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Don Lemon Tonight

General Powell Dies At 84; Former President Trump Filed A Lawsuit Against House Committee; Media Use General Powell's Death To Spin Over Vaccines; A Legacy To Remember. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 18, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): DON LEMON TONIGHT with the big star D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: When --- when you politicize someone's death, especially someone like Colin Powell, you know, you say the saying jump the shark. You know you've jumped -- you know you've jumped really all humanity when you can't wait to politicize a death about something that you need in order to corrupt and exploit your viewers, lead them down the primrose path. I just found it to be disgusting. I cannot believe it happened. You know, every day I'm even more surprised when that happens and you know exactly what I'm talking about.

CUOMO: I knew that as soon as there was an opportunity, people would take the fact that --


LEMON: Two seconds after he died?

CUOMO: Absolutely. That he died -- because what do you value? If you only value advantage and not to quote General Powell, whether or not you're making things better, then of course you would. This was ripe for being --


LEMON: Shame on them.

CUOMO: -- for being twisted. but there is no shame in their game.

LEMON: We're talking about the Fox propaganda network.

CUOMO: And look, and other --

LEMON: And other anti-vax conservative --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: -- contingents of the fringe right which is where they make leverage off of misgivings in division. This is just your typical addition by subtraction what they're doing and it works. And I had to deal with questions today from people saying well, I mean, you know, he was vaccinated. What does that tell you? Well, he had cancer too.

LEMON: He had cancer, too. And other --


CUOMO: One could tell you and Parkinson's and he was 84 --

LEMON: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and he was getting treatments and he was weak. That's why --


LEMON: And it was important for the people around him to be vaccinated even more so.

CUOMO: That's right. And by the way, you know, I know this is true for Don, also. I'm not talking about his family or friends.


CUOMO: I don't know who he was exposed to.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: I'm just saying that one of the reasons that you got to get vaccinated is you don't know who you're going to expose to what's going on with you.

But look, I think that ultimately, the way he died and people trying to make it into something else, that was happening to him his entire life. His entire life people were trying to define him wrongly for their own purposes and he overcame every time and hey, you know, 84 years old, you got cancer, you got Parkinson's, and he was still battling on driving in his own Corvette to treatments.

He was a singular man. You want to hear something trippy?

LEMON: Yes, I got something too that I want too I want to say.

CUOMO: Nineteen-ninety-five.


CUOMO: OK? This is my father, may he rest in peace, his pitch to get Powell as a Democrat. Remember, Colin Powell, you need to know one thing about Colin Powell that makes him better than everybody else in politics. Find me another guy that both parties wanted --

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: -- as the head of their ticket. He's a natural Democrat, right on the issues. Listen, at 95, what he said the issues were affirmative action, which is another way of saying systemic and equality, gun control and environment. His message is just right that you should treat everyone as being in one family.

He represents what the country wants most of all. They don't want Democrats. They don't want Republicans. They don't want politicians. They want strength and sweetness in a candidate. Powell is strength and sweetness personified. He's a general and son of immigrants and is compassionate, he has everything.


CUOMO: Ninety-five.


CUOMO: Same issues that we're confronting today.

LEMON: And your dad is right. It's right along with my politics, they don't want Democrats, they don't want Republicans. They want human beings and they want compassionate people and people who see other people's humanity.

So, yes. And look, and let me tell you, I also have a story. It is trippy because growing up, you know, this little kid who came from maybe the wrong side of the tracks, right? Or some people would think that. I don't actually think that.

I grew up in Louisiana. Came from nothing and all of a sudden, I'm sitting at a dinner table, just someone invited me over, and said I want to come to dinner tonight and we have special guests. I say OK. And I get there. And guess who I'm sitting with.

CUOMO: Colin Powell.

LEMON: Colin Powell and Tony Blair. I was like -- did you mean Don Lemon? Someone else? I got to tell you I got to know him and his wife a little bit socially. I didn't know them that well. But I would see them and they were very kind and we have conversations.


The nicest most down to earth people you will ever meet. Humble, humble to the very end, even though the guy had seen and experienced everything and had met everybody under the sun, not an ounce of pretense, he and his wife. So, Alma Powell, I'm so sorry for your loss and the entire family.

