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Don Lemon Tonight

House GOP Leader Met With Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; Officer Who Died In Riot Lies In Honor At U.S. Capitol; Trump Doubles Down On Baseless Claim That The Election Was Stolen In Impeachment Response; House White House Says President Biden Is Not Bending On $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package After Talks With GOP; Democrats Moving Ahead On COVID Relief Without Republicans; Georgia Secretary Of State Launches Investigation Into Whether Pro-Trump Attorney Voted Illegally In Georgia In 2020. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 02, 2021 - 23:00   ET



AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ AND THE AUTHOR OF GASLIGHTING AMERICA (on camera): Yes, pick which one. Is it the 9/11 trutherism? Is it the big election lie? Is it the Parkland, you know, false flag thing? I mean, that is really the most objectionable.

And this is just not an open shot case, it should not be hard, right? Like they have a process. They know how to do it with Steve King. They strip him of committees and they made it clear that the political organizing committees would not support her or him in future elections.

The model is easy to follow. For some reason, there is some hesitation there, what is it? Why is this taking so long? This has been hanging- up for weeks, it's been hanging out for months and months, because Kevin McCarthy, and the rest of the Republican leadership knew what they were getting into, with Marjorie Taylor Greene in the beginning.

She had a primary, there was a -- I think a brain surgeon she was running against, but they did want to interfere. That was the time to say, you know what, we will leave it up to the voters of Georgia but should she come to Washington? She's not going to be given much opportunity. Because we do have standards, and once you stock the children who lived through a mass shooting, that's where we -- that's where we can draw the line. Let's start there, you know.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Amanda Carpenter. Amanda, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

CARPENTER: Thanks. Don

LEMON (on camera): This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, thank you so much for joining us. So, the scene at the Capitol today or tonight I should say, beautiful, stately, mournful. Honoring a fallen hero, Officer Brian Sicknick who lost his life defending our democracy on January 6th. Just think about the desecration there, just a month ago when a mob of

insurrectionist try to take down our government. That as the second impeachment trial, of the previous president is looming.

Because of the insurrection he incited, the insurrection that killed Officer Sicknick who lies beneath the Capitol dome tonight instead of at home with his family, that's where he should be quite frankly. House Democrats laying out their case in an 80-page brief saying quote, if provoking and insurrectionary riot against a joint session of Congress after losing an election is not impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be.

And then they laid out the evidence, point by point in the president's own words. The case against the president, and you know the story. Because it is the truth and we lived it. After the election, Trump refused to accept the will of the people claiming that he won in a landslide, claiming the election was stolen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All of us here today do not want to see our election victories stolen by embolden radical left Democrats, which is what they're doing and stolen by the fake news media. Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me and from the country and not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.

Big difference between losing and winning, having install. And the truth is we won the election by a landslide. Well if I'm down by five, when they're doing 38 to 21 that means I'm winning in a landslide. If that's the case, we're going to have the greatest landslide in history.


LEMON (on camera): What was that as to what is happening now, people died? After the Electoral College vote, he focused his protest on January 6 tweeting this. Be, there will be wild. And on the day that became one of the darkest in the nation's history, urging the crowd to fight like hell or you won't have a country anymore.


TRUMP: And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. You'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.


LEMON (on camera): And the violence rage at the Capitol, he told the insurrectionists we love you and you're very special.


TRUMP: Go home, we love you, you're very special. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Team Trump responding with their own brief today, a brief that began with misspelling on page one. But they seem not to have heard any of the former presidents own words, after all if you'd heard a single thing he said about the election how could you claim this?

And I quote here, it is denied President Trump made any effort to subvert the certification of the result of the 2020 presidential election, denied? Really? He said it over and over, demanding Mike Pence refused to certify the results. Even though he had absolutely no authority to do that. .


TRUMP: All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states, to recertify, and we become president and you are the happiest people.



LEMON (on camera): That was a lie, he said it out loud.


TRUMP: They want to recertify their votes, they want to recertify. But the only way that can happen is if Mike Pence agrees to send it back. Mike Pence has to agree to send it back.


LEMON (on camera): Again, a lie. He put it in writing tweeting again and again and again, and let's not forget his call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding he find votes to flip the election.


