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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Texas On Edge As Police Can Now Arrest And Deport Migrants; Trump Pick Wins Ohio GOP Primary In Test Of Endorsement Power; Speaker To Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Campaigning Against Peers, Knock It Off; Abby Phillip Interviews A January Rioter Who Served Two Months In Prison For Involvement In January 6th Riot; Aaron Taylor Johnson Could Be The Next James Bond. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 22:00   ET



FMR. LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): They hope they're able to put a strong candidate forward so I've got somebody to vote for. I'm like tens of millions of other Americans.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes. Do you think that they'll be able to though? Because it seems like every candidate that they've approached that we know about has said, no, thanks, but no thanks.

DUNCAN: Well, I certainly hope so. I mean, in the few weeks I was around the hoop with these guys, I just was continued to be refreshed by the conversations, meeting after meeting after meeting, talking about real solutions instead of just talking about problems, whether it be donors, supporters, advisers, everybody was circling around.

That's how America is supposed to be solving these problems. And I certainly hope they're able to put out a strong ticket.

COLLINS: Unfortunately, we're running up against the end of the hour. Thank you for coming on to give us that insight.

Thank you all so much for joining us. CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillips starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Who's in charge of America's border? That's tonight on NewsNight.

And good evening, I'm Abby Phillip in Washington tonight.

Confusion and chaos reign supreme over the border. Texas is pitted against the feds. Caught in the middle, the migrants, who can now be deported en masse and at will, on a hunch. This is all happening after the Supreme Court waded directly into the heart of the immigration issue today. They scrambled how things typically work, that immigration policy for the United States is the domain of the federal government. And there are profound constitutional questions that this raises.

But in the meantime, the practical impact is becoming more clear. Scores of people could be rounded up hundreds of miles from the southern border even based on suspicion and suspicion alone. Local officials, sheriffs, could all be deputized to essentially enforce U.S. border policy.

The court's conservative majority brushed aside a last-ditch Biden administration push to stop this new Texas law, SB4, and it now goes into effect, at least temporarily, while litigation winds its way through the lower courts.

Ultimately, this could ricochet across conservative border states. If allowed to stand, it could usher in dramatic, even draconian policies that leave immigration enforcement at the hands of legislators from Austin to Phoenix.

Joining me now, the highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries. Congressman, thank you for staying up for us tonight.

First of all, the Supreme Court delivering this win for Texas and a loss for the Biden administration, what do you think the impact of all of this is going to be?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Good evening, great to be with you. It's a deeply troubling decision from the extreme conservatives on the Supreme Court. It's clear that we have a broken immigration system. We've acknowledged that, and that we need to address the challenges at the border.

We believe that we should address those challenges in a clear-eyed, comprehensive way, in a manner consistent with our values as a nation of immigrants and a nation anchored in the rule of law. We need a strong, secure and humane border.

What we are seeing from many of our Republican colleagues is that they don't want to actually address the issue. They just want to engage in political stunts or try not to solve the issue so they can weaponize the border and immigration issue in November. I think the American people are going to reject that, but what the Supreme Court has done in this particular instance is quite unfortunate.

PHILLIP: As you know, Congress has tried to a degree and failed to get immigration done, even in this Congress. Do you think that the chances of something being revived this year are over?

JEFFRIES: Well, as House Democrats, we've made clear that we are already willing and able to find bipartisan common ground with our Republican colleagues on any issue, including fixing our broken immigration system and addressing the challenges at the border.

President Biden has made clear that he wants to work together to try to find bipartisan solutions to fix the challenges that we have at the border. One of the big challenges, of course, is that many Republicans don't want to address the issue, they want to weaponize the issue politically, that's the height of their responsibility.

But hope springs eternal and let's see what happens over the next few months. PHILLIP: So, not ruling it out there, notably.

I want to turn to the issue of funding the government. Congressional negotiators have finally gotten to a deal to fund the government through the fall. It seems likely that Democrats will have to help the Republican majority in the House get this across the finish line. Are you advising your members to support this compromise?

JEFFRIES: Well, tomorrow morning, we'll meet as a Democratic caucus. We'll hear presentations from the appropriators about the agreement and principle that has been reached.


So, I'm not going to get out ahead of that presentation and the conversation that we'll have as Democrats.

