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Don Lemon Tonight

January 6th Committee Subpoenaed Trump Allies; GOP Protects Filibuster Than Voting Rights; No Shortage Of Challenges For President Biden; Stephen Smith Grateful To Vaccines And Doctors; Wrong Policies Worsen Crime Rates. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 18, 2022 - 22:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): He's right about especially Murdoch media in general. Right? If you watch, and that translates into your last block that I like as well because it also, it finds its way onto social media with people pushing out the Murdoch-backed or Trump- backed media and, you know, stories that make no sense sometimes or have no relevance or, you know, no facts, not even really based on facts.

They don't really care about it and then people pick up on that and they become the extremes on social media, and that's what you hear and that's why I don't go on anymore. I actually have someone who does it for me because it's just so toxic.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, look, it's a business model, right?

LEMON: It is.

KEILAR: It's lucrative.

LEMON: Right.

KEILAR: And if you're going to just tell people what they want to hear, it just becomes this cycle and it pays off. That's why, you know, you'll see someone like Tucker Carlson on his backers. His backers will talk about his ratings are so high. Well, you know, a court, a federal judge said that he is not to be believed.

What's so interesting about that is that clearly people do believe him. Fox knows that. They're actually using him as a model for other shows and other content.

LEMON: Well, I think if it's still the same, their primetime is not fact based. Right?


LEMON: It's all opinion based. And even their morning show is under the entertainment umbrella, and I think it's just starting at 9 in the morning Eastern Time to what, their primetime that is supposedly fact- based journalism. And you are right, there are some people there, few and far between

who are doing good journalism, but, you know, it's becoming harder and harder to find there. And also, again, in Murdoch-backed media, not just at the propaganda network.

KEILAR: Yes. And you know, some of those people, Don, they face death threats. They face death threats for reporting the truth.

LEMON: Yes. You mean some of the people over at Fox, of course.


LEMON: Or they have to leave the network.


LEMON: They end up having to leave the network because of it. It's really sad. But it's also sad, I mean, the extremes on social media. I think social media is one of the biggest -- something has to be done about social media, I believe, because it doesn't -- nothing has to be true on it. And people -- and immediately it is pushed out as if it's true and people start to believe it.

KEILAR: Yes. It's also just such a mean place.


KEILAR: Have you noticed that?


KEILAR: Like you said you stay off it because -- we were talking about having grace. It's really hard to have grace on Twitter, you know?

LEMON: Every once in a while, I have to go on to make sure something is posted, but the person who does social media will say to me, can I post this and, or do you want me to wait for the firestorm to die down? And I'll say what firestorm?

KEILAR: Don Lemon trending.

LEMON: Yes. I know. I say, I had no idea I was trending but do as you please, if you, whatever you think is right. So, you know, that's where we are. Hopefully one day I'll be able to go back on there and do things.


LEMON: Some personal things I try to put out, but I don't -- got to stay off of the comments. By the way, --


KEILAR: You're always trending for me, Don Lemon.

LEMON: Yes. By the way, and this is not sexist, but that looks great, that green. You look so beautiful tonight.

KEILAR: Thank you.

LEMON: That is --

KEILAR: I would complement you, Don, but, if I --


LEMON: I can still say that, right?

KEILAR: -- I actually --

LEMON: Look.


LEMON: Did you notice?

KEILAR: You can say that to me.

LEMON: We're wearing the same color.

LEMON: I actually can't see you, but I know that you're always handsome.

LEMON: We're wearing the same color.

KEILAR: We match.

LEMON: Yes. I didn't even try that.

KEILAR: Thanks, buddy. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow. Nice show.

KEILAR: Al right.

LEMON: Bye, B.K.

KEILAR: Ba-bye.


And we do have some breaking news that I want to tell you about. The committee investigating the attack on the capitol on January 6th, that's where we'll start. And this is a CNN exclusive, by the way.

Multiple sources are telling CNN the committee has set its sights on a member of the former president's family for what appears to be for the first time ever, subpoenaing phone records from the son Eric Trump as well as, speaking of the propaganda channel, she used to work there, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Don Jr.'s fiance.

A record that tells the committee who is communicating with whom and when, but not the contents of the calls. And they're not the only big names the committee is targeting, by the way. Today they've subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani along with a rogue's gallery of big proponents, including Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn.

