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CNN TONIGHT

Rep. Matt Gaetz Sought Pardon For Himself From Trump; Witnesses Testified Today That Chauvin Kneeling On George Floyd's Neck Is Not An Approved Restraint Tactic; President Biden Supports MLB's Decision; Sen. Mitch McConnell Telling Business Owners Not To Meddle In Politics; Two NYC Doormen Fired After They Closed Doors To Building's Lobby While 65-Year-Old Asian Was Punched And Kicked Outside. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 6, 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]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Yes, I went too late, and I'm sorry. "CNN TONIGHT" is the big show and here is the big star, Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What's up with that?

CUOMO: You know, I was talking to Park and Cannon, and I wanted to give her chance to speak about what was happening. And I screwed up the time. And I apologize.

LEMON: No, no, no, it's OK. Because you know, I had her last week, I think maybe you weren't here. But I had her last week and eight years or eight and a half years, or whatever it is, --

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: -- you and I, you know, we talked about this, considered it and said, there is no way the D.A. is going to do that, they are going drop the case. But, and then --

CUOMO: You never know.

LEMON: -- you never know.

CUOMO: And she talks about John Lewis, may he rest in peace, and brother Lewis would have called this good trouble. But you know what? You know, he can say it with a -- he can say with a smile on his face. He paid the price of pain and prosecution. It's a scary moment. Yes, the D.A. probably drops it, it would be a huge injustice.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let's look at the optics.

CUOMO: It's bad optics. But it doesn't mean that it doesn't happened.

LEMON: The woman is knocking on the door.

CUOMO: I know.

LEMON: And the guy is inside --

CUOMO: They arrested her.

LEMON: Signing a bill --

CUOMO: But they still arrested her.

LEMON: Beneath the picture of a slave plantation.

CUOMO: And then they arrested her. I'm just saying.

LEMON: Come on.

CUOMO: Listen, I'm with you. I'm with you. But I'm saying they arrested her.

LEMON: They arrested her.

CUOMO: I would have said, they will never arrest her.

LEMON: That's why she didn't speak sooner, Chris. Because we have been, you know, we have been trying to get her. She's -- and her attorney rightfully said, he said we don't know where this case is going to --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I don't -- I don't blame him.

LEMON: Yes, I agree.

CUOMO: He jumped in on a question tonight that I actually meant for the representative. I don't blame him. You know, because this goes away and then that case remains.

LEMON: We are doing all kinds of legal stuff. We got this. We've got what's happening in Minneapolis and we got Matt Gaetz. And you know --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: "The New York Times" reporting.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Joel Greenberg is the name that is going to loom large in this situation. Not Bob Kent, the man I had on last night.

LEMON: No, it's going to be Joel Greenberg.

CUOMO: You know, we don't know what happens with the extortion investigation that has to do with the DOJ. It does not smell right.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But Joel Greenberg, why? Joel Greenberg has been indicted for exactly what they say.

LEMON: And that case is a bigger name.

CUOMO: Absolutely. But --

LEMON: He's going to --

CUOMO: -- they are investigating him for the same things. That means nothing legally.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But they absolutely know each other and there is some strange coordination between the two of them. It doesn't have to mean anything specifically. It doesn't even have be true. Joel Greenberg is in bad shape. He is a desperate man, and what do desperate men do?

LEMON: They flip.

CUOMO: Desperate things.

LEMON: Let me tell you this. So, for all of the people who are out there watching and everyone who is saying, this is just something that the Biden administration is doing because they are trying to get back.

CUOMO: No.

LEMON: This started with the Trump DOJ.

CUOMO: And did you hear Trump and defend Gaetz --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes, I heard him.

CUOMO: -- today and said --

LEMON: It was silent.

CUOMO: Sounded like you when a check comes.

LEMON: It sounded like this. What?

CUOMO: It was like you when the check comes.

LEMON: No, no. My favorite is like, who? Matt Gaetz? What is like a coffee boy?

