Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Biden Appears to Give Democrats Their Song of the Summer; Biden's Hot Mic Moments, from Compliments to Revelations; Uvalde Parents Once Again Suffer Over The Botched Response To Save Their Children; Investigation On Flight MH370 Disappearance Reopens After A Decade. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 08, 2024 - 22:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so I think that it's really important that we sound the alarm because it's IVF today but it could be contraceptive tomorrow.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Representatives, thank you all for being here and for talking about this very important issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Kaitlan.


COLLINS: And Happy International Women's Day to all of you. Thank you so much for joining me tonight.

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillips starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Joe Biden's State of the Union Address just might be Democrats' song of the summer. That's tonight on NewsNight.

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

And tonight, how Joe Biden got his groove back, and why you're about to hear what he said last night more than a Taylor Swift single on the radio.

30-plus million people tuned in last night to watch the president insist that the State of our Union is strong, but also to see if Biden could still look strong himself. It's something Republicans told you over and over again that he simply could not do.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): President Biden, on the other hand, I'm not even sure if he knows where he is. And I don't say that flippantly, Neil, it actually hurts. He is our president, even if I disagree with him violently. But he clearly is not all there. REP. ROGER WILLIAMS (R-TX): It may be automatically that we laugh at it because some of his ideas and all his ideas are laughable, aren't they? But also the longer we laugh, the less he'll speak probably, or the longer he'll have to be up there.


PHILLIP: Republicans, they bet on Sleepy Joe. And a day later, the spin is suddenly totally different. Biden wasn't sleepy at all. He was scary.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, the difference between Jacked Up Joe tonight and his recent public appearances filled with endless gaffes and stumbles and mumbling and bumbling, there was some mumbling and bumbling also, but the difference is so stark, they're so overcompensated. It is frightening.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Well, it was a speech by an angry old man.

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): You know, it's like that episode of The Simpsons where granddad gets out of the nursing home and starts yelling at the clouds.


PHILLIP: Out Sleepy Joe, in Jacked Up Joe?

But why might Republicans say that? Well, because Biden cleared the extraordinarily low bar that the GOP set for him. The reviews, well, they all picked their favorite F word to describe the speech last night, the Associated Press, feisty, The Washington Post, fiery, Axios, feisty again, The Times, in your face, Punchbowl, feisty, Reuters, fiery, Semafor, Fiery. And the president came good with songwriting, lyrics that he hopes Americans will commit to memory.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I came into office determined to get us through one of the toughest periods in the nation's history. We have. It doesn't make in the news. In a thousand cities and towns, the American people are writing the greatest comeback story never told.


PHILLIP: And you know the campaign liked it because, well, they immediately sowed it together into a new ad.


BIDEN: The issue facing our nation isn't how old we are, it's how old our ideas. Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are the oldest of ideas.

I see a future for all Americans. I see a country for all Americans. And I will always be president for all Americans.


PHILLIP: And you know you'll hear it over and over again on repeat, because you already did. Biden went, like he does almost every big speech of his presidency, back to Pennsylvania, to the swing state backyard. He swapped his suit for a pullover. Let Biden be Biden, you could say, but close your eyes, and it sounds like the exact same record.


BIDEN: Those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women.

Those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women in America.

I know the American story. Again and again, I've seen the contest between competing forces in the battle for the soul of our nation.

I know the American story. I've seen it again and again in contests between competing forces, the battle for the soul of this nation.

I see a future where defending democracy. You don't diminish it.

I see a future where we defend democracy, not diminish it.

I see a future where the middle class finally has a fair shot and the wealthy have to pay their fair share in taxes.

I see a future the middle class has a fair shot and the wealthy pay their fair share.



PHILLIP: And joining me now is the former Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones. Senator, thanks for joining us tonight.

You watched the speech last night. We all did. The president delivered a pretty forceful and sometimes it was even combative speech in that chamber. He was challenging Republicans on democracy, on the economy and all these other issues.

But I wondered, I mean, does this signal a pivot for Joe Biden from when he ran in 2020 as the candidate who would take the temperature down on partisan fighting? He believed then that Republicans would come to their senses after Trump. Today, he seems to have come to a different conclusion.

