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Don Lemon Tonight

House January 6 Select Committee Starts Hearing Tomorrow; Four Heroes Will Testify Under Oath; Couple Skeptical Of Getting Vaccine Gets Infected With COVID-19; Interview With Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA); Trump Supports Ken Paxton In Texas; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Calls Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger Pelosi Republicans. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 26, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): All right. Thank you very much for the opportunity, I hope you all know it's coming from a good place. I hope you understand that we got to talk to each other. Don Lemon, the big star with "DON LEMON TONIGHT," even if he doesn't get the show name right, starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Well, I don't know, I'm sure a lot of people are not going to agree with this, but don't get the vaccine, and you can't go to the supermarket. Don't have the vaccine. You can't go to the ball game. Don't have a vaccine, can't go to work. Don't have a vaccine, can't come in. No shirt, no shoes, no service.

That's where I think we should be right now. Because we continue to waste our breath and people on who are just not going to change. Their, you know, circular logic, they just keep going back and saying, it's my freedom, it's whatever, I'm free.

Well, your kid is not free to give other kids meningitis in schools. You have to take a vaccine to do that. You have to take a vaccine in order to be employed. So, what is the big deal? All of these people are saying, I don't want this stuff in my body. They're out drinking on the weekend, and putting all their substances and that's much worse for them than a vaccine. So, come on. Let's be real.

CUOMO: Yes, look, there are people, who have health exceptions. I think they are the very pronounced minority. This is a about something else, something just as toxic as the virus. Now my hope is that people on the right, and Trumpers, changing their tune. Whether it is Steve Scalise, or Sean Hannity, or this other guy starting to get more quiet about it, that that may make a difference.

They are aware that they don't want to wind up like Trump, where you misplay a pandemic, it's demonstrably false what you said, and you lose. They don't want the midterms to look like this election did for Trump. And that's why you are seeing that narrative shift. Hopefully it makes a difference, because again, this is a situation where it cannot be left and right, it needs to be reasonable. The science is there unless you're one of the people who are

immunocompromised it makes a difference for you. And even though, Don, the congressman of Florida didn't know this, the vaccine isn't just to keep me from getting less sick from the variant, it mitigates, it reduces my ability to give it to you.


CUOMO: I still might, but it's less. And that's why you get it.

LEMON: Well, that congressman lost me when he said his wife had it, and his kids had it and I went -- hello? Hello? It's just, it makes no sense. It makes absolutely zero sense to hear.

Listen, and this is not just, actually it's not a left and a right thing because the former president politicized it. And that's who politicize this. Nobody else was saying, well, you got to get this because Joe Biden said, you get to. No one did that. The Trump folks did that. That's who politicized this. The propaganda news network politicized this. That's who politicized this.

So, it shouldn't be left or right, but for some reason, getting a vaccine has become that, and I really don't understand. There's no logic to it, it's not about freedom, it's not about anything, it's really about common sense and about keeping your fellow man, your fellow Americans safe and alive, and especially kids who are now getting it now.

I got to tell you that before I let you go. There is no better example than I have coming up with Ashley and Scott Owen. They were vaccine resistant. They didn't want to do it. They went to, they had a party for July 4th, both got sick. Both ended up in the hospital. One of them is still on oxygen, and they are going to join me in just a few minutes. They show us exactly where we are in this country. Now they are saying, everybody, go get vaccinated.

CUOMO: A precautionary tale. We just don't need to have people go through that in order to arrive at the conclusion that they could've made before.

LEMON: And this is where we are, this is what I'm doing now. I'm masking up, and I'm fully vaccinated. And a lot of people are having to do it.

CUOMO: Well, that may be required in a lot of places really soon, unless we get straight with this vaccine.


CUOMO: And even if we do it may be that way. Anyway, I love you. I'll see you.

LEMON: All right. Thank you so much. I'll see you later.

This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching.


You know, we thought we were coming out of this on the other side. Right? Like, we're coming out of this. We could have been having a largely COVID free summer, without masks, right, without these things, back to normal activities, back to work, and getting ready for back to school.

But, no. Free of fear. Free of senseless death. For those who love to talk about their freedoms, how does that sound? But as the pandemic of the unvaccinated soars, more and more of us will see mandates. It's already happening in states and cities now maybe even yours.

Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, today calling out the right-wing echo chamber of vaccine misinformation in the midst of urgent attempts to reach unvaccinated people.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We are exhausted respectfully, exhausted by the ideological prison that too many Americans are living under. We are exhausted by the Ron Johnson's and the Tucker Carlson's, we're exhausted by the Marjorie Taylor Greene's. We're exhausted by the right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation around the vaccine, and its efficacy and safety.

We are exhausted by the politicization of this pandemic, and that includes mask-wearing that has been equated to the Holocaust. It's disgraceful, it's unconstitutional -- its unconscionable, and it needs to be called out.


LEMON (on camera): And it's a uniquely American problem. Harry Enten have the facts up earlier on Chris' show, uniquely American problem. So, what is happening here? It's being politicized by the right. That's the truth.

The fact, the fact is, there are far too many on the right who are willing to tell vaccine resistant Americans exactly what they want to hear, willing to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories. And look at what happens as a result.

Let's look at just one state, in this case, and that's Arkansas. OK? Where the Republican Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, along with the top doctor got booed on his trip around the state trying to convince constituents to get vaccinated, booed for telling the truth.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Does this impact fertility? Well, the answer is, no. And that's in the data that --


HUTCHINSON: Dr. Delaney (Ph), do you want to answer that?

UNKNOWN: So, at this point in time, there is no evidence that the COVID --


UNKNOWN: You shut down for following the (Inaudible).


LEMON (on camera): But this is the same Governor Hutchinson who told our Jake Tapper that he approved a statewide ban on mask mandates because people are capable of making their own decisions.


HUTCHINSON: At that point, we had very low case rates in Arkansas, and people knew exactly what to do. They were capable of making their decisions.


LEMON (on camera): Well, now here we are. And then there's the Trump White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders running to replace Governor Hutchinson by the way, in an op-ed, trying to convince the vaccine resistant, the vaccine resistant to roll up their sleeves. She mentions her former boss, no less than 14 times, and says, and I quote here, "it is clear that the Trump vaccine works, and is saving lives."

Is that what it is going to take to get people vaccinated? Brandishing this out to look at Trump vodka, or Trump stakes? Trump airlines? All tight, then, look, so be it. If you have to coddle people, or do that for we're adults here. Let's hope it works.

And we are just hours away from the first hearing of the January 6th Select Committee. Tomorrow's hearing's expected to last two and a half hours, with one round of questions from members, and never before seen police body cam footage shown as four hero officers testify about the truth of what happened, and what happened to them on one of the darkest days in this country's history.

The truth that GOP deniers have been trying to hide for months with their lies, comparing bloodthirsty rioters to tourists, calling them peaceful patriots. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on a panel, along with Adam Kinzinger, will make an opening statement right off the committee chairman, Bernie Thompson -- Bennie Thompson, excuse me.

She talked today about how, in her view, this is bigger than politics.


UNKNOWN: Guys, we got to get to that door, right?


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): It's going to be really important, a really important opportunity to remind everybody about the necessity of accountability for what happened. For making sure it never happens again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Accountability, accountability, accountability. That's what all this is supposed to be about. Yet, Kevin McCarthy, who just days after the attack on the Capitol, said that the then president bore responsibility. Now, he is calling Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger Pelosi Republicans.

Kinzinger called that childish, pointed out it was Republicans actually who killed the independent commission in the Senate. Listen.



REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We had an opportunity for a five-five commission that didn't even include members of Congress. Then, at every junction it kept getting blocked. Despite that we negotiated the five-five. And so, it's obvious that there are some that just simply don't want answers, and that to me is unacceptable.


LEMON (on camera): People don't want the truth. There are some who don't want answers. Some who are spreading lies, with their talk about how the rioters hugged police. Look at all the hugging right there. And we all saw it with our own eyes that they were beating police, trying to defend the seat of our democracy.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Many of the Republicans in Congress who are most vocal about supposedly supporting the police and law order are the same ones who have dismissed and downplayed the shameful events of that day.


LEMON (on camera): And as the hearing goes on tomorrow, some of those Republicans who have shown they will stop at nothing to whitewash the events of that day are planning a press conference outside of the Justice Department on what they're calling the treatment of January 6th prisoners, otherwise known as accused rioters and insurrectionists.

