Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Trump Makes Clear Authoritarian Plans for a Second Term; New York City Mayor Eric Adams Gets A Visit From FBI; Former Senator Martha McSally Talks About How She Was Molested By A Man While She Was Out Jogging. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 10, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: You can go to I'll also be sure to tweet the link as well.

Thank you so much for any of you who do donate and tight the time for homes for our troops, a worthy organization.

I want to thank you all for joining us this night and every night this week. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Donald Trump is painting a clear picture of a second term, one best served cold. That's tonight on Newsnight.

And good evening. I'm Abby Phillip.

The former president's to-do list, if he is elected again, is looking more autocratic than Democratic, more vengeance than governance. And how do we know that? Well, his own words.

Item number one, revenge. The Washington Post reports that he and his allies are plotting to take control of the Justice Department to punish his perceived enemies. Now, this includes President Biden and many of his own former officials, from John Kelly to Bill Barr. It's something that Trump also admits out loud.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I happen to be president and I see somebody who's doing well and beating me very badly, I say, go down and indict them.

Mostly that would be -- you know, they would be out of business. They'd be out. They'd be out of the election.


PHILLIP: Now, a reminder that he floated the death penalty for retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley.

Item number two, he's planning to purge the government of employees to install his own loyalist. Axios reported that 50,000 workers could lose protections, including those in national security posts, intelligence, law enforcement, the State Department, even the military. And of course, he has also said that part out loud as well.


TRUMP: This is the final battle. With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state. We will expel the warmongers from our government. We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists. We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.


PHILLIP: Item number three, he wants to consolidate presidential power. The New York Times reporting that he would increase his grip on every part of the federal government, from the FCC to the Trade Commission, he could also even refuse to spend money the way that Congress intended.

Item number four, he's once again teasing even more travel bans for a wide swath of people. Again, he's saying it out loud.


TRUMP: And in my second term, we're going to expand each and every one of those bans because we have no choice.

We aren't bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya, or anywhere else that threatens our security.


PHILLIP: Number five, ideological tests for anyone trying to enter the United States.


TRUMP: I will implement strong ideological screening of all immigrants.

If you don't like our religion, which a lot of them don't, if you sympathize with the jihadists, then we don't want you in our country and you are not getting in, right? We don't want you. Get out of here. You're fired.


PHILLIP: Item number six, in addition to banning many from entering, he is also vowing a historic removal.


TRUMP: And we will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: Number seven, also involving immigration, Trump threatening to restart family separations, taking children away from their parents at the border. Remember, some of these families were never reunited.


TRUMP: When you say to a family that if you come, we're going to break you up, they don't come.


PHILLIP: Now, you may recall that his administration actually first denied that this was happening at all, and now he's out there touting this policy.


TRUMP: We did family separation. A lot of people didn't come. It stopped people from coming by the hundreds of thousands, because when they hear family separation, they say, well, we better not go.


PHILLIP: Number eight, he says that he'll pardon many of those convicted in the January 6th attack.


TRUMP: I will be looking at them very, very seriously for pardons, very, very seriously.


PHILLIP: Number nine, he'll attempt to invoke the Insurrection Act. That's according to The Washington Post.


He and his allies want to use the military to quash protests.

And item number ten, a question mark over the most powerful alliance in the world.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER OF THE UNITED STATES: And a second Trump term would almost certainly withdraw from NATO.


PHILLIP: Trump himself continues to brag about telling NATO allies that he would not defend them unless they paid more. So, while many of his Republican rivals jab Trump for refusing to debate and be on that debate stage, that particular platform is not necessary to understand his vision, one that includes retribution and spite at the heart of it. Now, to begin, I want to bring in former Defense Secretary under Trump Mark Esper. Thank you so much, Secretary Esper, for joining us.

There is this reporting that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to basically put military troops in American cities to deal with protests, protests that might arise if he were re- elected. From your perspective, could anyone in the military push back on an order like that?

