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Don Lemon Tonight

Biden Says DOJ Should Prosecute Those Who Defy January 6 Committee Subpoenas; Sources: Clean Energy Program Will Likely be Cut from Dems' Budget Bill after Pushback from Joe Manchin; FDA Panel Recommends J&J COVID Vaccine Boosters; Chicago Sues Police Union Over City's Vaccine Mandate; China, Taiwan Tensions Spark Debate Inside Biden Administration. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): We are following multiple breaking stories tonight. The president weighing in on the January 6th investigations and anybody who refuses a subpoena should be prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Plus, sources telling CNN that the Clean Energy Program will likely be cut from the Democrats budget bill after pushback from Joe Manchin. This coming as the president tells reporters that he is about to deliver a message to senators Manchin and Sinema. He needs them to salvage his domestic agenda. So, what is he going to say?

And the DOJ responding to Biden's comments on the Select Committee. Here is exactly what he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope that the committee goes after them and hold them accountable.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?

BIDEN: I do, yes.


LEMON (on camera): Let's bring in now CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles. Ryan, good evening to you. How is the Justice Department responding to the comments from President Biden on this January 6th investigation?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, they're making it clear that the president's comments, from their perspective, don't have anything to do with their decision-making process in terms of as to how they would respond to this criminal contempt referral, if and when it comes, from the United States Congress. A Justice Department spokesman, Anthony Coley, putting out a statement shortly after the president's remarks, saying, the Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions, based solely on the facts and the law, period and full stop.

This is not a surprise because the Biden White House has made very clear that they were going to try and do things differently than the Trump White House did when it came to the relationship between the White House and the Department of Justice, that the Department of Justice was an independent agency.

And, of course, Don, this also dovetails after the chairman of the Select Committee, Bennie Thompson, saying that the committee has had no contact with the Department of Justice for that same exact reason. They want these decisions to be made independently.

Still, though, it does give us some insight into the president's thinking about this process. It also coincides with the fact that he has allowed -- that so many of these documents, he has allowed them to go through and not be protected by executive privilege, despite that the fact that the former president would like him to do so.

LEMON: So, the Select Committee is weighing in, Ryan?

NOBLES (on camera): That's right. Jamie Raskin, who is a member of the Select Committee talked about the president's remarks earlier today. This is what he said.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The first thing he said was that the committee should aggressively enforce our right to get people's testimony and to get the documents we have subpoenaed. There is no problem with that. I also don't have a problem with him as a citizen, like me, saying he hopes the Department of Justice will aggressively enforce the law, so people don't get away with committing crimes like this.


NOBLES (on camera): And Congressman Raskin may be oversimplifying this just a little bit. The president of the United States is more than just a citizen weighing in on the conduct of the Department of Justice. And President Biden probably will get a level of criticism for making these remarks.


NOBLES: But what everyone is trying to do today is say that this was just him offering an opinion and that he is not telling the Department of Justice what to do.

LEMON: But is he oversimplifying? I mean, he is saying -- I think he was weighing in on a question about those who were flouting the subpoenas. And I think anyone in this country would think that if someone is subpoenaed, they should abide by that. Is that -- are we making too big a deal out of this?

NOBLES: Well, if you watch the exchange between the president and our Kaitlan Collins, Kaitlan first asked him about the subpoena request and he said yes, he hopes that everyone complies. And then she presses him, do you think the Department of Justice should prosecute, and he does answer yes.

And, you know, Merrick Garland, the attorney general, does have a decision to make once this referral is brought to the Department of Justice as to exactly how they plan to prosecute. Do they take him into a court of law? Do they arrest Steve Bannon? Could he face jail time at some point?

This isn't just a cut and dry, black and white issue, so there is some decision-making that has to take place on behalf of the Department of Justice.

And critics -- this is not me saying it, Don, critics could say that perhaps the president is putting his thumb on the scale in terms of the decision-making process of the Department of Justice. He clearly wants to see the subpoena answered. It's just a matter of how they go about enforcing that compliance.

