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Don Lemon Tonight

U.S. Capitol Is Marking The First Anniversary Of The Deadly Insurrection; Ashli Babbitt Death Conspiracies Continue One Year After 1/6; New Manhattan DA Announces List Of Crimes He Won't Prosecute; Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Ordered To Leave Australia; Fox Hosts Still Trying To Blame Jan. 6 On BLM. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 05, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We are now just hours away from commemorations at the U.S. Capitol marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly insurrection. The White House saying President Joe Biden will speak about the singular responsibility the former president has in the chaos and carnage of the attack.

Also tonight, the new Manhattan district attorney announcing a list of crimes his office will prosecute, will -- will -- and will not prosecute, I should say, drawing both positive and negative reactions. Is his move the right way to go?

And a major upset in the world of tennis, but this time, off the court. Tennis champ Novak Djokovic ordered to leave Australia after applying for a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated for COVID-19.

A lot to discuss. Let's bring in now CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon and CNN's White House correspondent John Harwood. Good evening.


LEMON: John "A," meaning Avlon, one year out, look, it's almost easy to forget that right after the insurrection, there was a moment where Republican leaders could have broken with Trump for good, right? I had a guest on earlier that said that party could have pivoted away from Trump. Instead, Trump and his big lie have more of a hold on the GOP than ever. Did it have to be this way, John?

AVLON: Absolutely not. I mean, look, we know 147 Republicans voted with Trump to overturn the election after the attack, but Republican leaders, as you said, stood up and denounced him in the days and weeks after the fact, but then they pulled a punch at a critical moment, particularly the Senate trial of his second impeachment, that could have taken him out of politics forever.

And that combined with the right-wing media echo chamber has allowed the big lie to metastasize in a way that is incredibly disfiguring to our republic. It is primarily the problem in the Republican Party, and Trump is therefore more powerful than ever because people knuckled under. They remained fearful of a disgraced would-be despot living in Florida.

LEMON: John Harwood, John "H" --


LEMON: -- Biden is going to be giving an address tomorrow. I should say the president will be giving an address tomorrow where advisers say that he will be blunt about the focus behind the insurrection and what it has done to our democracy. What message will he be trying to drive home on this first anniversary?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I think it is an important pivot moment for the Joe Biden White House. Throughout 2021, he talked about threats to democracy and the need for democracy to show that it could work. That was mainly about democracy delivering.

That meant his government and his party, which is in control of the Congress delivering. And they've struggled to do that. They've been fighting internally and trying to get his agenda through. And for that and some other reasons, his ratings have suffered.

In 2022, if he is going to come back politically, he is going to have to take it hard to Republicans, draw sharp contrast with Republicans, and talk about the difference between the two parties. And one of the differences is this question of democracy. It's an argument that has the advantage of being true.

As you were discussing with Avlon a minute ago, it didn't have to be this way, but it is this way. The Democratic Party is not a threat to democracy. The Republican Party is.

LEMON: Yeah.

HARWOOD: And if Joe Biden can make that case forcefully, that might have the ability to rally his base and bring some people to his side.

LEMON (on camera): John Avlon, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, warning that acts of violence and threats have become frighteningly common over the last year. Here is part of it.


MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Flight crews have been assaulted. Journalists have been targeted. School personnel and their families have been threatened. A member of Congress was threatened in a gruesome voice mail that asked if she had ever seen what a 50-caliber shell does to a human head. These acts and threats of violence are not associated with any one set of partisan or ideological views.


But they are permeating so many parts of our national life that they risk becoming normalized and routine if we do not stop them.


LEMON (on camera): Listen, you know, John, this all started with the rise of Trump, right?


LEMON: This sort of anger, right? But it really came to the head and over the last year since the insurrection. It seems that a year after the insurrection, Americans are angrier than ever at people that they disagree with. Where is this going?

AVLON: Well, look, I mean, there is no question the tone comes from the top and we have defined deviancy down and we are in danger of normalizing threats and violence. And whatever political frustrations folks may be feeling, frustrations around COVID, we need to reawaken to the basic idea of common ground and common decency again. And that is what in part Garland was -- A.G. Garland was discussing today, this downstream effect from the bile in our politics.

