Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

GOP Not Ready To Call Out Rep. Greene?; Rep. Jahana Hayes (D- CT) Is Interviewed About The Criticism To Democrats Who Want To Oust Rep. Greene; Proud Boys Members Facing Jail Time; AstraZeneca, COVID- 19 Vaccine, Appears To Substantially Reduce Transmission Of Coronavirus. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired February 3, 2021 - 22:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: What a night! Thank you for watching.

The big show, "CNN TONIGHT" with its big star, D. Lemon, right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I was watching your show and, I mean, Chris! What the--

CUOMO: Which part?

LEMON: When McCarthy came out and started blaming everybody but the lights in the room for the horrible decision that they had just made.

CUOMO: "I don't even know what QAnon is. Did I say it right? QAnon?"

LEMON: Is it QAnon?

CUOMO: Quinine?

LEMON: Come on!

CUOMO: Quick - Q?

LEMON: Yes?

CUOMO: Remember all those signs--

LEMON: That's like--

CUOMO: --in front of the Capitol, the people coming to kill you?

LEMON: Exactly.

[22:00:00]

CUOMO (on camera): That was QAnon.

LEMON: That reminded me of, do you remember what, I don't know any -- David Duke.

CUOMO: Every time.

LEMON: KKK, I don't know -- CUOMO: All the who that.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Who?

LEMON: Yes, I don't know them. It's just embarrassing. You know -- we used to get into this playful tit for tat about I said it should be called the Trumplican party, you said re-Trumplican. I have re-branded them for both of us. It is called the Q-Trumplican party right now. Because --

CUOMO: That's catchy.

LEMON: No, because that's really what it is. I 'm being honest. They're the party of the QAnon believers. They're the party of, you know, I mean, I don't have to go on.

CUOMO: Sixty-one did it in a hidden ballot. Do you -- I wonder how many of them it would have been in an open ballot. We'll see tomorrow. Because, you know, these guys wanted to flex up but then they didn't have to own the vote, right?

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: So, you didn't have as many in that secret ballot. I wonder what happens tomorrow. Because that piece that Donie O'Sullivan just brought --

LEMON: It's amazing.

CUOMO: -- that guy, you know, he is really bringing great work. These are regular American people who are disaffected and frustrated. I remember seeing this with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Now they don't have the same literacy curve that we hear, and the exposure, and the information and all that, which makes it even worse that people can fall for it, but they can.

They can be, like, so I support Trump, and you support Trump and these people are trying to get him and here's how, one step and another step. And now the Republican Party I s saying to people in their ranks, it's OK to listen to these guys.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: It's OK.

LEMON: Yes. Well, you are what you eat. And it's -- I'm serious. I can't explain to you -- I don't even have the words to tell you just how outraged I am and how just infuriating and frustrating the level of hypocrisy is right now. We're not talking about -- we're not talking fire brands, right?

There are fire brands in the Republican Party. There are fire brands in the Democratic Party. They say things that are provocative all the time but no one is saying to them, hey, you should be stripped of your committee. This is lies on top of lies on top of racist, on top of anti-Semitism, on top of all kinds of top of all kinds of things the leader Kevin McCarthy is the majority, right? The majority -- or the minority leader.

He is the leader of the Republican Party right now at least in the House. And guess what, he has co-signed everything that Marjorie Taylor Greene has done or said by acting the way they did, voting the way they did and doing what they did tonight.

More heat on Liz Cheney than Marjorie Taylor Greene, she gets a standing ovation? That's where we are right now. So, stop saying, Republicans, the media is responsible for Marjorie Taylor Greene. Don't paint us all with that brush. Yes, of course, I know not all Republicans are like that. But your leaders are putting you in a very --

CUOMO: You gave it a home. You gave it a home.

LEMON: Amen.

CUOMO: You don't get a pass. You gave it a hope.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And I hope the Democrats are wise enough --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- tomorrow to say, hey, Representative Taylor Greene, come on down to the middle, and I want to ask you some questions about what it is that you disavow.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I want to ask you.

LEMON: It's not her.

CUOMO: So, the Jews shooting lasers after us from space.

LEMON: It's not her. She doesn't believe that. That's not her. That doesn't represent what she said.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Let's see. Let's see her disavow every single --

LEMON: That's what she said.

CUOMO: -- one of those things then explain why she said them.

LEMON: Yes. Let me just say this. I've heard people saying why are you guys paying so much attention to Marjorie Taylor Greene, right?

