tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN December 15, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PST
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. it is major breaking news, unprecedented. the house voting right now on whether to refer mark meadows to the doj for criminal contempt of congress for defying the subpoena from the january 6th committee. that is our breaking news as well as this. there is a spike in the coronavirus cases hitting cornell university especially hard. the school shutting down its campus after reporting more than
900 coronavirus cases among the student body in just the past week. we're going to bring that to you a little later on in this program. i want to get democratic congressman jason crow of colorado. he has voted. thank you for joining us now. you just cast your vote to hold one of your former colleagues in contempt. how is this sitting with you tonight? do you think it's going to help get to the bottom of what happened on january 6th? >> hi, don. good to be with you. first of all, i didn't want to have to take this vote. nobody should be happy about the fact that we've had to take these votes to hold people in criminal contempt or recommend criminal contempt proceedings to the doj because what it shows is people aren't keeping their oath. what it shows is they're turning their back on democracy and the congress has to step in and hold them accountable. it also shows that our system is working and that the house of representatives is not willing to sit there and let people turn their back on the rule of law,
to say that the congress doesn't matter. i mean, we have equal branches. that is the beauty of our system. and for that to work, congress has to assert its authority and has to make sure that people are following the law. >> where do you see this as going? what is the sentiment on the floor even from house republicans? >> well, i'm not going to purport to get into the mind of my republican colleagues here. certainly they should be overwhelmingly voting in favor of this. they're not. because this is an issue of rule of law. this is an issue of democratic norms and traditions. this is an issue of asserting the power of congress, of which they are a member. so i would think that any member of congress would want to do their individual duty to assert the power of congress and make sure that it is a co-equal branch of the executive as our system is designed under the constitution. they unfortunately are not doing that. >> we have learned so much new evidence, congressman, coming out within the last 24, 48 hours
or so, these damning text messages that mark meadows received from sitting members of congress. there was one about plans to have states change electoral votes and even one after the attacks apologizing for not being able to overturn the election. i mean this is coming from your own colleagues. how do you even stomach that? >> it's not easy. i can tell you that. it is hard. you know, the level of disregard for our democracy, the level of disregard for the constitution is frankly pretty stunning at times. but, you know, i have my duty. that is clear to me. i rose my right hand, you know, when i first enlisted in the military, when i became an officer. i pledged to uphold the constitution, to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. i spent the first part of my life and my career in public service in the military,
addressing foreign threats. and now as a member of congress, i find myself actually addressing domestic threats. so i will do what i need to do, and we will fight for our constitution. we'll fight for our democracy, and i won't stop. >> over on the senate side, mitch mcconnell was speaking tonight, the senate minority leader. this is what he said about those lawmakers. watch. >> i do think we're all watching, as you are, what is unfolding on the house side, and it will be interesting to reveal all the participants who were involved. >> the names are going to come out. so will these lawmakers be held accountable, you think? >> well, i hope so. i mean as we said after january 6th that we will find the truth, seek the truth, and hold folks accountable. we have certain tools at our disposal in congress and the house of representatives, but there are other tools that the department of justice has to
leverage as well. we're going to encourage that if there are violations of law, that people are held accountable regardless of their status. you know, we are a democracy. there is no man or woman who is above or below the law. we don't have kings. we don't have queens. we have everybody who is equal in the eyes of the law. and regardless of their position, they should be held accountable if they violated the law. >> we are watching now sheila jackson lee presiding. i think the vote is done. it appears to be on party lines except for, i would imagine is -- >> the unfinished business is a vote on passage of h.r. 5655 on which the yaeas and nays. >> a bill to establish in the department of state to monitor and combat islamaphobia and for other purposes. >> the question is on the passage of the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device.
