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Don Lemon Tonight

Rudy Giuliani Is Target Of Georgia Election Investigation; DOJ Opposes Release Of Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant; White House Official Addresses Biden's Monkeypox Response; Cheney Tries To Hold On In Tough Wyoming Primary Reshaped By Trump. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Mr. Andrew McCabe is here, the former FBI deputy director, and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor. Good to have both of you on. Good evening. Thanks so much.

So, Andrew, what do you think about Rudy Giuliani being told by Georgia prosecutors that he is a target of this 2020 presidential investigation, the largest reminder that there are multiple criminal probes going on at once in Trump world?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: That's right. It is interesting coming now, Don, because we've been so distracted over the last week with the FBI search and the results of what was found at Mar-a-Lago we started to forget that there are these other very significant, possibly more significant investigations that continue to rumble on.

And today's news for Giuliani is just the latest in the series. A really ominous sign for him. This is an indication that he is clearly being considered for an indictment. I think we'll have a huge impact on how he testifies or which questions, if any, he actually answers in front of that grand jury.

LEMON: As you would surmise, he is responding. Watch and I'll get you, Elie, here.



RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: When you start turning around lawyers into the defendants when they're defending their clients, we start to live in a fascist state.



HONIG: That is not much of a defense.

(LAUGHTER) LEMON: He served as Trump's attorney during the 2020 election. Do you expect that he's going to invoke the Fifth Amendment? You know, is he going to argue attorney-client privilege as so many have done in Trump world?

HONIG: Yeah, I think he is going to invoke any privilege he can think of. And realistically, now that he has been told he's a target, he should. It will be foolhardy to go in there and answer questions. I think he will try attorney-client privilege, which is, I think, dubious because it does not apply to conversations that are in furtherance of a crime. I think he will take the Fifth if he has to.

And look, it is his right to do so. And as Andy said, I mean, there are investigations swirling around. There came this moment late last week where we were so deep in Mar-a-Lago discussion, which remains important, but at one point on Thursday night, he said, oh, there's January 6 also.

Let's not forget, right, how long ago does it seemed that we were doing the January 6 hearings? It seems like a lifetime ago. But that stuff is not gone away. That will come back in Georgia, that will come back with DOJ, that will come back with Congress.

LEMON: This is nuts. Let's talk about the Justice Department and the probable cause, right? They are saying about this affidavit secret, right? They say -- they're trying to keep the affidavit secret, I should say. This is their response. A disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.

So, bottom line, they are not done. What's stands out in this response to you that they are saying, we don't want this in public?

MCCABE: Couple things. So, this, as he was considering, as Merrick Garland was sitting in his office at DOJ and considering whether or not to push for the unsealing of the warrant and, of course, the property receipt, this is exactly the slippery slope he did not want to end up on. And now, here he is on it trying to argue his -- as strong as he can to stop the madness of unsealing documents associated with the search warrant.

At the end of the day, he's absolutely right. The details in that warrant could have a deleterious effect on the sources that could be identified for having cooperated with investigators. It could expose facts that would undermine the integrity of the investigation going forward. That is what they're most concerned about.

HONIG: He is exactly right. This is Merrick Garland trying to hold the line. The documents that he asked on last week, those were a total of six pages. Those are documents you turn over to the defendant. Anyway, they're out there in the world.


HONIG: This affidavit is a whole different ballgame. It is against everything we were taught as prosecutor and investigator that you would never wanted out there, first and foremost, to protect your investigation.

LEMON: The thing that they were saying, at least in Trump world, to unseal was what was already in the former president and his attorneys' possession, right?

HONIG: No. Oh, yes.

LEMON: This is a whole another show.

HONIG: This is different. Donald Trump does not have this document.

MCCABE: Right.

HONIG: Only prosecutors and the judges have seen this. Yes.


LEMON: When it comes to responding, you know, to the Mar-a-Lago search, Trump and his allies, they're flooding the zone with all kinds of excuses and all complete nonsense, accusing the FBI of planting evidence. We have heard allies say that again, a standing order to declassify documents that he took to the residents. Are any of these theatrics going to penetrated the DOJ investigation or are they all about the DOJ meeting, sticking to the facts here?

