Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

Biden Struggles To Unify Party And Salvage Agenda; GOP Embracing Trump And His 'Big Lie'; Jon Gruden Resigns As Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach; Former Facebook Employee Speaks To CNN With New Warning; Biden's Approval Slides Among Black Americans; Team Beans For Children Battling Cancer. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 11, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Here's a breaking news. Jon Gruden resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. This news coming in the wake of reports detailing how Gruden used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails over multiple years.

Plus, a former Facebook employee speaking out to CNN, warning that dictators are using the social media platform to manipulate people.

And President Biden's agenda stalled. He is trying to unify Democrats as Republicans go all in on Trump's big lie.

I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Charlie Dent and Bakari Sellers. Gentlemen, good evening to you. Thank you for joining me on this Monday evening.

Charlie, I'm going to start with you. President Biden's domestic agenda is stalled. His party is more divided than ever. His approval ratings are really sinking to new lows now. He did make decisive moves on COVID that saved lives, but, I mean, that seems to have gotten lost. Nine months in and the clock is ticking. I mean, is he going to be able to turn this around? He needs some wins here.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, certainly, he needs some wins. I don't understand why he just didn't impress upon House Democrats to take up that bipartisan infrastructure bill. Take the win. Instead, they are tying it to this massive spending bill.

I think part of what's hurting the Democrats right now is on the heels of the Afghanistan fiasco. There is a delta variant, which I don't blame Biden for he's got that. Inflationary pressure. I think all of those issues are causing him real problems.

I think that he has misread his mandate to the extent that he's going way too big on this reconciliation package. They should simply pocket the win and then maybe try to get some incremental gains on the other things advancing in the reconciliation. Any one of those things, you know, pre-K, if they did just one of those things, that would be a big win.

But I think he is under too much pressure from the left wing of his party, and he doesn't have the mandate to do what he is trying to do.

LEMON: What do you say to that, Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I disagree with former congressman there. I think he does have the mandate because he has the House Senate and the White House. I think the problem is that the way the White House has communicated what's actually in this $3 trillion reconciliation package.

I mean, people want to talk about expanding or making permanent the childhood tax credit. People want to talk about pre-K. They want to talk about global warming and climate change. These are issues that actually, when people hear what's in the bill, they support overwhelmingly.

However, the White House is stalled because the White House simply hasn't come out with the ability to communicate what's actually on the table, what's actually in this piece of legislation.

LEMON: Bakari, with all due respect, Joe Biden is in the White House. He has the bully pulpit.

SELLERS: I know the question. I mean, no, no, no. No, no, no. This is a constructive criticism here. This is exactly what this is. This is saying this is something they haven't been able to do, they haven't done. And so, the question is, why is the agenda stalled? It's not as if what they are trying to do is unpopular.

You know, with all due respect to someone who says that they should not go this big, the fact is that there are a lot of us, there are a lot of Black, brown, Hispanic Americans, today we celebrate indigenous American day, etcetera, who came out and braved a pandemic for this president and this administration to go out and pass these justice agenda items that we want them to pass. And just to date that hasn't happened. So that's why you see the numbers as they are.

LEMON: But it's his own party. Go ahead, Charlie. He is fighting his own party. He has some conservative members of the Democratic Party, too, to be precise who are, you know, helping to hold up the agenda. But pretty much, you know, as Charlie said, take the win. Go ahead, Charlie. Sorry.

DENT: Look, Joe Biden won the election because there were a lot of swing voting Republicans and independents who are tired of Donald Trump. It was an anti-Trump vote. They wanted Joe Biden to stabilize, normalize the functioning of government, to address COVID as an adult.

He simply did not -- and the same voters voted down ballot for Republicans. Not one House Republican lost his or her re-election. And state legislative candidates on the republican side did well. They were voting for a check at the same time they were voting for Joe Biden. Like I said, I just don't see how this was not a mandate to go big or for transformational change. If anything, this is a call for incrementalism and stability. And infrastructure, I think that that's nicely into the Biden agenda, would be well embraced.


