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Don Lemon Tonight

The 1/6 Hearing On Thursday To Zero-In On Trump's Inaction Amid Riot; January 6 Committee Members Expect To Receive Secret Service Texts; New Body Cam Video Of Officers' Response To Texas School Shooting Released; Indiana Doctor Under Investigation After Performing Abortion.; 9/11 Families Blast Trump For Hosting Saudi-Backed LIV Tournament; Prince Harry Warns Of "Assault On Democracy And Freedom." Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Elie Honig. Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you. Jeff, this is a big week January 6 investigation: the primetime hearing, Secret Service text messages coming, Bannon on trial. The Select Committee is promising new and damning information. What do they need to accomplish here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they've been going basically in chronological order in, you know, the lead up to January 6th and now they are coming to the crucial moments at the end when the attack is going on and addressing the question, what was Donald Trump doing?

And to me, I remember even watching the events unfold, to me, the most memorable thing that Donald Trump said on that day when he finally was in the public, you know, made a public statement, what did he say about the people rioting? He said, we love you.

LEMON: Yeah.

TOOBIN: And that to me sums up his approach towards this riot from the beginning. But what we don't know and what we will start to find out on Thursday night is what was happening inside the White House during those 187 minutes.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

TOOBIN: You know, who was talking to the president, what were they saying and what was the president saying in response, and why wasn't he going to the public saying, stop this madness.

LEMON: You said we -- you remember it. We all remember it. And everyone was saying, where is the president? Why isn't he saying anything right now? What the heck is going on?

Elie, the chairman, Bennie Thompson, is telling our colleague, Manu Raju, that the Select Committee hasn't made decision yet on calling on Pence and Trump to testify. But former president launching another campaign won't stop the investigation. He also expects more hearings in September. What does this timeline mean for their investigation and A.G. Garland's?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Don, first of all, if and when Donald Trump announced that he is running for the presidency in 2024, legally, that will have no effect whatsoever. I know it is sort of a common thing to say that when he declares, that will change the calculus. But politically, that will have a big impact and make it that much harder to prosecute him and ultimately convict them.

If you think about it, if somebody is to indict Donald Trump, whether it is the D.A. down in Fulton County, Georgia or the Department of Justice someday, they are already going to have an enormous task in, if they ever get to a jury, getting a jury 12-0.

It has to be unanimous. This is not an election where majority wins. You need a unanimous jury to convict a very popular and very unpopular former president. Now, multiply that task if he is to announce his candidacy. Now you're saying, not only do I want you to convict the former president, but the guy who's either the current frontrunner or the nominee for the Republican Party for 2024.

So, every day that both those prosecutors delay gives Donald Trump another day to declare his candidacy and makes it that much harder, frankly, to ultimately convict him.

TOOBIN: And that is because, you know, Trump will say, if he declares, look, the reason they are inviting me is because I am the frontrunner for president, that this is an entirely political operation. Whoever heard of indicting a candidate for president? That is what he is counting on making that argument.

You're right, as a technical legal matter, his status doesn't change, he can still be indicted as a candidate, but it does make it politically more difficult for the Justice Department to do.

LEMON: Okay, politically, but why does that matter, Jeffrey? I mean, can you imagine all the people who are accused of crimes out there saying -- have been convicted of crimes saying, well, that didn't work for me.

TOOBIN: Well --

LEMON: Why should it work for Donald Trump?

TOOBIN: I should have declared you a president.

LEMON: I should have declared -- I should have ran for president.

TOOBIN: That's why -- that's why I -- that's why -- that way, I would have gone indicted. No, you're right. I mean, it -- you know, no one is above the law. And if you're a presidential candidate --

LEMON: That's now what you guys are saying right now.

TOOBIN: Well, but -- I mean, you know, I think we live in the real world. In the real world, it is politically more dicey to indict a candidate for president. You know, should it stop the Justice Department? No, but it will add another layer of complexity.

LEMON: Let's -- Elie, let's talk about this Matthew Pottinger. Sources are telling CNN that Matthew Pottinger, a former Trump National Security Council official, will now testify publicly on Thursday's primetime hearing alongside the former Trump White House aide, Sarah Matthews. This is why Pottinger says he left the Trump White House. Here it is.