TRUMP: So, look all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.


LEMON (on camera): I just want to find, where do you think that they were going to find them from? What does that mean? And then there is Lindsey Graham, ride or die Lindsey Graham, who tells Politico today if team Trump argues the election was stolen, quote, that's when you're going to lose everybody. That's one most of us will be ready to move on. That's when you'll be ready to move on? Funny, because you already told us you are done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Trump and I -- we've had a hell of a

journey, I hate it being this way, oh my God, I hate it. For my point of view, he's been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say is count me out, enough is enough.


LEMON (on camera): Well, that was the night of the insurrection and now just a month later the former second impeachment trial is looming, a moment for America to grapple with everything we have seen over the past month.

Joining me now, CNN's White House correspondent, John Harwood and political commentator and Ana Navarro. Good evening to both of you, it is sad to watch what is happening in Washington right now. President Biden paying respects to the fallen Capitol Hill police officer, Brian Sicknick as he lies in honor at the Capitol rotunda. The exact building he died protecting, a powerful moment and a reminder, John, about the horror of that day.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Don, Joe Biden understands service, he understands laws, he has a reference for the Capitol as citadel, the temple of nark and democracy. He spent 36 years there in the Senate and other eight years as vice president and president of the Senate.

And he went to pay respects to this fallen officer for an event that was incited by his predecessor, for the purpose of overturning a Democratic election. That five people lost their lives that day. And you couldn't have a more eloquent symbol, of what America has moved beyond that is Donald Trump to the president that we have now, trying to move the country beyond that moment there we saw tonight.

LEMON: But Ana, Republicans aren't moving beyond Trump.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (on camera): The Republicans are what?

LEMON: They are not moving beyond Trump?

NAVARRO: No, they're not. He -- they are beholden to Trump, there are afraid of Trump and you know, as I was watching that ceremony, today -- tonight that CNN was carrying. I was growing angrier and angrier, because, Don, that did not need to happen. Officer Sicknick did not need to be lying in honor there. There were a 140 other law enforcement officers that were hurt, more people died there.

And look, you know, these Congress people, these Senators, Trump and his cronies who peddled these lies, that incited this mob, these domestic terrorists they may not have been the ones breaking the windows or smashing the doors, or holding the fire hydrant with which they were smashing people skulls or the sticks that they're using to hurt people.

But they have responsibility, they have blood on their hands. And I am yet to hear, any of those people, any of those people be held accountable, or take responsibility or take some of the blame for what happened. I am yet to hear some reckoning. Instead, they went back into that building with their officers lying in honor right now, and they voted to confirm the lies that led to that man's death.


That is such a shameful moment for America, but it's a shameful moment, it is an unforgivable moment, it is a moment we should not move on from, for the Republican Party. And so Kevin McCarthy, if he was to honor that officer who is laying there, you know what he needs to do? He needs to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is one of the primary peddlers of lies, or her committee assignments.

And you know what the Senators need to do? They need to stop hiding behind the process argument about constitutionality, and they need to vote on the articles of impeachment, that Donald Trump incited an insurrection. That's what they need to do. I don't want to see them going over there and you know, and paying their respects to officer Sicknick.

And I'm talking as an American, I'm not talking on behalf of officer Sicknick's ceremony, as an American I am livid, livid, seeing them hold their heads down. Bow their heads there and cross themselves in a prayer, when they don't have the guts, when they don't have the guts to take responsibility for the fact that they should be held accountable on what happened on January 6th.

LEMON (on camera): There are many people in this country who feel the outrage that you're feeling, just the sheer hypocrisy is just, it's too much to take, John. And listen, Ana, just mentioned Marjorie Taylor Greene, I want you to check of this newly-uncovered video of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Some are few years ago suggesting that her followers storm the Capitol, here it is.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): If we have a sea of people, if we shut down the streets, if we shut down everything, if we fled the Capitol building flood all of the government buildings, go inside these are public buildings we own them. We own these buildings, do you understand that? We own the buildings and we pay all of the people that work in the buildings.


LEMON (on camera): Just two years ago, that was December of 18, just two years ago we reached out to by the way, to Greene's office for comment on the video, but they didn't respond. These comments are horrific, they are nothing new John. So why is it so hard, as Ana said, for Republicans to figure out what to do about her?

