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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Trump Jury Deliberates For 4.5 Hours, Sends Out Two Notes; Alito Refuses To Recuse From Trump Cases Amid Flag Flap; Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman Weighs In On The Consequences Of President Biden Setting The Red Line Down; Jon Meacham Talks About His New Book "The Call To Serve"; First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Echoes Robert De Niro On Trump Being A Walking Threat; Baseball Player Josh Gibson Holds The Lifetime Batting Average Record With A 360-372 Average. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 22:00   ET



ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But, listen, that can't be all of it. Joe Biden has to be able to do a little bit of everything. And I would say, and you could speak to this better than me, sticking to the tabletop issues, the economy always lists as number one. If he can go back to that, we'll speak to these other concerns. That's how he gets ahead in the polls.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes, we'll see how the voters take it. We've got a few months left, obviously. Joe Lockhart, great to have you back on set, Alyssa Farah Griffin, as well.

Thank you all so much for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow, 9:30 A.M., for special coverage of Trump's trial as the jury will be back in the room.

Right now, CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip starts.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: The jury is deciding Donald Trump's fate and he is invoking Mother Teresa. That's tonight on NewsNight.

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

Tonight, a jury of 12 men and women are considering whether to make Donald Trump the first former president to be convicted of a crime. After receiving instructions from the judge today, they deliberated for more than four hours and then they sent back two notes. You'll hear what those notes were in just a moment, and we'll discuss the significance of each of them.

But, first, you heard the prosecution and the defense making their closing arguments this week. The jury is deliberating over those right now. But now, Donald Trump is making his own closing argument in the court of public opinion. It won't come as a surprise to you that it needs a hell of a lot of fact checking.


REPORTER: Do you have a fair jury?

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, what is very unfair is that I'm not campaigning in this room all day long, from morning to night, in the Biden witch hunt.


PHILLIP: Now, there were many days before and during this trial, and we've outlined them here on this show, that Trump decided not to hit the campaign trail and instead, he wanted to campaign from the court.


TRUMP: Take a look at where the people come from. It's a Biden witch hunt. It's weaponization.


PHILLIP: To be clear, this is a local case with zero evidence that Biden orchestrated these prosecutions.


TRUMP: So, it seems that there are a lot of witnesses, a lot of people that they could have called that they didn't call. Now, they didn't call them obviously because they would have been very bad witnesses for them. But take a look at the list, because of the gag order, I won't go down into individual names.


PHILLIP: Now, this is an educated guess, but let's assume he's talking about his former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, who is right now behind bars. Also, there's Keith Schiller, his former body man.

Now, the prosecution bears the burden of proof here. The defense didn't call these witnesses either, nor did they call Donald Trump himself.


TRUMP: You have a lot of big players, very big players that would have solved their problem or actually would have given us the win. We already have the win. If we had a fair judge, this case would have been over a long time ago. But a lot of key witnesses were not called.


PHILLIP: Again, his defense lawyers chose not to call the very witnesses that he said would exonerate him. It's not the judge ultimately that made that decision anyway. It's the stone-faced lawyer right there standing right beside him.

Now, here's more from Trump earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It's a disgrace, and I mean that Mother Teresa could not beat those charges, but we'll see. We'll see how we do.


PHILLIP: Now it's very unlikely that the saint would be involved in paying off porn stars to keep silent about a one night stand, but it's become a trend with Trump. He likens himself or compares himself to historical figures. There was Jesus, Lincoln, Reagan, Mandela, Elvis, Capone, Churchill, and, of course, who could forget Mona Lisa.

Now, as I mentioned earlier during their deliberations today, the jury, they sent two notes back to the judge with some questions.

We've got Joey Jackson here to explain what they were. Joey?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, Abby, two big notes. Let's talk about what the notes were. Note number one, request for four sections of the testimony to be read back. What did that relate to, Abby? Three things dealing with David Pecker, of course we know, CEO of the National Enquirer, and one dealing with Cohen. Cohen is important to me because -- and everyone, because of the fact that if you're looking for his testimony, it means the jury did not disregard it.