I do think it's fair to say that the agreement that has been reached is consistent with our values as Democrats and that the spending agreement will continue to provide for the health, the safety, the education and the economic well-being of the American people in a manner that is designed to focus on middle class families, low-income families and working families as opposed to the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected.

PHILLIP: So, as we're speaking here tonight, President Biden is out west. He's doing a campaign swing, largely speaking to a lot of Latino voters who are going to be key to this next election.

I know, I'll just preface this by saying you're probably going to say that polling is all over the place in this campaign. We know it's early. But I want to show you this New York Times/Siena College poll that found that both Black and Hispanic voters say that Donald Trump's policies have helped them more than Joe Biden's policies by pretty wide margins, especially when you look at Hispanic voters.

Is that alarming to you that nothing that the Biden campaign has said or done to this point has brought that at least closer than it is right now in this polling?

JEFFRIES: The Biden administration has an incredible track record of support in making sure that it is working at all times to build an economy from the middle out and the bottom up as opposed to the top down, and to make sure that every single community throughout the United States of America, including the Hispanic community, the African-American community, the Asian-American community, rural communities, the heartland of America, to have an opportunity to robustly pursue the American dream.

I think what will be important over the next few months is that we are aggressively communicating both the accomplishments that have taken place, whether that is rescuing the economy from the once-in-a-century pandemic, the infrastructure investment and jobs act, which is creating millions of good paying jobs in every community fixing our crumbling bridges, roads and tunnels, and ensuring there's clean water in every single community, bringing domestic manufacturing jobs back home to the United States of America.

And, of course, lowering the high price of life-saving prescription drugs, including taking the price of insulin for millions of Americans down to $35 a month. It's going to be incredibly important that we talk about those accomplishments, but not in a manner that is designed to say to the American people reward us for what we have done but trust us, we're going to continue to build upon this progress led by President Biden and deliver real results to make life better for every single community and for everyday Americans.

PHILLIP: I want to play for you on a different topic something that Donald Trump said about Jewish people and your party when it comes to the issue of Israel. 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: What's your reaction to that?

JEFFRIES: Very irresponsible during a time of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish hatred. That is horrific in terms of the levels that we have seen over the last few months. We need so-called leaders like the former president to try to bring people together, not be divisive and utilize dangerous rhetoric.

But, of course, that's what former President Donald Trump specializes in. We've seen it for years. And, unfortunately, there's no reason to believe that he will ever, ever change. That's why I'm looking forward to continued leadership from President Joe Biden, who wants to bring the American people together and move us forward as opposed to dangerously trying to turn back the clock.

PHILLIP: He was there responding to the comments that were made by your colleague in the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, who called for new elections in Israel after the war in Gaza is over. Schumer says he doesn't believe that Netanyahu can continue to serve as prime minister.

Do you agree with him on that, that Netanyahu is not the best person to lead Israel into a future, to lead the region into a peaceful future? [22:10:02]

As I've said, I got every confidence that at the appropriate time. The Israeli people will make the right decision in terms of what's in the best interests of the future of Israel. Right now, we have a situation where Hamas, of course, has to be decisively defeated.

We need to get the hostages out and surge humanitarian assistance in to help out innocent Palestinian civilians who are in harm's way through no fault of their own.

PHILLIP: Was Schumer right to address this issue at all? Netanyahu was pretty upset that he said that a Democratic official in the United States was wading into Israel's domestic policies.

JEFFRIES: Leader Schumer throughout his career has been an incredibly strong supporter of the special relationship between the United States and Israel and I believe he will continue to be moving forward. And it is unfortunate that some of my extreme MAGA Republican colleagues once again are trying to politicize the issue of the relationship between United States and Israel as opposed to leaning in at a time when Israel is in the middle of a war against Hamas.

PHILLIP: All right. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a lot going on on the Hill tonight, hence why you are still over there late this Tuesday night. Thank you for joining us tonight.

JEFFRIES: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And as Republican voters hit the polls tonight, some lawmakers are actively campaigning against their own peers. And Speaker Johnson is telling them, knock it off. One of them will join me live. Republican Matt Gaetz is here in studio.

Plus, time is running out for Donald Trump to meet his bond. And he's now suggesting that he needs to hold a fire sale of his properties. This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: New tonight, primary results are coming in, and even though we know the presidential matchup is set, some big headlines are coming in from down-ballot races that will help decide control of Congress.

CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten joins me from the magic wall to break it all down. Harry, the Trump-backed candidate in Ohio won that Republican Senate primary. He'll face the incumbent, Sherrod Brown, a Democrat. What's that going to look like?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. I mean, look, Abby, there was this whole belief. Maybe this was the Senate primary to watch. Maybe it would be a close race. It wasn't close. Bernie Moreno, of course, was backed by Donald Trump, has now crossed the 50 percent threshold. He has defeated Matt Dolan, who is the more moderate candidate, backed, of course, by the Republican governor there, Mike DeWine.

You can look on your Senate map here. It's pretty much all Moreno cranberry. Only one little county over here, Hardin County, and there's only 27 percent of the vote in there. So, it wouldn't be surprising to me if that, in fact, turns over to cranberry and Moreno actually ends up winning it.

Of course, it shouldn't be a big surprise that you would see a Republican, let's see if we can get there, there we go, oh, hold on, there you go, a Trump-backed candidate winning in a primary. Why is that?

Look historically speaking, Trump primary endorsement win percentage. In 2020 in House, gov and Senate races, 96 percent. In 2022, 89 percent. So, this is well in line with what we generally see that is Trump-backed candidates winning in primaries.

Of course, the real question as we head towards the general election is whether or not Bernie Moreno can win there.

And this I think is a big question because if you go back to 2022, Trump-backed candidates -- Trump-backed Senate candidates lost key races in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire. So, even though Moreno won the night, there's still a bit question going in the general elections against Sherrod Brown, who I would rather Moreno be the candidate than Matt Dolan.

PHILLIP: Yes, this is going to be one of the most watched Senate races in this upcoming cycle.

Harry Enten, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And joining me now is Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, in some of these races, including tonight in the state of Florida, you've got candidates voting, but you have actually backed some candidates who are running against your own colleagues. One example, Illinois, you endorsed the Republican candidate, Darren Bailey, over the sitting Republican there, Mike Bost. Bost was endorsed by Trump. Not good enough for you?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL: )Well, I think I made my endorsement before the president did in that race, and no two people see every question the same way, but I think one thing we're learning from the results tonight is that there is no force more powerful in Republican politics than the endorsement of President Trump, Bernie Marino outperforming all of the polling and other Trump-endorsed candidates doing very well across the board. I think it portends to a real unification of the Republican Party heading into the general election.

PHILLIP: Why are you fighting against your own colleagues? Speaker Johnson has argued that you shouldn't and that not just you specifically, but you and your and other colleagues. GAETZ: Yes. I've had many conversations with Speaker Johnston and he says, Matt, we can't run the plays you want to run because we don't have the players that will back them. And so I'm trying to improve the players. And there are a few circumstances around the country.

I think Brandon Herrera would be an improvement over Tony Gonzales, where if you have a challenger prevail over the incumbent, it not only changes the dynamics in that seat, it changes whole ecosystem in the Republican conference where maybe people are willing to be more bold, more daring, and embrace a lot of the process reforms that I wanted, like single subject spending bills and downward pressure on overall federal spending.


PHILLIP: It does seem that Mike Johnson disagrees with the candidates here. I mean, he seems to think that it's not the best thing to run against people who are already in the Congress. You told my colleague, Manu Raju, at the end of the day, we're not judged by how many Republicans we have in Congress, we're judged on whether or not we save the country. I mean, don't you need a majority in Congress in order to save the country, if that's what you're asking?

GAETZ: Yes, a majority is necessary but not sufficient, right? Because if what we have is a majority of people who, by the dozens, will vote with Democrats for higher spending, for these trillion dollar spending bills with disparate subjects connected to one another, then it becomes hard to distinguish a Republican majority from a Democrat majority.

PHILLIP: But if you have a minority, you don't even get to set the agenda. You're just responding --

GAETZ: Yes. It sort of feels a lot like how things are right now, because if I were setting the agenda, we would be taking these federal agencies one at a time, we wouldn't be mashing them together in a minibus. So, again, I want us to have a majority. I'm not saying that that's not a laudable goal, but it has to be a majority of people willing to fight.

And, look, I admire what the squad did in the Democratic conference. At first, there was like four of them. Now I look over there and everybody wants to be like the squad. So, there's a way a small group of people connected with the base voters in a political party can influence the rest of the legislative body and conference.

