tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 25, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
the authenticity of innocence for a child to say they want to be with their mom and dad. it's tough to push back against that. >> remarkable work. thank you for you and your team. the news continues. i want to hand things over to don lemon and "cnn tonight." this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thank you so much for joining. whatever you're doing, i know sometimes you sit at home and watch this and you may be falling half asleep in the bathroom taking off your make up with the kids. but i want to make sure you're in front of the television right now because what i'm about to show you and tell you is very important. very important for the country. because what you're about to see right now is the face of the fight for your right to vote. here it is.
>> well, why are they coming all close to her like that? why y'all came up close? >> so what you see right there and what you're hearing, this is georgia state representative park cannon. she is being arrested and removed from the state capitol after knocking on that door during governor brian kemp's signing of that assault, really, on your vote, what results to an assault on your vote. in a video that was posted to social media, you're going to see it here in moments, cannon is led away by several officers with her hand can you find behind her back. here she's trying to reason with the officer. remember, she is an elected representative. >> she's not under arrest. >> for what? under arrest for what? >> you can hear others there
demanding, demanding that officers not arrest her. so i just want you to watch this and i want you to remember, she's an elected representative that is being removed as the governor is signing this bill. >> why are you arresting her? >> why are you arresting her? >> that's what i'm asking. >> stop arresting her. why? >> cite the violation. cite the code. what is she in "violation of? cite the code. cite it. cite the code. cite the code. why are you arresting her? under what? >>, ma'am, back up. get out of the way. >> under what law are you arresting her? >> that's what i'm asking you. >> why are you arresting her? >> let her go! >> why are you arresting her?
>> stop! >> tell us now. why are you arresting her? cite it. give me a reason why you are arresting her. give me a reason why you are arresting her. >> why are you arresting her? let her go! >> she is an elected representative. why are you arresting her? why are you arresting her? under what statute are you arresting her? under what statute? the governor is signing a law that will affect all georgians and you are choose to arrest an elected official. >> how do you feel about that? are you outraged? i know you have some sort of emotion around it. i know you're feeling something around it. and you should be passionate about it. that's the only way you change things. are you outraged?
the attorney gerald griggs is telling cnn he's representing canon. he's working to bond her out of jail after she was booked on felony obstruction charges. cnn reached out to multiple sources on what happened there tonight, there you go the police. what happened tonight, including the police. that is apparently how far that they are willing to go to keep an elected representative from watching the governor sign a bill to take away the voting rights of many people in georgia. the governor of georgia, brian kemp, proudly signing a bill that, among other things, would make giving food or water to a voter waiting in line a misdemeanor, allowing unlimited challenges to voter
registrations and allow state officials to replace local election officials. make no mistake about it. this bill is about nothing less than taking away the right to vote. that is all it is, plain and simple. a right that generations of americans fought and died for. and the governor, proud to sign it. well, he's proud enough to sign the bill in front of cameras and what looks to be a room full of white men. look at the picture on your screen. now, they were in there. why weren't they arrested? proud to sign at a bill in a
room full of men that look like him. that man who called john lewis a civil rights icon. john lewis would have been the first one out there fighting against this. the bill the governor signed tonight is a slap in the face to john lewis who gave his life, who risked his life for the right to vote. whose skull was fractured, who was arrested more than 40 times, all for the right to vote. and tonight governor kemp is taking away that right from the people he was elected to serve. the vote one of the pillars of our democracy and it is no coincidence this is happening in the state that helped joe biden win the white house, the state that gave democrats control of the senate. no coincidence at all. georgia republicans are making it harder for a whole lot of
people of color, most of whom support democrats, to vote. president joe biden is passionate in his first press conference today about protecting the most sacred right we have as americans, the right to vote, railing against voter suppression efforts, calling them sick and un-american. >> what i'm worried about is how un-american this whole initiative is. it's sick. it's sick. deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote? deciding that you're going to end voting at 5:00 when working people are just getting off work? deciding that there will be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances? >> and the president is right. it is un-american. it is an assault on your right to vote.
