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CNN Tonight

Protests Are Ongoing In China, Iran And At The World Cup; Merriam-Webster's 2022 Word Of The Year Is 'Gaslighting'; Mystery Surrounds Death Of 25-Year-Old North Carolina Woman On Vacation In Mexico Last Month; Online Black Friday Sales Surge To New Record; Washington Post Analysis Shows High-Profile Republicans Gain Followers In First Weeks of Musk's Rein. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 28, 2022 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: As you well know, protesting is a fundamental right, at least in this country. We now all agree about how it is done, of course. And sometimes, it can totally get out of hand or be hijacked. But it's everyone right in this country.

But that's not the case in so many other countries right now like in China, where thousands of people are risking their lives protesting the government's oppressive zero-COVID policy and what may be the most widespread demonstration since Tiananmen Square in 1989.

People are chanting, we want freedom. Many and very poignantly are holding blank sheets of paper, their way of suddenly protesting without being accused of writing or displaying messages deemed illegal by their own government.

And in Iran, hundreds of people have been killed amid the regime's brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters. Brave Iranians have been talking and taking to the streets for more than two months now demanding freedom and women's rights, one of the most significant and consequential challenges in the republic since at least the 1979 revolution.

And what is all described have to do with the World Cup? We're going to talk about it. I want to bring in CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, and CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan.

I'm glad that you're all here. And looking at this, I'm happy to say, when I first saw the blank pieces of paper, for some reason, that was so impactful and really touched me. I'm thinking about in some instances the luxury that we take for granted of being able to address grievances and speak truth to power. And just to have this image of people holding it up as this silent and voiceless oppressed population, it meant something. What did you think of it?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm so glad that you brought that up, Laura, because I've been thinking about that all day. It's a brilliant symbol of protest. And sadly, that has become almost universal in our time because, you know, actually, there was someone who was literally dragged away from Red Square --


GLASSER: -- by the authorities earlier this year protesting Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. What was he doing here was holding up a blank piece of paper.

In fact, in Hong Kong, in the protests where there were thousands and thousands of people in the streets, you know, right before the COVID pandemic, same thing, the blank piece of paper.

I feel like it has become this sort of new universal gesture and it really -- it speaks to, you know, this sort of Orwellian moment that we're living in, doesn't it?

COATES: It really does.

CILLIZZA: I am struck by it and I'm thinking of it as it relates to Iran and the World Cup and the controversy over taking the symbol off of the flag in the social media posts and what that has caused.

COATES: We have a comparison --


COATES: -- where we've seen the original flag compared to what was actually changed by the U.S. soccer. Go ahead.

CILIZZA: And I would just recommend to people a book that is not new but is really fitting for this moment called "How Soccer Explains the World" by Frank Foer who is now at the Atlantic. It's a fascinating book that talks about how soccer and the DNA of soccer pre-figures what kind of country they are. The Germans play an orderly, industrious manner of soccer. The Brazilians play a loose joga bonito, beautiful game. That's where it originated.

And, you know, you can't think of the images coming out of Iran or China without thinking, to me, of the Iran-U.S. game tomorrow. That is a lot more that just a game. I mean, that's, I think, part of the World Cup and the appeal is that it's not just a game. It means more than that.

COATES: It does.


And Christine, on that point, I mean, we can think back to 1998, right, when you had Iran play the U.S. soccer team and there was this infamous moment where obviously nations with tension and there was the handing over of white roses --


COATES: -- from the Iranian soccer team to the American players as a moment of trying to bridge and give some peace. And now, where we are again, now you've got this last night, calls for the U.S. to be suspended, thrown out of the World Cup because of something that the players did not do. What did you make of that?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: This is in keeping in my opinion with what U.S. soccer and the U.S. men's national soccer team has been doing ever since the World Cup began, which is much more than just soccer. These are young man, the U.S. men's national team, they're Title IX males, they are the ones who a few months ago actually gave up some money so that the women's team, obviously more famous, more successful, could actually have equal play.

So, these are very different young men, they're not like their dads or their grandfathers, and they are very comfortable talking about these issues while they are also playing the game that they love.

U.S. soccer, for example, has a rainbow shield. Red, white, and blue is on the uniform. But the rainbow shield, in honor, of course, of LGBTQ rights, a very big issue in Qatar, the host nation, that is being displayed in the team hotel, Laura, and the team parties and other things like that.

So, the U.S. national -- men's national team, U.S. soccer, have really from the get-go have wanted this to be about more than soccer. Obviously, now it is a big controversy. No one is kicking the United States out of the World Cup. FIFA needs the United States and those TV ratings. But it does present an incredible tableau on which to play a soccer game tomorrow.

COATES: And there was a fascinating piece, I think it was in "The Washington Post," an op-ed that was written about the idea of -- because it's more than just a game.

