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CNN Tonight

GLAAD President: Direct Link Between Anti-LGBTQ Violence And Hate Rhetoric Spewed By Politicians & Extremists; GOP Elites Weigh Possible Alternatives To Trump; European Captains Told Not To Wear "OneLove" Armband At World Cup In Qatar. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Their lives ended over the weekend, in what they thought was a place to celebrate, to laugh, to make new memories, a place they thought of community, safety and love. Instead, it became a reminder of how precious those things are, a reminder now about their absence.

But also, in the case of heroes, Richard Fierro and Thomas James, about how even the darkest moments leave room for light and strength and grace.

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Kasie Hunt and CNN TONIGHT.


KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: John, thank you. And we are going to stay with the memories of those five.

I am Kasie Hunt. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

Police have identified the five people, who were killed, in the mass shooting, at an LGBTQ nightclub, in Colorado Springs, and released their pictures, this evening; Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Derrick Rump. Our deepest condolences to their loved ones.

They have also named the two heroes, being credited, with taking down the gunman, and saving so many lives. They are Thomas James and Richard Fierro, a U.S. Army Vet, who says he went into combat mode, as bullets were flying.

John Berman just spoke with him. Watch.


RICHARD FIERRO, TOOK DOWN CLUB Q GUNMAN: I saw the ACU pattern flak vest. And for me, that was like there's a handle, I'm getting it. So, I ran across the room, grabbed the handle, pulled him down, and then started to -- well actually I think I went for his gun with him. His rifle flew in front of him. And the young man that tried to jump in there with me, he -- we both either pulled him down or whatever, but he ended up at his head, and right next to the AR. And then, with the AR, here we -- I told him, "Push the AR. Get the AR away from him." The kid pushed the AR. I don't know what his name was. And then, I proceeded to take his other weapon, the pistol, and then just start hitting him, at where I could.

I lost my kid's boyfriend. I tried. I tried to -- everybody in there. I still feel bad that it's five people -- there's five people that didn't go home. And this guy, this guy, I told him, while I was eating, I said, "I will kill you, man because you tried to kill my friend."

One of the performers was walking by, when the kid was getting tired of kicking, and she helped him -- kicked him with the high heels that she had on.

I'm not a hero. I'm just a guy that wanted to protect his kids and his wife. And I still didn't get to protect her boyfriend.


HUNT: Wow! What an incredible story!

Authorities did not release very many new details, about the shooting, in the update they gave tonight. But they did mention a tipline that's been set up by the FBI, so that the public can help in their investigation.

They also said suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, has not yet been charged. He is in custody, but remains hospitalized. Online court records show the 22-year-old is facing multiple murder, and hate crime charges. But the D.A. of El Paso County, in Colorado, says the counts aren't finalized, and are still under review.


MICHAEL ALLEN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, EL PASO COUNTY, CO: It's important that if we have enough evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, to charge that. It's important for this community. It's important for the prosecution effort.


HUNT: Law enforcement says Aldrich had an AR-style weapon, and a handgun, on him, at the scene of the crime. They've encountered this suspect before. Last year, after a bomb threat, Police engaged with him, in a standoff.

CNN has obtained new video of that incident.


ANDERSON LEE ALDRICH, ALLEGED GUNMAN OF THE COLORADO LGBTQ NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING: This is your boy. I've got the (bleep) outside. Look at that. They got a beat on me. You see that right there? (bleep) got their (bleep) rifles out. If they breach, I'm going to (bleep) blow it to Holy hell.


HUNT: Yikes!

And then, there's what happened this weekend. And we don't know yet if that is in fact a hate crime or what the motive was. But it certainly comes at a time, when hate is on the rise, in this country.

This has led the President of GLAAD to say, quote, "There is a direct link between the violence committed against our community and the hateful rhetoric spewed daily by anti-LGBTQ politicians and extremists."

There have been a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills, introduced, this year, in state houses, nation-wide.

Joining me now, CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem; and CNN Political Commentators, Hilary Rosen, and Scott Jennings.

Thank you all for joining me, tonight.

And I want to start with Juliette, as we sort of set the stage here. You heard the District Attorney say that they are still collecting evidence, to try and figure out whether this mass shooting can be charged, can be considered a hate crime.

Earlier today, he told CNN that there is already some evidence pointing to that. Let's take a look at that, and then we'll talk about it.




ALLEN: Location is some evidence. The fact, that these victims were in a specific location that is predominantly frequented by members of the LGBTQ community? That is evidence that we can use towards that -- towards the decision of filing bias-motivated crimes. But we're looking for other evidence as well as that.


HUNT: So, can you walk us through what the investigation might look like, and tell us what kinds of evidence that they will be looking for, especially to charge for a hate crime?

KAYYEM: Yes. So, first of all, we don't know if he's speaking. Or we know that he's not speaking now, but he may eventually. So, whatever he says will be relevant, and then, of course, whatever trail he left.