But it's also going to take accountability to rein in some of these folks who now feel free rein to threaten violence because they've become unhinged. We need to cut that off at the pass before it escalates again.

LEMON: Yeah. Mr. Harwood, in a New York Times op-ed out today, the former president, Jimmy Carter, is calling out Republicans in his home state and other key states, warning, and I quote here, "They seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed."

"I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally, the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power, has become dangerously fragile at home."

Very profound. When a former president says that American democracy is on the brink, wouldn't you say, hey, we've got a real problem here?

HARWOOD: We definitely have a real problem here. The challenge for Joe Biden is making average Americans and the people who are going to vote in the 2022 midterms believe that it is a huge problem.

You know, people are focused on day-to-day concerns. They are focused on COVID, they are focused on their economic circumstances, focused on inflation, all the things that in day-to-day life preoccupy most American families.

And the January 6th insurrection had the advantage of dramatizing the threat to democracy on our television screens in a way that nobody could miss.

But as we get a year out from that, it -- defending democracy is an abstraction for most Americans. So, it is not clear, especially given the president's lack of popularity at the moment, that he can rally a large audience even with the help of Jimmy Carter.

But we are just going to have to see if he can make that case. Maybe it can rally his base. But the truth is, right now, Republicans have enough political strength to win without cheating, without violence, without things that threaten democracy, and Joe Biden and Democrats are going to have to make that threat as vivid as possible.

LEMON: Go ahead, John. Before you jump through the screen.


AVLON: Look, you know, aside from the historic nature of a former president warning that democracy is in danger in America, you know, this isn't about popularity. It's not about all the things that drive people to distraction in their daily lives. This is fundamental. And there does need to be a broader movement to defend our democracy.

Folks should be single issue voters if they're not part of the Trumpist right. This should be something that can unite us. There is nothing more important than defending our democracy at the end of the day. It does require people realizing that that is the issue and forming broader coalitions to defend our democracy.

And honoring those Republicans who did the right thing, you know, people who are some of the heroes of the last year, but realizing that there is a rot inside the Trump-led Republican Party that must be confronted if you care about democracy, and that is the essence of being a patriot, anything else is transactional partisanship.

LEMON: You just took the words out of my mouth. I was not going to say that is not actual -- they are not actually patriots.


LEMON: They're just -- they think that's what patriotism is. You have to live it. Thank you very much, gentlemen.

AVLON: Thanks, guys.

LEMON: I appreciate it. Now, I want to bring in CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, as well as former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. Hello, gents. How are you?



LEMON: John Dean --

LITMAN: Another John.

LEMON (on camera): Another John. I got to get my Johns right. John Dean, good evening to you. The attorney general, Merrick Garland, insisting today that the Justice Department is committed to holding those involved in the January 6th insurrection accountable. Watch. [23:09:58]


GARLAND: The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.


LEMON (on camera): So, critics on the left have been demanding more action from the DOJ. Should they feel reassured tonight?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think they should. I actually tweeted that very fact shortly after the address. In fact, I learned in your first segment that the Department of Justice put that paragraph out in their press release before the speech, so they were obviously sending the signal and it was received.

I didn't have an advanced press copy, but that paragraph or that statement just jumped out at me because I don't think that the Trump team should be sleeping as easily tonight. They know they are potential targets.

LEMON: This was, Harry, a relatively safe speech from A.G. Garland coming a year after the Capitol riot. But, I mean, it is important to remember that the DOJ doesn't operate on a political calendar like Congress does. Could a lot more be happening behind the scenes? It has been a year. It seems like a long time.

LITMAN: So, yes, yes, and yes. First, as to the sort of money quote that John just said, you know, overall, it was a button down, bureaucratic speech, but this was the big point, and what you played is exactly the focal point. His cadence slowed. His voice raised. He meant very carefully to say, listen to me and what I'm saying and I mean it.

On the other hand, the calendar is a huge point. As you say, this is more implicit in the speech. I don't think people tumbled to it quite as much, but he was basically saying we are on a different timeline and it is not necessarily congruent with the January 6th Committee timeline.

