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Don Lemon Tonight

Trump's Legal Team Makes A Request To The Supreme Court; Herschel Walker Denies Allegation Of Abortion; Herschel Walker's Son Lash His Father On Twitter; Elon Musk Back To Buying Twitter Deal; President Biden To Visit Florida. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 22:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: And I'm grateful to all of you. So many of you sent messages of support to me, and many of you have shared your own stories of trial, and I just want to say thank you for trusting me with that.

Thank you all for watching tonight. I will be back here tomorrow night. Don't go anywhere though, DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: How am I supposed to start the show now? Kasie, that was amazing. I can't believe it's been a year as well. It's been --

HUNT: I can't either.


HUNT: Thank you so much.

LEMON: So, so I'm not going to let you go that fast. So, you know, when you face raw mortality or you face mortality or death of someone in your life, it certainly does change you, right? It put things -- it puts things into perspective.

We are very lucky to be in the positions that we're in now to have these jobs and so on and so forth, but it also puts your career in perspective. Like it's not as important as, as you said, the people you love. And quite frankly, life. The experiences that you have every day.

HUNT: I think you're, you're absolutely right. I mean, I think that meaningful work is absolutely a part of our health and is part of a balanced and important life. But it's finding meaning in what you do every day. It's not looking at vanity or other people's approval or more money than you need to live a secure life.

Or maybe it's just about going to work every day to support the people who need you, to support those people that you love. But it's really, it's not even about the big moments, like the graduations that I was thinking about in these moments. It was the little ones. It was, if my son was coming home from school and he was bullied, would I be there or would I not? And I think showing up for that is really what matters the most.

LEMON: Yes. Amen. I'm glad you're here.

HUNT: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Thank you for sharing. Thank you, Kasie. And I'm glad you're OK. All right. I'll see you tomorrow night.

HUNT: You're very sweet. I really appreciate it. See you soon.

LEMON: Absolutely. So, this is DON LEMON TONIGHT.

And, you know, Kasie just put things into perspective there. Now I want to put the news into perspective because there are some big issues that are happening. There's a lot of hypocrisy going around these days. OK.

Our big story tonight, though, is the former president going right to the Supreme Court asking them to intervene in the Mar-a-Lago documents fight. And now, the DOJ has got a deadline to respond to all of this.

Clarence Thomas, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the Justice Department has until 5 p.m. on October 11th. That's a week from tonight. Team Trump is asking for the special master to get access to more than a hundred classified documents found in the search of Mar-a- Lago, which would also mean Trump's legal team could see them. Which sounds like a page right out of the Trump playbook. And you know what that page is.

It's delay, delay, delay.

That's really all this is. You want to put things into perspective, it's just delay, push it further down the road. And then also, you know, send out fundraising letters to help so that he could raise money off of all of this. That's just, that's what's happening. And he is hoping that the court will take side.

A conservative majority court courtesy of, of course, the former president himself. A fact, which is probably top of mind down in Mar- a-Lago.

But you've got to wonder whether the Supreme Court, which has ruled against him in earlier cases, actually wants anything to do with this. They might not want to touch it with a 10-foot pole in the midst of the outrage over what a lot of Americans see as the politicization of the highest court in the land. In the wake of the court overturning Roe v. Wade.

And that brings me to the other thing that we need to put into perspective, right? I talked about a lot of hypocrisy, like this was enormous. The former NFL star now Senate candidate Herschel Walker and his campaign scrambling to contain the fallout from a blockbuster new allegation that the anti-abortion Republican paid for his then girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009. Walker says that it is not true.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: It is a flat-out lie. And now, you know how important this seat is. This seat is very important that they'll do anything to win this seat. Lie. Because they want to make it by everything else except what the true problems that we have in this country is. This inflation, the border wide open. Crime. They don't want to talk about that.


LEMON: OK? One of his sons Christian Walker, slamming his own father.


CHRISTIAN WALKER, HERSCHEL WALKER'S SON: They say they have receipts. Whatever. He gets on Twitter. He lies about it. OK. I'm done. Done. Everything has been a lie.


LEMON: All of this just the latest scandal Herschel Walker has faced and one of the most high-profile Senate races of the midterms up against Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. A lot more coming up on all of this.

I want to bring in now CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider, former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams, and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale.

Hello. Where do we begin?


LEMON: Let's see. How about with Jessica for the reporting here? Good evening.


