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Don Lemon Tonight

Search And Rescue Continues In Condo Collapse, At Least Four Dead, 159 Unaccounted; Rain, Fire And Smoke Complicating Collapse Search And Rescue; DOJ Suing Georgia Over Voting Restrictions; Hero Officers Meet With House GOP Leader McCarthy, Fanone Asks Him To Denounce GOP Conspiracy Theories. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 25, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Of course, CNN is going to stay on this story. There is so much yet to learn. There's so much of the reality yet to be revealed. Thank you for watching our segment of the coverage. It is now time, of course, for "DON LEMON TONIGHT" and the star D. Lemon.

And I can tell you this in a situation of uncertainty. I got the privilege of walking that site. I saw the efforts myself. And there are a lot of people they're working very hard in very challenging circumstances. And they are all have one heart and sense of purpose. And the conditions are getting worse done.

This smoke is thicker, it's more accurate. They're advising that even we need to have masks on this far out. Imagine what it's like on the site, I showed the video on the show at the top of what they're dealing with. It's a two front fire that's burning inside the building. And underneath the ground of the collapse is very hard, the work is going to be slow.

But there is a tremendous sense of duty and hope with the people there and this community needs it there is so much pain and so many people putting their arms around one another as can only happen in crisis. And we're hoping that in the worst of situations, we see the best in the people here and there are some miracles to come.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The most important word you just said is hope because you and I have both been on scenes where people have been trapped. They have been beneath the rubble. Everyone said, you know, we don't know what's going to happen. They thought maybe they were lost and then they find lies beneath that rubble. So we're certainly holding out hope.

Chris, I've been watching your coverage and CNN's coverage throughout the day and you're doing a great job. We thank you for that. And we're going to continue on with the breaking news and other news of the day. So you be safe. And we will see you soon.

So this is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Thank you for joining us. There's another busy news night to tell you about a big news night. Multiple huge stories. We have a lot more this hour on the breaking news tonight as the search and rescue mission in Surfside continues. As you heard Chris say, there's a lot to deal with there.

You see that they're up against many obstacles. But again, we want to continue to hold out hope for the folks who may be beneath that rubble, and they are trying to save them. Rescuers still holding out hope of finding survivors.

Nearly 45 hours after the building suddenly collapsed in the middle of the night, while hundreds of people were sleeping. Four people are confirmed dead as of this hour, 159 still unaccounted for, though, we don't know for sure whether all of them were in the building at the time. So please keep that in mind. We have more live from the scene coming up.

And, you know, this is also the day people in this country and around the world were waiting to see, I've got to be honest, people were waiting for this day to see exactly what was going to happen. And that is the sentencing of ex-police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd. Chauvin sentenced to 22 and a half years. That is the longest sentence for an ex-police officer in the state of Minnesota, more than the guidelines call for but less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted


PETER CAHILL, JUDGE, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: The court committee to the custody the Commissioner of Corrections for a period of 270 months, that's 270. That is that 10-year addition to the presumptive sentence of 150 bonds. This is based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd.


LEMON: So I want to quote from the judge now in this case, Judge Peter Cahill writing in his sentencing order, again, the quote here is, here, Mr. Chauvin rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings, and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor. That's the quote from the judge.

The President of United States, Joe Biden saying this.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know all the circumstances that were considered, but it seems to me under guidelines that seemed to be appropriate.


LEMON: So let us remember exactly what happened on May 25th, 2020. As if any of us could ever forget really. Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck for an excruciating nine minutes and 29 seconds, literally squeezing the life out of him while he begged for his mother and cried out, I can't breathe.


George Floyd's brutal murder, prompting millions of people to take to the streets last summer, demanding justice. But more than a year later, the George Floyd Justice Act is stalled in Congress. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison calling on Congress to act now.


KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I call on leaders and members of Congress to pass the best and strongest version of this bill that can be passed and to pass it now.

The lives are depending upon it. It's just that simple.


