Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
DOJ Asks Appeals Court To Intervene In Mar-A-Lago Classified Documents Fight; DeSantis Vows FL Will Transport More Migrants From Border To Other States; Thousands Line Up To Pay Their Respects To Queen Elizabeth II; President Biden Meets With Families Of Griner And Whelan At The White House; PayPal Threatens To End Sponsorship Of Phoenix Suns; CNN Heroes: Teacher Distributes Books For Kids In "Book Deserts." Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 16, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And they said that she was just plain wrong even stepping into this dispute when it comes to classified documents. And they said they're clearly the government's property. The former president has no claim to it.
They wrote it this way, saying, plaintiff has no -- has identified no recognizable harm for merely allowing criminal investigators to continue to review and use the same subset of seized material records. That is why courts have exercised great caution before interfering through civil actions with criminal investigations or cases here.
So, they're really implying that this judge, Aileen Cannon, you know, she's a Trump-appointee, that they're implying she shouldn't have stepped in on this issue of classified documents, and the fact that has restricted DOJ from even using them as they continue on in their investigation.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, Elie, our legal mind here, does it say something to you, that the Justice Department is only asking an appeals court to put on hold parts of Judge Cannon's order, not the whole thing?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It does, Don. This is, as Jessica said, a limited appeal. It's also a strategic appeal. Just for perspective here, we remember DOJ seized 11,000 documents out of Mar- a-Lago, they don't like the special master ruling as to any of it, they lost on all 11,000 documents.
What they're doing here is saying, okay, let's carve out the most important to us, DOJ, 100 of those documents. So, they've essentially given up on there being a special master for the other 10,900 documents, but they've said, with respect to those classified documents, those should not go to the special master, we should be able to use them in our criminal investigation as well as our national security investigation.
By doing that, they've limited their upside. They're not going to get the whole ball of wax (ph) that they want here. They're not going to get the special master kicked out altogether.
But they've also sort of limited their downside because if you take an appeal and you lose on the whole thing in the 11th Circuit, that's really bad for DOJ. That sets an even worse precedent for DOJ.
So, I think they're trying to be tactical and strategic in what they're choosing to go after here.
LEMON: But, Elie, this whole process is getting dragged out. I mean, is Trump getting what he wants, especially if this, you know, works its way through -- all the way up to the Supreme Court?
HONIG: To be sure, Don. We have seen Donald Trump use delay as a legal tactic plenty of times before, often successful. And look, here we are, we are about six weeks after that search was done at Mar-a- Lago and the special master hasn't even gotten started yet, and now the special master has until November 30th to get this done, and we've got a pending at least this request for stay going up to the court of appeals.
So, yes, this is moving slowly, and yes, delay is to Donald Trump's benefit.
LEMON: Phil Mudd, does it make any sense to you that this judge, Judge Cannon, wouldn't even allow the Justice Department to have access to the classified documents while the special master review is happening?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I can't figure this one out. I can understand how the president would want to go down this path. This is not just a legal process. This is a way to continue to argue as the president has argued all along, that he's a victim, and that the Department of Justice and the FBI's seizure, took document they shouldn't have taken. That's a political move.
But it's hard to see at the end of this November 30th, which is the deadline for the special master. Anybody could look at top-secret documents, intercepts foreign communications and say that somehow those were executive privilege or even, as Elie is suggesting, or even to say that there is a reason for a special master to look at those and make a judgment about those.
I think that part of -- judge has decided to make this a narrow case because they're on far more solid ground that on saying that, for example, a letter from Rudy Giuliani to the president shouldn't be reviewed by the special master. Of course, it should be reviewed. That makes sense to me.
But why review an intercept of a foreign communication? That's not an executive privilege document. I think the DOJ might win on this one.
LEMON: Okay. So, let me ask you about this, because I know that you have a feeling about this. What do you think about the DOJ's case, getting more compelling or less compelling against the former president?
MUDD: I will tell you, I don't think it's getting more compelling. I don't think January 6th is. I'm talking specifically about the president, not about the case more broadly, and to talk about Mar-a- Lago. I don't think so. Elie would know more about this than I do. But I know prosecutors and I watched them argue a long time around the table with the FBI. They don't like to lose.
