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Don Lemon Tonight

No Verdict Yet For Kyle Rittenhouse; Ahmaud Arbery's Mother Felt Outrage For The Injustice To Her Son; Defense Attorney Don't Want To See Black Folks In Court; Rep. Paul Gosar Censured By The House. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 22:00   ET





The jury in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse who shot two people to death and wounded a third during protest in August 2020 over the police shooting of Jacob Blake wrapping up a second day of deliberations in Kenosha without a verdict today.

They are expecting to get back to work at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

We've got a lot more on this. And in Georgia, the trial of three white men accused of murder in the shooting death of a 25-year-old black man Ahmaud Arbery.

Travis McMichael taking the stand today as the first defense witness and describing the moment he shot Arbery. He, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William Roddie Bryan, Jr. are accused of chasing down and killing Arbery when he was out jogging.

But it took months for them to be arrested which happened only after a video of the shooting surfaced.

And there is outrage all across the country over one of the defense attorneys who said, quote, "we don't want any more black pastors coming here." Hundreds of pastors are expected tomorrow in that town for a prayer vigil in support of the family.

That, as the defense teams for the three defendants started their presentation to the jury today.

Here's CNN's Ryan Young with the very latest.


UNKNOWN: What did you do?


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Travis McMichael fired his shotgun three times, killing Ahmaud Arbery. He took the stand in his own defense today.

MCMICHAEL: He had my gun. He struck me. It was obvious that he was -- it was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he would have got the shotgun from me then it was -- this was a life-or-death situation. And I'm going to have to stop him from doing this.

YOUNG: McMichael the first witness for the defense appeared emotional at times as he described his encounter with Arbery in February of 2020.

MCMICHAEL: I turned around. We got over there and pulled his hand down from under him. And realized that he was deceased. And I looked up and the police were right there. After that it was a blur. I mean, I shot him, it was a blur.

YOUNG: During his testimony McMichael said a neighbor pointed toward the direction where Arbery was first running. Travis said he grabbed his shotgun and he and his father got in their pickup truck to try to find him.

MCMICHAEL: We finally stopped, asked him what was going on. He never says anything to me. He's still looking at me. This guy's -- this could be volatile. You know. We've got to watch it here.

YOUNG: Both McMichaels told police they believed the man running was involved in the recent break-ins they heard about on social media. Minutes into the chase things took a deadly turn.

MCMICHAEL: I shot -- the first shot. But then the second shot I shot again because I was still -- I was still fighting. I was still -- he was all over me. He was still all over that shotgun and he was not relenting.

YOUNG: In cross-examination the prosecution struck at the heart of the defense's claims. They were going for a citizen's arrest.

LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Not once during your direct examination did you state that your intention was to effectuate an arrest of Mr. Arbery until your attorney asked you that leading question. Isn't that, right?


YOUNG: The prosecution also pointed out that none of the defendants knew why Arbery was running that day.

DUNIKOSKI: But your dad just said he's running down the road. Correct?


DUNIKOSKI: And you didn't know where he was going when he was running down the road?

MCMICHAEL: I did not.

DUNIKOSKI: All right. And you had no idea what he'd actually been doing that day?

MCMICHAEL: Not at that time, no.

YOUNG: And reminded the jury there was an alternative to what occurred.

DUNIKOSKI: You didn't tell your dad this is a really, really bad idea that could go really wrong for us and we should just stay here and call 911? You didn't say that, did you?

MCMICHAEL: I didn't.

YOUNG: Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, spoke about her own pain after watching today's testimony.

WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: Travis was on the stand wiping tears from his eyes. But again, Travis is alive. I mean, the tears he shed today was no -- can you imagine the tears that we have shared?


LEMON (on camera): So, Ryan Young joins me now. Ryan, good evening to you. Thanks for joining us, sir.

YOUNG: Good evening, Don.

