tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 25, 2021 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
parents separated from their kids. they want to be together, and it's really tough to discredit the authenticity of innocence. and that is a child who breaks down, very genuinely, in front of us to say they want to be with their mom and dad. it is really tough to push back against that, anderson. >> yeah. david culver, really remarkable work. thank you for you and your team. the news continues. want to hand things over to don lemon and "cnn tonight." this is "cnn tonight." i am don lemon. thank you so much for joining, and i just want you to, whatever you're doing, i know, sometimes, you sit at home and you watch this. and you may be falling half asleep in the bathroom, taking off your makeup. with the kids. but i want to make sure that you are in front of the television right now because what i am act to show you and tell you, very important. very important for the country. because what you are about to see, right now, is the face of the fight for your right to
vote. here it is. >> why are they coming all close to her like that, though? >> don't touch me, though. >> so, what you see right there, and what you are hearing. this is georgia state representative, park cannon. >> why is the governor trying to sign something in private? >> 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, and you are going to see it here, in moments. cannon is led away by several officers, with her handcuffed behind her back. right here, she is just trying to reason with the officer. she is just knocking on the door. remember, she is an elected representative. >> are you serious? >> no, you are not. >> 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 is an elected representative being -- that is being removed as the governor is signing this bill. >> why are you arresting her? stop arresting her. >> why are you arresting her? >> why? >> cite the violation. cite the code. what is she in violation of? i want you to cite the code. cite the code! cite it. why don't you cite the code? cite the code. cite the code. why are you arresting her? under what -- under what? >> ma'am, back up. get out -- get out of the way. >> under what law are you arresting her? why are you arresting her?
>> let her go! >> why are you arresting her? 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. >> let her go! why are you arresting her? >> she is an elected representative. why are you arresting her? why are you arresting her? what -- under what statute are you arresting her? under what statute? the governor is signing a law, that will affect all georgians, and you are choosing to arrest an elected official. >> hmm. 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 jagerald griggs is telling cnn he is representing cannon. he is working to bond her out of jail, after she was booked on felony-obstruction charges. cnn has reached out to multiple sources on what happened there, tonight. including, the police. that is apparently how far that they are willing to go to keep an elected representative -- elected representative -- from watching the governor sign a bill. to take away the voting rights of many people in georgia. the governor of georgia, his name is brian kemp. you know him. 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, huh? proud to sign that bill. full of a room of men, who look like him. proud to tweet it out, as well.
that same governor, who just months ago, put out tweets calling the late congressman john lewis a civil rights icon, and a freedom fighter. well, 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 is 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 unamerican. >> what i am worried about is how unamerican 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 -- the most rigid circumstances? >> and the president is right.
it is unamerican. it is an assault on your right to vote. i have been telling you, for, what, months now? about what we're dealing with in this country. it is -- i -- i hate -- i hate to keep talking about it, but you have to. this is just out and out racist. that's all it is. they are trying to -- 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. that they stole an election. when it was proven, over and 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 do they have those concerns? because you lied to them about it. that's why they had those concerns. so, what you are doing is a lie, on top of a lie, on top of another lie. different -- both, taof 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, the current president, he's got to, somehow, 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. and that would make passing that
federal bill impossible. president biden saying that the filibuster is being abused, in a gigantic way. and singling -- signaling, excuse me -- 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 what that 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 very own kaitlan collins that he agrees the filibuster is a relic of jim crow. >> regarding the filibuster, john lewis's funeral, president barack obama said he believed the filibuster was a relic of the jim-crow era. do you agree? >> yes. >> if not, why not abolish it, if it's a relic of the jim-crow era?
>> successful electoral politics is the art of the 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 the time it came into being, by an extreme way, in the last 20 years. let's deal with the abuse, first. >> okay, president 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 -- 5th 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 walk right on in. much like that picture, tonight, of the white guys, all, sitting around happy to sign the bill. and the black woman, outside, is being arrested. we need some indignation. we need some outrage. you need some action. it is a 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 block 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. i hope you are watching, mitch mcconnell. somebody, call him up who knows him. text him. tweet him. whatever. tell him to watch. little history lesson for you. in 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, happened again. when another anti-lynching bill was filibustered.
