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CNN Tonight

Former President Trump Throws His Hat Into The Ring; NATO Countries Investigates Poland Missile Attack; Republican Party In Disarray; Analysts Don't See A Full GOP Support To Donald Trump; Lawsuits Pile Up Against Donald Trump; University Of Virginia Mourns. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 15, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates, and this is CNN TONIGHT.

On the night the former president that twice defeated, while once defeated, twice impeached former president who is currently facing multiple investigations. He is now announcing that he is running again. And he throws his party now into term well after midterm losses just over the week, and that have, has many of his people in his own party openly discussing a future that does not include him.

That, as the eyes of the world are on Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. President Joe Biden holding an emergency round table with world leaders at the G20 in Bali to discuss the explosion in Poland that killed two people today.

Now Poland saying that what they're calling a Russian made missile fell on a village near the Ukrainian border. President Biden vowing to find out just what happened, but saying it's unlikely the missile was actually fired from Russia.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And we agree to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland here at the Ukrainian border. And I'm going to make we figure out exactly what happened. Our entity simply goes out to apparently two people were killed. And we're going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed.


COATES: We also have breaking election news tonight. Yes. A week after the election. We're still calling it in California. Two long time incumbents will hold onto their seats. CNN projecting Republican Congressman Ken Calvert will win another term in his Southern California district that puts the GOP now, if you're keeping score, and we are, at 217 seats. That means we're just one seat away from getting the 218 number they need to now take control of the House. And there's more. And they can also project that Democratic

Congressmen Jim Costa will (Technical problem).

Somebody who is the stated leader of the Republican Party now announcing yet again.

David, put this into context for us of just how significant this moment really is.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, the Donald Trump that announced his third bid for the White House tonight is not the Donald Trump of 2015 and 2016 when he first got to the scene. He has a record of four years as president that voters rejected in 2020 when they voted him out of office.

And after that, Donald Trump inspired an insurrection and, you know, tried to overturn the legitimate results of a presidential election. So it is that Donald Trump now, who just got a pretty strong rebuke from the American people on that whole election denialism quest that he has been on for the last two years in this midterm election last week.

That's the context in which he makes this historic step to try and be the second person only in history to attain the presidency in a second non-consecutive term. But I just think it's really important for us to put that in context. Because he -- it's not the same. It's not the same Donald Trump that we know of from seven years ago who first sought the presidency.

COATES: And when you're making that distinction about not being the same and having a record to run on in part, I mean, there is an advantage you have if you are sort of the unknown, the outsider being able to go against the establishment, so to speak. Now you really can't claim to be an outsider having formally been the president of the United States.

And there is that track record to choose from. But I will say there was this moment tonight when he actually spoke about this in his speech announcing it, and he talked about the midterm losses. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Much criticism is being placed on the fact that the Republican Party should have done better, and frankly, much of this blame is correct, but the citizens of our country have not yet realized the full extent and gravity of the pain our nation is going through. And the total effect of the suffering is just starting to take hold. They don't quite feel it yet, but they will very soon.

I have no doubt that by 2024 it will sadly be much worse and they will see much more clearly what happened and what is happening to our country. And the voting will be much different.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [22:05:05]

COATES: Laura, he says much criticism, of course, talking about and much of this blame is correct. I mean, then he of course pivots to a different direction about how we haven't seen nothing yet, essentially. What did you make of that moment of even acknowledging that, yes, there's criticism. He didn't actually point it to himself, but there's criticism.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, he excused it away also at other parts of the speech saying that, that he was telling Republicans that they weren't going to have, that they weren't going to win a ton of seats in the House. He, of course, has been playing -- been blaming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a lot and attacking him full on, trying to say that he's the reason that Republicans didn't win.

But the truth as, Dan -- Daniel said was actually that all of these election deniers that the president supported from Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial candidate on down in states like Arizona, all lost and they ran on his platform. His main platform through the midterms, which was to say that the 2020 election was stolen and which was to sow doubt about 2020 -- the 2022 election, and to potentially even sow doubt about the 2024 election.

I mean, just this week the president, he may have sounded on script to some people there, but was -- has been posting say on Truth Social, saying just another giant election scam. So, he is repeatedly sowing doubts about the democratic process that this country functions on.

And to me, that is the lead here tonight, which is that this former president who is also under criminal investigation, multiple criminal investigations and could very well be charged for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election is continuing to attack the democratic election system.

