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Don Lemon Tonight

Kids Call 911 For Help; Uvalde Police Chief Refuse To Answer Follow-Up Questions; Uvalde Police Gave Misleading Information; No Security Guard To Defend Kids; Billions' Worth Investigation Found Nothing; Long Range Rockets On Its Way To Ukraine. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 31, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, thanks so much for watching. I'll be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Quite a different time, Laura, than when you and I went to elementary, junior high and high school, sort of the open environment that we had, the carefree environment. I don't remember ever having to worry about a mass shooter.

I do remember this. I'm older than you. We were at the end of the drills where you kind of had to get under the desk in case there was, you know, some sort of missile or something. But we didn't have to worry about someone coming in our school and shooting our kids or shooting us.

COATES: You know, I didn't hear part of what you said, Don, but I tell you, the idea of what we've been seeing just so unconscionable to think about, the idea that we've got the fear of thinking about a place that used to be just a school, a place where we're just looking for refuge for our children to learn.

I mean, the role of a school is no longer the same. The idea of looking at teachers and your parent-teacher conferences and wondering, you know, what's on the mind, what's in the heart, what's in the bravery of a teacher is just something that is so terrifying as a mother, terrifying as a human being.

You know, I honestly remember when my daughter was in kindergarten and she was so excited to show me her desk and I remember thinking, no, it's right in front of the door. No. These are things you think about and not wanting to move my child because that meant that someone else's kid might be in harm's way and wondering what you do with it.

This is what parents are thinking about in these days in the year of 2022 and the years before it and since Sandy Hook and since Columbine and beyond. These are the thoughts of parents, no longer the art project or what's on the bulletin board, it's will my child be safe from a school shooter.

LEMON: Yes. The children and the teachers. The teachers had face so much --


COATES: Of course.

LEMON: The teachers have had such a hard time lately --


LEMON: -- and everyone is complaining, the teachers shouldn't be teaching this and they shouldn't be doing this and I'm concerned. And now they are your kids' biggest protector so we need to honor our teachers.

COATES: Yes. Thank God you said that.

LEMON: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: That's important.


COATES: Thank you for saying that about the teachers. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, Laura. I'll see you tomorrow.


And listen, I'm going to play something for you, OK? It is a recorded message. I really want your attention at the top. So, I want your attention the entire show but I want your attention right now. I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a person on the other end of the phone. I'm going to play a phone call.

Because you're about to listen to Uvalde's school district's message to parents right in the middle of that mass shooting. Our affiliate, CNN affiliate KSAT obtained a recording what you are about to hear now. This is the first time that most parents learned what was happening at that school. Watch.


UNKNOWN: This is Anne Marie Espinoza with Uvalde CISD. Uvalde CISD parents, there is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered, it will be shared. The rest of the school district is under a secure status out of a precautionary measure to keep our students and staff safe. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding at this time and we will share more information as it becomes available. Thank you.


LEMON: Can you imagine getting that call? Chilling, isn't it, right? There's parents in the studio. Would you go?

UNKNOWN: We'd go.

LEMON: You would go to the school. You would go to the school. Everybody would go to the school. That's just, I mean, you're a parent. How couldn't you. Imagine how terrified you'd be. The call went out at about 12.17 local time. The gunman had been inside of that school for 44 minutes. More shots were fired at 12.21, law enforcement breached the door, killing the gunman at 12.50.

So, we cannot pretend that we don't know the truth here. The fact is that we live in a country where gun violence can and does happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Even as America mourns those 19 little kids, two teachers shot to death in their own classroom just a week ago today, there were 15 mass shootings just over the Memorial Day weekend that according to the gun violence archive. That's according to the gun violence archive, I should say, and the killing just goes on and on.

One person dead, three injured by gunfire today on the campus of Xavier University in New Orleans where a high school graduation had just taken place. We cannot pretend that we don't know the truth here.

You've got to move beyond the politics, beyond the left versus right and what this -- what the founding fathers meant by this and what they meant by that and what the Second Amendment means and we have to live in the present. And what will correct and make things better for the entire country, for the good of the country. That's what we have to look at.


The fact is that the United States is an outlier when it comes to guns. That is a fact. And I'm going to give you the evidence. This is the only country in the world where civilian guns outnumber people. Think about that. More guns than people.