1957. senator strom thurman took to the floor to -- 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 attempting to block the bill declaring martin luther king jr. day a federal holiday. do you remember? i'm hold 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. c codify it with law. it's voter suppression. it's the new jim crow. and if president biden -- president biden -- if he wants to get anything done. if he wants to pass the voting-rights bill, he may have to do something about it. i don't know what he is going to do. but he -- not may. he is going to have to do something about it. that's what it's going to come to. because without that bill, the assault on your vote will continue. the assault on one of your most sacred rights, as american -- 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, her -- the governor of her state is doing? she doesn't have a right to witness it? when you are going to put it on tv, tweet it out, and you are going to have other people in the room with you while you are signing it? think about that. it's not that hard to see what's happening here. and as you the assault on your vote continues, an angry president joe biden says he finds it despicable. and says that he is 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 she's next.
>> the republican voters i know find this despicable. republican voters. the folks out in the -- outside this white house. i'm not talking about the -- the elected officials. i'm talking about voters. voters. and so, i'm convinced that we'll be able to stop this. the epson ecotank. no more buying cartridges. look at all this ink it comes with. big ink tanks. lots of ink. no more cartridges. incredible amount of ink. the epson ecotank. just fill and chill.
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tonight, georgia's republican governor signing a sweeping, new election law tha restricts access to voting. and governor brian kemp wasted no time putting in -- putting his signature on it. democratic state representative, park cannon, arrested, removed from the georgia capitol after knocking on the door while the governor was signing the bill into law. state police saying that she was instructed to stop knocking on the door. that she was disturbing what was happening inside. when she didn't, they -- they said they handcuffed her. charging her with obstruction. i want to turn, now, to bernice king. daughter of dr. martin luther king jr. she is the ceo of the king center. thank you so much for joining us, bernice. i really appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> i want to play because i want our viewers to see it. i just want to get -- they need to see it of this state
representative protesting and getting arrested while the governor signs a bill to restrict voting rights into law. >> the governor is signing a bill that affects all georgians. why is he doing it in private? and why is he trying to keep elected officials who are representing us out of the process? are you serious? >> no, you are not. represent -- >> she's not under arrest. >> for what? under arrest, for what? for trying to see something that our governor is doing? >> why is she under arrest? >> our governor is signing a bill that affects all georgians. and you're going to arrest an elected representative. why does the governor have more power than -- than a representative? >> why are you arresting her? >> why are you arresting her? >> bernice, the idea that a black georgia state representative is being arrested and pulled away while the governor signs, what critics call, jim crow 2.0, what goes through your mind? >> don, you know, to me, it's --
it's despicable. and it's -- it's, obviously -- everything that my father, john lewis, ct vivian, amelia boynton, and so many others, sacrificed their lives for. that -- 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, her courage, 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 -- and continue to let our voices be heard. and strategize and mobilize. and sometimes, we got -- we got to sacrifice where it hurts.
>> i said -- and i agree with you, in a nonviolent way. but i said, this is -- people should be outraged, and someone text me saying they're not outraged. they're horrified. they're horrified at what they're seeing, right now. there were many people, who fought and went to jail, as -- as you know, when your father was fighting for the right to vote and for civil rights. i just want to just tell you, this is what -- this is what georgia state patrol says happened. okay? that representative cannon was instructed to stop knocking on the door. and that georgia governor kemp was having a press conference inside. representative cannon continued to knock on the door, they say, was instructed again to stop knocking on the door. she was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside, and that she didn't stop, she would be placed under arrest. you have any reaction to that? >> well, i mean, i -- i -- 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. and it's gonna 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 -- and many of us 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. and -- and, you know, it's time for -- for others to step up to the plate. and sacrifice. and -- and have to suffer, some,
for the sake of advancing justice in this nation. and so, i think, that's the -- the bigger issue, now. this -- what happened in georgia happened because we didn't -- we didn't -- we did not see enough effort. we fell short, in georgia. not -- not those in the activist community. but our corporate leaders. our -- our civilc 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. >> uh-huh. >> so, you know, it -- we -- we -- we're going to have to strategize now. we're going to have to organize. and my daddy and them did it over and over again. when they had these kind of setbacks, they had to restrategize. they had to reorganize. and remobilize. and come back, again. the fact is that we're at a place now that we got to vote in
people, who put humanity, first. and we have a campaign, now, the king center, called be love. and we're asking people to pledge on that campaign. one of the things is that we pledge to support leaders, who have a love for humanity. >> that may be tough to do, though, when you have people -- listen. one of the things that this does is puts the hands -- puts, into the hands, of people -- takes out of the hands of people who voted to -- 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 is some question about the vote. and so, i know you say we've got to vote or people have to vote. and -- and vote in the right people. but what if your vote doesn't really count? when -- you know, when it comes to what is -- what's in this bill?
