Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

A Sudden 180 From Conservative Site; My Pillow CEO Seen at the White House; U.S. Capitol the Target of Rioters; President Trump Listens to His Daughter; President Trump Leaving with Grand Ceremony; Sen. James Lankford on Full Apology. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 15, 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: Openly?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Openly black.

CUOMO: Wow. I don't know what to say.

LEMON: Chris, we were just having this conversation before this happened. Am I lying?

CUOMO: Nope.

LEMON: We were laughing about it, and I said, yes, and one night I'm going to come to you and say, Chris, always bet on black. And you're going to crack up on it. So tonight, always bet on openly black.

CUOMO: There's guy -- somebody wrote a piece about Don speaking truth to power about what these election allegations are really about.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And they described him as openly black.

LEMON: OK. So, listen. Here's what I say -- I'm sure people are going what does this have to do with anything. This is why I think it's important. And I think it's OK to have this conversation. Because of where we are in the world right now. Anywhere you can find a way to have a conversation, some common ground to meet each other, there's a meeting of the minds and then we get into it with humor about being openly black and then we can actually a conversation about real issues which we're dealing race now which we've been talking about.

CUOMO: And Senator Lankford.

LEMON: And Senator Lankford. But let me just before that. I understand openly black or whatever. I understand what the rioter was doing there. The rioter was, it was satire saying basically and here's why this is important to Don Lemon as a black man and sort of backed into the piece.

And so, I thought it was -- I thought what he did was brilliant. You probably weren't sure. Senator Lankford needs to figure out what his openly black --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Well, look, he may be a good study.

LEMON: -- constituents we're dealing with.

CUOMO: If you take him at face value, all right? Let's -- we can start doing that again until everybody deceives us and we can't do it anymore. If he didn't know --

LEMON: Well, let's say what Senator Lankford did, he apologized to his black constituents for questioning the integrity and voting against the election.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Because he didn't think that that would be offensive to them.

LEMON: Right. Yes.

CUOMO: But the problem is the only places where they're questioning the vote were big black population centers.

LEMON: Yes, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit.

CUOMO: And look, is there a history of voter fraud in Philadelphia? Yes. Was there proof of it in this election? No.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And by the way, Trump didn't do badly in those population centers relatively. There was over-performance by black people because they were super activated in this race --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- and it was the suburbs that were his problem. But they're only focusing on where the black people were.

LEMON: Yes. And black people were super activated because of the issues that we have been talking about, you know, since the election and really since the insurrection happening at the capitol. So, there you go. And I'm going to talk about all of that. But you know --

CUOMO: Good.

LEMON: -- now that I'm openly black, maybe you can come out and say you're openly white.

CUOMO: I can't believe I've been saying all those things about black people around you. I didn't know that you are openly black. You know what I also thought --

LEMON: You a fool. Not you are a fool, but you a fool. But go ahead.

CUOMO: Imagine the irony --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- if the people that love Trump the most wind up being the most damaging to him at trial.

LEMON: Yes, that could happen.

CUOMO: And by doing another thing he's never done, another irony, just telling the truth.

LEMON: OK. Listen, I've got to tell you something, and I think it's true. I think there is some optimism that we can -- you can be optimistic about what's going on because I think everything is sort of a chip, right -- chips away. Every little bit chip away at what's happening in this country. I think Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, started Breonna Taylor and then what happened with the election started to chip away at the veneer that we've dealt with racial issues in this country and, you know, racial justice and all that.

And then what happened on Wednesday I think also chips away, takes a big chip out of it, because I'm hearing from members of law enforcement who said, well, maybe we need to think about, you know, who actually supports law enforcement and what that means, right, seeing how people reacted to what happened at the capitol.

And there are -- there are members of law enforcement who I have spoken to and other people have told me, they feel guilty in some way about their, just, you know, unbridled support for this -- for this president because they felt like they, in some way, betrayed their fellow officers, right? And they weren't fair to their fellow officers.