LEMON: So now -- what is ahead then for this week for the Select Committee' investigation? Should we expect more subpoenas?

NOBLES: So, subpoenas are always on the table. The Select Committee has said that they if are interested in people getting information from certain individuals and they feel like they are not getting compliance, they will issue subpoenas.

We don't know of any specific that are planned next week. The big thing we are waiting for next week is Tuesday. That's when the Select Committee meets in a business meeting to officially issue and sent to the full House that referral for criminal contempt to the Department of Justice.

They do have some depositions planed next week with some of the organizers of the "Stop the Steal" rally. We will have to see if that ends up becoming a thing.

And then, of course, we are still waiting to see what happens with Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Kask Patel. Those are those other individuals close to the former president who are asked to come and speak before the Select Committee. They dint do that. The committee says they're still engaging with them. So, we will have to see if those depositions are planned any time soon.

LEMON: Then there is also the, you know, the incident about this Capitol police officer, facing charges in the case tied to the January 6th insurrection. What do you know about that, Ryan?

NOBLES: Yeah, this was a pretty startling revelation that came out today, Don. This Capitol police officer was apparently in communication with someone who was here at the Capitol on January 6th and had all over social media had posted pictures of him storming the Capitol, kind of boasting about it, frankly.

And this Capitol police officer, according to the indictment by the Department of Justice, reached to this individual through a private Facebook message and warned him that there were going to be people charged who were inside the Capitol on January 6th and that he should take down his social media posts as soon as possible.

Well, the FBI -- federal government views that as this Capitol police officer getting in the way of their attempts to arrest and prosecute the people who are responsible for what happened on January 6th. As a result, this police officer has been put on administrative leave. He is receiving some support from his union who has said that he is innocent until proven guilty.

But the evidence right now is pretty damning, Don, and it shows that the federal government is looking at all aspects of what happened here on January 6th to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from ever happening again.

LEMON: Ryan Nobles in a very kept quiet Capitol. I mean, the echo is just unbelievable. You're probably the only one there. Thank you, Ryan. I appreciate it.

NOBLES: No problem, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you.

LEMON: So now I want to bring in former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Renato, thank you. Good to see you.


LEMON: What is your reaction to the president's comments? Are you concerned that it may look like he is trying to pressure the DOJ?

MARIOTTI: I don't know. I do think it's always a concern when the president of the United States is suggesting that the Department of Justice prosecute someone. I think it's better left to the DOJ. You don't want to create legal arguments. I imagine when Bannon does get a competent attorney, that attorney is going to try to make something out of that and files some motions on that and potentially argue that issue.

So, it's cleaner for the DOJ'S perspective to have them make the decision. But, you know, I think a lot of people are frustrated that that subpoena is not being complied with.

LEMON: Yeah. The January 6th Select Committee is moving ahead with holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt, which means that Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to have to weigh in. What do you think he is going to do?

MARIOTTI: I think that they're going to go forward with criminal contempt -- with the criminal contempt charge. That's what I expect to happen.


MARIOTTI: But I suspect some things are going to happen in between, Don. First of all, Bannon might try to say that he is taking the Fifth as a way to try to get out of this. He may have an attorney who ends up charting a different course. He actually ultimately may comply.

I mean, I think that for a lot of folks, just the mere fact that they may get indicted is a very good inducement to testify. So, I think there is definitely some chapters you have to go in the story.

LEMON: Look, timing is very important here. You know, how long is this going to take? Because we know the strategy in Trump world is to lay at all cost, right, and to use the legal system to do it, litigation and so forth.

MARIOTTI: Yeah, I think it is going to take time. I mean, first of all, once the committee votes, the full House has the vote, then it goes to the U.S. attorney's office in D.C., they are going to consider carefully whether they indict. Let's say that they do convene a grand jury, he is indicted.

