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Don Lemon Tonight
Mitch McConnel Opens a Window for Democrats; Texas Judge Ruled an Order to Abortion Ban; Biden's Poll Number Sinking; Police Wants to Hunt Citizens; Trump Ally Missing in Action; AT&T Role to OAN's Birth. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 06, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying we need to start asking why aren't things getting better. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes.
CUOMO: With its big star, D. Lemon.
LEMON: I think there are a lot of things that aren't getting better. I saw that Debbie Downer was like, the smirk is going -- Smerconish is going after Chris. I understand -- look, I see both sides. I know, you know, I always call you both sides Cuomo. I see both sides. I see why you would be sort of a glass half empty right now. But there are lot of things that are going right, and I think we should highlight those things as well.
CUOMO: Such as?
LEMON: Well, such as there is a possible pill that helps people when they get sick with COVID. That the COVID numbers are coming down despite the vaccine hesitant people in this country, that there may be a deal, it looks like a deal is in the works when it comes to infrastructure in this country and that will help.
So, I think there are some good things and also, I think that on the other side, I think the concern should be not whether Republicans love Trump. We know that, duh. I think the concern should be with Joe Biden's approval rating approval ratings at an all-time low from 58 percent to 38 percent.
CUOMO: You have to see the relationship between the two.
LEMON: No, there's not -- there's not -- I don't see the relationship there. I think one is looking at a reality. There is a president in office now. People are not happy with the job he's doing. The other one is a hypothetical. What would happen if he gets back, could he back, what have you. There is a difference between an approval rating I'm talking about
Trump now, a high approval rating and whether or not people want to see him run. But that -- I think let's not get ahead of ourselves because that may happen or may not happen. I think people should be concerned with the actual reality of what's happening now. The person who is controlling the levers of government or the party that's controlling the levers of government now, that's a Democratic Party, that's Joe Biden's Party.
The approval ratings should be concerning for Democrats and especially for Joe Biden because that also shows whoever he may come up against in 2024, if he doesn't get his agenda across the finish line, it's going to be an uphill battle or an uphill climb for him. That's where the concern should be. Not on a what if, what if, should it, could have, who know what's going to happen, is he going to run, is he going to beat DeSantis? Is he going to? OK. Don't get ahead of yourself.
What about can the Democrats and the people in Washington, Republicans, as well, can they get the work done for the American people? Can they get the work done for the people who put this current president in office? That's where the focus should be for the time being.
CUOMO: Well, that's always the focus. It's just that the answer is an obvious no and the reason that the answer is no, is because of what you're saying doesn't matter that much, which I differ with.
LEMON: I'm sure it doesn't matter that much, I'm just saying priorities, people.
CUOMO: I know, but the state of play is that Biden's numbers are upside down for two main reasons. One, he's got no big wins and two, things don't feel better in terms of the nature of the spirit of the country. He's got his own party going at it with one another and you can call that big 10 politics. I call that B.S.
The other part is that it is very much the reality that Republicans overwhelmingly want Donald Trump to run again and the people who are seen as presumptive contenders kissing his hinny is also proof that they are going to play to his return so I think that's very much a reality. It's also why Biden can't get anything done with the Republicans because they are playing to the animus.
That's the state at play right now, as you always say the two parties aren't even. It's true. The Democrats are making their own problems and the Republicans are trying to make problems for Biden. So, Biden has everything going against him right now.
LEMON: They are trying to make problems for the country because that reflects bad poorly on Biden. So, they are actually harming the country --
CUOMO: Yes. LEMON: -- by trying to harm this. But I just think that, you know, we don't over index Trump and the Trump supporters. We always, before he was president, what did they think. Could he --
CUOMO: We over index his supporters because they are minority and we make it sound like they're half the country.
LEMON: Right, thank you. And so, I'm saying the same thing is happening with the, what is he going to do? What is he -- OK, fine, he may run? We'll deal with that. But he's not --
CUOMO: I actually don't think he does. I'll go on record.
LEMON: OK. Ok. Well, I don't disagree with that and I don't know if he does, if he could actually win because as you say, it's not half the country. And the people who are polling they are -- it's among likely voters for Republicans or just Republicans.
