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Don Lemon Tonight

Rudy Giuliani Appeared Before Grand Jury; Sen. Lindsey Graham Refuse To Appear Next Week; Former President Trump Wants To Release Mar-a-Lago Surveillance Video; Veteran Lawyers Reject Representing Donald Trump; Liz Cheney Looking Ahead To Her Bigger Political Future; Inflation Reduction Act Won't Take Effect Right Away; Extreme Drought Exposes More Human Remains In Lake Mead. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 17, 2022 - 22:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much for watching. And join me tomorrow in the "CNN NEWSROOM" from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern and I'll be back here with you tomorrow night. With that, DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The other -- the other A.C.

CAMEROTA: Over to you, Don.

LEMON: How many other jobs do you have, Alisyn Camerota?


LEMON: Many.

CAMEROTA: I mean, these are only -- there are only the three or four that you see. There's a -- there's lot.

LEMON: Even as many jobs as the former president has investigations going on, which we'll talk about right now. I'll see you later.


It is a busy night. And in the many, many investigations to the former president and his allies, top of the list and this is big, CNN learning right now that some members of the Trump -- of Trump's inner circle are trying to convince him to release surveillance video of FBI agents executing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the search that turned up 11 sets of classified documents, some marked top secret SCI, one of the highest levels of classification.

Now we don't know what that surveillance video might show. A source tells CNN aides aren't sure if the former president himself has seen the whole thing and we don't know if it's all just a political plot. That's a safe bet when it comes to the former president after all.

But we do know that they have already seen what the FBI calls an unprecedented number of threats against agents following the Mar-a- Lago search but that's not stopping Eric Trump from teasing a release.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: You still have the surveillance tape, is that correct? Will you, are you allowed to share that with the country?

ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Absolutely, Sean, at right timing.


LEMON: OK. We've got a lot more on all of this in just a moment. And remember, there is the hearing tomorrow on whether to unseal the probable cause affidavit from that FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. And in there is Rudy Giuliani who is a target in the Georgia investigation of Trump's attempts to overturn the election in that state appearing before the grand jury behind closed doors for almost six hours today.

We don't know what he said but that's an awfully long time to say plead the fifth over and over and over again. We do however know what he said out in the open when he made completely unsupported bogus claims about voter fraud.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: You can see them counting the ballots more than once, two, three, four, five times. You would have to be a moron not to realize that that's voter fraud.


LEMON: OK. And there is more. Lindsey Graham today asking a federal judge to block a ruling requiring him to appear before the grand jury next week. John Eastman ordered to appear in front of that same grand jury. They want to know more about his alleged role in the fake elector's plot.

And here is something interesting, I want you to listen to what one Donald J. Trump, then candidate for president of the United States said six years ago, six years and a day ago about classified information.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In my administration, I'm going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information.


LEMON: Well, joining me now to talk about all of this and there is a lot, CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and attorney George Conway. Good to see you both of you. Good evening.

Kaitlan, you first. The former president considering releasing the surveillance footage of the FBI Mar-a-Lago search. His allies want him to, you know, throw some red meat to the base but could this also backfire?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that's the big discussion happening inside his circle right now is whether or not the pros here outweigh the cons as far as they see them. There are certainly people, Don, basically making both sides of the argument.

And when it comes to what they believe are the pros in releasing the surveillance footage which could potentially be several hours long because we know the agents were there from about 9 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock at night executing the search warrant at Mar- a-Lago, is they believe it will help further, basically rile up his base and enthuse his supporters to show here are these FBI agents taking this unprecedented action of being in a former president's home, though of course this was this lawfully executed search warrant signed off by a judge.

But there is the other side of the coin of people saying no, this is not a political ad you think it is to show FBI agents going through the former president's home, showing he did take this classified material with him and they removed boxes out of Mar-a-Lago as they did a little over a week ago from today.

So, basically, there is a huge argument internally about whether or not they should actually try to release this.


One person said it's basically a matter of when they release it, not if they release it but of course, it still remains to be seen if they make the full decision, the final decision to do so if they do think of course in the end that it's in their benefit.

LEMON: Isn't this, Kaitlan, a very Trumpian move? It's possible that he actually doesn't release, he'll never release the footage just threatening to, you know, saying he's going to use it in political ads? What's the point there?

