tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN June 20, 2022 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
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♪ cnn tonight with don lemon starts right now. >> sarah sidner, thank you so much. i appreciate it. this is "don lemon tonight." i can't tell you how important this is. so pay attention to me, please. this is something we can both side. the truth is what we as a country moving forward, will we continue to operate the truth? do we continue to be the place where the truth matters or will we fall to the lies where we succumb to the biggest lie of them all? you know the big lie i am talking about, that's the lie of the stolen election of the big fraud. it is not hyperbole to say the january 6th hearing that's hours away of what comes out of them will be an indication of whether we can keep our fragile democracy right now. it is hanging by a thread
whether we can keep it or not. are you paying attention? you should. tomorrow we'll listen to testimonies, live, from three republicans who know exactly how far the former president was willing to go to overturn our free and fair election. >> all i want to do is this, i just want to find 11,780 votes. which is one more than we have because we won the state. >> it is outrageous. this is not just about what happened more than a year ago. it is about what's happening right now and it is scary. it is dangerous. it is hateful and it can cause lives. the republican party is now
claiming that joe biden was not legitimately elected. that's a lie. and we have seen with our own eyes how dangerous that lie is p , we saw it. we are seeing it now with this awful letter from adam kinzinger that he got in the mail threatening him and his wife and baby. >> there are violence in the future. until we get a grip on telling people the truth, we can't expect any differently. >> we are also seeing it with leading candidates for the gop senate nomination in missouri, we listen to a video of him playing, play-acting hunting rhinos. it is so awful and it is so dangerous that we are not showing you the video.
it is terrible. we are not going to play into his hands. calling for some members of his own party to be hunted is worse than a sick joke. it is dangerous. it is not just the election lies, texas republicans also rebutting and booing one of their own, senator john cornyn, for working on bipartisan gun legislation. that's in a state that buried 19 little kids and two teachers shot to death in their classrooms. those are republicans according to adam kinzinger threatening to kill him and harm him and his family. they're calling for repeal of the 1965 voting rights act
dangerous. the landmark protection that protects the rights of people who look like me and people who fought and died for that right. an abnormal lifestyle, there is nothing being abnormal of who you are and loving who you have and god made you. the extreme of the party who'll resort to violence, to get what they want which is power. so i want to bring in our justice correspondent, evan perez and jennifer rogers. thank you so much. evan, you start first, we'll hear from trump's involvement of the fake elector scheme.
tell us more. >> that's right, don, the committee importantly is going to connect the pressure campaign that these officials in the state of georgia, in arizona personally withstood from the former president and his allies and send these fake electors that'll kept the former prosecute in power and perpetuate the idea of these crowds being brought to the capitol. they're trying to pull it all together and bringing it right
to the former president and the fact that he was involved not only in that phone call he made that you played apart of to the georgia state officials but also he called and try to pressure people and white house officials try to pressure people in arizona to try to do the same. >> jennifer rogers, how do you think the committee will show
this is a widespread cordinated platform, do thank you think they'll be able to make that case? >> i hope so, don. this is a piece of the puzzle that we have not heard publicly of the fraudulent slates of electors. there are a lot of people here, there are mull people in seven different states who sent in these fake electors. i am hoping the committee spoke to a lot of people and we'll hear from them. they want to hear what did you do and how did i organize and what was said amongst them and also who told you do that and coordinating it. it is obviously not a coincidence of seven groups of people in seven different states that joe biden won that donald trump wanted to flip at the same time. the question is who's pulling those strings. doj is already investigating this part of the scheme may look to make some corroborating witnesses here.
these folks, they are prominent in the committee, some of them are public officials themselves and they don't want to go to prison. this is illegal scheme even when you take into isolation. doj has the real opportunity to bring some of those people into get at the higher ups who are running the show. >> clearly, illegal scheme even if you take it in isolation? what does it mean? how do you take it into accounts and bringing around what the president did and what others around him did and what other lawmakers may have done. that may be clearly illegal as well. do you understand my question, jennifer? >> yes, you have a potentially illegal scheme happening at least in five of these seven states. you have a scheme that involves these electors that sign these false forms that's sent to the government and people who asked them to do it. we see this is one of the plans that president trump and his supporters may have to keep him in power. then you say it could be stand alone on the federal level and
you also look at it being one piece of this broader conspiracy of the select committee is making the case. they can go at it at a couple of different ways. doj is investigating the isolated piece and i hope it will figure into the broader puzzle. >> jennifer, let me get your take on arizona republican rusty bower, he said trump asked him to replace the elector in the state and he refused. he said he was not going to do anything illegal. what will that testimony directly mean for trump? >> it depends on what it is and you have to hear the language there. if the testimony is he said to me, i want you to replace the
elector and i said "sorry, mr. president, i can't do that," then you are talking about knowledge on behalf of the president that he's asking for it. you have to see what was said to see that language and what charter it may support. >> evan, let's talk about how low this has gone and how dangerous and some of the lawmakers around the country and many journalists dealt with over the trump administration, these death threats from people, sending pipe bombs or threatening different news stations and threatening to kill reporters. election workers are dealing with the same crap. we get to hear from the georgia election worker received death threats. talk to me what this is about.
