the government and when i work now in private practice, you typically have information-sharing amongst people on a team, and that suggests a lot of distrust and division within the trump team. >> what are the chances that this could be some sort of matlock, aw, shucks moment to get mueller to bring stuff into the investigation or into evidence that might not necessary be so, that could kwowork out for the president and the trump administration because it just seems so unbelievable that these guys would be sitting
there, you know, in earshot of a "new york times" reporter. >> i got to tell you i -- you know, after all of the recent stunts that mr. cobb has pulled, i am starting to lose disbelief in his ability to make errors. i mean this is the same guy that was e-mailing with a reporter at 1:30 in the morning and asking her if she's on drugs. he's the same guy who was e-mailing with a prankster that literally had an e-mail address that included, like, fraprankst in the e-mail address and revealing his analysis of the case. so i don't know. i think actually, you know, what they did was unethical in terms of not maintaining confidentiality in that restaurant, but it would be more unethical and more problematic if they were trying to leak to "the new york times" through deception. so i hope for their sake that they didn't do something that stupid. >> okay. just had to ask. so, john, if you're robert mueller, how do you get what's in the safe?
>> well, first of all, just a slight correction. i think that was dowd that did the e-mailing and not ty cobb. one of the things you've got here are three lawyers with different status. cobb and mcgahn both have the same status. their client is not donald trump. it's the office of the president whereas dowd, his client is the president. he has a privilege. that's clear. it's not so clear that the others have a privilege. so i think if you're mueller, what you do is you go after those other two and test that privilege if you want to see what's in that safe. just that simple. >> all right, gentlemen. thank you. i appreciate it. when we come back, no laughing matter. sean spicer yucks it up at the emmys, joking about lying from the white house podium. our newest contributor, mr. frank bruni kwaes in next.
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two lawyers for president trump talking about the russia investigation loudly and openly in a public setting. not exactly what you'd expect from attorneys for the president. i want to welcome frank bruni, op-ed columnist for "the new york times." congratulations. welcome, sir. >> thank you. good to be here. >> you're a former white house reporter. >> yes. >> you work for "the new york times." >> yes. >> i have to get your reaction to your colleague ken vogel overhearing -- is that your reaction? >> it's like so much with the trump administration and everything around it, you can't make this up. you know, you all i think earlier today had a great graphic showing exactly where blt steak was in relation to "the new york times" bureau. in relation to the white house. these two lawyers for donald trump weren't having this conversation in any old restaurant with no expectation that somebody like a reporter might be nearby listening. they were having that conversation in a real cross
roads of d.c. where many politicians go through there all time. many journalists are sitting there because it's virtually close enough to be a cafeteria for the paper. >> he took this picture, i mean they were like at the next table. >> and they're so aware of their surroundings that a reporter is clearly -- not clearly, but a reporter is eves dropping on them. i'm sure there was some body language involved in that. he's taking their photo, and they were completely oblivious to it. it's hard to believe. >> listen, you can't blame the reporter because any reporter would do their job and do exactly what he did. >> i think it's a great act of enterprise. >> absolutely. speaking of the russia investigation, in an interview today with npr, hillary clinton refused to rule out contesting the election if russian collusion is proven by the special counsel, robert mueller. listen to this. >> would you completely rule out
questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now? >> no, i would not. i would say -- >> you're not going to rule it out? >> no, i wouldn't rule it out. >> nsa director admiral mike rogers and then fbi director comey said there was no evidence that any votes were changed by russia. no evidence that they had. the election was, you know, ten months ago. should hillary clinton accept she lost and move on? >> well, you know, it's funny. i just spent the weekend reading her book from cover to cover. i hadn't gotten to it yet. and to read that book is to conclude that she has accepted that. in that same interview that you just had the quotes from, she said she doesn't think there is a mechanism. if people began to doubt the legitimacy of the election, she doesn't think there's a mechanism by which it could be overturned. so i think she's accepted that she's never going to be president. what's interesting is she's still sifting through what she believes are the main reasons why. >> yeah, and it's such a conundrum. i've been doing several panels
and there are many people who say absolutely. most people say absolutely she has the right to talk about what happened. but a lot of people just aren't ready for it, aren't ready to relive it. it's so interesting to get people's perspective about the book and how much hillary clinton should be talking, if she should be out there or not. i find it fascinating, and i like hearing what people have to say. >> i think this election was uniquely painful for people, and for a lot of us, donald trump has no business being president. and he won the presidency in the ugliest way imaginable, and he's governing in an awfully ugly way. so it's hard to revisit how that happened, to be reminded that we had an alternative. i had misgivings about secretary clinton, but there's no doubt in my mind that we'd be better served by her as president than by donald trump. >> let's talk about some of the tactics being used by this administration, and i want to do it through the lens of sean spicer. let's talk about it through the lens of his cameo at the emmys. watch this, and then we'll talk.
