Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

House Votes On Holding Meadows In Contempt Of Congress; Keechant Sewell To Become NYC's First Female Police Commissioner; Cornell University Shuts Down Campus After Massive COVID Surge; COVID- 19 Impacting NFL, NHL And NBA; Commander Testifies About Ex-Officer Kim Potter's Taser Training; Tornadoes Ripped Through Kentucky. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 14, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Indeed, it is major breaking news: Unprecedented that the House voting right now on whether to refer Mark Meadows to the DOJ for criminal contempt of Congress for defying the subpoena from the January 6th Committee.

That is our breaking news as well as this: There is a spike in the coronavirus cases hitting Cornell University especially hard. The school shutting down its campus after reporting more than 900 coronavirus cases among student body in just the past week. We're going to bring that to you a little bit later on in this program.

I want to get straight to Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado. He has voted. Jason Crow, congressman, thank you for joining us now. So, you just voted -- you just cast your vote to hold one of your former colleagues in contempt. How is this sitting with you tonight? Do you think it is going to help get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Hi, Don. Good to be with you. First of all, I didn't want to have to take this vote. Nobody should be happy about the fact that we've had to take these votes to hold people in criminal contempt or recommend criminal contempt proceedings to the DOJ, because what is shows is that people aren't keeping their oats, what it shows is they're turning their back on democracy, and that the Congress has to step in and hold them accountable.

So, this is not a good day. It is not a positive day. But it also shows that our system is working and that the House of Representatives is not willing to sit there and let people turn their back on the rule of law to say that the Congress doesn't matter. We have equal branches. That is the beauty of our system. And for that to work, Congress has to assert its authority and has to make sure that people are following the law.

LEMON: Where do you see this is going? What is the sentiment on the floor, even from House Republicans?

CROW: Well, I'm not going to purport to get into the mind of my Republican colleagues here. I mean, certainly, they should be overwhelmingly voting in favor of this. They're not because this is an issue of rule of law, this is an issue of democratic norms and traditions, this is an issue of asserting the power of Congress of which they are a member.

So, I would think that any member of Congress would want to do their individual duty to assert the power of Congress and make sure that it is a co-equal branch to the executive as our system is designed under the Constitution. They unfortunately are not doing that.

LEMON: Yeah. We have learned so much new evidence, congressman, coming out within the last 24, 48 hours, these damming text messages that some of which that Mark Meadows received. This is some evidence, these damming text messages that Mark Meadows received from sitting members of Congress.

There was one about plans to have states change electoral votes and even one after the attack apologizing for not being able to overturn the election. I mean, this is coming from your own colleagues. How do you even stomach that?

CROW: It's not easy. I can tell you that. It is hard. And, you know, the level of disregard for our democracy, the level of disregard for the Constitution is frankly pretty stunning at times.


But, you know, I have my duty. That is clear to me. I rose my right hand when I first enlisted in the military and became an officer. I pledged to uphold the Constitution, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I spent the first part of my life and my career in public service, in the military, addressing foreign threats. And now, as a member of Congress, I find myself actually addressing domestic threats.

So, I will do what I need to do, and we will fight for our Constitution, we will fight for our democracy, and I won't stop.

LEMON (on camera): Over on the Senate side, Mitch McConnell is speaking tonight, the Senate minority leader, and this is what he said about those lawmakers. Watch.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I do think we're all watching as you are what is unfolding on the House side and it will be interesting to reveal all the participants who are involved.


LEMON (on camera): The names are going to come out. So, will these lawmakers be held accountable, do you think?

CROW: Well, I hope so. I mean, as we said after January 6th, that we will find the truth, we will seek the truth relentlessly, and then we will try to hold folks accountable. We have certain tools at our disposal in Congress and the House of Representatives, but there are other tools that the Department of Justice has to leverage as well. We're going to encourage that if there are violations of law, that people are held accountable regardless of their status.

You know, we are a democracy. There is no man or woman who is above or below the law. We don't have kings. We don't have queens. We have everybody who is equal in the eyes of the law. And regardless of their position, they should be held accountable if they violated the law.

LEMON: We are watching now Sheila Jackson Lee presiding, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and I think the vote is done. It appears to be on party lines except for what I imagine is --


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): -- the unfinished business is a vote on pass --

LEMON: Let's listen.