Jessica, listen, the department, the Justice Department has until 5 p.m. next Tuesday to respond to this request. I'm talking about this from team Trump. What happens now, Jessica?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it means DOJ lawyers, they'll be working through this upcoming holiday weekend to come up with their response to this emergency petition from Trump's legal team.

You know, it is an emergency petition, but there's really some question about the urgent nature of all this. You know, given the fact that Trump's team didn't even file this until today, which is about two weeks after the 11th circuit ruled. And now Justice Clarence Thomas who does oversee petitions coming in from the 11th circuit, he's giving DOJ one week to respond.

And it does again, go to show that this isn't a particularly pressing claim that Trump's team is making. But nevertheless, after the DOJ responses in, the Supreme Court as a whole beyond Justice Thomas, they could decide on this pretty quickly.

But, Don, I'll note Trump's track record asking the Supreme Court to step in on previous cases isn't pretty good. I mean, look at earlier this year when they refused to block his records from the January 6th committee, and because of that, you know, it's really likely that the Supreme Court won't disrupt what the 11th circuit has already decided.

So probably not looking good for Trump. We'll see how quickly the Supreme Court moves here.

LEMON: I've got to ask you, Jessica, because this, what he's asking for is not all encompassing, right?


LEMON: It involves only a certain number of the documents. So, walk us through exactly what Trump wants the Supreme Court to do.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, so he is asking for very limited relief here, and basically what they want is they want the special master to be able to get access to the 100 classified documents that he's so far been blocked from reviewing ever since the 11th circuit ruled two weeks ago.

Crucially and notably here though, if the special master regains the access, that also means that Trump's legal team gets to see these classified documents, and that's something that they've long been angling for here. You know, because of this, the Trump's team's arguing, they're saying that the 11th Circuit just didn't have the proper jurisdiction to even act in the first place. So, they now want the Supreme Court to step in.

But it is a very narrow request here, Don, they're not even asking the DOJ to stop using these documents as it pertains to their investigation. So very small ask here.

LEMON: Elliot, can you walk us through, what is the motivation here? Does Trump's team want to make the case that, that he has executive privilege over these classified documents? I mean, they really don't belong to him.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Look, you know, Don, I can't explain what any lawyer or any party's motivation might be. Now, look, as Jessica has noted, this will certainly slow the proceeding down, and most importantly, even if the former president were to win this appeal, it really wouldn't change the outcome of the proceedings in any meaningful way.

Even if he were to win, the Justice Department would still end up having access to the documents as they do right now.

LEMON: So, what's the point? WILLIAMS: And would still going to be able to use them pursuing, you

know, do you use them in the criminal investigation? So, it's, it might be for delay, but at the end of the day, it's not going to change much.

LEMON: All right, Jon, then. So again, so then what is the point here? What is the point of asking for this?

JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, the point is, I think to adequately defend that client, but I don't think it's going to make one bit of difference. I mean, I agree. When on your show, Don, I suggested early on a special master, but what I was thinking of was lowering the temperature.

The Trump team was accusing the Department of Justice as being on a political witch hunt. Well, I thought if an independent judicial officer reviewed the documents, what would be the difference if there was a brief delay? You know, believe it or not, somebody running for the state assembly in Florida was banned from Twitter for suggesting that there'd be a law that permit any Floridian to shoot a federal agent on site.

So, I just thought that this would lower the temperature and depoliticize everything. And as far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the only reason we're even talking about this is because it involves former President Trump. This is a jurisdictional narrow appeal, which I think the Supreme Court will not hear, they will not entertain.

And as Judge Cannon, who I think has taken an unfair rap, said in her original order. What this may entail will be a brief pause, but so what? The real question is not going to be these hundred documents. The real question in six months is going to be whether or not the former president should be charged. That's going to be the real question.

LEMON: Well, that's what I was going to ask you. You don't think the Supreme Court is even going to take it up.

SALE: I don't. I do not.

LEMON: Why not?

SALE: Well, only because it's a narrow standing issue and it's an issue of whether or not it's what's called an interlocutory appeal, whether they had a right to appeal in the first place. It's not of any great consequence.

And I think, I think Justice Thomas will probably refer it to the full court. So, it's depoliticized and I think he clearly will not get five votes. I would predict. That, it'll be a unanimous, if we even know the vote, because it'll be on the so-called shadow docket.


LEMON: Well, that was kind of the thrust of the question is then what is the point? You said it was, you know, to adequately defend your client, but if you don't think they're going to take it up and it doesn't really change anything for Trump, I'm just, you know.

