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Don Lemon Tonight

January 6 Committee Eyeing At Mike Pompeo; No President Has Been Indicted In The U.S.; Sen. Joe Manchin Changes His Mind; Recent Polling Don't Favor President Biden; Heat Wave Affect Ranchers. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, that's it for us. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hi, Don Lemon. I'm in bright yellow.


COATES: Lemon. Hello?

LEMON: Thank you. You make me laugh the way you say, hey, Don Lemon, every night.

COATES: It is always my intention.

LEMON: I like it. I like it. I like it. Are you doing OK?

COATES: I'm good. You have a great show planned. I've seen, I can't wait to watch you as always.


COATES: But you got coming up.

LEMON: I got a lot of folks coming up. I'm going to talk to the folks about what's happening, especially with Mike Pompeo which is a big form of discussion, you know, this evening. So, it seems that they're getting closer and closer to the, well they're already in the inner circle. So, we'll see where they're going, which I think we can assume it is to the highest office in the land and the former holder of that upset office. Sp.

COATES: Close, but will there be the cigar?


COATES: That's how you think about that?


COATES: We'll see.

LEMON: All right.


LEMON: Thanks, Laura. I'll see you tomorrow. Have a good night.

COATES: OK. Thank you.


The January 6th committee may be on hiatus, but not their revelations, not at all. The latest is the former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is that who I just mentioned to Laura about, could sit for a closed- door deposition with the committee as soon as this week.

So, there's another one in the inner circle, Mike Pompeo. That according to multiple sources, but why do they want to talk to him of all people? Might have something to do with the 25th amendment.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO White House CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: Mr. Pompeo reached out to have the conversation with Mr. Meadows in case he hadn't heard the discussions amongst cabinet secretaries. And from what I understand, it was more of a, this is what I'm hearing. I want you to be aware of it, but I also think it's worth putting on your radar because you are the chief of staff. You're technically the boss of all the cabinet secretaries. And you know, if conversations progress, you should be ready to take action.


LEMON: So, that, as a star witness of the hearing so far is now cooperating with the Justice Department. That was Cassidy Hutchinson. The woman you just saw there working with the feds, and according to a source with the knowledge of the discussion, she's been working with them.

But, so we don't know exactly what she is telling them though, but we know what she told the committee. Here it is.


HUTCHINSON The president said something to the effect of, I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.


LEMON: And now Alyssa Farah Griffin, an ex-Trump official, current CNN political commentator. You've seen her on this show and another CNN shows, says that there are other White House officials planning to cooperate with the Department of Justice.

In the face of all this there is Josh Hawley who raised his fist to salute protestors, who later swarm the capitol. The committee told you what happened next.


UNKNOWN: As you can see in this photo, he raised his fist in solidarity with the protestors already amassing at the security gates. We spoke with a Capitol police officer who was out there at the time.

She told us that Senator jest -- Senator Hawley's gesture riled up the crowd and it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers.

Later that day, Senator Hawley fled after those protestors he helped to rile up storm the capitol. See for yourself.


LEMON: Listen, I hate to disagree with the way she qualified it. Yes. Well, he fled, but I mean, scurried is more like it. Is this scurry, is it? Yes, scurried away from the protestors that he riled up himself. That's according to a capitol police officer, ran for his life while the mob closed in.

And let's not forget those police officers didn't have the option of scurrying away from the capitol. They ran towards a danger. He ran away from the danger as he riled them up, raising his fist. But do you think Josh Hawley regrets any of what he did that day?

Well, just listen to this exchange. It's with our Manu Raju right here at CNN.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The January 6th committee said that they talked to a capitol police officer said when you made that fist pump, you riled up the crowd. Do you regret that fist pump because of that?

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): No. No, I don't. I don't regret anything I did on that day. And you know, it's a privilege to be attacked by the January 6th committee. And I want to say thank you for all the help with my fundraising. It's been tremendous.


LEMON: Yes, a privilege to be attacked by the January 6th committee. And one of the officers felt it was a privilege to be attacked by Trump supporting insurrectionists who he, Josh Hawley, helped to rile up and fundraising. That says it all right there. The grift is real.


It certainly sounds like this is a game for Senator Hawley. It sounds like he thinks it's an opportunity for a joke, but somehow as you see him scurrying away there, he didn't think it was quite so funny when he was running for his life.

