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Don Lemon Tonight
Top Secret Material Found At Mar-a-Lago; New Mexico County Commissioner Kicked From Office; Fake Elector Under Criminal Investigation; Climate Change Exempts No One; U.K. With New Prime Minister; It Takes Time To Build Trust. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 06, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thanks so much for being with us tonight. I will be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hi, Don.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hey, what a treat, Kasie Hunt. I'd like to talk, but you know I've got his big news and so I'll see you tomorrow. Great job. Thanks a lot.
HUNT: Thank you. Thanks.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
And this just in to CNN. The Washington Post reporting a document describing a foreign governs military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities. It was found during the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago. That is according to sources.
Now, documents about some special access programs are kept under lock and key almost always in a secure compartmented information facility not in the former president's beach resort. And a big question is still unanswered. Why did he have a document like this in the first place?
A lot more to come on all of this, so stay tuned.
And there's more news tonight on something happening for the first time in modern American history. And that is an elected official barred from holding office for allegedly violating a clause in the 14th amendment by participating in what the judge ruled was an insurrection against the U.S. government.
New Mexico County commissioner and founder of the Cowboys for Trump Couy Griffin lost his elected position today for his role in the January 6th riot and he is now barred from holding office. The judge pointing out the irony that Griffin argued the court should consider the will of the people. And overturning the will of people is exactly what January 6 was all about.
And let's not forget what happened at the capitol that day. That it was part of an effort to overturn our election. Surveillance video newly-obtained by CNN, shows Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County, Georgia who is under criminal investigation for allegedly posing as a fake elector in 2020.
It shows her escorting a team of pro-Trump operatives to the county's election office on January 7th, 2021, the same day that the voting system there is known to have been breached. We have updates on all of this.
But I want to begin with a report that a document describing a foreign government's military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found in the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. That is according to the Washington Post.
And I want to discuss it now. CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean is here. National security analyst Juliette Kayyem, and Peter Strzok, the former FBI chief of the counter espionage section. He's also the author of "Compromise: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump."
Good evening to, one and all. Juliette, I want to ask you about this. I mean, listen, this is big disturbing stuff, right?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: I don't want to overplay it, don't want to underplay it, but I mean, it is explosive reporting from the Washington Post, these documents about nuclear secrets. And this, and I quote here, "some of the seized documents detail top secret U.S. operation so closely guarded that many senior U.S. officials are kept in the dark about them."
We are talking about documents only the president and a handful of officials would be able to see. What goes through your mind when you hear that?
KAYYEM: Basically, that sources and methods were likely compromise. That classification we get to the how was this done, how did we acquire this information, rather than sort of what does it say? We get into the, we have an asset, another country is telling us x, y, or z.
So, this is, once again, sort of this is just consistent with what I think we could've anticipated even a month ago about what was likely to happen, which was this, I mean, it gives Trump the benefit of the doubt, or say carelessness, right, and just assume that that's all it is.
And what it means is there are two parties who are interested in this beyond us in the United States. Our allies, who are wondering, is this is my information. Very few countries have nuclear capabilities. There's not that many.
So, a limited number of countries are asking themselves was this about me and my capabilities and limitations? Right? Is this now possibly disclosed to enemies that I can't do x, y, or z. Or it could be information about our enemies, who if they know this, now know that we have some way of garnering information about their nuclear capabilities, or it could be some weird combination in which it's about potentially Israel's nuclear capability.
There's a lot of -- we've never admitted that nuclear -- that Israel has nuclear capabilities that is given or shared say, with the Saudis, because the world is complicated, and the Israelis and Saudis have information that don't want to be shared.
So, those are the scenarios that go through any other country's mind and then in the end make us a completely unreliable partner. Period. That's all. Trump continues to have influence on our present national security because of this.
LEMON: Huh. I mean, it's just another indication --
LEMON: -- that this should have -- should not have been there.
