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Don Lemon Tonight

GOP Push More Lie; Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) Was Interviewed About What He Expects from President Biden When He Speaks Next Week About Voting Rights; Pfizer Seek to get an EUA for Its Booster Shot; DOJ Release New Videos of January 6 Attack; A Dream Come True for Cameron Kinley. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 09, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you for watching. You've given us the opportunity. I wish you a very good weekend. But first, Don Lemon Tonight with the upgrade with Laura Coates right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Or the highlighter pen. Depending on how you want to gauge, upgrade, highlighter pen, neon green, what do you thinking.

CUOMO: Listen, people should be paying attention. And you should be naturally underscored.

COATES: You know what? That's what we're going to name this outfit today. Thank you, Chris Cuomo. This is called the underscore. I love it, I love it so much. Happy weekend ahead to you. Great show as always.

CUOMO: Thank you.

COATES: Nice to see.

CUOMO: Be well.

COATES: This is Don Lemon Tonight. And I'm Laura Coates in for Don.

And what week it's been for the one-time party of Lincoln. Still pushing the big lie. In case you are wondering if that is still front and center, look what got the biggest cheer at CPAC tonight.


UNKNOWN: Trump won!



COATES: More on that in a minute. And they are still pushing their assault on our most sacred rights as Americans. The right to vote. With the endless election fraudit in Arizona's Maricopa County, and another threatened in Pennsylvania trying to pass restrictive new voting laws in Texas after states have passed nearly 30 laws to cut back on ballot access, all in support of the big lie, of bogus voter fraud.

The party of Lincoln? Lincoln would be mortified. And then there is the GOP fearmongering over critical race theory. Arizona's governor assigning bills he claims will keep critical race theory. Arizona's governor signing bills he claims will keep critical race theory out of Arizona's government and public schools even though the truth is, it's academic theory used in graduate level courses.

And there's more from CPAC where they're betting it on the big lie and stoking outrage. Here is Congressman Ronny Jackson railing against vaccine initiatives.


REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): This is just another government overreach that sits right in the narrative that Democrats do everything else with the socialist Marxist communist way that they want to control your lives.


COATES: You remember him. He used to be the White House doctor to President's Obama and President Trump. And then there is the GOP's seeming inability to stop talking about Nazis after the QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene compared COVID vaccination outreach to Nazi error brown shirts, clearly learning nothing from our apology last month for comparing Capitol Hill mass quiring rules to the Holocaust.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert weighed in, calling door to door vaccinators quote, "needle Nazis," end quote. But what else do you expect from a party whose leader, when he was president, reportedly told his chief of staff quote, "well, Hitler did a lot of good things." That's according to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter, Michael Bender.

A Trump spokesperson denies he said that as the former president was picking a fight with Bender today. Not over the reported Hitler quote, he just all riled up about the idea that he had a fight with Mike Pence over Corey Lewandowski.

A lot to discuss tonight with CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and political commentator Scott Jennings. Nice to see you both on this Friday night.

Let me start with you, Ron, because you heard a woman yell out Trump won at CPAC while Don Junior was still speaking, and she basically got the biggest cheer of the night. Doesn't take much to see what direction this party is going and who is really driving it, right?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I mean that, that is the clear message of everything that has happened since November 6th is that the extremist forces in the party now become too big for the party leadership to confront. I mean, three quarters of Republican voters say they believe that Trump won the election.

A majority in polling say they believe the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it. Two-thirds of Republicans attorneys general and three-fifths of Republicans in the House voted to overturn the election.

You know, the authors of the great book "How Democracies Cry." which came up a couple of years ago, did a kind of Zoom briefing today in which they noted that if you look at the behavior of the Republican Party over the last few years but especially since the November election, it now fits the definition of an anti-small d, Democratic Party of the kind that you see in Turkey, or Hungary, or Venezuela. Not all Republicans but the dominant faction in the party.


