Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

Tudor Dixon Won In Michigan's GOP Primary; Trump-Endorsed Eric Schmitt Wins In Missouri; Kansans Voting No To Constitutional Abortion Rights; More Text Messages Deleted From Trump's Cabinet; Speaker Pelosi Ignored China's Threats. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 02, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, that's it for us tonight. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don Lemon!

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hi, Laura Coates. It's a big night in America, it's election night.


LEMON: We are going to get to it. Great show. I will see you tomorrow.

COATES: See you later.


As I said it's election night in America, and results are coming in from primaries in five states. CNN is projecting that Trump-endorsed candidate Tudor Dixon will win the Michigan Republican gubernatorial primary.

And CNN projects that Eric Schmitt has won the Missouri GOP Senate primary. We'll have more results to come. Tudor Dixon and Eric Schmitt, the winners there. But the fact is, in state after state, democracy is on the ballot tonight.

Will the GOP be the party of Trump and his election lies, or is there any room left in the party of Lincoln for candidates who defend our free and fair elections? We may get some answers tonight.

The last polls just closing right now in Arizona's -- in Arizona's primaries where Trump-backed candidates are all over the ballot running for the Senate, governor, and the secretary of state, the state that has been ground zero, really, for Trump's post-election defeat revenge tour.

CNN's Kyung Lah is live for us in Phoenix, Arizona, Sara Murray is in Grand Rapids, Michigan with more on the results there. And CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in St. Louis, Missouri, CNN's John King is at the magic wall to break it all down for us. We have a lot to cover for you. I want to get -- good evening to everyone, I want to get straight

though to Sara Murray in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the very latest. Sara, you're in Michigan. CNN is projecting that Trump-endorsed political commentator Tudor Dixon wins the GOP gubernatorial primary. Tell us more, please.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Tudor Dixon is just behind me. She is getting her victory speech. She is thanking her supporters. You know, this has been a long and chaotic Republican primary in Michigan. And Tudor Dixon is kind of seen as the establishment candidate in the race. He rivals are bashing her for that.

And Donald Trump came in just a few days ago and threw his endorsement behind her, which obviously made a difference in helping her break away from the rest of the field and clinched her victory.

You know, this has been interesting she's been up against a number of election deniers. She has put a Band-Aid on how she feels of the 2020 election, at some points saying she believes it was stolen, and then backing away from that in recent days. Don?

LEMON: So, Sara, and Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer, he is one of 10 House members to vote for Trump's second impeachment, and yet Democrats have attempted to boost his election denying opponent. Explain that one, please.

MURRAY: You know, this is an indication of how much Democrats want to be able to hold on to the House when it comes this fall. You know, they want that seat to flip into the Democratic column, and it's pretty clear that they are willing to spend money on an election denier to do that.

Obviously, this has been a huge point of frustration to Peter Meijer who says, you know, you see Democrats out there talking about how people who are election deniers are a threat to democracy, a threat to America, and yet, here, Democrats are propping up his opponent, and election denier in the race, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Sara. Standby. I want to get now to Jeff Zeleny in St. Louis, Missouri. Big news where you are. Tell us about the Senate race.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Don. We are projecting that Eric Schmitt who is the Missouri attorney general will be the winner here in the Republican Senate contest. The big story, though, of course, is former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens he was trying for a come back here four years after resigning in disgrace from his office. He is being defeated handily tonight.

Right now, he is in a distant third place, and this really came about over the last several weeks or so when his conduct from office became a central issue in this race, and Republicans simply thought that he could lose the seat for the party. Missouri, of course, is a deep red state. It has been a decade since

the Democrats has won a statewide in a Senate seat. But Republicans in Washington, across the board were concerned that if Eric Greitens would become the nominee, he would in fact put the seat in risk. And that is what the candidates campaigned on.

After spending some time here in the last couple of days with Eric Schmitt he was quite blunt about the fact that the state simply should not elect someone who is unfit for office, in his words, someone who is an alleged wife abuser and a child abuser. Of course, Governor Greitens denied all those allegations.


So tonight, of course, about 24 hours after the former president issued an endorsement for the two Erics, Eric Greitens and Eric Schmitt, one of those Erics won. But Don, it had very little, if anything to do with Donald Trump's half endorsement. It had everything to do with the fact that Eric Greitens collapsed, and people who know him best, Missouri voters, simply did not want to risk the Senate seat.

