Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Extraordinary, Trump's Own V.P. Refuses To Endorse Him; Judge Rules Fani Willis Can Continue On Trump Georgia Case; Airlines Warned Of Potential Hazard With 787 Pilot Seats; U.N. Says 80 Percent Of Port-Au-Prince Is Run By Armed Gangs And Militias; The film "Civil War" Premiers At South By Southwest, Stars Kirsten Dunst; The National Association Of Realtors Announces To Settle A Landmark Lawsuit By Changing Their Rules For Agents. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 15, 2024 - 22:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This agency needs to stand a little bit taller here.


I'm not going to be dragged through the mud no more because a couple of scumbags are missing. Is this being recorded?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son wasn't a scumbag. Maybe he's calling his own self a scumbag. Maybe he was a dirty cop.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to tune in an all-new episode of The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper. One whole hour, one whole story, airs Sunday at 8:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

And thank you so much for joining us. CNN NEWSNIGHT with Abby Phillip starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: An extraordinary moment in American history, a former vice president warning the nation against re- electing his old running mate. That's tonight on NEWSNIGHT.

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

And tonight, former Vice President Mike Pence making a clean break with Trumpism that was years in the making. Finally, he is saying out loud that Trump cannot be given the keys to the Oval Office again.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year.

I cannot, in good conscience, endorse Donald Trump and this campaign. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: You can now add Pence to the ever-expanding list of former Donald Trump officials who say that the former president should not ever step foot in the White House again.

Just let that sink in. This is a list that is quite long at this point, among them, his former attorney general, Bill Barr.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: You know, he's like a nine-year-old, a defiant nine-year-old kid who's always pushing the glass toward the edge of the table, defying his parents to stop him from doing it.


PHILLIP: His former national security adviser, John Bolton.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Between Biden and Trump, there was no conservative on the ballot. So, I wrote in the name of a conservative and I would do the same in 2024.


PHILLIP: His other former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.


H.R. MCMASTER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER UNDER TRUMP: I think it would be terribly divisive for our country for him to run again.


PHILLIP: The former Trump defense secretary, Mark Esper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Trump can be trusted with the nation's secrets ever again?

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. I mean, it's just irresponsible action that places our service members at risk, places our nation's security at risk.


PHILLIP: The other former Trump defense secretary, Jim Mattis, he said that Trump fomented an insurrection. The former Trump chief of staff, John Kelly, who says Trump has no idea what America stands for. His former acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICK MULVANEY, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: I quit because I think he failed at being the president when we needed him to be that.


PHILLIP: And his former Joint Chiefs chairman, Mark Milley.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We don't take an oath to a king, or a queen, or a tyrant, or a dictator. We don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator.


PHILLIP: And there are others, quite a few more, in fact.

But Pence today gave his reasons, and they aren't just about how Trump put his life at risk on January 6th.


PENCE: During my presidential campaign, I made it clear that there were profound differences between me and President Trump on a range of issues, and not just our difference on my constitutional duties that I exercised on January the 6th.

Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on.


PHILLIP: To hear him say that out loud and pair it with Pence's refusal to endorse Trump, it is nothing short of extraordinary. But notice what all of these people have in common. Every one of them saw Trump's conduct up close, especially when it came to the most sensitive and important parts of the job, the ones that deal with the nation's national security.

And so Mike Pence, you would think he plans to vote for Joe Biden, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you going to vote for in November?

PENCE: Well, like most Americans, I'm going to keep my vote to myself. But --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you vote for President Biden?

PENCE: I would never vote for Joe Biden. But how I vote when that curtain closes is -- that will be for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: Pence is never Trump. He's also never Biden. But that's kind of like living in Neverland. It denies that the choice isn't between Trump and the right in line on the ballot. It's between these two men.

Here's the reality. Those who say never Trump but don't offer a credible alternative are more likely than not guaranteeing the exact outcome that they say they do not want, which is a second Trump presidency.


