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Don Lemon Tonight
Secretary Blinken And Secretary Of State Met With President Zelenskyy; Russians Targeted Rail Stations; Sergey Lavrov Highlighted That They've Got Nukes; U.S. Wants To See Russia Weakened; January 6th Committee Got Hold Of Text Exchanges Within Trump's Inner Circle; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Raise The Idea Of Martial Law; Woman On Death Row Clinging To A Strand Of Hope. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 25, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Stay with CNN for the latest from Ukraine. The news continues, let's turn things over to Don and DON LEMON TONIGHT. Don?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, Anderson, what is, I think it's been like a month since you have been there. But this is, you're there for a second time. You are in Lviv, now you're in Kyiv. Any noticeable differences, what stands out to you?
COOPER: You know, yes, as you said, the last time I was in Lviv for three weeks. And it was very intense obviously in Kyiv. It's a lot different now, certainly. It's a lot more, you know, there are more people kind of returning to Kyiv, life returning to some semblance of normal isn't quite the right word but, some semblance of normality or routine.
And obviously, as you know, the war has moved further east. We saw, you know, one of the railroad locations that was hit, we saw that on the way over. So, there's indications of the fight that is going on, and there is still a raid siren every now and again. But there certainly is a very different mood in Kyiv right now, and a lot of focused on what is going on in the east.
LEMON: Yes, it's interesting for you to be there because, I mean, when I was there, and certainly, when you were last time Kyiv was such a hotbed, right, for bombings and bombardment from the Russians.
And now, you have two of the highest profile Americans going over to visit Ukraine, you had Tony Blinken and the secretary of defense as well, Lloyd Austin, going over. So, things are certainly changed there.
COOPER: Yes, and you know, their statements were very strongly supporter, obviously, of the Zelenskyy regime. And the U.S. is sending the heavy weaponry that the Ukrainians really say they need for this new phase of the war.
LEMON: Yes. Anderson, be safe. It's good to see you. And we'll see you again tomorrow evening. I we appreciate it.
So, this is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
We have new remarks from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy his nightly video address, schooling Russian invaders raining down destruction on his country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The lessons of history are well known. If you are going to build a millennial Reich, you lose. If you are going to destroy the neighbors, you lose. If you want to restore the old empire, you lose. And if you go against Ukrainians, you lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But Vladimir Putin is doubling down on his brutal and indiscriminate assault. Heavy fighting in the eastern part of the Ukraine, the mayor of Odessa says eight people were killed over the weekend.
My goodness, train stations across the country hit five times today within just one hour. Officials saying Russia is systematically destroying the trains that are crucial to bringing in weapons and allowing civilians to escape.
And there is new video, tonight, of this village on the front lines in eastern Ukraine of what's left of it, I should say. It's been completely destroyed by the fighting there.
All of this coming with an unmistakable message, with an unmistakable message from Vladimir Putin in the highest-level U.S. visit to Ukraine since the invasion. The Secretary of state, Antony Blinken, saying a sovereign independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin. And the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kind of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. So, it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says of the nuclear threat and I quote here, "the danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated."
And as Ukraine fights to defend its democracy, here at home, we have an exclusive new -- exclusive new developments in the investigation of one of the biggest threats to our own democracy. And that is the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. CNN has obtained 2,319 text messages, sent and receive, by the former
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, between elections day, election day 2020, and President Joe Biden's inauguration. Never before seen text from Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr., Rudy Giuliani, members of Congress, and Sean Hannity, as well as other Fox hosts. What they reveal is stunning. We're going to dig deep into all this in just a few minutes, so make sure you stay tuned.
But I want to begin with CNN's Sam Kiley, he's live for us in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Hello to you, Sam. Thanks for joining. I understand you have air raid sirens going off right now, anything we should know about?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, these are beyond routine. You'll recall in Lviv people didn't always react to the air rain -- air raid sirens here. Here, these drawn on for pretty much 50 percent of the day, I'd say. At least they're warning not just against potential air raids, of course this is a city, Kramatorsk, that has seen missile strikes, with catastrophic results in a railway station here a couple weeks ago, but also artillery attacks.
