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Don Lemon Tonight
Kevin McCarthy Not Interested To Cooperate With January 6th Committee; Mitch McConnell Felt Offended By President Biden's Speech; Trump Allies Spreading Lies; GOP Lawmaker Compares D.C. COVID Rules To Holocaust; Boris Johnson Apologized For His Partying Spree. Aired 10- 11p ET
Aired January 12, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST (on camera): Hey, everyone, thanks for watching. I'll be back tomorrow. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I like the way you said that, DON LEMON TONIGHT.
COATES: Don, it was very -- it had an Oprah quality, I think, Don Lemon. I don't know why I did that. I don't know why.
LEMON: You get a car. You get a car. So, we're anticipating hearing about Novak Djokovic tonight.
LEMON: I know you spoke about it a little bit. But you know, I think that American athletes, the NFL, the NBA so on and so forth can learn from the Australian government and the United States because they're saying, look, we want to investigate this fully and if you lied or if there's anything untoward or if you don't follow the rules, then you shouldn't be here. You shouldn't be playing. You shouldn't be in the country.
And I think that's fair for the greater good. That decision tonight from the Australian government should come out during this show.
COATES: I can't wait to hear it. Because it's kind of like the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. And the idea, there is really the audacity here of the government stating what their requirements are, and then the tennis association of whatever kind is like, actually, yes, yes, here's what you can do instead.
COATES: I mean, just imagine what you think your power is, it's really unbelievable to think about it. But you're right, there's a lot to learn because unfortunately this is a blueprint starting a long time ago on what we value and how we value athletes. LEMON: You know, I'm not surprised, though, as it comes to government
as we are seeing the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I am just -- I cannot believe that an athlete -- well, just because, you know, I want to win a title I should be able to flaunt the rules and come in, it's like, no, you can't. You can't do it. Because those are the rules.
So, look, the government will decide what they're going to do. The tennis association, the government, OK. But I think these athletes and anyone who thinks that they're beyond the rules or above the law, so to speak, I think that they, you know, they deserve to get a smackdown because they're not.
COATES: Look, I mean, you have the right to do what you'd like to do, right, in some instances. If there's not a mandate or a requirement, but you've got to accept the consequences, right? If you want to say I'm going to do me and only what I want to do, well there are consequences to that. Right?
COATES: You can't -- you can't --
LEMON: You can't go play in the Australian Open.
COATES: And you know what, in the grand scheme of things, I'm a huge fan of tennis and all sports and I love it and I'm not trying to insult athletes in in way, but at the end of the day, we have to balance, do people care more about watching the match or watching those numbers and COVID tick up. I mean, that's part of this conversation as well.
And if you've got it under control, are you willing to throw one player in that could thwart the whole thing. You have to decide. You have to decide what you want.
LEMON: If you really care about tennis, if you really care about your sport and the people involved, then you do what the rules say. That's all I got to say.
COATES: And that's a lot.
LEMON: And the rules of people who -- the people who create the rules here are telling me I got to go.
COATES: Well, OK. Don't get me in trouble, good-bye, Don Lemon.
LEMON: I'm not getting you in trouble. Bye, Laura Coates. Thank you very much.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. And here is our breaking news. We're watching the Djokovic decision
that should come down during the show and we'll get you on that. But the big breaking news, Kevin McCarthy -- you know who he is -- he says that he will not cooperate with the January 6th committee claiming that the committee's only objective is, and I quote here, "to attempt to damage its political opponents."
In fact, the committee is charged with getting to the truth of what happened on January 6th and who is responsible. The committee believes that McCarthy knows more than he is telling about January 6th and the days leading up to it and the then president's state of mind.
So, from the committee's letter, I have it right here and I quote, it says "in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former president that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th was doomed to fail. How did they respond? Why were they nevertheless so confident that the election results would be overturned?" End of quote.
