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Don Lemon Tonight
Officers Who Defended The Capitol Speak Out; U.S. President Joe Biden Calls Former President Donald Trump A Threat To Democracy For Inciting Attack; Rep. Colin Allred Remembers January 6; Son Speaks Out About His Insurrectionist Father. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired January 06, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Would you do it all over again?
RAMEY KYLE, COMMANDER, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: Absolutely. Absolutely. Hopefully it never happens, though. But -- you know --
LEMON: Do you worry that it could?
KYLE: Ah, you know, each and every day, we're out here. And, you know, we come to work just like we did on that day. We came to work. And, I mean, we're always ready for whatever happens.
LEMON: Why would you do it all over again?
KYLE: It's what we do.
LEMON: I'm glad that you finally spoke out. And I think the, you know, the one-year anniversary is the perfect time for you to talk about it. What do you want people to know after a year, Commander Kyle?
KYLE: I want them to know that the metropolitan police, we come to work every single day. Every single day, whatever the challenge is, we meet it. You know, January 6, it was to save democracy. You know, today, maybe it is battling gun crime in the city. But every single day, there are challenges out there, and we're not in the business of failing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And there you go. The truth and the facts about what happened on that day one year ago.
Let's bring in our chief political correspondent and co-anchor of CNN's "State of the Union," Dana Bash, and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Thank you both. Good evening to you. I'm sure you both agree, heroes, both of them, all of the men and women who fought to save our democracy and lives a year ago.
Dana, I was here today. It really hit me when I saw just how close rioters were to a complete break of the Capitol. Those officers risked their lives defending our democracy. But somehow, the threat to our democracy, the big lie, has only gotten worse since that day, from a year ago.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Don, first of all, that was extraordinary. I'm so glad you did it and you were absolutely right, those are two heroes.
And it is -- I was on the Hill today. I covered the Hill on and off for two decades. So, I know that tunnel, I know the nooks and crannies of the Capitol on the Capitol campus so well. But being back there today and looking the officers who were on duty there in the eye, asking how they were, and seeing tears in their eyes -- one told me that he couldn't sleep last night because he was thinking about the images seared in his mind, Don, of being at his post at the Cannon building across from the House side of the Capitol, watching people scaling the walls.
And so, that is the reality that could have changed -- to answer your question -- could have changed like this, had the immediate impulse of Republicans that day, that night, and even the next day, on the floor of the House, on the floor of the Senate, condemning what happened, condemning the mob and the violence, had that continued, we would be in such a different place.
It could have been a unifier. Instead, a year later, we are here even more divided than ever as a country because of the fact that the former president and the people around him and conservative outlets continue to whitewash that, even today, Don. Even today.
LEMON: You know, Andrew, Commander Kyle was talking to me about the hand-to-hand combat. Fighting for inches, he said. Doing everything that they could to stop the rioters. Have our elected leaders fought equally hard do you think?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: Oh, not a chance. Not a chance. I mean, look, even those -- first of all, let me say that watching that piece, it makes me proud to have been in the same profession as these men, not to mention never having had to endure the sort of torture that they went through. You cannot possibly even imagine what that is like.
But there is no one who has stepped forward in the aftermath of this event and exhibited the sort of courage and determination and fortitude that we saw from the men and women protecting the Capitol on the Hill that day.
And it is -- it is shocking and disheartening to see that -- you know, I agree 100 percent with Dana, I think we are in many ways in a much more precarious and dangerous place today even than we were in the days after January 6th.
I think the same big lie, that same fraudulent, completely baseless claim of a stolen election, that was the thing that motivated those thousands of people to attack the Capitol.
[23:04:55] That same lie has now metastasized across the United States, and we see it being used to justify the much more insidious and quiet but impactful attack on democracy in the form of attacking people's access to the ability to vote.
So, it continues to this day. It is not hand-to-hand combat, thank God, like we saw a year ago, but the impact of the lie and the malevolent influence of our former president on the health of our democracy. I think it echoes even louder in some ways today.
LEMON: Dana, the current president, Joe Bide, the duly elected president of the United States, really stepped up to the moment today. He has long been trying to play the role of uniter. You were speaking about -- it should have been a uniter but this has apparently has become -- obviously become a divider.
But during his speech today, there was a remarkable shift in tone. He was scathing against the former president. Listen to this, and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.
He has done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interests, than America's interests. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.
He can't accept he lost. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger to the throat of democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Do you think this is a turning point for the president?