LEMON: The defense attorney Kevin Gough who is representing one of the other men on trial, William Roddie Bryan, Jr., has been in the spotlight for his comments about the black pastors being in the room. He didn't let up today, did he?

YOUNG: No, Don. And you actually have to wonder what he's thinking here because let's not forget the jury is not actually hearing him make these arguments over and over again.


But the community is. The world is. America is. And it seems like the pastors are responding to this call. I mean, they've been showing up. We've been told that hundreds will be here tomorrow. You can kind of feel the town sort of changing because they are preparing for a large gathering.

Let's not forget, there will be a prayer vigil in front of the courthouse. Then there will be a march. For the most part every single day. I say, Don, there's a handful of people here.

But all of a sudden, when Kevin Gough started talking in court and spotlighting some people like Jesse Jackson, like Ben Crump, you knew that more people were going to show up. And that's going to be en masse tomorrow outside this courthouse while the prosecution is now putting their case on against Travis McMichael and asking them questions. It should be an interesting dynamic here tomorrow, Don.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Beyond that.

YOUNG: It should be interesting to see what happens when this all plays out.

LEMON: Beyond that what are you expecting tomorrow?

YOUNG: I think it's those questions right there. Because the prosecution is going to have to really go back at Travis's testimony, especially when he talks about the training he received in the Coast Guard when it comes to law enforcement. And you think they're probably going to ask some questions about why did he have to cut him off, why was the gun close enough, why did he shoot three times.

These are all questions I think a lot of people want to ask, especially after all this time and all this wondering. And let's not forget that video which so many people have watched, we've seen it over and over again. So, of course, you're probably going to have some more questions. Don?

LEMON: It is amazing that we have these two trials happening in the country simultaneously. Thank you very much. Ryan Young. We'll be watching as you continue to report this.

Joining me now is Michael Moore. He is a former U.S. attorney for the Middle district of Georgia. We're glad to see him. Good evening to you, sir.


LEMON: This was a surprise, that McMichael testified today. How did he do?

MOORE: I really thought he hurt his case. The defense doesn't have much of a case to work with here. And I don't think McMichael or Travis McMichael is a good witness. I thought for a minute that there might be a chance he would get up and say look, it's my fault, don't put my father in jail, you know, I did the shooting and sort of fall on his sword.

But he clearly wasn't doing that. He wanted to be heard about his training and his coast guard time. You know, one of the things he said is I know what deadly force is. He said that's why you don't hit people in the head with a club. Yet in this case he confronts a man jogging down the street with a loaded shotgun. So, there's a lot to work with if you're the prosecutor, and I expect she'll probably tear him up pretty good tomorrow.

LEMON: Let me just play this for you, Michael. This is the moment where McMichael said what he was thinking when he shot Ahmaud Arbery. Watch.


MCMICHAEL: I got to the front of the truck and by the time I get to the front of the truck he is at the front quarter panel on the right- hand side and he turns and is on me. Is on me in a flash. Immediately on me.

UNKNOWN: On you doing what?

MCMICHAEL: He grabs the shotgun. And I believe I was struck on that first instance that we made contact.

UNKNOWN: What were you thinking at that moment?

MCMICHAEL: I was thinking of my son. It sounds weird, but that was the first -- the first thing that hit me.

UNKNOWN: What did you do?

MCMICHAEL: I shot him.


MCMICHAEL: He had my gun. He struck me. It was obvious that -- it was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he would have got the shotgun from me then it was -- this is a life-or-death situation.


LEMON (on camera): My mouth is agape now because it was agape then. He was chasing him with a loaded shotgun and trying to -- I mean, what do you think of that defense? Life or death situation that he's describing?


MOORE: I think it's --

LEMON: He created the situation. You know?

MOORE: I think it's a ridiculous defense and it's a ridiculous argument to make. Look, they chased Ahmaud like an animal, and they ran him until he could run no more. And so, the one thing he could do when it's fight or flight, they ran him out of steam. He could -- there was no more flight left in him. All he could do was fight to try to keep a guy from shooting him with a loaded shotgun.

