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Don Lemon Tonight

Security Threats Across Kabul Airport, Americans Told To 'Leave Immediately'; About 20 San Diego Students And Their Families Stranded In Afghanistan; Intel Community Divided Over COVID Origins, Unclear If Source Of Outbreak Can Be Found; Body Cam Video Shows 2019 Beating Of A Black Man By Louisiana State Police Officer; California Recall: CA Dems Frustrated With Newsom's Handling Of Homelessness, Crime And More. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 25, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Here's breaking news tonight. The security situation around Kabul's airport is deteriorating quickly. The U.S. Embassy is warning Americans gathering at certain entry gates about security threats, advising them to leave the area immediately.

The Biden administration officials are now saying there are approximately 1,500 Americans still in Afghanistan with now less than a week to go before the U.S. Military withdrawals.

Also tonight, the House select committee is investigating the January 6th attack, seeking a massive trove of documents from multiple federal government agencies, signalling a wide-ranging investigation.

So let's go right to CNN's Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann. Oren, good evening to you. Thanks for joining us. This is an ominous warning tonight. Tell us about the security concerns at the airport.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's not just the warning that's the problem here, Don, it's the timeline in which the U.S. has to operate around these warnings and around the security threat.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which is already operating at Hamid Kaizai International Airport, is warning U.S. citizens to stay away from three gates at the airport, three entry points, pretty much the only way in and out of the country, the Abbey Gate, the East Gate and the north gate, saying there are security threats around there. They also say that the embassy will contact Americans when it is safe and instructions to get to the airport for getting out of the country.

They don't specify what that security threat is, but we know the Pentagon has been watching ISIS-K and other terror groups in the area that may try to attack the crowds there and U.S. citizens. What sort of tactics do they use? Suicide bombings as well as vehicle-board improvised explosive devices in those sorts of attacks. So perhaps that's what the Pentagon is watching for and the State Department that prompted this pretty much last second morning with only a few days to go here as the U.S. tries to get as many people out as quickly as possible, including, of course, 1,500 U.S. citizens or up to 1,500 that may remain in the country.

LEMON: And we know, Oren, that the military has conducted these three operations by helicopter to extract Americans from around the airport in Kabul. With the security situation deteriorating there, are we going to see more of these operations?

LIEBERMANN: It's certainly possible in the days left that the military commanders on the ground will decide they need to conduct more helicopter operations. But it's crucial to know that these three operations were a short distance and a short duration, meaning the Americans they pulled on to the airport for extraction were very close by and pretty much easy to get to.

It will be incredibly difficult if not nearly impossible to go not only deeper into Kabul but deeper into Afghanistan if that's where U.S. citizens are. Of course, the U.S. may try to do that, but that's certainly not top of the list or something the U.S. wants to do in the security situation they are looking at in Afghanistan. Don?

LEMON: Oren Liebermann, thank you very much. And from Oren, we go to CNN political commentator Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman, and Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Gentlemen, good evening to you.

Charlie Dent, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul tonight is warning Americans at certain gates at the airport to leave immediately, noting security threats outside of the gates. You just heard Oren's report there.

Earlier today, the secretary, Secretary Blinken, warned about the threat of ISIS-K. Does this explain just how the administration is sticking to this August 31st deadline?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, Don, it may. There is no question that Americans are very vulnerable and exposed to ISIS-K and other related terror networks in the country. So, we don't have a lot of good options right now. There's only one airport and that's Kabul to extract our citizens and our friends and allies. So we are in a very vulnerable situation.

I think we are all very concerned that there could be casualties here and that there is no question that vehicular IEDs and suicide bombers are a threat at the gates. So, right now, it seems there are not great options. People have to get to the airport. The question is, do they do to the gates themselves or are we going to have to go pick them up in their residences throughout the Kabul area?

LEMON: Look, Max, I've been talking about the initial pictures and the situation initially is horrible. But the number of evacuations is really remarkable right now. But there still -- you know, there may still be 1,500 Americans left. Biden was briefed on contingency plans if he decides to keep troops on the ground longer. What do you expect? Will every last U.S. boot on the ground be out of the country by next week? Is that realistic?


MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's possible, Don. It's hard to know exactly what to expect because the situation changes so rapidly. Certainly, I get the sense that President Biden is reluctant to stay past August 31 because he set that as the deadline and now the Taliban are expecting him to stick to it. They are essentially threatening us that if we don't stick to it, who knows what could happen? They could wind up attacking us.

And, of course, U.S. troops are in a very exposed position in Kabul airport, in the middle of a major city, very hard to defend that area. It would have been easier if they had still hold on to Bagram Air Base, which is farther outside the Kabul, easier to defend with more airstrips to operate. But, of course, that was given up pretty early on in the evacuation process.

So, it's a pretty dicey situation. I think, overall, the fact that U.S. forces have managed to get out more than 80,000 people, mostly Afghans but also some U.S. citizens, I think, is certainly one small bit of good news in an otherwise very dismal story of the collapse of Afghanistan and the triumph of this horrible terrorist movement, the Taliban.

We can at least take some small degree of pride in the evacuation of so many of our Afghan allies, but we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that these evacuations somehow transform the situation because most of Afghanistan is still going to be left languishing under horrible Taliban rule.

LEMON: Right. Charlie, listen, at the same time, the president is doubling down on his domestic agenda, keeping up the fight against COVID. Talk about everything that is on his plate right now, this week at least. What is Biden up against?

DENT: Well, certainly Afghanistan is foremost in everybody's mind, but he is also trying to advance the domestic agenda. You know, he has his -- the bipartisan infrastructure bill is just dealt with yesterday in Congress. The budget resolution was passed by the House. So he got the infrastructure bill done.

He is also trying to advance his reconciliation package, a part of his domestic agenda, which I happen to think is too large. But nevertheless, that is what he has got going on. He has got a debt ceiling do deal with, too, in September.

So he has got a lot of issues on his plate that he must address over the next few weeks. Of course, September 11 is a very important date. So between the domestic agenda and Afghanistan, his plate is full and it's all converging right now before September 30th.

LEMON: Max, you know, we're learning that this January 6th commission, that they are demanding documents, communication records from a long list of agencies, including the DOJ, the Defense, FBI and others, plus a national archive. They want to know what was going on inside the Trump White House and all the conversations going on. Does this tell you anything about the direction that this committee is going?

BOOT: It shows me that this committee is trying to undertake a serious investigation. They're not gonna sweep this under the rug. They're trying to get out the truth. I think that's incredibly important given that this was arguably the worst attack on the Capitol since the war of 1812. We need to find out what happened and we still don't have a complete picture.

We have a pretty good picture, Don, of what happened on January 6th itself. We have all the videos that have been pieced together. We have seen the insurrectionists storming the Capitol. But we really don't know what happened behind the scenes with the Trump administration.

To what extent did they encourage these insurrectionists? To what extent did they plan this attack? To what extent did President Trump even order U.S. troops to stand down and federal law enforcement to stand down and not intervene to protect the Capitol? Those are all things that we don't know about but we need to find out about urgently.

And I see the wide-ranging document requests that the committee has just sent out as being the first step in getting some of those answers. And it's pretty appalling of course that Republicans are trying to block this every which way they can aside from a handful of exceptions like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

I mean, these are Republicans who spent two and a half years probing what happened in Benghazi when four Americans died and they couldn't care less what happened on January 6 when our Capitol was stormed.

LEMON: Yeah. This is about -- Charlie, this is about the insurrection. It's also about attempts to overturn the 2020 election. They want records from former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, members of the Trump family. Chairman Bennie Thompson is saying records from several hundred people.

Will this committee be able to get everything they want, do you think? I'm sure they're going to fight it, but they're asking for a lot. Will they be able to get all of this?

DENT: Don, I do think that we only get much of the information that they have requested from the various departments and agencies, that's true, to the extent I'm sure that Donald Trump will try to fight some of the testimony that is going to be solicited from his former staff, Mark Meadows, his family and others.


DENT: I'm sure that they're going to try to fight that legally and (INAUDIBLE) they think would be privileged. So, I would watch that. But this document dump (ph) is going to inform the entire investigation. I'll tell you what, I would be very nervous, too, if I were some of the congressional or these House Republicans who may have had conversations with the president. They're going to want to know what happened prior to January 6 to what happened shortly thereafter.

I mean, even the Georgia issue -- the Georgia election intervention could also become part of this conversation as well. So I would be very nervous right now if I were anybody within Trump's orbit who may have had conversations on or around that time.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate the conversation. Thanks so much.