JACKSON LEE: -- of H.R. 5665 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. The clerk will report the title of the bill.

UNKNOWN: Union calendar number 156 H.R. 5665, a bill to establish in the Department of State the office to monitor and combat islamophobia and for other purposes.

JACKSON LEE: The question is on the passage of the bill. Members will record votes by electronic device. What purpose does the gentleman from Tennessee rise?


LEMON: Okay. Hang on, hang on, hang on one second. Let me get back to the congressman before we get to Ryan. Congressman, are you still there?

CROW: I am.

LEMON: Congressman, this 5665. Tell us what is going on. You're very familiar with this. What is happening?

CROW: Yeah. This is the islamophobia bill. This is the bill to make it really clear that we're not going to stand up for bigoted language, that we are not going to tolerate racist language, that people that, you know, are going to say these things and try to attack communities like the communities that I represent, for example. I represent one of the most diverse districts in the nation, the most diverse district in Colorado, in a large Muslim population.

We're going to send a very clear message to America that we stand behind our Muslim community, our Muslim neighbors and brothers and sisters. These are people that I fought along with when I joined the military, people that I fought with that served this nation, came from all races, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions. That's America. And we're going to send a very strong message that we will make sure we're supporting everybody in America.

LEMON: And just to be clear, you have voted on the Mark Meadows bill, correct?

CROW: That's right. That was the vote before this one to hold Mark Meadows in contempt --

LEMON: Okay.

CROW: -- of Congress.

LEMON: All right. So, what you heard there from Sheila Jackson Lee was another H.R. 5665. Congressman Jason Crow, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate it.

Maybe getting back to but I want to get to my colleague up on the Hill now, Ryan Nobles, our congressional correspondent. Ryan, so, it is official. The House is voting to hold one of its members in criminal contempt. Give us the latest on this.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's exactly right, Don. This played out just as we predicted it at the beginning of your program, at 10:00. The House has voted to report out a criminal contempt referral of Congress for the former White House chief of staff and a former member of Congress, Mark Meadows.

The final vote ended up being 222-208. There were only two Republicans that voted yes, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. They're the only two Republicans that also set (ph) on the January 6th Select Committee.

So, every single other Republican voted no against allowing the Congress to enforce its subpoena laws, which gives the Congress the authority to call someone before them to answer questions if it's a matter that they believe has a legislative purpose, and the committee believes their work in investigating January 6th is a key legislative purpose that will ultimately result in changes to the way Congress does business, and then to that end, what other information they find out about the attacks that happened on January 6th.


So, this isn't a surprise, Don. Of course, the big question is, how long will it take the Department of Justice to deliberate whether or not they will prosecute this case?

What we saw play out here today is essentially a recommendation. They write up a report, they give all the evidence and information, that they have to say that they believe that an individual has, you know, ignored the rules the Congress and not answered the subpoena correctly.

It is up to prosecutors in the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office to determine whether or not that's a prosecutable offense. They thought that about Steve Bannon, and the situation is a little bit different with Mark Meadows because he was working in the executive branch at the time in question.

But the committee believes that there is enough evidence there, that the Department of Justice should move forward and prosecute this case. It will then go to trial, and Mark Meadows could face jail time depending on how this all plays out, Don.

LEMON: I'm just looking, Ryan, the seven Republicans who voted. This one was strictly along party lines except for as predicted, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. But there were some Republicans who voted for contempt resolution on Steve Bannon. They didn't do it this time. What is the reasoning here? What is going on?

NOBLES: You know, I think that there have been a lot of Republicans who you've seen -- I shouldn't say a lot. There is a handful of Republicans that we've seen from time to time that have crossed party lines for these issues related to January 6th, either to vote in favor of the impeachment of the former president, Donald Trump, who have voted to form that independent commission that would allow for an independent group to investigate January 6th.

But as we've seen this process go along, you've seen fewer and fewer Republicans willing to take that step of kind of sticking their necks out against the party's base to take these tough votes as it relates to anything having to do with Donald Trump. It is essentially what it comes down to.

And, you know, there are some Republicans -- you think of John Katko, for instance, who voted to impeach Donald Trump twice, who was one of the architects of the independent commission, but has been very critical of this select committee who believes it's too partisan.

So, you know, each and every Republican that choose to vote no, they have their own reasons for it. Some say it is too partisan. Some say they don't believe the subpoena power is correct and is using correct -- I think of Nancy Mace of South Carolina, for instance.