And so, the question really to me remains what does the roughly one- fifth to one quarter to maybe 30 percent of the Republicans who are uneasy about all of this, what do they do going forward? Do they continue to give their votes to party leaders who are enabling this kind of extremism?

COATES: Scott, that's your party. What do you say?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, that's a good question. I mean, they're obviously where Republicans who were uncomfortable with sort of the direction that Donald Trump took the party in as a lot of them voted for Joe Biden. I mean, you look at the breakout in the recent voter file analysis that was done, and you see these suburban Republican leaning voters.

Well, it's a good question. They're obviously where Republicans uncomfortable with the direction that Donald Trump took the party and. There's a lot of motive for Joe Biden. You look at the breakout in the recent voter file analysis that was done, and you see the suburban Republican leading voters, we knew it instinctively but the data now confirms it the suburban Republican leaners went to Biden, some of most went to Democrats in the 2018 midterms.

And we found out it's hard for the Republican Party to win if you don't have all your people. You know? If you lose a little faction here, a little faction there and all of a sudden, you're losing other national elections. And so, I think for 2024, this is a huge question about whether Trump is going to be the nominee or not.

In the 2022 midterm it's less impactful, frankly, because you're running an individual district, although it could be more impactful in the Senate races. But our ability to win back the White House really hinges on our ability to recover the suburban leaners who went to Biden and keep together the rural coalition that Trump had and frankly, try to retain some of the minority voters that he brought to the party over his '16 chair.

COATES: Let me stay there for second with you, Scott. Because Republican candidates speaking of the idea of the midterms coming ahead. They are increasingly focusing their campaigns on the baseless claims that the election was stolen. I mean, listen to this from Congressman Mo Brooks at CPAC.


REP. MO BROOKS (R-LA): Because dictatorial, socialists want to cancel America. We have to fight back to protect our country's greatness. They are attacking the foundational principles that have combined to give us the greatest nation in the world history, to give us who we are. They attack our republic by engaging in unparalleled voter fraud and election theft activities.


COATES: But there is no widespread voter fraud, so why is stuff like this being pushed at CPAC? I mean, is this in lieu of a platform? Is this the new platform, Scott?

JENNINGS: Well, it's certainly part of it. I mean, Republicans have a cared more I think about election integrity, it became a bigger talking point of course after January the 6th then after the election and after what Donald Trump did. But Republicans have always been sort of been the party of voter identification and more security around elections. It's ramped up now.

I think you will see that issue in these Republican primaries, and I think you're going to see school issues, I think you are going to see a lot of issues that frankly are new to the landscape, you know, certainly new to the priority in the landscape.

Mo Brooks is a good example. He's got a primary in Alabama for the U.S. Senate. His opponent, one of his opponents Katie Britt just pulled in a huge amount of money, and so he's obviously going to try to paint her as an anti-Trump figure. And he's going to try to run as the Trump figure down there.

So, I think especially, where you see these candidates that have big primaries and facing well-funded challengers, you are going to see it go all in on these issues. That, frankly, are pretty motivating for the Republican base right now.

COATES: Ron, what's your reaction to that?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think if you look at what's happening in the states what is -- this is not about election integrity, this is about demographic anxiety. The states that are moving most aggressively to limit opportunities for younger and voters of color, are those that are experiencing the most profound demographic change places like Georgia, and Arizona, and Texas and Florida where the Republican Party today has the upper hand because of their dominance among older, non- college, and non-urban whites, but they could see the writing on the wall that the majority of the people turning 18 in those states every year are kids of color.

And in the polling that has been done, there is a very clear correlation that the Republican voters who expressed the most anti- Democratic sentiments are precisely the same ones who expressed the most anxiety about the nation's growing diversity and immigration and religious pluralism and all the things that are remaking America.

And that's why this is really a much more profound moment than the usual kind of competition between the parties because you're not just talking about which side controls tax rates or the level of EPA regulation, you are now dealing with a party whose dominant faction is showing itself willing to kind of undermine the basic pillars of American democracy, if that's what it takes to keep a preponderantly white coalition in power.