As the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, we are learning tonight that about 20 students from San Diego or members of their families are stranded inside the country. But one family with five children, they were part of this group, has safely returned to the U.S.

Joining me now is Tamara Otero. She is the board president of the Cajon Valley Union School District. I'm so happy that you're here. The story is fascinating and I want to know what is going on and how everyone is doing in this situation. So again, thank you for joining. Good evening to you.


LEMON: Tell us what you've learned. One family is safely back. Many more students and their families still stuck in Afghanistan. Is that right?

OTERO: Yes, that is correct. So initially, we had learned that we had about 24 students with their families stuck in Afghanistan. They travelled there this summer to visit family and friends and had return plane tickets and then, as you would know, got stuck.

The interesting part is that our family and community engagement office, we have 70 liaisons throughout our school distant and two of those liaisons have been in touch with those students. So we have had a great line of communication open. The students initially contacted their liaisons on about or about August 16th and inform them, please hold our spots in our classrooms, we don't think we're gonna be back for the start of school, but we don't want to lose our spaces.

And so thankfully that communication has allowed us to reach out to Congressman Issa's office that has helped us with the students.

LEMON: Now, with this new security warning, it is increasingly dangerous. How worried are you about their safety?

OTERO: Extremely, extremely worried. We want them back. There are students. The plan, of course, was to visit family and then to return. We understand currently that they are still in homes with families and friends. So, we are hopeful. We are keeping up the hope.

LEMON: Tamara, what do you know? What can you tell us about the family that was able to get out and why the others haven't been able to reach the airport?

OTERO: I don't know. I know that that family returned last evening. I'm told they spent the day resting. They were exhausted. But I do not know the circumstances around their return. I am hopeful that however they were able to get out that that same mechanism will help us get the rest of them out.

LEMON: When did you first realize or first know that you had students and families unable to get out?

OTERO: Like I said, August 16th. Our liaisons, we have two liaisons that worked directly with our Afghanistan families that live here in El Cajon area. Our liaisons throughout the school year have worked to build trust with their families and so that the families can be an advocate for their own students at school.

Thankfully those relationships are what alerted us to the fact that those kids were over there. Those students reached out to the liaisons. Initially, likely through a cellular-type method, but as the cell towers have come down, they used lots of other methods. I'm told they are still in communication with their liaisons so that is hopeful. But again, like I said, they were kids that said, hey, hold my place in second grade, I'm coming back --

LEMON: Right.

OTERO: -- or whatever their grade was.

LEMON: You know, as we have been speaking with people, they have been telling us that sometimes documentation is a problem and those are for Afghan folks. Do the rest of the students and their families have all the documentation they need to get out?

OTERO: Yes, I am told that they do. They were here legally in the United States.

LEMON: Okay. The school district has been in contact with Congressman Darrell Issa. So you talked about that. I know a person, you know, for the representative to say that they are in constant contact with the State Department and the Pentagon and others on the ground.


LEMON: So, you are -- that has to at least, you know, you mentioned it a moment ago, but does that give you some hope? At least you have some folks in Washington who are particularly paying attention to this?


OTERO: Yes, we're very grateful for the support and help of Congressman Issa. We have been able to share with him all the information that we have and then he has fortunately been able to share it with the appropriate personnel in order to help us. So, we feel hopeful. We are worried, yes, but hopeful. LEMON: Oh, boy. Okay, well, we are going to be thinking about you, so can you please update us and best of luck to everyone involved. Thank you so much.

OTERO: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

LEMON (on camera): Thanks. Did the coronavirus leak from a Wuhan lab or did it emerge naturally? An unclassified report is due out any day. Could we get answers?


GERALD T. KEUSCH, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR: You had a first-class facility, high-class virologists, and well-trained staff. You put all that together and you would say, well, I can't exclude a lab accident. It doesn't seem likely.





LEMON (on camera): An unqualified report into the origins of the coronavirus could come any day now. CNN is learning that the president has been briefed on the report's findings. Sources are saying that the intelligence community is still divided over whether the virus leaked from a Chinese lab or naturally jumped from animals to humans. As for what China has to say about it, Beijing is pushing conspiracy theories and blaming the U.S. Here is CNN's David Culver.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 90-day deep dive into a trove of U.S. intelligence. The focus is to find the origins of COVID-19. As that work came to a close, it seems no apparent smoking gun evidence surfaced to prove one side over another, according to one source.

