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Don Lemon Tonight

Republicans Stuck on Their Fake Cancel Culture Outrage; Democrat Mayor Complain About Vaccine Efficacy; Political Bickering is Normal; Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Was Interviewed Whether Biden's COVID Relief Bill Will Make it to the Senate; Former State Department Officials Now Charged; Rep. Swalwell Filed a Lawsuit Against Trump and Allies; Arizona Lawmaker Questions the Mask Mandate. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 05, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: CNN Tonight, the big show with the big star, D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Right out of the gate, right to me.

CUOMO: So --

LEMON: Yes, Chris?

CUOMO: I had somebody hit me with something today that hurt. She said to me, you know, I don't have to tell you about how I'm living with my family and how setback we are by this because there was a TV show that was all about it in the 70s and it is the reality for too many people of color all over the country.

And I said, what? And she said, I'll give you a hint. She said that this was the end. Just looking out of the window watching the ash fall grow. And again, how it all looks handy down.

LEMON: How do you know the words "Good Times?"

CUOMO: You know I'm black on the inside.

LEMON: "Good Times" any time you need a baby.

CUOMO: So, good times, so Florida, who, by the way, was a hugely educated. I think she was a Yale. And of course, Florida and James Evans the portrait of being stuck in the Chicago projects --


CUOMO: -- drugs, unending poverty, the anger and outrage of being incapable of getting past systemic oppression. Their son Michael, you know, being caught in revolution --


CUOMO: -- and all these angry ideas.

LEMON: J.J., the brother-in-law who is the basketball player that never could get it off the ground.

CUOMO: Dynamite.


CUOMO: So, I look at the lyrics again and I got to tell you, it was like a reality slap in the face. Other than the fact that it was an amazing song. Any time you meet a payment, any time you need a friend.

LEMON: Any time you need upbringing.

CUOMO: Any time you are out from under, not getting hassled, not getting hustled, keeping your head above water.


LEMON: Keeping your head above water, making a way when you can.

CUOMO: Making a way when you can.

LEMON: Temporary --

CUOMO: Temporary lay-off.

LEMON: Good times.

CUOMO: Easy credit rip offs.

LEMON: Good times.

CUOMO: Scratching and surviving.

LEMON: Good times.

CUOMO: Hanging and jiving.

LEMON: Good times.

CUOMO: Aren't we lucky we got them --

LEMON: Aren't we lucky we got them. And had the organ.

CUOMO: And people having to live small, take solace in each other --


CUOMO: -- and I can't believe we are back there 50 years later.

LEMON: Yes. Well, 40 some years later.

CUOMO: The 70s --

LEMON: Almost 50 years later. CUOMO: The 70s that song was.

LEMON: Yes, I wanted to watch --


CUOMO: That TV show was the 70s.

LEMON: I watch that show every single weekend. I've seen every episode like 20 times. I'm actually friends with the mom of, you know, Janet Jackson, the original mom, Kim Fields.


CUOMO: Janet Jackson was in that show.

LEMON: Yes. So, Kim Fields is --

CUOMO: You know it.

LEMON: Kim Fields is a friend of mine, and her had mom was the original mother on the show.

CUOMO: Willona?

LEMON: Willona. No. Not Willona, but the original mom. Willona was the adopted mother.

CUOMO: Right, right, right.

LEMON: We are getting way in the weeds here.

CUOMO: But I mean, it was so -- but I'll tell you what.

LEMON: But Kim Fields was Tootie on "Facts of Life."


LEMON: Remember?


LEMON: And then --

CUOMO: She did a great job on that.


CUOMO: Janet Jackson was great on this.


CUOMO: But the heartbreaking inexorable nature of things are not going to get better for us.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: James was so angry because he couldn't get ahead.

LEMON: But I'll tell you about that show. Yes, it true, there was also some frustration in the black community on that show, because no one ever got on and out. Right? And there was -- that was a reality for many people in the country. But it was also in a time in the 70s where black people were getting a sense of autonomy and they were upwardly mobile, and that show was not a reflection of that.


LEMON: So, there was frustration with that. And guess what came along after that.

CUOMO: The Jeffersons?

LEMON: Moving on up.

CUOMO: That was a great song to the east side.

LEMON: To the east side.

CUOMO: And deluxe apartment.

LEMON: Willona --

CUOMO: It's like the story of Don Lemon.

LEMON: Willona wrote that song.

CUOMO: Did she?