CUOMO: Because they just tried to kill us --

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: -- at the capitol. That's why.

LEMON: There you go. And what I'll say is I had a neighbor call me and he said, Chris, Don, do you realize every piece I mail I got as a Republican from the Republican Party had AOC on it, that they made her out to be the boogeyman.

CUOMO: Yes. It worked.

LEMON: And if Democrats in this instance don't call out Marjorie Taylor Greene, they are not worth their salt.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: So, I get it. I got to run. And the news media same, if you don't call it out, you're not worth your salt.

CUOMO: Yes. And we have to call it out in our own right. You saw what happened last night, right? When you were beautifully taking people through the rest of the ceremony -- the people on Fox were savaging us.

LEMON: I took pictures.

CUOMO: That's what state TV does.

LEMON: No, no, no.

CUOMO: The media operatives for this rabid right.

LEMON: There are a lot of people, a lot of people in uniform, men and women who wear that police uniform every single day of their lives. That didn't go unnoticed that it was covered on CNN and on MSNBC. But Fox News did not cover it. I mean, they had snippets of it but they didn't do wall to wall coverage as we did because that's --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: They were too busy attacking us --

LEMON: That we should do, they're attacking us.

CUOMO: -- and talking about the lady who was unfairly ousted --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- for going after LeBron James.

LEMON: Yes, well, that's an important story.

CUOMO: It is if you're trying to code that race matters.

LEMON: No, no, I'm joking. That is -- come on.

CUOMO: I never know with you, Don. Your poker face is too good. LEMON: Hey, I love you.

CUOMO: D. Lemon, I love you. Don't mess with me when I'm upset.

LEMON: I'm not. I know, I am, too. And I'm going to talk about it. So, you guys are ready? I'll see you, brother.

You guys ready? Because this is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

[22:04:58]

And We have breaking news. OK? The moment of truth for the GOP or will it be the QOP? Not the grand old party. But the QAnon old party. Is that what they want to be? The relevant, racist, crazy conspiracists. If that's who they want to be, that's who you are. Own it.

Congratulations. Liz Cheney who has been fighting for her political life after she voted, she voted her conscience on impeachment, surviving tonight's vote to retain her leadership post.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We're not going to be divided and that we're not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Think about this. She was in danger of losing her leadership position for telling the truth. The truth that the president incited the riot at the capitol and for voting to impeach him. She has eyes. She has a brain. So, Liz Cheney survives, right, she survives, but it's Marjorie Taylor Greene who gets a standing ovation from Q-Trumplicans?

Think about it this way. One Democratic congressperson told me tonight, OK, really, really, I want you to think about this. They told me tonight that they see Marjorie Taylor Greene as the living embodiment of what happened at the capitol on January 6th. They say if she weren't a member of Congress that she would have been in the crowd. And that's why it is so insulting and outrageous to them.

And ahead of the Democrats forcing a vote tomorrow on whether to strip her of her committee assignments she offered a non-apology behind closed doors tonight saying her past comments do not reflect who she is. Past comments that were bigoted, they were anti-Semitic, advocated executing fellow congress people.

These weren't comments that were made decades ago and some ignorant misspent youth, right? But it was over the last three years and countless posts and videos. Yet, Kevin McCarthy would have you believe that he doesn't even know how to pronounce QAnon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I think it would be helpful if you could hear exactly what she told of us, denouncing QAnon, I don't know if I say it right, I don't even know what it is. Any from the shootings, she said she knew nothing about lasers, or all the different things that have been brought up about her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): OK. You believe that? No, you don't believe that, of course. He doesn't believe that. Let's just give him that that he doesn't --he didn't know what it is. So, he has been saying for -- what has it been a week now or so that he's going to have a conversation with Marjorie Taylor Greene.

So, if you're going to have a conversation with Marjorie Taylor Greene about what she said and her QAnon beliefs, don't you think you would know about it as the leader who's going to be having the conversation with her, wouldn't you do your homework? Come on, Kevin McCarthy. Turnip truck. Didn't fall off yesterday. That is insulting. Think about that.

QAnon, I don't know what it is. If you were going to be the one who has to talk to this member and figure out what to do with her assignments because of her beliefs as a QAnon person, wouldn't you at least figure out what QAnon is? He knows. But he thinks you're stupid.

