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Don Lemon Tonight
Novak Djokovic Back To Detention Facility; Tons Of Trash Left By Thieves In L.A.; Conspiracy Sedition Charged To Oath Keepers; President Biden's Goal Jinxed; Voting Rights Hangs By A Thread. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 14, 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, thanks for watching. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now, and here he is. Hi, Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hi. I was just confused because I saw "CNN TONIGHT." Remember? This was used to be -- wait, what show am I? What's happening here?
COATES: You are not having the Kevin McCarthy amnesia, are you, Don?
LEMON: I thought you like to me.
COATES: I do. No, I do. I mean, you did call me Annie Oakley yesterday, but I'm with you.
LEMON: I called you Laura Oakley. But what a -- what a joke, A D-J-O- K. I mean, this is crazy. And look, everybody. They've screwed it up on, -- I know that was really corny, but it's true. I think that, I think that he's being really selfish, but I think the Australian government has made some missteps as well. Because I'll put that aside.
But maybe he should be looking for the bigger situation which is that, you know, the people there, they were getting no publicity, they're not focusing on what they are support to be doing, the attention is not on the players, and it's all on him.
And he, as one of the other players said, and I'm sure all the others are thinking the same thing, he made the decision not to get vaccinated. So, these are the consequences.
COATES: Well, you know, here in the states, you know, we always hear the same argument, right? I've got the right to do what I want, it's a free country, really, we consider our president, we talk about the leader of the free world, you know, that sort of notion, but there are consequences to what you choose to do.
And honestly, I know it's not a direct comparison, but I keep thinking about the wonderful, powerful, Simone Biles, who made a decision based on what she wanted to do, even though the stakes were so high, and even though people thought there would be consequence about what the draw would be. She thought, let me do what is best for the sport.
LEMON: For the sport.
COATES: Do what is best for my teammates. This is not a team sport, in tennis, but I juxtapose those two, and I just see worlds apart.
LEMON: I got to tell you, I am surrounded by very, very smart, and talented, knowledgeable women tonight from you. I have Mary Carillo standing by so I got to go. I know.
COATES: Go, go, go.
LEMON: Can you believe it? All right. Have a great weekend.
COATES: happy --
LEMON: I really enjoyed your shows this week. Have a good one.
COATES: Thank you, nice seeing you, Don Lemon.
LEMON: And stay warm, I'll see you, Laura Coates.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
And we do have breaking news. So, as Laura and I have truncated a little in the top right there, the breaking news tonight, that everybody is talking about. I know that's what I'm interested in. And that is, tennis star Novak Djokovic, who is exactly where he did not want to be tonight.
Not on the court, practicing for the Australian Open, but in detention. That's after his visa was revoked for a second time on the verge of being kicked out of the country, amid this drama over his refusal to be vaccinated.
A hearing on the case set for Sunday, the day before he hopes to play in the first round of the open.
CNN's Phil Black has the latest now from Melbourne. Phil?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, Novak Djokovic was ordered by a court to present himself, to hand himself over to Australian authorities early Saturday morning, Melbourne time. He is now considered in mandatory detention. He is allowed to spend time with his lawyers under close super -- I should say by border force officers, but in order to prepare his case to sit in on virtual hearings.
However, tonight, he will once again, spend the night sleeping in an Australian immigration detention center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLACK: The latest volley (Ph) landing this match in court, served by Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke. Canceling Novak Djokovic's visa a second time. Citing, health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.
In a quickly convened court hearing, Djokovic's lawyer, claimed the minister's reasoning is very different from everything argued in this case so far. The underlying new rationale is not a direct risk to others, it's that Mr. Djokovic being in Australia in Melbourne in particular, will excite anti-vax sentiment.
That's the point. A radically different approach. The matter will likely be heard by a court in detail on Sunday. Keeping alive Djokovic's hopes of a quick legal win which would allow him to play in Monday's opening round of the Australian Open.
