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Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 Committee Votes Unanimously To Recommend Mark Meadows Be Charged With Contempt Of Congress; U.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations, And Deaths Are On The Rise; Hundred Plus Are Feared Dead From Devastating Tornadoes Across Eight States; CA Gov. Newsom Says He Will Use Legal Tactics Of Texas Abortion Ban To Implement Gun Control. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 13, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Here is the breaking news: The House January 6th Committee voting unanimously tonight to recommend former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the committee and failing to appear for a deposition as required by the committee's subpoena.

The committee revealing text messages between Meadows and several Fox hosts and even the then-president's eldest son as the Capitol was being violently attacked by insurrectionists.

Let's bring in now CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid and White House correspondent John Harwood. Good evening to both of you.

Paula, I'm going to start with you. You have been going through all of these shocking new texts and information from the January 6th Select Committee. What do people need to know, Paula?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Extraordinary information, Don, revealing exactly what the White House knew on January 6th as told by some of Trump's closest allies. The House Select Committee revealing this evening text messages from several Fox News personalities. Text messages from Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade to the then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to get the president to do something to quail violence on Capitol Hill.

They also revealed text messages from the president's son, Donald Trump, Jr., saying he -- quote -- "has to lead now." Now, vice chairwoman in the committee, Liz Cheney, she laid out some of this evidence. Let's take a listen.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): As the violence continued, one of the president's sons texted Mr. Meadows -- quote -- "He's got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough," Donald Trump, Jr. texted.

Meadows responded -- quote -- "I'm pushing it hard. I agree." Still, President Trump did not immediately act. Donald Trump, Jr. texted again and again, urging action by the president -- quote -- "We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand."


REID (on camera): She says these messages are illustrative of the former president's supreme dereliction of duty. And Don, it is important to note, this is the stuff that Meadows handed over voluntarily. It makes you wonder what he might be withholding.

LEMON: Amen. What about members of Congress? What were they telling Mark Meadows to do, Paula?

REID: Again, more remarkable evidence revealed by the House Select Committee tonight. For example, we see one message from a lawmaker saying -- quote -- "The president needs to stop this ASAP." Cheney says these text messages show the White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol in real time.

But that's not all. When the events of the decertification of the Electoral College eventually happened in the early hours of January 7th, Meadows received a text, calling January 6th -- quote -- "a terrible day." Quote -- "Yesterday was a terrible day," from a lawmaker. "We tried everything we could in our objection to the six states. I'm sorry nothing worked."


REID: That was the response after a failed attempt to disrupt the peaceful transition of power. We know Meadows is refusing to come in and answer questions from the committee. He suggested he doesn't have to come in because of executive privilege.

But clearly, he does not believe that there is any privilege concern with the thousands of documents he has already handed over. The committee is demanding that he come in and at least answer questions about all these materials he has already handed over. And clearly, there are questions.

LEMON: John, I mean, we tried. Sorry, didn't work. We tried to overturn an election. I mean, this is crazy. The Trump White House staff, members of Congress, the former president's own son, they've all been trying to rewrite the history of January 6th since that happened. But we know the truth now, what they actually think about it.



Not only the Trump White House people but also, as you've been discussing with Paula and others tonight, the Fox News personalities. What they have in common, this group of people leading what once was a conservative movement now is really an authoritarian movement, what they have in common is that they are lying for money and power to a constituency that is terrified that it's way of life is going down the tubes.

We are talking principally about white evangelical Christians who think the country is being taken over by people from other countries, by people of different races, by people of different religions. They think their culture is changing, they are falling behind economically.

Donald Trump appeals to that. Fox News exploits that. And we saw the tragic consequences on January 6th. It's now more simply about the power and money of a corporation and a political party. It's about the future of democracy, as you were talking about with Stewart Stevens in the previous hour.

LEMON: Yeah. John, this text, I can't get over this. I got to go back to the "I'm sorry, nothing worked" text. It is especially disturbing. I mean, this is a sitting member of Congress apologizing for not succeeding in helping to overturn the election, chilling especially going forward now.