LEMON: That is just days after Senate Republicans refused even to debate the For The People Act to protect voting rights. The DOJ announces it's suing Georgia over its assault on the vote. The law that includes giving state officials the power to take over local election boards and making it a crime to give food and water to voters waiting online.

A lot more to come on all of this tonight, a very big news night. And we have all of it for you.

But I want to get right to the sentencing today of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

So joining me now, none other than Neal Katyal, he is the special prosecutor for Minnesota in the trial.

Neal, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. It's good to see you. This was a moment (INAUDIBLE) no doubt prosecutors asking for 30 years, Derek Chauvin got 22 and a half. Family members are frustrated. Are you satisfied with this result?

NEAL KATYAL, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR FOR MINNESOTA IN DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL: Well, you know, Don, you know, I don't know criminal sentences aren't things that are supposed to bring someone satisfaction, they're about the judicious application of the law. And the sentence from the court here, which was 22 and a half years, and as you pointed out, is one of the longest police officers ever received for the unlawful use of force. I think that's important.

And it's far above what the Minnesota sentencing guidelines say. And it does set a new standard for police accountability going forward. And, you know, it's important to remember 13 months ago today, George Floyd was callously murder.

And, you know, whether it's 22 and a half years or 30 years, the sentence is not going to bring him back. And, you know, you and I have talked in the past, even before the Floyd stuff about just the nation's history here, and how sad it's been that people don't get any justice at all the victims. So, this is a start today, it's only a start.

LEMON: Neal, I want to continue to talk with you. But before we continue on, I want to play more of what we heard from Judge Cahill, and then we'll discuss, Here it is.


CAHILL: I'm not going to attempt to be profound or clever, because it's not the appropriate time. I'm not basing my sentence also on like opinion, I am not basing it on any attempt to send any messages. A trial court judge, the job of a trial court judge is to apply the law to specific facts, and to deal with individual cases.


LEMON: So Neal, the judge here, Judge Cahill is saying that he wasn't attempting to send any sort of message. But seeing a sentence like this against an officer is really not the norm. What message does it send?

KATYAL: I think it does send a message. I mean, we are not used to convictions like this at all were sentences like this when it comes to cops. And this is a real fork in the road for our history. I mean, the fact that this case was brought at all historic, the fact that these charges include murder, you know, murder against a cop historic again, and the fact that officer after officer testified how wrong this was, again, historic.

And so, look, I understand the judge's role here, which was to apply the law to the facts. And I think the message that is being sent even though it wasn't intentionally what he was doing, but at least as, you know, the area, the era of police impunity, is over.

The era, which you get to do this stuff and this epidemic of violence that's plagued the African-American community that's got to end and it's a start. And by using epidemic, it's not like COVID, it's not like something that is new. I mean, and you've been better about this Don than anyone on our networks and talking about this goes way, way back to our founding. But today's a start, it's a start.

LEMON: So, as I was watching the sentence being handed down today. Neal, you know when they said 22 and a half years, my immediate thought was, OK time sir, for good behavior, blah, blah, blah, 15 years or so. 12 to 15 years is what he'll serve. And I know there's federal charges that's going to impact the sentence. Am I right? What -- how's that going to impact the Senate and what do you think we're seeing here? The actual time.


KATYAL: So, absolutely. There's a further federal prosecution that has been signaled and announced, and those charges could be as long, equally long to the kinds of numbers that you saw today. So shudder, you know, today is just one of two different proceedings, that Derek Chauvin is going to face.

With respect to any credit for good time served and so on, you know, I don't want to, you know, basically prejudice, you know, those arguments down the road and so on. So, I don't want to say anything about that. Precisely.

But I will say, you know, that there were -- the normal sentence here would have been 15 years tops for secondary murder for someone who has zero criminal offense history points. And what Judge Cahill did as he said, nope, this is an aggravated sentence, we got to go beyond that because of the crime, because of the gravity of the crime, the abuse of power of a position of trust, and the like.

