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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

RNC Special Live Coverage Day 3; Wisconsin Becomes Pivotal Election Issue; Live: Laura Storm Coverage; Monster Hurricane, Unrest over Police Shootings and COVID-19 Death Toll Rising as RNC Wraps Night Three. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 27, 2020 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. We got special coverage for you. Multiple breaking stories on our watch, tonight. You got this monster hurricane, Laura. You got unrest over police shootings.

You've got the coronavirus death toll, now, nearing 180,000 while, at the Republican National Convention, they're saying the pandemic is over, essentially.

All going on during the convention but certainly on the watch of this president who wants your vote.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And don't forget, you got NBA players saying, you know what, we're not going to play in the playoffs. We've got a lot going on. We're tracking all of it and especially, we are tracking Hurricane Laura. All night.

The dangerous category 4 storm. Look at your screen now. It is barreling toward the Gulf Coast. Up to 150-mile-per-hour winds. Here's what the National Weather Center is warning of. OK?

And I quote here. Pay attention. "Unsurvivable" storm surge. More than 4 million people are in this hurricane's path. Landfall getting closer and closer and closer, Chris. And CNN is on the ground covering all of this for you. It's happening, right now, as we're on the air. We're going to take you through it.

CUOMO: Yes. We'll be keeping up, on our watch, with what's happening with Laura and this breaking news of what's happening on our watch in Kenosha after the police shooting of another Black man, Jacob Blake.

But the story is, now, bigger than that because you now have this second set of shootings, allegedly, by white militia people, who may have been getting comfort from the police, not for the shooting but for their presence. One of them actually walked down the street, towards the police, after the shootings.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: With hands raised but with a long gun across his chest. And they just drove right by.

LEMON: Well, we got -- let's show this because we have a -- this is what it shows. The social media accounts believed to be from the suspect in last night's shooting that left, as you said, two people dead, another injured. Look it. That's him on your screen. It shows 17-year-old white teen who posted about guns.

CUOMO: "4doorsmorewhores."

LEMON: Yes. Well, there you go. Again, and he posted about his support for police, posting, Chris, about his support for President Trump. Social media revealing that he attended a Trump rally. This was back in January.

And then, this is the thing that we have been talking about because there is this new video that is out. Now it's believed to be from the suspect's Snapchat account, places him at the protests in Kenosha, last night, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes. All of that, coming as the vice president looked very earnest, into the camera, and said, Joe Biden doesn't want to talk about what is happening on our streets.

Well, he didn't mention this.

Is it because it's one of his supporters?

Is it because he is white?

Or is it because, even though it is happening on his watch, he has no answer for this division?

And nothing about Jacob Blake, either, who is now paralyzed from the waist down, or the protesters, who were shot to death last night. But he did bring up that the riots, as if they were the problem, not a symptom of a problem that he still refuses to acknowledge. And, in fact, says doesn't exist. There is no systemic racism in America.

LEMON: And every single one of them have been critical of the former Vice President Joe Biden, saying that he hasn't mentioned, you know, about what's happening in American cities and the rioting and the unrest, that he hasn't mentioned it.

[02:05:00]

LEMON: He -- he has mentioned it. Again, today, putting out more of a message, which we encouraged him to do on this very program last night.

But you can't be hypocritical and say, well, the former vice president didn't mention it during the Democratic convention last week. And then, you don't do it at -- at -- as well and you are the current vice president? Hypocrisy, at its finest. So let's -- let's talk more about this Hurricane Laura. Just making landfall in southwestern Louisiana, Chris. So that's very important. And that's where we'll find CNN's Martin Savidge. Just across the border from Beaumont, Texas, right now. He is in Lake Charles and there -- oh.

What do you have, Martin?

What's going on?

OK. So listen. We lost -- we lost the IFB.

Martin, did we get it back?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you did. We got it back.

LEMON: What you got?

What you got?

SAVIDGE: So this is probably the last time we're going to be down here. But it's always a challenge in the night to try to show you what this storm is doing. So take a look at where I am. And now, we can ask Stuart (ph) to sort of pan the camera off into the parking lot here.

And that's really where you get a sense of the volume of water and the amount of wind load that is blasting across the landscape here. And again, we are in a sheltered area so we're not getting the full blast of this storm.

But the eyewall's really close to us now. You can tell that -- you can hear a lot of things banging around in the darkness. And we've had the power go off and on. They say it never goes out here. We'll see. Tonight is really going to be a test.

But you know, this storm is clearly roaring. And you're reaching that critical moment here. For anybody who is hunkered inside their home, you have a dual worry here. It's, of course, the wind. But it's the storm surge is the other one you've got to worry about. Plus, the tremendous volume of rain that's now falling down.