COATES: Well, I mean, that's just such a good point that Laura has made here, because you're thinking about the idea and it's almost hard to stomach for a lot of people. The idea of denialism as a platform. I mean, I think about platforms. I think about legislative agendas and priorities, Charlie, and things you're going to do if you actually are actually in power, and yet there doesn't seem to have been, according to these candidates, and as Laura is articulating the idea of a sound platform.

In fact, Senator Josh Hawley echoed much of the criticism and not just his tweet before about, sort of the old party is dead, you know, being new. Tonight, he's talking about something else and talking about the absence of a platform. And he also blames leadership. Listen to this.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Clearly, what we're doing isn't working. It hasn't been working for a long time.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you don't think he could get you back to the majority?


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I believe we should have a leader that actually listens to the conference and that is willing to stand and fight, doesn't roll over immediately.

Our current leadership believes the way you win elections is that you don't stand for anything. You don't have an agenda. You don't have a plan.


COATES: I should have said, not only Hawley, but Cruz also speaking about this. You know, you're smiling, but we've had this conversation before, haven't we? The idea of when was denialism supposed to be the platform and what, what will the Republicans actually do to demonstrate to the American people, like, here's what we're going to do?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no one should delude themselves into thinking that Republicans performed poorly because they didn't have an agenda or a platform.

The reason Republicans lost, if everybody is being honest, it was Dobbs decision. It was poor quality -- poor candidates, many of whom were endorsed by Donald Trump and they were election deniers. The insurrectionists. These were principally the reasons why Republicans didn't do well.

When you nominate people like Doug Mastriano who can't run a campaign, he takes down the whole ticket. It's not because they didn't have a platform. In a typical midterm election, I bet David would agree with me. You don't really -- really have to be for something if the party out of power. It's about them. It's about the party in power.

But Trump made it about himself. He turned this -- he came into the campaigns late in states like Pennsylvania and elsewhere, very late in the campaign making this a choice more than a referendum. He did everything the Republicans did not want him to do. They wanted him to go away, particularly in these swing states. They didn't want him to show up and make it about himself. He did it and it was a problem. That's why they lost.

And we can all pretend, yes, we didn't have an agenda to run on a positive agenda. Didn't need one. Never, never need one in a -- in a year like this.

COATES: You know, I, you say that, and obviously you've been a member of Congress, so be it far for me to challenge you about what members of Congress believe, but I've been a voter for a long time. Not going to tell you how long because it would tell you my true age and I'm fine with it.

But the idea here of thinking that it's -- that there need not be a platform. I think in some ways is a fallacy of incumbents to believe that, no, voters are only going to turn out as long as they are against something to turn parties down.

I don't know that it shows that. But the other point I want to ask you about, David, in this regard, look, they're going to have to do something if you are the Republicans now, and if you are vying to be a contender as a party in 2024, right? They're going to have to decide whether they're going to go along with Donald Trump, whether they're going to follow that for the reasons you're talking about.


Do you think that there are members right now who are in leadership positions in the Republican Party who are willing to say, look, the finger pointing does go your direction and I'm out.

CHALIAN: Goes your direction, Donald Trump you're saying?

COATES: Donald Trump.

CHALIAN: Yes. Well, I mean, listen, we're starting to hear some elected officials, some of whom have been associated with Donald Trump. Cynthia Lummis, the senator from Wyoming, was just talking about that she'd prefer to see Ron DeSantis lead the party. She doesn't think Donald Trump is the leader of the party anymore. That's somebody who stood, you know, rock solid with Donald Trump.

There are -- there are individual voices like that, but I actually don't know that we're going to get our answer from the elected officials. This is going to get answered by the electorate, by the voters as Donald Trump now has entered into this presidential contest, and I don't know that we know the answer if Republican voters, primary voters are willing to give him another shot, yet.

I think the structure of the race is going to be a really important factor here is, is it a very crowded field that Donald Trump is running in where a bunch of non-Trump candidates split all the rest of the vote. And maybe he can win primary contest after primary contest with 25 or 30 percent of the vote and win all the delegates.

That's similar to what happened in 2015 and 2016. The rules are the same way to get the nomination so far in the Republican Party. So I do think the structure will help us understand sort of where the voters are. But I, for us to presume now how Republican voters are going to respond to this campaign, I just think would be seriously premature.

COATES: Can we -- can we think about, though, Laura, the idea of what leadership might do? Because a lot of it, you know, in terms of maybe shaping the way in which voters should evaluate and contextualize this might come from the top down, right?