MATTHEW POTTINGER, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the president. And the tweet said something to the effect of, Mike Pence, the vice president, didn't have the courage to do what should have been done. I read that tweet and made decision at that moment to resign. That is where I knew that I was leaving that day, once I had read that tweet.



LEMON: Sarah Matthews also testified that she felt Trump was pouring gasoline on the fire with that tweet. I mean, that was during the 187 minutes the committee will be focusing on. What gaps would these witnesses, do you think, in your estimation, Elie, be able to feel about that critical time period?

HONIG: Well, there are still enormous gaps, Don. We do have little indicators here and there. The 2/24 tweet that prompted Pottinger's resignation, I think, is a key indicator. But that's an awful lot of time that needs to be filled in. We're never going to get a complete picture of what Donald Trump was doing unless Mark Meadows were to flip, for example, but that seems unlikely.

But as an investigator, as a prosecutor, you have to do the best with what you can. I think between the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, which filled in some of those blanks, Sarah Matthews, Matthew Pottinger, we are going to start to get a better sense of what Donald Trump was doing and not doing, and also what was his reaction to what he was watching. I think the vast majority of people in this country were horrified at what we are seeing.

But we've seen some indications. For example, Stephanie Grisham said a few months back on "New Day" that she saw Donald Trump who was gleeful at what he was watching.

So, we are going to have to fill in the blanks. We are not necessarily going to get -- I know the committee keeps saying minute by minute -- they are not going to literally be able to give us minute by minute, but I think they can do quite a bit to fill in that three-hour and seven-minute gap.

LEMON: I mean, the first time -- go on.

TOOBIN: Just -- you know, one of the things I certainly feel like I've learned in this hearing is just how important this 2-24 tweet was. Think about what was going on at that point. The Capitol is under attack at that moment. I mean, the assault has begun.

And what is the president do? He says -- he attacks Mike Pence. And we have seen video of the rioters reading the tweet out loud and saying, look, the president is with us. He is -- you know, that is when the "hang Mike Pence" stuff starts.

I mean, it is just so important to learn the context of why he tweeted that statement at that time. And the people around him may be able to, you know, explain that a bit as well.

LEMON: Let us think about this. I mean, it is just -- I mean, any person, any boss, any leader, you see rioters going in to the Capitol with Trump hats on. Right? When you -- the first thing you do is get in front of the camera and say stop it, this is not what we are about. Isn't that -- I mean --


TOOBIN: And, you know, 187 minutes, that is a long time.

LEMON: Yeah.

TOOBIN: You know, it sounds shorter. I mean, as Elie just said, it is three hours and seven minutes. He had a long time and he had access to cameras.

LEMON: He can just go to the briefing room. Just walk over to the briefing room and say, look, guys, stop it, this is not what America is about.

TOOBIN: Maybe the reason why is because he didn't want them to stop.

LEMON: I know. That's what I'm saying. It is -- I mean, it is -- people said -- well, what do you expect the people to say? What did you expect him to do? Expect him to be the president and go and say, stop it, not take 187 minutes.

Jeff, let me ask you about this before we go. Steve Bannon's trial for contempt of Congress begins this week. I want you to check out his latest threat. Watch this.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Pray for our enemies, okay? Pray because we are going medieval on these people. We are going to savage our enemies. So, pray for them. Who needs prayers? Not MAGA, not War Room, and certainly not Steven K. Bannon.


LEMON: So, look, you know he likes to create this circus atmosphere around him, but how do you see this all playing out? What's the endgame here?

TOOBIN: This trial should take maybe a day. I mean, there is no issue in this trial. The trial is he got a subpoena, he didn't show up, the prosecution rests. I mean, that's the case. And, you know, I don't know what he means by going medieval. You know, it is just more of this violent angry language and this is why violence happens in this country. It is because leaders like Bannon talk that way.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. All right. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

The Select Committee is also expecting the text messages from the Secret Service that they sent before during the insurrection -- before and during the insurrection, I should say. That could come as soon as tomorrow.

I want to bring in now CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner. He had the Secret Service in his portfolio when he served as communications director for U.S. National Intelligence.

Shawn, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. A lot of questions have been raised in testimony and reporting by the inspector general and the committee about the Secret Service. And frankly, whether they're being completely forthcoming. Do you have questions?

