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Don Lemon Tonight
U.S. Intel Help Ukrainians Sunk Moskva Warship; Remorse Isn't in Putin's DNA; Chief John Roberts Speaking Out Over Leak Controversy; Beto O'Rourke Running for Governor of Texas; The Two Faces of Kevin McCarthy Caught on Tape; No Shortage of Controversy for Madison Cawthorn. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 05, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Thank you for praying for our safety and security. Thank you very much for your support and thank you very much for those of you who send birthday presents to us. It is very sweet.
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The simple joy of letting insects fly free, the simple right to enjoy a birthday. We wish Katya and her family the best on this happy birthday. The news continues. Let's turn things over to Don and Don Lemon Tonight. Don?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Absolutely, that's very sweet. It's good to hear considering what's happening there, Anderson. Great story. Thank you. We'll see you tomorrow night. We appreciate it.
This Don Lemon Tonight.
We have news on two huge stories tonight, new developments on that Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. We are going to tell you about that.
And we also have breaking news tonight on Ukraine's sinking of the Russian warship, the Moskva. It happened last month. Do you remember that is the same ship that demanded Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island to surrender at the beginning the war? Those soldiers responding, Russian warship, go f yourself.
Now sources are telling CNN when Ukraine successfully targeted the ship on April 14th, they had some help from the U.S. After the Ukrainian spotted a Russian warship in the Black Sea, they called their American contacts to confirmed -- to confirm that it was the Moskva.
The U.S. said it was and gave them intel about the local, its location. The sources say that it is not clear whether the U.S. knew Ukraine would strike the ship. And the U.S. was not involved in that decision. That is happening as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that tonight
that Russian shelling of the steel plant in Mariupol is, quote, "not stopping."
Some 200 desperate civilians still sheltering there while food and water are running out. The U.N. and the Red Cross launching a new evacuation convoy that they hope can reach the plant in the morning and Ukrainian forces inside the plant singing a battle hymn. It is sweeter to die in battle than to live and chained as slaves.
And new tonight, the Chief Justice John Roberts making his first appearance since that bombshell draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Roberts speaking at a meeting of lawyers and judges in Atlanta. And CNN was there.
The chief justice calling the leak, quote, "absolutely appalling." And going on to say the person or people behind the league are, quote, "foolish if they think it will affect the court's work. He also said that he hoped, what he called, one bad apple wouldn't change our Americas view on the view of the highest court in the land.
We got more to come on all of this tonight. So, make sure you stay tuned for the next two hours.
But now to our breaking news, how Ukraine was able to target the Russian warship, the Moskva, and what role the U.S. played.
Joining me now is Katie Bo Lillis. Katie, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining. Sources are revealing that the role that the U.S. played in the sinking of the Moskva. Exactly what do we know about the intelligence provided to Ukraine?
KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes. Don, what we are learning today is that the United States intelligence played a key role in the Ukrainians ability to sink this flagship of the Russian naval fleet. The Ukrainian military observed the Moskva operating in the Black Sea off of their coast. And they called their American counterparts for confirmation that is this indeed the Moskva?
The Americans were able to confirm that yes, that was the ship in question. And provide a little bit more detail about the location of the ship, allowing the Ukrainians to then fire two cruise missiles that ultimately sunk the ship.
Now of course, Don, this is not only a big military defeat for the Russians, obviously, being an important ship for them. But it's also a big embarrassment for them. This is the flagship of their fleet, so a pretty significant, a pretty significant incident.
And obviously, now as we are learning from sources that spoke to myself and my colleague Natasha Bertrand, a key role for U.S. intelligence provided by the Biden administration to the Ukrainians.
LEMON: Katie, let me ask you, do we know if the U.S. was involved in the decision to strike --
LILLIS: No. --
LEMON: -- the Moskva.
LILLIS: No, U.S. officials are telling us that not only did the United States not get involved in the decision to strike the ship, they weren't even aware of whether or not Ukrainians were going to move to make that strike once they had in their hands the confirmation that indeed this was the Moskva.
But it's still -- it's still significant, it's still significant, sort of sharing of intelligence by the United States. It indicates to you how forward leaning the Biden administration has been in the kinds of intelligence that they are sharing with Ukrainians. This is the sort of intelligence that allows the Ukrainians to take a significant offensive strike like this.
And at a moment in which we started to hear Biden administration officials indicate that there has been a shift in policy from merely helping the Ukrainians expel the Russian invasion of their country towards actively trying to bleed the Russian military, to weaken the Russian military overtime, perhaps generationally.
