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Don Lemon Tonight

Biden Calls For Changing The Filibuster To Pass Voting Rights Bills; Top Republicans Stand Up For Senator Rounds After He Is Attacked By Trump For Telling The Truth About Election; Jan. 6 Committee Chair Says Giuliani Is Of Interest To The Committee; Australia Investigating Whether Djokovic Lied On The Travel Form. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 11, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): Joe Biden putting it all out there today, making a last-ditch push for voting rights, but changing his own tune as well, telling the Senate it is time to change the filibuster to get some sort of voting protections passed. It is a move against solid GOP opposition, not to mention two members of his own party.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today, we call on Congress to get done what history will judge, pass the Freedom to Vote Act.


BIDEN: Pass it now!


LEMON (on camera): Also ahead, the January 6th Committee saying it wants information from Rudy Giuliani at some point, as they release more subpoenas today.

And was he lying? The Australian government looking into whether tennis star Novak Djokovic lied to enter the country.

So, joining me now, CNN White House correspondent John Harwood and congressional correspondent Jessica Dean. Thank you both for joining us this evening.

We are going to talk about what the president did today, John. President Biden making a major push for these two voting rights bills, comparing this moment to being on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace, John Lewis over Bull Connor. He is putting it all on the line here. So, what happens if it doesn't work? No voting rights? No Build Back Better?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that certainly could be one result, Don. Both of them are difficult. I think the White House is more confident that -- and Democratic leaders in the Congress are confident that they can get something done on Build Back Better than on voting rights because it requires the institutional change in the Senate.

But this is a consequence of what happens when you have zero margin for error in the Senate. You've got 50 senators, you need all of them, and one of them happens to come from a state that Donald Trump won by 39 percentage points in the last election.

The fact that he is -- Joe Manchin is the problem on both is pretty good evidence for the proposition that it didn't make any difference whether they did the voting rights first and Build Back Better second or the other way around. It was going to be difficult either way.

The other thing that is an explanation for why they waited to try to do this later rather than earlier is that there's no stronger pitch to somebody who is reluctant to change the filibuster than to say to them, they are filibustering your bill that you said you could get Republicans to sign on to and you couldn't.

Well, it looks like that may not be enough, so it is just -- this is what happens when you don't have any room for error in the Senate.

LEMON: Jessica, listen, the president tried, pressured negotiations, allowing Manchin to craft his own bill. But that all failed. So, today, he turned to the shaming -- shaming senators. How is it all playing out in the hill?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I mean, we are pretty much right where we've been kind of all along. It is not really moving the needle. The fact remains that these bills do not have the votes to pass and that the Democrats don't have the support, as John just laid out, to make those rule changes in order to move forward on any of this.

So, that's kind of the state of play as things are right now. We do know the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, has promised to bring these bills back to the floor for a vote by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is just here in a few days, so it is not that long from now. He also wants to bring these rule changes to the floor, but he still won't say exactly what those rule changes might be.

And while we did hear from some Democratic senators today, who have long been hold out and very hesitant to talk about the filibuster and blowing it up for this, they -- people like Jon Tester and Angus King talked more about that and how maybe they are moving closer to that, there still remains a very direct opposition to any changes of the filibuster from Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.


Manchin has said that he is open to potentially some rules changes. But again, Don, the question is, what is that exactly and how would they move forward? And so, we are just kind of end up right back where the circle began.

LEMON (on camera): You know, John, President Biden linked the whole idea of voting rights to the insurrection. Watch this.


BIDEN: Today, we come to Atlanta, the cradle of civil rights, to make clear what must come after that dreadful day, when the dagger was literally held at the throat of American democracy.

That's why we're here today, to stand against the forces in America that value power over principle, forces that attempted a coup, a coup against legal expressed will of the American people by sowing doubt and charges of fraud and seeking to steal the 2020 election from the people. They want chaos to rain. We want the people to rule.


LEMON (on camera): So, he is casting the fight for voting rights as a response to January 6th. If you put together the two speeches that he has given just the last week, does this mark a new approach for President Biden? I know I asked that, you know, the night he gave that speech on January 6th, but what do you think?

