tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN January 17, 2022 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
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voting rights on the line, the senate expected to take action beginning tomorrow even though democrats don't have the votes to pass legislation. martin luther king, iii calling out the senator for refusing to carve out the filibuster to get voting rights across the finish line. >> senator sinema who seems to be blocking democracy instead of being on the side of advancing democracy. >> some arizonians pushing the big lie of election fraud are pretty happy with senator sinema. you'll hear from them straight ahead. >> a big payday for one college football coach while students and residents are struggling, lsu signing new football coach brian kelly to a $100 million contract. you heard that right.
joining me now pennsylvania's attorney general josh shapiro a democratic candidate to become the next governor of the state and we welcome him top to the program. the voting rights bills are destined to fail tomorrow. the state that was the target of trump's fight to overturn the 2020 election with a big lie, what can you do to fight back? >> i'm going to do here in pennsylvania what i've done for the last couple years. we beat them in court and thankfully, we have a governor who continues to veto all of these bills here in this state that would make it harder for people to vote. and as pennsylvania's next governor, i'll do the same. look, i'm obviously disappointed about what is happening in washington d.c. but the battle to defend our democracy continues. it just continues now at the state level and i think pennsylvania is the epicenter of that battle. >> this is what -- i want you to
hear what mitt romney said about why he's opposing the democrats to voting bills. watch this. >> they want a real dramatic change, which is they feel that instead of elections being run at the state level, they should really be managed and run at the fed federal level and recognize the founders didn't have that vision in mind. they didn't want an autocrat to be able to pull a lever in one place and change all the election laws. instead, they spread that out over 50 states. >> that's how republicans are framing these bills. how do you respond to that? >> obviously mitt romney has his head in the sand. here is the reality, we're seeing bills passing laws in states like georgia and texas and by the way it would be law here in pennsylvania as well but for the veto pen of our governor making it harder for people to access the ballot box and don, let's be clear, they're trying to make it harder for black and brown folks to vote here in my
state and other states and rig the system at the state level to work against our democracy. federal action is needed to try to stop those efforts in the other states. thankfully here in the state, i'll continue to fight back and win as a.g. we have a governor to veto the bad bills but we can't count on that in every other state. we have bad actors in mitt romney's party who are working over time to under mine our democracy. that is why federal action is needed. that's why i'm so disappointed that we've got these senators who have decided that they'll stand with the filibuster instead of standing with our democracy. that is just flatout wrong and doing real damage to our system. >> that is really the issue there. you just put your -- the nail in the head there. listen, we're hearing a bipartisan group of 12 senators looking to reform the electoral count act which deals, the process of counting with a process of counting electoral votes, do you think that would
fix the problem? would it at least help? >> i think it's one part of it. look, i mean, understand, don, there was a violent insurrection, i'm not laughing of course about that. i'm laughing about what happened after the gull that eight of nine republicans representatives from pennsylvania had to go moments after the capitol was cleared and lie about what happened in the election here in pennsylvania and try and stop the votes of pennsylvanians from being counted on the floor of the house of representatives. but that's just one piece of what needs to be fixed respecting the will of the people. you have a whole system that's being rigged against people being able to show up and cast their ballot. it's one of the reasons why here in pennsylvania i believe we have to have automatic voter registration, same day voter registration. we've got to have secretary of state here in the commonwealth who i will appointment as next governor who will be
prodemocracy. those are the kinds of things that are critical. what the senators seem to be talking about with the electoral vote count, it's one piece if people can't access the ballot box, it makes it impossible for our democracy to flourish and here is why i think this is so important, don. because protecting our democracy, protecting the right to vote is at the foundation of all of the other issues we have to talk about. >> i've got to ask you because there were people who did the right thing, right? our democracy in 2020 was saved by honorable state officials both republican and democrat who put country over party. now many of those election officials are being replaced. that's a huge concern. what happens next time if others who don't care about the rule of law have authority to sign off on certifying election winners? >> i think that's a real risk. i really do. here in pennsylvania as the next governor, i'll appoint a secretary of state who will
administrate administer our next election sos we don't have to worry in pennsylvania. we have to worry in other states and recognize this is what is on the line in so many of these governor's races and we also have to have people show up in these local elections when their local election officials are being chosen. look, whether republican, democrat or independent what we should be looking for in the officials are people who engage in an honest count and respect the will of the people. that is critical and the fact that that is trying to be undermined by the former president and his enablers is leading to the damage to our democracy and more reason why the senate should act and they should side with our democracy instead of siding with the filibuster. >> attorney general shapiro, thank you for your time. appreciate it. >> thank you, don. i want to turn to cnn senior legal analyst laura coates with a new book out tomorrow titled
