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Don Lemon Tonight

President Biden Is Trying To Unite Fractious Dems To Save Key Parts Of His Agenda Which Are Now On The Line; Bipartisan Policing Reform Talks Officially Fall Apart; New Proof Trump Tried To Orchestrate A Coup; New Developments In Gabby Petito Case; FAA Reports Incidents Of Unruly Passenger Behavior; Ten Current And Former Black Female Officers Sue DC Police; Champions For Change. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 22, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Democrats in disarray. President Biden trying to unite his party, holding separate meetings at the White House with so- called moderate and progressive Democrats, hoping to get the factions to come together to pass key parts of his agenda, which are now on the line.

Also tonight, bipartisanship talks in Congress on overhauling the nation's policing laws breakdown without a deal. One of the key members of the negotiating team joins me in just a few minutes.

And while the search continues for Brian Laundrie, witnesses report an incident involving him and his fiance, Gabby Petito in Wyoming in a restaurant there just before her disappearance.

Also ahead, new data shows unruly behavior by airline passengers getting worse by the day. Flight crews demand the federal government get tough with misbehaving fliers.

I want to bring in now CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.

So, Ron, Democrats control the House. They control the Senate. They control the White House. Is the president's entire domestic agenda in danger of imploding or can he save it?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he can save it ultimately. There are two separate tracks that we're talking about. Obviously, you have the whole negotiation between the left and the center of the Democratic Party over the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation, which is the broader social spending package.

And, look, they are arguing about a number on reconciliation. One thing politicians can do is find a midpoint between two different numbers, between the progressives and centrists, and I think ultimately they'll get there. The other track, though, is more significant in some ways, not in terms of the long-term impact but in terms of the immediate crisis, which is that Mitch McConnell, at the moment, is behaving like a terrorist, and he is holding a gun to the head of Democrats and indeed to the whole global economy in threatening to have the U.S. default on its debt by refusing to vote for any expansion of the debt ceiling.

The important point to remember is that even though he is the one, you know, making that threat, Democrats could take the gun out of his hand at any moment by voting to exempt the debt ceiling from the filibuster, and they are choosing at this point not to do that. They are empowering McConnell to make the threat that is now looming over the Biden presidency and indeed over the economy itself.

LEMON: That's a strong analogy. I mean -- metaphorically, you're saying --

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah, metaphorically. Can I just say one thing?

LEMON: You have to make it clear sometimes to people because you know they repeat --


LEMON: -- this stuff and --

BROWNSTEIN: McConnell --

LEMON: You're calling Mitch McConnell a terrorist.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, he is behaving -- I didn't say he is a terrorist. He is behaving like a terrorist --

LEMON: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- and threatening --


BROWNSTEIN: -- the global economy.

CARPENTER: I think that Mitch McConnell is being extremely cynical. If it came down to it, let's just say maybe a couple of Democratic senators had to go into COVID quarantine and couldn't make the vote. Mitch McConnell wouldn't let the country default on its debt.

We had this debate back in 2013. When I was working for people that wanted to have spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling which I still think is a pretty good policy because if we're going to keep spending this money, maybe we should find a way to get it under control.

That said, Mitch McConnell didn't want to do it, but at the end of the day, he crossed over and voted with the Democrats to raise that debt ceiling. So he is being cynical, hypocritical, yes, but let's just call him a bare knuckled partisan because that's really how he's acting here in my view.

BROWNSTEIN: Amanda, it's more than that, because look at the rule that he is setting up. He is saying now, the majority party --


BROWNSTEIN: -- should have to raise the debt ceiling by itself without any votes from the minority party. That's what he is saying. But, at the same time, the minority party should maintain a veto over whether the majority party can do so through the filibuster. And the punch line is the majority party is letting him get away with this.

You see Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema constantly complain that their fellow Democrats are acting extreme or irresponsible. Where is that complaint from Joe Manchin today when you are seeing Republicans gambling with the kind of global -- not only domestic, but the global economy?

Is he out there saying that if Republicans really do something as irresponsible as vote on a party line basis not to raise the debt ceiling, I'll reconsider my opposition to ending the filibuster?

