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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

New York Times Reports, Another Provocative Flag Displayed At Another Alito Home; Haley, Whose Family And Ethnicity Attacked By Trump, Backs Him; Abby Phillip Talks Politics With Political Analysts; Abby Phillip And Toure Discuss The Top Winners In Apple Music. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 22:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump explaining why he says he didn't testify in his hush money trial after at the beginning, repeatedly saying that he wanted to.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He made rulings that makes it very difficult to testify.

Anything I did in the past, they can bring everything up. And you know what? I've had a great past, but anything.


COLLINS: Closing arguments are on Tuesday. We will see what the jury decides after the six weeks of evidence in this case that they have heard laid out.

Thank you so much for joining us here on The Source. CNN NewsNight starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Once a mistake, twice something more ominous. That's tonight on NewsNight.

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

And tonight, the benefit of the doubt is shrinking for an Associate Supreme Court justice of the United States, Samuel Alito. The New York Times now uncovering four different photos taken on four different dates at the second house owned by the justice, where a second insurrection-sympathizing flag was hoisted, yes, really.

The photographs show an Appeal to Heaven flag that is outside of the Long Beach Island home several times between July and September of 2023. Google Street View even shows the flag. How long do you think the flag would have had to been out there for Google Maps to capture it? And now, this Appeal to Heaven flag, aka the Pine Tree flag, has a long history. It's a Revolutionary War symbol, but it had basically disappeared from public view until someone who sympathized with Trump's attempt to deny the 2020 election results decided to recast it as his own.

Now, that sounds bad, right? If you heard that, you'd probably wonder, how could that happen? Maybe he didn't put it there, but why would he allow someone else to? You might think you deserved an explanation. Well, sorry, you're not getting one.

Alito declined to respond to questions from the Times. And the discovery also makes a previous explanation about the inverted American flag that his wife apparently decided to hoist a little bit more dubious.

The idea that something similar happened two years apart, it defies common sense, that another neighbor and a neighborhood dispute could trigger another impulse to fly a flag tied to the attack on the Capitol, an attempt to tread on the Constitution? You be the judge.

Joining me now, Democratic Congressman from Tennessee Steve Cohen. He just introduced a resolution to censure Justice Alito and demand that he recuse himself from all cases related to the 2020 election and the Capitol insurrection. Congressman, thanks for being here.

Alito, he declined to respond to The New York Times. Do you think that there is any acceptable answer that could justify why that flag was up and flying outside of his second home?

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): There is no acceptable answer. Supreme Court justices, like other members of the judiciary, should be beyond reproach. They should be like Caesar's wife, beyond reproach. Justice Alito has flaunted his disdain for the election laws in our country and for the peaceful transfer of power with the flag he flew of the United States flag upside down at his home January of 2023, and now we see what he's done in his vacation home.

That dog won't hunt. I mean, to put a blame his wife is like saying my dog ate my homework. That's not going to work. That dog won't hunt. He should recuse himself from all cases dealing with the 2020 election and with President Trump and election interference. And there's no question he nor Clarence Thomas should participate in the Supreme Court on any decisions regarding Trump with Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni, involved in the coup attempt. They should not be able to participate because they've got a prejudice and they've shown their prejudice. They're not impartial are determiners of the law.

And they should not allow it. And this is a time for Justice Roberts to show that he cares about the Supreme Court and its reputation. This is the rule of law, and that's what the United States is known for. And it's on Justice Roberts' clock right now to take action and to force them not to participate.

PHILLIP: So, you've got this resolution, but in the House, which is now controlled by Republicans, the House speaker himself, Mike Johnson, he's hung the same flag outside of his office. It's still there. A spokesperson for Johnson told The New York Times that Johnson has long appreciated the rich history of the flag as it was first used by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.


I mean, it seems like this is going to be something that Mike Johnson is going to defend the Supreme Court justice on. Is there any reasonable nature to this flag that you would buy into that the speaker says there is a historical aspect to it?

COHEN: This flag was unknown to basic people for over 100 years and it just came back with one of the insurrectionists flying first. For somebody to say that they've always appreciated the history of the flag and they revere that flag, there's an old saying, you can piss on my leg, but don't tell me it's rain, and he's telling us it's rain and it's not rain.