And clearly show they had no tolerance for a return of him to public life. So, Eric Schmitt will be addressing the crowd here behind me in St. Louis County, shortly. But certainly, this gives a lot of pause to Republicans. Republicans in Washington that I've been speaking with in the last few minutes here, Don, are breathing a sigh of relief. They believe this is a -- it will be a safe seat for them come November.

LEMON: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much in St. Louis. I want you to stand by. I want to get to here to Arizona now where the polls are close. Our Kyung Lah is there. Kyung, we will soon start seeing the results on all eyes on the governor's race pitting Trump- backed versus Pence-backed candidates.

You were with the Pence-backed candidate, Karrin Taylor Robson at the watch party there. How is their campaign feeling? What's the mood?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The best way to put it is that they are simply holding their breath and they are watching the clock because we are expecting the first results to drop in just about an hour, a little under an hour. This is going to be the early vote released by Maricopa County, the most populous county. That would be about 70 percent of the vote says the county, and how this county goes is really going to tell us where Taylor Robson stands tonight.

The margin of how much she is ahead has to be big. It has to be a certain percentage. The campaign isn't telling us what they are looking for specifically. But the bigger the margin, the bigger the chance that she has to fend off Kari Lake.

The campaign says voters in this state, in Arizona, Republicans were given a clear choice. It was Vice President -- Vice President Mike Pence backing Karrin Taylor Robson. She is backed by the establishment, by Governor Doug Ducey. Contrast that with the Trump-backed, lie embracing, Kari Lake. She has

fully embraced Donald Trump's 2020 election lie, has made it a centerpiece of her campaign. This campaign says that choice was very clear, two different styles of governing, two different styles of campaigning, they believe how Republicans decide where they want their party to go tonight will tell us the power of Donald Trump in this critical battleground state. Don?

LEMON: Kyung, there's a full slate of election deniers on Arizona's ballot, including one in the Senate race. More about that, what's going on there?

LAH: Up and down the ballot. Let's first address that, Don. Not only in governor, but in the U.S. Senate race, as well as attorney generals, secretary state, and further on down.

Donald Trump, certainly made his wishes and endorsement known in the state of Arizona. Blake Masters is his choice for U.S. Senate, it is a crowded field. This is a much more crowded field than this one, where there is a clear choice here.

Blake masters, he is also embraced Donald Trump's lie. In fact, he put out an ad, Don, that said he believed Trump won in 2020. Reminder, he did not win the Arizona. Don?

LEMON: All right, Kyung Lah. To John King now. John, you are at the map, what are you watching for tonight, sir?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A number of key questions, I think Republican voters, right? We are picking candidates for key races in November. What are Republican voters going to tell us? What about those election deniers in Arizona? What about the state of Michigan?

And another thing I'm looking at, Don, I'm just going to switch the map right here, this is a very important initiative. The first time abortion has been on the ballot since the Supreme Court made its decision in Kansas. And again, a Republican state, it has a Democratic governor, but a deeply Republican state.

What are republican voters telling us? Do they think the Supreme Court went too far? The early results in Kansas were not done yet here, saying, yes, in a state that is a very red state, no, means you do not want to open the Kansas Constitution to allowing the legislator to ban abortion.

No is leading right now in Kansas. We're only at 51 percent of the vote. But no is leading at the moment, so Democrats are going to watch this closely. Our suburban Republicans are so upset at the Supreme Court decision. They're willing to vote for Democrats in the fall.

Will abortion -- the abortion issue in Kansas, where you have Democrats, Joe Biden, let's go back in time and look at it this way. Joe Biden won five counties in Kansas in 2020. Donald Trump won convincingly, but if you come back to where we are now, to the initiative, you see the counties that Biden won are all overwhelmingly voting no right now.

Is this the turnout gift, if you will, turnout issue for the Democrats? That's one thing to watch tonight as we count the Kansas vote. But then I think the more broadly, Don, whether you are looking at the House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump in these key governor primaries, or Senate Republican primaries.


I'll just bring Missouri up on the screen and let you jump in. How deep in the bloodstream of the Republican Party is this an attack on the democracy? Is questioning the institution of democracy after the January 6th hearings, after everything we have heard from Donald Trump's inside team, not rhinos, not Democrats, not liberals, not deep status, after everything we have heard from Trump's team about how he knew it was a lie, he kept pushing, corruptly tried to steal an election. Will Republican voters say we've had enough or will they continue to embrace it?