If you have a Senator Mitch McConnell, or you have a presumably future leader, possibly McCarthy or Speaker McCarthy, that might actually inform people, but there is some tension about what they're going to do? Are they going to support Trump? Are they not going to support him? Is that part of the tension they're grappling with right now to secure their leadership spots? BARRON-LOPEZ: I think it, that's definitely a part of the tension. I

mean, to David's point, David, I'm sorry, I think I called you Daniel a second ago.

CHALIAN: No worries.

BARRON-LOPEZ: But, is that right now Republicans are, some are starting to say we support Ron DeSantis. Again, Ron DeSantis was also an election denier, and Ron DeSantis also did support President Trump repeatedly.

But they, right now we have not seen a break in the terms that we have seen from former Congress members or current Congress members, but outgoing Congress members like Liz Cheney or like Adam Kinzinger, or others who have outright said anyone that is like Trump or in former President Trump's mold or is willing to sow doubts about the democratic process cannot possibly be someone that we can support, even though they are Republicans and they are very conservative policy wise.

And so, we have not seen that. We didn't see it after January 6th, a wholesale break from the party after an insurrection happened. And I think a lot of my colleagues who were there that day and I used to cover the Hill, thought that it would happen and it didn't.

So, the idea that it may happen now, I'm very skeptical of. We don't know what the Republican base is going to ultimately vote for. We do have some telling signs though, that a majority of the Republican base in recent polls this year believe that the 2020 election was stolen.

So, they believe that lion part of why they believe it, I think is because the former president has repeated it and because other republicans have not shot that down repeatedly and loudly and forcefully.

COATES: Let me give you the last word on that. What are your thoughts?

DENT: Well, I think what president -- the former president did tonight, he's trying to condition the field. He's out there first and he's trying to tell these other guys, OK, take me on. We'll see who actually shows up to the fight. Does Mike Pence run? Does Ron DeSantis run? Does Chris Christie run? Does Nicki Haley run? Youngkin? We'll see who actually runs.

I think that's what this is about. I mean, look, this is not a good decision for the party that he's announced tonight. It's not going to help Republicans in the Georgia runoff, obviously, but Trump doesn't care about that. He's trying to shape this field.

And, you know, frankly, the more people who get in this race, the better for him because he can win a primary with the plurality of the vote. But his star is diminishing. It has been diminishing for some time. It's only gotten worse. So, in many respects, I'm puzzled that he would announce now, but on the other hand, I get it. He wants to -- he wants to see which comers are actually going to come at him. COATES: Well, we will see, and as Laura pointed out as well, multiple

investigations in multiple states on multiple subjects, and there's an exhaustion factor here going on. So, what's going to change now that Trump has announced his 2024 run.

Plus, President Biden says it is unlikely, I repeat, unlikely a missile that killed two people in Poland was fired from Russia. And we're on the scene tonight on these issues. And on that idea of what's happening we're talking Poland and talking about what happened. I think it's important to note this contrast, right?


You've got the former president, Donald Trump speaking about these issues, and I think he used the phrase, I'm paraphrasing, we're on the decline. America is on the decline.

Just within the last 24 to 48 hours, President Biden was speaking from a bit of an empowered position, a little bit more spring in his presidential step, shall we say. Because he thought that on the world stage democracy had functioned, it had worked.

It was his closing argument, you remember? Thinking about that and that contrast while he's overseas meeting with world leaders. You've got the former president talking about us being like on the precipice, I think the word use, of nuclear war.

Just when you think about that contrast, and I don't want to elevate the former president's statements to the same level of a current president of the United States, but that contrast on a world stage to the electorate, how does that play?

CHALIAN: Well, not just, yes, not just on the world stage, as you said, also to the domestic audience here at home. You know, I think we heard Donald Trump paint not terribly dissimilar from the picture he painted at his inaugural address of American carnage. He painted a pretty dark --

COATES: That's true.

CHALIAN: -- picture and he kind of was paint saying it's going to get so much worse and you're going to feel how bad it is so that you will elect me as the person that can restore America to greatness. But he has to paint a very dark picture first, or at least he doesn't have to. That's the path he chose in this speech was to really darken the mood in the country.

COATES: And by the way, I don't want to cut you off, but it's interesting to do that because we know he mentioned Reagan in the speech in talking about that, you know the statement that's always often repeated about, are you better off now than you were a certain number of years ago?