And there'll be two pieces to this. One will be, did he -- did he say anything, do anything, with other family members, with friends that would then leave witnesses, who can testify that he had animus, had targeted the bar, had targeted the community. The other is, of course, his online presence.

And so, what is online? What caused him to be radicalized? Just within a year, he's attacking his mother. This is the case that we know about. He's focused on sort of a family issue. Within a year that becomes a mass killing, which we have to remind everyone, could have been so much worse. I mean, over a dozen people have bullet wounds, and we're just lucky that they're alive.

And so, what radicalization happened? Did it happen online? And who was he following? Who was he communicating with? That will capture the picture.

I was surprised that -- I'll be honest with you. I was surprised they didn't charge today. These cases can -- you can start with a hate crime. But I would suspect that they will likely do it, in the next day or two, if they have evidence that this was targeted, because of the kind of bar it was.

And it's hard to believe it wasn't. It was a unique bar. Not many gay -- LGBTQ bars in the community. It wasn't like he randomly showed up, at a bar, and decided to shoot who was in it.

HUNT: Right. No. Of course. And you mentioned this earlier.


HUNT: But I'm curious how you think it will affect this. The fact that the suspect is refusing to speak to police?


HUNT: How does that play into this decision not to charge it, do you think?

KAYYEM: And so, it may be that that's -- it may be that he might be willing to speak, or that other members of his family will speak. Remember, the mother, likely or we -- the mother did not file charges, against him, a year ago, when he was violent towards her. She will not speak to the media, or to law enforcement, now. But there might be other family members.

But we would anticipate that he's not going to speak. He's going to get lawyers. And we can't imagine -- I can't imagine a narrative coming from him. So then, really what you're looking for is narratives, about his hate towards the LGBTQ community, either that he's said to other people, or that he's left online.

HUNT: So, Hilary Rosen, the reality here, whether or not this is deemed a bias-motivated crime, it doesn't affect the sentencing in Colorado. So, this man is going to face significant jail time, no matter what happens.

But how important is this distinction to the LGBTQ+ community that it is recognized as a hate crime? As we know, from a law enforcement perspective, they're saying, right now, they don't have that. But as we all look at this, we understand that the people that were targeted here are members of a community.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's important. And it's particularly important in Colorado, and in Colorado Springs. Because Colorado Springs has actually been a hotbed, for many, many years, of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, activity. In the 90s, it was sort of one of the first places that created referendums, anti-gay referendums.

And so, there is this history, locally. The local Republican members of Congress have been very vocal against the community. And so, I think it feels particularly scary, and personal, for members, in Colorado.

But, look, I don't want to be glib about this. I don't, you know, I'm gay, and I stand in solidarity with those children in Uvalde, and the shoppers, in the supermarket, in Buffalo, and the folks, in the movie theater. I mean, we have to look at what these crimes, these mass shootings, have in common.

And the thing that they have in common isn't hate. There is a lot of hate in the world. And there's a, you know, there are a lot of mentally-ill people. But what we have in common here, in these mass shootings, are high-capacity magazines, and guns, and the easy access to them. And I think until we actually face that, we're not going to stop this.

We don't do mental health resources. But if we don't deal with the capacity, to go in, and shoot 40 people, in the scope of 10 minutes, we're never going to solve this problem.

HUNT: Right. There's, of course, the motivation, for whoever is committing the attack, and then also the means. And there are different ways to address those two things.


I mean, Scott, the reality is that the attack at Club Q happened on the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. And while his motive is still under investigation, we do know that 2021 was the deadliest year on record, for Trans and non-binary people.

And there are a lot of people pointing fingers at the political rhetoric, on the right, like that coming from Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who represents this -- the Western half of Colorado. I mean, what do you say to that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SENIOR CAMPAIGN COMMS ADVISER TO SEN. MCCONNELL, COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: Well, number one, I'd like to learn more about this guy's history. I don't know what his motivations are. I'd prefer to wait for the police.

Number two, I'd like to know more about what happened, last year, and why he wasn't held or charged, in that incident. I mean, it strikes me that the quickest way to have kept him from getting a gun would be for him to have fallen under Colorado's Red Flag Law, which I guess wasn't possible, because he was ultimately not adjudicated, last year, on the issue with his mother. So, that's the second thing.

The third thing is I don't know if any Republican politicians that, are advocating violence. There are certainly Republican politicians that are -- have strong policy differences, with Democrats, on some of these issues. But that's a far cry from advocating violence.

Violence is wrong. I do not advocate violence. And I don't know any Republican--

HUNT: But people like Boebert are calling people, who are in the LGBTQ community,

JENNINGS: --are advocating violence. And I think there's a big -- I think there's a big--


HUNT: --she's using words like "Groomers," right, which insinuates something that potentially could lead people to violence. I mean, is that going too far? Is that contributing to what we saw?