The author was talking about how he was very pro the U.S. team, wanted the U.S. to win, but wanted Iran to be able to stay in play because every time they were playing, there was a conversation, Susan, about what was going on in Iran, about the protests, about women, many of them who are very young and teenagers fighting for their very lives and fighting for the opportunity to be even contemplated as equal. So, it is just interesting thinking about that dynamic at play.

GLASSER: That's right. This is a platform, and because this is the World Cup, it captivates so many millions of people around the world. Of course, it's a stage that's irresistible for people who have a cause. Really struck to connect the China and Iran conversation, that there are reports that China even censoring images coming out of the World Cup games so that people in China who are literally locked down in their apartment blocks now in the third year of this pandemic wouldn't see images of unmasked fans.

And, you know, again, the altering of reality to shape your authoritarian political environment, and can you use this moment to punch through? Tomorrow, I think, that Iran-U.S. game will be something like that. I did notice today that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein is on the record as predicting it's going to be a 4-1 outcome.


GLASSER: Heavy score. I don't know. Chris is an expert on this. But those are a lot of goals.

CILLIZZA: I will say this is like my dream segment.


CILLIZZA: Come on CNN and talk about soccer! I was like, wait, seriously? Is this a prank from my friends?

COATES: We even made the Ted Lasso biscuits for you.

CILLIZZA: Oh, really? Excellent.


CILLIZZA: I just want to -- the other point that I think is important to mention here is the setting of where the World Cup is happening. Qatar. Right? And its rights record. And Christine touched on this. Its views on homosexuality. I think any time, we can have that conversation, when the eyes of the world are on it. It's impactful and it's important. I think we shouldn't lose that either. The setting of this whole thing matters, too.

COATES: Right.

CILLIZZA: And the setting of this whole thing is political. I mean, you know, people say, I want my sports, no politics. Sorry, that's not how it works.

COATES: Migrant workers built the stadium as well. Reports of, you know, loss of life and going on. It just -- I want to underscore this point that was raised here because it's not a light thing to think about what has happened, the protests in China, the idea of being so frustrated and exhausted about the zero-COVID policy. There's a loss of life in apartment building that was caught on fire. Because of the lockdown provisions, the first responders couldn't get the people in time to save their lives.

And now, you got this international stage event and the idea that they are seeing a whole lot. We are being told one thing in China. There is a largely mask-less audience right now that they can't reconcile.

BRENNAN: Exactly, and how about go back nine months, the Olympics in China --


BRENNAN: I was in Beijing for a month. And so, to see what Beijing was able to pull off, it was, of course, this COVID zone that literally closed loop, the COVID tests every day down our throat. I mean, if you did test positive, a journalist or an athlete, and a few, unfortunately, the athletes did, you would go into quarantine somewhere. [23:10:02]

One athlete didn't even know where he was. And so, China was in the news then. The point you made a few moments ago about the spotlight shining on these places, especially in sporting events, is huge, international sporting events. The human rights issues in China, we brought them up all the time.

There is the positive and the negative, right? It is such a terrible thing that Beijing was hosting another Olympics, but the positive was the world got a chance to discuss those issues.

GLASSER: It is important to note that it tells you something about, you know, the way in which these decisions are made by these international organizations. Why on earth is this event in Qatar right now, which is, you know. So, I mean, it just -- the questions around the government of these international sports associations, why is Beijing, why -- and Russia, you know, being given Olympics again and again?

CILLIZZA: And the World Cup.

GLASSER: And the World Cup. Exactly. I mean --

CILLIZZA: It doesn't have to do with just money.

GLASSER: But using it as a showcase for the (INAUDIBLE) version of your country has such a long, established thing. And, you know, politics is embedded in this. And unfortunately, we have been given the stage, and our athletes and our money and our corporations have been participating and puffing up these authoritarian countries, and then we are shocked to discover that there are human rights abuses there.

BRENNAN: The next World Cup, men's World Cup, will be the United States, Mexico, and Canada. And the Olympics now, the summer Olympics will be Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028. So at least there is a little hope there.

COATES: Well, that is good news. Unfortunately, speaking of politics and having the forum and the platform and to do good, I do have some sad breaking news to report tonight. Congressman Donald McEachin of Virginia has passed away at the age of just 61 after years-long battle with cancer. That is according to his own office, saying that he fought colorectal cancer since 2013.

McEachin represented the fourth congressional district of Virginia in the U.S. House on November 8th, 2016, according to his House biography. He is survived by his wife, Colette, and three adult children. We'll be right back.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: Tonight, some Republicans are criticizing former President Trump for having dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist and holocaust denier. Interesting, given that a whole lot of members of the former president's party have been, shall we say, reluctant over the last few years to call out many of his misdeeds and his -- well, here is a phrase for you, constant gaslighting.

