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Don Lemon Tonight

President Biden Unveils His Infrastructure Plan; Maricopa County Doing a Late Recount; Governor DeSantis Announce the New Florida Election Law; Corporate Taxes Covering Biden's Plan; Rep. Liz Cheney Soon to be Replaced; Election Laws Affects Minorities in Texas; Rioter Blames Fox News for His Decision to Attack U.S. Capitol. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 06, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That means it's time for the big show. CNN Tonight and its big star, D. Lemon. I'm telling you --


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You said that before you go -- I used to work at, before you go on, Channel 5 WNYW, do you remember that?


LEMON: Do you Channel 5 here in New York.

CUOMO: Well, I know what it is but why are you asking me if I remember?

LEMON: It's 10 p.m., do you know where your children are?

CUOMO: Yes, I remember that?


CUOMO: It was very helpful.

LEMON: The way you said that reminded me. But go on, sorry about that.

CUOMO: It might be my next job.


CUOMO: So, I'll tell you. People. I get why I'm watching social media. I'm hearing it from people when I ask them on the radio. Yes, we get it. The big lie. That's their thing. I mean, they're just kidding themselves. You're sleeping on something that will punch you on in the face.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: It started as laughable. Then it became lure, right, this kind of mythological learning. Now they are making it law. And come the midterms, you can bet your donuts and coffee that the Republican platform is going to be they are stealing this election from us.


CUOMO: And it is going to be hard to rebut because our election system is anything but perfect.

LEMON: Yes. Well, here's the danger. And you're right. And I've been preaching this every night. Everyone says and I know you hear it, you guys still talking about the Republicans. You're still talking with the Republicans? The Republicans are not in power.

Well, the Democrats are in power, barely. But then, you know, that hot Joe Manchin is there? Does that really put them in power? Because he is more centrist or center-right as a Democrat than he is anything else. So, you have that in the Senate.

But what's happening in Washington with the Republican Party is half of the controlling party in Washington, D.C., it affects everyone. It doesn't just affect Republicans. And with the midterms coming up, Republicans are going into the midterms with momentum. They're going into the midterms with these new voting restrictions in place. They're going into the midterms having gerrymandered many districts in their favor.

And so, if you're -- I know you are sitting there saying hey, why are you still talking about Donald Trump? Because he has a stranglehold on the party. And the party is acting the way that they are acting and restricting voting and being obstructionist because of the big lie, and because they are beholden to who?

CUOMO: Did you say his name?

LEMON: The former guy.

CUOMO: Do you say his name?


CUOMO: The president as Elise Stefanik calls him.

LEMON: Yes. Right. Well --

CUOMO: The president. She wants to work with the president. It doesn't mean Biden.


CUOMO: I'll tell you what. I had too easy a night tonight, so I'll give people a reason to come after me on the way home when they're not watching you. It will be this.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Let's get after Chris. Go on.

CUOMO: This will be it. Here is my feeling. H.R. 1, S 1, I don't know that Joe Manchin can hold on to his position of believing it's worthy of compromise because it is not an economic package. It's about voting rights. And it's the only way to fight back against redistricting.

On the flip, I think Joe Manchin is right about what he's arguing for Democrats to not short the process. But things into committee have it marked up. Have amendments on the floor. Let the Republicans be exposed for what they are and are not. And if you blow up the filibuster and I think that it comes from an unholy place and it wasn't intended by the founders. And I don't know that it's been used for good reason.

LEMON: It hasn't but go on.

CUOMO: But I will tell you this. The Democrats. You blow it up. OK, it will be revisited upon you in a way that you will never have imagined because they are better at this than you people are.

LEMON: But if they don't get rid of. It it's a catch 22 if they do not get rid of it and --

CUOMO: They will not H1 S1.

LEMON: -- and then they may never see power again because the minority will rule.

CUOMO: That is the argument and that is their strongest argument --

LEMON: And that's a problem.

