Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Police Officers Defended Themselves Against Rioters; Trump's Temper More Brittle Than Ever before; Trump Hates Being Compared to Nixon; Joe Biden Ready to Lead the U.S.; V.P. Pence More Presidential Than Trump. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 14, 2021 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, the biggest thing to think about here is, there's the duty of the Senate to pick up what the House has put down unless Pelosi doesn't hand it over. And you would be hanging out to dry those Republicans who cross the line, and you'd basically be sending a disincentive program through the House ranks that you may not, you know, you may wind up being alone on this.

But it's an interesting debate and you guys have made it more understandable. So, Ross Garber, thank you. Steve Vladeck, thank you. Time for the big show.

STEVE VLADECK, CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT CHAIR, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: You bet.

CUOMO: CNN Tonight with D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Where do we go from here?

CUOMO: My Cajun shaman (ph).

LEMON: Where does that - Cajun shaman (ph). C. Shaman. No, just call me D. Shaman.

CUOMO: D. Shaman.

LEMON: It's D. Lemon.

CUOMO: Heal me brother.

LEMON: I saw it coming when I was listening at the office. I was like putting on my jacket to come up and I heard the guys talking about you know when he did it throwing the president under the bus. My client did this because the president said --

CUOMO: It's bad for Trump.

LEMON: It's bad for Trump. And then I was like, three, two -- I was like, OK, and he's going to say pardon in three, two, boom, and he said it.

CUOMO: It's bad for Trump. LEMON: It's bad.

CUOMO: Because you know what? What this guy Watkin is right about the lawyer is that while his client may be unique in terms of physical presentation, he is not unique in terms of motivation.

LEMON: Yes. And he was invited in, OK, all the people who were storming, all of the madness if you see the surroundings and you put the whole thing in full context, he didn't think he should be there? Come on, man.

CUOMO: No, he's got trouble legally.

LEMON: He's got trouble.

CUOMO: But I'm talking about the mind-set.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, the more people who keep saying that -- you know, first, it's an article of convenience.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I don't want to go to jail. I'm going to blame it on the president. But the more and more people who do that assuming you wind up having a trial about this president's role in an insurrection, that is bad evidence --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- coming his way, what we call bad facts.

LEMON: Yes. And listen, there is a reason, I'm just saying, you know, he's like a shaman or whatever, they call him Q shaman for a reason because it's QAnon, right? With the conspiracy.

CUOMO: He calls himself that.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I don't know who they are.

LEMON: Right. And then, listen, I just -- there's a reason he's not wearing a shirt and he wants everything to be seen all the tattoos and whatever, so I would just encourage people to go and do their research on what all of that reportedly means, what he was wearing. And then you'll get a whole idea not just someone who's going there peacefully saying ohm.

CUOMO: Yes. No, no. The guy is a complete provocateur.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: There's no question about it.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And he was walking around with a big spear.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Again, I don't think the guy has much chance of escaping any culpability.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: There's absolutely no color of authority that was invested in those people to allowed them into the building. He may have thought there was.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Fine. But that doesn't mean there was.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And I think that it is very telling of what is to come in this country.

LEMON: Yes. And can you imagine if the president pardons him that's going to be a whole another thing. I hesitate to even put that out there. But you know what I -- you know what I know and believe this is all about. I told you last night and I truly believe that 100 percent that's what it -- that's what this was about.

CUOMO: I do, but I will tell you this. There are a lot of people who voted for Trump who don't agree with you.

LEMON: That's fine. It doesn't -- they are allowed to their own opinion. It doesn't mean that they're right, but they're allowed to their opinion, and I believe what I said last night. If you are --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Absolutely you do. But I'm saying they look at this mob and they say that's not me. I'm not -- I'm nothing like those people. I would never have done that. They're all wrong.

LEMON: But those people voted the way you voted for who you voted for. I'm just saying.

CUOMO: Right. But just because you vote for the same people doesn't mean you believe the same things.

CUOMO: It puts you in the same crowd. Yes, it does.

CUOMO: It puts you in the same group of people who voted for him.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You voted for people --

CUOMO: But he may not have the same reasons, he may not have the same understanding.

LEMON: You voted for people who have common interests. If someone has a common interest, people who vote like you have a common interest as you. That's just how it is. You don't vote -- you don't vote for the most liberal person in the world because you're a conservative. You vote for someone who shares your common interests. That's how -- that's how voting works.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: That's how political parties work.