Joining me now is former Republican Presidential Candidate and Congressman from Illinois Joe Walsh. He's also the host of the White Flag podcast.

Joe, hearing Mike Pence say this out loud, what do you think? Is this something that is an important moment for this country?

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): Yes, Abby, and really good to be with you. Look, at one level, this is really good, Mike Pence, and this is a really big deal. I can't emphasize this enough. As a Republican, if you publicly oppose Trump, you're done as a Republican.

When I came out six years ago and publicly stood against Donald Trump, I took a blowtorch to my career but I also knew I could never ever run as a Republican again. Mike Pence today just did that. And, Abby, unlike all those other Trump administration officials who rightly said Trump can't be trusted to be president again, none of them had any designs to run for office again.

Pence still wants to run for office. That's why this is such a huge deal, because he's acknowledging to the whole country he can never run again as a Republican. That's a big deal.

PHILLIP: I mean, do you think that that's what he thinks or is he betting that there is an after Trump? I mean, as you just said, he is not retiring from political life. He understands the risks that he takes by doing this. Do you think he's actually closing the door on running as a Republican again?

WALSH: I think he's closing the door on running as a Republican, and, Abby, if he's not, he's smoking something, because he'll never -- look, he and I are the same age. In our lifetime, this Republican Party is not going to change. This will never be Mike Pence's Republican or Joe Walsh's Republican Party again. But, Abby, you also nailed it in your opening. This is also kind of the bad Mike Pence. So, okay, you're not going to vote for Trump, he can't be trusted, will you vote for the only person who can keep Donald Trump out of the White House, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence won't go there.

And the other curious thing, Abby, is the reasons that Pence gave, that Donald Trump no longer represents these conservative ideas. I think that signals that Pence is going to fight to advance his brand of conservatism, but it won't be within this Republican Party.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, certainly, Republican primary voters did not buy into that when he ran against Trump in this primary.

But what about someone like Nikki Haley, who got out of the race? She did not endorse Trump explicitly. She said he needs to earn the support of her voters. Now that Pence has done this, this puts a lot of pressure on her. Where do you think that she will land?

WALSH: Oh, this puts a lot of pressure on her, Abby. And I would have guaranteed before this announcement today that Nikki Haley is going to endorse Trump. I still expect Nikki Haley to endorse Trump because she's younger than Pence. She's younger than I am. She still wants a future in this Republican Party.

And, again, I think the whole country needs to understand this. It's sad that this is the way it is. But if Nikki Haley does not endorse Trump, she cannot run as a Republican, not in '28, not for a long, long time, if ever. She's got to calculate that into her decision.

PHILLIP: Very interesting. Former Congressman Joe Walsh, thanks very much for all that.

WALSH: Thanks, Abby.

PHILLIP: And tonight, a ruling and a resignation, the Georgia case against Donald Trump looks a lot different than it did just a few hours ago.

Nathan Wade, who is the lead prosecutor, is now gone, and that happened after a judge presiding over this case made Fani Willis choose between two options. One, recuse her whole office or show her former paramour to the door. She elected to do the latter.

But Willis herself got a dose of medicine from this judge, Scott McAfee. The judge wrote, this finding is by no means an indication that the court condones this tremendous lapse of judgment or the unprofessional manner of the district attorney's testimony during the evidentiary hearing.

Joining me now is Bishop Reginald T. Jackson. He is a spiritual adviser to District Attorney Fani Willis. Reverend, thank you very much for joining us.

I wonder, have you gotten a chance to speak with Ms. Willis about this decision? And if you did or if you do, what do you plan to counsel her about what this means?



My counsel to her would be, the bottom line is, she is still prosecuting this case. All of this other stuff is simply side issues. Prepare for this case, prosecute this case, and let's move forward. I think she needs to focus on this case. PHILLIP: In all of this happening over the last several months, did she ever seriously consider that this case would have to be taken from her or might benefit from her taking a step back from it?

