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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Trump Can't Post $464M Fraud Bond, Making The Game Real; Peter Navarro's Prison Consultant Says, He's Nervous; Trump Says, Jews Who Support Democrats Hate Israel And Their Religion; Arizona Lawmaker Eva Burch Talks About Abortion Ban; CNN Contributor Kara Swisher Talks About Issues On Paul Manafort And Elon Musk; Abby Phillip And Guest Panel Talk About Oprah Winfrey And Weight Watchers. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 18, 2024 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Can I just ask you quickly a big picture before we go, which is, did it feel like your job as just someone who was supposed to run the library to make sure kids can go and read was being politicized?

ANDREW FOSTER, FORMER AUTAUGA-PRATTVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY DIRECTOR: Absolutely. And that's unfortunately happening at libraries all over the state and all over the nation. It's turned in to this politicization of libraries.

COLLINS: Andrew Foster, it's an important story. Thank you for joining us tonight.

I should note before we go, we did reach out to members of the library's board of trustees before we spoke to Andrew. We'll reach out to them again. I want to thank you so much for joining us.

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillips starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: How Monopoly explains Donald Trump's legal and financial peril. That's tonight on NewsNight.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in New York. And tonight, reality crashes into how Donald Trump views his life's work and the way that the world works.

Donald Trump's lawyers are admitting that their client can't make bond, that the self-professed billionaire is not liquid enough to cover a $500 million penalty is probably surprising to a huge number of his voters.

But Trump has long treated New York real estate, his empire, like a game of Monopoly. He's long acted like real money. Real dollars are, well, Monopoly money. In Trump's world, he lives on boardwalk in Park Place. He buys and buys and borrows and borrows more and hopes that the game goes on just long enough that he makes back some of that money.

But right now, Letitia James is quite literally trying to collect, to make Trump pay what he owes for perpetrating a decades-long fraud on the state of New York. And when he can't, James has said that she will seize his assets, the buildings in Manhattan and elsewhere that bear the Trump name.

The former president is relying on a community chest of sorts, donor money, RNC money, all kinds of money that's not his to pay off his legal bills. In Trump's game of Monopoly, he's betting that he can keep playing, delaying accountability, essentially, until America deals him a chance card.

Now, that chance, it's another shot at the White House, essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card. Trump wants voters to let him change the rules. Or Trump, like the angry kid who's mad about losing to their cousins, wants to simply flip the board off the table to make everything just go away, probably so that he can play a different game, one where only he wins.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: My new game is Trump, the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump, the game where you deal for everything you ever wanted to own. Because it's not what you win or lose, it's whether you win.


PHILLIP: But here's the point, that is what Trump wants to convince voters that he's entitled to his own set of rules. And it makes sense to a degree. Trump has played and he's won by pretending for decades. But the reality is, is that this isn't a game. Trump can't cheat the law. He can't cheat the will of the American people who might very well decide that they don't want him back in the White House, and that they do want him to face the very real legal and financial peril that could ultimately cost him his empire and his actual freedom.

Joining me now is former Donald Trump Adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman. She was a contestant on the first season of The Apprentice. She's also the author of Unhinged, an Insider's Account of the Trump White House. Omarosa, thanks for joining us tonight.

You've seen the headlines.


PHILLIP: 30 underwriters have said no to Donald Trump when he went to them and asked for help to cover this half a billion dollar bond. For decades, banks have been willing to lend to Trump for all kinds of reasons during all kinds of financial distress. Why not now?

NEWMAN: Well, it's very simple, Abby. They don't trust him, and they don't believe that he'll pay them back. The other part of it is that Donald Trump has, for so many years, run a scheme, and he's built his business on deceit and a house of cards. And as we can see, that house of cards is now going to collapse.

PHILLIP: So, one of Trump's attorneys, Alina Habba, she promised over and over again that Trump would be able to cover everything, even as recently as last month. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Donald Trump have that kind of money sitting around?

ALINA HABBA, TRUMP ATTORNEY : I mean, he does. Of course, he has money. You know, he's a billionaire.


We know that.

This guy is worth a lot of money, billions and billions of billions of dollars.