The intelligence community review focusing on two possible origins, either the virus started in and leaked from a Wuhan lab or that it emerged naturally. One thing that is certain --

STANLEY PERLMAN, PROFESSOR: I don't think anyone would disagree that the major first amplification occurred in Wuhan.

CULVER (voice-over): CNN was in Wuhan just before the lockdown as the virus was rapidly spreading. Initially, the Huanan Seafood Market was believed to be the epicenter. Security told us at the time to leave as soon as we stepped out to report.

This past January, a year after the outbreak began, a WHO field team was granted access to the market. This is video shot by the head of that international mission as he and the team walked through the now shuttered market. At TV2 Danish (ph) documentary released this month, they stumbled upon a space that suggested people might have also been living inside the market, leading up to the outbreak.

PETER BEN EMBAREK, LEAD INVESTIGATOR FOR WHO MISSION: If these rooms were used as living quarters, that would mean that people were in contact with what was at the market, including the virus and perhaps live animals more intensely.

CULVER (voice-over): Possibly supporting a natural origin theory that the virus went from animals to humans. But the WHO team also revealed to TV2 (ph) tense negotiations with their Chinese counterparts, who they say at first resisted any mention of a possible lab leak in the WHO's findings, and also say their Chinese counterparts later insisted the lab leak theory was extremely unlikely.

That conclusion has since been met with heavy skepticism among U.S. politicians, who remained skeptical given the Chinese government's lack of transparency.

Twenty-five miles from the Huanan Market is the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its Biosafety Level 4 or BSL4 Lab. The Trump administration alleged for months that this is where the virus really started. But U.S. officials never provided evidence to the public.

CNN spoke with a source directly involved with the construction of the BSL4 using their insight along with information published by the Chinese before the outbreak.

Here is what we know. Planning and construction of the BSL4 started in 2003. In 2018, it officially became operational. It's located on the sprawling fenced-in Wuhan Institute of Virology campus. The building containing the lab sits separate.

Four levels make up the structure. At the top, a sophisticated air pure purification system. At the bottom and underneath the lab is the decontamination equipment that allows for safe sewage disposal.

Level 2 is where the research takes place. There are separate entrances and exits along with dedicated dissection rooms, virus storage facilities, and multiple labs for distinct animal and cellular level research. French engineers helped in the planning and the construction.

But one source tells us the Chinese were initially resistant in adding some basic safety features due to the high cost of some equipment such as multiple chemical decontamination showers, but that they eventually relented, adding them.

KEUSCH: You had a first-class facility, high-class virologists, well- trained staff. You put all of that together and you would say, well, I can't exclude a lab accident. It doesn't seem likely.

CULVER (voice-over): It also does not rule out the possibility of a leak from another lab in Wuhan. We drove by it last year.

(On camera): There you can see right here, this is Wuhan Center for Disease Control. This is one of the labs within Wuhan and, of course, not too far from the market either.

(Voice-over): Located just a couple of blocks from the Huanan Seafood Market, in fact. Inside, lower level biosafety labs that likewise involved the study of bats and coronaviruses.

Still, there is one thing lacking in the search for an origin. That is full transparency from and collaboration with the Chinese. Instead, China's launched a relentless propaganda campaign, a constant barrage of digital articles with sarcastic cartoons, TV reports, documentaries, even a rap song.


CULVER (voice-over): It's aimed to sow doubt and deflect blame when it comes to the origins of COVID-19. And we've seen a constant rehashing of old conspiracy theories primarily that the virus started in this lab, Fort Detrick in the United States, the home of the U.S. Army's biological laboratory. Though there is no evidence the virus originated here, that has not stopped the Chinese from trying to push their version of a lab leak theory.

China has essentially shut the door on future visits by the WHO. Chinese officials believe the origin investigation has become politically manipulated by the U.S., crushing any potential of a bilateral source tracing effort.

KEUSCH: The longer it takes, the more difficult it is going to be to get a complete picture of what happened. Maybe never. It may be too late now.


LEMON (on camera): There you see him. David Culver is here. He joins me from Beijing. David, hello to you. Fascinating reporting. Not only is China pushing back on this investigation, it's also blaming America for everything, from Afghanistan to global cyberattacks. How serious are tensions with Beijing right now?

