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Don Lemon Tonight

Intense Fighting In Eastern Ukraine As Putin Celebrates Victory Day In Moscow; Ex-Officer Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound To The Head; Protests At The Homes Of Some Justices Over Leaked SCOTUS Draft Opinion; Leading GOP PA Gubernatorial Candidate Pushes "Big Lie" Of Election Fraud In 2020 Race; Predominantly Black College That Opened In 1865, Shutting Down. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. We're going to begin with breaking news. The Alabama corrections officer accused of helping an inmate escaped from jail has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as the authorities in Indiana closed in on the fugitives. They were on the run for more than a week.

Also tonight, the White House criticizing Vladimir Putin's remarks as -- quote -- "patently false and absurd" when he claimed at Moscow Victory Day celebration that NATO and the west are to blame for the war in Ukraine, because he falsely claims they were threatening Russia.

And the Senate passing a bill that expands security for the families of Supreme Court justices following protest at the homes of some justices over the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

But I want to turn now to CNN's Sam Kiley for what is happening in Ukraine as Putin celebrates Victory Day in Moscow.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One man's parade for the many. The many on parade for one man. And on the eve of Victory Day, authorities here say 60 people died in a Russian airstrike. The victory of a German Nazism once united the people of Russia and Ukraine. Not anymore.

This is what Putin's modern campaign to denazify Ukraine looked like on the eve of that Victory Day in the east of the country from Mariupol to Mykolaiv, Kherson to Kramatorsk. Russians' war in the name of saving Russian-speaking people in Ukraine has focused most violence in the east where most people speak Russian.

On Victory Day, Ukrainian towns under Russian control held muted memorial to a past war while the present rages on. This man survived the (INAUDIBLE) airstrike, and his response to Putin parade?

That's sarcastic. Let them celebrate. We would celebrate, too.

Imagine what they bombed. An ordinary village with only pensioners and children. They died in a Russian thrust into their village during an operation to throw military bridge across the Donets River, showing here in this satellite image.

The move is intended to cut the supply route to Russian-speaking Ukrainian towns now under bombardment. Ukrainian forces are counterattacking. The Russian artillery is already hitting the road and the oil refinery next to it.

(On camera): With the killing of at least 60 people, civilians cowering in a school not far from here, it is clear that the Russians are continuing with their campaign to obliterate civilian life. But this is also a sign that they're pursuing traditional tactics, trying to break the infrastructure that could support the Ukrainian war effort.

(Voice-over): Putin's allegations of Nazism in Ukraine had turned back on the Russian leader by survivors of the real war against Hitler's ideology.

She says, I think victory will be ours, only ours. If I were younger, I would have (INAUDIBLE) with my teeth.

The president is insisting Ukraine's victory is certain. The one who is repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler's regime today, following Nazi philosophy, copying everything they did, he is doomed. But it will be a long, hard to fight to turn the lessons of history into a modern-day Ukraine victory in Europe.

Sam Kiley, CNN, (INAUDIBLE).


LEMON: All right. Sam, thank you very much.

I want to turn now to CNN's Isa Soares live for us in Lviv. Isa, hello to you. We are hearing Russia is pounding the city of Odesa tonight. What is the latest on these attacks?

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. A very good morning to you, Don. And this comes importantly -- I think context is important here -- on the very same day that President Putin, remember, laid roses, in fact, to honor the heroic cities from the second world war, including Odesa.

That happened in the morning, Don. By the evening, his forces are pounding it with missile strikes. Now, witnesses tell us they saw several large explosions in the center of the city at around 10 p.m. local time on Monday.


And to just give you a sense of how powerful they were, they could be heard 25 miles away. Now, the missile strikes basically shook several buildings. As a result of the missile, we saw a large shopping center was on fire. We can even see the debris, really, of what's left of that shopping center.

Earlier in the day, Don, Odesa City Council reported three cruise missiles were fired on the city, destroying five buildings. One apparently was beloved hotel by the Russian elites, as well as injuring two people.

And for context here, because this is important, because we've been talking about it for weeks now, these strikes have become more frequent in particular in the last two days with Russia using submarine surface ships and aircraft to launch missiles at this critical port city, Don.

