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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

United Airlines Says, Loose Bolts Found On Boeing 737 MAX 9 Jets; Michelle Obama Says She's Terrified About 2024 Race; Trump Wants Georgia Case Dismissed, Arguing He Has Immunity; Abby Phillip Discusses Trump Cases; CNN Anchor Sara Sidner Shares Her Cancer Journey. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 08, 2024 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: No one was killed in the blast, thankfully, but witnesses have reported seeing multiple people coming out of the Sandman Signature Hotel, covered with blood on their faces. So far, fire officials believe that this was caused by some type of gas explosion, but they're still working tonight to verify the cause, and we'll keep you updated as we learn more.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip is up next.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: A piece of a plane falls off in midair and now the problem may be more widespread. That's tonight on Newsnight.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip.

And just a short time from now, the NTSB will hold a press conference as we learn another airline has found problems with its planes.

Now, just days after a blowout on the side of an Alaska Airlines flight left a massive hole in the plane, United Airlines is revealing that loose bolts have been found on these Boeing 737 MAX 9 door plugs. And Alaska tonight says that it found, quote, loose hardware on some of its planes.

Now, these are pictures of the plug about the size of a fridge. We'll show you an illustration of what happened in just a moment. And the warning signs were there, it seems. The Alaska Airlines plane was restricted from flying long routes over the ocean after its warning light came on three times in recent weeks.

Now, just listen to this Portland science teacher who was the one who found that panel in his own backyard.


BOB SAUER, FOUND DOOR PLUG IN HIS BACKYARD: This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened on the street. I saw in the flashlight light that there was something gleaming back there, which shouldn't have been there. Oh, that's curious. So, I went back to look at it and it turned out to be that door. It was actually on the ground. I mean, they come all the way down through the tree and one edge of it was sitting on the ground and it was leaning up against one of the lower branches.

I was pretty surprised and also amazed that that could be happening in my yard after there had been such a big to do about it all weekend long.


PHILLIP: I can only imagine joining me now to talk about all of this as aviation attorney and pilot Justin Green. Justin, thanks so much for being here.

First of all, just explain to us what this is. What is this door plug that we're talking about?

JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's essentially an emergency door that could be fitted into this airplane, but this particular model did not have a need for it. It's only needed if it has more passengers on board. And Alaska Air decided to have a fewer seating version of the 737-9.

So, these doors on one on both sides are basically door plugs. If passengers inside wouldn't know that there's a door there, it looks just like a normal window, on the outside, you'll just see the outline of where the door could be installed.

PHILLIP: Okay, interesting. So, it's not -- even though this might look to you like an emergency exit, it's not that. It looks more like a window.

But tell us about what happens to these individuals who would have been seated in these seats right here. What on earth would this have been like for them if those seats were not --

GREEN: So, unfortunately, there're prior incidents where people were seated in this particular seat, the one right next to where the fuselage was damaged. And I happen to represent a woman who was -- or the family of a woman who was pulled out of a Southwest jet. So, if someone was seated there, most likely that person would be deceased right now. So, it's very, very fortunate. This is a miracle that nobody was killed, nobody was seriously injured.

If this had happened at altitude, meaning that people would be up and about the cabin, the flight crew might be serving meals, you know, there are babies on board. Mothers or fathers could be walking their babies up and down the aisle when this happened. So thank God it happened what it did.

PHILLIP: And we heard that there was a boy who had his shirt pulled off. I mean, that kind of force, it suggests it could easily have been the person themselves.

GREEN: Well, this isn't near the back of the airplane. In the front of the airplane, the cockpit door, the armored cockpit door was pulled open. And the flight crews, like one of the flight crew, I think one or even both of the flight crews, their systems were pulled off their heads. So, it's a very, very big issue. And thank God nobody was killed.

PHILLIP: So, United Airlines says that after they looked preliminarily over the weekend, they found loose bolts. They say that they could be related to this panel installation issues. What does that signify to you? What do you think investigators can learn from that?

GREEN: Well, they're really going to have to decide, obviously, what happened.



GREEN: And right now, they're looking at the bolts. These doors have four bolts that are part of the installation system, and it looks to be that these are the bolts that they're finding that are loose. The question is, why are they loose? Were they loose --

PHILLIP: Were they a maintenance issue or a construction --

GREEN: It would most likely be -- it's not a maintenance issue. The maintenance aren't really supposed to touch this part once it's delivered. It could be -- it potentially could be a maintenance issue if they did -- if the airline actually worked on this part, but the signs are not there. So, it's either going to be a problem in the manufacture of the airplane or it could be a problem of the design of this system. Although this is not a new system, it was in the prior version of the 737. So, it looks more and more like a manufacturing issue.

