tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 19, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
pandemic. saying to heal we must remember. trump leaves office at high noon. he will not attend biden's inauguration. if the president wanted to redeem himself at all after the riot at the capitol and that maga mob, this is not going to do it. >> reporter: this is significant. it is such a big change of mind from where we were told the president was over the weekend.
we are now told the president told people he decided to pardon steve bannon. officials cautioned saying it is not final until it is final and the president put his name on the paperwork for steve bannon's pardon. he is telling people this is the decision he made. it will be one of his final acts in office, pardoning a former top aide to him who he had a massing falling out with, but they came together over the
president's lies about the election. steve bannon pushed these, talked about the rally, promoted the january 6th rally that lives in infamy and will be talked about for years to come. the other charges that steve is facing. he is defrauding people out of money they used to build the president's long promised border wall. this is just notable in the fact that the president had so many ups and downs with steve bannon and this is how the president is spending his last day in office. it appears this is what his final decision is made. given the fact that steve bannon was someone once ex-communicated from the white house after he was quoted in that book,
trashing them repeatedly and led the president to put out a statement saying steve bannon lost his mind. now he gained a pardon.
this is what the president told people he decided to do. >> we will see you when you get new reporting. thank you very much for. that laura coates is our legal expert on cnn and someone we rely on every single day. laura, when you think about this, i said so much for draining the swamp. you look at steve bannon's involvement or upon hadding with the riot at the capitol and the charges of ripping people off of millions of dollars who donated money to the border wall and now a pardon at the late hour? >> you have the president with the walls closing around him.
>> now somebody he relied on trying to help his bid to have the election overturned. now he is getting essentially his just desserts, according to trump, if it is true. this is also someone that played a big role, somebody that was subpoenaed to testify against roger stone. really it is a little bit odd if you think about the track record of the united states and his treatment towards someone like michael cohen who he believed to be a rat and the person that cooperated and was interviewed more than three times. although he wasn't a voluntary witness had a role in that as well and now able to come back into the inner circle. the last time that we saw donald trump giving a speech was at a boarder wall, singing the praise and talking about it as a feather in the cap.
the person unable to fatally under mine that is now getting a pardon. it is really a surreal moment. for someone like steve bannon, it is one he probably wished for. since he failed to go full throttle after the book quote. >> talking about using people as much as a president has been getting people to donate money to the stop the steal, the false election allegation. steve bannon is a hollywood producer with a ton of money and now the accusation more disturbing with someone like that. and right before he is through a charge, pictures of him on a yacht and all types of things. laura, i want to bring in some folks. laura, thank you very much. we wait to see if bannon's
pardon is official. who else is looking for a pardon tonight? we don't have all night. >> yeah. i think the line is winding down pennsylvania avenue. >> like a covid testing line. >> bannon is a terrible start for how it is going to go. there is reporting that donald trump will not cross the line and try to pardon himself or his family members. he has got a senate impeachment trial ahead. if he goes too far there will be republicans senators on the fence and could push them over there. i hope he does not pardon rudy giuliani. if he is now pardoning bannon, he is going down the road again. i think we are going to see wealthy, well connected people working back channels, cashing in the access for a last pay off. >> yeah. the white house counsel had been there trying to talk the
president out of pardoning the most egregious people, the people with the most egregious offe offenses. it would appear that did not work. >> we will see if he eventually pardons steve bannon. this is a perfect illustration of what we are leaving and what we are getting as president. there is no right or wrong to the pardon or legal justification or person that committed an offense, remorseful for it and served his time and is deserving of a pardon. this is someone that is accused of defrauding trump's own followers to fulfill this ridiculous wall promise that trump hasn't fulfilled.
