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Crime Is A Key Issue In Many Candidates' Final Pitch; DOJ Asks Judge To Force Trump White House Lawyers To Testify In January 6 Probe; GOP Grapples With Trump's Election Conspiracies Amid Midterms; NYT: Alito Assured Ted Kennedy In 2005 That He Respected Roe v. Wade, Diary Says; Woman Sues L'Oreal And Claims Its Hair Straightening Products "Directly" Caused Her Uterine Cancer. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 25, 2022 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Two weeks from tonight, polls will be closing in key battleground states, which means the candidates have just 13 days to make their final pitch to voters. And an issue that we will likely hear a lot about -- we are already hearing about -- is crime.

So, there is a lot to discuss with our CNN political commentators. We have Scott Jennings, Karen Finney, and senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Great to have you, guys, here.

Let's start with the Senate debate, the John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz debate that just happened tonight. And, of course, crime came up. It has been a big issue in that race. So, let's hear their exchange.


JOHN FETTERMAN, PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm the only person on the stage right now that has been successful about pushing back against gun violence and being the community more safe. You know, all he has done is just put a plan up on his website in the last 24 hours. He has no experience. He has never made any attempt to try to address crime.

MEHMET OZ, PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: The Fraternal Order of Police from Braddock, the small town he represented, endorsed me, they supported me because what he's saying is not true. Violent skyrocketed in Braddock. I mean, the town wasn't in a good shape when John got there. It got worse when he was there.


CAMEROTA: Okay, Scott, how about it?


CAMEROTA: I know you are chomping at the bit. SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I mean, I thought this was an important exchange because it has become one of the central issues in the campaign and it's one of Fetterman's biggest weak points.

I mean, his personal record on the parole board, his statements about letting people out of jail, trying to empty the jails one-third of people, I mean, this has become the real reason that Republicans have been able to reel in this race and make it essentially a tight race.

Overall, tonight, I will just tell you, apart from this topic, I thought this was the unraveling of one of the biggest scandals going on in this midterm cycle, the covering up and the lying about the status of John Fetterman. We were told, oh, he mushes words together. And if he has this accommodation, it's just a hearing problem. They have not been honest with people from the minute this happened, way back in the primary.

They pushed this debate off as far as they could. It all came out tonight. There is no way to have watched this thing and analyzed it and said, this is fine. No way.

CAMEROTA: Well, Karen, I know that you feel differently because you've had some personal experience with this. And it wasn't just -- I don't think that they ever said, oh, he mushes words together. They said he has auditory processing issues, and he was going to be using close captioning.


JENNINGS: Wait, they didn't say it. He said it. It was in his opening statement. He said, oh, I mush words together. That's what he said.

CAMEROTA: I mean leading up to this.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He has also previously said -- they have explained a little bit more. Healing is not linear, Scott. I'm here to tell you. Nine months ago, I couldn't drink a sip of water. And look at me now. My doctor said to me, you'll never have your voice back.

CAMEROTA: And that's because you had a brain tumor?

FINNEY: I had a brain tumor, I had it removed, and my left vocal cord is paralyzed. Somehow, my body found a way. So, I think it's hard when we are talking about medical situations to say, they are lying! You don't know. And that's part of the problem. We don't know. And part of it is we don't know because healing is not linear. The human body is amazing.

Now, what I will say is, it was tough to watch. I mean, he had a few moments where he clearly got his hits in. On crime, I wish he would say, I will not be lectured to by a Republican Party that defends January 6th, that voted against putting more cops on the street, like I wish more of my Democrats would get a little more fierce on that topic.

But I also think, you know, Mehmet Oz, he has a few floods himself. I mean, he -- basically, he walked right into the reproductive freedom talking point. I don't want local government in the exam room with me when I'm trying to decide my personal health care business.

So, I don't disagree that it was -- you know, I probably wouldn't have done it. If I was working for Fetterman, I probably would have said, let's just take the hit and not do it.

COATES: Not debate at all?

FINNEY: Not debate at all.


