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Don Lemon Tonight

Special Master Going Back And Forth With Trump's Legal Team; Governor Ron DeSantis Under Fire Over Migrant Shipment; A Book That Describe What Kind Of President Donald Trump Is; Artist Shares His Talent And Wealth. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 20, 2022 - 22:00   ET




SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much for hanging out. I'll be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hi, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I don't know if -- if I don't know if you told this story, but Sara was on the road. She didn't have a chance to get her hair done. And now she's all, you're all glam up, but you look amazing.

SIDNER: The makeup people are geniuses.

LEMON: You look amazing.

SIDNER: Thanks Jose.

LEMON: Listen, two things that I want to say, we, we usually don't have authors on unless errors -- unless we mean it. Unless it's fire. This by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, they're going to be on a little bit later on and talk about this extraordinary book. And then my friend, I get to profile. Have you ever heard of Rashid Johnson the artist?

SIDNER: I have.

LEMON: For our champions of change, I sat down with my friend Rashid Johnson. We went through his process. We talked about how he is helping artists who are underrepresented in the fine arts world, people who are overlooked, how he helps them gain a voice, but he is also one of the most, a successful artist of our time. And he is living in his success unlike people, artists who have to wait until they die. You know what I'm saying?

SIDNER: I can't wait to see it, Don.

LEMON: To be appreciated. Yes. Sara, I'll see you.

SIDNER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Have a great evening. I'll see you tomorrow.

SIDNER: You too.


There's lots happening. All of the investigations swirling around the former president, the special master basically telling team Trump put up or shut. He's not buying there. Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn't dance over declassification. The judge whose name is Raymond Dearie calling Trump's bluff, pointing out that his lawyers haven't given any proof the documents were declassified and saying, if they don't make that case, that he's going to determine that they are classified.

This may not be going the way that they hoped when they asked for him to be the special master. The DOJ suggesting that it may go all the way to the Supreme Court to carve out about a hundred documents, marked classified from the special master's review.

And then there is a return to the January 6th committee, their next hearing set for September 28 at 1 p.m. with new video of what happened on the day the seat of our democracy was attacked. And witness testimony that hasn't been used in other hearings. And chairman Bennie Thompson is hinting that it may not be the last time we hear from them. Quote, "it's not in stone because things happen."

We've got this CNN exclusive to tell you about. Sources selling CNN that homeland security turned out a multimillion-dollar plan to protect election officials from harassment with the midterms just 49 days away. And that's as election workers across the country are facing a wave of violent threats like they have never seen before. A lot of it inspired by election lies.

A lot more coming up on that. Plus, this. A class action lawsuit filed tonight against the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other state officials over those flights to Martha's Vineyard, dropping off desperate migrant seeking asylum and DeSantis is threatening to keep.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We have other things that we can do. And I'll tell you this, it's already made more of an impact than anyone thought it could possibly make. But we're going to continue to make more of an impact.


LEMON: Well, there is no doubt there is an immigration crisis in this country. No doubt. But well, all this mean -- what will all this mean at the ballot box? We're going to explore all of that.

But I want to get right to the investigation of the former president. Here to discuss, CNN senior legal analyst, Laura Coates, and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, Nick Akerman.

Good evening to both of you. Laura, I'm going to start with you because I want you to break this down for us. What happens today between Trump's lawyers and the special master Judge Dearie. What's up?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is actually the very first time we've heard from this special master to figure out whether or not there was going to be the timeline followed that the judge, Judge Cannon said by November 30th, we knew the deadline, but how they were going to go about doing it.

The biggest takeaway from today's hearing was that the judge essentially said all the things that the client, Donald Trump said, outside of the court of law about declassifying documents. I'd like you to now present evidence in some way to show that that is actually the case.

And the Trump legal team essentially said, well, we don't want to make that argument right now in a court of law, although it was made in the court of public opinion, because we might one day want to mount a defense based on declassifying documents, which essentially tells you that as you mentioned, the put up or shut up part of it, they chose to shut up.