LEMON: Ukrainians are saying a Russian bomb obliterated a school where Ukrainians were sheltering. What do you know about that?

SOARES: Yeah. And Sam Kiley hinted at that, that this is truly heartbreaking and just the latest brutality at the hands of Russian forces. What we know is that 90 people were sheltering in the basement of this school. Almost the entire village, by the way, of Bilohorivka was inside when Russian forces dropped a bomb on the school. Officials tell us that 60 people are most likely dead and 30, according to the governor, have been rescued from the rubble.

But this area is in Luhansk. It is very much part, Don, of Putin's strategic price, the desire he mentioned, remember, on Monday, on Victory Day, to capture the Donbas. Well, not far away from this village and in this backdrop of brutality and intensity of battle that we have seen yet another example of defiance, of really courage under fire.


SOARES (voice-over): This is the face of bravery. Meet 15-year-old Anastasia, a courageous and defiant teenager, now recovering from her injuries in Lviv.

What about your legs, the nurse asks her. They came under fire, she replies. As her hometown of Popasna was pummeled by Russian artillery, she wanted to help two wounded men get to a hospital. The help was urgently needed so as not to lose a lot of blood, she says. So, she picked up the car keys. And I had to get behind the wheel, she says.

They made their way across the bridge, desperate to get to a hospital in Bakhmut. We have a bridge and we had (INAUDIBLE) checkerboard pattern. There was no way to get through. But I somehow made it. And further along, there was the corpse of a woman, she says.

Worse was to come. A burst of machine gun fire raked the car. I was driving the car and then the Russians fired on us, she says. When they started shooting, the car stopped, and then I started the car again and drove on.

Even though she was injured and bleeding, time was running out. The car stalled because the battery was shot through by a bullet. By then Ukrainian soldiers were on hand to rescue Anastasia and her passengers. Now, they are all recovering. Thanks to the courage of a very young driver.


SOARES: And, Don, this incredibly brave girl has gone through so much already. She lost her mother not so long ago. But it was her mother, Don, who taught her how to drive. Incredibly courageous, putting herself on the line, her life on the line to save others.

LEMON: Isa, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Let's bring in now CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, good evening to you. Explosions hitting the key port city of Odesa tonight. Witnesses say a large shopping center was struck. Is this a sign of further escalation?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, RETIRED AIR FORCE COLONEL: It sure could be, Don. Good evening to you. Yeah, when you look at Odesa right here, they are saying that about seven surface vessels are arrayed against Odesa in the Black Sea, Russian surface vessels, plus the submarines that Isa mentioned in her reporting.

That coupled with possibly airborne-launched missiles, that could provide for some pretty tough days ahead for Odesa if the Ukrainians are not careful.

So, this is something that could happen and it would be very logical because this is the area that the Russians control right now and they just need a little bit to move further westward so that they can threaten Odesa and it would be quite normal for them to do that given their previous tactics.

LEMON: Colonel, Ukrainian officials say that the Russians built platoon bridges to cross the Seversky Donets River. But new satellite images show that they are already being destroyed. What does that tell you about what is happening on the battlefield?

LEIGHTON: So, Don, this is the pontoon bridge that Sam mentioned in his reporting.


And it, you know, is clearly an obvious target, if I were looking at this from a targeteer's perspective in my old Air Force days. What this is, is a very clear possibility to cut this. And when you do that, that limits the possibility for the Russians to cross from either direction.

What that means then from the Donbas area right here is that the Russians are coming in this way towards Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, these areas right in here. A lot of what has happened was along a line right in through this area in the Luhansk area. The Russians have moved in there into an area right there. Let me erase that real quick so that people can see it. But this is the area where they are advancing in. The bridges that they are building, the pontoon bridge that they built was just about in this area. Once you cut that, that limits their mobility and their ability to move forward. But this area is something that they have to really watch out for from a Ukrainian standpoint and it means that these things are very fluid when it comes to the state of the battlefield.

LEMON: Let's talk about this Victory Day parade in Moscow now. What were you thinking as you saw Russia's military equipment on display today?

LEIGHTON: Well, not as much as they had last year. Last year, they had about 190 different pieces of equipment like the ones you see here. This, you know, right -- this year, they have about 130 different pieces of equipment.

