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Don Lemon Tonight

Mark Meadows Complied With DOJ Subpoena In January 6 Probe; Queen Elizabeth II Lies In State At Westminster Hall; America Is Fascinated With The British Monarchy; The MAGA-Fication Of The GOP Is In Overdrive. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 23:00   ET



EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We also know that he was sending over some of the conspiracy theories that the former president was trying to push. Again, all in the idea that there was enough fraud to make a difference in the election and the idea that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. So, we know that he has complied with the subpoena.

We also know that Ben Williamson, top aide of Mark Meadows, also received a subpoena recently as part of this big group of subpoenas that went out just before the 60-day quiet period of the Justice Department. We're told that, you know, he was asked for everything related to January 6th.

You know, again, this is something that we knew, you know, that Meadows was somebody that everybody is asking, what happened to Mark Meadows? But now we know, he did receive a subpoena, he did comply with that subpoena, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It just shows you that they're working behind the scenes when most people don't know it. Elliot, let's talk about these documents. These are the same documents that Meadows turned over to the January 6 Select Committee. So, what is the significance of them now being shared with the DOJ? What's the big picture view here?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yeah, I think the big picture view, Don, is number one, most people actually comply with subpoenas. So much focus has been on who hasn't been complying, but at the end of the day, there's a tremendous risk that someone takes by not doing so. You know, I don't know what Mark Meadows's calculation was here, but clearly the risk of prosecution is pretty great by not complying.

So, you know, big picture, think about all of the things that text messages to and from Mark Meadows could provide evidence or help support. Now, obviously, there is the White House's response to violence on the day of January 6th. That's certainly the most obvious.

Then there's the questions of how Congress was itself obstructed as a governmental body or as Congress itself. And certainly, questions may have come to him as the White House chief of staff. And then there's the broader questions of efforts by former President Trump and the white house to disrupt -- pardon me -- to engage in at this fake elector scheme. Evan touched on it a little bit.

There is a number of sorts of lightly connected, loosely connected, but very serious crimes that the Justice Department might be looking into here, and this evidence might touch on any of them. We just don't know because we haven't seen it, but it's certainly significant.

LEMON: John Dean, Mark Meadows likely to go and claim executive privilege. How do you see that playing out? Do you think that's what will happen?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, he did claim executive privilege in the material he turned over to the January 6 Committee. So, that's already out there. He also didn't fully comply with the January 6 Committee, and they referred a contempt citation on him. The Justice Department did not do anything with that.

And that was the first signal to me to look and see who is his lawyer. And he has got one of the best lawyers in Washington. He has got a guy who spent 15 years in the top ranks of the Department of Justice, becoming deputy attorney general and acting attorney general, somebody who really knows how the game is played. So, I think Meadows is being guided very carefully. And what he's done at this point is he has given everything he has.

Your question on executive privilege in this context where the grand jury is probably responsible for the subpoena, there is going to be no executive privilege. This is U.S. versus Nixon where his tapes get produced and he loses his right to invoke executive privilege as did everybody else.

So, that is established law with a grand jury. You cannot claim it. They will knock it down if he raises it. With his lawyer, I don't think they'll even do that. I think he is in very good hands, and I think he is a witness who probably sends chills down Donald Trump's back because of what he can do and the lawyer he has got.

LEMON: Wow! Evan, respond to that, because with all this misinformation coming out of Mar-a-Lago, the Mar-a-Lago investigation, DOJ certainly has a lot to ask Meadows about.

PEREZ: Absolutely.

LEMON: He was a key figure involved with those documents, too?

PEREZ: No, absolutely, Don. He is probably the most important witness. He was in the room when all of this stuff was happening, not only right after the election, but obviously, on January 6th, as you pointed out.

He also knows all of the efforts -- you know, when Trump was wrapping up the White House and was packing up to send those documents to Mar- a-Lago, he would have been in charge of that operation. So, you can bet that those are the things that the FBI would eventually want to get to.


