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CNN Tonight

Obama Speaks Out On State Of Democracy, Warning Against 'Slash And Burn' Politics; Trump Paints Grim Vision Of America In Decline In Announcing His Third Run For The Presidency; Secret Service Agent From Trump's Motorcade On Jan. 6 Interviewed By House Committee; Trump Candidacy Raises Questions About Multiple Investigations He's Facing; Twitter Closes Office Buildings, Suspends Employee Access Amid New Exodus; Two University Of Idaho Victims Seen At Food Truck On Night Of Murders; Virginia Atty General To Review Deadly Mass Shooting. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the midterms are already in the rearview mirror as many of America's leading politicians are now looking to the future. Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announcing that she is stepping down from leadership, not Congress but leadership. Hours after, the former Vice President Mike Pence walked a pretty fine line while rebuking his former boss for January 6, just days after the former President announced his third run for the White House. And tonight, former President Obama speaking about the dangers facing our democracy still.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That progress makes democracy a whole lot more complicated. For one thing, it's easier for people to agree on stuff when the majority of people look the same. Worship the same way and share the same traditions. It's harder as societies become more diverse, and everybody is at the table, and we're going to have to figure out how to live together or we will destroy each other.


COATES: I want to bring in CNN Politics Reporter and Editor At Large Chris Cillizza and CNN Political Commentators, Karen Finney and Kristen Soltis Anderson. I'm glad you're all here. And thinking about this, and so Cillizza, without the tie, how relaxed of you, I love it. I love it.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I -- look, my mom may be watching, she may be asleep. I don't want to say she's watching. But my mom every time I go on TV without the tie is like, did you forget your tie? And I'm like, no, it's, you know, it's after 10.

COATES: (INAUDIBLE). You know, I appreciate -- I'm on mom's side forever in a day. I mean, I will always be --

CILLIZZA: I mean, the tie is sitting in the greenroom.


CILLIZZA: By itself.

COATES: OK. Well, you know, it's a perfect lead into the idea of the ties that bind right now.

CILLIZZA: Wow. That's professional hosting.

COATES: It was subtle. It was subtle. But what are the ties that did bind if you were to compare and contrast, say the style, per se of President Obama on these issues, and then what we heard on Tuesday night from the former president, harkening back to the American carnage as speech.


COATES: Here's what he said. I want to talk about afterwards.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were a free nation, but now we are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of deadly drugs, including very lethal fentanyl, are flooding across the now open and totally porous southern border.

The blood-soaked streets of our once great cities are cesspools of violent crimes, which are being watched all over the world as leadership of other countries explained that this is what America and democracy is really all about. How sad. The United States has been embarrassed, humiliated and weakened, for all to see.


COATES: So I mean, not the glass half full speech, one usually expects about a candidate and the inator's (ph) imagination, but in some respects, that has been the strategy, the idea of grievance-based politics. And that you've got all these heavy hitters out there right now from the Pences to the Obama, to Trump, et cetera, talking. What does it say to you that this is the subject matters still, the future as it's tied to our nation in peril?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, it's stunning how completely out of touch he is to the reality. And I think, you know, one of the things that I took away from the election was that American's democracy matters to people. Freedom matters, our values, those core values actually matter.

And it was just a bizarre, as we've seen many times, actually from Donald Trump, sort of, you know, like, he was in his own universe. However, as we know, in his narrative, everything is horrible until he comes in to save the day. So -- CILLIZZA: I was just thinking to your point, watching that, it is

totally the I alone can fix it mentality, right? Like, because what was fascinating was it wasn't just what he portrayed as like -- I mean blood-soaked streets, cesspools of violence? It wasn't just that he did that, it was that he was saying two years ago, everything was perfect.


I mean, that was the other piece. It's like, well, everything was perfect two years -- it got -- I remember writing down, I was watching and taking notes. And I wrote down everything, not that bad in two years, like, everything was perfect. It was a utopia when Donald Trump was president. But in the last 18 to 24 months, everything is now terrible. Like it's a weird message.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How the way the message like that is that there are a lot of voters out there who are not happy with the way things are going. But the slice of voters were outright angry about the way things are going is a little smaller.

