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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

A Shocking Protest Shows Intense Pressure On Biden; Texas Parole Board Says, No Clemency In Case Of Death Row Inmate; Donald Trump's Fraud Punishment Bill Gets Steeper; Nikki Haley Loses Primary In Her Home State; Monica Lewinsky Becomes A Fashion Model. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 22:00   ET



KRISTY GREENBERG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: And, plus, there are different levels of appeal. Presumably if he's unsuccessful at this level, he'll go all the way up to the highest court, which is actually called the New York Court of Appeals. But, presumably, he will exhaust every avenue of appeal that he has.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Kristy Greenberg, we will be following it all closely with you. Thank you for your time tonight.

And thank you all so much for joining us live from London tonight. CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Is Joe Biden facing a Vietnam moment in the war in Gaza? That's tonight on NewsNight.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in New York.

And tonight, a soldier's final act and his last words add to the unprecedented pressure on President Biden. Aaron Bushnell was an active duty Air Force member, just 25 years old. He took his own life on Saturday in a shocking protest. He lit himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.

We're not going to show you the actual video of those final moments. It's too gruesome. But this is a still that was taken from a video that he recorded. In it, Bushnell explains why he felt that he had to do what he did.

He talked to the camera for nearly a minute, and he said this, I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I'm about to engage in an extreme act of protest.

You can see Bushnell standing, U.S. flag visible on his uniform, the embassy gate there behind him. His last words were words that he shouted until he collapsed from the fatal fire that he set, free Palestine.

Now, there have been other moments like this in modern history. The awful violence of the act is intended to jolt the conscience. I want to warn you, some of what we're about to see and discuss is difficult to watch. Some of it, you may well remember, a Buddhist monk in Saigon aflame in 1963 to protest the American-backed regime in South Vietnam, a Quaker, Norman Morrison, at the Pentagon in 1965 to demand a stop to violence in Vietnam. Here, you're looking at the vigil that was held after his death, a fruit vendor who ignited the Arab Spring, which led to the downfall of dictators across the Middle East.

Now, the fact that Israel's war in Gaza has provoked this kind of response from really anyone marks a new and stunning chapter in this country's stark divisions over this war. Biden is clearly feeling the pressure and, privately, he's expressing his frustration with the Netanyahu government and its refusal to moderate the bombing campaign.

But right now, here's where the numbers stand domestically. 50 percent of Americans say that Israel's campaign has gone too far. That includes 63 percent of Democrats and that number has been building. Recent events, they've also highlighted how limited Biden's increasingly frank warnings to Netanyahu have been and exerting pressure on a U.S. ally. He, for example, warned Netanyahu not to plan for an invasion into the densely populated refuge for civilians, Rafah. Netanyahu says he has a plan to do just that.

And tomorrow, we'll see a test of just how frustrated the voters are. There's been a vocal campaign in the state of Michigan to get Democrats to vote uncommitted as a message directly to the president of the United States.

Now, whether President Biden hears that message or if he can do anything at this point to make Israel hear that message, well, that remains to be seen.

Tonight, progressive anger at the President is mounting. Joining me now is someone who's been a key progressive for a very long time, Democratic Congresswoman from California Barbara Lee. She's a former chair of the Progressive Caucus. She's also running for Senate.

Now, Lee was also the only member of Congress from either party to vote against the 2001 authorization of military force that sent American troops into Afghanistan for what turned out to be two decades of war.

Congresswoman, thank you for joining us tonight.

As you saw there, a service member self-immolating outside of the Israeli embassy, it's really a horrifying thing to watch. When you saw that, what went through your mind?

REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): It's tragic, first of all. Secondly, I thought about his family, his friends, how they must be devastated. And, of course, my first thought was to send condolences and give me a chance to do that to his family and to his friends.

You know, I've always supported our First Amendment rights, peaceful protesting, but peaceful is the operative way to protest.

[22:05:06] So, in this instance, this turned out, as in many respects, it looks like it could be a suicide. But it's very sad. And I hope those who are protesting continue to protest peacefully, because violence should not be an option on any front and any protest for any reason.

PHILLIP: So, the service member said that he can no longer be complicit in genocide. Two questions for you. Do you consider what Israel is doing in Gaza to be a genocide? And do you considered the president as a result of that to be complacent in a genocide?