DENT: It's the swing voters who are the ones who are going to turn on Democrats in the midterm. They did not vote for this. And I think --

SELLERS: I am not going to talk about -- I don't want to talk about the midterm because the midterm is a different animal no matter who the president is.

DENT: Yeah.

SELLERS: But I think that you are - I think that you are kind of reimagining the history of 2020. Joe Biden became president of the United States because of Black and brown voters. The reason you have the Senate is not because of individuals who were tired of Donald Trump in Georgia. It is because Black voters actually came out in places like Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, throughout the state of Georgia.

And so, when you talk about why he got there, I mean, there is the frustration and you hear this frustration being palpable of the issue such as -- listen, you can call it transformational, you can call it too big, you can call it whatever you want, but passing voting rights and passing things like criminal justice reform, they are not too big. That's what in country needs. That's how we heal this country.

And so that along with what we're talking about in the transportation bill and the "build back better" plan are all necessary. But the problem is, I mean, to your point, to your point, congressman, this is the fact. He hasn't passed any of those. And because he hasn't even passed one of those, he is stuck in a rut where he is today.

LEMON: But Bakari, the Black and brown voters are on the conservative end of the Democratic Party. They are not -- most of all, they are not progressives. Younger people of all different ethnicities, you know, whites --

SELLERS: I mean, I wouldn't argue. I wouldn't argue -

LEMON: They are progressives.

SELLERS: I think that you're right. I mean --

LEMON: So, I think Charlie is right that he won, yes, he won because of Black and brown voters but not because those Black and brown voters were necessarily progressives on the left in the left wing of the party. He won because those Black and brown voters --

SELLERS: I'm not --

LEMON: Let me finish. He won because those Black and brown voters, as Charlie said, thought that he would stabilize the country, that he would be able to compromise and work with Republicans and pull his party together and the country together as well --


LEMON: -- because in order to get 82 million people when you have African Americans --


LEMON: Hang on. When you have 82 million people voting for a president, most of the people who voted for him are, quite frankly, white Americans, although Black --

SELLERS: Yes, but --

LEMON: -- and brown people pushed him over --

SELLERS: Yeah, let's back up a little bit because we are like forgetting where we were just last summer. In 2020, people didn't take to the streets. We were all there. We witnessed them taking to the streets. We didn't take to the streets and then vote in outrageous numbers in the middle of a pandemic --

LEMON: Right.

SELLERS: -- for something less than transformative. And so, when I'm talking about justice issues, I don't necessarily think that we are saying different things here, but what I am saying though is that you have to deliver on your promises. And whether or not those promises were to --

LEMON: That's true.

SELLERS: -- somebody in South Bend, Indiana or somebody in Atlanta, Georgia, the president has missed on delivering on those promises. What makes my heartbeat as somebody who voted for Joe Biden is criminal justice reform, is voting rights. What makes Charlie Dent's heartbeat is the infrastructure bill. What we all have the frustration with is we didn't pass not a damn thing.

DENT: Bakari --

LEMON: Go ahead, Charlie.

DENT: Bakari, this is on top of -- look, we have spent $6 trillion. Most of it was essential spending on COVID. I would argue there were several hundred billion more spent than needed but we agree that COVID needed to be addressed. Now, we are talking $3.5 trillion on top of that.

There needs to be some level of restraint. There is real inflationary pressure out there. This is what real Americans are dealing with. Shortages and higher prices.

Yes, I agree with you, Bakari, about all of the things that we have seen with respect to former President Trump's horrible behavior and his authoritarian impulses and I am not proud of the way the Republicans are handling the infrastructure bill now, but that said, real Americans are concerned about all of the spending, all of the rising prices, and the shortages. I mean, this is real stuff.


LEMON (on camera): Hang on, hang on, Bakari, because I want to play this. But I think what Charlie is saying -- yes, it's great for all those things. Yes, you're right about who pushed Joe Biden over the finish line. And the moment that we're in now is not necessarily the moment that we we're in in the summer of 2020, Bakari.