PHILLIP: We're also learning -- as the NTSB is investigating all of these details, we're learning that there were some lights that had come on three times in the last month. Is this something that would cause alarm if you're a pilot that they come on?

GREEN: So, the light comes on, it tells the pilots that they have a pressurization problem. The pilots put their systems to alternate, and then the lights went off. Basically, they have an alternate pressurization system. The investigation is going to have to decide whether that is completely unrelated or whether that was a warning sign of an impending structural failure.

PHILLIP: So, it was not necessarily a signal to the pilot ground this plane, you can't?

GREEN: Well, it's a signal to maintenance something is gone wrong with the plane. But I don't think that there's enough information that would have led them to this door, because this door has not been a problem in the past. It's not been a problem with the prior version of the 737. So, the big question is going to be, well, how does they have a successful fleet in the 737 900, the extended range version, the former version of the 737, and suddenly having all these problems in the MAX. And that's going to be a big part of the investigation. PHILLIP: You've dealt with some of these very serious cases. Is Boeing open to legal action here at this point?

GREEN: Boeing certainly is, and the chairperson of the NTSB talked about the emotional impact on the passengers. Some of the passengers were physically injured, but everyone on that board, especially people right around where this explosive decompression happened, are probably having nightmares right now.

So, there's going to be some legal action. But they got off lucky. And more importantly, the people on this airplane got off super lucky.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, look, the psychological impact to all of us anytime something like this happens is very real.

Justin Green. Thank you very much.

GREEN: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: I want to now bring in Jim Hall. He's the former chairman of the NTSB.

Jim, how involved in the day to day are the NTSB and the FAA when it comes to the safety checks for these planes that are already deployed into the fleets of these airlines? Who decides that the plane is safe on the whole?

JIM HALL, FORMER NTSB CHAIR: Well, there's a safety ladder that we have in the federal system that normally works very well. This investigation, I think, has raised three significant issues. One is, did Spirit Aerospace (ph) follow the steps in the installation of that plug? Who signed off on the completion of that task? What redundancy was involved in any oversight by Boeing in regard to looking at that, and who had the ultimate responsibility that that was correctly installed? That, I think, in light of the announcement by United today, is obviously now a fleet-wide issue.

The issue of the CVR also, I think, is extremely important. The U.S. has lagged in terms of cockpit voice recorders, and we need to have the 24 hours recorder like we have in Europe. That's something the chairman of the NTSB has pushed for. And we should have a warning signal in our safety system that we've had a majority of serious runway incursions that could not be adequately investigated because they didn't have a 24-hour CVR.

I think the third item is the oversight of Boeing. It went under a fine tooth comb inspection by the aviation subcommittees, and has the culture of that company changed?

PHILLIP: That is exactly the question that I think is looming right now. In 2019, as you pointed out, the Boeing 737 MAX planes, they were grounded after two of their MAX 8s crashed. That plane underwent all kinds of rigorous checks. But what does it say to you that this broad type of Boeing plane again are facing such significant scrutiny after a really serious incident as this was? HALL: A decade ago, I raised through an op-ed of The New York Times my concerns about the coziness between the FAA and Boeing, and the development of this aircraft down to 787.


And I was pleased after the fatal accidents, very tragic fatal accidents, occurred that the aviation subcommittee of Congress involved themselves in the oversight of the FAA. We now have a new leader at the FAA, and they are waiting on their reauthorization, which I hope will go forward soon.

PHILLIP: Jim Hall, thank you very much for joining us on all of that.

HALL: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, with one week to go until Iowa voting begins, Michelle Obama is pushing the panic button, why she says she's terrified.

Plus, Nikki Haley is blasting Joe Biden for giving a political speech inside a black church in South Carolina. We'll discuss, next.

And CNN's Sara Sidner joins me as she bravely reveals her breast cancer diagnosis, which she wants other women to know.


PHILLIP: One week until the first votes in the 2024 caucuses and primaries, and some Democrats are now hitting the panic button.