JACKSON: I don't think she ever really thought that this case would be taken from her. In fact, if you followed the case, the attorneys on the other side, they never gave any law that she broke. They never gave any evidence of a conflict of interest. This was about two things, distract and delay. Distract from what the indictments were all about and try to delay this case until after the election. That's all it was about and, unfortunately, right now, they are succeeding.

PHILLIP: The judge, as you just heard me read, he described this as a lapse in judgment on Fani Willis' part. What do you make of that? Do you think he was right or off-base in that assessment?

JACKSON: Well, to be frank with you, I think the judge, and talking about poor judgment and all of that, I think a lot of folk have gotten caught up again on these side issues. One, you know, Nathan Wade and his wife have been separated for ten years, so the marriage was broken. In addition to that, nothing between the district attorney and Nathan Wade impacted the defendants, absolutely nothing.

So, again, this was really about distract and delay. Even the, you know, Big Bethel Church in Atlanta is one of the churches that comes under my supervision, and I was there on that Sunday, and so all of the furor about the address.

PHILLIP: I mean, let me ask you let me ask you about that, I mean, for the benefit of the audience here. What you're talking about is a speech that Fani Willis gave at a church back in January. You prayed over her that day. You were there, as you just said. Judge McAfee is now considering a gag order for her as a result of that appearance. He said that the effect was to, quote, cast racial aspersions on the defense. What's your view of that? I mean, that's a pretty strong thing for the judge to say here.

JACKSON: Well, that's what the attorneys on the other side brought up. But if you go back and look at her address, she never said anything about the defendants in terms of being racist. What she simply said was that this one attorney she picked, Nathan Wade, was targeted first. He was not qualified. Second, they were talking about how much he made. The fact of the matter is what he made was less than a lot of other attorneys in a similar position, and it turns out he was a very effective attorney.

So, again, I think them pointing to racism is really disingenuous because Donald Trump, he's referred to finding Willis as racist, he's referred to the attorney general in New York as racist, the district attorney in New York is racist. So, it's interesting to me that they would even bring up, bringing race into this issue when their client is the one who calls everybody who's black and disagrees with him racist.

PHILLIP: With all of this going on, do you worry for D.A. Willis' safety? JACKSON: I almost certainly do. In fact, one of the things which I think people have very much ignored in all of this, here's a woman who's not been able to live in her own house for over two years, have her family visit, go out to dinner, have company over. She has really lost her own life, for her own life now, centers around this case. She has no life. And now the other side has just put all of her life out on the streets, which I believe is extremely unfortunate.

And even in the state legislature here in Georgia, they're talking about ethics investigations. And I think it needs to be pointed out that if they're really concerned about ethics and all of that, what happens to Coffee County in Georgia, where you have a district attorney who has done no investigation and fought in our Coffee County, nobody in Coffee County has been investigated on anything. And that was blatant election interference and misconduct.


PHILLIP: Bishop Reginald T Jackson, we appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you very much.

JACKSON: Glad to be with you.

PHILLIP: And joining me now on the legal implications of this ruling from the judge today is Jeremy Saland. Jeremy, the Fani Willis case, I think now the judge has ruled, is it going to be something that sticks around in the minds of a potential jury pool here, where they are -- you know, they have taken into consideration both Trump's conduct but also the impartiality of the D.A?

JEREMY SALAND, FORMER MANHATTAN PROSECUTOR: You know, I think that injury, for lack of a better term, is going to be far enough away from jury selection that people can move on and move on to whatever is next. And we know Donald Trump is going to be another distraction, whether that's an actual case being prosecuted here in Manhattan, whether that's something that comes up at a D.C. or Florida.

So, I think it's far enough apart, but that issue that she has, because Wade is no longer there and there was that criticism and it's in writing, is certainly, for lack of a better term, also going to haunt her a bit. But I think she moves forward with the case.

PHILLIP: But her long-term credibility you think might be at risk here?

SALAND: Absolutely. I think if you objectively look at it, you can say that this case is just in terms of prosecution, it's a right thing to do, but you can also say that doesn't mean she's immune from making some mistakes some of which are kind of amateur.

