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Trump Mocks Haley's Husband Who's Deployed Overseas; Interview With Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN); Tucker Carlson Interviews Vladimir Putin In Moscow; Interview With Garry Kasparov; Putin Gets Propaganda Win After Tucker Carlson's Interview: Trump Says He Would Not Protect NATO Allies From Russia; Trump Again Claims He Tanked Border Security Deal; Interview with Patti Davis On Her New Book And Today's Republican Party; "Blindsided" Airs Tonight at 8PM ET. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 10, 2024 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.

Tonight in South Carolina, it is getting personal between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. Despite his wide lead in the polls, two weeks before the Palmetto State's Republican primary, the former president is taking numerous shots at Haley and her husband. Rather than highlighting policy differences with the former South Carolina governor, Trump mocked her husband, Michael for being absent from the campaign trail while he is currently serving his country overseas in Africa, his second active deployment having previously served in Afghanistan.

Here's what Trump said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where's her husband? He's away. He's away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He's gone. He knew. He knew.


ACOSTA: Moments ago, Haley slammed Trump for those remarks saying in a post on X formerly known on Twitter that quote, "Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about." Speaking to Trump.

"Someone that continually disrespects the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander in chief."

At his event in South Carolina earlier today, Trump also talked about the border, Russia and more.

Let's discuss all of that now with Republican Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees.

Congressman, welcome back to the program. Appreciate it. Good to see you again, sir. Is that appropriate for Trump to be talking about Nikki Haley's husband in that fashion?

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): I don't think it's appropriate to talk about anybody's family, Jim. I've got a family myself. And that's what I always tell my opponents when I pull them up close to me and I say in very quiet terms, I always tell them, anything you want to say about me is fine but just leave my family out of it and we're going to get -- we'll do just fine.

So, you know, that's not my style. I know Nikki and I know President Trump. And again, that's not my style. I wouldn't do it.

ACOSTA: Well, and he's deployed overseas. He's serving his country. And you know, Trump it's been reported has talked about fallen soldiers as suckers and losers and so on.

Congressman, you know, is this something you would like to see Trump stop talking about? Does he need to knock it off when it comes to this sort of thing?

BURCHETT: I wish we'd start talking about the issues, things like the border, the price of gasoline, American troops.

ACOSTA: Looks like we lost the congressman there. We're going to try to reconnect.

All right. Stand by. We're going to try to reconnect with the Congressman Tim Burchett. Stand by for that.

In the meantime though we're going to be talking about this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, granting a rare interview with western media in a sit-down interview with Tucker Carlson, formerly of Fox.

We're going to -- let's take a quick break, see if we can establish things with the congressman.

We're also going to be talking about Putin and Tucker Carlson a little bit later on as well.

Stay with us.




TRUMP: This week we also had another massive victory that every conservative should celebrate. We crushed Crooked Joe Biden's disastrous open borders bill. Mike Johnson did a very good job and the whole group did a great job

in Congress. We crushed it. We saved America from yet another horrific Biden betrayal.


ACOSTA: And Tennessee Republican Congressman Tim Burchett is back with us. We've reestablished the connection, Congressman. Thanks for hanging in there.


ACOSTA: You just heard Trump really bragging about tanking this border compromise bill. Let me ask you about, are you ok with waiting another year at a minimum for a new border security bill to make its way through the Congress?

BURCHETT: No. But I think the reality is, Jim, that the Democrats or the Republicans really didn't stop or really weren't pushing for a terrible border package.


BURCHETT: It was our National Chambers of Commerce -- not our local Chambers of Commerce, but the national.

They have continuously blocked any real meaningful borders -- border control -- immigration control, because honestly they want free labor or cheap labor. They want somebody on your roof that falls off that won't have any local representation, won't have any way to get back at the businesses or what have you because they're afraid they'll get deported.

And I've seen this time and time again. And we all do it, you know, I'll trash the Democrats and they will trash me and we'll do this and we'll do that. But the reality is that they don't -- you know, the big chambers, they don't want this thing to be fixed because if it does then they lose their cheap labor stream.