PHILLIP: It's interesting that you bring that up, because, I mean, when Nancy Pelosi had a very narrow majority, those very members of the squad, they voted with their party. They didn't throw a big fight every time that there was a spending bill. They were pretty united. Republicans --

GAETZ: Well, they got their way, Abby. Look at what they got.

PHILLIP: Well, Republicans seem to not be able to do that. GAETZ: Yes. But look at what the squad got. They got basically the progressive plan to become the Biden plan on the American rescue plan and a lot of the post-COVID era funding bills. And so they were able to draw their conference closer to their viewpoint.

That's what I'm trying to do. I want the Republican conference to be more America first in its worldview and more focused on downward pressure on spending here at home.

PHILLIP: So, right now, Speaker Johnson has come up with a deal with the White House and with the Senate to fund the government. And this bill is, to put it nicely, being panned by some of your colleagues. Just listen to what some of them have to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing does worse than the other. Look, this country is in trouble. I don't know whether we're going to start facing it.

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): Look, I've been very clear I think that the government should actually secure its borders before we talk to my government funding. That's been my position.


PHILLIP: I know viewers have been paying attention because we've been covering it. We've had you on the show multiple times. It sounds like deja vu. I mean, this is your handpicked speaker. Are you resigned now that this is just the way it's going to work, whether or not the speaker is Kevin McCarthy or Mike Johnson?

GAETZ: I'm always more hopeful for Mike Johnson, but let's remember Kevin McCarthy had a four-seat majority. Mike Johnson's down to a one- seat majority on some days, and so it's a different standard that I think you have to judge them by.

But the answer to this last question is really your first question, when you asked me about challenging incumbents around the country, my colleagues who just spoke there are right in their criticism of this bill, and they're right that the current Republican majority is all too willing to just be the unit party with the Democrats and fund the government in the absence of our requirements to secure the border and to lead to some semblance of balance in the federal budget.

So, yes, just changing the speaker isn't going to do it, necessary but not sufficient. In order to achieve my goals, I'm going to have to have a different group of people in the Congress. That's why I'm trying to get different and better people.

PHILLIP: Are you disappointed in the speaker?

GAETZ: I would have hoped for more, and, frankly, I think he would have as well. When I think about how Mike Johnson campaigned for the job of speaker, he sounded a lot more like I do, right? But upon getting the job, I think he's been drawn into some of the ways of Washington that lead us on a suboptimal path.

I like Mike Johnson. He's a friend. We communicate on an almost daily basis. And I hope to give Mike Johnson a better team so that when he is the speaker in the 119th Congress, we're able to fulfill his conservative policy ambitions.

PHILLIP: I want to ask you about Donald Trump because this week he told the court that he could not get any underwriters to help him pay his more than $400 million bond. If no underwriters are willing to back him on this, why should voters?

GAETZ: Well, because underwriters have to make a financial decision about the New York court system. That's not a bet that voters have to make, right? Voters are making a bet based on their own economic condition, whether or not we live in a safer world.

And I think we're going to be pitching peace and prosperity. Biden is going to be pitching, you know, a lot of danger and unsafe --

PHILLIP: The fact that he's not able to get anyone to help him out here seems to suggest that they don't trust him to be good for this money.


GAETZ: Well, no. I think it means that they're not certain in a successful appeal in the New York legal system. I go ask people for a vote all the time, and I probably wouldn't be bondable at half a billion dollars either, right?

And so, I think, in this case, you've got a weaponized system that, even Kevin O'Leary is out there saying that with Tish James pursuing this civil matter in absence of a real complainant or a business loss, it's making things worse for New York, and it's a real perversion of the law.

PHILLIP: A lot of people disagree with Kevin O'Leary on that one, but I want to ask you this. I mean, a conservative broadcaster, Mark Levin, he wrote this, why are there no Republican multi-billionaires offering to lend President Trump the funds to file his appeal in this outrageous case in New York state, and none of them liquid enough to help or join with the others to help? It's an outrage, he says. Do you agree? Should some of these multi billionaires come and swoop in and bail out Trump?