Why is Travis out of the truck? Why did he have the gun in your hand? If you're so afraid, why don't you get in the truck and drive off? What is your dad doing in the back with a .357? I mean, he -- all he's doing is digging himself a bigger hole.

Imagine what Ahmaud was thinking when he was running those last 100 feet before he gets to the truck. What am I going to do? What about my mama? Who am I leaving?

I mean, we -- this is great fodder and a great argument to be made by the prosecutor. And that's why I really think at the end of the day tomorrow she is going to wear him out on the witness stand. He's a terrible witness for himself. He wants to be heard. He wants to tell his side of the story.

The fact of the matter is they chased an innocent man down without having any justification in the law because even what they say doesn't fit. Even the old statute that's been changed.


And confronting him with a gun because he was a young black kid in their neighborhood. That's what they're having to defend against.

LEMON: OK. Point very well taken. Very well stated. I'm not sure if it matters much what you and I think or say on, you know, on this program.

MOORE: Right.

LEMON: It matters how it plays with the jury. You said you believe that the prosecution is going to eat him up tomorrow. Right? But do you think -- how do you think that played with the jury? Because we don't know. Juries are unpredictable.

MOORE: You know, I think when he talked about his training and that he was taught to de-escalate by pointing a loaded gun at somebody, I don't think many people buy that. When he talked about his training and how you don't strike a man in the head with a club because that's a deadly weapon and you don't want to use deadly force.

Well, then explain to me why you approached him with a loaded shotgun, which we know is deadly force. I mean, there are things that are going to defy any defense that he's putting up. And they -- and for the layman they defy credulity. And you have to sit there and say, what was Ahmaud doing that was wrong and what did you know?

And the problem is they can't rewrite what they told the initial responding officers. And that is all they saw was a kid running down the street. And he had some more colorful language for it, his father did. But that's what they saw.

And so, you can't rewrite that. And I think a jury -- you know, I don't like the fact that the jury is composed the way it is. I don't think it represents the community. I don't think it -- you know, it's certainly a disproportionately white jury. And I think the judge recognized that.

But again, I know the lawyers in this case, some of them, and I think they're good people, and I don't think they're racist. I think they're making strikes and trying to pick a jury that they think will be advantageous to their clients.

LEMON: They're doing -- they have to defend their client. That's what their job is. That's what their job is.


MOORE: It is their job. And it is. It is an important job. It's an important job. Because it also is about defending the Constitution. And that is to make sure that people get a fair trial.

LEMON: OK. But let me ask you this.

MOORE: So, you have to give them that.

LEMON: OK. Sometimes honestly when I think of these two trials, I have to remember like which one am I talking about here, right, because certain things can apply to both of them. A lot of it -- a lot of it we talked about can apply to both of them.

MOORE: Absolutely.

LEMON: Whatever happened, Michael, to calling 911? What about their claim that they were making a citizen's arrest or doing what the cops or the government should have been doing?

MOORE: Right. Well, I mean, it's nonsense because they didn't see anything. Remember, if they had seen something that they thought was I a criminal act, what are they going to do? They're going to call 911.

At one point during the testimony he said, well, my dad had two strokes or something, or some kind of heart condition, and he's had these problems.


MOORE: Well, why is this guy then who's infirm, supposedly infirm, chasing after a young man running down the street in the back -- jumping in the back of a truck with a loaded gun? Why is he doing that? Why is he calling his kid to come get there and pretend that they're a posse running through a Brunswick neighborhood?

So, these are -- these are going to be arguments that we're going to hear. And you have to hope that the jury is going to hear them too. It's funny you mentioned the two cases. I'll just say this quickly about it.

You know, we're hearing the same argument. That is, look, I was out there brandishing my loaded rifle, pointing at somebody, I was going to shoot them, and because they tried to stop me from shooting them now, I should be justified in the killing. That's nonsense. And hopefully, and you've got to hope that the jurors will have enough common sense to see through that.

