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Don Lemon Tonight

No War Is Easy; DHS And State Department Warn Of Domestic Violence; COVID-19 Cases Keep Rising; Hurricane Ida Cut Louisiana's Basic Utilities; Joe Rogan Spread Vaccine Misinformation; Plaquemines Parish In Dire Need Of Help; Texas GOP Pass Their Bill. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 01, 2021 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): And all these veterans helping on their own. Amazing.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" with the big star, D. Lemon, right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is awful. We've been through worse with vigor losses of life, but this is one that we're in now. So, I think that we'll get through it. The sad part for me, obviously, the folks who are still there. A Herculean task, though, getting all those people out, 120,000 people in a week, look, I think that part is a success. But the loss of life from the American service members, I think that is the saddest part for everyone, no doubt and their families.

CUOMO: Absolutely. But I think that the continuing concern, you left the majority of people you promised to help who helped you behind, and you know that it was a real promise, Don, because these veterans, all these allies, this hash tag digital Dunkirk. These organizations that we're having on the show, they don't have to do this.

If the loyalty weren't so deep, I mean, you know, this Sara that we're following, you know, she's a metaphor for so many. She's an American and she decided to stay there to help others who deserve to leave. And she got left behind. Now they're trying to get her out, and the question is, is the United States government going to step up and help them, or are they actually going to make it harder for these veterans to get people out?

LEMON: Well, listen, I understand the emotion around it. But let's just -- let's be a little bit unemotional here, if we can. Wars are terrible. This is our longest war. I think in any situation, whether you agree with the exit or not, you're not going to get all of the people out that you want in the time period. I think that is -- I think that is asking for something that's not -- that is -- you can't accomplish that. It's just not going to happen in any situation.

Now, I think you're right. It's getting the people out to see how many more people they can get out, Yes. Americans should step up. These organizations should be stepping up. They don't have to, but that's what we do as Americans.

I think that, you know, we should be a little bit more level headed about this. We got out of a war. Many people didn't agree with the way that it ended. OK. So how do we move forward from here? I think you have to also look at the number, again, the number of people they got out, and I think obviously the administration, the Trump administration for brokering these deals with the Taliban, and the Biden administration for however you feel about how they got out, but I think you have to give them some credit for what, number one, getting out, and number two, getting as many people out as possible.

And we do have to remember there are people who went there, and we're told they needed to leave, and they didn't leave. We should still help them get out, continue to help them get out, but, you know, I think people should stop beating up on the administration so much because no matter how it ended, everyone wasn't going to be happy with the way it ended.

So, if there's any silver lining in this, it's going to be what happens going forward. You can't change the past. You can't bring those lives back, as awful as that is, and so, you know, I just think that sometimes, I think the administration is getting beaten up on this a little bit too much. Because there's a lot of blame to go around from four different presidents and who actually didn't have the guts to get us out of Afghanistan because they were afraid of this moment and what an exit might look like.

CUOMO: Well, they also knew that we needed to be there. Twenty years without another 9/11.


LEMON: Did we need to be there?

CUOMO: Twenty years without another 9/11.

LEMON: But did we need to be there?

CUOMO: Do you think that being in Afghanistan and in that region the way we are had nothing to do with why there wasn't another attack?

LEMON: I don't know -- I don't know that, but I don't know if we needed to be there for 20 years --


CUOMO: Why do you think the military was saying that we needed to stay?

LEMON: Well, Chris, we were there for 20 years, and the government --


CUOMO: Yes. And we didn't have another 9/11 for 20 years.

LEMON: -- and the government collapsed that quickly, what did we really accomplish?

CUOMO: Well, you negotiated with the guys who wanted to undercut the government. That's what Trump did. That was the problem with that is that of course it was going to undermine the Ghani government. You have to understand something about fighting men and women.

There is this illusion that fighting men and women fight for the flag, fight for the country, and fight for the high principles and ideals. They fight for one another. That's what the men and women on the battlefield often put first in terms of who they want to protect and who's going to protect them.