it may not count because -- >> you know, that -- go ahead. >> -- it's -- it's rigged in some way. >> right. i get that. and that's -- that's -- that's even more why we have to deal with the filibuster issue in washington because there are some -- 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 -- my hope and my -- my focus, now, is we have to focus on washington. and -- and -- and regroup on what happened in our state. this is inexcusable. this never should have happened. >> listen, i hate to cut you off but we're almost out of time. i am up against the break here but i just want to put this picture up. this is the governor tweeting this out. saying that he is proud to have signed in this photo. what do you see in this photo? you see all men. maybe, all white men. changing the law to make it harder for communities of color to vote, while 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 heart and the minds of so many people. and when we have an opportunity to move forward, too many people invite him in. and so, we are going to have to -- to find a way in -- in this nation, in this society, to do away with jim crow. and -- 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 politic, safe, nor popular. but they must take it because conscience tells them that it's right. and so, you know, that -- that's -- 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. >> you do the same. president biden making
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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 stimulate the economy, and create jobs. and suggesting that he may sign on to reforming the filibuster, if republicans stall passage of his agenda. so let's discuss now with cnn's chief white house correspondent, kaitlan collins m. she was in the room today for that press conference. and joe lockhart is here, who knows all about holding press conferences and what presidents must do in those situations. so, kaitlan, i want to go with you because, as i said, you were in the room. he agrees with the former president barack 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 have talking about voting he rights. and, of course, pushing that legislation through. so, that's going to be, i think, a big question wre he was basic saying, if you eliminate the filibuster. imagine when the shoe is on the other foot, what that could look like. what it could do to the party. but now, that he's become president, we have seen him start inching closer and closer to this idea of potentially eliminating it. and i asked him today, outright, you know, is that what you are getting closer and closer to? he would not say yes, that that is it. but he basically made it pretty clear when he was arguing what he believes should happen with the filibuster. when i asked do you want to abolish it? he really focused on the abuse of it. that's what he was characterizing it as. saying when he was in the senate, they rarely used the filibuster. and now, it is used so frequently he believes it's this, quote, gigantic abuse, is how he phrased it, don.
>> joe, there is pressure on biden to act on the fill bibust on guns, on voting rights. telling us, his next priority's going to be infrastructure. what do you think about -- about this strategy? >> well, i think, infrastructure is something he can get done and will stimulate the economy. i think, the filibuster debate is a little more complicated than is he for it? or is he against it? he needs joe manchin's vote to get this. joe manchin is trying to work out a bipartisan way to reform the filibuster and not get rid of it. working with susan collins and some others. he can't undercut that effort. and then, go to joe manchin and say you've got to vote for us. so there's -- there's a lot of politics at play here. and he said he -- he believes in the art of the possible. he needs some more things to happen, to -- to, i think, particularly, on voting rights, to go to the democratic caucus. particularly, to senator manchin. and say, okay, enough is enough. we have to get rid of this.