LEMON: Right.

NOBLES: She was one of those Republicans who voted in favor of the Bannon contempt referral, and she said it was expressly because she was concerned about Congress maintaining that subpoena authority. She chose not to do that tonight. We don't know the exact reason why. But --

LEMON: Yeah.

NOBLES: -- there -- a lot of these Republicans in this Trump era have found themselves in very difficult positions, especially if they hope to seek reelection and have to go through a very tough primary where somebody like Donald Trump can just go pick somebody out of the blue and say that he endorses that candidate and has them run against them.

LEMON: Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler voted for -- these are the folks who voted for the Bannon contempt: Jaime Herrera Beutler, Brian Fitzpatrick, Nancy Mace, as you mentioned, Fred Upton, Peter Meijer, John Katko, as you mentioned, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, but didn't vote for this Meadows resolution.

Ryan Nobles following the breaking news for us up on Capitol Hill. We'll get back to Ryan if we need to get more information. Ryan, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Chris Whipple is here. I want to bring him in. He is the author of "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chief of Staff Define Every Presidency." Thank you, sir. Just got that breaking news. Good evening to you.

Mark Meadows becoming the first White House chief of staff to face criminal contempt charges since Watergate, we should say. He started out cooperating. What happened? How did it come to this?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, "THE GATEKEEPER": Well, you know, it is really a historic moment. I mean, the first time in almost 200 years. And you -- but it is a day of reckoning that Mark Meadows richly deserves. I mean, you know, there used to be a stiff competition, Don, for the worst chief of staff in history. No longer. Meadows owns that title by a country mile.

And it's almost as if not contempt with having the title of worst chief. He wants to demonstrate that he is the dumbest chief. And let us just count the ways. I mean, number one, he is relying on this argument of privilege, which has to yield to evidence of a criminal conspiracy and attempt to over throw the government, as Liz Cheney has pointed out.

Number two, he is, by the way, has already delivered thousands of pages of documents and emails to the committee while claiming the same privilege --

LEMON: And has written a book.

WHIPPLE: -- and oh, by the way, has just released a book. So, you really have to wonder how he -- you know, how he could have handled this any more than he has. And so, here he is.


And watching that, you really have to wonder how someone who was once a member of that body could throw away not only his reputation but maybe even his freedom ultimately in the service of somebody like Donald Trump.

LEMON: One must ask -- you said all of those things, right? What kind of strategy is this? Is this a strategy? Is he trying to have it both ways? I'm cooperating, so therefore, you shouldn't hold me in contempt, I should not face any consequences for this, but also, hey, Trump and Trump supporters, look, I'm saying, I'm defying. What kind of --

WHIPPLE: If this is a strategy here, Winston Churchill would say it's exceedingly well disguised. I mean, I don't see any strategy here other than possibly Bannon panicking when he discovered that Trump wasn't as excited about his book as he was. I think he simply went into retreat.

So, I don't think he has the strategy that can possibly work here. As I say, I think he'll wind up probably being prosecuted by DOJ.

LEMON: You think he will?

WHIPPLE: I think -- I think the odds are that he will because again, I don't think the privilege that he's citing here can possibly work when you're -- you know, the Supreme Court decided this back in 1974 by a vote of eight to nothing, that privilege has to yield when there is evidence of a possible crime.

LEMON: Mark Meadows was the fourth -- he was the former president's fourth chief of staff.

WHIPPLE: That's' right.

LEMON: But he's set to be the chief of staff that Trump always wanted. Why is that?

WHIPPLE: Yeah, no question. I mean, he took sycophancy and he made it an art form. You know, Dwight Eisenhower had a chief of staff named Sherman Adams who was gruff and tough, a great gatekeeper, and they called him the "abominable no-man."

Well, in my mind, Mark Meadows is the abominable yes-man. You know, there was never a cockamamie scheme or even illegal proposal that Meadows wasn't happy to take to the commander-in-chief or even become complicit in as we now discovered as the evidence continues to come out.

I mean, he rather than being the gatekeeper, he was the guy who flung the gate open to this "Star Wars" bar cast of conspiracy theorists and crackpots like Sidney Powell and the others. And, of course, now, we're discovering that he's up to his neck in the plot to destroy democracy.