FINNEY: Because from what I understand, he was not good in debates in the primary. So, if it is already something you are not good at, particularly when you are healing and it is so hard -- I can't tell you how hard it was just to try to -- you are so self-conscious that anything you say, any word you miss, people are going to be looking at you like, does she understand what I'm saying? In my brain, I was thinking, I know exactly what you are saying. Saying it louder is not going to actually help me spit it back out to you faster.

CAMEROTA: That's frustrating.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, if we are talking about the debate overall and not just crime, I think it's very hard for anybody to watch that and not have questions about whether he is capable of doing the job today, right? But there are, I think, offsetting factors.


The question will be, how much today count? One is he is saying he's getting better, as you were saying. I mean, what his capacity is today may not be his capacity in the spring or summer of 2023.

The second issue is that for a lot of voters, the individual matters much less than it used to. In the Senate, they are voting for which party they want in control, whether they want Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer to be deciding what is voted on.

There are certainly other candidates in the country who obviously do not have these physical issues but you can kind of look at their command of the issues and say, is this person ready to be a senator?

COATES: Do you mean Georgia?

BROWNSTEIN: That might be one. But there are a lot of voters for whom that really -- the ability of the individual is secondary. Having said that, I do not think that people could watch that and come away with a feeling that yes, he is fully capable today of doing this job. The question is, how many voters (INAUDIBLE)? COATES: Before you do, he has an auditory processing issue. He did release a letter from his doctor last week in a way to put a potential end to the conversation where a medical professional described what any shortcomings he has, and he did not describe them as a cognitive issue whatsoever.

So, we want to be very careful when we are talking about one's capacity and capability to do the job as if it translates immediately to one's cognitive understanding. I don't know that's to be the case. Having said that, I don't know, I don't know if voters who are looking at the power dynamic that you speak of, Ron, will appreciate the nuance.

JENNINGS: I think somebody who appreciated this in the moment and reported on it and was saddened -- we ought to talk about it tonight because we talked about her on the show a few nights ago -- is the journalist, Dasha Burns, who interviewed Fetterman and said he has trouble in small talk. He did not seem to be processing what we were talking about.

The savagery from the Fetterman campaign, from Fetterman's wife, from other journalists, from media outlets, she said she should've been fired. His wife said she should be fired and face consequences for what we now know was reporting the truth. Everybody owes her an apology for the way she was treated. We know tonight that everybody has been trying to slough this off like it's no big deal. It is a huge deal. I don't care what -- his doctor, if that guy was my doctor and he told me I was going to be all right, I would get a second opinion. It is ridiculous.

CAMEROTA: Well, look, I think one of the larger issues, regardless of whether or not, you know, John Fetterman is up to the task, is that crime is being used, obviously, in so many different races and seen, as we learned, in the voter panel that we had on last week.

Democrats and republicans both see crime, but they see it very differently. And so, Republicans, I think, see crime as street crime. Street crime is up, you are afraid to ride the subway. Democrats that we talk to see crime as access to weapons and school shootings and mass shootings, things like that. It is just an interesting --

BROWNSTEIN: We saw that in the other debates tonight and the governor debate in Michigan, that the key exchange was about gun violence, particularly in schools, with Governor Whitmer really pushing Tudor Dixon, and in New York as well.

You know, I wrote a piece last week on a study by seven academics that looked at the murder rates in all of the major cities in the country and found that since 2016, they had actually increased slightly faster in the cities with traditional hardline prosecutors than in the cities with the progressive prosecutors who are implementing many of the policies that are under attack in these campaigns like eliminating cash bail, prosecuting juveniles as adult.

That does not mean that their policies were necessarily reducing crime, but it also kind of, you know, blows up the idea that it is systematically increasing.

JENNINGS: Ron, who commits murders and violent acts in this country? You know, the number one predictor is if you have committed one before.


JENNINGS: And the people who commit violent crimes in this country are the people who are out of jail after having committed them in the first place.


COATES: You do not think that?

BROWNSTEIN: I do think that.

COATES: You're talking of real prosecutor. Do you really think that recidivism is the only methodology with the way people commit crime?

JENNINGS: Most of the murders in this country are committed by people who have committed previous violent acts. Why are they out of jail?


COATES: Do you believe in universal life sentence?

JENNINGS: I believe in keeping violent people in jail.

