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Don Lemon Tonight

Biden Denies Trump's Request To Assert Executive Privilege, Refusing To Shield Documents Wanted By January 6 Committee; Dems Struggle To End Infighting With Biden Agenda At Stake; Schools Become Battleground In Virginia Governor's Race; Sanjay Gupta Talks COVID With Joe Rogan; NFL Reckoning Over Coach's Racist, Misogynistic Emails; GOP Candidate Cancels Fundraiser Over Host's Swastika Twitter Picture. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Tonight, the Biden White House formally rejecting a request by the previous administration to assert executive privilege over documents sought by the House Select Committee investigating the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th.

President Biden moving to unclog the supply chain bottleneck crisis that has led to shortages of good across the country. It is creating higher prices for consumers and threatening to slow down the economic recovery.

And Jon Gruden may be gone as head of the Raiders over racist homophobic and misogynistic emails, but is the NFL full of Grudens, and is his resignation just the tip of the iceberg?

A lot to discuss this hour. I want to bring in now CNN's White House correspondent John Harwood, legal analyst Elliott Williams. John, Elliot --- Elliott, it's been a long time. John is here all the time. Where have you been, brother?


don't call. You don't write. Come on, Don.

LEMON: All right. Well, you're back now.

WILLIAMS: Here we are.

LEMON: Since that -- I'm going to start with John. John, it is official Steve Bannon is defying the Select Committee subpoena. What are you hearing about how are they going to respond?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think they're going to get tough, Don. All the indications we have are that the Select Committee is going to not waste time and go very quickly to criminal contempt citations and count on the Justice Department to prosecute them, enforce them.

And I think what we're seeing from the Biden administration both in this decision by not to invoke executive privilege and also the signals they sent to the committee, that they are likely to move ahead with enforcing contempt citations, is that while the Garland Justice Department and the Biden administration may not want to move ahead in cases on their own, that they're given the gravity of the situation that unfolded on January 6th, they're going to be very forward leaning in terms of supporting the Select Committee, and I think that's good news for people who want to get to the bottom of what happened.

LEMON: Elliot, Bannon's lawyers say that they are waiting for the executive privilege issue to be resolved. And in a statement, they write in part, that is an issue between the committee and President Trump's counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time.

Does he have a legal leg to stand on here?

WILLIAMS: He really doesn't. And to be clear, when you look at the four different witnesses that we're going to see over the next two days, really two of them, and particularly one in the form of Mark Meadows, actually have a little bit of legal leg to stand on.

This White House chief of staff, he would likely have had some privilege conversations with the president, right? Steve Bannon, number one, wasn't White House employee at the time. Number two, he wasn't a lawyer. Number three, he wasn't senior staff. He didn't work there and haven't worked there for years. He was a political aide of the president.

So, the idea that he somehow is shielded by executive privilege meant to protect conversations that the president has with the senior staff is just foolish and he's just trying to get around it.

Now, you know, the two things that can happen, number one, this idea of criminal contempt which would put them in jail for breaking the law, but also, they can file a civil suit to enforce these subpoenas and make clear to an individual like Steve Bannon that it's a valid subpoena and he ought to adhere to it.

LEMON: So, okay. So then, is that the recourse there? If the committee moves towards a criminal contempt charge, do you expect Merrick Garland Justice Department to approve it? And then again, how does that work?

WILLIAMS: You know, look, at our peril, we try to assume what people might do. Now, look, it is a far more friendly Justice Department to this Congress than the last one would have been who just looked in who is in power and so on.

The way it would work is that Congress will just approve making a referral to Congress -- to the Justice Department for prosecution for criminal contempt. And again, they can also file a civil suit in the federal court in Washington, D.C. And then it's up to the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue it. Look, I'm certain that even if they're not talking, which they probably wouldn't be now, the Justice Department is at least thinking about how to proceed on this question.


WILLIAMS: This is a matter of huge public interest right now and it would almost be an active malpractice to at least not be considering what will happen if tomorrow at 12:01 a.m., tomorrow night at 12:01 a.m., Steve Bannon does not show up. The Justice department ought to be prepared to know how they're going to proceed here.

LEMON: John, we're also learning tonight that the Select Committee subpoenaed Trump era DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark. There's been a lot of reporting about his role in Trump's attempts to try to overturn the election. What do you -- tell us about him.