HARWOOD: Because they are in hawk to the energy and intensity that people that Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks for, to win their elections. Marjorie Taylor Greene, is a dangerous not. Who is no more fit to serve in Congress than Donald Trump was to serve in the White House, but that's the problem. Donald Trump served in the White House, because a whole lot of people with the same viewpoints that elected Marjorie Taylor Greene to Congress, from northwest Georgia voted for Donald Trump, and voted to reelect him, 74 million of them did.

That is the problem in the Republican Party, is terrified of crossing Donald Trump, even though leaders to the Republican Party know that Donald Trump was not fit to be president. We're only now beginning to learn how horrendous the final days of Donald Trump's presidency have been. We saw some of it in real-time, a phone call trying to -- Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State into committing election fraud.

But the Republican Party depends on those forces. And until they are able, until they have the strength to be able to stand up and say no, that's not what we represent, invite those people to leave, form a different kind of Republican Party with a different kind of message. They're I think are going to stick on the path of their own.

Mitch McConnell is trying to alter that path but of course, Mitch McConnell tolerated the big lie after the election for quite a long time before he finally called it out. So, you know, you have various ranges of responsibility of people who either tolerate the live for a long period of time or a short period of time. A whole lot of them tolerated it and lead to the result that we've seen.

LEMON: That's going to have to be the last word, but John I want to thank you and Ana, I want to thank you and you represent a lot of what people are feeling. Your comments and you're feelings tonight, Ana. Thank you so much.

NAVARRO: It's disgusting, Don. It's disgusting.

LEMON: Now I want to bring in Mary Trump, niece of the former president. She is the author of Too much and never enough, how my family created the world's most dangerous man. Mary good to see you. Thank you so much for joining.

You know, it doesn't matter that dozens of courts have ruled that Trump, your uncle lost the election fair and square, he still wants his legal team to argue that the election was stolen. It is a massive lie that ultimately led to the violent insurrection and his second impeachment. Why can't he just let it go?


MARY TRUMP, NIECE OF FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, why should he? The Republican Party did themselves and this country a great disservice when they didn't put a stop to this on November 7th, after the election had been called for President Biden. The fact that they let this play out for so many months, and gained steam among Donald's most virulent supporters is one of the major reasons we're in this mess.

You know, he still believes that there is a chance for him to, I mean, I don't know anymore if he believes that he can overturn the results of the election, but he still believes there is a chance for him to be relevant, and to dictate how things going forward. And so far the Republicans in Congress see more than willing, to allow that to happen.

LEMON (on camera): Well, his legal team says that he urged supporters to protest peacefully. I mean, he use that word once in his January 6th speech, but this is what else he said, watch this.


TRUMP: After this, we're going to walk down and I'll be there with you, you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.

We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell, you are not going to have a country anymore.


LEMON (on camera): Mary, so you're a psychologist after months of being prepped with false threats about a stolen election, what kind of an impact could language like that have on some of those Trump supporters? Those people who were there and riled up?

M. TRUMP: Well, we have to remember that, that he's been prepping them for this for months. So, it's not as if January 6th was the first time he was stoking their sense of grievance and anger. It's been going on forever it seems. So that was just the final straw if you will. And they were ready to go. I mean, they were ready to go before they got there and he and Donny and several Senators and members of the House of Representatives added fuel to that particular fire.

He was probably told to throw the word peacefully in there so he could have plausible deniability, later on. But as you said, he said it once the rest of that speech was an incitement to violence against our Congress.

LEMON: As of, now it looks like there aren't enough Senate Republicans to convict Trump. What do you see as a consequence if your uncle is able to skirt accountability again?

M. TRUMP: It would be disastrous, when I find particularly disturbing is that there are Republican Senators saying that they will vote to acquit without leaving room to be convinced by compelling evidence. So, it's already seems a set up in that respect. At the very least, they need to invoke the third section of the 14th amendment, which would bar him ever from seeking public office again. Because if he is allowed to run, he will have a platform that will give him power and relevance he absolutely has no business having anymore.

