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Don Lemon Tonight
Cipollone Reaches Deal To Give Transcribed Interview To January 6 Committee; The Cases Are Swirling Around Trump World; Uvalde Teacher Speaks Out; Dems Frustrated By 'Rudderless' Biden WH After Setbacks; What We Know About The Fatal Police Shooting Of Jayland Walker. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 06, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good to see you both, gentlemen, on these issues in particular.
I want to begin with you, John, because you've been saying for quite some time, every time Pat Cipollone's name has been mentioned, and it has been a lot that his name has been mentioned at these hearings, that he has a moral obligation to appear before this committee. And now, apparently, he will. Tell me why it is so important, you think, to hear from Pat Cipollone.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I think our democracy is at stake here, is what the game is. It is real --it's not a game, though. It's a real, terrifying situation.
He knows what happened. And rather than honor the oath of office that he took to defend and support the Constitution, he all along has been trying to resist testimony and appearing before this committee.
Yes, he had an informal session in April, off the record. I don't even think it was sworn. And he has been now negotiating apparently as to the terms of under which he will testify.
Laura, I don't get it. Here is a guy who has had the benefit of our democracy. He should be up there volunteering information so we can understand what in the world happened down in that White House.
COATES: So why do you think, Nick, that he's not? I mean the idea he could have such access and give firsthand accounts of Trump's efforts to seize the power of the DOJ, as we heard from one hearing to try to corrupt it, the idea of the scheme to try to oust the acting attorney general, but I suspect to the extent that Cipollone is trying to carve out certain areas that he doesn't have to talk about, I'm assuming privilege will be a part of this. And obviously, he can bend the ear of the president.
Will that be enough, you think, to overcome the obligation that John is speaking about and is it valid? NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Not at all. I mean, look, there is no attorney-client privilege for starters. The White House counsel does not represent the president of the United States personally. He's not his personal lawyer. So, there is no personal attorney-client privilege.
The only question is whether or not there is any valid executive privilege in there, and that's pretty unlikely, too. I mean, there may be some instances where Donald Trump came to him and discussed certain things in a normal fashion, asking whether or not certain activity was problematic. It doesn't sound that way based on Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony.
I mean, it seems to me that what Pat Cipollone was doing was basically putting fires out all over the White House every time Donald Trump was stepping over the line. So, none of that would be privileged.
And certainly, I agree with John, he absolutely ought to be up there testifying. And the most important part, actually, of what he has to say relates to matters that Cassidy Hutchinson has already testified to. I mean, I think the most important thing he can do here is basically corroborate and support what she said.
I mean, John can probably appreciate this more than anybody since when he testified, everybody in the republican side of the House was saying, oh, he's not credible, he's not telling the truth, and then low and behold, outcome the Nixon tapes, and sure enough, John was right on the money and couldn't have been more accurate in his testimony.
What is significant about Pat Cipollone is that he can actually corroborate exactly what Cassidy Hutchinson said.
COATES: Well, John, who couldn't trust a face like yours? You kidding with that impeccable tie? Of course, everyone trusts what John Dean has to say on things.
But you do raise a good point about credibility here, of course, and I wonder, do you think the fact that Pat Cipollone -- remember, he was standing up there for the first impeachment trial. He has evaded the opportunity, as you've talked about, to have that moral obligation and obligatory notion to testify. Do you have any concerns that this is the person that is supposed to trust the credibility of other witnesses?
DEAN: I certainly do. I remember that letter of October 2019 that he issued in the defense of the president and belittling the impeachment process and falsely attacking a member of the House, Adam Schiff, one of the managers.
So, you know, he showed himself to be a pure political animal in a tribunal that really is the high of any tribunal in the United States, the Supreme Court itself, with the chief justice presiding. And he made these representations. He disappointed a lot of colleagues as to his legal skills and protecting the office of the president.
So, I'm not sure which side Pat is on other than being on Pat's side to make sure that he doesn't alienate any potential clients in Trump world. I think that is what is going on here. So, it is going to be a very difficult and precarious walk for him through these proceedings.