what purpose is the gentleman from tennessee rise. >> okay. hang on one second. let me get back to the congressman before we get to ryan. congressman, you still there? >> i am. >> congressman, this is 5655. tell us what's going on. you're very familiar with this. what's happening? >> yeah. this is the islamaphobia bill. this is a bill to make it really clear that we're not going to stand up for bigoted language, that we're not going to tolerate racist language, that people that are going to say these things and try to attack communities, like the communities i represent, for example. i represent one of the most diverse districts in the nation, the most diverse district in colorado and a large muslim population. we're going to send a very clear message to america that we stand behind our muslim community, our muslim neighbors and brothers and sisters. listen, these are people i fought along with when i joined the military, people that i fought with that served this
nation came from all races, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions. that's america, and we're going to send a very strong message that we will make sure we're supporting everybody in america. >> just to be clear, you have voted on the mark meadows bill, correct? >> that's right. that was the vote before this one to hold mark meadows in contempt of congress. >> so what you heard there from sheila jackson lee was another. thank you very much. we may be getting back to you but i want to get to my colleague on the hill now. ryan nobles, our congressional correspondent. ryan, it is official, the house is voting to hold one of its members in criminal contempt. give us the latest on this. >> reporter: that's exactly right, don. this played out just as we predicted at the beginning of your program at 10:00. the house has voted to report out a criminal contempt referral for the former white house chief of staff and a former member of congress, mark meadows. the final vote ended up being 222-208. there were only two republicans that voted yes, liz cheney of
wyoming, and adam kinzinger of illinois. they're the only two republicans that also sit on the january 6th select committee. every single other republican voted no against allowing the congress to enforce its subpoena laws, which gives the congress the authority to call someone before them to answer questions if it's a matter that they believe has a legislative purpose. and the committee believes that their work in investigating january 6th is a key legislative purpose that will ultimately result in changes to the way congress does business. and then, you know, to that end, what other information they find out about the attacks that happened on january 6th. so this isn't a surprise, don. of course the big question is how long will it take the department of justice to deliberate whether or not they will prosecute this case? what we saw play out here today is essentially a recommendation. they write up a report. they give all the evidence and information they have to say that they believe that an individual has, you know, ignored the rules of congress
and not answered a subpoena correctly. it's up to prosecutors in the d.c. u.s. attorney's office to determine whether or not that's a prosecutable offense. they thought that about steve bannon, and the situation's a little bit different with mark meadows because he was working in the executive branch at the time in question. but the committee believes that there's enough evidence there that the department of justice should move forward and prosecute this case. it will then go to trial, and mark meadows could face jail time depending on how this all plays out, don. >> i'm just looking, ryan. the seven republicans who voted, this one was strictly along party lines except for as predicted, liz cheney and adam kinzinger. there were several republicans who voted for the contempt resolution on steve bannon. they didn't do it this time. what's the reasoning here? what's going on? >> reporter: i think there have been a lot of republicans who you have -- i shouldn't say a lot. there's a handful of republicans that we've seen from time to time that have crossed party lines for these issues related
to january 6th, either to vote in favor of the impeachment of the former president donald trump, who have voted to form that independent commission that would allow for an independent group to investigate january 6th. but as we've seen this process go along, you've seen fewer and fewer republicans willing to take that step of kind of sticking their necks out against the party's base to, you know, take these tough votes as it relates to anything having to do with donald trump. that's essentially what it comes down to. there are some republicans, you think of john cackle who voted to impeach donald trump twice, who was one of the architects of the independent commission, but has been very critical of this select committee, who believes it's too partisan. each and every republican that chooses to vote no, they have their own reasons for it. some say it's too partisan. some say they don't believe the subpoena power
is correct. i think of nancy mace of south carolina, for instance.