HARWOOD: Jeffrey Clark is the Trump stooge who was installed at the Justice Department number three position, wrote a letter attempting to get the Justice Department to declare that it found evidence of voter fraud as a means of forestalling the certification of the electoral votes. Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, refused to sign that letter.

Trump also had an idea of replacing Rosen with Jeffrey Clark. Ultimately, it didn't work. And as is the case throughout this attempted coup, a select number of officials with integrity stood up and did not go along with the plan.

But Jeffrey Clark, by all the evidence that we've seen so far, was not one of those people. He was trying to affect Trump's attempt to overturn the results in key states, overturn the results of the election, and that's why the Select Committee wants so much to talk to him.

LEMON (on camera): So, Elliott, Congressman Adam Schiff is a member of the January 6th Select Committee. He spoke to Wolf earlier today about what they are trying to uncover. Here it is.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think really the big black box in all of this is what was the president's role. We know some of the things about what the president did, certainly in propagating the big lie before that day and what he did at the rally that day.

But what was going on at the White House? What did he know in advance of January 6th about who was coming to the rally? The presence of white nationalist groups, the propensity for violence. Why didn't reinforcements come in to protect the Capitol more quickly? That's the biggest unknown. What was the president doing? What were the people around him doing?


LEMON (on camera): So then how does the committee get to the bottom of these crucial questions?

WILLIAMS: Look, they're doing this quite effectively. So, I believe as of right now, they issued with today's subpoena, I think they're around 19 or so, and they're getting at it from different ways.

Now, look, the two Justice Department figures that we're talking about here, Rosen and Clark, that's incredibly valuable testimony for establishing what the law enforcement response would have been on that day. And I note that Jeffrey Rosen testified today for or met with the committee today for, I believe, over eighty hours providing background.

So, there is at least a templet for a senior Justice Department official. You're talking to potentially the White House chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, some of the organizers of the rally that are bringing in members of Congress that they might have spoken to. Some saying that, you know, the organizers of the rally saying that they've spoken with Congressman Mo Brooks and others.

That's how you build an investigation, Don. You look at things not just going for the big fish, which you may never get, that's the reality of building these things, but talk to people around him, people related and so on.

So, even if not everybody comes in to testify and it doesn't always happen that they do, there is plenty of other avenues to building a very fruitful and very productive report here.

LEMON: Elliott, John, thank you very much. Appreciate it, gents.

WILLIAMS: Take care.

LEMON: So, I want to bring in now CNN political commentator Mitch Landrieu, the former Democratic mayor of New Orleans. Good to see you, sir. All good?


LEMON: Yeah.

LANDRIEU: Yeah, everything is great. How are you doing?

LEMON: I'm doing -- I'm doing very well. Let's talk about this. So, President Biden taking some hits. His domestic agenda still hangs in the balance and the party factions aren't coming together. Are Democrats on the brink of blowing it when they control the House and the Senate and the White House?

LANDRIEU: Well, a couple things to think about. Four years ago, Donald Trump was president of the United States and he immediately enacted a tax cut that went to billionaires and millionaires. And here we are in a position where we actually now control the presidency, the House and the Senate and we have a historic opportunity in front of us. Remember, for the last nine months, every one of the Republicans in the Senate, all 50 of them, have been against everything, investing in infrastructure, investing in jobs, investing in daycare, investing in climate, and it seems like -- right now, the Democrats are on the verge of something historic. And so, I think that we need to learn how to take yes and get on with it.

You know, my grandma used to say a prayer. She used to say, God, give me patience, but could you please hurry the hell up? I think that's the feeling of people in America who are losing the intra party fight that the Democrats are having right now.


LANDRIEU: So, I think my suggestion, if I might respectfully say to them, is get it done because failure is not an option.

LEMON: You said it more respectfully than I've been saying it in this show. Listen, they need some fire, they need some urgency, and they some backbone, especially in the -- they need to realize the moment that we're in right now.

Listen, the -- read the room, as they always say. Read the room. Go on, what?

LANDRIEU: Well, what I was going to say is I know that people don't really understand that the filibuster and the way the filibuster works and the fact that 10 Republicans are -- one or two can't get away of everything (ph).

Right now, people outside of Washington on the ground want to get back to work. They want to have roads and bridges. They want to have clean water. They want to have help with daycare. They understand that the climate, there is a critical problem for the future of the country, and they want something done.

I would say to my fellow Democrats who have a legitimate and difficult discussion, at the end of the day, you got to land the plane, and we don't have that much more time available because the American people sent us to do a job.