JENNINGS: Look, like I said--

ROSEN: I think we've seen them making hate--


HUNT: Hold on. Let me let Scott answer that. And then, let me come back to you, Hilary.

ROSEN: Right.

HUNT: Scott, can you answer my question?

JENNINGS: Yes, look -- yes, look, like I said, I don't know of any Republican politicians, who were out there, calling on people to commit violence. And I think it's a pretty far jump.

Now, these issues have become hot-button issues, in America, and certainly Republican politicians have picked up on it. And some use heated rhetoric. But I still, I defy you to find a Republican member of Congress, or anybody else, who's out there saying, "Let's go commit violence against a particular community." I just don't think that's happening.

And beyond that, we still don't know everything we need to know, about this guy, before those kinds of jumps are made. So to me, I'm waiting to see, on this. But I would just say violence is wrong. Rhetoric should be cooled down. But I think to ascribe violence to people, Republican politicians that haven't called for that is not -- is also not right.

HUNT: Hilary, what's your response to that?


HUNT: And then, Juliette--

ROSEN: Well, I--

HUNT: --I'll let you jump in.

ROSEN: I mean, I agree with Scott. I don't think that Republican congress-people, who target legislatively, this community, are encouraging violence.

I just think that you create an atmosphere that makes people feel threatened, by people, who are different than them, in a way that makes it uncomfortable for them. And if you take -- combine that with a person, who's mentally-challenged, who has issues, who's sociopathic, like there's a -- you are kind of lighting a match.

And I think that that's the piece that people have to really think through. Are we doing everything we can to bring people together instead of making people feel bad about each other? And that's the piece I think that the Republicans don't quite take into consideration.

I don't want to politicize this horrible murder. But I do think that this conversation is kind of an important one to have over time. Clearly, the access to guns is a particularly horrific tie between all of these mass shootings.

HUNT: Juliette, we've got about 15 seconds.


HUNT: Quick last word.

KAYYEM: Yes. I mean, I agree with Hilary, of course, about the gun issue, the capacity to kill so quickly. But I just, I want to talk about radicalization very quickly. It doesn't have to be asked for by a politician, violence doesn't have to be asked for.

I think what we have to ask ourselves, and is, is the rhetoric one, in which people will hear and feel that there's a permissive culture, to attack, target, and then ultimately, very small group, to use violence, against a class of people, who have done no harm, who are just loving, who they love?

HUNT: Yes.

KAYYEM: And so, words like "Groomer," even if the person saying that doesn't actually think, "Oh, I want this person to kill someone."

They know by now, Scott, you know, by now that by using that term, that is an inciteful term. And so, to be a responsible politician, simply is if -- if you know that that's likely how it's going to be interpreted, stop using it.

You can have debates about gay marriage, about education of LGBTQ issues, you could do that.

HUNT: Yes.


KAYYEM: But this name-calling is the thing that becomes an acceptance, right? And in other words, there's no shaming of this hate towards the LGBTQ community, the Jewish community, African-American community. And it's a shame that I think that--

HUNT: All right.

KAYYEM: --we can bring back to the dialog, now.

HUNT: Yes. All right, Juliette Kayyem, thank you.


HUNT: Hilary Rosen, Scott Jennings, I really appreciate. It's a tough conversation. So, thank you for having it with us, tonight.


HUNT: I really appreciate it.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

HUNT: Ahead, will the Party of Trump make a break from Trump? Are Republicans closer than ever to seeking out a new leader? Developments there, next.


HUNT: A number of Republican presidential possibilities spent the weekend, in Las Vegas. The Republican Jewish Coalition's Annual Leadership Meeting, provided an opportunity, for 2024 contenders, to try and court the party's big money donors, many of whom have given, in the past, to the former President, Donald Trump.


We heard this time around, though, lots of talk about moving forward. Some were more willing than others to talk about, obliquely, or to name Donald Trump.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Trump was saying that we'd be winning so much we'd get tired of winning. Well, I'm sick and tired of our party losing.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: The fact of the matter is the reason we're losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.

MIKE POMPEO, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Personality and celebrity just aren't going to get it done.

NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We have to look in the mirror. The Republican Party has lost the popular vote in the last seven out of eight presidential elections. That's saying something.


HUNT: OK. I'm joined by CNN Political Analyst, Margaret Talev; Democratic strategist, Paul Begala; and the former Chief of Staff to the Homeland Security Secretary, under Trump, Miles Taylor.

There was a lot to work with, Margaret, at this RJC. I don't know how many you've covered.


HUNT: I've been out there several times to cover. It's one of the early kind of events, on the presidential calendar. You go out there, you court, big donors.

They did seem to reflect a little bit of the change in tune that the GOP has had, after the midterm election. But it also sounds an awful lot to me, like 2015, when everybody thought Trump was going to lose.

TALEV: Yes. If there's a sure way, to empower Donald Trump, it is to have a whole bunch of candidates, dividing up the rest of the vote, right?

