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Don Lemon Tonight

Democrats Are Calling For Governor Cuomo To Resign; President Biden Called Out Deniers Of COVID-19; Andrew Cuomo's Victims Want Justice; Shontel Brown Wins In Democratic Primary; Four Officers Have Now Died Of Suicide After Responding To The Capitol Attack. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired August 03, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): All right, thank you for watching. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with the big star, D. Lemon, right now.

I know you have Officer Fanone on, so important given the news of the fourth member of the protective force that day to take their own life. Really shines a light on how we have to treat each other with respect and let people know it's OK to talk about how they feel and to express their pain and that it won't be seen as weakness.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I agree 100 percent. I think he will as well. As a matter of fact, after I heard about this, I called him last night. I didn't hear from him. I text him didn't hear from him. And then I called today and I said are you OK, are you OK, and he says yes, I'm fine. And he talked to me about it, then we talked about it as he should go on the show and he should discuss it because that has the greatest impact of being able to say it publicly.

What he actually said to me was the first time I actually talked about this publicly it really helped me because there I was saying it in front of the world on your show, and it really helped me. It made it easier for me to actually be able to talk about it in therapy. He'll tell us about it a little later on.

But I think anything we can do, Chris, to get the stigma off of mental health issues in this country. I know you're a big proponent of that, I think that we should do it.

CUOMO: I think we have to do it. You know, I -- the days of believing it doesn't touch us --


CUOMO: -- are over.


CUOMO: Everybody has in their own life or somebody they love. So, nobody has an excuse of saying that it's just weakness, suck it up. We all know better.

LEMON: Can you imagine having gone through what they did and having people deny the existence of what happened, deny their efforts, their efforts to protect and their lives could have been taken from them -- you know, some of them their lives were taken in a different way. Another lost his life the day after the insurrection.

But can you imagine having to deal with this every day now for months and months and months and then having the very people you protect deny that it even happened? As Michael Fanone said I went to hell and back and then I have people now telling me that there is no hell or hell doesn't even -- or wasn't that bad. Yes.

CUOMO: I can because we've watched it happened.


CUOMO: And we've seen it happen before.


CUOMO: The good news is there's always a chance for change and hopefully we'll see that here. But our hearts and our thoughts have to go out to the families of these officers who took their own lives.

LEMON: I'm going to make my witness as you say.

CUOMO: Make your witness.

LEMON: And you know what, I love you, brother.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: All right. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.

The calls are getting louder and louder. This is what I'm talking about, top Democrats from New York to the White House calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. That in the wake of the bombshell report from the states attorney general that alleges a governor sexually harassed 11 women including state employees and a New York state trooper.

The report also says that he retaliated against one woman who went public with her allegations against him. And the president of the United States couldn't be more blunt. Question, should Governor Andrew Cuomo resign? Answer, yes. And there's more.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Back in March you said that if the investigation confirms the allegations against Governor Cuomo then he should resign, so will you now call on him to resign given the investigators said the 11 women were credible?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I standby that statement. COLLINS: Are you now calling on him to resign?


COLLINS: And if he doesn't resign, do you believe he should be impeached and removed from office?

BIDEN: Let's take one thing at a time here. I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don't know that for a fact. I've not read all that data.


LEMON (on camera): Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, we're friends, allies. The governor had a primetime speaking slot at the Democratic convention. So, this isn't the only president telling the governor to resign -- this isn't only the president telling the governor to resign. It's Joe telling Andrew to step down. And he's not the only one.

Nancy Pelosi putting out a statement today, quote, "as always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth. I call upon the governor to resign." Both of New York senators calling for him to step down.



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We continue to believe that the governor should resign.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): These actions are inappropriate for the governor of the united -- the governor of New York state, and I do believe he should resign.


LEMON (on camera): So, the question is what happens now? Will Andrew Cuomo take a page out of the Trump play book? The last thing you might have expected from him in the past and just hunker down? His tone -- his tone-deaf, I should say, defiant taped statement didn't really help him.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that's not who I have ever been.


