CNN host Don Lemon invited conservative legal activist Larry Klayman on Tuesday to discuss his victory in a lawsuit challenging National Security Agency surveillance, resulting in an epic clash that saw Klayman get cut off the screen.
Klayman, quick to be labeled a “tea party activist” by the media, was not happy with a profile done on him prior to being brought on screen and went right back at Lemon.
“I think it is important to note that you’re a big supporter of Obama,” Klayman said to Lemon. “That you have favored him in every respect. You have to try to do a hit piece to diminish a very important decision.”
Lemon jumped in to say, “None of that is true, but go on.”
“Well, it is true. I’ve watched you for many years. You’re an ultra-leftist and you’re a big supporter of Obama,” Klayman responded.
Lemon again rejected the characterization, and the two go at it, with Lemon telling Klayman he will “cut your mic.” At which point, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, on a split screen, starts waving his arm in the air in a mock attempt to get into the escalating fray.
And when Toobin did get in, he blasted Klayman as a “lunatic.”
“This case is based on Larry Klayman’s tin-foil hat paranoia about the NSA being after him,” he said. “He had some fantasy that the NSA was after him. This case is not about Larry Klayman, it’s about the metadata program that affects everybody, but the idea that Larry Klayman is the representative is simply outrageous.”
“He is a professional litigant and lunatic who should not be a representative of the very important issues of this case,” Toobin continued.
As things further deteriorate, Lemon asked his producer to “please remove [Klayman] from the screen.”
Saying “we’re going to be the bigger person,” Lemon did bring Klayman back to have the last word, and he was spitting fire by this point, comparing the host to disgraced former MSNBC host Martin Bashir.
“The last word is you’re not the bigger people,” Klayman spewed. “Don’t kid anybody, let anybody watch this and see that CNN removes you from the screen when it doesn’t like what you think… CNN is a reputable organization, but you have not acted in a respectful way, and it’s in fact disgraceful. You’re more like Martin Bashir.”