I will tell you I have clients where there is a backlog of years before they're able to get to trial. So, that is definitely a concern.

LEMON (on camera): This is what Democratic Congressman Elaine Luria, member of the Select Committee, said on CNN about their move to hold Bannon in criminal contempt. Here it is.


REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Our goal is to have him testify. I think that this will send a strong message that there are consequences for not testifying.


LEMON (on camera): What if a Trump loyalist like Bannon doesn't care about congressional consequences? Then what?

MARIOTTI: Wow! Well, I have to say, I think, that Mr. Bannon is going to have a lot of legal bills and legal fights ahead of him, potentially. And I think that Mr. Bannon created the situation for himself by taking a real, you know, middle finger essentially to this committee.

There are other Trump associates, Kash Patel and others, who have tried to at least negotiate with the committee, tried to raise some issues and put themselves on a more sophisticated physician. Bannon has basically just kind of potentially given the committee a middle finger, and I think he has put himself in a difficult situation as a result.

LEMON: Renato, good to see you. I appreciate you appearing. Thank you. Thank you very much.

I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and political commentator Paul Begala. Gentlemen, good evening to you. Thanks so much.

So, David Gergen, I'm going to start with you. The president telling reporters tonight that he is about to deliver a message to senators Manchin and Sinema about his domestic spending package. His agenda is on the line here. So, what do you think that message should be?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the message should be toughen up, and you've had it long enough. The administration is in serious danger of losing momentum and losing some public support for his program, which is an economic and social program, which is not just crucial to what he wants to do with the economy but his legacy as president, and Machin being in the way.

This has gone on week after week after week. The Democrats look increasingly weak and chaotic. They need to get this under control. You may have to do some tough, tough things that will not be very popular among some moderates in the party. But at some point, you got to fish or cut bait.

LEMON: Yeah. Let's talk about what's in the bill, Paul, which maybe take out, as a matter of fact.


LEMON: The three congressional senators are telling CNN that the clean energy program will likely be dropped from the final deal after pushback from Joe Manchin. How do you expect the rest of the party to respond?

BEGALA: Not well. Not well. One little quibble with what Gergen said. Joe Biden is not asking anybody in the Democratic Party to take a tough load. He is asking them to vote for a very easy popular stuff. When Gergen were working for Clinton, we asked people to vote for gun control, for equal rights for gays and lesbians in the military, for gas tax that hit the middle class. Back then, those were tough votes for Democrats to take.


BEGALA: Biden is asking people to vote for it. I looked it up in the poll. This is CBS poll. Universal pre-K has 61% support, free community college has 67% support, family medical leave, which you were talking about with Pete Buttigieg earlier, 73% support, 88% support for Medicare prescription drug reductions, cost reductions.

This is overwhelmingly popular. There is nothing in there that you can't run on in any state in America. So, I think that's what Biden ought to say to them. It is holy smokes, I'm asking you guys to vote for popular stuff, free stuff for voters! That's an easy for politicians to take. You can tell I'm getting angry with these folks who somehow don't want to do it.

GERGEN: I think it was an easy vote about three, four or five weeks ago. But I think it has gotten increasingly hard, Paul. What I see happening, I may be wrong about this, but there is a great deal of public support, as you say, for each individual item in the package. But when you put the package together, there is gathering fear about the cost, about inflation --

BEGALA: Right.

GERGEN -- and about where we are going with all of these. Gallup just came out with a poll that said the number of people who want the government to do more in the country a year ago was 54%. Today, it is 42%.


GERGEN: It has dropped, 54 to 42, about the people who want more government.

LEMON: Yeah.

BEGALA: That's right.

LEMON: Well, look --

BEGALA: People speak in generalities. They will say that. But you ask them specifically, like, do you want free dental care for your grandma?


BEGALA: Do you want free --


BEGALA: -- community college?

GERGEN: But, as you know, it's always --

BEGALA: -- free pre-K for your daughter?