Now the consequences of that of course, is that the judge might very well decide that everything the government said was classified is in fact classified and will be treated accordingly, allowing them to then roll back the DOJ, these documents.


The big two numbers to keep in mind here, 100, that's number of classified documents are there, or some level of them. And about 11,000. The rest of the documents about privilege or executive privilege. If those 100 documents that are classified according to the Department of Justice, return to the DOJ, they can continue their investigation fulsomely with the grand jury and beyond about investigating whether they were illegally retained by a former president.

LEMON: Nick Akerman, did the Trump folks --


LEMON: -- boxed themselves in, and you know, maybe him saying his people saying, he, if president can declassify and do whatever he wants. I mean, determining what's classified and what isn't is done by intelligence agencies where officials have deep understanding of the levels of information.

It's now in the hands of the judicial branch, which does -- which does not have any expertise. But Judge Dearie seems to want to give that a lot of deference, but it seems to me that they may have boxed themselves in because there was no, it doesn't -- it doesn't appear to be any official declassification process done by this particular president.

AKERMAN: It's more than boxing himself in. He shot himself in both feet right from the beginning. I mean, over a year ago, his former White House counsel, one of them Eric Herschmann, told him to turn this stuff back in or he is going to be in trouble.

At no time did Donald Trump ever say to him, I've declassified these documents. In January, he turns in five, 15 other boxes of documents that have classified information. At no time did he ever tell the archives that he had declassified documents.

And then in May of this year, he served with a grand jury subpoena, he turns over more classified documents and at no time did he ever say, these aren't really classified because I declassified them.

It wasn't until after this search warrant that Donald Trump made up another lie that, I really didn't do anything wrong because he saw that there was a possible violation of the Espionage Act. I didn't do anything wrong because I declassified these without giving any details or information.

The bottom line is you can't go into a federal court of law in this country and make things up and just throw out speculation. You've got to have facts. You've got to have evidence. And what he has not done throughout this entire proceeding in the district court, or now, before the special master is put in an affidavit explaining how and why he declassified anything.

And he can't do that because if he does it, it's a lie that could be proven as a lie that will get him in even more trouble.

LEMON: Wow. Wow. So, the whole idea about, you know, you know, the the DOJ has been, Laura, saying that, well, at least we've been thinking they might possibly appeal this. They're hinting today that they are willing to appeal a ruling to the Supreme Court if the 11th circuit really resists their request to exclude the roughly 100 documents marked classified from the special master review.

What does it tell you that they're willing to potentially use more precious time to keep those documents from being seen? What does that tell you?

COATES: One word. The precedent --


AKERMAN: I think if tells us --

LEMON: Laura?

COATES: Do you want as a Department of Justice --


COATES: -- excuse me, you want as a Department of Justice to ensure that you have got precedent. You don't want to have a sort of a fly by the seat of your pants approach and hope that on a case-by-case basis you're able to conduct yourself in a way that serves the interest of the American people under the court of law.

What they're trying to do is say, listen, the judge's ruling earlier, Judge Cannon's ruling to even have a special master to extend the benefits of the doubt to a president who, as Nick said, has not proven that he actually has declassified if he ever was able to, as a former president.

The idea of saying, look, that cannot stand because if that stands and the DOJ does not fight it, cases down the road maybe even subsequent presidents, maybe even this same former president or other matters could use it against the DOJ to say, hey, listen, you were fine with this. What is different?

Remember, the law very much operates what we have here of the system of common law, which means that we compare and contrast prior fact patterns, determine what the court should do now. Your honor, this analogous for this reason, it's distinct for this reason. If they allow a precedent to stand, then they set them up for the future to have those things undermined.

But ultimately, the 11th circuit court of appeals has I think, six out of the 11 justices are Trump appointees. I wouldn't automatically assume that they will be in line with Judge Cannon, but the DOJ is saying, look, we are prepared to go to the Supreme Court in the event you do not grant our very limited request, which is not to have the special master go away.


