Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

President Biden Called On Congress To Act; Buffalo Shooter Pleaded Not Guilty; Police Departments With Different Approach To Shooting Incidents; Presence Of Mind And Training Is Of Great Importance; January 6th Committee Kicks Off Its First Hearing; Plan Without Perseverance Is Useless. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 22:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching. I'll be back tomorrow night. Don Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I have to say, well, good evening by the way.

COATES: Hello.

LEMON: I have to be hopeful about that there -- there finally maybe some action on -- and I think -- I think you have to be careful about what you call it, saying gun control because people don't like to be controlled. Maybe gun limits that give us speed limit or something, you know, something that is more palatable.

But I think because of the -- what is happening in the country and the rapid succession of all of these shootings and the young people who are dying, I think that there will be some movement. I'm hopeful, I have to be hopeful. I've been through this before, you've been through it before. I thought something would happen after Sandy Hook, but now, you know, fingers crossed and let's pray that this time there's a difference.

COATES: I, you know, I so agree. And I think, you know, I cannot allow myself to be pessimistic, because that I'm resigned to that to what's happening. And I allow people of an exit ramp to say, well this is the way it's always going to be -- and you know the power of insertion, a place like Washington, D.C., the way things have always been that's how it's going to keep going.

We really can't be resigned to that. But that also doesn't mean that you're going -- we're going to be naive to just think that if you say there's a meeting happening behind closed doors then everything is going to change. I'd like specificity, because I would like safety as well. And so, the two go hand in hand to me.

LEMON: I think that the midterms will be huge.


LEMON: And I think people will be voting on this issue in the midterms. And I mean conservatives, because I've been watching -- look, I'd like to stay away from social media as much as I can, especially Twitter, but I've been looking at some of the things from conservative members of Congress. Conservative senators, and they have been speaking to their constituents and their constituents are saying we have to do something.


LEMON: And that's why I'm hopeful about it. Because I think if their jobs are on the line come November, that's going to put some pressure behind them to move.

COATES: Look, I really hope so. Although, you know, as you mentioned, just the idea that if we're going to spend all the time wiping over the fragility of the right word choice --

LEMON: Right.

COATES: -- as opposed to protection, we've got a lot of work to do. But maybe, and I hope, because I'm an optimist like you are, I hope this time it's different, because I don't know how much more I can take where the nation's heart can take watching another closed casket of a child.

LEMON: Agreed. I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks, Laura. Have a good night.



And Joe Biden said -- he said, you know, what -- to be honest, just about all of us are feeling right now. Your feeling, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what your political stripe is. It doesn't matter if you watch me, if you watch the other networks, or whatever. Right? If you watch conservative media, it doesn't a matter. We're all feeling the same thing deep down, right? Enough.

Joe Biden says he's had enough. The president said he's had enough. You've had enough. I've had enough. We've all have had enough. Enough of the gun violence epidemic that is killing Americans day after day after day. Doctors and their patients, shoppers in a supermarket. And it is still shocking to say it, little kids and their teachers.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Over the last two decades, more school aged children have died from guns then on- duty police officers and active-duty military combined. Think about that. More kids than on-duty cops killed by guns. More kids than soldiers killed by guns. For God's sake. How much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough? Enough.


LEMON: He is right. The president calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and failing a ban, he wants to raise the age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21. Strengthening background checks. Red flag laws. And addressing mental health. And he has this message for the senate.


BIDEN: I support the bipartisan efforts that include small groups of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way. But, my God, the fact that a majority of the Senate Republicans don't want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find it unconscionable. We can't fail the American people again.


LEMON: So here is the question. The question is, can the president convince the country to do something this time? Really, it's up to the voters. Can the voters convince lawmakers to do something this time? That's what really up to.

There are so many mass shootings in America that it's really hard to keep track. Just yesterday, four people, to doctors, a receptionist and a patient were shot to death in a Tulsa medical building. The gunman, a disgruntled patient of one of the doctors, killed. Also dying.



WENDELL FRANKLIN, POLICE CHIEF, TULSA POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have also found a letter on the suspect, which made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way. He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.


LEMON: And sadly, this is something that I can say about almost all of these shootings. Pretty much all of them, right? It's become the script now.