HARWOOD: Well, there is no question about it. Look, in the Republican Party, we've seen precisely two people willing to stand up and call out what happened on January 6th precisely for what it was, and that's Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

The Republican Party is stepping back and ignoring, downplaying what happened on January 6th because they think the political winds are blowing in their direction and they don't have to do it. On January 6th itself, they were scared that was going to reverberate against them. You know, Kevin McCarthy and out criticized Donald Trump. He has way fled that position.

And so, again, the Republican Party as a whole is not willing to stand up for the Constitution and for the future of the American democracy. They are trying to obtain power even at the cost of that kind of insurrection.

And remember, we had sitting members of Congress -- Mo Brooks spoke to that rally and said, we are going to go up there and fight like hell. So, you know, that's what we're dealing with.

LEMON: Yeah, that is what we're dealing with. I just need to let the viewers know that the Select Committee has voted to approve a criminal contempt of Congress referral for Mark Meadows. We will be watching Paula and others who will be reporting on that as it transpires. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, now a legal and national security analyst. Good to see both of you. Thanks so much.

Elie, I'm going to start with you because these texts are extraordinary. The Select Committee laying out why Meadows should be complying with the subpoena. But, you know, will the Justice Department actually prosecute Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a big question. But, Don, first of all, this is just a wow moment.

LEMON: It's right.

HONIG: I mean, we have to step back and think. I mean, this morning, we got these texts about how the National Guard is going to stand by to protect pro-Trump people. And that's already sort of yesterday's news because we just got this whole new batch of texts. And contempt of Congress is important here because --

LEMON: Elie, we knew -- we knew all of this, right?

HONIG: Right.

LEMON: But this is the proof that they knew --

HONIG: Exactly.

LEMON: -- and that they're lying about it.

HONIG: Exactly. I mean, it shows that when we say they knew, everybody around the situation, everybody in Congress, in media, allies of the president, people who are now trying to downplay January 6th on the day of, they're sending texts, and what they knew is, the people behind this, Mark Meadows and Donald Trump, the only one who could stop it, who could call them off, everybody is begging Meadows, you have to get him to call them off, that shows you they knew the person who the Capitol was stormed for.

LEMON: So, do you think that they will vote for contempt? What do you think? What does that mean? What happens?

HONIG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, it has to go to the full House, which will happen soon. And then, it will go over to DOJ. Merrick Garland has to decide, do I bring a criminal charge here?

On the one hand, it is harder case than Bannon. We are talking about Mark Meadows who was the chief of staff as opposed to not in the executive branch at all. Meadows has partially complied.

But overlying all of this, he's the former president. We just got a ruling last week from the court of appeals in D.C. that the former president doesn't get to call for executive privilege contrary to the current president. So, I think DOJ should charge it, but this will be a real gut check for Merrick Garland.

LEMON: Yeah. (INAUDIBLE) some political folks. Someone -- well, I think I know the answer to this. Does the fever break? I don't think the -- I don't know if this even breaks the fever. It is just sad that it just keeps going on and on and on.

It just continues, Asha. Am I crazy to think that? You think like, okay, here is the proof. Everybody knows this is a farce. All these people are lying about it. [23:10:00]

Fox News, you know, Don, Jr., whatever. But yet, the grift keeps going. Do you understand what I'm saying? Nobody cares about the truth, it seemed.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I do, Don. But, you know, there -- this is kind of one of those rare moments of clarity, right? There is a concept in the law in evidence called an excited utterance. It is an exception to the hearsay rule.

And the reason that courts allow it is based on this idea that when someone is in a state of shock or under stress, that what they say is inherently trustworthy. And when I was listening to these texts being read out, I thought of this concept. These are excited utterances.

This is how these people, these Fox News journalists, you know, were perceiving this event at the time, whatever political combover they did in public hours later and now months later. And even Don, Jr., who I don't think of as having a particularly well moral compass, is perceiving this in the same way.

