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Trump Adamant About Going to the Capitol; Jennifer Granholm is Interviewed about Gas Prices Falling; Backlash over Watson's Short Suspension. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 02, 2022 - 08:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: According to the testimony he knew. But he didn't think that they would use those weapons against him. They would use those weapons against other people, like perhaps the vice president of the Unite States, who they wanted to hang. There was gallows that they erected. Perhaps the person that they wanted to get to the most, one of them, which was the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: That sounds much more than delusional. That sounds determined.

LEMON: Well, it's determined and delusional because if you're the president of the United States, right, there's a certain level that you have to hold yourself to, right? You took an oath to the Constitution of the United States. But also you're the leader of the free world, which means that you have - really have an oath to the world to protect and to serve and to keep everyone safe. That was not in his thinking at all.

And as far as the Cassidy Hutchinson thing, I think, yes, it's, you know, Cassidy Hutchinson really was probably the star witness in the hearings that we've had so far, but everyone, you know, is so focused on the antics and the car, did he try to grab -- look, OK, fine, that is sort of palace intrigue, so to speak, right? Drama. Something that you would see on a telenovela.

But what was really important was that the president of the United States, as you pointed out, wanted to go back to the Capitol. What does that say about his state of mind? There is no denying that he wanted to go back. Everyone says that. Now, all of the things - did he try to grab the wheel, was he yelling, was he - you know, that doesn't really matter in the, right, in the whole scheme of things. What matters is that this president was not thinking rationally. There were people around him who wanted to enact the 25th Amendment to remove him from power at the moment.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We were joined earlier this morning by the son of one of the participants of the riot.

LEMON: Right.

KEILAR: It was one of the people who actually carried a weapon. And he has -- he didn't go into the Capitol, but he participated in the riot, and he's now getting the largest -- the longest sentence of any of the participants, over seven years. His name is Guy Reffitt. He was a 3 percenter recruiter.

We spoke with his son, Jackson, who turned him in. And here's what Jackson told us.


JACKSON REFFITT, FATHER SENTENCED FOR ROLE IN JANUARY 6TH RIOT: My dad was used as a puppet and thousands of families have been. And whether you deny or agree with that, it's just at this fact - it's facts at this point. It is disgusting to see that someone with practically money and social power can just get away with manipulating thousands of people just for whatever reason and have no outcome.


KEILAR: It's so interesting because Jackson does not absolve his dad of his responsibility. He says, no, he should get this time.


KEILAR: But he says Donald Trump should be held responsible.

LEMON: Yes. Donald Trump should be held responsible. We all know that, right? Are they really going to send a former president to jail? I don't know. Are they really going to indict a former president? They may indict him, but sending a former president to jail, I doubt that that's ever going to happen.

I do think that Donald Trump bears responsibility, a lot of responsibility for what happened at the Capitol. Those people are adults. So, ultimately, they bear their own responsibility personally.

But let me just say about the young man, Reffitt's son. That is how you really treat someone who you love. You hold them to account. You don't coddle them. You don't say, oh, well, you know, I understand. No, you hold them to account. He is holding his father to account.

His father basically tried to burn down the house. And his father needs to take responsibility for that. He needs to face the reality. He needs to apologize for the people he hurt. And he, you know, he needs to bear the consequences. Of course he should get a long sentence. He tried to carry a gun into the Capitol to kill or harm the speaker of the House.

So, you know, seven years, I don't know if that's enough for that. Basically, he attempted to kill someone. And so I think he - that, obviously, he bears responsibility for that.

But I really admire this young man because many times when people, you know, do bad things or whatever, especially if we love them, we tend to believe everything that they say, they co-opt us or what have you. That young man was not co-opted. He said, I know what's real, I know what happened, I still love my father, but I'm going to give my father some tough love and tell him this is terrible.

AVLON: Tough love.

LEMON: This is - yes, that's how you should handle some of these -

KEILAR: He says -- you're right, he says he still wants to talk to him. He's still dad (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: And he should still want to talk to him. But as of now, I would cut him off until he -- his father really realizes exactly what he did.