The gunman brought an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle from a gun store at 2 p.m. local time. It's always a gunman brought an AR-style rifle to the shooting. And they bought it most of the time legally. Less than three hours after he bought that gun, the killing started.

And nine days since Uvalde were 19 children and two of their teachers were shot to death in their classroom, this country has had at least 20 more mass shootings. Look at the map. All over the U.S. They stretch from coast to coast.

Let's not forget it was an even three weeks ago that we learned the horrible news that 10 people had been shot to death in a supermarket in a mostly black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. Today the suspected gunman -- suspected gunman pleading not guilty to murder and hate crime charges, as well as domestic terror charges. If convicted, he faces life without parole. Let's bring in our folks who can talk about this and help us get to at

least educate us on what is going on here. I want to bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins, she is at the White House tonight. CNN political commentator, Paul Begala, and former Republican Congressman, Charlie Dent.

Good evening to all of you. I wish it was under better circumstances that we are seeing each other and talking about this.

Kaitlan, President Biden was forceful tonight. He is saying enough. He wants Congress to act now. What does he want to see happen exactly?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you notice he kept using the word enough repeatedly. He kept coming back to that in his speech. But he did get specific at times, Don, talking about what he wants to see Congress do, because that was really the crux of the speech, is what ultimately is going to come out of it.

And a lot of things were what he had said he wanted to see done when it came to guns before. Banning on -- banning assault weapons, reinforcing those background checks, those universal background checks. Red flag laws. Laws when it comes to storage so then people are potentially held liable if they're not stored properly.

He also wants the liability for gun manufacturers to be changed. Mental health also part of that as well. He talked about that at the end. Saying it was such a big issue here. Don, one thing that really stood out to me, though, is something we don't often hear from the president that seem new tonight.

That he also came back to, time and time again was saying if there's not going to be an assault weapons ban, he wants to see the age required to purchase an assault weapon from raise from 18 to 21. He said that that just made sense. He said basically there's no argument in his mind against it.

And I think there's some pushback to what you heard from Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill this week where some of them, people like Senator Tom Tillis questioned that idea saying, well, if you're 18 and you're in the military you can be in possession of one of these weapons, but the president said he believes that's different. You are trained then by the military. Or being trained by the best experts in the world. So, he kept coming back to raising the age required to buy an assault weapon from 18 to 21.

LEMON: It's interesting, because you don't have to actually carry them on the street if you are a member of the military. You can use them in a war zone without using them here when you're in the United States, perhaps, unless you're training, or what have you.

Charlie, listen, President Biden, he knows it's an uphill battle in the Senate, he knows he needs 10 Republican senators. But what I want to know from you is, are there any Republican senators, let alone 10 who would face consequences from the voters if they don't act on guns?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don, I actually think that they can do something here, and as Kaitlan pointed out, some of these proposals like the red flag laws, Senator Rick Scott, when he was governor of Florida, he enacted a red flag law to allow police to go to the courts to prevent dangerous individual from owning a gun.

So, I think that's something they can do right now. I also I happen to agree that I think raising the age from 18 to 21 is not unreasonable. We already have limitations on purchasing handguns for those who are 18. They can't buy until they're 21 as well.

Universal background checks that include private sales. That's something that is broadly supported in a state like mine in Pennsylvania. We voted for a bill like that in the 90s where the Republican governor, the NRA supported it -- that's a very reasonable thing.

But between universal background checks, red flag laws, raising the age, maybe codify the banning of the bump stock, those are things that can be done and I don't think these senators, Republican or Democrat would pay a political price for supporting them, because those proposals are broadly supported by the American people.


LEMON: My question, though, Charlie, are there 10 senators? Republican senators?

DENT: You know, it's hard to say. I think -- I think there are some. I mean, I can look down that list now I see Susan Collins. I see Pat Toomey. Maybe Rick Scott on some of these, and there are probably some others. I don't want to say that there are 10, but I think you can get darn close to 10 on some of those proposals.

I don't, again, I don't think they are outrageous. I think bump stock, I think it's already administratively banned. What's so hard about doing this thing legislatively given what we've seen with the bump stock in Las Vegas many years ago. So, I think it's tight right now. I'm not sure the votes are there yet. But the public pressure, there may be.

LEMON: Yes. I remember covering Las Vegas and the action that they took on bump stocks. People were very happy about that. No one faced any consequences, or suffered any consequences, I should say. At least politically --

DENT: Right.