LEMON: Leaners. OK. Fine. Of course, we know that, duh. Republicans love Donald Trump, duh. OK. Next.
CUOMO: I think the reason is --
LEMON: Bartender, can I have a beer? I mean --
CUOMO: He could win but he likely won't win.
LEMON: Won't win, Yes.
CUOMO: And him taking a double L --
CUOMO: -- I don't believe he can destroy the democracy. Anything is possible.
CUOMO: But I think this country and its institutions are stronger than the challenge presented.
LEMON: I'm not saying that we don't -- we should -- we're not aware of it. We shouldn't be aware of it. I'm not saying that we whatever.
CUOMO: No, you kind of said that.
LEMON: No, I'm just saying -- no. I just want to -- I want to make sure because, you know, people get things out of context. I'm saying that let's look at what's important in front of us right now. What's the best thing for the American people as far as elected officials are concerned?
What's the best thing for an informed electorate as far as you and I are concerned? The people who are in power now, what are they doing holding them accountable. Donald Trump is no longer in power. So, let's keep Joe Biden, his administration and Republicans and Democrats in office now. Let's keep their future to fire truth to power in the moment that we're in and worry about Donald Trump if that time comes.
LEMON: When the time is.
CUOMO: That's what's in the interest of the American people.
CUOMO: Deals on all the issues that matter and then they can judge the deals and that should elevate the outcome of the election.
LEMON: Deal. Handshake. I'll see you later.
CUOMO: Love you, D. Lemon.
LEMON: I love you, brother.
CUOMO: That's a meme.
LEMON: I'll see you soon.
This is Don Lemon Tonight on a big breaking news night with major developments on multiple stories. That's why I have to hurry up and get to it because we got a -- it's a busy night.
There is a Texas six-week abortion ban, the most restrictive in the nation. OK. A federal judge in Texas issuing an order blocking the ban, blocking it. It is a victory for opponents of the law but it may be soft lived. It could be temporary. The state promising to appeal here.
That is happening as it is time for Democrats, for Democrats to make up their minds. If they want to get the president's multi-trillion- dollar agenda across the finish line, the agenda he campaigned on, the promises he made to the American people, they're going to have to make some very hard choices. Will they take what they can get? Or risk losing it all?
And make no mistake, that's what is at stake right now. This is a defining moment. And it is coming as Mitch McConnell who has vowed for months that there will be no Republican help on the debt is now offering Democrats until December to figure out how to avoid something that has never happened in the history of this country, a default, talks continuing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Senator McConnell is now offering to have his caucus step aside and let Democrats all 50 of us come to the floor and vote for a short term debt ceiling raise, and I think we will accept that so we can move forward with finishing the work to pass the build back better agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Listen, avoiding a default is of course a good thing. Getting a few more weeks gives Democrats time to work on the president's agenda without the threat of our economy collapsing.
But make no mistake here, what's happening now is just kicking the can down the road. The White House said it and that's exactly what it is. We could be right back in the same place in December, a default looming while Democrats battle their own.
Meanwhile, President Biden's approval rating is sinking. The latest Quinnipiac poll puts it at 38 percent, the lowest since he took office. Like I said, it is a defining moment for the president's party and for his agenda.
And there is news tonight that I want you to listen to. It's out of Minneapolis. Remember we -- during George Floyd, so much of the focus was on Minneapolis. We have this stunning new body camera footage of Minneapolis police officers, their response to the protests in the days after George Floyd's death, revealing officers talking about hunting civilians as part of a response to unrest in the early hours of May 31st, 2020.
According to court documents, that night this particular unit had been going down Lake Street in Minneapolis clearing out people who were not adhering to the curfew with 40-millimeter non-lethal rounds. OK? As part of a debriefing with this unit afterward according to court documents, a Minneapolis police commander, pay close attention, said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: That was a busy night.
UNKNOWN: What a -- it's nice to hear for -- that we moved -- tonight it was just nice to hear, we're going to go find some more people. Instead of chasing people around, we're going to -- you guys are out hunting people now and it's just a nice change tempo.