He happens to have a lot of cash.


PHILLIP: Of course, he has the money. Why would she lie like that so boldly and seemingly without any sort of, you know, self-awareness?

NEWMAN: Well, the truth of the matter is, if Donald Trump had the money, he would not be asking for special favors from the judge. He wouldn't be asking that that $464 million be reduced to $100 million. He's asked to be treated differently than others who would be in this situation.

If you or I, we couldn't go to the courts and say, look, we don't have the money for our appeal, can you make some exceptions for us? But Donald Trump is expecting special treatment, special favors, because he believes that he is above the law.

But in this case, he's going to have to pay, or he just will have his property seized. And that is his worst nightmare, Abby.

PHILLIP: Yes, and it's also something that will follow him. I mean, he's going into this election. A lot of his supporters, maybe other people too, believe this myth, essentially, that he's fantastically wealthy, that he's an outsider. Does this puncture that?

NEWMAN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, from the first day of The Apprentice, the story that was told to the audience was that Donald Trump was so extraordinarily wealthy. And what we've learned from the producers is that this was an image that they actually helped to build, that they helped to promote.

And so we know that he kind of built this persona. He's been kind of marketing and using it, but then he turns around and asks average Americans to send him money to help him with his legal fees, to help him fight the Joe Biden hoax, as he called it, or his spokesman called it.

The truth of the matter is that now the curtain is going to be pulled back and his supporters are going to see that what Donald Trump says about his wealth and about the money that he has, he simply does not have it.

PHILLIP: The former president, he has long demonized the prosecutors who go after him. Does it bother him, you think, that this is coming from Letitia James, a woman and a black woman, that she's really been kind of laser-focused on making sure that this case goes through and that, you know, she's been pretty clear, she'll take the buildings if she has to?

NEWMAN: Well, anytime that Donald is being held accountable for his bad behavior, he is going to be unhappy, but he is particularly angry about the fact that he is being held accountable, not just by a woman, but by an African-American woman.

In this case, in Georgia, you know, the case that he has against him in New York, I mean, all of these cases are by African-Americans who were strong enough, bold enough and who were willing to put themselves out there to bring Trump to justice. This is really probably taking him up.

And I think one of the things I want to point out to you is that Donald Trump is also very strategic about what he does. He knew over the weekend, probably as far back as last week, that he could not get a shirty (ph) company to extend his bond.

And so what does he do? He creates a distraction by using, you know, inciteful words, bloodbath, calling immigrants animals. He knew what he was going to do, and he knew that it would drive the news cycle. He wanted to distract from the fact that he was rejected not just once, not 5 times, not 10 times, but by 30 different companies who are not willing to do business with Donald Trump. And that sends a strong message to the people who are expecting him to be able to, you know, be responsible for the money of running this country and being fiscally responsible. He's just not able to do that.

PHILLIP: Well, one of the things about court documents is that you can't really hide them in cases like this. So, the news will come out eventually.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

NEWMAN: Thanks for having me, Abby.

PHILLIP: And also tonight, Peter Navarro is suddenly sharing a whole lot in common with the movie from the last decade.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking to join the Crenshaw Kings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want you to protect him while he's in the inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teach me how to survive in prison the way you did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could pay you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you tomorrow, convict.


PHILLIP: If you haven't seen it, that's from the film, Get Hard, where a white-collar criminal goes to prison and hires a consultant to help prepare him to do time.

It is the exact same position that Navarro is in right now after the Supreme Court said no to his emergency appeal. He was convicted, remember, of contempt of Congress. Navarro, like in the movie, he has hired a prison consultant of his own. And despite the minimum security setting that he is likely to go into, that consultant has told CNN tonight that the tough-talking MAGA acolyte is actually nervous.


But look online and you'll see Navarro playing martyr.


PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Men and women of America throughout our history have shed blood, lost their lives for the defense of this country, defense of what we stand for, defense of our values, defense of the Constitution. And for me, it's a much smaller sacrifice to be willing to go to prison, as I now have been ordered to do, to defend what is really one of the most important principles of the Constitution.


PHILLIP: Joining me now is Eric Singleton. He's a federal prison consultant. In 2022, he pleaded guilty to embezzlement and served eight months of a one-year and a day sentence.