Sources telling CNN the committee has been asking witnesses about what Rudy Giuliani said at the rally just before the storming of the capitol.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: If we're wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail.


GIULIANI: So, let's have trial by combat.


LEMON (on camera): And then there is Jenna Ellis, you may remember her, right? The lawyer standing next to Rudy Giuliani and then when the whole, you know, -- I don't know what it was, if it was hair gel or bronzer or whatever, hair dye, who knows what it was, when it was dripping down.


Well, Jenna Ellis who reportedly wrote not one but two memos claiming that Mike Pence could reject or delay the counting of electoral votes from some states, the very claim that led rioters to call for his execution on January 6th.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!


LEMON (on camera): And what about the kraken lady, Sidney Powell, one of the loudest voices pushing the big lie who promised to release the kraken, pushed one back lie after another, including the ludicrous claim that long-dead Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez had something to do with it. He did not.

And Boris Epshteyn. Boris Epshteyn who reportedly was in the so-called war room at the Willard Hotel in the days leading up to January 6th. The committee says he talked to the then-president that morning about how to delay the certification of the election results if Pence refused to play ball, which he did.

So, we've got a lot more to come on all of this. You want to stay tuned. But this is happening as the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sets -- sets up the final showdown on voting rights legislation, which is mired in the Senate and all but certain to fail.

Schumer calling for a so-called talking filibuster, forcing senators to actually hold the floor and talk and talk and talk and talk if they want to block the bill. And once they stop talking, the Senate can advance legislation with just 51 votes.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: On something as important as voting rights, if Senate Republicans are going to oppose it, they should not be allowed to sit in their office. They got to come down on the floor and defend their opposition to voting rights, the well spring of our democracy.


LEMON (on camera): Well, not going to happen. And that's because of two members of the president's own party, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, determined to preserve the filibuster, even if it means nothing gets done on voting rights.

Manchin already shooting down any change -- any change to the filibuster tonight, a source telling CNN the senator stood his ground and Democrats caucus meeting forcefully defending the filibuster as is with several members pushing back.

This as many Americans, especially people of color worry, many, many you have never heard of, and some you have.


STEVIE WONDER, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Any senator who cannot support the protection of voting rights in the United States of America cannot say that they support the Constitution. Stop the hypocrisy. Cut the bull- ish, and keep it all the way real. The filibuster is not working for democracy. I want you.


LEMON (on camera): All right, Stevie Wonder, thank you, sir. President Joe Biden's agenda stalled. As he marks his first year in office this week, he is facing huge challenges at home from the assault on voting rights to the blizzard of Omicron to inflation and crime. And huge challenges abroad as well with ominous new signs that Vladimir Putin is planning to invade Ukraine. The danger is very, very real. You hear it in the language from the White House.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, let's be clear. Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We're now at a stage where Russia called at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.


LEMON (on camera): All of that on the president's plate as he prepares to mark his first year in office answering questions from reporters in the news conference tomorrow afternoon. CNN's special coverage, make sure you tune in, begins at 3.45, 3.45 Eastern Time. OK? He plans to do it at 4. Our coverage starts at 3.45.

Let's bring in now Jamie Gangel. Jamie Gangel with another exclusive. Thank you very much for joining us. Good evening to you, Jamie.


LEMON: So, tell us about your exclusive reporting. The January 6th committee now has the phone records of members of the Trump family? What's up?

GANGEL: So, Don, according to multiple sources, the January 6th committee has subpoenaed, but more important, they have obtained phone records from two people, as you said, very close to former President Trump, his son, Eric Trump, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle who is engaged to his other son, Donald Trump, Jr.

This appears to be the first time the committee has issued a subpoena targeting one of the Trump children. And it really underscores just how aggressive the committee is willing to be in its investigation. We reached out to Eric Trump. He declined to comment on the subpoena, but a source familiar with his thinking tells me, get ready, quote, "he's not losing sleep over it."

And we also reached out to the attorney for Kimberly Guilfoyle who said the subpoena is, quote, "of no consequence to her because she has absolutely nothing to hide or be concerned about."


For the record, Don, the committee declined to comment on the subpoenas.

LEMON: Yes, as far as we know, didn't subpoena, this committee didn't subpoena anyone else's phone records in the family. Why are they so interested in Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle's phone records?