And it's a shame on us. I mean we've gotten 100,000 children lost in the system. This bill had a price tag of $118 billion. The one coming out of the Senate, of course, you know, it didn't pass the Senate. $60 billion of it was for Ukrainian aid which to me was a non-starter.

But the 5,000 folks over the border before it triggered shutting the border down or contacts, as they say, to me was a no win.

Of course, Trump came out and jumped on it but it was already -- our Speaker Mike Johnson, who by the way, came into town this weekend, yesterday for me, we had a record-breaking attendance at my fund- raiser. Came about weeks ago and it already pretty much (INAUDIBLE) House so --

ACOSTA: Yes. But Congressman If the bill that comes out of the Senate was going to do more, it was going to do a lot more than what's being done down at the border right now, would have given the president sweeping new powers when it comes to removing migrants who come into the country unlawfully. It would have obviously boosted security measures down at the border and so on.

Wouldn't you want to take that now rather than wait and hope that perhaps something will be worked out in a year or so from now. It's been described by you and your colleagues as a crisis. All of this you know, -- we've heard all this talk about fentanyl coming across the border and so on. Don't you want to get a handle on that now rather than wait?

BURCHETT: Of course we do. But this wasn't putting a handle on it. You know, 5,000 people -- 4,999 a day could come across the border before any of the triggers were in put place and then they said they would shut the border down.

And if they could shut the border down, they would already do it. I submit to you that the powers of the Una (ph) Party whatever you want to call it does not want to shut the border down, they want this.

And then, you have one side, our side wanted a group of business people wanting to keep it open for the cheap and free labor. The other side, in my opinion, some of them want it because I believe the mail- in ballot situation has got to be something that needs to be addressed. No ID, no --


ACOSTA: But Congressman, you're blaming it on the chamber of commerce. If this was on its way --

BURCHETT: National.

ACOSTA: You're blaming chamber of commerce folks, this was coming out of the Senate. It had the chance of passing the Senate, obviously didn't get out of the Senate after Donald Trump weighed in. And had that not occurred it's possible it would have come to the House and who knows what would have happened after that.

Isn't Trump really to blame? I mean he has said -- he has bragged "blame me".


ACOSTA: Isn't that fair to say. It's Trump's responsibility as to why this didn't pass, why it died.

BURCHETT: -- pass the House. Mike Johnson said it was dead on arrival. He didn't have to take it up, sort of like HR2 that we passed months ago as you well know is sitting in the Senate waiting for the Democrat leadership to bring it up.

It's been there months we feel like that would have solved the border crisis. So it's both sides.

And in this bill though, you've got to realize, they didn't do it with everybody's input. It was a closed-door meeting, you had the lobbyists, you had a few key senators.

And to me, that's no way to pass legislation. I like to get everybody at the table and that's the way you pass meaningful legislation.

The days of cramming stuff down people's throats are over and that's exactly what this was an attempt to do.

ACOSTA: Well, there was a vote on impeaching the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. It did not make it out of the House, it failed by a small number of votes.

And I'm curious what you thought about House Speaker Mike Johnson's performance on that? There was some criticism inside your party and other corners that he was not doing an effective job of counting the votes. What do you think about how he handled that?

BURCHETT: He has a historic one-person lead. When our former leader decided to leave early it kind of left us in the lurch. You have a one year wait period before you can become a lobbyist. They want to get out as soon as they can. And so that left us in a very bad position.


BURCHETT: Speaker Johnson, we had the votes, and one Democrat showed up in a wheelchair unexpectedly and then we had one person decided maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

I think we will bring it back next week. Steve Scalise will be back heroically from cancer treatment. And you've already seen one of the three that decided to vote for it has announced today they were not coming back. And then you had one of course, split their vote for a procedural position just so they could bring it back up next week.

So you know, in this situation somebody can get one phone call from one big hitter back home and then they flip their vote. I mean that's just the way it is. It's human nature.


ACOSTA: But isn't there -- isn't there a bit of a contradiction if you're trying to impeach pao the Homeland Security secretary for not effectively controlling the border and yet at the same time you had this golden opportunity to pass a border compromise bill that would have enhanced security down at the border.


BURCHETT: No, I don't think so. I think --

ACOSTA: Aren't those -- aren't those two things kind of in contradictions with one another?

