Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Tonight

President Biden Delivers Closing Arguments To The American People To Vote Democrats; Voters Favors The GOP On Inflation And The Economy; Trump Lawyers Saw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas As Key To Delay Certification Of Joe Biden; Toxic Politics, Political Violence Looming Over Tense Midterms; Axios Research From Princeton And The ADL Shows Female Officials Are Targeted 3.4 Times More Often Than Men; U.S. Capitol Police: Security Review Under Way After Pelosi Attack; 911 Hero: 16-Year-Old Working At McDonald's Called 911 During Armed Robbery, Her Mother Answered The Call; Washington Commanders Owner Exploring Possible Sale Of Team; Stephen A. Smith Says It's Time For Black Ownership. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 02, 2022 - 22:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our coverage continues now with luminous Laura Cotes and astrological Alisyn Camerota. I'm just riffing right now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Oh, I can see that. I can see that. I see --

TAPPER: Astounding, astounding Alisyn. Astounding Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Better. You had -- you knocked Laura's out of the park and then I could see you just -- you just gave up for a second.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I like luminous. I thought it was everything my smile.

TAPPER: Yeah, I'm running out. I'm running out.

COATES: My dad is a dentist. Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Also, the Phil's are getting clobbered right now so I'm, you know, I'm not jubilant.

CAMEROTA: You're distracted.

TAPPER: I'm not jubilant.

CAMEROTA: You're not jubilant, Jake. I like that.

TAPPER: Exactly. Yeah. Nor jocular --


TAPPER: Nor jaded.

CAMEROTA: You seem jocular when Jimmy Kimmel was cracking you up. That was great.

TAPPER: Well, he's funny.

CAMEROTA: He was really funny.

TAPPER: He's a funny guy.

CAMEROTA: That was great.

TAPPER: Anyway, great to see you guys. Have a good show.

COATES: Great to see you, too.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you.

COATES: I'll get my luminous self over here.

CAMEROTA: Alright, keep it up, Laura. Good evening, everybody. I'm Alisyn Camerota in New York.

COATES: And I'm Laura Coates in Washington, D.C. and this is "CNN Tonight." On a night when the president of the United States lays out his closing arguments with the mid-terms just merely days away, is warning that election deniers could lead the country down to what he calls a path to chaos, and he insists that democracy is indeed on the ballot.

We're back to having an election where things that he's warning about may actually turn out to be true. So, I wonder what happens if it does, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Nothing good, Laura. Nothing good as we've seen already in the past. Plus, in these final days of the campaign Herschel Walker is going after Barack Obama.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Some of you may not remember but Herschel Walker was a heck of a football player. I mean, some of you are too young to remember, but in college he was amazing, one of the best running backs of all-time. But here's the question. Does that make him the best person to represent you in the U.S. Senate?

HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Why don't he go back to wherever he's from and get back in his million-dollar mansion?


CAMEROTA: Go back to wherever he's from. We're going down that old birtherism road again? And why are these two fighting with each other or going after each other rather than Herschel Walker's actual challenger? We have a lot to talk about tonight. So, let's --

COATES: And by the way, Alisyn, where he's from also included the White House. Is that an endorsement by Herschel Walker for President Barack Obama to return maybe at some point?

CAMEROTA: Interesting your interpretation.

COATES: Who knows. Certain things have happened.

CAMEROTA: Maybe that is the right interpretation. All right, we'll dive into all that. So, let's kick it off with Georgia's lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan who is here with us. Also, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick and journalist Mara S. Campo. Great to have all of you.

Okay, so let's listen to President Biden's closing argument where he is obviously very concerned about democracy, very concerned about an election denier. I mean, there are hundreds of them running, and one of them winning anything from governor to secretary of state. So, let's listen to what he says about the path to chaos.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As I stand here today there are candidates running for every level of office in America, for governor, congress, attorney general, secretary of state who won't commit, who will not commit to accepting the results of elections that they're running in. This is a path to chaos in America. It's unprecedented. It's unlawful, and it's un-American.


CAMEROTA: So, lieutenant governor, he's talking about the lies that threaten democracy, and he's talking about how to preserve democracy. Is that a winning political argument?

GEOFF DUNCAN, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA: Well, I know they want it to be, and I try to keep track of the number of times he mentioned democracy is on the ballot and I lost track of the number of times. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, the American system is thinking -- Americans are thinking about the economy. It's really racking up their businesses, their communities, gas prices, 401K's, it's on the top of their mind.

