tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN May 19, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
time for the big show. don lemon tonight with don lemon tonight. >> so what do you want to talk about ufos? you want to talk about the shaman insurrectionists? >> shaman guy, that was a stunt to get attention. i just didn't want him to get it on my back. i never called any of his people crazy. i try very hard not to use that word, and i don't want to give him the excuse. it's one thing if you're
mentally ill, you have diminished capacity. that's vulnerability and su susceptibility. that's what these people have until you prove otherwise. that doesn't exempt you from the law. if he's so worried about people being warehoused and held unfairly for nonviolent crimes then he should take up the systemic inequality fight and deal with generations of people in minority communities who have been incarcerated for exactly those reasons. >> and you can't have it both ways. others say trump supporters are stooges and they're being co-opted and they don't know what they're doing and what have you and take offense to that. and on the other hand argue in court to get your client off. >> look, what he should have
done. don lemon tonight with glasses. so here's what he should fight for. you know what he should fight for? the january 6th commission because that is the cure for what ails these men and women who you believe deserve all our compassion, the truth. let them see how it happened, what led to it, the groups that helped organize it. that's how you help them. not by calling them names and coming up with silly to get the police all in a flutter so you get more media attention. >> they're never going to allow that to happen. >> they may not want it but it's going to happen. >> them going along with it is what i'm saying, or any of the trumplicans arguing for that because they're culpable. they don't want people to see their culpability. you know, they help the president. they did what the president wanted, and those people at the capitol also did what the president wanted. so there you go.
>> and those people in congress who are in the leadership have just doing what that president want. >> i should say the former guy. people get mad why do you keep calling him the president, well, he was the president. all right, sir, i'll see you. i've got a razor in my office for you if that is indeed hair and not a smudge. you need it more than i do. >> d. lemon. you're beautiful. you look even better on your new show. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. excuse me. this is don lemon tonight. i know it was going to happen once. 35 republicans voted to stand up for the truth tonight. we were just talking about it. and maybe the most shocking part these days that's what passes for a lot of republicans, like 35 that means a lot. so you see their names. i'm going to put them up. going to scroll them up right on the screen for you. there there are. in doing so they went against their spineless leaders who are so afraid of a president who was voted out of office six months
ago they don't even want to investigate the insurrection that could have killed them. could have killed them, don't want to investigate it. gop sources are telling cnn that 35 republican yes votes represents, quote, a huge bipartisan shift in today's world. but that means 175 republicans buried their heads in the sand and voted against the commission. so i want you to think about this. the vote took place in the very same building tat the rioters stormed, hunting for lawmakers. and 175 of them still couldn't muster up the courage to do what they have to do, to do what they know is right. democrat tim ryan absolutely unloading on those republicans tonight. >> we have people scaling the capitol hitting the capitol police with lead pipes across the head and we can't get bipartisanship. what else has to happen in this
country? cops. this is a slap in the face to every rank and file cop in the united states. we need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality, and you ain't one of them. >> i like his emotion and his rage. there should be more of it. there should be more of it. and there should be more of it on the republican side. there should be republicans speaking just as he is or as he did. with as much rage, outrage -- as much outrage as he spoke. you know, i said it before reality versus unreality, fact versus fiction, truth versus lies. and tonight we saw the republican party come down on the side of lies with the exception of 35 republicans who had the courage to do the right thing. next stop, the senate. and that's where mitch mcconnell is already doing everything that he can to kill the january 6th commission. going on the record against the bill hours before it was passed by the house. >> it's not at all clear what
new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and congress. >> wow. yeah, y'all do remember benghazi right? these people are just, i mean, they don't care. they just make up stuff just to fit whatever situation that is -- that makes them look better. that's what they keep doing. benghazi, investigate, investigate, investigate. let's investigate, let's investigate, hold another investigation. remember trey gowdy? many of those same people were in the senate then and in congress and wanted to reg then. don't want to investigate this. what happened in their own house. so you're against the commission because you don't know what new