Of course, the usual variety, everything from rocket fired propelled grenades to armored personnel carriers, intercontinental ballistic missiles. These kinds of things are fairly normal but there was nothing really new in this parade.

So, the Russians are scaling back. Either that or they don't have anything new that they can show or show off to the rest of the world.

LEMON: Were you surprised that they had this many members of the military out considering the fighting that is happening in Ukraine?

LEIGHTON: Well, actually, they had a lower number of personnel. Although there were 11,000 that showed up for this parade, they had a lower number of personnel this year than they did in previous years. So, not really as surprised, but they tend to favor parades and they tend to like the idea of this pomp and circumstance. So, this is something, I think, that is quite normal for them. They will sacrifice to put on a good parade.

LEMON: Colonel, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, is saying that Moscow's air show was canceled today due to weather. But you don't buy that. Why not? And what can you tell us about the so-called doomsday plane that we are going to see?

LEIGHTON: Right. So, this aircraft is, you know, right here. This is the nose of this. I'll show a video of it right here. This is a very large aircraft and you can see this was not from today, but the Russians basically said that there was a low ceiling, meaning there were low clouds in the area. That could be an issue from an air safety standpoint, but it didn't really look like it should have been an issue for them.

But this aircraft is very important from the Russian standpoint because what it is, it is an airborne command post. This is where the president of Russia would go if he were going to run a command-and- control mechanism for Russia in the event of a nuclear war.

So, when you look at this, you can see that there are no windows in this this aircraft. It is basically all sealed up. Nothing there where you normally have that. And the reason for that is they want to protect it from electromagnetic pulse and any radiation effects that a nuclear blast would potentially impact on something like this. But it can actually communicate using various frequencies to the various entities in Russia that it needs to control in the event of a war.

LEMON: Would that work?

LEIGHTON: It can work, yes, absolutely. We have a similar aircraft. The E-4B now and it is basically the same type of principle. Ours is newer and it has different frequency ranges that it works under. But, yes, it can work and you can use it as an alternate means of communication, absolutely.

LEMON: That thing looks enormous, by the way, that plane.


LEMON: Colonel, we have been hearing a lot about russia's failure to effectively use air power in this war. What kind of impact is that having on this fight?

LEIGHTON: So, this is something that's very really telling as to their performance in this war. This SU-27 with Ukrainian markings gives you an idea of what the Ukrainians have. They still have some of these airplanes that are still flying. The Ukrainians are able to maintain a degree of control over their airspace that is unusual for a situation like this.

The Russians are using state-of-the-art newer aircraft, the SU-34. This case is one example of what they have. Far more modern aircraft but they don't dare fly them into areas that are controlled by the Ukrainians.

The Russian failure to achieve what is known as air superiority or even air supremacy, which means you have total control of the airspace, is something that has hindered their progress forward. It is surprising from an airman's perspective that they didn't seek do this.


What they did was nothing like the shock and awe campaign that we had at the beginning of Iraqi freedom, the second Gulf war.

LEMON: Yeah, you know about that because you had a big role in the shock and awe phase of the second Gulf war.

LEIGHTON: Yeah, I did.

LEMON: Yeah, you did. Thank you, colonel. I appreciate it. I will see you tomorrow.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don. Absolutely.

LEMON: The manhunt is over. The Alabama corrections officer who fled with an inmate more than week ago has died reportedly of a self- inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The inmate is in custody. But there are a lot of unanswered questions, and the sheriff is here to answer them, next.




LEMON: So, this is breaking tonight. Ex-Alabama Corrections Officer Vicky White has died reportedly of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The inmate she fled with, Casey White, no relation, by the way, in custody. They were caught after a tip called in late last night led the U.S. Marshals to them. A chase ensued and U.S. Marshals rammed their car.

So, joining me now is Nadia Romero, CNN national correspondent. Nadia, thanks for joining us tonight. You have been following this story. What do you know about the final hours of this manhunt leading to Vicky White's death?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Don, we know that they were in Evansville, Indiana. So, just to give you an idea, we are here in Lauderdale County in Florence, Alabama. Two hours north is Williamson, Tennessee. That's where authorities found the first getaway car. It was a Ford Edge and it was orange and it was partly spray painted. That was abandoned in the road there.