LEE: Look, I am going to tell you what I believe in terms of first condemning the horrific Hamas attacks. Terrorism should not be tolerated in any part of the world, including in Israel. And I also have said very clearly that in going after Hamas, killing innocent civilians, what, 30,000 nearly women and children, that is not how you prosecute a war to address terrorism.

We have to have a ceasefire, and Abby, that's what I'm calling for. I called for a cease-fire early. We had to get a political and diplomatic solution so that the hostages can be released, so this terrible death and destruction and violence can stop.

And I am concerned about an escalation into a regional war with the United States embroiled in it. And so, of course, it's in our national security interests also. And we need to continue to call for a ceasefire, and we need the end of the killing of so many civilians, so many children, so many women.

PHILLIP: Just tonight, President Biden made some news. He spoke to the Late Night host, Seth Meyers. I want to play for you what he said.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I hope by the end of the weekend, the end of the weekend, at least my national security adviser tells me that we're close, we're close. We're not done yet. And my hope is by next Monday, we'll have a ceasefire.


PHILLIP: Is that enough for you? He's talking there about not a permanent ceasefire, but a short-term ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages.

LEE: Look, I have called for a permanent cease fire, but what the president has discussed and what is taking place really opens up the space, excuse me, for a ceasefire and we saw the last time that the hostages, some hostages were released. So, this is a good thing. Let's do this and do it quickly.

I hope it occurs before next week so that we can stop this onslaught of civilians. But also, Abby, I must say that we have to go and fight for and continue to speak out for a permanent ceasefire.

Finally, I'll just say a week before last I met with King Abdullah from Jordan and what he raised in our meeting was very scary to me. But also he gave some hope that there are certain issues on the table that could lead to a peace plan.

But, remember, the United States has supported and continues to support a two-state solution. Netanyahu said that he does not. So, we're going to have to fight very hard for a permanent ceasefire and to get back on track for a political and --

PHILLIP: And on that exact note, I mean, Netanyahu has essentially ignored a lot of what the Biden administration has already said to them about what they want to see. He has pushed aside this idea of a two-state solution.

He says he still plans to conduct an invasion into Rafah, despite the Biden Administration warning him not to do that without certain conditions being met. Do you think that President Biden actually has influence over the Netanyahu government at this point?

LEE: The president must continue to hold Israel accountable and must continue tell Netanyahu, in no uncertain terms, that what is taking place is, first of all, against the rules of warfare, it's a violation of human rights. What is taking place is thousands of civilians, women and children, 30,000, are being killed.

PHILLIP: Is it enough for him to just say that to Netanyahu or does he -- I mean, others have said the aid needs to be conditioned. Do you believe that that's the case?

LEE: Well, it does need to condition. We should never allow any country to receive U.S. tax dollars without some rules, some conditions and some accountability measures. And so, yes, that should take place.


PHILLIP: I mean, to be clear, there are -- I mean, there are conditions by law on the aid that goes to Israel. But I think the criticism from some people is that it doesn't go far enough and that it needs to go further.

So, I mean, to what degree do you think that that should be something that President Biden pushes even further than what is already required by law?

LEE: He should push as far as he can push, because, one, the leverage that the United States has is very clear to me. I chaired the committee on appropriations that funds a lot of our international diplomacy and development investments.

It's very clear to me that if, in fact, countries don't meet the conditions, then we have the kind of leverage that should insist that they do or we pull back and we do not fund to the extent that the funding is not accountable to U.S. tax dollars.

And this is what's taking place now. And so the president must insist that the rules of accountability be complied with and they haven't been, Abby. And so that's the issue. PHILLIP: Congresswoman, I want to get your take on the Michigan primary, which will be tomorrow. There's a very public, very high- profile campaign to get Michigan Democrats to go ahead and vote uncommitted at that primary, to send a message to President Biden.

If you were -- I know you're a California voter. But if you were a Michigan voter, would you vote uncommitted?

LEE: No. But, Abby, what I am doing and very focused on, first of all, of course, is my election on March 5th for the United States Senate from California. Secondly, I would do everything I can do to make sure that Donald Trump is not elected.