CUOMO: -- to Manchin and I think there are a couple other ones.

LEMON: Yes. But --

CUOMO: If don't stop this they will change the law. State by state will never have time to fight it in court before the election.

LEMON: He talks a lot. Doesn't? So, I was holding my breath in the past hour.

CUOMO: You really think that I talked more than you do?

LEMON: What? Have you ever --

CUOMO: yes. Yes? I'm right here.

LEMON: Chris, I'm going to put a time. We're going to do a timer on that.


CUOMO: You may go the face as you want, I ask you a question. LEMON: We're going to do a timer one night. But let me just say this. So, having said everything that we just said, there could be an issue. Republicans maybe over correcting, overcompensating because they maybe blocking their own people more than they think from voting in the upcoming elections with what's happening. That is a huge concern by many, many Republicans as well.


CUOMO: They used to vote early more often than Democrats.


CUOMO: But that was before they spooked them not to early vote anymore.

LEMON: Early tease. We've got a big announcement. We can't say what it is. It's coming up. You'll find about it soon.

CUOMO: Don't you say it.

LEMON: Don't say it.

CUOMO: Don't. No.


CUOMO: What do you live to get us in trouble? Is that --

LEMON: No. OK, I won't. See you.

CUOMO: D. Lemon, I love you and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

LEMON: You more. I'm with you on that.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

So, let's break it down. OK? All right? This -- a lot of this is what Chris and I talked about. I'll go in-depth with you. This is what's happening in America today. One party is trying to build while another party wants to tear it down. One party is trying to protect your right to vote while the other spreads the big lie that fueled an insurrection at the capitol and passes restrictive voting laws all across this country.

One party literally trying to rebuild America. Right? Literally. Infrastructure that's the president is doing right now, while the other party has no agenda apart from stopping them. Obstructionist. Build. Obstruct. Build. Obstruct.

President Joe Biden pitching his infrastructure plan today in my home state by the way, of Louisiana calling it a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild this country. Vowing to modernize 20,000 miles of highways and roads and repair 10,000 miles of bridges across the country. Like the -- I know it well, i-10 bridge in Lake Charles. The president putting bipartisanship on display along with Louisiana's governor, Democratic governor and the Republican mayor of Lake Charles. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are standing here in the shadow of the i-10 bridge which I have gone over several times myself in the past as a perfect example of how we have neglected as a nation to invest in the future of our economy and the future of our people.

It shouldn't be this hard to take or takes so long to fix a bridge that this important. It makes no sense. But the truth is across the country we have failed.


LEMON: He's right. President Biden is right. It shouldn't take so long to fix that bridge. The very same bridge the previous president stood in front of two years ago, promised to fix, promised to fix it. Right? But only if he got reelected.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So, the i-10 bridge, and I say this and I give you this commitment. And I can't play with history. Steve, John, Bill, everybody sitting here. If we win this election which is just 16 months away, we are giving you a brand new i-10 bridge.



LEMON: If we win. Look at the difference the professionalism and unprofessionalism, lack of professionalism. How many times did infrastructure we go bust? Bust? I should say bust infrastructure. How many times did it go bust under the previous president? By our count at least 11 weeks were either officially billed as infrastructure week or included infrastructure events, and they all fizzled out with nothing to show for it.

President Biden vowing not to have another infrastructure month or week that doesn't actually change anything.


BIDEN: I'm willing to hear ideas from both sides. I'm meeting with my Republican friends up in the Congress to see number one, how much they are willing to go for. What they think of the priorities and what compromises mean -- man, I'm ready to compromise.

What I'm not ready to do, I'm not ready to do nothing. I'm not ready to have another period where America has another infrastructure month and doesn't change a damn thing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well said. As the president -- as President Biden is literally trying to rebuild this country, Mitch McConnell, who just yesterday said 100 percent, 100 percent of his focus is on stopping the Biden administration. He now says this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): What I'm focusing on is this new administration. Anxious to stop the Biden agenda depending on what it is.