One of the things that I think is playing out behind the scenes is, you know, we reported a few weeks ago that the Justice Department was confronting this issue, was getting ready to confront this issue of executive privilege, you'll remember the former vice president's aides, Mark (ph) Jacob and Marc Short, appeared before the grand jury. They claimed executive privilege on certain questions.

Recently, we had the two White House counsels, former White House counsels, Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin, his deputy. They appeared before the grand jury. They similarly declined to answer certain questions that were, they believe, covered by the former president's claim of executive privilege.

Those are things that the Justice Department is going to challenge and will get a judge to get through. As you guys have just been talking about, they're going to win that. It's almost clear that -- you know, it's almost certain that these questions will eventually be answered by everyone, and that includes, likely, Mark Meadows if the FBI wants him to come in.

LEMON: Elliot, I want you to respond to that. And also, what does the DOJ do right now to get Meadows to cooperate fully?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, you now, I'm going to take a slightly different view from my two friends here in that it's not a completely frivolous argument being raised by these former senior White House staffers because at the end of the day, they are former senior White House staffers who would have had protected -- some protected conversations with the president -- the former president or amongst themselves. They have an argument there now.

Backing up John's point, when courts have looked at this executive privilege question, they tend to make the executive, the executive branch, the White House, bend the knee of it to the criminal process if there is a grand jury or a criminal investigation.

But again, it's not -- I think as a nation, we want our leaders to be able to have confidential conversations amongst themselves and to extent, the law protects that a little bit. So, this is going to make it to court. What I'm saying is it's not the kind of thing that will be laughed out of court as silly, but it's an important legal fight to have. I think it's going to get there.

LEMON: John, you know, Mark Meadows came up over and over again in Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Let's play some of the key moments. Here it is.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: Mark is still sitting on his phone. I remember, I glanced to him, he is still sitting on his phone. And I remember Pat saying to him something to the effect of, the rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the president now. And Mark looked up at him and said, he doesn't want to do anything, Pat. And Pat said something to the effect of, and very clearly said this to Mark, something to the effect of, Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to be to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands.


LEMON: So, questions Meadows needs to answer?

DEAN: I think he'll -- I think he'll ultimately answer a lot of questions. The question to me, Don, is will he invoke the Fifth Amendment? I think he's got tremendous exposure himself. He's in the middle of all this. Some of these certainly walk like and quack like a conspiracy. So, this raises the question of how much vulnerability he feels.

I think there's a good chance, if anybody, they're going to try to flip and not have him invoke the Fifth, and the fact that they didn't prosecute him for contempt suggests that his lawyer is talking about that potential, is Mark Meadows, and that's when it hits the fan, so to speak.

LEMON: Hmm, hmm, hmm. Gentlemen, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I bring in now CNN political analyst John Avlon. John, hello to you. Good to see you. No one was closer to Trump than Meadows. He was in the room when it happened. If he is compelled to cooperate further, what could that mean?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It could mean everything. I mean, as John Dean just stated, that's where, you know, it hits the fan because there is nobody closer to the president than his chief of staff, particularly at this key moment in history. Meadows presumably have firsthand knowledge from the president of his statements, of his actions, and his (INAUDIBLE) his state of mind.

I think what John Dean just laid out is fascinating, given that he has been represented by quite a serious lawyer, but they did not charge him with contempt. Does that indicate a degree of cooperation we may not be seeing? We do not know at this stage. I want to be clear about that. But if Mark Meadows were to flip, that would open up whole new insight into Donald Trump at that moment in our history.


LEMON: The DOJ issued over 30 subpoenas in the last week or so. Do you expect to see a bunch of new reporting about people close to Trump who are now complying?

AVLON: Yes, and that doesn't necessarily mean leaks. It means that this investigation is going in a full court press mode as we head into the midterms. I don't expect we will be seeing, you know, indictments necessarily in this period before the election. In fact, I would expect the opposite.

But it does indicate that this is now a concerted effort by the Department of Justice to investigate every aspect of this attempt to overturn our election, whether it's via electors or any other, these machinations that were apparently being run in and around the White House and the Trump campaign to subvert our democracy.

