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Don Lemon Tonight

Dozens Of Empty Folders With "Classified" Banners Found At Mar- A-Lago; President Biden: MAGA Extremism Threatens "Very Foundations Of Our Republic"; Chicago's Mayor Slams Texas Gov. Over Busing Of Migrants. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates and DON LEMON TONIGHT.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thank you so much. It's nice to see you, John.

And, I know, people, right now, are probably thinking, "Do we watch CNN? Do we watch Serena?" You choose. We got DVR. It's fine, everyone.

This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Laura Coates, and I'm in for Don Lemon.

Look, they said they wanted transparency. And boy, did they get it?

The judge, today, releasing a detailed inventory, from the Mar-a-Lago search, a 11 whole pages, laying out exactly what investigators found, at the former President's home. We're talking more than 11,000 non- classified government documents, as well.

But there's more. 18 documents, marked "Top Secret," 54 marked "Secret," and 31 marked "Confidential." That's - what did they call it before? An overdue library book? Well, this certainly is not that. That's quite a massive haul of documents that are actually the property of the United States government, not of a former president.

Frankly, I mean, it's astonishing. It's unprecedented. But don't take my word for it. Listen to the former Attorney General, Bill Barr, who was on Fox News, today. That's right, Fox!


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me just say, I think, the driver on this, from the beginning was, you know, loads of classified information, sitting in Mar-a-Lago. People say, this was unprecedented. Well, it's also unprecedented, for a president, to take all this classified information, and put them in a country club, OK?

And how long is the government going to try to get that back? You know, they jawbone for a year. They were deceived, on the voluntary actions taken. They then went, and got a subpoena. They were deceived on that, they feel, and the record - the facts are starting to show that they were being jerked around. And so, how long, you know, how long do they wait? (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: I mean, that's, that's a good question. And it's probably one that was asked, before they went for that search warrant.

And also found in the search of Mar-a-Lago, dozens of empty folders with "Classified" bands. That's right, empty folders.

Now, we don't actually know whether that means that documents were actually previously inside, of those folders, and documents were then mishandled, or were these documents are right now that might have been in those folders, let alone the big question still, of what was on and in these documents.

A source telling CNN, folders like these are actually often reused, which might be news to many people. But you know what? It actually raises a lot of questions. And these might be questions, we may never get the answers to, at least at this part of an investigation.

And I don't want anyone to forget, the ruling on Trump's team request, for a Special Master. It has not come yet, but it could very well come at any moment.

The former A.G. had something to say about that issue, too.


BARR: I think the whole idea of a Special Master is a bit of a red herring. At this stage, since they've already gone through the documents, I think it's a waste of time.


COATES: I mean, can you really unring that bell now, and several weeks after that search was even executed?

And brand-new tonight, sources telling CNN that Mark Meadows handed over text messages, and email, to the National Archives, within a week of the search of Mar-a-Lago. That's interesting!

I want to bring in CNN National Correspondent, Kristen Holmes; and CNN Political Correspondent, Sara Murray. Also here tonight, former U.S. attorney, Harry Litman; and former Senior CIA Operations Officer, Douglas London, who's Author of "The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence."

What a panel to have tonight, especially with the new news out, right now.

Let me begin here with you, Sara. Can you tell us more about this inventory that was unsealed, today? Had some interesting notions in there.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Laura. I mean, it was quite a haul. So, we're talking about 11,000 government documents that were not classified, 103 documents with "Classified" markings, of all different levels "Secret," "Top Secret," "Confidential."

You had those folders that you mentioned, that didn't have documents in them, but had these "Classified" banners on them.

They also took a bunch of boxes of stuff, out of the former President's office. And those boxes include 27 classified documents.

And a lot of this stuff, a lot of these government documents that were not classified, a lot of the classified documents are intermingled with all this other stuff, magazines, newspaper clippings, articles of clothing, gifts. That kind of gives you a sense of how chaotically, all this stuff was being stored.

COATES: That's, I mean, almost something as a kind of a junk drawer, in someone's house, right?

MURRAY: Right, yes.

COATES: All these things, where you're pulling stuff out, maybe a screwdriver comes out, who knows?

Douglas, talk to me about these empty folders.