Now, I was early on today in Sloviansk, which is just 20 minutes' drive north of here. That is a city in greater threat from advancing or efforts made by the Russians to advance from the northwest, from Izyum and getting supplies directly in from Russia. There's a very short supply route there. So, the Russians are going to be using or are continuing to use to build up their troop levels here in the east, to try to squeeze locations such as where I am here in Kramatorsk, the last major city in the region that ultimately the Russians want to take over.
And that is namely Luhansk and -- Luhansk, I should say, and Donetsk Oblast or provinces, they controlled about half of those two provinces or a little over half. They want it all at least. And of course, the Russians also saying they want to capture the south of the country, but I think in all probability what we're seeing now is the first few days of the second phase of the Russian onslaught here in the east which is artillery duels.
It's just dawn, it's eased off a little bit now, Don, but about half an hour ago we could hear in the distance a heavy exchange of artillery. That is the sort of life that people are getting used to here, but villages are falling to the Russians. There's frequently very little left of the villages, very few people left in them. But increasingly, they're also really struggling, Don, to persuade some people to actually leave the villages that are in danger.
LEMON: Yes, and we have the video of the drone video that we're showing at that village in Luhansk in the Luhansk region that you're talking about, it is really shocking to see what is happening there, Sam.
You have been speaking with volunteers, traveling into danger zones, begging other Ukrainians to leave their homes before it is too late. What are you hearing from them, Sam?
KILEY: Well, today we traveled out with a young woman named Maria, 21 years old. She's been a volunteer for the last five years on the front lines here. Because people forget, Don, that this has been a frontline area since 2014. There was a war ongoing throughout that period.
She started volunteering at the age of 16. Now, she drives out to the most dangerous parts of the countryside, small villages, very close to the Russian locations, bringing in food, medicine. And trying to get people out. This is what she said on the way in, though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (through translator): It's simply genocide of the Ukrainian people, I don't know how else to explain it to you. And he just asked for what?
We're not planning to leave here. This is my homeland. And my relatives are here, I cannot leave anyone here. My elderly grandmother is 80, and can hardly walk. I can't leave her, do you understand?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: So, you see a young woman telling a much older woman that she's crazy to hanging around in the village, that the older woman doesn't want to leave because she's got her responsibilities and the job there. And that is the conundrum that so many people face here, if you leave your home, you're already poor. This is a very, very poor area, Don. People's poverty rapidly deepens.
And then it's very hard indeed for them to sustain themselves, many people here can't even get on those trains to make it out as refugees as far away as Poland. That's a long, long way away and there are no jobs for them, they fear. Some are even reported to be coming back, simply because they've spent the last few weeks as internal refugees in cities like Dnipro, and they can't sustain themselves. They're coming back into war-torn areas just to get by, Don.
LEMON: All right. Sam Kiley, be safe, thank you.
Let's bring in Matt Miller now, he is a special adviser at the National Security Council. Matt, we appreciate you joining us. Thanks so much.
The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov saying again today nuclear deterrence is Russia's principled position. But the danger is serious, it can be underestimated. What is he trying to do here? It seems like Lavrov and others keep reminding the world that they have nukes.
MATT MILLER, SPECIAL ADVISER FOR COMMUNICATIONS, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, I'd say that unfortunately there have been times at this conflict where the Russians have used what we've considered to be irresponsible rhetoric around nuclear weapons.
[22:09:58] I did note that as part of his comments today, Foreign Minister Lavrov also reiterated a joint statement that we had made with the Russians before, that there can be no victor -- victor in a nuclear war. And so a nuclear war should never be fought. So, it was good that he reiterated that point.
All I will say is that we have reviewed their previous statements and we've reviewed their actions as well as their words, and we've see no need to change our nuclear posture. But of course, it's not helpful that the Russians continue to talk about the prospects of nuclear action. Then we would urge them not to do that, and to take de- escalatory steps.
