Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

AG Garland Names Special Counsel to Oversee Trump Probes; Trump: Special Council "Appalling & "Horrendous Abuse of Power"; Incoming GOP Chair Says House Probe into Trump's Mar-a-Lago Documents Will Not be a Priority; More Snow Expected Overnight Across Western New York; WH Begins Notifying Approved Student Loan Relief Applicants as Program Remains Tied Up in Courts; Migrants Crossing Border as Rule Used to Expel Them is Blocked; U.S. Pushes Ahead with Hypersonic Weapons after Test Failures. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 20:00   ET




DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: As for her continued recovery --

GABBY GIFFORDS, (D), FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN FROM ARIZONA: I'm optimistic. It will be a long, hard haul, but I'm optimistic.

NARULA (on camera): Is your recovery a process of discovering a new Gabby Giffords or a fight to reclaim the old Gabby Giffords?

GIFFORDS: The new one. Better, stronger, tougher.

NARULA (voice-over): Dr. Tara Narula, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Be sure to tune in. The all-new CNN film "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN" premieres tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., only here on CNN.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in the long series of witch-hunts.

GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY: I think what's driving this as much as anything is the fact they have a very, very strong case in the Mar-a- Lago documents investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a cautious move intended to ensure there's an independent person in charge of the investigations. Trump really should be pleased in the sense that it's not going to be a political decision.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: The future of Twitter is uncertain after a mass exodus of staffers has depleted the company of key personnel really needed to run the social media Web site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elon Musk has a history of being an extremely demanding boss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elon Musk is grasping for straws trying to find anyone in the building that can help him move the company forward.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: It's a little deep. Oh, my god. This is crazy. Almost there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 45 to 52 inches of snow falling very fast. We're expecting another 10 to 12 inches of snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make sure that you're not the reason why ambulances or fire apparatus or the plows can't get through. Stay off the roads.


KEILAR: Live from Washington, I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Pamela Brown. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It was a decision prompted by, quote, "extraordinary circumstances." That is how Attorney General Merrick Garland explains the appointment of special counsel, Jack Smith.

Smith is a former war crimes prosecutor, and he is a registered Independent.

He will now oversee two criminal probes involving former President Donald Trump. One investigating Trump's actions surrounding the January 6th attack, another looking into the sensitive government documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

Garland said the move was necessary now that Trump has announced he's running for president again. And that President Biden has expressed a stated intention to run, as well.

No surprise the former president was irate, and he dusted off some of his favorite buzzwords.


TRUMP: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in a long series of witch-hunts.

They want to do bad things to the greatest movement in the history of our country, but in particular, bad things to me.

This is a rigged deal just as the 2020 election was rigged. And we can't let them get away with it.

The House Republicans announced they were going to investigate the Bidens, and the Justice Department announces right after that that they're going to investigate Trump.

Over the years, I've given millions and millions of pages of documents, tax returns, and everything else, and they have found nothing, which means I've proven to be one of the most honest and innocent people ever in our country.


KEILAR: CNN senior legal analyst, Elie Honig, is joining us now with more on this. He's also a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

And, Elie, I'm curious what you think the timeline here is going to be because these are mature investigations that Smith is going to be coming into, right? He's at mile marker one in this.

So how far off could he be from his first decision to make of whether to charge Donald Trump or not?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the timeline better be very, very short because the fact of the matter is we're already nearly two years out from the January 6th attack.

Donald Trump, to his own advantage, to his own tactical advantage, has now declared his candidacy. It doesn't mean it's going to be harder to charge him, but it certainly is going to be harder to convict him.

And I think both the attorney general and Jack Smith, newly appointed special counsel, have shown they understand that. Both of them went out of their way -- in their fairly limited public statements -- to say this will be handled expeditiously, this will not sidetrack this or slow this down.

And I think they really need to follow up on that.

KEILAR: How does the 2024 presidential cycle compress the timeline here or not? What's the effect on that?

HONIG: Well, to be clear, there's no legal impact of this. There's no reason a candidate for president can't be charged, indicted, federally.

But you have to think about the reality here. If there's going to be an indictment, if there's going to be an indictment, that's the start of a case.

But as a prosecutor, you always have to think, OK, but now I have to convince 12 jurors to come back and find this person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


When's that trial going to happen? It takes a good conservatively year to get from indictment to trial in the federal system.