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: I think he were like --

CUOMO: Somebody is at the gate. My pizza is here? LEMON: I got to go. I'll see you.

CUOMO: You can use that, Don. I know you're going to.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: I love you, Don Lemon.

LEMON (on camera): You, too. I love you, too. I'll talk to you later.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And yes, Chris and I -- we do have some breaking news. The New York Times reporting tonight that Congressman Matt Gaetz sought a blanket preemptive pardon for himself and his allies from the Trump White House. A spokesman for Gaetz has denied to the Times that his pardon request was related to the DOJ investigation of allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution, including involving a minor.

[22:04:56]

We have a whole lot more to come on this story tonight. So, make here you stay tuned. All the details coming in, including new reporting from a reporter who has followed his career over a decade now.

And we've also got new developments in the trial of the police officer who kneeled op George Floyd's neck for an excruciating nine and a half minutes. We can't unsee it. We all saw what happened.

That police officer kneeling while George Floyd begged for his life while he said, I can't breathe, over and over and over, while he called out for his mother. While a Black man was dying with a white police officer pressing the life out of him.

And today, his fellow officers aren't defending him. They're not. You could hardly find a police officer to defend George Floyd. There are a whole lot of people trying to make excuses about his past, whatever. Ask a police officer if there is a defense. See what they say.

One after another, they took the stand today testifying in the prosecution's murder case against Derek Chauvin. An officer who trains Minneapolis police in the use of force, who actually trained Chauvin, saying the ex-officer kneeling on George Floyd's neck was not what he was trained to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Sir, is this an MPD-trained neck restraint?

JOHNNY MERCIL, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE USE-OF-FORCE INSTRUCTOR: No, sir.

UNKNOWN: Has it ever been?

MERCIL: Not to -- a neck restraint, no, sir.

UNKNOWN: Is this an MPD authorized restraint technique? MERCIL: Knee on the neck would be something that does happen, use of

force that isn't unauthorized.

UNKNOWN: So, if there was a, for example, the subject was under control and handcuffed, would this be authorized?

MERCIL: I would say no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): An expert witness, a Los Angeles police sergeant whose reviewed thousands of use-of-force cases in his career testified the force Chauvin used was excessive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODY STIGER, LOS ANGELES POLICE USE-OF-FORCE CONSULTANT: Initially, when Mr. Floyd was being placed in the back seat of the vehicle, he was actively resisting the officers. So, at that point the officers were justified in utilizing force to try to have him comply with their commands and to seat him in the back seat of the vehicle.

However, once he was placed in the prone position on the ground, he slowly -- resistance and at that point the officers, ex-officers, I should say, they should have slowed down or stopped their force as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): These are expert witnesses. This is important stuff. Last week you had the emotion, right, from the eyewitnesses. This is the stuff that's going to make or break this case. Another officer, a medical response coordinator and CPR instructor testifying police are supposed to give first-aid when someone needs medical help. And she said being able to talk doesn't mean you can breathe adequately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLE MACKENZIE, POLICE OFFICER, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: If you don't have a pulse on a person, you'll immediately start CPR. Just because they are speaking doesn't mean they are breathing adequately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, this is another story that we are going to have a lot more to come on this trial and what does all means to the jurors. That as the President of the United States, Joe Biden, is speaking out today about the assault on the vote in Georgia and praising corporations for taking a stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: For-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just unethical to who we are. There is another side to it, too. The other side to it too, is when they, in fact, move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most, people who are making hourly wages, sometimes can hurt the most. The best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up. Stop it. Stop it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, I want you to remember this, that the law makes it a crime to give food or water to voters waiting in line, a crime. Corporations like Delta and Coca-Cola are taking sides against the law. Major League Baseball is moving the all-star game out of Atlanta into Denver.

But that is too much for Mitch McConnell. The hypocrisy as it always seems to be is off the charts here. And I'm going to explain. So, make sure you sit down and watch, OK?