HARWOOD: I think it is for a couple of reasons. First of all, they are directly linked. The voting rights bill is to stop a set of actions by Republicans in states around the country that are direct outgrowth of the effort in 2020 to subvert the will of the people in that presidential election first with political pressure, then with bogus legal challenges, and finally with physical intimidation of members of Congress. It didn't work.

And what legislators had been doing in republican states is to try to change the rules so the next time they wanted to subvert the popular will, they could succeed where Trump failed.

So, that is a reason to have a sharp tone on both issues, both for the senators to frame (ph) the choice, the John Lewis versus Bull Connor choice that Joe Biden outlined, and it's the reason for the harsher tone toward Trump.

The other factor is that we're turning into 2020 and you've got a midterm election. Joe Biden's numbers are low. The picture for Democrats is not looking good at the moment. They've taken a lot of punches.

And the only way that they are going to try to get competitive as we move towards November is to punch back and try to create a contrast, not just a portrait of a president and a democratic Congress struggling to enact their agenda, but a sharp contrast by those Democrats against what Republicans would do if they got in power.

This is typically how presidents recover. It's once they get a contrast with the opposing party nominee, Joe Biden and Democratic leaders are going to try to engender that in 2022 midterms.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

More now in President Biden's fight to get the Senate to pass important for voting rights legislation. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux got reaction from civil rights leaders.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after President Biden delivered his voting rights speech, I sat down on the front porch of the home where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, with his son Martin the 3rd, his wife Arndrea, and Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, to get their take.

(On camera): Your father believed in the fierce urgency of now. Do you think the president has been urgent enough in pushing forward voting rights?

MARTIN LUTHER KING, III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: What I will say is, today, the president showed us his deliberativeness, but we are watching anxiously to see how he goes back to work later this evening and the rest of the week, because Senator Schumer has set the date for the King holiday, and we will not be satisfied, any of us and a number of communities, until we have the John Lewis bill as well as the freedom to vote bill passed.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): The three were instrumental in bringing Biden to Atlanta and pushed back on some local civil rights leaders who boycotted the president's event.

KING, III: I think some see Georgia and Atlanta as sort of ground zero because when it comes to the victory of the president having a majority in the Senate, the last election was here in Georgia.

MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Why should the president come to the front lines of the battle, not operate simply in the Rose Garden or the Oval Office, to demonstrate and dramatize for the American people?

MALVEAUX (voice-over): But it was this line from the president that captured their shared frustration.

BIDEN: I've been having these quiet conversations with members of Congress for the last two months. I'm tired of being quiet!


MALVEAUX (on camera): The president today said he was tired of being quiet.


Do any of you share that sentiment, tired of the president being quiet? I mean, he spoke today, but he said he was tired of being quiet!

MORIAL: Yeah, he's been quiet and I'm aware of the fact that he spent many months in private consultations, in private persuasion sessions with members of the United States Senate, which clearly were not successful.

And so, yes, we're tired of him being quiet, as he's tired of being quiet, and it's time to elevate this battle, elevate this fight to what it is, and that is a fight for the future of this nation.

KING, III: And when you look at the African-American community that largely delivered for this president, the Black and brown community, obviously, there are others, there are independents, but the Black and brown community unanimously delivered for this president. And so, obviously, people want to see something immediate. They were told that their backs are going to be covered.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): While the Kings had hoped federal voting rights legislation would have been further along by the MLK holiday, they are still calling for Americans to honor it.

ARNDREA WATERS KING, WIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, III: There is no better way to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. than to get involved in this movement.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Eighty-year-old civil rights leader Reverend Jessie Jackson, who fought with King for voting rights more than 50 years ago, also attended Biden's speech. He believes the battle for the ballot will never end.

JESSIE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: We have an obligation to fight back and to save the country (INAUDIBLE) vote.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): As the slain civil right leader's 93rd birthday approaches this weekend, Martin Luther King, III reflected on how his father would feel today.