COATES: Well, look, Nick, I mean, as a prosecutor, I know full well that when you have somebody whose credibility might be questioned in the way of whose side they are on, corroboration is going to be key. That's why the testimony of others who might not have that level of baggage will be important.
But as we mentioned, Cipollone testified informally back in April, and "The New York Times" obtained an email that outlined disagreement that was reached on limitations for that testimony. Here's a part of it that I want to share with you here today.
It says it allowed discussions of a meeting with Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who tried to help Mr. Trump cling to power, Mr. Trump's interactions with John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who drafted a legal strategy for overturning the election, and any interactions with members of Congress and, of course, Mr. Cipollone's recollections of the events of January 6th, but not conversations they or others had with Trump except for that January 3rd meeting with Jeffrey Clark.
Do you expect that these will be the parameters still for Friday's testimony?
AKERMAN: I'm not sure. I mean, I think he is going to try to avoid direct conversations between just him and Donald Trump, and I can't say that necessarily those conversations would be covered by executive privilege. I mean, he will have the right to object to certain questions and the committee would have the right to challenge those in court. I don't think they're going to take the time to do that nor do they have the time to do that, I think, under these circumstances.
But I think for certain, what he said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the fact that he begged her to make sure that Trump didn't go up to the Capitol, that there would be all kinds of imaginable crimes or unimaginable crimes that would be committed if he did, that is going to be critical in terms of basically showing the credibility of Cassidy Hutchinson, and I'm sure that the committee is going to focus in on that very hard.
COATES: Well, we don't have long to wait, do we, in terms of hearing about what may have come out of that on Friday. John, Nick, thank you so much.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
DEAN: Thank you.
COATES: I want to turn now to CNN presidential historian Timothy Naftali. Tim, thank you for being here. You always do a fine job of trying to bring this into context for people to think about it, and a lot of people have been talking about it, waiting for a John Dean moment.
We just had a John Dean conversation just now, but the John Dean moment in this January 6th hearings, one that might fundamentally influence how Americans might understand what truly happened.
Do you think that we've seen something like that yet through Cassidy Hutchinson or Jeffrey Rosen and Donoghue or is that what you think someone like Pat Cipollone sitting where John Dean once sat could bring?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I mean, Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony was a game changer and it was one of those dramatic surprises that shaped the Senate Watergate hearings, and I think has moved this particular congressional investigation in a direction that we haven't seen since the Senate Watergate hearings.
But what made the John Dean moment a John Dean moment was not just simply your previous guest but his position in the White House. The fact that he was the White House counsel and he had actually talked to the president, so he could give firsthand testimony which, as Nick mentioned, was fully corroborated by the tapes, that he could tell us what the president was saying.
Cassidy Hutchinson did a very good job of being very straightforward about what she heard and what she was testifying to that was hearsay. She was around the president but a lot of what she heard was from Mark Meadows and Pat Cipollone.
It's Pat Cipollone and Mark Meadows who are with the president. They're the ones who could give us, if they wanted to, a John Dean moment. My concern is that Pat Cipollone, in the first impeachment, counseled the president to engage in a contempt of Congress.
Pat Cipollone's 2019 letter that was referenced to by John Dean was an outrage. It basically turned on its head the entire history of impeachment. It was a violation of the principle that George Washington set out for what Congress had a right to receive if a president were impeached.
AKERMAN: George Washington, by the way, was under no threat of impeachment, but he said, look, if the House requires something for an impeachment inquiry, we -- I have to give it over.
Pat Cipollone, I don't know where he figured this out, decided to overturn what George Washington and all presidents since, including Richard Nixon, had believed and said, huh, Donald Trump doesn't have to give anything. So, Pat Cipollone's connection to our constitutional history is not a very strong one.
However, it is possible that one of the things that is motivating him to testify under oath is he might be afraid of his own legal jeopardy. Keep in mind that the picture that is developing, the mosaic that the January 6 Committee is forming is a criminal conspiracy, and you're the lawyer, I'm not, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but a conspiracy to use violence to alter our constitutional processes. That is illegal.