PHILLIP: Do you think that given these facts, given the composition of the Supreme Court right now, the Democrats should consider, as some have said, that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will soon be 70 years old, should step down so that President Biden can appoint another justice? Do you think that should be on the table?

COHEN: Well, it's something that could be on the table. I think what could be on the table, too, is expanding the Supreme Court. It's obvious these people who are appointed for life don't respect the oath of office. They said to do all things by what they -- any pre- judgment. And to be fair arbiters of the law, they're not doing it.

And Justice Roberts has it on his hands right now. The Supreme Court is as low tide for respect from the American public and the worldwide. And we're known worldwide for saying what do you like most about America, the rule of law. And then Johnson goes up to New York and says, this case against Trump is political, it shouldn't have been brought, and it's no good. But that's not what the speaker of the House should be saying to the world.

You know, Russian television is playing that all the time, and they'll be playing this too. Alito, and all these comments, they should be defending America and the rule of law and not supporting insurrectionists and, and, and showing partiality before they rule and desecrating the Supreme Court, which they've been a member of, and really should resign. But they wouldn't resign because they're there for life and they're going to put it in our faces.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman Steve Cohen, I appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you.

COHEN: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: For more, I want to bring in my panel now, former Lieutenant Governor of New York Betsy McCaughey, former Senior White House Communications Aide Jamal Simmons, co-Host of the Serious Trouble podcast Josh Barro, and CNN Political Analyst Natasha Alford.

Josh, do you think that there's any justification for what Alito has done twice now?

JOSH BARRO, PODCAST CO-HOST, SERIOUS TROUBLE: I mean, you know, I think the combination of the two flags probably does indicate sympathy with at least, you know, the claims about the 2020 election having been stolen. Maybe you could explain one on its own, but both together, I think that's a strong case.

However, you know, it's up to him whether or not to recuse himself from any case. I mean, the congressman says the chief justice should act. The chief justice can't make him recuse himself. Congress can't make him recuse himself. And the whole way our system is designed, in terms of these lifetime appointments for the Supreme Court, is intended exactly to shield the justices from consequences for their opinions.

Now, you know, there's been some scandals about finances and gifts and that sort of thing, and maybe there could be new laws around that, but this sort of thing, you know, if Congress is upset because of because of how Alito feels about the 2020 election or anything else, not only do they not have recourse, they're not really supposed to have recourse. It's a lifetime appointment.

So, you know, I understand why this is upsetting to people, but there isn't really a remedy here.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I think you're right that there is not a remedy. I think what people are upset about is that they think there should be. I do want to play a little bit of what John Bolton said earlier tonight about this flag and this issue.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think it is outrageous, outrageous and unacceptable for people to take a flag from the American Revolution and say that because some January 6th protesters flew it, that it's now unacceptable to fly that flag. And I'd like to hear a Democratic Party politician say that expressly.


PHILLIP: But Lieutenant Governor, he's kind of misrepresenting what's happening here. It's not that they just took the flag and are misrepresenting it. It literally was obscure and not used until somebody who is a January 6th insurrectionist sympathizer brought it back into the limelight.

FMR. LT. GOV. BETSY MCCAUGHEY (R-NY): But the point is that having political opinions does not disqualify a justice. Look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She had very negative opinions about Donald Trump and voiced them, right? And yet she did not recuse herself in Trump versus Mazars or Trump versus Vance, the two 2020 cases in which the high court ruled against Trump both times.

On the other hand, she was an ardent feminist and spoke before women's groups, women's rights groups often, but she did not recuse herself from United States versus Virginia. [22:10:02]

In fact, she wrote the ruling opinion in that case striking down Virginia's law that restricted access to Virginia Military Academy Institute just to men.

So, we have a recent example to show that having political opinions, even about very current issues, does not disqualify a judge. And we can -- contrary to what Congressman Cohen said just a minute ago, I was shocked when he said it, that Supreme Court has demonstrated that it can be very fair in deciding the law, even to Donald Trump. The court has already heard four cases involving Donald Trump and has ruled against Trump in the first three of those four. The fourth, of course, they ruled unanimously in Trump's favor because of the preposterous notion that he was disqualified by the 14th Amendment.

