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Phillips Escalates Challenge to Biden; Son of Former Hollywood Agent Arrested; Trump Jr. Takes the Stand; Swift Changes "Karma" Lyrics. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 08:30   ET





KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice over): Phillips is defiant after Democrats rejected him, threatening to primary him, leaving his leadership post in the House amid criticism from colleagues.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Everyone's got the right to run. But, I'm sorry, I have no idea what he is running on that is different from what President Biden is running on.

HUNT: You believe you've torpedoed your own career?

PHILLIPS: Well, I think if you listen to the conventional wisdom, based on the response of the Democratic Party, I think that's fair to say.

HUNT (voice over): Most Democrats don't believe Phillips can win the nomination, but there's worry he'll damage the president in a race where recent polls show Biden losing to Trump. And Phillips told CNN he'll welcome outside sport from super PACs. That could mean millions of dollars in ads criticizing Biden in swing states like Michigan.

PHILLIPS: It is time, the torch to be passed to a new generation of American leaders.

HUNT (voice over): Key to the Democratic primary, but also to the general election.

HUNT: So you will take super PAC support.

PHILLIPS: Well, first of all, I can't -- as you well know, I can't deny support from anybody that wants to give.

HUNT: I know you can't tell them what to do, but you can send them a public message.

PHILLIPS: And - and consider more of them - the answer is yes. The answer is -- the answer is, to achieve what we need to achieve, to overturn the status quo, to ensure that Donald Trump is defeated, absolutely.

HUNT (voice over): The other risk for Biden, a rule change in a state with a history of making or breaking political fortunes.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (February 19, 1992): New Hampshire, tonight, has made Bill Clinton the comeback kid.

HUNT (voice over): That 1992 first in the nation primary night catapulted Clinton to the Democratic nomination and the White House. Working on that campaign for Clinton, Terry Shumaker, who's dismayed the Democratic Party will let South Carolina vote first in 2024.

TERRY SHUMAKER, FORMER BIDEN CAMPAIGN MEMBER: I was angry, and I still am. And it was unnecessary.

HUNT (voice over): The rules change means Joe Biden's name won't be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire.

CROWD: Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.

HUNT (voice over): Biden allies have mounted a write-in campaign to try to avoid the primary turning into another 1968 for Democrats. That year, Senator Eugene McCarthy nearly upset Democratic President Lyndon Johnson here. Just two weeks later, Johnson announced he was not going to run for re-election.

HUNT: The magic of New Hampshire, it seems to me, is that anything can happen here?

SHUMAKER: That's correct. And anything -- this year, to me, I think we're going to see some surprises.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Loved that. What a great piece and great interview, Kasie.

How about the White House, their reaction to this? Are they even taking notice?

HUNT: You know, thank you. Thanks to your team for some. There's some great archival footage they found.

The White House, honestly, is taking a posture of, studied, we can't see you, right? I think they feel that responding to Dean Phillips would only evaluate him. And that's how you're going to see them attack this.

But I would view Phillips and what's going on here as one data point in a much broader universe of increasing concern about President Biden's ability to win an election that most Democrats think is fundamentally existential. And it's existential to them for all the reasons you guys have been talking about on the show this morning. The vermin comment that Donald Trump made on Veterans Day over the weekend, the plans to manipulate the federal government for mass deportations and other things. And there is serious concern among Democrats that they won't say in

public that Dean Phillips is saying in public. So that not only potentially damages the president, but also, you know, if something were to happen in New Hampshire, as we outlined there, it's really, actually, very hard to predict. And you know, I talked to one Democrat this morning who called not being on the ballot there an unforced error.

There are risks here, and this is part of the narrative. And, you know, we've also got third-party candidates potentially getting in the race. Look at what Joe Manchin may or may not do. All very risky for a president with stakes in a race that have - that honestly -- the stakes have never been higher.



Kasie Hunt, great piece. Thank you.

HUNT: Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, a murder and a mystery in Hollywood after a gruesome discovery in a dumpster. What authorities know this morning.

MATTINGLY: And remember this guy? He's making a big political announcement. The details, I guess, next.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

A murder investigation gripping Hollywood this morning. Samuel Haskell, the son of a top former Hollywood agent, has been arrested in suspicion of murder. He's expected in court in just a couple of hours after a woman's torso was found in a dumpster near his home last week. This same house where he lived with his wife and her parents, who are still missing, by the way. Police say they discovered blood and other evidence inside.

Camila Bernal joins us live from Los Angeles.