So, I think the judge's decision was very firm but also it, you know, said that doesn't mean she can't go forward

PHILLIP: Yes. And the judge didn't dismiss the idea that her conduct was inappropriate in other ways. Legally, he described some of them as legally inappropriate. If the Trump case is lost in a trial, they're looking at an appeal, does some of this stuff get dredged up again?

SALAND: This absolutely will. Trump is going to do anything he can. I mean, what he can do now is ask for a certificate of review immediately from the judge and then potentially then take that immediately to an appellate court. And that appellate court now can decide whether or not they'll hear it.

So, I would expect that Trump will find any means or mechanism, any flaw, exploit it right or wrong, and use that to delay, because that's what he needs to do.

PHILLIP: And speaking of which, the hush money case in New York, completely separate case, this has to do with hush money payments. The judge now says it's going to have to be delayed because of the delay in getting some thousands of documents over to the defense in this case. Is this a situation where a technicality could introduce almost like a Pandora's Box into this case? We don't know what's in those documents. We don't know how many more there are. What are the implications of this?

SALAND: I mean, pardon me, D.A. Bragg is doing his job and he's doing it well in terms of turning over what he needs to turn over, and the Southern District, waiting to this point in time to provide this, and mind you, two separate entities, he does not have control over the Southern District, provides this evidence. And what could be there? Could there be something valuable in the grand jury minutes? Could there be witnesses that are unknown? Could there be materials that were subpoenaed? There's a lot of things that could be there.

Does it mean it's all going to be valuable in Donald Trump's defense? No, not necessarily. Could there be something there that says, well, this is why we didn't pursue Donald Trump for something on the federal level? Potentially. But, you know, there has to be respect for that process, it doesn't mean Bragg did anything wrong at all, but there's got to be respect, and it's the right decision, I think, from Merchan to give some time, as well as D.A. Bragg saying we should give a little bit of time.

PHILLIP: Yes. We'll see how much more time they actually end up getting because it seems like this is an ongoing situation here.

Jeremy, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And up next, breaking news involving the safety of your flights, Boeing now warning airlines of a potential seat hazard for pilots after an incident on board. We will take you inside a cockpit.

Plus, CNN is the first major network to go inside of Haiti where gangs are attacking the government there.

And an eerie new movie portrays America in a civil war. We'll speak with one critic who's seen it about the similarities of today's society.




PHILLIP: Breaking news tonight, Boeing has issued an alert to airlines warning of a hazard inside of the cockpits of 787 planes, specifically, quote, unintended seat movements.

This is a reaction to an incident this week involving a LATAM Boeing 787, which nosedived after a flight attendant supposedly pressed a button on the back of the pilot's seat. The pilot reportedly propelled into the flight controls, and as many as 50 passengers were hurt.

Joining me now is Pilot Alan Armstrong. He is also an aviation attorney. Alan, you're sitting right now inside of a Gulfstream 3 jet. That's not the same plane that we're talking about. It's slightly smaller than the 787. But show us where this button that controls the seat would normally be and how it works.

ALAN ARMSTRONG, PILOT: Abby, the button would be located in the back of the pilot's seat. On top of the button is a guard. The use of the button is based on the assumption it will only be used when you're getting in the seat or getting out of the seat. It is not something to be used when the airplane is being flown.

PHILLIP: But you said there's a guard on it.

ARMSTRONG: Way back here.

PHILLIP: Yes. So how could someone bump into it? Could someone bump into it?

ARMSTRONG: I'm perplexed. I don't understand this story about how this seat switch got activated.


I'm mystified, frankly.

PHILLIP: Because it's usually not something that is just easily accessible.

But let's say that that is what happened here, Alan. What happened then? How could the pilot have been pushed into the controls such that the plane would have gone into a nosedive?

ARMSTRONG: I am going to ask you to make two assumptions. Assumption number one, the seat is moving forward. The seat is moving the pilot into the control yoke, okay? He's being pressed into the control yoke.