And if Pat Cipollone in any way abetted Donald Trump's decision to use a pressure tactic to change Vice President Pence's mind on January 6th, he is liable for prosecution, too.
So, I would think that what is at issue here is that he has changed his mind about his commitment to our Constitution. I'm not ready to say that he is fully on board with that, but I think he may be a little afraid that Cassidy Hutchinson's -- the implication of her testimony not only puts Mark Meadows in legal jeopardy but Pat Cipollone as well.
COATES: Well, the fear is the great motivator. It would not be the first time that it happened. We will certainly see what comes out of it and whether there is any investigation criminally as it relates to those who have already come before or had agreed to go to the January 6 Committee.
Tim Naftali, thank you for that really important context. I appreciate it.
NAFTALI: Thank you, Laura. My pleasure.
COATES: The January 6th investigation isn't really the only one that former President Trump actually faces. We're going to break down where things stand in the other cases that are swirling around Trump world next.
COATES: As the January 6 investigation zeroes in on the Trump White House, several state investigations into Trump world are actually heating up.
A special grand jury in Georgia subpoenaing several of Trump's closest allies in the Fulton County probe into election interference. And then in New York, a judge is holding the Trump Organization's former appraiser in contempt, to comply with subpoenas from the state attorney general who are actually being fined $10,000 a day.
Joining me now to discuss, former federal prosecutors Michael Moore and Renato Mariotti. I'm glad to see both of you here today. A lot of people lose what are the focus on these other investigations as well, the focus around January 6th, Renato, for example, but I'm looking at the state level cases and wondering, do these actually pose a much greater legal threat to former president? What do you think?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I actually, if I was representing Trump, which I thankfully have not, I would actually be more concerned about the Fulton County case.
You know, Merrick Garland seems very cautious to me. He is a man who spent over 20 years as a federal judge. They're very concerned, the Justice Department, about making sure they cross their teeth, they dot their eyes, they want an airtight case. There's always going to be reasons in a case against Trump to, you know, be concerned about chances of victory in the courtroom.
I get the sense that the Fulton County D.A. is very concerned about his conduct, and she is determined to, you know, see this to the end. And so, I -- if I were in their shoes, I would be very, very concerned about Fulton County right now.
COATES: I mean, at least one person we know, Michael, is concerned about Fulton County in the sense that they're going to try to challenge the Fulton County subpoena. I'm talking about Senator Lindsey Graham's attorney, saying this is all about politics. Actually, this is a criminal investigation into election interference.
It's a little bit harder to avoid, I would say, than a congressional subpoena, which that statement years ago would have been odd to think, oh, it's easier to avoid those, but we know what has happened here. Is there some credence to what their lawyers might be saying in terms of Senator Graham not having to comply with these subpoenas?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER FEDEDRAL PROSECUTOR, PARTNER AT MOORE HALL: I'm glad to be with you. I don't really think so. In full disclosure, you recall that I suggested that the state election board investigate Lindsey Graham for the telephone call that he made --
COATES: I remember.
MOORE: -- and the pressure that he put on Raffensperger's back some time ago. So, I do think he's in a unique position. I mean, we've seen now the subpoenas go out to lawyers that are close to the Trump inner circle. This is -- she is starting to maybe narrow the focus a little bit. She is on the periphery at some and now she is getting some of these more pivotal key figures in the investigation.
But Graham is in a unique position and that is because he may himself have some jeopardy. He made a call. Raffensperger publicly stated in some interviews that he felt pressured, that he was taken aback by Graham's call to him suggesting that he not count certain votes or that he kind of manipulate the counting in some way.
And so, that's something that might come into play. So, I think Graham is going to go through the legal wrangling. I'm not surprised by that at all. That seems to be the norm here.
I'm always interested when you have a former president say that he might takes the Fifth, he is guilty, but then everybody around him takes the Fifth.