That includes former First Lady Michelle Obama.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: What's going to happen in this next election? I am terrified about what could possibly happen because our leaders matter, who we select, who speaks for us, who holds that bully pulpit. It affects us in ways that sometimes I think people take for granted. And we cannot take this democracy for granted, and sometimes I worry that we do. Those are the things that keep me up.


PHILLIP: The first lady's warning comes on the heels of her husband and former President Barack Obama reportedly meeting with President Biden over the weekend. The Washington Post reports that during the private lunch meeting that the two had, Obama voiced concerns about Trump, and he strongly encouraged Biden to beef up his campaign staffing, putting more senior aides directly involved in the day-to- day operations.

Now, joining me now to discuss this is CNN Political Commentator and former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner along with Democratic Strategist and former Clinton White House Aide Keith Boykin.

So, Nina, listening to Michelle Obama there, is she right to be terrified?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the First Lady is, and both the Obamas, former President Obama and First Lady Obama, making it very clear that the Biden campaign at this point needs to do a better job. On the opposite side of that, I would also add that the Biden administration itself should be doing more, and it's just not a good look to come out. I mean, in other words, that they almost not waited too late, but to ramp up in January of 2024 without really dealing with material needs before that is going to cause this president some challenges.

PHILLIP: And, Keith, when the Obamas speak up, people stand up and listen, especially Democrats. So, it sounds like they're saying, this is a dire situation. Do you think that that is what they're trying to signal, both to the Biden campaign, but also to Democrats generally?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's exactly right. There's signaling not only to the administration and to the campaign, but also to voters. And this is an important election. And it's easy for people not to pay attention, because, first of all, it's early in the campaign cycle. We haven't had any primaries yet. That's just about to start. But, second of all, we have a choice between two candidates who people aren't really excited about. Nobody wants to see a rerun of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but that's what looks like we're going to have to deal with.

And so we have to figure out a way for those of us who are Democrats to get people motivated. This will not be a persuasion election. There's no convincing one person or another to vote for one person, for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden, because everybody knows everything they need to know about these two candidates. This is a turnout election. So, Democrats have to figure out how they're going to turn out their base.

PHILLIP: Speaking of which, Nina, President Biden was down in South Carolina today. He gave a speech at Mother Emanuel Church. Listen to a little bit of what happened.

Now, that scene, Nina, really drawing some controversy on all fronts. I mean, that's a church sanctuary. Some folks on the right and the left questioning a political event in that church. President Biden is the first sitting president to be right where he was today, not the first politician, of course, or the first person to give a political speech there. But what do you make of the choice of that venue for this particular speech?

TURNER: Well, Abby, in some ways, some segments of the black population would probably say it's pandering. And, you know, for Republicans to try to use this, you know, they just need to have several seats, especially a former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, who couldn't even tell the world what started the Civil War.

So, she needs not fix her mouth to quote my grandmother to say anything about the Biden campaign when it comes to race, especially when it comes to African-Americans. But, Abby, this is a problem. I mean, many black politicians come to the black church at the last minute. This is an example of that. Why wasn't he at Mother Emanuel last year or the year before that or the year before that?

This president said that he was uniquely positioned because he was the vice president for the first African-American president of this country to address the issues that uniquely animate the African- American community. Well, the African American community is under assault globally. We got black women being attacked out in the open. Hello, Harvard University president.


We have the rolling back of affirmative action by the United States Supreme Court. We didn't get the minimum wage passed, no John Lewis Voting Rights Act, no George Floyd Policing and Justice. And, Abby, the list goes on and on and on.

So, the work that needs to be done to show the black community in particular that this president not only can give a pretty speech, but that he can pass pretty policies, that he can push pretty policies that make a difference in material conditions, that just has not happened. And to stage this in the black church at this moment when there is a rollback that's happening in this country and a total full front of assault on black people, our history, our being, everything about us is almost a little too late.

PHILLIP: I mean, Keith, what do you make of that? Is it an 11th hour sign of desperation or is it the Biden campaign trying to say this is important, this is serious, pay attention?

BOYKIN: Well, I think the Biden visit today was more about the South Carolina primary than is about the general election. He's not going to win any voters in the general election because of what he did today, but he doesn't want to embarrass himself in the primary.

That was the first presidential primary he ever won four years ago in South Carolina on the last day of Black History Month. That's what put him into the position to be the president of the United States.

PHILLIP: Do you really think he's at risk of losing the South Carolina primary when he's not largely opposed?