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I do, Don. Look, when I think about what these messages contain, you know, it sorts of takes me back to some of the issues that we had when I was in government. You know, for the past 10 years, the Secret Service has had a lot of challenges with regard to bad behavior.

And so, when I -- when I look at this, look, I think it should be no surprise to anyone that there is bias in the Secret Service and that sometimes that bias comes through.


But I think what is going on here is that during the Trump administration, as we saw across society, that there are lot of people who are a lot more open about wearing a politics on their sleeve and a lot more open about being -- deciding where they stood politically. I think we may be seeing some of that with the Secret Service.

So, I'm really eager to see what's in these messages. I think it's going to tell us a lot about what the -- how the Secret Service perceived what was going on that day.

LEMON: Do any of these accusations or any of -- do you find any of this concerning, having had the Secret Service in your portfolio?

TURNER: Yeah. You know, I do look -- you know, here's the bottom line of what the Secret Service is. When we think about bias and political bias and government, we know it's there, but the Secret Service is not like any other member of society. They are not like the rest of us. They come to the job with an obligation to make sure that they leave their politics at the door.

In other words, what that means is that your ideology does not matter when you're on the job. And more importantly, it means that your ideology should never, under any circumstances, influence any of the decisions that you make.

And so, what are my concerns are, is whether or not the Secret Service and individually members of the Secret Service were making decisions based on political ideology or based on their belief of what was right and what was wrong.

Look, at the end of the day, Don, we rely on our Secret Service to protect the president physically, not to protect the president politically. So, we really have to get to the bottom of this and understand whether or not that is something that happened here.

LEMON: Very well put. The Secret Service claims that these text messages were from January 5th and 6th that got erased as part of a device replacement program and that none of the texts the inspector general was seeking were lost in the migration there.

First of all, how do they know that? This is -- we were talking about that, but the Select Committee member, Adam Kinzinger, said this about these missing texts, and then we will talk. Here it is.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service.


LEMON: Are you concerned about why these texts went missing?

TURNER: I am, Don. And, you know, to your first point, I am really concerned about the statements the Secret Service has already made regarding these text messages.

As you allude to, you know, there is this question of how the Secret Service was able to determine that the text messages that were lost or deleted or disappeared, how were they able to determine that those text messages were not relevant to the January 6 Committee investigation?

That suggests that, one, they are aware of the content of those text messages. And two, it suggests that they did some sort of analysis and made an internal decision that led them to the conclusion that they were not relevant.

And my question is, why would the Secret Service do that? So, I have real concerns about these text messages. Moreover, it is the case that, you know, there are a number of different regulations that the Secret Service must comply with regards to preservation of records.

I don't know that these text messages fall into that category, but generally speaking, it is a case that we oversee -- that we over- preserve when it comes to those sorts of things. The Secret Service has never been an agency that is accustomed to getting rid of those sorts of things. So, this is a little peculiar, and we really want to know what the cause was until we see those messages.

LEMON: All right. Shawn Turner, thank you. I appreciate it.

TURNER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Chaos and confusion. Hours of new police body camera footage in Uvalde reveals what happened in the school where 19 little kids and two of their teachers were shot to death in their classroom.


PETE ARREDONDO, FORMER UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE CHIEF (voice-over): Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anyone else hurt.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We got kids in there.

ARREDONDO (voice-over): I know. I know.





LEMON: Shocking new body cam video revealing how the police response unfolded during the Uvalde school shooting. It comes along -- alongside a scathing report by Texas House Committee calling out breakdowns of communication and leadership among officers that day.

CNN Shimon Prokupecz has the latest.


UNKNOWN: You made it into the building?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Yes.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): These are the first few moments from newly-released body cam footage of the Uvalde massacre.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Come up with me, they got shots fired in the building! Are we going in or we stay here? What do we do?

UNKNOWN: (Bleep). What is going on? This is (bleep).

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It is a firsthand look into a stunning series of law enforcement failures.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Okay, Uvalde, they are saying that he's possibly in the building on the --

Oh, shots fired! Get inside! Go! Go! Go!


UNKNOWN (voice-over): He is in the class.

I heard shots fired.

We are going to be in the building on the west side.

Do we have to get in there?