Facts first here. Mr. McConnell blasting corporations for taking a stand on voting rights. The same Mitch McConnell who, for years, has defended the first amendment right of corporations to hand over millions of dollars in political spending. Remember Citizens United? But now Mitch McConnell says this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:10:06]

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I'm not talking about political contributions. Most of them contribute to both sides. They have political action committees. That's fine. It's legal. It's appropriate. I support that. I'm talking about taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing a community or a state because you don't like a particular law they passed. I just think it's stupid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): It's stupid. Suddenly, corporations don't have first amendment rights after all? Not many disagree with them. Senator Tim Scott tweeting this misleading comparison of a vote in Georgia to the vote in Colorado and blaming, wait for it, the wokes who are moving the all-star game out of Atlanta.

Again, facts first. Our fact-checker extraordinaire Daniel Dale, who points out Georgia's voting I.D. requirements are much stricter than Colorado's, not to mention the fact that Colorado mails every active registered voter a ballot, more than 90 percent of Coloradans voted by mail, even before the pandemic. Funny how facts are stubborn things, aren't they? And Colorado allows voters to register on election day.

So, don't bring in the wokes, OK? The former president, you know, you knew he would get in the middle of this, didn't you? You know he was going to do it. Putting out statement complaining about woke cancel culture in all caps. In case you might have missed it, and our sacred elections, and another calling for a boycott of baseball and what he calls all of the woke companies that are interfering with free and fair elections. Are you listening, Coke? Delta? And all? Boohoo. Cancel culture. OK.

Again, you've got to watch this because this is from the king, as we say, the king where I'm from, of cancel culture. Pretty rich for you know who to complain about Democrats calling for boycotts of companies that offend them.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the king of cancel culture who got it in another dig at Major League Baseball today. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I have, you know, look, I'm just not very interested in baseball for the last number of years. I think it's not appropriate. You know, you look at -- you want to find a game, it's on every channel and yet you can't find anything, the weirdest thing. It used to be a nice, easy thing to follow. And you know what I mean by that. It was on one network --

UNKNOWN: Yes.

TRUMP: -- and it was nice and good and beautiful. Today you don't even know what the hell you are watching. So, I would say boycott baseball. Why not?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Never heard of ESPN, right? If you want to know where the sports channel, baseball. Why not boycott MLB? The king of cancel culture can add that to his list, OK? Because there is Coke, there's Delta, there is Major League Baseball. But there is more from the king of cancel culture. There is Rolling Stone, there is HBO -- I mean, there is too much. I can't even fit it on the screen my face if we get more.

There is HBO, there is Apple, there is Macy's, Univision, Fox News, AT&T, the NFL, there is Harley-Davidson, there is Nike, Starbucks, Goodyear, Comcast, T-Mobile, Geico, Oreo, Mexico, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, NBC, even Glenfiddich whiskey, that last one for praising a Scottish farmer who refuse to sell his land to Trump.

Who was canceled? Not by cancel culture, but what? The voters. The hypocrisy and the double-speak and the shiny objects and the lying continues. Know your facts, people. It's not cancel culture. Corporations are saying, this doesn't line up with our values.

[22:15:00]

And now the party of former party of family values suddenly has a problem with values. Interesting.

We have breaking news. The New York Times reporting Congressman Matt Gaetz privately sought blanket for him to pardons for himself and his allies during the final weeks of the Trump presidency. We're going to have the latest on that. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): So, there's some major developments in the investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. The New York Times is reporting tonight that Gaetz tried to get a pardon from the outgoing president before he left office. The Times reports that Gaetz privately asked the White House for blanket preemptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed.

A spokesman for Gaetz denying the Times report, saying this, and I quote, "entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz where he called for President Trump to pardon everyone from himself to his administration to Joe exotic with these false and increasingly bizarre partisan allegations against him. Those comments have been on the record for some time and President Trump even re-tweeted the congressman who tweeted them out himself."

