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Don Lemon Tonight

Former President Trump Took Top-Secret Documents; Phone Lags Missing From White House; Bob Saget's Death With New Update; Right- Wing Adding More Fire To Protesters; Barack Obama Met With House Democrats; Cities And States Lifting Restrictions; U.S. And Allies All-Eyes On Russia. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired February 10, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST (on camera): Well, that's it for us tonight, I'll be back tomorrow. DON LEMON TONIGHT of course, with Don Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: How do you qualify this one? Because remember last time, it was lock her up, but her e-mails. So, is this one, but his toilet? I mean.

COATES: Do you know how many times I've been trying to avoid puns all day today, but you really, you cannot help it step right in it all day. I'm challenging you to how many times you're going to have to step right in it and go, flushing down the drain, and circle, it's going to be a problem.


COATES: Everything.

LEMON: How does the thing, go but away those troubles down the drain. What was that? That wasn't drain, though. What was that? Bo something.


COATES: I don't know.

LEMON: Roto-Rooter. That was Roto-Rooter.

COATES: Sing a little more. I want to hear more. Sing a little more.

LEMON: That's the name.

COATES: Anyone, you should know.

LEMON: Anyway, those troubles down the drain.

COATES: Look, Don Lemon can sing, everybody.

LEMON: So, he was trying to Roto-Rooter.

COATES: He can sing. He actually can sing. You're pretending now, but I've heard you sing sometimes, and I'm like, Don Lemon.

LEMON: We were singing Native New Yorker just before the show, just to get up our energy everybody in the studio.

COATES: That's your high music.

LEMON: Young and pretty, New York City girl. That's Laura Coates right there. Except for the New York City part.

COATES: That's my mantra, I love it. OK, I'll do it.

LEMON: But here's the thing though, we're joking about it but every day it seems the ante -- we up the ante, it was classified, now its top secret. And it's just so much hypocrisy, so much irony in all of this. I wonder when does it end. Maybe it never ends. Maybe it just never ends.

COATES: Well, I've got to tell you, I mean, amid it's sometimes I think to myself if this were a show, I show that wasn't the news, you know, a series. I'd be like, this jumped the shark. This can't be the case. This can't be that. You know, you turn the station, but you realize no, this is actually what's happening.

And I'm telling you, the January 6th committee, I can't imagine what they're thinking, and what they're trying to decipher. I'm waiting for those public hearings, and all that synthesis of what they've actually found. I want to know.

LEMON: Yes. Jump the toilet. Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Jump the toilet. Good night.

LEMON: I'll see you tomorrow. I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks so much.


LEMON: Before we start, I just want to say congratulations to my colleague Anderson Cooper, so happy for you. Now, I'm getting all of these texts and e-mails, when are you, are you next. Thanks, Anderson. Kidding. Congratulations. I'm really for you.

So, let's start the program now. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Thank you so much for joining us.

An hours-long gap in White House phone log. The White House phone log. And hours long gap. Documents reportedly and repeatedly, we are just talking about Laura and I, flush down the toilet. Classified information, classified information including documents marked top secret taken to Mar-a-Lago, down south to Palm Beach instead of where they're supposed to be, right, with the archives.

Just another day in the Trump White House. Records (Inaudible), everyone. It's not surprising, it should be surprising. But it is shocking. It is shocking that he gets away with so much norms busted all over the place.

Sources telling the Washington Post tonight that some of the White House documents the former president improperly took with him to Mar- a-Lago when he left Washington in disgrace, some of those documents were clearly marked as classified, including some at the top-secret level.

And the Post is reporting that though it is not clear exactly who pack those boxes, that the former president was very secretive about the packing, and didn't want anybody to take a look or aides or anyone to look at those boxes.

The National Archives is asking the DOJ to investigate. And what about the gap in the White House phone logs, what about that? Call records now in possession of the committee investigating January 6th show no record of calls to or from the then president from the time he returned to the White House after his speech at the rally at the ellipse. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And we fight, we fight like hell. If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.


LEMON (on camera): That is his taped Rose Garden statement. Roll it.