LEMON: Katie Bo Lillis, thank you so much. I appreciate you and your reporting.
I want to go now to CNN's Sam Kiley in eastern Ukraine where Russian missile strikes have been hammering the city of Kramatorsk. Sam?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, just a few hours ago at about 9 o'clock in the evening here in Kramatorsk, there was another missile strike on the outskirts of the city, that would be at least the seventh in less than 24 hours against the city.
Twenty-five people were injured earlier on in the morning. Six have been hospitalized. One of them is said to be in critical condition, almost a miraculous outcome, albeit from the massive amount of violence that's been unleashed against the city.
You will recall of course there was a missile strike on the railway station here more than a month ago, in which more than 50 people were killed. So, these latest strikes are turning up the memory of that. But also indicative for local people of the Russian efforts that they anticipate are going to increase to try to capture the city as part of the Russian campaign in the east.
Elsewhere, their campaign has really run into the sand. They are unable to punch through. They are exchanging artillery fire with the Ukrainians over a very broad front indeed. There are reports of substantial Russian buildup. And also, a great deal of focus on this May 9th Day, the anniversary of the Russian victory in the Second World War they mark in anticipation by the Ukrainians, at least, perhaps by a Russian offensive in earnest.
Those are the concerns here. And there are, of course, ongoing shortages of fuel and food. And the population here has been drastically reduced to less than 40,000 people, more than two thirds of the population of the city, Don, have already left. Don?
LEMON: Sam Kiley, in Kramatorsk, thank you very much. I appreciate it, Sam. Now I want to bring in the former defense secretary, William Cohen.
Secretary Cohen, thank you. Good to see you. We appreciate you joining us this evening.
Give us the take on this new reporting the U.S. giving Ukraine the intel that culminated with the striking of the Moskva. I mean, this was a significant blow to Russia's forces and Russia's prestige, quite frankly.
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, I wonder how Putin is going to explain this to the Russian people. After all, he initially said there's two sailors who were smoking on board and suddenly caught fire, and that's why the ship was destroyed.
So, now, they have to admit either that President Zelenskyy did it or the United States and NATO did it. But he's got a lot of explaining to do in terms of what the initial lies that he told.
I would hope that we would give Ukrainians all the information that we can to help them not only defend themselves but as I said before, you can't -- you can't in any endeavor always be on your heels. You have to be on your toes and take the offense.
And this is a case where they decided to take the offense. And if the story is true, I'm glad that we did it. I'm glad that we are giving them intelligence that they can in fact target command centers, whoever is in there, be their corporals or generals or privates, it doesn't matter. They are command centers. And they are leveling cities in Ukraine and just slaughtering innocent people. So, I have no problem with the United States giving them whatever we can in the way of intelligence.
LEMON: Secretary, the White House pushing back on a New York Times report that claimed U.S. intel is providing information on locations of Russian generals to the Ukrainian military, saying that the U.S. doesn't provide intel on senior military leaders or weigh in on targeting. Explain why information is really out of balance.
COHEN: Well, basically, we've had this ruling, I know that we had it when we were looking at Saddam Hussein and he was moving place to place, and we said can we target that particular location. You can't put his name on a missile. You can't put the general's name on a missile, saying we are going after that particular general.
But if those generals happen to be in the comments centers that are helping to lodge and launch all of these missiles against innocent civilians, they are fair game. We are not targeting them. We are targeting the command center.
It may be a difference, and perhaps in words only, but that's what we try to do in any battle, ever been involve with the Pentagon.
LEMON: The world is watching what could well be the last days of the defense of Mariupol. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is warning tonight that Russian shelling of the Azovstal plant is not stopping with civilians and children still inside. Can and should the international community be doing more to help those defenders?
COHEN: Well, the international community would have to tell the Russians that we are coming. We are bringing whatever protection we can. And we are going to declare these corridors, these humanitarian corridors. And if you kill us in the process, and the world will come down on top of Russia.
So, I think that could've been done, should have been done at this particular point in time. I think the Russians have decided that we are going to level Mariupol. We are going to declare an annexation of the area, whatever areas we now occupy. That's going to be ours. We are annexing them.
And then, at some point, perhaps on May 9th, declare a ceasefire, and say, over to you President Zelenskyy. We are calling a ceasefire. You have to decide whether you want to keep this fight up. And that might in turn weaken the international support for you, since Putin has now called for a ceasefire.