LEMON: John king, I have a group of folks here who I'm sure you are familiar with. And we are going to all ask you some questions. I want to know from you, I'll introduce them in a moment.

But is there anything that is unusual to you? Especially considering Kansas. I've been watching your reporting. What about the turnout there? I'm hearing the turnout is really high, and that speaks to what is on the mind of Kansas voters, especially in a state as red as Kansas, that they are actually going to uphold -- uphold abortion rights.

KING: And so, again, this is a state that has a Democratic governor. But a Democratic governor who is a very conservative, so not be someone who would win the governorship of Maryland, or you know, of a very blue state.

So, here you have, again, we're only at 52 percent. So, we need to count the votes. I think a key question tonight here in Kansas and around the country, you can't win Michigan in a close election without carrying the suburbs, you can't win Arizona in a close election without carrying the suburbs. Those key Senate races in places like Pennsylvania are going to come down to the suburbs.

Are suburban Republicans here in Lawrence, Kansas, Kansas City, Topeka, Manhattan, are they telling the Republican Party, look, we don't like what the Supreme Court did, and we do not want you to try to build on it by banning abortion in the states?

Restrictions on abortions? That is a conversation most Americans are open to. Outright bans on abortion, eliminating the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother? Kansas is going to send a message tonight. The question is, do anti-abortion Republicans in the states listen to this vote?

And again, we are only at 50 percent. I want to be careful. There is a lot of rural Kansas. The vote is yet to come in. So, this could tighten up considerably, the results actually could change. But that's the key question for Democrats. Democrats believe that in a

year where the wind is in their face. It's a Democratic president, first midterm, history says the president's party suffers. The Democrats are looking for something to help them turn out voters and to peel back the suburban Republicans who voted against Donald Trump, to peel back independents who might say I don't like inflation, I don't think Biden has delivered.

The Democrats believe the abortion issue could be a turnout mechanism and a vote changing mechanism. Kansas is part of that test, Don.

LEMON: Yes. John, if you stay with us just for a little bit.

KING: Sure.

LEMON: Because I want to bring in the folks in the room here with me in New York. And that is Abby Philip, CNN's David Chalian, Mark Preston, and David Axelrod, as well. So, we are going to keep John for a little bit. If you guys have any questions.

I was watching the Kansas results, and I found it interesting considering where we are. It has not been called yet, as John said. There is a way to go. And the thing about what happened with the Erics. Any questions for John before we go? You guys do this all the time, I always find all of you very interesting. But John has the information coming straight from the magic wall here. Any questions?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, we could ask John about the unbelievable baseball trade that occurred tonight with the Washington Nationals. Which has a lot of us very upset. And you know, the Red Sox have made some --


LEMON: Is there -- is there anything unusual that, John, that you are seeing tonight, that stands out to you as you are watching these results come in?

KING: Well, another question. There's many layers of the Trump effect, if you will, the spread of, again, we need competitive political parties. We don't want the Democratic Party in America. You need competitive political parties. The depth of the cancer in the Republican bloodstream about the big lie, and the Trump effect. That's another thing being tested.

And again, you are just talking to Sara Murray about this race in Michigan, let me bring up the state of Michigan, and come on up. A number of primaries, but the one we are watching closely here is Peter Meijer, one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.

Two more of them have primaries out in Washington state. The polls close out there in about an hour, Don. But look how close this is. John Gibbs is the trump-endorsed candidate in this case. It's 50 percent or round up to 51, if you want, to 50 percent. It's 253 votes at the moment with about a third of the vote counted. Again, one of my big questions is, do Republicans continue to follow,

not so much Trump, but Trumpism? The big lie, that our elections are corrupt, that you cannot have disagreement within the party, at least not a disagreement with Donald Trump?

Is that changing? Or are we going to continue that through November and beyond? That is one of the questions tonight. So, this is one of the races that I'm watching in. It's way too close to call right now. We are going to be counting votes there. And again, there's two more of those out in Washington state a bit later.

LEMON: All right, John King, thanks. So, Abby, I want to get to you first here in the room. So many election deniers are out front and center in these primaries tonight. What stands out to you as you watch these results roll in so far?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much everyone is an election denier, even the ones who are not election deniers. It's sort of a watered-down version of it. This is sort of the bare minimum line that you must cross to be on a Republican ballot virtually in this country at this point.


