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Don Lemon Tonight

January 6th Committee Want To Know About The House Tour; Pennsylvania Headed To A Recount; Bill Barr To Testify Behind Closed Doors; Donald Trump Can't Wait To See Final Result Of Votes; Dough Mastriano Not Match To Josh Shapiro; Buffalo Shooter Indicted By Grand Jury; Social Media Not A Safe Place For Disturbed People; 911 Operator Hung Up To A Store Employee's Plea For Help. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 22:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Because everyone, or many of the people or most of the people involved have already face the judge somehow or the legal system in some way. How do you it's going to affect the court of public opinion once this all happens and is playing out on television?

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I think it will be impactful in the sense that remember, the court of public opinion is the electorate. That's where that is. And so, this is who it's for. And people have to remember the legislative branch has a goal in mind of trying to prevent this from happening again and legislate effectively.

And so, these are people who asked to lead from voters. And so, what they have spent the better part of nearly two years or a year and a half doing right now is going to be of paramount of importance. And remember, this has been such a huge political wedge issue.

I would say though, I think that Congress would make a mistake to overestimate the attention span or the patience --

LEMON: Right on.

COATES: -- of the American electorate. Because we saw from the Mueller report, we've seen from prior probes not even in the Trump administration where the American people, say, OK, now what? Tell me what you found. If they don't meet or exceed those expectations --


COATES: -- it might be counterproductive.

LEMON: And then on top of the Mueller report, the spinning of it by A.G. Barr which stirs news on as well of the actual findings of the Mueller report. When I was a kid, this was way before your time, I just remember --

COATES: Thank you. Because I am much younger than you, Don Lemon, so much.

LEMON: I like the hair toss. I remember my grandmother and my family, my mom and dad watching the Watergate hearings. And I remember the president leaving the White House on a helicopter. It was unbelievable but back then, we only had three channels. Right. And now that we have so much, we've got social media, we've got, you know, hundreds of hundreds of channels and the attention span of the American public not the same as it was back during the hearings on Watergate. So, again --

COATES: Are you still upset that you were the one that had to turn the little button and knob, and they were like, Don, you got to change to channel two now.


COATES: Is that you? That was you? OK

LEMON: But we were fancy. But we had the remote. You had to attach it to the TV but we still had one or the one that went kc-chunk, ka- chunk, ka-chunk.

COATES: That is the sound.

LEMON: It had the volume button, an up and down button for the volume and up and down button for the channel, and on and off button, and that was it. Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Thank you. I'm glad for the memory lane. I'm going to try to find that ka-chunk remote control as a birthday gift. Bye.

LEMON: A tube. A tube. A television with a tube in it. See you later.


OK. Nearly a year and a half since the big lie exploded into deadly violence at the United States Capitol, look at this. The committee investigating what happened that day now wants to know more about a tour that they say the Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk gave the day before pro-Trump rioters stormed the capitol.

They want to know the purpose of that tour and they say they have evidence that directly contradicts previous claims by Republicans that they were quote, there were, quote, "no tours, no large groups. No one with MAGA hats on in the capitol before January 6th."

The congressman pushing back, and I quote here, says "a constituent family with young children meeting with their member of Congress in the House office buildings is not a suspicious group or reconnaissance tour. The family never entered the capitol building."

That is happening as sources tell CNN that the former Attorney General Bill Barr has agreed to testify under oath behind closed doors. Do you remember he said, a month before the violence at the capitol there was no evidence of voter fraud that could have swung the election?

And they're still counting the votes in Pennsylvania where the GOP Senate primary is looking more and more like it is headed for a recount. Trump backed TV doc Mehmet Oz has a razor-thin vote over, a lead over the hedge fund guy Dave McCormick. Look at that. One thousand eighty-four votes ahead. That is razor-thin.

And the former president, the author of the big lie is urging Oz to just claim victory, throwing around more baseless claims of cheating, the big lie that is poisoning our democracy, becoming a permanent part of our elections.

We have a lot more to come on all of this. But we also have to talk about Buffalo. That's where the suspect accused of the racist massacre in a supermarket that left 10 people indicted by grand jury today in a packed courtroom.