So, there are a lot of options. The one option that we cannot accept is for Putin to say I'm going to use a tactical nuclear weapon. If nuclear weapons are used, the answer is, everybody dies ultimately from the use of nuclear weapons. We can't allow it.
LEMON: Yes. So, let's talk about what happened with Israel, right? Israel says that in a call with the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Vladimir Putin apologized for comments made by Russia's foreign minister, that Hitler had, quote, "Jewish blood." The Russian readout of the call does not include the apology, I mean, Israel has been slow to condemn Russia's invasion. What is all of this about, what do you think is going on here?
COHEN: Well, you know, the Foreign Minister, Lavrov, has been tied to the hip, joined to the hip with Putin ever since Putin came into power. I have no doubt that this kind of language they have associated and had in their talks over the years, that they believe this, the lie. And I think that Lavrov just said publicly what they say probably privately.
Number one, they tried to assassinate Zelenskyy, at least on two occasions. When they couldn't assassinate him, they decided for character assassination, we'll just call him a Jewish Nazi, just like Hitler was a Nazi. He was a Jew at heart.
So, what they are trying to do, and trying to slander Zelenskyy and discredit him. What they've done is they have slammed the Jewish people all over the world, and the Israelis and others have lashed out and said, that is a lie, that's a damn lie. You need to apologize. Now whether Putin did it, in those words, I apologize or not, it
remains to be seen. But, the Israelis, I think should not forget this, the foreign minister said we will not forgive this. Hopefully that will be the case, and they will come closer to what the United States is doing rather than their relationship with the Russians.
LEMON: I'm not sure what would be the reason for them to really not tell the truth about what happened on the phone call?
COHEN: I think, I think from their perspective, Putin, if he did apologize, he probably didn't use, I don't know, I suspect he didn't say I'm terribly sorry.
COHEN: My foreign minister was off the reservation. He never should've said this. And I deeply regret, and I apologize. I doubt that.
LEMON: It may all be in the interpretation of the words that he actually said.
LEMON: So, I want to ask you about this new reporting tonight from the New York Times Maggie Haberman, that, in his upcoming memoir, the former defense secretary Mark Esper said that Trump was upset about drug labs in Mexico at least twice, asked him about the possibility of launching missiles, saying, well "we could just shoot some patriot missiles and take out the labs quietly." That is a quote.
Adding that "no one would know it was us," again, another quote. As a former defense secretary yourself, how do you even begin to respond to that?
COHEN: You have to say, Mr. President, this is illegal. It is unlawful. I, under no circumstances, will ever carry this out. And if you insist, I resign. That would be the way that you handle this. But I'm sure that there are other former secretaries of defense that could remember. He had four. I bet there are others who know the same thing.
After all, he wanted to have the military or, yes, the military fire weapons at protesters to shoot them in the legs. If you couldn't kill, wound them so that they can limp off and be in pain for the rest of their lives.
So, this is not shocking news. I think when you listen to some of the other defense secretaries, they will confirm this is not something that's unusual for him to have said.
LEMON: Secretary Cohen, thank you, sir, once again we appreciate it. Thank you.
COHEN: Good to be with you. Thank you, Don.
LEMON: You as well. So, the news tonight on the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the chief justice John Roberts speaking out as a former secretary of state says this.
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HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Once you allow this kind of extreme power to take hold, you have no idea who they will come for next.
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LEMON: The Chief Justice John Roberts speaking out tonight about the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Let's discuss now, CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane De Vogue is here and CNN's chief legal analyst, Mr. Jeffrey Toobin.
Good evening to you both.
Ariane, I'm going to start with you. So, the chief Justice Roberts, in his first public appearance, he says that the leak is absolutely appalling. What else is he saying?
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN U.S. SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right, these were the -- the first time he has commented on publicly. And he said it was absolutely appalling. And he said that he hoped that one bad apple, he said, wouldn't change the court's perspective, people's perspective on the Supreme Court because they really praise the workforce.
And then, he said he thought it would be foolish for whoever did this to think that it would actually change the way the court does its work. But, you know, whatever he says about it, this leak itself was absolutely stunning. It had to do with this Mississippi 15-week abortion ban. We had oral arguments just back in December.
And those oral arguments, it looks like chief justice John Roberts back then was looking at a compromised position. To say that, OK, maybe uphold this law, but we also leave Roe on the books. That is not at all what we got, what we saw in this draft opinion earlier in the week.