LEMON: -- for supporting that ban. So, Paul, some people have been very optimistic about the chance for change. And you heard Laura and I speaking moments ago. We have to be optimistic, right? Let's hope something happens. Are you one of those people? Are you like us?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm with the Prophet Zechariah, called the prisoner of hope. I have no choice but to hope because I love my country and I believe in it.

LEMON: Right. BEGALA: But to answer the question you ask Charlie, the answer is no one. I've been at this for a very long time. I cannot think of a single Republican who ever lost an election by being against gun safety laws. I can show you 19 who lost their seats because the Brady bill, the assault weapon ban -- which by the way, Ronald Reagan supported.

But at least 19 of the 52 Democrats we lost after that assault weapon and Brady bill were because of guns. So, you're exactly right. The fault (Inaudible) non in our storage, it lies in ourselves. The entire House. And we can vote them out if we want to, and yet the very same polls that say everybody wants gun safety laws also say everybody wants Republicans to take over the Congress.

So, Americans are going to have to decide. You know, GOP stands for guns over people. And if people don't lift up the ballot box, we are just going to keep carrying coffins.

LEMON: What is that for -- you just said, the GOP stands for guns over people. Right? I can hear that coming up in the election.

BEGALA: Right.

LEMON: Is that a campaign ad for Democrats?

BEGALA: I hope so. I hope so. The president hinted at that tonight when he said make this outrage central to your vote. That's the problem. Everybody says we need it. The only people who vote on it are the people at the most extreme fringe. Again, I say this is a gun owner and a hunter. And most gun owners and hunters support exactly what President Biden is trying to do.

The problem is not the NRA. It's not. It is that Republican politicians are so fearful of their base, and we, the people have to show them that if they vote against protecting our kids and our cops and our neighborhoods, and our churches, and our synagogues, and our grocery stores, if they vote against gun safety we're going to vote them out of the office.

LEMON: Paul, Charlie, Kaitlan, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

BEGALA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: In Uvalde there are still more questions than answers about the police response at the school shooting that killed 19 little kids and two of their teachers right in their classroom. And authorities don't seem to want to answer those questions.


UNKNOWN: We are going to get a report on Friday.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: The latest on the investigation or you're going to (Inaudible). There's a lot of information that needs to come out. Ma'am?




LEMON: At least 233 mass shootings in the U.S. this year so far. 233. And it's only 153 days into the year. Just yesterday, in Tulsa, police say a man with an AR-15 style rifle killed four people in a medical facility before taking his own life, an in Uvalde, an 18-year-old also with an AR-15 style rifle going on a rampage at an elementary school, killing 19 children and two of their teachers.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Tulsa, Ed Lavandera in Uvalde. Good evening, gentlemen, to both of you. Gary, to you first. Tulsa police very transparent today at a press conference. Just one day after that mass shooting there. What did they say about the shooter's motive?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we learned that despite the fact that the shooter killed himself, they know why he did what he did. They found a letter on his body after they recovered the body, and the letter talked about how much he disliked his back surgeon because he was still in extreme pain from back surgery. And talked about how he was going to target his back surgeon, and anyone else who got in his way.

Indeed, three other people got in his way. A total of two doctors were killed, the receptionist in the office, and then a patient. And this man, been married for 54 years, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, Vietnam veteran. Just horrible how this whole thing turned down.

LEMON: I understand, Gary, that they laid out the whole timeline of how what happened. And how the response was conducted. Right?

TUCHMAN: Right, so what police learned this past Sunday, this gunman brought a handgun and then yesterday, he bought an AR-15 style rifle. And then a few hours ago went to the building right behind me and carried out these killings. We also learned other things about the timeline. Listen.


FRANKLIN: Officers entered the building on the first floor and made their way to the second floor based on the information they received. While on the second floor of the vast building, officers began yelling Tulsa police! This is something that we trained to do.

As officers were calling out Tulsa police, and advancing towards a suspect location they heard a gunshot. We believe that was the final gunshot with the suspect taking his own life. The gun shot was at 4.58 p.m., approximately 39 seconds after the first officers entered the building.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [22:20:02]

TUCHMAN: Police confirmed that after the initial 911 call, they got inside this medical building within three minutes. If they didn't get there that quickly, they got there in four minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. We have no idea how many more people could have been killed. Don?