So, you go into this case and you say somebody, we don't know who, somebody brought down or authorized the bringing down of a bunch of documents from the White House. Somebody kept those documents in a room. Somebody decided to tell the Department of Justice that they shouldn't turn those documents over to the FBI and the Department of Justice.
And the president is going to say, I don't know what came from the White House, I didn't tell anybody to do anything, I don't know what this lawyer did. I still don't think that President Trump is going to get charged in this case, and I would be surprised if he does. I'm not saying he didn't do anything wrong, and I'm not saying he's not responsible.
I'm saying, if you're looking for reasonable doubt, I would argue he still got it.
LEMON: Is this reasonable doubt, Elie? Do you agree with what he said? Is this a case of reasonable doubt here or is that for, you know, something else for a jury?
MUDD: In the school of law that is.
LEMON: Yeah, yeah, I get it. Elie?
HONIG: Well, I think -- I think Phil has seized on exactly the most important issue. And the biggest challenge facing prosecutors and the FBI here is you have to establish knowledge and intent beyond a reasonable doubt. That is not easy.
And let's keep in mind, we heard Trump's defenses here publicly, which have been all over the map, internally contradictory, nonsensical. He doesn't have to make a single defense in court. He can sit back and wait and say, you have to satisfy your burden. And by the way, prosecutors can't and won't charge a case unless and until they can establish knowledge and intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
And as Phil said, look, there is a lot we don't know publicly. We're getting a lot of really important reporting, we are seeing some really crucial details in the court filings, but the biggest question I have is, can prosecutors nail down in a reliable specific way Donald Trump knew what was happening and had intent to break these laws?
That's always the biggest challenge, and I think there is still a lot of questions about whether they can do that here.
LEMON: Jessica Schneider, the special master in this case has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday. What are you expecting from that?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, so, while this appeal is playing out, you know, the special master has really got to move forward here, and that's because the judge said he has 10 days to come up with a schedule about how this entire process is going to move forward, and actually to come up with that schedule, he needs to confer with Trump's attorneys and DOJ investigators or prosecutors.
So, the special master here, Judge Raymond Dearie, he is going to hold a preliminary conference. It will be on Tuesday at 2:00 a.m. It will be at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. That is where Judge Dearie sits as a senior judge. And he really does have to move somewhat swiftly here. He has to come up with this schedule in conference with the two sides.
You know, the clock is already ticking. He's got until November 30th to review what amounts to 11,000 documents that includes the 100 classified documents. The judge is saying he has to actually review those 100 classified documents first.
But we'll see if that moves forward given the appeal here. But he does have to start moving on this in the meantime, which he is, with this hearing on Tuesday.
LEMON: Elie Honig, also this former deputy White House counsel, Pat Philbin, told the National Archives that the box of records at Mar-a- Lago were just news clippings. He says that he was told that by Mark Meadows.
Mark Meadows's spokesperson is telling CNN, and I quote -- Mr. Meadows did not personally review the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and did not have a role in examining or verifying what was or wasn't contained within them." He says that he didn't actually know what was inside. So, who told Meadows that it was just clippings?
HONIG: Well, exactly. Let the game of finger pointing begin. I mean, clearly, this is a false statement, that they were only newspaper clippings, no sensitive or classified documents. We know for a fact that is false.
The question is not just who made the false statement but who knowingly made the false statement, and it does not surprise me at all that everybody down the line. Philbin saying, I didn't come up with this myself, I was told by Meadows. We just saw a statement by Meadows saying, Meadows didn't come up with this himself, he was told by somebody.
So, again, we're back to the same point as before. As a prosecutor, you have to show that knowledge. So, you need to try to. If you can, follow that chain of communication --
LEMON: So --
HONIG: -- and find the person who knowingly --
LEMON: Okay -- HONIG: -- made a false statement.
LEMON: All right. So, in this, Elie --
LEMON: -- all these people have to do is say, I don't know, it was him. I don't know, it was him. That doesn't work on the street. That doesn't work for the average citizen. Why does it work for these guys?