LEMON: Yes. I think she sang it too, yes.

CUOMO: Wow, that was a great song.


CUOMO: And you know, George Jefferson, again, Sherman Hemsley, was such a brilliant Shakespearean actor who played that role. But I got to tell you --

LEMON: Those are great actors. Him and all of those actors were great. The -- Florida, what was her name, who was Florida Evans on "Good Times." Well, I can't -- I think --


CUOMO: She was a Yale.

LEMON: I know. She is very smart. I'm having a senior moment right now, forgive me. I know I'm going to get --


CUOMO: A million people will tell us. But what I'm saying is, are we really going back to that kind of reality?

LEMON: Yes, we are.


CUOMO: You know, the Chicago, "Good Times" was further --


LEMON: And even further.

CUOMO: -- than the Chicago projects, Cabrini-Green, you know, I was covering that back in the day when I started this. They called it the killing fields in between those projects because you couldn't get out. The only way you got out for too many was in a box.

LEMON: Yes. Well I covered --


CUOMO: And it really makes me worried about where we are and that's why this relief bill matters so much. We've got to get people out of the grip of poverty right now.

LEMON: Beverly Johnson just texted me. You know, the model, first model of the --


CUOMO: What did she say about my singing?

LEMON: She said Esther Rolle in that.

CUOMO: Esther Rolle.

LEMON: Esther Rolle. Yes, I covered Cabrini-Green when I live in Chicago and it was, Cabrini-Green is changing now, but yes, you're right.


CUOMO: Well now it's gone.

LEMON: Now we are going back.

CUOMO: They tore Cabrini-Green down.


CUOMO: Robert Taylor Holmes was still up.

LEMON: Yes, there's still parts, there's still Cabrini-Green. There's the park and all that. But let me tell you, I think we are going back even further. I think we are going back with these voting restrictions. We are going back to Jim Crow is what's happening. CUOMO: Well, look, these laws, so I've spent some time reading them.

You know, first, I was like, they won't do this. I mean, restricting early voting is crazy, Republicans vote early more than Democrats do. These things are frightening.


CUOMO: Because, you know, they are playing on ignorance and animus. Here is a really wicked one and I will get out of your way. Hey, why wouldn't you show an I.D.? Everybody has I.D.? Yes? Who has an I.D.? Everyone who drives.


CUOMO: How many people in big cities drive?

LEMON: Drive.

CUOMO: Not so many.

LEMON: You know who didn't have a driver's license and an I.D. for a long time? Someone you work with. Barbara Walters.

CUOMO: It's true.

LEMON: She didn't drive. She grew up in New York City.

CUOMO: That's true.

LEMON: Never want to drive.

CUOMO: Look, my daughter, Bella, a lot of her friends they didn't want to get driver licenses.


CUOMO: She wanted to get it and so you just start going down the line. Also, now, people are going to get in and get a government I.D. when so many people in positions of poverty want as little to do with the government. They can't get the time off.


CUOMO: And it becomes disenfranchising like that and they know it. This is wicked stuff.

LEMON: Yes, it is. And aren't we lucky we got them.


LEMON: Chris Cuomo!

CUOMO: That is strong. Is there anything you can't do, D. Lemon?


CUOMO: Just looking out of the window. I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I love you. Hey, thank you for helping me today. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: That's why I'm here. I deliver.

LEMON: All right. I'll see you. You certainly do. Rain, sleets, snow or shine. Chris delivered my mail to my office today. Thank you, sir. Have a great weekend.

CUOMO: I love you.

LEMON: I love you too.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

And here is our breaking news that we've just been talking.

Senator Joe Manchin really throwing a major, major wrench into the works of President Biden's top priority tonight and that is the president's COVID relief bill, a nine-of hour standstill, nine hours over his objections. Fellow Democrats caught off guard really in a last-minute compromise keeps the whole thing from blowing up.

What? What? There's so much drama. Didn't we think like after the Trump era that the drama like, there's not going to be any drama. It's going to be acceptably and welcomingly just kind of normal? Well, we got anything but. This is the first big test though for the Democratic majority.

With their biggest priorities on the line, no margin of error 50/50 split Senate, everything is riding on COVID relief and on voting rights. That as a GOP just can't get past its own crazy on the eve of March 6th, two months since Trump supporting rioters stormed the United States capitol.

I can't get over that video. Look at the guy kicking the door. I just can't get -- and breaking the windows. Every time I see it, it's like the first time. Them fighting police and hunting lawmakers in the halls.