Assumption number two, the aircraft is on automatic pilot. Automatic pilot is a system with servos that will maintain pitch, bank and roll attitude to ensure the aircraft maintains a stable flight path. If he's been pushed forward into a yolk, the autopilot is going to resist that because it's trying to maintain level attitude. So, you've got one force going down and one force up, and they're competing with each other. But at 75 pounds, the autopilot is going give up. It's just going to say, if you're airplane, you do what you want, I'm done, because that's the setting that is typically applied in these aircraft, and at that point, the aircraft would abruptly, and I mean abruptly nose down, much more violent than a carnival ride. And that would explain why we have 50 injured passengers and 10 people who make a trip to the hospital.

PHILLIP: So, it sounds like, Alan, there are still a lot of questions in your mind about whether this really is the full picture of what happened here, perhaps because of how unlikely it is that that button could have just been accessed without someone trying to?

ARMSTRONG: I really do not believe we have the whole story. And I'm very curious about the indication that we had a blank screen in the cockpit. I am very curious about that.

PHILLIP: There are so many more questions.

ARMSTRONG: I'm not getting how this switch gets activated by here by a flight attendant. I don't understand how that's even possible. No, I do think we've got the full story, I really don't.

PHILLIP: All right. Alan Armstrong, thank you so much for explaining all of that to us.

ARMSTRONG: You're very welcome.

PHILLIP: It's fascinating, thank you.

ARMSTRONG: Thanks, Abby.

PHILLIP: And this just in to CNN, a United flight from San Francisco to Oregon was missing an external panel upon arrival. A gaping hole, you can see there, noticed by a person on the ground at the Rogue Valley Airport. United says an emergency wasn't declared because there was no indication of the damage during the flight.

145 passengers and crew were on board that flight. No sign of the missing panel so far. And this is now the sixth incident for United in a little over a week.

And up next, a capital city overrun by gangs and armed militias. And CNN just landed on the ground there in Haiti as the nation crumbles.

Plus, there's a new movie about another American Civil War, and it's getting a lot of praise. But it is also touching and on eerie similarities to American society today. I'll speak with someone who recently saw it.



PHILLIP: Tonight, a nation of 11 million people is now on the brink, and the crisis runs the risk of spilling onto American shores. In just a few moments, we'll go to David Culver, who's on the ground in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. CNN is the first major network to arrive there since the start of this chaos.

But first, here's what you need to know. For years, for decades, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere has seen it all. Natural disasters, including the quake that killed more than 200,000 people. Government corruption, assassinations, political instability, outbreaks of disease and gangs, and violence.

But now, it's at a breaking point. The nation cannot govern itself. And dozens, even hundreds of armed gangs and militias are filling that power vacuum. They're attacking landmarks, airports, stadiums, police stations, even the central bank.

The U.N. says that 80 percent of the capital is now overrun by these groups. It is a terrifying place right now to live. And the U.S. fears that an influx of migrants and refugees trying to survive will end up right here in the United States. And CNN's David Culver joins me now.

David, you've been trying to get back into Haiti for days now as the situation has devolved. Now that you're there, what are you seeing? Hey there, Abby. It's eerily quiet at this hour, and yet that quiet can be interrupted at any moment, and you may even hear it as we're talking, by gunfire. And that's what we heard as soon as we stepped out of our cars after arriving here just a few hours ago.

And we were able to drive in from a landing zone that took a long time to identify because it just changes here. The situation on the ground is ever-evolving, and you don't know if one area that you've picked, for example, the pilots had chosen a spot earlier in the day that was perfectly fine a couple of days ago.

Today, it's gang control. So, you have to be willing to be able to adjust quickly to those many changes. As far as the folks who are dealing with everyday life here, I mean, it's hit two areas in particular really hard. One is food security, and the other is health care.