Donald Trump wants to disrupt, dismantle our democracy. He wants to establish an autocratic government and he's a national security threat and he's a danger to this country and to the rest of the world.

PHILLIP: Congresswoman, I know you're very busy these days. Thank you very much for your time tonight.

LEE: Thank you. Nice being with you.

PHILLIP: And up ahead, 48 hours from now, a death row inmate who says that he is innocent is scheduled to die. And now, after new evidence surfaces, I'll speak with the jury foreman who says he was fooled.

Plus, a CNN exclusive, one of the key architects of the Trump coup plot has been concealing secret and damning posts from prosecutors.

And, quote, Monica effing Lewinsky, why she's posing in a provocative new ad.

This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: Two days from now, at this very hour, a man will likely be taking his last steps, eating his last meal, before he is executed, a man who he says that he is innocent.

His name is Ivan Cantu, a death row inmate. He was convicted of murdering his cousin and the cousin's fiance some 23 years ago. His lawyers asked for a delay after new evidence surfaced in the case.

But just a short time ago, the Texas Parole Board recommended the request be denied, leaving Cantu's fate in the hands of Governor Greg Abbott.

Now, this comes as the head of the jury that decided Cantu should die is asking Abbott for that delay. In an op-ed, Jeff Calhoun writes in part, simply put, we the jurors did not hear the truth you assume you would hear from a person under oath. Bottom line, I feel like I was fooled.

We'll be speaking with Calhoun in just a moment, but, first, CNN's Ed Lavandera has more on this case.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ivan Cantu is just days away from death. For almost 24 years, Cantu says he's maintained his innocence in the murders of his cousin, James Mosqueda, and his fiance, Amy Kitchen, and he wants to talk about the case.

Which brings us to this moment, sitting down with Cantu who is not only an inmate on Texas death row, but also a former grade school classmate of mine.

How are you, man?

IVAN CANTU, DEATH ROW INMATE: I'm doing good. Hey, thanks for coming out, it's a blessing, thank you so much, it's good to see you.

LAVANDERA: It's been almost 40 years, man.

CANTU: Been a long time, yes.

LAVANDERA: Cantu was sent to death row the same year I started my career at CNN. The evidence against him seemed overwhelming. Cantu's girlfriend and her brother testified he committed the murders. Cantu's fingerprint was found on a magazine inside the murder weapon.

Bloody jeans and socks with the victim's blood was found inside his apartment and his cousin's car, police say, he stole, was also found outside his apartment.

I got to be honest with him, I remember thinking, man, I don't see how he didn't do it, right? It seemed pretty open and shut to me.

CANTU: At face value, when you look at all the evidence, it was an open and shut case.

LAVANDERA: You've always maintained your innocence?

CANTU: Absolutely, from day one. Give me a new trial with the team and with the attorney that I've got today, but I want them to know, hey, you know, stop the madness.

LAVANDERA: But in 2019, the case against Cantu started to look different. Matt Duff, a T.V. producer turned private investigator, turned podcaster, discovered Cantu's case and started digging. He's produced more than 40 episodes on the case in a podcast called cousins by blood.

MATT DUFF, PRODUCER, COUSINS BY BLOOD: I went into his innocence claim investigation with an open mind knowing that he very well could be guilty.


He could be just trying to spin a story. I think if anybody takes the time to just look at his case with an open mind, you can't say that he doesn't deserve a new trial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ivan deserves his fair day in court.

LAVANDERA: Cantu's supporters say he was framed. Cantu alleges in court filings that James Mosqueda was a big time drug dealer who owed someone $250,000. Duff says testimony from the two key witnesses is riddled with falsehoods.

Cantu's girlfriend, Amy Boettcher, testified Cantu committed the murders around midnight on November 3rd, but Cantu's legal team says two forensic pathologists say the victims were actually killed hours later on the morning of the next day.

She also testified Cantu took a Rolex watch from his cousin. The Rolex, it turns out, was never missing and returned to the victim's family after the murders.

Amy Boettcher also testified she threw the bloody jeans with the victim's DNA in their apartment trash can. But the jeans don't have Cantu's DNA and are two sizes too large.