COATES: But your comment was that the idea to stop crime is to make sure people who you believe have committed crimes before should never be let out of prison. You believe in universal life sentence? That can't possibly be logical.

JENNINGS: I believe that if you are a violent person and you have murdered and raped and killed and done the most heinous acts and you are somehow finding yourself walking around on the street, I want to know why -- if I live in one these cities, and I do live in one, Louisville, Kentucky.


JENNINGS: Why is that?


Some dude walked up mine. Two people in Louisville this week randomly slit the throat of two tourists in downtown Louisville. Why are people out walking around?


COATES: The horror you described --

JENNINGS: I am channeling the average voter who doesn't feel safe --

CAMEROTA: I know you are.

JENNINGS: -- walking outside.

CAMEROTA: You know, we have an interesting statistic just today that just said, like, what are the crime statistics? We hear so much about it. What are they? Here are some of the top cities. So, Philadelphia, homicides, violent crime are down 5.8% over last year, but robberies and street crimes are up. Okay? Atlanta, homicides, no change, robbery is down. Milwaukee, homicides up, robbery down. New York, homicides down 14.3%, robberies up 33.3%.

My point is that this is the evergreen bogeyman because everybody can relate to not wanting to be the victim of a crime, but the stats tell a little bit of a different story, that violent crimes --

COATES: Ron, in the story, you compare a study that has a so-called progressive prosecutor versus one that does not. It's not actually what is happening.

BROWNSTEIN: I mean, what causes crime to rise and fall is so complex and multifaceted. And the idea that decisions of a prosecutor -- I mean, this is not me. These are the criminologists who did this report. What they found was that the decisions of prosecutors, who are pursuing the kind of policies that are under attack in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and elsewhere, simply do not have a significant impact on the crime.

The murder rate increased more quickly in cities with hardline prosecutors than with progressive prosecutors. The larceny and burglary rates were almost identical.

There are a lot of things because crime is up from the low point of around 2014. It is still way below what it was in the 1990s. It has actually plateaued in 2022 after having a big increase during the pandemic years when all sorts of social relations and communities who are disrupted.

But the evidence does not support the idea that one approach to prosecution is systematically better at holding down crime rates than another.

FINNEY: And also, the policies that we are talking about, we are not talking about putting violent criminals back on the street --

JENNINGS: Fetterman is. He's talking about letting murderers out of jail.

COATES: Let her finish.

FINNEY: We are talking about -- again, you heard me say this before, there are over 500,000 people who are in jail for petty crimes because they can't afford bail. Those aren't just Black and white people. Those are poor people.

That is what -- we're talking about progressive prosecutors in some of these policies. However, Scott, you know, this is exactly the talking point that we are seeing on the campaign trail every day, demagoguing what is happening with crime. The statistics are telling a slightly different story. And again, why is it that the Republicans voted against putting more police on the streets?

JENNINGS: No one believes that the Republicans are against the police. I'm sorry. In this election --

FINNEY: Really? They said defund the FBI and --

JENNINGS: Who invented the term defund the police? The Democrats.


COATES: But you know what? I want to play the top Democrat in the country, Joe Biden. The president did say that he does not adhere to that principle. And the predecessor, Democrat, Barack Obama, similarly said the same thing about not wanting to defund the police. Let's play the soundbite. We are talking about the New York governor's race between Hochul and Zeldin on their point on crime.


KATHY HOCHUL, NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANIDATE: There is no crime fighting plan if it doesn't include guns, illegal guns. And you refused to talk about how we can do so much more. You didn't even show up for votes in Washington when a bipartisan group of enlighten legislators voted for an assault weapons ban.

We lost another child and a teacher yesterday in St. Louis because people will not support what I was able to get done here in New York and that is a ban on assault weapons for teenagers. You can't even do that.

LEE ZELDIN, NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Kathy Hochul believes that the only crimes that are being committed are these crimes with guns. You have people who are afraid of being pushed in front of oncoming subway cars. They are being stabbed, beaten to death on the street with hammer. We need to be talking about all these other crimes.

But instead, Kathy Hochul is too busy patting herself on the back job well done. No. Actually, right now, there should be a special session. The state legislature should come back and they should overhaul cash as bail and these other pro-criminal laws with zero tolerance.