So, if there is some sort of meeting of the minds, some common ground that can be reached from this, I say that's great. But it's going to be a lot of work. That's just -- this is just the beginning. But I do think we are making some progress whether -- we may not see it, but I do believe we're making progress when these events happen.

CUOMO: We've been working on it for a long time --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- and we've got a long way to go. But I love you, Don Lemon, and I look forward to you speaking the truth.

LEMON: I love you too, and always bet on --

CUOMO: Openly black.

LEMON: -- openly black.

CUOMO: Only in this world.

[22:05:01]

LEMON: I love you. I'll see you this weekend.

CUOMO: See you, brother.

LEMON: See you.

So, we've got a lot to talk about, OK? So, this is -- this is where we start tonight. What a week, right? That's why we need a little bit of levity. So, I'm glad to have Chris here to do that. And I hope you guys have conversations like that with the people you love in your life, even the people you don't love. Maybe you'll start to love them.

So, I'm Don -- this is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

And here we are tonight at the end of the last full week of the Trump administration. Can you believe it? I have been sitting here almost every night except for the weekends, sometimes on weekends, for the past five years for two hours a night, sometimes longer. Do you know I was just -- anyway. Two hours. Can you imagine, discussing this.

And so, here we are, a presidency that's ending more disgracefully than we could have ever imagined. So, you want the facts? It's a laundry list. Take notes if you want. A pandemic, plague, deadly insurrection, a second -- a second -- impeachment, a 29 percent approval rating, talk of bankruptcy, court cases.

And listen, if you're an -- if you are a self-professed billionaire, think about this, OK? His banks don't even want him as their client. When has anybody ever turned down money? That's bad. His Mar-a-Lago neighbors want him gone. Golf wants nothing to do with him. And the My Pillow guy is at the White House allegedly with a new plan to overthrow the government. Allegedly.

But if you think this is over, you are quite wrong. Joe Biden will take the oath of office in just five days in a capitol that is under virtual lockdown right now. Look at that on your screen. Thousands of National Guard troops flooding the zone.

And in America where all 50 statutes are under threat of armed insurrection, insurrection incited by a disgraced soon to be former president, impeached twice, who's put all of us in danger. He's been impeached more times than he's had terms. One term, two impeachments.

This country is grappling tonight with all of that, and we will be -- take my word for it -- for years to come. You see it with Republicans like Senator Ben Sasse warning that we can't afford to walk away from it. And I quote here. "Rage peddlers are going to try to whitewash the attack on the capitol," saying "that a few bad apples got out of control. That's wrong." That's his quote. He's saying that's wrong. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy saying it all happened because of lies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): It stands to reason that the people who got away with Wednesday who weren't rounded up by authorities are going to plan to come back because they have been continually told by people, they trust that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It is not a mystery at all how we got here, not with Republicans like Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Mo Brooks, Marjorie Taylor Greene, perpetuating the president's election lies, even after an insurrectionist mob stormed the capitol. Not with the president and his allies screaming fight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not taking this White House. We're going to fight like hell, I tell you right now.

We're going to have to fight much harder and Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us.

You'll never take our country back with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.

UNKNOWN: Today is day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Stand up and fight. Stand up and hold your representatives accountable.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: Let's have trial by combat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And -- wow, this is, I mean, crazy. And we are learning tonight that police officer allegedly approached two men at the capitol riot, the riot incited by the president, and listen to this, and said, quote, "it's your house now." That's according to the criminal complaint.

America is grappling with all of that. Now we've got Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford, as Chris and I just talked about. James Lankford who plan to support objections to Congress' certification of Joe Biden's victory then dropped his objections after rioters breached the capitol while he was on the floor.

[22:10:02]

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.

UNKNOWN: I will stand in recess until the call of the chair.

LANKFORD: We'll pause.

UNKNOWN: Protesters are in the building.