BOYKIN: Absolutely not. But I'm saying the idea is that the whole point is he doesn't want to look like he's not paying attention to what's going on in South Carolina.

But the point of it is this one particular visit to this church is really part of a long, I think, campaign that the Biden administration needs to be engaged with. I know Kamala Harris was out last year to a lot of black colleges. I know President Biden has been in other black institutions in the past.

But Nina makes a good point. And I think if I were in the campaign, you know, I've been in several campaigns in the past, if I were advising President Biden, I'd advise him to do several things. First, he has to engage those people who haven't been traditionally engaged but who are part of his base, black voters, young black voters in particular, young people in general, Arab-Americans, people who have some concern about some of his policies. He needs to be directly talking to them.

Everybody in that church will vote for Joe Biden, except for the four or five people who protested. But everybody in that church is going to vote for him. So, he's not really winning any converts there. He needs to be talking to the people who aren't necessarily going to be voting for him.

But, you know, then secondly, there has to be some more policy adjustments, too. People are concerned about some issues, about student loans, they're concerned about Gaza, they're concerned about some of the policies about student loans that he hasn't necessarily been able to deliver, like the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, for example, or the John Lewis Voting Act, that Nina mentioned.

But he has to talk about the things he has accomplished, a historic funding for HBCUs, for example, the historic low rates of unemployment for black people, or even the idea that he's able to pass the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act after 100 years of Democrats and Republicans attempting to sabotage that.

So, I think there's some room for progress, but he has to be engaged in this seriously and can't wait to the last minute to push this out.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, it seems clearly the campaign thinks there's work to be done here, otherwise they wouldn't have rolled it out in quite this way. Nina Turner, Keith Boykin, thank you both.

BOYKIN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, as Donald Trump gets ready to appear in court tomorrow, he's floating some new arguments, including that he wasn't notified that his actions were illegal. We'll discuss that.

Plus, while the mystery over the hospitalization of the defense secretary is intensifying, hear what happened in the world when very few people knew what was going on with Lloyd Austin.



PHILLIP: No one adequately told Donald Trump that his actions were illegal. Yes, that is one of the new arguments tonight that his team is citing to have his Georgia election case dismissed.

Now, the former president says that he'll be in court tomorrow and off the campaign trail to attend federal arguments over his claim of presidential immunity. It's a defense that's never been tested before, and he's not only using it for the January 6th case against him, but also for the Georgia one too. And his lawyers argue that Trump was working in his official capacity as commander-in-chief when he tried to undermine the 2020 election results.

The attorneys wrote in part, the Supreme Court has held that states cannot use their criminal law to interfere with actions that are inseparably connected to the functioning of the national government. There can be no doubt that the election of the president of the United States is so connected to the function of the national government.

Joining me now to pick all of that apart is CNN Anchor and Chief Legal Analyst Laura Coates, also with us Mimi Rocah, the district attorney of Westchester County, New York, who's also a former federal prosecutor.

So, Laura, what do you make of this? He's arguing he's got presidential immunity. It would be double jeopardy to charge him in Georgia because he's already been impeached and that he didn't have enough notice that what he was doing was illegal?

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Spaghetti on the wall hoping that one of them will stick. I'll begin with the last part of it here. The idea that he was not on notice that his actions would be criminal if he were to endeavor to go outside of his presidential duties and try to overturn an election because it wasn't explicitly identified in the Constitution it's quite laughable for a variety of reasons.

Remember, our civics lessons, he was the head of the executive branch of government who job it is to enforce the laws as written by Congress and, of course, the Constitution. Also, Mimi, you can obviously agree on this, the notion here that he believes that an impeachment would attach to double jeopardy in a criminal prosecution is completely absurd, it would not hold water.

PHILLIP: Totally different kinds of proceedings.

COATES: Totally different.

PHILLIP: The burden of evidence is -- I mean, it's not even similar.

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER CHIEF OF SDNY: Well, he wasn't even facing jeopardy in impeachment. You aren't facing prison. And that is the definition of being in jeopardy. So, it's a nonstarter.

PHILLIP: And taking all of this together, I mean, Trump and his legal team, I think, are seeming to argue that there is a Mack-sized -- Mack truck-sized hole in accountability for the highest office in the land. Is that believable?


ROCAH: Yeah. I mean, it really is. And particularly, if you look at some of the arguments he makes in the different cases including in the New York state case at one point, his lawyers argued, we should have a temporary stay while I'm still President because after I'm President, I can be prosecuted criminally.