HONIG: You're right. Because we're in court, not on the street, and --
LEMON: No, no, I'm talking about this average person on the street who is facing a legal case saying, it wasn't me, and they end up behind bars.
HONIG: Well, in any case -- in any case, prosecutors have to establish their burden of proof. They have to show knowledge in any perjury case, in any obstruction case. You have to show the person who knowingly made a false statement or knowingly --
LEMON: Elie, go with me here --
HONIG: -- obstructed justice. And there are ways to do that.
LEMON: But the documents --
HONIG: You can do that.
LEMON: But the documents are at Mar-a-Lago. It's like saying, I don't know how these drugs got here, but they're in my house, but I don't know who brought them in, it could have been that person. But I -- you own that property. Therefore, it is in your property and that is they're in your possession, you go to jail.
HONIG: Well, let's stay with that analogy, though. I think that's a really good analogy. Let's say you live in a house with 12 other people, apartment building, you know, a common house with 12 other people. You can't just arrest and indict all 12 people --
LEMON: No, I mean, your house, who knew --
LEMON: You live in the house. You're the owner. Drugs are in your house.
HONIG: Not necessarily.
LEMON: You're not going to go to jail? Elie, really?
HONIG: Not necessarily. Not unless prosecutors can prove you knew it.
HONIG: If you live in a house -- let's say you have a large family.
Let's say you have five children. They find drugs somewhere in the house. They can't just go, well, who owns this house? You're indicted. You have to show the proof. And Don, again, I don't want to -- I'm not sort of being defeatist here. There are -- prosecutors do this all the time --
LEMON: Elie, we're talking about the drugs. We know the drugs are yours because they came from your other house.
HONIG: That's an important piece of advice, but there's a lot of people --
HONIG: There's a lot of people who had access to the --
LEMON: The classified documents --
HONIG: I hear you. That's --
LEMON: -- that were in his possession at the other house ended up at his other house, but yet and still, he doesn't know how they got there? Elie, come on, man. Really?
HONIG: No, but in his -- well, his response is going to be, and how many people -- how many dozens or hundreds of people were in and out of the first house and second house?
HONIG: I don't move my own stuff. I'm Donald Trump. I'm not going to pack boxes with duct tape. But Don, I want to just make this point because we get into this. It's great. I am telling you how prosecutors are thinking and approaching their jobs. I'm not necessarily telling you what is the way that we wish the world could be. So, I'm trying to approach this from a very pragmatic point of what prosecutors need to prove and establish before they bring a charge.
LEMON: Look, I'm not saying the way -- I wish we could be on the same -- I'm just trying to wrap my brain around it, and I'm thinking the way that people are thinking at home. The documents were in his possession --
HONIG: I understand.
LEMON: -- as he was president. They ended up in the residence. They were packed into boxes by whoever did, and they ended up at his other residence. The chain of possession, he was the one in possession of those documents. Therefore, he was responsible for those documents. So, if those documents ended up in his residence or in the car, in the Beast, or on Air Force One, he's the person who is responsible for maintaining and the possession of those documents.
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I don't get it. I don't get it.
HONIG: You've got the foundation of a case. You've got the beginning of a case. I don't think prosecutors would tell you that they're saying it was in house, it was in house, especially this is unusual, this is the White House.
LEMON: Not even negligence?
HONIG: Dozens of people involved. Well, negligence is not a crime. You can't charge someone -- for the most part, you can't charge someone with negligence except in very limited circumstances.
LEMON: For top-secret documents? Okay. Nuclear stuff?
HONIG: I mean, the law says willful, which means knowing and intentional.
LEMON: I'm not saying --
MUDD: Don, you're right -- you're wrong. Elie is right. How hard is this?
LEMON: I'm not saying anything. I'm just asking questions. That's it. It just seems to me that to an average citizen, like, wait a minute.
LEMON: You started, this was your possession, and then all of a sudden, you moved it somewhere else, so therefore, it's not your possession anymore just doesn't really make sense, but maybe legally, somehow it does make sense. I don't really get it.
