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Don Lemon Tonight

Republicans Blocks The Debate On Voting Rights; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Senator Chuck Schumer Called Out GOP's New Platform; John Kasich Wants Joe Manchin's Bill To Pass; Eric Adams On Top Of Rank Choice For NYC Mayoral Primary; Donald Trump Went After Late Night Hosts. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): The big show, "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its star D. Lemon right now.


CUOMO: Man, I'll tell you what, every once in a while, you got to wonder whether or not this is worth it and then somebody like this kid, --


CUOMO: -- night bird comes into your life and you get the opportunity to give her this platform, so that people can hear her saying, and here where her song is coming from, and what she is dealing with --


CUOMO: -- that the rest of us can hold a candle to and yet her attitude is exactly what we all need. And then, it's suddenly worth it.

LEMON: Yes, well listen, she's very talented, no doubt and she is an inspiration, very inspiring. But we each have our talents, you have your calling, you have your talent and you are very good at it, so don't discount what you do, don't underestimate what you do.

CUOMO: I know night bird. I'll tell you that right now, she made me cry.


LEMON: Well, because you can't sing, you make people cry a lot.

CUOMO: I can sing, I can make people cry too, I'd like to make you cry.

LEMON: Listen, I'll tell you. I want to talk about something else.


LEMON: And listen, and congratulations to her and I love having her on. But we are having a very important election in New York City right now and a lot of it has to do, the biggest issues what you talk about your show and that's crime. When you talked about with Harry, it's crime and that's what people are going to vote on, that's the number one issue. Everything else comes second.

The murder rate it is up across -- across the country and in the city, but interesting all the other things that people talk about and try to make it an issue out, those are down from two years ago. And that's the good news with that, but the murder rate, look, you cannot bring a life back.

CUOMO: Shooting.

LEMON: You can bring the economy back, you can bring the real estate market back, you can bring retail back, you can do -- I would never ever bed against New York City as I've been saying, but you can't bring back a life and that's what people are going to vote on. That's what they're voting on today.


CUOMO: Well, look, obviously, to those who have fallen in the New York, -- mayor, I know that you have your own lives --


LEMON: But there's consequences around the country.


LEMON: It's the barometer of what's going on.

CUOMO: You know, the most interesting thing is because it's rank choice voting, unless there is a huge, you know, 10, 15 point spread between number one.

LEMON: Can I show, we've got a graphic, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes, go ahead, because other than that we're not going to know until July.

LEMON: They are just coming in now. And this is rank choice. We'll explain but there you go, there it is, Chris, sorry. Go on.

CUOMO: Yes. So, right now, I mean, it's a -- so they close the polls so they are going to be counting and it's pretty efficient, municipality in terms of how they do it to the boroughs. But he probably won't wind up with anything like 10 points, and if he doesn't then this is going to be interesting.

He's a former COP, Eric Adams, and he's going to go tough on your crime in New York City and New York state, yes, my brother is the governor of New York. They have legal obstacles to bringing down the crime.


CUOMO: Shootings are the problem, and people not being put in jail and staying in jail for shootings.


CUOMO: And part of that is law, not just everything else.

LEMON: I have the former police commissioner Bill Bratton on the -- on Friday and he says that all of these reforms and the rhetoric that's -- and he's a police commissioner crime is down under him, think about that whatever you want. He said that all of the rhetoric about defunding the police, he says that's affected crime.

Also, the reforms, especially bail reform and so on that is just moving too fast. They're trying to do too much at one time and quite frankly, these are his words, people need to realize that some people need to be in jail, when it comes to bail reform. And many of the people that they're picking up, the people who are committing these crimes are people who have been let out, people who are out on parole who have been let out on --


CUOMO: They're out on bail.

LEMON: -- out on bail, I should say. They find that they are the ones who are committing -- many of them are the ones who are committing these crimes. But by the way, let me put this up just so I have it and then I'll let you go and finish.

First, this is the first choice because we have rank choice voting here. The first choice for people who had voted early or the people who have voted in person it could be weeks before we find out.


CUOMO: Yes, it's going to be weeks.

LEMON: Who gets above -- who gets above 50 percent here. So --

CUOMO: Nobody.

