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Don Lemon Tonight

Biden Tested On World Stage In Talks With Macron, And At G20 Summit; Outspoken GOP Trump Critic Kinzinger Won't Seek Reelection; Virginia Governor's Race Neck-And-Neck With Four Days To Go; GOP Candidate For Virginia Governor Seizes On Parents' Anger About Critical Race Theory; Manufactured Outrage Over Critical Race Theory Sweeps The Nation And Infects Politics; John McWhorter's New Book On Black Americans; "Rust" Armorer Speaks Out, Slams Unsafe Set, Cost Cutting; Chauvin Trial Jurors Speaks Exclusively To Don Lemon. Aired 11p-12p ET

Aired October 29, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): President Biden trying to restore relations with a key U.S. ally ahead of the G20 Summit. But the second (inaudible) president in U.S. history started his trip with a 90- minute closed door meeting with Pope Francis.

Plus, we're just days away from the high stakes race for Virginia's next Governor. The polls are neck in neck in the home stretch.

And the jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial speaking exclusively with me. George Floyd's brother will join me in the hour ahead.

So joining me now, Fiona Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian Affairs at the National Security Council, also the author of the new book, "There Is Nothing For You here, Finding Opportunity In The 21st Century."

Fiona, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us this evening and congratulations on the new book as well.


LEMON: So let's talk about the president -- absolutely. Let's talk about the president kicking off a critical trip abroad, showing candor, trying to rebuild relations with allies. He wants to show the world that America is back. Is it working, Fiona?

HILL: Well, so far so good. And the response to his efforts to patch things up with French President Emmanuel Macron seems to be pretty positive so far. I think what we are going to have to see over the next few days is whether he comes away from the G20 with any breakthrough agreements.

The critical part is actually what happens next, however. It's not just the G20 meeting the next couple days but what happens in Glasgow. We have the big climate summit coming ahead. And President Biden needs to build up a head of steam at the G20 to try to show some leadership in Glasgow. You know, these critical issues about can we get some collective action on turning back the effects of climate change and some breakthroughs on the carbon emissions and that's really going to be a very tall order.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, you mentioned it briefly, I just want to explain to viewers and then show them what happened. But when Biden met with the French President Emmanuel Macron today, admitting the U.S. poorly handled a submarine deal with Australia and the U.K. which undermines France and cost them a multi-billion dollar deal. Take a listen and then we'll discuss.


UNKNOWN: Is the relationship repaired?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: To use the English phrase, what we did was clumsy, it was not done with a lot of grace.

I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through. Honest to God, I did not know you had not been.


LEMON: Listen, some people may see that as a weakness. I, I mean, just me personally, I think it is a strength when people can say that they made a mistake and accept the responsibility for a mistake was unheard of in the previous administration. But do you think it's going to be enough in this case to repair relations with our oldest ally?

HILL: I think it is pretty significant. And I think you're right. It is a sign of strength and it would have been a lot worse if, you know, he had tried to make all kinds of excuses. Because it also happens to be the truth.

I think, you know, President Biden did think that the French had been informed of the deal. But he thought they had been told by the Australians. We had this happen repeatedly, unfortunately in bilateral relations with countries. You know, we've had many examples in the past where there has been a miscommunication.

You know, sometime we just don't have the bandwidth. We have, you know, so many people working for the government. You have a very big sprawling set of relationships. And it often does happen that communications break down and this was one of those cases. So I think did he the right thing.

I think getting to the point right away with Macron, Macron is a blunt, straightforward guy as well. He would have appreciated that. Then of course, the question is, what do you do next?

So I think, you know, some of the further demonstration that the French and the United States are going to work together, and the climate summit could be that. Because the French have been pushing the climate change agenda for some time themselves. So this could be the next step. Perhaps Biden and Macron showing that they can forge ahead on some issue when they get to Glasgow.

LEMON: Fiona, here in the U.S. there's been so much focus on Democrats punting the Infrastructure Bill and the lack of consensus on climate legislation ahead that you and summit that you are talking about. Are U.S. allies concerned or do they understand the domestic drama that's happening here?