UNKNOWN: Peyton, you're a coward.


LEMON: Tonight, I'm going to talk to a woman who called 911 from the supermarket during that massacre. She says the dispatcher hung up on her because she was whispering.

Straight now to CNN's Paula Reid and Evan Perez. Good evening to both of you.

Paula, tell us about this January 6th committee wanting to talk to a Republican lawmaker who gave a capitol tour that day before the riot.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the January 6th committee, Don, is requesting that Representative Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia voluntarily share information about a tour of the U.S. Capitol complex he led the day before the insurrection.


House Democrats have previously accused Republicans of providing tours in the days leading up to January 6th to individuals who later went on to storm the capitol. But this is the first time they have named a specific lawmaker.

But Republicans on a different committee of which Loudermilk is a member claim to have reviewed the security footage from the days preceding the January 6th attack and they determined that there were no tours, no large groups and no one in MAGA hats.

Republicans have denied providing any such tours and Loudermilk actually filed an ethics complaint accusing Democrats of making these allegations without evidence. And today, he responded to this letter from the committee in a statement saying, this tour was with a constituent family that had young children and that they never entered the capitol building.

Now Loudermilk and fellow Republicans are calling on the Capitol Police to release these tapes so people can sort of solve this they said, they said. But, right now the Capitol Police are responding saying they cannot make any additional evidence public while the committee's investigation is ongoing. So, Don, it remains a they said, they said.

LEMON: Yes. There's so many questions. One of which is, you know, talked about, Loudermilk talked about the interview. Right? He gave the interview as a January riot was underway. And he talked about meeting with constituents. What is he saying?

REID: That's right. So as the January 6th riot was unfolding, he told a local Georgia radio station that he met with a dozen people from his home state on the day prior, on Capitol Hill and these folks traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Trump rally that proceeded the attack. Let's listen to exactly what he said on the day of the insurrection.


REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): We actually had about a dozen people up here that wanted to come by and visit. We had them in our office. They definitely were, you know, peaceful people, people that we'd met at church. They were supporters of the president. They just wanted to be up here as if it was another rally. We've actually checked on them to make sure that they're safe. And they saw what it was turning into, they immediately turned and went back down the mall to get away from the crowd here.


REID: Now the letter from the committee today it's pretty sparse on specific details about exactly what evidence they have to suggest that he was providing a tour that was relevant to the insurrection. And look, Don, as you know, for most Americans January 6 is not top of mind right now. They are thinking about inflation, baby formula, monkeypox.

So, to breakthrough, the committee is likely going to have to provide more evidence, specific evidence to prove these claims. And this is part of their overall challenge as they try to tell the story of what they've uncovered during the investigation over the next several months.

LEMON: As I mentioned before you the -- Evan, before you guys came on, the former attorney general, Bill Barr, has tentatively agreed to give some testimony to the January 6th committee. What do they -- what do they want to know from him?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris (Ph), -- Don, I think Bill Barr can come in and provide a lot of information about what Donald Trump was doing, the former president was doing before and after the election. What information he wanted from the Justice Department.

You remember he was pushing for these investigations into alleged fraud which Barr told him, finally, that there was none. That the Justice Department had investigated, couldn't find evidence to support his claims. And of course, we know that their relationship was breaking apart, falling apart.

So, you can get a lot of information about the president's frame of mind and perhaps the beginning of what became this effort to overturn the results to do what, you know, came to a head on January 6th.

LEMON: Thank you, Evan. Thank you, Paula. I appreciate that. I want to turn now to CNN's S.E. Cupp, our political commentator, and also our senior legal analyst, Elie Honig.

Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining us.

Elie, you first. The January 6th committee is saying that they have evidence that GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a tour of the capitol the day before the rioters stormed the building. And we've heard tour, you know, brought tour accusations swirl for more than a year now. What does it mean now that the committee says that they have the receipts here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Don, they better have the receipts because this is a really sensational accusation and allegation. If it's true, it is a remarkable act of betrayal. It is a traitorous act for a member of Congress to give a tour in order to provide reconnaissance for an expected attack.