Even when you look at someone like Tudor Dixon in the Michigan governor's race, she is a candidate who, you know, kind of portrays herself as someone who is maybe more in the mainstream. But is more or less peddling a watered-down version of the big lie, election, you know, election integrity efforts, trying to make that the front and center of their race.

And so, that is what to me is, something that we have to keep in mind here. There are some people who are on the far end of this, like Kari Lake who doesn't believe that any election that she or Trump loses is legitimate. And then there are many others who are towing that line.

Even Kari Lake's opponent she was on CNN talking to Brianna Keilar just a few weeks ago, Karrin Taylor Robson. And she didn't really want to say whether Joe Biden was legitimately elected president of the United States. That should tell you everything you need to know about how Republican candidates feel like they need to position themselves to even have a shot at their party.

LEMON: But it's interestingly how they dance around that --


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. And to you point about Tudor Dixon, I mean, as recently as May, when she thought she was in a very competitive Republican primary, she was pretty adamant that Donald Trump had won the state of Michigan. News flash. He did not.

LEMON: He did not.

CHALIAN: OK? Only as she got Trump's endorsement, she coalesces the DeVos family money, you know, Betsy DeVos, the former secretary of ed, she is sort of the chamber of commerce crowd and the Trump crowd. And then she started softening when she realized, you know, she really was, as she did, win tonight.

And in a position to win, and understanding as she is going to now head into a general election, that perhaps she wants to sort of shave that a little bit --


CHALIAN: -- and not be that adamant. And that dance that they do, that is going to be a very, very tricky proposition.

AXELROD: Yes, well we saw this last year in Virginia, right, where Glenn Youngkin who ended up getting elected governor of Virginia was much more amenable to the idea that something was amiss, was much more amenable to Trump generally. And as soon as he secured the nomination, which didn't require primary, he very quickly shifted away from that.

CHALIAN: And it works for him.

AXELROD: It did work for him. But -- and the question is, is that what we are going to see with these candidates who aren't outright declarers of election, but once they have the threat of Trump in a primary in their rearview mirror, do they think they have to get well with voters by moving away from this position?

PHILLIP: I feel like it only works, right, if they can focus on other issues. Because I mean, for example, Glenn Youngkin was able to sort of pivot to education, pivot to sort of cultural issues. Though the task this cycle will be the economy. Can Republicans make that pivot?

If things start to improve for Democrats on the economy, on this abortion issue, on guns, I think that's a different environment.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: But you know, they are going to be told to. The consulting class is going to tell them, listen, as we go into the general election, just talk about inflation, talk about job creation, talk about the fact that interest rates are increasing right now.

But I don't think as long as Donald Trump is the de facto head of the Republican Party that you are going to see folks distance themselves from him. Because they realize they need him. But once he is gone, when he is no longer, you know, there with his long shadow cast over everything, I do think you'll see Republican start to come back to reality.


AXELROD: I appreciate -- I appreciate that you use the words consulting class --


PRESTON: Consulting --

AXELROD: -- in the same sentence.

PRESTON: I didn't say class. I say class.

AXELROD: I don't know -- I don't know if you can hear that.

PRESTON: I say class.

LEMON: But does that dance -- does that dance work? I mean, are you going to have to pick whether you are lead or follow in that dance, or whether it's a foxtrot or a waltz? I mean, someone is going, they are going to have to make a decision when it comes to -- when it comes to November.

PRESTON: Yes, they are going to do it depending on whatever state that they're in, quite frankly.


PRESTON: You know, it's going to tailor their message.

AXELROD: It's a swing state.

PRESTON: Yes. And how much Trump is going to be a part of their -- or their campaign or not part of their campaign.

CHALIAN: Which is why, by the way, the whole conversation, sorry, David, Donald Trump threatening to announce a presidential campaign is something that many Republicans overseeing these campaigns trying to win majorities in Congress do not want to see at all.

Because they understand the moment, he inject themselves, then the conversation about the economy gets a lot more muted, which is what they want to be running on.

LEMON: All right, everybody, stick around. We have a lot more to talk about. Lots more results coming in the primaries across the country tonight.

Plus, first on CNN, more missing texts. And now it is the Pentagon. What they say happens and what it means for investigation. We'll be right back.



LEMON: All right, it is election night in America. And we're back with results, early results coming in from key primaries in five states tonight. So, how will all of this shape the upcoming midterms?

