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Don Lemon Tonight

Delta Variant Rapidly Spreading Across U.S. Especially In Places With Low Vaccination Rates; Biden's Failure Cheered By CPAC Attendees; Sen. Dick Durbin Slams Fox News Anchors; Democrats Flew To Washington, D.C. To Block Votes In Texas; Johnson & Johnson Vaccine With Rare Side Effects; GOP Continues With The Big Lie. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 12, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Thank you for watching. Thank you for giving us the opportunity. D. Lemon on "DON LEMON TONIGHT" right now.


CUOMO: Show so much. So much. I have nothing but great memories whenever we spend time together.

LEMON: So, I know that you missed me during the handoff. I mean, Laura is great, but you know, she --


CUOMO: There is only one handoff.

LEMON: There is only one handoff, right? We love Laura. I love you. There's only one handoff.

CUOMO: She is the upgrade.

LEMON: Yes, she is an upgrade from me, absolutely. But I do have to say that you didn't see me on TV but we did get to spend time together. This is us at lunch on Saturday. Do you see that? All the guys on one side of the table and all the women on the other of the table.

So, this is us. And my adopted family. These are most of the Chris' friends who have now become my friends. Really, really, really great people otherwise they would not be in my life and of course, my fiancee and my dogs.

OK, so I enjoyed seeing you on my vacation. But I also enjoyed this picture right here, because I know my mom is going, hey, where are we? So, there's my family at the same restaurant by the way on two different days. We just happened to go to the same restaurant. It's our favorite. Should I tell people where it is? CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: It's in Greenport. Yes.

CUOMO: It's not like we get a break on the bill. I guarantee you it is not free. All right. We pay for everything --

LEMON: It's true.

CUOMO: -- we get in that place.

LEMON: And the reason I have it in this order is because we had been talking about what's happening with Delta variant and with the vaccine and with COVID and there's a big part of my family discussion about whether they should come here or not, my mom was worried, she is worried about Delta variant, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But the interesting thing is the conversations I had, Chris, regarding vaccines. You and I are on television every single night. It doesn't mean that our families are going to do what we say. They're independent people. My mom, of course, gung-ho, sister, whatever, my nieces, they were -- now that they're not anti-vaxxers by any means, they're not -- it's not politically motivated but they were -- the urgency to get a vaccine just wasn't there for them.

They didn't get it early on and they were also saying well, I don't know about the kids and what have you, but it was interesting to hear their conversations regarding the vaccine, whether or not it was too quick. They were worried about what was going to happen if they got it and if they were going to have, you know, any repercussions from it or any side effects but there was just -- they were living everyday life like hey, I'll get it. I'm still wearing a mask and what have you but they are also in a very red state.

I don't know if that had to do -- anything to do with it, maybe it was the messaging. Who knows? But it was interesting hearing them after not seeing them for two years.

CUOMO: I don't blame them. One, we confirmed a community and what's happening around us is most likely going to affect how we feel about us. Also, I blame the Biden administration. I had Tony Fauci on tonight, Dr. Fauci. They are not making the case to people like your cousins and nieces well enough. And they are not talking the approval talk.

Forty-nine percent of people who haven't had the vaccine say it being FDA approved would help them.


CUOMO: Now Fauci says it's just crossing the t's and dotting the i's. It going to happen. But it hasn't. They don't talk about it. Biden doesn't talk about it. They don't have the FDA person out front talking about the process, when it's going to happen and why it hasn't happened to reassure them. And I think that they are losing the messaging game and it's a mistake. LEMON: Yes. Well, there is a lot to discuss on all of this and again,

I think that we can -- we need to continue to do our parts, but there is, you know, something going on in the country. Again, this is not like CPAC with the people saying I'm going to do this and the Biden and all this. It's not. But there is, not everyone has the urgency.

CUOMO: Forty-nine percent --


LEMON: Some people are just ambivalent about it.

CUOMO: -- say if it was FDA approved, they would take it. Let me tell you where that comes in.


CUOMO: Your kids.


CUOMO: Let me tell you who is thinking twice about giving it to your kids. Me.


CUOMO: Why? Because I don't know. And I was going to take it no matter what. Why? I don't have the same risk profile from myself than I do my kids. The 18-year-old got the vaccine. The 15-year-old, all right, we're going to do it if that's what they want in school. Fine. I'll like to know more about it. I'd be talking to the doctors in my life about what we know about it for kids, what are the risk and what aren't. If it were approved, would it make a difference to me? Yes, it would.