BASH: You know, we'll see. It definitely is a different kind of Joe Biden, because of, just as you said, Don, he did promise in his campaign leading up to election day, and then when he was finally at that place where you were today in the west front of the Capitol holding his hand up, being sworn in as president of the United States, trying to send a message of healing.
But he, just like so many others, have realized, as the last year has progressed, that you can't -- you're speaking to deaf ears when you're saying, please, let's unite, and you have -- and you're up against a machine of conspiracies and lies that are working with a good chunk of the republican base in particular.
And so, for people who were Republicans, who were admonishing the president today, saying, oh, that was such a political speech, well, of course, it is political because that is the playing field that Donald Trump laid out there for this whole thing to start in the first place. It was inherently political.
That was the whole point of President Biden's speech. And he said afterwards, when he was asked about the kind of incredibly intense remarks that he made, is that, why did you do that? And he said explicitly to reporters in the Capitol, because if you don't call out what happened, if you don't understand what happened and the wounds and why they're there, then you as a person, as a human, as a nation in this case, as a society, and certainly as a democracy, cannot heal.
LEMON: You know, I was walking to the Capitol today, Andrew, with Officer Michael Fanone. We passed two young ladies who, I think, were tourists, and we could overhear them. They were saying, can you imagine, can you imagine if they weren't white, what would have happened?
I mean, we cannot forget all the racist hate on display on January 6th. I mean, there was a noose displayed on gallows outside of the Capitol. Rioters were waving confederate flags inside the halls of Congress. An insurrectionist was seen wearing a Camp Auschwitz t- shirt.
How significant is the role of white supremacy in playing out in this threat to our democracy?
MCCABE: You know, Don, I think we are finding out actually with data now that it is in fact as significant as we suspected it was at the beginning.
And I would point specifically to the work of Professor Robert Pape and his team at the University of Chicago who released a report yesterday that really detailed an amazing look at the biographical and demographic details of all the 700-plus folks that have been arrested to date.
And one of the things that they found was that the primary motivating force and the commonality between those insurrectionists who have been charged so far is they are an extraordinary bunch of not what you would think.
They are, of course, overwhelmingly white, but they are from urban and suburban areas around the country. Most of them come from counties that voted for Joe Biden rather than Donald Trump. They are highly educated businessowners, white collar employees. But they have in common is fact that they all come from or the majority come from counties where there are declining white populations.
And so, the prevalence of this narrative, the great replacement theory, which is just, you know, the most racist echo that we've struggled with in this country from, you know, our very beginnings and certainly continues to this day on conservative media and other places, that is emerging as a, you know, potentially strong motivator of many of the folks who participated.
So, it is good, I think, that we are finally now, through the work of these very smart folks, we've got data that actually supports what many of us suspected from the beginning.
LEMON: I thought about it. It is interesting when you were saying that when think about what happened, many urban communities, you had the white flight, right, the 60s, 70s, 80s, even 90s. And now, people are upset because -- why did you move out? Stay there and -- you could have stayed there and fought for those neighborhoods.
Thank you both very much. I really appreciate your input tonight. Thank you.
MCCABE: Thanks, Don.
LEMON (on camera): I want to take a deeper look at President Biden's speech today. So, joining me now is CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. John, hello to you. President Biden's speech today was cutting. Here's more of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Biden: What did we not see? We didn't see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in a private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, and nation Capitol under siege.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): It was a decidedly different tone. Is this a new direction for President Biden after a very difficult stretch?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Definitely a different tone, Don. Look, Joe Biden was always going to turn to issues of democracy, protection, and voting rights. He was hoping to complete his economic agenda before doing that. He hasn't completed the economic agenda.
But the time is now. We're in an election year. You had the January 6th anniversary. They're now in a full-court press to try to see if they can get all 50 Democrats to rally behind evading the filibuster and passing voting rights legislation by the Martin Luther King holiday.
And finally, the threat to democracy posed by the Republican Party is very real. And as the leader of that party, Donald Trump is a very dangerous man for the United States. And so, Joe Biden can't take on the threat to democracy without calling out Donald Trump.
And by the way, though as cutting as those remarks sounded, anybody who has been awake and paying attention for the last couple of years knows that every single thing Joe Biden said about Donald Trump today is true.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. Absolutely. He laid the blame exactly where it belonged, at the feet of the former president. You know, the president has struggled in recent public appearances. You know, I have to be honest about that. But today was different and the stakes could not have been higher for him.