(On camera): Your father would have been 93 years old, and in the days ahead, do you think he would have been surprised, discouraged that we are now, more than 60 years out from his fight for voting rights, that there is still a fight to be had?

KING, III: He never gave in and gave out. But disappointment, yes, he would be greatly disappointed and say that America can do, can must, and will do better.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Suzanne Malveaux, CNN.


LEMON (on camera): Suzanne, thank you so much.

So, what is at stake if voting rights legislation dies in the Senate and what will America become?


BIDEN: Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide, to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.




LEMON (on camera): President Biden making a case for what's at stake for our democracy if the Senate fails to pass voting rights legislation.


BIDEN: The goal of the former president's allies is to disenfranchise anyone who votes against them. Simple as that. The facts won't matter. Your vote won't matter. They'll just decide what they want and then do it. That's the kind of power you see in totalitarian states, not in democracies. Adversaries and allies alike, they are watching American democracy and seeing whether we can meet this moment.


LEMON (on camera): I want to turn now to two people who were invited by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to talk to Democrats today about the urgency of passing voting rights legislation. Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky are both professors of government at Harvard University and the co-authors of the book, "How Democracies Die."

Gentlemen, thank you. I really appreciate you joining us. I know it is going to be a fascinating conversation because the book is fascinating.

Daniel, I'm going to start with you. You two literally wrote the book, as I said, on what is at stake here. If our democracy is in peril, will this voting rights legislation do enough to help save it?

DANIEL ZIBLATT, AUTHOR, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, there is certainly a lot to be done. We have -- I think the best way to think about this is there is a set of long-term cures, long- term work needed to repair our democracy.

We also face a huge emergency, which is in the next two years, we may have elections. By the time we get to 2024, it's possible we will have a stolen election. So, we need to immediately address that problem in the short one. So, it is just the first step but absolutely critical.

LEMON: Steven, what do you say to senators who don't seem to understand the urgency of the threat that we're up against now?

STEVEN LEVITSKY, AUTHOR, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I try to impress upon them the urgency of the threat. We are in really

uncharted territory. The United States is the one established western democracy in which one of the major political parties has essentially abandoned democratic rules of the game.

You cannot have -- you cannot sustain a democracy if one of two major parties do not accept defeat. We are not in a position where one our parties is threatening the very constitutional order.

And so, all we can do is impress upon senators that in effect, the House is on fire.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEVITSKY: As Daniel pointed out, there are emergency measures that we have to take just to ensure that the 2024 election isn't stolen, isn't overturned.

LEMON: Well, it's interesting that you say that, because I've been saying that on this program for quite some time, on this network, and, you know, Republicans view that as partisan.


I don't think it's partisan. I think one party is acting, you know, in reality. The other one is not. They don't understand the threat to our democracy. Is it -- am I wrong to say that that is not partisan? That is just a reality? That's just the truth?

ZIBLATT: You know, what --

LEVITSKY: Certainly --

LEMON: Go ahead, Daniel.

ZIBLATT: Yeah, we propose a set of criteria that I think -- we are political scientists. We come to these as social scientists. There are very clear criteria that political scientists and social scientists agree upon.

Number one, does a political party accept election defeat? This is an absolute necessary benchmark to be a Democratic Party.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

ZIBLATT: Does a political party condone, tolerate, encourage violence or not? If a party condones, encourages or even tolerates violence, this is absolutely violating basic criteria.

Third final criteria, does mainstream party and mainstream politicians associate themselves or distance themselves from antidemocratic extremists? This applies to both parties of the left and parties of the right, the criteria. And when we look at the American political scene today, sadly, one party fails that test and the other party doesn't.

LEMON: Yeah. Democratic, meaning operating in a democracy, not the big "D" Democratic Party.

Steven, if Republicans win the House and the Senate come November, you have -- do you have any doubt that they will weaponize the filibuster to further consolidate their power? I mean, what are the tactics that they might use here?

LEVITSKY: It is always hard to predict exactly what tactics they will use, but the Republicans really since the rise of the Tea Party have been systematically weaponizing political institutions whatever they can.