And remember, you know, let's not get numb to that. It does not get any more serious than that when it comes to the soul of our country and who we are a democratic republic.

LEMON: So, listen, this is what you do. You report on politics. It is part of what you do. You're an expert on a lot of things. But what are the political implications of all this movement inside this 60-day window just before the midterm elections, John?

AVLON: I think we should try to de-link the two as difficult as it is. Look, we know that polling shows that concerns about defending our democracy are one of the top things that are motivating people. Certainly, there's the economy, there's inflation, there's a reaction to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but people do have a sense that democracy is on the line.

And they need to take in to account the former president's actions, the people around him, especially given that he is, by most accounts, the potential frontrunner for the GOP domination and that so many of his followers who've won GOP nominations heading into the fall have done so taking this sort of election lie litmus test. So, all that needs to be taken in to account by the voters.

But the DOJ's investigation needs to occur on a separate track. It will influence politics. But the two should not blur. People should make no mistake, as citizens of this democratic republic, that the election lie is part of the larger conspiracy that occurred to try to overturn our election and continues to erode our confidence in democracy today.

LEMON: John Avlon, I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

AVLON: Thanks, buddy.

LEMON: There is a lot going on here in London tonight after a day of spectacular pageantry. Every moment carefully planned and signed off by the queen herself. Thousands of people are lining up tonight, waiting to pay their respects.




LEMON: Live pictures now from London where, even in the middle of the night, people are waiting hours to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth lying in state. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to file past her coffin before the queen's state funeral on Monday.

CNN's Max Foster with the latest now.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Silence as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state in Westminster Hall. Mourners filing past, paying their respects, some overcome with emotion.

After spending her last night at Buckingham Palace, the coffin was carried in procession on a gun carriage. Behind on foot, her family, King Charles III and his siblings Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward, and the queen's grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry, who we last saw like this walking behind their mother's coffin as children.

On top of the casket, as the procession made its way along The Mall, the priceless imperial state crown. As it moved through iconic landmarks in London, guns fired from Hyde Park. And chimes from Big Ben marking each minute. Among the first to arrive at Westminster Hall, the Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales, and Duchess of Sussex traveling by car.

Witnessing history, thousands watching as the coffin made its way down the political district in Whitehall to be passed by the family to the people. Members of the Army, Navy and Air Force giving a guard of honor to their late commander-in-chief. The procession finally arriving at the heart of parliament, the ancient Westminster Hall, for a short blessing.

UNKNOWN: The Lord lift up the right of his countenance upon you and give you peace. And the blessing of God almighty, the father, the son, and the holy spirit be among you and remain with you always, amen.

FOSTER (voice-over): Then, finally, a chance for mourners, some who'd waited overnight, a chance to have their own personal moment and bid farewell to their queen ahead of the state funeral on Monday.

Max Foster, CNN, the palace of Westminster, London.


LEMON: All right, Max, thank you very much. I want to bring in now Neal Ascherson. He is the author of "Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland." Also with me is Salma Abdelaziz and CNN's Nada Bashir with the crowds waiting to pay their respects to the queen. Hello to one and all. Thank you so much for joining us.

I will go to Nada first because we are talking to the people waiting hours to the middle of the night for a chance just to say goodbye to the queen. What are they telling you? Why is it so important to them?


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, absolutely, Don. It is remarkable to see the sheer number of people who have come out to wait for the queen overnight to pay their respects. The queue at this stage is about 2.8 miles long. It is wrapping around all of central London. It is really remarkable to see. Many people we spoke to said that it was simply so important for them to take part and this opportunity to pay their respects to the queen. One lady we spoke to said she wouldn't be able to attend the funeral but she wants to show her respect in her own way, and this is exactly what she is doing now.

Of course, this is a big security operation. There are stewards and authorities around the area making sure that this is running in an orderly manner because there are so many people. This is running 24 hours for four full days.

We have been speaking to one lady over here, Amy (ph), who has traveled three and a half hours from Sheffield to join the queue. Hello, Amy (ph).