You don't hear that from him now. And I think all of that is empowering McConnell. McConnell is acting as though he believes there is nothing that he can do that would cause Manchin or Sinema to reconsider the filibuster and thus take away the weapon, if you don't like the gun analogy, the crowbar that he is holding over the head of Democrats at this moment.


CARPENTER: I do think there's a good argument inside there in the fact that if Mitch McConnell does just want to sit on the sidelines and not engage in any sort of policymaking through compromise. I mean, let's take the voting rights legislation. He doesn't like it. You at least -- there's something in there you could agree with and maybe have a starting point, have a reasonable, rational debate rather than just rejecting it outright.

But it does seem to me that Mitch McConnell's strategy is to say, listen, I'm just not going to participate in the process at all, and I think that actually strengthens the Democrats' case for removing the filibuster hurdle, because if you can't even get the other party --


CARPENTER: -- to engage in debate, then I'm not sure where you have a start. And if Mitch McConnell is going to say, like, you go ahead and raise the debt ceiling, which puts the taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars and more spending, if you aren't going to participate in that process, I'm not even sure why you're there.

LEMON: Okay. Let me -- I want to ask you this.

CARPENTER: Maybe we do agree for different reasons.

LEMON (on camera): Amanda, let me ask you this. I've got to get your take on your former boss, Senator Ted Cruz, getting schooled on voting rights during a judiciary hearing. This is an exchange with USC law professor Franita Tolson.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): So what voter I.D. laws are racist?

FRANITA TOLSON, USC LAW PROFESSOR: Apologies, Mr. Cruz. Your state of Texas perhaps.

CRUZ: Okay. So you think the entire state of Texas is racist. What about requiring an I.D. to vote is racist?

TOLSON: So I think it's pretty reductive. I'm not saying the entire state of Texas is racist.

CRUZ: You just said my state of Texas. So you tell me about the Texas voter I.D. laws as racist.

TOLSON: So the fact that the voter I.D. law was put in place to diminish the political power of Latinos with racist intent and had been found to --

CRUZ: You're asserting that. What's your evidence for that?

TOLSON: The federal district court that first resolved the constitutionality of Texas's voter I.D. law.


LEMON (on camera): What's your reaction, Amanda?

CARPENTER: This is actually a debate I do think we should engage in, because I don't think voter I.D. laws are racist. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that people like Joe Manchin and Stacey Abrams have made an agreement to set some kind of standards for voter identification so that we can have some consistency in this process. It's one of the things I really like about the Manchin compromise that just came out.

But Cruz was playing some games here, insinuating that the professor there was insulting every Texan through his voter laws. And there has have been problems with voting restrictions put into the place, I think, for the purpose of restricting the vote not only among Black and Hispanic voters but any voter that may go against the desired outcome.

So, you know, I want to have much more of this debate because I think we could reach a pretty good --

LEMON: But that wasn't the way to have it.

CARPENTER: There was some gamesmanship.

LEMON: Yeah.


LEMON: All right. Thank you both. Go ahead. Real quick. Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: I was -- just real quick. You're going to talk about police reform in a minute. Voting rights, abortion rights, the list of Biden campaign promises that are going to pile up on the side of the road if they can't find a way to address the filibuster, not to mention this artificial debt ceiling crisis, just gets bigger and bigger. At some point, the president has to confront this more head-on than he had done so far.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

LEMON: The White House slamming Republicans for the breakdown of policing reform talks on Capitol Hill. Democratic Senator Cory Booker announcing today that discussions for a bipartisan deal have fallen apart after months of negotiations.

Tonight, Vice President Harris is calling Senate Republicans' refusal to move forward on police reform unconscionable.

Joining me now to discuss is Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was a key negotiator on policing reform. Thank you so much for joining us, congresswoman. I really appreciate it. Good evening to you. A lot of optimism, you know, that we get meaningful policing reform or police reform, even though it was never going to be easy to get the 60 votes in the Senate. So, what brought down these talks?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, first of all, let me just acknowledge that over 200 days ago, the House of Representatives did pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill. And I think that Senator Booker and I were very optimistic because Senator Scott seemed as though he really wanted to see reform take place.