You know, we have slight damage on the property here. But in the exposed areas, especially right down at the coast, they would be getting hammered by all of this. And it's going to continue for some time now.

But the blast does sting. It's hard to stay standing and it's definitely a lot of wind and rain that is coming down. It's going to continue like this for the next hour to two here. In fact, I think I'm going to get out of it and send it back to the two of you.

LEMON: I got to say, Martin, keep walking.

We'll keep the shot up as we talk about this, Chris. You -- we've both been in these situations. And you know, right now, once it starts to make landfall, this is just the beginning.

And something that you have never heard, I've never heard and I'm sure Martin Savidge and our meteorologist who we're going to get to never heard, "unsurvivable" storm surge -- surges.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, look, they were trying to encourage evacuation. And, look, you know, growing up there, you know. People, when they're not in that lifestyle, they are like, why would you not leave?

People are afraid they won't be able to get back. People don't have places to go. They don't have money.

LEMON: You got COVID this time.

CUOMO: And now, you got COVID. People are afraid of it. And you know, the vice president, tonight, said we're in a time of testing.

Yes, but we don't have the tests. During this time of testing, we don't have the rapid tests so that people, like your family down in Baton Rouge, can have the confidence that they'd be able to get quick feedback about where they're going and if they're --

LEMON: Who wants to go to a shelter when you may become exposed to a deadly virus?

CUOMO: So the idea the pandemic is over, no, it's actually affecting people's choices, in real time. But we got to say. You know, Martin Savidge has preternatural calm in that situation.

This shot from his photographer that they're working with, this is the perfect shot. Look at the wind through the light. And that is what is going to change the surrounding there, even in somewhat of a sheltered area.

Don't let his calm belie a sense of calm in the situation. You know, it takes a real seasoned pro to be that calm in that kind of situation. And that shot really shows, even on the outer bounds of a storm, does not mean you're out of trouble and often the duration is longer in the outer bands.

LEMON: Hey, real quick before we get to Tom Sater. I know that Martin is there because I hear him talking.

Martin, can you still hear me?

SAVIDGE: Yes, I'm here. Yes, I can.

LEMON: Even in just the couple of minutes that we've had you on the air here, have you noticed the winds pick up in just that small amount of time?

SAVIDGE: Oh, yes. No, no, it's -- I mean, with every gust that you get, you can tell that it's much more violent. You can actually sense it. And you guys know all of this. You've been out here.

But you feel the pressure, which is the indication that a big blow is coming. So it's sort of a -- the whole body senses this storm. And then comes a huge blast. And then, you see the trees bend and snap.

And just to watch that water go by the lights. That's why we had to come up here. Most of the area around us is black. So it's clear, you've been watching transformers blow.

[02:10:00]

SAVIDGE: And you've been watching sort of the electrical grid around us begin to dissolve, hopefully, just temporarily. But it has stayed on here, which is -- that's what gives you this tremendous view. Otherwise, you would be in the dark.

And that's what's terrifying about these storms. If you can't see it and all you can do is hear it, your mind goes to its darkest and worst places. The visual isn't too far from that, either. This is why you need to leave. Of course, you can't now. But it's a stunning thing to watch.

LEMON: Hey, Martin. I want you to stand by.

Chris, as we keep Martin and this shot up, what do you say we bring our meteorologist in?

CUOMO: Tom Sater. He is in the Weather Center.

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[02:15:00]

LEMON: Tom, I want you to stand by because we've got Martin Savidge who is there, on the ground. We got Tom giving us the deal here. He's the expert.

But I also want to get back to the ground.

Chris, help me out with this and bring in the storm chaser who is out there tonight, and that is --

CUOMO: Aaron Jayjack.

LEMON: He joins us now. He's a MyRadar Storm Chaser in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Aaron, you're familiar to both of us here. You're in Sulphur.

What's the play?

What's up?

AARON JAYJACK, MYRADAR STORM CHASER: It's a big-time storm's coming through right now in Sulphur. We've been getting battered. Hurricane force winds now for probably the last hour, at least. I was up on the fourth floor of this hotel and it's a very harrowing ride up there on the fourth floor.

So I'm down here on the ground level. Behind me, here, you can see power flashes going off. Power's already out here in Sulphur. It's only going to get worse. We're not even in the worst of it, yet.

CUOMO: What have you been seeing in terms of what you have been posting tonight?

JAYJACK: Mostly, it's been a lot of strong winds and rain. I don't think the winds have gotten quite that strong, yet. Where the damage is happening but those winds are just a few miles out. And it's really starting to roar out there. Just a few miles, now, to my south. Coming this way.

The eye's already made its way on shore. It's moving toward Sulphur here. We're about 30 miles inland. So it's quite a ways inland. So it takes a little bit once it crosses shore to get here but it's going to be a wild night, tonight.

LEMON: Storm surge. Anything you can tell us about it?

