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Don Lemon Tonight
WAPO: DOJ Is Investigating Trump's Actions In January 6 Criminal Probe; Trump's Defense Secretary Denies There Were Orders To Have Troops Ready To Deploy On January 6; Top Dems Call For DHS IG To Recuse Himself In Probe Of Missing Secret Service Texts; Red State Offensive To Roll Back Rights; State Of Emergency In Missouri After Record Rainfall; Trump Defends Hosting LIV Golf Tournament. Aired 11p- 12a ET
Aired July 26, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: New signs that Justice Department is zeroing in on the Trump White House. "The Washington Post" reporting tonight the DOJ is looking at Trump himself as part of its criminal investigation of January 6th and asking witnesses about conversations with Trump and seizing the phone records of top aides.
That as January 6 Committee is releasing new video tonight refuting a major Trump claim as they continue to push towards their January -- excuse me, their September hearings.
Joining me now, CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles as well as CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. Good evening one and all for the reporting.
First, Mr. Ryan Nobles, CNN reported earlier today that Marc Short, Greg Jacob's testimony shows just how the investigation is now inside the Trump White House. But the "Post" tonight going even further with that, Ryan, and giving some details on the questions about conversations with Trump. How does this all fit together, sir?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Don, for a long time, there has been at least some criticism of Merrick Garland and the Attorney General's Office that they haven't done enough to specifically linked the events of January 6th directly to Donald Trump.
But their actions over the past two weeks or so show that Garland's investigation is getting increasingly closer to Trump himself.
And the "Post" is reporting tonight, coupled with what we have reported about the grand jury testimony and the different people that have come before and answered questions about this investigation, showed that Garland and his team are not just satisfied with this band of advisers around Trump who were influencing him and basically telling him what he wanted to hear as it related to the election and the role that Mike Pence could play, but that they are specifically interested in Trump's conduct himself. That includes the conversations he may have had with John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and others.
And so, this is something that the critics of the Attorney General's Office have said for some time. Garland has always said that nobody is above the law and to be patient. This is now the time where we see him actually taking steps that a lot of people have been asking him to do for some time, including, I should say, members of the January 6 Select Committee.
LEMON: Ryan, another question for you. What more are we learning, if anything, about who has spoken to the investigators about what is happening at the DOJ?
NOBLES: So, what we know is that when you have someone like Marc Short and you have somebody like Greg Jacob, these are inside players in the White House and in the West Wing in the days leading up to January 6th, and they are the ones that can talk specifically about the pressure campaign that was put on Mike Pence and that pressure came directly from Donald Trump.
And I can just tell you from my experience covering the January 6 Committee, when Short and Jacob broke through and when the committee was able to subpoena them and get them in front of them, that is where you really saw the floodgates begin to open in terms of the direction of this investigation. It became a lot more about Donald Trump and the role that he played as kind of the conductor of this whole thing.
So, as of right now, we see the Department of Justice in many ways mimicking the work that the January 6 Committee has already done. If they continue down that path, and Don, we've seen this play out --
NOBLES: -- over the course of the nine or so hearings that the committee has held, they have not minced words by holding Donald Trump himself responsible for what happened on January 6th. That is the direction the Department of Justice is heading now. They have a long way to go and a much higher bar to clear with the criminal investigation but that certainly seems to be where they are headed, at least at this early stage.
LEMON: Carrie, the Justice Department has even seized the phone records of top Trump aides. What does that tell you about the status here?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that would be a standard investigative technique and this is a really giant investigation. It is a massive investigation that they are conducting into all aspects of January 6th, including the effort to overturn the election and the so-called state electors plot or conspiracy.
So, I would certainly expect something like using legal process to obtain records, including phone records in this kind of investigation. It should not be surprising at all. And the investigation is progressing.
The interesting piece is the timing a little bit in terms of some of these witnesses going before the grand jury after their appearances before the January 6 Committee.
Usually, those involved investigations, former DOJ folks like me tend to think that the Justice Department would be ahead of where the committee is. So, I do find the timing a little bit interesting.