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Abby, I think if something like that were to happen right after an inauguration in January 2025, I guess, look, there would not be a civilian chain of command in place at that point in time, first of all, to push back. So, there would probably be an acting secretary, he or she, then would have to decide whether or not to implement that order. Otherwise, the military chain of command would be intact.

Now, look, there's another option too. Most often people go to the active duty, but there's nothing that prevents the president from asking a governor, a friendly governor, to mobilize his National Guard to assist as well.

PHILLIP: And, I mean, ultimately, it sounds like it's likely that it would be an order that is carried out. I mean, would it be legal in your view?

ESPER: If -- once the president is signed into office, it is completely legal for him to invoke the Insurrection Act.

Now, there are a few steps that have to happen. My recollection is that the process actually begins with the attorney general. And I assume that early in the term, there would not be an attorney general in place. Again, there would be an acting attorney general. But my understanding, my recollection is the process actually begins with the attorney general making a recommendation to implement the Insurrection Act.

PHILLIP: Yes. So, Trump obviously would come into a potential second term with a litany of grievances. He's been very clear about that. And there would be, I think, fewer guardrails than perhaps in his first term. What do you think -- as someone who's served with him, what do you think that could mean for this country?

ESPER: Look, I've told others that I believe the first year of a second Trump presidency would look like the last year of the first Trump presidency. In other words, you'd see him surrounded by a lot of loyalists, people who are willing to do his bidding, whatever he wants. And that would be his metric, his litmus test for anybody he brings into his presidency the second term.

I think that's the biggest lesson learned for him and for his team. And we know now that they are building lists of people of loyalists they would bring into office. We know right now who some of them are, but he's not going to make that same mistake twice.

PHILLIP: There's also obviously a war between Israel and Hamas, a war between Ukraine and Russia. And Trump, looking abroad, could very well make good on his desire to rethink U.S. alliances, especially NATO, which he's been incredibly critical of. Even if another president who came later tried to undo a change like that, pulling the United States out of NATO, for example, what would that mean for the United States and its standing abroad going forward?

ESPER: Sure. Well, look, I think a real consideration is the fact, and he's talked about it already, that were he to come into office, I think he would cut off funding for Ukraine. And that, of course, I think, would initiate a collapse of western support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. The United States' support is like the biggest block in a Jenga tower, and once you pull us out, I think it all falls apart.

And then I think the question will be at what point in time does he move to pull the United States out of NATO? Maybe he makes a move to pull U.S. forces out of Germany first. That's something I pushed back against and was able to reposition troops closer to Russia at the time, actually. But I suspect at some point he would look to actually pull U.S. forces out of NATO, if also that he saw that our European partners weren't contributing their fair share to the alliance.

PHILLIP: All right. Mark Esper, a lot to chew on there in what you talked to us about. Thank you so much for joining us.

ESPER: Thank you.


PHILLIP: And for more on this and on the turbulent week in politics, I want to turn to Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN's First Take and the Stephen A. Smith podcast and show on YouTube. Thank you so much for being here, Stephen.

STEPHEN SMITH, HOST, FIRST TAKE ON ESPN: Hey, good to be with you.

PHILLIP: So, Trump, as we were just discussing, he reportedly wanted to, initially, this was two years ago, three years ago, unleash the Insurrection Act against Black Lives Matter protesters. And now, it seems that he might do it again against any protests that arise in a potential second term. Do you think that voters are taking that threat seriously?

SMITH: In all likelihood, no. Number one, because they know it's very, very predictable. You're not going to anticipate that he's going to be upstanding, that he's going to be honorable, that he's going to put the country first. He's going to put his own self-interest first, and he's going to convince people who follow him to believe that. And in all likelihood, they will.

You've got to understand, there's a whole bunch of people that love the job that Trump did. Tens of millions of people did vote for him. He lost the election. Let's be clear about that. Let's remind him and the rest of the world, he lost the election in 2020. But it doesn't negate the fact that he received over 70 million votes. It doesn't negate the fact that he has what some would term a cult following. They believe in him. They believe in the policies that he implemented.

