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Don Lemon Tonight

Former White House Counsel Warned Donald Trump; Sheriff Demands Investigation Over Migrant Shipment to Martha's Vineyard; Puerto Rico Inundated by Heavy Rain; U.K. Appreciates Sympathy by the World; President Makes Suspense Statement; Hurricane Fiona Killed Two People in Puerto Rico. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 22:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is a bond that we all share. It's certainly something that I've experienced and begun to explore in a very personal way in a new podcast. It's called all there is to listen. You can just point your cell phone right now at the QR code on your TV screen for a link to it. Or you can find a podcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you may listen to podcasts.

Next episode is coming out this Wednesday. Our guest will be Stephen Colbert whose dad and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash when Stephen was just 10 years old. I hope you'll look able to listen. The news continues. I want to hand it over now to Don and DON LEMON TONIGHT. Don?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, I'm so glad you mentioned that because I didn't. I mean, quite honestly, I wasn't sure that it was appropriate to talk to you about it, but I think it is as we watched this family grieving so publicly this week and just how tough it is for everyone. There's things that we don't really share. As you know, I know that you lost your brother, you lost your mom. I lost my sister. I lost my dad and my grandmother, and my stepdad. And it's things that families sort of keep to themselves.

But this family is grieving right out in the open. I'm not sure that that makes it any easier though. And the podcast that you have, I commend you for doing it. I think it's amazing. So, thank you for doing that, but anything you want to share about that?

COOPER: Thanks. Yes. I mean, I think it's interesting because I think in watching this family grieve, I think everybody who watches is reminded of their own losses of the griefs that they have experienced. I heard you say something earlier on the air, which I thought was really, really right on the -- on the money.

There was that shot of the vehicle with the king and Camilla driving off alone back to the palace after the -- after the burial. And you pointed out that it's often after the funeral after the crowds have gone away, that the reality of death, the reality and the pain of the loss really sink in, the adrenaline is gone and you are left still feeling all these things. And yet the world is not mourning with you.

And so, that's a lot of the stuff we explore in this podcast, talking to Stephen Colbert and, and others about, you know, the residual effects and living with loss and living with grief. It's been 34 years since my brother's death. And you know, my dad died when I was 10, and yet it's something I'm still wrestling with. So.

LEMON: Yes. Same. Dad died when I was nine, as you know, my sister died in 2018 and then, you know, my grandmother in, 2000 in 1997, my dad in 1996. I mean, it's just been a whole thing, but you're right. Everyone is there for the memorial service for the funeral. And then all of a sudden, you go back to your home or wherever it is and you go, what do we do now?

Again, thank you for doing the podcast, Anderson.


LEMON: I'll see you. Have a safe trip home. OK. We'll see you soon.

COOPER: My pleasure.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

COOPER: All right. Thanks. See you soon.

LEMON: Thank you. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.

Fifty days until the midterm. So, fasten your seatbelt, everyone, it's going to really go by fast. I mean, it's not that long and this is no ordinary election. This is an election that could decide what American politics looks

like for years to come.

What candidates on the right keep trying to out MAGA at each other. Staging political stunts like flying two plane loads of migrants to Martha's Vineyard, a stunt that got Ron DeSantis a standing ovation in Kansas, take a look. There it is.


LEMON: Will Republicans once thought that they were going to breeze into the power, into power in November face a reckoning with anger over the Supreme Court's conservative majority courtesy of the former president overturning the right to abortion? And what does all of this tell us about 2024 as Joe Biden keeps his party hanging. Watch.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Look, my intentions I said to begin with, is that I would run again, but it's just an intention, but is it a firm decision that I run again, that remains to be seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Remember I asked that question to the press secretary and everybody got all been out of shape. Well, there you go. We're going to dig into all of that coming up.

Plus, a catastrophic flooding happening now, a catastrophic flooding happening now. There's nearly an island wide power blackout, a thousand water rescues as hurricane Fiona batters Puerto Rico five years after the devastation of hurricane Maria. We're live on the ground where some people are telling us this storm is even worse.