UNKNOWN: Yes. (muted) these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So that was the attitude for officers there that you heard. CNN reviewed more than two hours of body camera videos and we have got more to come on this very story tonight. OK? There is more.
This is happening as this day marks nine months, can you believe it's been nine months since one of the worst attacks in American history. That was the day that bloodthirsty Trump supporting rioters attacked the seat of our democracy, the United States capitol, the capitol of the United States. Storming the building all caught on live television beating police trying to defend the capitol within an inch of their lives and hunting lawmakers who were forced to flee.
Nine months since we watched all of that in horror, watched as it was happening. Now the clock is ticking for several top aides and advisors to former president, the former president to turn over documents to the select committee investigating what happened nine months ago. And sources say they haven't been able to physically serve the subpoena to one of those aides and that's Dan Scavino, the communications guy. They want to find out what he knows about videos like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Meanwhile, the disgraced twice-impeached one term ex-president is showing that you just -- why he is disgraced putting out a statement actually it's nothing but a rant, really, claiming the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the day Joe Biden won the presidency with more than 81 million votes. More votes than the former guy. That was the day the ex-president lost.
It's just another of those rant/statement that he's been putting out since he was kicked off Twitter after January 6th because they feared that he would incite more violence and he is still pushing the big lie. The lie that exploded into violence at the capitol and here is the thing about pushing lies.
When you lie to people over and over and over and over, when you tell them their government is lying to them, they won't believe you even when you're trying to save their lives. OK? That is why the Health and Human Services, that is why Health and Human Services is putting out a series of new ads aimed at convincing people who are still vaccine hesitant, ads that don't sugarcoat what it's like to have and almost die from COVID.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Been in the hospital for 76 days now and by the grace of God, I'm still here. It was a lot of dark times then. I died three times. They gave me a 5 percent chance at living. So, I highly recommend everybody to get the vaccines and really protect themselves because this is no joke. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): No joke. No joke. That's the brutal truth of what it is like for people who get COVID. This country is averaging more than 103,000 new cases every day. The vast majority of them unvaccinated people. But listen to what happened. OK? I really want you to pay attention to this. Have a seat. I don't know what time -- if you're having a cocktail, whatever it is getting ready for bed or whatever. Have a seat, I want you to pay attention to this.
Lindsey Graham tried to convince people to think about, just to think about getting vaccinated. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So, the bottom line is, I've took the vaccine. I've had it. It kicks your butt. If you haven't had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting it because if you're my age --
GRAHAM: I didn't tell you to get it. You ought to think about it.
GRAHAM: Well, I'm glad I got it. Ninety-two percent of the people in the hospitals in South Carolina are unvaccinated.
UNKNOWN: My god.
GRAHAM: I'm with you -- I'm with you on --
UNKNOWN: Lord Jesus.
UNKNOWN: I'm with you that it's probably unconstitutional --
UNKNOWN: God help me.
GRAHAM: But I'm not going to legitimize what I think is the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): She's right. Lord help me. That is absolutely right. Lord help me. Is it any wonder why far too many people don't trust vaccines when they have been fed a steady diet of lies and misinformation from the very beginning?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: No. Not getting that vaccine. No, no, no, no. The vaccines are not good, hun.
UNKNOWN: Are you vaccinated?
UNKNOWN: No, but I have a lot of hydroxychloroquine in my house.
UNKNOWN: Have you got your vaccine shot?
UNKNOWN: No. Don't want it.
UNKNOWN: No, why?
UNKNOWN: They haven't tested it enough from my opinion.
UNKNOWN: I don't trust the government. I don't trust the CDC. I don't trust none of them.
UNKNOWN: Do you know any people that got sick or died from the virus?
UNKNOWN: I know three people that got it and died but you know what I know people who got cancer and died, too.
UNKNOWN: You know three people who died from coronavirus and you won't get the vaccine?
UNKNOWN: No, I don't -- I like I said, I don't need the vaccine.
UNKNOWN: Have you guys gotten vaccinated?
UNKNOWN: No, won't do it.
