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Don Lemon Tonight

Kyle Rittenhouse A Free Man; Rittenhouse Got A Good Defense Team; A Victory For President Biden's Plan; Defense Attorney Not Happy Seeing Blacks In Courtroom. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Listen to what the lawyer told for us for Kyle Rittenhouse about the reality of what was done in this case.


MARK RICHARDS, ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: The people who are raising money, this defense was crowd funded through donations.

CUOMO: Right. But who are the people making the calls about who got to have access to the process?

RICHARDS: Kyle's family and his advisor, the Lin Woods, the John Pierce's who were basically, you know, I think we're trying to get this kid out for money for their own causes.


CUOMO (on camera): Fox paid for that access? Did the money guys have a deal with them? This is a problem.

That's it for us tonight. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now with the big star, D. Lemon.

I don't care if people get access. You know, I was saying to my team, hey, look, if they want to give me access to it, I would film someone's defense in a high-profile case like this. I don't know why a really lawyer would allow it, and this one didn't.


CUOMO: But the guys on TV at night saying the kid is innocent?


CUOMO: And at the same time, he's embedded because the money guys paying for the defense want his cameras there?

LEMON: Chris, you're not shocked by that, are you?

CUOMO: I'm shocked people who supposedly care about this kid so therefore I do think they do, would allow him and his future to be framed this way.

LEMON: Yes, because it's about money. It's not just the advisers and whatever. It's the attorneys, as well. You heard -- by the way, he's a great lawyer. He has a great demeanor. I agree with most everything he said. What he said about guns. I agree. It's what most Americans agree.

Common sense, he said, look, I -- I, you know, I believe in the second amendment and I'm speaking for myself. He says the same thing. Do I have -- do I want to carry a gun? No, not necessarily, I don't want to be able to carry one around.

I think most people feel that way. It's not just the fringes but it's also the people who are making money off of him and many times and in this case in the beginning because he said as much in his press conference afterwards, it is the attorneys who are making money off of him.

I said this to you over and over again about people co-opting people, people taking advantage of people. That is what -- that is what's happening in large part on the right from these fringe people from the fringes as you say in media and the attorneys.

This is why I liked him. And I paid attention to the trial. I didn't know him personally. I just watched him. This is -- when he said this, I'm like he's right on because this is what is happening under the former administration.

He said, you know, when I took this case, I was hired by the first lawyers and I'm not going to use their names. They wanted to use Kyle for a cause in something that I think was inappropriate. I don't represent causes. He said that to you. I represent clients and the only thing that ended up mattering to me was whether he was found not guilty or not.

And then he says the reporter asks him, is that what Kyle wants? He said the answer is I believe that's what he wants but then, you know, then, you know, Kyle is going to show up on a very political, the judge says it's not about politics but a very political program. People taking advantage of him, making him a cause celeb.

It just goes on and on. It is an echo chamber. It is a feeding factory. It is a grift of people who are taking advantage of clients so that they can make money, they can raise their profile and they're not doing what is right for the client, not telling them what is right.

That lawyer did the right thing with Kyle Rittenhouse. That lawyer represented Kyle Rittenhouse to the best of his ability and not because he's some right-wing fringe who is trying to make a name for himself or just to make money off of a grift.

CUOMO: Right. Two things just to be clear if you're just tuning in right now. The lawyer I had on, Mark Brinkley is not --


CUOMO: -- is not to be confused. Mark Richards. Sorry. Mark Richards. Is not to be confused with someone who is trying to get over on Kyle Rittenhouse.

LEMON: No, he is not.

CUOMO: That's not what I'm saying. That's not what Don is saying.

LEMON: No, he is not.

CUOMO: But, also in response to Don's earlier question, no, I have never seen anything like this. So, it is surprising. I have never seen a defense process in a high-profile criminal trial be conducted step by step as a political --

LEMON: Yes.'

CUOMO: -- instrument, as well, with arguably one of the most divisive people in society. You know, you know you're going to have people saying if he was black this would be different, right? Because we're dealing with systemic injustice right now.