I think that he is saying they will go there, but indications are they have not yet, and it takes months, more really, to put together a case. And in that sense, as a practical matter, I think we were also hearing tonight that he is not going to be giving the huge shot in the arm that some in the Democratic Party might be seeking in advance of the midterms.

He was asking for patience and a little bit of like give me some room here, this is how we work it. It is how they work it, but it will disappoint some.

LEMON: Yes. What we saw -- we saw four years, Harry, of Trump attempting to use the DOJ as a political weapon. Is this the department -- is this department -- is this -- excuse me, is this how the department is supposed to operate?

LITMAN: It is, 100 percent, and he plays it so straight and so by the rules. Now, you'll have people, especially on the left, saying this is such an extreme situation, you should bend the rules a bit, tell us a bit more, go to this investigation quicker than you otherwise would.

But there is no doubt he is a by the book guy. What he said today, as you put it, Don, was safe but significant, and he was really retreating to the prerogative here is how the DOJ does stuff and we aren't going to change it even for this historic and abhorrent event, as he made clear at the beginning, and even if there is a sort of political heat on the outside. We are doing our job the way we do it. He was really clear about that.

And again, as people focus on it, that will mean that it won't give the Democrats and the committee what they are necessarily looking for between now and the end of the summer.

LEMON: John Dean, let's talk about this, you know, the Trump advisers who happened to have television shows. We got these new text messages this week that Sean Hannity sent to the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. He talks about the White House council in the text from December 31st, 2020. I quote here. "We can't lose the entire White House counsel's office. I do not see January 6 happening the way he is being told." And one year ago, on January 5th, he sent this one, he says, Pence pressure, White house counsel will leave.

As a former White House counsel who testified against President Nixon, what is Hannity's concern tell you about what was happening around Trump on the eve of the insurrection?

DEAN: Well, it really is a post-Watergate kind of reaction. White House counsel typically do not resign. It is a very unusual situation. None have. McGahn, Trump's original counsel, threatened it once internally.


We learned about it. It leaked out because of the Russia investigation. So, it is an unusual circumstance. That Hannity would know about it shows how deep inside his knowledge is, because we know from Senate testimony, there was one occasion that Cipollone, his last counsel, was talking about leaving if they put a new attorney general in, this fellow Clark who was just a midlevel assistant attorney general.

So, this is -- we couldn't tell from this as to whether it is another one or the same. So, clearly, Hannity has got a lot of information that could be very valuable to the committee. I'll be surprised if they don't subpoena him.

LEMON: Oh, wow. Right on. Harry, you agree?

LITMAN: I do agree. Now, they'll very carefully tread the First Amendment line. It is a hugely interesting issue because he is really not acting like a reporter here. Well, let me put it this way. They will ask for him to cooperate and they will make clear, you know, eight ways from Sunday, we're not talking about any journalism. If he then disputes and it goes to the courts, we'll see what will happen.

But it is, you know, he will use the shield of journalism. But, you know, he isn't a journalist here. He is an insider and that actually reflects poorly on the, you know, his journalistic role, not to mention his sort of crony role.

LEMON: What a tangled web. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

LITMAN: Thanks.

LEMON: Why the right is trying to recast a woman who died at the Capitol on January 6th as the Joan of Arc of the insurrection. Next, the truth about what happened to Ashli Babbitt.




LEMON: So, to some Americans on the right, she is a patriot who died a martyr. Lies about Ashli Babbitt's death at the January 6 insurrection have spread like wildfire over the past year.

CNN's Whitney Wild has the truth about what happened to Babbitt at the Capitol attack.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Captured on video, this was the moment the former president's stolen election lie led to the death of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt. In the wake of her killing, her story spread and transformed into a right-wing conspiracy.

KATE PAUL, DIRECTOR, TECH TRANSPARENCY PROJECT: One of the reasons that Ashli Babbitt's case took off is because there is video of the incident happening. And taken out of context, that video can be used to further conspiracy theories. She was really used as a galvanizing point for militia to state that they were being suppressed by the government.

WILD (voice-over): Media figures and elected officials have sought to recast her as a political martyr, the Joan of Arc of the insurrection.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Together we grieve her terrible loss. There was no reason Ashli should have lost her life that day. We must all demand justice for Ashli and her family.

