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Don Lemon Tonight
Normal People Don't Believe In Trump Election Lies; Donald Trump Trusted More Giuliani's Word; House Committee Not Referring To DOJ; House Committee Will Have Positive Results; GOP Sticks With Donald Trump; White House's Excuse Of Rising Inflation; President Biden Looking For Another Term In 2024. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 13, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching. I'll be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now with the great Don Lemon. Hi, Don.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And you forgot, hey, we are going to see you in an hour here. I have some questions for you.
COATES: Of course.
LEMON: And I will ask you them.
COATES: I can't wait.
COATES: I can't wait.
LEMON: I'll see you then. Thank you, Laura.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
And I wanted to get to this quickly because we have so much that we want you to hear. You may not have heard a lot of it. And we're going to play it for you. Today's hearing make -- I want to make this very clear. It was not about Democrats taking Trump down, OK? You may hear that in other places, but that's not what this is about.
This has become about Trump's inner circle, the people who were closest to the former president. They are the ones providing all of the evidence against him here, all of the evidence in these hearings, people in his inner circle, critical and methodical testimony at the second public hearing of the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, testimony from Donald Trump's own attorney general, William Barr, as well as former top officials of Trump's 2020 re- election campaign on how the former president refused to admit that he lost the election to Joe Biden, and he pushed his big lie of election fraud on the American people. Now, I want you to pay close attention to the former Attorney General
Bill Barr telling the committee that Trump had become detached from reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: The claims of fraud were bullshit, and, you know, he was indignant about that. And I reiterated that they'd wasted a whole month on these claims on the Dominion voting machines, and they were idiotic claims.
And I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations, disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn't count and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense.
And it was being laid out there, and I told him that it was -- that it was crazy stuff, and they were wasting their time on that. And it was doing a grave, grave disservice to the country. And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with -- with -- he's become detached from reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, his testimony was actually riveting. And then when he talked about, you know, the whole conspiracy theory thing about the votes and hidden votes and bringing in truckloads of votes in suitcases, and then he laughed at Dinesh D'Souza's something mule's thing. Riveting testimony and riveting television.
The committee taking Americans inside the Trump White House on election night, where campaign manager Bill Stepien and spokesman Jason Miller, among others, advised the former president to hold off on declaring victory because too many votes still needed to be counted and the numbers were not in his favor. But Trump instead listened to Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: There were suggestions by, I believe it was Mayor Giuliani, to go and declare victory and say that we'd won in outright.
BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It was far too early to be making any calls like that. Ballots -- ballots were still being counted. Ballots were still going to be counted for days, and it was far too early to be making any proclamation like that.
UNKNOWN: And did anybody who was a part of that conversation disagree with your message?
UNKNOWN: Who was that?
STEPIEN: The president disagreed with that. I don't recall the particular words. He thought I was wrong. He told me so, and, you know, that they were going to, you know, he was going to go in a different direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Basically, he just didn't listen to anyone with any authority or who wasn't fringe in his administration. Any of his advisers who were rational people, he didn't listen to them. Witnesses also testifying about Giuliani's condition on election night. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Was there anyone in that conversation who, in your observation, had had too much to drink?
MILLER: Mayor Giuliani.
UNKNOWN: Tell me more about that. What was your observation about his potential intoxication during that discussion about what the president should say when he addressed the nation on election night?
MILLER: The mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know that his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani's lawyer denies his client was drunk on election night, so to be continued. There's more testimony to come, more hearings to come. So, I have a lot to get to.
I want to bring in CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, political commentator Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist, and legal analyst Elliot Williams, a former deputy assistant attorney general under President Obama.
Good evening to all of you. I actually found today pretty fascinating and pretty convincing. You
know, you thought the first night was good. I thought this was actually pretty good.
Dana, we're hearing from all these members of team Trump and Bill Barr, in his taped testimony, is turning out to be a star witness. He was scathing in his denunciation of all of Trump's election lie, all of that, and all of the wild conspiracy theories.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it was fact-based. He was the attorney general of the United States, and he was hearing all of these -- you know, pick the word that you want to use from him -- B.S. conspiracy theories over and over and over again from a lot of different corners, but especially his boss, the President of the United States.
So, because of that, he talked in great detail about going back and knowing -- even knowing the number of precincts in Detroit in order to be able to go back to Donald Trump and say, no, what you saw wasn't a truck backing in from, you know, God knows where, dumping in false votes. This is the way that they count votes in the city of Detroit.
