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Could Trump be Charged With Obstruction?; Alex Jones Leaks Megyn Kelly's Interview PromisesCosby Jurors Deadlocked Over Assault Charges; My Caller "Frank from Palm Beach". Aired 9-10a ET
Aired June 17, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: -- United States and around the world.
The president has declared war on the number two man in the Justice Department. Might Rod Rosenstein be fired or forced to recuse himself in the Russia probe?
And on the eve of Megyn Kelly's NBC interview with him, controversial radio host Alex Jones starts leaking tapes that he secretly made of her promises during negotiations. Is he already getting the last word?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, NBC ANCHOR: It's not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Plus did a recent caller to my radio program give a major insight into a 2020 candidacy?
And many of you tweeted last week asking if I had be cancelled or fired. The answer is no. I was just busy dancing. And I'll explain.
But first, Wednesday's attempted massacre of Republican members of Congress was horrific. Paul Ryan was right to say that it was an attack on all members of Congress, that the shooter was motivated by hatred of the president and his party seems incontrovertible, nor the fact that it comes in the context of a poisonous political climate that's been building for years.
Sadly many now are being selective in their condemnation of incivility by focusing only on the left or only on the right, and that's a tell. Those who single out only one extreme are themselves part of the problem. There's plenty of bad behavior to go around and it's been this way for far too long.
I have often spoken and written about the disrespect that President Obama faced for all eight years. Here's just one column I wrote, 2012. In that piece I noted, quote, "It's been unrelenting, the day after Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh told Sean Hannity that he wanted him to fail. Later Glenn Beck called the president a racist with a deep seated hatred of white people. Donald Trump's birtherism took hold while words like socialist were uttered with increased frequency."
And now already on his watch, President Trump has faced criticism that has been over the top, which I have also noted. The Kathy Griffin- ISIS style pose with trump's decapitated head was disgusting, and CNN was right to fire her, as well as Reza Aslan, who on Twitter called Trump a piece of excrement. In a commentary that I delivered here on May 6th, I even took issue with Stephen Colbert telling an oral sex joke about Trump and Putin.
I said that, quote, "Intolerance has a way of catching up with you politically," unquote. And in a play in Central Park showing the execution of a Trumpian figure, I've said that, too, is over the top.
All sides need to agree that the climate has been calamitous and that words can have consequences. Many said on Wednesday that the baseball field shooting will be a game changer, no pun intended. That would be nice, but pardon my pessimism.
Six years ago Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot outside a Safeway grocery store in Arizona, and similar sentiments were said, but nothing changed. That's partly due to the fact that there are many factors driving our discourse. Institutional factors that need fixing or nothing will change.
Sure, it begins with the politicians, but the way that we select those individuals limits the candidate pool. The role of dark money, closed primaries, gerrymandering, self sorting, and the outsized role of media personalities who are rewarded for bombast, not substance. Their livelihoods depend on fomenting division, not diplomacy. So don't come looking to them to lead. While we seek to rein in the extremists, we must be careful not to stymie legitimate inquiry and debate.
The shooting came on the same day as "The Washington Post," quote, "breaking the news that the president is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, and President Trump seemed to confirm that himself with a tweet.
That revelation should not have surprised anyone who's been paying attention. A matter of fact, I immediately tweeted the following. "This is no surprise. When POTUS fired the person conducting an investigation into possible collusion by his campaign."
In light of Jim Comey's testimony that he believed he was being directed by the president to drop the probe of Michael Flynn, Mueller would be derelict in his duty not to look at the president's behavior. According to the sworn testimony of the former FBI director, the president sought a loyalty commitment, excused the vice president and attorney general from the Oval Office before asking Comey to let go of the Flynn probe, fired him after he didn't drop it, and then boasted that he relieved pressure.
That's all worthy of impartial investigation which should not be lost in the grief over the Wednesday shooting.
Joining me now Peter Wallison who is White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan wrote this piece for "The Wall Street Journal."
[09:05:02] "Comey closes the case almost which says the president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice unless he attempts to obstruct an investigation of himself as in Watergate."
Mister Wallison, if the president should now fire Rosenstein, is that obstruction of justice?