That said, I think it's interesting to note Representative Loudermilk's response here. It's not the typical sort of milli-mouth nondenial. He had said straight up, this did not happen. He has said release the tapes. Now the committee says we have evidence that directly contradicts your claim.

So, the proof will be right there for the -- for the scene. This is not question of intent, this is a question of did it happen? Who did he meet with? Are these people who stormed the capitol? Are these people who have been charged by the Justice Department? The committee had better be ready to back up this claim because it's quite serious.


LEMON: It's not unusual though for people to give tours, right? I mean, to people they know.


LEMON: Right? If I call up and say, hey, you know, Elie, you're a congressperson or S.E., can you show me your office or can you show me around, not unusual?

HONIG: Yes, exactly right. First of all, I'd never run for Congress. But, yes, look, people do give tours all the time. And that's going to be the question here. Was he giving -- what did the people, if he gave a tour, where did he show them? Did he show them the capitol building itself or was it the office buildings that are north of the -- of the capitol itself? Who were these people? Did they storm the capitol?

I mean, if these are among the people who have been charged by the Justice Department, that's going be a big problem for the congressman. But if they're not and if there is no evidence, they were involved in storming the capitol or planning it then this will be an oversell by the committee. LEMON: Yes. So, S.E. Loudermilk says that he was there with a

constituent family, young children. January 6th appears to be saying that it's not true as Elie has been pointing out. Could this just be a disagreement over how you would define a tour?

CUPP: Yes. Exactly. So, the not true part, what part is not true. There's a broad spectrum of what could not be true about what Loudermilk was saying. But just to echo Elie's point, I mean, this is as bad an accusation as it gets. This makes January 6th not an event of opportunity but of intention and then you have a sitting lawmaker, perhaps more, really aiding in the planning of that.

And I have to say back when Democrats were making these claims in the days after the insurrection with the zero evidence, I was really disturbed by that, both the content of the claims and the fact that they had no proof of it.

They were kind of just throwing it out there. And that, I mean, like I said, it doesn't get worse than that. If you don't have evidence to back that up, I thought it was incredibly irresponsible. Obviously, so did Barry Loudermilk he filed an ethics, you know, report against the Democrats.

So, and his responses have been so, like, leaving no room for ambiguity. This is a really, they said, they said, you know? Democrats are saying they saw what they saw. Republicans are saying it didn't happen. We need to see these tapes.

LEMON: The proof.

CUPP: We need to see the evidence or --


CUPP: -- this is going to be a real, you know, battle of partisanship for people watching.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I want to get to A.G. Barr, Elie. But I want to ask, I mean, could -- could possibly the Congress people have been used by people? Could they have said, look, I'm going to ask this person or ask my congressman to show me around with them not knowing the intent for --

HONIG: Boy, that stretches credulity a bit. I mean, I don't know first of all how many actual congressmen give hands on tours, in my limited experience on the Hill. It's usually a staffer. But also, the question would be, where did the tour go? I mean, if the people were saying, hey, do you have any secret entrances, what other ways we might get out of here? You know, where are access points? Where are their security? Right? I mean, that's the kind of thing that any sentient congressman should be able to tell, wait a second, something is wrong here.

So, again, I think the specifics, the evidence as he talked about the tape will help tell the tale here. LEMON: Yes. So, let's talk about A.G. Barr, tentatively agreeing to

testify behind closed doors. And this goes directly to Trump's intent. Did Trump know he had lost the election? Explain why this is so important.

HONIG: Yes, that's exactly the question. Look, there's two Bill Barrs when it comes to the big lie. There's the big -- the Bill Barr who supported it up to the election and then there's the Bill Barr who disavowed it after the fact.

If Bill Barr testifies, and we know this, he said this out loud, that he told Donald Trump there's no evidence of fraud and hence, you lost, then all Donald Trump did after that, I think there's a better argument it's fraud. He knew he lost. He knew there was no evidence of fraud. He tried to use that any way to strong arm the vice president and state legislature. So, Bill Barr's testimony if it comes clean could go do Donald Trump state of mind, his intent.