LEMON: The document should not have been taken. They should be stored safely. I mean, that is the bottom line in all of this. All this other rigmarole about how sensitive, and you know, what the special master is doing, and on and on, I think it's superfluous. This information should not have been where it is.
Peter Strzok, let's bring you in. Because a Trump spokesperson is calling this a lie tonight. What lengths would a foreign intelligence agency go to in order to get their hands on information like this?
PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI AGENT: Don, there is no higher priority for intelligence collection from any foreign intelligence service than the president of the United States. That began when he announced his candidacy, that certainly ramped up when he was the president. And it continues to this day.
So, Mar-a-Lago, Manhattan, the Trump towers, Bedminster are all targets for foreign intelligence collection. Every single nation out there is after what information and what conversations go on there. So, this is extraordinarily concerning.
And you know, it does, it points to the absurdity of this whole idea of a special master. You know, setting aside all the legal problematic issues there. But you cannot separate. People are saying, well, she let the damage assessment before. Well, that's true. But you know the damage assessment can't do? The damage assessment can't take this document, send it down to the lab at the FBI, and dust for fingerprints to figure out who's touched it.
That's important for the damage assessment. It's also really important for the counter intelligence investigation to figure out who might have had access. And of course, it's also potentially relevant for the criminal investigation as well. So, for a judge to sit there and say, well, we're worried about
reputational harm. We're taking all the stuff off the table. You can't look at it, you can't use this investigatively until months and months potentially passed. It really harms just the efforts to protect national security across the board that the FBI and the intelligence community are trying to engage in right now.
LEMON: Yes. We still do not know what might be the most important part, John Dean, and that is why did Trump have these kinds of documents in his Florida beach resort, and why did he hold on to them after they were subpoenaed.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We certainly don't, Don. And it is a major question. You know, a normal past -- or post-president would be now sitting down with the FBI, with investigators, with the intelligence community, and trying to figure out if anybody had penetrated his residences or his clubs or where did he have the documents, explaining why he had the documents, what he thought he could do with them, or why he held them out of the White House. How do they get there? Who gave them?
You know, all that cooperation would be the norm. We have exactly the opposite. We have a former president, who to some people, is a real serious threat to our national security. When something like this comes up, other countries start thinking about, well, can we cooperate with the United States if the leader of the country will not secure our secrets that we share? Because the implications can go far and wide for their sources and methods.
So, this is a real problem. And as was stated, the judge's decision has only made it more confusing, more difficult to unravel, and she really stepped way out of bounds. I don't know what justice is going to do. Whether they're going to appeal or not. This cuts so many different ways. Given the circuit that they are in. But I think we'll have an answer to that very soon, giving this latest information.
LEMON: But you said something that, I mean, if we are all, if we're all just being honest here. And that means everyone, right, Trump supporter, non-Trump supporter, Republican or Democrat, wouldn't any other president in history have said my gosh, I didn't realize what I did was wrong. I didn't realize that these were top secret. I want to comply with everything. Please have the National Archives, or whatever protocol they're supposed to be in place, have them come get them. And then we can work this thing out.
Instead of stringing the Justice Department, the Department of Justice or National Archives along, and getting to this point where we are now. That's what I am not understanding why people on either side of the aisle, or I no aisle, why they aren't understanding that?
Any decent, logical human being would understand what this president did was wrong, whether it's guilty of committing a crime, that's not for me to say. But what he did was wrong. And he did not cooperate. That's what the evidence shows.
So, Juliette, this kind of information should only be seen in an incredibly secure location, like a SCIF, right?
These were in Mar-a-Lago for more than 18 months. What could happen if this kind of information fell into the wrong hands?
KAYYEM: Well, first of all, it's the duplication that has always made me worried. I mean, one of the reasons why you view it in a SCIF or you make it inaccessible to say cameras on iPhones is you really don't want people e-mailing it, xeroxing it, circulating it.
So, just the fact that it was sitting around meant anyone, including Trump could come along and copied it and then share it with someone else. So, it's the copying and duplication which is worrisome then. It's of course the foreign -- it's people saying the foreign spying or espionage to get their hands on it, right, and now they know something about say another countries nuclear capabilities or limitations.