CUOMO: But I think it's really important that this fight about, you know, what it means, his passing is a good fight. I mean, the guy was completely committed to making things better and speaking truth when it's inconvenient and uncomfortable.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: And he did something, again, you know, if you want a second reason that he was better than so many in his generation politically. He owned making a big mistake --


CUOMO: -- in selling the war to Iraq.

LEMON: I was going to bring that up, but I'm glad you did. yes. He said I was wrong. I regret it.

CUOMO: He owned it.


CUOMO: And let me tell you, very few in that administration -- I would argue, actually, none owned it the way he did.

LEMON: Can you imagine now someone in the prior administration saying or the prior guy saying I was wrong, I've made a mistake and you know, the information was wrong and I regret that?

CUOMO: I can't imagine anybody doing it in any reason now. But we're also in a different time, you know.


CUOMO: I don't -- you know, Colin Powell had just everything coming after him that you could have in this country but he didn't have social media, you know, until what he said about January 6th.


CUOMO: And people came after him a little bit about that but he's made man by that. But look, everybody is vulnerable. But I will tell you, you know, sometimes things happen for a reason and him passing now in the midst of this in the way that he did, it is a really powerful reminder about what's supposed to matter right now.


CUOMO: And his life I hope stands as testament to what we're lacking.

LEMON: As they say, God rest his soul and may others -- may his memory be a blessing to us all. Thank you, brother.

CUOMO: I love you.

LEMON: Love you.

Nice tribute to him as well, and to your dad as well. Thank you. I love you, as well.

This is Don Lemon Tonight.

I've got a lot to talk about, a lot, a lot, a lot. But here is the biggest thing that's on my mind right now. All right? When I say, when people say the doth protest too much, what is he trying to hide?

Why is the former President of the United States so determined to keep January 6th that committee from finding out what he and his allies were doing before and during the insurrection at Capitol Hill? Why, why, why?

Our breaking news. The White House slapping down his claims of executive privilege saying and I quote here, "former President Trump abused the office of the presidency and attempted to subvert a peaceful transfer of power, the former president's actions represented a unique and existential threat to our democracy that can't be swept under the rug as President Biden determined, the constitutional protections of the executive privilege of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution."

That is from the White House spokesperson Mike Gwin. So, President Biden himself nixed the executive privilege claims. That as the former president filed a lawsuit, of course, in D.C. district court today against the January 6th committee and the National Archives as part of his campaign to keep records from his presidency secret.

And he may be running out of time because the National Archives telling him that they'll turn over the records to Congress in less than one month unless the court intervenes. Trump's lawyers calling the committee's request, quote, "an illegal fishing expedition."

This is no fishing expedition. This is about bringing to light exactly what happened on one of the darkest days in our history. The day blood thirsty rioters stormed the capitol, Trump's supporters, right, hunting lawmakers, beating police and trying to overturn our free and fair election. That's what that was.

The committee sending a letter to Steve Bannon rejecting his argument for failing to comply with the panel subpoena and dismissing his claim of executive privilege. And one of only two Republicans on the committee says that the former president could face a subpoena.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): If we subpoena all of a sudden, the former president, we know that's going to become kind of a circus. So that's not necessarily something we want to do up front but if he has pieces of information we need, we certainly will.


LEMON (on camera): Well, we've got a lot more to come on this, believe that. We've got a more to come. But as we were just talking about, the news that shocked so many people today, the death of General Colin Powell, a man who devoted himself to his country through a lifetime of firsts, the nation's first black secretary of state, the first black chairman of the joint chiefs, the first black national security advisor. Listen to what he told me. This is back in 2009. He's talking to me about Barack Obama. This is after Barack Obama the candidate he endorsed after serving in the Regan and George W. -- H.W. Bush and the George W. Bush administration became the first black President of the United States. Here it is.



COLIN POWELL, FORMER UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We now have a man who is president who is African American, but let us not rest on that pedestal. Let's recognize we have a long way to go.

LEMON: Do you feel like you in some way contributed to where we are now, that moment, this new president?