HILL: They do understand the domestic drama. But the very concerned that we can't get on top of this, and you know, that really is a test for Biden and for the Democratic Party. And frankly, for the United States overall.

Over the last several years, increasingly our allies have started to wonder whether we had become ungovernable, whether we can lead on the international stage. President Biden, of course, has promised them that the United States is back and so they're watching it very closely.

So I do think it is very important for Biden to be able to show that he can achieve something at home. Because that will give him a head of steam for the big meetings abroad.

LEMON: Fiona, thank you. I appreciate your time. Have a good weekend, OK?

HILL: Thanks so much, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

So Republican Congressman, Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, announcing that he will not seek re-election. He's part of -- this is part of his announcement, I should say, where he took clear swipes at the former president and his allies.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We've allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others. And dehumanizing those that look, act or think differently than we do. As a country, we have fallen for those lies and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to achieve real strength. It has become increasingly obvious to me that as a country, we must unplug from the missed truths we've been fed.


LEMON: So joining me now, CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent, a former Republican Congressman. Also senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. The dream team. I know it rhymes. I meant it to. Thank you, gentlemen. Good to see you. Let's get at it. OK, so I didn't say let's get after it because that's the other guy's

saying. So, Charlie, you know, you know that Adam Kinzinger. You know him very well. You used to work with him. What does his decision lead to Congress -- what does his decision to leave Congress, I should say, say about the Republican Party today?

FMR. REP. CHARLIE DENT (R-PA), CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (on camera): Well, is says -- I did serve in Congress for eight years with Adam Kinzinger. We are very close friends. We co-chair the Tuesday Group together, the Republican Governing Group, they call it now.

I'm very sad about this. I'm not surprised. What is happening here is, again, mainstream, reasonable voices are being pushed out, while the most extreme voices are being embraced and uplifted. That's what is so troubling about this.

The people like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who speak truth, more thoughtful principled people find that they're really not welcome in the party. And it's all about creating a new movement. So that people, you know, who are, you know, I would say center-right and principled can feel comfortable within the GOP and to cannot right now. (Inaudible).

LEMON: Redistricting didn't help though, right?

DENT: Correct. Oh, yeah. He was dumped in the (inaudible), with Darren LaHood. And we kind of expected that too.

LEMON: So, Ron, the Former President Trump responded to Kinzinger decision saying, two down, eight to go. An apparently reference to the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him. Is he winning this fight? Are we putting too much into that, because there doesn't seem to be room for anyone who wants to hold him accountable in the GOP lately?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AND SENIOR EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC (on camera): Yeah. The Trump wing is the dominant wing in the party. There's no question about it. He's probably somewhere between three quarters and four-fifths of the party. And it makes it very difficult for any Republicans who want to stand up for, you know, things like truth and democracy and the rule of law.

I think what may be even more damaging than someone like Kinzinger deciding to step down is how much success Glenn Youngkin is having in Virginia at kind of straddling the line, where he has not in any way kind of repudiated Trump but he has not given him the full-hearted embrace and he is finding that balancing act is allowing him to hold on to a lot of Republican voters, including many who are probably ambivalent about Trump.

Until there is a clear electoral cost to embracing Trumpism, it is hard to see the party turning away from it. And 2020, even though Biden won, I think many Republicans believe it was an ambivalent and ambiguous enough outcome that they don't see the incentives to fully back away from this and so on we go.

LEMON: So, what Youngkin does, he feeds red meat to the base, you know, at the rallies, right? Out of the earshot, many times, of media, right? And then he appeals to a more centrist Republican when he is in his messaging on television and the media.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Right. And in no way, I mean, he has kind of given oxygen, and winks and nods, and all the claims of election fraud. You know, who knows if Republicans get unified control of government in this election next Tuesday, will they pursue a voter restriction agenda like Georgia, and Texas, and Florida, and Iowa?


You would -- you know, you would probably have to bet more likely than not. And yet, you know, he is in his kind of general messaging, he is kind of the suburban dad and a police who wants to spend more on education even as he nods toward kind of Trumpist concerns about the way racial history is taught in the schools.