LEMON: He is anxious to stop the Biden agenda depending on what it is. That's not what he said yesterday. And that's not exactly a ringing endorsement of bipartisanship coming from the man who vowed to make Obama a one-term president.

Republicans are on a mission to destroy Joe Biden's presidency. That's obvious. While they doubled down on their result of the vote and purge anyone like Liz Cheney who won't buy into the big lie.

There's the sham recount in Arizona's Maricopa County. Have you seen this? It's crazy. Six months after the election this is happening more than three months since Joe Biden took the oath of office. The legitimate president duly elected, legitimate president. The most secure election in our nation's history.


A recount and remember there was a concern about, the election happened. There was no transparency. There weren't poll watchers and all of that. This recount is happening with absolutely no transparency, but a lot of hypocrisy. Right? A crazy clown car of a recount where they are reportedly testing ballots for traces of bamboo.

You heard me, right? Bamboo. Do you know why? It's over the absurd accusations that thousands of ballots were flown into Arizona from someplace in Asia. I kid you not. And that's not the worst. One man spotted multiple times at the so-called recount a former Republican state senator whose name is actually on those ballots who was also at the capitol insurrection on January 6th.

Like I said, Sham, and then there is Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, setting into law a bill aimed at making voting by mail more difficult, putting on a show in a made for TV moment, barring local reporters from the bill signing so he could do what? So, he could go live on the Fox propaganda network.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Me signing this bill here says Florida, your vote counts. Your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency.


LEMON: So, if the locals aren't allowed but they do it on Fox what does that tell you, huh? Somebody is preening for the camera in the crowd and an audience of one. Transparency, huh? Tell that to the reporters who have been barred from doing their job. It was all about putting on a show, a show for the big lie, the big lie believing base and an audience of one who was still spreading that big lie.

And the funny thing is just six months ago the governor was boasting about how well Florida ran its reelection.


DESANTIS: People are actually looking at Florida and asking the question why can't these states be more like Florida? The way Florida did it I think inspires confidence. I think that's how elections should be run. We are now being looked at as the state that did it right and the state that these other states should emulate.


LEMON: So, OK. The state that did it right. And the state that these other states should emulate. So, he is now saying his actions show it is a solution in search of a problem. If nothing went wrong in 2020, why change the law now?

For the same reason Georgia past the restrictive law that makes it a crime to get food and water to voters online. For the same reason Arizona is recounting ballots months after certifying Joe Biden's win. It's all about the big lie, the big lie of non-existing voter fraud. The big like that spawned the insurrection at the capitol.

Tonight, there are already legal challenges to Florida's new law. But the fact is voting by mail is actually very popular in Florida. Listen to me, everyone. Voting by mail is very popular in Florida and with seniors, especially one particular senior in sconce (Ph) at Mar-a-Lago who has repeatedly voted by mail even in a local election just two months ago.

That after he railed against mail-in ballots throughout the 2020 campaign. Do as I say. Not as I do.

But here's what I want you to listen to. I was just talking about this a moment ago with Chris. The fact is, Republican efforts to put the brakes on voting by mail may actually backfire on them because it might lower the turnout among their own voters.

This is what the Washington Post is reporting. That the University of Florida found 34.5 percent of Republicans voted by mail last year up from 29.9 percent in 2016. Governor DeSantis and Florida Senator Rick Scott both owe their victories in part to mail-in voting.

But now Republicans in the state are taking apart a system that they spent years putting together and fearing it come back to bite them. They're not only willing, but let's be honest, they are eager to suppress Democrats' votes. They are willing to suppress their own votes to support the big lie.

Do you see where I'm going here? It's really bizarre and it's very pathetic. That's how deep this goes. Especially when you follow something that's little -- well, that's what happened. You know? That's how deep the decay in the Republican Party has become. And that brings us back to what's happening in America tonight.