facts the investigation will uncover. isn't that how investigations work? how are investigations supposed to work? come on, mitch mcconnell. now, let's remember when mitch mcconnell's hypocrisy, when it was on full display when he said this after he voted to acquit the former president who incited the insurrection. here it is. >> there's no question, none, that president trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. no question about it. the people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the
growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth. >> that was the other -- that was the mitch mcconnell alter ego that day. that as a source tells us -- is telling cnn that kevin mccarthy pulled out all stops calling members he heard were supporting the commission. asked if he was worried about being subpoenaed, mccarthy said i have no concern about that. but that's somebody playing politics with it, not willing to get to the core of what happened. so let's break down that statement, okay? i had no concern about that. he does. that's somebody playing politics
with it. that's you. not wanting to get to the core of what happened. you don't. see how that works? y'all think people are really stupid. that's why i have to get here every night and you really think people are dumb? and if you're falling for that -- see how they lie and deny but then the truth comes out if you just look for it. all you have to do is just look for the truth and it comes out. that is why we need a commission to investigate what happened on january 6th. the truth comes out if you just look for it. i know. don lemon -- i can hear you now.
i'm just spitting facts, logic. it's that easy. no matter how many republicans like kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell are willing to sell their souls and the soul of their party no matter how hard they try to sweep it all under the rug, let's remember exactly who they're selling their souls for, okay? a disgraced -- you know this part by heart, right? i say it every night. a disgraced twice impeached one-term former president. sometimes i add insurrection inspiring in there, but you should know the drill by now. who lost the house? the senate and the white house. whose family business is under investigation by new york's attorney general and manhattan's district attorney? an investigation that has gone from criminal to civil. who is himself under investigation in fulton county, georgia, for a phone call where he pushed georgia's secretary of state to, quote, find votes to overturn the election results.
who is being sued for defamation by two women. carol and former apprentice contestant who alleges he sexually assaulted her in 2007. being sued by his niece mary trump alleging he, his sister and late brother committed fraud to keep her from getting her fair share of the estate of trump's father. who botched the response in the worst pandemic in 100 years, a pandemic that has killed 580,000 americans. who suggested a powerful light or a disinfectant could kill the virus even though he knew it was airborne and didn't tell americans. who courted white supremacists over and over and over. who ran in the first place on the birther racist lie that barack obama was not born in
this country. who repeatedly tried to divide us on race. who incited an insurrection on one of the darkest days in american history. his supporters rioting in an attempt to overturn the foundation of our democracy, our free and fair election. and let's remember his republican enablers are trying to rewrite the history of that terrible day still, comparing bloodthirsty rioters to tourists, calling them peaceful patriots and trying to head off the january 6 commission before it's even begun. members of the capitol police telling cnn a group of 30 to 50 officers, true american heroes who risk their lives to protect our democracy, sending a scathing letter to congress. quote, it is inconceivable that some of the members we protect would down-play the events of january 6th. member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of uscp.
it is a privileged assumption for members to have the point of view it wasn't that bad. that privilege exists because of brave men and women of the uscp protected you, the members. republican congressman ed upton, one of the 35 republicans who voted for the commission saying this. >> if it had not been for the brave capitol and metropolitan police men and women that day who knows how many of our heads would have been swinging on those gallows that were constructed on the east front of the capitol. >> there it is. you can see it now, but we all saw it on that day, the gallows with our own eyes. let's remember exactly what happened that day. let's remember the violent -- the violent trump supporters going to beat police officers, the officers who are trying to defend our capitol. and there's new evidence tonight
of exactly how terrible that attack was. the fbi releasing new videos showing the rioters assaulting police, videos that like so many we've seen are disturbing to watch. this one showing a suspect allegedly attempting to ripoff an officer's gas mask, then picking up a tactical baton and hitting officers with it . >> okay, so there you go. can you please roll that again while i read this please just so you know? this is from the fbi releasing new video.