KEILAR: Don, never cut off. Don Lemon.

AVLON: Good to see you, man.

KEILAR: Great to see you.

LEMON: You. I like seeing you too.


LEMON: John Berman, that character, I'm not sure.

KEILAR: That is mean, Don Lemon.


KEILAR: But we're still going to watch you tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

AVLON: Yes, we will.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. Good to see both of you.

AVLON: You too.

KEILAR: Good to see you.

So, gas prices, they're still falling, dropping for nearly 50 straight days now. How long can that streak last?

AVLON: Plus, what is the Biden administration doing to ensure the passage of its potentially historic legislation on climate?


Is every single Democrat on board? Well, we're going to ask the nation's energy secretary, next.


ALON: Today marks the seventh straight week that the national average for gas has fallen from its record high of more than $5 a gallon to $4.19 as of this morning. AAA warning, though, that these lower prices could increase demand, which would cause prices to surge once again.

Joining us now is Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

It is great to see you, Secretary.

What do you attribute this decline in prices, and this warning from AAA?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: Well, certainly a big piece of this is the fact that the president has been releasing, through our Strategic Petroleum Reserves, a million barrels a day to help stabilize prices. This is going to go on for six months. It already started. So that's one piece of things.

He has called for an increase in production, both at home and abroad. And we have started to see more production come online.


Just remember, the reason for this surge, though, is, yes, coming out of Covid, but also because when Putin invaded Russia, of course - I mean when Putin invaded Ukraine, Ukraine is -- Russia is one of the largest exporters of oil.

AVLON: Sure.

GRANHOLM: And all these countries, like the United States, Canada, EU, said we're not going to take Russian oil. That pulled all those barrels off the market. So, supply and demand were way out of match.

So, the president tried to increase supply all at the same time as accelerating our movements to clean energy, which is why - I mean this whole circumstance is really a foot stomp on why we can't rely on the volatility of fossil fuels.

AVLON: I want to get to that.


AVLON: But first I want to talk about this high stakes OPEC meeting tomorrow.


AVLON: Because, look, the price of oil is an international commodity. Increasing production is key to reducing prices. The president made that trip to Saudi Arabia. What are you expecting from that OPEC meeting?

GRANHOLM: Well, you know, we'll see - we'll see what happens, obviously. I know that - I've read that the Saudis are interested in increasing production. They've already increased by 50 percent over the past couple of months. So, we'll see. You know, the challenges, of course, any producer, whether it's private sector or a state owned enterprise like they have in other countries, they - they are looking at supply and demand and seeing how they can maximize profit too. And, of course, if you crimp supply when demand is up, then you'll be able to maximize your profit if you don't have to reinvest in capitalizing increased production.

AVLON: Big picture. You talked about the impact of Russia invading Ukraine. Pretty much every major conflict of this century has energy somewhere in it. And it raises the stakes of, when can we move to being less dependent upon this.

GRANHOLM: Yes. Preach it.

AVLON: So, talk about this bill that might be passed if Democrats can corral 50 votes, particularly the energy provisions as well as the climate.

GRANHOLM: Yes. Yes. I mean, think about energy security. If we really want to be nationally secure, we should be energy secure. And that doesn't just mean oil and gas. That means increasing our ability to deploy clean energy so we're not so reliant upon the volatility of fossil fuels. So, that means the tax credit provisions in this deal will incentivize the deployment of all kinds of clean energy, wind and solar, yes, but also geothermal, nuclear. I mean there's a whole array of zero carbon technologies that will be incentivized and it's very good news.

AVLON: So that's why -

GRANHOLM: And reducing costs for people, by the way.

AVLON: Well, it - that's open - that benefit, right? I mean, you know, the power too cheap to meter was the promise once upon a time.

Let's talk about nuclear, though, because a lot of renewables can be spike (ph). Nuclear is something that this administration has moved to expedite probably more than any Democratic administration in recent memory certainly. There's a lot of new technologies around nuclear. What kind of investments do you think can and should be made and will there be a regulatory speedup that can help bring some of these plants online in a time faster than a decade and a half?