COLLINS: Yes, that's certainly true, as well. You may not see the extent of the footage. They could potentially edit it before they release it. They may just wait and use it only in political ads. That's something else that we've heard is being discussed as well. And our latest reporting is that they haven't really made a final call on this. But it is something they're actively discussing.

And we should remind people the day that FBI agents showed up they asked officials who were there at Mar-a-Lago, of course Trump was not there and some of his attorneys were present. They asked them to turn the cameras off. And they knew that there were these surveillance footage cameras because they had actually subpoenaed some of this footage previously. And they saw people moving boxes in and out of that room where these classified materials were kept.

So, they had a good idea where these cameras were. But the Trump team did not turn the cameras off. Instead, some of his attorneys actually watched some of the CCTV from New York. And so, a question of course whether or not we are actually going to see that footage, and a question as well about whether or not it would put the FBI agents who carried out this search at risk.

LEMON: Yes, of course it would. I mean, especially if you show their faces or any of it, any of the markings or anything. You know, we're also learning about a phone call President Biden made after last night's primary. What can you tell us about that, Kaitlan? What is that?

COLLINS: This is a call that President Biden made to Liz Cheney, which of course, as we all saw last night, she had this big concession speech after she lost her primary, something that was widely expected given the battle that she has waged with former President Trump especially as she's been the vice chairwoman of the January 6th committee and has been very public about her feelings about Trump.

And it is notable, I think, you know, the White House is not disclosing what was said during this call between President Biden and Liz Cheney but the fact that the call happened in and of itself is notable, Don because of course, these are two people who have very different political views.

You heard President Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain saying earlier, there is probably no lawmaker he has differing views with than Liz Cheney but they like the way she stepped up for democracy and that is the point of the call that President Biden made to her to talk about this.

And so, you know, there's been all this talk from Republicans about whether or not she should have stayed in her position, what she'll do on the January 6th committee going forward since she will still be a lawmaker for a few more months, but notable that Biden called her himself, Don.

LEMON: All right, Kaitlan Collins starting us off. And Kaitlan, thank you very much.

George Conway, let's bring you in. Welcome to the program. Thank you so much for doing this.


LEMON: Let's talk about the surveillance video, if he releases it, what does it mean for the investigation?

CONWAY: I don't think it will mean anything for the investigation. I think it will just be a publicity stunt. I mean, watching surveillance tape of FBI agents going through boxes and papers is really not that interesting. I don't think it's going to be terribly exciting and if it's going to do anything, it might just show the volume of the material that they had -- that they had to go through and raise more questions about the president and his conduct.

LEMON: And what about the -- what possibly it could do to the agents if he shows the agents and not -- because we're getting all these threats. Right?

CONWAY: Right. It could. It could. I mean, to the extent if people were able to identify the agents. I mean, they're all -- they released some, you know, the search warrant, the names that were on the search warrant and it could be a way to try to -- I don't think it's going to intimidate the FBI but it's certainly some a way to cause mischief.

LEMON: Do you think there is something helpful on these tapes or it's just another way to be pulled into the Trump drama?

CONWAY: I think they're blowing smoke the same way they're blowing smoke about we want to see the affidavit in support of the search warrant. They're not going to get that but they like to have an issue to raise. They like to say, create some kind of aura that there is something hidden, that something went wrong here, look at these people were swarming about the former president's property. You know, it's all about creating some kind of a false narrative about jack booted agents and unfairness and so on and so forth.

LEMON: I'm always surprised about the -- what he comes up with, the lies or the excuses, I should say is a better word, that he comes up with and the people willing to believe it. It's --

CONWAY: He throws anything at them. Throw anything out there that he can think of that can be inconsistent with what he said 20 minutes before or the day before and that's -- that's what we've seen all the time.

LEMON: I think we're up to like, four or five excuses or different excuses, maybe more.


LEMON: But listen, this affidavit, you know, the judges tomorrow were going to find out if a -- in a hearing whether a judge is going to unseal it. You're saying that there is no way this is ever going to --


CONWAY: Not a snowball's chance.

LEMON: Why not?

CONWAY: I mean, it just doesn't -- it just doesn't happen. It just doesn't happen when the DOJ is investigating actively a case, they're not required to produce this stuff and produce this stuff publicly. Their entire -- they need to show it to a magistrate judge to get a search warrant but the potential defendants aren't entitled to see it and then also, you know, it's also for protecting potential defendants and witnesses.


