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Don Lemon Tonight

Former President Bill Clinton Admitted To Hospital With Infection; January 6 Panel Moves To Hold Steve Bannon In Criminal Contempt; Andrew McCabe, Fired By Trump, Gets Pension Back; Anti-Trump Republicans Urge GOP Voters To Back Democrats In 2022; George Floyd's Legacy On What Would Have Been 48th Birthday; Chicago Mayor, Police Union In Standoff Over Vaccine Mandate. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 14, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, here's our breaking news tonight. The former president, Bill Clinton, being treated at a hospital in Southern California for a urinary tract infection, an infection reportedly spread to his bloodstream. Doctors say he is responding well to antibiotics and his vital signs are all stable.

Also tonight, the House Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection decided to take quick action against Steve Bannon for defying their subpoena. It's moving forward to hold the loyalist to the former president in criminal contempt.

And a major victory tonight for Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director fired by the former president during one of his political vendettas. McCabe's dismissal reversed and he gets to keep his pension. He joins me in a few moments to talk about this big development. You don't want to miss that.

So, I want to get right to our breaking tonight, and that's about the former president, Bill Clinton, hospitalized in California. So, joining me now is CNN medical analyst Jonathan Reiner. He is the director of the Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital. Also, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Gentlemen, good evening. Doctor, of course, I'm going to start with you. Let's discuss the former president and his hospitalization in California tonight. Urinary tract infection spreading to his bloodstream. Can you tell us about his condition and how dangerous this is?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION PROGRAM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Good evening, Don. It's been reported that he's doing well and his team is considering switching him from intravenous antibiotics to oral antibiotics perhaps as early as tomorrow.

So, sepsis is an infection that has spread to the blood. A lot of things can do it. It's much more common as we get older and it's very common to have the urinary tract as a source, commonly the kidneys or the bladder. Sometimes, there's no underlying cause. Sometimes, there is.

I suspect that the president's physicians both in California and New York will search for whether there's an underlying cause for the infection such as a kidney stone or an obstruction, you know, somewhere in the urinary tract that would set him up for infection.

LEMON: And the question -- the potential danger of this -- I know they're saying that he is doing well, but this can be very serious.

REINER: Right. So, there are almost two million cases of sepsis. This is called sepsis. And it kills about a quarter million Americans a year. And it's a very common cause of death in folks, the former president's age. Former President Clinton, I believe, is 75 years old --

LEMON: Right.

REINER: -- which is not terribly old in modern society. William Shatner just went into space at 90. But as we get older, sepsis can kill you. And they're treating him in an ICU, which may be for medical reasons or just may be for logistic reasons at UC Irvine.

LEMON: You know, he had that quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2004, then had two stents inserted to open one artery. That was in 2010. No one understands heart problems more than you. That's what you do. Does this complicate other health issues?

REINER: It can, particularly the sicker you get. So, the more advanced heart disease you have and perhaps the more tenuous the blood supply to the heart is, these kinds of -- we call them insults, these kinds of stresses to the system can sometimes create, you know, cardiopulmonary problems.

But it sounds like the president's cardiac status is very stable. He was treated with antibiotics early enough that this didn't cause any kind of obvious change in his blood pressure. And this didn't get out of control. So, important information that we learned this evening.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, I'm going to bring you in because you've been here before with other presidents. You know, one of the former presidents joking, remember, I think it was a state dinner or something, and then other issues where presidents have had to go to the hospital or be treated.

Clinton's doctors say that he was in the ICU for privacy and safety, not because he needs any intensive care. What other precautions are taken when a president or a former president is hospitalized?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: First off, Don, God speed to Bill Clinton here and he'll pull through this. He's, you know, a vegan. He's careful about what he eats. I say that because, you know, his coronary problems, his heart problems, gave him a big scare, and that's why he dropped so much weight. [23:05:02]

BRINKLEY: This past year, I've been in touch with him quite a bit. He wrote a novel with James Patterson. He's deeply right now into trying to write "My Life, Part Two." "My Life" originally was his autobiography of his White House years. He's trying to write the second one.

