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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Judge Says, Trump Engaged In Insurrection But Stays On Ballot; A Potential Biden-Trump Rematch, By The Numbers; Divide Grows Among Democrats Over Israel-Hamas War; Some Of The Titans Controlling The Future Of Technology In America Find Themselves In Some Trouble After Elon Musk's Anti-Semitic Post On His Platform; Thursday Night Football Host Charissa Thompson Admits Making Up A Report; NBA Star Miles Bridges Returns To The Court After A 19-Month Layoff; Sean Diddy Combs Reaches A Settlement With Singer Cassie. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 17, 2023 - 22:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Did a judge just suggest that Donald Trump is actually above the law? That's tonight on NEWSNIGHT.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington.

And we start the hour with a question. Was Richard Nixon actually right when he said, when a president does it, that means it's not illegal? Well, a judge may have just said in one very specific and important way that, yes, he might be right.

Tonight, Sarah Wallace says that Donald Trump gets to stay on the ballot in Colorado, this despite the judge finding and saying in pretty plain English that Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection during the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.

Now, the court found that Trump intended to incite political violence, that Trump wanted to direct it at the Capitol, and that Trump's plan was to stop the peaceful transfer of power, and that Trump was not, in fact, protected by the First Amendment when he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.

We fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.


PHILLIP: But while the judge did find that Trump's intent was clear, she also says that the Constitution's intent is not. Read her reasoning, and it sounds an awful lot like what you might call a technicality is the very thing that protected Trump, that the 14th Amendment does not actually specifically mention the office of the president.

So, the judge in her ruling said that she was reluctant to embrace stripping Trump's name from the ballot without, quote, clear, unmistakable indications. That's what the Constitution demands. But follow her logic and the judge may have just set the table for presidents, past, current, and future, to potentially commit insurrection, to direct other people to do another January 6th without fear of accountability.

In a statement, the Trump campaign said in part, quote, these cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats.

And here with us to help understand what this ruling really means is Harry Litman. He's a former U.S. attorney and host of the Talking Feds podcast, and also with us, former White House lawyer for Donald Trump James Schultz.

So, Jim, I want to start with you. What is your reaction to this sort of double-barreled ruling here by the judge?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Yes, she really did split it down the middle, right? She followed kind of Michael Mukasey's argument that he authored, I think, in The New York Times, where he said that the presidents were not included in Section 3 of Article 14 of the Constitution, and that they specifically say, members of Congress, state legislator, judicial officials and executive officers of the United States.

So, the key question is, is the president an executive officer of the United States? It's not in the plain text of the Constitution, therefore, this is something that's going to go, if the president gets knocked off the ballot in one of these states, and I say if, I think this is something that will go up to the United States Supreme Court after getting through the Supreme Court of whatever state it is, and then the Supreme Court is going to have to make that interpretation.

But without the plain text, I think it becomes a very difficult argument, and a good argument that the president is, in fact, excluded because he's not included in that language. The idea is that these are appointed officials and not elected vice president or president of the United States.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, you're right. It lists actually a whole host of titles of potential officials who are subject to this. But, Harry, do you think that that is, in essence, a technicality here?

HARRY LITMAN, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: You certainly could call it that. I mean, the parties spent in their 100 pages, 99.5 on everything but this and a few paragraphs on is he an officer. And Jim is right when Mukasey wrote this in The Wall Street Journal, it maybe got more credence.

But here's the thing. This is going to be decided by the Supreme Court, and this officer question is a discrete legal one. The bigger point, I think, is that she found insurrection, she found engagement, because the big question to the court I think is going to be, is the court the right place to decide this?


The other courts who've looked at it, Minnesota, Michigan, have basically said no.

So, you have now this very long opinion, concrete, fact-based, that's a real example of a judge saying, yes, here's why, here's what insurrection means, here's what engagement means. So, I think it's going to be a template to be served up to a higher court for just how you would decide. And then it's true, this separate officer question will have to be reversed but it was not the focus of the parties.