LEMON: Let's talk about the secretary defense now, because Secretary Austin says the U.S. wants to see Russian weaken to the degree that it cannot do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. Why this bolder language now since we know the administration has worked hard not to provoke Russia up to this point. Even walk back the president's remarks about Putin, last month in Poland.
MILLER: Well, I'd say this policy that Secretary Austin expressed while he was at or at the end of his trip to Ukraine has actually been our policy all along. We've made very clear that we want this war to be a strategic failure for Russia, and we align our policy to ensure that it will be a strategic failure.
What that means is that number one, ensuring that Russia faces a defeat on the battlefield. We believe they've already suffered a significant defeat in failing to take Kyiv. They've had to adjust their objectives, they're no longer going to be able to, they're not going to be able to take the entire country as they intended to.
And so we intended to continue flow weapons into the country, to try and ensure, to see that they lose on the battlefield. And at the same time we do that, we are imposing severe economic consequences on Russia to limit its ability to project power going forward. Not just over the short term, but over the long term.
So that means targeting key sectors of the Russian economy that we know are important to President Putin, and that he uses to project power. The defense sector, aviation, shipbuilding, that has been the focus of our policy all along, and we believe it is a successful one.
LEMON: But the language hasn't been as strong, and I'm wondering do you -- is there something that gives our intelligence folks our leaders more comfort, that makes them feel more comfortable about using such languages? Maybe it is because, you know, they did go to Kyiv, they did go to Ukraine.
MILLER: No, I don't think so. And I don't think our language has actually been it was any stronger today than it has been all along. Jake Sullivan said from the White House podium some time ago, that we want to ensure that this would be a strategic failure and that Russian would be weekend as a result of this choice.
So, this has been, this has been the policy that we have been driving to all along. We want to make clear to Russia that they would be significantly weaker. And in fact, we sent that message directly to the Russians before they launch this war. We made clear that if they launched this war, which is unprovoked, unjustified, unnecessary war, we would impose consequences on Russia. And those consequences would make Russia we are. So, nothing that's happened since the invasion should be anything like a surprise to them.
LEMON: OK. So, you don't agree that the language is stronger, I accept that. I want to talk about the point, though. Is to -- is the point to keep Russia from having the capability to conduct an attack like this again? What -- what is the U.S. doing to achieve that, and is it something that Secretary Austin will discuss with his counterparts in Germany tomorrow?
MILLER: It's really twofold. Number one, is to continue to supply arms to the Ukrainians that they can use to take on Russian military power. So, if you look at how that worked out so far, Russian -- the Russian military is significantly weaker today than it was on February 23rd, the day before it launched its invasion. And that's because Ukrainians have taken the weapons we have supplied them, and that our NATO partners have supplied them, and use them to take out Russian capabilities, to take out Russian tanks, take out Russian armored personnel carriers, Russian planes, and Russian helicopters.
So, the Russian military might is significantly weaker today than it was before the invasion. And then a second piece of it is the piece I referred to it a minute ago, the sanctions and the export controls and other economic measures that we've taken to degrade Russian power overtime.
So, when they lose tanks and when they lose material on the battlefield, they don't have the ability to replace them because they can't get, for example, chips that they need to put into their equipment. That's our long-term policy to deny their ability to project power, both during this war, and over the long term.
LEMON: Matt, Russia struck five railway stations in central and western Ukraine today within one hour today as a matter of fact. Ukraine's rail system has been key to civilians getting out, you know, that humanitarian corridors. It's been essential -- essential for supplies to get in. What impact do you this is going to have on getting military aid or anything else to the frontlines?
MILLER: So, I won't talk about military because we've been very careful not to talk about how we get that equipment into -- into the country. We bring it to the region. The Ukrainians get into the country through ways that we don't discuss, but it certainly will have a dramatic impact if they are successful.