MCCABE: He's flooding the zone with a variety of defenses because none of them are working. I mean, that's really what it comes down to. I don't think, at the end of the day -- Elie and I were talking about this before the show -- I really don't think the declassification argument is going to work for him.

First, because the charges that they're obviously considering and the execution of the search warrant, none of them require a classified document to support them. So, that sort of takes it off the table right there.

And there is, at this point, not a single piece of evidence that indicates he actually took these steps to declassify the documents that he now claims he did.


If he had such evidence, there is no reason he wouldn't have already provided to the department to cut this thing off at the pass. He clearly didn't do that.

LEMON: Yeah.

HONIG: So, the defenses make no sense. I agree with Andy. But let us keep in mind, if there's going to be a charge, prosecutors bear the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt. And you have to prove knowledge essentially that Trump knew those boxes were there, had some sense of what was in them, and intent, intent to do whatever the specific law prohibits, whether it's compromise national security or keep documents out of the hands of investigators in the obstruction charge.

So, that is an affirmative obligation that falls on prosecutors. You have to do more than just his defenses make no sense. You have to make your case.

MCCABE: Right.

LEMON: We have a professor who knows all about these things. He actually worked in the Bush administration on declassifying documents, exactly how you do it. We are going to get a one-on-one with him on what this actually means and if there -- and all the lies that are being told, including by the former president. Thank you, gents. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now Representative Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Thanks, representative, for joining us. I appreciate it.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Thank you.

LEMON: So, first, the DOJ wanting to keep affidavit secret. They are saying that their investigation is ongoing, and they say the investigation implicates highly-classified materials. Does that contradict Trump's claim that he had a standing order to declassify anything that he took home with him?

QUIGLEY: No. Look, first of all, one of the reasons I'm most concerned about this information getting out, we've got people shooting at FBI buildings. If witnesses have some sense that they would be in this kind of peril, either existing witnesses or future witnesses, this investigation is in big trouble.

Again, the president is throwing out everything he possibly can. You and I have talked. I've been part of, as the Intelligence Committee, two investigations that led to the impeachment of a president. I don't want anything that can impair with it this time. President had never been held accountable for his actions. This has to be that time.

LEMON: Listen, there have been many presidents before who have all complied, who have all followed the rules, who have all followed protocol. Why is this president different? Why is he blaming everyone else for his mistake? Why is he saying that people are after him because of -- because he actually made a mistake?

He took the documents. He did something wrong. The documents are gone. The Department of Justice wants them back. The National Archives wants them back. They should be in a sealed environment. So, what gives here?

QUIGLEY: Yeah, I mean, look, it is standard operating procedures for this president. Again, he has never been held accountable. This is the Presidential Records Act.

I would say to those giving the president the benefit of the doubt, those who would always defend him, you are putting members of the Intelligence Community at risk, sources and methods, and those that help them keep us safe.

Who in their right mind, knowing that the president could do this, would want to help the United States with vital and very sensitive information if they thought that some president would willy-nilly keep it at Mar-a-Lago? Maybe the greatest sieve of potential intelligence, you know, on screen foreign visitors there on a routine basis. And all this guarded by what, a padlock in the whims of a former president? That is extraordinarily scary right now.

LEMON: Then there is this bipartisan request. The top Democrat and top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Warner and Marco Rubio, requesting more information on what documents were taken from Mar-a-Lago. Still others want a damage assessment. You sit on the House Intelligence Committee. Should members of Congress be briefed on any of this?

QUIGLEY: There is a reason that not every member of Congress is on the Intelligence Committee. First, they're pretty small. But second, it is a higher standard. We are protecting information. What is the magic language that can be exceptionally -- cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security?

Other members who want certain classified information have to come to this committee and have a vote to get it approved. We don't always approve it. So, look, it is obvious that you couldn't trust every member, given the political nature of this, to not reveal highly sensitive information.

I think we're going to get briefed. I don't know if it will be in details. I think it might be as to the threat risk of what was involved with this material and what risk there is to United States as a result. You know, we will see. I do believe that should be bipartisan. I do believe it should bicameral.