>> we heard some of the stories of other officials, we have not heard at this level and i think this is actually one of the most important parts of this, her name is shea moss. she submitted her testimony. she was accused of being this fake ballot scheme that trump went on television to talk about. she said i have to live with these lies every single day. before december 2020, i was never scared of people knowing my name. she goes on talking about the threats she and her family and son and her grandmother faced as a result of being accused faultily. i will read you just another part that she says i did not realize how much i love my job until it was taken away from me by a few people who decided their lives was more important than mine. >> that was incredibly powerful words. these are people we depend onto run our elections around the country.
they're facing these types of threats because of this falsehood that's been propagated by the former president and his supporters and to these days. these are the people suffering from these consequences and not only adam kinzinger, that have protection of the state police, these are average folks who are on the front lines. they are the ones who are bearing the brunt of it. >> as you are right, those are powerful words, they decided their lives are more important than my life. thank you evan and jennifer. secretary william cohen is joining us. thank you, that really hit home to hear that election worker saying that. we are teetering by a thread, what comes out of these hearing is important to show the direction of this country, am i wrong with that?
>> we have become a violent country. >> we seeing it take place on a regular basis now. where are we going? you can't go to a city council meeting or a city board meeting or legislative meeting, office, you can't go if justice is threaten with his life and family? when do we start saying enough and no more. i mean not just political leadership. i don't know why every republican in the senate is not condemning that. i want to ask the corporate interests of that country, why are you pouring money and the candidacy of the people who are threaten and undermining our
institutions of this country. >> can you say it again? it is about money for the corporations and it is about power for the politicians, ultimately, it is about money and power. please, speak on that secretary. >> well, we heard and we saw that example of that video that's running and a request who wants to join a hunt, send money, buy a permit. it is a fundraising company. we have to ask the corporate leaders who are putting money, thousands of dollars into campaigns on candidates who do not represent the best of this country, who promote violence and lies and honesty and honorable activity, you have to be held accountable so when people see that companies are contributing to these
candidates, they are to vote and move away from those companies and make them pay a penalty. they are voting to put people in power who right laws advantage them to the great detriment of the health and welfare of the safety of the american people. >> the former president tried to steal the election. what would stop that from happening again? >> the only thing that'll stop that from happening is the american people. many knew that mr. trump was unfit for office and he demonstrated time and time again. i am going to change the way this country functions. i don't believe in the rule of law, i believe in the power of the rule and that's what
happened to the republican party. it is not the party of lincoln. it is more like the party like putin, namely that one person gets to change the institutions and tells people oh what the laws are going to be because he's going to write those laws. so, i am surprised not more republicans are willing to step forward. they were quick to step forward as they should have when a threat is made against a supreme court justice and his family. they were quick to call that we got to protect them. yes, speak up now when you have members in your own party who are carrying out ads and design to in flame the politics of this country. can you imagine if that was a black man with a shotgun with all of those shells loaded by his side walk into a house and i am going to kill some republicans because i disagree with the policies? how long do you think the fbi
will break down his doors? it is not a matter of free speech. we have an obligation, everybody, republicans and democrats. >> secretary cohen, thank you, sir, i appreciate what you said. up next, he was the member that wrote the hateful text to the gop platform. this is what he said. >> this is not meant to mean for insulting language, it does nothing to move us forward. it is a little insulting to drop this on this body right after you say we don't have a lot of time to discuss it. >> he's going to join me live next .
party. he's from texas. republican party in texas moving to the extreme right. among the approved measures, texas gop falsely said president biden was not legitimately elected. the platform backing the washington gun bill in washington even after the deadly school shooting in uvalde, texas. there is also a call to appeal the 1965 voting rights act. so let's talk to a republican who was at the convention who disagreed with some of the disapproved measures. joining me now is jason vaughan, thank yor joining us. i appreciate it.