Nancy Pelosi blasting their jailhouse presser, and saying House Republicans are proving once again that they stand with the insurrectionists, not with our law enforcement. Blue lives matter, remember? After everything that happened, everything we saw on January 6th, tomorrow, we are going to hear the truth at the capitol, the scene of the crime.

Four hero officers testifying, Officer Michael Fanone who was beaten with a flagpole, tased with his own taser, who pleaded for his life saying, I have kids.


UNKNOWN: I got one.



LEMON (on camera): Who told me whitewashing the lies are an assault on every officer who fought to defend the capitol.


FANONE: I'm not a politician. I'm not an elected official. I don't expect anybody to give two shits about my opinions. But I will say this. You know, those are lies. And peddling that bullshit is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the capitol. It's disgraceful.


LEMON (on camera): Officer Harry Dunn who spoke out about the racist attacks he and other black officers experienced, who told me the lies of insurrection deniers are like a slap in the face.


LEMON: Some Republican lawmakers and even former -- the former president, they are trying to rewrite history, saying that the riots that they weren't that bad, and that the rioters were actually antifa. I know you have said that this isn't political for you, but how do you respond to them twisting --


LEMON: -- the truth like that?

DUNN: It's hurtful. It's hurtful, and it's like a slap in the face without even asking us or talking to us about what we went through.


LEMON (on camera): Sergeant Aquilino Gonell who was beaten so badly he thought he might die, who told me the rioters were Trump supporters.


AQUILINO GONELL, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: And for them to whitewash this like I'm making it up, like somebody told me that all of this is a black lives matter or antifa? There was no antifa there. All the people, that sea of people that were there, they were saying President Trump sent me here. He is our president. He sent us here. And we won't listen to anything that you say that day.


LEMON (on camera): Officer Daniel Hodges who was crushed in a doorway by rioters.


DANIEL HODGES, POLICE OFFICER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: He was able to rip away my baton, beat me with it, and he was practically foaming at the mouth.


LEMON (on camera): Patriotism, law and order, freedom, liberty, these are the ideas that the Republican Party has long claimed to hold. What happened to them? How can they look at these men in the face and men and women in the face who defended them, who defended democracy that day? They can't. Some will try to cover up what happened that day to distract, to pull stunts. Why do you think that they want Jim Jordan on there, right? You know why.

So, don't let them don't fall for the Okey-doke. Let's try to get to the truth, OK?


So, when I tell you, I told you about this a little but earlier as I was talking to Chris, next, you have to stick around for this. They had a party on July 4th, they were not vaccinated, he thought he had a hangover, then he went to the hospital testing positive for coronavirus.

They are going to join me, there they are, right after the break.


LEMON (on camera): All right, so welcome back, everyone. So this is what I told. I have a couple here I really want you to me. But first, let me just give you some of the background on what's going on where they live. And that's in Florida.

Nearly a quarter of all COVID cases, a quarter of all COVID cases right now in the U.S. are there in Florida, more than any other state. Less than half the people are fully vaccinated. And with cases climbing, some hospitals are bursting at the seams.

My next guest, while they are at home now from the hospital thankfully, they didn't get the vaccine. They ended up getting sick with the virus. Ashley and Scott Owen are here to tell their story tonight.

Thank you both. And we're not here, just so you know, we're not here to judge you. We're here to hear your story because you are like so many people in this country right now. And you can offer some help and guidance about what happened. So, thank you both. How you doing? Are you okay?



LEMON: You are released from the hospital just this weekend, right?

S. OWEN: Yes, Saturday.

LEMON: Yes. So how -- you still have symptoms, you are still on oxygen. Tell me your story and what does it's going to take for you to get better? Do you have any idea?

S. OWEN: It depends on my body, my lungs and how they react. Of course, I'm asthmatic. I'm a retired navy. I've required asthma in there from some chemical. So, maybe that's what attacked me with the COVID. The doctors don't know, I'm still on three liters per minute of oxygen until -- we have no idea. So, I do exercises daily so we'll see in the future.

LEMON: What's your exercises?


S. OWEN: This nice little machine here.

LEMON: What do you have to do with that?

S. OWEN: It is a suction machine to build up the, I guess the pressure on your lungs and it slowly clears out whatever is going on along with the steroids and stuff that I'm on.

