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Don Lemon Tonight

Trump Wants To Pardon Insurrectionists; Donald Trump Tried To Use DOD And DHS In Draft E.O.s; Sen. Ted Cruz Think President Biden Is Racist; Stacey Abrams Occupied During President Biden's Visit. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 31, 2022 - 22:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (on camera): He was a great, lovely, sweet, kind, smart, and funny man. And he will be forever missed.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. (Technical problem)



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We will treat them fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.


LEMON (on camera): There is no other way to put this, this is the former President of the United States throwing the rule of law out the window because insurrection is on January 6th were doing what he wanted them to do. He is admitting what January 6th is all about. Not only saying the quiet part out-loud, he is putting it in writing.

And I quote, "actually what they are saying is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn't exercise that power, he could have overturned the election."

That's a quote. In writing. Did you ever think that you'd hear a former president who with his hand on the bible swore to preserve and protect and defend the Constitution, did you ever think you'd hear him say that he wants to overturn an election?

Now you may be saying you just don't want to hear from the disgraced twice impeached, one-term president. A man who incited a bloody insurrection at the United States capitol. And look, I do get that. Trust me, I get it.

But this is not just a defeated president, a loser. This is the former commander-in-chief defending, defending the insurrectionists who beat police with an inch of their lives and haunted lawmakers in the halls of Congress and saying threatening really that he would pardon them. So, he would pardon this? This crowd dragging then officer Michael

Fanone down the steps, beating him and tasing him. One rioter shouting kill him with his own gun? Really? He would pardon this? Officer Daniel Hodges crushed by that crowd and screaming out in pain.

He'd pardon this? Rioters threatened to hang his own vice president?


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


LEMON (on camera): In his speech before on the capitol began, he told the crowd to fight like hell.


TRUMP: And we fight, we fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you are not going to have a country anymore.


LEMON (on camera): And now he wants to pardon the insurrectionists who did just that. Giving aid and encouragement to those who try to violently overturn our free and fair election while the rest of us watched in horror.

Do you remember what he said during the 2016 campaign seeming to suggest violence against Hillary Clinton?


TRUMP: If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment, people, maybe there is, I don't know.


LEMON (on camera): Remember his threat that the -- his threat the tough guys or whatever, treat the tough guys claim supported him. A threat, I should say, the tough guys supported him like Bikers for trump who make things, his words, very bad.

Today, the White House calling him an existential threat to our democracy and unfit for office. But what really seems to have the former president's steam? The multiple ongoing investigations into his family. His family and their business by prosecutors who just happened to be black, prosecutors he calls racist for daring to investigate him.



TRUMP: If these radical vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt. They're corrupt.


LEMON (on camera): You heard that. He wants the biggest protest we've ever had, while the memory of bloodthirsty rioters storming the capitol is still fresh in our minds. And he calls the election his own official said was the most secure in history. He calls it corrupt? Exactly the big lie that fired up those rioters in the first place.

No wonder the Fulton County D.A. is asking the FBI to help provide security for his staff as they investigate Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Georgia.

And then there is a continuing GOP brouhaha over President Biden, him vowing to keep his campaign promise and nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Senator Susan Collins claiming President Biden politicized the nomination by making his pledge as a candidate just like Ronald Reagan did.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): This isn't exactly the same. I've looked at what was done in both cases and what President Biden did was as a candidate make this pledge and that help politicized the entire nomination process. What President Reagan said is as one of his Supreme Court justices, he would like to appoint a woman. And he appointed a highly a qualified one in Sandra Day O'Connor.


LEMON (on camera): Huh? I mean, listen, I don't want to be disrespectful but I mean, maybe -- she's a sitting senator. So just to -- so just who there is no mistake or misconstruing about whatever this is, right, so we can understand it. There is always a video tape. So, I want you guys to listen closely, this is exactly what Ronald Reagan said during the 1980 campaign.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can possibly find. One who meets the high standards I would amend for all court appointments, it's time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists.