And then the third is, you know, are there exchanges being made for this information? This is what we don't know. This is the why. So, I think it is a big deal. But I want to just really sort of, second your point. We're so focused on the picture --
KAYYEM: -- of like all this classified information.
KAYYEM: It's the obstruction thing that is inexplicable. He was told, his lawyers were told, you can make it right. They were told for months you can make this right. You -- we want this information. You can make this right. Hand us the information. And they consistently ignored it, clearly lied about it, and kept the materials.
So, it's the failure to make it right that I think is damning and doesn't really matter what the content of the information is.
LEMON: Peter Strzok, you know, the Post goes on to talk about the FBI team reviewing docs seized from the storage closet at Mar-a-Lago. And I quote here, "the team soon came upon records that are extremely restricted, so much so, that even some of the senior most national security officials in the Biden administration were not authorized to review them."
And you headed the FBI counter espionage operation. What does a government do, as it became clear, you know, that this kind of information is potentially compromised? What happened?
STRZOK: Well, Don, you've got a whole host of worries that you need to think about when you understand that this information was not under control, as Juliette said, it might have not only been copied it. It might have been shared and given to other folks.
LEMON: Or even lost. I mean, movers do lose things. But go on.
STRZOK: Sure, but you've got to figure out, you know, again, because it's the president, he's seeing the most sensitive information from across the intelligence community. So, part of what's going on right now is across the board, from DNI Haines on, across the intelligence community, whether it's the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and say, all the other components entities are looking at the information that's been recovered to say, all right, what are the sources out there that are at risk right now?
First and foremost, to certainly any human sources, anybody that might be working for the United States in Moscow, in Beijing, anywhere abroad, is somebody potentially in danger of getting arrested or being tortured and interrogated, possibly killed? And whether or not somebody needs to be exfiltrated to the United States.
And then there are all the technical measures, the collection means, whether that's a satellite system, whether it's a very sophisticated way of collecting data and signals intelligence. All these things are constantly being assessed to figure out whether or not they are at risk. And it is chilling.
I mean, there is nothing worse than the prospect of sitting, not only with this tranche of secret, classified, top secret information, but knowing it increasingly seems to be the most sensitive material.
And again, to your point, that people at the highest levels of the White House couldn't access it. That just sends chills down my spine. And it's not anything that anybody is going to be sleeping well, anywhere in the intelligence committee for a long time to come.
LEMON: John, I want to go back to something that you talked about a little bit. You talked about the judge and the special master. But you thought, you thought what the judge rule was wrong, right, you thought she got it wrong, am I correct, John dean?
DEAN: I did.
LEMON: So, as I understand, correct me if I'm wrong, that the department -- that the FBI found documents that were considered possibly attorney-client privilege. And then flagged it to the Trump attorneys. So, the system was working, right, because they did find this information, and they did flag it, and I guess no one would have known if the FBI wasn't doing its job and they were working. But is this kind of information that you indict a former president over?
DEAN: Well, let's take the judge's ruling and what she did with this information first before I answer whether it's indictable or not. We don't really -- the answer to that is we really don't know.
DEAN: But what we do know is the way the judge handled this is she twisted the facts. For example, there were just, there were two documents that apparently did not -- she was unhappy with the way the Felder (Ph) team handled. She used the hook of two documents to get to almost 13,000 documents. Because that's the basis of her saying we need to put a special master in.
She also, with the facts, for example, ignore the fact that Biden has delegated to the Department of Justice and the National Archives, as he is statutorily authorized to do, the question of executive privilege. She said he had ignored the issue. He had not.
In fact, he had thought that it did not apply in this instance. And the Department of Justice said it was not even close. And that is true, because she ignored the law wherein U.S. versus Nixon a criminal investigation outweighs a president's desire for confidentiality.
LEMON: So, what are you saying about this judge, John?
DEAN: (Inaudible) would have difficult -- I'm saying she got it dead wrong.