FMR. SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): Well, I think you have to you have to campaign in the with the battle that's in front of you, not the one that's behind you. And he is recognizing what's happened since he took office, and that is, he has been demonized. Democrats have been demonized, all with both basically, Abby, nothing but falsehood and lies.

And so when you do that, you become combative. And anybody who knows Joe Biden knows that when you go after him like that, he's going to come back and he's going to be forceful. And last night was not just a pivot. It was a demonstration to the American people about what he's done, what he will do, his vision for America, and importantly, that he is up to the task. I think he clearly demonstrated that last night.

PHILLIP: Do you think there's any risk here that he could alienate some voters, you know, voters in the middle? Some Republicans have been saying that Biden was overly political last night.

JONES: Well, you know, look, unfortunately, I think the State of the Union has become a political showcase, no matter who the president is. And I don't think he will alienate Republican voters that are not going to vote for Trump, that are looking for an alternative, looking for somebody who can work, because at the end of the day, no matter what the rhetoric is, but Joe Biden has demonstrated in his entire career, including as president, that he can work with anybody.

He got the infrastructure bill done, got the CHIPS Act done, got the PACT Act done. If Republicans will meet him, even part of the way, Joe Biden has indicated that he would be there.

And the most important example, I think recently, is the work that they did on trying to get border security in the southern border with support for Ukraine and others.

PHILLIP: Which he talks about quite a lot.

JONES: He came a long way at that point.

PHILLIP: He talked a lot about that last night.

But in addition to all of that, I mean, what would you say, though, is the Democratic policy agenda for 2024 in just a sentence? What's the cliff notes version?

JONES: I think the cliff notes version is democracy. Democracy is on the ballot like no other time in our history since the Civil War. The president said that last night. You are looking at chaos with Donald Trump versus at least stability with Joe Biden and democracy and respect for institutions.

And while he was combative last night, he still respects folks. Look at what he said about Mitch McConnell when Senator McConnell announced his resignation the other day from leadership. I think that that's going to be the difference.

Democracy is on the ballot and that's what everyone needs to be focusing on in what is being said by Donald Trump and all of the folks right now in the Republican Party.

PHILLIP: I really want to get your take on this, because you're a lawyer, you served as a U.S. attorney in Alabama. You also played a pretty significant role in, you know, sherpa-ing (ph) one of Joe Biden's Supreme Court picks, you know, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

He called out the Supreme Court in a really pointed way last night on abortion, on that abortion decision. Were you comfortable with that?

JONES: Yes, absolutely. I think the decision was wrong. I think the president was good in saying that it was -- that he felt like it was wrong. But more importantly, what he did was he turned the decision and read them back their own words and said, you're about to find out the power of women when it comes to the voting in this country.

So, I was absolutely comfortable with him doing that. I think that that has been a rallying cry for Democrats and it is frankly something that Republicans still have not figured out how to run on. But it is, as we've said before, and I think it's been said on your show, the dog caught the proverbial car and they don't know what to do with it. Joe Biden knows what to do with it. Kamala Harris does.

PHILLIP: So, today, No Labels, that's the group that's considering a third party challenge, says they are moving forward with that. If the result of a No Labels challenge helps Trump, do you believe that they are essentially trying to end democracy?

JONES: Well, I'm not going to say that they're trying to end democracy, because I think there's a lot of well-meaning people that are supporting No Labels. I think that they are being misguided by the leadership of No Labels, who is selling them a bill of goods to just try to raise money.


And I think that if folks start looking at this, and particularly any candidate that may be looking at running as a No Labels candidate, they need to look and see what the stakes are in this election, and the choice is between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

And if they're comfortable with Donald Trump being president of the United States, then fine. They will run. I think that that is a huge mistake. And, quite frankly, I think most of the people do not want to be the spoiler for Donald Trump.

But that's where this will head. If they support any candidate, it's the only thing they can do because they cannot. There is no way, Abby, on God's green earth that they can win 270 electoral votes and win the presidency of the United States.

PHILLIP: And they really have not presented a credible plan for that. They haven't even said who the potential challenger would be, who would be the candidate.