LEMON (on camera): That was his response. But his response gave his detractors fodder, ammunition, content. And also, the accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo aide, is now saying if he is not willing to step down, the governor should be impeached. And she goes on to say this.


CHARLOTTE BENNETT, GOVERNOR CUOMO ACCUSER: He sexually harassed me. I am not confused. It is not confusing. I am living in reality. It's sad to see that he's not.


LEMON (on camera): And the report is damning. Interviews with 179 people, more than 74,000 documents and stories from women who say they were groped, grabbed, kissed.


LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging.

JOON KIM, SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR: Some suffered through unwanted touching and grabbing of their most intimate body parts.

ANNE CLARK, SDNY SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR: The governor hugged executive assistant number one and reached under her blouse to grab her breast. The governor held her so closely that her breasts were pressed against his body, and he sometimes ran his hands up and down her back while he did so.

There were also several occasions on which the governor grabbed her butt. The governor pressed and ran his fingers across the chest of a woman while reading the name of her company whose logo was on her chest.


LEMON (on camera): Damning. Damning. And there's always a tweet for everything that we have learned lately especially during the last administration but this one now from the governor. This is from the governor who in 2013 in a tweet uncovered by CNN's KFile said, there should be a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment and must send a clear message that his behavior is not tolerated.

That as the pandemic of the unvaccinated is crowding hospitals in hot spots all across this country. A CNN analysis finds that the current pace it will take until mid-February to get at least one dose of vaccine into all eligible Americans, mid-February.

Do we have that much time? Do we? Imagine what could happen between now and then if we don't get shots into arms much, much faster. Yet governors in states like Texas and Florida are putting politics ahead of public health with their anti-mask orders. Tonight, the president, Joe Biden turning up the heat. His message, do the right thing or get out of the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: Florida and Texas account for one-third of all new COVID-19

cases in the entire country, just two states. Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren't willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses, universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.

I say to these governors please help. If you aren't going to help, at least get out of the way of the people that are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.


LEMON (on camera): Looking at you. Governor Greg Abbott, with your ban on mask mandates even in Houston where the mayor told city workers yesterday that they need to start wearing masks again. Looking at you, Governor Ron DeSantis, blaming the media.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I think it's important to point out because, you know, obviously media does hysteria. You try to fear monger. You try to do this stuff. And when they'll talk about hospitalizations, our hospitals are open for business.


LEMON (on camera): It's so easy to blame the media. Come on, man. Blame the media, that's your answer? Tell it to the people in Florida hospitals hitting an all-time high of patients in one day today.


You can take your COVID denying and, well, you can get the idea. I've said it before lies are killing us and they're killing our democracy like the lies from the January 6th deniers who are just honoring the American heroes who fought to defend the capitol that day, those we've lost and those who are still suffering the effects of one of the darkest days in our history. Four police officers who defended the seat of our democracy have died by suicide.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Their deaths are a sad reminder of that shameful day in our country's history and of the physical and mental scars left the officers who risked their lives to protect our capitol and our democracy.


LEMON (on camera): Officer Michael Fanone calls the lying and denying -- well, I'll let him explain it.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened.

I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. But too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.


LEMON (on camera): Mike Fanone is here tonight. But there's no question the Republican deniers bear the blame for the lies about January 6th, comparing those rioters to tourists, peaceful patriots, antifa, Black Lives Matter.


REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): You know, if you didn't know the tv footage was a video from January the 6th you'd actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): By and large it was all -- it was peaceful protests except for there were a number of people, basically agitators with the crowd and breached the capitol. And, you know, that's really the truth of what's happening here.

I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law. And so, I wasn't concerned.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters. As a result, the DOJ is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

UNKNOWN: There was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who are taking the lives of others.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building.


LEMON (on camera): Not to mention and I know some of you would prefer I didn't mention him, the disgraced twice impeached one-term former president himself who claims there was what he called a lot of love in that crowd.

What are they trying to hide? We all saw what happened that day. We all know it had nothing to do with love. We all know it had nothing to do with tourists or peaceful patriots or Black Lives Matter or antifa. We saw it with our own eyes.