Now that he's not President, he's saying, oh no, actually it applies to everything I did as President. So, he's not -- they're not using the law, the constitution, or any provision. They're using the Donald Trump immunity defense, which is wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, there's immunity there. And that's a king, not a President. And that's essentially what Jack Smith is saying. That's essentially what Judge Chutkan said -- that we don't have kings. You can't have absolute immunity.

And even if there were some immunity to carve out for presidents for their official duties, this is not it, trying to defraud the American public, essentially, of an election, is not something that we should give immunity for.

COATES: I mean, here's the absurdity of it. Remember when he said as a candidate, I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it? His argument now is, as long as I ever lived on Pennsylvania Avenue, that's it.

Everything is fair game now. That would be tested to the logical conclusion that whatever a president is doing, it's not illegal. Who does that remind us of? Oh, President Nixon. And we already rejected that claim.

PHILLIP: I mean, that seems like the exact opposite thing that the founders wanted to point out. And Mimi, do you think that there is any strategy here in Trump showing up in person at this Washington, D.C. hearing tomorrow? Is there anything -- is it legal? Is it P.R.?

ROCAH: It's definitely not legal. And it derives from, you know, he's done this kind of successfully. I mean, he did use the Attorney General's case as a platform for -- to be able to come out and spew, you know, his version of events outside of the courtroom. He's not going to be able to do that.

A Court of Appeals argument, as you know, is very different. There's not a trial, there's no witnesses, there's no breaks to go out. I mean, he can say whatever he wants to say afterwards or before outside of the courthouse, but it's a very different, somber, formal atmosphere. So, if he thinks there's going to be that kind of environment, he will be sorely bored and disappointed.

COATES: I mean, we're talking about an appeal. People think themselves, they remember the law and order, they think about every court room proceeding being like a trial. The appeal -- they are there to answer a question. What are you asking the court to do?

Not how a jury will find, but what's the legal question here? It is not an overall fact-finding hearing where they're going to have witnesses and testimony, or the courthouse steps moments of -- even the AGs filing against Trump in New York. Instead, it is, what is the legal basis? And this is interesting about this. The court could very well conclude whether there is immunity or not, without even touching the underlying facts of the case.

The legal question is, does a president have absolute immunity that they cannot be prosecuted for anything they did while they were in office? That's not -- did he commit insurrection? That's not -- was he engaged in insurrection? That is, do you have absolute immunity? And for that, Trump will be very, very disappointed if he finds himself trying to wonder, will they actually say I can commit insurrection or not?

PHILLIP: Real quick, I mean, he's arguing that he needed to have been told that his actions were illegal. I mean, is that true?

COATES: No, no.

PHILLIP: Would any of the, you know, any defendant that you know need to have been told explicitly that, you know, shooting someone is illegal?

COATES: Well, ignorance of the law is not a defense to breaking the law, number one. But the claim in Jack Smith's indictment is about knowingly making these false statements. I think the knowing part is why he's conflating in this aspect of it, whether he was knowing in his attitude and knowing in his belief and in his actions to actually commit the alleged actions. But again, tomorrow, that's not this particular issue. The issue is whether a president has immunity, period.

PHILLIP: All right, Mimi Rocah, Laura Coates, thank you both very much. And Laura will be back at the top of the hour. Don't go anywhere -- to anchor "Laura Coats Live". And up next for us, a special interview. CNN's Sarah Sidner reveals her breast cancer diagnosis. And she's here with us tonight with a message that she has for all women.



PHILLIP: My dear friend and a beloved colleague of ours here at CNN joins me now for a very personal story. Today, as you may have seen, Sarah Sidner bravely revealed that she is being treated for stage three breast cancer and that rather than fight this battle privately, she is sharing her story, hoping that it makes more women, and particularly black women, pay attention to their own health.

Sarah, thank you for staying up late with us. I know it has been quite a day. First of all, how are you? How are you feeling?

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Today was really uncomfortable. And I know that sounds really weird. You think like the chemo treatment is the most uncomfortable thing, which, you know, it is poison being put into your system, but it is there to help you survive.

But I am not used to talking about my personal business. And in our family, which I have discussed, the thing that is said over and over again on both sides of my family is, don't tell your personal business. It's none of anybody's business. Keep your business to yourself.

