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Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 Committee Will Hold Its Fourth Public Hearing; New Questions About Police Response to Uvalde Shooting; Bishop Says Massachusetts School that Flew Pride and BLM Flags Can No Longer Be Called Catholic; White Extremists Groups Target LGBTQ+ Community During Pride Month. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 20, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. It is the top of the hour, the January 6 Committee opens its fourth public hearing in just a few hours at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. The committee saying tomorrow's hearings will focus on former President Trump and his allies pressuring state officials to overturn election results and pushing to advance phony slates of electors.

A lot to discuss with Doug Jones, the former Democratic senator from Alabama, CNN political commentator Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman, and political analyst Toluse Olorunnipa, the national politics reporter at "The Washington Post," also the co-author of the book, "His Name is George Floyd."

So happy to have all of you on. Since we talked about, you were the last one to be introduced, Toluse, why don't I start with you? Good evening, by the way, to everyone. Toluse, the Trump pressure campaign, last week, the committee focussed on the intense pressure on Pence and how much danger that put him in. This week, it is the pressure on state officials to overturn the election. Remember this call that Trump made to Georgia secretary of state? Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.


LEMON: So what do you think it is going to mean, Toluse, to hear publically from these election officials?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, this is part of a methodical approach by this committee to lay out exactly what was happening after the election. It included not only former President Trump and his lawyers going to court, but after they were thrown out of court for all of these failed legal efforts, they put pressure on these state lawmakers, including inviting some state lawmakers to the White House to try to pressure them to overturn the will of the voters.

And to hear specifically from some of these state officials, including Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, about the call that they have with President Trump, including President Trump, in essentially trying to overturn the will of the voters by putting a pressure campaign to lower official at the state level, this is something that voters may not be as familiar with, exactly how the president tried to strong arm some of these Republican officials to get them to overturn the will of the voters.

That's something that the committee is going to be laying out in a very detailed way tomorrow.

LEMON: Doug Jones, I want you to listen to this. This is from Arizona Republican Rusty Bowers. He is scheduled to testify. He says that Trump asked him directly to replace the electors in the state. Watch.


RUSTY BOWERS, SPEAKER AND MEMBER, ARIZONA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I talked to him a couple of times. And they were -- they had asked me to take some steps that I just wouldn't do. And I told him I voted for him, I've campaigned for him, but I told him I wasn't going to do anything illegal.


LEMON: So, you know, when the committee says Trump was directly involved in the scheme to submit fake electors, is this what they're talking about?


DOUG JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER ALABAMA SENATOR: It sure sounds like it, Don. There is no question that he is encouraging any number of folks in various states to try to replace those electors. It is consistent with the bizarre theories we heard from John Eastman. It is consistent with the crazy stuff that we've heard from Jeffrey Clark at the Justice Department.

I mean, what the committee is doing, and Toluse is absolutely correct, this is a methodical way to show exactly Donald Trump's involved. They have laid out all of these crazy theories. And now they're going to show why they have to come up with these crazy theories, because he was getting nowhere with these states, because these people in each of these states stood strong and did their job, follow the Constitution.

LEMON: Listen, Charlie is having some audio issues, so Doug, I will ask you this question. We're also going to hear from a Georgia election worker. She plans to tell the committee how these voter fraud allegations led to death threats.

She says this, and I quote. "They said we snuck ballots into the State Farm Arena in a suitcase. That is a lie. They said we lied about a water main break to kick observers out. That is a lie. They said we counted ballots multiple times to try to steal the election. That is a lie. And they said we passed around flash drives to try to hack voting machines. That's a lie, too."

All those lies, though, led to death threats for her and her mother. She's afraid to go to the grocery store. Is this what's coming from 422 and beyond, Doug?


JONES: I'm afraid it is, Don. I'm afraid it's already here. This has been going for some time. I mean, there have been those -- you can't imagine what the kids that were answering my phones in my U.S. Senate office had to endure during the Kavanaugh hearings, during the Trump impeachment or exactly the election in 2020, that my office received such incredible threats, that one we reported to the Capitol police, and the man is in prison right now.

This is standard fair at this point. We see it with members of Congress. We are seeing it with members of the judiciary. And it is mainly on one side with the right. But it is really a little bit far, you know, on both sides at this point. We have to tone this down a good bit.