the reason he is giving him a pardon is because bannon joined him in lying about the election. lies that resulted in a deadly insurrection. we are about to replace in a little bit more than 12 hours, lies with honesty. incompetence with competence. you know, this is a perfect illustration of it. this is not something joe biden would do under any circumstance and in a few hours we will have a president that would not do it. >> it is a perfect book end if you look at it. the lie of the wall, right. most of what they say the wall that has been constructed is replacement fencing, right. you had the lie of the steal at the end. so, as john said he never got wall, which was his signature promise. the signature promise at the end of the presidency is that we won. we are going to show them we won
and win it in court. lost that too. he is going to pardon someone that lied and took money and people that helped him lie and grift off of people again for raising money to stop the steal. it is an unbelievable book beginning and end to the era. >> yes and totally believable. what are they raising money for anyway because mexico was supposed to pay for the wall. that was his biggest campaign promise of all of them. he was go to build this wall. so i think that donald trump, to the extent that you can get inside his head the only thing you need to think about is that he just does good for donald trump. this was good for donald trump in some way. it could be simple as the fact he supported his claim busy the election. it could be because he believes he will be helpful to him in his
post-presidential ambitions. >> always transactional. >> it has nothing to do with the merits of the case. nothing to do with what is good for the country. this is not what pardons are meant for. that is not what they are for. that is what donald trump did. that is who donald trump was. >> i want to get back to you. you mentioned what will happen in 12 hours or so. biden's speech is expected to focus on unity. is there anything that he can say that would make a difference to all of the people that believe the trump and his apologists and whacko lies? >> no. probably not to those people. joe biden has the best possible array of personal qualities and experiences to appeal to a broad
range of americans. but there are republicans who are potentially available to him that do not believe the lies. 10 to 30% of republicans that disapprove of trump or believe that biden was legitimately elected or believe that white supremacy was involved in the insurrection at the capitol or support the impeachment and conviction of president trump. there are some republicans, and it does not take that many to make a president more popular and also put pressure on republican members of congress. joe biden starts of course with control of both the house and senate and needs a unified democratic party. there may be opportunities for him to pick off small numbers of republicans and move an agenda forward that is very well pitched right now to some of the
white working-class voters that donald trump had. saying the large amounts of money he wants to spend on covid relief in a practical way are things that have the potential to get the conversation to economics and away from values and issues like immigration. joe biden has got a better chance of expanding the support. >> the vice president, the current vice president pence. not expected to attend trump's departure ceremony tomorrow. but he will attend biden's inauguration. does that speak to just how damaging that the last few weeks have been for trump? and listen, pence stood by donald trump to the end. meeting with him. you know, it is not like he changed his mind. he is just attending the event. that is how far that we have come. >> yeah. it is. i think had it not happened would pence have done anything differently.
yes, absolutely that was a horrific day in the nations' history. the last four have been horrific also. for people that start to distance themselves now, you know, i do not know if they are doing it because they were horrified because of what happened or because they realized they could not be associated for their own political good. you know, i think there is certainly a sense on the left. i know a lot of people chafe at the idea of unity. it is an idea that all of the thngs things happen in the last four years and now everyone is supposed to look like it did not happen. it can't happen until people take responsibility for what they have done. i don't think mike pence gets to skip the going away of donald trump and go to the inauguration and everything is fine. i think there has to be reckoning on what the republicans have done. i mean none of this would have happened.
you don't have what happened at the capitol without the enabling of the republicans, without them going along with the charade that there was a fraud. this just never could have occurred without the republican party enabling it. >> i liken it to, and have, when the plane gets to the gate and people take off the seatbelt before the light goes off. you are so brave. i can't believe you did it. you took your seatbelt off at the gate. how brave of you. thank you. thank you for the politics angle and the llegal aspect. i am going to bring in cedric richmond, the co-chair of the inaugural committee and biden/harris transition and tomorrow will be a white house senior advisor in the office of public engagement. congratulations cedric. thank you so much. how are you feeling tonight? >> thank you for having me, don.
i feel good it. has been over two years for that very core group that came together after charlottesville when the president-elect determined he had enough, he was watching democracy destroyed and an unfit president ruin the country that he loves so much. tomorrow is the ending of it at 12:00. we will see a changing of the guard. for a lot of the people in the country, good riddens. for the rest of the people in the country they can get a good night of sleep. tomorrow we start the hard work of getting our arms around the pandemic, create jobs, fighting systemic racism. fight climate change. environmental justice, immigration and daca.
