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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  January 14, 2022 12:00am-1:00am PST

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on the capitol. it's the first time federal prosecutors have used the sedition charge after bringing more than 700 cases related to the insurrection. but prosecutors have long signaled that they were considering using the rarely applied section of federal law. rhodes is the most high-profile individual charged in the investigation so far. court documents filed today lay out a wide-ranging plot to storm the capitol and disrupt the certification of the 2020 election. two days after election day, rhodes allegedly urged his followers to refuse to accept the election results, writing in a signal message, we aren't getting through this without a civil war. according to federal prosecutors, on his way to d.c. on january 3rd, rhodes allegedly bought an a.r. platform rifle and other firearms equipment, including sights, mounts, triggers, slings, and other firearms attachments in texas. the next day, he allegedly
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bought more firearms equipment in mississippi. rhodes, a former army paratrooper who went on to earn a law degree from yale, did not enter the capitol on january 6th, but video captures oath keepers wearing military gear forcing their way into the building in a military stack formation. in this clip, you can see a group of oath keepers very close to the capitol doors, breaching the building. and here, members inside the capitol rotunda, including jessica watkins, who was among those charged today with seditious conspiracy. >> we're in the [ bleep ] capitol. >> reporter: the new indictment also reveals the group allegedly had quick reaction forces from three states -- arizona, north carolina, and florida, to rush into d.c. if needed. according to court documents, oath keeper thomas caldwell, arrested in january, claimed that he took a reconnaissance trip to d.c. prior to the insurrection. and prosecutors say rhodes was planning for violence well
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beyond january 6th, allegedly referring to the capitol attack as nothing compared to what is coming. in the weeks after the attack on the capitol, he allegedly spent more than $17,000 on weapons, equipment, and ammunition. then around inauguration day, rhodes told his associates to organize local militias to oppose the biden administration and another member allegedly said, after this, if nothing happens, it's war, civil war 2.0. rhodes was arrested at his home in texas today. he is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in plano tomorrow. if convicted, seditious conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. don. >> paula, thank you so much. appreciate it. joining me now, former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe, senior cnn law enforcement analyst. hey, andrew. this is scary stuff. i mean when you think about everything that paula just went through, the litany of things
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that he was carrying and all of that, i mean this indictment lays out a full-scale, pre-planned, paramilitary operation to stop the electoral process. these people were armed for war. what was their goal? >> well, don, yeah, you're right. it's absolutely chilling. look, let's remember the indictment is an allegation. the government still has to prove this in a court of law. but the detail that's laid out in this massive document, the specific communications between co-conspirators, the expenditures of money for amassing arms and thousands of rounds of ammunition both before january 6th and then also after january 6th, presumably planning for some sort of action that would come next that's not detailed in the indictment. it is a wide-ranging conspiracy that starts immediately after the election, goes through
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january 6th and after, and talks about committing just heinous acts of violence to essentially overthrow our democracy is basically what it comes down to. >> so where are -- this is sarcasm here. but where are the charges for blm and antifa and, you know, the democrats? i haven't seen any sedition or conspiracy charges there. >> you haven't, and the reason you haven't is because the government is very careful about bringing a big, complicated, hard-to-prove case like this. they only do it when they actually have evidence that it happened, and that's laid out in great detail here. i would also add, don, so stewart rhodes, who is kind of the alleged leader of this group, he disabuses that myth himself. he's quoted in the indictment. somebody says, you know, are these real patriots, or are these just people posing as patriots trying to start up trouble? and he says quite clearly, no, these are real patriots.