JAYJACK: I haven't seen any surge here, yet. But I talked to some folks earlier today, talked to some sheriffs and they were referencing Rita and whatnot. And I was trying to do some recon about the surge so I could simply ride this out.

And they're saying the surge hasn't really come up here in the past, with past hurricanes. But this is a different -- you know, every hurricane's different. This is a different beast right now. This might be the strongest one to hit this location, ever.

So you -- you got to be -- you got to play it safe. And I've got some options here. I've got the interstate if I have to, I can get up on that. That's pretty well above sea level. I think we're about 60 feet above sea level here in Sulphur.

Power flash. I'm not too worried about the surge, here. But there could get, you know, a couple feet of water in the parking lots here and around this area.

LEMON: Aaron, be safe.

Aaron's out there all the time for these, Chris, and has helped us out many times. But he is showing you the danger and why people should be evacuated and heed the warnings.

CUOMO: Right. Look. I mean, it's good to have eyes on the ground. It's just so dangerous. I know he and guys like him and their teams, they're ready for this. But you can only prepare for so much.

But it is a valuable service so people can understand what's happening to their communities. And sometimes, it makes it easier for them to evacuate.

All right. Let's add to the mix, now. Let's bring in Tony Guillory. He is the jury president of Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana.

How are you doing there, sir?

TONY GUILLORY, JURY PRESIDENT, CALCASIEU PARISH, LA: Oh, we fighting this -- we fighting this hurricane out here. Very big one.

CUOMO: What are you seeing, so far, where you are?

GUILLORY: A lot of winds. A lot of big, heavy winds. It is blowing really hard, right now. The building that we are in, you can hear it outside. Sounding like a train is coming.

CUOMO: Were you able to get the people out and get people to safety that you needed to?

What do you know about who got out and who stayed?

GUILLORY: We called a mandatory evacuation, yesterday. Most of the people got out. But a lot of 'em did not. We, also, had a bus bringing them to another area in Louisiana for their safety.

But some people did not get out. They're -- we are getting calls in today -- tonight, I mean -- we're getting calls in, saying people that are out there. So there are some people still out there.

LEMON: It's too late now, though, Tony, right?

GUILLORY: It's too late. It's too late. Only thing we can tell them is find a place in their house where they could go to a good safety place.

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LEMON: Tony, let me ask you because I know COVID is a big concern.

Did you get a lot of people -- and I know Calcasieu Parish is vulnerable for hurricanes, all the time, any sort of storm.

Were people concerned about COVID or going to shelters and any of that?

GUILLORY: Yes. We're doing -- on the bus, they only allow like 30 on the bus. The bus will seat 50 but they will space them out. So we were looking at COVID concerns, also, in that. Over here, in the building, everybody's walking around with their mask on. So that's one big thing also because Louisiana was high at one time for COVID.

LEMON: Wow. Tony Guillory, thank you, sir.

GUILLORY: Thank you, all, for everything you do. Thank you all.

LEMON: We really appreciate you joining us. Be safe.

CUOMO: Also, as you figure out what you need there, Mr. Guillory, know that if it's on our watch for the next hour or so, we're here and for days to come. What you need, let us know; we can get word out. OK?

LEMON: Yes.

GUILLORY: Thank you all. Thank you. LEMON: Here we are, Chris. Monster Hurricane. We've got unrest in

Wisconsin. Unrest in the Midwest. A deadly pandemic. All of that, hanging over the third night of the Republican convention. A night full of misleading claims. It's fact-check time.

It's a very serious time in this country and we've got to fact check it. We're going to do it all for you, next. Don't go anywhere.

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CUOMO: Got a natural disaster down south, in Louisiana and Texas. A massive hurricane. And you got a manmade disaster in Wisconsin. And all of it hangs over the third night of the Republican convention.

This is what leadership is about, Don.

LEMON: Yes, it is. And, listen. And don't forget that we have this pandemic which, really, not getting a lot of addressing at the Republican National Convention.

CUOMO: Can you imagine that we're living in a time where you have to say, don't forget about the pandemic?

LEMON: The pandemic. With almost 180,000 people dead. And members of the Trump administration speaking about it, in -- in past tense.

CUOMO: No masks. No testing.

LEMON: Look at all those people. Was this social distancing?

Right here. Was this -- where are the -- look at the people in this crowd.

CUOMO: It's because it's over, Don. We're past it. Everything's good, now.

LEMON: We've got Daniel Dale here and former Congress woman Mia Love, also Kirsten Powers.

Good evening, one and all. Good to see you.

You want to start, Chris?

Or you want me to?

CUOMO: Yes, sir.

Daniel, enough with Don.

No, I'm kidding. Listen to vice president Pence in his speech tonight.