LEMON (on camera): My God, he was wearing a tan suit. I digress. So, you heard what he said. Now it sounds pretty similar to me. You judge for yourself. But it sounds a whole lot like what Joe Biden said during the 2020 campaign.


president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, it will be -- I will appoint the first Black woman to the court. It's required that they have representation now. It's long overdue.


LEMON (on camera): OK, So, Joe Biden when he was a candidate vowed to appoint the first Black woman to the highest court in the land. Ronald Reagan when he was a candidate vowed to appoint a woman to the highest court in the land. What's the difference? Let's think about that. What has got Republican so worked up? Ted Cruz might be able to give us a clue.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The fact that he's willing to make a promise at the outset, that it must be a Black woman, I've got to say, that's offensive.


CRUZ: You know, Black women are what, 6 percent of the U.S. population? He's saying that 94 percent of Americans, I don't give a damn about you. You are ineligible. He saying, if you are a white guy, tough luck. If you are white women, tough luck. You don't qualify.


LEMON (on camera): That's actually not what he said. He didn't say you are ineligible. Right? He said it's high time that Black women have representation on the court. He didn't say white guys are ineligible. Especially since most of the Supreme Court justices are white guys.

Didn't Ted Cruz -- I mean, what is -- didn't he go to an Ivy League school? Like, come on, man. Also keep in mind that out of 115 justices so far, there had been 108 white men. You know, I'm no mathematician but that seems like an overwhelming majority to me.

Out of 115, 108 white men. Two black men, and five women. Four of them white, one Latino. Now, if you do the math, that means zero black women. Not one single Black woman. Not yet.


But the fact -- that fact hasn't stopped Republicans like Senator Roger Wicker from crying, you know, affirmative action.


SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): The irony is that the Supreme Court is, at the very same time, hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination. And while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of, quota.


LEMON (on camera): These dudes, this sort of quota. What is a quota when there isn't any? Just, you know -- quota. Senator Wicker telling CNN tonight, and I quote here, "diversity on the court is a wonderful thing," end quote. But seeming to stand by what he said in his interview.

So that's really where we are tonight. This is where we are. This is -- two presidents can say virtually the same thing, and people see it differently. Because of what?

That's where we are tonight. These are facts. This is in my opinion. This is where we are tonight. The people harkening back to that old -- I thought that language of quotas was done in the 70s and 80s where people started talking about that.

Republicans arguing over the race of a Supreme Court nominee who hasn't even been chosen yet. A former commander-in-chief saying he wants to pardon insurrectionists who almost brought down our democracy. All over his big lie. I've said it before, justice matters. Justices matter. The truth matters. Our democracy depends on it.

I want to bring in now, CNN's Paula Reid. She has more on our breaking news tonight. Paula, good evening to you. Thank you for joining. So let's go right to it.

So, Trump had more than one executive order drafted ready to go to see his voting machines. What else do you know?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. Sources tell CNN that following the 2020 election, former President Trump's legal advisers drafted two versions of an executive order to seize a voting machine. One, directing the Department of Defense to seize the machines. And the other directing the Department of Homeland Security to do so.

Now, of course, we've previously reported the existence of a draft order tasking the Pentagon with seizing the machines. And that document has been handed over to the House select committee investigating January 6 by the National Archives.

Now, multiple sources tell CNN that a second version of the same document also exists. But it instructs DHS to carry out the same task. Neither memo was ever issued, but it shows, Don, the lengths Trump's advisers are willing to go to as part of their broader effort to undermine the election results.

LEMON: Is it clear, Paula, is it clear yet who drafted these unsigned executive orders?