LEMON: That is an old word that I haven't heard in a while, cockamamie, that we used to use in the south all the time. Happy to bring that back to the vernacular. Thank you. It is good to see you.

WHIPPLE: Good to be back.

LEMON: It's a pleasure. So, this is our breaking news: The House voting tonight to refer Mark Meadows to the DOJ for contempt of Congress. That amid revelations about who was texting whom on January 6th.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So, we have the breaking news on CNN tonight: The House voting tonight to hold their former colleague Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress. Newly revealed texts hinting at just how committed the president's allies were to overturning the election.

Let's discuss now with CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro and Keith Boykin join me now. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.

So, you guys just saw -- Ana, I will start with you. Almost no Republicans voting to hold Mark Meadows in contempt. That is after these revealing stunning text messages from lawmakers to Meadows on January 6th. Has the GOP's embrace of the coup attempt been even -- I mean, it's never been more clear. I don't think -- what do you think, Ana Navarro?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this entire thing, as this is developing, is so incredibly sad. And we are coming to the one-year anniversary of January 6th. And I think it's so important that we don't forget what we saw. As I heard you say earlier, we all remember where we were when the Capitol was getting breached.

You know, I think it's sad that we knew there were going to be no Republicans other than Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger to vote for this, which is so obvious, right? There is now so much evidence. We have seen released this week so much more evidence that points to just how involved staff, Congress people, the White House, Trump advisors, Trump himself were on what happened on January 6th.

And I -- you know, we focus a lot on the fact that all but two Republicans voted against this tonight. I really want to focus on the pride I feel as a Republican woman for Liz Cheney because Adam Kinzinger, who I love and I respect, is retiring. Liz Cheney is running for reelection in a state that Donald Trump won. But she has got so much backbone, so much principle, so much conviction. She's got so much to just -- she -- patriotism.


I'm thinking of a word that won't get us FCC.

LEMON: I was going to say fortitude.

NAVARRO: She has got so much -- yeah, she does. And, you know, I am in such admiration, deep admiration of her because you can disagree with her on policy all you want, but it's hard right now not to admire her patriotism.

LEMON: Let me just jump in here because I was having that same conversation today about Liz Cheney. People can say what they want about Liz Cheney. She is still Republican. She still votes as a conservative, but she is principled on this particular matter.

And talking about people who are not principled, it is Mark Meadows, and then also Kevin McCarthy because as we understand, the former president is upset both by those two. [23:24:59]

One is because of what Meadows put in his book, and the other thing is because Kevin McCarthy -- he is blaming Kevin McCarthy for all of the damning information that is coming out of this committee. You suck up to Trump and this is what happens? This is what you get, Keith?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I don't know how many times people need to know this or hear this, but Donald Trump doesn't care about anybody but Donald Trump.

He doesn't care about the country, he doesn't care if the country falls apart, he doesn't care that the Capitol is attacked, he doesn't care about the Republican Party, he doesn't care about his own vice president, and he clearly doesn't even care about his own son. He doesn't care about his family. His own son, Don Jr., was trying to send text messages to him in the midst of the insurrection, and Donald Trump wouldn't respond. So, he had -- so, Don Jr. had to go to Mark Meadows.

And so, this is a man who had shown himself to be completely oblivious to all sorts of norms of political behavior all because -- everyone is in service of this big lie, that Donald Trump still won the election that was over a year ago. He lost the election by seven million votes and they're still, a year later, still perpetuating that lie.

I think this is a grotesque perversion of masculinity by these tough talking Republicans that they are willing to attack Democrats, but they won't stand up to autocrat who is basically a geriatric guy on a golf course in Mar-a-Lago simply because he's a bully. They won't stand up to him, but they have a -- they won't even defend their people in the United States Congress who are under attack.

What does that say about our country? How do you call yourself an American and a patriot when you won't stand up and defend your own colleagues when they're under attack?

LEMON: Let's talk about --

NAVARRO: So much hypocrisy has been revealed this week. You know, the fact that so many people in Congress were sending texts to Mark Meadows and now our voting --

LEMON: I'm going to talk about just that.

NAVARRO: -- you know, pretending as if nothing happened on January 6th. The fact that they made such hay about what happened with Hillary Clinton and her emails, but they were all communicating through private way, through signals and other encrypted ways. The fact that they were so righteous about conflicts of interest and journalistic conflicts of interest, but they were all having journalistic conflicts of interest and there has been not a peep out of a single one of them and there is going to be no zero consequence out of it.