CNN's Evan Perez is here. Michael Moore is here as well. Michael Moore is a former U.S. attorney in the middle district of Georgia. Thank you all for, I mean, good evening.

Can you believe this guy? it's a privilege and honor to be attacked by the January 6th committee and in helping my fundraising. I can't believe people like that are even an elected office in this land. It's sad.

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: He's -- he's pathetic. Pathetic little man.


MOORE: That's all. That's all.

LEMON: Yes, guys, go ahead.

MOORE: Inconsequential, inconsequential to the American people.


MOORE: I can tell you that.

LEMON: It's really awful and deserves to be called out. He deserves every bit of calling out. It's embarrassing. Evan, I'll start with you. Another big name cooperating. The January 6th committee is engaging with the former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo -- Pompeo. What do you know about that?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know, Don that, Pompeo may be able to sit with the committee in the coming days. And of course, the importance of Pompeo is that he might be able to shed some light on the conversations that you heard, Cassidy Hutchinson describes a little bit of, you know, this concern inside the White House.

That there were members of the cabinet, and perhaps people in the Senate who would cooperate on invoking the 25th amendment and remove the former president from office in the wake of the riot, in the wake of the -- of the attack on the capitol. And of course, the way he behaved in that whole period.

So, you know, I think he might be able to shed light on at least those questions, because it might explain a little bit about why Trump recorded that message on January 7th, right? There was this concern we've -- which we reported contemporaneously at the time that he was worried that Republicans were turning against him, including some people in his own cabinet. And so, we'll see whether Pompeo dishes on exactly what was going on that, in those conversations.

LEMON: Hey, Michael Moore, I want to know what do you think about the committee's interest in conversations surrounding the 25th amendment among cabinet members. Why would the committee want to know more about this?

MOORE: Well, I mean, it's interesting to that they're even making the inquiry. What's even more interesting is that you've got cabinet secretaries and administration officials who are coming forward and apparently willing to talk about, or at least negotiate talking about it because, you know, they take the same oath as the president.

They take, they all take this oath to support and defend the Constitution. And if their failure to invoke the 25th amendment to intervene when they saw a president out of control, you know, to me, they may face some exposure.

So, it's, it's really a little bit of an interesting twist. I think they're trying to sort of say, we all knew there was a problem. You know, maybe it went to the higher ups. We were, we heard he was making the calls. We heard he was calling the shots because that's really the link that's missing here.

And that is they're missing that immediate link between Trump and some specific direction to do so. And so, my guess is that they're looking to these folks to say, I heard Trump say this. I heard him direct that. I was in the meeting when he told his people to do this because that's been the link that's been missing in the community.

There's been a lot of drama, a lot of flare. And you know, we've talked about people throwing things against the wall and having temper tantrums and sort of from the criminal side, so what? I mean, that adds some color to it, that adds some context, but we need to slow down.

I think folks right now, you know, we need to tell our folks that they may not see Trump doing the shackle shuffle right away. This is a process. This is an investigation. And we need to hear from people to put that that piece that's missing into the puzzle.

LEMON: Right. And I mean, if at all, I mean, listen, there is, there's a, it's a high bar to send a former president --

MOORE: Sure.

LEMON: -- to jail or to, you know, you said the shackle shuffle. I mean, that's, that's a high bar. We'll see if we can get there. But certainly, there does seem to be mounting evidence that there at least that's leading or leaning in that direction.

MOORE: Well, there's clear evidence that there may be people higher up in the administration. And I'm particularly thinking about lawyers who were involved. I'm thinking about, DOJ officials who Trump was trying to use to send fake letters, advising about fake problems with the election. To me, those are people that we may see as ultimate, sort of losers in the investigation.

It is a high bar to get to a president. And again, I don't know that we'll get there. I haven't seen anything this week that makes me think we're steps and steps closer to that. I think this is just a normal operation.

I was interested to hear Garland in his interview say the word, he was going to move forward on people who were criminally responsible for the conduct. [22:10:02]

That's a different thing than being morally responsible, ethically responsible, politically responsible. You know that, you know, misfeasance is one thing. Criminality is another.