Eric, based on your experience, should Navarro be nervous?

ERIC SINGLETON, PRISON CONSULTANT: He should. And I think anyone going into this situation should be nervous, primarily not for the fear of violence, as the movie, Get Hard, implies, but mostly for the lack of control. Mr. Navarro has lived a life where he's been able to control many things about his life.

And once someone checks into a prison camp, things change dramatically. Small things, like getting a pillow for your bed, may be impossible or it may take months. Things such as making sure you're getting the adequate prescriptions that you have been taking on the outside involve a very lengthy administrative process, involving (INAUDIBLE). So, even though the physical danger is not the risk for him, it is a whole new world of lacking control of everyday, very simple activities.

PHILLIP: What about the culture inside of these prisons? I mean, this is basically a white collar prison, so it's not some kind of maximum security facility. But what is he going to have to adjust to to fit in?

SINGLETON: Right. That is another shock for a lot of white-collar criminals going in. Many of them assume they're going to be surrounded by a lot of other white-collar criminals because camps are known for being placed for non-violent offenders.

But the typical white-collar criminal, that makes up about maybe one- fourth of the population in a camp. The vast majority of people there are on non-violent drug offenses, and a lot of them are young.

And so there can be a culture that's loud, it's boisterous, a lot of craziness going on, and it can be very difficult for older inmates to adjust to that. The particular prison where Mr. Navarro is going has a special wing for older inmates, but even that can be difficult to get into just because of the overcrowding that exists.

PHILLIP: So, you've spent some time in a federal prison, longer than Navarro is likely to. How long did it take you to get used to it? And do you think that he will even have that kind of time?

SINGLETON: I think there are stages for every person. It's very common for people to think they've adjusted after their first weekend, and then something happens and pulls them out of their rhythm, and then they have a hard time adjusting from that.

And I talked to people who had been in for seven years and still had those moments of just crashing down, simple things like getting your points added up correctly to try and get to an early release when that gets pulled away from someone for no reason.

The very nature of the federal prison experience, I think, makes it so people don't really get used to being there ever, especially for the type of time that Mr. Navarro is going to be there. I don't think he'll adjust at all.

PHILLIP: Is there actually a risk of violence for him, you think, in this setting?

SINGLETON: There's always a risk. To some degree, it's like asking if somebody walking down the street is at risk of violence. You could anger a stranger, you could start something and there could be violence. Camps, by their nature, generally house people who want to go home and so they try and handle things without violence.


But that being said, it's a simple search of the news and you'll see that there's constantly violence in these settings. There's a lot of small things that go on that never get reported. I knew someone where I was that -- oh, go ahead.

PHILLIP: Yes, no, that I'm just responding to what you're saying. I mean, it sounds like an incredibly unpredictable environment, which is part of the reason why you got a lot of -- probably a lot of consulting clients for this particular type of work.

Eric Singleton, thank you very much for giving us all of that, I appreciate it.

SINGLETON: Hey, thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, after his bloodbath remarks, Trump tonight is doubling down on the inflammatory rhetoric. He says the Jews who support Democrats hate Israel and their religion. I'll discuss with a rabbi.

Plus, an Arizona lawmaker gives an emotional speech on the floor, revealing that she plans to get an abortion in a state that bans them after 15 weeks. She will join me live.

This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: Another day, another inflammatory Trump comment. This time, the former president is once again actually attacking Jews who vote for Democrats. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do the Democrats hate Bibi Netanyahu?

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I actually think they hate Israel.


TRUMP: I don't think they hate -- I think they hate Israel, and the Democrat Party hates Israel.

Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed.


PHILLIP: The Biden campaign responding to Trump's comment saying in part, quote, the only person who should be ashamed here is Donald Trump. Donald Trump openly demeans Jewish-Americans and reportedly thinks Adolf Hitler did some good things.

For more, I want to bring in Rabbi and Forward Columnist Jay Michaelson. Jay you can't be surprised that Trump would repeat this but why do you think he's doing it? JAY MICHAELSON, FORWARD, COLUMNIST: I feel like he has totally gone off the rails in a certain way and he gets cheers for doing that. I mean, hanging around with Seb Gorka itself would be news, you know, in a normal situation, given his record and of piling around with anti- Semites.