The crowd that stormed the United States capitol put up a gallows outside. They hunted lawmakers in the hallways forcing them to run for it. The bloodthirsty rioters who beat those brave police officers to within an inch of their lives, the January 6th deniers dishonor every single American hero who fought to defend our democracy that day. But the party of the big lie and the big liar seem to be beyond shame.

President Joe Biden says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign after the state's investigation found governor -- the governor sexually harassed multiple women. Will he resign? Now what?


JAMES: These interviews and pieces of evidence reveal a deeply disturbing yet clear picture. Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of both federal and state laws.




LEMON (on camera): So, here's our big story tonight. The pressure is mounting on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down following a damning report from the state's attorney general detailing sexual harassment allegations against the governor.

President Joe Biden saying the governor needs to resign, and other powerful Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and both of New York's senators are also saying that he has lost their support.

I want to bring in now CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, and CNN's senior analyst Laura Coates.

Good evening to both of you.

Kaitlan, I must say you pressed the president today. I found it riveting as I was watching it live. You pressed him on about his -- on the governor and his response was unequivocal that the governor needs to resign. It's a crushing blow for the governor because the two have been long time allies and friends. Can you talk to me about that relationship?

COLLINS: Yes, they've had this kind of political alliance since about 2015 when President Biden was first exploring whether or not he should run for president. And they have forged a bond since then where they've relied on one another, talked often publicly about one another. And so, this, when it first became a thing and this investigation first got under way was a real challenge for the White House of how do you handle this and what is the appropriate response?

And you saw today Governor Cuomo even used a picture of him and President Biden in his response, these self-defense against these claims that were backed up by this investigation. But I don't think President Biden really had a lot of options here, Don, because he did say in March that if this investigation corroborated those claims, he would call on Cuomo to resign, and so today he said yes, bluntly, he's standing by that and he does think that Governor Cuomo should resign.

LEMON: Laura, no other way to put it. That report is damning, scathing in its detail. It found all 11 women claiming harassment to be credible, their accounts are corroborated some by real-time texts. Talk about the weight of the evidence, please.


LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, you're talking about 179 different interviews with people, 11 witnesses corroborating one another. You've got the idea of someone who did not even come forward until after she heard the governor make a statement earlier in the year that he had never acted inappropriately, then report it to other colleagues about it.

The outline of culture, of toxicity, of intimidation, of bullying, of flirtation and they really describe really a duplicitous atmosphere where on paper this governor's office was well aware of the standard. In fact, they had written a law to several years ago lowering the threshold of what it would take to try to bring a sexual harassment claim, and they had this notion what was on paper versus what was happening in reality.

I thought really damning here, Don, was a member of his own security detail, a state trooper who also was one of those 11 women to come forward and talk about it. And I found Governor Cuomo's later montage of photos that Kaitlan is speaking about, I mean, as if his allegations were limited to kissing on the cheek.

It's about groping as well. It's about inappropriate conversations. It's about at one point, groping someone's buttocks, touching a chest as well, going underneath a blouse to grope a woman's breast. I mean, some of this behavior I don't know if there's going to be actual criminal charges based on what could form the basis of unwanted nonconsensual assault charge in most jurisdictions.

I'm not sure when this actually took place. But certainly, when you're asking for the opportunity to lead as you are when you ask to be the governor of a state, you are held to a higher standard. I think we can all agree that if these are true, the baseline should be decency and that has totally eluded this executive chamber.

LEMON: Kaitlan, I have to ask you because Biden said previously that he wanted to wait for the report and if it turned out to be true, that he would have to resign and that he could be prosecuted. I'm wondering if there was a response to that today and if the state trooper, those allegations, if that changed anything for the White House, if that was surprising to the White House or at the White House.

COLLINS: I think it surprised a lot of people. And this morning when this was happening around 11 a.m. when the attorney general of New York was announcing this investigation, a lot of televisions in the West Wing were turned to this. And people were watching closely.