SALE: Well, so to answer your question, that they don't want to commit whether or not the president had the power to de -- to classify whether he did declassify. They wanted to see the documents so that then they -- they're not boxed in as advocates so they can be flexible in their position.

But Don, if the former president is charged, in my view, it will not be over these different technical statutes, whether or not he had the power to declassify, if he's charged on anything coming out of Mar-a- Lago. And it's a big if, it'll be an obstruction case. And that's, that's obstruction of the grand jury, obstruction of what the FBI is doing. That's what this is going to be all about.

LEMON: Got it. OK. So, Elliot, you heard what Jon said. Right? But let's just see, Jon doesn't believe the court is going to take it up, but let's just say the court takes it up, right? Just, you know, for you know what.


LEMON: And giggles. All right. So, let's say it takes it up and, and he sides with Trump. How would that change what the special master here in New York is doing?

WILLIAMS: Yes, again, it doesn't really change any, what the special master. The special master would then have access to the documents. But I believe so with the Justice Department at that point. I mean, I think it's not an unfair view though that the Supreme Court just may not take it.

Look, this is a dispute between two other branches of government and it's not really a massive, huge question that they'd be resolving here. Yes, it's Donald Trump, but, you know, but to the point that was just made a moment ago, this is a very highly technical question about how appeals are operated.

So, number one, they may not take it. Number two, if they do, it may be, you know, the kind of decision that the court just, it resolves pretty quickly. Yes.

LEMON: Jon, could, Jon, could it backfire though, because Judge Dearie has press team Trump to approve all the wild allegations of the -- these allegations that he's been making about planted evidence and claims that he declassified everything. You know, that he can just do it by thinking about it.

Is there a possibility that this could backfire? It seems like every time they push it, it goes to, you know, the court or the judge and they rule against it, or they ask him to prove things. It just seems like it get -- it gets worse for them the more that they ask for.

SALE: Well, Judge Cannon ordered a special master. The media reported it as a big win for team Trump. And be careful what you asked for because when Judge Dearie was appointed the special master -- master, he is really holding everyone's feet to the fire and put up or shut up. And, as officers of the court, the Trump lawyers are being very careful to say anything in court that they can't really prove.

So, Judge Dearie is going to adhere to a very tight schedule, and Trump team is just going to not gain one thing other than if they gain, if they gain a month or two, what's the difference?

LEMON: Well, I mean, the difference honestly, I understand you -- legally, what's the difference? But politically, it could be a huge difference, especially because the midterms are coming up. You picking up --


SALE: I probably know under the DOJ rule, there'll be nothing happening between now and the midterms anyway.


SALE: Nothing that potentially could affect the election. Trump is technically not a candidate, but is for all practical purposes, he is.

LEMON: Yes. Right on. Thank you all. I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

So up next, the report rocking Herschel Walker Senate campaign in Georgia. The allegation that the staunch anti-abortion Republican paid for a girlfriend's abortion years ago. He says it's a lie. His son says this.


C. WALKER: Don't lie on the lives you've destroyed and act like you're some moral family, man.




LEMON: OK, so here we go. Tonight, Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senate in Georgia who strongly opposes abortion rights, denying a report in the Daily Beast that he paid for a girlfriend's abortion more than a dozen years ago.

A source saying that the Walker campaign knows the allegation is a major setback with just over a month until the election. Now the Georgia race is one of the most hotly contested battles, which could decide which party controls the Senate.

Here's CNN's Manu Raju with the story.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Herschel Walker's Senate campaign now reeling, upended by inexplosive report alleging that the staunch anti-abortion Republican paid for a girlfriend to get the procedure for a child that conceived 13 years ago.

H. WALKER: I never paid for an abortion, and it's a lie.

RAJU: Walker stayed behind closed doors on Tuesday with his aides refusing to disclose his schedule. Even after they initially agreed to say where he would campaign this week. CNN, however, did obtain an invitation to an event hosted by Prayer Warriors for Herschel at a Baptist church in Atlanta. But CNN was not allowed to cover the event or wait in the parking lot. Even as a leading conservative activist, Ralph Reed (Ph) came outside to defend the candidate.

RALPH REED, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHRISTIAN COALITION: I will promise you this, the voters or Georgia are going to reject this kind of gutter politics.

RAJU: Can you tell Herschel Walker to actually come out here and answer these questions himself?

REED: This is a closed event. It's a prayer event with faith leaders.