And I think that if he wins, there are a lot of -- I think, more and more Republicans will conclude that they don't have to explicitly repudiate Trump. Especially while Biden is at a low ebb and that will make it even less likely to do so.

LEMON: Yes. Charlie, Congressman Kinzinger said in his announcement today that this isn't the end of his political future but the beginning. So where do you think he goes from here?

DENT: Well, Adam is a young guy, he has got -- I think he still has a bright future ahead of him. Look, he is playing a long game here. He knows he's not where he needs to be within the party. A lot of us know that right now. But things will change.

And I think, I do believe that Republicans must acknowledge that since Donald Trump was elected president, Republicans have been getting clobbered in the suburbs. And that's so significant because you cannot win national elections. You cannot win swing state elections without performing much better in suburban communities.

And Trump, you know, he has shrunk the base. The base is smaller. It is angrier. And I think you are going to see more defeats. Sure, I think House Republicans will probably reclaim the majority in 2022. It could blow, they will probably take it back. But over time, you know, the party is shrinking and Trump is losing.

I mean, every Republican did pretty well in 2020 whose name was not Donald Trump who are on the ballot. So you have to remember that, Don, that this is about the suburbs at the end of the day. And if Youngkin loses, it's going to be because he didn't perform well enough in the D.C. suburbs, Richmond suburbs, Norfolk suburbs, that's what's going to happen, it's a tight race. It could go either way.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I have a real quick? It is really in the hands, real quick. It's in the hands of the center right Republican voters who are uneasy about Donald Trump and what he means for democracy but are still -- but also don't like many of the Democratic policies in Washington. Are they willing to vote for a Republican who enable and excuse Trump? If they are, it's going to be very hard to excise influence from the party. The only, I think, as Charlie Dent was saying, is if they continue suffer losses in the suburbs, eventually they may consider this a dead end. If not, on it goes.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it, both of you.

I want to bring in now CNN's senior data reporter, Harry Enten, for the latest on this neck in neck Virginia's Governor Race. Hey, listen, good evening. We talk about this race and we talk about my dogs. You and I. And that's about -- that's the only conversations we've had.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST (on camera): That about right. It sounds about right. I like the no tie look. I see you're adopting my style. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Harry, I'm old enough to be your dad. I've been wearing tieless shirts --

ENTEN: That's true. But my dad would be old enough to be your dad. So, you know, we have the nice linear thing going on there.


LEMON: Alright, let's get to this.

ENTEN: I'm going to run through, go.

LEMON: This -- it is incredibly tight. Who is the edge? Who do you think has the edge heading into this election?

ENTEN: You know, look, it's really close. But the one thing that is clear looking at the polling averages is that, Glenn Youngkin, clearly has momentum, you can see this. Terry McAuliffe led by five points two months ago. That led was down to three points a month ago. And now, Glenn Youngkin actually has a point leading the average of all polls. Now that's well within the margin of error, either candidate can win, but in state that Donald Trump lost by 10 points, a Republican has a real shot of winning. No Bueno for Democrats.

LEMON: How much of this race has to do with President Biden and his slipping approval numbers.

ENTEN: A lot. A lot, I mean, look, there's a reason why Terry McAuliffe has been dropping in the last few months. It pretty much goes hand-in-hand with Joe Biden's numbers in the state of Virginia dropping.

Look at that. He had a plus 1 point net popularity rating back in August. Minus 1 in September, at the same point you saw Youngkin gaining ground. And look at this, in October, minus seven points in the net popularity rating.

And what is so important about this. It isn't just in Virginia that this is happening, right. This is happening throughout the Northeast United States and nationally as well. So what we see essentially when you compare the 2020 margin to the net rating in 2021, right now.

Look at this. The difference. Biden's net popularity is significantly lower. Minus 13 points, nationally, minus 23 points in Maryland, minus 26 point in New Hampshire, minus 22 points down in New Jersey. So, that's why we can take this result in Virginia. And if Glenn Youngkin wins, why we extrapolate it nationally and say may goodness, Joe Biden really has an anchor on these Democrats going forward.

LEMON: So Virginia, early voting, mail-in voting, but how important do you think turnout on Tuesday will be?