CUOMO: And I know Tony Fauci very well.

LEMON: And that was the conversation in our house. A lot of things. But I got to tell you. Of all the fighting and good and talks and discussions that we had and catching up. It was amazing to be with family. There is nothing like being with your family even though they are pain the ass --


CUOMO: It reminds you why you are how you are and they let you know exactly who you are to them --


LEMON: Why haven't I seen Chris?

CUOMO: -- no matter how much things have changed. Well, listen, I, you know, I always love to see your mother. She's a good lady. LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And I just hope that you're different when it comes to the wallet in that lunch than you were in the other lunch.

LEMON: Trust me, my wallet is hurting right now.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something at home and I'm going to get out of here. Waitress walks to somebody with a clipboard.


CUOMO: Starts talking to him, they are reaching their pocket, it gives something to the waitress and walk away. What do you think they were talking about? What do you think, they were having --


LEMON: I have no idea.

CUOMO: That's why I ask her what Don Lemon said.

LEMON: I didn't see that happening --

CUOMO: Don Lemon sees this happen --

LEMON: I did not see that.

CUOMO: -- the woman walks away with my credit card and he goes, wait, wait, what was that? Wait. Did he just? I mean, come on.

LEMON: See you.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon. Cheap --

LEMON: Hey! Yes. Did you just call me cheap?

CUOMO: Never.

LEMON: Get vaccinated people. That's all I got to say. Despite the conversation that we had we're talking real stuff but get vaccinated. Thank you, brother. I'll see you later. I love you, too.

This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm so happy to be back. I hope that you enjoyed. I know you enjoyed Laura. She is an upgrade from me. But now we're back so let's get to the discussion now.

So, yes, people are having conversations about the vaccine in my own family as I just said, but we've got a miracle that are right -- that's right in our hands right now, actually, it's right in our arms. Vaccines that are saving millions and millions of lives allowing us to get back to some semblance of normal. Letting us hug our loved ones again. Letting us get out into the world. Letting me see people I haven't seen in two years, right?

So, you can thank science for that. Science. Science. I had a discussion with my family about science. I said how did you get here? They said an airplane. I said that is science. You believe in that, believe in the science.

So there -- yet there are people out there who want to talk advantage of people's questions, their hesitation who are so determined to divide us that they will spread every kind of misinformation, every kind of lie. They'll put the lives of their own supporters at risk.

In just the past week average COVID cases are the case rates I should say were about three times higher in states that have fully vaccinated less than half their residents. That is a fact. So, what you even say about this, what can you even say about this to your audience at this big conservative jamboree called CPAC over the weekend cheering the fact that the Biden administration fell short of its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by July 4th. Watch this.


ALEX BERENSON, FORMER REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Because clearly, they were hoping, the government was hoping that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated and it isn't happening. Right? There is a -- younger people --



LEMON (on camera): Cheering. Cheering about not getting vaccinated. That's not cool. The vaccine is free. It's widely available and it can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. It's not about politics at all. It's not whether you're a Republican or Democrat, it's about life saving vaccines.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The vaccine is extraordinarily effective in real world effectiveness. Ninety-nine-point five percent of all the people who died from COVID were unvaccinated. The vaccinations and the vaccine work spectacularly well.


LEMON (on camera): So, people who are vaccinated aren't the ones in hospitals. OK? They're not the ones who are dying. If you're not vaccinated, you're right in the sights of this virus. And giving the more contagious Delta variant a chance to take hold as a matter of fact. Yet, over at the propaganda network right wing media, they're going full tilt with their misinformation campaign. Senator Dick Durbin blasting the lies on the Senate floor today.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): There are two hosts of programs on Fox prime time that can be characterized as anti vax quakes. I'm referring of course to Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. They are not doing America any favors and I hope that Fox will come to its senses.


LEMON (on camera): Well, it doesn't seem very likely, does it? Even Rupert Murdoch himself got vaccinated, he did it months ago, he urged everyone else to get it, too. Yet his network stars are doing everything they can to scare people out of getting vaccinated.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: Things like that tend to happen when a destructed submissive population allows the government to dictate what medical procedures they get, what drugs they take.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Going door to door, this is creepy stuff. You know, someone comes up to your door outside wearing a mask, showing up at your house claiming to work for the government, asking your personal medical questions. What could possibly go wrong there?


LEMON (on camera): Whatever. The right bears responsibility for all their misinformation, for lies that are putting people's lives at risk. They bought into the lies from the former president and even though he's not even in power anymore, his party has spawned a bunch of wannabes and mouthpieces like the ones on the propaganda network.