LEMON: I want to put up -- this is a poll. Charlie is back with us. There is a new ABC News poll on how the public is responding to these public hearings. I will note that the sample size is very small. It is small size. Not very small, but it's small. Five hundred and forty- five people are considered small. And it was collected over just two days.

Here is what it found. It says, just a third of Americans say that they are following these hearings closely, while 30% say that they are following not so closely. Thirty-six percent say, not closely at all. If that is the case, Charlie, problematic?

DENT: Well, I can't say I'm surprised by those numbers. Americans are distracted. They have heard a lot about January 6th for, you know, 18 months now. But that doesn't mean that what's happening with these hearings is not important. It's very important.

And what we're going to find out tomorrow, we're going to hear evidence from three prominent state elected officials who are -- two of them who are elected officials, who are going to provide real evidence about an attempt to steal an election and the tremendous pressure that they were under by the president of the United States.

I mean, the Arizona speaker, you were playing him earlier, Dusty Bowers, I mean, his -- what he said is just, I mean, is just to me, a slate of fake electors who were appointed under whose authority? Whose authority? And these people are somehow just going to be able to go down to the National Archives and Congress and simply certify this? I mean, this is completely insane, illegal, and unconstitutional. So this is important despite the fact that many Americans are paying attention to other things right now. But we have to do this for the historical record. The DOJ should be paying attention.

LEMON: To the DOJ should be paying attention, do you think they are in a serious way?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, the attorney general said that he's watching these hearings. The DOJ has asked for some of these transcripts. What the committee is doing is a methodical approach to not only showing what President Trump did after the election where he started off going to the courts but showing over time how he took extrajudicial measures, how at first he put this pressure on these various state lawmakers, and then he continued to push all these fake and false theories, and then he inspired a number of people to take actions into their own hands and storm the Capitol.

So, they're trying to build a case and trying to present that case in a way that the DOJ and the folks that are looking at this and have the power to actually do something legally will be able to consume and get the public behind.

So, it is clear that the DOJ is looking at this. It is clear that they are watching and following along and seeing how the public is responding to this and also seeing how this legal case is being made, and they're interested in the documentation, the more than one thousand witnesses, the transcripts, and the fact that a number of Republicans with the Trump administration and who are close to the former president and the former vice president have been part of this process as well.

So, it is something that the DOJ is watching very closely, it seems.

LEMON: Another question for you, Toluse. The former vice president, Mike Pence, is delivering a speech today attacking Joe Biden and only briefly mentioning the attack at the Capitol. Listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we all have been through a lot over the last several years. The global pandemic, social unrest, the divisive election, a tragic day in our nation's capitol, and an administration seemingly every day driving our economy into the abyss of a socialist welfare state.


LEMON: Now, look, he didn't mention, you know, his role in the pandemic, you know, any of that other stuff and all of the social unrest, but it sounds like someone looking at running in 2024. But, I mean, do you think the January 6th hearings -- what do you think that means for a potential run for him?

OLORUNNIPA: It has been surprising to see how the Democrats on the committee have almost praised Mike Pence as a hero. They have said that this is the kind of person that the country needs, that he stood up and faced President Trump. I think some of that may be politicking in a way. They want to be able to drive that wedge between the former president and the former vice president.


OLORUNNIPA: They want to be able to show that other Republicans stood up or decided that they were going to break from Trump and that's a break that they want to be able to show.

They got Liz Cheney on the committee. They got the former attorney general. They got members of former President Trump's own family on tape breaking with him. That's one of the things they want to accomplish with this committee. It is to show that even though President Trump has a grip on the party, they do not want the American people to think that he's the only voice that matters on the republican side.

And as these other voices started to come up, including the former vice president thinking about 2024, this committee and these hearings are one thing that people are watching to see whether or not that grip on the hold of the party that the former president has might be broken as a result of these hearings.

LEMON: It is interesting, Doug, that Representative Adam Schiff says that a Pence subpoena is certainly a possibility. Should that happen?