BURCHETT: I don't think so. I think Mayorkas just -- the reason I said to kick him out, under oath he said the border is secure. There's nobody with a straight face in this country in the media or elsewhere that could say that we have a -- the border is secure. That's just ridiculous.

And as far as --

ACOSTA: You're going to impeach him though for just saying that? That's why you're going to impeach him?

BURCHETT: He lied under oath. That's what they kicked Nixon out for. Remember they didn't convict Nixon of a crime, they kicked him out for lying under oath. And that's exactly what Mayorkas --

ACOSTA: Nixon resigned before he was impeached. But I mean -- but for the Homeland Security secretary to be impeached, in your mind, for not effectively securing the border you and your fellow colleagues in the House had an opportunity to pass something that would have enhanced security down at the border.

BURCHETT: I just don't believe that. $60 billion of it was for Ukrainian aid. You keep calling it a border bill. The NGO has over I think $1.4 billion and it was -- the first $930 million of it there was no conditions.

These are these groups that are getting fat off of this immigration thing. That's what I keep telling you. There's so many people got their fingers in this pie, it has nothing to do with what's going on at the border. It's about making people wealthy, just like our wars seem to be, the industrial war complex keeps getting wealthier and wealthier and just like our border situation you have all sorts of charities.


ACOSTA: But are you just going to let Vladimir Putin take Ukraine then? Is that what's going to happen? You're just going to let him take Ukraine, Vladimir Putin?

BURCHETT: If we had a strong leader in the White House we wouldn't have been funding both sides of that war through the oil contracts which we don't have right now, which we've seen with Iran.

You know, we relinquished the restraints on their oil. Everybody concentrates on the $6 billion of their money, whatever -- I don't care about that. I care about it but the oil money that we relinquished put billions of dollars in that. Every single one of these wars, Jim --


ACOSTA: Congressman that's kind of -- all due respect, that's a bit of a side issue. It's a very simple question. Are you ok with Vladimir Putin taking control of Ukraine?

BURCHETT: No, of course, not, he's a worthless thug. But the GDP of Russia is so much --

ACOSTA: The Ukrainians need our help, you don't want to give it to them? (INAUDIBLE)

BURCHETT: -- China but do you think we ought to run on Tiananmen Square? You know, it's just all this is doing is leading to more war, more missile contracts, more people on both sides getting fat off these things.

I think we ought to secure our own border before we worry about somebody else's border. We told Trump he couldn't have $4 billion to secure the border and then --


ACOSTA: But Congressman, not to go back to the border but you had an opportunity to get money to put more security enhancements down at the border and you said no because Trump told you not to.

BURCHETT: Because it didn't do anything to secure the border. It just got people fat and it gives $60 billion to Ukraine. It did not --

ACOSTA: If it wasn't an election year is it possible that that would have had a better chance of getting passed?

Isn't it really because Donald Trump told you and your colleagues not to pass this bill that it died? The Speaker said this was going to be dead on arrival and that it didn't get out of the Senate. That's -- isn't that -- that's the truth, isn't it?

BURCHETT: No. It's absolutely not. As a matter of fact, if you go on my Twitter account weeks ago, I said it was dead. Because if you let 5,000 over the border Jim, all you're doing is legalizing something that's already illegal. So you put in place these people in that are here. Now, we're saying the first 5,000 or first 4,999 are legal, and then --


ACOSTA: I understand there are people coming across the border but you had an opportunity. Senator Lankford from Oklahoma, he is no shrinking violet when it comes to being a conservative. He's a very conservative senator from the state of Oklahoma.

And he said that he was threatened and that had he had a conservative commentator tell him, if this passes, that's it, you're done. I mean this was hardball tactics that coming out of Trump world that killed this thing, isn't it?

I don't understand why it's just impossible to say that that's what -- that's what happened.

BURCHETT: I hadn't heard Trump's opinion on it one way or the other before I came out against it, Jim. I don't -- you know, I realize that seems to be the hot button right now but in reality in the halls of Congress that had not -- when we were already -- we'd been talking about it a couple weeks ahead of time. And everybody I talked to is pretty much against it. Yes, you'll find

a few that might be for it but when they see all the details, there's $118 billion that we don't have that we were -- and $60 billion was going straight to Ukraine. And that's always a non-starter.