I want you to listen to the group's chief strategist explaining to me why all the secrecy behind the people behind No Labels and who they are considering as a candidate. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have said explicitly that they want to destroy their reputations and intimidate anybody affiliated with the No Labels effort.

And when you read the way they're talking about it, it sounds like mafia wiretaps, the way they're threatening anybody who would have the temerity to just challenge this ridiculously broken two parties.


PHILLIP: He's essentially saying that people like you who oppose what they're doing are acting like mobsters. What's your response?

JONES: It's pathetic. I mean, it's really pathetic to hear somebody try to justify their existence by criticizing others like that. That is just not the case. What we are trying to do and what we are been doing and having some success is showing that this is a fool's errand, that they cannot win, that they are doing this, raising money off of this, that this is a political party, in fact, that is using secret donors, secret delegates, secret blue ribbon committees.

That is not democracy at its best, Abby. That is not democracy at all. Choice is one thing but transparency is another, and they have not done that. The fact of the matter is, everyone knows, and the reason they are not getting any candidates, because these candidates have run races before, and they know when to hold them and they know when to fold them. And they are not going to be able to win the presidency under a No Labels ticket. It is just not possible.

PHILLIP: All right. Well, we know you know we'll be following it. Former Senator Doug Jones, thank you very much for staying up for us tonight.

JONES: You got it. Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: Now, State of the Union nights are as much about theater as they are about substance, but they are also quite revealing. The event gives us a chance to eavesdrop a little bit on the president and Congress. The mics are kept hot even after the speech, giving us a window into all the backslapping that goes on in private.

And so here's what we learned last night. Well, first, members dished out plenty of compliments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the back to preaching in that.

BIDEN: Good job. Great job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting texts from everybody who are watching you say, wow, my mom jumping up and down saying phenomenal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've simply brought the Irish fire tonight.

BIDEN: I had no idea that she said that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were on fire tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was amazing, you did a good job, you were right on the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, great job.

BIDEN: Thank you for standing up and making me feel good.

Thank you for standing up so much. I appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anytime. I knew I was in your line of sight. So, I was like I was ready.

BIDEN: You got some eyes.

You're proud of me. I know these words.


PHILLIP: But Biden also had jokes for members over the issue of his age.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody is here to talk about cognitive impairment now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were on fire tonight.

BIDEN: I kind of wish I was kind of less cognitive impaired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I need you to bring that energy with you that you just had tonight.

BIDEN: I got a lot of energy. That's my problem.


PHILLIP: There were also, of course, plenty of hallmark moments last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say hi to my niece?

BIDEN: What's your name?


BIDEN: Hey, Marissa, how are you? Who's this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's wearing his Irish shirt.

BIDEN: You got your Irish shirt on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should we take a photo right here? Right here, there we go. Excellent.

BIDEN: Looking good, man. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you.

BIDEN: You're looking good. It always looks like you have -- I don't want to hear your habits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you, let's go shopping. So, this is Lindy. Also (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you? Good to see you again.

BIDEN: I work for Jim, too.


PHILLIP: And if it wasn't clear that Biden used the booing by Republicans to beat them, he all but confirmed it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The interruptions, that's just so new and different. I hope it wasn't --

BIDEN: It's the game they play.


They did it last time, and I said, oh, I hold it against you, you're not going to cut Social Security. And I went, anybody going cut Social Security, raise your hand.


Biden also made a few candid revelations about foreign policy.


BIDEN: Here's what I worry about in this room. (INAUDIBLE).

I told him, Bibi, don't repeat this. I said, Bibi, you and I are going to have come to Jesus moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, just, you're on hot mic.

BIDEN: I'm on a hot mic here. Good. That was good.


PHILLIP: And finally, of course, Biden's you don't have to go home, but you got to get the hell out of here moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots of people are leaving. So, we're leaving. We've got to go this way.

BIDEN: You can't make me go, (INAUDIBLE) Democrats or Republicans. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to go.

BIDEN: I'm sorry you've got to stay there.


PHILLIP: Always the last one to leave the floor.

Coming up next, even some Republicans are mocking Senator Katie Britt's response to President Biden. I'll speak with a Republican pollster on what the voters saw.