About two hours north of Tennessee is Evansville, Indiana. And that's where they found Vicky White and Casey White staying in a hotel. Now, it was on Sunday that we had the news that came into the Alabama authorities that they spotted this truck, an F-150 and Casey White at a car wash. And then we're told the U.S. Marshals had zeroed in on a hotel there in Evansville.

They were planning to have a SWAT team go in. But instead, Casey and Vicky White came out of that hotel. A police pursuit ensued for about 10 to 15 minutes. They wouldn't stop. And so, the U.S. Marshals used one of those police maneuvers where they pinned the car. Their gray Cadillac flipped on its side into a ditch.

The U.S. Marshals tell us that Casey White came out with his hands up telling them, you all help my wife, she shot herself in the head, I didn't do it. Of course, that's the word coming from a convicted felon who was supposed to be in prison for 75 years.

U.S. Marshals tell us that they found Vicky White with a self- inflicted gunshot wound to the head. And as you mentioned, Don, we know that she died from those injuries earlier tonight.

LEMON: So, Casey White, Nadia, is supposed to stand trial for capital murder charges related to the death of Connie Ridgeway this summer. How is her family reacting tonight?

ROMERO: Don, I have been talking with one of her sons, Austin Williams, since they escaped last Friday. And every day, he was texting me and telling me how anxious he was, how he heard all of these rumors on social media, then he would hear these confirmed reports from the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Marshals, and they were glued to their phones and their TVs just hoping that Casey White and Vicky White would be captured.

I texted him today and I said, did you hear? And he said, it's a miracle. That's what he called it. He had been hoping for this moment to have Casey White captured. He says that it's amazing.

Now, he did not want this to happen to Vicky White and he told me that that was something that he was not hoping for. He wanted both Casey and Vicky to be captured, returned safely. He didn't want anyone else to be hurt. But more importantly, he wants Casey to stand trial for his mother's murder.

Now, Casey White said that he killed Connie Ridgeway back in 2015. Prosecutors say he admitted to doing it. He then pleaded not guilty in court. But he is supposed to have his trial this summer. And we spoke to the Lauderdale County district attorney and he says, I'm still planning on that trial. The family deserves justice. Whether he did it or not, they deserve to have this trial and Casey White deserves his day in court as well. Don?

LEMON: Nadia, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

Our breaking news tonight, the end of the manhunt for ex-corrections officer and an escaped convict. They were captured in a car chase that ended with a crash, and the officer's death reportedly from a self- inflicted gunshot wound.

Witnesses to the crash say if it happened 10 minutes earlier, a lot of people at a nearby business could have been in danger. What we have up on the screen right now is more video from the scene of the arrest. You can see just how many officers were involved in this chase. Look at that. A lot of officers there. A lot of chaos on the roads.

I want to bring in now Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton. Sheriff, I appreciate you joining us. You said that this moment would come, you would be back talking to us about the capture. Unfortunately, she died, Vicky White, due to her injuries.

This is your former colleague who helped an inmate escaped -- an inmate to escape, a man. And now, she became a fugitive herself. What were you thinking tonight?

RICK SINGLETON, SHERIFF, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: You know, I'm very disappointed that it ended this way with Vicky taking her life. That's not something we would have wished on her. We did want her to come back here and face the charges.


You know, knowing Vicky, the way we've known her over the last several years, I think as much concerned to her about coming back and facing charges, I think what really bothered her more was coming back and facing her family and friends.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. SINGLETON: You know, she betrayed her co-workers. She betrayed the sheriff's office. And knowing her like I did, I don't think she could bear the thought of coming back and facing this.

LEMON: So, listen, you would have -- I'm sure you would have liked to have asked her why she did it, right? You would want some information from her?

SINGLETON: Absolutely. You know, that's the one question I still don't understand and I guess I never will. What in the world was she thinking? You know, she has been in corrections for 17 years. She seen this scenario play out time after time where people escape and she knew they always got caught.

I think she knew that the day would come, that they were going to get caught. So, I just don't understand it, and I don't know that I ever will.

