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Don Lemon Tonight

New Video Footage Released From January 6th; Alex Jones Pleaded The Fifth More Than 100 Times; President Biden Warns Russia; DOJ Investigates Fake Certificates; Governor DeSantis Going After FDA; COVID Postpones Elton John's Concert. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 25, 2022 - 22:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST (on camera): And you know, one of the things that we hear, Don, and maybe you hear too, is that, you guys are so -- you're so obsessed with Trump all the time. Why -- if he is the leader of the party me --


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Trust me, trust us, we don't want to. But go on.

ACOSTA: Yes. We don't want to. No, we would like to go. But, you know, I call it the Trump-owned party, the TOP. If that is how it's going to be, and he is for all intents and purposes the front-runner and the leader of the party how can we not have this conversation about him? And he is at the very heart of all of these dangers facing our democracy right now.

LEMON: Well, I mean, look, there's example after example that comes every single night if you look at what's happening with the Supreme Court, what's happening with affirmative action, what's happening with a woman's right to choose. What's happening with election laws around the country. That is a direct, right, example of elections have consequences.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

LEMON: And so, there's an election coming up in 2022. But you look at what's happened since the last election. Look at the big lie. Look at the people who are lying about, you know, the new video that I'm going to talk about in a second of what happened at the capitol. Still denying it, still saying it's nothing. Wanting to move past it.


LEMON: And you cannot move past that without acknowledging and having at least someone -- some consequence or consequences for the party, for the Republican Party now and the former President of the United States. Someone has to answer for what happened on January 6th.

ACOSTA: No question.

LEMON: A direct assault on our democracy.

ACOSTA: No question, Don. There has to be accountability. If there is no accountability for Trump and his crew and what they did to this country on January 6th, we are in a heap of trouble. There's just no other way around it.

I mean, to me that's why we have to keep holding their feet to the fire, Don, no matter how much they complain over at Fox and The Five and all -- whatever their shows are called. You know, they've got Greg and Tucker. They complain about us, you know, calling them out. But guess what? We're going to keep doing it.


ACOSTA: It's not going to stop.

LEMON: Yes. I have no idea what the names are. But look, I have producers who watch so I don't have to. And we watch so the viewers don't.


ACOSTA: We work better that way.

LEMON: I'll see you tomorrow night.

ACOSTA: Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you, Jim. So, this is DON LEMON TONIGHT.

And this is what I was talking about. I know -- I know that it's 10 o'clock at night and sometimes you're in bed, and you're kind of listening and you're half asleep or you're doing things. And if you're on the west coast, right? Dinner time. You have to look at this video. You've got to pay attention and look at what's happening on your screen right now that I'm going to show you. I'm going to walk you through it.

Because we have this disturbing new video tonight from the attack on the United States Capitol. We were just talking about it. It is still going on. And there's new video coming out. It's right in front of your face. You're going to see it with your own eyes.

This video shows you why the committee investigating January 6th is working so hard to get to the truth. According to prosecutors, these new videos, there they are on your screen now, they show rioters both inside and outside the capitol building breaking open the eastern rotunda doors, pushing past police officers to squeeze inside of the capitol.

So, you see that there's a man right there, center of your screen now, he's -- that green backpack helping the rioters into the building. OK. Well, prosecutors say he is an active-duty marine.

And then there is another clip. And this one shows a rioter violently throwing a police officer to the ground. There he is right there. And another officer runs to assist their colleague, pushing rioters away while more and more pour into the capitol. The officer helps his colleague up and the two are eventually able to leave the area.

So, remember when they tried to tell you that the rioters were hugging and kissing police? Remember when they tried to tell you that it was just like a tourist visit? More on all of that in just a minute. So ,stay tuned.

But it comes as the President of the United States says if Vladimir Putin launches a full-scale invasion, excuse me, of Ukraine it would change the world.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There would be enormous consequences. If he were to go in and invade, as he could, the entire country. Or a lot less than that as well. For Russia not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences. But there would be enormous consequences worldwide.

This would be the largest -- if he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.


LEMON (on camera): This is what you need to know. Eighty-five hundred. Eighty-five hundred. Eight thousand five hundred U.S. troops on high alert. And President Biden says that they may be on the move soon. Depending on what Putin does or doesn't do.