And even though this verdict, I believe is justified by the law and the facts here, that's what we should want every time, people are frustrated that you wouldn't get it if he was black even though this may be the right outcome.


But, at the same time, you're doing that you're going to have him be weaponized by one of the most toxic people in our society.

LEMON: Well, so therefore, when that judge said -- dressed down the prosecution. This, when he, you know, address down the prosecution. The prosecution did a lot of things wrong. Right? I mean, this really rests on --


CUOMO: But they had a hard case. The facts and the --

LEMON: They had a hard case but they didn't do a good job even with a hard case. I mean, that's obvious to see. And the judge -- the judge is, you know, and I've said this before. Think when you want to think about the judge where you think he is bias, it's not my business.

The judge's behavior, I think also divided people in this case. If you look at the judge and we've talked about this, we talked about it on our podcast version of this Handoff. The judge in Georgia doing the right thing, conducting himself in moderation, in the right way, and then you have this judge who is yelling at people even though the jury didn't see most of that, they still -- they understand what's happening. They get the sense of what is going on. They see, you know, the judge's reaction -- what the judge is doing, if he's making coffee during closing arguments. Little things like that.

So, you know, I think it's problematic. This gave us a window into our court system, our justice system and I think these are examples of what is happening around the country of reform whether you think it's about race or whatever it is, but just to make it more equitable for all people involved and not to use people as political weapons or cudgels because you want to promote yourself, because you are on a grift.

The attorney that represented him, that, you know, because he got the acquittal, he did the right thing, he's doing the right thing. The right -- and he called their names. I don't have to. And there are others who are involved, as well.

Those are the people who are problematic in this society. Those are the people who are causing the divisions because they are the ambulance chasers and you can have ambulance chasers, as well in media.

CUOMO: Look, I think that this is a terrible situation and why he is -- while he's not guilty, there is a lot about this situation while he had the right to do it under the law, it wasn't right.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: It was wrong, and it's hurtful and people are dead, and it sends a bad message.

LEMON: We shouldn't be celebrating people carrying, you know, assault style weapons around in the street openly. Whether it's Kyle -- I've said this, whether Kyle Rittenhouse or whomever --

CUOMO: Listen.

LEMON: -- that's what law enforcement is for.

CUOMO: I hear you but the law rules and the law here is the bad guy.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Because --

LEMON: And if you don't like it, then you have to fight to change it.

CUOMO: -- that self-defense law is pitiful. And he was allowed to carry that weapon under Wisconsin law and that self-defense law in Wisconsin makes it easy to kill somebody.

LEMON: Look at what happened with George Zimmerman and the stand your ground and people were so upset. But how can they --


CUOMO: Stand your ground is a cousin of this law.


CUOMO: In fact, I would say this law is even more forgiving than Florida stand your ground because it has other elements to it.


CUOMO: It's you don't have a duty to retreat. That's basically stand your ground. You have to as a juror not say what would Don Lemon do? What would a reasonable person do? It's what would that guy do, a 17- year-old that I think is overwhelmed and scared by anything because he's naive.

That's who you have to judge it on very generous standard and the prosecution has to prove you didn't need self-defense. You didn't act in self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is our highest standard and much higher than the burden presented in many other states.


CUOMO: It's a very, very law and you saw the results.

LEMON: Well, we'll see what happened. So far calm, and it should be, although you know, people have the right to demonstrate or whatever. But let's hope that it stays this way and people do the right thing and learn --


CUOMO: I just -- I just hope that -- one last thing. I just hope that the understanding of frustration --


CUOMO: -- is not presented as he should have been found guilty because other people would wrongfully have been found guilty under this law and facts.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: And you should say we want this outcome no matter who the defendant is.

LEMON: No matter who -- no matters who it is. And the same grace that especially those on the right or people who are giving Kyle Rittenhouse, that same grace should be granted for George Floyd or granted for anyone in a courtroom --


CUOMO: George Floyd is a no brainer. He was -- he was murdered.