So this is actually a question in the exit polls. How do you feel about the way things are going in the country? Angry, disappointed, et cetera. If you're angry, I think Republicans won those voters by like a 57 --

CILLIZZA: That's right.

ANDERSON: -- margin, it was enormous. But if you were in the, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed, sort of category, I believe --

COATES: Harkening back to mothers all the time.


ANDERSON: I'm not bad, I'm just disappointed. I believe Democrats actually won those voters, like it was not -- you would think if you're disappointed in the way things are going, you would want to change leadership. And they -- those voters did not vote in big numbers for Republicans. So just doubling down on the, if you're really mad, vote for me message, there's a limit to the number --

COATES: I want to play for you -- I mean, you're -- that's the strong points you've made, especially because today you also heard -- I wasn't super seriously playing Trump's speech on Tuesday. You know, it is a counter to what President Obama said today. And there was a moment where he talks about the idea that enticement of trying to use that grievance, trying to capitalize on that anger as the only platform you have. Here he is.


OBAMA: One of the easiest ways to win votes is to tap into people's growing sense of anxiety and fear and vertigo, their sense of loss, their resentment of change. And to tell them that their tradition and their values, their very identities are under attack by outsiders. And you add it all up, then you've got a recipe for backlash, and polarization. And the sort of toxic, slash and burn, anything goes politics that we've seen erupt just about everyone. And it is dangerous.


COATES: That recipe has made a lot of cakes.

FINNEY: It has, a lot of brownies too. No question. At the same time, again, I think Americans -- because when Americans said they were angry at the exit polls, if you then ask why, there were a lot of different reasons. And they did not vote for Republicans.

Actually, some were mad at the idea that women would not have control of their own bodies. And they were mad at anybody who tried to take that away. Some, like young people are mad about climate change. The point being, I mean, that Obama does so beautifully is to try to say, we can do this together.

We don't have to be -- and, you know, I will just say as a biracial person, and he is to, when you have grown up on both sides of the color line, you really get a different viewpoint into both. And you want to say to white folks, don't be afraid. It's OK, right. I mean, he talked about eloquently once about how he was with his white grandmother, and she saw him, he saw her being afraid of some young black men coming towards them.

And I think he has always been so eloquent at saying there is more that unites us as human beings, as Americans than that divides us. And let's not fall for that again.

ANDERSON: Well, and he talked about, you know, I think that he use that word anxiety is really important, right?


ANDERSON: Because back in 2016, I would argue that Americans were really frustrated, there was a lot of anxiety, and many voters said, I'm just ready to blow it all up. And that's how you wind up with Donald Trump as president. I don't think voters right now are in and I'm anxious, and therefore, I want to blow it all up kind of mode.

And what we saw at the polls was actually voters making difference, differentiating, you know, certain types of Republicans from others, to kind of blow it all up type folks, didn't do as well at the ballot box. I think that the people are expressing this anxiety, not by saying I want someone like Donald Trump, I want someone that's going to throw bombs, but they're actually beginning to pivot away a little bit from that harsh polarization.

COATES: And that point, I mean, I want you to response to this because I want to play and just sort of set this up and these contrasts happening. I mean, I always think this idea of the, you know, Yin and Yang going on. Although Trump-Pelosi is neither Yin or Yang but let's just have a kumbaya moment for a second. But remember, Trump talks about this point. He takes a little bit of a moment the other day to talk about the criticism and the loss in the midterms. Here he is.


TRUMP: 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.


COATES: So that was the sort of the foreboding tone of the future. And then there was what Speaker Pelosi said today, when she was announcing that she's stepping down from leadership or would not be seeking in the speakership again, obviously. Here's what that contrast look like.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: With these elections, the people stood in the breach and repelled the assault on democracy. They were soundly rejected violence and insurrection. And in doing so, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, our children.