The Pentagon sending javelin anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers, or launches, munitions and more to Ukraine. That is very disturbing. The Pentagon sending javelin anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers and munitions and more to Ukraine. As the president says that he considers sanctioning Putin himself if Russia invades.


And in the face of all of this, with tensions at an all-time high, you've got to wonder why does a certain network seem to love Vladimir Putin so much? You all know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about the Fox propaganda network. We're watching again so you don't have to.

And what we're seeing is a whole lot of praise for the authoritarian strongman who rules Russia with an iron fist. Never mind the velvet glove.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: Why is it disloyal to side with Russia but loyal to side with Ukraine? They're both foreign countries who don't care anything about the United States. Kind of strange.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Putin doesn't fear our military. He knows that diversity is no match for excellence. STEVE DOOCY, HOST, FOX NEWS: You know he's a strongman. And for him

to back down that would make him look weak. He doesn't want to look weak.

UNKNOWN: That's right. So, Putin always tries to capitalize on weakness. And so, one thing that we've seen unfortunately over the last year in the Biden administration is complete weakness out of the White House.

MIKE POMPEO, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: He made sure NATO was focused on its mission. And when we did that, Vladimir Putin respected us. We had respect for him and his power. He's a very talented statesman. He has lots of gifts. He was a KGB agent for goodness sakes. He knows how to use power. We should respect that.

CARLSON: Vladimir Putin does not want Belgium. He just wants to keep his western border secure. That's why he doesn't want Ukraine to join NATO. And that makes sense. Imagine how we would feel if Mexico and Canada became satellites of China.


LEMON (on camera): That can come straight out of the Putin playbook. To Russia with love. And it raises a whole lot of questions about what the Fox propaganda network is up to. What are they up to? And whose propaganda they're pushing really.

That as more and more pieces of the plot to overturn our free and fair election are coming to light. CNN has learned exclusively that federal prosecutors are looking at fake electoral certificates declaring the disgraced former president the winner of states that he actually lost to Joe Biden.

Now, those certificates signed by Trump supporters who falsely claimed to be the rightful electors in Georgia and Arizona and Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and Mexico. All states, I repeat, all states Joe Biden won. The plot is breathtakingly brazen. The insurrection at the capitol. Fake electors.

An executive order that if it had been signed would have postponed Joe Biden's inauguration, directed by the military to seize voting machines and let the former president in power while his hand-picked investigators decided who won. Brazen. The audacity.

And then there's conservative lawyer John Eastman, who allegedly came up with a six-step plan for Mike Pence to overturn the election. Now a federal judge is forcing him to respond to a committee subpoena for his e-mails, setting congressional investigators up to get information that they have wanted for months.

And what about A.J.? Old Alex Jones. The right-winger who never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like. Everything from his past false claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged to the big lie of bogus election fraud. Today revealing that he met virtually with the January 6th committee and saying that he pleaded the fifth almost 100 times.


ALEX JONES, RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY THEORIST: I just had a very intense experience being interrogated by the January 6th committee lawyers. They were polite, but they were dogged. But I said this. My lawyer told me almost 100 times today during the interrogation. On advice of counsel, I am asserting my fifth amendment right to remain silent.


LEMON (on camera): Infowars. Infowars. Alex Jones pleading the fifth almost 100 times. That's a lot for a guy who says that he wanted to answer the questions. He was just afraid of not answering correctly. That's what he said. Words matter. Look, words matter.

Democracy is under threat at home and abroad. The pandemic is still killing thousands of Americans every day. And the fever of lies and misinformation shows no sign of breaking. Exhibit a.

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. We talked about him last night, right? And his disgraceful speech comparing life-saving vaccine policies to the actions of a totalitarian state and suggesting that Anne Frank was in a better situation when she hid from the Nazis in a cramped attic in the Netherlands until she was discovered and killed.


Well, tonight at least I guess he's apologizing, if you can call it that. And I quote. "I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank. Especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors. My intention was to use examples of past barbarianism -- or barbarism," excuse me, "to show the perils from new technologies of control. To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry." Robert F. Kennedy Jr. "To the extent my remarks caused hurt."

It was actually to quite an extent. And still not comparable to any -- in any way despite the intent. Words matter, like I said. Words matter. An apology counts for something. But truth matters more. Truth reigns out. Our lives and our democracy depend on it.