In court filings Cantu also says two days before the victims' bodies were discovered, a man in a pizza delivery uniform came to his apartment and said his cousin owed money, then fired a gunshot into Cantu's apartment. That bullet matched bullets in the victims.

The pizza man story was dismissed, but Matt Duff says they've identified the person and he matches the description of one of his cousin's drug supplier.

Amy Boettcher's brother Jeff also testified that Cantu told him he planned to kill his cousin. Amy Boettcher died in 2021 and shortly after Jeff Boettcher called the prosecutor's office and recanted his testimony.

Prosecutors say Jeff Boettcher's interview has been misconstrued and that, ultimately, the concerns about his testimony were alleviated. And the district attorney who has the power to reexamine the case says he remains, quote, fully convinced that Ivan Cantu brutally murdered two innocent victims and that disbelief is, quote, anchored in the undeniable evidence presented at trial.

How do you react to that?

DUFF: I don't think they're looking at the same case.

LAVANDERA: At that trial, Cantu's public defender attorneys never called a single witness.

DUFF: I think if you just lay it all out, even though the state's case was so strong, if you look at it from the other direction, then people would see this case in a completely different way.

LAVANDERA: Cantu is scheduled to die on February 28th.

CANTU: I just have to brace for impact. The worst case scenario, they ignore everything and place me on that gurney and kill me.

LAVANDERA: It's bizarre and kind of surreal to think about, you know, how different paths our lives have taken. I've always struggled on like making sense of what's happened to you.

CANTU: Thank you for saying that.

LAVANDERA: Take care of yourself.

Ed Lavendera, CNN, Dallas.


PHILLIP: And thanks to Ed for that.

And for more on this story, I want to bring in Jeff Calhoun. He was the head of the jury that recommended that Cantu should die for this case.

Jeff, you are now backing a delay for Cantu. You say that you've been fooled. You regret your vote in favor of an execution. Why is that?

JEFF CALHOUN, HEAD OF JURY THAT SENTENCED IVAN CANTU TO DEATH: Well, the reason I say I've been fooled is because what you just showed earlier, one of the key witnesses admittedly lied. And when something like that happens and something to this magnitude in a situation where this may be one of the most important decisions I will have ever made, and that's why it led me to go ahead and carry out and be a voice in this situation because I don't feel like we got a complete trial presented to us now that I look back on the new evidence.

LAVANDERA: Do you feel convinced now that Cantu is actually innocent?

CALHOUN: No, no. This doesn't point to any innocent or guilty verdict. It simply points to being thorough in the justice of this case.

PHILLIP: So, what is your reaction now to the Texas Parole Board declining to recommend clemency or reprieve of this execution?

CALHOUN: Yes. Well, there're things that they see that I don't see, and there're things that I see that they don't see. My purpose is making sure that my perspective is recognized. It's very difficult to recognize a perspective like mine and the other jurors, because we were there witnessing all this. I simply want that perspective to be recognized.

And I've got a small voice.


There's a lot going on here in Texas, as you're well aware. I want to amplify my voice just for a moment and ask that my perspective be recognized by the state of Texas. And this is a state and an administration, I might add, that I fully support.

PHILLIP: Governor Greg Abbott is now the decider here. It's not just you, as you said. There are other voices, including celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who are calling for this execution to be halted because of some of this doubt, some of this new evidence. Do you think that this will have an impact on the governor's decision?

CALHOUN: Well, I don't know about celebrities. I don't know how much weight he'll put into that. I don't know the governor. I've watched him over the time that he served for us here in Texas. I admire the man. But I think that, you know, my voice hopefully is coming from one of his supporters perhaps will be heard. And maybe he'll have an opportunity to see and hear what I have to say.

And I really don't see any issue with postponing an execution to look through this new stuff. Because, really, it's more about the -- it's not so much about the new evidence in my mind. It's a fact that one of the witnesses admittedly lied. And there's a lie in there one way or the other. We need to check it all out.

PHILLIP: So, what do you want to see happen here? You said a postponement. Do you think a new trial is possible? Do you think that clemency is necessary given the doubts? What do you want to see?

CALHOUN: Well, I'm no lawyer. I don't know the processes, but I do believe the next would be a hearing. First, postpone the execution and have a hearing, look at the evidence. And if it warrants a new trial, then that's what should be done.