LANKFORD: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Now under pressure from his black constituents, he says he didn't realize the president's election lies about non-existent fraud in major cities and battleground states amounted to attacks on black voters. He says it was a blind spot, and he says he's sorry.

Look, we will never get past all of this if nobody apologizes, OK? Never get past it. But this whole, now that I realize how my black constituents feel thing sounds, let's call it, disingenuous, convenient, too little too late.

And speaking of apologies, there is the graveling apology from conservative web site American Thinker for false claims about Dominion after getting a letter from defamation attorneys. And I quote, "these statements are completely false and have no basis in fact. Industry experts and public officials alike have confirmed that Dominion conducted itself appropriately and that there is simply no evidence to support these claims. It was wrong for us to publish these false statements."

What a difference. They are far from alone. And even when Trump is gone the right-wing media conspiracy and disinformation channels will still be here. Seventy-four million people will still believe the big lie and are angry. And we need to figure out how to all live in the same country together.

Now, the fact is that we've got to move on from all of this. We're going to have to figure out how to do it, right? We're going to deal with it, but we're going to have to move on because we've got a lot to deal with. We've got to move on from the lies, we have to move on from the lawlessness, the lies, the lawlessness, the lies, the violence. And we'll at least begin to move on in five days, right? Let's hope so, in five days.

But that won't change the fact that the president and his allies unleashed the mob. And we have got some new video tonight, new video showing what it was like for black capitol police officer -- a black capitol police officer who saved Mike Pence and his family after he was confronted by rioters.

Look at that mob. And we are learning that it was a matter of seconds -- a matter of seconds -- CNN can't confirm the source of the video. But what you see is obviously chilling. An out of control mob getting closer and closer to officer Goodman, the rioters screaming, cursing, as they chase him up the stairs.

Now I want you to compare that to this video. You see that -- of what happened at the top of the stairs, right? Officer Goodman glances to his left and he sees there are no police in that direction then he manages to lure the rioters the opposite direction.

The Washington Post is reporting that Mike Pence and his family had just been escorted to a hideaway one minute before officer Goodman, hero, great job. Fantastic. You deserve all the accolades, all the words for you.

We need to come to terms with the truth of what we have seen, everybody. We have seen a hero police officer like officer Goodman, like D.C. Metro police officer Michael Fanone who was tasered on the ground, beaten by a crowd of rioters, suffered a mild heart attack and held his fire to save lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:14:57]

LEMON: We're hearing from heroes on the force. But sadly, we're also learning about others who joined the crowd of rioters because authorities are investigating more and more current law enforcement officers, two from Virginia, even posed for a photo in front of a statue of a revolutionary war general in the capitol during the riot, one making an obscene hand sign.

So much for respect for our democracy. They were arrested on federal charges.

We have got to deal with what is going on in this country, everyone. We really, really, really do. We have to deal with race. Frankly with police officers turning against each other, with the GOP trying to sweep under the rug what they said out loud for years. And we have to address the pandemic that is killing us because of the president's neglect.

We have a president-elect and we have a president-neglect. Because of the president's neglect and because of his supporters' refusal to accept reality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of the Congress while the capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs who refuse to wear masks while they're in secure locations. What the hell is the matter with them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It is not a mystery how we got here. Come on, let's be real. It's not a mystery how we got here. We know how we got here. The question is where will we go next? A lot of work to do. A lot of work.

Right at the thick of all this who have been covering is CNN's White House correspondent is Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, good evening. Good to see you. So, here we are. This is the last Friday of the Trump administration. The president is stewing in his denial, refusing to do his job. And instead he is meeting with the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell possibly still plotting. What is this all about?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, if you want to see where the president's priorities are in his last full week in office, this is how he spent his Friday. Because we're not getting a glimpse of the president's schedule any longer. Before they would at least list his lunches, some of his meetings. They are not doing that any longer. They just put a generic he has many meetings, and many calls every single day now on the schedule.