ENTEN: I think it is extremely important. And the reason I say that is if you look right now. If everybody, all the voters in Virginia cast a ballot in the polling, Terry McAuliffe has a three-point lead. But look among likely voters, Glenn Youngkin has a one point advantage.

So essentially what we're saying is, if Democrats can actually get their voters to turn out on Tuesday that is much better for them. Right now there's an enthusiasm gap that is benefiting Glenn Youngkin. We'll see if that eventually happens. But I'll end on this note, Don.


And that is, if we look at Virginia's history right, and we look at all the elections since 1977. What do we see? We see that eight out of 11 times, if we get that slide up. Eight out of 11 times. The party that wins in the Virginia gubernatorial election goes on to win House seats in the next mid-term election. So the winner in Virginia traditionally has projected forward to the mid-terms. Especially if Glenn Youngkin wins in a state that Donald Trump lost by 10 points, a very good sign for Republicans heading into next year.

LEMON: Doesn't history show that whoever is in the White House in Virginia, the governor is -- it is the opposite party in who wins the governor's race?

ENTEN: Of course, Don. It's measuring the same idea. But this is essentially what aware finding out in the results is, if the Republicans win, then this is politics as normal. That is, we see a mid-term penalty whereby the party (inaudible).

LEMON: OK. So then why is everyone saying, oh, this is so -- it's so unusual.


ENTEN: It's not unusual -- no, no, no.

LEMON: No, it's not unusual at all. I meant that Youngkin is in the lead, because when there is a Democrat in the White House, the Republican usually wins the governor's race in Virginia.

ENTEN: No, it's not that it's unusual. It's the politics that is normal, even with Donald Trump lurking in the backroom. We are still seeing the midterm penalty. And the other thing I'll note we've seen since 19 -- in the last

decade or so, Virginia moving rapidly to the left. And Virginia used to be a very red state, so the idea that the Republican could win in a state that Donald Trump lost by 10 points. It's not just history, it's also the comparison to 2020. I know what I'm talking about, Don, believe me.

LEMON: I didn't say you didn't know what you are talking about.

ENTEN: I know. I know.

LEMON: I'm just saying that everyone is saying, oh my gosh, what's going to happen -- the Democrats are behind when the race usually goes to the opposite party, depending on whoever is in the White House.

ENTEN: It's politics as normal, but that of course, is bad news for Democrats heading into the mid-terms.

LEMON: I have to go.

ENTEN: Goodbye, Don. Send me photos of the dogs.

LEMON: Oh, maybe.

ENTEN: Please.

LEMON: All right, all right. I'll do it.

It's not being taught in schools but across the country, protesters are unloading on school boards over Critical Race Theory.


UNKNOWN: Do you have children in the school district?


UNKNOWN: Then why do you keep coming?

RUSSO: I'm concerned about our loss of freedom.




LEMON: The Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia in the home stretch of the race, seizing on parents' anger about Critical Race Theory. It is happening all over the country. But why are so many people flipping out about this? It's not even being taught in schools.

CNN's Kyung Lah has this story.


UNKNOWN: Who's the oppressor? I am because I'm white. That's what is being taught.


UNKNOWN: It's a spit in the hands of kids and it's sick.

LAH: In small town America.

UNKNOWN: We're not going in the right direction. And our educators need to take note of this.

LAH: This is a town hall for the Douglas County Nevada School District.

UNKNOWN: CRT is cancel culture.

LAH: CRT or Critical Race Theory is not being taught in the schools but that doesn't matter to the people unloading at the school board.

UNKNOWN: It is the purpose and intention of those that push CRT to create guilt.

LAH: The message here in a county of fewer than 50,000 people echoed in school board meetings from Florida.

UNKNOWN: As a community, we need to come together and pull our children out of these government camps.

LAH: To Wisconsin --

UNKNOWN: It is divisive, bias, radically left, (inaudible), design to further alienate our American children from each other.

LAH: Republican candidates are seizing on this rally cry as fertile ground for campaigns. From Virginia gubernatorial candidate, Glenn Youngkin --

GLENN YOUNGKIN, VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We see parents asking for our schools to teach our children out of thinking, stop teaching them what to think.