The people who they're with, and when they leave and those Afghan warriors and a lot of them are very well-trained, the commandos very good, but when they lost their American brothers and sisters, a lot of them lost the reason to be fighting.

And when the Taliban was negotiating with the United States, the Ghani government was extremely undercut. So, it was inevitable.


CUOMO: I do agree with you, though, looking back is a mistake right now because of the current crisis. I don't care how the Biden administration feels about criticism, but they need to have a plan --


LEMON: That's not what I'm saying at all. I don't either.

CUOMO: -- and an urgency to get people out. And I didn't hear it today from the State Department.



LEMON: It's our job. Well, that's a whole different thing.

CUOMO: That's the whole thing for me.

LEMON: It's our job -- it's our job to be critical. I think they're separate things here. We're talking about everything doesn't have to all be lumped in one basket.

CUOMO: Agree.

LEMON: You can see, you know, you can see getting all those people out was a success. You can see that, and I do believe that there's going to have to be accountability. We're going to have to find out exactly what happened and what went wrong.


CUOMO: I just want a plan and an urgency to get the people out there now as promised. LEMON: I think -- well, I think -- yes, I think it's to -- it's TBD,

to be determined. We're still seeing what's happening.

CUOMO: I know. I'm just saying what I saw today --


LEMON: You can't get them out there -- you can't them all out in five minutes. You can't get them all out yesterday. So what happens going forward, if we continue with this effort to get them out and we start getting them out, as many out as possible, then I think that we should stop all, you know, running around, like, my gosh, I can't believe we left so many people behind. We don't know if we --


CUOMO: I know.

LEMON: -- left them behind yet.

CUOMO: But here's one thing that you are forgetting. I hear you. But Don, it's easy to be level headed when nobody is chasing you with a machete.

LEMON: Yes, I understand that.

CUOMO: You know, on the ground in Afghanistan, it's a different reality for these people. They're going to be hunted.


CUOMO: I've seen it. This is what they do.

LEMON: That's the awful part of war.

CUOMO: And so, you don't have a lot of time. And there has to be an urgency commensurate with the need. But I hear you, brother.


LEMON: That is the awful part of war, and that's what an end, they have been dealing with that in this iteration for the last four administrations. There has been death there of American soldiers. There have been unnecessary deaths there going on for --

CUOMO: There have been.

LEMON: -- decades and decades, so I think we just can't look at this in a vacuum.

CUOMO: Absolutely not.

LEMON: We have to look at the much bigger picture.

CUOMO: But I'm saying that, remember, before we left, you could go wherever you wanted to in Afghanistan. It's not where you and I would want to go for spring break necessarily, but right now it's in the hands of a bunch of barbaric butchers, and anybody who is there is going to be meat for them.

LEMON: Was it not though when you consider how quickly it collapsed. is it all --


CUOMO: Well, it collapsed because we said we were leaving.

LEMON: Was it all just pretense?

CUOMO: -- and the Afghans weren't fighting with the best fighters in the world anymore.



CUOMO: I think it's a continuum.

LEMON: But those guys were still alive, those guys were still alive, they were still very viable. They were just waiting for the right moment, the right opportunity.

CUOMO: That's the point.

LEMON: I got to run. I've got breaking news. Be careful when you go out, though. It is a -- the weather is really terrible.

CUOMO: There's a tornado warning.

LEMON: Tornado warning.

CUOMO: I love you Don Lemon in case I don't see you again.

LEMON: I love you, too, brother. I'll see you soon.


So, he ended America's longest war after 20 years. Now President Joe Biden is trying focus on one crisis after another right here at home from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Ida still dealing with that to the raging COVID pandemic.

But there are questions that remain on Afghanistan that Chris and I were just talking about, trying to hash it out right now, make sense of it. It's tough. The State Department saying that of the 124,000 evacuees from Afghanistan, more than 23,000 are at risk Afghans including special immigrant visa applications, but a senior State Department official saying that the majority of Afghans who worked for the United States and applied for visas were likely left behind.