That's just one example of clearly the multitude of times he had to -- he used the word whack-a-mole, try to whack down these conspiracies. So, when he went to the then-president and said, this is not true, he knew that because he had looked into it, and he was absolutely convinced that what the president was doing was wrong. And the fact that he said that Trump had become detached from reality was among the most chilling of all the testimony today.
LEMON: Yes, he said it -- he said it in his testimony, that there were 530-some-odd precincts in Detroit, and he said there is a central counting system that each precinct doesn't count the votes or the ballots individually. So, they bring them to a central place, and that is what you're seeing, and yet and still, the former president went out and said, look at all of this dumping votes and what have you. And it's like that is not what has happened here.
But yet, even with the right information, the information from his advisers like Bill Barr, he still went on to say something that wasn't true. And then there was Trump's former campaign manager, Alice, Bill Stepien describing how he and other advisers told Trump in the days after the election that the odds of winning were slim. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: What was your view on the state of the election at that point?
STEPIEN: You know, very, very bleak. You know, I -- we told him, the group that went over there outlined, you know, my belief and chances for success at this point, and then we pegged it at 5 percent, maybe 10 percent based on recounts that were -- that, you know, either were automatically initiated or could be -- could be initiated based on, you know, realistic legal challenges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Again, as I said when I just spoke with Dana, what did Trump do? He stuck with his election lie even with Stepien saying the same thing. So, Alice, how does all this look to you?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It looks bad. Look, for years we've heard people say that Donald Trump is deranged or detached from reality from Democrats. Now, today, we're hearing it from, as you've said, members of his inner circle. Look, Bill Stepien knows data. He knows polling. He knows numbers. And when he's telling you things look bleak, things are bleak. Jason Miller, he knows data. When he's saying that the odds are not in Trump's favor, that's the case, same with Bill Barr.
When you have people like these people with reputations that are long in politics and understand the numbers, part of, quote, "team normal" giving him advice, yet he chooses to go with team whiskey tango foxtrot with Rudy Giuliani, who is inebriated, that does go to show that he certainly has some detachment from reality.
And, look, this is a -- this is a problem for a lot of reasons because, look, these are people that wanted him to win, clearly wanted him to win. Don, I was on your program on the night of election night last -- in 2020 saying he needs to stop discrediting the election. He needs to stop saying that this was a bogus election. But he did that that night and continued to do so because he wanted to discredit the election because he did not want to admit defeat and --
LEMON: You said it would hurt him.
STEWART: Absolutely. And Rudy Giuliani has had 60 -- more than 60 times to produce the kraken in a court of law to show that the election was fraudulent. He has come up with nothing.
STEWART: So, I think now we're looking back at this, we had free and fair elections, and Donald Trump did not win as much as he doesn't want to acknowledge it.
LEMON: If you look at the people especially around him in his inner circle and that, it's just stunning. And by the way, whiskey tango foxtrot, it took me a minute. But I got it. I finally got it. Dana got it right away. I was like, wait a minute. yes, WTF.
So, listen, Elliot, I want more -- I want to play more.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: This is from the committee's state testimony. There was Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann. There's Jared Kushner saying that he told Trump that he wouldn't go along with Giuliani. And then there is a Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan saying law firms weren't comfortable with Giuliani's claims. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: What they were proposing, I thought, was nuts. The theory was also completely nuts. Right? It was a combination of Italians, Germans, I mean, different things had been floating around as to who was involved. Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelans he has an affidavit from somebody who said they wrote a software, something with the Philippines, just all over the radar. UNKNOWN: Did you ever share, Mr. Kushner, your view of Mr. Giuliani?
Did you ever share your perspective about him with the president?
JARED KUSHNER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess -- yes.
UNKNOWN: Tell me what you said.
KUSHNER: Basically, not the approach I would take if I was you.
UNKNOWN: OK. And how did he react? How did President Trump react when you shared that view with him?
KUSHNER: He said, you know, I have confidence in Rudy.
MATT MORGAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I think I had conversations with probably all of our counsel who were signed up to assist on election day as they disengaged with the campaign. The general consensus was that the law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, Elliot, Mr. Attorney, how would this play in a court of law? If you have, is it effective to have the person's family, right, and these legal teams essentially saying that Giuliani's team was dangerously wrong? If you had the family of the person you were trying to make a case against saying, yes, he was wrong, I told him, --
PERINO: I would have said if I was Jared Kushner -- if I were him but not if I was him, but go on.