So, I had to undo that because I thought that it was important that because of the numbers, because particularly of the numbers for women and then even more specifically for black women, I needed to say something. PHILLIP: Yeah, I want to get to that in a second because it's so

important, but you found out at, I mean, I cannot even describe it.


It was a busy time.


PHILLIP: It's always busy for you, but it was a very busy time. You were in a war zone reporting. What was that like?

SIDNER: It was just before I had noticed a lump. And then I thought it went away. And so I kind of played this mind game with myself that like, oh, maybe that was just an anomaly.

But just before I went to Israel, the war had broken out on October 7th. I knew that I had a lump and I had done a mammogram. And I went anyway because I wasn't sure what it was and they said, okay, well, you're going to need to come back for a biopsy. And I said, okay. Was that the right choice? I don't know.

But it is sort of typical of me to go and do the job that I feel like the best place I'm supposed to be for the company, for the story. And I have to tell you that being there at a time when I was almost 100 percent sure that I was going to come back and find out I had cancer, it really shifted my thought process, seeing what people were going through there, seeing what happened to people in Israel after a Hamas attack, and then seeing what happened to people in Gaza.

And living through that and watching them try to survive something that frankly is far worse than anything I'd been diagnosed with at the point, and anything that I would be diagnosed with later. It taught me that living is the ultimate and that nothing else matters, and it really set my head straight. When I got back, and four days later, after I got my biopsy, I found that I had stage three breast cancer.

PHILLIP: You wanted to fight.


PHILLIP: You needed to fight.

SIDNER: I saw people fighting in the worst of circumstances. People have cancer that are in Gaza right now. People have cancer that are in Israel and dealing with the attacks and dealing with the rockets coming over. And they're still fighting to live.

So, who am I not to do the same thing in a place where I have resources, I have community, and I have a lot of love and care? And this is no, by no means a war zone. So, I felt like it was almost like my duty to go forward and do this.

PHILLIP: And you came back and you mentioned earlier and in your message today, the statistics for black women when it comes to breast cancer are so awful. SIDNER: They're --

PHILLIP: Did you even know about that?

SIDNER: I had no idea. I knew that there was a disparity. I had no idea. I went down a rabbit hole, as we all do as reporters. I know you know this, because as soon as you find something out, you research, right? And so every night I was looking and researching, and it was like, did I read that? I had to read it three or four times, that one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Those are the statistics.

So, I can name eight women right now, and it completely blows my mind that one of us is going to get it. I'm the one in my group. But then I went further, and I'm like -- 41 percent. That is how much more likely you are to die if you happen to be a black woman.

What the hell are we doing? That just should not be true. And black women don't get breast cancer more than white women. They generally are not -- it's not a higher instance, but the death rate is so severe.

PHILLIP: And they're more likely to have -- to find out about it when it's at a more advanced stage, which can be so critical. I mean, someone raised to me, I mean, when women have to decide how they treat their health preventatively, what do you want them to understand about why this matters, to go that extra step and get that mammogram, to take that moment and don't just look past the lump that you feel?

SIDNER: I mean, I'm guilty of doing that, and here I am, right? Stage three. Had I listened to myself in the very beginning, I probably would have been better off. But I questioned myself, and then I was like, oh, I don't know, and I didn't really want to hear it.

The truth is, I think a lot of us are afraid. A lot of us have had issues with healthcare and the healthcare industry when it comes to being a woman, and then on top of it, a black woman. Issues with not being believed.

So, there are lots of things that sort of make you not really want to know, but please, for God's sakes, do the self-exam. That's how I caught it. And then the mammogram. Do everything that you can do because this is not your grandmother's cancer treatment anymore. And that's the one thing I want people to know. If you happen to be diagnosed, and God forbid, but if you happen to be diagnosed, I'm still working out. I'm still running.


I'm still working, I'm still here with you tonight, I'm still hanging out with my family, I'm laughing, I'm joking, I'm doing all the things and I'm living my life. Is it hard? Yes. Do I have fatigue sometimes? Yes. Do I feel nauseous sometimes? Yes.

But they have figured out incredible ways to deal with all of the pain and discomfort that people have gone through throughout the decades in ways now that even better than 10 years ago. And so, I just want people to understand it's not a death sentence. It doesn't have to be. But you have to learn self-care. And that is my lesson. Self-care is important.

PHILLIP: As you face this next step, it's not over. But you're facing it incredibly bravely. You said today that you are the happiest that you've been in decades. How do you find that place of happiness and joy in all of this?