Here are the numbers. There are 120 guns for every 100 Americans, 120 guns for every 100 Americans. That's according to the small arms survey. Thirty-four point seven per 100 people in Canada. Even Yemen. Yemen is the country in the middle of a seven-year armed conflict has just under 53 guns per 100 people.

We have roughly 4 percent of the world's population and an estimated 46 percent of all the civilian guns on the planet, nearly half. The United States has the highest firearms homicide rate in the developed world. In 2019 the number of deaths of gun violence was about four per 100,000 people. That's about 18 times the average rate in other developed countries.

So, we cannot pretend that it's not an American problem. It is. We cannot pretend that it's not a gun problem. What is the mechanism? Guns. Yes, mental health issues and other issues as well but we cannot make decisions about how we move forward without factoring in the actual mechanism of the killing, which is a gun. It's preposterous if we don't do that. We're pretending.

And those of you -- those who are telling you that you shouldn't be talking about guns and sensible gun legislation and America's obsession with guns, they are lying to you. It is heart breaking what's happening.

I want you to listen to the toll of gun violence in America. CNN obtaining a Facebook live video outside Robb Elementary School, this is during the shooting, including what appears to be a radio call of a terrified child saying that they had been shot. Watch.


UNKNOWN: Are you injured?

UNKNOWN: I got shot.


UNKNOWN: Where? Where?

UNKNOWN: A kid got shot?


UNKNOWN: They shot a kid.


LEMON: So, CNN cannot confirm that was a child's voice and it is not clear at what point during the shooting the video was recorded. In the midst of all of this, it seems that we can't get a straight answer out of the investigators.

First, they said that a teacher propped open a door that was supposed to be locked. Now they tell the Associated Press that the teacher closed the door once she realized that there was a shooter on campus but it didn't lock. That as officials say that the chief of police for the Uvalde school district, Pete Arredondo who made the decision that officers should not immediately breach the classroom where the shooter was barricaded has not responded to a request for a follow up interview with investigators.

So, there's a whole lot to discuss in the hours ahead on this program and beyond. I want to bring in now CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live for us in Uvalde, Texas.

Shimon, good evening to you. Thanks for joining once again. Authorities are now backing off of that earlier claim by police that the back door where the gunman entered through had been propped open by a teacher. What are they saying now?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, now, Don, after Friday and for days telling us that this school teacher left the door open and that's how the gunman got inside the school, they're now saying that she closed the door, that the door was closed but that it didn't lock.

All of this information, Don, first came to light through an attorney for this teacher who spoke to a local newspaper and then just some time after that really earlier tonight the authorities here confirming that saying that they obtained new video, new information that in fact confirms that story.

LEMON: Shimon, tonight we're learning that the chief Pete Arredondo of the school district police was sworn in as a city council member. What are you learning?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. So, we were basically told that -- given the impression that given that there were funerals today out of respect for the families, that that was not going to happen. Well, Don, it turns out that it did happen. We're just learning of this in the last few minutes here.

The mayor's office putting out a statement saying that he was sworn in. Of course, he was dually elected. This is something that they have to do, no indications that he's planning to resign in any way. But the mayor's office gave us the impression, certainly yesterday that this was not going to happen.


And then tonight, we are learning that he was sworn in. Keep in mind, this was supposed to be a public ceremony, meaning that we were going to be allowed there. We were not. We were not told that this was happening until this press release came out. We don't know when exactly the swearing in took place but it happened at some point today, Don.

So, of course, you know, the concern here being, you know, why obviously we weren't told. The other thing that's interesting is that the police here, the investigators from the Department of Public Safety that are running this investigation, they have wanted to follow up and question -- they wanted to follow up with this chief, which chief Arredondo, they have been asking him to come in for interviews, for follow up interviews and so far, Don, he has refused.

LEMON: Shimon Prokupecz, reporting for us from Uvalde. Once again, Shimon, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Now I want to bring in Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez. He represents Uvalde in the state legislature.

Senator, thank you for joining us once again. I just want to start by getting your reaction to this reporting that Chief Arredondo is yet to respond to investigator's requests for a follow up interview that they made several days ago.

ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Yes, obviously concerned, Don. You know, this whole investigation seems to have been, I mean, for lack of a better word, botched. I mean, we keep getting different reports. I'm the one, I'm not defending Arredondo at all but I have -- that I know him and I'm not defending him.