I spoke to him about -- he's been dying to get back to Arkansas and spend some time. He really holed up in Chappaqua due to COVID-19, not wanting to put himself at risk. With the exception of Vernon Jordan or John Lewis's funerals and a few other events, he's really been homebound in New York.

So, the fact that he's just starting to travel and try to get back to normal out in California for an event and have this hit him is unfortunate, but the good news is he's in a great hospital, he's getting great care, and I'm sure that this is just a blip on the radar screen. We still have to have our prayers with him and hope he pulls through and brings out that second volume of his memoir.

LEMON: You know, Douglas, he was hospitalized on Tuesday, and we're let these about it on Thursday. Who makes a call like this? Is it Clinton himself?

BRINKLEY: Yes. And he -- exactly. And he's very cautious about his health, as I mentioned. He has his staff who probably said you got to get into the hospital. And urinary tract infections are quite common. But on the other hand, when you're 75 and something like this happens, you want to get the right medical attention.

Sanjay Gupta on CNN has done a superb job of explaining what is going on with the president tonight, Don. So, it helps other people realize that it's always best to get to the hospital.

LEMON: Hey, Douglas --

BRINKLEY: There was a thought that --

LEMON: Douglas, let me ask you something. I think -- maybe you didn't understand the question. Who makes the call about when the public learns about something like this when it happens to a president or a former president? Was it Bill Clinton himself or --

BRINKLEY: Bill Clinton himself.

LEMON: Okay.

BRINKLEY: And he has, you know, a couple of people, yeah. But this is President Clinton saying I need to get in there. I'm sure Hillary Clinton is with him in Southern California right now, and she's an incredible caretaker of him as he's had to go through these ups and downs with his health the past decade.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you, Douglas. Thank you, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. I want to turn now to CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and senior legal analyst Elie Honig. Good evening, gentlemen. So, here we go. The drama continues and it's -- Elie, anyways, Elie, the January 6 Select Committee officially saying that they are moving to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with their subpoena. But, I mean, this is an uphill battle. How long could it take?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that will be up to Merrick Garland. I mean, if the committee follows through and they've made very clear they intend to, then it will shift over to Merrick Garland to make the decision, does he charge the federal crime of contempt of Congress?

And a lot of people are asking that question. My question is, how can he not? I mean, when you look at the fact here, Steve Bannon has zero legitimate basis. He's saying executive privilege. He's saying attorney/client privilege. Those things have no application to someone who is not an attorney and was not part of the executive branch.

If Merrick Garland chooses not to charge this, where does that leave the committee? Where does that leave Congress? Where does that leave our balance of powers? Where does that leave the Justice Department? This is a real moment of truth for Merrick Garland coming up right here.

LEMON: Elie, we know the strategy in Trump world, right, is to try to delay at all costs. Usually, that's, you know, extending litigation. The M.O. was to sue people and sue people and they them to court long enough so they -- you know, I guess until they run out of resources or run out of time, right? They would run the clock out. What is -- is there anything more that the committee can do?

HONIG: So, the committee, all they can do is get this over to DOJ quickly on the criminal side, get it into the courts quickly on the civil side, and they can do both those things, by the way. They should. I mean, why not? They're both available.

At that point, the people we need to be looking at are, again, Merrick Garland on the criminal side and judges, whatever judge in the district court in the district of Columbia gets this case.

Look, judges can move as quickly as they want. I've had judges put what I thought were ridiculous timeframes on me. "I need your brief in two weeks." I would think, I can't do that. You know what? As a lawyer, you do it.

LEMON: You did it.

HONIG: The judge says it. So, whatever judge draws these cases needs to get on this quickly, cannot tolerate delay.

LEMON: That's why they're called the judge. Thank you very much. Oh, I'm not done. Ron, I want to ask you something.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. LEMON: Talk to me about -- let's talk about the politics of this, the stakes for 2020 here, because this whole investigation on the assault on our Capitol could go away overnight depending on who is in charge, right?


LEMON: The midterms could play a huge role in this.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. As Elie said, I mean, Trump's strategy not only as president but through his whole life has been not so much to try to win litigation.