But in the first three cases, he lost and so the justices that have been appointed by Trump, Alito wasn't, of course, he was appointed by Bush, these justices are doing their best to decide what the law is, regardless of their political opinions.

PHILLIP: One of the big distinctions here between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what Justice Alito is dealing with is that, in the case of the cases that are before the court now, that has to do with the very heart of the United States Constitution, the peaceful transfer of power and accountability for flouting that. Those are substantively --

MCCAUGHEY: Well, take a look at the two cases in 2020 regarding Trump. They did too.

PHILLIP: In what way?

MCCAUGHEY: Well, because in the Mazars case --

PHILLIP: Any having to do with the peaceful transfer of power?

MCCAUGHEY: No, but they had to do with presidential power.

PHILLIP: Well, that's not the same thing.

MCCAUGHEY: Well, it is the same thing because in fact, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had expressed as early as 2016 that she did not think Donald Trump should ever be president. She was very outspoken about it. And if we were to take the same standard of recusal and apply it to her, she would have flunked. The fact is the left is trying to jigger and change the standard of recusal.

PHILLIP: So, I mean, what do you make of that argument that, you know, maybe Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have recused herself, even if she should have, does that mean that Alito shouldn't have in this case?

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think January 6th is different. I think January 6th is, it strikes right at the heart of our democracy, whether or not we get to have a country where the people choose their elected leaders. And we had people who tried to deny that from occurring. Listen, something is stinking at the Supremes, right? And we've got to -- Chief Justice Roberts has got to figure out how he can -- I don't know if there's an investigation, I don't know if there's a way to get the justices to sign on to one of these issues of ethics. I know you kind of -- you launched into this a minute ago. The country needs to have confidence in its leadership. And right now, I think the Supreme Court was the last place we thought, maybe these folks might be the ones that could arbitrate this, but it doesn't appear between Thomas and Alito that we can trust them.

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And if I may, I mean, the confidence in the Supreme Court, when you look at polls, it's at historic lows. And it's also very partisan, right? So, more Republicans believe or have faith that the Supreme Court is operating fairly than Democrats do. So, it's not a promising time, right?

And what we expect from people is neutrality. Even if folks don't know the technicalities, even if there are other cases that you can point to, this is sort of the last frontier. So, what the American people are saying is that they don't have faith. They question, and it's things like this that add a fuel to the fire.

BARRO: But the justices are, of course, not neutral. I mean, it's this sort of fiction like that they come in without preconceptions. The court is a political body, which is why there is so much fighting about it in elections for Congress and for the president. And when they make decisions on these important issues, the preconceptions that they bring in are important. That's why there's a difference between a liberal justice and a conservative justice.

ALFORD: And I believe that they're human beings, but in this moment, we're talking about democracy on the line, as Jamal said, January 6th.

BARRO: You can say a lot of Supreme Court decisions are important. Like, you know, you could say that, you know, the abortion issue, because it's such a fundamental right, that you could raise the same standard. You could say this issue is different, and you need a different standard, and you could go down the line with a lot of different things the court does.

I think that's, there's not a viable way to say, you know, well, this opinion they expressed was too explicit, or something. I mean, we're also seeing this all over in state Supreme Courts, where you have liberal justices running explicit campaigns about, you know, I'm going to interpret the state Constitution to enshrine a right to abortion. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. You do see Republicans --

SIMMONS: Arguing about policy outcomes is one thing. Arguing about the process that we arrive at those outcomes is completely different. And the thing that we're supposed to all be bought into is that this process is one we can all trust.

Listen, I was on the Gore campaign. I remember what happened in 2000, right? But at the end of the day, people said, the Supreme Court has spoken, the law of the land stands, we all have to move on. [22:15:00]

MCCAUGHEY: What I find hypocritical is to suggest that we should ask Sonia Sotomayor to step down and replace her. You're all saying that you don't want political justices, and yet you're suggesting just that mechanism.

PHILLIP: All right. Everyone, stand by for us. We've got more breaking news tonight.

Nikki Haley is endorsing Donald Trump, surprise. That's despite her attacks against her ethnicity and her family. The former South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, is standing by to respond to that.

