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CNN TONIGHT

Facts Unfold Behind Late Troops Deployment During Capitol Riot; Former VP Pence Writes Op-Ed Backing Former Trump's Election Fraud Claim Despite His Life Being Put In Danger On January 6; GOP Sticks With Trump No Matter What; Interview With Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI); Governor Abbott Decides To Reopen Businesses And Lift Mask Mandate; Gov. Cuomo Makes Public Apology But Says He Will Not Resign. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired March 3, 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 (on camera): In that hearing you heard of the commander of the National Guard say plain, straight and real, this was about politics. They didn't like the way it looked for us to send in the National Guard, so we didn't. Think about what that means and think about the lack of curiosity about it in that room today from the Republicans.

"CNN TONIGHT" the big show, I know they're taking this on. That's why they've got the big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Well, we are taking it on. And it's really unbelievable. Think about it. Two months to the day, right? Here we are two months to the day from the insurrection and then tomorrow the capitol is going to be shut down again because people are concerned about these whackos, you can say that, I can say that, who are saying that the president, the former president is going to be inaugurated again and is going to be the 19th -- it is nuts --

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: -- but you have to take it seriously because we saw what happened with that racist mob that rough shot over the capitol.

CUOMO: Absolutely. But I'm telling you when I heard that. Look, if you don't believe what that guy was saying today then you don't believe anybody saying anything because that guy just oozed integrity. Everything he was saying, he backed up. Whatever -- you know, nobody could put a hole in anything that he said.

LEMON: It was optics. They were afraid of the optics.

CUOMO: And he didn't say it like, you know, he was in a high dungeon. He was straight, you know, like matter of fact.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And he said I was asked for things in a moment of crisis that I had never been asked for before. And they sent in the National Guard really quick over the summer. I'm not saying it was the wrong call. I'm saying it was quick. The guy didn't get -- wasn't given these steps. When it came to Trump needing National Guard to walk down to that church, he wasn't given these steps. But on January 6th, he was.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And Phil Mudd have a great question that I'm sure you'll pursue with your intel types tonight which is when they had meeting on the 5th, where was the White House and what were they saying they wanted? That's an important thing. Now you're not going to hear these Republicans ask it.

LEMON: They're not.

CUOMO: I've never seen these terror monger guys go soft on terror the way they are on this. It is amazing.

LEMON: Let me tell you, if you really want to know what happened -- if you want to know what happened -- all you have to do is speak with a capitol police officer, a metro police officer, anyone who was anywhere near that capitol on January 6th. They know what happened.

CUOMO: They know what happened, but I'm saying the story of why they didn't have more help.

LEMON: They know that -- they know that too. Just because they're the folks who were out there on the beat it doesn't mean that know that they don't know what happened. They know what's going on. And all you have to do is talk to them and they will tell you what happened.

CUOMO: I've heard it. But the command structure, Don --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: They'll tell you who and where and what dropped the ball. Yes, I get you, I get you. But they know what happened. That's why.

CUOMO: I know, but they weren't in the room is what I'm saying. You know, you get this guy who was being given the layered instruction before he could make the call, and that three hours went by before he got the go-ahead. That's the guy. You know what I mean.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I'm sure other people know it, but he lived it.

LEMON: Here's what they're doing. blame that guy, blame that guy.

CUOMO: Well, look --

LEMON: Blame that guy.

CUOMO: -- they're always a little CYA in this situation.

LEMON: Blame that guy.

CUOMO: But again, look, either they gave him the layered approval approach --

LEMON: Or they didn't.

CUOMO: -- or they didn't.

LEMON: And they didn't.

CUOMO: And I never heard anybody say, yes, no, that never happened. He's lying.

LEMON: Yes. Yes. Well, they're concerned about that and about, you know, so-called cancel culture which doesn't mean anything anymore. We're going to talk about that as well. And worried about all the wrong things, questioning about all the wrong things, all the things that they think make them look good in the eyes of the Trump supporters and the conspiracy theorists.

That's what they're concerned about, not the truth, not with what really happened, and as you said, not the command structure. We'll get to the bottom of it. The truth will come out, but will they believe it? Who knows?

CUOMO: You look like you're ready to get to bottom of it.

LEMON: I'm ready.

CUOMO: You're dressed like Joe Friday today.

