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Don Lemon Tonight

Donald Trump Tried Calling White House Support Staff; DOJ Needs To Investigate Communications Related To Donald Trump; Campaign Promise Not Achieved Yet By President Biden; Ten-Year-Old Rape Victim Seeks Abortion; Age And Agility Matters To Democrat Voters; Mary McLeod Bethune The First Black Woman In Statuary Hall. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 13, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, thanks for watching, everybody. I'll be back tomorrow. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts with right now, of course, you know, Don Lemon. Hey, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hi, Laura. And I will see you tomorrow. I got to get to this new reporting.


LEMON: You reported on this as well. I'll see you tomorrow.


Just in, sources selling CNN that the former president, former President Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee. OK. That is in addition to the person that committee co-chair Liz Cheney talked about yesterday at the hearings.

Now this support staffer was not someone who routinely communicated with him and was concerned about the contact, that's according to sources and informed their attorney.

Now this is a big development and we're going to have lots more in just a moment on that. We have some reporting on that, that, and people are up on Capitol Hill, up in Washington who are going to give us the very latest on that. But the big question about January 6th is who is going to stop it from happening again, go with me, or who's going to stop it from happening again. Is that you? Is it the committee? Maybe it's Republican.

Who's going to stop it from happening again? Who's going to stand up the next time to defend our free and fair election to defend our democracy from the lies that could take it all down?

Because what we're hearing from the January 6th committee, the testimony from eyewitnesses who were shocked by what they saw and heard behind closed doors in the Trump White House, who were pressured by a president determined to hold onto power no matter what it took, the fake electors, the wild conspiracy theories, the mob that stormed the capitol.

None of -- none of that is about the past. It's about what could happen the next time if nobody stands up to stop it. I should have put the media in that said, who's going to do it, the media journalists.

That's why it matters for the committee to follow the investigation wherever it leads. That's why it matters for journalists who follow the investigation wherever it leads.

We're learning that the committee is working on providing witness transcripts to the Justice Department, which right now is especially interested in testimony on the fake elector scheme.

And next week there's another hearing in the works, one the committee says we'll add to the case against the former president focusing on 187 minutes as the capitol was under attack and Donald J. Trump did nothing to stop it. And the committee is not ruling out more hearings.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Never say never in this process because people are coming forward all the time.


LEMON: Never say never. People coming forward all the time. That was Jamie Raskin. And time is running out for the investigation. The midterms are less than four months away. Can you believe it less than four months away? So, what happens in November? What happens if the GOP takes control of all of this? Right.

Some Republicans like Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona who the committee says attended a December 21st, 2020 White House meeting to discuss efforts to object to the election already demanding hearings and investigations into debunked election fraud allegations from, I guess you can call it a movie "2000 Mules."

I think we've talked about it. A movie full of wild and totally evidence free claims about election fraud. Trump's attorney general, Bill Barr mocked the whole thing during his deposition for the committee.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: My opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. And I haven't seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the "2000 Mules" movie.


LEMON: He laughed at it. Like I said, the question is who is going to stand up the next time? I tell you who could have, mainstream Republicans who knew better, conservative media who knew better. Mainstream Republicans who knew Trump's election lies were just that, lies. They knew. But far too many of them did not speak up, did not tell the truth. And that matters.


Stephen Ayres. Stephen Ayres is a convicted capitol rioter who breached the building on January 6th, said that he might never have gone there if he had known what so many in Trump's inner circle knew that the election was not stolen.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We've also talked about today and in previous hearings the extent to which the president himself was told that the election hadn't been stolen by his Justice Department, by his White House council by his campaign. Would it have made a difference to you to know that President Trump himself had no evidence of widespread fraud?

STEPHEN AYRES, CAPITOL RIOTER: Definitely. You know, who knows? I may not have come -- come down here then, you know.


LEMON: And then there is this. This soundbite from yesterday's hearing, the day before the attack on the capitol. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona saying this.