>> right. >> reporter: she was one of those republicans who voted in favor of the bannon contempt referral and she said it was expressly because she was concerned about congress maintaining that subpoena authority. she chose not to do that tonight. we don't know the exact reason why. you know, a lot of these republicans in this trump era have found themselves in very difficult positions, especially if they hope to seek re-election and have to go through a very tough primary where somebody like donald trump could just go pick somebody out of the blue and say that he endorses that candidate and has them run against them. >> representative jamie herrera butler -- these are the folks who voted for. nancy mace, fred upton, john katko, anthony gonzalez of ohio. but they didn't vote for this meadows resolution. ryan nobles following the breaking news for us up on capitol hill. we'll get back to ryan if we need to get more information. ryan, thank you
very much. the author of the gatekeepers, how the white house chief of
staff define every presidency is here. thank you, sir. we just got that breaking news. good evening to you. mark meadows becoming the first white house chief of staff to face criminal contempt charges since watergate, we should say. he started out cooperating. what happened? how did it come to this? >> you know, it's really an historic moment. i mean the first time in almost 200 years. but it's a day of reckoning that mark meadows richly deserves. you know, there oozed to be stiff competition, don, for the worst chief of staff in history. no longer. meadows owns that title by a country mile, and it's almost as if not content with having the title of worst chief, he wants to demonstrate that he's the dumbest chief. and let's just count the ways. i mean, number one, he's relying on this specious argument of
privilege, which has to yield to evidence of a criminal conspiracy and an attempt to overthrow the government as liz cheney has pointed out. number two, he is, by the way, has already delivered thousands of pages of documents and emails to the committee while claiming the same privilege. >> and has written a book. >> and, by the way, has just released a book. so you really have to wonder how he -- you know, how he could have handled this any more ineptly than he has. and so here he is, and watching that, you really have to wonder how someone who was once a member of that body could throw away not only his reputation but maybe even his freedom ultimately in the service of somebody like donald trump. >> but one must ask -- you said all of those things, right? what kind of strategy is this? is this a strategy? is he trying to have it both
ways? like, yeah, i'm cooperating, so therefore you shouldn't hold me in contempt. i should not face any consequences for this. but also, hey, trump and trump supporters, look. i'm defying. >> well, look, if there's a strategy here, it's winston churchill would say it's exceedingly well disguised. i don't see any strategy here other than possibly bannon panicking when he discovered that trump wasn't as excited about his book as he was. i think he simply went into retreat. so i don't think he has a strategy that can possibly work here. as i say, i think he'll wind up probably being prosecuted by doj. >> you think he will? >> i think the odds are that he will because, again, i don't think the bridgprivilege that h citing here can possibly work when you're -- you know, the supreme court decided this back in 1974 by a vote of 8-0 that
privilege has to yield when there's evidence of a possible crime. >> mark meadows was the former president's fourth chief of staff. >> that's right. >> but he is said to be the chief of staff that trump always wanted. >> no question about it. he took sycophantsy, and he made it an art form. dwight hieisenhower had a chieff staff of staff named sherman adams. he called him the abominable no-man. in my mind, mark meadows is the abominable yes-man. there was never a scheme that meadows wasn't happy to take for the commander in chief or even become implicit in. rather than being the gatekeeper, he was the guy who flung the gate open to this star wars bar cast of conspiracy theorists and crack pots like
sidney powell and the others. and of course now we're do discovering he's up to his neck in the plot to destroy democracy. >> thatnk you. it's good to see you. >> good to be back. >> this is our breaking news. the house voting tonight to refer mark meadows to the doj for contempt of congress. that amid new revelations about who was texting whom on january 6th. the relief you need. the cash you want.
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almost no republicans voting to hold mark meadows in contempt. that is after these revealing, stunning text messages from lawmakers to meadows on january 6th. is the gop's embrace of a coup attempt been even -- i mean it's never been more clear, i don't think. what do you think, ana navarro? >> i think this entire thing is just developing is so incredibly sad. we are coming to the one-year anniversary of january 6th. i think it's so important that we don't forget what we saw. as i heard you say earlier, we all remember where we were when the capitol was getting breached. you know, i think it's sad that we knew there were going to be no republicans other than liz cheney and adam kinzinger. there is now so much evidence. we have seen released this week so much more evidence that points to just how involved staff, congresspeople, the white house, trump advisers, trump himself were on what happened on
january 6th. you know, we focus a lot on the fact that all but two republicans voted against this tonight. i really want to focus on the pride i feel as a republican woman for liz cheney because adam kinzinger, who i love and i respect, is retiring. liz cheney is running for re-election in a state that donald trump won. but she's got so much backbone, so much principle, so much conviction, she's got so much just, you know, patriotism. i'm thinking of a word that won't get -- >> fortitude. >> yes, she does. i am in such admiration, deep admiration of her because you can disagree with her on policy all you want. but it is hard right now not to admire -- >> i was having that same conversation today about liz cheney. i said, look, people can say what they want about liz cheney.