Babies born today will live into the next century, and our decisions will determine their future for generations to come. While we will have our disagreements on policy, we must remain fully committed to our shared fundamental mission, to hold strong to our most treasured democratic ideals, to cherish the spark of divinity, and each and every one of us, and to always put our country first.


COATES: Chris, a different tone.

CILLIZZA: Oh, my gosh, I mean, it's like from two different planets. The thing -- maybe it's because we're talking about Barack Obama, but I just wrote down hope, which obviously was his slogan. Politics has been -- at least as long as I remember it, and as long as I've studied about hope in the future, right?

Things are going to get better. They may not be perfect now. You may be struggling, but they're going to get better. I don't know how you run a presidential campaign, again, because I think Kristen's point is really important, again, different year, different mindset of the voters again, on streets of blood, cesspools of violence. I mean, he literally said, again, I wrote it down, America is failing. I just -- if that works, again, it's so anathema to how we always considered how -- campaigns, it's not even presidential campaigns, campaigns in general are running one. Hope envision for the future. Think about contrast, Obama and Pelosi, what you just heard even Mike Pence in our town hall last night, versus that Trump's speech. I mean, I was saying to Karen off camera, it's remarkable that that's his message.

FINNEY: But also it's the message of -- and it's somebody else's fault and pitting --


FINNEY: -- groups of people against each other. And guess what, we've done for it in 2016, in part, because there is a lot of fear about change in this country, and where do I fit in in that change? But I hope that part of what we saw coming in what we've learned coming out of the Trump years and now, in this past election is, you know, I'm tired of being divided. I'm tired of fighting.

I would rather us, how can we come together? How can we -- to Chris's point, what's the hope? What's the future? It's -- I don't -- I'm tired of the past. I'm tired of those fights?

COATES: Well, you know, you mentioned Vice President -- former Vice President Mike Pence. And Kristen, there was a moment during our town hall when he was asked a question about a disillusioned Republican voter who was -- talking about the idea of not feeling like there was still the hope. For many reasons you're talking about in the polling and beyond. Listen to this.


ANITA MURPHY, LIBRARIAN: I come from a Republican family, but I have lost faith in the Republican Party. They seem to have leaned way to the far right, and I am a middle of the road sort of person. And I really hate the name calling and the demonizing that's going on. And why should I have faith in the Republicans to lead this country?

MIKE PENCE (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I had the chance to go to Congress, I tried to live that out every day. And as your governor and as Vice President of the United States, and it's a deeply held belief of mine, that democracy depends on heavy doses of civility.

Because as a practical matter, I will tell you that if -- I've never seen a member of Congress begrudge me in my views and my values, in a good vigorous debate. Never prevented us from looking for other ways to work together. But when things become personal, is they have to often on both sides of the aisle. And it makes the possibility of finding common ground. Very difficult.


COATES: I don't know if that was the most satisfying answer for the person asking the question. You know, one of the criticisms of his responses last night was that it was pretty hard to say yes or no in Washington, D.C. and answer a question but yet he talked about the more contextual notion that you just addressed, Kristen.

I wonder what you make of that questioner, in particular, as it relates to how the polls are reflecting. I mean it is this idea of the exhaustion with the lack of civility. Is that something that is translating at the polls?


ANDERSON: So when you ask voters what their number one issue is, Republicans will say things like inflation and immigration. Democrats will say things like abortion and climate change, but division and anxiety about that, as something that is just fundamentally broken in our country is something that you see pop up among Republicans and Democrats.

If there's anything that unites us, it is anger and frustration that we are so divided. The challenge for Republicans is that that voter that asked Mike Pence that question, for every one of her they lost, they did gain maybe one or half of a voter that actually liked the more combative tone. It felt, finally, someone's fighting for me.

And so the problem is, can you find a candidate on the Republican side that can bring someone like her back while still turning out? Some of these voters that were really disconnected from politics, but for whatever reason, came into the fold when Donald Trump ran. And Mike Pence is a tough messenger for this too, because if you're someone like her, you're saying, look, you served this guy for four years. You said nothing but good things about him for four years, while he loved these insults, et cetera.

So he's not going to have that kind of I'm done with the GOP group, come back to him. At the same time, sort of hardcore Republicans are looking at him and going, you didn't stay with Donald Trump on January 6. And so he's between this real rock and a hard place. If he does have presidential ambitions, they can make it challenging for him to (INAUDIBLE).

COATES: How did they get out? How do you get out of it? That's a good point.

CILLIZZA: I just -- I -- civility is a tough message for Mike Pence to sell, not because Mike Pence is not a civil guy, he is. I mean the contrast between Mike Pence in that town hall last night and Donald Trump ever is vast, but he literally stood behind Donald Trump for four years like this.

COATES: But he said --

CILLIZZA: You know?

COATES: -- in the townhall, whether it's satisfying or not. He talked about the idea of, you know, he criticized in private.

CILLIZZA: OK. COATES: That he had those personal moments where he would talk about there.

CILLIZZA: Yes, sure. Go ahead, Karen. I'm sorry, go ahead.

FINNEY: No, I was just going to say, sure. But now you're not the Vice President to Donald Trump anymore.

CILLIZZA: That's right.

FINNEY: And now you can say, look, then I was doing my duty -- I mean, I'll make this message up. Then, I was -- let's do it. I'm on spot.

CILLIZZA: On spot.

FINNEY: Then I was doing my duty. I had agreed to be his vice president.


FINNEY: But now, let me tell you who I really am and what I really care about. And to say, I don't want to see us continue to divide ourselves. I mean, there's -- but again, I think, to Chris's point, the credibility and your point, it's -- he doesn't have a lot of credibility.

CILLIZZA: He is so stuck between a rock and a hard place. I mean, you know, like, if you're Mike Pence, you're the governor of Indiana, you get offered vice presidency, you take it thinking, well, if Donald Trump loses now, I've been the vice presidential nominee, so maybe I could be the presidential nominee downline.

Donald Trump wins, so -- I mean, I got to be thinking he was probably surprised. Suddenly, you're the vice president, and you think everything's marching right in the right direction, maybe he doesn't run again, maybe in 2028. And then January 6 happens and now you're trapped. Because the pro-Trump people don't think you're trumpy enough. And the people in the -- including in the Republican Party, who don't like Trump think you aided and abetted him no matter what you said in private. So it's a total no win.

ANDERSON: And there's -- I did a focus group for the New York Times. It was on right on the anniversary of January 6 of Republican voters and many of the folks in this focus group, we published all the transcript, they were not happy about what happened on January 6. They said they turned on their TV, they saw these images, they thought they were horrifying.

But then when you specifically asked about Mike Pence, even some of the ones that said that they thought everything on January 6 was regrettable said, you know, it would have been nice if he had at least delayed the certification. That there are a lot of folks that are not the full on big lie, you know, type folks but nevertheless still think, I don't know that I'm with what he did that day.

Even though many folks might say what he did was really brave. There are enough Republicans that actually don't view it as bravery and that's going to be a problem.

COATES: That's fascinating to think about. I mean, just the damned if you do, damned if you don't and also condemned if you've done nothing, which is part of the issue here. Thank you so much you, guys, really important conversation.

Also first on CNN, the lead agent from the former president, Donald Trump's motorcade on January 6, well, he was interviewed by the January 6 committee today. So what will that mean for Donald Trump's now third run for the White House?



COATES: Tonight, Donald Trump facing one investigation after another in the midst of his now declared third run for the White House. And there's news tonight on one of those investigations. Sources telling CNN the January 6 committee has interviewed Robert Engel. Now you might remember that name. Engel was the lead agent in then-President Trump's motorcade on the day of the Capitol attack. So what will all of this mean for Trump's candidacy?