MOORE: And so that's going to be a pretty big hurdle form to cross. And I can assure you they're thinking about the implications of, you know, moving forward possibly on charges against a former president for conduct that has alleged been committed. And we've seen this could be a while he was president of the United States.

LEMON: Yes, listen, but you don't, anything is possible. You never know. He says without fear or favor, we're going to -- no one is above the law. So, let's see.

Evan, I want to turn now to what's going on at the Justice Department. They are investigating the -- their investigation, I should say, is inside the Trump White House. More about Cassidy Hutchinson police cooperating with the Justice Department. What do you know?

PEREZ: Well, we know that Cassidy Hutchinson obviously has provided all of this testimony to the House committee that has been doing this, these hearings. And so, the Justice Department reached out to her and we know that she is now cooperating.

We also know, Don, that there are others besides her in the White House who have now moved -- moved ahead to try to cooperate with the Justice Department. So, what this does for prosecutors again, is you know, beyond people like Marc Short and Greg Jacob who have now sat before the grand jury.

What this does is that again, it helps build some of what, at least a story that they, that prosecutors can use to perhaps get other witnesses. Some of what Cassidy Hutchinson said on the stand or at the hearings was secondhand information. This is what she was told by so and so. So, prosecutors can then go and try to get some of that story as a result of what she's testified.

She can be a very helpful witness. And so can others, because they saw a lot, they were there for a lot of this stuff. And, you know, unlike Pat Cipollone who is hiding behind privilege, you know, they seem to be more freely able to talk.

LEMON: Yes. Michael, you know, Americans got to hear firsthand what Cassidy Hutchinson witnessed inside the West Wing. Evan was just talking about some of -- some of it was firsthand, some of its secondhand in which they got to witness it when she testified publicly. Things like Trump wanting to get rid of the magnetometers at his ellipse rally, knowing his supporters were armed. Watch this.

PEREZ: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): And he -- his response was to say they can march to the capitol from -- from the ellipse.

HUTCHINSON: Something to the effect of, take the effing mags away. They're not here to hurt me, let them in, let my people in. They can march to the capitol after the rally is over, they can march from, they can march from the ellipse. Take the effing mags away, then they can march to the capitol.


LEMON: So, listen, no doubt that was a stunning detail that we learned. But you know, there -- there's a lot that she talked about behind -- she saw and heard a lot of closed-door conversations and she testified publicly. How different do you think her testimony will be behind closed-doors with the Justice Department and how serious is this?

MOORE: Yes, I think her testimony will probably track exactly what she told the committee. And they may delve into some other conversations. They may try to delve into some other things that she saw or the people who had been in contact with Trump that day, that type of thing.


LEMON: Do you think the DOJs would -- the DOJ would be better questioners than lawmakers?

MOORE: I do. I do, because I think they're thinking about this as a political case. Good lawyers think about how do you lose the case as opposed to, are we going to have a good presentation at a committee hearing? We've basically been seeing through the committee hearing just opening statement from one side of this case.

We haven't, we hadn't heard anything about the other side. That's -- and that's sort of how the process is set up. Good lawyers of the DOJ are going to be thinking, OK, so we're going to put this evidence forward. How is it going to be attacked? You know, if our -- if our defendant is ultimately, Trump or whoever else, how are those lawyers going to push back? What holes do we need to make sure are filled before we bring the case?

And I think that's what good lawyers do. And that's what they'll be doing with their questioning. They want to know before they get too far down the road, what our answers are going to be. So, they're prepared for any eventually that might come if they move forward.

LEMON: All right, Michael, thank you. Thank you, Evan, as well. I appreciate it.

The DOJ investigation is clearly heating up, though it is a long way from actually bringing charges there. But just how far is Merrick Garland willing to go? Will the Justice Department actually charge a former president? We just talked about it. It could happen, but would they actually do it? And what would that mean for the country? [22:15:00]


LEMON: So, the Justice Department's criminal investigation of January 6th moving full speed ahead. Investigators getting access to Trump White House insiders and asking questions about the former president's actions.

Timothy Naftali is here. He is CNN's presidential historian and the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Also, CNN's senior political commentator, Mr. David Axelrod.

Good evening, gentlemen. Thank you so much. So.