REP. DEBBIE LESKO (R-AZ): We also have quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election. And when that doesn't happen, most likely will not happen, they are going to go nuts.


LEMON: She said they most likely were not going to overturn the election, and yet the very next day, January 6th, she voted to do exactly that. She was right about one thing though. Trump supporters went nuts. And remember, there was a time when Republicans knew exactly who was responsible for what happened on January 6th.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.


LEMON: Now let's go to more video tape because that was then, this is now. Roll the tape.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel like the January 6th committees released enough information to show that Donald Trump was personally responsible for what happened here on that day?

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I think ultimately, you know, because answering that question leaps to a number of other questions that I think are best settled by transferring whatever information the January 6th commission has to the Department of Justice and let them settle it.


LEMON: A simple no would suffice it. After all this still, still won't say that Donald Trump bears responsibility for January 6th. So back to my original question and really, who's going to stop it from happening again?

I want to go right to CNN's Ryan Nobles, Dana Bash on this new reporting. Good evening to you. Ryan, I'm going to start with you. Tell us more about your new reporting that Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking with the January 6th committee. What do you know?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Don. This is reporting that Dana and I and our colleagues Andy Gray and Zach Cohen were able to officially confirm tonight. And we do want to make clear, this is the same person who Liz Cheney talked about at the end of the January 6th select committee hearing on Tuesday, who they said were so concerned about this interaction that they referred it to the Department of Justice, because they feared that it could be an example of witness intimidation.

And we're learning more tonight about why they had that concern. This individual was someone who worked in the White House support staff. So not a member of the political unit of the White House but a professional staff member who was there to support the services necessary at the White House.

And it is someone who would not be accustomed to receiving a phone call out of the blue from someone like the former President Donald Trump. It was someone who knew Donald Trump but did not have a personal relationship that with him in a way that they would just get a phone call unprompted.

And the timing of this phone call is important as well. It came just a couple of days after that bombshell testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. And we're told that this individual could corroborate parts of Hutchinson's testimony. And that's why they were so alarmed when they got that phone call from Trump. They immediately passed that information along to an attorney. That attorney gave the information to the committee and the committee has then handed it over to the Department of Justice.

So, there was a lot of questions, Don, after Liz Cheney made that statement in the hearing yesterday about what about a random phone call would lead you to believe that this is witness intimidation. The committee really didn't fill out a lot of that information.

This is that information that we're able to confirm tonight, that it is because of the timing of the phone call, the individual it went to and the relationship that they had with the former president that raised a lot of red flags for this person, their attorney, and the January 6th select committee.


LEMON: It's obviously we have more reporting on this. I said that it wasn't the same person, but to your report -- your understanding, it is the same person --


NOBLES: Yes, it is the same person.

LEMON: -- that Liz Cheney was talking about.


LEMON: OK. Great. Thank you for correcting me on that. Dana. This seems to raise a whole, a lot of questions about what this person may know if they're getting a call from the former president. No?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This person, as Ryan just mentioned, we understand has corroborating evidence or at least can corroborate maybe not evidence, but perhaps witnessed something that Cassidy Hutchinson testified to last week under oath, that she testified about lots of different scenarios, lots of different events that she witnessed.

And so, what the committee has been doing is saying publicly, well, we have a way to corroborate. And our understanding that this particular person who the former president put a phone call into is one of those who can help corroborate

And like Ryan said that one of the really important things to remember here is when there was a mad scramble to figure out who Liz Cheney was talking about, the understandably unclear thing was, well, how would they know, how would they know what the president was trying to do? How would they know that he was actually trying to tamper just because they saw a phone call or they heard that he was calling?

But Ryan just explained what this reporting shows is it's because this is not somebody who would have any reason to hear from Donald Trump.