And it's not clear that they were but if they're successful in taking out, you know, rail lines, it would have an impact on the humanitarian aid that does need to get into that country and to the extent that refugees still flee the country. And the outpour of refugees has decreased as the Ukrainians have held
significant parts of their territory. But to the extent that refugees do need to flee, it would have an impact on that. And I would say it's just another in a long line of brutality that we've seen from the Russians and targeting civilian infrastructures, civilian equipment.
And of course, the atrocities that we've seen in parts of Ukraine that they withdraw for. So, while it continues to be disappointing. Unfortunately, at this point it would be hard to call it a surprise.
LEMON: Matt Miller, we appreciate having you. Come back, thanks again.
MILLER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Up next, CNN's Clarissa Ward calls it the bravest people she's ever met, The paramedics trying to save lives while they are under fire from Vladimir Putin's forces. See the close call for Clarissa and her crew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: We need to get out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine has been hit by near constant shelling since Russian invaded two months ago. When civilians are injured, paramedics risk their lives and rushing to danger zones to help them.
Tonight, CNN's Clarissa Ward takes us directly to the front lines in Kharkiv, riding along with paramedics as they attempt to rescue an injured man and come under heavy Russian fire.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the beginning of the 24 -hour shift for paramedics Alexandra Rudkovskaya and Vladimir Venzel. They prepare their ambulance for the carnage that Kharkiv residents confront every day.
"We have two tourniquets," Vladimir says. Alexandra's mother stops by the dispatch center to give her daughter a hug. This is one of the most dangerous jobs. Every moment together is precious.
A loud stream of booms signals the day's work is beginning. "That's incoming now," this ambulance worker tells us. Alexandra and Vladimir answer the call.
UNKNOWN: Temperatura. WARD: "Temperatura," she says the code used when someone has been wounded by shelling. Their flak jackets on, they're really to roll out. So, they've said that they've got reports one person at least has bene injured in the shelling and they're hearing rockets as well. So, we're going to see what's going on.
The shells hit a residential apartment building. The paramedics need to act fast. Russian forces are increasingly hitting the same target twice. It's called a double tack, a horrifying strategy to take out rescue workers as they respond.
As we see for ourselves. "Get in," Vladimir shouts. Faster, faster, faster. We take cover under the stairwell. Alexandra is trying to find the wounded person but there is no signal. At that moment, another barrage moves on. We brace for the impact.
"Is everybody OK," Alexandra asks? Our team member Maria Abdieva (Ph) has cut up her hands on broken glass. Vladimir treats her injuries as Alexandra calls for dispatch again to find where the wounded are. "We've got no connection. We are sitting in the entrance," she says. "And they are shelling the shit out of us."
The connection keeps dropping. Finally, she gets through to the person who called for the ambulance. "Tell me your damn house number," she says. "I repeat, 12G. I've told you a thousand times," he replies. "The man is dying. We decided to try to make a run for it.
UNKNOWN: One, two, three, let's go. Go! Come on. Maria! Maria! Come on! Come on, Maria! Come on! Go, go.
UNKNOWN: The ambulance was here, yes?
WARD: OK, so we were just in an apartment building. They were looking for an injured man. A bunch of rounds came in and hit the next door building. So now we are getting out as fast as we can. While we run out, Vladimir and Alexandra run back in. We find them treating the injured man on the side of the road. The back window has been blown out by the blasts.
He has shrapnel injuries and head trauma. Once they've stabilized him, they rush him right to the hospital. Vladimir asks about his pain. The man has been deafened by the blast. Arriving at the hospital, they've done their part. It's up to others now to save him.
I have to say, you guys are the bravest people I have ever met. Back at base, we ask them why they continue to do this work. With all the danger it entails.
"It's normal. This is our work. Of course, it's scary like for everyone," Alexandra says. "Today you were with us in the hottest place in the oven. But we are still alive. Thank God.
"You feel it's your duty, your obligation," Vladimir tells us to help the people who are still here."
And what are your parents saying? What is your family say? Are they wanting you to stop this war?
VLADIMIR VENZEL, PARAMEDIC: No comments. No comments. Very difficult.
WARD: They must be scared.
WARD: Proud, but scared.
VENZEL: Callers all day, all night.