LEMON: I would like to say Eric Adams won't get above 50 percent. Let's just say it won't happen and then the next round, the people who made, whoever the second choice was, and until they get, someone gets above 50 percent it won't be decided.

That's why we have a rank choice voting. But certainly New York City a barometer of what's happening across the country, people are voting on the crime issue right now in this city. That's the number one thing, the number one -- it's at the top of their list when it comes to what issues they're voting on.


CUOMO: Yes. Well, look, and I think there's a real reason for that. I mean, I heard someone giving their opinion about it earlier who's a former New York politician and they were saying, you know the younger generation they don't know how bad it used to be so their little shook by this.

I dismiss that. Hearing about shootings and seeing people run out of stores with bags knowing that they're not going to get arrested is going to shake everybody --


CUOMO: -- in that community. I think that city, my city is heading for some tough sledding for some time to come unless there is serious structural reform to how the system operates and it is not cops. It's not that cops aren't doing their jobs, OK? They're arresting people. It's how those arrests are being treated in, that's the problem.

LEMON: Yes. I got a lot to talk about, this is one issue that we'll be discussing and a lot of other issues. Thank you, sir. I shall see you --


CUOMO: D. Lemon, I love you like night bird says, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK.

LEMON: Can we tell people we did for Juneteenth?


LEMON: I said to Chris as we were on the dance floor, I said remember that I danced with you on Juneteenth. I thought that was funny, I thought you would laugh, you didn't.

CUOMO: I thought it was beautiful. I love being with you, I love that even more --


LEMON: Our entire families were together and friends. And we were enjoying ourselves, we're out and we were celebrating and you know, it was Juneteenth and I said, hey, look, it's Juneteenth and we're all dancing. A diverse group of people, it was beautiful. I thought it was beautiful.

CUOMO: It's all good brother, I love you, D. Lemon. Make your witness.

LEMON: I love you too, sir. I'll see you later.


So, let's talk about the politics in Washington because they couldn't even agree to debate. That's how -- if you can't even agree to have a debate, come on, guys? They couldn't even find 10 Republicans who are willing to stand up and make their case.

Every single Republican in the Senate filibustering to block debate on the For the People Act, just like they blocked debate on the January 6 commission to investigate the insurrection at the capitol.

Democrats failing to advance their sweeping voting rights bill, while states all across the country passing restrictive laws in an assault on the heart of our democracy. Laws that are all about making it harder for black and brown people, many of whom will vote for Democrats to cast their ballots. The Vice President Kamala Harris saying this right after the vote.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The bottom line is that the president and I are very clear, we support as one, we support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the fight is not over.


LEMON (on camera): So, now what? Now what? The way forward, what is that? The John Lewis Voting Rights Act named after the late civil rights icon and Democratic congressman, expected to come to the Senate floor later this year.

What will he say, what would he have said about what happened tonight? What do you think? Now you can question whether the president did enough, but it's not as if he hasn't been sounding the alarm. He said it just last week on his first overseas trip as president.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I've never seen including during since the Civil War such an outward assault on voting rights. I mean, just a flat assault. I didn't anticipate that happening four years ago, but it's happening now.


LEMON (on camera): So, he called the assault on voting rights in state after state, his word, despicable and said Republican voters think so too.


BIDEN: The Republican voters I know find these despicable Republican voters. The folks out outside this White House, I'm not talking about the elected officials, I'm talking about voters, voters.


LEMON (on camera): And then there is the former President Barack Obama just yesterday, he called Republicans' refusal to allow debate on voting rights, not acceptable.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Think about this in the aftermath of an insurrection, with our democracy on the line, and many of the same Republican senators going along with the notion that somehow there were irregularities and problems with legitimacy in our most recent election. They are suddenly afraid to even talk about these issues and figure out solutions on the floor of the Senate. They don't even want to talk about voting. And that is not acceptable.


LEMON (on camera): Yet here we are, a divided Senate can't even muster the 60 votes needed to allow debate on protecting one of our most precious right as Americans and that is the right to vote, and that brings us to the battle of the filibuster. Because let's face it. Republicans had no reason to negotiate since they knew, we all knew Democrats didn't have the 60 votes that they needed.