LEMON: From the president. Dana, can we talk about it, can I dig in a little bit deeper on, you said this person could potentially corroborate aspects of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. What aspects of her testimony and it included situations or scenarios where another person could corroborate them? I mean, can you -- can you tell us more about that?

BASH: Well, I mean, just remember, well, just remember, she testified for many, many hours and she told many stories about different events that she witnessed. She was Mark Meadows, right hand woman.

LEMON: Right.

BASH: Mark Meadows isn't talking. And so, the idea is there are clearly other people who were there, who the committee believes that they can get information from, who was were inside the White House. And as Ryan said, this particular person who got the phone call according to the committee, according to what Liz Cheney said publicly yesterday, our understanding now based on our reporting was a member of the White House support staff.

LEMON: Ryan, so, you know, with this new reporting you have this, the committee has given this information to the DOJ. Is it clear if it will go anywhere, because how can -- how can something be witnessed tampering if the person never picked up the phone? I mean, possibly intimidation of some sort.

NOBLES: Well, we don't know the full breadth of what the committee knows, right, Don? Obviously, this reporting that we have tonight illuminates a big part of it that we didn't understand. You know, what this person's role was and why they were worried that the former president called them out of the blue just a couple of days after Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony.

But we also know that the committee has had informal conversations with this particular witness. They've not deposed this witness. They've not had, you know, one of these lengthy transcribed depositions behind closed doors, which, you know, would put a person in a position where they could not purge themselves because you're not allowed to lie to Congress.

But this is, would just be an informal conversation. We know that they have these informal conversations a lot. So, there could be more information that came through that communication that we don't know about. And there could also be other information around the timing of the phone call, perhaps other pieces of communication that happened in and around it that could lead them to believe even more that this was witness tampering.

And I think what the committee wanted to do is that they did not want to make that judgment for themselves. They wanted to remove, you know, whatever work that they were doing, because they obviously have a vested interest in the course of their investigation.

They wanted to remove that from their workflow and hand that over to prosecutors who have an understanding of the law and would be able to then pick up this particular piece of the investigation and determine whether or not it's criminal activity.

Now we don't know how the Department of Justice plans to handle that information. They've not responded to our requests a about what they plan to do with it. But I think it's important to a point, even though we've illuminated so much more from what we knew yesterday, there's still a lot that we don't know about this particular situation.

LEMON: All right. And look, I thank you both. I'm going to add, but my question is --


BASH: Can I --

LEMON: Yes, Dana, go on. You want to say something?

BASH: I'm just going to add one thing and that is that even before this new reporting, pretty much right away after Liz Cheney said what she said at the end of yesterday's hearing.


I was getting messages from people in and around the former president that he was really, really agitated about that. And think about it. There was a lot he could have been agitated about in yesterday's hearing. His White House counsel testified. They had a text message chain from his former campaign manager saying that basically he has blood on his hands.

And it was the last thing in the hearing that suggesting that he did something that was untoward and maybe even illegal enough that they gave it to the DOJ. I'm told that was the thing that sent Donald Trump sort of through the roof. And I think that's very telling.

LEMON: Well, if he didn't do anything why didn't he just go and talk to the committee, do it publicly. I mean, that would clear some things up for the committee and for everybody else.

Thank you both. My question is, where has the DOJ been on this? Why is the committee getting all this information the DOJ? I'm going to ask Amy Klobuchar. She's coming up in the show right after this. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

We've got a lot more to come. The big news on January 6th on the investigation. So, you know, so much sources are telling CNN that for former President Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee.

Here she is now. Senator Amy Klobuchar is going to weigh in on that and what it means for the investigation. Where is the DOJ? What is going on here? That's after the break.



LEMON: Every day, something comes out. Landslide of new information about January 6th reveal that this week including the news tonight that the former President Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee.

And with all this information coming out questions growing about what is happening at the DOJ?

Joining me now, Democratic Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. She is a member of the Senate judiciary committee. Good to see you. Thanks for joining.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Don. Good to be on again.