So, what specifically what was about? The trial transcript number one, Abby, the Pecker and Trump phone call. When did that happen? June of 2016. What was the nature of that conversation? You remember Karen McDougal, the Playboy model, buying the rights so that she could be silenced in a story, that was number one.

Let's look at number two. Pecker saying no deal as it relates to the McDougal deal, right, saying it's over.


And you can look at the transcript for yourself with respect to when he said, that is Pecker, I'm backing out of it, going into and speaking with Cohen with respect to what that would look like.

And so what else? We have this whole catch and kill theme. Now, why is this significant, Abby? It's significant if you remember the prosecutor's argument, the prosecution really highlighted this. Highlighted what? You see it right there, this August of 2015 meeting, where, Trump Tower. Involving who? You see the people there. What did Michael Cohen have to say with respect to what happened in that meeting? What did David Pecker have to say that happened in the meeting? We know that Trump was a part of the meeting. We also know Hope Hicks heard her testify. She was in and out of the meeting. And so that related to that, what did they do?

Now, juror note number two, request to reread the jury instructions relating to how they figure out this case. Remember, Abby, that the jury is the finder of fact, but they need the law with respect to what to apply it to the instructions themselves, some 55 pages, not clear as to whether or not the jurors want specific sections relating to the charges that they'll be deliberating on or whether they want the totality of that hour-long with regard to the jury instructions read back to them. We'll get more clarity on that tomorrow, but that relates to the notes that we saw today.

PHILLIP: All right. Joey Jackson, stand by for us. I'm joined now by Anna Bauer, court correspondent for Lawfare, also with us, CNN Legal Analyst Michael Moore. He's a former U. S. attorney and criminal defense attorney. Mercedes Colwin is also with us.

This is the moment for the tea leaves, right? The jury is --


PHILLIP: The crystal ball. I want to know what this all means.

So, when you see that they come back and they want these very specific sections being read, but they're kind of consistent because they all sort of delve into the David Pecker of it all. What did your tea leaves tell you about what they might have been looking for?

MOORE: Well, and I'm glad to be with you. You know, I never put too much stock in jury questions. You know, they're interesting to hear, but you know, if you're going to follow them, then you just need to go buy lottery tickets because you'll have about as much luck. So, trying to figure out what they're doing.

One thing that I thought was interesting was that they asked these questions about testimony around the same time they asked for the charges. That tells me that they're not necessarily settled one way or another. If they already were comfortable in the exact thing they needed to find or the piece of testimony they needed or how to treat Michael Cohen or how to treat the corroboration, it may not have needed the charges.

So, now we see that they're probably comparing what Pecker said versus what you said. Cohen said, and does it corroborate, because you remember the judge told him you can't convict based just on what Michael Cohen said. He's part of this.

So, I think they're looking for those things. Maybe they're trying to discount Cohen or they're trying to corroborate them. But I think the charges, the fact that they're asking for the charges tells us that there may be -- they're still trying to figure out exactly how to marry these two things together, the conflicts, and then the other testimony.

PHILLIP: Yes. Well, that would be a huge deal because that is that the crux of the case, you have to marry the two together. What did you see, Mercedes?

MERCEDES COLWIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So, as a defense attorney, looking at those questions that came out, I would feel a little sick to my stomach, because I'm thinking to myself, wait, I gave you -- so you remember Todd Blanche gave ten reasons to exonerate Donald Trump. None of those -- it seems that those were cast aside. And then the focus was, was there ever this agreement between these individuals that these payments to Stormy Daniels were because of a campaign issue, because of Donald Trump's campaign? And they zeroed in on that, that meeting, 2015, about this whole agreement, whether to do the catch and kill. That's going to be so critical. That's one of the reasons I'm sure that the defense attorney was feeling a little uncomfortable about some of those read-backs.