CULVER: Hey there, Don, good to be with you. You're right. This is not just about the COVID origins. This goes well beyond that. And what we're seeing play out is not just something between Beijing and the Trump administration. Now, we're in the Biden administration.

This is so much bigger than that in that you're talking about two different countries that are at this collision course when it comes to battling for global influence. And that is really what's at play.

So you look at the COVID origins and you say, do we really need to know how this all started? You talk to experts. From a scientific perspective, yeah, it could help in preventing another pandemic, a repeat of what we've been living through.

But beyond that, it's also about challenging this narrative that Beijing is really getting the upper hand right now because this relentless propaganda campaign is starting to find a lot of success not only domestically but also regionally. They are starting to challenge the U.S. influence in many different ways, Don.

LEMON: Listen, if these numbers are true, China on Wednesday reported three new local COVID cases in the entire country for the day. I mean, it has nearly a billion and a half people. Their vaccines are less effective than ours. How are they keeping delta at bay?

CULVER: Right. You're right to point out we attribute these numbers to the National Health Commission, the Chinese government. But anecdotally, what I can tell you is that as soon as we start to see cases rise here, we saw it a month ago when the delta variant started to spread, life changes quickly. And not only is it from government policy. It's from social attitude and acceptance. People right away start putting masks on and then we start to see targeted lockdowns.

Even here in Beijing, you have one person in one community testing positive, Don, tens of thousands of people around that person are then in a lockdown, a sealed-off scenario for at least two weeks' time and they test everyone multiple times. And that's how they're able to go forward with this. But it's a zero tolerance approach.

And the question is can that sustain, can you really move forward with that if you're looking to open up this country, welcome people in for the Beijing 2022 Olympics, or you can this bubble mentality for years to come, which actually may play well into what Beijing wants, right? They want to keep out some of that external influence. So perhaps COVID-19 --

LEMON: David Culver in Beijing. Your signal broke up just as you were ending. We got all of it. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Be safe.

CULVER: Thanks.

LEMON: A Black man repeatedly beaten by a state trooper at a traffic stop and it's not the first time for this department. There's a federal investigation. Stay with us.




LEMON (on camera): Tonight, we're learning about an incident where a Louisiana State trooper struck a Black driver multiple times with what appears to be a flashlight during a traffic stop more than two years ago. The driver sustained multiple injuries. The incident was captured by body camera video, which is only being released now.

CNN's Ryan Young has the story for us. But I have to warn everyone, it is disturbing and it is difficult to watch.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another Black man beaten during a traffic stop. This body camera footage from May 2019 appears to show now former Louisiana State Police Officer Jacob Brown beating Aaron Larry Bowman as other officers hold Bowman down.

Trooper Brown is seen swinging what appears to be a flashlight, repeatedly striking Bowman while he is face down on the ground with his hands behind his head. Bowman's attorney is saying Brown hit their client 18 times in just 24 seconds.

AARON LARRY BOWMAN, HIT BY POLICE: I didn't do nothing, man.

UNKNOWN: Fighting us ain't going to help you, bud.

BOWMAN: I ain't fighting you.

UNKNOWN: You are.

YOUNG (voice-over): Bowman can be later heard moaning, saying, "you hurt me."

BOWMAN: He hit me by hand with flashlight.

YOUNG (voice-over): Bowman was left with multiple lacerations, a fractured arm and broken ribs, according to court documents. This video is from more than two years ago but was just recently turned over to Bowman's attorneys.


YOUNG (voice-over): State police releasing a statement in December, saying, a detailed search of body camera video revealed the incident was intentionally mislabelled and Brown was involved. Detectives concluded that Brown engaged in excessive and unjustifiable actions and failed to report the use of force to his supervisors. Brown was charged with aggravated second-degree battery and malfeasance in office in December.

But the incident is part of a bigger issue. The division of Louisiana State Police where Brown worked, Troop "F" is under federal investigation for potential abuses committed by trooper against Black motorists.

LEE MERRITT, RONALD GREENE'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: The troop (INAUDIBLE) belongs to Troop "F" in Louisiana is notorious. They've left a lot of victims and families in their wake.

