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Don Lemon Tonight
Liz Cheney Taking All The Risk To Defend Constitution; DOJ Investigators Learning More About Trump; From Donald Trump's Right Ears Passing Through The Other; Alex Jones Deserves His Punishment; Liz Cheney Determined To Stop Trump From Running. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 04, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching, everyone. I'll be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now with of course, Don Lemon. Hey, Don Lemon. Well, it is you. Are you Don Lemon?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I am. But you know now --
COATES: Let me find out your middle name one day and then we're just going to have the whole thing.
LEMON: When I call Tim on the phone, he goes, hey, Don Lemon and he's imitating you, so that's good. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
COATES: It is. Well.
COATES: Hi, hold on, sorry. Hi, Don lemon. Over to you.
LEMON: Hi, Laura Coates.
COATES: Hold on. Well, hello, how are you are? Sure.
LEMON: I'm going to get to the news now. I'll see you tomorrow night. Have a good evening.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
We're getting more and more revelations from the January 6th investigation. New tonight, this is a CNN exclusive, the former president's lawyers now in direct talks with the Justice Department for the first time, talks about his attempts to use executive privilege to stop members of his inner circle from testifying about their conversations with him while he was president.
And we know that Pat Cipollone and his deputy, Patrick Philbin have both been subpoenaed this week. So, this may be all about preventing witnesses like them from testifying about everything that they know. You got to wonder why the former president is trying to keep under wraps. What is it?
And there is more. Sources telling CNN that Trump's own attorneys are warning him that there could be indictments on the horizon. True to form, he's apparently skeptical, grilling them about whether they really believe that he'll face criminal charges.
A lot more to come about who the former president and still talking to, even though some of his own advisers are warning him not to talk to those people. He's doing it anyway.
And in the face of all that, there is this warning, it's from Liz Cheney today, the vice chair of the committee sitting down exclusively with our very own Kasie Hunt and warning that if there's evidence against him and the DOJ doesn't prosecute the former president, that will call into question whether we're a nation of laws.
And in part two of that interview right here tonight, Cheney says that she is willing to lose her seat in Congress if that's what it takes to defend the Constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): If defending the Constitution against the threat that he poses means losing a House seat, then that's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make. I don't intend to lose, but some things are more important than any individual office or political campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Amen to that, Liz Cheney. Some things are more important. She's right. Things like the Constitution, things like our free and fair elections, things like our democracy. Liz Cheney says she is willing to pay a price to protect all that. We better hope that she's not the only one.
And then this story that is, I mean, it's unbelievable. If you haven't been paying attention to this, you should. We have the latest on Alex Jones, now forced to pay a price for his disgusting lies about Sandy Hook and the 20 children and 6 adults murdered there. But his legal trouble far from over. Now the January 6th committee, there's the January 6 connection, right? The January 6 committee wants to look at those texts his lawyers accidentally revealed to the prosecution. We're going to tell you why.
Let's get now to our exclusive reporting now. CNN's Kara Scannell is here. Also, Harry Litman is here, former deputy assistant attorney general, and Nick Akerman, former assistant special Watergate prosecutor.
We're happy to have you all of you on. Thank you so much.
Let's start with the reporting. So, Kara, you're part of the team who broke the CNN exclusive. What are you learning about the conversations between Trump's legal team and the Department of Justice?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Don, sources tell our team that these conversations are taking place now between the Justice Department's top prosecutor who is leading the investigation into January 6th and into the efforts to interfere with the election. They are having those conversations with lawyers for the former president.
Now these talks are revolving around the issue of executive privilege and whether the former President Trump can shield certain communications that he had while he was president with some of his associates.
I mean, this is obviously a significant step and it shows how this investigation has really accelerated and how it's focusing very squarely on the White House since they want to know about conversations from those witnesses that you mentioned, conversations they had directly with the president and what the former president had said to them.
LEMON: Well, you know, Nick, we talk about this, whether if you are questioning, you know, any of what happened on January 6th that the former president would come up naturally. There's some skepticism around whether they're focusing on it.
Do you think that this exclusive reporting that Kara has, do you think that just puts those -- you know puts it all into perspective that that is wrong, that they are indeed focusing on the White House and the former president?