Senator Krysten Sinema, who along with Senator Joe Manchin, a diehard defender the filibuster writing on a Washington Post op-ed it quote, "compels moderation." More likely compels minority rule.

The filibuster allows to determine minority like Republicans, whose leader said that he is 100 percent focused on stopping President Joe Biden's agenda, the filibuster allows them to do just that.

And it's been going on for decades. We play this for you a couple weeks ago. And I want to play it for you again because I think it is relevant you need to hear it as often as possible. This is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., back in 1963.


MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., AMERICAN MINISTER: I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with the Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from voting, they won't let the majority of senators vote, and certainly they would want the majority of people to vote because they know they do not represent the majority of the American people.


LEMON (on camera): So, the filibuster has been used again and again to kill civil rights in voting legislation. Former President Barack Obama speaking at the funeral of John Lewis, calling it a relic of Jim Crow.


OBAMA: And if all this take is eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that's what we should do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): The filibuster, Manchin and Sinema are determined

to defend wasn't created to bring opposing parties together to create some sort of kumbaya bipartisanship, we saw that today. It is a long disgraceful history of being abused to block civil rights and voting rights bills.

Facts first here. It used to preserve slavery in the 1840s before it was even called a filibuster. Used to defeat an anti-lynching bill in the 1920s. In 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond took to the floor to filibuster the Civil Rights Act. Speaking for a record 24 hours and 18 minutes.

In 1960, for the longest filibuster in Senate history, 60 days, almost derailed that landmark Civil Rights Act. Nineteen eighty-three, Senator Jesse Helms finally dropped his filibuster attempting to block the bill declaring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday.

Is a filibuster really worth more than voting rights for millions of Americans? That as Mitch McConnell today makes a breathtaking statement that there is nothing broken about the country, and the system worked on January 6th. I can't believe that he said that, but here it is.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: There's nothing broken around the country, the system upheld very well during intense stress, in the latter part of the previous Congress. There is no rational basis for federalizing this election. Therefore, there's no point in having an election in the U.S. -- a debate in the U.S. Senate about something we ought not to do.


LEMON (on camera): OK. I want you to think about this. Nothing is broken. OK. So, if nothing is broken, then why do you need -- then why do you need to pass all these bills to restrict the right to vote if nothing is broken? then what needs fixing in your estimation?

Fourteen states have already passed at least 22 new laws restricting voting. And there are more in the works. Why the false claims of nonexistent election fraud then? Why the big lie? If nothing is broken. And while Mitch McConnell is saying nothing is broken, the previous guy is out there trying to break it again.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If the election was fraudulent, people are going to have to make up their own minds. It's not going to be up to me, it's going to be up to the public. It's going to be up to, perhaps, politicians. I don't think there's ever been a case like this where hundreds of thousands of votes will be found. So, we'll have to see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): OK. We'll have to see what happens. I think we've

already seen what happens when a disgraced, twice impeached, one-term former president pushes the big lie. You know, the big lie that spawned the insurrection at the capital when bloodthirsty Trump supporting rioters beat police within an inch of their lives and stormed the halls of Congress, hunting for lawmakers. The former President, again, Barack Obama warned about that last night.


OBAMA: The violence that occurred in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th just a few months ago should remind us we can't take our democracy for granted.


Around the world, we've seen once vibrant democracies go into reverse, locking in power for a small group of powerful autocrats, business interests and locking out of the political process, dissidents, protesters, opposition parties and the voices of ordinary people.

It is happening in other places around the world and these impulses have crept into the United States. We are not immune from some of these efforts to weaken our democracy.


LEMON (on camera): So, with all of that, I just want to fill you in on something that is going on over at the Fox propaganda network. I don't usually respond to these things. I don't like to punch down and I'd rather focus on issues on the show that are important to you other than someone taking hot shots at me.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: No, he does not live in section eight housing. He lives in one of the whitest towns in America, in fact, 80 percent.


LEMON (on camera): Section eight housing. Let me simply just say this. If you think that a Black person who doesn't live in public housing can experience or understand racism in this country, well, that just says much more about you and your ignorance on these issues than it does about me.

So, what do voting rights really mean, and what will it take to protect them? I'm going to talk with the House majority whip James Clyburn as the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reacts to tonight's vote.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Once again, Senate Republicans have signed their names in the ledger of history along Donald -- alongside Donald Trump the big lie and voter suppression to their enduring disgrace.