But no player has ever prepared for a Grand Slam title like this. Once again, the world's number one tennis player must spend the weekend detained by Australia's border force.
ABUL RIZVI, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY, AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION: Cancellation means mandatory detention.
BLACK: Abul Rizvi is a former senior official in Australia's immigration department, he says politically, the Australian government had no choice but to try again but it's a high stake move.
Because there is the possibility that if they push through with this, they lose. And that means more humiliation.
RIZVI: Yes, they will be very aware that legally they could lose this case and that would be truly embarrassing. It would be a really bad look. I mean, the real implication is how badly Australia looks in the eyes of the world if it loses a second court case.
BLACK: One immigration lawyer says the minister's powers are wide and not easily changed.
MARIA JOCKEL, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: They would have to articulate very strong grounds that the minister made a jurisdiction error under Australia immigration laws I believe that would be a difficult hurdle for them to jump.
BLACK: This unprecedented saga may finally be approaching a resolution. One that could carry powerful consequences for Australian politics and the career of one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK (on camera): Don, a preliminary hearing Saturday morning confirmed main arguments will be heard on court on Sunday. From the insight we received so far, the arguments are going to be very different this time because the government's reasons for cancelling his visa have changed.
So, this time no one is going to be talking about whether Djokovic was right in thinking he could come here with an exception from vaccination because he'd recently recovered from COVID-19. The focus this time is going to be on the impact of his presence in Australia among other vaccine skeptics. Don?
LEMON: All right. Phil, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Let's talk about that and more. I want to bring in Mary Carillo, she's a sports caster and former pro-tennis player. So -- and I'm a huge fan. Happy to have you on. So, thank you, Mary. I really appreciate it. What a saga.
MARY CARILLO, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I'm delighted. It's a saga, a soggy saga. It's so unnecessary. It so chaotic, Don. The most inelegant of all of the sagas that tennis had in the last year and there have been a couple.
CARILLO: It's such a pity.
LEMON: It is.
CARILLO: Such a pity.
LEMON: He is in detention tonight. He is awaiting -- you heard the story there. You know, the story. He's awaiting the court ruling.
LEMON: He could be deported. There is a lot on the line for him and the government. The government seems to be determined to send him home. What do you expect to happen because he's still slated to play on Monday, Mary.
CARILLO: Supposed to play. You know what happens, they use at these Grand Slam events and you've been to, you know, they play the top half one day and the bottom half the next day, you know. He is in the top half. Obviously, he's the number one seed. Is he going to show up on Monday? Is he going to be playing?
For my money, you put the extremely tremendous, Ash Bardy, the number one women's seed on Monday. I'm not sure of -- I just -- I don't know anymore. It so messy and again, so unnecessary. And we were talking about this before, you know, when you write the story of Novak Djokovic when his obit comes out years from now, where do we put this part, Don? I mean, what determines where this goes in the great history of this tremendous champion?
LEMON: I think --
CARILLO: Where do you -- where do you put this? LEMON: I think it depends on, you know, on what it is for him or if
you're just writing a story about him, is it first, second, third paragraph? I think it depends on the outcome of this. He defies the Australian government and wins, and then he goes to win the Open.
LEMON: Then, you know --
CARILLO: That's right and he is --
LEMON: -- it's high.
CARILLO: You're right.
LEMON: But it's up high.
CARILLO: You're right, he is a hero.
LEMON: But if -- what about all of this -- let's say he does win and then he goes on to lose, then they will say was it worth it because he's actually -- you know, he has -- I think he actually has more on the line, Mary, than the Australian government, do you disagree with that?
CARILLO: He absolutely has more on the line, Don. Because if he gets deported, you know, if you've got a deportation thing on your visa on all your travel documents, I mean, for someone like Novak, that could mean he doesn't get to play the Australian, he doesn't get to enter Australia for three years and other governments are changing their rules as COVID goes on.
This is huge. This could affect his career. It could taint his legacy, which is -- I think he's the greatest tennis player I've ever seen. I've seen a lot of them. I'm elderly.