Because, many people, you could almost hear the retort, or say, "Hold on a second. We saw that picture that was attached to that lengthy motion from the government. Are we saying that these were just empty folders, we're talking about?"

What is your take or concern about the fact that you did have at least some empty folders there?


DOUGLAS LONDON, FORMER SENIOR CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, it certainly raises a lot of questions, more questions than answers.

The folders have to match whatever the classification is, for the documents that are enclosed. And you're talking about the president's secretary. This was not just somebody at their desk, ad hoc just reusing folders. This was the professional staff of the President of the United States.

So, you'd imagine that there's tracking because anything we, the CIA, would send, to the White House, to the NSC, had tracking numbers, and you knew specifically who had what document, who passed it on to whom, because there was also a signing sheet.

And another thing to note, from the picture, and the other inventory, being listed today? The president - the former President talks about having declassified, and certainly, he had the authorities to do so. But had any of those documents been declassified, they would have either been blacked out, or crossed out, as you could go online, and find, in Declassified Documents, today. COATES: Not - you don't mean redacted. You mean, the actual label would have been crossed out, in some way--


COATES: --that you would have known this has--

LONDON: Laura, the actual label.

COATES: --actually been declassified.

LONDON: Right. They go through.

COATES: You know?

LONDON: They cross out "Secret, No Foreign," on the headers, and footers, throughout the document, as well as the label.

COATES: And on that notion, of tracking, by the way, when you talk about that, I mean, there are some documents, I think that are included, where it was noted to have this return to some form of a person, whose job it was, to then bring it back to the original source of information, in terms of the entity and the agency.

Is that pretty standard? And why would those folders still be with the President?

LONDON: Well, for context, the President doesn't get long documents. Generally, for example, a President's daily brief is usually one page. It comes with a package that the briefer has that has all sorts of other background, and details, and even anticipated questions that the President might ask. If the President gets a very streamlined version, supported by briefs, like PowerPoints, if you would, storyboards and such like that.

So, he might have had documents, to be returned to his aides that were left in some sort of briefing. But they themselves would generally be small. And some of those folders that we saw laid out by the FBI look far thicker than what we normally see, going to the Chief Executive.

COATES: That's important to know.

And Harry, on that point, I had the impression of sort of cliff notes, as he's talking about this, from the old school days, when you didn't feel like reading the whole Shakespeare thing, and you had the sidebar of it. I'm not accusing you of that, Harry, of course. You were a very thorough student, I can imagine.

But I have to ask you, when you are looking at this, as a prosecutor, in particular, and you see that some of these classified documents were stored with press clippings, and gifts, and at some point, I think there was passports involved, at one point in time, what does a prosecutor in DOJ, think about that? What would that tell you, in terms of maybe possession?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, HOST, "TALKING FEDS" PODCAST: Yes, so your spider-sense on the passport, in particular, says, "Hey, these were with him. Where do you store your passport? Not pell-mell in the storage room. That's your stuff. Those are your important documents."

So, at least those - at least three classified documents that were with him, it seems to really point at possession and, therefore, everything we know, knowing concealment.

But this also makes everything about January, way back when, feel different, to me. We had this sort of image of his grabbing up some stuff, stuffing them in a few bags.

You would need a dumpster, for all this stuff! This was an operation of just grabbing, tens of thousands of documents, along with the classified stuff. So that all looks very different too. Because, you know, he had some exercise of control over it. So, it looks different from the inception.

And then, the whole course, of 20 months, where he's saying, "Well here, you can have this back. But we're all done now." And we know that he's whittling down, on an enormous pile. It's not forgetting a few things here, and few things there. That makes obstruction, also, and in terms of the knowing concealment of documents, more provable. That's how you feel, as a prosecutor, I think.

COATES: It also makes me think for you to have that much information, and documents, you had to have help, to get everything down there. So, my radar expands even more so.

LITMAN: That means witnesses.

COATES: Witnesses.


COATES: It means people, who may have been a source of information to say--


COATES: --"Here's what's down there."

Kristen, I want to turn to you, here, because you've got some new reporting tonight, about Trump's former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, turning over records, to the National Archives. What do you know?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura. These are brand-new details that show the level of engagement, between Meadows, and the National Archives, as well as what he actually turned over to the agency.