i've been telling you for, what, months now about what we're dealing with in this country. it is plain -- i hate -- i just -- i hate to keep talking about it, but you have to. this is out and out racist. that's all it is. it is built on a lie that people of color in urban centers and big urban areas around the country, that they somehow did something fraudulent, when it was proven over and over and over by republican officials, lawmakers, republican legislators, election officials, court cases, the supreme court, that it was a lie. and now they have enacted into law legislation that was built
on a lie about the election. and all of a sudden they want election integrity because people have concerns about the integrity of the election. why? because you lied to them about it. that's why they have those concerns. so what you're doing is a lie on top of a lie on top of another lie. it is no different than jim crow. a poll tax with a different name and a different method, that's what it is. this is the jelly beans in the jar of 2021. how many? so in order for joe biden to do something, he's got to work his way around the filibuster. what happens? the filibuster requires 60 votes for major legislation, like the federal voting rights bill in the senate right now. that would make passing that federal bill impossible. president joe biden saying that
the filibuster is being abused in a gigantic way, and signaling that he may support reform. here he is. >> so it's being abused in a gigantic way. if we have to, if there's complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we'll have to go beyond what i'm talking about. >> so we'll see whalgs means. i don't know what it means, but i don't know what the beyond is. it is being abused. he went on to tell our own kaitlan collins that he agrees the filibuster is a relic of jim crow. >> regarding the filibuster, at john lewis's funeral, president obama said the filibuster was a relic of the jim crow era. do you agree? >> yes. >> why not abolish it if it's a relic of the jim crow era? >> successful electoral politics
is possible. let's figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule first. it's been abused from from the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last 20 years. let's deal with the abuse first. >> well, okay, president joe biden. that sounds good. but we need a little more outrage, a little more indignation from everyone about this, especially sitting here as a person of color whose grandmother sat around the kitchen table with me as a young -- fifth grade education, told me stories about not being allowed to vote, about jelly beans in the jar, how many bubbles in a bar of soap, while the white folks would walk right on in, much like that picture
tonight of the white guys sitting around, and the black woman outside is being arrested. we need some indignation, we need outrage. you need some action. it is as jim crow relic. and all this talk about the filibuster because it's a political procedure? it was a political procedure for what? to keep black people from having political power, access, and agency, and the proof is in the history of it. the filibuster has a long, disgraceful history of being abused to black civil rights and voting rights bills despite whatever mitch mcconnell claims this week. >> it has no racial history at all, none. so there's no dispute among historians about that. >> okay. so you want to talk about history?
everybody sit down if you want to talk about history. somebody call him up, text him, tweet him, whatever. tell him to watch. a little history lesson for you. in the 1840s, before it was even called a filibuster, senator john calhoun of south carolina used it to preserve slavery. 1891, used to block a voting rights bill. 1922, an anti-lynching bill was defeated by a filibuster led by southern democrats, one of many to be filibustered. the 1930s it happened again when an anti-lynching bill was filibustered. 1957, senator strom thurman took to the floor to filibuster the civil rights act, speaking for a
record 24 hours and 18 minutes. the civil rights act, the civil rights act. 1964 a filibuster and a broader debate that lasted 60 days almost derailed the landmark civil rights act. 1983, senator jesse helms finally dropped his filibuster attempt to go block the bill declaring martin luther king jr. day a federal holiday. do you remember? i'm old enough to remember when that was controversial. when people fought against making dr. martin luther king's birthday a holiday. back then it was controversial. now we look back because we have evolved and that's what society does. we look back and we say what the hell were we thinking? and one day we will look back on this with shame and we will
think the same thing, but this is worse. the filibuster has been used as a weapon to deny the rights of black americans for more than a century, and that is the truth. no matter how they try to wrap it in a bow, codify it with law, it's voter suppression. it's the new jim crow. and if president joe biden -- president joe biden, if he wants to pass the voting rights bill, he may have to do something about it. i don't know what he's going to do -- not may, he is going to have to do something about it. because without that bill, the assault on your vote will continue. the assault on one of your most sacred rights as an american, an elected official, a black woman
in georgia, remember that, arrested knocking on the door of the state capitol that her tax dollars helps to pay for, and yours. she doesn't have the right to know what her elected official, the governor of her state is doing? she doesn't have a right to see it in person and you're going to have others in the room with you while you're signing it? think about that. it's not that hard to see what's happening here. as the assault on your vote continues, an angry president joe biden finds it despicable and he's going to stop it. i hope he does, i really do. but the question is how? how? someone who knows all about this, she knows. dr. king's daughter is here, bernice king, and he's next. >> the republican voters i know
find this despicable. republican voters, folks out in the -- outside this white house, i'm not talking about the elected officials. i'm talking about voters, voters. and so i'm convinced that we'll be able to stop this. aliens are real, alright. there's just too much evidence. kill weeds not the lawn with roundup for lawns products.