We understand that it's difficult. Everybody knew that when we ran for office. But at the end of the day, you got to make it happen. I think sooner rather than later is the call of the day now. We're now nine months into this.

I know the president has a lot on his plate with Afghanistan and you have the immigration crisis, you have COVID, you have a lot of other stuff swirling around. But at the end of the day, building back better was the mantra, and I don't think that failure is an option. I would suggest that they get in the room, hammer it out, and land the plane.

LEMON: Listen, I just -- if you can give me a quick response. I want to move on and I want talk about what is happening with the supply chain and all that. Are they -- are they just not the Democrats that self-aware? Are they too myopic right now where they're sort of in the weeds and not seeing the bigger, more urgent, more pressing picture or task that should be at stake?

LANDRIEU: Well, I think there are well intentioned people that are fighting hard for the things that they believe in. But I would suggest to all of them that all of the Democrats agree that we need to do something significant and quick on climate.

Everyone agrees we have to do something great and big. The infrastructure, roads and bridges, and sewer systems aren't serving us well. Everybody agrees that working class folks need ways to take care of our kids to go to work. And we need to be able to create jobs. They all agree on that.

And making sausage, watching sausage being made is not really a wonderful thing. But at the end of the day, the rest of the details get lost on the public, and the public is getting impatient. And I think the people in Washington, if they aren't heard that yet, need to hear it now.

This needs to happen sooner rather than later. Creating deadlines, passing deadlines once or twice is okay, but after that, people start thinking, what the heck really is going on?

So, I know that they're working hard. I know they're well-intentioned. But at the end of the day, they got to get it done sooner rather than later. And the president, you know, he is the leader here and he got to help make it happen.

LEMON (on camera): Listen. I'm laughing because you're frozen. We can hear you, but there is a very nice picture -- still picture of you. Looks like we snapped a photograph. We're going to let you go, Mr. Landrieu. I want to talk to you about other things but that's not going to happen. We'll continue to discuss. Mr. Landrieu, thank you.

You know, it is the election so big the former president, Barack Obama, is campaigning. Okay? But what Democrat Terry McAuliffe said about Virginia schools may turn the governor's race upside down.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR, VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to let parents come into schools and actually make their own decision. I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.





LEMON: So, it is getting down to the wire in the race for the governor in Virginia, a tight battle that is being closely watched, and one of the big campaign issues has been what is being taught in Virginia's schools. Joining me now is Rachel Vindman, the co-host of the podcast "The Suburban Women Problem." She's also a board member for Renew Democracy Initiative. Thank you so much for joining us, Rachel.

So, we're going to get to Virginia, okay, what is going on in Virginia. But I have to ask you about Trump's attempts to overturn the election first, to make everyone watching aware that you are the wife of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. He was one of the witnesses in the first impeachment trial of then President Donald Trump.

Now, today, Trump is threatening members of his own party, the primaries, if they don't support overturning the 2020 election. We all saw what happened on January 6th when Trump riled up his base and told them that, you know, stop the steal. Do you think he's doing the same thing all over again?

RACHEL VINDMAN, PODCAST CO-HOST, RENEW DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE BOARD MEMBER: I do. He's a bit of a broken record. He just continues on the same things over and over because they -- you know, they apparently resonate with his base. So, he kind of goes with whatever works. I don't find him to be terribly creative or much of a strategist, but his base doesn't seem to be interested in that.

LEMON (on camera): I want to talk about the big election in Virginia because both parties are looking at the race for the governor between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin as a parameter for what is to come in the midterms. This comment from McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has turned the election on its head. Watch.


MCAULIFFE: I'm not going to let parents attend to schools and actually make their own decision. I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.


LEMON (on camera): Youngkin is seizing on this, using it to stir up Trump's base, stoking a culture war over what kids are being taught in schools. Look, you got kids. You're going to school board meetings.


LEMON: Is his strategy working?

VINDMAN: I think it's working with some. But what we really have to remember, Don, is that this is a well-funded and well-resourced group of people that is going specifically to school board meetings to stir up controversy.

And, you know, I think the problem is twofold, is that the Democrats have been very slow to respond. You know, as they like to say in therapy, we have to name it to tame it. And we need to define what this is, which is a cultural war. These are cultural wars. Critical race theory is a huge part of that. And the Democrats have been silent on it. I understand why they have been silent to some extent. It is because it's nonsense. But you have them controlling the narrative, which is what is happening at the school board meetings, right? You have this group of people who is coming, being very vocal.