So, what we've learned is that a week, or within the week, actually, of that search, Meadows turned over texts, as well as emails, to the National Archives. Now, this was part of an earlier request, for all electronic correspondence that falls under the Presidential Records Act.

And what's interesting here is that the National Archives only realized that they hadn't gotten everything, from Meadows, when they saw what he turned over, to the January 6th committee.


Now, I do want to be very clear that this is not the same as what was going on with Trump. The Archives views Meadows as cooperating that this is how it should work. This is not something that they're going to refer to the Department of Justice.

But one thing to point out here that in addition to his own records, his own correspondence that he has turned over, we have also learned that he was helping try and get Trump, to turn over those documents that were down, at Mar-a-Lago.

We learned about a meeting, last summer, in 2021, in which Meadows went to Trump, after being contacted, by another designee, to the Archives, Meadows himself is also a designee, and basically tried to get him to return the documents. Now, obviously, we don't know the details of that conversation. But we see where it ended up, which was not actually turning over, all of those documents.

Now, in terms of the timing, I do want to note, we have conflicting sources, here.

We have one saying, this had nothing to do with the search that, this was planned, to turn these over. That just happened to be this was the timing.

We have another source, who was familiar, with the matter, who said, maybe a coincidence, but we did get more information than we had ever gotten before, after the search.

COATES: Wow! You know what they say about coincidences in a courtroom? They don't happen!

Sara, on this point as well, I mean, back to Mar-a-Lago, it's been more than a full day, since the hearing, over that Special Master request. I mean, here we are. It's 9 o'clock, on a Friday night. Labor Day weekend is upon us. We still don't have anything from a judge.

And I'm just wondering, do we have any idea when it might be coming?

MURRAY: Well, tick-tock, right? The judge said that she would issue her ruling, in writing, in due course. She did not offer any other details about what due course means.

But you can imagine, since she did not decide, to issue this ruling, from the bench, that she is going to be thoughtful, she is going to spend a little time, in writing this up.

Maybe that's how she's spending her Friday night, and going into this holiday weekend? Maybe she's just putting the finishing touches on it, and it'll be out any minute now? Maybe she's waiting until next week? She really did not get a hint, about how long she was going to take to craft this writing.

COATES: 20 bucks says she's watching the U.S. Open, right now, and she's like, "Look, just give me my Friday night. It might be Serena's last match. I do not know. I'll get it to you, in due course."

Harry, that's the beauty of an Article III judge, right? They sort of got life tenure. They'll do what they'd like to do.

I want to play for a second, though a little bit more of what Barr had to say about the case, today.


COATES: Listen to this, and I want you to respond.


BARR: What people are missing is that all the other documents taken, even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government, because they're government records. Even if they're classified, even if they're subject to executive privilege, they still belong to the government, and go to the Archives.

And any other documents that were seized, like news clippings, and other things that were in the boxes, containing the classified information? Those were seizable, under the warrant, because they show the conditions, under which the classified information was being held.

So, I think it's a red herring.


COATES: Do you agree?

LITMAN: 100 percent. Look, it's axiomatic. But there's something that follows from it, which is executive privilege is perfectly meaningless here. This is government stuff, by the Executive branch. Even if you found executive privilege, what would you do? Give it back to the Archives.

So, that really - she is contemplating a blunder. And look, I understand, she's going in due course. Most judges would have - would have issued it by now. But to me, the question is, is she taking her time, at writing, or thinking it through? If she hasn't figured out by now, there's really no executive privilege claim, to hunt. And I'm nervous anyway!

COATES: Well, we'll see. I mean, obviously, there's a huge magnifying glass, over this case, that's got to be a part of the notion and calculation.


COATES: Sara, Douglas, Harry, Kristen, nice to see you all.

MURRAY: Thanks. LITMAN: Thank you. Thanks, Laura.


LITMAN: Go Serena!

COATES: I heard him say, "Go Serena," at the end, there. See, I caught that.

And for those, the comments about election-deniers, and the assault, on the vote? Well, there's a lot going on there. But is there an even more serious threat, to our democracy? I'm going to talk about it, with the former U.S. senator, who says, "Absolutely."



COATES: Well, Republicans were pretty quick to denounce President Biden's speech, on democracy, last night, casting him as a divisive and angry figure.