BROWNSTEIN: It's just to extend litigation and to kind of drown people in kind of being in court forever. So, yes, I think it is critical here to reestablish the kind of validity and the teeth of congressional oversight which was completely traduced and kind of shredded under Trump.

And the broader is, as you see, more and more Republican officials and for that matter more and more Republican voters in polling essentially whitewashing what happened on January 6, kind of, you know, trying to say it is no big deal, and thus making it easier for Trump to envision coming back in 2024.

The fact that is he actively considering running again in 2024 makes it, I think, even more essential that the public have a full understanding of what he did and didn't do on January 6, and that is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight in every way, political, legal, and otherwise.

LEMON: Ron, I've got to get your take on CNN's reporting that senators Manchin and Sinema made it clear to their colleagues that a deal on the party's sweeping economic packages far from being secured. With these two calling the shots, when will this, if ever, be resolved?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, as we said before, it is a Rubik's cube because they are trying to do so much in one bill, since it is their only way around the persistent obstruction of the filibuster. The conflicts become almost unending.

Sinema is resistant to have Medicare negotiation of prescription drugs. Joe Manchin is okay with that, but he doesn't want a strong climate provision. She is okay with that. Bernie Sanders demands expansion of Medicare for dental, vision and hearing. Manchin doesn't want that.

At some point, the issue is less to specifics than whether Manchin and Sinema are willing in effect bring down the domestic agenda of their own party.

And look, passing this legislation would not guarantee a successful midterm for the Democrats. There are many examples through history of a party passing its agenda and still having a bad midterm. But I think it's fair to say that failing to pass this legislation would greatly increase the odds of a bad midterm for Democrats.

That is what Manchin and Sinema are ultimately gambling with here, not only on this but, of course, on voting rights which is Chuck Schumer said is going to be coming up next week. And they are deciding whether they will allow republican obstruction to basically run the Congress from a minority position. And the stakes could not be higher on both of these questions, the reconciliation bill and the voting rights bill that's coming up next week.

LEMON (on camera): I've got another question for you, Ron. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is practically begging for the president to get the House to vote on physical infrastructure bill. Listen to this.



SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): I think the president ought to tell the House that we ought to deliver on the infrastructure bill. We're 19 days away from election in Virginia. The president's got a huge win sitting out there on a once in 50 years infrastructure plan. Let's make it the law of the land.


LEMON (on camera): Shouldn't Democrats be trying to help out their candidate in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and give him a win to run on?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I think they would if they had more confidence in the good faith of Manchin and Sinema, right? I mean, the problem with what Senator Warner is saying is it's not clear that this bill could pass the House today because progressives simply do not -- the progressives in the House simply do not believe that Manchin and Sinema will negotiate in good faith once this thing they care an awful lot about is taken off the table.

And as I said, it's a Rubik's cube. Certainly, passing the infrastructure bill would be of some benefit to Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race, although he is above 50% (ph) in the last two polls, and as Biden has come up a little bit in the state as delta has receded, so as McAuliffe.

Yes, it would help him. But I don't think it's a viable option at this point, whatever people want, because the progressives in the House simply do not have enough trust that Manchin and Sinema are being good faith actors in trying to negotiate this out.

LEMON: Thank you, gents. I appreciate it.

A big win for the former deputy director of the FBI tonight after the former president's vendetta against him. Andrew McCabe is here to talk about it. He's next.



LEMON: Tonight, the Justice Department is settling a civil suit with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration just hours before his retirement three years ago. Now, McCabe gets his pension, full law enforcement benefits, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. He filed the suit arguing that he was fired because of his years-long public vendetta by former President Trump.

Joining me now, the man himself, Andrew McCabe. He is now a CNN senior law enforcement analyst and the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump." Andrew, good evening. Did I get it all right?


LEMON: Okay.

MCCABE: Thank you.

LEMON: It's good to see you. I'm so glad that this weight is off your shoulder, I would assume, one would assume, so, we'll find out in the course of this interview. This is a big deal. How are you feeling?

MCCABE: You know, it's hard to describe, Don. It's -- on the one hand, it's incredibly satisfying. It is a great result for my family and it is a total vindication from three years of a very, very tough situation.