But that's kind of a different twist because you really, one can't. They can look back and be retrospective and say, and have a comparison point, right? Actually, I know how we were four years ago. You don't necessarily know how you're going to be in two years. And so, it's almost like proving the negative. He's aware of that politically.

CHALIAN: He is aware of that politically. It is part of, it's part of the appeal for his base. It is he's tapping into. I mean, when we talk about Trump and grievance politics, this is actually at the center of it. The very grievance of a changing society. That is what has a lot of appeal to a base that I agree with Charlie, is one that is going to be tested here if it has the same strength and size that it has had for.

COATES: I'm glad you're all here. Thank you. We're going to come back to these points. Of course, this is all evolving tonight, so thank you so much.

And Trump, as we mentioned, is facing a minefield, really a minefield of investigations and legal challenges from state level investigations in places like New York, and of course Georgia, to the ongoing investigation into January 6th.

CNN's Tom Foreman is at the magic wall to walk us through all of the legal challenges. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Laura. The former president is facing a constellation of legal challenges which could derail any future plans he has. And they are very active right now. The grand jury probe in Atlanta into whether Trump illegally tried to overturn Georgia's 2020 election. We'll see several big names testifying this week.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, as well as Governor Brian Kemp, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Now that they're twin legal attempts to avoid appearing have failed. Scheduled next week retired General Michael Flynn.

The New York Attorney General has a $250 million lawsuit against Trump, his three eldest children and others tied to the Trump Organization accusing them of extensive financial fraud. The Manhattan district attorney is steaming through a criminal trial against the Trump Organization alleging a series of illegal tax dodges with former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testifying.

Trump has consistently denied all of the claims in these cases. And then there is Mar-a-Lago and those papers seized by the FBI and its suspicions Trump may have illegally taken sensitive documents from the White House. Just this week, Trump's team said in a new filing that all the material was personal because allegedly Trump said so while he was president.

The Justice Department says nonsense. Allowing a president that kind of power would nullify the whole purpose of the law protecting presidential records for the public. And then there is the big bear January 6th. The congressional select committee says the deadline passed. Trump failed to comply with their subpoena for documents and testimony about his actions around the January 6th insurrection.

His legal team has argued the committee has no right to such things, but that claim could face a much stiffer test if the Department of Justice probe into January 6th produces as some think it might charges against Trump. Again, Trump says in all of this he has done nothing wrong, but any of it could pose serious challenges to whatever he wants to do next. Laura?

COATES: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.


I want to bring in CNN legal analysts Elliot Williams and Norm Eisen.

I mean, gentlemen, the picture that was just painted was a little bit of exhausting thinking about, I mean, the breadth of things. We're not talking about one, we're not talking about two, and we're talking about very substantial notions as well.

And this is for somebody who has just announced he's running for president again. I mean, Norm, thinking of the scope of all these different issues, politically speaking, I'm sure that's a calculus for people and thinking about what that's going to mean. But legally, I mean, what is the true exposure here in your mind? How significant is it that we're talking about all of these issues?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Laura, the former president has tremendous criminal exposure. I mean, you were a prosecutor. You know that when you've got like, take Fani Willis in Georgia. She has powerful evidence, not one but two smoking guns. The tape in which Trump demanded 11,780 votes that he knew didn't exist and these phony electoral slates that he sought.

I think it's very likely that she's going to charge him. Behind her comes the Department of Justice, the Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation. He's at risk there. There's additional federal investigations and they're coming after him civilly. I think it's a tantamount to a corporate death penalty.

Tish James, the New York A.G. hitting his wallet, trying to take his name off the businesses. This is going to be a drag even with his loyal fans in the Republican Party, a drag on him over the next two years.

COATES: I mean, it certainly is a drag, but I do wonder, is there something that can remove sort of that anvil. He's just declared his presidency. For some people looking at this issue, and I know you're -- I know you're thinking Elliot, but I want you to expand on it, and that's the idea of some might think, well, hold on, you can't indict a sitting president and he's running for office again. And there's the idea of is this the politicization of the DOJ if they try to pursue these things.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: OK, Laura, let's play this out. Had the Justice Department charge Donald Trump with a crime yesterday, what would've been any different with charging him today or tomorrow. He remains, is, was and will be one of the most famous people on the planet after Justin Bieber and the Rock. I did look this up.

COATES: Is that, that's the order? WILLIAMS: No.