And here, I mean, if there is any case that should -- that shouldn't happen it would be this case where you have a potential defendant who is, you know, practice trying to obstruct justice. I mean, we saw the Mueller report in at least four instances. He attempted to obstruct justice and we've seen his attempts to contact witnesses directly and indirectly in the January 6th proceedings and he's dangled pardons publicly, he's got no -- I mean, attacked witnesses. He's got no compunction about trying to influence witnesses' testimony and actions.

LEMON: There have been -- there are so many investigations that are going on right now. And I've heard you speak about them. And you've urged caution in a lot of them. But this one when it comes to Mar-a- Lago you believe that this is different, this one is prosecutable?

CONWAY: Well, I mean, I think -- I think the January 6th case is prosecutable. I think the Georgia case is prosecutable. What makes this one different is its simplicity. I way I look at this is like, say you're the United States attorney in the Southern District of New York and you're working on five families or something that you're bringing a big Rico mob case from, you know, all these murders and such.

And all of a sudden, you get a call from the NYPD at Kennedy airport saying, hey, we just got these people loading up jewelry and cash off the back of a truck -- on the back of a truck here and guess who is driving it? The Don himself. I mean, this is just a simple, simple case compared to all the other cases where there are a lot of moving parts like the January 6th there are so many different sub conspiracies really that it's a little hard to keep track of.

LEMON: I've just -- I've been sort of flummoxed by people saying well, this has to be something really big in order -- it's like, well, but no, he took the documents.

CONWAY: He took these documents and you know, the president of the United States is entitled to the most secret documents that the national security establishment can create.

LEMON: How serious, the legal issues that Rudy Giuliani is facing, how serious? Because he met with a grand jury today, six hours, took questions six hours. You just can't say, you know, I plead the fifth. Maybe you could.

CONWAY: You could. I mean, former President Trump spent several hours in New York the other day and all he did was same answer, same answer after pleading the fifth apparently. But we don't know what happened behind closed doors. What we do know is that he says that he's been told that he's a target and that basically means that the Fulton County D.A.'s office is saying we have, you know, we intend to indict you or we are looking --

LEMON: Is he in trouble?

CONWAY: Yes, he is in deep trouble. And I think that -- and I think what's interesting about the Georgia investigation is that they're doing -- they're going about it the right way. They're kind of like, it's kind of like the January 6th committee. They're not looking at this as this one phone call that Trump made to Raffensperger. It was much more, you know, there were much more texture than that.

You had that attempt to influence Raffensperger. You had the fake electors and then you had Giuliani and others giving false information to the Georgia government in the form of the state legislature and that's making false statements to the government. I'm sure there is a Georgia law against that making false statements to the legislators about votes being counted multiple times as we saw in that clip earlier.

LEMON: George Conway, thank you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

LEMON: It's a pleasure.

So, why is the former president having so much trouble finding seasoned lawyers to represent him? I should be asking you that as an attorney. We're going to talk to a man who turned down the job. That's next.



LEMON: Donald Trump scrambling to hire new lawyers as he prepares for his latest legal battle. But according to new reporting by the Washington Post, it may be much harder than he expected. A number of respected veteran defense lawyers turning down the former president including my next guest.

Joining me now, the former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, Jon Sale.

Jon, thank you for joining. I was having a conversation before, it's like who would want to represent Donald Trump? I don't know if you would get paid, probably wouldn't listen to you but anyway, why did you turn him down?

JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, I can only speak for myself, Don. It's nice -- nice to see you, by the way.

LEMON: You, as well.

SALE: So, without violating any confidences, I got a call. Payment was not an issue. So that really was not -- we moved on from there right away. And I was intrigued, my conversation was completely about legal issues. And there are some very interesting legal issues and I think the president, former president can have zealous advocacy by a lawyer who still will be ethical and won't go over the line.

And I actually think it's not as simple as George previously -- has previously indicated -- segment indicated. I mean, there are the interplay between the different statutes, the documents that were seized, neither side knows what they have.

The FBI agents, they didn't sit there studying and reviewing them and there are some very serious privilege issues. I mean, there is attorney client privilege, there is executive privilege, there is a privilege that Eric Holder asserted called the deliberative process privilege. And all that has to be sorted out. And I think I mentioned a minute ago, there is no evidence based upon

what's reported that the president, former president specifically knew what was there, who authorized taking it. And these are the things that this grand jury is going to uncover. And I think I thought as a lawyer I could put my head down, avoid all the noise and just proceed as a lawyer.

Well, within a day or two, I realized I was wrong. For example, I would -- I would have wanted to stay out of politics but as soon as I heard about the threats, the rhetoric about the agents and attacks on the judge, I would have immediately spoken out and condemned that and hoped the president would also.

But I think it's a challenging assignment and frankly, I turned it down because I would have had to give up every -- all my other clients. I mean, I think there is so much to be done and I just didn't have the time to do it. But I think other lawyers, this is an opportunity to represent the former president. How often does that come about?

LEMON: Yes. I just asked that question to George Conway, there are people out there who just, or firms who may just want to say they represented the former president of the United States.


But my question is, you said you didn't have enough time to devote to it and you didn't like the threats and so forth. Why do you think other veteran attorneys are refusing to defend him?

SALE: Well, there are some law firms that just don't want controversy and they would react the same way if it was to represent Hunter Biden or a Democrat. I think that when I say I don't have the time, I don't want to sound like that I'm so busy I don't have time for the president.

But every client that I have I think is my most important client. I just couldn't stop what I'm doing right now. I'm surprised. I mean, despite the media reports, I would think that if law firms wouldn't object that lawyers would be very anxious to represent the president but do it right and speak up to him and give him advice they think and be willing to argue with him and if they were asked to do something inappropriate, not to do it.

But he's entitled -- you know, no one is above the law which is the cliche why he should be held accountable. But when the attorney general held his press conference, he specifically said he's presumed innocent and so he shouldn't be held to a lower standard, either. And I think in the media frequently, we forget that Donald Trump is presumed innocent at this point.

LEMON: Yes, listen, that's another thing about finding an attorney. I think that, listen, everyone is entitled to a zealous defense. Of course, that's the American way. But when you look at the history of Donald Trump not listening to his attorneys or not paying his attorneys, all of that could factor into, and also, as you said, the threats and the amount of time and attention that comes with representing the former president of the United States. Those are all very valid reasons for people not wanting to represent him.

SALE: Well, everybody has to make their own decision and I, you know, I agree with that. But like I'm, for example, the issue of payment, I don't know about other lawyers but I can say without going into details that wasn't a concern. That was assured and I moved on from that and I thought that it was a very challenging opportunity.

I mean, I was -- I was on a team that prosecuted a president or till he was pardoned and the opportunity in a lifetime to defend a president who is entitled to a defense I thought was a historic opportunity. And I don't know the answer to your question.


SALE: I'm not sure it's true. I mean, I'm not sure it's accurate. I think that -- let me tell you one other thing. They did not give me the impression that they think they have a weak legal team. There are a couple lawyers with extensive experience with the Department of Justice and I think they just want to expand the team.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about that then. Because his current team includes Lindsey Halligan, a Florida insurance lawyer, Christina Bobb, an election denier who appears on the far right One America network, and Alina Habba who, as The Washington Post says is a former general counsel for parking garage company.

So, the question is, you know, you said that they didn't indicate that they had a weak team but is this the legal firepower you want on a case like this?

SALE: Well, I don't want to disparage any other attorney but I do not know them but I read their names are public, that there are two lawyers not in Florida who have extensive Department of Justice experience --


SALE: -- and who --


LEMON: This is --

SALE: But, no --

LEMON: And Evan Corcoran and James Trusty are two, other two lawyers on Trump's legal team and they have federal legal experience, right?

SALE: Right, that's what I meant.

LEMON: Is that going to be enough?

SALE: I know it's not enough but I'm saying is a week or two from now I would predict they are going to have some very strong effective additions to the team, but let's wait and see. I just think representing a former president is a great opportunity but a lawyer has to do it right and has to do it ethically and has to be -- give the advice that he or she thinks is correct. I think they will find counsel.


SALE: Good counsel --

LEMON: I don't know --

SALE: -- with the kind of experience I have. I'm not the only one and there are plenty of other very good lawyers out there.

LEMON: Listen, I have to ask you. I don't know if you can answer any of this because --

SALE: Sure.

LEMON: -- it says below your name there that you're the former represent -- you formerly said represented Rudy Giuliani.

SALE: Right.

LEMON: He spoke to a grand jury today for six hours. He is presumed to be the target of an investigation. Do you have any comment on any of the legal troubles that are facing Rudy Giuliani right now?

SALE: Well, I've got experience in representing high visibility clients and Mayor Giuliani I represented in the House intelligence committee hearings before the impeachment proceeding and that all worked out very well. I'm not representing him in this, so I really don't know what he's done or what he hasn't done or how his legal counsel is handling that.

LEMON: Jon Sale, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us.

SALE: Thanks, Don. Nice to see you.

LEMON: You, as well.

Are they mulling White House runs in 2024? I'm talking about Mike Pence, he's saying that he'd consider testifying the January 6th committee, to the January 6th committee as Liz Cheney vows to stop Trump at all costs.


MICHAEL PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't want to prejudge. If there is ever any formal invitation rendered to us, we'd give it due consideration.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I have said since January 6th that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean it. (END VIDEO CLIP)


LEMON: Congresswoman Liz Cheney may have been shown the door by Wyoming Republicans in yesterday's primary but she's already planning her future, vowing to continue fighting Trump's election lie and saying now the real work begins.


She's setting up a leadership PAC called the Great Task, a reference to words spoken by President Lincoln at his Gettys -- in his Gettysburg address and says that she might consider a presidential run.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-ANCHOR, NBC NEWS: Are you thinking about running for president?

CHENEY: It, I, that's a decision that I'm going to make in the coming months, Savannah. I'm not going to make any announcements to you here this morning, but it is something that I'm thinking about and I'll make a decision in the coming months.


LEMON: There is a lot to discuss. CNN political commentator Alice Stewart and Republican strategist S.E. Cupp join us. Both join us. Hi.



LEMON: That was a big -- do you plan to run for president?


LEMON: What do you think?

CUPP: She's got a lot to think about. And she -- she can consider it all she wants and she can run, but she doesn't have any natural voters.


CUPP: Left.

LEMON: Right.

CUPP: There are no natural Liz Cheney voters clamoring for more Liz Cheney. Democrats love her now. They do not love her politics, which she will very quickly remind them and then, you know, for folks like me, she's to the right of me. She's real conservative and any Trump voter thinks she's a traitor. So, I'm not sure what her lane is. Now, that doesn't mean she can't be a spoiler. It doesn't mean she

can't be influential and she can be and I think that's really what she's going to concentrate on, but -- but I don't think anyone would tell a member of Congress who was just ousted by their own party in a state that almost overwhelmingly votes for that party she should run for president to get the nomination of that party.


LEMON: I don't see a path for her, and you can tell me if I'm wrong, I don't see a path for her because again, for what S.E. said, right, she is conservative. it's hard for independents, right, to run for office, especially as president of the United States, and Democrats aren't really -- she's going -- they're going to be reminded of her father.


LEMON: Right? The party her father built. The tea party and on and on. They are going to say well, you got ousted by the very party that you, your family helped create. Am I wrong?

CUPP: That's strategically true.

STEWART: Right. And look, we saw last night the tremendous routing of her just goes to show how strong Donald Trump's hold is on the base of the GOP and with her losing, it was symbolic of the Bush-Cheney-Romney wing of the GOP is in the rearview mirror.

And look, I commend her for what she did. I commend her for saying no elected office is worth sacrificing the principles that we fought for and we were sworn to protect and serve. But at the same time, she doesn't have a constituency. Who is in her corner right now? Look, again, I commend her for what she did. Right now, she has been an ally for Democrats in the January 6th committee, she has been a willing topic for the beltway media and she has been a willing antagonist against Donald Trump and the election deniers.

CUPP: And the whole Republican Party.


CUPP: Really.


STEWART: And so, call me crazy, I don't call see that as a constituency to get --


LEMON: I think, look, --

STEWART: -- someone nominated to the presidency.

LEMON: Clearly, I think, look, she should be commended for standing up for democracy. But what we're doing now is just analyzing her path. This is not a criticism of Liz Cheney to say that, you know, she was ousted by the very party that her family helped to create,

CUPP: Yes.

LEMON: -- is I think that's a legit --

CUPP: Listen --

LEMON: -- analysis.

CUPP: The world changed tremendously.

LEMON: Right.

CUPP: I mean, 2012 Democrats told us that Mitt Romney was a literal monster.


CUPP: A sexist dog killing monster. Now Mitt Romney is a hero for many on the left.


LEMON: I heard Democrats saying if he ran, I might vote for him.

CUPP: Which is insane.

LEMON: Right.

CUPP: I mean, you would not. You'd vilify him yet again, but this is what happened to Liz Cheney. This is what happened to John McCain who was -- who was always a war hero but he was also called a warmonger by the left and now he's, you know, revered. This is how Trump has disoriented and kind of flipped the political landscape.

LEMON: It's kind of, it's hard to, you know, to hear all the time, you know, this is not the Republican Party. Donald Trump is not the Republican Party. Election deniers are not the Republican Party.


LEMON: And then you have, they're winning like everywhere --

CUPP: Yes.

LEMON: -- and it is kind of hard to say, you know, maybe -- maybe the Mitt Romneys of the world and the Liz Cheneys, that's not the Republican.

CUPP: Yes.

STEWART: You also have to look at the fact with Donald Trump when he was in office, we lost the White House. We lost the House and we lost the Senate and what we're seeing now -- LEMON: Yes.

STEWART: -- in these primary races, we're talking about the base of the party, election deniers, people that embrace Trump, people that did not want to certify the election results. Those people are winning primaries. That is not a winning formula across the board in all of these races across the country for the general election. You need to take the Glenn Youngkin approach, you need to keep Donald Trump in your good graces but focus on policies.

LEMON: I hear that.


STEWART: That's how you win a general election.

LEMON: I hear that but we'll see, because they're winning a lot. Can I just, can I -- I want to get to this quickly. Another 2024 contender, Mike Pence. I want you to listen to what he said about the vitriol being hurled after the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search. Watch this.


PENCE: The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level. And these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.


LEMON: OK. I mean, he called out Merrick Garland and the DOJ. But what is he trying to do? Is he trying to have it both ways because that's not how --


CUPP: Well, you know, because earlier in that very speech he was attacking the raid, the search at Mar-a-Lago.


LEMON: Because it doesn't look like Trump is backing the blue or his supporters.

STEWART: No, he's not. He's ostracizing the FBI and the DOJ because they have gone after him. Look, what we need to do is send a message across the board that people that are serving our country whether at the DOJ or whether in the FBI or the Supreme Court when they're doing their job for the right reasons, they do not need to be the target of threats and intimidation.

CUPP: I think Mike Pence has even worse odds of a presidential lane. I mean, you know, he carried Trump's water for four years, Liz Cheney at least stood up to him. And Mike Pence again, your voters were calling for you to be hanged. They're not going to line up and vote for you if you run for president.

LEMON: What are you guys going to do, though, come 2024? I mean, --

CUPP: You mean, personally?

LEMON: You said you weren't going to vote for him again. You could not support him.

STEWART: No, no. I don't see him being the nominee in 2024.

LEMON: You don't see him being the nominee?

STEWART: There are plenty of other people that will rise to the top and --

LEMON: Well, S.E., let me see those eyes again.

CUPP: This is news. This is news. Really? You don't? Who is it going to be?

STEWART: There are -- there are plenty of other good people that are working behind the scenes. We're seeing them already in Iowa and New Hampshire and making end roads and raising money. I can say it's not going to be Liz Cheney from too, I'm hearing because speaking with Republicans, she's on the outside looking in right now. She's no longer part of the inner circle but she can do what she wants to do by not running for president, not being in. Her goal now is to keep Donald Trump out of the White House --


STEWART: -- and out of the lever of power.

LEMON: But don't you think Donald Trump will poison anyone who, other than himself --

CUPP: You don't mean literally?

LEMON: You know what I mean. There are chances of being --


CUPP: I had to clarify.

LEMON: He would rather see a Democrat be president than another Republican, I think.

CUPP: Sure. We saw -- we saw the -- we saw the whole thing in 2016.


CUPP: He shaved -- he shaved them all.

LEMON: You don't mean literally.

CUPP: I don't mean literally. You always have to clarify. LEMON: You got to clarify. Thank you both.

STEWART: Thank you.

LEMON: I appreciate it.

The White House has been reluctant to comment on the raid at Mar-a- Lago, but White House chief of staff Ron Klain tells me GOP calls to defund the FBI are a reckless and irresponsible idea. You'll hear from him next.



LEMON: President Joe Biden marking huge moment, marking a huge moment this week signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday, a landmark legislation puts billions of dollars towards combatting the climate crisis, gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, institutes a 15 percent minimum tax rate for large corporations and much more.

But with Trump once again dominating headlines after the search of Mar-a-Lago, how does the current president breakthrough? I spoke with White House chief of staff Ron Klain just a short time before air and here is our conversation.


LEMON: Good evening to you. Thank you for joining.

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks for having me, Don.

LEMON: It's been a huge week for President Biden and the Biden administration to top off a series of legislative wins in his first two years in office but what Americans want to know is how is this going to help them? Will people feel the impact of this bill any time soon?

KLAIN: Well, sure, Don. I mean, first of all, let's talk about what the impact we feel already which is seeing Washington, which for decades couldn't move on these issues because special interests held the power in this city. They're seeing a president and a Congress come together and beat big pharma and pass prescription drug negotiation, beat the big oil companies and pass action on climate, and beat the big corporations and their lobbyists and pass action on bringing taxes, minimum taxes for big corporations.

So, they're seeing that change already. I think at the cash register, what they'll see first is rebates, point of sale rebates at the cash register when they go to buy energy efficient appliances, energy efficient dishwashers and washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners things like that.

They're going to start to see early next year a rule that caps the amount of money that the big drug companies can charge, how much they can raise the price of drugs and then they'll start to see the benefits of negotiating for prescription drugs, bringing down those costs to Medicare.

They'll see rebates for electric cars that they buy whether they're new or used, substantial rebates for those. So, there are a lot of benefits to consumers but I think the biggest benefit of all is finally taking action on some of these long0standing promises in the face of special interest opposition.

LEMON: Yes. So, but you have no, listen, it is called the Inflation Reduction Act but the CBO is estimating that you won't really see much of a reduction in inflation this year, maybe a smidge next year. I'm just wondering if you think that that maybe misleading since it won't have an impact on inflation any time within the next two years at least.

KLAIN: Well, Don, I just disagree with that. Look, I think that what inflation means to most people is what hits their pocketbook. The cost-of-living crisis. And if you're paying for prescription drugs, bringing down those costs of drugs is inflation reduction.


If you're paying utility bill and you can use energy efficient appliances to bring that bill down, that is fighting inflation. So, I don't think these macro-economic measures are the measures that people feel. What they really feel is what's out of their pocket every single week, every single month. This bill is going to address that.

And more broadly, of course, we launched a comprehensive strategy to fight inflation here at the White House. We've been bringing down the price of gas that's fallen every single day this summer. If you can't remember the last time it happened, that's because it never happened before. That's having a impact on inflation.

LEMON: OK. Don't have a big impact. Do you think it will enough of an impact on inflation on what people are paying, you know, at the grocery store as you said, the rebates or if they're paying for prescription drugs enough to affect the midterm elections, because it is around the corner right now. And the president and folks in the administration is going to have to get out and sell it. Do you think you have enough time? Do you think it will make a difference?

KLAIN: Well, look, Don, I'm here at the White House. I want to be careful about not violating the Hatch Act on the White House lawn and engaging campaigning out here. I do think what will have an impact on Americans, both political parties, both party is seeing one group in Washington, one political party in Washington fight to bring inflation down and another give speeches about it.

Seeing Democrats every single Democrat in the House and the Senate, every single one voting for the Inflation Reduction Act and every single Republican, every single one voting against prescription drug negotiation, voting against more incentives for clean energy, voting against a cap on what you spent out-of-pocket for your prescription drugs, voting against reducing health insurance premiums. That is a choice. I think the American people can look at that choice and I think they'll respond accordingly.

LEMON: Ron, I want to talk about the president not being briefed on what happened at Mar-a-Lago, the search of the former president's house. He wasn't briefed on it beforehand. Now I understand why the White House wants to avoid the appearance of politics, but if these documents involve national security, doesn't the president need to be briefed on this?

KLAIN: No, I think, Don, one reason why Joe Biden got elected president is he promised that he would stay out of meddling like his predecessor did in investigations being conducted by the Justice Department, that he would not politically interfere in the Justice Department enforcing our laws. That's what we have done here, that's what we've done in all cases since the president has been here and that's I think the right approach for a president to have to a Justice Department.

LEMON: The White House is coming out today rejecting calls from Trump allies to, quote, "defund the FBI."


LEMON: And with all the threats that are being made against the bureau, does the president plan to speak out against that and does he want Republicans denouncing these threats to -- this is serious.

KLAIN: Yes, it is serious, Don. And look, first of all, let's be clear. Joe Biden does not support defunding the FBI. In fact, we proposed funding the FBI to the tune of $11 billion in his budget this year. The FBI is an important institution in our country. It fights espionage by foreign powers, it fights organized crime. It fights all kinds of threats that affect us.

So, defunding the FBI is a reckless and irresponsible idea. The president made it very clear that threats of political violence have no place in our country. They had no place in our country on January 6th. They have no place in our country every day since then. They have no place in our country if they're directed against law enforcement of any kind. So, his position on political violence is very clear and we are certainly not for defunding the FBI.

LEMON: Are you concerned about the possibility of violence with all of this rhetoric?

KLAIN: I think everyone should be concerned about the possibility of violence, about the threats against law enforcement. Possibility of violence the kind we saw on January 6th. I think we have to be concerned about all that. That's what we've seen in this country unfortunately on January 6th. And since then. So, I think every American should have a concern about the kind of rhetoric we've seen.

LEMON: How is the first lady doing?

KLAIN: Thanks for asking. She's doing very well. She's recovering very well from COVID. She's taking Paxlovid. Look, I think the thing about her case, the president's case, is they illustrate that while we haven't made COVID go away, we have prevented people, given people the tools to prevent cases of COVID from becoming serious.

Like every person in America, she's had the opportunity to and taken advantage of the opportunity to get two booster shots. She has the opportunity to get tests. We have free tests at and she's had the opportunity to get free doses of Paxlovid. Again, available at thousands of drugstores around the country.

So, you know, testing, boosting, Pax, that's the way you keep COVID from becoming serious. Those are the tools we've made available to every single American free of charge and they worked for her and they'll work for everyone.

LEMON: We hope she makes a very speedy recovery. Thank you very much, Ron.

KLAIN: I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

KLAIN: All right. Take care.



LEMON: So, water levels at Lake Mead, look at this, Lake Mead is so beautiful dropping though to historic lows and leading to one grim discovery after another. More human remains have been found. Our report from the scene next.


LEMON: More human skeletal remains found at Lake Mead in the southwest as the severe drought gripping the region dramatically reduces the lake's water levels.

CNN's Bill Weir is there with the story. Bill?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Don, greetings from what is left of Lake Mead, this may be the understatement of the century. Launch your boat at your own risk, low water levels, are they ever.

You can see the waterway in the distance right here, for perspective, when this drought started in the year 2000, the water level was way up that hill. You can't even see it from here. But 2008, it had fallen to about right here, and you can see how far it's gone now.


About 27 percent full, Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir in the country. And as it continues to drop, despite recent monsoon rains that added about a foot and a half in recent days. But it's 25 feet lower than it was this time last year, so as a result, this triggers this new round of cuts, the most dramatic going to Arizona. Twenty-one percent cut next year in their water allotment. They're paying farmers already not to grow alfalfa there. There's

worries that people may over compensate by pumping groundwater which is unregulated in Arizona. So just a host of cascading problems.

Forty percent of farmers saying they're tearing up their crops or selling their animals because of this drought, as well. And gruesome reminders of just how dramatic things are, they found this week the fifth reported human remains that have emerged now as the lake recedes, maybe related to another set of bones found earlier here.

They found boats from World War II that have sunk. You can now see the drain. The intake drains from 1971 as it gets lower and lower and lower. And if you think about it like a martini glass, the lower you get, the tighter that water gets.

Las Vegas years ago, saw this day coming, they spent a billion and a half dollars putting a straw down to the bottom of that martini glass protecting themselves. But now it's a fight over rights. Over the upper basin state, you have the snowpack, the lower states Arizona, Nevada that have the storage with these reservoirs, and California which is the thirstiest of all.

The water managers were hoping the feds would kind of bring the hammer down and tell them that their new mandatory cuts, everybody had to adjust to. That didn't happen. The feds are blaming the states, the states are blaming each other, and the water keeps evaporating. One precious drop at a time. Don?

LEMON: Bill, thank you. So, so sad.

CNN learning the former president is considering releasing surveillance footage from the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search. What it could mean for the investigation. That's next.