I'm not jumping to any conclusions here. I'm going through this methodically, as we went through the case as jurists.

PHILLIP: All right. Jeff Calhoun, thanks for sharing that perspective with us.

CALHOUN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, does Donald Trump have the cash to pay his fraud punishment? A new development tonight is raising questions.

Plus, are the social media posts from New York's A.G. the equivalent of spiking the football in the end zone? We'll debate.



PHILLIP: So, every time the clock hits midnight, the bill for Donald Trump's fraud punishment gets steeper. He's accruing interest penalties on that $450 million judgment. And one person who's not letting him forget it, well, it's Attorney General Letitia James.

She's been using her social media account to publicly announce his tab as it grows day by day. Joining me now is CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson. Also with us, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman. So Harry, is this trolling or is it all just above board?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I don't know about above board. There's a little feel of like, you know, spiking the ball in the end zone after the touchdown. Lord knows she's been provoked by him quite a bit, but she'd be better off being just straight and sober and not needling him in that way but you understand why she's doing it.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think inquiring minds want to know. This was a big victory, right? A big victory for the marketplace in New York, the financial capital of the world. You know, bah humbug.

There's no victims. Of course, they're victims. The victims are everyone who plays by the rules fairly every single day. Every business person who has to pay legitimate interest and more potentially because they're honest.

And so, I think that she has an obligation. Maybe that's a little too strong. But I think she certainly is in her place. Look, she's an elected official. Let's remember that, right?

And she did say she would go after him. That's beside the point. She apparently had the legal goods, Abby, Harry, to do so. She declared victory. And so why not remind him of the significant bill?

PHILLIP: Yeah. So, you think it's like totally within --

JACKSON: Fair game.

PHILLIP: Fair game for her. But Harry, I mean, what's the landscape here from a legal perspective? I mean, is there any consequence to any of this?

LITMAN: No, look. You can do it, but she's like the head of the office here. And so she speaks for the office. And there is a little bit of a, you know, triumphal feeling, as you're saying.

But normally, you would think of prosecutors, keeping it on the straight and narrow and letting the verdict do their talking. But there's no consequence, you know, to it. She needles him a little bit and I'm sure it stings. And that's it.

PHILLIP: Even an appeal -- you think this could come up?

LITMAN: Probably not. But judges read the newspaper like everybody else, and it has a little bit of a personal feel. And as you were saying, she did campaign, and that's going to come up, that she campaigned saying she was going to investigate Trump.

That'll be part of the appeal. So, that whole flavor, she'd be better off with a cleaner record where there's none of this happening, in my view.

JACKSON: Listen, it may come up during an appeal or it may not. But the reality is, is I think what the judge did very smartly in his findings of fact, remember no jury, so he had to make -- the judge -- a determination as to whether or not there was liability here.

He went chapter and verse, Abby, through every witness specifying specifically what they spoke to about the fraud, what their testimony was, how credible or incredible the testimony was, specifically how they led to his verdict.


I just think it was, in terms of putting together a narrative that was compelling as to the issue of not guilt, it wasn't a criminal case, but liability, you know, not beyond reasonable doubt, but by a preponderance of the evidence, I think the judge did that well.

And I think any judicial appeal is going to factor in findings of fact, conclusions of law, and were they consistent with the realities of the testimony, I think whatever you say about this, it seemed to me that it was.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, it's one thing for there to be a political argument that, you know, maybe she's a political person. Well, she's run for office. We know that.

What about, I mean, this idea that, you know, Trump himself has been every day, pretty much attacking her, attacking the judge in this case. I mean, can you actually argue that she's out of bounds when Trump does that all the time, whether in a court of law or in a court of public opinion?

LITMAN: Yes. He's a total jackass, but you can, as a prosecutor, you encounter jackasses and you're better off playing it totally straight. You're absolutely right. There's almost never been a defendant like this, provoked up to here, nevertheless, deep breath and, you know, sober prosecutorial countenance will do her better.

But you know, she's a human being also, and she can't help it a little bit. I see that, but, you know, I don't think they teach a prosecutor school to have that stance.

