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Don Lemon Tonight

President Biden Calling Out The GOP; Sen. Ted Cruz In Full Defense Mode; Arbery Family Handed With Justice; First Black Oscar Awardee Dies At 94; President Biden Visits Colorado; January 6th Committee Wants To Speak With Former V.P. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 07, 2022 - 22:00   ET





Are we seeing a turning point for Joe Biden's presidency? It's a good question. And you know what, as they say, time will tell. But the last couple days looks like a very different approach for a president who has campaigned and governed trying to win Republicans over, trying to reach across the aisle. Only he seems to have learned that there is a stonewall built down the middle of that aisle.

There was this forceful speech laying out the blame for the insurrection at the capitol squarely at the feet of the former president who refuses to abandon his big lie of bogus election fraud because he just can't accept the fact that he lost.

And then today, Joe Biden took aim to the GOP for talking down the economy as he touted the unemployment rate dropping to a new pandemic low.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now I hear Republicans say today that my talking about this strong record shows that I don't understand, I don't understand a lot of people are still suffering they say.

Well, they are. Or that I'm not focused on inflation. Malarky. They want to talk down the recovery because they voted against the legislation that made it happen. I refuse to let them stand in the way of this recovery and now my focus is on keeping this recovery strong and durable, notwithstanding Republican obstructionist.


LEMON (on camera): And the president taking on the GOP on the economy as he is facing skeptical conservative justice on his, justices, I should say on his COVID plan and vaccine mandates for large businesses.

That as the Republican Party seems to locked into a never-ending game of how low can you go? Here is exhibit a. Ted Cruz. Who is now trying to backtrack after getting caught doing something that seems to be a cardinal sin in today's GOP, telling the truth?


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this capitol.


LEMON (on camera): Can you guess which part of that got the senator in trouble?


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Of all the things January 6th was, it was definitely not a violent terrorist attack, it wasn't an insurrection. Was it a riot? Sure. It was not a violent terrorist attack. Sorry. So why are you telling us that it was, Ted Cruz?


LEMON (on camera): Well, it was a violent terrorist attack but Senator Ted Cruz is apparently so rattled by criticism from Tucker Carlson that he actually asked to go on the Fox propaganda network to grabble before Carlson in a more pathetic display would be hard to imagine so I'll just play it for you.


CRUZ: The way I phrased things yesterday it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb.


CARLSON: I don't buy that, whoa, whoa, I don't buy that. Look, I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You were a Supreme Court contender. You take words as serious as any man who has ever serve in the Senate. And every word - you repeated that phrase. I do not believe that you used that accidently. I just don't.


LEMON (on camera): Well, and there you have it. Proof that the old saying that a broken clock is right twice a day. Tucker Carlson is right about one thing, that Ted Cruz wasn't being sloppy when he called January 6th a violent terrorist attack. It was.

The FBI director has called it a domestic terrorism -- domestic terrorism in congressional testimony and he's actually described the capitol riot as a terrorist attack or rioters -- or the rioters as terrorist repeatedly from the beginning. And the Ted Cruz grabble palooza just goes on and on and on and on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists. And that's what a lot of people have misunderstood that comment. I was focused --


CARLSON: Wait a second. But even you -- hold on. What you just said doesn't make sense.


LEMON (on camera): Boy. Well, I wonder if the senator knew about that banner saying Cruz cruising for a bruising, would you sign up for that? Well, you would if you're Ted Cruz. But it's also the price that you have to pay now if you're a Republican begging for forgiveness for speaking the truth.

While the Fox propaganda network is turning itself into a three-ring circus of lies and cringy moments like that, the big news today was a Georgia courtroom. And that's where three white men learned the price that they have to pay for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, shot to death while jogging nearly two years ago.


Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. William Roddie Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and the judge's remarks as he sentences them were riveting including a moment rarely seen in the courtroom.

More on that coming up. But it was Ahmaud Arbery's grieving family putting a human face on this terrible crime. Ahmaud wasn't just a victim. He was a man they loved, a son, a brother. His sister Jasmine addressing the court before sentencing.