CUOMO: But it doesn't mean --

LEMON: That's how political affiliation work.

CUOMO: But it doesn't mean that a voter believes that their vote means what you think it means.

LEMON: Well, but it also believes -- it also means that you share something with that person. And you must own up to it. And you have -- we have to stop saying -- giving people an out for people who represent the worst behaviors. Stop trying to make an excuse for people who voted for someone who has those beliefs.

You may think that you don't believe that, but in a way what you're doing, you're complicit with it because you are voting for the same type of person. You are -- and not only that, my message was also to the lawmakers who are -- mostly for the lawmakers who are making an excuse for the people who were there.

And still -- and still on the day that there was violence, probably the worst violence that we have seen at the capitol, they're still voting --

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: -- with those folks. That is where -- that is the craziness.

CUOMO: I am with you because I'll tell you what -- and again, I'm not making excuses for anybody.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I'm covering these prosecutions for a reason. If I thought they did matter they were wrongful I wouldn't either say that or I wouldn't cover them.

[22:04:58]

I'm saying maybe mister whatever he calls himself and a lot of others did believe that they had a righteous cause. But the lawmakers to the one who know there's no righteousness to the cause. They are sophisticated enough and given enough information by their staff and their surroundings to know there is nothing to the allegation that this election was colored by fraud. LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And they know it.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, that's not --

CUOMO: And they did it anyway and that makes them worse.

LEMON: So, you're making my point because it's not political. They know better. So, they know better --

CUOMO: The lawmakers, absolutely.

LEMON: They know that there's something deeper and that they're trading off of that which they know is deeper than that.

CUOMO: The lawmakers, absolutely.

LEMON: Yes. And they know it's not politics.

CUOMO: All the voters, not necessarily.

LEMON: But they don't, the voter don't know that, but that's what it is. And it is, listen, you can be a very smart person and delude yourself. Listen, I've got to run. And I'll say the thing that people hated the most last night. I think you said it, but I didn't because maybe someone was talking to me. But they say, Don didn't say he loves Chris. So, I love you, brother. I've got to go.

CUOMO: I don't know I believe it anymore. I love you, D. Lemon. Tell the truth.

LEMON: I'm going to come out of this door and --

CUOMO: I love you and I'll see you soon.

LEMON: -- give you a smacker.

CUOMO: there's my smack.

LEMON: See you later. All right. Soo, listen, I got -- you've got to watch this because it's something that you have not seen, someone who was inside.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

We have the breaking news and this is what it is. One of the officers who fought for his life against rioters at the capitol speaking out tonight. And his story is one that you have got to hear. Listen up, OK? And we're going to play some of it for you.

D.C. Metro Police officer Michael Fanone has been an officer for almost two decades. He said that he'd rather be shot than pulled into a crowd where he had no control. But that nightmare is exactly what happened to him last week in the capitol, at the capitol building.

So, here's the video. Look at, you see him right here in the crowd trying to defend the doorway to the west entrance of the capitol as crowd -- as a crowd surge around him. Later, Officer Fanone was pushed out into the sea of people outside. OK, look it's highlighted on your screen right now. You can see that they are beating him. He was tasered several times in the back of the neck, stunned, injured and on the ground surrounded by rioters. Here's what happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I was just, you know, trying to fight as best I could. I remember like guys were stripping me of my gear. These are rioters pulling my badge off my chest. They ripped my radio off of my vest, started pulling like ammunition magazines from their holder on my belt.

And then some guy started getting ahold of my gun, and they were screaming out, you know, kill him with his own gun. At that point, you know, it was just like self-preservation, how do I survive this situation. And I thought about, you know, using deadly force. I thought about shooting people.

And then I just came to the conclusion that, you know, if I was to do that, I might get a few but I'm not going to take everybody, and they'll probably take my gun away from me. And that would definitely give them the justification that they were looking for to kill me if they didn't already made that up in their minds.

So, the other option I thought of was try to appeal to somebody's humanity, and I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work. Some people in the crowd started to encircle me and try to offer me some level of protection.