PHILLIP: This year will be the test. This year will be the test of the poker face of a lot of different prosecutors when it comes to Trump. But, Joey, on this issue of this judgment, it's huge and it's growing day by day. The Trump --Trump and his kids, they've appealed, the judgment still grows.


PHILLIP: Does he have the cash? How much will he need to even move forward with an appeal?

JACKSON: So, yes, first question first, Abby. In terms of whether he has the cash, we will soon find out, right? Because we're going to -- there will be a determination made as to whether he posted in cash or in the alternative, whether he puts up his properties or does anything else.

And so, in the event he wants the interest to stop, he's going to have to pony up whatever that bond amount is to make good on it. And you know what? There should be an appeal.

I think it's good for the justice system. It's good for appellate judges to evaluate the significance of the legal decision to determine whether it was based on the law and not animus, not politics, right? Not anything else other than what I said before, findings of fact and conclusions of law. But at the end of the day, it's a significant judgment. Does he have the goods to pay it? We'll know any day now.

PHILLIP: Yeah. And Harry, what do you think are the chances that he wins on appeal?

LITMAN: Zero, more or less. But -- but I mean, they're very remote. But he still is going to have to post it, as Joey says. And he already has taken his appeal. The posting is to keep the judgment from being executed in 30 days.

And by the way, she's needling him a little there, too, right? So, I pass 40 Wall Street every day. That wasn't, you know, just a casual --

PHILLIP: You think that was --oh, for sure.

LITMAN: That's his 40 Wall Street. But that's the point. Look, it's not clear what his liquidity is. But we're talking $500 million. So, that means having to post probably some collateral in these Crown Jewel buildings of his, that's going to hurt.

And you know, that gets right to the sort of DNA of who he is, you know, and his brand.

PHILLIP: Yeah, and not for nothing. He's got to pay a lot of people a lot of money. There's E. Jean Carroll. He just paid "The New York Times" for a frivolous lawsuit against them. This stuff adds up.

JACKSON: Without question, it does. And remember, the issue is now going to be, does he have to sell any of his assets to do so? The Attorney General herself has said, hey, you know what? If you don't pay this forward, we're going to force a judgment against those assets. No matter what your worth is, when you're talking about a half a billion dollars, Abby, that's nothing to sneeze at.


JACKSON: Again, you know, the appeal moved forward with Harry on, you know, this. I think there's very limited issues with respect to his appeal, right? think the judge was very clear, very straight forward.

And quite frankly, very meticulous in kind of enunciating what the fraud was, the basis of the fraud, the longevity of the fraud, putting together an independent monitor. And so, but look, different minds can differ. Legal minds can differ.

LITMAN: But he didn't give her everything she wanted, and that was important, too. He, you know, gave her a little bit less. That's going to matter.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, initially, this was to put him completely out of business. It doesn't do just that, but it's a lot of money. Harry Litman and Joey Jackson, thank you both very much.

LITMAN: Thanks. JACKSON: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And just in, a white powder was discovered at Donald Trump Jr.'s home. A spokesman for the former President's son says that the substance was found in a letter that Trump Jr. opened.

And the tests, the spokesman says, are inconclusive as of right now. But officials on the scene said that they do not believe that what they found was deadly. And up next, Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley losing a big funder after losing her home state.


She's still staying in the race, but why? That's a question I'll pose to the only member of Congress who's endorsed her, Congressman Ralph Norman.


PHILLIP: In the 2024 race, is Nikki Haley staging some kind of protest candidacy, or maybe a zombie campaign, or perhaps an off-ramp for Republicans? Because after another lopsided loss to Donald Trump, this one in her home state, the path to the domination is tough, even impossible, you might say.


And now, one of America's biggest conservative donors is cashing out. The network linked to billionaire Charles Koch says it will throw no more money to Nikki Haley and instead support Senate and House races. Haley's campaign says that it still has enough money to keep going.

Joining me now is Republican Congressman of South Carolina Ralph Norman. He's also the only member of Congress who has endorsed Nikki Haley for President. Congressman, she just lost your home state. If she can't win there, can you name one state where she can win?

RALPH NORMAN (R), NIKKI HALEY CAMPAIGN SURROGATE: Well, you know, Nikki Haley did not win South Carolina, but she did better than was expected. She didn't win by 30 -- she didn't lose by 30. She won, lost by 20.