WILLIAMS: Yes. Meow.
LEMON: I was shocked.
WILLIAMS: I know.
LEMON: The guy who knows everything, is it a grammatical error.
WILLIAMS: Look at that, look at that, Don. Don, working the proper pronouns and past participles. But look, most -- you know, there's, as fun as it is and entertaining to talk about whether Rudy Giuliani was apparently intoxicated and Jared Kushner and all of the above, a lot of these things are distractions.
What is relevant here is that a number of lawyers on the campaign, the private sector outside lawyers and government attorneys in the form of the attorney general and deputy attorney general of the United States had all provided legal advice to the president saying, we think you are wrong, and yet he still decided to push ahead.
Now, why this is important, it's, if you're talking about fraud statutes or a number of campaign-related statutes, the individual's knowledge of their wrongdoing goes to their criminal intent. He has to know that something is wrong and still be pushing ahead and doing it. And what you have here is a long list of both legal and political advice saying, you are pushing a lie. You are pushing fraudulent --
LEMON: What does this mean legally, though?
LEMON: Because that was -- that's what I'm -- that's what I was thinking.
LEMON: I don't know if it means anything legally.
WILLIAMS: Yes. It does.
LEMON: But if you have someone, you've been telling them it's a lie.
LEMON: All of the evidence shows that it's a lie. And yet and still, he still goes out and perpetrates a fraud --
PERINO: -- on the American people, is that --
PERINO: -- does he bear any legal responsibility?
WILLIAMS: Here it is. He does, or could if the advice he's getting is so overwhelming and so credible from various sources that you -- that what you are doing is incorrect or wrong, or you are misinformed. He's engaging in an act of fraud.
WILLIAMS: It's one thing, Don, to think, you know -- look, a candidate might think he won an election and proceed, and even if it's based on conspiracy theories, it's not probably going to be a crime if he genuinely believes he won and is trying to zealously advocate for himself.
If he's being told by all of his lawyers and lawyers in government, you are breaking the law or you are doing this -- or we don't feel comfortable with this, at a certain point a court or a jury is just going to say, you know what? You knew that what you were doing was fraudulent. Yet you still decided to push ahead. So, this was far more -- there's a lot of entertaining stuff today,
but there was a lot of very impactful legal advice that the president got that could weigh on a future criminal case.
LEMON: It wasn't just his lawyers and the people around him. It was the courts saying --
LEMON: -- there's no evidence of any -- of any --
WILLIAMS: I believe it's 61 times, I think.
LEMON: Yes. Yes.
WILLIAMS: Or 62. Yes.
LEMON: Dana, January 6th committee chairman Bennie Thompson told the -- told reporters that the committee will not make any criminal referrals to the Justice Department or -- on Trump or anyone else. But not everyone on the committee agrees.
Liz Cheney is directly contradicting that, tweeting this. She said the January 6th select committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time. I mean, it seems like there is a clear split on what to do here.
BASH: Yes, in the formal sense of a criminal referral, which is a big deal from the United States Congress in any case, especially when you're talking about the former president. But other people, I think -- maybe in some ways it's a distinction without a difference here, Don, because what they will argue to a person on the committee is this entire exercise of the investigation and now these hearings is effectively a referral.
They are building a case that they hope will be impossible for the justice department not to take up, or at least not to seriously look at. And we know that they are, and we know that they're going to turn everything over to the Justice Department in terms of what they have gathered, whether it is a formal criminal referral or not.
WILLIAMs: Hey, Don -- sorry. An additional point on that, what they're going to produce is a multi-hundred-page report documenting all of these findings for the public. So, whether -- you know, and this is backing up Dana's point. Whether it's formally a referral, which is just a letter from Congress to the Justice Department, or a public report, the information is all going to thereby.
LEMON: Alice, I got to go, but quickly, please.
STEWART: And -- well, we've heard from Merrick Garland. The Department of Justice is watching this. They're paying close attention to the evidence, and they'll let all of the evidence be put on the table, and then they can decide what they want to do from there. So, whether or not there's a formal presentation of the evidence, they're keeping a close eye on it.