she's still a republican. she still votes as a conservative, but she is principled on this particular matter. talking about people who are not principled, it is mark meadows and then also kevin mccarthy because as we understand, the former president is upset both by those two, one, because of what meadows put in his book, and the other thing because he's blaming kevin mccarthy for all of the damning information that is coming out of this committee. you suck up to trump, and this is what happens. this is what you get, keith? >> i don't know how many times people need to know this or hear this but donald trump doesn't care about anybody but donald trump. he doesn't care about the country. he doesn't care if the country falls apart. he doesn't care if the capitol is attacked. he doesn't care about the republican party. he doesn't care about his own vice president. and he clearly doesn't even care about his own son, his own family. his own son, don junior, was trying to send text messages to him in the midst of the insurrection, and donald trump wouldn't respond. so don junior had to go to mark meadows. so this is a man who has shown
himself to be completely oblivious to all sorts of norms of political behavior, all because everyone is in service of this big lie that donald trump still won the election. that was over a year ago. he lost the election by 7 million votes and there's still a year later, still perpetuating that lie. i think this is a grotesque perversion of masculinity by these tough-talking republicans, that they are willing to attack democrats but they won't stand up to an autocrat who is basically a geriatric guy on a golf course in mar-a-lago, simply because he's a bully. they won't stand up to him. they won't even defend people in the united states congress under attack. how do you call yourself a patriot when you won't stand up and defend your own colleagues when they're under attack? >> the fact that so many people in congress were sending texts to mark meadows and now are
voting, are pretending as if nothing happened on january 6th. the fact that they made such hay about what happened with hillary clinton and her emails, but they were all communicating through private ways, through signals and other encrypted ways. the fact that they were so righteous about conflicts of interest and journalistic conflicts of interest, but they were all having journalistic conflicts of interest, and there has not been a peep out of a single one of them. and there's going to be zero consequence out of it. the level of hypocrisy, and as you say, by the way, to donald trump's defense, i'm not sure i find fault in not responding to donald trump jr. >> wait. let me put up one of these texts. >> but it explains a lot. >> i get the shade you're throwing right here. this is mark meadows, the text coming out today. it's an aggressive strategy. why can't the state of georgia, north carolina, season, and other "r"-controlled statehouses
declare this is b.s. and just send our own electors to vote and have it go to scotus? it's clearly lawmakers in cahoots trying to overturn the election. what kind of consequence? these are texts to meadows from the committee today. what do you think? >> i think it's -- were those texts today? >> no, no. the committee revealed them today. >> revealed them today. >> they were texts happening during the time to mark meadows. >> right. and then they pretend that it was tourists going around the capitol. then they pretend that it wasn't a concerted effort that involved the white house, that involved people in congress, that involved trump advisers, that involved donors, that involved all sorts of people conglomerating folks at the willard hotel and war room to then go out and do what happened on january 6th, which cost lives. >> last word, please. >> they all knew. they still know. there's another hypocrisy about
the hillary clinton thing. she testified. she testified to congress for 11 hours. mark meadows won't even testify. mark meadows was on the house foreign affairs committee when hillary clinton came to testify to that committee about benghazi, and now he won't testify about an attack on the united states capitol. where is the consistency? >> is that called hypocrisy? >> i got other words i can ouse but i don't want to get you fined. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. we've got more breaking news tonight. new york city is about to get its first female police commissioner. mayor keechant sewell chosen to lead the nation's largest police department. adams releasing a statement saying in part that keechant sewell is a proven crime fighter with the experience and the emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety new yorkers need and the justice they deserve. a formal announcement will be made tomorrow morning. so there you go. history in the making.