CARILLO: What's amazing is this guy, he's got the most remarkable footwork in the world. I mean, when you see him, when you see him manage the court, move on every surface because he's won everything twice all the majors twice, he's made so many missteps but he's not alone.
Tennis Australia has really screwed up. There's been a heavy hand in this footing. I mean, the detention (Inaudible). And now we see what Australia's rules are. I mean, that is tough seeing all those draconian rules it seems for --
LEMON: Well, let me -- let me ask you about that. CARILLO: Yes.
LEMON: Because months ago, the Australian decided all their players were going to have to be vaccinated. Djokovic --
LEMON: Everybody -- everybody who is playing, right, --
CARILLO: Everybody knows.
LEMON: -- if you're a top seed, you know that. He had plenty of time to get his shot. My question, is he putting hip himself above the rules? Because you cover, you don't just cover tennis, you're not just a former tennis champion, you cover all sports. We're seeing this in all sports.
LEMON: We're seeing what's happened in the NBA and NFL and so on. Is he putting himself above the rules?
CARILLO: I think he puts himself separate from -- you know, people will say he's anti-vax and obviously he has not yet been vaccinated but what he says is it's a personal choice. I mean, it's not a team sport. You know, but, I mean, this is really screwing things up for him.
LEMON: But Mary, listen, --
CARILLO: I don't know --
LEMON: -- I agree. It is a personal choice. It's a personal choice if I tell my boss --
LEMON: -- I'm decided that I don't want to get vaccinated and he says well, then you can no longer come into this building. And so, I have to suffer the consequences, --
LEMON: -- does he allow me to then do my show from my home or does he say, Don, these are the rules and if I make this exception for you, I've got to do it for everybody else, so it was nice working with you, here is a little dough on the way out. I'll see you later. Do you understand what I'm saying?
CARILLO: I totally understand what you are saying and I agree with you. This -- this vaccine exemption that he was trying to go for is a slippery loophole. It's about recent serious illness that would prevent you from getting the vaccination. This is, this is Novak's not to be vaccinated. That's his choice. So, I thought, I think that tennis Australia when they are trying to use that to get him on, I mean, come on, man, that was wrong, too. So much has gone wrong and then if we find out that Novak knew he was COVID positive and he was (Inaudible) public unvaxxed and unmasked --
LEMON: How do you feel about that as an athlete? How do you feel about that?
CARILLO: Terrible. As a human being. Look, my man, my main man, my action figure, Dr. Fauci, you don't -- you don't put other people at risk no matter what your own personal beliefs are.
LEMON: Got you. Got you.
CARILLO: And this, and then we find out also that -- and he says it was a screw up with his paperwork.
LEMON: In his team.
CARILLO: But he's in two different countries.
CARILLO: Serbia and Spain and like, he apologizes for that. I mean, Novak, my man, dude.
LEMON: Yes. Mary, I got to -- I got to run unfortunately because I got a -- I got a long way to go and a short time to get there. But will you come back? I love having this conversation with you. And we know that was smoky and the bandit. We have a long way to go and a short time to get there. Thank you, Mary. You have a great weekend. You stay safe. It's so good to see you.
LEMON: Thank you. Bye.
So, look, he says he is not guilty. He says he is not a danger to the public but the leader of the Oath Keepers facing a rare and extremely serious charge seditious conspiracy over the January 6th attack on the capitol. Where else would the investigation lead? Preet Bharara and Michael Fanone both here. They're next.
LEMON (on camera): We're back now, the leader of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers pleading not guilty to a seditious conspiracy today. the most serious charge yet in the investigation of the January 6 insurrection.
Prosecutors say the Oath Keepers arm themselves for battle and coordinated a paramilitary operation to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
So, let's discuss now. Joining me now former U.S. attorney and CNN senior legal analyst, Preet Bharara, and former D.C. metropolitan police officer Michael Fanone, he defended the capitol on January 6th and is now a CNN law enforcement analyst.