So, here, Graham will say, look, I should've come forward because of the calls. It prohibits me as a member of Congress from being subject to process. I don't think he'll get totally down the road with that. (INAUDIBLE) has had similar types of arguments made before him for the lieutenant governor in this state as well as for one of the state lawmakers. He sorts of favoring an approach to work through some of the objections, some things that may in fact be protected, but basically open the door for them to talk in detail --
MOORE: -- to the Fulton County special grand jury.
COATES: Well, we'll see. I mean, the idea of subpoenaing somebody who might ultimately be a target, this again is a special grand jury whose job it is --
COATES: -- to issue a report, not a regular grand jury who would eventually ask if applicable to return an indictment.
But, Renato, thinking about the idea of exposure, I mean, you got Trump, Ivanka, Don, Jr., they're all going to have to sit for depositions in the New York A.G. investigation into the Trump Organization this beginning, what, July 15th? What is the legal exposure there?
MARIOTTI: Well, I think there it looks like right now it is a civil case, at least for now. The Manhattan D.A.'s office backed out on what appeared to be criminal charges that the former D.A. was ready to bring.
If I was, you know, navigating that on a defense side, my concern would be that you're really facing war on several fronts. You know, any student in history knows in World War II, for example, (INAUDIBLE) facing war on all these different fronts.
And I really think one of the issues for Trump and his family and associates is that any deposition that they give in the civil case can be used by the Justice Department, by prosecutors in Fulton County or elsewhere, and those words can be used against him.
And so, I really think that the issue that they have now is it's very unlikely that they're not going to have some prosecutors somewhere trying to bring charges, I think, at this point and accordingly, they have to be concerned about what they say.
COATES: Renato, Michael, thank you both. We'll keep you posted for the all the stories and focus on all of them. Thank you so much.
MOORE: Thank you.
MARIOTTI: Thank you.
COATES: You know, next, what may have been a missed opportunity to take out the Uvalde gunman before 19 children and two of their teachers lost their lives. Plus, CNN talks with a surviving teacher from the school who wishes the police had acted sooner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNULFO REYES, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER: I mean, they probably thought that we were all dead or something, but if they would have got in before, some of them probably would have made it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: A damming report on the police response in the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. An assessment by Texas State University finds officers missed several opportunities to stop the gunman before he killed 19 students and two teachers.
The report says, for example, that one officer had a chance to shoot the gunman before he even entered the school. He sought permission to take the shot, but didn't hear back in time. This report is coming as a teacher who survived the shooting says police officers failed to save the victims.
More tonight from CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.
REYES: I started seeing like the sheetrock fly off the walls and stuff like that. And that's when I told my kids, I don't know what it is but let's get under the table.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): Arnie Reyes was the only survivor from classroom 111 at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. After a month in the hospital, 10 surgeries from bullet wounds to his arm and back, he is finally back home and talking about the day that ripped so many lives apart.
REYES: I was getting the kids under the table. I turned around. When I turned around, I saw him, but I just saw, like, the shadow, and that's when I saw the two -- like the fire, and then I ended up on the ground as well.
PROKUPECZ (on camera): And so, you -- you -- you get hit and you go down?
PROKUPECZ (on camera): And what's going on in your mind at that time?
REYES: I'm just thinking and waiting for somebody to come and save us. You always think, you know, something bad is happening that the cops get there so fast. They rush in and they help you, you know. And I was just waiting for that. I was waiting for anybody, anybody to come save us.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): We now know it would be a long and agonizing 74 minutes before police would enter Reyes's classroom to kill the gunman.
REYES: He did a lot of things to make me flinch or react in some way. And that was one of them where he like got -- like, as I'm laying down like either like this or like this, tapping it, but it was splashing on my face.
PROKUPECZ (on camera): The blood?
PROKUPECZ (on camera): Was he trying to see if you were still alive?
REYES: I think so.
PROKUPECZ (on camera): You're lying there for over an hour, right? And no one is coming to help. What do you think of that?