And I think, as Elie said, the question is, you know, why wasn't Trump responding to this? He was the one who they all believed had the power to stop this and he was the one who apparently did it because these texts just kept coming.

LEMON (on camera): I mean, it is amazing. Don, Jr., who is -- I was going to say all of them. The biggest joke of the Trump family, besides the dad, I mean, is like on that day saying, you know, you got to stop this.

Asha, you know, Mark Meadows was on "HANNITY" just tonight. Here is what he said.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It's disappointing but not surprising. And let's be clear about this, Sean. This is not about me holding me in contempt. It's not even about making the Capitol safer. We see that by some of the selective leaks that are going on right now. This is about Donald Trump and about actually going after him once again continuing to go after Donald Trump.


LEMON (on camera): It's painful to listen to, guys. I mean, Asha, enough.

RANGAPPA: Don, here is the bottom line for Meadows. He cannot be both loyal to Trump and tell the truth. And this is the (INAUDIBLE) that he is caught between in terms of cooperating with Congress. Given what they have, actual text messages that, you know, between him and other people, he has to name names. He is to really -- he was in the thick of it. And so, he either has to throw Trump under the bus, which is going to be, you know, political death for him, or he lies for Trump, which many other people have done, Mike Flynn, Roger Stone, and he will pay a price for that because he will undoubtedly be prosecuted for lying to Congress.

And so, for him, I think, you know, taking the chance on this contempt of Congress charge, which as Elie noted, you know, is not necessarily a slam dunk, is just a calculation for him, a risk reward calculation because I think he has no wiggle room at all to fudge if he goes in and answers questions in front of this committee.

HONIG: If I could just build on that. We used to say, as prosecutors, if someone was thinking about cooperating, you do not want to jump halfway across the ditch. You either want to stay over there and be a defendant or you want to come all the way over here and cooperate.

But Mark Meadows, I want to know what happened to Mark Meadows, right? He went halfway across, gave over 6,000 incredibly damming documents, and then said, oh, hold on, and now he's stuck in the middle.

So, someday, we're going to learn what happened, why he did that. It makes no sense, but he's already maybe incriminated, but given over incredibly damming information on himself and others.

LEMON: Quick one for you. Don, Jr. and Fox propaganda hosts, can they be called to testify?

HONIG: You know, if they were not members of the media, absolutely. But prosecutors and investigators do need to be sensitive to compelling members of the media to testify about their dealings for, you know, First Amendment reasons and reasons, I think, we can understand as part of the media as well. But, look, if they were not members of the media, I mean, you would be walking a subpoena there right now.

LEMON: (on camera): This is an insurrection -- I'm typing on my phone. This is an insurrection and please stop him. Hey, good evening, everyone. Nothing happened at the Capitol today. It's -- come on. It's ridiculous. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

It just gets worse and worse. Every new revelation gives us a new terrible piece of the picture of what happened on January 6th. But will we ever know the whole truth?


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): And Mr. Meadows' testimony will bear on another key question before this committee. Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress's official proceeding to count electoral votes? Mark Meadows' testimony is necessary to inform our legislative judgments.




LEMON: So, here is our breaking news tonight: The January 6th Select Committee voting to recommend contempt charges for Mark Meadows. The full House will vote as soon as tomorrow. It comes as the committee reveals texts Meadows received as the Capitol was being violently attacked by insurrectionists.

So much to discuss now. CNN contributor Garrett Graff is here, and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, now a CNN political commentator. Good to see both of you, but especially so Garrett. I haven't seen you in a while. So, I'll start with you.

The more we learn about January 6th, the worse it gets. But do these stunning revelations get us any closer to the full story of what happened that day in your estimation?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR THE WIRED: I think one of the things that we really see becoming clear is what we have known all along, which is Donald Trump is the center of this.


GRAFF: The people around Donald Trump, whether it's his own staff, his own family or Fox News hosts, realized that this crowd was acting to fulfill Donald Trump's wishes.