JASMINE ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S SISTER: Ahmaud had dark skin that glistened in the sunlight like gold. He had thick curly hair and he would often like to twist it. Ahmaud had a broad nose and the color of his eyes was real with melon. He was tall with an athletic build. He enjoyed running and had an appreciation for being outdoors.

These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chased him with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflect that a young man full of life and energy who looked like me and the people I love.


LEMON (on camera): Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wonda Cooper Jones speaking movingly about her son and responding to a defense attorney's attempt to insult his memory.


WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: He had a smile so bright it lit up a room. He never hesitated to tell me, his sister Jasmine and his brother Marcus that he loved us. And, your honor, we loved him back.

He was messy. He sometimes refused to wear socks or take good care of his good clothing. I wish he would have cut and cleaned his toenails before he went out for that jog that day. I guess he would have if he knew he would be murdered.


LEMON (on camera): She also told the court the men convicted of murdering her son did not deserve leniency.


JONES: They chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their community and when they couldn't sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.


LEMON (on camera): Joining me now, Wanda Cooper Jones, Ahmaud Arbery's mother and Lee Merritt, attorney for the family. Thank you both for joining. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: Wanda, you know, nearly two years since your son's murder, what was it like for you to watch these sentences handed down today?

JONES: It was very, very rewarding. Today was the day my family and I prayed for almost two years ago and finally got our prayers answered.

LEMON: You know, the judge was scathing in his assessment of the McMichaels zeroing in on the lack of remorse. Listen to this.


TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, JUDGE, EASTERN CIRCUIT OF GEORGIA: It doesn't require an apology and quite honestly, sometimes apologies are made simply to get past problems, remorse is something that's felt and demonstrated.

In this case, getting back to the video again, after Ahmaud Arbery fell, the McMichaels turned their backs.


LEMON: Even after they shot your son, they never admitted to making a mistake, never apologized. I know that stuck with you.

JONES: It did. Until this day, no one has ever apologized.

LEMON: Do you want an apology from them?

LEMON: At this point, no, I don't. It really doesn't matter. Today like I said was a very huge win. After he and Travis' testimony during the trial, he tried to justify the moments that he decided to take Ahmaud's life and really, if he gave an apology at this point it wouldn't be genuine at all.

LEMON: You know, the judge also referred back to something that you said. He talked about how closure and how sentencing doesn't generally provide closure, that it's more an exercise in accountability. That was a quote for him. What does closure look like for you? Is that, I don't know if that's even possible?

LEMON: I don't think my family and I will ever sincerely get closure because Ahmaud is gone forever. I mean, we will get some sense of relief that we did get, a sense of relief today but as far as actual closure, closure, I don't think we'll ever get that.


You know, Wanda, I wanted to ask you about this. You addressed those insulting comments made by defense attorney Laura Hogue, in her closing arguments about Ahmaud's toenails. She referred to them as, and I'm quoting here, as "dirty." Why did you choose to even go there and include that today?

JONES: The day she chose to describe Ahmaud's long dirty toenails in her closing arguments, which I thought was very, very rude. I wanted to -- she never made mention that when Ahmaud was lying there with those dirty long thing, toenails, Ahmaud was laying there with a big hole in his chest where he was shot with that shotgun and she failed to mention that.

So, I thought it was very, very important to reiterate what she shared in the closing arguments about his long toenails.

LEMON: People were shocked by and like why even -- I don't understand why she even went there but I thought that you doing it in your statement was quite appropriate to respond to that.

Lee, before the sentencing, the judge held a minute of silence. He explained why he did it. Let's listen.


WALMSLEY: That's approximately a minute. Again, the chase that occurred in Satilla Shores occurred over about a five-minute period. And when I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles and I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Satilla Shores.