Plus, the dangerous assassination conspiracy that is being pushed by right wing media and lawmakers about the Mar-a-Lago search.

We'll be back in a moment.



NIKKI HALEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I've made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump.


PHILLIP: Tonight, a new reversal from Nikki Haley more than two months after she ended her White House bid.


The former governor now says that she will vote for Donald Trump. She was one of Trump's sharpest critics inside the party, and she wasn't afraid to hold back on the campaign trail.


HALEY: At some point, maybe we should say the reason that America keeps losing is because of Donald Trump.

I feel no need to kiss the ring.

Donald Trump got out there and just threw a temper tantrum.

We lost in 2018. We lost in 2020. We lost in 2022. And Donald Trump's fingerprints were on all of it. How much more losing do we have to do before we realize maybe Donald Trump is the problem? There is no way that the American people are going to vote for a convicted criminal.

It is literally impossible that we will win an election if Donald Trump is the nominee.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: Those feelings, until today, were mutual. Trump repeatedly put his former cabinet official in the crosshairs throughout the primary.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I purposely mix up like a name like Birdbrain, you know, who Birdbrain is, right, Nikki.

Nikki Haley has made an unholy alliance with RINOs, never Trumpers.

She's not right to be president. I know it very well, the wrong thought process.

She's not tough enough. She's not smart enough. And she wasn't respected enough. She cannot do this job.

What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He's gone.


PHILLIP: Now, just to note, Haley's husband was deployed overseas in Africa with the National Guard at the time that Trump made those comments.

Joining me now is former South Carolina Governor and former Republican Congressman Mark Sanford. Mark, great to see you. What do you make about this about-face from Nikki Haley?

FMR. GOV. MARK SANFORD (R-SC): Well, I'd say in some ways it's to be expected. And what I mean by that is ambition kills off a lot of things. And what you have here is somebody obviously wanting to be relevant in 2028, and as they sort of do the math, they figured, well, we've got to abide by that cardinal rule of politics, which is you never go against your base. And if the base right now is with Trump, I'll be there too. But I think it comes with great danger, actually.

PHILLIP: What you're saying is that she's putting her career over the good of the country?

SANFORD: Well, a lot of people can argue what's good for the country and not good for the country. I'll leave that one alone. But I'm saying, yes, she's absolutely putting ambition first and she's sort of doing the mental calculation and the political calculation of what will help me most if I want to run again.

But here I think is the danger, which is, I think she carved out an interesting independent niche that was well respected both from, you know, the Republicans who didn't want to put up with more of Trump, and some independents, and maybe some Democrats as well. And I think she really risks alienating, I mean given how forcefully she came out, talking about Trump being unhinged, not fit to be president of the United States, while others might be endorsing him, I am a truth teller who will call it like it is, you know, you go against it, I don't know where these people are going to go, I don't know that they're necessarily going to follow Nikki in supporting Trump. So, I think it's fought with a fair degree of peril.

PHILLIP: She said that Trump was going to lose, that if he was on the ballot as the Republican nominee, he would lose. And so now for her to come around and say she's going to vote for him anyway, and on top of that, Governor -- I mean, look, she said when she got out of the race that Trump would need to earn the support of her supporters. Well, he didn't do any of that. He has not made one gesture at all to reach her supporters. Did she just essentially throw them under the bus too?

SANFORD: Yes. That's why I said, I don't know what's going to happen to that, that piece of the Republican pie. I mean, you can call it the Cheney faction. You could call it the Nikki faction. But, I mean, there's a strong component of the Republican Party that's locked in against Trump, that says he does not represent the traditional conservative ideals that originally attracted them to the Republican Party.

And they are without a home. They've been without a home for a while. I think they're further without a home based on Nikki's decision to support Trump.

PHILLIP: All right. Mark Sanford, thank you very much for joining us.

SANFORD: Yes, ma'am.

PHILLIP: And next, my panel is back to weigh in on Haley's about-face. Stand by for that.



PHILLIP: We're back with more on tonight's big political story. Nikki Haley endorsing Donald Trump despite, well, everything.

My panel is back with me. Surprise, surprise, right?