And you -- Democrats have to read the room right now. You didn't anticipate a Manchin or a Sinema read the room. As a matter of fact, you may not have anticipated this, which is a warning. Watch this. This is Bill Maher.


BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: Some presidents spend their post-presidency building homes for the poor or raising money for charity or painting their toes. Trump has spent his figuring out how to pull off the coup he couldn't pull off last time.

Here's the easiest three predictions in the world. Trump will run in 2024, he will get the Republican nomination, and whatever happens on election night, the next day, he will announce that he won. I have been saying ever since he lost, he is like a shark that's not gone, just gone out to sea.


MAHER: But actually, he has been quietly eating people this whole time. And by eating people -- I mean he has been methodically purging the Republican Party of anyone who voted for his impeachment or doesn't agree that he is the rightful leader of the seven kingdoms.


LEMON (on camera): So?

SELLERS: I don't disagree with Bill Maher on that. I mean, some of the things that came out of his mouth in that show were wrong, but actually in this point, he was correct.

I have a lot of respect for Charlie Dent because who he was in Congress is who he is on CNN. You can't say that about absolutely everyone. This is where we diverge on our political thought and ideology. He is someone who actually cared about the deficit then and thinks that we need to rein in spending.

I am saying this spending that we are trying to do in "build back better" is necessary because I think it will be offset by the improvement the dollars spent in people's lives when we get that money directly in their pockets, doing things like making the childhood tax credit permanent. And so -- child income tax credit permanent. So, I think that these things are necessary, right?

And so that is a legitimate debate that we can have. But I do think that there is a danger, Don. I hope Charlie is listening as well. The danger is, by not doing anything on these justice issues, by not doing anything on these issues that matter, you risk not only 2022, but there is a large swath of people who you may argue are not the independent voters or real Americans or whatever.

But they are the ones that pushed Joe Biden over the hump and they won't be coming back because we haven't done anything for them and they would have been tired of being taken advantage of. That is my only warning.

LEMON: Charlie, you don't get anything if you are not in power anymore. And things can change for month to month, day to day, year to year. Do you disagree with that?

DENT: No, I don't disagree. The only thing I'll say to Bakari in response is, look, I think it's tragic that we can't come to an agreement in the Congress on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We reauthorized that '65 Voting Rights Act several times. I voted for it proudly in 2006 when George Bush was president. It's really tragic that that has not been agreed to. They should be able to resolve issues like that.

And that's really the breakdown in this country right now, that we can't agree on things that we have always been able to agree on. I think the Democrats have overreached on the other voting rights bill, the H.R. 1. I think that's a stretch. It was always a messaging bill. Never meant to become law. But we should really pick our fights better. If I were the democrats, I would push full bore on reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.

LEMON: All right. That's got to be the last word. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

SELLERS: Thank you.

DENT: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Joining me now, retired General Stanley McChrystal, former U.S. commander in Afghanistan and the author of the new book, "Risk: A User's Guide." It is an honor to have you on, sir. Thank you. Good evening to you.

You know, we are seeing a real effort by Trump and his allies not only to whitewash the sixth, but now, he claims that he was a real victim of a coup. What is this doing to our democracy in your estimation?

STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, FORMER U.S. COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: Well, I think it's a serious threat to our democracy. If we think what our strength really derives from, it's our unity. If we go back to the original 13 colonies, Benjamin Franklin reminded us that separately, we could never survive.

And so, the degree to which we could atomize our population, but then we can bring into question the legitimacy of our democracy, the viability of the republic, that's pretty frightening. You do that in steps. It doesn't happen all at once. But you start to undermine it, I think it's very dangerous.

LEMON: You know, you have been -- you are really outspoken about this because this is what you said in January. You compared the insurrectionist that storm the Capitol to al-Qaeda. The big lie that drove them there is a lie stronger than ever. Are you worried that we could see more attacks like the insurrection, maybe worse?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I am. I think what we've this is an explosion in the effectiveness of the information technology. Some of it is social media, just some others. What that's done, it's given us a tool that is more powerful than we as a society are yet mature enough to handle.