But if you listen to the substance of his speech, he seemed to be directing his ire, at election-deniers, and endorsers of political violence, those he calls "MAGA Republicans," and pointing to them as the true dividers of this nation.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they're working, right now, as I speak, in state after state, to give power, to decide elections, in America, to partisans and cronies, empowering election-deniers, to undermine democracy itself.

They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence.

I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None. Ever.


BIDEN: We can't afford to have - leave anyone on the sidelines. We need everyone to do their part. So, speak up! Speak out! Get engaged! Vote! Vote! Vote!



COATES: I mean, democracy is not and never has been a spectator sport, as they say. But is voting enough, to protect and preserve our democracy?


I'm going to get some perspective now, from a scholar of constitutional law, and former U.S. senator, from Wisconsin, Russ Feingold. He's also the author - the co-author, of the newly published book, "The Constitution in Jeopardy."

Nice to see you here, tonight, Senator. And you're from Wisconsin. I'm from Minnesota. It's OK. You can stay. It's fine.


COATES: It's fine today.

But listen, President Biden has been really not pulling any punches, saying that in order to save democracy, as a nation, it's critical, for us, to unite, in rejecting Trump and, as he says, MAGA Republicans.

First, do you agree with that characterization? And do you think that he goes far enough, to try to distinguish MAGA Republicans, from mainstream Republicans? Or is it getting lost in translation?

FEINGOLD: Laura, he didn't have to do this. He's been on a political roll. I mean, he's doing very well, with the jobs, and this major legislation, about anti-inflation, and climate. And he's filled the judiciary, with many good progressive and diverse judges. He's doing very well.

He didn't have to do this for political reasons. He did it because he cares about this country, and he cares about our democracy. And he had to call out these MAGA supporters, who are trying to subvert our democracy.

And just to show this just isn't a partisan comment, it's like what Liz Cheney has done. A very conservative Republican, who actually is giving up her House seat, because she cares more about our democracy, and our country, than just politics. So, I think the President is doing the right thing. And I'm proud of him for it.

COATES: You get the impression, sometimes - and as you know, in Washington, D.C., it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

There have been those, who've been very critical of the president, for not addressing, or confronting the so-called MAGA Republicans, and being too timid, and not showcasing enough of his frustration, over what's happening.

But then, you also have this, going back to even his inaugural speech, and address, the idea of being united, the idea of trying to battle for the soul of the nation, to bring people together.

Kevin McCarthy, and frankly, other Republicans, are saying that Biden is tarring 76 million people, who voted for Trump, with this MAGA label.

And it's odd to me, in a way, because I, as you've said, there is a spectrum, in the Republican Party, there's a spectrum in the Democratic Party, as well. And I just wonder, is this a trap in some ways that you see, the idea of trying to get him to go beyond that distinction?

FEINGOLD: Yes, I think, they'd love to do that. But the President couldn't have been more careful. He said, "I'm not talking about all Republicans."

I served with Joe Biden, in the Senate. We worked closely, with Republicans. We both worked closely with John McCain.

Everybody knows that he doesn't have this attitude about all Republicans. It's just a group of MAGA supporters, who are willing to do anything, to support the assault, on the Capitol, to subvert our elections, at the state level, to deny the election results, themselves.

This is what they're doing. They're anti-democratic. And the ultimate symbol of our democracy is the president. He better call them out. He did the right thing.

COATES: Now, you lost your seat, to Senator Ron Johnson, back in 2010. And he, as you know, has been a very pro-Trump Republican, and his office was implicated in an attempt to pass on a slate of fake electors, to the Vice President.

And I'm wondering what the feeling is on the ground in Wisconsin? What are people saying, about this attention, being directed, to your home state?

FEINGOLD: Well, we've had a lot of attention, in the last few years. And part of the reason is that we do have people running our state legislature, who are part of this movement, people that are election- deniers, people that are willing to mess around with our State Supreme Court, and who are willing to try to limit the right to vote in our state. So, there have been some bad trends.

And the sad thing is because of gerrymandering, even though we have a Democratic governor, and a Democratic Attorney General, the legislature is still dominated, by very far-right people, who are doing great damage, to our state.

COATES: Now, you have it your - a new book out, which I assume talks about part of those aspects. I mean, it's called "The Constitution in Jeopardy." And, as you know, and you've talked about, there is an ongoing effort, to restrict voting rights, to try to - there's attempts, at election subversion, as you know.