LEMON: The -- what is the impact, S.E., on the Republican Party and Trump world if A.G. Barr does testify?

CUPP: Well, Elie is right. There are two Bill Barrs. There's the Barr, you know, the Barr that I think Republicans really, really liked and then the Barr that they really didn't. So, I mean, I think what's really interesting is that he gave an informal interview before, you know, I think at his home.

And obviously, the committee thinks either what he said was really useful and now they want him to do it under oath, or he wasn't saying enough. And there's more to say another could have compel him under perhaps, a subpoena and the threat of, you know, perjury to tell more.

So, I mean, just psychologically, I'm kind of interested in why this is happening. But, you know, I think Bill Barr has lost a lot of credibility among the MAGA crowd of Republicans. And didn't really gain any by his last minute, you know, disavowal of the Trump lie in the 11th hour.


LEMON: Yes. It depends on what he says in the testimony. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

Inflation, --

HONIG: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: -- COVID, election lies, Americans are worried about the direction of this country. The big question is, how do we solve all this and restore faith in our elections. That's the question. That's next.


LEMON: American going to the polls this month for midterm primaries as inflation, the war in Ukraine, the fallout from the draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, all roiling the country. Other things gas prices, and on and on.

The voters worn out after years of crisis and high-pressure elections. Are leaders doing enough to prove that they are taking their concerns seriously?

So, joining me now to discuss this, CNN's senior political analyst, Mr. David Gergen, the author of the brand-new book, "Hearts Touched with Fire." Also, Republican strategist and former RNC communications director, Doug Heye.


Good to see both of you, gentlemen. Thank you so much for joining.


LEMON: So, Doug, Trump is urging Dr. Oz to claim victory in his Senate primary before the votes are even done being counted. And you write in Post and I quote here, "Republicans aren't ready for Trump style fraud claims in GOP primaries." What happens if Trumpian election lies infect elections at state and local levels? What is the impact here?

HEYE: Well, the impact is obviously a further erosion of all kinds of trust in our election system. But what the ultimate impact is on a Senate race, I don't think anybody knows. And this is when I say that the Republican Party isn't prepared for this.

I mean, the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Committee, the Pennsylvania Republican Party or any other state or municipality where this could happen.

I was pleasantly shocked that Madison Cawthorn conceded and conceded graciously. It's not something I think a lot of people would have expected. The party is not --


LEMON: Except for today --

HEYE: I'm sorry?

LEMON: -- where he said it's time for the dark MAGA, but any way.

HEYE: Sorry, that was before -- sorry. He conceded graciously before he went back on the crazy train. Yes. But you know, it's easy -- it's easier to identify problems here than offer solutions unfortunately. This is the, to use your phrase, dark. This is the dark place that we're going in our in our politics right now. And it frightens me.

LEMON: Yes. You know, what's interesting to me, Doug, is that the same rules are in place that were in place in 2020 for this election and they are saying different things. Back then it was stop counting the votes. Stop counting the votes. Then, you're going to steal the votes. And now they are like, well, all the votes need to be counted right now except for Trump who is still saying stop counting the votes.

Both candidates are saying keep counting the votes, right, when they were saying, because the election lie, the big lie, well, we need to just stop counting the votes right now. What is -- that is some -- I don't understand that thinking.

HEYE: Well, let's go back to 20 -- let's go back to the 2000 election in Florida where you had Republicans and Democrats making very different arguments for self-interest reasons.

The Gore campaign wanted one thing. The Bush campaign wanted another for whatever would benefit them. I'll tell you the Bush campaign argued one thing in Florida and didn't con -- or didn't contest New Mexico because they would have had to make the exact opposite argument of what they were making for Florida and Florida was a much bigger prize.

So, look, campaigns are going to say whatever it's in their best interest whether it's count every vote or we've counted enough. That's politics as usual, fortunately or unfortunately. We've been there before. Where we haven't been is this real erosion and proactively eroding our own confidence in our own election systems.