If we get in there, he's going to keep shooting.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): But they didn't go into the classroom. Not for another 70 minutes. And that decision let the gunman trap two classes of fourth graders and their teachers.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Now subjects in the school are on the west side of the building. He's contained. We've got multiple officers inside the building at this time. We believe he's barricaded in one of the offices.


I'm outside. There is still shooting.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Outside, we hear one of the responding officers, Justin Mendoza, on his phone telling a loved one what's happening.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Hey, I love you. We've got an active shooter at the school. A man who got a gun is shooting kids.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): At 11:43, over the radio, we hear --

UNKNOWN (voice-over): The class (INAUDIBLE) in session right now. The class should be in session (INAUDIBLE).

UNKNOWN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE).

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, no. Oh, no.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) 401 stating he's got the shooter in 111 and 112.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Almost 15 minutes later as additional law enforcement arrives, we then hear the officers asking about the kids.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Any of the kids, anyone hit?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, we don't know anything about that.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Officers are left wondering, what's going on?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Are we just waiting for (INAUDIBLE)? What's going on?

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Moments later, 45 minutes after the first officers arrived on scene, a critical piece of the puzzle from the camera of Officer Mendoza.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We do have a child on the line.

UNKNOWN: Wait, what was that?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): It's going to be room 12. He is saying that he's in a room full of victims.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): 911 dispatch gives a chilling account from a student still in the classroom. This was the second call the same child made to 911. The first call was apparently not relayed to these officers.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Yeah, mine's I.D. is up.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Minutes later, you can hear a heavily armed SWAT team member still expressing confusion over if there are any kids alive in the room.

UNKNOWN: Are there any kids in there?

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Now realizing the worst-case scenario is unfolding, Officer Mendoza prepares for the trauma injury.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I need a medical kit. They say there are multiple victims in the room.

Room 12. This is a hundred building.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): EMT, hey!

UNKNOWN (voice-over): But supposedly the victims are here. I'm not 100 percent. There is a bunch of information flying around.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Around the same time, on another camera, we hear Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo is inside attempting to negotiate with the shooter.

ARREDONDO (voice-over): Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We got kids in there.

ARREDONDO (voice-over): I know, I know.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Back in the hallway, Officer Mendoza preparing his med pack. It would still be about 25 minutes of confusion and hesitation until the door was breached.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): There's just one guy on the radio to decide who is going to be calling the shots.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): The body cam footage made public ends before we can see a hail of gunfire. When finally, at 12:50, local time, 77 minutes after the shooting began, law enforcement go in and kill the gunman.

(On camera): And, Don, as we've been talking about the last two days, this video is really giving us that inside information of the decision making that some of the officers were making, but also just highlighting how there was no command, there was no leader, there was no one who was making decisions.

And you can really see that in that one officer, Officer Mendoza, as he's trying to figure out what he should do, hearing that there are kids still in the classroom from the 911 call, and everyone sort of reaction to that kind of a surprise. And then no one really knows what to do. And that Officer Mendoza feeling that anxiety, he goes outside, he comes back in. And ultimately, we know it takes still quite some time before officers go inside that classroom and killed the gunman.

And one thing, Don, I want to point out is that this video that the mayor released is actually having an effect here. Family members are muted. I just left a meeting here at the school board. They had a meeting. Some of the parents were referencing this video, using it as evidence of why there needs to be more accountability. Don?


LEMON: Shimon, thank you so much.

Let's bring in now CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Andrew, thank you for joining us. This is -- this footage is shocking. How did those initial failures from law enforcement on the scene compound themselves as the situation unfolds?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: Well, Don, the failure to establish any sort of highly functioning command is what led to basically every mistake, every tragedy that followed thereafter.

When you watch that body cam video, some of the things you see there are what you expect to see: the anxiety among the officers, the adrenalized reactions to the sounds of gunshot, people running in every direction. Every crisis situation is always chaotic. There is confusion. There are people running in every direction. That is pretty typical.

But the shocking thing is what you don't see. You don't see anyone taking control. You don't see anyone in that tactical leadership position telling people where to go, telling them what position to take, breaking them out into teams, setting up a plan and sending it forward.


That failure of command is ultimately what led to the confusion, the lack of information and the lack of action.