One party is trying to protect voting rights while the other party is spreading the big lie that spawned the insurrection and purging anyone who won't go along. One party is trying to build, while the other party wants to tear down. So, the question is what happens now? How will President Biden get his plan through with the GOP on a mission to destroy his presidency. That's a question for the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, next.


BIDEN: America is more competitive, better and more capable than any other nation in the world. There's not a damn thing that we cannot do when we do it together.



LEMON: President Biden traveling to my home state of Louisiana, a Republican stronghold to pitch his sweeping infrastructure and jobs plan, standing in front of a 70-year-old bridge. It's called the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a bridge 20 years older than its designated life span.


Hammering home his point that the nation needs to rebuild its bridges and highways. Biden saying that he is ready to negotiate with Republicans who want to scale back his $2 trillion plan and saying that to pay for it all that is open to a corporate tax rate hike between 25 and 28 percent. But that's a tough sell to the GOP.

A lot to discuss now. Jen Psaki is here, the White House press secretary. Jen, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Great to be here, Don, with you tonight.

LEMON: So, let's talk about the president is standing in front of -- he chose to stand in front of a big bridge at a major road. Is that a message that this bill really is more about traditional infrastructure that he is prepared to spend off what Senator Joe Manchin calls human infrastructure to get this done?

PSAKI: Well, it's certainly a reminder, Don, as you know you've probably driven by the bridge that he stood in front of today as a native of Louisiana. That it's not -- it's not a Democratic idea to repair bridges or roads. It's also not a Democratic idea to ensure that we are give -- we are supporting caregivers.

It's not a Democratic idea to replace 100 percent of the lead pipes in our country to ensure that kids have safe drinking water, and all of these things create jobs. And what this bill is it's a jobs bill. That's what we are trying to sell here.

As you touched on just a few moments ago, the real disagreement here is about how you pay for it, and of course, the bigger the package, the more that you have to pay for. The president is proposing ways to pay for it. But that's really where a lot of the disagreement is on this.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about that because he says that he's open to a corporate tax rate between 25 and 28 percent to pay for his plan. It's currently at 21 percent. Mitch McConnell is saying that no to raising taxes. He wants a top line package of $600 billion dollars. That's pretty far apart. You guys are far apart. And given his recent comments about being 100 percent focused on stopping your agenda. Why is there any reason, Jen, to believe that they are going to act in good faith?

PSAKI: Well, the president is an optimist. He also believes that the American people elected him to work with people from both parties. Democrats, Republicans, people of all flavors in the parties, too. Moderates, progressives, and different wings.


LEMON: But Jen, is he a realist?

PSAKI: And you know, it's important for people to --

LEMON: Because he worked in the Obama administration. Mitch McConnell said the same thing during the Obama administration.


LEMON: Republicans didn't work with him then. Joe Biden was the vice president then. He's now the president. But I know he's an optimist but is he a realist? We are even more divided than then when he was vice president.

PSAKI: Well here's what we know, Don. Senator Capito put forward a counter proposal and he's invited her to come to the White House and bring a group of Republicans of her choosing. We expect that to happen next week. And we'll see where that goes.

LEMON: OK. So, a similar question. A similar question here but something on top of it. He and the V.P., V.P. Harris, they insist that we can see bipartisanship. I mean, she maybe would know better, she was in the Senate more recently than the president. But you know, we all understand the Biden campaign on this. But when the GOP says that they are 100 percent again focused on opposing you and they're purging members.

And this is the thing on top of it. Purging members for telling the truth about the election and about other things, is that living in reality?

PSAKI: Well, first of all, Don, I don't know that he's speaking, Senator McConnell speaking for every member. Certainly, not speaking for Republicans in this country but I'm not sure he is even speaking for every Republican who is elected and is here serving in Congress.

And at the end of the day the Republican Party clearly has a lot of, you know, self-examination to do.