>> let's talk more about that. i had the pleasure of speaking with jen on sunday and she talked to me about what is ahead and how tight president biden's schedule will be tomorrow. you know, press beefings to come five days a week. weekdays after that. the biden team released a daily schedule first day in august. 5:15 swearing in. hitting the ground running. what else can we expect week one? tell us about tomorrow. >> tomorrow, getting rid of the muslim ban, paris climate accord, doing something on systemic racism. all of the things he articulated as pillars to the platform.
we are going to have one on the way. we want to get the vaccinations in the arms of americans. we can't recover. we can't do anything to fight all of the economic pain that our families are going through until we get our arms around the pandemic. that is a day one job. that is in the first 100 days. >> what is the incoming president's mindset tonight. it is not like the white house is new to him. but he is the one at the top of the ticket.
>> i can't speak for that. i can give you my thought process. you are talking about a man who it is never about him, always about other people. the same way with the vice president-elect kamala harris. not about them or their egos but the american people and moving lives forward. if we move forward to joe biden, a man that ran for president three times and lost twice and this time he was not intending on running but decided he had to run. as we look back on it, he was the only candidate that could beat donald trump. he is the right man for the right time to heal the country. i believe he is the only one that could do it. i believe the team with biden/harris is the only team that can right the shift and take it in the right way. wow. we did it. but we saved the democracy.
we saved the united states of america. and so that is an awesome responsibility. and now going over to face a pandemic that took the lives of over 400,000 americans is a serious job. >> this is going to be an inauguration like no other. we have spoken on the air about what is the inauguration going to look like or be like. what can we expect? >> i think you have a beautiful backdrop. you are going to see a lot of substance. you are not going to see a president blowing his own horn. you are not going to see a president tomorrow arguing about crowd size. >> you can confirm this. we are proud to have the smallest crowd size because we don't want people to come to washington to put their health in jeopardy.
maybe it is whose crowd is smaller. sorry to interrupt. >> we are going to have the safe pest est crowd. everybody made fun of us. we scaled down our rallies. we had people in cars. >> i never made fun of you. i never recall anyone on cnn making fun of you. >> maybe you did not do it on air or texted me and made fun of us. there were people that made fun of us for how we were doing it. tomorrow will be a day to put it in focus and let the american
people know we care about them more than we care about just being a new administration. we want to do the hard work of improving their lives. you will see that refreshing feel of, you know what, i am important again. the government cares about me. so, that is the goal of it and i think that joe biden will deliver that message tomorrow. and i think when you see kamala harris and all of her activities tomorrow, she will do an outstanding job. it is a dream team. i just can't wait until we start governing. >> that is me honking my horn. you got it, right. >> you know what. >> i am happy people are honking their horns. you should bring it back tomorrow. thank you cedric. i appreciate it.
gentlemen, good evening to you. you first, the latest here on the security situation where you are. >> so, we are on k street, don. let me show you behind me. this is going to be one of the screening areas where people are going to be come in throughout the day tomorrow. behind here is where joe biden is staying, blocks from here is blair house and behind that is the white house and then to the left of us here you are going to see more fencing. even more here along this road here. this is all around downtown here in washington d.c. the concern here is that you have are concerns over inside threats or some of the people that were here during the insurrection will try to come
back here to try to do something else. >> evan perez, prosecutors are filing their first new serious conspiracy charge in the capitol attack. just a little bit under two weeks ago. what do you know? >> that is right, don. we heard from the u.s. attorney here in d.c. that one of the things they were looking at is to bring sedition charges. one of the things you can see emerging in the court documents is that they are taking steps towards the goal. we see these charges against three people an anti-government right wing group.
obviously some of these people were very happy and boastful about what they did after posting on facebook. now it is makings it way into the court documents and over 100 have been charged. >> whenever i hear from these people, this is my brother daryl and my other brother daryl. thank you both. i appreciate it. president trump about to leave the white house after years of racist rhetoric. what a biden administration means for people of color in the country. that is next.