So, I think the big questions actually went against Trump and especially because a court went through and decided them.

PHILLIP: But on the question of who is subject to this part of the 14th Amendment, Jim, the Supreme Court right now is a very conservative court. Several of the justices, three are appointed by Trump. If you're the party bringing this case to try to kick Trump off the ballot, do you really want to take it up to this particular Supreme Court? Is there even a probability here that they could be successful?

SCHULTZ: I think the court is going to look at the plain text and they're also going to look at the purpose of the law. And if you date back this, this had to do with the Confederates and members of the Confederacy trying to become part of the United States government and part of the Union after the war. And they're going to look back on that and have to make that judgment as to whether the president of the United States applies.

So, I do think this court is going to look at the plain text of the Constitution and likely say that the President is purposefully excluded from this because they list off so many others that are included.

But I do think, look, the facts that were borne out in this case are going to be heard again in the January 6th trial, right, the January 6th trial in D.C., right? And that's going to happen in probably March or April.

PHILLIP: And that's exactly I mean, the next logical question. I mean, Harry, if all of this is laid out now in a case really for the first time from a legal perspective, that Trump was, in fact, engaging in an insurrection, what does that mean for the January 6th case being brought by Jack Smith?

LITMAN: Well, look, it's congruent in a lot of ways, but the facts there will be determined by a jury.

And I just do want to go back to this point. I really think the big issue in front of the Supreme Court will be, do we decide this at all? The conservative court there, I could well see, saying this isn't for us. So, that Collins went ahead and decided these big, chunky questions on the facts, I think, more or less advanced the ball of a question that has to be served up for appeal.

You're absolutely right about Chutkan. I think that becomes more and more the big event, especially as the Mar-a-Lago case seems to slip. And it will be similar facts, but they'll try to make their case then to a jury.

PHILLIP: Yes. All right, Harry Litman and Jim Schultz, thank you both.

LITMAN: Thanks. Thanks, Jim.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And one more notable quote from this ruling, quote, the court concludes that Trump acted with the specific intent to disrupt the Electoral College certification of President Biden's electoral victory through unlawful means, specifically by using unlawful force and violence. And speaking of votes, just a reminder that he and President Biden are now barreling toward this rematch in 2024.

Well, Harry Enten is here with the numbers on the current state of this race. Harry, what do they say?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Look, Abby, the fact is that President Biden is behind President Trump. If you look at just one of these polls, you might say, okay, that's within the margin of error. But now we have four recent national polls where Joe Biden is trailing Donald Trump among either likely or registered voters.

Fox News, Trump plus four, CNN/SSRS, Trump plus four, Quinnipiac University, Trump plus two, Marquette University, Trump plus two. You put it all together, you get a picture that Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden.

And that is historic. Why is that historic? Because I want to take you through the polling archive. Go all the way back 80 years ago and come from president since 1943. How many of them trailed in their re- election bid in the polling at this point? The answer, two, just two. One of these names on the screen you might recognize from the last election and the last slide.

Donald Trump trailed Joe Biden by about ten points at this point in the 2020 cycle. The second one, here we are right here, Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump at this point in the 2024 cycle. These are the only two going back since 1943. The average incumbent is, in fact, ahead by about 10 or 11 points.

And this makes this cycle so much different than the last one in the matchup between Biden and Trump.


Why? Because take a look at the national polls. These are national polls where Trump led Biden. During the entire 2020 cycle, there were exactly zero, zero polls in which Donald Trump led Joe Biden. So far this cycle, including the four you saw on the first screen, get this, 17 polls where Donald Trump leads Joe Biden. This is a vastly different race than the one that we saw four years ago.

Why is the race so different? Well, I'll give you a clue why. Take a look here, age 18 to 34, Biden versus Trump margin, the 2020 result, Biden won those voters by 21 points. Look at where we are now in an average of 2023 polls. Biden is up by just five points at this particular point.