REID: So multiple sources tell CNN that the idea of using the federal government to access voting machines was the brain child of retired colonel Phil Walter and former Trump national security adviser, Mike Flynn. Both army veterans were pushing the narrative that the election was stolen from Trump. But at this point it's not clear who specifically put pen to paper to draft the E.O. itself. Now Trump's former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, he was the one spearheading the efforts to challenge the election results. And we've learned that Giuliani approached Ken Cuccinelli, who at that time was second in command at homeland security about seizing voting machines after the election. And Cuccinelli told him, we don't have the authority to do that.

Now Cuccinelli told CNN, his discussions with Giuliani never develop to the point of talking specifically about an executive order. But now we know the House select committee is looking into the effort to draft an executive order and how it began. Including the roles of Giuliani, Flynn, Waldron and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell.

LEMON: Paula, thank you for your reporting. I appreciate that.

Just imagine what would have happened if the former president had signed those executive orders, if voting machines had been seized. With a plot to overthrow our democracy have worked?



LEMON (on camera): More on our breaking news now. Multiple sources telling CNN tonight that Trump advisers drafted two versions of an executive order to seize voting machines as part of their plot to overturn the 2020 election results. One was directed at the Department of Defense and another was for the Department of Homeland Security.

Joining me now the former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, he is now a CNN senior legal law enforcement analyst. Also, former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean.

Gentlemen, good evening and thanks so much. Andrew, I don't know, every time it just aims to get worse. When you heard that Trump was prepared to seize voting machines with draft orders, with these draft executive orders to use the power of the government to overturn the election. I mean, it's what we've seen from tinpot dictators. What if he had signed them?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Don, this is the slide of democracy into fascism. I mean, that's what we are looking at here. Right? and the irony, or maybe I should say hypocrisy of this coming from the conservative, you know, side of our political life.

And the people who are constantly referring to their belief in the Constitution to have a president who so balefully dismisses the very clear guidance of our Constitution and proposes in draft form anyway, taking these like, draconian fascist measures to completely undermine our democracy for the perpetuation of his own political power. It is startling. It really is on every level.


LEMON: Well, I mean, John, I feel like, gosh, I'm having a senior moment now, but a network in the window, you know, go to your window and scream out at (Inaudible). I feel like I'm standing at the edge screaming into the ocean every night. Like, don't you guys see what is happening here? I mean what if, what if he had signed those? I mean it seems to go get worse every bit of news that comes out, every piece of evidence that comes up, John.

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Don, that's a really important question you raised in the way you raise it, because Americans are very slow to recognize these kinds of problems. I watched it personally during Watergate, how long it took for people to understand that Nixon's abuse of powers was a threat.

If you look through history, you look at how slow we were to realize the problem with World War II, it's just something inherent about a democracy that doesn't move quickly. So, People are watching this and they're wondering, well maybe this is just an idiosyncratic event and it will all write itself and go away. The posse will come in and take care of it.

That's not going to happen. We are the posse. We got to take care of it. And so, you know this isn't right and Trump is not hiding what he has in mind.

LEMON: John, Mike Pence's former chief of staff, Marc Short, he was with Pence on the capitol during the capitol attack. He participated in a critical White House meeting, this was on January 4th. Now, we are talking about a top aide here. Is this a good sign that the committee will get the full picture of Trump's pressure campaign even if Pence doesn't testify?

DEAN: Well, it will certainly help. help. Excuse me. They'll -- Short is somebody who is a straight shooter, he was there and I'm sure he didn't want to testify. He's got a political future in the Republican Party. He was close to Pence. But he is also somebody who believes in the truth and wasn't going to try to hide it form the committee but.

So, yes. He will move us a little closer. He can't go inside the mind of Trump or Vice President Pence. He will get closer to Pence than he can to Trump. But it's important testimony and it shows how the committee is moving really right in on the target.

LEMON: You know what, Andrew, as recently as this weekend Trump is still blaming Mike Pence and admitted in a statement that he was trying to get him to overturn the election. Here the committee is trying to figure out what Trump is thinking during the riot. And he is essentially laying it all out there. I mean, is a really any mystery here?