Congressman Joey -- Zoe Lofgren has posted stunning 2,000-pages -- pages of social media from Republicans promoting the big lie in the weeks leading up to the insurrection. So here is Congressman Paul Gosar, OK, this is November 4th, the day after election day. Don't let them steal our votes. November 26th. This is a coup. January 3rd, just three days before the riots, patriots, the time is now, hold the line. And sedition and treason for stealing vote is appropriate.

So, there you go. You wonder why people believe the big lie? That's why they believe the big lie because Republicans are promoting the big lie. And those are just the highlights. Or I should -- maybe I should say low lights.

There's a whole lot more in those 2,000 pages and he is not the only one. So, let's move on and talk about Congressman Matt Gaetz. Right? This is on January 6th. I am joining with the fighters in Congress. Interesting. Congressman Jim Jordan. Over 50 million Americans think this election was stolen, he wrote.

But let's are remember why they thought that. Right? Because the then president and his enablers convinced them of the big lie, and then people like Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz they just kept carrying it on. Carrying the water.


Congresswoman Lauren Boebert the day before the riot. Remember that these -- the next 48 hours. OK? These are some of the most important days in American history, she writes. Remember these 48 hours. The most important days in American history.

They promised a big lie for months. The question is, will they be held accountable? And while Americans are desperate to get vaccinated, and desperate for COVID relief, here is what Kevin McCarthy is doing right now.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. I am Sam, I am Sam. Sam, I am. That Sam I am, that Sam I am, I do not like that Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham.


LEMON: That really happened. Those are your Republican leaders. He is the top Republican in the House of Representatives, the minority leader, and apparently, has nothing better to do then to read Dr. Seuss, and stoke this fake outrage. He is reading it because he is saying, it's cancel culture, right, and it's blaming it on Democrats, whatever. It has to do with Democrats, nothing at all.

As a matter of fact, that particular one by Dr. Seuss is still in distribution. So, none of it makes any sense. They are playing you. Are you going to fall for it? Are you going to fall for it? He is trying to stoke the fake outrage machine, while over at Fox News, we are watching, so you don't have to. They are covering every single angle. And what you would think if you are watching, is that the biggest, most important issue of our time is this.


STUART VARNEY, HOST, FOX NEWS: As you know, Dr. Seuss has been canceled.

BEN CARSON, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: I do not like to cancel books. I do not like how that looks.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): First, it was "Kermit the Frog," and The Muppets," and "Mr. Potato Head," then now, you know, Dr. Seuss.

CARSON: I do not like it here nor there, I do not like it anywhere.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: A 2017 tweet from Vice President Kamala Harris praise Dr. Seuss.

CARSON: I do not like it in the store, I do not want it anymore.

UNKNOWN: Let me just quote Barack Obama, in 2015 saying, quote, "pretty much all of the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss."

DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: This week alone, they cancel "Mr. Potato Head.


TRUMP, JR.: You know, this week alone, they canceled "The Muppets." They are canceling Dr. Seuss from reading programs.

DANA PERINO, HOST, FOX NEWS: Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is for sale on eBay but six Dr. Seuss books team defensive are pulled from the auction sites.

MICHAEL LOFTUS, COMEDIAN & WRITER: Just when you think life can't be any weirder, here we are discussing Dr. Seuss and Hitler in the same sentence.

PERINO: People might say, why? Why are you covering this Dr. Seuss story so much?


LEMON: Yes, why? And why are you mentioning Dr. Seuss and Hitler in the same sentence? You are -- you are doing it. I can't believe it that we're -- because you are doing it. I just want to be clear. I know I've said it a bunch of times, the Dr. Seuss staying has nothing to do with Democrats at all. At all. It was the Dr. Seuss company who said this doesn't meet our standards anymore. They took them out of circulation.

Democrats had nothing to do with it. The president had nothing to do with it. Fox is stoking this stupid, I guess you could call it conspiracy theory, but it's a lie. Let's just call it a lie. Nothing is being canceled about Dr. Seuss, at all. Do you guys realize how you look? It's just embarrassing.

I think we know exactly why they are covering Dr. Seuss so much, and I've said it before. Because it is the GOP fake outrage machine. People are hurting because of COVID, the pandemic, and economic downturn. Dr. Seuss? It's all they've got. Do not fall for the okey- doke.