And the Republicans are kind of going along for that ride who may be uneasy about these changes. But nonetheless are still, you know, happy if they can get the majority and confirm judges or cut taxes. They are the ones who I think face a really profound choice for that matter.


So did Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema who at this point are saying they will only act to preserve voting rights if Republicans go along. But this is a different moment that we have typically. Because I've been covering politics since the early 1980s. There's been nothing like this kind of pressure, and I think overhang over our elections.

COATES: And Scott, to that point, the idea of the present --


JENNINGS: Can I just say one thing?

COATES: Go ahead.

JENNINGS: Sorry, I just want to say one thing about this. Look, there's a couple of issues out there that sort of, I think fly in the face of Ron's argument. Which I understand, he's got polling and there's other polling too that, and other actual election data that I think rebuts it.

Number one, Donald Trump who is said to be anti-immigrant, anti- minority and now people paint the party that way as Ron just did, did better among African Americans, especially African American males and Hispanics than any Republican presidential candidate in recent history.

And number two, on this election reform stuff, poll after poll after poll shows African American voters say they're perfectly fine with the idea of voter I.D. and election security. So, I understand the talking points and I understand the arguments, but there is actual data, both election data and polling data that sort of refutes it.

So, I, as the Republican, you know, analyst here, and somebody who votes Republican, I don't believe I am in a party that is trying to do anything other than to have secure elections and who wants to compete for the votes of everyone no matter what color they are or where they live. I just, I totally disagree with Ron's assessment. BROWNSTEIN: Scott? Scott?

JENNINGS: That this party wants to be a white only party.

COATES: Well, let me tell you fellows.


BROWNSTEIN: If you read the documents --

COATES: And fellows, let me tell you, this will be a conversation that's ongoing. I suspect it can't end here. Thank you so much. Ron, Scott. I appreciate it.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

COATES: Now I want to talk about the GOP assault on voting rights with Congressman Colin Allred. A Texas Democrat. Congressman Allred, thank you for being here tonight. I'm glad to see you.

REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Thanks for having me on, Laura.

COATES: We are actually seeing what's going on in your state of Texas with Republicans again trying to restrict voting. And President Biden is speaking out on voting rights next week in Philadelphia. Tell me, what are you looking to hear from the president?

ALLRED: I want to hear that this is as high a priority as anything else, because I think we'll have to recognize that there is one party that is no longer playing by the same rules in terms of our democracy.

Texas is already the state and the country that is hardest to vote. We already -- every election are in the bottom five in terms of voter turnout. Our issue isn't voter fraud, our issue is trying to allow people to vote. And they're trying to make it harder, and they are going to make it harder. And so, we have to have a federal response. And that's going to have to be led by the president. No one else is going to be able to get us across the line.

COATES: And I mean, look at what's going on in Arizona. You're talking about Texas, but we've got that so-called audit going on, and they're actually planning now another ballot count, Congressman. I mean, how is that even still happening? I mean, especially when these efforts are all based on what we know is this big lie that the election was even stolen?

ALLRED: Yes. I really want to say, that I think the biggest divide in our politics and our nation right now isn't between Democrats and Republicans. It's between Americans who still believe in our democracy and those who don't. The fact that we are sitting here in July in the year after an election, talking about still ongoing quote, unquote, "audits of the election."

People saying that they are going to have the, you know, the former president will be reinstated, that the last election was stolen. And they're trying to make sure that they can make sure that doesn't happen again in the next election.

I mean, every single day this is happening we are losing a piece of our democracy. And we have to start talking about it that way. This is no longer, you know, a political conversation. It's about the foundation of our country. I know a lot of folks have a lot of things going on in their lives. I think everyone has to start paying attention to what's happening in voting right now. It's the most important issue in our country.