REYES: That they forgot us. I mean, they probably thought that we were all dead or something, but if they would have got in before, some of them probably would have made it.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It's a question many are struggling with, as precious seconds ticked by. Could lives have been saved if officers acted sooner? Nineteen students and two teachers would lose their lives that day. The subject of multiple ongoing investigations, it's been called one of the biggest law enforcement failures in recent memory, officers feet away on the other side of the door.
REYES: A lot of the law enforcement failed because they take that oath to protect. I was in there to protect the kids, but I had no bullet vest or bulletproof vest or any tactical gear that they use, and they had everything.
PROKUPECZ (on camera): When did you realize that the children that were around you were dead, were not going to make it?
REYES: After they shot him and the border patrol said, anybody, get up, let's go, let's go. You know, like try to get the kids out. Nobody moved but me. And then somebody else said, there are children under here. The children were dead under the table. But there was nothing I could do about it. So --
PROKUPECZ: Your children.
PROKUPECZ: Yeah, my children.
COATES: Shimon, it's -- I was thinking the same thing --
PROKUPECZ: He's -- he is a remarkable, remarkable, remarkable man. I mean, to think about everything that he has been through, his will to live, his will to survive, and the good that he's trying to do now. You know, he lives with guilt. He lives with some guilt, the fact that he survived. That is not uncommon but, you know, he says he gets reassurances from people that there is a reason why he's alive and he's hoping to make the best of his life now.
He's not sure he's ever going to be able to go inside a classroom again, and that's too bad because by all accounts, these children really, really, really loved him. And the future is going to be rough for him, and he knows it. But it's just his way, a way of describing what happened to him and just this positive nature that he has despite everything he has been through.
And, of course, Laura, the fact that what is so upsetting and just makes me so angry and makes everyone so angry is the fact that he was laying in the classroom on his stomach for more than an hour while cops were just outside. And as he said, he felt like no one was going to come to help him. And when they finally did, he realized how horrific everything was.
COATES: I mean, just the question of him talking about what the officer said, telling people to get up and realizing he's the only one to move. And every parent across America, Shimon, I don't know if you saw it up in that clip, there is a picture of his -- I'm assuming his classroom named Mr. Reyes, with the crayons --
COATES: -- and the markers coming up. This is outside of every elementary school classroom and the classes we see. And it is just heart-wrenching, what has happened.
And Shimon, I wonder how is the community reacting to the Texas State University report, finding that officers, they missed multiple opportunities to take the gunman out, including even before he even went into the school?
What is their reaction?
PROKUPECZ: Yeah. So, the -- so, I think what is going on here is, again, they're wondering why is information being released in this fashion. This is a report that was done by this group of officials who train. They do training, active shooter training. And so, an investigator sat with them and described everything to them.
And again, we haven't had that level of briefing publicly for the parents, for the public. For the media, we can ask some questions again. But yet, the investigators are finding the time. And it's important work. They need to tell people who are specialists in this and who are professionals and experts in active shooters what went on here. But they still owe it to the families and they still owe it to the public. I don't think anyone is surprised by this information. They know there is a lot more there that we're not being told. And so, they're not surprised. I think the frustration is how they are learning this information.
We're in day 43, I believe, since this happened. Kids are going back to school in just a few weeks in the middle of August, and we still, still have yet to know everything that happened. It's just hard to believe.
COATES: Shimon, thank you for continuing to make sure we don't turn away and it takes a lot. I hope people appreciate and understand you need to be in those rooms to tell those stories. And you were today. You allowed everyone to understand. And these stories have to keep being shared. Thank you. Thank you.
PROKUPECZ: Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Unbelievable. There really are no words when you think about what has transpired.
President Biden is trying to talk up his economic agenda and going after Republicans for opposing it. But now, even some Democrats are questioning if the White House is up to the task of tackling multiple issues from the economy to abortion rights, next.
COATES: President Biden addressing a pro-union crowd in Cleveland today, highlighting his economic agenda, while at the same time slamming Republicans for trying to block, including a legislation that safeguards pension plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who do they think they are? Who do they think you are, for God's sake? And my predecessor had the chance to act, but he didn't have the commitment to you or the courage to stand up to his own party to get things done, dismissing and ignoring the forgotten people he promised to help. Remember how he was going to help working-class folks?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: The president taking clear aim at Republicans, while inside the Democratic Party, there are some rumblings that the Biden ministration seems, well, as one member of Congress calls it, and I quote, "rudderless, aimless, and hopeless."
