tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN July 2, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
credit. apartments, cars, private school tuition, all off the books. >> yeah, that's right. listen, there's still a lot of open questions including about what happened to the other parts of the investigation we've been hearing about. but this pfarticular tax fraud scheme is much stronger than i had anticipated given the reporting the last couple of weeks. it's a serious offense. 15 years this has been going on. this is not just about allen weisselberg and his son themselves kind of orchestrating this scheme and allen weisselberg making it happen. this is a pattern and practice of the trump organization for numerous executives and employees over a decade and a half. so this is really serious stuff, much more expansive than i would have expected given what folks have been saying over the last few days, and it's real trouble for trump and his organization. >> the indictment, jennifer, repeatedly mentions other employees who also got benefits from the trump organization. but weisselberg was the only one
charged. do you think this is only going to get bigger? >> i think that's right. i still don't know what's going to happen, as i said, with kind of the other tentacles of the investigation as far as manipulating asset values for bank fraud and tax fraud and that side of things, the hush money payments, et cetera. but as far as this particular scheme is concerned, the indictment was very careful to not only talk about weisselberg and his son but to make clear that other people benefited and other people were involved on the trump organization side as far as making this scheme happen. so i fully expect that more people will be charged in this particular scheme in the weeks to come. >> michael, if weisselberg was being paid off the books, what are the chances others like the trump family were too? >> well, i think the chances are very good. in fact, the first person i'd imagine they're looking at is ivanka trump because it was revealed in the press a couple
of years ago that she was paid in a way that was quite similar to the off-the-books payments that went to allen weisselberg. this involved paying her contractor's fees. in weisselberg's case, the prosecutors noted that he used that status of self-employed that he got by taking these fees as a consultant to engage in retirement programs that he would otherwise have been ineligible for. so he got tax-free retirement investments. and i think in ivanka's case, she too accepted sort of a double-dipping scheme where she was paid on a certain project as both a trump executive and a consultant. so this is, i think, going to have much bigger dimensions than we're aware of right now, and i think it may even wind up pitting the various trump
children against each other, and we may see them vying for their father's protection in one way or another. >> jennifer, you know how this works, but what does this all mean for donald trump? if prosecutors had something on him, would they have already put it out there? >> not necessarily. but, you know, what they need on donald trump is the knowledge, the intent. they need to prove not only that he signed checks that went to, like, allen weisselberg's grandson's private school, even if he knew this benefit was going to someone, he had to know that they were also not paying the taxes on it. they had to know that there was something wrong that was being done with it. that's the piece that we don't know that they have now, and it's likely to require some sort of cooperating witness because, you know, he doesn't email, so it's unlikely those kinds of communications will be found in writing in the documents they've obtained from the trump organization. they are likely going to need a live witness who can say, of course he knew about this
scheme. we discussed it on these various dates and time. obviously a lot of pressure is being brought to bear on allen weiss weisselberg. if michael is right and other people in the trump orbit, the close orbit get charged, it will be interesting to see whether someone else comes to the table and wants to cooperate against donald trump. >> you there's another michael who knows how this works as well. he's the former attorney for donald trump, and it's michael cohen. this is what he said about the trump organization today. >> every single thing, whether it was the acquisition of paper clips, light bulbs, furniture, mattresses, you name it, allen weisselberg's kids' payments, rent, everything, would have donald's signature on it or his initial. >> so according to the indictment, trump signed the checks, but it seems like weisselberg was the one taking all the risk. is that just the way trump
operates? >> well, it is the way that he operates, but i think one of the things that also indicates that donald trump may have been at the heart of this is that it was such penny ante stuff. donald trump is notoriously cheap. so the idea that he would want to keep a set of books to make sure that allen weisselberg's compensation scheme didn't exceed what he expected wi weisselberg to get paid in total is very consistent with the personality of this man. he's very controlling, but he's also very cheap, and he doesn't want to pay a penny more than he has to for anything. >> michael, jennifer, thank you. one of you should go check your car because an alarm was going off somewhere. make sure everything's okay. i appreciate it. i want to turn now to house speaker nancy pelosi announcing her eight picks for the new select committee to investigate the january 6th insurrection.