PETER WALLISON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: We don't have any idea whether the president would fire Rosenstein, what the president said, didn't indicate that he would fire Rosenstein. This is just a lot of useless speculation at this point. And whether he fired Rosenstein, if he did, would be obstruction of justice only if it is found that the president ultimately had committed some kind of crime. And thus far --
SMERCONISH: In other words --
WALLISON: -- there's no indication at all that the president has committed any crime.
SMERCONISH: Yes. OK, but let me --
WALLISON: And you link together in your lead in a whole lot of things that didn't indicate anything serious about the president's activity, at least criminal activity.
SMERCONISH: OK. Well, then let's go there. Let's go there. Let's go to the timeline because I think the timeline is telling. By the way, I want to make clear to you and the audience, I am not here to argue for or against a case for obstruction of justice. I just want to understand and have my audience understand the potential elements.
Here's the chronology. You know that January 27 one-on-one meeting with FBI Director Comey where the president apparently seeks a loyalty pledge. The only loyalty that Comey owed was to United States Constitution, right? I mean, wasn't that in error by the president?
WALLISON: No, it was an error of protocol perhaps because there has grown up the idea that many officials of the government of the executive branch are somehow independent of the president, but no. The executive branch of the United States would not function if people in the executive branch were not loyal to the president because he relies on them to carry out his orders and to provide information to him that he needs to execute his duties. So there was nothing unusual about his request for loyalty.
Also this whole Flynn thing that you link together doesn't make a lot of sense to me. He did ask about Flynn and he probably shouldn't have asked about Flynn but he did. And he only asked once. And he didn't say, I want you to stop the investigation of Flynn, he said I hope you can see your way clear to end this thing.
This is not a direction from the president to the FBI director and the FBI director taking it as a direction was wrong. So we really have very little to say about Flynn. SMERCONISH: OK. This was the February 14. Let's go back to the
chronology. This is the Valentine's Day meeting, Mr. Wallison, where you know that the president apparently asks the vice president, Mike Pence, and the attorney general to leave the Oval Office. That sounds nefarious to some. And then says, I hope you can let go of the Flynn probe which Comey himself testified he took as a directive.
Look, if I say I hope I don't have to break your legs, I mean, that can have a connotation of criminality, no?
WALLISON: Sure, it could, if you try to make it that, but there's nothing criminal or even suspicious about that. He wanted to talk to Comey privately because he had some feeling apparently for Flynn. And he didn't say, I want you to stop investigation of Flynn, he said I hope you can see your way clear to do that. And then, as I said before, he never mentioned it again. He had many other conversations with Comey after that, but he never talked about this issue again so it wasn't something that he really had on the top of his mind.
What he had on the top of his mind in talking to Comey was the fact that the -- that Comey had said on March 20 that the president -- that the campaign of the president was under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia, but the president was not a target. He had never said that. He left that open as though the president was a target. Trump obviously --
SMERCONISH: You say he never --
WALLISON: May I finish, first?
WALLISON: Trump obviously thinks that there was nothing in this charge of collusion, and so after the FBI director tells Congress that his campaign, the president's campaign is under investigation, he should have said but the president is not a target. The president then asked him after he had made that statement to Congress about investigating the campaign, the president said to him, well, can you please say as you have told me that I am not a target and Comey would not do that. I think that's why the president fired him.
[09:10:10] SMERCONISH: Put the chronology back on the screen, and let me provide a contrarian interpretation. It goes like this. January 27 he seeks a loyalty oath from Comey and he doesn't get it. On the 14th he says --
WALLISON: He did not ask for a loyalty oath. He did not ask for a loyalty oath.
SMERCONISH: Let me just finish -- he told him he needed his loyalty. And that's what Jim Comey said, that's what Comey apparently will substantiate. WALLISON: All right.
SMERCONISH: But let me just finish. Wait, put it back on the screen, guys.
WALLISON: But that's not a loyalty oath.
SMERCONISH: Hold on. Mr. Wallison, I promise you I'm all about dialogue. You'll be able to respond. The 27th he seeks loyalty. I'll say it like that. The 14th he says, I hope you can let go of Flynn. Apparently thereafter he asks the intel heads, Coats and Rogers, if they can lift the cloud.