HARWOOD: Well, they're very high for him. They're very high for the country. He's clearly in a difficult situation politically. He's taken an awful lot of punches over the last year. It certainly in his political self-interest to punch back. But it is not clear that this issue in particular is going to decide his political fate.
You know, I'm talking to Democratic strategists this evening, and there are some risks associated with this attack. There are some people who are ambivalent about the threat to democracy whose votes he needs. Other issues, the economy, the fate of the pandemic, are going to determine his political results and the Democratic Party's results in 2022, but certainly, this is a component of that.
And as he is trying to rally the Democratic Party together, which he has to do in order to see if they can hold on to Congress, he has got to take on this issue. There is no -- there is no avoiding it.
LEMON: Listen. I reject, you know, the notion that today's speech was a divisive speech. I thought it was just a very truthful speech and he was placing the blame where it belongs, the blame of January 6th.
But he wasn't -- I don't think he was trying so hard, you know, to be so bipartisan for the sake of being -- for the sake of bipartisanship. Did this speech show a realization that, you know, being that sort of -- you know, I just want this bipartisanship kumbaya, that it doesn't work in today's Washington compared to when he served in the Senate or even when he was a vice president?
HARWOOD: I don't think, Don, that's a new realization. Remember, back in 2017, after Charlottesville, he declared at that moment that we are in a battle for the soul of America against the darkest forces of its history. He's known that this was happening.
It's just that when you are president and you're coming out of an election and trying to lead the country, you've got to make an attempt to unify as best you can. So, he spent much of 2021 trying to turn down the political temperature so that he could function.
There are some things that you can and want to do with the other party. He did that. He did on the infrastructure bill. He managed to diffuse the debt limit crisis with the help of Mitch McConnell. That's fine. There are some things that both parties can work together on.
But ultimately, this is a huge conflict in the United States and there is no, as Dana was just indicating a moment ago, there is no alternative to being divisive if you're confronting a large chunk of the country --
HARWOOD: -- that is at war with the ideals of the country. There's no getting around that.
LEMON: Thank you, John Harwood. I appreciate it.
HARWOOD: You bet.
LEMON: He was on the floor, on the House floor when the insurrection broke out. And he feared that he might never make it -- make it out to meet his new baby son. Congressman Colin Allred tells me his story, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): There was still blood on the walls. Still broken glass on the floor. While we ourselves were shaken, we came back. And we voted to certify the American presidential election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Lawmakers were busy at work inside the Capitol as the mob stormed the building one year ago today. Their lives in jeopardy and they knew it. Texas Congressman Colin Allred was on the House floor when he realized what was happening and he joins me now.
Congressman, thank you. I really appreciate you joining us. May I say, thank you for your service and everything that you have done and you're doing for this country. You spoke very poignantly at the Capitol today and you addressed Officer Brian Sicknick's family. I just want to play part of your message to them today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLRED: I saw the glass breaking. I saw the officers staying behind. Their guns drawn. And I thought about the opportunity they had given me. Because, as I said, I was raised by a single mother, but I'm a father now. I had a 23-month-old son at home and I had a baby on the way in two more months. Had those officers not held that line, I would not have met my son Cameron. And so, to the Sicknick family, I'll say to you, your son's sacrifice allowed me to meet mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Look, it doesn't get any clearer than that, the bravery of those officers and how close things came to being face-to- face with a violent mob, if not for them.
ALLRED: That's right. That's right. It was much closer than I think we can even explain. It was really a miracle in many ways that no members of Congress were killed or captured. And it is because of, you know, the Brian Sicknicks of the world and the officers who put their lives on the line.
As I was able to exit the House floor, as I was saying, they stayed behind with their guns drawn to protect us and to allow us to get out. And that's why I've gotten to meet my son Cameron and get to know him in his first nine months of his life. And as somebody who was raised by a single mother, being a father is so important to me, and it has been possible because of their service.
LEMON: Listen, I asked the members of law enforcement who fought to save our democracy and the lives in that Capitol, and for their own lives, if it changed them at all, if it changed the trajectory of their lives or who they are as people. Did this change you, this event?
ALLRED: I feel that it has. And as I said in my speech today, I felt an immense sadness for our country that day and for many days afterwards. But for me, that has now transformed into resolve. Resolve to protect our democracy, to make their sacrifice that day worth it.