RAJU: According to the Daily Beast, Walker in 2009 reimbursed his then girlfriend $700 for the cost of the abortion. The woman was not named and CNN has not verified the report. But the Daily Beast reported obtaining a bank deposit slip with a copy of Walker's personal check and a get-well card signed by H telling the woman, pray you are feeling better.

H. WALKER: I send out so many, get well, send out so much of anything, but I can tell you right now, I never asked anyone to get an abortion.

RAJU: One of Walker's son's Christian Walker, lashing out publicly against his father.

C. WALKER: Don't lie on the lives you've destroyed and act like you're some moral family man.

RAJU: While Walker tweeted, I love my son no matter what.

Can you respond to Christian Walker saying, this is a lie, sir?

H. WALKER: I gave my statement.

RAJU: Like so many battleground states, the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade putting abortion front and center, especially for suburban women.


UNKNOWN: Abortion is certainly a driving issue for me.

RAJU: Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent tapping into the issue at a campaign event outside of Atlanta.

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): The patient's room is too small and cramp to space for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government. That's just too many people in the room.


RAJU: But the freshman Democrats sidestepping questions about the story's impact on the race.

Senator, do you believe the Daily Beast story?

WARNOCK: I honestly haven't had a chance to, to look at.

RAJU: Warnock and his allies have already spent 76 million on ads here, about $10 million more than the GOP, attacking Walker's complicated past, but Republicans are hoping Warnock's ties to an unpopular President Biden and concerns over inflation and crime --

UNKNOWN: Raphael Warnock he chose felons over Georgia families.

RAJU: -- will be enough to overcome Walker's problems.

UNKNOWN: I don't agree with Warnock's philosophy.

RAJU: Walker keeping Biden at an arm's length.

Do you think Joe Biden should run for reelection?

WARNOCK: Part of the problem in American politics is too much of the conversation is about the politicians.

RAJU: Manu Raju, CNN, Atlanta.


LEMON: All right, Manu, thank you very much. The Daily Beast report certainly throwing a wrench into the Georgia Senate race, but at a time where political scandals are a dime a dozen, have we been here before? And could he still very well win? We'll talk.



LEMON: Herschel Walker and his campaign scrambling to contain the fallout from a new report alleging that hard line anti-abortion candidate paid for his then girlfriend to have an abortion back in 2009. Now, CNN cannot independently confirm the allegation.

But joining me now, CNN political analyst, Astead Herndon and CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro and Alice Stewart.

Good evening one and all. So here we go, October, I think this is. The grab him by the P of 2022. I do. Because everyone had counted, remember the former president out or the former candidate, and all of a sudden, he still won. So, we shall see.

I'm going to ask you, let's start, I'm going to get you what you guys think. Astead, Walker is saying that the allegations are a lie. His former girlfriend no gave the Daily Beast a get-well card that's allegedly from Walker with his signature, also reported payment from Walker of $700. Is this denial? His denial is that going to fly with voters?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it depends on what voters you're talking to, voters who are inclined to believe Herschel Walker, a.k.a., Republicans will usually take this. I mean, this is something that we have seen across some conservative -- conservative candidates, and it shows that the issue of abortion is not really necessarily a personal one, but about politics, about power.

And the argument you're hearing from Republicans is that the political power that could come from Herschel Walker winning is more important than any action that he took as an individual person. That is going to be the excuse that they give.

And if you're a Republican in Georgia, that is probably going to be an excuse that you're willing to accept because you want him to win. But the real question is on the margins, is he going to lose some slice of independent voters that he would need in that purple state where he, well, people not come out, who would've come out otherwise? That's going to be the question.

And he, and really, and let's be honest here. He needs every single voter he can because for a state that's that close, he is down. He is not doing as well as he could.

LEMON: I sat here long enough to -- this could actually end up helping him in this environment. Why are you shaking your head? Do you believe that, Ana?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because nothing surprises me anymore, right?

LEMON: Yes. Do you remember we sat here, what was it till like one, two in the morning waiting for the hostage tape when, you know Trump was like, you know, the grab him by the p thing. Right? And you said it on the air, and someone was on saying, don't say that word. And you said -- you're telling me, don't say the word. You should be telling Trump. Look, I remember the whole thing. But this could end up helping him. In this strange universe, political universe that we're in.

NAVARRO: Well, apparently, it's helped him raise funds already. And you know, today there was a lot of -- there was a lot of Christian leaders praying over him and telling him to put on his armor of God. I think God wants his armor back.