MCCABE: I don't think so, Don. I mean, I think, you know, he's always been the master of laying it right out in front of the people. Kind of taking the sting out of the realization of whatever he's been engaged by just blatantly stating it. And so, he's done that again here. But I think it's high time that not just the committee take this seriously, but the Department of Justice take it seriously as well.

if you're actually committed to following the facts and the law, as attorney general said he is. Well, these are facts that add to that path. Right? If you are -- if you've already projected that you are investigating the attempt to install fraudulent investigators from the state, this is a part of that same whole effort, that same whole conspiracy, if I may.

So, it is time for DOJ to start recognizing and qualifying the statements by former President Trump in, you know, in the way that they are for the legal significance that they have.

LEMON: Andrew, John, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: The former president is claiming the prosecutors investigating him are racist against white people. Calling out a bunch of prosecutors who happen to be black.



LEMON (on camera): So, the former guy was back on the campaign trail, back to stoking racial divisions calling prosecutors investigating him racist.


TRUMP: If these radical vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt.


LEMON (on camera): Joining me now CNN senior political analyst Nia- Malika Henderson and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers, the author of the new children's book "Who Are Your People."

And hello to both of you. Obviously, watching this he's going to say that panel is racist because we're all black. And you know what else people are prosecuting him for, they're all black women. So, you know, we've got two for here.

So, that, I want to start with you, Nia. Look, the key investigations into former Trump, President Trump in Georgia and New York are being pursued by Black prosecutors. Two of them are women, right? This is not a dog whistle, this is, I mean it's a straight-up bull horn. Come on. And some bull, you know what.


NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is and listen, this is a favorite tactic of Donald Trump. Calling people of color racist. The Washington Post did an analysis of this. It is that he has been three times more likely to call nonwhite people a racist as he's been calling white people racist. He called the squad racist. He said that Yamiche Alcindor was a asking racist question. When she asked whether or not he was stoking white supremacy. He of course at Charlottesville equated the racists with the people who were protesting against racism.

So, it's not a surprise at all. It also works for his base because the base of supporters that support Donald Trump these are white Americans. They very much think that discrimination against white people is as common as discrimination against Black people and Latinos and other non-white groups.

So, it's a, you know, favorite tactic of his. He's very much of the patron saint of these sort of white grievance audience that he's been drawn to his presidency first, and now he is perhaps second run for the White House.

LEMON: At another recent rally, Bakari, the former guy said that COVID therapeutics and vaccines were being denied to white people. He said white people in Is it why people in New York had to go to the back of the line for health care. None of this is true and none of it is a surprise. But it is clearly an intentional strategy, again, right? Nia, I'm going to ask you that question because we don't have Bakari.

HENDERSON: We -- yes. Now I think this is very much a favorite strategy of his. A very much works on his audience as well to essentially say you are the victim of this kind of rising tide of black and brown America. And if you even think to his arguments about 2020, his crazy arguments, the sort of through line is that the election was stolen from you, Trump supporters by people in cities like Atlanta, in Milwaukee, in Philadelphia.

Very much targeting sort of urban Democratic areas where he knows black and brown people live and vote Democratic usually. And so, this is, you know, part of his argument. This idea of make America great again was willing to turn back the clock. So, to make America white again in the way that it was in the 1950s and before where white people have the power.

LEMON: Listen it seemed --

HENDERSON: There is Bakari.

LEMON: Yes, there he is. He is back. So, Bakari, it seemed, you know, maybe in 20 -- for the 2016 election that he was -- he kind of stumbled into it, right, it was much more ham-handed. He was like, where is my African-American? Now it seems much more intentional with these things about white people.

It's like he is targeting that group so, you know, the oppressed group, it's much more targeted than just, my gosh, I stumbled into this and so therefore I'm going to act on it.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, he didn't stumble into anything. In fact, one of the things that Donald Trump used brilliantly, if you're talking about political strategy, it's the same vein that people like Lee Atwater tapped into a southern strategy. Which is that, he learned to use racism as a political currency.