LEMON (on camera): Every single Republican senator blocking debate tonight on Democrats sweeping voting rights bill. It comes as sources tells CNN that the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will appoint a select committee to investigate January 6th after Republicans also blocked a bipartisan commission.

So, joining me now Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. He is the House majority whip.

Majority whip Clyburn, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us.

The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling colleagues that she's going to name a select committee to investigate the capitol insurrection. That was an attack on our democracy and this news came out just moments after Republicans blocked the voting rights bill. Do you see all these things as connected?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, they could very well be. But thank you so much for having me this evening.

I would hope that the speaker will move forward with doing this because the people that I talk to want to see us do something about what happened on January 6th. The real patriots in this country want this democracy to continue its pursuit of a more perfect union and we cannot do that unless we get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th and who was behind it and who funded it.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and why Republicans don't want to get the answers, I don't know. But I think Nancy Pelosi is going to do what's necessary to find out.

LEMON: You know, Democrats secured Joe Manchin's vote but Republicans were still able to sink the sweeping election reform bill, thanks to the filibuster. So where does the battle to protect voting rights go next, Congressman?

CLYBURN: Well, I think we continue as you know, Senator Manchin put forth some principles that he thought should go into a bill. He has made it known that he has a problem some of what's in S1 now, we also have the John Lewis Voting Rights in Advancement Act that we plan to get to the Senate very soon.

We have a lot of avenues still open to us. So just because we have not moved forward on this does not mean we cannot get something akin to what Joe Manchin has put forward. Stacy Abrams has already expressed support for it. I said at the time that I thought it was a great step in the right direction. So just one step. That's other things that we could do to help improve this proposal and might be acceptable to a lot of people. LEMON: You know, so much, Congressman, so much of the legislation

aimed at restricting voting rights pushed by Republicans at the state level will disproportionately target black and brown people. It's going to disproportionately affect black and brown people. So, explain what the Senate Republicans just did when it comes to voters of color.

CLYBURN: Well, what they just did was say we want these legislatures down in Georgia, Florida, Texas. These legislatures where the Republicans are putting forth a bill to restrict, to suppress, to even overturn elections. We want that to be the law of the land.

And I want to say here for your audience tonight that article 1, section 4 of the United States Constitution makes it very clear that states do not have the authority to determine federal elections that rests with the Congress and that's why they have never been able -- remember states came out with term limits and they even came out and said there was a term limit to people in Congress, the court said you can't do that. And so, this thing of saying that we want to take over the state of the elections, no. We don't want states taken over federal elections and that's what this is all about.

LEMON: Yes. You know, you have previously called out Senators Manchin and Sinema over the filibuster back in March. You told The Guardian and I quote here.


"There is no way under the sun that in 2021 that we are going to allow the filibuster to be used to deny voting rights. That just isn't going to happen. That would be catastrophic. If Manchin and Sinema enjoyed being in the majority they had better figure out a way to get around the filibuster when it comes to voting in civil rights."

Well, the filibuster was used now. Do you see any scenario where changes are made especially on an issue as fundamental, Congressman, as important as voting rights?

CLYBURN: Yes, I do. And I think it's very clear we've done it for the budget. We have something we call reconciliation. We still got the filibuster but we can still do it better to keep the full faith and credit of the United States government intact. You can do the same thing for constitutional rights and voting is one of those constitutional rights.

So yes, I see a way for this to get done and for the filibuster to stay valuable when it comes to things like legislation. Do you want to build a wall? How high the wall should be? How long the wall should be. Those are legislative questions that's got nothing to do with the Constitution so let the filibuster apply.

But when it comes to constitutional issues like voting, the filibuster ought not apply. In fact, the word reconciliation is more apt to be used for constitutional issues than the budget.

LEMON: I just want to get to something that you wrote just last week and here is what you said. The Senate is fiddling away precious time as our democracy burns. That's what it's all about, right? I mean, it's all about protecting our democracy.


CLYBURN: That's exactly what it's about. Yes, sir.

LEMON: That's the larger issue at risk.