LEMON: But I'm just saying, but there are people saying, look what he did it with -- (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You're totally right.

LEMON: He was no saint. Why was he --

CUOMO: You're totally right.

LEMON: And so, for that and for people who are proven innocent, right?


LEMON: And that same grace regardless of race background or ideology, so let's see if they give that same grace to other people when they are found not guilty to the court of law.


CUOMO: Sadly, we will see soon enough because they happen all the time.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon. Make your witness.

LEMON: I love you more. That was a great. It was a great conversation. I know everyone is ready. Get to the show. We got -- this is the best conversation we're going to have -- well, in this moment, not on this show. I'll see you, sir.



As we have been saying the verdict is in. No surprise. Not if you were paying attention.


UNKNOWN: As to the first count of the information, Joseph Rosenbaum, we, the jury find the defendant Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty.

As to the second count of the information, Richard McGinnis, we, the jury find the defendant Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty. As to the third count of the information unknown male, we, the jury find the defendant Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty.

As to the fourth count of the information, Anthony Huber, we, the jury find the defendant Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty. As to the fifth count of the information, Gaige Grosskreutz, we, the jury find the defendant Kyle H. -- Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty.

BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT: Members of the jury, these are your unanimous verdicts. Is there anyone who does not agree with the verdicts as read? (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): Lucky young man. Can you imagine that moment? First thing I'd be saying is thank you, Jesus. Thank you, God. Fall on your knees. Lucky.

Kyle Rittenhouse who shot and killed two people, wounded another during protests in August of 2020 over the police shooting of Jacob Blake found not guilty on all counts. You heard them read there.

The bar was high for a conviction. Prosecutors had to prove it wasn't self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now you can question what a then 17-year-old, right, where is the wisdom in this? A 17-year-old isn't that wise, right, usually, they're young. People are young. Just young people, not just Kyle. A 17-year- old with a military style weapon, what he was doing in the middle of chaos, all that chaos in the streets of Kenosha.

But as we've been saying, this case was never going to be a slam dunk. The assistant D.A. Thomas Binger putting out a statement saying, while we're disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected. And then the defense attorney that Chris and I were talking about, Mark Richards telling Chris Cuomo a couple minutes ago this.


RICHARDS: He didn't want to kill anybody, and he was left with the terrible choice and he exercised that choice, which was found to be lawful.


LEMON (on camera): The Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, says that his state has to work to do the right thing in the wake of this verdict and -- or has some work to do in the wake of this verdict and is calling for peace tonight.

So why don't we get there now? CNN's Sara Sidner, she is live for us in Kenosha. Sara, good evening to you. I understand that you have new information. We're hearing from Kyle Rittenhouse tonight. What is he saying?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's true. He had been doing an interview all along this process with Tucker Charleston show, Fox News and here is what he said in one of the clips that has just been released. He is talking about the verdict. It is read. It is right after the verdict is read.

He's in the car and he says look, the jury reached the correct verdict, self-defense is now illegal. This has been a rough ride but the worst is over. So, we have heard from Kyle Rittenhouse himself about what he thinks about the verdict that was handed down, the not guilty on all five counts.

I should also mention, Don, that there is something very interesting in the verdict sheets. I have them here. There are, of course, five of them and if you look at the sheets, you will notice that the jury made some decisions pretty early on.

The second day of deliberations they decided on two of the cases including Anthony Huber, they decided not guilty in the shooting and killing of Anthony Huber by Kyle Rittenhouse and they decided a not guilty verdict on putting somebody in danger, the man that was called jump kick man. The second day after deliberations started.

And then they decided something on the third day after deliberations started and they did not get to the Joseph Rosenbaum decision on whether or not he was killed in first-degree intentional homicide until today.

And so, it is clear to a lot of folks looking at this case that it was that particular case where there was drone video that they had requested to see that made them deliberate for longer, and they finally got to that decision today and now we know that Kyle Rittenhouse is a free man. He has been found not guilty on all five charges.

LEMON: Sara Sidner has been covering --


LEMON: Sara, thank you very much. I appreciate that. We've got a lot more on this and it comes as some people are saying that we have two justice systems here in America.