LEMON: You're not saying she's compromise in any way or?
DEAN: Well, I'm saying -- no. I don't -- I have no idea about why she did this. She was clearly wrong on the law, wrong on the facts. And it needs to be, it needs to be straightened out. I don't know if it needs to be appealed. I'm surprised they haven't gotten it and sought some clarification. She must know by now, just when the press coverage, that she has made a lot of mistakes in her ruling.
DEAN: So, hopefully that will get cleaned up.
LEMON: Fascinating conversation. I appreciate all of you, thank you so much.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
LEMON: One revelation after another from the FBI search at Mar-a- Lago. Now it's a document on the foreign nation's nuclear capabilities. And if the midterms become more and more about the former president, who benefits? That's next.
LEMON: OK, this is the news tonight. A document describing a foreign government's nuclear capabilities found in the search of Mar-a-Lago. That is according to the Washington Post.
So, I want to bring in CNN political commentators S.A. Cupp and Alice Stewart, also Max Boot, the columnist for the Washington Post.
Good evening. Let's get right into it. Max, this is big news. This new Washington Post reporting that the FBI agents found documents describing a foreign government's nuclear capabilities. Of course, this is concerning from a foreign policy angle. But what does this mean politically?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's a great question, Don. And I think the issue is this is actually going to cause any Republicans to reassess their over-the-top defenses of Donald Trump, and denunciations of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Biden administration for searching Mar-a-Lago.
Because it's pretty clear that this had nothing to do with any kind of political vendetta, and everything to do with protecting the nation's secrets. These are documents that Donald Trump has no right to have. And by possessing them, he is endangering our security.
And you know, people, Republicans love to talk about there being a double standard here, that somehow Trump is being treated more harshly than Hillary Clinton or somebody else. But the reality is, Trump has been treated far more leniently than any other lower-level government official.
I mean, Don, if any other employee of the federal government had hundreds of classified documents in their basement, including nuclear secrets, they probably would've been frog march to jail already. And in fact, the government has been extraordinarily restrained in dealing with former President Trump. More so, perhaps than he actually deserves.
LEMON: And they wouldn't have gotten a special master, and a judge. Maybe judge --
BOOT: That is such errant nonsense. I mean, this talk about holding somebody above the law. There is no way that reality winner or any other person has been convicted of leaking classified information that has ever gotten this kind of treatment.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And you ask about, politically speaking, who benefits from this? Look, clearly from a strictly political standpoint, you know, this close to a midterm election, the Democrats are benefited in this because they can use this as another weapon that Donald Trump and many Republicans, and their ways, and their mind, are a threat to democracy.
And him having this information in such a cow -- carefree way is a threat. But the problem is, as Americans, this is dangerous for all Americans. Not just Democrats, not just Republicans, all Americans. Because the president --
LEMON: But you've hit on the thrust of my -- the question that I ask earlier to the group before was, any logical person would understand that this is -- that he should not have had this document. And we're going, you know, this whole legal rigmarole, which everybody goes through the legal process, you know, it's long, right, and strenuous, and people hate it. But when you get to the bottom line here, he should not have had these documents.
STEWART: He absolutely should not in any way shape or form. And now hearing the disregard for the security of them is troublesome. And Juliette hit on a very good point here. We know that this is nuclear information about a foreign nation. We don't know --
LEMON: According to the Washington Post.
STEWART: According to the Post. We don't know whether it was a friend or a foe. But I can tell you they are a foe now, because foreign countries are not going to have any confidence in America to keep their information secret.
LEMON: S.E., where does this leave Republicans who are trying to defend Donald Trump, and you know, in the handling of sensitive documents? Senator Marco Rubio said it was a storage issue.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
LEMON: I saw an interview with the Trump supporters saying, you know, if it was the same thing, he would want Hillary Clinton to be prosecuted but not Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is a patriot? Where does this leave people who are Republicans who are defending this president?