Republicans lost the House, they lost the Senate, they lost the White House. And they are still enthralled to a disgraced, twice impeached, one-term, former president. They don't care one bit about Dr. Seuss. They don't. At all. They don't care about Mr. Potato head, at all.

[22:15:03] They don't care about Neanderthals. As a matter of fact, it wasn't Neanderthals, it was Neanderthal thinking. Which doesn't necessarily mean that you are in a Neanderthal, but there is no nuance from them. It just means that your thought is backwards.

Maybe he has a point. When you -- when you are promoting Dr. Seuss, maybe he has a point. Nearer meet the Republicans. They are just counting on fake outrage to distract you while millions of Americans who can't pay the rent, can't put food on the table and they are desperate for COVID relief.

They have to come up with some sort of narrative about Joe Biden, because Joe Biden is ignoring them and getting his agenda done and doing his job. He is ignoring them and trying to get help to the American people. So, they have to create some sort of -- some of negative narrative about Joe Biden to make themselves look good and to make the former president look good. That is a tall order.

That will take a lot of work. Now you don't think that you can't do that much work in 20 years. States -- while states all across this country are trying to strip away voting rights, they are doing this at this time.

While all of that is going on the fake outrage machine just keeps going and going and going like the ever-rated bunny and that is the real outrage right here. As millions and millions of Americans are desperate for a return to something that passes for normal.

Their elected leaders are screwing up. Remember the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, just days ago he said that he was ending the state's mask mandate, reopening businesses. Now he wants to have it both ways. He says he is still urging people to wear a mask. Saying they know the right thing to do. Really?

Greg Abbott, I'm going to introduce you to the internet. Right, a series of tubes where you can get information and videos. Where you can see people, who don't want to wear masks, who are causing trouble in establishments that are requiring mask, you can see thousands of them. It happens all the time. You know why?

Because people like you say, there's no mask mandate in my state and then they feel like, it's not a law, the governor is behind me, I don't have to wear a mask. So, stop it with the B.S. Because you are trying to distract for screwing up for the storm. You know, you wouldn't have to urge them if you kept the mask mandate.

And then there's the dangerously mixed message from the Democratic mayor of Detroit. Just yesterday, he turned down Johnson & Johnson's vaccine saying that it wasn't as good as the vaccines for Pfizer -- Pfizer and Moderna. Outrage in public health. The White House quickly, quick to say it was just a misunderstanding, OK, trying to help him out.

Now, Mayor Mike Duggan is doing a massive walk back, saying that he is looking forward to getting J&J vaccines in Detroit. The fact is that Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just as effective as the other two in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Whatever vaccine you can get, people, take it. OK?

And trials for all three, no one who got the vaccine died from COVID, and no one who is hospitalized once the vaccines took complete effect no one was hospitalized. That's the fact. The message is clear, listen to the experts. Get vaccinated as soon as you can.

We are so close. Let's not blow this. And hold those people accountable who are trying to distract you with Dr. Seuss and Neanderthal. Like, let's get some real work done. Some serious stuff. Not the fake outrage, Republican outrage machine. It's played, it's tired. You need a nap.

It is the first big test though for Democrats. Can they push President Biden's COVID relief bill across the finish line? They'll close but we'll see, while millions of Americans are desperate for help.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At least seven million kids don't have enough food to eat on a regular basis, 13 million people are behind in their rent. And the rescue plan is absolutely essential for turning this around.




LEMON: President Biden's COVID relief bill can finally move forward after Democrats strike a deal with one of their own. Senator Joe Manchin holding up everything over jobless benefits. The deal gives a $300 weekly unemployment benefit a September 6 expiration date. And includes a cap on who is eligible to write off those benefits. The agreement shaves off a few weeks than from what Democrats have been pushing for.

The next step now the Senate's vote-a-rama where senators can offer as many amendments as they want Republicans planning to use the process to put Democrats in a tough position to stay united and consistent.

So, let's discuss no. Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen joins me. So good to have you on. Thank you, Senator. Good evening to you.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Good to be with you, Don.

LEMON: This COVID relief bill was at a standstill for nine hours because of Senator Joe Manchin. Democrats manage to keep him from breaking ranks. Are you sure at this stage that you are going to be able to pass this?

VAN HOLLEN: Yes, Don, I'm absolutely confident that we'll get it done. Look, I was here at 2.30 a.m. last night. We'll stay throughout the night into tomorrow through the weekend if necessary. And at the end of that time, yes, we will pass the American rescue plan. It provides desperately needed assistance to the American people. We'll deploy and distribute more vaccines, provide economic help and a lifeline. We are going to get this done.