GANGEL: Correct. Correct. So I'm told that the committee is not doing blanket subpoenas. It's my understanding they have made a policy, a practice when it comes to issuing subpoenas. It's for a very specific reason in their investigation.

As you said, there's no evidence that they've reached out for the call records for, you know, Donald Trump's other children, Don Junior, Ivanka, or son-in-law Jared Kushner. And just for context, these call records, they're called call detail records, CDR's. They are giving the committee a phone log. This is date, time, length of incoming, outgoing calls, who's calling whom, same for text messages.

But keep in mind it's not the substance. The content of those calls or messages, Don. But they think they can make a road map by putting this together.

LEMON: I was going to say, how can that help if it doesn't really have content? I mean, it does offer as you say, gives them sort of bread crumb clues, right, like a GPS. GANGEL: So, when you're calling in a witness, if you're about to have

a witness come in, you would like to be able to say to that witness, just hypothetically, Eric Trump at 1.42 you called so-and-so. What was that about? So, and let's not forget, they have a lot of text messages, and thanks to former chief of staff Mark Meadows, they have a lot of very valuable text messages.

LEMON: Jamie, let me just ask you, I want to go back to Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: I'm not, you know, the messaging, I'm not losing any sleep. This is of no consequence to me. What, I mean, a jedi mind trick or better messaging would be, of course we want to cooperate with the committee because we have nothing to hide. Therefore, this is no, I'm not losing any sleep over it. We will call -- we will cooperate to, you know, to the best of our ability. Wouldn't that be a better message and people will go, they have nothing to hide. I don't know if that works in Trump world because you have to be defiant in order to survive.

GANGEL: So, let's talk about an audience of one, Donald Trump. Eric Trump still runs the Trump organization, the golf courses. That's his father's business. I will say there was one thing very interesting about the fact that the committee actually obtained these records.

Some people have pushed back. They've sued to keep the phone records. Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle did not do that, and in many of these cases the phone companies send you a letter, FedEx overnight saying this has been asked for. I don't know whether they both got those notifications, but certainly, if they did, they let it go through.

LEMON: Yes. Jamie, I want you to stick with me --


LEMON: -- because I want to bring in and help us out with this conversation, Nixon White House counsel John Dean. John, good evening to you. Welcome to the program.

You know, this comes as we are learning that the committee also subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani and other top advisers to the former president. We're getting pretty close to the top of the food chain here. Does this mean that the committee is nearing the end of its investigation or can we tell at this point?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think we can draw that out of these latest subpoenas but they're certainly focusing on Mr. Trump. These are the people around Trump, the people who talk to him. But the subpoenas that were all almost identical or the letters explaining them, they're looking for people. They want to understand why these people were promoting what was clearly a false lie, the big lie.

That runs through the thread as all those letters are the same, and while some of these people are lawyers, this is outside their legal responsibilities. So, I think they have a pretty good case to actually force them to testify.

LEMON: You do? Because I was going to ask you do you -- do you expect these four people will actually cooperate? Will they go the way Steve Bannon did --


LEMON: -- fight it or take the fifth? What do you think?

DEAN: I think the fifth, as you mentioned, is the most likely. None of them want to talk about this.

LEMON: Yes. Jamie, give us your sense of direction on this January 6th investigation. And the path forward. Where are they going?

GANGEL: OK. I think we know the major areas. They want to know who was behind the violence. They want to know -- there's a whole team looking at follow the money. How is this funded? Other people are looking at how they fun fund raised off stop the steal and perpetuate the lie.


But I think at the end of the day, obviously this is about democracy about what they feel was an attempt to overturn the election, but I would keep an eye on the Willard war room where these people, as John Dean said, who were very close to Trump were meeting the night before January 6th and there were calls going back with Donald Trump. I think the committee is trying to zero in on what was happening there.

LEMON: Yes. A special look at that in-depth next hour, what you just spoke about, Jamie.

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: Hey, John, you know, we're also learning tonight that the National Archives plans to release four pages of Trump-era White House documents to the January 6th committee. They'll do that tomorrow. This is going to be first time the committee would get records that Trump wants to keep secret. You know, he's having a big fight about that. How significant is this?

DEAN: Well, it's very significant. Unless a midnight order comes out from a court that stops that, the archives is on a timetable to release, and that could be very significant material. We don't know what's all in the tranche that is up to be released, but these people left records behind.