Although they don't want one. But to say those 100 documents, we ought to be able to continue because that's a criminal investigation. You are a civil court. Why undermine our opportunity to do so?

LEMON: Yes. Nick, the January 6th committee, I know you, do you want to respond to that? Is that, did you want to get in, Nick?

AKERMAN: All I was going to say is that either way, Trump loses big here, whether it's through the federal court or through its the special master. The fact of the matter is this stuff is in the news. It's going to be before the public, prior to the midterm elections. And it's either going to be the special master or the 11th circuit or the Supreme Court that says Mr. Trump, you took and stole classified information.

LEMON: Yes. I was going to ask you about January 6th, but we'll leave that for another time. We'll end it there. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

Up next, the big, best seller from Susan Glasser and Peter Baker with one revelation after another about the Trump presidency. And it's not just the former president, it's the people around him. And they've really got the scoop like Lindsey Graham saying, and I'm quoting here, "he is a lying mother effer."

So glad I didn't say that, but a lot of fun to hang out with. How, what they learned reporting this book continues to play out today and into the future. That's next.


LEMON: Listen, I'm looking forward to talking to my next guest here. And I don't think that there are two people better equipped to help us understand the political dynamic right now and the role of Donald Trump heading into the midterms.

I'm talking about CNN global affairs analyst, Susan Glasser and chief White House reporter for the New York Times, Peter Baker. They are the co-authors of the new book, "The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017 to 2021," which is the number one best-selling book on Amazon tonight.

Good evening. And congratulations. Why are you shaking your head, Susan? It's good.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Because I mean that, as my friend said, it means you beat out "Goodnight Moon." I mean, you know.

LEMON: I know.

GLASSER: Come on.

LEMON: How dare you got --


GLASSER: That Amazon list is tough to crack.

LEMON: Yes. But this is, look, this is really important stuff here. And again, you break it down in the book in a way that's understandable and relatable to everyone. The book Susan has so much insight into the Trump years. The culture wars. That attacks on, the attacks on the institutions, the relentless undermining of democratic norms.

And yet, you write Trump still emerged from a seven million vote defeat, two impeachments and the January 6th insurrection as the dominant force in the Republican Party. So just right there. There's something for everyone. So, explain to us what -- what does his grip on the Republican Party say about what is to come.

GLASSER: Well, you know, the image that sticks with me, Don, is a senior national security official who spent a lot of time with Donald Trump in the Oval Office who said, you know, you want to know about Trump in the second term. Trump in the first term was like the velociraptors in "Jurassic Park."

He learned to open the door. Remember the scene with the children hiding in the kitchen and that moment when the velociraptor turns the handle. You know, the idea being that over time, Trump adapted and, you know, he shed the staff who tried to constrain him. He ended up with Mark Meadows as his chief of staff. A second term, I think would be a very, very different and altogether more disruptive thing even than the first term. LEMON: Peter, you know, we're seeing right now with the issues of immigrants, Trump builders political brand in part on, you know, building the wall. The caravans are coming, separating children from their parents.

You quote Trump's former advisor, Stephen Miller and his eagerness to go full Napoleon on that front. Talk to me about that, especially in light of the Republican governors transporting migrants to blue states. Because it's all, this is just sort of, you know, the extension of everything that happened during the Trump from build the wall to sending migrants to different states on buses and planes or what have you.

PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Absolutely. In fact, what people forget is that Trump actually threatened to do exactly this. He said, why don't we send these migrants to sanctuary cities and that'll show them. He didn't actually follow through. Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott have now actually followed through on what Trump simply threatened to do.

And so, you see therefore, I think the effects, the residual legacy in effect of President Trump even if he never served another day in office. And then to Susan's point, if he does serve another day in office, you can be sure that he will follow through on some of the ideas that he voiced during his first term, but felt frustrated or constrained, wasn't able to do, and would find a better more compliant, more deferential set of staff to help him execute in a second term.