JONES: Well, I don't think they need it. I think that there is some -- they don't need Mike Pence there. And I get tired of having them hold Mike Pence up as a hero. For goodness sakes, Don, Mike Pence followed his oath. Okay? The fact that other people didn't follow their oath -- I mean, how far we have gone we're putting somebody as a hero that simply followed their oath? You know, that's what he was supposed to do. He did his job and that's fine.

But if you look at the things that Mike Pence said before and after, he was an enabler of Donald Trump, just like Mitch McConnell is an enabler, just like Kevin McCarthy is enabler.

And whether we get a prosecution of Donald Trump or not, we had to hold all of these people accountable, and you can do it at the ballot box. There are election deniers running across this country, and that's where we can hold them accountable.

Charlie is absolutely right. This is important not just for the historical record, but it is important that Democrats and others get this message out there about how fragile our democracy is and how we almost lost it. Thanks to an individual who was clinging to power so much that he was willing to break the law, whether or not he is ultimately charged with a crime or not. I think people are making their judgments about that.

And I think we have to make sure that over the next six months, between now and November, we continue to talk about that. We can deal with inflation and this socialism abyss, that's just absurd. Joe Biden is not running any kind of socialist thing. He is trying to save this economy and working hard. And there is no plan for Mike Pence or any Republican out there except for Rick Scott who wants to raise taxes on the poorest in this country.

LEMON: Yeah. Charlie, Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the January 6 Select Committee, he got a death threat sent to his home. This is what he told ABC News about that.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): This threat that came in, it was mailed to my house, we got it a couple days ago, and it threatens to execute me as well as my wife and five-month-old child. Never seen or had anything like that. There is violence in the future, I'm going to tell you, and until we get a grip on telling people the truth, we can't expect any differently. Twenty, twenty-four is going to be a mess. And wake up, America. Wake up, Republicans, because this is not going to be good for you if you think it is.


LEMON: Do you agree with this warning, the violence is going to get worse?

DENT: I fear that he is correct. In fact, it's not only there is violence in the future, there has been violence in our past. I was there when Gabby Giffords -- I was in Congress when she was shot, and Steve Scalise, and we saw a deranged assassin attempted to go after Justice Kavanaugh. You know, other in Congress, both Republican and Democrat, have received very serious death threats, many of whom, there are several of them, I should say, have security around them to deal with this. That was very unusual, when I was in only four years ago, that members would have that kind of security other than the top leaders.

So I fear that Adam Kinzinger is right, that there is a potential for more political violence. We have seen it in the past, and I fear we are going to see more of it. You just saw Eric Greitens's video, RINO hunting, you know, wanting to go after people like me who are currently -- are not conservative enough, are not Trump enough, so let's go hunt them.

I mean, as if that -- it almost speaks to the fact that he's unaware of it. There has been a lot of violence in this country, mass shootings, several in recent weeks. I mean, there is a tone deafness to this and it's dangerous, frankly.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

DENT: Thank you.

LEMON: Are the January 6th hearings aimed at an audience of one? And I'm talking about Merrick Garland. Some of the questions would oppose to Toluse just moments ago. And what will the DOJ do about what they're hearing?


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I'm telling you, people are concerned that the Department of Justice may have too many carryovers from the last administration and not moving in order to do what's needed to protect this democracy.




LEMON: So, the attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, says that he and his Justice Department deputies are following the January 6th hearings very closely, but it is unclear what action he will take -- if any action really -- when the House investigation wraps up. And there appears to be a disagreement within the committee about referring any possible criminal activity to the DOJ.

One former Justice Department official named -- his name is Jack Goldsmith, who served under President George W. Bush, wrote this in today's "New York Times," and I quote, "The evidence gathered by the January 6 Committee and in some of the federal cases against those involved in the federal attack pose for Attorney General Merrick Garland one of the most consequential questions that any attorney general has ever faced: Should the United States indict former President Donald Trump?"


LEMON: So, let's bring in Harry Litman now, who is a former deputy assistant attorney general. Hi, Harry.


LEMON: So, here's what Goldsmith says. He says this decision is about the nature and fate of our democracy, which is what I said at the top of the 10:00 hour. You think that Garland has to prosecute Trump, right?

LITMAN: Has to? I mean, I think it is the best call now, for the reasons that Goldsmith is talking about. By the way, I think there won't be a special counsel, I think the evidence is there, and then we come to, you know, what we really should stipulate are some serious considerations.