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they're pissed off, and they're getting the job done or something to that effect. so it's right there. stewart rhodes lays waste to that lie. >> it's a very interesting idea of what patriotism is. it's actually a warped idea of what patriotism is. is the next step in this investigation likely happening now to see if there are any -- there was any coordination between these seditious conspirators or others with any trump white house officials or cronies or the so-called war room? >> there's no question. what doj will do in a case like this is try to continue going up the chain of command. now, i am confident they have several cooperators already. they wouldn't have this indictment without insiders. the way we know that is these encrypted communication channels like signal and proton email, you can't get those records with a subpoena because they're encrypted. the only way the government could have these actual quotes is if they had access to the device of a person who was
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involved in that conversation. so that means somebody's cooperating, providing that information. now that you have these very serious charges hanging over the heads of these 11 defendants, the pressure is on them to cooperate as well. so we'll see who comes in and knocks on the government's door next, and that's what could take you up the chain another link. >> there's another oath keeper charged today. his name is thomas caldwell. this is him on january 6th. >> every single [ bleep ] in there is a traitor. every single one. >> look, the indictment includes a message he sent to his contacts four days before the insurrection, and this is a quote. i can't believe i just thought of this. how many people in the militia or not who are still supportive of our efforts to save the republic have a boat on a trailer that could handle a potomac crossing? if we had someone standing by at
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the dock ramp, one near the pentagon for sure, we could have our quick response team with the heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms if it all went to shit. our guy loads our weps and blue ridge militia weps and ferries them across. wow. as bad as january 6th was, it could have been worse. >> a lot worse, don. you know, like some of this, it almost -- it's so ridiculous. >> is this why people are pretending it didn't happen, because they don't want people to find out just how -- things like this? sorry to interrupt. >> you know, i have to believe that people are pretending because to not pretend, to embrace the facts and what actually happened is frightening, and it's a realization that many don't want to have to come out with, that some of the people who support
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them and their causes were behind them. you know, mr. caldwell has a very confused understanding of what a traitor is. you know, in this scenario, he's the traitor. he's smuggling arms into the capitol to overthrow the government. that's what a traitor is. so it reads like a cheap dime store novel, but then you see the details about the massive cache of weapons and the hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition right outside the capitol, prepared to be brought in, in case they're needed for something, it's chilling. it's chilling, and that happened. >> yeah. thank you, andrew. i appreciate it. >> thanks, don. now to president biden's growing list of setbacks. here to discuss, cnn senior political analyst david gergen. he is a former adviser to presidents nixon, ford, reagan, and clinton. wow. i mean, mark mckinnon, come on. who hasn't this guy advised?
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mark mckinnon is a former adviser to president george w. bush, john mccain, executive producer of "the circus." both these guys, heavy resume, big brains here. good evening, gentlemen. david, i'm going to start with you because today the supreme court ended up blocking the president's vaccine requirement for large businesses, getting nowhere on voting rights. build back better stalled. inflation is at a 40-year high. clearly a one-vote majority is tough, but does it feel like the white house is under siege right now? i said in the break, i was like, wow, the president -- this guy can't get a break. >> sorry, don. i wasn't sure to whom that was directed. >> that was for you, david gergen. >> okay. i'm here. okay. listen, the striking thing is the first 100 days were pretty darn successful. he won the hearts of a lot of
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americans. they wanted to see him succeed. but ever since afghanistan, you know, half a year ago, the wheels have been coming off the wagon. we violated our own moral codes by leaving so many people behind. he hasn't been able to get the pandemic under control. inflation is now out of control. he's got two major defeats on his legislation which got pumped up by the white house, and then they lost, which is a real sin. you don't pump up something you're going to lose. natural disasters. the country is exhausted. the country is tired of all this. they don't really particularly like either side, and we're drifting away so we're less united than we were six months ago. and this serious talk about, you know, a potential civil war, i don't think should be ignored. i don't think we're there yet. i don't belong to that club, but i'm getting a little closer. >> what do you think, mark
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mckinnon? >> well, i'm a prisoner of hope, but the cell's getting awfully dark, john. as john mccain said, it's always darkest just before it goes completely black. now, i don't think it could get much -- >> i think he's right on that one. >> i do too. i think there are two things -- listen, it can't get much worse obviously. we've said that for a while, and i really think that the president has hit bottom. there are two significant things, i think, in the near future or at least over the course of the next year before the election, a couple things are going to happen. one is i do think -- and i think most health experts will say that the virus is going to diminish. i mean we kind of burned thrthrough with the omicron virus. we're finally going to get past this, i believe, and experts who know a lot more about it than i do certainly think that. once that happens, there's a lot
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of economic factors in place that are very good. i mean a lot of -- yeah, we're fighting inflation, of course, but there's some incredibly strong job numbers that are only going to get stronger as omicron recedes. so there are some things to look forward to. i don't think it's going to help so much in the midterm, but over the long haul, i think those are a couple of things biden can look forward to. >> i had my fingers crossed as you were saying all that. i'm loathe to make predictions because we're in our third winter now of wearing masks, right, and social distancing and all of those things. we'll see. i hope you're right, mark. another question for you. president biden invited senators manchin and sinema to the white house after meeting with democratic senators on the hill today. nothing has changed, though. he still doesn't have the votes. why did he go through this whole exercise because does it make him look weak?