COATES: Hold on.

WILLIAMS: So, literally that is --


COATES: Justin Bieber, the Rock and then Trump.

WILLIAMS: And the pantheon of American heroes, yes, that's where it is. But seriously though, he would -- he remains a former president and one of the most famous and recognizable individuals on earth. What, what is different today than yesterday based on his announcing as a candidate?

There are still the same political questions that would've been existed with respect to the former president, regardless of whether he announce his candidacy. The question is, as Norm has laid out, are the facts and law there to indict this individual? And it appears that in some of the instances it looks like there might be.

But I just think this, you know, whether he announces candidacy to avoid getting charged or not. I don't think that changes the calculus for the Justice Department or should.

COATES: Are we talking special counsel then? Just to sort of insulate from that criticism?

EISEN: Well, this decision is going to be made by somebody who probably has never heard of Justin Bieber or the Rock. Attorney General --


COATES: Well, that's not possible.

EISEN: Attorney General. Well, I can tell you for sure he doesn't spend a lot of time with them. Attorney General Merrick Garland.


EISEN: And he is going to feel. I agree with Elliot on the analysis, but the A.G., I've known him for a very long time. He is going to look at those special counsel regulations and he is going to look at the words, Elliot, and you know this, it's going to say conflict of interest, extraordinary circumstances, questioning the public view of DOJ. And he is going to weigh those considerations very heavily.

Now, I think the wrong decision, because of the potential for delay would be to appoint a special counsel. Certainly, you don't have to do it for the classified documents investigation.


EISEN: But he's going to take that very seriously. WILLIAMS: And look, a big part of it is the appearance of

impropriety. Even if there isn't an actual political conflict, one of the things the attorney general has to consider is, well, might it look like there's a question of politics there.

I'm with you, Norm. At the end of the day, it's more delay. The decision doesn't change. But yes, if the attorney general is going to do it by the book, then, yes, what he probably has to do is appoint a special counsel, but it slows the whole thing down and doesn't change the ultimate outcome.

COATES: Except, you gentlemen mentioned two, at least two state proceedings.


COATES: For which the attorney general does not have any control over whatsoever, and even the hint of impropriety should not impact his decision in say, Georgia or New York. I do wonder on the conflict of interest aspect, I mean, you do have a Supreme Court justice who is continuing to rule on matters surrounding January 6th, then that surely is in the wheelhouse of potential impropriety. What do you think?


EISEN: Well, Justice Clarence Thomas should not be anywhere near any cases related to January 6th because we know his wife Ginni Thomas was neck deep in election denial. I mean, we have her text to Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff. We know she was talking to people in the states who were driving this, this canard, but, but if he were any other judge, he would be forced to recuse under federal law. In the Supreme Court it's totally up to him.


WILLIAMS: You know, at the end of the day, at the end of the day, regardless of, you know, the beautiful thing about living in America is Ginni Thomas can hold whatever conspiracy theorist views she might hold. The problem is that it is bad for the Supreme Court. How the public sees the Supreme Court is affected by that relationship there.

So regardless of the merits of what she believes or what she's done, it's just bad for the court. And look, when your husband is a Supreme Court justice, you relinquish some of that right. Or you, or look, you have the right to do whatever you want, but he's going to have some blow back with his job and it's just, it's bad for the court and bad for the rule of law.

COATES: What could be very bad too, is your assessment of the order of the most recognizable people. Justin Bieber, the Rock, and then Trump. There was not a single athlete name. I just called B.S., but that's fine. We'll talk about another time.

The next question of course is, will 2024 be a rematch between Trump and Biden? We know Trump has thrown his hat in the ring. We will definitively have what the president is saying. And what does that mean for the next generation -- generation of leaders? We're going to dive right into all of that, next.

Plus, there are new details tonight about this horribly tragic shooting of three young men at the University of Virginia, student athletes who are also playing football and have lost their lives just this week.



COATES: So, the question everyone is asking tonight is just what does the former President Donald Trump's announcement that he'll run again? Well, what does it mean for everyone else hoping to toss their hats into the ring? Will it be a bit of a domino effect happening or something very different?

Joining me now to discuss CNN political commentators, Scott Jennings and Van Jones.

Good to see you, gentlemen, here tonight.