COATES: Well, you know as they say, our republic, if you can keep it that's obviously going to be contingent on people believing in the democracy that we have. But in your state, Congressman Allred, it's not just trying to restrict voting.

Governor Abbott's agenda includes other things like banning the teaching of critical race theory teaching, adding restrictions to transgender athletes competing in school sports. Combatting proceed censorships on social media. I mean, what's the goal of focusing on things like this? Just grievance politics?

ALLRED: Well, I think the goal is they are dealing with having an internal conversation in the Republican Party that has completely lost sight of reality. What I think Texans want is to have a an electrical grid that doesn't shut down for a week when we have a pretty mild winter storm, and would throw us back into the dark ages that had Texans cutting up their fence posts to try and stay warm and dying of carbon monoxide poisoning because they're trying to run generators inside their homes. They want us to fix the grid.


Just a few weeks ago here in Texas, we were told to turn up our thermostats because we might have rolling brownouts on a pretty, you know, not too hot day for us in June in the state of Texas. So that's what we should be focused on. But instead, they're focused on these cultural issues. And it doesn't make any sense.

COATES: And yet, as I was going to say the idea if that's the priority of the people of Texas, this is a far cry away from what they're prioritizing then at the governor's level.

But you know, you also sit on the foreign affairs committee. I want to ask you about President Biden delivering a new warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him to take action against hackers, and just listen to what he told reporters.


UNKNOWN: Does it make sense for the U.S. to take it up a notch and attacked the actual servers that are used.



COATES: I mean, it doesn't get more direct than that. How do you see this playing out, Congressman?

ALLRED: I think President Biden has been very clear with Putin and the Russians, that we have capabilities we have not yet deployed, and that if they continue down this road, that we're going to be forced to respond. So, I think the president was right, to not only warn them but to warn them specifically about how we could respond.

And I think we are going to have to do something, because this is not only, you know, the state sponsored hacking that we've seen in the past. This is now these dark groups that are, you know, affiliated with the state to give them some kind of element of separation from them. But they are still operating with the cooperation with the understanding of the Russian government. And they are causing enormous damage to our system, and to our economy, and we just can't allow that to happen.

COATES: Congressman Allred, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

ALLRED: Thank you so much, Laura.

COATES: The divide on vaccines is getting worse, and a whole lot of it comes down to where you get your information from. We show you what they are saying over on right-wing TV and talk radio and why it's putting Americans at risk.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You don't want to see two separate Americas, one that's vaccinated and protected, and yet another that's unvaccinated and very much at risk.




COATES: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he is perplexed by the reluctance of some people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. But it shouldn't come as a surprise to McConnell considering what members of his own party and some folks at Fox News have said about vaccines. Here is Brian Stelter.


LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Power grabs and needle jabs. That's the focus of tonight's angle.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To see a reason why the red blue divide on vaccines is getting worse, just turn up the volume.

BRIAN KILMEADE, HOST, FOX NEWS: The focus of this administration on vaccination is mind-boggling.

STELTER: The focus of right-wing media is vaccine rejection. And it's getting downright ridiculous.

DAN BONGINO, HOST, FOX NEWS: They want to go door to door with what, the vaccine police? You can skip my house, bro.

STELTER: That's Dan Bongino reacting to President Biden.

BIDEN: We need to go community by community. Neighborhood, by neighborhood. And oftentimes, door to door, literally knocking on doors, to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus.

STELTER: And that simple idea, something that local governments have already been doing, was made to sound sinister by the anti-Biden media.

UNKNOWN: The Biden administration is threatening to send political operatives to the homes of people who refused to take an experimental COVID vaccine.

UNKNOWN: Door to door. Hey, Joe. How about no.

UNKNOWN: This is what happens when you get a government too big for its own good.

STELTER: This is how it works. How distrust of the government, of big pharma, of media, all gets up into anti-science rhetoric.