I attended my local Prince William County school board meeting last week, last Wednesday night, and there was a very vocal group of people. It looked like they were the majority when that wasn't -- that is not the case.

But when you allow them to control the narrative, they are loudest voice in the room because they refuse to really adhere to a decorum standard, then you really have a problem. I think that, you know, Terry McAuliffe, he misspoke, but that's not what hey means. What he means is we are not going to have people come in.

Literally a woman at the school board meeting said she wasn't able to sign up to talk about critical race theory so she signed up to talk about salaries. And her first opening salvo is, I'm here to talk about salaries. You shouldn't be getting yours because you're not doing your job.

So, this is what they want to say, like, we're only going to pay you if you do what we tell you should do, and that's just not how things work in a democracy.

LEMON: Hmm. So, I wonder why you think this is happening now, because listen, you're right, they're the loudest voices. Not necessarily the majority. They get all the coverage, right?

But this is a nationwide, I think, sort of agenda to infect -- not affect. Well, affect as well, but infect the narrative and really people into thinking like, oh, this is some big deal that critical race theory is actually being taught and we need to get ahold of it because it's making our kids feel guilty. You know what I'm saying?

VINDMAN: Absolutely, which by the way is the talking points that are used. I understand. Change is hard and we've been through a lot of change in the past couple of years. And, you know, change -- fast change is particularly difficult for people. I get it.

It's also, you know, what I learned at the school board meeting, I listened -- I just went as a parent and I went to listen. I wasn't speaking. I learned something. I learned something from both sides, to be honest.

But, you know, what I heard from the people who were in support of -- not critical race theory. Critical race theory is a 40-year-old graduate level concept. So, you know, congratulations, as I saw someone say on Twitter. If your 10-year-old is learning critical race theory, that means they're in graduate school. That's not the case for my 10-year-old.

So, it's nonsensical. But if they are, you know, learning to be a little bit more sensitive and include everyone in the room, I'm okay with that because I'm still learning that, too. Twenty-twenty taught me that I still have things to learn as an individual and as a society. We still have work to do because not everyone has had the same experience. And it's okay to acknowledge that. I know that people are afraid and the Republican Party is really big on capitalizing on these fears.

Look at me right now. My neck is breaking out. It's red. It because this is not my comfort zone. But it's important and I'm going to keep doing it.

And I'm the co-host, as you mentioned, of the Suburban Women Problem podcast. We interview regular women and moms all the time who are stepping out of their comfort zone and going out there and talking about these issues and attending school board meetings because it's hitting very close to home.

So, they're not on tv, they're not making the news, but they're there and they're trying to make a difference. And showing up is so much part of this. Just showing up and speaking out and using your voice. So --

LEMON: Well, I --

VINDMAN: -- that's what we're going to do and keep doing and try to win this race because you're right, it's going to be a blueprint for 2022 --

LEMON: Yeah.

VINDMAN: -- if Youngkin is able to win.

LEMON: I think it's already a blueprint for 2022. I think the whole, you know --

VINDMAN: I agree.


LEMON: -- when it first started to happen, this whole critical race theory, it is like -- yeah, this is a strategy, too. It infects the narrative. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Rachel Vindman, thanks.

VINDMAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

LEMON: So, he gives advice all the time, but now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is bringing the facts to someone who sometimes, well, ignores them. Sanjay will tell us about his interview with Joe Rogan. That's next.



LEMON: Our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta sitting down with Joe Rogan today to talk all things COVID for a three-hour interview, and he is here to tell us about it. You lived through that. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanja Gupta and also the author of the new book "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One." Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here. Good to see you.


LEMON: So, listen. I thought it was --

GUPTA: Thank you.

LEMON (on camera): -- you covered a variety of subjects as it relates to COVID. So, let's play some of this long interview and then we'll talk. Here it is.


JOE ROGAN, PODCASTER: Obviously, vaccinated people can catch it vaccinated people can spread it.

GUPTA: Yes, they can.

ROGAN: Right. So, if that's the case, the argument of getting vaccinated to stop spreading it doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

GUPTA: I mean, but what if you were far less likely to get infected if you were vaccinated?

ROGAN: Wouldn't you be far less likely to get infected also if you're healthy and wouldn't we promote people getting healthy?