HUNT: Right.


TALEV: So, the thing that is obviously different, this time, is that in 2016, the sort of line that Donald Trump could bring, to the equation, was, "What have you got to lose?" or, "Take a risk on a businessman, it'll be something different."

We know what a Donald Trump presidency is like. So, there's that. But I think what you're starting to see is this split, stylistically and kind of brand-wise, among the Republicans, who would like to seek the nomination.

There are the candidates, like Ron DeSantis, who don't have to say Donald Trump's name, and who are firmly kind of in the forefront, of this ridiculously early stage.

There are the candidates, who have always branded themselves as critical of Trump, or willing to speak outside the box. You've got Larry Hogan.

And then, there's like the Mike Pence lane, the Mike Pompeo lane, people who've served closely, in the Trump administration, helped legitimize him, for years, until the very end, when they had no choice, really, but to step away.

HUNT: Right.

TALEV: All that messaging is different. Then you've got the Nikki Haley, who I would say, is taking a page, from the Nancy Pelosi playbook, which is Pelosi has opened the door, for people to say, "It's time for a new generation," to make the age argument.

HUNT: Right.

TALEV: And to make it across party lines.

HUNT: Yes, sure. But, I mean, look, Miles, you served in the administration. Obviously, there were a lot of people, who when he did get elected, I mean, I remember talking to senior Republicans, who say, "Look, good people got to stick around here, because if we don't, the whole thing's going to go off the rails."

We were, I think, all willing to buy that argument, early on in the administration. By the end, you have January 6, the complete collapse, "Hang Mike Pence!" Mike Pence now sort of won't criticize. I mean, what do you make of the way?

I don't see any of them -- while they're all saying, "OK, the party needs something new," they're not like going after the man himself.


HUNT: Right?

TAYLOR: And that same -- there's no other way to put it than cowardice. It sounds like a very strong word. But that same cowardice is what allowed Donald Trump to rise in the first place.

Now, your point, about the adults-in-the-room thesis, I was one of the biggest progenitors of the thesis that the adults in the room were keeping it in check. And I was completely, abjectly wrong, about that thesis. Why? Because, it was very easy, for, Donald Trump, to systematically dismantle those guardrails.

However, at the same time, if Donald Trump became president, again, I'd be one of the first to say, "We still need good people to go into government."

But exactly what Margaret said about this being a replay? We have seen this movie before.

BEGALA: Right.

TAYLOR: And what was so much more striking to me, when you played those clips, was that some of those same people, were the same people, saying the same things, seven years ago.

HUNT: Exactly.

BEGALA: Right. TAYLOR: The Nikki Haleys, Mike Pompeo, when he was a member of the House, behind-the-scenes, was saying those same things to me. You'd go down that list? They were saying the same thing. And now, they're saying it less forcefully than they did then.

Remember, Rick Perry called him a cancer on conservatism--

BEGALA: Right.

TAYLOR: --and then served in his cabinet. They're not even striking at him this hard.

HUNT: Then there was Lindsey Graham, remember?

BEGALA: Right.

TAYLOR: So, I think it's -- right now, I would say the race, as early as it is, it very much favors Donald Trump, the way it's constructed.

HUNT: Paul, what do you think?

BEGALA: Yes. Well, it's because it's a winner-take-all system, in the Republican Party, and a plurality politician can do very well in that. And that's what Trump is. Trump never got--

HUNT: Yes. He's like a 25 percent, 30 percent politician, maybe.

BEGALA: Right. And, within his party, even up to 40 percent.

HUNT: In the Republican -- in the Republican-nominating contests.

BEGALA: And he can win a lot with that. He never got 50 percent, in Republican primaries, until the 33rd State, which was New York, his home state.

HUNT: Right.

BEGALA: It didn't matter.

HUNT: Winner-take-all.

BEGALA: So, I think people are counting him out are wrong. I think he's formidable. And he wants as many opponents as possible. And nobody could have been happier with the turnout at the RJC than Mr. Trump.


BEGALA: Because he divides up the anti-Trump vote.

TALEV: Can I just say like the argument, at this early stage that you're hearing from everyone, from Paul Ryan, to a lot of the people, in the room there, was that the reason that it's time to move past Trump, for the party, is the matter of winning, because they can't win with him.


And what I'm not hearing at this stage is the other argument, which is the reason, for the party, to move away from them, is to redefine themselves, around the rule of law, or kind of--

HUNT: Right.

TALEV: --old norms of what are acceptable guardrails in politics that, you have to support institutions that you can't tear everything down?

BEGALA: Right.

TALEV: That's not part of the argument. That may be for tactical reasons, because these candidates feel that the base of the party isn't ready to hear that. But it's an important moment, to make that point. And I'm not hearing a lot of folks make the point.