We have a lot to cover this evening. The world is watching. Watching as the current president, Joe Biden, and Vladimir Putin and Russia face off. Is the global balance of power changing now? What's going to happen next? What will it mean for our democracy? Big questions for none other than Fareed Zakaria. Next.



LEMON (on camera): So tonight, President Biden warning Vladimir Putin of severe consequences if he sends Russian troops into Ukraine. The White House saying an invasion is "imminent." That's a quote. "Imminent."

But Ukrainian officials, they don't agree with that. They say satellite intelligence shows Putin's forces are not in combat mode or positioning themselves to attack. But still, they call the threats from Russia dangerous.

I want to bring in now Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the perfect person to talk to about all of this. Fareed, thank you. I appreciate you joining us this evening.

The president says that the U.S. may move some troops in the near term. Is a Russian invasion inevitable at this point? What is the truth here?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: No, it is not inevitable. I think what Vladimir Putin is trying to do is to escalate and put enormous pressure on the west, on NATO and obviously on Ukraine and trying to get a whole bunch of concessions that he feels are long his due, that the west needs to understand Russia has national interests, Ukraine can't become a NATO, NATO can't conduct military exercises so close to Russia's border.

And he's picked this moment because he thinks the west is divided, rudderless, confused, but most importantly, because he feels he is in a very power-strong position. The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is almost done. The Germans need Russian gas. Europe is having a huge energy crisis. Gas prices are up 400 percent.

So, this is, this is all part of a very strategic move by Putin. He may -- I think he's willing to go to war. But that is not his first choice. His first choice is to get this rewriting of the sort of security landscape that he wants.

The Biden administration is trying to do a combination of deterrence and diplomacy. On the one hand, they've rallied the west pretty well. They've gotten the Europeans on board. They've gotten talk of fairly strong sanctions.

And as you mentioned, they are also putting in place more military deterrence, actual troops, actual armaments, while at the same time they've made clear to the Russians there is a thing of diplomatic off- ramp. Let's talk, let's figure out if there are areas where we can create common security arrangements that benefit both of us.

It's a delicate balance. And this goes beyond politics and cheap name calling. It's tough to get it exactly right. I think the Biden people are doing a good job --

LEMON: But Fareed --

ZAKARIA: -- but at the end of the day it's a question of how risky -- how lucky does Vladimir Putin think he is today?

LEMON: OK, all right, but why put them and those assets in place if you're not prepared to use them? Because Vladimir Putin responds to strength, not weakness. Am I wrong?

ZAKARIA: No, you're right. But, so, Putin has put those assets in place precisely --

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: No, I meant why Biden -- why would Biden -- why would the U.S. put those assets in place if they weren't prepared to use them? Because you know, if you call Putin's bluff, chances are he's going to, you know -- he's going to --


ZAKARIA: But that's why we're not calling his bluff. We're being very careful about this. We are saying to them look, we're willing to talk, we're willing to have conversations about these issues, here's where, you know, our red lines are but we can't -- but you do want to show some, you know, that there is going to be a response.

Now, the military side is actually the least important. Let me be honest. We will not be able to stop the Russian army from taking over Ukraine. Nobody can. The Russians have the largest army in Europe. They would be able to take it. So, this is more symbolic. The real issue is what it does. Can you really cut Russia out of the global economy? That's the real penalty. That's the real deterrence.

And Biden has been very tough about saying that is what the United States will try to do. Essentially take Russia off the global economy, which is a big deal for Russia.

LEMON: Can you do that?

ZAKARIA: The big problem here is Germany. I think the rest of the Europeans would go along. But Germany gets about 40 percent of its energy from Russia right now. If that were to happen, the Germans would have to be willing to pay a lot more to heat their homes, to put it in very simple terms. And I don't know that German politicians are willing to take that cost.

That is -- that is the weak link in the western alliance right now. It's not Joe Biden, who's doing all things considered a pretty decent job. The problem is in Europe. The Germans are very unsure about whether they want to be part of this deterrence piece of it.


You know? And you've got to do both. You've got to do the deterrence. You've got to do the diplomacy.

LEMON: How do you bring Germany on board? Is that a possibility? Is that -- is that feasible?

ZAKARIA: Well, you know, Angela Merkel would have come on board, I think. But Merkel had a broader conception of Germany's role. The new -- it's a new government. It's untried. It's untested. But that's -- you know, the Biden administration are having active discussions. They're trying to get other European countries to, you know, to kind of persuade the Germans.