republican congresswoman liz cheney accepted pelosi's offer to join seven democrats on that committee, saying her oath to the constitution is above concerns of partisanship and politics. so joining me now, one of the seven democrats selected, and that's congresswoman elaine luria of virginia, and we're so happy that she is here. representative luria, thank you so much. so republicans are already calling this committee partisan even though they were the ones who shut down a bipartisan commission. given their obstruction and attempts to whitewash what happened, how will you find out what happened on january 6th? >> well, don, thanks for having me. you know, what i'd say is the point of this is to get to the bottom of the facts. the events that happened that day, the causes, and come up with policy recommendations and a way forward that this can't happen again. and, you know, we attempted to have a nonpartisan commission.
that passed with a majority of votes in the house and the senate, but didn't meet the threshold in the senate to be enacted. this is the way forward with this group. it is already a bipartisan group with liz cheney joining our ranks, and we look forward to the republican minority leaders appointing the additional members so the committee can get to work. >> there are two gop sources that are telling cnn that kevin mccarthy threatened any republican -- what happens if he doesn't appoint members? how is this committee going to work if he doesn't do that? >> i can't really comment on the internal deliberations within the republican caucus, but the committee does have a quorum. the committee is bipartisan and, you know, the committee intends to move forward with its work as soon as possible. >> we know that mccarthy spoke to trump during the insurrection. your colleague, bennie thompson, says that that evidence is necessary to produce a report.
how are you going to figure out what was said on that call? >> well, you know, as chairman thompson said, everything's on the table. we really have to dig in deep into all of the events that happened on that day. you know, i can't say every witness or everything that we will move forward with in the investigation, but we will examine all of the facts and where those facts take us, we will draw from that to come to the conclusions for the committee. >> speaking of witnesses, are you willing to subpoena the former president or people close to him to get answers? >> you know, don, like i said and like chairman thompson has said in good into this, everything is on the table. the committee is just now coming together, coming up with a plan, waiting for our additional members. i think we're all because we took an oath as members of congress -- i did, the first time i was 17 and spent two decades in uniform. we truly think that that oath to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic
is very important. and in light of the events that happened on january 6th, it could never be more important than at this motion in our nation's democracy. so we take this very seriously, and we will consider any witnesses who can provide evidence and facts to help complete and paint a full picture of what happened on january 6th. >> something that's also very serious is we're hearing homeland security officials warning about more violence this summer. apparently right-wing conspiracy theorists think that trump is going to be reinstated in august. does that underscore the importance of what you're investigating, and is that concerning to you? >> it's very concerning, and i think that, you know, part of what we're going to be looking at in this investigation through the committee is where was the breakdown? you know, were the signs there? was there intelligence, and how was that fed to the appropriate people to maintain the safety of the capitol and, you know, the process that we were undertaking
on that day in order to certify the election results. so really this is about what examining what happened on january 6th but in the framework of moving forward, how to identify those threats and prevent this in the future. any potential threats underscore the purpose of having this committee. >> congresswoman, thank you so much. i appreciate it. >> thank you. now i want to turn to "washington post" columnist max boot and cnn senior political analyst kirsten powers. good evening to both of you. max, kevin mccarthy is doing everything that he can to kill this committee. is he worried about trump, republicans, his own actions, all of the above? >> of course. i mean that's what the republicans are worried about is keeping the support of trump and keeping the support of trump supporters. they don't want to get to the bottom of what actually happened on january 6th, and it's pretty rich, don, because remember one of the reasons that kevin mccarthy gave for voting against the impeachment of donald trump