More importantly, they believe and wholeheartedly embrace his distaste and disdain for the nation's capital and how business is conducted in the nation's capital. And they have a lot of supporters who feel the same way that they do.

And so when you look at him and you see how he's acting, whatever lies he may tell, whatever fibs he may throw out there, whatever the case may be, the way that it's labeled, people are saying, that's par for the course. Tell me another politician who hasn't done that. That's how they think. That's how they feel. That's what they say.

I've heard folks say it while I'm walking the streets of New York City to L.A. and every place in between. It's who they are. It's where they stand. It's what they believe. And then a lot of instances, to be quite honest with you, they have valid points because he's not the only so-called politician that has lied, that has not told the truth, that has not been completely honest and forthcoming. The difference between him and most others is that he seems to do it continuously, he's unapologetic about it and he dares anybody to stop him, even when there's been four indictments against him with 91 counts, for crying out loud. He still keeps going.

PHILLIP: That is exactly, I mean, I think the question now.

Believe it or not, there was a Republican debate this week that almost came and went without a whole lot of notice. This smaller group of Republican hopefuls that were on that debate stage, Trump was not there, they hardly talked about Trump, who is leading by far in the race. Do you get a sense that they are doing enough to put up a fight if their goal is to beat Trump?

SMITH: Of, course they're not doing it, but it's understandable why. Here's the thing, Abby. Here's the deal. If I know that I am a Republican and I utter a negative syllable against this man and it's going to cost me votes, and my primary objective is to get into power, what am I going to do? I'm going to shut the hell up or I'm going to be evasive.

I mean, Ron DeSantis put -- he gave new meaning to evasiveness with a plethora of topics that were thrown in his direction. Nikki Haley was the star the evening in a lot of people's eyes. Ramaswamy, I mean you just see the disdain that he's fomenting a month, his so-called contemporaries within a Republican Party. You just see a lot of stuff going on right now, that's very unattractive.

But you also see a level of fear. They don't want to alienate the Trump base. When the man is walking around and he's got anywhere from a 40 to a 46 to a 46 percent jump on everybody, he hasn't shown up for a debate, he barely even acknowledges the competition most of the time, everybody and their grandmother is saying he's going to be the GOP nominee. It's one of those situations where how do you get by it, how do you pull it off. And they haven't figured it out.

PHILLIP: Yes. I think that seems to very much be true. So, Stephen A., stand by for us. I want to ask you about a few more things, including President Biden and those new polls that show him losing support from his own base.

Plus, former Republican Senator Martha McSally will join me after she says that she was sexually assaulted while on a run this week.

And a big story, the FBI escalated the investigation involving New York City's Mayor Eric Adams.



PHILLIP: Democrats pulling off some surprising wins in red states this week, but at the same time, their leader is still struggling in the polls. A CNN poll this week finds that President Biden is behind in a theoretical matchup with Trump. And Congressman Jim Clyburn downplayed those numbers, saying that they need to get voters in sync with the campaign. Listen.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): So I think that what those polls tell us is that there are some people that are not yet in sync with the campaign. I think we know who they are and we know why. And what we've got to do is make sure that people understand what we've done and why we did not do more.


PHILLIP: I'm back now with Stephen A. Smith. So do you buy that, what Congressman Clyburn is saying? Is it just a messaging issue with voters?

SMITH: No, not at all. And that hurts me to say because, man, do I admire Mr. Clyburn, the Representative Clyburn and all that he has done for our country, all he has done for our community. I admire this man to no end, but, no, there's no way on Earth that is the issue.

The issue is the president of the United States is 80 years old. We see it every day. There's a lot of 80 years walking around that seem a bit more lucid and together and vibrant than he does. It is just a fact and we have to stop acting like we don't see what's transpiring in front of our very eyes.