And then there's a bombshell new development in the crime story that became an obsession for millions of people. A judge vacating the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of the Serial podcast who has maintained he is innocent in the 1999 slaying of his ex-girlfriend even after more than 20 years behind bars. But that's not the end of the story. More to come on that as well.


Plus, this.

The sights and sounds of the queen's final journey. The hearse covered with flowers tossed by her subjects. The Royal family's moments of private grief in the middle of all the pageantry shared with millions of people around the world. Even the youngest royals, Prince George and Princess Charlotte mourning the queen that they knew best as their great grandmother. Her funeral ending with the sound of the bagpipe.

That was a sound that woke her up every morning for most of her life. We've got a lot to come on all of that tonight. So, make sure you stay tuned.

But first here with me now, CNN senior political analyst, John Avlon, Tara Palmeri, the senior political correspondent for Puck, Garrett Graff, the contributing editor of Wired.

Good evening, everyone.


LEMON: Let's see, what are we going to talk about? We have like so much news, right? It's a big news night. John, I'm going to start with you. I want to ask you about the New York Times reporting that Donald Trump was warned by his one-time White House lawyer Eric Herschmann late last year that he could face legal liability if he did not return government materials that he had taken when he left office. There's still so much that we don't know about this.

AVLON: We keep hearing more, but it's all of a piece, right? This is Eric Herschmann who is so unvarnished in his interviews with the January 6th committee telling the president, according to New York Times reporting last year. So, the ex-president to be clear.

That if he didn't return these documents, that he was hoarding in Mar- a-Lago, that he could face serious legal jeopardy. So, what that does is it blows up the excuse that there's no way Trump knew, or he was living in some delusional fantasy land, because he'd been told by one of his deputy White House counsels, that there was legal jeopardy that he had to return the documents, that it was serious and he willfully ignored it. That's what it appears to be.

LEMON: But he -- but his -- he and his folks were saying they complied with everything that they were --


AVLON: That's a lie. That's a lie.

LEMON: Straight up. It's a lie.

AVLON: It's a lie because we know from the documents, from his lawyers, they said that he turned over everything when they didn't, they held onto other documents.

LEMON: Do you agree it was a lie?

TARA PALMERI, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, PUCK NEWS: It sounds like they were at least trying to obstruct justice, that they knew that they were asking for some sort of documentation and they weren't willing to hand it over whether he believed he had declassified it and he had the right to it. That's another story, but they weren't fully, open with what they had.

LEMON: Do you believe it's a lie, Garrett?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I do. And I think to Tara's point, one of the things that we also saw happen today of course, is that Trump is refusing to comply with the questions from the special master in the e-mail investigation or in the document investigation. And what's interesting about that, is that one of the things that he is refusing to answer is whether he actually declassified the documents, and thus, they would have been his to hold onto.

And of course, that's not actually what the DOJ subpoena called for in the first place. They called for documents with classification markings regardless of whether they were actually --


LEMON: Well, that's what I would say. Is this whole thing about I declassified, that's all a distraction, right?

GRAFF: It's all a distraction.

LEMON: It's not really mentioned.

GRAFF: And what's interesting --

AVLON: That's right.

GRAFF: -- is that this is sort of just Trump being Trump, which is he asked for a special master. Gets the special master, then refuses to cooperate with the special master and that it's, you know, one of the oddities of this, we talk about these 50 days out from the midterms, is that it's going to be thanks to Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone that we talk about this every day between now and the midterms.

LEMON: Well, I'm going to talk about, but let's -- I just want to give folks an idea. This is according to the Times, not long after the conversation Trump returned 15 boxes including 184 classified documents in January, but he still held onto a lot, including the documents with the highest security classification.

So, I want to say that, but we're going to be talking about this a lot. Here's my question. We are 50 days out until election day. Republicans want to talk about what? Immigration, inflation. Democrats want to talk about the Roe decision, so much is at stake here. And then the outcome could really determine what the country faces over the next few years.

How do you guys, how do you see it, Tara?

PALMERI: I think that they are running two different campaigns right now. I think --

LEMON: But which one is going to work, which one is more effective?

PALMERI: Exactly. That's the question. It's a matter, I think of geography and location. I think if you are living on the border immigration may Trump, the economy to you.