LEMON (on camera): Have you ever seen a judge do something like that? MERRITT: No, I have never seen a judge make that kind of

demonstration, and you know that one minute in court felt like an eternity. And if you think about it, what he was trying to impress upon all of us was just that for Ahmaud, that five minutes must have felt like an eternity and that weighed heavy on his conscience when handing out these life sentences, and I thought it was appropriate.

LEMON: These men are still facing, Lee, federal hate crimes trial next month. The family rejected a plea deal that would have put them in federal prison for 30 years in addition to today's sentencing. The family rejected that, why?

MERRITT: What took real courage for Wanda and Marcus to decide not to take the deal from the feds. Number one, the hate crime charges are going to be very difficult to prove. Because you have to get into the mind of someone and that is always a difficult task in court.

But Wanda made the decision we all came to that conclusion because, you know, the hate crime charges are just as important to us as these charges. We believe that the state would have the correct outcome today which was life without the possibility of parole for the McMichaels and we wanted them to have their day in the court and to be forced to explain the motivation behind their actions. And so that's why it was so important we reject that plea deal and allow things to play out in court.

LEMON: You are -- so you're -- are you satisfied with the outcome for Roddie and also for the McMichaels?

MERRITT: Yes, I think the outcome was appropriate for all three defendants. Each of these men will be serving at least 30 years in prison. William Roddie Bryan he was as culpable with these mean without his involvement. Ahmaud may have been able to get away that day but there was some reflection on his part after the fact that maybe what he did was the wrong thing and I tend to agree with what the court had to say about Roddie's involvement.

LEMON: You know, you, Wanda, the way you talked about your son, he had a smile so bright it lit up a room. The way Ahmaud's sister described him, dark skin that glistened in the sunlight, both are really special tributes to Ahmaud. Anything else that you'd like to say about him?

JONES: Ahmaud Arbery was loved. And with the outcome today, what's interesting Ahmaud Arbery is not just loved. Ahmaud Arber's name will implement change. When you see the name of Ahmaud Arbery, you know that it was changed. We held these three defendants accountable for the actions that they took.

LEMON: Yes. Do you know, Lee, before I even met Wanda, you know the whole thing with the videotape and trying to get it on and airing it and what have you, where do you think we'd be today meaning us who watched this trial and the family and you without that videotape?

MERRITT: The video was the absolute lynchpin of accountability in this case. It's somewhat sad that for many families whose don't have the benefit of having this kind of video that would capture what happened, we rarely see justice in cases absent of video.


We're approaching 10 years since the murder of Trayvon Martin and we know that his killer was acquitted. There was no video. And that video evidence was key.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you both. Be well.

MERRITT: Thank you.

LEMON: President Joe Biden calling out Republicans for talking down the economic recovery. Is this a sign of how he'll deal with the GOP from now on?


BIDEN: I refuse to let them stand in the way of this recovery and now, my focus is keeping this recovery strong and durable, notwithstanding Republican obstructionist.



LEMON (on camera): President Biden calling out Republicans accusing them of obstructionism and saying that he will not let them stand in the way of his efforts to lead the economic recovery.

That, just a day after the president lit into his predecessor in a scathing January 6th speech emphasizing the danger Trump poses to democracy. The president set net week to take a big stand on defending voting rights.

So, joining me now is CNN's senior political commentator David Axelrod. David, good evening to you. Good to see you.



LEMON: President Biden going after Republicans today after denouncing Trump in his January 6th speech today. Do you think that this is the start of a long-term shift of how Biden approaches a party that is refusing to work with him and embracing whole sale lies?

AXELROD: Yes, I think he should for absolute sure on the -- in terms of voting rights and the big lie. I mean, it's just, you know, when he gave his speech on Thursday, there were people who said, well, you know, I don't know if he's going to continue this.

I don't know how you can go down to Atlanta and talk about voting rights and not talk about the big lie and what Donald Trump has been doing because all of these changes in voting laws are predicated on the big lie. This notion that somehow the elections were fraudulent and therefore

we need to restrict voting rights and give legislatures the right to overrule the actions of local election boards, this is all predicated. It's all of one piece.