LEMON: Susan, how do you see all of these developments? I mean, there is a lot happening behind the scenes right now.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that is exactly right, Don. We don't know what we don't know. But it is -- I agree with Carrie that it is notable that this also playing out a year and a half after the events in question.
Marc Short and Greg Jacob, the two senior aides to former Vice President Mike Pence, these weren't surprise witnesses in the sense that we knew all along that they were crucial firsthand witnesses. And information about Donald Trump's pressure campaign on his vice president emerge almost contemporaneously with the events of January 6th.
So, you know, one interesting question when we see the full historical record is, why did it take so long? Why was it that the January 6 Committee interviewed them before they were brought before the grand jury? Does this mean that the grand jury has only recently turned its attention to the issue of upper level culpability?
Again, many of the events that we are talking about now that the January 6 Committee has brought new details about into the public sphere, in reality, these are events that have been known in a general sense for quite some time.
GLASSER: And so, it feels like there is a lag time between the investigative timetable and what we are seeing.
LEMON: Yeah. Susan, two top Pence aides have testified and there is this focus that we are seeing placed on the pressure campaign against the former vice president. Does it say anything to you that this is becoming such a focus, a focal point for investigators?
GLASSER: Yeah, Don, I'm glad you brought it up because I do think it goes directly to the issue of Donald Trump and his personal orchestration of the campaign against his own vice president.
Trump was the one who called in John Eastman, the constitutional law professor who is advancing this sort of bogus theory. They wanted Pence to apply to his own role. And it was Trump who literally hosted in the Oval Office, forced Pence to confront this law professor directly.
So, this isn't -- it goes directly to the president's own potential vulnerability to charges in the case. So, I think it is very significant indeed if it does turn out the Justice Department is focusing on the Pence pressure campaign, that means they are focusing on Trump.
LEMON: Yeah. Carrie, listen, the DOJ, this testimony that we're hearing from people who were inside the White House after they -- we have, you know, learned about not only Trump but the enablers around him. How many people could be in a legal jeopardy here?
CORDERO: Well, you know, what is interesting, Don, is there is this "Washington Post" report that focused on the testimony of the grand -- in front of the grand jury by witnesses. But there's also a separate "New York Times" report that talked about that really named names in terms of -- I counted in that report about 19 different people who were aware of the effort within the White House to orchestrate fake electors and orchestrate an effort to overturn the election, and about half of those were lawyers.
So, I think part of what is coming out through the new reporting that has come out today is that so many people knew what was going on and had knowledge of it, including individuals in the White House who were intricately involved in receiving the pressure that was taking place and in placing the pressure, depending on whether they were on the vice president's side of things or whether they were on the former president's side of things.
But, Don, I just want to do make one note with respect to the grand jury testimony. I think it's important for our viewers to know that is not the Justice Department that is confirming in any way, at least the way that I read this reporting, that the former president is himself under investigation.
What "The Washington Post" report said is that the Justice Department is investigating his actions --
CORDERO: -- which reads to me that these witnesses have come out of the grand jury, has spoken to reporters, and are relaying what the questions that were asked that indicated there is probing investigation into his actions, but that is different than a Justice Department confirmation.
LEMON: Right, which would lead one to believe, if you have any knowledge or at least a fair amount of knowledge of the justice system and how these things work, where this is going.
CORDERO: Well, we know that they are conducting a robust investigation --
LEMON: Where it could possibly go, yeah.
CORDERO: So, for those who have been concerned that the Justice Department would simply look the other way, they would not probe in their investigation where the facts would take them and that they would intentionally not look at the former president, I do think this new reporting indicates that that is not the case, that they are, in terms of their investigation, going where the facts are leading them.
LEMON: All right. Speaking of them, Ryan, let's talk about the attorney general, Merrick Garland. He sat down with Lester Holt over at NBC News today and was asked about possible investigations into Trump. What did he have to say?
NOBLES: Yeah, I think what he had to say today, Don, he didn't say very much, but I think what he did say was pretty significant. In fact, let's take a listen to it and then we will explain after.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6th or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: So, if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for president, again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don't move forward?