LEMON: Goodbye.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON (on camera): And you more. I'll see you later. We've got a lot to get to tonight. And we're going to take you like to the capitol.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Breaking news, and there it is, the capitol, live, and it is on high alert tonight. Can you believe it? With another threat to lawmakers, another one. Less than two months after rioters stormed the capitol and hunted our elected officials in the halls of justice. It's supposed to be the halls of justice.

And they're taking the threat seriously now, so seriously that the House is working late into the night so that they don't have to be in the capitol tomorrow, March 4th. That's the date that the conspiracy theorists like QAnon -- they are obsessed with that date. They are convinced that Donald Trump will be inaugurated again.

[22:04:56]

This is -- folks, this is where we live right now. You have one side who is trying to live in reality, is living in reality. And you have another side who's just -- is believing conspiracy theories, who doesn't understand what's happening in their own party, who is catering to QAnon people and liars. That's the truth. Only one side is doing that.

The FBI and homeland security warning about increasing chatter from extremists about possible plots. That, as we have new details tonight about just what went so horribly wrong on January 6th. And what we're learning is really pretty shocking. It took three hours and 19 minutes from the first call from the capitol police to get the D.C. National Guard to the capitol where rioters were running wild.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM WALKER, COMMANDING GENERAL, D.C. NATIONAL GUARD: At 1.49 p.m. I received a frantic call from then chief of United States Capitol Police Steven Sund where he informed me that the security perimeter of the United States Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters.

Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the capitol, and he requested the immediate assistance of as many available National Guardsmen that I could muster. Immediately after that 1.30 -- 1.49 call, I alerted the U.S. army senior leadership at the request --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Do you have to hear? How much more evidence do you need in order to accept the truth? The National Guard commander testifying that he had 155 guardsmen ready to go, but a memo one day before the riot said that he had to get approval from the secretary of army and the secretary of defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: We dialed in trying to get the secretary of the army on the call, but he wasn't available.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): He wasn't available? He wasn't available while rioters were allowed to run rampant? He wasn't available while guardsmen were sitting on buses ready to go?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: We put guardsmen on buses. We brought them inside the armory so nobody would see them putting on the equipment and getting on the buses. And then we just waited to get the approval.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): They waited. And they waited. And they waited. All of this, them waiting while rioters were breaking down doors and storming the capitol. It took more -- that pause that I just gave you -- that was like 10 seconds. But imagine three hours. It took more than three hours to deploy the National Guard, three hours.

Look what happened in the 10 seconds there, how many people would have gotten into that capitol. Three hours while police were attacked, crushed in doors. Three hours while officers tried to fight back, completely unnumbered. Three hours, outrageous.

And let's remember all of that, the riot, the violence, the death and destruction, it all happened because of the big lie. The big lie. And incredibly one of the people whose life was threatened that day is still doubling down on the big lie today.

Mike Pence incredibly writing an op-ed on a conservative web site pushing the bogus charge that there were, his words, significant voting irregularities in the last election. There were no significant voting irregularities, people. Stop falling for this bull crap. Not -- it wasn't. Didn't happen. I know you want it to. Didn't happen. There weren't. No matter how many times the former president's enables say it, it's not true.

Just yesterday Trump's handpicked FBI director testified there's absolutely no evidence of voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election. No evidence. None.

His attorney general, the one that carried so much water for the former president, said the exact same thing. But Mike Pence -- Mike Pence -- remember they were going to -- they wanted to hang him, right? He's so enthralled to this disgraced, twice-impeached, one-term former president that he is still supporting that big lie, the big lie that nearly got him killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:10:10]

CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Mike Pence knows that that was a lie. He knows. And they were saying, hang Mike Pence. Geez. The big lie that incited those rioters put up -- see the gallows? They wanted to hang you, Mike Pence, for something you know is a lie.

Pence and his family escaping just a minute before rioters charged up the stairs, as hero capitol police officer Eugene Goodman distracted them. There he is, distracting them from Mike Pence, who's now putting out some crap about a stolen election or irregularities. Come on, Mike Pence. You care about power that much? I guess you do. Sorry, I shouldn't even ask that question. I shouldn't waste my time.

All that and Mike Pence is still sucking up to his former boss. Have you not debased yourself enough for that man? Not only were Pence and his family in mortal danger, those hero officers, police officers like Eugene Goodman, they were in danger as well.