MCCABE: But it's also kind of bittersweet because on the other hand, as this settlement makes clear, this should never have happened. And to, you know, acknowledge the fact that like we have gone through all of this for nothing is a little bit tough. But I'm trying to put that behind me and just focus on the positive.

LEMON: Well, the thing is that what people don't realize is that the -- you know, they tried to destroy you, right? And this not only affects you. It affects your family. It affects your wife, your kids, those close you to, your parents, and on and on, for something -- the sleepless nights, I'm sure, and all the other issues that you had to deal with, the financial aspect of it -- for something that did not have to happen just because people were out to destroy you.

This is a Trump tactic, this is a Trump supporter tactic, this is a Trump acolyte tactic, and it's something that he has injected into the culture.

MCCABE: Yeah, that's absolutely right. I mean, look, it's been incredibly tough for us and tough on my family and my wife and my parents. But look, Americans go through tough things every day, right? Seven hundred thousand of us died in the last year and a half. And God willing, I am still incredibly lucky that didn't happen to us.

But it is, on the bigger picture, it points out the corrosive effect that this unrelenting political assault on the institutions of our government and on the people, the human beings who do this work every day, this is the result of that.

People go through hell. And it undermines their confidence and their understanding of what they're here to do and who -- you know, their oath that they pledged to the constitution. They deserve the respect and the assurance that they will be treated according to the law and according to fairness and the processes that are in place.

So, I really feel like the settlement in some ways is about the rule of law and about returning respect to that rule of law. And I have to say, my hat's office to the Garland DOJ administration and the senior leadership in DOJ now for having the courage to step up to this and to right the wrong.

LEMON: Yeah. You know, at the time, the DOJ then, right, justified your firing with the department's inspector general report that said you lied repeatedly regarding a leak about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. Almost two years later, federal prosecutors decided not to charge you.

So -- and listen, this was a narrative that was repeated over and over and over, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat in media.

MCCABE: Right.

LEMON: And I'm sure some people believed that about you. I'm sure you had to turn on the news or read it on social media or read -- whatever.


LEMON: This whole narrative that was not true about you. And so, explain that to me, that now they've decided not to charge you.

MCCABE: Well, I mean, this was all part of the plan, right? The president demanded that I be fired. And the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, probably concerned about getting fired himself, went along with it.

And the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, delivered a report that was half-baked, that was rushed, truncated, a report that ignored exculpatory evidence. And that was a part of this operation.

They delivered that to the FBI. The FBI initially said, oh, no, there's not possibly enough time to get this done before he retires. And then lo and behold, they got it done before I retired.

So, the president applied the pressure and the system bent, and I think that's such an incredibly damning result. And that's -- you know, that's how the former administration worked.

But when you know you're right, when the results were wrong from the very beginning, I've said from day one, I never misrepresented anything intentionally to anyone. I made a mistake in two interviews and then immediately corrected that with the people that I had talked to, but they ignored that.

And then they pursued a vindictive criminal prosecution, you know, what for? For the purpose of propping up the result that he had already delivered? I mean, it's outrageous to think that our own Justice Department and our criminal justice system could be used for those political purposes, but that's what happened here.

LEMON: Andrew, thank you. I appreciate it. Regards to your family.

MCCABE: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you so much. Thank you.

MCCABE: Thanks, brother.

LEMON: A former Republican governor is calling for voters to elect Democrats. Is that the way to save democracy from the big lie?




LEMON: Former President Trump and his allies digging in on the big lie. So, how Republicans who don't support the former president feeling as democracy slides towards the brink?

I want to bring in now former Republican governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman. Governor, good evening to you. Appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: So, tonight, a source is confirming to CNN that the National Republican Congressional Committee sent a text to donors calling them traitors for not donating enough money to the GOP. It also said, you abandoned Trump, this is your final chance to prove your loyalty or be branded a deserter. What's your reaction to this?


LEMON: It's an outrageous message coming from your party.

TODD WHITMAN: It really is. All it does is speak to the fact that they're struggling, that the Trump brand is finally wearing thin with a majority of the American people, which is why their Renew America Movement is gaining such interest.