CUPP: They sound ridiculous. I just think they sound so silly. I mean, Max points to a Hillary Clinton comparison, of course, but imagine if Barack Obama had done this. Barack Obama who was actually president, and actually won his second term, and then left, and Republicans had found out he had hundreds of classified documents. They'd be calling for his execution.
I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that they would go nuts over this. And these defenses are so unnecessary because it's so obvious how bad this decision was.
LEMON: Do you think, do you guys think he is making it more difficult? Alice, do you think he is making it more difficult for Republicans to win back Congress? Or even perhaps the Senate? Because he's making this all about him.
STEWART: Absolutely, without a doubt, any minute where we are talking about Donald Trump and his past grievances, we are wasting time. We need to be talking about what we can do to unite the Republican Party and win over independents and undecided voters.
We need to be talking about what's really on the minds of people in the heartland America, in middle America, that is inflation, that is cost of living, that is crime, that is also immigration, the closing of the border. Those are issues that are top of mind for American people, not Donald Trump. And the fact that he now has decided to hit the campaign trail. He's talking more about himself than those he's campaigning for. And I think that's not good.
CUPP: It also just doesn't -- the numbers don't add up. Like --
LEMON: What do you mean?
CUPP: Well, I mean, where Republicans are offering ideas, and they are not doing much of that anymore, the ideas are not popular among Republicans. Thirteen percent of Republicans want a total ban on abortion. Seventy percent of Republicans -- sorry -- support --
LEMON: What portions, but with restrictions, right? But want restrictive abortions.
CUPP: No, I was going on a different issue. But you can go down -- I mean, a majority of --
LEMON: You lose your train of thought, I do it all the time.
CUPP: I'd say --
LEMON: I hate it when that happens.
CUPP: A majority of Republicans oppose book bans.
CUPP: A majority of Republicans think that talking about race and learning about racism in school is a good thing. Majorities of Republicans are not where today's MAGA Republicans are going.
CUPP: And all the things that they keep talking about, which begs the question, what the hell are they thinking?
LEMON: Is it fair to say -- because I'm not a mommy, but is it mommy brain? Is it, you have --
CUPP: No, Don. I just --
STEWART: You can call it COVID.
LEMON: I forget -- I forget what I'm talking about all the time.
STEWART: It's COVID thought. You can call it for the thought.
CUPP: No, I just forgot what I was going to say.
LEMON: We're not being (Inaudible), and you're just having fun, so it's totally OK. But listen, you know what? And Alice says that everyone -- everyone talks about, you know, what Trump is doing. What they are not talking about are the accomplishments. I talk to Larry Summers a little but later.
But what the current president is doing. And what he's trying to do is highlight his legislative wins. He is also not shying away, Max, from taking on Trump directly as he is blasting so-called MAGA Republicans in Congress. Watch this, and we will talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to go backwards full of anger, violence, hate, and division. But together, we can and we must choose a different path. Forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you think the Democrats and the president, do you think they can drive this message home enough to make a difference for voters come November?
BOOT: I think President Biden is actually having a lot of success in driving home the message about ultra MAGA Republicans, after having spent the last year and a half of his presidency doing bipartisan deals.
LEMON: But can he drive the message home beyond just Democrats? Can he do with independents, and even some Republicans?
BOOT: He is doing it with independents, Don. I think the evidence shows that Democrats have really been picking up strongly in the polling in the midterms because independents have been flocking to the Democratic side, just as they were in 2020.
And I think there's no question that Trump still has a hammer hold on the Republican Party. But he is alienating a small portion of the Republican Party, and a large portion of the independents.
Remember, the difference between 2020 and 2016 was that in 2020 the Democrats, led by president, by Joe Biden, they won independents. That was not the case in 2016. And so, I think the message about ultra MAGA Republicans is resonating, which is why the Republican response has been so hysterical.
LEMON: What do you see non-MAGA Republicans doing on election day? CUPP: Well, I think there is more than you think. I mean, obviously,
the wing is here, right, represented at the table. But I think there is more than you think. Like I said, --
LEMON: Well, this is what -- let me because Chris Cillizza pose the question, is there a non-MAGA wing of the Republican Party? It comes to the conclusion that there are roughly one in four Republican voters who are non-MAGA Republicans.
