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House Cancels Thursday Session Over Concerns Of New Attack; D.C. National Guard Chief Testifies On Failures Of January 6th Attack; House Passes Sweeping Bill That Expands Voting Rights; The GOP Pushing The Big Lie In A Desperate Effort To Get Power; A Closely Reported Look At Joe Biden's 'Lucky' Path To The White House; Pentagon Reports Rep. Jackson Made Sexual Comment, Broke Alcohol Policy While Working As White House Doctor; Roger Stone Dances In Pro-Trump Music Video. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired March 3, 2021 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): So the Capitol is on high alert tonight over potential new threats. The FBI and Homeland Security warning of increased chatter among extremists about a possible plot to breach the Capitol tomorrow, March 4th over an absurd QAnon conspiracy theory that Donald Trump will be inaugurated again tomorrow.
House leadership taking the potential threats very seriously cancelling tomorrow's session and at a Senate hearing on security failures at the Capitol on January 6, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard testifying he was frustrated and stunned that it took more than three hours to get permission to deploy the guard.
Joining me now is former FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He is the author of The threat: how the FBI protects America in the age of terror and Trump. And former Washington, D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey. So good to have both of you on. Great expertise among both of you.
So, listen, Andrew, good evening, I'm going to start with you, Andrew. The House is cancelling tomorrow's session because of this potential plot to breach the Capitol. We are told there is concerning intelligence, and that's a quote, about the new -- the next few days, I should say. How do you assess the threat level?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR (on camera): Well, Don, I think what you're seeing here is a very understandable kind of re-calibration among the law enforcement and Intelligence community to what they are hearing in publicly available chatter on social media groups, things like that.
Because obviously there had been a lot of criticism about how they handled some of that same sort of chatter leading up to the January 6th riot, and I think what you're seeing now is an over-abundance of caution. Folks are taking that sort of information very seriously.
They're passing it along to Congressional leadership, and everybody is taking the sort of precautions that had we done that on January 6 or on January 5th, we may have been in a much better situation. So I think it's a responsible way to handle this information.
LEMON: But Andrew, you still have Republicans continuing to push the big lie of election fraud, a stolen election conspiracies, about fake Trump supporters. Have they learned nothing from what happened?
MCCABE: Well, there is no doubt that sort of -- they are continuing to perpetuate this lie. It's having the effect of fanning the flames and encouraging this sort of conspiratorial belief, this wild kind of obsession with a false grievance of having had the election stolen from them. It's really making the situation worse in a way that I think is dangerous and irresponsible.
LEMON: Chief Ramsey, I want to bring you in here because Capitol police said that they have made significant security upgrades including adding a physical structure and more manpower. Do you feel confident that they'll be prepared for whatever could happen?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on camera): I think they'll be prepared for tomorrow. Not only will the Capitol police be on full alert, but certainly the metropolitan police. And you have about 5,000 National Guards men that are still there. So, I think tomorrow will be fine. But you can't continue in that posture forever.
And so there's going to have to be some real changes in terms of security around the Capitol. Some physical, I know they're talking about perhaps increasing the number of personnel they have.
But something has to be done on a more permanent basis because this threat isn't going to go away. And while I'm at it, I would also suggest and I believe they probably have, but enhances security around the White House. You know, the more you hardened one target, the softer another target looks.
And I think we learned on January 6 that we can no longer afford to think that something could never happen. We never thought that someone would be able to breach the Capitol the way they did. I think the White House is vulnerable as well. So, I would pay attention to any high-profile federal building, but in particular those two.
LEMON: Interesting, interesting. Andrew, the acting House Sergeant at Arms told lawmakers in a memo obtained by CNN that the significance of tomorrow has reportedly declined recently. If that is the case, then why do you think that would happen? Why might that be?
MCCABE: Well, I think it's likely that as they get closer to this big day that they've all been planning for, the QAnon folks and others still inexplicably believe this conspiracy theories, as they get closer and closer to the day, they're kind of opening up to the realization that it might not actually happen for them.
So, it's not surprising that some people would start falling off this conspiracy train as the date gets closer. I think another important point here is to point out that there is no major planned rally or demonstration in the Capitol tomorrow that would bring a large group of people into D.C. That could maybe take our security forces by surprise.