GERGEN: Yeah, but it's always about don't tax me, don't tax me, tax the fellow behind a tree. You know, you got to pay for this stuff. It's going to be a painful decision. The tax question is imposed very often. That doesn't meet with all public favor. I am just saying I think it a more complex --

BEGALA: It's not right, David. This is not right, brother. Sixty- seven percent in CBS poll. When you ask them, should -- by the way, Jeff Bezos is flying around in some spaceship and my grandmother pays more tax than he does? The CBS asked this in a poll, 67%.

GERGEN: Have you seen a poll which says -- have you seen a poll which says, we want to increase the amount of spending by three and a half trillion dollars? Have you seen that, that we want the government to do more, to do a lot more? Have you seen that?

LEMON: Let me jump in here because you say all of that and we talk about all that money, but that is over, what, 10 years? And -- it's over 10 years. So, you know, it's not like all that money is going to be coming out of people's pockets within one year.

Listen, it is a lot of money. I'm sure they could parrot back. But when you think about the main things that are in there, people -- we need roads, we need bridges, we also need decent broadband.


LEMON: We need all of those things in order to compete with other countries. So, I think -- listen, I understand. You are right about the taxes, David. But you're also right, Paul, about the administration and the Democrats not doing a very good job of selling something that is popular for all the American people.

Let me just get this poll and I will let you guys continue to talk. This is a new poll. It shows only a quarter of Americans say that their family will be better off if Congress passes both the spending bills, spending in infrastructure bill, 43% say that they would be about the same. So, again, this is a messaging problem. Go!

GERGEN: I believe there is a messaging problem. But Paul, go ahead. I'll come when -- go ahead.

BEGALA: I think this is where Gergen and I completely agree. If you only --

GERGEN: Yeah, I agree.

BEGALA: -- talk about the price tag, holy smoke, that's a crushing amount of money. It is staggering amount of money. By the way -- anyway, it could get to $5 trillion very quickly --


BEGALA: -- if you add the recovery act and the infrastructure bill. Five trillion dollars, by the way, Brother Gergen, is the size of the entire American economy in 1987 when Ronald Reagan was president, who you served. So, it is a ton of money.

But when you desegregate it down and say to people, do you think your mama, on Medicare, should pay less for her medicine? They say, yeah. Do you think your dad, on Medicare, ought to be able to get his vision, dental and hearing? Come on, when you get old, you can't see, you can't eat, you can't hear. You need help. I want to see the Democrats win.

GERGEN: Paul, you and I -- you and I are in firm agreement on the fact that their messaging here has not worked. Who is it who is now calling for less than three and a half trillion dollars? The president of the United States is now calling for that. He understands that he has to get this number down.

BEGALA: What I would say to the moderates is this is positive -- this is really popular stuff that will help you. What I would say to the liberals is something Gergen taught me 20 years ago in 25 years in the White House. Don't ever oppose a bill for what is not in it.

LEMON: Yeah.

BEGALA: Right? Ask yourself. Is it better than the current system? Is there good stuff in there? The stuff that is not in there, you can pass next year or next week.

LEMON: All right. I want to get this in. I want to talk about --

BEGALA: You taught me that, Gergen.

LEMON: I want to talk about the Virginia governor's race, okay? Get your take on this, David, what is happening in Virginia. Two of the latest polls show very tight. One even -- is within the margin of error. How worried should Democrats be?

GERGEN: They should be very worried. Again, I think Terry McAuliffe would frankly be a good governor. He has done a good job before. I think he has gotten lost in a lot of other things that are going on right now, the weaknesses in Washington on foreign policy and the like.

But I think it is worth remembering, and Paul would remember this. In statewide races, the Democrats have won the last 13 in a row of statewide races in the state of Virginia. So, you go in, McAuliffe goes in as the favorite.

It is going to be widely red. In the midst of all the hits the administration has taken, it is going to be widely red. You know, the 2022 is going to be very, very tough. They know -- everyone knows that already, but this is really going to emphasize it to the public.