But this was truly a disgusting comment. I meant, it was appalling. 70 percent of American Jews generally vote for the Democratic Party, give or take a few percentage points. So, we're talking over two-thirds of American Jews that Trump says hate Judaism. As a rabbi who sometimes what's Democratic, I do not hate Judaism.

And this kind of smear against an entire community coming at a time when Jews have a lot of reason in this country to feel insecure, and now we're going to be attacked by the presumptive nominee of a major party and saying that we are self-hating is absolutely despicable.

PHILLIP: He also, I mean, believes based on the Abraham Accords and things that he did when he was president that Jews owe it to him to support him.

MICHAELSON: Yes, like a true mafia boss or something like we have to have loyalty because he moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he helped coddle the hard, hard right extremists who have made peace impossible in Israel.

Trump also, let's remember, blamed Israel for the October 7th attacks. He didn't come out with the statement saying how appalling and horrific the massacres of rapes were that Hamas committed on that day. He said, oh, well, Israel made a mistake and he insulted the Israeli general. And he said this would never happen under my watch. It's always about him.

And to see this kind of intense narcissism come at the expense of friends of mine who have children serving in the Israeli military and friends who died on October 7th, it's just I cannot think of a more despicable and disgusting act. And I can't believe that anyone with a conscience could support this man.

PHILLIP: It's not a new thing for the issue of Israel to be intensely political, but when you have Trump, to your point, making these kinds of comments in this kind of environment, what's going on in your community?

You're a rabbi. What are you hearing from your friends, from just people who are kind of looking at the situation and wondering, when is it going to -- when are things going to calm down?

MICHAELSON: Yes. I mean, you know, look, anti-Semitism is way up in the United States. There are many Jews with lots of different opinions. There're some people who bitterly oppose the way that this war is being conducted, who were calling for a ceasefire, a bilateral ceasefire. And there are many people who support this action and are still very understandably traumatized by October 7th.

There's a real breadth of opinion within the Jewish community. And I have friends who are more conservative than I am. I would never, in a million years, insinuate that to vote Republican is in some way a betrayal of Jewish values. That's exactly the kind of baseless hatred that we need to fight.

PHILLIP: Do you think he's trying to distract, like Omarosa said earlier? She said he does this, he says this stuff to just distract from other news.

MICHAELSON: I mean, it's always one he's constantly right, you know, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, like that's the strategy, just like keep firing in all different ways and keep us off balance. But there still has to be some line. You know, there's some argument like should we even cover idiotic comments like this in the media.

But I feel like the stuffs cross so many lines of decency to insult people who are already feeling profoundly insecure and who were already really bitterly divided within the community because there are people with all this whole range of opinions.


And to take this moment after already not really saying anything positive about October 7th, meaning consoling about October 7th, to make this to insult the Jewish community to score political points, it's absolutely -- it's beneath even Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: Well, Jay Michaelson, thank you so much for joining us. I always can count on you for a thoughtful discussion on issues like this. I appreciate it.

MICHAELSON: Thank you.

PHILLIP: An Arizona state senator's emotional speech to her state from the floor of the state senate explaining that she plans to get an abortion. She'll join me live to explain her decision.

Plus, he was a felon pardoned by Donald Trump once accused of giving intelligence to the Russians and now Paul Manafort may be joining the 2024 campaign.



PHILLIP: Tonight, a stunning speech from an Arizona lawmaker on the floor of the State Senate. State Senator Eva Burch, who was also a nurse practitioner -- she explained to her colleagues that she recently found out that she was pregnant. She suffered fertility issues in the past, and this was a wanted pregnancy. But then this happened.


EVA BURCH (D) ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: After numerous ultrasounds and blood draws, we have determined that my pregnancy is once again not progressing and is not viable. And once again, I have scheduled an appointment to terminate my pregnancy.

I don't think people should have to justify their abortions, but I'm choosing to talk about why I made this decision, because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.