LEMON: No pun intended.

PALMERI: Right. And the -- and immigration is a huge issue for people living on the border. Economy obviously is a pocketbook issue that goes across the globe. But also, I think if you're a woman you may be more concerned about the Roe issue.

So, I think it really targets voters in different places and it may not necessarily divide along partisan lines this election. I think it depends on what you value. If you think that Republicans are better at handling the economy, immigration and crime, you may vote for a Republican. And if you think that Democrats are better at handling, you know, healthcare, abortion, climate, and those are priorities for you, you'll vote that way.


LEMON: Go ahead, John What you want to say?

AVLON: Yes. Well, I think the, the additional thing in that stack of priorities is democracy. You know, typically democracy isn't on the ballot in a way that people are saying it's one of the things that's motivating their vote.

Look, typically the pendulum swing of a midterm election is going to swing to the opposition party. Everybody knows that. That's the way the gravitational poll works. But by Donald Trump reinserting himself into our politics, it's Mitch McConnell's worst nightmare. Because he makes it not a referendum on the Biden administration, but a choice election between, you know, Democrats and Donald Trump.

And so, while Republicans absolutely will get energy from immigration, crime, inflation, Democrats have the overreach of Roe. They've got democracy, they've got other issues like healthcare and the environment. So, this is going to be much closer than a typical midterm might be.

LEMON: But then you said --


AVLON: be careful, I'm not making a prediction here.

LEMON: -- crime inflation, right? Those things appeal to Democrats and Republicans, but then you also too have the issue of Roe v. Wade, which also appeals to Republicans, as well, and Democrats. So, these are issues that, that means something to both parties.

GRAFF: Yes. And I think one of the challenges here of course is, as John is saying, there are two Republican parties fighting two very different messages this fall. That you have Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, they want to talk about inflation. They want to talk about the economy. They want to talk about gas prices. They want to talk about immigration.

Donald Trump is going to be out there every day trying to pull the party more into his own view. And this is where you actually have, in some ways, Ron DeSantis and the Martha's Vineyard migration stunt, sort of these two guys out there sort of, out MAGA-ing each other.


GRAFF: In a way that actually, I think is going to be one of the major narratives between now and November.

LEMON: But if you look at what happened with Ron DeSantis and got the standing ovation from GOP voters


LEMON: -- about the Martha's Vineyard issue, does -- Martha's Vineyard issue, does this tell you where Republicans are right now? And I mean, is he trying to out MAGA Trump?

PALMERI: It was, I think it was certainly effective in terms of making immigration come to the forefront. I mean, now you have a story in the New York Times saying that two million people were apprehended at the border, like the highest number in -- during the Biden administration.

And it -- we're talking about immigration again. And whether we like it or not, Ron DeSantis did that.

AVLON: I'd push back on that. First of all, he obviously is borrowing a plan, but Abbott had been doing with busing. He elevated it, trying to out troll Trump and DeSantis in effect. But I think that, you know, there's a danger of political backlash with Ron DeSantis not in a, you know, not in a, you know, conservative conference where I had to laugh because there was a sign that got thrown up saying unite to win. And that's not what we're seeing any evidence of right now.

But the fact that these were, you know, refugees from a left-wing dictatorship, Venezuela, predominantly, I think could actually have unintended consequences for Ron DeSantis back home and nationally. Because it muddies the clear moral clarity that lot of Republicans, Florida Republicans had when it came to places like the Maduro regime. And here they're using refugees from the Maduro regime as political pawns kind of callously,

LEMON: But when he says unite to win, he's not talking about Democrats and Republican United. He's talking about unite behind the big why around all this?

AVLON: Yes, I don't -- I don't think that's a uniting message either for the Republican Party or the Republicans.

LEMON: You don't.


LEMON: Wow. All right. Listen, I got to talk to you about this because President Biden this weekend telling 60 Minutes that his intention to run for president, that he's not so sure about whether he's going to do. It wasn't a firm decision.

Do you think this is more instability when you know, he needs to make up his mind, especially when he comes to the Democratic Party?