>> joe, let me ask you something. >> can't do that now, politically. yeah. >> let me -- let me jump in here. >> sure. >> does -- 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? because if this is -- if this is what you want, then do it but you are going to be known as the person, who, in 2021, 60 years after civil rights, the person who upheld jim crow. which means helped enacted -- the filibuster, excuse me, that helped it 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? >> yeah, well, i -- i don't think, certainly, for senator manchin that, that's what he wants. i think -- the -- the one area where he has signalled that he really doesn't think the filibuster should be used and is inappropriate is voting rights. so i think the -- the president and the democratic caucus in the senate are trying to set this up exactly as the vote of conscious that you just talked about. making it extremely difficult for any democrat, and even some republicans, to continue with the filibuster. and, you know, it may be that this can be done through negotiation. if not, the -- i think the president will go directly to the american people. you will see the outrage, don, that i think you were talking about at the beginning of the program. and we will see if that can move congress. >> we will see. that offers some hope. your -- your response there. kaitlan, listen. i have got to ask you about the tone of this press conference. at times, he was frustrated.
but he was all about his agenda. no one talked about drinking bleach or berated someone for having a stupid question. or seriously, anything like that. but even at one point, saying, maybe, i'm going on a little bit longer than you want me to go. maybe -- i'm not sure how much information you want. do you want me to stop here? or do you want more details? it's like, wow. that is a complete 180 from what had happened. what we've seen before. >> yeah, and it went on for, also, over an hour, which was notable, as well. and you know, he left to go to a virtual meeting with some european leaders that he was talking about. but i do think 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, well, what are you going to do about guns? how do you -- 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 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, you know, 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 are on the agenda. they just weren't at the top of the agenda. and what he made pretty clear today is he still wants to move on infrastructure next. that's where he thinks that they have success waiting for them. and -- and it 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 when we could see any kind of gun legislation. or executive action coming out of that. >> great questions, today, kaitlan. really, really great job. thank you. get some rest. it's been a long day. thank you, joe. i appreciate both you coming on this evening. so, president biden going after republicans for pushing bills, making it harder to vote. while also saying that he is
willing to work with the gop. if history is any indication -- and don't go to the break, yet. the feeling may not be mutual. but 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. and you're going to see him, and you're going to hear our conversation, on the other side of the break. we'll be right back. 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. anxiety and depression. but when i was ready for help, finding the right care was nearly impossible. luckily, he had us.
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to work with republicans. here to discuss, cnn senior commentator, john kasich. john, thank you so much. so, today, i was doing a very important event on race. and someone asked me about, you know, the book i wrote is james baldwin, right? a tribute to james baldwin. and they said, do you remember, don, the talks that james baldwin and wiiaf. buckley used to have? who is the republican that you would love to discuss about what is 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 efforts today? when you see the woman being locked out. the governor signing the bill. >> that was just -- it was stunning to see that woman being locked up. you know, i used to be the governor and i -- one of my guys here tonight with me. and i said, we -- what would have happened if somebody wanted to come to our press conference? you know, the last thing we would have done is to lock somebody up. i mean, this -- it's those pictures worth a thousand words and that was really terrible. and i do want to do a special
callout to bernice king who you had on the show. she actually -- she actually invited me to martin luther king celebrations in atlanta, several years ago. and i went. it was one of the highlights of my -- of my career, don. what happened to that woman was -- was ridiculous. it was an overreaction. it was terrible. and the bills -- what they're -- what they are passing's no good, either. particar, e voter i.d. because, you know, they try to pass a voter i.d., a picture i.d. here in ohio. i said if you pass that, i will veto it because there is a lot of folks that don't have a lot and don't have that thing and that isn't right. have them show many form of identification. that apparently is in that, along with limit voting on nd which also i don't like, either. let people vote. >> so then, what is going on here? i mean, as a -- you are still a republican, right? there are some people who come on and say that. >> yeah, a very good one. >> so then, what's going on here? is this -- is this voter suppression? >> what i think, don, is that
republicans or those who -- some people do this because they are worried about the integrity of the voting. okay? some feel that way. others probably believe,nd i have actually heard it said, in some quarters that, you know, if -- if too many people vote, we can't win. i have a different view of that. go and win those voters. 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 are going to