So, if you look at the food situation, I mean, 90 percent of what's consumed here is imported. So, if you look at the logistics of what it took for us to get around, imagine many of the roadways that are shut off, areas that are checker-blocked in that they're gang-controlled in one part, and others, maybe police, have regained some sort of influence and been able to allow things to move through.

But it's, again, unpredictable. So it's made the food situation dire. And there's concern here, according to the U.N., that a million people are one step away from famine. As far as the health care is concerned, a local hospital executive telling me 80 percent of the hospitals in Port-au-Prince are now closed. Many of them have been ransacked, looted, you've got medical workers that are being targeted by gang members, and three of the hospitals in the poorest of areas are among those that are shut down. And so, it tells you that those who are oftentimes in most need are

certainly not going to get the treatment. And even if they have a hospital nearby, getting to it is just another challenge. So, Abby, it is incredibly difficult right now.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it is a desperate situation for so many people in Haiti. Just to give us a sense of what the situation is, I mean, we were just talking, it took you a very long time to be able to even step foot in Port-au-Prince. How difficult was it to get there?

CULVER: Yeah, so in all, it was about six days that we were waiting in the Dominican Republic and making many different attempts and driving all over to different border crossings to try to figure out how we could come over and report this story. And it is some bureaucratic red tape that you have to go through because the D.R. has their border that essentially sealed off with Haiti. So, that makes it a challenge.

But then you're also just talking the logistics of ultimately when we were able to find a helicopter to bring us in, those pilots' willingness, and then their ability to make that approach. And here's just a sampling of our ride in.


UNKNOWN: We're going to be flying to Haiti. It's going to take us one hour to get there.

CULVER: The logistics of this trip alone have been incredibly challenging, to say the least. They're confirming with us something that we've been working on the entire day, and that is the landing zone, trying to figure out where we'll touch down amidst a very dire situation in Port-au-Prince. Gunshots. Do you hear that? There it is.

Already hearing gunshots just a few seconds into stepping out of the car after arriving here at Port-au-Prince.


CULVER (on-camera): We spent hours this morning with those pilots trying to find different areas and then going through different maps and coordinating with a team here on the ground, a security team, to evaluate whether or not the areas that we were trying to land are viable options. And it's because an area they had identified a couple of days ago as a good landing zone today is under gang control.

So, Abby, that's the challenge that we face, but it's beyond us. Imagine those who are trying to get out. The pilots tell us they have hundreds of people on lists just desperate to get out of Port-au- Prince right now. And then beyond that, those who don't have that luxury or that opportunity to leave.

Many of the Haitians themselves, who would hope to have just some basic needs and aid brought in, well, the logistics of ours getting in, you know, shows you just what they'll be dealing with when it comes to trying to get what they so desperately need to have. David Culver, thank you so much for bringing that to us.

I mean, this is such an important story unfolding right on the United States' borders, practically. It's so important for us to hear it. Thank you again.

CULVER: Yeah. Thanks, Abby.

PHILLIP: And from very real chaos abroad to fictional chaos at home, the film "Civil War" is premiering at South by Southwest, and it stars Kirsten Dunst as a photojournalist struggling to survive during civil war in near-future America.

It is receiving critical praise for its bleak look at a broken country, even as some worry real-life divisions could bring the United States to this very point. Joining me now is Scott Mantz, an entertainment journalist and a film critic. He recently saw that movie.

Last night, in fact, Scott, you called it a masterpiece. Some reviews have really focused on these similarities, scary as they are, between the environment in the film and what's happening in today's society. What similarities did you see?

SCOTT MANTZ, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Well, Abby, that's a loaded question. I mean, first of all, you have a T.V. President in the film played by Emmy winner Nick Offerman, who just won an Emmy for being in "The Last of Us" as a guest star. So, he plays the President as a T.V.-savvy dictator.

So, I think that's something we can all relate to and might have to relate to it again. But just to be clear, the movie does not really pick sides. You don't know why the country has descended into civil war.