But now Marjorie Taylor Greene says that those comments don't reflect who she is. And for that, the QOP, the QAnon old party, their conference gave a standing ovation to a known bigot and conspiracy theorist.

Let me just remind you what they're cheering for when they cheer Marjorie Taylor Greene. Let me just remind you of those past comments that she's -- that he says he doesn't really understand, doesn't know about the -- whatever. And that she says doesn't reflect who she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The so-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon, it's odd there's never any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon.

There is an Islamic invasion into our government offices right now.

Kennedy getting killed in the plane crash. That's another one of those Clinton murders. Right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Nine/eleven. You know what 9/11 means to all of us, to everyone in this country, to the world. You know that. But to her, it wasn't real?

[22:10:08]

She harassed David Hogg. David Hogg is a Parkland shooting survivor. Teenager. I remind you, teenager. She harassed him inside the capitol in 2019 before she was elected to Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: How do you get so much media coverage for the group? Who pays for this? Who sponsors this? Much for lies. (Inaudible) I'm a business owner. I'm a mom.

CROWD: Enough is enough! Enough is enough!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Teenager, do you have a teenager in your family? Child. Relative. Did you have one? How would you feel if someone harassed them that way? How would you feel? She's a member of Congress. She said this about Muslims living in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: If you want Islam and Sharia law, you stay over there in the Middle East. You stay there and you go to Mecca and do all your thing and, you know what, you can have a whole bunch of wives or goats or sheep or whatever you want. You stay over there. But in America, see, we made it this great, great country. We don't want it messed up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Comments don't reflect who she is, so many of them. That's what Republicans -- excuse me, that's what Q-Trumplicans are applauding when they applaud Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon caucus in action, multiple Republicans coming to her defense. More than those who spoke out for Liz Cheney.

One freedom caucus member reportedly said seeing Cheney's impeachment vote was, and I'm quoting here, "like seeing your girlfriend in the opposing team's stands." Republican women yelling Liz isn't your girlfriend.

What happened to the party of values, family values? What happened to character? What happened to personal responsibility? The Q-Trumplican party had a chance to make a clean break after deranged conspiracies led to a deadly insurrection. But facts are facts. They want the crazy, the craziest of features, not a bug. They applaud it.

This is the whole thing in a nutshell. They wanted Liz Cheney to apologize for telling the truth and Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't need to apologize for lying, for threatening. And reveling, they are, in the chaos that she is causing. That's where the Q-Trumplican party is right now.

The minority leader paralyzed in the face of the QAnon congresswoman. Who's really in charge? Who's really in charge? In fact, that hasn't escaped the notice of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who put out a statement just today calling him the minority leader of Q California.

How can the Republican Party -- excuse me, the Q -- the Q-Trumplican party, go forward if they can't handle their own members? Kevin McCarthy says that he wants to lower the temperature but then does nothing about it. And then there's Lindsey Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Rather than me talking about what she may have said, I want to hear from her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): You want to hear from her? Lindsey, you want to hear from her? You haven't heard enough from her already? Haven't we heard enough of her racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic garbage? Haven't we heard enough of her attacks on a teenage school shooting survivor? Her support for executing Democrats?

What about her tweets just today filled with more lies about Democrats? What about her interview with the Washington Examiner calling Democrats stupid and calling Mitch McConnell Mr. Big Turtle? Lindsey, that's today. How much more do you need to hear?

[22:15:02]

We've heard plenty from Marjorie Taylor Greene, yet with everything that we have heard that the QOP is paralyzed. What they don't repudiate, they enable. Their words matter. The South Carolina mom, the former QAnon fan, tells CNN's Donie O'Sullivan this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: When you see the Republican Party failing to call out a conspiracy theorist like Marjorie Taylor Greene, what message do you think that sends?

ASHLEY VANDERBILT, FORMER QANON BELIEVER: I think it's saying that there's some truth in what's in there. If they're not going to call her out on it, then everyone else believing it, there's got to be some sort of truth. And then if there's some truth, why would anybody leave?

O'SULLIVAN: So, you're saying that if senior Republicans aren't calling this out, they're essentially endorsing it in some way.