And the chairman of the joint chiefs says he feels pain and anger over Afghanistan.


MARK MILLEY, U.S. CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Last night I visited the wounded up in Walter Reed. This is tough stuff. War is hard. It's vicious. It's brutal. It's unforgiving, and yes, we all have pain and anger, and when we see what has unfolded over the last 20 years and over the last 20 days, that creates pain and anger, and mine comes from 242 of my soldiers killed in action over 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan.


LEMON (on camera): There he is, he hit it on the head. Listen, there should be accountability, but war is tough stuff, and anyone who says my plan, I had this plan, you don't know. You really don't know. We'll find out over time what exactly happened.

We are learning tonight that here at home, U.S. officials are grappling with the threat of domestic violent extremism as white supremacists and antigovernment extremists are praising what they say the Taliban accomplished and calling it a model, model for the civil war that they want to see right here in this country.

That is according to homeland security call that the State Department and local law enforcement obtained by CNN. And in the midst of all of that, the president is dealing with one major crisis after another like the raging COVID crisis.

The United States is now averaging 160,455 new COVID-19 cases every day, including controversial podcast host Joe Rogan saying that he tested positive for COVID and that he says he is taking several medications including a drug meant for deworming livestock.


Joe Rogan, PODCAST HOST: It turns out I got COVID. So, we immediately threw the kitchen sink at it, all kinds of meds, monoclonal antibodies, Ivermectin, Z-pak, prednisone, everything.



LEMON (on camera): No one is happy or gloating over the fact, at least not here, that Joe Rogan tested positive for COVID, OK? And we do hope that he is OK. But Joe Rogan has been dismissive of vaccines and he's gotten all that stuff right that have just emergency authorization, not approved by the FDA, no vaccine.

Telling millions of listeners that if a 21-year-old asked him if he should get vaccinated, he would suggest that they don't. He later clarified that he's not an anti-vax person, though it is unclear whether he had been vaccinated himself.

We're going to have more on all of this a little bit later on in the show because, because we have a responsibility. You have a responsibility when you have a platform as big as Joe Rogan's. Another crisis facing the president, the desperate aftermath of

Hurricane Ida in my home state of Louisiana, still no power, no gas, no food for hundreds of thousands of people, and what I can tell you will be sweltering temperatures even at night. And it could take weeks to restore power. Half the gas stations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the ones that are open, they're out of gas.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Our people have taken a pretty good lick here from Hurricane Ida, but our people are very resilient and strong as well. Having said that, we need all the help that we can get from the federal government, from the nonprofit sector, from the faith community, and certainly from us at the state level and working with our local partners as well.


LEMON (on camera): President Biden set to visit on Friday as Louisiana tries to recover from one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the United States. Grand Isle, Louisiana, completely uninhabitable and could be for up to five years.

And this storm is not done wreaking havoc. Heavy rains, tornados, floods battering parts of the northeast tonight. I experienced it personally myself. Multiple tornados hitting New Jersey, another in Annapolis, Maryland, today. Forty-one people were rescued from a school bus trapped in flood waters this morning in Pennsylvania.

And then there's the outrage over the Texas state law that went into effect yesterday. We told you about it last night on this program, barring abortions at six weeks. No exceptions before many people even know that they are pregnant.

The law allows private citizens to sue anyone who assists someone seeing ana abortion or seeking an abortion in violation of Texas ban -- of that Texas ban. So doctors, family members, even Uber drivers who take women to abortion appointments could face lawsuits, and a conservative majority Supreme Court, they just let it happen refusing to step in to block the law.

President Biden saying the law blatantly violates constitutional rights established under Roe v. Wade. The hypocrisy of Texas Republicans in all of this, it is on full display as usual.

Remember, this is the state that says it is my body, my choice on masks. Right? Body, my choice, on vaccines. It's my body, my choice. Whatever happened to that, and the people who are going to get caught in the middle of this? You know who it's going to be? Underserved communities, poor communities, communities of color, anybody who can't afford to get into a car and drive out of state or fly to go to a private doctor.