And the Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, even said later they found it abhorrent and they couldn't really see how anyone couldn't as you watch these investigators who laid out in detail what they had been speaking to witnesses about and what was happening, what in detail they had seen and heard about the governor. And the state trooper which is just one of many details that I think

were far more damning than what the press accounts of what he had been alleged to have done were previously. And so, I think that played a role in it. But whether or not he gets prosecuted President Biden was specifically asked today whether or not he thinks he should be. He did not answer that.

Because remember earlier in March when he said there is a chance that that could be an option, prosecution. And he also didn't say that he'd actually read the report. He said he just knew the final conclusion of the investigation but hadn't actually delved into the details yet.

LEMON: I -- Laura, I have to ask you because the governor's response, it's either brilliant or the dumbest thing I've ever seen. I'm not sure. And because he denied all the allegations and then said that it diminishes, you know, legitimate harassment claims, and I think many might go towards the latter.

I'm sure the P.R. person or someone -- the crisis P.R. person probably thinks it was really appropriate. But I wonder how that sits with women and victims around the country, and how it might in your realm, in a court of law.

COATES: Well, remember one thing is important here. We're not in a court of law. So, the burden of proof is really not the issue or the center here.


LEMON: It's a court of public opinion.

COATES: However, we are --


COATES: We are in the court of public opinion and that's very powerful particularly when there is a potential political result including the availability of a gubernatorial impeachment process that could in fact take place.

And there's a distinction between what happened in presidential impeachment because in a presidential impeachment of course until the trial is over and there is a conviction and removal, you remain in office. In New York if there's an impeachment trial going on, then you have to relinquish power to the lieutenant governor, so he could be removed from office if they were essentially to initiate fully these proceedings.

But in terms of your question, Don, in terms of how it sets with people. I mean, there are a number of mine fields he did not successfully navigate here. One was talking about this as a notion of cultural and generational distinctions that he was not aware of. He's the governor of the state of New York. And some of these allegations included conducts up until 2020.

[22:24:55] We're not talking about the days gone by in rose-colored glasses. People ought to know particularly after several years at that point of the Me Too movement what is appropriate behavior and what is not. And I think he's in a very different position -- difficult position here because, remember, he is now criticizing the report as essentially sloppy, not comprehensively investigated to find out what the true matter is, what the truth is.

He actually commissioned the attorney general's office in New York to do this report, handing over the reins of people who are -- who are very well respected. And in many respects, he's gone about a play book we've seen before, haven't we?

The idea of saying this is all sort of political or the quote he used was "trial by newspaper trying to characterize and weaponize every day behavior and normalize things." Well, actually the opposite is true. What they're trying to do in their findings, they're just findings, not indictments, not criminal charges.

But in the findings essentially saying what was normalized in the executive chamber of the governor's office was exactly the opposite of what ought to be normalized in any state that has laws to protect people particularly women in the workplace from a hostile, sexually charged work environment, let alone unwanted, an nonconsensual touching.

LEMON: I've got to -- I just, you know, I want to make sure that in the -- that I got the question outright and I'm sure if it's accurate. In his response I'm just wondering if his response, if it was seen by the country as -- look, I don't know what else he would say -- as blaming the victim. That's what I'm asking. Do you understand what I'm saying, Laura?

COATES: I do. And remember, one of the things they said in their report was that he actually had some sort of e-mail or conversation about how victim shaming, that might not be a good strategy. Not because it's the wrong thing to do but it might not play well with the public.

And so, you've got this dynamic behind the scenes going on, Don, where they're contemplating exactly what your question is. And I think they still did not navigate the minefield in the pre-recorded no reporter's question.


COATES: No reporters, no lags of our own Kaitlan Collins to ask the questions we're all wanting to know.

LEMON: Well, Kaitlan, you asked the questions today. So, thank you for that. And Laura, thank you for your analysis. I appreciate it.

COLLINS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: So, the attorney general says 11 women accusing Governor Cuomo are credible. Well, Mariann Wang is here. She is the attorney for two of his accusers and she'll tell us what they're saying tonight. She's next.



LEMON (on camera): The New York attorney general's report going into shocking detail on the sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo with the accounts of 11 women. Virginia Limmiatis is one of them. Investigators today describing what she said she experienced.