They also wanted to ask McCarthy about what happened in the days after the riot at the capitol quoting a local news report saying this quote again, "Kevin McCarthy said he implored President Trump, Donald Trump during an intense hour-long phone conversation Monday morning to accept his electoral defeat and move forward with a peaceful transition of power. House minority leader pleaded with him telling him the election was over and he needed to move on. Stop this!" Exclamation point, end quote, McCarthy recalled telling hip.
Now the committee's letter going on to say this, "it appears that you may have also discussed with President Trump the potential he would face a censure resolution, impeachment, or removal under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you may have identified other possible options including President Trump's immediate resignation from office."
Now, it sure does seem like the committee charged with finding out what happened on January 6th and why it happened, sure seems like they'd want to talk to Kevin McCarthy about all of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Would you be willing to testify about your conversation with Donald Trump on January 6th if you were asked by an outside commission --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Sure.
RAJU: You would?
MCCARTHY: Next question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Next question. Well, I think we all could have guessed how that was going to work out, right? And then there is this, just a few months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: This is a political select committee that Pelosi did something that no speaker has ever done, denied the Republicans the right to appoint people to it. Their own select -- no one had ever done that. It's purely political, but look at this, but I have nothing to hide but I have nothing to add.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Boy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, dancing whatever. It's all a spin. It's all political, but I have nothing to hide. It's all political, but I have nothing to hide, and I have nothing to add. A whole lot of nothing and now he's refusing to cooperate.
Let's not forget Kevin McCarthy and his party could have had a bipartisan commission investigating January 6th. They could have. He shot it down, and then Nancy Pelosi created the select committee, he pulled his members off of it, leaving Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, the only two Republicans left standing.
As for McCarthy's claim that he's got nothing to hide, then how about just talking to the committee. I have nothing to hide. Just talk to them then. How about telling the whole truth about what happened while the capitol was under attack and McCarthy called the then president begging for him to call off the mob.
Trump's stone-cold response was, reportedly, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are. Now here's McCarthy telling the then president rioters were breaking into his office through the windows and demanding, quote, "who the f do you think you're talking to." In the hours right after the capitol riot, Kevin McCarthy was absolutely clear about what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: The violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, un-Democratic, and un-American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): A week later, he was absolutely clear who was responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest, and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): Those are Kevin McCarthy's dead ringer, like his twin? Two different people. I think Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring, completely knuckled under to the disgraced twice impeached, one-term former insurrection inspiring president, even though he used to know exactly who was responsible for what happened on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I was the first person to contact him when the riot was going on. He didn't see it. What he ended the call was saying telling me he'll put something out to make sure to stop this. That's what he did, he put a video out later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): You never know which Kevin McCarthy you're going to get. Of course, the committee wants to talk to him. Of course, they do. They want to talk to Jim Jordan, too. He claims he has no relevant information that would assist the select committee in advancing any legitimate legislative purpose, sound similar?
Because that's kind of what Kevin McCarthy is saying as well. You know what might be relevant? Whether he talked to the then president on January 6th. That might be relevant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Did you speak with President Trump on January 6th?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, I mean, I speak -- I spoke with the president last week. I speak with the president all the time. I spoke with him on January 6th. I mean, I talk with President Trump all the time. That's -- I don't think that's unusual. I would expect members of Congress to talk with the President of the United States when they're trying to get done the things they told the voters in their district to do.
I'm actually kind of amazed sometimes that people keep asking me this. Of course, I talk with the president all the time, I talked with him, like I said, I talked with him last week.
UNKNOWN: On January 6th, did you speak with him before, during, or after the capitol was attacked.
JORDAN: I'd have to go. I -- I spoke with him that day after, I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don't know. I'd have to go back and -- I mean, I don't -- I don't know that -- when -- when those conversations happened, but -- but -- what I know is I spoke with him all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Of course, I spoke to -- did you on that date? Hey, little Bobby, did you eat the Cheetos? I don't know. Well, why is orange stuff all over your face?
That's the sort of thing that might be relevant to the committee. Did you speak to the president on that date?