LEMON: Yes, well he's been able to use what happened to make a whole lot of money. And you know, he's grift about stolen and we got a fight and all of that. He's use that to make a whole lot of money, how do you think your uncle is handling leaving office in disgrace facing a second impeachment trial. All without his beloved Twitter feed? Is he having withdrawal?

M. TRUMP: Yes, I think he's probably had the worst couple of weeks of his life, which is all well deserved. The problem is because of people telling him, threatened to start a third party, you know, he has gotten the Republicans back in line. And again they see more than willing to sacrifice, due process, to sacrifice our democracy to hang on to their power, no matter how well gotten, and it is a very dangerous development. And I can't believe that we still have to be having this conversation, in February 2021. But we are not anywhere near out of the woods yet.

LEMON: It's amazing, right? That we're in February and then we have a second impeachment of the former president, it's unreal. Listen we all make a little typos in an email or text, but I mean, this is a legal document. Trump's legal team misspelled United States on the first page of their response the article of impeachment.

And when it comes in the same day that Axios is reporting that Trump said it was a very embarrassing for his former Attorney Sydney Powell, when she misspelled the word district three different ways, in their lawsuit. Is this what happens when you surround yourself with incompetent yes people? They don't even use spell check?

M. TRUMP: Yeah, when I saw that today or yesterday, it kind of set me over the edge. Because this has been happening since the very beginning. I don't know if its arrogance, or laziness but they have such contempt for the American people that you're right they don't even bother using spell check.


It's just disgraceful, you know, they misspelled the names of heads of state, they misspell the most basic words. And t's just an insult to the rest of us.

LEMON: Mary Trump, thank you so much.

M. TRUMP: Thanks Don, it's great to be here.

LEMON: Who are the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol, we have new information tonight about one of them, a mother of eight. How did people like her end up in the mob?


LEMON: So new tonight, in the investigation of the riot at the Capitol, a woman in a pink cat who helped operate a battering ram to smash the window has been identified and interview by the New Yorker. The magazine said that she was also shouting directions to other rioters, that woman is a mother of eight from Pennsylvania. She says that she was being spontaneous, it was not part of any plot.

Well, Ronan Farrow, of the New Yorker interviewed her and he joins me now. Ronan, thank you so much. Fascinating piece, I really appreciate you appearing. You spoke to this woman, who is she? How did she end up as a part of a mob breaking into the U.S. Capitol?


RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: You know, I reported the identities of, I interviewed a couple of (inaudible) in this riot, and correctly a lot of our attention as a public has gone to individuals that had law enforcement background, military backgrounds, some kind of training that were part of organized groups. Like I interviewed a man who was a member of the Oath Keepers, and a local militia.

This woman Rachel Powell turned out to be something else, we'll see what other evidence emerges but as of what we know now, she appears to not have been part of an organized group.

She appears to have been an equally chilling kind of story, which is becoming more widespread, which is she was radicalized through her Facebook friends. Through conspiratorial and misinformation laden content that came at her through the internet, and through communities she found online.

LEMON (on camera): Fascinating, Ronan, before we continue on, I just -- I want to play video from the siege of the Capitol and then we'll talk, here it is.


UNKNOWN: I've been in the other room, listen to me. In the other room on the other side of this door, right where you're standing. There is a glass that if somebody gets through you can drop down into a room underneath it. There's also two doors in the other room. There's one in the rear and one to the right when you go in.

So people should probably coordinate together if we're going to take this building. We got another window to break to make it about easy, and this window and that room needs to be broken.


LEMON (on camera): So Ronan, she seemed very knowledgeable of the Capitol, and where she was. You spoke with her about this video, what did she say?

FARROW: Yes, she talk for two hours, from an undisclosed location and expressed fears out of the FBI finding her. A lot of the activity that she participated in that day could carry criminal charges. And in response to, she actually watch that footage with me on the line. You know, she said, I'm not going to comment on this further until I have an attorney. But someone needed to be there, to give order or more lives would have been lost.

And you know, I think correctly, people have raised eyebrows at that. You know, there were deaths cause that day by people behaving in a way that she behave/ She claims that that knowledge of the floor plan was from her motions that day, from her participations in that riot and that violence. And you know, we have no evidence to the contrary that she was there on a previous tour reconnaissance or anything as of now.