CUPP: I bet it's more. Because as I was, well, as I was, you know, taking down those statistics, majorities of Republicans are not where Trump is, are not where, you know, congressional Republicans are trying to take the party. That says to me that a majority of the party is being left out of the conversation by the GOP and by Trump. And that just, that feels like bad math to me.
STEWART: Here's another thing, clearly this is going to be Democrats message moving forward. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans as a threat to democracy. And they really are holding firm on them being a threat to democracy. If these people are such true threats to democracy, why have Democratic outlets and PACs put $43 million behind his MAGA Republicans to get him elected in these primary races, and running against Democrats, thinking they are easier to beat?
There's going to be a chance that some of these people are going to win. And Democrats have no one to blame but themselves --
CUPP: Huge mistake.
STEWART: -- for putting money behind --
CUPP: Huge. Yes.
STEWART: -- MAGA Republicans if they think this is all about democracy, this is more about propping up Democrats that they don't think --
LEMON: These are MAGA Republicans, election deniers and the sort, and people who make excuses for January 6th.
Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
For the first time in 100 years, an elected official has been barred from holding office under the Constitution's ban on insurrectionists. Who's at -- who is it, and what could it mean for others who took part in the January 6th riot? That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: A historic ruling, a New Mexico judge removing January 6th
rioter and Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin from his elected position as a county commissioner for his role in the January 6th capitol attack. The ruling is a result of the lawsuit seeking Griffin's removal, which allege that he violated a clause in the 14th amendment of the Constitution by participating in an insurrection against the U.S. government.
He had been convicted of trespassing earlier this year, and has now barred from holding any state or federal elected position in the future. So, there you go. The judge saying that Griffin and his organization Cowboys for Trump spent months normalizing the violence that may be necessary to keep President Trump in office.
So, joining me now CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates. Laura, hi. What a mess, wow, wow, wow. So, this is quite --
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: What a mess.
LEMON: This is a historic ruling, if I'm not wrong, removing Griffin from office. This happened -- hasn't happened, I think in over 100 years? Why did the judge decide to do this?
COATES: Well, first of all, it's a good thing America that we don't have every year a case like this, because it would mean that someone had engaged in rebellion or in insurrection against the United States government after having taking an oath to be a public servant.
So, it's a good thing that we don't have a whole lot of case law on an issue like this. But you're right, the last time this happened, I think it was somebody who would allegedly give aid and comfort to an enemy in World War I. I think it was Germany.
And so, now you've got at this point in time over what, two -- two different times in the past year where there have been attempts to actually raise this part of the 14th amendment, normally known for equal protection, but really also has that disqualification factor, Don, that says, listen, as a punishment to those who were confederate soldiers, who were part of the government, we want to unseat you during reconstruction.
Now, we've got the January 6th as the equivalent of that, according to this judge, by actually naming an insurrection and saying you cannot hold office. Remember, Don, they tried this with Marjorie Taylor Greene. They said that she -- there was an insurrection, but they didn't actually have evidence to confirm that she in fact was tied to it or participated in it.
You had Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, he lost his primary so the issue was really rendered moot and couldn't be used. Now you have for the first time a judge in an order calling it an insurrection. And number two, saying because of your participation in it, having a
bull horn for over an hour inside that capitol, criminal trespass as well at the federal level, you cannot -- you can no longer be in office.
LEMON: The January 6 committee, Laura, as you know, has pin the insurrection squarely on the ex-president. And we know that there is a DOJ investigation too. But you think a judge whatever rule that Trump can't hold office under the 14th amendment? What would that take?
COATES: Well, this is really going to raise a lot of alarms. And many people are pushing for something similar I got to be optimistic about this particular ruling. Because they're going to say, listen, you have an insurrection on the record, and you've got the application of this law as it relates to the January 6th.