LEMON: Yes. Scott, I'm going to talk more and get back to you. Let's bring in Ashley now. Because Ashley, I want to go back to how this all started.

So, you and your husband hesitated to get the vaccine because you have been trying to get pregnant, right?

A. OWEN: Yes.

LEMON: But you had been hearing some misinformation about the vaccine infertility. So, tell me what you heard that made you and Scott choose not to get vaccinated.

A. OWEN: I don't think that we necessarily -- we really didn't hear anything. There wasn't a yes, get it. There wasn't a no, don't get it. It was kind of there was not enough information regarding fertility. I have struggled, we both have struggled with fertility for it's been five years now and I had surgery last year during COVID to try and help my fertility, went through a very rough recovery. I didn't -- it's not that they didn't want to get the vaccine -- it's not that I didn't want to protect myself. I just I didn't know. And that's scary whenever you really want a baby. And that's been -- it's been tough. It's not been easy.

LEMON: Talk to me about that.

A. OWEN: It is scary. I'm 38. I see people with children and it's just hard. It's scary for me. I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that if I got the vaccine. What if I got the vaccine and it made me infertile? What if I got the vaccine and it didn't, but I didn't know. And not knowing is the hardest part. I think that's the hardest part for everyone. They don't know, they are scared.

LEMON: Did you talk to your doctors about it?

A. OWEN: Yes, and they said it's up to you.

S. OWEN: Can I get in for a second?

LEMON: Yes, go ahead.

S. OWEN: I personally also had cancer polyps found last year. And I was told that I should and then I was told I shouldn't from the V.A. from try care from new resources. Yes, no. So, there was a lot of hesitation in both directions. So, that's another thing we are not for or against. But after going through this, we are definitely for.

LEMON: It's changed.

A. OWEN: So, yes, it has, it changed both of our minds. I mean, it woke us up. Seeing him lying there, me being a sick as I was. I luckily did not get it as he did. But I said if it makes me infertile, if it makes him infertile then we'll adopt. There is plenty of babies out there that need a home. And that's where we are at this point.

LEMON: Now listen. I'm going to talk -- I'm not -- I'm glad you check with your doctors but from all of the medical experts that we have had on the network and we've spoken to. You know, this vaccine has just -- has been in the works, right? This mRNA vaccine has been in the works for quite a long time before COVID-19 to work on other viruses and even coronaviruses.

This one is, this new strand is new, but this isn't something this research, and this form of medicine is not something that is new. But go on, if you want to respond to that I'll let you.


A. OWEN: I went (Inaudible) and I understand that, too. I know that a lot of people are misinformed because they see it from both sides. They see a media outlet telling them one thing and then another mediate outlet telling them another. And I wish that we could all just get on the same page --


A. OWEN: -- and do this together. We don't have to have this divide. We are all Americans. We all need to fight this together. That was his thing, you know. He spent 20 years in the navy fighting for us and we should all fight together.

LEMON: I couldn't agree with you more about we should all be on the same page, and we are all Americans and we're all in this together. Listen, I want to talk to you guys about the party and the other people at the party who ended up testing positive as well.

Can you stick with me, Scott? I don't want to get interrupt what you guys are doing. I want to take a break and come back and speak with you guys longer, if that's OK with you?

S. OWEN: Not a problem.

A. OWEN: Yes.

LEMON: OK. We'll be right back, everyone.



LEMON (on camera): So, I am back now with Ashley and Scott Owen who hesitated to get the vaccine then ended up getting coronavirus. And listen, I've just because you guys as you agreed that you said you want everybody to get on the same page and you are hearing one thing.

Listen, we have been -- again, I'm not scolding you guys, I just want to get the right information out. OK? Because people are watching and this is what we have been saying on the air and this from CNN. There is no clear sign -- this a CNN fact check.

There is no clear scientific reason to think the new vaccine would cause fertility problems in adults. Likewise, there is no scientific reason to believe it would cause fertility problems in teenagers. Those are the facts regardless of how old the person is. As the data comes out, what we are seeing in these thousands of women who took the vaccine is that their pregnancy outcomes are no different than the population of pregnant women who did not get one of the vaccines.