GRANHOLM: Yes. Great question. Two points. I mean the bipartisan infrastructure law invested $2.5 billion in advanced nuclear technology. And that means they now are building, as you know, these small modular reactors and even microreactors. And so getting those licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is important. Those licenses are the predicate to being able to citing (ph) that.

That - I mean, but nuclear power, just for everybody - everybody has to realize that right now 20 percent of our energy comes from nuclear. Fifty percent of our clean energy -- when I say clean, I mean zero carbon emitting energy in the United States comes from nuclear. So, it's an important piece of the clean energy puzzle.

And I would say, just to beg your initial question, which is that there's spikes in prices for clean energy, actually, clean energy prices continue to come down. Solar and wind are now the cheapest form of energy in most places. And when you incentivize the putting of solar panels, for example, on people's houses, you can get 30 percent off of the price of putting in solar panels and then benefit from the cheapness of solar once they're on, that is a great savings to the American people.

AVLON: Leaning into energy innovation is going to be a key part of the next century.

GRANHOLM: A thousand percent.

AVLON: Jennifer Granholm, great to see you. Thank you very much.

GRANHOLM: We'll talk hydrogen next time.

AVLON: All right. You've got it.


AVLON: All right, up next, the backlash against the NFL over a six- game suspension for quarterback DeShaun Watson. Bob Costas is here to discuss.



KEILAR: There's a lot of backlash after a judge ruled that Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson would be suspended for the first six games of the NFL season for violating the league's personal conduct policy for alleged sexual misconduct. It's especially so when you consider past suspensions handed down for what many would consider to be similar or even lesser offenses.

Josh Gordon got 25 games suspended for marijuana. Martavis Bryant suspended indefinitely in 2018 also for marijuana. Calvin Ridley, one season for betting on NFL games while away from the team in 2021. Vontaze Burfict suspended 12 games for an illegal hit. Deandre Hopkins, six games for performance enhancing drugs.

And that brings us to Watson, who, after a 15-month investigation into sexual misconduct, based on claims made by more than two dozen women, will miss a grand total of six games.

Let's talk about this now with CNN contributor Bob Costas.

Bob, does it make sense to you?

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's a lot to unpack. Some of the players you mentioned earlier, it was a result of multiple offenses and an accumulation of stuff which eventually led to the penalties you cited.

And what you have here is a hodgepodge of differing offenses and also differing penalties, including for domestic violence and sexual assault. And what the former federal judge, who heard this case, Sue Robinson, considered was precedence. And that's how she decided on six games.

Now, Watson has never indicated remorse and he claims to be innocent. And the NFLPA asked for zero games.


The league would have preferred the entire season because they have a couple of considerations here besides justice. One of which is a very large and ever growing female fan base and how might that portion of the fan base feel about it. So, now they have three days, beginning now, since yesterday's ruling by Judge Robinson, the league has three days to, quote, appeal. The appeal would be heard by either Roger Goodell, the commissioner, or someone he designates to hear it.

KEILAR: When you say hodgepodge, just to be clear, you mean a hodgepodge of precedent on sexual misconduct cases?

COSTAS: Yes, there are a variety of penalties that have been handed down and a variety of penalties regarding domestic violence and other offenses. So, where the precedent lies, it's not a clean slate, that's what I'm saying.

AVLON: Right. I mean, but you talk about a hodgepodge. I mean 25 games for marijuana.


AVLON: Six games for, you know, over dozens of allegations.

COSTAS: Four games for Tom Brady for deflate-gate, even though he challenged it.

AVLON: Yes. Yes.

COSTAS: And, ultimately -- he went to court, as did Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys, and they did not prevail. So, it would appear that if the NFLPA challenges this on Watson's behalf, and the only way they could beyond this appeal process within the league is to take them to court, and the precedent does not indicate that they would prevail there.

So, now here's what Roger Goodell is up against.