That being said, it's just too early in the process to get out now. One thing is for certain, if she gets out, she has zero chance. Look, this is February. When President Trump ran in 2016, he wasn't the nominee until May.

She's got Super Tuesday coming up. She's got Michigan, where she's campaigning now. So, she's fired up and ready to go. And let's see how it plays out.

PHILLIP: Well, she has to be able to identify, I think, at least one place where she thinks there's a chance of her winning. I mean, I'm not talking about dropping out. Just the question, can she win anywhere? Donald Trump won, even in 2016, before he got enough delegates to be the nominee. NORMAN: Well, all I know is she's working from morning till night.

There's 864 delegates left. After Super Tuesday, that will be 38 percent of the total. And you know, politics is a moving target.

Support is, you don't know until you get in the state, start advertising. Things that run most people out are money and then support. She's got both. And there is no reason for her to get out.

Now, predicting what she's going to do, no one would do that. You put your name out there, you put your vision, and you relate to people as Nikki does, and we'll see how it works out.

PHILLIP: Well, here's one thing that some people have suggested. Is this a break glass in case of emergency campaign in which she's banking on something happening that Trump might be convicted in the coming months?

NORMAN: Look, I've been with her on the bus a number of times. That has never come up. You know, as far as that happening, you know, you know, we just we live each day, work each day in the political arena. And so, no, this is no breaking glass. It's just going out there and doing the job.

The people who have donated to her campaign would be very disappointed if she just called it quits, even though everyone wants her to. A lot of people are calling for that. But she's the one with her name on the line.

She's the one who has to look at the numbers. She's the one who is vying for, you know, she's one of two candidates left. She's beaten 12 others. And so, she's not daunted.

She has courage and she has you know, she's looking at this, running this race like she did when she started 13 months ago. And she's trying to finish it and we'll see how it works out.

PHILLP: So, your colleague on the Hill, Ken Buck, he just introduced this resolution calling on the Cabinet to remove President Biden using the 25th Amendment. Do you support that?

NORMAN: You know, it's sad that President Biden is in the shape that he's in. All Americans know he's not running the country. He can't read a thank you note from a teleprompter.

And this is the leader of the free world. This is the leader in charge of our armed forces. This is the leader who's vowed to protect and defend America. He just isn't doing it.

So, no. You know, it's up to the Democratic Party to put in the people to put who they want to run for President and if it's Joe Biden for another four years, so be it. If it's some other candidate, so be it. I'll let the Democrats decide that.

PHILLIP: So, no to the 25th Amendment?

NORMAN: I wouldn't support that. I mean, that's -- what's the purpose of that? Let the people decide.

PHILLIP: Well, let me just -- one final question to you. I mean, Nikki Haley has all but said that the only person who could lose to Joe Biden is Donald Trump. Do you agree with that?

NORMAN: Well, I think she's -- you know, there are a number of people who take offense to what President Trump says. I don't understand President Trump saying that. But this is a game of addition. This is a game of getting as most -- more people out to vote than has ever voted. And I just think Nikki can do that.

Particularly, if President Trump keeps the rhetoric up.


But we'll see. Again, it's -- there's two of them left and Nikki's one of them. We'll see how it plays out.

PHILLIP: All right, Congressman Ralph Norman, thank you very much.

NORMAN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And there's new video just in to "NewsNight". The grieving guardian of a child murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde is placed in handcuffs after he confronted a county commissioner at a meeting. Here is part of that confrontation and the back story on the other end.


BRETT CROSS, GUARDIAN OF ROBB ELEMENTARY VICTIM UZIYAH GARCIA: My child is (BEEP) dead. Dead. And you have the (BEEP) to stand up here in front of everybody, in the office. I'm under arrest?


PHILLIP: Now, CNN previously reported that Commissioner Mariano Pargas, the target of the man's anger, was Acting Police Chief on the day of the shooting and he resigned from the Uvalde Police Department in November of 2022.

Now, Brett Cross was the guardian of Uziyah Garcia, and he was 10 years old when he died with those 18 other students and two teachers. Multiple reports say that children's lives could have been saved if police had just gone in and taken action sooner.