Terrible, terrible to hear.

He'll be in court today. What do you know about the investigation so far?


So, there are two things that authorities are really focused on at the moment. The first being finding the three people that are missing. They're still looking, still asking the public for help. And the second, being identifying that torso, because, of course, that is going to be a key piece of evidence in this investigation. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: West Valley units, possible DB.

BERNAL (voice over): A gruesome discovery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 41-15 Coldstream Terrace.

BERNAL (voice over): A woman's torso found in a garbage bag by someone looking through a dumpster bin in a Los Angeles neighborhood Wednesday.

EFREN GUTIERREZ, LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Remains are of an unidentified female. Her arms and other parts of her body are missing, including the head.

BERNAL (voice over): Authorities say evidence led them to Samuel Haskell, who was arrested on suspicion of murder. He's the son of Emmy-winning producer and former Hollywood agent, Sam Haskell. The 35- year-old lived with his wife, in-laws, and three children.

And while the children are safe, the wife and the in-laws are still missing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But your reaction -- but your reaction? I mean --

GRIFFIN: It is devastating!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That woman that's missing, grandma, I don't know what we're praying for her to survive, to live, to know what happened?

BERNAL (voice over): Neighbors shocked and scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what to say, you know. No human should die like that.

YALIAN GONZALEZ, NEIGHBOR: I don't know what kind of a person can do something like that, honestly. It's another human being. Whether you know them or not, it's a human being. And it's - it's just very scary.

BERNAL (voice over): It's unclear if Haskell has an attorney. Multiple reports indicate that the torso is believed to be his wife's. And while details of what happened are limited, authorities say the type of crime is telling.

GUTIERREZ: The murder suspect is dismembering a body, it's to delay identification. So, that by implication would mean that they may have been known to each other.



BERNAL (on camera): Now, his court appearance is scheduled at 8:30 in the morning, Los Angeles time. And we'll, of course, have a team there.

It's unclear if he has an attorney, but we have also reached out to his father, that Hollywood celebrity, really, because he represented many of those celebrities, including people like Dolly Parton and George Clooney. We have not heard back from his father, Poppy.

HARLOW: Camila Bernal, appreciate the reporting. We'll watch what happens in court today.

MATTINGLY: And now let's take a minute to give you "5 Things" you need to know for today.

Senator Tim Scott dropping out of the Republican presidential primary. This sudden announcement stunning some of Scott's own staff and donors. He's yet to endorse one of his fellow candidates.

HARLOW: Gaza's largest hospital says it is in crisis, out of fuel and no longer operational, with at least three newborns dying as a result. Israel says it offered to evacuate babies and provide fuel, but that Hamas blocked the delivery.

MATTINGLY: A shooting in a Texas flea market about 15 miles south of Houston has left one dead and four others injured. Police are still working to identify who is responsible for the shooting. Authorities do not believe this was a targeted attack.

HARLOW: January 6th rioter Jacob Chansley, also known as the QAnon shaman, plans to run for Congress as a libertarian candidate in Arizona. He filed paperwork Thursday, declaring his interest to run as a candidate in Arizona's eighth congressional district. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the Capitol riot.

MATTINGLY: And drivers in southern California could face huge headaches this week after a massive industrial fire shut down parts of the I-10, a major freeway in downtown Los Angeles, this weekend. More than 160 firefighters battled the blaze that grew to about 80,000 square feet. No injuries have been reported.

And that's "5 Things" to know for this morning. Don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning.

HARLOW: In just a few hours it is back to the witness stand for Donald Trump Jr. We'll take you outside the courthouse.

MATTINGLY: And tomorrow, Chinese President Xi Jinping will set foot in the U.S. for the first time in six years, as he's set to meet with President Biden in the San Francisco area. The meeting coming at an inflection point between the two world powers.



MATTINGLY: In just more than an hour it's back to the witness stand for Donald Trump Jr. He will be the first defense witness called in the civil fraud trial against his father and the Trump Organization. Trump Jr. is a co-defendant, along with his brother, Eric. They testified earlier this month when called by New York Attorney General Letitia James' office, which filed the lawsuit.

CNN's Kara Scannell is outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

Kara, you have been following every twist and turn of this case. The defense starting today. What do we expect?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Phil, so the defense gets their chance to start today, and they're calling Donald Trump Jr. back to the stand. Now, he had previously testified two weeks ago when he was called by the state, but now it's their defense's turn against these allegations that the Trumps had inflated the value of their properties on their financial statements, and then gave those statements to banks and insurers to get better rates. So, Don Jr. has previously testified that he was not involved in the preparation of these statements. And he said that when he signed off on them, he did so after getting assurance from accountants and lawyers that everything was OK.