WILD (voice-over): Those closest to her tell a more complicated story of a veteran and businessowner sucked into a world of conspiracies, lies, and deception that ultimately led to her death.

ROGER WITTHOEFT, BROTHER: That is one of the hardest parts about seeing the video, is you just want to grab her and shake her and be like, damn it, Ashli, why did you have to do that?

WILD (voice-over): In the months before the January 6th insurrection, Ashli Babbitt was living in San Diego, California. Babbitt previously voted for Barack Obama. But later, she became a QAnon conspiracy follower, and driven by a presidential lie, joined the pro-Trump crowd in D.C. January 6th.

WITTHOEFT: I feel like she went to the Capitol because she felt like her voice wasn't being heard. I think my sister truly believed that by going there, they were going to change, you know, America for the greater.

ASHLI BABBITT, SHOT AND KILLED DURIGN CAPITOL RIOT: We are now walking down the inaugural path to the Capitol building.

WILD (voice-over): She attempted to climb through a shattered window leading to the speaker's lobby outside the House chamber just as police were evacuating lawmakers. Capitol Police Lieutenant Mike Byrd shot once and killed her. Three investigations determined Byrd was justified. Former Capitol Police Chief Terry Gainer agrees.

TERRY GAINER, FORMER CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: Given what he knew at that time, at that moment, and what the insurrectionists were doing, trying to break down that door, a few feet from the hallway that would enter the chamber while we were trying to empty the chamber of members.

WILD (voice-over): In Washington, Whitney Wild, CNN.


LEMON (on camera): Whitney, thank you very much for that reporting. Joining me now, professor of history at NYU, Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She is the author of "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present." Ruth, thank you so much for joining us. So, conspiracy theorists and the right-wing media made Ashli Babbitt a false martyr to their cause. Why is so much about January 6th been manipulated and twisted into propaganda?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT, AUTHOR, HISTORY PROFESSOR AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Because January 6th is the foundational event of this new insurgency. And to have an insurgency, you need momentum. And they can't really wait till 2024 for Trump to come back, for their leader to come back. So, martyrs are very useful to, since fascism a hundred years ago, martyrs have been very useful for keeping people engaged and enraged. And, you know, Ashli Babbitt is perfect because she is at the center of this vortex of disinformation, QAnon, and Trump leader worship.

Because Trump isn't just a politician. He is a cult leader. And Ashli Babbitt died with a Trump campaign flag wrapped around her shoulders. So, she was fully into not just saving the nation, but saving Trump, because I see January 6 as a kind of authoritarian leader cult rescue operation.


LEMON (on camera): Wow. Ruth, it is shocking to hear just how distorted truth can become. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan went out and spoke to Trump supporters who continue to believe and tell lies about the insurrection. Watch this.


UNKNOWN: We are very peaceful people. So, it was a total set up to me. It was -- the FBI had set it up.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: You said the whole thing is a set up. You don't really believe that, do you?

UNKNOWN: I do. I do. Because Trump won the election. They have proven it over and over again.

UNKNOWN: It was set up. I think that people didn't know what was happening. And I think that they went in there and they were caught in a trap.

UNKNOWN: Don't think Trump had much to do other than -- and people that were supporters, for him, some were involved, but I think they were enticed by the FBI.


LEMON (on camera): Wow. I mean --


LEMON: Wow. It is sad. It is really sad in a way. How do you make people who are so sure of something completely wrong believe that they have been misled? How do you get them to see the truth?

BEN-GHIAT: It is really difficult because once they're fully immersed in these cult dynamics and if they're very invested like speaking to the press or going to rallies and their identity becomes anchored to these myths that they believe are kind of dogma, they are very reluctant even if they have an inkling that something might not be right, they are very reluctant to distance themselves.

It's like they don't want to lose face. They don't want to be ashamed. And so, they can actually dig in further. But a lot of the studies show that, you know, it is very easy to want to cast these people off. So many of us have friends and family we can't talk to anymore. But that is not a good thing to do because then they go just further into their burrows of disinformation.

So, it is a very difficult problem. Trump has been a master at leading these people further and further into this kind of, you know, disinformation tunnel and playing them up to January 6th.