And they -- that provided me with enough time or other officers, specifically my partner Jimmy Albright, enough time to get to me and get me the hell out of there and back into the west front of the capitol. A lot of people have asked me, you know, my thoughts on the individuals in the crowd that helped me or tried to offer some assistance. And I think kind of the conclusion I've come to is like, you know, thank you but (muted) you for being there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That's exactly -- full transparency I spoke with him on I think it was Sunday night for like, wo hours. And he is a good man. He is a good man, a decent human being and just a regular guy, someone who was carrying out his oath as a police officer among people who say blue lives matter and that happened to officer Mike Fanone.

[22:10:03]

Thank you but you know what for being there. Blue lives matter, right? That officer's anger shared by law enforcement around this country furious that pro-Trump rioters breached the grounds of the capitol even as we are learning that among the crowd in that mob and the people being arrested and charged there was some law enforcement, first responders and military in that ground.

Again, the crowd that you're in. Didn't your mom always say birds of a feather? Careful who you associate with. Officer Fanone is still suffering the effects of a mild heart attack, which is much more -- we're going to have much more of the story in just a moment. But his quick thinking, his decision not to shoot to kill, it actually saved lives. The lives of those Trump supporting rioters and his own life.

And the danger is not over yet. Washington is in virtual lockdown tonight. Twenty-one thousand National Guard troops from across this country expected in the capitol for the inauguration, warnings that anyone trying to enter the perimeter will be subject to use of force and arrest.

The FBI director Christopher Wray speaking publicly for the first time since the insurrection at the capitol saying the bureau has identified over 200 suspects, arrested more than 100. But he goes on to warn the danger is real.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter -- I guess the best way I would describe it -- about a number of events surrounding the inauguration. And together with our partners we evaluate those threats and what kind of resources to deploy against them. Right now, we're tracking calls for potential armed protests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Think about it. This is the crowd, our capitol. It's like a war zone, right, because of Trump supporters who may try to spark more violence. Think about that. Don't try to twist it in your brain to try to make excuses for it because it's not right. It's reality, white supremacists and domestic terrorists mixing with Trump supporters, and/or stirred up to insurrection by a president who refuses to admit that he lost the election.

It is a toxic brew that's brought us where we are tonight. And who is this president listening to right now? Who is he listening to? A senior Trump advisor is confirming the president has been talking with Steve Bannon about Trump's bogus conspiracy theories about the election that he lost. Steve Bannon.

Steve Bannon was permanently banned from Twitter. Sound familiar? You know why? For saying Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci should both be beheaded and their heads put on spikes outside the White House. That's who the president is reportedly listening to. This is how the toxic words of the far right and Donald Trump got us to the point that we are right now.

Stop making excuses for it. Stop saying it's left versus right and -- it's racist. It's crazy. From the racist birther lie that former President Barack Obama was not born in this country to both sides in Charlottesville, to dancing around the question of whether he disavowed the former leader of the KKK. It is not a dog whistle, people. Not a dog whistle to white supremacists. It's a bull horn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility -- I'm not saying it happened. I'm saying it's a real possibility. Then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.

You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.

Well just so you understand I don't know anything about David Duke. OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And if he had -- if he had no background and no experience and he didn't know what he was doing, and if he was conning people into voting for him when he had no real ideological beliefs, that's a real problem. People should look into that.

[22:15:05]

I'm talking about him because that's not qualified, scammed a lot of people, conned. He wasn't born in this country. I don't know -- it's always like placed in the form of a question. I don't know, maybe it is, maybe racist.

And now tonight a large part of this country has been convinced by the lies of a desperate president and his far-right allies. They acted on the 6th of this month. And there are fears that they will act again.

And I just want you to look at these pictures. Two men, two different flags. Two men who showed up in the service of this president's lies. One desecrating the nation's capitol carrying a confederate battle flag. One desecrating the American flag itself, using it to beat a police officer.

Wouldn't you rather someone kneel? Seems more respectful to me. Federal prosecutors charging Peter Francis Stager saying he is the man seen in that video beating a police officer with an American flag. Roughly 30 minutes later according to the time stamp on the videos, prosecutors say he tells a telegraph this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Everybody in there is a disgrace. That entire building is filled with treasonous traitors.

UNKNOWN: Yes, sir.

UNKNOWN: Death is the only remedy for what's in that building.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: You heard it. I don't even have to repeat it. You heard it.

Stop making excuses for it. Right in front of your face, you see with your eyes it is what it is. It's exactly what you see. Not everybody -- I don't know, well, it doesn't represent me. This is America.