"just pursuit a black pro prosecutor's pursuit for fairness" and we'll talk about that in a minute and ron brownstein. good evening to both of you. laura, martin luther king iii putting pressure on lawmakers to protect the right to vote. take a listen to this. >> no matter what happens tomorrow, we must keep the pressure on and say no more empty words. don't tell us what you believe in. show us with your votes. history will be watching what happens tomorrow. black and brown americans will be watching what happens tomorrow. in 50 years, students will read about what happens tomorrow and know whether our leaders had the integrity to do the right thing. >> it is obvious that civil rights leaders are fed up. there is a lot of raw emotion and disappointment quite frankly on this mlk day. >> absolutely. this carries over from what we saw last week before president biden spoke. the agitation about not wanting to just have empty words and empty promises and a lot of
rhetoric to talk about what you wanted to do. it reminds you of the quote from james baldwin, i can't believe what you say because i see what you do. everyone is watching to figure out if america on paper will actually match what it will be in terms of the promises of democracy and the constant clawing back of voting rights in this country is an obvious concern but did not just begin with the big lie as you well know. it began with the acsupreme cou and section 2 of the voting rights act and continues to this day as your last guest spoke about at the state level and patch work of promises of democracy. there has to be collective action for us to really feel as though that those promises will actually be realized and if democracy is the predicate, if voting is the predicate for everything else, how can we possibly think our democracy could be strong with weak voting rights? >> ron, vice president harris said today we must not be be complacent or come pplacent.
who else can administration or democrats do? >> there are limited options. as laura pointed out, this sup presume court undermined the federal votes rights act twice in terms of rolling back the preclearance provision and more recently by weakening section two that's the basis of the legal challenges of the justice department is filing against some state laws lake georgia and texas. very unlikely to yousucceed. it is difficult to change the political balance of power in the states in part because the supreme court in another decision in 2019 essentially said that federal courts could impose no limits on partisan gerrymandering so we see republican legislators in the states that are moving to suppress the vote moving to entrench themselves. the one lever that dem ocrats have to push back against this nationwide erosion of voting rights is the ability to pass
federal legislation but there manchin and sinema by insisting on a 60-vote requirement whether to respond to what republicans in the states and republicans on the supreme court have done which is logical. this i think is a hinge point in history if they cannot act on legislation in this congress, it is highly likely there will be nothing in the way of the red states steadily tightening this through the decade of the 2020s. >> you have a piece out entitled -- titled i should say how manchin and sinema completed a conservative vision. what are the consequences of their vision? >> well, look, as you saw in the clip from mitt romney, and as laura mentioned, the big lie is not the beginning of republican efforts to rollback access to the ballot and to undermine federal protections for voting rights. in fact, john roberts has been on a crusade to do so for 40
years since he served as a young assistant in the regan administration and fought elements of the bipartisan reauthorization of the voting rights act of 1962 one of the most consistent lines in his jurisprudence as chief justice is weakening democracy protections and undermining federal voting rights law and essentially, what he has done is put a dare down in front of the congress and, you know, said i am -- we are going to knock down the preclearance, which really was the beginning of the enormous push back we're seeing on voting rights and you have the responsibility of building a majority to pass it. but what we're seeing in the red states, they're passing suppress sieve laws ochoenn a party line supreme court made key decisions on the party line majority rules basis. the on place you can't change the law on a party line majority rules basis is the senate.
and that imbalance in the playing field has created the dynamic we're in now where the force is trying to repress access to the ballot have the upper hand. >> ron, i thank you very much. we talked about rock me on the water and now we have to talk with laura coates now. laura, please stick around pause we need to talk about your book, a black prosecutor's fight for fairness we were thrilled to see on the front page of the sunday "new york times" book review. la laura. >> i was thrilled and really humbled. this is the book i don't think people expected me to write. i think they would assume i would write a very dry supreme court book, not that i don't like the supreme court for the reasons ron is talking about but the idy of having a supreme court opinion and talking about it, it person sonified the
issues we've been talking about today. each chapter stands alone and really trying to ensure people understand that the pursuit of justice can create injustice, don and what it looks like, not just to talk about the law as you see me on tv doing but to talk about what justice really looks like, feels like and maybe could be. >> yeah. listen, i get asked to write, you know, excerpts about books, right? and laura asked me and i was like of course i'm thrilled. i read the galleys and i called laura in tears. i was like laura, this is amazing. i'm so proud of you. you thought i was nuts because i kept calling you. call me immediately. >> i may have cried, too. i was like really, don? you like me? you really, really like me? i had that moment. >> it is really a great book and it's so well written and i just kept -- when people say page turner, i know that's a clae s -- cliche.