Good evening to both of you, gentlemen.
Preet, I want to begin with you.
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good to see you.
LEMON: Seditious conspiracy, it's an incredible rare and serious charge even our Evan Perez is talking about this. He's reporting that it took months of work by prosecutors to get the A.G. Garland on board with this. Do you think they have a strong case here?
BHARARA: Yes, it looks like it. People will say and I've heard experts talk about this and I've talked about it, it's a rare charge because it's rare conduct and on prior occasions including not that long ago in 2012, a significant seditious conspiracy charge was brought against a number of individuals in Michigan. It didn't fare well. The case didn't go well. People were acquitted. There has been judges who had problems with some of these charges.
This seems more strong for a couple reasons, one, it's very targeted to a particular kind of conduct. You're not talking about sort of generalized overthrow of the government to the extent that people didn't have the ability or power to do that here.
Here, seditious conspiracy is essentially conspiracy to interfere with or obstruct or stop or prevent the execution of any law and here is a very particular law that was being executed at the time, the certification of the votes. So that's one thing.
The specificity of it and the concreteness of it, and the other is this indictment that runs to 48 pages has paragraph after paragraph that recites communications that were made available to law enforcement obviously from somebody who, I think was cooperating because it's encrypted pp communications.
And you have chapter and verse how the leader of the Oath Keepers and others going back weeks before January 6th were plotting and planning to use violence, to use weaponry in a tactical way to interfere with the execution of a particular U.S. law.
So, I think it's stronger than cases we've seen in the past that have not fared well in part because of the encrypted app -- app evidence, I think.
LEMON: Yes. Mike, you know, we've talked about this about, you know, there not being weapons. You heard Preet talk about these encrypted communications and purchasing weapons and tactical gear. Even a plot to dock a boat near the capitol with more weapons.
[22:20:03] As someone who risked his life defending our capitol that day, what goes through your mind when you hear about all of this preparation? I think you -- I think you believed, pardon me if I'm wrong, in our communications and we've talked about in our conversations that you thought all along that this was planned that it wasn't just something that just popped up. It wasn't spontaneous.
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, no, I mean, I think it flies directly in the face of that, you know, false narrative that this was a wholly or, you know, completely spontaneous event. Clearly, there were elements here that planned, prepared and trained to participate in the insurrection that day.
You know, these groups had a command structure. Their leaders also were inherently involved whether they were there that day or not in the planning, preparation and training for that day. You know, just confirms what so many that there on the ground on January 6th like myself experienced with these organized elements that were exploited into chaos of the day that had a clear concise mission and came prepared. You know, you don't show up to a peaceful protest wearing Kevlar, helmets and, you know, ballistic vests.
LEMON: And some of the moves they were -- that they used were military moves and also, as you have been telling me and others, Commander Kyle as well, there were weapons, there were guns and all along the narrative has been, there were no guns, there were no weapons. They were, you know, they weren't armed.
But this at least if this information is correct, all of that is not true, they were indeed armed and that's the evidence of it.
Preet, on the morning of January 6th, Rhodes in a message saying, in part and I quote here, "we will have several well-equipped QRFs outside D.C. And there are many. many others from other groups who will be watching and waiting on the outside in case the worse-case -- in case of worse-case. What are prosecutors doing to, you know, who those people are and to find out who those people are and whether there were communications to Trump or his allies?
BHARARA: Well, I think they're doing what they did to transform the original charges against a number of these people into the conspiracy charges that we are talking about today. And that is flipping witnesses. People who have been charged, seeing if they will cooperate.
Some of these people that haven't cooperated before might be under much more significant pressure to cooperate because the seditious conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and every single person who flips and cooperates is in a position to provide information, communication documents to law enforcement so you can find all the people who are involved, many of whom have come under indictment obviously but a number of whom have not been.