ALFORD: Not surprising. I mean, she waited so long to criticize him in the primaries, right? We're watching. It was almost painful the way she tried to avoid upsetting his voters. And it wasn't until the very end when everything was on the line that she finally lobbed these critiques. But the types of critiques that she lobbed were -- I mean, those are serious things that are kind of hard to come back from. Thank God Abby had the clips to show the side by side, you know, the comparison.

So yes, it's, it's not surprising. But what does this mean for, you know, the voters who are in the middle?

PHILLIP: Yes. Well, I mean, arguably, if you listen to what Mark Sanford is saying is that there's really no place for them. And Nikki Haley doing this is the biggest acknowledgement that it's over, more or less. She wants to run for president. She doesn't think that those voters are part of the picture.

MCCAUGHEY: I think it's a huge lost opportunity. Instead of this tepid 11th Hour endorsement when you know they're oil and water, these two, they should have gotten together on the one issue on which they agree and made something out of this moment.


They should have stood together and said, we disagree on much, but we are strong supporters of Israel, and we are calling on the Biden administration to send arms and ammunition to Israel. Do not stab our ally in the back. Then people would have appreciated both of them for standing up for something bigger than just their own political gain.

PHILLIP: That's a very -- that's a very optimistic scenario --

MCCAUGHEY: Really important out there.

PHILLIP: I mean, I feel like Donald Trump is -- he's very embittered about what Nikki Haley has been saying about him. He didn't do anything to reach out to her, not a phone call, not, not a nice tweet, not, not anything.

SIMMONS: No, but look, look at it from Donald Trump's perspective. I mean, he's just thugging it out, right? Like his point is, I'm just going to be here. I'm going to do me. And then everybody will come around and you're going to kiss this ring because that's the way it works.

PHILLIP: And he was right. That's actually what happened.

SIMMONS: And people do. What he knows is that everybody will sooner or later show up over here and kiss the ring. And so, the question now is going to be for everybody else with the red, who likes the people in the red jerseys, like, are they going to go along with Trump just because he's the guy in the red jersey? That's the question of the campaign.

PHILLIP: And the answer is --

BARRO: It's not clear to me what she's doing here strategically, because I mean, you know, you can say, you know, she's doing this to advance her career, but she's not actually advancing her career. She hasn't really exactly kissed the ring. I mean, she says, you know, I'm going to vote for him, but she still says, you know, he really ought to reach out to my supporters --

PHILLIP: Maybe advancing is not the word.

MCCAUGHEY: Josh, you are absolutely right.

PHILLIP: Or maybe it's about preserving --

SIMMONS: Correct. Right.

PHILLIP: -- the possibility of a future political career. SIMMONS: I didn't say he was going to win. Remember that. She didn't

say in her endorsement, I'm going to vote for him, I think he's going to win.

BARRO: A lot of these people delude themselves about, you know, what voters might go for. Chris Christie, I think, genuinely thought that he might win the 2020 primary. So, maybe Nikki Haley believes that she can come back and run a primary in 2028 or 2032. But, you know, she just -- we saw in the primary. She's not where the where the Republican primary electorate is.

She's not going to be in the cabinet. She's not going to be the presidential nominee in the future. I think it's possible, you know, the most Republicans come around and vote for Donald Trump because they agree with him on most policy issues.


BARRO: You know, Nikki Haley wants lower taxes and she agrees with Trump on Israel, as you note. And, you know, she would like to address the budget deficit by paring back the entitlement state. You know, a lot of the agenda that he's going to deliver is much closer to what she wants than -- than what Joe Biden is going to do. And that's true for a lot of these voters, too.

SIMMONS: I disagree.

BARRO: I'm looking through this.

SIMMONS: I'm not sure that they're just voting for him. They come around because they agree with him. I think they come around because they're afraid of his people.

BARRO: But she's not afraid of his people.

SIMMONS: No, no. If you want to run for President and you want to actually be President, all these folks who show up, all the Republican candidates who show up and they and they make nice with Trump because they're afraid of being on the wrong side of the Trump MAGA forces.

PHILLIP: You're talking about the elected folks. It sounds like you're talking about the voters.