CLYBURN: That's exactly what's at risk. And I think that more and more people are speaking to that because if we do that and get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, if we do not do what is necessary to maintain people's right to have an unfettered vote, if we do not get people back on their feet because of where they are as a result of this pandemic, if we do not do these things, we are doing nothing but fiddling around and that is for polite company.

LEMON: Yes. Congressman Clyburn, thank you, sir. I appreciate your time.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

LEMON: Results coming out for the New York City mayoral primary race and CNN projects the winner will be determined using rank choice voting tabulations. That's the list right there. You see Eric Adams is Brooklyn -- former Brooklyn borough president and now he is on top. Maya Wiley number two. Kathryn Garcia number three, and then Andrew Yang of course number four. Andrew Yang running for president -- he had ran for president, non-successful bid for president.

But anyway, it's going to be used rank choice voting. That's right now, that's what the numbers show. But again, there is another round and whoever gets to 50 percent or above at least above 50 percent, that will -- the winner will be determined and it may not be until July or so until we actually figure out who it is. So more ahead on that.

Plus, Republicans showing their true colors blocking the voting rights bill and it doesn't look like those colors are changing any time soon. So, what comes next? Well, I tell you what comes next on this program. John Kasich. That's who. After the break.



LEMON (on camera): So tonight, Republicans killing the voting rights bill in a 50/50 party line vote in the Senate.

Joining me now to discuss CNN senior commentator and former Republican governor of Ohio, Mr. John Kasich. John, good evening. Thanks for joining.

Let's get into this so we can talk about it.


LEMON: Because you know you and I both like to run our mouths and then we don't get to everything. So not a single Republican vote. Not even to debate. Even though the bill included voter I.D. and other things the GOP wants isn't clear that the Republicans want -- I should be clear I should say, excuse me, that the Republicans want no part of it.

KASICH: There was no voter I.D. in that bill, Don. The Manchin bill has a voter I.D. And we've got to see whether the Manchin bill will come. The Manchin bill is very reasonable. It says, you know, a little bit of early voting you have to have voter I.D., you declare the election day a national holiday. If the Democrats were smart, they would put that on the floor.

That bill, that Manchin bill you've heard Mr. Clyburn speak favorably about it. Stacey Abrams has spoken fairly about it, and I think it's very, very difficult for that bill to go down on that kind of a party line vote because I think it's far more reasonable than H.R. 1 and it's something that will help solve the problem and is real efforted bipartisanship.

LEMON: But aren't Republicans not even -- they don't even want to consider the Manchin bill?

KASICH: I think that's totally wrong. And you know, when you take a look at what's happening in these states where they're trying to rollback. Look, it should be easy to vote without having fraud. OK? It should be made easy and these states now are engaged in making it more difficult.

So, I just completely disagree with Republicans that say that Manchin bill doesn't make sense. It makes total sense. It not a total federalizing of elections but what it does do is it set some guard rails. Guard rails about what ought to be into laws in terms of what states do to make it sure that people can vote and the voting is secure. So, I completely disagree with them when it comes to the Manchin bill.

LEMON: OK. Well, let's --


KASICH: They're wrong on it, in my opinion.

LEMON: All right. Let's talk about this voting secure and fraud and all that, but I just want to play something so that we can get to that conversation. And this is the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, this is what he said after the vote.



SCHUMER: Every single Senate Republican just voted against starting debates, starting debate on legislation to protect Americans' voting rights. Once again, the Senate Republican minority has launched a partisan blockade of oppressing issue here in the United States Senate. An issue no less fundamental than the right to vote. This vote I'm ashamed to say is further evidence that voter

suppression has become part of the official platform of the Republican Party.


LEMON (on camera): OK. So, he is saying voter suppression has become an official platform of the Republican Party. Mitch McConnell is actually saying that the system held, that it worked. And there wasn't an issue with the system. So, if there wasn't an issue with the system, if nothing was wrong, then why fix it? And do you agree with what Chuck Schumer said?

KASICH: No, I mean, Chuck is just using a lot of heated rhetoric there. But I don't -- I -- if everything was fine, then there was no reason for 12 or 13 or 14 Republican states to try to clamp down on the voting. And you know, we know what is going on in Arizona where they are doing this count, this recount, which is -- I mean, turned out to be a big fat joke and they're actually looking for bamboo to see if somehow the Chinese apparently were somehow involved in the ballots out there. It's ridiculous.