PHILLIP: So, Anna, you've been in court all -- This whole time, really. And you were there today when all of this was unfolding. One of the interesting things about how this plays out, there's a buzzer that goes off when they have something to say, and you don't know if it's going to be, we have a verdict, or if it's going to be what it was today.

So, there are some outstanding questions that remain, even from the jury's questions. Will they get the whole jury instructions reread to them? How are they going to sort some of those things out?

ANNA BOWER, COURTS CORRESPONDENT, LAWFARE: Right. So we will learn more about that tomorrow. We will learn if the jury will have all of those instructions read back to them. They get to tell the judge what they want. That is what Justice Merchan told them today. He said, you can tell me whenever you come in tomorrow. Think about it a little bit.

But then we also have this other issue of how much of the testimony that they requested will actually be reread to them. Justice Merchan indicated today that it will take about half an hour to reread that testimony, because keep in mind, they do have a laptop that has all of the exhibits that were introduced into evidence, things like phone records, text messages, those things. So, they can examine that. But if they want to have testimony reread to them, it has to actually be, you know, read aloud.


So, that we brought in tomorrow, at some point, the parties were working out this afternoon exactly how much of that testimony to read, they were conferring having a few disagreements, I think over it.

PHILLIP: Can they object to some of the testimony being reread, even though it's already in evidence?

COLWIN: They can definitely. So, the lawyers are working out how much of this testimony is going to come in and there's lots of fighting about that. You want context. You want it to be fully explained to that jury. Otherwise you're just going to be cherry-picking things, which are going to be problematic.

PHILLIP: It is interesting that they don't even get access to these so-called transcripts, but you were explaining to me earlier why that is.

MOORE: Well, it takes the court reporter a certain amount of time to make sure the transcript is accurate, and it's fully complete. And they need a certified copy. So, if you tried to give sort of a real- time copy or an immediate copy after the trial, that can pose a problem because it may, in fact, have errors in it. You may see something that should be a no that's recorded just in error that's recorded as a yes. And so that's a problem if they're going to then rely on that.

PHILLIP: A source of more fighting between the lawyers. We still have Joey with us because, Joey, the right wing media is saying that in those jury instructions, Judge Merchan told the jury that they don't need unanimity to convict on the underlying crime here. Is that true or false?

JACKSON: That would be false. In criminal cases, you need a unanimous verdict and the jury has to make that decision. So, let's go back to the videotape, so to speak. In the deliberations, we know we talked about, Abby, There was that 55-page read today, one hour all over that, right? You see the verdict. You could read it for yourself has to be unanimous. You see what the judge is saying, deliberate. You should do so with a view towards reaching a unanimous verdict. And so by all means, all the jurors have to agree.

Now, let's just explain something. There is this law here, right? It is the New York election law. Now, this New York election law will not read that to you, but it's pretty dense. But there's an explainer as it relates to that, Abby, and as to how this judge and the jury has instructed the jury with respect to making their finding.

And what is the explainer relating to that? This is the explainer. We know about the falsification of business records. What do you need to make that conclusion? In accordance with the jury instructions, you have to have these records. We know there were ledgers, invoices and checks. There has to be some intention with respect to falsification. Your job is not done if you're a juror. If you find that, then, as we know, it's about concealing some other crime.

What is that other crime? Well, you look right here. It relates to a state campaign finance crime. Now, the jury has to reach the conclusion that you did that engage in that violation for unlawful means.

Now, here's where right wing media is going left as it relates to explaining that. All the jury has to conclude, Abby, is that there's unlawful means. There's a number of ways for the jury to get there. What are those ways? The jury can make that decision by saying that there was a federal campaign finance law violation. The jury can also say there was falsification of business records. The jury can also say there was tax fraud. As to those issues, as long as they find unlawful means, ball game over. There's a conviction. Should they not, then, of course, there's an acquittal.

PHILLIP: All right. Joey Jackson, thank you very much. And everyone here, thank you very much as well.

So, how long have other high-profile juries deliberated? We'll examine that. Plus, new drama tonight involving a case that will decide if Donald Trump has absolute immunity but Justice Alito is refusing to recuse himself, and is tripling down on blaming his wife for all of this.