So, you know, if anything starts to assemble, they're going to have a much better chance to kind of see it coming. So, I think we're set up for a pretty mundane and safe day tomorrow.
LEMON: I want to get what you thought about the National Guard taking, what, you know, what -- three hours -- it took three hours to get approval for the National Guard to deploy. Who is to blame for that, Andrew?
MCCABE: Well, I mean, there's no question, Don, that the folks in charge, the DOD it sounds like the secretary of the army was right in the middle of making that decision to withhold the authority to deploy the quick response force. Essentially, he took that authority away from the D.C. Guard commander, and that's a decision that he is going to have to explain.
Maybe it was a fear of optics of having National Guard troops, you know, fighting with protesters on the ground at the Capitol. Maybe it was politics. Maybe it was something we don't know. But there's really a hard questions that need to be asked of him and his staff to get to the bottom of it.
LEMON: Chief Ramsey, what's that look on your face for, what are you thinking?
RAMSEY: Well, whenever they talk about the optics. I mean, the optics of hundreds of people storming the Capitol and breaking in, that wasn't too good either. So I'd rather have the optic of the police and the guards fighting them off than having of just overwhelm the entire building and walk through it with the confederate flag and the various other types of things that we saw take place on the 6th of January. I think that argument is ridiculous.
LEMON: Chief Ramsey, the head of the D.C. National Guard saying that there were unusual restrictions by the Pentagon that prevented him from sending in troops earlier. But those restrictions were not in place last year during the Black Lives Matter protest. They didn't see these, you know, white Trump supporting domestic terrorists as a threat. Why is that?
RAMSEY: Well, I don't know why that is. I mean, I think everybody will draw their own conclusions. I don't know for certain. But I think the perception of who poses a threat is a reality that we have to come to grips with. I think the fact that you had the president of the United States whipping up this crowd on the 6th of January made people hesitant to take strong action perhaps because he was behind it.
I don't know what actually drove that, but clearly there was a different response in the summer versus January 6th. I think a commission has to be established to get to the bottom of this to get to the truth. It's not going to happen with Senate hearings. I mean, all these Senators, they put their own political spin on stuff. If you want the truth, then you've got to put a credible group of
people together to take a deep dive. Have subpoena power, call witnesses, take depositions, just like the 9/11 commission. That's the only way we're going to know what happened and why.
LEMON: Andrew, Charles, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. I want to bring in now the former assistant secretary of Homeland Security Elizabeth Neumann. Thank you for joining us, secretary. I appreciate that. You study these extremists very closely. What do you think that they could do tomorrow if they do show up?
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, THREAT PREVENTION AND SECURITY POLICY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND AND SECURITY (on camera): Oh, I tend to agree with Director McCabe. I'm not anticipating that we're actually going to see some sort of coordinated attack. That said, I am very concerned that because there are people trying to instigate or encourage attacks tomorrow that you may end up with an individual or a small group attempt to do something.
But I don't think we're looking at anything of the scale and the size of what we saw on January 6th. We do know that there are disagreements among QAnon adherents as to whether or not to mount an offensive. There are people that believe that this is an attempt to date them. There are people that believe that it's a false flag operation.
And then you also are seeing neo-Nazi groups trying to incite, not directly, they're not telling them that's what they're doing, but they're kind of laying a trail trying to encourage a QAnon adherent or a MAGA type to take up arms tomorrow. So there's a variety of things going on mind, but it's very different than January 6.
And it's just exactly what Director McCabe said. There is no consolidated event. There is not a particular time and place and target and they don't have Donald Trump as their ring leader telling them where to go and when to go. So for all of those reasons, I am not as concerned about tomorrow. I think we still need to be vigilant as the police chief said.
The soft targets need to be very vigilant. This is a time when you might see somebody try to target infrastructure or try to target members of the tech community that had been particularly, you know, certainly receiving their fair share of attacks verbally on some of these conservative sites for some of the actions over the last few weeks. So, it's still a heightened threat period. I'm not concerned that we are going to see something like we saw on January 6 tomorrow though.