GAETZ: I don't know. No, this is not something I'm quite familiar with. I think that President Trump has to be able to assemble the assets in order to post the bond, and I suspect that he will. Because if he doesn't, you're going to start to see Tish James foreclose on those assets. And so I'd think you have to have the right mix of collateral and cash. And that already was a challenge for the first bond. And I think --

PHILLIP: But do you think some of these really wealthy people who support former President Trump should be willing to help him here? GAETZ: Well, again, that's not something I'm familiar with. When you speak to me about the life of a multi-billionaire, it's really not really something I have great association with, I don't know what it would ever be like to have that amount of money and what would it be to bet it on the appellate court system in New York.

PHILLIP: Well, one last thing on Trump and his legal woes. Right now, he, as the RNC has said, that they want to pay for his legally bills, his leadership PAC has spent more than $55 million just on legal bills. That's 85 percent of its spending. Are you comfortable with that?

GAETZ: No. I wish he weren't being attacked like this. I mean, Trump is up in your poll.

PHILLIP: But he is. Are you comfortable his leadership PAC using the money that's being raised from ordinary people in a lot of cases to pay his legal bill?

GAETZ: It's a necessity. Your network covers ad nauseam that this money is used for this purpose and yet it continues to be contributed for people who believe that President Trump is under siege.

And so I think that we have to view the fusion of the criminal justice system and this presidential campaign is something that we to combat with every force we have at the RNC and President Trump's campaign and with our own donations.

And, you know, it does make me think like how much further ahead of Biden would we be if we weren't having to fight not only on the political front but on the civil front, on the criminal front and seemingly everywhere else.

PHILLIP: One way to avoid that would be to not get into legal trouble, which Trump seems to be (INAUDIBLE) all the time.

GAETZ: Yes. But these are such novel legal theories that oftentimes are woven together in ways that have never been applied against other people. Look at the Alvin Bragg case that's been -

PHILLIP: Just because nobody has ever done what Trump is alleged to have done doesn't mean that he shouldn't be held accountable for it?

GAETZ: But you see similar conduct not treated the same way.

PHILLIP: I want to move on just quickly because you heard us talking to Leader Jeffries about Trump's comments about Jewish people who vote for Democrats, which is a huge majority of American Jews in this country. Why does he keep saying things like this, questioning the loyalty of American Jewish people just because of who they vote for.

GAETZ: I think he does it so that you'll carry it, right? I think with Trump, he's making an argument about how his policies were better for Israel and he knows if he doesn't so in the most stark terms. That's what -- it's going to have --

PHILLIP: Isn't that dangerous at a time when Jewish people in America are facing really unprecedented levels of threats.

GAETZ: Well, I think the Jewish people facing the more threats right now are the ones in Israel, and they were living better lives when Donald Trump was president and our adversaries, you know, were not on the march against our great ally.

PHILLIP: When it comes to Trump's comments about American Jews, why does he keep saying things like this? It's not the first time, the second time or the third time.

GAETZ: Yes. My sense is that he's saying these things because he wants to draw attention to what he did in the Golan Heights. He wants draw to attention the Abraham Accords, all of those policy reforms. Yes, I don't give the president rhetorical advice. He's far more gifted in that regard than I am.

PHILLIP: So, you are comfortable with him using this kind of rhetoric?

GAETZ: Yes, I'm not I've not given any discomfort by the rhetoric he's used to draw attention to what he did for Israel.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman Matt Gaetz, thank you very much. Good to have you in the studio tonight.

And up next Donald Trump is making January 6th a cornerstone of his campaign, even saluting the rioters at a recent rally. One of the people who was convicted and served some time for January 6th joins me live to respond.



PHILLIP: Tonight, an increasingly clear picture of what Donald Trump believes is the cornerstone of his campaign, the rock on which he is building his MAGA 2024 movement. It's the insurrection. He gave us the evidence at the very start of his Saturday rally in Ohio.


UNKNOWN: Please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6th hostages.

PHILLIP: Saluting the men and women whom he calls hostages, the 500 plus criminals serving prison sentences after being convicted of or admitting to January 6th connected crimes.


PHILLIP: That's the national anthem that you heard there in the background, the song that plays when American athletes win Olympic medals, the song that starts every single sports game. Only, it's hideously transformed into a serenade for the people who attacked the Capitol to break the democracy in service of Donald Trump.

[22:35:00] Trump reserves for convicted criminals what other presidents reserve for service members charged with putting their lives on the line for this country. Trump sees patriotism where there is none.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You see the spirit from the hostages and that's what they are, is hostages. They've been treated terribly, unbelievable patriots and they were unbelievable patriots and are.