And there's Kevin Seefried, the man with the confederate flag. Authorities arrested him and his son Hunter saying that they were leaders of the break-in the capitol. Hunter Seefried punching out a glass in a window after an unknown individual asked him to help because he was wearing gloves.

So just, everyone, think about everything we just saw here. We saw a hero officer. We saw an embattled FBI chief. We saw a racist, lying president. Rioters with the American flag and a confederate flag, the National Guard everywhere, all over the place.

How did we get to this point in this country? Think about everything I just showed you. How did we get to this country? Are we deluding ourselves to believe things that we don't want to own up to, that we don't want to be there, that we don't want to have a conversation about, that we ignore, that we deny?

That we frame in terms of politics or something else because it's just too painful to realize that maybe I've been wrong, maybe I didn't see this, maybe I've been blinded, maybe I've been on the wrong side. Maybe the compromise comes from me.

You want people to listen to you when you won. Now you want people to listen to you when you lost. Where's the compromise? What a picture of America tonight. In five more days, we will be inaugurating a new president, but we will still be living in this America.

Our crime and justice correspondent is, Mr. Shimon Prokupecz, and he is here with more on our breaking news tonight. The officer -- officers who were under siege from the mob speaking out tonight for the first time, Shimon. It is an unbelievable to watch and hear what they went through. Those officers were incredibly outnumbered. What did officer Fanone say about that?

[22:19:58]

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. And Don, how brave, right? How brave of these officers to go in there the way that they did knowing that they were going to be on numbered -- outnumbered. And when you listen to these stories it is such bravery, and it is so good that they're finally speaking out.

You know, the one officer who you spent some time of talking to describing how they were outnumbered, how he was laying around and they were ripping things off him, and stealing his equipment and just basically hoping he could survive, describing all of that. Here is more --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Shimon, he said, before you go to -- and I don't know if this is where you're going, but he said at some point he realized that he had his gun on him --

PROKUPECZ: Yes.

LEMON: -- and that would be the worst thing to lose his gun and he put both hands over it. But go on. Sorry.

PROKUPECZ: No.

LEMON: Which I thought he's exactly right.

PROKUPECZ: And the fear of shooting people because as you said it could create, wreak more havoc and also the concern that they needed justification to shoot these people. Just the entire story is just incredible. And just take a listen some about more of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FANONE: We encountered some pretty significant resistance. I mean, we were getting chemical irritants sprayed. You know, they had pipes and, you know, different metal objects, batons, some of which I think they'd taken from law enforcement personnel. They were striking us with those.

And then it was just like the sheer number of rioters, I mean, the force that was coming from, you know, from that side it was difficult to offer any resistance when you're only about 30 guys going up against 15,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And Shimon, we're also hearing from another MPD officer Daniel Hodges. We saw the terrible video of him being crushed by rioters in a door. What else did he say?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. That video everyone has seen that video. And he was crushed. You can see all the rioters around him, and someone is trying to pull his gas mask off his face. He also describes just being surrounded and outnumbered there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: The guy ripping my mask off, he was able to rip away my baton and beat me with it. He was practically foaming at the mouth. So just these people were true believers in the worst way. Just the absolute zealotry of these people, how they would -- they 100 percent believed what they were doing was right and that they were the patriots and that no one would get in their way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ: And it's just the sound of these officers talking about how determined so many of the attackers, this mob was to get inside Capitol Hill and ultimately probably to get to some of the lawmakers, Don.

LEMON: Shimon, and just want to play some more from officer Hodges and we'll discuss. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HODGES: They were waving the thin blue flag and telling us, you know, we're not your enemies while they were attacking us and, you know, kill one of us. So, it was -- I -- it's hard to say exactly what's going through their minds because it doesn't make sense to me.

Some of them felt like we would be fast friends because so many of them had been vocal or at least virtually signaling their support for the police over the past year. They say things like, you know, we've been supporting you through all this Black Lives Matter stuff, you should have your back.

And they felt like entitled. They felt like they would just walk up there and tell us that they're here to take back Congress and we would agree with them, and we'd walk hand in hand and take over the nation. But obviously, that did not -- that was not the case and it will never be the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And Shimon, we thank these officers for their bravery and what they were up against. They were outnumbered, and yet they fought. And it could have been, you know, a real massacre, Shimon.