If anything here, you know Donald Trump is going to bring endless motions, try to appeal, fight everything, try to drag this out.

So imagine trying to convict somebody, to get a jury to convict somebody unanimously in the heat of the 2024 primaries when Donald Trump may be -- seems like he will be a candidate, he's announced he'll be a candidate. May be the front-runner, may be the nominee.

It's a heavier lift to ask from a jury.

KEILAR: You also, Elie, you have these other cases, right, this isn't the only show in town. You've got the state cases. You have the January 6th investigation.

How do all of these things interact, if you might describe it as that?

HONIG: Well, so the same timing concerns apply to the Fulton County, Georgia, the state case. They, too, have spent nearly two years thus far. And all the concerns that I just laid out about an indictment and a trial would apply just as well to Fulton County.

There's going to be an interesting interplay between the federal investigation headed up by the special counsel and the state investigation.

If they both decide that charges are appropriate in January 6th, are they both going to charge it? Or sometimes you try to stay out of each other's lane.

Sometimes you say, OK, state or federal, who has the better charge, who has the better venue? And you sort of do what law enforcement calls deflect. You decide who's in the best position to charge this and we don't necessarily need to be in the same lane.

It will be interesting to see if DOJ is in any sort of communication and coordination with the D.A. down in Georgia.

KEILAR: Do you think that Merrick Garland should have appointed a special counsel sooner?

HONIG: I do. If he was going to appoint a special counsel, I think he should have done it very early on.

The reason you appoint a special counsel is to address a potential conflict of interest.

What Merrick Garland said yesterday, as well, the triggering event was Donald Trump's announcement this past Tuesday. Now we know he's a candidate. It would be a potential conflict of interest to have Donald Trump being investigated by Joe Biden's attorney general.

Let's be real here. They ran against each other in 2020. There already was that history. It's no surprise to anybody that Donald Trump is running now as of this past week.

And so I think if there was a concern about a conflict of interest it was there from day one. And the cleaner move, if you were going to appoint a special counsel,

would have been to do it in early 2021 when the new administration took over.

KEILAR: So I mean, your point here is, yes, there could be this sort of future beef if they're running against each other, but there's also this past beef, and that clouds it, as well.

I mean, I guess from Merrick Garland's perspective, right, he's sort of trying to react to what's happening. And he didn't want to be anticipatory of maybe Trump running or something.

You're saying that's not the point. He needs to look backwards at the conflict.

HONIG: Yes. He needs to look both ways. That's exactly what Merrick Garland's concerned with. He said now that he's an announced candidate, let's keep this as conflict free as possible. That's good.

But the argument that I think will be made, and we've heard variations from Donald Trump and his supporters, is, OK, if you're admitting, acknowledging you have a potential conflict of interest now, you've had it for the last 20 months or so.

So the argument would be all the investigation you've done up to now is tainted.

Now, I don't know that that ultimately carries the day. But you can bet you will hear that argument. And it has some force from Donald Trump and the people around him.

KEILAR: All right. Elie, there's so much ahead. Look, we could see movement in the next couple of months. We'll be looking for that.

Elie Honig, thank you so much.

HONIG: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: While Jack Smith moves forward with his investigations, the result of the midterm elections means the Democrat-led probe of Trump's Mar-a-Lago documents will not be a priority as Republicans become the majority party in the House.

More now from Pamela Brown's exclusive sit-down with Kentucky Congressman James Comer, who's likely to be the next chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I want to ask you, you mentioned Congresswoman Maloney, a big focus of hers has been investigating Donald Trump and keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

What's going to come of that investigation now with Republicans taking over?

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Well, that's certainly something that is being investigated by the Department of Justice.

We actually have legislative jurisdiction over National Archives, National Archives is the government agency that apparently triggered the raid on Mar-a-Lago. They apparently alerted the Department of Justice to alert the FBI to raid Mar-a-Lago.

So I don't know much about that. That's not something that we've requested information just to see what was going on because I don't know what documents were at Mar-a-Lago.

So you know, that's something we're just waiting to see what comes out of that.

BROWN: Is it fair to say that investigation will be a priority?

COMER: That will not be a priority.

BROWN: OK. But in terms --

COMER: We have requested information because --

BROWN: -- said it did not make any decisions based on political views. And do you accept that?