PHILLIP: State Senator Eva Burch joins me now. State Senator, thank you very much for joining us. You talk there about going public. You can hear the emotion in your voice. What got you to the point where you wanted to tell the whole world what you had been dealing with very privately?

BURCH: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate this opportunity. And it's true that this is a really sensitive time for me and for my family. But honestly, I think that the decision to talk about it publicly in the middle of this time that is so sensitive is what makes it important and meaningful because it's so relevant to what's happening across the country, yes, but in Arizona specifically.

And I think that when people are able to come forward and tell their stories and share what they're experiencing, that it really humanizes it for people and brings it to the forefront in a more meaningful way. And I think that it helps people to understand and to bring people to the table who maybe normally don't want to have those types of difficult conversations.

And I just want to be able to participate in that work and in that conversation of bringing people to the table to talk about the work that we do in the legislature, how it impacts the people of Arizona, and what we can and should be doing differently.

PHILLIP: Just so that everybody at home understands, in Arizona where you are, abortion is banned after 15 weeks. So, are you still able to get an abortion in your state?

BURCH: Yes, I am within that timeframe right now. As a nurse practitioner in my work in reproductive health care, I have certainly had patients who were past 15 weeks, who I believe and they believe that abortion was the right decision for them.

So, these restrictions are potentially dangerous for patients. And it's very difficult for people to be able to navigate these difficult decisions and to really weigh their risks and the benefits and what they're willing to do and accept and to be able to have these conversations with their family.

And it's difficult enough without having to grapple with this restrictive legislation that we have in Arizona. But for me, I'm in a position where I'm still able to go and have my procedure here in Arizona.

PHILLIP: Yeah. You talk about the fact that when you made these comments earlier, you're still pregnant. You went to an abortion clinic. What was that experience like? Arizona has a lot of rules and regulations, even for people who are within that 15 week window.

BURCH: Yes. And I think that I have a little bit of privilege in that I knew what to expect. I've been through this before. This is not the first time I've had a pregnancy that failed. And as a medical provider, I know what I'm up against. And as a legislator, I know what I'm facing and what I'm about to hear.

I think the more important story, really, is for patients who are coming in for the first time who are not expecting the situation that they're about to walk into. But it's very difficult. It's difficult to have a medical provider tell me that I can consider abortion, I can consider adoption, I can consider parenting, when those are not realistic options for me.

I have no option to parent. I have no option for adoption. This is not a viable pregnancy. But they are required to say things that are absolutely false to patients who walk through the door. And it's really unconscionable and we can and should do better.

PHILLIP: And having had that experience, how soon are you going to be able to have the abortion?


BURCH: I'm going to have the procedure soon. Just for my own safety and the safety of my family. We're not disclosing the exact time, but the abortion procedure is coming soon. I am deliberately trying to move forward with this so that I can move forward with my life. You know, we tried for a very long time to have a baby and we have decided that we are not going to try to do that anymore. And I'm really just ready for what's next.

PHILLIP: Well, I'm honestly, I'm sorry. It's awful to hear that you have to do this essentially in secrecy for your own safety. It's an incredible statement of where we are as a country. But I appreciate you joining us tonight. And thank you for sharing your story with us. State Senator Eva Burch, thank you.

BURCH: Thank you so much. I appreciate the time.

PHILLIP: And next, Elon Musk says that the United States is doomed if there's no red wave in November. Kara Swisher joins me live. Plus, who is Nicole Shanahan? We'll take a look at the potential running mate for RFK Jr. That's next.



PHILLIP: Call it a comeback. A very familiar name from Trump orbit, who helped engineer the former president's rise in 2016. He might be getting a sequel after taking a hiatus in prison. Allow us to reintroduce Paul Manafort. He is the former Trump campaign manager. You see him there side by side with Trump.

And he's reportedly now under consideration to put on Trump's convention. That's an important role. Major conventions aren't cheap, and Trump needs the money. And Trump also likes a well-produced show. He also may play a role in fundraising for the campaign. Manafort is familiar with finance, or at least financial crimes.

He went to jail for tax fraud, hiding foreign bank accounts, and committing bank fraud. Trump later pardoned him. Manafort was convicted by the Mueller team, the first special counsel to investigate Donald Trump in his orbit. The question is, how did Manafort spend that money?