[22:20:04]

Gaetz now even fundraising off of this scandal, now making a plea to his supporters for donations to fight back against what he calls a smear campaign.

All that as a senior House GOP source tells CNN that Gaetz is unlikely to lose his spot on the House judiciary committee unless he is indicted.

So, let's discuss now. Marc Caputo is here. Marc Caputo is a senior political reporter for Politico Florida. Jennifer Rodgers, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Good to have you on. Good evening.

Jennifer first. I want your reaction to the stunning New York Times report that Gaetz sought a blanket pardon from the former president during his final weeks in office. The White House lawyers reportedly saw it as a non-starter. But let's -- this is a clip from Gaetz, his appearance on Fox, this is November and then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself, to his administration officials, to Joe exotic if he has to. Because you see from the radical left a blood loss that will only be quenched if they come after the people who work so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people.

UNKNOWN: Yes.

GAETZ: So, I think that the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Boy. OK. So, the New York Times says that is unclear if Gaetz or the White House knew about the DOJ inquiry. But how does this sound now, Jennifer?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'll tell you how it sounds to a former prosecutor. It sounds like what we call consciousness of guilt. So, the notion that he went to the former president to ask for a blanket preemptive pardon doesn't really go to the elements of the crimes that are reportedly being investigated.

But if they end up at trial with Matt Gaetz in the defendant's chair, you better believe they will try to put in this evidence because it demonstrates that at the time, he went to former President Trump to ask for this. He knew that he had done something wrong and he had legal liability and he was seeking coverage.

LEMON: Jennifer, I want to read from this reporting now. It says, in recent days some Trump associates has speculated that Mr. Gaetz's request for a group pardon was an attempt to camouflage his own potential criminal exposure. Is this something that investigators will be pursuing, do you think?

RODGERS: Well, I think that they will just because it's out there. Listen, while you are investigating someone and talking to everyone about what they might know, certainly this is something they would explore. But you know, it doesn't really go to the charges at issue except to the extent that some of the people who know about this also know about those charges. But I suspect that they would look into it.

And you know, again, if it's true that he was trying to get people, other people pardoned as well because they had involvement, then of course it's relevant. If it looks like he was trying to cover up for what he was doing it's relevant at trial for that consciousness of guilt evidence.

LEMON: Marc, you have known the Gaetz family, you know Gaetz and his father for years. You have a new piece out, it's in Politico, it's on Gaetz, and you -- you focus on his friendship with Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector who faces serious charges, including sex trafficking a minor. What do you know about their friendship?

MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO FLORIDA: Well, they were sort of kind of two peas in a MAGA pod. Joel Greenberg, Seminole County tax collector. That's in the Orlando area, who was elected to his office in 2016, at the same time that Gaetz, the state legislator have won his congressional office.

They're both brash, unapologetic populous MAGA Republicans, and they shared an interest in cryptocurrency and bitcoin and they also shared an interest in, I will say this delicately, dating young women. Now when I say young women, I'm talking about -- maybe I'm dating myself here, you know, I'm talking about women in their 20s.

And, you know, there is kind of an extensive record if you talk to his associates, friends, acquaintances of the two men where they frequently would be seen out together. Greenberg according to his friends and associates, kind of idolized Matt Gaetz because Gaetz was this Fox personality. He had the ear of the president. And he was kind of a widely recognized figure in Republican politics. And he knew that Matt Gaetz liked the ladies, and Greenberg, according

to them, met a lot of women on these seeking arrangements web sites and kind of brought them into the fold and supplied Matt with a bevy of dates. And this lasted for quite some time.

But soon after getting into office, according to the 33-count federal indictment of Joel Greenberg, which is wide ranging and it's a very interesting reading, I mean, by May of 2017 he allegedly was having sexual relationships with a 17-year-old.