BEGALA: Good point. If you have national security credibility, like Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA, head of the State Department, or Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the U.N., why aren't they talking about Helsinki, the most shameful day a President has had on foreign soil in my lifetime?

HUNT: The material is angles (ph).

BEGALA: Where he went to Helsinki, and he betrayed our Intelligence agencies--

HUNT: Angles (ph).

BEGALA: --and endorsed Putin. Why aren't they saying that?

TAYLOR: Well, and I'm sorry, some of these people--

HUNT: Very quick, Miles (ph).

TAYLOR: --that are going to be running against Trump are the absolute worst people to be running against Trump, because, as you know, they were the people who were his right-hand men. Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo--

HUNT: Yes.

TAYLOR: --these aren't people, who can beat Trump, by differentiating themselves.

BEGALA: Right, right.

TAYLOR: They're going to have a hard time creating any distance.

HUNT: They try to criticize him, Trump's going to look at them, and say, "Oh, well, you weren't saying that when you were, working with me every day."

All right, stick around. Trump's own former Vice President has been distancing himself, as we've been talking about, a little bit here, as he flirts with his own presidential bid. But Mike Pence is still really carefully parsing his words, about his

former boss, and now potential 2024 rival. Why? We're going to ask Pence's former Chief of Staff, who joins us next.



HUNT: You may have seen one particular 2024 contender, on television, a lot lately. Donald Trump's former Vice President, Mike Pence, was also out in Las Vegas. But he noticeably still talks like this, about the man, who reportedly said he deserved to be hanged.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I couldn't be more proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration.


HUNT: So, Marc Short was the former Vice President's Chief of Staff, during this time.

Marc, thank you so much for being with us, tonight.


HUNT: You heard your former boss, current -- your current confidant, of the former Vice President, and close adviser of his.

Why is he not willing to be more aggressive, in confronting someone, who per Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, to the January 6 committee, Mark Meadows said that he -- Trump thinks Pence deserves it, meaning Trump -- meaning Pence deserves to be hanged.

SHORT: I'm not going to try to excuse anything that happened on January 6. In fact, I think January 6 was an important dividing line. And I think it was one in which the Vice President tried to advise the President, for weeks, leading up to January 6, that he had no such authority that the President was arguing, he should use.

But Kasie, I probably reject the premise of your question. I think even in the Town Hall that the former Vice President did, with CNN, just last week, he was very clear in saying that Donald Trump was unique person, for our party, in 2016. But our party has, at this point, looking for a different leader.

And I think that that's what he believes, but, at the same time, incredibly proud of the record. He's not going to divorce himself from that record. Very proud of the fact that we actually have 240 new federal judges, on our courts, judges that actually stand and affirm the value of life. We actually did secure the border. We did and support Israel.

The Administration did do a lot of things, from a record tax relief that he's not going to distance himself from that record.

HUNT: Sure. I mean?

SHORT: And, if you look at the quote, he just says, specifically, "I'm incredibly proud of the Trump-Pence record."

HUNT: Sure. And I take your point on the record. But still, when David Muir pressed him about, "Hey, do we need somebody -- do you want Trump to run?" I mean, he did not say no, clearly. He said, "Yes, we have better choices." But I think I just -- it just -- it seems to me that the tone, he could be much more.

He knows so much. He was in the room he was -- he could be talking about his experience in the Capitol, and using that as, in a way, when we were talking about how all the other candidates also on the stage, are sort of shying away from criticizing Trump, directly, why is Pence shying away from it, when he frankly had potentially the most harrowing experience of all?

SHORT: He specifically said the President was wrong. He specifically said he had no such authority, to overturn the election. If you've read the book, he does get there specifically about--

HUNT: Yes. I mean, I know he says it in the book.

SHORT: --the happenings of January 6.

HUNT: But I'm talking about when he's going to be out in public, talking--

SHORT: He said it multiple times, out in public. He did it in fact, in your Town Hall, just on CNN, last week. I don't think he's shying away from that.

But, at the same time, I think, what many in the Media want to do is to discredit the record as well. And that's not something he's going to contribute to. He's incredibly proud of the record of accomplishments during those four years.

HUNT: All right. So, former members of the Trump administration, Bill Barr, and Rod Rosenstein, are now out both saying that the DOJ has a case, against former President Trump. I want to show you a little bit of what they've had to say, and then we'll talk about it.


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I personally think that they probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the President.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: They still believe that they have a viable potential case.


HUNT: You have been obviously called in before, and worked on various legal arguments, against the former President, or been party to some of these cases. How does a Trump indictment potentially impact the former Vice President's plans, and the plans of other potential 2024 contenders?

SHORT: I don't know that it impacts the former Vice President plans at all. I think that to the extent that it impacts others? I think you have to ask them.

But I do think that -- I do think that it's an interesting development, naming a special counsel. I certainly think that both parties have abused special counsels, over the last several decades.