PSAKI: They are spending a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to figuring out who they are and what they stand for. There is no question about that. But what the president is trying to do is extend an open arm and say, look, I want to put people back to work. I want to fix and make sure kids don't have led in their drinking water, and by the way, we can out people back to work doing that.

LEMON: So, listen, President Biden is now weighing in on what's happening in the GOP. He says, quote, "I don't understand the Republicans." That they are going through a -- and this is his -- these are his words -- "a mini revolution."

And he has said I have no idea again, this is another quote, "I have no idea whether there will be a Republican Party in 2024." I have said that the GOP doesn't have to respond to the Biden presidency, right? Because he just keeps blinders on and he just keep going without even, you know, listening to the noise. But I wonder, does the president know how to respond to the current state of the GOP?

PSAKI: Well, look, his view is that the best thing that he can do as president is to ignore some of the noise that's out there. And clearly, there are some interparty, there needs to be a big Thanksgiving dinner table discussion for the Republican Party. That's their work to do. Right?

His work, he's going to keep communicating with the public about what he's doing to get the pandemic under control. How he's going to put people back to work. What he's going to do about the climate crisis. How he's going to ensure our kids are protected.


You know, his view is that if he focuses on talking about the things that people care about and making progress on them, most importantly, then he's moving beyond Washington. It's not about one zip code.

There are Republicans in this country who want bridges that work, who want their kids to have good schools. You know, who want their grandparents to be protected from the pandemic. And he's not going to make this those political issues. He's going to make those issues that, you know, he needs to do as commander-in-chief and president to govern for all of the American people and his hope is that there will be a response to that.

LEMON: Does he think that Liz Cheney should stay in leadership?

PSAKI: Does he think --


LEMON: Does he think she should stay?

PSAKI: -- you know, blissfully, we're going to leave -- well, we'll leave that blissfully to the Republicans in Congress to determine. But what he was speaking to is the fact that it is hard to understand what's going on in the Republican Party in Washington right now.


PSAKI: I don't think he's the only one who thinks that, Don, right? And there are a lot they need to work out. But there's no question when you stand up and say that somebody was legitimately elected who was legitimately elected and every court in the nation has imported that, that should not be a outlier. That shouldn't be something that is hurting your chances in leadership.

He has his fair share of disagreements with Congresswoman Cheney, no question about it. But he also believes that we should be finding ways to move forward with civility and to work together where we can.

LEMON: Yes. That should just be a normal part of reality that someone who tells the truth should remain in their position.

Listen, Jen, you made some news --


HEGSETH: -- in an interview with my colleague David Axelrod. You told him your time with the White House is going to be brief. Am I characterizing this right? That you may leave in about a year. Why are you planning on leaving and why telegraph that now?

PSAKI: You know, this was something I've told colleagues and friends and in my discussions with the amazing people in the Biden orbit was part of the discussion early on. And a big part of it, Don, when I'm so honored to serve this president and at this moment in history be a part, a small part of rebuilding trust in government.

But I also have two little kids who are preschoolers. And I know a lot of moms who watch your show understand that. I don't want to miss a lot of moments. And I've also had the honor of serving not just this president, but a president in the past.

And I think at a certain point it's time to have other people serve in these jobs and rules. And have my -- this front seat to history. I'm hopeful that part of what I can do in this job is to help build that up and help give people opportunity and lift up some new voices and faces. LEMON: Listen, I know my mom listens every night and she won't mind

that I'm saying this. But my mom will tell us that her only regret in life, she was a business woman, her only regret is that she didn't spend more time with us when we were younger. And I think that many moms who don't do what you're doing --


LEMON: -- have that regret. So, I commend you. I commend you for that, Jen. Jen, I want to get your view on what Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying about Liz Cheney's potential replacement, Representative Elise Stefanik? Here it is.


UNKNOWN: Any comment on Elise Stefanik?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): That's really up to them. Maybe she is more, shall we say, compliant. I don't -- it's not my business. I don't really know her.