LEMON: Yes. So listen, Chauvin is not alone, there are three other officers who are facing charges here. Charges are expected to -- they're expected to be tried to gather in 2022. They pleaded not guilty. Will it be more challenging to get a conviction in their cases, Neal?

KATYAL: Well, special prosecutor in those two, so I'm not going to really comment on whether it's harder or easier. But I will say that we are gearing up for that. Our Attorney General Keith Ellison, ordered us to this week to shift gears and start focusing on the trial of the other three cops, and we won't rest until justice is done. You know, as I say, the era of, you know, police impunity is over at this point. We all saw that video, we know what happened, and we stand ready to vindicate the people's wishes in this case.

LEMON: How do you make sure that this outcome isn't the exception in cases and these cases of police brutality?

KATYAL: Well, such a good question Don, because you know, today's great, you know, there's a victory, the conviction is really important, and the like, but honestly, these cases are incredibly hard. They're huge, the resource intensive. And you can't imagine the amount of effort that went into the prosecution of justice one cop, and we'll go into the prosecution of the next three.

And what I've learned from this process, you know, more than anything, and I kind of read about it on the outside, but never really been out on the inside is criminal prosecutions are, at best, you know, a week to remedy. The real thing to do is prevent the violence before it happens.

That's why the George Floyd Act is so important because you got to do the things in police departments up front so you don't have these incidents and episodes happening later on and then try and, you know, bring a prosecution after the fact that's not going to work. These bills are pending in Congress now. And there is no excuse. No excuse. I think every American now knows what has happened. We got to do it.

LEMON: Yes. Neal, I'm so grateful that you could join us. You're the perfect person to discuss what happened today and what happens next moving forward. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

KATYAL: Thank you so much. LEMON: Thank you. George Floyd's family reacting tonight to the sentence for his murderer. Now, I'm going to talk to Philonise Floyd and the family attorney Ben Crump. That's next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. If you could say anything to your daddy right now, what would it be?

GIANNA FLOYD, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE FLOYD: It will be our mission. I love you.




LEMON: Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. It was an emotional hearing with members of the Floyd family speaking out, including his seven-year-old daughter Gianna.


G. FLOYD: I survived him all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could say anything to your dad, what would it be?

G. FLOYD: It will be our mission. I love you.

TERRENCE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I wanted to know from the man himself why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee our brother's neck?

BRANDON WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NEPHEW: Our family is forever broken. And one thing we cannot get back is George Floyd.


LEMON: Well, joining me now is Ben Crump, he is an attorney for the Floyd family and Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother.

Good evening to both of you. How are you guys doing?



CRUMP: Good to be with you Don.

LEMON: Yes. Good. Good. Philonise, first questions for you. So Derek Chauvin, you know, the Senate, he got 22 and a half years in prison for your brother's murder. The question is how's -- I asked you how you're doing. What about your family tonight? P. FLOYD: Right, they're doing OK. But you know, they still feel the same way that I feel. We believe that a Mr. Chauvin should receive the maximum amount of time. We just thought that our brother suffered for nine minutes and 29 seconds and we will never be able to get him back. So, we just wish that he would have received the max.

LEMON: Ben, I thought it was interesting because you said today represents and I quote here, represents an opportunity to be a turning point. Why did you say that?

CRUMP: Because Don, we have to put it in the context. When you think about as Attorney General Keith Ellison said this was the longest sentence that a police officer has ever received in the state of Minnesota. And on top of that, it is the first time in the state of Minnesota that a white police officer has been sentenced to prison for killing a black person. On top of that Don, we have to look at the progress we're making.


Laquan McDonald shot 16 times in the back by Chicago police officer convicted of second degree murder just like their children. He only received six years in prison. Both them gentleman's case the young man in Dallas with a white police woman came in and shot him in his own apartment. Then she claims self-defense. The jury convicted her first degree murder, and she only received 10-year prison sentence.