Now, the Uvalde County Sheriff told CNN that Cross was arrested for disrupting a meeting or procession and was released on bond. And next, the latest chapter for Monica Lewinsky and her reinvention. Why she's posing in this ad campaign, we'll tell you. Stand by.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Look, I don't care about being beautiful, okay? What I care about is being thin. Thin. That's all I care about is a skin.

JAY LENO, TELEVISION HOST: Monica also said that President Clinton would often compliment her on her figure. He would say things like, "Oh, you look skinny today." You know, if you didn't think this guy was the biggest liar in the world before.


PHILLIP: Once upon a time, Monica Lewinsky was a subject of some pretty vile jokes. Now, she's turning the script on its head and going full fashion model, basically. The activist is now the face of the clothing brand, Reformation. But there's a twist. She's also getting out the vote.

Joining me now is Catherine Rampell, CNN Commentator and "Washington Post" columnist. Catherine, this is literally titled, "You've Got the Power". What do you make of her using this platform? I mean, she's doing it on a political topic in some ways, but using her platform for this.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I like that, you know, unemployment is low. We're headed towards a government shutdown. Baggy jeans are back in fashion. It's all 90s. Of course, Monica Lewinsky is now the subject of the day again.

Look, Monica Lewinsky is someone who made some really stupid choices when she was basically a kid. I say kid because I think about what I was like in my early 20s.

And it defined her image. It destroyed her life in ways that were not the case, of course, for the other participant for whom we should have had higher expectations of.

And she has really struggled, I think, in the years since to escape that scandal and that branding and that public shaming that the country put her through and that many of us were complicit in. She's tried many times to reinvent herself, being a reality TV star at one point, you know, hosting a show, designing handbags, whatnot.

PHILLIP: But I mean, this feels like the ultimate in like twirling on your haters.

RAMPELL: Yeah, yeah.

PHILLIP: She looks great.

RAMPELL: She looks very glamorous. I feel like that first one in all red is quite a statement about the way that she was treated, as you said, as a young woman when the man didn't really have any consequences.

RAMPELL: No, she looks great.

PHILLIP: She has. I mean, maybe it hasn't worked up until this point, but she seems like she's turned it on its head.

RAMPELL: I think, actually, her most successful self-reinvention or career phase was when she spoke out about cyber bullying, which was about 10 years ago. That was really compelling because she is almost uniquely qualified, right, to be talking about the consequences of a national pylon, essentially, bullying of someone and public shaming.

And I thought she was very brave to have talked about that. You know, while I obviously don't admire choices that she made in her youth, I thought it was very admirable that she was able to come out of that with a positive message.

In this particular case, I think she looks great. I think the clothes look great. Do I think it's actually going to have any effect on the election? No.

PHILLIP: I do wonder how much of this is. I mean, this is a brand.

RAMPELL: This is a brand. This is a marketing exercise.

PHILLIP: How much of this is really about getting out the vote? How much of it is it about kind of getting a lot of attention?

RAMPELL: I actually -- I wrote my college thesis of all things about these get out the vote efforts that we're trying to make voting seem sexy, and they are generally useless.

You know, they're glamorous and sometimes self-aggrandizing. And again, she looks great. The clothes look great. It's not going to make a whit of difference in this election.

PHILLIP: Yeah, is it because people just don't care about celebrities asking them to vote?

RAMPELL: I think it's that that's not a compelling reason to vote.


RAMPELL: The compelling reason to vote is to feel like you have a stake in the outcome, that you understand what the stakes are, what the consequences are, if one candidate wins versus another, and that your vote really matters.


PHILLIP: Is this also -- is there also a generational thing about this, real quick. I mean, this Gen Z or whatever, I mean, they are probably much more amenable to turning this around for Monica Lewinsky than older people were.

RAMPELL: Well, they didn't live through the era, obviously, when she was the butt of these horrible jokes, when she was sort of a national laughingstock and went through this horrible, horrible experience.

PHILLIP: Yeah. RAMPELL: Maybe there is more empathy having been through -- having -- these kids having lived through kids, young, you know, young adults, living through an era where there is more -- there are more opportunities to be sort of publicly shamed through social media.

PHILLIP: Yeah. That's true. Yeah. Catherine Rampell, CNN, thank you so much. And thank you so much for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.