And actually because of the filibuster that your guest was just talking about, we needed those 10 republican votes. And it just seemed as though Senator Scott had a very difficult time getting to yes. I also think that there were interferences from some of the national police organizations. The Fraternal Order of Police actually did negotiate a deal with Senator Booker but other organizations jumped in and that fell apart as well. So I think that he just had a terrible time getting to yes.

LEMON (on camera): Everyone thought, oh, Senator Tim Scott is going to the difference. He's going to help. He's going to make it. But listen, he was asked by CNN today about the breakdown in talks. He kept bringing it back to defunding the police. Listen.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC) (voice-over): It was really whether or not the penalties for cooperating or doing what was mandated.


SCOTT (voice-over): Those were takeaways. So in other words, they were going to lose grant money. I'm not going to be a part of defunding the police.


LEMON (on camera): I mean -- what do you make of him talking about defunding the police. Is he distorting what these talks are all about? That is not a tenet of Democrats, right?

BASS: No. Senator Scott knows that neither Senator Booker or I support defunding the police. What he is referring to was actually a part of the Trump executive order which basically said, if a police department went along and instituted reforms such as having a database or accreditation, et cetera, that they would be able to keep resources that they had.

This was proposed by President Trump. The Trump executive order is actually still in effect. The bill was going to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for police because the reforms that we were calling for such as accreditation and databases and all actually cost money.

So he knows that, but he also knows that that's a trigger phrase that is used and was used against Democrats any time Democrats were calling for any type of reform.

LEMON: So what was the point then? Is there any question to his motives about wanting to engage on this and then all of a sudden changing the narrative and then not going along with it at the last minute?

BASS: Well, I don't know. I mean, I don't know if it was internal to his caucus. What I do know is that it was very difficult for him to get to yes. One of the things that -- and this was the floor, Don. Trump's executive order is in effect. Now we could have put it into statute. We could have made it law. But the Biden administration has not rescinded it.

Now, if we were going to do anything less than the Trump executive order, you are actually moving the needle backward in terms of reform. And the hundreds of thousands of people that were on the street in every state in this country and countries around the world were demanding transformative change.

That's what we passed out of the House of Representatives. But unfortunately, talk about things piling up in the Senate. That's going to be on the pile in terms of legislation that didn't move forward because of the filibuster.

LEMON: The party of obstruction. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Congresswoman Bass.

Also tonight, we're learning new details about an internal memo former Trump lawyer John Eastman sent days before the insurrection, laying out a way for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results.

Joining me now is CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein. Carl, good evening to you. Good to see you. The Eastman memo is horrifying. It's just the latest piece of evidence showing Trump plotted to steal the election, telling Georgia's secretary of state to find votes, pressuring the DOJ to call the election corrupt, summoning the mobs on January 6th. He tried it over and over and over again.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Yes. We know this. There was a real coup attempted by the president of the United States with -- aided and abetted by those people, really (INAUDIBLE) people that he brought in and listened to, who tried to convince him and did convince him that there were ways to steal the election.

And that's what this memo is about. It's about totally thwarting the constitutional process of the election of the president of the United States by the Electoral College.

Trump wanted to make sure that he remained the president of the United States through hook and crook. And this was hook and crook. And he had hooks and crooks around him from Giuliani to Eastman, all up and down. He brought in these people who were willing, along with him, to goad him and to get him to accept these preposterous notions.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen. There were some very vivid examples of what was happening of the description of what was going on inside the White House and how Trump was acting.

In the book "Peril," Bob Woodward and Robert Costa describe a tense Oval Office meeting on January 5th where Trump continued to pressure Pence to overturn the election. They could hear MAGA supporters cheering and chanting outside.

This is what he said. I quote here. "If these people say you had the power, wouldn't you want to?" Trump asked. "I wouldn't want any one person to have that authority," Pence said. But wouldn't it be almost cool to have that power? Trump asked. That's according to Woodward and Costa. "No," Pence said. He went on. "I have done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It's simply not possible."

So in the end, Pence followed the law, but this just show he was struggling with that decision. How close had we actually come to losing our democracy, Carl?


BERNSTEIN: Well, this is one of the great contributions of this remarkable book by my former colleague Bob Woodward along with Robert Costa.