But we saw Mike Lindell who is an ally of the president, a Republican donor of course, as you noted, the CEO of My Pillow going into the West Wing today. But it was when he was leaving and a photographer from the Washington Post captured his notes that it raised so many eyebrows.

Because if you look what's written on these pieces of paper that Mike Lindell is carrying, you know, it talks about the Insurrection Act, it talks about martial law, it talks about the Constitution and Sidney Powell, that pro-Trump attorney who spreads so many lies about the election.

So, Don, you know, it raises questions of the president is committing in a video that he's going to commit to this orderly transition of power, but he hasn't called Joe Biden yet, and then of course he's meeting with Mike Lindell. We're told it was a pretty brief meeting, but it does go to show that there are still people coming to the president with this information.

Because you can't just walk into the White House. You have to be cleared in by someone, you walk in with staffers, you wait outside the Oval Office. And that's what Mike Lindell did to meet with the president.

LEMON: This is a good lesson for people to stay in their lane. Just because you're a reality TV show star that was built on something that someone else wrote for you doesn't mean that you can be the president of the United States or that you will be an effective president of the United States, I should say.

And just because you built a business like the My Pillow guy it doesn't mean that you are qualified to be a presidential adviser. So, maybe that's a lesson to us. I hope we've learned it. Kaitlan, good to see you. Have a great weekend. Last Friday.

COLLINS: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Woo! Yes, I said it. Was it a misread flag? The Washington Post reporting on an intel warning three days before the riot on Capitol Hill that Congress itself could be targeted. That as 50 states are under threat of armed insurrection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecution for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, damning new information about exactly what was known about the threat to the capitol before last Wednesday's insurrection. The Washington Post is reporting that a capitol police intelligence report warned three days before the riot that Congress itself could be attacked by Trump supporters.

Here's some of the memo obtained by the Post. And I quote here. "Supporters of the current president see January 6th, 2021 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election. This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the target of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter protesters as they were previously, but rather congress itself is the target on the 6th."

Joining me now Andrew McCabe the former FBI deputy director and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, also the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump." Good evening, sir. Good to see you.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good evening.

LEMON: What a crazy, crazy time. This Washington Post report that another example, it's another example of how this is looking more and more like a disastrous intelligence failure. How are we not prepared for this, Andrew?

[22:24:49]

MCCABE: That's a really good question, Don. And it's one that we are not going to know the answer to until a thoughtful, dedicated group goes through every piece of intelligence, every fact that was known or should have been known by the -- by the agencies involved here, the FBI, the capitol police, Secret Service, anybody who had a piece in this.

Folks are going to need to go back and do a complete review of what they knew, what they should have known and the decisions they made with the fact they had in their hands. And you know, along the lines of a 9/11 commission sort of investigation and report, I cannot overstress how important that's going to be to sort through what is undoubtedly one of the most significant events in our nation's history.

LEMON: Andrew, let's talk about this new joint bulletin warning about inauguration threats from domestic extremists. We have seen warnings all week about IEDs. D.C. looks like a fortress. All 50 state capitols are on alert. Do we need to be prepared to be in a state of alert for the foreseeable future? MCCABE: Well, I think we do. I mean, we're certainly at a heightened

state of alert around these symbolic and significant events like the inauguration and the days immediately before and after it. So, at some point that ultra-elevated state of alert will taper off.

But, Don, to be clear, I don't believe that this -- the threat posed by these right leaning groups, and that's everything from white supremacists to the Boogaloo boys the antigovernment groups, the alt- right groups like the Proud Boys. This is not going to go away. They're going to carry this grievance, this sense of loss from having the election stolen from them, the big lie. That's not going to go away with the inauguration of a new president. And that is the fire that's going to keep their motivation to commit violence burning.

LEMON: I want to ask you about this. I said it in the open of the show about this Washington Post, another Washington Post report that Pence was seconds away from being seen by the rioters as he was whisked away, whisked into an office in the capitol. Every new development shows us just how much worse this really could have been and it is how much how terrible it actually was.