PROKUPECZ: It could have. And I think it's important and I'm happy to see that the D.C. police, the metropolitan, the District of Columbia police speaking out. Because so many people who are inside that building are crediting them with saving lives. So many of the law enforcement officials that we've talked to.

Remember, Don, they came in as the reinforcement. The capitol police were outnumbered and the first people they called was the MPD, and they came in. And what they did was they gave time for the capitol police, for the FBI, for the ATF to get inside that building and to perhaps save lives of lawmakers. Right?

Remember they needed time to get the leaders of this country out of harm's way, and it is the MPD that allowed that. And one other point I want to tell you is that, the prosecutor, the man Michael Sherwin who is leading this investigation, he said that we will be shocked by some of the video that we will eventually see. Hopefully that will come out, the hand to hand combat that these MPD officers were facing with these attackers, these vile, vicious attackers who were trying to get around every officer, they wanted nothing stopping them.

[22:25:03]

And it was the MPD that ultimately came in there, allowed them to slow down and get a lot of the lawmakers out of harm's way, Don.

LEMON: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. LEMON: If you -- if you're at home and you have time because the video is all over, go and listen to some of the raw unedited stuff. You'll hear black officers being called the n-word, being told there's no racism in America, that it happened under, you know, the former president or the Democrats did it or it's not going to get me to like you -- I mean, it's just craziness.

And then think about this. Officer -- that one officer had a mild heart attack, we had an officer died, another one committed suicide and officers that are injured. You have all those officers fighting to protect the very people who were inside of that building, and hours later on a lie, on an election lie that it was fraud. And then hours later some of those very people went back into that building and voted to overturn the election.

Disgusting, disgraceful, un-American. This is not about censorship, about all the things that are happening. This is consequences for despicable, deplorable behavior. Shame on you. Desperate president consumed by the unraveling of his presidency refusing to do the job that he lied and lied to keep. That as the president-elect says there's no time to waste, lays out his plans for when he takes office in just five days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, here's the breaking news tonight. President Trump shutting down any suggestion that he might resign before the end of his term next Wednesday. Sources saying Trump's consumed with the unraveling of his presidency and explodes at any com -- any comparisons, excuse me, to Richard Nixon.

Going onto say that so far as to ban the mention of Nixon's name, right? And incredibly telling people around him that he couldn't count on Mike Pence. Mike Pence, his loyal vice president, to pardon him the way Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon.

Lots to discuss now. CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger, she is here, and our White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here. Kaitlan, soon to be chief, right? Am I correct? Or is it already in -- yes?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not until Wednesday.

LEMON: You will be inaugurated on Wednesday.

COLLINS: Yes. LEMON: I will be watching the ceremony, the celebration. OK, good to see both of you. And Kaitlan, congratulations. So, let's start with you, the soon to be chief --

COLLINS: Thank you, Don.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Congrats.

LEMON: -- White House correspondent. So, talk to me about your reporting. You're learning that president is consumed by the unraveling of his presidency and he is exploding at any comparison to Nixon. Tell me about that.

COLLINS: Yes, the president doesn't want anyone to bring up Richard Nixon or any kind of situation like that. He says he's not going to be resigning. There was a casual conversation about it this week as they've been talking about of course how quickly things have been unraveling at the White House.

But we are told by sources and my colleague Kevin Liptak and I that the president completely shut that down immediately. He told people do not bring up Richard Nixon. In the past he has exploded when people have brought Richard Nixon up before. And he even remarked, you know, he said that he would not get the same treatment that Nixon got from Gerald Ford, meaning of course that he could not count on the vice president Mike Pence to pardon him in that way if he did resign.

So, of course that's unlikely. But, Don, it is remarkable that this last full week of Donald Trump's time in office is going completely opposite of what people expected it to be. They thought it would kind of be this last farewell tour of his accomplishments while in office, and instead, they're dealing with legal warnings that the president is facing for the role that he played in the siege of Capitol Hill last week.

Of course, they've got that upcoming Senate trial. And we're told that the president is pretty much entirely focused on what's going to happen once he does leave office, what are there going to be the business repercussions that he's facing once he leaves the White House next Wednesday.

LEMON: What has ever been predictable about Donald Trump, Kaitlan? We should -- everyone should know better.