The basic norms of restraint in the exercise of political power that sustained our political system for a good chunk of the 20th century really have flown out the window in the last few decades and there is no reason at all to expect that this round would be any different. In fact, the radicalization of the Republican Party has accelerated since Trump's departure from office.

So again, we can't predict with any certainty, but I think we should expect some pretty hardball politics from the Republicans.

LEMON: Steven, you know, people like to blame this on Donald Trump. As you said, this started with the Tea Party and accelerated under Donald Trump. Is this what the Republican Party -- did Donald Trump just allow Republicans to become what they wanted to become and that is as sort of autocratic party, a party that, you know, wants minority rule?

LEVITSKY: That's a good question. I think it's a little bit of both. There's no question that the seeds were already there for Trump. I mean, I think if you take Trump out of the picture, I don't think the radicalization would have been as acute, as rapid. But there was a lot of extremist raw material for Trump to play with.

So, this is a problem that predates Trump. And unfortunately, it's a problem that the radicalization of the Republican Party is something that is going to persist even after Trump exits the political stage. He was a catalyst, but he didn't cause this. He is more symptom than cause.

LEMON: Daniel, you know, Trump has effectively been spreading his malignant lies about election, that, you know, he won and it was stolen from him. We know that that is absolutely not true. Every, you know, fact and indicator show that it's not. How can democracy function when everybody doesn't have the same understanding of reality or truth?

ZIBLATT: Yeah, it's very difficult, very difficult, and especially when it comes to key issues like elections. Elections are all about losing, knowing how to lose. Elections can't -- democracies can't survive unless people know how to lose elections.

And, you know, if you look at let us say the transfer of power that recently took place in Germany after Angela Merkel's many years in office, the losing candidate gave the winning candidate, new chancellor, a fist bump on the floor of Parliament, and that was the end of it. it was a very easy, simple process. That is what is necessary for democracy to survive. And if you're in a situation where one party doesn't accept election results and then they go after the validity of elections, this unleashes a potential spiral and encourages further attacks on our democracy. So, it makes me very nervous both how Democrats will respond in the future if Republicans win fair and square, and this unleashes a kind of escalating spiral. So, it is really bad news all around.

LEMON: The thing is, you know, we have been talking a lot about Republicans, but are Democrats doing enough, Daniel?

ZIBLATT: Well, so far, I would say that Democrats are working quite hard. That is essentially what these two bills that are front of the Senate are. It passed the House. The president said he will sign them.


We have 50 Democratic senators who are in favor of these two bills, which would do a lot, not everything but they will do a lot.

Clearly, the filibuster is a problem. That's the barrier. And so, this is the moment of choice and a moment of decision. You know, in the life of all democracies, there is moment of decision where the future is determined. I think, you know, amazingly, we are in that moment, this weekend next week.

LEMON: So, Steven, on the anniversary of January 6th attack, President Biden said you cannot only love your country when you win. Can democracy even function if only one side is willing to play by the rules? Look, I am afraid that we have passed the point of no return.

LEVITSKY: I don't think we have passed the point of no return. American democracy has a number of things going forward as well as we've talked about. But you're right, it's very hard to sustain democracy for very long when one political party is unwilling, as Daniel said, to accept defeat.

We're in a point right now where, you know, democracy governments may do well, they may not do well, they lose popularity, and parties lose elections.

And so, the Democrats are very likely to lose the midterm elections -- the next midterm election. In a democracy, that's normal. The problem is, we as a democracy, can't afford for the Democrats to lose elections because the opposition party is an antidemocratic force.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEVITSKY: That puts way too much weight on the Democrats' shoulders. They're expected to win every election in order to save our democracy. That is a terrible place to be.

LEMON: It kind of forces you into taking a political -- it seems taking a political side because you're rooting for Democrats to win but only to save the democracy, not necessarily because you're a Democrat or you believe in what the Democrats believe in, except for having a democracy and a functioning republic. Am I wrong with that?

LEVITSKY: Well, I would add that we should root for a broader coalition --

LEMON: Right.