Do you judge this claim about Trump helping out veterans as factual or misleading?

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And after years of scandal, that robbed our veterans of the care that you earned in the uniform of the United States, President Trump kept his word again. We reformed the VA and Veterans Choice is now available for every veteran in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Daniel?

DANIEL DALE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Trump, himself, has told this lie and it's a lie, literally, more than 150 times as president. I've counted.

Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014. What Trump did do was sign another law, called the VA Mission Act, that modified and expanded the Choice program. But still, not every veteran is eligible.

There are eligibility criteria for this program, which allows certain veterans to get covered for seeing private doctors outside the VA system. So, no, it's untrue when Trump says it. It's untrue when Pence says it.

CUOMO: Now, Don, you may enter the conversation.

LEMON: Well, I was just going to say don't let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?

Daniel, part of the law-and-order messaging, tonight, that Pence spoke about, spoke about an officer killed in a riot in Oakland, California. That is not exactly what happened.

Can you, please, give us the details?

DALE: It's not -- so this is an example of how you can be dishonest without even making a direct claim. So when vice president Pence talks about a police officer killed in a riot in Oakland, California, you probably think Black Lives Matter was the perpetrator or Antifa or someone on the Left.

In fact, the person charged with this murder is allegedly affiliated with the far right extremist Boogaloo movement that seeks to kill police officers and take other actions to foment a second civil war or a race war. They're trying to use these protests as cover for their own ends.

So again, Pence didn't directly say, you know, this was a left winger. But I think that was the clear inference and it's just wrong.

CUOMO: That's how I took it. I mean, it is dirty pool. All right. So Daniel, thank you very much.

Kirsten, the case was being made, in this night of the convention, for women. You had Lara Trump, Kayleigh McEnany and then, you also had Kellyanne Conway, who offered this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: For decades, he has elevated women to senior positions in business and in government. He confides in and consults us, respects our opinions and insists that we are on equal footing with the men.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Does that work?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there -- obviously, so much of the convention has been targeted towards Republican women that they're worried about, suburban women that they're worried about losing.

So I think that a lot of the things they're doing, including talking about how much he loves women and how much he elevates women, I think they're exaggerating it a bit, in terms of comparing him to other administrations.

You know, I don't know that this is necessarily something that's going to make that big of a difference with the women voters.

I think the thing that, actually, is more effective is the fact that they are portraying the party as a party that's very -- has a lot of outreach and openness to people of color. Particularly, they had a lot of Black men tonight.

And I think that gives permission to some white suburban women voters, who are very uncomfortable with the racial demagoguery that comes from the president. And it could give them the sense that, well, maybe, he's not as bad as they think he is.

LEMON: All right, Mia, this is -- I want you to listen to this. This is from Black Voices for Trump rep Jack Brewer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK BREWER, MEMBER, "BLACK VOICES FOR TRUMP": Republicans are the party that freed the slaves and the party that put the first black men and women in Congress.

It's the party of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. And now Tim Scott, and Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: There's a lot to unpack there. But what we didn't hear tonight was much about the reckoning over racial justice in this country. Isn't that a problem?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes. You certainly want somebody to mention Jacob Blake who's in the hospital, you want people to mention that.

But the clip that you played, I have to say, could be pretty moving to some people. There was an actual effort to go out and say this is OK.

And one of the things that he said, in terms of this is OK, it's OK for black people to vote for Donald Trump.

One of the things that he said that I thought was pretty compelling was it's time to prioritize policy over personality. And one of the big issues that a lot of, especially Republicans have, is the personality issue.

The issue where he can go out and be as brash as possible -- this man, Jack Brewer, was actually making a case for saying it's perfectly fine to vote for him. Because the policies need to overshadow the personality.

LEMON: I understand that. But I don't understand what the policies -- what policies that he, that this president has enacted --

LOVE: Well, it --

LEMON: -- that helps african Americans, specifically.

Because especially when it comes to health care in this COVID time, we need that more than ever. And they have done everything they can to strip health care, and the Affordable Care Act that helps minorities. I don't see how that helps.

LOVE: I am not -- I am not, again, I'm not (inaudible) to think about and talk about --

LEMON: You're not here to defend the --

LOVE: Right. But the things that --

LEMON: But the -- I'm casting that out for everybody.

LOVE: -- I believe that he's talking about that other people -- yes. What I'm trying to say is that there are some things, for instance, criminal justice reform that he signed into law that a lot of people are supportive.

The HBCUs that he funded. Those are -- and Jack Brewer actually talked about school choice, and trying to get as many people, as many black families, into having a decent education. So changing what's happening in Black America.

So those are the particular things that he was talking about. LEMON: Well, you answered the question perfectly. You answered it

perfectly. So.

CUOMO: It's also a little duplicitous --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- to talk about Republicans as if they've always been the same party.