So, I think, you know, they're going to continue along the same vein and push and push and push so they can get as many witnesses to say as much stuff as possible about other people. LEMON: Mike, the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy you're very
familiar with him. He's refusing to cooperate with the select committee. He's claiming there is nothing that he can provide. But I want you to check out. This is an interview that CNN's K-File found. Six days after the insurrection where he is talking about Donald Trump and what Donald Trump said about the insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I say he has responsibility. He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do.
What I proposed, which I think history will say I'm right, this is the right thing I believe, have a bipartisan commission and get all your facts. Actually, work through the grand jury to find out at the end instead of predetermining whether someone is guilty or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Having heard that a question that we have asked you before, what do you think of these leaders like Kevin McCarthy who are now, who said one thing immediately after and now saying another thing, really speaking out on both sides of their mouths?
FANONE: I mean, I don't think there is a whole lot new here when we saw this whole thing unfold, you know, with the flip-flopping of all these different political leaders. I mean, it just so happens in the sense that Kevin McCarthy got caught with his pants down. But you know, for me, it speaks to Kevin McCarthy's character.
He's placed, you know, his own political future and that of his party above holding those responsible for the January 6th insurrection accountable. I mean, it's a sad commentary on the type of elected leaders that we have just for people that have no integrity and no honor.
LEMON: Michael, Preet, thank you both. I appreciate it.
If you've been waiting for a package that has been, you know, long delayed like most of us. Well, it turns out it could be right here. Look at this. You have to look at your screen. Check this out.
All these packages literally among the thousands of boxes they are stolen off of cargo trains. Wait until you see this story coming up.
LEMON (on camera): This next story is absolutely crazy. You have to see it to believe it. OK? Thieves in L.A. looting freight trains stealing packages from UPS, FedEx, Amazon.
Breaking them open and taking whatever they want, and littering the tracks with countless empty boxes leftovers.
More tonight from CNN's Camila Bernal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is what's left of millions of dollars' worth of packages set to be delivered all over the country. Instead, thousands of boxes plundered and discarded which means the package you've been waiting for could be somewhere on this Los Angeles strain track.
UNKNOWN: It's an exponential issue that is going to take a number of entities to help resolve.
BERNAL: Containers are being connected so the train is stopped and even though everything is logged, it's no match for the thieves who sees the opportunity, move in and steal anything of value they can find. It's easy to spot things like home COVID tests, medication, luggage, throw pillows and even appliances.
And it's so bad in Los Angeles that Union Pacific, the company that runs the trains and patrols the tracks says they may even avoid operating in the area.
UNKNOWN: To help put that in perspective, on average over 2021 we saw 160 percent increase but there were several months throughout last year where we saw over 200 percent over 300 percent increase from the year prior.
BERNAL: Union Pacific says the lax prosecution of crimes is to blame and point to a special directive issued in December of 2020 by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon that changed how low-level offenses like mail theft are prosecuted.
The D.A.'s office responded in part, saying some cases presented to their office by Union Pacific have been filed such as burglary and grand theft while others have been declined due to insufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, the company says as many as 90 containers a day are broken into.
UNKNOWN: We were over $5 million specific to rail theft in the L.A. basin.
BERNAL: And it's not only costing L.A. residents. It's Union Pacific, UPS, FedEx, Amazon and all other companies and customers waiting for those packages now in the wrong hands or left as trash on those tracks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL (on camera): And Don, this is not an easy fix. We're just in a small portion of those tracks and you can see the piles and piles of garbage. There are boxes. There are prime packages. There are COVID tests. So many things that just accumulate here. Union Pacific says that they are hiring extra officers that they ask
for help from the local government that they are using technology, things like drones to try to solve this issue but here we are. UPS says that they're working with local authorities and FedEx saying they're trying to analyze if their packages have been affected. But as time goes by and this continues to happen, all of us ordering online are going to have to pay for this. Don?
LEMON: We're all going to be affected by it. Camila, fascinating story. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowing to forge ahead with voting rights but Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have made clear it's not going anywhere. So, what happens now?