BUCK SEXTON, RADIO HOST AND FORMER CIA ANALYST: They won't admit that because that would be telling the CNN watchers, the New York Times readers who took the science seriously, that they are not as smart as they think they are.

STELTER: Buck Sexton's sarcasm shows his hostility. And you can see it all over right-wing radio and TV. Resisting the vaccine is practically a badge of honor. A way to stick it to the blue states with conservative commentator Candice Owens bragging that, quote, "not one person in my family will ever touch the COVID-19 vaccine."

They claim to be depending their freedom, repurposing liberal messaging about abortion rights.

PETE HEGSETH, CO-HOST, FOX NEWS: You open the door and you say, my body, my choice.

UNKNOWN: People have the right to make a choice.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: The Biden administration is no longer pro-choice.

STELTER: And they plan to keep this fight up into the fall.

UNKNOWN: Students are not going to have to live in a medical apartheid, because they don't want to get the vaccine.

STELTER: But they are ignoring the public health reality of a pandemic. The more people who are vaccinated, the safer we all are.

FAUCI: We aren't asking anyone to make a political statement one way or another. We are saying try and save your life.

STELTER: But in Republican strongholds, many adults are resisting. And they are egged on by right wing media stars who claim to respect our audience but are actually putting them at risk.


STELTER: And that is ultimately why this is a problem. These radio stars, these TV stars, they are trusted individuals in Republican communities. But they are abusing that trust by pushing anti vaccination propaganda. And it's something that ultimately affects every American. Laura?

COATES: Brian, thank you so much. I want to bring in Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner. Dr. Wen, I'm glad you are here especially on a night when we are seeing all this information about where the confusion is coming from.

The last thing we need is confusion around vaccination. You've got these conflicting messages between the CDC and the FDA and Pfizer over boosters. That's all adding to it, and then here's what Dr. Fauci said about it.


FAUCI: We are on the same page. It was one of those facts of life, is that they came out with the announcement without giving us a heads up. And quite frankly, the CEO, who is a good guy, got on the phone with me last night and apologized that they came out with that recommendation. So, there is no, not that apologized about the recommendation, apologizing for not letting us know that he was going to do it ahead of time.



COATES: So, there is no mixed messaging, but could this still turn people off from getting vaccinated, Dr. Wen? Especially at a time when the Delta variant is rapidly spreading? I mean, look at the map.

LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Well, I definitely agree that misinformation has been a problem all along. I don't mean misinformation about the booster dose, but just in general, that vaccine disinformation has certainly dissuaded people from being vaccinated. And we need to be clear that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against the Delta variant.

We know that 99.2 percent of people who are dying from coronavirus right now are unvaccinated. So that much is really clear. I think what happened with confusion about the booster shot is actually one of process. Because Pfizer is saying that they want to submit for emergency use authorization form to potentially have a third booster shot if and when it's needed.

Now they still have to submit their data, the FDA and CDC have to review those data, that hasn't happened yet. So, in a sense, they jump the gun in doing this press release. But the CDC and the FDA are now saying, look, there is a process here. We need to evaluate those data. And right now, we don't want people to go out and think that they need a third booster shot. But we do want to say, if you have not been vaccinated yet, now is the time to do that.

COATES: And also, Dr. Wen, there's a German committee on vaccinations now and they are the latest group to recommend this thing called a mix and match approach to vaccination. Saying you can get first dose of, say, the AstraZeneca vaccine and you get an mRNA vaccine is the second dose. Is this mix and match approach good to do? Should we -- should we considerate in some way?

WEN: So, this is called a heterologous strategy, and it's something that's used for other vaccines. So, this is not the first time that used it. And actually, think about all the vaccines that we normally get. We don't ask, is the booster shot that I'm getting for the tetanus vaccine made by the same company that made the tetanus vaccine that I got 10 years ago?

And so, this is something that's routinely used, and actually there are good scientific reasons to think that having a vaccine that's different from the one that you initially got may actually boost your immune response because it may stimulate your immune system in a different way.