LEMON: We have a lot to discuss, but I need to get your reaction to this new news tonight about, you know, Trump placing this call to the staff or someone who he would not, you know, usually communicate with someone who could corroborate parts of Hutchinson's testimony. Does the DOJ need to speak with them?

KLOBUCHAR: I certainly hope they do. Because to me, you've got a line employee working in the White House doing their job and then you find out that the former president is calling them on the phone. We don't know the details as your great reporters just pointed out.

But the fact is witness intimidation, witness tampering is a federal crime. If you have a corrupt intent in trying to persuade someone, sounds familiar, sounds like someone we know, Don. And the focus of it is to try to intimidate them in terms of their testimony, that's a crime. And of course, it has to be looked into, and we're not going to know the exact facts and the committee is doing the right thing in handing this information over to the Justice Department.

And I will say this. Last hearing, there was things I didn't know, you know, the thought that he's been told, which we did know by his attorney general that there's no fraud, by Attorney General Barr, by his lawyer, Cipollone, and then he's in the middle of this five-hour crazy meeting in which he starts talking about seizing, federally seizing voting machines.

And then sends out the tweet when he knows his own lawyer, his own campaign staff, Attorney General Barr has definitively told him there's no fraud, he still goes out and basically decides he's going to tell people to go wild, get there on January 6th. And then that put the series of events into place which led to the insurrection. That was really damning testimony yesterday.

LEMON: Senator, listen, there's a lot, you know, a former mentor at one of the first sessions I worked at, that was the way I was working. He said, no, Don, you're doing that bass backwards. And you know what that means, right? Doesn't it seem that it's that this information, it should be the DOJ that's pushing the committee instead of the committee pushing the DOJ. Shouldn't the DOJ already have this information. They are an investigative unit of the government that should -- are they leading from behind, isn't this backwards.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. First of all, we know how -- yes, I'm former prosecutor. They're not going to be able to put out everything they're doing. And they have charged over 850 people. And I know from white collar cases we worked on. From those people, when you charge people on the bottom up, you get information. And then you use that and you use that and you use that to get to higher level people. And so, unfortunately, we don't know everything they're doing, but what we do know is both things have to act in concert. In my mind, you've got the investigations going on at a public hearing a reckoning.

So, I think a lot of people thought, this is over, you know, we don't want to hear about this again. And instead, I think very clearly, this committee out of the House bipartisan committee has made it really clear why this still matters to our democracy while Donald Trump is still out there, still out there, endorsing candidates.

And it's more and more people are learning this, they already had issues with him. We've seen this in the polls. We saw that in that Georgia Senate race way back with the people that had it with him and voted for two incredible Democratic senators in Ossoff and Warnock. And we're starting to see that again as people remember the threat to our democracy.

So, I see these two things going on independently, and I was listening as you asked, what can we do? What can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again? Yes. Both those things have to happen, the reckoning and then the Justice Department action. But the other big thing we have to do is vote. And we have to vote for candidates that believe in democracy. And that is not that far away as you know with the elections coming up in November.

LEMON: Thank you for talking about that. I have to get you, because I know that this is important to you. I want to turn to the fight for abortion rights if you'll allow.


The Columbus post-dispatch -- the Columbus -- Columbus dispatch, I think was a post-dispatch reporting that a man has been arrested and charged in the rape of a 10-year-old girl who needed to go to Indiana for an abortion.

Now, after President Biden referenced this case in a speech, the right said that it wasn't real, right?


LEMON: I want to get your reaction to that, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: To me, for anyone that doubted this and we're listening to those sources or saw something online that doubted this story, it's now there in black and white, it's there in print. This happened. A man raped a 10-year-old girl and this girl got pregnant.