POWELL: I think I did but I'm not bragging about it because hundreds of thousands contributed. I contributed in a visible way by becoming the first secretary and first national security advisor and chairman who is black but I was given that opportunity. I'm more impressed by those who came before me who could have done the same thing, I did but they didn't have the opportunity because of racism and segregation and Jim Crowism but they still fought.


LEMON: And listen, we have something new tonight that about what Colin Powell said. This may have been his last interview speaking openly with Bob Woodward about his health struggles in an interview for the book "Peril."


POWELL: Well, you see, I got to go to the hospital about two or three times a week. I've got multiple myeloma cancer and I've got Parkinson's disease but otherwise I'm fine.


POWELL: Don't say no and don't feel sorry for me, for God's sakes. I'm 85 years old. I've got to have something.

WOODWARD: Well, you've --

POWELL: I haven't lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I'm in good shape.

WOODWARD: Well, that's great. Well, you've never lost a day of life. I mean, think of the activist, general, former secretary of state and now oracle, right?



LEMON (on camera): Wow. What an attitude, right? I'm 85 years old. I have to have something. Amazing. Amazing attitude. You know, that was just three months ago, the military man in the fight of his life while downplaying what he was going through. Tonight, the President of the United States Joe Biden paying tribute. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He's not only a dear friend and a patriot, one of our great military leaders and a man of overwhelming decency. This is a guy born a son of immigrants in New York City raised in Harlem in the South Bronx, graduated from City College in New York. And he rose to the highest ranks not only in the military but also in areas of foreign policy and state craft.


LEMON (on camera): Quiney (Ph) graduate. I am, too. Nice to talk that one to him whenever I got to see him and speak to him in person. So news of Colin Powell's death breaking about eight this morning and within minutes at the fox propaganda network, they were saying this.


WILL CAIN, FOX NEWS CO-HOST: There will be many conversations in the wake of this death. They will be honoring this man, this public servant, this man who is a professional soldier for 35 years. We can reflect on his life and we should. There will also be conversations about the fact that he was fully vaccinated according to his family and died from complications from COVID.


LEMON (on camera): Minutes. Literally minutes after we learned of the death of a man who devoted his life to serving this country, minutes later already disgracefully using his death to raise questions about vaccines. That wasn't the end of it. It goes on.


CAIN: We're seeing data from Europe, from the United Kingdom, the fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized and fully vaccinated people are dying from COVID and here we have a very high profile example that is going to require more truth, more truth from our government, from our health leaders, as well. As we talk about this story on a day when state after state and institution after institution are pushing mandates for vaccination.


LEMON (on camera): Seriously? I guess -- yes, don't be fooled. Never learn. Don't know any better. I don't know. Don't have the chops. I don't know what it is. Like just -- with a natural instinct not to do something like that. It seems like, you know, any decent human being, no, you just don't -- you know. At least that's how my mama raised me.

A man just died and this guy can't wait to make it into a fight about vaccine mandates? It is disgraceful. And then, in a twice deleted tweet Fox's John Roberts said and I'm quoting here, "the fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long term."


So, we went on -- he went on, excuse me, he went to say that he deleted his tweet because people interpreted it as anti-vax. OK. So that was his defense. Look, that's the original tweet again. Do you want facts? So, I will give you some facts.

Colin Powell's death doesn't raise new concerns about the effectiveness of vaccines. The fact is Colin Powell, a soldier to the end, was battling multiple myeloma which is a cancer of the cells that make antibodies. He also had Parkinson's which put him at high risk with an immunocompromised system making him much more susceptible to the virus.

Doctors say what Colin Powell's death shows is this. Vaccinating everyone is important to protect cancer patients. You get vaccinated for yourself but also get vaccinated to protect the vulnerable people like General Powell.

That would be a fitting tribute to his legacy of service. Colin Powell was a man of character and a man of integrity, even when it came to the moment that he called -- he called, this was him, a permanent blot on his record.

His 2003 speech at the U.N. in which he presented evidence at the U.S. intelligence community said proved Iraq had misled inspectors and hid weapons of mass destruction. Two years later, a government report said that the intelligence committee was dead wrong.


POWELL: I regret it now because the information was wrong. Of course, I do. But I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community. I swayed public opinion. There is no question about it.