For all the things that we want to say about Trump, all the negative things that people could come up with, he doesn't look less energized, he doesn't look less cogent and lucid. He doesn't look less there per se, that's not the complaint that you hear about him. You're hearing that a lot about President Biden.

And even though you have a lot of folks within the black community that have been supportive of him, trying to close the racial gaps, some of the things that he did to address minor crimes, like non- violent crimes involving marijuana use along with various other things that he has done, particularly with the student loans or what he tried to pull off, et cetera, et cetera, there's a few things that African- Americans can point to and look at the president and say, okay, we're pleased with that, even though we ain't pleased with inflation and the price of food and gas and all of this other stuff. Let's fix all of that.

But at the end of the day, you want to see a man that you can project two years from now, four years from now, five years from now, he's going to be around and vibrant as ever to do the job. And I would challenge anybody that says they have supreme confidence that that's what you feel when you look at our president. And that is the issue. I mean, you don't have to be -- I mean, you don't need 20/20 vision to see.

PHILLIP: Yes. Look, the polling, the CNN polling we released this week seems to support that we asked people about all of those factors. And they rated in many cases, Trump over Biden on all of those kind of characteristics.

But one of the interesting things that this has produced is really a lot of Hail Marys, it seems, of people saying this person should run that person should run one of them this week was Dwayne Johnson, saying that he was contacted about a possible Biden run for president, listen, or a possible run for president. Listen to what he said.


DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: In 2022, I got a visit from the parties, asking me if I was going to run and if I could run.


JOHNSON: And it was a big deal. And it came out of the blue.


JOHNSON: And it was one after the other.

I was moved by that. And the reason why I had given that response, that's truly what the people want, then, of course, I will consider it. And after that response, that's when the parties came.


PHILLIP: I mean, look, he's a popular guy. But what do you make of just the idea that, I mean, according to this, real people in politics have approached him and said, you should consider this?

SMITH: Well, first of all, real people in politics have approached me and talked to me about running. It ain't happening. I'm not interested. Let me get that out of the way.

PHILLIP: Running for president?

SMITH: Let's understand -- running for president. It speaks to the level of desperation that exists in this country, Abby. That's really what's going on here. It's not about the Dwayne the Rock Johnson. It's an indictment against the presumed candidates for the 2024 election. Like you pointed out at the top of your show, you've got one former president, that without question, I mean, the fool knows he will engage in a campaign of vengeance if he is the president of the United States again. He will not rest until he gets back at everybody who's gotten at him. That's his M.O.

In the case of Biden, we're seeing somebody that just doesn't seem lucid and confident enough to be in that position four years from now. Maybe at this moment, yes, but do you have the confidence that he can do what you need him to do and run in this country for four years, starting in 2024 when he's 82 years old? The answer is absolutely not.

So, guess what? If you want to ask me or anybody else, Dwayne the Rock Johnson, yes, I'd vote for him before I voted for one of those two. I mean, you got Marianne Williamson that wants to run. She's not going to get any votes. Yes, she backed out of the 2020 presidential campaign before he had a chance to vote.

PHILLIP: Would you vote for a third party? Would you vote for an alternative, a third party candidate over Trump or Biden?

SMITH: I would say this to you. The only reason I wouldn't is if you told me definitively that I was throwing my vote away because it would facilitate one or the other winning. But if you told me that we had a three-party system that really, really worked and you really, really stood a chance and you can look at the candidates and how viable they are, let's take Dwayne Johnson into consideration, highly successful, brilliant, obviously incredibly imposing, heart of gold, in the right place, cares about what's in the best interest of America, isn't that what we're looking for when we look for any president in the United States?

You want a commander-in-chief that is interested in governing all the people, not just looking out for his constituents, to those who voted for him and throwing everybody else by the wayside. You don't want that. But which party has given us that? The fact of the matter is you look at the Democrats and you see some of the stuff that they get caught in.

I'm going to say it again, it is one of the most disgraceful things I have ever seen in the history of politics to be in the year 2023. And we're talking about liberals, progressives, relying and practically begging an 80-plus-year-old man to run for office again.