They gave the former guy a platform on Maria Bartiromo's show to lie again, to lie about the insurrection at the capitol. And while he was giving interviews spreading lies about love on the air on one of the darkest days in this country's history, this is the reality of what happened. OK?

So, take a seat and watch. New videos tonight released by the Justice Department showing rioters violently attacking police as some in the crowd appear to try to steal a riot shield and jab a flag pole at an officer. I want you to look closely too because you're going to see what appeared to be Trump flags and a MAGA hat. We're not bleeping any of the cursing. So, you're going to get the full context.


UNKNOWN: Let him go! Let him go!

UNKNOWN: Get up! Get up!



LEMON (on camera): And that, my dear viewer, that's the reality. But sadly, millions of people believe in the big lie. They believe the lie that the election was stolen. A lie. They believe the lie of bogus voter fraud. Another look at this. Take a look at CNN's Donie O'Sullivan. He talked to some of them.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: What are you hoping to hear from Trump?

UNKNOWN: That he is going to regain his rightful seat as president.

O'SULLIVAN: In 2024?



UNKNOWN: As soon as the election is overturned for the election fraud.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you guys think the election was fair?




UNKNOWN: They tried to tell us the Tarrant County election we went blue for the first time since 1962.

UNKNOWN: It's not called an insurrection to me. What about it was an insurrection?

O'SULLIVAN: They stormed the capitol.

UNKNOWN: Who? Who is they?

O'SULLIVAN: The Trump supporters, right?

UNKNOWN: Bullshit. I mean, I'm sorry, bullshit. You don't know who those people were.

UNKNOWN: Now some Trump supporters were invited in and there is video and there is audio that say come on.


UNKNOWN: Come on in.


LEMON (on camera): Never mind what the indictments say, what prosecutors say. What's been happening in court. Never mind any of that. Never mind the facts I should say. Those folks Donie talked to have been told lies over and over. They are adults. But lies they have been led to believe. Again, they are adults.

Lies the GOP and right-wing media are still spreading. And while bumbling cracking lawyers are falling all over themselves in a Michigan courtroom trying to push their lawsuit to throw out the state's votes in the last election, a lawsuit a lawyer for the city of Detroit called, quote, "an embarrassment to the legal profession."

The big lie lives on in the form of what's happening in Texas. And that's where Democrats fled the state tonight in a desperate effort to block the Republican majority from passing a restrictive new voting law tailormade to push lies about non-existent widespread voter fraud.

Two private planes landing in Washington tonight carrying the majority of Democrats fleeing Texas. Sources telling CNN that they kept the plan a secret because they can legally be -- they can be compelled legally to return to the state's capitol and believe law enforcement could be sent to track them down.

Now, they're reportedly hoping to meet with Senate Democrats while they're in Washington. The Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatens to arrest them as soon as they come back to Texas. The attorney general Ken Paxton who, by the way himself is under a federal investigation of allegations abusing his office to help a political donor, saying tonight, and I quote here, "it's shameful and they have failed as elected officials." The vice president by the way, Kamala Harris praising them as leaders.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will say that they are leaders who are marching in the path that so many others before did. When they fought and many died for our right to vote.



LEMON (on camera): And here we are tonight. Texas Democrats fleeing their state in a last-ditch effort to block a restrictive new voting law as the GOP is pushing its assault on the most sacred right on Americans, the right to vote.

After 17 states have passed nearly 30 laws to cut back on ballot access. All in support of the big lie of bogus voter fraud. So tonight, we got it all covered for you. We're going to have a lot more to come on this desperate fight by the Texas lawmakers. I'm going to talk to one of them.

Plus, our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with everything you need to know about the vaccines, the Delta variant and the boosters, that's coming up.


FAUCI: The CDC and FDA said that based on the data that we know right now we don't need a booster. That doesn't mean that won't change and we might -- we might need, as a matter of fact, at some time to give boosters either across the board or to certain select groups.


LEMON (on camera): So, Texas Democrats arriving in Washington, D.C. tonight after fleeing their state to block a restrictive voting bill, but Republican Governor Greg Abbott is threatening to keep calling special session, a special session, session after session to force the vote.


So, joining me now one of the lawmakers who arrived in D.C. today, Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett. State Rep, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: So, this is a very dramatic move. You're planning on staying at least in D.C. or out of the state until August 7th. Is that going to stop what Texas Republicans are trying to do?