AVLON: No. I mean.

LEMON: Tara.

AVLON: Tara, you, you jump in here.

LEMON: It sounds like Garrett.

AVLON: Nope.

PALMERI: I think all this does is make all of the voices all of the potential 2024 rivals get even more juiced up and ready to talk to their donors and build their networks.

I have known all along from White House officials as always never a baked plan thing. This was a Jill Biden, Joe discussion. Their family has a lot at stake. You've got Hunter Biden under the microscope. You've got Ashley Biden under the microscope. He's at -- he's going to be, he would be 76, sorry, 87 at the end of his term. There were a lot of different factors --


LEMON: At the end of a second term, he would be.



PALMERI: But still you have to run for a whole term. And I think this was never a baked foregone conclusion. He was always going to be taking his time on this, just like he did right before he decided in 2015 that he wasn't going to run because of the death of his son, his family has always been a really big part of this.

GRAFF: Yes. And I think to Tara's, exactly right there, which is, I think that we over prescribe to him sort of a political cynicism that is actually just really sort of Joe Biden being Joe Biden. And in 2016, in that election, you know, he made a very, very personal decision --

LEMON: Not to.

GRAFF: -- not to run because he just didn't feel that his heart was in it. And I think we're sort of waiting to see that same moment, whether he feels like his heart is in it.


And by the way, one of the things he's been very clear about is that he can beat Donald Trump. He has beaten Donald Trump. And if he feels that the Republican Party is tacking back to Donald Trump, that's going to keep him in the fight longer.

LEMON: Yes. You just, you were reading my mind because the poll shows now, I mean, many of them, that he's the only person right now in the Democratic Party. There's no one else really out there. There's no one, you know, who's declaring who can beat Donald Trump. So, we're going to see.

He is going to, I mean, look, he said, this is the thing. People get upset, especially Democrats when you talk about Biden's age and the stand and all that. He said that in 2020 himself, I know my age is a factor. And Democrats get all been out of shape when you talk about Joe Biden's age.


AVLON: No, that's just --

PALMERI: No. He's going --


PALMERI: He is that bridge.

AVLON: To a new generation.

LEMON: Right? And this is, this is a bridging moment. Look, this age is just a fact.

LEMON: Right? AVLON: Now, you know who else dealt --


LEMON: Don't be ages though.

AVLON: But no.

LEMON: He has said it himself.

AVLON: He has said it himself. Now, and obviously for most presidents, the fact you run for reelection is a given, it's not for Joe Biden. That said, I don't think it's surprising he's not announcing before the midterms.

I know that there are a lot of Democrats looking at their own contingency plans as a result, but, you know, let -- let's have the midterm elections before we dive --


AVLON: -- first into it.

LEMON: It's politically smart, what he's doing. And everyone, everyone wants him declaring. They're reading into whatever his answer is, but I think it's politically smart.



PALMERI: Well, I do think also the fact that they channeled that they're having the DNC run his campaign instead of form his own campaign, it actually suggests that they're preparing for the fact that he may not run, that this might be real more than just a political calculation.


PALMERI: That they are preparing for a possible other candidate that can slide right into the DNC's apparatus rather than the Biden campaign.

LEMON: Here's one thing I know for sure. We will know whenever he decides. He'll tell us. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

A Texas sheriff says migrants were exploited, quote, "exploited and hoodwinked" when they were transported to Martha's Vineyard. And he's not the only one calling for an investigation of what happened to so many desperate men and women and children.

Stories CNN's, Miguel Marquez has been telling.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man says he had a 40-day journey from Venezuela to the U.S, border with a child. And they were sent from Texas to D.C.

"We didn't know where we were going," he says, "the bus left us here and now they didn't tell us where we were. They just left us here. And that's it."




LEMON: Growing calls for a federal investigation after migrants were shipped to northern blue states by Republican Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott. Democrats and activists are accusing the Republican governors of using these immigrants as pawns in a political stunt, alleging that they were lured onto buses and planes with bogus promises of aid only to lead them stranded.

And tonight, a Texas sheriff is announcing an investigation into the flight that brought 48 migrants to Martha's Vineyard. Watch.