I mean, just a minor announcement that everyone anticipated for about two years. But here it is. It's actually here right now. And I have to ask because you're the first to smile, Van, I'll come back to you, Scott, when you show me the teeth. Van, what do you think about this announcement? What does it mean in terms of, is it going to be a domino effect? Is it going to be the seal is broken and so others might enter? What do you see playing out here?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well look, I mean, he's moved very early and I don't think others have to jump out immediately. There's time to kind of, you know, see what the public reaction is, polling reaction and other lawmakers reactions in terms of on the Republican side.

You know, this speech was just kind of a remix of the American carnage speech that he gave when he was initially sworn in for office. Now he looked more chasing than I've seen him. I think that he -- I would just kind of refer to him as demoralized but determined, and in some ways, that could send a signal that maybe there's some weakness there.

But I don't think you're going to see a bunch of people feel like they have to jump in tomorrow. We're still two years out from the election, and I think the wise move would be for people to figure out what they want to do and to pick their own timing.

COATES: I mean, Scott, on that point, you know, Van is right. The idea of, and he is right in the calendar. We are two years out, but he still opted to do this now. What do you make, what is your reaction to his decision and do you think that invites others to expedite their own decision making process about whether they too, will run?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I don't think people have to file the paperwork tomorrow. I agree with Van about that. I slightly disagree about, though letting the public know that they're seriously considering it.

Obviously, Mike Pence is out there doing that. Pompeo is doing that. Chris Christie is doing that. But the person who we're all waiting for a signal from is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He obviously had a big win on election night, and I think he doesn't have to file right away, but if he's looking at this right now, Trump is at his weakest point, really, I think politically, since he won the presidency in terms of just a pure political context. And there's a vacuum. And DeSantis has momentum.

So, if he just told the Republican Party, I'm seriously looking at this and it may be time for a new generation of leadership and I'll be getting back to you in the weeks ahead, that would probably be enough because I just feel the fervor out there for something new.

I thought the speech tonight was lame. I thought the crowd was lame. I think some of the themes will work that he used, but this was not what I expected. Candidly, he was quite subdued, low energy, dare I say. And I was -- I was surprised candidly at just how subdued the entire event was.

COATES: I mean, he really was on prompter, right? He seemed to be on script. There were a couple moments where he would divert from it. But it's interesting as we're talking about potential candidates. Oftentimes people don't include an incumbent president as a potential candidate, and yet here we are talking about the prospects of President Joe Biden.

Will he be a -- the person running against Trump in 2024? And look at this, there's actually a New York Times/Sienna Trump/Biden poll just from October. And in it, they asked the question of who would you vote for if 2024 presidential election were held today. This was among registered voters by the way. Forty-three percent said Trump, Biden, 42 percent.

Now of course, there's a margin of error by about plus or minus 4.1 percent. So, you've got that. But just the idea. And then the also is another one that came in about from October that included among registered voters for the primary, this is for a GOP primary. And they said, Trump 49 percent, DeSantis 26 percent, and Pence 6 percent among others who were down the list as well, all the way down to Pompeo at two. Again, margin of error.


When, when you look at this, Van, and think about how people are structuring their thoughts, evaluating what the options are, not everyone likes sort of the deja vu. It wasn't the most talk about low energy. That was a common complaint, right? About the 2020 election. The idea of did either candidate truly energize their bases and the way that say previous administrations or candidates would hope to do.

Do you think that a possible rematch of these two candidates is going to be a catalyst for people to turn out?

JONES: I think people will be demoralized but determined as voters they'll trudge, they'll trudge out there and they'll pull it. But you know, Scott and I agree that they, you know, people want something different. The biggest number is that 15 percent that probably said neither. And those are going to be the people who determine who wins. And those people are looking for something else.

And even those who said that they would vote for either, you know, I think that there, people want something else. To look at DeSantis who was not a household named two years ago. When Donald Trump left the White House nobody had heard of DeSantis outside of Florida. To see him at 26, you would have to say 26 with a bullet and rising, Donald Trump, you know, less than half of the party wants him and probably, declining. Or at least I think those numbers might be soft.

So that what, what has to happen to the Republican primary is they got to clear the field. There's got to be a mano, a mano or a mano. A woman, I don't know how you say it. There's got to be a two on two here. If you -- if you put in 15 people, if everybody, every dog catcher who wants to ever be president runs, then it's only going to advantage Trump.