MUDD: Just one quick factual point, this is one reason why Donald Trump doesn't write emails.
MUDD: If he said, she said, there is no email, I never told anybody to do anything. That's what he's going to say.
LEMON: Jessica is like, I'm going to let you all have this one.
HONIG: Don, just one more thought quickly, if I can.
LEMON: I got to go. The producers are telling I got to go. We got more.
LEMON: All right. Is it a salient point you need to make or we want to move on? I guess that means move on.
HONIG: It's fine. We can move on. (LAUGHTER)
LEMON: All right. Thank you, guys. See you. Have a good weekend.
A secret plan to unceremoniously dump desperate men, women and children seeking asylum in the land of the free and the home of the brave, dump them far from anybody or any place they know. Is it right? Is it right to do this or is it just right out of the Trump playbook? Remember, build a wall, Mexico will pay for it.
LEMON: So, new tonight, the roughly 50 migrants who were sent by plane to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis transported to a military base to receive shelter and humanitarian support. Meanwhile, DeSantis is vowing to send more migrants from border areas to other states.
So, here with me now, CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers and Scott Jennings. Gentlemen, good evening to you. Bakari, you're right here, let me start with you. Governor DeSantis says that he intends to use every penny of the $12 million in his state budget to relocate these migrants. You have to think that what we saw from him, this is just the beginning.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I don't really care about that. I think that the root of the problem is that these are men, women and children, these are real life human beings, and what you're seeing from Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott, individuals who refer to themselves as evangelical Christians, is anything but.
You know, the morale of it, even before you get to the legality of it, they're using men, women and children as pawns. And, you know, I think that there is, you know, kidnapping, inveiglement. There is a human trafficking component. They coerced people under false pretenses to get on a plane using state dollars and flew them somewhere where they had no idea where they were going.
And for everyone watching tonight and for Republicans who are watching tonight, the simple fact is, individuals who call themselves Christian, all right, and I know we have a whole bunch of people watching from different walks of life, but individuals who profess themselves to be Christian, what Ron DeSantis did is the furthest thing from it.
And I hope that people watching the show tonight will feel that the morality lapse of someone like Governor DeSantis shows that he is incapable of being a leader.
LEMON: But the people of Martha's Vineyard did -- they did step up and they provided humanitarian --
SELLERS: The weird part about this entire discussion, and I'm -- you know, I drink tequila, you know, a few hours ago, and I will drink it later, so I'm farthest thing from being a pastor, but I will tell you this, is that the funny part about this or the irony in all of this is simply that the people of Martha's Vineyard actually showed what it means to be American. Ron DeSantis did not.
LEMON: Yeah. Scott, I want you to get in here because, listen, DeSantis defended using taxpayer dollars to send the migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard because he said many people who cross the border end up in his state. Listen to this, and I want to get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They've been in Texas, identifying people that are trying to come to Florida, and then offering them free transportation to sanctuary jurisdictions, and so they went from Texas to Florida to Martha's Vineyard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Scott, talk to me. How is it a good idea to take people from one state and send them to another when neither are those states are Florida? Why is he seeking them out and then getting involved in this? Respond to what Bakari said.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Sure. I'll take your second part first. I mean, he's getting involved in it, I think, for two reasons. Number one, I've talked to a lot and heard from a lot of Republicans who are squarely behind what DeSantis and Abbott are doing. So, he is responding, I think, to a republican uprising trying to draw attention to the crisis that is the United States southern border. So, that's number one.
Two, there is clearly a political component to it. He thinks it is good politics to do this. And judging from what I heard today, I think he judged that correctly.
Responding to Bakari for a moment about the morality of all of this, back during the Trump years, we were repeatedly lectured that it was immoral to try to put up border walls, to try to put up border security and keep people out. Now, people are coming and they're being relocated not just by Abbott and DeSantis but by the Biden administration all over the country.
SELLERS: That's not true.
JENNINGS: And that's also immoral.
SELLERS: That's not true.
JENNINGS: I don't understand.
SELEERS: But that's not true.