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>> yeah -- >> that's for mark. >> part of the problem on the voting rights, don, is that biden hasn't really shown a lot of passion for it over the course of the last year. he had other priorities he made clear were other priorities. >> and you and i have talked about that. >> we have, and activists on the democratic side believe that biden has not put his weight behind it. so i think the speech was late, and it was insufficient and was super partisan. when you draw the line in the sand and say you're either with us or you're a racist, you're certainly not going to -- that's -- >> you're on the side of the racists, he said. >> -- cooperation, which of course there wasn't going to be anyway. i don't know if that's helpful. so the only hope you have is sinema or manchin, and of course he's still trying to pick that lock. >> david, i know you want to weigh in on this. let me just ask you a question and tee you up here. it's like he's using the bully pulpit, joe biden is, but is unwilling or fundamentally unable to be the bully. so what does he do now?
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what happens? go on. >> i think he's got a hard road ahead. i think his supporters are going to have to be a patient. this is going to be a long, hard road back. t his numbers are down, down around 40% or so. it's really hard to turn that around. so i do think one of the things that he needs to do is make it clearer on these big things what the reality is, how hard it is, not to get expectations up as on the social bill and climate bill. he got expectations sky high. going down to atlanta on the civil rights bill, it was a nice gesture, but it raised expectations, and then he comes home weak. you don't want to get into a posture of overpromising and underdelivering. that's the road to oblivion, and he's got to get back out of that. i do think a lot of the disputes going on are within the
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democratic party. mark can speak to this. he's got to get away from going after his own party and sharpen the argument about where the republicans are blocking us on everything we need to do for this country and make that the case. w . >> to be continued, this conversation. thank you, gentlemen. i appreciate it. next i'm going to talk to the daughter of martin luther king jr. she says voting rights should be a bipartisan goal, and she still believes it can happen. >> and while i continue to support these bills, i will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. . show your sore throat who's boss. new mucinex instasoothe. works in seconds, lasts for hours. does sinus congestion and pressure make breathing feel impossible especially at night? try vicks sinex.
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president biden admitting today that he may not be able to get voting right as cross the finish line. senate republicans are digging in their heels while joe manchin and kyrsten sinema aren't willing to carve out the filibuster. >> one thing for certain. like every other major civil rights bill that came along, if we miss the first time, we can come back and try the second time. i don't know that we can get it done, but i know one thing. as long as i have a breath in me, as long as i'm in the white house, as long as i'm engaged at all, i'm going to be fighting to change the way these legislatures have moved. >> joining me now, bernice king, the daughter of martin luther king jr. so happy to have you here. let's talk about what's happening because manchin and sinema meeting with the president today after both declaring they're against changing the filibuster rules. even biden today sounding
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defeated. what's your response to what happened? >> well, you know, it's unfortunate that we can't get voting rights legislation passed in the senate of the united states when we've been able to do it in the past. and so, you know, the reality is that this should have been a bipartisan effort. >> mm-hmm. >> and, you know, i know it's going to happen. i know it's going to happen. when it's going to happen is the que question, and how it's going to happen is the other question. there's just -- you know, it's real. if it doesn't happen, we just have to keep working. we got to keep working not just on the democratic side but on the republican side. >> well, let's talk about that because you say voting rights, it should be bipartisan goal, as
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you said. >> it should be the goal. >> but the gop is in lockstep over refusing to work with democrats and actively working to restrict the vote on the state level. is there any world where there is a bipartisan solution, you believe? >> you know, i know that when my father and them faced these kind of situations, they'd use the twin approaches of direct action and negotiation. and we have to continue in that vein. i mean when we talk about that moral arc being bent towards justice, we have to be that force. and so you never know when the heart changes. >> mm-hmm. >> and so if we just buy into the notion they don't support it, let's be done with the republicans, we won't get there. you know, i think we still have to continue negotiation. i think we have to corral more people around this issue and continue to even win over people who are considered republican