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think this absolutely shows that Donald Trump is a subject to this investigation. The fact that his lawyers are meeting with Department of Justice lawyers now is very typical. I mean, the idea they're going to talk to the Department of Justice into believing that executive privilege applies here, I think, is a pure fantasy.
The Supreme Court decided that issue in 1974 in the U.S. v. Nixon with respect to the Watergate tapes, and executive privilege does not apply to conversations relating to trying to perpetrate a coup or to basically stop the peaceful transfer of power.
I think what's really going on is what is the typical dance that we see between the prosecutor and the defense lawyers. The defense lawyers are getting in there, they're trying to find out where the government is coming from, they're trying to learn something about where they're directed, what their case looks like, and it's very typical.
I mean, a good criminal defense lawyer is going to spend a lot of time in the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia trying to find out as much as he can and also to be prepared to try and defend his client on various issues that come up.
LEMON: Harry, you know, just in the past few weeks, prosecutors have subpoenaed top former president Trump White House officials. Now we're learning Trump's lawyers and the DOJ are talking, you know -- so what does this tell you about the criminal investigation here?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes. So, I think it is those subpoenas that prompted this showdown that made Trump's lawyer say, uh-oh, if we don't get in now and try to persuade them otherwise, all these confidential communications that we want to argue are protected by privilege are going to come out.
And what it tells us is they are looking, you know, dead in the crosshairs of Trump's very conversations, and we know what one side was saying there, you're breaking the law, so what Trump said in return is going to be very probative.
The thing is, Nick is right. People come in, but they normally try to at least kibitz and offer something. And the question is what is Trump -- what are Trump's lawyers trying to offer, because the law is clear, as Nick says, and the D.C. circuit law in addition.
I think all they can really say is, look, if you guys don't strike some kind of deal with us, Trump is going to try to draw this out as long as he can. Cipollone might, but not, but Trump can intervene and try to extend it as long as possible, make every appeal. That's the only thing, I think, they can be offering in return for some kind of favorable treatment on the executive privilege issue.
LEMON: So, I want -- I want you to drill down on something. You said that this is -- that they are targeting or looking directly at his conversations. Why are you saying that, Harry?
LITMAN: Because that's exactly what Cipollone and Philbin have to offer. They're in the inner sanctum, they're, it's almost the current day equivalent of the White House tapes from Nick's case. They are there. They heard everything and they can be forced to reveal everything. There's no privilege to them. That's what Nick is saying.
So, you'll hear what did Trump say when he was told this is patently illegal and we know he went forward. That's going to be very strong evidence both of his knowledge and his guilty intent.
LEMON: So, Kara, your response to that and how is the former president reacting to all of this?
SCANNELL: Well, I think Harry is right, that you know, this is -- the issue here is that they want to get to the conversations that they've had with the former president, what his answers are, and that's so critical to this investigation in order to prove intent, which is an element of the crimes they would need.
Now what we're hearing from sources is that the former president has had briefings with his attorneys, that they have said that they think there is possible there could be indictments in this investigation, not necessarily against him, but they have talked to him about different ways that he could prepare his defense.
And what we've heard is that Trump has been grilling the attorneys about whether he could really face any charges and he's been very skeptical of this idea that he could. But his attorneys have also advised him not to talk, to cut off all communications with some former and current aides because of their potential exposure in both the House committee's investigation and the criminal investigation.
LEMON: He's not done it.
SCANNELL: And one of those aides that they've told him to cut off communications with, is his former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
SCANNELL: And our sources tell us that he is not abiding or heeding those warnings. He's still continuing to talk to Meadows, although once source says that these interactions are not quite what they used to be.
LEMON: Nick, the former Attorney General Eric Holder is responding. This is what he said about the DOJ investigation. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: My guess is that by the end of this process, you're going to see indictments involving high-level people in the White House, you're going to see indictments against people outside the White House who were advising them with regard to the attempt to steal the election. And I think ultimately, you're probably going to see the president, former President of the United States indicted as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow. What do you think, Nick?
AKERMAN: I agree. I mean, I think that's where it's heading. I mean, what you're not seeing is a whole aspect of this investigation that's been playing out since early this year between January and March where the Department of Justice indicted all of the top people in the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
And out of those indictments for seditious conspiracy they've come up with five cooperating witnesses. And these are people who very likely were communicating with Roger Stone, who was Donald Trump's eyes and ears on the scene at the capitol prior to the insurrection.