LEMON: Every time I see the video of these racist idiot terrorists, domestic terrorists -- it's like I've seen it the first time. Clearly Trump is not going to be inaugurated tomorrow. Will that make QAnon supporters question the conspiracy theories or will they just find another date to latch onto?
NEUMANN: You are starting to see some people break off. You are starting to see people get that they've been conned. But then, you know, there are so many others that just believe in the overall mission of what Q stands for, saving the children and overthrowing the deep state and taking down the evil cabal of pedophiles and Democrats.
And so, some of that, they'll just spin into the next conspiracy. And you've actually heard people on some of the chat rooms say, no, no, let's not focus on March 4 because they recognize that if it's another failure of their conspiracy coming to fruition, they're likely to lose followers.
So whoever is orchestrating kind of the psychological operation behind the QAnon phenomenon seems to recognize that the series of false advertisements is hurting their movement and they seem to be trying to back away from dates? But that hasn't stopped some to still very much focus on March 4th being perhaps this great moment where Donald Trump finally returns.
LEMON: Elizabeth Neumann, always appreciate it. Thank you so much.
NEUMANN: Thanks for having me.
LEMON (on camera): So, it's all about power and the big lie. The GOP trying to make it harder for black and brown people to vote in a desperate effort to get back into power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER KREBS, FORMER DIRECTOR U.S. CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: Every single night when somebody is out there pushing some aspect of the big lie, and really even when you hear phrases like election irregularities, that's just a dog whistle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The battles that will define the next election is already in full swing. House Democrats moments ago passing the for the people act known as HR-1, a sweeping bill that expands voting rights. But Republicans in statehouses across the country are trying to do the opposite, pushing legislation that would make it harder to vote, more than 250 bills in 43 states to limit voting rights.
And a lot of those restrictions will have a big impact on black Americans who have been fighting for voting rights for generations. Democrats under pressure to fight back and pass legislations that will expand voting rights like HR-1.
CNN's senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, writing in the Atlantic, if the party doesn't pass new protections it could lose the House, Senate and White House within the next four years. Ron Brownstein joins me now along with the Cornel West, professor of public philosophy at Harvard. Gentlemen, so good to have you on. Your Atlantic article is amazing
and you are always amazing as well, professor. So, I'm going to start with you, Ron. Your article, it really raises the alarm. You say that what happens over voting rights could be a turning point in U.S. Democracy. House Democrats just passed HR-1 as I mentioned, but there is a looming fight. Are they willing to pull out all the stops to expand voting rights instead of having it restricted in statehouses across the country?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AND SENIOR EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC (on camera): So far, the answer is most Democrats are, but maybe not enough. We just don't know if Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema will be willing to curtail or end the filibuster to allow the Senate to pass legislation establishing a nationwide floor of voting rights, even in the teeth of this effort by Republicans across the country, which is probably, Don, the most widespread and sustained effort to roll back the right to vote since the Jim Crow era in the south, just before the voting rights acts.
And you know, what's really striking is that it is this proceeding, many of the states in which it is proceeding most aggressively, whether it's Georgia or Arizona or Texas or Florida are states where a majority of everybody whose age is the electorate since 2016, a majority of the kids who turned 18 since 2016 are kids of color.
And so, I think what you're seeing is Republicans trying to stack sand bags against that rising demographic tied in these states. And the question is whether Democrats will take what maybe their last chance between now and 2022 to establish a nationwide floor of voting rights that stops this towering wave of voter suppression.
LEMON: So Professor West, listen, we've discussed these issues before. But not, you know, this is happening now, right? And this is frightening. These bills are just beyond outrageous. The one that passed in Georgia in the Georgia House this week limits early voting on weekends, requires more identification for absentee voting, restrict drop boxes. This is going to disproportionately affect black Americans. Are we entering a new Jim Crow era?
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC PHILOSOPHY HARVARD UNIVERSITY (on camera): Well, you know, and thank Brother Ron for his contributions on this. And happy birthday to you, brother. I know you had a birthday on Monday and you shared a birthday with the great Harry Belafonte who was born in Jim Crow. He's elegant (inaudible) teach us something namely that the backlash is real. There's no doubt about that.