LEMON (on camera): Again, this is him owning up to what he later called one of his most momentous failures, the one with the widest ranging impact. So that's what decent people do. That's what caring people do, empathetic people leaders. They do when they make a mistake, they admit it. We do it all the time here at CNN. I've done it. I'll say I made a mistake.

That was a man of duty, a man who put his country first. The former President Barack Obama paying tribute to Colin Powell today and I quote, "on a personal level, I was deeply appreciative that someone like General Powell was willing to endorse me in 2008. But what impressed me even more was how he did it. At a time when conspiracy theories were swirling with some questioning my faith. General Powell took the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter in a way only he could."


POWELL: The correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian but the really right answer is what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president?


LEMON (on camera): Where is that kind of Republican today? Where is that? He's a Muslim. He's -- I wonder who started that whole thing. I shouldn't say that. I wonder who is the biggest proponent and spreader of the whole wasn't born in this country thing. We have investigators in Africa. You won't believe the information we're finding. And it was nothing, again, same thing over and over.

Barack Obama going on to say, that's Colin Powell was. He understood what was best in this country and tried to bring his own life, career and public statements in line with that idea. Michelle and I will always look to General Powell as an example of what America and Americans can and should be if we wish to remain the last best hope of earth."

If we wish to remain the last best hope of earth, do we wish that now? Is that what the collective wish is? It was just a few months ago that Colin Powell told Fareed Zakaria he no longer considered himself a Republican. The answer to the question where is that kind of Republican today?

The ones who actually had the backbone and the courage to stand up and say something like he said and live their lives like he lived. Where are they? They are gone. The man who once said that he believed he could help the party of Lincoln move back to the spirit of Lincoln. To the very end he was a man of character and integrity. Don't see that a lot in the GOP any anymore.


I think it's a good time to go to break. Rest in peace Colin Powell.


LEMON (on camera): OK. Here is the breaking news tonight. The House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection releasing its contempt report on Steve Bannon who is refusing to comply with its subpoena claiming executive privilege.

Well, tomorrow the committee is expected to move to refer Bannon for criminal contempt, likely approving the resolution recommending that the "House of Representatives find Steven K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena." That is the quote.

OK? So, let's discuss now. CNN senior legal analyst is Mr. Preet Bharara, a former U.S. attorney. Preet, good to see you. Thank you for joining us this evening.

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good to be here. LEMON: The committee says that Bannon's claims of executive privilege

rely on legal authority that he was a private citizen during the period that they want information for and that Trump hasn't evenly formally claimed executive privilege. So, does Bannon have any legal leg to stand on here?


BHARARA: No, he really doesn't. And what's interesting is, of all the people who have been subpoenaed, Steve Bannon probably has the least footing on which to defy the subpoenas and he's the one who is making the most dramatic statement saying that he's not going to comply.

He wasn't an employee of the executive branch at the time that this conduct is being examined. And meanwhile, some of the other folks had their time to appear and to voluntarily comply extended including Mark Meadows and Kash Patel and others.

You know, Steve Bannon is a pretty extreme, dramatic guy. His lawyers say in his defense that on three prior occasions with respect to investigations by the special counsel and others, he has testified but here President Trump has directed him not to even though as you point out there seems to not have been a formal privilege with the relevant committee.

He doesn't have any leg to stand on. I expect as you point out, that the House will vet to certify a request for referral for him to be prosecuted and we'll see what the DOJ does.

LEMON: The subpoena lists 17 areas of investigation including planning and communications of January 6th, of the January 6th rally correspondents with allies including John Eastman, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, plus any communication with Trump regarding January 6th, specifically conversations that they may have had on December 30th. What is the committee after here, Preet?

BHARARA: They're after the full story. Any time you conduct an investigation, you want to make sure that you hit all the bases. You check all the boxes. You get all the communications and that's particularly so given the importance of the nature of the investigation and the nature of the harm that's being investigated.

I mean, in all these circumstances, you know, the basic principle is whether there are privileges or not, in this case there aren't any that I can determine but if there are, you have to see what the need for the information is. And part of how you determine the need for the information is the importance of the inquiry which is also in turn based on the importance of the conduct that you need to uncover and break down and understand.

