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Don Lemon Tonight

Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of DOJ In Mar-A-Lago Docs Case; Fed Unveils Another Historic Rate Hike To Combat High Inflation; President Biden Rebukes Russia At U.N. As Putin Threatens Nukes, Escalates War Federal Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against DeSantis; Washington Post: Harder For Black Coaches In The NFL To Get And Keep Their Jobs. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 21, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You think so?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: He got a body blow on the criminal side tonight with the 11th Circuit allowing DOJ lifting the stay. DOJ can now proceed in using these classified documents, Don, to investigate him, probably his most serious criminal exposure, and even worse for Donald Trump -- what does he care about above all? His name, his business, his family --

LEMON: His work.

EISEN: -- his work.

LEMON: Yeah.

EISEN: In this case, we talked about, I think, last week, the corporate death penalty. This case is -- that New York Attorney General Letitia James brought is the equivalent.

LEMON: All right. Got it. You're getting ahead with all of this, all of my questions. This is my question, Elie. The DOJ is winning this appeal with the 11th Circuit, saying that the public has a strong interest, and I quote here -- and "ensuring that the storage of the classified records did not result in exceptionally great damage to national security." Why did the DOJ have a winning argument here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it came down to who has the greater interest here, right? On the one hand, as you just read, the court said, well, DOJ has a really strong interest in getting access to these documents right away because they need to resume their criminal investigation and the federal government in general needs to look at these documents to decide if people are in danger, spies, intelligence assets, that kind of thing.

On the flip side, the court says Donald Trump has no possessory interest in these records. What this means, though, is really that these classified records are now in play for DOJ right now, the alternative of what have been they have to run through the special master first. If they weren't privileged, they were going to end back right back in DOJ's hands, anyway. So, DOJ now has them more quickly.

LEMON: Hold on to this, don't let me grab it.

HONIG: Sure.

LEMON: Because I thought when you say -- I thought that this -- don't let me grab -- I thought that this was going to be happening with those documents, meaning everyone is going to like --

HONIG: Right.

LEMON: -- have a chance to look at them --

HONIG: Right.

LEMON: -- which was obviously a break from norms --

HONIG: Now --

LEMON: -- and also put national security at risk. I thought that that is what was going to happen with those documents.

HONIG: That was what was going to happen until we got this ruling. Now, the classified documents, the 100 documents out of 11,000 or so --

LEMON: Yeah.

HONIG: -- there is no tug of war over those. Those are DOJ's.

LEMON: Norm, the appeals court not only finding that Trump had no ownership or personal interest in these documents with blasting of declassification claims.

And I quote here -- "The record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents." Scathing rebuke from the appeals court?

EISEN: Well, it was no worse than what Trump's lawyers got yesterday from special master Judge Dearie who said, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Right? They are not willing to put the evidence forward of declassification.

Donald Trump talks about it all the time on social media, Don, because there is no penalty for that. But his lawyers dare not say it because they face very serious sanctions if they misrepresent to the court.

Finally, the past 24 hours, finally, we have returned to planet earth. It is like we were in another dimension where the law did not apply, the facts did not apply. But for those of us who have worked in the area of classified documents, this is plain as day. LEMON: I sort of sat here as the attorney who is saying, I don't understand what this judge is doing, why she is ruling the way that she is ruling, and I just sort of sat back and listened because I'm not an attorney. I'm not -- you know, I don't have a doctorate, right? Am I correct? I don't have a degree in law. My father was an attorney, but I don't know that much about it.

This seems to be saying, confirming everything that you guys have been saying here.

HONIG: Look, he did not declassify these documents. I mean, can we just that to rest?

LEMON: Yeah.

HONIG: This notion out there. There is no evidence of it. Eighteen former officials have come forward and said, no way, nonsense, B.S., et cetera. That is just too bad.

LEMON: Timothy Naftali, this is new. This is in the court. That is what the court is saying, right, about Donald Trump. I want you to listen to what Donald Trump is saying tonight about Donald Trump and what happened. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There doesn't have to be a process, as I understand it. You know, there are different people saying different things. But as I understand, there doesn't have to be. You're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, it's declassified, even by thinking about it.




LEMON: I mean, is it --

NAFTALI: Yeah, right.

LEMON: What was that guy on --

NAFTALI: Yeah, well --


LEMON: -- I declassify.