LEMON: Tim, I want to start with you. Let's take a step back. What does it mean to have a former president and his White House facing such an intense legal microscope? Mr. Nixon white --

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, this means we are in a phase of history we've never seen before because now maybe because it was, it was presidents who were in office. The last time a former administration came under this kind of scrutiny was in the 1920s. And it was a result of something called the Teapot Dome scandal.

LEMON: I recall.

NAFTALI: And -- but the president was dead. It was Warren G. Harding. He was gone. He was already dead.

LEMON: I covered that by the way.

NAFTALI: You, you did a great job. You won your first Pulitzer Prize, I think for that one.

LEMON: I was young, just in my 20.

NAFTALI: There, man, you know, ageless. But that's no, but I mean, since then we don't investigate former presidents. They're gone.


NAFTALI: This is the first time we've invested a former president and it raises the challenge, because this is a former president who can run again. So, it's not just investigating a former, it's somebody who's actually still a political player.

LEMON: Yes. But let's talk about that, David, because focusing on Trump is it's a far cry from actually bringing charges. I just want to play this though, to give context. This is Merrick Garland just yesterday in the interview with Lester Holt. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [22:20:04]

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We pursue justice without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone who is criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6th, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.


LEMON: OK, David Axelrod, do you actually believe the DOJ would really take that leap?

AXELROD: I really don't know, Don, because I think this is such a hard question. On the one hand, if you believe in the rule of law as the attorney general has said, and that no man is above the law, including the president of the United States. And you have incontrovertible evidence clear, a clear case beyond a reasonable doubt. What message does it send if you don't bring the case?

On the other hand, as Tim points out, you know, this would be unprecedented and it would be one administration, essentially prosecuting a predecessor. It has kind of a Latin American, you know, sort of feel to it. And I think that, you know, they're going to have to weigh that heavily as they consider this.

But the first issue is can you prove this beyond a reasonable doubt and get a conviction? Because if you, if you have any doubt about that, you should not bring this case.

LEMON: You do, you think so? You think if a, you know, they say, if it's a miss, then it gives them that much power. Is that what you're -- is that what you're thinking, David, then it makes him stronger and you know --

AXELROD: You mean if you -- if you try him and --

LEMON: If you try him and you miss.

AXELROD: I mean, I think it's a terrible, terrible message. And yes, I think, you know, he would, you, you saw what he did when he was acquitted after his -- after his impeachment, the first impeachment. He was -- he was absolutely without remorse or humility. We remember Senator Collins said I think he's learned a lesson.

He didn't learn any lessons. The lesson he learned was that he could get away with it. And that is the lesson that Donald Trump has taken from his entire life's experience. So, yes, I think if he were tried and acquitted, I think that there would be ramifications of that. I think you're going to be very careful about that.

LEMON: I, but I think that either way, if you don't do it, he'll say they didn't do it because they didn't have enough evidence. And if you do it, and it doesn't stick, then he'll say, you know, they didn't have enough evidence. So, I think damned if they do, damned if they don't. And listen, did you want to -- did you want to say something, David?

AXELROD: Yes. I wanted to say that the American people have a say in this, right?

LEMON: Exactly.

AXELROD: I mean, ultimately the American people can render their verdict and if he decides to run for president again, they'll have a chance to render their verdict. And there is growing evidence that, you know, people are slowly beginning to be impacted by the evidence as it mounts about what the president did and didn't do relative to January 6th. So, in a democracy, the ultimate authority is the people.


AXELROD: And it may be that they're the ones who are the ultimate jury for Donald Trump.

LEMON: But Timothy, that's what I wanted to say, because listen, you know what happened with Ford? With Ford when he pardoned Nixon, everyone says that, you know, they go through this -- the country is going to be divided. They're going to be divided. We're already divided. So, I don't think it matters either way. If they're going to do it, they should just.

NAFTALI: Well, I agree with you. And I'm one of those who thinks the timing of Ford's pardon was not in the interest of the United States with the American people. I think that Richard Nixon should have been indicted, because I think it was important to put in one place all of the crimes against the American people --


LEMON: You think he should have been indicted.

NAFTALI: I'm sure of it. I think that the fact that he wasn't indicted gave rise to conspiracy thinking about, well, Richard Nixon's activities and -- but, so I actually believe that it is very important for our country not to have political amnesia, not to sweep things under the carpet.