Look, I understand, you know, what they mean by that, what they're trying to say but the fact is we actually have one justice system. Unfortunately, that justice system is not always fair.

We should respect the jury's verdict in Kenosha, as Americans we have the right to disagree and we have the right to make the system work for everybody and we have the right to change it, change the laws. Because the laws that are in place, those are the reasons, the main reasons that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted.

It is hard to separate race out of all of these things. Race is there. It may not be exactly the same in every case. It's a difference of degrees, right? It's always there in all of these cases. They're not the exact same thing but it is there.

The Rittenhouse trial is also about whether or not the prosecution was able to prove its case. The jury found him not guilty. But in a courtroom in Georgia a very different case is unfolding.

Defense attorneys in the trial of three white men accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black jogger are expected to begin closing arguments on Monday. Then the case goes to nearly, a nearly an all-white jury. Kind of similar, right? But today the attorney for one of the men compared a prayer rally outside the courthouse too, and I'm quoting here, "a public lynching." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM RODDIE BRYAN, JR.: This is why a public lynching looks like in the 21st century. Just because they haven't put a gallery up, they haven't put a podium up outside with a hang man's noose on it doesn't mean that this isn't a trial despite the best efforts of this court. This isn't a trial that's been infected by mob violence of a woke left mob.


LEMON (on camera): Again, the politics. That's why you got to be careful when you embrace that whole like, you know, woke is going too far because people who co-opt that are doing it for a reason. Don't fall for the okey-doke.

A public lynching, right? Especially considering what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. That man's client, his client got there was not the one who was chased down and shot to death in broad daylight and it is disgraceful for him to compare a prayer vigil to a lynching.

I think we all see what's going on here. This is the attorney who said I am, and I'm quoting here again, "we don't want any more black pastors coming in here." Ahmaud Arbery's mother reacting today.


UNKNOWN: Mrs. Cooper, is there anything you might want to say about Kevin Gough's comment that this is a 21st century lynching?

WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I think it's ridiculous and he's done things repeatedly that just surprise me that he would say, so very surprising but not. I respect (Ph) it.


LEMON (on camera): We're covering it. Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted. The jury deliberated for more than 25 hours but was the testimony from Kyle Rittenhouse a turning point in the trial?


UNKNOWN: Is there anyone who does not agree with --



LEMON (on camera): Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges after he shot and killed two men and injured a third during a night of unrest in Wisconsin after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Now the jury deliberated for more than 25 hours over four days.

The families of those killed by Rittenhouse speaking out tonight. Anthony Huber's parents they say that they are heart broken by the verdict. So, joining me is Paul Bucher, the former district attorney for Waukesha County, Wisconsin, and Robert Hirschhorn, he is a jury and trial consultant.

Gentlemen, good evening to you.

So, Paul, I'm going to start with you. Because everyone says and you have been saying this, the prosecution had a very high bar. And you had said that you believed that there would be -- he would be found guilty on one count you said, that did not happen.

PAUL BUCHER, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WAUKESHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN: So, I have a cup of coffee or a beer. I thought there would be a reckless homicide. I thought it would either be first or second degree, probably second. And I believed it would be probably although I didn't say that at time, would probably be on Mr. Rosenbaum.

And it looks like I came close but not close enough. But hey, look, it's a complicated case. The case spun out of control, Don, and it began spinning out of control a long time ago. And the verdict is a verdict. It is what it is. The jury worked hard. I give the jury a lot of respect.

They did -- they weren't swayed by sympathy or fear and they decided this case is based solely on the law and the facts, not some made up, you know, racial second amendment. And I respect Robert's view on this. View. Or that this is a white supremacist.

He's not a hero. He's not a white supremacist. It's not a racial, racist -- I meant racist, not racial, racist. It was based on the law and the facts and the facts were not on the government's side.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I agree with that to say it's not racial or racist. And look, I'm not -- race is a part of this case. That is undeniable. And I mean, it may -- for people to say it's not part of this case, that may make some liberals feel, you know, given some comfort, right? Right? Especially white liberals, but it is.