WARD: We saw your mother.
WARD: She is worried to the point of hysteria, Alexandra tells us. She says, "you need to leave. You need to go to some safe place. Why are you doing this? I have only one child. Stop it."
And what do you say? "I have to do it," she says simply.
And with that they go back to cleaning their ambulance. Their shift only halfway through.
Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kharkiv.
LEMON: Wow. Incredible work and reporting there. Clarissa, thank you so much for that.
Up next, never before seen text showing what Trump's inner circle was saying before and after January 6th. Our CNN exclusive. More than 2,000 texts that Mark Meadows handed over to the committee investigating the insurrection.
LEMON: New revelations in the investigation into the attack on the capitol on January 6th. CNN has exclusively obtained more than 2,000 text messages, sent and received, by then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows including text from Ivanka Trump and Don Jr., as well as more than 40 current and former Republican members of Congress. All in a period from election day 2022 to Joe Biden's inauguration in January.
So, here to help us go through them, and it's a lot of them is our special correspondent here at CNN, Jamie Gangel. Jamie, Jesus, these are a lot of text messages --
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. LEMON: -- and they're shedding a whole lot of light on what was happening around Trump on the sixth. What are you learning?
GANGEL: So, as you said, we have now obtained, get ready, 2,319 text messages. These are the ones, Don, that Meadows voluntarily handed over to the committee. They are tax exchanges as you said with more than 40 current and former members of Congress, including Senator Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks and someone who is in the news a lot these days, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
And I want to start with hers because there are messages from Greene which might actually surprise you. She sent this message to Mark Meadows on the sixth in the middle of the riot. "Mark, I was just told there was an active shooter on the first floor of the capital. Please tell the president to calm people. This isn't the way to solve anything." She is clearly concerned, worried, not so much the next day.
On the seventh, all of a sudden, she's apologetic. And she text Meadows again, quote, "I'm sorry, nothing worked." So now, whole new tone, they didn't get certification. On January 17th, Don, now we're just three days before Biden's inauguration, she is still looking for a way to keep Trump in power. She text that several members of Congress are saying that the only way to save the republic is for Trump to call for martial law.
So, it's a fascinating glimpse into one of Trump's staunchest supporters. But let me just say that again, three days before the inauguration, she is calling for him to declare martial law and overturn the election.
LEMON: Delusional and dangerous.
LEMON: We have heard Trump's defenders claim that the rioters weren't Trump supporters, but actually antifa who had infiltrated the rally. And now you're learning an early source of that lie.
GANGEL: It was a lie, and it's what we call in politics rapid response. The text show how Trump allies immediately wanted to deflect responsibility for the January 6th attack. And shortly after those rioters reached the capital, one of Trump's top aides begins to craft a counter narrative.
On January 6th, in real-time, his campaign spokesman Jason Miller text this to Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino.
Quote, "call me crazy, but ideas for two tweets from POTUS. One, bad apples, likely antifa or other craze leftists infiltrated today's peaceful protest over the fraudulent vote count. Violence is never acceptable. MAGA supporters embrace our police and the rule of law and should leave the capitol now." And then I want to read you one more text from Jason Miller, this one is to Meadows and to Jared Kushner, this is on January 13th. "I tried to walk the president through this earlier, but he won't have any of it." This is polling information, Don. "Two thirds of the MAGA base wants us to move on." Trump's inner circle, Don, knew the truth.
LEMON: They knew the truth, and yet they were spilling, they were going to put these lies out they wanted to, and they did --
LEMON: -- to the Trump supporting public who bought it hook line, and sinker who actually thinks --
LEMON: -- that they were telling the truth about it. In the meantime, it's just propaganda they were making up to try to make excuses for the bad behavior on January 6th.
LEMON: Unbelievable. I mean, these texts aren't just from other Republicans --
LEMON: -- they're from Trump's children, too, Jamie. What are they saying?
GANGEL: Absolutely, it's the inner circle, and here are members of Trump's family who are weighing in. There is a group text from what you would see is the inner circle, this is Hope Hicks, Jason Miller, Bill Stepien, Dan Scavino, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and his daughter Ivanka Trump.