YOUNG (voice-over): The Troop "F" investigation started following the death of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died after he was beaten and tased during a traffic stop, also in May of 2019.

UNKNOWN: I'm scared. I'm your brother. I'm scared.

YOUNG (voice-over): Greene's family say they were told by Louisiana State Police that Greene died in a car crash following a chase. But nine body camera and dash camera videos tell a different story of what happened that night.

MERRITT: Now, will the leadership of Louisiana be stirred into action to hold these officers accountable, to dismantle this troop, to address the policies that allow this to go forward, to address the coverup from the prosecutors on down?

YOUNG (voice-over): Ryan Young, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.


LEMON (on camera): All right. Ryan Young, thank you very much for that. Aaron Larry Bowman is here now along with his attorney, Donecia Banks-Miley. I want to get their take on what happened that night and why it has taken two years for this to come out. We will discuss right after this.




LEMON (on camera): Let's continue our focus on the police body cam video showing a Louisiana State trooper beating a Black driver with a flashlight. The incident happened more than two years ago but the video is only now being released. Once again, a warning, it's tough to watch.





LEMON (on camera): My goodness. Joining me now is Aaron Larry Bowman, the man beaten by police in that video. Also with me is his attorney, Donecia Banks-Miley. Thank you for joining us. Aaron --


LEMON: -- that's emotional. It's hard for you to watch and hear that, right?

BOWMAN: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Yeah. Take us through that. What was happening, what was going through your mind, what were you experiencing as this happened?

BOWMAN: I was so scared. All I could do was holler. I thought I was going to die.

LEMON: Let's go through your injuries, Aaron. Your arm was fractured. Your ribs were broken. You sustained multiple lacerations. An arrest warrant for the officer says that he hit you at least 18 times within 24 seconds. How in the world did it get to this point? Why did it escalate to this?

BOWMAN: I don't -- I don't know why it escalated to it myself. I did what he asked me. Don't move, sit down. Asked me where I came from and what did I have. He searched me down. I did exactly what he asked. The next few minutes, he smashed me out of the car and swung me to the ground and was beating on me.

Why he was doing it, the rest of the cops, the police that were there, were just standing around watching. They weren't trying to help me. I was asking for their help. They weren't helping me. They just let him continue on hitting me with the flashlight.

LEMON: You didn't think you were going to make it or survive that?

BOWMAN: No, sir.

LEMON: Yeah. Donecia, let me bring you in here. Listen, it took two years for us to see this video and over 500 days to get an investigation. Why has it taken so long? What was the holdup? What's going on here?

BANKS-MILEY: Fortunately, when Aaron came to see me in September of 2020, we filed immediately. It was not until that point that an investigation ensued. At that point, it had been over I would say a year and a half, since the incident had occurred. And at that point, Jacob Brown was arrested. And even until now, we have not been able to obtain the body cam footage until I would say a month now.

It's only being released now because his criminal defense attorney through discovery filed a motion to compel to get this footage simply for the fact that Aaron is still being prosecuted for resisting arrest. And we needed this footage to come out so that he could be vindicated in this process. He's not the criminal here. He complied.


BANKS-MILEY: He did what the officers asked. And if not for having the district judge to release that information, we would still be here in this same place. This has been insidious and it's heartbreaking. We need change here.

LEMON: You say he's still being prosecuted. The police are alleging that he fought with the sheriff's deputy before the state troopers arrived. They charged you with resisting arrest. But there is no footage of this. You're disputing it, Aaron, right?

BOWMAN: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Did you resist arrest?

BOWMAN: No, sir. When they had me on the ground, he was hitting me with the flashlight, but I was already handcuffed. He was hitting me multiple times with the flashlight, telling me to stop resisting. How can I resist when you've got me handcuffed, face down?

LEMON: Donecia, as Ryan Young stated in his report, this is the same division of Louisiana State Police that's being investigated in the death of Ronald Greene. Ronald Greene was punched, stunned, dragged by police, and then died in custody on a rural road. His family has told us that he died -- he was told initially that he died in a car chase, right?

BANKS-MILEY: Yes, sir.

LEMON: So, what is going on with this department?

BANKS-MILEY: Well, Don, I would just like to say that it's been going on so long that these officers have formed a sense of entitlement. Here in this area, Northeast Louisiana, I would like to say, is a hotspot for police brutality. It's not just the state troopers. It's the sheriff's deputies and some of the Monroe police officers. They work together to cover each other's tracks. And --

LEMON: Hold on, Donecia. Hold on, Donecia. Aaron, what's up? What's going on?