Back with me now is Abby Philip, David Chalian, Mark Preston, and David Axelrod.

Let's -- let's get back to what we are talking about in Kansas. And what's happening with abortion there. It's on the ballot for the first time. Right? And since this court overturn Roe v. Wade, this referendum that's on the ballot in Kansas.

The turnout is amazing. Is this possibly an overreach? I should say, it is an unusual turnout for this.


LEMON: Is it possible overreach from the Republicans?

PHILLIP: I think the turnout tells us that people care. They care on both sides of the issue. So, we'll see how it turns out. But that is critically important. But the polling on abortion is actually very clear on this issue.

Like, Americans by in large support some abortion rights in this country. But what has been happening recently is that you are seeing Republicans moving in midwestern states and southern states to outlaw virtually all abortions.

And this Kansas referendum really puts that question to the American voter and asked them do you agree with that idea, that virtually all abortions could or should be outlawed. And the answer to that is going to be critically important.

Because it's not true, as some Republicans are saying, that that is not what is being attempted. That is what is being attempted. And while a lot of Americans, maybe they support some restrictions, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 22 weeks, what have you, the polling is very clear --



PHILLIP: -- that there is not support for a whole ban on abortion.

CHALIAN: and it's so important, this result tonight, because it's not polling. Right?



CHALIAN: It's going to be the first electoral proof. If indeed the abortion rights side wins, this will be the first post-Roe being overturned electoral proof of all that we've seen in the polling. And it's also the electoral proof of why when the Dobbs decision came down, a lot of the Republican leadership was sort of advising their candidates don't go out there and talk about abortion. Keep the focus on the economy, because they understood this dynamic.

AXELROD: I tell you one place where they are going to watch this very closely is the state of Michigan, where Governor Whitmer's opponent may be Tudor Dixon, who seems to be ahead right now. And she's been a full-throated advocate for a no restrictions approach to abortion. They have their own constitutional amendment initiative on the ballot for November that would essentially enshrine abortion rights in the state's Constitution. So, this is going to be a huge issue. And I would expect that if Tudor

Dixon is the nominee tonight, she will celebrate and wake up tomorrow or the next day to ads with video of her position on this issue, because it's not going to be a winning issue in the state of Michigan.

LEMON: As I'm watching, and reading, and listening to conservative commentators and political pundits, the question is, is a question, right? Look, we don't know what's going to happen in Kansas. But the results that are now, they're like, is the question that people are confused about the question? Like they --

PRESTON: I think there's always a question whenever you are putting anything on a ballot about whether it's confusing or not confusing.


LEMON: I think it's more that's confusing because the results are not going in the way that they thought.

PRESTON: Well, OK. So, they're looking for an excuse --

LEMON: Right.

PRESTON: -- because it didn't go their way.

LEMON: Right.

PRESTON: I would say, just reading that, it was a pretty basic question that's on the ballot. I mean, do you support, you know, outlawing abortions in the state, yes or no? Basically, is what it says.

You know what's interesting about this for Democrats, by in large, Republicans are going to be happy with what happens in Missouri tonight, right? Greitens goes down, Schmitt goes up. Republicans feel like they may be able to take back the Senate.

But if you go back to what John King was saying earlier, and he's right about it, elections are won in the suburbs. If you look at a state like Georgia, which is very much a southern state, but has become a northern state, there's a lot of business that has moved out of the northeast that has gone down to the northern suburbs of Atlanta, and it is really turning over what has been a conservative place.

In that Senate race, perhaps in the governor's race, in Georgia will we see women, even more centrist Republican women come out in support the Democratic nominee because the concern on abortion. And can we see that in Pennsylvania.

AXELROD: Well, and also in Arizona, Maricopa County is a huge part of the entire state electorate. And, you know, this could be very important for Kelly in terms of Democrats retaining that seat.

On your question about the initiative, Don, and Abby and I were talking about this earlier today. The thing about initiatives is when they -- if there is confusion, the default position for people tends to be no. And in this particular case, the yes side was, yes, we want to essentially allow the Constitution to be changed so abortion can be restricted.

And so, they started off with a burden there. And I think if there was confusion, it probably helped the pro-abortion rights side to turn this back, if that's indeed what happened.

LEMON: Yes. I think Mark is right though. This will hinge on women. A lot of -- it will hinge on women in the suburbs.