LEMON: Michael, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thank you so much. It's been too long. Sorry it's under these circumstances. But we'll talk soon.

MOORE: Great to be with you, Don. Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I want to bring in Lee Merritt. Lee Merritt is an attorney for the family of Ahmaud Arbery. Lee, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR THE ARBERY FAMILY: Thanks, Don. LEMON: So, let me ask you because I want to play this and then I want

to ask you the question. This is some of what Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda, said after leaving the courtroom today. Here it is.


JONES: Mr. Travis McMichael killed my son all on assumptions. He had no real facts of where Ahmaud was coming from, what Ahmaud had done. He just took actions into his own hands. Travis killed Ahmaud all on assumptions. He didn't have any facts on hand when he chose to pull the trigger. Not one time but three times.


LEMON (on camera): So, my initial question was going to be that but I wanted to hear from her first. How's she doing? How is she feeling?

MERRITT: She's excited about tomorrow, quite honestly. She's looking forward to the prosecution's cross-examination. We know that Travis McMichael set himself up to be impeached on a lot of the misinformation he tried during his direct examination. So, she told me she may not sleep tonight. She's excited about the cross-examination in the morning.


LEMON: Do you agree with her, Mrs. Cooper-Jones? Do you think this was all based on assumptions? And if so, what kind of assumptions?

MERRITT: Mainly the assumption that a black man in the neighborhood, which Ahmaud was, Ahmaud regularly jogged that route, was responsible for the crime taking place there.

Now, there was not substantial crime taking place in the neighborhood. A few open cars were meddled around in. And they made the assumption that that was Ahmaud. There's no evidence to support that. And as a result, Ahmaud was murdered. So yes, I agree with her.

LEMON: Yes. Lee, you're a criminal defense attorney. Right? Am I correct? I just want to double-check.

MERRITT: I'm a civil rights attorney.

LEMON: You're a civil, OK.

MERRITT: So, I'm a plaintiff's attorney.

LEMON: All right. But you know the courtroom. I want to ask you about the self-defense claim. Travis McMichael is claiming self-defense saying that Ahmaud was attacking him and that he felt his life was in danger. What do you say to that? How do you respond to it?

MERRITT: There is no way under American jurisprudence that you can claim self-defense if you are the initial aggressor. Unfortunately, dealing with a few cases like this right now across the country. Kyle Rittenhouse is one of them. Cameron Lamb in Kansas City which a lot people aren't paying attention to is another. But you cannot claim self-defense.

If you created the environment by which you needed to assert self- defense, Ahmaud was cornered, chased for over five minutes, and then ultimately as the expert testified to earlier in the week, he resorted to fight or flight. I've been trying to run away. I cannot get away. And so, I have to fight to defend myself. So Ahmaud, had he survived, he could assert self-defense. The defendants cannot.

LEMON: I've been wanting to talk to you about this, Lee. I didn't want to bother you, you know, in your personal time. But now that you're on the air. I want to talk about one of the defense attorneys, Kevin Gough, complaining again about Reverend Jesse Jackson being in the courtroom. He and others like Al Sharpton have been there to support Ahmaud's family. Right?

So, what do you have to say about those -- about Gough's comments, his complaints?

MERRITT: It's important that Judge Walmsley, the judge in the case, pointed out that it's become clear now that Kevin Gough, the attorney for Roddie Bryan, is clearly attempting to aggravate, to instigate a situation between the black community. So, this is his design. And his goal is to get a mistrial.

But I want to point out that since jury selection there have been 11 different motions filed against Wanda-Cooper, who was quietly sitting in that courtroom. There's been motions filed against her for masks that were worn, for her whimpering in the courtroom, for people she sat with, and so at this point the men who murdered her son, they are allowing her attorneys to target and harass her, and it's really tragic.