LAH: To Nevada--

UNKNOWN: Good evening, everybody.

LAH: -- where Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Adam Laxalt chose the Douglas County school board meeting to make a campaign appearance.

ADAM LAXALT, REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: We will start the domino to raise the temperature of parent that are rising up all over this country. We will not let these people take our children. We will not let them indoctrinate them.

LAH: This isn't an issue that people talk about if you like?

KIMORA WHITACRE, 17, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: You can see the wear that it takes on our administrators. They're just trying to educate us. So, I feel like that's where I get disappointed.

LAH: We spoke with the Douglas High School students and a teacher. The very people the protesters at the school board meetings say need protecting.

UNKNOWN: I feel they don't understand that our school doesn't even have CRT. And so they're arguing for something that we don't even have.

WHITACRE: There have been times where I've driven through this town and been scared because of protests going on.

SYDNEY HASTINGS, 17 HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: It has been a really hard several last few years because of the pandemic and just the amount of social strife and political division going on in our country right now.

LAH: What kids are facing they say are post pandemic problems.

UNKNOWN: Teachers had reported that kids will take something from level one to level 10 unexpectedly.

LAH: Along with staffing shortages, these are the issues teachers bring up at board meetings. And when you talk to the students --

Are you stressed out?

JACOB LEWIS, 16, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: Yes. I feel like I'm running a 5k when I barely walked to last year because of COVID. Right now I'm trying to really balance everything that's on my plate.

JIM TUCKER, HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER: The thing that is the most important that we're dealing with now is social, emotional learning and getting students equipped to handle what they have in front of them.

LAH: But Bob Russo is convinced, he knows better. And just over a week, he attended meeting --

RUSSO: It's up to us. We have to protect them.

LAH: After meeting --

RUSSO: CRT is not healthy for America.

LAH: After meeting.

RUSSO: CRT is undermining the progress that we have made in race relations in the last 60 years.

LAH: Do you have children in the school district?

RUSSO: I do not. I'm retired.


LAH: Then why do you keep coming?

RUSSO: I'm concerned about our loss of freedom.

LAH: What do you say to somebody who might be watching that says, this guy doesn't have kids in school? Why is he taking part in the school board meeting?

RUSSO: Because I love the kids even though I don't know them. I just want to see them have happy lives.

LAH: Do you as a superintendent wish the passions were elsewhere?

KEITH LEWIS, SUPERINTENDENT, DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: I do. I think that what has happened is it has taken our eye off of what we were really hired to do and that's educate our students, to provide a great learning environment for them. There is a lot of misinformation out there from people who have never been in our schools, who had never talked to any of our teachers and they hear things and they make assumptions.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Douglas County, Nevada.


LEMON: Great reporting. Thank you, Kyung for that. I appreciate it.

What is it about Critical Race Theory that has made it a bogeyman for politics? Linguist and author John McWhorter is here. He's going to talk to us about it next.



LEMON: So you saw it in Kyung's report an example of it, many (inaudible) Critical Race Theory sweeping the nation and an effort to ban books. From Virginia to Texas, putting a spotlight on parental control of education.

Let's discuss now, linguist, John McWhorter, the author of the new book "Woke Racism." He's a regular on the show. We haven't seen him in a while. He's been writing and very busy.

John, thank you for joining us. So, you just saw Kyung's report. We've been following the manufactured outrage over Critical Race Theory around the country on this show. Why do you think this issue has become such a potent force in politics?

JOHN MCWHORTER, PROFESSOR OF LINGUISTICS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY (on camera): Well, I have to put on my linguist hat. Critical Race Theory is some legal documents that people wrote decades ago that nobody would read unless they were a legal scholar. But the philosophy behind them has trickled down into the way some people feel that small kids ought to be taught.

And so you might say that if you have a problem with what's going on in the classrooms, you have a problem with CRT. But then some people will say, well, that is not what those legal scholars wrote. But I think there's still room for thinking there is something wrong with teaching small children to be opposed to what America is all about.

