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At This Hour

GOP Still Trying to Discredit 2020 Election Results; New Video Reveal Ronald Greene's Brutal Death in Police Custody; A Weekend of Incredible Comebacks. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 24, 2021 - 11:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that this commission, January 6th commission, will obviously reflect on the Republican Party poorly, even if it doesn't reflect poorly on Senator McConnell, that will reflect poorly on other Republicans, including Donald Trump and many others who push the big lie and continue to do so.


And I think that that's the reason that they have decided to kill it, not support it.

That doesn't mean that there won't be some sort of commission, whether it is Nancy Pelosi pushing a select committee in the House, but it will not have the same gravitas necessarily as the 9/11 commission did.

So, I mean, I think it's hard to be too cynical when you look at today's Washington, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: That's a good point. And let's stay on theme, speaking of cynical, Marjorie Taylor Greene, she is at it again. And this time, she is equating mask mandates to what Jews suffered in the holocaust. Aside from it being gross and grossly inaccurate, I find myself in this place of this is also about her wanting attention.

I mean, I looked at what actual legislative work she's done since taking office and the bills that she sponsored or co-sponsored are largely, nakedly partisan empty gestures, articles of impeachment against Joe Biden or reducing Anthony Fauci's salary. I mean, it's zero substance and 100 percent kind of cries for attention. What do you see this as?

TAPPER: Well, there are a number of things. First of all, obviously, I mean, this isn't just like the media falsely or glibly describing her comments. She went on a T.V. show and specifically said that Nancy Pelosi wanting unvaccinated members of Congress was the same type of thing as Jews having to wear gold stars and then being taken away and killed in gas chambers by the Nazis. I mean, that's what she said.

So, first of all, there is a whole strain in the Republican Party now that is increasingly just about attention, trolling on Twitter and the like. Democrats do it too. But it's really become part and parcel of what a lot of Republicans are doing these days instead of legislating.

But beyond that, and beyond the belittling of the crime of killing, slaughtering 6 million Jews, two thoughts, one, in order for that analogy to work, you would have to think that being inconvenienced by having to wear a mask at work because you refuse to get vaccinated, that that inconvenience is the same as slaughtering 6 million men, women and children who are Jewish.

And then beyond that, there is the larger issue, which a lot of experts in hate are talking about, which is the danger of this. Because if Marjorie Taylor Greene is convincing people that that's what the mask mandates are like, it's like Nazis, well, then that justifies any amount of violence against the people pushing mask mandates. And that's where it gets really dangerous.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and the silence, not only deafening and not only maybe unsurprising, it is also dangerous, just what you're getting at, the silence from other Republicans, largely.

So we're transition but I do want to talk about your book, maybe because --


BOLDUAN: -- life is almost fictional and you wrote another amazing piece of fiction. This is a mystery, The Devil may Dance. It turns -- it is a lot of twists and turns, a tons of twists and turns. It's a historical fiction as well, which I love. You've such huge icons in this book, from Frank Sinatra to Robert Kennedy and historical events woven throughout.

I know we've talked about kind of your crazy writing process, an impressive writing process, but what was your research process about for this one?

TAPPER: Well, once I decided I wanted to write about the Rat Pack era, which I did as soon as I heard this real story, which was that after Sinatra and the Rat Pack worked their hearts out to elect John F. Kennedy, Sinatra wanted President Kennedy to stay at this estate. He had a helipad built and phone lines and rooms. But then Attorney General Robert Kennedy had misgivings because he was going after organized crime and Sinatra was friends with a lot of these mobsters.

So, Attorney General Kennedy had this difficult decision to make. Once I heard that true story, I decided, oh, that's got to be the setting for my next book. But, frankly, the research process was fun because I'm a history nerd and I love reading about different eras of history. Last time, it was about the McCarthy era. This time, it is about the Rat Pack and the early days of the Kennedy presidency. So I read everything I can.

But also one of the real treasures is going to used bookstores and finding old books that are out of print that you can't find necessarily on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or independent bookstores.

[11:35:06] You have to go and find them in used book stores, like Judith Exner, who had an affair with Giancana and Sinatra and President Kennedy. She wrote a book in the 70s that's out of print and that kind of thing. And that's where a lot of the real treasures are.