And also breaking news in the war, new signs that Israel is coming very close to crossing President Biden's red line, if they haven't already.

This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: In sickness and in health, to have and to hold, and to fly some flags. Tonight, the Supreme Court justice, Samuel Alito, has a crystal clear defense for staying on cases related to Donald Trump on January 6th, my wife did it.

You'll recall an upside down flag, which at the time was a Stop the Steal symbol, was displayed at their home after the insurrection. Now last year, another provocative flag that the MAGA movement has adopted flew at their beach house. And in an extraordinary letter to the congressional Democrats today, Alito is refusing to recuse himself from cases like Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity.

Here is part of his explanation for that, quote, the two incidents you cite do not meet the conditions for recusal. As I have said publicly, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the flag flying. I was not even aware of the upside down flag until it was called to my attention. Well, it's worth noting he doesn't deny that the upside down flag does represent the insurrection in that case.

And he goes on to say, quote, my wife is a private citizen and she possesses the same First Amendment rights as every other American. She makes her own decisions and I have always respected her right to do so. My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not.

Joining me now, the chief content officer for The Daily Beast, Joanna Coles, along with CNN Anchor and Correspondent Audie Cornish, she's also the host of the podcast, The Assignment.

So, Joanna, this is just such an eyebrow-raising situation, but I think there's, there's maybe the legalities of the ethics around the Supreme Court, and then there's just plain old common sense. Are we to really believe he didn't notice an upside down flag flying outside of his home until someone else pointed it out to him?

JOANNA COLES, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, and, first, who is Mrs. Alito, this mysterious figure that suddenly emerged on the neighborhood block? I think we're seeing a bit of a new season here of the Real Housewives of the Supreme Court, right?


PHILLIP: I do think I've learned quite a lot about Mrs. Alito and her temper and her relationship with her neighbors.

COLES: Apparently she spat on the neighbor's car. But she's actually a rather sort of fascinating woman. You know, her father was an air traffic controller for the Air Force, which may be where she got her passion for flags from, and she was a librarian before she got married.

But we have a wonderful piece, and I wanted to read you a quick line from it. Nell Scovell, we just published a piece by her on the Beast site tonight, and she says, while he has control over every woman's baby-making uterus, he does not have control over his wife's flag- lowering arms, which I thought was just a great expression, actually.

Yes, Mrs. Alito causing some damage on the cul de sac in Virginia.


PHILLIP: That sounds like a lovely -- well, it's not a lovely place, apparently, that cul de sac. But, I mean, Audie, there's nothing that can be done about this at the end of the day. I think we just have to state the obvious, they get to decide whether they break ethics rules and they get to decide whether they recuse themselves, no one else. They're not accountable to anyone else.

CORNISH: Right. And I think over the last couple of years, when there have been ethics questions around taking gifts from billionaires, whether they be vacations or trips, et cetera, this has come up obviously with Justice Clarence Thomas, but also with Alito himself.

And the chief justice tried to do an ethics code, like an ethics document, and you're right, it doesn't have an enforcement mechanism. The final say about whether you recuse is you yourself as a justice. And so it has put -- I think it's put a spotlight on these concerns about ethics without actually any meat on the bones of doing anything about it.

And it is the kind of thing, I think, that has a deleterious effect on the public view of the court in terms of whether it's partisan or not or in what ways. It's the kind of thing where people look at it and think, they just don't care, right, what the public thinks, et cetera.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean -- go ahead, Joanna.

COLES: Well, no. I was going to say, I think this is also a question that couples across America must be asking themselves this evening. Honey, would you lower your flag for me? I mean, it's just astonishing that he said I asked her to lower it and she didn't for several days. And you're like, well, what kind of a marriage is this? How fascinating that she refuses to do it.