So that's where this comes down to. It depends on whether the school is doing it or not. Then you have people on the right. Some people on the right. Not all of them. But some people on the right who want us to not teach kids about slavery and racism at all. That is completely wrong. But I think a lot of people are concerned with how people are taught about slavery and racism.

LEMON: And the whole thing also about banning books, because look, you as an author and a linguist, I'm sure that -- I don't want to speak, I'll let you, but it would be -- it's problematic for me. Texas lawmaker says he's investigating over 800 books to see if they make students feel discomfort on subjects like race and sex. In Virginia, the GOP candidate for the governor's race there, banning Toni Morrison's book "Beloved." I mean, what is so scary about these books?

MCWHORTER: No. None of that. I mean, if you are going to be an enlightened American, you need to know that there is some blood on Americans' hands, and not just some. That there is racism. There was slavery, there was Jim Crow. That needs to be taught.

Now, if I see a program where that is the center of the whole curriculum and that has happened in some schools, then I am going to blow the whistle. But you cannot teach American history without teaching basic things about the fact that black people have been treated like also Native Americans and to an extent, Latinos and other people, very, very badly.

And so, you know, banning books. Some of these people think that we're only supposed to be taught that, you know, somebody put a flag in something. That there was apple pie. No, no, that's false. So, it is a matter of how you teach the sins of our nation.

LEMON: Let's turn to your book, "Woke Racism." Explain what that is and why you believe it has become a religion, John.

MCWHORTER: "Woke Racism" is about the fact that a certain fringe of people believe that we should center our entire consciousness on overturning power differentials, and by that what they really mean is fighting racism.

So they don't mean that fighting racism is one of about 50 things we can do. They mean that's what we should center everything on because the United States is based on a certain original sin the way Christianity says that a human being is founded upon original sin.

I question that, especially because, if you're going to have this religion where everything is about showing that you know racism exists, then one problem is, you have shown you know it exists. But have you actually helped anybody who is being hurt by racism? And often, you're not.

And then more of the point, if you're going to teach people that everything is going to be about racism and power differential, then one, you're ignoring most of what life is. And two, this is the thing. "Woke Racism" is a pro black book.

People won't know this but I'm protecting black America from the idea that to be a black person is to be mainly about what white people did or didn't do, and what they think of you, and what they might not think of you, and what is in between. No. What being black should be about is what you like to do and what you like about yourself.


So "Woke Racism" is warning America against this new idea that battling power differentials is everything. And if you're not doing that, then you get thrown out of a window. That you are expelled from society. That is what a certain contingent (inaudible) are doing.

LEMON: I have 30 seconds here John, I want to ask you this, because you say all the effort to dismantle racist structure or even the idea of systemic racism is actually not helping black people. I think a lot of people would disagree with that. So do you think that the fight to eliminate systemic racism actually perpetuates racism or a system of victimhood?

MCWHORTER: OK. I'll bet I have 11 seconds.


When you see somebody saying they're battling systemic racism, look and see whether it is actually making somebody's life better. Because frankly, about two-thirds of the time, it's not. And that's what makes somebody like me write a book.

LEMON: Well, that was concise. It was 11 seconds on the nose. John, I can't wait to read it. I haven't had the opportunity yet. I have to be honest with you, but I will. As you know --

MCWHORTER: You'll like it, Don.

LEMON: -- words on the move. I can't -- how many times did I say that? A million times on this program. So, "Woke Racism," by John McWhorter. John, thank you. A pleasure as always.

MCWHORTER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. The armor on the movie "Rust" speaking out saying she is not at fault and laying blame on what she calls an unsafe production set. I', going to speak with a veteran actor who has got some strong opinions about what happened on that set. You may know him, as I said, a veteran actor, there he is. You know him from the young and the restless, Eric Braeden is here. We'll be right back.



LEMON: So he has been working actor since the 1960s, having shotguns on sets in Westerns like guns, smoke, and war shows like Combat. And he says what happened on the set of "Rust" was really amateur time. So the star of the young and the restless Eric Braeden is here, and many, many other shows. Many, many Westerns.