MCCABE: Yes, I mean I don't know what we have to do to convince people that this was an all-out assault on our nation, on our system of democracy and one that could have easily ended up with the victimization or even death of significant governmental leaders like the vice president, like the speaker of the House.

This was the real deal. And they were very close to accomplishing kind of all their hopes and dreams here. And I think what they did accomplish was success enough to fuel them to want to try things again.

LEMON: Investigators are also looking into whether members of Congress gave tours to rioters before the insurrection. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon said this to CNN tonight about what she saw. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): On either Monday or Tuesday between our Sunday swearing in and the Wednesday, which was the day of the electoral vote count, I noticed a tour going through the tunnels underneath the office buildings to the capitol. And I remarked upon it because it was unusual. I hadn't seen a tour since March. I thought it was a congressional staffer leading it. I mean, you can't even get into that area unless you're with a staffer, so there had to be some sort of license to get in there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, she's just one of many members of Congress raising concerns. How does this case change if we find out that there may have been help from inside?

MCCABE: Well, it's understandable that members are going back and they're rethinking things that they saw and perceived in the hours and days leading up to the attack. They're re-evaluating those things, putting them in different context.

But it's incredibly significant if anyone on the congressional staff or any of the members were involved with the perpetrators of this attack. So, even if it's just a staffer from a congressman's office who brought folks who were later involved in the attack through the building, that is a huge transgression.

It is a huge violation of security protocols and could be something even approaching a level of a criminal conspiracy. So, each one of these reports really needs to be looked into to the fullest extent. It just puts yet another layer of complexity on an already really big investigation.

LEMON: Thank you, Andy. Good to see you. Have a great weekend.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don. Good to see you, too.

LEMON: A color guard, a military band, a 21-gun salute, and a red carpet. The president won't attend Biden's inauguration. Instead he wants a special ceremony for himself. Stay with us.

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, welcome back, everyone. And take this. Outgoing first family members and official White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are worried about their brand value.

Sources telling CNN that it's likely the driving force behind recent actions. One source saying, and I quote, "they're trying to keep what little is left for them in terms of sellable currency as Trump's."

So, are you buying what they're selling? Ivanka Trump hours into the deadly siege of the capitol in a now deleted tweet called on American patriots to stop the violence. A White House official telling CNN that Ivanka Trump was among those who pushed her father to make this video on the day of the capitol attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You're very special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We love you. You're very special. Ivanka Trump was also key in the push for the president to issue another video in the wake of his impeachment. That video had no words of love but no explicit concession to President-elect Biden either.

[22:55:07]

A source says that video was motivated by fear over the president's legal exposure, not about what's right for the country, about what's right for the Trump brand. After the president was banned from major social media networks, Jared Kushner apparently intervened when other officials tried restoring the president's online platforms that are often havens for extremists. It wouldn't be good for the brand.

Ivanka Trump tweeting and retweeting accomplishments into the void, glossing over the shameful final days of the administration. The fact is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are top aides to a twice impeached president who fails to accept the results of a free and fair election. Their boss incited a deadly mob to try to overthrow the government. Their brand is not classy. It's complicit.

We'll be right back. Douglas Brinkley, Anthony Scaramucci.

[22:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, Donald Trump leaves office on Wednesday with a stain on his presidency that will never be erased. The first president to be impeached twice. And then what? Trump says he won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration, ignoring the traditional peaceful transfer of power.

Instead, sources saying that as Biden sworn in, Trump may stage a grand departure ceremony for himself, possibly with a military band, a red carpet and a 21-gun salute.

You can't make this -- stuff up. Almost. Let's discuss now with Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian. Hello, guys. I mean, you all. Can he embarrass himself any further? I mean, he just -- he's embarrassing. Like, cut it out. Douglas, come on, man.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, that's -- you know, he's always looked up to dictators and he's going out as a tin pot dictator the whole country where people who are rational are scorning him right now. And he's going to fly to Mar-a-Lago, they don't want him in West Palm Beach.