Now, take away the fact that Donald Trump is a racist, let's talk about using racism as a political currency. Because he realized that he couldn't move voters. Because when you're talking about things like the browning of America, when you talk about things like this fear or this angst that some people have that all of a sudden, they are going to be replaced by black folk in the workforce and throughout culture whatever it may be. You utilize that to drive them to the polls to get the results that you want.

So, there are a few things. One, Donald Trump uses racism as a political currency. Two, he is scared as hell that he might be indicted or have some criminal exposure. And three, you begin to see the ignorant just come forth when he begins to use these racist tropes. I mean, and it's so in vogue now.

I mean, after this discussion, we will, all three of us will be deemed to be racist, right? And you should see the mentions on social media. The conversation that's going to be had on Fox News about how all of a sudden, these three black people who are educated who can identify what is going on in this country and diagnose it based upon our country's history are all of a sudden racist.

It's truly ignorant because let me just say this. One of the things I thought was a benefit of Donald Trump getting elected was this country was finally having a discussion about race and racism. I had no idea that the discussion was going to be rooted in so much ignorance. I guess I should have known.

LEMON: Well, listen, and people are going to watch this and say, where is the diversity on that panel, where were the white people. You can watch --


SELLERS: No. They don't think they turned into BET real quick.

LEMON: Look, they can watch the rest of cable news all day if they want that. So, haven't you watch cable news all day, that's where the white people are. Yes, I said it's true.


So, Nia, listen, between the upcoming Supreme Court nomination process and the former president ramping up his reelection efforts. Are the dials on division over race going to be turned all the way up by those who are going to benefit most by dividing us by race?

HENDERSON: Absolutely. And listen, America is perfect for this because America throughout its history is sort of scapegoated black people as a fearful group. I mean, and if you think also just about history, periods of social progress have been followed by periods of backlash. And often the periods of white backlash were much longer than the periods of social progress.

So, I think there is this thinking that maybe America will quickly move past this, America will sort of rise up to Donald Trump shenanigans, his corruption and his racism. But it could -- it could be that it doesn't, it could be that America embraces Donald Trump once again should he run in 2024.

And John Dean sort of talked about this. This idea that Americans are sort of slow to pick up on things. I mean we sort of saw that in 2016, lots of people were saying, you know, Donald Trump is a problem in terms of racism. And other people were saying no, it's really about the economy and why people are feeling sort of disenfranchise from the economy. But it really was this a racial grievance politics that he played quite well --


HENDERSON: -- that other Republicans have played throughout the country and throughout America's history. And he is quite expert at it. And America is sort of right for this sort of racial division because of our history.

LEMON: Bakari, I would give you another question but I'm biased against you towards a woman, so that's, you know, people can say that. But the real truth is that your -- your audio dropped so you know, that's a reality.

SELLERS: No. It was a racist -- first of all, it was a racist signal that I had in my house.


LEMON: It was sexist. It was a sexist signal.

SELLERS: I already know that is.

LEMON: Yes. Listen.

SELLERS: But like Donald Trump I'm going to get the last word is and simply say, that this Supreme Court race is going to truly show the divisions in this country and how we have to lift up black women who are always pushed to the side.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. Thank you, ma'am.

SELLERS: Thank you.

LEMON: I appreciate it. Good to see both of you. Have a good evening.

HENDERSON: See you all, yes.

LEMON: So, ted Cruz calls President Biden Supreme Court promise, quote, "offensive and insulting." All because Biden is promising to nominate the first Black woman to the court. Stacey Abrams responds after this.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON (on camera): President Biden promised to fill Justice Breyer's

seat with a black woman is really getting under the skin of his opponents. Senator Ted Cruz claiming it's an insult to black women in an interview this weekend.


CRUZ: The fact that he is willing to make the promise at the outset, that it must be a black woman. I got to say that's offensive.