Let's talk about it with CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers and Scott Jennings, two of my favorite people to speak to about these issues and more. Let me begin with you here, Bakari, because as you heard, President Biden was slamming Republicans for opposing his economic agenda.
I'm wondering what you make of the ability of that message, though, to break through when you've got Democrats controlling obviously slimmer margins but the House, the Senate, and of course the Oval Office? Can it actually gain the traction, I think, he's looking for?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's a better message than just (INAUDIBLE) harder. I mean, we have to go better double (ph) communicating many of the things that we've already done and had some level of success. But at the end of the day, I mean, it's a good point.
I disagree with the fact that you have a sitting United States congressman who doesn't want to put his name on a quote (ph). I think that's terrible. But the fact remains people know who the Republicans are in this country and people know their policies are not good for this country.
But people want to know what Democrats stand for. We have to continue and the president has to continue to beat that drum and be the chief communicator in charge. I'm glad he at least was fighting with that today.
COATES: Speaking of that, Scott, the idea, we are in kind of strange moment in terms of Republicans and Democrats competing to figure out who is going to be able to capitalize on the news that comes out from the Supreme Court, from what is happening, and January 6th, as well.
I mean, January 6th doesn't look very good for Donald Trump, we can all agree, which -- it hasn't really helped the fact that the GOP knows that he's the leader of their party. But Republicans did get these huge wins with the Roe decision, among some others, and they seem to be in an attack mode over the economy.
I wonder, do you think that Republicans are taking advantage of what is happening and some described as the chaos in the administration or the climate overall?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I do think Republicans are in a pretty good position in the midterms because I agree with the person that you quoted, that I don't think Joe Biden has done much about the issues that are at the top of the mind for most voters.
If you look at the Monmouth survey that came out this week, 63% of the people listed as their top issue either inflation, gas prices, paying the bills, groceries.
I mean, two-thirds of the country is on fire about the economy and their own personal economic situation, and at the same time, Joe Biden's approval rating in that survey was in the mid-30s. So, you can see there's a disconnect between how they believe Joe Biden is doing in office and what they think the top priorities are. So, really, it's not rocket science. I don't mean to denigrate my own profession, but it's not rocket science here. I mean, to take advantage of this is to just listen to what the universe is giving you. They're giving you Joe Biden in the mid-30s, they're giving you these economic issues, they're giving you the quality of life issues, they're giving you the circumstances you need to run a very focused race.
And it's not a good to thumb your nose at the universe when it sending such a clear message.
COATES: Bakari, on that point, though, I mean, the universe did allow some of these issues to be inherited, right, by the current administration. Is there more they could be doing outside of what has been inherited and the other issues you're talking about? Are they not doing enough to read the signs?
SELLERS: Clearly, we're not doing enough. People will get mad at me on social media and everything else for being a Democrat and actually having the audacity to not be a member of the cult like the Republican Party has done and be willing and able to criticize the Democratic Party for not doing enough on these particular issues.
But at the end of the day, when November comes around, I mean, it's going to be a choice and it is going to be two choices on the ballot. Either you can vote for Democrats who have to get a clearer message, who have to hone in on the message and focus on issues that Scott just talked about, or you can vote for people like Herschel Walker or Mastriano or the young lady out in Arizona who is just crazy as all hell.
I mean, you got -- you have these two choices, and I think that the choices are extremely clear because even if we can't get our message together and I think we should get people a reason to come out and vote for us, the Republican Party still are the party of January 6th and the party of people who just don't deserve to be in office.
COATES: Scott, I know you have a response to that. What do you make of it?