And so, what kind of country are we living in right now where you require a 10-year-old girl because of this Supreme court, because of justices that Donald Trump put in place, because of extremist justices that were put on that court, what kind of life do we live in right now where this 10-year-old girl had to go to another state to get an abortion.? I think the vast majority of Americans who already know that 80 percent of them support codifying Roe V. Wade into laws, 70, 80 percent depending on what the numbers are. They would never want this to happen. But that is a result, this patchwork of laws that we're going to see across the country where we're seeing women and girls have less rights than their moms or their grandma. So, for anyone that doubted this story, it's now right there in a criminal complaint, this happened.

LEMON: Yes, but you are -- before I let you go, you are co-sponsoring this legislation that would safeguard women's right to cross state lines, a secret healthcare.

KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. A girl, a woman. And this is something Catherine Cortez-Masto and --


LEMON: But what about these states trying criminalize that?

KLOBUCHAR: -- former prosecutors has put in place, and this would allow women to safely travel back and forth to go and seek reproductive care without being -- the fear of being prosecuted, which by the way, laws have been --- bills have been introduced in states like Missouri that would make helping someone to cross lines be a crime. And that's why it's so important to put these protections in place.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator. I really appreciate. Important conversation.


KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Don. It was great to be on again. I look forward to seeing you again.

LEMON: Absolutely. Thank you.


LEMON: You as well. More to come on the news that the former president try to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee.

Plus, the committee now working with officials at the Justice Department giving them information on the fake elector scheme. Is it giving the DOJ a roadmap for a legal case?



LEMON: Sources telling CNN that former President Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee. The support staffer not someone who routinely communicated with him and was concerned about the contact, according to sources and, and then informed their attorney.

I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, and Georgia Lieutenant Governor, Geoff Duncan. Gentlemen, good evening to both of you.

Ron, let's start with you right here. You heard what I said about this person.


LEMON: Why on earth would the former president be calling this person now?

BROWNSTEIN: It's certainly, you know, out -- out of the ordinary, right? And we heard from Ryan and Dana, I mean, a big reason why, which would be that this person would be in position to corroborate part of the testimony that we heard about what he was doing, in particular, potentially on the day of January 6th. They said, look, this is the way Donald Trump has operated his entire life.

I mean, he has -- he has pushed at every vulnerability in the legal system and believed that in the end he will always get away with it. And you know, what we are watching I think this is just another reminder of all that the big overall point that the committee is making, I think to the American public is not only whether this guy committed a crime, which they are making a case for, but also is this someone who you feel you want to trust with the power of the presidency given the way he used it when he had it. And now even after, even after when he doesn't have it.

LEMON: He believes that he should have it.


LEMON: I want -- I want to get your take on this, Lieutenant Governor, because you know, you're not in New York, you're not in the beltway, you're watching this from Georgia, right? You know, I guess it's a red state still. What do you think of -- what do you make of what's happening with committee and the former president's alleged -- alleged actions here?

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (D-GA): Well, I just got bits and pieces on the way into the studio of some of the information, coming out on his activity. I think it really goes to just show the pattern that's continued to develop during the committee process of how granular Donald Trump operated. We certainly felt that granular, kind of ground root grassroots level operating during the post-election period of time.

You know, I think the committee has really outperformed a lot of people's expectations. It really has not taken a very partisan angle. It's really been fact finding and certainly most of the testimony has all been from Republicans.

I do think it's interesting to watch this play out too, by the end, by the time we get to January 6th, how few people in Donald Trump's inner circle that were actually with him, that were actually in his ear saying, this is a good idea. This is what you should be doing. This feels like a lot of this energy was really just kind of continued to be pushed by him.

LEMON: Do you think that, that they will be able to connect back to the pressure campaign in Georgia, connect Trump back to that?

DUNCAN: Yes. I don't know. I'm going to let the lawyers, I'm not a lawyer by trade by any stretch of the imagination, you know, I just, you know, I'm going to look ahead and continue to try to do the best we can do here in Georgia and run the state.