There's no exposition. There's no title card at the beginning of the film that explains why we got there. It just shows what happens when we get there. The film is from A24 Films. That's the studio that brought you "Everything Everywhere All at Once", which won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I think this movie is going to get a lot of Academy Awards because it is a masterpiece, especially in the sound department. My ears are still ringing.

PHILLIP: Wow. You posted on social media, watching it, one can't help but feel how close we are to this actually happening, making it a must-see to stop it before it actually does. Given that you don't know what brought the characters to the point that they're at, how do we interpret what's going on in this film? I haven't seen it myself, but no spoilers. How do we interpret what happens?

MANTZ: Yes. No spoilers, Abby. So, first of all, like I said, you don't know why we're at the point, but the movie doesn't take place in the far future. It takes place in the near future. It could take place tomorrow or maybe even, you know, November. The point is that never before in my life watching a movie, and as you

can imagine, I've seen a lot of films, have I felt so much like we are so close to this moment where the country is so divided that one wrong move and we could descend into civil war.

I have never had that feeling before in my life. The movie is so visceral, so immersive. The combat scenes are absolutely incredible. The movie stars, like I said, Kirsten Dunst, also Wagner Moura and Cailee Spaeny, who was in the movie Priscilla last year. They're photojournalists making their way from New York City to Washington, D.C. to interview the President before rebel factions get there first.

The movies or T.V. shows this reminded me of were "The Walking Dead", "Children of Men" and very much like "Apocalypse Now", not stylistically, but instead of going up the river to, you know, find Colonel Kurtz, they're going down to D.C. to look for the President.

PHILLIP: You know, one of the things about America is that I think a lot of people, Americans, believe that this is a forever society. The American experiment will never end. This movie kind of punctures that, but it also strikes me that the people who talk the most about civil war are the ones who are preparing for it, the ones who want it. How are we, you know, what kind of impact do you think that this film will have on all the people who are at home and saying this will never, ever happen here?

MANTZ: Well, again, the reality of the film, which is directed by Alex Garland, who was here at South by Southwest in Texas, which is where I still am, nine years ago with a movie called "Ex Machina", that was a masterpiece movie about artificial intelligence. But watching this film, it is -- there's nothing futuristic about it. It feels very present.

You know, the country's been so divided, I mean, since the -- since the insurrection on January 6th. And I just, again, it just feels, you know, certainly in my lifetime, I've never felt like how close -- and this is my opinion only -- how close that we really are on the brink of a civil war. If we don't learn from a film like this, which I think is a cautionary tale that is very scary because of how plausible everything you see in the film actually is.

PHILLIP: Well, it could be that we all become preppers after watching it. Get ready for what's coming.

MANTZ: One more thing, Abby. One more thing.


MANTZ: The movie does open on April 12th. So that's just a few weeks away. It's going to be in IMAX theaters, which let me tell you, Abby, this is the way to see and hear this movie. Like I said, my eardrums are still getting repaired after watching the film last night where the pause after the film was louder than the film itself.

PHILLIP: Wow. Scott Mantz, what a pitch for a film. Excited to see it. A little scared, but excited to see it when it comes out. Thank you very much.

MANTZ: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, why the six percent commission fee may be going away forever when you buy or sell a house. And how that could lower prices ultimately for everyone. I'll speak with HGTV's Page Turner about the major impact of this landmark settlement. Plus, more on the Georgia election interference case with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis still in charge after her romantic partner, lead prosecutor Nathan Wade is resigning tonight. That's ahead.




PHILLIP: If you've ever purchased a home, you know what the fees are. They're a lot. Six percent for the realtor or the broker. And tonight, that may be going away forever. The National Association of Realtors announces that they'll settle a landmark lawsuit by changing their rules for agents, including eliminating that standard commission that all sellers pay on the sale of their homes.

The changes will completely change the current home buying and selling business model, where sellers pay set fees for their agent and also for the buyer's agent. But critics of the current system say it drove prices up artificially. The association says it will also pay more than $400 million in damages.

Here to discuss what all of this means for the market and for you, homeowners, homebuyers, home sellers, is the host of HGTV show "Fix My Flip".