NAFTALI: Yeah, well, sure. And you know what? Presidents can do it and former presidents definitely can't do it. The FBI took a photograph of the cover pages on those documents. So, those are all out, everyone sees them. Those cover pages say secret and top secret. If these documents have been declassified by President Trump when he had the authority to declassify records, it would not have had those cover sheets on them.

LEMON: Yeah.


NAFTALI: So, that alone -- I mean, I'm not a lawyer, but (INAUDIBLE) archives.

LEMON: How ludicrous -- I mean, one can't help but -- you know, we are not giddy about it but that is the most outrageous, ludicrous excuse, just by thinking about it?

NAFTALI: Don, for four years, Donald J. Trump tried to find ways to lie to get his way. He lied, he lied, he lied. He has now discovered, there is a point at which lies have consequences. For four years, they didn't, really. He is now a former president and the rules are different for former presidents and for presidents. The line that he got away with in the Oval Office is not going to give him the kind of security now that it did then. And he is about to get the consequences.

LEMON: CNN is learning that Ginni Thomas, who is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to an interview with the January 6 Committee. It is another blow for Trump and another unprecedented development, too.

NAFTALI: It's a big deal because it is going to be under oath. And -- I mean, there is information out there, and there are her social media posts which suggest that she was supportive of the "stop the steal" movement.

And the question is whether she was also supportive of the insurrection. And if she was supportive of the insurrection, that raises really difficult questions about a Supreme Court justice's ability to be impartial should there be a case before him related to January 6.

So, her participation is important historically and for the Supreme Court, too.

LEMON: Let's talk about what happened earlier today in New York. I mean, look at this, right? New York Attorney General Letitia James sending a mountain of allegations in this document, including Trump wildly overvaluing his properties and his assets like Mar-a-Lago, his apartment in Trump Tower, Trump Park Avenue and more, sometimes to the tunes of tens of millions of dollars.

You point out, as you said, this lawsuit is like the corporate death penalty for him or for his company?

EISEN: Don, to my mind, the most important page in that massive pile of paper. And by the way, Letitia James didn't have to file a pleading that is that large. She is making a point that she has overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing.

The most important page starts on page 11 and it continues on to 12, the relief sought. Canceling his corporate certificates. You can't do business in the state of New York without a corporate certificate.

Appointing an independent monitor. If she succeeds, she is kicking him off the throne of his businesses, Don, replacing the trustees, barring Trump from entering into commercial real estate acquisitions, loans, permanently barring him and his kids from serving as officers or directors of New York companies. I mean, this is in essence, if she succeeds at trial.

And Elie is constantly reminding me that there is a big difference between allegations in a complaint and winning at trial. We both had that experience for many years.

LEMON: You sound like a lawyer, Elie. But before you weigh in, I want to play this to see if we can kill two birds here. So, listen, also, there is an interview tonight of Donald Trump defending himself with the argument that he puts a caveat in about -- in the -- whatever it is about the values when he submits a loan application. Here it is.


TRUMP: We have a disclaimer right on the front and it basically says, you know, get your own people, you are at your own risk, this was done by management, it wasn't done by -- it was done by management. So, don't rely on the statement that you're getting.


HONIG: Well, that is an interesting defense. No, I don't think that holds any water. You can't say, I warned people this might be fraudulent, therefore, do business with me at your own risk.

I agree with Norm. I'm not going to read the whole thing like Norm just it. But I agree with Norm that the allegations in this complaint, this is a civil lawsuit, not criminal, so it is lower burden, I think they are strong.

LEMON: She did refer to the IRS.

HONIG: She did refer to the IRS and DOJ, yeah. But, look, we are not talking about small variations in valuations. We are talking about tenfold, fivefold.

But I also do think, it is true at the same time, this is political, this is the outcome of a political quest by Letitia James. That is not deniable. That is not an opinion. That is based on her own words. She campaigned on vote for me, and I will bail Donald Trump.

She declared, before she was elected, that Trump was guilty of the crime of money laundering. On her first day in office, she said -- quote -- "We are going to definitely sue him." First day in office, we are going to be a real pain in the ass. He is going to know my name personally.

So, two things can be true at once. Yes, this is a strong complaint. Yes, this is the result of a political quest by an attorney general.