Plus, Donald Trump's guest of honor tonight at Mar-a-Lago is yet another autocrat.

And why Oscars Host Jimmy Kimmel says a second Trump term isn't worth the jokes.

This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: Tonight, Donald Trump is hosting one of the world's most notorious strongmen at Mar-a-Lago.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nobody that's better, smarter, or a better leader than Viktor Orban. He's fantastic. And he's a non-controversial figure because he said, this is the way it's going to be, and that's the end of it, right? He's the boss. And he now is a great leader.


PHILLIP: Just as a reminder, Hungary's Viktor Orban is a far right ally of Vladimir Putin's. He's been busy weakening democratic institutions since being elected, firing civil servants, eroding the legal system, politicizing business, demonizing the press and demagoguing immigration.

But rolling out the Florida carpet for Orban is just the latest example in a long line of Trump's affinity for autocrats.


TRUMP: Viktor Orban, and he's the head of Hungary.

He's a tough man, strong man, very respected.

He runs it properly, he runs it strong.

Some people don't like him because he's too strong. It's nice to have a strong man running your country. He was probably like one of the strongest leaders anywhere in the world.

There's nobody in Hollywood that can play the role of presidency, the look, the strength, the voice.

I said, yes, he is, he's a brilliant man.

He just runs 1.4 billion people with an iron fist.

He's strong like granite, he's strong.

He happens to be a very smart person.

Top of the line, you never met anybody smarter.

Reporters asked me if I thought President Putin was smart.

I said, of course, he is smart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a great guy. I think we had a really good meeting. I think he is a good person.

TRUMP: They're tough cookies and smart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a terrific person.

TRUMP: How smart is Kim Jong-un? Top of the line.

And Kim Jong-un I had a good relationship with. He's a tough, smart guy.

I had a very good conversation with President Erdogan.

We have a very good relationship. Yes, I agree, he's a tough guy, but we have a very good relationship.


PHILLIP: Now, Trump may want to act like a dictator, but Republicans think one of their own needs to do with a little less acting all together.

Senator Katie Britt of Alabama, she was chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Biden last night. And even though it became an internet sensation for all of the wrong reasons, she did get some praise, including from a fellow Alabama senator, Tommy Tuberville, who told reporters this.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): Well, considering the circumstances, I thought she did very well. And, you know, she's a mom. She's a housewife. She's around people in a young age. She didn't have enough time to go and, you know, criticize everything Joe Biden had talked about. She had the narrative of talking about family. And that's what Republicans are for. Democrats are against family. So I thought it was a good narrative.


PHILLIP: Just to be clear, Senator Britt is a wife and a mother, yes, but she's not a housewife. She also is a respected United States senator with the reputation of doing the work, whether you like the result or not. Not clear why Senator Tuberville wanted to go there.

But joining me now is Republican Strategist Sarah Longwell. She's the publisher at The Bulwark and executive director of the Republican Accountability Project.

Sarah, what do you make of Senator Tuberville who, frankly -- he does this a lot, quite a lot. What did you make of what he said about his own colleague, Senator Britt?

SARAH LONGWELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, one of the reasons that they sent Katie Britt out there to do that speech is because the Republican Party is having a tough time with women. And when you hear comments from Senator Tuberville like that, you can understand why they're having such a tough time with women.

The fact is they have been hemorrhaging college-educated suburban women. And you could just tell from the way that this was staged, from the sitting in the kitchen, the way she was coached to use that breathy voice, because that's not how she normally talks.


She is a serious person. She is a good senator, a sharp person, but they clearly coached her to try to --

PHILLIP: Yes, seconds before she recorded this, I mean, you can hear her talk and it's totally different.

LONGWELL: Totally normal. But they sent her out there because they have an idea in their head of the kind of women they're trying to reach, but they are fundamentally misunderstanding the kinds of women who have decided that they are out of the Republican Party, and that is not who that speech was going to appeal to.

PHILLIP: So, Britt was criticized for the tone of her response, including in portions like this one that I'm going to play.


SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): The true, unvarnished state of our union begins and ends with this. Our families are hurting. Our country can do better.