LEMON: Yes. Everyone is saying, is this going to change any minds? Is there going to be a criminal referral? I don't think it matters at this point. Just let it play out and let's see what happens and see what the committee comes up with. Thank you. I appreciate it.
STEWART: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Much more ahead on our coverage of the January 6th committee hearing, including witnesses who testified today. Trump's pushing of the big lie, putting Republicans who refuse to support it in potential danger.
LEMON: So multiple Trump insiders testifying before the January 6th select committee that they told Trump his election fraud claims were false, but he pushed them anyway.
Joining me now, two people who testified at today's hearing, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, and former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt.
I'm so glad to see both of you, gentlemen, again. Thank you for coming on and discussing this.
Ben, I'm going to start with you. You spent your entire career representing Republicans in election related cases. Do you agree with how Trump insiders describe the former president's election fraud claims, these were their words, bogus, a crazy, bullshit, silly, completely nuts? Those are direct quotes.
BEN GINSBERG, FORMER BUSH AND ROMNEY CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Look, it's hard to disagree with it, especially sitting here now after they went to court more than 60 times, filed 180 different counts, lost every one but a sort of an irrelevant procedural case in Pennsylvania. That is not being able to make your claim, not having the evidence to say that the elections were fraudulent. So, yes, I do agree with them.
LEMON: How do you think the hearings are going? Do you think they're making their case?
GINSBERG: I think they're making an effective case. The question is always is exactly who's listening and how it will be received. In other words, how comprehensive is all the audience, is all the evidence they're putting together? What will the narrative be like at the end of the day?
LEMON: Now to Al Schmidt, in Philadelphia, you shot down Trump's claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania in your testimony today. Why do you think the former president was still pushing -- was still pushing these lies, and still pushing them today when he was told repeatedly that they were false? AL SCHMIDT, FORMER PHILADELPHIA CITY COMMISSIONER: I think it's
really a matter of desperation at that point. It was clear that they knew they had lost the election but were shifting into a sort of different phase. It really obviously wasn't about counting voters' votes and failed in efforts to prevent our voters' votes from being counted in Pennsylvania. So, it shifted over into something quite different and quite more dangerous, and that's what I think ultimately led to January 6th.
LEMON: Same question that I asked Ben. Do you think they're making their case?
SCHMIDT: I think it's -- I think it's very compelling. In my former life before I got involved in all of this, I have -- I got my Ph.D. in political history. So, I tend to look at things through the prism of history, and I think it is so important that this committee is creating a historical record, not for now, not for these people or those people or Republicans or Democrats, but they are documenting everything that occurred, and they're doing so contemporaneously. I don't think we can possibly comprehend how important this effort will be in the future.
LEMON: I couldn't agree with you more. I tried to make the same statement in the segment before, but you did it much more articulately and succinctly than I did. So, yes, this is great for the public record and it should just -- we should just let it play out and see what happens.
Ben, during the hearing today, the committee showed how Trump was planting the seed of his big lie as early as April of 2020, and he kept lying right up to the insurrection, and he's still lying today as I pointed out just moments ago. What does that do to Americans' faith in the election system?
GINSBERG: It has a real damaging effect. Now you have 30 percent of the country who doesn't believe that our elections are valid. It's really tough to sustain a democracy if that large a percentage doesn't believe that their elected officials were really elected.
So, the fact that this did turn out to be completely evidence-free, and that the rhetoric was being used before there could have possibly been evidence goes all the more to point out just how wrong the president was and how sort of, for his personal goals, the country has really taken a hit and is in a more dangerous spot than it's been probably in its history.
LEMON: I just have a second here, Al. You agree. I see you shaking your head.
SCHMIDT: Yes, I do. And I think -- I think part of what is pretty scary about this juncture is whether there were people who made threats to election officials across the country or the people who stormed the capitol on January 6th. I have little doubt that in their minds, deranged as they are by
consuming all of these lies, that they love America, that they believe they love America. But they sure don't love democracy when their candidate loses and are willing to take it apart.
LEMON: Ben, Al, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Be well, gentlemen.
GINSBERG: Thanks, Don.
SCHMIDT: Thank you.
LEMON: Detached from reality. That's what Bill Barr testified about Donald Trump, who could be the GOP nominee again in two years. So what happens then? What happens then? John Kasich, what happens then? Wait, hold on. After the break.