And that's why Georgia obviously went Democratic not just for Joe Biden but more importantly, in the context of trust in our election system in those Senate run-offs where we saw two Democrats win instead of Republicans.

LEMON: David, this country is facing crisis on multiple fronts right now. People are frustrated. They are burned out by all of it. What chance is there to solve these problems if people are being told not to have faith in the electoral process?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the unfortunate thing that we have seen in the last few days is the poison that got into the system early is still there in state after state. There are people who are Trump followers and running not only for Congress but lower offices who are -- who are basically taking the Trump lie. They find it if it's convenient to lie, you lie. If it's convenient to mislead the county, you do you that.

And it's all becoming quite normal in these primaries. So, I think that (Inaudible) badly for the elections in midterm and even worse for the presidential in 2024. And what it means more than anything else, I think Doug had been indicating so well, and what it means is there has to be a serious effort on both parties to see if they can find common ground before these elections occur.

Because if you have a whole set of elections in 2022 and 2024 in which it seems to be problematic at best, in which there's been a lot of lying, a lot of recounting, a lot of, you know, that Trump coming on telling Oz to count the votes, declare victory even before the votes are in.

You know, that kind of thing, then I think there's going to be even more exhaustion and we're going to have a much rougher ride and very importantly, we're laying the ground work for a government that cannot govern. I don't care who wins.

If you have -- if you have incumbents who are down the 40 percent mark, which is where Joe Biden is right now with the Congress so closely divided, it's darn near impossible to get anything big done. And that's where we need to restore faith, both in the honesty of people in government and in their capacity to get things done.

LEMON: How do -- how do, listen, I don't want to both sides this thing because there's only one party right now --


LEMON: -- that is doing damage to the integrity of elections. Right. And basically, it's the Trump wing of the Republican Party, which seem to be the Republican Party now. And you said that Democrats needs to do it. Of course. Yes, we need to work for people to have faith in our system.


But how do -- how do -- why do Democrats need to work more with that? They're not out there lying about an election in 2020.

GERGEN: They're not lying but they're also not getting the message out of what they are accomplishing.

LEMON: Right.

GERGEN: It's a very frustrating process.

LEMON: Right.

GERGEN: But the messaging aspect of it has been about the weakest thing. But Don, ultimately, I'm not sure the people we're electing right now are capable given the dynamics in the country are capable of overcoming these problems now. It's just so difficult. It's so rooted.

These elections that we're having right now, the pre-preliminaries, you know, telling us nothing much has changed since the election of Donald Trump.


GERGEN: And it is primarily, you're absolutely right, is the radicalization started on the Republican side. There are elements of it on the Democratic side but by and large it's been a Republican set of initiatives that have led to this poisoning.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, they are all lawmakers and they should be trying to gain the trust of the American people.

GERGEN: Right.

LEMON: So, you're right about that. The messaging on the Democratic side is not good. Listen, I'm going to go a little bit longer. Because Doug, I want to ask you this question about the freedom caucus. HEYE: Yes.

LEMON: CNN is reporting that even many GOP lawmakers are tired of the freedom caucus members delaying votes, forcing lawmakers to cancel.

HEYE: Yes.

LEMON: Fund raising events and so on and so forth. It appears that the same group that was behind the Madison Cawthorn, you know, behind Madison Cawthorn his undoing now are going to target Lauren Boebert. Have more sensible Republicans or folks who are actually pulling the strings behind the scenes, have they had enough?

HEYE: Well, they have. And if you talk to members of Congress, and you know, of Republican members, I talk to, you know, every week, you hear this and I've frankly heard from this for years now. A constant frustration with the freedom caucus not only blocking things, that normal things that Republican things would want to do but gumming up the works on absolutely everything to turn everything into a battlefield.

I can tell you, I know of conversations that were held the day after Madison Cawthorn lost, not on Lauren Boebert but more on Marjorie Taylor Greene that maybe that can be replicated there. She is going to be tougher to beat than Madison Cawthorn. Well, Madison Cawthorn made some mistakes. Marjorie Taylor Greene is more strategic.