CAMEROTA: But can't you argue that. Without democracy, none of those matters?

DUNCAN: Oh, absolutely. I spent the last two years of my life making that argument, but America is distracted with the economy. And, you know, of all the things he spoke about tonight he never mentioned the economy at least, that I didn't hear.

CAMEROTA: By our count it was one time he did mention the economy, but he definitely hit democracy many, many, many more times. So, David, here the lieutenant governor is not wrong. Here is a CNN poll from last week. Most important issue in choosing your congressional candidate. Number one, economy, inflation by a long shot, 51 percent. Abortion, they are 15 percent, voting elections which I guess is another word for democracy, that's down at 9 percent. So, why is President Biden hitting that so hard? DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with the

lieutenant governor that this is not what people are focused on right now.


But I think it could have been a good closing argument for vice president -- for President Biden, excuse me, if Democrats had focused back in the late summer, early fall on their legislative wins -- semiconductors, guns, getting Justice Jackson confirmed, the burn pits legislation -- and not given that first democracy speech where he distracted everybody with the semi-0fascist line that got their message all off track and focused on what they were doing for people, come around a week before the election and close with this democracy argument.

He said the best line of that last speech again tonight, which is you can't love your country only when you win. He said it back then, said it now. That's the crux of the speech. But there's so much noise as you're saying at this point on so many other issues, I'm not sure it breaks through.

CAMEROTA: I don't know, Mara. I listened to President Biden to President Biden talk a lot about tout his accomplishments a lot. When I was doing the 2:00 to 4:00 show, every single day we would blow up our show because he would have an unexpected press conference in front of a bridge to tout the infrastructure or to tout the semiconductors, I mean, all the time, but I hear you that those messages didn't quite resonate like the semi-fascist line.

MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST: Yeah. Those weren't cutting through. And when you talk about the issues that people care about right now, he can't rely make a very strong case about the economy right now because a lot of voters hold him responsible for what we're going through. So, I think to your point, Alisyn, he's trying to appeal to our core values and saying if your vote doesn't matter, then nothing else will matter.

And this was a very clear warning and acknowledgement by the president that he fears that this mid-term election will be 2020 2.0 except perhaps more dangerous because election deniers have had two years of practice to work on this. There are a number of similarities. We have a number of states in very close races. You have very high stakes; the balance of congress hangs in the balance.

You have -- likely it's going to be days before we know what some of these races, what the outcomes will be because it takes time to count these mail-in ballots. There will be election deniers who are already laying the groundwork for saying that there's fraud, that these are invalid results.

CAMEROTA: If they lose.

CAMPO: If they lose. So, we're seeing a lot of similarities from 2020 except this time around we may not have people marching on the U.S. Capitol but marching on state capitols and marching at local election offices. So, this is the president saying we've seen this before, now we have some foresight, so what are you going to do?

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Alright, standby friends. Laura, so, I mean, that's -- it may not be politically winning as you heard the lieutenant governor say, however, it is certainly on the president's mind as the, you know, most critical issue.

COATES: I mean, you think about it as you articulated, I mean, the idea is nothing really can get done unless democracy is functioning. You're not able to really address the economy, address crime, address abortion, address a whole host of issues unless people actually feel represented. So, I think he was going in that direction. But let's ask my panel. They're here in Washington, D.C. with me right now. CNN political analyst Alex Burns, political commentator Karen Finney and Republican strategist Doug Heye.

You know, maybe I'm a glass half full sort of person today even though we're six days out. But it sounds like if you're talk about, if you're President Biden and you're talking about let's manage expectation, prepare for there to be election denial happening, democracy on the ballot, do you think that he thinks that the red wave is not really coming?

Because (inaudible) to actually contest an election, Republicans must be losing, the MAGA Republicans are losing in his mind. Is this kind of optimistic spin to address this idea of voter enthusiasm and democracy on the ballot? What do you think?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think actually there are a couple of things going on here. I think Democrats are concerned that what we're seeing is GOP talking points about a red wave, we're seeing a lot of different polls. I think the American public is probably over polled at this point, but when you look at the turnout data there is enthusiasm on the Democratic side.

And so, one of our concerns, one of the Democrat's concerns is let's let voters have their say. Let's not tell them what's going to happen and depress turnout. That's number one. Number two, you know, "The New York Times" reported that over a couple dozen of the lawyers who worked for Donald Trump's efforts in 2020 to overthrow the election and all sorts of different schemes in the states are, right now working in a number of states for a number of campaigns on the Republican side.