LEMON: So, Donald Trump told time and time again by former administration officials and top aides that his big lie of election fraud was nonsense and that it is hurting America's democracy. But he is still pushing it till this day, and a lot of Republicans believe him.
CNN's senior commentator John Kasich is here. He's a former Republican congressman and governor of Ohio. John, good to see you. Thanks for joining.
Let's get right into this because I want to --
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks.
LEMON: -- ask you a bunch of questions. Bill Barr described Trump as detached from reality. So, with Trump still being the leader of the GOP now, what does that mean for the party?
KASICH: Well, the party apparatus, Don, the people who run the state -- you know, the state parties, they're all Trump people, and they're probably just dismissing most of this. They'll say, we need to talk about inflation, whatever.
But I think over time -- and, look, we've had two hearings. We've got about four more to go. I think we have to wait and see where we are by the end of June. A lot of people are still going to deny, but I'm looking to see if people are going to start to break ranks.
And, look, you had the inner circle of Trump testifying today, but, Don, I talked to a lady tonight. She's not really a big Trumper, but she's like, yes, I don't know if I believe any of that. I mean, I've had other people say that to me. Well, you know, I don't know about these tapes. They're only hearing one side.
It's really frustrating when you have intelligent people tell you that, but maybe over time, we'll begin to see the wall begin to crumble, begin to fall apart. We have to wait and see.
LEMON: I know that we're in a different time politically, but this is -- they say, you know, history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. It's the same thing with Watergate. It took the American people a long time to come around, and even when the hearings were going on, Nixon still had huge support. And then people started to catch on, and he lost support and obviously kicked out of office.
Look at the Trump campaign manager, Bill Stepien. I mean, he said he was on team normal as opposed to Giuliani's team, that was pushing all these lies. And yet Stepien is now advising Liz Cheney's opponent, Harriet Hageman, in Wyoming, who was backed -- who has backed election fraud claims. I mean this is hard to unwind from a party at this point, right?
KASICH: Don, you know, isn't that just the craziest thing you ever heard? That he would now be working to try to defeat Liz Cheney? I mean, you know, people are inconsistent. They seek money. Sometimes they seek power. And it's bitterly disappointing.
KASICH: I mean, you've got to have a north star, and some people just don't seem to have it. I really don't know this guy. I don't know why he's doing it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense, right? Where he's supporting somebody who's trying to set the record straight in terms of what Donald Trump tried to do.
And, Don, you know, the interesting thing, not just mentioning the party, but in regard to the first question, something else occurred to me, and that is if they keep putting this evidence together, you wonder how much pressure is this going to put on the Justice Department to take a look at what they do to a person like Donald Trump in terms of everything that's happened. I think that's probably part of the goal of the committee is to put some pressure on the Justice Department in terms of where they go when they review this case.
LEMON: So, if Trump gets the GOP nomination in 2024, does everyone have to fall in line with his election lies even if they know that it is nonsense, that zero, like, zero, none of it is true, none?
KASICH: Don, nobody has to fall in line. We don't live in, you know, some authoritarian regime. You can do whatever you want to do. And I think these hearings are really hurting him. I mean, they're not -- they're not destroying him, but they're hurting him.
And I've told you for a long time now that he was going to fade away, and I think this is another -- another nail in the political coffin in terms of your being able to be viable. I'm not telling you it's over yet or that he's finished, but everything is a chip and chip away at his credibility, his electability and where he heads into the future and how the party views him. I think probably there's a lot of people who are supporting him now who would rather that he would just go away.
LEMON: OK, John. We'll see. Thank you, sir.
KASICH: Yes, I know.
LEMON: Always a pleasure.
KASICH: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you.
So, stocks plunging today. Does Biden, does President Biden realize what every day Americans are feeling when it comes to their wallets? I'm going to ask his top aide. The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is here after this. You don't want to miss it.
LEMON: A bad day for Wall Street with stocks plunging into bear market territory. The Dow sliding 876 points on concerns the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates by as much as three quarters of a percentage point to address raging inflation, something the Fed hasn't done since 1994.
The rough day for stocks follows more bad news for the economy. The national average price for gas hitting an all-time high of $5 a gallon. And the latest inflation data show -- showing that energy and food prices soaring over the past year, energy up by more than 34 percent, food by more than 10 percent.