And so, what's happened is the ability to spread misinformation and disinformation is so much easier and we found that it's so powerful. It's always been powerful in history, but now we can reach more people in real time, we can make it more effective. And that can leverage people to do things that I think are ill-informed but also very dangerous.

LEMON: You know what? General, if he runs again in 2024, is he going to be rallying up supporters, even more of these lies, with even more of these lies and kinds of rhetoric? I mean, is that the threat to our national security?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think the threat is that every politician is now going to school on this now. And so those that are more extreme are going to look at that playbook and say that they can follow it.


MCCHRYSTAL: So, I think it won't just be a single political leader. And it will be from both sides. People who determined that this is the way to do it will try to leverage that tool. And, of course, once you get in there, you get into almost an arms race of lies potentially, and that could really undercut the viability of the election.

LEMON: You know, with very few exceptions, Republican officials are lining up to support Trump even as we learn more details about his attempts to stay in power. How does, you think, this look to our allies and our enemies abroad?

MCCHRYSTAL: You know, it's interesting. We talk about the power of the United States and the military used to talk about being the tip of the spear. I would also argue that our diplomats are tip of the spear and some of our news people are and so are business people. But the real strength of a spear doesn't lie in the tip. It lies in the shaft. The weight and strength of the shaft. The ability to put power behind what you do.

Countries around the world can watch the United States and they can sense if we're divided. They can sense that if we are not willing to come behind the policies of whatever administration is in power and to stay focused, they will almost smell out our weakness, and this is not a time in the world when we want to be weak economically, politically or militarily.

LEMON: You know, there are alarming things happening between China and Taiwan. China continuously flying aircrafts into Taiwan's defense zone, showcasing missiles at their National Day celebration. A war of words between leaders. How concerned are you that China will move to retake Taiwan and what should the U.S. be doing to prevent that?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think we need to take it very seriously. There is a danger that because it's been 72 years since the nationalist Chinese went on to the island of Formosa and formed a somewhat sovereign Taiwan, that we take it for granted that will be the case in the future.

In reality, the Chinese have always held the mainland China, People's Republic of China. They have always held that they will eventually reunify. But it really wasn't within their military power to do that, really until about now. We still have significant military capability in the Pacific.

But they have reached the point where there is a question mark there. And that question mark is around whether we are willing to pay the price to do the defense of Taiwan. If they can do two things, if they can create in the mind of people a certain idea of inevitability, that China will reunify and they can convince us that the price would be too high that something we're unwilling to pay, suddenly it becomes very realistic and very dangerous in the near term, particularly for miscalculation.

LEMON: You know, there is only so much of your wisdom that you can impart in this interview. There is much more in your book. Your book is about leadership and handling risk from the pandemic to the assault on our democracy. The U.S. is dealing with crises after crises. What do we need from our leaders right now, general?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yeah. Don, what I think we need for leaders is probably what we've always needed but we may just need it more. We need clarity of communication. We need constant communication with what we believe to be accurate information and admitting what we don't know at the time.

We need a clear narrative, what we're about, what we stand for, and that narrative has to be matched by behaviors. We need the courage in leaders to make tough decisions.

In cases like COVID-19, in a pandemic, you have to make decisions before the exponential growth of infection gets in front of it. That means that often a leader will take risks. They will ask a population or a nation to pay for something or do something that isn't apparently necessary yet to people. And yet, that leader, because they are the leader, has that responsibility.

I think leaders also need to be an example. So, they've got to be willing to listen. They've got to be willing to learn. They've got to be willing to adapt their positions. And when it gets tough, they have got to be willing to stand up and lead. I think that we have had a lot of good leaders show up in the last couple of years, particularly COVID-19. They are spread around the country. But it's not uniform. It's not enough. I don't think we as the American people have yet decided that we are going to celebrate and support all the right leaders.

LEMON: General, again, congratulations on the book. I can't wait to finish reading it. Thank you so much, general. The book is "Risk: A User's Guide."