Meanwhile, the former president's big lie of bogus voter fraud, the big lie that fueled the insurrection in the first place spreading across the country. And President Joe Biden is deep in a last-ditch attempt to pass legislation to protect the right to vote finally, finally admitting the only way forward may be to carve out the filibuster to pass voting rights.
And Mitch McConnell who just yesterday threatened that if Democrats weakened the filibuster that he will personally guarantee the Senate will grind to a halt. Today he is full of indignation over the president's speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), Senate MINORITY LEADER: Yesterday he shouted that if you disagree with him, you're George Wallace. George Wallace. If you don't pass the laws he wants, you're Bull Connor. And if you oppose giving Democrats untrammeled one-party control of the country, well, you're Jefferson Davis.
Twelve months ago, this president said disagreement must not lead to disunion. But yesterday he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War, the Civil War to demonize Americans who disagree with him, he compared -- listen to this -- a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors.
How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential. Look, I've known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): OK. So that was -- you know, I find the Republicans do that a lot and conservative media do that a lot, what Mitch McConnell just did. He knows what he did, and he knows that he is -- it's beyond being hyperbolic, he's actually just lying about what the president said.
That's not exactly what he said, right? That's what Mitch McConnell said. Not exactly what Biden said. Biden didn't demonize Americans who disagree with him, right? What he did was lay out a rhetorical choice. What he said was not that you are Bull Connor, that you are George Wallace, there's a difference. He said you're on the side, and there's a big difference there. There's a rhetorical choice.
Do you side with those, side with those who fought for our most sacred right as Americans, the right to vote, or not that you are those people, do you side with those who fought against it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I ask every elected official in America, how do you want to be remembered? At consequential moments in history, they present a choice.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): All right, so you get the difference there, right? So, if you are -- if you're on the side of -- so if you want voting rights protection, that would be like saying you are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You are John Lewis. Right? That's the opposite of -- so he's saying, whose side are you on?
As I have said before, if you were a supporter of this president, then you voted for the president, or the former President Trump, then you voted for the president who what? The bigots supported. The Klan supported. Right? The Proud Boys supported, the alt-right supported.
Didn't mean that you were a member of that, but those who -- that's who supported the former president. So, if you don't believe in the voting rights legislation, then Joe Biden is absolutely right. That's the side that you're on, people who have historically voted against voting rights protections for the majority.
And then he also said here untrammeled control over the country by Democrats or for one party he said, but what he's actually saying is that the majority, right, Democrats are in the majority now, and the majority of the country wants voting rights protection that that's not right because the minority wants something else.
So, what he is actually espousing here is minority rule. Mitch McConnell, we see you, and you know better. Here's the president today responding to McConnell's criticism saying, I like Mitch McConnell. He's a friend, which may be the most Joe Biden thing that he could say, but just think about how much things have changed since the last time voting rights were before the Senate.
OK, so this is our facts first part. This was back in 2016, the Senate voted 98 to zero to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Nineteen -- in 2006, the Senate voted 98 to zero to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, not so long ago.
Every single senator voting in favor including Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, Susan Collins, James Inhofe. John Thune, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Richard Burr and Lisa Murkowski. I will say it again, every single senator voting in favor of voting rights protection, the last time to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006. Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, Susan Collins, James Inhofe. John Thune, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer -- excuse me, Chuck Grassley, Richard Burr, and Lisa Murkowski.
What is so different now? T-r-u-m-p, f-e-a-r, the big l-i-e? What is so different now? Voting rights protections haven't changed. We haven't grown all of a sudden, a different group of ethnicity ethnicities.
Those are members of Congress who voted in favor of voting rights then and they are in the Senate now. That is Roy Blunt, John Bozeman, Shelby Moore, Caputo -- Capito, excuse me, Jerry Moran, Roger vic -- Wicker and Marsha Blackburn.