this is for the peaceful tourists who were there. showing the suspect allegedly attempting to rip off an officer's gas mask and then picking up a tactical baton and hitting officers with it. those were the peaceful patriots, right, that some of our lawmakers talked about. the tourists. have you been on a tour like that? if you know send it to me. i want to see it. did you survive? that's the truth of those republican liars and deniers are trying to hide. those are the brutal attackers they compared to tourists and called peaceful protesters. and to keep that lie going they'll do anything and everything in their power to stop the january 6 commission, to whitewash the truth. that's what all but a handful of republicans, 35 of them stand for. while the president of the united states, joe biden, stands for an optimistic view of
america. >> the world is changing. we're at a significant inflection point in world history. and our country and the world, the united states of america has always been -- in times of great change. we've been able to consistently review ourselves and time and again we've proven there's not a single thing we cannot do as a nation when we do it together. and i mean that, not a single solitary thing. >> that's the choice america faces tonight. renewing the nation, standing for truth or standing for a big old, whopper lie. whitewashing one of the darkest days in our history. like i said, the truth comes out if you just look for it.
and now the battle over the january 6 commission moves to the senate. will more senate republicans stand up for the truth after today's vote? >> really it's essential we don't move past this without that sense of accountability, if we just try to whitewash it, if we try to forget what happened that day, we're guaranteed to see a repeat in additional political violence. find amex offers to save on the brands you love. one of the many things you can expect when you're with amex. she thought that squirrel on your brand-new at screen tv was an actual squirrel... leave it. purchase protection for what you didn't see coming one of the many things you can expect when you're with amex.
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tonight the house voting to create an independent commission to investigate the january 6th insurrection at the capitol. 35 republicans voting yes with democrats, breaking with kevin mccarthy who called on his members to vote against it. the legislation now goes to the senate are republican leader mitch mcconnell opposes it. i want to bring in cnn's chief correspondent dana bash and charlie dent, a former republican congressman. good evening to both of you. charlie, you won't mind i'll start with dana. she's one of my favorite people in the world. hi, dana, good to see you. let's talk about this stuff. 35 house republicans broke with mccarthy even after he made these calls to twist arms. that's according to our jamie
againgle. is this a rebuke of his leadership? >> certainly. but he made it so because the week started with the republican leadership in the house saying this is a vote of your conscience, we're not going to tell you how to vote, change very rapidly to kevin mccarthy saying publicly he was opposed to it, privately with congressman dent's former colleagues telling them he was opposed to it and why. and then even though it was under the radar i too am told he and other member of the republican leadership were twisting arms big time to try to keep that 35 number down. and because he put his leadership on the line with this, it is -- it can be seen as in no other way than a rebuke to his leadership with 35 members of the caucus saying, now, we're going to vote for the truth and we're going to vote to get the truth out and not vote to suppress that because that's what the former president wants.
and there are people worried about subpoenas and perhaps kevin mccarthy is one of them. although he says that's not what's driving us. >> take us to the senate, if you will. you know the folks up there and how this works very well. does this create any momentum or add any pressure on senate republicans despite mcconnell opposing it? democrats need what 10 gop votes? >> yeah, don, i do think it provides for some pressure on the senate because if you look at the 35 votes they were geographicy dispersed, members from utah, idaho, wyoming, oklahoma, the deep south, arkansas. you had a broad number of members voting for this. i think it puts pressure on the senate. the fact mcconnell has come out against it, it certainly puts his finger heavily on the scale against, but there were seven impeachment votes in the senate, removal votes and they need to pick up three more, so i think
it's a bit of a heavy lift in the senate, but it can happen. even if this fails in the senate, majority leader steny hoyer says he's going to create a select committee, so they're not going to be able to escape investigation. they're better off with an independent commission in my view. >> let me ask you because you saw -- i don't know if you saw gary tuchman's story on the capitol. he went down to the district of the congressman with gop lawmaker clyde who said it was tourists, charlie. he said not one thought it was a normal tourist event on capitol hill. so i'm wondering if that -- if maybe at this point that some of at least the congressmen are feeling or understanding their constituents aren't going along with this and they may have to vote for a commission.