So, the fact is, that if everything is working, then there is no reason to turn around and start to restrict voting. One thing I will say, Don, is that when it comes to a crisis like we had with COVID, it's reasonable to go back and visit that, to make sure that the way that the voting happens is consistent with what the law is in the state and it's really kind of an update but at the same time, I would tell you I don't see the reason for them to try to clamp down.

And I've said it before, there are some Republicans that say if too many people vote, they won't win and that's because they haven't been developing an agenda that's broad enough to attract other people. But I guess what I'm saying to you is if everything is fine, then they shouldn't be clamping down --


LEMON: But isn't that what --

KASICH: -- in these Republican states.

LEMON: So tacitly, isn't that what all Republicans are saying since they all voted against this even get, you know, being -- there even being a debate about it? I think that they're all pretty much saying what you just said.


LEMON: You're saying some Republicans. I think all Republicans, at least lawmakers are saying that.

KASICH: Yes, well, here is what I would say. A filibuster is a filibuster. Now, back when Donald Trump was president in 2017, 31 Democrats signed a letter. A total of 61 United States senators signed a letter saying we should never get rid of the filibuster. The Democrats filibustered on police reform and didn't have a discussion on that.


LEMON: We're talking about filibuster, that's something else. I wasn't talking about the filibuster.

KASICH: No, no, no.

LEMON: yes, I got you. Go on.

KASICH: What I'm saying to you is -- no, what you're saying is they don't want to discuss it. That's what a filibuster is. They're filibustering that bill. And so, we have to talk about the filibuster because I think that there is a distortion here. Now people say legitimately we can have a legitimate debate whether you should have a filibuster, whether you shouldn't.

But you can't have 31 Democrats saying in 2017 we shouldn't get rid of the filibuster and now they turn around and say we have to get rid of the filibuster. I mean, what, you know what it is? It depends who is in power. Who is in power.

So, look, my view going forward is bring Manchin up. Bring the Manchin bill up and put it to the Republicans. It's a fair and it's a reasonable bill that is supported pretty broadly and that's what we ought to be focused on now. Guard rail.

LEMON: Let me ask you this, do you think anything has changed since 2017?

KASICH: In what regard? Yes, we don't have Donald Trump anymore.


LEMON: The Republican Party. I'm talking about the Republican Party.

KASICH: You mean, I don't know. Yes, I mean, I think they have gotten under the spell of Donald Trump, yes, and I'm very disappointed and been very strongly spoken out against that but that's not a reason to get rid of the filibuster.


LEMON: But whether that makes sense that Democrats might have a different approach because I've been saying it's a break glass moment --


LEMON: Hang on.


LEMON: Well, OK.

KASICH: Go ahead. LEMON: Especially if people are trying to restrict voting rights as

you and I both agree, you just said that it is and I think that's what is the fundamental right that we have as Americans to be able to choose our leaders. And if people are trying to restrict that, --


LEMON: -- if they're trying to also steal the election by putting legislators in place who can overturn elections in states and municipalities local elections and nationwide elections, wouldn't you think Democrats might have a different approach and say hey, listen, the only tool that we have in the drawer to save our democracy and the right for millions upon millions of people to be able to have access, unfettered access to the ballot box is to change this rule at least a carve out of this rule because this whole bipartisanship or arguing for the filibuster just for the sake of arguing for the filibuster is not going to help us preserve that.


KASICH: Don, if you get rid of the filibuster, then the Republicans win the Senate and then they turn everything back. It's the purpose of the filibuster is to bring people together. Read the op-ed piece that Democrat Senator Sinema wrote. She said the purpose of the filibuster --

LEMON: I read it --

KASICH: -- is not to block. The purpose of the filibuster is to bring about compromises.


LEMON: I got it.

KASICH: I agree with that.

LEMON: That's just her -- right. And it's an opinion. OK. You agree with it. But that's the whole point of an op-ed, it said it's someone's opinion. That doesn't mean that that's actually what it is --


LEMON: -- if you look at the history of the filibuster, which I gave at the top of the show, that's not what the filibuster has been used for. It has not -- it has in many ways been used to block civil rights legislation and keep rights from blacks in this country.