Justice Alito writing it, he overrules Roe v. Wade, he says. He says that it was egregiously wrong. He says that the issue should go back to the states, which is not a good sign for supporters of abortion rights. Because nearly half of the states have these laws ready to go, to ban abortion.
So, it really was a stunning chain of events, he didn't talk today about the merits, but he did call the leak appalling. And one more thing, it comes at a really fraught time for the Supreme Court. Because we are done with oral arguments, but now they are racing behind the scenes to get all of their opinions out, they've got this abortion case. A big second amendment case, and, you know, something like this makes it really hard.
They are supposed to be working together, going between chambers, having these frank discussions. And with something like this happens, you can see how it would make them nervous, nervous that what they say behind the scenes is now finding its way to the public.
LEMON: Right. And Justice Alito actually canceling a public appearance today. Jeffrey, you know, just this week, Louisiana advanced a bill that would classify abortions as a homicide. The bill redefines a person to include an unborn child from the moment of fertilization. If these kinds of laws actually get passed, the women who got an abortion could face homicide charges.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: You know, we talked a lot about this draft opinion. And people have talked about slippery slopes and what does it mean for same-sex marriage. Let's talk about what it means for abortion.
TOOBIN: And what it means for abortion is a huge change. And think about what the Louisiana law means. I mean, the idea that, you know, before this opinion, getting an abortion in the United States was a constitutional right. With the passage of this opinion, it becomes a crime for which women could spend years in prison. That is a change that I can't recall anything comparable to. And Louisiana will not be the only state that does this is Roe is overturned.
LEMON: And that's quite different, Jeffrey, then saying, well, I disagree with a woman's right to be able to get an abortion. To make it criminal, to send someone else to jail is, as the old folks say, that's a horse of another color.
TOOBIN: That is totally different. And you know, the idea that women could be -- and it's not just the women seeking abortions, it's the doctors, it's the nurses who performed the abortion. In Arkansas, it could be a ten-year prison sentence. And it's not just the red states because all of these laws have aiding and abetting provisions.
So if a woman in New York where abortion is legal sends money for and abortion to a state where it is illegal, or sends the medication for medication abortion to a state where it is a legal, that could jeopardize the woman in New York.
LEMON: All kinds of, I was going to say, you know, a mom has a daughter in college, the mom is in a blue state, the daughter is in a red state. Mom, I need your help, I'm sorry. The mom sends the help, then that's aiding and abetting.
TOOBIN: It is aiding and abetting.
LEMON: So, what us going on with Susan Collins. Because you know, the -- when they were trying to be right, when they were sitting in front of these committee hearings, these hearings to be justices, they said one thing to Susan Collins and others, and turned out to do another thing. Susan Collins now is signaling that she would oppose the bill by
Democrats to vote next week to codify abortion rights. She says it's too broad. So, without, I mean, what is the answer? Without that legislation or --
TOOBIN: You know, Susan Collins --
LEMON: -- what's the answer to this?
TOOBIN: Susan Collins, the Republican senator for Maine is an independent when Mitch McConnell doesn't need her vote. You know, she could vote for justice Jackson, Judge Jackson who is judge -- because she was going to get confirmed anyway. But Mitch McConnell really needed her vote to get Brett Kavanaugh through. And she was willingly bamboozled by Brett Kavanaugh.
And you know, everyone knew that Brett Kavanaugh and -- and --
LEMON: Neil Gorsuch.
TOOBIN: -- Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett were being put on court to overturn Roe v. Wade, because Donald Trump said that.
TOOBIN: He said, I am going to appoint a justice who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's what he's done. Susan Collins, you know, put blinders on and, you know, listen to some song and dance from these people in their private conversations. And now she is shocked, she is shocked that they apparently are voting to overturn Roe v. Wade.
But anyone who look at the records going into the Supreme Court confirmation knew this is where they were heading. But she was doing Mitch McConnell's bidding when he really needed her.
LEMON: This is the Supreme Court, you know, abortion rights version for Susan Collins of -- I'm very concerned.
TOOBIN: She is very concerned about this.
LEMON: Ariane, listen, secretary -- the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is reacting to this draft opinion, watch this and we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: This opinion is dark. It is incredibly dangerous, and it is not just about a woman's right to choose. It is about much more than that. And any Americans says, look, I'm not a woman, this doesn't affect me, I'm not black, that doesn't affect me, I'm not gay, that doesn't affect me.