CLARK: And another event in May 2017, the governor pressed and ran his fingers across the chest of a woman while reading the name of her company whose logo was on her chest.


LEMON (on camera): Well, the report also highlighting experiences from current and former aides to the governor including Alyssa McGrath. She told investigators about an experience in early 2018 when she was preparing to write down notes from Governor Cuomo.

The report says and I quote here, "that Ms. McGrath looked up at him and saw that he was staring down into Ms. McGrath's shirt which was a silk-like blouse that was loosely hanging off of her as she was slightly bend forward. After Ms. McGrath looked up and saw that the governor had been looking in the area of her chest, the governor asked her what was on her necklace which was hanging between Ms. McGrath's breast and shirt. And Ms. McGrath understood the governor's questions about her necklace as confirmation that in fact he had been looking down her shirt and she felt embarrassed, uncomfortable and stressed."

I want to bring in now Mariann Wang, the attorney for Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis. I want to make sure -- it is Alyssa or Alicia, I just want to make sure that I'm saying it properly. It's Alyssa.


LEMON: I just want to make sure. Thank you.

WANG: Alyssa.

LEMON: And I want to make sure. Thank you. And I was reading this slowly because I want to get it -- I want our viewers to hear the details because the details are damning. First of all, thank you for joining us, Mariann. The details are damning.

WANG: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: And, you know, the women put in this position and here you go. It's been a traumatic experience. How are your clients feeling tonight?

WANG: You know, they feel on one level vindicated and very grateful to the attorney general and the investigators for doing such a thorough review of their -- of their reports and very carefully reviewing the evidence that corroborates their reports.

They also, you know, fundamentally like every woman in this position, it's not that they want to be in this position. They wish they had never been subjected to this kind of behavior. All they were trying to do was to do work and show up for work and contribute in the way that we all want to, to make a living and to contribute to our -- to our state government and to the work we do every day.

So -- but nonetheless, they were subjected to this horrible behavior that is, you know, causes enormous shame and deep denigration of your personhood and you -- and it's humiliating.


So, it's a mixture of emotion. There's enormous gratitude. There were definitely some tears, a feeling of vindication that the findings were what they were. But fundamentally, they should never have been put in this place in the first place -- in the first instance.

LEMON: Listen, I'm not sure if you heard me the segment before when I asked our senior legal analyst Laura Coates about his response. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I mean, you know, he's denying all these allegations of sexual harassment. He's trying to claim there are cultural and generational perspectives that he hadn't fully appreciated. Listen to part of it and then I'll get your response, Mariann. Here it is.



A. CUOMO: I do kiss people on the forehead. I do kiss people on the cheek. I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people. I do hug people, men and women. I do on occasion say ciao Bella. On occasion, I do slip and say sweetheart or darling or honey. I do banter with people. I do tell jokes some better than others. I am the same person in public as I am in private.


LEMON (on camera): You put out a response saying that it was -- that his response was laughable. Talk to me about that. What did you think of it?

WANG: It was exactly that. It was more -- it was manipulative the way he is which is manipulating facts which are essentially not true, and it's insulting. It's deeply insulting to these women. These are not -- these are not small children which is the way he's describing them. These are women who are showing up to work to make a living and to contribute.

And they know exactly what they're experiencing just as he knew exactly what he was doing. These are not kisses on the forehead or on the cheeks or innocent hugs. It's grabbing breasts. It's touching breasts. It's grabbing buttocks. It's -- and it's sexual. There's no question about it.

And he did it with multiple women as detailed in the report. The details here matter, and that's why the report is so -- so damning in my view because it is so thorough. And there's no ambiguity about what he did. The women know and he does, too. He just is trying once again to manipulate and obfuscate, and I don't think New Yorkers will accept it this time.

LEMON: I've got to ask you this before I let you go. Will a resignation satisfy your clients?

WANG: Our -- my clients certainly believe he should accept responsibility and resign. In my view, you know, I think he should finally pay for his behavior that has spanned years in other ways as well. I don't know exactly what that means. People --


LEMON: What do you mean by that, in other ways as well? What do you mean?