CRUZ: You know, Black women are what, 6 percent of the U.S. population? He's saying that 94 percent of Americans, I don't give a damn about you. You are ineligible. And he is also saying, it's actually an insult to black women. If he came in and said I'm going to put the best jurist on the court. And he looks at a number of people and he ended nominating a black woman, he could credibly say, OK, I'm nominating the person who is most qualified.


CRUZ: He's not even pretending to say that.


LEMON (on camera): OK. Well, joining me now to discuss Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, she is also the founder of Fair Fight Actions.

Good evening. Good to see.

Senator Cruz isn't alone in making this argument. But Biden is far from the first president to make a promise like this. I mean, we should mention that your sisters are among those likely being considered for the nomination. But why are Republican so bothered by Biden promising to nominate a black woman to the court? He said, you know, he said 6 percent of the U.S. Population of black women. Zero percent of the court right now is black women. So? Do you understand my point?

STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Absolutely. President Biden has promised to put in place an excellent jurist, one of integrity, of character, of excellent credentials. Someone who is willing to sit and serve the people of the United States. He has also said that that person will be a black woman. And there is nothing mutually exclusive about that decision.

And for those who are keeping score at home, Ronald Reagan made a pledge that he is going to fill the court with a woman. In fact, he said it was a symbol. It was a symbolic gesture, but that symbol is an important one because women are half of our country and black women are significantly part of our population.

But more than anything, we need voices and we need experiences that reflect the whole of American society. And this is one more step forward for our nation.

LEMON: Let's talk about something that the former president is doing, making all kinds of bogus claims this weekend. Floating the idea of pardoning January six rioters calling the investigators into his business. And I quote here, "racist" and even admitting that he tried to overturn the election. Admitting it. How dangerous is it to our democracy when the former president is bragging about his coup attempt?

ABRAMS: What he is demonstrative of is the ongoing attempt to undermine democracy in America. And this is not hyperbole, this is not conjecture. This is fact. We are watching at the same time that he creates the air cover with his outrageous statements. We are watching state legislators across the country put in place laws to undermine democracy.

Right here in Georgia, we watch a county election's board kicked off the last of the bipartisan representation it had and then proceed to eliminate Sunday voting. We know that in Texas because of the laws they passed, a 95-year-old World War II veteran is being denied the right to vote by mail because he can't produce a registration number, he got back in the 1950s.


We know that these are laws that are designed to keep people out of the voting booth and out of our democracy. And whether it is the former president or current senators or current state legislators, or candidates for secretary of state, we have to elect leader up and down the ballot who are willing to defend democracy and defend our nation.

That's one of the reasons I'm running, it's one of the reasons, Don, that we have Jon Ossoff. And that Raphael Warnock is running for reelection. We are going to do the work of defending democracy. And we are going to call on every American to put aside their partisanship and focus on their patriotism and do what must be done.

LEMON: Speaking about you running, you only lost by 1.4 percent in 2018. The latest Quinnipiac poll show that, show you neck and neck against incumbent Brian Kemp.


LEMON: And former Senator David Perdue. And that is all too close to call. Now, Georgia is becoming one of the key battleground states over the direction of our country. What are you doing differently this time around?

ABRAMS: Number one, we are going to do what we did right the last time, and that is reach out to every Georgian as early as we can. Tonight is actually a fundraising deadline for us. We are closing the books on this last quarter. And it's important for us to raise the resources that we need in order to reach every voter.

Because people are in pain. But they also want a promise that more opportunity is available. They want a governor who is not proud of his inaction. They want someone who wants to lead a state of opportunity. That's when I intend to do. We are going to reach out to the 1.3 million voters who joined the rolls after 2018. We know that 43 percent of these new voters are under the age of 30. We know that model that 17 points higher for Democrats than Republicans to be the new people on the rolls.

But more than anything, what we know is that they are hungry for leadership. And that's the kind of leadership I want to provide. That's why I'm running, because I believe that there is one Georgia, and we may not all agree on the same issues. But I, like every Georgian, and I want to make certain that we all have the opportunity to thrive.