Well, on bling. Lots and lots of bling. Bling like this. This $15,000 ostrich coat. Yes, coats apparently can be made out of ostrich and cost $15,000. He also owned an $18,000 python --python coat. Yes. That. All told, prosecutors said he spent one million dollars on clothes like this suit, not to mention the seven houses, the four cars, the million dollars on oriental rugs.

Manafort has a long past with Republicans, working with Reagan and Bob Dole. He also has a long past with the Russians, and doing things like sharing polling with people closely connected to Putin's intelligence services.

Joining me now is CNN contributor and host of the podcast "On" and "Pivot with Kara Swisher". Kara Swisher herself, she's also the author of "Burn Book". Kara, Paul Manafort --


PHILLIP: He spent his 23 months in prison. He didn't have to do the seven years that he was sentenced to. But now he already might have a huge job. I mean, this is really unprecedented for Trump to basically take a convicted felon and say, come on in.

SWISHER: Well, is it unprecedented? I don't know. He's bringing back his greatest hits. Trump always does things like this. He'll do what he wants. He'll bring back people that were on the outs, like Steve Bannon. He'll throw him out again. He'll bring him back.

And this guy obviously had a big role in raising money. And that's what Trump needs right now, as you know. He's got some money troubles. So, including in the campaign, not just personally. So, he's going to have to find ways to raise money. And this guy is essentially a classic Washington influence peddler.


SWISHER: So, that's what he's looking for, presumably.

PHILLIP: He knows how to raise money and apparently spend quite a lot of money, as well.

SWISHER: Yeah. Who among us, Abby, has not wanted a Python coat?

PHILLIP: That python code looks amazing.

SWISHER: Yeah. PHILLI: So, Kara, you're back on your favorite topic, Elon Musk. He alleged -- he acknowledged that he had an unplanned meeting with Trump just within the last couple of weeks in Palm Beach. But he also said that he is, quote, "leaning away from Trump". On his platform X, he posted this, "There is either a red wave this November or America is doomed."

Imagine four more years of this getting worse.


PHILLIP: Doomed and red wave. Honestly, that -- a lot of this sounds like Trump's rhetoric. But he also sounds --


PHILLIP: -- like somebody who's trying to find his way into getting involved in this campaign.

SWISHER: That's correct. I mean, he's leaning away from Biden, is what you're saying. And he's been leaning away from Biden forever. You know, in the past, he supported Obama. He had told me once he supported Hillary Clinton. But he's leaning far away from Obama and he's trying to use the rhetoric.

Trump has been using bloodbath, red wave. He knows what -- they all know what they're doing when they make these -- use these words. And so he's trying to find a way saying, maybe I'll endorse, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll give money. Maybe I won't.

And when in action and tweets, he's sort of doing the whole Trump playbook. The GOP playbook, I guess, is the Trump playbook. But he's not doing the conservative one. He's certainly not doing that. He's doing, you know, he's mimicking, just like he did with Ron DeSantis --


SWISHER: -- who he said was a winner. And then Vivek Ramaswamy, oh, he was a winner -- not so much a winner. And so, that's what he's doing. He's trying to sort of ingratiate himself in some fashion or show he has some pull, I guess.


I don't know. Who knows?

PHILLIP: He says, he does say that Trump didn't ask him for money, either financial assistance with the legal bills or, I guess, the campaign. But just today, Trump says it's practically impossible for him to post this huge bond --


PHILLIP: -- almost half a billion dollars. Do you feel like Elon Musk is going to get pressed to get in there one way or another? SWISHER: Well, it would be good for Elon Musk, that's certainly true

because, you know, he'll have some more trouble in the Biden administration if there's a second Biden administration around a bunch of things. And so, Trump would be a savior for him in that regard, because he would lay off of him and let him continue to do what he's been doing.

PHILLIP: Would he ever put the money on the line for something like his bond?

SWISHER: He's -- I don't know because he's not a particularly. I've never seen him really give a lot of money or I haven't heard about it. He's not that been that involved. He sort of does side things.