LEMON: Paul?

BEGALA: If you want to know what I think Virginia may turn on, come to where I am right now. I'm sitting in Texas, in Austin, greatest city in the world. Tomorrow, the long horns will smoke Oklahoma State Cowboys.

But in Texas, Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land. Row v. Wade is gone. It is repealed in the state of Texas. And Terry McAuliffe needs to tell people that if his pro-Trump, Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, win, Roe v. Wade will be repealed in Virginia as well.


BEGALA: Youngkin said that. He was secretly taped. It was very -- I thought very intellectually dishonest. He said, well, yeah, I want to really go on offense to oppose abortion, but I can't talk about it during the election because I need my independence. That's the most cynical thing I've ever heard.

I think McAuliffe has a huge issue there if he will go to people in Virginia and say, do you want to be like Texas where Roe v. Wade is illegal? It's gone. LEMON: Paul, David --

GERGEN: Thank you.

LEMON: I've got to run. Thank you. Sorry. Let's -- David, make that point. Go ahead. Sorry.

GERGEN: I just wanted to say I'm glad to see another point in which Paul and I agree.

BEGALA: I love you, Gergen. I love you.

LEMON (on camera): It's a lovefest on a Friday. Thank you, gentlemen. I'll see you soon. I appreciate it.

So, if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, listen up. Advisers to the FDA voting today to recommended a booster dose. We're going to tell you what you need to know.


PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I think anybody who has gotten one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can benefit from a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.





LEMON: The FDA's vaccine advisers are recommending booster doses of Moderna's COVID vaccine six months after their last shot for those 65 and older and the at-risk population.

They also voted today to recommend booster doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine to everyone over the age of 18 who got a dose at least two months ago.

So, it's now up to the FDA to make a decision on what they will recommend for boosters for Moderna and J&J vaccines. After the recommendation, the CDC will then meet to discuss on October 21st. That as President Bill Clinton remains hospitalized for an infection and is receiving IV antibiotics.

Joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital. Doctor, good evening. Thanks for joining.

So, we spoke just last night about former President Bill Clinton being hospitalized after that infection that spread from a UTI. His doctors are saying that he is trending in the right direction, but he is going to stay hospitalized to finish his course of IV antibiotics. How long do you think that's going to be? JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION PROGRAM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: It's hard to know. But he was hospitalized. I think it was three days ago. And he remains hospitalized now. So, he was sick, and they want to give him a full course of antibiotics, whether that is intravenous. Whether that is for total of seven days or total of 10 days is yet to be seen.

As we said last night, you know, sepsis kills about a quarter million people every year in the United States. You can die from this. A 75- year-old man can die from this. They are taking their time.

What we are really not sure about is how sick he was when he was admitted to the hospital. We often get kind of a rosy story from publicity folks when they try to paint the picture. But we really don't know how sick he was. But it sounds like his medical team wants to give him the full course of IV antibiotics. And I think it is best not to cut any corners. It sounds like a prudent plan.

LEMON: Yeah. Let us move on. I want to talk about the COVID vaccines, news about J&J, Johnson & Johnson, that a booster at two to six months can bring the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine to 94%. That's a big deal. Should people be thinking of the J&J as a two-dose vaccine now?

REINER: Yeah. Again, many folks thought they should have been a two- dose vaccine from the beginning. Remember, the J&J vaccine uses an adenovirus factor to deliver the genetic material for the vaccine. And it is similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine first used in the United Kingdom which is a two-dose vaccine. So, many people felt that the J&J vaccine really probably should have been a two-dose vaccine.

But remember, from sort of a marketing and positioning standpoint, the pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson, had a real interest in trying to have a unique vaccine that was one and done. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to work optimally in that dosing schedule. So yeah, everyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a second dose more than two months after the administration.