And here is our breaking news tonight. A top NFL coach resigning after misogynistic and racist emails come to light. Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho weighs in. He is next.




LEMON: So breaking news tonight, Jon Gruden resigning as a head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. This coming in the wake of reports detailing how Gruden used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails over multiple years, not to mention racist language. We will talk about that.

Joining me now is former NFL linebacker and sports analyst Emmanuel Acho. Thank you, sir. How you doing?

EMMANUEL ACHO, SPORTS ANALYST, FORMER NLF LINEBACKER: I'm doing great, my friend. Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Let's lay this out. I want you to jump in here. Gruden admitted to using a racial trope in 2011 in an email and tonight, the "Times" is reporting that Roger Goodell - that called Roger Goodell a faggot and clueless anti-football pussy. He denounced the emergence of women as referees and drafting of a gay player.

As you put it, he attacked everybody. A Black man, gay people, women, concussion protocol. You said there was -- he had no choice but to resign.

ACHO: No choice.


ACHO: He was -- Jon Gruden was homophobic, he was misogynistic, he was racially insensitive, he was perverted. Remember, he sent topless photos of cheerleaders of the Washington Football Team to the president of the Washington Football Team.

At the point in which you are both a pervert, a homophobe, a misogynistic, and anti-black, you're left with nothing. And Jon Gruden needed to resign. It's imperative that he did resign. And I'm glad that he resigned.

LEMON: This is what - let me read. This is his statement. I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.

You say, look, this is the whole thing when people -- when we talk about cancel culture. And I hate that term, cancel culture, because it is - it can be accountability culture. But people use this to say (INAUDIBLE) is getting canceled. You say this is accountability, not cancel.

ACHO: Yeah.

LEMON: Tell me what you're thinking.

ACHO: Well, let me speak to this. It's not that Jon Gruden never meant to hurt anyone. It's that Jon Gruden never meant to get caught. Here is why Jon Gruden was not canceled but rather held accountable, because Jon Gruden said, I don't have a blade of racism in me, closed quote.

So, what does that mean, Don? What that means is if he was racist while not having racism in him, then he has done nothing over the last decade to fix his racism. If he was misogynistic while not having misogyny in him, then he has done no work to fix the misogyny. If he was homophobic, not having a blade of homophobia in him, then he has done nothing to fix his issues.

It's not a matter of being canceled. It's realizing that Jon Gruden is today who he was in 2011. And the reason I can say that confidently is because he is ignorant of who he was in 2011. Thus, he has done nothing to fix or change or mature as an individual.

So, this is not being canceled. This is being held accountable and the accountability is he has no place in the National Football League.

LEMON: But we look at this and I talked to Bob Costas about this. I mean, the National Football League runs deep in our society. It is a reflection of what's happening in the larger culture. And you see this in our politics and in our culture today. People all the time, Emmanuel, saying I am not racist, I don't have a racist -- Donald Trump says I am the least racist person or what have you.

But I have said there is a new racism not knowing that you are racist or denying that there is racism because he denied it. He said, this not who I am. He said it over and over last night.

ACHO: I say this. I say there is a difference between being racist and racially ignorant. At a minimum, Jon Gruden was both racially ignorant and racially insensitive. At minimum, Jon Gruden was ignorant of his misogyny at worst. He is both racist and misogynistic and homophobic.

So, let's clarify exactly the delineation between the two. But in 2011, Jon Gruden was still 48 years of age, at the point in which you are saying that the vice president of the -- rather the director of the NFL Players Association, a Black man, Demaurice Smith, has lips the size of Michelin tires, Jon Gruden, you can't plead ignorance. You are too grown.

LEMON: And questioning his intelligence. But go on.

ACHO: You know as well as I do, Black people have been mocked and ridiculed for centuries because of the size of their lips. I said this. You wouldn't make a mama joke about somebody whose mom was dead. You would have a little bit more cognition of what jokes you can and cannot use based upon the audience you are speaking to.