TRUMP: Go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens, you seen the way others are treated that are so bad, and so evil. I know how you feel.


LEMON (on camera): He knows how you feel. Sources say the committee hasn't drawn any final conclusions about the gap in the records. They say maybe personal cell phones were being used which was common in the Trump White House. Right? After so much consternation about using personal devices with a candidate Hillary Clinton.

So maybe personal phone -- phone -- cell phones were used, or maybe the archives will find more records. OK? But the gap raises a lot of questions. Because if there is one thing we know about the former president, it is that his phone calls are perfect.


Remember that perfect call with the president of Ukraine, the one that led to his first impeachment? And remember what he said about Hillary Clinton?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: People who have nothing to hide don't smash phones with hammers, they don't. People who have nothing to hide don't bleach, nobody has ever heard of it. Don't bleach their e-mails, or destroy evidence to keep it from being publicly archived, as required under federal law.


LEMON (on camera): People with nothing to hide don't flush papers down the toilet. What about her e-mails? What about her e-mails? What about his phone calls? What about his phone calls? Where is the big front-page news above the fold? Where is that?

And then there is Maggie Haberman reporting in her new book, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America," a title that really says it all.

The staff in the White House during the former administration said that they formally found wet printed paper flushed down the toilet in the White House. Would you be surprised to hear that the former president denies it all?

He put out a statement just today calling the story, quote, "categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book." He also claims that he turned over those 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives, quote, "easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis." Nothing to see here, people.

But why were they there? In the first place? But as he fights the January 6th committee at every turn, Vice President Liz Cheney in a Wall Street journal about saying this. Those who do not wish the truth of January 6th to come out have predictively resorted to attacking the process, claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this -- our hearings will show this charge to be wrong, we are focused on facts not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration no matter what criticism we face.

But there are plenty of Republicans who aren't showing that kind of courage. There is Nancy Mace trying to crawl back to the man at Mar-a- Lago, even though the day after the attack on the capitol she told CNN quote, "his entire legacy was wiped out yesterday." She said that he should be held accountable for his actions. She said that she was seeking out strongly against the then president.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I want to be a new voice for the Republican Party, and that's one of the reasons I've spoken out so strongly against the president, against these QAnon conspiracy theorists that led us into a constitutional crisis. It's just wrong, and we got to put a stop to it.


LEMON (on camera): We need a little thing like, like the tape going forward. Fast forward to today. In the wake of former president's endorsement of her primary opponent Nancy Mace stood outside, stood up outside of Trump tower, on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Remember when he said that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters? She stood up and said this.


MACE: I'm in front of Trump tower today, and remember in 2015 when President Trump announced that he is running? I was one of his earliest supporters, I actually worked for the campaign in 2016 and I worked in seven different states across the country to help get him elected.


LEMON (on camera): Somebody get her a glass of water. Thirsty. A little thirsty. She went on to lavished praise on him without ever mentioning January 6th, and what he did that day. That as our brand- new CNN poll finds a growing number of Americans don't think elections in America reflect the will of the people.

That's exactly what they're trying to do, right? Get people not to trust the process, not to trust institution over that whole five-year period, or six-year period. The running, and then the administration. Attacking institutions and norms, the electoral process, and on and on. Get people not to trust it so that they can run rampant, and they could lie, mostly him, but the Republican Party became him.

Fifty-six percent of responders said that they have little or no confidence our elections reflect the will of the people. That's exactly what they wanted. And about half think it's likely that future elections in the United States will be overturned for partisan reasons. Sad.

Let's discuss now, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel is here, Nixon White House counsel, John Dean.

Good evening to both of you.

Before we talk about your report in the White House, Jamie, isn't that exactly what they were trying to do over the past five years or so, get people not to trust institutions, not to trust the electoral process. Just to -- because the truth was not on their side, so they had to get people to do that?


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: And now there's a different kind of truth that we have in all of this. I just want to say that today of all days, I just find it remarkable, Maggie Haberman's reporting about flushing these papers down --


GANGEL: -- because we heard from day one that he was ripping up papers. That staffers had to run in and get it out of the wastebasket and tape it back together. When he knew that. He didn't want people to be taping those papers back together. Flushing them down the toilet, we do not know what his intent was, but it certainly was a way to circumvent the system, get around the Presidential Records Act. And it certainly looks guilty.