VANDERBILT: Yes. I think that anybody that has an affiliation with, like, a QAnon conspiracy, they have no business being in government because it's dangerous. Things have the potential to get very dangerous with them because they are thinking that they're going to have to fight for this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): And now the Q-Trumplican party is seemingly going to go down that dangerous path. What they don't repudiate, they enable. This tweet from Marco Rubio, the most -- this is the most Marco Rubio thing ever. Admitting it's legit to report on a politician's conspiracy theories but going on to say, "don't make them famous." As if the problem is reporting the truth and not the horrible things that Marjorie Taylor Greene has said and done. In the middle of all this, there is this Kevin McCarthy tweet just

today paying tribute to Brian Sicknick, the capitol police officer who lost his life fighting the rioters on January 6th. Officer Sicknick is an American hero. He made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our democracy. He deserves to be honored. But I want you to look at that tweet again. OK? Look at that tweet again.

For Kevin McCarthy to tweet about the violent mob that desecrated the capitol while he pals around with the president who incited that mob is -- and Marjorie Taylor Greene, by the way, right -- is a really stunning example of trying to have it both ways. He had to run to Mar- a-Lago with his tail tucked between his legs after one failed attempt to embrace the truth that we all know. The truth we all saw on that dark day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCARTHY: There's responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Just a week later, he backed down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCARTHY: I don't believe he provoked it, you listened to what he said at the rally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): If the Republican Party can't disavow QAnon and Marjorie Taylor Greene, how can you ever excise what Mitch McConnell called a cancer on the GOP? Instead, we get false equivalency on both side-ism. With the ridiculous claim that Democrats like Ilhan Omar are somehow the same as Marjorie Taylor Greene.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): We're talking about statements that were made before she was even ever a candidate to Congress. And that -- that, I think, has some bearing here.

On the other hand, you have statements from Ilhan Omar and actually from Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters, Representative Pressley, a whole plethora of folks who while they're sitting here that made offensive or dangerous statements as well. And we're really trying to say, look, this is good for the goose, it's good for the gander.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Look, I -- remember that Ilhan Omar, Republicans were outraged, she had to apologize. Marjorie Taylor Greene has not apologized. Marjorie Taylor Greene endorsed executing Democrats. Executing them. None of those Democrats have ever said anything remotely like that.

So, what happened to judging people on their own merits? Huh? What aboutism. Stop the what aboutism. Know what, when I mentioned to Chris just moments ago about there are fire brands in both parties, no one is talking about stripping Moe Brooks of his committees or Matt Gaetz.

Why are you bringing up Maxine Waters? It's because you don't want to focus on your own mess. You don't want to clean up your own house, literally, an existential crisis of your own making. This what aboutism is just a lie. And it's not deserving of the American people's attention.

[22:20:09]

The American people deserve better right now. We're in the middle of a pandemic. People are dying. The economy is in the tank, but what aboutism. Is that really what you want to do? It's dangerous.

It was just one month ago a mob incited by the former president's lies attacked the capitol. This is a time when the Q-Trumplican party needs to stands up for the truth. What they don't repudiate, they enable. They embrace. They applaud. They become.

So, QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene gets a standing ovation. Even though just yesterday she told Sebastian Gorka of all people that she doesn't think that she has anything to apologize for. What's next? After the break.

[22:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): And we're back. Liz Cheney surviving a key vote tonight keeping her leadership position after voting to impeach the former president for inciting the capitol insurrection. Meantime, QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who faces a vote tomorrow that could strip her of her committee assignments gets a standing ovation from colleagues tonight.

A lot to discuss with CNN political director David Chalian and our chief political analyst Gloria Borger. You know how I love having both of you here. And this is an important night so thank you both for appearing.

Gloria, I'm going to start with you. Cheney prevailed but only after taking incoming for hours while Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conspiracy theorist, says that her disgusting posts don't reflect who she is and gets a standing ovation from half the caucus. What in the world is going on, what are we watching happening here?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this evening was remarkable as you say. What we're watching in the big picture is a Republican Party at war with itself. And we're also seeing a party in various stages of moral disintegration. The fact that they debated for hours, Liz Cheney's decision cast a vote of conscience about presidential impeachment and let -- gave Marjorie Taylor Greene the floor -- let her chat a little bit about how maybe she didn't believe what were in her deranged posts anymore, and then lots of members of the caucus, maybe it was half of them, stood up and gave her a standing ovation is stunning.

Now, the good news here, of course, is that Liz Cheney survived handily. I think she won almost two-thirds of the conference but it was a secret ballot, Don.