LEMON: My goodness. You know, Ed, usually as time goes on with these shootings you learn more, right, you get more answers. But there are even more questions it seems the longer this goes on about the police response to the school shooting in Uvalde, but very few answers, very few answers.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's actually getting much more difficult, as every day goes by. You know, the Texas Department of Public Safety said yesterday that they would no longer be answering questions. They deferred all questions to the top of the district attorney here. The prosecutor here in Uvalde County, she is not answering questions.

But the state senator representing this area, Roland Gutierrez, said today that he spoke and got information from the state agency that basically oversees the emergency communication systems in the state. And he was -- he says that he was told by that agency that the 911 calls that were made during the attack there on Robb Elementary, that those calls were routed in to the city of Uvalde Police Department.

Different from the Uvalde School District Police Department. And obviously, it was that police chief that was the incident commander at the scene. However, we should caution that it's not exactly clear is whether or not those, the crucial information that was in those 911 calls, Don, whether or not all of that information made it to the police chief, Pete Arredondo, who is the inside commander. We still don't know that. But this is at least one little piece of information that explains where the 911 calls were going to during -- during that attack.

LEMON: You know, Ed, The New York Times is reporting that one of the deceased teachers, her name is Eva Mireles, was on the phone with her police officer husband while she was in the room with the shooter. Do you know anything about that?

LAVANDERA: Well, it's an excruciating detail that were related to the newspaper from the county judge here in Uvalde, who described that scene of this officer who was an officer with the Uvalde School District Police Department and his wife is the teacher, as you mentioned. One of the teachers that was killed by the 18-year-old gunman. That they were on the phone.

And this is important, Don, because it is really another clue that at some point, officers that were there at the scene were getting information that there were people alive inside that classroom as this attack was going on.

The exact timeline of when this call was made and when it happened and whether or not that information was relayed to incident commanders and the officers that could have responded is unclear at this point. But, it's another, you know, piece of what is happening here. And it's, you know, kind of the urgency of understanding all of this is crucial simply because state investigators are no longer answering questions. Prosecutors and local police here aren't answering questions about what has happened in this shooting that happened more than a week ago, Don.

LEMON: Ed, it seems like every time we come to you guys for a live shot of that memorial behind you, gross. Is that -- is that the case? It's not just my imagination, is it?

LAVANDERA: No, not at all, Don. You know, and this is just one of them. We're -- this is kind of the city square here in Uvalde and this has become a grieving spot for thousands of people that have been coming here. And the memorial at Robb Elementary has grown even exponentially since President Biden visited on Sunday.

It is really stunning and heartbreaking and these have become places where people can come and grieve. And they find comfort being amongst one another.

LEMON: Ed Lavandera in Texas, our Gary Tuchman in Oklahoma, thank you both, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

What is it like to actually respond to an active shooter? I'm going to ask someone who has been in that exact position right after this.



LEMON: So, the president tonight pleading with Congress to do something about gun violence in America.

I want to bring in now CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. metropolitan police officer, Michael Fanone. Mike, thanks for joining us. Good evening to you.

So, President Biden getting specific about what he wants to happen on guns including a ban on gun purchases or at least raising the age to 21 to purchase them. Also repealing immunity for gun manufacturers. From a law enforcement perspective, would it help end this carnage?

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, I think it will. I mean, I agree with the president's ideas, specifically universal background checks. I think there's no reason why the purchase of a firearm or transfer of ownership of a firearm shouldn't be accompanied by a background check.

Safe storage laws to me is a no-brainer. I believe ownership is a right, but more importantly, it's a responsibility.


FANONE: I also agree with, you know, the ban on the sale of possession of semiautomatic rifles, these AK-47, AR-15 style rifles. Or at the very least, amend the National Firearms Act and reclassify them as class three firearms.

LEMON: Why do you think, Mike, you've been out on the streets, you've encountered these weapons, I'm sure, why has that been become a choice for people who are committing these acts?


FANONE: I mean, those style weapons, those semiautomatic rifles, the AR-15, the AK-47, deliver a tremendous amount of firepower. Their ease of use and the fact that they (Inaudible) and hold large quantities of ammunition. As a police officer we regularly recover 30 rounds, 50 round, and even 100 round magazines, ammunition magazines.