PHILLIP: So, Axios reports that she was prepped for this speech by former Trump White House Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh and also former RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields, who both of us know. What do you think they were aiming for? I mean, at times it was this sort of breathy, overwrought emotion. At other times, it was this sort of overly intense delivery. What were they going for?

LONGWELL: I mean, I think that they have this idea of sort of traditional women who are wives and mothers who are, you know, worried about the border, worried about the economy, worried about kitchen table issues, and they thought that this was going to appeal to them.

But, you know, I did a focus group of swing voters today and asked them what they thought about that speech. And the number one word that I heard was weird. People thought it seemed weird. She was tonally off. Her smiles didn't match what she was saying. She was kind of all over the place. One person in the focus group said she seemed like a Stepford wife. Another person suggested that perhaps it was trying to distract from the recent Alabama IVF decision.

But, overall, I think they were confused by it. And I think a lot of viewers who were watching it were confused because it just landed as terribly inauthentic.

And this is what -- the problem is, is that Katie Britt is a talented, normal person, but they wanted to sort of slot her in. They didn't want people to read senator, right? That's what Tommy Tuberville was really saying. It's sort of like, forget that this is a senator here and think about the fact that she's a wife and a mother.

But, again, this fundamentally misreads the voters that they need to bring back into the tent. The people that they're -- the women that they're hemorrhaging in terms of voters are people who don't like the Republican position on IVF or on women's reproductive freedom and who don't like the sexist comments that Donald Trump makes and the way that the party's posture sort of is toward women.

And this performance last night actually leaned into the stereotype that gets them in trouble with women. It didn't pull them back from it.

PHILLIP: Maybe it's not the staging. Maybe it's the policy. Maybe just talk to voters about the policies and that'll get you where you want to go.

Sarah, we got to leave it there, but thank you very much as always for bringing that to us, I appreciate it.

And next, hear from Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel on why he says that a second Trump term just isn't worth the jokes.

Plus, Uvalde parents are outraged tonight after the city clears officers who were involved in that botched response to the school shooting. I'll speak with one mother who lost the thing dearest to her that day.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel the pain of these families and what happened here today?



PHILLIP: Jimmy Kimmel is getting ready to host the Oscars on Sunday, and he sat down with CNN and makes an admission about the upcoming presidential race.


UNKNOWN: Does that scare you for another four years of late night monologues surrounded by the Trump presidency?

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOSTING OSCARS FOR 4TH TIME: Well, I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but I'm more worried about the country than my monologues. I can always find something to talk about and something funny, but I think that it would be -- well, I think I've made it known that I think it would be a very bad thing if this criminal was our President again for even -- for any amount of time.


PHILLIP: Comedian and podcast host Pete Dominick joins me now. Pete, the late night hosts are having a crisis right now, it feels like, about whether they want a Trump right now so they can tell more jokes or not. It seems like Jimmy Kimmel says not.

PETE DOMINICK, COMEDIAN: I will speak for all the late night hosts.

PHILLIP: I mean, is this causing writer's block?

DOMINICK: No, no, no. We have to crush that narrative. Jon Stewart hired me. Stephen Colbert hired me. I know Jimmy. I know Seth Meyers. No, but none of them want Trump. They want a challenge. They want other things to write about, other things to talk about.

They absolutely, as Jimmy just said, would much rather have a Trump- free America and have to work on other monologue jokes than have him back in the White House. There's not one of them that would prefer him.

PHILLIP: So, you talked about Jon Stewart. He got back on "The Daily Show" desk.


PHILLIP: He made his first headlines actually about President Biden --


PHILLIP: -- And telling jokes about -- telling jokes, but he was giving a monologue about that.


He was really criticized for it. DOMINICK: Yup.

PHILLIP: I mean, is it fair game to tell jokes about Democrats or is that not?

DOMINICK: Oh, yeah, yeah.

PHILLIP: I mean, it seems like people don't take it as well.

DOMINICK: Oh, absolutely it's fair game. That's always been fair game, and we want to tell jokes about everybody, but it's just so much easier to talk about today's Republicans because they're cartoon villains who are so easy to caricature.

I mean, for goodness sake, the disgraced former President paints himself and does crazy things with his -- you start from the outside and work your way in. And of course you can criticize Democrats. And I think Biden gets made fun of all the time, as he should.