CROCKETT: Staying out until August 7th at least stops it for now. The governor is right, he can continue to call special sessions. One thing that the governor is not telling everyone is that because he defunded the legislature, unless the Supreme Court rules in our favor, there will be no staff to do anything come September 1.

So seemingly, the longest that we really have to hold out is until September 1. Because you can't pass any bills without the people that actually write the bills. We wouldn't have House administration. We wouldn't have our parliamentarians. We wouldn't have those that actually make sure that they work our committees. We couldn't do anything. So, this is an issue that he created so it will be interesting to see him to try to fix it up.

LEMON: OK. So, you know, again, we talked about him calling special session after special session. That's what he promised to do. He also says that you can be arrested for fleeing and kept inside the Texas Capitol until the job is done. What's your response to that?

CROCKETT: So -- he's so dramatic. It's interesting that he was actually on our Supreme Court as well as was our attorney general at some point. So let me tell you all what the law is so that everyone understands. So, we have not committed a crime. And so, under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution, you can't arrest people that haven't committed a crime. So, we've not committed a crime. What can happen is we can be detained.

So we can have someone come and get us, but that's so long as they have jurisdiction and I know that the governor may believe that he's president now but he's not and hopefully will never be the president of these United States but he does not have jurisdiction overall United States. He has jurisdiction over Texas.

And so, it's actually our sergeants in the House that it says in the rules that they can actually go after us. The law is still unclear as to whether or not the speaker can then go ahead and say hey, we're going to deputize these DPS officers and these officers can go after them. But even still, their jurisdiction would not extend outside the state of Texas, which we are outside the state of Texas and prepared to stay outside the state of Texas, so nothing is go going to happen. We are not going to be pulled back in.

LEMON: Did you, I mean, honestly, you really can't hide. I mean, like they know where you are.

CROCKETT: Exactly.

LEMON: I mean --

CROCKETT: We're in D.C.

LEMON: I know, but if you're in D.C. or whatever, I mean, listen, there are ways to find out. All they have to do is call the airline and see where you went, right? Unless you drive somewhere and they can figure that out.

CROCKETT: Absolutely. Yes, I know.

LEMON: So, listen, to his point, though, this bill is going to be voted on at some point and you don't have the votes, so are you --


LEMON: Are you delaying the inevitable here? I know you said that you have until September but are you delaying the inevitable?

CROCKETT: You know, I hope that's not what we're doing. I hope that, you know, this is seen as a full-court press. The last time we were in D.C. we had already killed a bill. We have a live bill that's sitting there. So, I'm hoping that we can really impress upon those here in D.C. how important this is and how far we're willing to go because it's just that bad.

The last time we were in D.C. it wasn't the entire delegation but we were able to move the needle a little bit with Senator Manchin. We didn't have an opportunity to sit down with Senator Sinema. I am hoping and I am praying that with all that we're going through, the fact that over 50 members had to leave their families, leave their children, leave their husbands for democracy because we have people that are trying to run the Texas House in a way that is tyrannical, you know, I'm hoping that they see and say man, you know, if the Republicans can go through all of this to do wrong, let us take our step to do what's right because we have the majorities here on the federal level.

That is my hope and prayer. And then they can pass their damn bill and we can do what always happens in Texas. They always get told this was an intentionally discriminatory bill and therefore, we are striking portions of this bill. That is what's going to happen but it will only happen if we have federal oversight like we historically have had.

LEMON: OK. Let's talk about this bill and why you believe, the Democrats believe, why like the Democrats are taking such drastic and dramatic action here. Explain to me what this bill means for voting in Texas. What will happen if it does become law?


CROCKETT: Yes, you know, so some of things that we heard about, most people may not realize but Harris County is a pretty large place. That's where Houston is, so as Dallas County. And what we're seeing in our urban centers is that we are growing so fast. In fact, the DFW area added over 160,000 people just in the midst of the beginning of the pandemic. We grew faster than any other urban area in the country. We are picking up two congressional seats because we are growing so fast.

So, what the legislature is trying to do is say no, no, no in those urban centers we want to make sure that they have long lines, that they have to stand in line for four and five hours because that's where all the black and brown people are. They don't want them to have open, open and easy access to the ballot box.

So, when you saw Chris Hollins decide hey, we're going to do drive- through voting. Well, it's really no different than curb side voting. I mean, and we've had curb side voting for quite some time now. And so, this idea that we're going to take this away especially once we saw the statistics and we saw that the majority of the people that use that drive-through voting were minorities.