But you say, and it's included in your new book that there is something even more serious to worry about, and it's right in Article V of the Constitution. Tell me what it is.

FEINGOLD: That's right. And I hate to do it, because people already have a pretty full plate of things, to be worried about.

But this is the same crowd, people like John Eastman, same people, the MAGA supporters, who want to have a mechanism used in the Constitution that's never been used before.

It's legal. But what it is, is only 34 States can call a convention, and Congress has to call it. And they want to have far-right people, chosen by conservative state legislatures, completely rewrite our Constitution. They can essentially do anything.


What they want to do is greatly restrict the power of the federal government, to act on things, such as climate, such as the environment. They want to make the income tax impossible. They want to make sure that we don't have the kind of regulations that we need to protect workers. They want to gut voting rights and civil rights. And they can do all of this, if they are able to call this convention.

So, we're trying to tell people, look, we have to, instead of being behind it this time, we have to be, in there, trying to make sure that this convention doesn't get called. There needs to be changes in the Constitution, but not by a far-right MAGA-supported minority, dominating that convention. And that is a very present threat.

That's what our book that Peter Prindiville and I have written, "The Constitution in Jeopardy" is all about, and people need to be aware of it. We want to make them aware of it.

COATES: I'm so glad you are. It's better to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. We know, of course, what happens, when we are. We often get flat-footed.

Senator, nice speaking with you, this evening. Thank you.

FEINGOLD: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Well, the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, is facing a lot of heat, for his strategy, of busing migrants, to cities, outside of the great State of Texas. And Chicago's Mayor is saying that he's playing with people's lives.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D) CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Governor Abbott has confirmed what unfortunately many of us had already known: that he is a man without any morals, humanity or shame.




COATES: Well, new tonight, another bus, carrying migrants, leaving from El Paso, and heading to New York City. It's the sixth bus, to make its way, to the Big Apple. This, as Texas governor, Greg Abbott, continues to come under a lot of fire, from New York and, frankly, other city mayors, for his busing strategy.

Here's what Chicago mayor, Lori Lightfoot, had to say, about it, just yesterday.


LIGHTFOOT: Governor Abbott's racist, and xenophobic practices of expulsion have only amplified the challenges many of these migrants have experienced, on their journey, to find a safe place.

Governor Abbott has confirmed what unfortunately many of us had already known: that he is a man without any morals, humanity or shame.


COATES: Let's see what our next guests think about those comments. CNN Political Commentators, Maria Cardona, and Alice Stewart, are with me now.

Look, I want to begin, with these two wonderful ladies. We have this great podcast too, by the way, "Hot Mics." You're here with me now.

Alice, let me begin with you. Because look, Mayor Lightfoot, very critical of what he had to say, of what he is doing.

He actually first announced his busing program, back in April. And since then, just for the figures, they have bussed more than 9,000 migrants, from Texas, to so-called sanctuary cities, like Washington, D.C., like New York and, of course, now Chicago.

Obviously, he is making a political point that he thinks that they should all share what he perceives, as a kind of burden, of people who are migrating, to his border state. Is this the right way to go about doing that?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, when you look at the influx of immigrants, into Texas, he had no choice.

And as you mentioned, back in April, they started Operation Lone Star. And what that did is it really worked with many agencies, to secure the border, and stop the flow, of not just people, but weapons and drugs, into this country.

And part of that plan, to reduce the burden, on these border towns, was to send these people, to other cities, sanctuary cities, specifically, as you mentioned, New York, D.C., and Chicago. And the goal for this was to alleviate some of the burden, on these towns, and also to increase the safety, in the State of Texas.

And I'm shocked to see Mayor Lightfoot's reaction, to this, because the City of Chicago has a Welcome City Ordinance, which means they are a sanctuary city, which means they welcome people, into their city, and will provide safe haven, as well as any necessary needs, for people, in this situation.

So, the fact that they are a sanctuary city, and she is put out by the fact that they are actually having to do that, it really doesn't make sense.

COATES: Maria, is Mayor Lightfoot put out by it, the fact that she'd have to embrace, and welcome those who have migrated, through this bus system? Or is it the fact that she believes they're used as pawns?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's the fact that she believes that Greg Abbott is using these migrants, these human beings, as weapons, as pawns, as trash, to be gotten rid of, because he doesn't want to deal with it. And that's the point of her comments. And she's absolutely right.