You say he only brought up Flynn one time, he never brought it up again to which I would respond well, he didn't bring it up again, he fired Comey on the 9th. And then on the 10th he says, I got rid of the nut job, and I did it to relieve pressure, which sounds like he did it to relieve the pressure of the investigation.
Is that not in total a colorable case for obstruction of justice? Please respond.
WALLISON: No. I will respond by saying no, it is not a colorable case for obstruction of justice. It is a linking together of a whole lot of unrelated events that are not desirable to have -- to present to the public in the way you are, but it happens to be true. And Trump unfortunately gets in his way, his own way many times by saying things that presidents normally don't say, but this does not make any case of obstruction of justice, at least in my view.
And the idea that you would say that the president of the United States committed obstruction of justice and in that way start a procedure in Congress which would be an impeachment procedure that would further interfere with his doing his job and perhaps even overturn the results of an election on the basis of these very weak evidential points is incredible to me, and I don't think would ever happen. It's inconceivable.
SMERCONISH: Mr. Wallison, thank you for being here. I wanted to be clear and anybody who watched I think would know, I didn't just say that he committed obstruction of justice, I assembled the potential elements of such a claim and frankly I'm relying on a former FBI director. It's not as if I created them out of whole cloth.
I think you, sir, so much for being here.
What are your thoughts? Tweet me @smerconish or go to my Facebook page, and I will read some responses throughout the course of the program.
What do we have, Katherine?
"Smerconish, sounds like you're going super soft on Trump." Really? KPosh780, I just laid out a timeline of what potentially, potentially is a claim for obstruction of justice and I'm going super soft on Trump. I'm not going super soft on anybody and I'm not carrying anybody's water either.
One more or are we going on? Tell me what we've got.
"Don't you care compare Trump's backlash to Obama's. Don't you dare. Too many libs on TV directed the," See, I Constitution? You're doing exactly what I am condemning, and that's a tell not of my bias.
Put that camera back on me, this is important. That's a tell not of my bias but of your bias. Anybody who in this climate is looking only left or only right is part of the problem.
I laid out in my opening commentary a whole sequence of factual events that have taken place in the last eight years and are now continuing on this president's watch, which I think are despicable and have driven our national discourse right into a ditch.
Up next, NBC's Megyn Kelly has the tables turned on her by her guest tomorrow night, controversial radio provocateur Alex Jones who secretly recorded their interactions. Who will be left standing in this battle between old versus new media?
[09:18:23] SMERCONISH: Media provocateur Alex Jones got the jump on NBC's Megyn Kelly this week releasing secret tapes of her pre- interview negotiations him. Jones is the right-wing host of Infowars, a show then candidate Trump appeared on, praised and tweeted about. Jones claims that he advised Trump during the campaign and that he still has the president's ear. To many, Jones is dangerous and a faker.
Among the several conspiracies that Jones has promoted on his program is the possibility that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, the killing of 20 young children and six adults, was a staged hoax.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, INFOWARS: Sandy Hook is a synthetic, completely fake with actors in my view manufactured. This is an illegitimate criminal government that probably staged this event.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: This guy Alex Jones symbolizes everything I've been saying about men with microphones who enjoy outsized influence in our political debate. In his recent child custody court case, his wife tried to show that he was unstable by citing his on-air statements. His own lawyer claimed that Jones' on-air persona was a character like Jack Nicholson playing the Joker in "Batman," that he is a performance artist. Jones immediately made videos of his own, trying to counteract that claim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Then they go oh, he says he's fake. Alex says he's fake because he didn't mean that. Whatever. I'm about free market, cutting taxes, I 110 percent believe in what I'm saying I'm for, and we're changing the world. We're the most bona fide, hard core, real McCoy thing there is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:20:03] SMERCONISH: Many expressed outrage over his highly promoted appearance on a national network show on Father's Day of all days.
The president of Media Matters which spearheaded the O'Reilly and Hannity protests, Angelo Carusone, told me he was troubled by this promotional photograph of Kelly and Jones riding in his car wearing weird sunglasses saying it served to, quote, "normalize and validate Jones."
JPMorgan Chase pulled its ads from NBC News, its chief marketing officer tweeted this, "As an advertising I am repulsed that Megyn Kelly would give a second of air time to someone who says Sandy Hook and Aurora are hoaxes, why?"