LEMON: Yes. John, let's talk about this, because the Washington Post is reporting that some of the Trump White House records taken to Mar- a-Lago, they were marked classified, including some top-secret documents. So there is manhandled records, ripped up records, plus the details that Jamie just mentioned, out of Maggie Haberman's new book that documents reflect down the toilet. Trump denies that. But what questions do you have about all of this, why would he be flushing documents?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It just doesn't sound right, obviously, Don. I think it speaks for itself. He is a man who has just ignored all the rules, standards, norms of the process. He doesn't obey the law. He just doesn't give a hoot. He's going to do what he wants to, do when he wants to do it.

Now those classified documents could cause him some problems. While he has plenary power as president to declassify or classify material, at 12 o'clock noon on the 20th of January he lost that power. So, he was sitting on hot documents down there, and it's a very interesting question. It raises national security issues. So, I think that the Justice Department just can't look away this time, they've got to take at least some look at this issue.

LEMON: As a former White House counsel, John, top-secret is no joke. I mean, let's remember Jared Kushner reportedly couldn't even get security clearance until Trump overruled intelligence officials. So, the idea that Trump took documents out of the White House to his golf club, that is no joke.

DEAN: That is no joke. That is a serious -- we have a four-star general, Petraeus, who damn near got himself a felony, but he didn't, he made a deal for a misdemeanor for letting his biographer look at his classified notebooks. And that's a pretty -- it could have been a very serious offense. He had to resign from the CIA, and it certainly dampen any potential of him becoming president. So, these things do have consequences for most people.

LEMON: Jamie, talk to us about, I'm wondering if this means anything, if it means they were using personal devices. This gap in phone call records in call records to the then president during the riot.

GANGEL: So, here's --


LEMON: What's the inclination here?

GANGEL: Here is our reporting. What do we know about Donald Trump, Don? He loves to talk on the phone. He was up in the residence every night, normally, talking to people all night long on the phone. What is notable here is that, as you said, there is a three-hour plus gap, where there do not seem to be any recorded phone calls from the official record.

I'm not talking about somebody calling him and not getting him, I'm talking about the kind of phone call where two people were talking to each other. So, we know there are phone calls during this time, we know that he had a shouting match with Kevin McCarthy during the riot. We know that he reached out and reached Senator Mike Lee on his phone.

So why don't the White House official records reflect this? Two possibilities. One, you just said. He was using a personal cell phone which has been a huge problem since day one. Or, he was using personal cell phones of aides which he did a lot. Dan Scavino, or his bodyman Nick Luna. That was very typical behavior.

I just want to repeat what John Dean just said about rules, what all of says is that he wasn't following the rules. A former Trump White House official said to me this week, he didn't think the rules applied to him. That trickle down to everyone around him.

LEMON: Yes. And also, there is another possibility that we have to add in there, Jamie.

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: They could find more records. They could -- right.



GANGEL: Absolutely. There may be more records coming, or let me add one other possibility. We have had a lot of reporting that he was transfixed watching the riot on TV, re-winding the button.

LEMON: That nobody could get him, he didn't talk to anybody.

GANGEL: Correct. And we know that, for example, Chris Christie tried four different ways to reach him and couldn't get through. He was told he wasn't available. So maybe he was just watching TV.

LEMON: Got you. John, how does this compare to the missing 18-and-a- half-minute gap on the Nixon Watergate tapes? Is that -- is that a fair comparison, or doesn't compare?

DEAN: It's a tough comparison. First of all, we don't have all the facts on --

LEMON: Right.

DEAN: -- why this information is missing. That is largely a manually constructed log, and the president's daily diary, while a lot of today is automated. There is still an archive staffer who is there assembling that document.

So, the 18-and-a-half-minute gap was just a mistake at the end of the process of producing tapes, they said they would produce. The president had just fired the special prosecutor, and then relented and started turning over tapes. And oops. Two of them are missing. One has an 18-and-a-half-minute gap.