JENNINGS: It is true. The Biden administration, Bakari, for the last 18 months has been --
SELLERS: Scott, Scott, respectfully --
JENNINGS: -- migrants all over this country.
SELLERS: Respectfully, Scott, the difference --
JENNINGS: No, respectfully, Bakari, it is true. You're not going to call me a liar on television. It is true. It is true.
SELLERS: I'm not going to call you a liar on television, but what I am going to say is what you're saying is patently false, because what you saw today --
JENNINGS: It's not false. It's not false.
SELLERS: What you saw -- what you saw from the DeSantis administration that is different from the Biden administration was coercion. You saw a simple fact and this actually is true, this is the legality of it, and what you saw was individuals who got on a plane, leaving Florida, going to Martha's Vineyard, under the impression they were going somewhere else for the purposes of doing something else.
JENNINGS: Why were they found with maps? Why did they have maps that say, you're going to Martha's Vineyard?
SELLERS: All you --
JENNINGS: They have maps that say, you're going to Martha's Vineyard.
SELLERS: Because when you get on an airplane and you get a ticket and someone says simply to you that you're going to do something else for the purposes of something else, that is called coercion. And so, when people get upset and outraged over the simple fact that I say this is trafficking or this is kidnapping, inveiglement or whatever it may be, the difference between what Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden are doing is quite simple.
And you may want to disagree with me and that's fine, but the coercion that they used to get these people on a plane, these are men, women and children, these literally are individuals, and the funny part about this, Scott, is that you and many others are going to go out and profess, and not you as much as individuals who are running campaigns are going to go out and profess some ideology that makes you better than us based on some simple point of mortality, and all I'm simply saying is that that goes out the window.
When you coerce people to get on a plane with a child and take them to Washington, D.C., for example, and drop them off on the side of a street or take them to Martha's Vineyard and drop them off when they don't know they're going there. So, we can play political games all we want, but what I am saying is --
JENNINGS: I don't think -- number one, I don't profess to be -- I don't profess to be better than anybody, first of all.
SELLERS: I wasn't referring to you. I wasn't referring to you. I actually like you, Scott. So, I'm not referring to you.
JENNINGS: Number two, they did know where they were going. You're not telling the truth about that.
SELLERS: They didn't. That's not true.
LEMON: Because they hand them a map --
LEMON: Bakari, Scott, hold on. Hold on, both of you. Scott, just because they hand them a map that says Martha's Vineyard --
SELLERS: Doesn't mean they know where they're going.
LEMON: -- doesn't mean that they know where they're going. And most of these people don't speak English.
SELLERS: Exactly. They from Venezuela. They're fleeing communism. The same thing that --
LEMON: I got off the plane in London. They handed me a map --
JENNINGS: Why are you so opposed --
SELLERS: No, the thing that people -- because I am so outraged.
JENNINGS: Why are you so opposed to --
SELLERS: Go ahead. You know why I'm outraged?
JENNINGS: I'm confused. I'm confused.
SELLERS: You know why I'm outraged? You know why I'm outraged?
LEMON: Hang on. Ask the question, Scott, and he'll respond.
JENNINGS: These people came here and they're in the United States. They didn't come here to stop -- I mean, I don't know exactly where they thought they were going.
I know this: They thought they were going to the United States. They made it. Then they wind up in, you know, a pretty nice place or they wind up in New York City --
LEMON: I understand what you're saying. But what he's saying -- I think you're missing his point. What he's saying is that --
JENNINGS: -- they were trying to go.
LEMON: What he's saying is that -- hold on, hold on, hold on. What he's saying is that -- hang on, Bakari, because I'm listening to both of you. What he's saying is that they were lured under false pretenses.
LEMON: They were coerced first into going someplace under false pretenses.
JENNINGS: I disagree.
LEMON: They may have gone to Texas thinking they're going to Texas or what have you, and then you send them off to Iowa, saying, these people are going to look out for you and there are facilities for you there, you get there, and there is nothing.
SELLERS: I think the reason that you and I get along very well and I think the reason that people are responsive to us on TV is because we're above the gamesmanship.