Rumors had NBC re-editing the piece to be tougher on Jones then NBC aired this promo in which Kelly challenges him on Sandy Hook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: When you say parents faked their children's death, people get very angry.
JONES: Well, that's all I know, but they don't get angry about the half million dead Iraqis over sanctions or they don't get angry about --
KELLY: That's a dodge.
JONES: No, no, it was not a dodge. The media never covers all the evil wars it's promoted. All the --
KELLY: That doesn't excuse what you did and said about Newtown. You know it.
JONES: Here's the difference. I looked at all the angles of Newton and I made my statements long before the media even picked up on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: After it aired, Jones revealed that fearing how he might be portrayed, he had secretly taped all of their interactions. Lives in Texas where taping phone conversations is legal if one party knows about it. And in the video he released on Friday, Kelly can be heard promising him repeatedly that she's not out to do a hatchet job. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: You know, I'll ask you about some of the controversies of course and you'll say whatever you want to say, but it is not going to be some gotcha hit piece. I promise you that. All I can do is give you my word, and tell you -- if there's one thing about me, I do what I say I'm going to do and I don't double cross.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Given the reach that he already has, the way to deal with Jones in my opinion is not to ignore him, it is for someone of Kelly's stature to expose him with factual information at odds with his outlandish viewpoints. But did she?
Joining me now, Charlie Warzel, a senior writer for BuzzFeed who's been covering all of this, including his latest "Alex Jones Scoops Megyn Kelly and Proves the Media isn't Ready for Trolls."
Charlie, has he already won?
CHARLIE WARZEL, SENIOR WRITER, BUZZFEED: I think it's safe to say that he has been in control of this saga, this media circus since the moment that Megyn Kelly and NBC announced, actually Alex Jones was the first person to announce it. He was first person to tweet photos of Kelly and himself in Austin, Texas. He's basically -- other than NBC airing this promo, he's been sort of a step ahead and sort of setting the narrative. So I think as it stands right now, we've had a week of just crazy controversy. It's been very difficult I think on NBC and on Kelly. And so I would say at this point he has won a little bit.
SMERCONISH: I debated this on my radio program earlier this week with the audience. I am of the viewpoint, tell me if you think that I'm wrong. I am of the viewpoint that you do an interview like this but you've got to be on top of your game, you've got to do your homework. You can't give an inch. But I don't like the idea of ignoring him, and saying well, we're not going to touch that kind of subject matter. I don't think that's the right answer.
How do you see it?
WARZEL: I think that's correct and I think that -- especially when you're dealing with this, what I'm calling the pro-Trump media, the sort of apparatus that is online and on, you know, a lot of terrestrial radio that is sort of really vehemently working to push Trump's agenda. When you're dealing with this group, you can't sort of use the old media way of being a gatekeeper, and saying, you know, these people don't matter, we're just going to push them to the side, you're never going to hear from them, and there's no -- there's no problem. That assumes that they don't have a platform.
Alex Jones has a very influential platform. So there's that argument that I think is incredibly valid that really holding them to account is going to -- is going to help educate people.
SMERCONISH: And that's the point to me which is to say whose ear and eyes does he command? Right? You can't just write him off as being a guy who is off the grid. You've got to take into consideration that he has an audience, the audience is growing, and he's captured the attention of the commander-in-chief. That's what this is really about, I would think. I also have to believe that in the last 48 hours, there's probably a
lot of reediting taking place over "30 Rock" to get ready for the airing of this.
WARZEL: Yes. Absolutely. And I think that that's just going to -- that reediting plays into the pro-Trump media and Alex Jones' narrative that, you know, this wasn't fair from the get go, or that Kelly says one thing when the -- you know, when the microphone are off and another when it's on and that there's sort of this air of, you know, disingenuousness.
[09:25:06] Now, frankly, Jones is being very disingenuous the entire time, but, you know, he is sort of -- he's able to have those dirty tricks, he is new media. But, you know, the traditional old school stuffy media should be held to a higher standard. But I think that this is really just an example of as you said earlier not doing your homework. NBC could have sort of really done the research on Jones, understood how this interview could go off the rails, and sort of, you know, structure it the right way.
SMERCONISH: You did a profile on him. You interviewed 25 or 30 folks who either work for him or had worked for him. You came away impressed with the profound impact that he did have on the campaign.