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voters because this is not a republican or a democratic issue. this is an issue about democracy. >> it's an american issue. >> yes, it's an american issue, but democracy because it's going to affect the rest of the world. as goes america in this regard goes the rest of democracy. >> but you talked about your dad. that was more than 50 years ago, and here we are virtually, you know, in a similar place -- not the exact same place but -- >> we have to be very thoughtful and critical about why we're in this similar place. some of it is that you have evil forces, not people. you have people who are using evil means to try to continue to resist progress and change. but you also have had times and seasons in this country where we've been different, we've been apathetic, and we have not been
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diligent. remember my father says the tragedy of human history still -- and i will say that today -- is that the children of darkness are often more zealous and determined than the children of light. we have to examine where have we dropped the ball as well. was there a period of time where we didn't corral and make sure there's always been a force of people engaged on these issues, aware of these issues, you know. i think if we critique it, we will see we did drop some balls. so that's why we are here today unfortunately. but there is -- i followed a generation, an accountability generation. the younger generation has continued to keep us on our tippy toes. they're continuing to apply the pressure, and that's why i said i think it's going to -- and i'm not speaking of that just
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younger in age but also the generation of this time that has connected, coalesced with the younger generation to say we're no longer going to be apathetic and indifferent. >> monday is dr. martin luther king jr. day, but your family is calling for no celebration of that day without the passage of voting rights legislation. so how does your family want to mark your father's birthday this year? >> well, martin and andrea called for the no celebration. i come in alignment with them to say that we must commemorate this day, which they are actually doing by focusing more attention on the things that are critical to our nation and our democracy, which is voting rights. and so it's not that we're not to celebrate, but what do we have to celebrate? we need to really be focusing efforts on the king holiday to honor and commemorate him in this way, to educate, to advocate, and to activate.
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those are three things that must happen during the king holiday. >> bernice king, it's also a pleasure to hear from you, to hear your wisdom. we're so happy to have you here. thank you so much. >> thank you. so from voting rights to the coronavirus pandemic, americans are more divided than ever. is there a way to fix it? presidential historian jon meacham and michael currie are here next. yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. finally getting the best! but with febreze freshness in your car... ...driving there is pretty darn good too. enjoy 30 days of freshness with febreze car. ♪ la, la, la, la, la ♪ look, this isn't my first rodeo and let me tell you something, i wouldn't be here if i thought reverse mortgages
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voting rights going nowhere in the senate. deep distrust on covid still rampant two years into the pandemic. americans can't seem to agree on basic truths. what is this division doing to us? here to discuss, presidential historian jon meacham and bishop michael currie about how religion and politics intersect in the u.s. it's so good to see both of you. thank you for joining. jon, america is so divided. there's a lot of anger out there. our political party seems to be -- one political party seems to be abandoning democracy. what's happened to the sense of cohesiveness americans have felt as a country, and what is all this division doing to our democracy? >> well, you know, the forces
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that are buffeting us now are perennial. they ebb and they flow. the task of a mature democracy is to make those forces ebb more than they flow. and democracy is fundamentally a human enterprise. and as human beings, we're fallen, frail, and fallible. and i think that every day is a struggle between our better angels and our worst instincts. and if i get it right 51% of the time, that's a heck of a good day. >> yeah. >> and i don't have many of those. and the country is -- and i want some absolution because here i am with my spiritual lord. if you're feeling forgiving, your grace, i'm ready. >> yes. >> a democracy is the manifestation of our habits of heart and mind. and that is at once terrifying
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because it means we're all accountable, but it's also kind of thrilling because it means that we can make a difference, and i think we have to instill -- i'm not going to say recover. i'm going to say i think we have to inacstill, and as reverend kg just said, activate the sense that we have to see each other as neighbors and not as adversaries and think about how we want the future to think about us. >> you said something that -- did you say the forces are perennial? you don't think this is an outlier in our history, or does it just feel that way now? >> no, no. this is real. this is real. the subversion of democracy, the attempt to take elections that by all authority tative sources are full and free and fair, that is putting the will to power at the center of our public