Every one of those Republicans took a stand for voting rights more than 15 years ago. Where did they stand now? What's different? Ask them. You put them in office. Ask them what is different now. I'll hold.
Here's our breaking news tonight, Kevin McCarthy says that he won't cooperate with the January 6th committee. He says that he has got nothing to hide. So why won't he talk?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Do I think he will, we'll see. But you know, holding a title in Congress doesn't make you exempt from having to be, you know, to bring information you may have related to such a serious investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): The January 6th committee wants House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to speak with them. Tonight, he is saying that he will not cooperate.
Joining me now CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.
Gentlemen, good evening to you.
Charlie, McCarthy is saying that he won't cooperate. But the committee outlines a lot of reported points of contact between Trump and McCarthy before, during, and after the insurrection including telling Mark Meadows the scheme to object to certifying the electoral votes was doomed to fail.
I mean, it made clear that he knew about the president's intentions to try to overturn the election. This is a big deal.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it is a big deal, and I think Kevin McCarthy said the right things on that day when he pushed back very hard against the former president, you know, calling him out for his role in the insurrection, but I think we have to view Kevin McCarthy's actions through the lens of how does this all affect his bid to become the house speaker.
With Representatives Jim Jordan and Scott Perry not cooperating with the committee, you have to remember it was Jim Jordan and the freedom caucus back in 2015 that prevented Kevin McCarthy from ascending to the speaker role after John Boehner announced his resignation.
And I think Kevin McCarthy is doing everything to make sure that right flank, that hard right flank does not undermine him again. Also, Donald Trump is out there who doesn't want him to cooperate and who can also cause problems for him to become the next speaker. I think this is that's what this is all about. There can't be daylight between Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump on this issue. Simple as that.
LEMON: Elie, in this letter to McCarthy the committee also brings up conversations McCarthy may have had with Trump about impeachment, resigning or even removal onto the 25th Amendment. That's as serious as it gets really. It suggests that McCarthy believed Trump was culpable for what happened but does it also speak to his state of mind, his mental fitness?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly, Don. The number one issue that Kevin McCarthy can speak to is Donald Trump's state of mind as this whole thing played out on January 6th. Kevin McCarthy had really revealing conversations with Donald Trump, and that's what the committee needs to get at here. And I think the number one headline of all of this is these guys are hiding.
Despite all their bluster and tough talk and rhetoric, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry and now Kevin McCarthy are hiding. They're hiding the truth from the committee, they're hiding the truth from Congress, they're hiding the truth from the American public and now the committee is going to have decide what its next steps are.
LEMON: The committee's letter, Elie, also notes that McCarthy's comments about January 6th changed after he met with Trump at Mar-a- Lago just before the impeachment trial started. They want to know if Trump or anything of his allies told McCarthy what to say about their January 6th conversations during the impeachment trial or any other investigation. Does that suggest -- is that witness tampering? What is that?
HONIG: It could be, Don. I mean, look, there's quite an obvious turn around in Kevin McCarthy's rhetoric as you just showed in your opening from the weaker cell after January 6th until after that sort of miraculous visit to Mar-a-Lago when suddenly Kevin McCarthy decided to see the world very differently.
Yes, look, if Kevin McCarthy was advised or urged or asked to shade things a certain way or to give his testimony sort of partially, but not in other parts, that could be witness tampering. That could be obstruction of justice. Certainly, relevant to January 6th committee's works and it could be relevant ultimately to DOJ's work if DOJ was interested in this, which we're not at all sure they are.
LEMON: So, listen, Charlie, I want to ask you about -- we know about the screaming match between McCarthy that he had with Trump on January 6th where he demanded Trump stop the violence, and then Trump told McCarthy, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.
That's when McCarthy yelled at the president saying who the f do you think you're talking to. He could also give the committee insight on what the president was not doing during the attack, correct?
DENT: Of course, he could. In fact, what I find so stunning about these members not willing to testify or to provide voluntary testimony to the committee is that it's not up to them to determine what information is relevant. It's up to the committee.