LEMON: Yes. And quite simply, probably because of the ease of getting them. I mean, you have to be 21 to get a handgun in many places, but you can be 18 and get one of these assault style rifles. I mean, people are analyzing the response of the police. And you have been in a position to respond to these shootings. What do people need to know about what that's like for officers, Mike?

FANONE: Well, I mean, there's no real way to explain a situation like that. I mean, I responded to quite a few critical incidents in my career. We used to say that you never rise to the occasion. You fall back on your training.

I think it's important for people to recognize that training for law enforcement officers varies quite a bit from department to department, and even within departments, depending on what units you may be assigned to.

And quite frankly, it's inadequate. You know, explaining to somebody what to do in a situation like that, that's instruction. Training is actually having the opportunity to engage in a stressful situation over and over again to make those actions muscle memory. And without that opportunity, you are going to have situations where officers are overcome by fear or don't know how to think critically in those stressful situations.

LEMON: So, you believe everyone in the police department top to bottom, I mean, you know, the brass down to the street cop, you think everyone needs to undergo that training?

FANONE: Everyone needs to participate. It's not just for the officers that are going to be kicking in the door. I mean, as you saw in the Texas shooting, leadership also needs to know how to make the appropriate decisions when it comes to deploying the officers.

LEMON: They had -- they had training as recently, I think as December in Uvalde, and still, I guess it wasn't muscle memory for them. I'm not sure how you square that circle you're not in that police department. But it seems like they should have been versed and how to neutralize the threat.

FANONE: I mean, the idea might be there, but again, like, as a police officer I went to active shooter training annually for four hours. So, every 365 days I attended four hours of instruction-based training on how to respond to an active shooter. In my mind, that's wholly inadequate.

LEMON: Did your -- did your training come into play on January 6th?

FANONE: Well, I also sought out additional training outside of the police department throughout my career. And I also had the benefit at the end of my career, I took a job, as a part-time job, working a training company that provided training to law enforcement, military and civilians in the private sector.

The training caudry that I worked with came from some of the most elite units in the military, special forces and SOF units. And I learned quite a bit from them. And I credit that as to my response on January 6th.

LEMON: So, I want to talk more about January 6th and get your take on the select committee announcing that their first public hearing is going to be one week from tonight. I mean, this obviously affects you personally, given what happened to you that day. What do you hope will come of these hearings?

FANONE: I hope they do the same thing that I did, which is tell the truth about what happened on January 6th. I mean, my expectation is that they have conducted a thorough investigation and that they are going to relate their findings to the public free of any partisan politics.


I just want to know, like many Americans want to know what happened on January 6th, on the days, and weeks and months leading up to January 6th. And in the aftermath of January 6th.

LEMON: We'll all be watching. I'm sure you'll be watching. And you'll be here commenting and analyzing. Michael Fanone, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

FANONE: Thank you.

LEMON: So, they beg Trump to stop the violence on January 6th. What some Republicans are saying about it now. That CNN exclusive is next.


LEMON: We touched on it just a moment ago before the break about the January 6 committee promising their first public hearing will reveal previously unseen material. The hearing will begin in a week, a week from tonight.

And we have CNN, a CNN exclusive, some reporting from CNN now. New details about how Trump -- the Trump world try to get the former president to stop the rioters on January 6th.

[22:40:00] I want to bring in now our CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel. Jamie, good evening to you.


LEMON: So, let's talk about the text messages sent --

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: -- to then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. They've been absolutely crucial to the committee. And you have been reexamining texts. What did you learn?

GANGEL: So, we've seen all the texts that Meadows handed over from November 3rd to January 20th. We went back and look at them again, and for the first time we're releasing all the key text messages on January 5th and 6th. It is, Don , a dramatic minute by minute picture of how Trump allies, former White House officials, Republican members of Congress were pleading with Meadows to get Trump to stop the attack and sent the rioters home.

There were about 150 on January 6th. And here, just a few. So, here's Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan, 3.04 pm. POTUS needs to calm this -- you can read it right there, down. From former Trump HHS Secretary Tom Price, 3.13 p.m. POTUS should go on air and defuse this. Extremely important.