GUPTA: I totally agree with that. I want to talk to you about that because I wrote a lot about this. But I -- but just on this point of the vaccination -- again, I don't think it's either or with this. I think that -- so eight times, according to this new data that is coming out, eight times less likely to get infected if you have been vaccinated.

ROGAN: Than just someone who is just plain unvaccinated --

GUPTA: Somebody who does not have immunity.


LEMON (on camera): Sanjay, I'm glad you pushed back on him about people who are vaccinated and getting COVID. The fact is that you can get it if you are vaccinated, but it is your chances of survival, and that's the important thing.

GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, no question. I don't think there is any disagreement on the fact that the vaccines can be very protective against people getting sick. I don't think Joe even disagrees with that. I think, you know, with regard to the vaccinated versus unvaccinated and transmission, I think this has been a huge misconception, Don. I didn't realize how deep it went. The basic premise that he kept pushing and saying was that even if you're vaccinated, it doesn't make a difference. You can still transmit as if you're unvaccinated. That's not true. You know, you're eight times less likely to get infected in the first place.

LEMON: Right.

GUPTA: And even though you might have virus that you're carrying in your nose and your mouth, the duration is much smaller, much narrow window. So, yes, it is possible someone who is vaccinated could still spread. But, you know, I mean, it's not perfect, but it's really good tool in terms of, you know, bringing this pandemic to an end. And clearly, it helps people from -- keeps them from getting sick.

Joe, you know, is a believer in natural immunity. I don't think he's saying people should go out and get infected, not really, but he is saying that his immunity is very strong because he got infected. That's a terrible strategy. No one should be advocating for infection over vaccination.

LEMON (on camera): And that is a good clarification of what he is saying, Sanjay. Thank you for that. It seems like Rogan was all for people with high risks or other comorbidities to get vaccinated, but he kept pushing back on you when it comes to young people, to young healthy people. This is what he said about why he didn't get vaccinated and his experience with covid. Here it is.


GUPTA: So, would you now with what you know now and having had COVID, would you have wished that you had been vaccinated?


GUPTA: Beforehand? You almost got vaccinated.

ROGAN: Yeah. But again, I explained --

GUPTA: You got through it.

ROGAN: But I got through COVID.

GUPTA: Yeah.

ROGAN: Pretty quickly.

GUPTA: Yeah.

ROGAN: So that was my -- my thought was I'm a healthy person. I exercise constantly. I'm always taking vitamins. I take care of myself. I felt like I was going to be okay and that was true. It was correct. I'm happy I got through it. I don't wish it upon anyone. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't the worst cold I've ever had, and I got over it fairly quickly. Relatively speaking.

GUPTA: I think that -- and again, I'm truly glad about that. All kidding aside, I don't think anybody wishes you -- everybody wants you to be well and healthy. But I think the question is jut in terms of the nuance of this. It is not a strategy to recommend people get infected --

ROGAN: I'm not recommending anybody getting infected.

GUPTA: So, they should get vaccinated.

ROGAN: I think a lot of people should get vaccinated. A lot of people --

GUPTA: You're talking a lot of vulnerable people.

ROGAN: Yeah.

GUPTA: If you just said vulnerable people --

ROGAN: Yeah.

GUPTA: -- lot of people --

ROGAN: Older people, fat people. I think a lot of those folks. My real concern is this urge to vaccinate children. And I don't know what kind of data we have on the long-term effects of this.


LEMON (on camera): Okay. So, Sanjay, what do you say to that? There are lots of data and we have been encouraging people for months now, everyone who is eligible, to get vaccinated. Give us the facts.

GUPTA: Yeah. I'm not sure really, you know, what he's driving at sometimes because I think he says, on one hand, I'm not advocating people get infected, but I'm also not -- he's not obviously advocating for the vaccine for a lot of people.


GUPTA: It's a very contagious virus. That's the issue. That's why the vaccine exists, to protect people from getting infected. It was a little bit confusing.

With regard to young people, in par particular, it really came down to two issues. One is the value of young people getting vaccinated so they don't spread the virus. If they're not as likely to get sick, they can still spread the virus. We're trying to bring the pandemic to an end, and that's why you want to create as much immunity as possible out there.

But the other thing really is this idea that -- again, Joe Rogan and others as well have brought up the idea, are the vaccines worse than the disease for young people specifically? We put some numbers, Don. We can put those up because this is what has gotten a lot of people attention, the issue of myocarditis, inflammation around the heart.