So, for example, if boosters are needed, or if or when boosters are needed, if you got the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it may actually benefit you to get an mRNA vaccine as your second boost and vice versa. But that's something that we are still awaiting those clinical trials which the NIH and our federal government are doing.

COATES: Now also, Dr. Wen, the CDC is putting out new guidance for schools focusing on reopening in classrooms. Then it recommends, that you see here, physical distancing three feet, if not everyone is vaccinated. It says that kids who are unvaccinated should wear masks indoors. While vaccinated kids don't need to. Is this the right balance to strike with the CDC? The idea of the indoor, outdoor mask mandates?

WEN: In general, I think the CDC got it right. It is a difficult balance to strike. But what they're saying is, it's really essential for us to get our kids all back in-person in school in the fall. To do that, we have to employ these layered mitigation strategies, meaning that we have to look at it as layers.

And so, if you cannot maintain distancing in schools, which many schools can't if they want to bring everybody back, then you have to do indoor masking, you have to improve ventilation. You also have to have weekly testing if you are unvaccinated.

I do think that one of the problems with the CDC strategy is they are saying, if you are vaccinated, you can take off your mask. But if we don't have any kind of proof of vaccination, I think the onus is now going to be on individual teachers who have no idea if the middle school or high school kid that they are dealing with, who is unmasked is vaccinated.

So, I think there are some logistical issues, but overall, the idea that we need to bring every child back and make it safe through masking and other mitigation strategies, that's the right idea.

COATES: Incredibly important, book. Thank you, Dr. Wen. I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming book as well.

WEN: Thank you.

COATES: New video of an incredibly dangerous assault during the capitol riot, released today. We will show you that, next.

Plus, the Justice Department warning of the possibility of more violence.



COATES: Tonight, the Justice Department releasing new police body cam videos of the violence on January 6th at the capitol. The mob attacking officers. A warning here these videos are disturbing and we're not bleeping them. It's important we all witness the horror of the insurrection.


UNKNOWN: Fuck you! Fuck you!


COATES: In this next video an officer threatened with his life.


UNKNOWN: You are going to die tonight.


COATES: Just horrible. Let's discuss with CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor. He is also the author of the new book "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department."


Elie, I'm glad you're here. These videos are so disturbing to watch. But aside from their value and prosecuting these rioters, it's important that Americans see the reality of what happened that day, especially because there are so many people who are trying to rewrite the history and craft a very different narrative.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly right, Laura. Those people did not look like tourists to me. I don't know about you. It's so important because yes, these cases are being prosecuted. They need to be prosecuted, but we also need to get the record straight here. There is such a dangerous strain of revisionism that has taken hold regarding January 6th where politicians, mostly people who are Trump followers and acolytes are trying to downplay it into it was no big deal.

Every one of these videos is truth, it is fact. It reminds us of just how dangerous that day was and how dangerous the threat continues to be.

COATES: Let's talk about the Trump Organization, Elie, because as you know CNN is learning new details about what prosecutors are doing to try to flip the CFO on Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg, and he has a lot to lose if he doesn't cooperate. So are the prosecutors in this case, are they playing the right kind of hardball with the right player?

HONIG: They are. This is exactly the person who I would be trying to flip if I was working this case. He's the only person who has inner circle access at the Trump Organization, but is not related to Donald Trump. I mean, realistically his children are not going to flip on him.

Prosecutors have a lot of tools at their bearing to try to flip somebody. The problem here though is while they have a strong case against Allen Weisselberg, the state laws don't provide for extremely heavy sentences like you or I maybe was used to from the federal system. So, the signs that Weisselberg is not interested in cooperating, but prosecutors have to keep applying pressure and try to flip him. That's going to be the key to this case.

COATES: You know, you have a new book out. It's called "Hatchet Man." I'm sure you're aware how "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department." I'm not telling you this. But you know, in your book you pull no punches. I read it. You call Bill Barr a liar. That he lied to us over and over again. Elie, what were his most egregious lies?