The other one happens to be the conversation, I said, I thought I was recorded on. And they disappear. So, they've made a big story, but we've never found out the guilty party, who did it?

LEMON: You know, Jamie, I want to ask you, since we are talking about the phone and him using, you know, other people --

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: Could the -- could the committee end up subpoenaing Trump's personal phone records?

GANGEL: It's a really interesting question. It's been apparent, I really think for political reasons going after former president, that they have been reticent to do it. But the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, has not ruled it out. And I think -- I think there is a high bar. But if they think that there is something incriminating, a smoking gun, I would not rule out that they would look at that.

LEMON: All right. Thank you both. I appreciate it.


LEMON: See you soon. Be well.

GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: News tonight on the death of Bob Saget. There are very were surprising results. Surprising results in his autopsy report just revealed. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to talk about it. That's next.



LEMON (on camera): Tonight, we are learning much more about the cause of Bob Saget's death. The autopsy report showing the actor and comedian died from blunt head trauma. Saying that he likely fell backwards and struck the back of his head. The report also says that Saget tested positive for COVID-19 and suffered from an enlarged heart.

Let's get some insight on this new information from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Dr. Gupta, thank you so much for joining us. What more had we learned --


LEMON: -- from the autopsy documents?

GUPTA: Well, I think, you know, compared to last night, we are getting more information about just how significant these injuries were. I mean, this was not sort of a simple bump on the head. You know, there is a concern last night that maybe he hit his head sort of on the head board of the bed or something like that. He didn't recognize the severity of it and went to sleep and had this bleeding in his brain.

That sequence of events still seems to be plausible, but just the extent of injuries, Don, I think is far more than certainly was originally conveyed. Let me show you here. We put this together, Don, to give you an idea of just how many fractures we're talking about.

As you point out, there is an abrasion on the back of his head, and also fracture on the back of his head. In the yellow, that fracture sort of extended along the right side of his head. But then, he also had fractures on the front, just above his eyes as well. The orbital rims as they're called.

Let me show on this, Don, if you can see this, the skull. So, you imagine this, somebody falls, they hit here, an abrasion over here, significant blow, though. Like falls down significant blow. The fracture extends into the right side of the head here, that's all possible from one mechanism.

But then also fractures in the front over here just about the eyes. If I didn't know anything else about this, I would say is this someone who is on restrained in a car accident. Is this someone who fell down a flight of stairs, for example, or something like that.

When we look at this from a, from a neurosurgical perspective, there's a few different things that we're trying to figure out. What was the mechanism in injury. Again, fall, car accident, what was it. But also, the energy of the injury, how much energy was actually put on the skull and the brain. And what we can say from that pattern of injuries as our outlined in the autopsy report, it was a significant, significant blow to the head.

We don't know, again, exactly what caused that. It also does not appear he was on blood thinners, Don, something we talked about last night which could make, you know, the bleeding worse. But from that force alone there was enough to cause fractures in the skull, and bleeding on top of the brain.

LEMON: Let me just ask you this. You said blood thinners, that was a prescription drug he was on, no alcohol in the system. Right? Just how common --

GUPTA: Correct.

LEMON: -- is something like this, does it happen often? I ask you that last night, but when you look at, from what you know today, this sort of, as you said, significant blow.

GUPTA: This idea that someone was, you know, in a hotel room and sort of slipped and fell or hit their head on something. You know, a cabinet or the headboard or something causing this degree of injury I think would be very unusual.

Again, if there is something else, where, you know, he fell flat on his back and on the side, also on the side of his head and that cause this pattern of injuries, perhaps. But it also seems like he was at least lucid enough maybe to even had a conversation and get into bed after that.

So, it's kind of, it's a little bit hard to piece together. This is certainly someone if he had come into the hospital, to the emergency room would have, you know, gotten a CAT Scan, and most likely an operation to try and take that pressure off of this.


If you look at, you know, these types of head injuries across the board, people who have significant head injuries who then develop some amount of bleeding on top of the brain or within the brain. It happens in about a quarter of the time.