But I feel like there's a lot of finger pointing here, I feel like just about every agency has some responsibility to bear here, no protocols were filed -- followed that seemed to make any sense.

LEMON: So, you say there's a lot, you believe there's a lot of blame to go around. You don't think that it's just him. Because he's getting, he's under a lot of pressure. He was sworn in -- go on. Say. Go on.

GUTIERREZ: Now, look, we've got DPS telling us it was that guy. The fact is we have this operation lone star that has 60, 70 officers in the area. Where were they? Did they go in? Where was the sheriff's office? Did they go in? Where was the police? What time did they go in?

I know, we know that at 12.03 there was 19 officers and none of those 19 officers went in. I've been told that two of those officers were DPS, the state troopers. I'm waiting on a full and final report that I'm told I will receive on Friday.

I suggested today to Colonel McCraw that I would like to see it sooner than Friday. It seems to me you've got enough manpower to able to put that report together. The timelines don't make sense, the report about the teacher didn't make sense. They had the videos. They know she removed the lock and closed it. And I now find that there's another door that wasn't working properly.

LEMON: You said you know -- say again about the lock.

GUTIERREZ: We are told now that the door -- that she closed the door, she removed the rock that she had placed there before he came in. The video indicates that she closed the door properly but it didn't -- it didn't engage, it didn't lock.

We are being told that there was another door in the building that didn't lock properly. There's a lot of responsibility here. I know that playing Monday morning quarterback doesn't really help and none of us are police officers, I get all of that, but at the end of the day, we have to make sure that this type of response never happens again, that it doesn't happen to any school district anywhere in Texas and anywhere in this United States.

LEMON: I do think the families deserve answers, though.

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely.

LEMON: So, I think it's important in that respect.


LEMON: You said you hope to get this by Friday. Do you think you'll get it then?

GUTIERREZ: Well, every time he's told me I'm going to get a report I've gotten it. And so, I don't know why it should take so long, quite frankly. I mean, I've seen some of the work product before and how they're collecting it and I've seen all of the officers that they have engaged on it so it would seem to me that I could get it earlier. I'm not suggesting that anybody's stalling here. This is a very

complicated deal. I get it but at the same time it really isn't. Right? It's looking at videos, cameras that were around the school, piecing pictures together, reports, pictures that family members took from the outside, you could see which officers were aware.

And by the way, we have enough technology, GPS technology to place every one of those troopers where they were at the time.

LEMON: You know, I play that video that captures what appears to be a radio call from a student inside the school where we can hear someone say I got shot, I mean, it's not clear precisely when this happened during the shooting, but we do know that there were students who needed medical attention while police waited. What's your reaction to that?

GUTIERREZ: Yes. I mean, listen, there was, at 12.03 there was 19 officers in the hallway. Nine-one-one calls are coming in. Where is -- where are the radio transmissions? I've asked for that today.


Where are the 911 -- why is DPS not getting the 911 calls? Did Mr. Arredondo was he the only one that was listening to the 911 calls where kids were saying please send the police? Did the sheriff listen to those calls? Did the police, did the troopers? Nobody is going in when kids are calling and saying there's a bad guy in here, I'm still alive, eight of my friends are still alive and nobody goes in.

I don't -- this is a complete failure on every level. It's just astounding to me that we're -- that we're here in this space right now.

LEMON: Listen, I was surprised that you said that the president raised the possibility of totally demolishing and rebuilding Robb Elementary School. The reason I'm surprise is because after a lot of these shootings I wonder how students can go back into those buildings. Right? I mean, this is -- this is what they did in Sandy Hook following the massacre there. Do you think the community needs that, need a fresh start by doing that?

GUTIERREZ: The parents, they don't want to send their kids back to school either. The kids that are alive. The parents that have passed on still have siblings that would have to go there, they don't want to have their kids go there. It's just very traumatic for them.

What does it say about our country that we have a federal grant for schools that are similarly devastated through violent crime? What does it say about us? Up to $45 million grant. It's great that it exists. How pathetic that we have to have it exist.

And how pathetic that lawmakers -- because if you really want to object about accountability, talk about everybody in Austin, every Republican in Austin that has every -- that had every chance to do something about this and done nothing. Seven mass shootings under Greg Abbott's belt. Seven. And the only

thing that he's been able to do for us is $100 million in securing and hardening schools. He just spent $4 billion on a Trumped-up border policy that doesn't work, 40 times more he spent on the border than he spent on school hardening.