Eric, it's so good to see you. And look, I have to be honest. In full transparency, Eric and I have become friends through social media. And whenever I see him on a show playing either a bad guy with a gun or Victor Newman or whatever, I'll text him and say, hey, I'm watching you on Mannix right now.

ERIC BRAEDEN, ACTOR (on camera): I had to agree. I'm a big admirer of you and of CNN. Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, everyone on that show. I have observed for many years now.

LEMON: Well, thank you so much.

BRAEDEN: You guys are a reliable journalist.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. So, let's talk about this, because you and I -- you sent me a note saying, look, I want to come on explain or I want to explain if you want to have me on, then do it. So when you go to work on a movie, you don't expect a tragedy like this. A woman is dead. You know, this ongoing investigation. So tell me what happens. How can a situation like this happen, Eric?

BRAEDEN: There's a hierarchy on the set. And that hierarchy means that the assistant director is responsible for everything going on the set. Above him is the director. The director is usually concerned with the shots, with the angles, with talking to the actor. The assistant director asks every department head, are you ready for this shot? And the assistant director does not hand the gun to the actor. That has not happened to me in over 60 years in this business. Ever.

I've been on more shows with guns than you can shake a fist at. So that obviously, that hierarchy was broken. As far as I'm concerned, it was an independent film. I don't know anything more about it. I have a feeling that they were overworked and underpaid as they usually are on independent films.

LEMON: But doesn't everyone try to save money on films? Even big budget films?

BRAEDEN: Yeah, but, I mean, you don't save on that. That's amateur time in (inaudible).

LEMON: So how does this supposed to happen, Eric?

BRAEDEN: Well, you have an armorer on the show like that, you need two or three. That's an enormous responsibility to put on the shoulders of a 24-year-old girl. To handle all the equipment, all the props that are involved on that show.

So what happens is, the actor gets ready for the scene. The assistant director looks around. Looks at the armorer. Says ready, ready? OK. Give him the gun. The armorer comes over. Shows the gun to the actor. Opens, has him look at the barrel, look at the whole thing says, OK, it's empty. Alright, cool. Close it. Ready to go. Now another thing that puzzles me is the fact that I don't know if this was a rehearsal or a take.

LEMON: A rehearsal.

BRAEDEN: It was a rehearsal. Even in the rehearsal, you say action. Now, what the hell was the director and the D.P. doing standing right in the line of that shot? I don't understand that. I feel dreadful for the woman, Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins. I feel bad for everyone concerned. I feel terribly badly for Alec Baldwin. He's a nice man. I know him. He's a good guy, a good actor. A great professional. And he was given that gun by an A.D. who then proclaimed it was a cold gun.


That's something is very rotten in the state of Denmark. I don't understand how then the director and the D.P. would stand in the line of the shot. That is very peculiar to me. I don't understand that.

LEMON: Even if there is nothing in the gun?

BRAEDEN: Even if there's nothing in the gun. Look, you just don't do that. If there's a gun around, everyone is quiet, everyone settles down, you know there is a heightened danger. Stuff happens. When you do -- when you work 12, 14 hours a day and you rush, rush, rush. Things happen. Things are forgotten. Who knows? How that live bullet came into the gun is another mystery. But it could have happen. Who knows?

Apparently there are rumors that they were doing live shooting on the set at tin cans or whatever. I have never been on a set when that happen. Not ever in 60 years in this business have I known of a crew or whoever it was doing live shots on a set. That's absolutely unheard of.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, they were saying that there was possibly, they were practicing or, you know, between sets.

BRAEDEN: That's bullshit.

LEMON: But it wasn't on the set. And according to the armorer, the young lady, she's saying that's B.S. as well, that it never happened.

BRAEDEN: Well, the point is, how did -- had put it, if they had checked that thing, it should have been empty. Period.

LEMON: Yeah. Or there should have been something in there --

BRAEDEN: Or a fake bullet.

LEMON: Right. Eric, I'm going to have you back so we can talk about this. I have to go because I have to get to another segment. But I appreciate you coming on. We've learned a lot. It's good to see you and please keep sending me those notes about everything.