Goldsmith is a patriot in all the best senses, but, you know, you have sort of immovable and irresistible object, a terrible lesson for the rule of law and accountability if you don't, potential very polarizing dispute for many years if you do. I don't envy Merrick Garland.

LEMON: So, what is, you know, from one administration to the other, right, a republican administration will say, well, if you guys do this, wait until we get in power. What if this sets retaliations across presidential administrations? This decision will have consequences for the state of our democracy beyond our lifetime. Should that even -- should that be taken into consideration, especially considering that most people feel our democracy is just hanging by a thread right now?

LITMAN: I think it should and for that very reason. There are people who say, look, you have got the evidence on him, why do you treat the president any differently? But we do have a precedent here, which are Nixon and Ford. Ford pardons Nixon. History basically vindicates it.

Of course, Trump has become the anti-Nixon. He's un-repented. He continues to inflame the voters. He continues to have the same toxic effect on our politics, and that's one of the reasons that they should be going ahead.

But there is no avoiding that whole set of concerns that Goldsmith summarizes as what is in the national interest. Probably no avoiding even having Biden weigh in on the decision. Doesn't make sense to just pretend this is a work a day decision, once they check the boxes, that's all that's going on here. Much more is going on here.

LEMON: There is an ABC new poll out, conducted after three public January 6th hearings, January 6 Committee hearings. It shows nearly six in 10 Americans believe that former President Trump should be prosecuted. Still leaves 40% who don't.

Goldsmith says that Garland has to decide if prosecuting Trump is in the national interest.


LEMON: If the nation is divided on this, he has to ask if the consequences will lead to another violent incident.

LITMAN: He does. He has to ask, as Goldsmith says, will it be hyperpolarizing for years and years? But he has to ask, what is the bottom line for accountability, the rule of law in this country, if he doesn't act? And to me, that has now become more serious as Trump has continued to do the same kind of conduct that threatened us before and now threatens us in 2024.

But, again, there are serious things on both sides, and I don't want to trivialize it as just a matter of, is the evidence there, which, let me stress, I think it is.

LEMON: Okay. So, let's go through what the process would actually be tomorrow.


LEMON: Okay, Harry?


LEMON: What would the -- what would the first steps for him be if he did choose to prosecute the former president?

LITMAN: So, he's very much a sort of DOJ guy. He will work up a big memo from all his troops who are working on it. It will go through everybody up to the deputy attorney general and have a series of recommendations. Also very importantly, at that point, Don, he will or will not have, probably will, have indicted other people in Trump's circle.

You know, go to Watergate. It is like the (INAUDIBLE). Might it be Mark Meadows? Might it be Bannon, et cetera? Maybe they have turned. Maybe they have cooperated. Maybe they make the evidence even more strong.

But he will be guided by the recommendation of his professional staff who, by the way, I understand the worry about it, but they are straight up. There is no worry about holdovers somehow being hesitant. And it will work itself up.

But it will be his decision at the end of the day probably in consultation with the White House which might itself say, no, you do it, Merrick. But, again, the political considerations are strong enough that I think you have to involve the -- you know, the absolute accountable figure, that being the president of the United States.

LEMON: Okay. So, you said the political. But, I mean, what other president -- the last president who did something like this -- and not even -- you know, I think this is worse -- was Nixon, right?


LITMAN: And Nixon at least had some sense of shame, some institutional decency, so when he walked away, it really could be the case, that, as Ford said, our national nightmare had ended.

Our national nightmare seems to redouble every few months. And we have the very palpable possibility that Trump and Trumpism will have its clutches in us in the 2024 election. That is something that is very big on the other side.

LEMON: But you won't do it because of the crazies and the fringes. Because -- I mean --


LEMON: What happens if the same thing happened with a Democratic president where -- where, you know, there was something really bad and then it just -- I don't know. That doesn't make sense, Harry.

LITMAN: It doesn't make sense to go forward?