KASICH: Well, I don't agree with that. OK? But I will also tell you that police reform was absolutely critical. Sponsored by an African- American Republican senator and the Democrats filibustered it. And at a time, we had the streets on fire in this country, there is a legitimate police reform bill. They filibuster.

Give me another one. The COVID relief bill. The Democrats blocked the COVID relief bill. They filibustered it at a time when the country was in so much trouble because people were hurting because of the pandemic.

I don't agree with using the -- look. I'm not sure I would have supported what we were saying. I don't think the filibuster ought to be used to block civil rights. I think we ought to be passing civil rights laws. I think we ought to be passing Manchin. But I don't want to get rid of the filibuster because I don't know where that ultimately leads us, Don. It leads us down a path that allows either parties to be extreme and I don't support that.


KASICH: It sort of like what happens in the House.

LEMON: yes. There -- but could have been a carveout for that particular legislation.

KASICH: Carveout, we should have carved it out for police reform. I mean, there is a lot of things to carve it out for.


LEMON: Well, it depends --

KASICH: Look, your point of view is very legitimate.

LEMON: I understand. Police reform is something that people have been talking about. It is not part of the Constitution. Right? It is not part of the fundamental right to vote in this country. So, it's like you're comparing apples to oranges and I understand what you're saying.


LEMON: That people --


KASICH: Well, let me --

LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. And I know we're out of time.

KASICH: Yes. Go ahead. Yes.

LEMON: People politically use the filibuster to their advantage, both Democrats and Republicans. I understand what you're saying. But to compare voting rights to an issue that can be worked out in other ways, that doesn't destroy the fundamental right under the Constitution, it should be, I should say, under the Constitution for people, that's a whole -- that's as my mother would say, that's a horse of another color. It's not the same thing, John.

KASICH: But we have historically always believed that states should run elections and when states are abusive, you know what you can do? Vote the legislators out. Vote the governor out. (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You think states would be determining a national election like the presidential election so they'd be --


KASICH: They did the last time. That's --

LEMON: State legislators should be doing that?

KASICH: No, I don't think the state legislators. No. I think the system worked when Joe Biden was elected. It worked. OK? Do I think it needs to be improved from where it was? Yes, some updates.

And I also don't like what the Republicans are doing to restrict, which is why I support the Manchin bill. If we could pass the -- get the Manchin bill up there and put it to Republicans and let's just debate this and discuss it again. But I've enjoyed this discussion with you. I have. I really have.


LEMON: Look, I hope -- I just say -- I just have to say that especially --

KASICH: It's a very -- it's a tough thing.

LEMON: It's not that tough. But I mean, look, we're going to have to hash it out. But I'm speaking for people around this country who fought and died and whose ancestors fought and died for the right to vote. Some of them actually are still around.


LEMON: Right? Older folks. So that's it. I'm just trying to make sure that they're heard. I got to go. I'm in so much trouble because we went long as we usually do.

KASICH: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, John.

KASICH: And I agree -- I agree with that. I agree with that.

LEMON: Thank you.

KASICH: Thank you, Don. See you. Bye.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.



LEMON (on camera): Early results coming in tonight in New York City's mayoral primary race. That as CNN projects the winner will be determined using ranked -- ranked choice voting tabulation. You see those early results there up on your screen. Again, Eric Adams 30 points, 61 percent at this point. Maya Wiley, second, Kathryn Garcia, third, and then Andrew Yang coming in fourth place.

Again, this is for in-person and early voting only. So, no one has reached a threshold of 50 percent or above and so it's going to be a rank choice voting. We may not know for weeks. July sometime at the earliest.

So, let's talk about the rise in crime rates that's bringing new attention to this race but with new rank choice voting system, it could be weeks again as we said before we know the ultimate winner here.

So, I want to turn now to CNN senior political analyst John Avlon and CNN's Athena Jones who has been covering this race for us.

So, this race getting national attention. I've been saying both of you, good evening, Athena, that this is a barometer for what is happening and what's to come in the rest of the country. Talk to us about what we're seeing in these results, please.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, you know, it's interesting because Andrew Yang kind of burst on the scene when this race began in earnest a few months ago. A lot of it was campaigning in Zoom forums and over various questionnaires. But now in the recent months it's been in person but Andrew Yang benefitted very early on from name recognition.