There is no evidence that people have lost any fertility because of COVID-19. The rumor apparently started with the myth that the coronavirus spike protein, which is mimicked when you get a vaccine, also mimics a protein on the surface of placental cells. This U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said that there is no link between any vaccines and fertility.

I just want to say that because I want people to know the truth, Ashley, so that they are not -- I don't want to end up in a situation like you guys. I hope you understand that.

A. OWEN: Yes. And I didn't say this but I struggle, I have stage four endometriosis. So, I have a disease that causes infertility.


A. OWEN: That's kind of where I was going with that.

LEMON: No, I understand, I understand. So, let's -- I want to talk about. So, you, Scott, you had a Fourth of July party.

S. OWEN: Yes.

LEMON: Twelve people at that party ended up testing positive for coronavirus. You felt sick immediately after that, right?

S. OWEN: Yes, on the 5th that Monday. And like I said, I thought it was a hangover. I thought it was just a hangover slash maybe a cold or something. And I laid on the couch all day. I didn't have the energy to write my wife's birthday card. So, that was not my best moment. It led into Thursday, I was getting tested at our clinic and from there it was pretty much downhill from that point on, directly to ICU about two days after that. And then 10 days in ICU, and 12 days total until I finally get to come home.

LEMON: So, knowing what you guys know now would you have done anything differently?

A. OWEN: Gotten the vaccine.

S. OWEN: Yes, definitely. I don't like to almost die. It's no fun.

A. OWEN: No, it is very scary. Whenever you see someone you love right next to you, you know, deteriorating. And you are calling 911 because his oxygen levels dropped, it really makes you realize that there is nothing a couple -- that you need the vaccine.

LEMON: What do you want to say to folks --


A. OWEN: It's better --

LEMON: -- who are resistant or hesitant or they just don't want to get it. Or maybe ambivalent, what do you want to say?

A. OWEN: I mean, do your research. It's always your choice. But really, really think about it and really look at a man who is 6'4", 210 pounds stronger than any man I've ever met can barely walk from the couch to the backyard without getting winded. Everything has changed for us. Our lives have changed because of this virus. And we don't know how long it's going to be. We don't know if this is going to be a few months. If this is going to be years that he is going to be dealing with this.

But everyone who knows Scott knows that he is up and doing something. He is building something. He is moving something. He is working in something. And to see him like this, I know a lot of our friends we have changed a lot of their minds because they know him. And they know what kind of man he is and have seen him get as sick as he did.


LEMON: Yes. Well, Scott, Ashley, thank you both. I'm going to let you go unless you have anything else you want to want to say. But I want to get well, both of you.

A. OWEN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. Keep us updated. Thank you very much.

A. OWEN: Yes, sir. Thank you.

S. OWEN: Thank you.

LEMON: So, they represent a lot of people in this country, and you can say what you want. Like they should have known better, and this isn't -- they didn't -- OK, maybe they should have had the evidence but they didn't and a lot of people don't. So maybe they can be of service to you and to others who don't see the benefits of getting the vaccine. Hopefully you will see that now and we wish them the very best.

Now, let's move on to other misinformation that we want to talk about and that is January 6th, officers who defended the capitol testifying in just hours, the investigation into the insurrection beginning. What will they find? Congressman Eric Swalwell tells us what he expects. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): So, we are hours away from the first hearing of the January 6th Select Committee. Hero officers who protected our capitol will testify under oath for the first time. And sources tell CNN there will be never before seen video from the deadly riot.

Joining me now Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. Representative, thank you very much as a matter of fact I went longer with that couple, so I thank you for your patience because I know you're very busy.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): That was an important segment, Don.

LEMON: Thank you, thank you. I really appreciate that. Again, I appreciate your patience.

Listen, you are an impeachment manager for Trump's second impeachment. The charge against him was inciting an insurrection. And tomorrow, the Select Committee is going to hear four officers who are on the front line during the attack. What do you expect to see, Congressman, and hear?

SWALWELL: Tomorrow starts with four police officers who were on the front line, Don, fighting and hand-in-hand come back to defend the count that was taking place and the lives that were inside. Essentially, it's to make sure that animating through those officers that January 6 is a day that is not erased from the story of America.

LEMON: You know, Adam Kinzinger he's now on the committee. He says that he is open to potentially calling some Republican members of Congress to testify. Should that include Kevin McCarthy and the former president as well?