To make sure that -- they're not able to accomplish through legislation and through us not being able to pass federal voting rights legislation, they're not able to accomplish what had they tried to do on January 6, which is basically to overthrow the free will of the American people. I want to make sure that doesn't happen.
LEMON: You along with other members spoke with the former vice president, Dick Cheney, today on the House floor. Talk to me about that. What was his message?
ALLRED: Well, I think it was very interesting that he was there today and that he chose to come today of all days to the House floor. You know, he is a former member of the House. He has privileges. Meaning, he can come on the House floor any time he wants.
But he chose to come today to be with his daughter, Liz, on the day of the anniversary of the 6th, because I think he knows what she has done since then in terms of her bravery and standing up to her own party, and he knows how close we came as a country to losing our democracy that day.
I have a lot of disagreements with the former vice president. But I was happy to see him there because in my opinion, this is a time for all Americans of goodwill to come together regardless of party and to understand that the fight now isn't between Democrats and Republicans. It is between folks who still believe in our democracy and folks who don't.
LEMON: You were reflecting on Twitter about what you saw and what you heard from your Republican colleagues when you were all evacuated to a secure room. The shock everyone felt versus what they say, what they're all saying now. Things like the insurrection wasn't dangerous. Why are they lying about it now?
ALLRED: Yeah. You know, I really don't know because I was there with them for hours, Don. We were in that room for hours. And I talked to them. I heard them. I saw in their eyes how upset and how shocked and the horror that they felt over what had happened to the country. And the fact that -- even in the days following, they said a lot of the right things, including Minority Leader McCarthy, blaming it on President Trump, which is where the blame belongs. Btu since then, we've seen this kind of cowardly shift to say, no, it didn't happen or wasn't that bad or Democrats are making this into a partisan issue.
And to me, you know, I don't know. They're lying to their constituents, certainly. But most importantly, they're lying to themselves about what happened that day, because I know I was with them.
LEMON: You know, I didn't even think about this, but you guys had to be prepared to fight. Were you prepared to fight if you had to on January 6th? I mean, we see this photo of you on the House floor, top left. You're holding a gas mask. What are you going to tell your sons when they're old enough to understand that day, that their dad was ready to fight? That their dad -- what are you going to say?
ALLRED: First, everybody should know, you can't enter the House floor without a suit coat on. A suit jacket. Okay? And I've never been on the House floor before without my suit jacket on. I took it off at that point because I was ready to have to fight.
LEMON: Is that why you guys had your jackets off? Because there are a number of you in this picture with your jackets off. You guys were ready to fight?
ALLRED: That's right. I took mine off --
LEMON: That's interesting, because Jim Jordan, who normally does not wear a jacket, is wearing a jacket in the picture. But go on.
ALLRED: I didn't know that. I took my jacket off. And a few others around me, Hakeem Jeffries, Ruben Gallego, Eric Swalwell, took their jackets off as well. And, you know, we exchanged looks and we exchanged a few simple words about what we knew was probably going to have to happen if they did reach the chamber.
At that point, we can hear them on the other side of the doors, and understand that these are ceremonial doors that were being barricaded with pieces of furniture that are used to hold paper. Okay? So, it was not very clear that we were going to be able to keep them out. And so, I expected that they may get through.
LEMON: Congressman Colin Allred, thank you again for your service, thank you for doing what you do, and my best to your family in the new year.
ALLRED: Thank you, Don.
LEMON (on camera): Republican leadership first spoke truth to power, stating the obvious, Trump incited the insurrection. But that's not what they're saying now. What would happen if they took President Biden's advice to heart?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) Biden: You can't love your country only when you win. You can't obey the law only when it is convenient. You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: On the first anniversary of the attack on the United States Capitol, President Biden calling his predecessor a threat to democracy, but also asking, what has happened to the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, Reagan, and the Bushes?
Let's bring in now Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Stuart Stevens, a former chief strategist of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Gentlemen, good evening to you. Stuart, you're up first. On the anniversary of this terrible attack on the Capitol and our democracy, Republicans, leaders and member of Congress were largely missing in action. Where is the courage?
STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE LINCOLN PROJECT, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST OF ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Listen, I'd love to know. I mean, courage isn't something like you check at a pawnshop and then you go back and you get -- hand in the ticket and get it back. This is just -- you know, it really struck me about the president's speech, which I felt was a powerful, important speech. What he said about Donald Trump for the most part can be said about the party.