We now have a definitive record of how Donald Trump and those around him tried to undermine our most basic notion of what democracy is. We are willing to do anything to keep the presidency, to thwart the electoral process. But more than that, there was a -- what you see in this book is how -- what Trump did destabilized not only our democracy but our allies were destabilized because -- and our enemies because they thought we were going to code red, that we were actually -- if you listen to what General Milley says in this book, that Russia, China, Iran had no confidence whatsoever that they were not about to be attacked by the United States That Trump would use the pretext of this election to do something really reckless in terms of military action.

So if you put together everything that is in this extraordinary book, you have a day-by-day record of the most grievous attempt by a president of the United States, unprecedented in our history, to keep in office through every illegal means at his command and that he could summon and bring in people like Giuliani, Eastman, et cetera, to somehow find a justification.

And a terrible thing we see of Pence in Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's book is how he tried to go along for so long to try and have a democratic election undermined.

LEMON: Carl Bernstein, thank you for joining us. Appreciate your perspective.

New developments in the Gabby Petito case: Search for her fiance, Brian Laundrie, resumes in the morning. But CNN follows the route that they may have taken to get to a remote camping area. That is next.




LEMON (on camera): A police dive team now taking part in the search for Brian Laundrie at a large and swampy nature preserve in Florida. He's the fiance of Gabby Petito whose remains were found in Wyoming this weekend. A coroner is ruling her death a homicide.

Meanwhile, witnesses coming forward, claiming they saw an incident between the couple at a restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, in one of the last sightings of Petito before her disappearance. Other witnesses report seeing what they believe was the couple's white van near the likely area where her body was found.

CNN's Randi Kaye has that part of the story now.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So this may have been how Gabby Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie drove their van to enter the Spread Creek dispersed camping area. We're in Bridger-Teton National Forest about 28 miles outside of Jackson, Wyoming. We just turned off Highway 191 and we're driving now on Forest Road 30290. And if you take a look, you can see the road is a gravel road and it stretches for miles into the campsite. (Voice-over): Remember, video blogger Jen Bethune and her husband Kyle captured this video of a van they believe was Gabby Petito's on the side of the road inside the Spread Creek dispersed camping area. They posted it on YouTube and gave it to the FBI. The Bethunes told us they spotted the van on August 27th around 6:30 p.m., but that the van was dark and they didn't see anyone near it.

(On camera): The video bloggers sent us the coordinates where they say they saw that van, so we're trying to find that location right now. They said it was about 2-1/2 miles in or so and the van was right on the road.

(Voice-over): This dispersed camping area is an undeveloped camping area that offers few services. It's a popular spot, so it's no surprise Gabby or her fiance seemed to have chosen it. It's on the eastern boundary of the Grand Teton National Park and the views are breathtaking.

(On camera): While we don't know for sure, this clearing could be where that van was parked, certainly based on the distance that we were given. It is right on the road so anybody walking by or driving by certainly could have seen a van parked here.

Otherwise, it's pretty private. There are trees on the other side of the clearing. And then if you look out there, there's really not much other than some really big rocks and some gravel and there is a creek you can actually hear if you listen closely while you're standing here or parked here in this clearing.

(Voice-over): The forest where the campground is located spans more than three million acres. Law enforcement has not said exactly where Gabby Petito's remains were found or what specifically led them here. But somewhere among all this beauty, something terrible happened.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Moose, Wyoming.


LEMON (on camera): Randi, thank you so much.

A group of 10 Black women, all current or former officers with the Washington, D.C. Police, are suing the department. They are claiming racial discrimination, sexual discrimination and a lot more. They speak out live here, next.




LEMON: Unruly behavior by passengers aboard jetliners getting worse by the day. New data from DFA shows that since the start of the year, flight crews have reported more than 4,300 incidence of bad behavior in the sky. The House is holding a hearing on the growing problem tomorrow. More now from CNN's aviation correspondent Pete Muntean.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ugly air rage incidents are happening every day, according to flight crews, with more videos capturing passengers behaving badly on commercial flights. This video is from a September 8th jetblue flight when the airline says two passengers refused to wear masks.

UNKNOWN: One warning! That's it! You gave me one (bleep) warning!

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Now, the Federal Aviation Administration is challenging airlines to do more to protect flight crews.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Tuesday, it asked the airlines to commit to take more action and gave them one week to present a plan to combat the problem. Airlines have already banned thousands of passengers and some have even suspended alcohol service on board.