You talked about the big lie in terms of the election. The bigger lie is white supremacy, my brother. There's various ways in which white supremacy develops, reshapes, refashions itself, not just engage in voter suppression of black voters, but not -- to not allow us to have a vision so we can have a multi-racial solidarity to change this nation in the name of poor and working people disproportionately black, brown and indigenous, but it cuts across the board, my brother. LEMON: Republicans admitted, professor, just this week in the
(inaudible) hearing that making it harder to vote is what they need, that they have to do that in order to win. You know, they said, because this puts us at a disadvantage and that's why we want to change these things. You know, I'm paraphrasing here, but that was almost a direct quote. What does it say that they are willing to embrace, racist policies in order to achieve that?
WEST: Well, my brother, you and I know that, we're not surprised by evil or paralyzed by despair. That they supported a neo fascist gangster. So that they have no deep commitment to democracy. This is cruel power. This makes Mack -- Machiavelli (ph) found in his grave. Because he keep what in his crew.
He won this (inaudible). So at this point, they would allow for the democracy itself to collapse in the nape of power and in the name of greed. But we shouldn't be surprised. We got to arm ourselves, Brother Ron's insights, variety of other insights, how do we ensure both the preservation of what the left of the democracy and then it's expansion of it.
LEMON: Ron, you point out that -- go ahead, what did you want to say?
BROWNSTEIN: I was going to say that that's why this moment is so critical. I mean, if you look at the Supreme Court, the 63 Republican Supreme Court, they are not going to put a break or erect an obstacle to what Republicans are doing in the states. If you look at the states that are moving to suppress the votes, they are mostly placed where Republicans hold the upper hand now with a coalition based on older white voters.
And as I said, they are trying to create these barriers, these sand bags against the rising tide of demographic change in those states. Because it's very hard to win in those states. So, the one lever that Democrats have to try to protect the basic rules of democracy is if they control both chambers of Congress and the White House today.
If they let this opportunity go and they don't find a way to get around the Republican filibuster in the Senate. In 2022, the very acts in these states, the suppression and the gerrymandering is coming could cost one or both chambers of Congress. They will lose the opportunity to set national voting rules.
And at that point there will be nothing in the way. The road will be clear for kind of am endless succession of suppression and gerrymanders that inhibits the rise of the diverse younger generation in particular. I point out in another story this week all of this is occurring, Don, as the baby boom -- if it's 1980, the baby boom it's been the largest generation in the electoral, predominantly white baby boom. In 2024 the first time, Z and millennials will be larger and this is when it's happening.
LEMON: Right. Yes. Professor West, what I love about you is that you don't give a damn what people think about you, right. And you have been critical of a lot of Democrats in the past. You say that they haven't been willing to go to the mat on important issues. Will they step up on voter suppression? Because the stakes are really, really, really high.
WEST: I agree with you. We're going to have to put strong pressure on them because they won't do it by themselves. Too much cowardly and spinelessness. But right kind of pressure based on both principle as well as tremendous effort, collective effort.
You see what's going on right now in Texas with the workers coming together. Those are the kind of collective actions that we need in order to deal with this crucial moment that Brother Ron is highlighting here today.
LEMON: Yes. Ron, the former Vice President Pence is now continuing the big lie, saying that there was election fraud in 2020, he's accusing Democrats, he wanted to expand voting of an unconstitutional power grab. This is the same Pence who was hunted by rioters because of these bogus fraud claims.
And by the way, the people who want these restrictions, they're doing these restrictions all on the pretense that there was some sort of voter fraud. It's a big lie as well. And maybe as I said in the opening of the show at 10:00, maybe that's just the whole point of it, is that they can use this whole big lie to -- in order to win elections because they -- you know, in a fraudulent way because they can't win it legitimately.
BROWNSTEIN: So much at war, right. I mean we're seeing up and down the Republican Party in the states. And every Republican for example, (inaudible) HR-1, what you are seeing I think up and down the Party is that the fear of demographic eclipse has eroded the commitment to the basic rules of small d -- democracy.