SWALWELL: They should be off the table. Certainly, Kevin McCarthy knew Donald Trump's mindset as the insurrection was taking place. And what Donald Trump was willing to do. And most importantly, not do. But second, Donald Trump as I saw as an impeachment manager, Don, he incited this mob. He aimed the mob and once the mob went to the capitol, he did nothing to stop them.

I was convinced after that trial that but for Donald Trump, that dark day would never have happened. We invited him to testify at the impeachment trial, he refused which I think showed a consciousness of guilt for his conduct. But I hope that the Select Committee with less time pressure that we had in the Senate, if they think that he is a valuable relevant witness is able to seek him.

LEMON: How much do you think this investigation -- how much do expect it's going to focus on Donald Trump's role in the insurrection versus security failures, other factors that led to that deadly day?

SWALWELL: Certainly, we need to know as a democracy how can an individual or a party or an individual supporter have so much, you know, capability to storm the capitol, make it inside and stop the count. So, we don't that to ever happen again. By the way, Don, what has changed, right? We haven't -- the Republicans have voted against or stop us from having security assistance on the Senate side. They are not taking up that vote. So, Donald Trump is still around saying that he is going to come back in August.

So, what has changed? We have to make sure that we protect against this type of situation happening again. And then of course, we want to make sure that in January 2025 and future electoral certification days that we are better able to protect the capitol. And that means a full MRI has to be taken to what lead up to that day.

LEMON: So, as you know, I think it's bear -- it bears repeating. People should -- we should continue to say this. The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, initially agreed to an independent 9/11 style commission. Only for Senate Republicans to knock that down. She put two Republicans on the Select Committee. So, for the people who say that this committee is now partisan is, you know, now partisan, where is the responsibility for that lie?

SWALWELL: Squarely at the feet of Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell who were doing the bidding of Donald Trump. And it's not only that we won't understand, you know, the truth about January 6th in the most completely way. If we had a bipartisan independent commission, and the Select Committee will do the best job possible absent an independent commission.

Don, it's such an insult to the police officers who are going to hear from tomorrow. They have seen now in the last six months Republicans have voted against giving them the gold medal for what they did on January 6th. Republicans have not voted to give the security assistance that would help us. Republicans have blamed the FBI and said it was an inside job.

Republican Leader McCarthy refused to meet for many months with Officer Mike Fanone. And then the ultimate, you know, coup de grace, so to speak, was walking away from the Select Committee. You know, they have shown that to honor Donald Trump you have to dishonor the police. And tomorrow will be entirely about honoring the heroes of January 6.

LEMON: And we'll be watching. Thank you, Representative Swalwell. I appreciate it.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

LEMON: I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

So, you know who has a lot to say about this, and you don't want to miss it. Mathew Dowd after the break.



LEMON (on camera): So, we're just hours away from the first witness or witness's testimony in the January 6 commission hearing. That as elsewhere on Capitol Hill the bipartisan infrastructure deal is on shaky ground as senators try to work out a compromise. All of this as the pandemic of unvaccinated is making government consider stronger measures to fight the spread.

I want to discuss this now. Former chief strategist for George W. Bush, Matthew Dowd. He is the author of the upcoming book "Revelations on the River," which can be preordered now on Amazon. I'm waiting for the audio version, but I'm going to have to go, I'm going to have to get the text so that I can read it because I really want to read it. Matthew, thank you. I appreciate you joining.


LEMON: The GOP is blasting this Select Committee, Matthew, as partisan with the House minority leader responding with insults when asked the two Republicans who were on the committee. Listen to this and we'll talk.



UNKNOWN: Some Republicans have been saying that the GOP should play ball with this committee --



UNKNOWN: -- you could -- you could get --

MCCONNELL: Adam and Liz? Are they kind of Pelosi Republicans?


LEMON (on camera): OK. Listen, I think he thinks he's being cute there. Right? Pelosi Republicans -- Republicans had a chance for a bipartisan commission and rejected it. They misjudge how this would unfold? DOWD: Well, I thank what they're doing is that what they're most

concerned about is the truth coming out. I mean, every single thing they've done since January 6 has been evidence of people that are very scared of the truth coming out. And the funny thing is, is they didn't want Republicans on there that would speak the truth and seek the truth. That's what's so interesting, that they've now become a caucus of the dishonest.