So, the level of hypocrisy, and as you say -- by the way, to Donald Trump's defense, I'm not sure I find fault in not responding to Donald Trump, Jr.


LEMON: I just want to -- let me put up one of these texts.

NAVARRO: But it explains a lot.

LEMON: I get the shade that you're throwing right here. This is Mark Meadow. The text coming out today. It's an aggressive strategy. Why can't the state of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other R controlled state houses declare this is B.S. and just send our own electors to vote and have it go to SCOTUS?

I mean, it is clear that lawmakers in cahoots trying to overturn the election. What kind of consequence -- this is -- this is -- these are texts to Meadows from the committee today. What do you think?

NAVARRO: I think it's -- were these texts today?

LEMON: No, no. The committee revealed them today.

NAVARRO: Revealed them today.

LEMON: There were texts happening during the time to Mark Meadows.

NAVARRO: Right. And then they pretend that it was tourists, you know, going around the Capitol. Then they pretend that it wasn't a concerted effort that involved the White House and involved people in Congress, that involved Trump advisors, that involved donors, that involved all sorts of people, conglomerating folks at the Willard Hotel and war rooms (ph) to then go out and do what happened on January 6th, which cost lives.

LEMON: Last word, please.

BOYKIN: They all knew, they still know, and there is another hypocrisy about the Hillary Clinton thing. She testified. She testified to Congress for 11 hours. Mark Meadows won't even testify. Mark Meadows was on the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Hillary Clinton came to testify to that committee about Benghazi. And now, he won't testify about an attack on the United States Capitol. Where is the consistency?

LEMON: Is that called hypocrisy?

NAVARRO: I got other words I could use, but I don't want to get you fined.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. We got more breaking news tonight. New York City is about to get its first female police commissioner. Mayor-elect Eric Adams is choosing Nassau County chief of detectives, Keechant Sewell, to lead the nation's largest police department.

Adams is releasing a statement saying in part that Keechant Sewell is a proven crime fighter with the experience and emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety New Yorkers need and the justice they deserve. formal announcement will be made tomorrow morning. So, there you go, history in the making.

A huge COVID outbreak at Cornell University with more than 900 cases and sports leagues all across the country struggling with outbreaks of their own, and Omicron variant may be to blame.




LEMON: So, Cornell University in central New York State shutting down its campus after reporting more than 900 coronavirus cases among student body in just the past week. The university says a high, very high percentage of the cases are the Omicron variant infecting fully vaccinated students.

So, I want to bring in now Frank Kruppa. He is the public health director of Tompkins County, New York.


Thank you for joining us, Frank. I appreciate it.


LEMON: So, the school requirement states that all students be vaccinated by December 15th, tomorrow. Did the surge of over 900 cases at Cornell University come as a surprise to you?

KRUPPA: I think we certainly expected additional cases as we move through the holiday season and we began to relax public health guidance over the last several months, but certainly the volume of cases was something that came a bit unexpected.

LEMON: The university declared a COVID-19 Omicron red alert. Please tell me what that means, sir.

KRUPPA: So, the university made decisions about moving their finals, their remaining finals, to remote status and they've cancelled some on-campus events. Really, that was driven by a sampling of test results from the students that were screened and had unique identifier related to Omicron that will now be fully sequenced. But we do believe a large portion of these student cases will ultimately result as the Omicron variant.

LEMON: Okay. So, let me read part of the statement that Cornell released. Cornell's extensive surveillance testing yesterday uncovered the like early and rapid spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 among our student population. While preliminary, initial screening results indicate that the variant now accounts for a very high percentage of our positive COVID-19 cases, virtually every case of the Omicron variant to date has been found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot.

So, what do you say here? Has there been severe illness in any of the students?

KRUPPA: So, among the student population throughout the pandemic, we have not seen severe illness, and that certainly has continued. I think one of the things that we're focusing on in our community while case counts are important is really the severity of illness and what our hospitalization numbers look like.

And even with increasing numbers since the end of June, our hospitalizations have remained relatively low, and we're hoping that that trend will continue even as we identify the Omicron variant in our community.