LEMON: So, listen, you hear Chief Arredondo trying to talk to gunman down, right, trying to talk him out, calling him, sir. I don't know if too much has been made of that or what have you. I'm not sure if that is a negotiation tactic. But according to the report, he didn't think that he was in command, and he wasn't getting crucial information. What stands out to you about how he responded?

MCCABE: You know, he told the investigators that -- the legislative investigators that he knew that the policy was that he was in command, but for some reason, he didn't think he was in command. It is just one of the inexplicable decisions that he came up with that day.

He is, you know, for several minutes on tape trying different keys in a door lock, see which one will open it. I mean, something that any of the (INAUDIBLE) police officers on scene could have been doing that and then reporting back to him what the finding was.

The interaction with -- the attempted interaction, negotiation, whatever it would've been with the shooter was just absolutely uncalled for. This is not a negotiation. It is not a barricaded subject. It is an active shooter. People were dying as he was calling in there trying to get this young man to just lay down his gun and walk out.

So, I can't explain why he did any of those things, but none of them had a positive impact on the crisis.

LEMON: Right on. Andrew McCabe, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: This is what's happening in post-Roe America: A 10-year-old girl was raped, became pregnant, and had to leave her home state to get an abortion. Now, the doctor who performed that medical procedure is under investigation.




LEMON: So, we have an update tonight on the Indiana physician who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who was unable to get the procedure in Ohio due to a strict anti-abortion law. CNN obtained documents showing Dr. Caitlin Bernard reported the procedure to Indiana health officials within the required timeframe.

But the state's Republican attorney general says he is still investigating her to make sure no crime was committed.

The Supreme Court's decision on overturning Roe v. Wade is affecting women and states across the country. One Texas woman is telling CNN, after suffering a miscarriage, doctor refused to perform a standard procedure to remove the fetal remains due to the state's anti-abortion law, forcing her to carry the dead fetus for two weeks.


MARLENA STELL, WAS DENIED MISCARRIAGE TREATMENT: I get so angry that I was treated this way because of laws that were passed by men who have never been pregnant and never will be.


LEMON: "The Washington Post" reports a Wisconsin woman bled for more than 10 days from an incomplete miscarriage. Emergency room staff would not remove the fetal tissue due to confusion about abortion laws.

And the Kansas City Hospital temporarily required approval from a pharmacist before dispensing medications used to stop postpartum bleeding because the medication can also be used for abortion.

So, there's a whole lot to talk about. Dr. Tracey Wilkinson is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine who is a colleague of Dr. Bernard. She has an opinion piece in "The New York Times" ant is titled "Dr. Caitlin Bernard Was Meant to Write This with Me Before She Was Attacked for Doing Her Job."

Dr. Wilkinson, welcome. Thank you so much.


LEMON: These are just some of the stories that I just read to -- I just told our viewers. Some of the stories coming out since Roe was overturned. I know you have heard from doctors all over this country who are terrified. What did they tell you?

WILKINSON: Yeah, I think this moment in history has just never been experienced before. I am hearing from doctors all over the country in different regions practicing lots of different types of medicine that are scared because they are starting to realize that a lot of these laws are going to impact their ability to do evidence-based, comprehensive health care for their patients.

This is no longer a battle simply between abortion providers and state legislators. This is now a battle for everybody and everyone practicing medicine is involved.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. Let's talk about your colleague now, Dr. Caitlin Bernard. She is now facing investigation even though she followed the law to a tee. Have you spoken with her recently? And if so, how is she holding up?

WILKINSON: You know, Dr. Bernard is one of the strongest, bravest people I know. And so, she is still standing and she's not going to let people like the attorney general threatened her using his power to try and threaten her out of doing her job and providing comprehensive care to her patients.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. You said she is still standing, right? She tweeted over the weekend, and I quote here. She said, "Thank you for the outpouring of courageous support. It has been a difficult week, but my colleagues and I will continue to provide healthcare ethically, lovingly, and bravely each and every day."

The fact is that her family has faced threats before over her job because she performs abortions. Her daughter even faced kidnapping threats two years ago. I mean, this didn't start just a few weeks ago for her. Can you speak to why it's so important to do this work when so much is at risk, doctor?

WILKINSON: Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, attacks against abortion providers and all the clinic staff that works there are not new.