BARRO: But even Haley herself, you know, if she was in this, you know, to try to win the nomination, then when she didn't, she was going to do the thing that would advance her career, she would have dropped out weeks earlier than she did. She would have done what Ron DeSantis did. That's sort of what a normal candidate does.

She stayed in long after it was very clear that Trump was going to be the nominee, which at the margin weakens him as a candidate and more time contesting the primary instead of moving on to the general election and she hasn't given him a really full throated endorsement, which suggests to me that, you know, she if she was trying to advance her career in an effective way, she would have done something different. That would have been more pleasing to the Republican voters.

PHILLIP: The year is still young. I mean, we will see what more she does. But I mean, I wonder, Natasha, do you think there's any limit to how much you can flip flop on Trump supporting him, not supporting him in Trump land? It seems like Trump is littered with people who once supported him, didn't and then supported him again. And, you know, whatever. He's water under the bridge.

NATASHA: I think it depends on if he labels you a black sheep or not, because he put the target on her back during the primary. He was targeting her donors. He was saying, anyone who in this moment doesn't, you know, fall in line, you're going to pay for it. So, maybe there's a world in which Trump deems her okay. But I think she knew that she was going, you know, all the way to the end in terms of fighting for her opportunity. And I think she accepted the loss that came with that.

PHILLIP: One of the big questions, Jamal, this kind of goes to what you and Josh were talking about. The voters here, the Republican voters, maybe the 20 percent or so in all those states where Nikki is not even really running anymore and they're still going out and casting a ballot for her.

What do they do? I mean, I think history has shown in past recent elections, if you are a Republican, if you registered that way, the vast majority of them vote for the nominee.

SIMMONS: They do. But there will be some percentage of them who may not. And those are the people the Biden campaign --the Biden campaign will be focused on those folks, right?


Because what they have done is when the campaign still exists, they're like a networked little group. And so, now, you know, there are people who think like you in your state who might not be for Donald Trump. And those folks might be people who are gettable by the Biden voters.

BARRO: "The New York Times" had some interesting data on this, because when they're polling, they know what elections you voted in when you respond to their poll. And not only are those Haley voters who are turning out to say not Trump. Not only are they likely to vote for Biden in the general election, they're very likely to have voted for Biden in the last general election.

PHILLIP: So, they're not really what we think or colloquially, we talk about them as, they're actually really Biden voters.

BARRO: Right. I mean, part of party registration is a lagging indicator when people -- they were conservative and they become more liberal. It takes them some years to change their party registration to give up the idea there. You know, they're like the party left me. I didn't leave the party, et cetera.

I mean, like people may remember that Barack Obama did really badly in the West Virginia primary in 2012. And there was a lot of hay made out of that. Those are people who registered as Democrats 30 years ago, but had become consistent Republican voters.

Now, they are registered Republicans. But at the time, it sort of looked like this weakness. I think similarly, it's not just that those voters are gettable for Biden.

He already has them and it's not enough. He needs to get other voters in order to win. PHILLIP: Yeah, all right, everyone. Great to have you here. Thank you

very much. Next, a fact check on a dangerous lie that is being spread right now by Trump and his allies in Congress and on Fox, of course, about an assassination attempt. Plus, it's got a lot of you talking tonight. Apple Music released a list of the top 100 albums of all time. We'll discuss the controversial rankings and the snubs, ahead.



PHILLIP: The firehose of disinformation in American society is so prevalent. Sadly, it's becoming common practice for us to have to knock it down on a nightly basis. You see, the problem with these outrageous conspiracies is that people actually believe them, especially when they're being pushed by Donald Trump and his echo machine.

Now, when a court filing showed the guidance that the FBI received when they were carrying out a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, Trump and his allies latched on to the, quote, "use of deadly force language. Trump suggested Biden wanted to have him killed. One sitting House member said the FBI planned to assassinate Trump. Another said Biden ordered a hit on Trump.

Now, this is not only nonsense, it's dangerous. Once you get past the idea that the self-declared party of law and order is insisting that the FBI is looking to assassinate a former President, here is the reality. Trump wasn't even there at the time of the search. Something that the FBI and DOJ knew.

It's also standard language in search warrants of these kinds. It reminds agents about the dangers in the field, and it gives them careful instructions to make deadly force the last option in case of a life-threatening confrontation.