LEMON: These are college kids, Frank. They're part of the larger community there. How likely is this to have spread outside the Cornell community?

KRUPPA: Yeah, the Cornell students are part of our community. And certainly, when we see cases like this within their populations, we do think right now it is somewhat contained to them. But, as you said, they are certainly part of our community and we'll be looking at and sequencing all the positive results in Tompkins County. As soon as we know more about that, we'll certainly alert our community.

We are still recommending the same things even with the Omicron variant: Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask indoors, and follow the public health guidance we've been talking about for quite some time now.

LEMON: Frank Kruppa, thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us.

KRUPPA: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you. Pro-sports being hit hard by a spike in COVID cases as well. A source is telling CNN that 28 NFL players tested positive today. That is on top of 37 players testing positive yesterday. The NHL is postponing their ninth game this season because of multiple players testing positive. And they're not alone. The NBA is also postponing games. Players on multiple teams sidelined, including reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Dr. Myron Rolle joins me now. Doctor, help me with that name. By the way, Dr. Rolle, he is neurosurgery resident at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital and a former NFL player. Thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us. How are you doing?


LEMON: Good to see you. Why are we seeing this spike in cases in professional sports leagues? What is going on?

ROLLE: You know, I think it's a relaxation of some of the protocols that were in placed last year where players and team personnel, the people had close contact with players, were under strict guidelines to wear mask and have proper hand hygiene, social distance and do all these things.

Now that the vaccine has come out, a lot of players and teams believe that it is the end all, be all, the cure all, and have not kept up with some of those public safety measures that we are all speaking about. So, I think that is an issue.

I also think this Omicron variant and the Delta variant are still out there and players are being exposed when they travel to different states to play different games. It is holiday season now. I remember when I played professional football, we had family members in and out of your house who are exposed to different things in the community and don't submit themselves to the same protocols that you do in the locker room.

So, there are a lot of factors at play right now, but I am hoping that the NFL, NHL and NBA speak to some outside public health experts to really mitigate this and keep players' safety at a premium.


LEMON: So, listen, so -- in the NBA star players like Giannis Antetokounmpo -- I can never get that name right. Sorry about that -- now on the safety and protocols list for the Bucks, the Nets have seven players in the protocol -- in the protocol as well. But Steve Nash says that all the players who have tested positive have been asymptomatic. Does that tell you anything about what is going on?

ROLLE: Well, I think the protoplasm of professional athletes is a really rare demographic. These are elite athletes, some of the best -- in best shapes of their lives and best shape of anyone honestly in the world. And so, their symptomatology is going to be a bit different than people with multiple comorbidities and more sick at baseline.

Nevertheless, we know that vaccinated players get mild symptoms and are asymptomatic, but they can still transmit and infect other people. One thing that we do know is that, in the NFL in particular, there is a protocol for players who are vaccinated that they get tested once a week. Yeah, they can still be infected, but they're walking around without masks, without proper hand hygiene, and they're spreading the disease to other people.

And so, I think that the NFL PA, especially other leagues, should increase the frequency of testing, so you know if the virus is in the building. In that way, you can thwart it out and try to resemble some sort of semblance of normalcy in your sports leagues.

LEMON: Speaking of which, I mean, these outbreaks, if these outbreaks are happening under these controlled conditions, what does that mean for the rest of us? We are not in such controlled conditions. Remember, the professional sports were in bubbles if high testing rates and so on. What does that mean for the rest of us?

ROLLE: I think it lets us know that we're not out of this pandemic. I think there has been a relaxation in all of us to sort of go back to the pre-pandemic state where we can move freely and with the liberty that we always want.

But there are still the aspects that are necessary to follow, the behavior, lifestyle modifications and getting vaccinated and getting boosted if you're not boosted already. We know that it increases antibodies to protect you against the variants here and the ones to come.

So, there is still more work to do. I always talk about a two-pronged approach between people in the health care facilities, health care workers, scientists, and researchers doing the work in the labs on the bench and other people in the community still thinking that this pandemic is here and operating as if it is, because as we see these spikes and these peaks in numbers, we are not out of it just yet.

LEMON: Myron Rolle, it is so good to see you and in this role. I remember the first time that you were on CNN, the interview and the story I did on you and your family. How is your family, by the way?

ROLLE: They're doing well and say hi.

LEMON: Tell them I said hello and happy holidays to you. I hope I will see you guys soon. Be well.