LEMON: Let me say this.


I think you are right in that because sometimes, I often watch her interviews, I saw her on "The View," and then I said, why is she saying that? why -- she is coming off as a political person when --

HONIG: She was laughing --

LEMON: If you have the evidence, then why would you do that? But, as you said, two things can be true. It can be political act, but if the evidence is there, does that matter?

HONIG: It doesn't cancel (INAUDIBLE), Don. Right? I mean, if you run for office and fundraise, fundraise, donate to me --

LEMON: Yeah.

HONIG: -- and I will nail that guy -- I will put it to you this way. Let me put it to this way. Would anyone be okay when someone running for attorney general of the state of Delaware and saying, vote for me and I will nail the Bidens, I will go get Hunter Biden, donate to and I will get Hunter Biden, I will put Hunter Biden away, I will make Joe Biden's life miserable --

LEMON: Well, I think --

HONIG: -- I don't think people would be okay with that either.

LEMON: Yeah. I think, actually, Trump supporters and Republicans would totally be okay with that because they're basically saying --

HONIG: Right. Okay. Hold on. Let me take the politics out of it.

LEMON: I mean, look at Marjorie Taylor Greene. She --

HONIG: In my idealized version of what prosecutors should do, neither of those.

LEMON: I agree with you. I am often uncomfortable watching her interviews because it comes out as overtly political. But go on.

EISEN: I just -- I want to say a word in defensive of Tish James. The first is, as you know, the merits are here. And this is even stronger than a civil case. She has Fifth Amendment indications by Donald Trump and his executives, which means she can draw an adverse inference.

Our elected prosecutors, it is not like Attorney General Garland. It is not like federal prosecutors. It is a different system. They are directly responsive to the people. And when I hear -- would I have advised her to use those exact words? Maybe not.

But what I hear her saying is where Tim started, that you have an individual who has behaved with extraordinary impunity for the law. And things that he did over and over again would have gotten any of -- almost anyone else in America investigated and possibly prosecuted. He got a pass for all those years.

She is speaking to the justifiable anger at that pattern of conduct. Maybe not the most perfect words, but that is appropriate for an elected official to articulate the views of the people she represents. It is different than federal prosecutors or the A.G.

LEMON: Okay. So, as the historian, can you just put this into historical context? The outcome, we don't have a complete outcome, but think about everything that happened, everything that has transpired today legally and all of the lawsuits, civil, criminal or what have you that this particular president is facing.

NAFTALI: Well, I'm going to go back to the national security elements. Donald Trump was commander-in-chief for four years. And he has displayed a contempt for national security, for people in our military because those classified (INAUDIBLE) to a certain extent, but things that are TS and above, top secret and above, those are classified for a reason and they're classified to protect people. And he has shown contempt for that. That, for me, beneath contempt.

As regard to fact that he is the "wizard of oz" and he is behind the curtain and it turns out that his oz is worth 10%, that is a whole different story and is not very pleasant.

But when the rubber hits the road, we meet people who are in the Oval Office who actually care about our defense and our security. And what he did and what he is saying now about the classified material that he hid at Mar-a-Lago is evidence he never took his job seriously. And for me, that's really -- that's really the kicker at this point.

LEMON: It's an insult to our men and women --

NAFTALI: To all of us.

LEMON: To everyone. To everyone. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

The fed raising interest rates today in the toughest policy move to fight inflation since the 80s. But how long can it keep doing that without plunging the economy into a recession?


JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, UNITED STATES FEDERAL RESERVE: No one knows whether this process will lead to a recession, or if so, how significant that recession would be.





LEMON: History made today. The Federal Reserve hiking interest rates 75 basis points for a third consecutive time in an effort to tamp down rampant inflation.

This is the highest the fed funds rate has been since the global financial crisis of 2008. Some expected that the raise rates up to 100 basis points. But even though the announcement was lower than expected, the stock market still shuttered. The Dallas falling more than -- Dow falling, I should say, more than 500 points today.

So, joining me now, Justin Wolfers. He is the professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate you joining us. What a day. These are really big headlines. Third time in a row for the -- the fed has raised rates here. What do you think of this move?

JUSTIN WOLFERS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: I think it is -- well, first of all, it is very much what most economists were expecting, the fed to raise rates by three quarters of a percentage point. But it is also the right move for the moment. Inflation is high, inflation is troubling, and the way to claw it back is to raise rates and slow economic activity somewhat.