Now, while the situations are different, it is worth reminding you about that danger. Four officers were killed while executing a search warrant at a home in Charlottesville last month, in the deadliest day for America's law enforcement in eight years.

Now, if anything, the FBI and DOJ actually made accommodations for Trump. Agents wore unmarked polo shirts. They kept their law enforcement equipment concealed. And, of course, they worked with the Secret Service. Now, despite those facts and the obvious fact that Biden nor the DOJ or the FBI plotted to murder Trump, this is how it was presented on Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Fox News alert. A major bombshell in the Trump documents case.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Now, I've been going over this, and it is quite shocking.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: A shocking new revelation.

WATTERS: Joe Biden sent men with guns to his political opponent's house and turned their bedrooms upside down. That's never happened in the history of the United States.

HANNITY: It is what we've been warning you about. It's the weaponization of justice in America.

JEANINE PIRRO, CO-HOST, "THE FIVE": Maybe they wanted to come in without FBI, without, you know, DOJ, without all of that, identifying so that they could engage in deadly physical force.

PAM BONDI, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SURROGATE: Nothing about this was standard. It was a siege by land, by sea, by air of Mar-a-Lago.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, "FOX AND FRIENDS" CO-HOST: Does that mean that A.G. Garland looked at the search warrant, saw the words shoot and kill, and gave it the rubber stamp?

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST, "MORNINGS WITH MARIA: Now, the FBI and the Democrats keep saying things like Trump is a threat to democracy. But Biden is authorizing deadly force against his political opponent.


PHILLIP: It's just ridiculous. And tonight, Trump is still pushing that lie. Here's what he said when he was asked about it tonight.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, these are vicious people. These are fascists, communists. We are being run. Look, why would anybody allow 17 -- 18 million people into our country?


PHILLIP: Another dangerous, irresponsible lie. Also tonight, finally, there is a debate. We've got it here, and it has nothing to do with politics. The top ten albums of all time, according to a list put out by Apple Music, and everyone apparently has an opinion. So, did your favorite artists make the cut? Well, find out next.




(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: The producers on this show made the correct choice of the Lauryn Hill song to play leading into this. That's "X Factor" from her solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill". And tonight, it is topping a list of best albums that launched a fierce debate.

Apple Music announced the top 100 albums of all time and it's a list that they say was put together with help from music experts, artists, songwriters, and producers. That 1998 album is number one and it's followed by "Thriller", "Abbey Road", "Purple Rain" and Frank Ocean's "Blonde".


On the entire list, the 90s is the decade that gets the most albums represented and hip-hop and rap are the most represented genre. Five artists or groups have two albums on the list. Beyonce is the only woman in that group.

Joining me now is Toure, the host of "The Grio's Tore Show", podcast and the writer at "The Grio", as well, and the perfect person to have this conversation with. What did you make of the top 10? Did they get it right?

TOURE, PODCAST HOST, THE GRIO'S "TOURE SHOW": You know, Abby, I would love to come out here and brick this list, but it's actually a solid list.


TOURE: It's not mine, but I deeply respect what they've done.

PHILLIP: I have questions about, like, 11 through a hundred --

TOURE: Yeah.

PHILLIP: -- like, the top 10.

TOURE: I mean, "Miseducation" -- not my best album of all time, but it is an extraordinary album. It is one of the great albums of its time. It mixes hip-hop and soul. It talks about familial love and romantic love. She made this album on a sort of spiritual tear in that the world thinks Y-Clap is a genius. I'm going to show you that I'm a genius. So, she had this spirit inside her of I'm going to show the world how great I am. And she's absolutely a genius.

PHILLIP: I mean, I think so. I -- maybe you can disagree if it's the number one. It is one of my all-time favorite albums. I could play it from beginning to end any day of the week.

TOURE: For sure.

PHILLIP: And maybe that is the judge of what is a great album. I mean, you had some questions about the choice of Michael Jackson album.

TOURE: Yeah.

PHILLIP: I also have questions about why they only had to choose one. But it's not "Thriller" for you?

TOURE: No, "Thriller" is not Michael Jackson's best album. "Off the Wall" is Michael Jackson's best album.