LEMON: Do you think -- considering the extent of her wounds, were investigators or anybody at the scene able to speak with her before her death or that wasn't possible?

SINGLETON: Not that I am aware of. You know, I think I understood your question. Was anyone able to speak to her before her death?

LEMON: Yes, sir.

SINGLETON: I am not sure I understood your last --

LEMON: That was it, yeah. Was anyone able to speak to her before her death? Maybe she answered some questions, but I am not sure if she was, considering the extent of her injuries, if that was possible.

SINGLETON: No. Not that I am aware of. I think she was transported to the hospital. When I got word that they had been captured and she was injured and they had been shot, you know, I think that she pretty much was on life support from that moment on.

LEMON: Can you confirm now or do you still have to do some forensics to figure out whether it was definitely a self-inflicted gunshot wound that killed her?

SINGLETON: Oh, that will be up there -- I understand they will be doing an autopsy tomorrow up in Indiana. I'm sure we'll get that final answer from that. All the information I've received is that it was self-inflicted. But I'm sure forensics will determine that.

LEMON: When officers did get to Casey, Casey White, when he came out of the vehicle, he reportedly told law enforcement to -- quote -- "help my wife," and said that she shot herself in the head. Is it clear to you why he would call her his wife?

SINGLETON: Not really. I don't understand that. Maybe they assumed that that was their relationship now, husband and wife. It could have been a ploy on his part just to, you know, distract, you know, the officers, thinking maybe they wasn't sure who they were. I don't know. Obviously, I don't know what was going through his head.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. U.S. Marshal Matt Keely (ph) also said that they saw Vicky wearing a wig when exiting the hotel that they were staying in. Do you think that you will get a clear answer to as to why she did what she did or do you think that considering what happened, that we will never get?

SINGLETON: I feel like that answer is going to go to her grave with her.

LEMON: Yeah.

SINGLETON: You know, as I said, we've known Vicky a long time and this is just -- this whole fiasco is just totally so out of character for her. Her friends, her family, I mean, you know, we are all just devastated by the fact that she would do something like this to start with. Of course, we're devastated that she has taken her life.

LEMON: Yeah. They bought three cars, sheriff. They had somewhere between 60 and $95,000 in cash on them. They ended up in Indiana. Are you surprised by what they were able do in the nearly 11 days that they were on the run?

SINGLETON: Not really. You know, most jail escapes, especially from county jails, are not well planned out. They are more, you know, get out of here and then they get out and they, you know, say what do you do now? This was a different kind of escape. It was very well calculated and, you know, planned.

Most inmates when they get out of jail, they have absolutely no resources. They are on the run. They don't have a car waiting for them. They don't have thousands of dollars in cash in their pocket. They don't have fresh clothes to change into.

So, that really presented some real challenges for the investigation and the search because they had so many resources at their disposal.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, you said she is going to take it to her grave. I was thinking, you never really know someone, right? In your press conference today, you said something similar.


LEMON: You said you don't know if you can ever trust anyone again.


What did you learn from this manhunt? Do you need to make some changes with how your officers interact with inmates?

SINGLETON: You know, working at a detection facility is a challenging job. I mean, you just have to be in that facility to really understand it. That was one reason we gave the news crews tours because it is just a different kind of job that not just anybody can do.

You know, we have the policies in place. And you think you know someone. The last person in the world any of us thought would pull a stunt like this was Vicky White. She was a by the book employee. And for her to do something like this is just -- you know, we just can't comprehend it.

LEMON: Yeah. As they say, you never know. Thank you, Sheriff Singleton. I appreciate you joining us. Thanks for joining us every night. Again, we thought you said that we would be here discussing their capture and here we are. Sadly, though, Vicky White had to die.

SINGLETON: Thank you. We appreciate your all help in this, getting the world out and getting them behind bars.

LEMON: Absolutely. Be well.

The leaked SCOTUS draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade sparking protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices. The White House is responding. That's next.




LEMON: The draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade spreading outrage all across the country. This weekend, protesters marched to the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts, and protesters tonight outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito.

The White House warning today that protests should never include -- quote -- "violence, threats or vandalism."