The question is, however, when will we know from CDC and FDA, whether perhaps giving an MRNA as a second dose to the J&J folks, is a better strategy? Because there is data from the mix and match trial that suggests that you can really massively boost the ability of the J&J vaccine by adding either the Pfizer or the Moderna as the second shot. That is probably weeks away from us hearing about that.

LEMON: So, there is still no conclusion on whether that is okay to do so?

REINER: Right.

LEMON: So, we will from them soon.

REINER: Right.

LEMON: The CDC is saying today that you have an 11 times greater chance of dying from COVID if you are unvaccinated and a six times higher risk of testing positive. How much more evidence do we need to show that these vaccines are what is necessary really to lift us out of this pandemic?

REINER: I don't know. I'm running out of ways to explain this to people. The best I can say is -- I was talking to one of our ICU doctors today at lunch, and we were talking about the folks who are still in hospital. Everyone who is in hospital, at least in the intensive care units, is unvaccinated.


REINER: And if you go from hospital to hospital in the United States, everyone really sick with COVID in the ICUs with a few exceptions is unvaccinated.

If you want to live and you don't want to die from this virus, there is a simple solution. It's two shots of any of these vaccines. I don't care what you get. You don't have to die from this. No one wants to be the last person to die. And almost every death in this country in the last few months has occurred in a patient who is unvaccinated who could have been vaccinated.

This isn't 2020, when no one could be vaccinated. We did the best we could. We struggle and hospitals struggle to pull these folks through. We have a simple solution that will keep you out of the hospital so you can move on with your lives and you can look forward to good things. We need to get more people to just understand that these are safe and incredibly effective.

LEMON: Thank you, doctor. I appreciate you joining.

REINER: Have a good night, Don.

LEMON: You as well. Chicago and its police union suing each other over vaccine. This is the only city dealing with a police force that doesn't want to get vaccinated.




LEMON: Coronavirus is killing more police officers in the last two years than anything else. And some cities struggling to get all their officers vaccinated, including Chicago, where there is a standoff between the police union and the city's mayor.

Here is CNN's Ryan Young.


KAREN WEISKOPF, HUSBAND DIED DUE TO COVID COMPLICATIONS: This is horrible. This did not have to happen.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Michael Weiskopf was a beloved officer with the St. Petersburg police force for 18 years.

WEISKOPF: He was so strong. He was so healthy.

YOUNG (voice-over): His wife says she pleaded with him to get the vaccine, but he remained skeptical.

WEISKOPF: I feel like Mike did not get vaccinated because he didn't have all the facts. There was a lot of information just kind of moving around, moving parts, you know. And when that happens, you can see rumors, miscommunication, information, science leaves the picture. It just becomes chatter. It attacked his lungs and made them look like baby Swiss cheese.

YOUNG (voice-over): Over thousand miles away in Massachusetts, Jessica Desfosses also lost her husband, Stephen, in January, about a month after he contracted COVID-19 on the job with the Norton Police Department. She says Stephen wanted to be the first in line to get the vaccine, but never had the chance.

JESSICA DESFOSSES, HUSBAND DIED DUE TO COVID COMPLICATIONS: It's as absolutely as bad as you would imagine to be raising two small girls without their dad. And if he had had the choice to get himself that extra protection so he could continue to serve the public and still come home to his family, he was absolutely would have done it.

YOUNG (voice-over): Jessica share the final heartbreaking text messages that the couple exchanged on Facebook, hoping to plead with police officers to get the shots.

DESFOSSES: If you are serious about your commitment to protect the public and if you are serious about your personal commitment to your family, then that should be enough.

YOUNG (voice-over): COVID-19 is the number one killer of American law enforcement officers over the last two years, taking over 470 lives, according to Officer Down Memorial Page.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than four times as many officers have died from COVID-19 as from gunfire, that memorial page says. This despite being among the first groups to have access to the vaccine.

DAN YANCEY, OWASSO, OKLAHOMA POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's a right to obviously get vaccinated. It's an individual right. I firmly still believe in that. But I would certainly encourage people to do that.