LEMON: My question -- my last question to you is why is it that since, you know, you're involved, you represent this district, that all of the fixes for this or the solutions don't involve guns it seems from the right, from Greg Abbott and others. It involves mental health. It involves guns if you want to put guns in the hands of teachers and staff or if you want to put more officers at the school but none of it involves the access to guns in this country. What is that?

GUTIERREZ: Yes, I guess it involves an exorcism as well because it's always evil. And certainly, it's evil. Certainly, it's mental health. Well, if it's a mental health problem, fund it better. But it absolutely is having militarized weapons in the hands of 18-year-olds.

I have Republican constituents calling me saying, this makes no sense. You have to be 21 to buy a handgun. How can you buy an AR-15 at the age of 18? It is astounding to me.

There is three fixes to that. Our gun-related fixes. And listen, I own guns. I don't own an AR-15. We can fix this problem to a certain degree in Texas. We can have wait periods. We can certainly raise the age and we can certainly create -- we have enough money to create our own Texas-size ATF. Call it whatever you want. I don't care.

During that waiting period, you can have state agents that go and interview people to determine if they're capable and of the right kind of mindset to be able to bear these weapons.

LEMON: Senator, thank you.

GUTIERREZ: We do it with (Inaudible). We do it for liquor licenses, hell, we do it for driver licenses. Just makes zero sense.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: More questions tonight about the police response in Uvalde. What's supposed to happen in an active shooter situation. What is supposed to happen? We're going to ask an expert, a former SWAT team commander. That's next.



LEMON: Well, tonight we are learning the Uvalde school district police chief who made the decision to hold back police officers from taking down the gunman for more than hour is not responding to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas rangers who are investigating the shooting and the police response.

I want to bring in now Brian Higgins, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice right here in New York City. He is the former police chief of Bergen County, New Jersey.

Thank you so much. Why isn't he responding?

BRIAN HIGGINS, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: That's a very good question. He is still an employee of the police department. He is still the police chief and where is that title? It's my understanding he could be ordered to speak.

LEMON: Why do you think he's not doing it?

HIGGINS: I think he probably has legal representation that tells him to hold off on answering questions.

LEMON: I played at the beginning of the show the recorded phone message parents got 44 minutes into the mass shooting that their kids were in the school, and that there was a gunman and not to come to the school. Can you imagine if you're the person on the other end of that phone call?

HIGGINS: So, this question comes up quite often when working with organizations when they're planning their response to active shooters. And we get questions from parents who were in, let's say houses of worship. If I'm upstairs in the sanctuary and I hear there's an active shooter and my child is downstairs in some sort of service. I'm not going to not go get my child.

So, we have to plan for that. My child, the same thing happened recently in the sense that we got a message there was something going on at another school unrelated to my son's but as a precautionary method, they are going to just lock the school down. I put my gun on, got in my car and drove past the school two or three times.

LEMON: It's a natural inclination.

HIGGINS: Of course, it is. If you're a parent, yes.


LEMON: Let's look at the timeline because it is troubling. And we'll it up on the screen. The suspect entered the school 11.33 and began shooting. Police officers start to enter the school just two minutes later. As many as 19 officers are in the hallway at 12.03 p.m.

And then 911 calls start coming in from inside the classroom and then at 12.15 the border patrol tactical team arrives. At 12.16, the same girl from inside the classroom says eight to nine students are still alive. At 12.21 the suspect fires again.

And I'm jumping ahead here but there were more than 911 calls, there were shots fired and it's not until 12.50 that the law enforcement that they unlock the door and they kill the gunman. Children were pleading for help. Parents were outside, we understand, wanting to go in. What happened?

HIGGINS: So, we have a lot of information yet to be delivered. And quite frankly, the information we have doesn't appear to be credible. Every time we get a piece of information, it changes. We didn't get much information about how he entered the school. And then we were told that there was a door propped open, now we're told the door was closed.

So, there is a lot of information yet to be delivered. But you know, I hear this discussion about whether or not it's an active shooter or if it's a barricade. That should really not matter. If you look at it as purely a barricade situation when the police are stacked up out at the door and they are formulating a plan to go in, usually the standard is when you hear shooting or you know there's a victim, you expedite that plan.