LEMON: But given all you know, and you've reported and you cover it, does that make sense? Did her explanation makes sense? FARROW: Well, it is possible, because when you look at the TikTok of

events, just a huge multitude of video of this woman moving through the proceedings that day. She was involved in multiple skirmishes with the police, as you say she was using a battering ram to try to smash through a window. She was at the heart of the violence and it does appear she was in a number of locations there.

But you know, I think law enforcement is very likely to want to pose questions to her about was there some other source of the information. She certainly had been over the past year, increasingly and abetting herself in a community of others with extremist ideologies at these kinds of rallies. And she certainly came there, willing and ready to be involved in acts of violence.

LEMON: Ronan, if I know anything about you through your reporting is that you will follow up on this. So when you get more information, please come back. Thank you so much, we really appreciate it, thank you.

FARROW: Thanks, Don. Always a pleasure.

LEMON: Biden pushing Democrats to move forward with his coronavirus relief bill, will they go big or bipartisan? Senator Cory Booker is here, he's next.




LEMON: Today, President Biden telling Senate Democrats that he wants a big, bold coronavirus relief package. The White House signalling the GOP's proposed $618 billion package just won't be enough. That as the Senate advances a budget resolution that sets the stage for reconciliation if they can't get Republicans to buy in. With Democrats determined to move fast, what kind of relief can Americans expect and how soon?

So joining me now to discuss is Democratic Senator from -- the Democratic senator from New Jersey and that's Cory Booker. Thank you, senator. I really appreciate it.

You know, senator, that's all I have been wondering. How long? How long? I know the current president wants bipartisanship, wants unity, but every tick, tick, tick is a second, a second, a minute, an hour, a day that goes by and Americans don't have relief. How much longer can this go on before checks get in the mail to Americans?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Yeah, I think that you're right. This is not about a package. It's about the people and the people who are suffering right now. And when you keep saying, you know, how long will we wait for bipartisanship? We have overwhelming bipartisanship right now.

When you pull Americans about stimulus checks, overwhelmingly, Republican and Democrat, they are popular. You pull Americans about raising the minimum wage, overwhelmingly, Republican and Democrat, they are popular.

Take something that, again, they don't have in their skinny package, which is aid for state and local governments. Well, you know that the governors association, Republicans and Democrats, unanimously asked for resources. So, you've got a proposal that is big and bold, overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Americans.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about that. I mean, listen, the former vice president, now president, came into office in 2009.


LEMON: You know the economy was going off the cliff. He helped to save, you know, the auto industry. He has some -- and what they did was bold. They had to do it. He has some experience in this.

You are saying you hope Republicans catch-up, but they're saying that they're worried about the price tag. They didn't care about it when -- you know, it was for corporate tax cuts.

The White House is saying again today the risk is going to small, as you said, not too big. Are Democrats prepared to move forward on this without republican support?

BOOKER: Yes. Yes. And I think that we all understand the urgency and the pain. Thirty million Americans don't know that they will have the money, the resources for a meal. We have an unemployment rate and an economy that has so many figures like we have not seen since World War II. We are in a massive economic crisis and a massive health crisis right now. Everybody from our schools, frankly to our small businesses, needs help now.

And so we were elected in this cycle and got the majority in the Senate to do something for people. And I know that President Biden has learned a lot from the days where they tried to cater to Republicans. They changed the health care bill to try to cater and get republican votes. They did a lot to try to get them in the recovery bill.

LEMON: Do you really think he gets that? Do you think he learned the lessons from the Obama administration when President Obama tried to work with him? They said, no, we don't want to work with you.

BOOKER: We had a call with the president where he mentioned that history.


BOOKER: He knows what we've been through.

LEMON: I want to talk -- let's talk about impeachment before we run out of time. You've already been part of one impeachment trial involving this president. The second one is set to begin. Democrats are signalling that they are going to argue that Trump is responsible for the violent attack on the Capitol, while the former president's legal team is going to say that the trial isn't constitutional.

What do you think is the most compelling piece of evidence at this point? Are you willing to tell us that?