LEMON: No, it doesn't make sense that the concern is that some -- you know, the fringes of the Republican Party, obviously the former president did something to that if they come to this, right, if they do decide that there is enough evidence --


LEMON: -- that the former president should be prosecuted. To say that, well, we don't want to do it or we shouldn't do it or there is a possibility that, you know, that what happens in the next election, and the fringes are going to be upset and they are going to try to prosecute a Democratic president -- I don't know. Should that -- why is that taking --

LITMAN: No, I don't think that -- good point. And I don't think that's the big risk. No. I think the big risk is our polarized politics could literally break in two. But let me be clear. I think what Goldsmith is saying is something that Garland will and should consider.

At the end of the day, though, I think he's got -- he should go the other way not simply because Trump broke the law, but because the national interest demands it because Trump continues to act like a jackass.

LEMON: Okay.

LITMAN: So if you are saying just because they have the goods on him, they should prosecute, I will disagree with you. But if you're -- but I will still agree with you on the bottom line because I think the national interest demands it, not withstanding that we could be stepping on a hornet's nest and the hornet could swirl for a few years.

LEMON: Okay, right, if they do decide to go along with it. This is all, right, (INAUDIBLE), if they do it. Okay.

LITMAN: That's the $64,000 question. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thanks, Harry. See you next time.

So, the first image from inside Robb Elementary School showing police with rifles and ballistic shield just minutes after the shooting started, and that one image is raising a whole lot of questions.




LEMON: So, tonight, we have a new image of the scene inside the Texas elementary school as a gunman was firing on children and adults, this is back in May, and the image raises questions about whether officers had the equipment necessary to try and take down the gunman earlier than they did.

Now, the image obtained by the Austin American-Statesman shows at least three officers in the hallway of the school. At least two officers, one on the lower left and one on the lower right, they're holding rifles. You see it right there on your screen. The officer on the right is standing behind what appears to be a tactical shield.

The image was recorded at 11:52 a.m. Nineteen minutes after the gunman entered the school. He says he was not taken down by officers for another hour after killing 19 children and two teachers.

Roland Gutierrez is here now. He is a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate. We are glad to have him on. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Gutierrez, state senator. I appreciate it.

ROLAND GUTIERREZ, TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Thank you, Don. Appreciate you.

LEMON: So, you have seen that imagine. After seeing it, do you think the community is going to have a lot of new questions about why the officers waited for more than an hour to confront that gunman?

GUTIERREZ: Yeah. I mean, this corroborates what we said last week, that there were actually three ballistic shields in the hallway at the 12:03 mark. So, this is 11 minutes prior to that. So, we see that there are officers with adequate munitions, adequate equipment to be able to reach that room, which is what McCraw (ph) had told me. I just don't understand why that didn't happen. Why they didn't breach the room.

Those answers need to be -- they shouldn't be dribbling through the media in this way. We should have law enforcement agencies tell us exactly what went wrong. And the fact that we're not getting that information is just a travesty in and of itself.

LEMON: To that -- to your point about, you know, what's coming out, this is one. This is one still image that we have access to right now. Is it time to just release all the video and all the evidence to the public?

GUTIERREZ: Well, Don, precisely. I mean, what I have told McCraw (ph) since the beginning, you have the videos, you have the body cams. This notion that this should take six months is ludicrous. What we have been hearing from the local district attorney, from law enforcement, even from this House committee that is telling us, well, six to eight weeks or 10 weeks, is ludicrous.

We have all of the video footage, all of the GPS data. We know which officers and which law enforcement units were aware and at what time. The public of Uvalde and of the state of Texas and of this country deserve to know what went wrong and we deserve to know it now.


LEMON: The statesman says that documents they reviewed quote some officers at the scene. One officer says that if there is a kid in there, we need to go in there. And then another responds, whoever is in charge will determine that. Now, senator, we still don't know who was in charge, right? I mean, how big of a problem is that?

GUTIERREZ: Yeah. As I've talked to different law enforcements in the region, as I do my own investigation here, Don, I keep getting the same narrative that they were reading off of each other and they were just frozen in time.

All of that that failed leadership, wherever it came from, whichever agency should've been in charge, was a clear failure of protocol. All of those officers are trained in an active shooter situation. And from the very beginning, even the ones that did not have the ballistics shields, they should have just got in. That is what their protocol suggests.

And to yield to some of this notion that there was an incident commander, maybe there was, maybe there wasn't, it's just not good enough. For 48 minutes and beyond, children were left in a room, scared to death, calling 9-1-1, and yet no one went in.