CAMEROTA: There you have it. That just perfectly encapsulates the debate between Democrats and Republicans.

BROWNSTEIN: It has kind of gone out of fashion but it reminded me listening to that of when E.J. Dionne way back when talking about false choices, and then you have the 1994 crime bill which said you didn't really have to choose, you could spend -- you could hire more police, you could spend more money on prevention, and you could ban assault weapons. They did all of that then. The debate essentially -- FINNEY: (INAUDIBLE) problems with crime.

BROWNSTEIN: I understand. I understand. I understand.

JENNINGS: You haven't heard. It is out of Vogue now.

BROWNSTEIN: I understand. I did say it was out of Vogue now.

CAMEROTA: But the assault weapons ban worked. It worked.


BROWNSTEIN: And look, I mean, there is nothing incompatible about saying that you want more policing, more respect for the community from the police, and more restrictions on access to gun. I mean, those should not be incompatible positions. It is very hard to get there in the way that politics now flourish (ph).

JENNINGS: Here is what voters see. If you live in Pennsylvania, you are looking at a new story on your local news right now that Wawa, the convenience store --

CAMEROTA: Oh, I know --

JENNINGS: -- I think closed two locations in Philadelphia because it is too violent to keep them open. You literally can't keep open a convenient story. So, I understand your academic lecture about prosecutorial policy, but what voters see and what they hear and what they know is that they live in Philadelphia, they live in a violent place where you can't even go to a convenience store.

And Fetterman's record on this was fair game. I thought Oz prosecuted it well. I think it is why Zeldin has closed the gap in New York, because people inherently want to be safe. It is not partisan.

COATES: Well, I tell you, while we are having this conversation, it would be remiss if we didn't mention, as we are talking about the greater society and being afraid to go in convenient stores, a 15- year-old girl was gunned down in her school in St. Louis, a teacher as well. Alexandria Bell, just 15 years old, and her teacher in the school, Jean Kuczka, 61 years old. So, as we are talking about --

CAMEROTA: By yet another troubled 19-year-old young man who got his hands on an AR-15.

COATES: The reason I bring this up is it goes back to the point that you raised and, of course, just thinking about the life that has been lost, this sweet little girl and a teacher as well, is that when Republicans are talking about crime in the way that you are speaking, about homicide and about crime and society, and you've got Democrats talking about gun control and access to weapons, where are people safe?

We want to have you all weigh in on these comments as well and to join the conversation. What and will the crime be the big issue for voters on election day? It certainly is at this table. And what about the Fetterman-Oz debates tonight? How did you see it? Tweet us at @thelauracoates and @alisyncamerota.




COATES: We've got CNN exclusive reporting tonight. The DOJ trying to push further into the former president inner circle. They are now asking a federal judge to force two top lawyers -- that is the key word here -- from the Trump White House, Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, to testify about conversations they had with the former president. That amid a secret court fight Trump has been waging to block former advisers from testifying in front of the federal grand jury investigating January 6th.

Back with us now to discuss, Scott Jennings, Karen Finney, and Ron Brownstein. You know, as we are talking about the greater issue of democracy in peril, the president now is saying, of course, that democracy is on the ballot. We know that abortion is on the ballot, crime is on the ballot and a number of issues.

When you hear about this and think about the reporting that there is still an interest by DOJ in particular to try to get the testimony surrounding January 6th, is there still the electoral appetite, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, inflation is 9%, president's approval rating is at 40%. In that climate, it is going to be tough for the party in power. One of the reasons that they are still in the game, Democrats are still in the game at least for controlling the Senate is because, in fact, over the summer, they were able to energize and activate their voters around issues, including the preserving of democracy as well as abortion.

Does that completely erase all the other factors that are out there? Obviously not. But it is a mistake to say that that is not a factor also in itself.

Clearly, one of the reasons I think Democrats have been able to close, not eliminate, but reduce the enthusiasm gap and also hold on to so many white-collar voters who are also facing inflation and lowering 401(K) is because there is a genuine concern about what the Trump movement means for the future of American democracy. Not necessarily a majority voting proposition, you know, because people are worried about other things, but it is a factor in allowing them to at least stay in the game.