While they might have destroyed some, we know, for example, they left 100 million e-mails and they're just starting through those. but that's not in the tranche tomorrow, but it's going to be revelatory, I think.

LEMON: All right. Jamie, thank you for your exclusive reporting. GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: John, thank you very much for your wisdom on this. We appreciate it.

Voting rights legislation all but certain to fail despite a big push from the White House. The president tripped up by two members of his own party. What happens next is the question.



LEMON (on camera): Senate Democrats meeting tonight on what comes next for voting rights legislation. And the outlook is simply not good for the voting rights bills President Biden has urged the Senate to pass.

So, joining me now, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker. Senator Booker, thank you for joining us on this occasion. We appreciate it.

This is a huge priority for the president and, I'll say, most Democrats. So why are you struggling so hard with voting rights tonight?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Well, first of all, it's the rules of the Senate. We have 50 senators that agree on two bills to do something about this because it's very clear what's happening in America fueled by not just the big lie, but also lies that were predated Donald Trump that said that there was a problem with in-person voting, which is about as common as a lightning strike, getting struck by a lightning.

And so, we -- we are in 50 agreements but we don't have a pathway to overcome the filibuster, so we're going to keep pushing. And this is not the end. And we know the history of voting rights in America often saw many defeats, many setbacks. But they didn't give up when they were pushed over at the Edmund Pettus Bridge or the tragic death of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were not in vain. We're going to keep finding in the Senate and keep finding ways to bring this forward that we hope can get the necessary votes to pass.

LEMON: It is that pesky filibuster every single time. Every single time. Listen, tonight, Senator Manchin is suggesting that Democrats get their priorities in order. He says people are worried about inflation, the ongoing COVID pandemic, and he says the courts will strike down voting laws that are unconstitutional. Is that an approach the country can really take or a luxury that black and brown voters have at this point?

BOOKER: No. Look, I've heard worse from the 50 Republicans seeking to block this. Right now, in America we see the average black voter waiting twice as long to vote as the average white voter. In fact, in Georgia in predominantly black counties versus predominantly white counties, they wait eight times as long. There are things that are functionally disadvantaging Native American

voters, disabled voters, young voters and their waits on college campuses. These are specifically designed to try to erode Democratic voters by universally Republican legislatures. Not one Democratic vote in all of these voting laws are being put forward, not one Democratic vote.

This is a partisan attack to try to undermine base voters in the Democratic Party. So, this is a Republican-fueled fight, and we are not going to just take it, especially because it does have racial implications in creating that disparity that is an insult to our ancestors and all that we've overcome.

LEMON: Maybe I misheard something. You said not one Democratic vote, you mean a Republican vote? What were you -- what were you saying?

BOOKER: So, on the legislatures that are doing this from Texas to Georgia --


LEMON: I get it. I understand what you're saying now.

BOOKER: -- there are principally Republicans voting to pass --

LEMON: Got it.

BOOKER: -- these toxic voter suppression laws.

LEMON: Got you. Got you. Got you. You were talking beyond the Senate and --


LEMON: -- the Congress in Washington. So, listen, the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says once Republicans block these voting rights bill, that he's going to put forward a plan for a talking filibuster. Senator Manchin has previously said that he'd before that, but I want you to listen to this.


CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Would you consider going back to the old filibuster, sort of like Mr. Smith goes to Washington and --


WALLACE: -- Jimmy Stewart where you want to filibuster, it's not an automatic 60 votes, you got to stay in the Senate floor and keep talking?

MANCHIN: The filibuster should be painful. It really should be painful. And we haven't -- we made it more comfortable over the years, not intentionally, maybe just evolved into that. Maybe it has to be more painful. If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make them stand there and talk, I'm willing to look at any way we can, but I'm not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.


LEMON (on camera): OK. So, this is the first time where I don't -- I'm not quite sure where he is on this. He says one thing, but then, when he says he's for it, but then only if it doesn't undermine the 60-vote rule. Is he trying to have it both ways? I mean, what did he say to you and your colleagues in the meeting tonight?

BOOKER: You know, he's -- we met with him numerous times on the filibuster. Have not gotten him there for the important vote tomorrow. But I want to point out, worse than that might seem to you is Mitch McConnell who's been all over the place on this issue too. And when it suits him, he changed the filibuster rule.