SWISHER: And I think Twitter is his version of this. He overpaid for it by quite a lot of money, by about $30 billion at this point or more. And so, that's the way he's doing the influencing.


SWISHER: There are other people with money. Taylor Swift has a lot of money, I guess.

PHILLIP: She certainly does. She certainly does.

SWISHER: Yeah. A lot of people have money. So, he needs to find it. And I'm not so sure if Elon would do this. It seems pretty obvious. But who knows?

PHILLIP: Kara, on the campaign trail as well, but this has to do with RFK Jr., he said his possible running mate or the reporting is that it's this woman named Nicole Shanahan. She's the financial backer of this five million dollar Super Bowl ad that he had. She's a tech attorney. She was married to a Google co-founder. Lots of folks in Silicon Valley palling around with RFK, Jr. What do you make of this?

SWISHER: They are. Well, she's -- I was so surprised. I mean, this -- the money is coming from Sergey -- from her divorce from Sergey, presumably. She doesn't. She didn't have means before this. And so, I called it the Bank of Sergey.

But, you know, I don't know. They're very attracted to some of these messages. And she's talked about she has a child with autism and she -- she, you know, it's of interest to her. She's she's -- she's it appeals his -- his -- she should doubt the government and you should doubt this appeals to a lot of Silicon Valley people like just asking questions. They've got a sort of, I would say, libertarian bent, but I call it libertarian light.

And so, suspect the government. It's a strain of Silicon Valley that's been around for a while and now it's taken on a more toxic taste for -- from my perspective. But she's not uncommon in the thinking she has. She's completely unqualified. But that's -- that's another story altogether. PHILLIP: That is another story indeed. Kara Fisher, thank you very


SWISHER: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And just ahead, a judge rejecting Donald Trump's demand to ban Stormy Daniels from testifying at the hush money trial. And it comes as she reveals why she feared being killed. Plus, Oprah Winfrey defending her use of weight loss drugs after what she calls decades of shame. Her revelations about that and what was behind her departure from Weight Watchers.



PHILLIP: Tonight, Oprah is hoping to spark a national conversation about a deeply personal topic. The mogul making her return to primetime T.V. with a special about prescription weight loss drugs. Winfrey, who parted ways with Weight Watchers last month, has gone public about using these medications.


UNKNOWN: Obesity is a complex disease. They are the new drugs sparking the weight loss revolution.

UNKNOWN: All of a sudden, I felt like I was freed.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST AND PRODUCER: But there's confusion and controversy. Are the medications safe? Should children take them?

UNKNOWN: She would be 500 pounds at 16.

WINFREY: So, I'm having a conversation with lead experts to answer our questions. These medications are really a game changer.

WINFREY: Let's stop the shaming and blaming.


PHILLIP: Joining me now is former "Ebony" Editor-in-Chief, Kierna Mayo. Also with us, NYU's Dr. Alexandra Sowa. She's a specialist in preventative health, nutrition and obesity medicine. Great to have you both here.

Kierna, this is obviously something Oprah cares a lot about, otherwise, she would not have shown up on our T.V.s, a la "The Oprah Winfrey Show" from back in the day that we remember.


PHILLIP: Weight loss has been a big part of her story. Losing the weight, gaining the weight. She talked about her experience, but not saying all the details. She didn't say which medication she takes. She didn't say how she ended up on them. What do you make of her kind of straddling that line of revealing but keeping something.

MAYO: I think Oprah is so good at being Oprah. I mean, for one, this episode was like, like you said, it was a flashback to "The Oprah Winfrey Show". And she knows how to walk that journalistic line so she can evoke emotion and at the same time restrain some of her personal revelation.

It's interesting because I feel like she did this from a personal core, but at the same time, she was very controlled in how she contained some of what her personal truth is in specific. She allows that to be a universal.

PHILLIP: It is interesting to me because I was curious about, you know, the debate with these medications is are people being prescribed for, quote, unquote, "vanity", although I don't like saying that, or are they being prescribed because of the FDA indication for some of them, which is diabetes?


She talks about obesity as a disease, not as a character flaw. You're very familiar with that. How important is that for you as someone who treats a lot of patients with this?