I think it's really necessary because we want our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to learn that in this country, in the end, the flag and the Constitution matter most.


NAFTALI: And that powerful people can't get away with bad behavior.


NAFTALI: It's extremely important. Look at the cost in this country of sweeping under the carpet. What happened after reconstruction? I don't need to tell you. But and I shouldn't have to tell this to most people who are watching, but we paid, actually mainly African Americans paid an enormous price in this country for the political amnesia that we allowed after reconstruction.

LEMON: Yes. And some -- yes.

NAFTALI: And pretending. And so, I think it's very important that Donald Trump be held to the standard of justice that is required and that people learn that a violent insurrection is not acceptable and is not just a walk in the park up at the Capitol Hill.


LEMON: David, I'll give you the last word. David, keep in mind though --


AXELROD: Yes, I --

LEMON: Go ahead.

AXELROD: Go ahead, Don.

LEMON: I was going to say many of the forces that let you know help to fuel the big lie, including, obviously the president, but if you've watched, you know, Donie O'Sullivan's reports, I mean, those people are still with us and they still actually believe that none of that stuff happened. At least they say they do, but go on. Sorry.

AXELROD: We have a different situation than we did with Richard Nixon who resigned the presidency. Of course, if I -- and I, Tim, you've -- I'm sure talked about this a million times. If he had had Fox News, if he had had social media, I'm not sure that he would've resigned. And if he had been indicted, I'm not sure that he wouldn't have tried to do what I think Donald Trump would, which would be to incite his supporters to believe that this was a political prosecution.

So, it's a more complicated situation than the country and prosecutors faced, you know, 45 years ago.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Tim. Thank you, David. I appreciate it.

Senator Joe Manchin doing a 100, a 180, I should say, agreeing to a surprise deal on an energy and health -- healthcare bill with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

How far will it go in boosting the Democrats and President Biden? We'll discuss.



LEMON: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reaching a deal on energy and healthcare bill today after more than a year of negotiations. It's kind of a surprise. Among the items included in the bill, reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices.

It's expected to face furious opposition from the GOP. Let's bring in now, Cedric Richmond, senior advisor to the DNC and former senior advisor to President Biden.

Cedric, it's been a minute. It's good to see you. Thanks for joining.


LEMON: So, you know, this deal is less time than a Biden originally wanted, but it's still a big deal. I mean, especially since it is a major reversal for Senator Joe Manchin. There's still a way to go in the Congress, as we know, but will -- will this address the dissatisfaction people are feeling with this presidency?

RICHMOND: Well, I don't know about the dissatisfaction, the so-called dissatisfaction, but I will tell you what it'll address. It will address the rising costs that families are facing every month. So, it's going to lower prescription drug costs. It's going to tackle our climate emergency that's out there, and we're going to continue to work to make sure that we are addressing the needs of working families.

And look, these things don't come easy. And that's why it took a long time to get it done. But the president never wavered, kept working, Leader Schumer kept working, and Senator Manchin kept working. And we're going to continue to do those things. And I think that this just shows what a dedicated and focused president can accomplish when you work at it.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about, you said the so-called dissatisfaction. But listen, this deal comes less than four months away from the midterms. This is the latest CNN polling. It shows President Biden's approval rating sitting at just 38 percent, Cedric, and among Democratic voters, 75 percent say they want the party to nominate someone other than President Biden in 2024.

The White House is saying that they're not worried about it, but I mean, come on. I mean, as Biden would say, come on, man. How do you -- how can you not be worried when you see that?

RICHMOND: Because what we're doing is making sure that we don't have 3,000 people dying every day of COVID like what was going on in January 20th when we took office. We made sure that we added eight million jobs, brought unemployment to 3.6 percent, one of the lowest of all times. And that we added 500,000 manufacturing jobs.

The goal is to keep addressing the problems that Americans face. And look, when it's time to have a referendum on Joe Biden, we are ready for that. But right now, we are doing the things to help American families that are busting their behinds to keep a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food on the table.

And come November of this year I think that you will see Americans make a choice between one extreme party and another party that's actually looking to make corporations pay their fair share, reduce the deficit and help families. And that is goal number one. And then for the president's reelection, he's not running against the all might, he's running against the alternative.