>> i am happy to be here and i am glad after the convention over, i saw you celebrating juneteenth yesterday and i am glad to be coming you from a home of emancipation park here in houston. >> thank you very much. listen, let's get to it. the texas gop says that is president biden was not legitimately elected, we know that's not true. do you believe joe biden is illegitimately not the president of the united states? >> there are some shady things in my opinion happened. here in harris county, there were 10,000 ballots lost. but continuing with stop the steal language that republicans have been pushing is going to discourage our members going out to vote. why vote if the election was stolen? the last sentence that says if you believe it was stolen, go work harder and get more people out to vote.
>> i appreciate that, jason. my question is do you believe joe biden is the legitimately the elective president of the united states. >> yes, based on my facts, yes. >> i want to watch this and we'll move in. >> the claims of fraud were -- >> the top ranking republican and adviser to the former president of the united states and he agreed it was bs. you have agreed that joe biden is the president of the united states and you have seen no evidence there was enough over fraud to overturn the election. >> enough voter fraud being the key phrase. i think part of what we have to discuss is since 2016, we have lost a lot of faith in the institutions, you saw democrats were claiming russia help trump steal the election, even back then.
neither side actually trust the election process. that's a problem. >> jason, i have to stop -- that's not the same thing. to question some elections this and that, anomaly in every single election. to put democrats and republicans at the same level is not true. >> again, for years they did say russia help trump steal the election. i don't know why we are so surprised that republicans doubt this election? >> jason, let me give you some facts and i will let you respond. >> all right. >> u.s. intelligence found that russia interfered in the 2016 elections to benefit trump. russia interfered and tried to influence the election and democrats in no way went to the
lengths that republicans did by spreading election lies, by having an insurrection at the capitol. democrats did not attack the capitol. do you see what i am getting at? it is not the same thing. >> i am not saying it is the same. i am saying we have distrusts on both sides and we have to start to figure out. we have to have faiths in our institutions if we are going to restore that. >> hold on, you understand that one side, the distrust is base on actual facts. on the other side the distrust is not based on the reality. the reason it is distrust because the person at the top spreads, and lit the match to ignite. >> again, i am in harris county. we had massive election issues so to say there is nothing to say and people should distrust the election is crazy.
i believe the election is not stolen. i will say it is nothing to distrust. >> fair enough, jason, thank you. the platform included a section called homosexuality and -- you wrote on this and you called it disrespectful. >> if you look at the way the body voted and the committee voted, the committee was very vote. if we were to flip two votes, that would not have gone in there. i understand my party does not believer the gay marriage. the problem with this language was insulting and distracted from so many other planks that i
do care about. if you listen to the day of the floor of the convention, right after this was passed, it had gay guys got on the mic and put in extremely important information, a plank on protecting fragile children and making sure they have home care and community based care. that's something that republicans should be talking about, uniting under. there are 275 planks and we are talking about four of them that are complete and utter distraction that makes for most of them, i disagree with. >> i ask you this, this is a legitimate question and i am not saying you can't be a gay republican. the question would be if you are a gay man and they're calling you abnormal and why you are a member of the republican party. >> i am a member because there is -- i get this question a lot. i am not a member of the
republican party because -- i am a member of the republican party because i want to get stuff done. i absolutely believe in the more gay people they know, the more likely they are to change. i show up time and time again and there is 80% and 95% of the policies that i care about. i was out in the platform committee. there is one in 31 people that's making up those platforms. the entire state, i was unanimously elected again. the chairman of the party, matt renaulti is a close friend of mine. i know all these people. do we disagree in policies and have a heated rhetoric? do i think this is adam and idiotic move? >> it is also hateful. >> you heard me call it out. you played it earlier and you heard me call it out. it was hateful and should have never happened. it did not come up from one of our other conventions and did not go through the temporary committee.
it was thrown in the last minute. here is the challenge we face. there is a lot of republicans that did not want to feel like they were softening the language with everything going on with all of the drag shows for kids and all the other stuff they do not want to feel like we are in any way softening that. i disagree with that. i am a proudly gay man. i do not think there should be sexual drag shows for children. it is hurting a lot of those things. we got to balance this out. there is balance. we don't have to always be reactive to everything. this was a hateful and appropriate move and i really disagree with it. >> jason, listen, i think it is important, part of your answer you said you want to -- i don't
want to put words in your mouth, you want to bring change within your own party. >> thank you. >> i think it is important. for similar reasons, i think it is important for you to be on here because i would like to understand why you are a member of the republican party and why you are doing what you are doing. so -- >> can i give you one clear reason? >> sure. >> monday night, my neighbors a couple doors down, nine years old, nine shot in the head. domestic disturbance. the man was out on five bonds, one of them at least felony bonds. it is insane what's happening with the democrat judges here in
harris county. i know it is not everywhere. i can only speak to what i know here. that is as shameful situation. i will never vote for one of them. they hate me. i am alive and i do not want to die. >> i understand what you are saying. yes, there are people who'll say why don't you join the democratic party if you are trying to change the democrats to have, you know, judges who'll more in favor of stronger policing. that's kind of what you are saying the reasons you are a republican party trying to change minds and hearts. i am just saying. it is the same logic. you understand what i am saying? you can do it in either party. maybe you may have a chance in the democratic party for people who don't think you are abnormal.