WARZEL: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people don't realize this but many of his old former employees and associates told me that he doesn't just have listeners or audience members, he has followers. It is very much like a -- almost, you know, a religious leader, a preacher, someone who what they say, there's so much trust. And a lot of people according to these sources that I talk to said that, you know, they had heard that a lot of people who watched Jones voted for the first time in this election, not because they're young but because they're anti-government people.
And Jones is very anti-government in the past, but he got behind Trump in this way and with this enthusiasm. And I think, you know, if you went to his rallies, you saw the Infowars "Hillary for Prison" shirt, it was almost ubiquitous. And I think that there's this -- there's a real impact and people really hinge on those words. So I think it's really important to take Alex seriously but also to interrogate him.
SMERCONISH: My final thought. I want the same thing that the Sandy Hook parents want. I want him to be exposed for the fraud that I believe that he is. The question is, do you deal that -- do you get there by engaging him or ignoring him. And my argument is by engaging him as long as you come to play, meaning Megyn Kelly, and I guess we're going to find out whether that was the case.
Charlie Warzel, thank you so much for being here.
WARZEL: Thanks for having me.
SMERCONISH: Let's check in with Twitter and Facebook.
Katherine, what do you got? "Smerconish, lighten up. It is just Alex Jones. It's a show." No.
No, no, no. There's too much conflation going on in the country between news and entertainment. It may be an entertainment show but when your fodder is the execution of 26 people, 20 of them kids, and you use that for entertainment purposes? No. You crossed a line.
And let's also call it out. Too many among us can't distinguish between the entertainment and the news and they take it, they take it as if it is a news report and it's not.
Up next, the jury in Bill Cosby's trial for aggravated indecent assault has now been deliberating longer than the trial itself lasted. Might there be a mistrial? And what will that mean? Will it be the end of the case?
[09:32:36] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial remains deadlocked after five days of deliberations, now longer than the trial itself. One of the many questions they had sent to the judge was, what is reasonable doubt?
The defense for the 79-year-old comedian rested after speaking only six minutes. On Thursday, jurors told the court that they could not come to unanimous decision which is required in a criminal case. Judge Steven O'Neill asked that they go back into deliberations.
When I interviewed Cosby a month ago in his first public remarks in over two years, he told me he had no intention of testifying in his own behalf and he didn't.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Don't you want to testify and tell your story?
BILL COSBY: No.
SMERCONISH: Why not?
COSBY: When you have to deal with examination, cross examination, et cetera, et cetera, more than two sides to every story. Sometimes it's four or five.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: In the months before the trial, dozens of women surfaced with similar accusations.
So, was the case too hard to prosecute as the original D.A. contended? And will jurors reach a new verdict? And if not, will prosecutors pursue a retrial?
Joining me now, Victoria Valentino, who alleges that Cosby sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1969 and who attended all of the trial. And Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst. Danny, let's read the tea leaves. This jury not only deliberated a
long time, they asked a lot of questions. I made reference a moment ago to them asking a question about what is reasonable doubt, which to me suggested that they've analyzed all of the evidence, now they were zeroing in on that final phase.
And then a slew of new questions were asked which went back into the testimony itself, and they've essentially re-aired everything. How do you read that?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Just like you said, it's tea leaves, it's astrology. But one thing that could be happening is the majority of jurors maybe trying to convince a minority of jurors, and that's why they're reading back reasonable doubt, and then maybe just by war of attrition, simply reading through all of the testimony and all of this evidence, trying to convince any holdout jurors irrespective of which way they're going.
And, of course, the defense raised the very real concern that we may now be getting into the area of coercion.
[19:35:02] And that's why they moved several times for mistrials at this point.
SMERCONISH: Well, it seems like lawyers believed that the prosecution has the upper hand because as you point out, defense attorneys have been asking for a mistrial and the production seems content that maybe this is inching their direction. Is that how you see it?
CEVALLOS: Yes, but just like me, the defense and prosecution are ultimately guessing. How ironic if ultimately it turns out they're advocating based on the reverse belief, that they're actually advocating against themselves, that maybe the jury is leaning their way instead of what they think right now.