PHILLIP: Some Republicans are willing to say what happened that day is unconscionable and that it also applies to what Trump is doing to lionize the perpetrators.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I think it's very unfortunate at a time that there are American hostages being held in Gaza that the president or any other leaders would refer to people that are moving through our justice system as hostages and it's just -- it's just unacceptable.


PHILLIP: This matters. Saturday was not a one-time Trump burst of frustration. At every Trump rally these days you hear that same odious version of the anthem. Trump is trying to remold the J-six narrative right in front of our eyes. Like claymation, morphing actual crimes into political protest and morphing his own alleged crimes into persecution. Rather than keeping arm's length from the 2020 election lies polls show Americans are repulsed by, Trump is cloaking himself in that.


TRUMP: You fight a crooked election and they indict you. They don't indict the guys that made the election crooked.


PHILLIP: Republicans are playing along with this shape shifting. A MAGA contingent in Congress, they're moving forward with reinvestigating the Capitol attack. And those who want in on a Trump second term are literally making sure that the attackers are getting gold plated treatment from Trump.

Kash Patel, telling semaphore of Trump, he's spoken directly to lots of January 6th families. Even talked to a lot of January 6th defendants. Joining me now is Pam Hemphill. On January 6th she was at the Capitol. She served time in prison for her role that day. Pam, thank you for joining us again. What do you make of Trump reportedly, personally taking meetings with convicted insurrectionists? PAM HEMPHILL, SERVED TWO MONTHS IN PRISON FOR INVOLVEMENT IN JANUARY

6TH RIOT: I'm disgusted. And thank you for having me back on again. To be using the word hostages is unbelievable. The real hostages, we know where they are in Gaza. This is just a -- he's just using the J-sixers to have everybody believe that the DOJ is weaponized against him and the J-six defendants. And it's not true.

I don't know if you know this, but I went to see Don, Jr. And I told him I was a J-six defendant. And he didn't even talk to me. He didn't want anything to do with me. So, they're just using the J-six defendants for -- for Trump's using them to make you believe that the government is weaponized against them. And it's not true.

PHILLIP: Do you think Don, Jr. knew who you were? And what did you -- why did you even take the meeting? What did you want to say to him?

HEMPHILL: Well, first I was a little nervous because I thought if he recognized me, he would probably, you know, tell me to leave. But he didn't recognize me. And I'm surprised with that because, you know, his father made a comment about me and that went all over. But no, he didn't recognize me. And what I wanted to do is just find out for myself, do they really care about the J-six defendants?

So, I went up to him and I said, my name's Pam and I'm a J-six defendant. And all he said was, oh, I'm sorry, turns around, starts talking to everybody else. Didn't ask me one question. He was going to be speaking at one o'clock. He didn't invite me. He didn't say anything to me like I was a fly he was trying to get rid of, you know. It really was kind of bothered me because I thought, don't they like the J-six defendants? Aren't they talking about them all the time?

PHILLIP: That's interesting. So, what Trump is doing is essentially taking what you experienced and making people like you, who were arrested after January 6th, who served time, into the heroes of this campaign. What's your reaction to just the visuals of that, seeing people, you know, saluting to a national anthem sung by convicted criminals who were convicted of trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power?


HEMPHILL: Well, you know, when I repeat anything that Trump says, it's like telling you, you know, he's a psychopath and everything he says makes no sense and it's disgusting. However, remember, he didn't pardon them. Like a lot of people say, why didn't he pardon them right away? Because he's using them.

He uses everybody. This is what a narcissist does. He's just using them to cover up his own crimes, to have the whole nation believe that the DOJ is weaponized against him. There's no deep state. There's just the DOJ. And if you break the law, you break the law.

But he's trying to see it to the Republicans, to the mega cult, their cult. He has them convinced that the Democrats want this to be a communist country and he's saving them. Remember what he said, they're coming after me, but they're really coming after you. But I stand in the way. So, he's made himself a savior and he's going to save the J- six defendants. They're all the good guys. Remember when they went there and said, this is our 1776, remember that?


HEMPHIL: Well, that was to help democracy. January 6th was taken away from democracy.

PHILLIP: Do you -- do you believe him when he says he'll pardon the January 6th defendants or do you think that that's all just rhetoric?