LEVITSKY: -- between Democrats and Republicans or conservatives of all stripes who believe in the democratic process.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEVITSKY: We are in an emergency situation where there need to be alliances that you have never thought of and never imagined before between progressives and pretty far-right conservative if they're committed to democratic rules of the game.

LEMON: Daniel, Steven --

LEVITSKY: It is not just supporting Democrats. It is about supporting small "D" Democrats --

LEMON: Right.

LEVITSKY: -- across the spectrum.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, gentlemen. Fascination conversation. We will have you back. Thank you for the book, and I hope people read it. I hope people are listening to you, guys. Thank you.

LEVITSKY: Thank you.

ZIBLATT: Thanks for having us.

LEMON: So, Joe Biden did win the election. He did, right? So, why is it a shock that Republicans are coming out to defend their colleague who told the truth about that? Plus, Rudy Giuliani maybe next on the January 6th Committee's list.



LEMON: So, a top Republican is defending GOP Senator Mike Rounds. Rounds has come under fire from the former president this week for acknowledging the truth that Joe Biden won in 2020 fair and square. So today, Mitch McConnell telling CNN -- and I quote -- "I think Senator Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election. And I agree with him."

Let's discuss now. Stuart Stevens is here. He is the former chief strategist to the Romney presidential campaign. So, Stuart, well, someone told the truth and a couple Republicans are backing him up. Senator Rounds is doubling down today on the truth of the election. That it was fair. What do you think?

STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE LINCOLN PROJECT, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST OF ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I mean, look, we knew the outcome of this election four days after the election. It was really clear a couple days after the election what was going to happen. I just find it extraordinary how far the Republican Party has fallen, that there is a controversy now over election that wasn't close.

I mean, 300 electoral votes, eight million popular votes. I mean, it would be like NASA suddenly launching into a debate whether or not Copernicus got it right and maybe the sun isn't the center of the universe. It's just one of these telling signs of the collapse of the party as a democratic force.

LEMON: Am I just -- you know, reaching here and thinking that there is something larger afoot? Do you disagree with that? Maybe finally there is someone -- people are getting control of their -- coming to their senses at least?

STEVENS: Yeah, I think you would be.


LEMON: A little naive, a little pollyannish.

STEVENS: You know, Trump is threatening primaries against these people. You know this.

LEMON: He is not up until '26, by the way.

STEVENS: Yeah, and incumbent senators don't lose primaries. You can count them on one hand, I think, since World War II. I just -- you know, I mean, look, these politicians are heir to the greatest generation, right? I mean, people like my dad who fought three years in South Pacific, 28-hour in landings. All they had to do was have their (INAUDIBLE) put out a three Senate statement congratulating who won the presidential race in America.


And they had difficulty rising to that level. It's not a very demanding task. And there are like fourth or fifth generation imperative wealth that is just squandering it. This is the greatest legacy in the country, in the history of politics really, history of democracy, and they are just burning it.

LEMON (on camera): Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski sitting down for this long interview with local media today where she spoke about the attack on democracy. Here it is.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): The passage of time can kind of soften things. But the facts still remain the facts. There was an effort. There was a concentrated effort, and we're learning more, day by day, through this commission. I wish it had been a commission that was fully sanctioned by the whole Congress rather than just a majority of Democrats. But we're learning more and more that this was a concerted effort to thwart an election. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (on camera): I think I know what your answer is going to be. By the way, Murkowski is one of the Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump after the insurrection. But the timing of this interview is curious. Okay, I'll phrase it in a different way. Are Republicans trying to build support to stop Trump or not?

STEVENS: Well, look, I think there's two parts of the Republican Party. One that realizes that Trump can be a weak candidate in 2024. The other is that they are afraid of losing primaries or being challenged by Trump. There is no reason to believe that Donald Trump doesn't lead the Republican Party now. He is the most popular politician in the Republican Party. There is no anti-Trump republican movement of any statute that is not growing.