Once you allow this kind of extreme power to take hold, you have no idea who they will come for next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Ariane, can you speak to the concerns that many have including Secretary Clinton, that the attack on precedent won't stop abortion rights. And listen, it's not just Secretary Clinton, you have people who are, who call themselves pro-life and still, they do have a concern about with what this means for precedent when they thought that this was settled law. So, this is not just a Democratic or left- leaning concern. This is a concern by many.
DE VOGUE: Well, Alito in that draft opinion, he goes out of his way on two separate occasions, to say this is just about abortion. Abortion is different. This is about abortion. It's not about any of the other rights. But then you saw Clinton, you saw the president earlier in the week, and others looking at Roe v. Wade and the reasoning behind it.
Because if you look at it, it has very similar threads when it comes to privacy and liberty to other Supreme Court opinions. And so, that's why people are looking at those opinions despite whatever Alito says in that draft opinion, and we'll see if it comes out in the final opinion.
But they say, look, this is where this is going. If you are saying it's not a right explicitly in the Constitution, then you look at that same-sex marriage case that was just recently decided, and by the way, Alito there was in dissent.
And one more thing, there were amicus, friend of the court briefs filed in this case, the Mississippi case that said, yes, you should not only overturn Roe, and then after that, you should go for Obergefell, and that's the same-sex marriage case.
So that's where things are going. Alito says, nope, this is just about abortion, abortion is different. But other people are reading the tea leaves. And that's why supporters of abortion rights are worried that this going to go and expand even further.
LEMON: Well, --
TOOBIN: But this is why the Louisiana law is so important. Because, you know, yes, we can talk about these potential slippery slopes about same-sex marriage, but this is a case about abortion. And we are looking at a situation where millions of women who have had abortions, or will want abortions are looking at prison time if they get an abortion.
And that is a direct result of this case. You don't have to have a slippery slope, that's what this decision says. Now, if it becomes an actual opinion of the court. That is an incredible change in American law.
LEMON: You can feel however you feel about abortion, but that is -- that should -- that's something that should be addressed. It is concerning. Jeffrey, thank you. Ariane, thank you. I appreciate it.
Immense power likely heading into states hands, Beto O'Rourke is running for governor in Texas, pledging to protect women's rights. He is here after the break.
LEMON: Thirteen states will see trigger bans going into effect if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned. Meaning abortion would be almost immediately banned. Texas is one of those 13 states. It already has one of the most restrictive antiabortion laws in the country. Thanks to a bill signed last year by the governor, Greg Abbott.
Along with banning abortions at six weeks, the bill encourages private citizens to report anyone they suspect may have aided a person in getting in abortion, we just spoke about a little bit ago with Jeffrey Toobin.
So, joining me now, Beto O'Rourke, the former Democratic presidential candidate and the former Democratic Congressman from Texas. He is a Democratic candidate in the Texas governor's race.
Again, thank you. We appreciate you joining us. Good to see you.
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Don, it's good to be with you, thank you for having me on.
LEMON: So, let's discuss. So, if Roe is overturned, abortions in the state become illegal 30 days after the rule. So, talk to us about how much of an impact that this trigger law will have on Texans seeking abortion services.
O'ROURKE: And I want to clarify that not only does it become law 30 days after the decision, but abortion becomes illegal at the point of conception. And there is no exception, no exception at all for incest or rape in the state of Texas going forward.
So, this is going to be deeply damaging to the state, incredibly harmful to the women of Texas. And in a state that right now leads much of the developed world in a maternal mortality crisis that is three times as deadly for black women, it's also going to cost the lives of the women of Texas.
But the great news, if there can be great news this week, is these dark days have brought out the very best of us here in the state of Texas. People understand that the one way to overcome this is by winning political power. We have had the single greatest days in terms of volunteer sign-ups for this campaign.
People willing to knock on doors and talk to Texas voters about what's at stake and the need for them to participate in this election. So that we can win and ensure that every woman in the state of Texas can make her own decisions about her own body, her own future, and her own health care. And I am confident that we are going to win, because the people of
Texas want to do the right thing.
LEMON: Let's drill in on that a little bit more, because you've seen protests in your state since the draft opinion was leaked. I want to know what you are hearing from Texas voters right now. And, if you think that this is going to, again, as you mentioned, galvanize voters in the midterm election and beyond.