PHILLIP: I agree with you. I thought that was, I mean, look, that's maybe every marriage in America, there are disagreements, but at the same time -

CORNISH: Well, it's also a little bit of throwback, like we tend to think that partners have outside influence on their policymaking spouses. I don't know if that's always the case, but it is a very Washington thing to think that, like, well, so and so has their ear. And so what kind of implications does that have?

I think this is so underlined because of Ginni Thomas, right? Who has been known to very much be a part of the conversation about the election and the election lies that the president, the former president was pushing.

So, I think people think, well, that's one strike. And then here's another strike, two justices that where you're questioning their allegiances, so to speak, even as they're supposed to be non-partisan figures.

COLES: I was only going to say that it's also fascinating, because, of course, Justice Alito did the dissenting opinion in the Windsor case for the Defense of Marriage Act. And so we know that he believes that marriage is a permanent spate. So, they can't get divorced over this. I mean, happily, we can rest assured that she may not take the flag down, but this is not going to come between them.

PHILLIP: I mean, not to investigate their marriage or anything, I don't really care, but the issue is that he is a public figure and that a symbol that is outside of his home is actually a reflection of him. And whether you like it or not, that's a fact.

CORNISH: I think the issue is the cases before them. I mean, there's the presidential immunity case, where the former president is challenging.

PHILLIP: So, the appearance is so much more important because of the cases before the court.

CORNISH: And it's not just the presidential immunity case. They also have a case brought by a January 6th rioter who said that he's been overcharged, using a very kind of specific charge about destroying -- being part -- destroying a official proceeding. And so it doesn't affect just Donald Trump. There's also hundreds of people who have been charged who their cases could be affected based on kind of the point of view of the court.

PHILLIP: Well, it also seems like a little bit of a shield for these men. Maybe it's Alito, maybe it's Clarence Thomas, maybe it's Menendez. Everybody's wife is responsible for the --

COLES: Well, he also says that he --

PHILLIP: The things that are happening.

COLES: Right. And Justice Alito also pointed out that their weekend house where the flag had also flown over a period of months.


I believe we sent one of our reporters, Justin Rohrlich, down to check out the beach house in New Jersey. CORNISH: The Appeal to Heaven flag.

COLES: Yes. And I think the American flag upside down. But the justice made it very clear that that house was actually bought with this wife's money and it was in her name.

So, technically, of course, he's living there assuming you're living as man and wife, but the house was actually in her name, which is a sort of interesting technical -- yes.

PHILLIP: That interesting technicality.

CORNISH: Also, everyone is going through this in their neighborhoods around the country, like the Battle of the Signs, the political battles on their Facebook. There's something about this story that strikes a chord because people are going through it in their regular lives.

COLES: Yes, the lawn signs. It's a strange --

PHILLIP: Thankfully, none of us are Supreme Court justices, so the consequences are not --

COLES: I think you'd be a good --

PHILLIP: Consequences are not so great for the rest of us. Joanna Coles, Audie Cornish, great to have both of you here.

And ahead for us, Historian John Meacham will join me on First Lady Jill Biden's provocative framing of this next election.

Plus, new evidence tonight that Israel is advancing inside of Rafah despite President Biden's warning. Democrat Jamaal Bowman joins me live next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, either the U.S. is in denial about Israel's intentions or President Biden's red line is getting blurrier with each passing day of this war.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I made it clear that if they go into Rafah, they haven't gone into Rafah yet, if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem.


PHILLIP: Israel is right now advancing in Rafah. That is a fact. Israeli tanks have been seen in the central part of the city's southern point, which signals a new phase in their offensive down there. This also comes after three different Israeli airstrikes in and around Rafah that have killed dozens of civilians in displacement camps.

The IDF says that its forces are operating in a targeted and precise way. But of course, that means that they are there in Rafah. So, what is the red line now? Here's what Biden told Erin Burnett just a few weeks ago.


BIDEN: I've made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet, they're not going to get our support if, in fact, they go in these population centers.


PHILLIP: And here is what the White House is saying now.


JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONALS SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: We don't want to see a major ground operation. We haven't seen that at this point. We still don't want to see the Israelis, as we say, smash into Rafah with large units over large pieces of territory. We won't support a major ground operation in Rafah. We haven't seen that happen at this point.


PHILLIP: That red line is getting very thin, it seems. Joining me now to discuss this is Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York. Congressman, great to have you here in the studio. You've said that we are way past the red line in Gaza. What do you think are the consequences of Biden setting this red line down? He said they can't go into the population centers. He said that he will stop supplying weapons if that happens. What are the consequences if that red line was there and it doesn't get enforced?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Well, first of all, I just want to send my condolences to the Palestinian people. They have lost so much over the last several months. We condemn the attacks of October 7th, but we also condemn everything that has happened since October 7th. So, I want to start there.

I'm very concerned about how the United States is perceived on the world stage. Are we a moral leader? Are we a diplomatic leader? Are we really a leader for peace and justice and the liberation of all people who are oppressed? And are we focused on keeping everyone safe, not just the Israelis, but the Palestinians, as well? So, I'm very concerned about how we look on the global stage.

And I'm also concerned at Biden getting re-elected. We need the President to be re-elected. We cannot have President Trump get back into the White House. It will be dangerous for all of us. I'm concerned about all of those things.

PHILLIP: Why do you think he hasn't -- President Biden hasn't addressed this latest strike in Rafah that has really touched off a huge firestorm, both here in the United States and around the world?

BOWMAN: Well, he should. He should have day one as soon as it happened. I know he's on the campaign trail, but that's no excuse. I mean, when you look on social media, we are -- U.S. weapons are burning infant children alive. And so, he has to respond.

We cannot send another weapon or another dollar to Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu at this point, because they have been moving forward with what the ICJ has called a plausible genocide. And everyone sees it. My district sees it. The country sees it. And we have to stop it. And we need a permanent ceasefire.

PHILLIP: I want to show you what Nikki Haley, the former Republican presidential candidate, which she wrote on such bombs as we've been discussing. These are bombs that presumptively would be used in Rafah. She signed, finish them on the rocket. What's your response to that?

BOWMAN: Nikki Haley is disgusting. She's a disgusting human being to do that. That's genocidal language. And it's the language that has the American people turning against our government. Why do we continue to support not just the consistent attacks in Gaza, but the forever wars?

There are people in our country, their entire lives, me included, seems like we're constantly at war with someone, spending trillions, killing millions, while people are suffering and starving and dying right here in our country.


That is gross. That is disgusting. And Nikki Haley should be ashamed of herself.

PHILLIP: The Israeli National Security Council said that they expect that this war could go on maybe another seven months. Does it seem to you that some people in Israeli government, maybe Benjamin Netanyahu, are waiting this out, wanting to wait until the American election happens to see if Donald Trump gets re-elected?

BOWMAN: I know Benjamin Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir and others, they want to wipe out the Palestinians. They want them to either leave or they will kill them. I know that's what they want. And it's horrible and horrific and evil to think that they will stay in this war, in this conflict through the end of the year, to do what? How many people in Hamas have you killed? And have you killed the idea that Hamas is built upon?

If we don't make overtures and do real work with policy and resources towards peace and a free Palestine, there's going to be another Hamas being nurtured during this time. You can't kill them off. You can't kill the idea. We need a free Palestine so Hamas then ceases to need to exist. That's what we need.

PHILLIP: I want to ask you about your re-election bid, where this issue is a huge one. You are being targeted by AIPAC, a pro-Israel group. They've said that they are going to spend millions in your district. Do you think you're getting the support that you want from the Democratic Party in this race?

BOWMAN: Yes. So far, yes. And we're going to get a lot more support going forward. You know, AIPAC, unfortunately, has shown itself to be a racist organization, an organization that's supporting the genocide in Gaza right now. And my opponent is partnering with them, even though the majority of their donors are MAGA, racist Republicans, trying to take our voting rights, trying to take reproductive rights, gutting affirmative action, and supporting fascism.