HENRY HARTEVELDT, TRAVEL INDUSTRY ANALYST, ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH GROUP: There aren't too many levers left for airlines to pull when it comes to unruly passengers.

UNKNOWN: Sit down now!

MUNTEAN (voice-over): In just the last week, flight crews reported more than 100 new incidents for a total of nearly 4,400 cases this year. The FAA says almost three quarters involve passengers who push back against the federal transportation mask mandate.

The penalties include civil fines up to $37,000. But flight attendants say the federal government needs to go further. One union says fines are being levied often without urgency. Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants says passengers should face prison time.

SARA NELSON, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: Leaving this just to the flight attendants on the frontlines to try to enforce this without that federal backing is extremely difficult.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): TSA administrator David Pekoske says there's no doubt that millions returning to travel are more stressed than usual, but there is no excuse for problem passengers.

DAVID PEKOSKE, ADMINISTRATOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: It's a big concern of mine. I know it's a big concern of every traveller out there. Nobody wants to be at 30,000-plus feet and have somebody create an in-flight disturbance.

MUNTEAN (on camera): The issue of unruly passengers comes to Capitol Hill on Thursday. Lawmakers will hear from the airline industry, unions, flight attendants and also airports. That's where the FAA wants to crack down on to-go alcohol sales. The goal is to curb problem passengers before they even step on board. Don?


LEMON (on camera): All right. Pete, thank you very much for that. Appreciate it.

They are claiming racial and sexual discrimination. That is not all. Ten current and former Black women officers are suing the D.C. Metropolitan Police. They're here, next.




LEMON: A story you need to pay attention to. A group of 10 Black women all current or former officers with the Washington, D.C. Police are filing a class action lawsuit against the department, claiming decades of racial and sexual discrimination, a hostile workplace, and a culture of intimidation. They are seeking $100 million in damages and the complete overhaul of the department's personnel practices.

So joining me now is Officer Kia Mitchell, the Assistant Police Chief Chanel Dickerson, and Pamela Keith, the lead attorney in the lawsuit. I'm so glad you're here. You are all very brave. Thank you and good evening.

Assistant chief, I'm going to start with you. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. This lawsuit talks about a systemic pattern of bullying and retaliation within the department. Can you tell me about how the incidents of sexual harassment and how it went down and what you experienced?

CHANEL DICKERSON, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, thank you, Don, for asking the question and also saying that you're sorry that this happened to me. Most people start off with saying, well, if that happened to you, disbelieving. So thank you so much for just believing us and believing me.

My sexual harassment and discrimination started early on. I started at the police department when I was 17 years old as a police cadet. I was met by older men, officers, police officials in the department who asked me to engage in sex acts for things of value. And we all know, I was 17, and now I know that I would never agree to anything of value for sex.

I did not agree to that. I asked for a transfer. I was told that in order to move up in the department, that I would have to have sex, and I would have to go along and get along. And that transitioned throughout my career. I left the department in the area and returned back, and I was a civilian employee.

And a year after being a civilian, I was met once again being sexually harassed by my lieutenant. He stalked me outside of my house, wanted to engage in sex acts. And when I refused, he reduced my lunch break from one hour to 30 minutes. And I had to sign in and out every time I left the office, including going to the bathroom.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

DICKERSON: And three years after that, I became a sworn officer, so I'll be celebrating my 25th year as a sworn officer. I have over 30 years total as law enforcement professional. But it started again. It was just a culture of MPDs (INAUDIBLE) --

LEMON: Well, let me --

DICKERSON: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

LEMON: No, go ahead. Finish your thought. But I want to get Officer Mitchell in. I want to give her a time to --

DICKERSON: Okay. No, give her time. Give her time. I don't want to take all the time. She has something like really important that I want her story to get out of what was done to her. And I'll just close my part out that fast forward it went through all of that, even as an assistant chief.

I stand here today with nine other women supporting them, supporting me, standing up for what's right, telling MPD no more of this, and we have to stick together.


DICKERSON: As an assistant chief, I still experienced discrimination for speaking up about treatment.