That is disgraceful. Where are your other candidates? Gavin Newsom is somebody that I think he makes a very viable point on behalf of liberalism. I think that he would be a strong candidate on the left.

If you're Trump or you're a Trump supporter, okay, fine. You want to vote for him? That's cool. Under normal circumstances, you got people out here talking about how they vote for him for president, even if he was in prison. That's how sick we are as a society right now. It's a damn shame. And I cover sports and I see sports people getting hit all the time. 25, 26, 22-year-olds being held more accountable than grown men in their 50s, 60s and 70s who literally are elected officials in office, and they don't know how to conduct themselves better than 20-year-old sports figures that I cover every day. That's the world that we're living in. It's a damn disgrace, but it's no surprise.

PHILLIP: Well, you know what, my takeaway is I better put my Stephen A. yard signs back in the attic because it's not going to happen in your presidential run.

SMITH: That's not going to happen.

PHILLIP: But before we go, I do want to ask you about the Big Ten conference sanctions today, the news today against the University of Michigan's football coach and head coach, Jim Harbaugh, over the sign stealing investigation. He'll be suspended now for the last three games of the season. So, do you think that this sends enough of a message?

SMITH: No, absolutely not. I think that Michigan football, and I've stated this for the record, as long as there's an open investigation, devoid of a conclusion by the NCAA and the Big Ten conference, Michigan should not be allowed to participate in the college football playoffs.

I said it last week while I was on campus giving a speech at the University of Michigan, just a few yards away from the big house where they play football, and I'm saying it now national television, if you have a situation where you have somebody who was a now former employee, that was literally infiltrating another team's sidelines, stealing signs to give your team an advantage, that's cheating. That's actually acquiring an unfair advantage, which is what the Big Ten acknowledged in a punishment that they handed down to Jim Harbaugh.

Not only did they say that, they said it's really not about you, it's about the program. And because the program is infiltrating, is contaminated with all of this, we have to make sure we send a message. Well, the message that should be sent is that they shouldn't be allowed to play in the college football playoffs.

Now, some people would say, oh, that's so cruel, that's so unfair, what about the kids? They're 9-0, they're undefeated. What if they beat Penn State, then Maryland, then Ohio State on their home turf to close out the season? They would run the table. They're 3-0, 12-0, Stephen A., they deserve it.

What about Alabama? What about Texas? What about Washington? What about Florida State? What about Oregon? Last time I checked, kids played there too. And if they are in a position where they can get to the college football playoffs and their exile from that possibility because Michigan is in there when there is evidence that cheating was taking place to give them an unfair advantage, it's not the fault of the kids by any stretch of their imagination, but because that program did it and they're culpable for it. Why should they be allowed to go to the college football playoffs hiding behind some weak three-game and a regular season suspension?

By the way, you can still coach the players during the week, by the way. You just can't be on the sideline for the day of the game and he could come back for the college football playoffs. How in God's name is that a viable punishment? That is nonsense. I stated it then and I'm stating it now.

PHILLIP: Yes, I think a lot of people will see that as a slap on the wrist, not willing to go any further.

SMITH: Yes, I don't even know if it's a slap. It might not even be a little graze.

PHILLIP: Stephen A. Smith, always good to have you on. Thank you so much.

SMITH: Always good. Take care, Abby. Keep doing your thing.

PHILLIP: And up next for us, the mayor of New York has his phones and iPads taken by the FBI, a major, major escalation in their investigation. That's next.



PHILLIP: The mayor of America's largest city just got a visit from the FBI. In a major escalation of a fundraising investigation, sources say that FBI agents approached New York City Mayor Eric Adams on a city street on Monday evening and seized his electronic devices, including an iPad and two cell phones.

They asked his NYPD security detail to step aside, climbed in his SUV, and presented him with a warrant. The action is said to be part of a federal investigation into campaign fundraising. And it comes just days after agents raided the home of Mayor Adams' top fundraiser.

