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Don Lemon Tonight

January 6 House Select Committee To Hold Third Public Hearing; Alleged Gunman Facing Multiple Federal Hate Crime Charges; Primary Election Results Put Trump's Grip On GOP Into Focus; Mother Of Patriot Front Group Member Speaks Out After Son's Arrest At Pride Event; Yellowstone Closed As River Reaches Record Flood Level. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The January 6 Committee kicking off its next public hearing just hours from now, and we're told that they're going to focus on the former president's efforts to pressure Mike Pence to overturn the election and how it -- quote -- "directly contributed to the insurrection." This coming as we're getting new video of a Capitol tour led by a Republican congressman right before the riot.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has the latest now.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): There's no escape, Pelosi, Schumer.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video released by the January 6 Select Committee showing a man outside the Capitol directing threats at Democratic members of Congress.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you AOC. We're coming to take you out. Pull you out by your hairs.

NOBLES (voice-over): That same man seen the day before on a tour of the Capitol complex with Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk snapping pictures the committee believes are suspicious.

Chairman Bennie Thompson writing to Laudermilk -- quote -- "Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints."

The committee reupping its concerns after Capitol Police Chief Thom Manger said earlier this week, we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.

Loudermilk has refused to meet with the committee, claiming their inquiry has led to death threats against his family.

REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): The committee has never called me and asked me anything.



UNKNOWN (voice-over): Do you regret giving that tour now?

LOUDERMILK: I condemn that type of activities.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee continues to push ahead to their hearing on Thursday night.

ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said to him, are you out of your effing mind?

NOBLES (voice-over): Out with this deposition from Trump White House Lawyer Eric Herschmann, warning John Eastman the day after January 6th to drop efforts to try to overturn the 2020 vote. The trump ally had also tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to stand in the way of certifying the election results.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump had no factual basis for what he was doing, and he had been told it was illegal. Despite this, President Trump plotted with a lawyer named John Eastman and others.

NOBLES (voice-over): A plot Herschmann believed may have put Eastman in legal jeopardy.

HERSCHMANN: I said, good, John. Now, I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You're going to need it. And I hung up on him.

NOBLES (on camera): And as these hearings continue, we're told that there is an internal debate among the members of the Select Committee as to what to do with all this evidence that they've collected, particularly the evidence that shows that Donald Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to overturn the election results.

We're told that the majority of the members of the Select Committee believe that Donald Trump committed a crime. The question they have is what to do with that belief and how to convince the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute those alleged crimes.

Some members of the committee believe a formal referral to Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice is necessary, while others are concerned that would create too much political pressure. This is an ongoing debate that will continue as the committee continues their investigation. Don?


LEMON: All right. Ryan, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

I want to bring in now Attorney George Conway and Doug Jones, a former Democratic senator from Alabama. Gents, thank you so much. Appreciate you joining us this evening.

George, tomorrow's hearing will focus on Trump's pressure campaign on Mike Pence. We're going to hear from two people close to the former VP, Greg Jacob and Michael Luttig.

What do you think they will bring to the Select Committee's case?

GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY: Well, I think Greg Jacob is going to bring some dramatic testimony about his communications directly with John Eastman, particularly on January 6th, and also, you know, how he's going to be able to describe in detail a lot of the pressure that was put on his boss, Vice President Pence, by president -- then-President Trump.


Judge Luttig is a completely different kind of witness. He's more of going to be a legal witness because he's going to be testifying about, you know, the advice he gave to Vice President Pence, that what the Eastman plan was all was an illegal scheme to contravene the Constitution.

And I think his testimony is going to be quite compelling and quite dramatic because he is a conservative legal icon. I mean, he was somebody who was on the short list for the Supreme Court 15 to 17 years ago. He has just revered -- he was revered in conservative circles and probably was -- would have been a more popular choice among federalist society members than justices that George W. Bush actually appointed.

LEMON: Wow, interesting. What do you think about Luttig? He's the man who advised Mike Pence, Doug. He had no choice but to accept to certify -- and certify the election results. What do you think his -- of his -- of him testifying tomorrow?