BASHIR: Tell me a little bit about why it is so important for you to take part on this queue.

UNKNOWN: I just think it's such a momentous moment in history. I think it's really important for the children to remember it and like -- yeah, just come and pay our respects like who the queen was. When it was broadcasted that she died, Willie May (ph), she's six, she sat with us and she was asking lots and lots of questions. So, just going over and just informing her and speaking to her in a way that she will understand.

BASHIR: It's important for you to have the whole family here.

UNKNOWN: Yes. So, my mom, my dad, my brother and my sister. This is my little cousin. Everyone is here. These are my three little children. We did a road trip down to see Paris and then back up to Sheffield, carry on.

BASHIR: It's been a really long journey for you. How many hours have you've been in the queue so far?

UNKNOWN: We were at the back of the queue at London Bridge at 20 past 10, so more than five hours.


BASHIR: For you, it's totally worth it?

UNKNOWN: Yeah, definitely, to pay our respects.

BASHIR: Thank you. That's really the message that we have been hearing from so many people up and down this queue, Don, is that it is a historic moment and it is a moment of history that they and their families want to be a part of. Don?

LEMON: Oh, my gosh, those kids are in the little wagon there. They're so cute. They all snuggled up and snoozing. Good for them. I hope that they are staying warm there. Stand by, Nada. I want to bring in now Neal. How do you explain this incredible showing of people who are filing past the coffin of the late queen, standing in line for hours, and they never even knew her?

NEAL ASCHERSON, AUTHOR: Almost the whole population, of course, were born after she came to the throne, so they have never known anything else. And she is like -- she is like part of the -- not the furniture but she is part of the house that they mentally live in.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

ASCHERSON: The loss of her is like a wall suddenly falling out of your room. And people felt protected, reassured by her presence, which continuously said, everything is okay, we are going to be all right, nothing really has changed. The reality, of course, immensely, Britain has totally changed.

LEMON: It has totally changed. Yeah, they don't know what is next, and they are seeing what is going to happen with the new king. But let's stick to what is going to happen here, Salma, because today was majestic, it was beautiful, but Monday will be a whole new level.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: If you can imagine it, Don, we have not even seen the full pomp and circumstance of the British monarchy. Monday is the state funeral -- excuse me -- and that is the moment where we are really going to see it go into full swing, of course.

The lying in state will be completed at 6:30 that morning on Monday. That is four full days for people to pay their respects, to see the coffin, to say their goodbyes to the queen. Those who have not made it, you can be sure they're going to tune in to this very orchestrated, live television event.

We just heard them a short time ago, Don, right, practicing, preparing, and what we need to know about this is that this has been in preparations for decades, this funeral. The queen herself was involved in these preparations that were signed off by the king. Monday is going to be a momentous, a historical occasion, and it concludes with the queen going to her final resting place, that's Windsor Castle, that St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

I think this is going to bring a moment of comfort to the family because that is where we will see the queen reunited, of course, with her husband, with her sister, with her parents, with those who she loved so dearly, where she wanted to be buried.

LEMON: We can hear the band now in the background. You know, Neal, we were told that King Charles spoke with multiple world leaders today who called to express their condolences. We know that this is about mourning, but Monday will also be a diplomatic event.

ASCHERSON: Yes, it will.


It will be quite reassuring to people who don't know what is going to come next because part of her assurance was this must still retain its old power in the world, almost as if the fall away from empire, world power, world status had not happened at all. And the funeral, the gathering of heads of state, kings and queens, presidents will be a reassurance, but in many ways, an unreal one.

LEMON: Yeah. There are other members of the royal family outside of U.K. They will be attending as well?

ABDELAZIZ: Yes, we're going to see royal families from all across Europe. Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Monaco. I think I can go on and on. And what's important to remember here, all the royal families of Europe are related. They are not just attending as dignitaries. They are quite literally attending as family members and, of course, alongside presidents and heads of state.

This is going to be the largest diplomatic event, one of the largest in a century. So, this is going to be an extraordinary moment. You have to think of the logistics of this. Heads of state from all over the world all convening in one place, Westminster Abbey, the security around this, the planning, and everything decided down to the second, Don.