But we heard testimony from first responders on Saturday saying hey, you know, we were working 24-hour shifts fighting this pandemic doing everything that we could but we still wanted to vote and it was so beneficial that we either had the ability to do drive-through voting or we had the ability to actually vote 24 hours a day. Instead of it just being kind of this small window.

You know, Texas is the biggest state or second biggest state. Either way, we're too big, right? And so, when you look at a place like east Texas where I used to reside in Texarkana, I was actually the Democratic Party chair up there, and I never would have asked for or tried to get, you know, polls to be opened 24 hours. It wasn't necessary. We didn't have the population.

But when you look at a place like Harris County, it absolutely did what it was supposed to do. And that was -- that is what was frightening to the Republicans. They see that their power is dissipating. They see that black and brown people are voting. The growth in the last 10 years, 80 percent of it in the last decade has been because of people of color. That is what is scary in Texas.

LEMON: And the bill SB 7, correct?

CROCKETT: The old bill was SB 7.


CROCKETT: We've got HB 3 and SB 1.

LEMON: OK. Well, and SB 7 and these, some of the other ones would have made casting mail in ballots harder, ban drive-through voting centers.

CROCKETT: Absolutely.

LEMON: As you said, end 24-voting tactics at Harris County, the home of Houston used in the 2020 election empowered poll workers, made it easier for courts to overturn election results, effectively out lawed black churches Souls to the Polls, get out the vote push and more. That's what's at stake here and that's why Democrats are doing what they're doing. Listen, good luck. Good luck.

CROCKETT: Be optimistic, Don.

LEMON: No, no, no.

CROCKETT: We can do this.

LEMON: I, look, it's not up to me. I'm just saying good luck. It a huge under taking for what you're doing.


LEMON: And for the amount of time. Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Representative Crockett.

CROCKETT: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you very much.


LEMON: The Delta variant rapidly spreading across the U.S. especially in places with low vaccination rates. One expert warning a surprising amount of death could soon follow. Let's talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that, next.



LEMON (on camera): Well, COVID cases up in the U.S. notably in areas with low vaccination rates and health experts say the Delta variant is behind that spike. And the CDC out with a stunning number. Ninety-nine percent of coronavirus deaths in June occurring among people who are unvaccinated.

Let's talk about that and more with CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Doctor, good to see you. Thanks for joining.


LEMON: So, before we talk about variants are rise in case numbers, people need to know if you are vaccinated, you are protected from serious illness or death. Am I correct? GUPTA: Yes. No, that is what the initial trials showed, and now you

got, you know, close to a billion people who have received vaccines around the world, and the real-world data reflects that. As you just mentioned, Don, 99 percent of people who are ending up in the hospital are unvaccinated. I mean, that is quite a crucial statistic if you think about it. It's still out there, it is still making people sick but 99 times out of 100 if someone is sick enough to go to the hospital, it's because they haven't received the vaccine.

LEMON: What about breakthrough cases, Sanjay, that we're hearing about a cluster here on the East Coast. The town manager of Provincetown as P town, a popular beach destination in Cape Cod says, he is aware of positive COVID cases and a number of them are breakthrough. Should vaccinated people be concerned?

GUPTA: No. This is a really important sort of anecdote that's going on here. I think it tells a story. First of all, people who are vaccinated what the data have shown is that they are far less likely to get sick, far less likely to get sick and have to go to the hospital. Again, as we said, that has remained true. Could you develop an infection?


And usually these are people who get tested because they have to and have no idea, they have no symptoms and they are surprised when it comes back positive. These are breakthrough infections and they do occur but again, they're not likely to get sick or at least very sick from this. What I think is crucial, Don, here and this is sort of a little bit of the science meets the art.

If you're vaccinated. You live in a community that's primarily vaccinated but now it's vacation time and lots of people may be coming and you may be surrounded by increasing number of unvaccinated people. Does that make you more likely to develop a breakthrough infection? Yes.


GUPTA: That's the thing. If there is more virus circulating, you're going to be more at risk. You're still well protected against getting sick but you may still develop a positive test if the virus is circulating around you.

LEMON: OK. Just how contagious is the Delta variant? That's what people are wondering as well. Can you help us understand that?

GUPTA: Yes. So, if the original strain that you and I were talking about last year at this time was a certain amount transmissible, pretty transmissible. Then when the Alpha variant that was 50 percent more transmissible. This is 60 percent more transmissible than that. This is close to double as what we were talking about this time last year.