JAVIER SALAZAR, SHERIFF, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: I believe that they were preyed upon somebody came from out of state, preyed upon these people, lured them with promises of a better life, which is what they were absolutely looking for.

And with the knowledge that they were going to clinging to whatever hope they could, they could be offered for a better life, to just be exploited and hoodwinked into making this trip to Florida and then onward to Martha's Vineyard, for what I believe to be nothing more than political posturing to make a point.


LEMON: So exploited and hoodwinked, he says. Joining me now to discuss is Massachusetts State Representative Dylan Fernandes. He represents Martha's Vineyard.

Thank you, Representative. I appreciate you joining.

STATE REP. DYLAN FERNANDES (D-MA): Good to be with you.

LEMON: Thank you. So representative. I want to ask you, this Texas sheriff is alleging that a migrant was paid to recruit people from this flight from a resource center in San Antonio who were then, quote, "lured" to a hotel before being flown first to Florida, then to Massachusetts. What's your reaction to this news?

FERNANDES: Well, look, I, I stand with the sheriff. I agree with him. There needs to be an investigation into this. We've been calling on the Department of Justice to do just that. Not only is this a morally criminal thing to do, but there are clear legal -- legal implications here around human trafficking, fraud, deprivation of liberty and this needs to be looked at. So, we're calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an

investigation. I've talked to our U.S. attorney here, and she is willing to push on this as well and call for accountability. I was at the facility today where I talked to several individuals and they recounted their story to me.

And it is true that there was a woman rounding people up under false promises, underlies, bringing them to a hotel, where there was a central hotel where there were staging people and keeping them there to then go on these flights and then lying to them about where they were going. It seems like not a single person was told that they were going to

Martha's Vineyard.

LEMON: Yes. Well, let's talk a little bit more about that. Lawyers for these Venezuelan families were saying that they landed in Martha's Vineyard, are looking into -- into a brochure given to them that promised cash. And housing assistance under false pretenses because the program reference does not apply to asylum seekers. What questions does that raise to -- for you?

FERNANDES: Well, there are, I mean, look again, this is a criminal act in my mind and it needs to be investigated and these people were lied to. Think about this. I talked to an individual today who walked over 60 days just to get to the border. He was fleeing from violence, fleeing from gangs and fleeing from a breakdown in his home country only to be met, not with compassion, but with a governor's administration that wanted to use him as a political pawn. And lied to him, putting him on an airplane and then shipped him off like cattle with 49 other people to a place where he didn't know where he was going.


That's an incredibly cruel and depraved thing to do to use these people for as political pawns just so Tucker Carlson -- just so our Governor DeSantis could get on Tucker Carlson and talk about being tough on immigration. At the end of the day, these are families, these are children. There's nothing tough about using children and families as political pawns.

Governor DeSantis an incredibly weak human being. What is strong is how our community rallied together to come together to support these people at a moment's notice. And I believe this community represents the best of this country.

LEMON: I got to say, they're represented these Republican governors insist that no one is being transported against their will. They're making -- and that they're not making decisions based on false pretenses. Do you buy that? What do you say to that?

FERNANDES: Well, I can tell you as a fact that the migrants, we call that out as complete B.S.

LEMON: OK. FERNANDES: They were -- they told me that they were lied to, they told me that they were deceived. They told me today that when they got off the plane and realized they were on an island, they pulled it up on their phone and saw there was water surrounding them, but they were terrified.

They had no idea where they were and they thought they were going -- they did not know, none of -- not a single one of them knew they were going to Martha's Vineyard. So, what these governors are saying is a lie and what these migrants are saying is the truth. And we need to be respectful for them and we need to show them the compassionate and care that any human being deserves. And that's what we're doing here in Massachusetts.

LEMON: Well, as I understand, you're one of the voices now calling for a federal investigation into Governor DeSantis and others what they have been doing. And we -- I want you to keep us updated on that. Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Representative. Be well.

FERNANDES: Pleasure. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. Rescuers scrambling tonight, hurricane Fiona slamming into Puerto Rico, at least two dead from the storm. We're live in San Juan. We're going to be there right after this.