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tonight georgia's republican governor signing a sweeping new election law that restricts access to voting. the bill passed in georgia's senate late this afternoon. governor brian kemp wasted no time putting his signature on it. democratic state representative cannon arrested, removed from the capitol after knocking on the door while the governor was signing the bill into law. state police saying she was instructed to top knocking on the door, saying she was disturbing what was happening inside. they charged her with obstruction. i want to turn to bernice king, daughter of dr. martin luther king jr., ceo of the king center. thank you for joining us, bernice. i really appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> i want to play it because i want our viewers to see it.
they need to see it, the state representative protesting and getting arrested the while governor signs a bill to restrict voting rights into law. here it is. >> the governor is signing a bill that affects all georgians. why is he doing it in private and why is he keeping officials out? >> like you're going to do something. >> are you serious? >> no, you are not. >> she's not under arrest. >> for what? under arrest for what? >> why is she under arrest? >> for trying to see what our governor is doing? our governor is signing a bill that affects all georgians. why does the governor have more power than a representative? >> why are you arresting her? >> why are you arresting her? >> bernice, the idea that a black georgia representative is being arrested and pulled away
while the governor signs what critics call jim crow 2.0, what goes through your mind? >> don, to me it's despicable. it's obviously reminiscent of everything that my father, john lewis, c.t. vivian, amelia boynton, and so many others sacrificed their lives for, that we would not have to continue to use these kind of efforts to stop injustice and, frankly, inhumanity if i might say so. and so i applaud her bravery and encourage because we're in those times now, not in a violent way, but in a nonviolent way, we're going to have to be willing to be courageous and continue to
let our voices be heard and strategize and mobilize. and sometimes we got to sacrifice where it hurts. >> i agree with you in a nonviolent way. but i said this is -- people should be outraged. someone texted me saying they're not outraged, they're horrified. they're horrified at what they're seeing right now. there were be "m" people who fought and went to jail, as you know, when your father was fighting for the right to vote and for civil rights. i just want to tell you, this is what georgia state patrol says happened, okay? representative cannon was instructed to stop knocking on the door and that jargon governor kemp was having a press conference inside. the representative continued to knock on the door, was instructed to stop knocking on the door. she was advised he was disturbing what was going on inside and if she didn't stop, she would be placed under arrest. do you have any reaction to that? >> well, i mean, i don't agree that she should be placed under
arrest. but i think the real, bigger picture is that we have got to find a way in this country to create a more just and humane society. it's going to take a lot of work on everybody's part. and i particularly want to make an appeal that so many people have done already, and many of these continue to do, to corporate america. they have a lot of strength and influence and power in our state legislatures, on capitol hill, and we need them to make the sacrifices. you know, too many of us and our ancestors have had to bear the brunt of sacrifice and suffering in this nation for people to still enjoy their privilege. you know, it's time for others
to step up to the plate and sacrifice and have to suffer some for the sake of advancing justice in this nation. and so i think that's the bigger issue now. what happened in georgia happened because we didn't -- we did not see enough effort. we fell short in georgia, not those in the activist community, but our corporate leaders, our civic leaders, even to a certain extent some of our religious leaders. we fell short in doing what was necessary to make sure that this kind of legislation would not have passed. so, you know, we're going to have to strategize now and organize. my daddy did it over and over again. when they had these kind of setbacks, they had to res