When I was a committee chair, I ran investigations. We invited people to testify and we expected them to show up. If somebody had told us that, you know, I don't have anything to offer, thank you very much, but we'll make that determination. Get your butt in here, please.
And I think this is, you know, having a real chilling effect on congressional oversight. And look, this is a novel situation having members forced to testify like this or volunteer to testify because what goes around comes around.
The House is likely to flip, and you know, this can escalate into the next Congress on some other issue. And so, this is a very challenging time, and that clip that you cited where McCarthy and Trump got in this screaming match, that was -- we only know about that, I think largely because Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is the one who took contemporaneous notes --
LEMON: That's right.
DENT: -- when that occurred, and she reported it, and then she was literally tortured. She was invited to present testimony at the impeachment trial because of that exchange. And she was hung out to dry, even though she did the right thing too.
So bottom line is I've never seen any members that just decided that they don't want to provide information to committees that are trying to find the truth.
LEMON: How lower -- much lower can they go? Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
Another GOP lawmaker is comparing COVID safety measures to Nazis. Seriously. Why does this keep happening? We'll discuss next.
LEMON (on camera): So, we have breaking news now, the former President Barack Obama calling on senators to, quote, "do the right thing and pass voting rights legislation that's right now stuck in limbo."
In an op-ed in USA Today reminding Republicans that protecting voting rights was always a bipartisan issue. We talked about it in the beginning of the show. And calling on Democrats to change the filibuster rules and pass the legislation by a simple majority if Republicans refuse to support the bills.
Joining me now, Marc Elias. Marc Elias is a Democratic voting rights attorney who is the founder of the Democracy Docket. He's on the front lines in the battle to protect voting rights.
Marc, good to see you. Thank you for doing this.
MARC ELIAS, DEMOCRATIC VOTING RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Great to see you.
LEMON: It looks like the two bills on Capitol Hill, there's the Freedom to Vote Act. It would make election day a national holiday, require same day voter registration, ban gerrymandering among other provisions, and then there's the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which overturns a Supreme Court ruling that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. There's no indication that these bills are going anywhere. Would voting rights be easier to protect if these got passed?
ELIAS: Boy, would they ever. You know, right now we are seeing a tidal wave of voter suppression and election subversion legislation in state after state where Republicans are able to enact it, including in states like Georgia and Iowa and Florida, and what these bills would do is they would give the tools that state officials need, that local election officials need, and lawyers like me need to make sure that everyone has a right to vote. Everyone's vote is counted and we have free and fair elections.
LEMON: You're on the front lines in this fight to protect voting rights all across the country. You just had a win in Ohio today with the Ohio Supreme Court saying that the new legislative map there was too partisan, needs to be redrawn. Your law firm has 36 cases in 19 states, 36 cases in 19 states. So, give us a sense of where things stand now.
ELIAS: Well, look, where things stand is that unfortunately we have had the transformation of the big lie into now legislation and actions by Republican state legislatures throughout the country. So, the reason why we need to be litigating in 19 states, 36 cases is because in state after state after state rather than competing on a level playing field, rather than competing on a playing field of ideas, Republicans are trying to rig the election processes and rules to gain an advantage in the rule book that they can't gain through the playing field of ideas.
LEMON: You know, Marc, we're learning tonight how Trump allies sent in fake Electoral College certificates after the 2020 election to the National Archives declaring that Trump won seven states he actually lost. They had no impact on the election. I mean, who's committing the fraud here?
ELIAS: Yes, I mean, think about that. I mean, think about that, Don.
LEMON: Yes. ELIAS: You know, it's easy to look back now in retrospect and say, well, it didn't matter, but you know, in the heat of the campaign, in the heat of the post-election leading up to what was a violent insurrection, the idea that Republicans were manufacturing fake documents, fake official records and submitting them in states and in the federal government, that's serious business. That could have hastened a constitutional crisis, and we need to get to the bottom of it and make sure that those people who perpetrated that fraud are held to account.