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enterprise. >> yeah. >> and the whole point of the constitution, however imperfect it may be, was to check our appetites because they figured that if we tried to do things, most of the time we would do them wrong. we would try to do wrong things. so i do think these -- and i don't want us to act as though there's going to be a happily every after. there was never a once upon a time in american history. there's never going to be a happily ever after. this is a day to day, year to year, decade to decade struggle. >> bishop, he said the forces are real. there's not even a shared understanding of truth or shared set of values anymore. we see politicians who are gaslighting the public even when the stakes are life and death, people willing to put themselves and others in danger because they won't wear a mask or get a vaccine. people willing to overturn an election to, you know, go after
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lawmakers, say they're going to hang the vice president. is america facing a moral crisis? >> yes, america's facing a moral crisis, and much of our history has been a consistent facing of a moral crisis. and this particular moment is one, let there be no doubt, this is a dark moment. this very well may be, as dr. king said a long time ago, this may be a midnight in the social order. and midnight is both the most dangerous time because it is darkest, and it is the time of potential hope because light has the potential of dawning. we are at midnight. we really are. there's no question about that. and yet the result of that will be determined by our actions and our willingness, i would claim, to affirm the high ideals and principles that are a part of who we are. and i believe -- i'm not an optimist. i believe that the vast majority of americans truly believe in
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the highest ideals. there is more good among us. there are more ideals that we share among us. but unfortunately -- and i hate to use the phrase -- there is a silent majority that is too silent, that is too quiet. there is a decent majority that is too quiet and too silent, and we must activate that silent majority, the better angels of our nature. and i think the more we do that, then we have the capacity and the potential to turn midnight not into our darkest hour but maybe into, i pray, our finest hour. >> but how do you do that because then you have -- listen, i think, you know, historically the right, the religious right, they were the parties of morals and religion and god and so forth, moral values, right? and they believe that they're acting upon that even though they're doing the exact opposite. so there's some sort of
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confusion. i'm not sure what is -- some sort of co-opting. i have no idea what's going on. are religious leaders, in your opinion, doing enough to cut through the noise, call out the ideas, the behaviors that is destructive or dangerous? >> i think on the one hand, many of us as religious leaders are not doing enough. but on the other hand, we're not getting as much air time either. and sometimes we have not been as smart at activating and getting air time. one of the things we have to do, i think, as religious folk is reclaim the deep values and ideals that are at the roots of many of our religious traditions. i speak as a christian. and i can tell you as a christian that when you read the four gospels, matthew, mark, luke, and john, when you read those four gospels and look at the life and teachings of jesus of nazareth, you do not find hate, bigotry, narrow-minded innocence. what you find is the parable of
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the good samaritan. >> can you stop and ask you that? do you think that is too esoteric, to high-minded? >> no. >> do you think that religious leaders need to be a little more practical? perhaps they should be in the pulpit saying -- look, i'm not obviously a preacher. i like to preach the gospel of the news and the facts. but perhaps they should be saying, if you believe in god and if you believe in the tenets of the bible and christianity, then that doesn't mean that you should be taking part in an insurrection. >> yes. >> that doesn't mean that you should be listening to someone who's lying about a stolen election. thou shalt not lie. that is something that you -- that is real. you should not be taking part in that. shouldn't religious leaders be saying that and talking about the parables and this and this because maybe people aren't getting it through their thick skulls. >> don, you've got to apply the parables, apply the scriptures,
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apply the teachings not in a partisan way but in a way that seeks to elevate us morally. talk about the parable of the good samaritan, and then let's talk about law enforcement in our country. we want our police officers to be good samaritans. that's their job. you see what i'm saying? >> i get you. >> let's take the religious tradition and apply it, but let's reclaim the real essence of it. let me just add, i believe we must reclaim the essence of the ideals of our tradition as americans. this country has not always lived up to its ideals, but canon professor jon meacham will tell us that in the declaration of independence and the gettysburg address, in king's "i have a dream" and on and on, we have ideals that most of us will share. when we were kids, we learned i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america.