You know what is interesting? January 6th, they showed a propaganda film at the rally. We haven't paid enough attention to that because it was a QAnon film. There is a huge amount of overlap between all the QAnon and GOP and Mike Flynn. They had Hollywood and globalists. But the film ended with this terrifying sight, if you're not in the cult, Trump's giant face, it covered the whole screen, and that face stayed on the screen as the people went off to assault the Capitol all riled up by Trump, saving him.

And so, we really have to understand these dynamics of authoritarian cults and disinformation if we are going to understand January 6th and what it has wrought and what our reality will be in the future.

LEMON: Wow. Ruth, thank you. It just reminds me, you where it came from, drinking of the Kool-Aid. So, it is just unbelievable. Thank you. I appreciate it.

New York's district attorney changing the rules on who gets prosecuted for what. He says it will make the city safer, but not everyone agrees. Plus, Australia ordering the world's top tennis player out of the country.




LEMON: Okay, so this is interesting. In New York City, Manhattan's new district attorney announcing that he won't prosecute some crimes as overall crimes spike in the city. In a memo, Alvin Bragg says that his office will not prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, skipping public transportation fares, trespassing, resisting arrest, and prostitution. Bragg says that he wants to invest more in alternatives to incarceration that will reduce reoffending and conserve resources.

Plus, the new policy is laid out in Bragg's memo. It says that unless you are being charged with a violent crime or public corruption, you won't wait in jail for a trial. You won't wait for trial in jail.

So, joining me now, CNN's legal analyst Joey Jackson and CNN political commentator Scott Jennings. This is interesting. So, can't wait to have this conversation. Good evening, gents. Joey, you're first. Bragg says that this move will keep New Yorkers safe. It is going to free up resources for prosecutors to focus on violent crime. Will that happen if his office stops prosecuting lower-level crimes?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It certainly could. Good evening to you, Don and Scott. Listen, I am alumni of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, proudly, prosecuted crimes in Manhattan, and certainly, I think the city and people in the city need and want to feel safe. But what I read his memo and his policies as are really diverting resources into violent criminal actions.

When you have guns on the street, resources should really go there. When you have violent sex offenders, we need to address that. We need to address assaults. We need to address people who are abusing from a domestic violence context, from the context of sexual offenders. I think what he is saying is that we really have to focus on that.

There is such a long time where the city has, in fact, prosecuted these petty crimes, and I think what you want to do is really focus on the people who are violent criminals in the city of New York.


This is a guy who, you know, he has been a federal prosecutor, he is a civil rights attorney, he was a prosecutor in a state level. I think him, combined with the fact that we have a mayor, who has served as a law enforcement official and retired as a captain, I think will be one of the safest cities in the United States of America.

LEMON: I just want to be clear. Like I mentioned, Joey, people accused of murder, sexual assault, domestic violence or major economic crimes are still going to be prosecuted and will still have to wait for their trial in jail. Right?

JACKSON: That's right.

LEMON: Okay.

JACKSON: Yeah. The other issue, it's the lower-level offenses. You have to ask the city of New York before -- I'm sorry, Scott -- you have to ask them, listened, would you rather prosecute someone who is waving a gun or jumping over turnstile? Would you rather prosecute someone who is abusing a woman on the street or doing something else or engaged in, you know --

LEMON: You can't do both?

JACKSON: And so, I think you can, but I think that in a world where the resources are limited, you really have to focus those resources --

LEMON: I got you.

JACKSON: -- in a way that are needed and necessary.

LEMON: All right. So, I'm not going to pay the ride to subway anymore. I'm just going jump the turnstile since I'm not going to prosecuted. Anyways, I'm kidding, but I can understand some people saying, why should I pay to ride the subway or what have you if other people are not going to be -- if no one is going to be prosecuted for it?

So, Scott, you know, Bragg campaigned on this policy. He won. Why shouldn't he be able to implement what New Yorkers supported? What do you think of this?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I mean, he should be able to implement because he did win, and he is more than capable, I guess, of implementing the same sort of soft on crime policies that have been implemented in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, these places that are (INAUDIBLE) of public safety. I mean, look, I don't live in New York. I love New York. I've been visiting it and being in it quite often in my ears with CNN. This makes me think twice about whether or not I want to be in the city and certainly about whether I want to bring my family there.