LEMON: It's crazy.

BRINKLEY: The city doesn't want him around. The brand is going down -- down the -- in the toilet. And he's not even --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let me read his ratings for you.

BRINKLEY: Yes, go.

LEMON: OK. So, let's see. So, impeached for a second time -- I'm going to let you finish your statement. Impeached for a second. Instigating insurrection as you said, to stay in power. Twenty-nine percent approval rating, the lowest of his presidency. And 68 percent don't want him to remain a national political figure. Terrible end. Go on. I'm sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to put that out. BRINKLEY: It's an -- he could end up at 20 percent which means he's a

fringe kind of weird third-party figure, he's like Lyndon LaRouche in the end, or perhaps George Wallace. He'll have his fan base but it's going to be hard for him to find a platform.

I mean, any serious tech company is not going to want to touch him with a ten-foot pole and he's not really going to be welcome in most countries abroad except perhaps North Korea. And so, he's in a bind. And it's just, it's watching a career just go down like the Titanic sinking. And it would be a kind of feeling of good riddance when he leaves Washington. I think that's when the rebirth of American democracy starts taking hold.

LEMON: So, Anthony, he's isolated, use know, meeting with the My Pillow guy. It was papers, I mean, they --

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Spy pillow. Spy pillow guy. Go ahead. Sorry. Had to throw that in there.

LEMON: Yes. OK. So, listen --

SCARAMUCCI: Sorry.

LEMON: The My Pillow guy's papers show that there was talk about martial law or at least it was on the paper. Do you think that he could actually still be plotting? You know him. Can you possibly tell us what's going on in his head?

SCARAMUCCI: Listen, everything is on the table. As you both know, the visual you gave me was the big cannons that shoot out the flag that say pow at the end. I mean, that's what's going on right now. So, if you've got a cartoonish situation going on, then you have to expect an even broader multidimensional cartoonish outcome.

But listen, you know, I'm still worried. I know I probably shouldn't be, but there's four days left starting tomorrow at noon, and I'm still worried because, you know, what was he doing holding those papers, the My Pillow guy --

LEMON: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: -- and what are they doing inside the White House right now? And he's watching you because he, whether you like it or not, Don, he hate watching you. I don't think he's going to still watch you after he's no longer president. But he's sitting there irritated by all this. Everything that Douglas just said is 100 percent true.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Do you think the cable will be brave they will let him get cable. I mean, because he can't even get on the internet now?

SCARAMUCCI: No. Look, I mean, you know the cable people. The cable people are going to give everybody cable. You know that.

LEMON: But Anthony, seriously. (CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: But I was saying, you know, I mean, that's the thing for me. The next -- the next 96 hours, I still want to be on red alert because I know what he's capable of.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, it's serious. I mean, we're joking around because it's just so ridiculous, right, it's been such a long week. But we're -- CNN is learning that the Manhattan D.A. is significantly expanding its investigation into the Trump organization's finances, Anthony. How much trouble could this be for him and his family?

SCARAMUCCI: Listen, they're interviewing everybody. Michael Cohen has been very outspoken about meeting with them. And I think they're in a lot of trouble.

[22:45:01]

And by the way, you know, people are looking for -- when you're like this. Our people that are crime busters are trying to put people away like this all the time. So, think of the name that they will make for themselves if they can put these people away.

But remember, Don, because you, Doug, we're all the same, we respect the rule of law in our country. Everybody is innocent until proven guilty. But I do think he has a lot to answer for when he leaves office in four short days.

LEMON: Doug, you know, President Trump will go down as the worst president in U.S. history. Will it be all about insurrection? or what else -- what else will be the legacy here?

BRINKLEY: I think there was a populist revolt in the United States and around the world that there was a right-wing movement. We had one in the 1990s with the time of the Oklahoma City bombing when Bill Clinton was present. It got snuffed out. Trump restoked it, was able to win in 2016 even though he lost by three million votes.