Now, Adams released a statement tonight saying, "As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation. And I will continue to do exactly that. I have nothing to hide", he adds.

Let's discuss this with CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis, who's also a political anchor for Spectrum News. Errol, this is a pretty big deal, and it sounds pretty bad that the FBI had to take this additional step. What does it say about where they are in this investigation that they would go, get in his SUV and say, hand over those phones, Sir?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, that doesn't happen every day. I've covered the last five mayors before this one, and that didn't happen to any of them. Look, what it says at a minimum is that the Justice Department went to a federal judge and got them to approve a warrant.

This isn't just, you know, a friendly inquiry. This is court approved. And they had to make a demonstration to that court, to that judge, that there's probable cause to believe a crime was committed and that they needed this information in order to deal with that crime.

The fact that it's a warrant and not, say, a subpoena or just a friendly request for information means that they thought the information perhaps would have gone missing or otherwise been destroyed. And so, that's, I think, why they moved in the way that they did.


What they're going to do with the information, there's been some reporting that there's a grand jury sitting and they are listening to charges, again, in connection with a possible crime that happened somewhere. The mayor, it's important to say over and over again, has not been charged, is not, as far as we know, the target of this, but it doesn't look real good right now.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it does not look good. And the campaign attorney for the mayor and his spokesperson said, after learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly in the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators."

This is coming off of the search of the mayor's top campaign fundraiser, a 25-year-old woman who has worked for him for the last several years. The fact that started this whole thing, now there's a surge of Eric Adams' phone. It certainly doesn't seem to me that they think that this was just a case of one individual acting improperly.

LOUIS: No, no, it certainly doesn't sound that way. It sounds like they're trying to build what could be a very large case or maybe multiple cases that all have a sort of a common set of facts that tie into them. There's a whole separate question of improper fundraising to which two people just pleaded guilty about a week and a half ago.

So, there are problems with this 2021 campaign that have drawn the attention of law enforcement. In one case, it was a local prosecutor. Now, it's federal prosecutors looking into whether or not something went wrong.

And so, the mayor is in a position where he says he's being transparent and he has nothing to hide. But again, this happened on Monday, the taking of his phones. We're only finding out about it on Friday.

And in between, there was a press conference at which the mayor was asked if he was worried about wiretaps, if he had been cooperating with federal officials, giving him every opportunity to disclose this, he chose not to disclose it.

PHILLIP: Yeah, that's very interesting observation. And the other, I mean, his behavior has been at the heart of this. Last week when he was headed to Washington, he turned around and came back to New York.

And then shortly after that, we learned about the search of his campaign advisor's home. So, there's a lot that we don't know yet, but we'll keep digging. Errol Louis, thank you so much as always.

LOUIS: Thanks Abby.

PHILLIP: And former Senator Martha McSally, sexually assaulted while out on a run. She joins me next to tell her story. Plus, Andrew Yang, he's here and we're going to talk about the sudden third-party threats that are facing President Biden.




PHILLIP: Tonight, a man is under arrest accused of sexually assaulting former Arizona Senator Martha McSally. She says she was attacked while she was out jogging. And here's what she posted to Instagram shortly after.


MARTHA MCSALLY, (R) FORMER ARIZONA SENATOR: A man came up behind me and he engulfed me in a bear hug, and he molested and fondled me until I fought him off. I then chased him down. I said a lot of swear words in this moment. I was in a fight, flight or freeze, and I chose to fight.

I ran after him, I threw my water bottle at him, and I chased him into the brush, where he was then hiding as I called 911 and waited for the police to come. I don't think they found him, and I'm okay.


PHILLIP: Nebraska police today announcing that they did find the man allegedly accused of this. A suspect was arrested in this case. And former Senator Martha McSally joins me now. Senator McSally, thank you so much for being here and I am so sorry that it is under these circumstances. You're out jogging. What happened? What was going through your mind?