Some of our reporting indicates that she might have gone on to become a pornography star currently. She is not commenting or at least wasn't returning our messages for comment.

[22:25:02]

The investigation that grew out of a smear campaign that Joel Greenberg has launched against a rival or he tried to accuse his rival of being a pedophile. And the feds eventually got the case and covered just a host of different crimes, or alleged crimes, that Greenberg apparently committed.

And it was around this time that Gaetz started to distance himself from Greenberg, but when the investigators started to find that Greenberg was involved with a 17-year-old woman allegedly and they presumably saw messages between him and Gaetz concerning dating women, that's when the investigation, probably August of 2020, began into Gaetz.

And since that time he has at least been a subject of investigation by Gaetz's own acknowledgment. Not a target, but a subject, as you know, I'm not a lawyer, but I can certainly tell you that you don't want to be a subject of a federal investigation.

LEMON: Yes.

CAPUTO: That's apparently where Gaetz is currently.

LEMON: I'm going to put a blanket allegedly all over that. Because again, all of this has been alleged, and it's all --

(CROSSTALK)

CAPUTO: Well, yes.

LEMON: Yes.

CAPUTO: The other thing is, is that, you know, we -- we only have anonymous voices so far. We don't have any names.

LEMON: And denials from the parties involved.

CAPUTO: Right. So, you know, I think it might be an important caveat. Even The New York Times report, I'm not throwing shade on it, but those are two anonymous MAGA or better said Trump White House officials, many of whom are known not to have liked Gaetz prior to all of this.

And then we have these alleged (Inaudible) instances that he had either or inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old or paying for sex, both of which Gaetz denies. We have no names. We have no dates. We have no facts. So, I'd like to see more of that (Inaudible).

LEMON: OK. So, just so, let me ask you this since we are on this. You say that there is a -- in your reporting there is a fundamental loneliness about Gaetz's political career, and that's why he turned so hard to Trump and Fox. Explain what you mean by that.

CAPUTO: Right. Gaetz was a very effective state legislator when he was in the Florida legislature. You know, Florida, our legislators do two things. And it's kind of a shock to go from that to Congress, which, you know, for a long time, regardless of who is in charge, it doesn't really do a whole hell of a lot, relatively speaking.

And soon after getting into Congress, Gaetz realized like, you know, he is -- it revolves around seniority. He was a freshman. And he didn't have a lot of power. And he saw that the way in which to exercise power was to be the president's number one guy defending him on Fox. And he set about doing that.

Now in the process of doing that, Gaetz was very brash and he's caustic. And he made a lot of enemies and (Inaudible) among Democrats and the press but his own party. Now Donald Trump has been voted out of office. The Republicans in the House are in the minority. And as Gaetz told other people, he is the minority of the minority, and he's been kind of looking for an exit way out --

LEMON: He is a back bencher.

CAPUTO: Yes, he is a back bencher where a lot of the folks on the back bench don't really want him around them.

LEMON: Yes.

CAPUTO: And the complication he has now is he going it run for re- election where he was kind of thinking of not doing it before. I would think yes, because one of the things that allows him to still kind of (Inaudible) power and push back against these so far anonymous allegations that appear to be leaking out of the DOJ is to have a position of power, a political position of power that is to have his (Inaudible).

LEMON: I think it's interesting. He is going to be speaking at this women's summit at the Trump national golf club on Friday. Do you think he is going to do that, is he going to keep that appearance?

CAPUTO: Yes. Yes. I think he's going to keep that appearance.

LEMON: OK.

CAPUTO: And knowing Gaetz, he is probably going to make a joke about the whole situation. One of the things that he believed in doing, similar to Trump, is not backing away. He doesn't want his lawyers speaking for him because he thinks that makes him weak.

LEMON: OK. Jennifer, just so -- I want to move on to the next segment here. But anything that you need to add here? I don't want to get us in in trouble, you know, legally with all of this, as I said, a blanket allegedly and a denial from both parties here. But anything Marc said that stood out to you?