DOUG JONES, FORMER ALABAMA SENATOR: I think it's a very smart move on the part of the committee. You know, Don, I've said all along that part of the job of this committee -- I think the primary job, actually, is to try to reach the American people to give them the facts about what happened. An independent review of the facts -- very, very straightforward.

And I think that Judge Luttig's testimony, a conservative judge, in fact, somebody that Ted Cruz, in fact, worked for at one point, that is speaking to a lot of people out there. That is not speaking to the democratic side, necessarily. This is speaking to people that have questions about the committee's motives. It has questions about what happened on January 6th and whether or not someone they supported for president was guilty of any kind of crimes.

I think he's a very, very important witness to kind of go through everything. The country is very fortunate that Mike Pence had him as a lawyer during that time. He brings that kind of credibility and gravitas to this committee hearing.

LEMON: George, this is a reminder of what Trump was saying about Pence leading up to the attack on the Capitol. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope that our great vice president -- our great vice president comes through for us. He's a great guy. Plus, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much.


LEMON: You think the committee is going to be able to prove that Trump's pressure campaign directly contributed to the January 6th attack and put Pence's life in danger?

CONWAY: I think so. I mean, I think he was -- he was -- he tweeted a lot about Pence during that period of time, and he tweeted about Pence in the middle of the riot.

And I think that had an effect on the crowd. I mean, there was somebody with a megaphone reading the tweet attacking Mike Pence about Mike Pence failing to, you know, act the way that Trump wanted him to act. So, I absolutely think that -- and I think the people around Pence felt that Pence was being put in danger by the president.

LEMON: Doug, I want to put these images up on the screen for everyone to see. These are from ABC News of Mike Pence from January 6th taken just moments after rioters entered the Capitol. His wife is seen closing the curtains, reportedly afraid the attackers would see her and her family.

What's your reaction to these images, especially after hearing from the Select Committee that Trump said Pence deserved the threats from that mob?

JONES: Well, Don, you know at the --

LEMON: Uh-oh, we lost Doug. I guess, George, it's you. What do you think?

CONWAY: You know, again, I think it is more -- I mean, these are fascinating photos. I mean, you know, having Mrs. Pence closed the windows to protect her husband, I mean it can't -- it doesn't get any more real than that except maybe the photographs of him at the loading dock when they were trying to decide whether to spirit him away from the Capitol.

LEMON: Right.

CONWAY: I mean, it was really, really scary for those people on that day. And I that's one of the things that I think Greg Jacob is going to be able to bring out given his e-mail exchanges with Mike Eastman and saying basically, because of Eastman, they're under siege at the Capitol.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. Let's talk about Marc Short, who was Pence's chief of staff. He was with him on January 6th, but won't testify at the hearing tomorrow. We'll likely going to see video clips from his deposition. He was on with Wolf today, though. Watch.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I just want to be clear. Do you blame those surrounding the president for giving him bad advice or do you blame the then-president himself?

MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: I think ultimately the buck stops with the president. He has responsibility to listen to advice or discard advice. But I also think that there are people around the president who I think served him very poorly and I think gave very poor advice.


LEMON: George, this is what -- "The New York Times" has reported that Short warned the Secret Service that Trump was going to turn on Pence.


How important will his testimony be?

CONWAY: I think his testimony is very important. I think it is very important that he is saying and, as he just said, that the buck stops with the president because there has been a tendency among people around Trump to excuse or at least ignore or allied Trump's conduct by saying, oh, it was Mark Meadows's fault. Meadows let these crazies in. And if they hadn't let the crazies in, this wouldn't have happened.

But that is not true. The reason why the crazies were let in was because Donald Trump like the crazies. The crazies were telling him what he wanted to hear. And that's why I think Short is absolutely right in saying that the buck stops with President Trump and President Trump is ultimately responsible for what happened that day and the threat to Vice President Pence.

LEMON: I want to talk about these emails that we're being told -- a source is telling CNN that the January 6 Select Committee is in possession of email correspondents between conservative Attorney John Eastman and Virginia Thomas or Ginni Thomas as she's known, a conservatist activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Now, Eastman is the architect of the pressure campaign on Pence. What do you take away from this? Again, we don't know what was in these emails but they were exchanging emails.