I mean, it make -- you know, it make them feel better about how they want to feel about what's happening in our society. But it's not true. Race is definitely a part of this.

Robert, you said from the very beginning that this case was all about guns. Is that what the jury decided on?


ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, JURY & TRIAL CONSULTANT: Yes, sir. And let me tell you why. I've identified five things, Don. And by the way, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Five things that occurred in this trial that I think really worked on the defendant's advantage. Number one, the video of the event. Number two, the fact that right after he did the shooting, he told the police. Number three, his age. Number four, we saw today the might of the right. He had a really well funded defense. They did mock trials. They did

research on these jurors so the right really came to his aid and finally, the law. If anything, Don, the law is what saved this young man from going to prison for the rest of his life.

LEMON: I completely agree with that. Listen, it's not, it was mostly about the law. When I said race is a part of it, I mean it's the whole thing. And I think -- I think everyone understands what I'm saying.



LEMON: The prosecutors tried to make this, Robert, this case about an active shooter arguing that it was everybody else who responded to Rittenhouse, he was acting in self-defense. Now why do you think that proved to be unconvincing to the jury?

HIRSCHHORN: Yes, it's the chaos, Don, OK? It was a really chaotic situation. What the jury was told is they have to put themselves not in the shoes of a reasonable person but into defendant Rittenhouse's shoes, right? And you've got all this chaos that's being videotaped.

And the problem is that at the time, Don, people didn't know if he was an active shooter or if he was trying to help. And people because of all the events that have happened in our country, you know, I think they assumed the worst and they trying to stop him and he -- his view or reaction to that was he was being threatened. He was having to defend his life.

You know, the thing is what we're seeing, Don, is with these kinds of events, I'm really worried that the United States of America is really starting to turn into that divided states of America. We're better than that. We got to work together, folks from both sides. We got to work together so things like this don't keep happening.

LEMON: Paul, Kyle Rittenhouse's defense attorney spoke with Chris a short while ago. Watch this, please.


RICHARDS: Kyle said if I had to do it all over again, and had any idea something like this could happen, I wouldn't do it. You know, and that is not -- I want to be clear, that is not regret for what he did that night under those circumstances. Hindsight is always 20/20 if not better and he didn't want to kill anybody, and he was left with the terrible choice and he exercised that choice, which was found to be lawful.


LEMON (on camera): Paul, what do you think? What do you think he's saying -- what he's saying there? He didn't want to kill anybody but ultimately, he was left with a terrible choice.

BUCHER: Yes, I agree with that. And I know attorney Richards. He's a straight shooter. He is a go-to guy in that area of the state. I totally disagree with my respective colleague. This is not about right has might. This is about the facts in this case and if anybody and I've been asked this 100 times, what message is sent out as a result of this case.

The message is not that Kyle Rittenhouse is a hero. He's not. He's not a vigilante. He's not a white supremacist. This is not the message that hey, in Kenosha they said it's OK to go to a civil uprising and arm yourself. No. Because if that's what you want to do, if you go there looking for trouble, and I don't think there's any evidence Rittenhouse did, he found trouble, yes.

But if that's what you want to do, I'm available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can give me a call. Because you are going to have a problem. You can't replicate the unique facts in this case to another situation.

This was a case where the government failed to prove the lack of self- defense. The government had several missteps. I don't know which one was fatal to their case but clearly, the jury based on what I've heard found self-defense almost immediately. And just began looking at especially the last count.

Apparently, there was one woman on the jury that wanted to have a little more time to think about the last count. But this is not a white supremacist. This is not vigilantism. This is not about you got a right to carry a gun in public in a civil uprising. That's just non- sense. So, I have listened to the talking heads including myself. Look, I talked to myself and I listened.


LEMON: I'm glad you put yourself in the category but go on.