And that, you know, for all that we tried to pretend that these were tourists, you know, trying to get a tour of the Capitol or these were, you know, a few random disaffected people who broke off from the Trump rally on the national mall, everyone that day was around Donald Trump, around the president of the United States, understood what is coming clear in these texts, that this crowd was reacting to and would follow the orders of Donald Trump.

LEMON (on camera): Charlie, Congressman Adam Schiff laid out some of the texts Mark Meadows received from lawmakers. Take a listen to this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This one reads on January 6th, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all. The second graphic, the president needs to stop this ASAP.

If we could queue graphic number three. Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the six states. I'm sorry nothing worked.


LEMON (on camera): Wow! So, we have a sitting member of Congress. What happens when we find out who they are?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: That is going to be a real bad day for those members. All I can tell you, Don, I think what we're missing in all this is that the Capitol on January 6th was a site of a massive crime scene, and Congress has every right to investigate that attack.

People forcibly entered a restricted area. There was aggravated assault committed against numerous law enforcement officers. Destruction and desecration of the Capitol itself. Congress has a right to know and hold those people accountable and those who may have aided and assisted them.

And so, to the extent that whether it was lawmakers or protesters, Mark Meadows is having conversations with protesters on the ground based on some documents that he released to the committee, you know, with members of Congress, with the Fox News hosts.

By the way, somebody might want to look into propriety of that. Boy, that's a subject for Brian Stelter apparently. But I'm just saying that there is a lot here to investigate. And congress has every damn right to get this information. And again, since Mark already provided -- Mark Meadows already provided this material to the committee, I mean, the committee has every right to ask about this, what Adam Schiff read off, and what Liz Cheney read off earlier, too.

This is really relevant to the investigation. So, I think Mark Meadows got himself in a real pickle here. I mean, I think the truth will set him free. And frankly, best thing for Republican Party right now is for the truth to come out. It might help break the lock of Trump on the party if we can really understand exactly just what he did to aid and abet this group.

LEMON: What happened with Mark Meadows? Elie said cooperate and cooperate in that. I mean, could someone have possibly gotten to him and said, okay, shut your mouth?

DENT: Well, I think he's trying to run out the clock. You know, I think he's hoping that maybe he's finding a civil action that this might slow things down and get to the midterms and maybe this can go away for him. I think that's partly the strategy. I'm sure that Probably Donald Trump does not want him in front of Congress. That's probably a harsh reality as well.

So, I think that's certainly playing into his calculations. But it is hard to say what is motivating him. But I think he's kind of in a bit of a no man's land right now. I think Elie said it well. You know, he's kind of half in, half out. He hasn't quite crossed the ditch.

LEMON: Jump the ditch. You don't want to jump halfway.

DENT: He's kind of in it.

LEMON: It brought me back to my childhood.

DENT: It seems like he is in it. LEMON: The plank over the ditch to go to the neighbor's house. I was really country growing up. Garrett, the committee is deliberately releasing some damming evidence. But will it shake up Meadows or make other Trump allies think twice about trying to subvert the investigation or do you think they don't care about truth or facts or law or nothing?

GRAFF: Well, I do think what we have seen is that this Steve Bannon criminal charge of contempt of Congress has shaken some of these cooperators. It has had some of its desired effect.


GRAFF: I think you're seeing that in Mark Meadows, in half in, half out challenge that he has found himself in, is that he was really trying to avoid this moment where Congress would move for a criminal contempt charge and was hoping that he would sort of be able to cooperate enough and argue executive privilege plausibly enough, that he might get sort of cast aside and the committee would move on.

It's clear the committee is pushing hard and they want to try to get as close to the truth as they can. I think they feel that ticking clock, too. I think everyone understands that if Republicans take back the majority next year, every ounce of effort that the January 6th Committee has put in that has not been made public is going to be buried as deep as the Republicans can possibly bury it.

LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

So, let's talk about what is happening with the pandemic now. COVID cases, hospitalizations, deaths all up as hospitals brace for a winter surge. And now, we're getting a better picture of just how quickly the Omicron variant could spread.




LEMON: COVID cases on the rise in the United States, up nearly 45 percent over the past few weeks, meaning that around 120,000 new cases are being reported each day. Hospitalizations spiking as well just as the Omicron variant is taking hold. So, the country is on the verge of a terrible milestone, recording 800,000 deaths from COVID-19. Goodness.

I want to bring in now Dr. Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine, associate dean of public health at Brown University. We need some good news, doctor. Good evening to you. Good to see you. So, the Omicron variant has been reported in 32 states and D.C. Experts are warning that it is only time until this is the dominant variant. Can you explain to us just how contagious this variant is compared to others?

MEGAN RANNEY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE AND ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Yeah, every piece of data that we have so far supports that this variant is in order of magnitude more transmissible than the variants that we have seen before.

We are expecting that Omicron will become the dominant variant across the United States by early January based on the data we're seeing out of other countries.

The one piece of potential good news is that so far, Omicron seems to be pretty mild in those of us who are vaccinated, particularly in those who are vaccinated and boosted. But we don't yet know for sure. Because it is spreading so quickly, we don't yet have great data from the U.K. or from other countries where Omicron has already become the dominant strain of COVID.

LEMON: We have seen, doctor, the U.S. follow behind surges in Europe by just a few weeks. Look at the cases. This is U.K. The map is up there. This chart shows the average number of new cases over the past year. You see the Delta surge in the summer and now up again in cases in Denmark. New cases averaging triple what they were in October. Do you expect this to be the U.S. in the coming months?

RANNEY: I do expect that to be the U.S. You know, the patterns of the population, the patterns of vaccination in the U.K. and Denmark are quite similar to what we see in the United States. There is no reason for us to think that our case patterns will not follow what they're seeing.

The big question, the thing that we're all waiting on with baited breath is what happens to hospitalizations in those countries? We know that hospitalizations usually spike somewhere between one and three weeks after a case is discovered. So, we're watching to see how bad hospitalizations get in European countries because I will tell you that here in the U.S., we can't take much more on top of the current Delta wave.

LEMON: Yeah, you're right about that. According to a source, today alone, the NFL saw 37 positive COVID cases among players. On December 2nd, the NFL said that 94.4 of its players were vaccinated along with 100 percent of other NFL personnel. What is today's news say to you?

RANNEY: So, it's two things. The first is that even a small number of folks who are unvaccinated still put the rest of us at risk. But the other important thing about this statistic that we have yet to kind of follow through is that most likely, most of those cases are mild because most of those are going to be in folks who did get vaccinated. Most likely have not been boosted yet, but who did get vaccinated.

The purpose of these vaccines is not to completely stop transmission of COVID. That's not going to happen. Instead, the purpose of the vaccines is to stop severe disease, hospitalization and death. And so far, we are seeing that happen. But unfortunately, those who have not got vaccinated both continue to spread and continue to overwhelm our hospital systems.

LEMON: Dr. Ranney, thank you very much. We will see you soon.

RANNEY: Thank you.

LEMON: Families across the south and Midwest devastated by a tornado outbreak. More than 100 people are feared dead.


LEMON: My next guest lost her brother and nephew, and she's still searching for her brother-in-law.


LEMON: The National Weather Service saying at least 50 tornadoes touched down in eight states across the south and Midwest over the weekend. At least 100 people are feared dead. That number could rise. Dozens of people are still missing.


LEMON: So, I want to bring in now Sandy Gunn. Her brother Steve Gunn, his son Grayson, and brother-in-law Jamie Hall were duck hunting in Tennessee when one of the tornadoes struck. Steve and Grayson did not survive. Jamie is still missing. She joins us now along with her daughter, Shanna.

Thank you so much for joining us, Shanna and Sandy. Sandy, I'm so sorry for your loss and everything your family is going through right now. How are you doing?