CAMEROTA: But this is new (INAUDIBLE) for the DOJ. They are just doing their investigation. They're not supposed to factor in what the voters. They are just pressing on with their investigation. It is taking a while.

FINNEY: It is taking a while. I think that is exactly the point. That is what Donald Trump does oh so well when it comes to litigation. How do you stretch this out? I would imagine that part of their strategy, get it past election day. He is hoping for a more favorable Congress who will look out for him, who will attack Joe Biden.

I've served in a White House that was under siege, and they do not have the same amount of time and energy to fight on some of the other fronts. I imagine that is part of the strategy.

COATES: Maybe we should ask Jon Stewart to try to hone in.


COATES: Have you seen this clip that is going around about him -- watch this. Tell me if you think that he should be part of the team to quicken things up.


MARK BRNOVICH, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Donald Trump lost Arizona, period. I've said that from the very beginning. There have been isolated incidences thus far that we have identified --


BRNOVICH: -- and we are prosecuting.


BRNOVICH: We still have some active investigations going on. But people can draw their own conclusions --

STEWART: People cannot draw their own conclusions. That is the point of the law.


STEWART: The law is that you have facts --


STEWART: -- and you have fiction.


STEWART: The fact is the election in Arizona was well run, not fraudulent, and not stolen from Donald Trump, according to even your investigation.

BRNOVICH: I have never said --

STEWART: Why is it so hard to just say yes to that?

BRNOVICH: I guess because I spent my entire -- most of my career as a prosecutor, and we still have some ongoing cases --


STEWART: So, in your mind, you still feel like, after all of this, you are going to discover -- BRNOVICH: No.

STEWART: -- a concerted effort to steal the election from Donald Trump and that it was fraudulent. Is that what you are saying?

BRNOVICH: No, that is not what I am saying.

STEWART: So, why can't you say the election in 2020 was not stolen or fraudulent?

BRNOVICH: I will tell you this. As I said --

STEWART: This is blowing my mind.


COATES: I'm a prosecutor and I say yes or no.


COATES: I mean, I can do it.

CAMEROTA: Here's where I think, Scott, it always comes down to. They say isolated incidents. That wouldn't change anything That doesn't mean that the whole election is fraudulent. But that's what they hang their head on. They're isolated incidents. They are still investigating, so I can't say it. Why? It won't change anything.

You know that Donald Trump didn't win the state. But they can't say that. I hear this all the time from people in the states. They cling to the isolated incidents as though that is going to tip the balance or something.

JENNINGS: Yeah. I mean, he is obviously responding to constituents. I mean, he is hearing from people. He feels like he has got to be responsive to them.

I guess he wanted to put this in a -- you know, a silver lining around this is that if a prosecutor like this guy who acknowledged at the beginning of the interview that Donald Trump did not win Arizona, he said that right out of the gate, I guess, over time, he just continues to fail to find any evidence of something happening.

CAMEROTA: Scott, it's been a couple years.

JENNINGS: Eventually, you know, maybe people will say, okay, I guess there wasn't. But that is --

CAMEROTA: That doesn't seem to be happening, no.

JENNINGS: But the issue is there is a group of people who no matter what they told are going to continue to believe this. And Trump relies on that group to maintain his status.

FINNEY: That clip is why Americans are worried about democracy. That's what that clip says. Because that pretzel logic of, why can't you just say -- and actually, "The Washington Post" just did a report on this. In three years, 20 cases. And in those 20 cases, it's like a couple people, some people voted --


FINNEY: So, I mean, that's the thing. The other thing that is so fascinating is, the fact that he has been investigating has actually created more conspiracy theories and less certainty about the voting in Arizona.

BROWNSTEIN: I don't know if Jon Stewart -- I didn't see the whole interview. I don't know if he asked him this. But the real question to asked Mark Brnovich is not looking back, is looking forward.

Today, there are people with automatic weapons in tactical gear hiding their license plates, sitting outside of drop boxes in Arizona, intimidating people, dropping off their ballots. And what that says is that -- this is almost like one of those movies where the contagion has escaped the lab. Whether or not they prosecute Donald Trump, ultimately, the election denial and the corollary of that, efforts to intimidate voters or to make it harder to vote, has spread broadly within the party.