GARLAND: I will say again that we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer -- legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So, Don, I think the reason that this was so significant is that Merrick Garland has never said with such degree of specificity that the Justice Department is investigating the peaceful transfer of power. He has talked at length about how he wants to hold every rioter accountable. He said that he -- there is no one that is above the law or above the reach of their prosecution, including Donald Trump.
But to put into words this idea that the Department of Justice believes that there could be a criminal connection to standing in the way of the 2020 election results, I think, is very significant. And then when you couple it along with this grand jury testimony that we know of, the reporting about the questions that have been asked, it lends, you know, a lot of credence to what Carrie is saying about where this investigation is heading. It does not mean that Donald Trump is a target.
The other thing that Merrick Garland did, he was very careful not to say the words that they would not hesitate to prosecute Donald Trump, instead talking about it from a more global perspective than anybody could be subject to prosecution, but it shows at least where their heads are right now in terms of where the investigation is.
LEMON: I do think that we left out something significant in that soundbite. I thought the more significant part was when he said -- Susan, correct me if I'm wrong -- he said, without fear or favor.
NOBLES: Uh-hmm. LEMON: And he said, that's our job at the Justice Department, is to investigate people and to possibly prosecute them without fear or favor, meaning it doesn't matter if you're the former president of the United States, it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter where you are in a campaign or political process. And I thought that that was possibly the most significant part of that interview, Susan.
GLASSER: Well, in a way, Don, you are right, but the problem is that no president, no former president of the United States has ever been indicted and charged in, you know, any case, never mind one --
LEMON: Susan, when is a former president ever exhibited this type of behavior, but go on.
GLASSER: I mean, look, even Richard Nixon, you know, was never charged. He was given a pardon by Gerald Ford, which was such a politically significant act that it almost certainly contributed to Gerald Ford's defeat in the subsequent presidential election.
This would be a political decision of enormous consequence. It does not mean that it won't happen --
GLASSER: -- but it would be a political decision of enormous consequence for a very precedent-conscious attorney general like Merrick Garland and a very precedent-conscious president like Joe Biden who has been in elected politics after all ever since the Watergate era.
GLASSER: And so, I think both of them will feel the burden of history very much if it comes down to a decision on whether to charge Donald Trump. They may definitely decide to go ahead with it, given the gravity of the potential charges that they are looking at and ongoing crisis in the country.
So, I don't rule it out at all, but I do think that the burden is going to be heavy on them knowing that they would be establishing a new precedent in American politics.
LEMON: Carrie, again, reiterating in that interview tonight, Garland saying that House criminal referral wouldn't necessarily affect the DOJ's January 6 probe. But is it still important that the committee, for Congress, to send that message?
CORDERO: I think the committee needs to send whatever criminal referrals it deems appropriate. So, the committee -- that is part of what the committee has set out its investigation and its oversight to do. It has not shied away from sending criminal referrals or contempt when it thought that individuals -- there was evidence that individuals were obstructing Congress's work.
And so, they've done that, and I think they should not send them -- to send a political message. They should only send the referrals if they truly assess that there is an evaluation for the Justice Department to be done regarding the criminal matter.
And then it is up to the Justice Department to evaluate those. And even in the contempt cases that have been sent, some the Justice Department has prosecuted, and in at least one case, they have not.
LEMON: Carrie, Susan, Ryan, thank you all. I appreciate it.
NOBLES: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: More and more revelations coming out on the January 6 investigation tonight. The committee may be on hiatus but that is not stopping them. Tonight, a newly-released video of a top official contradicting the former president.
LEMON: New revelations on January 6th, the DOJ reportedly looking at Trump's action in their criminal investigation or lack of action as the committee drops new testimony revealing Trump's then-acting defense secretary blowing a hole on a key claim about the sixth.
So, joining me now to discuss, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She is the author of "The Devil Never Sleeps." Nick Akerman is here as well, who was assistant special Watergate prosecutor. I am so glad to have both of you on. Thank you so much. Good evening.
Juliette, the House Select Committee dropping taped testimony from Trump's acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, who was asked about the claims that Trump had ordered thousands of National Guard troops to be ready for the sixth. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): To be crystal clear, there was no direct order from President Trump to put 10,000 troops to be on the ready for January 6th, correct?