LEMON: In shock?

GUNN: Absolutely. Half of my family has been wiped out. They're just gone.

LEMON: How are you holding up, Shanna?

SHANNA HALL, LOST COUSIN AND UNCLE IN TORNADO OUTBREAK: Trying to be strong for everyone right now. It's hard.

LEMON: Yeah.

HALL: It's hard.

LEMON: Steve, Grayson and Jamie were part of this big duck hunting trip. You know, they go with a larger group. On Friday evening, there were weather warnings in their phones alerting them of tornadoes. Where were they at the time? Can you take me through what happened, what you know, Sandy?

GUNN: So, they were in Tipton Hill, Tennessee and they have been hunting all day. They got up that morning and they just had the best time hunting. They just -- it was just absolutely wonderful. They were laughing. They are taking their sons. My brother had taken his son. My brother-in-law, Jamie, was the last-minute fill in. He never went duck hunting before. He was the last-minute fill in. He just had the time of his life.

And they went to a restaurant in the facility and there was a Santa Claus there. He asked them, he said, you know, where you boys are from? The guy said Florida. They said, well, what do you know about tornadoes? And, you know, they're all in the place and these locals are still in there. And my brother-in-law said, we're from Florida. We don't know anything really about tornadoes. He said, well, you're going to learn about them tonight.

But again, nobody had a sense of urgency. They weren't saying we got to shelter over here, come to the shelter. You know, in Florida, we get hurricane warnings all the time. And you know how Floridians are, they don't really panic like that. So, you know, it just didn't seem to be -- it is just urban area.

And they went back to the hunting resort and they -- the kids are playing around. And my brother, he looked at his son and he said, come on. He said, we've been up since 3:00, let's go to our room and get some sleep. We have to go hunting tomorrow. And so, him and my brother -- my brother and Grayson and my brother-in-law Jamie, they were on the second floor on the 45th and 46th room. And my other brother-in- law and my brother's best friends were on the first floor.

And he says, you know, it was a lightened (ph) storm. But again, nobody -- you know, nobody in the resort was saying anything. They just figured it's just a storm coming through. He said -- and the kids were getting nervous. They went outside and started videotaping the storm, the lightning and stuff.

He said all of a sudden, the air changed. He said it just changed like that. He said -- and he started running. Everybody started running with their kids. And there was a building right across the rooms. It was like a little clubhouse, you know. And they ran in there and kicked the door open and got in a bathroom stall. And they put the kids on the bottom. And the daddies got on top.

And my brother and my brother-in-law and his son were asleep in their bed. They never even knew that when the storm -- he said it just sounded like hell had come. He said when it went silent for a moment, the baby was crying daddy, daddy, we're going to die. Daddy, I love you, I love you. The boys were screaming I love you, daddy. He said he got up and ran outside. He said the only thing standing was that bathroom stall.

He said -- I started screaming for Steve, Grayson and Jamie. He said, they were just gone. He said the whole second floor was gone. They did not -- there was no shelter. He said, Sandy -- he said, I tried to find them. He said, I couldn't find them. All of a sudden, another one started rolling in. He said, we had rented a van and it busted, all the windows of the van. He said, I'm trying to get my son, my son is so scared.

[23:45:01] GUNN: He said, we go traveling down the road and just trying to find shelter for my family. He said, when we found shelter, he said it was just tornado after tornado that kept coming over them.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. Shanna, I'm going -- can you tell us about Steve, Grayson and Jamie, please?

HALL: You wouldn't find better men ever. My uncle, Uncle Stevie, was one of a kind. He was the kind of guy that every man wanted to be. If he needed something, Uncle Stevie was the first one to say, how can I help you? It was never oh, I have something to do. He was the one that was going to do it.

And Grayson came into our lives and Grayson was the light of his world. I mean, truthfully, he was the boy that -- he had nieces, so when he had the boy, it was him. And he taught Grayson everything. Grayson was his partner in crime.

LEMON: Yeah.