was he said, we have not done an investigation. we have not conducted hearings on what happened on january 6th. and now this is the second time in a row that republicans have attempted to stymie an actual investigation. the last time, of course, was a bipartisan commission, a bipartisan compromise, which died because of opposition from senate republicans. and now you had 190 house republicans on wednesday voting against the special committee that speaker pelosi decided to put together. so it's pretty obvious republicans just don't want to know what happened on january 6th. they'd rather propagate their crazy conspiracy theories and blame it on the fbi or antifa, anybody except trump and his followers. >> kirsten, mccarthy is denying that he threatened to pull committee assignments from republicans like cheney who serve on the january 6th committee. take a listen to this. >> i did not say -- let me be
very clear. i'm not threatening anybody with committee assignments. when i'm saying is it was shocking to me that if a person is a republican, they get their committee assignments from the republican conference. for somebody to accept committee assignments from speaker pelosi, that's unprecedented. >> unprecedented that cheney is more committed to the truth than politics? i mean what message is he sending here? what? >> yeah, i don't think he realizes what he's saying. of course it's unprecedented because she's having to do this because he's not willing to show any leadership on this, and republicans aren't willing to show any leadership on this. and it might be easier to understand what he's saying if we weren't talking about liz cheney, who is, you know, just dyed in the wool conservative, former -- you know, father is
the former vice president of the united states. this is somebody who is through and through a conservative and who is basically saying, i'm not going to go along with this. this is somebody you can't try to pass off as being a democrat or too liberal or something like that. this is somebody who has all of the credentials and is still saying, no, this isn't okay. and if you're not going to appoint people to this committee and you're going to oppose us every step of the way, then i'm going to show some leadership, and i'm going to accept this offer because she's interested in actually getting to the bottom of what happened. and this is the only way to do it. >> yeah. max, i want to take a look again at the new video that cnn obtained. you have a new piece about the house republicans, the majority voting against removing confederate statues from the capitol, and against a special committee to investigate january 6th. and here's what you write. you say, in part, taken together, these two votes show that the gop has become a white
power party that is hostile to american democracy. the radicalization that has occurred in the past few years is dizzying and dismaying. add to that mccarthy tolerating paul gosar planning fund-raisers with white supremacists. where is this all going in. >> it's going in a very bad direction, don. for a brief moment, i had some hope that being chased around the capitol by a trump lynch mob might bring republicans to their senses, and clearly that happened with a few of them like liz cheney and adam kinzinger, but most of them are as bad now as they were in january or perhaps worse. they are openly embracing these white supremacist views. i mean i can't imagine any argument for why you would want to keep a statue of jefferson davis on the capitol, and they are opposing the investigation of january 6th, which, again, i can't imagine any reason you wouldn't want to get to the
bottom of one of the most serious attacks on our democracy in our history. but republicans could not care less. they know what their base is. it's pro-trump. it's basically people who are motivated by a desire to maintain white power. that's who they're catering to. it's shameful. it's disgraceful, but sadly it's getting worse. >> you know, max, you still consider yourself a republican? >> oh, no. i left the party the day after donald trump was elected president, don. >> because i'm wondering, do you remember how the former first lady says the presidency doesn't change you, it reveals who you are. do you think trump just revealed who the base of the republican is, or do you think that it's just changed? >> i think it's some of both, don. i think it did reveal that there was this malignant base of the republican party that longtime republicans like me, we were blind to it. we chose to ignore it, but it
was there all along. but i think what donald trump has also done is he's also radicalized the base and given the worst elements of the party permission to come out into the open. and there always used to be this disreputable part of the party, but it was kept on the fringes by people like john mccain and mitt romney, and donald trump moved it from the fringe to the mainstream. he made these disreputable views the dominant ideology of the republican party. now his torch is being carried on by the republicans in congress. this is just a very distressing development, and it really augers poorly for the future of american democracy. >> yeah. now it's the leadership. now it's the leadership. kirsten, i also want to get to the supreme court decision that arizona's voting limits don't violate the voting rights act. president biden responded saying this, and i quote. this is our life's work and the work of all of us. democracy is on the line. so what happens next? how do democrats respond?