>> it's clear to me, don, i think every member, nearly every member in the house republican conference understands donald trump lost the election. it's sad so few are willing to admit it publicly. but for that one member to stand up there and suggest that was some kind of a tourist day for these folks is just beyond absurd. i mean, it's laughable. it's a clownish statement. and to me it seems that a lot of these members, thoughtful members like french hill from arkansas and mike simpson from idaho representing conservative areas, they're voting for a commission. it's clear their constituents want it. it's clear they believe it's the right thing to do, and they're willing to suffer the consequences whatever they are. so if i'm a senator i've got to be thinking hard about that. if i'm a senator from idaho or arkansas and some of these other senators. >> on the other hand some republicans are telling cnn that this january 6 investigation could hurt their mid-term
message. is that persuasive when we're talking about an attack on our democracy and they haven't had a message other than, you know, a pro-trump one? >> it is persuasive if the whole reason for the action or inaction amongst so many republicans right now is about their own -- keeping their own power and even advancing their own power because they're in the minority right now in the senate and house. so much of it is about trying to retake control of the senate, retake control of the house. kevin mccarthy wants to be speaker of the house. and they believe especially in the house the path to do that goes right through donald trump. because -- not so much because they think he will help some of these members who were in districts like congressman dent was in, moderate sort of more
swingy districts, but because he could hurt. because he could put his thumben the scale for a very conservative member who could beat an incumbent or beat somebody in an open seat in a primary, and that means that that seat goes to the democrats. so that is -- it's very, very specific calculus but doesn't speak to the bigger question, don, the right question which you're posing, which is who cares about that? what everyone should care about as americans never mind if you're a politician or not is how did this happen? how was the united states capitol attacked? and the fact the people who were under attack so many of them aren't voting to form a commission to get the answer to that in as much of a bipartisan way as possible really speaks to how dire the divide is right now. >> yeah. the longer this goes on, i think they're making a terrible
miscalculation. i think they believe the former president actually has more power than he has and that he will have in the future especially come 2024. or 2022 as a matter of fact. charlie, this is the second time in a few weeks where the focus has been all over how much the gop is in disarray. the white house is firmly focused on policy. how much of that connects with the people at home right now? >> oh, well, i think right now the problem for the gop is that, you know, they're really not that focused on policy. they've been focused on everything but policy. now a few in the senate certainly more focused on infrastructure. this is a big problem. the fact it's been exposed now, the conference in the house anyway is really fractured. you look at a guy like john -- good, thoughtful member, negotiates a fair deal on the commission only to have his legs
taken out from under him by his own leadership. that sends a terrible signal to members that the leadership wants to empower you to go out there and do your job and they're expecting a predetermined outcome at the same time. you can't have both, and i think it has a chilling effect on a lot of these members who are trying to work in good faith, to have their leaders work against them. so they're not focused on policy, sadly that the moment. they're focused on all these other things and loyalty to a president -- a former president who may be indicted. and then what, don? what do they do if donald trump gets indicted? they're still going to continue with this trump loyalty? at some point you have to cut bait. >> well, i'm sure he'll use it as a badge of honor, dana. where's the lie? >> yeah. you know, how many different ways can he claim witch hunt? >> yeah, yeah. thank you both. charlie, you're one of my favorite people, too. dana is dana. >> you're both my favorites.
>> i'll see you guys later. thank you so much. republicans doing everything they can to turn a blind eye to reality. can they even handle the truth? dan rather, well he doesn't think so and he joins me. he's next. one of my favorite people, too. did you know prilosec otc can stop frequent heartburn before it begins? prilosec otc uses a unique delayed-release formula that works to turn down acid production, blocking heartburn at the source. with just one pill a day, you get 24-hour heartburn protection. take the prilosec otc two-week challenge.