PHILLIP: But Stephen Colbert kind of -- I don't want to say in response to that, but he was making the point, don't make false equivalencies.


PHILLIP: I mean, that's basically the criticism that was made of what Jon Stewart did.


PHILLIP: Is that even fair?


PHILLIP: I mean, he was making a -- Jon Stewart was talking about President Biden's age and some people, some Democrats, maybe Stephen Colbert thinks that's kind of putting them on the same level.

DOMINICK: It's a fair criticism, and I think Jon even said that, but it's -- he's still going to do it. I mean, Jon Stewart is back and he is back for a reason. Obviously, I think he missed it. He's back for one night a week. But he absolutely knows that he can be impactful in this election, and he can be honest.

I mean, what he has done for both veterans and first responders, the man has more credibility and integrity than almost anybody in this country because of the work that he's done, because of how he's used his celebrity. But he can absolutely make fun of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and we can sit back and go, they're not the same.

PHILLIP: When comedians go hard against Trump and his supporters, do you ever worry that maybe that kind of plays into Trump's hands, into the stereotypes that, you know, liberals in Hollywood are denigrating, you know, regular Americans?

DOMINICK: I think there's nothing that can change the minds of those folks when it comes to celebrities and comedians and that culture. I think it's always been that way. But let me flip the script on you, Abby. What do you think? What do you think about all these comedians?

As a political journalist, you're a very respected political journalist. What impact do you think Colbert and Stewart and everybody else have on the thinking of voters? You're a lot smarter than me, let's be honest. I'm not even worthy to be here.

PHILLIP: I don't know what impact they will have on voters, but I do, on voters in the aggregate, right --


PHILLIP: -- at the end of the day. But I do think that they have an impact in setting the narrative, but it's more for liberals. It shapes how liberals view the other side. And they're going to need the other side to win this election. So, folks should probably maybe put the, you know, regular people should put the jokes down and start thinking about how they can get people in the middle to vote for them.

DOMINICK: I mean, I'm not sure where we're talking about. When we talk about middle, right and left and those voters, which you can tell me a lot more than I, I just live on Earth One. And I think that those of us who live on Earth One, who don't believe the moon is made of cheese --


DOMINICK: -- we're going to be impacted by a certain kind of thinking, a certain kind of comedy, a certain kind of journalism. And we're just not going to reach these other people for any number of reasons.

PHILLIP: I'm talking about people who live on Earth One, too. To be fair, real quick, would you watch Jimmy Kimmel interviewing Donald Trump?

DOMINICK: Absolutely. I'll watch Jimmy Kimmel do just about anything.


DOMINICK: It'll be great. Yes. Yes.


DOMINICK: He would love to do that.


DOMINICK: Any of these comedians should be interviewing Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: Pete Dominick, thanks so much.

DOMINICK: Thank you. It's great to be here with you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And coming up, speaking of the Oscars, the two of the year's biggest movies are up for Best Picture this year. And chances are you did see "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" or both and missed at least one of the few of the 10 nominees. But have all Oscar voters even watched all 10 of these movies?

First, let's talk about the Best Picture and how it's even selected. Academy voters, they take all 10 of the nominees and they rank them from best to worst. If a movie doesn't reach 50 percent, the total vote, the movie with the fewest votes, is then eliminated. And those votes would then go to the movie that's ranked second on the ballot.

Now, this process is just repeated until one movie reaches that 50 percent threshold. And then a winner is selected. But ranking all 10 movies may be tough if you haven't bothered to see all the movies. You would think that that would be a prerequisite for becoming an Academy voter, but actually it isn't. There's no requirement that voters actually watch all of the movies. Here is what Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan said a few years ago about the nominating process.


CAREY MULLIGAN, THREE-TIME OSCAR NOMINEE: Maybe you shouldn't get on to vote unless you can prove that you've seen every single one. There should be a test.


PHILLIP: Stephen King, who has had dozens of books adapted into movies, said this, "There's no way of checking how many voters actually do because viewing is on an honor system." Now, the Academy voters said in 2019, it's an accurate statement to say that there's nothing checking if people watch all nominated movies.