It is true that after the Pfizer vaccine, there were additional events, additional myocarditis patients. Per 100,000 people, you can see 2.7, more per 100,000 people. But the disease itself, how much myocarditis was that causing? About 11 cases per 100,000 people.

To be fair, these are both very small numbers in the scheme of things. Mostly, these were, you know, patients who did not need to be hospitalized. It resolved on their own. Did not cause a significant problem long term.

But that's, I think, what he was getting hang up on. And I kept saying, look, nobody wants this pandemic. But you got to keep in mind, the disease is clearly worse than the vaccine no matter how you look at it and no matter how you sort of crunch these numbers.

LEMON: Listen. I think it is also very important. I know it's in large part a tongue and cheek interview because it's Joe Rogan and there are lots -- you're jockeying back and forth. But he did say something about ivermectin that I think wasn't actually correct about CNN and lying. Okay?

Ivermectin is a drug that is commonly used as a horse de-wormer. So, it is not a lie to say that the drug is used as a horse de-wormer. I think that's important. And it is not approved for COVID. Correct?

GUPTA: That's right. That's correct. It is not approved for COVID. And, you're right. I mean, the FDA even put out a statement, saying, you know, basically reminding people of the strange -- sort of message from the FDA but that said you're not a horse, you're not a cow, stop taking this stuff, is essentially what they said, referring to ivermectin.

Now, I think what Joe's point is --

LEMON: It's been approved for humans but not necessarily for COVID, right?

GUPTA: That's correct. It's been used for a parasitic disease for something called river blindness and it's been very effective for that. But, you know, just because it works for one thing doesn't mean it works for something. There are still a few ongoing clinical trials around ivermectin. But for the most part, if you look at the data, there is no evidence that it really works here.

When Joe got sick, he took ivermectin. He also took monoclonal antibodies, which is an infusion of these antibodies. So, he took both those things. It's very likely it was the monoclonal antibodies that made him feel better so quickly.

LEMON: Sanjay, always a pleasure. I hope this was an easier experience than Joe Rogan. You held your own. Very good.

GUPTA: Three hours. I don't think I've ever spoken to another human for three hours before just like that. It was really something.

LEMON: Sanjay, thank you. Best of luck with the book, as well.

GUPTA: You got it. LEMON: "World War C."

GUPTA: Thank you.

LEMON: More fallout from the Raiders after their coach's racist, misogynistic emails come out. But will there be fallout for the entire league?




LEMON: So, the fallout from former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's homophobic, racist, and misogynistic emails continues.

Tonight, the owner of the Raiders saying NFL has all the answers. Remember, Gruden wasn't even the target of the investigation into the culture at the Washington football team. He was working at ESPN at the time. His emails are just a few of hundreds of thousands that have been captured in the investigation.

Joining me now, Jemele Hill, contributing writer for "The Atlantic." I couldn't wait. I wanted to talk to you last night but we didn't have time to get you -- or the night before when this broke. Listen, you say good evening, hello, welcome all that. You say that the NFL is full of Jon Grudens. You talked to people in the league. You have sources. Is this just the tip of iceberg?

JEMELE HILL, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think it is. I mean, listen, the results speak for themselves. Don, we know by the obvious institutional racism that exists in the NFL that this is the mentality they all have.

Now, it may be different degrees. They may not use the same vulgar language as Jon Gruden. But in word, deed and action, this is kind of who the NFL is and who they had been.

A league with only three Black head coaches, a league that's never had a majority Black owner, and in its 101-year history, the league just got its first Black team president last year. So, based off the evidence, why should we even trust that the NFL has any motivation to be inclusive or progressive when they have not shown it? So, yeah, clearly, this mentality has an effect.

LEMON: It seems unlikely that these emails will be released, Jemele, and they're just part of one investigation into one team.


LEMON: Does there need to be a comprehensive look at the league, you think, out in the open where nothing can get buried or swept under the rug?

HILL: There does. There needs to be then and I think that's the only way the NFL will gain credibility. To be honest, NFL is not interested in credibility. They're not interested in exposing all the warts and the uncomfortable and blatant prejudices and racism that happen in the league. They want to protect their brand. They want to protect the shield. They talk about it all the time.

And that's why we will never see these 650,000 emails that are associated with this investigation into the Washington team. We have to remember that when the league settled its case against Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for collusion against keeping them out of the league, part of the reason the league settled is because they did not want NFL owners' depositions to be entered into evidence.