But first, a big event this Sunday night at 9. The premiere of CNN the original series Reframed Marilyn Monroe. Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Marilyn Monroe knew that she was more than just a pretty face. She wants control of her own destiny.
UNKNOWN: It's frustrating that people can't think about her in terms of her intellect.
UNKNOWN: Marilyn challenges what it means to have agency as a woman.
UNKNOWN: To see a woman that is so in charge of her sexuality as extremely empowering.
UNKNOWN: This woman is so comfortable in her skin.
UNKNOWN: She was rolling the dice with her career in very real terms.
UNKNOWN: Marilyn would have been the biggest influencer of all time.
UNKNOWN: She owned production company, getting films made.
UNKNOWN: Marilyn Monroe is a mirror for people's ideas about women's sexuality and women's power.
UNKNOWN: It's hard to know where to start if you don't start with the truth.
UNKNOWN: Reframed, Marilyn Monroe, Sunday at 9 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that the Senate is going to take up voting rights next week. And President Biden has vowed to keep fighting on voting rights but has also conceded that he doesn't know if Democrats will be able to pass what they are pushing for.
So, joining me now civil rights leader, Cornell West. There he is. Good evening, sir. It's always a pleasure to have you on.
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC PHILOSOPHY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Happy New Year, my dear.
LEMON: Happy New Year to you. This is near and dear to your heart. I know, the voting rights. Barring some miracle, Professor West. Voting rights will fail in the Senate next week when the Senate -- when Senator Schumer brings it to a vote. What does that mean for voters and GOP led states where they are passing these restrictive voting laws?
WEST: It means that we're in a deeper crisis in our democracy than many people have been willing to admit, brother. This is very real. Because you see voting is just one particular means by which people try to raise their voices. You can raise your voice in the workplace and culture, and so forth, but voting suppression, election subversion, all of these are ways of trying to ensure that democracy cannot flower and flourish.
Now you keep in mind, brother, when Plato argue in the republic that no democracy could survive because of the unruly passion and pervasive ignorance would always lead to a tyranny, we have to have a response to Plato (Ph).
When Martin Luther, Jr., his legacy, the black freedom movement that constituted the win at his back is a response to Plato. We deal with the passion by having some moral and spiritual channels of moral spiritual excellence. We deal with the ignorance by having a dialogue, by having genuine conversation with people you agree and disagree with the public life that's strong and vibrant even given the volubility and find it true to each and every one of us.
That's what we're losing. Let's talk about voting rights, it's tied to a deeper issue. When Martin Luther King, Jr. always understood that --
LEMON: Yes, he certainly does. I had Bernice on last night, his daughter. But professor, not -- she still believes that you can win people over. She still believes that you can win people over on the other side. She said you have to try to do and especially young folks, college age students she wants to win them over.
But listen, I digress here. Not one Republican senator, not one Republican senator is on board for either voting rights, the voting rights bill being considered. Just even considered. The last time the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized was in 2006, 16 current GOP senators supported it. Some were House members including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We have of course renewed the Voting Rights Act periodically since that time, overwhelmingly and on a bipartisan basis year after year after year because members of Congress realize that this is a piece of legislation that is worked. And one of my favorite sayings that many of us use from time to time if it is not broken, don't fix it and this is a good piece of legislation that served an important purpose over many, many years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): In that same speech, Professor, McConnell touted the access, the Voting Rights Act gave to voters of color in the south. Why is he turning his back on those voters now? What changed?
WEST: Well, one of it is just a howl of hale, which is hypocrisy just like hatred and greed. He is the same brother from Kentucky, he used the filibuster and he lifted the filibuster when he wanted to stack the court with his conservatives. But that's just the beginning of the hypocrisy.
But keep in mind, brother Don, we come from a great people of a grand tradition and says we're never surprised by the evil and we're never paralyzed by despair. Never at all. We've got to bear witness. When you bear witness, though, brother, it's not just a political thing. We're dealing with spiritual meltdown.