BOOKER: Well, I don't -- I'm a juror and I'm not in the huddle of the house managers who are serving as prosecution. But I will tell you this. Tonight, tonight, the remains of Brian Sicknick, the officer that died in the attack from New Jersey --

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

BOOKER: -- are going to be held in honor on our Capitol. His death was a tragedy and is also a crime. And we will be holding this trial in a crime scene. There is a legal term that I learned early in my law school career. That this idea of but for, but for Donald Trump that attack on the Capitol would not have happened.

He fueled the lie. He put the kindling down and the gasoline through lie after lie after lie, even before the election was over. And then at a rally, he threw a match and he pointed that energy and that combustion towards the Capitol.

And so it is very clear to me that but for Donald Trump's actions, we would not have had an insurrection in the Capitol and the death of such a noble patriot who died for his country like Brian Sicknick.

LEMON: Listen, I saw something that you put on social media today, and I've got to ask you about it. It's the second day of black history month. And today, you tweeted out a quote and here is the quote.

It says, "Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that 250 years black people were born into chains -- whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains." That is Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Right now, we are at a crossroads with white supremacists, emboldened by the previous president. Is that something that can be reversed?

BOOKER: I mean, you can't -- you can't reverse history with all its wretchedness, but you can confront it and help to heal from it. And the legacy, it's not just slavery. After slavery, we went into the greatest period in America of domestic terrorism. Thousands and thousands of Americans were lynched and beaten and killed all the way up until the 1950s and 60s.

We still remember from Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, the girls dying in a bombing. My family literally had a white couple (INAUDIBLE) us in 1969 --

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

BOOKER: -- in order to buy the house we grew up.

LEMON: A house, yeah.

BOOKER: Yeah. This legacy is still with us. We have to confront it and realize that this is not -- let me put it this way. That the enslavement, the chains of this history do not just drag down some Americans, it drags us all down.


BOOKER: And so we have to not just use February to remember black history or to honor black history. It should compel us to continue the work to make our nation more just and more equitable and inclusive. It will benefit us all.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, I was speaking to Isabel Wilkerson who wrote a phenomenal book "Caste," and she reminded me that it will be -- it won't be until 2111 that black people will have been free for as long as they were enslaved in this country. That doesn't happen for quite a long time.

Sadly, you and I will not be on this earth by the time that happens. Thank you very much, sir.

BOOKER: That's a pessimistic way to end.

LEMON: Twenty-one, eleven! Look, do you want to live to be 180?



BOOKER: No, no. I agree with you in terms of the (INAUDIBLE) both sides. But we can create in our society a more beloved community. I just have -- I know --

LEMON: I am just talking about the timeline. I'm just talking about the timeline.

BOOKER: Yeah, I'm fine with that.


BOOKER: I know your heart, man. I know you believe in the redemptive power --

LEMON: I do.

BOOKER: -- of love for each other. That can win the day and be the light that gets through this darkness.

LEMON: Thank you, senator. We'll end on that. That's a more optimistic note. Thank you very much.

BOOKER: Thank you, brother.

LEMON: It's good to see you.

BOOKER: All right. Thank you. Good to see you, too.

LEMON: So I want you to know about a new project of mine. I wrote something that I am hoping will start an important conversation. So please check out my new book. It is called "This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism." You can get it wherever you find books on Amazon, on Barnes & Noble, wherever you get books.

So, if Democrats go it alone with coronavirus relief, will they have to go it alone for the next four years? We will talk about that, next.




LEMON: President Biden is moving ahead to pass his first major piece of legislation, this massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with or without Republican support.

So let's discuss now. Jim Messina is here. Jim is the former campaign manager for President Barack Obama. Matt Lewis is here, senior columnist for The Daily Beast. Gentlemen, hello. Good evening.

Matt, your latest piece, it is called "Biden's About to Steamroll the GOP. Here's Why That's Wrong." And you write, friendly meetings are nice, but Biden faces a tough choice that could set the tone for the next four years -- and it looks like he's going to do the wrong thing and give in to mounting pressure from Democrats to tell Republicans to go stuff it and pass the full $1.9 trillion through reconciliation.

So everyone remembers Mitch McConnell saying that, you know, winners make policy, winners write history, right? Losers go home. Why should the Democrats play hardball like that?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SENIOR COLUMNIST FOR THE DAILY BEAST: Well, look, if they want to live down to the republican example, they could do that. But Joe Biden ran to be different, right, and to transcend politics. And I think Biden, in my opinion, had really two mandates.