And there's more GOP hypocrisy front and center tonight, exhibit a, Congressman Madison Cawthorn. He says that he's going to introduce a resolution to condemn political violence. You heard that right. A resolution to condemn political violence.

Now think about that, go with me here, OK? A resolution to condemn political violence, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, I'll get to that January 6th if you're thinking that. The preliminary text including a list of comments made by Democrats and public figures including Madonna who last time I checked does not hold public office, but I digress, the list of comments does not include this from congressmen himself, the congressman himself over the weekend.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it's going to lead to one place, and it's bloodshed.


CAWTHORN: And I will tell you, as much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there is nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.


LEMON (on camera): Is he going to condemn himself? And he's still spreading the big lie of bogus election fraud, the big lie that fueled one of the darkest days in American history, January 6th when blood thirsty rioter tried to overthrow our free and fair presidential election, the most secure election in American history by the way.

They were hunting lawmakers forced to run for their lives, beating police officers, American heroes, trying to defend the seat of our democracy. Everyone saw what happened on that horrible day. You saw it, they saw it. Everybody did. We can never forget what we saw.


Condemning political violence? That Madison Cawthorn is political violence. Condemn that. Condemn that. And remember, just hours afterwards you voted to overturn our free and fair election. Really?

And the threat of political violence is far from over, white supremacists, domestic extremists inspired by none other than the Taliban. How worried are officials? How worried should the rest of us be?


LEMON (on camera): U.S. officials are becoming increasingly alarmed about the praise white supremacists and domestic extremists are giving to the Taliban. CNN has obtained a call between a top homeland security official and local and state law enforcement authorities. And it paints a startling picture of how extremists here at home are taking inspiration from the Afghan militants.

So joining me now is CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez, and also CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa. Good evening to both of you.


Evan, so let's get with the reporting here. This is obviously frightening. One DHS official even warning domestic extremists are framing the Taliban as a model for people who want a civil war here in the U.S. How seriously are officials taking this threat?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, it's serious enough that John Cohen who is the top intelligence official at the Homeland Security Department held this call with local and state law enforcement in which he outlines some of these things that DHS has been monitoring including groups that we know have been talking about trying to foment a civil war.

Essentially looking at what the Taliban did and saying, well, if those guys could essentially drive out a much better armed U.S. military presence in their country, why can't people here, you know, white supremacist groups and others who have similar aims to topple the U.S. government, why can't they try that here and drawing inspiration from this, you know. And so that's one of the reasons why you see officials trying to share this information so law enforcement knows what to look for.

LEMON: You know, Evan, there's also a big wave of anti-refugee rhetoric and a lot of islamophobia from the white supremacists. Is the fear that Afghans, immigrants, or others could become the target of these attacks?

PEREZ: That is a huge concern. Because you see in some of these groups, especially the extreme right wing, there's this conspiracy theory about the great replacement conspiracy essentially, which says that there's this great plot to replace white people with immigrants from other parts of -- from other parts of the world.

This is something that you see on some primetime shows on Fox News, for instance. And so the concern that you hear from homeland security officials is that, you know, some of these groups will start targeting refugees who are being settled in other parts of the country, you know, tens of thousands of folks were brought over in the last few days from Afghanistan. And so, there's great concern about their safety.

LEMON: Asha, this, I mean, this is really wild stuff. January 6th is fresh on our minds. I mean, I just talked about it, right, in the opening of the show. Now we are learning that domestic extremists are being inspired by violent militants overseas who just took over a country. The Taliban nonetheless, right? I mean, or ISIS-k. I mean, what?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Don, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and which way they see a group will tell you a lot about how they see the world.

You know, in June of 2021, the National Security Council issued its national strategy for countering domestic extremism. They identified two main groups that are a threat to the homeland. One, are racially motivated violent extremists, these are basically white supremacists who want to establish a racist utopia in the United States and the other are militia-based violent extremists who basically want to have war with the U.S. government and overthrow it.