LEMON: Yes. Lee, thank you for coming on tonight. We would love to have the mother on whenever she is ready to come back on. Tomorrow we'll be looking forward to in this case, the prosecution, and also those pastors who say they're going to come to town. We'll be following it closely.


LEMON: Thank you very much, Lee Merritt.

MERRITT: Thank you. Thank you.


MERRITT: Take care.

LEMON: A Republican congressman posts a video, a cartoon showing himself attacking the president and killing a congresswoman. But do Republicans care? My take, next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON (on camera): I want you to sit down or take a moment or

whatever it is you're doing and listen to this because I think it's really important. Because it shows where we are tonight. Who would have actually thought that this is where we would be tonight? Even after everything that we have seen over the past few years. Right?

You thought the chaos, the madness was over, right? It is not. It has gotten in some ways worse. Who would have thought that the one-time party of Lincoln -- and I know that I keep saying that because it just shows you how far they have fallen.

The party of Lincoln refusing to condemn one of their own for posting a video that appears to show him killing a colleague and then repeatedly refusing to apologize. Acting like a video threatening another member of Congress is nothing, right? Refusing to take it seriously. Just 10 months after bloodthirsty rioters stormed the United States Capitol.

The House voting almost entirely along party lines to censure Congressman Paul Gosar and strip him of his committee assignments for posting that anime video showing him appearing to kill Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And even appearing to attack the President of the United States, Joe Biden.

And the vast majority of Republicans just couldn't bring themselves to censure Gosar for that. Only, no surprise here, guess who. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney had the courage of their convictions, voting with all of the Democrats for the censure resolution.

The most severe punishment short of being expelled. OK? Then in a rare moment not seen in a decade, right? Gosar stood in the well of the House chamber as the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi read out the censure resolution.

Look at your screen. You see him right there. He's on the right side of your screen getting handshakes and pats on the back. Republicans giving him an atta boy. This is where we are.

But get this. Only took them about an hour. Just about an hour later he was at it again. Seriously. Paul Gosar retweeting a supporter praising him, a tweet that included, by the way, the same violent video, the one that appeared to show him attacking Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. Watch.



REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It is sad. It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of Congress is wrong. What is so hard? What is so hard about saying that this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar. But this is about what we are willing to accept.


LEMON (on camera): Posting that video was wrong. Period. Full stop. Any responsible adult would realize that, and they would apologize. But you know, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not. Not really. After all, this is a man who just this afternoon as the House was debating censure didn't apologize and, wait for it, compared himself to Alexander Hamilton.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I rise today to address and reject the mischaracterization, accusations from many in this body that the cartoon from my office is dangerous or threatening. It was not. And I reject the false narrative categorically. I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset.

I voluntarily took the cartoon down, not because it was itself a threat but because some thought it was. If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it.


LEMON (on camera): So, as we say, facts first. The fact is the censure vote against Hamilton failed.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Mr. Gosar, you are no Alexander Hamilton. You must be held accountable.


LEMON (on camera): The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the censure of Gosar shows that the country -- shows the country that Congress has standards.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The resolution on the floor today is about accountability. It is about integrity in this House. And it will serve as a reminder to this Congress and to this country that the House is committed to upholding the highest standards of decorum in all that we do.


LEMON (on camera): But does Washington still believe in those standards the speaker talked about? I know it's high-minded or whatever. But the country was built on these principles. Not that we always live them. But we aspire. Right? To live up to them. Especially our leaders.

Because all Republicans had to do was acknowledge the truth that everybody could see. That the video was wrong. All they had to do was say that. Instead, they tried to make it about something, anything else.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Here we go again, censoring speech, the most fundamental liberty we have is our right to speak, our right to talk, our right to communicate, and they're going after that today. Because they don't like freedom.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Democrat policies are so pathetic and have done so poorly that the left has nothing else to do but troll the internet looking for ways to get offended and then try to target members and strip them of their committees. This is a dumb waste of the House's time.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Today we're critiquing Paul Gosar's anime. Next week we might be indicting the Wile E. Coyote for an explosive ordinance against the Road Runner.