But again, this was not just a simple blow to the head. I think that that's what we can say. It was significant, you know, it really was unprotected it seems, you know, blow to the head. Maybe falling straight on his back. But still, how does one get fractures above the orbits over here at the same time? Was there some back and forth to the head at that time.

It's tough to talk about, it's so sad, Don, just the overall, you know, whatever happened here. Now we may never know for certain what happened. But this would not be something that you would expect just from, again, a simple blow to the head. Something much more significant happened here.

LEMON: Boy, boy. Dr. Gupta, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thank you.

LEMON: Former President Barack Obama a dressing House Democrats behind closed doors today. I'm going to speak with someone who was in that meeting. Congressman Colin Allred, next.



LEMON (on camera): Former President Barack Obama holding a private virtual town hall with House Democrats today. It comes with President Biden's legislative agenda stalled and worrying poll numbers for the party, hoping to keep control of Congress this fall.

Joining me now to discuss Democratic Congressman Colin Allred who was a part of that meeting. Congressman, I appreciate you joining. So, your party, let's be honest, facing plenty of headwinds right now.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is reporting that President Barack Obama, the former president, rally the troops, encouraging you all to tout your progressive -- your progress, I should say, excuse me, this year. Is that the strategy going forward into midterms?

REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Well, he basically he told us we have to get out of our defensive approach. We have to talk about what we've done, and as our current president would say, don't judge as against the almighty. Judge us against the alternative. Because we had to talk about what's happening on the other side, as well.

And you know, we've done a lot already in this year I think to set us up in the position where we now have one of the lowest unemployment, the lowest child poverty rates in decades. From passing the American Rescue Plan, to the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We have a lot to talk about and a lot to tell people about.

But now we have to kind of stop this back and forth about what we haven't gone on voting rights or the build back better bill. We're still going to be fighting for those things. Let's talk about what we have done.

LEMON: Listen, because there's been, you know, there have been a lot of folks in the party who are not necessarily, you know, touting or at least on the president saying what the president hasn't done for them. He hasn't done this, he hasn't done that.

I'm wondering was everyone on the same age? Were there any questions for him?

ALLRED: There are a lot of questions. But you know, I think we all know that President Obama knows a few things about winning elections. And knows a little bit about running as an incumbent on your record. And so, everybody I think was listening with rapt attention.


ALLRED: And as I said, you know, Democrats have a tendency sometimes to talk about all the things that we didn't get in the bill instead of things that we did get in the bill. Or the accomplishments that we are still fighting for, and some of the accomplishments that we've already achieved.

And so, that's what I think we need to be doing now because we really have done a lot for the American people. And you know, the reason why you can go a CVS on the corner store and get your vaccine for free, get your booster shot for free, it's because of the American Rescue Plan. We cut chop poverty in half with the American rescue plan.

We are going to be rebuilding America with a bipartisan infrastructure bill that multiple presidents have fought for years, for decades to try and get. And this president did get it, and this House did pass it. And so, that's what we need to be talking about. And I think we'll be speaking more from the same hymn book on that. But ultimately, it's going to be up to the American people.

LEMON: So, you think everyone left in there on the same page or same hymn book as you -- do you believe that?

ALLRED: Well, I think so.


ALLRED: Obviously, we are a big tent party. We are now, you know, the party, I think that has, we're appealing to the broader segment. LEMON: I understand that, and that's all well and good, but you have

to win. In order to win, you got to -- you have to tout your accomplishments, and Democrats quite honestly have to fall in line. You believe that everyone is on the same page with this, --


LEMON: -- what the former president has said.

ALLRED: Yes, I think we are getting into the don't agonize, organize phase.


ALLRED: We're now being recognized. And I think, you know, even some of the most strident voices in our party recognize that we've got to now tout our accomplishments. Yes, keep fighting but let's make sure the American people know what we've done, because we really have done a that and it's hard to breakthrough.

And we recognize how frustrating this time is for the American people. We recognize that, you know, I've got two young kids who have to be home at times because of COVID exposures in the classroom. It's extremely difficult. It's a difficult time that we're still in this pandemic. But we're going to get out of, it and we're beating it because of what we've done.

LEMON: Well, let me --


ALLRED: And the other side wants to takes us in a very different reaction.