LEMON: That's the training. What does the training tell you? Expedite the plan, does it tell you to take that whatever the situation is, take him down or to get rid of the threat?

HIGGINS: Yes, so in this case, you know, and I don't want to get caught up in titles. But if he's barricaded with hostages at this point and he's armed and there are people in there, quite often we may slow it down so that we can have a better plan to go in.

But as soon as you know there are wounded children and then you hear a shot, if that is the information, then there usually is a hasty team right outside the door. So as their tactical team is getting ready, their hasty team is right at the door. If something happens like this, they have orders to go in.

LEMON: Mr. former police chief, what is this -- what should we be looking a the now. Because I know you have kids, I'm sure you study this. Is there a solution?

HIGGINS: Well, you mean as far as active shooters? I think --


LEMON: As far as active shooters and preventing this from ever happening again. Yes.

HIGGINS: So, we throw everything on the table. I think we need, and I've seen it already. Those who have their beliefs are already in the corners, right? And they all say to the other side we want you compromise. I think we put everything on the team, we include everybody from educators, to law enforcement, to security professionals, to mental health professionals, to even people of faith.

Those faith leaders come in and we look at this. You know, I've heard things like firearms laws. I think we consider that. If it was me and I own firearms, if you told me that I gave up my firearms tomorrow I could stop school shootings, I'd give my guns up. So, I think we need to put everything on the table whatever that looks like. I also hear discussion about, I don't want my school, my kid's school

to look like a jail. I think we short change ourselves as a society to think that we can't come up with technology to harden our schools while at the same time, make them look like they are inviting and encourage creativity.

LEMON: Thank you, Brian.

HIGGINS: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: I appreciate it. Everything on the table.

HIGGINS: Everything needs to be on the table.

LEMON: That's a good start. I appreciate it. The shooting in Uvalde came right on the heels of a deadly shooting in Buffalo where hero security guard and a former police officer took on the gunman. He was the good guy with a gun, right? Well, his son joins me next to discuss what it feels like to be grieving his own dad and watching this happen again in Texas.



LEMON: Communities all across the U.S. continue to suffer from gun violence with over a dozen mass shootings since the killings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. One shooting after the next. We're still grieving one, then another one happens, right?

Shots just rang out again while we're still reporting on the one the former -- the one that happened previously. And no one is more impacted than the families of the victims, including the family of Aaron Salter Jr., the retired police lieutenant who was killed by a gunman who walked into a Buffalo, New York supermarket and killed 10 people. He was a security guard in the store who confronted the shooter but was fatally shot himself.

His son, who I spoke with just following that tragedy is now part of a community that nobody wants to be a part of. Families who lose their loved ones to gun violence. And now, 21 families in Texas, tragically, part of that same community.

So, joining me now is Aaron Salter III. Aaron, I appreciate you joining us again. I mean, it feels like we just talked, because we did.


LEMON: And now --

SALTER: We did, yes.

LEMON: -- this happens. How are you?

SALTER: I'm doing okay. LEMON: You just had the funeral for your dad, right?

SALTER: Yes, I did. Yes.



SALTER: It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was -- there are so many people there. There's so many police officers there. It was just amazing that we sent him home the right way.


SALTER: For sure. Yes.

LEMON: You say that you got a call from a friend after the school shooting in Uvalde, and what did they say about that tragedy in your dad?

SALTER: Yes, so I had a buddy call me from work, and he told me that he was watching the news, and I don't know who exactly it was, but he said they were talking about a shooting in Uvalde, and there are saying that they wish they had a cop like my dad to be there to protect them. And maybe not a lot of people would've gotten killed. Not a lot of kids would've gotten killed if they had someone like my dad there. And that really, that really made me, it struck a nerve.

LEMON: Well, listen, you know, the shooter there was, you know, he had a lot of ammunition, he had a big gun, he had body armor. And you said something on the show with me after your dad, you said if your -- your dad was outgunned, and if he hadn't been outgunned -- he wasn't evenly matched or something. What did you say to me?

SALTER: I just said he wasn't evenly matched. I said, you know, if he had half the stuff that that guy came in the store with, it would have been a fair fight. It would have been a fair fight. And it would just wasn't, you know, he went there with, you know, his service weapon and the love he had in his heart to protect everyone else and unfortunately he didn't make it out alive.