And I think the fact that this investigation has been going on, for nearly two years, does suggest that somehow now you're going to name a special counsel and say, "This is independent, from what we've been doing," I think, doesn't really meet the smell test. And so--

HUNT: So, do you think the special counsel has credibility here?

SHORT: No, I don't. And, as I said, I think that Republicans have abused it before as well.

And I think that you go back, for the last several decades, we're not -- starting, in Iran-- Contra, going through the Clinton, and the Ken Starr investigation, all the way up till today, the special counsels typically don't have the same guardrails, and they abuse people's rights. And I think that you have an unlimited usually budget, and you have an unlimited scope of an investigation.

And, I think, at this point, if Department of Justice has had nearly two years, to investigate this? Then, they should be able to make a determination whether or not there's evidence to move forward with indictment or not.


HUNT: Do you personally think that Donald Trump should face criminal liability, for what occurred, at the Capitol, on January 6?

SHORT: I think that Donald Trump disappointed the American people on that day. I think he let us all down. I think he let us down, in the weeks, leading up to January 6.

HUNT: But you don't think he's a criminal?

SHORT: It's hard for me to say that if you're listening to really terrible advice, that that would be a criminal act. And so, I think that there are a lot of things that was wrong.

HUNT: He was the President of the United States!

SHORT: I totally agree. As they said, I think he entirely disappointed the American people, in his dereliction of his responsibilities. But I don't know -- I don't know what evidence Department of Justice has, to be able to say, "There's an indictment to bring criminal charges." HUNT: What would you need to see? I mean, and does the Vice President -- the former Vice President think he should face -- that Donald Trump should face--

SHORT: I think he's answered that specifically--

HUNT: --charges?

SHORT: --specifically, and said that it's hard to see where, if you follow really terrible advice, that that's a criminal activity. So again, this incredible separation, believing that the Vice President said, "If I had done something different, I would have violated my oath. And therefore, I did not."

HUNT: Do you think--

SHORT: But it's to the extent that the President should have criminal charges, I think that -- I don't know what evidence Department of Justice has. But if they haven't brought something in two years, I don't know where they're going to go with this.

HUNT: Do the people, who provided the advice, should they go to jail?

SHORT: Well?

HUNT: Will they be criminally-liable?

SHORT: I think there's no doubt that some of the lawyers, who provide that advice provided counsel that was against the law. I mean, it was against the -- they were basically advising to say, "Here's what the Vice President can do."

HUNT: You're talking about Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani?

SHORT: The whole group, including John Eastman. I think they clearly were giving advice, from a legal counsel perspective that was asking the Vice President, to break his oath to the Constitution.

HUNT: All right, Marc Short, thank you very much, for coming in, and providing some perspective. We appreciate it.

SHORT: Kasie, thanks for having me.

HUNT: I'm sure, we're going to be talking to you a lot, in the months, and ahead, and years, I suppose, since we've got to, before the next presidential election.

Up next, what happens, for the nation's politics, if Twitter collapses? Will Donald Trump's reinstatement even matter? And what would all the other up and coming campaigns do without their favorite rapid response app? That's next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HUNT: It's only been, if you can believe it, three weeks, since the richest man in the world, "Elon Musk," quote-unquote, took the helm, at Twitter. And since then, well, there's been at least a kitchen sink full of drama, the mass layoffs, an employee Exodus, accounts banned and unbanned, blue checks were given, and then they were taken away.

And just today, Twitter's Head of U.S. News Partnerships announced he is leaving the company. While Musk, well, this afternoon, he tweeted, quote, "Hope all judgy hall monitors stay on other platforms - please, I'm begging u."

OK. So, that's where we are. So Twitter with no hall monitors, what will that mean, for the social media giant and, frankly, for the rest of us?

Back with me now, Margaret Talev, Paul Begala, and Miles Taylor.

Thank you, guys, for coming back.

Look, I want to say, first of all, Twitter is not real life. It's very important that we recognize that and underscore it. But it has become kind of this echo chamber, for the political media narrative, and a place that campaigns spend a lot of time, certainly reporters. I mean, you could argue, reporters spend too much time, on Twitter. But it has become a source of conversation.

And, Paul, let me put this to you. Because, I sort of, I feel like there actually are some Democrats, who like maybe privately rooting for Donald Trump, to actually start using the Twitter account, he received back, yesterday. But I'm wondering like, do you think it matters? Does it have an impact--

BEGALA: I don't.

HUNT: --if Donald Trump starts tweeting again?

BEGALA: I don't think that it is -- it's the only social media I've ever been on. So, it's overpopulated with politicos, seriously, like hacks like me.

HUNT: I don't want to ask you how old you are. But--

BEGALA: The very first tweet I ever received that seconds after I joined the platform, a guy wrote to me, on Twitter, and said, "Hey, Begala, why don't you drink rat poison and jump in a wood chipper?"