LEMON: There's retaliatory tactics. It's mentioned in the lawsuit. It happened over incidents. So Officer Mitchell, you mentioned an experience you had in the van -- maybe this is what the assistant chief was talking about -- with another officer and you were afraid when you went to report it. Tell me about the harassment and the retaliation you went through.

KIA MITCHELL, D.C. MPD OFFICER SUING OVER ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION: I was in the van with several male officers. Mind you, this was an official that did this. This was a sergeant. We went on a ride-by (ph) before we serve a warrant. I was working with the emergency response team because I'm one of the hostage negotiators. He needed to use the bathroom. We were out there for a while.

One of the other officers also needs to use the bathroom but he chose to relieve himself in the woods whereas this sergeant relieved himself in a bottle behind me. I didn't realize he was urinating until I smelled a very awkward smell, and I realized someone else said, hey, you need to be drinking some water because your urine smells strong. I said, wow, I couldn't believe he had just urinated.

And when I told my sergeant about it, when I got back, I didn't think he was really going to tell anybody because I didn't want anybody to really say anything because I had just came back as a senior officer. And I was really afraid they wouldn't renew my contract if I, you know, made trouble, if I make waves. That's what we were told. If you made waves, you will not be able to come back and keep your job as a senior officer.

LEMON: Yeah.

MITCHELL: But he did. He went and he told the lieutenant and had a meeting with them and myself. Two months later, he was promoted to lieutenant.

LEMON: Wow. Pam, the Metropolitan Police released a statement addressing these allegations. They say while we cannot discuss the specific allegations due to pending litigation, the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to treating all members fairly and equitably throughout our organization. We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly.

What's your response to this statement, Pam?

PAMELA KEITH, LEAD ATTORNEY IN LAWSUIT AGAINST DC METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, we have 213 pages that they don't take -- treat people seriously and treat people fairly. That's the opposite of the truth. In fact, the culture of the MPD is that when an officer gets on the wrong side of senior management, they get pushed out. And it's not accidental. It is coordinated. It is targeted.

If you remember that movie, "A Few Good Men," the chief calls a code red and somebody is pushed out. And that has been proven over and over again. We have 10 class representative plaintiffs. All of them have been retaliated against. All of them have experienced being ignored, pushed aside, and treated like second class citizens.

And so, you know, what is it, all 10 of them are lying? I hardly think so. We have 285 years of service to this community amongst them. So what -- they are either all lying, which is not true, or what they are talking about doesn't matter, which, of course, is not true, or it does matter and you don't want to do anything about it.

LEMON: Yeah.

KEITH: And it just remains to be seen what they choose to do about it.

LEMON: Chief Dickerson, I have to ask you. You are still employed with the department. You are taking a risk filing this lawsuit. Standing up with these other officers, is it worth this potential risk of losing your job?

DICKERSON: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I have considered all of the consequences for standing up. But it's standing up for rights, for what's right, for equality. Why wouldn't I do that? I cannot worry about myself and watch other women suffer. Like I said, I speak out about the disparaging treatment and then I am denied opportunities to attend leadership programs. So it's happening to me and I cannot stay silent because silence is complicity.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, I have to say that I'm so glad you came here with a bit of a technical problem so we won't get as much time as we had planned for it. Will you guys please keep us updated on what's happening? I'm especially interested in what's happening in the police department there since January 6th. So it will be interesting to our viewers and to the country and see if you guys get justice for this and what the outcome is. Thank you all very much. Best of luck.

DICKERSON: Thank you so much, Don.

KEITH: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

MITCHELL: Thank you so much.

LEMON: We'll be right back.




LEMON: They are normal people. Not making headlines but smashing barriers and lifting humanity up. We're taking the time to spotlight them. Sharae Moore of S.H.E. Trucking is a champion for change. When she decided to become a truck driver, she stood out in the male- dominated business, but she put the pedal to the metal to change the industry. Here's CNN's Erin Burnett.


SHARAE MOORE, TRUCK DRIVER: I knew nothing about this industry before I got in. Everybody thought I was crazy. You don't drive a big truck. You're 5'3". You can't reach the pedal.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Actually, how is it reaching the pedals when you're 5'3"?

MOORE: I push my seat (ph) and I get on down like anybody else.