We don't know what they've said. We don't know what the department knows, but it looks as though the Department of Justice is clamping down from two sides here, from the bottom and from the top. And at some point, they're going to have to make a decision as to who the weak link is, and I think that's Mark Meadows.
I mean, when he was first approached by the January 6th committee, he folded like an accordion, gave them a bunch of e-mails and told Donald Trump started complaining and he suddenly backed off. But when the rubber hits the road, Mark Meadows is going to wind up having to take a deal, plead, and cooperate.
So that is where I think this is ultimately going to go because, remember, Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Mark Meadows was communicating with Roger Stone on January 5th. So, he knows a lot and was with Donald Trump throughout those days leading up to the insurrection and afterwards. So, I think that's where the weak link is ultimately going to be.
LEMON: Kara, Harry, Nick, thank you all. I appreciate it.
LEMON: Helping us get started tonight on this very important news.
Next, Alex Jones learns the price that he'll have to pay for his despicable lies about the 26 and 7-year-old kids and 6 adults shot to death at Sandy Hook. But is it enough?
LEMON: Just over $4 million, that's how much right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will have to pay the parents of the Sandy Hook shooting victim for the harm that he caused with his lies in the Connecticut school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults.
Jones claimed in his testimony only yesterday that a jury award of just $2 million would destroy him financially.
CNN's investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is here with the details. He's been following the story. Drew, great reporting, by the way. And CNN's legal analyst Areva Martin is here for us as well.
Thank you both for joining us. Good evening.
So, Drew, Alex Jones posted a video tonight saying that he admitted that he was wrong but he didn't spread these conspiracy theories, quote, "on purpose." I mean, give me a break.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: And --
LEMON: He also asked people to spend money on his web site to buy t- shirts.
GRIFFIN: And in the same video went on to not only say that this is a major victory for the truth, but then went on to say that the whole trial was some kind of a Democratic Party plot against him. I mean, Don, he just cannot help it.
And I do wonder if that $2 million statement did affect the jury. They thought maybe this was a large amount. It is a big amount, $4 million, but the plaintiffs in this case, the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, were asking for $150 million. In return they got, Neil Haslin got $110,000 plus $2 million for his part of it, and then his mother, Sandra -- excuse me, Scarlett got another $2 million. A penalty phase to go, yet is the punitive one, that's tomorrow. It
could be a lot more. We just have to wait and see. But again, this is a payment. He did have to apologize in court. This is a win for these parents and that's what they wanted. They wanted face-to-face Alex Jones to be forced to tell the truth and, in this trial, he had to tell the truth, and he was also many times caught in a lie.
LEMON: So, Areva, $150 million is what they wanted, they got $4 million. What do you think of the jury's decision?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I was surprised, Don, that the award by the jury was so much less than what the plaintiffs had asked for, but the plaintiffs' lawyer has expressed that he's happy with the award. He says, look, this isn't everything we wanted, but this does send a message that although you have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to spread lies and vicious lies like the ones that Alex Jones engaged in.
So as Drew said, there's going to be a punitive damages phase of this lawsuit that will actually start tomorrow, and that's where these jurors will have another opportunity to send a message. Punitive damages are all about punishment and deterrent.
So, this phase will allow the jurors to award yet another sum of money. This time, it is to push Alex Jones for his heinous conduct and to send a message to others that may engage in such conduct that if you do so, you too may face the kinds of financial consequences that he's facing.
LEMON: Drew, is there anyone out there saying the punitive pay is going to be a witch hunt and, you know, on and on, even to people --
GRIFFIN: Saying all that, saying his lawyer can't put up a defense, saying blah, blah, blah, you know, saying everything that Alex Jones does say. What was interesting --
LEMON: Didn't they ask for a mistrial as well?
GRIFFIN: -- was that he didn't say anything in court today. He didn't show up. I thought that was very interesting.
LEMON: Didn't he -- his lawyers has asked for mistrial because his -- because they accidentally sent these phones records to the other side? Let me play that moment, Drew, and then I'll get your response. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK BANKSTON, PLAINTIFF LAWYER: Twelve days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone with every text message you've sent for the past two years. As of two days ago, it felt free and clear into my possession, and that is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn't have text messages about Sandy Hook. Did you know that?