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>> that's a perfect segue to jon meacham here because you helped to draft the speech that the president gave on the anniversary of january 6th, where he really took the gloves off, going after trump spreading the big lie. but some people worried it was too tough, that it was only going to cause more polarization. is that part of the price of telling the truth in 2022, jon? >> well, the president speaks for the president. so to answer your question for me, yes. in greek, truth means unconcealed, right? it means it is something that you see that is real. and i don't think any of us are helping ourselves by pretending that this is an ordinary hour of crisis. i don't think -- you know, this is not bob dole and george mitchell squaring off over a continuing resolution in 1996.
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>> right, right, right. >> it's just not. i wish to hell it was. sorry, bishop. woops. i wish it were. >> yeah. >> but i think that this is a stress test. pick your metaphor. it's a crisis of citizenship, of citizenship, and we have to decide are we going to put the will to power ahead of everything else? you know, the american covenant is fractured. and, god, i hate having to say that. but a covenant is, in fact, this notion that i'm going to help you in the morning not because i'm a good person but because i might need you to help me in the afternoon. >> yep. thank you both. i'm just going to say, and let the church say amen. >> amen. >> can i get an amen, jon? >> always. amen.
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episcopalians don't do it with quite as much passion. >> i noticed that because i'm a southern baptist. we say amen! the doors of the church are open. thank you very much. i appreciate both of you. if you want to hear more from these two gentlemen, you can find their conversation about politics and religion today online at
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all right. you got to pay attention to this one. tennessee republican senator marsha blackburn is under fire for her questioning of a black nominee to the federal judiciary. >> equating three unpaid speeding tickets to a rap sheet. >> on the eve of his hearing, it has been made public that he has a rap sheet with a laundry list of citations, including multiple failures to appear in court. in tennessee, we expect our judges to respect the law, not disregard. if mr. mathis thought he was above the law before, imagine how he'll conduct himself if he's confirmed as a federal judge. >> let's bring in now cnn political commentator bakari -- let get your book in. the author of "who are your
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people?" that was quite the performance. i don't know what you would call it because andre mathis forgetting to pay three speeding tickets more than a decade ago, one was five miles per hour over the speed limit. what is this? what is happening here? >> i mean what do you expect exactly? i mean this is who we have known senator blackburn to be. this is like performative racism where you utilize racism as a political currency, and then you get up there when you get a chance to question the judges. you'll see it from ted cruz every now and then. you'll see it from tom cotton every now and then. and it's just a art form that some have perfected. listen, they don't want to see my driving record if that's the case. i mean -- >> you're an attorney. you're an officer of the court now. >> i'm doing better. i've been clean now a whole ten years. when she said rap sheet, i thought the man had beat a few people up, sold a few dime bags. i didn't know he was so reckless
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and just such a criminal at heart? he was listening to tupac going five miles over the speed limit. this is just -- it's a distraction, but judge mathis will be an awesome member of the judiciary, and unfortunately he had to be embarrassed by his united states senator. >> this is what he said. this is how he responded to this. >> i highly regret that i'm in this situation. i feel like i've embarrassed my family. i truly regret that. while i deserve this, they don't. >> why is he apologizing, though? >> i think that he felt as if he didn't have a choice. i feel bad that senator blackburn attempted to break this man like that but at the end of the day, he's going to be a judge, and what she did is just inexcusable, but it's not surprising. >> it shows he has humility. it shows that, you know, he can take it, and that he has class.
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>> it shows that he's better than she is. >> yes. bakari, thank you. sorry our segment was short tonight. thank you so much. congratulations on the book. best of luck. i'll see you soon. >> thank you, brother. >> don't have a rap sheet now. we'll be right back. works on that too, and lasts 12 hours. 12 hours?! who studies that long? mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs. tony here from taking to the streets to talk about credit. can you repair your credit yourself? yes. -great. how? uhhh... how long does credit repair take? i don't know, like 10 years. what? are you insane? what's a good credit score? go. 600. maybe if you're trying to pay thousands extra in interest rates. cut the confusion, get started with a free credit evaluation at when they're sick, they get comfortable anywhere and spread germs everywhere.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. and hello and welcome to our viewers joining us in the united states and all around the world. i'm paula newton live at cnn center in atlanta and we begin with breaking news. the australian government is trying to deport the world's top-ranked tennis player for the second time. the australian prime minister weighing in just minutes ago saying the decision to revoke the visa of novak djokovic protects australians, quote, sacrifices. the country's immigration minister lowered the boom two hours ago saying it's in the pu


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