COMER: Well, I don't know yet. We'll have to wait and see. I don't know.

I know that the day that National Archives met with Carolyn Maloney was the day that they contacted the DOJ about their concerns.

So I don't know. I'm not saying -- I don't get involved in a lot of the drama from the last administration. But I am concerned about ethics and transparency in the federal government.

And I think that, at the end of the day, with this Biden administration, I think that there are enough people in Congress in both parties that will agree we need to tighten our ethics laws and tighten our transparency and reporting laws.


KEILAR: A massive storm continues to batter western New York as another round of heavy snowfall is expected to hit the Buffalo area overnight.

The NFL actually moved tomorrow's Bills game to Detroit because so much snow filled up Highmark Stadium.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city of good neighbors. Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Some Bills players posting these videos to social media as helpful neighbors came to their aid shoveling the players' way to the airport.

People are being told to stay off the roads. Most flights in and out of the area are canceled.

And today, the governor doubled the number of National Guard members who are out checking on people in the hardest-hit counties.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Buffalo tonight.

Hey, Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Snow certainly still in the forecast, but not the quantity that we have seen in the last 48 hours.

So this is giving authorities here in Buffalo a chance at cleanup. And you can see it is in full cleanup mode right now.

Buffalo's mayor saying they deployed about 50 pieces of equipment throughout the city with some members of the team basically working up to 24-hour shifts. It gives you some idea how massive the effort is right now to clear up the snow.

This particular scene here, this is a light rail system. Normally, you'd see some rails that are cutting through this space here. The goal is to get those as clear as possible, so in the coming hours, perhaps by tomorrow they could at least get operations back up and running.

Still, though, there are travel bans and some travel advisories in place in this particular case, in the center of Buffalo. Most of the city. Officials are confident that they've cleared out most of the roads, so they've downgraded that to an advisory.

However, south of here where they received the most snow, upwards of 6.5 feet, that's where some of those bands are still in place. Basically, a message to people coming from authorities unless it's essential, stay home.

Brianna, back to you.

KEILAR: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you for that.

People approved for federal student loan relief are getting letters from the government even as a court put the program on hold. We'll look at what it all means for people who need help, next.

Plus, Twitter lost thousands of workers since Elon Musk took over. How long can it stay online?

And a look at the latest international competition to race to create and deploy a hypersonic missile.



KEILAR: There may be legal challenges stopping the Biden administration from moving forward with student debt loan relief, but that's not stopping the Education Department from notifying applicants that their requests have been approved. The administration says emails started going out today.

CNN White House correspondent, Arlette Saenz, is following this for us.

So, Arlette, with a legal holdup here, what is the White House telling these applicants?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the Biden administration started sending emails to the roughly 16 million people whose applications have been approved.

But it comes with a major caveat. Despite approvals, the Education Department saying they can't discharge that debt due to the blocks that have been placed on this program by two recent court rulings.

Now in that email that was sent from the education secretary, he wrote, quote:

"Lawsuits are preventing the U.S. Department of Education from implementing its onetime student loan debt relief program. We are holding your approved application."

And the Biden administration is hoping that the courts will ultimately rule in their favor.

Now they have asked the Supreme Court to allow their program to be implemented while court challenges continue to be heard.

This is certainly leaving millions of Americans in limbo. About 26 million people overall had applied for this program when it was first announced, and then those applications were put on hold.

The Department of Education no longer accepting them once these court rulings blocked the program from being implemented.

Now, at the end of the year, that current freeze on federal student loan payments is set to end. And people will have to begin repaying their loans starting on January 1st. It had been on hold for over two years now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the White House has started to face some questions about whether they might consider extending that freeze on those federal student loan payments.

White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters they are considering all options on the table at this moment.

Certainly, so many people remain in limbo and are having some anxiety over the possibility of these payments restarting without any further answers about whether the student debt relief program will eventually go into effect at in point.

KEILAR: All right, Arlette Saenz, thank you for that report live for us from the White House tonight.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are telling Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to get ready to testify about the situation at the border.

This is coming as waves of migrants are showing up at the U.S./Mexico border after a judge struck down a policy that has allowed the government to turn them away.


That policy, Title 42, is a Trump-era rule that the Biden administration has also been using.

CNN's David Culver went to the Mexican side of the border to show us what's happening there.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We start early, only to realize they are already on the move.