And what is -- I think especially important for Democrats to understand is that if they don't establish a nationwide floor of voting rights and voting protections in the next years, and Republicans win control of Congress and then perhaps win control of the White House, with the help of the suppression that they are undertaking in the states.
Donald Trump signaled last Sunday at CPAC and Rick Scott has already introduced legislation that would try to impose these red state restrictions nationally, to impose them on the blue states. It's kind of an evolution of Lincoln saying, you know, we can't survive half free, half slave and half free.
If there is not a nationwide, basically, framework of voting rights, there may well be a nationwide framework of voting restrictions sometime in this decade. Again, precisely as the U.S. is undergoing this profound demographic transition. None of that is coincidence.
LEMON: Ron, keep informing people. Professor, keep up the fight. Thank you very much. I'll see you both soon. Talk to you soon. OK.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Don. LEMON: So, listen, I've wrote something that can help out in these
conversations and conversations like this. It is my new book. Available for preorder now. It is called This is the fire. What I say to my friends about racism. It is coming out in just a few weeks. I hope you will check it out anywhere you can buy books.
Next, President Biden making another compromise on his COVID relief bill as Senate Democrats scramble to push it across the finish line. Plus, Congressman Ronny Jackson dodging questions all day about the Pentagon report on his time as the top White House doctor detailing pill popping, drinking, and harassment. But tonight he's speaking out.
LEMON (on camera): So it has been a year since Super Tuesday. Can you believe that? Joe Biden's path to victory was far from certain. In an address to House Democrats today, President Biden thanking Congressman Jim Clyburn for the critical endorsement that helped him win the nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I also want to note that it was almost exactly a year ago today that you delivered the endorsement to me in South Carolina. It meant so much to me and my campaign. You're a great friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So joining me now to discuss is Amie Parnes, she is a senior political correspondent for the Hill, and Jonathan Allen, as well, senior political correspondent for NBC News, and they are the co-authors of the new book, "Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency."
Thank you so much. I think the last time I talked to you guys was shattered. I'm not sure. But it's been a while. It is good to see both of you.
AMIE PARNES, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: Good to see you.
LEMON: And good evening. So Amie --
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you.
LEMON: -- I remember a little over a year ago in the campaign, it seemed like Joe Biden was toast after Iowa and New Hampshire. But he believed that he could win and that he could govern. When you look at his presidency, having covered the campaign, what do you see now?
PARNES: I mean, I think I see consistency. It's something that we talk a lot about in the book, how he was able -- talking about Hillary Clinton and the 2016 campaign, Don, you know, you can draw some comparisons and you can contrast the way they both handled it.
John and I report in the book, he has the same message, unity, unity, the entire time. It was different than Hillary's message which never quite stopped with the electorate. And so we talked a lot about that in the book. And that's sort of playing out.
You're trying to see him strike deals, work across the aisle. And I think he always said that he wanted to do that and that's sort of his aim. It will be interesting to see if he can follow through with that.
LEMON: Speaking of working across the aisle, as Amie just said, Jonathan, Joe Biden said that he would work across the aisle and he's trying. But Republicans don't seem too interested in that. How long do you think that he's going to keep that up?
ALLEN: Well, I think the rhetoric will continue to be the same. Whether he's trying to unify in Congress or trying to unify the country, the popular electorate, constituents outside, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, you're going to hear a lot about that from him.
But, you know, Don, one of the things we talk about in this book and it is part of the story of "Lucky" and not just in the primary but in the general election, 42,918 votes over three states is the difference between Joe Biden being president and Donald Trump being president.
ALLEN: This really ties into your last segment with Ron Brownstein and Dr. West talking about voter restrictions. If we reran this election with new voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia, we may well have had a different result.
LEMON: Hmm, interesting. Do you think -- do you think that Joe Biden had any idea how enthralled the Republican Party is with President Trump? There was a chance for a clean break. Maybe some Republicans could have worked with him. But then came the big lie, the insurrection, impeachment, and these will persist through the presidency, right?
PARNES: I think so.
LEMON: That was for Jonathan but that's OK. He doesn't have to --
LEMON: I know you're not paying attention to me. I'm sorry, go ahead.