But, Don, this screen that you're looking at right now, this is really important. If it's Alpha or Delta, Alpha is now -- that was the U.K. variant, India is the Delta variant. Look how protective these vaccines are. Whether it's infection, whether it's symptoms or the bar graph on the right, the far right is, you know, people getting sick enough to be hospitalized. Ninety-five, 96 percent protective against that.

So, it is far more transmissible. Don, someone said to me and I think it was an interesting way of putting it. So we keep thinking of America sort of as the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. What it's going to become given how transmissible this is, is the vaccinated and the infected.

This is an unforgiving variant if you're not vaccinated and you're out and about, you're likely to get infected at some point. That's become the reality here.

LEMON: OK. So, you said it's like 50 percent, right, the transmission rate, 50 percent higher. So, what does that mean? Everything we learned, you know, due to the spread standing six feet apart, staying outside and even wearing masks. Would that apply even with the Delta variant that is more contagious, right? If I'm using the right terminology than the other?

GUPTA: Yes. No, it's a really good question. I mean, I think if you're diligent about those measures especially outside and especially masks. One thing about the six feet apart is that we now know that this is likely to be aerosolized so even if you're further than six feet apart inside, that may not offer you protection as much.

It's kind of like if someone is smoking in your house in a bedroom far off in a different part of the house, you're likely to smell it at some point. Think of the virus kind of like that. But yes, masks, being outdoors, those things still work and are definitely recommended for people who are unvaccinated but vaccination is so protective. I mean, you know, again, close to a billion people now vaccinated around the world. We have the data to show just how effective it is.

LEMON: So, I want to ask you about this -- about hearing tonight, we're hearing that the possibility of Johnson & Johnson, supposedly it's a warning, Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine might raise the risk of neurological complication. What is that risk and what exactly is the complication?

GUPTA: Yes, so this is a situation called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

LEMON: Guillain-Barre syndrome.

GUPTA: Guillain-Barre syndrome. People may have heard of this. It's often characterized by what's called an ascending paralysis, meaning you may develop some numbness and weakness in your feet and then it sort of, ascends up your body. And it could be quite alarming for people. I've seen patients with this, Don. What they found was a safety signal, meaning out of 12.5 million people roughly that received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, about 100 of them.

So about 10 in a million had this sort of problem. This Guillain-Barre syndrome. Most times it does resolve but I don't want to minimize this, it can be a few weeks before people start to actually improve their symptoms. Typically, men. Typically, over the age of 50, which is you and I, I think both of us. But it is rare, Don.

And one thing I want to just give some context here is that the chance of developing Guillain-Barre after the flu, for example, would be higher than the chance of developing Guillain-Barre after this Johnson & Johnson shot. So, again, I don't want to minimize it. That's why this safety signal studies are conducted. There will be a warning label on that vaccine, and, you know, you have to take it in that full context, though.

LEMON: Yes, I'm glad. That was my next question about what can happen after getting the flu because you can get Guillain-Barre not just from, it's not just a side effect from a vaccine, correct?

GUPTA: That's right.


GUPTA: That's right. I mean, just the inflammatory response to an illness overall can do it.


LEMON: I learned so much with you, Dr. Gupta. Not only here but you know where. I sent you a text. I loved you on Jeopardy. I thought you were amazing. I really enjoyed it.

GUPTA: Thank you.

LEMON: I really enjoyed it. And I learned from you.

GUPTA: I appreciate it.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Doctor.

GUPTA: And I love seeing those pictures of you with your family.

LEMON: My gosh, it was great. Thanks for talking to my mom and helping her get here. I need it. She's like, can I come back for Labor Day? I haven't answered her yet. So, we'll think about that one. Hi, mom. Thank you.

GUPTA: Have her back. Have her back.

LEMON: Thank you, Sanjay. I appreciate it.

So, let's talk about CPAC proving that what was once a fringe is now really the heart of the GOP. Where does our country go when baseless conspiracies are baked into a major political party? Well, guess what and guess who? Come on, you're on TV John Kasich. We'll talk to him right after this break.


[22:45:00] LEMON (on camera): The big lie repeated over and over and over again at a conference of Republican conservatives and many in attendance trying to whitewash the violence at the capitol on January 6th.

I want to discuss now with CNN's senior commentator John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio is here. I can't wait to get this to conversation. Good to see you. Right into it.