We are talking about full-scale conspiracy theorists who might in fact get elected as secretary of state in Arizona and Nevada in a climate where voters are dissatisfied with the party in power.

The extent of this threat now goes so far beyond Trump. It has so infected so much of the Republican Party. So many officials feel that they have to bend to that group which is not an incidental part of the coalition.

We are talking about two-thirds to three quarters of Republicans saying that the election was stolen. That's not just an attitude that looks back. It's an attitude that shapes what is coming next. We are all gearing up for this crisis in 2024. You look at a state like Arizona, the wolf is at the door.


BROWNSTEIN: The crisis is here now. There's a question from him to the attorney general of the U.S., Merrick Garland, what are they going to do to protect voters' rights in this climate?

COATES: That's public (ph) if you can keep it, right?

CAMEROTA: Thank you all. We have a few more questions for you because, did Samuel Alito, the justice who wrote the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, assure late Senator Ted Kennedy that he respected the legal precedent in the Roe decision? If I heard that somewhere else -- so, we are going to now know what Kennedy wrote in his diary and how other justices seem to have echoed some of that. That is next.




CAMEROTA: In 2005, then Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito told Senator Ted Kennedy that he respected Roe versus Wade and that he believed a right to privacy was -- quote -- "settled law." This is according to entries in the late senator's diary and published in "The New York Times."

Alito is quoted as saying, I believe that there is a right to privacy. I think it is settled as part of a liberty clause in the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. So, I recognize there is a right to privacy. I am a believer in precedents. I think on the Roe case, that is about as far as I can go.

Kennedy was skeptical of those claims of the time, and it was that very right to privacy that Alito called into question in the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade this summer.

And with abortion bans going into effect in states across the country, the comments have renewed questions over whether some conservative justices have misled the country in their nomination hearing.

We are back with Scott Jennings, Karen Finney, and Ron Brownstein. Karen, that rings a bell, the misleading --

FINNEY: Please, please.

CAMEROTA: Paging Susan Collins. Paging Senator Susan Collins.

FINNEY: Misled. I am so shocked.

CAMEROTA: Right. But she thought that way about Brett Kavanaugh.

FINNEY: He could've told her that he was misleading, and I think as a matter of fact we did. Sure, I mean, it is no surprise that what this reveal is what we have been talking about for months now, which is that the Supreme Court has taken hard right turn and certainly many of these decisions that are coming down feel much more about ideology.


In fact, in the Alito decision, there are sections that are taken from the right-wing talking points. So, yes, it turns out that ideology factors in the Supreme Court decisions these days, which does not bode well for our democracy.

COATES: By the way, compared to Collins (ph), though, Kagan did not vote in favor of Alito. For that reason, he felt as though he was not genuine about that. But remember the moment that the Dobbs decision came out about that draft opinion, Alito was actually speaking tonight at the Heritage Foundation and he commented on the investigation. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAMUEL ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is beneficial to have the expression of a variety of views. So, I think personally, you know, here again, I have no special status in talking about this. Nine is a good number, somewhere in the middle range. Some states, Supreme Court have seven. They find that workable. Something in sort of the middle range would be a good number.


COATES: There was a clip instead where he was talking about something else, where he was mentioning the idea -- and I will paraphrase her the Supreme Court justice, I like that, is the idea of saying instead -- I will play the part on television today -- the idea of how he felt that that leak gave people license to try to harm the justices because they felt that -- they felt that if they could harm one, that would change everything. (INAUDIBLE) is talking about nine.

BROWNSTEIN: Alito feels himself a victim quite often. Almost every speech he gives is some kind of grievance at how religious people are discriminated against, conservatives are discriminated against.

I kind of look at this and -- by the way, I think it was John Farrell (ph), my former "National Journal" colleague, biography of Ted Kennedy, shout out to John on that, the diary entry, they feel -- he feels empowered. It is more his court at this moment than John Roberts.