YOUNG (voice-over): Across the U.S., some officers remain hesitant to get vaccinated. In Miami, officers are resisting a potential vaccine mandate. In San Francisco, at least 120 officers will be off the street after failing to comply with the city's order that high-risk employees be vaccinated. The San Francisco Police Association said the National Police Union is encouraging vaccinations but is not in favor of a mandate.

JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: We are going to keep fighting this mandate and this dictatorship. You would think that there is no crime in the city to worry about. You would think that there is no murder, no robberies, no guns being fired.

YOUNG (voice-over): Up to half of Chicago's police officers could be placed on unpaid leave after this weekend if they don't disclose their vaccine status. The police union is telling officers to ignore the deadline and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is accusing the union president of trying to induce an insurrection.

As Karen Weiskopf watches the battles raging across the country, she hopes her husband's death is a lesson to his fellow officers.

YOUNG (on camera): Do you think Mike dying helped other officers in this department realize?

WEISKOPF: Absolutely. To this day, I still -- I get -- I get letters. I get calls. I get copies of people's vaccination cards in the mailbox that I don't know.


LEMON (on camera): Ryan Young is here with me now. Ryan, good evening to you. That woman in Florida tells her husband's death actually lad other officers to get vaccinated. Does she think vaccine should be mandated for officers?

YOUNG: That was sort of interesting from her standpoint. She does not want it to be a mandate, Don, but she does want to see more education being directly given to officers on a day-to-day basis.


YOUNG: She actually thinks that this course that is happening in this country has just gotten too cantankerous. She wants to see conversations brought into the police department. Here, every single day almost, someone from this police department reaches out to her. People actually send their vaccination cards to her to show that they decided to get the shot after her husband died.

If you look behind me, you see those two police units behind me. Those are actually two of the squad units from his actual patrol unit. These officers really care about what happened here. But at the same time, it doesn't seem like anyone wants to be forced to take the shot, and that is happening across the country.

LEMON: Ryan, can you tell us anything about this dispute over vaccine mandate in Chicago police force?

YOUNG: Yeah. When you think about this, Don, you're seeing this robust response all across the country. You see officers in Miami and San Francisco talking about not wanting to take the shot. Well, we know in Chicago, that union has no problem voicing their opinions. A lot of times, they go directly against the mayor. Well, that has happened again. And you had the union chief actually get told by a judge to stop talking to the media. That happened just tonight.

So, you see moving forward, there are some officers there who might not show up this weekend because, obviously, there's a mandate in the city. When you think about the rising crime, especially the crime challenges in that city, they need every officer to have all hands on- deck, especially with the amounts of homicides that happen in the city of Chicago.

But we know for a fact, the union, every chance it gets, sort of goes directly at the mayor. The mayor is standing up and basically saying that she wants to see these employees prove that they've been vaccinated. But it seems like a lot of officers are choosing not to go along with it. They've asked for some of these dates to be pushed back.

And as you know before, Don, because you've worked in city of Chicago before, these unions are very strong. So, once someone decides not to go with the way the city is going to go, it is going to be interesting to see how this plays out in a very public fashion. They had a union meeting the other night and it was standing room only with officers who were basically saying they wanted to defy what the city wanted to do moving forward.

LEMON: All right. I will follow. Thank you, Ryan Young. I appreciate it.

YOUNG: Thank you.

LEMON: They're worried about a full-scale war. We're live in Taiwan, where U.S.-China relations could mean massive military threats. Stay with us.




LEMON (on camera): Multiple officials telling CNN the Biden administration has discussed fast-tracking dozens of American F-16 fighter jets ordered by Taiwan in 2019. The discussion taking on new importance as China is taking a more aggressive stance. Now, the administration is walking in tight rope, trying to strengthen ties with Taiwan without provoking China.