So, this big lie took center stage at CPAC. We heard attempts to rewrite January 6 and other baseless conspiracies. The fringe has taken hold of the GOP. It's now -- it's now, I mean, look, it's the mainstream. So, what does this mean for the country?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's not mainstream. It's CPAC, Don. If you went down to CPAC at this time, I actually spoke at CPAC years ago when it was kind of like, you know, sane and this is extremists gathered with a guy coming in and you know, using red meat to fire them up.

But I talked to a friend in New Hampshire today and he said, you know, the party is shrinking and that's just the way it is and people know January 6th, Republicans know January 6th was a terrible, terrible blow to the United States of America.

And so, you have some people that just, you know, they just don't want to pay attention. They live in a silo and anything that doesn't agree with their point of view they reject and what happened at CPAC in regard to the virus, what happened with Trump's speeches was just terrible, it was outrageous. You know? It was a terrible situation. But don't say that everybody who is a Republican is now buying into this because they're not.


LEMON: It's not that everyone who is -- it's not that everyone who is a Republican, I said it's now -- it's now the mainstream in the Republican Party. I know that --


KASICH: I don't think that's right, Don.

LEMON: Well, your assessment may be anecdotal, but what it shows with lawmakers, all but a few of them voted to, you know, not for the commission. They didn't --


LEMON: They voted not to confirm the results of the election. I mean, it is, you know.


LEMON: It's not just the fringe anymore.

KASICH: Yes. I would -- well, I would only say this, that politicians are not the definition of who is in the party. I mean, I've been very critical of these folks and I will continue to be. But just because --


LEMON: Don't they feel like they are representing the base? Because if the base wanted something else, wouldn't they change what their --

KASICH: No. Well, I mean, a lot of them are afraid. They just want to get reelection, they want power but if you're saying to me that because of their actions in the United States House on January 6th, you know, in terms of that commission that therefore they represent the party. They don't represent me and they don't represent a lot of Republicans. And remember, Don, the party is shrinking. People are leaving the party in droves because they don't approve of this.


KASICH: So, we got to see where -- how this plays out.

LEMON: Listen, they want power. I mean, that's obviously, you know that's no better, right?


LEMON: It's actually worse. But listen, there is so much to talk about but I want to get -- I want to move on because we can talk about that all night.


LEMON: At CPAC, too, we heard cheers over the country missing the vaccination goal. I mean, it's really terrifying to think about the implications of that especially with a very contagious Delta variant spreading. I just spoke with Dr. Gupta about that.

KASICH: Yes. Right.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead. What do you think?

KASICH: I thought we were going to hear from somebody. It's disgraceful.


LEMON: No, I just heard from Dr. Gupta, he was in the segment before you.

KASICH: OK. It's -- Don, it's disgraceful. What can I tell you? You got a bunch of extremists gathered in an event with other extremists coming to them and feeding them with a bunch of hogwash. I mean, it's like, you know, it's the far right. It's the extreme part of the party, and they invite, you know, they didn't invite me to go down there and talk. They only invited people that would tell them what they want to hear.

LEMON: Yes. KASICH: There is nothing unusual about that. I mean, that happens in politics. It's just what they're doing here in regard to the virus, so many things, January 6th, everything else, it's disgraceful. What else can I do? I mean, I'm not going to set myself on fire about this. I'm just telling you that it's horrible and I believe over time this will change.

LEMON: Look, OK. Maybe you're right about that. But if you look at the polling it doesn't really reflect what you're saying, John. It reflects that people are buying into the big lie into what Trump said, into what they're hearing on, you know, the propaganda media and right-wing media and you know there is no widespread voter fraud. The election was not stolen.

KASICH: Of course not.

LEMON: January 6th was an insurrection. but the sys the exact opposite of what you're saying right now. And I think for -- I think for most centrists and for most sane people in this country, they want what you're saying to be true. But it is not reflected in the polling.

KASICH: Yes. It depends what poll you look at. I don't want to debate polls. But it's not a majority of Republicans to think the election was stolen. And you know what, yes, you call somebody up and you ask them what they think and they tell you something.

Look, I mean, at the end of the day, Don, something we have to keep in mind believe it or not, the Democrats lost the seats in this last election. Joe Biden won because he was the antipathy of Donald Trump. But let's not get carried away with the Democrat philosophy.


There are a number of Democrat liberals who are now warning people about the leftward drift of the Democratic Party on things like defunding police, soft on crime, just look at your guy that just is going to be the mayor of New York, thanks God he's going to do a great job on borders, on many things.

And so, what I'm suggesting to you is, you know, the Democrat Party has to be careful that they don't go out of the mainstream. in fact, this guy who writes for Mother Jones said, you know, that the Democratic Party has moved farther to the left on social issues than the Republican Party has moved.