So, you know, I think he has to and I think he should keep that up down there as -- and as to the rest of his program, look, he's not getting any help from Republicans. And he's unlikely to get any help from Republicans now that we're in an election year.

We've got some significant crisis facing this country. We're still navigating our way through this pandemic. It's quite serious right now. He's got economic issues that he's trying to tend to. You know, too much of the focus frankly, has been in the last few months on intramural wrangling among Democrats when in fact there are no Republicans willing to support the Build Back Better Act. There are no Republicans willing to support voting rights.

So, you know, there's a lot of focus on Joe Manchin and, you know, I think that it's politically the right thing to do to put the focus on the Republican opposition that's been so implacable.

LEMON: David, you're a former presidential advisor and you know Biden well. In that speech yesterday, he denounced the former president repeatedly mercilessly really and it was very deliberately done.

Our reporting is that they began working on this a month and a half ago back in November and President Biden had very distinct views about the tone. What's the strategy here and why choose this moment to make this pivot do you think?

AXELROD: Well, I think a few things. First of all, I don't know how you can talk about January 6th without talking about Donald Trump --

LEMON: Right.

AXELROD: -- and everything that led to it. You know, Don, those -- I don't defend in any way the people who marauded through the capitol that day but, you know, they weren't all Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. They were also, you know, average Americans who became convinced by Donald Trump that somehow the election had been stolen and that it was their patriotic duty to protect democracy by doing what they did.

He propagated this lie. He spread this lie. He used his authority with other Republicans to draw them in and so he was the provocateur. That's the first thing. As a matter of politics, look, I think it's important for Biden.

Biden looked I thought strong and resolute and very passionate on Thursday. That's the Joe Biden people need to see. You know, too often I think he has been a little bit laid back in his presentations and people need to see that kind of energy and that kind of resolve. So, I think that's also part of the strategy now.

LEMON: Yes, I think that his supporters want to see that, the people who put him into office, they want to see him as a fighter even -- AXELROD: Yes.

LEMON: -- even over some of the, you know, just bipartisanship at all costs. Listen, President Biden is pivoting to voting rights now. He's giving a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday but without senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on board with changes to the filibuster, any legislation is really dead in the water. No new tone is likely to change that.

AXELROD: Yes. Well, that is what's happening in public. He's going down and making speeches. There is an awful lot going on in private, a lot of conversations between Manchin and some of his colleagues and others, some of which have been reported, some of which haven't. I don't think they've had a breakthrough yet.

You know, I texted with one senator who is involved today and he said, well, hope springs eternal but nothing has changed so far. But the -- you know, and so we'll see. I mean, it could end up where some of these other issues have ended up but, but you know, Manchin has been, I mean, he when he met with reporters the other day did say that he was deeply concerned about making sure that people who are eligible to vote have the opportunity to vote and that everyone's vote gets counted.


And of course, all of these things are being impeded by some of the legislation we've seen around the country. So, you know, he has laid a predicate for doing something. The question is, what is he willing to do?

And he you know, he clings to the notion that the filibuster is somehow promotes debate and promotes cooperation but, you know, we've seen that that is not the case. And what it really does is it creates gridlock in the Senate and it presents an image to the country that we can't move forward that even when a majority of Americans support action, that action can't move forward because the filibuster is now been used time and time and time again as a cudgel against majority views in this country.

The fil -- the U.S. Senate was constructed and the Constitution constructed the Senate in such a way as to, as to protect minority rights, the rights of the minority views in this country but what we now have, you know it was to prevent a tyranny of the majority. What we have now is a tyranny of the minority time and time and time again, Republican whose represent 41 million less, fewer Americans than Democrats do in the Senate use the filibuster to thwart the public will, the majority will in this country.

That's untenable. That doesn't help strengthen democracy. That doesn't help strengthen our institutions and hopefully at least on this issue, which is so fundamental Senator Manchin will come to that conclusion.

LEMON: Well, we hope. We will see. David Axelrod, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

AXELROD: Good to see you, Don, thanks.