The fact that he was willing to go as far as he was on Dobbs, after saying that to Ted Kennedy once, to me is a signal that they are not done in this project of reconsidering precedents that really have evolved since the 1960s.

The idea of rights revolution in which we have nationalized more rights and reduced the ability of states to constrain those rights, I do not think that this majority is done unraveling that. Where it goes next? Contraception, same-sex marriage --

FINNEY: Voting rights.

BROWNSTEIN: I do not know.

COATES: Does it -- is it a catalyst for voters still?

BROWNSTEIN: I -- well --

FINNEY: More so than it used to be, actually. I do think --

BROWNSTEIN: Abortion certainly is.

FINNEY: And so, freedom. I mean, for a lot of women, when we are talking about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is literally about the freedom to control your body, and that means access to abortion. That is where it also connects to democracy.

JENNINGS: I worked on Alito's confirmation actually in the Bush White House. I know him to be a man of high integrity. I do not think there is a Republican in the country that would take Ted Kennedy at his word on anything.

CAMEROTA: You do not think that those were Alito's words?

JENNINGS: I do not know, but I know that --

BROWNSTEIN: You think Kennedy lied to his own diary?

JENNINGS: All right, do you want to litigate some of the things that Ted Kennedy did to his wife?

BROWNSTEIN: No, do you think he lied to his own diary? Do you think he lied to his own diary?

JENNINGS: I think liberals right now are trying to make themselves feel better about the way this court has broken down and try to argue that people have misled and this and that and the other. These are conservative justices. They have never presented themselves otherwise.

CAMEROTA: They said that they believed that it was precedent and that Roe v. Wade was settled law and it has been reaffirmed many times.

JENNINGS: He did not say -- that is not what he said. He did not say Roe v. Wade was settled law. None of these people in their confirmations promised they would rule a certain way on a certain case.

CAMEROTA: He did promise (ph). Don't you think by saying things like that that that gave the impression that they felt that it was precedent and they respect (INAUDIBLE)?

JENNINGS: You can believe in precedent, but at the same time, you can also believe that some things deserve to be unwound (ph).


COATES: Don't you think that Kennedy mentioned in his diary --

JENNINGS: It has happened before in this country. Really bad issues.


COATES: Excuse me. One of the things that he had mentioned in the diary entry, which news flash to our prosecutors and evidentiary rule followers that a diary entry is no longer evidence that you can actually include because credibility is the issue for Scott Jennings.


But I will tell you about this, and that is he mentioned that Alito wrote a memo for the Reagan administration in which he spoke about why he felt Roe v. Wade ought to be overturned. And then he told Kennedy, according to the diary entry, that he did that because he wanted to essentially conform his viewpoint to secure a promotion. That was the reason why Alito, he believed, was not somebody who could conform or configure your viewpoints for promotion. What might you do for a ten-year position?

BROWNSTEIN: Can I say that once again, I think the key issue Mark Brnovich is looking forward, not looking back, the difference between the language that Alito used in public and certainly in private to Ted Kennedy and the fervor, ferocity and confidence of that decision just suggests to me how much more unbound they feel at this moment than he did then.


And that signals to me that they are not done and that we are going to face a series of decisions, whether it is affirmative action, whether it is further constrictions on blue states, on civil rights versus religious freedoms or guns.

This court is not done trying to unravel a lot of things that Americans have come to understand as part of their legal framework, and that is going to be, I think, a growing issue in politics in the way that abortion is now.

FINNEY: It's going to continue to threaten the legitimacy of the court.

COATES: We shall see. Speaking of lawsuit withdrawal, I told you, Alisyn, baseball is not America's favorite pastime, it is litigation.

CAMEROTA: I know. I'm prone to that (ph).

COATES: Thank you. I'm sorry. World Series, I know, is coming up.


COATES: Look, he used to be a part of Washington. I won't go into it. Okay? But I will go into what is happening next on this program and that's a Missouri woman, who is suing the cosmetics giant, L'Oreal, claiming that her uterine cancer was directly caused by her regular use of its chemical hair straitening products. We are going to hear from this woman and her attorney, Benjamin Crump, in just a moment.