So, he's an asterisk president. He's this weird one-offer. He's going to be remembered more in terms of like, you know, Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis, figures like this. But he has no idea when you have all that power that he's had and then you lose it and then all the lawsuits that are going to come at him, he's in deep trouble.

And I wouldn't be surprised if in coming years the name Trump will be taken down at his buildings in Chicago and New York City because they'll be seen as kind of hate speech, his very name. That's how bad things are because of what he did on January 6th, 2021.

LEMON: Yes, I'm not sure in Chicago, I think some in New York, most of his buildings or many of them, I should say, the names will come down.

BRINKLEY: Yes.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Douglas. Thanks, Anthony. Did you want to say something quickly? SCARAMUCCI: Good to be with you.

LEMON: You're good?

SCARAMUCCI: I was just saying everything Doug said is just not enough. That kind of punishment isn't enough for what he's done, Don. That's all.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I'll see you soon.

A Republican senator is apologizing for contesting the election, well, kind of. Why Senator James Lankford says he didn't realize Trump's lies amounted to racist allegations.

[22:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Republicans who supported the president's election fraud claims are under pressure to explain themselves in the fall out from last week's riot.

Case in point, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford writing a letter to his black constituents today trying to explain why he planned to object to the certification of the Electoral College vote. And he writes this.

He says, my action of asking for more election information caused a firestorm of suspicion among many of my friends, particularly in black communities around the state. I was completely blindsided but I also found a blind spot. What I did not realize was all of the national conversation about states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan was seen as casting doubt on the validity of votes coming out of predominantly black communities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

I can assure you my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions has never -- was never also an intend to diminish the voice of any black American.

Well, Lankford abandoned his plan to object to the vote but only after the pro-Trump mob interrupted his argument in favor of the objection on the Senate floor. Still, his apology letter isn't sitting well with some.

And according to the Tulsa Word -- World newspapers, there are now calls for him to step down from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.

We invited Senator Lankford to come on the show tonight but his staff politely declined. So, joining me now is Kevin Matthews, an Oklahoma state senator and chair of the Centennial Commission. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate you, state senator. Thanks so much.

Let's discuss this. You and Senator Lankford know each other. You have worked together. Do you accept his apology? KEVIN MATTHEWS, OKLAHOMA STATE SENATOR: Myself and Senator Lankford

have worked together and have been close, and I did give him a call before this happened, expressing how upset we were, how upset I am and how upset black people would be for the action he was about to take. He didn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation but I told him that I made public statements against it.

And when it happened, we had the opportunity -- I mean, first, as you would suggest, many people called for him to be kicked off the commission or to resign. Many people are upset and still upset today and so, we had the opportunity for him to meet with our leadership team, and we also had the opportunity for him to meet with commissioners and we're having that ongoing dialogue where people are mad, mad, mad.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK, So, let me ask you this because we have just a short time together. And you know, I just -- I want to be respect -- respectful of your time and make sure we get it. Do you accept his apology?

MATTHEWS: We have gotten the letter. We accepted the letter. The apology being accepted is going to be our community and our commission members, whether or not they accept it, that's what's important.

LEMON: OK. So, you said you did speak to him. So -- and was it a cordial conversation? Did you give him some tough love? What was that like? What did you say exactly?

[22:55:04]

I can't hear him anymore. We can't -- we can't. We can't -- you muted yourself. Can you unmute yourself? He can't hear me. State senator, can you hear me? Yes, you muted yourself. We can't hear him. OK, we can't -- all right, we're -- yes, we can't hear him.

State senator, thank you so much. We appreciate it joining us. If we can get it, we'll come back to it. If not, we'll see -- so we got the gist of what happened.

So, five days to inauguration day and the nation's capitol and all 50 states are under threat. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Capitol Hill resembling a fortress tonight. Security tighter than ever with five days to go until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. The Pentagon saying 25,000 members of the National Guard will protect the ceremony, and with good reason.