it a page turner. i want to read a portion of the book. let me see. here it is. it says on mlk day you write in part my allegiance was on trial, was it to the laws of the united states? to the black community? to the officers? to the powers that be? these constituencies were increasingly at odds. i thought each case could represent a dot on the ark dr. king would hope to bend towards justice. now i wonderedfy was bending the ark of justice or breaking it and afraid the justice system might break me. you thought the system might break you? talk to me -- i have a bit of an understanding from reading the book but talk to me about that? >> well, you know, this book is so vulnerable and so raw for me and i was scared to write portions of it because it was really my deepest thoughts and what i was feeling and thinking the entirety of my career at some points and i have to tell you, it's the idea that you think when i started out i went
voting rights section, the civil rights division and you're by de facto a champion of civil rights, nobody questions what side you're on and what a transformation when i became a federal prosecutor in the criminal context and being questioned about allegiance and personal battles between what i was ordered to do and where my moral compass pointed. to watch a parade of thousands of black men and women at one time could i count the number of white defendants and i wouldn't need all five fingers to do so knowing there wasn't a monopoly on crime but looking at the decisions, the police decisions and knowing those things and weighing against my lived experience as a black woman as a mother, as a wife, as a human being and constantly at odds trying to reconcile the two and thinking who i believed i would be when tested with the decisions. i gave the audience a real insight into what that feels like to make those choices and
sometimes they are overwhelmingly difficult. other times they are easy but i write about the idea of having to aid in the deportation to look at mistaken identity in the courtroom in the blank moment to this mantra of believe womaen ad what victim blaming looks like and looking at the country and having that test what it's like to be in the justice roberts post era after obama's election and seeing what it's like on the voting rights line. i write about that and invite you along on the journey. >> it was fantastic and if you -- however you feel about the criminal justice system about the court system, about the power of judges and all of that, you have to read this book. and again, i don't say that lightly. it was fascinating. it's an amazingly written book and so personal and so
vulnerable. so proud of you and so proud to work with you and be your friend. really amazing. i hope everybody buys this book and reads it. >> don, you're incredible. you always have been. i love you. thank you. really, when we talked on the phone about that, i was like don, you know, i kind of pointed it out and you're like yes. >> it was great. >> yes, yes, yes. i appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. see you soon. love you, too. talk to you later. >> check out laura's book called "just pursuit a black prosecutor's fight for fairness" i promise you won't be disappointed. bhwhat is next for the januy 6th investigation? who else might be in their sights? nurse mariyam sabo knows a moment this pure... ...demands a lotion this pure.
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circle, they're still looking for answers from some of his closest allies. joining me to discuss is zoe a member of the select committee on january 6th. happy to have you on. thank you for appearing. some high profile lawmakers and trump allies trying to avoid appearing before the committee. who are the people you most hope to get answers from in the coming days and weeks? >> well, we have a lot of requests out eviobviously. we have not yet subpoenaed colleagues. we invited them to come and talk to us. it's a grave disappointment they have declined to do so. we have to make a decision whether or not to subpoena them. we're piecing together information from the president's inner circle and others who were in a position to see and hear
what the plot was leading up to the riot as you know we're looking at the day but also looking at the plot leading up to the day and we've got a lot of information but there is more to kcome. a big deal will be if they keep the archives from sending us information. he lost badly at the trial court and at the appellate court. it's a weak case so we're eager to get the information and that will help us a lot in terms of filling in the blanks. >> it's a weak case on his part for him. >> correct. >> so has -- >> not only on the marcerritt b
to get relief you have to show a likelihood of prevails at trial and irreparable harm. he didn't bother to plead that or argue it. it's ridiculous. >> let me ask you, has the committee requested or received records related to the trump family? could any of them be called as witnesses? >> you know, we made a vow not to release information unless the committee votes to release it and that answer to that have not received a vote. but nothing is off the table. it high profile when someone like kevin mccarthy first said he had nothing to hide tries to hide something but what it -- because it's public and they're high profile, meanwhile, hundreds of people who have a lot of information are coming into the committee and giving us
that information. >> i want to ask you because you remember last week what happened with the oath keepers indicted by the doj. is the committee focussing on that? >> we're exploring the whole thing. we do want to talk to oath keepers. we have talked to some. the criminal prosecution will likely freeze anybody that's not appeared before the committee but that doesn't mean we haven't received other information from some actors and that there is some that we could fill in. >> right. thank you congresswoman. appreciate it. be well. >> we're never going to give up on this until we get the whole truth. >> yes, we certainly hope so. thank you very much. the big lie is spreading in the key battle ground state of arizona as voting rights