Look, nothing is surprising anymore and you've -- you've got to understand that this is a candidate, Herschel Walker that we already know lied and was a hypocrite after chastising black men and preaching to black men about responsible fatherhood. It turns out he wasn't a responsible father and had these children.

He's got the issues with the ex-wife of domestic violence. He's got issues of outright lies that have been documented.

LEMON: Well, he lied about the police department. He's supposed to back the blue and he was --


NAVARRO: Don't forget the chicken business one. Right? The biggest minority chickens. Anyways, I mean, it's just, and it hasn't mattered, right? This is a guy who should have been eliminated who, from being a viable candidate in the primaries, who should have, who should not be a viable candidate now, and still the polls are pretty close.

And it's, this isn't even like, like the Access Hollywood tapes, because those were really a surprise. It turns out half of Georgia had heard about these rumors about this paying for an abortion months, if not years ago.

HERNDON: But he is paying a cost. I mean, if he was a Republican, if he was a non-Herschel Walker candidate in that state, he would be winning. He is not winning and he is not doing as well as Brian Kemp is because of these reasons. He is a weak Senate candidate and that is costing him at least on those marks.

LEMON: Well, that's the conversation that we've had so much of, Alice, when we talk about the quality of candidates, right? And even Mitch McConnell, am I wrong, talked about the quality of candidates. I just -- let me -- let me get this sound by in, because I really want to hear from you, Alice.


I just want -- this is Christian Walker. This is Herschel Walker's son really letting him have it on Twitter, calling him a liar, calling out his father's claim of being a champion of family values. Take a listen and then we'll get Alice on the other side. Here it is.


C. WALKER: I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed. I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised.

And you know my favorite issue to talk about is father absent. Surprise. Because it affected. That's why I talk about it all the time because it affected me. Family values, people. He has four kids, four different women. Wasn't in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values?


LEMON: Can he get past it, Alice?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think, first off, I, you know, my heart goes out to him because he's clearly had a very difficult childhood and the experience that he's had and I don't blame him for being as pissed off as he is. But those personal short failings by Herschel Walker are some he's going to have to deal with in his personal life.

In terms of the political fallout of all of this, it clearly appears as though he is going to take the Donald Trump playbook and responding to this by deny, deflect and demean the accusers. And that's exactly what he's appearing to do moving forward and going after the accuser and also the media that is covering the story.

Look, what we're seeing throughout years of history in politics, character or lack thereof does not appear to be a disqualifying character trait for running for public office, and that goes on both sides of the aisle. We see it, a litany of candidates, Republicans and Democrats.

The key here, look, I am a Republican. I think Herschel Walker was a flawed candidate from the very beginning. There was Gary Black I think would've been a very strong GOP candidate, but we can't go back and redo the primary.

So, from a Republican standpoint, and while we're seeing conservatives and Republicans standing behind him, we have a binary choice now between a candidate like Herschel Walker who will fight for issues that are important to Republicans, which is inflation, the economy and crime, as opposed to Raphael Warnock who is furthering the Biden policies that are really not reflective of the people of my home state of Georgia. So, I think from this point right now --


LEMON: So, you're supportive of Herschel Walker.

STEWART: When we have a binary choice right now between the policies that Herschel Walker supports and the policies that Rafael Warnock supports, absolutely, yes. Going back to the primaries, that would be --


LEMON: OK. Alice, you put on my comfortable position here, because the entire time that we had been on the air together, you said that the reason that you held your nose and voted for Donald Trump was because of his stance on abortion, and now you're saying it doesn't matter that, that Herschel Walker is hypocritical about an abortion and allegedly has paid for one an abortion that it is now OK because of inflation. So, what is it?

STEWART: No, what I'm -- what I'm saying right now if I were back in my home state of Georgia and I had to decide between a candidate like Herschel Walker who may or may not have paid for one abortion or Raphael Warnock, who is supportive of taxpayer funded abortions for everyone, I think the choice is very simple.

Herschel Walker's policies are more in line with Republicans and conservatives in the state of Georgia and moving forward, this is going to be a tremendous -- (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: How do you know he is telling you the truth about those issues if he's not telling you the truth about abortion?

STEWART: We'll just have to take his word for it. I mean, look, at the end, at the end of the day when it comes to the policies, I trust around what he says he's going to do with policies on economic issues when it comes to fighting crime. Those are important issue. And that -- and they are certainly for Republicans in Georgia as well.