>> i mean it's just incredibly disappointing, and it's incredibly disappointing just on the specifics of this instance, but the broader issue of how we're watching democracy sort of slip through our fingers. and it's just been -- it's been happening right in front of our faces. i think that democrats just have to keep pushing this issue and make sure that people understand what's going on and keep fighting back against this kind of stuff. but i think that the republicans are really dedicated to undermining democracy on many different levels. and even what we were talking about before is an example of it. the fact that they have really no problem with people storming the capitol and trying to overturn an election, which is really fundamentally anti-democratic. so we have a party that no longer seems to be invested in
supporting democracy, and i don't know how one party can alone carry that burden. so this is a real existential crisis, and i wish i could say that i had a solution for it. but i think we have to name it and be hyper vigilant about it. >> well, if you did, then, you know, perhaps you should be in the highest office in the land. thank you, kirsten. thank you, max. i appreciate it. president joe biden traveling to florida today to meet with families as rescuers continue to search the rubble of that collapsed condo. i'm going to talk to one of the members who spoke with him, and that's next. >> it just brought back so many -- so many memories. it's bad enough -- it's bad enough to lose somebody, but the hard part, the really hard part, is to not know whether they're surviving or not, just not have
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president biden meeting with families and first responders in the surfside condo collapse as teams are back combing the rubble after temporarily halting the search over safety concerns. biden saying everyone affected by the tragedy is suffering. >> they're going through hell, and those who survived the collapse as well as those who are missing loved ones, they're praying and pleading that, god, let there be a miracle. let there be something happen for me that's good. because i have like many of you do some idea of what it's like to suffer that kind of loss so many of them are suffering. >> joining me now is rachel spiegel. her mother, judy spiegel, is still missing. and rachel met with the president today. rachel, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, don. >> emotional day, i know, and i
war want to put up a picture of you standing with the president. what did he say to you? >> honestly, i can't remember what he said, but i can tell you that he and his wife and the whole team, they were really warm. they were compassionate. the way that they held my hand, the way that they embraced me, my dad, my brothers, i mean they will really warm, and they're good people. they were really empathetic and were very relatable. as you heard in that clip, president biden really did describe his own experiences and, you know, and spent so much time there today and spoke to every single family. we were there for hours. he literally spoke to everybody. >> yeah. well, you know he knows loss, and he is not afraid to talk about it. what did seeing the president
today mean to you? >> i mean obviously this is the biggest tragedy of my life, and there's nothing that's going to replace this. there's nothing that's -- this is just unfathomable to me. but seeing the president today meant that all resources are on deck. we are not giving up as a nation. we're not giving up as a community. and, you know, i am just praying that we are going to find my mom because that is my mission. i'm not giving up, and i'm not stopping until i find my mom. >> mm-hmm. so i've seen you everywhere. the first time i spoke with you, you said you'd gotten very little sleep. i imagine that is still the case. so talk to me. >> my dad yelled at me tonight. he's like, no more late-night
interviews. i was like, i promise this is the last one. but he -- you know, he wants me -- everybody needs to be resting. but honestly i can't sleep. and even when i do sleep, i wake up in the middle of the night. you know, it's very horrific for me. >> you know, i heard that you saw other families at the meeting today with the president, including people who lived like a couple doors down from your mom. they were in the part of the building that is still standing. what did they tell you? >> well, here's the difference of what happened in the family meetings to what happened today. in the family meetings, the family meetings occur twice a day, and, you know, at 9:30 and 5:30 every single day. and you can join in person or on zoom. and so we're always there, whether it's in person or zoom. and in those meetings when you're physically there, you see the families that are grieving and see the families that are fighting and looking for
answers. but today, you know, with the president, it was also the survivors, and there may be some survivors that attended the family meetings. it's harder to decipher. but when my dad and i were there, my dad was like, oh, my god, you know. he saw the family that lived two -- two apartments down, the family that knows my daughter, my mom's granddaughter, that knows my parents, and that was really freaky for my dad because, you know, it's hard to believe that anybody survived that. but obviously their part of the building is still standing. so, you know, what they told us, you know -- and they were so nice and lovely. but to provide us with comfort is that it really was instant, and it really was an earthquake. they too were sleeping. i know my mom was sleeping at
that hour. and they said it happened instantly, and it was like an earthquake. and when they opened the door, they only had, like, three feet of flooring in front of them. the rest of the building was gone. i don't know if that gives my dad comfort or is scary, but i'm not sure my mom could have done anything else. and that's the debate that everybody has in their mind, you know. it's -- it's your best friend. this is my mom, my best friend. i love my mom. i'm obsessed with my mom. obviously i think everybody knows that by now. but, you know, for me, i still can't fathom that this happened. it's still like a real nightmare for me, and it's just really crazy to see, you know, the survivors and what their experience was like, you know,
experiencing this rumble. >> yeah. well, listen, rachel, we're all -- it's so weird. we're all closer than we know. rachel and i just found out -- we don't know each other, but her family knows my in-laws to be from the east end of long island. so it's a small world. if we can help any way, let us know, okay? we're thinking about you and your family. >> thank you. we did open up a fund for our family. feel free to look at my instagram. my handle is rachi r-a-c-h-i-e-s-p-i-e-g-z. thank you. >> thank you. i appreciate it. >> thank you. thanks, don. >> be well. >> bye.