I think a lot will depend on what exactly happens. Are we talking about a small skirmish, you know, Biden got into trouble, as president he shouldn't have said this. But obviously, it matters whether you're talking about a small incursion in eastern Ukraine to support supposedly pro-Russian forces there versus an outright invasion of the entire country with tanks marching across Ukraine.

But if there were to be something significant, I think the Germans would realize that they have to -- you know, you have to punish this kind of behavior. And I think that's where Biden's rhetoric is just right, where he's raising the stakes and he's framing it in the right way of saying, look, if you had an invasion that looks like the largest military aggression since World War II, if you had tanks moving across a country annexing territory, that is the breakdown of the liberal international order that the United States created after 1945. You of all countries Germany cannot go along with that.

So, he's very subtly putting the pressure on the Europeans to come along, putting the pressure on the Germans. But that's the key. If you can get the Russian -- if the Russians realize that they would face a significant -- Russia is a petrol state. If it can't sell its oil and gas, it has no money.

LEMON: It has no -- yes.

ZAKARIA: So that is our weapon.

LEMON: I want to get this in before I let you go here. You know the world -- the former world chess champion, Putin critic Garry Kasparov. He is blasting President Biden over the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Let's play this and I'll get your response.


GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN CHESS KASPAROV: I think Putin sensed that -- American weakness, meeting Biden in Geneva. Because instead of aiding Ukraine and making it very clear that the cost of the aggression against Ukraine would be too high, Biden and his administration made a terrible mistake by entering these negotiations that convinced Putin that he could go away with not sanctions but basically lip service.


LEMON (on camera): Is Biden's approach to Putin weak? What do you think of that?

ZAKARIA: No. Look, I think it's very easy to, you know, from the sidelines to urge people to be much tougher. Biden has the awesome responsibility that the President of the United States has of committing American forces. That is something you don't do lightly. That is something you do after careful consideration.

And as I said, the Russian army is the largest army in Europe. The United States didn't think it could defeat the Soviet Union during the Cold War. You know, with conventional means. That's why we stationed intermediate intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

At the end of the day, it's easy to make it out like Putin is this mastermind and we're all weak. But think about this. The most recent reports we're getting that Finland and Sweden are now thinking about whether they should join NATO. Countries around Ukraine, you know, Poland, Hungary and such, which have had other differences are now even more staunchly pro-western, pro-NATO. France and Italy are coming on board. Germany, as I say, is the weak link. But it is also moving.

Putin has actually unified NATO in a way that hasn't happened for a while. He's bringing countries like Finland and Sweden -- there's a joke in Finland where they say they're one sauna away from joining NATO. You know, because they make all their decisions in saunas.

LEMON: Right.

ZAKARIA: But it's always easy to make it out like the dictator is somehow some kind of a mastermind. Look, he's calculated the odds. He's pushing. We're pushing back. It's not so clear to me that he's going to win this at all.

And at the end of the day Biden is balancing between being tough and finding some off-ramp. To just say we're going to go to war guns blazing and to be sure that that's the right solution, you know, we've tried stuff like that in Iraq and Afghanistan. It didn't work out so well. And I think it's worth having a slightly more nuanced, slightly more sophisticated policy that the Biden people are having. And it's plenty tough.


I mean, they have supported the Ukrainians more than any admin -- any previous administration has done. But they're also trying to see if there's a way to resolve this crisis without a showdown and with some kind of diplomatic off-ramp.

LEMON: Yes. Nuanced and sophisticated, that is new with this administration, not the former administration. So, we'll see what happens. Fareed, I really enjoyed the conversation. Thank you so much. We learned a lot. I appreciate it.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

LEMON: So, make sure you watch Fareed Zakaria GPS at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays. On Sundays right here on CNN, of course.

Fake documents sent to the National Archives by Trump supporters, documents that falsely say that the former president won the election in states that he definitely did not win. And now the Justice Department is investigating. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): We're back now with a CNN exclusive. Federal prosecutors are reviewing fake Electoral College certifications that falsely declared the former president the winner in states he lost in the 2020 election.

Joining me now, CNN's senior legal analyst Preet Bharara. And Preet is the author of the new book "Justice is A Guide for Young -- Justice is a Guide for Young Truth Seekers." I have the book here. We're going to get to it. It's a beautiful book, Preet.