She's also currently competing in HGTV's "Rock the Block", which airs Monday nights at 9 P.M. This is a real interesting moment for homebuyers. It means on average, if the average home price in the US is now $417,000, not here in New York, but somewhere in this country, the brokerage fees can end up being more than $25,000.

Now, that fee could fall by as much as $6000 or $12,000. Who do you think benefits the most from these changes?

PAGE TURNER, REAL ESTATE BROKER AND HOUSE-FLIPPING EXPERT: Well, hi, Abby. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. I think that it's going to affect all parties involved. The seller, the buyer, and the real estate brokerages, especially the buyer's agent.

PHILLIP: Yeah, especially, exactly, because that used to be a fee that just got rolled into the fees that the seller had to pay. What does this say about the future of the National Association of Realtors? I mean, they had a huge amount of control over all of this. They're acknowledging that that control led to a situation that was maybe unfair for the consumer. TURNER: Well, that is an acknowledgement. And, you know, my job, our

job as real estate agents, realtors, is to always make sure that our clients come first, the buyer and the seller. And this is what this new shift in real estate that we haven't seen for a century is going to provide. A more fair play for that buyer and for that seller.

Now, how we're going to navigate this market on the brokerage and the buyer side is going to maybe get a little topsy-turvy, because there's a lot of changes happening, and I'm concerned about the buyer.

PHILLIP: Yeah, you know what? Honestly, Page, I am too. If you're a first time home buyer, usually you're not thinking about that cost. Maybe it's percent, maybe it's one -- one and a half or whatever. Now, they're going to have to think about it.

Do you think that this will have an impact on people being able to buy that very first home? They only have just enough for the closing costs and for the down payment. They're not thinking about an extra, you know, $10,000 or $20,000 for realtor fees.

TURNER: Right, I absolutely do. And I think that's always been a buyer's perk to have solid representation by a realtor, it didn't cost the buyer anything, because that cost was passed on to the seller.

So, now with this change, for that first time home buyer, for the marginalized buyer, for the veteran, for black and brown people, how are we going to make sure that we still can provide, as realtors, that, you know, frame of being able to have the American dream if you fall outside of the affordability of that up to, let's say, three percent in a buyer's agent commission?

PHILLIP: What about the real estate business in general? I mean, you're a realtor. Would you have gone into this business with this kind of fee structure? Will it drive a lot of people out?

TURNER: Well, to answer your first question, I think if you don't know, then that's something that may be exciting, because you just want to come in this business and serve people. Yes, there's a lot of money to be made, but it's a very, very competitive business anyway.

Now, we've just really upped the ante with the competition, and, you know, the new model for brokerages is going to have to be swift in figuring out how you can stay in this business. Otherwise, you won't be able to, because the competition will be too fierce.

PHILLIP: Well, at the very least, maybe this means that the fee will be commiserate with the services. They'll be offering more services to charge fees. Maybe that ends up being better, but like you said, for the marginal homebuyer, people just trying to get in, lots of questions remain for them going forward. Page Turner from HGTV, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Good to see you.

TURNER: Thank you, Abby, for having me. I appreciate it.

PHILLIP: And more on that legal fallout from today's decision to let Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis stay in charge of her Georgia election case. If her lead prosecutor now has resigned, that's ahead.




PHILLIP: Looking back on the news tonight, on this day in history. In 1965, one of the most important speeches in presidential history.


LYNDON JOHNSON, 36th U.S. PRESIDENT: I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.


PHILLIP: President Lyndon Johnson addressing a joint session of Congress calling for legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

JOHNSON: Their cause must be our cause, too, because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.


PHILLIP: The speech was delivered eight days after civil rights marchers were beaten by state troopers in Elba, Alabama. Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act into law later that year. Nearly six decades later, and in a critical election year, democracy and access to voting remain at stake. Thank you so much for watching NEWSNIGHT tonight and all week. "LAURA COATES LIVE" starts right now.