They are xenophobic. They are racist. They are absolutely devoid of any real solution. And it betrays that Governor Abbott not only has no idea how to solve this problem, but that he doesn't care about how to do it. He only cares about a political stunt that is costing Texans, $12 million, and more, every day. It's not making Texas any safer.

And frankly, he is betraying American values, which are that you should welcome migrants, who are looking, for a better life, for themselves, and their children, and doing it, in a way that is orderly, and that is cooperative.

Look, if he had called these mayors, and these governors, and say, "Hey, we need to figure this out. Can you all help me?" If he had worked with the federal government, and with these state governments, I guarantee you that these governors, as they are doing even now, would have said, yes, would have done it with open arms.

But he is doing this out of spite. He is not doing this out of any kind of grace.


CARDONA: And I take this issue, personally. As you know, I am a migrant, an immigrant, from Colombia. Many of these are from Colombia, from Venezuela, from places that are fleeing dictatorships, and they want asylum. This is cruel, and it's inhumane.

COATES: Well, on that point--


COATES: --Alice, I want to ask you this question, because, and one of the things that Governor Abbott is doing is he believes that there has not been a solution, from the federal government.


They don't like the immigration policy. There is fair criticism, of course, of our immigration policy. And there has been a lot of absorption, the idea that Maria's saying that many of these sanctuary cities' mayors would be able to be responsive, and would immediately absorb, and respond. Do you believe that?

I mean, we know there are some numbers. They're already very stretched out, in their budgets. You've got New York alone, had to accommodate, I think, 1,000 new students. That's quite a figure.

Is Abbott on to something, in his - I mean, obviously, there's criticism of it. But the idea of saying, "Well, look, you've said, you want to welcome. Here's an opportunity. You would not have responded to my calls."

STEWART: Absolutely. And look, the State of Texas has already spent $4 billion, in the last several years, to work and secure the border, and to bring these people in, and provide the necessary housing, and needs that they have.

Look, if there are any phone calls that need to be made, it is - with these cities, New York, D.C., and Chicago, who are outraged at having to do what they have promised to do? They need to be calling the President of the United States, and asking him to secure the border, and make sure that we do what we can, to prevent these people, coming into this country. That's the phone call that needs to be made. But when the President of the United States--

COATES: But Alice, hold on, one second. Excuse me. I want in that point, though. What do you say to the fact that - I mean, you can't deny that the idea of how Governor Abbott has gone about it is intended to be a bit of a calling of a political bluff, right?

There is certainly that notion, the coordination aside, there is something political in nature, about what he's doing, right?


COATES: They're not going to just any city or a border state. They're going to these particularly Democratic mayor-run towns. There - is the politics in that undermining the message?

STEWART: Look, he has acknowledged the fact that these cities, sanctuary cities, would be the first people, Democratic mayors, would have an opportunity, to call the President of the United States.

And he has acknowledged the fact that if nothing else, we're calling attention to the crisis, at the border, and the influx of people, and while this might not be the customary way to do so.

And yes, I've worked at the state government level, and situations like this. Normally, there's coordination on both sides. That didn't happen in this case.

But clearly, Governor Abbott's job here, and goal here, is to reduce the burden, at the state level, call attention to the crisis of the border, and hope that these mayors that are receiving these people, will take action, and call attention, to the President of the United States, in an effort, to try and do more, to secure the border, and stop the influx.

CARDONA: You know--

COATES: I'll give you the last word, Maria.

CARDONA: I love my friend Alice. But that's just not a reality. Greg Abbott has no interest in solving this.

And look, let's be real. If he did have interest, in solving this, he would call his friends, in the Republican Congress, and in the Senate, to say, "Hey, you all need to get with Democrats, who have a solution in hand, for comprehensive immigration reform" that would continue to secure the border, and find a pathway to citizenship, and a way for these migrants to come in.

We are at full employment, Laura. Corporations, and companies, all across the country, are begging for workers. Let's find a way to put these immigrants to work. That's why they came here.

But these governors, these Republican governors, have no interest, in solving this. They only want to use this as political stunts. And I think it's going to be hurtful for them, and their party, hurtful for them, politically, because it's really betraying, what they really think about immigrants. They think that they're trash.