CONWAY: Yeah, it's disturbing. I mean, we've heard, you know, that she was all in on the insurrection essentially and believed the big lie. The question is, I mean, what is the content of these emails and exactly what role did she play? Was she actually a cog in the wheels of this attempted coup? I don't know that she was. It's not clear. Or was she in the peanut gallery kind of lobbying in her thoughts, you know, unsolicited or solicited? It's just unclear at this point.

I think it's important not to lose focus on the main threads here, which all lead to Donald Trump. And I just -- you know, unless Ginni Thomas did play a direct role in all of this, and I don't know that she did, you know, it could be a distraction.

On the other hand, it does raise substantial issues about whether Justice Thomas should ever be hearing any cases that hereafter involve January 6th.

LEMON: Yeah. He'll possibly recuse himself, right?


LEMON: I want to turn to this new video. This is the video that the Select Committee released. Congressman Loudermilk giving a tour the day before the insurrection. Loudermilk talking about that video today. Here he is.


LOUDERMILK: They're not interested in the truth. They're only interested in creating a narrative for you guys. There's nothing there. The Capitol police looked at it, said there is nothing suspicious because the Capitol police know when visitors come, they take pictures.


LEMON: So, my question is, if you look at the video and the kinds of things that they're taking pictures of -- listen, there could be nothing and maybe it's nothing. Usually, it's the rotunda and some beautiful things in there. But they're taking pictures of security areas and stairwells and whatever. If he is so confident that there's nothing there, why not testify and set the record straight, George?

CONWAY: That's absolutely 100% the right idea. I mean, he doesn't want to answer these questions for some reason, and he's given inconsistent statements about it. Well, why? I mean. if it's all innocent, there should be no reason for him not to raise his right hand or even just be interviewed about it.

But the questions are gonna -- you know, the questions are interesting, like, why was a congressman himself giving this tour? Usually, interns give this tour. What did they tell him they wanted to see? And why were they paying such attention to things like stairwells and egresses and security checkpoints and taking photographs of it? What was the congressman thinking when that was happening? Didn't he think that was a little unusual? Most people want to see the ornate ceilings and the paintings and the statues and all that. Maybe they did all that as well, but taking photographs of stairwells, of the basement stairwells is just bizarre.

LEMON: Yeah.

CONWAY: And so, you know, but if it's innocent, why not tell us why?

LEMON: Yeah. Right. Why not, you know, clear his name and the folks who were involved in the tours? Thank you, George. CONWAY: Thank you.

LEMON: And Doug, who's somewhere in the ethos. Thank you. I appreciate. I'll see you soon.

Charged with federal hate crimes. Now, the suspected shooter in the racist Buffalo attack could be facing the death penalty.




LEMON: The suspect in the Buffalo massacre facing multiple federal hate crimes charges and weapons violations, accused of killing 10 Black people in a supermarket. These charges carry the potential of the death penalty.

I want you to listen to Attorney General Merrick Garland who visited the site of the mass shooting and met with families of the victims today.


MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: His goal was to -- quote -- "kill as many Blacks as possible." The affidavit outlines how the defendant prepared for months to carry out this attack. It alleges that he selected a target in this zip code because it has the highest percentage of Black people close enough to where he lives.

He selected the top store because it is where a high percentage and high density of Black people can be found, and he made a map of the inside of the Tops store -- quote -- "and decided the best plan of attack for the highest chance of success."


LEMON: Here to discuss now, CNN senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI.


He is the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump." Good to see you, Andrew. Thanks for joining.

So, let's look at these federal charges. Ten counts each of hate crimes and use of firearms to commit murder, one for each person killed, and three counts of hate crime and another three of gun charges for the people injured but not killed. He is in court tomorrow. So, what do you think of these charges? Do you think they'll stick?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: Oh, they'll definitely stick. I mean, this is -- first of all, Don, it was incomprehensible to me that he would not face federal hate crimes charges. If you're not going to charge this shooter with hate crimes, why do we have a statute at all? It's about the most clear-cut case of hate crimes I've ever seen.