And then the money to Gaza which we've been told won't -- that in some cases gets to Hamas. The bill had a lot of holes in it. And Senator Lankford is a good man. I talked to him shortly before our bipartisan prayer breakfast. I truly believe that.

And I just think he made some wrong decisions and he allowed, you know, as we used to say -- allowed the foxes in the henhouse on this one.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Tim Burchett, we'll see what happens with the next piece of legislation. Thanks very much for your time.

BURCHETT: It's always a pleasure, Jim. And go Vols.

ACOSTA: All right. All right. Yes, indeed.

All right. Coming up next, we're going to hear from a long-time critic of Vladimir Putin after Putin granted Tucker Carlson a rare interview, if you want to call it an interview this past week.

We'll talk about that next.



ACOSTA: Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent more than two hours interviewing, if you want to call it that, Russian president Vladimir Putin. The first interview Putin gave to a western media personality since Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Though many other outlets have asked to interview Putin and it may now be clear why the Kremlin chose Tucker Carlson what followed were two hours of unchallenged lies, propaganda and even an attempt to undermine Americans faith in democracy. Take a listen.


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: So, Twice you've described U.S. Presidents making decisions and then being undercut by their agency heads. So it sounds like you're describing a system not run by the people who are elected in you're telling?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): That's right. That's right.


ACOSTA: Let's discuss with legendary chess grandmaster and long-time Putin critic, Garry Kasparov. Garry is also the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation. Garry, I mean obviously, we could have played other clips but why give

it more oxygen. What did Putin get out of this, do you think?

GARRY KASPAROV, LONG-TIME PUTIN CRITIC: I guess he looked much less than we expected. And also we could see that he's nothing else but an old-timer dictator who sees the world, you know, through this convex of mirrors and he wants everybody to believe and live (INAUDIBLE) his rules.

You made a correct statement saying it was not an interview. The real American journalist Gershkovich is behind bars. And by the way, Putin even mentioned him as a hostage to be exchanged for a Russian killer who is now in German prison for committing a murder of Putin's political opponent in Berlin.

ACOSTA: And Garry, I mean you're more of an expert on this than I'm obviously. I mean from what I can hear what Tucker Carlson did with Vladimir Putin, again not really an interview, it sounded like something right out of Russian state television.

Vladimir Putin could have easily been sitting down with a propagandist from Russian state TV and it would have been almost the same kind of an exchange.

KASPAROV: Yes. But definitely Putin and his propaganda machine wanted an American because it's a chance to distribute his lies among the American public, mostly (INAUDIBLE) those who are listening to Tucker Carlson and the like.

And he repeated the same lies but Tucker, of course, you know, added his credibility with millions and millions of Americans. And now we can see that, you know, some of the prominent MAGA members in the Senate, on the House, they keep repeating this nonsense and saying time to have Ukraine -- Ukrainians lose because Putin offered peace.

Putin offered nothing but partitioning Ukraine. And by the way, he was very blunt with his intentions and only people with perverted (ph) minds or those who are, you know, slavishly following Trump, they could hear otherwise.

And by the way, your previous guest, you know, repeatedly said all lie about $60 billion being be sent to Ukraine. I suggest that Congressman Burchett before you know, following Trump orders, will read the documents he votes for and he'll find out easily that out of $61 billion $35 billion stays in America, paying for American factories that are manufacturing ammunition and by the way, one of the big factories, Colt and ammunition plant is in Tennessee.

ACOSTA: Good point. Now, very good point.

And you did mention Evan Gershkovich. Gershkovich did come up during the interview and Putin suggested that perhaps an exchange could be made for essentially a Russian assassin.

What can you tell us about that? What do you make of Vladimir Putin? He's essentially saying, yes, we're holding him hostage to barter. KASPAROV: Big deal. I mean that's -- I mean for Putin is quid pro quo.


KASPAROV: So that's why his comments about U.S. presidents not being all powerful is another reflection of Putin's belief that the president, the leader, the czar, the king, whoever is on top, you know, must give orders and everybody have nothing else to do but to obey.