UNKNOWN: Can I ask why you chose not to?
UNKNOWN: I'm allergic to a lot of the things in the chemicals and stuff like that and freedom. You get to choose. If you can have an abortion and choose your body, I should be able to choose if I get a shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. Look, they've been fed this steady diet of misinformation, so there is that. However, they are adults. Let's remember that where those lies and misinformation came from.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do through the skin or in some other way and I think you said you're going to test that, too. Sounds interesting.
UNKNOWN: We'll get the right folks who could. TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant where knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or must a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, you know, we live through that. It's hard to believe, right? You know, sometimes I feel bad because I laughed about it but it's not funny. I mean, it's laughable. It's ridiculous to think that. That is -- that was the President of the United States at the time talking about a deadly pandemic and light inside the body of bleach and all of that.
That's where that came from. And then if they didn't see the -- how ludicrous that was, why would they do it now, right, same thing with the polls? Like, my gosh. We love Trump. People romanticize history. Like, they move on. Things don't seem as bad in the rearview mirror. Right? You know, the January 6th wasn't that bad and what he did the pandemic wasn't that bad. It was awful, all of it.
That's where all of that B.S. came from, that guy. But now he's no longer in power so it is the people who are in power now still making excuses for him because they want to hang on to power, not that they want to educate people or do what's right for people or save their lives, they just want to hang on to power and they think that's the best way to do it because people's ignorance -- people have been exploited for their lack of knowledge.
Let's put it that way. And because people want to have them believe, confirmed and reconfirmed and reconfirmed. How could he be wrong? We voted for him. Well, he lied to you, lies about the pandemic, Lies running on Facebook. And the biggest lie on them all, the big lie that fueled that violent attacks on our nation's capitol nine months ago.
I have said it before, lies and misinformation. They are killing us. And they are killing our democracy. If I have to say it over and over every single night, I will keep saying it over and over and one day you will look back and say, that guy was right. Wow, we should have paid more attention.
Our breaking news tonight, a federal judge in Texas issuing an order blocking the Texas six-week ban on abortion. What does it mean for women in Texas and will that order hold?
LEMON (on camera): So, let's discuss the breaking news tonight. A federal judge issuing an order to block the restrictive Texas abortion ban. State attorneys will appeal the ruling but tonight's decision comes as a victory for opponents of the law after the Supreme Court declined to block it last month.
Let's discuss now with CNN's legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates joins us. Laura, good evening to you.
I'm so happy that -- the perfect person to talk about this. Let me just read from the order and his order, Judge Pitman writes and I quote here. "The other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion and it is theirs to decide. This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive depravation of such an important right."
It is a strong denunciation, Laura, of this Texas law.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It absolutely is, a really sharp rebuke, really of the Supreme Court of the United States, their decision not to actually rule on the underlying constitutionality or the idea of somebody thumbing their nose at the very valid and still in place precedent of Roe v. Wade.
And remember, this is about the deprivation of what has been established under the Supreme Court precedent for Roe v. Wade, talking about a depravation of equal protection to the 14th amendment. The justices already sued this particular state based on this in violation in part of the supremacy clause as well about federal law being able to preempt and of course, the establish precedent of Roe v. Wade.
And it's also about how the end run around judicial review actually might create a blueprint in other states here, and so, this is really an indication that this judge is completely averse to the notion that that which was contemplated as a way for people to not be able to be able to exercise their rights, it was already in effect. It was already acting as a deterrent.
People were not able to go and perform or be able to obtain abortion- related services and so it had the chilling effect. This is actually going to be a temporary measure, though, Don, in reality.
LEMON: OK. Yes, temporary measure because the order could be short lived. Any appeal --
LEMON: -- and it could go to the fifth circuit court, correct, which has already declined the request --
LEMON: -- from clinics to block the law so how might this play out?
COATES: And of course, the fifth circuit court is one of the most notoriously conservative courts in the entire country, and so it might ultimately, if they decline or they find that the law is constitutional and they don't take issue in the same way that the district court level judge did, it could mean that it would not reach the Supreme Court of the United States if they then decline to undertake this.
