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Zeke Cohen is interviewed about the Recovery Efforts in Baltimore; Supreme Court Hears Abortion Pill Ban; Trump Selling Bibles; Trump Slams RFK Jr. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 06:30   ET





Six people are still missing and presumed dead after a container ship collided with Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge and collapsed it. The search and rescue mission transitioning to a recovery mission overnight. Divers ordered out of the water because of dangerous conditions.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): For 47 years, that's all we've known. And so this is a - this is - this is a - not just - not just unprecedented from what we're seeing and what we're looking at today, its heartbreaking.


HUNT: Sometime today investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board expected to board the crippled vessel. They'll be looking for the ship's recording devices.

And there are some new details this morning about the safety record of the MV Dali. It was cited by port officials in Chile last month for a deficiency with its propulsion and auxiliary machinery.

Let's bring in Zeke Cohen. He has a Baltimore city councilman.

Zeke, good morning. Thank you for being here.

What are you hearing from residents this morning? Obviously, we are mourning these six people who gave their lives. There are also significant ramifications for workers in the city of Baltimore as the struggle to get the port back open is underway.

ZEKE COHEN, COUNCILMAN, FIRST DISTRICT BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL: Yes, look, this was an absolutely devastating tragedy and our hearts break for the six victims that presumably lost their lives.

But, here's the thing that people don't always know about Baltimore, is that we are built tough. For as many times as my city gets knocked down, we always find a way back up. Resilience is built into our DNA. And while the national media sees our pain, the thing that I wish you could see is also the love people have for each other here.

And I just want to say, yesterday I received hundreds of texts and calls from constituents just asking how they could help. I wish you all could see how our first responders mobilized within minutes and got to work, or how our communities rallied and praying together. That's Baltimore and that's honestly what I'm seeing on the ground is a city that's been hurt, but is standing together.

HUNT: Yes, I mean, look, that's the Baltimore I know. I've got Orioles orange on. I'm going to be at Camden Yards coming up this weekend. And I know it's going to be a place where the community is going to be celebrating, coming together and talking about that resilience that you are talking about.

What specifically are you looking for from state officials and from federal officials as this recovery continues?

COHEN: Yes, look, this is an all in effort. And what has been so heartening is seeing our president, seen or governor, seeing my mayor, seeing the collaboration that this is going to take all of us working together. We need to rebuild infrastructure in this country. And the thing I know about Baltimore is that we will rebuild.

We do need a massive effort by the federal government. It's exactly what President Biden said yesterday. He is fully committed to supporting our city in this moment of need. But seeing the way that The Guard mobilized, seeing our governor on the ground, look, that's what Baltimore is all about. And again, there is no place that is more resilient than my city.


And I'm just proud of the way community has rallied together, especially on behalf of the folks who may have lost their lives and who were working for our betterment on that bridge.

HUNT: All right, Zeke Cohen for us this morning.

Mr. Councilmember, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

COHEN: Thank you so much for having me.

HUNT: All right, now this.

Abortion rights are back before the Supreme Court for the first time since the justices reversed Roe versus Wade. The court heard oral arguments in the case, which has often been dubbed as the daughter of Dobbs. It could determine whether millions of Americans will be able to access the widely used abortion pill Mifepristone. The majority of the court appeared skeptical of limiting the medication's availability, even questioning whether the doctors who brought the case against the FDA had the ability to do so in the first place.


JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT: Just to confirm on the standing issue: under federal law, no doctors can be forced against their consciences to perform or assist in an abortion, correct?

JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT: This case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide, legislative assembly on an FDA rule or any other federal government action.


HUNT: All right, our panel is back with us now.

Jonah, were you surprised that the conservative justices yesterday seems a little bit resistant on this? I mean they were often making arguments around the standing of the people who brought the case as opposed to focusing on the merits of whether this should be - this - of the claim that they were trying to make.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I actually wasn't. I mean, I think the coverage of the conservatives on the court and the - and in most Trump - most Trump appointed judges falls into too much of a sort of - of a partisan expectations game.

The - going into this there were a lot of legal experts that said that the standing issue is the thorny and complicated one. And I personally think the case has been a little exaggerated in its importance. worst- case scenario, which I don't think is going to happen, is it would revert back to what the rules were in the last year of the Obama administration, which is not exactly as earth-shattering as some of the Democratic fundraising emails make it sound.