And if you look at their philosophies, you can see that both of them will have, you know, admiration for the Taliban. The Taliban ideologically has been able to establish its own utopian state and hierarchy, and you know, order of society, and for the militia groups, they have been able to drive out the U.S. government.

And both of these groups, by the way, converge in this fantasy of there being a racial civil war in the United States where they'll be able to overthrow the government and, you know, establish their own way of living. So, you know, it does make in a weird way a certain ideological coherence if you understand how they view this from their perspective and what their goals are here in the United States.

LEMON: Asha, a lot of this hate is being pushed online. It's an easy recruitment tool, right? If you go with the -- I guess you can call it logic, what you are saying. I mean, if you want to understand it that way or put it that way. But how hard is it to counter and monitor this when it's so easy to spread?

RANGAPPA: It is very easy to spread, especially in social media, and I think that, you know, law enforcement intelligence are right to be vigilant about it. Here's an irony, though, Don, is that, you know, even as this war in Afghanistan is ending, the lessons that we learned in the war on terror are now applicable in the domestic setting.

So, that national strategy that I mentioned earlier to combat domestic terrorism and violence actually incorporates a lot of the same strategies that we used for terrorists abroad.

Intelligence sharing, preventing recruitment, so they will be looking at recruitment of these groups online, disrupting plots, and you know, they now have had practice in the foreign context.


And so, I feel confident, especially since there is now a coherent government strategy that they are on top of it, and the fact that we're talking about it now is actually a good sign that, you know, the intelligence community, local law enforcement are vigilant in monitoring this activity.

LEMON: Asha, Evan, thank you both. I appreciate it.

PEREZ: Thanks.

LEMON: Texas passing a law that could put Roe v. Wade at risk. It's a case of the minority in this country making rules for the majority right now.


LEMON (on camera): Tonight, the president and his top aides making a concerted effort to shift the nation's focus away from Afghanistan and back to the president's domestic agenda now that U.S. troops are out of Kabul. The White House saying that there are multiple crises that need the president's attention.

Now I want to bring in now CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash to discuss this. Dana, good evening to you. Thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: So, you know, the White House has been under siege today, the press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether the president views this moment as a time to shift priorities away from Afghanistan. Part of her answer and then we'll talk.


PSAKI: If there is a meeting warranted in the situation room with his military leaders, national security team about Afghanistan or any other issue, of course he's going to be there for that. But he also knows that part of his commitment to the American people is getting the pandemic under control, is addressing the hurricane and making sure that people in Louisiana and Mississippi and other states in the Gulf Coast know he's doing absolutely everything in his power to make sure they have power.

I didn't even mean to say it like that, but -- and so he knows that he has to do multiple things as president in order to govern the country.


LEMON (on camera): So, Dana, tell us what's going on here. Is this they want to focus on the president's agenda here at home and other domestic issues, correct?

BASH: They do. And it certainly sounds like the classic Washington pivot. In this case there happen to be, as you've talked about at the top of the show, a lot of genuine crises that the president would and should focus on from what's happening in your home state of Louisiana, he's going there on Friday, to the fact that this pandemic that this administration thought that they had under control in May is nowhere near under control for lots of reasons.

And then of course his domestic agenda. So, all of those things are still at the top of mind, top of his -- where he's going to spend his time, his public pressure and so forth, but the notion that the administration is going to be able to turn away from Afghanistan because it was so difficult. Nobody who I'm talking to in the administration really thinks that that is possible or whether it should happen for lots of reasons. Not the least of which, Don, is that there are still more than -- at least 100 Americans still in Afghanistan who say they want to leave. LEMON: Well, that's what I'm going to ask you, let's just -- what the

administration's allies evacuated over 124,000 people in 17 days. That is a staggering figure, so you have to give them that.

BASH: It is.