Regardless of how we defend it on any particular term, what I'm saying today is that the gamesmanship using actual human beings as pawns, I will debate with you until we are blue in the face about tax policy or gas prices or chicken wings and the fact that inflation is a monster right now, I will debate with you that all day, but I don't want our people who are men, women and children being used as political pawns, and for me, that takes me to another level of being red hot.
LEMON: I got to go. This is what is frustrating. What's frustrating is that we're talking about this and we're not talking about comprehensive immigration policy, things that will actually make a difference. We're talking about political stunts here. We're talking about it because lawmakers aren't talking about it.
And so, that's what is frustrating. I mean, lawmakers aren't talking about it, so we're not talking about it. They're not actually doing anything about it. That's what is frustrating to me.
Now, we're talking about political gamesmanship and using people as pawns rather than comprehensive policy, and that's what we should be talking about. I got to go. Obviously, the conversation will continue. Appreciate both of you coming on.
Thousands are lined up to pay their respects to the queen at Westminster Hall. Next, I'll talk to King Charles's goddaughter about the family dynamics and the upcoming funeral. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Thousands of people lining up for hours for a chance to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II ahead of her state funeral on Monday. The line reaching nearly 5 miles long earlier today, forcing authorities to close it tonight.
Joining me now is India Hicks. India is King Charles's goddaughter. She was a bridesmaid at Charles and Diana's wedding. Her mother is a cousin of the late Prince Philip. We are happy to have her here. She's also the ambassador, by the way, to the Prince's Trust and executive board member of Global Empowerment Mission. Hello to you, India. Thanks for joining.
We saw King Charles and his siblings standing vigil today as a public walk through Westminster Hall to pay their respects. What does this last week mean to you as the world prepares for the queen's funeral on Monday?
INDIA HICKS, GODDAUGHTER OF KING CHARLES III: Don, I think it's much less about me. It's much more about the family who are grieving, obviously, for their mother, for their grandmother, and they have to do it in such a public way. Every single move is scrutinized and watched by the world. It must be an incredibly difficult and exhausting time for them all.
LEMON: India, the queen's eight grandchildren will stand vigil beside her coffin on Saturday evening, and at King Charles's request, both his sons will be in uniform. Harry was not in military dress at previous events. He was in a mourning suit with his medals. I mean, this seems like an indication of the king's effort to smooth the relations within his own family, no?
HICKS: I think when you're going through a funeral on this level where it is not just the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth but it is the world watching, I think you do want to come together as a family as much as you possibly can.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. Funerals have a way of bringing families together in shared grief, and I think there is a lot of people who would like to see Prince William and Harry mend their relationship. What do you think about that?
HICKS: You know, I'm not close enough to have any inside information on that, and I think that, you know, as anybody, I would hope for reconciliation between brothers as much as possible.
LEMON: Yeah. I meant the general public, not in the inside on the family, but I think most people would like to see that. I mean, I think even the people in England would like to see that and the people in America would like to see that. Is that a fair assessment?
HICKS: I think what we need to focus on is that there is a core group of working royals. And I think what we're going to see from the Prince of Wales who is now King Charles is that there is going to be a modernization of the monarchy which is needed. But they need to be able to survive in some way and being able to modernize, that is important.
I think King Charles is very strong for that. King Charles and his wife has an incredibly sense of strong will in presiding. And to have Catherine and William also will draw in other generations behind them. I think we got a fantastic four.
LEMON: Do you think that they can do it because they want to slim down and modernize at the same time. That may be a bit of a task.
HICKS: I think we've been seeing that over the past couple of years certainly. The queen has been very good about that as well. I think that it is necessary.
We see that core group of working royals doing an astounding amount of work, an astounding amount of good. And if you think, really, a lot of these royals are there for the charitable work that they do.
I thank you for mentioning both the Prince's Trust and Global Foundation. Global mission, I worked for a while, but the Prince's Trust is a very, very strong foundation put in place by Prince Charles who is present in the way that he was looking at the world.