From North Carolina lobbyist Tom Cors at 3.42 pm. Please, have POTUS call this off at the Capitol. Urge rioters to disperse. I pray to you.

Don, what you're seeing here, and we put up all the text from that day on People can go read it in real-time. It's the -- it's the same thing over and over again. These Trump allies, supporters, associates thought he could stop it if he could just speak out immediately.

LEMON: And they kept asking him over and over and over.

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: It took him a long time to act.

GANGEL: Right. Hours.

LEMON: You spoke -- hours. You spoke to more than a dozen individuals who texted Mark Meadows on the 6th. Why did they tell you, Jamie?

GANGEL: So, I went back to some of the same people who texted that they. I spoke to a dozen of them and I asked them what were you thinking when you reached out to Meadows that day? Each person said they stood by their text and they told me that they believed Trump had the responsibility to speak out immediately. Not hours later but immediately.

And each one said that if Trump had, they believe the attack would have stopped. So, let me read you a few of these. This is from a Meadows associate, someone who worked with him. Quote, "two hours is just inexcusable, when the safety of the federal government is in question. You have the duty immediately to speak out. And Trump was derelict in that duty."

And this is from a senior Republican. Another Trump ally. Quote, "I think he knew he could stop it, which is why he remained silent." And there is just one more, Don. This is from a former, very senior Trump administration official. Quote, "he failed at being president."

This speaks to exactly the case the committee is going to make next week that Trump's inaction on January 6th was a dereliction of duty, and the committee believes is evidence that he was obstructing Congress and the peaceful transfer of power.

LEMON: The one that stands out to me is, I think he knew he could stop it and that's why he didn't.


GANGEL: Right. Right. It is -- right.

LEMON: Yes, stunning.

GANGEL: Absolutely.

LEMON: So, you're also getting some new information about who could be some of the first witnesses in the public hearing set to begin next week. What can you share with us?

GANGEL: So, the committee is actually playing this very close to the vest -- they are not releasing names yet. But we have learned that we expect to hear from many folks on team Pence. Not Mike Pence. We've been told. But we've learned the committee expects to call Pence's former general counsel, Greg Jacob, former federal judge, Michael Luttig who you'll remember played a key role. He put out those tweets, knocking down his former law clerk John Eastman's outlandish theory, which was trying to get Pence to help Trump overturn the election.

Finally, we are told the committee also wants to hear from former Pence chief of staff, Marc Short, who was with Pence on January 6th and was a critical firsthand witness to many of the events. And then we also expect many of the Justice Department folks, former acting -- let's see, it was acting chief of staff -- acting A.G., let me get to it.

LEMON: Is it Jeffrey Rosen.

GANGEL: Sorry. This is Jeffrey Rosen. Thank you for saving.


GANGEL: Former acting deputy general Richard Donoghue. Former assistant attorney general Steven Engel. So those again, firsthand fact witnesses to evidence that Trump was attempting to overturn the election, Don.

LEMON: Yes, well there are a lot of names there. There were a lot of names.


GANGEL: Right. Sorry.

LEMON: I don't know where that came from. But --

GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: Always a pleasure, Jamie, you're the best. We appreciate it. We'll see you soon.

GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

One week to go until the first public primetime hearing of the January 6th committee, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig is here, and he is going to tell me what he expects, that's next.

Plus, Biden's primetime speech on gun violence, we're going to break it down straight ahead.


LEMON: So, we're back now with more on the CNN exclusive reporting tonight. New details about the calls from Trump's -- Trump allies for the then president to stop the capitol riot. And we're just a week away from the first public hearings from the January 6th committee.


So, let's discuss now with CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig is here. Elie, there's a lot to discuss so let's -- let's get to this.

The committee tonight promising new information will be revealed in these hearings, but there is a risk of over promising, what are you expecting?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Don, there is a fine line to be walked here. On the one hand, the committee has to capture public attention. But on the other hand, they can't over promise. It's really important I think that they've said we will have new information.

To me, the most important area where we need more information is what exactly was Donald Trump doing and saying inside the White House during those infamous 187 minutes. We know that he didn't call off the rioters, people have called that a dereliction of duty. I think that's right, but I think we need to know a bit more about what he was doing. Who was talking to him? Who was warning him and what was his response to those people inside the White House?