O'ROURKE: The University of Texas released a poll yesterday, and it shows that just 20 percent of Texans, and these are Republican and Democrats and independents, people across the state of Texas, support what Greg Abbott wants to do by outlawing abortion from conception with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The vast majority of us across the state want to make sure that we protect a woman's right to choose. And so, that's going to have extraordinary implications at the ballot box in November. And it's also going to allow us, in addition to protecting a woman's right, focus on the big things that most people in Texas want us to work on.
Great public schools, by getting the backs of our public school educators. The kind of jobs that we want to create. Doing a common- sense bipartisan thing like expanding Medicaid. All of this is on the ballot right now. But certainly, what has happened this week has galvanized the electorate in Texas.
This Saturday, for example, Don, we are getting together, rallying, organizing. And we are going to commit ourselves to the fight in Houston, at Discovery Green, at1 1 a.m. this Saturday, you will see a lot of people from Texas come together.
What Governor Abbott is doing right now is not a reflection of our values, our interests or our priorities. When we win this election, you'll see Texas live up to its promise.
LEMON: Why is a minority being heard, the question is more so than the majority. Let me just -- I want to read something, because you have been very vocal about this in the past. This is something that you tweeted.
And you said, these extreme attacks on abortion have never been about life. They have always been about control. So then, if elected, do you have a plan, what's your plan to fight back against these attacks?
O'ROURKE: If it were about life, which they say it is, then you wouldn't have a foster care system here in the state of Texas that lost 100 kids, 100 kids died in the custody and care of the state of Texas because Greg Abbott is more focused on pursuing women, attacking them, or going after the parents of transgender kids or allowing any violent felon on the streets to carry a loaded gun than he is on the real priorities of Texas.
When we win, we are going to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to restore these rights, because that's what the people of Texas want. And at the end of the day, government of, by, and for the people, this democracy is going to reflect our priorities.
But, Don, it's also the fact that this is one of the most democracy challenge states in the country, where you have a form of voter suppression unseen anywhere else in the union. It is harder to cast a ballot to register to vote here in Texas than any other state, by design, from those in power, trying to keep their power.
So, our volunteers, now 67,000 people who have signed up at our web site to go knock on doors. We are going to seek out those who have been the targets of suppression, and they are going to be the very margin of victory by which we win on the night of November 8th.
We are going to do this. And I think that we now know clearly the stakes what we are up against, and how urgent our action is at this moment. And the people of Texas are answering the call.
LEMON: Beto O'Rourke, thank you so much. We appreciate your time.
O'ROURKE: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: So, they are the reporters who have gotten all those Kevin McCarthy tapes, what will they release next? Alex Burns, Jonathan Martin, they are going to tell me, there they are. They are over my left shoulder, sneaking up on me.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Mr. Lemon.
LEMON: How are you, sir. They'll be up here right after the break. Good to see you both.
BURNS: The pride of Baton Rouge.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. Baton Rouge.
LEMON: So new tonight, CNN learning that Rudy Giuliani's appearance before the January 6th committee set for tomorrow now canceled, that's according to his attorney. That, as even more audiotape shows House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy splitting with then President Trump in the days following the capitol attack.
Joining me now, CNN political analyst and New York Times correspondents Alex Burns, Jonathan Martin, they are the authors of the new book "This Will Not Pass," which is out now. Thank you for joining.
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you. Don
LEMON: I really appreciate you guys because, as you know I ran in to I said, you got to come on the show.
BURNS: I said, anytime.
LEMON: And here you are.
BURNS: Here we are.
LEMON: So, I appreciate it. So, before we get to, is there any breaking news, do you have any new audio? Because you guys have been releasing audio left and right. Anything new as of the moment?
BURNS: I think Kevin McCarthy can rest easy for at least the sex six or seven minutes.
LEMON: OK, the next six or seven minutes. Thank you very much. So, I just want to play more audio that you two obtained from the McCarthy -- from McCarthy denouncing Trump just two days after the capitol attack. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Yes, but what the president did is atrocious and totally wrong. From the standpoint, we're 12 days away. I mean, the one point I'd make with Biden. If you have an impeachment and you're stuck sitting in the Senate and he needs cabinet members. He's got secretary of defense; he's got a lot of things he's got to have moving. And if you think from a respective, you put everything else away, this country is very, very divided.