Joey, who I have a lot of respect for, by the way, and trust his legal opinion, I'm not a lawyer, but he mentioned about don't we want to prosecute people waving guns. Well, one of the provisions of this is they're downgrading armed robberies if you don't hurt somebody. So, you will have people waving guns who don't get prosecuted to the extent that I'm sure the person being robbed or the store owner being robbed would like to see them prosecuted.

I think this is a big political issue, by the way, Don. I think this is a continuation of liberal Democrats' war on police. I think you're going to see Republicans use it. I think you're going to see conservatives talk about this.

And I think you're going to see the mayor of New York City, who, by the way, I have a lot of respect for because he's already standing up to the shutdown mafia, the teachers' unions, you're going see him put in a position here, will he stand up for the police that he previously served with? I think this is a real test for him and a chance for him to distinguish himself nationally.

LEMON (on camera): Well, let's talk about what you both mentioned, and I know you want to respond, Joey. Eric Adams, right, he is a former police officer, and he has actually vowed to fight crime, but he actually seems to be on board with this change, these changes that Bragg wants. Watch this.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: At the precinct level, someone comes in for a petty theft. We're at the policing level. You identify that they have a mental health issue. Instead of locking them up, let's defer prosecution. Let us have a local community-based organization that deals with mental health illnesses. Handle it right at the precinct. That's the coordination we need. There's no reason to put someone in mental health illness in Rikers Island. But that's a revolving door.


LEMON (on camera): Listen, we have seen the rise of smash and grab crimes in large cities like San Francisco. Scott mentioned that. Do you expect Bragg and Adams to say eye to eye on this kind of crime? Because if it goes out, certainly, it's going to be used as a political cudgel by the right and by quite frankly New Yorkers who really want a safe city.

JACKSON: Don, are you asking me?

LEMON: Yes. Yes, sir.

JACKSON: Well, what I see is I see a mayor who is committed to the reduction of crime. I see a mayor who understands the nature of crime, having worn a vest in the state for 22 years and retired as a captain. I see a prosecutor who is looking not to prosecute petty offenses and keep people, mostly of color, in jail. I see a prosecutor who is looking to divert resources and make people feel safe.

With respect to Scott's assertion with regard to waving of guns, that's not at all what his memo says. What they're talking about are dangerous instruments that don't relate to guns, and what he indicated is that he is going to be putting out a very tough on crime gun policy, a hate crime policy in addition to this.

And so, what I do believe is that this will be a safe city. It will remain a safe city. It will be safer than ever. But what you have to do is you have to look to alternatives to incarceration for petty offenses.


LEMON: Let's go after those people who are representing the real threats to fantastic tourists that we want in our city like Scott, his family. Let's make sure that they feel safe and that we all as New Yorkers like myself who goes to the city every day and everyone else is safe.

Let's focus on those people who need to be incarcerated and let's have diversion programs and not be putting them in jail. Let's put the rapists and other people who deserve to be in jail. I think this is a policy we have to let breathe. I think we have to look for alternatives. And I think this is a district attorney and a mayor who are committed to making the city the safest and the best place it can possibly be for years to come.

LEMON: Scott, we want you to come. We want your family to come. And I promise you, I won't jump the turnstile. I'll actually give you my subway card so --


-- so you can use it if you're here.

JENNINGS: You know, I have to say that some of this is actually, I think, a good social debate about --

LEMON: Quickly, Scott, please.

JENNINGS: -- violent crimes. But I have to say, this whole issue of downgrading and not prosecuting people who are resisting arrest, if I were a police officer in New York City, that issue alone, I'm out here trying to keep the city safe to do what Joey says, have a safe city, and you are basically giving people a blueprint or a pass on how to commit crimes and get away with it, and say resisting arrest is somehow going to be a lesser charge or not prosecuted at all, that would give me extreme concern if I were a public safety officer in any city doing that.

LEMON: All right. That is the last word. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

The world's top tennis player being kicked out of Australia over his vaccine status or lack of a vaccine. We're live in Sydney, next.