LEMON: Representative Stefanik is accusing the house speaker of a sixth -- of a sick sexist smear. Is it?

PSAKI: Look, I would say, watching Speaker Pelosi for some time, I don't think that she has a sexist bone in her body. But I will just say we are going to leave the decisions about the future of the Republican leadership up to Republicans in Congress, which I am blissfully not a member of that caucus or any caucus.

And you know, I think knowing Speaker Pelosi is, you know, she is a person who speaks up for defense, women who work for her, women in Congress, women around the country. And that's the core of who she is.

LEMON: Jen Psaki, always a pleasure. Thank you.

PSAKI: Thank you. Great talking to you.

LEMON: They have lost track of the truth and they don't seem to care. Lies, loyalty, and the GOP, next.



LEMON: Republicans trying to rally support behind Congresswoman Elise Stefanik so replace Liz Cheney as the number three House Republican. Some conservatives raising concerns Stefanik isn't conservative enough, but because she's a Trump loyalist and Cheney isn't, even skeptics say she's preferable to Cheney. Sources telling CNN a vote on Stefanik's leadership role is on track for next Wednesday.

Let's discuss now. CNN political commentators Amanda Carpenter and Ana Navarro. I've got the best tonight. Good evening to both of you. Thank you so much.

Amanda, you first. So, Cheney's fate is sealed and the party leadership. It's all but sealed, I should say. Our Jamie Gangel spoke with a source who says that the GOP is probably not much interested in democracy any longer. So, if that is the case, Amanda, what happens to the rest of the people who are still interested in democracy?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The January 6th commission. Liz Cheney is going to be ousted from Republican leadership because she wouldn't go along with the big lie. That's what leadership wants to do. And so, the price for that is that Liz Cheney is going to be cut loose, and she should be free to work with the Democrats to finally get the January 6th commission going.

This can be done. There are enough Cheney aligned Republicans who can help the Democrats pass this in both Houses, stuff it into a reconciliation bill, so you only 50 votes, get that to Biden's desk. He will sign it.

And if you write it in a way that Liz Cheney propose in her op-ed, so that it is not (Inaudible) by members of Congress, you point it, you make it bipartisan with competent, responsible Republicans who are interested in the democracy project.


And then a year from now we can have a record with bipartisan -- bipartisan consensus about the events that led to the January 6th riots, what the president knew, when he knew it, what Kevin McCarthy knew, when he knew it, and we will have a clear set of facts to go from.

I know a lot of Republicans to these states going along with the stolen election won't believe it, but it will be important and enough Republicans may be able to look at that and say you know what? We can't go back to Trump.

LEMON: You think -- you think this is going to happen, Amanda?

CARPENTER: I think it can happen.

LEMON: It can happen.

CARPENTER: I see no reason why it shouldn't happen. I see no reason why it can't happen.

LEMON: Ana, this is Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. This is what she told Steve Bannon today. Here it is.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): My vision is to run with support from the president and his coalition of voters. I'm committed to being a voice and being a clear -- sending a clear message they are we are one team, and that means working with the president and working with all of our excellent Republican members of Congress. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, so I thought she was saying she's going to work with Joe Biden, but she's not because when she said the president she's talking about Trump when the current president is Joe Biden, who is saying that he wants to work with the GOP.

You just heard my interview with Jen Psaki. Is there any reason for the White House to keep trying this?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, because they campaigned on that, because they campaigned on bipartisanship, and because I think it's part of Joe Biden's nature to try to reach across the aisle and get something done. So, he's going to keep on trying because it is who Joe Biden genuinely is.

Now let's talk about who Elise Stefanik genuinely is. The answer is, we don't know. This is one woman who worked in the George W. Bush White House who came to Congresses as a Paul Ryan Republican who is far more liberal than Liz Cheney or Amanda Carpenter for that matter, and who now is campaigning, you know.