Don, if we can also be real for a second. This is a bigger NFL issue. This is why there need to be more minorities in position of power, more minority voices, because there was literal just rampant ignorance laced throughout that email.

LEMON: Yeah.

ACHO: And let's also be real. Bruce Allen clearly did something to allow Jon Gruden to feel comfortable speaking to him in that manner.


ACHO: Jon Gruden is taking the -- he is the fall guy. But you allow someone a level of comfort to speak to you in such a manner.

LEMON: I asked Bob Costas about that. He said, well, maybe he is not getting the heat because he is no longer involved, he is no longer a manager. So, John Allen.

ACHO: I agree with that.

LEMON: Okay.

ACHO: I think that Bruce Allen --

LEMON: Bruce Allen, sorry.

ACHO: I think that's why Jon Gruden also resigned.

LEMON: Okay.

ACHO: Jon Gruden said, wait a second, if I resign, then I will no longer get more heat.

LEMON: Okay. Let me ask you. Can we get -- I want a question for a backup, please, because I have to ask Emmanuel this before we move on here.

So, here's the thing. ESPN is reporting, following the revelations here of Gruden's racially insensitive email, Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr said the team rallied around him, and I quote. "Us as a team, we're like, 'yeah, coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We got your back,' Carr said. We're just trying to be there to support coach. I know it's a hard time for him. He told us, 'Men, learn from my mistake.' When we left that meeting, we didn't take it as how it came out."


LEMON: Okay. So, I wanted that quote. That's why I asked them to put that to go the question for here. The team came out and supported him. But Gruden had to know all of these terrible things that he said and -- I mean, maybe he thought they weren't going to come out, but he had to know that when he was asking these players, you know, when he was denying this and the players stood out for him.

ACHO: Here's what we all need to be more cognizant of in society. Just because someone treats you right does not mean that they treat everybody right. Jon Gruden, of course, he treated his star quarterback earning $125 million. Of course, he treated him with the utmost respect, particularly publicly. But just because someone is kind and respectful to you does not mean that they are a kind and respectful person.

I understand the Raiders wanting to defend their head coach, but if Jon Gruden, who is the head coach and was the face of Monday night football on ESPN speaking to an audience of 13.3 million weekly or 221 million people annually, if he was the face of large-scale entities like that, then think about what else currently exists in the NFL society.

LEMON: Yeah. Emmanuel, I love hearing from you. Your book, "New York Times" bestseller, "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man," correct?

ACHO: Yes, sir.

LEMON: People should pick up a copy of that because they could learn. Thank you, Emmanuel. I'll see you soon. I appreciate you appearing.

ACHO: Thank you, brother.

LEMON: Thank you.

ACHO: Yes, sir.

LEMON: A former Facebook employee speaking to CNN, warning the company's contributing to havoc around the world with dictators using the platform to manipulate people. She speaks out right here. That's next.




LEMON: She says Facebook knowingly serves up harmful content to young users. She is warning the authoritarian leaders using the platform are creating all sorts of national security concerns.

And now, the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is getting ready to speak with the social network's own independent oversight board. The question is, will the company actually make any changes and will they want to meet with any others who are raising flags? Others like Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee who is speaking out to CNN about how dictators exploit the platform.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more now.


SOPHIE ZHANG, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: It was very frustrating for me. I started losing sleep because - I mean, I should not have been the person in this position. And, frankly, I was the wrong person for this position. I am not charismatic. I am not good at attracting or receiving attention. I am an introvert who wants to stay home and pet my cats.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Sophie Zhang was hired by Facebook to track fake accounts but what she ended up finding, she says, was far more concerning: Repressive governments around the world using Facebook to achieve influence and control.

ZHANG: If anyone is an expert on public relations, on getting attention, on what is effective for driving attention, it is dictators of those countries. And the fact that multiple national governments and presidents thought (ph) the need to exploit Facebook on vast scale, to manipulate their own citizenry without even trying to hide, that speaks volumes about how important they believe it to be, how important this, it actually is.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Some of her findings that the Facebook cracking down are accounts in (INAUDIBLE) and Honduras, but she says Facebook is too slow to act against abuse of its platform, particularly in smaller or developing countries.