HUNT: Is it earth-shattering? Yes, jump in, Ashley. You're laughing about it a little bit.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I think that this is just an extension of the Dobbs decision to the - to your intro saying that the daughter of Dobbs.

Look, this - I - I will say this all the time, Mifepristone has been around since 2000. And I am now 41. And I graduated high school in 2000. That's how long this drug has been around, to give you some perspective, in terms of what the FDA rule has said in terms of its safety.

Some of the arguments is that it's not safe for women to use, which is just not the case. And many women do use this as a form of abortion because it is safe, because it is accessible.

In a world where we don't have the constitutional right and bodily autonomy over anymore, this step is just another overreach. If they rule that this is not a drug that should be accessible to people, that will well animate the base, will - to - Jonah, I mean, I hear you in saying that like the partisanship of the court, but will play into the concern if this - if this drug is outlawed, will play into the concern of the over partisan nature of the Supreme Court because of how the court has now been formed, because three of the justices on the Supreme Court are Trump appointed justices.

If the Supreme Court, I think, follows the law - the other question is like, the FDA is the body that is supposed to be making these decisions.

HUNT: Right.

ALLISON: And so they've done it. There is no real standing in terms of the doctors that are saying, like, we don't want to have to - we don't want to have to deal with the aftermath of taking this pill. And the - the court doesn't seem to buy that argument.

So, I'm concerned about this. I think it is an overreach. I think it is part of what folks have been saying is a collateral consequence of overturning Roe and can have not just political consequences, but really health consequences for women to have reproductive access.

HUNT: Yes. Well, I mean, and, David Frum, I will also just say that this drug is - has become widely used. It is not just used for abortion, it is used in women's health care for people who are suffering miscarriages, for people who are grappling with what's going to be a stillborn baby. And if they were to move forward with this, I mean, I would honestly put it in the - there are all of these unintended consequences of the fall of Roe versus Wade that we are seeing play out one at a time. This is going to make a lot of decisions for women who are grappling with what to do even when they want to have a baby, their options are going to be more limited if they make a move on this.

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": On the set of one of the early "Star Wars" movies, George Lucas handed pages of really clunky script to Harrison Ford, who (INAUDIBLE) the story said, George, you can type this stuff - he didn't say stuff - you can type of stuff, but I can't say it. So, I think you can write a lot of articles about the impact of - about Roe versus Wade, about human life amendments.


But the unfold - but you can't say it because one - as you unfold the consequences of the degree of surveillance of women that you have to impose in order to take these ideas seriously, I think the courts and every other institution in American society is going to say, well, wait a minute, we didn't mean you had - that a young woman had to have a doctor's note in order to cross state lines. We don't mean - we didn't mean to ban in vitro fertilization.

HUNT: Whoops.

FRUM: We didn't understand what we were doing there because you can type this stuff but you can't say it. That's the problem that the courts and many other institutions in American life are having. They are now having to read aloud a script that was written for them and it's clunky. HUNT: I have to say, I am a huge "Star Wars" fan. I find it very rare

I can get "Star Wars" and politics to actually go together. So, props to you for that. I actually didn't know that story about Harrison Ford. I should have.

All right, coming up next here, how Donald Trump hopes to make America pray again. But there's a price.

Plus, the NFL giving the boring old kickoff the boot.



HUNT: All right, 44 minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup.

Hunter Biden's lawyers due in an LA courtroom today to fight federal tax charges. The president's son pleading not guilty to nine alleged tax offenses.

Sean "Diddy" Combs' lawyer calling the raids on his homes - the entertainer's homes this week, "a gross overuse of military-level force." Homeland Security agents conducted the raids as part of a human trafficking investigation.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating TikTok. It could sue the company for allegedly failing to notify parents and obtain consent before collecting data from children under 13.

And new kickoff rules for the NFL. The kicker will still boot it from his 35-yard line, but his ten teammates will line up at the receiving team's 40 yard line. The hope is to cut down on injuries from high- speed collisions. See what that looks like.

All right, now there's this, which is really the one that everyone at this table is talking about this morning, former president turned Bible salesman?


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All Americans need a Bible in their home. And I have many. It's my favorite book.

I'm proud to endorse and encourage you to get this Bible. We must make America pray again.