I do think the impeachment divides the nation further and continues the fight even further. That's why I want to reach out to Biden. I wanted the president to meet with Biden but that's not going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he seems very cordial with Biden there on the phone but, you know, not when you see him at a press conference or as of late, at least, he wanted a smooth transition between the two presidents. What else did he want from Trump?
BURNS: Look, he wanted in that moment for Donald Trump to acknowledge his responsibly for the January 6th attack. That audio that we just heard is from January 8th, it's a private conversation with just a small handful of House Republican leaders. Three days later, he talks to the whole House Republican conference and this is the conversation where he, and folks have heard this audio on this network.
That's the conversation where he says that Trump has privately acknowledged him, Kevin McCarthy, that he bears responsibility for January 6th, and that McCarthy has encouraged Trump to say that publicly.
That obviously never happens. Much like the Trump/Biden meeting never happens. The tone that we hear McCarthy take in this moment, talking about wanting to unite the country and smooth a transition of power is obviously not the tone that we hear him once Joe Biden is the president.
LEMON: Is chameleon the right term for him or does he just whatever he thinks someone should hear he says?
MARTIN: He's trying to figure out, Don, where he should be in the moment. And the moment of after January 6th is the country is really concerned about the possibility of more political violence, and McCarthy is worried on two fronts. One, he is concerned about the possibility of more violence. He is also concerned about his members inciting that violence and his party being blamed for it.
So, he is weighing both the threat that the country still grappling with for more -- for more bloodshed and the threat that he faces politically for his party being blamed for what happened on the sixth and what could happen in subsequent days. And it's a mile, a country mile, away from where Kevin McCarthy is today.
LEMON: So, as you know, he went down to kiss the ring, we all that, you know, Trump has now saying --
BURNS: Less than a month later.
LEMON: Right. After (Inaudible) Trump is now saying that he is fine, right, I don't know if the rest of the GOP is fine, but is Trump really fine with him or he just --
MARTIN: Look, well, Trump is fine because it just reinforces the fact that he's got Kevin McCarthy in his pocket. And Trump likes nothing more than to be able to control people, and frankly, at times, to be able to humiliate them. The fact that Kevin McCarthy is now trying to stay in his good graces, for Trump, Don, it just reinforces Trump's control over the GOP.
LEMON: So, what do we learning from Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka meeting with the January 6th committee?
BURNS: Well, I think we are learning that there are people in and around Donald Trump's orbit, even in around his family, who are very much like not to be held in contempt for not showing up to talk to the committee, and who or perhaps somewhat more conventional in their legal strategy than folks at this point, as you alluded to in the lead, than Rudy Giuliani.
This committee is not messing around, they're going after people close to the president in a way that other investigations into Donald Trump did not necessarily do. Look, I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I know what Donald Trump, Jr. said behind closed doors.
We know that he is going behind closed doors, which is a good deal more than some of the more radical people close to the president, who are willing to try their own chances against the committee in a contempt trial.
LEMON: I've got to ask you about this, because Biden, President Biden is really now speaking with a new tone when it comes to the former president and MAGA folks.
LEMON: What is behind this new line of attack? What do you guys, learning?
MARTIN: I think what's behind it is Biden's approval rating is bigger than 40 percent for a few months. I think Biden's advisers know that he has got to take a more strident tone against the Republicans, create a contrast with the GOP to give his party a puncher's chance this fall, Don, in the midterms.
And so, they have given Biden this new (Inaudible) work to confront the Republican Party as the MAGA party. What I'm curious about is if he sticks with this. Because Biden in the past has confronted the Republicans and then backed off. Is Biden going to consistently take the message to the Republicans?
BURNS: And this is something that we report on the hook, is that, last fall, last winter, you have prominent Democratic strategics, folks like Paul Begala reaching out to the White House and saying, you have simply got to drive the message that the Republican Party can't be trusted with power.
You have got to explain to the American people what you have done for them, or what you have tried to do for them, and the fact that Republican Party has lined up against those policies. And the response that some of those folks have gotten from the White House is, that's just not Joe Biden style. So, as Jonathan just said, we are going to need to see whether Biden can stick with this new tone.
LEMON: The new book is doing well. You sold out my hometown, you said.
MARTIN: Both Barnes and Nobles in Baton Rouge are apparently out of copies. Folks are having to drive, God forbid, to, Metairie, Don, to get copies of the book in Louisiana.
LEMON: I'm glad you didn't say Metairie because that's how people use to pronounce it who aren't from there. Let's put the book up again, we really appreciate you guys joining us. The book is called "This Will Not Pass," and it's by these two gentlemen here, Alex Burns, Jonathan Martin, I appreciate it. Thank you for coming in.