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so cornell university in central new york state shutting down its campus after reporting more than 900 coronavirus cases among the student body in just the past week. the university says a very high percentage of the cases are the omicron variant, infecting fully vaccinated students. i want to bring in the public health director of tompkins county, new york. thank you for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> so the school requirement states that all students be
vaccinated by december 15th, tomorrow. did this surge of over 900 cases at cornell university come as a surprise to you? >> i think we certainly expected additional cases as we moved through the holiday season, and we've begun to relax public health guidance over the last several months. but certainly the volume of cases was something that came a bit unexpected. >> the university declared a covid-19 omicron red alert. please tell me what that means, sir. >> so the university made decisions about moving their finals, their remaining finals to remote status, and they've canceled some on-campus events. really that was driven by a sampling of test results from the students that were screened and had the unique identifier related to omicron that will now be fully sequenced. we do believe a large portion of these student cases will ultimately result as the omicron variant. >> okay. so let me read part of the
statement that cornell released. it says, cornell's extensive surveillance testing yesterday uncovered the likely early and rapid spread of the omicron variant of sars-cov-2 among our student population. while preliminary initial screening results indicate that the variant now accounts for a very high percentage of our positive covid-19 cases, virtually every case of the omicron variant to date has been found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot. so what do you say here? has there been severe illness in any of the students? >> so among the student population throughout the pandemic, we have not seen severe illness. that certainly has continued. you know, i think one of the things that we're focusing on in our community while case counts are important is really the severity of illness and what our hospitalization numbers look like. and even with increasing numbers since the end of june, our hospitalizations have remained
relatively low, and we're hoping that that trend will continue even as we identify the omicron variant in our community. >> these are college kids, frank. they're part of the larger community there. how likely is this to have spread outside the cornell community? >> yeah. the cornell students are part of our community, and certainly when we see cases like this within their populations, we do think right now it is somewhat contained to them. but as you said, they are certainly part of our community, and we'll be looking at and sequencing all of the positive results in tompkins county. as soon as we know more that, we'll certainly alert our community. we're still recommending the same thing even with the omicron variant. get vaccinated. get boosted. wear a mask indoors and follow the other public health guidance we've been talking about for quite some time now. >> thank you so much. we appreciate you joining us. pro sports being hit hard by a spike in covid cases as well. a source telling cnn that 28 nfl
players tested positive today. that's on top of 37 players testing positive yesterday. the nhl postponing their ninth game this season because of multiple players testing positive, and they're not alone. the nba also postponing games. players on multiple teams sidelined including giannis anteto antetokounmpo. a neurosurgery resident at harvard massachusetts general hospital and a former nfl player joins me now. thank you, sir. i appreciate you joining us. how are you doing? >> doing well. thank you. >> good to see you. why are we seeing this spike in cases in professional sports leagues? what is going on? >> you know, i think it's a relaxation of some of the protocols that were in place last year where players and team personnel, other people who had close contact with players were under strict guidelines to wear masks and have proper hand
hygiene, social distance. now that the vaccine has come out, a lot of players and teams believe it's the end-all, be-all and have not kept upublic safet we're always speaking about. i think that's an issue. i also think this omicron variant and the delta variant are still out there. players are being exposed when they travel to different states to play different games. when i played professional football, you had family members in and out of your house who are exposed to different things in the community and don't submit themselves to the same protocols that you do in the locker room. i'm hoping that the nfl, nba keep players safety as a premium. >> nba star players like giannis antetokounmpo -- i can never get that name right. sorry about that. now on the safety and protocols list for the bucs. the nets have seven players in
that protocol as well. but steve nash says that all the players who have tested positive have been asymptomatic. does that tell you anything what's going on? >> well, i think the protoplaz many of professional athletes is a really rare demographic. these are elite athletes, some in the best shapes of their lives. so their symptomatology is going to be a bit different than with multiple comorbidities. we know vaccinated players get mild symptoms or asymptomatic but they can still transmit and infect other people. one thing we do know, the protocol for players that are vaccinated, they get test the once a week. they can still be infected but they're walking around without masks, without proper hand hygiene. they're spreading the disease to other people. i think the nfl, especially other leagues, should increase the frequency of testing so you know if the virus is in the building. that way you can thwart it out
and try to resemble some sort of semblance of normalcy in your sports leagues. >> if these outbreaks are happening under these controlled conditions, what does that mean for the rest of us? we're not in such controlled conditions. remember the professional sports were in bubbles. they had high testing rates and so on. what does that mean for the rest of us? >> i think it lets us know that we're not out of this pandemic. i think there's been a relaxation of all of us to sort of go back to our pre-pandemic state where we can move freely and with the liberty we always want. but there's still the aspects that is necessary to follow, the behavior and lifestyle modifications, getting vaccinated, getting boosted. we know that increases the antibody to protect you against the variants here and the ones to come. there's still more work to do. i always talk about a two-pronged approach between the people in health care workers, scientists, outstanding researchers doing the work in the labs, and other people in
the community still thinking this pandemic is here and operating as if it is because as we see these spikes and peaks in numbers, we're not out of it just yet. >> it's so good to see you and in this role. i remember the first time that you were on cnn. it was the story i did on you on your family. how's your family by the way? >> they're doing well. they say hi. >> be well. key developments in the manslaughter trial of kim potter, who fatally shot daunte wright at a traffic stop. what today's testimony revealed about her training.