When you see, brother Mitch he has spiritual meltdown, that's what brother Trump and his neo-fascism are about. That's the spiritual meltdown that's tied to a political breakdown so that there is no civic virtue and civic life that says that person can no longer relate the person as human being.
When you have distrust, when you have despair, when you have paranoia, when you have poverty, not just material poverty, poverty of imagination, poverty of vision. That's when America is coming to terms with and what is happening, we rare not just things breaking down but we're getting this massive collapse of spirit of civic virtue in the country.
That's how you lose your democracy, the little democracy we have left. That's why Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy is very important. Rabbi (Inaudible), the response to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. will in many ways determine the truth for American democracy. If we can't come to terms with poverty, militarism, racism and the need for strong public life, you see, then we lose a democracy, that's the history of the black freedom struggle.
That's what Frederick Douglass, that's what Harriet Beecher said, that's what Harriet Tubman said, that's what Fannie Lou Hamer said. What we got to do is let our light shine. What kind of witness are we going to bear?
You want CNN, me at Union Seminary, all of our fellow citizens various context. We just have to bear witness. We're not in full control of this thing but don't get discouraged. I was just with my brothers and sisters, brother Steven Green (Ph) and Sister Traci Blackmon.
LEMON: Well, you --
WEST: These are black ministers who engage in a hunger strike. They bear witness. We got to bear witness across race, across gender, across sexual orientation to see whether the best of the American spirit and the best of the human spirit and the best of the black tradition of deep love, genuine love, rabbit code love of truth and beauty, goodness.
LEMON: Well, in this moment --
WEST: The scriptures of the holy --
LEMON: Well, in this moment, listen, you can't worry about what is unpopular, right? You have to do the right thing.
WEST: Yes. It's about integrity.
LEMON: It's about integrity.
WEST: Not purity. None of us are pure.
LEMON: Right. Right. Consistency and integrity. What Mitch McConnell did was not consistent, right?
WEST: No, no.
LEMON: It's hypocrisy. And speaking of hunger strikes, Joe Madison is on a hunger strike, as well.
WEST: Brother Joe Madison, lord, he's been at it a long time. God bless him.
LEMON: He's wasting away over there. I hope he --
WEST: Lord, have mercy.
LEMON: I know. Thank you, sir. It's always a pleasure. You enjoy the show.
WEST: Thank you, my brother. Stay strong now.
LEMON: Yes, we're cold here. L.A., you guys are doing well. We're freezing. Thank you, Dr. West.
Voting rights hitting a brick wall, as we've been talking about, a big defeat at the Supreme Court. Inflation sky high. You saw the desperation of people, you saw those packages on the tracks there in L.A. It speaks to what's happening with our economy and what's happening in our country. How will President Biden respond to this brutal week?
LEMON (on camera): President Biden left Washington tonight to spend the weekend at home in Delaware. He probably couldn't wait to get out of town after one of the worst weeks of his year-old presidency.
A series of setbacks from voting rights, the Supreme Court blocking his vaccine mandate for large businesses, and soaring inflation driving up prices for consumers.
A lot to discuss with CNN commentators Charlie Dent, a former Republican member of Congress, and Ashley Allison who worked on the Biden/Harris 2020 campaign.
Good to see both of you. Charlie, I see you more often. So, Ashley, great to have you on. I'm going to start with you this evening.
So, Ashley, it has been one setback after another for President Biden on voting rights, on inflation, although they say it appears to be easing now. We'll see. We don't know. His vaccine mandate, as well, part of the problem. And today, we saw the news that the retail sales last month were awful, plus omicron is still causing havoc with staffing shortages and empty shelves and some say the Democrats are upset with the White House over testing shortages.
I mean, I could go on. But I mean, is there -- it's a bad week for the president. Is there any way to cut it or other way to say it?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I mean, it has not been a great week for the administration but one good thing about politics is that this is a snapshot in time. I think if I were the Biden administration, I would look six months ahead because then we'll be in July. We'll be gearing up for midterms and people will really start being paying attention. Where do you want to be there?