restrategize and remobilize and come back again. we got to vote in people who put humanity first. we have a campaign now at the king center called be love and we ask people to pledge on that campaign. we pledge to support leaders who have a love for humanity, and certainly the efforts that happened here, they have no love for humanity. >> listen, one of the things that this does is puts into the hands of people -- takes out of the hands of people who voted to do things the way they should be done november of 2020 and at any point the republican legislators can step in and do what they will if there's some question about the vote. and so i know you said we got to vote or people have to vote and vote in the right people, but
what if your vote doesn't really count when it comes to what's in this bill? it may not count because -- >> you know -- >> -- it's rigged in some way? >> right. i get that. that's even more why we have to deal with the filibuster issue in washington because there are some ways for the people act and the john lewis voting rights act to help to correct some of what has happened in georgia and what may happen across other states in this country. and so, you know, my hope and my focus now is we have to focus on washington and regroup on what happened in our state. this is inexcusable. >> i hate to cut you off, but we're almost out of time. but i just want to put this picture up. this is governor tweeting this saying he's proud to have signed in this photo. you see all men, maybe all white
men changing the law to make it harder for communities of color while a representative is knocking on the door outside and then subsequently being arrested. your final thoughts, please. >> look, jim crow never died. he's in the hearts and minds of so many people. when we have an opportunity to move forward, too many people invite him in. and so we are going to have to find a way in this nation, in this society, to do away with jim crow. and so it's going to take what my father said. he said there comes a time when one must take a position that's neither political, safe, or popular, conscience tells them that it's right. so that's what i'm saying. and again, we need to just continue to put some pressures on these corporations because they have a lot of power and influence. >> bernice king, thank you. i appreciate your time and i appreciate your words.
be safe. thanks. >> thank you. thank you. president biden making headlines today on everything from voting rights to gun legislation, but he says his next focus is on something else entirely. tonight...i'll be eating loaded tots for march madness. ( doorbell ) thanks boo. ( piano glissando ) i think you better double them tots. no, this me was last year. i didn't get my madness last year, so we're doing double the madness this year. need a change of scenery?
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president biden holding his first formal news conference since taking office two months ago, condemning republican efforts to restrict voting access as despicable, saying his massive infrastructure proposal will estimate the and my create jobs and suggesting that he may sign on to reforming the filibuster if republicans stall passage of his agenda. let's discuss with chief white house correspondent indicate lain collins who was in the room and asked good questions. joe lockhart is here, former clinton white house press secretary who knows about what presidents must do in that situation. kaitlan, you were in the room. you got president biden to make some news. he agrees with the former president, president obama, that the filibuster is a relic of the jim crow era. but he doesn't want to get rid
of it. >> no, and that's kind of what was a little confusing about the answer because, of course, if you think it's a relic of the jim crow era, why not want to get rid of it? that was the sense that barack obama was talking about it at john lewis's funeral when he was talking about voting rights and pushing that legislation through. that's going to be a big question for president biden. but this was a big step for him because he has gone from this phase where he was basically saying if you eliminate the filibuster, imagine when the shoe is on the other foot, what it could do to the party. now that he's president, he's inched closer and closer to this idea of potentially eliminating it. and i asked him today route right, is that what you're getting closer to, he made it clear when he was arguing what he believes should happen with the filibuster, when i asked do you want to abolish it, he focused on the abuse of it, saying when he was in the senate, they rarely used the filibuster.