So, a big part of the Democratic base going away from Joe Biden, and that is a big reason why, Abby, he is trailing at this point when of course he was leading throughout the entire 2020 campaign.

PHILLIP: Important context there, Harry Enton, thank you.

And the divide among Democrats is growing now over the Israel war. Two of them will join me next.

Plus, two major stories are developing tonight. More companies are punishing Elon Musk over his anti-Semitic tweet. And one of the titans behind this A.I. boom is suddenly and mysteriously fired. Ronan Farrow is here on both of those headlines.

And an NFL host admits that she made up her sideline reports and is now backtracking.

Jemele Hill and Cari Champion join me live to respond.



PHILLIP: A provocative political question tonight, do Democrats have an Israel problem? The divide inside the party is growing over President Biden's actions as the Israel-Hamas War intensifies.

And here to discuss now is former Hillary Clinton Spokesperson Philippe Reines and also CNN Political Commentator and former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner.

Nina, starting with you, parts of the left, no question, they are furious with President Biden. But are they really going to withhold their support next November over how he's handled this war?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a very real reality, Abby. I mean, we just saw the polling that was done in the previous segment that shows very clearly that President Biden right now is in trouble.

66 percent of Americans want to ceasefire in the Middle East. And I believe what is happening in the Middle East is animating more of the fury that voters are feeling. Democratic voters, especially younger voters, may just not come to the polls. And when you're thinking about a race within the margins, people not showing up to the polls will really have an impact on President Biden going into the 2024 election cycle.

PHILLIP: Philippe, you wrote an op-ed this week about the fear in Jewish communities, saying that the uproar since October 7th has upended the feeling that Jewish-Americans could tell friend from foe. This is actually playing out within the Democratic Party, it seems. Is this something that can be resolved before this next election given what Nina just laid out?

PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON SPOKESMAN: Well, I don't know about resolve, but I do think it can be ameliorated between now and just over a little under a year from now.

I think there are a couple of things at play here. First, I would like to think that, in a broad sense, that President Biden is doing what he believes is right and that that will count for something to the voters, that that's who they voted for in 2020 and that's who they vote for in 2024.

Second, I think, you know, a lot of people, and not to say that it's all young people, because there are people of all stripes and colors and ages who have concerns about what's going on, as do I, as does anyone who's watching what's happening.

But a lot of them are young and need to learn more about what's happening. A perfect example is when they're chanting, from the river to the sea. I'd like to think that most of them don't know what they're saying, and when they have learned, they have stopped.

But my point is, is that there's going to be time for people to understand and learn about what's happened the same way that people in colleges now weren't alive for 9/11, which is an experience that we all had that shapes our views.

Third, to get down to the brass tacks of it, as Nina alluded to, you have a couple of options. One is that they don't vote. That's actually not great. Two, that they vote for one of the third party candidates, particularly Jill Stein, who was absent in the 2020 campaign but very much had a negative impact on the 2016 campaign, or that they vote for the Republican who is likely Donald Trump. I don't think three is going to happen.

I'd like to think at the end of the day, people will look at this election, like every other election. It's between two people. And under no circumstances should any Democrat or anyone who loves America look at those two people and say that Donald Trump is the better of the two.


TURNER: See, this is the thing. This is not 2020. It's going to be 2024. And a lot has changed since then. And while I don't disagree that people need to be more educated about the history of the Middle East, it is patently clear that the American people by 66 percent overwhelmingly, there are polls out there that no less than 70 percent of Democrats are saying that there needs to be a ceasefire to chalk this up as that people don't understand.

People understand that genocide is happening over there. They understand that President Donald J. Trump, there's a difference between -- there's a difference between rhetoric and Trump's rhetoric and Biden's reality.

And the reality is Donald J. Trump is not the president of the United States right now. Donald J. Trump didn't take us into two wars. We got a war going on in the Middle East. We got war going on in the Ukraine.