Despite all of this, the White House claiming that American consumers are, quote, "well positioned to face these economic challenges," and reiterating that president Biden's plan -- plans to run for election in 2024.
So, joining me now to talk about all of this is White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Karine, thank you. That was a big buildup. Not really great because when it comes to the economy --
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a build-up, but thank you for having me.
LEMON: Good evening to you. The economy -- absolutely. The economy clearly in a rough spot. Is the president being realistic about just how much this is impacting Americans and their pocketbooks?
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, the president understands how much this is impacting Americans and their pocketbooks. This is a president that understands what happens around the kitchen table. He grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, when prices go up just a little bit, it really hurts families. And he understands the anxiety that people are currently feeling. Look, he has made this his top economic priority as we're talking
about inflation, as we're talking about the economy. Like we have to remember where this country was more than a year ago when he walked into office. The economy was not in a great place. Schools were closed. Businesses were closed. We didn't have a comprehensive COVID -- COVID strategy.
And what he ended up doing was meet that moment, pass the American Rescue Plan. Only Democrats passed that plan. He signed it. It was his plan. And now we're seeing an economy that's bouncing back. Eight million jobs, 8.7 million jobs created. Unemployment is low. So that is why we believe we're in a good position to take on inflation.
But, yes, we understand that folks are feeling this. And we got to remember, we got to remember, we're thinking about gas prices and food. This is coming from Putin's war against Ukraine. The moment that Putin amassed forces on the border of Ukraine, we saw from then until now, we have seen a $2 increase per gallon on gas.
JEAN-PIERRE: And so, this is a big part of it too, because we have to understand, Don, where this comes from as well.
LEMON: OK. I understand that.
LEMON: But, listen, before Putin -- you know, the war started, I remember -- I remember when the first bombs dropped. I was on the air with Matthew Chance reporting live. And although --
JEAN-PIERRE: I remember. I saw you.
LEMON: -- the economists do cite the war in Ukraine and supply chain issues. We did have that before the war, supply chain issues. They also say that last year's stimulus package, which you mentioned, contributed to inflation, Karine. Does the Biden administration bear some responsibility for this?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, first of all, the American Rescue Plan met the moment, and it has put us in a place where we can actually put us in a place where the American people feel -- can actually -- we can take on inflation.
What I mean by that is we've seen growth, right, with as I mentioned more than eight million jobs. And now we're transitioning into a steady, stable growth. The president actually wrote an op-ed to discuss that himself, lay out his plan on how we're going to bring down inflation. So that's really important. In order to take this on, we've got to be in a good historic economic place, which is where we are right now.
LEMON: I want to bring in -- I want to talk about this bipartisan agreement on gun control, Karine. It includes an enhanced review process for buyers under 21 and resources for states to enact red flag laws. But it's also missing a lot of what the administration wanted, including an assault weapon ban and raising the age to purchase assault weapons to 21. Does President Biden still see this as a win?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, here's the thing. You know, President Biden understands and he knows like this doesn't have everything that he even called for. But when he went down to Uvalde recently to meet with the parents, to meet with the community, to meet with the vic -- the families of the victims and some of the victims as well, they said, please do something.
So, the president has done everything that he can from the White House to take -- to take - to call on Congress to act. So, this is one step forward, right? We haven't seen anything like this, a bipartisanship agreement on gun reform in decades, in a generation even.
And so, the fact that we have seen those two sides come together, they negotiated, they're legislating right now, that is a step forward. And that's what negotiation looks like.
The president's going to continue to fight and to call on the other items that he has put forward as what he believes the banning of assault weapons, national red flag laws, and all of these things that he believes that will make our country safer.
LEMON: But --
JEAN-PIERRE: And here's the thing, Don. What this is about is about saving lives. So, he wants congress to write the text, get that passed, and get it to his desk as soon as possible.
LEMON: We've got a lot more to talk about, including 2024. That's next.
LEMON: President Biden and Democrats facing a lot of challenges in the run-up to this year's mid-term elections. And it is raising questions about how the party and the White House should look ahead to the 2024 presidential election.
More with my interview from the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. We're just coming up on the midterms but as you know, the president is only get to serve so long before they have to start campaigning again and running again.