LEMON: Did the former president, did Barack Obama did have anything to say about the current president, President Biden?

ALLRED: Yes, of course, he did. You know, he talked about what they have done. I think he referenced the ACA fight, and how, you know, it took some time for the American people to really understand what was in the Affordable Care Act. And how maybe, you know, he wishes that they've done more to tout some of the accomplishments that they did with the rescue -- with their rescue plan to get us out of the recession that we were in and how they saved the American economy.


Now they didn't really tout that until he ran for reelection in 2012. And so, there are lessons for us to learn from that. Because sometimes you are so busy governing and doing the job with the American people trying to deliver for them. You don't stop and pause and really tell people what you've done.

And so, they may not know that. And we know in this media environment, Don, with everything that's going on with COVID, everything what's going on around the world, we have to be the ones to carry that message.

LEMON: Congressman, President Biden is putting up a new stark warning about Ukraine tonight. I want to ask you about that. But listen first.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: American citizens should leave, should leave now. We are dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. This is a very different situation, and things could go crazy quickly.


LEMON (on camera): Congressman, we're seeing Russia building up troops along the border. You are a part of the congressional delegation to Ukraine. What's your read on the situation?

ALLRED: Well, of course, the president is just echoing the State Department which already told Americans in Ukraine if they were able to leave. Now most of the folks who are still there are dual citizens or who live there. And so, they may not follow that advice. But it is an extremely dangerous position that we're in right now.

Russia is continuing to build up their troop presence around Ukraine. They're doing exercises right now with Belarus, right next to some of our NATO allies who are very nervous about that. And they are showing, you know, so much aggressive intent. And they're really not giving us much in terms of the diplomatic off-ramp that we would hope would work.

And so, it's very concerning. But we've been very clear with our allies in the E.U. and our allies in NATPO that if Russia does do this, the consequences for them are going to be so dire. That this is going to be a strategic failure for them whether he goes in or not. And I really believe that. Whether he crosses that border or not Vladimir Putin is going to emerge weaker from this because he has united us in a way that really no one else could.

LEMON: Congressman, I want to -- I want to talk to you about this new poll that CNN has out today. Fifty-six percent of Americans say that they have little or no confidence that American relations will reflect the will of the people. And when you dig in, mistrust among Democrats and independents is up by double digits from just a year ago. Trump supporters believed the big lie, but why are Democrats going less confident in elections?

ALLRED: Yes. Well, I think they are seeing that we've not been able to pass legislation to try and protect the right to vote. And they are seeing the ongoing attempts in their states like my state here in Texas to undermine the right to vote. And so, they're very worried.

But you know, again, come back to this concept that we have to keep fighting for this, but we have to organize here and not agonize. We can do everything we can to understand if they're working this hard to try and make it hard for Americans to vote, why, why are they're trying to do that? It's because your vote is so powerful. And I really believe that together, we can overcome some of these barriers that have been put in place.

Now the other issue of course that I think people are concerned with, is election subversion. Which is no matter what we do in terms of getting out to do that they may try and change the results afterwards. And in that case, I do think there is sone good news, you know, around the Senate negotiations on the Electoral Count Act that I think we will be able to fix that so that they won't be able to overturn an election, say in 2024, as easily.

But 2022 is one where we may see some attempts to do that as well. And so, you know, I've got a lot of legislation that I have introduced that, you know, is part of the Senate bill that didn't quite get through. I'm hoping that we come back to some of those as individual stand-alone because they should have bipartisan agreement. It's about making sure elections aren't stolen after the fact. That should be an American principle that we all agree on.

LEMON: Congressman Allred, thank you. I appreciate it.

ALLRED: OK. Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Trucker protests in Canada disrupting the supply chain causing manufacturing stalls here in the U.S. But right-wing media here, well, they are egging the protests on. Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): Tonight, the ongoing protests by truckers in Canada having a serious economic impact on American workers. The Anderson economic group reporting that auto -- the auto industry workers in Michigan could lose up to $51 million in wages this week because protesters are preventing auto parts from crossing the border

So, if American workers are facing financial hardships, why are right- wing commentators here in the U.S. cheering so hard for the protesters?