And so what that dog doesn't hunt in 2024 and the electorate, especially Democrats, are saying to the brunch bunch in the bubble that we want to see something different happening. And when you have countless lives being taken, innocent lives being taken, people are standing up and taking notice of that.

The L.A. Times is saying no more. You have 34 Congress people saying no more. You have the president of the NAACP, President Johnson, saying no more, and a whole host of religious leaders from all religions saying that we should have a ceasefire. It is going to have an impact on 2024.

PHILLIP: I have to say, I am surprised to hear you make that argument that I hear actually a lot from Republicans, which is that Trump didn't get the United States into wars, and there are wars now.


I mean, I don't know, Philippe, if you think that that's actually something that will -- yes, no, I understand. I understand. I'm just wondering if that's something that you think Philippe will actually end up hurting President Biden.

REINES: Well, I mean, I want to go back to a second because Nina is criticizing hot rhetoric and then using the word genocide. This is a no way shape or form a genocide. Let's remember how this started on October 7th. You had thousands of terrorists going across the border. And I'm not going to use the word kill. I'm not going to use the word murder. They want to cross to behead, to decapitate, to dismember people, to kill babies, to just absolutely decimate a society. If anyone has got a genocide, it's the countries and the terrorist groups that have, by the definition of genocide, wanted to eliminate entire people.

Israel, going back to its inception, has made peace with every Arab neighbor that has wanted to make peace. They have never said no. They have never walked away from the table. Hamas has done so repeatedly, because Hamas doesn't want to make peace, nor does other countries in the region. They want Israel to go away.

They are not protecting -- go ahead.

TURNER: What Hamas has done is horrific, no doubt about it. Never say it. They were wrong morally and they broke international law. What is happening to innocent Palestinians, babies, women, just people, in general, we have got to say that humanity must stand up and speak.

And so it is patently and humane to deny people electricity and food and water and the health care that they need in the times of crisis. That is genocide is happening. REINES: Then what should happen tomorrow? There is nothing stopping Hamas from releasing the more than 200 hostages, which, by the way, dozens Americans citizens. There is nothing stopping them from ceding the territory and the tunnels and the infrastructure they have.

They are using the very people that you are citing, which it is heartbreaking to see what's happening. It is heartbreaking for anyone, for any innocent, any age of any type to be killed, to be a casualty of this, but it's Hamas that is doing it to them. Pure and simple, Hamas based their terror back out --

TURNER: They should definitely release the hostages --

REINES: I know you are saying it like that it just doesn't go away.

TURNER: -- that that doesn't mean that innocent -- they -- that that doesn't mean that innocent civilians who have nothing to do with the horrors of Hamas should be held hostage --

REINES: But why are they in civilian areas?

TURNER: -- in terms of being murdered and being killed. And I'm not the only one that feels that way. The majority of American people say it, let's ceasefire and let's find a way to peace.

PHILLIP: I think, Nina, one of the things, though, is that --

REINES: The way of peace is not killed 1,300 innocent civilians. Remember how this started. On October 6th, there was peace.

TURNER: It is not to kill 14,000 Palestinians either. The cries of Palestinian babies have mattered just as much as the cries of Israeli babies (INAUDIBLE) innocent lies matter.

PHILLIP: You are showing this is why you're talking about it. It is, absolutely. But I think one of the things, Nina, and this will be our last word before I let you both go, the -- all the Democratic presidents prior to Joe Biden have maintained more or less the same policy toward Israel, which is to support Israel as an ally to the United States. So -- and I think you could expect more or less the same policy even from a Republican administration.

So, if you're sitting in your shoes, Nina, and the shoes of those on the left is there really a choice here between someone who's going to move away from Israel and someone who's going to stick with Israel? It seems like that's been the policy of the United States, Democratic or Republican.

TURNER: The choice, Abby, is to do the right thing it is -- should every ally the United States be able to just commit genocide or do whatever it takes to win at all costs when the entire world is saying -- when the entire world is saying, let's have a ceasefire?