MOORE: I (INAUDIBLE) male-dominated industry and I instantly saw a need to create a space for women, for more women to come in. S.H.E. Trucking is the largest platform for women in the trucking industry. We have over 20,000 professional women drivers. I've helped a lot of women get their LLC, EIN, (INAUDIBLE) number, making sure that they get out a woman-all certification and being registered in the different departments of government to haul transportation goods.

UNKNOWN: S.H.E. Trucking is definitely a sisterhood. If you need a shower, just post it, girl, we got you. If you're stuck somewhere, that's really what it is. This is a sisterhood, even though we may have never met in person.

BURNETT: There's trucking in your blood, right?

MOORE: It is. My dad is a truck driver.

I'm excited.

UNKNOWN: I am, too.

MOORE: But I do this because of my mom. My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She's a bus driver. I remember many days of opening up the gate, having my mom back up her bus in our yard. I saw her training women.

Together, we're helping others.

UNKNOWN: Together, we're strong, building a legacy.

BURNETT: Nobody thought she could do it because she is 5'3". She walked into a room. She is the only woman. She was the only Black person in the room. And nothing ever fazed her. She's trying to provide an opportunity to become a truck driver and have a career and economic independence.

How are you making change in the industry overall?

MOORE: The biggest change that we're making is by being a voice. I talk to drivers every single day to figure out what are their challenges, what is going on? A lot of drivers who come into this industry are not in the best situation. Trucking becomes your safe haven.

JOJON HARRIS, TRUCK DRIVER: I met Sharae about three years ago. When I first started driving, I knew of no female truckers. So when I found S.H.E. Trucking, it was like magical for me. I have four children. I was always a single mother. I was also in an abusive relationship. It allowed me to get away. I mean, you make good money in trucking. I could take care of my family.

MOORE: Hey, welcome to S.H.E. Trucking. S.H.E. Trucking is (INAUDIBLE) women driver. It's here to encourage, support, and inspire women to become truckers.

I looked on Youtube, learned how to build a website, learned how to make my t-shirts. It just grew and grew.

BURNETT: You look at Sharae now, who has more than 20,000 women that she is providing supplies for, that she's mentoring, that she's trying to change the trucking industry so that women can succeed and thrive and be safe in it.

What do you think about your child?

UNKNOWN: I'm proud. That's all I like to say. I'm so proud of her.

BURNETT: She's built this entire organization to help other people. That's what a champion does.

(END VIDEO TAPE) LEMON (on camera): Erin, she's amazing. Erin Burnett joins me now, by the way. Erin, trucking -- I mean it is still dominated by men and the situations women deal with are really shocking. What did you learn?

BURNETT: I mean, it's really amazing, Don. This summer, I was in Utah. I saw a sign, $80,000 starting salary for truckers, right, full health care, $10,000 bonus. These are good paying jobs. And that's why, you know, Sharae is dedicating her life to getting more and more women in these jobs. But it's dangerous.

She talked to me about how even now, there's no designated truck parking, right? It's not well lit. She talks about how at rest stops, you go in. There might be a shower, but there is not a shower for women and men. There are no locks on the doors. People come in. Drivers get robbed. There's sexual assault. There's a lot for women to fear and that has kept women out.

So she's really been championing tackling some of those issues so that more and more women can get in and get these jobs because they do pay -- they pay real money. You heard that single mother there with four children. She is able to support her children.

And Sharae, Don, she talks about how many of the women that come into trucking are coming out of abusive relationships or some have been homeless. This is a huge ticket for them to a very different life. She'll have people in her home for weeks at a time as she tries to help them get through the certification process sign up and turn their life in the direction they want to go.

LEMON: Let me tell you. When we do these champions and the heroes every year, I mean, it just reminds me of the really amazing people we have in this country who are doing really inspirational things.


LEMON: Erin, thank you for inspiring us and bringing us this story of women in trucking.

BURNETT: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I really appreciate it. And there's a lot more where this came from, what Erin did and many others. We're spotlighting these everyday people changing the world for the better. "Champions for Change" airs Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.

And thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New information at this hour and breaking news in the killing of Gabby Petito and the disappearance of her fiance, Brian Laundrie. John Berman here, in for Anderson.