And the two people that look like to be the most honest of that Republican caucus in the House, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, who are very conservative members, Republicans, are two people that want to pursue the truth regardless of partisanship. And we should all want that.

LEMON: You know, this is, as always, this story, when it unfolds as it relates to the former president is interesting because tonight we are learning that the former president is endorsing incumbent Ken Paxton over George P. Bush, the former -- or for Texas attorney general, I should say, even after Bush made support for Trump the cornerstone of his message, he threw his own family under the bus. It should be a reminder, I think to other Republicans, I wonder what you think, that loyalty is a one-way street for the former president.

DOWD: Well, you know, it's fascinating to me, it's say that what's happened in the attorney general's race is it tells me two things. One, Donald Trump thinks the best candidate is somebody that's been under indictment, multiple indictments for the last five years and still under indictment and has not gone to court yet. So that's his kind of Republican.

Two is, George P. Bush is, you know, went out of his way to bootlick Donald Trump, throw his family under the bus, and this is what he gets in return on that. People forget that a devil's bargain, in a devil's bargain it's not only are you dealing with the devil, and not only do you not get what you wanted, the devil ultimately does exactly what the devil is always going to do.

And so it's amazing to me, Republicans still think pursuing Donald Trump's endorsement in this and going after it is going to somehow benefit them. Donald Trump is an albatross and they have not figured that out yet.

LEMON: My colleague Jamie Gangel is reporting that sources close to George P. Bush believed this is exactly what would happen and warned him not to publicly play up to Trump because Trump would once again tacky an embarrassing the Bush family. I said this right off, but anyway, go on. And that is exactly what happened.

DOWD: Well, you know, sycophants sometimes can't help themselves. You know, George P. wants a higher office than land commissioner in the state of Texas, here in the state of Texas. And he will do anything. I, you know, I was somewhat surprised that he would be willing to throw his own family under the bus after how Donald Trump treated Jeb Bush's father in this.

But, you know, at this point in time, Republicans don't seem to have any sort of moral code or moral compass at all. All it is, is pursuit of power, a pursuit of some higher office, and George P. is one of them. And in the end, they get punished for it. And that's what happened in this case.

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about this bipartisan infrastructure deal, now appears to be crumbling with Democrats and Republicans already pointing fingers at each other, right, this is your fault. But President Biden told me this at our town hall last week. Watch.


LEMON: The bipartisan infrastructure deal failed, the procedural vote today, right?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But -- no. Yes, but that's irrelevant.


LEMON: In the Senate today. Go on. OK. In that Senate that negotiators say that they need more time.


LEMON: OK. So, they expect to vote again on Monday. But how much time do you think they need to get this done?

BIDEN: Till Monday. Look, I'm not being facetious. I'm not being facetious. You had up to 20 Republicans sign a letter saying we think we need this deal.


LEMON: I got to say it didn't happen today the way he said. So, what happens if the president's bet on bipartisanship falls apart? This is a continuation of a conversation that we've been having.

DOWD: Well, to me, I'm hopeful and I hope that this infrastructure bill can get through because our bridges are crumbling, our roads are crumbling, our infrastructure across America is crumbling. It's unreal that the richest country in the world at this point in time, in the 21st century, can't rebuild their bridges in this.

I have been saying to you, and I know you, we've had this conversation, bipartisanship should not be the goal. Bipartisanship is a process to get to a goal. The goal should be the truth. The goal should be what's best for America.


If bipartisanship works towards that goal, great. If it's a block to that goal, forget bipartisanship. And when you have almost an entire Republican caucus who just seeks to block anything that Joe Biden wants to do, whether it's from the commission that we just talked about to investigate what happened on 1/6 to everything else, is you can't have bipartisanship with a person in a relationship who you can't trust. The Republican Party cannot be trusted in America today.

LEMON: Matthew Dowd, thank you, my friend, I'll see you soon.

DOWD: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. COVID hospitalizations more than doubling over the past three weeks and now the vaccine mandates are beginning. Stay with us.


LEMON (on camera): The pandemic of the unvaccinated surging tonight, with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rising. The V.A. is now mandating vaccines for front line health workers.


And we're just hours away from the first hearing of the January 6 Select Committee.