So, it was kind of a prestaging that sort of says we've seen this before. We know what this is, don't let it stop you from voting. That's part of the democracy message. Everybody's has a voice, everybody has a vote. But also, be -- remember that it may take a little time. We're not going to necessarily have all the answers on election night and that's okay.

COATES: And part of this concern is we're thinking about the way we count and tabulate. I mean, there's not -- this -- it's always this thought of you go to bed at night and someone's winning, you wake up in the morning and it's different.

[22:10:01] Those wee small hours in the morning oftentimes can be the most politically vulnerable period for people to actually have trust in the system because at the time people will pick up and say oh, this is what this is. I go to bed, someone you didn't like was ahead. Now, all of a sudden, the person's winning. That's not true, but that's that sort of wee hours conversations I think he's having. What do you think?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think that's right. I think there's so many pressure points in our political system, which is frankly a pretty strange patchwork for a modern country to have where different states have wildly different rules for how you vote, when your votes are counted, which municipalities are likely to report first.

It's confusing to people, right? And everybody who works in politics knows this. And the difference is that some people who work in politics know that confusion is there and play upon it to sow distrust in the system. And there are other people who try to explain to people, you know, why this might seem strange but actually, you know, there's a process that you need to let it work.

I will say, Laura, I think part of where the president is coming from here and part of where, you know, the White House administration, democratic leaders generally are coming from here is that they recognize as if there is strong likelihood of Republicans who are going to pick up one or both chambers of Congress next week.

And I think looking ahead to a divided Washington with a pretty far- right faction in the Republican Party gaining power, they want to set the table for the American people to understand the conflicts that are going to come next.

COATES: And in fact, Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary, didn't even want to comment today when she was asked by reporters about the potential of a divided government. She wanted to sort of have a more optimistic notion of a place.

Funny, while we're talking about democracy in peril and the more conceptual, there's also the argument happening in cities across the country about the tangible, and crime oftentimes is what people are pointing at as an attack on Democrats as the idea of so-called blue run cities.

I had a chance to talk to governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, today, and she spoke about it from the perspective of a language, sort of barrier happening. Those we're talking about crime and guns. Listen to this.


KATHY HOCHUL, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: Because Lee Zeldin and Republicans cannot say they're tough on crime and be soft on guns. It is the guns in our streets, 400 million guns in this country. Any gun that's on the street in New York City is by nature illegal. They came from somewhere else. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: She goes on to talk about this and the idea of thinking about how where some Democrats are talking about gun control as their fear of crime, Republicans are talking about the idea of being unsafe. And for many, although it's lower on that CNN chart we pulled out on the poll, this is still part of the biggest talking point in the country, right, crime.

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah. Absolutely. Karen, I know you worked on the North Carolina Senate race. I'm from North Carolina. If you watch a college football game, North Carolina is playing NC state or something like that. That's actually in a couple of weeks. You're going to see a lot of Ted Budd ads on crime. And if he's not talking about crime he's talking about the economy.

And it's why I watched the Biden speech today with some sort of mystified sense about why he was doing this and doing it today. I thought it was a good speech, politically. I thought it was a good speech how it was delivered. I agree with a lot of what Biden says on these election deniers that are taking over county boards and obviously states.

But politics is about people, and people are concerned about what's happening to them every day of their lives, and that's when they go to the grocery store, when they go to the gas station, and everything they see and hear about crime.

And by the way, if you go to the grocery store you may have to hit a button for somebody to come get things for you because of shoplifting. So even if you're not a victim of crime, you see that crime's a daily issue.

FINNEY: But, can I just say on crime a couple things that I think are important to remember. So, Third Way did a comparison of blue cities, red cities, blue states, red states, and actually crime has risen at higher rates in the red cities run by Republican mayors and in red states actually not in the blue cities, and that progressive prosecutors and those policies there's another couple of studies that show actually those progressive ideologies have not increased crime.

So, when we really dig into the numbers it's a little bit of a different picture. However, it is a great issue to demagogue on. I'm glad the governor talked about guns because I think for Democrats pointing out also that crime is about what does a safe community look and feel like? It's more than just, you know, it's about guns, it's about people feeling safe in their homes, their place --

HEYE: And that's to your point, it's not about numbers. It's about how voters feel. And the New York governor race is a race solely because of the issue of crime. You know, Lee Zeldin was attacked in an event and then a few weeks later there was a drive-by shooting in front of his house. That makes that issue front and center.