Now, those people, those Republicans all know that Donald Trump wanted Liz Cheney out of leadership. I wonder if this were a public vote, what would have happened to Liz Cheney? And tomorrow we have to wait and see when there's a vote on the floor on what happens to Marjorie Taylor Greene's committee assignments because the Democrats have forced this vote, whether she will actually tell the American public what she said in private to this conference. Saying, you know, I don't really believe that stuff. Let's see.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, you said -- listen, it was 145 to 61. I mean, that's a lot of people, Gloria. Sixty-one. That's a lot. And David is shaking his head --

BORGER: It is.

LEMON: -- in agreement. David, he delivered this unity speech, Kevin McCarthy I'm talking about, before the vote on Liz Cheney and we saw him after the vote. What has this whole sorry episode done to his reputation as the leader, and also you can tell me why you're shaking your head as well.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, no, I'm just noting that, yes, it is still 30 percent of the conference --

LEMON: Yes.

CHALIAN: -- that was not with Liz Cheney for their number-three position, the conference leader. That's usually something that sort of has, you know, unanimous force behind it when somebody is already in the position.

But no doubt, a substantial victory for her and she beat back the sort of freedom caucus wing here. But to the point of McCarthy's leadership, Kevin McCarthy likes to be a pleaser. Right? He wants to be everybody's friend no matter what the scenario and he's pleased almost no one in this scenario. Not the donors. Not the hardcore sort of freedom caucus and activists, the QAnon wing of the party. He didn't please them.

He didn't really please the establishment wing of the party. It's not clear he pleased base voters here. I mean, in fact, he allows for Marjorie Taylor Greene to give this -- give these remarks, get a standing ovation in the room from a pretty sizable chunk of the conference.

At the same moment, she's giving an interview basically calling him weak saying that he's, you know, all talk and no action. So, he didn't please her, either. I mean, he comes across here, I think, as a pretty weak leader. I don't mean his position, Don, is in danger, that somehow, they're going to take a vote and vote Kevin McCarthy out.

LEMON: Yes.

CHALIAN: But I think he emerges here pleasing almost no faction of his -- of his party at the moment.

LEMON: Well, you have to -- if you're going to be the leader, David, I think you'll agree, you have to take some positions sometimes that are unpopular with your caucus or even with the people who you're supposed to be leading.

And think about this. Someone made it very plain to me tonight, they said the fringes of both parties sometimes -- many times have outsized voices. When you think about Marjorie Taylor Greene who came from an overwhelmingly Republican district, 40,000-some people voted for her. But yet, look what's happening. Look at what she's doing to the entire party.

[22:29:56]

The same thing on the left, people who come from overwhelmingly Democratic districts. They don't have to win that many votes and they have outsized voices and platforms within even the Democratic Party, David. I don't know if you want to respond to that or not.

CHALIAN: Well, I just want to add to that, remember, if you're dealing with an overwhelmingly Republican district or an overwhelmingly Democratic district, the election that matters is the primary election.

LEMON: Right.

CHALIAN: Right? You're not even really focused on trying to appeal to a general election electorate in those scenarios. So that drives a lot of the fringing, as you're saying, a lot of the extremism because if you're just in a primary for base voters, you throw out that red meat, you're not trying to appeal to the middle. And you can win a seat in Congress. That is not the case in Senate races or in the battle for the presidency.

LEMON: Right.

CHALIAN: So, the Republican Party has to decide here if it wants to be a congressional majority party or an actual national majority party.

LEMON: Thank you for responding. Gloria, I want to play what Steve Scalise said after the GOP voted to keep Liz Cheney in leadership. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Tonight, our conference rounded a really important corner. We spent hours where members on every side of this issue looked each other in the eye, aired their grievances, and were very candid and honest with each other but addressed this as a family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. Rounded an important corner, Gloria. He's basically saying, no problem here, let's just move on. Is that -- that's not even remotely true.

BORGER: No, it kind of reminds me of the way Donald Trump used to talk about we're rounding the corner with COVID. We weren't rounding the corner with COVID. And we're not rounding the corner right now in the Republican Party.

There are members of the House conference who are furious with their leadership, particularly McCarthy, because what he did was and by not making a decision on Marjorie Taylor Greene in or out, off of her committees, he has handed this to the Democrats. They're going to be forced to take a vote publicly on the floor tomorrow that not many of them want to take.

And this is McCarthy's fault. I talked to somebody who is a big donor today who works with other donors who said that he may have cost himself the speakership, should the Republicans get control of the Congress at some point. And he's going to lose a lot of money.