ALLEN: So Don, I mean, what we have seen in the aftermath of the election, as you point out, you know, you called the big lie, a lot of folks call it the big lie. What we know is the president did lie. He lied about -- the former president, President Trump, lied about what happened in the election. He incited terrorists to storm the Capitol.
And that's part of what the title of this book is about, too. It's not just about the Biden presidential run. It's about the republic holding firm. Joe Biden had the vision for his campaign. He stuck to it through the tough times.
We have founding fathers who built a beautiful architecture of a government that could withstand, you know, and bend without breaking. And I think, you know, for those things, Joe Biden is lucky and so are all of us in terms of the republic standing.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. Do you want to respond to that, Amie? I want to ask you about COVID if you -- if you can --
PARNES: Yeah. No. Absolutely. I mean, yeah, go ahead.
LEMON: OK. So talk to me about COVID. How -- and how it affected the campaign and how it defines his presidency even now.
PARNES: Well, it's interesting. We have a lot of reporting on both sides. On the Trump campaign, you had, as we report in the book, Brad Parscale, Trump's former campaign manager, warning him in February that this could bring down his campaign. And then President Trump said, well, I don't understand, Brad. What does this have to do with politics? What does this have anything to do with politics? And so you have that side.
And then you had the other side where Joe Biden is, you know, home in his basement. He's getting mocked for it. But -- and secretly, I think his aides were a little bit happy that he was in the basement because he had this penchant for making gaffs and for kind of delivering, you know, some jokes here and there and going off script. He hasn't done that lately.
But, you know, we have in the book, as we report, Anita Dunn, his senior advisor, said COVID is the best thing that happened to the vice president. And that was a very telling moment, we thought, because it kind of explained what the Biden campaign was thinking.
Even though they were saying this is the best strategy, we're going to let the president kind of implode and get out of the way, but you could see sort of what they were thinking in terms of keeping their candidate on the sidelines.
LEMON: Jonathan, Republicans like to paint Democrats as radical, socialist, but it is hard to do with Joe Biden. Is this Joe Biden's big strength now as president?
ALLEN: It's absolutely one of his big strengths and I think it's why he's the president of the United States, is because he was able to distance himself from, you know, from the extreme of his party.
And one of the stories we tell for the first time in this book is the push and pull within the Biden campaign over the protests for racial violent -- for racial injustice.
So what happened inside that campaign was there were advisers who were pushing Joe Biden to apologize for the crime bill, to embrace defund the police, to really get more in line with, I think, where the base of the party is. Not just democrats. I think, you know, the whole country in a lot of ways was crying out for racial justice. What Biden saw was that some of those calls were politically too much.
The phrase, defund the police, is something that Donald Trump was trying to hang around him and around the rest of the Democratic Party. And Biden and the advisers around him basically pushed back on the advisers who were appealing to him to embrace defund the police. I think that was a big part of his victory, was the ability to show some distance.
LEMON: I know this is going to tick a lot of people off, a lot of authors out there, but I have to thank you because finally there is an interesting political book to read. Thank you both. Thank you both for writing it.
PARNES: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: And thank you for appearing. The book again is called --
PARNES: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: -- "Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency" by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
A Pentagon report is confirming inappropriate behavior, including popping pills, drinking on the job, and harassing female co-workers while Ronny Jackson was the top White House doctor.
LEMON (on camera): And now, Congressman Jackson is responding tonight. Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Oh, it is a MAGA music video starring --
LEMON: -- Roger Stone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): GOP Congressman Ronny Jackson calling accusations against him a political hit job after a Pentagon report went into shocking detail about inappropriate behavior during his time as White House doctor.
CNN's Jessica Dean walks us through exactly what the report found.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scathing review from the Department of Defense inspector general for the former White House physician and current Texas congressman, Ronny Jackson.
The report obtained by CNN prior to its release on Wednesday and based on interviews with 78 witnesses concludes Jackson made -- quote -- "sexual and denigrating comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol on a presidential trip, and took prescription sleeping pills that caused concern from colleagues about his ability to provide proper care."
On Wednesday, Jackson's aide scrambled to contain the fallout and Jackson declined to answer further questions.
In his statement to CNN, Jackson alleged the investigation was politically motivated, saying -- quote -- "Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity." He added, this is because he refused to -- quote -- "turn my back on President Trump."