So today shows with steady making progress. Do we have further to go? Absolutely. But we're making progress Don and our quest by accountability.

LEMON: OK. Another question Ben, federal charges against Chauvin is still pending. Do you think he could still get the maximum sentence here Philonise saying, you know, the family, I hope he gotten the maximum sentence. But there's still federal charges. What are you thinking there?

CRUMP: I do, Don. I think that he could get the maximum sentence as Philonise and Floyd family desire, and I would love to have that with my brother. Absolutely. I would want him to get life in prison if not worse, the way he tortured George Floyd.

I think about the accountability in the civil case. Now think about the accountability in the state criminal charges. And then I think about that accountability that George Floyd is likely to get in the federal case. And then I think about the accountability on the policy level with the George Floyd Justice And Policing Act.

And that's why I think George Floyd represents an opportunity to be a turning point in America where black people and people of color can get accountability. And it's not the exception Don Lemon, but it is the norm.

LEMON: Philonise, you know before the Senate came down, Derek Chauvin spoke directly to your family for the first time, this is what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK CHAUVIN, EX-OFFICER: I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family. There's going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind. Thank you.


LEMON: What do you think about his condolences? And do you have any idea what information he's talking about? What's he talking about?

P. FLOYD: That's something that the world wants to find out. The world wants to know, I don't know. But, it was a family that he did show, I guess eating type of remorse. That was the first time that he ever said anything toward us. But it was probably, you know, something good. Whatever he wanted to say a long time ago, but at the same time, I would never be able to get my brother back.

My brother was killed. He stayed on this neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds and he had me a lot of opportunities to start. But people tried and he didn't care. And other three offices that were with him, they did the same thing. They didn't try to stop. They could have stopped them. They could have pushed them away. People later tried to resuscitate them. They didn't give him a chance.

So, I don't know what else to say. What can we do? People are tired of seeing the same thing over and over. My brother, he was tortured to death just like a lot of other people all around the world. You have Pamela Turner she passed away because the officer killed her. Let me rephrase that she was murdered by a police officer. You can go to Andrew McLean he was murdered by police officers. You can go to Eric Garner was murdered.

People are killing and these police officers, this is a good thing that he received 22 years because African-American people we never get any type of accountability. We never get justice for anything. So this was a statement.

LEMON: Well, you know what, those other three officers are on trial next year? What do you want to see happen to Philonise?

P. FLOYD: I want to see the same thing the max because they had the opportunity too. Because if I wouldn't went with any of my friends and would have killed somebody, they would have gave me the maximum amount of time. No ands, no buts about it. I would have been jail. The first day not in my be asleep.

CRUMP: But Don, we're making progress. And I think with the passage of the George Floyd Policing Act, we can hopefully prevent some of these gaps because real justice would be George being here with his family and with his daughter. And this journey to justice and Don Lemon when black people and other people of color won't be killed by police just because the color of their skin. That is what this journey the justice is for us to end these unnecessary killings.


LEMON: Ben, Philonise, much appreciate it. Thank you so much.

CRUMP: Thank you, Don.

P. FLOYD: Thank you.

LEMON: Rescuers, rescuers scrambling to find any of the 159 people unaccounted for, though the numbers are fluid in that condo collapse in South Florida. You're looking at live pictures here. The fire chief has a message for people desperately waiting for news about their loved ones.


ANDY ALVAREZ, CHIEF, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE: Have hope there's always hope. I was in Haiti and eight days after we were there, we took a girl out of out of a collapse. And you got to have hope and we're doing everything that we can to bring your family member out alive.




LEMON: You're looking at live pictures now, look at that, that is Surfside, Florida. Courtesy of our affiliate WSVN, 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and you can see the smoke coming off of the rubble and that building. Search and rescue teams are there now, still digging frantically tonight, looking for survivors under the rubble of that collapse condo tower just near Miami.