LEMON: Did you personally talk with Senator Manchin during the standoff, has he said anything about what his thinking is?


VAN HOLLEN: Not during this period of time. Look, I preferred the version that came over from the House. But this does extend unemployment benefits for another week into early September. And for some people who were long-term unemployed last year into this year, it will actually help even more, because they won't get hit with a surprise tax on the unemployment benefits, they received last year.

So, look, if you look at this bill in context, with the individual payments, with the historic child tax credit, with the continuing rental assistance, and very importantly, funds to help kids back in our schools but safely.

This is hugely needed and by the way, the Congressional Budget Office said if we do nothing that we will live with these much higher levels of unemployment until the year 2025. That's unacceptable and that's why we are moving forward and getting this done.

LEMON: Let me ask you this, how did this bill even come to the floor if the Democrats didn't know where their members stood on it?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, look, these bills have a large number of provisions. Senator Manchin had expressed concern about this provision earlier on. And this was just a question of working it through, and we've done that. And so, we will have a vote within the next hour on that, and then, we expect possibly hundreds of Republican amendments. And we'll go through each of them. But at the end of the day, we will get this bill passed.

LEMON: You have been pushing the $15 minimum wage for years. You co- sponsored a bill back in 2017 to hike it. Today, eight Senate Democrats voting no. Are you going to try again to get this $15, or are going to shoot for a lower number that would still be a hike?

VAN HOLLEN: No, Don, we are going to keep shooting for the $15 an hour. Look, the current minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, a national disgrace. You can work full time 40 hours a week, and still be below the federal poverty level. We need to get to $15 an hour under the proposal, as you know, it was phased in over time, it didn't get to $15 an hour until the year 2025. But we need to have a livable wage in this country. And so, we are going to keep fighting for that.

LEMON: Listen, I had a really fascinating conversation last night with Brian Fallon who talked to me about the filibuster and he had his predictions but more Democrats are calling for an end to the filibuster, Manchin and Sinema oppose that. Given that there was a struggle to get 50 votes on the Democrats top priority, let alone 60, do you think you are going to need to scrap it? VAN HOLLEN: Don, I believe we need to get rid of the filibuster or

radically reform it. Because right now, you have the United States Senate which is already skewed toward the minority. It's an un- Democratic, small d institution, right, two senators from every state. Whether you are Wyoming with fewer people than the District of Columbia or California, and the filibuster just adds more of an anti- Democratic tilt on top of that.

There are risks in getting rid of the filibuster. But my belief is the risk is much greater that we can't the country forward because of gridlock on issues like HR-1, the For the People Act. Like the John R. Lewis legislation, like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We need to get this done. And that means reforming the filibuster.

And if Republicans don't join us in passing those, and I'm not under any illusions at this point that that's likely, then I hope all of our colleagues in the Democratic caucus will join us in reforming it. At least put the burden on those who are trying to obstruct the process, at least make people come down and conduct a real filibuster rather than just threaten one from the sidelines and bring things to a halt.

LEMON: Senator Van Hollen, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Try to have a good weekend, hope you get some rest.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

LEMON: I don't see it -- I don't see it though. Thank you very much.

VAN HOLLEN: Thanks a lot. Good to be with you.

LEMON: You as well. With the 50/50 Senate Democrats have no room for error, you just heard that. If there is, you know, this much drama over a bill that most the country wants, what does this say about the four years ahead? We'll talk about that.



LEMON: Senate Democrats moving ahead tonight trying to get the COVID relief bill passed now that the stalemate with Democrat Joe Manchin over unemployment benefits is over.

Let's discuss now with CNN political Ron Brownstein, and Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain. He is also the executive producer of The Circus on Showtime.

Hello, gentlemen. Thanks so much for joining us.


LEMON: I see that fire here over your left shoulder. You are not hiding.

MCKINNON: Yes, back home in the hills. LEMON: But I'm going to start with Ron just because I'm jealous of

your fire. Ron, what the heck happened today? How is -- how is -- how is it that the White House and the Senate leaders didn't find out what Senator Manchin was going support sooner? How do they bring this to the floor and not know where their member stood?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, welcome to life in the 50/50 Senate. And it does seem to be kind of a, you know, misstep although Senator Van Hollen said there are a lot of moving parts in this bill. I guess for me, Don, the big picture is what we are seeing in terms of division here is actually pretty modest by historic standards.