COATES: We will see how this all unfolds. And again, if there's an ick factor, ladies, right, the word "Burden," in the same paragraph, we're talking about human beings?

CARDONA: That's right.

COATES: I recognize there's the politics. I get, it's all there. We three, of course, are human beings. And we have to acknowledge that as well.

Thank you ladies. Nice seeing both of you.

CARDONA: Thank you so much, Laura.

STEWART: You too, Laura. Thank you.

COATES: Look, there's an intense match, for Serena Williams, in the third round, of the U.S. Open. And we're going to go there, next.



COATES: Tennis superstar, well let's just call her an icon, Serena Williams, is forcing a decisive third set, in tonight's third round singles match, against her Australian opponent.

I'm going to go, right now, to CNN's Don Riddell, who is there, right now.

Don, you are at Flushing Meadows, tonight. The match is almost over. Bring us up to speed. What's going on? DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, WORLD SPORT: Well, it couldn't be any tighter, really, Laura. I mean it is tense. It is tight. It is nervous. It is dramatic. It is spectacular.

The crowd are on their feet, one moment, cheering for their hero, Serena Williams, the Greatest of All Time. Nobody in that stadium apart from Ajla Tomljanovic, and her crew, wants to see Serena Williams lose, tonight, because it means it's the end of her career.

At times, in that arena, the hushed anxiety of the crowd is absolutely palpable. But we have seen Serena Williams play some extraordinary tennis. She was five-three up in the first set, and then things unraveled, and she lost the set.

She came out of the blocks in the second set, absolutely on fire, racing into a four love lead very, very quickly. Then, she tightened up. Her Australian opponent pulled it back. Then, it went to a tie- break. And, at that point, Williams played superbly.

At a point, in the match, when it was at its most tense, at a point of the match, where Serena was not just playing for the set, but she was playing for the extension of her career, and she played superbly, to force this match, into a third set. An early break for Williams means that she's up by a game, in this third set.

And we mustn't forget what's at stake here. There are moments, where you're watching this match, and you're thinking, "This is an amazing tennis match, and it's so compelling, and so absorbing."

And then, you take a step back, for a moment, and you think we could be watching the last minutes, now, of this extraordinary career. Now that Serena is out of the doubles tournament, she and Venus lost last night that now means this is it.


And nobody here wants to see Serena Williams lose tonight. But we don't know how this match is going to play out.

COATES: I mean it's so exciting, to even hear about. And I've been watching and watching. The crowd is, as you say, very much, in Serena's favor.

And I'm - a part of me wonders what it must be like, for her opponents, and what are they up against. Many of these people have revered her, the way her fans do. And to play against her, in this moment, it must be extraordinary?

RIDDELL: Yes. I mean, all credit to Tomljanovic for making such an amazing match of this. She's the world number 46. The best she's ever done in a major tournament is two quarterfinals at Wimbledon. That was this year, and last year. She has never been in an environment like this. I mean, it's like the Coliseum in there.

And when this match was getting tight, when Tomljanovic was serving? Tennis is a very respectful sport. It's a polite-clap sport. You don't tend to cheer people's mistakes. But that's been happening, tonight.

When it was tense in the second set, Tomljanovic was trying to serve, and the whole crowd was on its feet, just chanting Serena's name. I mean, that is--


RIDDELL: --that is almost impossible, to keep your composure, in those moments. Tomljanovic is not a player, who is known, for playing well, in pressured situations. So, she has done extraordinarily well, to keep her composure, tonight, and make such an incredible match of it.

COATES: Well, kudos to her. I mean, I remember the first game, when - her first match, when she was not favored. There was a moment when Serena Williams, I think, was a really a class act, and put up her hand, and silenced the crowd, silenced the booing, about a line call. And just knowing the power she had, in that moment, and using it in a way? That showed incredible sportsmanship.

OK, I won't keep any longer. Don's like, "Let me go back in." Go back in, go back in. Tell us what's going on. I'm jealous, you're there. I'm here. But I'll be following.

RIDDELL: Thank you.

COATES: Run, run, run, everyone.

RIDDELL: All right.

COATES: We'll follow and see what's happening, next.