Remember, they already have a Mississippi state law already on the docket in terms of this term to decide an even later abortion ban after I believe after 16 weeks. [22:25:03]
And so, this could actually be a very decisive moment in terms of the longevity of this particular district court ban if it goes up to the fifth circuit or court of appeals, it might in fact actually be able to be reinstated.
So right now, it is a victory for those who are in favor of abortion related services and of course, Roe v. Wade but might be short lived but for now, it is a clear rebuke of an attempt to have an end run around very clear precedent.
LEMON: Let's talk about how restrictive this law is, Laura. We've discussed it before but aside from the six-week abortion the most shocking part of the Texas law is how it deputized citizens to go after their own community members and neighbors that they suspect of even getting an abortion or possibly helping someone offering $10,000 bounties. Is that central to the legal argument against it at this point?
COATES: Absolutely. It's the idea of you calling it deputization, really, it's vigilante. Remember the reason here it's so offensive in part is because normally in order to enjoin something to stop a law from going into effect or able to sue by its constitutionality, a state official or actor is one who actually has to enforce it.
Here you have people who could be totally unrelated and unaffected by any person who is attempting to or aiding somebody trying to get an abortion, which raises issues about whether you have a right to even bring an action, and it incentivizes people to able to bring the causes of action, Don, because you can -- if you are successful, you get attorney's fees and you get a $10,000 bounty.
This is one of the reasons why it's been so offensive to the Department of Justice and one of the central arguments in addition to the 14th amendment constitutional issue and of course, the idea of the supremacy clause, why it has been so offensive, why it has been sued and why this district court judge said not on my watch.
LEMON: Listen, Laura, we always listen to you. You have great insight on these legal matters and if I must say so, I had the honor of prereading Laura's -- Laura, your book is fantastic. And it's not out yet. If you can preorder it, I would say preorder it. It's called "Just Pursuit."
I was honored that you allowed me to read it earlier than anybody else. It is -- I mean, I didn't want to put it down, I didn't want it to end. Congratulations in advance and we will talk about your book in upcoming times. I really mean it. It was really, really great. Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Don, I love you for that. Thank you. It was an honor for you to read it. You know, look, I don't have on waterproof mascara, what are you doing? Stop.
LEMON: It's the truth though. COATES: Stop it.
LEMON: It's the truth. I don't have time to read as much as I used to, but this one I mean, it's really great. So, whenever it's ready to preorder, we'll talk about it, we'll promote it. But if you can get it, preorder it now, do it. Do it. Do it. Thank you, Laura. I'll see you. I got other stuff to do. You know how that goes.
COATES: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: All right. I'll See you soon.
Possible breakthrough to avoid an economic catastrophe. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposing a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling but will it be enough to end the deadlock?
LEMON (on camera): Tonight, the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell appearing to blink after repeatedly refusing to go along with the Democrats in raising the debt ceiling just days before the U.S. government set to run out of money to pay its own bills.
Now, proposing potential options to avert default by passing an emergency debt limit extension into December, it looks like Democrats will go along with it.
I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein and political analyst Laura Barron-Lopez.
Good evening to both of you.
Who is actually in charge here, the Republicans or the Democrats? I'm trying to figure that out.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: Yes. That is the question. So, Laura, it appears the country is avoiding economic collapse for now but the White House is asking why kick the can down the road so much time and energy wasted and we're going to be back right here in a few months. Isn't this why everyone hates Washington?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a big reason why people don't like D.C. Yes, that's right. And it does --
LEMON: As you broadcast to us from D.C., but by the way.
BARRON-LOPEZ: From D.C. Look, I love D.C. I personally love living here, Capitol Hill aside. But this definitely sets up a big battle in December. Democrats, you know, Majority Leader Schumer and others came out of the meeting saying that they only took part of McConnell's offer that they are still not going to pass the debt limit, suspension or increase through the reconciliation process, which is what Republicans initially wanted.
It's what McConnell wanted to see them do because he knew that they could make it a painful process by drawing it out, doing long voter ramus (Ph), trying to put up poison pill amendments. But Democrats are saying that they are only going to take part of his offer and do this outside of reconciliation. But again, it's going to be a big issue come December.