PHILLIP: Well, can I ask you, Congressman, I mean, there's AIPAC, which your view of them is what it is. There's also J Street. That's a left-leaning Jewish group.


PHILLIP: They rescinded their endorsement of you because of your statements after October 7th. You know, my question is, putting aside AIPAC, are you in part responsible for alienating your own constituents, many of whom are Jewish, and were very unhappy with how you responded to October 7th?

BOWMAN: Well, my intention is not to alienate anyone. I have to root the way I govern in human rights and our collective humanity. And my fight since I've been in office has to make sure we are keeping the people of Israel safe and we are fighting for a Palestinian state, a so-called two-state solution.

And that's what J Street is fighting for, as well. And when I went to Israel with J Street, I learned about what was happening there on the ground in Israel, in the West Bank, as well as in Gaza. And so, what I learned was we're not making any real strides towards a two-state solution.

PHILLIP: Here's what they said. I mean, they said, when the rhetoric, the framing, and the approach go too far, that is where we are going to hold our line. They're talking about your rhetoric.

BOWMAN: Who is this, J Street?

PHILLIP: This is J Street, when they said that they were taking back their endorsement of you, your rhetoric, framing, and approach. Do you have any regrets about how you talked about this issue, especially in those early days, right after the terror attack on October 7th?

BOWMAN: Well, we condemned the attacks on October 7th immediately. And it wasn't shortly after October 7th that they unendorsed us. It was a couple of months, I think, afterwards. You know, I would like J Street to challenge AIPAC more and not be AIPAC-lite in Congress.

So, when you say they're left-leaning, I smiled, because there are other organizations like If Not Now, Jewish Voices for Peace, and others that are truly left-leaning and truly fighting anti-Semitism in the real way and for a free Palestine.

PHILLIP: So, just to be clear, I mean, some of the things that they're referring to are your use before now, early on, of the term genocide when you're talking about this conflict. They're talking about your doubting that sexual violence was committed by Hamas. Those are some of the examples of the things that people are speaking about when they question how you responded.

BOWMAN: Yeah, we didn't hear that from J Street. And as soon as the U.N. had evidence of sexual violence, we condemned it, we voted to condemn it, and we've been on the right side of that. And so for me, this is about accountability, and this is about a pathway to peace. And if J Street wants to be a part of that, we can work together in the future to be a part of that.

They made their decision now for whatever their reasons were. But in terms of my own accountability, it's about governing from the perspective of our collective humanity and human rights for all people. That's key. And people are going to disagree with that, unfortunately.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman Jamaal Bowman --

BOWMAN: Thank you, so much.

PHILLIP: We appreciate you joining us, as always, in the studio here. And up next for us, another Biden campaign surrogate with a dire warning about the potential of a second Trump term.


This time, it's the First Lady. John Meacham will join me on that next.


PHILLIP: The First Lady tonight is echoing Robert De Niro in what seems to be a renewed campaign slogan for President Biden, that Donald Trump is a walking threat.


JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY: Can you imagine if we put any more Republicans on the Supreme Court?


BIDEN: We will lose all of our rights. So, we're talking about women's rights, gay rights. I mean, we will lose our voting rights.


BIDEN: Voting rights. Yes.

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR AND FILM PRODUCER: That's the tyrant he's telling us he'll be. If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye, that we all take for granted.



PHILLIP: Here with us to discuss this is historian Jon Meacham, his new book, "The Call to Serve", just hit bookshelves. John, we will definitely get to that in just a second, but it's great to have you on the show. We know, President Biden, when he was running in 2020, he didn't shy away from his warning about Trump and democracy, but he had a kind of optimistic view of where the country was headed.

Now, this seems to be actually quite a, you know, a kind of catastrophic view from the first lady. Do you think that there has been a shift here and a shift in the President's view about what Trump means for this country?

JON MEACHAM, AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN: I don't think there's been a shift. And I think that what you see with the campaign, what you see with the President, with what you played at the First Lady, is they're calling them like they see them. And they're taking Trump seriously.