But I'm very wary of certain members who would use it and exploit it and reveal it and put peoples' lives at risk.

LEMON: Yeah. You keep talking about putting people's lives at risk because you've drawn a parallel between the president investigating violence against Congress on January 6 to what we are seeing now with the attacks on the FBI. Can you speak more on that?

QIGLEY: You know, I was in the room where it happened. And I suppose I could take it personally knowing that I watched on that morning the president (INAUDIBLE), you know, thousands of people on our democracy, on our Capitol police, and on members of Congress. They -- what I heard was them saying, lynch Pence. They came within beat of number two, three, and four in succession and a real, violent coup.

The president incited a violent insurrection. He is doing this sort of thing again. He is the most dangerous man in the United States. This is a very dangerous kind. Only this president could somehow be an ex- president and create this kind of risk and this kind of constitutional turmoil.

LEMON: Thank you, Representative Quigley. I appreciate your time. Be well.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

LEMON: What the DOJ is saying tonight about the Mar-a-Lago search may be giving us clues to what else is going on in the investigation. But the excuses from Trump world just keep rolling in.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): There is always an evolving explanation, but that evolving explanation is always a lie and it points to the fact that Donald Trump knew what he was doing.





LEMON: The Justice Department tonight opposing the release of the affidavit that led to the Mar-a-Lago search, arguing that making it public would cause irreparable harm to the criminal investigation, saying in their statement, and I quote, "Disclosure of the government's affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations."

Joining me now to discuss, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams and Professor Richard Immerman. He is the director of the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University and a former assistant deputy director of National Intelligence under George W. Bush. I'm so glad to have both of you on. Good evening.

Ellie, you first. We know from the search warrant that authorities were looking into possible criminal handling of documents, obstruction of justice, violation -- violations, with an S, of the Espionage Act. Does today's DOJ statement give us more clues, Elliot?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: No, I don't think so because the affidavit, you really would not ever want to make that public for a big reason. There's a public -- it is safety for potential witnesses, for FBI agents and officers, for judges, anyone else along the line. They are identified and named in the affidavit and their safety gets jeopardized, number one.

Number two, you run the risk of jeopardizing the evidence that you are gathering. You know, as people become aware of what is being investigated, there becomes a risk that maybe someone throws something away or flashes evidence in the toilet bowl as we have seen already. So, for all of those reasons, it's probably a good idea to just keep the affidavit under wraps for now. And I think they gave us a bit of a roadmap last week of what they were looking at. That doesn't really change right now.

LEMON: So, professor, let us talk about the Espionaget Act. It doesn't necessarily imply spying. But how serious is it that is mentioned in the warrant?

RICHARD IMMERMAN, PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF FORCE AND DIPLOMACY: It's quite serious. It indicates that there's at least a suspicion that the president has -- is in possession of highly classified, top secret documents that could endanger the security of the United States.

So, the fact that that would be used in this case is opposed to just indicating that he is violating, for example, the Presidential Records Act, which in and of itself is illegal but doesn't rise to the same level. That is, of course, quite serious.

LEMON: Professor, I would like to turn out to these claims, all these claims and excuses coming out of Trump world. His legal team saying that he had a standing order to declassify anything brought to Mar-a- Lago and all of these other excuses that he is making. What is your response to these?

IMMERMAN: The standing order one, on its face, quite frankly is ridiculous. He is not -- these are not his documents. He is not entitled under any circumstances to take these documents to Mar-a- Lago. So, to have a standing order to declassify them is essentially telling whomever is going to transport them that he is ordering them to break the law and not to say that he could not have said that, it's doubtful.

But in any event, he could not have offered -- have issued that type of standing order because he could not take the documents legally to Mar-a-Lago.

LEMON: Can you please explain exactly how a president's declassification of power is supposed to work?

IMMERMAN: First of all, it's unusual. The president only declassifies documents in exceptional circumstances.


Generally, that is done at the agency level and it is done through the collaboration of all of those agencies who have what is known as equity in a document. In other words, they have an interest in it.