LOVE: Right.

CUOMO: To look at what happened with Republicans in the South during the time of abolition, and look at what's changed in that party over time, Kirsten -- I think it's a fair counter to say, yeah, that Republican Party. Not this one.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the thing to -- if you look at the historical accuracy of it, it was progressives who did the things.

CUOMO: Right.

POWERS: They happened -- some of them happened to be Republicans. They weren't all Republicans but -- and then the democrats were the Southern Democrats. And yes, they were very racist. And guess what? A lot of them became Republicans later on.

CUOMO: Trump is fighting to keep confederate names on bases and keep the monuments. And keep the confederate flag. I mean, c'mon.

POWERS: Yes, it's not -- it's very misleading. And I think that in terms of -- the thing that I found the most offensive tonight was the fact that there was no discussion of what's happening in Wisconsin.

And the fact that you have --

CUOMO: Except for the riots.

POWERS: -- a white vigilante, a white vigilante, go and murder two people, and that does not merit any kind of mention,

And yet you have the vice president talking about law and order. How is that law and order?

This person is -- it's criminal behavior, right, that has occurred. Where they've gone in and shot somebody. And then the police -- which you guys have been talking about all night -- the system broke down every step of the way.

This is somebody who was able to actually leave the state after he was walking -- there are two dead people. He could have potentially been even more murderous. He could have gone on and killed more people, right?

CUOMO: Sure. POWERS: It's just -- there are so many things that are wrong with this. And yet, we're told that what we're supposed to be scared of are protesters.

And we're supposed to be scared of Joe Biden's America, where people want justice when an innocent black man is murdered by a police officer.

LEMON: Yes. Well, thank you all. I appreciate it. And Chris, I'm sure, appreciates as well.

We'll truck on here. Thank you very much. We'll continue on.

[02:35:00]

Hey, Chris. I just want to say something that is a little unusual here.

I happened to see Kellyanne Conway tonight. And as you know, Kellyanne Conway and I haven't always agreed eye to eye on things.

But I have to say that I do have to commit her for what she's doing with her family. And not many people who have positions as high as -- vaunted positions as she has and her husband, and especially men, would step back to take care of their family.

And I think she's doing the right thing, and I think she should be commended for that.

Don't necessarily agree with everything she says, and even the policies that she is standing by in this president, but she's doing the right thing in this moment.

She's being a good mother. And I think many people could follow her lead on that.

There are times when I wish that my parents would have spent more time with me when I was a kid, but they were working and trying to make ends meet. I understand that.

But I think that she's doing the right thing. And I actually wish her well.

CUOMO: I think you could benefit from more parenting now.

LEMON: Yes. Well, I -- right. And so can you.

CUOMO: She said -- it's too late for me. She stepped back, her husband stepped back also.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Look, she's been a friend of mine for a very long time. And you know how I feel about her -- I know she'll respect what you're saying, especially that you're saying it publicly.

But, I've always felt like I don't cover her marriage -- yes, because she's my friend. But also because --

LEMON: I'm not even talking about that.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: I don't think it should even be brought up.

CUOMO: Right. I've always left it alone.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But you know what, it is interesting insight into the strains of public life.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: It is not glitz and glamor, especially in politics. There's a lot of pain, there's a lot of rawness, there's a lot of compromise. And I know what you're saying, she made the choices.

Yes. But you know what, the idea that your family life is going to be compromised by political choices and the pressure that's put on your family and how people feel, it's rough.

But let me tell you something about her. She is going to be successful every step of the way. I've got no concerns about that.

LEMON: I don't disagree with you. She's a very bright woman. And listen, I'm not talking about her personal --

CUOMO: And she's always cared about her kids. She is family first.

LEMON: I want to get the straight, though. I'm not talking about her personal -- her marriage is her business, I don't think it should be in the news.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Her kids should be off limits. All I'm saying is, is that she's been out there, she did an interview about it today. It's the only reason I'm bringing it up. And I think she's doing the right thing.

Her personal affairs, her family, her husband, her marriage, her children, her business. Should not be brought into the spotlight.

CUOMO: I don't even like the way people covered the kid.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I know she's out there on social media.

LEMON: We haven't covered it, I haven't talked about it.

CUOMO: But I really believe that -- we always say we leave the kids alone. I think we have to start extending that rule to -- even when the kid gets in our face on social media --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I think you should look at whose kid they there, think about how that projection is going to matter, and make different choices as a media.

But she's doing it especially at a really interesting time. This president, he would not be there --

LEMON: Without her.

CUOMO: -- if it weren't for Kellyanne Conway.

LEMON: We know that. Because we watched it all.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: It happened in real-time, as we were covering it in the 2016 --

CUOMO: She's a real tactician, she really is. I know she's controversial, but I appreciate what you have to say. I'm sure she will also.