MCSALLY: Well, Abby, what was going through my mind is I was enjoying a day out jogging on the Missouri River and something I love to do. And I was preparing to give a speech that night to a number of entrepreneurs and their families about how to live and lead with a brave heart.

And as I was running and enjoying that day and the beautiful weather and the beautiful community, I was jumped by this man. And as I described in that video, it was shocking, obviously, at first, as I was jumped by him and then molested by him and I was able to get him off of me.

And then there was just something inside of me, Abby. I mean, I'm a warrior, but you know, I was a fighter pilot. I wasn't a Navy SEAL, but something inside me was like, not today. You're not getting away with this. And so, he started running away from me and I just was so angry. I started saying, you effing and like, not you, you did, you cannot get away with this.

And I swore a lot, I was screaming at him. I threw my water bottle at him and I started chasing him. And I just want to say, I'm not saying that anyone should do that in this situation. It's just what happened inside me.

I wanted to keep him in sight so that he was held accountable and didn't hurt anybody else. And he realized that that, I think he, you know, he couldn't outrun me. And then he broke into some very deep brush.

And I was on the phone with 911 then, and I followed him in there, and I kept speaking into him, you're not getting away with this, you effing a-hole. You per- yeah, I just kept screaming into existence that he wasn't going to get away with it. I then realized I had lost sight of him in the deep brush. So, I disengaged.

As I waited for the police, I saw him, and I kept yelling at him. I kept telling him, they're coming, they're going to get you, you are done. And they were not able to catch him in that moment, but I just want to say thank you to the Council Bluffs Police Department and the Omaha Police Department and the detectives there. They did amazing work in order to track him down.

We now know that he got on the pedestrian bridge, passed me, I mean, unremarkable. I was just going about my day, I passed many people. He donned a stalking cap, turned around and followed me. It was nearly a mile prior to him attacking me.

PHILLIP: Wow, that's unbelievable.


I mean, this is Domine Kenton. This is the suspect who's been arrested for this incident. He's being held without bond. It was caught by some nearby surveillance cameras. And, you know, broad daylight, as you can see there. The other part of this, Senator, is that you have been so outspoken about your past experiences with sexual assault.


PHILLIP: To have something like this happen again, what has that been like for you?

MCSALLY: Abby, it's been horrible, but I have spent many years to do the work to heal and to find my voice and find my strength and find my power. And with all your viewers, men and women, so many have been through something like this or worse. And in the past, I mean, I didn't report it. In the past, I suffered in the shame and the -- why didn't I do that?

I suffered in the impact in my life even when it wasn't happening to me. I have compassion on my former self and those who have been through this, but because I've grown to a place and I'm actually teaching now. I'm giving I mean keynote speeches and teaching online courses about how to find your voice, how to find your courage, how to not have the past hold you back.

And here I was and now in a situation where I am walking the talk and that's why I'm talking to you, because -- and that's why I posted that video. I first was just trying to capture my emotions in the moment and I'm I just said I need to share this.

Somebody needs to hear this today who went through this this morning or 30 years ago. And I'm not saying they should do what I did but whatever you did have compassion on yourself in that moment and what you do now really matters.

Find that voice inside you. Find your power. Find your healing on whatever journey it's going to take. I'm going to publicly share my journey and I have been over the last few days and I'm going to keep doing it.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I think if there's one thing that is clear, you are a fighter. And thank you so much for sharing this message. I know it's not easy. As you just said, you're processing something horrible that happened to you.

MCSALLY: I am. Yeah.

PHILLIP: But I think there's so many people out there who would benefit from hearing this message. Martha McSally, thank you so much for joining us and on this Veterans' Day weekend, as always, thank you for your service, as well.

MCSALLY: Absolutely, thank everybody out there for their service.

PHILLIP: President Biden now facing multiple third-party threats. Andrew Yang is here with me to discuss that, and that's right after this break.




PHILLIP: Suddenly, President Biden is facing multiple outside threats to his re-election bid, including two Green Party candidates, an independent, a Democratic challenger, and the possibility of retiring Senator Joe Manchin jumping into the fray, as well. Joining me now is Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. He's also the founder of the Forward Party and the author of "The Last Election".