In exceptional circumstances, the president does have the authority, but the president is not -- the assumption is -- they say this is not like written down in code, but that the president would, of course, consult those agencies, whether it be the military or the CIA or, in the case of nuclear weapons, the Department of Energy, what are the security issues at stake that adhere in the document. He would not just wave a wand and say, I am going to declassify it. Once it is done, it is marked. And, of course, those agencies are informed. It is a very formal process, a rigorous process, which is only natural or logical that it would be.

So, to have this type of, let's say, standing order, let's say, and just say, I am going to do, I'm going to declassify this without informing the agencies that are directly affected by the declassification, again, it's on its face, you know, potentially a ridiculous type of claim.

LEMON: Ludicrous. So, the bottom line is he was not to transport or take these documents. He was not to be in possession of these documents at Mar-a-Lago. End of story. Full stop.

IMMERMAN: That is correct. And you just added a footnote that if they were there, there is a protocol for transporting the documents, for housing the documents once they are there, who can see them. I mean, there is a whole long list of security measures that are in place actually to prevent exactly this type of thing from possibly happening.

LEMON: Yeah. So, Elliott, on Sunday, Trump claimed that the FBI took some material protected by executive privilege in the search, but haven't we seen that the sitting president gets to weigh in on executive privilege?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, look, just to echo some of the points that have been made here, Don, there is a process around all of this. Number one, for asserting executive privilege over documents, that would bring in the sitting president. Number two, for claiming attorney-client privilege.

You know, presidents have powers. We should be clear that presidents can declassify documents. Presidents do possess executive and attorney-client privilege, depending on the circumstance. That is okay. There are certain things that presidents can do that none of us can like issue pardons or nominate people. But we build processes around this to avoid this specific problem from happening.

You know, we tried in American history having tyrants or kings that were unchecked in their power and it didn't work well! The first time, we tried to create government to put checks and sort of rain in presidents. So, this is almost like a perfect test case of what happens when the president sort of abuses a power that he actually does have but is applying in incorrect and inaccurate way.

LEMON: Professor, thank you very much. Elliot, thank you as well. I learned a lot. This is what I was talking about at the top of the show, talking about our critical democracy theory, giving people a one-on-one on where this goes and what is important here. So, thank you for helping out.

Let's talk about monkeypox. Monkeypox cases are on the rise. Should we have been better prepared, especially after going through COVID? I'm going to ask the White House hemming the monkeypox response. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



LEMON: Monkeypox cases showing no signs of slowing. CDC says there are now 11,890 cases here in the U.S. The first case was reported back in mid-May.

Joining me now, CNN exclusive, a matter of fact, White House national monkeypox response deputy coordinator Demetre Daskalakis. Thank you, doctor, for joining. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: So, doctor, back in July, we saw 40 to 50 cases reported each day. Now, we are seeing hundreds, even a thousand reported every day. Does this data show that the administration is behind the ball in battling this virus?

DASKALAKIS: I think it shows that the virus really has been characterized by a lot of twists and turns. I think this is not a monkeypox outbreak like any that has been seen before in the world. So, I think that we are seeing is really a lot of work to catch up from the perspective of making sure that we are on top of testing, on top of vaccines, and also on top of treatment.

So, I think that it has been a lot of pivots. So, I think that we expect a monkeypox outbreak to do one thing, and then when we learned that it was doing something else, we had to pivot. Then we had some real limits and challenges in terms of what we had accessible for vaccines. That has really turned around with a lot of work and lots of domains, including getting more vaccines produced, but also extending the vaccine that we have by making one go on five doses.

LEMON: Okay. So, listen, you said -- your words were that you are saying that you had not seen a monkeypox outbreak like this in the world ever.


So, the question is, why didn't the administration act sooner then? We have to pivot. I'm wondering how. Because the first cases reported in the U.S., that was way back in May. You were just named the head of the response at the beginning of this month, doctor.

DASKALAKIS: I've actually been engaged in the response since before the first case when I was at the CDC working on this response. I sort of working in my division at HIV prevention. I was able to engage early on.

What I mean by the monkeypox outbreak is a lot different than what one expects is, that, you know, really the thought was that you start a monkeypox outbreak and you really focus on vaccinating people, people's contacts.

When it became clear that that was not feasible because not everybody knew who their contacts were, we had to pivot and really switch our strategy to think about really extending how we use vaccine in a different way.