RODGERS: Well, you know, I just think it's notable that Matt Gaetz with all of these rumors swirling, and of course they are not officially charges yet, but he is just not doing himself any favors. So that kind of goes hand in hand with the reporting about his personality and what he does.

He jumps in and lashes out without really thinking through the consequences. And you know, we'll have to see if that comes back to bite him in a legal way but it certainly could.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate your time.

So, he says businesses --

CAPUTO: Thank you.

LEMON: -- should stay out of politics when it comes to commenting on laws that he likes, but when it comes to corporate money in his pocket, Senator Mitch McConnell says that's fine. Stay with us.

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): The Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the attack against businesses telling them to stay out of politics. His warning coming as companies take a stand against Georgia's new law that restricts voting access. McConnell's comments flying in the face of years, of the years that he has spent supporting corporate involvement in politics, while he claims it's stupid for companies to jump into highly controversial issues. He says corporate donations are still fine. Fine.

Let's discuss now. CNN political director David Chalian is here, and CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter as well.

Good evening to both.

David, let's -- I want to talk about Mitch McConnell. The hypocrisy is astounding. There hasn't been a bigger supporter of corporate money in politics, and yet, now he is basically saying that he is OK with their money but not their opinions.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, when you say he has been touting roles, the proper role for corporations that it is to give money for years, it's decades.

[22:35:03] I mean, this is actually one of Mitch McConnell's hobbyhorses in his time in public service, saying that corporate money equals free speech, and they should be able to give freely. He fought hard against going in the way back machine here, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform efforts and others.

So, to hear him try and separate out now, donations are one thing, but they really shouldn't express opinions on the issues of the day that may be dividing the parties, that to me seems like a whole new definition of what political participation can be.

LEMON: Amanda, the GOP is railing now against cancel culture at every turn. Yet there is McConnell telling businesses what to do. Trump is calling for a boycott of woke companies and MLB. He's in there, they're guilty of -- I mean, listen, he is guilty of what he is accusing the MLB of doing, because he is ask -- the MLB is actually the one who decided to take the game out. It wasn't Democrats. Stacey Abrams and others --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Listen --

LEMON: -- did not want the all-star game taken out of Atlanta.

CARPENTER: Yes. This is all about vengeance and grievance. I think it's useful to just rewind a little bit and think about why we are here. We are here in this political situation because of the election lies that Donald Trump peddled and people like Mitch McConnell enabled to try to win races in Georgia.

We are here because of the capitol insurrection. We are here because of the restrictions of voting laws that Republicans have been pushing across the nation. Not in Georgia. And so, when Mitch McConnell surveys these events, he has decided that he is the victim. And a lot of other Republicans have because they don't like the fact that Joe Biden and others accuse of them embracing Jim Crow policies.

Now, I think that's a very -- that's a heavy charge. I think Joe Biden should be asked to explain why he makes that comparison. But if you put that aside and if you want to talk about Mitch McConnell, he has always been a highly partisan transactional figure.

What has changed in this post-Trump era is that the Republicans have dropped all pretense of free market, economics, and competition and are all in on the bullying and the culture wars. And so that is where Mitch McConnell's positioning himself. And it may be bluster. We will see. But that is the state of play at this moment.

LEMON: David, a similar question. Republicans love blaming President Biden and the Democrats for cancel culture, but these companies are moving on their own, right? Senator Warnock, Stacey Abrams, as I just mentioned, they didn't even want a boycott.

CARPENTER: Yes. CHALIAN: Yes, that's an important note, Don. And you played earlier in

the show President Biden today sort of expressed the both sides of this, that it is not just an easy thing to say, hey, go ahead and boycott. It hurts some of the very people that they are actually trying to protect with voting rights in these battles. And Joe Biden acknowledged that.