LEMON: Yes. That is just -- that's unbelievable to me, fraudulent. So, president --
ELIAS: That was the last thing we needed in terms of gasoline on an already irresponsible fire set by the former president.
LEMON: President Biden says that he has been quietly having conversations with senators for months on these two bills. Do you wish that he would have spoken publicly on the knead to change the filibuster sooner?
ELIAS: I think that the president and the White House had been engaged in this as the president said, he was engaged behind the scenes where oftentimes the most effective presidents are behind the scenes, but then, look, he spoke out loudly and forcefully first on January 6th, and then he and the vice president spoke out loudly in Atlanta earlier this week.
And the good news is we're going to see those two bills merged into one move from the House of Representatives to the floor of the Senate in the next few days and come Monday, every member of the Senate, Democrat, Republican, will have to stand up and cast a vote with the spotlight of history shining in their eyes.
LEMON: Yes, Marc Elias, keep doing the great work. Thank you so much for appearing. I appreciate it.
ELIAS: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you.
Yet another Republican lawmaker comparing COVID safety measures to Nazis, but his colleagues calling him out on it. Stay with us.
LEMON (on camera): So, this is really disturbing. Ohio Republican Congressman Warren Davidson is comparing Washington, D.C.'s COVID protocols to Nazi Germany, even though the two are nothing alike at all, not one bit, full stop. Responding to a tweet from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reminding residents that proof of vaccinations will be required to enter many businesses in the city later this week. Congressman Davidson tweeting an image of a Nazi document with the
words, this has been done before, hash tag, do not comply.
So, joining me now CEO national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt. Jonathan is the author of "It Could Happen Here: Why America is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable and How We Can Stop It." And also with us, CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod.
This is really beyond the pale, gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming on to talk about this.
Jonathan, I'm going to start with you. Listen, Davidson's tweet is still up. He's followed that disgusting comparison with this, and I quote, "let's recall that the Nazis dehumanized Jewish people before segregating them. Segregated them before imprisoning them. Imprisoned them before enslaving them, and enslaved them before massacring them." Give me your reaction.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, look, it's clear that the congressman doesn't have a Ph.D. in history, let alone common sense. You know, the genocide of six million Jews, the slaughter of millions of others across Europe was the result of a genocidal madman who committed the kind of systematic extermination of people that here to for had not even been imagined.
To compare masking mandates and showing a vaccination card to hurting people into the ghetto, passing a set of laws to rob them of all of their rights, putting them in cattle cars? I mean, Don, honestly, I hate to even dignify this with our attention this evening.
But when people like this congressman or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert or any of these other people try to use the Holocaust as a prop for their pathologies, we all lose. And it deeply, deeply, I think, it does injustice again to the millions who died at the hands of the Nazi regime.
LEMON: You sound angry, and I would see why, but talk to me about that.
GREENBLATT: Well, I am angry. I'm the grandson of a Holocaust survivor from Germany, who never could have imagined that the only country he and his family had ever known would turn on him, regard him as an enemy of the state, destroy everything that he loved, and murder nearly his entire family and all of his friends.
So, to compare having to show a vaccination card -- and let's keep in mind, right, we have nearly 850,000 Americans who have died of COVID- 19, we have 64 million cases of this virus. This isn't some imaginary thing.
So, the reality is whether you're Republican or a Democrat or anyone else in the political spectrum, again, to literally trample over history because of your own bizarre paranoia, again, does all of us an injustice.
LEMON: David, I want you to weigh in because Congressman Dean Phillips who is Jewish told Jake earlier that said he confronted Davidson and told his tweet was repugnant and offensive to Jewish people. I mean, he won't even listen to his own Jewish colleagues on this. Where does this garbage come from?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that there's a perverse reward system in place. You know, Marjorie Taylor Greene has done this a couple of times, and you know, she is a fund- raising machine because crazy town right wing social media people send her money when she does these kinds of things, and she doesn't really get disciplined by -- she certainly doesn't get disciplined by the leaders of her own party for it, so there's no penalty to be paid for it.