If you go back to Bill Clinton's economic recovery plan in 1993, he only passed after getting into a screaming match with Bob Kerrey that had them hurling f-bombs at each other in '93.


Obama in '09 had to satisfy the last few moderate Democrats that he gets Republicans which required him to cut the spending substantially and increase the tax cuts on his plan.

And maybe the most relevant example of all is one that I don't even know if Mark remembers. Is that in 2001, in the 50/50 Senate, two Republican moderates forced George W. Bush to cut his tax cut by $400 billion. Twenty-five percent to get it through the Senate.

Can you imagine what we would be talking about tonight if Sinema and Manchin had required a $500 billion reduction in this. So, I guess, against all of those yardsticks historically, the Democrats to me are holding together pretty remarkably on this.

LEMON: What is it, Mark, does the Democratic Party need Joe Manchin more than he needs them?

MCKINNON: I tell you what, listening to the news over the last couple of weeks you think that Joe Manchin is president. I mean that guy is wielding so much power and influence, which in a lot of ways I think is a good thing. I think he is a great representative. I think he is a really smart guy. I think he is a deal cutter and a negotiator and the right guy to kind of have in that slot.

Now, you know, going back to kind of the issue you talked about earlier, Don. What does this portend for the next four years? I mean, Ron is right historically speaking. We've had tight politics like this, but the Democrats had some big, big -- big, big legislative items like HR-1 the voter election reform bill, which is so critical.

And it just seems to me that there is no way they are going to get Republican votes on bills like that. And they really want to and they really have to. I think the filibuster may go eventually. And in my view, it ought to. And I don't think anybody is going to pay the price for killing the filibusterer. Nobody goes to the poll saying, I'm voting for so and so because they killed the damn filibuster. LEMON: Right. Very good point. Ron, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer criticized Republican tactics to slow the bill down. But it was someone who was in his own conference who brought the Senate who brought the Senate to a hold --


LEMON: -- it wasn't a Republican.


LEMON: Well, I mean, many people say that Joe Manchin is actually what a Republican is, what Republicans used to be, but that's a whole another thing. With something like this ever happen under McConnell. I mean, put aside McCain saving that Obamacare moment.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look. I mean, again, I go back to the earlier examples. In 2001, again, this is a very relevant example. One of those Republican moderates who forced Bush to cut his tax by 25 percent was a guy named Jim Jeffords from Vermont.

And as Mark may remember the White House punished him by not inviting him to a ceremony honoring the teacher of the year who happened to be from Vermont. And what did he do? He quit the Republican caucus and became an independent and the Republicans lost control of the majority. So, yes.


BROWNSTEIN: Democrats need Joe Manchin right now more than he needs them. And I do think that the fact that they are all voting for a $1.9 trillion stimulus is important. I think they will probably be able to hold together on the next reconciliation bill that's coming for Joe Biden's infrastructure plan even if the price the toll that Manchin requires is more spending on clean coal than makes sense environmentally or economically.

The real issue will be whether Manchin and Sinema and maybe some others are willing to do what you and Mark were just discussing. Curtail or eliminate the filibuster. Because without that, the Democrats are going to quickly run out of things that they can do, and you are going to see an awful lot of things pass the House, particularly that HR-1 which is so critical to the future of American democracy and stack on Chuck Schumer's desk in the Senate.

LEMON: Mark, chine in the water for Mitch McConnell, is he going to try to like, pick off moderate Democrats now on every bill?

MCKINNON: No question about it. I mean, the -- first of all, I don't recognize the Democratic Party because they have been so unified and disciplined which is pretty extraordinary for the Democrat Party. But Republicans have always been like that --

LEMON: Wait, wait, you think the democrats have been disciplined this time?

BROWNSTEIN: I think so.

MCKINNON: I do. I do. I mean, I think that they are keeping 50 votes together on the most important legislation of Joe Biden's presidency is a pretty remarkable feat.


BROWNSTEIN: I mean, yes. Look, I mean, I think on this kind of big bills, Don, I mean, this is the kind of, you know, ugly sausage making that happened. I mean, whether it was Clinton in '93, Obama in '09, Bush in '01, the Affordable Care Act where a single senator, Joe Lieberman basically forced them to eliminate the public option --


LEMON: I remember that.

BROWNSTEIN: -- in the Senate.

LEMON: I remember that.