And it's hard to imagine something more serious than an insurrection at the capitol on January 6th that sought to not only undo an election but to harm sitting members of Congress up to and including the speaker of the House and the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence. So, they have an enormous need for this material and I think at the end of the day, they will get a lot of it, if not all of it. LEMON: Yes. Preet, not surprisingly. I mean, we have known for those

of us who are New Yorkers know -- have known for a long time how litigious the former president is. He is now suing the committee and the National Archives to keep his White House records private.

January 6th committee chairman Bennie Thompson and the vice chair Liz Cheney are responding tonight, and I quote, saying his lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to delay and destruct our probe. Precedent and law are on our side. Is Trump's lawsuit just a delay tactic or do you think it can work?

BHARARA: I don't think it can work. I think it is a delay tactic. Remember, keep in mind that the House is currently controlled by the Democrats who formed this select committee to investigate the going, the doings of January 6th. They're only going to be in office, potentially for another year and a couple of months if the House changes hands.

And as we've seen in other litigations including with the respect to the former White House counsel, Don McGahn and other, if you get into litigation and you can get this stuff into the courts, it takes time and then even if you get ruled against as Trump almost certainly will be, you can appeal and you can appeal again and you can ask for rehearing. So, it can take some time.

I do think that in this matter, the law is so clear and the understanding that the information being sought is so important and the time is of the essence, you know, given what's going to happen in the coming year that we could have quicker judicial rulings than we normally do, but yes, I think it's a 100 percent a delay tactic.

And you know, the lawyer for the president, the former president in this case is making extreme and broad assertions that have been rejected before essentially saying that the entire investigation and the attempt to get documents and to understand what happened on January 6th is itself illegitimate and essentially unconstitutional and that just is not going to fly.

LEMON: Preet, thank you. I appreciate you joining. I'll see you soon. Be well.

BHARARA: Sure, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. So, he is known -- he is known for the big lie but he is testifying under oath today. I'm going to speak with one of the lawyers questioning former President Trump. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): The fellow president answering questions under oath for more than four hours today. The deposition part of a lawsuit brought by men who allege that they assaulted by members of his security team during a demonstration outside Trump tower here in New York. This was in 2015. This was the scene. OK? So, joining me now attorney Roger J. Bernstein. Attorney Bernstein,

thank you for joining. I appreciate it.


LEMON: So here is the former president leaving Trump tower earlier tonight after testifying for more than four hours. He called the deposition harassment. It seems like you're confident that you can show Trump is responsible. Tell us why.

BERNSTEIN: Well, I will tell you why but if you don't mind, I can start for a moment at the beginning.



BERNSTEIN: That concerns with demonstrations in 2015 just as his campaign is getting underway and the demonstration involves signs on the sidewalk that said make America racist again, which is a play on make America great again, and Mr. Trump's security agents came down and tore away those signs and got into the little scuffle that you saw there where our clients tried to get the signs back, Mr. Trump's security agents interfered and basically attacked our guys.

So, the critical thing here is that these security agents have worked for Trump for 18 years at a time. He admires their performance, he authorizes what they do and in every possible way he sanctions what they do and that makes him responsible legally for the conduct for his authorized agents which, just to put it in context was a direct effort to interfere with public demonstration by people who were concerned about what was wrong with the campaign.

LEMON: All right. Listen, we know his history of litigation. He likes to do -- he likes drag things through the court. He's doing it now politically. He used to do it in business and his personal life, right? But he can be evasive and struggles to tell the truth. So, I just want your reaction to a previous deposition. This is from a different case. This is 2015. Watch this.


UNKNOWN: You said you have one of the best memories in the world.



TRUMP: Where? Can I see.

UNKNOWN: I can play a video of you --


TRUMP: You did I say I have a great memory or one of the best in the world?

UNKNOWN: One of the best in the world is what the reporting quoted you as saying.

TRUMP: Well, I mean, I don't remember that, OK? As good as my memory is, I don't remember that but I have a good memory.

UNKNOWN: So, you don't remember saying you have one of the best memories in the world?

TRUMP: I don't remember that.