America has plenty of allies. I get the Israel is ally. That's a good thing. It is also on America either towards peace and not to allow innocent people to languish and to die. And this is not a left issue. This is a humanitarian issue. And I can guarantee you, Abby, that most of those people polled or the people who were polled are not necessarily calling themselves progressives, they are saying, we want a ceasefire, because what happens over there happens over here.


And the way to get peace for both people is to have a ceasefire, let's get the hostages back and let's negotiate a lasting peace. And I see the role of the United States of America as pivotal to doing just that.

PHILLIP: We'll have to leave it there. Nina Turner and Philippe Reines --

REINES: Nina, I have to just say Hamas has refused to talk peace, period.

PHILLIP: I want to -- just one last point to Philippe's point. Hamas has in its charter the elimination of the state of Israel. And the language about just there on the left, but Israel's objective is not to wipe out the Palestinian people as its policy. I think that's the point, Philippe.

TURNER: Kill an innocent Palestinian --

REINES: Exactly right.

PHILLIP: We have to leave it there, both of you. Thank you very much.

By the hour tonight, advertisers are fleeing from social media platform X, which is formerly known as Twitter. This time it is over Elon Musk's anti-Semitic tweets. Ronan Farrow is going to be here to discuss.


PHILLIP: Tonight, some of the titans controlling the future of technology in America are finding themselves in some trouble after Elon Musk's anti-Semitic post on his platform. Now, more and more companies are suspending their ads on X, and that includes IBM, Apple, Disney, and CNN's parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery.

The response putting ex-chief executive, Linda Iaccarino in damage control mode, writing in a post that X has been clear on its efforts to combat anti-Semitism, noting that there is, quote, "no place for it anywhere in the world".

But Musk has also been changing his tone today. He's calling out and condemning anti-Semitism on the platform. Curiously, it was enough to elicit praise from a long-time critic of the platform, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who called it a welcome move. And then there is Sam Altman. He's seen as the face of artificial intelligence. Altman is the founder of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. But today his own company fired him. The reason is still a bit of a

mystery but an internal investigation shows, according to the board, that he was not consistently candid in his communication with them.

I want to bring in contributing writer for "The New Yorker" Ronan Farrow, who recently wrote a deep dive profile of Elon Musk for the magazine. Ronan, thanks for joining us. Now, this move of just so many companies, it seems like a real avalanche of companies deciding to pull away from running ads on X. What does that mean for the consequences here of Elon Musk's repeated amplification of these kinds of anti-Semitic and all kinds of dark posts, sometimes from other users?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, this is the double-edged sword of Elon Musk's role in the world. He is someone who is tremendously mission-oriented that's translated into advances in multiple significant fields, often in areas where the government has under invested and he becomes essentially the most significant first mover.

He's become the only way Americans can get astronauts into space. Launched off of American soil. For years we were relying on Russian launches. He controls more than half of the electric vehicle chargers along America's highways so he's very pivotal for green energy policies.

And yet we also have this other dimension of Elon Musk, where, you know, I've been talking to people in his inner circle today, and they say they worried about him, that he is caught in this cultural crossfire, and he has seen a warm embrace from conspiracy theorists, anti-Semites, racists, and we see him retweeting a lot of, as you say, really dark content.

And there are people in his life that see that as a spiral, that don't know how to respond to that. You know, he's a smart guy, but he is espousing some really important views.

PHILLIP: To that point, I mean, look, it's clear he's shifted to the right, but now it's a question of, is it? now alt-right? Is it really those kind of really dark corners of the internet? Based on your conversations with people who know him, first of all, are they worried about Elon Musk? And second of all, is it true that he's gone way too far?

FARROW: Well, the framing that you get from a lot of people who historically have defended him, but now are saying, yeah, we're worried. We don't know how to grapple with this, is that he, like so many of us, is a person who also on top of all of these other qualities he has, very much wants to be liked. And he was very hurt by the way in which thoughtful people who want to create accountability around someone so powerful gave him the cold shoulder.