LEMON: And as you said, most people would like some sort of restrictions on abortion, but not necessarily an outright ban on it. That's where the concern --


PHILLIP: I mean, the outright bans are stepping further than where the voters have been for a very long time. I'm not talking about that last five years, I mean, the polling on this has been relatively stable, in fact moving in the direction of abortion rights in this country for decades.

So that's where we are. What are women going to do? When we talk about Arizona, what are young voters going to do? Arizona is a state where, you know, there are a lot of young Latinos who are eligible to vote and who tend to lean Democratic. It probably gave Joe Biden a bit of an edge in 2020.

What are those younger voters going to do who spent their whole lives in a world in which Roe v. Wade was law of the land? These are some of the big questions going into November. They are the wildcards in this race.

And even Republicans will acknowledge that when you look at states like Oklahoma, where the governor there says we want to ban all abortions in the state and has done so virtually, it's not hypothetical anymore. It actually has happened. And voters are now evaluating the things that are actually happening and making determinations about whether that's why they want to see.


LEMON: Yes. And you say, again, the results are still coming in in Kansas. I'm not sure if we have them -- if we have them, we can show. But again, at this point in the evening when you look at this referendum of what's happening now, to have and in the 60s, abortion rights being protected in Kansas, so far, again, it's not the final results. But I think it's pretty striking to see what is happening there.

So, stick around, everyone. Thanks so much. More missing texts this time from top Trump officials at the Department of Defense, and that comes on top of the continuing scandal over missing Service Secret text messages. What's all going down, what is it going to mean for the January 6th investigation? We'll discuss right after this.



LEMON: Can someone please explain what's going on with all of the missing texts? First on CNN, the cell phones of several senior Defense Department U.S. military officials were wiped when those officials left their post at the end of the Trump administration, and that means that texts that might have been sent or received on January 6th have all been deleted.

A watchdog group called American Oversight is seeking January 6th data from former acting secretary of defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Cash Patel, and former secretary of the army, Ryan McCarthy among other Pentagon officials. CNN is learning this from court filings.

So, let's discuss now with CNN senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe. Andrew, what's up here? What is going on?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Don, apparently, what we have is an instance where, not one, not two, but three separate government agencies are all allowing senior officials to leave their post, walk out the door, and not preserving their communications, their records on their cell phones, in a way that's required by the Federal Records Act.

It's an extraordinary coincidence, maybe, maybe not, one that also speaks of, potentially, an intentional effort to destroy records of senior officials as they are walking out the door, so we don't know what we have yet --


LEMON: Andrew, these are -- there is no suggestion that these officials themselves erased these records. But when you look at it, look at the people here, Miller, Patel, McCarthy, crucial witnesses in the government's response to January 6th. I mean, there's a lot of questions there.

MCCABE: That's absolutely right, Don. You know, I know, ad having been a senior official and a federal government agency for quite some time, it is, you know, you are routinely briefed by security officials on the fact that after you've reached a certain level, in a government agency, your records have to be preserved.

The things you write, the things that you read, the notes you take, your e-mails and your text messages should be preserved and sent to the National Archives. And the fact the Department of Defense doesn't have a system in place to do this, it is -- it's un -- I can't believe that that's the case.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that. Because again, we are -- we are talking about the Department of Defense. I mean, at these missing Pentagon records to other stories that we have talked about over the last few weeks, missing texts from DHS officials, and the missing Service Secret texts.

Look, again, as you said, no one is saying there is anything nefarious going on, but it certainly is one of those things that make you go.


LEMON: I mean, it's hard to believe it's all a coincidence.

MCCABE: And let's -- let's -- shouldn't we be looking more broadly? How about everyone else at the cabinet level that served in the Trump administration? Many of whom resigned, supposedly, and discussed on or near shortly after January 6th. You know, Betsy Devos, Elaine Chao, others. What happened to their records? Is it routine cabinet level officials resign and then somebody just, you know, wipes their phone as if they were like the supervisor of the motor pool, or something?

It's ridiculous. And I think there needs to be an investigation to see how members of that administration are living up to, or not, their responsibilities and preserve their records.

LEMON: And digging in more on what happened at the Pentagon surrounding the capitol, I want you to listen. This is a testimony from former acting defense secretary Chris Miller about any plans to have troops deployed on January 6. Here he is.