And, you know, we had that moment right after 1/6 when, you know, you could almost hold your breath for how long it lasted when Republicans were actually talking the truth. But that just went away. And nothing has changed except the party now really -- I mean, it is hard to even say these words, but the party has become for the most part, an autocratic force in America.
STEVENS: And I think we just have to take that seriously, recognize it, and look at the alternative. And for those of us who work against the Democratic Party, I don't know any way to say the truth other than the Democratic Party is the party of small "D" democracy in America now.
LEMON: All the former -- Stuart, all the former living presidents spoke out in defense of democracy, but not your former boss, George W. Bush. Would you have liked to hear from him today?
STEVENS: Well, I always like to hear from President Bush. You know, I'm hesitant to weigh in on this. I can't imagine what being president is like. I can't imagine what being a former president is like. Look, if I had my brothers, he and President Clinton and President Obama, would be going door-to-door across America to talk about what is important here and to talk about what has happened to the Republican Party, I don't know how you believe what we said that we believed in, this idea of compassionate conservatism, and still have any connection at all to what the Republican Party is today under Donald Trump.
LEMON: Max, have all these Republicans peddling the big lie, have they betrayed their oath to the Constitution?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Absolutely. No doubt about it, Don. You know, I thought a year ago right after the events of January 6th, I thought that some of these Republicans would actually do their duty because they were in the crosshairs of this mob that was ransacking the Capitol.
And for about 30 seconds, it looked like they might actually stand up to Trump and the forces that he had unleashed within the Republican Party. And you heard condemnations of those day's events from Mitch McConnell and other leaders of the Republican Party. But then when it came time to put up or shut up, to vote to impeach Trump, almost all of them missed the opportunity.
And in the last year, you've seen the complete abasement and cowardice of Republican leaders where they've been completely unwilling to challenge Trump in any way.
And there was actually, you know, a pathetic instance tonight on the Fox -- quote, unquote -- "news network," where Tucker Carlson hauled Ted Cruz on there for the crime of having described the attackers on January 6th as terrorists, which they were. They were terrorists. But then poor Ted Cruz spent like five minutes abasing himself and apologizing for telling the truth about what happened. That's kind of the Republican Party in a nutshell.
LEMON: Listen, we know what happens on the propaganda network and other networks like that. But, you know, Max, something felt different today. Maybe it was because it was the anniversary. I don't know. But I think something felt different today that these networks had no choice but to air the president's speech, listen to the truth about what happened regardless of how they want to spin it, and they'll keep spinning it. But am I wrong? Did something feel different about today? Do you think it was some sort of turning point, perhaps?
BOOT: I very much doubt it, Don. I mean, yes, they did carry President Biden's remarks but then they spent the rest of the day attacking President Biden.
LEMON: Calling him divisive.
BOOT: Politicizing this event and attacking the news media for playing up this event for ratings or other nonsense and then moving on to other stories.
So, no, I don't think an event like this can break through the wall of propaganda, lies and disinformation that Fox and Newsmax and others have erected around the republican base. I wish it could happen, but I just don't think it will.
LEMON: Let's talk more about this. The president has never been so direct when it came to the former president, calling him a defeated former president, talked about his bruised ego and how Trump can't admit that he lost.
Biden referred to the former president 16 times. Was he goading him? Listen, I don't think he was goading. I think he had to. This is what this day was about. Donald Trump inspired this.
BOOT: He didn't refer to --
STEVENS: Is that for me?
LEMON: That's for Stuart.
STEVENS: Sorry, guys. Look, I think that one of the problems is that we've been hesitant to call this out for what it is. We have such a tradition of trying to reach in the middle this sort of -- intuitively, we think that we can negotiate with some people, we can compromise.
But I don't think we're at that point. I don't think you can compromise with these people who don't believe that we live in a democracy. I mean, we're right and they're wrong. And it is time to stand up and say that. If you don't believe that Joe Biden is legally- elected president, you don't believe we live in a democracy.
So, we got to get out there and talk the truth and quit trying to sort of dance around and wish it was another era. This is a dangerous, dangerous moment in American history. It becomes more dangerous if we don't call it out for what it is.
LEMON: Yeah. Stuart, Max, thank you both. I appreciate it. Stuart, you're right on about that. We're right and they are wrong.
My next guest called the FBI on his own father. The insurrection getting in the middle of a family. Stay with us for that.
LEMON: More than 700 people have been arrested in connection to the insurrection. One of them, Guy Reffitt, as a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia. Prosecutors say that he allegedly wore body armor and carried a pistol and plastic cuff restraints on the Capitol grounds and sought to physically remove Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.