LEMON: Hurricane Fiona still battering Puerto Rico with heavy rains and life-threatening flash flooding, emergency teams are working to rescue those trapped, but FEMA official tells CNN that the catastrophic rain is making it challenging at the hour. At least two people have died and hundreds of thousands are without power.

CNN's Leyla Santiago has the latest from San Juan.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost the entire island of Puerto Rico remains in the dark after hurricane Fiona slammed into the southwestern coast of the island Sunday afternoon. Pounding rainfall causing catastrophic mudslides and flooding.

The storm coming just as parts of the island were finally recovering from hurricane Maria's destruction five years ago.

JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ, RESIDENT AND BUSINESS OWNER: It's been rough. We've been just working to get back. This neighborhood getting back from Maria that everything was destroyed, restaurants, houses, everything was destroyed. And we just -- we just, not all the way back, but we just halfway back.

A lot of people more than Maria lost their houses, now lost everything on their houses because of the flooding.

SANTIAGO: This is the barrio, the neighborhood where the National Guard had to come and rescue people. Still a lot of flooding. I could hear generators powering the home and it is still pouring with rain. Neighbors looking out wondering exactly what will come next as hurricane Fiona, the remnants of it continue to demolish this area.

The family rescued overnight now safely in a shelter.


SANTIAGO: She says this was worse than Maria. She's pointing out that they've already been underwater for 24 hours and the rain is still coming down. So she's concerned about the 2,500 families that she says are impacted by this here.

About a thousand people rescued from floodwaters, hundreds more rescue efforts still underway as emergency responders try to navigate through difficult to reach areas.

In Utuado, the interior part of the island, 25-year-old Leomar Rodriguez (Ph) watched this bridge come apart in just minutes and wash down the river. On the west side of the island, rainfall swelling, the Guanajibo River in Hormigueros surpassing its previous record height at 28.59 feet set during hurricane Maria now gauging to over 29 feet the National Weather Service said.

While a few hospitals have regained power, emergency workers are racing to get electricity back to the island.

UNKNOWN: It takes them so long to get things back up because so many of the systems are connected and some of the main lines go through the hills there. And if those main lines get damaged, they don't have the ability to, to get the other sections up and running.

SANTIAGO: Sunday morning, President Joe Biden approving an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico that authorizes all emergency measures needed including FEMA.

ANNE BINK, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESPONSE AND RECOVERY, FEMA: There's 300 responders on the ground from FEMA working hand in glove with the commonwealth and their emergency management structure.


SANTIAGO: And tonight, Don, we are back in San Juan where some of the power has been restored, but I've checked in with families in the interior part of the island, that southern coast that was really impacted by hurricane Fiona continues to be tonight. They tell me they are in the dark and it's not just power that's the issue.

Sixty percent, more than 60 percent of customers without water on this island as well. And take note of the timing that really speaks to the fear as well.


Tomorrow we'll mark five years to the date that hurricane Maria just demolished this island. And so, for that reason, you can understand why there is anxiety and sort of fear for -- from folks who don't want to go months and months again without power.

From the government perspective, they say it -- they're still not sure exactly how long it will take. It could take days, but no one really can guarantee anything, Don.

LEMON: Wow. Leyla, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Be safe there.

Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest today. The U.K., the royal family, even the queen's beloved corgis saying one last goodbye. That's next. Look at them. Little cute.



LEMON: Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor tonight. The queen's state funeral took place earlier this morning in London where her son and heir Charles, King Charles III was joined by the rest of the royal family and leaders from across the world.

Among the many leaders in attendance at Westminster Abbey this morning honoring the 70-year-reign, President Joe Biden, the first lady Jill Biden. You see there on the screen. Following the state funeral service, the queen's hearse was taken past Buckingham Palace one last time. Staff there offering their goodbyes.

Today's ceremonies offered really an intimate and personal look at the royal family on one of their saddest days. The new king visibly emotional. William, the Prince of Wales and Harry, the Duke of Sussex seen side by side once again.

And the queen's great grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, both in attendance. George is now second in line to the throne after his father. Waiting patiently outside Windsor Castle for the queen's coffin her beloved corgis, Sandy and Mick. Look at those little cuties. Adorable.