LEMON: Yes. Ron, go on. What were you -- what did you want to say?
BROWNSTEIN: No. You know, the answer to your question really is that Republicans are maintaining a veto over what Democrats do solely because of the choice, primarily because of the choice of two Democrats. I mean, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema really have watched over the last 10 days as you seen maybe the most egregious modern example of abuse of the filibuster.
You know, Mitch McConnell kind of created a head, I win, tail, you lose situation where he said on the one hand that Democrats have to provide all of the votes to raise the debt ceiling. OK, that's not particularly unusual during when Republicans had unified control under Bush, Democrats did not provide many or in several cases, any votes to raise the debt ceiling.
The new twist that McConnell added was an, yes, while I say the majority party has all the responsibility, we're going to retain a veto by filibustering in your attempt to raise the debt ceiling which Democrats very pointedly did not do under Bush and under Trump when they could have filibustered raising the debt ceiling. They actually provided as many or more votes to raise it as the Republicans did.
So, McConnell today kind of took one step back as they came to the brink but I think this is the clearest example of how on so many issues, basically anything that can't be shoehorned into reconciliation, Democrats particularly Manchin and Sinema, it's really incorrect to talk about Democrats broadly.
Manchin and Sinema are providing McConnell the leverage to the point where you could ask that question legitimately, who is running Washington? The majority Democrats or the minority Republicans?
LEMON: Yes. Will this be enough time though, Ron, for Democrats to get their act together and pass President Biden's build back better package?
BROWNSTEIN: You would think. I mean, I'm curious about what Laura thinks about this as well. But, yes, you would think that between now they are either going to be able to get a deal between now and December or they're not going to get one at all.
I mean, there are lots of ways to try to -- to try to get a deal. You know, one thing politicians can do very well is finding a midpoint between two different numbers. There are a lot of creative ways to do that. You know, we talked last Friday with Mark McKinnon.
The idea that you can get a political two-for by starting a lot of these programs and trying to get credit for that but then phasing them out both to save money and to allow you to go back in '22 and '24, and say if you like universal pre-K, if you like the child tax credit, if you like paid family leave you got to reelect a Democratic Congress to give them to you.
Also, one thing that's not talked about a lot, Don. About a trillion dollars or maybe more of the 3.5 trillion are actually tax cuts. So, could you convince Manchin and Sinema that you're holding down spending to a, you know, number somewhere between one and one and a half trillion and still get the total up somewhere north of $2 trillion by treating the tax cuts differently.
If they're not going to get a deal I think by Thanksgiving, they're not going to get a deal and --
LEMON: What I find interesting is that if you --
BROWNSTEIN: -- that's the challenge --
LEMON: If you look at the polling --
BROWNSTEIN: I think that's not a challenge.
LEMON: If you look at the polling in both of their states, it shows that their voters want these two things to go through, right? They want the -- or they want the infrastructure package in both states, I should say.
I mean, Laura, I want you to respond to that but you're reporting that the White House is seriously entertaining the idea of across the board cuts to Biden's social safety net package. Is that going to be enough to get a price tag everyone can agree with?
BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, so that's the tricky part here, Don. Which is that, the White House prefers across the board cuts because they know that there are so many items in this package that Democrats across, you know, moderate, centrists, progressives really want.
But there are probably going to be a few big items that end up on the chopping block because it is going to be hard to get down to that range that Manchin and Sinema are saying that they're willing to support. And it is Manchin and Sinema that are pushing the party towards this smaller top line number.
Manchin even today kept reiterating that he is not for anything above 1.5 trillion. Now, that's -- there's a lot of posturing going on from Manchin, from Sanders but again, the White House is trying to continually talk to not just the two -- the two senators with Mansion and Sinema but also keep a really open communication with progressives and with others in the House because after what happened last week, they're trying to rebuild a bit of trust with House Democrats who were pretty frustrated with how everything unfolded.