And let's remember Donald Trump didn't even call Mike Pence during the riot to find out if he and his family were OK. Instead, he tweeted before he was permanently banned from Twitter for his lies, tweeted an attack on his own vice president. But all that is OK with Mike Pence now. Fine with the big lie, fine

with lives withing in danger, he's fine with voter suppression. He's gambled his integrity away. Might as well put it all on red right now, right? Might as well ride it out. Ride it like a cowboy.

He's not the only one. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says that he would support Trump, he would do it in 2024.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Real quickly, Donald Trump is the '24 nominee for Republicans, would you support him?

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Absolutely. I'm going to support the nominee. As I said, again, I worked very hard for the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): These people, man, right? He'd support Trump. The reason you said his people, and I scratch my head, because look at your screen. The man who called him a fool and a clown, the man who demanded that he resign, the man who vowed to campaign against him, who retweeted a lawyer who said Kemp should go to jail.

Governor Kemp and his family were threatened by Trump supporting conspiracy theorists, but he's all in with Trump. What is -- I mean, what does he have on or over or -- what -- what -- what is going on with you people where you have to debase yourself for someone like Donald Trump, the guy whose only success was a reality TV show that someone else wrote?

Kemp, like Mike Pence, you know, tied themselves to Trump, and nothing is going to make them let go. I want you to just listen to Mitch McConnell claiming that he didn't watch the former president's speech over the weekend. Remember when the GOP line was, we don't read his tweets. Now McConnell says his party is not looking to the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Well, I -- I didn't -- I didn't watch it. We're dealing with the present and the future, not looking back to the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Not looking to the past, huh? So, you should tell that to forever Trumpers like Mike Pence and Brian Kemp kowtowing to, and I'll say it again, a disgraced, twice-impeached, one-term former president. They lost the House. They lost the Senate. They lost the White House.

[22:14:59]

And to get power back, they're going to use the big lie to pass a bunch of laws to suppress the vote. Did you just hear me? They're going to pass a bunch of laws using the big lie to suppress the vote. That's what this is all about. Stay woke. Don't fall for the okey- doke.

New extremist threats to the capitol tonight. The House cancelling tomorrow's session, as we are learning more about the riot on January 6th and why it took more than three hours to get the National Guard there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): We're all watching this on CNN and Fox and MSNBC, and it's -- it's -- it's a riot. And yet it took more than three hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:04:55]

LEMON (on camera): Security ramped up at the capitol, looking at live pictures there now, with a new warning. Extremists may try to breach the building tomorrow March 4th. Well, that's because of the absurd and obviously completely bogus QAnon conspiracy theory that Donald Trump will be inaugurated president once again.

The potential threat leading the House to cancel its session tomorrow, less than two months after the deadly January 6th attack.

The commanding general of the D.C. National Guard testifying today that he was frustrated and stunned that it took more than three hours to get permission to move guardsmen to the capitol.

Here's CNN's Oren Liebermann.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From this moment you see here, it took three hours and 19 minutes to deploy the D.C. National Guard to help secure the capitol. At 1.49 p.m. a frantic phone call from the capitol police to the D.C. Guard pleading for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion indicated that there was a dire emergency at the capitol.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: But Major General William Walker, commander of the D.C. Guard, says his hands were tied. Walker had guardsmen at the armory but to move them be needed approval from his superiors. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, that included a 40-person quick reaction force that had been tasked to help with traffic control.

WALKER: Just to be clear, the secretary of defense said I could use it as a last resort.

UNKNOWN: Last resort, right?

WALKER: But the secretary of the army says that I could only use it after he gave me permission.

LIEBERMANN: Some 30 minutes later, as this was unfolding on Capitol Hill, D.C. officials got on the phone with the Pentagon. Walker was on that call, and he heard hesitation and the concern about the optics about deploying troops to the streets of the capitol.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Everyone has seen this on TV and they're not immediately approving your request. And in your recent testimony, you just said, hey, I could have gotten them on those buses and ready to go. Is that correct?

WALKER: That is correct, Senator.

LIEBERMANN: Walker says he could have had 154 troops to the capitol within 20 minutes, but it wasn't his call.

WALKER: The word that I was -- I kept hearing was the optics of it. And there was concern that it could inflame the protesters.

LIEBERMANN: Robert Salesses, acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland security said the acting secretary of defense wanted final authority because of the sensitivity of deploying U.S. troops against civil disturbance involving American citizens.

ROBERT SALESSES, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: There is no ability for the military to respond without the secretary's approval for civil disturbance operations.