The entire idea of checks and balances and of agencies even sometimes criticizing president, making suggestions, it's alien to Putin's mind.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And, Garry, I did want to ask you about something Trump said earlier today on the campaign trail at a rally in South Carolina.

Let's listen. If we have that ready, let's play it and talk about it on the other side.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the presidents of a big country stood up, said, well, sir, if we don't pay and we're attacked by Russia, will you protect us?

I said, you didn't pay, you're delinquent? He said, yes, let's say that happened. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You've got to pay.



ACOSTA: There you have the former president of the United States saying he would encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they want. Who knows whether or not that scenario he laid out at the rally even happened or is true.

But, Garry, what do you think of Trump openly saying Russia can go ahead and invade NATO allies, NATO countries?

KASPAROV: I think we should believe him. I always say we have to listen to dictators or would be dictators and trust them.

Trump doesn't want to hide his challenge to the entire system, the entire democrat systemin the United States to make it more authoritarian.

And will be looking for friends that think alike. Vladamir Putin is the first who comes into mind.

With all the Putin lies that I'm sure are perpetuated by Trump and others, we have to fight back. And that's why today I issued a challenge on Twitter to debate Tucker Carlson. Let him talk to somebody who knows, who was said by Vladamir Putin. And again, as the story with this $60 billion allegedly going to Ukraine, there's so many lies that have been bought by millions and millions.

And it's very important that we keep fighting back. Because the simple lies. And allowing them is to dominate 30, 40 percent of American public space it's a great disservice to American democracy.

ACOSTA: Let us know if Tucker takes you up on that. Something tells me you may be waiting a while.

Garry --


KASPAROV: He may not be up to the challenge.


KASPAROV: He'd rather sit against someone who is taking him at a face value.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, Tucker, if you ever saw his show, Tucker, he wasn't exactly in favor of a level playing field when it came to matching wits with people on his program.

Let me ask you this. We're shaping up to see a likely rematch of Trump and Biden in the race to the White House. You've long warned about the dangers of Russia meddling.

Are you concerned about what might happen in this year's elections in the United States and the prospect of Trump winning again, getting back in there?

KASPAROV: I think we understand that Democrats have to find someone more stable and stronger than President Biden to fight Trump. Democracy is at stake. I don't think Biden is up to the challenge.

But whoever is nominated by Democrats, we should have no doubts that Vladamir Putin and his allies in Russia and outside Russia, will do everything in their power to help Trump get back to the Oval Office.

Again, Putin keeps saying that. He said many times he was happy to have Trump there. They celebrated openly. You could see their faces in 2020 when Trump lost elections.

And now, they're all afraid for Trump to come back. That's Putin's only chance to win the war. Because with all his minor gains in Ukraine now, couldn't understand, he cannot win this war unless America walks away.

And Trump is his best hope. That why, get ready for a storm.

ACOSTA: All right, Garry Kasparov, thank you very much for your time. Always a pleasure. Appreciate it.

KASPAROV: Thank you.


ACOSTA: All right, ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, we will talk to Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, about her new book detailing the time she shared with them and how she believes her father would feel about today's Republican Party. We'll talk about that.

There she is. We'll talk to her in just a few moments. Stay with us.


ACOSTA: Donald Trump is once again taking credit for killing a bipartisan bill that would have significantly tightened security at the border with Mexico, something Republicans have been asking for.

Here he is at a rally in South Carolina earlier today.


TRUMP: This week, we also had another massive victory that every conservative should celebrate. We crushed crooked Joe Biden's disastrous open borders bill.


TRUMP: Mike Johnson did a very good job. And the whole group did a great job in Congress. We crushed it. We saved America from yet another horrific Biden betrayal.


ACOSTA: Patti Davis joins me now. She's the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and the author of a new book, "Dear Mom and Dad, A Letter About Family Memory and the America We Once Knew."

We'll talk about that book in just a moment, Patti, but thank you so much for being with us this evening. It's an honor to have you on.

I'm old enough to remember Ronald Reagan's presidency and how the Republican Party was different back then.

As you know -- and feel free to chime in and tell me if I'm getting it incorrect in any way.

But your father was more moderate on the issue of immigration. I remember when he gave a speech when they refurbished the Statue of Liberty and talked about how immigration strengthens America.