How many Republicans showed up in the House when they were honoring 1/6? You know, Cheney and her dad. So, I think that, you know, if you -- I'm so glad you have those guys on, who wrote "How Democracies Die."

LEMON: They're so good.

STEVENS: I get their book out like a watchtower. But, you know, one of the points I make is this sort of a normalization of degradation (ph), so that you have the crazies who acknowledge -- there are too few out there, you know. And then when someone actually says something that by previous standards would have been considered inconceivable, it is sort of accept they are not as bad as those other people. I mean, all of this has happened before in other countries that have lost their democracy.

LEMON: Yeah.

STEVENS: And we have to stop thinking we're unique.

LEMON: You are talking about Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky. But also, Fareed Zakaria had a really great special on last night, talking about how democracies --


LEMON: -- die as well. I hope it runs again. It is probably on the CNN app. So, Stuart, you know, this is a new interview from Trump. It is on a conservative outlet. He is calling politicians who won't say if they had the booster -- quote -- "gutless" and saying that the vaccines have saved tens of millions of lives. It seems like he is fully embracing the vaccines. Why now given that so much of his base is against vaccination?

STEVENS: Well, you know, Donald Trump loves nothing as much as Donald Trump. So, you actually have this curious moment where Donald Trump's ego has for once come together with the greater good. He wants to say this works.

LEMON: It's like the dog who caught the car?

STEVENS: He takes -- exactly. You know, this is the Trump vaccine. Of course, the Trump vaccine works. How can it not work? It just so happens that is the right public policy position. So, I mean, I think it would be great if Donald Trump was out there calling on every Republican to endorse vaccines and boosters.

But let's don't forget, it was the Trump White House that politicized vaccines. They're the ones that went out there and made it a Democrat or a Republican issue. This didn't happen in other countries.

LEMON: Yeah.

STEVENS: I mean, in Israel, the orthodox embraced the vaccine. In Canada, it didn't become a conservative liberal issue. It's one of the great catastrophes in public health history and that lies solely at the feet of Donald Trump and his administration.

LEMON: He wouldn't even say that he got the vaccine, you know, after getting it. You know, he wouldn't even tell. All right, thank you, sir. Appreciate it. I'll see you soon.

STEVENS: Thank you.

LEMON: So, he spread election lies. He called for a trial by combat. Now, the committee investigating January 6 plans to seek information from Rudy Giuliani. Plus, star player Novak Djokovic facing more immigration drama in Australia.



LEMON: The chairman of the January 6th Committee telling CNN his panel is planning to seek information at some point from Rudy Giuliani, the former president's one-time personal lawyer who was a key voice in pushing the big lie of election fraud. But the lawyer for Giuliani is claiming any information Giuliani has, is covered by attorney-client privilege.


Let's discuss now with CNN's legal analyst Elliot Williams, former deputy assistant attorney general. Elliot, good evening, sir. Good to see you. So, the committee is zeroing in on one of Trump's closest associates, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was one of the biggest spreaders of election lies. What do you think the committee hopes to learn from him?


January 6th, to be frank, Don, and there was a long pattern of statements, meetings, communications that went back long before that, and Rudy Giuliani would have been at the center of it.

So -- and frankly, he spoke the morning of January 6th. So, they have a number of things to ask him about in his personal contexts, beyond anything he did as president's attorney.

LEMON: Yeah. Giuliani's attorney is suggesting that any information he has would be protected by attorney-client privilege. Well, perhaps not a very good one. He was the president's lawyer. Do they have a case there?

WLLIAMS: A little bit, Don. Look, he was the president's lawyer. Any time he was providing legal advice to the president, those statements are going to be protected, and that is okay. But he wasn't always providing legal advice to the president.

Like I said a little bit earlier, number one, he spoke on January 6th. Two, he was communicating and engaging with respect to the Georgia elections, allegations of fraud there, and was even sued on account of public statements he made down there. He was sued by Dominion, the voting machine company, based on public statements he made.

He can comment and answer questions about things that he has said because those necessarily were not statements that he was making to the president. So, there is a wide body of -- more importantly, Don, the biggest thing is there is an exception to attorney-client privilege called the crime fraud exception. And if someone commits a crime or covers one up, attorney-client privilege is waived and the committee is looking into that.