What happened here was the worst tragedy in recent law enforcement history in the state, and this governor has failed in his leadership. He has failed in this leadership to demand answers.

LEMON: There is a transcript of body camera footage also reviewed by the Statesman. It shows that the chief of police for the Uvalde school district, Pete Arredondo, trying to get keys to open the classroom door. But officials say that they don't even believe officers tried to open that door in the first place.

The details we learned just seemed to be getting worse, senator. Do you think that is why it has been so hard to get information out of officials?

GUTIERREZ: Yeah. I mean, clearly, from the beginning, there has been finger-pointing, competing narratives, we blame the teacher for a while, we saw McCraw (ph) do that. This is preposterous. Pull off this band-aid. Tell us who is at fault. They were all at fault!

Three children bled out likely. One teacher likely bled out. These are very serious matters. I'm not here to cast blame. I am here to find out what happened so it never happens again, Don. The fact that you and I are sitting here now three weeks and beyond, almost four weeks having this discussion is just ludicrous.

LEMON: Senator Gutierrez, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: A Massachusetts middle school, they flew Pride and Black Lives Matter flag. Now, a bishop says the school can no longer identify as Catholic.




LEMON: So, a Massachusetts middle school can no longer be called Catholic after flying Gay Pride and Black Lives Matter flags. The bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, a Catholic church, is making new decision, even though the Nativity School of Worcester says that the governance and school operations are fully independent of the diocese and receive no funding from them. The school says the flags will stay up.

So, joining me now is Guillermo Creamer, Jr., an alumnus of the Nativity School of Worcester. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it. GUILLERMO CREAMER, JR., ALUMNUS, NATIVITY SCHOOL OF WORCESTER: Thank you for having me, Don.

LEMON: What do you think about this decision as an alumnus of the school and as a human rights commissioner for the city?

CREAMER: You know, not just an alumnus but an openly gay alumnus of that. Look, I mean, this is absurd. The reality here is that the bishop doesn't really have a reason to truly meddle into something like this. The flags have been up since January of 2021. Why now? And ultimately, you know, to put the decree out, right, in June, Pride Month, a couple days before Juneteenth, I mean, it is just very telling to the motives, and to me, it just doesn't make sense.

LEMON: Yeah. That was not lost on you that it happened in this month?

CREAMER: No, absolutely not. You know, I looked at the fact that we are -- you know, the bishop started talking about this back in March and to make the decision here in June, I just think to me that's a little more telling.

I mean, look, this community serves predominantly Black and brown population. You know, the Black Lives Matter flag flying over middle school where young Black men are attending matters. And so, to them, you know, you have the students that made this decision to have these flags come up. I mean the decision to understand that what these flags mean to them is about inclusivity. You know, a Catholic school is essentially being punished for being inclusive.

LEMON: There has been a long -- you said that you're openly gay. There has been a long divide between the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ community. The bishop who issued this ruling says the flags contradict Catholic social and moral teachings. What is your response to that?

CREAMER: You know, that's a tough one. I think what I learned in Catholic school and I think what many others in the Catholic faith can attest to the fact that Jesus helps those that were marginalized and this is a little bit of an attack on the marginalized groups out there.


CREAMER: So, you know, I am not a believer that Jesus would be turning us away if we are LGBTQ. And, you know, we should be promoting inclusivity in the Catholic Church. I think that now -- you know, we are hearing it from the pope himself and we're hearing it from other diocese and churches throughout the country. This is not something new. I mean, LGBTQ Catholics exist, you know. And so, to hear this come from the bishop, it just -- it just doesn't really make sense.

LEMON: Yeah. As a part of a Catholic school, similar -- similar -- I will just say similar to what you just said.

Listen, I just want to read this. This is from the bishop. The bishop said this in May. He said, because every human life is sacred, the church is 100% behind the phrase 'black lives matter.' However, a specific movement with a wider agenda has co-opted the phrase and promotes a 13- principal agenda for schools, which, I dare say, most people do not know about but is easily available on the internet. Similar to the gay pride movement, those principles include, in their own words, to be 'queer affirming' and 'trans affirming.'

So, the bishop is trying to tie these two movements together. Why do you think that is?