He changed it for the Supreme Court. He found a way around it for the toxic Trump tax cut that was passed principally on party lines with no Democratic votes. The filibuster has been changed 166 times, often for things that are far less important than the fundamental right to vote.


So, let's be clear. The filibuster has been used principally from reconstruction all the way to the mid-1960's, it was used principally to stop civil rights legislation from being passed. This is something that has only been used like we're seeing it now in those critical years to suppress African-American votes, and now at a time that blacks have twice as long of wait at polls that whites and a numerous other problems, we are not finding a way around this filibuster.


BOOKER: It is frustrating.

LEMON: I understand what you're saying --


LEMON: -- and I get it. I agree with you about the filibuster and what it's been used for. But when I asked you about it, you immediately pivoted to Mitch McConnell. But listen, one would expect Mitch McConnell to play politics. That's what he does. Mitch McConnell is not a Democrat. And I know that, you know, it's hard for you guys to criticize Joe Manchin because you need him, but he doesn't deliver.

The issue really is Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. They are supposed to be Democrats. Shouldn't they be for these rules? Shouldn't they be helping you out? They're not. And so, you know, I know you guys always pivot, Mitch McConnell and Republicans, I don't expect Republicans in this moment. When they're denying an insurrection, when they won't speak out about a president who fueled an insurrection. But Sinema and Manchin?

I mean, shouldn't our ire be directed at them because he is, in some ways, speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He doesn't -- he's never there for you guys. BOOKER: Look, I -- I can't imagine you feel more frustration that we

can't change these rules than I am. And I know the focus --


LEMON: Especially over voting rights.

BOOKER: Yes, and it's clearly those my two colleagues that are not giving us the 50 votes we need to change the rules. But we make a mistake when we center this larger problem of voting rights on just two people. And we, as people who believe strongly in this can't give up just because they are the block.

And this is going to not end. We're going to continue to put forward efforts and we are 10 months out from an election where we could win in Pennsylvania and we can win in Wisconsin. And then with 52 senators, we have the votes we need, I hope, to get this done.

And so, to center this all on them, those two, and not the 50 Republicans who are blocking it, to center this all on those two and surrender to cynicism about them and not take more responsibility to dig in like they did in darker chapters and keep pushing and keep working on these issues is not acceptable to me.

It is what it is in terms of the two of them, but I haven't lost my fight. I haven't lost my determination. To do so would insult all of those who fought for the voting rights necessary to have black people in the Senate to the first -- in the first place.

So, we -- we have work to do and I'm telling you, as my conversations with Schumer today, we were discussing the different tactics we could use in the days to come to get meaningful voting rights passed. All of us have a responsibility now not just to get frustrated, but get fighting, not just to get outrage, but get out working.

This is not a time to give up. This is not a time to surrender to cynicism. It's a time to work to make sure this happens like the determination grit and resiliency of those who came before us.

LEMON: I hope the Democrats have the same fight in them that you seem to have in you this evening. and always as a matter of fact. Senator Booker, thank you. I appreciate you joining us here on CNN. Good luck.

BOOKER: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you.

BOOKER: Thank you very much.

LEMON: An ESPN host, Stephen A. Smith, back on the air after a tough battle with COVID. He says if he weren't vaccinated, he wouldn't be here. We're certainly glad he's here and he's here with me to talk about. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): ESPN host Stephen A. Smith returning to air this week after a battle with COVID that he says nearly killed him. Explaining on ESPN's First Take the terrifying symptoms that landed him in the hospital. Watch this.


STEPHEN SMITH, HOST, ESPN: I had a 103-degree fever every night. Woke up with chills, pool of sweat, headaches were massive, coughing profusely, and it got to a point that right before New Year's Eve I was in the hospital New Year's Eve into New Year's Day. That's how I brought in the New Year and they told me had I not been vaccinated I wouldn't be here. That's how bad I was.


LEMON (on camera): Stephen A. joins me now. Sir, we're glad you're here.

SMITH: Hey. So am I. How are you doing, Don?

LEMON: The question, I'm OK. How are you doing?

SMITH: I'm doing a lot better. It's been a rough few weeks, no doubt about it. You know, I went through a lot, but I'm very fortunate and very, very blessed to be here. Obviously, as you and I had spoken about in the past, I was double vaccinated, I had received the Pfizer vaccine in March. I had not been boosted.