He said he would, indeed, support the decisions that these companies and organizations are making on their own, whatever those decisions are, but he understood the other side of the coin of this, as you note. This is why Stacey Abrams has been reluctant to sort of go full bore and call for these boycotts.

LEMON: Amanda, there is more than 360 bills across the country that would make it harder to vote. What's happening in Georgia have an impact in other states pushing these bills, do you think?

CARPENTER: I think it will. I mean, everyone is watching this. And it gets extremely messy because, as we learned and we know all of the states administer their own election law. And so, what I've been talking with people about I'm just trying to encourage people to advocate for whatever the gold standard is in voting rights policies, because you look at a state like Georgia what they are pushing and then Republicans get upset.

Why are you seeing Georgia when New York has more restrictive laws? And so, maybe there is a landing place for these corporations who are ready to wield from influence so say, hey, these are the five things we are looking for. Automatic voter registration, early voting, no excuse absentee to guarantee access.

That is what I'm looking to find a sweet spot that might solve this problem. Because otherwise, it's going to be a food fight, it's going to be a nasty fight all the way through the next midterm election and I pray not the next presidential one.

LEMON: Well, don't get your hopes up, Amanda.

CARPENTER: I know.

LEMON: Right? David, listen, the president and Democrats moving ahead with the $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Is McConnell being out- maneuvered right now?

CHALIAN: Well, listen, McConnell is now in the role of minority leader, right. So Chuck Schumer is finding a path with the Senate rules to try and see if there is a way to get Biden's agenda, this infrastructure bill and others that may follow through the Senate with Democratic-only votes if Mitch McConnell continues to make clear that Republicans want to play this playbook that is just a wall of opposition to the Biden agenda.

[22:40:12]

I don't know that he is getting out maneuvered yet. Just getting your game plan in place for Chuck Schumer does not mean he has the votes yet. There are miles to go in this battle for this infrastructure bill.

LEMON: David, Amanda, thank you both. I appreciate it.

CARPENTER: Thanks.

LEMON: Experts after experts testifying Derek Chauvin used excessive force against George Floyd. Our own experts weigh in next. The former police captain in charge of the Ferguson riots right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): So, it's the eighth day of testimony in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, it got underway -- it gets underway tomorrow the eighth day, I should say. That after witnesses testified today that Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck is not an approved restraint tactic.

[22:45:03]

One witness calling it an excessive use-of-force, but Chauvin's defense attorney taking advantage of some contradictions in testimony.

We have a lot to discuss with Captain Ron Johnson who retired from Missouri State Highway Patrol. We're so happy to have him here. Captain, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining.

RON JOHNSON, RETIRED CAPTAIN, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: How are you today?

LEMON: I'm doing very well. Thank you. What did you think about today and hearing from multiple training officials, including a Minneapolis police use-of-force instructor? Was it effective?

JOHNSON: I think it was. I think the officers from the department showed that they had definite policies and procedures there that were to be followed. They talked about great training records. I'm still waiting to see from the testimony of the officer from LAPD what he seems to be very knowledgeable.

LEMON: Yes, let's talk about that. The LAPD use-of-force expert described Chauvin's force against George Floyd as excessive. The Minneapolis P.D. use-of-force instructor said that Chauvin's neck restraint would not be an authorized use-of-force. Given what we're hearing, do you believe Derek Chauvin followed his training, sir?

JOHNSON: No, I don't. I think initially, and I think we heard that from different witnesses, initially there may have been a cause, there was a cause to -- for use of force, but then there came a point where there wasn't. There was compliance and there should have been de- escalation, and also lesser use-of-force in that situation that we saw played out on the TV.

LEMON: Yes. At times the witnesses did contradict each other. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE LAWYER: Have you ever been trained or trained others to say that if a person can talk, they can breathe?

MERCIL: Yes.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Do you train officers that if a person can talk, it means that they can breathe?

MACKENZIE: No, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Is that a contradiction to you?