BRAEDEN: And you keep doing a good show, all right? LEMON: Thank you very much.

BRAEDEN: (Inaudible) everybody to CNN. Bye-bye.

LEMON: Thank you very much. The jurors in the Derek Chauvin's trial speaking exclusively with me. And next George Floyd's family reacts, his brother Philonise and the family lawyer Ben Crump are here.



LEMON: The jurors from the Derek Chauvin trial sitting down with me in an exclusive interview and it got inside into what was going on inside that deliberation room and what brought the jury to a guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd. George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, is here with me now. Family attorney, Ben Crump, as well. Gentlemen, good to see you. Thank you so much. Philonise, I ask if the jurors, if they have a message to you and to Derek Chauvin. This is what they told me.


LEMON (voice over): Anything you guys would like to -- anybody, would like to say to the Floyd family?

UNKNOWN: We feel for you. We're sorry. We hope as a group, we did the right thing.

UNKNOWN: Absolutely.

LEMON: Is there anything that you -- anyone of you who would like to say to Derek Chauvin? Anybody?

UNKNOWN: Why? What were you thinking?

UNKNOWN: Why did you do this? Why didn't you give up? That's in the question in everybody's mind. Why did you stay there so long? Why?


LEMON (on camera): Philonise, what's your message to the jury?

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I just want to thank them so much for being able to withstand what they had to go through. Nobody could ever anticipate like the things that's going through their mind and the things that are going through in that courtroom. Because I went through it but I didn't have the make the decision that they had to make.

It seemed like the video had all the proof. Everything else, we would just wait to somebody to come out and speak. I just want to thank you for realizing that my brother was human and his life mattered because they showed that his life mattered when they read guilty, guilty, guilty, and that was a beautiful thing that day. LEMON: Ben, you know, this jurors knew the evidence backwards and

forward, and when they talked about their deliberations, they told me, in the deliberation, race was not a factor. Watch.


UNKNOWN: I mean, I think we got here because of systemic racism within the system, right, because of what's been going on. That's how we got to a courtroom in the first place. But when it came down to all three verdicts, it was based on the evidence and the facts 100 percent.


LEMON: Listen, as an attorney that's got to make you feel good. I mean, evidence and facts, 100 percent. What stood out to you about how they went through their deliberations?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR THE FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD: Well -- (inaudible) and the Floyd family, but Don, your episode was very therapeutic for America. It gave us hope that you can find fair and partial juries, no matter how much pre-trial publicity there is. And that was evidence in this interview.

There really should taught in law school and trial law seminars all across America, this episode, they went off and show us (Inaudible), the movie "12 Angry Men," get inside (inaudible) to show to the jury. But I think what you all did here was incredible, it showed that people can follow the law as instructed to them by the jury and base their verdict on the evidence. It gives us hope for (inaudible) trial as well.

LEMON: So, Philonise, the juror says they're still feeling the impact. I'm sure you can relate to that.


FLOYD: Yes, I can relate to that at all times, because the people who we are love, who we love, we carry them with us at all times. So, I gave a speech today here in Verma and its 94 percent Caucasian and 6 percent African-American. And when I tell you that people were clapping and jumping up and down when they've seen me, it made me feel good, and people were asking me about the jurors.

They were asking me about you on CNN. People were anticipating me when I came, so to make a long story short, Don, that lady, I can't remember her name, the juror, she said that George, he was in custody, but they didn't care for him while he was in custody.

LEMON: She said they were in the care -- in the custody -- she felt like George Floyd was in the custody of the police but he was never in their care. And it wasn't what -- another juror said it wasn't what Derek Chauvin did, it's what he didn't do, and that was try to save George Floyd's life, or try to offer assistance to him and put him in the care. Listen, I understand what you're saying. I know it feels good because

people are engaged because we have short memories in this country. And it's good that you're out there, you're reminding people of what happened and keeping it foremost in their minds and that their engaged. I've got to run. I want to thank you both. I'm so glad that you like this and I hope it is taught in schools. I hope that schools do show this, that these people did their civic duty. Thank you both.

CRUMP: Thank you, Don.

FLOYD: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. You have a good weekend.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.