I was scheduled to get boosted, but I had an endoscopy scheduled the next day and that got pushed back, and then all of a sudden, I captured COVID. And as a result of that, everything went downhill from there and it was a real rough ride. But I've been incredibly blessed to survive it and I'm here talking to you now.

LEMON: So, let's talk about this. Stephen, you know, before we get into the details, --


LEMON: -- listen, this is what I admire about you. No matter what it is or controversy whatever it is that you go through, that you talk about it and you turn whatever -- even if it's a challenge, into either knowledge for other people or some sort of positive. So, thank you for doing that.


So, you tested positive, I understand in mid-December. That was mid- December


LEMON: And then you said New Year's you spent in the hospital. I mean, that's a while. SMITH: Yes.

LEMON: You know, so, what -- I mean, how long was it? Because usually it's like 10 days.

SMITH: No. It was at least three weeks for me. I mean, you know, I got -- I was informed -- I thought I had contracted it. The symptoms were there on the 16th. The 17th it had gotten worse. And then by that afternoon I was alerted that I had contracted COVID.

And from that standpoint, I was feeling -- I was still feeling under the weather for a few days, but I went on ESPN that next Tuesday just to inform the viewers that I wouldn't be back for a little while because I had contracted COVID and I was expecting to feel a little bit worse before I felt better.

And then I even went on the air on Christmas Day because I'm a part of NBA countdown and that was a very, very important day for the company. But that particular morning was when Christmas morning was when it really, really kicked in to another level. I had the fever, I had the coughs, I had the massive headaches. But it went to another level that particular day.

And from that standpoint over the next week, week and a half, so it was pure hell. And then on New Year's Eve, you know, I had already went to the hospital once and then I went and checked myself into the hospital for two days where they monitor you and what have you and make sure that you're hydrated. They check your blood levels and make sure that, you know, you're OK, at least to some degree.

But they made sure to explain that you were just going to have to endure it and have to go through it. This was the process of COVID. Come New Year's Eve, I knew it was significantly worse than that because I was really laboring with my breathing. The cough had gotten excessively worse.

I had already been told that I had pneumonia in both lungs, and the doctor in the emergency room came up to me and they brought me back, you know, back into the back room and they said in all likelihood had you not been vaccinated, --


SMITH: -- based on what we're seeing with your liver and your lungs, you may have been gone.


SMITH: And so, from that perspective, from that moment they put me on antibiotics, put me on steroids. I had also already gotten the monoclonal antibodies as well, because you hear about that and how effective that could potentially be but that's only with the Delta variant, not necessarily with the Omicron variant.

LEMON: Let me -- SMITH: And so, all of those things were things that I was learning

and I just had to get through it and fortunate through grace of God and obviously those wonderful doctors who helped me, I got through it.

LEMON: And look, and you're right, because our health care workers, I mean, they're under a lot right now. They've dealt with a lot.


LEMON: And you're right to point them out and give them their flowers in this moment.


LEMON: Let me go through this, though. Because you said that you had, you were double vaxxed but you were --


LEMON: -- waiting to be boosted because you had to have a medical procedure.

SMITH: Of course.

LEMON: So, you're not anti-booster or any of that.

SMITH: Right.

LEMON: Are you encouraged others to get boosted now?

SMITH: Well, I would obviously encourage people to do so. I definitely understand to some degree -- let me be very, very clear. In my perfect world, I think that everybody should be vaccinated. I think that everybody should be boosted. And I don't say that for me, I say that because the medical professionals have told me that.

LEMON: Right.

SMITH: This is one of the things that they emphasize. I'm not a doctor, I'm not pretending to be. I'm not an expert, I'm not pretending to be. I'm a regular citizen that goes to the doctor when I have a medical issue, and I listen to what the doctor advises, and I try to follow the instructions in order to get better.

Nobody's perfect, but we certainly listen to our medical professionals, and I have not encountered one single medical professional that has advised me against being vaccinated and being boosted. And so, from that perspective, considering the platform that I have when you ask me a question directly about that, would I encourage that? Absolutely.