COATES: Well, Alisyn, feelings, nothing more than feelings. We're going to talk about next, the idea of politics being local and it's really is about feelings, if you think about it.


How people are feeling about the issue, and it is actually on our website for, Jake Tapper compares the perception of crime versus the realities of what's happening. I encourage everyone to look at that, the explainer as well.

CAMEROTA: Well, we here on our panel have just been talking like you guys have been talking about how in that CNN poll crime is down there. It is not one of the top issues. I mean, as I think you mentioned it's only 3 percent of respondents consider the issue, the most important issue that they'll be voting for their congress person on, which is surprising because crime is part of what feels like a daily conversation.


CAMEROTA: So, it's hard to square all of that. But people, I hear you feel uneasy whether or not the crime has actually gone up in their neighborhoods. So, we'll get to all of that.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for President Trump called Justice Clarence Thomas, quote, "The key to Trump's plan to delay the certification of the election." We have the newly released e-mails that beg the question why were they so confident that Clarence Thomas would do what they want?


COATES: We're just days out from the 2022 midterms and we're getting new details about the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.


The former president's election lawyers were actually counting on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, apparently, stepping in to delay the certification of Biden's win. In one e-mail from December 31, 2020, Trump lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, writing, "Thomas would end up being the key here. We want to frame things that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay."

And of course, the idea here of stay being let's delay this until maybe every "I" is dotted and "T" crossed even for things that are not evidentiary supported. It's unbelievable.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, and by the way this was December 31st.


CAMEROTA: So, before January 6th. So, it shows that this was a plan. We are six days before January 6th, that didn't just sort of spontaneously combust on January 6th. Okay, back with us right now, we have Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, also CNN political commentator David Swerdlick and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig. Elie, why were these lawyers so gung-ho to get Justice Clarence Thomas to hear their story?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, because they had a bogus theory. They had nowhere to go. And all they were doing was hoping they could get someone somewhere and wearing a robe of some authority.

CAMEROTA: Now, sort of, but they seemed to really want Clarence Thomas.

HONIG: So, this is important. Clarence Thomas is not the bad guy of these e-mails. I think we need to be clear about this. There's plenty of other reasons he should recuse. He should recuse because of Ginny Thomas' involvement, but he's not the bad guy in these e-mails. Let me tell you why.

First of all, they're not singling him out just because they think he'd be favorable. Every Supreme Court justice is assigned a certain geographic circuit that they are in charge of incoming emergency motions. The 11th Circuit which includes Georgia, that is Clarence Thomas' territory. We saw it the other day with the Lindsey Graham subpoena. So, let's get that, number one.

Number two, lawyers all day long talk about judges and justices. Ooh, that one is really good. We're going to lose if we get her, We're going to win if we get him. I hope we get these two, not that one. That's what they're doing here. The bad guys here are the lawyers, ar John Eastman and this Chesebro guy because what they're doing is taking a theory that they know is completely bogus and saying if we get lucky, if Clarence Thomas puts a hold on this, just a procedural hold, then we'll argue that that's something and that should hold up the January 6th count.

CAMEROTA: Let me read a little bit more of the e-mails that have just been released courtesy of the January 6th Committee. Okay. So, this is again, e-mail from the Trump attorney, Kenneth Chesebro. It's December 31st, "If we can just get this case pending before the Supreme Court by January 5th, ideally with something positive written by a judge or justice, hopefully Thomas, I think it's our best shot at holding up the count of a state in Congress."

Okay. So, the plan is laid out here. Now, one more thing, Elie. Would Justice Thomas had lent them a sympathetic ear, knowing what you know about his leanings and his history, would it had been good to get in front of Justice Thomas?

HONIG: Oh, if I was in their shoes, he would be my number one draft pick. That would be the one I would want and hope for and perhaps they even tried to do this through Georgia and perhaps not Arizona or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania because it was Justice Thomas' geographical area.

But guess what? They wouldn't be the first people. I'm not making excuses for them, but also let's remember, Justice Thomas did not bail them out. He did not do this for them.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So, David, though, I mean, as Elie points out, his wife, Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, was directly involved in trying to overturn the election results of Joe Biden's win. How is it that Clarence Thomas isn't recusing?

SWERDLICK: Right, Texting the White House chief of staff not some random person. I think in this situation, not only should Justice Thomas recuse, I would argue that he maybe should resign. To Elie's point, lawyers do what lawyers do. Justice Thomas is not the bad guy in these e-mails and nothing in these e-mails suggests he did anything -- the justice did anything under him.