There's no way to know. But in this case if you just go with the general belief that maybe a longer deliberating jury isn't so good for a defendant, then yes, if you are playing the odds, the defense is making the right move. They're also making a strategic decision that a mistrial may be more beneficial.
And I would expect if there is a mistrial, or I'm sorry, if there's ultimately a verdict, the defense will absolutely attack that on appeal based on any coercion of this jury because as you said, the deliberation now has lasted longer than the trial, which is not a hard and fast rule, but it is a factor to consider.
SMERCONISH: Victoria, Danny and I are on the outside looking in. You've been there with some skin in the game. I mean, every day for this testimony.
VICTORIA VALENTINO, ALLEGES BILL COSBY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER: That's right.
SMERCONISH: What has it been like for you? VALENTINO: Well, obviously it's been a roller coaster of emotions,
we're all upset, crying this morning, laughing in the afternoon, doing the victory dance in anticipation, and then feeling dejected and frustrated, tired. Everybody is burned out. It has been intense.
You know, yesterday when we were called into the courtroom, the defense was trying to appeal for another mistrial. And the judge was very clear that he was denying mistrial because the jury was really working hard and they were committed. And so, he denied it.
And I think the reason the defense is trying so hard to get a mistrial is based on the fact that they're feeling like, you know, they're on shaky ground. I feel that the majority -- this is my own opinion and this is pure speculation -- but my gut is telling me that the majority of the jurors are in favor of guilty verdict and there are one or two holdouts.
SMERCONISH: What has been for you the most striking moment of the trial?
VALENTINO: Well, you know, there have been so many really poignant moments and beautiful moments. I think the most incredible moment for me, aside from seeing Andrea's simple testimony, she was so authentic, and so -- she just answered simply, truthfully, to the point. And, of course, all of us sister survivors knew she was telling the truth because we have been there.
But her mother, her mother, when her mother was -- we all want a mother like that. Her mother was a fierce momma bear, and she didn't -- she didn't take any prisoners, you know? And so, when Agrusa was harassing her about every detail, every phone record, she said, why are you testing my memory for these irrelevant details?
And you could feel even the judge going, yes, baby. And well, he had to say Mrs. Constand, just answer the question. But we felt this psychic, you know, yes from everybody. Well, except the defense, of course.
SMERCONISH: If the case ends in something other than a conviction, in a mistrial or an acquittal, will this have been worth it?
VALENTINO: Absolutely. And that's because the conversation is now open about what a woman's worth is in today's society. It's about rape culture. And what are we going to do about it.
Since we went public, we gave courage and permission and conviction to other rape survivors to also find their voice and speak out, and they've come to us not just other Cosby survivors, and we've had a plethora of private messages on Facebook saying hey, I, too, was raped, drugged and raped by Cosby.
But there were a million other people who came out, men and women, saying you know, my father took my virginity, my father raped me, my uncle raped me, my -- the local cop, the minister, the teacher.
[09:40:04] I had eight abortions for my high school teacher and he's still out there teaching.
You know, my statute of limitations was up. All of these things -- you know, we have changed law in California because of this. We formed a coalition last year to abolish the ten-year statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in California. We lobbied, we testified in front of the Senate Committee on Public Safety. We did press conferences, rallied on the state capitol.
We rallied on the Cosby star on Hollywood Boulevard. And you know how many --
SMERCONISH: Victoria --
VALENTINO: -- people supported us? We changed a law.
SMERCONISH: Victoria Valentino, thank you for being here.
SMERCONISH: Danny Cevallos, bye for now.
Let me check in with my Twitter and Facebook pages and see what you're saying. Hit me with something.
This was not the best case to use but the statute of limitations seems to make it the only one viable. If judge forces decision, will it be appealed?
Deborah, the only thing a certainty is that however it ends, there will be an appeal.
Still ahead: Joe Biden speaks at a Florida Democratic fund-raiser. Is it another sign that he's testing the waters for 2020? I got an answer from one caller to my radio program referring to himself as Frank from Palm Beach. Find out who he is, next.
[09:45:37] SMERCONISH: You know, often on my Sirius XM Radio program, the guests make news for things they say on air. It's pretty rare a random caller generates a head line, yet that's what recently happened when I got a call from someone identifying himself at first only as Frank from Palm Beach.