If they can fill in that gap, that will really advance our understanding of what happened. LEMON: You say that former chief of staff Mark Meadows text messages

are the most damning evidence so far of how Trump knew and did nothing to stop the riot. How can the committee best use those text to make their case?

HONIG: Yes, there is no substitute for text because they are what the key people said in those people's own words, on writing, on typing at the time of the events. And I will tell you, Don, as a prosecutor, witnesses have ways of sort of changing their stories, fudging their stories, getting in line with talking points, as time goes on.

But you can never replace what you did on the day of the incident. And we've seen those texts, Jamie has been reporting on those texts. They are truly stunning. I mean, if we step back and look at them, we have powerful people all over the country begging Mark Meadows to have Donald Trump called off.

And to me, that shows two really important things. One, everybody knew those people were in the capitol attacking the capitol for Donald Trump. And two, everybody knew, including Republicans, that Donald Trump was the only person who had the power to call them off.

LEMON: Former GOP congressman and senior technical adviser to the January 6th committee, Denver Riggleman, spoke to CNN last night and described the sheer amount of information the committee is working with. Listen to this.


DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER TO JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: What we can say it's absolutely damning. And the committee has to actually push all of those notes together, all of those little end points that are people or organizations, they have to link that with the thousand interviews that they did. E-mails that they have, things like that that I've been able to see.

But also, with the massive amount of data that we've been able to aggregate and analyze. And I think that's very important for people to understand that the challenge for this committee, they might not cover everything because we have such a short amount of time. But, Anderson, I would say we need another year to actually look at the amount of data that we have. To see how deep this actually went.


LEMON: Wow, I mean, he said a lot there. So, how is this committee, how will they decide where to focus their limited time when they need to make their case to the public, Elie?

HONIG: It has to be greatest hits, Don, simple as that. There is a mountain of evidence here. There is no possible way that they can present to us. There is a theatrical element to this. Same thing is when you do a trial. You need to make good points, but you need to be compelling, concise, you need to get the best stuff right out front, right in the beginning. And so, they need to do that to capture our attention. And as former

Representative Riggleman said, they're going to need to make connections. Link the texts to the live witnesses. Link the videos to the recordings. And if they can't do that, I really think that they can capture public attention to make a dent here.

LEMON: Elie Honig, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

HONIG: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: President Biden addressing the nation tonight, calling on Congress to do something about gun violence in this country. Stay with us.



LEMON: President Biden speaking out on gun violence that's plaguing our country and pleading with Congress to finally do something about it. Calling for a ban on assault weapons, failing that, raising the age to purchase them. Also, tougher background checks.

I want to bring in now Democratic Congressman Jason Crow from Colorado. Congressman, thank you for joining. I wish it was under better circumstances. We appreciate it.

So, President Biden got specific tonight about what Congress needs to do about guns. There's a lot of hope that things will be different this time. Are you talking to your Republican colleagues about this?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Well, Don, I always talk to my Republican colleagues, I never stop talking to people because that's my job. That's my responsibility. The president was absolutely right tonight. He made a compelling case.

The bottom line is that this is a national disgrace. A national disgrace. I represent a district in a community here in Colorado that has seen the Columbine shooting, I represent the Columbine families. I represent Aurora theater shooting families. I represent families from STEM high school, from Arapahoe high school.

Every place I go I run into victims and survivors of gun violence. And I'm also am a father. This is insane. This is a national disgrace. And it has to stop and it can stop. So, I'm never going to stop talking to anybody who is willing to listen. What I am going to stop is stop doing moments of silence.

LEMON: Senator Chris Murphy told my colleague Manu Raju that he has heard Republicans may be open to only incremental changes. Is that your sense?

CROW: Well, I'm always going to push for some change, any change. But you know, incrementalism isn't going to bring these kids back. It's not going to provide the reform that over 90 percent of America -- when you have something 90 percent of America can get behind and agree on.

You know, basic background checks, universal background checks. You know, why should we incremental about that? That's 90 percent of Americans. You can't get 90 percent of Americans to agree on almost anything. But they agree on this.

So, we need to push hard and we need to be very vocal about it. We need to be very firm about it. This is what the country demands. This is what our children demand.


And this is not about the Second Amendment. Let's be clear about that. This is about what the gun lobby. What the gun industry is trying to do to sell more guns. I grew up a hunter.