And in 2015, the Hollywood Reporter found that six percent of voters did not watch all of the year's Best Picture nominees. And the year before that, two Oscar voters told "The L.A. Times" that they didn't watch Best Picture winner "12 Years a Slave", thinking it would be upsetting to them. But they did vote for that movie anyway.

Last year, an anonymous voter told the "Hollywood Reporter" that they didn't watch two of the five animated features, and they still submitted a vote. Another voter said they watched at least part of all of the nominees, but quote, "Didn't really give a shit about any of them." Now with that, good luck to all the nominees this year. We'll be back in a moment.




PHILLIP: Nearly two years after the massacre at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde parents are once again suffering over the botched response to save their children. A city report clearing the officers of any wrongdoing says that they acted in good faith when 19 students and two teachers were killed.

Nearly 400 officers arrived on that scene, but as you know, it took 77 minutes for any of them to confront the shooter. Seventy-seven minutes, despite children calling 911 for help. Retired Austin Police Detective Jesse Prado admitted the failures, but after presenting his report during a city council meeting, he abruptly left. No questions. And when he returned, parents, they let him have it.


UNKNOWN: So, I'm going to go start going down the list.

UNKNOWN: You call that good faith? They stood there 77 minutes and waited. After they got call after call, the kids were still alive in there. All this is, it's a pact. It's a brother's pact. You protect your own.


PHILLIP: I want to bring in Kimberly Mata-Rubio. Her daughter, Lexi, was killed in the shooting. She was just 10 years old. Now, you may remember seeing her in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and in the years since. She's testified to the Texas legislature and in the United States Congress. She also ran for Uvalde mayor.

Kimberly, I want to thank you very much for being with us and also want to thank you just for your courage in all of this. You and your family members had not seen this report prior to yesterday's public hearing. What did it feel like to be in that room and to hear what you heard?

KIMBERLY MATA-RUBIO, DAUGHTER LEXI KILLED IN UVALDE SCHOOL MASSACRE: Infuriating. This was supposed to be an accountability report, and it was prepared for the city to use against litigation.

PHILLIP: You called for an independent investigator, Jesse Prado, to return to the meeting after he just abruptly left. No questions, nothing. Why was it so important for you to speak up and for you and all those other family members to confront him face to face?

MATA-RUBIO: It was disrespectful to leave. I had to sit through hearing what he had to say. He needed to sit there and hear what I had to say. The city of Uvalde paid him $100,000. That's just as of November.

Now, it's obvious the city at some point was going to have to pay for a defense. It shouldn't have been billed as accountability report. How did he use the DOJ Report and come up with a different explanation?

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, I think that's just such a huge question in all of this. You know, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, he was there, and right after the meeting, he confronted Prado, too. Just listen to what that exchange was like.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel the pain of these families and what happened here today, or you're just not going to answer our questions?


PROKUPECZ: Why not? This is your opportunity to speak to us.

PRADO: I'm not done with the job on their side. I'm done with the report, but they still have some questions that they need to ask.

PROCUPECZ: Well, you left, you left, and you wouldn't answer their questions. You left. You left. Do you disagree with what the Department of Justice said?


PHILLIP: More refusals to answer any questions. He just got in his truck and left. What do you make of that?

MATA-RUBIO: He's a coward. That's maybe why he can't see it when he's talking about the city of Uvalde Police Department.

PHILLIP: You mentioned the Justice Department report. Just this week, two of the officers who were criticized by the Department of Justice for failing to respond to the shooting, they actually want the strong support in local elections to stay in their roles. I mean, you've been demanding accountability for nearly two years. This goes deeper than Jesse Prado. What does it mean to you that it has been so hard to get anybody to be held accountable?

MATA-RUBIO: It's hard. Like I said during that meeting, it just feels like we're getting kicked while we're already down. But I'm not going to stop. I'm not going to stand by like they stood by. And with regard to the city of Uvalde, Eduardo Canales, Louis Landry, and Javier Martinez need to be terminated. And they had the audacity, some of these officers, to mention my child by name to gain sympathy in this report.


It is disgusting.