Jackson also said he rejected any allegation he consumed alcohol while on duty. The years-long investigation details one incident in which one witness recalled Jackson pounding on the door of a female subordinate's room, saying, -- quote -- "I need you to come to my room."
Another witness alleged Jackson made a comment about a female medical subordinate's breasts and buttocks during a presidential trip to Asia in 2014.
Jackson rose through the ranks to become physician to the president for both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. In a handwritten performance review, Obama described Jackson as a -- quote -- "tremendous asset to the entire White House team."
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You have President Obama giving him an A-plus report. You have President Trump giving him an A-plus report.
DEAN (voice-over): But Jackson's profile rose dramatically when President Trump took a liking to him. Jackson declared Trump in excellent health despite evidence of heart disease.
REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): The president's overall health is excellent. His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good.
DEAN (voice-over): Trump later nominated Jackson as the Veterans Affairs secretary but that nomination fell apart over allegations Jackson was -- quote -- "abusive toward colleagues, that he loosely handled prescription pain medications, and was periodically intoxicated, allegations Jackson called completely false and fabricated.
TRUMP: He started getting hit with vicious rumors. Vicious. They're not true. They're not true. So they try and destroy a man.
DEAN (on camera): Ultimately, Jackson ran for and won his congressional seat in Texas in 2020, but gone was any appearance of that formerly cordial relationship he appeared to have with former President Obama. Instead, Jackson is embracing conspiracy theories about Obama spying on former President Trump's campaign.
Now, we also know that Jackson will possibly face a review of his retirement pay. The inspector general is suggesting to the secretary of Navy -- of the Navy that they take the appropriate action. Don?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LEMON (on camera): Jessica Dean, thank you so much. Next --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Roger Stone taking center stage in a pro-Trump music video.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Roger Stone got a new gig. Donald Trump's longtime crony, who was sentenced for lying to Congress and was commuted by the former president, is now dancing in a new pro-Trump music video along with the leader of the Proud Boys.
Here is CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): A music video by a pro- Trump rapper all about the January 6 insurrection and starring a dancing Roger Stone.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Pushing the lie that Trump won the election, it was shot over the weekend outside CPAC in Orlando. Also featured is the leader of the Proud Boys. CNN bumped into Stone, a free man after former President Trump commuted his sentence, while he was shooting the music video.
But the long-term political operative wasn't too happy when we asked about his ties to the Proud Boys and the far-right militant group the Oath Keepers.
Roger, are you being investigated by the FBI? Are you being investigated, Roger, for January 6?
ROGER STONE, LONGTIME POLITICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Any honest investigation would prove that there is no evidence whatsoever that I either was involved in or knew about this stupid, senseless, counterproductive, illegal assault at the Capitol. The folks who did invade the Capitol should be prosecuted.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Roger, any concerns about your ties to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Thank you.
STONE: Guilt by association and innuendo. Disgusting. No real journalist would ever ask that question.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The rapper in the music video, Florida man Forgiato Blow, otherwise known as Kurt Jantz, claimed in a statement to CNN the song does not glorify the insurrection and instead promotes peaceful protest, despite, of course, the fact that the insurrection on January 6 was anything but that.
Blow also shot, "We Outside, a music video outside the U.S. Capitol on the day of the insurrection. His spokesperson told CNN he did not enter the Capitol building.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): And Don, given the magnitude of what happened here on January 6, it is pretty incredible to see videos like that being made, essentially celebrating the people who showed up on that day as patriots.
A lot of those people were conspiracy theorists and conspiracy theorists believe that tomorrow, March 4th, is going to be the day that former President Trump gets inaugurated again.
Of course, that is a conspiracy theory. There is no truth to it. But the U.S. Capitol police and other security services here in the U.S. Capitol aren't taking any form of talk about action tomorrow extremely seriously. Whether it will materialize or not, we'll find out tomorrow. Don?
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LEMON: Thank you, Donie. Roger Stone dancing and bad rapping --
LEMON: Just what I needed to complete my Wednesday.
Thank you for watching, everyone. Thank you, Donie. Thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.