BUCHER: I do. I do. And with all due respect to Robert, he's very experienced, very good. Well-funded defense. No doubt about it. And nobody -- nobody that I know ever has done mock trials in criminal cases. That's reserved for civil. Even jury consultants very rare, Don, in --



LEMON: OK. We got -- Robert, I'm going to give you the last word. I have to run. Quickly, please. As quick as you can.


HIRSCHHORN: Yes, real quick. Look, everybody, we got to respect this jury. They worked hard. They had 25 hours invested in this. They did a really good job. If you get a summons for jury duty, don't try to get out of it. Go down and serve your country and serve on the jury. That's how we can help start making change in our country.

BUCHER: I agree. LEMON: All right. Robert, Paul, thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

HIRSCHHORN: Thank you, Don.

BUCHER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: A huge win for President Biden, Democrats actually coming together to pass his $1.9 trillion plan. Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): A big step forward for President Biden's agenda today. House Democrats passing the president's expansive $1.9 trillion economic and climate agenda following months of hard-fought negotiations. It includes more money for child care, home health care, Obamacare subsides, universal pre-K and more. But it's anyone's guess what will happen when the Senate has its say.

So, joining me now to discuss CNN political commentator and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, and CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers. She is the author of the new amazing book called "Saving Grace."

So, welcome to both of you. Kirsten, after months after wrangling Democrats are onto the next step with a bill that would transform people's lives. There is still a way to go as I pointed out. But we saw Democrats celebrating on the House floor after it passed. Is this a moment for the party to be excited?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it is. And let's remember that there are many people who are claiming this was never going to happen, that the Democrats were never going to be able to get this done, that it was dead.

And it's true it's not finished yet but I think that this is involved a lot of wrangling, particularly by, you know, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. And so, now it goes to the Senate, and we'll see what happens.

We'll see if they can convince Joe Manchin to get on board or if it's -- get to end up having to have some things stripped out of it and then sent back to the House and then more wrangling. But you know, it's a step forward and I think it is a transformative piece of legislation if it can, you know, ultimately be made into law.

LEMON: Yes. So, Charlie, basically, what Kirsten is saying that it's tougher to head in the Senate for this bill. I mean, we could be looking at a different bill after Joe Manchin has his say. What do you think this ends up, sir?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this bill has a long road ahead of it and I would be shocked if this bill became law before Christmas. And I'll be very honest with you, Don. You know, we just got the CBO report yesterday and there are a lot of gimmicks and tricks involved here. I think they have been very deceptive with the numbers here.

In fact, they have been dishonest. This is going to cost somewhere between 4.6 to $4.9 trillion according to Penn Wharton and to the committee for responsible budget because they don't make a lot of the unrealistic assumptions that the CBO is forced to make.

I mean, they are using temporary provisions like the child tax credit. They say it's going to cost $110 billion over 10 years, no, it will cost $1.1 trillion but it's only scored at 110 because they only authorized it for a year.

So, there are a lot of games that they're playing and you know, if anybody believes this is going to somehow not add to the deficit, you'll believe anything. And again, we're not voting -- they're not voting on this thing in isolation or in a vacuum.

You know, they're voting on this on top of $6 trillion in COVID spending, on top of inflation pressures, shortages, you know, border mayhem, and you know, Afghanistan fiasco. So, there is a lot going on here. I think they're premature to celebrate anything here.

Hey, at least they didn't spike the football like Republicans on health care where they had the Rose Garden celebration after the bill was passed the House that was deeply flawed. So, I think there is a long road ahead. I want to see what Joe Manchin has to say about the CBO score because I think it's phony.

LEMON: Yes. Well, listen, and we had Austan Goolsbee on last night who explained the financials of this. And I'm just wondering, Charlie, before I get back to Kirsten, does is, how much does it matter that of COVID that we're coming -- we're going through, we're living through and coming out of a very, very rough period, you know, for this country, health wise and medically and economically?

DENT: Yes, I think look, I think the American public realizes we needed to spend most of that $6 trillion, I would argue they spent $800 billion too much on it. But we needed most of the $6 trillion. And I think many folks believe now is the time to pump the brakes and show some restraint.