ALEX JONES, FOUNDER, INFOWARS: See, I told you the truth. This is your Perry Mason moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, what did the judge say about that, Drew?
GRIFFIN: Well, Alex Jones' attorney asked for a mistrial, you're correct, because they felt that those records shouldn't have been allowed because of their mistake of inadvertently sending it to the plaintiffs' attorneys. I don't know if you can follow all that, but it was just a mess. The judge actually asked, are you serious this time about a mistrial because they asked for so many mistrials in this case, they said yes, and the judge said denied. So, that was tossed out pretty quick.
LEMON: Areva, just quickly, so you think tomorrow may actually be a bigger day as far as damages, right, punitive damages?
MARTIN: I do think so, Don, but we should note that in the state of the Texas there are some limitations on punitive damages like many states have caps on damages. Some states, it's two times the amount of the compensatory damages. Others, it's four. I believe Texas is a two times cap state.
So, although there's -- I suspect there will be additional damages. Don't know, but I suspect there will be additional damages awarded, nothing near what we have now learned through those leaked documents might be the financial worth of Alex Jones.
You know, allegations are $63 million taken out of his company, $9 million in crypto currency that was taken by him as well. So, his net worth is much more substantial than what he has, you know, purported it to be.
LEMON: And Drew, there are more of these coming, right? Is there any --
GRIFFIN: Yes, there's two more trials basically that he's already lost. He's lost by default, so it's just going to be the penalty phase which is what we saw here. He's got that to go, he's got the bankruptcy court that he's facing. He has lots of trouble ahead of him.
LEMON: All right. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
So tomorrow in a new CNN special report, make sure you join our very own Drew Griffin as he talks with people who know Alex Jones, megaphone for conspiracy begins at 11. We have this just into CNN. New results in Arizona's Republican primary for governor. There it is, you see it up on the screen. CNN projects Kari Lake will win the Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary. Lake is an election denier. She was backed by the former president. While her opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson had been supported by former Vice President Mike Pence. We will continue to update you. Kari Lake winning the Arizona primary for governor, Republican primary for governor.
A CNN exclusive. The sacrifice Liz Cheney says that she's willing to make for democracy. The vice chair of the January 6th committee sits down with CNN, and that's next.
LEMON: Tonight, a CNN exclusive. Liz Cheney, Republican vice chair of the January 6th committee, sitting down with our very own Kasie Hunt for a wide-ranging interview. She says if the DOJ doesn't prosecute the former president for his role in the insurrection at the capitol and, quote, "the facts and the evidence are there, that that could call into question whether we are a nation of laws."
But she said a whole lot more about her re-election bid and what her work on the committee could cost her. Here's part two of Kasie's interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: We're here in Wyoming where you are facing a really tough primary, in no small because of the role that you've taken on in the January 6th hearings. Do you expect to lose on August 16th?
CHENEY: No, I don't expect to lose. I'm working hard to earn every single vote, and ultimately, I really believe that the people of Wyoming, you know, fundamentally understand how important fidelity to the Constitution is, understand how important it is that, you know, we fight for those fundamental principles on which everything else is based. So, it's --
HUNT: But if you do lose, what does that say about that belief?
CHENEY: Look, I think that this, we're in a situation where former President Trump has betrayed the patriotism of millions and millions of people across our country, and many people here in Wyoming. He's lied to them and it is a really dangerous situation. And what I know to do is to tell the truth and to make sure that people understand the truth about what happened and why it matters so much.
HUNT: Why do voters here believe Donald Trump?
CHENEY: You know, I think that it's the same thing that you see, you know, for tens of millions of people across the country. It's just consistent lying about what happened, about the election, playing on people's patriotism.
And he's so dangerous that, you know, my view is that at the end of the day, if defending the Constitution against the threat that he poses means losing a House seat, then that's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make. I don't intend to lose, but some things are more important than any individual office or political campaign.
HUNT: So, the period August 17th to November of 2024 when it's very possible Donald Trump could be the nominee, the Republican nominee for president of the United States, what is Liz Cheney doing every day during that period?