LEMON: The first Black man to win the best Oscar dying today at the age of 84. Spike Lee is here to remember -- at 94, excuse me. Spike Lee is here to remember Sidney Poitier.


SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: I'm his son. I love you. I always have, and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.





UNKNOWN: You better sure of yourself, Virgil. Virgil that's a funny name for a Nigger who come from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?

POITIER: They call me Mr. Tibbs.

UNKNOWN: Mr. Tibbs. Well, Mr. Tibbs, take him down to the depot and I mean boil that now.

POITIER: I'll have the FBI lab send you the report on this.


LEMON (on camera): Legendary actor, director and long-time activist Sidney Poitier dead at the age of 94. He was the first Black man to win the best actor Oscar. His civil rights activism inspired so many Americans.

In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Poitier the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil honor.

Joining me now is the filmmaker, the legendary filmmaker, Mr. Spike Lee. Spike, thank you.

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: How are you doing, sir?

LEMON: I'm doing OK. This one hit me hard. You know --


LEE: Me, too, me, too. A lot of people. This one --

LEMON: Mr. Poitier, Mr. Tibbs --

LEE: This hurt.

LEMON: He was a trailblazer. He had so much presence. He had so much dignity on the screen and in life. Talk about the impact that he had on the film, on film in this country and you.

LEE: My dear mother was a cynophile so she took me to see "Lilies of the Field" in 1963 when I was six years old.


LEE: And later on, in '67 "Heat of the Knight" and my mother loved her some Sidney like a lot of women did.


LEE: She loved Sidney. And here is the thing I wanted to say. Sidney paid a price. The roles he accepted where he had to be the perfect Negro.


LEE: He could not be threatening. He cannot alienate the white audience and there's a resemblance to what Branch Rickey told Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers and also what Joe Lewis had, too. They cannot be offensive. Like, total line. Branch Rickey said after a couple years, Jackie went crazy because he couldn't hold -- they let him loose. But when? Sidney slapped that cracker.

LEMON: The guy in the movie. This is what --


LEE: Yes.

LEMON: Spike, I want to play this.

LEE: In the -- in the, scene.

LEMON: In the scene he was that.

LEE: In the scene.

LEMON: But listen, I want to play it because that we both --


LEE: I mean, that's when -- that's when the handcuffs came off.

LEMON: That is the iconic moment for both of us. The iconic Poitier moment. In 1967 --



LEE: We were the only ones.

LEMON: "In the Heat of the Night". Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Was Mr. Colbert (Ph) ever in this greenhouse last night about midnight? You saw it.

UNKNOWN: I saw it.

UNKNOWN: What are you going to do about it?

UNKNOWN: I don't know. I don't remember that. There was a time when I could have had you shot.


LEE: Don, 1967 I was 10 years old.

LEMON: I was one.

LEE: And brother Sidney gave it to him. I remember it like it was yesterday. Black folks lost their mind.

LEMON: It was -- it was, look --


LEE: We never seen that before. Ever.

LEMON: But it was reflex. That's exactly how people would react. He requested a script change to add that slap in the film. He even rewrote his contract to prohibit the movie studio from cutting that scene.

LEE: Yes.

LEMON: That -- I mean, what did that slap -- I mean, we're laughing here but that slap meant everything to black people. That was during really the height of the civil rights movement.

LEE: The height of the civil rights movement and also, we're talking about Hollywood. We never seen that before. We've been -- we were animals. We were less than human. If you look at the history of our culture, that's not Hollywood.

Going back to D.W. Griffin, birth of a nation. So that was like the nuclear bomb went off. A slap, you like this? A slap turned into a nuclear bomb.

LEMON: Listen, your reaction seeing it, I haven't seen it in a while immediately, woo when you see it right? I want to talk about your tribute to him today. This is on Instagram. And you say am I the only one who has noticed that every day we are losing the game changers who have impacted our lives with their positive force and we're losing these giants when there is so much going on in the fight for voting rights, in the fights for civil rights, in the fights for human rights.