now, of course, it is used to frequently that he believes it's this, quote, gigantic abuse s how he phrased it. >> there is a filibuster on guns and voting rights and he's sticking with his plan, telling us his next priority is going to be infrastructure. what do you think about this strategy? >> well, i think infrastructure is something he can get done and will eststimulate the economy. the filibuster debate is more complicated than is he for it or against it. he needs joe manchin's vote. he's working out a bipartisan way to work with the filibuster. he can't undercut that effort and then go to joe manchin and say you got to vote for us. there's a lot of politics at play here, and he said he believes in the art of the possible. he needs some more things to happen to, i think, particularly on voting rights, to go to the
democratic caucus, particularly to senator manchin, and say enough is enough, we have to get rid of this. >> joe, let me ask you something. let me jump in here. >> sure. >> does joe manchin and susan collins and the like, do they really want to go down in history as the people who held up the 2020 version -- who helped to enact the 2020 version of jim crow in the united states of america? is that really what they want to be part of their legacy? is there some appeal to them that -- is this what you want? if this is what you want, then do it. but you're going to be known as the person who in 2021, 60 years after civil rights, the person who upheld jim crow, which needs help to -- the filibuster, excuse me. that helped to become law around
the united states, all over the united states that, restricted the rights of people to vote, especially people of color. is that what they want as part of their legacy? >> well, i don't think certainly for senator manchin that that's what he wants. the one area where he's signaled that he really doesn't think the filibuster should be used and is inappropriate is voting rights. so i think the president and the democratic caucus in the senate are trying to set this up exactly as the voter conscience you just talked about, making it extremely difficult for a democrat or republicans to continue with the filibuster. it may be that this can be done through negotiation. if not, i think the president will go directly to the american people. you'll see the outrage, don, that i think you were talking about at the beginning of the program, and we'll see if that can move congress. >> we'll see. that offered some hope, your
response there. kaitlan, i got to ask you about the tone of this press conference. at times the president joked he was frustrated but he was all about his agenda. no one talked about drinking bleach or braided someone for ha -- berate the someone for asking a stupid question, even at one point saying i'm going longer than you want me to go, i'm not sure how much information you want. do you want me to stop here? do you want more details? i was like, wow, that is a complete 180 from what happened, what we've seen before. >> it went on for an hour, which was notable as well. he left to go to a virtual meeting with european leaders, but it was interesting the way he talked about his agenda and what he believes he was elected to do because so many of the questions, you know, at the beginning were about what are you going to do about guns? how do you prioritize your agenda basically because obviously he came into office wanting to deal with the pandemic, getting that american rescue plan passed and his next
big focus is going to be infrastructure and economic recovery, what that's going to look like. but there have been factors that have been complicated that. that's part of being president is that crises pop up that you weren't expecting. and of course that's two mass shootings in less than a week and then the immigration questions that took up a big chunk of the press conference as well. but there was a sense where even when he was asked about guns, he was saying it's pretty clear infrastructure is his priority. that is what he is going to do next. that has been on his legislative agenda. guns were not there. they were on the agenda, just not at the top of the agenda. he talked about it this week, but what he made clear is he still wants to move on infrastructure next. that's where he thinks they have success waiting for them. seems like guns is going to take a back burner on that for the time being because he didn't lay out a specific timetable for gun legislation or executive action come out of that. >> great questions today, kaitlan. great job. get some rest. it's been a long day. thank you, joe.
i appreciate both of you coming on this evening. president biden saying that he is willing to work with the gop. if history is any indication -- don't go to the break yet -- the feeling might not be mutual. let me just say this. i was asked today about -- someone asked me who was it from the republican party, that i wanted to have a conversation with about what was going on in washington right now. and i named this next person who's coming up. you're going to see him and hear our conversation on the other side of the break. we'll be right back. will there ? what about me? one for me? you mean us? what about me? and me? how about us? yeah, how about us? great question. wait, can i get one in green? got one for me?! hey, what about me? what about us? is there an ev for me?