From the Mexican side of the border, we watch these migrant families nearing closer to their final destination, or so they hope.

(on camera): You can see these folks have already gone across the river. Technically, they're already in the U.S. They'll continue along the wall here until they get an entrance where they'll likely be detained and start their process in entering the U.S.

(voice-over): We continue further down along the Rio Grande and find this camp city. It sits in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, opposite El Paso, Texas.

At the start of this week, aide workers estimated 3,000 people were sleeping here. That was until word spread, suggesting an easing of U.S. border restrictions. Immediately, some 2,000 people mobilized to cross.


CULVER (on camera): (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). This is the second time.

(voice-over): Joribel, her husband, and their 5-year-old son motivated to try again after learning this week a U.S. federal judge struck down what's called Title 42, a Trump-era policy allows border agents to turn away migrants crossing illegally in all the name of COVID prevention.

Since it took effect in March of 2020, there have been 2.5 million expulsions, most under the Biden administration.

(on camera): What do you know of Title 42?


CULVER: They said, two days ago, they heard that they got rid of it.


CULVER (voice-over): Not exactly. The order remains in effect until December 31st.

(on camera): Are you scared?


CULVER: He said he's a little scared, because it is hard because you don't know what's going to happen.

(voice-over): After a tearful hug with a friend, they cautiously inch closer. Dozens do the same over the course of just a few hours.

(on camera): A lot of them have taken off their shoes, they dry off on the other side. And then they head up and start the processing.

(voice-over): We also meet Rafael Rojas, about to follow in their footsteps.

(on camera): That is not your clothes?


CULVER (voice-over): Wearing clothes donated by Americans, he recounts the painful journey from Venezuela walking through treacherous jungles and witnessing death and a lot of death.

But for some, like 9-year-old Ruby Mota, it was an adventure. That is how her innocent mind remembers it. She narrates the trek that most in the cam took starting in Venezuela. And then --

RUBY MOTA, 9-YEAR-OLD: Columbia --

CULVER (on camera): Columbia.

MOTA: -- Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica --

CULVER: Costa Rica.

MOTA: -- Nicaragua, Guatemala --

CULVER: Guatemala.

MOTA: -- Mexico.

CULVER (voice-over): Her dream destination? Ruby can't remember the last time she was in a classroom. But she hopes to go to school in New York.

(on camera): One month here.

(voice-over): Ruby's family wants to cross immediately, if they could find a loving home for Linda, part of the family. But pets aren't allowed in.


CULVER: Back at the crossing site, this man's mother crying over Facetime, not knowing the next time she'll see his face. Others forge ahead, a seemingly endless stream, one that continues uphill.





KEILAR: Japan is now warning that another North Korean missile has the potential of reaching the United States. North Korea said it test fired a new kind of intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday according to its state news agency.

The launch was witnessed by North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Un and his daughter, who appeared with him in public for the first time.

Japan's defense minister says, depending on the warhead, the U.S. mainland could be within range for this type of ICBM. It flew to an altitude of more than 3,700 miles before landing in the sea west of Japan.

The arms race for the next generation of weapons is on. And right now, the U.S. is behind both Russia and China in the development of hypersonic missiles.

Recently, several U.S. tests of those next-gen missiles failed, while we witnessed the devastating impact of Russian hypersonic weapons striking Ukraine.

CNN Pentagon correspondent, Oren Liebermann, has more on the U.S. push to speed up development.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One launch, loaded with 11 different experiments, collecting data for the Navy, Army, missile defense agency, and national labs.

The test rocket fired from Wallop's (ph) Test Flight Facility in Virginia flew for three minutes and reached hypersonic speeds, all part of a Pentagon effort to speed up U.S. hypersonic weapons development. The pressure is on. Russia and China have pushed ahead with their own

hypersonic weapons and research. Russia used hypersonic missiles in combat, firing the Kinzhal missiles to devastating effect in Ukraine.

And last summer, China tested a hyper business hypersonic missile that went around the world.

Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe, director of the Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, knows the U.S. is behind Moscow and Beijing.

VICE ADM. JOHNNY WOLFE, DIRECTOR, U.S. NAVY'S STRATEGIC SYSTEMS PROGRAM: Yes, they deployed weapons that we haven't.


Up until just recently, there hasn't been a real driver for us to take that technology and put it into a weapon system that we can deliver to our warfighter. The need was not there. The need is now there, which is why we've got a sense of urgency to get after this.