LIEBERMANN: The Pentagon offered more guardsmen multiple times before January 6th but capitol police and D.C. officials repeatedly said no. Without a formal request for help, military officials couldn't plan for a specific mission until the riot was already unfolding.

At 3 p.m., about 90 minutes after the evacuation of the capitol, acting Defense Secretary Miller approved the call up of the full National Guard. Within an hour of the call, with Walker and city officials he moved available guardsmen from the armory to the capitol later.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley insisted the Pentagon responded with sprint speed to the request for help according to the Washington Post. They reacted faster than our most elite forces from a cold start, Milley said. It's an argument senators weren't buying.

KLOBUCHAR: And so, you could have had them there earlier, hours earlier if it had been approved.

LIEBERMANN: As security at the capitol broke down, so too did communication. Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller approved the D.C. National Guard to help clear and secure the capitol at 4.32. General Walker said he didn't find out about that approval for more than 30 minutes.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

LEMON (on camera): All right. Oren, thank you very much.

Now I want to bring in Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat who chairs the homeland security committee.

Senator, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining.

Listen, on the same day you're trying to learn more about the deadly insurrection, the House had to cancel tomorrow's session over more extremists' threats. The Senate is set to stay in session though. Do you feel like the capitol is better -- the capitol is better prepared and that you'll be safe?

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): Definitely the capitol is prepared much better than it was on January 6th. We have a large contingent of National Guard there now protecting the capitol. There's fencing. There's pretty extensive security in place.

LEMON: So, all right. Let's discuss now today's hearing on the capitol attack. Three hours. Three hours and 19 minutes to deploy the National Guard. We all saw these scenes of chaos. We saw it unfolding live on our television. It was unacceptable and it still is unacceptable. Do you understand why it took so long to get help?

PETERS: No, we don't because there's no easy explanation. At least from what we heard. In the previous segment you had clips there from General Walker. That is very clear that he was perplexed by it as well. He had brought National Guard troops and soldiers who were actually out at Andrews Air Force Base, a quick response force. He brought it into the armory so it would be closer. He was concerned about what could happen.

[22:25:04]

As National Guard soldiers were in traffic duty. But as the police were leaving, he was bringing those soldiers back into the armory and getting them deployed because he was very concerned. So, he actually equipped them to get ready to go. He put them on buses. They were ready to move.

The armory is really just a short drive from the capitol. You can be there in 15, 20 minutes max. And they were ready to go. But he never got the order despite the fact that there was a call to the department of the army, which was very clear from both the chief of the capitol police, who was basically pleading.

We had testimony last week from the chief of the metro D.C. police who said that he was absolutely stunned, was his words -- stunned -- at the tepid response they got from the Pentagon. They knew that they needed to send folks now. And when I asked General Walker about what would the impact have been

had those soldiers arrived at the capitol, he said in all of his years in military experience and dealing with these kinds of disturbances, as soon as the buses pulled up and the soldiers started getting out of the buses and forming into positions, that would have definitely had an impact on the crowd. There was no question.

LEMON (on camera): Yes. Well, he told you something else too. He said General Walker testified that he kept hearing the word "optics" as to why the guard wasn't deployed sooner. You asked him if that ever came up with the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. I want you to watch this, and then we'll discuss it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETERS: You said that you were able to get immediate authorization in the summer of 2020 during those protests. General Walker, was the issue of optics ever brought up by army leadership with the D.C. National Guard was deployed during the summer of 2020? Was that discussed?

WALKER: It was never discussed the week of June. It was never discussed July 4th when we were supporting the city. It was never discussed August 28th when we supported the city.

PETERS: Did you think that was unusual?

WALKER: I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, given what you heard, do you think if the white Trump supporters had instead been black or if they had been a foreign threat, would there have been the same concern over optics?

PETERS: It's striking the difference. And the general also mentioned that there was no delay whatsoever in the summer when there was a request for authorization for the National Guard. It was granted immediately, immediately granted. No delay whatsoever.

And yet, on January 6th it was tepid response, according to folks who were on that phone call, and took three hours for that force to arrive on the capitol grounds. It is a clear difference in approach, leads to a whole host of questions that we have to continue to ask.

LEMON: Yes, and let's hope we get some answers, more answers. Thank you very much, Senator Peters. I appreciate your time.

PETERS: Thank you.