The clock is ticking, of course, but Miami-Dade Fire Chief telling families of some of the 159 people still unaccounted for not to give up hope. At least four people are confirmed dead. Now, I want to bring in now CNN Contributor Joe Hernandez, an Urban Search and Rescue expert.

Joe, it's so good to have you on. So, let's talk about this. Joe is on the scene Air Force in Surfside. The search and rescue operation that has been hampered all day by rain, by fire and smoke, it's really dangerous work. What can you tell us about what they are doing and how it is going?

JOE HERNANDEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you for having me on, Don. I think they are doing a fantastic job. I think the coordination between the different task forces. Both federal and state have done incredible, trying to get the work done. You are correct, the weather has caused a little curveball to what's going on, just tampering the conditions that are there.

The wind also being able to work its way through some of the breeze ways as increased some of the smoke, of course, increase some of the flames that are going on inside there. So hampering some of the entrances, although the water that is being placed on those fires, it's just enough to keep it under control and still allow the rescue to continue.

LEMON: So, Joe, there are four people who are confirmed dead, 159 others are unaccounted for, families are desperate, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez told our Wolf Blitzer that he is holding out hope. We are now more than 40 hours into this, are you are you still hopeful?

HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. You never give up hope. As long as there are rescuers, looking, searching, and definitely willing to not give up, and we still have time, we still have plenty of time, there is no reason to stop and or to give up hope. And I'm sure that's the way the rescuers feeling at this time.

LEMON: Joe, listen, we all remember watching the rescuers on that pile after 9/11. They would listen for noises. They would think that they heard something, and work would stop. And then they tried to find the source of that sound. Is that what's happening now as their, you know, and are they hearing anything?

You know everything we get quiet. They would say everyone be quiet. They want to make sure they hear people, remember at 9/11? Is that what's happening now? Is it similar to that?

HERNANDEZ: Absolutely, that is a standard procedure that goes on during a search event. You can see stirring some of the events, a few of the workers on top of the rubble pile. What they're doing is trying to place listening devices, Delsar devices to be able to capture any kind of sound moaning, tapping on a wall that could mimic somebody trying to seek help.

At the same time, you could see the rescue workers be unable to pry up part of the pile part of the surface, they call it delayering it, picking it up on one side, applying cribbing and shoring to be able to keep that end open and then able to send in their search canines to see if they're getting any hits on any live victims. And then that would be followed by search camera and the technical crew that will try and do some location of victims that could possibly be in there.

LEMON: So, Joe water is being pumped into the site to fight those fires, but that water is making the pile heavier, and that makes it riskier for crews. How -- that rubble is pretty unstable, right?

HERNANDEZ: Of course, all rubble is unstable. Definitely not a place you'd want OSHA to come around and take a look at. And yeah, the water does cause a hindrance. But again, those crews are being careful enough to just put enough water possibly not to extinguish the fire, but at least keep it under control and still allow those rescuer workers to get into there to see if they're able to find any victims while we still have the time.

As you also said that it displaces the sand, of course, we're on the beach, so that sand as you build the sandcastle kind of turns hard like a rock when you add water to it, and the act of rain doesn't help either.

LEMON: Yeah, I can't even imagine. So, listen we save, you know, I can sit here and say hey, we're looking at smoke at the scene and, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah. But in that smoke, I mean there are a lot of chemicals, a lot of toxins as well. Can you talk to us about that, Joe?


HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. We're worried about it during ground zero, the World Trade Center. All of us really belonged still to a registry for our health reasons, especially during our coughs, lungs, et cetera. We were exposed, we were covered with mask, the same precautions are being taken here by the rescue or workers.

Even the citizens are being exposed to it that are coming here just to see well doers that are actually trying to pay patronage to those that have lost their lives and to the rescuers that are here, but they are being exposed to those toxic fumes. We don't know what they are, it could be as simple as a mattress and could be as complex as all the chemicals that are underneath somebody's sink, somebody's.