Let's get to the breaking news, the exclusive here.


LEMON: And then we'll talk to you about your book. I want to start with this new video. It's from the DOJ. It's showing the initial breach of rioters into the capitol. This is on January 6th, obviously. In the video you see a rioter throw a police officer to the ground. Just another example of the violence against officers that day. I thought blue lives were supposed to matter. And it makes the gaslighting and the whitewashing of this even more clear, don't you think?

BHARARA: I do. You know, we keep hearing, you know, weeks and months after the event that were plain as the nose on your face, as they say, people trying to minimize what happened there. You have some elected officials saying they were like tourists. Donald Trump even on that day saying he loved them. And people saying it was mostly peaceful.

And it's astonishing how even after a year we keep seeing new footage that gives the lie to that whitewashing because it was a very violent encounter.

LEMON: This is -- I want -- this is Deputy A.G. Lisa Monaco, what he she told CNN's Evan Perez about the investigation into the fake elector's scheme. Here it is.


LISA MONACO, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: On the issue you raised in terms of fraudulent elector certifications has been reported, we've received those referrals. Our prosecutors are looking at those. And I can't say anything more on ongoing investigations.

But more broadly, look, the attorney general has been very, very clear. We are going to follow the facts and the law wherever they lead to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an assault on our democracy.


LEMON (on camera): So, lawmakers and state officials asked the DOJ to look into this plot. Are you happy to see the DOJ following up on this?

BHARARA: Yes. Look, DOJ does some things. Most things that it does it does on its own initiative. And maybe on its own initiative it was already looking at these false certifications. They won't tell us that. And Lisa Monaco who I've known a very long time and who is very smart and very honorable and abides by the traditions of the department wouldn't be telling us that.

But then some things come to their attention or cause to scrutinize because they're referrals, from a judge, from Congress, from some other source. And it looks like they're doing the appropriate and proper thing which is they're taking seriously these referrals from these various places. Because the things that are being talked about did not occur just in one state but in multiple states and go to the core of this whole big lie and efforts to overturn the election.

And so, I do have confidence that they're looking at it. I do have confidence also that if there's something to be done, they'll do it. And that was punctuated by the speech that Merrick Garland made a couple of weeks ago that Lisa Monaco appeared to be quoting from, that they will go after anyone at any level.

LEMON: So Preet, what -- what sort of crime would the Justice Department charge for this scheme? What law is broken by submitting fake documents to the National Archives?

BHARARA: I mean, there could be several. There could be conspiracy against the United States. There are particular laws that relate to elections. Sometimes they're not as robust in the federal system as they are in various state systems. But I think they have a number of things that they can be looking at.

LEMON: What does that carry? Do you know? As you say, conspiracy against the United States, it seems serious. I don't know what --


BHARARA: Well, it depends on which conspiracy statute. Some are 20 and some are 5.

LEMON: OK. Trump supporters from seven states that Biden lost submitted these false documents. And remember that that memo from lawyer John Eastman laying out how Pence could overturn the election says the former vice president could have used ongoing disputes in seven states to throw a wrench into the certification process. That's not a coincidence. Is it?

BHARARA: No, not at all. Look, the linchpin of all of this was Mike Pence in some ways. And at the end of the day, whatever other tests he failed during the vice presidency that people might think on one side of the aisle or the other, he passed that ultimate test.

Donald Trump talked about what Mike Pence had to do. Protesters went down to -- rioters went down to the capitol. And because he didn't do what he was supposed to do per Donald Trump, they talked about hanging him.


They had a gallows that they erected outside the capitol. And now it turns out that in this other way that you just described all roads led to Pence.

LEMON: Preet, let's turn now to -- I want to turn now to your book. Your new book. It's called "Justice Is: A Guide For Young Truth Seekers." The book has some really, really powerful illustrations in it by Sue -- is it Cornelison?

BHARARA: Sue Cornelison. Yes.

LEMON: Cornelison.

BHARARA: Cornelison. Terrific --


LEMON: Why did you write this guide? I mean, it is, the art, it's beautiful. I mean, you guys should see it. I happened to get copies yesterday. Two copies of it. And I'm really happy to get it. But it's beautiful. You said at times it needs -- you know, talking about Black Lives Matter, it needs an army at its back. Talk to me. Why did you do this?