LEMON: So, listen, Republicans are doubling down on their law and order message tonight at the RNC after the unrest in Kenosha. But are they forgetting that unrest is happening under -- this is the Trump presidency, it's on his watch.

I think they're forgetting that. We'll discuss.

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CUOMO: Republicans are doubling down on law in order in the face of racial unrest in America as if they forgotten all of this is playing out under President Trump.

I want to bring in Mike Shields.

Now, Mike, you and I don't always agree. But as I've been telling people all day, I respect you, which is why have you on the show.

I wish you well. I wish your family well, even because --

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Me too. (Inaudible).

CUOMO: -- I'm going to test your ideas. You know I wish you nothing but the best. You know that.

So thank you for being on here again tonight.

I was surprised. Mike Pence gives a good speech. He's got good political skills, maybe better in terms of communicating presentation than the president. So that's good to have on a ticket.

For him to go at Joe Biden tonight and say you're not talking about what's happening on the streets in America, fine. But neither was he.

What happened in Kenosha with these militia guys -- and maybe the guy's a Trump supporter, maybe he isn't, I don't know -- they're just allegations at this point. Why didn't he mention it?

SHIELDS: Well, he talked about violence on the streets. This is violence on the streets. And I think for one thing, we don't know everything that happened --

CUOMO: True.

SHIELDS: And secondly, to call it one specific incident in this. Look, this kid is under arrest for homicide and he should be prosecuted to the full length of the law. It's absolutely terrible what he did.

He should be condemned, there should be no vigilantes -- they shouldn't even be out there, there's supposed to be a curfew.

CUOMO: Let alone having the cops give him a pat on the back.

CUOMO: So the Kenosha police shouldn't allow any of these people --

CUOMO: And giving him water. And letting him walk down the street --

SHIELDS: I -- well --

CUOMO: -- with a long gun after he killed somebody, allegedly.

SHIELDS: Yes. I don't understand it. I think this -- the purpose of what President Trump and Vice President Pence are talking about is all of it, all of this should be not happening.

There should be lockdowns, there should be curfews. We should be -- mayors should have the courage to send their police in, not give up --

CUOMO: I hear you, Mike.

POWERS: -- whole neighborhoods in (inaudible) city (ph).

CUOMO: Let's bring in Tara Setaya.

SHIELDS: (Inaudible) should have the courage -- they should condemn it.

CUOMO: Listen --

SHIELDS: They should condemn all of the violence.

CUOMO: Well -- but look, you have to -- there's context. Context matters.

Tara, it is not a coincidence that Mike Pence doesn't talk about it and then state TV does and they say, what did you think was going to happen, Tara? The cops aren't doing their job, the local politicians stepped back.

Are you really surprised that these militia guys with the guns didn't clean up the neighborhood? Somebody has to. What do you think of this?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've got to tell you, Chris. When I saw the framing of what's going on in Kenosha county, what happened with that shooting, I was very alarmed by it. Because it is so disingenuous.

Carl Bernstein on CNN made a comment a couple of days ago about a cold Civil War going on in this country. And I thought that was a very poignant point.

That's what's happening right now, there's a cold Civil War.

And when you hear the demagoguery coming out of other channels and coming out of this administration over what's going on, that's how a cold Civil War turns hot.

It is irresponsible for the president of the United States, for the vice president and for their acolytes to not put these things in context. To your point.

They're just throwing gasoline, kerosene on the fire when there's a lot of nuance involved in all of this.

[02:45:00]

CUOMO: But Mike --

SETAYA: There's (inaudible) --

CUOMO: Mike is shaking his head right now.

SETAYA: (Inaudible).

CUOMO: But speak to that point, Mike. Because Tara's point is distilled for you in terms of, you guys want the riots to be the problem in this country instead of a symptom of a problem that you guys won't even discuss.

Mike Pence said tonight there's no systemic racism in America.

SHIELDS: Look, I think that the people pouring gasoline on the situation are people pouring gasoline on buildings. That's what's happening. And --

CUOMO: Many of them are outside insurgents and opportunists.

SHIELDS: And there is a responsibility of a governor --

CUOMO: And some are desperate --

SHIELDS: Hang on a second, Chris.

CUOMO: -- who you're not talking to. Go ahead, Mike. Finish.

SHIELDS: Well, look for peaceful protests getting into good trouble, as John Lewis said, is an American ideal, I support it. I cherish it.

I may not agree with people but I defend their right to go on the street and say what they want or boycott their NBA game to the end of my life. I hundred percent agree with that.

But when people turn it into violence and you start having anarchy -- there are people on the left and people on the far right that don't want peace.

They want to shoot at each other, they want to do what Tara's talking about.

CUOMO: Nobody thinks rioting is a good thing.