I've always felt that Joe Biden was elected to bring about greater stability and normalcy to the functioning of the government, not to transform the government.

LEMON: I get it.

DENT: That's what Bernie Sanders ran on and he lost.

LEMON: Last -- listen --


DENT: So, I think this is a complete miscalculation.

LEMON: And look, I'm not going to get into a row with you because that's what you are. You are a small government conservative and that's where we -- that's where we used to be. We're not there anymore. So, listen, I'm not going to take any gaffe of what you're saying.

Kirsten, you know, Manchin and Sinema, if they strip this bill down and send a version back down to the House that progressives won't support, what kind of headaches do you think it's going to create for Democrats?


POWERS: Well, it's going to, I mean, this is going to create headaches because it's been obviously already creating headaches because we can't -- you can't get agreement on this bill. And so, I think that one of the problems is that the things that Joe Manchin, in particular who is the bigger problem, frankly, at this point is opposed to is something that's very main stream, which is paid leave.

And that's one of the things that he opposes and I think it's very central to this bill. So, the question is, will the progressives back down and we just have this kind of back and forth. And at some point, I think there is going to have to be a decision made that there is going to have to be compromises and move on.

I don't know if the progressives are willing to do that and I don't frankly think it should be on them but it seems that Joe Manchin is going to be the one person who holds everything up and never mind the rest of the Democrats are all in agreement about this. But for some reason this one person is, you know, supposed to be able to bend everyone to the will of the way he thinks the world is supposed to be.

LEMON: You know what I have to say? You know, listening to both of you and having this conversation, isn't it refreshing actually to have a conversation about policy?

POWERS: It is.

LEMON: What politicians are doing rather than a crazy tweet? Do you know what I'm saying? That's why I said --


POWERS: I totally agree.

LEMON: -- I can't take issue with anything you said, Charlie and, you know, and Kirsten, was just like, yes, because this is -- this is how it's done. You are small government conservative. That's what I think the party has been, you know, built on but it's not necessarily where it is now. So I respect you for that and your views. And it's great to have these conversations. So, both of you, thank you. And I'll see you later.

POWERS: I agree.

LEMON: Yes. See you later.

DENT: Thanks, Don. Thanks, Kirsten. LEMON: So, he complains about black pastors' presence in the courtroom. And today, defense attorney Kevin Gough is calling pastors rallying outside the courtroom to support Ahmaud Arbery's mother a, quote, "lynching."

Cornell West has thoughts about that. He's next.



LEMON (on camera): Closing arguments set to begin Monday in the trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old unarmed black man was out jogging. Now the attorney for one of the defendants is denying that he offered a plea bargain to prosecutors even though Arbery's mother says that she learned about it from the district attorney.

So, joining me now, Cornel West, he is now the Dietrich Bonhoeffer chair at Union Theological Seminary. Did I get that right, sir?


LEMON: Thank you very much.

WEST: In New York City and Harlem. Blessed Harlem.

LEMON: Yes. It's so good to -- I want to make sure I get your title right and not the name. But I just -- it's good to see you in person. We haven't -- we've been seeing and talking each other over satellite.

WEST: That's true.

LEMON: Professor, it was the same defense attorney who complained about black pastors being in the courtroom now comparing a prayer rally outside the courthouse to a public lynching. What do you make of that?

WEST: You know, my dear brother, it's just another sign of the profound spiritual decay and pervasive moral decadence that's at work in our culture and society. You see, once you have organized hatred, institutionalized greed, and then you add fear and distrust, things get out of control spiritually, morally with the big money behind the scene. And that's what's happening now, brother.

Things are getting out of control, man. We're going to lose American democracy fairly soon if this spiritual decay and moral acritude continues to prevail, I'm telling you.

LEMON: Do you believe that?

WEST: No doubt about it. We are on the edge, believe me you. And neo- fascism, just wait, because that's what fascism is all about. Let the greed and the hatred expand, let folk turn on each other, the well to do kind of sit back there and the spectators because they still doing well.