Also waiting the queen's favorite horse, Emma. Thousands line, the long walk at the entrance to Windsor Castle. It was the last chance for the public to see the queen before the intimate committal service at St. George's Chapel

At the service, the queen's personal piper played for her one last time as she was reunited with her husband, Prince Philip. Listen.

So, joining me now, Karen Pierce, she's a U.K. ambassador to the U.S. Karen, Ambassador, I should say, excuse me, good evening to you. Sorry for your loss.

KAREN PIERCE, U.K. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Thank you very much.

LEMON: How are you? You're visit removed.

PIERCE: No, I was, this is really interesting. So, throughout the week, it's been possible to hold it together for various public -- (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: This is really emotional for you. You're l, emotional.

PIERCE: -- representational reasons. And even this morning, we had an event at the embassy watching the funeral. And even then, but tonight, I've been at a dinner which unexpectedly had a tribute to the queen. You have very kindly had a tribute to the queen. And I think the unexpected nature of that just brings home in how many contexts people remember her say, thank you for your tribute.

LEMON: Thank you. Did it hit you unexpectedly because you're visibly --

PIERCE: Well, I knew I'd be mood, but I could kind of steal myself, but the unexpected side, I was her majesty's ambassador. I am incredibly proud to have served her and now his majesty's ambassador, and I will give him all my devotion in duty.

LEMON: What does today's ceremony? What does it say about, to say goodbye to the queen? What does it say about you, to you and the U.K.? What does it mean?

PIERCE: I think there's an enormous as your commentary show, enormous historic and historical element to this. Some of the ceremonies go back to the 11th and 13th centuries. Some of the costumes go back to that period. And I think what you see in that is the whole panoply of what the United Kingdom has become for a millennium.

And I think that's, that's a quite an unusual thing to be able to see and very moving in and of itself. I think it was the state paying tribute to the queen, but also, it's people it's the heroic on the one side and the human on the other.

LEMON: Well, it was all the people. I mean, they were lined up in, you know --


PIERCE: It was amazing and they threw flowers.

LEMON: They threw flowers at the coffin, but also the number of Americans who have come to the embassy here in Washington from the president down to pay tributes, to leave flowers, to leave these messages. People talk about the special relationship. Actually, they should have been there to see some of these ordinary people leaving their own tributes. We're incredibly grateful. And it's very moving.

LEMON: Most of the world, especially Americans, we think of like Buckingham Palace, right? The queen of the Windsor was really special to her. And at Windsor today, we saw the emotional passing of the crown. What role do you think the new king, King Charles was going to play on the world stage? What do, what should we expect from him?

[22:44:56] PIERCE: I think first of all, we heard him re-pledge his duty and service to the people of the U.K., but also the people of the Commonwealth which goes right across the world, 56 nations. He was chosen to succeed the queen's head of the Commonwealth a few years ago. I think that's very important.

As many people have said he has been king in waiting for a while. This means he's very knowledgeable about world affairs. I've had the pleasure of talking to him about the Balkans and about Afghanistan. He's very good with world leaders. And he's very good at going to the heart of the matter.

He has a number of issues like climate, which he's passionately interested in.

LEMON: Well, let me ask you this, because you've got a new prime minister. You have a new king. This is a, I don't know if it's tumultuous, but it's an unprecedented transition.

PIERCE: Totally unprecedented.

LEMON: What's your message? What do you give us your message?

PIERCE: It's not for me. I take instruction from them. I don't give them messages, but I think it's interesting as you say --


LEMON: What do you want the world to know about this?

PIERCE: This is a new era for Britain. It's not just Britain. You know, the queen has been on the fame for seven decades. She has come to define as a constant, the post Second World War era in all its good and all its bad as countries changed from the past to the future. She has been there.

And now I think everybody feels all those world leaders that Westminster Abbey feel we are in a new era. King Charles III is a symbol of that. As you say, we have Liz Truss, the new prime minister. I think they will help each other. They will see each other every week. There are enormous challenges facing all countries, not just Britain in this part of the 21st century.