LEMON: Is this -- Aaron, I -- go on. Sorry.

BOWMAN: It just bugs me when I talk about it. It's like I'm reliving the whole time. When I tell about it, I feel like I relive it.

LEMON: Yeah. Donecia, I'm sorry to interrupt. Go on.

BANKS-MILEY: Yes, sir. I was saying that it has become patterns and practices here in this area. And what Aaron is doing now, thankfully he is still here and alive. You know, Ronald Greene was not fortunate. But he is here as a testament because he did live. We tell him all the time how brave he is for speaking out.

Because of this case, Jacob Brown was final arrested. He has been involved in multiple other encounters before where he was still allowed to patrol. Until I filed this lawsuit in September, investigation began, and then he was finally arrested in December of last year. We are aware that there is federal investigation going now. We're expecting soon a federal grand jury with indictments.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, wow. Aaron, I'm so sorry. I want you to keep us updated on this, Aaron and Donecia. And again, there's nothing I can say in this situation. You take care of yourself. You guys be well. I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

BANKS-MILEY: Thank you.

LEMON: Aaron, you be all right, right?

BOWMAN: Yes, sir.

LEMON: All right.

BOWMAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.




LEMON (on camera): The White House is saying President Biden will travel to California to campaign for Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom who is facing a recall election on September 14th. And it looks like Newsom is going to need Biden's help as he appears to be facing an uphill battle with his own democratic base. Voters upset with rising crime, the cost of living, out of control wildfires, and homelessness. Here is CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): How are you registered, politically?





LAH (voice-over): You'd think rejecting the recall of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom would be a no brainer for these three Los Angeles voters. But it's not.

WEAVER: I have to say I'm really leaning very heavily towards the recall.

LAH (on camera): To recalling the governor?

WEAVER: Yeah. You know, I'm disappointed in the Democratic Party in general.

LAH (voice-over): Disappointed with the party in control with a supermajority of California State government, while problems grow, wildfires, drought, crime, cost of living, but the worst for them? It is homelessness, which has expanded through the pandemic, now in neighborhoods across middle-class Los Angeles, including their own.

HELSETH: It's like let me work. Let me pay my taxes. But provide me with safety and not be accosted by two homeless people within the matter of 15 minutes.

LAH (on camera): Is this Governor Newsom's fault?

SANDOVAL: I mean, technically, how can I even answer that? He's the leader. It's -- everything starts from the top and it goes down.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): God bless you and the best is yet to come.


LAH (voice-over): These women were part of the more than 60 percent of voters who resoundingly elected Newsom in 2018.

WEAVER: In my mind when he was running, there was nobody else in the world that would have been better. And instead, it's become politics.

LAH (voice-over): After an exhausting year of crisis after California crisis, the once-popular governor now fights for his job. His battle cry?

NEWSOM: Vote no on this republican-backed recall.

LAH (voice-over): Blaming Republicans.

NEWSOM: Everybody backing Trump and the Republican Party sees an opportunity.

LAH (voice-over): And reminding Democrats they outnumber Republicans two to one in the state.

NEWSOM: We turn out our base. We are going to win, unquestionably. It is not a persuasion campaign.

LAH (voice-over): But all politics is local, says Democratic strategist Michael Trujillo, who warns there are trouble signs for his party.

LAH (on camera): Do you think they are nervous based on what you are seeing?

MICHAEL TRUJILLO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I -- I'm nervous so they're definitely probably 100 times more nervous. Homelessness is -- I've never seen an issue like this so potent. It's making progressive voters moderate, because they're so upset.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): This is California.

LAH (voice-over): It's why you are seeing Republican challengers hammering Newsom on homelessness and cost of living.

UNKNOWN: I was born here when the country was not nearly as affluent it is right now and now we have a homelessness problem? Are you kidding me?

LAH (on camera): How will it make you feel if a Republican is elected?


LAH (voice-over): Unwilling to vote for a Republican, but willing to risk sending a message to their party.

(On camera): Do you feel that Gavin Newsom is listening to you?


UNKNOWN: That is a good question.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


LEMON (on camera): And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.