CHRIS MILLER, FORMER ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY (voice-over): No. Yeah, that's correct, there was no direct -- there was no order from the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Add that to all the testimony, Juliette. We heard that Trump never reached out to the military or law enforcement during the insurrection. It goes beyond dereliction of duty. I mean, this is -- it is shocking.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right, it is. Let's put Miller in perspective. This is -- his testimony under oath is actually inconsistent with what he's been saying publicly. So that goes to I think the success of the January 6 Committee in terms of getting people to finally tell the truth because Miller has been, at various times, protecting Trump until we saw this video. So, the video is surprising, I think, in those two ways.
But what it also shows is, you know, the military is not self- executing. It needs an order from someone. The secretary of the Army previously had requested the National Guard from D.C. to be deployed. That was authorized by Miller before January 6th, but they were not allowed to be armed or engaged with the rioters.
Trump then sees what happens on January 6th. He tries to protect his legacy in some ways and said, no, I asked for more troops to protect Congress and to protect the Capitol, but that clearly was not true and that is part of this dereliction of duty which is a key theme of the January 6 Committee right now.
LEMON: Nick, what is this information, what is information like this mean for investigators when they're looking at Trump's intent? Because the committee is building a case that Trump wanted to see if the rioters can succeed.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, that's right. I mean, this was not a case of a dereliction of duty. It was a dereliction of duty that was done on purpose in order to stop the vote of the electoral college vote.
So, what the January 6 Committee has not really connected yet is the connection between the real seditionists, that is the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, to Donald Trump.
And I think one of the areas that the Justice Department may already have evidence on is that connection. The connection being Roger Stone who was present with the Proud Boys on January 5th, and we have testimony already from Cassidy Hutchinson stating that Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to Donald Trump, had had a telephone call with Roger Stone at that time.
So, we know that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are going to trial on sedition, that there are two cooperating witnesses in each of those cases.
So, the real issue is, what do those cooperating witnesses know about Roger Stone and Roger Stone conversing with the White House or with Donald Trump? I mean, we may already have evidence in the grand jury on that because of these two cooperating witnesses and there's no way that we're going to know about what they are saying until an indictment issuance.
AKERMAN: So, it seems to me that everyone is focused on what the January 6 Committee has shown us. And we shouldn't assume that what the Justice Department is doing is simply mimicking what they are learning from the January 6 Committee.
KAYYEM: Right. AKERMAN: There is a lot going on. There is a lot of angles to this. There's a gaping hole in the January 6 Committee's investigation with respect to the connection between Donald Trump and the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. It very may well be that the Justice Department has nailed that down to a certain extent.
LEMON: Well, you are also saying similar things to what we (INAUDIBLE) on in the 10:00 hour.
LEMON: He said similar things to you, things that we don't know about. It is also people who are closer -- who are close -- (INAUDIBLE) or John Dean who are closer to president --
LEMON: -- including Rudy Giuliani, things that we don't necessarily know about that could happening behind the scenes.
Juliette, do you want to say something?
KAYYEM: Yes, I just -- consistent with this point is, what Trump needed on January 6th was time.
Right? I mean, that is where all of these different pieces that seem disorganized or chaotic actually make a lot of sense. He needed to delay certification.
So, you have the violence, you have the dereliction or the unwillingness or intention not to stop the violence, you have the electors play which is now part of these disclosures today in "The New York Times" and in "The Washington Post," and you have sympathetic congressional members who are going to be willing to say, we are not there yet. In other words, all he needs is for everyone to go to bed on January 6th without certification.
So, the military story is key to this because the more chaos you have, Mike Pence potentially leaves the Capitol, you don't get Congress back into session that day. Then he wakes up January 7th and says, this whole thing is a mess. And look over here, I got these electors saying that they're the real electors.
It may sound insane to us but this is a -- this was their strategic plan. They may have a lot of people supporting them in this effort. So, I view the military story as consistent with the elector story as well as the certification story.
LEMON: Something else for you, Juliette. Two Democratic House chairs are calling on the DHS inspector general to recuse himself from the investigatio in the missing Secret Service text messages.