CHRIS MILLER, FORMER ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: Obviously, I had plans for activating more folks, but that was not anything more than contingency planning. There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature regarding --


UNKNOWN: So just so we're clear, you did not have 10,000 troops, quote, "to be on the ready, for January 6th prior to January 6th?"

MILLER: A nonmilitary person, probably could have some sort of weird interpretation, but no, the answer to your question is no.


LEMON: So why is it so important to get to the bottom of what communications there were about deploying troops that day, Andrew?

MCCABE: So, Don, forget about all the other reasons we are interested in January 6th. Let's just talk about how did our agencies perform on that day? And it is a normal and responsible thing to go back after the fact, and investigate through inspector general or other entities see.

Did people do the right thing? Were we adequately prepared? What did we know, and what steps did we take to prevent, I don't know, an attack on the capitol? And now, essentially, you can't do that. Because a large tranche of the sort of records that would preserve what people thought, who they talked to, steps they took, is gone forever.


Those records having been lost when the cell phones were turned in and wiped. So, it obstructs our ability to figure out how well the agencies are performing, and therefore prevents them from ever learning from this episode and doing it better in the future. And that is truly concerning, should be concerning to every citizen.

LEMON: Andrew McCabe, thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, we're going to have results on the Kansas initiative on abortion right after this.


LEMON: We have more primary results coming in tonight. In Kansas, voters maintaining the right to abortion. I want you take a look at our vote on your screen right now, look at that, 61.8 percent to 38.1 percent. Seventy -- let's see, 78 percent of the votes in.


So, I want to get to John King, Nick Valencia, Abby Philip here to digest this and talk about it. John, to you first. We were just talking about Kansas at the top of the show, at the top of the hour. Kansas is the first state to let voters weigh in on abortion post-Roe. What are the results there?

KING: In the very first, it's a statewide referendum, should we change the state Constitution, is the question for Kansas voters. Again, this is a red state, a Democratic governor where the conservative state in the middle of America.

And by a pretty healthy margin, the citizens of Kansas are saying no. No. Our state Constitution right now guarantees the right to an abortion, and they do not want to change it. They do not want to open it up, if you will, to let the legislature consider a total ban on abortion or more restrictions on abortion.

Watch how the vote plays out. But it's significant, number one this is happening in the conservative part of America. Significant, number two, Don, that it is the first ballot initiative, the first time that voters get to speak directly to the Supreme Court decision, wiping out Roe and putting Dobbs into place.

Now where do we go from here? That is a debate you can have with my colleagues. It's also a debate we will watch play out in races for governor, in races for Congress, in House and the Senate as some Republicans say they would like a national band, other Republicans say we should do the state by state.

But again, in a pretty conservative state, let's go back to 2020, Donald Trump 56, Joe Biden 41. Look at this part of the state here, you do have five counties here where Joe Biden did carry the state.

So, when you come back to the ballot initiative now and you look, it is the eastern part of the state, largely the suburbs. Again, I say this too many times, I'm like a broken record, but I say it because it's true. The suburbs in America decide close elections. The suburb in America's Kansas is in close, most of the elections in Kansas aren't close, the governor's race might be this time.

But this is not all that close as you count the rest of the votes. Sixty-two percent to 38 percent, the citizens of Kansas saying we do not want to open up our state Constitution. So, it's a defeat for abortion opponents, it's a victory for abortion rights activists and Democrats believe this is potentially a sign for them that they can motivate not only Democratic base voters, but suburban Republicans who might be more moderate, might be more opening, like they did when they ran away from Donald Trump and voted for Joe Biden.

So, Democrats think the turnout here could be a healthy sign for them heading into November. But just on the basics of this, the first time the voters got to say what they think, that's a pretty loud message from Kansas.

LEMON: We'll get to Nick in a moment. Abby, I want to get your reaction to this. I mean, John, that was a very good question. What does this mean? What is -- what does -- what happens now?

PHILLIP: Yes, I think it's a pretty seismic moment for this question of where do voters stand on this issue. I mean, think about Kansas. Kansas is a conservative part of the country. And it is surrounded by other conservative states that have virtually banned all abortions. Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, you name it, virtually banned abortions.

And Kansas remains a place where voters are saying we don't want to join them. And I think that really says a lot about what happens when you just take the question and put it to the voters and have them give a yes or no. And as I've said repeatedly, the polling is not ambiguous on this question.