HUNT: Make America pray again.

After launching sneaker and cologne lines last month, the former president - OK, so he is selling - this is -- get this, the God Bless the USA Bible. That's in partnership with country singer Lee Greenwood. He takes the stage to Greenwood's music. It's only $59.99. And just for that you get a copy of the Constitution, a copy of the Bill of Rights, a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Bible, I guess.

Just a reminder, this is the man who once said this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two Corinthians 3:17. That's the whole ballgame. Where the spirit of the Lord - right -- where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

HUNT: Jonah, can you please remind me what is 2 Corinthians.

GOLDBERG: Well, actually, my favorite example of this, when he was asked what his favorite Bible verse was. He was, well, first of all there's so many, I couldn't pick just one.

HUNT: There are. There are so many Bible versus.

GOLDBERG: And then he settled on, an eye for an eye, which I just thought was so great.

Look, I mean, in fairness, whether you - I think a lot of people who really passionately disliked Trump are praying again too given the state of things.

But, no, this is - this is - this is the life we've chosen. Someone made a bad wish with a monkey ball (ph) a while ago an this is the life we have now.

FRUM: It is - it is a remarkable glimpse of the path we could have been on that if the Electoral College had bounced slightly differently in 2016. Donald Trump would have been a TV pitch man for the past decade and he would be selling reversible mortgages, dietary supplements.

It does - it is a reminder, however, of how fraudulent all the claims about his wealth are. These are not the actions of very wealthy people. Very wealthy people are living on the interest upon the interests of their municipal bonds. They do not need to go on TV and sell Bibles to credulous supporters.

By the way, the Bible, of course, is available in almost every translation you could want for free online. You can read it every day for nothing.

HUNT: Ashley, do you want to weigh in here?

ALLISON: Not particularly, but I will.

I guess, you know, to take a slightly more serious tone on this is, this is a preview again of how Trump sees the way he wants to rule the world and - through an authoritative theology, which is one way, which is, as, I'm a Christian, but, you know, the Bible is the route in which we are going to govern this country, even though this country was founded on the separation of church and state.

And so it's funny, and yet it's not because it is a tell that if he wins in November and becomes president, he could not just say, like, I'm selling Bibles, but I'm mandating that in our schools everyone has a Bible. In these institutions everyone has a Bible. And that's not what America's about. There are people from all different faiths. And that's the beauty of this patchwork cloth that we have that Donald Trump doesn't really seem to appreciate in this ever.

HUNT: Well, I mean, and, Jonah, pulling together, to Ashley's excellent point, the founding documents of the country into the Bible - I mean they're - the separation of church and state was a founding ideal for a country that was breaking away from Britain and those documents that the founders wrote reflected that. To kind of put them together and then hawk it does - I mean -

GOLDBERG: Yes, but it - you know, it's - but it's a great value in a bundle. And, you know, and they're all public domain now, so they can get them really cheap for printing purposes.

But, no, look, I mean, look, I don't think at all truly that Donald Trump wants to impose a theocracy. I think there are a bunch of people in his orbit who do, right?


GOLDBERG: There are people who - I mean Donald Trump, you know, we talked about going to communion. He says, when they give me my little cracker, I mean like this is a guy who's not religiously literate in the slightest.


But the people who are most invested in him, surrounding him and want to fill the federal bureaucracy, they actually take this theocracy stuff very seriously. And I do think that this mixing - it really is an interesting mix of God and man (ph), isn't it, that were seeing? And I think, to your point, I think that's - that's where the real threat is if you're concerned about that kind of thing.

FRUM: Well, he is going -- he is engaged in one scam after another. The - I think we're on these two clocks. One is the election clock and one is the bankruptcy clock. I guess there's the third clock, which is the criminal clock. That probably won't have time to operate before the election. But the bankruptcy clock does. And I think when - the most serious thing he's engaged in is this effort to loft (ph) the shares of his media company Truth Social. You know -

HUNT: I was going to say, currently bankruptcy but, yes, that was the other thing that unfolded yesterday.

FRUM: Yes, it just - it smells terrible. It smells terrible.


FRUM: I personally, I don't know. GOLDBERG: He's got a cologne now, though. So, like, it could cover it up.

FRUM: Right.