KAYYEM: Yeah. LEMON: They say that they have lost confidence after he failed or let Congress know that these crucial messages might have been erased and the handling of these missing texts has been a mess. Do you agree --
LEMON: -- with the calls for recusal?
KAYYEM: Absolutely. I mean, I think at this stage, they should be taken out of the Department of Homeland Security, give it to DOJ, give it to the Treasury Department.
I'm going to tell the Secret Service something they don't know yet. You are not going to stop this thing. Everything will come out and their lack of transparency is sort of shocking and embarrassing for an agency where 99% of their agents are doing terrific work. But they've been undermined by this 1% of the Secret Service agents who have mysteriously deleted their texts at the right moment.
So, we just need a clean slate. I would recommend that the Biden White House put their own person in right now as the head of the Secret Service, who is not part of the Secret Service, and start all over. You cannot fix this agency from within right now. You just can't.
LEMON: Well, I remember that the Biden administration or Biden as a president-elect, there were concerns about the Secret Service agents --
LEMON: -- around him and their loyalty to former President Trump, and he actually had to get new or different agents --
LEMON: -- and there are agents that he was more familiar with and confident with.
KAYYEM: Yeah, and what we know now is the Secret Service, the bad guys in the Secret Service put the good guys in the Secret Service at risk.
KAYYEM: They put Vice President Pence's details. It's not sustainable for the agency.
LEMON: Well, Nick, does there need to be a broader investigation to the Secret Service given everything that has come to light since Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about the alleged confrontation in that presidential SUV?
AKERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, the inspector general who is there should not be running this investigation. He is a Trump partisan. He was appointed by Donald Trump. He refused to do the investigation of the Secret Service the day that Lafayette Square was clear to protesters. He has refused to give notice and the acquired time on even this whole issue relating to the disappearance of these messages.
This all fits into Donald Trump's pattern that he exhibited in 2019, 2020. Firing five of the inspector generals because they wouldn't go along with what he wanted them to do. The guy who is sitting there now in the Secret Service is someone they did put -- that Donald Trump did put in there to do exactly what he wants him to do. We need an independent investigation.
LEMON: Yeah. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
LEMON: Red states in a full-on offensive to roll back LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, and more. How they're doing it and why it could get worse and it is now. We will talk about that next.
LEMON: So, red states and Republican-appointed judges are engaged in a multistate offensive to control national policy and rollback rights, even though Democrats are in power. That is according to CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein who joins me now. Fascinating article on cnn.com. Thank you, sir. Good evening to you.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, listen, an expert, you know, you spoke -- spoke with said that division hasn't been this bad since the civil war. What?
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah, look, Don Kettl, who is former dean of the University of Maryland Public Policy School and author of many books on state federal relation, says the only thing comparable to what we're watching now among the red states is what we saw in the backlash that developed in the south against reconstruction and the decades after the civil war that ultimately led to separate but equal Plessy versus Ferguson in 1896.
I mean, I think what we are watching, as you noted, is a multifront effort by the red states with support of Republican-appointed judges and justices and the important blocking action of Republicans in the Senate to roll back the rights revolution of the past six decades, to move social policy sharply to the right on everything from abortion to LGBTQ rights to classroom censorship to book bans to voting.
[23:35:10] And at the same time hobble the ability of either the federal government or their own local large metro areas which are trending blue to set a different course. It really adds up to, I think, an effort to create a nation within a nation that is fundamentally rejecting many of the cultural, demographic, and economic changes reshaping America in the 21st century.
LEMON: Can you talk about this very strategic years-long process to use the judicial system as a political tool? I mean, we all see it at the Supreme Court, but it goes way beyond that.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. I mean, look, you know, certainly, in the career of someone who is emblematic as Mitch McConnell, there has been no higher goal throughout his entire career than placing as many Republican judges and justices on the courts as he could.
And you see here in the -- particularly now with the super conservative majority on the Supreme Court -- in the great reporting on CNN today, also we saw how even John Roberts ran against that brick wall on abortion. Now, how it is paying off?
I mean, look at what is happening here. The Supreme Court has authorized -- made various decisions over the years, starting with Shelby County in 2013, continued with weakening the Voting Rights Act, another series of decision to weaken the Voting Rights Act. Last year, the abortion decision.