In the rest of the economy, if you look at things like how easy it is to get a job, how many people are employed, how many job vacancies there are, all seem to be in pretty good health.

So, this is an attempt to slow things down to a more sustainable pace. Every day, we get closer to most beautiful things that we have been hoping and praying for two and a half years, which is an economy that is boring. We hope the post-COVID economy will be a little less interesting.


LEMON: So, what people at home are thinking? What's in it for me? What's in it for us? What does this mean for the regular -- to the regular consumer, Justin?

WOLFERS: The first thing that is going to happen is interest rates are rising and you're already seeing that because the move was not a surprise. So, banks have already hiked rates.

So, the folks are out there looking to buy a home right now. Unfortunately, you are seeing mortgage rates already quite a bit higher. If you're looking to buy a car, loan rates, again, are going to be somewhat higher. That's part of what is already going on. You're seeing people more hesitant to buy houses. So, house price growth is coming off a little bit. Construction activities declining.

More broadly, what the fed is trying to do is trade a little bit less of the pain of inflation. You don't get something for nothing. It's doing that by creating a little bit more pain, by slowing the overall economy. It is trying to get you and I spend a little less. So, we no longer have more buyers than sellers in the economy and that will hopefully lead to less pressure on prices.

LEMON: The Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, said today that the fed is committed to getting inflation down to 2% annual growth. Take a listen.


POWELL: To accomplish that, we think we will need to do two things in particular to achieve a period of growth below trend and also some softening in labor market conditions to foster a better balance.


LEMON: So, in order to fix inflation, you have to slow down growth and the job market. How do you do that without hurting more people?

WOLFERS: There are actually two ways to fix inflation and part of it depends on what you think is driving inflation. So, if you think what is going on right now is that there are too many people with too much money trying to buy too many goods, that's what economists would call a demand shock, then the way to reverse that would be to get people to spend a little less, and that's what high interest rates do.

There is actually another approach to fighting inflation, and that's if you think that prices are high today because of high gas prices due to Putin invading Ukraine, due to (INAUDIBLE) global supply chain as a result of COVID, due to drought in many agricultural markets, with those things, the strategy is much simpler, which is you just wait.

And if we wait, then -- we are already seeing it. Gas prices stop rising. While gas prices may not go back to where they were, if they stop rising, they stop contributing to inflation.

And so, the delicate dance for the fed is, how much to play that policy of just waiting? It's a sound policy if inflation is caused by a supply side factors versus trying to clobber the economy a little bit if you think that people in businesses are out there spending a little too much.

LEMON: After the announcement today, palace said that it's unclear whether or not that these rate hikes could lead to a recession. Are you worried about that or are you saying bring on a recession, a small recession? That's what I hear from some folks.

WOLFERS: Look, a recession is never a good thing and it not something we should ever wish on anyone. The reality of a recession is if people spend less, that means there are fewer jobs for people to make the stuff that those people were buying.

What the fed is trying to do is engineer what it calls a soft landing, which is rather than crash the economy, let's just stop it growing a little too fast.

One of the things that Powell has to do is he has to be seen to be tough. What the reality is I think is still to be seen, but he has to be seen to say, I will do anything to stamp out inflation, because if people believe him, then they will stop raising prices, and then this becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy.

That's why the fed is trying to in a sense say, hey, we are strong enough and brave enough, and we don't care enough that we would care -- we would be willing to cause inflation if that's required. Here's the funny thing, the miracle is if people believe that, that's enough to cause inflation to decline, and then we don't end up needing the recession to reduce inflation after all.

So, he is trying to manage people's expectations and get them to think and believe and understand that inflation may be high today, but it is going to be coming down pretty soon.

LEMON: Wait a minute, I'm trying to understand this idea that people think that you need a recession to bring down inflation. That's why I said some people -- some people who are economic experts are saying, a recession would not be bad in the short term, it would actually help the economy. Do you understand what I am asking?

WOLFERS: I think some people get a little bit crazy about their economics, and if you get underneath the economy and underneath the wise numbers is people.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

WOLFERS: So, you got to be able to connect it to people's lives. And so, what they are saying is, it's okay for us to have some families lose work and lose jobs as long as others get lower prices.