HONIG: Well, I would start with the very beginning when he lied to us all about the Mueller investigation. I would finish and I do in the book with his lies about the big election lie. He tried to -- he's trying to revise history as much as we were talking about before with January 6th itself by doing puff pieces now out in the media reminding us that at the very end after the election he turned and he said there is no evidence of election fraud.

The problem is for months leading up to the election, he fanned those flames. He lied to us and many times in between, Laura, you know as a former prosecutor yourself, the number one asset you have is your credibility. It was so shocking for me over these last two years to watch the top prosecutor in the entire country lie through his teeth to the public over and over.

COATES: So, what will Bill Bard be most remembered for, Elie?

HONIG: I think for compromising the integrity of the Justice Department and for compromising the political independence of the Justice Department. When you or any prosecutor you have enormous power. But when you are the attorney general, you have got almost unfathomable power, and Bill Barr abused that power to cover up for Donald Trump in the Mueller investigation to protect Donald Trump's cronies. Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and to help spread whatever political narrative Donald Trump was trying to spread at the moment to increase his chances of reelection up to and including the big lie.

So, I do not want to let revisionist history take hold when it comes to Bill Barr. He did unprecedented damage to the Justice Department and I think this book is my effort to set that record straight.

COATES: What an effort it is. It's called "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department." Elie, thank you.

HONIG: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: You know, four years after the infamous unite the right rally, Charlottesville's Virginia's Confederate statues are finally being removed. Stay with us.



COATES: It's been almost four years since the deadly unite the right rally in Charlottesville that injured 19 people and claimed the life of counter protester Heather Heyer when a white supremacist plowed his vehicle into a crowd. The rally that not only elicited this now infamous statement from the sitting president.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group, excuse me. Excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.


COATES: But also, compelled a former vice president to successfully run for president.


BIDEN: I ran for president because I believe we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And the simple truth is our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist.


COATES: But it has taken four years for the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson to come down. It all started with a petition of a young high school student, Zyahna Bryant, now student at the University of Virginia who is determined to tell quote, "a more complete and historically accurate narrative of our history." The city council voted in February of 2017 to remove the Lee statue

prompting white supremacists and neo-Nazis to protest at the rally five months later. Carrying tiki torches and chanting vile rhetoric. After a legal battle between the council and residents who claim that city ordinance prevented their removal, the Supreme Court in Virginia held that the ordinance did not apply and paved the way for the city council just last month to again vote to take them down. And tomorrow, that will happen.

Now both sides say it was never just about the monuments, but what they represent.


And it's fascinating to me how supporters of the Confederate monuments often justify their preservation as a way to tell a complete story of American history. They argue that the removal or destruction of such monuments erases them from the history books. Glossing over their role in or contribution to the republic.

They argue that the Confederacy should not only be contextualized, but we should also more critically examine the influence of race on democracy to the more expensive political lens of states' rights. They argue that giving the full picture is the only way to challenge mainstream approaches to democracy, and that history must always be taught in America.

Now those same people who argue that critical race theory on the other hand, which also seeks to contextualize rather than whitewash history, and critically examine the influence of race on U.S. law to the more expensive political lens of individuals rights, well apparently, that's a perversion of American history that should never be taught in America. Yes. I'm scratching my head on that one, too.

Next, he got a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the navy said he couldn't play. What happened next? He tells us after this.



COATES: A couple weeks ago when a young man named Cameron Kinley was on with Don. Now Cameron is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and captain of the navy's football team. He's also been signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So, he asked the navy for a waiver to allow him to delay his service if he could play in the NFL. His request was denied. Here's what he told Don about it.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You had two dreams, to be in the navy and to play football. You've got a chance to be on a pro team, but the navy says no to a waiver. How are you feeling about that?