He was much more moderate on a whole host of issues, while, at the same time, much more hawkish on Russia than what you're seeing from the modern-day Republican Party.


What would your father think about what he's seeing right now. Do you have any insights on that?

PATTI DAVIS, AUTHOR & DAUGHTER OF RONALD AND NANCY REAGAN: I'd like to answer the question from a bigger view than the current political scene.

I'm not a political strategist and, quite frankly, I'm so tired of hearing about the grand political scene.



DAVIS: I think when I just said that, thousands of people are going, yeh.

ACOSTA: That's true. Me, too.



DAVIS: But you know. But, so, in a larger sense, I think that he would be heart-broken and horrified about where America is and how mired we are in anger, in violence, in disrespect for one another.

I think he would be heartbroken. I think he would be scared.

And I think he would see that -- maybe I'm just imposing my opinion onto him. He's not here and if he were he'd be 113 years old.

My opinion is -- I do think he would share it -- is that one of the things that's missing right now is a faith in our country that we can pull ourselves out of this, that we can function from our better angels.

I didn't grow up in calm times. There was a civil rights movement, the women's movement, there was the anti-war movement when I was in high school. It's not like everything was calm and wonderful.

What there also was, were people, particularly the civil rights movement, people like Martin Luther King, John Lewis, who had a faith that we could do better as Americans. I don't see that now.

I think collectively something is broken in us. I think it's because we're scared. There is fear everywhere you look. That's my opinion.

ACOSTA: So, Patti, you're absolutely right.

Your father, he was so well-known for describing the United States as that shining city on the hill. He sort of embodied this sunny optimism.

And I think that's why Americans loved him. And he won reelection in 1984 by the biggest margin, I think, in American history. Because I think people embraced that vision, that view of the United States.

What has happened? How did we get away from that? Any insights?

DAVIS: I think fear is a big thing. I read a quote a long time ago attributed to the Romanian dictator empowered for like 24 years or something. I haven't been able to totally confirm he said this.

Anyway, the quote is, "You can do whatever you want if you keep the people frightened enough."

I think we're kind of seeing that, you know? We're scared to send our kids to school, right? Is that school going to be the next school shooting? There's no such thing anymore as it can't happen here. We're scared to go into stores and churches.

Fear is not sustainable. Fears morphs into anger. We don't want to be scared. We don't mind so much being angry. Anger feels kind of good. There's an adrenaline rush to it. You know?

There are people on the public stage and political front who understand that synergy between fear and anger and are masterful at exploiting it.

ACOSTA: Right. I don't want to get too political with you if you don't want to. Do you think your father would even be accepted in the Republican Party of today? Would he feel lonely or on the margins of it?

DAVIS: Yes, I don't think he would. I don't think that he would -- I don't know, I don't see how he would want to be in it. It's so diametrically opposed to what he believed and to the dignity he felt people in government should have.

I don't remember the Senator's name, but remember months ago, when that a Senator was going to smack down with somebody who was testifying, and Bernie Sanders stopped him. Remember that?

He was taking off his wedding ring and rolling up his sleeves and they were going to get in a fight in the Senate chambers. He used to be an MMA fighter or something.

ACOSTA: Yes, that was -- I believe that was Markwayne Mullin, the Senator from Oklahoma. If I'm getting that wrong, I apologize. But I believe --


ACOSTA: -- that Bernie Sanders had to say, hang on a second, we're Senators here. I remember that, yes.

DAVIS: You're laughing but it's not funny. This is the Senate chamber. My father would be appalled at this. This is not a bar. This is the Senate chambers. Right?



ACOSTA: And, Patti, let me ask you this because you wrote this --


ACOSTA: Go ahead, sorry.

DAVIS: Go on.


ACOSTA: No, I was saying you wrote this beautiful book about your family and your parents. I'm sure there are many younger viewers who have seen footage of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and that may be all they have.

But if you could talk about -- and there were challenges during that time. I don't want to paint it with too broad a brush or rose-colored glasses. But as you know, there were critics of your father back then as well.

But if you could just describe what was it like growing up with the Reagans? What was that like?