ROLLE: Yes, sir. You, too.

LEMON: Thank you. Key developments in manslaughter trial of Kim Potter who fatally shot Daunte Wright at a traffic stop. What today's testimony revealed about her training.




LEMON (on camera): Key testimony today in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. Her defense claiming that she mistook her gun for her taser. But the jury learning that Potter had stellar marks in her training. The veteran offers says that she didn't mean to use her gun.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has the latest.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A lesson on taser use.

MICHAEL PETERSON, SERGEANT, BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, MINNESOTA: I checked the status of it again, I disarmed it, and I holster (ph).

BROADDUS (voice-over): There were live demonstration, including safety rules.

UNKNOWN: This is part of training as well to not use -- not to deploy a taser on somebody who is operating a vehicle or machine. Is that correct?


BROADDUS (voice-over): New evidence presented in court during the manslaughter trial of former police officer Kim Potter, focusing on department policy and taser training.


BROADDUS (voice-over): Potter is accused of shooting and killing Daunte Wright after she says she made a mistake, pulling her gun instead of her taser.

POTTER: I shot him. Oh, my God!

BROADDUS (voice-over): Prosecutors showing why the former officer never should have confused her two weapons.

GARETT FLESLAND, COMMANDER, BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, MINNESOTA: I'm right-handed, right hand-dominant. I carry my hand gun on my right side. I carry my taser on my reaction side.

MATTHEW FRANK, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: And so, you carry you taser on your left?


UNKNOWN: Why you carry it on the other side?

FLESLAND: That's how the policy has always been and that's how we've always been trained.

BROADDUS (voice-over): And the still images introduced in court Tuesday show Potter's holster was set up the same way for years.

FRANK (voice-over): Ms. Potter got 100 percent (INAUDIBLE)?

FLESLAND (voice-over): Yes.

BROADDUS (voice-over): And with decades of training dating back to 2002 when Potter received her initial certification on the taser.

FRANK: So, Ms. Potter being certified again in 2015?

FLESLAND (voice-over): Yes.

FRANK: Score 50 and 50 on that.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The jury seeing for the first time on Monday a clear shot of the actual gun used by Potter and the taser she thought she pulled from her left side.

FLESLAND: When I refer to a reaction hand draw, the taser will be oriented so the handles apt, not forward, and you would use your reaction hand to draw the taser that way.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The commander showing how officers should correctly draw their weapons.

FLESLAND: This is my dominant hand to draw across my body.

BROADDUS (voice-over): And once again, the prosecution's witness justifying Potter's right to use deadly force during cross examination.


EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He is ignoring the warnings taser, taser, I'm going to tase you, you have a right to use deadly force to save that cop, that police officer that is lying over the sea (ph), correct?

FLESLAND: Potentially, yes, but I wasn't there.

GRAY: If you're dragged down the street by this driver, if he gets away, that man is going to be seriously injured or dead.

FLESLAND: I think it would be severe and significant, yes.

BROADDUS (voice-over): And then on redirect, the defense showcasing Potter's character.

GRAY: Good officers make good decisions, correct? You just testified to that.

FLESLAND: My hope is good officers make good decisions, yes.

GRAY: And you did describe Kimberly Potter as a good officer, correct?


BROADDUS (on camera): And today, members of the jury only heard from two witnesses, both with the Brooklyn Center Police Department. One of the two, the officer who signed off on Potter's annual taser training, he testified that happened about six weeks before the shooting with Daunte Wright. He also told members of the jury, he is a taser instructor and said Potter must be recertified like all the other officers who carry a taser every year. Cross-examination begins with him tomorrow. Don?


LEMON (on camera): Thank you very much. I appreciate that. The search for tornado survivors still ongoing in Kentucky right now. Hard-hit areas still reeling from the damage. And President Biden is headed there tomorrow. We'll cover that.




LEMON: The president of the United States, Joe Biden, heading to Kentucky tomorrow in the wake of this weekend's devastating tornadoes. He'll get a briefing on the storms and survey damage in some of the hardest hit parts of the state.

And there's a lot of damage for the president to see. Homes and businesses decimated. People left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. There are more than 18,000 power outages still in effect. The National Guard, the Red Cross, and state parks are all pitching in to shelter and clothe those affected.

For more information about how you can help tornado victims, go to

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