LEMON: Uh-hmm.

WOLFERS: Well, that might be one way forward, but let's admit that is a pretty costly way forward.


WOLFERS: That's why I think it's really important that the fed really is confident that the alternative strategy of reducing inflation, which is just to wait for some of the current supply shocks to work their way through the system, that's a much more painless way of reducing inflation.

LEMON: Got it. Thank you, Justin. I appreciate it. You be well.

WOLFERS: You too, Don.

LEMON: President Biden at the U.N. today rebuking Vladimir Putin after his nuclear threats. What Biden said, next.

Plus, a "Washington Post" investigation revealing that it is harder for Black cultures in the NFL to get and keep their jobs. We are going to discuss later in the hour.



LEMON: President Joe Biden declaring Russia's invasion of Ukraine a violation of the global order at the U.N. today. The president also rebuked Vladimir Putin's threats of nuclear war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This war is about extinguishing Ukraine's right to exist as a state, plain and simple. Ukraine's right to exist as a people. Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not -- that should make your blood run cold. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.


LEMON: Max Boot is here, the senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Max, thanks for joining us. This may be one of the most tensed U.N. general assemblies in recent history and recent years. Was President Biden forceful enough when he talked about the possibility of nuclear threats from Vladimir Putin?

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW ON COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely. I thought President Biden was very resolute and principled and it was really quite a contrast to the time between President Biden speaking at the U.N. and President Putin speaking in Moscow, because here you have President Biden defending the liberal, international world order, the rules-based system that the United States has been part of since 1945.

And I thought that President Biden gave a very eloquent defense of that order on the very same day that on Moscow you had Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, undermining and threatening that order, talking and raving about how Russia is supposed to be under attack, justifying his invasion of Ukraine, and now escalation, in fact, with a mobilization.

And lastly, most chillingly of all, engaging in nuclear saber rattling, trying to scare the rest and Ukraine's allies away from supporting Ukraine in its quest for freedom. I thought that Biden gave the correct response to that, which was to say and not be intimidated, not to engage in hyperbole with Putin, but just lay it on the line and say that we will continue to defend Ukraine because they are all fighting for freedom and that is what we believe in. I thought that Biden did a tremendous job.

LEMON: Max, as you know, Ukraine has won back some territory in recent weeks. There is a sharp rise in demand for flights out of Moscow and hundreds of Russians have been detained just today in a crackdown on anti-war protests. Are you worried on how Putin is going to react under extreme pressure from all sides?

BOOT: Of course, you have to worry about somebody who is a complete dictator. I would be more worried about what would be happening if Putin were actually winning, if actually succeeding in extinguishing Ukrainian independence, which is his goal, because if that were to happen, he would not stop in Ukraine, Don. He would be targeting the Baltics, he would be targeting Poland, he would be targeting Finland. No country in Europe would be safe.

And so, I actually take great comfort from the great success that the Ukrainians have had. Just in the last few weeks, they have liberated thousands of miles of their territory. The Russians are reeling.

What you heard today from Putin in Moscow was the -- is the desperation that Putin feels as he feels that he is losing this war and he doesn't know what to do. So, he's engaging a nuclear saber rattling, he's trying to call more reserves even though he is going to have a hard time equipping them.

But the reality is, on the ground, his forces are losing. We need to continue supporting the Ukrainians to liberate their territory from this Russian oppression.

LEMON: I want to ask you about -- you know, we just did a segment on the economy. There is fuel, global recession, inflation, and energy crisis are soaring now. Democracy around the world is really under attack. What do you think the right posture is for the U.S. and its allies right now? What should be the priority?

BOOT: The number one priority right now, internationally, has to be to stop Russia's war of aggression because we need to send a signal to China and other countries around the world that aggression does not pay.

Of course, one of the consequences of Russia's aggression is pressure on energy crisis, pressure on food prices, rising inflation. We are dealing with all of that. Russia is hoping to use that economic pressure to decouple us from Ukraine, to convince the Europeans, in particular, to stop backing Ukraine.

And so far, it has not been working, and part of the reason it's not working, Don, is because President Biden, I think, has been so skilled and resolute in assembling an international coalition to contain and deter Russia.