But when he was called by the state, the state got to decide the questions, and they tried to limit his answers to yes or no. Today, now that he's a defense witness, they will be able to set the table. They will be able to ask him much more expansive questions, and he will be able to answer the questions more fluently. He will be able to expand on them and be able to kind of set their narrative. So, that is the objective in calling him.

He is going to be one of many witnesses. The defense saying that this could go for several weeks, all as they're trying to set the tone that the Trumps did not intend to defraud anyone. If there were mistakes, they were mistakes, but that there were no victims in this case.

We saw a flash of that when Ivanka Trump was testifying. She, on direct examination by the state, answered their questions, but when asked by the Trump's attorneys, she was able to get in some evidence that the banks were happy with the relationships and that they were continuing to do business with them, even while -- though they had these financial statements.


MATTINGLY: Kara, before we let you go, do we have an idea who else may be testifying over the course of the coming weeks?

SCANNELL: So, we're expecting this week to hear from a number of these expert witnesses, that the judge on Friday allowed the Trump team to bring in. These witnesses will be talking about how properties are valued, as well as also getting into how banks would be involved in evaluating these financial statements. So, we're going to see a lot more testimony from experts this week. And then they're going to roll out some additional witnesses over the next several weeks.


MATTINGLY: All right, Kara Scannell, keep us posted. Thank you.

HARLOW: Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, and happens to also be a criminal defense attorney.

It's not a criminal trial, it's a civil trial, but you know defense well. What defense do you expect here and what witnesses do you expect them to call?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Poppy, it's interesting you say about the criminal thing. Not a criminal trial, but intent is going to be so important to this. And why do I say that? Usually in criminal cases we speak a lot about the issues of what someone intended and didn't intend to do. I think here that will be on full display. Why? Because you're speaking about the issue of financial statements. The issue of fraud, right? The issue of all of these banking valuations and the valuations of properties, and whether or not you had a fraudulent intent to do it.

So, I think what they have to do, right, Poppy and Phil, is present the narrator that, listen, we did the best we could.


We had and acted in good faith at all times. There were no victims in this case. The banks had their own due diligence obligations to evaluate what we put before them. They were making money. We were making money. And, by the way, it's a subjective process as it relates to valuating properties. And, I'm Donald Trump, and my brand name is huge. And so I think all of that, they're going to have to propagate in the courtroom there.

MATTINGLY: The defense chose not to cross-examine most - I think Ivanka Trump may have been one of the only ones that they cross- examined. Do we -- can the AG's team cross-examine here? Do we expect that will be their strategy?

JACKSON: We definitely do. So, what happens now is the dynamic has changed. And so here, with the defense, the Trump's calling the Trumps, you get to control the narrative. And, again, the narrative, we have the best lawyers, we have the best accountants, we have a vast empire, we didn't get to or -- nor did we intend to evaluate anything improperly.

Cross-examination, Phil, without question. Sir, you indicated that this was all done in good faith. That's what you say, huh. You know that there's a difference between 30,000 square feet and 90,000. You know that, don't you? You know you have a due diligence obligation to evaluate your own properties and look at your own statements. You know that too.

By the way, rent control properties. You know rent control from private, you know the difference between the two? You know that one may net less money and the other wouldn't, but you didn't make that distinction in your statements.

So, yes, there will be full cross-examination trying to go to the narrative, this wasn't about not fraudulent intent. They had fraudulent intent. They knew what they were doing. They did it anyway. HARLOW: Let's turn to the election subversion case against Trump that

is now going to be heard in May. And Trump said this over the weekend, because he wants it -- his team wants it televised.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I want everybody to see all of the horrible things that took place, all of the horrible charges, and all of the things that were done with respect to a very corrupt election, and let's let the public decide, because I want cameras in every inch of that courthouse.


HARLOW: And his legal team is formally submitted what they need to in federal court to ask for this, but this is very likely not going to happen.

JACKSON: You know what, Poppy, if ever there was a time that it should and could happen, the time would be now, right? We live in a different society, I think, now. The dynamics have changed. The transparency issues have changed. And if you want someone out there talking about, it's a witch hunt, the government's out to get me, there's nothing to see here, the evidence is flimsy, this is a case that should have never been brought. We heard that a lot.