BOLDUAN: It's really cool. Well, it's great to see you do it again. Congratulations, Jake, on this. The Devil may Dance, you can get it now. Please do. Thanks for coming on.

TAPPER: Thanks, Kate. Great to see you.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you.

So, more than six months after President Biden won the election, some Republicans are still trying to prove the big lie. The latest efforts to try to change the results of the 2020 election, that's next.



BOLDUAN: We are now five months into the Biden presidency and there are still Republican efforts to refuse -- Republican efforts refusing to accept reality. President Joe Biden won the election and there was no widespread election fraud. We will say over and over again because it is true.

But some Republicans are still chasing the big lie and efforts seem to actually be growing, not dying off at this point. In Arizona, that crazy audit continues. And now, another audit is set to move forward in another state, in Georgia. Let's go there.

Joining me right now is Dianne Gallagher. She's been looking into all of this. Dianne, in Georgia, this would be the fourth time ballots have been counted and examined. What are they trying to do?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So this one of more than a dozen lawsuits that were filed in Georgia after former President Donald Trump lost the state in the 2020 election. And this particular lawsuit said there was counterfeit mail-in ballots in Fulton County and they want to examine the ballots.

Now, for starters, Kate, nothing that happens here can overturn the election. It was already certified. So I want to get that out of the way. And it's also going to be a lot different than what we're seeing over in Arizona.

The judge has said that while he will unseal the roughly 147,000 mail- in absentee ballots in Fulton County, the plaintiffs cannot handle the ballots. They can scan and copy those ballots but that is it.

Now, we don't know how it's actually going to go down at this point because those plaintiffs still have to submit their proposal to the judge before the 28th of May. Fulton County officials, they're democrats, have said that, look, this is just a perpetuation of the big lie and that this has already been searched for. And that is something that Gabriel Sterling, an official with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, and a Republican, backed up and said the same.


GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA ELECTIONS OFFICIAL: It's from Trump supporters-ish kind of people. The claims are there are pristine ballots, that there are unfolded ballots that were just inserted, that there are machine-marked ballots. There is no evidence for any of that.

Our law enforcement officers and secretary of state's offices spent thousands of hours examining ballots in Fulton County and other counties trying to track these kinds of claims down. And so far, we have seen nothing give any merit to it.


GALLAGHER: Yes. And while we aren't seeing any of these cases actually be successful in terms of lawsuits or their goal sometimes to overturn the election, Kate, we are seeing it reverberates through the statehouses, including the state of Georgia, where some of those claims being cited in real election bills that have become law in some states that are further restricting the right to vote.

BOLDUAN: Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much.

Still ahead for us, new police body camera video tells a very different story about Donald Greene's death than what was offered initially by police. This new video is out. We'll go through it and what is going to happen now remains a question. Ronald Greene's sister joins us next.



BOLDUAN: At this hour, more information is released about the death of Ronald Greene, the more questions that it creates for Louisiana Police. A fresh series of body camera videos seem to be revealing a dramatic contrast between what police said happened initially and then what the video shows actually happened during Greene's arrest and in 2019.

A warning before we show you a bit of this here, it is disturbing and it is hard to watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you turn over. Don't you turn over. Lay on your belly. Lay on your belly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Okay. Okay, sir.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand?



BOLDUAN: All right. So this 30-minute video shows Ronald Greene's legs shackled, his hands handcuffed, he's crying out in pain at points, while officers order him to stay face down in the prone position.

And there is an FBI investigation now under way. The state says they are still investigating what led to Greene's death as well. But there are so many questions.

And let me bring in right now Ronald Greene's sister, Dinelle Hardin, as well as Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Greene family.

Dinelle, this does not get easier to hear those moments or see this video of the final moments of your brother. What do you think when you see this video, this new -- this different angle coming from the supervising officer of what happened?

DINELLE HARDIN, SISTER OF RONALD GREENE: Well, first of all, my brother was never scared of anything. And to hear him begging for his life, saying that I'm scared is unbelievable, unbelievable. He was never scared of anything. My brother, he was a tough guy.