But, you know, I am hearing to be honest a lot of optimism from Democrats feeling as though they're starting to right the ship and that they think that they can make the new deadline that Nancy Pelosi set at the end of the month.
LEMON: All right. Thank you both. I'll see you soon.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
LEMON: So, speaking of deadlines, as Laura just mentioned, there is a key deadline tomorrow for Trump insiders to comply with subpoenas inside -- issued, excuse me, by the House committee investigating January 6th. The problem is one of them can't even be found.
LEMON (on camera): As we reported at the top of the show, today marks nine months since rioters attacked the capitol. Tomorrow is the deadline for some of the Trump administration's key insiders to turn over documents to the House committee investigating the insurrection.
But multiple sources telling CNN the committee has not been able to find former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino to serve the subpoena. And tonight, we are learning that Facebook whistleblower will be interviewed by the January 6th committee.
So, joining me now, Democratic Congressman Jason Crow. Wow. There are a lot of developments. Good evening to you, Congressman.
We all remember the image of you in the chamber during the insurrection, the select committee hasn't been able to find Dan Scavino but the deadline is looming. What kind of information are you hoping the committee gets from these Trump allies?
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Yes. Hi. Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me on.
I think the key takeaway for folks at home now here is, that if you think that the danger of Donald Trump and his key allies and cronies is gone, the danger not only to the safety and security of the American people but to our democracy writ large, you are sorely mistaken.
Now they clearly don't want to say what they know. They clearly are avoiding the legal process here and even more so than that, they continue to scoff that rule (Inaudible). You know, if we don't have rule of law in America, we have nothing. We certainly can't have a democracy.
And here we have an instance of President Trump, a former president explicitly ordering his top advisors to not comply with a lawful legal subpoena. You know, if that is not trouble folks, I don't know what will. [22:44:56]
LEMON: Congressman, are you concerned that the committee won't have enough substantive findings about the truth before we're in the middle of another campaign season?
CROW: Well, there is a lot of information the committee has already gathered. I mean, we have to remember that this is a crime that was committed in front of the American people. It was televised live on TV. As you mentioned, I was sitting there trapped in the House gallery with my colleagues. It was filmed live.
We have over 140 police officers, metro police and U.S. Capitol police officers who were brutally beaten. Several who died after their injuries from the attack and we have a continued extremist movement in America that continues to spread because of the big lie and Donald Trump's incitement.
So, there is plenty of evidence and there is plenty of facts out there. Now it is important that we actually find out who was talking to Donald Trump and what they were saying. That's why we formed this committee that had subpoena power to gather that information. So, if they continue to disregard subpoenas, I'm going to highly encourage the authorities to pursue criminal contempt, because, frankly, that's what would happen to any American.
If you refuse any American, (Inaudible) home this right now, if you refuse a subpoena, there are consequences for you. So there darn well should be consequences for the president and his top enablers and cronies here.
LEMON: Congressman, rioters shouted hang Mike Pence on January 6th but now he is downplaying the danger, just saying it a day in January. And of course, Trump is saying that the real insurrection was on November 3rd, not January 6th. I mean, these are lies but millions of Americans unfortunately will believe it. How do you stop? How do we stop the reframing of the insurrection and the danger of January 6th?
CROW: Accountability, number one. There needs to be truth and there needs to be accountability and that's what the January 6th commission is about. That's why we continue to go out in our communities and tell the truth and stand up against those lies, push back.
You know, the false media and the conspiracy theories, social media and places but it's hard. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to, you know, sugarcoat this at all. This is a hard challenge to our democracy faces. I think we have to understand something really important here, not only just the risk that Donald Trump pose continue but it is especially acute in a former president.
I sometimes hear people say, you know, we are a nation of rule of law and that no person is above or below the law even a president. It's not even. It's especially a president. The more power you have in this system, the more important it is for you to be held accountable and to be subject to accountability and truth. So, we will not stop pursuing that truth in the House of Representatives. LEMON: Congressman Crow, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
CROW: Thank you.
LEMON: Court documents revealing who helped play a key role in the founding of far-right conspiracy outlet One America News. And apparently, it involves AT&T executives.