And then what are the things you need to be doing this week to get us there? We need to make sure we have testing supplies in July because yes, in the winter COVID spikes but we don't know what's going to be happening around COVID in July and so they need to be preparing for that.
If inflation doesn't go down, they need to be preparing to make sure that there is money in the American people's pocket. Maybe that by passing the Build Back Better plan. They need to be making sure that they can deliver some of those things that so many voters came out to vote for them in 2020. But it hasn't been a great week for the president, but, you know, many presidents don't have good weeks but I think the Biden administration is turning the page definitely this week.
LEMON: Go ahead, Charlie. Charlie, look, they seem to be setting themselves up, right, by building expectations and doing the big speeches saying we're going to get this done. I'm not -- I'm not going to, you know, sleep until I can get it done and then nothing happens.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, of course, Don. Of course, President Biden had had a bad week. Although I would argue it was better than Novak Djokovic week. But the bottom line is -- I'm a tennis player. I had to say that.
LEMON: Novak still has plenty of chance. The voting rights, not so much.
ALLISON: Don't give up hope, Don.
DENT: Let them suffer -- let them suffer the consequences. Let them suffer the consequences of their own actions. No, but I think the problem with the Biden administration is I think they've raised expectations, as you've pointed out, too high. Build Back Better they were going too big. And that's very clear to me.
Even on these voting bills. Look, they should be able to do some things on voting rights particularly reauthorizing the 65 law, the John Lewis law but the other bill. The For the People Act and the Senate version of it. I mean, again, it's, I think it's an overreach.
I mean, that's always been their problem. They're doing this with the slimmest of majorities and they knew that and, you know, they had a bad week on the filibuster, too. I mean, they're excoriating Manchin and Sinema who have been very clear where they have stood on this, they're not flip-flopping like so many others did.
In fact, the Democrats just yesterday or this week deployed the filibuster to blaster -- to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline legislation. I mean, so, you know, there is a lot of hypocrisy going on here --
DENT: -- frankly, on all sides but it doesn't excuse Biden's bad week.
LEMON: Yes. You want -- you want to respond to voting rights, Ashley, because you know, there are many in the country who said what took you so long, and then he gave the speech there and some key figures didn't show up. He didn't really have the support of the people who wanted him to get at it sooner.
ALLISON: Yes, voting rights is near and dear to my heart and quite honestly, it's an issue that is very popular across the country. I am very frustrated at where we are right now on this issue. I'm not giving up hope.
Look, if you're going to be an advocate or activist, you can't let one bad week deter you. That's not what happened during the civil rights movement and that's not going to happen with this voting rights movement. I'm frustrated with Kyrsten Sinema, with Joe Manchin, but the 50 Republicans also that are sitting there, I believe, doing nothing to help save our democracy.
I think Mitch McConnell's speech this week when in his response to President Biden's speech down in Georgia was comical. It was offensive. I think they often try to make fraud and suppression a synonym and they are quite opposite. Suppression can exist even though we know fraud doesn't exist in this election system.
And I don't think that For the People Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is an overreach. I think our democracy is in crisis and that if real lead -- if real people were in leadership right now, meaning the Republicans that are elected right now and Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, we would get this bill passed. But for some reason they continue to play politics and quite honestly not put our democracy first.
LEMON: Yes. Charlie, there should be more people like you there because when you were there, voting rights it was unanimous. I mean, we even showed Mitch McConnell who was in Congress at the time saying you know what? Everyone should have the right to vote and applauding that more African-Americans were being -- I've got like 10 seconds if you want to respond.
DENT: Well, just real quick, look, everybody has to take a deep breath.
DENT: Republicans overstate voter fraud. Democrats overstate suppression and the issue is voter subversion.
DENT: Those are who are trying to change outcomes like Trump did after the election. That is the problem and they need to address that. Biden missed an opportunity to talk about that in Atlanta the other day.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
And thanks for watching, everyone. Coming up, a special CNN report with Fareed Zakaria. The fight to save American democracy.