HALL: And he adopted Grayson two years ago.

LEMON: We're so sorry for your loss and everyone is thinking about you and praying. And you guys be well. Thank you so much for appearing here on CNN. You take care, okay?

GUNN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, Shanna. Thank you, Sandy. I appreciate it. For more information about how you can help tornado victims, go to We'll be right back.




LEMON: California Governor Gavin Newsom citing the new Texas abortion law the Supreme Court has allowed to remain in effect, saying this weekend, and I quote -- "If that is the precedent, then we will let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets. If Texas can ban abortion and endanger lives, California can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives."

Mirroring the Texas law, Newsom's proposed legislation would allow people to sue anyone who manufacturers, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts -- in parts, excuse me, in the state of California. And those people could be fined at least $10,000 for violation.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN legal analyst Areva Martin. She is the author of "Awakening: Ladies, Leadership, and the Lies We Have Been Told." Areva, it is so good to have you. You know California law. You know the law across the country. Is this sort of fighting fire with fire? What do you think?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, you know, we know, Don, that Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned about this in her dissent, in that Texas abortion case. She said, look, the court was setting a very, very dangerous precedent, and that other states would start to model what the Texas legislature has done.

That is exactly what California Governor Gavin Newsom is talking about, not with respect to abortions but with respect to gun laws. And, you know, some may say it is performative that legislatures, states cannot enact laws that subvert the Constitution.

But I can tell you this, Don, he is getting tremendous praise on social media from progressives, from Democrats who are saying, you know, two can play this game. If Republicans can go after abortion laws to try to restrict a constitutional right to abortion in the way that they have with this Texas abortion law, that California can do so with respect to gun laws, which we know is something that Republicans hold very dearly.

So, we don't know what is going to happen, but it is definitely getting a lot of support from those who are very concerned about the Texas abortion law.

LEMON: Okay, couple things you said. We don't know what is going to happen. You said some say it is performative. But I mean, is there a legal path or is it a stunt or too soon to tell?

MARTIN: I don't think it is a stunt. I think he is very serious. He was outraged by the by the Supreme Court, that five-four decision that just came down. And the court did set a very dangerous precedent by allowing this Texas abortion law to stand, allowing the state of Texas to deputize individual citizens, allowing this law to circumvent federal court jurisdiction which is what typically what happen in a case like this.

LEMON: Can you imagine, Areva? I mean, with the gun supporters and the conservatives, their heads would pop off if this actually, you know, gained traction.

MARTIN: But Don, women's heads and pro-choice heads are people who believe that women have the right to abortion as established by the Constitution and Roe v. Wade. Our heads are popping out because of the court's ruling in that Texas case. And like I said, Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned of this.

So, I don't think it's performative. I just think some are calling it that. I don't think it is. I think it is a legitimate case to be made, that if it can be done with respect to abortion laws in the state of Texas, it can be done in the state of California with the respect to assault weapons.

LEMON: Yeah. The Supreme Court has not actually weighed in, Areva, on the constitutionality of the Texas abortion law, even as they allow it to stand. They claim that they just follow the law. But could moves like the governor's factor into the conservative justices' calculations? They can be like, oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, I'm not sure about this.

MARTIN: Well, it a conundrum, right, Don? If they are going to allow the Texas abortion law to stand, it would be hypocritical. It would be ranked hypocrisy for them to rule a law like the one that Governor Newsom is proposing with respect to gun laws to somehow be unconstitutional.


MARTIN: So, the court is going to have to get itself out of this pickle. What we see them doing with respect to this Texas abortion law is being literally guided by this kind of zealous quest that some on the court have had for years to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So, are they going to do that? Are they going to follow this zealous quest and put at issue other laws like the Second Amendment, other constitutional rights like the Second Amendment? That remains to be seen, Don. But I think it's a bold -- I think it is a brilliant move on the part of Gavin Newsom, and the court is going to have to deal with it.

LEMON: All right. Areva Martin, always a pleasure. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.