This is on November 5th, Ivanka text Meadows in the group chat, quote, "you are all warriors of epic proportions. Keep the faith and fight." So, the message is out there right away. And there is also a new exchange that we've never heard before between Mark Meadows and Don Jr., this is on January 6th.
And it's critical, Don, because it shows even the president's son is pleading for him to act and stop the violence. Donald Trump Jr. says he's got to condemn this, you can read it up there ASAP. The capitol police tweet is not enough. Mark Meadows, I'm pushing it hard, I agree.
Donald Trump Jr., this is one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to f his entire legacy on this if it gets worse. It's a little strange to have the godfather reference there. But look, Don, these texts underscore that the committee was interested in what Trump was doing leading up to January 6th. But very specifically, what he wasn't doing while these allies and his own children are pleading with him to act on it.
LEMON: This seems like pretty strong evidence, Jamie.
GANGEL: Yes, it's -- they have the receipts. We've just shown you ones in this piece on cnn.com, you see texts from about 30 different people. We reached out to all of them. I think one of the things to remember is this will put a whole new light on what was going on with election fraud, conspiracies, and Trump's -- those 187 minutes when he wouldn't act.
LEMON: Yes. On the lies, that they were telling people --
LEMON: -- just to try to, you know, shape the story themselves. Jamie, great reporting. Jamie Gangel, our special correspondent, I appreciate it.
GANGEL: Thank you.
LEMON: Some of Meadows' text putting a new spotlight on GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, as you heard there, including one where she brings up martial law that we just discussed. More on that, that's next.
LEMON: So, we're back now. More with our CNN exclusive reporting from Jamie Gangel. Thousands of text messages is giving more insight into what was being said by Trump's inner circle on and around January 6th. Including more from controversial Trump ally Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who texted this to Meadows roughly a week after the insurrection.
And I quote, "in our private chat with only members, several are saying the only way to save our republic is for Trump to call for martial law. I don't know how those things. I just -- I don't know how on those things, I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else."
OK, let's bring in now CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe. He's also the author of "The Threat." Andrew, thanks for joining us.
I mean, what I just read it is just, I mean, the rantings of -- anyway, they're coming from -- they're coming to light just days after Greene was asked in court about whether she had advocated for martial law. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Did you advocate to President Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power?
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I don't recall.
UNKNOWN: So, you're not denying you did it. You just don't remember?
GREENE: I don't recall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, I don't recall I don't remember and we have the text messages. What is your view on this now?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, Don, the kind of infamous "I don't recall" is the answer that you hear people give frequently, in situations like you saw with Congressman Greene to avoid being held responsible for a factual answer.
So, I don't know that it's quite the sort of circumstances that would lead to some sort of perjury investigation. It seems pretty unlikely. But wow, I feel like this text could maybe refresh her recollection about what exactly she did recommend to the president's chief of staff.
LEMON: Well, I mean, didn't she do that? Because let's put it this way, wouldn't one do that in order to avoid perjuring themselves?
MCCABE: Sure. Yes. So, it's a very common response to questions in which people really don't want to take the stand one way or the other. But I mean, in this -- in this situation the facts are obvious. Yes, she clearly recommended to the president's chief of staff to consider the execution of martial law in response to the election result.
So, and look at the text of -- the text itself. On the face, it's ridiculous. In the text she admits that she doesn't really understand how that works or what the implications would be. So, the idea that an elected representative would be recommending to the President of the United States some course of action that they then admitted they didn't understand or appreciate.
The reality of it as it shows you how ridiculous all of these people were in this nonsensical --
LEMON: And are.
MCCABE: -- conspiracy. Yes.
LEMON: Because that was her testifying just last week. I mean, I was looking at the monitor and I was like, Don, close your mouth. Because my jaws, I'm like, I cannot believe that she and other people actually said this and may not face any consequences. I hope that they will, because it was terrible. It is terrible, what happened on January 6th. And these texts are terrible.