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martin luther king iii took the fight for voting right there is this weekend but the former president was there as well pushing his lies and encouraging supporters to spread them. more now from cnn cnndonie o'sullivan. >> voting is that opportunity we have.cnn donie o'sullivan. >> voting is that opportunity we have. >> reporter: this martin luther king junior day in arizona a battle l for the future of american democracy. >> we wanted to come on this day because there is a senator, senator sinema who is blocking democracy instead of being on the side of advancing democracy fwl . >> reporter: the king family calling on arizona democratic senator kyrsten sinema to stand up for voters rights. >> she said she wants voting
rights but how without creating a path for that to happen? that's inconsistent and unacceptable. >> reporter: sinema and joe manchin of west virginia are blocking the passage of a pair of voting rights bills aimed at countering some of the restrictive voting measures enacted by republicans at the state level. sinema is supportive of the bills but not in favor of changing senate rules to get them passed. >> while i continue to support these bills, i will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. >> reporter: that is music to the ears of some trump supporters at a rally for trump in sinema's home state. >> god bless kiryrsten sinema a what she's doing. >> good for her. she's our representative and represents the state. she's what is good for the country. >> reporter: do you like kiyrstn
si sinema? >> absolutely. and manchin, in fact, i've sent emails to them encouraging them to stand up and do what is right for the people of arizona. >>. >> reporter: those supporters in attendance for deniers like congressman paul gosar and ally alexander that went into hiding after the insurrection and recent recalled in front of the january 6th house select comm committee. >> reporter: are you worried you might get indicted? >> thank you, arizona. thank you. thank you. >> reporter: trump giving support to two election deniers running to control elections in the states. carry lake is running for governor. >> there is a few other people i want to send to the prison in florence. anybody who was involved in that corrupt shady shotty election of
2 2020. lock them up. >> and mark said he was an oath keeper and now running for secretary of state. >> donald trump won. >> reporter: echoed qanon type conspiracy theories about elected officials. >> there is a lot of people involved in a pedophile network in a distribution of children and unfortunately, there is a whole lot of elected officials that are involved in that. >> and he continues to falsely attack the legitimacy of the 2020 election here in arizona. >> i look forward to the day that we set aside an ir redereir redeemablied flawed election. the arizona election should be decertified with cause by the legislature. >> reporter: that's part of a national trend. a washington post finding 16 2 republicans who have em bbraced
trump's claims are running for positions to get authority over administration of elections. arizona's katie hobbs now running for governor. >> i think we are at a defining moment. in 2020 democracy prevailed and 2020 and after 2020 democracy prevailed because people on both sides of the aisle do their jobs and what we're seeing now is this just multi pronged attack and one of those prongs is trump trying to instill his loyalest into key positions that have some level of determination over how elections are certified and conducted. and that is pretty scary. >> reporter: and on this martin luther king junior day weekend, his 13-year-old granddaughter following in her grandfather's footsteps with a warning for today. >> i think it's so important to vote and it's so important to have the right to vote because right now our country is at
stake. >> donie o'sullivan joins me now. thank you. it shocking now this all happened after the bogus fraud it but the cyber ninjas and confirmed biden defeated trump. how do supporters respond, trump supporters respond when you tell that to them? >> reporter: yeah, well the facts are never going to get until the way of this conspiracy theory and look, even though we were hearing a lot of really outlandish stuff last year about voting machines linked to hugo chavez in someway that that swung the result of the 2020 election. a lot of trump supporters have backed off from the really, really fringe stuff but they are still echoing the core tenants of the big lie which is that the election was stolen, which of course it wasn't and what we are seeing now, don, is a closer alignment between what people who believe in the big lie are
saying with what republicans are doing at a state level restricting access to voting. i will just say look, you saw in that piece we started the day in phoenix on saturday at a march with the king family. people who are motivated by history and see what is happening and don't like the look of it and are fearful that it's a return to jim crow type laws we saw here in the u.s. and then the other side you have people who are also fearful but they are being motivated by lies and conspiracy theories, don? >> donie, thank you. appreciate it. a place where football is big but in my hometown of batten ro -- baton rouge, louisiana, the coach has a $100 million contract where residents struggle to get by. and its temperature balancing so you both sleep just right.