CNN's Will Ripley has the very latest.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For an island living under the constant threat of a Chinese invasion, life in Taipei feels surprisingly normal. These grandmas get together at the park every week. They have a lot of things to talk about. War with China is not one of them.

GRANDMA HUANG, TAIPEI RESIDENT (through translator): We don't worry about it all. The threat has always been there and there's nothing to worry about. If it was going to happen, it would have happened a long time ago.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Taiwan's senior citizens lived through decades of hostility with no travel, trade or communication between Taiwan and China. In the 1990s, cross-strait tensions got better. Now, they're getting worse. As the U.S. and Taiwan grow closer, China is getting more agitated. Beijing released video of a training exercise targeting Taiwan independence and interference by external forces like the U.S. A warning for President Joe Biden and other U.S. allies.

LIU TING-TING, MILITARY REPORTER, TVBS NEWS: When Biden first came to power, no doubt there has been concerns whether there may be a reverse on foreign policy in regards to Taiwan. But I think people here actually see that Biden might have a harder stance against China.

RIPLEY (voice-over): U.S.-Taiwan arms sales skyrocketed during the Trump years. But some worry Washington's closer ties to Taipei may be provoking Beijing, pushing Taiwan and the U.S. into dangerous territory if a military conflict breaks out.

As Taiwan and the U.S. deepen economic and military cooperation, Taiwan is spending billions of dollars on new weapons. Taiwan's defense minister says China could launch a full-scale war on Taiwan by 2025. He says military tensions are the worst in more than 40 years. The mainland's massive army pauses a growing threat to the world's only Chinese-speaking democracy.

A threat you don't feel on the ground. When China was flying warplanes in record numbers near Taiwan this month, the story was barely mentioned in the Taiwanese media.

TING-TING: I think one thing is that the Taiwanese has been very used to (INAUDIBLE) day-in and day-out daily over the years.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Liu covers this story day-in and day-out, even when China's actions don't make global headlines.

TING-TING: Because I think we need to have more attention on Taiwan and there is something that has not been seen previously.


TING-TING: More global attention that might actually keep Taiwan safer.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Many here say they already feel safe no matter what may be coming across the Taiwan Strait.


LEMON (on camera): And CNN's Will Ripley joins me now. Will, thank you so much for doing this. How do people in Taiwan view the United States and its role?

RIPLEY: I think -- you know, certainly what happened in Afghanistan was an eye-opener for some people here, because just a couple of days after the fall of Afghanistan, China was conducting live fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. And there was talk, okay, is the United States going to come to Taiwan's aid after it just got out of another war if something were to happen with China?

You know, in some ways, people feel that China has been somewhat emboldened in recent years, thinking that as the United States kind of supremacy in the Indo-Pacific region starts to wane, China, the People's Liberation Army, is posing this really direct challenge to U.S. Military power in this region for the first time ever. I mean, it's the most powerful Chinese military ever. They're stepping up, expanding into the South China Sea.

And I guess the concern is that it emboldened Xi Jinping, who always said that Taiwan is going to be reclaimed and absorbed back into the mainland eventually, may try to make a move, banking on the fact that the U.S. would not step in.

But, you know, you have now the AUKUs partnership where the U.S. is going to help along with the U.K. give nuclear power to Australia. Japan is putting missiles on their islands near Taiwan. So, the U.S. and its allies are also sending signals, Don, that they would come to Taiwan's defense. But one person here told me he thinks there is about 50-50 chance that the U.S. will help.

LEMON: Fascinating story. We appreciate your reporting. Thank you, Will. And we will be right back.




LEMON: Before we go, I want to make sure you know about my podcast. It is called "The Handoff." It is with that guy right there, the one in the black suit, the ugly one, Chris Cuomo. This week, we are tackling some important subjects. We will talk about free speech and the controversy around Dave Chappelle's new Netflix special. I think it is one of the best ones. Maybe the best one so far. So, make sure you check out. Our show is out now. Listen wherever you get your podcast.

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues