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CNN's Laura Coates Interviews Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen; CNN's Jake Tapper Interviews Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence; CNN Projects GOP Wins Control Of The House; Musk To Twitter Employees: Do Extremely Hardcore Work Or Get Out; Four University Of Idaho Students Were Found Dead. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 16, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates and this is CNN TONIGHT. On the night the GOP wins control of the House with a slim majority and the political world reacting to the defeated twice impeached former president's now third run for the White House, CNN talked to a one-time member of his inner circle because Michael Cohen is here.
I want to know what he thinks about his former boss's candidacy with billionaire backers now turning on him, even if you saw a savage takedown from his favorite hometown tabloid.
And you heard Mike Pence tonight in our CNN town hall saying that he was angry with the then-president in the days following the January 6th insurrection which was deadly, when rioters chanted, hang Mike Pence, and saying Trump was part of the problem. We've got more on all of that tonight.
Plus, what would you do out there if your new boss told you, look, either commit to hardcore work or get out? That's the billionaire new Twitter owner Elon Musk is now telling his employees about this fork in the road email. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of chaos, frankly.
I want to bring in Donald Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen. He is the host of the "Mea Culp"a podcast and author of "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the U.S. Department of Justice Against His Critics."
Michael, good to see you tonight. I actually -- I've been wanting to really hear your opinion and your reaction to the announcement. It's probably the worst kept secret in the political world. It was always the idea of not if but when. Well, when was last night. And I want to know what you think about the fact that Trump is running again for the presidency.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: So, truth be told, I didn't think that he was going be making the announcement. You know, I was actually very sure that he was not because it didn't benefit him. The reason I say it doesn't benefit him is because he had that super PAC that had raised several hundreds of millions of dollars to which he was permitted to use 90% of it at his own discretion. Well, that now stops.
On top of that, statistically, he knows that he cannot win a general election. He may not even be able to win the primary, which is why now I believe that he did choose to run because he started seeing all the great press that, for example, "DeSanctimonious" was getting, right, there in Florida and the fact that they're claiming that he is the future of the Republican Party. So, this angered Donald because he's not the -- you know, he's not the man in charge.
COATES: Think about -- you make a point about the press coverage. There is something different this time around. I mean, you're looking at -- the "New York Post" used to have so many different covers of the former president. Now, I mean, the one that came in today, I call it pretty savage, it was the idea of a headline and then way down below in that blue, page what, 26, is that Florida man makes announcement. I mean, that's pretty telling about how they're trying to literally downplay and downgrade.
But not just the press. It's also a lot of the billionaire backers who are pulling out their money. The idea of you got someone like Schwarzman, the CEO, I think, of Blackstone, who gave I think $35 million to the midterm elections. You got Griffin, who is on the screen as well, $68.5 million at different points in time. You got of Ronald Lauder. These are all billionaire GOP donors that are now distancing themselves from him. And I wonder what you make of that. Will that impact the way in which he proceeds now? You know him.
COHEN: Right. And it's not only them. It's also Rupert Murdoch, the "New York Post" Fox News, because you're right, it was on page 26, which I believe was right next to the obituaries. They are all done. They're all done with him.
They have, I believe, have had enough of the divisiveness, enough of the chaos. I've met each and every one of these individuals on a personal basis early on in the campaign, and they were all for things that Donald Trump was saying, things that he claimed that he would do. Well, after four years of chaos and divisiveness, the January 6th attempted coup, you have the stolen documents at Mar-a-Lago, these people understand exactly who they're dealing with.
And if you look at them as individuals, they are all titans of industry. They are titans of their -- of their businesses. They do not back losers. And I believe, in their hearts, they understand that Donald cannot win, he is not good for this country, and they're just not going to back him financially or in any other way.
COATES: Well, I mean, the things you listed just now, those were a lot of straws to break the proverbial camel's back. I mean, there are different moments in time one could have seen a different fork in the road and gone in a different direction. Now seems the time they're doing it. I wonder why. Also, I wonder, you know, watching his announcement last night, I remember in 2016, I remember really different rallies he's had even since then where there has been a different level of enthusiasm, charisma, bravado displayed. There's a different level -- a different tone.
I wonder what you made of last night. It seemed a lot of responses have been subdued, that there was a different vibe that was coming off the screen, the crowds seem to be similar to that. What did you make of the person you are seeing on the screen?
COHEN: First of all, the crowd was Mar-a-Lago crowd. These are the people that every day, when he walks into the dining room, get up and they start clapping. They were obviously very few people there, and they were making some relatively decent noise.
As far as -- you know, as far as his general appearance, he looked like he had taken too much Sudafed because he looked like he was fast asleep. I mean, he looked as bored with his own announcement as most of the people, you know, inside that room at the time. I mean, I don't know if you saw this, but somebody grabbed the video of it, some people trying to leave but security wouldn't let them leave.
COATES: Oh, I didn't see that.
COHEN: I mean, this is the Donald Trump rallies that you remember from 2015 and 2016.
COATES: Well, you know, there was -- I wonder if you remember this particular Trump because interestingly tonight, you heard from vice president -- former Vice President Mike Pence, and the word he used to describe Donald Trump's demeanor and his general being following January 6th, the word that the former vice president said was that he seemed sincerely remorseful. I want you to listen to this. I want you -- does this ring true? Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I walked into the room and the president's chief of staff was present, but he quickly left. The president looked up at me, and he asked if Karen and charlotte were okay. I said tersely, they're fine, Mister President. And he said, were you scared? And I said, no, I was angry. I was angry about the differences we had and I was -- I told him seeing those people ransacking the Capitol infuriated me.
But we sat for more than an hour and a half, and I was candid with the president about my disappointment. And I must tell you that I sensed the president was deeply remorseful in that moment. And I know that it's at odds with people's public perception about him, but I want to tell you, it was true. I could tell he was saddened by what had happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Michael, is the remorse at odds with the public perception? Is that the sincere emotion that you have seen from former president?
COHEN: Listen, you know, good for Mike Pence for trying to say the right thing. He tried to say the right thing throughout the entire, you know, segment. And you got to give Jake Tapper a lot of credit and a pat on the back, you know, for -- it was the whole --- the whole town hall was so boring.
You know, there's a famous quote since, Mike Pence likes to refer to God a lot. It's God's way of telling you that you're wasting your time. Poor Jake Tapper looked like he needed to hold on to that chair so as not to fall asleep while standing up. Mike Pence's responses were all so mellow, they were so -- you know, it was just so boring. If God forbid he ends up on a stage or trying to argue with the likes of Donald or Ron DeSantis, I promise you, he's just going to -- he's just going to fall to the wayside.
COATES: On that point, though, Michael, that notion, the way you describe it, the deliberate nature of him speaking, the intention perhaps behind it, do you think that the former president now candidate Donald Trump in any way fierce him as a possible contender?
And if not, who do you think he fears most as somebody that might go against? Is it DeSantis?
COHEN: Yeah, he never feared Mike Pence at all. It was one of the reasons that he chose him, because he is like, you know, a piece of toast. The problem with Donald, and again, it's one of the reasons, I think, he ended up running, there are several potential candidates, but the one that seems to be getting the most attention, especially now from Fox News, the "New York Post," and the Murdochs is Ron DeSantis, calling him the future. They certainly had him on the front page, which is taking over where Donald Trump believes that he should potentially or he should always be.
Again, I don't think -- I don't think anything that came out of this town hall did any favors for Mike Pence. And one thing I want to make clear to Mike Pence, Donald does not have a remorseful bone in his body. He doesn't care about Mike Pence, he doesn't care about Karen, and he doesn't care about Charlotte, if you even know who she is. It's just who he is.
Donald only cares about himself. And at that point in time, he was ecstatic. He was elated about the fact that these people were attacking the Capitol on his behalf, wearing his MAGA clothing and carrying his flag. His paramilitary is all he cared about.
COATES: Well, we will see if that translates to the now electorate looking at his next candidacy. Michael Cohen, nice to talk to you. Thank you so much.
COHEN: Good to see you, Laura.
COATES: Look, Mike Pence says that he was angry about January 6th. He says that then president decided to be a part of the problem. We're going to dig into what else Mike Pence may have revealed about that day and how Americans, you, voters, view that next.
COATES: Former Vice President Mike Pence in CNN's town hall tonight asked by Jake Tapper how he felt as the attack on the Capitol unfolded and rioters were chanting, hang Mike Pence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I do want to take you back to that day. Take a look at the video over here. That, of course, was the news hanging outside the Capitol that day, and rioters were calling for your execution, chanting, hang Mike Pence. Almost two years later, is it still tough to hear some of the video, the hang Mike Pence? Two years later, is it still tough to see that and hear that?
PENCE: Jake, it saddens me. But that day, it angered me. I must tell you, when the -- when the Secret Service took us down to the loading dock, accompanied by my wife and my daughter, charlotte, and her Secret Service detail, I was determined to stay at my post. I told the Secret Service that I was not leaving the Capitol. I didn't want to give those people the sight of a 16-car motorcade speeding away from the Capitol that day.
But frankly, when I saw those images, and when I read a tweet that President Trump issued, saying that I lack courage in that moment, it angered me greatly. But to be honest with you, I didn't have time for it. The president had decided in that moment to be a part of the problem. I have decided and was determined to be part of the solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Joining me now, CNN political commentator Paul Begala, former top aide to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign Kevin Madden, and White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" Sabrina Siddiqui. So, I'm glad to see you back as well.
You know, first of all, you heard him, he was angered. Now, I've used more charisma just now in relaying that to you than he actually did in that moment, but that's his personal style, right? What did you make of it?
KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER TOP AIDE TO MITT ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: It is. I mean, he is pretty careful and he was very programmatic in how he talked about this. I think that's one of the challenges that he's going to have right now in really getting this message across to supporters, is that they want somebody who is really authentic and they want somebody who's going to be a fighter, and he didn't really get a lot of that from this town hall. It was very nuanced. He seemed to be negotiating every single word very carefully.
COATES: Did that translate, you think, to the electorate who are watching right now? I mean, people want to know what Pence thought. He didn't have the January 6th testimony to tell us anything.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: You know, I think what was striking about that is that he directed his anger towards the rioters, but he was still very reluctant to truly take on former President Trump. And, you know, credit to Jake who really tried to press him and say, look, it wasn't just the events of January 6th, the former president spent months campaigning on this false notion that the election was stolen, he laid the groundwork for the events on that day. And Mike Pence still said that the responsibility is with the rioters.
And I think that that's sort of his political calculation perhaps on his part where he knows that former President Trump is still very popular with the republican base, and so he's kind of distancing himself from Trump, saying there are better options in 2024, but at the same time trying not to alienate Trump's supporters.
I think what's really interesting about that is we already know what the diehard Trump supporters think of Pence based on the events of January 6th.
COATES: Right, that's true.
SIDDIQUI: And the anti-Trump wing of the party probably reluctant to embrace Pence they are just wary of that administration.
Is there a way in the middle?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sounds like a political purgatory.
COATES: I mean, Paul -- he handed them a lifesaver, too. A life raft in many respects, right? The idea he felt remorseful, it was at odds with the public persona, he was a friend, all of those things.
BEGALA: Yeah, Sabrina got it right. The pro-Trump folks will never forgive or forget what I thought was a moment of real courage, a day of real courage on January 6th, 2021. The anti-Trump folks will never forget the 2001 days before that, the day he joined the ticket to January 5th, all the way through (INAUDIBLE) by the privates, or threatening Zelenskyy or allegedly extorting Zelenskyy four missiles for which Trump got impeached, or banning people from our country because of their religion.
I mean, on and on and on, the people who don't like Trump, and I'm one of them, they will never forget that. Pence is a good man. I knew him when he was on the Hill. He's a good and decent person. But a whole lot of us think he spent four years of his life serving a very bad and indecent presidency.
COATES: He called it really the honor of his lifetime. He talked about and tried to distinguish between the policies that people want to return to and the idea of the baggage. He didn't say the word, but the baggage that it brought. That's really the tension for many Republicans right now.
MADDEN: Yeah. And look, if you are going to run for the nomination, it obviously goes through Trump. Right? He has a very firm grip on the base of the party and you're going to have to take Donald Trump on. And there is nothing inside this town hall or even in the Mike Pence persona that tells me that he's the right person to take on Donald Trump.
To Paul's point, his entire political profile right now nationally is defined by being the vice president to this guy. How is he really going to take him on, confront him, and lead the party in the country in a new direction if you're so closely tethered to the four years that he spent as vice president.?
COATES: And then the question will be, is it going to be an anvil or will it be some sort of catapult? Well, it remains to be seen. Everyone, stick around. We're coming right back to you as well because, well, the Republican Party is officially taking control of the House today. So, what are they going to do with all the power? And what are they going do first? Signs point to politically-motivated investigations.
Plus, you've got to see the late-night email that Elon Musk sent out to his Twitter employees as thinking about the idea of extremely hardcore workload? Just what is that? Let's discuss.
COATES: Well, CNN projects the GOP taking control of the House tonight. President Biden says that he is -- quote -- "ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families."
But what's the GOP planning to do with their very slim majority? They're making investigations of the Biden administration a top priority, everything from the withdrawal from Afghanistan to the origins of the pandemic to investigations of Hunter Biden. But with that slim majority, it's an open question just how far Republicans will actually get with any of this.
Paul Begala, Kevin Madden, and Sabrini Siddiqui are back with us. I mean, Sabrina, the idea of looking at this and the slim margin, these investigations, can they be -- can they actually happen? Do they have enough to do it?
SIDDIQUI: Well, I think Republicans are going to try and use even a narrow majority to investigate President Biden, his administration, his family, and they've been pretty clear about that. You know, there's a lot of pressure on Kevin McCarthy or whoever it is who is going to be speaker to really go after the Biden administration. The question is whether or not that's going to play with the voters following a midterm election where Democrats held on to the Senate and where Republicans underperformed even though they took back the House because they have this very, very narrow majority.
I think part of the problem, according to Republicans I've spoken to, is that the party didn't actually run on any kind of policy agenda. It was purely an anti-Biden message that ultimately didn't work at the polls.
SIDDIQUI: They could potentially have the same --
MADDEN: Commitment to America was we're going to hold the administration accountable. But to your point, the other thing that came out of the exit polls from this election was the number one thing everybody is worried about, the economy and inflation.
So, when you have oversight investigations focused on things that are sort of outside the realm of those two issues, the economy and inflation, you do look like you're a little bit out of step potentially with the American public that wants to see some solutions, that wants to see some progress made on that. So, there is a great deal of risk involved if they go too far down on this.
COATES: Congressman Jim Jordan spoke about this and talked about the constitutional duty to do this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We met with some folks who understand that we have a constitutional duty to do investigations and to do oversight, and we're going to do that in a way that's consistent with the Constitution but we're going to do it aggressively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: It's true there is some duty, but are these the type of investigations to do?
BEGALA: You know, I've seen this movie. Newt Gingrich actually won a landslide. When he took over the Congress, and I was for President Clinton, not a two or three seat majority. What did he do? He went right to the politics of personal destruction.
What did it do? Reelected Bill Clinton with a 33-state landslide because Clinton stood up and said, I'm interested in legislation, they are interested in investigation. They want to look into my family's past, I want work for your family's future. And it crushed the Gingrich revolution, which was far more powerful than poor, pathetic Kevin McCarthy who may have three or four or five-seat majority.
It's a total loser for them. As a partisan, I guess I want it. As someone who wants my country move ahead, I will actually work with Biden and get some things done. MADDEN: Political majority, political mandate. Two different things.
COATES: What do you think, Sabrina? You remember covering this with the original freedom -- Tea Party Caucus, right?
SIDDIQUI: You know, I think Kevin McCarthy, again, whoever is speaker, really has the work cut out for him because, you know, it is not just about the investigations and the pressure that republican leadership will face to really go after the Biden ministration, there are a number of issues where they really need to rely on democratic votes.
When you think about raising the debt ceiling, spending bills to keep the government open and avert a shutdown, if there's any kind of emergency disaster relief, these are all the kind of stuff that you can see the Freedom Caucus really rallying against. So, it is going to be a wild ride, I think, in the next few years.
COATES: Well, that negotiation might have to include who is the Democratic leader and doing this as well. Just a couple of minutes ago, we heard from a spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi about her political future.
Let's put up that particular tweet because I think she's making an announcement tomorrow, saying, the speaker has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters. This evening, she'll be monitoring her -- monitored returns in the three remaining critical states. She's going to address the future plans tomorrow, everyone, so stay tuned. What you're going to do? What do you think?
BEGALA: I know what I'm going to do. I'm a person of faith. I'm going to pray --
BEGALA: -- that Nancy Pelosi stays on as leader. She is the most effective speaker in all of American history. She passed massive legislation with the four or five-seat majority. Kevin McCarthy won't be able to do anything. She's the most effective legislative leader in all of American history.
MADDEN: I think she's going to stay, but she'll set up a sort of succession with maybe Hakeem Jeffries or something like that in the wings for the party chair.
COATES: Yes or no?
SIDDIQUI: I think she maybe passes the torch but keeps some kind of senior role where she still advises the caucus. I mean, there is council. COATES: That's a yes or no in Washington. We will see, everyone.
COATES: Elon Musk giving Twitter employees an ultimatum. Look, opt in for extremely hardcore work or get out. That's next.
COATES: Well, Elon Musk has laid down an ultimatum for Twitter employees. They've got until 5 p.m. tomorrow to commit to what he calls extremely hardcore work, or get out. That according to a copy of a late-night internal email sent by Twitter's billionaire new owner and obtained by CNN.
In the memo, Musk says -- quote -- "If you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click "yes" on the link below. We're going to talk about this with Kara Swisher, host of the "On with Kara Swisher" and "Pivot" podcasts.
Kara, I'm so glad you're here to see --
KARA SWISHER, PODCAST HOST: Yeah.
COATES: -- and talk about this because you and I have had these conversations. You've made a number of predictions (ph). I can't imagine you're surprised by what we are seeing right now --
COATES: -- just given the fact that he has made just a few changes. For example, this banning of remote work. The idea of no more free meals, for example. Now, this hardcore pledge. I want everyone to see on the screen. What do you make of it?
SWISHER: Well, it's not just that. He's also firing people who are critical of him and slacking (ph) on Twitter, even the most mild of criticism like an emoji. There has been a couple of engineers who talked about this, who just are making some points. He tweets things that are incorrect and they correct him and they get fired for it.
You know, there's a sort of ethos in Silicon Valley that's gone now. It is called hostile porn, is what it is, people talk about how hard they work. And they have pictures of themselves in sleeping bags or under the desks. Elon has talked about sleeping on the factory floor at Tesla.
COATES: This came up, by the way, Kara. I want to see what you are talking about. I hadn't heard the term hustle porn, but here you go. The idea of a sleeping bag, talking about working so hard. This came out on November 2nd. Remember, he took over October 27th. Go ahead.
SWISHER: This is Esther Crawford who is working on the blue product which has been delayed because it was rolled out so badly. That is because if you do it too fast and not sleeping all night, you turn out bad products. So, it's an idea the you have to work 24/7. It' sort of much maligned now in Silicon Valley, the idea that you have to do this but it is part of the tech -- I don't want to say bro but it is a tech bro culture, they're going to work all night and then something is going to happen, it's magical, and it's kind of ridiculous.
And the second part, it is sort of demanding loyalty over quality. I don't understand why you have to say a lot of these. They may have had too many people. There may be people that were coasting (ph) like every single business that exists on the planet, the same time demanding loyalty of people and saying, you've got to be hardcore, whatever that means. It is kind of weird. You know, it's like a monarchy of some kind. I don't even understand it. I never click "yes." That's kind of ridiculous.
COATES: I mean, that's the definition. It is kind of a clickbait in a very different way. You don't actually know here what you're actually signing up, what is hardcore, this kind of nebulous topic mean. But this idea, the way you describe it, I remember everyone knows the stories of people who, you know, the infamous college dropouts or those who had a spark of an idea. They work and have all this time and they're working, working, working as a tech start-up.
That seems to be a bit yesteryear, but to apply that notion to a mature company, I know that the platform itself is not profitable, we talked about the idea of what he has said in terms of the expense incurred here, but is the imposition of that earlier viewpoint of how to make a successful company, will it work on something that's already in existence and working at this point?
SWISHER: I don't think it works at all. I think there's ways to inspire people and one is my inspiration. You're making something cool and you want to work hard for it. You believe in it. And a lot of people at Twitter who I've talked to really do believe in it.
The other is to mock them. That's another way to mock advertisers. It is to make them feel bad and small. If you're not on board, they're going to shove you off. It's a strange way to manage. It works, I suppose, with some people. I don't think insulting and demeaning people is the way to manage in any modern workplace. But this is the way he's choosing to do it.
He thinks -- you know, Casey Newton, the platformer, really interesting. He thinks people are going to shut it down behind his back. So, you got a bit of paranoia, you have a bit of like I'm in charge here, I've had lots of people. When they disagree with him, he said, we're going to do it my way, I'm the law, which is a kind of strange thing to say. It feels like you're from some 70s Steven Seagal movie of some sort.
And so, it's a strange way to manage. Now, it might work. He might attract very loyal people who want to work for him. There's an expression several of his minions say, which is ride or die, which is another -- I don't even understand. We don't live in the old west anymore. I don't think. It's kind of strange.
COATES: I'm not questioning that ride or die means, Kara, but I'm not going to mock you on that.
SWISHER: You don't have to.
SWISHER: I don't know. I don't know. But anyway, I think I have an idea of what it means. It's just these ideas that there is some other culture, except a work culture. What you want to do is inspire people to make great products. He's a very inspirational figure in many ways for the cars and the rockets. So, he has people who believe in him. I don't know why you wouldn't take advantage of that and instead create this sort of different kind of culture.
COATES: That might be the billion-dollar question. Kara, thank you so much. Nice talking to you as always.
Next, we got more questions than answers tonight after four students were found dead in off-campus housing at the University of Idaho. We'll go to the scene after this.
COATES: New details tonight about the shocking killings of four University of Idaho students that happened last weekend. Police saying at a press conference that there were two roommates in the house during the attack. But there are still more questions than answers.
CNN correspondent Veronica Miracle and CNN law enforcement analyst Michael Fanone join me now. Veronica, thank you for being here because this is a really -- I mean, t's an awful story. But what is the latest information that authorities are providing about this case?
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, so devastating to this very tight-knit and small community. Tonight, we know that those four students were murdered in the early morning hours last Sunday. Two of those students, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, we're at a party on campus, and the other two victims, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, were at a downtown bar. They all came home to that resident around 1:45 a.m. before they were killed.
And authorities have told us that six people live at that residence, and two of the roommates were also home at the time of the attack, as you said. Here's what the chief of police had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: There was other people home at that time. But we're not just focusing just on them, we're focusing on everybody that may be coming and going from that residence.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): So, is there any explanation as to why it took so long then for someone to call 9-1-1? You have surviving witnesses to an incident at three or four in the morning and the 9-1-1 call didn't come until noon?
UNKNOWN: I don't think I ever said that there were witnesses. I said they were there. So, you know, we don't know why that call came in at noon and not in the middle of the night. We would've loved for that to have happened, yes, but that's not how it took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MIRACLE: Laura, I am also told that those roommates are fully cooperating with this investigation. And while police are not calling them suspects, they are not ruling out anyone at this time.
COATES: That's just the idea now, Fanone -- Michael Fanone right now, thinking about the information that we have here. I mean, there are some contradictions in the evolution, obviously, of the case. You have information on day one versus day three or four and beyond. But the idea that we're hearing that there were roommates who were present, he said they were not witnesses, but present, what does that do for your mind and sort of churning the investigative muscle here?
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I'll be honest with you, it's bizarre. It doesn't make sense to me. That press conference left me with many more questions than they provided answers to. You see some of the evidence that we had or at least what the police has told us at this point is that the crime scene was brutal, which suggests to me that there was a personal relationship between the suspect and the decedents.
The police also said there is no longer a threat to the community, which to me suggests that the suspect is either or suspects are in custody or dead themselves. But then again, we have, like you said, contradictory information from law enforcement.
COATES: I want to play for you what the police chief had to say about the threat issue. I think it is interesting and revealing in some ways. I want you to unpack it. Here's what the police chief had to say about that notion of an ongoing threat potentially.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I just want to clarify something you said earlier over the past couple of days, the information that we've been getting is there is not a threat to the public. And earlier I heard you say you can't be sure that there is no threat.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I just want to clarify what your stance is on that at this time.
UNKNOWN: So, we did believe -- we still believe it's a targeted attack. But the reality is there's still someone out there who committed four horrible, horrible crimes. So, I think we have to go back to there is a threat out there still, possibly. We don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I mean, Michael, the idea, the threat out there possibly still, it's a targeted attack, at first, it was the idea of not ongoing threat, is this a little bit of trying not to show one's hand too much? Is this an idea of thinking about not wanting to compromise an investigation? Am I being too generous here?
FANONE: I think you're being too generous. It sounds to me like they originally had said that there was no threat to the community and that now there is a potential threat to the community because the suspect is still at large or suspects are still at large.
COATES: Veronica, you are there, and I can't imagine, we have these questions right now, sitting from where we are and you've been covering the story in such an important way. I mean, the victims' relatives, they're calling out the lack of information coming from the cops, coming from the university. What are they saying about all of this?
MIRACLE: It's been very difficult for not just the people here in this community but, as you've said, the relatives of those families. One victims' sister even saying in a statement that no one is in custody and that means no one is safe. Yes, we are all heartbroken. Yes, we are all grasping. But more strong than any of these feelings is anger. We are angry. You should be angry.
Laura, today, that chief of police himself did say he should've been out in front of the public yesterday, possibly even earlier. We did speak to a public information officer tonight from the Idaho State Police. He told us this is a very small police department, abound 30 people, and that the chief of police himself was actually out there on the scene canvassing, investigating this. So, there wasn't a lot of focus on the communication piece. But now, they're going to be focusing heavily on the communication piece and getting the community involved to help them. Laura?
COATES: Such an important -- what a horrible tragedy. Thank you for covering the story. It's important.
You know, we're thinking about all this and unpacking it as well. I can't help it. Having you here, Michael Fanone, you are the author of the book "Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop's Battle for America's Soul."
And here tonight, we heard from the former vice president who -- Mike Pence, of course, speaking about his experience, speaking about in the town hall we had with Jake Tapper that fateful day. You have very strong opinions about it. What is your reaction to what he had to say tonight?
FANONE: I think it's important that despite the twist that Mike Pence is putting on his own actions or lack thereof, this is the vice president or former vice president of the United States who, while the president at the time was lying to the American public about the results of a free and fair election, he sat quietly by and did nothing and said nothing publicly.
And in the week or so prior to the January 6th insurrection, when he claimed that the election was concluded and that Joe Biden was going to be the next president of the United States, he rather than inform the American people of that, contradicting the president of the United States at the time, he did everything in his power to try to find a way to allow for Donald Trump to overturn the election results. On January 6th, he wasn't telling -- you know -- I'm sorry.
COATES: It's (INAUDIBLE) to think about, the idea of it. I mean, we saw a woman in the audience that day, today, thanking him for what he had done. Do you think he's deserving of that? I can see the --
FANONE: Right. Mike Pence is a coward. On January 6th, he was reaching out to legal scholars and former vice presidents, trying to find any way that he possibly could to postpone the results or to somehow overturn the election results to favor Donald Trump. And when they gave him no way out, he finally found the courage to do his constitutional duty and uphold the results of the free and fair election.
And then in the immediate aftermath, he, like many other Republicans, has come to the defense of Donald Trump even though he was there on the Capitol grounds, his family was placed in grave danger.
COATES: Today, he did talk about the idea -- his private conversations with the former president, that he remorseful. That was the word he used. He was very remorseful in that moment. Did you buy that?
FANONE: No. I think he's lying.
COATES: Why would he lie?
FANONE: Well, number one, he wants to be president. And I think that this is -- you know, he doesn't want to anger Trump supporters. He wants to present himself as an alternative to Donald Trump whose reputation may have been so damaged by his participation in the January 6th insurrection. That he could come along and pick up those voters and carry the MAGA torch on to 2024 and further.
You know, this is not a person who has the courage or moral and ethical fortitude to distance himself from a president who has caused so much harm to so many people in this country.
COATES: We will see what others make of it and what ultimately voters, if he chooses to run, will say about that. Thank you for being a part of this today. It is always important to hear your perspective in particular. Thank you.
And thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.