CHENEY: Look, I'm focused right now on August 16th and on my primary race here. And --
HUNT: But surely, you've thought about it.
CHENEY: Well, look, I'm very focused on my primary race, but again, you know, my work on the January 6th committee, the work we've been able to do, I think, to help make sure people understand the truth about what happened, that's work that certainly will continue.
You know, I intend to continue to be very involved and engaged, again, no matter what happens in these issues that are so fundamental to, I believe, the survival of our republic.
HUNT: You've said repeatedly in interviews that you'll make a decision about whether you're going to run for president in 2024 down the line, which makes sense. But the former President Donald Trump, there's reporting that he could announce in a matter of weeks, he could announce that he's running for president before the midterm elections.
How dangerous is it -- how dangerous would it be to have former President Trump out there as the only voice campaigning for the Republican nomination? Would he need someone to stand up and oppose him?
CHENEY: Look, I think that he cannot be our nominee. And he certainly cannot ever be elected president again. And I think that -- I know that there are many, many Republicans who feel that way all across the country. And, you know, whatever is necessary to make sure that he is not the nominee and certainly that he's not elected, there are many of us who are going to fight to do everything necessary, because the prospect of him -- we know what he'll do. We know what he's willing and capable of, and he did it. And so, we can't ever let that happen again.
HUNT: Do you think there's anyone out there capable of beating Donald Trump for the Republican nomination?
CHENEY: I think so. But I think that it's going to require Republicans to tell the truth, and it's going to require Republicans to stand up and say no more. We're not going to do this anymore, we're not going to embrace this lie, we're not going to embrace this very dangerous man.
And you know, I'm hopeful that you will see more Republicans do that, that certainly I intend to be a big part of making sure that we protect the nation from the threat that he poses.
HUNT: What goes through your mind when you see election deniers get elected to important posts that could influence our next election, like the Arizona secretary of state, for example?
CHENEY: I don't think anybody should vote for any election denier, and I think that we have to do everything we can to make sure that people who say that, you know, that they will support, you know, Donald Trump no matter what the electoral count actually is next time, people who have bought into the big lie, that's a toxin to our Democratic system, and I don't think anybody should support those people.
HUNT: How do we stop it if these people get elected?
CHENEY: Well, I think we have to make sure that they don't. I think we have to make sure that, you know, we come together and form alliances across party lines to make sure that the people that we are electing are not going to unravel the republic. And I think that's going to be a particular issue in '22 and certainly will be again in '24.
HUNT: Speaking of that, Democrats spent a whole bunch of money trying to unseat Congressman Peter Meijer of Michigan who voted to impeach the former president. What do you think of that effort?
CHENEY: I think that was -- it was terrible. I think that, you know, Peter Meijer was one of 10 of us who stood up who voted to impeach President Trump, who did it based on facts and evidence. And I think that all of us, again, across party lines have got to make sure that we are supporting people who believe fundamentally in our Democratic system.
And so, I think that it's, you know, it's inexplicable and wrong for the Democrats to be funding election deniers, particularly against one of the 10 Republicans who so bravely stood up and did the right thing.
HUNT: Considering your past political career, your family, I mean, do you find it to be strange bedfellows to be working with Democrats the way you have on the committee, across party lines? You've encouraged Democrats here in Wyoming to vote for you.
CHENEY: Well, I think they are separate things. I think that certainly when you look at what's happening on the select committee, you look what's happening in Congress, it is weird. You know, I did not anticipate certainly that, you know, any of the things that have happened since January 6th would happen.
I think it's been a really important experience, and I think it's been really important both and mostly because of the work we've been able to do together for the country. And I think it's been an important experience working together.
And we talk about the fact that on our committee, you know, we don't have people who are politically grand standing or trying to score cheap shots, that we're very focused on the substance.
And we have vastly different views of many of the issues that the country is facing. But we're allies in terms of the fundamental constitutional issues.
And here in Wyoming, you know, we have same-day registration. It is right of people to register whatever party they want to register as. And my message is one for all Wyomingites, I represent every single person in this state and I believe that there are thousands and thousands of people across our state who fundamentally understand why it's so important to have somebody who's going to abide by their oath of office.
HUNT: There might be Democrats who would vote for a Cheney?