NAVARRO: This is so painful to hear, and it's like we've learned nothing in the last six years. We've learned nothing from the -- from the Trump experience where people held their nose because they wanted a conservative Supreme Court, which -- which he delivered on, but ended up with --


LEMON: But wasn't abortion -- wasn't abortion the thing that everyone said that they, that's why they supported Trump, but because --


HERNDON: Certainly, for Evangelical.

LEMON: -- at Evangelicals. Yes.

HERNDON: Yes, yes. Certainly, for Evangelicals.

LEMON: Correct.

HERNDON: But I would say for a lot of Evangelicals, that kind of transaction has changed. I mean, appreciate what Alice is saying because it's clear.

LEMON: Her political analysis is right on the issue.

HERNDON: Right. But I'm saying, but I'm saying it is about power. It is about control of Senate and it is about instituting of policies. And so, for a lot of those Evangelicals that choice has become one that has furthered from just Donald Trump individually being someone who can bring them a Roe v. Wade reversal, but for a whole slate of candidates who they think are still better than the other side.

What Republicans are going to try to do is say no matter what Herschel Walker does himself, that is preferable than the Democratic option. And that kind of negative reinforcement has worked for their base.

NAVARRO: Yes. Listen, Satan himself could be running, but because of inflation we're going to vote for Satan because that we have a binary choice. And I think -- I think the formula has changed. Right?


Look, I remember when there was a congressman in Pennsylvania, Tim Murphy, who was a big pro-lifer, and it came out he'd asked a girlfriend, he'd asked a mistress to get an abortion, and he ended up resigning very quickly thereafter.

But right now, as we sit here, there is a congressman, a Republican congressman from Tennessee. Another big pro-lifer who has been reportedly, who reportedly paid for two or three abortions. He was a doctor and he -- one of the women was his patient who was also his girlfriend, and he is going to state back into Congress through reelection. DesJarlais is his name.

So, what I'm trying to say is that the issue of character is no longer an issue that decides elections. It -- there was a time when something of a scandal of this nature would've been discovered and that person would've been on TV the next day or the next hour resigning and quitting and leaving the campaign.

That's no longer the case. You just double and pretend it's not happening, and raise money out of the, you know, evil Democrats and media trying to malign you.

LEMON: Yes. All right. Thank you. That's all we have time. I got to get to the break. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Call it off again on again, call it -- excuse me. Back that up please. Screen it up. Call the off again, on again relationship between Elon Musk and Twitter. The tech billionaire once again, proposing to buy the company at full price, but will the deal last this time.



LEMON: So, in a surprising move, Elon Musk is proposing to buy Twitter again. Musk's big about -- about-face sending shares of the social media giant soaring by more than 20 percent. It's just the latest in the back-and-forth saga between Musk and Twitter.

The move comes after a trove of Musk's personal text messages about the deal were released Friday and ahead of the two sides heading to trial over Musk's earlier attempt to terminate the deal.

I want to bring in now Kara Swisher, the host of The Pivot. The Pivot podcast.


LEMON: It's --

SWISHER: Thank you very much. How did you know that's the name of the new show? It's Morning Don.



SWISHER: It seems like a good idea.


SWISHER: That worked before.

LEMON: We'll see. Maybe it sounds similar, but I'm not sure to what. Hey, Kara, good to see you.

SWISHER: Good to see you.

LEMON: So, this game of will he, won't he between Musk and Twitter has been playing out for months now.


LEMON: He's again proposing to buy the company at full price. I mean, what is going on here? Why the reversal? Remember way back during, I think it was during White House correspondents' weekend we had this conversation about Elon Musk.

SWISHER: We did. We did. You know, he's not proposing to do it now. He has to buy it and he was going to be forced to do so by the court on October 17th, I suspect, and he knew that. The writing is on the wall. These texts have not helped him. It shows he knew quite a bit about bots. And so, he had to buy it no matter what or else he would've had to pay a major settlement fee.

So, he probably figured, well, if I have to pay a settlement fee, I might as well buy it. And he's managed to collect the money together. He has to abandon all his arguments against it, and he's just got to -- he's got to honor the contract. He's not -- it's not a new wrinkle. He was going to have to do this within a month. So here we are. He's doing it willingly, I guess.

LEMON: Yes. This is coming after a release on Friday of a trove of Musk's personal text messages about the deal. Do you think that had any impact?

SWISHER: Right. I think he wasn't looking forward to the deposition because all the things they could have asked him about and there probably are a lot of things he didn't want to answer. I mean, who you're -- he's a pretty controversial executive. They could have gone a lot of different ways and I suspect he didn't want to undergo a court hearing.