COATES: A Missouri woman is suing L'Oreal, claiming their hair straightening products directly caused her uterine cancer. According to the lawsuit, Jenny Mitchell used L'Oreal products from around 2000 until March of 2022. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in August of 2018 and underwent a full hysterectomy the following month.

The lawsuit comes days after a major study found frequent use of chemical hair straightening products could put women at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer. We reached out to L'Oreal numerous times for a response but have yet to hear back.

Jenny Mitchell joins me now along with her attorney, Ben Crump. Jenny, Mr. Crump, so nice to see both of you but not under these circumstances. Can you just help us to understand, Jenny, what it was like to have seen the study that came out linking, according to the NIH, uterine cancer to some of these products? What did that feel like hearing that?

JENNY MITCHELL, PLAINTIFF IN LAWSUIT AGAINST L'OREAL: It felt like I was reliving it all over again. It was hard to hear, but it was shocking.

COATES: How long have you been using the products? Do you think that it is tied to the uterine cancer that you were diagnosed with?

MITCHELL: I definitely believe so. I have been using these products since as far as I can remember, since I was eight years old. That's typically when most African American young girls and families start to use these products. And so, yeah, since I was around eight years old.

COATES: And part of that concern, Ben, the study talks about the prolonged use, in particular, of these products. And we know with the different societal standards, we talked about it on the show in the past, a study came out about beauty, about the consequences in the workplace, things that prompted the CROWN Act, for example, that there is a great deal of pressure and preference to use these sorts of products.

You filed this lawsuit and it is one of now at least three in this nation. Why do you think this is so important to file it and what do you hope to accomplish?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR JENNY MITCHELL: Laura Coates, being the parent of a Black daughter and having many young Black women in our families, that we need to win the law. I mean, this, I believe, because our daughters' health is at risk, we don't want our daughters to get uterine cancer and have to have a total hysterectomy like Jenny Mitchell and go into menopause before the age of 30.

We believe that this is a public health crisis. If it was your daughter, wouldn't you say, let's make sure that we address this? Let's not have any of our little girls use any more of these chemical relaxers because we believe, based on the science, there is a direct and proximate cause that two to one, they have a stronger chance of being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

And I don't care about this European standard of beauty. Our Black girls are beautiful enough without having to try to conform to American standards of beauty at the risk of losing their uterus.

COATES: Jenny, to that point, I mean, certainly, we are also American and also defying the standard and thinking about the way in which we approach it. You know, thinking about all of this and just your experience, and you have been vocal about this and through this lawsuit, the crux of this is that this was not happenstance, according to litigation. [23:49:58]

This was a knowing marketing based on the use of the products, the ingredients included, that there would be that link. What message do you want to share about this lawsuit?

MITCHELL: I just want to bring awareness. I don't want another young woman at the age of 28 years old to develop uterine cancer and have to go through menopause before the age of 30 because of these products that are on the shelf, and lose the dream of carrying their own child. Nobody wants that.

COATES: Thank you for coming on and sharing your story. I will follow and we will continue to cover this litigation. Mr. Crump, Jenny, thank you so much.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you, Laura.

CAMEROTA: Jenny is really brave. She is really brave to share her personal story with all of us for our awareness. And it has heightened my awareness, I think, all the time now about the connection between that and our health.

COATES: I mean, it was a conscious decision for me to stop using those products in my hair, and I have a daughter.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. All right, it is time for all of you to sound off. We will read your tweets, next.




CAMEROTA: Okay, it's time to hear your thoughts and your tweets are rolling in. What are they saying?

COATES: Well, one of them says, I hoped Fetterman would have performed better. I was hoping Fetterman would do better. He was obviously working hard to not make a mistake, which made him look awkward and too anxious.

CAMEROTA: Here's another one about the debate. Fetterman performed well considering his stage of recovery. I think we are quick to count a person out. I'm sure that there are several senators serving with some disabilities of which we are not aware.

COATES: Last one, all sides need to stop screaming past each other, listen, compromise, and get stuff done. I'm right you're wrong doesn't cut it.

CAMEROTA: There you have it.

COATES: I like it. You know where to find us, at @thelauracoates and also @alisyncamerota. Thank you for watching, everyone.

CAMEROTA: Our coverage continues now.