JOHNSON: It is. I think that is at the risk that the prosecutor runs when he is bringing in too many trainers to talk about the same issue, I think the chief talked about it. I think he brought some in earlier. I think when you start bringing in too many people on the same subject you are going to run into that possibility of them conflicting each other in their statements.

LEMON: I want you to listen to this particular line of questioning from the defense. He is returning to one of his key arguments, blaming the crowd as a distraction for Chauvin. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NELSON: Does it make it more difficult to assess the patient?

MACKENZIE: Yes.

NELSON: Does it make it more likely that you may miss signs that a patient is experiencing something?

MACKENZIE: Yes.

NELSON: And so, the distraction can actually harm the potential care of the patient?

MACKENZIE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): So, I'm curious what do you think of that exchange? But let's -- I want to put it into context. The crowd in front of Cup Foods was pleading with the officers to check George Floyd's pulse and get off of his neck.

JOHNSON: I think you are absolutely right. I think an angry crowd will distract, but that crowd was not an angry crowd. I think if that crowd had saw the officers giving Mr. Floyd medical attention, I think we would have seen even a calmer crowd.

And so when we look at the officers that were on the scene, there was one officer interacting with the crowd, and I've been in front of unruly crowds and you've been on the side with unruly crowds, and that crowd definitely would definitely -- be the definition of an unruly crowd.

LEMON: The defense got use-for-force instructor Johnny Mercil to acknowledge that when paramedics arrived it appears that Chauvin's knee was on George Floyd's shoulder since they were able to take a pulse. Does that matter to you, would that negate the other minutes that Chauvin's knee was on George Floyd's neck?

JOHNSON: No, I would not, because we can count 9 minutes and 29 seconds that his knee were on his neck, and so, moving it at the last minute are, once paramedics really didn't change what happened there.

LEMON: And you have heard a good reason. Have you heard a good reason why Chauvin didn't render any medical aid? Because that's what they said his training, he was taught that he was supposed to administer medical aid.

JOHNSON: No, I've not. You know, one of the officers said that he didn't feel a pulse for three minutes. And so right there was the signal that there should have been some medical aid given and long before that. But we know there's three minutes one officer said there was no pulse, and officer Chauvin heard that.

LEMON: Yes. Captain Johnson, it's always a pleasure having you. Thank you for appearing. We'll see you soon. Be well.

JOHNSON: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Thank you.

A 65-year-old Asian woman attacked. But no one around did anything to stop it. And take this. Now there are consequences.

[22:50:00]

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LEMON (on camera): Take this. Two New York City doormen fired after they closed the doors to their building's lobby while a 65-year-old Asian woman was punched and kicked outside.

So, here's a video of last week's attack. The woman was on her way to church when she was beaten just beyond the door of the Midtown Manhattan apartment building. Then the staff inside the building, you see it? And what do they do? They close that door. So here they come it's happening outside. And they close the door.

So later on, the doorman opened the door and -- doormen opened the door and they go outside. The building's owner saying that they flagged down NYPD, an NYPD vehicle but required emergency and safety protocols were not followed.

[22:55:01]

A group of the building's residents have defended the staff's actions saying that the doormen acted to secure the building by closing the front door. They commended them for their response in rendering aid to the victim and alerting medics. The union representing the doormen saying that they have initiated the process to challenge their determination. Adding, we take anti-Asian hatred and all forms of discrimination seriously.

The attacker has been arrested and is facing charges of assault as a hate crime. He allegedly made anti-Asian statements toward the women.

The attack, one of many recent anti-Asian crimes, a growing trend all across this country. In New York, for example, the NYPD recording 31 anti-Asian hate crimes so far this year. That number the same time last year? Zero.

Republican Congressmen Matt Gaetz facing a sex trafficking investigation. And tonight, The New York Times reports he wanted a blanket pardon from Trump just a few months ago. Stay with us.

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