SIDNER: I think the ultimate thing is, so often I would wake up, and I think a lot of us do this, you have a checklist, you have things that you must do. You're worrying about whether it's getting yourself up, getting your kids up, going to work, making sure you have all the things done, the dishes and the this and the car and the that, and you're thinking about all the chores that you have to do in that day, and it made me stressed out thinking about all the things I needed to achieve that day.

And when I wake up in the morning now, I'm just thankful to be awake. Literally, like when I was seven and eight years old when you woke up excited, I wake up excited. I get to come to work today. I don't feel sick. I get to go work out today. I get to see my friends. I get to hang out with Abby Phillip. I get to talk to people who are incredible minds on a daily basis.

I just -- my brain has changed and I'm so filled with gratitude -- filled to the brim with gratitude. And I honestly had to one morning wake up and go, you know what, thank you, cancer. Cause I didn't see life like this before. And I do now.

PHILLIP: Sarah Sidner, thank you, my friend. We love you.

SIDNER: Thank you.

PHILLIP: We're so proud of you.

SIDNER: Your love is real. Thank you.

PHILLIP: You're so brave. Thank you very much for sharing that with us. And we'll be right back.



PHILLIP: The mystery involving the nation's Defense Secretary is even wilder tonight. First of all, a week later, Lloyd Austin is actually still in the hospital. Why? Well, we don't know, and we don't know which procedure put him there in the first place.

We don't know what his condition is, and we don't know why it seems that very few people in the Biden administration seem to be aware of it. Now, that includes Austin's number two at the Pentagon and the President himself.

Now, if you take a look at the org chart here, only the Joint Chiefs was in the know about all of this. And if you take a step back further and look at what transpired in the world just in the last week, while few people were aware of this, it is pretty alarming considering that Austin is the man in charge of this country's armed forces.

Two wars are underway, of course, both of which involve U.S. funds and interests. Separately, a senior Hamas official was killed. Attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria intensified surpassing 120 instances. Dozens are killed in an ISIS-claimed terrorist attack near the grave of an Iranian commander. It's the deadliest in Iran since the '79 Revolution.

American forces launched a rare airstrike in Baghdad, killing the leader of an Iranian-backed militia. The Houthis launched another drone attack against the Red Sea shipping lanes. It was reported that Russia is on the verge of buying ballistic missiles from Iran and the Korea's escalated tensions, shots fired during drills.

Now, we've asked the White House to appear on "NewsNight" and provide some sunlight, but they declined. And we wish, of course, Secretary Austin a speedy recovery. Now, next, the MTSB will hold a press conference on the investigation of that Boeing 737 MAX-9 after the incident mid-air. Stand by for that.



COATES: Breaking news -- we're waiting for a news conference on an Alaska Airlines plane that suffered a terrifying mid-flight blowout. And while we wait, Donald Trump takes his campaign to court. The big question? What happens now? Tonight on "Laura Coates Live". Now, Donald Trump says that he's entitled, quote, "Of course, I was entitled as the President of the United States and Commander in Chief to immunity."

But there's no, of course about it, frankly. And tomorrow, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. takes up that very question of immunity. All this has, of course, never been tested before in court with good reason. We don't want to have presidents trying to be immunized all the time. What would that say about our country?

But there is actually no reason that they've never given a reason or had a reason that no sitting or former presidents ever faced criminal charges. That is until now, of course. Arguing before the appeals court that his actions after the election were all just fine, that he's covered by what you might think of as some sort of a, maybe it's a magical constitutional cloak of presidential immunity. And that he cannot, he thinks, be prosecuted for his alleged efforts to overturn our free and fair election.

And this one fact shows you just how important the whole thing really is to him. He is voluntarily sitting in a courtroom tomorrow instead of being on the campaign trail ahead of the Iowa caucuses that are actually one week from tonight. But can he convince the three judges of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals? It's a big question. A lot would have to happen. And by the way, it's not just the case in Washington, D.C. because

Team Trump also wants the sweeping criminal conspiracy case against him and many others in Georgia to be thrown out. Why? What's he arguing? You guessed it, presidential immunity.

And in a sign that the immunity argument might not fly, a federal appeals court today denied Team Trump's request to rehear their presidential immunity argument in the E. Jean Carroll case.


But what would happen, really, if a President had total immunity? Could he or she one day rob a bank, commit treason, or say try to steal an election?