But there are a lot of Republican who want to actually get conservative policies enacted and do actual real governing who are really sick and tired of this stuff. They have been successful in North Carolina 11, and Georgia is where they are going to look next.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I'll see you soon. I appreciate it.

HEYE: Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

Votes still being counted in Pennsylvania's GOP Senate primary and it looks like we're headed for a recount. We've got our Pennsylvania expert here. You know who that is, former Congressman Charlie Dent. He's next.



LEMON: Right. It feels like Groundhog Day. I know, right. I feel like I was just a couple of days ago going, it's down to the wire. It was looking more and more like we're headed for a recount in Pennsylvania. That's the truth.

The state GOP primary pitting Mehmet Oz against Dave McCormick. Still too close to call. Former President Trump jumping into the fray calling for Oz to just declare victory.

Let's discuss now with CNN political commentator and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania right now.

Charlie, it's Groundhog's Day. Right? We were just sitting here saying the same thing. Here we are two days later and it's still too close to call. Just under 10,000 votes remaining to be counted. What are you hearing from your sources in Pennsylvania politics? What's the mood, as they say?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The mood is this, the Senate race is so tight, it's so tight that, look, it's tight now. I think Oz has a lead of about 1,100 votes right now. That's going to get even tighter because McCormick has been performing better among the -- right, among the mail-in votes than has Oz. So that's going to tighten.

And I think actually McCormick could overcome Oz at this point. But this is going to go to an automatic recount. This is going to be within .5 percent. They have to count every vote. But I think this could take a few weeks. It could take a few weeks until we have some -- something settled.

On the gubernatorial side, I think Republicans are still shocked that Doug Mastriano became the nominee with 44 percent of the vote, that they feel Republicans feel to consolidate around one alternative to him. And so, there's a lot of anger about that. Because many, and I'm included, I just don't see a path for him to win against Josh Shapiro.

Because Josh Shapiro is going to, you know, paint Mastriano as very extreme, which he is. And he is going to say that he is against abortion and virtually every circumstance.

He is going to say that, you know he is still talking about overturning the election from 2020. And he's just going to make -- he's going to have a lot of fun, you know, just painting Mastriano as an extremist and he'll have some success. So, there's anger about the governor's race.

LEMON: Let's talk about the Trump and his endorsements. Because CNN is reporting that Trump may be getting a bit queasy about giving endorsements after this deadlock race. I mean, that's according to the former Trump allies. And with Georgia Governor Kemp looking like he's going to crush Trump's pick of Senator David Perdue, are the endorsements going to dry up altogether?

DENT: I don't know if they are going to dry up, Don, but I'll tell you in the case of Pennsylvania, Donald Trump really angered a lot of, I'll say, Trump supporting Republicans who are more establishment oriented. They wanted -- they were largely behind McCormick, and of course Trump endorsed Oz. That's what he did and then of course he endorsed Mastriano in the 11th hour seeing the polls.


But again, going against what most Republicans wanted who are trying to get an acceptable candidate they are going to blame Trump, in part, for giving Pennsylvania -- Pennsylvania Republicans an unelectable candidate for the fall.

So, in Pennsylvania, I think Trump did serious damage to himself should he run in 2024. And of course, in Georgia, it looks like Kemp is going to romp over Purdue.

So, if I were trump, I'd keep my nose out of this. He is only making enemies of a lot of Republicans by making these endorsements. He's sticking his nose where he ought not.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. I'll see you soon.

DENT: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: The suspect in the racist mass shooting in Buffalo indicted by a grand jury as we learn more about his planning. One source saying at least 15 people saw his plans online just before the attack.




ROBIN WHITFIELD, VICTIM RUTH WHITFIELD'S OLDEST DAUGHTER: That racist young man took my mother away. I am the eldest daughter of Ruth Whitfield. She was my best friend. What am I to do? What am I supposed to do now? We were supposed to go see The Temptations play that night. I have the tickets still on my table. How dare you!


LEMON: Anger and grief today during a press conference with the families of people killed in Saturday's racist mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket. The 18-year-old suspect in that attack appearing in court today where he was indicted by a grand jury.