LEMON (on camera): This is where the Republican Party is right now. Right? One-upmanship. Everybody is in their corner. No matter what. You have to defend it even when it's wrong. Gleefully making excuses for a member whose behavior is inexcusable.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: It's an old definition of abuse of power. Rules for thee but not for me. That's exactly what's happening here today. House Democrats are preparing once again to break another precedent of the United States House of Representatives. The speaker is burning down the House on her way out the door.


LEMON (on camera): Rules for thee but not for me. He said that a bunch of times. I was like is he talking about the former president? So, catchphrases like that which will stick with many in the Republican Party.

If there's one thing, though, I think the Democrats could get a lesson in, Republicans are very good at messaging. Saying that over and over again. Rules for thee, that's what stay -- rules for thee, not for me. Or build that wall. Or whatever it is. I'm not saying it's right. But they know how to drive that little thing home that stick. Anything. Turn it into a bumper sticker. Anything to excuse inexcusable behavior.


All of this is just a preview of what is to come if the GOP assumes power. Mark my words. And you can bet that they plan on it with the assault on the vote all across the country in the wake of the last election. And with the midterms looming. But they're complaining about Democrats holding Gosar responsible. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): You're all negatively and permanently changing the way this body functions. Forever. You are weaponizing the gavel against minority members.


LEMON (on camera): OK, so think about it. Again. What he is missing there. You say changing the way the House functions. Whose fault is that? Is that the Democrats' fault? As I have said -- and again, I don't believe -- I don't belong to any party. But I do believe the only party operating in reality right now is the Democratic Party.

But think about that. This is what he is not seeing. Forest for the trees, right? Changing the way this -- the body operates, Congress. Never before have Republicans have so little moral fortitude. Never before have so few Republicans had the courage to stand up like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): This is not an issue about party. The glorification of, the suggestion of the killing of a colleague is completely unacceptable. And I think that it's a clear violation of the House rules. I think it's a sad day but I think it's very important for us to be clear that violence has no place in our political discourse.


LEMON (on camera): But Republicans kicked her out of her leadership position. One of the most conservative people in Congress. Her father was the vice president. Extremely conservative. Punishing Liz Cheney and apparently planning to unpunished the QAnon congresswoman.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm guaranteed to get committees, and there's no reason why I shouldn't have them. I've been told by Kevin McCarthy, I've been told by (Inaudible), I've been told by everyone, of course I'll get committee assignments back and I'll get better ones than I had in the first place. And there's no reason why I shouldn't have them.


LEMON (on camera): This is where we are. This is a party that doesn't seem to believe that words matter. From bogus conspiracy theories to a violent video to the big lie still being spread by a disgraced, twice- impeached one-term insurrection-inspiring former president. Ex- president.

But words do matter. We saw how the big lie got us to this day, January 6th. The so-called QAnon shaman who howled his way through the capitol during the insurrection sentenced to 41 months in prison. Words matter. Actions matter. Lies matter. Even if the party of Lincoln doesn't seem to believe that anymore.

The GOP suggesting that there will be retribution if they take power. Is the Republican Party becoming the party of revenge?



LEMON (on camera): So, to discuss now the censure of GOP Congressman Paul Gosar, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp is here and CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. Good evening. Good to see you.


LEMON: It's great to --


LEMON: I know. In person on the set.

CUPP: Yes.

LEMON: So, S.E., I'm going to start with you. We're not hearing apologies from the Minority Leader McCarthy or Congressman Gosar over what happened with that terrible video. Instead, the GOP is suggesting that there's going to be retribution when and if they take back control. Why has extremism, threats of violence, why are they becoming pillars of the Republican Party? Explain that, please.

CUPP: A couple reasons. This would have been a very easy choice, if Republicans wanted to move past this, they would have very quickly just said we condemn this, let's move on, members of Congress should not threaten other members of Congress.