>> i got about a 10% to 15% with agreements on democrats on certain issues. i can either -- i can change the 10% for republicans or the 90% for democrats. there is a big difference what i would need to change. i am a proud pro-life man. i believe in property taxes and bail reform and so many things. >> that's why you are a conservative. i get it. as long as you come in and be honest with me and you are not an election denial and you are not going to tell me it is not raining outside when it is. i will have you on and if you are coming on and not living in reality, i don't think we should be giving you a platform. >> i understand that. i am a nuance person. i appreciate you having me on. >> jason, thank you, please come back and be well and good luck. >> thank you so much, don.
scott jennings is here. i have got to ask, what does a move like this in texas means for all across the country? we'll talk about that right after this. ah. that's better. and can help you get almost 30 minutes more restful sleep per night. save 50% on the sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus, 0% interest for 36 months. ends monday.
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much to discuss with our scott jennings, gentlemen, good to see both of you. max, give me your reaction of what you heard from jason vaughan. >> you may say the state of texas is like america but more so is like the republican party in texas, only more so. the outcome of the 2020 election which is a widespread republicans positions this day and rejecting the 1965 voting rights act and they're rejecting homosexuality lifestyle. this is just one insanity after another. this is what the republican is headed and this is a snapshot in time of the party that's becoming extremist and racist and it is very different from the party that i once belong to. >> scott, this is not coming from a few extreme voices, the lie about the election, the big lie is about to become the official platform of the texas
gop. that's pretty dangerous. >> well, i mean we have seen polling in the republican primaries which i have, you would not be surprised. it is a majority opinion of republicans that at a minimum, of some kind of shenanigans. you get people saying that, it is becoming in the poll. it is one of trump's motivating issues. if he runs for reelection, this is his platform, relitigating 2020. i was not surprised they did it.
this platform is ridiculous. a bunch of franks and crack pots together. it is better for this party to focus on forward looking issues. it is unfortunate. >> scott and max, stay with me. this video posted by a republican where he posted and he told us to hunt rhinos, it is outrageous. we'll talk about it next. so you got to pay attention
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what appears to be a long gun while he talks about hunting rhinos. he ends with this message "rhino hunting permit, no bagging limit, no tagging limit." greitens is facing allegations of child abuse and blackmail, he denies them. scott jennings and max is with me. grietens is a top contender, would he had put out this ad? >> he's getting blow back from the mainstream and the media and democrats and then he becomes a hero by claiming we are trying to sensor him and he's the speaker of the truth. it is a dangerous act because what he's doing is he is encouraging violence. we have more gun violence than any other countries.
we have more guns than any other countries in the world. republicans are preventing us from passing any gun legislations. we can't ban weapons. republicans have made a fetish of all these gun calls that almost every single republican has to have a gun in it and that -- minding this act of killing his republican opponents whoever they are. sadly, what i see is that the mainstream republican party, there is as mainstream is cowed by the gun lobby and they'll not stand up to the violence. you can have extremists and bad people like eric grietens.
>> police are denouncing grientens' ads. why are they not condemning this and making it clear that violence will not be tolerated. >> i know this that the republican leadership is freaked out of the possibility that grietens may get the nomination. if he gets it, this senate race goes on the board. if we nominates him in missouri, the republicans will get what they deserve. we nominated someone who's not worthy of the seat in the united states and we got to stop him. fragmentations help a candidate doing extreme things. it is bad for the party. >> let me ask you before you go,
and then they use that as evidence that, you know, hey the swamp is going to get me. when things like this happen, everybody hesitates because they don't want to make it worse. so that's part of what i think is going on. overall in missouri, there is a massive way of how to start biden get this nomination with 30% of the vote. that's what's happening and nobody wants to mess up this thing to get it for somebody else. >> we're going to talk about high gas prices and the white house knows it. what joe biden is saying he's going to do about it. that's next.
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that's down three pennies a gallon from last week. the white house is desperate to get gas prices down. president biden considering a federal gas tax holiday. >> how soon can we expect it? >> i know i will have a decision based on data i'm looking for by the end of the week. >> the federal gas tax is just over 18 cents a gallon. suspending it temporarily could give drivers a break at the pump, but president biden cannot take action unilaterally. he would need congress to go along with it. three republicans testifying in front of the january 6th committee and all of america.
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