(On camera): When it first came to light last year, some of what you had found, Facebook executive, Guy Rosen, said, with all due respect, what she has described is fake lies, which we routinely remove using automated detection. We prioritize stopping the most urgent harmful threats globally. Fake likes is not one of them.

ZHANG: If I did not know that Guy Rosen was lying, I would frankly be concerned about his memory, because I personally briefed him on this matter. He knew perfectly well that it was not fake (INAUDIBLE) fake likes.

In fact, Facebook (INAUDIBLE) investigations and takedowns (ph) that receive media attention based on my work.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): This is where there is a lot of similarity between you and Frances Haugen, is in both cases, Facebook is saying you were low-level employees and also that, frankly, neither of you know what you are talking about.

ZHANG: I think the people can decide for themselves who is more credible.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): She was fired by Facebook last year. She said the company told her because of performance issues.

(On camera): Facebook offered you $64,000. Part of that was the non- disparagement agreement. You chose not to sign that.

ZHANG: That is correct.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Before she left the company, she wrote a 7,800-word memo detailing how she said Facebook was contributing to havoc around the world, writing she felt like she had blood on her hands.

She was expecting Facebook to remove the memo from its internal company system, so she also posted it on her personal website. But then Facebook asked her website's hosting service to take the memo down, claiming it contained proprietary information.

(On camera): Facebook shut down your website.

ZHANG: First, they went to my hosting server and got them to take it down. A few days later, my domain registry told me that they took down my domain, too.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): That seems an extraordinary move to me.

ZHANG: Absolutely. I am still a bit annoyed that I never got my website back. But I don't blame the hosting server. No one wants to make an enemy of Facebook.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Facebook told CNN Sophie's memo contains sensitive information that could have been used by people trying to get around Facebook's safety systems. The company spokesperson also said Facebook had invested $13 billion in safety and security and have 40,000 people reviewing content in 50 languages across the world.


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Adding, we have also taken down over 150 networks seeking to manipulate public debates since 2017, and they have originated in over 50 countries with the majority coming from or focused outside of the U.S. Our track record shows that we crack down on abuse abroad with the same intensity that we apply in the U.S.

FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: I believe Facebook's consistent understaffing of the counterespionage information operations and counterterrorism team is a national security issue.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Despite Facebook saying it is investing billions in tackling problems, both whistleblowers say the company isn't spending enough to fight hate and misinformation.

(On camera): I just think people find that shocking on an area as important as this that Facebook is understaffed.

ZHANG: I mean, I think that speaks to Facebook's priorities at the end of the day. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (on camera): All right. And there he is right there, Donie O'Sullivan. Donie, good to see you. So, Sophie spoke with you. Is she willing to testify about her experience at Facebook in front of Congress?

O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, Sophie is willing to testify. She also told us that she has handed over some documents about Facebook -- she wouldn't specify -- to a U.S. law enforcement agency. She won't give us any details on that. But she is eager to speak, as you heard there, to share her story.

LEMON: Yeah. So, I mentioned another whistleblower right before your reporting, Frances Haugen. We have been talking -- we have been reporting on her for the past week or so. She is going to meet with Facebook's oversight board in the coming weeks. How do you think that's going to go?

O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, it's going to be interesting. I am sure Facebook, given all that happened last week and all the attention, they got negative press, they would like this all to go away and for us to forget about Frances Haugen.

But she in the next few weeks is due to appear before parliament in the U.K. I believe she is going to Brussels. She is also going in front of that Facebook oversight board which is a sort of quasi- independent board of experts that Facebook has set up to try and make decisions about its platform.

Also, Don, possibly most importantly here in the U.S., she may in the coming weeks be giving testimony or at least speaking to staff on the January 6th Select Committee that is looking into the insurrection again to talk about that very, very important period between last year's election and the insurrection and what Facebook did and didn't do and what it did and didn't know about what was being organized, stop the steal and the big lie being pushed in the lead up to January 6th.