A majority of Americans, more than 50 percent, more than 60 percent, in some polls 70 percent, do not support outright bans on all abortions in this country. And so, we've had not many opportunities to see what that looks like when voters get to decide. But this is one of them.

And it should be, potentially, a warning sign not just to national Republicans but to statewide Republicans. We're talking about states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and others, with this very same question should -- could come up for lawmakers, for the governors, in the case of Michigan, even for voters.

And it will be important for them to see what happens when you put it to voters. And when you put it to women who overwhelmingly support some rights to abortion in this country.

LEMON: Nick Valencia is following the story from the ground in Kansas tonight. Nick, what are you seeing, what are you hearing? NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, this is a major upset victory

for abortion rights advocates, not just here in Kansas, but beyond. We spoke last week to Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, that's the main coalition of abortion rights advocates that were pushing out, get out the vote, trying to educate voters here.

They felt they were fighting an uphill battle because the ambiguous wording of this amendment. A yes vote would've strip protections for abortion rights. A no vote would've maintained the status quo what the 2009 Kansas Supreme Court put forward. But also, was on a primary ballot, which is where we know that Republicans historically are more likely to vote and lower voter turnout.

We saw a high voter turnout in counties across the state. And this Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, they are elated. We're dipping in on their watch party to see the reaction here. And they think that this is a huge victory for their movement here, and also signals a sign to the rest of the country, the referendum that would've weakened abortion access in the state has failed, pending a devastating loss to the pro-life movement here. Don?


LEMON: All right, we are going to continue to follow. Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Abby, John King, as well.

More to cover, we're going to talk about Nancy Pelosi meeting with Taiwan's president just moments ago in the midst of China's threats of retaliation over her visit. We are going to go there live, next.


LEMON: The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking last hour in Taiwan as part of her Asia tour this week. Pelosi is delivering the remarks despite China's escalating threats of retaliation over her visit.

For more, I want to bring in now CNN's Will Ripley. He is live for us from Taipei. Will, good morning to you there. Thanks for joining. What is the House Speaker's message tonight? Is she responding to the tensions with China?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. She's really trying to underscore, you know, the difference between what we are seeing out of China and what we are seeing from the United States.


Nancy Pelosi said she is here to show solidarity with the people of Taiwan, almost 24 million people who are under an increasing threat from mainland China in terms of military intimidation, economic and diplomatic intimidation.

And so, she is coming here knowing that China has been, you know, been warning against it for weeks. And she spoke to parliament, and she talked about how the shared values between Taiwan and the United States, values like democracy, like inclusion, you know, progressive values that she of course holds dear to her heart.

She is here to underscore the commitment, at least on the part of her and her supporters. And is really bipartisan support, Don, you know, to stand with Taiwan in the face of this growing threat. And she just received an award as well, the order of propitious clouds. Do you know what that word means? Propitious.

LEMON: Not Topeka. Propitious.

RIPLEY: It's means -- yes. that's what I thought to, the hair, over 40 to hair starts to go.


RIPLEY: But yes, it means to bring about good fortune. Going to bring good fortune.

LEMON: Ok. Got it. Got it. So, Let's talk about Beijing, why is Beijing so deeply unhappy with this visit, Will?

RIPLEY: Well, because they look at Taiwan as just another Chinese province that just happens to have not had the communist rulers running it for the last 70 plus years. They have, you know, what Beijing considers an illegitimate government, a renegade government.

Of course, Taiwan has a Democratic system, the people here elected now under second term, Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, a president that Xi Jinping does not acknowledge. He thinks that he as the ruler of China is also the ruler of Taiwan, and he has said repeatedly that he will bring this island back into the, as they call, the motherland. He used the word reunify.

But the communist rulers in Beijing have never once governed this island since the end of China's Civil War. And Taiwan says they have a military, they have their own government, they act as if they were a sovereign nation. But because China basically has, you know, bullied them economically and also diplomatically, most countries around the world don't officially recognize Taiwan as a country.

But a lot of democracies do have friendships and economic relations with Taiwan, and that's why they're hoping that Nancy Pelosi being here, that she'll be able to take what she learns here about Taiwan's democracy, bring it back to Washington, and then it might help shape policy decisions if Taiwan does need help from the United States and international community, if China does make a move.

LEMON: Will Ripley, propitious, thank you, I appreciate it.


LEMON: Thanks, buddy. We've got more coming up on key primaries tonight like Arizona where election deniers are all over the ballot. That's next.