Don Lemon Warning on 'Spygate': "You May Even Start To Wonder If There's Some Truth To It"

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CNN's Don Lemon delivered a monologue on President Trump's claim that his campaign was spied on which he dubbed 'Spygate.' On Wednesday night Lemon told viewers at the top of his show that the country is in the middle of an "extreme crises." He said that former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, and CNN contributor, never said that the Trump campaign was spied on. He said it's "not true," and even called it a "lie."

"It's not true. It's a lie," Lemon said. "James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence did not -- did not in any way admit to the false charges, spies in the Trump campaign. In fact, he said the opposite."

Lemon played a clip of Clapper on Jake Tapper's CNN show earlier that day where he attempted to clarify his previous remark. The former DNI said there was no "spying on the campaign per se," but surveillance "to determine what the Russians were doing."





Lemon told viewers that they may even start to wonder that there is some truth to what Trump is saying, but warned that is "exactly what the president and his allies want."

"President Trump doubles down on his baseless claims of spies and a deep state," he said. This is not just an angry president popping off, this is a deliberate and coordinated effort to save his presidency. To cast doubt on the Russian investigation by repeating a lie. Repeating it every chance he gets."

"And that repetition is a key part of the strategy here," Lemon continued. "Because if you hear him say the same thing over and over and over it gets into your head. You may even start to wonder if there's some truth to it. And that's exactly what the president and his allies want. To put that question in the back of your mind."

Transcript, via CNN:

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Our country is in the middle of an extreme crises, a crises that threatens our foundation, a crises that threatens the values we all hold dear, a crises created to blind us to the truth. Indeed, to destroy the very existence of the sheer truth in this country.

The president of the United States is lying to us over and over and over and over again. We've all seen it with our very own eyes and we heard it with our own ears. He relies on our airwaves to play the lies to you and uses the airwaves of other networks to amplify those lies and pile more and more upon them.

He uses Twitter to recklessly tweet them out to you, to all of us, telegraphing his every thought including to those who mean this country harm, undermining our nation's traditions and norms in real- time.

But, what we've seen and heard from the president in the past five days may be the biggest lie of all. Repeatedly and with no facts to back him up, making the outrageous claim that the so-called deep state spied on his campaign, he did it again today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they look at the documents, I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happen. I hope it's not so, because if it is there's never been anything like it in the history of our country. I hope, I mean, if you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday inadvertently. But, I hope it's not true but it looks like it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's not true. It's a lie. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence did not -- did not in any way admit to the false charges, spies in the Trump campaign. In fact, he said the opposite. I want you to listen to what he told Jake Tapper today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Did the intelligence community spy on President Trump and his campaign?

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: No, we did not. That is a distortion of what I said. In fact, I had an aversion of the use of the term and I thought I made that clear.

And the important thing is here what was this all about. What it was about was trying to determine what the Russians were doing. Were they trying to gain access, infiltrate a political campaign. Didn't matter which campaign. It had nothing to do with spying on the campaign per se, it was about the Russians which is what we all should be concerned about to include President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And then there is the president telling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Listen to what he said today when asked if there was a so-called deep state at the State Department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Do you believe there's a so-called criminal deep state at the State Department?

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I haven't seen comments from the president, I don't believe there's a deep state at the State Department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And yet, President Trump doubles down on his baseless claims of spies and a deep state. This is not just an angry president popping off, this is a deliberate and coordinated effort to save his presidency. To cast doubt on the Russian investigation by repeating a lie. Repeating it every chance he gets.

And that repetition is a key part of the strategy here. Because if you hear him say the same thing over and over and over it gets into your head. You may even start to wonder if there's some truth to it. And that's exactly what the president and his allies want. To put that question in the back of your mind. It is a strategy he's used since he first stormed into the national political stage with his utterly false and racist birther claims that President Barack Obama was not born in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want him to show his birth certificate. There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was a lie. A lie he told for years. A lie he reportedly still clings to today but it served Trump's purpose, he rose to prominence on it. Do you think he regrets it in any way? I doubt it. What lesson do you think he learned from it? I wonder. And you may wonder.

You may have been wondering through all of this why doesn't his own party stand up against this blatant disregard for the truth. It's telling that few Republicans who are speaking out against the president are leaving Congress. Like Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

In his Harvard Law School commencement address today here is what he said. This is a quote, "Our presidency has been debased by a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works."

[22:05:05] "I do not think that the founders could have anticipated that the beauty of their invention might someday founder on the rocks of reality television and that the Congress would be such willing accomplices to this calamity."

Very strong words. But this is not just about talk, this is about facts. Facts do matter, the truth matters, and the truth is under daily assault from the president of the United States and that is a crises and that is the truth.

We're going to begin though with some breaking news tonight. The White House now saying they are working on having two meetings, two classified briefings tomorrow. One, the White House Intel Chairman Devin with White House -- with the Intel Chairman Devin Nunes -- excuse me-- the oversight chairman, Trey Gowdy and DOJ officials, the gang of eight in the next couple of days.

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