ALEXANDRA SOWA, SPECIALIST IN PREVENTIVE HEALTH: It's amazing. And I loved the approach she took. She really made an effort to destigmatize these medications and taking willpower out of the conversation. And she said that over and over again in this special.

And as an obesity medicine doctor, I've been using these medications approved for obesity in this class, these GLP-1 medications for 10 years. But it's just recently that people are talking about it. And the fact that Oprah, the person that we associate with weight struggles, is coming forth and saying there is a sea change, there is a revolution with these medications. And I don't want you to take on the shame anymore of carrying excess weight. It's huge. And obesity is a disease.

PHILLIP: In some ways, it sounds like the providers, you and some of the other doctors that she spoke to are in that place. But there's still a debate about who really should be prescribed these medications. I mean, she says she uses it as a tool with exercise and lifestyle changes. Feels, though, like the health care system still treats it as a, you know, a cheat card or something.

SOWA: Oh, I think it's complicated and I think it does depend on who you see, right? And I think that there are a whole host of doctors who are learning about the fact that this is a disease and we should treat it just like hypertension or hypothyroidism, depression. And that we do need to combine it with other lifestyle factors.

The truth, I have a toolkit and medications are one of the things in my toolkit. And just as Oprah was saying, and we still need to, you know, change the way we eat and exercise. And she didn't minimize that. And I think that's probably why she has been so successful. She's doing it all these years, you know. PHILLIP: Yeah.

SOWA: So, it's just one part of the puzzle.

MAYO: Yeah. There is something about, you know, it's not like this is the first time Oprah's talked about weight loss. She's run the gamut. She just turned 70 this year.

MAYO: Amazing.

PHILLIP: She is obviously one of the most famous black women -- women, period, in the entire world. What does this do for how people talk about weight loss, but also women of a certain age? I feel like you don't get this conversation a lot with people who are in their 70s.

MAYO: Oprah is always at the forefront of new ways of thinking about big ideas that touch us all. And ageism as a black woman, like the things that we surmount, that we have to surmount, because they're kind of thrust on us by society, the judgments, the stereotypes, the misunderstanding, the ways in which people look at bodies, particularly black female bodies, but also older bodies, women's bodies. It speaks for you in ways that we don't often mean for it to.

So, for her to be so, pardon the pun, but embodied right now at this time in her life and to be so public, as you were saying, but also, again, in my opinion, able to center herself without centering herself, right? She's still inviting us all to the conversation in a very big way.

PHILLIP: And a big conversation about a lot of different things. One of the people who was part of the conversation was the Weight Watchers CEO, Sima Sistani. And she talked about Weight Watchers now helping their members get access to these medications.

She basically said to her, you know, members, it's not your fault. We didn't realize the biology component of this. But is there a future for Weight Watchers in a world in which these GLP-1 drugs exist and are widely utilized?

SOWA: Absolutely, because it's not a magic wand. It can't just work in isolation. And when you go on these medications, it's not as simple as just getting a prescription. It really does need to be a multidisciplinary approach.

But how many people's doctor's offices have the nutritionist, the trainer, you know, can teach you about food, who have the knowledge about food? And so, we can still embrace the behavioral element changes that Weight Watchers or other programs provide and support the journey of people on these medications.

PHILLIP: Yeah, notably, I mean, she talked about leaving that Weight Watchers board, which was like an earthquake.

MAYO: Yeah.

PHILLIP: But she did it because she wanted to do this from a more journalistic perspective.

MAYO: Yeah. And it was an important move, I think. There's no doubt that there would have been a great deal of criticism because people are still learning. And that's what -- I was with the doctor backstage. And I'm just saying, you know, there's so much that we still don't know as a public, right? And Oprah creating a window for us to kind of educate ourselves about the pieces -- because this can't be a one stop shop.


Like anything in health, when we think about how we live our best lives, to quote Oprah, it's a mind, body, soul thing. We've got to kind of connect all the parts. And I think this is a great opportunity to do that.

PHILLIP: Kierna Mayo, Dr. Alexandra Sowa, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And before we go, tonight, on this day in history in 1995 -- that's all we have time for today. Thank you so much for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.