LEMON: Donie, we love your reporting. Thank you. I really appreciate it. We will see you soon.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: My next guest spent 2020 convincing Black men to vote and he says it would be harder to do today. Why President Biden is losing support among Black men. We are going to dive into it next.




LEMON (on camera): So, President Biden's approval is sliding with Black voters. Did you hear that? President Biden's approval sliding with Black voters. And he is yet to deliver on key agenda items that many of those voter support. Remember this from the president's victory speech?


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Especially those moments, and especially those moments where this campaign was at its lowest at, the African American community stood up again for me. You have always had my back. And I will have yours.


LEMON (on camera): So, joining me now, W. Mondale Robinson, founder of the Black Male Voters Project. Thank you, sir. It's good to see you. I want to get as much time with you as possible. So, you are out in the field, you're getting people registered, you're getting them to the polls, you're laying out the groundwork for Biden's victory in Georgia, you're still out there talking to voters. So, he said he had Black voters' backs. Is that proven to be true?

W. MONDALE ROBINSON, FOUNDER, BLACK MALE VOTERS PROJECT: Not yet, Don. Unfortunately, I think it is extremely nerve-racking that we are at this point, this far into a president's administration, and we have not seen them deliver on anything they promised, big things like the Voting Rights Act or criminal justice reform in a real way, especially since these are the reasons that motivated so many Black men to participate in politics for the first time ever.

LEMON: Yeah. But you know -- let's talk. This is about his approval rating among Black voters, okay, across the country, plummeted nearly 20 points between July and September. So, the question is, look, can it bounce back? If he delivers some of these things, do you think it is gone? What do you think?

ROBINSON: I don't think it is gone completely. I think there is an opportunity for it to bounce back. But in order for it to bounce back, he has got to start negotiating with Republicans and conservative Democrats, to show up like Republicans. Do what's best on what he promised and what motivates people.

LEMON: I've been saying that all along. But, everyone says, well, he has got to do this, he has got to do that, he doesn't have the numbers and he has got to do -- convince these people to do that. They don't want to work with him. They're never going to work with him. Go on. What do you say to that?

ROBINSON: I say that there - I say this is his cap (ph), Don. For people who don't know what cap (ph) mean, it means lies, it's fake. They absolutely have enough power because they control the Senate, because they control the House, and they are in the White House.

So, they absolutely can do exactly what they promised. They just don't have the nerve or the backbone to do it. When we see Republicans are in power, not even controlling all three houses, Mitch McConnell stopped an entire Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court be nominated for an entire year because he wanted to. The Democrats (INAUDIBLE) Black people. They don't want to show up for us and it's dangerous.

LEMON: So, there are people out there trying to put the fear of God into Black folks, especially Black men, about oh, Trump could return. Does that even register?


ROBINSON: Don, Black men don't play (INAUDIBLE) in politics. We don't trust politics, politicians in general, because they show up two months before an election with proverbial (INAUDIBLE) and fried chicken and not really with the will or the goal to do what is necessary to prove the Black that the (INAUDIBLE).

I don't think Donald Trump is big enough or orange enough to scare Black men to vote against him. Joe Biden might not deliver on some of those promises, less they forget what happen in 2016.

LEMON: You're going to be back and we're going to talk about this more, Mondale. Thank you. I appreciate it.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

LEMON: You keep up the great work and it's so good to see you. Keep speaking the truth, brother. Thank you.

ROBINSON: You've got it, peace.

LEMON: All right. We will be right back.




LEMON: CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, here it is, running the Boston Marathon today, all for Beans. This is Beans, the 9-month-old daughter he lost to a brain tumor last year. Andrew dedicated each mile to a different child who battled or is battling childhood cancer. His run today raising more than $230,000 to support childhood cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, whose doctors treated Francesca.

To help and donate, you can go to Our love goes out to Andrew and his wife. All of us at "DON LEMON TONIGHT," we are all Team Beans.