And if you look at this party, the alternative is extreme and we will have a bunch of things to run on that we have been able to accomplish through executive order when Congress wouldn't act or through things like the infrastructure bill. Where, by the way, we're going to remove contaminated water from 10 million homes in this country, 400,000 schools and daycares.

We're going to bring borough band to rural America and we're going to invest in community violence intervention like no one has ever done. And with a comprehensive model that empowers people to reach their wildest dreams. I think that's a record we could run on every day of the week.

LEMON: You sound, I mean, listen, you sound like you're still working at the White House by the way. I know that you're at the DNC now. But listen, you mentioned, you said extremes. Right? Some strategists think that Democrats can win over midterm swing voters by calling out Republicans, calling them extremists.

I mean, it sounds similar to what Biden has been doing in recent weeks. Let's listen, and then we'll discuss.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't have to tell you about the ultra MAGA agenda attacking families in our freedoms. Three hundred discriminatory bills introduced in states across this country.


I never expected the ultra-MAGA Republicans who seem to control the Republican Party now to have been able to control the Republican party. I never anticipated that happening.

Under my predecessor the great MAGA king, the deficit increased every single year he was president. Let me tell you about this ultra-MAGA agenda. It's extreme as most MAMA things are.


LEMON: Idea about calling Republicans extremists, is that the way to go?

RICHMOND: Absolutely. Because we have to call it for what it is and they are extreme. When you start talking about overturning Roe V. Wade, 50 years. And you start attacking women's reproductive freedom. You start attacking choice. You're attacking voting rights. You're doing all of these things that are so contrary.

And by the way, they love to tout that they are Pro-law enforcement and that they love law and order. None of them will call out the president and the lawless acts of January 6th and I was in the capitol. It wasn't a tourist visit. It was an insurrection. It was a violent insurrection and it was done at the behest of President Trump.

And so, I think that the more we can call out and show how extreme this party has shifted I think it works for us and. The good thing about it. And I think that that's one of President Biden's strong points is that he's telling the truth and people know he's telling the truth.

And so, when we talk about this extreme Republican Party led by president, former President Trump, who still doesn't realize that he lost the election by almost eight million votes. I think that people get it. And I think that people realize what direction they want this country to go in.

LEMON: Listen, listen, I think on -- on the -- on they may point, I think most people will agree with you. There are a few Republicans. As you know, the Kinzingers of the Cheneys of the party, but there are really few and far between. How do you explain them? Because they're calling out the president, they're saying, no, they didn't, you know, that this was a violent insurrection, and then that shouldn't happen.

RICHMOND: Well, but they're also paying a price for it. The Republican Party ostracize them because they are honest --

LEMON: Right.

RICHMOND: -- into saying that the president lost the election and that the president incited this insurrection. So, when we talk about the Republican Party today, like the president says, it's not your father's Republican Party. This Republican Party is extreme. And anybody who tells the truth, who calls out the president is abandoned and ostracize --


LEMON: But shouldn't --

RICHMOND: -- and you see that happening.

LEMON: But shouldn't President Biden have realized that on day one, people have been telling him this, you said, and this is not your father's Republican Party. People have been telling him it's not the Republican Party even when he was in the White House as the vice president of the United States.

And now all of a sudden, he realizes that this isn't the party of your father's Republican Party. That's been happening now for years. Is he all of a sudden, now in step with, and has been out of step for the first, you know, year of his presidency?

RICHMOND: Absolutely not. And I'll tell you that even as extreme as the Republican Party is we find ways to work with those people who have the greater good in mind and who will put America first. That's how we pass the infrastructure bill. That's how we're going to replace lead pipes and crumbling bridges, and levies and protect homes. And we're going to continue to do that where we can with willing partners.

LEMON: Right.

RICHMOND: And where we can't we will do it by executive order like the George Floyd justice and policing executive order or the voting rights executive order or any of the others.


RICHMOND: And I think that the goal of the President of the United States, not just the Democrats, is to make sure that he continues to move the ball forward and work with people who's willing --

LEMON: Well, Cedric --

RICHMOND: -- to work with him. So, as he -- we continue to call people extreme, we're going to work with the people who are willing to do it.