LEMON: Joe, look we're in the United States. And we think we've got the best standards in place. We've got the systems in place. Everything is stable. You walk into a building, you think, yeah, this is all been inspected, and it's all good. We don't expect something like this to happen here in the U.S. This area has some of the strictest building codes. Any idea what could have caused this?

HERNANDEZ: Not being an engineer, of course, I wouldn't take a stab at it. And I'm sure even the engineers are staying quiet just until there is a complete assessment. But I live on the coast. I grew up here my whole life. And we do see the complications of salt water, air and water intrusion into the rebar and steel that is inside of the concrete structures movement of our soil, movement of our sand.

We do live on a limestone plateau. I don't believe any sinkholes in this area have been for a very long time. However, it is a porous rock underneath us.

LEMON: Joe Hernandez, thank you so much.

HERNANDEZ: Yes, thank you, Don.

LEMON: The Biden administration making a big move against efforts to restrict voting rights and a state with a new law that makes it harder to vote. Is it in the crosshairs?



LEMON: So the Biden administration taking its first major action to combat a Republican led assault on voting, suing the state of Georgia over its new law, making it harder to vote. The Attorney General Merrick Garland saying, it's clear who the law is intended to target.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia. Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia's election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section II of the Voting Rights Act.


LEMON: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp pushing back in a defiant statement saying the lawsuit, "legally and constitutionally is dead wrong."

OK, so joining me now CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.

Laura, thank you for joining us. Let's discuss, Merrick Garland saying that the DOJ will sue Georgia over this new restrictive voting law. He says it was purposely enacted to harm black voters. Does he even need to show that this was done intentionally?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's interesting thing about Section II of the Voting Rights Act. You know, I used to work in the voting rights section of the Civil Rights Division. And we used to pursue cases under this very section. And frankly, you have a results test under Section II, which says essentially you don't even have to prove the intent that you would under the say, the 14th amendment for the idea of equal protection of the law or the 15th amendment.

You can say that somebody has violated their constitutional rights, if the result of their action has caused there to be that infringement, that abridgement on the basis of race to have that disparate impact. But here, you have combined what he has said, the purposeful intent, which makes an even stronger case to do so, which is why he's bringing it under this particular provision.

LEMON: Yeah, so a Garland went as far as to say that if the Supreme Court hadn't struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act back in 2013 that required states with a history of discrimination, to clear any voting rule changes, this Georgia law wouldn't even have gone into effect. What do you make of that, Laura?

COATES: What a profound and strong statement, he's talking about section five, which required any state, what was -- that was covered under that formula to get the pre-clearance at the Department of Justice for making any voting related change. So he's essentially saying, look, had that actually been in effect, we would never have permitted these laws to go into effect, and why? Because they can be violative of someone's Section II rights.

Now, remember, Section IV is essentially a proactive measure, it guards against these actual laws from going into effect, it guards against them from being passed. Section II is the less preferred method, because you first have to have the violation in order to be able to really pursue it.

And so an ideal Voting Rights Act would include both that Section IV component and of course a Section II to have that proactive and reactive measure, but it's very striking to have the Attorney General of the United States say that for what the Supreme Court has gutted, this would never have been an issue. We would never have had to even pursue a lawsuit against the state of Georgia.

LEMON: Laura, Republicans are pushing this effort all over the country, really, 14 states have enacted 22 new laws that make it harder to vote. Is this the first of many cases to come?


COATES: I think it might be, Don, because remember if the pattern here is that -- remember one of the things that he said was, there should have been a cause for celebration, the increased voter participation and said, it was the impetus to change laws without actually having a reason. There was no widespread fraud, there was no indicia of widespread fraud is the idea of essentially creating a law, a cure in search of an actual disease is really telling about a pre-textual pattern across United States of America, right.

And so, he is looking at Georgia, of course, because Georgia is a striking example of a state led legislature, the Secretary of State Bradford Raffensperger, who by all accounts has said, look, there was no widespread fraud, there was no issue, talking to former President Trump. And now you've changed all these laws to account for that which did not happen.