LIEBERMANN: Are China and Russia the driver in that scenario?

WOLFE: China and Russia are the driver.

LIEBERMANN: A series of testing failures set back U.S. hypersonic programs. The Air Force's Arrow (PH) program and the joint Army Navy hypersonic program, both suffered failures in the testing process. But Wolfe says failure shouldn't be a dirty word.

WOLFE: I think failure is part of the process. When you're looking at high-end technologies, and you're looking at how you really want to lean in and get something in the warfighters hands rapidly, we've got to accept the fact to do that. We're going to take risk. When you take risk, every now and then you're going to realize one of those.

LIEBERMANN: Last month, DOD awarded a contract for a new hypersonic test bed to increase the domestic capacity and tempo of testing. DOD also recently granted universities research awards for components like engine design, and maneuverability.

TOM KARAKO, DIRECTOR CSIS MISSILE DEFENSE PROJECT: The Chinese have certainly done a whole lot of testing. And they really like to show us to convey that they are far along in terms of their numerical tests as well as different kinds. But what we are doing important tests and making progress. And so I think what you're going to see is in the next couple years, the United States, again, catch up.

LIEBERMANN: Missile defense expert, Tom Karako, says hypersonic weapons are the next generation of missiles able to evade current air defenses.

KARAKO: Not just the United States, but Russia and China have developed some pretty sophisticated things that might be able to swat down, let's just say, a subsonic cruise missile, for instance. In fact, you're seeing kind of the subsonic cruise missiles being swatted down in Ukraine, even with less than perfect air defenses. The U.S. is firing ahead with its programs. A second test a day later carried 13 experiments, including heat resistant materials, high-end electronics, lightweight materials and more. A fire now burning under the U.S. to move faster.

LIEBERMANN: As for U.S. hypersonic development stands, the army will be the first to field a hypersonic weapon next year when it's scheduled to field what's known as the long-range hypersonic weapon afterwards a similar system is scheduled to be deployed on Zumwalt- class guided missile destroyers in 2025, and then a submarine launched version later in the decade.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.


KEILAR: And this just in, former President Donald Trump's Twitter page suspended after the January 6 attack is now back online, restored by the site's new owner, Elon Musk. It comes amid mass changes and turmoil at the social media platform. We'll have more after the break.

Plus, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot in a political event in 2011. A new CNN film tells her inspiring comeback story. Watch Gabby Giffords "Won't Back Down" tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern.



KEILAR: This just in to CNN, Donald Trump's Twitter account is back. Elon Musk reinstated the former president just minutes ago. This is President Trump's Twitter page here until tonight, it had said account suspended.

Earlier tonight, Musk posted a poll on Twitter asking if people thought Donald Trump should be allowed back on the service. Musk says the results showed that people wanted Trump to return. He tweeted this. The people have spoken, Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei, which is Latin, it means the voice of God -- or sorry, the voice of the people, the voice of God.

Twitter's previous management suspended Trump indefinitely just days after the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

I want to bring in CNN media analyst and media reporter for Axios, Sara Fischer, with us now on the phone. We were just talking about Twitter here in the last hour or so, Sara, this big development now. What do you make of this news?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I'm actually surprised, Brianna, because for our conversation earlier, I thought Elon Musk would wait until Facebook made this call in January. But it seems that he was eager to move forward. He did this Twitter poll, many millions of people voted. And the last time I checked, it wasn't really a wide margin. It was about 52% of people who voted in the poll said that Donald Trump should be reinstated. And Elon Musk moving quickly, as he does, very quickly reinstated Donald Trump after that poll.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, this is a twitter poll, right? This is not a scientific poll. This is an online poll. And so to borrow a question from my colleague, Oliver Darcy, he said what happened to the content moderation council that Musk said, you know, only last month he'd be instituting? What do you think?

Well, funny, Brianna, because earlier, he had already instituted accounts that were permanently banned, including Kathy Griffin, Author Jordan Peterson, the Babylon Bee, and so he had been foreshadowing this move of reinstating accounts making policy decisions without the council. So I can't say I'm totally surprised that he's doing it unilaterally now, but it does bring into question whether or not Elon Musk is going to govern by the hips moving forward. Despite promising advertisers, he was going to wait for that counsel, Brianna, it doesn't seem like that's the case.