There are many people who say, excuse me, I've taken the vaccine and it didn't work or I've taken the vaccine and it's made me worse. I don't get into any of that. What I emphasize and what my experience has taught me more than anything, we know that COVID-19 is real. We know that the coronavirus is real. Billions of people have been vaccinated. Hundreds of thousands of

people have died in this country. Millions have died worldwide. So we know it's real. And since we know it's real, at the very least we could wear a mask because, like I said, the person next to you may suffer significantly more than you did, and you don't know that.

So why not be thoughtful enough to be protective of the next man and woman next to you? That's my whole thinking.

LEMON: And let me just say this, Stephen. You know how this works. I have to get to the break here but --

SMITH: Sure.

LEMON: -- because you're on television. You understand.

SMITH: Sure.

LEMON: Stephen -- Stephen A. is a healthy individual.



LEMON: You talk about your sister, right, who smokes, had COVID three or four days, over it. People are under the assumption just because you're healthy and I can get through this, healthy people still get sick and still can face dire consequences from COVID-19. Give me a quick one on that if you can, Stephen?

SMITH: Well, it's factual. I'm living proof of that because it attacked my lungs. I'm not an Adonis, I'm 54 years old, I'm in pretty good shape. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't do drugs, I've never -- I never have, and it attacked my lungs. I had pneumonia in both lungs.

You can't predict what it's going to do to a particular individual. You just don't know, which is why I would emphasize wearing a mask.

LEMON: Stephen, thank you for doing what you do. We're happy that you're OK.


LEMON: I'm glad that you're OK. Be safe out there. Keep doing it, brother. Thank you so much.

SMITH: Thank you so much. Thank you.

LEMON: Shocking crimes shaking residents in big cities like Los Angeles and New York. One woman killed after being pushed in front of a subway in Times Square. What will it take to get crime under control?



LEMON (on camera): I want you guys to really pay attention, this is an important segment that we're doing right now. Shocking and horrific murders in New York City and Los Angeles over the last week, adding to fears that crime is out of control in some areas of the country.

In fact, statistics show that violent crime rose in many cities across the nation over the past year. Here in New York, a 40-year-old woman was pushed to her death in front of an oncoming subway train on Saturday. Police arresting a homeless man. They say that he has a record of emotionally disturbing encounters.

In L.A., police hunting for a man who fatally stabbed a 24-year-old employee inside a store. They say the victim did not know her killer who they believe is a homeless man as well.

In a separate case, L.A. police arresting a homeless man in the deadly attack on a nurse at a bus stop.

A lot to discuss now with the former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, he is the author of "The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America."

Commissioner, good to see you. Wish it was under different circumstances. Thank you for coming on to talk about this important issue.

Officials point to numbers of a -- a number, I should say, of causes, including the pandemic, homelessness, drug use, mental illness. At the same time, the streets are emptier at night without as many office workers, people who, you know, don't feel safe.

You were the top cop both in New York City and Los Angeles. Give us a reality check here. What's going on, Commissioner?

BILL BRATTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Reality check, it's criminal justice system in America is a mess. It's dysfunctional. It is not doing what it's supposed to do, which is basically prosecute those who are committing crimes.

If you take a close look at where crimes are going up dramatically, it's by and large in our major cities, if you take an even closer look at the major cities, they usually are headed up by mayors, city council, E.M.s and district attorneys who are engaged in progressive policies that are just not working. They're clearly not working.

You cannot bring to fun city in America, that's one of these progressive districts where they can show that their policies and procedures are having a positive impact on crime. This is opposite. They are effectively accelerating the increases in crimes in their community, and it's going to be a while before the America and voting public wake up to this reality. It's not something that's going to turn around overnight. It's going to take years, unfortunately. And it's a mess. That's clearly what's going on, Don. We're in a mess.

LEMON: Let me give you some -- some of the numbers here. Listen, you're right. People who live in these cities we understand it, and we see it. We see there's a lot of mental illness, a lot of people who are -- who have been led out of places or institutions where they were housed, especially during COVID.

Now these people are living on the street. Violent crime rose last year in cities all across the country two weeks into the New Year. New York homicides are down. But complaints for rape are up nearly 16 percent. Robberies up more than 25 percent. Los Angeles saw a spike in homicides up nearly 12 percent from last year as well as violent crimes and the numbers of people shot.

Is this a matter of just -- is it beefing up police presence or is it, as you say you got to get everything in order, all of the, you know, the criminal justice system as a whole? What is this a matter of?