The party is not united. The party is divided. And this, of course, is one of the legacies of Donald Trump because even though he's not in Washington, he's certainly going to continue to enjoy stirring the pot here.

LEMON: Gloria, David, we love to see you. I love having you. Come back early or late and often.

BORGER: Good to see you.

LEMON: On the late show. Thank you very much.

CHALIAN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: We appreciate it.

BORGER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Republicans won't kick Marjorie Taylor Greene off the education committee but Democrats still could. The congresswoman who is leading the charge to remove her and also represents Newtown, Connecticut, responds next.

[22:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy refusing to punish Marjorie Taylor Greene for her dangerous conspiracy theories so Democrats are taking action on their own. They're planning a House vote tomorrow on whether to strip Greene of her committee assignments including the House education and labor committee.

Let's discuss now with one of the Democrats leading that charge. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut. Congresswoman, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.

This is personal for you. I mean, you represent Newtown, Connecticut. The site of the horrific school shooting that Greene claimed was staged. What's your reaction to McCarthy saying that your push to remove Greene from the committees is part of a partisan power grab?

REP. JAHANA HAYES (D-CT): Well, Don, thanks for having me, and you're right, this is personal on so many levels but we can just pause for a minute and just think about the fact that Republicans met today for hours, close to five hours, all together in one room at the House capitol.

I think it's really illustrative of how they feel about this COVID pandemic. But about Representative Taylor Greene and some of the comments that she made, it is a betrayal to the families in Newtown, to the community, and even to educators who stand every day in front of kids trying to convince them that schools are safe and that the adults are working really hard to make sure that schools are safe.

The committee of Education and Labor deals with things like trauma- informed education practices, school climate issues, and really debate and discuss ways we can make our school campuses safe.

To have someone who doesn't even believe that these mass shootings are happening is a nonstarter. I think that Representative Taylor Greene has forfeited her right to be on this committee and 130 of my colleagues have signed on to my letter asking that she not be seated on this committee.

LEMON: It's -- listen, and I understand that it is personal for you and, obviously, for the people who are there in Connecticut but I think also it's personal for the entire country.

HAYES: Right.

LEMON: And I -- in a moment here -- I want to tell you, we cover a lot f story of stories as journalists. And when people ask me, you know, which story affected you the most, and it's always Newtown is the one that affected me most.

I remember the last live shot I did from there, there was a funeral and a tiny casket in a back of a hearse. And it is insulting, I think, you know, for me as just an American citizen, for someone who is an elected official to be able to say that it's not real when we witnessed the grief of moms and dads and grandmothers and sisters and brothers and, you know, we saw it happening live. We witnessed it.

[22:39:58]

And this person is elected to Congress and yet your colleagues on the other side cannot take a stand to vote her off the committee that has to do with children. It is mind-boggling.

HAYES: Absolutely. And I think that's what upset me as much as it did. Her comments have re-traumatized the people in my community and I don't know what Leader McCarthy is talking about. I have not heard her denounce these comments. I have not seen her walk them back. The last I checked she said, "I will not apologize." That was her statement or something along those lines.

And like you, Newtown was heartbreaking for me, for educators, for so many people in my community. I think the differences and why I refuse to wait for Kevin McCarthy to do the right thing is that Republicans were in the majority in 2012 and we saw them do nothing. We saw them not act. We saw them not react. So, if we're waiting for them to do the right thing, it's not going to happen. So, I am leading my colleagues to try to not have her seated on especially this committee.

LEMON: But you and your Democratic colleagues could vote to expel Greene from Congress altogether, but you say that you don't want to do that. Why not?

HAYES: I struggle with this because I respect the fact that the people of Georgia voted for her, but in Congress we have a responsibility to discipline our own members for their behavior and some of what my Republican colleagues are saying, this was before she came to Congress. In their eyes, you can't discipline someone before they're in office, after they're in office. It's in her heart. It's there. It's going to come out again.

Those words and those statements are going to come out again. And we have to do something about that. I would support -- I feel like this is a first step, if it does not work, I would support censoring her or ultimately expelling her. She does not belong in congress. She doesn't belong on this committee. We need to do everything in our power to render her neutered, I guess, and not give her a platform for this type of rhetoric.

And this isn't just -- I also want to add, Don, this isn't just about a difference of opinion. There are lots of Republicans on this committee and other committees who disagree with Democrats on policy and on the way that we should get there.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has been dangerous. She has called for violent -- direct violence on members of Congress. She has harassed school shooting victims. She has promoted conspiracy theories. That is very different than free speech or even a difference of opinion.