HUNT: Now, that's actually pretty quaint--


BEGALA: That shows that I can take a hit, right? I've stayed on it, for 10 years. I don't think -- Mr. Trump gets back on it, it undermines his investment in this right-wing group that he's formed. If he doesn't, he loses the big platform. I for one couldn't care less. I've been much less on Twitter, since Mr. Musk decided it needs a little more anger and vitriol and divisiveness. And it's been good for my blood pressure. So, I don't miss it.

HUNT: Just I feel a lot more spam, on there, I've noticed.

BEGALA: Oh, yes.

HUNT: Miles, what do you think, in terms of, from the Republican side?

TAYLOR: I'm going to take a little bit of a different perspective than Paul, and say that I actually think if Trump goes back on? And it's been extraordinary that he hasn't. I've got the alerts set up. I'm waiting for the moment. Not that I want to. That was PTSD--

HUNT: You're a better (ph)--

TAYLOR: --from four years of just waiting for every alert.

HUNT: I'm probably a bad reporter for not doing that.

TAYLOR: But because--

HUNT: And I can take it (ph).

TAYLOR: And I don't think he's going to ultimately be able to resist. He's never resisted a spectacle.

BEGALA: Right.

TAYLOR: I do think it benefits enormously, just from a purely transactional -- he can reach a lot more people a lot more quickly. We have to wait for the Sherpas to show us things he's saying on Truth Social, because none of us want to be on Truth Social. So, I do think it gives him some power.

At the same time, though, look, we replaced the horse and buggy with the car. We were fine. We were better for it. We replaced the bank- teller with the ATM. If Twitter goes down, and has to be replaced by something, it probably will give me, Paul, and everyone else, a little bit more reprieve, from the craziness. So, it may be time to move on, to some kind of new and better platform.

TALEV: I mean it's true that everything has a shelf life. Remember Vine and Periscope and all the stuff? And Facebook is not what it was now, what it was 10 years ago, and all that stuff. But having said that, like, as we lose the ability to have any civil public discourse about anything?

HUNT: Yes.

TALEV: As political polarization, and these kind of silos, take root? Social media is one of the only town squares. It's a messed up twisted town square, I'm afraid I'm going to use the bad word. But it is still the -- it is still--

HUNT: It's really -- yes, it's very tempting to use those words. I'm with you. I'm right there with you.

TALEV: Still a town square. And so, I do think, like, just a few days ago, there were all the emojis, the sarcastic emojis to Twitter, like, "If I knew that was going to be my last tweet, I would have said whatever," and now, it's like, "Oh my god, he let Trump back on!" which suggests that everyone understands it's not going to blow up, and go away. So, I think, we're in a period, right now, where nobody really knows what's going to happen.

There are two other things that are true. If Twitter goes away, immediately, it empowers TikTok. We all know what the problems are with TikTok. That's a very real and currently not regulated concern. And--

TAYLOR: It's a national security disaster.

TALEV: And the other relates--

BEGALA: Which probably Trump was right about. Trump--

TAYLOR: He was right about it.


BEGALA: He was flagging that the Chinese Communists were driving this.


BEGALA: And I don't know why he didn't act on it. But I think he was probably right.


TALEV: But I think -- so separate from that concern, is the inside Twitter concern, which is security, data, privacy, everyone's DMs. As long as Twitter lasts, and as long as everyone at this table, is hanging on, some having set alerts, others having not, like that is ripe for breaches, right now.

And I read a really interesting analysis, about how Elon Musk, did the same kind of crazy pressure testing, at SpaceX and at Tesla. But the difference is that there were not millions of people, who were all actively engaging, in the outcome of SpaceX and Tesla.

HUNT: Yes.

TALEV: You know? That was a self-contained place, where scientists and engineers operate. And this is a public gathering. And so, when he publicly pressure-tests it, millions of other people's lives and privacy gets drawn into it.

HUNT: Yes. And billionaires doing politics, they -- everyone -- billionaires always think they can come in and do it, and then they inevitably are surprised by the system.

Very quickly Miles, the security concerns around Twitter's? I mean, it has not collapsed. But as Margaret points out, there are potential vulnerabilities and problems. You worked on some of this stuff at DHS. How worried are you about that?

TAYLOR: A great deal. Look, some of the people, who've left Twitter, are some of the best internet security folks out there, or people that are getting ready to leave that organization.

I spent years looking at what our foreign adversaries were doing, on social networks. It works. They know it works. They know they can manipulate our population. You can guarantee, right now, that in Moscow and Beijing, they're looking at this, trying to find points of leverage that they can exploit, to try to undermine the American political system. That's a guarantee.

HUNT: Very important story to keep an eye on.

All right, Margaret Talev, Paul Begala, Miles Taylor, always fun to have all of you on set. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

BEGALA: Thank you.

HUNT: Coming up, the World Cup faces worlds of controversy. Wearing this armband could put some of the top soccer players, in the game, on the bench. Are diversity and inclusion being blocked?