COATES: You know, it's interesting, we're talking about 2024 and I feel like we're skipping ahead. I asked the question, of course. Let me just bring it back for a moment, Scott. Because the numbers are still taking in. We don't actually know who's going to be, I don't know the senator from Georgia, whether it's going to be Herschel Walker who hopes to be or going to be the incumbent for a full term, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock.

And yet today, the former president spoke about this race and tried to get people to be supportive and to turn out to vote for Herschel Walker called him I think a great person, a phenomenal person, would be a great senator were the words that I'm paraphrasing here.

Do you think that hurts or helps the Georgia runoff situation? Because I think that Kemp, the Georgia governor who's now been reelected, is going to try to stump for Herschel Walker and others in the Republican Party. These are not, you know, there's no bromance, so to speak, between Kemp and a Trump. Is it helpful or hurtful to the Georgia runoff for Trump to have weighed in?

JENNINGS: Well, it's better than what he did last time in the runoff when he told Republicans to not vote, because their votes wouldn't count. So, this is a step in the right direction. I don't think it's any secret that Herschel Walker was picked by Donald Trump in this race, and I think most voters know that already.

So, I would say it's probably a neutral thing. I think it was good that he put it in his announcement. And so, you know, smart politics for him. I don't anticipate it having a huge impact because I think everybody in Georgia knows everything there is to know about both of these candidates, including Trump's involvement with Walker.

COATES: I mean, Van on that point, finally, I mean, just the idea of being a different sort of candidate tonight in terms of seeing Trump. Is Biden better positioned now in terms of being able to counter the incoming and potential assault you're going to hear. JONES: Yes, I mean because the Democrats did so much better than

people thought. And I think, you know, Biden can now have a narrative about himself. He says, you guys just keep underestimating me. You guys just don't get the joke. You know, you said, I could never get the primary that, you know, I was too old and nobody wanted me. You said I was going to get beaten by Trump. You said I wasn't going to be able to get anything done on gun reform or anything done on infrastructure. You said I wasn't going to be able to prevail in the midterm.

You guys just don't get it. Like I'm a lot better than you think. And the American people are a lot smarter than you think, and I think that becomes his narrative if he wants to do it. But yes. I mean, obviously if we were sitting here with a different set of cards in terms of a massive defeat at the midterm election, it'd be harder for him to make that case.


JONES: But if he wants to make that case, he can make it now.

COATES: Sure can, but you know, nice talking to both of you. And of course, this case he's making right now is overseas. Gentlemen, nice speaking to both of you.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

COATES: We also know that there are emergency talks late tonight with the President of the United States, and of course, after what Poland calls a Russian made missile that killed two people in Poland.

President Biden and world leaders are reacting. We'll talk about it next.



COATES: Today, world leaders are huddling after Poland said what they called a Russian made missile fell on a village near the Ukraine border on Tuesday, killing two people. Poland did not actually say who fired it.

The White House putting out a photo earlier, President Biden on the phone with the Polish president saying he affirmed the United States' full support for the investigation and for the NATO alliance. And new pictures tonight reveal where the missile struck today, leaving a crater and two dead.

I want to bring in CNN senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly.

Phil, what are you hearing from NATO tonight?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Laura, this, we're here at the G20 in Bali, and this is a very tightly scheduled, very closely coordinated 48 hours. The fact that there was an emergency meeting held with key world leaders representing the G7 and NATO just underscores how high tensions are in the wake of this incident across the border in Ukraine.


What we know right now from NATO and G7 officials is that an investigation is underway. They are in close consultations with their Polish counterparts. President Biden spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda earlier tonight -- earlier today, sorry, I'm getting the time zone's mixed up.

And what we know right now from leaders here is they are very, very intensely engaged, but also very cognizant of the fact that there are a lot of details that they still need to discover. One thing they don't hesitate on that is the support for Ukraine, which we've seen in a very unified manner from this group of leaders over the course of the last nine months.

But also, something else that was going on in the course of the last 24 hours, which was dozens of missiles that landed inside Ukraine, targeting civilian infrastructure, targeting civilian facilities even before the incident in Poland. World leaders, including top U.S. officials, have been keeping a very close eye on that.

So, the investigation will continue to play out. They've made very clear they'll support not just the investigation, but also their NATO member country, Poland as that plays out. But very concerned here about Ukraine and what they've seen as an escalation of targeting a civilian infrastructure by the Russians over the course of the last several weeks, Laura.

COATES: In just in the last 24 hours or two days, we've been talking about the liberation of Kherson and watching the Ukrainian president there and thinking about that. Now here we are in a very different context.