WANG: I mean, I think that people who look at this and carefully, I think not just him but other people who enabled it as well or enforced this toxic culture. All of them should be held to account. And what that means precisely I don't have any answer yet.

I mean, there are a lot of people looking at this obviously, and the first thing is that he should not be in a position of power any longer. He should not be the head of our government as I've said elsewhere. I don't think anybody -- the head of a company wouldn't be allowed to do this. Why should the head of a government be allowed in this position any longer?

LEMON: Mariann Wang, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

WANG: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Thank you.

We have some breaking news to get to now. And talk about the results coming in now for the Ohio special election. it's just coming in. A Trump endorsed candidate running in a tense Democratic primary, both showing where their parties are heading. Stay with us. We'll give you breaking news right after this.



LEMON (on camera): So, here's the breaking news. CNN has a projection in the special Democratic primary in Ohio's 11th congressional district.

I want to bring in CNN's chief national affairs correspondent, Mr. Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, good evening to you. What are you hearing? JEFF ZELENY, CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: John, this is a --

Don, excuse me -- this is a big win in Cleveland for Shontel Brown, the Democratic establishment candidate in this special election to fill the seat of former Congresswoman Marcia Fudge who of course joined the Biden cabinet.

You can see right there, Shontel Brown, she's a member of the Cuyahoga County Council, a local Democratic chairperson defeating Nina Turner. This is a big win for Shontel Brown for this reason. The entire establishment party, leaders and apparatus came behind Shontel Brown in the final weeks of this race to push her over the top of Nina Turner, of course a long-time progressive leader. She was back by Bernie Sanders and many others who are campaigning hard for her over the weekend.

But, Don, significantly, this is the latest in a string of establishment moderate victories in these primaries across the country. You saw it in the New York mayor's race. You saw it in the Virginia governor's race. So certainly, this will take the wind out of the sails of the progressive movement that is trying to be more ascendant here.

But President Biden still the leader of his party, and I can tell you he was front and center in this race because his agenda was. James Clyburn was there over the weekend saying elect Shontel Brown to get the president's agenda moving.

Don, also, just a little bit south of here in Columbus, a big win actually for President Trump in Ohio's 15th congressional district. His candidate the one he backed actually won the Republican primary. This comes a week after his candidate lost a Texas special election.

So, certainly, just a snapshot in time here in this off-election year election. But a big win for the establishment. This will certainly be discussed in the days to come here what is really to be made of the progressive movement here in Washington, Don.


LEMON: Here we are in August with election protections.

ZELENY; Right.

LEMON: Thank you.

ZELENY: Snap shot in time.

LEMON: Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate it.

Four officers have now died of suicide after responding to the attack on the capitol. Officer Michael Fanone is here. He's going to weigh in right after this.


LEMON (on camera): The Senate unanimously awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who defended the capitol on January 6th, this coming just hours after we learned a fourth police officer took his own life after responding to the insurrection. The Metropolitan Police Department announcing the suicides of Officers Kyle Defreytag and Gunther Hashida on the same day.


D.C. Police Officer Jeffrey Smith and Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood also took their own lives after January 6.

Joining me now, one of the heroes who defended our capitol on that day and testified about it before the select committee, D.C. Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone, and my friend. Mike, thank you. Good to see you.

FANONE: Thank you.

LEMON: So, you know, we don't know exactly why Officer Hashida and Officer Defreytag took their lives, their own lives. But we talked it about -- we talked about the January 6th insurrection and the impact it's had on your mental health and other officers. How big of a struggle is this for four officers?

FANONE: I mean, I think it's -- it's -- we're experiencing I think what I would describe as an epidemic of law enforcement suicides, it's a big problem.

LEMON: It's not just that, also. I mean, it's also the -- it's this. It's the denial of what happened to you by the very -- some of the very folks that you saved. I want to put up this video. This is video, it shows how you almost died on January 6th. But I mean, some Republicans -- and look, we don't have to play what they -- because I want to hear from Mike.

But you know what some Republicans have said that day, their denials, Mike. It's having an impact on officers' mental health, no?