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it's not clear tonight when senate majority leader chuck schumer will schedule a vote on the house bill to create a january 6th commission. but we already know that minority leader mitch mcconnell opposes it and other gop senators may fall in line. let's discuss now with veteran journalist dan rather, the author of "the steady newsletter" on stackable.com. mr. rather, always an honor and pleasure, sir. >> thank you very much for having me, don. >> yes, of course. a majority of house republicans voted against a commission, and it may get killed altogether by republicans when it goes to the senate. now, you posed this question.
can republicans handle the truth? we posed that question last night, too. doesn't seem like it, does it? >> no. there's nothing in their recent record covering the last four years that would indicate that they can handle the truth. furthermore, they seem to believe if they tell a big lie often enough and engage in the massive cover-up, that enough people will either believe what they're saying if they say it often enough or that people will just sort of lose interest as time goes by. i think it's critical, don, to see what this is about. and with the public at large would say january 6, it's beginning to fade-in some peoples memories just what this was. let's keep in mind this was a riot, an insurrection that was in my opinion a kind of attempted coup. it left five dead, 140 capitol
police injured. it suspended the electoral college count confirming biden's election. that's what it was about. this was an armed insurrectionist mob, got inside the capitol and actually stopped the electoral college count. and by the way, was threatening the life of the then vice president of the united states. this makes it one of the most damaging days in the peacetime history of our country. we can't lose sight of that. and you say can we, the people, handle the truth and then can the republicans handle the truth? frankly, a lot of this is cynical. overwhelmingly republicans know what the truth is, but they've decided to follow this autocrat who's sulking away down in florida, that other guy. and the cult that he has got going his way so in a shameless
fashion. their design is we keep saying the big lie often enough and then we have this massive cover-up, and this will just fade away. i don't think in the minds of most people and the public it's going to fade away. but mitch mcconnell holds a lot of power in the senate. someone used the phrase earlier on your program i think it's a very heavy lift to believe the senator is going to prove making a commission. but that doesn't mean the cover-up necessarily succeeded, because the democrats let us remember they control both houses of the congress up there now. they can open congressional hearings that can get to the bottom of a lot of it. that's not as good as a commission, but if they don't get a commission that's the next best thing. >> let's look at this. i mean, if you're a glass half full person and if you're looking for the truth, still i mean it's not a lot. but in this day and age it's a lot i think. there's still 35 republicans who broke away from leadership and what the former president wanted and voted to fully investigate
the mob on the capitol. the mob that he incited on the capitol. so that's not a small number given that there's been, you know, an ongoing purge within the gop, no? >> no, i agree it's not a small number. and it could be -- it could be an indication that things are beginning to turn just a little bit. i agree it's not a small number of 35 republicans in the house vote for the commission. and it's entirely possible that we could have what we do not expect happen in the senate. again, i think it's odds against. but donald trump is in charge of his party. and he is -- whether he does it directly or indirectly he's threatening every member of the party, every congressional seat holder, senate and house of representatives. if they don't engage in the big lie and cover-up, he'll take them on in the next primary.