And president Biden, I don't know if -- I'm sure you've read, there was the New York Times article talking about the whispers are growing louder inside the Democratic Party facing doubt that some -- that in the Democratic Party about his plans to run a second term. I want you to listen. This is what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN when asked if she would support Biden in 2024. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but I think if the president has a vison, and that's something certainly we're all willing to entertain and examine when the time comes.
BASH: That's not a yes.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I believe that the president has been doing a very good job so far. And you know, should he run again, I think that I -- you know, it's - it's -- we'll take a look at it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, as I understand you, you assured or you reiterated that the president does plan to run in 2024, right, to run again.
JEAN-PIERRE: So, first of all, the congresswoman did say the president is doing a good job, so that's good, right?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, I just want to really highlight that because many people agree with that. Look --
LEMON: But he is going to run in 2024?
JEAN-PIERRE: there's a -- there's a -- well, let me just say there is a, you know there is two -- there is something called the Hatch Act that I have to be very mindful of. What I can say is the president has repeatedly said that he plans -- he plans to run in 2024 and I'm going to have to leave it there.
LEMON: OK. OK. But then -- but are you concerned -- is the administration worried that there are Democrats who are not openly endorsing the president come 2024, even though you can't say for sure if --
JEAN-PIERRE: I really can't get -- I can't into that. All I can say is what the president intends to do, what the president plans to do. And look, at the end of the day, Don, our focus is to deliver for the American people. That's the work that we've been doing with the economy, that's the work that we've been doing with COVID when he walked in.
Again, let's not forget when he walked in as looking at COVID, there was no -- there was no comprehensive plan to get people vaccinated. Now more than 200 million people are getting vaccinated.
The one thing I do want to say is, as we are working on plans to lower inflation, deal with gas prices, you know, you have the other side. You have Republicans and what they're doing is they're putting out a plan, Rick Scott, Senator Rick Scott put out a plan on how he wants to raise taxes on people making less than $100,000 and so --
LEMON: Listen, Karine, I understand that.
JEAN-PIERRE: -- sunset Medicare, Medicare and social security, things that are so important --
LEMON: I understand those are important policy issues.
JEAN-PIERRE: -- to communities across the country.
LEMON: Those are, you're right, those are important policy issues and that, and those should be discussed and they're discussed in every presidential election and they're discussed all the time.
But the concern is --
LEMON: -- the president during interviews where he doesn't seem to answer questions directly or at times succinctly, there is his approval ratings, according to the latest Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans approve of Biden's job as president.
JEAN-PIERRE: Don --
LEMON: So, how do you -- how does he and you, because you are the spokesperson for the White House, plan to assure voters that he is still the best candidate to beat Trump? Is he -- is he at his best right now?
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I think the thing that Americans love about President Biden is he's a straight shooter. He is a straight shooter and he says it the way he sees it, he calls it out. And that is the thing that makes him genuine and authentic and real and people really, really connect with this president.
I see it myself when we go into -- we're going to Philly, Pennsylvania. I'll see it then. We just came back from New Mexico, we were in L.A., in L.A., California. I travel with him all across and I see how people feel about this president and how much they appreciate what he has done. I think that matters.
As far as the polls, our focus again is delivering for the American people. We're making inflation our number one economic policy. There's other issues that the president has to deal with and that is what he's going to focus on and that's how he's going to continue --
LEMON: And there's no concern within the administration about the president's polling?
JEAN-PIERRE: That's not what we're talking about here. We're focused -- we are genuinely focused on how we can get the work done on behalf of the American people.
LEMON: Does the president has the stamina physically and mentally do you think to continue on even after 2024?
JEAN-PIERRE: Don, you're asking me this question. My gosh, he's the president of the United States. You know, he -- I can't even keep up with him. We just got back from New Mexico, we just got back from California. That is -- I've -- that is not a question that we should be even asking. Just look at the work that he does. Look how he's delivering for the American public.
Look, that was -- that article that we're talking about is hearsay, it's salacious. That's not what we care about. We care about how are we going to deliver for the American people? How are we going to make their lives better? That's the president talks about. That is his focus and that's what we're going to continue to focus on.
LEMON: Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you. I really appreciate you coming on. Please come back.
JEAN-PIERRE: All right, Don. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: Thank you.
JEAN-PIERRE: I'm happy to come back any time.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Bye-bye.
LEMON: And up next, Trump insiders saying that they told him that he didn't win but he keeps keeping up the big lie anyway. The biggest moments from the January 6th committee's hearing today right after this.