CUPP: They didn't want to move on from this. This was the meal. They wanted to sit on this and then have this display of the craziest members of their caucus today. The Boeberts, the Gaetzs, the Greens. They wanted this because it feeds Trumpism and where they want the party to go.

The reason they have embraced the extremism is because Trump laid it out for them. There is -- it's not a surprise that we're here today. Trump from before he actually ran was inciting violence, telling people to beat up reporters, telling people to beat up the opposition, calling people like journalists and anyone who crossed his path the enemy of the people.

This is -- these road -- building blocks were laid out and Republicans like Kevin McCarthy and the rest of them are just following the breadcrumbs.


LEMON: Is there -- before I get to you, John, I'm going to play more of what we heard. But is there a place for people like you in the party anymore?

CUPP: Definitely not. I mean, no. I'm in a very lonely island. I can see --


LEMON: You're on the Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger island.

CUPP: I can sleep well on the island. But no. And I interviewed Adam Kinzinger recently for Rolling Stone, and I said, who are your voters? Because I know I'm into this message but who else? And he said, well, there are about six of them, and I can give you their names.

So, it is a very small lonely island because the party has left where we thought it was. It's been very disorienting and disappointing. But clearly, we are not -- you know, we are not the relevant voices.

LEMON: John, more of what we heard from the right today.


JORDAN: They don't like freedom. You can see it. They don't like it. This is wrong, we know it's wrong, what they're doing to our colleague Mr. Gosar is wrong.

MCCARTHY: He took the video down. He put a statement that he does not believe in violence to anyone. But you see, when others on the other side of the aisle incite violence it's OK. Because it's words -- rules for thee, but not for me.


LEMON (on camera): Why is it so hard for the GOP? I mean, to clearly condemn something that is reprehensible.

CUPP: So easy.

LEMON: And let's remember, just about an hour or so after being censured with that video, I mean, he retweeted --


LEMON: -- the same video.

AVLON: It almost makes you think that the apology wasn't sincere, Don.

CUPP: Right. They're into it.

AVLON: Right? I mean, look, this took days to take down. It took days to apologize. It was only when there was the prospect to censure that it kicked in. At the end of the day this is very common sense. This is an up or down vote on whether it's OK to threaten to kill your colleagues. Not exactly -- not exactly a tough call.

LEMON: Let's see. Yes. AVLON: But of course, they're going to engage in an orgy of what

aboutism to try to distract and muddy the issue. And some folks can make a good point about process or precedent. Although if you look at the history of censures, there have been 24 of them in our country's history, they've been everything from insulting the speaker to Charlie Rangel, you know, in tax evasion and ethics to actually physically attacking members of Congress on the floor.

This is not a tough call. But because it's downstream from Donald Trump where if you censure Paul Gosar if you're a Republican you're also condemning Donald Trump on an almost daily basis, that creates an impediment.

So, what we saw instead were a whole series of lies and crocodile tears and threats, all basically previewing the campaign themes.

LEMON: And good performances. I was like, I was --


AVLON: Really?

LEMON: I was listening, I was like wow, this is very dramatic. And it was like performance art.

AVLON: Well, you know --

CUPP: They wanted it.


AVLON: The most performance art moment for me was Lauren Boebert really just going for the gold --


LEMON: Hold it. Hold it. Hold it.

AVLON: All right.

LEMON: Can we talk about that when we come back?


LEMON: I want to get a break in because I know I want to ask -- it will be the first thing I ask on the other side.

AVLON: You got it.

LEMON: We'll be right back.



LEMON (on camera): All right. We're back now. S.E. and John are here. John, you wanted to talk about Lauren Boebert.

AVLON: Yes, look.

CUPP: Less.

AVLON: For me the classic moment is Lauren Boebert -- Lauren Boebert really going for the gold, going for the full crazy, the Jihad squad on down, and then her time is up and immediately cuts to a Democrat who says, "as Maya Angelou reminds us." That just really captured the contrast between the two parties right now. It's just bonkers out there, people.