LEMON: Yeah. Neal, I want to talk about something that you mentioned just a moment ago. You talked about the monarchy, whatever, but the royal family has received such goodwill over the last couple of days. The question is, will they be able to hang on to that? Because there a lot of members of the commonwealth countries, I should say, who are looking to get out of the monarchy, not to be a part of it anymore.

ASCHERSON: Yes, that's right. I think the commonwealth, which of course is the descendant of the old British empire, has re-functioned itself into an association of independent states. And what Britain thinks is quite a minor matter for them.

So, they -- the commonwealth itself will continue as a loose -- actually not very effective, not very important but perfectly amicable organization and to which all kinds of other states that are (ph) joining, which have no traditional association with Britain at all.

LEMON: But there are some real questions here about real issues with Britain's colonial history. How much pressure do you think the king is under to address that?

ASCHERSON: I think the king is under more pressure perhaps than he realizes. I think he is worried about what's going to happen and how he can retain the authority his mother had because people -- it's a mixture of skepticism and affection. And I think that goes not just for the population of England and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, probably goes for a lot of the commonwealth as well.

LEMON: Yeah.

ASCHERSON: And the name of the game is to try to preserve the affection and keep the skepticism from rising. I think that's going to be very, very difficult.

LEMON: Right. Thank you very much. Nada, I know you're out there with the families, and I hope the kids in the buggy are doing well and all the folks out there are staying warm. Let's hope the rain holds off. I appreciate your reporting and you talking to the folks. And also, you guys back here, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Americans all over the country turning their attention to London as millions mourn Queen Elizabeth II. But what is about to happen to the monarchy? What's going to happen? And it's fascinating to figure out what's up, so we're going to discuss that next.




LEMON: It's not just people here in London mourning the queen. Millions of people all over the world are watching, including a whole lot of Americans. So, what is it about the monarchy that fascinates us?

Joining me now, Shannon Felton Spence, former British public affairs official, and Frank Prochaska, he is a senior research fellow in history at Oxford and the author of "The Eagle & the Crown: Americans and the British Monarchy." So good to have you on. Good evening to both.

Shannon, Americans have been mourning all week along with the U.K. Why do you think Queen Elizabeth II is so popular in the United States?

SHANNON FELTON SPENCE, FORMER BRITISH PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICIAL: Hi, Don. Thanks for having me. In many ways, Queen Elizabeth II is the story of the 20th century. And so, the bond that we have with the U.K., largely came about after the second world war, and she is sort of our bond to the greatest generation.

There has been lots of talk this week about the queue and the length of the queue to view the queen lying in state and how that compares to Winston Churchill's queue back in the 50s. I have to say, what really strikes me about that is that the queen, Queen Elizabeth II is really the last link to Winston Churchill. She's the last link to sort of the blitz era World War II and the blitz era of Britain, so to speak.

And there's something that is so -- just -- we revere that so much as Americans. And the cultural links between us, they're strong. We have a special relationship. We have this very strong alliance. And Americans are, you know, drawn to the royal family and to the U.K.


LEMON: Yeah. You know, Frank, it seems at odds with American culture to put a monarchy up on a pedestal like this. I mean, you literally wrote the book. Why are American so fascinated with this family? What are they?

FRANK PROCHASKA, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW IN HISTORY, OXFORD: Well, they've been cultivated by the royal family since the 19th century. But you must recall that the colonies from 1620 to 1776 were part of the first British empire. Almost all of them were Anglo-Saxons, of course, and the bonds of what they used to call law, liberty and language were crucial in cementing the relationship between the Americans and the British public.

But the British monarchy using the foreign office as well has made so many visits. The queen, I can't remember how many visits she has made but quite a few. She came to Philadelphia in 1776. And that was a momentous occasion. She praised the founding fathers. It's interesting in America, Queen Victoria was called America's queen. This was a very common usage. And the jubilees of 1887 and 1897 were widely celebrated in the United States.