And he was begging for his life. I mean, he loved -- my brother had amazing love for life and he wanted it so bad.


BOLDUAN: And this is more -- you know, the more video that is released, I can't imagine what it feels like to have to hear it. I mean, at one point in this video that has come out, you hear the officer actually saying to -- the supervising officer saying that you all did a good job. We don't know -- we do not know the full extent, the full context around that moment. But how does that impact you?

HARDIN: I'm pissed off. I am pissed off. I'm pissed off.


HARDIN: I'm angry. I can't believe that they're actually patting each other on the backs for this, unbelievable. And to see that there hasn't been any arrest made to date, unbelievable. Something needs to be done.

BOLDUAN: Lee, do you have any better understanding of that moment when the supervising officer is praising the other -- the troopers? It just really sticks out to me. I want to know more of what he's talking about. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR THE RONALD GREENE FAMILY: Yes. And to press more towards Dinelle's point in responding to that moment in the video, there should be criminal charges at a state level and at a federal level to have these men arrested based on that very moment.

In that moment that you have a supervising officer, Lieutenant John Clary, who is present while these men are actively abusing a handcuffed and fully compliant suspect, so all former excuses about, you know, the resisting and being necessary to hold him down because he was so strong, that's not reflected in that video at all. You have a very -- a relatively calm scene where they're actively abusing Ronald Greene in the presence of a supervisor and he is telling them that they're doing a good job and that they're following the policies that you would expect them to follow in this situation. That means this is a systemic issue that goes all the way up the ladder.

BOLDUAN: And, Dinelle, we will continue to follow every step of these investigations, but as you mentioned, it's been two years and you haven't gotten a straight answer from the beginning. I mean, do you, at this point, think you are getting closer to the truth? Are you hopeful that you will get there?

HARDIN: When you say the truth, we've already seen it all. I mean, we've seen enough. We've seen enough.


HARDIN: You know, we've seen enough to say that charges need to be filed immediately from the very top, including Governor Edwards down to the medical examiner. Everyone is part of this cover-up. And they all need to be prosecuted. There's no question that -- there's no question about it. We've seen enough.

BOLDUAN: And two years later, two years later they still say they are investigating. Dinelle, thank you so much for being here, Lee, we will continue to follow this, thank you for coming on.

MERRITT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, three top athletes defying the odds and making history.



BOLDUAN: So, it was an incredible weekend of historic comebacks in sports. Let me bring in CNN's Andy Scholes for more on this. Andy, where should we begin?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: We've got to begin with Phil Mickelson, Kate, because it certainly was an inspirational sports weekend and it doesn't get any better than what we saw at the PGA Championship yesterday, Old Phil proving he's still got it.

There's a few athletes in sports that pretty much everyone likes to root for. Phil is definitely one of those athletes. And you would know it was going to be a special day yesterday from the get-go. On five, Phil in the bunker, the perfect shot, nails it for the birdie. That had the crowd going wild, but maybe not as wild as they were on hole number 18.

After Phil's second shot, the crowd chased him up the fairway. They almost knocked him down at one moment. Phil had the lead the entire day to win the PGA Championship, two strokes. His younger brother, Tim, was his caddie. They shared a big hug after that final putt.

So this was Phil's first major win since the Open Championship in 2013, his sixth major overall, and at 50 years old, Phil is now the oldest ever to win a major.

All right, from Phil to the U.S. Classic Gymnastics, meet 32-year-old gymnastic former champion, Chellsie Memmel came out of retirement to compete in her first meet nine years. Memmel was the all-around champ in 2005, she won silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Memmel now has two kids, and says she didn't know how coming back would feel but she's glad she did it.

Memmel hopes her return encourages others to follow their passions and dreams. Congrats to her on an amazing comeback.

And Simone Biles also competing in that meet over the weekend and she made more history, becoming the first woman ever to land a Yurchenko double pike in competition. So that's two back flips off the vault with her legs straight. Look at it in slow motion, I mean, just incredible.


It's such a hard move. No woman had ever even tried it in a competition, Kate.

Next up for Biles, U.S. Olympic team trials in June.