HUNT: Remarkable. You said in your Reagan Library speech men are running the world and it's really not going all that well. Do you think voters in the U.S. are ready for a woman to run things?
CHENEY: Sure. Look, I think that one of the things that has been very moving for me over the course of the last year and a half has been the reaction of women, and not just the women who have testified, although, you know, we've seen the incredible bravery of people like Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews. And Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, and Carolyn Edwards. It takes real bravery to stand up and tell the truth as those women have. And I think that's been really important.
HUNT: Based on that, do you think your -- do you think your father Dick Cheney wants Liz Cheney to run for president in 2024?
CHENEY: Dick Cheney is a big Liz Cheney supporter. I can say that.
HUNT: Is he encouraging you to run?
CHENEY: Listen, I talk to him every day about many things, and certainly his concern -- look, like, I am right now -- he's really focused on this moment and on what's happening. Both of us have just this real sadness, frankly, about what's happening to our party and a real despair about how could it be that so many Republicans would refuse to stand up and tell the truth. And it is a scary moment for the nation.
HUNT: Or just like the record you reflect that you did not say that Dick Cheney is not telling you to run for president in 2024. Liz Cheney, thank you very much. CHENEY: Thank you.
HUNT: I really appreciate your time.
CHENEY: Good to be with you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Such a good interview. She is so good on this, so resolute and it's fascinating to watch. CNN's chief national affairs analyst, Kasie Hunt, CNN political commentators S.E. Cupp and Alice Stewart are here. There's a lot to get to after the break.
LEMON: You just saw part two of Kasie Hunt's exclusive interview with Liz Cheney. And Kasie is here with me now along with S.E. Cupp and Alice Stewart.
I'm so glad that you -- you're all around here. Kasie, what a fantastic -- good evening, everyone.
HUNT: Thank you so much.
LEMON: Fantastic interview.
HUNT: And thank you for airing it tonight. I really appreciate it.
LEMON: Yes. Of course. Listen, we were talking as she was doing and saying she is resolute and you know, she is right on. And she's confident and she's telling the truth and she's resolute. And S.E. said she's lonely.
HUNT: She likes to be.
HUNT: She's lonely. And the one thing you have to give her here -- and this is something that so many Republicans in Washington have just not had the guts to do. She is staring defeat in the face and she is not changing her tune. She is not afraid of going right at Donald Trump.
You know, even some Republicans who we know are Trump opponents who privately say a lot of nasty things about him and who distance themselves from him in public are not willing to go as far as she is.
And it extended beyond just the interview too. I went to a campaign event, a small campaign event with her and that's what she was talking about with voters there. You know, sometimes you'll get politicians saying one thing, you know, in a national audience and another to the voters they're talking.
HUNT: Not Liz Cheney.
LEMON: Is this what happens when you tell the truth now?
HUNT: It seems to be what happens in the Republican Party. I mean, it is really, you know -- one of the things I think you heard her say there -- and this is a challenge, I think, for Democrats as well -- is that the democracy question and making sure that we ensure that we have peaceful transfers of power in the future is going to require people who fundamentally disagree on issues, Democrats and Republicans, actually getting on the same page actually protecting this.
Which she was critical for people going after Peter Meijer, the Republican congressman, basically saying, you know, this doesn't -- it's contrary permission.
LEMON: As she should've been.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And this is kind of Republican you guys keep telling me you want more of. I mean, it really is, I imagine, frustrating. We saw some frustration from Adam Kinzinger as well here on our network, understandably. Stop telling me you want more people like Meijer and Kinzinger and Cheney and then Democrats throw in blood money into their campaigns. If I'm a Democratic donor, I'm appalled that you used my money to do that. And it might -- it might not work out.
LEMON: Yes. So, Alice, you heard what Liz Cheney was talking about, her fidelity to the Constitution. Right? Can Republicans stand up for the Constitution and Donald Trump at the same time?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, we have to, we have to do so. And hats off to Kasie for a great interview. And it was really great to see her acknowledge she's willing to lose her House seat for what's best for this country. I'm also --
LEMON: You can stand up for the Constitution and Donald Trump at the same time?