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louisiana state university in baton rouge my hometown made headlines signing a coach to a contract worth $100 million, that's right, $100 million. $100 million deal "the washington post" says brian kelly's lsu contract is the most valuable in theistry of college football in a city where many people especially black people struggle to even make ends meet.
the post kent bab explores this wealth gap in his article a $100 million football coach and everyone else and the author of "across the river" and kent babb joins me now. thank you so much. this really resonated with me. louisiana native. i went to lsu, as well. you wrote this incredible piece painting such a vivid picture of my hometown of baton rouge. how does lsu justify paying a coach close to $100 million while students, other employees, baton rouge residents, they're struggling barely managing to make ends meet and not paying any of their employees anywhere near that amount? >> i mean, people there say that it's because lsu's the largest employer in the city in one of the largest in the state and that's true. the city of baton rouge runs on louisiana state university. and louisiana state university financially runs on lsu
football. that part is true. it does generate jobs. >> it generates a lot of money but there is exxon chemical, dow chemical, shell oil, the seafood industry and tourism aggeneratea lot of jobs, as well. >> that's what they say. it still doesn't make sense to somebody like me and look, i'm a college football fan and scc fan where lsu plays. it doesn't make sense because lsu and college towns across the country, football programs do a great job of marketing to people like me that come in occasionally and only see what they want us to see and for the first time i drove away from campus from the football fa stillty ty-- facility and the real baton rouge looks different. >> i did a tour showing someone around baton rouge and there are many, many blytighted areas tha weren't when i was there but lsu looks beautiful. listen, you write in your piece
in a state where one in five residents lives below the poverty line where a football team's player work force is unpaid and the city where the predominantly block state house has a median household income of $24,865 a year, the white man who will coach there will be paid no less than $24,657 a day. that is stunning. how does one person getting such huge salary impact, how does that impact the rest of the lsu community? >> i mean, i don't know that it does. i mean, i think lsu's great at the march et keting arm and bri kelly is the face of that brand. but lsu, i don't know. professors aren't making that much money. i'm told it's one of the lowest paid in the southeastern conference among professor pay the young man i pro vile ever
f -- profiled in this piece makes $12,000 a year at the diversity office in the university. it's so bent that it doesn't make sense even if you're a college football fan. >> let's talk about this. the guy you highlight is making $12,000 a year and getting free graduate tuition by working on campus and a moment where he's driving around campus and you write this. you say up ahead is lsu's $15 million football operation center. it's $28 million locker room, the office is for its millionaire staffers. kelly works in there and chris considering the hypothetical of some day walking the same halls, two men from different worms that represent the two ends of an extreme occupying the same space and breathing the same air. so you talk about how this is a microcosm of the national wealth gap. talk to me about that, kent. >> well, the thing is there is a chris tombs not only in every college town in the country but
every town in the country and in fact, there is a lot of chris tombs and not many brian kellys and there are people like chris who don't make that much money who are struggling day after day when somebody coaches football and can make 9, $10 million a year since september there have been six football coaches who have been signed or resigned for at least 8 million dollar a year pushing these average contracts up toward 85, 95, $100 million. i understand it's like that and that's what the market demands that it supports that. that's what it costs to compete these days. it just -- what doesn't add up to me are these are public universities and the fact that the people who rwe go to cheer n are not being paid and people talk about the names and players can get a little bit of money and some people think it's equatable that players are getting rich like coaches. not true. the average nil deal before the start of the season was $400.
400. i talked to somebody who was arranging a deal at a power five university for the offensive line and those players were being paid in burritos. it's not $100 million. not $10. not even $10,000. we're talking about a lot of what's happening at lsu, it just highlights the inequities and the misplaced priorities, especially with lsu trying to diversify its student body and staff. there's a lot of hypocrisy there and it highlights the misplaced priorities. >> it's just, i guess, what we value in this country and as a sports fan, it doesn't make sense to me. this is a state that is lar largely -- it is a poverty-strike state and this is a campus that laid off staffers and cut pay of actual full-time staff in 2020.
and yet they find $25 million to pay -- to fire the former football coach and nearly 100 million bucks to pay the new one. it's -- i don't know what to do about it, i just sort of wring my hands over it. >> we'll continue to discuss it. thank you for bringing this story to us and appreciate you appearing here on cnn. >> thank you, don. russia moving more troops closer to ukraine, escalating fears of an invasion. the situation growing so serious seven u.s. senators went to ukraine's capital to meet with the country's president.
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an increasingly tense situation in ukraine with the looming threat of a potential invasion by russian forces. a bipartisan group of u.s. senators meeting today in kiev with the ukraine can president and other top officials re reaffirming america's support, as russia masses tens of thousands of troops on ukraine's border. the r connecticut senator chris murphy saying that ukraine is battle tested and ready and will fight back if russian president vladimir putin decides to send his military into ukraine. and thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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