LEMON: Serbia and Australia trading tough talk over world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic after Australia canceled his visa to enter the country. Organizers of the Australian Open earlier said that Djokovic had received a medical exemption to play at the tournament, but he was reportedly held at the Melbourne Airport after applying for a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated for COVID. Djokovic has been outspoken about his opposition to mandatory vaccines.

Joining me now, CNN producer Angus Watson, live in Sydney, Australia. Angus, hello to you. Let's talk about this. Djokovic may -- he may not be able to defend his Australian Open title. It looks like that he could be deported. What happened and where is he now?

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Don, this is the end to quite a saga about will Djokovic be able to come to Australia to defend his Australian Open crown or won't he be able to at all played out in this astonishing fashion. Last night, as Djokovic arrived at Melbourne Airport into Australia halfway through the night, he was kept there by immigration police who wanted to go over all his paperwork.

Now, when Djokovic arrived, he believed that he had the documentation that said it was okay for him to come into the country unvaccinated. The country has very strict rules, saying that all people that travel in here need to have two shots of a recognized COVID-19 vaccine.

We presume now that Novak Djokovic does not have that proof of being fully vaccinated. Instead, he tried to show that there are other reasons why he should be able to come in and keep the public safe while he is in here. He failed to do that. He was kept there. The government decided that he instead had to be deported. They've now, I think -- we think, taken him to a hotel to keep him there until he decides whether to appeal or whether to fly out of the country.

Now, we're hearing from his lawyers that he might file that injunction against the government decision to deport him by around this afternoon. But we heard from the prime minister of Australia today, Don, with really firm words, saying that it is one rule for everybody and that everybody has to stick to it whether you are a tennis star or just a regular person, Don. Here is what he had to say.


SCOTT MORRISON, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: If you are not double vaccinated and you're not an Australian resident or citizen, well, you can't come. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON (voice-over): Those firm words, they're really appealing to a lot of people here in Australia, Don, who have gone out and done their bit to get vaccinated. They've been told throughout this pandemic that to do the right thing, you have to get two shots to protect yourself and the rest of the community.

The people that are going to watch the tennis when the Australian Open begins halfway through January all have to be vaccinated to attend the stadium. So, a lot of people here are saying that the players should have to be, too, including Novak Djokovic, Don.

LEMON: Yeah, I commend the prime minister for saying what he said and doing what he is doing. We should have that policy here in the United States as well. Thank you very much, Angus. I appreciate you joining us. We'll be right back.




LEMON: Okay, sit back and watch this because the pushers of falsehoods at the Fox propaganda network are still trying to blame January 6th on Black Lives Matter, which had nothing to do with it. Have you ever wondered what it would look like if they actually applied the same standards? Well, we wouldn't call them standards to the January 6th rioters that they have about BLM.

"The Daily Show" did to prove the point. They edited together comments that the Fox channel made about Antifa and Black Lives Matter with video from January 6th, and it looks like the joke is on Fox.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This kind of mob-like behavior has got to stop before somebody gets hurt. Violence, intimidation, unacceptable in this country.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It is not a protest. These aren't children. These are adults, and they're destroying our country.


UNKNOWN: I think what is so jarring to so many Americans right now is just the fact that there's so much lawlessness. Why isn't anybody stopping the looting and the vandalism and the destruction of private and public property?

GREG GUTFELF, FOX NEWS HOST: That giant lie handicapped the police so they couldn't do a damn thing to stop the riots without being accused of attacking mostly peaceful protesters. These include people who threw projectiles at cops.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWX HOST: Screaming the most disgusting things in their faces an inch away from their face.


LEMON (on camera): Hmm, well, there you go. We're now just a few minutes from the one-year anniversary of January 6th. CNN is marking the day with an unprecedented gathering inside the Capitol with police, lawmakers, and leaders. "Live from the Capitol, January 6, one year later" with Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper begins tomorrow at 8:00.

And I will be on right after that with some really important interviews with folks who lived through the attack, who defended the Capitol, our democracy, and more.

Thanks for watching, everyone. I will see you tomorrow. Our coverage continues.