But it's certainly been troubling to watch. I think it's also been troubling to see how coordinated and how much planning went into the lead up from the November election through the January 6th, unfortunate events. It's certainly troublesome.

LEMON: Ron Brownstein, despite all the evidence, despite all the testimony from mostly Republican witnesses showing Trump's multi- pronged scheme to stay in power, you still have some, you know, like GOP Senator Thom Tillis refusing to say Trump is responsible for January 6th.


Why is it still so hard for people to do that?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, the argument that so many Republicans make is that they can't come out and forthrightly state what Trump did was wrong because they feared the base. But in fact, it's an interactive process.

I mean, as I've said to you before, during Watergate, Richard Nixon's approval rating among Republicans fell 40 points from the beginning of his second term till the time that he resigned. In large part, because there were so many Republican elected officials who at each step in the process validated the investigation --


LEMON: It did take time, though.

BROWNSTEIN: It did take time, but it did happen because they stepped out and said that what he did was wrong. Look, there have been very, very few Republicans willing to do that now. And that is, I think it's an interactive process.

So, you see, for example, in the polling that came out today, the New York Times/Siena poll an ominously large share of Republicans continue to say things like the election was stolen. Trump was within his rights. It was a legitimate protest that got out of hand.

That is pretty ominous implications for 2024 and what the party will be willing to accept --

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: It's just delusional.

BROWNSTEIN: But -- but there is still, again, even in this polling, there is something like 20 to 25 percent of Republicans who understand that what happened was wrong, was dangerous. And they have a lot of leverage in the party if they will use it.

If they continue to vote, though, give their votes to Republicans who enable and amplify Trump's big lies, then all of the pressure in the party will be toward -- towards standing with him rather than standing up for the Constitution.

LEMON: I find it interesting because you know, you have people like Liz Cheney and a few other Republicans who are standing up, and Lieutenant Governor, you are one of the lawmakers who stood up to Trump early and called out his pressure campaign on states like Georgia.

Fast forward to where we are now with the hearings, would you have expected to see more Republicans joining you and Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger?

DUNCAN: Well, I think there certainly is a growing number of Republicans and exponentially growing. I mean, this is painful to watch. It's part of the healing process for Republicans, but I also think this is a big time for change in America. Right?

I'll cite the New York Times on Monday. I think it's over two thirds of Democrats don't want Joe Biden to run again. Right? I mean, look, the former last two presidents in our -- in our country are now going to be not at the top of the ticket. And you know, I don't think we actually see them run again as president.

I think the Democrats are going to wise up and find somebody more confident. I think Republicans are going to wake up and get somebody that's more focused on solving problems instead of their ego. And hopefully I think that's better for America.

LEMON: We shall see. Look, I found it also frustrating. This is an interesting thing for me, perhaps one of you can respond to this, is that people, especially Democrats were so happy with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and, and the Lieutenant Governor. And the moment they do something or say something that is conservative like Liz Cheney supported, you know, the law for, you know, banning abortion and Democrats got mad at her.

You cannot expect Liz Cheney to all of a sudden, overnight become a Democrat.


LEMON: Right? Republicans are going to be Republicans, conservative Republicans, thoughtful Republicans are still going to be true to their values.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. LEMON: They're not going to become Democrats.

BROWNSTEIN: It would be great if we could get back to the point where we are having disagreements about policy.

LEMON: Policy.

BROWNSTEIN: But right now, we are at a point where a big portion of the Republican Party, the dominant faction --

LEMON: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- in the Republican Party is not committed to democracy in the way that we have known through. I mean, there are election deniers on the ballot for key offices, Republican nominees in Pennsylvania, in Nevada.


BROWNSTEIN: In Michigan, in Minnesota, still to come maybe in Arizona, and Wisconsin, the Lieutenant Governor's successor. I mean, the person that the party nominated in Georgia to succeed the Lieutenant governor is an open election denier who was part of the fake elector scheme.