It is -- it is a reflection of a sickness in our politics. And the thing that makes this most perverse, and I will say I'm the son of a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, not from the Holocaust, but from the pogroms.
But, you know, any -- it is incredibly offensive, but what makes it even worse is you look at Washington, D.C., and the mayor there is facing a city where hospitalizations are up 253 percent in the last two weeks. The positivity rate is 25 percent, and all she is saying is if you want to go to a bar or a restaurant, you need to be vaccinated so that we don't overrun our public health system.
She is trying to save lives. She is not trying to destroy lives. I mean, it is the polar opposite of what we saw in the Holocaust, and so for this congressman to invoke that is really unbelievable. And what I would suggest is that he, you know, four minutes away from the capitol is the U.S. Holocaust Museum and memorial. I suggest he take a trip over there and educate himself and perhaps he'll be more restrained next time.
LEMON: All right, thank you, David. Thank you, Jonathan. I appreciate you coming on to discuss this.
The party prime minister, Boris Johnson under fire for throwing parties while the rest of the country was under lockdown. We're going to talk about that. Stay with us.
LEMON (on camera): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing mounting calls to resign after admitting to attending a party at his residence during the U.K.'s first COVID lockdown. Johnson saying there were things that he did not get right, claiming that he thought it was a work event. But even some in his own party aren't buying it.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The famously unflappable Boris Johnson, the great political survivor, is finally flinching.
UNKNOWN: He was hosting a boozy party in Downing Street.
ABDELAZIZ: After facing fury for apparently holding a bring your own bottle party at his official residence in May, 2020, while strict COVID restrictions were in place. The prime minister says he saw it as a work event but finally made an apology, sort of.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, and to them and to this house I offer my heartfelt apologies.
ABDELAZIZ: Johnson stopped short aphid mitting wrongdoing, citing a pending investigation, his apology stoking even more anger.
KEIR STARMER, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: After months of deceit and deception the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road.
STARMER: His defense, his defense that he didn't realize he was at a party. It is so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British public.
ABDELAZIZ: The prime minister yet again providing fresh fodder for social media memes. Even Ryanair taking a jab. The admission is a complete about-face for a prime minister who has so far denied attending multiple gatherings held by his staff when the country was essentially in a lockdown even though he was pictured at one such event seated at a table with wine and cheeseboard.
Johnson says he was at the BYOB party held in the number 10 Garden in May 2020 but said he only went for 25 minutes to thank staff.
JOHNSON: With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.
UNKNOWN: Start leaving now!
ABDELAZIZ: Throughout the pandemic lockdowns in England were strictly enforced, at times police cracking down on parties with force. It left bereaved families who didn't get to say good-bye to dying loved ones furious.
LOBBY ASKINNOLA, FATHER DIED FROM COVID-19: So, (Inaudible) having parties taking place in Number 10 whilst, you know, people like me and other people were making monumental sacrifices is really difficult to hear.
ABDELAZIZ: The queen, herself, was one of the tens of thousands of Britons forced to mourn the death of a loved one alone. It's a potentially lethal blow to Johnson in a scandal that's made casualties of top advisers and staff.
UNKNOWN: I am truly sorry.
ABDELAZIZ: Now he is losing the support of his own party with calls for his resignation. It's the biggest revolt he has seen so far and though he may be a famous political escape artist the party might soon be over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Don, this is a prime minister now trying to defend the indefensible. He's backed into a corner. He's fighting for the support of his own political party. He is more vulnerable than ever before, and it shows. He now has the lowest public approval rating since he took office. Don?
LEMON: Salma, thank you very much. I appreciate that. He spoke to Trump on January 6th and now the committee investigating the insurrection wants to talk to him. The top House Republican Kevin McCarthy is now refusing. Stay with us.
LEMON (on camera): Breaking tonight.