LEE: Well, we have to remember that Sidney and Harry Belafonte were the ones that got Paul Newman, James Garder, a whole bunch of Hollywood, the right checks and marched with Dr. King. It was Sidney and Belafonte that got the white stars of Hollywood to join the movement.

LEMON: Charlton Heston.

LEE: That's the funny one. Charlton Heston, he had a little change. Somebody is.


LEE: He was there, though.

LEMON: When I see Charlton Heston in that picture I say --


LEE: James Gardner. Paul Newman was there.

LEMON: What's its streetcar name -- what's his name?

LEE: Marlon Brando was there.

LEMON: Brando, Marlon. Yes

LEE: Yes.

LEMON: Frank Sinatra.

LEE: Sinatra.

LEMON: Yes, you are no stranger to balancing activism and film. You know, I spoke to Harry Belafonte this summer, I did interview him. Poitier along with Harry Belafonte, his buddy, they set the standard for using celebrity, their celebrity to enact change and the celebrity of others.

This is Charlton Heston at the 1963 march on Washington. We have that picture up. It meant something for the civil rights movement to have celebrities and lend themselves to this cause and these two gentlemen they were the ones who did it as you said. It was amazing.

LEE: Yes, and we had -- they understood that just black folks out there, we had to show that we had a white brothers and sisters on with us walking, marching down south.

LEMON: Don't we do that now with civil rights, with voting rights, I should say?


LEE: I think -- well, voting rights but if you saw, I mean with the brother George Floyd, I saw -- you saw demonstrations around the world. That's what relegated the black folks so it's there. It's there.

LEMON: Well, we need people to stand up for voting rights in this time so it would be nice to take a que Sidney Poitier and Mr. Harry Belafonte, but today this is dedicated to Sidney Poitier Ninety-four years old.


Thank you, Spike. Keep doing what you do.

LEE: Thank you.

LEMON: I appreciate you joining. That's his autobiography. Hold it up so people can see it. "This life: Sidney Poitier," and Mr. Spike Lee. Thanks, Spike. Be well. I'll see you.

LEE: I see you back in New York.

LEMON: Yes, sir.

LEE: Peace.

LEMON: The January 6th committee not ruling out criminal charges for Trump and his allies. I'm going to ask a former impeachment manager if he thinks there will actually be accountability this time. Congressman Joe Neguse is next.


LEMON (on camera): The chairman of the committee investigating the January 6th insurrection saying today they are considering formally asking Mike Pence to speak with them voluntarily. So, chairman Bennie Thompson telling NPR he expects that before the month is out.

So, joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse. He was a House manager during Donald Trump's second impeachment.


Congressman, I appreciate you joining. Thank you so much.

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Thanks for having me, Don.

LEMON: This is the V.P. who had to evacuate the capitol as rioters call for him to be hanged. But it's also the V.P. who spent four years as a yes man to Donald Trump. Do you think that he'll -- that he's doing to be willing to cooperate or they are going to have to compel him to do it?

NEGUSE: That's a great question. I think it's an open question, Don. I suspect that he'll be unlikely to voluntarily cooperate but of course who knows and obviously, the chairman and the committee I think have good reason to talk to the vice president. He played a pivotal role in the events that day obviously with respect to the certification of the electoral college votes and the final outcome in our ability to ultimately certify the election.

One would hope given the way in which he was treated by the former Trump administration, and the threats that were made against him personally that day as we all were gathered in the House chamber that he would be willing to step forward and choose country over party and participate in this proceeding but time will tell.

LEMON: Leaders of the January 6th committee making it very clear that they are leaving the door open to criminal investigation. Listen to Congresswoman Liz Cheney.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): January 6th itself was a line you just can't cross. The committee is looking at that, looking at whether what he did constitutes that kind of a crime but certainly, it's dereliction of duty.


LEMON (on camera): Look, you've been here before, right? Because you were part of President Trump's second impeachment. He escaped accountability twice in those investigations. Do you think he'll actually be held accountable this time?