He left an expensive manifesto, I guess we can call it, that lays out explicitly why he was committing this offense. And, of course, as you know, the hate crime statute requires that you engage in a violent crime, cause bodily injury or death because of actual or perceived race.

So, it's very clear that this -- his horrific action in the Tops supermarket fit the statute very, very well. I find it almost impossible to believe that the case will go to trial. He's also facing significant charges in the state of New York.

In all likelihood, you know, we don't know how these things would be resolved, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that this young man will never see another free day in this country.

LEMON: Yeah, he mentioned the rantings. Authorities found the laptop of the document containing the detailed plan of the attack and that he had been planning for years. He even details his motive in the -- prevent Black people from replacing white people. How does this go unnoticed for so long, Andrew?

MCCABE: It's really incredible, Don, that -- you know, it's not the sort of activity -- but planning these things, thinking these things, writing about them, it's not the sort of things that are going to necessarily come to the attention of law enforcement.

But you would think that these attitudes, this sort of view of the world, this activity of planning this attack, traveling to the grocery store on several occasions, drawing maps of the store, you would think at some point that would come to the attention of his family or friends and that someone would bring that to the attention of law enforcement.

That seems to be the missing link in so many of these mass shooter events, Don, is that in retrospect, people say, yeah, they saw or thought things were suspicious about the shooter and those suspicions were not conveyed to law enforcement or to authorities or anyone in a way that could have possibly changed the outcome.

LEMON: The shooter used several social media platforms to plan and promote his attack. At least 15 people joined his private account on the app Discord shortly before that shooting. What happens to those people? Does anything happen to them?

MCCABE: It's unlikely that any charges would be -- would be sought against those people. It's not illegal to watch horrendous and offensive things on social media. People do that all the time. But I would expect that those people will be identified and interviewed by the FBI in the course of this investigation.

You want to know exactly what other kind of communications they may have had with this shooter, what else they might know about him. If they for some -- you know, you want to certainly vet each of these people to make sure that none of them had any foreknowledge of the attack or maybe were involved in planning or supporting it in any way. But barring any evidence of that, it's unlikely they'll face any sort of real criminal consequences.

LEMON: well, this -- for the shooter, though, these charges carry the potential of the death penalty. But the attorney general had put a temporary hold on federal executions. When asked if this suspect could face the death penalty, he said the families and the survivors would be consulted. Do you think the Justice Department will seek the death penalty here?

MCCABE: I think there's a lot of hurdles along that path before you get to that. So, he has to -- we know he's been charged with the death penalty, eligible offense. He needs to, of course, be convicted of that first. Then at that point, the local U.S. attorney has to ask the attorney general for permission to request that the court sentence him to death.

That process involves a lot of consultation with the victims' families and other interested parties. If they're opposed to it, it's unlikely that the department would go forward with it. The moratorium on death penalty cases right now could stand in the way. So, if you got over all those hurdles, ultimately it goes to the court to determine whether or not he's sentenced to death.


LEMON: Uh-hmm.

MCCABE: So, we're looking at a very long process. And any one of those steps could mean that it does not, in fact, go forward to this -- this individual serving out the death penalty.

LEMON: Thank you, Andrew McCabe. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Primary results showing Trump still has a strong hold on the GOP as several candidates pushing his election lie put up a strong showing. What does it signal for Democrats running against him in the midterm?




LEMON: Donald Trump's grip on the GOP front and center in multiple primary races. What does it mean for the midterms?

Here to discuss, CNN political commentator Charlie Dent and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. We've got a commentator and an analyst. I think we have it all covered here. Hello, gents.

Ron, Tom Rice lost his job because he voted to impeach Donald Trump. What message does it send to other Republicans like Liz Cheney facing Trump-backed challengers for refusing to push the big lie?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. Well, look, Donald Trump has not won all of his endorsements. No political figure ever does. But he's won a lot of them. And we have seen him being able to exact a cost on those that he has -- he has targeted. I think more important, as we said before, who Trump endorses is who endorses Trump.