MARTIN: Thanks a lot.
BURNS: Thank you, sir. I appreciate you. Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
MARTIN: Thanks, Don. Go Tigers.
LEMON: Now we go to this, guys. A naked video circulating of a young Republican congressman endorsed for his second term by Donald Trump, and the thing is, this is just the latest controversy for Madison Cawthorn.
LEMON: A lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill and in North Carolina hoping that freshman Congressman Madison Cawthorn is defeated in a crowded primary race this month. Many are fed up with his antics, calling them embarrassing.
And tonight, adding to the list, that includes controversial comments, carrying guns in the airports, and his claims of being invited to cocaine fueled orgies. There is a video of Cawthorn naked in bed.
More from CNN's Dianne Gallagher.
REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Hey, everyone, Madison Cawthorn here.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congressman Madison Cawthorn taking to Twitter, countering coverage of his growing scandals.
CAWTHORN: Point by point. Here we go.
GALLAGHER: But shortly after posting this seven-minute video Wednesday night --
CAWTHORN: One of the first examples of a politician who grew up with a cell phone in their hand. With the ability to take photos, videos and have others use that content as a way to hurt you.
GALLAGHER: Another video, one CNN is choosing not to show, was posted online by an opposition group, appearing to show the freshman congressman naked in bed with another person.
Cawthorn confirming it was him in the video, called it blackmail. Tweeting, "years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish and joking." Adding, "I'm not backing down. I told you there would be a drip, drip campaign."
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you think of the Madison Cawthorn video that came out last night?
SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): Absurd, too embarrassing.
GALLAGHER: Major North Carolina Republicans like U.S. Senator Thom Tillis have spent the past few months distancing themselves from Cawthorn. Even actively supporting his challengers in a heated and crowded primary election where early voting is s already underway.
RAJU: What if he wins this primary, what would that mean for the district?
TILLIS: I'm disappointed for his constituents, that's why I'm working to avoid that outcome.
GALLAGHER: Republicans on Capitol Hill angered by his recent controversial comments.
MCCARTHY: Madison is wrong.
GALLAGHER: Earning Cawthorn a closed-door meeting with party leadership, after calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a thug.
CAWTHORN: Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug.
GALLAGHER: And claiming he's been invited to cocaine fueled orgies in D.C.
CAWTHORN: Hey, we are going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come. And then you realize they're asking you to come to an orgy, and then you're watching them to do it, I'll keep my cocaine right in front of you.
GALLAGHER: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Cawthorn later admitted those remarks were not true. But the constant controversy has made for easy attack ads from his GOP rivals in the 11th district.
UNKNOWN: While they post online, America falls apart.
GALLAGHER: Last month, for the second time since taking office just over a year ago, Cawthorn was stopped from carrying a gun through airport security. Police in Charlotte seized this loaded pistol at an airport checkpoint, and cited the 26-year-old with a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon on city property. He could also face up to almost $14,000 in TSA fines as a repeat offender.
CAWTHORN: I made a mistake, I forgot to disarm before I went through a TSA checkpoint. And that's my bad, and I have to own that one.
GALLAGHER: Cawthorn was set to appear before a judge this week on a charge of driving with a revoked license. This is dashcam video of the March 3rd stop obtained by a coalition of North Carolina news organizations, but his hearing has been continued until late next month after the primary.
GALLAGHER: CNN has reached out to Congressman Cawthorn's office to see if he had any additional comment. Also, you might remember earlier this year that there was this legal challenge from North Carolina voters and advocacy groups trying to ban Cawthorn from running for reelection because of comments and actions that he took leading up to the January six insurrection.
Now, Cawthorn had said that he played no role in the capitol attack. And a lower court judge did throw that out. However, it was back in court this week. And on Tuesday, attorneys were arguing before a federal panel of appeals court judges.
Don, of course, this all comes very close to the primary on May 17th here in North Carolina. And of course, to win outright without a runoff, a candidate must get 30 percent plus one of the votes. LEMON: Thank you, Dianne, I appreciate that. Listen, to make up your
mind, you need to see the video. I just can't say look there is a video out there. Go check out the video, so that you can make up your own mind about it.
The commander of Ukraine's forces in the besieged city of Mariupol begging Russia to let innocent civilians evacuate. We've got the latest at the top of the hour.