He doesn't like that the Biden administration didn't invite him to a significant electric vehicle summit. He doesn't like that there is what he has to cry as woke discourse that questions these kinds of things, he says. This creates a vicious cycle, Abby, where on the other hand, he now

owns this platform X which is running riot with these kinds of anti- Semitic statements, racist statements, statements that aren't rooted in fact. And a lot of those same people issuing those kinds of statements are also holding him up as a hero.

So, he has drawn closer and closer to that segment of the population. That's just indisputable looking at his tweets. And I think, as you say, there are people who care about him, who believe in the good parts of Elon Musk, who are sincerely flummoxed by this.

PHILLIP: Yeah. Turning to Sam Altman now, he's really the biggest name in A.I., ousted from his company. We don't know a huge amount tonight. But the reality is that, this is someone who has a lot of power in his hands and you've written about this with Elon Musk. What do you think happens now that Sam Altman is out of OpenAI? What does it mean for the future of that really critically important technology?

FARROW: Well, it is a seismic development in this community. There are a lot of tech giants coming to his defense right now, saying what a significant shaper of the A.I. movement he's been, what a good steward he's been.


The reality is, we don't know the underlying facts yet. This is a board that had a lot of confidence in him previously. He created a tremendous amount of value for OpenAI. He shepherded it through difficult times, including when Elon Musk pulled out promised investments and the financial certainty of the outfit was in doubt. I've talked about all of that with Sam. He's been quoted in my reporting about it.

It is profoundly unexpected for this board to so abruptly oust him. And that is leading to a lot of speculation about how significant these lies that they're referring to might be, if indeed they are lies. But that is how they characterize it, that he wasn't honest with this board.

PHILLIP: And what he does next, which I'm sure we will find out more about soon. Ronan Farrow, thanks for joining us tonight.

FARROW: Thanks Abby. An admission that is sending shockwaves through the sports world. An NFL host says that she just made up reports earlier in her career on the sidelines. I'll talk about this with Carrie Champion and Jamel Hill next.




PHILLIP: "Shattered Glass" meets shattered sidelines. This week, Charissa Thompson, who hosts Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, she admitted to something that really no journalist ever should. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARISSA THOMPSON, THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL HOST: You know, I've said this before, so I haven't been fired for saying it, but I'll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes, because A, the coach wouldn't come out at halftime, or it was too late, and I was like, I didn't want to screw up the report.

So, I was like, I'm just going to make this up. Because first of all, no coach is going to get mad if I say, hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves. We needed to be better on third down. We need to stop turning the ball over.

UNKNOWN: Press for the quarterback.

THOMPSON: Yeah, exactly. And do a better job of getting off the field. Like, they're not going to correct me on that.


THOMPSON: I'm like, it's fine. I'll just make up the report.


PHILLIP: That admission has sparked huge backlash from a lot of people who do that same job and actually take it seriously. Thompson's job status is unchanged as of right now. Today, she did, though, make an attempt to do some damage control on Instagram, writing in part, "I said I would make up reports early in my career when I worked as a sideline reporter before I transitioned to my current host role. I have never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster."

Joining me now are two veteran sports broadcasters, Cari Champion and Jemele Hill. Jemele, it is the confidence that really gets me about how she said that. And she said that she never lied, but then in the clip, she says she was making things up. So how does this work?

JEMELE HILL, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, when I did sideline reporting in 2012, it didn't work that way, certainly for me. And listen, it's the toughest job I've ever done. A sideline reporting is no joke. And look, I work with Charissa at ESPN. I found her to be likable and enjoyable to work with.

But this is -- I think it's the way she made the admission, like you said, the confidence, her saying, well, I haven't been fired because she's not worried about being fired. And I think it was the tone of it, which a lot of us really felt betrayed by her admission. You know, as you mentioned --

PHILLIP: I mean, should she lose her job, though, Cari? Or, Jemele, I'm sorry.