LEMON (on camera): OK. So, AT&T executives played a key role in the birth of far-right conspiracy channel One America News, that's according to the network's founder. This and other details coming from court documents reviewed by CNN.
OAN is notorious for pushing misinformation, promoting the big lie and propping up the former president. It is as corrosive to our democracy as what anything we have seen from Facebook. So just look at some of what aired on that channel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: If anyone can fight this fight and root out corruption, it's Donald Trump.
UNKNOWN: We found multiple crimes in Ukraine the Biden's have committed.
UNKNOWN: If one ballot equals one vote, then how are we getting decimals?
UNKNOWN: In North Dakota an election fraud, OK? This is on a crime of history.
UNKNOWN: Some find it difficult to believe five states independently decided to stop counting votes at 2 a.m. on election night.
TRUMP: They cheat on the elections. They don't need votes. They cheat on the elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): OK. So, listen, I have to note here that AT&T is the parent company of CNN.
And joining me now CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. Oliver, good evening to you. Thank you for joining. This is interesting. What are you learning about AT&T's relationship with OAN?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Don. We knew that AT&T has strong ties to good journalism in this network. As you mentioned they are our parent company. But apparently, they also have strong ties to a far-right wing conspiracy channel. We are learning tonight that AT&T executives played a strong role, a key role in the founding of this network, One America News, which promotes all sorts of nonsense as you just showed, nonsense regarding vaccines, nonsense regarding the big lie, frankly, nonsense that we spend a lot of time on this platform debunking.
This is all according to OAN's founder Robert Herring who has made or credit AT&T, I should say, in court documents over a number of years for giving the idea of starting a conservative news channel. He says that AT&T executives wanted a competitor essentially to Fox. And suggested he start a conservative news channel which he ended up doing.
These court documents were unearthed, Don, by Reuters which published a big special report today explaining how AT&T helped to build up this channel. Reuters also cited a sworn testimony from an OAN accountant which said that according to this accountant about 90 percent of OAN's revenue was due to AT&T deals, deals with AT&T on platforms.
And this is causing a lot of controversy, especially as we talk about Facebook and the poison its injected into our democracy.
I want to read to you a statement from the NAACP that just came out. The NAACP president says, we are outraged to learn that AT&T has been funneling tens of millions of dollars into OAN since the network's inception. It goes on to say, as a result, AT&T has caused irreparable damage to our democracy.
The press should inform the American public with facts, not far-right propaganda and conspiracy theories. That's according, Don, to Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP who added that he is, quote, "sickened by these revolutions."
LEMON: Do they name names? When you said executives, is that, do they name names of the executives in this report, or no?
DARCY: Well, it does go -- I mean, there are thousands of court pages, frankly, Don.
DARCY: So, there are a lot of details regarding this.
DARCY: But there are names that are named.
LEMON: What's AT&T saying?
DARCY: Yes. AT&T has come out with a very lengthy statement and it does get into some of these details that's just frankly a little confusing to explain on television. But I want to read it to you anyways.
The AT&T statement says, AT&T has never had a financial interest in OAN's success and does not fund OAN. When AT&T acquired DirecTV, we refused to carry OAN on that platform, and OAN sued DirecTV as a result. Four years ago, DirecTV reached a commercial carriage agreement with OAN, as it has with r hundreds of other channels and OAN has done with other TV providers that carry its programming.
The statement goes on to say, DirecTV offers a wide variety of programming including many news channels that offer a variety of viewpoints but it does not dictate or control programming on the channels and then it continues to say that the decision to renew OAN will be up to DirecTV which is now a separate company outside of AT&T.
Don, I should say too, that we did followed up on this statement with an AT&T spokesperson. A very specific question on the actual reporting that we did and that Reuters did and that spokesperson frankly, deflected.
LEMON: OK. So, having said what you just said, does AT&T still distribute the network? Is OAN receiving any money from the company?
DARCY: Yes. So OAN is distributed, Don, by AT&T platforms.
LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it.
DARCY: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight. A federal judge issuing an order that blocks the six-week abortion ban in Texas. We are going to go through what happens next in just a moment.