PIERCE: Whether they're climate or migration or energy, they will help each other deal with those.

LEMON: And I think coming -- this coming to power for both of them at the same time will bond them in a way.

PIERCE: I think you're absolutely right about that.

LEMON: Thank you. I -- you're visibly moved. I'm so -- I'm so sorry for your loss.

PIERCE: You are very kind. No, that's very nice to hear.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it.

PIERCE: Thank you very much. Americans all over the United States have been so kind about this.

LEMON: Thank you, Ambassador. We appreciate it.

PIERCE: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back, everyone.



LEMON: Adnan Syed serving a life sentence after being convicted more than 20 years ago of murdering his high school ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee is out of prison for now. This case is propelled international attention through the hit podcast, Serial and later in HBO series.

But today, a Baltimore judge approving a motion to vacate Syed's conviction and releasing him under home detention.

And as CNN's Alexandra Field reports, prosecutors now face a choice of whether to drop the charges or retry the case.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Free from prison after 23 years behind bars, a crowd swarmed Adnan Syed outside a Baltimore circuit court moments after a judge vacated the murder conviction against him. Syed didn't stop to speak whisked away in a car and ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet until the state decides whether to pursue a new trial against him or drop all charges in the death of Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend a high school student strangled to death in 1999. Her body was discovered weeks later.

MARILYN MOSBY, MARYLAND STATE'S ATTORNEY, BALTIMORE CITY: We're not yet declaring, not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent, but we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice he is entitled to a new trial.

FIELD: Syed has maintained his innocence since he was convicted in 2000. Defense attorneys have repeatedly tried to have him exonerated.

UNKNOWN: It felt like they got to have their own guy.

FIELD: A popular HBO series, raised new questions about the case against Adnan Syed in 2019.

UNKNOWN: Young lovers from different worlds.

FIELD: But it was the hit podcast Serial that brought the case and the possibility there had been a miscarriage of justice to national attention in 2014. Lee's brother, Yung Lee telling the courtroom, this isn't a podcast for me. This is real life. And tearfully adding, whenever I think it's over, it's ended. It always comes back.

But the judge ruled in favor of the motion filed by prosecutors who had asked for Syed's immediate release following a year-long reinvestigation into the case against him that turned up a slew of failures cited in a 21-page court document.

Among them, the unreliability of cell phone data used in the original trial advances in DNA testing, and most critically, newly developed information about two alternative suspects and the state's failure to disclose critical information about those suspects to the defense at the time of the trial.

MOSBY: Our investigation uncovered that one of the suspects threatened Ms. Lee saying he would -- he would make her disappear. He would kill her. We also received information that provided motive for that same alternative suspect.

FIELD: A final decision on whether to actually proceed with a new trial will likely hinge according to prosecutors on the results of touch DNA testing of some items recovered from the crime scene. A technology that didn't exist at the time of the crime. Still, for throngs of Syed's supporters, this is the first victory more than two decades in the making.

For the family of Hae Min Lee, the start of another search for answers in the death of their beloved.

STEVE KELLY, ATTORNEY FOR LEE FAMILY: This family is interested in the pursuit of justice. They want to know more than anybody who it was that killed Hae Min Lee.


FIELD: The Lee family is said to be in a state of shock, according to the attorney representing them. He says, they're also disappointed by how quickly the hearing happened. And they are now considering their options for an appeal following Syed's release from prison. Don?

LEMON: Alexandra, thank you so much.


He was warned. There's new reporting out tonight that could raise the stakes even higher for the former president when it comes to the investigation to why he kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Stay with us.


LEMON: New developments tonight in the investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times reporting then White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann warned the former president late last year that he could face legal trouble if he didn't return government documents he had taken after he left the White House.

It comes as both team Trump and the Justice Department submit key filings tonight to the special master reviewing those seized materials.

Let's bring you now the former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean, and CNN senior legal analyst, Mr. Elie Honig.

Gentlemen, good evening.


Elie, I'm going to start with you. Your reaction to this New York Times reporting that Trump knew there could be legal problems if he didn't return government documents, but refused to anyway.