Look, I felt it's going like this one - I wouldn't change the station because, of course, it's CNN, and I want you to watch this. But I'm telling you, hearing his actual recitation, of what happened just now? I am at the edge of my seat. It's an amazing time, right now.

Unfortunately, there are millions of Americans, right now, who are under excessive heat warnings, who are headed into the holiday weekend. And even coastal cities that often escape that intense heat? They're not going to be spared.



COATES: Parts of the U.S. facing excessive heat, this holiday weekend, with the West experiencing a heat wave that will be the longest and the most intense streak, of the entire year. This summer, we've already seen extreme weather, all across this country, from droughts to flooding. And the evidence shows the climate crisis is only accelerating.

Here's CNN's Jennifer Gray.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): The hots are getting a lot hotter. The dries are getting a lot drier. We're living, again, in an age of extremes.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Heading into the long holiday weekend, tens of millions of Americans are under heat alerts, in the West, as yet another heat wave, looks to topple more than 100 record-highs.

NEWSOM: The reality is we're living in an era of extremes, extreme heat, extreme drought, and with the flooding that we're experiencing around the globe.

GRAY (voice-over): So far, this year, across the U.S., nearly 300 all- time heat records have been set. That's compared to only three all- time cold records set, in that same time period, according to NOAA Records.

DANIEL SWAIN, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, UCLA: This summer and, really, in recent years, probably, we've seen a lot of pretty extraordinary extreme weather events, during the summer months, in particular.

GRAY (voice-over): In the northeast, a flash drought has developed, as several major northeast cities, just finished one of the hottest and driest summers, on record.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Our climate has changed. Whether we want to accept that fact or not, it all has changed. So, we always have to be prepared for the very worst.

GRAY (voice-over): According to the U.S. Drought Monitor summary, released Thursday, a continued lack of rainfall, combined with warm weather, has dried out soils, and reduced stream flow, leaving many rivers, at record low levels.

Expanding drought now covers much of New England, including severe drought, blanketing all of Connecticut, for the first time, in 20 years.

It's not just the U.S. Extreme weather has been relentless in other parts of the world this summer. In May, Pakistan and India saw scorching temperatures that experts say will become 100 times more likely, as the climate crisis continues. The heat then turned to catastrophic flooding, in Pakistan.

Pakistan is home to more glaciers than anywhere in the world, outside the Polar Regions. But it's becoming more vulnerable to sudden outbursts of melting glacier water, which has the power, to bring widespread destruction.

The country's Chief Meteorologist says this year Pakistan has seen triple the usual amount of glacial lake outbursts, a sudden release of water, from a lake, fed by glacier melt. When combined with unprecedented monsoonal rain flow, this summer, the resulting floodwaters have covered hundreds of miles, in the country, and led to more than 1,000 deaths.

DR. SARDAR SARFARAZ, CHIEF METEOROLOGIST, PAKISTAN (through translator): Such incidents occur after glaciers melt, due to rise in temperature. Normally, there are usually five or six such events. But this year, there were 16. Climate change is the basic reason for such things.

GRAY (voice-over): In July, Europe and the U.K., saw record-breaking heat, and parts of China and the U.S. also dealt with blistering temperatures.

SWAIN: Climate change truly is a global problem that is going to require global solutions. But increasingly, around the world and, in the United States, we're seeing a growing link, between climate change, and many types of these extreme weather events, particularly those that are related to extreme heat, or extremely heavy precipitation.

GRAY (voice-over): Jennifer Gray, CNN, Atlanta.


COATES: Jennifer, thank you so much.


And we're getting a whole lot more information, on the documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago, including dozens of empty folders, with a "Classified" banner around it. And that's raising the big question. Are all of the documents accounted for?


COATES: We've got new details tonight about what the FBI seized, from the former President's Mar-a-Lago home. A federal judge, unsealing the inventory of documents that Trump had in his office, and also in a storage room. This despite one of his lawyers telling the government, they'd given everything back, before that search.

Now, agents found government documents mixed in with personal items, like gifts and clothing. There were also dozens of empty folders that were marked as "Classified."

I want to bring in CNN's Sara Murray; Political Analyst, Laura Barron- Lopez; and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, Nick Ackerman; and also we have National Security attorney, Bradley Moss.

A great panel to talk about this very important issue.