LEMON: Well, his 18-year-old son turned him into the FBI. Jackson Reffitt, Guy Reffitt's son, joins me now. Jackson, good evening to you. Thank you, sir. How are you doing?
JACKSON REFFITT, SON OF CAPITOL RIOTER: Good evening to you. I'm doing all right. A pretty crazy day but --
LEMON: Yeah, I know, and it has been a very difficult -- incredibly difficult year for you. Your dad is facing trial for his role in that riot. I know there is some division in your family over how this all played out. So, talk to me about that.
REFFITT: I mean, it is hard to talk about. There's not a lot to talk about. We've just been so split up, so not together. I mean, we talk every now and again, but we know where we are. We know that we're just going to keep our distance for right now, and really when everything wraps up, we can really start to build more bridges.
LEMON: You mean you and your dad?
REFFITT: My father, my mom, my sisters, everyone. Even distant relatives. Once everything is set in stone, then we can really move on.
LEMON: What do you mean by that? Talk to me about that.
REFFITT: Once the trial wraps up. I mean, there is so much that goes into this. There are so many different routes that this can take. And I'm scared for all of them. But I know once it is said and done, then we can really figure out what to do with those pieces and build something new.
LEMON: What are you scared about for all of them?
REFFITT: I'm scared of just the reality hitting them, hitting me and my father. I mean, I feel like reality hitting them hasn't been happening as much as I would like to say. But I really wish they could really grasp what my father has done and what they're coming to see.
LEMON: Let's talk more about that because your dad wrote a letter from jail that was subsequently published by ProPublica. He wrote that, if rioters wanted to overthrow the government, they would have. Are you worried that he is becoming -- that has gotten more radicalized in jail?
REFFITT: Absolutely. I mean, whenever you have this community and suddenly, they're all thrown together in such a circumstance, it really adds connection to them. And -- I mean, my decision, it makes me feel as if it has pushed him further, including my mom and my sisters. It has pushed them in a direction not as far, obviously, but in a more supportive role that almost -- going down this path.
I mean, I wish I could tell you what they were thinking, but I'm not entirely sure. But reading that letter was absolutely disgusting. And it makes me feel great guilt that -- I mean, pretty much that I have caused this, I've caused my father to be more, I guess, extreme, more dangerous.
LEMON: You caused this? You didn't cause this, Jackson. Why do you feel that way?
REFFITT: I wish I could tell you. I mean, a lot of the times, I'm thinking, he's an adult and he can make his own decisions. But, I mean, reading that letter really hurt me. I feel like I hurt a lot of people in my family.
LEMON: Do you -- so, do you regret turning him in?
REFFITT: Absolutely not. I mean, there's no telling what could have happened. But him being in jail right now is the best course of action just to let everything cool down and settle down. There is no telling what could have happened.
LEMON: Why did you feel you needed to turn him in?
REFFITT: I mean, four years prior, he was in a rough spot, but as he gained traction into all these communities and opening up and basically being socialized to all these groups and seeing him talk about it and him actually taking action to go to the Capitol, there is such a big difference between politics. That's extremism. That's almost domestic terrorism.
LEMON: Have you gained some -- can you talk to us about the insight you've gained into this because of your family?
REFFITT: Into January 6th?
LEMON: Into January 6th and just the radicalization and why people did this and just what people can learn from you and your family.
REFFITT: It's such an alien concept. I mean, for a lot of people to really experience this. I mean, there are almost thousands of families that have been affected by this. And they are slowly starting to realize how almost crazy it all is and how these people grow and communicate and, you know, be like this.
LEMON: Jackson, we continue to think about you. We hope that you're going to be okay, for you and your family, and that it will work out. Thank you so much. You're a very brave young man.
REFFITT: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.
LEMON: So, this time last year, Congress was in the process of counting the 2020 electoral votes, after a mob of rioters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the process. [23:55:05]
LEMON (on camera): Even after that attack, some Republicans still objected to legally cast votes in several states. And in the year since then, the former president's big lie has spread even further. Republicans all across the country who believe that lie are vying for key election posts and passing restrictive voting laws. But there is still time to turn this all around. President Joe Biden making that clear in his speech today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Biden: I know how difficult democracy is. And I'm crystal clear about the threats America faces. But I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope. So now, let's step up. Write the next chapter in American history, where January 6th marks not the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fair play.
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LEMON (on camera): Thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.