A former World Cup champion, who made history on the field, joins us to discuss, next.



HUNT: It's the most popular sporting event, in the world. And yet, what is happening off the field is getting some fans more riled up than the games themselves.

Qatar is the host country, for the World Cup, this year. And they say quote, "Everybody's welcome." It's a great sentiment in theory, except that homosexuality is illegal, in the country, punishable by prison time.

Team USA, along with several other countries, had plans, to express their support, for the LGBTQ+ community, by wearing rainbow armbands, on the field. But, at the last minute, FIFA banned this show of support, threatening anyone, who wears the bands, with a yellow card.

We have a great voice here, to weigh in, U.S. Hall of Fame goalkeeper, World Cup champion, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Briana Scurry. She was one of the first openly-gay women, on the U.S. Soccer Team.

Briana, thank you so much for joining us.


HUNT: And I know we're going to talk about all the serious stuff we just went through. But can you like -- the one thing I -- I have trouble getting my family excited about the fact there was a draw, in the game, today, in the men's game.


HUNT: So, what did you take away from the game? What's next for our team?

SCURRY: Oh, it's really unfortunate because 84 percent of the time, if you win your first game, you go through your group, into the knockout rounds.

HUNT: Yes.

SCURRY: So, I was a little bummed out about it. But we're still in it. We're still in it. We got to play England on Friday, really tall order there. But we still got a chance to get in through. So, tell your family, to stay at it, and keep with the team.

HUNT: Yes. No, we have a -- we have a very good friend, who grew up in England. So, it's going to split our--

SCURRY: Your battle!

HUNT: --social time--

SCURRY: Understood.

HUNT: --just in time for Thanksgiving!


HUNT: But let's turn to what's going on here. Because, honestly, the Qatar's position on this, and also FIFA's enforcement of it, what do you make of that? And what should we think of, particularly, I'm wondering about FIFA, which is this organization that represents countries, around the world, and their decision to handle it this way?

SCURRY: Well, what I've said is with FIFA, when you pick the country, you pick the consequences.

So, years ago, when FIFA picked Qatar, for the World Cup, they picked the Qatarian rules, and regulations, and laws, and they knew that these laws, were on the books then. And so, they chose this. And so now, unfortunately, maybe they were hoping that it was going to be a little bit more relaxed, about these types of things, but clearly not.

I can picture both sides, in a hotel room, in Doha, downtown somewhere, arguing with each other about this thing. And so, FIFA probably said, "We have to show some solidarity, some understanding of this."

So, instead of this wonderful, great idea of the "OneLove" armband, they decided to do the "No Discrimination" armband, which is black and white, a lot more muted support. And so, it's unfortunate. But FIFA makes a lot of mistakes. They have a lot of different things

that go sideways right when the tournament starts that unfortunately ruins the football. And they're doing it again.

HUNT: And how would you feel? You've played in four World Cup tournaments? As someone, who is openly gay, I mean, would you feel comfortable playing in the World Cup there?

SCURRY: I wouldn't. I wouldn't feel comfortable at all. I mean, we're talking about jail time, potentially, for, being myself, for, being who I am. And it's very disheartening. It's very alarming. But, like I said, unfortunately, FIFA makes these decisions that a lot of times put players, in compromising positions. And it's really unfortunate.

But the good news is, I will say is this topic is getting a lot of press, it's getting a lot of coverage. It's getting a lot of conversation. And that's actually backfiring in the face of FIFA, and in Qatar.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, so the boss said, and I think this quote, stood out to a lot of people that there is a "Double standard." He said, quote, "What we Europeans have been doing for the past 3,000 years we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral lessons to people."

I mean, I think he's trying to make a point about colonialism, there. What is your response to that argument?

SCURRY: My first response was "What?"


And then, my second response was, I think he is talking about colonization. And so, that's just a little absurd, actually, to say that.

Because, he had an opportunity to make a difference, today, with the situation, had he fallen on the side, of allowing these players, to make a stand, and to use their platforms, to bring more awareness, and solidarity, and support, to people, all over the country, all over the world, with inclusion. He blew it.

And so, now he wants to say this other statement about "Well we should have done this 3,000 years," and this. And, unfortunately, he had his moment, where he could have made a difference, and he chose not to.

HUNT: What's it really about? Is it about money?

SCURRY: Or, power, I think, power, yes.

HUNT: Unfortunately.

SCURRY: Always one or the other (ph).

HUNT: Right.


HUNT: Briana, thank you very much for being with us.

SCURRY: Thanks for having me.

HUNT: We really appreciate your time.

We will be right back.


HUNT: Thanks so much for watching. I will be back, tomorrow night.

And our coverage continues, right now, with Alisyn Camerota.

Hi, Alisyn?


And good evening everyone. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

A new account tonight, from one of the heroes, who stopped the gunman, in the LGBTQ nightclub shooting, in Colorado Springs.