BROWNSTEIN: All of those were ultimately victories for the president who pushed them. Even though the compromises and the concessions they had to make on the day seem like kind of amputating one of your limbs. In the end, it was a victory that was important to their presidency.

And I do think that there's kind of a mixed signal here. I do think you're right. I mean, the fact that one or two Democratic senators have such power is going to be a frustrating kind of dynamic for liberals. but the fact remains that they are sticking together on this, the real test will come. Are they willing to curtail the filibuster because without that, there is going to be LGBTQ rights, gun control, immigration reform, democracy reform, voting rights?

LEMON: Voting, yes.


BROWNSTEIN: The list is going to get very long of things that are quickly passing the House and will stack up in the Senate unless they are willing to curtail the filibuster.

LEMON: I got to run. Mark, I love that fire. Can we take Mark full, so I can see the fire in the background. Man, that looks great. Congratulations, brother, and that's a real one.

MCKINNON: Ten thousand feet. Population 800.


LEMON: All right, gentlemen. Take care. And I'm jealous of your Los Angeles weather as well, Ron. Thank you.


LEMON: Thank you both. I'll see you soon. Have a good weekend. MCKINNON: Kick it hard.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Another man arrested in charge for storming the capitol, but this one is a Trump appointee who had top secret level security clearance. And there's more breaking news. Stay with us.


LEMON: CNN is learning more about the allege actions of a former Trump State Department official. One of around 300 people arrested after the attack on the capitol.


Federico Klein, seen here on the day of the attack, in jail tonight while he waits for his court proceedings. He is alleged to have violently push and shove against the police line with a riot shield even propping a door open with it. He continued working at the State Department until his resignation when President Biden was inaugurated.

Joining me now is CNN legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa. I can't believe it. Yes, I can, Asha. Hi. Thanks for joining me.


LEMON: Yes, we can all believe it now. This is the first arrest of a Trump official over the capitol insurrection. It is alarming to think that a State Department appointee is allegedly storming the capitol and attacking police. So how do investigators track down who he may have been connected with or conspiring with?

RANGAPPA: Yes. Well, Don, FBI investigations are sort of tentacle- like. I mean, they are going to start and as they gather with subpoena documents, they subpoenaed phone records, you know, it's going to spread outwards. And one thing they're very good at is cross referencing and figuring out networks and connections.

I will say that what is especially troubling about this particular case is, the fact that this person had a top-secret clearance, which means he had access to sensitive information and was in a position of public trust. And you know, one of the questions the FBI asks when they vet people for the security clearance is loyalty to the United States.

Has this person ever engaged in, you know, rhetoric or actions that it then a desire to overthrow the government of the United States? And answer yes to that question means that you can't a -- you can't get a clearance. So, I have to wonder, you know, was he one of these people who got rubber stamped by the White House as a political appointee for a major clearance despite red flags.

Or alternatively, are there other people who have been radicalized who are in positions of public trust as we've seen, for example, with former law enforcement and former military, which is incredibly troubling and a national security issue.

LEMON: Asha, I want to talk to you about this new reporting from The New York Times tonight. And they report that a member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with the person associated with the White House in the days just before the January 6th assault on the capitol according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

It's another connection between the White House and the far-right organization prominent at the capitol siege. Will we find out who was talking to whom here?

RANGAPPA: We won't find out until the FBI reaches the (Inaudible)investigation and decides to charge someone and put this in its charging document. But we know that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers they are members who have some of these higher-level charges that are, you know, conspiracies that are coordinated activity.

And so it's incredibly problematic not only because of their ideology, but because of the level of their activity on January 6th which rose beyond, you know, mere trespass or vandalism to, you know, more nefarious coordinated activity that they would be the ones who are in touch with the White House. So that's incredibly troubling.

LEMON: Congressman Eric Swalwell suing former President Trump, Don Junior, Rudy Giuliani and Representative Mo Brooks for their allege roles in inciting the riot at the capitol. Does he have a case?

RANGAPPA: Yes, I read this lawsuit. It's very interesting. It's sort of a kitchen sink civil suit. It has lot of different claims. Some more straightforward like negligence, some that are harder to prove like emotional distress. But the key here, Don, is he just needs to make it pass the motion to dismiss on just one of these counts and then you have discovery.