He was thinking in an environmental and ecological way, way before any of us were. We are all saying, you know, he's hugging trees. Of course, now, we're all hugging trees, we're all using the word sustainable, we're all trying to be more green in our thinking, and he was doing that long before any of us. I think that's really interesting.
LEMON: Yeah, the world came around to where he was. At least, they met him finally. So Princess Anne has accompanied the coffin throughout this whole process. What do you think about how she has really risen to the occasion in this moment, India?
HICKS: I think she is a sensational woman. I think she is absolutely the epitome of a strong English woman who has defined her own role. She has taken her own path in things. Again, must be very difficult to be the daughter of the queen. You know, you have to be able to forge your own way and make your own path. I think she's done that in a very quiet way, in a very solid way but a quiet way, never flashing, never attention-seeking, never any drama.
LEMON: You know, you posted a photo on your Instagram of your mother and the queen, and you talk about how the queen would come and stay. And on such visits, she took issue with your mom's pet mongoose. We have to hear more about that. What was that all about?
HICKS: The mongoose, she took issue with the fact that the mongoose would come into her room and help himself to the box of chocolates. And it wasn't even that he took one chocolate. The queen would have no problem with sharing her chocolates. It's that he took a bite out of each.
And, you know, Don, it is very difficult to know the flavor of a chocolate until you've taken a bite out of it. So, I'm entirely on the side of the mongoose.
LEMON: Probably better that it's chocolate in it. You know, it wasn't her famous sandwich that she likes so much. So, you know, I'm sure we can cut the mongoose some slack. Thank you, India. I appreciate your time. And you be well. I'm sorry for your loss.
HICKS: Thank you.
LEMON: Join me (ph), Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett as U.K. and the world remembers the queen. "The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II," Monday, 5:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
President Biden meeting today with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whalen. CNN caught up with Griner's family. What they're saying, next.
LEMON: So, President Biden meeting the families of wrongfully detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan for the first time at the White House tonight. The president reassuring them that his White House is committed to bringing their loved ones home from Russia. But weeks after the U.S. offered a deal, will they be freed any time soon?
Joining me now to discuss, Jonathan Franks, who was a consultant on the Trevor Reed case and is also president of Lucid Strategies. Jonathan, thank you for joining.
After the meeting, Brittney Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, telling CNN's Abby Phillip that she believes the administration is working hard but that they haven't -- quote -- "quite figured out exactly what Russia wants in return for Brittney Griner. What is your reaction to that?
JONATHAN FRANKS, CONSULTANT ON TREVOR REED CASE: It sounds consistent with what I've heard, and thanks for having me back, Don. I think that the -- there is some stagnation because of the Russian side at the moment, not the American side.
LEMON: A senior administration official is telling CNN that there has been -- quote -- "movement but not breakthroughs" on getting these Americans back. Did the Biden administration miscalculate when they offered their deal earlier this summer?
FRANKS: I don't know if they miscalculated about the deal. I wonder about whether they miscalculated about making it public. And again, there may very well have been a great reason for doing that. It still baffles me. But the fact that we have seen no deal yet is, you know, makes one wonder if that was a good idea.
LEMON: Biden is also praising the courage of Paul Whelan's family. Whelan has been in prison in Russia for more than three years after being convicted on espionage charges that he vehemently denies and that the U.S. has denounced. What do you think Putin's gain is here?
FRANKS: I think Putin's gain is to A, get back Viktor Bout, a Russian to be named later, I guess. And B, to kind of troll us. I think he sees opportunity in creating us versus them dynamics in our discourse, and that he knows that that causes political chaos here. He can't really win on the battlefield in Ukraine, so why not, you know, create some chaos in the United States? I suspect that's what it's about.
LEMON: The former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, was in Moscow this week. He helps work to bring Americans held abroad home.
But the White House was pouring some cold water on his efforts. Are they worried that this could undercut their own efforts?
FRANKS: I don't know about that. I mean, to me, if this thing is too sensitive for Governor Richardson, it means it is probably too sensitive to be, you know, announcing offers in public. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. This has been, you know, the rivalry between the governor and the government, you know, at times. It just seems unnecessary. I don't know why they need to pour cold water on it like that.