If you invite people into the court, it changes things. Why? Because people get the see, they get to hear, they get to feel the evidence that's being presented and they can, right, everybody, right, on the planet can get to the side. Is that real evidence or is this just a witch hunt?

And so I think that with this changing narrative, the changing circumstance, and the former president being on trial, if ever there was a time to get cameras in that courtroom, this would be the ideal time to do it.

MATTINGLY: Agree. I don't think I have a role here. But I do agree.

Joey Jackson, we appreciate you, my friend. Thank you.

JACKSON: Always.

Thanks, Phil.

Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Thanks again.

Just four days until the government runs out of money. House Speaker Mike Johnson's plan to prevent a government shutdown already facing pushback from some conservatives.

MATTINGLY: And karma is an international headline. That's good writing. Swifties have the world buzzing this morning. Harry Enten, who I naturally associate with Swifties and the world buzzing, will have more.

Stay with us.




TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: Karma takes all my friends to the summit. Karma is the guy on the Chiefs, coming straight home to me.


MATTINGLY: That's right, it's Poppy's favorite part of the show. Taylor Swift with a shout-out last night the entire world is talking about to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, changing the lyrics of her hit song "Karma." Kelce attending Swift's concert in Argentina. He was off this week, guys. Clearly excited to hear the lyric change as apparently was everyone else in the stadium.

Now, after wrapping up, another viral moment, a kiss that essentially broke TikTok, I'm told. I don't have TikTok.

CNN's senior data reporter Harry Enten is naturally the only person we're going to go to on this story.

But I'm kind of fascinated by the answer to the question I'm about to ask you because I was skeptical. You had a good answer. You do. Was there a tangible effect to the lyric change?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I believe that there was a tangible effect. Phil was very skeptical.


ENTEN: And Harry comes with the numbers, whether they're politics or whether it's related to Taylor Swift.

MATTINGLY: Brings the noise.

ENTEN: That's right, and the fun.

The iTunes song chart, Taylor Swift's "Karma," on Saturday on iTunes, pre-Kelce reference, it was 199. Look at we - where we ended up on Sunday, 15. It jumped over 180 places on the iTunes chart merely because Taylor Swift decided to reference her Kansas City Chief lover.

And we see this right here, a big change. I'm going to be interested to see if it goes even higher in the days ahead.

I'll also note, you know, we've been talking about Swift's effect on the Kansas City Chiefs and their viewership.


ENTEN: Well, here's, perhaps, a Swift effect, though Taylor Swift was not at this game. The highest rated NFL game played overseas was last week, Chiefs versus Dolphins game, at 9.6 million. Remember, these are the games that are shown in the morning, the very early morning on the West Coast. Traditionally speaking, they don't have a large viewership, but this is now number one after like 20 years of these broadcasts. So, I think it's related to Taylor Swift.

HARLOW: This is my favorite story of -- I was thinking about it all weekend, preparing for it.


HARLOW: He's actually the one who went through all the slides. What about the Grammy record?

ENTEN: Yes. So another -- as I said, another big weekend for the Swifties, right? Taylor Swift holds the Grammy nomination records for year's best song. She's at seven. I'll note, she's never actually won it, I don't believe. So, this could be the big year for her. Wouldn't it be a big year for the Taylor Swift and the Swifties if she does, in fact, win it?

Year's best album for a female artist, she's now tied with Babs at six. So, you know, when you're - when you're tying Barbara Streisand, you're doing pretty gosh darn good for a female artist.


ENTEN: Last thing I'll note, you know, obviously, we're on the Era's Tour. The top concert films of all time. Look at this -


ENTEN: We're up to now $241 million as of yesterday, beating Justin Bieber, thank God, at $99 million.


I'm much more of a Swiftie than I am a Bieber guy.

MATTINGLY: Didn't he have to like cancel half his tour?

ENTEN: Yes. Maybe.

MATTINGLY: OK. That's - I don't think it's a fair comparison.

ENTEN: No, no, but -

MATTINGLY: Thank you to Taylor Swift for not having a recession in the U.S. economy.

HARLOW: Are you guys done with - are you good? Can I leave you for the rest of this conversation? MATTINGLY: We've got 20 more seconds to hang on with this. I appreciate the "Karma" details, mostly because it's almost as if it was like a marketing play.

ENTEN: You know what, whatever it takes, that's what I say.

MATTINGLY: Harry Enten, my brother, we appreciate you, as always, bud (ph). Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.