MCCABE: Absolutely, they are. They show you in real-time what these people were actually thinking and saying and doing rather than what you are hearing them testify about in this hearing.
LEMON: They're lying!
MCCABE: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
LEMON: Let's talk --
MCCABE: Text show you they are real-time record.
LEMON: OK, so let's talk about another lie here. Greene also said in court that they thought quote, "antifa or BLM were breaking in. So, compare that to this. The text she sent on the sixth. Meadows. Quote, she said, "Mark, I was just told that there was an active shooter on the first floor of the capitol. Please tell the president to calm people. This isn't the way to solve anything."
I mean, there have yet to be major political consequences for spreading this big lie, and also trying to deceive people to believe that it was antifa or Black Lives Matter who infiltrated -- I mean it's ridiculous. Could there be any wiggle issues here?
MCCABE: Well, it's hard to say, Don. You know, I mean you are absolutely right. And the text, I think, particularly the text from Jason Miller shows that Miller lays out two potential texts that he's proposing the president release himself, in which he completely manufactures this theory that it's actually antifa people and not the thousands of Trump supporters that we all saw on video.
So, you know, the abject knowledgeable intentional fabrication and lies involved here is just like off the charge. Charts. Whether or not there could be legal consequences on the criminal side that's not really clear, because it's not -- they're not statements under oath, so it's not a perjury implication here.
Whether or not these folks could have been involved in some sort of a conspiracy to undermine a valid election, I mean that, apparently is the matter that the Department of Justice --
LEMON: Whether or not --
MCCABE: -- is investigating very quietly right now.
LEMON: OK, look. I don't -- I'm not -- I don't what you do. I don't have your level of training or education on this, but I mean, it just seems pretty obvious to me that that is what they were doing. I mean, if you -- like, can't one just look at the evidence to see that they're concocting --
LEMON: -- fake stories about what actually happened and proposing martial law. I mean, where is the lie?
MCCABE: Yes, I mean, and how about Jim Jordan laying out all kinds of like dubious constitutional theories about how the slates of electors from states that you don't like could just be dismissed. I mean, that is absolutely goes directly to the heart of the issue whether or not these people were trying to overturn the results of a valid election.
And the Justice Department should -- should be investigating that right now. We haven't heard anything about that lately. And so, we should all be looking in that direction, I think.
LEMON: Perhaps there should be some sort of fitness or some sort of test about some constitutional, whatever, before you can become an elected -- I mean, these people are elected officials? It's mind- boggling. Thank you.
MCCABE: It really is.
LEMON: I appreciate it.
MCCABE: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, she was set to die in two days, convicted of capital murder in the death of her two-year-old daughter, a crime she says that she did not commit. Now, she's gotten the last-minute stay of execution.
LEMON: So, there's been a major development tonight in the case of Melissa Lucio, the Texas woman on death row convicted of the murder of her daughter. She was said to be executed on Wednesday. The Texas court of criminal appeals is granting a halting over execution and sending her case back to the trial court to review new evidence.
Now Lucio was convicted of the capital murder in the 2007 death of her toddler Mariah. She was always -- she has always maintained her innocence, and that her daughter's death was due to injuries sustained in a fall. A bipartisan majority of the Texas lawmakers has called for mercy. Even members of the jury that convicted Lucio now say her execution should not take place, based on evidence that they never saw.
I want you to listen to her reaction when Texas lawmaker Jeff Leach phone her with the news.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
[22:55:01] STATE REP. JEFF LEACH (R-TX): The Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of your execution for Wednesday.
MELISSA LUCIO, CONVICTED OF MURDER: Are you serious? When did this happen?
LEACH: We just got word about 15 minutes ago.
LUCIO: My God. That is wonderful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, Melissa Lucio will remain on death row while the courts decides if a new trial is warranted. We will keep you posted.
A high-level visit to Ukraine by two top U.S. officials, the Defense Secretary Austin saying the U.S. wants to see Russia's military capabilities weakened. We're live in Ukraine, next.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.