BRATTON: Criminal justice system is supposed to be a system. At the moment in most cities, it's dysfunctional. A lot of the dysfunction being fueled by these progressive district attorneys. But a lot of it also is this idea that somehow by reducing our jail populations to deal with the COVID issue, that somehow, we're going to be able to let all these people out whether they're waiting for trials or they're getting out of prison early.

You let them out, but then they have no place to go, no housing, they have no adequate supervision. So, then they express surprise that lo and behold crime is going up, disorder is going up, the streets are becoming less safe.

It's -- their vision is not working. The vision that worked starting in the 1990s was the vision that I was one of the creators of.

LEMON: Broken windows.

BRATTON: I solved (Inaudible) around America. Community policing, partnership, problem-solving, focus on prevention, not just responding to crime. We got it so right, Don, over the last 25 years, New York City in 19 -- 2018 was the safest it's ever been in its history.


And then in one year, the state legislature in the state screwed it up immensely. Now we have a number of progressive woke district attorneys who are messing it up even more.

LEMON: Let me --

BRATTON It's not getting better anytime soon. It's going to get worse.

LEMON: Well, on that note, New York's new mayor, Eric Adams, he is the former police captain who won the job on a promise for safer streets and subways, calling for greater accountability for police, rebuilt trust in the communities that they serve. How tough of a balancing act is that you think?

BRATTON: That's an incredible balancing act. I think of the Ed Sullivan show that I'm old enough to remember that. The show always seems to Andrew the juggler at the end of the show will always play fun of him with (Inaudible) on the air.

Effectively what Eric has to do at the moment it's not off to a good start as it relates to crime and disorder. And based on everything I'm reading about the new district attorney in Manhattan --


BRATTON: -- and the legislature in Albany that was not showing any responsiveness to the growing crime problem, he's got his work cut out for him. The first three weeks are not looking good. I looked at the crime stat sheets today. Crime sheets. With the exception of murders and burglaries every other crime category in the city is up over these last three weeks.


BRATTON: Arrests are down. Summons activity is down. Shootings are up. Shooting incidents are up. So, the first three weeks I'm not pretending a very hopeful near-term future.


BRATTON: Eric has his work cut out. His new police commissioner has their work cut out to basically churn them on. Summons are down. Arrests are down. Police activity is down and trending down. So, he's got basically work -- he is working it out. He shows up at the scenes of all these events, he is showing leadership, he is showing compassion. As a police captain for 20 years, he understands the realities in the subways and the streets. But it's not a very promising first three weeks in New York --


LEMON: It's got to --

BRATTON: -- and America.


BRATTON: We're in an awful start across the country.

LEMON: It's got -- it's got to show some action, and it's good that, you know, that he is showing up, but he's got to -- there's really got to be some action here. Listen, it's very real here, the fear of crime. And especially what happened over the weekend. People are waiting -- and I see them.

People are waiting at the stalls, right, waiting at the entrance to the subway because they're afraid to go on the tracks. So, they wait for the train to come. If they say the train is coming in one minute, you know, they get the notice or whatever, the train is coming, then they go into the subway system because they're afraid of what can happen to them, you know, down into the -- in the subway system.

I've got to run, Commissioner. I've got to get to the break. I thank you for being here and you're invited back anytime you want to come and talk about it. Thank you so much.

BRATTON: Which I had been the news.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

Mask wars hitting the Supreme Court. CNN learning one justice is listening to arguments remotely because a bench mate is refusing to wear a mask.



LEMON (on camera): So, take this. A COVID mask controversy at the Supreme Court amid the Omicron surge. All of the justices have been wearing masks inside the courtroom during oral arguments. All except Justice Neil Gorsuch who has been declining to put one on.

A source saying that Justice Sonia Sotomayor is concerned about COVID because she suffers from diabetes and underlying health conditions. So, she has been participating in arguments from her chambers instead of the courtroom where she normally sits next to Gorsuch.

A source also saying that as Omicron surge, she express her concerns about the dangers of the variant to Chief Justice John Roberts but that she herself did not directly ask Gorsuch to wear a mask. And there is no rule requiring justices to wear one.

Voting rights on the ropes, Americans worried about the economy. It's been a tough first year for President Biden. What's ahead in the second?