LEMON (on camera): The CDC warning now is not the time, and we could lose all the progress that we have made. So, why is Texas reopening?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Last thing -- the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything is fine, take off your mask, forget it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): President Biden says it is Neanderthal thinking that led governors like Texas governor Greg Abbott to lift mask mandates and business restrictions. Many large businesses like Target, Kroger, CVS and Walgreens say they'll continue to require masks. But that's a luxury many small businesses don't have.

I want you to listen to what the owner of a brewery in Texas told CNN about the tough spot he now finds himself in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: I don't see how we can -- we can continue to enforce the mask mandates knowing that we have no support even from the very beginning. And now certainly there will be none. We've been assaulted. We've been, obviously, you know, verbally assaulted. We've had physical altercations. The police don't come. I -- I -- I stayed up the whole night wondering about it. The one thing I come back to is I don't want to visit one of our employees in the hospital for a decision that I made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Joining me now is Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Mayor, I'm so happy you could join us. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON, TEXAS: Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me.

LEMON: So, all over Texas business owners will have to decide between opening without restrictions or putting themselves and their employees in danger of harassment or attack or even getting COVID quite frankly. Is Governor Abbott putting them in this bad spot?

TURNER: Yes, he is, and it's going to lead to a lot of chaos, confusion and conflict. You're going to have a large segment of the population, for example, they want their mask to be on. And then you're going to have another group that don't want to place the mask on. And if you go into grocery stores or restaurants or the business establishments, that only will lead to chaos, chaos, conflict and confusion.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Because people will say I don't have to put it on because the governor says I don't have to, right? Is that the --

TURNER: Yes, and then -- and then they're going to -- there will be many, many people like myself who don't want you to be around me if you don't have a mask on. OK?

LEMON: Yes.

TURNER: Now your freedom ends when my liberties are cut or restricted. This is still a serious situation. The virus is still prevalent. And I don't know what the governor was thinking.

LEMON: Yes. What are you hearing from the Houston business community? Will most of them continue requiring their employees and customers to mask up?

TURNER: I think most of them will. I've heard from a number of businesses across the city, and they are saying to their customers, to their patrons, to their employees, we want you to keep your masks on.

[22:35:05]

They just don't feel comfortable at this point in time telling people to come into their establishments without the mask. And I appreciate them. Houston Zoo, for example, the museums, they're all saying that they still will require masks. And I -- and I applaud them for that.

LEMON: Did the governor consult with you or other leaders before making this decision, Mayor?

TURNER: No, he didn't. But I will tell you the county judge and myself sent a letter to the governor before he made his announcement, the same situation in Austin and San Antonio. We all wrote the governor ahead of time when we thought he might be leaning in that direction and asked him not to do -- not to do this at this time.

LEMON: Yes. Let me give you some numbers here.

TURNER: OK.

LEMON: Thirteen-point-three percent of people have been vaccinated in Texas. Only 7.2 percent are fully vaccinated. And listen, the frontline workers, they're going to be -- they're going to face these folks, right? They're going to be, you know, in the grocery stores. Nurses, what have you, bus drivers, they are exhausted, these frontline workers. They have been battling for months saving lives. Doesn't Abbott have a duty to protect them any way that he can?

TURNER: Well, not only does he have a duty, we all have a responsibility. As a mayor of city of Houston, I have a duty. I have lost police officers, firefighters, municipal workers who have died from COVID-19. I just went to a funeral on Saturday of a person who was a part of our executive professional loan program who died because of COVID-19.

So, the reality is, is that people are still being impacted. People in this city -- I don't care who you are -- are literally suffering because of this virus. And you are right. More than 90 percent of people in the state of Texas have not been fully vaccinated. And there are large segment of people who are not in that 1B category. What about those individuals, for example, below the age of 65, don't

have any chronic health conditions showing up at bars and clubs and restaurants that have now been given permission to be open at 100 percent and they are jammed in there and they don't even have their masks on and they are leaving these establishments and going someplace else?

So, you know, this was a bad decision. Let me just -- the governor made a bad decision. And what I will say to him, look, you know, you can make a bad decision. Doesn't mean you have to stick with it. I would certainly encourage him, not as in a political way, but simply encourage him to reverse course. There's nothing wrong with reversing course and backing up and changing your mind. But this decision -- this -- this is bad, and it will be a life-threatening decision for many people.

LEMON: Mayor Turner, thank you so much.