DAVIS: What I wanted to do in this book was take a wider look at my family and look through a clearer lens. I've done a lot of work on the challenges that our family faced, the fractures we had.

I'm certainly not the only person from a fractured family. Even someone who is younger, who doesn't remember really my father's administration that well, has their own family, is going through their own things.

I think I learned some things valuable to other people, you know, the idea, which I certainly ascribed to when I was younger, I have to tell my own truth.

Your own truth is not the whole truth. Other people have their truths, too, and they're part of the story, too.

I was able finally to look at what my parents brought to the task of parenting and what their childhoods were like.

My father was the child of an alcoholic. The truth is, if you want to understand Ronald Reagan, I think you need to understand everything about him, bounced off the fact he was a child of an alcoholic. Everything, his optimism, everything.

ACOSTA: You wrote about your difficult relationship with your parents. People who were --

DAVIS: Right.

ACOSTA: -- reading the newspaper back then and magazines and so on remember you did speak up about this from time to time.

DAVIS: I did. You know, I regret the things beside that I have to tell my own truth thing, I regret some of the things I said. There were times when I was writing this book, I thought maybe it's

good all that messiness was out there because if I never -- if it was never out there and then I wrote this book, people would be going, this is nice but where did it start from? What was the process here? You know?


DAVIS: So I did put a lot of messiness out there. But like I said, this journey, I think, is applicable to other people, too, with their families. Even wider than your family.

If you can look at your family through a wider lens, you can take that to other people, too, and consider what they're going through.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

Patti Davis, it looks like a remarkable book.

It's such an honor to have you on the program. When I heard you were coming on, I was lighting up. I've spoken with your brother before. Any time we can speak with a member of the Reagan family, it's a terrific thing.

Thank you for your time, Patti. Really appreciate it.

DAVIS: All right. Thank you so much.

ACOSTA: All right, thank you.

DAVIS: Thanks.

ACOSTA: We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: Even if you don't know the name Michael Oher's name from the NFL, you may know his story from the movie "The Blind Side,' the Hollywood story about how Oher, who was black, was rescued from poverty by a white family who helped him rise to his potential.

A new CNN Flash documentary "Blindsided" examines the story behind Hollywood's take on Oher and the Tuohys, a story that has ended up being a courtroom drama.

Oher has alleged that the family never adopted him, only filed a conservatorship and profited by lying about his story, which they denied.

Joining me now is ESPN senior writer, Michael Fletcher, who was the first to break this bombshell story.

Michael, great to talk to you.

It is an amazing story when you hear about it to this day.


ACOSTA: How do you sort through this and who do you believe in all of this?

MICHAEL FLETCHER, ESPN SENIOR WRITER: It is hard to know. There are elements of truth on both sides. The court process is playing out. They are in discovery and trying to total up who earned what amount of money.

And secondly, trying to figure to what degree did the Tuohys benefit from Michael Oher's name, image, and likeness.

One thing we do know is that Michael Oher was not adopted as the Tuohy told him and the American public through the years. It was a conservatorship, which is a legal agreement that allowed the Tuohys to have control, financial control over a lot of Michael Oher's affairs.

So it remains to be seen who is telling the truth. But we do know that the adoption was not an adoption.

ACOSTA: That is fascinating. He alleges that the Tuohy family betrayed him, lied to him. What do you think he wants ultimately?

FLETCHER: There's so many layers to this. I mean, in the legal documents, he talks about financial compensation. But in talking to his lawyers, it is so much deeper.


You have to remember that Michael Oher came across the Tuohy family when he was still a high school student. He had endured homelessness, sought help through various families through the years.

So when he met that Tuohy family, he thought that was his family. They told them they loved him. They called him son and said he was adopted.

Through this legal process, I think he is trying to come to terms with the reality that that wasn't true. He does acknowledge that the Tuohy family helped him. But the idea that he was a part of the family, that was not true.

And it's something that, even though he is a 37-year-old man today, I think he wants closure around that as well as financial compensation.

ACOSTA: Yes, it is a fascinating story.

Michael Fletcher, thank you very much for bringing this story to us.

And be sure to tune in to the CNN Flash documentary "Blindsided." It premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN. You can also see it, "Blindsided," on Max.

Be right back.