KEILAR: I wonder, Sara, if you think there are going to be any boundaries on Trump, because we've seen -- Trump has shown even after January 6, where he saw the effect that his language could have, and he saw the effect his language could have even in getting people to leave the Capitol, you know, as it pertained to violence. He -- he's seen this. Do you think that there will be any boundaries placed on him as he shows this propensity to use language that is questionable when it comes to violence?

Honestly, not really for two reasons. One, Elon Musk has said that he doesn't plan to take down a lot of content, but limit the reach of things that he considers to be violence or hate speech. But when it comes to misinformation, I mean, Elon Musk himself has shown a propensity to lean into conspiracies. You'll recall he tweeted a link to a false article about Paul Pelosi a few weeks ago and then quickly deleted it under advertiser pressure.

So I can't see him going after Donald Trump's account for things that might be false or misleading. Now, if there's something that his team considers to be or he considers to be hate speech, that could be something where he says he would limit the reach of it, meaning algorithmically, he wouldn't boost it in people's timelines, but he says he won't remove the actual content.

KEILAR: Do you think, Sara, that this increases the chances that Facebook reinstates Trump? Or do you think that Facebook looks at what Elon Musk is doing kind of even against his own standards for how he was going to look at some content and says, maybe they're not going to reinstate Trump?

FISCHER: Great question. I think Facebook is going to be looking at this very carefully as they come up against their decision January -- in January. But I also think that Facebook is going to be, you know, making this decision and in some ways independently because Trump uses the Facebook platform very differently, Brianna.

You will recall leading up to the 2020 election and in 2016 that Trump will like really heavily on Facebook for advertising, especially to build lists to do fundraising. He doesn't really use Twitter like that. Twitter is more of a public town square for him where he would blocked out messages, so that they would go viral. And so I think Facebook knows that they bring Trump back. They're giving him a vehicle to do campaigning through ads more so than they're giving him a major platform for his speech.

KEILAR: Do you think that this will cause, Sara, a mass exodus of some Twitter users -- Twitter users from the platform?

FISCHER: I can't say how users going to -- are going to react especially because, you know, about half of them voted to reinstate him. But I do know that advertisers are going to be very skittish about this decision, Brianna.

I spoke with one of the biggest advertising agencies last week. And one of the things that they were saying is that they're issuing guidance to advertisers right now, but that many of their clients are skeptical about remaining on the platform is Donald Trump is reinstated. They don't want to have anything to do with January 6 or questions about democracy or the validity of the elections in 2020. And so I think that the reinstatement of Trump can just exacerbate some of the excess we've seen from advertisers to date.

KEILAR: He's, you know, fired, laid off a lot of people, Elon Musk has a Twitter, but he's also seen a lot of people who have decided they're leaving, they don't want a job at Twitter with the way he's doing things. Do you expect that more employees will follow soon after this?

FISCHER: I think it's possible. I mean, Twitter tends to be a very progressive company. If you take a look, there's been data shown that a lot of the employees have tended to, you know, vote or contribute in elections. That means progressive or Democrat. I think a lot of people there, though, who had been there for a long time, they really believed in the mission of Twitter.

So I don't know that the Trump thing is going to make them run for the hills, but I think it's another data point in all the things that have been happening in the past few weeks, that makes current employees question the direction of the platform writ large, and whether or not they think that this is a place that is going to value their opinions, value the insights of the communities, or it's going to be a place where Elon Musk just sort of governs unilaterally.

KEILAR: So what happens now to Truth Social, which is Trump's app where he's been using that to get his message out thus far?

FISCHER: Very good question. So there's a December 8 deadline for Truth Social to merge with its blank tech company called the Digital World Acquisition Corp. And if the shareholders of that blank tech company don't approve the merger by December 8, basically the whole thing falls apart, through social wouldn't be able to get the funding it would need to continue to operate. [20:45:01]

Now, there's also a weird clause in the Truth Social documents that basically says, you know, the app thing doesn't have to, you know, continue to move forward and in the same way if Donald Trump sort of decides to run for president.

So, Brianna, I think broadly speaking, if Donald Trump doesn't get that December 8 merger vote approved. And in addition to that, if he's allowed back on Twitter and other social platforms, I think it's highly unlikely that Truth Social continues with much momentum. I don't know what it means if that's going to be shut down or not, but it's not going to look good for the business of that company.