More from CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Fox News, not a fan of past occupations.

BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: The failure, the failure of the occupy Wall Street movement.

STELTER: But now, when they look north, they love what they see.

WILL CAIN, CO-HOST, FOX NEWS: Right now, we're being led by Canadian truckers.

STELTER: That's Will Cain dissing the U.S., saying Canada is acting more freedom loving right now, sounds like a challenge. SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: Canada's freedom convoy is still going

strong tonight and it's spreading all over the world.

STELTER: Now they're asking, where is the American protest?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: The question is how long before protests like this come here?

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Will we need our own trucker rally to end all of this insanity once and for all?

UNKNOWN: Is the trucker convoy coming to America?

STELTER: All this coverage causing one staffer at the Fox opposing group of media matters to say, I haven't seen Fox news try to will a protest into existence with this much effort since the lead-up to January 6th. It's happening on other networks too.

UNKNOWN: Well, look at that, folks. The fight for freedom continues up in Canada.

STELTER: One American News also hyping up the story, covering it every hour. And arguably exaggerating its scope.


UNKNOWN: Ottawa has been taken over by the peaceful protesters.

STELTER: CNN's fact checked pointed out that many false claims about the size of the convoy had been making the rounds. On Fox, it sure looks huge. With banners saying, freedom convoy captivates the world.

UNKNOWN: They're here for freedom.

STELTER: And Sean Hannity endorsing the group.

HANNITY: We support what they're doing.

UNKNOWN: Sean sends a message. He sends a message. He says we are standing beside you. He is standing beside you.

STELTER: How might Fox treat a blockade by a different kind of group? Well, we don't have to wonder. These reports are from past episodes of Hannity show.

TRACE GALLAGHER, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: And for a while, they stood in the middle of an intersection blocking traffic.

UNKNOWN: They are blocking traffic and some cars are trying to get through.

UNKNOWN: They're not allowed to be block traffic, and yet they've been doing it now for about an hour.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STELTER (on camera): Suffice to say, Hannity is not playing traffic

cop during this protest. Look, this is people power in action in Canada, it's a big story. But right-wing media in the U.S. is only telling one side of that story. They're talking all about freedom. But freedom for some Canadians is instilling fear in others. It is complicated.

But Fox's biggest stars are making it sound simple. And they want to see this kind of trucker protest happened now in the United States. They want to see it here. Stateside. Don?

LEMON: All right. Brian, thank you so much. I appreciate that. Officials are warning of protests and disruptions here in the United States this weekend. So, what do they need to do now to be ready? We're going to talk about that next.



LEMON (on camera): The list of states rolling back COVID restrictions keeps growing. Nevada's governor announcing an end to his states mask mandates effective immediately. But the White House and the CDC still warning they believe it's too soon to go back to normal, whatever that is after nearly two years of pandemic.

Joining me now to discuss former FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan. Doctor, good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

Even with the cases dropping like a rock from their January peak, most counties throughout the U.S. are still seeing high community transmission. So, who is right here? Is it too soon to be dropping mandates?

MARK MCCLELLAN, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Well Don, good to be with you. Especially with cases coming down as much as they are. The case levels are still higher than they were back in that Delta surge last winter. But they are definitely on a strong downward trajectory, the hospitalizations are lagging that. So, it's understandable that people are ready to move on.

There are still, even though the states are dropping their mandates, there is still an ability for local areas, counties, cities, to put -- to keep mandates in place. I mean, Don, I think the main thing to watch out for at this point is that if those case rates keep falling and that we're ready the next time if they go up again.

In the meantime, people do want to get back to more of a sense of normalcy. And they can do that while still taking some reasonable precautions.

LEMON: Let's talk about the White House today. Recommending that even in states where mandates were lifted, people should keep following CDC guidelines on masking. So how about anyone who might be confused here, or unsure about people around them who aren't wearing a mask. Is one- way masking effective, doctor? MCCLELLAN: One-way masking is effective in protecting you, and

protecting people around you. The risks now are lower than they were, they may go up again in the future. Hopefully not. But in the meantime, there is still a lot of new steps that we have in place that can help protect you.