However, the one thing you have for say a Mr. Griffin, the former county commissioner in Otero County, versus Donald Trump at this stage of the game, is you do not have a conviction. You do not have a definitive statement by a jury, by a court, by an arbiter of the facts, that says this happened.
What you have instead is the congressional committee that they are trying to tie those two things together. Their role is legislative. It's oversight nature. It's very different than the application obviously of a criminal court.
But in theory, Don, you're right. The application ought to be the same if anyone has participated in an insurrection after taking an oath of office, they ought to be disqualified according to the 14th amendment. Again, the way it's applied based on a courtroom versus now might be quite different.
And again, obviously, the Civil War didn't have all the results of a criminal conviction. They had the end of a Civil War. So, it might be applied. But we are still, I guess a few weeks away from even the next congressional hearing for January 6, let alone any indictment of the former president.
LEMON: Laura, thank you. And by the way, I usually do a little handoff with you. Did you have a good fourth of -- fourth -- a good Labor Day weekend?
COATES: I did, Don Lemon. Are you missing your whole name. Wait, can I just tell you, Don?
COATES: Not only did have an incredible Labor Day weekend, do you realize that I saw Diana Ross on Saturday night on my home state of Minnesota. And she actually pointed to me, and she said she is singing a song for me, and I almost died. I just want you to know that, hello.
LEMON: Did you get that on video? It didn't happen unless you got it on video. COATES: I -- I did not have my phone in my hands. You know what, in
my heart forever it was there. Because I answered her question in my mind, I now know where I'm going to, and I like the things that life is showing me.
LEMON: Do you know where you're going to. Thank you. See you. Congratulations. That's pretty awesome.
COATES: I know you're going to sing. Goodbye.
LEMON: Mahogany, mahogany, mahogany. A hundred twenty-five degrees in Death Valley, 115 degrees in Sacramento. Fifty million people are under heat alerts tonight as multiple cities out west get record high temperatures. How climate change is changing our country from coast to coast, that's next.
LEMON: Mother nature unleashing her fury all across the country. Out west, a number of states, including California and Nevada, are under excessive heat warnings. Record-breaking temperatures expected to last through Friday with some cities experiencing temperatures as high as 122 degrees.
And if it's the extreme heat wasn't enough, California is also battling fast-moving wildfires. The Fairview Fire in southern California scorching 4,000 acres. While the Mill Fire in northern California has also burned more than 4,000 acres.
The northeast also feeling the impact of severe weather, drenching rain on the east coast, leading to flood watches for more than 50 million people. City under watches include Philadelphia, New York City, and Providence, Rhode Island.
Let's bring in now meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. Pedram, what the heck is going on with these record-breaking temperatures in California and these other western states?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Don, it's incredible, right? You think you are looking at a map here for the month of July into August, and of course, fall is just a couple of weeks away. Records falling by the wayside here. We typically do see a few heat waves in September, but rarely are they this intense, this extreme. And some 45 records falling or in the past 24 or so hours.
Climatologically, the middle portion of July, the early portion of August, that's when you stick extreme heat. Temps into the 120s, as you noted here, not the ones you see very often this time of year. I notice Death Valley got up to 125 degrees.
Just to give you a sense of scale of how hot these temperatures are. The hottest temperature ever observed anywhere in the world in the month of September was 126, not too far from Death Valley, they came in at 125 degrees.
And again, this is a long duration set up. The warmest temps we've ever seen in San Francisco, ever seen in Denver, Colorado, with the upper 90s for the month of September. And really important to note, Don, when it comes to extreme heat, it is the top weather killer. It's the most impactful. You think hurricanes, you think tornadoes. Those certainly take lives.
But the amount of toll that heat and long duration heat waves like this one are really the most concerning. And this particular pattern has left, of course, thousands in the dark. Some 84,000 customers across the state California right now in the dark.
We know officials there telling people to turn down the air conditioning units to about 78 degrees. Telling them to not use the dishwasher during the day to reduce the risk of these blackouts that are in place. And the temperatures, again, remain incredibly hot here for the month of September, 112 degrees.