LEMON (on camera): OK. So, listen, in that moment he's elusive, little shifty. Can you characterize his demeanor today, for us today, though?

BERNSTEIN: His demeanor today was what you saw on the White House lawn, what you saw before he was president. What you seen since then. It was, I would say pugilistic, very strong effort to be contentious, and but there wasn't really an issue about memory because he wasn't a direct eyewitness to what happened and the issue really for us is how his organization operates.

He's the owner. He's the president. And in all different ways, he's responsible for the conduct of the people in it and that was coming out today and that doesn't test his memory, that just tests his commitment. Yes.

LEMON: So, what do you want?

BERNSTEIN: What we want for our clients at this point is damages including punitive damages because the conduct was so outrageous. People have a right to demonstrate on a public sidewalk to express their views and to express to the public what is wrong with someone running for office.

Mr. Trump's agents interfered to stop that demonstration. That is completely wrong in this country. That's not how a democracy operates and what we want is to sanction him appropriately for the misconduct. He's at the top of the group and therefore responsible. That's what we want.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Roger Bernstein. We appreciate it. Good luck to you. Thanks a lot.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.


LEMON: Colin Powell speaking out about his own health and what's believed to be his last interview. We're going to show you that next.


POWELL: Don't say no and don't feel sorry for me, for God's sakes. I'm 85 years old. I've got to have something.

WOODWARD: Well, you've --

POWELL: I haven't lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I'm in good shape.




LEMON (on camera): The nation mourning General Colin Powell who passed away today at the age of 84, an outpouring of respect from both sides of the aisle. Remember remembering him as a trailblazer as a soldier and statesman.

And we're getting new excerpts tonight from one of Powell's last interviews. He spoke with veteran journalist Bob Woodward about his health issues.


POWELL: Well, you see, I got to go to the hospital about two or three times a week. I've got multiple myeloma cancer and I've got Parkinson's disease but otherwise, I'm fine.

WOODWARD: No, I'm so sorry.

POWELL: Don't say no and don't feel sorry for me, for God's sakes. I'm 85 years old. I've got to have something.

WOODWARD: Well, you've --

POWELL: I haven't lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I'm in good shape.

WOODWARD: Well, that's great. You've never lost a day of life. I mean, think of the activists, generals, former secretary of state, now oracle, right?


LEMON (on camera): Bob Woodward joins me now. He is the co-author of the new book "Peril." Bob, we're so grateful to have you on tonight. It's an extraordinary interview.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

LEMON: An excerpt to hear. And this was the last interview with Colin Powell and possibly the last interview that he did. I understand you interviewed him more than 50 times over 32 years. You know him. What did you think? WOODWARD: Yes. Well, it goes back to 1989, the Panama invasion. He

was somebody a rare public official who did not shield himself. He was willing to open himself up and would answer questions you could always get him on the phone or go see him and he felt that was part of his responsibility and I think it was part of his integrity quite frankly.

LEMON: Speaking of which, we're seeing the battles over documents for January 6th special committee. You asked him about the insurrection. I want to play that. I want to hear from him. Here it is.



POWELL: We've just gotten rid of the president --


POWELL: -- who is not reelected.



POWELL: Refuses to acknowledge he wasn't reelected. He has people that go along with him on that.


POWELL: Now we had a Congress who is ready to elect him or do something -- going to make him a hero again.


POWELL: These guys all bad mouth him right after the, you know, the riot, you know, in the White House.


POWELL: But two weeks later, they were all back in his camp.

WOODWARD: What did you think of that riot and assault on the Capitol?

POWELL: It was awful. He was going in there to overturn the government.


POWELL: I don't think anyone says that.


LEMON (on camera): I mean, look, he was a lifelong Republican but then he said he told CNN that he could no longer -- he no longer after the insurrection considered himself a Republican. He couldn't stand what the Trump administration represented. WOODWARD: He could not and he made the point not just that Trump was

trying to overthrow or say he won the election but that Trump was really trying to overthrow the government because we're not going to have a government if we can't hold elections where people will realize the votes have been counted and they either won or lost and Trump's persistent false claim that there is evidence that somehow he won the election, it's not there.