HUNT: He had cologne - I had his cologne when I went and covered his announcement at Trump Tower in 2015. So, this is a long-standing thing.

FRUM: Yes. But I think - I think the - the others are funny. I think with the media company, I think we're going to find it's not just credulous meme stock buyers. I think we're going to find much more serious, SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission stuff going on to drive the price in this way. And so there may be yet another round of investigations from this latest attempt for him to make some - some serious money to recoup the fortune he inherited from his father and then dissipated.

ALLISON: You know, I will - I think one thing that I could - two things I bet Donald Trump will say if the Bible sells don't go, why aren't people buying it? You know, they asked me what to put in the Bible. That will be one claim that he makes. And I helped write this thing. Like, that's the kind of fraudulent behavior that this - this exhibits to me. And he's just willing to say whatever he can to seem like he's the center of the story, even when we know it's so extreme.

HUNT: And on that Truth Social thing. I mean, I do think for a lot of regular people, this idea that you could just, you know, push a button and generate this vast amount of wealth kind of overnight for something that, you know, most people are not familiar with, I do think maybe cuts in an interesting way.

I did want to bring these into the conversation. Donald Trump did seem to have a late night last night. We're kind of wondering when he actually got any sleep. The former president posted a series of new attacks on his platform, Truth Social, in the middle of the night. He attacked NBC after the network dropped former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel as a paid political analyst. He wrote it 12:30 a.m. that NBC is filled with degenerates and that McDaniel, the niece of Senator Mitt Romney, should have changed her name back to Romney when she signed with NBC.

And then around 2:00 a.m. Trump came after RFK Jr., which I think is very interesting politically. RFK Jr. announced his vice presidential pick for his independent presidential bid yesterday. So, Trump called Kennedy the most radical left Democrat in the race.

So, I want to show you a couple of things here that we saw play out yesterday. One was - because I am very interested and I want to dig into this idea that Trump apparently is threatened by RFK JR. Here was Shanahan, his VP pick, very wealthy woman, which I think is an important thing to remember here, onstage at the RFK Jr. rally yesterday.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICOLE SHANAHAN (I), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Conditions like autism used to be one in 10,000. Now here, in the state of California, it is one in 22. One in 22 children affected. Allergies, obesity, anxiety, depression. Our children are not well. Our people are not well. And our country will not be well for very much longer if we don't heed this desperate call for attention.

There is only one candidate I have met for president who takes the chronic disease epidemic seriously. It is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And I will be his ally in making our nation healthy again.


HUNT: I will be his ally in making our nation healthy again.

I would just like to remind everyone what that looks like for RFK Jr., who I spoke to earlier this year.

Watch our interview.


HUNT: You have gained notoriety for your skepticism about vaccines. And over the summer in an interview you said, quote, "there's no vaccine that is, you know, safe and effective." Do you still believe that?


HUNT: So -- stop me. We have the clip. Please play the clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you name any vaccines that you think are good?

KENNEDY: I think some of the live virus vaccines are probably - so averting more problems than they're causing. There's no vaccine that is, you know, safe and effective.

HUNT: So, you did say it?


HUNT: He did say it. He did say it. RFK Jr. did say there is no vaccine that is safe and effective.

Jonah Goldberg, Trump clearly now is seeing some sort of threat here from RFK Jr. Democrats have already recognized he could be a threat to President Biden. What do you see in the politics of all of this, in RFK's bid, and what danger, or not, that poses to the country?


GOLDBERG: Yes, look, it's - it's - it - given how, what is it, five max, seven states are going to decide this election and the margins are so tight and were so tight in 2020, so tight in 2016, in terms of the Electoral College at least, it's very hard to game out, right? In 2020, only 2 percent of the vote went to third parties. Kennedy can lose his support by half and would still be a major multiple of that.

HUNT: Yes.

GOLDBERG: So that - that - and the anti-vax stuff, it cuts across parts of the Biden coalition and the Trump coalition in ways that make it just very hard to predict, but it's going to matter.

HUNT: Yes.

ALLISON: I mean this is dangerous, I think, for our country. One, because it's talking about making - we do want a healthier country, but it's not by banning vaccines are questioning vaccine, particularly coming off of a pandemic were just in this country you lost millions of people.