tonight u.s. hammer thrower gwen berry is speaking out. she's facing criticism for her protest on the podium at the olympic trials. while "the star-spangled banner" played, she turned from the flag and draped a t-shirt carrying the words "activist athlete" over her head. she placed third and was on the podium with the first and second
place finishers. this is the second time that she has qualified for the olympics, which will be under way in tokyo in just a few short weeks. olympian gwen berry joins me now. gwen, thank you so much. i appreciate you taking the time. i know it's a busy time for you and a bit of a controversy, so i know you have a lot going on. so thank you. >> yes. thank you for having me. thank you for having me, and thank you for allowing me to be able to speak for the black community that i am trying to speak for and stand for. >> let's get into it then, gwen. why did you turn away from the flag during atten them at the olympic trials? >> let's be clear. i do respect the constitution because obviously i was exercising my constitutional right. but i will not stand for any type of symbol or song that does not stand for all people in america. >> and you think the symbol, the flag and the anthem are symbols and signs that don't stand for
all black people in america? >> yes. >> why is that? >> the songs, the lyrics, the symbols. it just doesn't. we know our history. everybody knows the history, and i feel like it is something that people are trying to pay attention to instead of paying attention to the real issues that we need to be talking about. and we need to be talking about the racial and social injustice issues that still face the black -- the black community still face to this day. it's the same thing, and people are trying to divert the attention to a song and a flag when that's not even the biggest thing that we need to be focusing on right now. >> so here's the thing because i think it's always important to educate people so that if they do disagree with you, they'll be coming from a place of knowledge rather than a place of ignorance. i would assume that you're referencing specifically the third stanza in the national anthem or "the star-spangled banner." correct me if i'm wrong. so what parts of the anthem do you disagree with, and why is it
so hard for you to hear that song? >> it's not that it's hard. it's the first verse. it's the third verse. it's all of these words -- freedom, justice. it mentions slaves. these are things that do not hold true for all americans, and that's just it. it's not true for all americans. >> even the flag because you said symbol as well. >> i mean we could say that. >> same thing? >> i just won't stand for it. i just won't stand for it. >> you know that, and i guess, look, to you, some things are important enough to stand up for, and i certainly respect that. but you know you can get a lot of backlash. people are going to call you un-am un-american. you're going to lose sponsorships. >> i've already done it. i've already been through all of it. i've already done all of that, and yet i am still here, still saying that my black communities need help. and i will for always feel like
that, and i will for always stand on that until these issues are fixed. america is the greatest country in the world, and yet we still have to talk about these issues. so what are we really saying? what do we really need to be paying attention to? let's be real. >> the question people have asked, and you know the criticism is like, if she feels that way, why is she representing the u.s. overseas? why does she even want to do it? >> i've been representing the u.s. my whole career. this isn't my first team. this isn't my first senior team. i've been doing that. i pay my taxes. i do all of this in america. that's not the point. >> yeah. so is there anything that would get you to stand up for the flag one day or possibly the national anthem, gwen? >> of course. when the issues that face -- that my community faces, that the people that look like me, that we face in america, until
these issues are fixed, until these communities are supported, until america takes full accountability for the things that blacks have to face here in america, i won't stand for it because we are capable of doing it. again, america is the greatest country in the world. we are capable of fixing these issues. i am tired of talking about them. i won't do it anymore. >> all right. so even the white house has weighed in. the press secretary, jen psaki, said that she has not discussed your protest with the president, president joe biden, but did say this about the president. here it is. >> he's incredibly proud to be an american and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world. he would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we, as a country, haven't lived up to our
highest ideals and it means respecting the right of people grants them the right of protest in the constitution. >> they said it. i respect it. >> at this year's trials, the u.s. olympic committee allowed athletes to take part in respectful demonstrations on the topic of racial and social justice, but there will be a ban on protests and demonstrations at the tokyo games. are you going to abide by the ban should you make the podium at the olympics? >> we'll see. >> you won't answer. >> i won't answer. >> yeah. >> we'll see. you know, it just depends. it depends, you know. it depends on how i'm feeling. it depends on what i want to do in that moment and what i want to do for my people in that moment. and i will do whatever comes upon me and whatever is in my