And tonight, the Washington Post is reporting that he sent a chat room invitation to Discord users before the attack with the headline, happening. This is not a drill.

Let's discuss now. Peter Ahearn is here, the former special agent in charge of Buffalo division of the FBI.

Peter, thanks for joining us.

I mean, the grief is palpable. You can feel it in that woman, awful. CNN is learning that 15 users saw the suspect's invite. But before he sent these invites, his plan were private for months. How hard is it for law enforcement to flag what's happening on these social media platforms when it is not always public?

PETER AHEARN, SENIOR ADVISER, ODNI: Well, I think in (Inaudible) he was this massive. Having the right technology and the right amount of people to review is one thing. Secondly, you know, you can only look at things are what we would call open source. source intelligence. If someone keeps things private, you know, that it's not going to be looked at without judicial process which means a subpoena.

And in order to do that, you definitely have to have some provocation that the person is violating some kind of law or potentially. So, it's very, very difficult. And then the last factor is the social media platforms and the I.P. companies to be able to cooperate with (Inaudible) sometimes with the subpoena.

LEMON: Could the users who joined this private chat face any charges especially if they didn't do anything about it?

AHEARN: Well, I don't think there's anything anyone can do. But I think what's very important right now and I know the bureau is looking at it is you're going to go back into the history. Everything with this individual look at, in particular these 15 to 30 people.

If the FBI finds their names, they are going to be interviewed. So the FBI has to interview them to find out, to see if there's any other potential threats that could be facing and finding out who these people are that went into it. Why would they be invited specifically are the subject of this case.

LEMON: Yes. So, the social media, I mean, that is only one aspect of this. The suspect was able to get guns despite threat while he attended high school and a mental health evaluation. Should this have sparked authorities to check into what else he was doing, and I mean, it's also I think an example of probably one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

AHEARN: I think it's a real hot button issue and it has been, the issue with weapons and who has access. A lawful purchase of the weapon is one thing and the issue of mental health, there's no federal law on the books yet, if there will be. But state to state there are all different things.

You saw under the face app in the state of New York there are ways that you can put a red flag on somebody. But it's -- from looking at this, I don't think it is raising to the level with the state police. They did what they had to do and pretty much what they could do.

You have to remember; I think at the time they did this issue of mental health he was a juvenile. Once you (Inaudible) with that juvenile word it is much, much difficult even on the federal government side. Then the investigation by the FBI of juvenile is very, very scrutinized because again, it's a juvenile. Well, it remains to be seen but it's a tough issue.

LEMON: This was a horrific racist attack. People rightfully want know that it won't happen again. But you say that you worry about people, especially politicians saying that this will be the last one. A lot of change really need to come legislation, peter. But from a law enforcement perspective, what are some realistic solutions here?

AHEARN: Well, I think what would we look is the solutions are hard. Law enforcement does everything they possibly can, do the best they can in community outreach where things are very important to get out the community and deal with the community on issues and, you know, the FBI does that but I know the local police departments, community policing is still a very key factor.


But again, you know, I've done these interviews before. It's never good. You look at the cave with people, the lagoons, you look at the case we're looking at Buffalo right now is very, very hard. One thing I said too, is where were the parents in this.

It seems pretty clear the parents were pretty much, you know, he was pretty much hiding everything from them. But it's the upbringing. How these people develop hate especially at that age. This had to start before he was 17. This is something that I think in him was brewing for years.

Behavioral scientists, I think, you know, criminal psychologists will have a field day with analyzing this. And that will happen because you always look at these things and after the dust settles, you look at what could you learn from this. What can you implement?

But again, the politicians. And I've got to be honest with you tonight. You know, the politicians are politicians. You know, it's easy to stand up there and say it stops here today. I've heard that probably the last five years, you know, 10 times. It's great but I believe it when I see it.

LEMON: Peter, thank you so much. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

AHEARN: No problem.



LEMON: So, it is a -- it's really hard to wrap your head around this story. As the Buffalo gunman is shooting and killing people inside the supermarket, a store employee called 911 but because she needed to speak in a whisper, she says the emergency dispatcher got angry with her and hung up. Now the dispatcher is suspended and may lose her job.