So, one thing that this book is important, we feel like, is not just as a matter of history, but also as a matter of prologue for what could be to come.

LEMON: You spoke to, Susan, you spoke to Senator Lindsey Graham for the book. He's someone who became a presidential confidant and he told you this. And I quote, "he is a lying mother effer," Graham said of Trump, with a, what you -- what can you do shrug, but also a lot of fun to hang out with.

Now he knows Trump is a liar, but is utterly, utterly willing like so many other Republicans that go along for the sake of keeping power even after January 6th. None of that has changed.

GLASSER: No, that's exactly right. I mean, who can forget that memorable Lindsey Graham speech on the night of January 6th when he said, basically count me out, I'm done. I'm over with this. He voted, you know, to certify the Biden's election and, you know, gave every appearance moving on, until literally days later in which he was back on the Trump train.

And I think that's a sort of a metaphor for the Republican Party as a whole. Lindsey Graham was very clear in 2016 on the nature of the threat he himself said Donald Trump posed the Republican Party into the country. He called him a kook. He called him dangerous. He said he was the least suited man to the presidency. But he seemed to be dazzled by Donald Trump in a way that so many of these Republican officials did.


You know, it's hard to delve into this psychology fully to understand it. But I think the book and the story of the Trump presidency, it's not just about Donald Trump. It is about those who surrounded him.

Remember, that without the Lindsey Grahams of the world, Donald Trump would just be an old dude shouting at the TV in between golf games.

LEMON: Yes. listen, I'm still jet lag from London. And so, you writing that effer. I actually almost said it in that lead up to you before the break. So, I'm glad I did it.

But listen, Peter, another key figure during the Trump year is a former chief of staff, John Kelly. I mean, he secretly bought a book called "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," where 27 mental health professionals warned about Trump.

I mean, Kelly thought that it was, it would be a helpful guide. And I just want to know why he thought that, and also, it is extraordinary. The number of people who work day and night to control Trump and contain the damage from him. They actually tried to control him. They thought that they could, but then realized they couldn't. He's not controllable.

BAKER: What they try to do is figure out what made him tick. Right? So, John Kelly buys this book and tries to figure out, you know, what are the mental issues here of the president that he's serving. He thought that this was a person who didn't know much about anything. Didn't seem to process information, seemed off kilter in so many ways.

John Kelly really came to low. I think Donald Trump in a lot and in a very visceral way. He brought this book to try to understand him. And he wasn't the only one. I mean, there were these debates. We've learned this since he left office.

All this reporting we have in here is coming to us in the 18 months, basically since Trump left office when people are freer to talk about it, I think, but they debated among themselves. Cabinet officers debated among themselves. Is he crazy, crazy, or is he just crazy like a fox?

And they themselves often couldn't come to a conclusion about that. That's why you saw a discussion of the 25th amendment at various points in his presidency, because there was concern about whether he was genuinely able to execute the job of the presidency. Ultimately, since Mike Pence wouldn't go along, it was kind of a moot point. But it was a constant debate and a refrain through the four years.

LEMON: Peter, I want to play this for you to respond. Trump was at this rally with J.D. Vance over the weekend, and I just want to play something that he said about how he views the country. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Perhaps most importantly, we are a nation that is no longer respected or listened to around the world. We are a nation that in many ways has become a joke. And we are a nation that is hostile to liberty, freedom and faith.


LEMON: And with that music playing in the background, it's really kind of eerie. It's certainly a preview of what we can expect if he runs again, stoking anger and fears and tearing down institutions. What does it say that his message hasn't much, really at all since 2016.

BAKER: Right. In fact, if anything is going further, right. That music and the reaction of the crowd with the pointing fingers, the QAnon sort of, you know, symbology there at that rally suggests just how far into the world of fringe conspiracy theorists he's willing to go, right?