BHARARA: Look, I think the country needs leadership. I think the people in the country need to find their footing and understand what justice means, what fairness means. And that can happen at a young age.

You know, I remember my father telling me stories about Mahatma Gandhi, because we were from India, and the movement for independence there and about other world figures. And I think that children, we underestimate. And they have an innate sense of fairness and unfairness when they play sports in the backyard and games in their living room.

And this is a way to introduce to children through their parents' historical figures, some well-known, some lesser known, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, John Lewis, and a number of others, so that they can maybe be inspired to do something in their lives that make the world -- that makes the world better and their communities better.

It's sort of a jumping off point, a starting point to talking about these issues that are really important I think in our society and in our world. And done in a way that's accessible to young people and nice to look at as well.

LEMON: It is. I mean, you have illustrations -- this one is of ruby bridges here, I believe. Is that the one -- standing up for justice can get lonely. You do that. And you go from -- you have John Lewis in here. You have Mahatma Gandhi. You have Mandela. It is just really a fantastic book, Preet. And thank you so much. I really appreciate you talking to us --


BHARARA: Thank you.

LEMON: -- about this and everything.

BHARARA: I hope people enjoy it.

LEMON: Yes. So go get it. The book, again, is "Justice Is: A Guide for Young Truth Seekers," by Preet Bharara. The state in a constant culture war. Is Florida's Governor Ron

DeSantis paving the way to the future -- for the future of the GOP? And what does it mean for the 49 other states he currently has no control over? Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): OK. This one is really, really, really important. Florida's Republican governor picking another fight. This time Ron DeSantis is promising to fight the FDA. He's angry that they're limiting COVID antibody treatments after those treatments proved to be totally ineffective against the Omicron variant.

The White House hitting back with press secretary Jen Psaki calling DeSantis, quote, "crazy." And the thing is, this is just the latest battle DeSantis is choosing to fight. Beyond his seemingly endless war against basic health protocols.

Now here's what's happening in the state legislature. OK? A bill that would make it illegal for public schools and private businesses to make people feel discomfort based on their race or sex. A bill banning critical race theory in schools, which didn't teach the theory in the first place. Another one critic calls the - don't say gay bill that bans most discussions around sexuality and gender identity in schools.

So, what is going on here? Is Ron DeSantis creating the Republican Party of 2024? Let's discuss. CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Hello to both of you.

Ana, I know you are fired up about this. You are a Florida resident. What on earth is happening in Florida?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think -- I think Republicans in the legislature and the governor have chosen, have decided that creating waging and manufacturing social issues to wage culture wars is good politics. I think they saw what happened in Virginia with that governor's race and have decided to piggyback on that to create this parental rights bill that really should be called the lawyer's rights bill. Because it makes school boards liable and allows parents to sue for so many things that it's scary to think.

And I just think it's such an anti-conservative bill. Right? We, conservatives, Republicans believe in local control. So, what are the people in Tallahassee doing telling local school boards how they need to conduct education, telling local businesses how they need to go about their business?

That's just -- it's crazy in so many ways. It's hurtful. It's unnecessary. Really, I hope they reconsider. And I hope Floridians get fired up about this and contact their senators and their legislators and ask them not to vote for these bills.

LEMON: You mean people in the state's capital telling other local -- telling local officials what to do. And also, the idea of limited government, that is a tenet of -- at least it was, of the Republican Party.

Ron, there's been a lot of speculation on whether Ron DeSantis could be Trump's running mate in 2024 or challenge him to run for president himself. Is DeSantis creating the new laboratory for the GOP as they look towards 2024?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Look, he is the point of the spear of what is happening in red states. It's not unique to Florida, but maybe in Florida you're seeing more of these culture wars coming together than in any other single state.


I mean, he has bought a ticket for every ride at the fair. I mean, you mentioned -- all the bills. You mentioned they're also proposing a 15- week ban on abortion. Last year they passed the voting restrictions. They passed the toughest penalties in the country for people engaged in public protest.

They immunized drivers who run over people engaged in public protest. They banned transgender girls from competing in high school sports. They banned private employers from mandating vaccines. They barred local governments from mandating masks.

All up and down the line he is moving forward these issues that are in fact advancing in many red states. I mean, as we talked about before, you are seeing kind of a very sharp move to the right. Almost a spasm of backlash in the red states against Democrats winning unified control in Washington. And I think DeSantis has made a decision that he is going to be at the absolute vanguard of all of these fights, whatever the consequences for Florida.