STEWART: Rational Republicans are doing just that. Look, we saw Mike Pence do so on January 6th. Rational Republicans realize that we have to make sure that we get back to what's important to this country, fidelity to the Constitution, reimplementing the confidence in the American people of the integrity of our election process, certifying the election results, a peaceful transfer of power.
People recognize that that is extremely important and there are conversations behind the scenes that that's where we need to put our focus. I'm also encouraged to hear and see that Liz Cheney, whether or not she wins on August 16th, unfortunately, it looks as though it might not go her way.
What she's done for herself, she's created a formula, she has a voice and she will continue in her effort to do what she sees is the most important thing we can do for this country, and that is to make sure that Donald Trump never sets foot in the Oval Office again, because it's important, because we've seen what he's done, and the danger it can cause.
Look, as for what this means moving forward and Republicans choosing the Constitution or Trump moving forward, look, we know the numbers. He lost the popular vote in 2016. He lost it in 2020. I don't know in what world if he was the nominee more Republicans would vote for him after what we saw on January 6th. It's not going to happen.
STEWART: Republicans are going to look at what we need to do, what's best for the Constitution, and for this country. And that doesn't mean supporting Donald Trump.
LEMON: I can see it in your face, S.E., that you want to respond.
LEMON: Especially as you said that restoring the confidence in our electoral process because that confidence has been shaken by the big lie, by a person and who has been touting the big lie and party --
LEMON: -- leaders, many of them, who were standing behind the big lie are not saying anything about it. Am I wrong with that?
CUPP: Still, I'm not confident that Republicans wouldn't vote for Donald Trump in 2024. And I think a testament to that is the fact in a that no one else has gotten in yet. I mean, 2024 is right around the corner.
CUOO: And Donald Trump is really the only one openly saying I think I'm going to do it. So.
LEMON: Yes. Kasie, listen, I would -- Liz Cheney is -- released a new ad featuring her father. And he goes after --
HUNT: Yes, she did.
LEMON: -- Trump. Watch this, watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He's a coward. A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down, I think most Republicans know it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. You don't get more conservative --
LEMON: -- than Dick Cheney.
HUNT: Of course, not.
LEMON: And Dick Cheney is calling him a coward. I mean, how do you think Donald Trump is going to react to this?
HUNT: Well --
LEMON: How will voters react?
HUNT: I'm interested to see if that ad gets further under Donald Trump's skin than Liz Cheney has because Liz Cheney is an expert at getting under Donald Trump's skin. I -- I -- would imagine. I mean, we'll have to see what he ultimately responds with. My guess is he'll be a little bit more dismissive of it.
Look, I think the ad could play well in Wyoming. It's a reminder that Cheneys have a long history in Wyoming. But the reality is the party there has turned away from both Cheneys. They've turned away from the message that Dick Cheney is delivering in that ad.
So, I mean, if anything, I mean, I was at that campaign event I attended. And I found more than one Democrat -- Wyoming is kind of unique in that they have same-day registration, so if you're a Democrat in Wyoming and you want to vote for Liz Cheney in the primary all you got to do is walk in to the voting booth, change your registration to Republican and go ahead and vote for her.
But a lot of those, especially some of the older Democrats who may remember the Bush years, I'm not so sure that that helps.
CUPP: There is a lot of nostalgia for Dick Cheney.
LEMON: There's not -- there's not. But here's a thing. And we discussed -- I had one more for you. But I'll just say when Liz Cheney, you know, agreed or was happy, I should say, or applauded what the Supreme Court did --
LEMON: -- with overturning Roe v. Wade, liberals and Democrats that supported her was like, come on, Liz, it was going so well. You cannot expect Liz Cheney to become a Democrat. She's not a Democrat. She's a conservative Republican who happens to be standing up for democracy and the Constitution. You have --
LEMON: -- you may not like where she stands on these issues, but you must accept her as a conservative Republican.
CUPP: I always have to remind Democrats of this.
CUPP: That we've, yes, she's radically conservative. I'm a conservative Republican.
CUPP: She's to the right of me.
CUPP: And I think there's this misconception that whenever a Republican breaks with Trump, that somehow, they're moderating to middle.
CUPP: And I have to remind them she's breaking with Trump because he's not conservative enough.
LEMON: Because he's -- exactly.
LEMON: He's not a true conservative.
CUPP: He doesn't care about the policy --
CUPP: -- or the principles. She does.