LEMON: But at least 100 Americans and the majority of Afghan allies who want to get out, they're still there. Again, the question is how do you move on from that? But Dana, you and I have been doing this for quite a long time, and we do know that the administration priorities, their focus and the news cycles eventually move on. They eventually move on.

BASH: Yes.

LEMON: So, you know what I'm saying.

BASH: No, and you're exactly right. What is going to keep the focus on Afghanistan? Several things. Number one, I do think that the media, we're all woken up because this has -- this was the longest war in American history and the American people's attention, the media attention broadly, it just had turned away from it, and so the fact that there are still Americans there, I don't think that's going to go away.

But also, how do we still focus on issues like this while there is congressional oversight, and the interesting thing here, Don, and you know this, is that, this isn't just Republicans, frankly, you know, hypocritically many of them because they didn't criticize Donald Trump for making the deal that led to this, but it's also Democrats who are genuinely worried about why it was so chaotic and much more importantly going forward, whether or not Afghanistan will quickly become another breeding ground for terrorists like it was 20 years ago.

LEMON: Dana, I'm glad to have you here tonight because we, you know, we covered what was going to happen with this restrictive -- restrictive abortion law taking effect that the Supreme Court didn't step in and they didn't. You're in Texas tonight.

President Biden is blasting this new law calling it extreme and saying it blatantly violates women's constitutional rights -- right to an abortion. What is this fight politically now for -- what does it mean for Democrats, for Republicans and President Biden?


BASH: It's, listen, this is one of many abortion restricting laws that is passed -- are passing across the country in mostly Republican- led legislatures, but nothing is like this. And I know you covered it last night for lots of reasons.

First of all, because it bans abortion at six weeks when most women don't know that they're pregnant. There are no outs for people who are pregnant because of rape, because of incest, health of the mother that even many people who are against abortion rights support. But what is going to be the real test here is the fact that they kind of inverted the way laws like this are conducted and are sort of attacked, if you will, because it makes vigilantism OK. It says that any individual can enforce the law. It's not just the government that can and should prosecute if people break the law. It's any individual can do it.

And not just that, Don, it says that those individuals can basically get a cash reward for calling out people -- not who actually, not women who gets abortions but people who help them. It could be their loved ones. It could be their Uber driver. And so, it is -- it was not struck down immediately by the Supreme Court, but it certainly not the end of the road for this or others.

I mean, there's one in Mississippi that the Supreme Court said it would take up. This is the time that we haven't seen in almost two generations where the Supreme Court is -- it's going to be the question about whether Roe v. Wade will be intact on a federal level or not. Probably pretty soon.

LEMON: This is going to be a big fight on both sides, those who are pro and anti, and we're going to watch it all play out. Thank you very much, Dana. And we'll be --


BASH: Galvanizing on both sides.

LEMON: Yes, and we'll be here to report it.

BASH: Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. You as well. Be safe.

So, Joe Rogan says he's got COVID after telling his millions of followers that they don't all necessarily need to get vaccinated. Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): Influential podcast host Joe Rogan who's questioned the usefulness of the vaccines now saying that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

I want to discuss now with CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, and medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Gentlemen, good evening.

So, doctor, Joe Rogan says he has COVID. It is unclear if he was vaccinated or not. He got monoclonal antibodies. But he also says that he took the deworming drug Ivermectin that's been touted by fringe right wing groups. What are you thinking when you hear this?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, the first thing I'm thinking is I hope he gets well soon. I think unfortunately Mr. Rogan is now understanding that this is no joke, and I think sadly, Mr. Rogan's comments this spring when he basically told 21-year-olds if you're healthy, don't get vaccinated. You know, they were sadly misplaced then and his comments have consequences --


LEMON: Doctor, can we play it? Can we play it? And then I want you to respond to it.


LEMON: Here it is.



ROGAN: Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don't do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself.


ROGAN: If you're a healthy person and you're exercising all the time and you're young and you're eating well, like I don't think you need to worry about this.


LEMON (on camera): Is that the one you're talking about, and then he walked back or?