LEMON: Well, I mean, let's not forget, he was one of the speakers at the "stop the steal" rally. I mean -- so, is that covered by attorney- client privilege? I don't --

WLLIAMS: Again, it's not going to be because they are public comments, right? Any drafts, any speeches, any planning he did for that. Look, if there was maybe -- let's be nice to Rudy Giuliani for a moment and think that prior to that, he was providing legal advice to the president, it's just waived when he speaks publicly into a microphone.

LEMON: The committee is issuing subpoenas today including for a former White House official who helped to draft Trump's speech at the "stop the steal" rally. Are smaller fish like this able to provide important context to the big names if the big names don't cooperate?

WLLIAMS: Yes, exactly, Don. You're getting on the head. You're not always going to get everybody to cooperate. And so, look, if they attempt for instance telephone records from Mark Meadows, but maybe they don't have Mark Meadows' testimony, who can fil in the gaps there? Other witnesses lower down on the chain.

And so, yes, even where they won't succeeded in -- you know, some of these names are big and sexy and high profile, but at the end of the day, it might be the little people that fill in the rest of the report that the committee wants to fill out.

LEMON: Yeah. Sexy? I know what you mean, but --

WLLIAMS: Maybe not the right choice of words.


LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. Elliot, I appreciate it.

Nine-time Australian Open champion Noval Djokovic under fire again for possibly lying on his travel form to get in Melbourne. What is he saying tonight? That is next.



LEMON: So, the world's number one male tennis player, Novak Djokovic, addressing his activities around the time of his positive COVID test as Australian immigration officials investigate whether he may have submitted a false travel declaration ahead of his arrival in Melbourne.

I want to bring in now CNN correspondent Phil Black. He is in Melbourne for us. Phil, hello to you. So, Djokovic declared that he had not traveled in two weeks leading up to his arrival in Australia, but pictures show him in Spain, also in Serbia during that time. Talk to us about this investigation.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so, there have been a couple of discrepancies in Novak Djokovic's timeline. People have been asking questions. One of them, that you just touched on, is the fact that in his travel declaration, a document that everybody has to fill in when they come into the country, he's asked, have you been anywhere else in the past 14 days, and he says, no, but social media shows very clearly, he was in Spain, he was in Serbia.

That's potentially a big deal because it is a crime to lie on these travel declarations, potentially punishable with a prison sentence. He has tried to clear that up today by saying it was a mistake, but it wasn't my mistake, it was filled in by someone else on my behalf, it was just human error.

The other issues that he's been asked about, they tend to focus on the timing and the days after he tested positive for COVID on December the 16th, because that positive test was the reason that he thought he could come into the country. He has recently recovered, he thought the guidelines said, that's not a problem.

But although the document says he has a positive test from that day, social media again shows that on that day, the day after, the day after that as well, he still attended public events and public appointments. He now says that -- again, he describes it as misinformation.


He says he didn't actually find out about the result, the positive result, until after he got back from a fairly crowded children's tennis award event, where he is photographed surrounded by children, no masks, no social distancing. He says he found out about it then, the positive result. He then explains why he still didn't stay home. Take a look at part of his statement now. In it, he says this, he says, the next day, on December the 18th, I was at my tennis center in Belgrade to fulfill a long-standing commitment for an interview a L'Equipe interview, L'Equipe being a French sports publication, and photoshoot.

I canceled all other events except for the L'Equipe interview. I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L'Equipe interview as I didn't want to let the journalist down, but I did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask, except when my photograph was being taken.

While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled that commitment.

So, he's admitting that he made a mistake, but he is also admitting that he knowingly, while knowing that he was COVID positive, put himself in the company of others for an extended period of time. And crucially, the L'Equipe journalist who conducted that interview says at no point was he told during that interview that Djokovic had tested positive for COVID only two days before. Don?

LEMON: What a saga. Phil Black, we will continue to follow. Phil, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

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