So, joining me now to discuss, CNN global affairs and staff writer -- analyst and staff writer for "The New Yorker" Susan Glasser. Hi, Susan. Good to see you. Thank you for coming on and discussing this with me this evening.

So, the White House is probably drawing a line in the sand -- line on protests, I should say, around the draft court decision. Is this smart, to distance themselves, or is this playing into the hands of Republicans who want this to be about the leak, the protests, anything but the actual decision?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, Republicans are going to say what they are going to say regardless. I saw Ted Cruz tonight saying that these protests were somehow worse than the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. So, I think that gives you a sense of what the Republicans are going to say regardless of what the White House says about it.

I mean, look, it's an indication of the hyper charged nature of our politics coming to the Supreme Court and institution that has been much more insulated and isolated from really the toxic public and political culture of Washington in recent years. The court, they are not even televised, their deliberations. They have maintained a remarkable lack of transparency up until now. That's part of why this leak was so shocking in the first place.

And I think one of the things we're seeing is the view of the court being transformed before our eyes into a much more explicitly political institution, including with this kind of the protests even at the prospect of a draft opinion being leaked.

LEMON: The Senate tonight passing a bipartisan plan to get more security to the justices and their families after the explosive leaked draft. Is this another unprecedented development in a series of them?

GLASSER: Yeah, absolutely. I think we are literally watching before our eyes sort of the transformation of how the public views the Supreme Court and the role it's going to play in our public life going forward.

It's something that has been resisted by Chief Justice John Roberts and other members of the court. But I -- it has this (INAUDIBLE) feel. Almost all of our public institutions have been politicized in recent years, have seen an enormous drop in trust and independent viewpoints surrounding it. I think that's what we are seeing with the court.

But, you know, I was also thinking tonight back to, you know, decades and decades of protests, including a very aggressive sort over every facet of the abortion debate ever since the 1973 Roe decision.

Think of the images that you and I grew up with of anti-abortion protesters outside of abortion clinics, blocking the way, making it almost impossible for women to go in and out of those clinics.

And, you know, protests didn't just begin with this Supreme Court draft opinion, but it has been a turbocharged aspect of this debate for decades, for our entire lifetime, basically.

LEMON: Sadly, bombing of some clinics.

GLASSER: That's exactly right. I mean, you know, there have been violent protests, extreme protests as a hallmark of the anti-abortion movement, certainly, as well as, you know, have very passionate feelings on those who are afraid a right that has existed for decades is now going to be taken away.

LEMON: I think it's important for the White House to point out that violence is never acceptable, but it is also to point out the history of what you have been pointing out, that you have been talking about, the violence that has happened, you know, around clinics and so forth.

So, I want to change gears now and talk about some other protests, Susan. The former defense secretary, Mark Esper, has been on a book tour.


I had been watching a lot of it, the press surrounding it. He is claiming that Trump asked if they could shoot protesters outside the White House in the summer of 2020, allegedly asking -- quote -- "Can you just shoot them in the legs or something?"

How wild is it that the man who is supposed to uphold our constitutional rights apparently asked about shooting protesters and that no one in the administration, not Esper, not General Milley, Attorney General Barr thought at the time that they should go public with that?

GLASSER: Yeah, I think that's the incredible challenge of dealing with all of these former senior Trump officials and, you know, just having finished a draft of a book about Trump in the White House that is going to come out in September. I mean, we are talking to sources like these constantly, many of whom have not gone public.

Their accounts are credible on the one hand. Certainly, Mark Esper's account is very credible, that he resisted Donald Trump in a number of ways that never became public at the time.

And again, you know, if people were publicly protesting Trump, he would have gotten rid of them even sooner. And, you know, a whole different category of officials would have come in.

And so, you know, it's not a simple question, but the sheer number of outrageous illegal unconstitutional things that Donald Trump said through the course of his presidency. I don't think we're anywhere near to scratching the surface, frankly, Don, of the crazy ideas like this that Trump articulated at one point or another.

Remember, this is a guy who wanted to fill moats, you know, at the border with, you know, alligators and he -- or he ordered the military to shoot at immigrants coming over the border. I mean, you know, so it's entirely consistent with what we already know about Trump.