HILL: Not my dismay. Listen --

PHILLIP: Jemele, do you think she should lose her job? And Kara, you've worked with her before as well. I mean, were you surprised to hear that?

CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I wasn't surprised to hear that happens. So, I really want to make sure that I separate what I am saying, because like Jemele, yes, we worked with Charissa. We find her very likable. Piling on, for me, is not what this conversation should be about. It should really be about, well, why does she feel comfortable enough to say that?

There seems to be a lack of awareness on her part in terms of the privilege that I think she has. I think Charissa believes she's worked hard to get everything that she has. I think she believes she deserves everything that she has received, but the lack of awareness is what other reporters who are like what I like to call our day-to-day grinders, someone like myself, just would not feel comfortable ever saying anything like that.

First, we would never do it, but we just wouldn't feel comfortable to go on air and say, look, the coach didn't come talk to me, so I just took information from the game, and I feel comfortable going on air saying what the information I have and presenting it as if I spoke to someone. She may not have ever had attribution, but she's presenting it.

And in the world in which we live, in the fake news world where we are fighting daily to prove that we are accurate and our content is fact, not necessarily just opinion, it's really hard for you not to be aware of this environment that we are working in. I truly feel journalists are under attack. People will often say fake news. It's their opinion.

PHILLIP: Yeah. And Jemele, just to kind of read between the lines a little bit, maybe, in what Carrie is saying, this is not the first time that Thompson has admitted to doing something like this. She said that in the clip. And she and Erin Andrews both said that they've made things up. If this were a black woman sideline reporter, would the reaction be different?

HILL: Well, having been the sideline reporter and as a black woman, this is something I would have taken to the grave. I mean, so that was kind of my response to this, is that, yes, this was death. It was definitely a kick in the pants to a lot of sideline reporters who have spoken out. Michelle Tafoya, a number of ones across the board who have said, hey, this is not how you do this. But for black women especially, look, women in the industry and sports media, that is 85 percent white men.


All right? So, it's tough for women, period, to get into sports media. It's even tougher for black women to get into sports media. And we often don't get the kind of positions and status that Charissa has been able to work hard to get. And so, I could not imagine Pam Oliver saying this so confidently and boldly.

CHAMPION: Well, Pam -- she would never. She would never.

HILL: Pam would never say this. CHAMPION: Abby, I get what you're asking -- I get what you're saying. As a black woman, this conversation really hits differently because we understand that yes, as Jemele just mentioned, these positions are so rare. Yes, these positions rarely come to us.

And so, it is the lack of awareness, what appears to be entitlement, and then just audacity, whether it is, whether it's ignorant audacity or not, it's unfortunate that you can say that and then couple it with I've never been fired so I'm going to say it again. That's what people were upset about. The lack of awareness and the entitlement.

PHILLIP: Yeah, yeah. I think that's really why this has really touched a nerve for women, for women of color in the sports journalism industry. So, ladies, just stand by for us because tonight, an NBA star has returned to the court after a suspension and he says that his fans will just ignore his domestic violence if he wins. We'll discuss that next.




PHILLIP: Tonight, NBA star Miles Bridges returned to the court after a 19-month layoff. His stat line, 17 points, five rebounds, four assists in 33 minutes, sounds good. Sounds like a feel-good story, except that it's not. Bridges isn't returning from a career- threatening injury. He's back after 583 days and felony domestic violence charges. Bridges pleaded not guilty, no contest to charges stemming from an incident in which he beat his girlfriend in front of their two children.

This was the hospital report, and it was horrific. Strangulation, brain concussion, closed fracture of the nasal bone, contusion of rib, multiple bruises. But ask Bridges, and he says, winning will cure everything.


MILES BRIDGES, NBA PLAYER: I mean, I know a lot of people feel a way about me being back and I understand that. Like I said before, I have to gain their trust back. So, I'm just going out there looking to play and if I can get us some more wins I feel like people's perspective will change --


PHILLIP: Cari and Jemele are back with me. Cari, man, I don't even know what to say but talk about saying the quiet part out loud. He's just like, well, everyone will just forget about this.