They're taking the former President seriously in what he has said publicly he would like to do in a second term. And I think one of the things that history tells us is that we don't do ourselves any favors by pretending a threat doesn't exist. If you don't confront something, it tends to metastasize.

And so, I think what you have here is a very stark choice before the American people. President Biden's a friend of mine. I help him when I can, so I disclose that. But I'm not a Democrat and I'm not a Republican. I voted for candidates of both parties.

But I believe, fundamentally, that President Biden represents a constitutional consensus where we use politics not as total war, but as a means of trying to reach consensus to solve problems. And I think President Trump, in his own words, is a much more radical figure.

PHILLIP: As you just noted, I mean, you help President Biden write many of his speeches. We're hearing from people around him that he might speak once this trial of Donald Trump is concluded in New York. What would you advise him to say or not say about the conclusion of this trial once a verdict has been reached?

MEACHAM: I think that's -- I haven't been part of any of those conversations. I'm not sure what I would say. I think the verdict obviously matters. It is an unprecedented event. I think the President -- the incumbent President, has done a remarkably good job of letting the rule of law unfold, of letting these trials unfold.

And, you know, we're facing this choice. And there are a lot of folks who wish there were a different choice. But guess what? There's not. This is what will come before the country. And I think I would certainly tell the President that great presidencies are about consistent narratives. They're about stories that move in a coherent way.

And I think the President ran, not least because of Charlottesville, because he saw extremism moving from the fringes closer to the mainstream. He has, I think we have all seen, a kind of lawlessness and extremism led by President Trump to put his own power above the constitutional processes. And it's -- I don't even think that's that controversial.

PHILLIP: And it's, as you pointed out, consistent with what he said before. Jon, I do want to get to your new book. It's called "The Call to Serve". It takes a look at the life of George H.W. Bush during his centennial year. This is a presidency that often gets overlooked. It's one-term President. What should we take away from the images in this book, from the challenges that he faced?

MEACHAM: Yeah. So, George H.W. Bush, his 100th birthday is coming up on June 12th. There's going to be a big event in College Station at his presidential library. President Bush seems remote, but he' actually quite resonant. He's a figure who, the day before yesterday, was someone who was driven by ambition.

But once he was in power, he tended to put the country above himself. And that's a lesson that I think we can't hear enough, that we can't contemplate enough. It's a party. The Republican Party of George Herbert Walker Bush is, to say it's an eclipse is kind of an insult to those things that are in eclipse.


It's just not a tangible thing anymore. The party of George W. Bush isn't. There's this remarkable reaction that has unfolded. And I think that what President Bush Sr. represents is this idea that you don't have to agree with someone on everything to have a coherent political life.

PHILLIP: Yeah, very interesting. The book is called "The Call To Serve", right here from Jon Meacham. John, great to have you here. Thank you very much for joining us on the show.

MEACHAM: Thanks so much.

PHILLIP: And next for us, Justice on the Diamond for black players as baseball goes the distance.



PHILLIP: For decades, baseball historians argued Ty Cobb's 367 batting average would never be broken. And they were wrong. It turns out that they've been wrong for the last 78 years. Josh Gibson actually had the record. He was a star in the Negro Leagues, but his name should have been as famous as Ty Cobb's. It has tragically, though, been obscured in baseball due to historic racism.

But as of today, those statistics of the former Negro League players are in the major league baseball record books.


BOB KENDRICK, PRESIDENT,NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL MUSEUM: Josh Gibson was the greatest baseball player to have put on baseball uniform. He wasn't a good catcher. He was a great catcher. And he is arguably the greatest combination of power and average this game has ever seen.


PHILLIP: Gibson now holds the lifetime batting average record with a 360-372 average. And if you're not a baseball fan, those are video game numbers. Gibson died at the age of 35 just three months before Jackie Robinson broke that color barrier in the majors.

He never got to wear a major league uniform. He never got to play in the World Series with MLB players. But now he and his fellow Negro League players, they get to stand next to them for all time. Back in a moment.