LEMON: Having said what you just said, many times I speak with police officers and they believe that they are outgunned, right, by just people on the street and people they're going up against, even if it's mass shootings. And listen, your -- from a member -- your dad was a member of law enforcement. So, I'm sure you believed strongly in the second amendment. But what do you make of all of this talk about what should happen, what do we need to do now, what should lawmakers be doing? Talk to me about that, Aaron.

SALTER: I mean, I just, you know, you want to see something go on with, you know, with how these shootings are going on and how fast they're happening. You would think that you would hear something on the news that would come out and say, hey, we're going to do something, we're going to stop this or we're going to stop the sale of these weapons or, you know, you can't be 18 to buy an assault rifle, or anything.

Anything that you can do to combat this gun violence. I think I saw something in Canada they were doing something where they are banning the sale of firearms.


LEMON: They're restricting --

SALTER: They didn't do --

LEMON: They're considering restricting firearms for people -- handgun, excuse me, for people there.


LEMON: Listen, I don't think that, I don't know if that will even happen in the United States --

SALTER: Right.

LEMON: -- but to restrict assault-style weapons or at least raise the age of those who are able to buy them legally I think is something that we should look at in this country.

SALTER: Yes, I do, too. And you know, I don't know, the Uvalde incident and the one in Buffalo, both stories have a little piece that has to do with social media, whether people want to realize it or not. You know, and I feel like if people can just be a little bit more vigilant as well with if they see something online that's not right or someone messages and about something that might not be right. Like, do whatever you have to do to, you know, raise awareness, call 911, it doesn't matter, or do something. You know, it goes hand in hand.

LEMON: Yes. Aaron, we've been thinking about you and we're going to be thinking specifically about you because Father's Day is coming up in just a few weeks and, you know, people lost their loved ones. It's going to be, it's a tough time for everyone, moms, dads, kids. So we'll be thinking about you.


LEMON: Aaron, thank you. You be in touch, OK? You take care of yourself.

SALTER: Thanks. Yes, we'll do. Yes.

LEMON: Thank you.

SALTER: Thank you.

LEMON: So, there is a major defeat for the investigation of the investigators. Special counsel John Durham coming up empty after three years of looking for wrong doing in the Trump Russia probe. We're going to tell you what happened in court today, that's next.



LEMON: The investigation of the investigators coming up empty today. That after the first trial of special counsel John Durham's investigation. He spent three years looking for wrongdoing in the Trump Russia probe, and today Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann was acquitted of lying to the FBI.

Joining me now CNN senior legal analyst Preet Bharara. Preet, good to see you. Thanks for joining.


LEMON: So, this is the first trial in the Durham investigation which has gone on now, as I say for three years, it cost millions of dollars. What do they have to show for it at this point?

BHARARA: Well, not much. you know, I've overseen trials where the result was not what I wanted when I was United States attorney. In this case it looks like it was thin. It looks like the jury didn't take a very long period of time to determine that the right result was an acquittal, six or seven hours at the most after a trial that went on for some days.

It seems like there was a hard road for the government to plow with respect to showing that there was a false statement made, and then probably even more importantly in this case based on the facts as I understand them, it was very difficult for them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the misstatement or the false statement that was alleged to have been made was material in any way.


In other words, did it derail the investigation, did it cause investigators do something differently from what they otherwise would have done. What I would like to know about this, by the way, is the Durham investigation was begun by and sanctioned by the prior administration, Donald Trump and his attorney general, Bill Barr.

And what I think is notable that I have not heard a lot of talk about in the last couple of days, and certainly today with the conviction, I mean the acquittal, is that he was allowed to go and continue his investigation. Even if there was a lot of critics on the Democratic side, on the pro Biden side, saying that this was a witch hunt, language that we heard used by the other side, and he was allowed to continue his investigation and see it to its conclusion with respect to Michael Sussmann. And a jury spoke, and I think that John Durham said the right things.

You know, we sometimes may disagree with the results of juries. But we respect what the jury's verdict was. And we move on.

LEMON: Yes. But it's interesting because we have had so many of these, right, that turned out to be nothing, right? Even a lot of conspiracy theories, right-wing media makes such a big deal out of them. And then it turns out to be nothing. And then they just don't talk about it again as if it didn't happen.