TURNER: Thanks. Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me.

LEMON: He's not resigning. He is apologizing. But my next guest claims no one should take New York Governor Cuomo's apology seriously.

[22:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo appearing publicly today to take questions on harassment allegations against him, apologizing for his behavior and claiming that he didn't realize he was making women feel uncomfortable, also saying he's not resigning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I never touched anyone inappropriately.

I'm not going to resign. I work for the people of the State of New York. They elected me, and I'm going to serve the people of the State of New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Let's discuss the situation now. CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp is here. The host of the S.E. Cupp Unfiltered. S.E., thank you for joining. And I'm so interested in getting your thoughts on this. Good evening to you.

Governor Cuomo had put out a statement on Sunday that you said made it clear that accountability is not his native language. Did he do any better with today's apology?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I heard a lot of the same justifications. I didn't intend it that way, I didn't know I was doing it. You know, an apology is nice, but not when it's couched in all those codicil and conditions. What he said today, punctuated by the fact that he will not resign no matter what this independent investigation finds I don't think was very satisfying to any of the women who have accused him of unwanted behaviors.

LEMON: Let's slow down a little bit more. Because he's saying -- he said today that he learned that these things make people uncomfortable. But one of his former aides, Charlotte Bennett, talks about an unsettled encounter in his office in June. Bennett's attorney says that Bennett immediate reported the incident to Cuomo's chief of staff and chief counsel, so how can you imply that he just learned about this?

CUPP: Well, right, that doesn't make any sense. Also, allegedly, he did some of these things in public in front of -- in front of other people. And that really goes to this other part of, you know, ongoing sexual harassment that this culture of protecting powerful people still exists.

[22:44:58]

That's still a huge problem that men can act this way brazenly in public in front of others or be told this behavior wasn't great and she's complaining and then still kind of go about -- sorry about that -- doing it.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's in the time of COVID. That happens to everyone. We're all working on it.

CUPP: Sorry.

LEMON: It's OK.

CUPP: But listen, there were a number of infuriating parts of that. There seems to be this idea that women as a gender, an entire gender, we are just, like, perpetually in a state of confusion. We don't get your jokes. We misinterpret you constantly. We have no sense of humor. And we're just unreliable witnesses.

And that is adding insult to injury. The idea -- we are not confused, right? OK? We take stock of everything that's going on. And believe me we would love to be able to devote, like, 100 percent of our attention to our work and not navigating all of these signals from our male coworkers and bosses.

You know, why does he want to have this meeting in his hotel room? Why did he call me at home? Why is he constantly talking about my boyfriend? Why is he comparing me to his ex-girlfriend?

LEMON: OK.

CUPP: Why is he always asking -- I mean, we shouldn't have to deal with that stuff. LEMON: I'm glad you said that.

CUPP: Someone should tell the governor that that's inappropriate.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that. Because I think this is probably one of the most important questions that I will an ask because I think we can all agree that harassment can never be tolerated. Everyone agrees with that.

But does every politician's misdeed, S.E., is a call for resignation? Are there other ways to hold people accountable? Is he being held accountable in some ways is this accountability in some form that's happening to him now?

CUPP: Listen, I -- I get what you're saying and I don't like the question because there's another option, Don. Instead of focusing on the resignation and the punishment and what should happen, they should they be cancelled, should they be fired, what about not doing the misdeeds.

I feel like we never kind of start there. I mean, we talk a lot about what to do if you are a victim of this. Who do you tell? You know, what do you say? Whether you do, you know, we talk about the punishment for the alleged perpetrators.

Is it really that inevitable that sexual harassment and sexual assault at work are going to happen and so we can't actually talk about don't do the misdeeds. Don't make the inappropriate comments. Don't put women and men in positions to be bullied and to feel uncomfortable. Can't we just start with that?

LEMON: I think that -- listen, I think you're -- I think you're right about that. You know, we've been talking -- the court of public opinion is huge, especially in the age of Trump and now following the age of Trump.

I have to be honest. When you speak with people, we often talked about this, S.E. about what Trump supporters would say to us off camera and then they would get on television and they'd say something completely different. And I find the same thing -- not the same, but a similar, a similar thing happening now.

When I speak to people, I went to lunch with folks today. I see people on the street, and they say, I don't understand what the big deal is. The governor is touching someone's face, the photograph or whatever, like I don't understand what is going on and why are these young people so sensitive.