REINER: Yes, he walked it back, and he said I'm not a doctor. I'm an f-ing moron a few days later. I don't want to quibble with that. What I would say is he's, again, causing a great deal of public disservice when he describes a completely jumbled sort of self-created medical regimen that he's on right now.

So, he says he's taking Ivermectin. It doesn't work. I wish it worked. It would be great if it worked. You know, it's an old drug. It's a cheap drug. It would be fantastic if it worked. It doesn't work. We know that.

He says he received monoclonal antibodies. It's really not indicated for him. It's indicated for people with mild to moderate symptoms at high risk of progression. It doesn't seem like that's him. He said he took steroids, Prednisone. That's only indicated for hospitalized patients on oxygen therapy.

And finally, he said he took Azithromycin, an antibiotic, which doesn't work for a viral illness. We know that. So, you know, he's promoting kind of a crazy jumble of, you know, folk remedies and internet prescribed drugs. It's, again, dangerous now. He should have more sense. After encountering the disease, and again, I hope he does well and gets well -- and gets well quickly. He's not helping matters when he promotes this sort of nonsense therapeutic mix. LEMON: Yes, and so listen, all of that cost money. The vaccine is

free. And so --


LEMON: Joe Rogan has a lot of money.

REINER: Correct.


LEMON: Joe a lot of people who listen to him --

REINER: Or he if he gets vaccinated. Right.

LEMON: -- don't have a lot of money. So, listen, we talked about that. He later clarified about talking to that 21-year-old. But here's the thing about if you're a 21-year-old. This is just one example, Brian, of the misinformation that is out there. As someone who has that huge of platform, what does he have, 13 million followers on Instagram, --


LEMON: -- and however many people listen to his podcast, he has a responsibility to tell people the truth and to help people. And quite honestly, in this environment when there's a global pandemic, to tell people to get vaccinated, to keep themselves healthy.


STELTER: Well, that's the thing, Don. He came out and said, I'm not anti-vax, but it's not enough to be anti-vax. It's not enough to be not anti-vax. You got to be pro-vax. You got to come out when you have a big platform and share your experience getting vaccinated helping your neighbors, and Joe Rogan has done the opposite.

Yes, he will probably be fine. He will probably get better, but he has sent all the wrong signals to date with this kind of contrarianism where, you know, if the government says one thing, he has to do the opposite. That is the rotten core of conservative media right now.

There are so many figures in conservative media that are exploiting the lack of social trust their fans have. A lack of trust is at the root of this problem. A lack of trust is what causes vaccine rejection and causes people to take these ridiculous drugs instead. How do we win back trust? Certainly the likes of Joe Rogan are not even trying to do that.

LEMON: Well, look, and again, I know people are going to say Don Lemon, you're B.S.-ing, I hope he's OK. I don't want to be all holier than --

STELTER: Come on.

LEMON: -- now because I don't wish this on anybody, right? STELTER: Right.

LEMON: But you know, Joe Rogan is one of many, many people that we have heard from including all these conservative talk radio hosts who downplay the virus, mock the vaccines, recently he's going to be OK, but they've died from COVID. Marc Bernier, Dick Ferrell, Phil Valentine.

Do you think these deaths will have any impact on their listeners, the fact that Joe Rogan has COVID and tried all these weird experimental things, do you think that's going to have any impact?

STELTER: Honestly, don, I don't think so. I don't think so because these conservative radio hosts who have died in states like Tennessee and Florida, we hear about them, but I'm not sure the Fox audience does. I'm not sure the audience that is anti-vax actually hears about these cases. Hopefully Dr. Reiner is more optimistic. But I'm pretty pessimistic on this. I'm not sure the people who need to hear the message are hearing it at all anymore.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, this is what the current modeling shows, Dr. Reiner, that U.S. may see another 100,000 deaths by December, and we keep saying it, but I mean, you know, each of their deaths were likely avoidable, and I want you to respond to that.