If you show me this map in the month and tell me this is happening in Sacramento, I would tell you records are going to be falling all over the place. You show me this in the month of September, and of course it becomes a different story with shattering records. Look at the average, 94 for this time of year.
JAVAHERI: Don, sometime Saturday and Sunday, we will finally cool off across parts of California, Utah, and Arizona as well.
LEMON: So, these wildfires we see popping up in California, how extreme heat contributing to them?
JAVAHERI: You know, it snaps moisture. And of course, the fuels are very high across this region. Any moisture that's left in the soil here is removed very quickly. We have some 65 large, active fires across the western U.S. right now, Don. Sixty-three of them are on the west. And notice two of them here across parts of the southern U.S.
So, it kind of shows you how this is really ramping up fire conditions across that portion of the west. And we do have some critical and extreme levels of concern there across parts of Montana.
So, this high pressure sits there. I always use the analogy of taking a bike pump. When you pump a bicycle tire, you feel that pump begin to warm-up. That's because you're compressing air right into that tire, and it warms up. That's exactly what's happening across the atmosphere. High pressure sits above you, the air sinks. As the air sinks, it compresses and warms up.
But of course, it happened on a broad scale across the western U.S. So, we're getting that same sort of effect. But again, happening in the month of September is pretty incredible to see what these records are being shattered.
LEMON: Boy, there's lots of rain here on the east coast. Flash floods we are seeing in places as well. Pedram, thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: Meeting the queen, the U.K.'s newest prime minister getting that big meeting today. We are going to tell you how it went. And at the top of the hour, the Washington Post says a document describing a foreign government's nuclear capabilities was seized from Mar-a-Lago.
LEMON: Well, tonight, the U.K. has a new prime minister. Liz Truss officially arriving at 10 Downing Street, replacing Boris Johnson. She is the third woman in British history to hold the office. One of her -- one of her first orders of business was the appointment of her cabinet.
Truss and her top aides will meet to hit the ground running. The British economy is in very bad shape. Inflation is high, and the country is heading for a recession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We shouldn't be daunted by the challenges we face. As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger. I am confident that together we can ride out the storm. We can rebuild our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: As is customary for an incoming prime minister, Truss held a private meeting earlier today with Queen Elizabeth, who invited Truss to form a new government.
The White House also confirming that President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Truss, offering his congratulations. The two leaders reaffirming the close ties between the U.S. and Britain.
And up next, the latest on the Washington Post report tonight. The FBI seizing a document from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, detailing a foreign government's military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.
LEMON: New developments tonight on the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. The Washington Post is reporting that FBI agent seized a document on o foreign nation's nuclear capabilities. That's according to sources. This as top-secret information that some national security officials don't have a clearance, the clearance to see. So, what is it doing in an unsecure resort?
There's so much to discuss with former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. He is now a CNN national security analyst.
Director, I appreciate you joining us. Thanks so much. Good evening to you.
So, information on a foreign nation's nuclear capabilities were at Trump's home for more than 18 months. What goes through your mind when you hear this new reporting from the Washington Post?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first, these are among the holiest of holy among secrets that nation states who possess nuclear weapons have. And it goes to the very reason that nations decide to have nuclear weapons and the defense is there too, is because it is about their national survival, and their existence. And that's a decision we made a decades ago, that's why we have nuclear weapons, and that's why at least nine other nations have them.
So, the fact that these documents, if this reporting is on the level, have just kind of been laying around Mar-a-Lago for a year and a half without much protection, is appalling. And on several levels, first, get -- obtaining such information is very difficult because nations protect it.
And so, the question, one question comes to my mind, have we lost a sensitive collection capability? That's been a concern in general with the revelation of the presence of these documents under not very secure conditions.
There is the concern about other nation's willingness to continue to share with us when apparently, we are kind of Lucy Goosey about protecting sensitive information.
And of course, it makes a big difference if this is a friendly nation versus an adversary.