So, it's not by accident. There are so many similarities between the two cultures. In fact, you could say that Britain is a disguised republic, while America is a disguised monarchy. This is a theme I played around with quite a bit over the years. There are differences, obviously. The Americans have combined the function of the executive with a sovereign function. The executive and the sovereign seem to be combined.

This was a terrible mistake by the founding fathers, in my view, and I think that's a general view of constitutional historians because you have to admire your president when he's on foreign tours, but you may hate him domestically as president. So, it has caused confusion in the American mind. And they could look to Britain where these things are divided and see that it works quite effectively.

LEMON: You know, I have to say, Shannon, I think that, you know, maybe, you know, the fascination by Americans, I think, it may be trailing off a little bit. Maybe there is a resurgence with Meghan and Harry. But, I mean, it is a new era with King Charles at the helm. He's not nearly as popular as his mother, not as popular as his sons. Do you think people still have a bad taste left over from his divorce with Princess Diana and will that matter?

FELTON SPENCE: So, recently, the Association of Marshall Scholars ran a poll with Emerson College, and what they were trying to assess was Americans' perceptions of the U.K. This was just a couple weeks ago. It was before the queen's passing. Quite timely, though, they added in a question for the next generation.

How important will the British monarchy be to U.S. and U.K. relations? And stunningly 64% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 said it will be just as important or more important. And 71% of 35-year-olds to 49-year-olds, Americans, said it will be just as important or more important. Now, when you consider that just as important was gauged with Queen Elizabeth II, that's quite striking.

I think that the new Prince and Princess of Wales have done quite a bit to infuse some energy and some contemporary understanding of the monarchy for American audiences. And I actually think that King Charles is going to be fine. I think that cultural connection will keep us strong and those poll numbers, I think they really speak for themselves.

LEMON: Frank, Americans are raised on, you know, Disney princess movies. They watch the royals from afar. There are movies and TV shows and novels all about the past and present worlds. How much of the monarchy is about a person and how much of it is about the institution?

PROCHASKA: Well, I think monarchy is the founder (ph) of celebrity. Most historians would talk about celebrity culture, go back to Louis XIV. And the royal family, of course, is part of that celebrity culture. The first visit by a Brit royal was Edward VII, Prince of Wales in 1860. And he was mobbed wherever he went. He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, of course. And Edward VIII is Prince of Wales in the 1920s.

They seem to put up a special relationship. America has this cult of celebrity. And members of the royal family have a historic association. They're not just passing people from the media world. They have a history behind them. And that makes them all the more of celebrities.

So, I think the young royals, I mean, Kate and William, they're going to make some tours to America. They will be, as other guests have said, very popular. There is no reason to believe that there is going to be a diminishing interest in the monarchy in the United States.


LEMON: Frank and Shannon, thank you very much. I appreciate it.


LEMON: The MAGA-fication of the GOP is only beginning. Half of the GOP Senate candidates cast out on the 2020 election. So, how will they fare in the general election come November? We will discuss, next.




LEMON: Trump allies and election deniers winning big in the New Hampshire primaries. Don Bolduc defeating state Senate president Chuck Morse. Bolduc's win brings the total number of GOP Senate nominees who have denied or cast doubt on the 2020 election results to 19. He will go on to run against Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan in November.

And over in New Hampshire's first congressional district, generation Z candidate Karoline Leavitt winning her primary, a former Trump aide under Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Leavitt beat out former Trump administration official Matt Mowers. She will go up against Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas in November.

For more, I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Alice Stewart and Margaret Hoover. Hello. Lots of names here. I am going, who are these people? And I'm sure a lot of people at home are going, who are these people? But people in their districts and in the parties, the Republican Party they know. So good to have both of you. Margaret, let's start with the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary. Election denier Don Bolduc beating state Senate President Chuck Morse. Non-MAGA Republicans are worrying about his chances against Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan. Even Governor Chris Sununu said that he was not a serious candidate. I mean, what do you think about Bolduc's victory and republican chances in November?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it significantly diminished the republican chances in November. We just asked Mitch McConnell tonight or anybody who was really betting on this republican wave. Basically, based on historic, just the historic precedent of two terms or two years into the first cycle and to precedent of the opposite party's term, there was a wave going for Republicans which has been blunted by the quality of candidates that have been chosen or selected by republican base and, frankly, by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the Dobbs decision.