HEMPHIL: No, that'll never happen. Never happen. He's too self- centered. He's not thinking about pardoning nobody unless you give him a million dollars, maybe. No, he's not going to pardon him. No.

PHILLIP: All right.

HEMPHIL: Not at all. All right. Pam Hemphill, thank you very much for your time tonight.

HEMPHIL: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And next, big headlines from the campaign trail from President Biden's moves to billionaires and even Melania Trump. I'll discuss with my panel.



PHILLIP: If you want proof that the campaign season is heating up tonight on the campaign trail, President Biden kicking off a multi- state Western swing, including two critical visits to Nevada and Arizona. The message?

Here is what I've done for you lately, especially on the economy. Also new, Republican billionaires are helping Trump raise much needed cash in a fundraiser that includes hedge funds and casino moguls. And finally, Melania Trump will make her return to the trail.

For more, I want to bring in writer and editor of Project Democracy, Amanda Carpenter, along with CNN political commentator Jonah Goldberg. Amanda, this is a pretty busy week for President Biden. Nevada, Arizona. He's headed to Texas, as well. I've noticed that a lot of his supporters are saying, oh, you said that he couldn't do this. He couldn't campaign. This is not Biden in the basement. Do you think that's a fair point?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I think continues to impress about Biden, his ability to stay disciplined and knock out the basic blocking and tackling of campaign work while completely facing a completely unprecedented opponent for the second time.

If you look at the off-the-wall things that Donald Trump continues to throw just into the general climate, whether it comes to his rhetoric at rallies or, you know, his unprecedented legal trouble, Biden doesn't get distracted by that.

And so, I do think there's a lot of angst in the electorate about, is he doing enough? I think he's doing what he needs to do at this point in the campaign and not getting distracted, staying on message and just building those bricks for the general election is all you could ask for.

PHILLIP: Key bricks, Latino voters, black voters. This Western swing is pretty heavily about Latino voters, and he spoke to them directly tonight. Here's why. The race between Trump and Biden in Arizona, 49 percent of registered voters are backing Trump, 45 percent are backing Biden, according to some latest polling.

Among Hispanic registered voters, 49 percent back Biden, 43 percent back Trump closer than the White House would like. I mean, this is used to be a constituency that was double digits for Democrats. And it may not be anymore. I say may because nobody is quite sure what exactly we're seeing here.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. So, the polling is, there's reasons for skepticism about the polling. There's reasons for skepticism about polling in general. I think it's that he's definitely hemorrhaged Hispanic voters.

It used to be basically a two to one advantage. But whether those Hispanic voters are necessarily just saying protest things to pollsters, but aren't necessarily going to actually vote for Trump in the fall, I mean, I do think the bigger worry for Biden is people just not voting at all, right, of just being apathetic.

On this question, I just want to say, like yes, if you use the standard of Biden's harshest critics, Biden's well exceeding his expectations in terms of his energy on the stump and all this kind of stuff. But the kind of things he's doing are kind of normal for a president.

And it reminds me a lot of the standards that people on the anti-Trump side sometimes set for Trump. They say he can't be presidential at all. He can actually be presidential for like 15 minutes.

We're supposed to expect a little bit more. You know, Trump can give a speech for 15 minutes and seem like he's hitting the mark. We're setting expectations for both of these guys really low in weird ways, which is why 70 percent of American people don't want to vote for either of them.

PHILLIP: It's a fair point. Although, I mean, being able to do normal presidential things is literally what people are asking Biden to demonstrate.


PHILLIP: So, him doing that is definitely part of that. Jonah, I do want to get to something that you wrote in an op-ed for the "L.A. Times".


On these Trump bloodbath comments, when he makes comments like that, that speak to two audiences at once, you say that the comments are being exaggerated and that they play into Trump's hands. Do you really think that that's what's going on here, or is that giving him a pass?

GOLDBERG: I think my record of not giving Donald Trump a pass is pretty solid, right? Trump says idiotic things all the time. He encourages violence all the time. My point is, is that if you actually watch the actual clip, he's talking about the auto industry. He's absolutely right when he says that people use the word bloodbath in all sorts of ways.

I went and did Google searches and Nexus Lexus searches, and it's commonly used. A lot of the outlets saying he's inviting violence by using the word bloodbath used the term bloodbath to talk about his coup at the RNC 10 days ago. And my point is, the mainstream media does not have a lot of big storehouse of credibility these days.