PHILLIP: Kimberly, I'm so sorry for your loss. And we're showing pictures of your beautiful baby girl. I know that you're doing everything you can to keep her memory alive and to get justice for her. So, thank you for talking to us tonight. Kimberly Mata Rubio, thank you.

MATA-RUBIO: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, one of the greatest aviation mysteries in history. Where is missing Flight 370? Ten years ago tonight, it disappeared. New details on that search in just moments.



PHILLIP: Tonight on this day in history.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And we have breaking news right now. Malaysia Airlines confirms it has lost contact with a plane carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.


PHILLIP: Ten years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and all 239 passengers just disappeared. It is one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur, headed toward Beijing. Around 40 minutes later, though, the jet made an abrupt turn and vanished from radar.

Despite expansive underwater searches, neither the body of the plane nor any passenger remains have ever been found. Today, family members who lost loved ones protested outside of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.



PHILLIP: Let's bring in CNN's Richard Quest. He's the author of "The Vanishing of Flight MH370", the true story of the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane. This is one of the biggest, not just aviation mysteries in history, but maybe any kind of mystery. And it's amazing that after all this time, only a handful of pieces of debris have been confirmed to be from this plane. There have only been 30 that have been found just in general that have been suspected. How is that even possible?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Because the plane is so far down underwater off the west coast of Australia. But those pieces of debris, particularly the flaperon, what's fascinating is they turned up exactly where the experts said they would turn up --


QUEST: -- in the time frame that they did it. These are just some of the reports over the years that have come out about MH370. All of these reports, more and more. And the fascinating, again, part is we still have no idea what actually happened.

PHILLIP: We don't know what caused the plane to go down, is what you're saying. And all of these reports are digging into that question, or also the question of where the plane even is.

QUEST: Both, because we know the plane flew for seven hours after it went dark. We know it turned and went down in towards the south Indian Ocean. And we know that's where the plane is. But underneath that level of water, six, seven miles down, it's just like the topography of land.


QUEST: There are valleys, there are canyons, there are forests. I mean, it's a whole world.

PHILLIP: It's a whole world. Yeah.

QUEST: And that's why they weren't able to find it the first time around. It was simply too big an area. They did not have the necessary precision to actually find it.

PHILLIP: So, I want to get into that a little bit more in a second. But the captain supposedly turned off the transponder as this plane was flying. Now, there are all these wild theories about what happened. Get us into some of the wild theories. And by the way, tell us what this thing here is.

QUEST: This is an old black box. They're always red, actually. This is the sort of thing they were looking for in that first 30 days.


QUEST: And it's got a pinger on the back. That didn't work, or at least it expired. And so this is what we want to find. Because even if you find the --

PHILLIP: But this is never going to be found at this point. Or do you think it can be?

QUEST: Oh, of course it can. The moment you find the debris, and the moment you know how it went into the water, you know roughly where this is on the plane. It's at the back of the aircraft. You then start finding for it. It won't be easy. Don't get me wrong. But here's where the difference is in searching. And by the way, sorry, let's go back to your -- you wanted to talk about theories.

And I'm sort of wrapping the table, because we don't know that the captain switched off the transponder. One of the theories is that Captain Zahari did this as a murder-suicide. But frankly, there's no hard evidence of it. None. Oh, there'll be lots of people who'll talk about simulators, this and that. What else could it have been? It could have been a hijacking.

No evidence of that. It could have been lithium batteries that were in the hold, that set on fire. Possible theory. It could have been a sudden decompression. Theories relate to that. We simply don't know. Is it more likely that it was the captain? That's the sort of general thinking.

PHILLIP: There's a company, Ocean Infinity. They want to go look for it. Do you think it's worth it? Do you think they can?

QUEST: Yes, yes, yes, and yes again. It's worth it, because we cannot have this mystery unsolved. Can they find it? New technology, drones, robotics, A.I. You talk about looking for this, but if you're A.I. knows what to look for, then the A.I. is a much better opportunity of spotting something that would look different to what is expected.


And that is why I feel more confident. If the Malaysians will sign the contract, if Ocean Infinity is given the time to do it, because think about this next time you fly. We need to know what happened.

PHILLIP: Richard Quest, thank you very much. "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.