SHIELDS: And it is responsibility of governors and mayors --

CUOMO: Everybody knows that it's criminal.

SHIELDS: -- to stop it immediately.

CUOMO: Everybody knows it's criminal.

SETAYA: But --

CUOMO: Everybody knows you surrender your high ground and you become what you oppose.

But to say that that's the problem and not a symptom -- Tara, last word.

SHIELDS: That's the immediate problem.

SETAYA: Yes. But here's the --

SHIELDS: You can't get to the symptom until you solve that first.

CUOMO: No, the racism is the immediate problem.

SETAYA: Yes, here's the problem --

CUOMO: This white guy getting a pass --

SHIELDS: Sure.

CUOMO: -- is the immediate -- Tara, last word to you.

SETAYA: Yes. Here's the problem. If the Trump Administration and Trump framed it the way Mike did then maybe we could have an honest conversation about it.

But they're not. They're trying to act like there aren't agitators on both sides of this that are going on. When you hear that militia groups are rounding up and telling people

to go pick up arms to protect their property and X, Y and Z, that's a problem.

And Trump doesn't condemn them. You don't ever hear him say anything about the far-right groups. You don't hear them say that. And that's going on.

And that is what creates this environment (inaudible) the violent --

SHIELDS: But, Tara, Democrats aren't condemning the other side.

SETAYA: This administration is not honest about that.

SHIELDS: We need them to speak up. Democratic governors need to speak up and send in police --

CUOMO: Sure.

SETAYA: I don't disagree, Mike.

SHIELDS: -- instead of giving up whole neighborhoods.

SETAYA: You know what? I actually don't disagree with you. I think that the way that some people are handling this and not speaking out against the violence enough helps Donald Trump.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

SETAYA: That's a whole different discussion.

CUOMO: You see it in polls.

SHIELDS: No question.

SETAYA: But you need to be honest about what's going on here.

CUOMO: Especially -- but it's why it helps.

SETAYA: Correct.

CUOMO: He is feeding and fomenting white insecurity and fear that the black man is coming. And Cory Booker's going to lead the way.

SETAYA: That's right.

CUOMO: And it's a dangerous message, Mike. I got to leave it here --

SHIELDS: This predates Donald Trump. The idea that this started --

CUOMO: Yes. But you know what --

SETAYA: Yes.

SHIELDS: It's four years to the day that --

CUOMO: -- there's a reason it's heating up on his watch.

SETAYA: And the strategy --

SHIELDS: -- Colin Kaepernick started his protest.

SETAYA: -- predates Donald Trump.

SHIELDS: And that was under Barack Obama's presidency.

SETAYA: It's the Nixon strategy, it's the southern strategy.

CUOMO: Right.

SETAYA: The racist southern strategy of 1968 of law and order.

CUOMO: And --

SETAYA: To Chris's point. The fear of black crime.

CUOMO: Right.

SETAYA: And you know this. It's verbatim out of the southern strategy book.

CUOMO: And --

SETAYA: Verbatim out of law and order playbook by Nixon where they played on white grievance and fear of black crime. And that is -- that should not be going on in 2020.

Because all that's doing is a political expediency for the president. And it hurts America. And it's not the problem.

SHIELDS: You know what, if Democrat governors and mayors would shut the violence down, your argument would have a lot of credibility with the American voters.

They're not seeing that happen. They're not seeing this being put down.

They're scared because they are watching mayors go, I'm scared of being called racist if I send the police in so I'm just going to let Chicago be looted --

CUOMO: First of all --

SHIELDS: -- and we're just going to put the bridges up --

CUOMO: -- there are plenty of police there.

SHIELDS: -- and hope for the best.

CUOMO: And now the country is getting --

SHIELDS: And that scares people. CUOMO: Now the country is getting to watch as Mike Pence and Donald

Trump ignore a Trump supporter, white militia guy, allegedly shoot and kill people. And they don't even speak to it.

But you are right about one thing. This is the four-year anniversary of Kaepernick.

Trump was all over him for kneeling, said it wasn't necessary. There was no cause. And look at where we are now. And look what's acceptable (ph).

SETAYA: It's law and order --

SHIELDS: Barack Obama was president when he did that.

SETAYA: It's law and order but it's --

SHIELDS: He was speaking out against racial injustice during the last administration.

SETAYA: It's law and order when --

CUOMO: Yes, right.

SHIELDS: That's my point.

SETAYA: Listen, it's law and order for them when it's something like this but not law and order when it comes to the president of the United States and all the people around him who are going to jail --

CUOMO: Yes.

SETAYA: -- who aren't following law and order. It doesn't apply to the president of the United States when he's doing things that are impeachable. But it's about a law and order presidency.

CUOMO: Look --

SETAYA: The hypocrisy is astounding.