He is, he is entertaining and embracing a part of his own base that believes that the government is, you know, a group of Satanic pedophiles and that Trump is the chosen one to, you know, to save the country in a way that goes far beyond any other, you know, mainstream Republican views.

And I think that that shows that he, you know, he is -- he is, you know, he's embracing again that part of the -- of the country that is most normally, you know, ignore it on the fringe, but today feels ascended because of his, you know, in effect endorsement.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I got to say that I was just, my favorite part of the book starts on page 12 and goes into page 13. And it says Trump turned, Trump tuned in not just a conservative media that's slathered him with praise, but hate watch shows he knew what excoriate him, even as he denied monitoring and he regularly demonstrated granular knowledge -- granular knowledge of what Don Lemon was saying late at night on CNN, or what Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were discussing in early mornings on MSNBC, yada, yada, yada. He referred to me as the dumbest man on television, the psycho Joe and crazy Mika.

You want to talk to me about that?

BAKER: That was your favorite part.

GLASSER: Don, you had a fan, you know. You had a fan, you had a viewer, you know, loyal viewers in this day and age, you know, will he watch you in the morning too? You know? I mean, I --

LEMON: Of course, he will.

GLASSER: I suspect the answer is yes, I do.

LEMON: Yes. He's obsessed.

GLASSER: One thing that stuck with me, Don. BAKER: He's obsessed.

GLASSER: He's obsessed with television in general. And one --


BAKER: And you, too. OK.

GLASSER: One White House official, I, this is an image that nobody has really picked up on, but I was really taken with it. This official after observing Trump up close told me that he was the first and only president in American history.

Again, this is a White House official. The first and only president in American history who defined his job to be like Mike Teavee in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


You know, remember the kid who is so obsessed with television, that's all he does all day long. And he asked Willy Wonka to like transport him inside the TV? That was Donald Trump according to one of his advisors.

LEMON: Right. It's called "The Divider." And it's Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. Thank you, guys, so much. I really appreciate it. Best of luck with the book. And I'll see you guys soon. Thanks.

GLASSER: Thank you, Don.

BAKER: Thank you.

LEMON: A class action lawsuit or criminal investigation. Ron DeSantis is in hot water for his migrant flight. We'll tell you why next.



LEMON: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responding to a class action lawsuit filed by group representing migrants he sent to Martha's Vineyard. DeSantis claiming the transportation of the migrants from Texas to Massachusetts island to the Massachusetts island, quote, "was done on a voluntary basis."

The governor's office also releasing a copy of what they call an official consent to transport form, which includes a redacted signature of someone they claim as a migrant who consented to the flight. But the representatives for the migrants say that they were defrauded.

Here is CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The streets around this city run migrant shelter in San Antonio are confusing and overwhelming for hundreds of migrants who have crossed the border seeking asylum and have stepped into the swamp of American immigration politics.

We met these men one from Cuba, the other from Venezuela. They had heard about the plane Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent here to move some 50 migrants out of Texas last week, they told us they had just been offered a similar deal on Monday.

"Of course," he says, "we were told there would be plenty of work and not so many migrants."

They offered you a flight to another state, but you didn't know where it was going to be.


LAVANDERA: He says, they pulled up next to us in beautiful trucks. They offered us hotel rooms with a pool and a gift card for food. And they told us they could take us on a flight where we will be taken to a refuge. They rejected the offer because they said it felt strange.

Attorneys for some of the dozens of migrants transported from Texas to Martha's Vineyard have filed a class action lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in federal court. Claiming they were deprived of their liberty and due process over an unlawful goal and a personal political agenda.

This after the Bexar County, sheriff in Texas says his office is opening a criminal investigation into the matter.

JAVIER SALAZAR, SHERIFF, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: If in fact these people were lied to, to like they say they were, and if they were taken under false pretenses to another part of the country, it could qualify as a human trafficking case.