Bury the way, Dick Ferrell, the radio host on his death bed texted his long-time friend and adviser to get the vaccine and said he wished that he had.

REINER: Right, and this is the missed opportunity for people like Mr. Rogan. He has all of these listeners and the people that are listening to him are the least vaccinated group in the United States, sort of this 18 to 30-year-old group, people who think they're invulnerable who have listened to him and who have decided they don't need to be vaccinated.

He has the ear of these people. He could be a force for vaccinating this country, for putting the virus down by simply saying, you know something? I was wrong. This -- you know, this virus is nothing to be played with. If you haven't been vaccinated, go out and get vaccinated.

And you know something? This is not a dumb man, and maybe he will realize this now, but he has an opportunity, he has the podium with which to really effect change in this country. He has a similar podium that's the former president had and has and refuses to use. So, I hope some of these conservative radio hosts will understand now that it's past time for them to really stand up and do the right thing for this country.

LEMON: Thank you, doctor. Thank you, Brian Stelter. Let's hope they're listening.

REINER: My pleasure.

LEMON: He is as well. So food, water, gas all running short in Louisiana after Hurricane

Ida. Nearly one million people still without power. We're going to go there. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): So, several states in the northeast under threat of tornados and flash floods as remnants of Hurricane Ida move up the East Coast now. This tornado, look it right there on your screen, my goodness, seen tonight in western New Jersey.

We have a live report coming for you in just minutes. So that as the situation in Louisiana is growing more dire by the minute in the wake of Ida. Around one million people are without power, and close to 50 percent of gas stations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge without fuel.

And to make matters even worse close to 400,000 people are under a boil water advisory. In Plaquemine Parish a state of emergency as recovery efforts are under way, but they are struggling with no power and no water as well.

So, joining me now the Plaquemines Parish president, Kirk Lepine. Thank you, President Lepine. I appreciate you joining us. How are you guys doing right now? What does Plaquemines need the most?

KIRK LEPINE, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: Thank you, Don. And great for having me. If you notice Plaquemines Parish is 65 miles long from the top to the bottom. And it stretches, the end of the parish stretches to the Gulf of Mexico so we are last one. If you look at the boot of Louisiana, we're the end of the road.

So, our biggest challenge now is 100 percent of our residents are out of power. I am in the Belle Chasse area which is the northern part of the parish. We do have water supply now. We didn't last night after a generator problem, but we're back up and running. But we're trying to pump water down to my southern end of my parish. So that's been a challenge.

And I have -- I'm separate by the Mississippi River, so I have a parish -- part of my parish is on the east bank of the river, so I'm having some challenges also there with some of my water systems.


LEMON: Yes. We're looking at a drone shot now of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. As you said it is at the southern tip. It's the one that juts out the most. So, there's a boil water advisory. You don't have power. You said 100 percent. But there's a boil water advisory in the entire parish. Are you any closer to getting that? You said you're trying to pump but you're still trying to pump water to the southern part of your parish. Any chance of you getting back fresh-water?

LEPINE: We're getting it. We're getting the water in like I said the Belle Chasse area. We just hooked up a generator at one of our transfer stations to allow some water to go down. Our water system is in Belle Chasse and then we pump the water down.

So, we are able to -- we were able to get that generator hooked up. So, we had to get the pressure back up because of the water system going down and the generator back up and running. So, it's taken a little bit of time, but we see some trickledown effect.

LEMON: Hey, before we have to jump real quickly, you hear anything about electricity?

LEPINE: It's going to be a while. I met with the Entergy representatives this evening and a lot of grids are down, a lot of power down. We did see some sporadic in different areas come on tonight, so maybe we hope we're getting closer.

LEMON: We're thinking about you guys, and I thank you for appearing. I know you've got your work cut out for you. There's some good folks down there helping out. Best of luck to you. You're in our thoughts. Thank you very much, sir. OK?

LEPINE: Thank you, Don. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you.

So, white supremacists and anti-government extremists in the U.S. praising the Taliban, raising fears of violence here at home. Stay with us.