I mean "The Washington Post" calculated this week there are 108 separate Republican nominees who have endorsed the big lie, that Trump did not lose the 2020 election, that Biden was elected by fraud. And that includes, again, last night in Nevada with the secretary of state candidate, an extraordinary number of Republicans who are running for control of election administration in the swing states that will decide 2024 are candidates who espouse the big lie.

I mean, we're talking about Michigan, we're talking about Minnesota, we're talking about Nevada. Still to come are primaries in Arizona, Colorado, and Wisconsin. It is both extraordinary and ominous how many of those candidates are advancing.

LEMON: Charlie Dent, you are friends with Tom Rice as well as Peter Meijer of Michigan, who faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in August. Do you think Meijer will face the same fate in his race?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, first, let me say that Tom Rice is a man of good character and integrity. He is a very honorable man. It is very sad that he lost.

But remember what happened in South Carolina last night, too. Nancy Mace, she was victorious and she defeated the Trump-backed candidate, Arrington.

In the case of Peter Meijer, that man has a golden name in Michigan, and Donald Trump went to Michigan several weeks ago and mocked his name. M-E-I-J-E-R, it's a Dutch name. A lot of Dutch people live in Michigan. And that name is -- they have a grocery store chain, retail chain. You can see their name at every Michigan football game. I mean, this is a very popular family that runs a wonderful business. And Trump to mock his name, I mean, I think did enormous damage.

Meijer, though, has been smart. He's running on bread-and-butter issues. He doesn't back away from his impeachment vote. But I think he's going to be a tough guy to beat. And heaven forbid, if they do defeat Meijer in the primary, that seat could easily go to the Democrats because it's been redistricted and it's a more leaning democratic seat.

So -- but I think Meijer is a different animal altogether. I think he's going to be -- I think he is going to be fine in the end just because he's so well-respected as is his family, and Trump really screwed up by mocking that name. In Michigan, sometimes, they say, if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much. That was a mistake.

(LAUGHTER) LEMON: Very nice. You made me hungry, too. Bread and butter. Because I'm doing intermittent fasting. I'm starving right now.

So, listen, Ron, let's talk about more bread-and-butter issues, Ron. Inflation, right? Gas prices.


LEMON: Now, interest rates. Americans are hurting. It seems like Dems could get crush in the midterms with the economy. The GOP putting election deniers on the ballot and the January 6 House Select Committee releasing damning information. How do you see this all playing out?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, I think it's really interesting. I think, look, by most traditional measures, whether it's presidential approval or this inflation that we haven't had at this level in 40 years, Democrats are going to face trouble among swing voters who tend to base their vote on the immediate circumstances in the country.

It is hard to imagine that they are going to win most independent voters in most of these elections who are, you know, understandably feeling the squeeze on their cost of living.

But that isn't the only part of the equation for November, Don. I mean, part of the equation also is how many of the voters who have come out in 2016, 2018 and 2020 because they view Donald Trump as a threat to American democracy or their vision of American society, how many of them also show up?

Over 90 million separate people voted democratic in at least one of the past three elections. And, you know, there probably only been 100 million people or 110 million who vote in the midterm at all.

So, to me, the key remaining variable is do events like the January 6th hearings, the Supreme Court abortion ruling, the nomination of so many election deniers. Does it convince more of those voters that the fight they enlisted in the last three elections is still going on and they have to show up again if they don't want Donald Trump's vision of America should be to prevail?


LEMON: So, Charlie, here we go, let us talk about this. Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, it turns out that he's got a second son with a woman who was not his wife, a woman who, according to "The Daily Beast," had to sue him for declaration of paternity and child support, which is ironic considering Walker's very mini comments in the past. I want you to listen to this.


HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: And I want to apologize to the African-American community because I know that fatherless home is a major, major problem. The father leaves in the Black family. He leaves and leaves the boys alone so they'll be raised by the mom. If you have a child with a woman and even if you have to leave that woman, even if you have to leave that woman, you don't leave the child.


LEMON: Oh, boy. That was -- I'd forgotten about them. I didn't know they were still around. So, here's what Walker's campaign is saying about all of it, and I quote here. It said, "Herschel had a child years ago when he wasn't married. He's supported the child and continues to do so. He's proud of his children. To suggest that Herschel is hiding the child because he hasn't used him in his political campaign is offensive and absurd."