And so then as that unfolded and cases increase, we had to pivot again and really identify ways to increase vaccine access when there were real limits on production. So, I think that it has been a story about a very unprecedented outbreak and challenges with a lot of changes.

So, I think we are at a point right now where the epidemiology is telling us the population that is being affected. So gay, bisexual men who have sex with other men. It is telling us that we need to use vaccine in a way that really addresses not only contacts but in a more broad way. I think from the perspective of testing, we've seen a really significant increase in access to testing.

So, I think that we really, I think, moved urgently. And I think that the sort of new level of coordination that we are bringing here, myself and Bob Fenton, really is designed to accelerate and make this response very efficient.

LEMON: Okay, so, Listen, I have lots of gay friends, and I happen to be a gay myself. There is a lot of frustration with the administration and the roll out. People are upset. It's hard for people to get appointments to get the vaccine. You have to go online. It's not available. You make an appointment, and then it's not there.

I was lucky enough to get my vaccine today after my doctor really, you know, pursuing in helping me to pursue it, but everybody is as lucky. There have been a lot of problems with the roll out and accessibility. Why and how are you planning to make things smoother?

DASKALAKIS: Yeah. So, first, thank you for getting vaccinated. That's amazing. I really -- it's great and really shows that it's important. Sort of talking about it is really important just so folk really know that vaccination is an important part of the multidomain strategy in trying to prevent monkeypox.

I think, really, again, a lot of effort has gone to really increase vaccine access. Access is really the key issue that we've have in the rollout. So, I think not having enough supply to match the demand. And I think things have changed with the new emergency use authorization for the vaccine that came out of the FDA. It allows us to use one vial for five doses which means that access is going to become a lot easier.

So, Don, I think that it's fair to be frustrated to get -- since it was so hard to actually get appointments. I think that we are actually in a different phase of this outbreak where vaccine accessibility is going to become a lot more --

LEMON: Doctor, I've got to ask you. The manufacture has some skepticism about the five doses. Right: It is not sure about that. Why are you sure that this is the right way to administer this when the actual manufacturer is saying, I don't know if I'd be doing that?

DASKALAKIS: Well, the FDA reviewed the data thoroughly. I think that when you think about the manufacturer's sort of comments, they focused on safety. What's interesting is that there is an experience that happened in Germany many years ago. Over 7,000 people were given the vaccine in that study. It was very safe.

In terms of effectiveness, we know that the JYNNEOS vaccine does create immune responses in people even if they have weakened immune systems when given through the subcutaneous route. The newer study that we've looked at, that actually demonstrated that the intradermal route, the route where you give the vaccine in between layers of skin, is equivalent to subcutaneous.

So, really, given those levels of data, I think that we are confident that this intervention will allow us to extend the vaccine, give more doses -- more vaccines in people's arms, and that it's not going to actually sacrifice any effectiveness nor safety.

LEMON: So, the vaccine eligibility is essentially still limited to men who have sex with men, as you said earlier, or two or more partners in the last two weeks. Does the CDC plan on expanding eligibility any time soon?

DASKALAKIS: Right now, given the really intense focus of monkeypox among gay bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, I think we reported recently at the CDC that about 99% of cases in the U.S. had been among gay bisexual and men who have sex with men. The public health strategy that is appropriate is certainly to focus vaccination on the community that is overrepresented in the outbreak.


You know, I think we look very closely at epidemiology. And at this point, given what the epidemiology is telling us, it's right to really focus on the vaccination effort on the folks who are experiencing the infections.

LEMON: I have to ask you about the stigma before I let you go because I would not be doing my job if I did that because I'm wondering if there is something that needs to be done about the stigma.

I wasn't quite sure that I wanted to even say that I got the vaccine because people will think that you are promiscuous, you are having multiple sex partners. That's not the case. I mean, I am in a committed relationship. But I think that people should, regardless of, you know, whatever kind of relationship they are in or not in, that they should be able to get the vaccine.

What are you doing to reduce the stigma because it is not -- men who have sex with men maybe overrepresented but they are not the only people who can get monkeypox or actually spread monkeypox.