LEMON: Thank you, Jonathan. I appreciate it. Be well.
FRANKS: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: The CEO of PayPal threatening to end their relationship with the Phoenix Suns. We will tell you why. That's next.
LEMON: PayPal threatening to end its sponsorship of the Phoenix Suns unless the team removes owner Robert Sarver. This coming after an independent investigation finds Sarver engaged in hostile, racially- insensitive, and inappropriate behavior.
NBA announcing this week, Sarver will be suspended for a year and fined $10 million. But the Players Association says that he should be banned for life.
I want to bring in now CNN's sports analyst Christine Brennan. Thank you, Christine. I appreciate you joining us. The NBA is facing major blowback for this decision. What is going on here?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Well, when a sponsor, Don, starts to talk, then people listen. That's exactly what happened with the Washington football team with the racist nickname. All of a sudden, one sponsor after another said, you've got to get rid of it, and within a few days, a longstanding name, the Skins, was gone.
And I think that's the same with what we're looking at here. It is stunning that he was suspended only one year, although owners, it's a different situation, unfortunately. To get rid of an owner in one of these leagues, you got to have three-fourths of the other owners agree to get rid of that owner. And, of course, a lot of them are looking around and wondering, you know, if they're next.
So, my sense here is, because of the backlash, because we've heard from Lebron James, Chris Paul, obviously the Players Association, now one of the sponsors, my sense is that Sarver is not going to be long for his ownership of the Suns and Mercury. I've got to believe that this is going to end soon because now, it has become a public relations nightmare not just for the league but also for him personally.
When people don't want you around, it's really hard to stay around, and I think that that's what's building here, and I think Sarver will eventually be gone.
LEMON: I want to turn now to the NFL, Christine. They are taking some serious heat after releasing a special edition logo for the start of Latino Heritage Month. The logo added what was supposed to look like a tilde over the "N" of the NFL shield.
The NFL is saying in a statement, the league is proud to celebrate Latino Heritage Month by highlighting NFL players, coaches and staff partnering with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement.
It appears they had all good intentions but something went wrong here. What was it?
BRENNAN: The accent. The tilde is inappropriate to be used in that way on that letter. And so, it is an affront to all Spanish-speaking people. And what is kind of amazing to me is the NFL covered it for years, know a lot of people there, how they wouldn't have run this by someone who speaks Spanish, who is Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, and said, would you just double-check this for us?
Because what has happened, something that's good, something trying to reach a population that is growing, and that, Don, is going to be a bedrock of your fan base for the next 50, 60 years onward as we become a majority minority nation.
And those people are probably going to love their NFL football as much as their moms and dads and grandmothers and grandfathers did. That's your group. That's a group of people you want to reach in addition to fact women, obviously, people of color, others as well.
And so, why wouldn't you double-check this? And maybe they did and the person they talked to didn't do a good job of it. But you've created a controversy where this was supposed to be a really good thing and now it has turned into a bad thing. And that is exactly what you don't want as you're trying to celebrate a culture by denigrating that culture.
LEMON: Yeah. Christine Brennen, thank you so much. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:55:00]
LEMON: The majority of teachers returning to school are having to spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms. This week's CNN hero is a high school English teacher in New Jersey who sprang into action when he realized kids didn't have access to books and teachers were struggling to provide them. Meet Larry Abrams.
LARRY ABRAMS, CNN HERO: So many of us have heard about food deserts, but there are also these things called book deserts, areas where people just don't have access to books. There are pockets of poverty where they don't have them in their homes. There are no libraries.
In a great forest, a little elephant is born. His name is Babar (ph).
The most important tool that they get are words. And there are some kids who grow up hearing lots and lots of words because they're read to every single night. Kids living in book deserts don't have that. And so, reading and books helps level that playing field.
Very good stuff. This was a great haul.
Giving kids books almost ensures academic success. What we do is irrigate book deserts by pouring hundreds of thousands of books in.
First grades, you'll probably want the picture books.
Teachers are the best distributors of books that we have. We're improving lives one book at a time.
LEMON: To learn more, go to cnnheroes.com.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.