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CNN's Lemon defends Antifa after Trump comments: 'No organization is perfect'

CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday appeared to defend Antifa Tuesday night, praising the group as "fighting racist fascists" while adding "no organization is perfect" in acknowledging the group's violent past on his primetime program.

"It says it right in the name: Antifa. Anti-fascism, which is what they were there fighting," Lemon said in reference to clashes between neo-Nazis and Antifa members in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017.

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"Listen, no organization is perfect. There was some violence. No one condones violence, but there were different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there," Lemon continued. "One, racists, fascists, the other group, fighting racist fascists. There is a distinction there."

Antifa has been involved in several protests that have seen violence occur since Charlottesville, including most recently at a second "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that included an altercation with NBC News reporter Cal Perry. 

Lemon's commentary came after reports President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE told evangelical leaders at the White House on Monday that Republican losses in this year's midterms could lead to liberals "violently" overturning his administration's accomplishments for the Christian community.

The president warned that if Democrats take back the House "they will overturn everything that we've done and they will do it quickly and violently."

"There's violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people," Trump said.

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffery Toobin said Trump's criticism of Antifa is an "appeal to racism" while stating the group "is widely perceived as an African-American organization."

"Let's be clear also about what's going on here, the theme here is ‘I'm Donald Trump and I'll protect you from the scary black people,’ " Toobin, a staunch Trump critic, said in a panel discussion on Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room."

"Antifa is widely perceived as an African-American organization and this is just part of the same story of LeBron James and Don Lemon and Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Kavanaugh fight a GOP wake up call, but more is needed Kanye: Trump has to be 'the freshest, the flyest' MORE and the NFL players and the UCLA basketball players," Toobin added.