This creates an interesting legal paradigm, where you've already said there was no real reason to pursue these. And now you've got this, what he believes is a purposeful basis to try to disenfranchise black voters and make it harder for them to vote. Georgia is one place to start. But look across the country, we see other states that have tried to get ahead of the curve, like Florida, for example, or other states that have tried to, I think in Texas as an example as well. Sure, I do this very thing. This might be the first of many to come.

LEMON: You know, Laura, Garland, also announcing that he is directing U.S. attorneys to closely track threats to election workers. What does this tell you about the political divisions in this country?

COATES: Well, look at the rage that we have seen, the raids that you on your program even call the other night where it's playing. One of the major military leaders talking about the idea of January 6, then what happened there. I mean, look at what the impact of the election has had, stoking, people will talk about the big lie, stoking the flames in many respects here.

So, the idea there are actual attacks or threats against election workers, who are normally volunteers who were just essentially volunteering, or they're hired in some capacity to just help you to vote, to have these threats upon this shows you a lot about the political division in our country. And it's incumbent upon the government to ensure that a fair and free election doesn't just mean that you have an unabridged access to the actual ballot.

But it also should mean that to actually perform and create the environment to have these fair and free elections should also be part of the equation. So having these U.S. attorneys have these sorts of proactive measures is yet another indication of the political division that we've seen and the fallout from January 6, as well.

LEMON: Laura Coates, much appreciate it. Thank you so much on this Friday evening.

COATES: Thank you. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fanone, who defended the Capitol on January 6, finally getting a meeting with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. What he told him told him, next.



LEMON: We have news tonight on D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was attacked by rioters and severely injured during the January 6 insurrection. He finally got a meeting today with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Mike Fanone become a personal friend and he has been on this program numerous times recounting the horrors he suffered at the hands of the rioters, who tased him repeatedly and beat him with a flagpole.

Mike suffered a heart attack and a concussion. Now he's dealing with traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Joining him in the meeting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn who also defended the Capitol that day. He's been on this show as well. Fanone is angry that some Republicans are downplaying what happened.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I went there with specific requests. I asked him to denounce the 21 House Republicans that voted against the gold medal bill, which would recognize and honor my coworkers and colleagues that fought to secure the Capitol on January 6.

I also asked him to denounce Andrew Clyde's statements regarding January 6, specifically that it was something of a normal tour day here at the Capitol. I found those remarks to be disgusting. I also asked him to publicly denounce the baseless theory that the FBI was behind the January 6 insurrection.


LEMON: Ultimately, Mike was disappointed. McCarthy would only commit to addressing these false conspiracy theories with his members in private. Michael Fanone, holding the powerful accountable.

Also, I want to make sure you know about my new podcast, Silence Is Not An Option. And I'm taking on hard conversations about being black in America. You can find that on your favorite podcast app and my new podcast with none other than Christopher Cuomo is on Apple podcasts. It's called the Handoff. Make sure you listen. I'm sure you'll love it. And thank you for watching everyone. Our coverage continues.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening at the dimming of another rough day here in Surfside. We are waiting for late word from officials on the state of search rescue and recovery operations. We expect a press briefing to happen any moment now. We were going to bring that to you live.

Already though the news has been difficult, today we saw the number of people unaccounted for and potentially trapped or lost in the rubble of Champlain Towers, which is right behind me just over there, you can see the smoke, that number rose sharply.

The news only adding urgency for rescue teams already who are working nonstop and have been throughout the night. It is, however, the most delicate job imaginable under the toughest conceivable conditions were even one wrong move could cost lives or maybe saving lives even making it harder to save lives and it already is.


MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, (D-FL) MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: These first responders are going in through tunnels. They're working from the top. They're working from the bottom. It has to be done very, very carefully. Debris is falling on them as they do their work. We have structural engineers on site to assure that they will not be injured. But they are proceeding because they are so motivated.