LEMON: And what about this, the retribution, S.E.?

CUPP: Yes.

LEMON: I mean, Trump is expanding, you know, his revenge list to include GOP members backed -- the ones who backed the bipartisan infrastructure law. Where does this --


CUPP: How dare they do their job?


CUPP: I mean, and this is what --


LEMON: And helps the people who they represent.

CUPP: Well, yes, and Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker and he knows he has to sound like Jim Jordan if he's going to push Jim Jordan out of the way from being speaker.


CUPP: So, he's got to out-Trump the Trumpiest members of Congress and threaten this kind of language. And that's why you have people like Marjorie Taylor Greene saying Kevin McCarthy told me if we get another term, I'm going to get my committees back. I mean, it's insane.

AVLON: It's all going to end in tears.

CUPP: It's insane.

AVLON: But he did threaten directly today. Maxine Waters, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar basically with no committee assignments.

CUPP: But listen, I don't know if you know this about me, Don, I'm a big "Real Housewives" fan.


CUPP: I love bravo and the best villains, right, the most dangerous women are the ones who have no shame. They can't be embarrassed. They get to the reunion and it's not like they watched the season and said God, I looked terrible. They are incapable of shame. There's no line they won't cross. And they have nothing to lose.

Well, that's the Republicans in Congress now. Incapable of shame. No line they will not cross. And they know they have nothing to lose because Kevin McCarthy is not going to punish them for doing something terrible. In fact, they may be rewarded --


LEMON: You --

CUPP: -- with another season.

AVLON: Rich.

LEMON: That is a perfect segue to the next question that I want to ask. When you look at what happened to Paul Gosar getting atta boys, it is, and retweeting. Right? And then you have Steve Bannon turning, you know, what should be a very shameful event into a circus by --

CUPP: There's no shame.

LEMON: So, what --

CUPP: There's no shame.

LEMON: A criminal contempt and he's like --

CUPP: But there was a time if you were a candidate and you got caught posing with a white nationalist or a Nazi at a campaign event you would be done. Now it becomes a mailer.

AVLON: That's one of the things that Gosar did.


AVLON: But look, to bring up another TV reference, those old 1980s anti-drug ads, I learned it from you, dad.

CUPP: Wonderful.


AVLON: They all learned it from Donald Trump. It's all from Donald Trump.

LEMON: I thought you were going to say this is your -- this is your --

CUPP: Brain on drugs.

LEMON: -- brain on drugs. That's what I thought.

AVLON: That too. That too. It's a fried egg, people. LEMON: My gosh.

CUPP: We're all showing our age.

AVLON: It's all right.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. Good to see both of you.

AVLON: Thank you.

LEMON: OK. So, we have to talk about what is going on. So boosters for every adult could happen by the end of the week. Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): Take this. So, if you aren't already, you could be eligible for a booster shot by the end of this week. The FDA expected to greenlight that eligibility boost across the country within days. OK?

That with concerns growing over a new fifth wave of infections this winter. Right now, 22 states are showing an increase in cases from two weeks ago. Hospitalizations are also on the rise in several states. And the number of people fully vaccinated in the U.S. is still troublingly low, just shy of 59 percent.


New CDC data showing that one in six fully vaccinated adults have gotten a booster. That means there is still a lot of work to be done once booster eligibility is a go for all adults. And it's on all of us to make sure that we are safe and vaccinated as we head into the holidays and we're all together, right? Close confines. Take it from the CDC director herself.


ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: What's the best gift to give this year? Consider the gift of health. It's priceless.


LEMON (on camera): Get vaccinated. Next, an insurrectionist sentenced to more than three years. But a congressman joking about killing a colleague, nothing. What does that say about the state of our democracy? After this.


LEMON (on camera): This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.


Censured. Congressman Paul Gosar censured by the House and removed from two committees after he posted an anime video showing him appearing to kill Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking the President of the United States, Joe Biden.