You know what I'm saying. And so, people say one thing in private, but then among, you know, maybe their professional friends or when they get on television, they say a completely different thing. There are people who will say, I don't get the big deal of what's happening with the governor. I -- and I'm just being honest. That's what I hear personally from both Republicans and Democrats. And male and female friends. CUPP: Yes, I'm sure that's true, and I would wager that person hasn't

ever been made to feel really uncomfortable in the workplace. And everyone has a line. Not every infraction or incident is maybe worth you reporting to you. You know, you have to decide, you know, the stakes. And the stakes are very high for a lot of women we know reporting means we will likely lose our job.

I mean, look around on our industry, Don. There are -- it is littered with women who bravely came out to talk about men harassing them or sexually assaulting them who no longer have their jobs.

LEMON: Yes.

CUPP: So, there's a lot -- it's a complicated thing. But if you have been harassed at work or made to feel demeaned or disrespected or sexualized or objectified, it is very real. And even if it feels incidental or you can move past it to do your job, it's something that you carry around and should not have to deal with. We should not have to deal with it at work.

[22:50:00]

LEMON (on camera): This is a -- it's a longer conversation, S.E. And unfortunately, you know how this works, I'm out of time. I have to get to the next segment. But we'll have you back. I think it's an important discussion and I enjoyed this conversation.

Thank you, S.E. And go -- whoever is calling you, it must be urgent. Thank you. I'll talk to you soon.

When we come back --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Just yesterday on Dr. Seuss' birthday, the left is moving Joe Biden pulled Dr. Seuss off of the agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Joe Biden -- OK. Ted Cruz, Don Jr., Dr. Seuss and the far-right's fake claims of cancel culture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Do you like green eggs and ham?

I do not like them, Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): Take this. So, President Biden's nominee to attorney general Merrick Garland asked to explain cancel culture. When asked to give his thoughts on the topic by self-appointed cancel culture warrior, Senator Ted Cruz, Judge Garland said this. I do not have an understanding of the meaning of the term sufficient to comment. Maybe that's because the term has become utterly meaningless.

Last week, it was the Muppets and Mr. Potato Head. This week it's Dr. Seuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: Dr. Seuss wrote a story called "The Sneetches." There are two groups of sneetches in the story. Those with star shaped designs on their stomachs and those without. Underneath the stars, they're all the same. They're all sneetches. Who cares who's got a star? American children have read the sneetches and books like it. And that's one of the reasons we have the country we have today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, let me -- hear this. No one is cancelling the sneetches. No one is cancelling "The Cat in the Hat." Six Dr. Seuss books are being pulled for hurtful depictions, not by Joe Biden or some fake higher power woke mob, but by the company that controls the Seuss' books. They did it themselves. It wasn't someone calling for it. It wasn't Joe Biden. But the Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy isn't one to let the facts get in the way of a bad argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Under the Constitution we generally defer to states and counties to run elections. Democrats want to change that. First, they outlaw Dr. Seuss. And now they want to tell us what to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Again, Democrats did not outlaw Dr. Seuss. The company that -- Dr. Seuss' own company pulled them. No one asked them to. Republican Senator Josh Hawley acting like a victim of the culture from the stage at a PAC political conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Speaking of being cancelled, the last six weeks the radical left, their corporate allies, the liberal tried to cancel me, censor me, expel me, shut me down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, people didn't like when Senator Hawley voted to overturn the election and cancel millions of Americans' votes over a lie. He actually tried to cancel votes over a lie.

After the insurrection, Simon and Schuster said that they wouldn't publish his book, saying it could not support Hawley after his role in what became a, quote, "dangerous threat to undermine democracy and freedom." That is called consequences.

Ten days later a new publisher picked up the book. I'd say the cancel culture fanatics are making a mockery of themselves, but someone already did that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Online and in the media, conservative voices are being silenced. I said this before. I said it on my YouTube channel.

Conservative voices are being silenced. I said it on Joe Rogan, conservative voices are being silenced.

On the Jordan Peterson kayak podcast, conservative voices are being silenced. I said it on Tucker Carlson. And Tucker, we know conservative voices are being silenced. Twice actually like I said last time, Tucker, conservative voices are being silenced.

CARLSON: That is exactly right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Yes. There you go. Up next, why the House canceled tomorrow's session. New intelligence that's keeping them away from Capitol Hill.

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