FANONE: I mean, it certainly had an impact on my mental health. You know, having experienced the trauma that I did, and then having people deny that it's reality. But, you know, law enforcement is an incredibly difficult profession. You know, we experience people at their worst almost all of the time.

And you know, one of the things that I think that has really brought this to bear for me is, you know, we need to normalize the conversation, not just in the law enforcement community but early in American culture. We need to normalize a conversation about folks struggling with trauma and mental health issues.

We need to get rid of the stigma that people who struggle with those issues are weak. The strongest people that I have ever known in my life have grappled with trauma and with the mental health difficulties that go along with having survived trauma.

LEMON: You know, today, we talked -- to be honest, I kept calling because I hadn't heard from you, and I said, I'm worried about you, are you OK? Are you OK? And we had a, you know, I loved our conversation today. Because you said police officers often seem -- not often, pretty much always see the worst in people. They aren't usually pleasant experiences when a police officer, you know, is -- you know, has an interaction with a civilian.

How many times you show up at the scene of someone who is murdered, someone who has killed themselves, someone who's, you know, you find bodies floating in the river, and so on. I mean, but -- and officers need to be able to deal with that and speak about it and it needs to be respected.

FANONE: Yes, I mean, I couldn't agree more. I mean, it's easy to talk about. I think that that -- you know, if you really stop and think what that entails, you know, these are human beings. Police officers are just regular people. We're not robots and we do go out and deal with these situations day in and day out, and then we have to go home and deal with, you know, the same problems that everyone else experiences as, you know, a father, a mother, you know, a husband, a wife.

All the trials and tribulations that go along with that, and then we also have to process, you know, whatever traumatic experiences, sometimes multiple within one shift. It's difficult. And it takes its toll. And it doesn't help when people, you know, create this -- like I said, a stigma that, you know, reaching out for help to process those situations is a sign of weakness.


FANONE: You know, we're starting to address it now, and we start -- you know, we have resources available to officers. But, you know, having those resources available and having officers feel comfortable accessing them are two totally different things.

LEMON: When you -- you said it was disgraceful because after what happened on January 6th, you still had people denying it. You said that part is disgraceful. What do -- what do you want people to know about -- honestly, Mike, what is that denying of your reality or your experience doing to you and possibly others?


FANONE: I mean, I can -- I can speak for myself and maybe the few dozen police officers that I talk to regularly. And I mean, it's -- it's devastating. I mean, to know that I went there on January 6th to do my job, did my job and succeeded along with hundreds of other police officers and then to have people demonize me or dismiss, you know, my account of that day or just the reality of that day. I mean, it's devastating.

LEMON: Before we end this conversation, I want to talk to you didn't -- this is personal for you because you knew Officer Gunther Hashida very well. What do you want people to know about him, Mike?

FANONE: Gunther and I came on the department at the same time. We were both assigned to the same district and worked in the same patrol service area. And then we worked together off and on for pretty much the better portion of my career.

Gunther was the most professional, dedicated police officer that I ever worked with and ever had the pleasure of being around. He was at times a good friend and confidant, and I will miss him dearly.

LEMON: Well, listen, I'll say this because I think that everyone should to their friends as way. I said to you today that there's nothing that you can tell me that would be embarrassing or that I would judge you for, or there is not a time of the day or night that you can't pick up the phone and call me if you are feeling a certain kind of way. You know what I'm saying?

And that goes for you, that goes for Officer Dunn, that goes for any of the officers who I've interviewed here and any of my friends at home who may be watching. So, I really mean that, brother. And I love you. And you take care of yourself. I'm very proud of what you're doing. Thank you for appearing.

FANONE: Yes, I love you as well, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to come on and talk about this. You know, I don't want to lose any more officers.

LEMON: Yes. Amen. Thanks, Mike. I'll talk to you soon.

FANONE: Thank you.

LEMON: As we have been discussing there is no shame in asking for help for yourself or for someone you know who is struggling. Look at your screen right now. You can call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline or text the crisis text line at the numbers up on your screen. We will leave them up for a moment and then we will go to break.