Let's bring in CNN Legal Analysts, Norm Eisen and Elliot Williams. Glad to see you both. Always fun to talk to my fellow lawyers about these issues, in particular. Because, look, first of all, he may have announced, Norm, but it doesn't mean anything actually stopped in terms of the outside investigations, the questions that were still circulating.

And we just -- we showed that graphic of all the different things that were out there still, you and I have talked about this. I want to begin here because, look, I'm always wondering about the money. Who's paying for these legal bills? Who is footing the money here?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laura, now that Donald Trump has announced his campaign will be able to foot these legal bills. If he had waited until after, say, Georgia DA and Fulton County, Fani Willis had charged him, there might be an argument that wasn't related to the campaign. But since he went first, his campaign contributors can put them in the campaign in his PAC. The RNC had been paying they won't pay any more. So he could actually be using his campaign as a funding mechanism to deal with his legal problems.


COATES: And the RNC as you mentioned can't pay. They have a policy that says they cannot show some favor to a now candidate or otherwise, it's fascinating. Think about that, Elliot, is the mechanism of how you could actually do it. But I'm really curious about this moment in terms of Bobby Engel.

And I want to remind the audience, do you remember this moment when Cassidy Hutchinson testified? And it was that moment everyone was talking about, about whether Trump reached for a steering wheel in anger for not being able to go down to the Capitol. Here's that moment. Remember?


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO FORMER W.H. CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: The President reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the Capitol.

Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel. And when Mr. Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motion towards his clavicles.


COATES: So Elliot, this is still ongoing, the January 6 committee and obviously there was testimony and say, I wonder what you make of the potential, I mean, if Bobby Engel corroborates what she said, which was challenged, if you remember at the time, what impact do you think this would have on the investigation, and obviously, the forthcoming report?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, not a ton, Laura. And I spent a bunch of time both working for Congress, and then around Congress, when I was at the Justice Department helping to prepare testimony. My sense is that the committee is sort of in cleanup mode, because like you said, there was a factual dispute over whether this altercation took place.

Now, Cassidy Hutchinson gave that testimony, but there was some comments in the press that didn't happen. What they're doing, I think, by bringing him in, again, is just clearing it up and seeing what they can put in a report that corroborates whether this altercation happened. Now, look, even if it didn't, this is not the piece of evidence or information that's going to make or break the January 6 committee's work.

What is not in dispute is that number one, the former president was not happy with the election result and to challenge it by going around the country, you know, with slates of fake electors. We know that for certain, whether he grabbed the guy's neck or shoulder or did not doesn't change the underlying sort of heft of what might come in the report and certainly doesn't change the question of whether anybody is going to be charged with a crime following -- based on the report that they put out.

COATES: Speaking of charges, Norm, and the idea, I mean, I wonder, do you see the prospects? You've written a number of reports on these issues, along with the Brennan Center, in particular, and I follow your work, obviously. And I'm wondering, do you think that there could be charges coming either from the DOJ or from Fani Willis?

There's, obviously, other investigations at the state level in Manhattan and beyond. Do you see the prospect of these charges? Because this is really up the perpetual billion dollar question from so many voters when they talk about the purported Teflon Don? EISEN: Laura, I think we're going to see likely a one two punch. Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis charging for the fake electoral slates and the solicitation of election fraud, the election denial, alleged crimes of the 2020 election, followed by today had a big report out prosecution memo, with just security at NYU, the Mar-a-Lago document mishandling issues.

Big federal exposure there, if anybody else in the country, it taken even one of those classified national security information documents with them from the White House, they would be subject to prosecution. Donald Trump took dozens. I think it is very likely, my co-authors agree, very likely that DOJ is going to prosecute that.

COATES: And speaking of Fulton County, Elliot, I mean, just look at this on the screen. I mean, you've got this probe, who has already testified in that particular probe. You're talking about Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia and the governor elect, yet again. You've got Cassidy Hutchinson, and then you have upcoming in that familiar faces, including Senator Lindsey Graham, and also Michael Flynn.

And I wonder, do you think that this particular investigation, Elliot, poses the biggest litigation or prosecutorial threat? And if not, what does?

WILLIAMS: No, that's an excellent question. Now, it's clear that they've gathered a tremendous amount of evidence and frankly, as Norm has laid out in his report a few days ago. A big thing that's going to arise from this that we should all be prepared for are legal challenges from the President to being tried in Georgia.

Number one, the first thing he could do is try to move it to federal court saying that it doesn't belong in a Fulton County Courthouse. He could make the argument that so for instance, you know, as we've heard before that he's immune from certain kinds of suit based on having been president of the United States or that he had First Amendment issues or so on.

Now, look, we can dispute and disagree with this until we're blue in the face as we're talking here, but those have to be resolved by our court. And that will certainly cause some delay in time. Now, again, I'm going back to my friend Norm's report, sort of makes the case that he likely loses on some of these claims, and he might, but at the end of the day, they have to be litigated in court, and frankly, nowhere else.

COATES: And Norm, this could be slow rolled, right? I mean, you kick the can down the road as long as you can. So there ain't no road as they went so I think that was -- it may have been back to the future one, not Mad Max. I think it's definitely what is its doc (ph) saying that, do you think that kicking the can down the road all this time? I mean, that could obviously pass the good night period of the January 6 committee? Will this be resolved by the time that we have six weeks to go into the new Congress begins?

EISEN: Laura, I don't know if we're going back to the future or forward to the past with Donald Trump's delay strategy that we've seen so often we're going to continue to see. But here's his dilemma. Every day, there is going to be news because of these two investigations and the many others that are going on that one two punch in Georgia and the federal document case.

Every day, there's going to be news about subpoenas being served, witnesses testifying, witnesses not testified, if there are charges. If Eliot is right, there's a Georgia case and it's removed. That will make news. I don't think with the political challenges Donald Trump already has, the failure of his election denial movement, his chosen candidates failing, that is going to be another anvil around his neck, this criminality as your previous segments said.

WILLIAMS: Where I have to disagree with you --

EISEN: People are tired of the fight.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Where I have to disagree a little bit with the, Norm, though, is that that assumes that either the President or the supporters of the President actually regard being charged with a crime or being investigated by, frankly, Democrat -- democratic elected officials or appointed officials as a bad thing.

And it actually could be motivating or animating for the President's supporters. So I'm just not convinced, necessarily -- like I hear you, and, you know, that's the way it should be, right. But it -- there might be a motivating element to some of this too, I think.

COATES: Well, gentlemen, there was a time in our lives when being investigated by DOJ would not have been a badge of honor. But, you know, we -- I mean, I'm not getting any younger, so we'll see what happens next about these issues.

Thank you so much. We'll leave it for another day because there will be more days of these very conversations. Thank you, gentlemen.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

COATES: Speaking of longer days, for some, a mass exodus seems to be underway at Twitter. And Elon Musk is responding. He's closing offices, he's blocking employee access. Yes, you are experiencing deja vu.

And if you went by a Starbucks today, I drove by one in Minnesota earlier today when I was in St. Paul, I saw workers who were striking right outside. And you may have seen them in your area of the country as well. We'll talk about all of this next.



COATES: So the question tonight, how many employees are left at Twitter? It's a night of turmoil that new owner Elon Musk's company, offices closed, employee access suspended and what appears to be a mass exodus of workers who don't want to commit to Musk's extremely hardcore, whatever that means, work ultimatum. Remember the deadline was 5:00 p.m. today. Meanwhile, some 2,000 Starbucks employees staged a one-day strike at more than 100 stores nationwide, protesting the company's approach to union contract negotiations. So what does all this tell us about what workers are expecting from their jobs right now?

Back with me, Chris Cillizza, Karen Finney, Kristen Soltis Anderson. You know, let me start with you here, Chris, because I mean, first of all, just put into context. In a world where we have relied so heavily on social media --


COATES: -- frankly, when it comes to politics. I mean, it's the --

CILLIZZA: End news.

COATES: -- end news.


COATES: The fact that it's in turmoil, it's not like a dismissed story. It really is top of mind for a reason.

CILLIZZA: It is central to how I do my job. I will say that. I use it as a news feed. I maybe dumbly never thought of it just disappearing suddenly because it, you know, yes, it's not as big as Facebook. I get that but, you know, still a big company.

COATES: Boomer, we call that Meta now.

CILLIZZA: Meta, oh. Youch, men.


CILLIZZA: I should have worn a tie. I -- you know, I just -- I laughed a little bit in your intro. And then I thought to myself, it's really not a laughing matter. Like you're talking about half of the staff losing their jobs when he takes over and then whatever this is the lockout, I don't know what to call it, you know, it's -- I just think it's -- if I didn't know better, I would wonder how the heck Elon Musk got so rich.

Because he -- look, he didn't inherit this money. SpaceX, Tesla, he disrupted the car industry. I mean, this is someone who has real accomplishments. This isn't someone whose dad was rich, and now he's rich. But he doesn't seem like someone who's a good businessman is running Twitter with -- Twitter's best interests at heart, the things that he's doing.

The -- you have to be extremely hardcore. What does that even -- I mean, like?, can you quantify what extreme hardcore means? Is that like, 8:00 to 8:00 p.m. work hours? Like, it's --

COATES: And by the way, this is for 7,500 employee.

CILLIZZA: That's right.

COATES: We're talking about the scope of this problem and their families.


FINNEY: Yes. But it was written in a way that if somebody -- if my boss sent that to me, I'd be like, OK, well, peace out.


FINNEY: I mean, it was not written in a way that says, we value you, we value the work that you do. It was all this talk about, you have to prove your excellence.


FINNEY: But no measure of what does that actually mean. Frankly, I feel like -- seems to me, the only thing that seems to make sense is that this was part of the plan all along to run Twitter into the ground, declare bankruptcy for reason I have no --


KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not sure there seems like there was a plan, which is --


ANDERSON: This to me seems like it's going to be studied in business schools for a long time as an example of a change in leadership going very badly, at least in the short term. Maybe there is a plan, maybe his vision to, let's get rid of all of the staff and let's start from scratch. We'll build a bigger, better Twitter down the road.

But it does seem like this is all very ad hoc at the moment, which for a company as influential as Twitter was --


ANDERSON: -- is fascinating. Look, if it goes away tomorrow, I gave up Twitter for lent (ph) a few years ago, and it was really refreshing couple of weeks.

CILLIZZA: Did you stay off?

ANDERSON: No, of course not. Of course not. And then I think Twitter actually has served as much as it can be a toxic wasteland a lot. It has served a valuable purpose. And that --


ANDERSON: -- 10 years ago, a little junior analyst like me --

CILLIZZA: Yes. ANDERSON: -- writing little missives about how the Republican Party was losing young voters. Twitter gave a chance for a nobody like me to get her stuff in front of big-name people who would maybe take it seriously. So Twitter can be a useful platform for people to get visibility. But it's not perfect. And so if it goes away, I'll only be sort of sad.

COATES: Let me say this on the notion. And first of all, I'm a nobody. Are you nobody too? I love that moment. I'm thinking about this. But you think about where we are with this, and I just can't -- first of all, there is a luxury and being able to piece out, right? There's a luxury --


COATES: -- of being able to say, OK, well I -- take it or leave it, well then leave it. But there's also the idea here that we're talking about as a study in business school, I think we've grown accustomed in this society that our feelings matter in business.


COATES: This is a learned behavior, where the idea of having your morale as employees is more important, or if not as important as the bottom line. And I wonder if this reversion in some ways, is what people are really responding to the idea of, you know, we have quiet quitting in our midst. We have the -- yes, not too long ago, you had the Sheryl Sandberg "Lean In" discussion about that.

And now you've got this weird period we're in where they're saying, no, you got to work hard. The bottom line is all important. Is it our societal sort of spines on our back now?

FINNEY: Well I think it's still a business that relies on people that people --


FINNEY: -- have to engage with.


COATES: Yes, it's true.

FINNEY: That's the difference. So I mean --


FINNEY: -- you know, it's different than building a car or building a rocket, right, where I think some of the types of deadlines and the products you're creating are different. This is a people business.

COATES: Well, and you -- as the Starbucks of course are fighting for that right now --

FINNEY: Yes. COATES: -- in unionization, we'll see how that all impacts. Everyone, up next, new developments tonight in the shocking case of four students found stabbed to death in their home, a small college town that hadn't seen a murder since 2015. Were on the scene after this.



COATES: Four days after the murders of four students at the University of Idaho, there is still no suspect named, no murder weapon found and very few answers, leaving a college town not only in mourning, but on edge. Autopsy results did confirm today, the 20- and 21-year-olds killed at their off-campus home on Sunday, were stabbed to death. And there's now video of two of those victims. Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves at a food truck early in the morning on Sunday before they were killed when they returned to their home.

More now from CNN's Veronica Miracle who's been following this mystery closely in Moscow, Idaho.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, late today, we learned those autopsies have been completed. The coroner's report just released confirming what police have already revealed, which is that those four students Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves were all stabbed to death.

Now the crime scene was very active today. We saw investigators still combing through evidence, taking photos inside that house. And this as neighbors, many of them who are University of Idaho students, are still grappling with what has happened. Take a listen.


AVA DRIFTMEYER, LIVES NEAR CRIME SCENE: I just don't even think it's like set in yet. Like, you know, how insane this is. And the fact that there's no answers is like the worst feeling ever. Like I know all of us are just waiting to get out of here as fast as we can. And yes, it's just -- it's heartbreaking.

And that's like the scariest part because we're just like, we're 100 feet away. You know, how close was this person? Are they still around, like we're -- it's so scary.


MIRACLE: Laura, there are still so many unanswered questions, including if one suspect did this, or if there were multiple suspects. Police don't know that. They also don't know why this happened. They don't have a motive. But they do believe this was a targeted attack based on evidence that they found inside the home. What that evidence is, they're not revealing yet to the public. Laura?

COATES: Veronica, thank you so much.

We've also gotten news on the deadly shooting at UVA. Three students killed, others injured. Now one of those injured students finally able to communicate after spending days in the ICU. Stay with us.



COATES: New developments tonight on the devastating shooting at the University of Virginia. Virginia's Attorney General will review what led to Sunday's shooting of three football players and the wounding of two others. Their faces are on the screen right now.

Special counsel will look into how school officials assess the potential threat that was posed by the 22-year-old suspect student before the killings. The state police in video will also now be taking over the shooting investigation and the suspect faces three charges of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

He also faces two counts of malicious wounding, each accompanied by a firearm charge. He remains held without bond. His next hearing is next month.

We're learning tonight one of the two students seriously injured. UVA running back Michael Hollins is no longer intubated and has been moved from the ICU after surgeries.


According to a family friend, he is doing better. Another survivor was released from the hospital earlier this week.

Thank you all for watching. Now, before we go, here's a look at the new CNN film, "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down." It takes viewers inside Giffords relentless fight to recover from the 2011 assassination attempt. And our new life is one of the most effective activists in the battle against gun violence today. It premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us now is Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If an idea is a good idea, so good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congresswoman Giffords was the target of the mass shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's beginning several months of rehab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me two fingers. All right. Give me five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not allowed to quit on me.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good news about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She was discharged today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The words are there in my brain. I just can't get them out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She laughs at my jokes even when they're bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Funny. It's funny, funny, funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gabby Giffords making her way back to the Capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too many children are dying. We must do something.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody could have been more compelling than Gabby was that day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" Sunday night at 9:00 only on CNN.