LEMON: This is something that I've been wanting to ask you about for some time now. Because you weren't at the president's big voting rights speech when he came to Georgia last month. Both your camp and the White House said that it was a scheduling conflict. You are known for your work on voting rights.

And listen, I don't know what your scheduling conflict was, so, you know, me -- my being ignorant about that it would seem that it would be something that you would want to be at especially considering it's very important for the Democrats agenda right now and how important voting rights is to you, or are to you. Why isn't a -- what wasn't it a priority for you to be there when the president came to town?

ABRAMS: It is always a priority for me to stand with President Biden. And I think if you look at my history, I have been an advocate, I have been a cheerleader and I will always, always stand and not only with President Biden but on the side of democracy.

I had a personal matter that didn't allow me to attend a single speech. But I believe that with everyone, and I think you know this as do your viewers, you don't judge someone by a single moment when things don't go exactly the way you want. You look at the totality of their behavior and their actions.

I believe in democracy. I fight for democracy. I've worked on voting rights and the president and I spoke that morning. Because he understood that I had a challenge, I understood that his ability to talk about democracy did not depend on my presence. And we did everything we could to work together to make sure that we move the ball forward.

Unfortunately, the legislation didn't move that day but neither of us have given up on it. And I believe in President Biden, I believe in his commitment to voting rights. And I believe that the work we have done together, the work we continue to do will make progress possible for all of us. And that's the most important metric.

LEMON: But having said that, it would seem that it would be important for you to be there. So, this wasn't about being seen or tied to a president who is -- whose polling isn't so great right now. Or about, you know, teaching or sending a signal that, you know, he hasn't been strong enough on voting rights? This wasn't about that? ABRAMS: Don, I think I would say that anyone who has watched me I

don't send signals, I'm fairly direct and straightforward about what I think and what I believe. I believe in President Biden. I believe that he has delivered resources to the state of Georgia leadership for this country and he is doing a good job as president.

I believe that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are two of the best people we could've sent to be his partners in this work. And I believe that together, we can work as governor, as senators and president to move the state of Georgia in this country forward.

I welcome President Biden. I welcome the work that he has done. I welcome the work that he will do. I put out statements before NAFTA, but more than anything, my statements about voting rights have been unequivocal. My statement about the president have been unabashed.


And my commitment to getting good done for Georgia that's why I'm running for office, why I've done the work I've been doing and why I need people to support the future that we have ahead of us working together for all Georgians.

LEMON: Stacey Abrams, I appreciate you appearing and I thank you for your candor.

ABRAMS: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Multiple parties, excessive drinking, failure of leadership all while -- take this, the country was in COVID lockdown. We are talking about the big prime minister scandal taking over the U.K. That's next.


LEMON (on camera): Take this, everyone. Sixteen parties, 16 of them. That's how many events were held at government venues, including 10 Downing Street, home to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That's according to a new report.


The parties are held while the U.K. was under strict COVID lockdowns. Now those lockdowns were so severe that Queen Elizabeth is forced to sit alone at her husband Prince Philip's funeral. The U.K.'s leader offering a not-so-welcome apology.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It isn't enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn. Mr. Speaker, I get it and I will fix it. I want to say -- and I want to say that to the people of this country, --

UNKNOWN: Shame on you.

JOHNSON: I know what the issue is.


JOHNSON: Yes, Mr. Speaker, yes. It's whether this government can be trusted to deliver, and I say Mr. Speaker yes, we can be trusted. Yes, we can be trusted to deliver.


LEMON (on camera): So, Johnson is fighting first political life with members of his own party saying they can't support him any longer. The prime minister though not giving in on calls to resign. It looks like he is taking his political cues from this side of the pond.

So, we have some breaking news tonight, they had multiple plans to seize voting machines. New details of Trump's attempt to overturn the election after this.