Bob Costa and I and doing our book "Peril" did this research and found that two of Trump's biggest supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Mike Lee of Utah investigated these claims in depth and found zero, absolutely zero evidence and this was not somebody who was opposed to Trump, these big Trump supporters.

LEMON: Listen, Colin Powell was, again, as I said a lifelong Republican until he said he couldn't be Republican anymore considering what the Trump administration had done but he was, you know, a type of old school Republican with integrity. He aborts racism. This isn't the first time he had concerns about someone in power and especially possible racism. Am I correct?

WOODWARD: That's correct. When he first was asked to join the bush senior administration, I have in my book the commanders, how Powell was very reluctant because Bush Sr. in the run against Dukakis 1988, the very famous race baiting Willy Horton ads, Powell was appalled. Found this was unacceptable and so he wouldn't take the initial jobs that were offered.

Stayed in the army and eventually Bush made him chairman of the joint chiefs and Powell accepted and they had quite a close relationship but that initial, he wasn't going to play ball with even a president who had played the Willy Horton card in a very ugly political race baiting way.

LEMON: Yes. It was an awful ad, an awful time for those of us who are old enough to remember that. Another interesting part of your interview though with him is this comment that he made about this characterization of him as a reluctant warrior. Here it is.


POWELL: The reluctant warrior. Whatever that is asked of me I said true. I am a reluctant warrior.


POWELL: I don't like wars. I don't want to be a warrior. But remember the other thing that is well-known about me, and that is we go to a war and I will do everything I can to beat the crap out of somebody, and win it.


LEMON (on camera): Maybe the most complicated part, Bob, of his legacy is that the cover that he gave for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. How did he reckon with that over the years? WOODWARD: Well, he reckoned with it in a very honorable way. Said it

was a mistake. That it's a blot on his record, and he accepts responsibility for it and when looking back at the Iraq war, his instinct was it wasn't necessary and he concluded that he did not fight loud enough and strong enough within President George W. Bush to say wait a minute, this is not necessary or may not be necessary.

LEMON: Do you agree, Bob, that the biggest influence in this life was his wife?


WOODWARD: Yes, Yes. I mean, in a very interesting way, I asked him at the end, this is three months ago. Who is the person who is the truth teller, who has had the most influence with you, who you admired the most? I thought he was going to say President Bush or Martin Luther King. He said Alma Powell. His wife of 58 years and he on. Maybe you have the tape of that. It's very moving and honest.

LEMON: Yes. As we go to break, let's just play that tape. I'm going to thank you here. If you can just play that sound bite as we go to break. Bob, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

WOODWARD: Thank you.


WOODWARD: Who was the greatest man, woman or person you have ever known? Not just a leader, nit -- but the inner person, you know the moral compass, the sense of propriety, the sense of the truth matters. Who is that in all of your life who --

POWELL: Alma Powell.

WOODWARD: OK. Good for you. Good for you.

POWELL: She was with me the whole time, been married 58 years.

WOODWARD: Wow. Congratulations

POWELL: Thank you. She put up with a lot. She took care of the kids when I was, you know, running around. And she was always there for me and she'd tell me that's not a good idea. she was usually right.




LEMON (on camera): Take this. A statue of President Thomas Jefferson will be removed from New York City's council chamber at city hall. Tonight, the city's public design commission which overseas New York City's collection of public art voted unanimously to relocate the statue at the behest of the members of the city's black, Latino and Asian caucus. Caucus members believers Jefferson's history as a slave holder means

it was inappropriate for his statue to stand in a room where they govern. The seven-foot bronze statue has been standing the council chamber for more than 100 years.

The commission voted to find a suitable public location for the statue outside the council chambers by the end of the year.

Last year, CNN reported that two descendants of Jefferson want the president's monument in Washington, D.C. to be replaced. They said the memorial glorifies the author of the Declaration of Independence without including context about him being a slave owner.

The battle over how to honor the nation's history lives on. It's happening all over the country. And you know we will continue to have these conversations about it on this show. So, make sure you stay tuned.

Up next, though, the committee investigating the insurrection says they could subpoena former President Trump but he is fighting to keep any details from them with a new lawsuit today. Stay with us.