LEMON: She cares about himself.
HUNT: She's breaking with him because he's acting in an un-American way.
HUNT: And her, and part of her conservatism is an intense sense of patriotism and duty to the country.
HUNT: And you know, that's something honestly that defined her father's political career in a lot of ways.
LEMON: Her dad is saying, is not telling her not to run in 2024.
HUNT: I thought that was so interesting. I mean, obviously, this is me as a reporting trying to get her to move the ball a little bit on that 2024 question.
HUNT: Because I think there is a very good chance that she runs for president in 2024. And when I asked her if dick Cheney was in her ear every day saying hey, maybe you should run for president.
HUNT: She did not say that he was not telling her to run.
LEMON: I would -- I would actually love to sit down with Liz Cheney to talk to her about the democracy, what is at stake here, and what happens --
HUNT: I think she thinks everything is at stake.
LEMON: Yes, she's right.
CUPP: She's right.
STEWART: And I think to the point that you were talking about, if you look at her voting record, it is very in sync with the Trump policies and the Republican policies. This has nothing to do with, you know, her breaking from the Republican party.
This is as Kasie pointed out in her interview, this is all about Trump's actions and the danger he poses to the presidency and to this country.
STEWART: And specifically with regard to what he has done to the confidence that Americans have in our election process.
STEWART: And, you know, whether or not she wins her House seat back, clearly, she's committed to making sure that fidelity to the Constitution is restored across the country. LEMON: Liz Cheney is the type of Republican that should be on the air
from news organizations. That we should be inviting on just because she is not lying about what's happening. She is not an election denier. She is not telling you it's not raining outside. Clearly, when there's a thunderstorm or rainy storm going on.
CUPP: That's true. But then you have to go ahead let her talk when she wants to talk about her conservatism too.
LEMON: Of course, because that's policy.
CUPP: I know, I'm just saying. I'm just saying.
LEMON: That's policy. And that's what America is about.
CUPP: You can't take one without the other.
LEMON: But it's not about platforming --
LEMON: -- lie -- liars and bigots and that's not. But she and Adam Kinzinger, --
LEMON: -- those are the types of people who Democrats quite frankly should be accepting as Republicans, right, not necessarily agreeing with their policy.
LEMON: And news organization should be organizations should be allowing to come on to tell the truth about what's happening in the country.
CUPP: The way plenty of us. People like me voted for Joe Biden.
CUPP: I know I'm going to disagree with him on lots of stuff, but I also know he doesn't want to break the democracy.
CUPP: That's it.
HUNT: The way --
LEMON: Thank you.
HUNT: -- the way that she puts this is we cannot have those conversations. We can't have those disagreements, unless we fix democracy.
LEMON: And if we don't have a democracy, then -- CUPP: It's all moot. It doesn't matter.
LEMON: -- none of it matters. None of it matters. So, there you. So, thank you. I know we've gone on longer, but guess what? This was great. Thank you for joining tonight. All of you ladies.
HUNT: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: This was great. I'm outnumbered.
STEWART: Thank you, Don.
CUPP: It's fun though, right?
LEMON: Yes. It is fun. We have more of Kasie's exclusive interview with Liz Chaney at the top of the hour, including what she says about the Justice Department prosecuting Trump.
Plus, will she, won't she? A holdout in the Democratic Party saying late tonight that she is a yes on a key bill.
LEMON: So, we have a major development to tell you about on Capitol Hill tonight. This is just in to CNN. Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema agreeing to support the Democrat's climate and tax bill, giving the party the 50 votes needed to pass the legislation.
Now it seems Sinema want multiple changes to the tax provision of the package, including the tax on carried interest that would have impacted hedge fund managers and private equity.
She released a statement saying in part, and I quote, "following this effort, I look forward to working with Senator Warren to enact carried interest tax reforms, protecting investments in America's economy and encouraging continued growth while closing the most egregious loopholes that some abuse to avoid paying taxes."
This is a huge win for the Biden administration. Sinema has been a holdout in trying to pass this key piece of Biden's agenda. We're going to continue to report as we get more developments.
Up next, our CNN exclusive. Trump's lawyers in direct talks with the Justice Department over January 6th. We're going to tell you what they're talking about.