LAVANDERA: Even though the migrants weren't in his state, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has claimed responsibility for sending them to Massachusetts and defended the process Tuesday, saying those migrants were treated poorly by the Biden administration.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They were hungry, homeless. They had no, no opportunity at all. State of Florida, it was volunteer, offered transport to sanctuary jurisdictions because it's our view. That one, the border should be secured. And we want to have Biden reinstitute policies like remain in Mexico and making sure that people aren't overwhelming.

LAVANDERA: State budget records show that the Florida Department of Transportation paid 950,000 taxpayer dollars to Vertol Systems, an aviation company based in Florida days after migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard.

According to the Texas governor's office, more than 8,000 migrants have been bused from Texas to Washington, D.C. and 675 to Chicago and 2,600 migrants to New York. A number that's expected to climb.

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY): I think the governor of Texas and others are at fault for creating this man-made humanitarian crisis.


LEMON: CNN's Ed Lavandera live outside of the migrant resource center in San Antonio. Ed, thanks for joining us live.

Governor DeSantis has referred multiple times to a vendor from Florida who picked people up in Texas and then took them to Massachusetts. And you're reporting that people approach migrants with offers to help and a flight. So, what are investigators saying about all of this. Piece this together for us.

LAVANDERA: Well, remember we heard last week from several migrants that were on that flight to Martha's Vineyard they talked about a woman named Perla who had been approaching migrants here, and essentially rounding people up and convincing them to get on this flight.

Now we cannot tell you at this point, whether Perla is that vendor that Governor DeSantis is talking about. But we asked the sheriff here in San Antonio today if they've been able to identify this woman, he said, they have identified several people. They would not tell us exactly who they are.

The sheriff says, he's trying to figure out exactly what those people were doing in the area around this migrant shelter last week in the days leading up to that.

LEMON: So, Ed, are all of them or some of them asylum seekers?

LAVANDERA: By -- by and large, the vast majority of the people that you are seeing, --


LAVANDERA: -- especially the ones that are coming here are have -- have asylum process in the paperwork. So they have already been processed by either border patrol and by --


LEMON: OK, I got it.

LAVANDERA: -- at least they have the paperwork and the court dates.

LEMON: I just wanted to clarify that. So, are these Republican governors getting in the way of legal proceedings by interfering with their locations?


LAVANDERA: Well, that's a possibility. It really kind of, it depends on what court date they have been given. There are some people who we've spoken to who have court dates relatively soon.

So, for example, if you're told to appear in a court date -- at a court date within the next month or two in Florida, and you get shipped off to Boston and Massachusetts, that could complicate things.

I did speak to several migrants today who have court dates several years from now. So, essentially, they have protected status, legal status to be in the country for the next several years while all of that continues to play out.

So, it really depends on when those court dates are scheduled for and where they are scheduled for and how far away, that ends up being from where you're sent.

LEMON: Ed Lavandera in San Antonio. Ed, thank you. I appreciate it.

So, despite all of this, DeSantis is bragging about the stunt. Big picture what is he trying to accomplish here? Ron Brownstein gives us some insights. That's right after this.



LEMON: Governor Ron DeSantis is not backing down. He is facing a class action lawsuit tonight after sending nearly 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard, but he doesn't seem bothered. In fact, he is threatening to keep it up.

So much to discuss now, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. Hello, Ron.


LEMON: On Sunday, the governor, meaning Governor DeSantis received a standing ovation in Kansas after flying 50 migrants --


LEMON: -- to Martha's Vineyard. He has defended even bragged about it. He's under very heavy criticism from -- for this stunt. But I mean, it's obviously got a lot of support in certain Republican circles.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, the obvious part of the rationale for this, is that it is in his personal interest, his political interest to be seen as a fighter in the Trump mold, to be seen as someone who is willing to be outrageous and kind of pushed beyond the boundaries in taking the fight to liberals, and you know, threatening liberal institutions, which he's done in a variety of ways in Florida.

Already, but I think it's a mistake to stop there, Don, because there is a substantive dynamic here as well. And what we're seeing on immigration is what we are seeing on so many other issues on abortion, on voting, on LGBTQ rights.