It's not unsimilar to Trump, he doesn't want to be in court. He can say what he wants publicly like Elon does, but saying it in court is a very different story and I suspect he didn't want that kind of scrutiny. Also, and he would've had to pay anyway. So, it -- this just settles the problem and gets back to square one.

LEMON: He has suggested though several changes to the platform and they include --


LEMON: -- getting rid of the permanent account bans, making it more open to free speech and allowing the possible return of Trump --

SWISHER: That's right.

LEMON: -- to the platform. I mean, I mean more open to a free speech. I think that's pretty much a haven for so many of --


SWISHER: Yes, I know. It's kind of a hot mess, isn't it?


SWISHER: Trump is coming back. He said this and I think that's the way it's going to be. So, he's going to bring Trump back. I think if he had not won this company, won this company, the current management not have let Trump back on because why have that headache. Elon doesn't mind headaches. He will change it pretty drastically. He has to. It's a terrible business. He could lose a lot of money.

And so, he's got to do some things. He's a smart guy in terms of technology and some other ideas, so we'll see if he can, you know, a lot of people have, have tried and failed to make Twitter into a real business, and we'll see if he has the ability to do so.

LEMON: Tonight, Musk tweeting this. Buying Twitter is an accelerant to create X the everything app.


LEMON: Do you have any idea of what he's talking about here?


LEMON: What exactly are his ambitions?

SWISHER: Well, there's a lot of everything apps. China actually has a lot of them where you can do your payments, your entertainment, your news, your communications. It's a big dream. It's called a super app sometimes. He's just going on a trend that already exists.

And so, you know, a lot of people are trying, Facebook in a way can be this way. This has tried to do this. And so, it's the idea that in one place that you'll do all your business, all your various and sundry things.

It's a -- it has, in other places they have them. Here we have a lot of different apps. You have Twitter for some things, Snapchat for some things, TikTok. I think he really is facing a challenge from TikTok. So, you know, everybody is, and I've actually told him this, you've got to make Twitter interesting and useful in some way.

Payments, you can possibly see payments in Twitter, maybe more programming. There's all kinds of things that he could do.

LEMON: He's also facing some backlash, though, Kara, for inserting himself into Russia's invasion of Ukraine. SWISHER: Yes.


LEMON: He put out this Twitter poll suggesting that a path to peace between Russia and Ukraine that includes Ukraine remaining neutral. Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany responding quote --


LEMON: -- F off is my very diplomatic reply to you.


LEMON: Ukraine - Ukrainian President Zelenskyy -- Zelenskyy also getting in, going on.


LEMON: Going after Musk, I should say. He's a CEO.


LEMON: Not a politician or foreign policy maker. Why is he weighing in on this?

SWISHER: Because he can, because people listen to him and then talk about it like this. You know, a well known --


LEMON: Do people really listen to him.

SWISHER: You know, he's got a big platform and so he just, it was just him being him and, you know, he had been actually helpful to Ukrainians around Starlink and things like that. And he, I know he got some money to put that up for by the Biden administration.

But, you know, he's just being him. He, you know, he's got it really toned down the rhetoric at some point. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. One of the things I had mentioned to him is to stop making it about Elon Musk and make it about Twitter.

People are riveted to him and they should be riveted to the product he's about to own. You know, he's -- it's sort of like buying a house. There's some mold in the basement. You know, some of the walls are problematic. The plumbing doesn't work, and he's got to fix it. And it's, you know, he broke it. He bought it. That's the kind of thing he's in right now.

LEMON: A house like that though could be a money pit, Kara.

SWISHER: It could, but it could work, Don. It could work.

LEMON: It could if you --


SWISHER: It's a very popular and great frame.

LEMON: If you fix the foundation and get rid of the mold, it could work. Listen, I don't mean, I don't mean this to be derogatory, but is he the ultimate troll? As I said, do people really listen to him? Because sometimes, you know, like the former president, when you troll people so much, they just sort of start tuning you out.

SWISHER: Yes. But who are the two people we're talking about? Elon Musk and Donald Trump. They're both -- I still -- I still think Trump has the -- that has the role and I called him this, the New York Times, the troller in chief. He was, he's the, you know, if you -- if that -- if you get a chef's kiss for being just horrible online, he wins. Hands down over Elon. Elon at least is funny sometimes.

LEMON: If you get a chef's kiss for being a great guest and a great podcaster, it would be for sure.