LEMON: Cedric, where has this fire been? It wasn't -- you didn't -- you weren't this fiery when you were working at the White House, it's good to see you unleashed at least. I feel that you were a little bit buttoned up when you're at the White House, but it's good to see the, I call it the old Cedric Richmond that I knew from New Orleans.

RICHMOND: No, that, Don, the fire has always been there. But --

LEMON: All right. There needs to be more people with fire like you to --


RICHMOND: What I would just -- what I would just close with Don is that at the end of the day, my children, my child will be OK. And for many of us our children would be OK, but there are children out there that we know and will never know that won't be OK if we don't get this right. And we owe it to keep our heads down and just do the work.


RICHMOND: And that's what the president is doing. And I am out of the White House now, and I will have a lot more fire because our goal right now is to win the midterms. You can't govern if you can't win. And this premature expectation that Republicans can win is just absolutely wrong.

LEMON: Cedric Richmond, thank you. Please come back. I appreciate your candor. Thanks. We'll be right back.


RICHMOND: Anytime.

LEMON: Thank you.


LEMON: Extreme heat and drought hammering Texas. And the forecast showing little relief in sight for the lone star state. The dry conditions squeezing cattle ranchers again this summer forcing many to sell cows they can't afford to feed.

And as CNN's Ed Lavandera reports is just one of many tough choices facing farmers.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Summers are supposed to be quiet inside the Seguin Cattle Company auction barn in Texas, but manager Bryan Luensmann says the extreme heat and drought is forcing thousands of cattle ranchers to sell off their herds.

What's it been like being in the cattle business this summer?

BRYAN LUENSMANN, MANAGER, SEGUIN CATTLE COMPANY: Pretty much a roller coaster ride. I mean, it's been chaotic, it quit raining October of last year. So, I mean, it's just been desperate measures for people.


LAVANDERA: Cattle ranchers usually bring their herds to market in late fall, but the heat and lack of rain is making it financially impossible for many ranchers to keep sustaining the cows. That's why Luensmann says almost twice as many farmers as usual are lining up here to sell off portions of their cattle herds.

Federal forecasters say this is the second driest year around the Seguin area in the past 128 years. Priscilla McBee and her family have a small family operation of about 20 cattle.

You brought two cows and a calf.


LAVANDERA: Why did you have to get rid of them?

MCBEE: We just trying to reduce number, trying to reduce how many we're feeding because there's no grass, and the hay we have is not going to last us through the winter.

LAVANDERA: She says her farm is running out of grass to keep the herd properly fed.

MCBEE: It's hard. You know, our fields are barren.

LAVANDERA: So, you're trying to save the rest of the herd.


LAVANDERA: Marty Schwarzkopf has a herd of 70 cattle. He brought one to sell today. He says he also usually sells four to 6,000 bales of hay every year to cattle ranchers. But this year, the ground is so dry he's only done about 300.

MARTY SCHWARZKOPF, CATTLE RANCHER: And I'll feel for a lot of people. You know, people they've been doing this for years and years, and now they don't have anything to, to hold on. You know, they're having to let go.

WADE MAIERHOFER, CATTLE RANCHER: We put these bells that hay out a couple of days ago and they're already gone and they're a hundred dollars apiece.

LAVANDERA: Wade Maierhofer is a fourth-generation cattle rancher on this land. He says this ranch field should be covered in lush green grass; a foot high. Now it's a sea of hard scrabbled brown dust. The remaining burnt grass crunches under your feet.

We talked under the shade of an Oak as he explained he might have to sell more of his cows.

Do you get emotional thinking about that possibility?

MAIERHOFER: Yes. Yes, yes. Yes. You don't want to do it. You don't want to sell them. You, you know, most of these cattle, well, all of these cattle, we raised, we raised them from babies. If we -- if we have to get rid of the -- all of them it's painful.

LAVANDERA: This part of Texas usually gets 24 to 48 inches of rain a year. It's received just four inches so far this year. The pond Maierhofer's cows usually drink from is supposed to be seven feet deep. There's not even a drop of water left in it now.

Wade Maierhofer will face tough decision soon. He sold off 20 cows last week, and if it doesn't rain and cool off soon, he'll be back in the auction barn selling off more of his herd.