And it is to Trump's advantage when they get these kinds of things wrong, because then the Trump people get to lie and say, see, everything they say about us is a lie. Everything they say about us is an exaggeration. Wait five minutes and he'll say something that deliberately deserves outrage.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I think there's too much attention to rhetoric here versus other things.

CARPENTER: I think we disagree. I looked at the same comments. He was talking about it'll be a bloodbath for the country, much bigger than E.V.'s. But I guess we can disagree about that.

What is not debatable is that he did at the top of the speech when he was reading from a script, when he put a scripter and a teleprompter for an announcer to read, where they asked everyone to stand up and salute the January 6th rioters who instigated a real bloodbath at the U.S. Capitol. And so, yes.

GOLDBERG: I don't disagree with that at all. That's perfectly legitimate to be outraged by that.

CARPENTER: Yeah, look. But I actually want to support your point in saying that trying to divvy up, like, what did he mean there? We have to look at the big picture. The whole context of this speech was violence. The whole context of his campaign is retribution, pardon abuse. And by the way, he engaged in a lot of pardon abuse when he was president the first time.

And so, I wish when we had these set pieces that he gives, we could add it up to the bigger picture and explain how that will harm Americans and your constitutional rights. Because when the president licenses violence for people who conduct these things in favor of his political interests, he is not carrying out his do-take-care clause to protect your constitutional rights. He's saying people can violate your rights and engage in violence and overturn your vote. And that's fine. And that hurts everyday Americans who are voting. PHILLIP: You know, I mean, you're both right to a degree, right? And it's a question with Trump always of how much attention to pay toward the things that he says for outrage. His ally Matt Gaetz was just in the studio here saying he calls Jews disloyal because he knows it's going to get attention. They're just saying it out loud. I mean, should the attention now be shifting toward not what Trump is saying, but what he plans to actually do?

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Look, I think he's -- he's talking about 100 percent tariffs on cars is insane. The stuff about, you know, the January 6th hostages is bat guano crazy. I mean, you can go down a long list of things that are legitimately controversial in terms of actual policy that are actually ridiculous. My point is, he offers enough clean hits. Wait for the clean hit and don't try to turn an argument that he gets to spin to his own advantage.

On this Israel thing, look, what he is basically doing is the inverse of the dual loyalty charge, right? The classic anti-Semitic charge is to say that Jews care more about Israel than they care about the United States. Trump is saying these are bad Jews because they don't care more about Israel than they care about the United States, which is equally outrageous.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, the history is so clear of him repeatedly, or I don't know if assuming is the right word, but saying that Jews should be loyal to Israel, not necessarily to the United States.

GOLDBERG: And what he means by that is loyal to me.


GOLDBERG: Right. Because that's the real point.

PHILLIP: Loyal to me, as with all things. Amanda Carpenter, Jonah Goldberg, thank you both very much. And up next, a martini shaken, not stirred. Only seven actors have uttered the famous line on the big screen and now a possible new face for the world's most famous spy.





PHILLIP: The most iconic movie spy of all time may be getting a new face. Aaron Taylor Johnson has reportedly been offered the role of James Bond. That's according to "The Sun". Now, since the debut of James Bond in 1962, we have seen seven actors sport the infamous tuxedo, court the beautiful girl, drive the coolest car and, of course, successfully complete the mission.

Ian Fleming's novel took to the big screens with Sean Connery and Dr. No, the original 007. Connery starred in six Bond films, including his comeback, "Diamonds Are Forever". Now, only one actor has appeared as Bond just once, Australian model George Lazenby, in the 1969 film. Roger Moore played 007 more than any other actor, seven times.


And in the late 80s, he was replaced by Timothy Dalton, who appeared in only two films. Pierce Brosnan brought Bond into the 2000s and starred in the highest grossing Bond version up until that time. And the most recent, Daniel Craig, he announced "No Time To Die" would be his last. Craig's casting in 2006 was met with backlash, fans threatening to boycott because of his blonde hair, blue eyes and hunky looks.

But the tone quickly changed after "Casino Royale" hit theaters and went on to play the iconic spy four more times. And so, if the role does go to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, hopefully he knows how to order a martini, the Bond way, shaken, not stirred. And thank you for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.