You've been talking to White House officials, Phil, on the ground in Bali, so what's happening behind the scenes now?

MATTINGLY: Yes, the engagement has been intense, and you showed that picture that the White House tweeted out of the president on the phone with the Polish president, who was surrounded by a Secretary of State Antony Blinken, his National Security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and the three of them were really huddled over the course of a multi-hour period when this happened early in the morning.

When Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, was first informed of the incident, or the first reports came in, he got on the phone with his Polish counterpart shortly thereafter, briefed President Biden. That's when the president started to lock in his phone call with the Polish president. The president has also spoken to the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and that's critical.

Obviously, this is a NATO ally. There are several different pathways that they could pursue here. Article five being the most significant, the highest of stakes. Only been invoked once. That is the collective defense treaty that has been signed by NATO, the NATO organizations, the 30 countries that are involved in it.

That is not the route they're going yet. It looks like or they've suggested they may follow an article four pathway that would lock in consultations between member states. What we do know is there will be an emergency NATO meeting with NATO ambassadors on Wednesday. But when you talk to White House officials, and we heard this a little bit from the president after that emergency meeting.

They're being very cautious. They're being very methodical. And in part that's because, as the president alluded to, they have not seen any clear evidence that this missile came from Russia. Doesn't mean it wasn't Russian may, but there are a lot of different elements here, a lot of different variables here. And that is in part why we have not gotten a definitive conclusion about where this came from, the origin or the genesis of this incident in Poland right now.

They understand the stakes here. Growing too fast when you don't have all of the information given this is an article five ally, that is an extraordinarily high stakes move to make. That is why you've seen such a methodical effort going forward.

I would just note one final thing, Laura. When you talk to U.S. officials they made clear in the consultations, not just with their Polish allies, but also with U.S. intelligence, with NATO members and NATO intelligence infrastructure, they have a very good idea of the trajectory of this -- of this missile, of the kind of process that went into this.

So, the investigation shouldn't take a very long time. They have a pretty good sense of things right now, but where that actually lands, they're still leaving that an open question.

COATES: Phil Mattingly, I'm so glad that you're there to give us everything and all the insight. And just, you're right. The stakes, frankly, immeasurable to get it wrong would be extraordinary. Thank you so much.

The father of the UVA shooting suspect is speaking out tonight. What he's saying about his son's state of mind after this.



COATES: There are new details tonight about the student accused of killing three University Virginia football players and injuring two others. Officials say the 22-year-old suspect, a former UVA football player himself, was on a field trip with the victims right before the shooting. We're also learning that he was facing school disciplinary action for failing to disclose a conviction last year on a misdemeanor concealed weapon charge.

Here's what the suspect's father tells WTVR about his son.


CHRIS JONES, SR., SUSPECT'S FATHER: He was really paranoid when I -- when I talked to him about something, he wouldn't tell me everything. He just -- some people were picking on him or whatever. He didn't know how to handle it. I just told him, no, just go to school. Don't pay him no mind. Do what you got to do. Come on. And you only had one more year. What happened? Why did it have to get this far? He could have called me.


COATES: The suspect will appear in court tomorrow and there's still no word on a motive for this attack. And tonight, UVA's head football coach is remembering his players who were tragically killed.


TONY ELLIOTT, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, UVA: I've known Lavel for a long time. Yes. I recruited him starting his freshman year and, just to see him grow, but big smile lights up the room. And most people would say, because he is the tallest guy in the room, but just his presence. He's got a gentleness about him.

I don't think, you know, many people outside of our program understand how special D-Sean was. Very, very, very artistic, could draw, could shape pots with clay. Love music. Very, very cultured and well- rounded. Just a great teammate.

Devin was he just -- he's what you wanted in a young person that's at this level, but he just was a big kid, smiled all the time. Loved to dance. Loved, loved to sing.



COATES: The UVA community mourning Lavel Davis, Jr., D'Sean Perry, and Devin Chandler.

A lot of news tonight. President Biden holding an emergency meeting over the deadly explosion in Poland. Plus, the former President's. Big announcement. Stay with us.


COATES: Well, one week after voters went to the polls, the road to 2024 is already starting to come into view. Former President Donald Trump announcing his now third presidential bid out of Florida tonight.


TRUMP: We always have known that this was not the end. It was only the beginning of our fight to rescue the American dream. In order to make America great a glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States. (APPLAUSE)