It's very interesting. I don't think either party is now speaking to --


LEMON: You mean farther to the left than the Republican Party --

KASICH: -- middle America. But that doesn't absolve the Republican Party of some of this crazy stuff. It just doesn't.

LEMON: You mean the republican Party they moved farther to the left than the Republican Party has moved to the right.


LEMON: I don't, John, again, I don't know if that's true, because if you look at the people who were elected -- well, hang on, before you do that let me just get --


KASICH: Yes, I'm listening to you.

LEMON: Look at the people who are elected --

KASICH: I'm listening to you.

LEMON: -- the Democrats have elected. It doesn't show you that the far left was elected. It shows you that moderate Democrats were elected. So perhaps the media and perhaps the extreme voices in the Democratic Party are the ones who are getting most of the attention. Now, look, I'm neither a Democratic nor a Republican. But I don't see --


HEGSETH: -- for the most part Democrats --


LEMON: -- who believe in defunding the police. Joe Biden has said he doesn't believe in defunding the police. It's not a tenet of the Democratic Party. So, I think a lot of that is just from right wing media and maybe just media in general --

KASICH: Don? Don?

LEMON: -- not actually paying attention to what's happening with the Democratic Party.

KASICH: OK. Look, Peggy Noonan wrote a column, not a left winger or right winger. And I'm not here to defend the party. I'm here to tell you the way I see it. And what Mr. Drum, who writes for a veteran of Mother and Jones, and Wasserman (Ph) says the white activist class won't like this but moving to the left while galvanizing the progressive base risks outrunning the vast middle part of the country which progressive activists seem uninterested in talking to.

LEMON: Progressive activists?

KASICH: I mean, this is not my opinion.

LEMON: But that you're saying progressive activists, that's not the bulk of the Democratic Party.

KASICH: Don, that's who -- that's who's calling the tune in the Democratic Party. No, it is.

LEMON: Yes. KASICH: Let me tell you. If we have an election today for the U.S. House, do you think the Democrats are going to leave the House?


LEMON: Stand by, producers. Please, let me, hold on. You're talking. I got it. But I want to hear what John has to say. This is a great conversation. Go on, I'm sorry.

KASICH: Yes. What I'm saying to you, Don, the middle of this country today, look, this whole woke culture, what's happening, the Democrats are involved in some respect, revolution, rather than evolution. You see it in public life, if you move too fast and too far, and people don't understand what you're doing, you lose.


KASICH: And that's what happening. That's what the Democrats are risking. Now let me also say that evolution is not an excuse for doing nothing, on police reform, on the border, on any of these issues. I'm just trying to say to you, you know, the Democrats are better be careful. And the Republicans, cripes, I don't even know what they stand for. So, you know, I'm like you are, I don't know what to think.


LEMON: Look, I think you're right, I think you're right about that. And moving too far in any one direction is -- in any direction is --


LEMON: -- not good. But here's the thing. Just remember, there are always policy -- we have -- we have disagreements about policy. We have disagreements about what should -- what legislation should be enacted. We shouldn't have disagreements about what is reality and what is not, what is the truth and what is a lie. One is detrimental to the republic and the democracy. The other one is a debate that we have always had in politics. Just remember that, OK?

KASICH: Let me tell you this. I agree with that completely. And if you think about CPAC, there were no cheers for anything they were for to solve a problem. All the cheers were for the negative stuff about our country, negative stuff, a lot of which they made up. It's disgraceful.


KASICH: I can't be any clearer about that. But both parties have got to watch where they are, --

LEMON: All right, John.

KASICH: -- specifically the Republican Party of which I'm still a member, believe it or not.

LEMON: I'm in major trouble, I've been gone on too long. I'm going to hear about it once you go.


KASICH: I know, but this is what we do, Don Lemon.

LEMON: We'll be --

KASICH: -- because we've been gone for a week, of course we had to do this.

LEMON: Sorry in advance. All right. See you later. Thank you. We'll be right back.

KASICH: All right, man, thanks.



LEMON (on camera): So, take this. A heavy police presence and mass arrests today in Cuba, one day after rare protests broke out across the country. The protests said to be the largest in decades. And they have the support of President Biden.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The United States stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights. We call on the government, the government of Cuba, to refrain from violence in their attempts to silence the voice of the people of Cuba.


LEMON (on camera): Many Cuban protesters calling on the president, Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down.

We'll be right back.