COLLINS: Nothing.

LEMON: Hi, Gloria.

BORGER: Nothing.

LEMON: So, Gloria, listen.

BORGER: Hi, how are you, Don.

LEMON: I'm great. I remember Nixon. I don't know if you're old enough to remember that. But I remember Nix when he left the plane on a -- left the White House on a helicopter and he waved good-bye and they shipped him off.

Why do you think bringing up Nixon gets under his skin, Trump's skin because he looks even worse in comparison?

BORGER: Well, because Donald Trump probably back when he was a Democrat considered Richard Nixon a criminal and saw that he resigned in disgrace and understood what happened, that members of the Senate went to Richard Nixon and said you've got to leave because otherwise you're going to be thrown out of office.

And he doesn't want to resign himself, as we all understand, and he doesn't want to be compared with anyone who has any kind of disgrace attached to his name. Because in his own mind -- and we know this -- he believes, of course, or at least that's what he's telling his supporters that he won this election and that there's no reason for him to be leaving the Oval Office. So, you kind of have to think of it that way. The Mike Pence thing is a little harder to explain, Don.

LEMON: Yes, and we're going to -- we're going to have much more to talk about, Gloria. I want you to stay and Kaitlan, thank you very much. I'll see you soon. Be safe. Gloria is going to stick with us and we'll see you in just moments.

Joe Biden calling the vaccine rollout so far, a dismal failure. That's next.

[22:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, president-elect Joe Biden preparing to take office next Wednesday. One of his first priorities is battling the raging COVID-19 crisis. So tonight, he is proposing a nearly $2 trillion plan to pay for a massive nationwide vaccination program and to give direct economic relief to millions of Americans struggling under the pandemic and saying now is the time for Americans to unify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: And unity is not some pie in the sky dream. It's a practical step to getting the things we have to get done as a country, get done together. As I said in the past in December, the bipartisan COVID-19 relief package was a very important first step. I'm grateful for the Democrats, Republicans and independent members of Congress who came together to get it done. But I said at the time, it's just a down payment. We need more action, more bipartisanship. And we need to move quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wow. Gloria is back with me. Wow, when did we hear unity, bipartisanship, thank you both sides? I mean, it's really amazing that the --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: It's been a while.

LEMON: Yes. The president -- the president-elect staying out of the impeachment question altogether and laying out his plan for COVID and the economy. What did you think of his speech, Gloria?

BORGER: Well, one part of it was sort of like an economic state of the union where he told you everything he wanted to do for the economy including a $15 minimum wage and dealing with poverty in America and helping people at the lower end of the scale not just people at the upper end of the scale.

And the other part of it was kind of a (Inaudible) about what's going on in America because of COVID. And he said at the beginning of his speech and I thought it was quite striking that we have had a loss of our way of life.

[22:40:04]

And he said the real pain is overwhelming, the real economy, the real economy for middle class Americans, not the wealthy. Because he made the point that the wealthy have done quite well during this year of COVID.

So, and then he went out there and said I'm going to move heaven and earth to get people vaccinated. And he said that the rollout of vaccines has been a dismal failure. And I've got to be thinking that -- that they are going to move heaven and earth to get vaccines into peoples' arms.

LEMON: Gloria, thank you for sticking around and talking about this part. I really appreciate it.

BORGER: Sure.

LEMON: It's good to see you.

BORGER: Sure.

LEMON: Have a great evening.

BORGER: Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

BORGER: See you.

LEMON: The FBI is warning more threats are coming to D.C., and my next guest says the president needs to be held accountable. He'd know as a former head of the NSA under Trump. Stay with us.

[22:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: FBI director Christopher Wray publicly appearing for the first time since the attack on the capitol warning that he is seeing extensive chatter over threats against the inauguration. He said over 100 people have been arrested over the capitol insurrection and says more than 200 suspect -- suspects have been identified so far.

Let's discuss now. Admiral Mike Rogers is here. He's a former director of the National Security Agency under Presidents Obama and Trump. And we are certainly happy that he is here. Good evening, sir. Thank you for joining us.

MIKE ROGERS, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: Good evening. Don. How are you doing today?

LEMON: I'm doing very well and again, happy that you're here. So, admiral, FBI director Wray warning about multiple threats surrounding inauguration day. There's a huge presence of National Guard troops in Washington, and all 50 state capitols are on alert. The scale of these threats unprecedented. How do we keep the inauguration and the rest of the country safe?