First of all, hopefully you are vaccinated and you're boosted. If you are due for that, that is the biggest single thing you can do to make sure a case of COVID doesn't turn into anything more serious. In addition to that, things like good ventilation, keeping some distance, other things can also help protect you.

LEMON: COVID facts on the ground are changing, more people are vaccinated, there is now an estimated 90 percent immunity, and political leaders and public health experts are trying to get people more freedom by reducing these restrictions. But now some on the right are saying that it means mandates and masks and vaccines were never needed in the first place. Right? This is, listen to this from the Fox propaganda network.


CARLSON: Over the course of less than a week, the same people who have systematically turned America into a quarantine camp, suddenly out of nowhere started calling in unison for medical freedom. You should know this virus was killed, not by science, but by the midterm elections. It turns out the only real cure for COVID-19 is the political ambition of the Democratic Party.


LEMON (on camera): Doctor, why does everything have to be reduced to politics, all or nothing. I mean, us and them.

MCCLELLAN: Well, it's a good question, Don. I hope I really appreciate what you're trying to do to help people recognize that the circumstances are changing. As you said, we got a lot more immunity than we used to. We also have tests that you can get, if you have symptoms. Free tests are available, you can figure very quickly if you got COVID or not.

And we also have treatments. So, for people, even who aren't vaccinated or who let those vaccinations laps, or if they're high risk, that can help too. So, we're in a very different place than we were a year ago, or even three months ago. And that's why it's important to change to recognize that it's OK to change what we're doing, but still keep some precautions in place. So really, it's that middle ground that you're talking about, Don.

LEMON: Right, and in large part that immunity comes from the fact that we have a vaccine that is helping people with the immunity. Let's talk a little bit more, dig into what you said, because this new polling from CNN that finds Americans split on whether it's time to learn to live with the pandemic or keep the focus on stopping the spread.


Other folks who say that we should focus on stopping the spread. Only 9 percent are very confident that we can. Do you think there is a begrudging acceptance now that people who remain vaccine hesitant are just unreachable?

MCCLELLAN: I think it's going to be hard to get the numbers up to 100 percent, I do think we can get vaccination rates up further. We still have some room to increase vaccinations for kids, especially. Since we want to get rid of the mask mandates in school, and give kids a chance to the first -- first time for having normal learning in a couple of years.

Getting vaccinations to kids, getting information about that will make a difference. And we're still seeing, Don, vaccination rates going up a bit. Some more places as we have local efforts and people getting answers and seeing more experience with the vaccines.

But again, we don't have to depend on vaccines alone at this point. Besides immunity, we also have tests that you can get quickly, we also have treatments that work. If you have symptoms and if you are in a risk group or haven't been vaccinated. All of that can help. Even if we don't get rid of the cases completely, which I don't think we will. All of that can help us from having hospitalizations, and other big disruptions in our lives from here on. But we do need to take some steps to live with the new normal.

LEMON: Hey, doctor, I was looking at this new report. Before you go, I want to ask you about the CDC publishing new guidelines for opioid restrictions. The first time since 2016. They removed the prescription dosage, on dosages -- or restrictions, I should say, on dosages because so many opioid -- of so many opioid deaths. But doctors complained because the guidelines meant untreated pain, withdrawal, even overdose. What do these new guidelines mean for patients. What's going on here?

MCCLELLAN: Well for patients it means talk to your doctor. The guidelines also emphasized that there are a lot of alternatives available for opioid, for controlling pain. We've got, they are not perfect options, I wish we could you do more to control pain without any side effects but there are options available.

And for people who are in certain circumstances where there aren't alternatives for opioids and there are steps in place to prevent risk of addiction or the consequences of addiction. Opioids can be very helpful. But it's important to, remember that as the new guidelines, say these medications come with risks, it's important to talk to your doctor about alternatives as well.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Dr. McClellan. I appreciate it.

MCCLELLAN: Good to be with you.

LEMON: You know, it seems like everything cost more right now, everything takes longer to get. President Biden facing tough questions tonight about it. We're going to tell you what he's saying after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)