12 years ago i was waiting at the train station in wilmington for a black man to pick me up on our way to washington where we were sworn in as president and vice president of the united states of america. here we are today, my family and i about to return to washington to meet a black woman, south asian descent to be sworn in as president and vice president of
the united states. i said don't tell me things can't change. they can and they do. that is america. >> that is america, joe biden reflecting on the idea of change as he left delaware this afternoon for washington where his new administration will usher in major historic change in america when he becomes the 46th president of the united states. before noon kamala harris raises her right hand and becomes the first woman to occupy the office of vice president. the first woman of color, black american and south asian descent to be vp. i want to bring in our cnn political commentators, two of my favorites. hey y'all. what's up. how are y'all doing. what's up? >> how are you best selling author? >> stop it.
best selling author. roll it back. it is called -- it is a memoir, my vanishing country. >> i am excited about your book. >> i can't wait to have the conversations. >> let me start with you. listen, we have commiserated about this on air and off. for people of color, the trump era has been so intense. i am not sure people realize how tough that it has been for us. how are you feeling tonight as it is ending? >> well, i am hopeful. i think what we saw is that a lot of the friends on the left abused the notion of racism when they think that donald trump invented it.
he did not. when you think of charlottesville and the insurrection on january 6th, they didn't wear hoods or masks. now they are emboldened. they have brook brothers suits in loan offices and have their own tv shows. i am also very sober, literally and figuratively because of the fact that we realize even when the clock strikes 12 people of color in the country still have so many issues, kids in south carolina without broadband. kids at 13 years old never saw a dentist, free and reduced lunch from school back home to feed their brothers and sisters. i am very sober about what is ahead. but i am hopeful. now the white house looks like what the country should be. >> yeah. you know i do have to say that
yes, the people at the capitol and charlottesville, that is the obvious. but none of it surprised me. i grew up in louisiana and the klan would pass out literature on weekends in front of my high school. i have steen that before, a lot. it is not a surprise toy me. those are the people that you expect. those are people that are our allies, liberals, who didn't believe us or judged us. we were too sensitive or couldn't do our jobs as journalists of color because we were not being objective when we actually saw that no. this is plain old racism. this racism and white supremacy has been let back out of the
bottle. >> i have been surprised by myself today. i have been a mush ball. i have been an emotional mess. i think seeing and hearing joe biden. the humanity. the ability to cry. the ability to feel grief. to embrace america ins it moment of being wounded. and after four years of having a pugilistic relationship with the president who attacked us personally and attacked the media. think about how we have helped for the last four years and then think about the dream act kids who don't know if and when they have been deported. think of all of the black and brown people who get bullied at school and who have seen the
racism and having to explain it to little children. so, what we feel there is nothing in comparison. we have platforms. you know, i have got citizenship. i have got a voice. i have been surprised by how emotional today has made me. when i heard joe biden talking about his son. you lost a sister, don, i lost a brother. we know what it is like for a parent to bury a child. his ability to talk about that is something that touched all of us so deeply and in that ceremony today, at the mall. the first thing that he did when he landed in washington was go mark and commemorate the deaths of the people that died of covid who have been overpr overproportionatley black and brown and the cabinet.