ROGERS: Well, clearly, there's a significant challenge here. I don't want to pretend that for our security, our intelligence and our government teams that this is going to be an easy task.

I think part of this is what you're seeing already, being very visible and very direct about the focus that the government is putting on this, ensuring the security of the event. And also remember they not only want to ensure the security of the event, they want to ensure the well-being of everyone who is there. Regardless of what their political views are, you don't want anybody to get hurt.

You're also seeing visible presence already days in advance, again, that's all by design, and you can compare that with the kind of preps you saw last Wednesday. You can tell it's a fundamentally different approach.

LEMON: Admiral, you say a combination of failures and oversights led to this attack. Just today The Washington Post reported that dozens of insurrectionists were on a terrorist watch list. How did this turn into such a huge security and intelligence failure?

ROGERS: Well, first I'm perplexed. I'm the first to acknowledge. I think it was pretty clear to almost anyone who stopped and thought that we were going to have a large group on Capitol Hill on Wednesday the 6th of January and this group's stated purpose was to both demonstrate against the process that was ongoing as well as attempt to forestall its ability to be completed.

Now, I think you can have a question about so how far they were willing to go? And I don't think there'd be any doubt in anybody's mind that you were dealing with a mob, a large group that was prone potentially to become violent and take matters into their own hands. And it would suggest to me that that would call for advance preparation, a strong perimeter, additional forces on the ground.

I mean you saw it, you heard from your discussion earlier tonight with officer Fanone. He talked about 30 individuals trying to hold back a mob that clearly numbered in the thousands. I mean, my concern would be sadly we were setting our people up for failure, and that's just not a good thing.

LEMON: Yes. Admiral, I want to talk to you about you being part of a bipartisan group of former officials on election integrity. This group put out this statement on the insurrection. It says this is what happens when people challenge the peaceful and orderly transition of power. The people responsible for inflaming this lawlessness including President Trump must be held accountable. So, you -- you worked for President Trump. How do you think he should be held --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGERS: And President Obama.

LEMON: And president Obama. But since you worked for President Trump you may have some insight into his thinking, but also, I want to know from you as someone who worked for him, how should he be held accountable?

ROGERS: Well, first of all, as a military individual accountability is a fundamental part of the ethos and the culture that I was part of for 37 years. And as a leader in the military you're always taught that your focus, number one, should be the mission you've been tasked with. And then secondly, the men and women who you are responsible for in the execution of the mission.

And that when suddenly it becomes about you, when you stop focusing on the mission, when you stop focusing on the well-being and the safety and security of those men and women you're responsible for, when it becomes about you, you have lost focus on what we are all about.

[22:49:38]

And sadly, to me, we are to seeing that play out here where the senior most leadership of our nation decided that the most important thing was to continue to attempt to validate based on falsehoods and incorrect information the view that they should continue to be the president despite an election process that was without -- without significant widespread fraud, that was validated and tested by every state that had court challenges applied to it.

I mean, it's gone through multiple validations and I don't think there should be any doubt. I would tell my fellow citizens, as part of the group, there shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's mind this was a fair and free election process. I won't argue that there weren't some errors but there is nothing to overcome the difference of seven million voters.

LEMON: Admiral, thank you for coming on. Thank you for your service to this country. We appreciate it. Please come back.

ROGERS: Thank you, Don. Thanks very much.

LEMON: Thanks. Trump holed up at the White House. And take this -- leaving his duties to someone else entirely.

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, take this, everyone. Vice President Mike Pence making a surprise visit to the capitol to greet National Guard members and thank them for their service. Tens of thousands of National Guard troops have been called to D.C. to protection the inauguration following last week's deadly riot, a riot that saw Pence himself menaced.

The vice president spoke to individual service members asking when they were called to come to Washington and how long they have been a part of the guard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: I'm a former governor.

MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thirty- four year in the National Guard?

UNKNOWN: Yes, sir.

PENCE: I think that deserves a round of applause. Anybody else --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And we thank you for your service for protecting this country. It should be the president out there, but you know. President Trump's about to be exiting the White House in disgrace, but whatever you do, don't compare him to Richard Nixon. Don't do it. Which isn't a fair comparison any way. President Trump has been impeached twice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)