I mean, what do you think? Is this a problem for the candidate? I think there are members of his family who talk about, you know, spouse, this B.S. and about fatherless homes and being blah, blah, blah, and here he is involved in similar thing.

DENT: Well, in more traditional times, you know, we vet candidates and we would -- He also had some allegations of domestic situations as well as now this --

LEMON: He has admitted to, quite frankly.

DENT: Yeah, he had admitted to it. And so, he had this, but ordinarily, these types of issues probably would be catastrophic for a candidate. They don't seem to be that way anymore in too many cases.

Also, let us remember, Herschel Walker, he's a household figure in Georgia, Heisman trophy winner. Ever see Georgia national champion? You know, people, I think they may overlook it. but, again -- but this speaks to a lack of vetting. I don't want -- look, as a candidate, you don't want problems like this. This ordinarily would be very self- destructive, particularly for a party that often talks about family values. This stuff really isn't helpful. And I think, you know, he might be able to get away with it. Look what Donald Trump got away with and, you know, he's got the celebrity factor going in his favor. And so, it may not be the issue that we all think it is at the moment.

LEMON: Yeah. Got kids by different moms. I got to go. I got to go. I don't have time, Ron. I'm sorry. But I just have to say that you're going to vote for someone because they were a great football player? Have you heard -- sorry -- the stuff that comes out of his mouth? It makes no sense.

And the things that he says -- oh, I was on the police force and I did this and I never -- it's like no. And I went to this school and people are like, no, you didn't, you didn't do any of that. Crazy. Vet him. Thank you. We'll be right back.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Tonight, the mother of one of the men arrested in Idaho accused of planning to riot at a pride event is speaking out. Thirty- one men believed to be affiliated with the white nationalist group, Patriot Front, were arrested last weekend after police were alerted about a group dressed like a little army piling into a U-Haul truck. Police say the men had shields and other riot gear, allegedly planning to attack the event.

I want to bring in now CNN senior national correspondent Sara Sidner with the very latest on this. Sarah, hello to you. Tell me about what Jared Boyce's mother told you.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Karen Amsden had hoped that this was going to be the moment when the light went on in his head that this was a bad group to be a part of, that he needed to walk away. She said as soon as she heard about the arrest in Idaho, that she was almost certain that her son was a part of it.

She knew that he had been involved in this group, that he was a member of Patriot Front. She knew what Patriot Front stood for because he talked to her about it and he tried to convince her that it was a group that stood for -- that stood for good things like freedom.

But she knew better, and she had been talking to him trying to get him to leave, but he wouldn't. So, when this happened, here's what she said she did. It was one of those moments where she was at her breaking point.


SIDNER: Who was your son? How old is your son?


SIDNER: And where is he living?

AMSDEN: He is living in my basement. He -- when he came back from this weekend in Idaho, I was hoping, after spending some time in jail, that maybe this would be a wakeup call for him, like, to question what is this group that I've been involved? Where is this really getting me?

And I've been warning him for years now that it's not going to take you in a good place and it ultimately could get you in so much trouble that you're in jail and you're not seeing your sons and not spending time with them and you're going to lose them. And he always just brushed that aside and dismisses it.


But he's really dug into their philosophy and really believes it, and tries constantly to get me to watch their documentaries and read their reports and show me how they're right.

So, when he came home, I was really hoping he would -- might have had a wakeup call. But when he came back on Monday and I went out to the house to talk to him, and he -- he believes in what they did. He was standing by it.

He was, like, we were there to, you know, prevent them from grooming children and we were doing what we thought was right. And we had a great legal team and none of these charges are going to stick. And we had anonymous strangers bailing us out because they support our cause and we're doing -- I felt like he was even more entrenched in it.

And so, that's when I said, you need to -- I can't -- we can't do this. You can't live at my house and be doing this kind of stuff and putting this kind of hate out into the world and putting yourself in danger. I just -- you need to -- you need to move out of my house.