MAIERHOFER: I will sell them before they're skin and bones, I will sell them. I mean, if we can't maintain them, then we'll get rid of them.


LAVANDERA: So, Don, this is an incredibly emotional time for many, many cattle ranchers across the country. In fact, at one point when ranchers were here dropping off their cattle for the auction that happened earlier today, one rancher was in tears. We asked to talk to him. He said he couldn't bring himself to talk about what this moment was like for him as he was selling off much of his herd.

LEMON: It's so awful. Ed, it's a great report. Let's talk about it. I also want to introduce you to Clay Burtrum. He owns a cattle business in Payne County, Oklahoma, and he's a Reno Nevada -- in Reno, Nevada tonight for a national cattleman's business meeting.

So, Ed again, thank you for your report. Clay, welcome to the program. I really appreciate you joining us.

We just saw Ed's really in-depth report on the pressure Texas ranchers are under and U.S. Oklahomans to pray for rain. How tough are the choices you're being forced to make this summer? CLAY BURTRUM, PAYNE COUNTY FARMER: Well, thank you, Don. It's very

tough considering the lack of rainfall that we have, the shortness of grass, the cost of feed, the cost of hay to provide for these animals. It's some really some tough decisions that we have to make on the farms and ranches today. As being the best stewards of the land of cattle producers, it's very tough.

LEMON: Obviously, Ed, you know, cattle ranchers are struggling right now, but what is it -- what does this mean for consumers at the grocery store? Of course, it's going to affect the -- for the price of things.


BURTRUM: Well, you know, we produce the most --

LEMON: Go ahead, Ed.

BURTRUM: Go ahead, Ed.

LAVANDERA: It's alright. I was just, I was just going to say, I'll say quickly and, but the, you know, there's a cycle to the way all of this works. So, you know, the cattle are supposed to be brought to market much later, and if everything is being sold off earlier, that means it's going to take a while to kind of replenish the herds, which means about this time next year, you'll start seeing, from everyone that we've talked to, a shortage in the amount of cattle coming to market. Which means when you go to the grocery store the prices for the beef that's there is going to be much higher.


LEMON: We didn't hear you. You want to weigh in on that, Clay?

BURTRUM: Yes. You know, we, as cattle producers we produce the most wholesome nutritious product that we can. And we see the effect on the grocery stores and the amount of supply that's in there. But you know, the -- we are just doing the best we can to produce the most wholesome product.

LEMON: Hey Clay, we want to put up some of these photos of -- that you sent us of your farm from this week that showed just how dry the conditions have gotten there. You have been farming for decades. How have you seen the conditions change? Is this becoming more common?

BURTRUM: Yes. The past few years have just -- we've seen the onset of drought. You know, these pastures you see in the background should be lush and green. You can see the levels of these ponds are just low. You see the calves are still with the cows. Right now, we should be, we're going to have to pull these calves off about two months earlier. We haven't been able to plant winter wheat. You can see the cracks in the ground that we have. We're praying for rain. We just asked the nation to continue to pray for rain for Oklahoma and Texas and the central U.S.

These pastures you see right here are supposed to be cut for hay. We can't afford the fuel to go cut those hay pastures because they might spark a wildfire as you see in northwest Oklahoma here in just the past few days.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, you can pray for rain but there's a lot that needs to be done. Of course, we hope that would work. But they've got to do something about this climate change. We all have to do something about the climate change.

Clay, I appreciate you joining us. Best of luck to you. Please come back anytime. We appreciate you being so candid. Ed, of course, great reporting. Again, thank you so much. We'll be right back, everyone.

BURTRUM: Thank you.



LEMON: So, there's new tonight on the spread of monkeypox. Here in the U.S. more than 3,500 cases have been confirmed so far. But there have not been enough doses of the monkeypox vaccine for those who are eligible and, they want to get it.

Now that leads to some long lines, lots of frustration that clinics around the country offering the shots, but the federal government announcing it is making nearly 800,000 additional doses available as soon as possible. And more are in the pipeline.

By the end of the year, federal health officials estimate that nearly two million doses will have been made available to the public. We'll keep you updated.

A big development in the January 6th investigation, the House select committee eyeing a former Trump cabinet official for a possible deposition. What could Mike Pompeo have to say about that?