One is to repair the so full (ph) fabric. In other words, don't be Donald Trump. And part of that was this promise that he was going to work across the aisle. Now, the other thing I think he certainly had to mandate on was COVID, right? So we have these two things that are potentially now in conflict.

I just think this early on -- I mean, here we are not even a month into this administration and healing our divisions with a central theme of his campaign promise, and you had 10 Republicans who are coming forward willing to spend -- by the way, they just had a bipartisan bill a month ago that spend 900 billion on COVID -- willing to spend another 600 billion.

And if Joe Biden rebuffs that this early, I do think it sends a tone. And I am not saying it wouldn't be any bipartisan support in the future, but I certainly think it would make things difficult.

LEMON: OK. So here is the thing. Jim, I see Matt's logic, but Matt, I think you left out a major thing. Jim, you can agree with me or not. We've got this huge thing called a pandemic going on, where people are out of work and they're in desperate need in the clock.

Every minute that ticks is every -- is another minute that they can't meet their obligations. And didn't Democrats, Jim, learn during Obama's presidency, President Obama's term, compromise doesn't work when they're dealing with the party of no?

Remember, you are dealing with a party? Mitch McConnell said, I am going to make him a one-term president, and Mitch McConnell so far has been an obstructionist to Democrats forever. He has never changed his tone. So, what gives here? Didn't they learn from Obama?

JIM MESSINA, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, look, this is going to be a first on your show, Don, I am about to quote Donald Trump's pollster, who issued a memo saying the number one issue for voters was COVID.

And, you know, I was the White House deputy chief of staff in 2009. We bent over backwards to get three Republicans to be a part of the stimulus bill.

And what we have learned from the experience was it wasn't enough. The most important thing we could do is figure out what we need in this COVID package and go past it.


MESSINA: I'll quote the Republican governor of West Virginia who said, you are much better off going big than you are small because you can't fix it later. I just refused to believe that the most important issue, if we have to go along, that doesn't mean we can't work together on 10 other things.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

MESSINA: Washington is just not that binary. I am not buying it.

LEMON: Well, that's exactly what I thought. Maybe there are things in the future that they can work together on. I just think -- this is just me. I just think that the need is so urgent and so dire right now that they've got to do something and we may as well help our fellow Americans than spend it on something that we don't need and which we often do. But stay with me. We are going to talk more about this.

Did a pro-Trump attorney who helped push the big lie vote illegally himself in Georgia in 2020? We will talk to these guys about that next.




LEMON: OK. So we are back now with Jim Messina and Matt Lewis. Lightning round here, guys. We have a short time. So Georgia's secretary of state, Jim, Brad Raffensperger, launched an investigation into whether pro-Trump attorney, Lin Wood, voted illegally. He is the man who helped Trump push the lie about election fraud. You can't make this up.

MESSINA: No, you can't. It's unbelievable that this guy on one day says, oh, I am domiciled in Georgia, and the next day says he's domiciled in South Carolina.

The quote that they're investigation is his own quote. And now he is saying it wasn't his quote? I mean, it's just unbelievable. This is the president of the United States's attorney. It kind of says everything you need to need about Trump illegal strategy.

LEMON: The former president, Matt, touted baseless claims of election fraud in Georgia, even after multiple recounts, and we all heard him in that sunny phone call with Raffensperger to find votes. Wood was one of his chief spreaders of that big lie.

LEWIS: Yeah, that's right. And Lin Wood attacked the secretary of state of Georgia publicly, as well. And look, I just think it is such a weird development. This is a guy -- Lin Wood was the attorney for Richard Jewell. He represented Gary Condit. He represented the family of JonBenet Ramsey. Until recently, he was Nick Sandmann's attorney.

This is a guy who was pretty well-respected lawyer for a long time in Atlanta. And he has just come unglued. It is weird to watch it happen publicly. This could be, you know, the denouement, perhaps.

LEMON: Mm-hmm. We will see what happens. That's fascinating. He voted illegally. And they are investigating it. Wow! Thank you, gentlemen. I will see you soon. Be safe.

MESSINA: Thanks.

LEMON: And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.