When we talk about the fact that we need to start to support those candidates who pushed back against the big lie, those representatives who have had the courage to stand up, whether they be Republican or Democrat, that Republicans have to think about voting for a Democrat if their choice is a radical right Republican or a centrist Democrat.

And Democrats need to think about voting for a Republican if their choices are between a far-left Democrat and a centrist Republican, because we need to get people back in the center who make sense.

This is ridiculous. We're getting to a point where we're acting like a third world country. And that kind of tactic, you're going to be a traitor if you don't give more money, is just -- it's just outrageous. It really is.

LEMON: You have been critical of the party and the former president. In a piece for "The New York Times" with Miles Taylor, this is what you write in part. You said, the best hope for the rational remnants of the Republican Party is for us to form an alliance with Democrats to defend American institutions, defeat far-right candidates, and elect honorable representatives next year, including a strong contingent of moderate Democrats.

You just conveyed similar sentiment in the statement in your answer before. But you're not talking about just supporting Democrats. You lay out a goal to prevent the GOP from taking the House in 2022.

TODD WHITMAN: Yes, we do, because we don't think that Kevin McCarthy -- if the Republicans get the House back, that Kevin McCarthy is going to stand up to Trump. He's already shown that he's an acolyte.

And I'm afraid with the candidates, if we can't get some sensible Republican candidates through primaries, right now we've published a list of those who are incumbents who need support and who should get support, we think we can make a difference on both sides of the aisle. We'll be doing it again for challengers.

But if the Republicans win with the kinds of Marjorie Taylor Greene- type of representatives, we know where Kevin McCarthy is going to go with that, and they don't deserve to be able to control that branch of government. They don't deserve to be in government, frankly, when you're somebody who keeps talking about these outrageous conspiracy theories

And the thing that's so worrying is that this challenge for the 2020 election, which was free, fair, safe and accurate, and over 60 court cases heard by judges, even some appointed by Trump, who have said there is no "there" there, there was no large amount of -- you know, of --

LEMON: Fraud.

TODD WHITMAN: -- playing with ballots. There was no fraud. It just wasn't there. But still, they do that. That is to set up an ability to question the results in 2022 or 2024 if they don't like the outcome. And that's just not what we are.

Elections are hard-fought and people care a lot. I get that. I've been through them. And I've lost some and won some, most. But you concede. If you lose, you concede and you move on. That's the way we do it in our democracy. But this group, they're acolytes. LEMON: Yeah.

TODD WHITMAN: It's not a party anymore.

LEMON: Well, I hope that the members of your party, and I hope the Democrats are listening to you as well. I encourage everyone to read the piece in "The New York Times" with Miles Taylor. Governor Christine Todd Whitman, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.

TODD WHITMAN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Today would have been George Floyd's 48th birthday. His brother is here to talk about his legacy, and he has a message for lawmakers in Washington.




LEMON: Tonight, in Minneapolis, a birthday celebration in George Floyd Square. Locals gathering there to honor George Floyd. He would have been 48 years old today.

Here to talk about what it meant to his family, his friends, and the world, George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, and family attorney, Benjamin Crump. Good evening to both of you.

Philonise, thank you for joining us tonight. This is a second year without your brother here on his birthday. What are you thinking about today?

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I'm just thinking about how much I miss my brother and how I had to explain to his daughter about him, you know, being murdered every day, because she sees the same thing everybody see all around the world. George was suffocated. He couldn't breathe. Mr. Chauvin continued to leave his knee on his neck for over nine minutes.

And the fact that this is not a mistake, this is a pattern, because things are constantly happening over and over again, people are being murdered by police officers, it's a shame. My family, every day, we wonder why we have an empty chair at the table. We just wonder why George had to be taken away.

LEMON: Yeah.

FLOYD: We can't deal with it, but we're trying to stay focused as hard as we can, and we're going to keep fighting.

LEMON: Ben, you've spent a lot of time with the family. This case has consumed your life. It has become a part of your life in the last year or more, almost two years.


LEMON: What are you thinking about today?