I think the other - to Jonah's point, it is - he is able to put together this unique folk - configuration of people, some who voted for Biden in 2020 but now are going to vote for him, and some who were Trump folks, then some people who were just like, I'm not going to vote for anybody if it's not a third party. And so any -- 10,000 votes in any one of these battlegrounds is problematic.

HUNT: Yes.

ALLISON: The other thing that Shanahan said that was interesting was that, her whole purpose right now is to get him on the ballots because right now RFK Jr.'s strategy is not - he's not on all - in - on the ballot in all the states. And so that is not a pathway to win to get to 270.

So, if you aren't on all the state ballots and you can't actually get to 270, what are you doing in this race other than playing a spoiler?

FRUM: Three things that people should perhaps keep in mind as they want to gauge the impact and importance of this candidacy. The first is that Robert Kennedy Jr. and Donald Trump are longtime personal friends and allies. At the beginning of Trump's administration, he appointed RFK Jr. to a vaccine commission, which is like -

HUNT: Oh, gosh, I had almost forgotten about that. Yes.

FRUM: Yes, it was an incredible thing, that America's leading pro- polio, pro-measles advocate, put him on a commission that is supposed to deal with vaccines. That's the first thing.

The second thing to remember is that the finance - the fundraising for the Robert Kennedy campaign has been in the super PAC. And while Kennedy is a kind of ideological wildcard, the people running his super PAC are clear Republicans. That's where the money is coming from, and that's who's going to be in control of that money. So, whatever RFK Jr. says in his speeches, the ads from the Bobby Kennedy super PAC are going to attack Biden. They are going to be pro-Trump ads. People say he cuts against Trump, but his money will cut against Biden.

And the last thing to remember is that Kennedy has made many, many millions of dollars out of his pro-polio, pro-measles advocacy. So, yes, there may be an element of delusion here, but there's also an element of operational savvy to some very bad ends. But he is - he is not the sucker at the table. The people listening to him are the suckers at the table.

HUNT: Yes.

Jonah, the other attacks that Trump leveled overnight were at Ronna McDaniel and at NBC News. What is your - honestly, I was wondering last night when I - you know, as I was thinking about your coming on the show, you and David, what your view is of how things played out with Ronna McDaniel, and what Trump had to say about her as well. I mean the journalists at NBC have obviously said this is - Ronna was someone that attack them, Trump now, of course, taking more shots.

GOLDBERG: Yes. I think NBC handled this about as poorly as it could. I don't think she should have been hired. I think the way she was fired is problematic for them. I think that there are a lot of my friends on the right who want to just do a lot of what about ism? You know, MSNBC is Jen Psaki and George Stephanopoulos was an aid. And I think, to a certain extent, those complaints are valid.

The problem going back to like the John Eastman stuff is that she was part of an essentially, you know, an attack on the Constitution and elections, and that should come at a certain price. So, the - they got into this mess by hiring her. They thought it was going to give her access or give her a pro coup voice or something. And I think that was a huge mistake. But then firing her just made the problems even worse for NBC.

FRUM: I - you have to ask when you put people on TV, why are you doing it? Who are they speaking for? Are you hearing what that person thinks? Does that person make phone calls for any reason before they go on TV, for any reason other than to gather information? Are they being directed in some way? What you ask - the reason we have conversations like this is because you think at some level you're hearing from people, what they sincerely inwardly believe, and will say, without regard to any other constituency or pressure upon them. And if you don't have that feeling about somebody, really, why are they there? Just quote the press release.

HUNT: All right, this has been a great conversation. Thank you all very much for being here.

I will leave you with this.

In times of tragedy and heartbreak, it's always amazing to see real community. People showing up for one another, making sacrifices to help other people, both physically and emotionally. And we are seeing that in Baltimore.



MOORE: I have seen classic examples of what it means to be Maryland tough. And I've seen classic example of what it means to be Baltimore strong. I have seen a community rally. I have seen us overwhelmed with the amount of calls from philanthropist and the private sector wanting to come in and support. We even had, you know, sandwich shops that closed to the public so they could make food for first responders.

We've watched a community rally. We've watched a community that takes care of each other. We've seen a state that truly shows what it means to be Maryland tough.


HUNT: I'm going to be in Baltimore this weekend and I know that's what I'm going to see at Camden Yards and across the city.

Thanks very much to all of you for joining us this morning. I'm Kasie Hunt.

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