They are empowering red states. They are giving red states more authority to roll back rights that had been previously considered settled, national, constitutional rights.
At the same time, they are inhibiting the ability of blue states to move against rights, the conservative (INAUDIBLE), whether it is gun control or the separation of church and state.
And then on the third track and maybe the most important, the one that's really not getting enough attention, is all the ways in which the Supreme Court is inhibiting the ability of the federal government to act. We've seen it repeatedly on immigration, on environmental law, climate, on the transgender protection under Title 9.
And by the way, those cases usually are precipitated by lawsuits from the same red states. So you have the Republican-controlled states bringing lawsuits before sympathetic Republican judges, finding a pipeline all the way to the Supreme Court that limits the ability of federal government to act even as the courts are letting them go farther than before in rolling back previously settled national rights.
LEMON: These are the granular things that need to be explored and a platform needs to be given, they need to be echoed, people need to hear because they don't understand it, right? They don't get it. I understand it because people are dealing with their pocketbook issues and things that relate to them daily.
But this is important because this is the damaging part to our democracy. Right now, it is essentially minority rule. You got these red states that are sparsely populated, that are making rules for blue states or for densely-populated areas and, essentially, getting special rights. party not voted into power, imposing their will.
But what happens if Republicans do control the Congress and the White House? What is going to happen to them? Speak on what I just said, please.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, first of all, I mean, this is -- we are -- you know, obviously, there are a lot of things going on. The people are concerned about inflation and economy. But we are seeing the fundamental cohesion of America being challenged in ways that we really have not seen for a long time where you have essentially half the states solidly under republican control, some of them in part because the Supreme Court has also ruled that, you know, severe partisan gerrymandering cannot be responded to by the federal courts.
You have them setting a very different set of rules for how people are going to live and moving aggressively, I think, in a kind of call and response with the courts as they continue to signal sympathy for this, continuing to push it further.
But this does not seem to, I think, to me or to many experts who study this as the end point. I mean, the goal of the Republicans who are rewriting the rights landscape in these states is not just to control what happens in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. It is to ultimately gain control of enough states where you can achieve dominance over the federal government.
And then apply these rules nationally. Apply the red state model to the blue states, whether it is on issues related to guns, certainly on abortion.
And this is a battle that, I think, is only going to intensify in the years ahead. And it's only going to become more fraught because of the Supreme Court's, I think, clear willingness to put a thumb on the scale at least, maybe a whole hand on the scale, in favor of what the red states want to do, blocking what blue states want to do, and blocking what a democratic-led federal government wants to do.
We saw the pressure build up in the 1850s with the Dred Scott decision. We saw it build up again in the 1930s when the Supreme Court blocked a new deal -- original new deal legislation. Each case, there were escape valves that kind of, you know, took the fight in a different direction (INAUDIBLE) maybe, you know, a kind of a strange statement.
But I think that we are just heading for rising social and political tension --
BROWNSTEIN: -- as the red states tried to, in effect, run the country from --
LEMON: And it always happens when you try to expand rights for people who are, you know, not white. That's when it happens.
LEMON: Pay attention, people!
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: We'll be right back. We're going to talk about catastrophic flooding in Missouri -- thank you very much, Ron -- trapping people in cars and homes. Now, officials are declaring a state of emergency.
LEMON: Deadly flooding ripping through Missouri, sparked by record- breaking rainfall. Floodwaters forcing rescues of people trapped in vehicles and homes. Now, the lieutenant governor is declaring a state of emergency.
Here is CNN's Omar Jimenez.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Look, you can't see nobody, cars (ph).
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roads turned into rivers.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): That is the only road out of this area and it is impassable.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): An interstate, shut down.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Interstate 70.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): And firefighters forced to make dozens of rescues. All as a record amount of rain fell in the St. Louis area in just a matter of hours.
DENNIS JENKERSON, CHIEF, ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: We had approximately eight and a half foot of water. It had developed in a low-lying area. And we were told by a civilian that there was possibility that somebody was in a car as the water was receding, and we have pulled a civilian out of the vehicle that has passed.