CUOMO: -- that's what this election's about. It's going to be decided in November. We'll be having this conversation a lot, and it needs to be had.

And I appreciate both of you being part of it.

SHIELDS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: We get nowhere if we're just listening to ourselves talk. Got a listen to everybody in this and I appreciate you both.

Tara, it's good to see you. Mike, it's good to see you again.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:50:00]

CUOMO: As Wisconsin goes, so goes the election? Provocative question.

But voters there put Trump over the top in 2016. Let's bring in the Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten.

He sees something in the numbers there when it comes to the intersection of political and social struggles. Tell us.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SNR. POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: So, essentially, Chris -- look, obviously we've had these racial protests after George Floyd's murder, a killing back in May.

And what we've seen in the numbers is a number of things. Not the least of which is those protests have become significantly less popular over time.

Back in June, the net approval rating was plus 27 points in Wisconsin among likely voters about those protests.

That just dropped down to minus one point, into negative territory earlier this month in the state of Wisconsin, where obviously you have the protests going on now.

And more than that, you see it in the Black Lives Matter favorable ratings as well. Although the movement is still net positive at plus 10 percentage points, back in June it was plus 33 percentage points.

So we've clearly seen that the protests and the reaction to those protests have sort of drained the support of those protests and the larger Black Lives Matter movement in a pivotal state like Wisconsin.

CUOMO: And as it shrinks, what happens to Biden's lead?

ENTEN: Yes. And this, I think is also key, right. What we've seen is Biden's lead among likely voters get slashed in half in the state of Wisconsin.

Look, he's still ahead there, but it was eight points back in June, it's down to four points in August.

And why does this matter? That's always the question you ask me. Why does this matter ?

It's because the state of Wisconsin is going to be pivotal in this election.

There are a number of sites that run these simulations. How often does a candidate win if they win a certain state.

If Joe Biden wins in the state of Wisconsin, he wins the presidency around 90 percent of the time. But if he loses, he only wins around 30 percent of the time. So Wisconsin, where the protests are going on right now in Kenosha is just so important in understanding who will win the presidential election come November.

LEMON: Harry Enten, well done and economically done. And thank you. Get some sleep, my friend.

ENTEN: You too, my friend.

CUOMO: Hurricane Laura is going to keep a lot of people sleepless tonight.

It's making landfall on our watch. We're live in the storm zone. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:55:00]

(CNN HIGHLIGHT)

ERIN THOMPSON: My name is Erin Thompson, I am from Melbourne, Australia. And I am an executive assistant at a corporate law firm.

We actually started working from home about 10th of March and we haven't gone back since.

I tend to be a bit of an introvert so in the first lockdown I was quite happy. I'm like oh, I never thought I'd be able to work from home as a legal assistant. That just never would have been a option that would've been considered.

So I was really loving working from home, not having to commute into the city. Having the convenience of being able to do workouts during the day like in my lunch break.

But definitely in this second lockdown, it's gotten a little bit tiring.

And even as an introvert, I'm feeling that like oh, I wish I could be back in the office and all the banter that we normally have not going on there.

It's definitely been hard to not see friends and family, especially my mom and dad. They're pretty close, they are only a 20-minute drive away. So that's tough.

But they're also in their seventies so they're in a high-risk category. So yes, I reminded them that I can't come and see them.

Friends, we've organized zoom chats so that's been handy but of course, it's not the same as actually catching up with your friends.

So yes, I'm definitely feeling it. At the moment.

LEMON: All right. Straight away to the Gulf Coast for the latest on Hurricane Laura which has made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, by the way.

Wilmer, Texas also in the path of this very devastating storm.

Our meteorologist and weather anchor, Derek Van Dam, is there. Derek, hello, what are you seeing?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, well we're really starting to -- conditions go downhill here in Beaumont, Texas.

We have had tropical to hurricane-force gusts for the past

two hours or so. And we've seen breakers break -- blowing in the background behind us,

flickering lights. Fortunately, we have about 50 percent power here but we can't say the same about residents in Louisiana and the extreme southeastern Texas.

Because we've seen numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and that is only going to skyrocket.

We keep talking about Interstate 10, which is directly over my shoulder here.

That's closed from the Texas and Louisiana border all the way through Lafayette, Louisiana.

And, of course, that's a major evacuation but that's no longer an option for people as the storm continues to race through the central parts of Louisiana.

This is hitting in the dark of night and that is why the storm is particularly dangerous.

Because people have the potential to get woken up if they did not evacuate --

LEMON: Yes. And --

VAN DAM: -- and have to deal with what is actually occurring outside.

LEMON: And --

VAN DAM: It's tomorrow morning when the sun rises when we'll get a full scope of the flooding here. And we'll out to go see it and report on it too.

LEMON: And it's going to be a rude awakening.