NEGUSE: Again, Don, that is an open question. As you know, he evaded accountability at the conclusion of the impeachment trial. The House charged him with constitutional offenses. Offenses against the Constitution including incitement.

I thought we made a compelling case on the floor of the United States Senate and I believe ultimately majority of the United States Senate agreed and concurred in our conclusion. Unfortunately, only seven Republican senators were willing to choose country over party and follow their conscience and vote to convict the president.

And so, as you stated, he was able to avoid accountability. It seems like the committee is certainly considering based on the public statements that I've heard from vice chair Cheney and chairman Thompson potential criminal referrals particularly as it relates to perhaps the obstruction statute in terms of impeding an official proceeding which would be the Electoral College certification.

But again, I'm not going to get in front of the committee. Obviously, that will involve a number of complex legal questions that the committee is going to have to answer. But I trust Chairman Thompson and I trust his judgment and his ability to get to the bottom of the facts to share those facts with the American people and ultimately make the necessary decisions as to the referral as the case may be warranted.

LEMON: You know, since I have you here, I want to turn now to the destructive fires in your home state of Colorado. You were with President Biden as he toured some of the devastation there today and I just want to play some of what he said about it.


BIDEN: This situation is a blinking code red for our nation because the combination of extreme drought, the driest period from June to December ever recorded, ever recorded. Unusually high winds, no snow on the ground to start created a tinder box, a literal tinder box. And we can't ignore the reality that these fires are being supercharged, being supercharged by change in the weather.


LEMON (on camera): So, the president talked a lot about rebuilding and recovering but how convinced are you about the change in climate in this country, concerned, I should I say about the changing climate in this country and the subsequent weather that has been devastating to folks?

NEGUSE: Well, I'm deeply concerned. First, let me say, Don, what a difference it makes to have a kind empathetic president who gets it, who literally within seven days of this disaster in my community, the most destructive fire in Colorado's history came to Colorado.

He sent his FEMA administrator who the governor and I hosted just a few days ago and then of course today we traveled with the president from Washington here to Colorado and had a chance to visit with him and ensure that he had the opportunity to visit with families who had been impacted by the terrible Marshall Fire.

Literally, families, Don, who lost everything in the fire, lost all their belongings and their home at a moment's notice to evacuate with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. he is right. The word that the president used, I can't couldn't agree more, super charged, with respect to these fires.

The reality is, climate scientists have warned for many years that this could very well be our new normal and that is very scary in terms what may be happening for years to come. When you have incredibly dry conditions like we had here in Colorado coupled with hurricane winds upward towards of 90 miles per hour a week ago, what results is a devastating fire that totaled, destroyed over 100 homes.


Countless families in my community, neighbors who are now working to rebuild and to recover. So, I'm grateful to the president for his willingness to help us in the short term on disaster relief and the commitments he's made to me and to my colleagues.

But I'm also grateful that he is willing to show leadership with respect to the fight against climate change. The time to act is now. The impacts of climate change are happening in our own backyard here today. We've witnessed it and we have to get serious about fighting it.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Be well.

NEGUSE: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: The world's top tennis player now living in, take this, a detention center in Australia? What's going on with Novak Djokovic? Next.



LEMON (on camera): So, take this. Novak Djokovic in a detention facility for refugees in Melbourne, Australia this weekend as he battles with the government over a visa to enter the country where he is hoping to defend his title at the Australia Open.

Australia requires proof of full COVID vaccination or a medical exception to enter. Djokovic who has not revealed his vaccination status claims to have a valid medical exception but Australia's government says he does not and cancelled his visa, denying him entry.

The prime minister taking a hard line, saying rules are rules and there are no special cases. Djokovic is appealing that decision. A court hearing is set for Monday. His family claims he's being held captive but the government says not so, he is free to leave whenever he wants.

Up next, President Biden starting to really take on Republicans and he is preparing for the fight on voting rights ahead.