They didn't want discovery. They didn't want anything on the record that anybody could access or leak because then that would expose what some of these owners really think.

If Jon Gruden is this comfortable saying what he said about the executive director of the NFL Players Association, D. Smith, and about women and about gay people, what do you think the owners were saying about Colin Kaepernick and other Black players who protested during the national anthem? What does that like?

LEMON: Come on, you know.

HILL: You already know. The NFL --

LEMON: As we say, you already know.

HILL: We already know. Right? So --

LEMON: Yeah. HILL: Yeah. And that's part of it. It is Jon Gruden felt so comfortable in his racism, homophobia and misogyny that he was sending this over email and was having a good old group email chat about all of these things.

And so, if somebody in his position would be sending this to someone at the time, Bruce Allen, he's a general manager of a team, Don, he's in charge of making hiring and firing decisions --

LEMON: And talking about the head of the league, Roger Goodell is a faggot. That's what he said. Right? So, I mean --

HILL: Yeah, that's what he said.

LEMON: There you go. Look, I want to get your perspective on this Gruden exchange pictures of almost naked women, including Washington cheerleaders. He mocked the league for having women referees. I mean, is there a wink and a nod culture that's okay in the NFL?

HILL: I mean, it's always hard to paint with a broad brush, but I think there is a general acceptance that there are some people, if not a lot of people, who think like Jon Gruden, who have no problem saying these things openly and to other people with a wink and smile. And, you know, the real shame of this is that because of how accepted this is in the NFL that there is always going to be a place for a Jon Gruden and not for a Colin Kaepernick. That's what the league shows.

LEMON: Now, what, Jemele? What happens?

HILL: What happens is I think the NFL does everything it can to mitigate these circumstances, go and do damage control, and they're going to continue what they have been doing, which I say in my column for "The Atlantic."

The NFL is all about performative gestures. They're all about (INAUDIBLE) addressing racism. They are not (INAUDIBLE) trenches with this. They would rather stencil slogans and end zones about ending racism and have decals on helmets and have Mary Jane Blige perform at the Super Bowl halftime show than actually do the real work to rid their league of this kind of mentality, this kind of institutional racism that is baked into it much like the numbers are baked into the football field.

LEMON: Jemele, next time we have you on, I want you to say how you really feel. Thank you.

HILL: You know me, Don. I always hold back.

LEMON: Thank you, Jemele. See you soon. I appreciate it.

A Trump ally forced to cancel a fundraiser because -- take this. The host's Twitter picture was in the shape of a swastika.




LEMON (on camera): Okay, so take this. Trump ally and Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker scrapping an upcoming fund-raiser. Why? Because the event was being hosted by a woman whose Twitter profile picture looked like this. Yes, that is a swastika made up of medical needles.

Earlier, the campaign told "The Atlanta Journal Constitution," first reported the story, that this is clearly an anti-mandatory vaccine graphic. Really? Is that what that is?

Hours later after growing outcry, the campaign putting out a longer statement and Herschel Walker is saying he's a strong supporter of the Jewish community and opposes hatred and bigotry of all forms.

And a spokesman for the Georgia Democratic Party telling CNN -- and I quote here -- "Herschel Walker defended a swastika, and canceling a fundraiser does not change the fact that he failed to condemn a hateful anti-Semitic symbol." Sadly, this is not an isolated episode when it comes to some of the GOP. Ridiculous comparisons to Nazi Germany are a mainstay of anti-mask and anti-vaccine groups. Two weeks ago, I told you about protesters in Alaska wearing yellow stars to protest a mask mandate. We've heard people making these ignorant references over and over and over.



UNKNOWN: Science and law shouldn't be changing so fast. Has Nuremberg taught us nothing of medical tyranny in the past?

UNKNOWN: We are frighteningly close to reliving the history of Nazi Germany.

UNKNOWN: 1930s Germany has many similarities here. We know in this room (INAUDIBLE) Ann Frank. We know about that now. Thanks for showing your colors.

UNKNOWN: They will be asked, how many vaccines have you had? Have you been a good little Nazi? Hail Fauci! Hail Fauci!


LEMON (on camera): Stop it. I'm so tired of having to say this. You're not a victim for having to take a lifesaving vaccine. It is not fascism to have to wear a mask for a few hours of your day. And how dare anyone compare that to the suffering and genocide of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany? Read a history book. As if you don't want to ban (ph).

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.