This would not be happening if Donald Trump were the president. If Trump were in office, you would see all of Ukraine probably under Russian sovereignty by now. But President Biden, I think, has done a tremendous job of mobilizing these countries and keeping them on board for this very difficult task of stopping and responding to this Russian unprovoked aggression.


LEMON: Thank you, Max Boot. Always a pleasure. Appreciate it.

An immigration advocacy group filing a lawsuit against the state of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis for transport of nearly 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard. My next guest is the executive director for the group that filed the suit.



LEMON: Just a week after nearly 50 migrants arrived at Martha's Vineyard from Texas, an immigration advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis, claiming the migrants were defrauded for political gain. The migrants were promised housing, employment and health with immigration process -- the immigration process.

Governor DeSantis's office is pushing back, though, claiming travel to Martha's Vineyard was done on a voluntary basis.

Joining me now to discuss is Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, the executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, the group that filed the suit. Thank you for joining us, Ivan. I appreciate it.


LEMON: So, your lawsuit claims that the migrants were lured on to the planes and across state lines under false pretenses. What are they saying that they were promised?

ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: Our clients, Lawyers for Civil Rights, were promised employment, educational opportunities, housing, even free English classes along with immigration assistance if they boarded those planes. Those were all fraud. They were all lies.

This is really a fraudulent scheme, a deception, that targeted our clients to use them as political pawns, to make them cross state lines under false pretenses, under misrepresentations that ultimately could come very close to sabotaging and derailing their federal immigration cases.

LEMON: What is the evidence that it was all false pretenses?

ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: Our clients' testimonies and experiences are all consistent. They were all gathered in San Antonio by perpetrators of this fraudulent scheme, promised a wide range of different services and benefits, that they never received, that the perpetrators never intended to provide, and that if it hadn't been for the extreme generosity of the people of Martha's Vineyard, they would have been really at an even more vulnerable and precarious place than when they started this journey.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. The lawsuit also includes details about a false brochure made to look like a government document. Can you tell us about this brochure and what was in it?

ESPINOZA-MADRIGAL: This is all part of the evidence of this elaborate scheme perpetrated by Governor DeSantis, by other Florida officials, by the state of Florida, to create materials that would lure our clients on to the plane, to make materials that would lure them across state lines.

And these materials were put together, manufactured for the purposes of this scheme. They contain information about refugee resettlement and other services and programs that exist in Massachusetts to some extent, but that none of our clients were eligible for because they haven't been deemed refugees. Our clients have humanitarian parole status. It's very important here because there is a lot of conversation about how our clients are undocumented, our clients are illegal, but nothing could be further from the truth. They all surrender to immigration officials. They are all known to immigration officials. They were processed and released. They are not lurking in the shadows. They are not avoiding detection.

But these materials were designed to trick and lure them because they do not qualify for those benefits and services. And these brochures were placed in shiny red folders that were given to our clients during the course of this scheme to make it look official, to make it look like they were good Samaritans looking out for the migrants when in reality, the truth was they were caught in this elaborate web of lies, of fraudulent scheme that made them cross state lines and then made them much more vulnerable.

LEMON: Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, we thank you so much for your time, and as this progress, we will have you back on with new developments. Thank you so much.


LEMON: A new report from "The Washington Post" showing black NFL head coaches face big hurdles in getting and keeping their jobs even if they perform as well as white coaches. We are going to unpack it, next.




LEMON: A damning investigation to the NFL by "The Washington Post" revealing just how difficult it is for Black coaches to get and keep coveted positions within the league.

It comes on the heels of a major racial discrimination lawsuit from former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. The lawsuit, the NFL says, is meritless.

So, the "Post" analysis titled this, "How the NFL Blocks Black Coaches." It finds that Black coaches continued to be denied top positions in the NFL, that Black coaches languish as assistants and position coaches before becoming head coaches, and that when they are hired, Black coaches are held to a higher standard and winning does not necessarily save them.


The "Post" is saying that since 1990, Black coaches have been twice as likely as others to be fired after leading a team to a regular season record of 500 or better.

So, let's discuss. Former NFL receiver Donte Stallworth and CNN contributor Cari Champion both here to talk about this. Good evening. Carrie, the "Post" analysis --


LEMON: I'm doing well. It shows just how shocking the disparities in the NFL actually are. Nearly 60% of the players are Black, but coaches are reportedly overlooked. Just 9% of current head coaches are Black, which shows that the NFL has a very serious problem here. No?