>> i think this is really important. mike pompeo sent out a tweet saying multiculturalism is un-american, he doesn't think -- brought their culture. wt, you know what. what the hell? >> this is rhetorical. why are we surprised by mike pompeo. for a lot of people, that is a blind spot. it is using racism as political currency. people are trying to fill the lane. the best thing they have is the
diversity. you know, we talk about that. we don't give it enough credit because people like mike pompeo have bastardized it. i am going to shed a tear because kamala's sister and mother will be there looking down at her. >> that is true. also you are just a big softy. >> i am a softy. don't judge me for that. >> i'm sorry, i have to run. >> we will be right back. thank you all. thank you both. we will see you.
the pandemic will be one of the many challenges facing joe biden as he starts out his term. joining me now is a campaign manager for barak obama. jim, it is good to see you and here we are at the end. you worked with president obama on the transition, entering office after a republican president. what is it like and how will he jump start things quickly since he needs -- he still needs some cabinet approvals. >> well, it feels like 2008 again. i remember that after we won, we
had the first economic reform, people told us the economy was falling apart. we were in the biggest crisis the country was in in 40 years. we looked at each other and said should we get a recount for the election. are you sure we wanted to win. i remember biden saying we can figure this out. and now he is back 12 years later and has to do it all again. he really has three challenges. the first is to attempt to bring the country together and to start to heal us. i think that all of the steps he has taken so carefully in the transition to start to bring the country together has been incredibly important. and that is what tomorrow is about. and then job one has to be the virus, getting the 100 million doses out in the first 100 days as we begin to go through the economic recovery and pass another stimulus package for an economy with 11 million workers out of a job tonight. those are the things he has to get done in the first 100 days in the middle of yet another
crisis. >> but i think one of the big things people overlook is that they have to bring credibility back to the podium in the briefing room. so many lies have come out people don't know what to believe. and there will be an impeachment trial for president trump and continued aftermath from the violent insurrection. how does a president-elect balance uniting the country while at the same time holding people to account? >> it is his biggest challenge. president obama has been honest that the one thing he wishes he could have done is to bring people together a little bit more. it is the hardest challenge. we are really split. we are really divided as a country. and first, joe biden has to just take the temperature out of the room a little bit. less partisan talk which he has already done. telling his party we have to work together. understanding the new majorities are not that big and we have very tight window in the first 100 days to get some big things
done. to your point he has to start being very factual and have daily press briefings, communicating with people and explaining why it is important to take the virus shot, and why it is important to pass a stimulus bill and to just be really factual. >> right. >> i think those are the things he has to do and do it in his typical uncle joe way of explaining to the country the difficult choices that are ahead. >> jim, always a pleasure and i will see you later. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> prominent republican senators taking public shots tonight. split on how to solve the problem like donald trump's impeachment trial. a new update right after this break.
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take this senate majority leader mitch mcconnell making it clear who he thinks is responsible for the american carnage maga riot at the capitol. >> the mob was fed lies. they were provoked by the president and other powerful people. and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. >> proal roker -- proal rokered voef mcconnell has not said whether he will vote to convict the president after his impeachment trial but believes the president committed impeachable offenses
but tonight lindsey graham is saying mitch mcconnell should fight back. >> i like mitch mcconnell he did more than confirm judges, he really did help president trump with everything he did. he's a street fighter legislatively. he's a smart guy. but what we need right now is for senator mcconnell to unequivalent okayly say that -- it is bad for the country and stand up and fight back . >> lindsay maybe you should see where that fight back got the country. minutes away back with special coverage. o ke. and at fidelity, you'll get planning and advice to help you prepare for the future, without sacrificing what's most important to you today. because with fidelity, you can feel confident
in just 12 hours on the nose, joe biden will become the 46th president of the united states, time to hand off the special coverage to chris cuomo, the big star. >> you sound like me. >> i know. i'm trying to do it. >> just less so. it doesn't work as well. although i do feel like kicking you off the show like you do to me every night. so this is the day, brother. we're 25 seconds into inauguration day. >> uh-huh. >> of course on the east coast. do you believe that this is the day that will be the cap stone of this period? or do you thin