And instead of saying we're going speak with one clear voice as part of one team, she should say as part of one cult, one cult to the personality of Trump.

Look, I think Liz Cheney's Washington Post piece op-ed today was really poignant, powerful. People should read it. I'll retweet it at the end of the segment. When she warns that history is watching, children are watching. Understand, this is not about right or left. This is about right or wrong. This is about truth or Trump. This is about convictions or conspiracies.

And I'm going to tell you something that I just want to get off my chest that I'm so disgusted by, so disgusted by. There's two women lending themselves to this political witch-hunt against Liz Cheney. One is Virginia fox of North Carolina, a Republican who has been chosen by leadership to introduce the motion to remove Cheney, and the other one is Elise Stefanik. Surely, they realize they are window dressing as women, that they are being used as women because they are backstabbing another woman. Because it's revenge --


LEMON: But they have agency -- Ana.

NAVARRO: -- to a point switch file at this another woman.

LEMON: OK, but they are grown women. They're adults. They have agency. They must see something in it for them.

NAVARRO: Of course. Well, it's political ambitious. It's blind political ambition at the cost of principles, at the cost of conviction, at the cost of truth, at the cost of democracy. It is fear. And listen -- look, the reason Liz Cheney's being removed is not because she is telling the truth. The reason Liz Cheney is being remove is because she is embarrassing

and humiliating all those cowards and lemmings who refuse to acknowledge the fact that Donald Trump lost the election and helped lead an insurrection that breached the capitol on January 6th, and they don't take responsibility of that.

They are embarrassed by the fact that Liz Cheney reveals to them to be what they are, a bunch of eunuchs on their knees, you know, worshipping at the altar of Donald Trump.

LEMON: We're going leave it at that. Thank you. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

CARPENTER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: A late night debate in Texas where Republicans are trying to pass another bill that will make it harder to vote. Houston's mayor calls it downright wrong, and guess what, he's going to join me live, next.



LEMON: At this hour, Texas lawmakers are debating controversial bills that will make it harder for people to vote. The changes include making it a felony to send an unsolicited ballot application, requiring people to disclose why they're assisting a voter and expanding the power of partisan poll watchers.

Let's discuss now. Democratic Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner joins us. Good evening, sir. Good to see you. Thanks for joining.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D-TX), HOUSTON: Thanks. Good evening, Don. Good to be with you again.

LEMON: So, Mayor, Republicans say that these laws will increase election security. Democrats say that they will make it harder for minorities to vote. I mean, this will directly impact your city.

TURNER: It will directly impact this city and the voters in this city, quite frankly, the voters in this state. When you're reducing the early voting hours, when you are restricting drive-through voting, which was highly successful, 24-hour voting, when you are allowing people to video record people inside the polling area while they are voting, those things, those measures were intended to intimidate.


And the primary focus, Don, is to restrict, suppress, and intimidate voters of color. And the bill is primarily targeted to your large urban centers. It's not impacting, for example, people in suburban or rural Texas. It's primarily directed at your large urban centers.

LEMON: This is what you say. You say that voter suppression is not a bipartisan issue. Explain how these bills impact everyone. TURNER: Well, it's one thing -- you know, if this is just about

Democrats and Republicans, I understand that. That's truly partisan. But voting is fundamental. It impacts everyone, for example, in the city of Houston should, as eligible should be, allowed to vote. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat, Black, Hispanic, Asian, members of the LGBT community, the disabled community. Voting is fundamental.


TURNER: And we are ought to make it possible so everyone, regardless of their identifications, they should be able -- they should be able to vote. But in this particular case, these bills are primarily aimed to restrict, not to expand, but to restrict people's access to the polling -- to the polling booth.

So, for example, the mayors should send bill seven that they are voting tonight in the Texas legislature in Austin would restrict the number of voting locations and the number of voting machines primarily in the urban cities and in the urban county counties.