CHAMPION: I absolutely agree with you, but, you know, the NFL, as we read further into that article, was saying, we can't force owners to hire who we want them to hire. We have implemented rules. We made them aware that there are hirers where people look different than you. We are encouraging, you know, inclusion and diversity classes. We are doing all we can do. It is up to the owner.

So, at the end of the day, you have this billion-dollar industry and you have this overly rich men, you cannot tell them who to hire, and you don't hire normally if you're not familiar with. And that is why we find the disconnect. They don't see these Black coaches as they see themselves.

LEMON: It's kind of a Catch-22, right, because if you look at the wealth disparity in the country, do Black folks really have that much money to be able to buy an NFL team? You see where I am going with this, Cari?

CHAMPION: Yeah, absolutely. We thought that there was an attempt when the Denver Broncos were up for sale, but they ended up going to the Walmart family group, a huge investor. So, you can't fight with that money.

Here's the thing, though. The reality is these men are not policed. No one will tell them what to do. In fact, there is only two majority owners that identify as minorities, and that is Kim Pegula, who is the co-owner of the Bills, and then there is also Khan, who has the Jacksonville Jaguars. Those two of the 32 owners, majority owners, you cannot convince these people. So, we have a problem.

Fortunately, we can talk about it like this to say that there is disparity and perhaps we will see the human in the coach, because they have the same skill set, they're doing the same thing, but for whatever reason, they get told not just yet.

LEMON: Yeah. So, listen, Donte, the "Post: analyzed three decades of data, interviewed current and former Black head coaches, players, team executives and others in the NFL's orbit. It all paints the same picture. Does any of this come as a surprise to you?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: No, not really. I think that the NFL, it was around 2003, I believe, when the Rooney rule was implemented, which was my second year in the NFL, and you saw the NFL, you saw the executives, even now, into a later date, when you see Troy Vincent, a former player, who is the vice president of operations, I believe, in the NFL, very high up, who is really trying to lead and push this issue. But Cari said it, you can't force -- it's difficult to force these owners to hire minorities, hire more Black coaches when -- even they are incentivized to do so with draft picks, they are incentivized to do so in other instances.

But, you know, it's really a shame when Black coaches are hired, they are not afforded the same leniency as their white counterparts. They don't have the opportunity to lead a team. When they get to a franchise or an organization that is not very good, they don't have an opportunity to turn that team around like you see some of their white counterparts do in long periods of time.

So, even then, when they get the opportunity, they are not afforded really an opportunity to go to a really good team. I would say Mike Tomlin is the outlier who had a really good quarterback and a really good organizational foundation behind him, but outside of that, you see a lot of these Black coaches that are getting hired -- getting hired to some of worst teams and organizations in league.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, I have heard that in situations like this, when you get an analysis like "The Washington Post" with what they're doing or what Brian Flores is doing, that even pushes these owners further into a corner, into their positions and saying, what's in it for me? Why would I even hire a Black coach because I'm just going to be scrutinized and the possibility of -- you know, if they aren't performing, am I going to have to keep them in some capacity?

You understand what I'm saying, Donte?

STALLWORTH: Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, it is really up to the owners. The NFL, Roger Goodell, Troy Vincent and all the other executives at the NFL can do. It is really an ownership issue for the most part.

I think that it really sounds the players started to push more back against the NFL and the executives and the ownership in 2020 after the George Floyd murder, after the George Floyd protests, when there was just reckoning of the nation.


I think that the owners tried to recognize or at least they attempted or at least perceived to recognize what was happening, but there still is this lack of accountability in hiring minority and Black coaches.

LEMON: Cari, I'm up against the clock here. I'll give you the last word. Please, quickly.

CHAMPION: Here's the deal, we cannot make, and no matter how much we protest and argue, we cannot make men do what they don't want to do. They own the team. It is theirs. They hire who they want to hire.

The request is, though, to look at us the way that you see the other coaches that you've been hiring. Meaning, take us to the golf. Let's go golf together. Let's go chat with one another. That is the only way that we are going to be able to get an equal footing, if you see us as you see yourself. Ant that is clearly not the case here.

LEMON: Cari, Donte, thank you both. I appreciate it. To be continued.

And thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.