KEILAR: All right. Sara Fischer from Axios, thank you so much for joining us on this breaking news. Former President Trump's Twitter account being reinstated here just moments ago and we will be right back.



KEILAR: There's bad blood this weekend between Ticketmaster and a lot of Taylor Swift Fans. Tickets for the superstar's new Eras tour were supposed to go on sale to the general public yesterday, but Ticketmaster canceled it.

The company tweeted this on Thursday afternoon, quote, "Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on sale for Taylor Swift, the Eras tour, has been canceled.

Now, Swift says she's not going to make excuses for Ticketmaster. She posted this on Instagram, quote, "We asked them multiple times if they can handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It's truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.

So what went wrong? Well, there was a presale event for registered fans on Tuesday and so many people tried to access it that Ticketmaster's website could barely keep up. The company says it sold more than 2 million tickets that day. And it's the most ever for one artist in a single day. But what about the fans who didn't get a shot at that presale?

Well, you could say they're seeing red, and now lawmakers are looking into it. And this isn't the first time that Ticketmaster's run into trouble with them.


STONE GOSSARD, GUITARIST, PEARL JAM: Ticketmaster is a nationwide computerized ticket distribution service that has a virtual monopoly on the distribution of tickets to concerts in this country. It is today almost impossible for a band to do a tour of large arenas in major cities and not deal with Ticketmaster.


KEILAR: That was 1994. Taylor Swift was just 4 years old when Pearl Jam took on Ticketmaster. The band actually filed a complaint with the Justice Department. And it got a lot of attention, but it was eventually dismissed.

Fifteen years later, Ticketmaster merged with concert promoter Live Nation. But before that merger could happen, leaders of both companies testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee over concerns that they were creating a monopoly. Here's what the head of Live Nation told senators then.


MICAEL RAPINO, PRESIDENT, LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT: The debate I'm having, as I talked to artists and fans is, so how are we going to change the model? How are we going to service them better? And who will provide the fan a better model? We don't have the model figured out. The model right now is broken for the fan.


KEILAR: That man that you saw speaking there, Michael Rapino, is now head of Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation Entertainment.

Senator Amy Klobuchar was at that hearing in 2009. And yesterday, she wrote him this letter, quote, I have been skeptical of the combination of these companies since you merged. You appeared as a witness and pledged to develop an easy access one-stop platform that can deliver tickets, and you said that you are confident this plan will work. It appears that your confidence was misplaced. To borrow from Taylor Swift's new song Anti-Hero it sounds like Senator Klobuchar is telling Ticketmaster, it's you, hi, you're the problem. It's you. And we'll be right back.



KEILAR: The World Cup kicks off tomorrow and it's one of the most controversial ever. Critics are slamming the host country's human rights record and things are getting nasty. CNNs Patrick Snell has the latest.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna football's World Cup was awarded to Qatar 12 years ago back in 2010. And now we're just hours away from Sunday's tournament opener as the host take on Ecuador.

Before that though, on the eve of the sport's biggest showpiece event, just the most remarkable press conference from FIFA president Gianni Infantino. The 52-year-old Swiss Italian devoting much of that hour on Saturday defending the highly controversial decision to award the event to the Gulf state nation.

Remember, so much of the build up to this year's tournament focusing on human rights, including deaths of migrant workers, the conditions many have endured in Qatar, as well as the treatment of LGBT people.


GIANNI INFANTINO, FIFA PRESIDENT: Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today, I feel a migrant worker.

I think for what we Europeans have been doing in the last 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologizing for next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons. This moral lesson giving one sided, it's just hypocrisy.


SNELL: Well, that just about 45 seconds of what really was an extraordinary press conference that would last for over an hour. But, Brianna, let's turn our attention now to the football itself as the tournament opener taking center stage Sunday when the host face the South American nation of Ecuador. This one very special moment indeed for the players representing Qatar's national team. Remember, their country competing in their first ever World Cup. The Gulf state nation also the first country to make its debut at a World Cup as an actual host.

And America's fans won't have to wait too long for their first match, Brianna, USA will set for Monday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern right here in the United States, as I send it right back to you.

KEILAR: Patrick Snell, thank you so much. And thank you for joining me this evening. I'm Brianna Keilar and "The History of Comedy" is next.