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: Well, we're thinking about his legacy and the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, Don. The fact that the Senate failed to act, but we want to continue to encourage President Biden to do what he can, use all the resources within his office to make sure that we can pass some law or executive order to prevent the needless death of people, especially Black people, in the legacy of George Floyd. The at least we can do is try to give his legacy some substance.

LEMON: You know, Philonise, just a few weeks ago, we learned that the bill was not going to pass. How is that affecting you?

FLOYD: It's really -- it was disgusting for me to hear that. I'm just tired. I went back and forth countless times, being able to speak with members of Congress, officials, and it's like nothing is happening. Right now, we need all the Democrats to come to the floor to be able to make this -- and these Republicans, because we have to have this George Floyd Policing Act passed.

People are being killed every day. People are being killed by brutal force and they're defenseless people. We need time to make change, to help others. And they all need to understand that people's lives matter, because, Don, I'm going to tell you this and I tell you this all the time, if you can make federal law to protect a bird, which is the bald eagle, you can make federal law to protect people of color.

You cannot -- no law will make laws but a chosen in the elite (ph). You have to make laws for the people, the people with no voices. Give us a chance. Give people who want to be able to walk with their families. It's hell, Don, having to anticipate death any time you get in a vehicle. And you know that you have a chance of not even being able to make it home.

LEMON: What is your message to the people in Washington?

FLOYD: We all need -- they all need to step up and put this George Floyd Policing Act back out there because all these families, we're all disgusted right now, we're worried about our kids. We're worried about people that we don't even know because we know they need to pass this George Floyd Policing Act.

The number one thing is we all got behind Biden and his administration, we all voted them in because we knew that they should be able to make change because we all see what power was with no humanity. We all know that Biden has power but he has humanity. So, he needs to step up and make change.

LEMON: Ben, I want to get your thoughts because I hear you agreeing and I see you shaking your head to what he's saying, that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommending a posthumous pardon of George for a 2004 drug conviction. But now, it's all in the governor's hands. What do you expect is going to happen?

CRUMP: You expect him to sign the bill if he has an ounce of decency within him, the fact that it had been proven that the police was corrupt and had put false evidence on several Black people, and George Floyd was one of them. So, if you want to do right and honor the legacy of George Floyd in the name of justice, Governor Abbott should sign the bill. If not, Texas is in for a sadder situation than even we thought.

LEMON: Ben, thank you. Philonise, thank you. I appreciate it.

FLOYD: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you.

LEMON: So, you got to pay attention to this next story, all right? Because a police department was full of officers who are hesitant to get the COVID vaccine until one of their own died from the virus. Chief Carl Dunn of the Baker, Louisiana police force is here. That's my home state. I (INAUDIBLE) Baker High School. I can't wait to talk to him right after this break.




LEMON (on camera): Tonight, a standoff in Chicago between the mayor and the police union that could potentially lead to fewer officers on the street. Here is CNN's Omar Jimenez.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Our expectation is that people will comply.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doubling down.

LIGHTFOOT: It's pretty straightforward. Are you vaccinated or not? If you are, you upload your information. If you're not, then you go to a separate page and you indicate that, and that you'll be taking the testing option.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): At the center of it all is the city's requirement to disclose vaccine status by Friday. City employees, including police officers, who don't comply would be placed on unpaid leave.

UNKNOWN: Do not fill out the portal information.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): The president of the police union claimed this week without corroboration it could lead to a police force at 50% or less this weekend, now telling officers to refuse direct orders on the mandate from police leadership and even record it on body camera.

UNKNOWN: The leadership is so ridiculously poor at the top of this department who are not pushing back on this mayor saying stuff that they're ready. But they're not. They're literally doing whatever she tells them to do.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Leadership at the Chicago Police Department called the policy mandatory.

UNKNOWN: I know the residents and businesses have expressed concerns that the department will not be properly staffed heading into the weekend. I can assure you that this is not true. Chicago Police Department will be fully staffed and ready to protect the citizens of the city.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): On vaccinations, employees who are not fully vaccinated by October 15th, including employees who have received an approved medical or religious exemption, must undergo regular COVID-19 testing on a twice weekly basis with tests separated by three to four days until the end of the year.