CAMERON KINLEY, FOOTBALL PLAYER: Hey, thank you for having me tonight, Don. It's definitely been tough the past couple of weeks dealing with the decision. And being so close to accomplishing one of your childhood dreams and having it taken away from you, you know? And I thought I was going to have a chance to do both. Play in the NFL and service as an ambassador for the navy at that level. So, it's been kind of tough dealing with my emotions these past few weeks.


COATES: But tonight, there is a great twist to the story. And Cameron Kinley is here to tell us all about it. Cameron, welcome back. I'm glad to see you. That was you just with Don three weeks ago. It looks like you are going to begin your service in the navy and early this week you got a call from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. What happened in that conversation?

KINLEY: Hey, thank you for having me tonight. I'm excited to be back. On Tuesday around 4 p.m. I got a call from Secretary Austin and he informed me that he reversed the decision, and he is going to allow me to play in the NFL and have that opportunity to fulfill both of my dreams. I'm definitely appreciative of him and I'm excited for the opportunity.

COATES: What did you say?

KINLEY: Yes. So, he called me and he told me, you know, he's been talking with his team and everybody around him to try to figure out a solution. He feels that this is the right decision, and I just expressed how thankful I am to him for giving me this opportunity and trusting me with this opportunity and I'm going to make most of it and make sure that I'm representing our fine military on that level.

COATES: Well, congratulations to you. Sincerely. And you even asked Vice President Kamala Harris to help you get permission to play. Do you think that maybe she and President Biden also played a role in getting you the go ahead?

KINLEY: So, it's funny. I got a call from General Milley on Wednesday. He informed me that he did, SDI chairman of the joint chief of staff, and he informed that he did have a conversation with President Biden regarding this issue, and President Biden asked for his advice and what he thought. He stood behind it 100 percent, and he thinks that everybody from that academy should have this opportunity. So that was kind of crazy hearing about that conversation. And I'm definitely thankful that the administration was able to step in and help out.

COATES: That's really amazing, Cameron. You actually told Don part of why you want to play in the NFL is actually to represent the navy. So how will you do that now that you've got this opportunity to play with the defending Super Bowl champions, no less?

KINLEY: Most definitely. I'm looking forward to being an ambassador for the navy and representing our military at the next level. I'm already about to get into contact with a center down there for the navy, and to help them recruit and go speak at different events and things of that nature.

It's also about spreading opportunities that the military has and how the military has helped me to get where I am today so that many other people can see opportunities and go after them and chase their dreams as well.

COATES: Well, you are doing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers no less. But if your teammates anything of them said to you, anything yet?

KINLEY: I talked to a couple of rookies that I came in with back in May. And they just said hey, congratulations. Glad to get you back. There's time to go to work. And I was definitely business at this point. I'm excited to go down there and compete.

COATES: How about the one who is not the rookie? A man named Tom Brady? What has he said?

KINLEY: I haven't heard from Tom Brady yet. I'm looking forward to meeting him when I get back down there for sure. And I have a lot of respect for him.

COATES: I can't wait to hear that story. And actually, training camp starts what, in July 24th? And going in you say that you have a chip on your shoulder? Why is that?


KINLEY: I would say just because, you know, you never know when the game can be taken away from you. I was talking to my little brother about this. So, after all the circumstances that I've been through I just feel like I have a lot more to play for now. Just never knowing when the game could be taken from you. And so, I'm just going to give 100 percent each and every day. Give the best opportunity for my best sport forward. Try to make it to (Inaudible) and contribute wherever I can for the organization.

COATES: Well, you already are for the country. So, thank you so much, Cameron. Congratulations to you. I can't wait to watch you and cheer you on.

KINLEY: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

COATES: And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. The lasting a country in the middle of another rise coronavirus cases in battling vaccine disinformation need is conflicting messages from the government about the efficacy of the vaccine past the six-month period.


That is exactly what's occurred the past 24 hours ending with an apology, sort of, from the company that started it.