LEMON: Isn't this sort of the epitome of cancellation, canceling people because you don't -- because you don't like what they stand for?

NAVARRO: It's the epitome of hypocrisy. Because you rail against cancel culture and so many things. But Don, I really want to focus on the don't say gay bill. There are so many, right? There's such a plethora of things that you can pick from, like Ron just mentioned. But this don't say gay bill really breaks my heart.

You and I know the incidences of suicide and considering suicide from LGBTQ youth. You and I know how vulnerable that group in particular is to being bullied, to feeling ostracized, to thinking of harming themselves, to being homeless. So, what we need to do is make them not feel like others, we need to make them feel part of the family.

And let us remember that right now the support for gay marriage across the nation is 70 percent. It has changed dramatically. And there are so many gay families in Florida that need to be part of the conversation. You can't erase people. You need to make people feel seen. So, I wonder, what is a school going to do when there's a school play

and Johnny's parents are two men or two women or maybe one gay woman or one gay man? How do they answer those questions? Because now if they do, they are liable. They are liable to getting sued. So, it's hurtful. It's dangerous.

Let's remember, this is the state where the Pulse tragedy happened. We cannot -- I mean, it's -- it's insanity. And I know -- listen, if those people in Tallahassee think that LGBTQ is a democrat issue, they're dead wrong.


NAVARRO: They should go talk to my very good friend Ileana Ros- Lehtinen, who was the first Cuban-American congresswoman and whose son is transgender. Or they should talk to Mary Bono in California about her transgender stepson. Or they could talk to my friend Rick whose father --


LEMON: Well, they could --

NAVARRO: -- and the state Senate --

LEMON: Well, Ana, they could talk to a lot of Republicans who are in office now and a lot of Republicans --


LEMON: -- who are -- let's hope they don't ban the words closeted because a whole lot of Republicans would be in trouble. Go ahead, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I have -- can I add one thing real quick, Don?


BROWNSTEIN: You know, everything that's happening in Florida really underscores the structural imbalance that is driving the rollback of guaranteed national rights on a whole bunch of fronts. If you look at what's happening in Florida, whether it's this proposed 15-week abortion ban, whether it's the ban on transgender athletes, whether it's the voting restrictions, whether it's this, you know, denial of the existence of kind of gender identity or sexual orientation in schools.

All of them are going to be passed on a party line majority rules basis in the state legislature. To the extent they face court challenges, this Republican majority in the Supreme Court is going to either enable or uphold them on a majority rules party line basis.

But the LGBTQ Equality Act that passed the house on a party line basis is being blocked in the Senate because it needs a supermajority, a bipartisan supermajority because of the filibuster. The Voting Rights Act that would undo many of the things they did in Florida passed the House but is being blocked in the Senate because it needs a supermajority.

The same thing on the bill codifying a national right to abortion. Passed the House but is being blocked in the Senate because it needs a bipartisan supermajority. So, you know, we're often told that the American political system has all these checks and balances and the tilt that -- the bias is toward the status quo.

In this -- in this era it is easier now for the red states and Republicans to undo rights than it is for Democrats to preserve them. And that's why we're seeing governors like DeSantis being so free to move so far in reversing what had been kind of a steady expansion of rights after the 1960s.


LEMON: Well, thank you. I appreciate both of you. And Ana, especially your passion. Thank you so much.

Concerts canceled. Elton John, take this, testing positive for COVID.



LEMON (on camera): Take this. Rocket man Elton John has tested positive for COVID while on tour here in the U.S. His concerts in Dallas this week now postponed. The legendary musician had just restarted his tour in New Orleans last week after an almost two-year pandemic interruption.


ELTON JOHN, SINGER: We haven't played a show since the 6th of March, 2020. So, this is a new experience for us. I've never had this amount of time off in my life as far as playing music. Well at least since I was 17 years of age.


LEMON (on camera): March 6th, 2020. That was kind of when it all started, right? A statement from the concert venue says Elton is fully vaccinated and boosted and experiencing only mild symptoms. Elton, we wish you a very speedy recovery and hope to see you back on the yellow brick road in no time.

Up next, threats at home and abroad. The Justice Department looking into fake certificates saying the former president won the election as tensions with Russia rises.