SWISHER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

SWISHER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: By the way, it's not Morning Don, but we'll see. maybe.

SWISHER: We'll see. I can't wait. I can't wait for the drinks and the, you know, all kinds of things happening in that morning. Excited.

LEMON: Break of Don.

SWISHER: Excited.

LEMON: Break of Don.

SWISHER: Break, break of Don. My God. No, no, no. I give that a hard no.

LEMON: Thank you. It's always a pleasure. I want to see you in person.

SWISHER: Pleasure.

LEMON: All right. I'll see you.


LEMON: We'll be right back.

SWISHER: Absolutely. Thanks.




LEMON: President Biden travels to Fort Myers, Florida tomorrow to get a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian. The monster storm claiming at least 105 lives in that state, 55 of those victims in hard-hit Lee County. Home not only to Fort Myers, but also to Sanibel Island, which was really just decimated.

Nearly a week after the hurricane hits search and rescue teams are still combining through the debris.

More now from CNN's Leyla Santiago.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: By land, by water, the search continues across the hard-hit area of Lee County, Florida. Nearly a week after Hurricane Ian left behind total devastation and more than a hundred people dead. The central Florida rescue task force is still looking for survivors. Their mission, get to the mangroves on the barrier island of Sanibel, cut off when it's bridge, to search the hundreds of boats that were tossed and left disabled during the storm.

MATT JAYNES, RESCUE TEAM MANAGER, TASK FORCE 4 FLORIDA: There's a large population of commercial shrimp vessels and mooring fields where people live on sailboats and cabin cruisers year-round, and many of those people, you know, will ride out of storm on their boat. That's their home.

Many of those vessels have been pushed deep into the mangroves in an inaccessible area. So, we are taking the smaller boats that we can to get back in these backwater areas and make sure they're clear.

SANTIAGO: These are the boats that will carry in the search and rescue teams. They'll go about 45 minutes that way near Sanibel into the mangroves to find boats.

And this is what they're coming across. Mangled boats in tough to reach areas.

JAYNES: The inaccessibility is probably the greatest challenge we have.

SANTIAGO: So, this is the bridge of Sanibel. This is usually where they would move people and supplies, but you can see it's collapsed over here and the road just completely caved in right over here by the water.

But tomorrow, for the first time since the storm, residents of Sanibel will be allowed to get back on the island by private boats to inspect their property.

MAYOR HOLLY SMITH, SANIBEL, FLORIDA: My heart is breaking, knowing what we're all going to be facing tomorrow. I'm going to see my home tomorrow as well.

SANTIAGO: Not the case for those who live on Fort Myers Beach. They were ordered to leave the barrier island with no guarantee of when they'll be allowed to return.

Korin Gulshen was dropped off here by Lake County officials where friends and families are reuniting with their loved ones who rode out the storm.

KORIN GULSHEN, FORT MYERS BEACH RESIDENT: Shock, disbelief that such a massive storm came through here. You know, we were warned. We knew it was going to be big. You know, we made that choice to stay. My island of paradise is gone as I knew it.

SANTIAGO: More than 400,000 people are still without power, and many on these barrier islands may not have it for up to a month. Still, they're holding out hope.

GULSHEN: We're strong people, we'll get through it and we'll rebuild and come back.


SANTIAGO: And you heard us talk about boats, you'll see them right behind me because I am in a fishing community, lots of shrimpers here, and they tell me they feel like they've been left behind. Quick to point out, look, they have provided for decades food for this country, and now they haven't heard from any government officials providing assistance here.

Say they just want to be able to wash their hands or take a warm shower or even just know what is next when it comes to their recovery, because this is their way of life. And it has now been taken away with no guarantee of when they'll be able to get back on the water and back to work. Don?


LEMON: Leyla Santiago, thank you very much for that.

Former President Trump sending the Mar-a-Lago documents case all the way into Supreme Court. Will SCOTUS pick it up? That's next.


LEMON: Former President Donald Trump, asking the Supreme Court today to intervene in the dispute over materials marked as classified that the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago Beach Resort this summer.

Tonight, Justice Clarence Thomas, the recipient of Trump's request, giving the Justice Department a deadline of 5 p.m. next Tuesday to respond.

Let's get right to it now CNN -- with Tara Palmeri, senior political correspondent at Puck, also with us, political commentator and former U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent and CNN contributor John Dean.

Good to have all of you on.

[22:59:57] Tara, I'm going to start with you because this is huge. The former president taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. What does he want here, you think?