LEMON: Oh, boy. Susan, thank you. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

GLASSER: Good night.




LEMON: Voters in Pennsylvania go to the polls next week in that state's primary elections. One of the most hotly contested races is for the Republican nomination for governor. And one of the leading candidates in that race is still pushing the big lie of election fraud in the 2020 race.

More tonight from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days left before the gubernatorial primary in the battleground of Pennsylvania. We arrived at Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano's campaign rally.


LAH (voice-over): Open to the public, the campaign had said CNN could come --

CROWD: Doug for gov!

LAH (voice-over): -- to this event at an indoor hotel courtyard next to the poll. But at check-in, a volunteer says journalists are not welcome.

Do you know the media isn't being allowed in?

No, I don't.

We're here because Mastriano is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor. He has avoided nearly all independent press. The voters rely on reporters to understand their candidates.

(On camera): After the Mastriano campaign said that media wasn't allowed at their political rally, we rented a room from the hotel, who gave us permission to record the event from here.

With a CNN producer registered as a guest in the crowd and us in the balcony, Mastriano took the stage railing against abortion rights, COVID restrictions, and what he claims is Marxist ideology in public schools.

DOUG MASTRIANO, PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATE MEMBER, PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Wow, any God-fearing, flag-waving patriotic Americans in the house here?

LAH (voice-over): Mastriano shot the national prominence in 2020, baselessly raising doubts about Pennsylvania's presidential election results. Donald Trump lost here by more than 80,000 votes. But Mastriano has ignored the truth. Instead, banging the bogus drumbeat of election lies as a state senator.

MASTRIANO: We are here today to try to find out what the heck happened in the election.

LAH (voice-over): As a gubernatorial candidate, his rally opened with a prayer mentioning fraud without offering any evidence.

UNKNOWN: We asked God, as the ballots go forth, God, that you remove every fraudulent ballot, God.

LAH (voice-over): The campaign fuses politics with Christianity, framing Mastriano as a commonwealth savior.

UNKNOWN: God use you to call us. LAH (voice-over): Mastriano is one of nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination. A hotly contested race that could impact the next presidential election. The next governor has the power to appoint the top election official in the commonwealth.


LAH (voice-over): The field includes former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain and two state Senate President Jake Corman. But it is Mastriano who Democrats believe and hope they will face in November.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): If Doug Mastriano wins, it's a win for what Donald Trump stands for.

LAH (voice-over): This statewide ad is paid for by Shapiro for Pennsylvania.

UNKNOWN: Our next governor in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro!


LAH (voice-over): Josh Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor and current state attorney general. Gambling that by boosting a more right-wing candidate in a swing state, Democrats come out on top this November.


JOSH SHAPIRO, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF PENNSYLVANIA: They are extremists, they are out of touch with where I know Pennsylvanians to be.


LAH (voice-over): At an abortion rights rally, Shapiro hammered away at Republicans and Mastriano. Has the general already started then for you?

SHAPIRO: I think it is pretty clear he is going to be their nominee. We think it is important that the people of Pennsylvania know that there is a clear contrast between he and I. Our democracy was worth just a few blocks away here in Philadelphia. We have a unique responsibility as Pennsylvanians to defend it.

LAH (on camera): In these final days, both Democrat and Republican has been talking about abortion rights. Josh Shapiro has been leaning into the idea of protecting access, saying that he wants to gin up support from those suburban female voters. Doug Mastriano has been talking about it, but in this way. He pledges that he will sign the so-called heartbeat bill if he's elected governor. This primary takes place a week from tomorrow. Don?


LEMON: A predominantly Black college founded in 1865 is shutting down. We'll tell you why, next.




LEMON: This college graduation season is especially bittersweet for the class of 2022 at Lincoln College, a predominantly Black institution located in Central Illinois. Their graduation this past Saturday is the last and final one in the history of the school.

Lincoln College is closing its doors for good on Friday. Officials say the COVID pandemic took a heavy toll on the school's finances as did a cyberattack in December, which was devastating.

Lincoln is a small college, roughly 1,200 students. The school says it opened in 1865 and was the only college named for President Abraham Lincoln while he was still living.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.