heart. >> you understand why some people are so mad or offended or no? >> yeah, i can see why. i mean i can understand. but it doesn't -- it doesn't matter. i know how i live. i know how people that look like me, how we live, what things hurt us, the history, the whole history of america has hurt us, and that's why we're still in this situation. so they can feel how they feel, but i'm extremely american because i'll fight for people here because we've endured it here. people are still capitalizing off of our unpaid labor for more than 400 years. they still capitalize off of it, and we don't. so how can they be mad at me for standing up for my people? it's crazy. it's crazy. they should be trying to help. >> gwen berry, thank you. >> thanks. the delta variant now in all 50 states. vaccines still proving to protect people. but what happens when you've got
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expects to become the dominant variant in the u.s. in the coming weeks. overall, new cases of covid down 95% since january. but they're up 10% over the past week as the delta variant spreads. i want to bring in now dr. leana wen, an emergency room physician, who is the former city health commissioner of baltimore. thanks for joining us. i really appreciate you helping us out with this story. so this delta variant is now in all 50 states, and everyone wants to know about, you know, what about kids? kids under 12 can't get the vaccine yet. the delta variant is really contagious. are kids in more danger now than they have been in the past? >> yes, because we have this variant here that's more contagious. and what that means is that the activities that we thought were previously lower risk are now going to be higher risk. things that we got away from before and just did not get infected because of those activities, now there is a higher chance of getting infected because of it. so i do think that we need to
change this narrative. there is this narrative floating around that somehow kids are immune from getting ill from coronavirus, which is just not true. more than 4 million children have already been infected during this pandemic, and if we have something that's even more contagious around, i think it's important to take additional precautions, including schools really should not be dropping their mask mandates. if you have lots of unvaccinated children together with one another in indoor, cramped settings, not great ventilation, it's still important to have masking. >> so let's go through the scenarios because parents want to keep their kids safe obviously, right? can vaccinated parents pass on the delta variant to their kids? >> it's a really good question, and i think at this point we have to assume that the answer is maybe. so getting the vaccine means that you are very well protected yourself from getting ill, definitely extremely well protected from getting severely ill. you also dramatically reduce your likelihood of transmitting the virus to somebody else.
so certainly if parents are vaccinated, the chance of them transmitting covid-19 to their children, even if they're symptomatic or asymptomatic is much lower than if they were unvaccinated. but that said, the chance is not zero. i think that's something parents need to make a decision about. what is the level of risk that they will be willing to tolerate? also what is the benefit of the activities they're bringing back to their lives? for me and my husband, we're saying we're happy to see anyone outdoors. that's very safe, very low risk. we'll also see anyone who's vaccinated indoors without masks or distancing. but if we're going into crowded areas, for example, if we're going into an indoor church service or crowded grocery store or train station or something like that, we will definitely still mask, and we're not going to be bringing our children unless it's necessary and unless they can be masking in those indoor settings where unvaccinated and vaccinated people are mixing. >> okay. so got it. so just quickly, what about when
the parents are vaccinated and their kids aren't? what should everyone do? i have just a couple seconds left. >> i think they should decide about the level of risk that they're willing to take. but in general i still think that an abundance of caution is a good idea. so if you are around a lot of people who are unvaccinated, unvaccinated people are at high risk to one another, and that includes unvaccinated children. >> all right. dr. wen, thank you very much. i really appreciate it. >> thank you, don. >> we'll be right back.
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after 20 years of war in afghanistan, u.s. and nato forces take a historic step withdrawing from bagram air base. the trump organization is charged with running a 15 year employee tax scheme, its top financial officer faces more than a dozen charges, we'll explain what it could mean for donald trump. and crews considered demolishing the surfside complex that still stands as rescue operations continue.