This standoff comes after all four Chicago police officers who died in the line of duty in 2020 died because of COVID. Even the previous Chicago Police Union president died of COVID earlier this month. But shootings are up 11% compared to last year and up almost 70 compared to the year before, leaving no room for a shortage of officers heading into the weekend when violence typically surges.

In a letter to Mayor Lightfoot, two city aldermen are urging her to drop the mandate. We could lose officers if they get severely sick or died from COVID-19 or we may confront a further unraveling of violence on our streets if officers decide not to work because of this mandate. For now, we are asking you to reconsider. The mayor not backing down.

LIGHTFOOT: Our goal is to create a safe workplace and the best way that we can do that, the biggest tool that we have, is by getting people fully vaccinated.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Omar Jimenez, CNN, Chicago.


LEMON (on camera): Omar, thank you so much for that. I appreciate it. Vaccine hesitancy by officers is a nationwide issue.

I want to brig in now Chief Carl Dunn of Baker, Louisiana, the Baker Louisiana Police Department. Chief, thank you very much. Good evening. It is good to see you. It has been a very long time.


LEMON: I just have to be honest, during the commercial break, we found out we actually grew up blocks away from each other, in the same hometown, and our families know each other very well. So, it's good to see you. I wish we could be talking under better circumstances. I know most of the force there hesitated to get vaccinated and then one of your own died, right? So, what can you tell us about Lieutenant DeMarcus Dunn and what happened when he came down with COVID?

DUNN: Yes, Don, and thank you for having me tonight. Yes, Lieutenant DeMarcus Dunn, we lost him on August 13th, sir. He was a veteran of this police department. He was a product of a loving and caring community. He lost his father at a very young age and it was a village that raised him. And when you talk about an outstanding officer, an outstanding citizen, an outstanding person that always gave back, it struck us, it was a big void in this department to lose an outstanding officer like that.

But I tell you this, Don, although we did have some that were reluctant to be vaccinated, I think that was an eye opener for everybody because when it boils down to it, Don, we're all about not losing anybody, and nobody wants to go through what the Baker Police Department went through because of COVID-19.

LEMON: Yeah. Let me just tell you -- because I think 70% of the police force, you estimated, in Baker was unvaccinated until Lieutenant Dunn died. Now, it's less than 15% and that's because it hit home, right?

DUNN: Well, Don, because of an internal poll that I conducted in the last two days, I've only got 5% now. I got 95% vaccinated, Don. I feel so much better about it now.

LEMON: Yeah. The -- Officer Down Memorial Page estimates that more than 460 officers have died from COVID since the start of this pandemic. Coronavirus is the most common cause of duty-related deaths in the last two years. And it's not just Baker, Louisiana. There's a resistance -- although now in Baker, you said you've got 95% -- there's a resistance to vaccines in police forces all across this country. Why is that the case, chief? Why do you think?

DUNN: Well, Don, it's a number of issues, but the point I try to get across is, this pandemic, it supersedes any kind of political, any kind of beliefs, anything that you have that make you reluctant to get vaccinated, to make it a safe environment for your work environment, a safe environment as far as contracting the disease and bringing it home to your wife and kids.

And what we don't want to do, Don, is monitor while we are on duty, that we go from business to business, residence to residence. We will be the last people on this earth that would actually participate in the spreading of something as horrible as this COVID-19 virus that we're going through right now.


DUNN: That's not what we want to do. That's not what we're about. We're about being safe and making it safe at all times for anybody and everybody we come in contact with.

LEMON: Well, listen, I -- chief, I'm so proud of you. The first Black chief in Baker, Louisiana. And I kept saying, I know that name, Carl Dunn, Carl Dunn, Carl Dunn. I'm so proud of you, Carl Dunn. Congratulations.

DUNN: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

LEMON: It is so good, all your success. And say hello to your family.

DUNN: Yes, sir, I will.

LEMON: All right.

DUNN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: You be well.

DUNN: Yes, sir. Good night.

LEMON: And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. There is breaking news tonight about the right of a great harm.