DASKALAKIS: So, I will say that really the effort in public health messaging has -- for this outbreak has really been focused on, from the onset, with intentionality, making sure that we didn't generate stigma.

So, have been working in HIV, public health for many years and, you know, specifically working with LGBTQAI+ community, having that intentionality and learning from the history of other infections that didn't go the right way like HIV from the perspective of generating stigma, it became clear that the right strategy is to really provide clear messaging and guidance to people that made sense and was really across the board the right sort of information based on the data and the knowledge that we had.

And then, really focus on communicating through trusted messengers, through people that the LGBTQAI+ community listened to, to make sure that we get the word out.

I think that's really the strategy. It is really the focus on how the virus is transmitted and being intentional to not associate the virus with one identity.

I mean, at the end of the day, monkeypox is a piece of DNA wrapped in fat. It is a virus. And it doesn't know the difference between someone's gender or their sexual orientation. So, it's our job in public health and in government to make sure that is how we approach the work while still making sure that the populations who are at risk and need to know about monkeypox are aware.

LEMON: Dr. Daskalakis, thank you very much. I got through this whole thing without mispronouncing your name. I appreciate it.

DASKALAKIS: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Three House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have lost their primaries. And with Wyoming's primary tomorrow, will Liz Cheney be next?




LEMON: Another big day tomorrow. Primary day. This time, it's Alaska and Wyoming. Voters are heading to the polls.

I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst Mr. Ron Brownstein. Ron, we are having like a primary and election like every other week. It's crazy.


LEMON: Yeah. Good evening. Let's start in Wyoming. Liz Cheney is facing Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman. Lots of people are predicting that this will be the end for Cheney in Congress. What do you expect?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, overwhelming likelihood is that she will lose the primary but it will hardly be the end of her political career as she has signaled. This is a state where Donald Trump won 70% of the vote in 2020. I believe it was his highest total anywhere in the country.

Hageman is a former Trump critic who supported Ted Cruz in 2016 but has reinvented herself as a kind of acolyte of his election lies. And she is likely to join the list of Republican primary challengers backed by Trump for ousting Republicans who voted for his impeachment.

As you noted, only two of the 10 are likely to be on the ballot in November. It is another marker along with the success of these election deniers in states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, that his hold on the Republican Party remains dominant at this point.

LEMON: Just because Cheney is taking a stand against Donald Trump's election lies, it does not mean that she is a Democrat. She is a Republican through and through --


LEMON: -- who voted in line with Trump on nearly everything. If she does not win a republican primary, what does that say about the GOP?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I mean, the GOP is moving away from being kind of ideological party to being one that is much more, I think, being recreated in the image of strongman political parties that we have seen overseas with (INAUDIBLE) in Italy or Erdogan in Turkey. Basically, a party that exists as an extension of the will of the strongman leader.

And, you know, what we are watching, I think one of the most striking and revealing things about the entire episode with the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago is both that Trump feels even more unconstrained by norms and law and custom that limit the arbitrary exercise of presidential power, he is willing to take these documents with him, and we have seen, I think, very clearly over these last few days that a republican congressional majority would be even less willing to constrain or hold into account than they were when he was in office the first time.

That is the dynamic that now rules the party, and I think that is the dynamic that Cheney has sent every indication that she intends to continue fighting against long after whatever happens tomorrow.


LEMON: So, let's go to Alaska now. At least let's talk about Alaska.


LEMON: There is special general election tomorrow there where we may see -- not may, we will see the return of Sarah Palin. She is going to be facing Republican Nick Begich.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, Begich.

LEMON: Begich. Okay.


LEMON: For the --

BROWNSTEIN: You know, it's going to be a while until we know what happens in Alaska because it's kind of a double helix of complication. They have a top four primary system, and then they have ranked choice voting on top of that. So, if nobody gets to 50%, what they do is they reallocate the votes, the second choices, people put down their second choices.

LEMON: Let me -- I want to mention this another candidate. This is Nick Begich, III. There's also the former Democratic state representative, Mary Peltola.


LEMON: So, this is her first political run since 2009. She is being backed by Trump. So, my question is, do you see her making a comeback? I know this whole rank choice thing. It is an issue there. But do you see her making a comeback?

BROWNSTEIN: I think it is really -- the rank choice makes it really hard to predict. There are only a few jurisdictions in the U.S. Their views, it obviously was a factor in the mayoral race in New York. New York City is one of the places that are doing it.

I would not be surprised either way. Plus, this special election, you know, while they're having this special election tomorrow, they're also having the primary for the general election, for the full two- year term. This is only to fill the term through the end of this Congress.

And so, it is not inconceivable that the results could be different for the special than the general. You would think that in a Trumpian party, Sarah Palin who was kind of Trump before Trump in terms of her leveraging a cultural resentment, the most-white voters or the most uneasy about the way the country is changing, you would think she would be in a very good position.

But the Alaskan Republican Party is an unusual beast. You have a governor that is not fully Trumpified. You have Murkowski who is going to be on the ballot tomorrow. Trump is supporting a primary challenger against her. But again, we are going to have to wait a while to see how it plays out. It's likely that she and the Trump challenger make it to November.

When you've got a top four single party jungle primary system and then rank choice voting on top of that, there are a lot of permutations that can unfold in how these elections play out.

LEMON: Gosh! 2009.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, it is complicated.

LEMON: Do you remember that? I can see Russia from my house.


LEMON: And lipstick on a pig. Little Q decides (ph). Oh boy, here we go again.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, she was the first one who said, I'm glad to be back in the real America. Really the first one to identify kind of white, non-urban -- white, Christian, non-urban America as -- quote -- "the real America" and everything else as something as impostor or perversion of what America was meant to be, which is the animating -- which it has become. I think the fuel in the Trump movement more than any other single fact (ph).

LEMON: Listen, I'm not judging anything that happened. It just took me back to a whole different time.


LEMON: It's all I'm saying. Thank you, Ron. I appreciate.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: She is a Republican whose spouse ran against Liz Cheney in 2016. But now, Susan Stubson and her husband are supporting Cheney, and she says there is still hope the congresswoman will come out on top.




LEMON: All eyes will be on the Wyoming primary tomorrow. Liz Cheney facing off against Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman, who has supported the former president's election lies.

I want to bring in now someone who is very active in Wyoming republican politics and who, despite her own husband running against Cheney in the past, now supports her. Joining me now, writer and political strategist Susan Stubson. Susan, thank you for joining. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: The Wyoming Republican Party voted to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican. Your own husband ran against her in the past. Why do you still support her?

STUBSON: Well, you know, it's interesting the path that we have walked with Liz Cheney has been a bit curious. In 2016, you're right, my husband Tim, ran against her for Congress. At that point, obviously, she was our adversary. Things changed quickly in politics.

And frankly, her meteoric rise as a freshman congresswoman was important to us. In the short time that she has been there, she has really gotten a lot of things done for us here in Wyoming. You know, we have one congresswoman. So, the fact that her rise was so quick and her voice was so powerful, so immediate, that's important as a voter.

So, yes, we -- it was not too difficult for us to or for myself to become a supporter.

LEMON: You know, you said that Wyoming -- that voters of Wyoming see Cheney as a traitor for voting to impeach Trump. But I just want you to listen to some of what she had to say about him and his election lies.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): There's a real tragedy that's occurring. And the tragedy is that there are politicians in this country beginning with Donald Trump who have lied to the American people. We are not embracing a cult of personality, and I won't be part of that and I will always stand for my oath and stand for the truth.

Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution.

I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible.


There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone but your dishonor will remain.


LEMON: It is principle. You cannot deny that. But isn't it also the case that calling out Trump supporters so often and publicly has put her in this position? How do you think she feels about it?

STUBSON: Well, I think she feels exactly what she said she does. You know, as has been noted and widely reported, Wyoming overwhelmingly twice voted in favor of Donald Trump. So, it is enough for this Republican Party or many of those in the party. Just this suggestion or any kind of movement against Trump is enough. Notwithstanding the realities of January 6th impeachment votes. It is enough to speak against Trump, which really has been the death now for Liz Cheney here.

LEMON: Yeah. Ms. Stubson, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us. Best of luck to you.

And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.