COSTAS: They created this new system, because there was much criticism for Goodell being judge and jury. What they hoped was that an independent jurist, like Judge Robinson, would make a decision that everybody would be happy with. Clearly the league is not happy with this because they would look soft if they let it stand. But then it puts it right back in Goodell's court to make this decision. And they wanted that to be kind of -

AVLON: Well -

COSTAS: They wanted to wash their hands of that and have someone else decide it. AVLON: I'm sorry they didn't, you know, get away clean and free and

easy. But it seems pretty clear that Goodell should, do you think he will, contest this?

COSTAS: Here's what he could possibly do. He could up - and I'm just speculating here -- he could up it from six games to ten and then also say, Watson did not play last year when he was under contract for the Houston Texans. In effect he was on administrative leave and it was paid leave. So, he so he received $10 million.

Goodell could then say, look, I am fining him $10 million, the amount he collected while sitting on his duff last year, I could fine him $10 million.

Something else to take into consideration here. His Browns contract is rigged so that this year he receives barely a million dollars. But then it goes up to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. So, losing the six games will cost him $340,000, which comes out of petty cash in this case.

So, it's a very cynical approach, which would further justify Goodell fining him all of last year's salary, which he received while not playing.

KEILAR: It is a pittance, relatively speaking, for him.


KEILAR: Let's talk about the big money, shall we. And that has to do with LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed golf tour, because we've just learned something very interesting.

Look, Tiger Woods said no when they were asking him to join. But, man, did they throw a lot of money at him as they offered, it turns out. Here's what Greg Norman, who's heading up the league, said.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: So you keep reading that you offered Tiger Woods $700 million, $800 million, some unknown number, to join LIV. Is that true?

GREG NORMAN, CEO, LIV GOLF: That number was out there before I became CEO. So, that number's been out there, yes.


NORMAN: And, look, Tiger is a needle mover, right?


NORMAN: So, of course you've got to look at the best of the best, you know.

So, they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: They don't call him the shark for nothing, I'll tell you that.

What do you think about that? That is - that's a lot of money to turn down.


KEILAR: But it's a certain type of money.

COSTAS: And they also wanted to go after Jack Nicholas as well, and whatever the conversations were there ultimately he turned it down.

But what this does highlight is a point that we've made before, no matter what the other involvements may be by various business entities in the United States, including those involved with the PGA Tour and now invested in one way or another in Saudi Arabia, those people are not positioned as ambassadors for the Saudi regime. Why would you pay Tiger Woods this amount of money? Because he would be, in effect, an ambassador for the Saudi royal family and for those invested in this.

Whether it's presented that way or not, that's the whole idea that -- that's the whole idea of sports washing.


COSTAS: Let's take some popular and recognizable figures, associate with them, and cleanse our image to some extent.

AVLON: And, look, it's not just acting as brand ambassadors for the country of Saudi Arabia, but also implicitly it's not criticizing Saudi Arabia. You don't bite the hand that feeds. So, something -


COSTAS: That's right.

AVLON: Look, I mean, Tiger Woods has been a controversial figure and an inspiring figure in equal measures for the last several years, but it seems to be turning down this kind of a payday -

COSTAS: Helps (INAUDIBLE) - helps him.

AVLON: Presumably for ethical reasons -


AVLON: Is a considerable decision and statement.

COSTAS: And you have a lot of these golfers saying now, this is all about growing the game of golf. And golf is a force for good. Well, we have problems with the PGA Tour. And as a matter of fact, the PGA has already responded by upping the purses in a lot of their events because they know they're under pressure from the challenge from LIV. All of that is fine if it was underwritten by almost any other entity. The objection here is not within golf, it's the idea of the Saudi royal family. That's the objection.

AVLON: All right.

KEILAR: If it was just about spreading good, they wouldn't have to pay them so much. That's what's very, very clear.

Bob Costas, always lovely to have you.

AVLON: Always the best.

COSTAS: That's what you said the last time. And I agree, it's just lovely to be here.

KEILAR: It is.

So, the U.S. taking out the world's most wanted terrorist. CNN has new details on how the mission went down.