I will say that Eastman was a clerk of Justice Thomas'. So, it is possible -- possible that he thought he understood Justice Thomas' thinking even if there was no collusion or playing footsie. The only other thing I want to add, Alisyn, is this. I want to tie together what we were talking about before the break with this.

President Biden spoke about democracy today. This is a case where lawyers were doing lawyer stuff but they were also trying to throw sand in the gears of our constitutional republic, of our democratic process. Throwing wild legal theories against the wall to see if they can stop the results of a free and fair election.

HONIG: (Inaudible) that's worst and wild legal theories that the e- mails showed they knew they were wrong. They were making stuff up.

CAMEROTA: And how do you know that they know they're bogus? Where do you see that (inaudible)?

HONIG: One of the e-mails they're talking about whether they can have Donald Trump certify to their claims about fraud and they were like, I don't know. We're not so sure about -- if you're not willing to go take it to your client and say sign this, that means you don't believe it's correct.

CAMEROTA: Lieutenant Governor, what do you hear?

DUNCAN: So, very little surprises me coming out of this period of time, right. And so -- and it fits a pattern, right? We saw this pattern over and over and over again in Georgia where they would develop a plan and they would go out to the field to try to find facts and figures, really only at most times to just shape a tweet.


Like, all of this was just to create enough chaos and doubt to sow the seeds of doubt, and that's what makes this so disturbing, was the plan was developed even without any sort of fact pattern around it. And, you know, this is once again not surprising that they were scheming to try to take some sort of angle.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, but I really appreciate you saying that because, Laura, that is the truth. They would come up with a scheme or come up with some cockamamie idea and then, you know, some of the lawyers from Sydney Powell et cetera, would go out and -- obviously, Rudy Giuliani, and try to find some nugget or some kernel that would fit into it. We just watched it all happen.

COATES: They would plant the seeds and then when judges would ask them what came of them or why they were being watered, they wanted to turn and say things. Sydney Powell has said in the past -- I'm paraphrasing of course, "Nobody would actually believe what I'm saying." The truth is people did believe. And to this day, this evening the president of the United States had to talk about it six days before the election about the idea of election denials, not the closing arguments, but all the different issues that are top of mind, maybe in the more tangible sense.

But that's what this leads to. That's the consequence. And as you all know Alisyn, it also impacts the way people view the credibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. There's already not a lot of transparency, right, about when they were recused, why they choose not to. So, this just adds yet another log, unfortunately.

But it also adds to the conversation more broadly about how people view our political system and the number of recorded threats against members Congress it's actually -- do you realize, it's increased more than 10-fold since just 2016. And there's a news today that finds that women are targeted more than three more often than men. We'll talk about the toxicity of politics in this country, Alisyn, next.



COATES: Well, Congress is demanding answers tonight about security for members after Speaker Pelosi's husband was brutally attacked in their San Francisco home.

CAMEROTA: And the U.S. Capitol Police are confirming today that an internal security review is under way, Laura, because one of the details that has come out is that there were security cameras around the Pelosi home and they have a live feed to the Capitol Police back in D.C., but no one was monitoring that feed because the speaker wasn't at her home in San Francisco, so it took them ten minutes to realize that a crime was under way. So, obviously, they need a security review to figure out what to do differently.

COATES: It's funny you think about that. It's not entirely clear whether the officers would have responded maybe even sooner. Who knows? But the idea, if you think of the cost that's incurred and what is required, I mean the sheer scope of the problem.

I mean, we see what happens when Capitol Police officers are outnumbered, and you think about the notion of just the scope of toxicity that's happening right now with how many officers is it going to take and surveillance to bring this temperature down.

Let's talk about it with my panel here. I've got Alex Burns, Karen Finney, and Doug Heye. You know, when you look at that and think about that the Capitol Police had monitoring but nobody was watching because she was in Washington, DC. He, of course, lives in California.

But this is not the first time we've seen even in this election cycle, toxicity. I mean you wrote a really interesting op-ed for "The Washington Post," Doug and when you were the RNC's Communications Director you were part of the "Fire Pelosi" slogan. Tell me about how your thoughts have evolved since then, you say.

DOUG HEYE, FMR. RNC COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Well, it really started on Friday. Earlier in the week last week, I e-mailed a couple of colleagues and said, "Hey, whatever happened to the Fire Pelosi banner?" that frankly I stole one on the last day of my tenure at the RNC. I brought with me. And I want to see what are we going to do with this if this is presumably Nancy Pelosi's last election.