When you allow people inside the partisan poll watchers to be inside video-recording people while they're in the process of voting, that's intending -- intended to intimidate, and when you're eliminating your drive-through voting and your 24-hour voting which are primarily used in the last election by people of color, people who were working late at night getting off at midnight or one or two o'clock in the morning -- over 50 percent of those people who voted through the 24-hour voting or drive through voting where it happened to be people of color.

When you eliminate that, eliminate drop boxes or significantly reduce them in urban centers you are intentionally trying to create long lines and make it even more difficult. And that -- that -- and so that's not partisan, Don. That's just downright wrong.

So, I don't care whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, you ought to be - you ought to be supportive of people exercising their fundamental right that we all have --

LEMON: Right.

TURNER: -- and when people are intimidating or suppressing, I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat, --

LEMON: It's just wrong.

TURNER: -- you should be against it.

LEMON: You should be against it and stand up -- stand up against it.

TURNER: Absolutely.

LEMON: So, Mayor Turner, businesses including Texas -- in Texas, excuse me, including giants like H.P., Microsoft, American Airlines, they have been speaking out against these bills. TURNER: Yes.

LEMON: But Republicans in your state, they don't seem to care. They don't care. Why is that?

TURNER: Well, I think they're making a calculated decision that they can force this bill through, and then four month or six mon later when they're running for office or next year, that time will be their best friend. And I think they are counting on the fact that maybe, in the past, people have not stepped up forcefully and said no, and they are counting on this believe that many people will feel that these bills are just partisan. It's just everybody does it, whoever's in power does it.

And so, they are hoping that people will simply months from now say, OK, it happened, and it's OK. That's the calculation that they are -- that they are making. And I'm hoping that the calculation that they are making will be wrong, and it needs to be wrong. Because the reality is, when people are able to bully their way and suppress the rights of one group, they don't stop there. It will be the next group and the next group and the next group.

LEMON: Right on. Yes.

TURNER: So, you have to stop it where it is. Otherwise this type of behavior doesn't stop. But you are giving people the permission to do it again and again and again.

LEMON: Well, that's going to be up to the voters to have to fight against that, and perhaps this will motivate voters who are against these sorts of things. We'll see. We'll continue the conversation. Thank you, Mayor. I appreciate you joining us.

TURNER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

TURNER: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Lawyers for a capitol rioter have a new type of defense for their client. Take this. They're claiming Foxitis. That's next.



LEMON: Take this. An insurrectionist arguing in court that too much Fox News propaganda is to blame for his behavior at the capitol on January 6th. A lawyer for the alleged rioter Anthony Antonio, lawyers say that he watched Fox News for six months straight leading up to the insurrection. They say Antonio developed Foxitis and Foxmania.

Well, that sounds serious. Is there a doctor in the house? The lawyer told the court that Antonio believed the lies about the 2020 that were quote, " fed to him by Fox News, and the former president." Antonio facing several charges from his actions that day, including violent entry, obstruction of law enforcement, and destruction of government property.


The prosecutors allege Antonio yelled at officers. You want war? We got war. Seventeen seventy-six all over again. As the assault on the capitol went on, prosecutors say he was in a group of people pushing against officers in a tunnel. He then broke into the building through a smashed window.

Fox News made him do all that? The defense all the more confounding when you compare it to what Fox News said when they are in court. The propaganda network has argued themselves that what's said on air should not be taken as fact. A judge even finding that excuse credible in a defamation suit against host Tucker Carlson. A U.S. district judge agreeing that Fox News is not real, truthful news.

The judge saying this and I quote. "The general tenor of Carlson's show should inform a viewer that he is not stating actual facts about the topics he discusses, and instead is engaging in exaggeration and non-literal commentary."

Adding, "given Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism about the statements he makes." How about in this case, I let you be the judge to who has the better argument? We report, you decide. Boy. I crack myself up.

They're probably not much interested in democracy any longer. That's what a source is telling CNN about the GOP. Stay with us.