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un-american. he said that in the same press conference where he said he would trying to work with republicans. senior commentator and former ohio governor john kasic thank you so much. today i was doing a very important event on race, and someone asked me about the book i wrote, a tribute to james baldwin. they said do you remember, don, the talks that they used to have, who is the republican that you would love to discuss about what's happening in the world today? and i said john kasich. so john kasich, my william f. buckley, let's talk. what did you think about the efforts today, when you see the woman being locked out? >> it was just -- stunning to see that woman being locked up. i used to be the governor. i had one of my guys here tonight with me. i said what would have happened if someone wanted to come to our
conference? the last thing we would have done is lock them up. a picture is worth a thousand words and that was terrible. i want to call out to bernice king. she actually invited me to martin luther king celebrations in atlanta several years ago. it was one of the highlights of my career, don. what happened to that woman was ridiculous. it was an overreaction. it was terrible. what they're passing is no good either, particularly the voter i.d., because, you know, they tried to pass a voter i.d., a picture i.d. here in ohio. i said if you pass that, i'll veto it because a lot of folks don't have a lot that don't have that thing and that isn't right. have them show some form of identification, but it doesn't have to be a picture. that is apparently in that along with limiting voting on sunday, which also i don't like that either. let people vote. >> so then what is going on here? i mean, you're still a republican, right? >> yeah, a very good one. >> so what's going on here?
is this voter suppression? >> what i think, don, is that republicans -- some people do this because they're worry about the the integrity of the voting, okay? some feel that way. others probably believe and i still it said in some corners if too many people vote, we can't win. i have a different view of that. go out and take your message out there to get people to vote for you. it's possible to do that. so the idea that we're going to win an election by restricting those people who are going to vote, that's absolutely not the american system. we ought to make sure that people can vote. in my state here in ohio, don, we have early voting, we have mail-in voting, we have drop box, we have all those things. if the rest of the country did what we're doing in ohio, we'd be in good shape. we've done all of these things and we don't have fraud in ohio. so i think these efforts to restrict this is a reaction to
the base of the party and, you know, donald trump's -- >> the lie. >> that it wasn't fair and it's been all debunked, including by bill barr, the former attorney general who was probably sticking up for trump. in this case he said no fraud. >> i'm glad you said that because when you said voter integrity -- why do you think they're concerned about it? i want to get this in. i was gesturejust talking to ka. this moment when she asked the president about the 2024 election. watch this. >> do you believe you'll be running against former president trump? >> oh, come on. i don't even know think about it. i have no idea. i have no idea who will be in the republican party, do you? >> does heavy a point. will the gop end as we know it? >> the party is shrinking, don.
when people are controlled by fear of donald trump, that means they don't have ideas, and that gets back to how do you win these voters if we have more and more people vote, particularly minority voters, young voters. you got to have ideas for them. you got to show them something. don, you know, i read some of the transcripts or some of the reports about your being out there, you know, now selling this book. and you talked about you're violating about not just the commandments of the constitution of our country but i think, what the good lord wants. he wants everybody to have a voice. to have an opportunity. and it should not be short-circuited. end of story. >> you know how we sometimes get into fights and you say, you don't let me finish? you got to finish every thought
tonight. i barely said two words. >> that makes me nervous! >> so you're the william f. buckley to my james baldwin. thank you. let's continue these conversations. >> thank you very much. good luck with the book. >> thank you. so. deadly tornadoes in alabama and across the south wrecking homes, killing at least five people. that threat is not over.
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search and rescue missions are happening. five reported dead and multiple injuries. in pelham, dramatic footage caught on camera. a person was riding in a van with his boss when they were caught in heavy wind gusts and rain. take a look at this. now a look. this is from nashville. a massive wall of rain from a storm there caught on camera. look at that. it is incredible. almost 55,000 customers in the southeast were without power tonight, according to power outages.u.s. including more than 36,000 in alabama. a new tornado watch now issued for central alabama and parts of
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