We're talking about working and poor people going at each other for the most part you see. And if we don't have countervailing forces and voices, in the face of the hatred there's got to be love and justice, and the face of degree there's got to be accountability. And every society has to deal with greed and if you don't have mechanism of accountability and responsibility, it gets out of hand.

LEMON: We -- in Virginia, white nationalists are on trial for organizing the deadly rally in Charlottesville that we covered so much. And saying it out loud, right, I'm a racist, this is a quote. "I'm a racist," it seems that we're living in another era right now. That this is --


WEST: Well, you saw what they said about me, brother.

LEMON: In Charlottesville.

WEST: Yes, lynch him right there on the video. I said, very interesting indeed. We are sitting there singing "this little light of mine" and they have guns and masks and so forth, and you say that's all you can -- that's all you can come up with? Do you realize how empty, how joyless, how vacuous your soul must be?

Now here I am revolutionary Christian and I believe Jesus loves everybody. Jesus loves these gangsters but they choose to be gangsters and we are going to make them accountable. You know why?


WEST: Because black people are precious. Because everyday people are precious. Joseph Rosenbaum, precious. Anthony Huber, precious. Jacob Blake, precious. Arbery, precious. And some of us going to go down fighting in the name of the love and justice even as a society continually slides down a slope toward fascism.

LEMON: What do you mean by that? Some of us will go down fighting. Because some people will say well, --


WEST: Some of us is going to pay the ultimate price.

LEMON: They are saying that that's a threat of violence.

WEST: No, not at all. We said we are willing to pay the ultimate price because the people that came before that loved us and sacrificed for us paid the price. And we are going to let the young folk know, we are going to let oppressed people know that we are in solidarity with them no matter the cause.

LEMON: Hey --

[22:50:02] WEST: That's the crucial point.

LEMON: I got to run but I want to ask you, do you have any concerns about the makeup of the jury one black juror in the Arbery --


WEST: It didn't look good. It didn't look good. Because keep in mind, brother, the legacy of white supremacy. Jim Crow, Jim Crow, Jr., Jim Crow III. White supremacy takes a lot of different forms. A lot of different ideations. And it's doesn't look. But we'll have to see.

But most importantly, we need folks in this country to get spiritually and morally fortified to fight in the name of love and justice or we're going to lose democracy.

LEMON: I'm say, quickly, can you, because I'm going to get in trouble. Can you -- out of all these trials that we have, can you separate race out of all them?

WEST: No. Not at all. It may not be the dominant factor in every one but the legacy of white supremacy, my brother, takes a variety of different forms.

LEMON: Thank you.

WEST: Absolutely.

LEMON: I appreciate that.

WEST: Always a blessing. I know we shouldn't be shaking hands but that's all right.

LEMON: We're good. We got -- I've got the wipes and the hand sanitizer right here.

WEST: I've got the Holy Ghost for taking care (Inaudible), my brother.

LEMON: You are in a vaccinated area building. We're all good. Thank you very much.

Making history. Vice President Kamala Harris holding presidential powers today and she is what, take this, the first woman ever to do so.



LEMON (on camera): So, take this. A woman held presidential powers today for the first time in United States history. President Biden temporarily transferred the powers of the office to Vice President Kamala Harris for 85 minutes today. Why? Standard procedure.

President Biden went under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy today at Walter Reed Medical Center. Just part of the 78-year-old's -- year- old president's first annual physical since taking office. He turns 79 tomorrow. And his doctor says he is fit for duty.

So, I want to compare that, though. Twenty-nineteen, I'll take you back. When weeks of speculation began when then-president made a secret trip to Walter Reed. Right? His former press secretary Stephanie Grisham shed light on that trip earlier this year. Heavily implying that the visit was for the same procedure Biden got today.

A perfectly normal procedure that people get all the time. So why the secrecy? Grisham writes that the then president refused anesthesia because he didn't want to transfer power to Mike Pence. Yes. Yes. And he didn't want to be the, quote, "butt of any late-night jokes." No comment.

Up next, Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted on all charges. We're going to take you inside the jury's decision after this.