JENNINGS: Well, look, I mean, don't deserve to be in office? I mean, the American people are speaking loud and clear right now about whether they think Joe Biden deserves to be in office. Heck, Bakari, 70% of Democrats don't even want him to run for reelection. That's not my people, that's your people. That tells something about how -- the direction of this presidency.
COATES: Well --
SELLERS: He's not on the ballot in 2020.
JENNINGS: Yeah, neither -- and neither is -- and neither is Donald Trump, but the economy is.
COATES: Well, I'll tell you what, gentlemen, we'll see what actually ends up being on the ballot, particularly in 2024. A lot of grumblings right now. This conversation won't end today but will have to end right now. You don't have to go home but you got to get off the screen temporarily. Gentlemen, thank you so much.
COATES: We'll be back after a quick break here.
COATES: The fatal police shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker sent the residents of Akron, Ohio to the streets in protest. He was killed on June 27th after he fled what police are saying was an attempted traffic stop.
There was an 18-minute car chase followed by a brief foot chase. And during the car chase, officers told dispatch that a gunshot had been fired from Walker's vehicle.
Police also showed still images taken from traffic cameras that showed -- quote -- "a flash of light" -- unquote -- perhaps a muzzle flash on the driver's side of the car.
And during the foot chase, police say officers believed that Walker was reaching towards his waist. At that point, officers fired on Walker, resulting in more than 60 gunshot wounds. Walker was unarmed at the time of his death, but officers did find a firearm in the vehicle after the shooting.
Today, at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, President Biden pledged that the Department of Justice -- quote -- "will take the appropriate action" -- unquote -- if violations of federal criminal statutes are found.
Joining me now, former NYPD detective Tom Verni. Tom, thank you for joining tonight. I mean, the number of shots, the number of officers, eight officers firing on him, leaving more than 60 wounds, what do you make of that response to a fleeing suspect? For many, we talk about excessive force and excessive use of force, even if initially there was some justification in pursuit. What do you make of that dynamic?
TOM VERNI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Good evening. Thank you for having me on. And quite frankly, my condolences to the Walker family. I -- look, I feel bad for anyone that is killed, you know, in their interaction with a police officer.
And, you know -- but there are cases where, like this one, where you have someone who is not complying with the police, being pursued in a vehicle, shooting, potentially shooting from the vehicle. The vehicle stops. He now still doesn't comply with the police, either stop or put his hands in the air.
They pursue him on foot. And when he -- any movement he makes, the police are going to assume that he has the weapon on him and he's going to turn and use the weapon against them to further his getting away from the police.
COATES: But on that point -- one second, sorry, Tom, I interrupted you, but on that point, we know that there was not a weapon that was found on his person at the scene --
COATES: -- but later one was recovered from the vehicle. Does that change the calculus in the eyes of the officers, knowing that there was no weapon found on him when they shot?
VERNI: Well, again, they -- in pursuing him, there was a shot fired from the vehicle, according to -- I mean, it's caught on camera. It's according to the pursuing police and their statements so far. The facts and evidence seem to corroborate that. There's a gun found in the car. You have to assume that he has the gun on him until you know that he doesn't.
And unfortunately, they don't know he doesn't until, you know, until he's shot multiple times and then they catch up with him.
Now, the amount of shots -- and I totally understand and this is what infuriates people, why were there so many shots fired? Well, first of all, you have eight police officers pursuing him. And if he is turning and making furtive movement, as if he's going to turn and fire at them, they are authorized by the law, by their training, to open fire to stop the threat of them potentially being shot. They've already been shot at once. So, they're not going to take that chance again.
Now, every officer -- some officers are going to fire once or twice. Some might unload the entire magazine. Officers will react differently, you know, in a crisis situation such as that, even though most training dictates, in most cases, for officers to fire two or three times in a volley and if they have the ability to reassess, to reassess and then follow through with more firing if they have to.
COATES: And yet, we see the amount of shots. I mean, really, the investigation will continue. I hope to learn more information. We extend our condolences to the family. All officers have been placed on administrative leave. We will follow the story and gets the bottom of it.
Thank you for watching, everyone, and thank you for your time. Our coverage continues.