SIDNER: You gave him an ultimatum. Why?

AMSDEN: At that time, I just felt like I -- I didn't know what else to do. I've tried everything else. And honestly, it's so aggravating and infuriating to be trying to have a civil discourse with someone about their beliefs and he just gets -- and I get escalated, too, because I just can't believe that he believes all this ridiculous conspiracy crap and wants to blame people for all these things and hates groups of people.

It's not who I am and it makes me sick to listen to it and sicker to know that this is coming from my son who somewhere inside has a loving, loving heart.


SIDNER: So, you heard there a mother struggling with trying to get her son back, the son that she knew. You also heard him saying, we're right and digging in. What happened in the end? She told him he couldn't stay in the house anymore, that he had to go, and that was it. Don?


LEMON: Yeah, so he's been bailed out, she said. Have you heard anything about what's next for him and the other men who were arrested, Sara?

SIDNER: I've heard what's next for him, according to his mother. She said that after he left, he did not have his paycheck, he was not able -- no one offered him a place to stay. He did not have any money. So, he had to come back. So, he came back. He was upset, visibly shaken, crying. And she said, okay, you can stay the next couple of days until you get your paycheck and then you've got to get out.

It's tough love. She feels very guilty even though he's a grown man and has made his own decisions. And she was very adamant. She says, we did not teach this to him. She says, I am a single mom. I did not teach him this. We have friends from all over the spectrum of people in this country. She's, like, I do not understand, but I can't get to him, he been radicalized. Don?

LEMON: Yeah. Sara Sidner, thank you very much. Appreciate that.


LEMON: All entrances to Yellowstone National Park still closed after historic flooding. And the worst part, it's not over yet.




LEMON: It is being called a 500-year event. Devastating floods sweeping across Yellowstone National Park, destroying homes, forcing evacuations, and closing all entrances. And more surging waters could be on the way. Here is CNN's Nick Watt.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): That is insane!

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was a home for park employees obliterated by the Yellowstone River as was the one and only road in from the north entrance. The oldest national park on earth is now closed.

CAMERON SHOLLY, SUPERINTENDENT, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: I've heard this is a thousand-year event. Whatever that means these days, it seems to be happening more and more frequently.

WATTS (voice-over): Bridges washed out, houses washed away, others balanced on the brink. CNN's Julia Vargas Jones shot these exclusive pictures from a helicopter carrying at a law enforcement shift change in the park. It has to be by air when there isn't a road left.

JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN PRODUCER: A lot of the roads and access points to these communities have been cut off. So, the sheriff's office is also taking this opportunity to take a look at what needs to be repaired.

WATT (voice-over): The Montana National Guard has rescued nearly 100 people. All this caused by an unusually late heavy snowfall, then unusually high temperatures melting that snow, plus a lot of rain, combining to cut off this gem of the American west: More than two million acres, a thousand miles of trails, 500 geysers, bears, birds.

As much as three months' worth of water barreled down this valley in three days, breaking record high river levels set over 100 years ago. Overwhelming infrastructure, built for what was normal last century, not for the extreme and unpredictable that is becoming normal in this.


For the benefit and enjoyment of the people, says the grand old gate. Not right now. This northern entrance likely will not open again this summer because that one road in will take months to fix.

KAN HUESING, YELLOWSTONE GATEWAY INN: There is nobody here. There is one hotel that's actually shutting down, told all its employees to go home.

WATT (on camera): You were booked?

HUESING: We were booked. We were booked solid for a year. We were booked for a year.

WATT (voice-over): Gardner, gateway to the park, now a ghost town. Probably will be for months.

BILL BERG, COMMISSIONER, PARK COUNTY, MONTANA: It's a Yellowstone town and it lives and dies by tourism.

WATT (voice-over): There should be more than 10,000 people in the park on a summer's day. Today, just a few hikers left in the back country. And all this might not be over. There is still 12 inches of snow pack up there and high temperatures are forecast for the weekend. More snow might melt and the Yellowstone River might rise again.

Nick Watt, CNN, Gardner, Montana.


LEMON: Nick Watt, thank you. And thank you for joining us, everyone. Our coverage continues.