PHILLIP: I would say it's a tie for me, honestly.

TOURE: I love the depth of the look into what disco is that "Off the Wall" is. "Thriller" is great, but it's like a greatest hits album. I chose this song, this song. Do they fit sonically and cohesively the way "Off the Wall" fits as one sonic document? That's why I love "Off the Wall". It is the greatest disco moment of all time --"Off the Wall".

PHILLIP: One more controversial thing. Some Beyonce fans maybe didn't think "Lemonade" was the right choice. I personally think that is a masterful album. It's so different. It sounded so different from anything else that was out there. Was it --

TOURE: I love "Lemonade" immensely. It is not Beyonce's best album.

PHILLIP: Okay, and it is --

TOURE: And people are like, what are you talking about? "Renaissance" --

PHILLIP: No, no.

TOURE: -- is Beyonce's greatest album. Again, a deep dive into house and disco. It has a sonic and political cohesion that I love.

PHILLIP: No. I totally disagree.

TOURE: I listened to that front to back.

PHILLIP: I think that "Lemonade" because of how it pulls from all -- like you said about, you know, it pulls from all these different genres, and it creates something that is totally different and new sounding.

TOURE: Yeah.

PHILLIP: But what is an album even? I mean, is this really kind of just an obsolete concept? Because right now, people are just putting out E.P.s. They're streaming individual songs. A lot of people don't even know that songs are on a broader album.

TOURE: You know, a lot of times artists make music without being in the same room as the producer or the other person who's on the record with them. And that sort of lack of like bringing it together is part of what distinguishes us from making an album and making a group of songs. And most of the time, artists are making a group of songs. An album, it all fits together. It tells a story.


TOURE: Like a novel tells a story as opposed to a collection of short stories, which doesn't usually cohere in the same way. So, that when we see "Off the Wall", right, or "Renaissance", it is telling a story. It makes sense sonically and politically from beginning to end. It tells you something about who the artist is. A collection of songs doesn't quite get me there the same way.

PHILLIP: Yeah, and I think it is so hard to do that, to create. Like I said, I mean, when I look for a great album, I look for an album that I know, skips. I'm going to listen to the whole thing, and that is vanishingly rare.


PHILLIP: I would argue some of the albums on this list are not on there. But anyway, hang on a second. We have a lot more to get to you about right after this short break.



PHILLIP: We're back with Toure talking about Apple's top 100 albums. We've got a few things to get off our chest, The Snubs. You have a list of things that you think were not true.

TOURE: I don't want to say Snubs because I love this. I do like and respect this list. But there are some albums that I would argue for if I was in the room. Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" is just an extraordinary sonic document.

PHILLIP: It should be higher up on the list.

TOURE: It should be in the top 10. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy", Kanye -- I hate to give Kanye flowers at this time, but it's an unbelievable album. Radiohead's "Kid A" is extraordinary. Also, "OK Computer", D'Angelo's "Voodoo".

Prince's "Sign of the Times" is such an incredible achievement. It's so beautiful. It's so much. I think about "Elephant" by the White Stripes. "Graceland' by Paul Simon. And 'De La Soul Is Dead" -- it's this extraordinary conversation about the band itself and where they are and what it needs to be, you know, a suburban black person and a nerdier black person and --

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, there were some interesting choices about where things were on the list and then also things that weren't on the list. There were whole artists who were not represented. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, which was hugely controversial. But we're talking about albums.


TOURE: These are two of the great singers of the modern era without question.

PHILLIP: I know.

TOURE: Did they make great songs? Absolutely. Great performances for sure. Did they make great albums?

PHILLIP: I know.


I mean, I went back and I was like, I love "Butterfly". I love that album. But, you know, would I listen to it top to bottom? Maybe not, but she had some mega hits.

TOURE: I mean, you know, it's nothing against Mariah and Whitney. We revere them. But this is steep competition. We're talking about "Songs of the Key of Life" and "Back to Black" and "Nevermind". I mean, these are extraordinary albums.

PHILLIP: Bodies of work that are essentially what they're saying here, as close to perfect as you can get, given that we all disagree about music. Thank you so much for being here.

TOURE: Thank you.

PHILLIP: It's great to have you. And thank you for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.