BROWNSTEIN: So, we are -- we are at a different place at the moment. It'd be great to get back to those arguments.

LEMON: Go ahead, Lieutenant Governor. Last word.

DUNCAN: Yes, and I, I don't think Americans want either of us to either party to be in the extremes. I think they want people to actually solve real problems. I mean, here we've just been seven minutes into an interview and we haven't talked about the highest inflation rate ever or at least in my lifetime.

I mean, we have real problems. Americans are worried about paying for gas and groceries and small business. And that should be what our leaders in both parties are talking about. Those are the real issues that matter. The rest of this stuff is just is, you know, it just --


LEMON: Well, January 6th matters.

DUNCAN: -- politics.

LEMON: January 6th matters.

DUNCAN: Well, yes, certainly getting it right. And -- but we don't solve problems. We should take our medicine as Republicans. We should take our medicine as Democrats, show up to work and actually get things done for Americans. That's what we're hired to do. LEMON: Thank you both. Wait till I read this tease, because we're

going to talk about exactly what you said, some of it. Thank you. I appreciate it.

President Joe Biden ran in 2020 on uniting a divided country. Now he's admitting that he still has work to do.



LEMON: President Biden in Israel tonight on his first presidential visit to the Middle East, sitting down for an interview with Israel Channel 12, talking about why he ran for president and whether he's accomplished his goals. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I've run it for three reasons. And no one in me, my campaign agreed with. I said, number one. To restore the soul of America, to get back to who we are as a people and the way we -- and the way we talk to one another, the way we treat one another.

The second thing was to rebuild the backbone of this country. The middle class, when the middle class does well, everybody does well. The poor of a way up and the wealthy stay wealthy.

And thirdly, to unite the country. I still haven't accomplished the third piece and that's what I'm trying to do.


LEMON: Joining me now CNN senior political commentator and former Obama senior advisor, David Axelrod. Hi, David. Thanks for joining.



LEMON: So, let's talk about all the things Biden is facing now, bad economy, pandemic that won't quit, a war overseas, major fault lines here over gun rights, abortion rights. How is he going to unite the country in the next two years?

AXELROD: Yes. Well, no, it's going to be difficult. And I think right now his task is to create a choice for the country. He, if he goes into the fall election with this set of facts or this set of indices, it's going to be a very difficult November.

He has to create a choice for people and he has to make clear what the Republican party is offering. And that by its very nature involves being a little more contentious, more comparative, more challenging. So, you know, I have no doubt that this is what's in his heart. He is by his very nature, a conciliatory person. He's worked across party lines for half a century.


LEMON: But is that -- is that reality right now? Is that realistic right now? Because listen, I'm not saying that the country shouldn't be united, but I don't think the country wants to be united. I think -- I think people are dug in on both sides.

AXELROD: You know, Don, I think there are a lot of people in this country who want to see people working together.

LEMON: That's right.

AXELROD: I think there are a lot of people in this country who are alarmed by the shrill voices. But I -- but I also think that the parties themselves are not in that place that the activists, particularly the politicians are not necessarily in that place.

Joe Biden was elected because he stood for that. That's what the country voted for. But right now, you know, some of those things that he most values are not what's needed. He needs to be more contentious. He needs to really draw the choice for people.

But I will say this. Say what you will about cooperation, bipartisanship, and so on. He's gotten more done than anybody thought he would. The infrastructure bill, he obviously got the Rescue Act. He got the gun bill. He got some things done. And I think he deserves credit for that.

But there is a big stark choice now, and it goes to the sort of tone and tenor of the parties and what the Republican Party stands for. The Republican Party that exists today is not the one that Joe Biden grew up with all those decades in the United States Senate.

LEMON: That's certainly right. Listen, I'm not sure if he was elected in large part because of country -- because of unity. I think that they wanted that. I think people wanted sanity, and they wanted a steady hand. And I'm not sure if unity, how high upon the, you know, chart unity was in the polling.