The employee joins me now. Her name is Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at the supermarket. Latisha, thank you so much for joining us. How are you?


LEMON: I'm doing very well. Thank you. Listen, let's start where you were when the shooting happened. Tell us how this started for you.

ROGERS: It was about 2.30 in the afternoon and I was at the service desk working with two other co-workers. I have just sent one of the young ladies on lunch and me and my other co-worker were working. I was actually on the phone with a customer. She had a customer at her window and then all of a sudden, you just heard these -- you heard and felt these really two large booms.

And we just kind of stopped and looked like, what was that? And then I looked up out the window and I saw this customer, this lady with her shopping cart and she stopped and she had this funny look on her face and then she just turned and ran and that was a few seconds. But it seemed way longer than that.

And the next thing you know, you just kept hearing boom. Boom. Boom. And you hear him coming inside the store and all we could do was drop to the ground. The young lady I was working with, she proceeded to open the door and she crawled out on her stomach. I couldn't move that fast, so I just laid it down flat on the floor and got against the counter and praying that he didn't see me.

And during this whole time, it's just constant, just shooting. He won't stop. It's constantly going. And I was trying to think fast and I'm like, I have to call 911. So, I reached into my back pocket because my phone was in my back pocket and I dialed 911 and it takes you to like operator you have to go like go to first.

And then they give you to operator. So, it sounded like he was going back to the store but he still, as this was all going, he was shooting and just shooting. It just sounds like you are in the middle of a battlefield.

And when the lady came on the phone, I proceeded to whisper because I didn't know how many people there were in the store or anything, I didn't want to be heard. And I said, ma'am, please send help. I gave her the address and I said, please send help. There is a person in the store shooting.

And she proceeded to say to me, what? I can't hear you. Why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper. They can't hear you. So, I said, ma'am, he is still in the store he still shooting. And at this time, he was shooting in the background.

And I could hear him, like you could hear the shooting coming back to the front, so out of nervousness, I drop my phone but it was in front of me. So, the phone never hung up and because I didn't have it to my ear, I couldn't hear what she was saying and she said something and then she hung up the phone.

So, I hurried up and put my phone on silent so my phone didn't ring out loud because my phone rings loud when it starts ringing. I didn't want to be heard. So, I had to think of the next person to call and I called my boyfriend. And I called him, and I said, babe, you got to call 911, there is a person in the store shooting but I'm saying it in the same whispering, talk to her with.

And he said, in the store? I said, yes, he is still in the store shooting, please call 911 and he says, OK. As soon as I hung up with him, a co-worker of mine facetiming and same thing with him, I whispered on the phone. He asked me, where are you? I said, I'm at the front desk and you have

to call 911. Please call 911. He said, I'm coming to get you, just get up and run out. And I said, I'm scared. I don't want to run. I think he's still in the store. And I said, just please call 911. He says, OK.

As I hang up with him, now, the shooting stops. The store is dead silent. The music -- I don't know how the music got turned off. But the music was off, that plays in the store and it's just a complete, eerie, creepy silence in the store. And you can hear him walking around --



ROGERS: -- and it sounds like he was walking like on glass. You could hear crunching under his feet and I could hear him like getting closer to where I was. And the work phone just kept ringing and kept ringing and it kept ringing and kept ringing. It wouldn't stop.

And he was talking, you could hear him talking. I didn't know if he was talking to somebody in the store. I didn't -- I didn't know what was going on. But you can hear -- I can't hear what he was saying but you can hear him talking and as I hear him getting closer, I just press myself like trying to as flat as I can on the ground and up against the counter praying to God that he wouldn't see me. And --


LEMON: Latisha, I want you to stand by because I'm going to take a commercial break. I want to hear the rest of your story when we come back from commercial.


LEMON: Can you please stay with us?


LEMON: OK. All right. Store worker called 911, she said the 911 operator hung up on her because she was whispering. We will continue with her story right after this. Don't go anywhere.