CHAMPION: Abby, you are -- that was the best thing you could have said. That would have been my response. He's suggesting that if I win and the team does well, this will go away. And I would hate to say that he's wrong. I'd also like to say that Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, went out of his way to explain it's hard to give punishment out for these sorts of things. And he thinks that he's done enough, that he was suspended for all of last season -- 10 games this season.

These are one of these really uncomfortable conversations where, as you mentioned, He's saying the quiet part out loud and I think most people understand that and that's really unfortunate in this day and age.

PHILLIP: I mean, Jemele, it's such an important question. Adam Silver is basically saying we can't do anything about that, but is that really true?

HILL: Well, I mean, what they could do, I'm not saying they should do this, but I mean, I guess people have to ask themselves, should he have been banned from the league? You know, playing in the NBA is not your right. It's actually a privilege. And then this is really on his team, as well, because they're the ones who are employing him. They're the ones who feel like despite whatever he has done, that he is worth them taking the public relations hit.

But it points out to something that is very ugly about sports. Miles Bridges, as awful as it was that he said that, he is absolutely right. Because we have seen it so many times before that athletes who have done horrible things to women, whether it be sexual abuse, whether it be domestic violence, they are forgiven.

I say this repeatedly. Somebody like Colin Kaepernick would be back in the league had he hit a woman and not taken a knee in protest during the national anthem. Okay, because that is the way, unfortunately, sports is set up. It's a results-oriented game.

And all they care about, and a lot of fans are this way too, is that they will forgive the most unforgivable things as long as somebody helps their team win.

And the fact is, Miles Bridges is still a young player. He's still got a long career ahead of him. And that outweighed what he did to his girlfriend in front of their children.

PHILLIP: And sobering, that's all I can say about all of that. Jemele and Cari, great having you both here on a Friday night. Thanks so much.

CHAMPION: Thank you, Abby.

HILL: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And more on our breaking news. A judge finds that Trump can remain on the ballot in Colorado while also deciding that he may have engaged in an insurrection. That's ahead.




PHILLIP: And just in, we want to bring you this news from "The New York Times". Sean Diddy Combs has reached a settlement with the singer Cassie. This is happening just one day after Cassie filed a bombshell lawsuit that accused the music mogul of rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse.

Laura Coates, this was an extraordinary set of allegations and now an extraordinary settlement. We don't know the details, but it seems to indicate that Diddy has decided this is not something that they want to go through a process of discovery on. It was already getting, I think, pretty ugly with people raising all kinds of questions about him. And now it seems to be over as far as the legal case is concerned.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, the second that these allegations dropped, you had a number of opinions all across the spectrum, particularly about somebody who was so-called a late reporter or a delayed reporter of all these things.

Remember, she was trying to get within the window of the new law in New York that says an adult survivor of sexual assault or abuse, had a very slim window and she was trying to get through that and had a very extensive complaint against this person, but there were no criminal charges that had been filed.



COATES: So, people had -- they ran the gamut. But the fact this has happened now, the day after, after his counsel has already said that she was in it for a payday prior to this, that he had been in it for the past six months, threatened with some sort of action like this, she withdrew a threat and then came back with this lawsuit.

There are going to be a lot of questions now about what's in the actual settlement and whether it's a complete and total muzzle for her now, which it likely will be anytime you settle a case like this.

PHILLIP: Yeah, huge question about that. And look, just as a reminder, I mean, Diddy is wealthy, extremely powerful, still to this day, after 30 years in this industry. Something like this, I think probably has already done some damage, but I think they were clearly concerned that it could do more if it were to continue. Laura, I know you've got a lot to get to in your show. Have a good one.

COATES: Have a good one and happy early birthday, Abby Phillip, everyone.

PHILLIP: Thank you. She'll be 25. Okay, here you go.