But the people that do this work are so dedicated to patients. And, you know, all physicians are. They want to do what's best for patients. And this gets back to this idea that these decisions, these moments belong to patients and their providers, and they should not be decided by people at state houses. That is just not the way medicines should be practiced or ever should be legislated.

LEMON: Doctor, you know, doctors all across this country have raised nearly $300,000 in a GoFundMe campaign for Dr. Bernard. How does it affect patients if this is what doctors need to worry about now? I mean, being able to pay legal bills, being worried about what the laws are potentially ending up in court -- and potentially ending up in court.

WILKINSON: Yeah, it puts a space between patients and physicians that should never exist. We should not be practicing medicine and worried about our legal cases or the safety of our families. That is not why anybody went into medicine and that certainly not how we should be practicing medicine now.

I don't want to be thinking about threat from the attorney general or my picture being put on national news when I'm taking care of patients who need me the most.

LEMON: You know, just a few stories that I read before I introduced you clearly show patient's health being put in danger. But can you just explain to us the big picture here? What this is doing to women's health care across the board, doctor?

WILKINSON: Yeah, I mean, I tried to explain to people that there are no two patients alike. And so, you cannot write a law that is going to apply to every single clinical situation. The anti-abortion extremists are trying to write those laws and you are seeing the impacts already. People all over the country are being impacted by these laws instantaneously, whether it is missed miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or people that need abortions.

And so, when you try to legislate something that should never be legislated, you are going to get into trouble.

LEMON: Dr. Wilkinson, thank you. We appreciate it. You be well.

WILKINSON: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Families of 9/11 victims blasting former President Trump for hosting the Saudi-backed LIV golf series. I'm going to speak with one of them, next.

Plus, Prince Harry goes to the United Nations.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: How many of us feel battered, helpless, in the face of the seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastation? I understand. This has been a painful year in a painful decade.





LEMON: Families of 9/11 victims want former President Trump to cancel the LIV golf tournament at his New Jersey golf course over LIV golf Saudi backing.

According to a letter sent to the former president, they write, the 9/11 mass murder of our spouses, parents, children, and siblings left us with a lifetime of grief and pain. That pain fuels our ongoing fight to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in the attack and what they have taken from each of us. It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain.

Joining me now, Brett Eagleson. He is the president of 9/11 Justice. Brett, thank you for joining. This is a difficult story to report and difficult for the families that have to deal with this. You were 15 when your father died on 9/11. Why is this move by the former president to host a LIV tournament so upsetting to you?

BRETT EAGLESON, PRESIDENT, 9/11 JUSTICE: This move is incomprehensible. I mean, this is the most evil form of grief that I've ever witnessed.

You know, the former president invited myself, my mother, and about a dozen other family members to the White House on 9/11 in 2019. And he looked us all in the eye, he shook our hands and he said, I'm going to help you, guys. You know what? I'm going to release these documents which for once and for all will bring you closure and bring you justice.

Less than 24 hours later, Attorney General Bill Barr and his administration invoked what is known as the state secrets principle. So perhaps there is nobody more on earth who understood what the Saudis did on 9/11 than President Trump himself because he instructed his attorney general to invoke the state secrets principle to keep these documents from seeing the light of day.

In 2016, the president proclaimed accurately, I should say, that it wasn't the Iraqis who knocked on the towers, it was the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Open the documents and you'll see it was the kingdom!

So, now, to have this same president who said that in 2016, who told his attorney general to invoke the state secrets principle to protect the Saudis, now hosting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the backyards of 750 people who were murdered, blown away in New Jersey, is just -- I don't even have -- I don't even have words.

LEMON: Have you gotten a response to the letter, Brett?

EAGLESON: Not yet. I don't suspect we will. There is not a good answer for this. I think the former president is painted into a really tough corner here.


He either has to, one, acknowledge that he was right in 2016 and acknowledge that he was right and that he's taking the money anyway and that he's hosting the Saudi golf tournament, or two, he has to acknowledge in the face of nearly declassified documents, he has to acknowledge that in 2016, he was lying.


EAGLESON: So, what is it, Mr. President? You know, were you right in 2016 or were you lying? And I think that -- sorry.

LEMON: Go on. You think that what?