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but the jury learning that potter had stellar marks in her training. the veteran officer says she didn't mean to use her gun. cnn's adrienne broaddus has the latest. >> reporter: a lesson on taser use. >> i check the status of it again. i disarm it, and i holster. >> reporter: a live demonstration including safety rules. >> this is part of training as well, to not use -- not to point a taser on somebody who is operating a vehicle or machinery. is that correct? >> yes. >> reporter: new evidence presented in court during the manslaughter trial of former police officer kim potter, focusing on department policy and taser training. >> taser, taser, taser! >> reporter: potter is accused of shooting and killing daunte wright after she says she made a mistake, pulling her gun instead of her taser. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: prosecutors showing
why the former officer never should have confused her two weapons. >> i'm right-handed, right hand dominant. i carry my handgun on my right side. i carry my taser on my reaction side. >> so you carried your taser on your left side? >> yes. >> why do you carry it on the other side? >> that's how the policy has always been, and that's how we've always been trained. >> reporter: and these still images introduced in court on tuesday show potter's holster was set up the same way for years. >> ms. potter got 100% on that test, correct? >> yes. >> reporter: and with decades of training dating back to 2002, when potter received her initial certification on the taser. >> so this is ms. potter being certified again in 2015? >> yes. >> it appears a score of 50 out of 50 on this. >> reporter: the jury seeing for the first time on monday a clear shot of the actual gun used by potter and the taser she thought she pulled from her left side. >> when i refer to a reaction hand draw, the taser would be
oriented so the handle is aft, not forward, and you would use your reaction hand to draup the taser that way. >> reporter: the commander showing how officers should correctly draw their weapon. >> using my dominant hand to draw across my body. >> reporter: and once again, the prosecution's witness justifying potter's right to use deadly force during cross-examination. >> and he is ignoring the warnings, taser, taser. i'm going to tase you. you have a right to use deadly force to save that cop, that police officer that's lying over the seat, correct? >> potentially, yes, but i wasn't there. >> if you're dragged down the street by this driver, if he gets away, that man's going to be seriously injured or dead. >> i think it would be severe and significant, yes. >> reporter: then on redirect, the defense showcasing potter's character. >> good officers make good decisions, correct? would you testify to that?
>> my hope is good officers make good decisions, yes. >> and you did describe kimberly potter as a good officer, correct? >> i did. >> reporter: and today members of the jury only heard from two witnesses, both with the brooklyn center police department. one of the two, the officer who signed off on potter's annual taser training. he testified that happened about six weeks before the shooting with daunte wright. he also told members of the jury he is a taser instructor and said potter must be recertified like all of the other officers who carry a taser every year. cross-examination begins with him tomorrow. don. >> adrienne, thank you very much. i appreciate that. the search for tornado survivors still ongoing in kentucky right now. hard-hit areas still reeling from the damage. and president biden is headed there tomorrow. new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances.
president of the united states joe biden heading to kentucky tomorrow in the wake of this weekend's devastating tornadoes. he'll get a briefing on the storms and survey damage in some of the hardest hit parts of the state. and there is a lot of damage for the president to see. homes and businesses decimated. people left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. there are more than 18,000 power outages still in effect. the national guard, red cross, and state parks are all pitching in to shelter and clothe those affected.
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