And he wanted to hold fort on the issue of President Trump and obstruction of justice. And he seemed particularly well-read. I kept the chat going and he stopped and told me this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANK: I will reveal one thing in my prejudice here -- my brother was the vice president of the United States.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: My listener was Frank Biden, youngest brother of Joe. Here's what he had to say about President Trump's notorious ushering out of the oval office of Mike Pence before he talked alone to FBI Director James Comey.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANK BIDEN: President Obama would never, ever have shooed Joe from a room, period. The idea that the president of the United States would separate himself from what you would think is his alter ego, and his ultimate sounding board, and his confidant, and the most trusted person that he has in his circle and to tell him to leave that meeting, to conduct something that would be at the very best characterized as clandestine and at the worst, categorized as coercion, is beyond me, and a reasonable man test.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Now, tonight, Frank's brother Joe will be giving the keynote address in Hollywood, Florida, at the Democratic Party event that's called leadership blue. Of course, I had to ask Frank if this and many other of his brother's recent actions revealed that he was considering running in 2020.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Is there any prospect he's got one more run in him?
FRANK BIDEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. Why anyone would think otherwise, I don't know.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: What do you think? Tweet me @Smerconish or visit my Facebook page.
Up next, we'll have more of your tweets. And while we are on the subject, last weekend when I wasn't here at my usual hour, many of you expressed concern on Twitter, like this.
I was wondering where the hell you were and if CNN had fired you.
Well, not yet. I was just dancing up a storm. And I'll explain when we come back.
[09:52:24] SMERCONISH: You know, when I wasn't here last Saturday, I was touched to see how many viewers were tweeting concerned messages, like what happened, where's the show and I'm trying to tune in for my Saturday enjoyment on CNN, where are you?
Well, thanks for your concern although as I said, there were several who worried or maybe hoped that I had been fired, to whom I say not yet.
Mine was an excused absence. Our daughter was being married. One of our guests shot some video of my -- there's the bride and groom -- of my dance with the bride set to the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias". What else do you dance to at your daughter's wedding, right?
But I posted it on Facebook on Monday. It became my most viewed video ever, 50,000 views. Check it out.
Not so bad, right? I asked Facebook followers who says dad has no moves?
I got lots of feedback including this most popular reply from John Nicholson: Sorry, Michael, I love you and all, but you're very white. You dance like I do. Your daughter, however, has some moves going on. Congratulations on the big day.
I conceded that point.
I also liked this tweet from Stephen Murphy. He said: The real question for you is which side of the aisle were you on -- left or right?
Well, Stephen, let me tell you that for once I didn't sit in the middle. I sat on the bride's side.
What have we got, Catherine?
Smerconish, Alex Jones is not right wing. He's a nut case. Don't slander us on the right with that misrepresentation.
Hey, Coach Dodson, point well-taken. You're right. You know, he's off the grid. I'm not going to hold anybody over there accountable for him.
As much as we love Joe Biden, he will be too old. The D's need young dynamic candidates.
Bunnyhopp, I don't know, you know? I mean, age is a relative thing. We're going to have to wait and see. President Trump, people forget, was the longest -- better fact-check me on this -- I think the oldest we had ever elected. Age doesn't seem the consideration that it once was.
Give me something else.
Smerconish, obstruction of justice, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
Larry, look, I'll tell you this. You heard and you saw the chronology that I put up on the screen. The only thing I can tell you, I can't tell you that it's obstruction of justice.
[09:55:01] I can tell you, it's not a witch hunt. I can tell you that there are enough elements to this and in light of the fact it's the former FBI director because credibility has to matter, that it's worthy of pursuit. That's as far as I have taken it.
By the way, on my Facebook page, I recorded a defense of President Trump. You should watch that, where I lay out the defense that Donald Trump or someone in his behalf ought to be offering and many have misinterpreted it as me providing a defense I believe in.
No. That was me as an intellectual exercise saying there's a defense to this and here's how the president could spin it.
One more, very quick, if you can.
Smerconish, the judge in the Cosby trial needs to accept the jurors' decision and let the mistrial occur so the next trial can begin.
Melanie, we're going to find out soon.
Happy Father's Day to everybody, including my dad, who is 87. I will be with him tomorrow. I'll see you next weekend.