EAGLESON: No, I think that there's really not a good outcome for him. And, you know, shame on the golfers who are taking this money. I mean, you would have to be living under a rock to not know the atrocities that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia commits all around the world, whether it be the carpet bombing of Yemen, whether it be the oppression of women, whether it be the murdering of homosexuals, the public executions, the Pensacola, Florida shooting, the Fallon Smart case. I could go on and on and on.

But really, now, 21 years later, we have concrete evidence. We have documents from our own Federal Bureau of Investigation that there at least a dozen members of the Saudi royal family -- sorry, a dozen members of Saudi agents, employees, one of which was a Saudi intelligence agent here in the United States, months before the 9/11 attacks providing an assistance to the hijackers.

Those aren't my words. Those aren't my organization's words. Those aren't the families' words. Those are the FBI's own words.

LEMON: Well, you have the current president, Biden. He was in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. This is him fist-bumping with the crown prince. Many people object to this. Were you okay with that?

EAGLESON: I think President Biden is getting an unnecessary level of criticism for this. He is our current head of state. He is our current president. I would expect him to go over and try to negotiate and try to -- there is a whole host of problems.

We have gas that is almost $5 a gallon in certain parts of this country. The Saudis continue to carpet bomb Yemen. The Saudis continue to oppress women. If there's a real chance of peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, we are for all those positive things.

So, I don't blame Biden for going over there but try to make things a little bit better. It's better than sticking your head in this sand. I think -- I believe and we believe that diplomacy is how you make things better.

So, for the president of the United States, the acting head of our state to go there to try to maybe bring oil -- you know, the price of gas down a little bit, we are in full support of that, but we also hope that when he did go there, that he also address our issues.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

EAGLESON: The 9/11 issues.

LEMON: And there is a difference between the president going over to Saudi Arabia, as you said, and then a former president holding a golf tournament, correct?

EAGLESON: Well, we have a former president who knows what the documents say. We have a former president who, in 2016, accurately proclaimed what the Saudis did. We have a president who, in 2019, met with a handful of 9/11 families who promised that he would help us.

We have a former president that then invoked the state secrets principle on the families, the first time it has ever been done in a civil litigation, by the way, versus a president who -- a current president who is going over to Saudi Arabia to try to use diplomacy to potentially bring --

LEMON: Right.

EAGLESON: -- peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, to use diplomacy to potentially give the Saudis to stop bombing Yemen.

LEMON: Right.

EAGLESON: So, there is a major difference. You know, you have one president who's doing it for the money, and you have another president who's doing it as part of his responsibility to the people of the United States.

LEMON: Brett Eagleson, thank you so much. Sorry for what your families are having to deal with and what you had to deal with. Thank you, though, for joining us. We appreciate it.

EAGLESON: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Thank you. A new voice at the United Nations. Prince Harry with an alarming warning in an address to the general assembly. Hear what he had to say. That is next.




LEMON: Britain's Prince Harry making his mark on the world stage today, delivering a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, warning of a global assault on democracy and freedom.

Harry giving the keynote address on Nelson Mandela International Day. Today, July 18th, was Mandela's birthday. The late South African leader spent 27 years in prison before leading the fight to destroy the racist apartheid system in his country.

Harry calling on people the world over not to give up hope the way Mandela never did.


PRINCE HARRY: How many of us feel battered, helpless, in the face of the seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastations? I understand. This has been a painful year in a painful decade. We're living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe.

Climate change wreaking havoc on our planet, with the most vulnerable suffering most of all. The few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many.

And from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States. We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela's life.

According to Freedom House, our world has grown less free every year for more than a decade and a half. And so often happens in history, the consequences of decisions made by most -- some of the most powerful people in some of the wealthiest countries are being felt even more deeply across the continent of Africa.


The pandemic, the war, and inflation have left African mired in a fuel and food crisis, the likes of which we have not seen in decades.


LEMON: Harry saying we live in a time of global uncertainty and division where it is easy to feel anger and despair. He is also saying that Nelson Mandela experienced so much darkness in his life yet always managed to find the light.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Parents, classmates, and relatives of children murdered at Robb Elementary School are speaking out tonight at a school board meeting underway right now in Uvalde, Texas.


COOPER: Some of the anger, you might imagine, being directed at the school system's police chief, Pete Arredondo.