And then Friday happened, and it made me think about what rhetoric I'd used in the past, and certainly everything that we see that spins everyone up. And you know, when you start to write about that, you start to get criticisms of both siderism or the other side's worst than mine.

So, I want to be introspective, and say, okay, where have I crossed the line? And I don't draw a straight line to the Fire Pelosi campaign in 2010 to what happened last week to Paul Pelosi anymore than I do, say, Chuck Schumer saying Brett Kavanaugh was going to face the whirlwind and pay the price and somebody showing up at his house with a gun.

But clearly, you know, if warming waters cause more and frequent -- more frequent and more violent hurricanes, that's what's happening in our political rhetoric right now. So, when Steve Scalise was shot and the two security detail members who worked with him -- I worked in Eric Canner's office when I was there -- David and Crystal, I know them well. Nobody made jokes. We took it seriously.

And Mitch McConnell said the right thing. Kevin McCarthy reached out to Speaker Pelosi's office. That's the right thing to do. Republican members shouldn't be joking about this. People in kind of Republican circles didn't because when Gabby Giffords was shot, I went to my office that Saturday morning at the RNC. I was on a conference call with colleagues and John Boehner's office, Eric Canner's office and we wanted to say the right thing and make sure that nobody on our side said the wrong thing.

COATES: I wonder if you're with you with the anomaly or the standard, what do you think Alex?

ALEX BURNS, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: No, look, I think one of the dynamics here that's so troubling, I think, Doug is sort of talking adjacent to it is there's this debate after these incidents about whether the person was really motivated by politics or whether they were just a violent, crazy person, right?


And it's such a bogus, false dichotomy, right, when you have politicians and public people and in some cases, television networks out there demonizing individuals and whipping out paranoid conspiracy theories, you know, violent crazy people hear those, too, right?

And we're a country full of people with mental illness and with easy access to weapons and at some point this sort of this sort of hairsplitting argument about whether the person was sort of a hard line ideological radical or just a severely disturbed person who is marinating in this completely broken culture, the distinction is just on a practical level.

If you're a member of Congress or married to a member of Congress it doesn't affect how endangered you are. You know, they either way, they're coming after you.

COATES: You know, there's a new Axios study out though Karen that talks about -- I mean the (inaudible) here is Pelosi and I don't think it's just the fact that it's Pelosi. There's reporting about how women are three times as likely to be targeted than even male candidates or incumbents. You used to train as part of the work you do, train women candidates to prepare them for this very likely prospect.

KAREN FINNEY, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Yes. That's right, and it's actually tend to be women, LGBTQ candidates and candidates of color tend to face more attacks, othering, hypersexualization, which we've actually seen that with Pelosi a few times, racist, sexist, very violent -- and violence in those attacks.

And one of the things when you are training -- working with candidates and their teams, you have to really talk to them about monitoring that because what you want to do is make sure you're aware if it gets to a certain point because most campaigns don't have security. They don't have to kind of security the members do.

So, they have to watch for themselves so that if it gets to a certain level and they need to go to the police or make someone aware that they know how to do that and to know how to prepare your family for that, right? Because seeing your loved ones viciously attacked like that can really wear down particularly children.

And, you know, I think part of it -- I just want to say -- I think part of what's happening in politics is it has become too much of a game. And there is too much -- instead of recognizing we're human beings, we -- you know, we used to work on opposite sides. You were in RNC, I was in DNC. We disagreed, I thought he was wrong, but I would never -- I didn't think you were -- I wasn't going to burn it to the ground. I think that's what has changed. Social media has certainly enabled that.

COATES: I think the idea you described and Alisyn on this, this idea how somehow it's been incentivized to engage in this behavior and there's this thought that somehow it will translate to votes, just the fact you've had training for people who want to be part of the system, which is never supposed to be a spectator sport in democracy that women are getting it, that it seems to be translated across the board. You can argue that's part of the reason democracy is in peril.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely and furthermore, all sorts of poll workers and election workers --


CAMEROTA: -- are being threatened more than ever before. These folks are volunteers. I mean, they are also some of the backbones of democracy. We need help at the polls. You know every time you go to your polling place you see all the volunteers handing you the ballot, directing you towards your polling, you know, booth.

And the fact that they are coming under attack, I mean, all of it up and down from Nancy Pelosi down to that, it's getting, you know, obviously we've talked about this, the demonization is a cancer. It's a cancer of democracy.