So, what you are seeing is, Don, place this in the larger context of what was the tradition of moderate northeastern Republicans that had always been more moderate on social issues and really stood apart from southern conservatives and western conservatives. What you see now is a full Trumpification (ph) up and down the ballot at every level of the party, even in the states that used to yield moderate Republicans.

And you see this, just one quick last point, in the neighboring state of Massachusetts and in Maryland where the two most popular governors in the country, where Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker, Republican governors of blue states, and they can't even endorse the candidate who have been nominated to replace them on the party ticket because they are candidates who endorse Trump's lies and are so aligned with the MAGA banner that they simply don't represent the values that that old northeast and republican tradition represented.

LEMON: I want to ask this because I want to get to other candidates. So, I want your response, Alice. You also got this gen-Z Karoline Leavitt winning the GOP nomination for New Hampshire's first congressional district. She ran against another former Trump administration official, Matt Mowers, but she went all in and mimicked Trump's brush styles, supported his election lie. Does this sort of prove what Margaret just said, that's in order to win as Republican, you have to fully embrace everything Trump?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: She is exactly right in terms of winning a primary. And the other congressional candidate in New Hampshire also was a Trump-endorsed candidate that was very far to the right. And that is concerning to me.

Look, what is formula to date for many people to win a primary is not a winning formula for a general election. And look, we need to go from the MAGA-fication of the GOP to the modification of the GOP because what we are going to do is not just appeal to the base but we need to appeal to the moderates. They are not interested in election deniers and conspiracy theorists. They want people that will call out inflation and fight crime. We got about eight weeks ago before midterm elections, and Republicans need to spend every waking moment campaigning on issues that are important to the people of their district and of this country, and that is the next eight weeks, four words need to come out of Republicans' mouth, day in a day out, that is the economy and crime and the economy and crime. Over and over and over.

No more talk about grievances of the past. No more talk about election problems. Focus on what is going to not just bring about the base, but also these moderate suburban voters that many have strayed from the Republican Party.

LEMON: Margaret, I have to ask you. You know, you've talked about old-school socially conservative Republicans, small government, that sort of thing.


How much is a MAGA takeover of the GOP really snuffing out this old- style version of a Republican?

HOOVER: Entirely! It has entirely snuffed it out! I mean, there is no diversity in the GOP. When it comes to GOP primary, the Trump endorsement is all that matters. And by the way, that's not a uniform policy. I mean, it's not clear what those ideas are. Remember, in 2020, when Donald Trump was running for reelection, there was no party platform. Literally! Trump just said, I am the platform.

So, yeah, I mean, the northeastern tradition, right, which was, yeah, it wasn't necessarily fiscally conservative as maybe people like William F. Buckley, Jr. would have preferred, it was moderate socially and it was, you know, strong national security, anticommunist. You know, it had its own coherence.

All of those nuances within the conservative movement, all of the differences and the factions that really brought it together into unified, cohesive, frankly winning coalition, have been decimated by Donald Trump's personality and his requirement, that Republicans adhere to his lies, his conspiracy theories, and his cult of personality.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, Alice just mentioned they would like to be talking about other things, and the reason that your time is short tonight is because of what we covered at the of the show, and that is -- we went along with it -- the DOJ, the subpoenas, and Mark Meadows, so that's it for you guys. Thank you. We will be right back.

HOOVER: Thanks, Don.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So, I'll update you on the looming railroad strike that could cause massive damage to the economy. Talks going on well into the night at the labor department between the unions and rail lines, according to a union official who says -- quote -- "I don't expect a resolution any time soon."

That as the Biden administration tries to (INAUDIBLE) a fake rail strike that could cause massive supply chain disruptions, exactly what the economy doesn't need right now.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.