>> unfortunately at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. i mean is there anyone who could say how big the audience is? sean, do you know? [ cheers and applause ] >> this will be the largest audience to witness an emmys, period, both in person and around the world. >> wow, that really soothes my fragile ego. i can understand why you'd want one of these guys around. melissa mccarthy, everybody. give it up. >> you addressed it in "new york times" writing in part saying it was bad news, a ringing confirmation that fame truly is its own reward and fame truly is its own reward.
the message of his presence was not only that we can all laugh at his service and sycophancy in the trump administration, but that he is welcome to laugh with us. listen, you know, i have a great sense of humor like everyone else, but a lot of people did not find it funny, especially journalists considering that we have been demonized. you know, saying we were lying instead of sean spicer. >> i didn't find it funny at all. to bring him out on the stage like that was, in a sense, to celebrate him and to validate him. i mean this is a guy who out of the trump administration now is trying to rack up big speaking fees. fine. trying to kind of build a post-white house career for himself. supposedly liberal hollywood is helping him do that. it's important to remember here sean spicer was not just any press secretary to any president. he was the mouthpiece of a president who we've documented this exhaustively at "the new york times," lies at a rate that no other president -- certainly no other modern president ever
has. this is a president who, has you just mentioned, demonizes the news media, and this is a president who wages an assault on the very idea of truth. and i find it astounding that hollywood and that stephen colbert of all people would sort of welcome him onto the stage as just another celebrity. he's famous like the rest of that, and the source of that fame doesn't matter. >> i was surprised that reportedly it was stephen colbert's idea, especially considering the flip because it was fallon who was leading in the ratings. people saw the hair tossing of donald trump as sort of normalizing. then it flips. stephen colbert, who was struggling in the ratings, started going after trump, became number one, and this is his idea to bring sean spicer on and normalize him as they say? >> like ken vogel's observation of the two trump lawyers at blt steak, it sort of defies belief. it really does. your own brian stelter had a really good piece on this on your website. you know, why is the emmys, why is hollywood helping sean spicer
rebrand himself? i have that same question. >> thank you. frank bruni, always a pleasure. >> thank you, don. >> i'll see you soon. up next, the very latest on the path of hurricane maria, now a powerful and dangerous category 5 storm in the caribbean making landfall tonight on dominica. he's on his way to work in alaska. this is john. he's on his way to work in new mexico. willie and john both work for us, a business that employs over 90,000 people in the u.s. alone. we are the coca-cola company, and we make much more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and all of our products rely on the same thing we all do... clean water. which is why we have john leading our efforts to replenish every drop of water we use.
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hurricane maria, a powerful category 5 storm makes landfall tonight on the island of dominica. >> let's go right to meteorologist pedram javaheri in the weather center. here we go again. maria is now a category 5 hurricane just making landfall. what can you tell us about the storm's path at this hour the. >> it doesn't look good. it doesn't look good for puerto rico. and, of course, at this hour, as you said, crossing codom knee k home to about 75,000 people, and we know barbuda was impacted by hurricane irma. so some 30 plus times the population increase there as you work your way down towards the area it's impacting right now. but look at the growth of the storm system, from going 80 miles an hour as a weak category 1 hurricane and up to 160 miles an hour, essentially doubling its wind
speed within 24 hours. entering an area that's con deuce sif to maintaining the intensity. here's it track. we think somewhere around eastern puerto rico wednesday around 12, 1, 2:00 p.m. into the afternoon hours this storm will move ashore as a category 5. beyond that it works its way into the turks and caicos. and then that right turn is expected. you think about that. a category 5 in puerto rico, that has not happened since 1928. that 1928 storm that made landfall as a cat 5 was also 161 miles an hour. the last time even a category 4 occur occurred in puerto rico was some 80-years ago. so it really tells you the significance of the storm. and scenario one essentially being a massive area of high pressure east of barbuda which can guide the storm and parallel it up the eastern sea board and pull it back towards the united states. sear yoan two is that it shifts
and nudges to the west, it can force it to take the path of least resistance, which would be pushing very close to the eastern united states, potentially impacting portions across the east coast. so again we're going to watch this airfully and break down exactly what the models have right now. european and american models, very good agreement. it'll be move ashore of puerto rico by midweek. and you'll notice the european, which has been very reliable with recent storms, picks this up and skirts it offshore. the american is not there yet. it is beginning to trend that way, don, but it is something we're going to follow the course of going late into the this week. >> absolutely and pedram javaheri will have a new update for us at the top of the hour. and we'll check back in a few minutes and see how maria changes. just ahead, we'll go live to puerto rico preparing what could be a direct hit from hurricane maria.
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hurricane maria. category 5 storm making landfall in dominica. the governor of puerto rico warns residents tonight that the storm is likely to cause catastrophic damage to the island. cnn's leyla santiago is live for us. hello to you, category 5 expected to make landfall in puerto rico. the last time this happened was 1928. what's it like there now? how are people preparing tonight, leyla? >> reporter: you know, as we were out and about even on the southern part of the island today where it's really expected to take quite a hit, people were really taking to these warnings, really out and about in the stores. there were lines for water, people trying to get their hands on generators which pretty much seems impossible here right now. even though there was no school, a lot of businesses were already closing down. there was quite a bit of traffic
as people were out and about just try ing to make last minute preparations for hurricane maria, which was a little bit different. i've got to tell you don, a little bit different than what we saw for hurricane irma. certainly there were preparations underway. but i made sure to ask all the people i talked to on the streets today, if this was different, and there seems to be an understanding yeah, this is different. and remember, i was talking to people before it became a category 5. people here really understanding that because we are expecting direct landfall and because it has been as you mentioned a decade, they really fear the devastation, the destruction that could be ahead with maria.to rico took in a lot of evacuees during hurricane irma. are those people still in shelters tonight even as we speak? >> reporter: still in shelters tonight, more than 100 of them, at last check, with government officials. many of them right now at the puerto rico convention center,
which we visited as well. and we actually talked to one man, 22-year-old guy from the british virgin islan and he was telling us that he felt he had been welcomed here, that there was a lot of help. but he was concerned because he still had family in gorda, where he was from. and he was concerned because perhaps they didn't even know maria was on the way given communication lines are still not so great over there. so still evacuees on this island. those numbers seem to be going down quite a bit as they make their way to other destinations. puerto rico not only bracing for a storm themselves, but still housing some that managed to escape from their home islands destroyed by puerto by irma. >> thank you, leyla, appreciate that. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon.