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Don Lemon Tonight

Florida Judge Looking To Unseal Documents; Former Trump Officials Shrug Their Shoulders To Another Bravado; Trump Makes Money After FBI's Mar-a-Lago Search; Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg Pleaded Guilty; FBI Agents' Lives In Danger; Convicted People Outsmart Legal Troubles. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 18, 2022 - 22:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And I'll be back here with you tomorrow night. And with that, DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I watched you today and I could not believe you had so much energy in the afternoon. How is that possible? Lots of coffee.

CAMEROTA: Caffeine.

LEMON: What's going on? What are you doing?

CAMEROTA: It's caffeine and I'm enjoying it, Don. That's what's happening. You're seeing my ebullience, the joy.

LEMON: I know.

CAMEROTA: I'm enjoying my job.

LEMON: You, you wait for these 30 seconds between us and that's why you're all excited about it. Is that correct?

CAMEROTA: That is correct, Don. I mean, and this is all you'll give me, you know, this is as close as I can get to you.

LEMON: Transparency.

CAMEROTA: Because of the restraining order.

LEMON: That's what we -- you weren't supposed to talk about that. That's why you're in a separate room. You're not see -- we're not together actually. Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: See tomorrow.

LEMON: I'll see you tomorrow. Bye.

This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. And we've got some serious things to talk about. What we're learning from court documents tells us more about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago and what it may mean for the former president. And there may be even more to come. The stage is set for what could be the public release of a redacted version of the affidavit for that search.

A judge in Florida saying there are portions that could be unsealed and giving the DOJ a week to explain everything that they say needs to be kept secret. But will it be page after page of blocked redactions? How will you know, we don't know until we see it.

That, as a Justice Department lawyer says the affidavit contains, and I quote here, "substantial grand jury information" and warns releasing it could have a chilling effect on witnesses. But the judge did release several never-before-seen documents today, including the motion where prosecutors argue that they needed to keep their search warrant secret because, quote, "the integrity of the ongoing investigation might be compromised and evidence might be destroyed."

There are some more really intriguing clues in one of those documents. More on that in just a moment. But you got to wonder just how much the former president actually wants the full affidavit to be released because his lawyer sitting right there in court today, didn't say a word.

That as a source tells CNN donations to Trump's political action committee, topped a million dollars a day for at least two days following the FBI search. And he's continued to send out dozens of e- mails and text to supporters.

And then there's our CNN exclusive tonight. Eighteen top Trump administration officials saying the claim from the former president and his allies that he had a so-called standing order to declassify any document he took from the Oval Office. Well, they say this is nonsense.


ANDY MCCARTHY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: He had a standing order. There's the word I've been looking for. That documents removed from the Oval Office have taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.

KASH PATEL, HANDLING ISSUES RELATED TO TRUMP'S PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS: Donald Trump issued sweeping declassification orders on multiple occasions.


LEMON: Eighteen former top Trump officials, several laughed, one senior administration official calling it, and I'm quoting here, "bullshit." It's not my word. It's theirs. Another senior White House official called it total nonsense. Former chief of staff John Kelly saying, another quote, "nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given."

Look, you cannot just declassify documents by magic. There are procedures. There are rules agencies like the CIA, the NSA, the Defense Department would have to be notified. But don't get a twisted, all of this the unprecedented search of a former president's home, the 11 sets of classified documents the FBI found there. Some are top secret SCI. All of that is for one reason, he took classified document.

"The New York Times" reporting another, quote, "The former president repeatedly resisted in treaties from his ad -- advisers. It's not theirs. It's mine. Several advisers say Mr. Trump told them."

So, there's a lot to discuss. And I want to bring in now CNN's senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez, and senior legal analyst, Elie Honig.

Good evening, gentlemen. Thanks so much for joining. Lots to discuss.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Evan, so there is a possibility that we could see a heavily redacted version of the affidavit. I just want to get to, to that, but the judge also unsealed other documents today that sharpened the focus on Trump as a possible subject of a criminal investigation. Tell us more, please.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. Look, the previous documents listed the crimes that the Justice Department was investigating and why they believed they needed to do this search warrant. What we saw today was a document, one of the documents that the Justice Department that the -- that the law that the judge unsealed today lists specifically what the -- what the prosecutor says they're looking at. And that is a willful, a retention of national defense information.

And that's a significant phrasing. You know, people I've talked to tonight said, you know, look, this tells us a little more about what the prosecutors are looking at and look, it was a little obvious that obviously that the -- that the former president and possibly other people are, you know, have some legal exposure here.


What this tells us is it really does it sharpens the focus on the former president himself and the possibility that he, you know, is the person here they're looking for, they're looking at. It really does sharpen the focus on him and his role in all of this, because obviously, at one point, he had the authority to have these documents, but once he left office, he no longer had that authority.

And he, you know, it looks like prosecutors are saying willfully retain them in violation of this law.

LEMON: All right. Legally, let's talk about this, Elie, as our legal expert here, willful retention of national defense information. What could that mean? And put it into context with the for -- the former president's actions when it comes to these classified documents. Is that significant willful retention to national defense information?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's significant new information. So, we already knew from last week, this statute number that DOJ was looking at, and we just had this number 2701, but the thing is there's six or seven subparts.

And so, this do -- this information, willful retention of national defense information that tells us where more specifically within that law they're looking. So, part of it is obvious, right? Retention of national defense information. You have to hold on to information, but willful is the really important part because willful means you did it knowingly and you did it intentionally. Meaning, he knew that there was national defense information and he knew that withholding it or removing it would put U.S. national security at risk.

LEMON: But do we know if we're talking about him or someone else who is --

HONIG: That's a really good point.

LEMON: Right?

HONIG: It's not necessarily Donald Trump. When you fill out a search warrant, you typically don't say, and it doesn't appear DOJ said here, we think X person committed a crime. All you have to show a judge and it looks like what DOJ did here would show, we believe X crime was committed, it could be Donald Trump, it could be others, it could be some assortment of people.

LEMON: Prosecutors also argue there's good reason to keep things secret. And another quote here, it says, "because the integrity of the ongoing investigation might be compromised and evidence might be destroyed. How does that sound to you?

HONIG: Well, and to some extent it's standard language, you always cite that as a reason why you don't want to out your investigation, but the question is, and this is why it would be really interesting to see the full affidavit. Perhaps we will at some point, but do they have specific information in this case to think that the evidence that was being stored in Mar-a-Lago, these documents were being removed or destroyed.

LEMON: So, what is it? Everyone was so confident that, you know, no, it's never going to, and I'm not saying you, but I'm just using in general.


LEMON: That we're never going to see this affidavit because it's usually not released. Is this, is there something, is it -- is this so unprecedented and so unusual because it's a former president that we might actually get to see the affidavit?

HONIG: Yes. I was a little surprised --


LEMON: Or at least some redaction version possible.

HONIG: -- that the judge -- yes. I was a little surprised that the judge left the door open. That said, I am still fairly confident that the end result after this redaction process happens is going to be that we see very little of that affidavit. LEMON: Well, could he see the redacted version and say, or here the judge sees the redacted version and say, OK, this it, this gives too many clues, even with the redactions.

HONIG: Yes. The judge could go either way. DOJ may give him a redacted version that's all-black redaction. And the judge may say not acceptable. I'm releasing the whole thing or I'm releasing more of it. But the judge is giving DOJ a chance to come to him first and say, make me an offer. Show me what you think I can put out there so we can give the American people the media something.

LEMON: Yes, Evan, and when it comes to possibly releasing a redacted version of the affidavit, it sounds like the judge in Florida is leaning towards more transparency here.

PEREZ: He is. Look, and I think you -- I think Elie is pointing to the fact that obviously this is a very unusual situation. This is a former president and the Justice Department itself has moved to do the unusual thing of an -- of unsealing the search warrant citing the public interest, right.

So, they've opened that door, and I think what the lawyers today, including the ones representing the media including CNN, we're making the point of, look, there are things that we understand the Justice Department needs to keep sealed, but you know, and this judge basically said, look, I've seen this document. I know what's in it. And he's telling the Justice Department there is stuff here that can be released.

Does it go as far as we all would love it? Probably not, but I think more is better as much as possible is better than what we have right now.

LEMON: Well, when you say we all would love it, I mean, look, if it -- if it does impede the investigation --


PEREZ: Look none of us, none of us wants that. Right?

LEMON: Right.

PEREZ: We don't want to get in the way of the investigation. That's never our goal here as journalists, but I think we all understand that this is an incredibly, you know, tenuous situation. We know that there's a lot of disinformation that's coming from one side of this -- of this -- of this story. So, give us more information so that we can at least understand better what's happening. I think more is better.

LEMON: Yes. Elie, when the Attorney General Merrick Garland came out to say that his department had filed a motion to make the warrant and the receipt public saying that there was substantial public interest, did that inadvertently make it harder to keep that -- the affidavit secret?

[22:15:03] HONIG: Well, that's interesting because I think Merrick Garland's calculation last week when he said let's give these documents was, yes, let's try to satiate the public interest. But the documents that Merrick Garland agreed to release last week that which we've now seen, it's six pages.

LEMON: Right.

HONIG: It's largely checklists, lists that say box O documents.

LEMON: Right.

HONIG: Right? It doesn't give us a lot of detail. This affidavit is completely different. I mean, we haven't seen it, but I've done a bunch of these, Don. These are 50, 700-page documents. This will be a narrative point by point explanation from DOJ. Here's our probable cause it won't name witnesses by name, but it will refer to witnesses in a way that they could probably be identified.

LEMON: But any -- any attorney, any investigator, any lawyer worth their salt can -- will probably be able to read between the lines of redacted parts and figure out exactly what's going on. Correct?

HONIG: We're all going to certainly try. And I think that's the problem for DOJ right now. How do you expose part of this document, which lays out your investigation but not some other part of it.

LEMON: Yes. Evan, Trump's team had multiple opportunities to say something in court in a filing or in person but they didn't say anything.

PEREZ: No, they've been saying everything on cable and on Twitter and in other venues, they've not done. They had someone there, as you said, Christina Bobb who was one of the people who was at the search, she was there when the FBI was searching.

And look, you've seen them say in some of these appearances on various networks, they've said that they want the -- they want to know who these witnesses were. They want to know who dropped the dime on the former president. And I get it. That's, you know, obviously anybody would want that.

That is not something that the judge is going to allow. Right? But the problem is, as Elie is pointing out, you know, it depends on how you do these redactions. We have seen redacted versions of these -- of these documents, and you know, have been able to figure things out. We probably, even in the unredacted versions, right, Don, there wouldn't be names of witnesses, but it'd say -- it'll say, you know, person a, or person one a, or something like that.

LEMON: Yes. But it'll say person one a saw whatever take the thin into the --


PEREZ: And it'll -- and it'll give enough clues -- LEMON: Right.

PEREZ: -- that we could figure it out, which I don't think anybody wants because you'll put those people in danger.

LEMON: Yes. Elie, let's talk about Trump, the Trump organization's former CFO Allen Weisselberg pleading guilty to his role in the 15- year tax fraud scheme. He's agreed to testify against Trump, that Trump's company, but you say, why do you say this is a win for Trump?

HONIG: Well, it's a win for Donald Trump because it means he's not going to be charged criminally in the Manhattan D.A. case. It's sort of a lose-lose for everybody else as plea, guilty pleas often are. For prosecutors they get a conviction of Allen Weisselberg. They get his testimony against the Trump organization, which is fine, but nobody goes to jail for that.

LEMON: So, but no one from the organization goes to this.

HONIG: Exactly.

LEMON: He's -- he can testify against the Trump organization.

HONIG: And this is why this whole thing is a fiction because when you prosecute a corporation, it's just paper. And if the corporation is found guilty, the only penalty is a fine, nobody goes to jail. You have to prosecute an individual to send an individual to jail. And the only person who's been prosecuted criminally by the Manhattan D.A. in connection is Allen Weisselberg.

For Weiselberg's point of view, he mitigates his potential exposure. He could have had a much longer sentence if he went to trial and lost. Now he's sort of locked in a lower sentence for himself. But from Donald Trump's point of view, he's probably not happy that Weisselberg is going to testify against his organization.

But boy, if I'm -- if I'm advising Donald Trump, I would say the big ticket is you, Donald Trump, and you are now safe from criminal charges in this case.

LEMON: And for considering his sentence and for 15 years, what does get like $1.5 million fine or something which was not --

HONIG: Yes, it's a -- it's a 15-year. It was a 15-year max. Now he's looking at it as a practical matter about three months behind bars and a fine.

LEMON: So, basically, he got up pretty easy.

HONIG: He did.

LEMON: He did?


LEMON: Thank you very much. Thanks, Evan. Thank you very much, Elie, as well.

Up next, a CNN exclusive. They say it is ludicrous. Ridiculous. And I quote here, "bullshit." That's what 18 top Trump officials say about his claims that he had a standing order to declassify any documents he took from the Oval Office.



LEMON: Now to a CNN exclusive. Eighteen former top Trump officials telling CNN the former president's claims of a standing order to declassify all documents he took out of the Oval Office are ludicrous, ridiculous and B.S. I'm going to have to say it again. Do I?

Joining me now is CNN's special correspondent, Jamie Gangel, and CNN's senior political commentator, David Axelrod. Hello to both of you. Thanks for joining.

Jamie --



LEMON: -- you spoke with these 18 former top Trump officials. They're calling this standing order patently false, and some even laughed at the idea of it.

GANGEL: They laughed at it. They scoffed at it. And they did call B.S. Look, Don, these were former White House officials, national security, intelligence, Justice Department. This includes Donald Trump's former chiefs of staff. Many of these people served in positions where they would either be included in the declassification process or at the very least, aware of such orders.

And each and every one of these 18 people dismissed, flatly dismissed the claim that Trump had some standing order to declassify documents that left the Oval Office and were taken up to the White House residence.

And, you know, the Trump administration you can't always get people to go on the record, but a lot of these people even when on the record, we're going to start with former White House chief of staff John Kelly who told me, get ready, quote, "nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given. And I can't imagine anyone that worked at the White House after me that would've simply shrugged their shoulders and allowed that order to go forward without dying in the ditch trying to stop it."


GANGEL: I also spoke to another chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. He flatly dismissed the idea and told me, quote, "he was not aware of any such general standing order. And former national security advisor John Bolton called it, quote. "a complete fiction." [22:20:03]

But as we say, Don, wait, there's more. Olivia Troye, former Homeland security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence at that time called it ludicrous. Another former senior intelligence official laughed and said it was ridiculous. And a very senior Trump administration official called it, quote, "bullshit." In fact, a couple of them did, Don.

LEMON: Yes. It's great reporting, but I mean, we kind of -- we kind of knew it, right? But especially the last part. Jamie, the president has declassification powers but there's still a process, right?

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: That you have to go through. What are your sources telling you about whether, you know, a sweeping rule like this would've possibly been documented? I mean, it should have been if it was --

GANGEL: Right.

LEMON: -- if he did enact this sweeping rule, it should have been documented.

GANGEL: So, you know, David Axelrod will be able to tell you better than I am, but yes, a president has broad powers to declassify, but there is a process and it's a very complicated process. One source said to me, show me the president's signature.

Lots of agencies get involved in this. It's not something that can be some idea in Donald Trump's head. It's he can't just wave a magic wand. And he certainly can't do it after the fact when he's not president anymore.

LEMON: She invoked your name, David Axelrod. You worked in the White House. You know how this is supposed to go.


LEMON: Have you ever seen anything like it?

AXELROD: No, and I don't think anybody who's ever worked in any White House has seen anything like it. I mean, the idea that a president could, you know, look in the mirror and ordain that documents, top secret documents are no longer secreted throw it in his bag with his snow globes and other souvenirs and haul it off to his home after he leaves office and store them in his basement is absurd on the face of it.

And there's a reason there's a very assiduous kind of classification process or declassification process because there are national security implications to documents that are highly classified. Now, there are cases of over classification and there are cases in which something that should have been classified at one point should no longer be classified. You know, that -- that is. And so, these things go -- these discussions go on all the time. But the idea that a president can by fiat do it. But Don, this is, this goes to the larger issue about Donald Trump. He believed, and he said when he was president and you remember this, that his power was absolute and that he -- and that the rules don't apply to him.

And that runs -- that's the theme that runs through so many of the things that we're dealing with right now from his denial of the election to January 6th to this, and it's dangerous for democracy. We are a nation of laws, not man.

LEMON: Right.

AXELROD: And for a president to arrogate to himself these authorities is very, very dangerous.

LEMON: I had Jon Sale on last night, attorney Jon Sale. And I talked to him about Trump's difficulty in getting seasoned legal representation, David. Sale is a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor who declined to represent Trump. This is what he said about Trump's potential legal defense. Listen to this.


JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: 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's attorney client privilege. There is executive privilege. There's a privilege that Eric Holder asserted called the deliberative process privilege. And all that has to be sorted out.

And I think I mis mentioned a minute -- a minute ago. There's no evidence based upon what's reported that the president, former president specifically knew what was there.


LEMON: So, David, if Trump is pushing this standing order line when there are reasonable legal arguments that he can make, is it -- is it at his own expense?

AXELROD: I don't understand. What do you mean is it at -- at his own extent?

LEMON: Is he -- is he negating if he's saying, you know, hey, well, you know, if he's pushing this line about, I have a standing order, is he sort of negating his own defense here?

AXELROD: Well, we'll see what, you know, one thing that we learned is the things that Donald --


LEMON: Things that you heard Jon Sale said in that, that there were legal arguments. He thought that there were legal arguments --


LEMON: -- to be made in defense of the former president.

AXELROD: Yes. I mean, but what we've learned before is that the arguments that Donald Trump makes in public aren't necessarily the arguments that he makes in court. I mean, I'm old enough to remember when Donald Trump said, you know, that people who take the fifth are by, you know, by definition guilty. And he did it like 440 times a week ago.


So, I don't know that what they would argue in court is necessarily this, and it's going to be very hard for them to argue this in court because it is so completely out of illogical. And if there's no paper stream and no recollection on the part of anyone giving, you can't just sort of, you know, sit alone in a room and say, I hereby just declassify everything that goes into my box here that I'm taking home with me. That's -- that's not the process. So, I don't think he's going to --


LEMON: You can -- he can't say that, but I don't think he doesn't necessarily make it so.

GANGER: Right.

AXELROD: Right. But I -- but, so, you know, one thing we've seen is that Donald Trump makes different arguments in public than he makes in courtrooms when he is under -- under the, you know, pressure of law. And so, I suspect that if this ever becomes a case, that they will make a different set of arguments, perhaps the -- perhaps the argument's more akin to what Sale is suggesting.

But, you know, there may be docu -- well, what we don't know. We don't know what these documents are and there may be some that fit none of the descriptions that he's talking about, and those are the ones that are problematic for Trump.

LEMON: Hey, Jamie, I just have a very quick one for you.


LEMON: He's also claiming that authorities could have gotten the documents if they asked. We know that's not true because they did ask for him. His -- his people signed a document saying that there were no more classified documents left at Mar-a-Lago and also saying that the documents were planted. What did your sources say to you?

GANGEL: The people -- this is -- this is ridiculous. This is Donald Trump throwing these things out there for the base. We heard today Kaitlan Collins reported that in two days he raised something like a million dollars. I think statements like that are about the fundraising that we're seeing and about communicating with his base.

If you speak, look, we didn't speak to a one source or five sources or six. We spoke to 18 people who were very senior who know what's going on. And they said it's simply not the case. And we certainly know from the archives. to your point, Don, that they asked over and over and over again, and then DOJ asked over and over again.

LEMON: Right. Yes. Thank you, Jamie. Thank you, David. I appreciate it.

GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: A stark warning from a DOJ lawyer. He says that the threats against the FBI are so serious releasing any additional information about the Mar-a-Lago could endanger investigators.



LEMON: A Justice Department lawyer warning that releasing the affidavit used for the FBI's search warrant of Mar-a-Lago could threaten the safety of agents. This, as the agency is already investigating an unprecedented number of threats against the bureau following its search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

Among them last week's attack on the FBI Cincinnati field office, an attack ended with an armed suspect, shot and killed following a standoff with police.

For more I want to bring in now CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd. Phil, good to see you. How you doing?


LEMON: So, listen, listen, prosecutors have until next Thursday, I believe to proposed redactions, but the DOJ lawyer saying that there are still risks to the FBI even with redactions. How much danger could unsealing this affidavit pose to the agents involved?

MUDD: Well, I don't think the affidavit itself is the danger. The danger itself is not what happened at Mar-a-Lago. The danger is looking forward and saying, if you have further events, for example, an indictment of the president or someone who's in -- who's in his inner circle. If you have further events, for example, 2024, when Republicans, including those who might be elected in the next election cycle, say that election was stolen.

I think the danger is looking forward where you have a seed that's planted among the American population and among pop -- politicians who will go to Congress who say we don't trust the government. I think personally, I probably shouldn't say this. I think the government is overstating the threat from the release of this document assuming that the government makes redactions that are substantial. And I think they're going to gut the document, Don.

LEMON: Yes. And what do you, what do you mean gut the document?

MUDD: Well, this is interesting. I was watching the media today and sort of in my mind having a mental game with the media, I think the media got it wrong. They're suggesting that both sides got something out of this. That is, information about that the raid might be revealed. That's something that maybe Republicans would want to see. But that the Department of Justice would have to say something.

Clearly, the Department of Justice doesn't want to say anything. Let me change that narrative for just a moment. If you get that document back from the -- at the Department of Justice, from the judge and the judge says, redact it.

Let me tell you as someone who's done that what you're going to do. What's the minimum we can give back to the judge, maybe 15, 20 percent of the document where he says, man, you really gutted this, but you left in a few things that help the American people understand this process.

The Department of Justice is going to gut the document and try to do it in a way that that the judge says, that's OK. I think we're going to get a "Leave it to Beaver" document, not a "Sex in the City" document. It's going to be much more boring than we anticipate, Don.

LEMON: Do I really want you to explain that?

MUDD: Come on, "Leave it to Beaver." I mean, I guess that's in 1950s. I was born in just to be clear in 1961. I didn't actually see "Leave it to Beaver," but it's boring. "Sex in the City" I did see that. That's interesting. The document is going to be boring. How much do I need to explain to you, Don?


LEMON: As someone who watches "Leave it to Beaver" reruns all the time? I do not think it's boring, by the way.

So, listen, Trump is said to be considering whether to release the surveillance footage from the Mar-a-Lago search. And we already saw the release of a copy of the unredacted warrant, which included names of FBI agents. Wouldn't releasing this video just add fuel to the fire? No?

MUDD: This story, I think is under reported. Let's put a few pieces together. You see how much by Liz Cheney lost by?


MUDD: Unprecedented almost. She lost by almost 40 points. My point is, the American people are saying not only they're angry, they're saying we don't like the January 6th commission or think you're overrating what happened in January 6th.

You fast forward to what Republicans said at the time of the raid. They're saying defund the FBI, some are saying, that's Paul Gosar, destroy the FBI. So there's a backdrop that says people don't trust government and Republicans are willing to say one of the most conservative institutions in government, the FBI, you should destroy it.

Now, the go -- the president, the former president is talking about releasing video. I assume that's because he wants to show that they raided the -- his house in such a way that was inappropriate, dangerous, Don, that's really dangerous.

LEMON: But let me just tweak what you said. It's not the American people. It's Republicans in Wyoming who, you're, if you're talking about Liz Cheney. That's not the same thing.

MUDD: Yes. But if you look at the number of people who think January 6th is illegitimate, that's a -- and the number of people who continue to support the president, that's a large percentage of the population.

LEMON: It's not the full American people who -- I don't. I think most people think that the election is legitimate.

MUDD: Fair enough. It's enough to be concerned if you're walking into FBI office and you wonder whether someone is going to come there with an AR-15 the next day.

LEMON: Yes, I, well, I agree with you on that, but I mean, if you're equating it to what happened to Liz Cheney on Tuesday, then that's -- that's, a, as my grandmother would say, that's a horse of another color.

So, listen, since we're going to old school references, you know, Leave it to Beaver" and such. So, CNN's Josh Campbell spoke with FBI agents about the threats that they're facing. Some are carrying additional weapons. They're carrying additional ammunition. You're talking about the FBI.

Another saying that he now leaves home early so that he can have time to circle around and scan his field office for threats. You say that you've talked to a couple of people. What are you hearing?

MUDD: Well, I mean, I, even personally, when I go to a restaurant, I have to look around and I was talking to my girlfriend about this about an hour ago, look around and say, you know, I -- I've been out for 12 years but I am on TV shows once in a while, you have to look around and say, is there anybody you should be concerned about. When someone approaches you in an airport, my first question is where their hands and how agitated are they.

If you're an FBI employee, remember that's a public institution. You have to go to court. You have to deal with citizens on things like cyber security. FBI agents, every day are going out to companies across America and cities talking to companies about cyber security.

You have to let witnesses and informants into an FBI office to talk to them. You have to drive to the office and those offices and contrast to the CIA facilities I worked in, those offices are public. So, if you want to tell me that an FBI -- there's 35,000 FBI employees, that an FBI employee today in a public institution, isn't more worried about their personal safety than they were two weeks ago. Nuts.

LEMON: Right.

MUDD: If I were in the inside and I'm on the outside now, I would be very nervous, Don.


MUDD: Somebody is looking out as they did in Cincinnati saying, I hate these people. What do I do about it?

LEMON: Yes. I can't disagree with you on that. Thank you, sir. Eddie Haskell, I appreciate it.

MUDD: Thanks, Don. See you.


MUDD: "Leave it to Beaver."

LEMON: Thanks. It wasn't long ago that Republicans were favored to take back the Senate, but Mitch McConnell is now sounding a lot less of the -- thought less sure, I should say, about how the midterms will shake up.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: When all is said and done this fall, we're likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.




LEMON: It may be hard to believe but court records show some people charged in the January 6th riot, violent and deadly insurrection that not only stain the U.S. Capitol, but American democracy itself are trying to make a buck off of it.

CNN's Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who would've thought one of the darkest days of American democracy would produce such a silver lining for some. Yet, court documents showing case after case people charged in the January 6th attack trying to cash in, selling merchandise, Hawking books and fundraising for legal and other expenses.

Is that OK? We ask Ken White, a criminal defense lawyer, and former assistant U.S. attorney.

KEN WHITE, ATTORNEY, BROWN, WHITE, & OSBORN: Well, there's nothing against the law about it as long as they're not getting the money by lying about what's happening. So, you're allowed to fundraise to defend yourself. You're even allowed to make money by talking about some crime you've committed.

FOREMAN: Court records of people charged surveyed by the Associated Press and confirmed by CNN found a Washington state man who walked with the Proud Boys that day later helping his dad sell t-shirts, baseball caps, water bottles, and decals lionizing the event.

A rapper from Virginia who was charged, nonetheless, putting out a new album with a picture of himself in the fray atop a police vehicle. A California doctor who was sentenced to 60 days for trespassing that day has ties to an anti-vax group that raised more than $400,000 claiming she was persecuted. The judge called that a disservice to the true victims.

And there was the main man who relied on a public defender then went online and raised more than 20,000 for his defense. Prosecutors would like the court to be reimbursed.


Again, none of this money making is illegal, but --

WHITE: What makes good public relations is very different than what makes good courtroom strategy. The smartest thing to do in court is, which is almost always just to shut up.

FOREMAN: The gold rush goes beyond those charge. The Patriot Freedom Project has been seeking to raise hundreds of thousands online in the name of helping defendants and their families.

CYNTHIA HUGHES, PRESIDENT, PATRIOT FREEDOM PROJECT: We need somebody to drop us $500,000 today. Today, Steve. Because we need to have our own attorneys on these cases.

FOREMAN: And while some giggled at right wing firebrand Senator Josh Hawley running from the fray, he started selling coffee mugs of a different moment that day, laughing all the way to the bank.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Thank you for all the help with my fundraising. It's been tremendous.


FOREMAN: We've had little success connecting with the people in these cases for further comment, but without doubt, many who were charged have lost jobs and savings and they could use the money. It's just a little odd to see them trying to find it back where their legal troubles began. Don?

LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

Races in the Senate looking a lot closer than they were just a few months ago. We're going to break it down. That's next.



LEMON: First on CNN, the Biden administration announcing a series of new steps today to battle the spread of monkeypox. The CDC now saying more than 13,500 cases have been reported in the United States. Demand for the monkeypox vaccine is high. So, the administration is making an additional 1.8 million doses available. It's also accelerating the federal government's vaccine distribution timeline and is launching a program that to make more vaccines available to at risk communities like LGBTQ Americans.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We anticipate that with the gay pride events, southern decade and some gay pride in some of the southern states and in other states that we will now by prepositioning a considerable number of doses of vaccine, we'll be able to handle it and get our arms around this so that we don't see further spread.


LEMON: CDC guidance states that monkeypox can spread to anyone through close contact, which is often skin to skin, as well as intimate contact. That includes sex, hugging, massaging, and kissing.

A judge unsealing some important documents on the Mar-a-Lago search and there could be more on the way. The latest on the investigation, next.



LEMON: A Florida judge moving us one step closer to possibly seeing a redacted version of the Mar-a-Lago affidavit. Judge Bruce Reinhart giving the DOJ a week to explain everything they say needs to be kept secret.

And CNN exclusive reporting tonight, 18 top Trump administration officials demolishing the former president's claim that he had a standing order to declassify documents he took from the Oval Office.

Let's bring in now Mr. Norm Eisen who was House judiciary special counsel in Trump's first impeachment trial. Also, CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump," and Chris Whipple, the author of "The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency."

Gentleman, good evening. So good to see all of you.


LEMON: So, OK. Before I ask you all of this, how much of this are we going to see if any of it, Norm? NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think you're going to see quite a bit, Don. You'll have certain key details redacted, the names of witnesses, some identifying information about the witnesses. Of course, the classified information that is in there. But what we're going to get is the details that led DOJ, and then a federal magistrate judge to conclude --


LEMON: Even in the redacted?

EISEN: -- probable cause of crime. Yes. Even in the redacted. Done, it will be even more tantalizing. You know how when pieces are hidden, there'll be a guessing game. I think it is going to be a lot. And I think it's going to set off a firestorm, not a good one for Trump.

LEMON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Why do you say that?

EISEN: It's only half of the story. OK? It's only the government's half of the story. Is he going to then answer and make his public defense? Is he going to give away the -- or is he going to continue with the litany of lies? You know, his credibility is so low, so I think it's going to be bad for him.

LEMON: Do you guys agree with him? Do you agree with him, Chris?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE GATEKEEPERS: Well, I think one of the key questions is, you know, we're going to learn a lot more once we see the redacted version, but does it go beyond just the taking documents to Mar -- Mar-a-Lago. Not to minimize that because we know that's a crime even if the information is not classified.

But I think one of the big questions. I just have knowing Trump and knowing what's going on it just seems to me that the notion that this president who had utter contempt for intelligence classified or otherwise, who'd never even read the PDB would suddenly hatch some scheme to spirit classified documents away, hide them in the Mar-a- Lago basements, and then somehow monetize them or blackmail Emmanuel Macron is pretty far-fetched.


WHIPPLE: So, I think that it may -- it may come down to Trump is somebody who he's a rule breaker, and this may be all about rule breaking may just be the point here. He was told he couldn't take this stuff. He took it. It's a crime. And we'll see if he's held accountable.

LEMON: PBD meaning the presidential daily briefing. Right?

WHIPPLE: Exactly.

LEMON: As you're talking about. I mean, listen, makes perfect sense what he's saying.

D'ANTONIO: Yes. LEMON: I mean, why would he do it? We don't know, but yet still, you're not excusing his behavior.

WHIPPLE: Not at all. Not at all.

LEMON: Because he still, he still, he broke the rules. You said he's a rule breaker. He broke the rules.

D'ANTONIO: Well, he did break the rules, but one of the great ironies here is that he hasn't been able to predict, as Norm suggested what may happen now that he's broken the rules because he's never existed in this context. He's always been a person who's set the rules ahead of time, understood them better than anyone else. He would say, well, I'm as good as a lawyer. I don't need so many lawyers because I know the law better than anyone.

He, even as a person was so great about. These references, and also the references to him being able to declassify things is he would tell people, I hit a home run at a baseball game and they'd say, no, he didn't. He said, no, I did. Maybe because he could do anything after the fact he hit --


LEMON: I got hole in one.

D'ANTONIO: Right. Many holes in one. You know, he's like God, he shot an 18. I mean, it's just, he can't predict what's going to happen.


But I do agree with Chris.