But listen, I want you to take a look at Biden what he's saying about a potential rematch with Trump. Here it is.


UNKNOWN: Are you predicting a Biden-Trump rematch of 2024?

BIDEN: I'm not predicting, but I -- I would, I would not be disappointed.

UNKNOWN: You will not be disappointed. So, you look forward to that rematch?

BIDEN: No. Look, the one thing I know about politics in American politics in particular, is there's no way to predict what's going to happen. I -- we're -- I'm not even halfway through my term yet. UNKNOWN: Yes.

BIDEN: And so, there's a lot of room to figure out what's going to happen.


LEMON: Well, listen, one thing he said is true. I mean, it's hard to predict, but the thing is 64 percent of Democrats say that they want a different nominee in 2024, he's got an uphill battle with his own party before he'd potentially battle Trump for the White House again.

AXELROD: Yes. And, Don, look, discontent is not unheard of among Democrats or Republicans when the president isn't doing well in the polls and you're headed into a fall campaign. You know, we felt some of that when I was in the Obama, White House. The fundamental thing I'd be worried about that those are large numbers. Sixty-four percent is a large number, but then also when they were asked, they asked people to volunteer what it was that they objected to about Biden, the people who said they did want him to run.

A third of them, the largest number said age, that he was too old. That is not a political problem. That's an actuarial problem. That is a problem that's not going to get better. He's not going to get younger. We know that. That's a political prediction one can make.

And so, that's the thing that he has to confront when he makes this decision and he's got time to make this decision. But, yes, presidents have fought back. None of them have been, you know, in their 80s when they did it. And that is a, that is a concern that he has to -- that he has to address. And I, you know, I think it's frankly, a difficult one.

LEMON: Well, Reagan wasn't a spring chicken. I mean, I was alive for that.

AXELROD: Reagan was -- Reagan was younger when he left office than the president is now.

LEMON: Yes. But he, yes.


LEMON: He's having issues with --


AXELROD: And you know, and there were concerns about -- there were concerns about Reagan at the end of his term. Listen, I think Joe Biden is, you know, I think he is in command of what he's doing. And you we've seen it on Ukraine and other issues. He's, you know, offered strong leadership.


But, you know, when you are going to face the voters and ask them at 82 for another term, and you're going to be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of that term, that is a very, very difficult case to make.


AXELROD: And ultimately, he's going to have to confront that question.


AXELROD: It's not like other president seats.

LEMON: Yes, well, let's just put it, even with the headwinds he still leads Trump by just three points, 44 percent.


LEMON: To 41 percent and the headwinds and with the -- all of the bad news with the economy that he has now. So, we'll see. You're right. Can't predict it. Thank you, David. Thank you. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it a trading, trading a trader for a civil rights hero, a statue of civil rights icon, Mary McLeod Bethune replacing a confederate general in the capitol and marking a first for the national Statuary Hall. We're going to tell you about it. That's next.



LEMON: History in the making at the capitol today. Maybe I should say her story, the unveiling of a statue of civil rights pioneer, Mary McLeod Bethune in Statutory Hall. The first black American honored with a state commission statue in the hall. Can you believe? In 2022, the first African-American. They state gets to choose two statues.

Bethune is from -- Bethune's is from Florida and it replaces the statue of a confederate general. Bethune was born in 1875, the daughter of formerly enslaved people. She was an advisor to five presidents and an educator. Her statue includes a cap and gown because she was the founder of a school for Black children that later became Bethune-Cookman College, and then later Bethune- Cookman University.

There are statues of other distinguished Black Americans in the capitol, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. But Bethune statue is the first of a Black American to be commissioned by a state and erected in Statuary Hall. But the fact is there are still statues of confederates inside the capital for now.

First on CNN. We're learning that Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff who was talking to the January 6th committee. All the details just ahead.