COATES: Yeah. There's even election worker shortages and here we are two years before a presidential election. We had the January 6th committee with Ms. Freedman and her mother talking about their experiences being targeted even for the unfounded stuff. I mean, my goodness.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, speaking of toxic politics, someone who knows a lot about that will be on CNN tomorrow. You can tune in for an interview with Hillary Clinton on CNN. So, CNN This Morning is our new morning show as you all know with Kaitlan and Poppy and Don, so tomorrow on CNN this morning 8:00 a.m. Eastern, tune in for that.

COATES: And up next, everyone, I want you to try to imagine this if you can. You are 16 years old, you're working at your job when an armed robbery happened. So, what do you do? You call 911 and your mother answers. Well, that really happened to our next guest, and they're going to tell us all about it next.



COATES: It really is a parent's worst nightmare, an armed robbery at your kid's place of work. Now, imagine if you were being on the other side of the 911 call and you're actually hearing your own child's plea for help and delivering?

That's what happened to a dispatch worker -- an emergency dispatch worker -- excuse me -- Teri Clark. Her 16-year-old daughter, Tenia Hill, was working at a McDonald's last month when an armed woman came in forcing Tenia and other staffers into the freezer. Listen to this 911 call between terry, and her daughter, Tenia.


TENIA HILL, DAUGHTER OF TERI CLARK: Momma, please hurry-up, she got a gun.


HILL: She got a mask on. She got somebody outside and she got us in the freezer. Momma, please.

CLARK: You in the freezer?

HILL: Yes, she has us in the freezer. (END AUDIO CLIP)

COATES: Joining me now Tenia Hill, and also her mother, and Teri Clark who is Assistant Operations Manager for the Emergency Dispatch Center, and Tyrell Morris, Executive Director of the Orleans Parish Communication District.

I've got to tell you when I'm listening to this the mommy in me is losing my mind. I'm just trying to figure out at what point Tenia did you realize when you called 911 that it was your mother's voice on the other end of that call.

HILL: Well, once I first heard 911, I automatically knew it was momma. I heard her voice and I automatically knew that's my mom on the other line.

COATES: I mean that's must have been on one hand comforting to hear your mother, I'm sure the most comforting voice you know.


But Teri, I think about, you know, when your child falls down and you're supposed to train your body as a mom to not react so they don't react and think they're really hurt, you must have had in your own way where you had to steel yourself to make sure you could do the job that you were supposed to be doing in the last 24 years. What was going through your mind?

CLARK: When I said, "911, what's your emergency?" and I heard my child say, "Momma, send the police, they're robbing us," in my mind, I'm like this has to be a joke. But I was like what is your location. And my child went to screaming, "Mom, it's me, Tenia. I'm at McDonald's, like you know where I'm at."

So, I'm taking the call, I'm praying, I'm -- it's something I never imagined would happen, but I know I needed to get the police to my child to save her.

COATES: And Tenia, not only did they have a gun but you were in the freezer, which had its own safety risk. What was everyone doing around you while you were talking to your mom? Did they even know at that point she was the one to try to send help on the way?

HILL: Yes, because continuously I kept saying "Momma, please. Momma, hurry." We were all in a huddle trying to stay warm because none of us had jackets on. So, we were all looking out for each other while in the freezer.

COATES: And I imagine, Tyrell, that you know, I'm sure there are moments at the work that you do you think about the training that needs to take place in order to get people prepared for the worst-case scenarios. Did you ever think something like this was going to happen and just how she was able, Teri, she was able to be so calm? I mean Tyrell, when you heard this call, what did you think?

TYRELL MORRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ORLEANS PARISH COMMUNICATION DISTRICT: I think for all of us it sent chills through all of our spines, right? What Teri did that day is what 911 professionals in New Orleans and across the country do each and every day.

Here in New Orleans alone, 1.2 million times a year, people show up like Teri every single day. This job isn't for everybody and Teri demonstrated that. Her hard work, 24 years of experience. It takes us 16 weeks to train a call taker to even answer the call. And I'll be honest and I sit here as a director and I don't know if I could be as calm as Teri was in this moment. But she definitely showed up for this city and showed up for her daughter and made the industry very proud of her.

COATES: I mean, all of us moms are proud and just thinking about what you've done. I want to know ladies, Tenia and Teri, what was it like when you were able to get back together? That must have been quite a reunion. I'm not sure I'd be able to let my daughter go. I'm surprised you're not having her handcuffed to you right now, Teri, because I'd be like, kids, you're staying here for the rest of your life." Tell me about that moment.