BHARARA: Yes. I don't know how the other network is covering this because they have been breathlessly reporting about it. Because they thought it was a big bombshell. And it was the first step in leading towards a further inquiry and maybe another investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Look, I think that my perspective as a lawyer, and someone who used to be a prosecutor is when partisan folks follow trials, they don't really follow them in good faith. They often don't follow them at all. They want a result to be had at the end of the case, lock him up, lock her up, whatever the case may be. And then they cry foul at the end of the case if it's not the outcome that they wanted.

It's very ironic I think not too long ago, Don, you and I were talking about Clarence Thomas giving a speech talking about how people should accept outcomes that they do not like. Well, this is another example of an outcome, and it was done fairly, and squarely, a jury in Washington, D.C., and a lot of people who were in the party and on the side of the ideological spectrum that Justice Thomas is on, don't abide the outcome. If it's good for one side, it should be good for the other side as well.

LEMON: Let's talk more about the Supreme Court. That is where the investigation -- the search -- they're investigating the source of that leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. They are asking clerks to turn over their phone records. How rare is that? And what does it tell you about the investigation? Anything?

BHARARA: Well, this is like many things that you and I have discussed over the past couple of years. The response to something we describe as being unprecedented and highly unusual, never happened before. I'm not aware of any time ever in history, even since the advent of cell phones, you didn't have that a hundred years ago, where people have been asked who worked for the court to give over that private information.

But it's also true that's in response to something that is unprecedented and has never happened before, namely the leak of a draft opinion. So, I understand the response, I get it. I'm not sure how effective it will be. You know, among other r things, they can only make those requests of people at the court, they can't legally under the law, effectively make those requests of the people who published the report.

The easiest thing to do would be ask the political reporters who had the bylines who gave this information. Case closed. You can't do that because they won't comply because there is a reporter's privilege recognizing many jurisdictions.

It's also the case that if it was a clerk or some employee of the court, who engaged in this conduct, everyone who works at the court, staff and the lawyers both, are really, really, really smart lawyers.

It's probably the hardest legal job to get in the United States of America to be in a position to clerk for a justice of the Supreme Court. So, they are not dumb. If they chose to do something that has never been done in the history of the court. You would imagine that it would be fairly clever and wily about it, and there would not be an electronic record. They would not have e-mailed it to a reporter, or texted it to a reporter.

My understanding is, there were about 75 people who are privy to the draft opinion, many of whom had actual hard copy versions of it. And it's a much easier matter to read to someone, a reporter or to provide to someone, a copy of the opinion that leaves no electronic trail. So, you know, I think that it is an unnerving thing for people who are employed by the court. I don't know if it will bear any fruit.

LEMON: We'll see. We hear that some of the clerks are so concerned that they're hiring lawyers, Preet. Thank you. I appreciate that.

BHARARA: Yes. Of course.

LEMON: President Biden is sending new rockets to Ukraine. Rockets that go farther than any others the U.S. has sent so far. Plus, another wrong answer from the Uvalde police. What they are now correcting, that straight ahead.



LEMON: President Biden extending a big hand to Ukraine tonight, writing an op-ed in the New York Times saying that the U.S. will provide Ukraine with more advanced rocket systems ammunitions, enabling them to strike key Russian targets on the battlefield.

Senior administration officials also saying that the U.S. will send equipment that will allow Ukraine to fire rockets at greater distances than any weapons they've received to date, although not at the systems maximum range.

The president reiterating that United States will not send troops to Ukraine, but will work with allies to strengthen NATO's eastern flank. And with Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine now in its fourth month, his forces appear to be making new advances in the eastern part of the country.

An air strike on chemical plant is sending a massive gas cloud into the sky.

First, they blame a teacher for propping the door open in the school in Uvalde that allowed the shooter entry. But now the police are correcting themselves. Stay with us.



LEMON: We begin with new developments tonight in the investigation to the elementary school shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Officials are now admitting the teacher who propped open the door before the shooting actually closed it before the gunman entered but that's completely different from what the public was told just days ago.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live for us in Uvalde tonight. Omar, good evening to you. This is another major contradiction from officials. What's the very latest?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. Well, on the investigative side this is another discrepancy of what police initially told us versus what we find out to be reality. So, police initially said that this teacher propped open a back door that was supposed to be locked the day of the shooting and we are now learning from authorities she actually closed that door when she realized there was an active shooter but it didn't lock.


Now, this discrepancy is coming as we are now starting to see the first of what will be many funerals here in this community.