So, Andrew, President Biden is obviously now facing real challenges to his run for all the reasons that we've talked about. But all of these potential candidates, whether it's Dean Phillips or Joe Manchin or Gavin Newsom, do you think that any of them realistically have a shot at, if this is what you're into, beating Donald Trump?

ANDREW YANG (D), FORMER 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the polls say that Joe Biden might be the weakest candidate that the Democrats can field against Trump. Whereas, if you have a generic Democrat, the polls show that figure beating Trump by up to eight points. Joe right now loses to Trump in most of the polls.

So, the question is, if you're the Democrats, do you roll with the 81- year-old incumbent with a 39 percent approval rating, or do you go for another candidate? I personally think that the numbers say they should be looking for a candidate.

I like Dean Phillips, who's 54 years old, moderate, three-term member of Congress, but that is the kind of thing that the Democrats should 100 percent be considering right now. Because if you just play this out, I don't think Biden's numbers miraculously shoot up sometime in the next 10, 11 months.

PHILLIP: But that's a scenario that really would require Biden to decide he's not running. Because a third party or some other person on the ballot, let's take, for example, Jill Stein, who just yesterday announced that she's going to run again. Back in 2016, Jill Stein's votes basically were the equivalent almost to Donald Trump's margins. In some states, like in Michigan, she pulled way more votes than Trump actually won by. So, this could be a difference maker, could ultimately make it easier for Trump to win, don't you think?

YANG: Oh yeah, very much so. The Green Party had Cornel West running until recently, and I thought Cornel West was going to get one, two, three percent. Jill Stein over the last couple of cycles got around one percent. But to your point, the margin of victory in some of these states is less than one percent. So, a candidate in the Green Party column or an RFK figure could completely determine the outcome.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, are you concerned about, like, for example, RFK, P is, I mean, surprisingly high favorability ratings. Maybe some of that is name recognition. But are you concerned about someone like him?

YANG: Oh, what's interesting, Abby, is that the conventional wisdom was that RFK was going to weaken Biden. But now, the numbers show very clearly that RFK is actually drawing more support from Trump.


You're seeing a lot of negative stories about RFK from the conservative media trying to paint him as a conventional liberal because his overlap, his appeal now overlaps with Trump by two or three points.

PHILLIP: So, what about you? A couple months ago, you were talking to no labels. Are you considering a 2024 presidential run?

YANG: So, the major question for this week really is not me, it's Joe Manchin and whether he's going to tie up with No Labels and run for president outside of the two major parties. I think if that happened, then it would be bad for Joe Biden and the Democrats. And there are a lot of folks who've been deeply concerned about that.

PHILLIP: Are you concerned about what No Labels is doing? YANG: Well, most of all of the numbers, and I'm a math guy, the

numbers show that just about anyone that No Labels runs, increases the chances of Trump winning. I personally would never do anything that would increase the chances of Trump winning.

PHILLIP: So, have you distanced yourself from them publicly, privately?

YANG: Yeah, like I would not do something that would increase the chance of Trump winning. I am much more bullish on something like Dean Phillips running within the Democratic Party and then being a superior nominee to be able to beat Trump next November, as opposed to hoping that Joe Biden turns it around.

PHILLIP: All right, interesting. Andrew Yang, thank you. Thanks for joining us tonight.

YANG: Great to be here. And stick around over time with Bill Maher coming up at 11:30 on "Laura Coates Live".


PHILLIP: And thank you for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now. Hey, Laura.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Abby. The weekend is finally here. I wonder --

PHILLIP: It is calling. Yes.

COATES: It is calling, but a week from now, there could be a government shutdown. Where would we be at that point in time?

PHILLIP: Deja vu, it feels like for us today.

COATES: It does. Have a good weekend.

PHILLIP: You, too.

COATES: We'll see you right back here on Monday.