CLARK: Well, after I took the call because I heard it just now, so I'm a little teary eyed. After I took the call and when I'm taking the call, tears are rolling. So, once I disconnect the call because I was overtime, and I went to the manager and I said, that's my child, I need to go.

And when I got to McDonald's, the officers was there, and they knew she was my child. And the sergeant came out, she was like, Teri, you can't come in, you know, it's a scene. We're talking to them. We're taking care of them. And I was like, just let me hold my child. Because that night, you know, taking that call I'm hearing her. But when I disconnect, I don't know what's going on within that timeframe of me leaving my job there, and the only thing I kept doing was praying.

And when my child came out the door, we stood there and I held her -- we stood like about 4 minutes and I kept telling her I love her, I love her. I said, you're going to be all right. But it was during the night when my child couldn't sleep, and she was, you know, crying in the night and having nightmares and I'm holding her because that night, I let her sleep with me. And that night alone, my baby was like a newborn all over again.

And since then it's hard for me to really let her go places because of the crime, and crime is everywhere, don't get me wrong. But, you know, I'm like I don't want anything to happen to you, but she's a teenager, she want to have her a little fun so it's hard.

COATES: I mean I can relate with every mother out there, every father, every human being out there who is listening to what all of you have said.


Thank God that you are safe because so many parents don't have the opportunity to hold their child like you have. And I'm sorry, Tenia, there goes your social life. You know, I know your mother is waiting for quite a long time herself. It's OK. On behalf of all mothers, I support her, I'm on her side. Don't worry, everything's going to be okay. We're glad to see all of you. Thank you so much.

MORRIS: Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you.

COATES: Alisyn, can you imagine? I mean, I'm telling you, my children would probably be -- in fact, my kids are actually under the table right now. They're under the table.

CAMEROTA: No, that question you asked Teri that is the one that got her emotional because that's her impulse. She does actually want to keep her daughter handcuffed to her for the rest of her life. And the idea that she was so scared and she was so emotional, but she followed her training and was so professional and had the police go there, you know, obviously that worked. And just huge kudos to that mother in that moment and how scared she must have been finally showed up at the McDonald's. That was incredible to hear her family story.

COATES: And you see the daughter, Tenia, when she touched her mom's arm when she said that, I mean, if I didn't have mascara on I'd be crying.

CAMEROTA: That was a really nice interview. All right, we'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: So, the Washington Commanders owner, Dan Snyder, is looking to possibly sell the team after being accused of fostering a toxic workplace by Congress and the NFL.

COATES: Well, Snyder denies the accusation of course but after an independent investigation, the NFL fined the Commanders 10 million bucks. Snyder handled over control of the franchise's daily operations to his wife, Tanya.

CAMEROTA: So, right after news of a potential sale, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith offered an idea for who should own the team.


STEPHEN A. SMITH, ESPN HOST: It's time for black ownership. I know the lady, I think her name is Melody Hobson, is a part owner for the Denver Broncos if I remember correctly, I hope I'm not wrong about that. I'm not sure. But I think that was. But I'm talking about a majority owner of a national football league franchise that happens to be a black person. That would be nice.


COATES: You know, I'd probably be surprised if people thought to this day that there is that absolute void in many respects for ownership and compared to this, we're talking about last week, Alisyn, the idea of what it's like about black coaches. We're talking about divisions of power in the powers that be with an over 70 percer I think league that is overwhelmingly black.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, I was just thinking about that, Laura, because it was I think Donte Stallworth on our air who, I'll paraphrase, was saying something to the effect of black ownership would go a lot further towards creating pathways for black coaches than the Rooney Rule does. So, that is what would make a real fundamental change is black ownership of teams.

COATES: Absolutely. And see, everyone, Alisyn Camerota knows sports. She's talking about the Rooney Rule here on a Wednesday night. I see you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Honestly. All of these years where I was faking it like I didn't know anything about sports.

COATES: Well, we all know the one thing, ownership matters, right, the finances behind it, the powers that be, you're powerful for a reason.

CAMEROTA: For sure and I'm not actually sure that's a real bona fide sports story, but I'm working on it.

OK. So, tell us what you think about everything we've been talking about tonight. You can tweet us @TheLauraCoates and @AlisynCamerota, #CNNSoundOff. We'll be right back.