We are seeing the combination of unilateral action in the red states combined with federal lawsuits brought by the red (Inaudible) before Republican appointed judges typically, in an effort to seize control of the national agenda in effect from below. I mean, you know, what they are do -- what Governor Abbott and

Governor DeSantis are doing on shipping migrants out of their state to other states is along in line with what Abbott is doing in terms of authorizing, pushing against the boundaries of legality and authorizing state law enforcement in Texas to enforce immigration laws, which is something that the Supreme Court has said is very much in the province of the federal government.

And at the same time, there are over 20 lawsuits from shifting coalitions of red states trying to require Biden to maintain hard line Trump immigration policies and restricting his freedom to set his own course on immigration.

And as I say, it all adds up to a revolution from below, an attempt to drive the national agenda while Democrats nominally are in control of the Congress and of course the White House.

LEMON: Well, don't you think that what they're doing though, is motivating factors for Republicans for those on the right. Don't you think it riles up their base that energize them and it could be good going into the midterms.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it's interesting, right? First of all, there's no question that hostility to both legal and illegal or undocumented immigration is a core animating principle for the Republican coalition in the Trump era. In polling, 70 percent or more of Republicans say that the growing number of immigrants threaten American traditions and values.

So yes, there is a button there for them -- for them to push. And there's also public dissatisfaction with the way Biden is managing the border. And Republicans now lead on that question. That's why it's kind of striking that the lawsuit to enjoy in this class action lawsuit you've been talking about, came from private parties today and asking for the federal courts to stop DeSantis from doing this anymore.

It did not come from the Justice Department, which has kind of kept its distance from all of this. And, you know, I spoke to a whole bunch of immigrant advocacy groups who basically somewhat reluctantly accept the idea that for the Justice Department to get in front and center would be to give the Republican governors what they want, a big blow up on immigration in the weeks before the election.

But I think there's no question. There's a widespread view that what they are doing intrudes on federal primacy in immigration law. And as I said, as recently as 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Arizona, that the federal government's role here is really preeminent and states have very little leeway to get involved in doing the kinds of thing, potentially in doing the kinds of things that the Texas and Florida are now pursuing.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Ron Brownstein. I'll see you next time. I appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. LEMON: OK. So, listen, his work sells really for millions of dollars,

but he is spreading the wealth. How my friend Rashid Johnson is bringing black artists to the highest levels of the art world. That's next.

And at the top of the hour, the special master handpicked by team Trump now in a courtroom showdown with them. Stay with us.



LEMON: All right. So, take a seat, everyone, and watch this next story. All this week in a series we call Champions for Change, we are bringing you everyday people who are changing society and getting things done. For me, that is my friend, Rashid Johnson, artist, thought leader, mentor, and a real hotshot in the art world.

Not only does some of his work sell for millions, but he is making room for artists and curators of color at the highest levels. Check it out.


LEMON: Rashid Johnson's art is in major museums all over the world. It's always engaging. It always pulls you in beautiful stirring, infuriating. Rashid and I have become friends over the last couple of years and this journey that we have gone on as a country over politics and the state of the world, we've sort of ridden that together.

RASHID JOHNSON, ARTIST: I think what your job is, right, is to tell us what's happening. My job is to listen and translate over the next few years. And a big part of what my work speaks about is anxiety and fear and the stresses of occupying space in the world that we currently live in. I started making these, I was calling them broken men.


LEMON: It's very personal for me. Some of the mirrors you can fully see yourself. Others are cracked and broken. Others are scarred. When I look at it and it makes me think about all the slings and arrows that come at me. And it makes me very proud that I've survived those.

JOHNSON: From an early age I knew that there were incredibly important black voices. When I gravitated towards the art world and I saw fewer of them in some of these larger cultural institutions, I knew that something was missing.