now, it requires some profiles in courage on the part of the republicans, and i tip my hat to the 35 republicans in the house who voted for the commission today. the other republicans have to ask themselves and answer the question -- speaking of can you handle the truth. they put their own personal ambitions and their party ahead of their country. there are people who would call that cowardice. no one has done it publicly so far as i know, but they run the risk of that being how history judges them. don, i do think this has a long way to go yet. and even if the commission is not approved, which is still odds against it won't be approved, it's not going to be approved, there's a lot the democrats can do. but here's one thing the republicans and donald trump are betting on. they believe that in the end if the democrats play a little soft. that the democrats don't really have the heart, don't really have the gut to press this as
hard as they might. i think we're about to find out whether they're right in that assumption or not. >> yeah, i posed that question last night. if democrats really realized what they were up against with this whole voter suppression, with the whole trying to whitewash the insurrection and so on. let me ask you this, mr. rather. do you think this country can function without a second functioning -- can it operate without a second functioning party? because it doesn't appear there is a second functioning party. at least one party doesn't believe in reality. >> you know, don, i hesitate because i'm just not sure. as you and i have discussed many times before. i hope i'm pretty good about reporting what has happened or what is happening. when it comes to predicting it's very hard to say. i think the country really needs two functioning political parties.
and without a two-party system, at least a two-party system quite honestly i would consider it a very dangerous time. that's the reason i keep saying this is perilous time because if the republican party has been taken over almost completely by donald trump. and the party that donald trump leads, donald trump himself doesn't believe in reality. it doesn't believe in the truth. it can't handle the truth, and it thinks as long as it engages and keeps telling lies over and over and runs a very sophisticated cover-up, that they can get through this. and by the way, don, if i may a number of people have asked what i think to be one of the very core questions about this whole january 6th thing is we still don't know why it took so long for the national guard to come in. the capitol had been breached, an armed mob was stopping the electoral college. and it took what two hour for
the national guard to move. that's a big question mark. and behind that is where was president trump when that was happening? with whom was he talking if anybody? i would say those are two questions all can keep driving home because they're right at the core of what i call the big lie and the big cover-up. >> dan rather, always a pleasure, sir. take care i'll see you soon. body cam video of the arrest of a black motorest in louisiana two years ago really raising some questions. it shows ronald green saying he was scared before being tased, dragged and kicked. we're going to go through what happened next. e united states pe is changing with it. with e-commerce that runs at the speed of now. next day and two-day shipping nationwide, and returns right from the doorstep. it's a whole new world out there. let's not keep it waiting.
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body cam video which is now being seen by the public for the first time. a warning, it is disturbing to watch. here's cnn's ryan young. >> i'm scared. >> reporter: terrifying pleas from ronaldgr greene after a high-speed chase led to deadly confrontation with louisiana police just outside the city of monroe in may 2019. in body camera video obtained by the associated press troopers can be seen repeatedly punching greene after dragging him out of his vehicle. troopers tased greene multiple times while he's face down on the ground as they attempt to handcuff him. another trooper can be seen kicking greene. the associated press released three segments of the original video, which it says is 46 minutes long. only two of the video clips have audio. cnn has neither reviewed or
obtained the original video, and it's unclear what occurred before or in between the video clips. the video is being seen by the public for the first time. but the incident took place two years ago. the body cam footage is shocking considering the way the encounter was described in louisiana state police initial report in 2019 which says troopers attempted to pull greene over for an unspecified traffic violation that ended when greene crashed his vehicle. the report also says, quote, greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and struggled with troopers. greene died on the way to the hospital the report said. at no time of the video can troopers be seen trying to render any medical aid to greene who according to the associated press was face down and moaning for more than 9 minutes. cnn has reached out to the attorneys for the officers for comment. an attorney for the greene family spoke to cnn. >> it's not only what you're
seeing but the sound that go with it. you can hear him screaming and writhing in pain as he says i'm your brother, please stop. i'm sorry, i was just scared. >> reporter: the department of justice investigating the incident and in a statement to cnn the louisiana state police says the premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case was not authorized and was not obtained through official sources. lsp is confident in the judicial system in fair review of this incident and continues to offer our full cooperation. unauthorized release of evidence undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome for the greene family. lsmp employees and the community. we are unable to provide any further information at this time. greene's mother tells nbc she thinks the louisiana state police murdered her son. >> they beat him with the purpose of letting him just die. >> reporter: ryan young, cnn, atlanta. >> ryan, thank you very much. greene's family filed a federal
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