And even today she is fund-raising off of her efforts. Not denouncing them. Not walking them back. But radicalizing and mobilizing her base and raising money off of it. Every Republican, every Democrat, should be denouncing that.

LEMON: Representative Hayes, I appreciate your time. We're all thinking about you and every member of your community. Thank you so much.

HAYES: Thanks so much. Good night.

LEMON: Good night.

New conspiracy charges against some Proud Boys who stormed the capitol. The details of their plans and what they allegedly did once inside the building. That's next.

[22:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): At least 11 people with connections to the far- right Proud Boys now facing charges in connection with the insurrection at the capitol. Tonight, two top members of the group facing seven new charges including conspiracy. They allegedly raised money online to fly to Washington.

And a third man the so-called sergeant at arms of the Proud Boys in Seattle has also been charged. Canada announcing today that the Proud Boys will be designated a terrorist, a terrorist entity.

Evan Perez has all the details and he joins us now. Evan, good evening to you. Let's start with the two Proud Boys facing conspiracy charges. Nicholas Ochs and Nicholas DeCarlo. What exactly are prosecutors alleging here?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, this is Nick DeCarlo and Nick Ochs. These are the two premier or prominent members of the Proud Boys. Ochs lives in Hawaii with the founding member of the chapter over there and DeCarlo lives in Texas.

Now, according to prosecutors, they had a conspiracy, they went there, led a group of Proud Boy members to essentially block Congress from certifying the vote which, of course, Joe Biden won. And that was their -- they had a whole planning and fund-raising operation to support this goal. That's what makes this a conspiracy charge.

It's a big deal. You know, they can get up to 20 years because of this charge that prosecutors added today in this indictment. And one of the things they were doing, Don, is that they were looking for fund- raising and trying to organize how they could get communications equipment, protective gear, all geared towards the attack on the capitol on January 6th.

LEMON: So, what'd they do at the -- what are officials saying they did at the capitol, Evan?

PEREZ: Well, one of the things that prosecutors said is that they've discovered video evidence that indicates that Ochs and DeCarlo were there and were involved in painting graffiti or marking graffiti on the walls of the capitol, inside the capitol.

And one of them says, 'murder the media.' There's a thing they all do, which is "MTM" which is supposed to be "murder the media." It's commonly seen in these Proud Boys rallies and they were seen inscribing this inside the capitol, Don.

LEMON: Evan, I appreciate it. Thank you. Good to see you.

PEREZ: Thank you.

LEMON: Be safe. PEREZ: Thanks.

LEMON: A grim new forecast from the CDC. They're now projecting coronavirus will kill more than 80,000 more Americans this month. Stay with us.

[22:50:04]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): There were just under 1.1 million new COVID vaccinations reported today which puts the total at 33.8 million vaccinations so far in the U.S.

That, as research from the U.K. seems to suggest that AstraZeneca, COVID-19 vaccine, which is still in clinical trials, appears to substantially reduce transmission of the virus. Coronavirus vaccine trials have primarily looked at prevention of symptomatic cases, which could make this AstraZeneca news extremely welcome if the findings do bear out.

[22:55:01]

It is a race against time, as these new more contagious variants of COVID-19 continue to spread. Health officials in New Jersey, California and Alabama already beginning to identify deaths believed to be linked to the U.K. variant.

Officials at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham telling CNN that they lost a male patient yesterday due to myocarditis and a cardiogenic shock brought on by the U.K. COVID variant. His grieving window telling CNN this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY JACKSON, HUSBAND DISGNOSED WITH U.K. VARIANT STRAIN OF COVID- 19: His (Inaudible) having COVID-19 symptoms but all his tests came negative, which made me concerning because he starting to decline. So we got to the hospital on that Friday, as we thought it was COVID, it turned out to have heart failure, and then on to liver failure and kidney failure and eventually having to be on the respirator and having the echo machine placed on him to support his heart and lung.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): More than 450 Americans have already lost their lives to the virus and a new forecast from the CDC projects as many as 534,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by February 27th. More than 80,000 Americans who are alive today could lose their lives by the end of the month.

Republicans behind closed doors late into the night. Ultimately supporting Liz Cheney's leadership position but giving Marjorie Taylor Greene a standing ovation, too. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)