This is someone that was a 2020 presidential candidate who lasted longer than some other more experienced real politicians in the race, and so he got a lot of the recognition and the attention early on.


It turns out at least in these very initial, very preliminary results, he is in fourth place. Several points behind, about nine points behind the third place, the person in third place right now which is Kathryn Garcia.

But it's very important to stress, you know, we're outside a polling place here on the upper west side and just now -- just now things are really wrapping up with poll workers here beginning to cart away, you know, ballots and paperwork.

So, this is very, very preliminary. The results that are coming in tonight that are coming out of being released by the Board of Elections of New York City, is not going to include absentee ballots. It's not even necessarily going to include all of the in-person votes from today.

The idea is that this is going to be a combination of early votes, in- person votes. These are some of the results we're beginning to see. But we're not going to see the first, I guess official you could call it release of the official results of the first round for another week, and even those results will not include all of the absentee ballots.


JONES: So that's why it's going to be quite a process. Bottom line here, though, as we kind of expected, Eric Adams, Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia are the three who are emerging as the top three right now.

LEMON: Yes. John, let's bring you in now because with COVID infection rates plummeting here, there is a surge though in violent crime in this city. That's become the key issue in the campaign, really. And Americans, as I said, this is the barometer of what's happening around the country. Americans all across the country are worried about this crime increase. This could play out in other races, as well.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST & ANCHOR: No question about it. I think in part that's what we're seeing. If you take a look at the top tier candidates, Don, you know, people look at New York City from a distance and they think it's a deeply Democratic city and it is seven to one Democrat registration advantage.

But that does not mean that the Democrats are all from the far left particularly in times when crime is rising. And so, you see Eric Adams former police officer campaigning on being tough on crime. Andrew Yang talking tough. Kathryn Garcia running really as someone who can manage the city getting some support from Republicans. And Maya Wiley is the sole candidate in the top tier for what would be considered the far left of the party getting AOC's endorsement. So

I think it shows a couple things. First of all, big cities are not stereotypically liberal as people think particularly when crime is rising. The moderate wing of the party is still very, very strong particularly this environment. That's -- and if you look at this with rank choice it's more likely that the votes from folks in the center of the party will go to each other than to the far left.

Final point, turnout is low. We don't know the final numbers yet but let's say it average, it gets to around 800,000, that's out of 3.7 million Democrats in a city of eight million. So, there is always a question about the representative sample. Rank choice to make it more representative. But this has a lot of messages nationally for Democrats who may feel their party is moving too far to the left because the electorate even in New York City is setting a different message.

LEMON: We'll keep a close eye. Thank you, John. Thank you, Athena. I appreciate it,

So, we know the previous president went to great lengths to punish his perceived political enemies but this is a whole another level. A new report says that he was so upset by SNL making fun of him that he wanted the DOJ to do something to stop it.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON (on camera): New reporting tonight on just how far the previous president was willing to go to use his office to settle scores. The Daily Beast reporting that in early 2019 President Trump wanted the Justice Department to get Saturday Night Live to stop making fun of him.

Two people familiar with the matter telling the Daily Beast that Trump asked advisors and lawyers in early 2019 what the FCC, the courts and the Justice Department can do to investigate or stop SNL and late- night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel who made Trump a frequent target of jokes like these.


UNKNOWN: Go away. What's that?

UNKNOWN: Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump.

UNKNOWN: You come to get me. I knew it. It the Muslim stuff, right?


UNKNOWN: It's for calling Mexicans rapists?


UNKNOWN: The Roy Moore stuff?


UNKNOWN: The (Inaudible).


UNKNOWN: The birther stuff?


UNKNOWN: Pocahontas?


UNKNOWN: I am not a crook. OK? Plus, I bet Nixon only got one scoop of ice cream for dessert but I get two scoops. Do you think I care about optics? Look at me. I sit on every chair like it's a toilet. OK?


LEMON (on camera): Well, tonight, in a statement, Trump is calling the reporting fake news but it fits the pattern that there was never any issue too small or too personal for Trump to misuse the power of the presidency over. Sad. We'll be right back.