JIMINEZ (voice-over): Others went scrambling for shelter.
PAUL CIARAVOLO, ST. LOUIS AREA RESIDENT: I heard some thunder earlier this morning. I didn't think much of it. I went back to sleep. A couple of hours later, I heard some water coming into the apartment. So, I woke up and it there was a couple feet in. It just kept coming and going up.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): From midnight to 7 a.m., St. Louis got more than eight inches of rain. The previous record for one day was less than seven, which happened all the way back in 1915. The surrounding St. Louis area saw anywhere from 6 to 10 inches overnight, according to the National Weather Service. Area officials urged everyone to avoid travel as they say they were getting 9-1-1 calls of multiple people stuck.
UNKNOWN: You don't know how deep it is. It is simply not safe. It's not worth the risk.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Torrential rain left parts of the area almost unrecognizable, trapping cars on streets, flooding train tracks and homes. Climate scientists say such turbulent weather is becoming more familiar as rising temperatures mean the atmosphere can hold more moisture leading to more rain and more extreme conditions.
From deadly heat to destructive fires, dangerous floods, it is a dynamic that officials are increasingly trying to be prepared for across the country.
ALI ZAIDI, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: Whether it's the extreme heat affecting tens of millions of Americans or the hurricanes or the drought, this is the new normal. This is a climate emergency.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): In St. Louis, the floodwaters are receding, but scientists say the chances of this happening again are only going up.
Omar Jimenez, CNN.
LEMON: Thank you, Omar. Former president defending his decision to host a Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament at his Bedminster golf course. Now, the families of the 9/11 survivors are calling him out.
LEMON: So tonight, the former president defending his decision to hold the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament at his New Jersey golf club. Families of 9/11 victims are outrage, most of the attackers were Saudi. Trump brushing aside their concerns in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" while praising the Saudis for generating what he calls billions of dollars-worth of publicity and improving their global image.
Let's discus now. CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio is here, the author of "The Truth About Trump." Michael, thanks for joining. Good to see you again. This whole thing is so unusual, a former president promoting Saudi Arabia and their golf tournament at one of his properties. I mean, what is going -- this is just money, right? I was going to say, what is going on, it is was just money, greed.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is just money, but it's also such a feast of selfishness, narcissism and greed that you almost don't know where to start. The greed, as you mentioned, has to do with the fact that the Saudis are going to pay him a hefty fee to use his golf course, and he hopes that he will get some publicity for it, although I think he misjudged there because LIV doesn't have TV contracts. So, the number of people who actually watch the matches is very small.
The narcissism is, of course, it's all about me. So, when the 9/11 families say that they want him to reconsider this, he does not care. This is a person who at one point has excoriated Islam for its supposed terrorist inclinations. And now, he is cozying up to one of the more radically-fundamentalist regimes in all of the Muslim world.
And the final thing about his selfishness is that this is not -- this is the game of golf that he has always said he loves, this is the country he loves, supposedly, America, but he is abandoning the American game and its institutions in favor of this brand-new get rich quick scheme.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. Relatives of 9/11 victims, Michael, are infuriated. They feel let down by professional golfers who are planning to participate.
But, I mean, here -- this is what Trump told "The Wall Street Journal" and I quote here. He says, "I don't know much about 9/11 families, I don't know what is the relationship to this, and their very strong feelings, and I can understand their feelings," he said. "I can't really comment on that because I don't know exactly what they're saying, and what they're saying who did what."
I mean, it's fair to say that Trump is intentionally putting his head -- you know where, but go on.
D'ANTONIO: Right. Right. I mean, this is a situation where almost all of the hijackers who attacked America on 9/11 were Saudi. And the funding for al-Qaeda came mainly from Saudi individuals and organizations. This is all very well known. The FBI established the financial links and it is easy to trace the origins of the attackers.
So, you're not going to tell me that a person who is in Manhattan the day this happened and later exaggerated his own engagement in the aftermath --
D'ANTONIO: -- doesn't know the truth about this. He really knows.
LEMON: Yeah. And the former president of the United States -- I mean, goodness.
Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.