Discovery is far-ranging. It can get all kinds of documents. The president and other defendants like Rudy Giuliani can be deposed. Witnesses can be deposed under oath. And so, this is a whole mine field for the former president and his associates. Because you know, whatever the merits of the claims are, and even if, you know, the outcome of that, they can be liable for crimes they commit in the process of discovery if they lie under oath, for example.

I think the other interesting thing is that given the reticence of members of Congress to engage in a robust congressional inquiry, suits like this may achieve what Congress cannot in terms of finding out what actually happened on January 6th.

LEMON: Asha, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

An Arizona state lawmaker arguing against masks. He says they aren't needs now since, take this, they weren't needed to fight HIV.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: All right, Senator Chuck Schumer speaking now. Let's listen.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): -- for how important this entire bill is for our fellow Americans. For getting the vaccine to our people. For reopening our schools. For keeping American workers, families, and businesses afloat, and for putting our country on the road to a strong recovery.

Now that this agreement has been reached, we are going to power through the rest of the process and get this bill done. Make no mistake, we are going to continue working until we get the job done.

I yield the floor.


UNKNOWN: The Republican leader.

MCCONNELL: Inquiry. At what time did the previous vote on the senator's amendment begin?

UNKNOWN: The vote began at 11.03 a.m.


MCCONNELL: How much total time elapsed here on the floor vote on this senator's amendment?

UNKNOWN: 11 hours and 50 minutes.

MCCONNELL: Goodness. It's been quite a start. Quite a start to this fast track process. They were in a big hurry. Started voting on the first amendment, probably during set right after 11 a.m. Democratic leader held the vote open all day so they could try to figure out what was going on with their own legislation, that they want to pass on with their votes.

Now the last time, we had a long string of amendment votes just a couple weeks ago. We considered about 40 amendments. So, if you multiply 11 hours of scrambling times 40 amendments, you land at about 440 hours. That's about 18 days with zero breaks.

So, look, the whole idea behind this, I gather from listening to them over the last few weeks is to use the crisis to jam through what the White House chief of staff called the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation. A little tougher than they thought it was going to be, isn't it? It turned tout be a little tougher.

Well, what this proves is, there are benefits to bipartisanship when you're dealing with an issue of this magnitude. We all remember that we did this five times last year. We did it together. I think there were no more than eight votes against any of these proposals which spend about $4 trillion on pandemic relief --

LEMON: All right. You are listening to Mitch McConnell who is now the Senate minority leader speaking on the floor now as they are working on this bill. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader speaking just moments ago, saying, it's time to pass the bill.

Mitch McConnell complaining about how long it's taking and that there are no Republican votes. But again, they continue on. We'll continue to update you as you as they try to get this COVID relief bill passed.

In the meantime, I want to tell you about this. This is a take this segment. An Arizona lawmaker pushing a bill that would let businesses in the state ignore mask mandates. Republican Joseph Chaplik says masks were not mandated in past epidemics so they shouldn't be mandated.


REP. JOSEPH CHAPLIK (R-AZ): When we talk about the argument of the flu and all the past viruses we had because as Dr. Freese (Ph) said, masks save lives and stops the virus, the polio, the smallpox, the measles, the typhoid. The HIV that was going to wipe our global destruction of human bodies with AIDS. We heard about that in the '80s, yet, no masks were required.


LEMON: It keeps lives, no s. So, anyways, I'm just correcting the little grammar there. What an ignorant and ridiculous argument. Just got to be honest. Just stupid, ridiculous all the way around. Masks would not stop the spread of HIV AIDS. It's not a respiratory illness.

The state representative backing up what he said in a statement to our team tonight referring to those other diseases he mentioned. He says, in the early stages we did not know how they were transmitted.

Yes, well, we have known for about four decades now that HIV is not a respiratory virus. And as far as COVID-19 goes, who cares at this point what we knew in the early stages? We're a year into this. We now know and we have known for a while the virus spreads through droplets in the air.

Face masks along with social distancing stop it from spreading. And as the pandemic has gone on there has been more and more proof that masks work. The CDC releasing data today that says masks, a mask mandate reduced COVID-19 cases -- case counts, excuse me, and deaths. That's what makes all of this so frustrating.

With over half a million Americans dead more than any other country in the world. About last spring experts agree that mask -- that mask wearing needed to be the major tool to stop the spread. We have a way to stop the virus. And we still need to stop it. Vaccines alone will not end this war. You know what will? Wearing one of these. Well.


OK. So, we're not taking a break. All right. So we're going to keep going here. Sorry about that. So, let's move on here.