LEMON: So many people, especially people of color we're locked out of the arena for so long. He's a champion for change because Rashid is not just looking out for Rashid. Rashid is doing what our ancestors told us to do as descendants of slaves, each one, teach one.

JOHNSON: One of the things that I'm interested in outside of kind of helping younger artists, which is something that I try to put a real emphasis on is how institutions function. Who are the gatekeepers and who lets who in, what artworks are invited into the conversation.

NAOMI BECKWITH, CHIEF CURATOR, GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM: Right here at the Guggenheim, he has worked to diversify the board and make sure that we are creating a much broader story around American art history, including BIPOC artists, including trans artists, including much more women.

He created a paid internship program, supporting it financially and making sure that everyone across any sort of class and education spectrum has the ability to take on an entry level job at this institution.

JOHNSON: My mother was an academic, but she was also a poet. My father was a painter sculptor. When I went to art school it's one of the rare scenarios where you hear that a kid goes to art school and his parents feel like they accomplished something.

BECKWITH: I remember seeing a show of Rashid's in London in 2012, instead of taking over both floors with his art, he would actually give the second floor over to a show of artists that he could support.

DEREK FORDJOUR, ARTIST: Rashid is a peer, mentor, brother, a teacher.

LEMON: I'm speaking to a very successful about a very successful artist.

FORDJOUR: We're an artist, but we're also kind of small businesses and we're not prepared for a lot of the kind of rapid growth that happens. So, it really is super helpful to have Rashid give practical professional resources and advice.

LEMON: I've been in rooms with Rashid Johnson, with the most recognizable people in the world. And you may, my gosh. There's Beyonce. There's Jay-Z or whatever. And then when Rashid walks into the room, all of those people go, my gosh, there's Rashid Johnson.

Rashid Johnson is living in his success, which is a rarity in this business, especially for a man of color. And everyone wants to be a part of that.

Why is that so important for you to lift people up?

JOHNSON: It's the right way to be. Generosity is something that I think lives in most artists. And I think it's the natural way of kind of giving back after you've been rewarded for your vision.


LEMON: So, I -- a friend of mine, Tracy Jacobs introduced me to Rashid because he said, you guys should know each other. And I said, that's perfect because I want to learn more about art. I've been trying to do that. And not only did he teach me that and help me to -- to is he teaching me that and to help me to acquire, you know, some things myself. I'm learning so much from him, but very rarely do you meet people who can take you to a different realm mentally, emotionally, and who can just get you to learn different things about life and different ways to feel about what you're dealing with.

Going through the pandemic and being friends with Rashid was extraordinary to me because through his work I could see that he was understanding what I was going through and I understood what he was going through.

So, Rashid, Sherry, Julia, and that's his wife and his son. I love you guys. I've learned more from you. I think in the three years that we've been friends and I've learned from just about anyone. So, thank you so much for that and thank you for what you're doing for the world and for culture. And especially for black people and black artists. You are an amazing human being. Thank you for being my friend. I'm honored to have been able to promote you here.

So, we are going to continue to share these inspirational stories all week and be sure to tune in Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern for the Champions for Change one hour special.


So, they wanted a special master, but the special master they chose now wants answers inside the showdown between team Trump and the special master reviewing those Mar-a-Lago documents.

That's next.


LEMON: So, the special master handpicked by team Trump is demanding answers tonight. Judge Raymond Dearie says that he'll have to assume the documents found at Mar-a-Lago are classified unless Trump can prove otherwise. Former president has been claiming over and over again that he declassified more than 100 documents seized in the FBI search.

So why is he refusing to show the receipts. I want to bring in now the former deputy assistant attorney general, Harry Litman, and former senior CIA operations officer Douglas London.

Thank you both for joining us.

Harry, the special master is calling Trump's bluff and questioning his main legal argument. So, take us through the back and forth. How do you see this playing out?


HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, I see it playing out not well for Trump. So, what he was able to get away with, with Judge Cannon was to say, hey, maybe they're not classified, or maybe I declassified.