CREAMER: Well, you know, you've got to marginalized groups here. The way I see it, it is two birds, one stone-type of thing. And it's truly unfortunate if that's the case. But, you know, you've got gay rights and you've got Black right, you know, especially with the Pride movement. You remember that Pride did not happen unless it was because of Black and brown trans individuals who really made it happen.

And so, ultimately, you know, you really have to question, okay, why is this -- why is the motive now? Why are we conjoining both groups? But it's also strengthening the movement ultimately. You know, I think one of the things that the bishop spokesperson said recently was that these are logos, and that does a disservice to the fact that these are true social justice movements.

You know, these aren't just logos that are better up on a flag. You know, these are staples for inclusivity. And that is the way we should be looking at it, is that inclusivity is what the Catholic Church needs and it is what the Catholic Church teaches ultimately. So I think the bishop here is truly on the wrong side.

LEMON: The bishop says that flags bearing the words "end racism" and "we are all God's children" would be far more appropriate for a Catholic school. Would that be a fair compromised?

CREAMER: No. I mean, I think that you and I both know just how important these symbols are. You know, these aren't just logos. This isn't just about one or two phrases. This is about a movement of embracing human beings and human rights ultimately. You know, that is what this is. And so to hear the bishop kind of say this, it just doesn't make sense.

LEMON: They want to sanitize or dilute what this actually means. Okay. Thank you, Guillermo. Best of luck to you. Happy Pride. Appreciate it.

CREAMER: Happy Pride. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. An alarming rise in hate speech and threats of violence, and a lot of it being directed at the LGBTQ community.




LEMON: As millions of Americans celebrate Pride Month and take part in Pride events around the country, threats of violence by white extremist groups are on the rise. More tonight from CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The arrest of members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near a Pride event in Idaho came as no surprise to those tracking hate groups who say they have seen a steady rise in hate speech and attacks directed at the LGBTQ community.

SAM JONES, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, ARMED CONFLICT LOCATION AND EVENT DATA PROJECT: These aren't isolated. We can see a pattern. The pattern has really been building. I think that is something that we are going to have to continue to monitor very closely going into the end of Pride Month.

CARROLL (voice-over): Sam Jones is with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. The project found anti-LGBTQ+ mobilization in the U.S. increased more than four times from 2020 to 2021. This year's incidence of political violence targeting that community already exceeds the total number of attacks reported last year.

The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, some of whose members stormed the Capitol on January 6th, are some of the same groups targeting LGBTQ+ events.

UNKNOWN: Who brought the pedophile?

CARROLL (voice-over): Earlier this month, authorities say Proud Boys members showed up at a Drag Queen Story Hour in San Lorenzo, California shouting transphobic slurs.

UNKNOWN: These people should be put to death.

CARROLL (voice-over): That sentiment echoed in Texas but this time in a sermon at a church outside of Dallas.

UNKNOWN: They should be lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head.

CARROLL (voice-over): Extremism researchers say disinformation and the wave of legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community is fuelling the rise in attacks.

JONES: Through the rest of the year and going into the midterms where I think this is going to be one among multiple issues where far-right groups like the Proud Boys and others are going to be trying to ramp up tensions and ultimately, possibly, escalate violence.

CARROLL (voice-over): Here in New York City, site of one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world this weekend, organizers are keenly aware of the rise in hate crimes.

DAN DIMANT, MEDIA DIRECTOR, NYC PRIDE: It is disheartening. I think we are living in a pretty unprecedented time.

CARRROLL (voice-over): Why do you think that is? DIMANT: I just think that the division and the rhetoric is at a whole new level.


CARROLL (voice-over): Organizers say they have security measures in place for Pride. The city's police department saying it provides a significant and complex counterterrorism overlay to the events and celebrations around Pride. NYPD's alert posture in these matters has remained ever vigilant.

(On camera): And Don, a gay rights activist that I spoke to said that despite all of the intimidation, despite all of the hate and the violence, he said that this community has no intention of losing the games that have been made over the past few decades. Don?


LEMON: Jason, thank you. And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Tonight, members of the January 6 Committee and their staffs are preparing for the fourth hearing tomorrow that will zero in on two key elements of what the committee has.