That word that I just said, gaslighting, coincidently, Merriam-Webster has chosen that word, gaslighting, have I said it enough, as its word of the year for 2022, defining it as -- quote -- "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one's own advantage."

Back with me now is Susan Glasser and Chris Cillizza. We are also joined by CNN political commentator Karen Finney. Glad you are all here right now. First of all, I remember the "Gaslighting" movie. I mean, I was not alive when the "Gaslighting" movie came out.

CILLIZZA: Not even close.

COATES: Thank you.

CILLIZZA: Yes. No one would think you are alive then.

COATES: You know what? A smart man. I will start with you in the comments.


COATES: But I remember watching this movie and thinking about the premise. And, of course, when Angela Lansbury passed away, I remember her role and thinking about this. But this idea, this being the top word, I had to go back because I have to say, a part of me, and here it is, a scene from it, a part of me was a little bit surprised that this is the first time it has been the most used.

I went back and found the other words of the year, just from a random year, 2016, and going up to 2022, and you had surreal in 2016, feminism in 2017, justice in 2018, they in 2019, you had pandemic in 2020, vaccine in 2021, and here we are, gaslighting.

I wonder from your examples, think about this, have you all thought about the big moments that you think, aha, this was gaslighting, this is the moment that really captures it? Smart man who said --

CILLIZZA: Thank you. Thank you so much, Laura. Look, I went with a really obvious one, but Donald Trump and the 2020 election, I mean, he continues, I am on his email list, I do not know how I got on it, but I'm on his email list, repeatedly, every day, he sends things out still, as a candidate for the 2024 presidential race, not as a former president, as a candidate for the 2024 presidential race. He sends things out about how the election was stolen. And not just the 2020 election. Now, he is on Maricopa County in Arizona.

The thing that worries me about inherent gaslighting is, if one person is saying it, okay. If one person believes it, not great, but okay. But we are talking about 50% to 60% of the Republican Party who believes that the 2020 election, by all measures, which is a free and fair election, was stolen. I mean, that is a massive gaslight that Donald Trump is -- the foundation of his 2024 bid is being built on that. So, I went a little obvious, but to me, it is one that just jumped out.

COATES: Karen?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is good one. One I thought was, you know, after Charlottesville, when he said good people on both sides, and there were lots of people who tried to defend that position. And it does make you think, going to the less obvious, racism and sexism in general is a form of gaslighting.


Think about when you were watching a movie from the 70s, and we are talking about the women as the weaker sex and emotional, yes, we were gaslit to believe that about ourselves until we started to say, wait a second, I am not crazy, you are crazy.

COATES: of course, at that point you raise, the idea, because remember, it is also about especially misleading for one's own advantage. So, who does that benefit? Those who want you to believe to keep them in power. Susan, what is your thought?

GLASSER: Well, that is right. What is the distinction between gaslighting and just plain old lying?


GLASSER: And I think when you talk about the 2020 election, Chris, you know, when went down to Mar-a-Lago to interview Donald Trump, you know, for a recent book, he sat there, he looked us in the eye, and I expected him to say rigged election, rigged election, which he did, but I was really struck by this comment in particular as an example of gaslighting.

He said, you know, the real insurrection of the Capitol was not on January 6th, it was on November 3rd, 2020. That was an insurrection and January 6th was just a protest. To me, that is like taking the lie about the election and putting a spin on it and saying no, actually, this other thing is the insurrection and the insurrection is not the insurrection.

But here, I do have a bonus one as well because I was thinking about this. You remember the 2018 midterm elections, and what were the Republicans and Donald Trump running on? They were running on the idea that the United States was being invaded --


GLASSER: -- by a caravan --


GLASSER: -- of hordes of illegal migrants who are going to storm into the country. Don't believe the truth, believe what I tell you is the truth. The caravans, the coverage, the hysteria, disappeared literally the day after the election.

CILLIZZA: Just quickly on that, I still remember, I think it was 2017, it might have been 2018, it all kind of blends together for me in that period of time. Donald Trump gave a speech to the veterans of foreign wars in which he said, your quote, maybe you think of it, he said something like, I am paraphrasing, but don't believe what you see, don't believe what you hear, only believe what I tell you.

FINNEY: Exactly.

CILLIZZA: I mean, if you don't have a better example of gaslighting than that, literally, what you are seeing and hearing is not actually what is happening, only I can tell you what is happening. That is remarkable.

COATES: Obviously, there are many who engage in gaslighting, which is why it became effective at the scale it is. but I'm struck by the fact that there is a theme of Trump and in part because I wonder if gaslighting has become effective because of the platform and the messenger. This idea of don't kill the messenger. Now, it is the idea of, well, you add a level of gravitas and credibility because, hey, it is coming from the person we call the leader of the free world.

FINNEY: He took it to a whole new art form, right?


FINNEY: Because if you think about it, it was really post-2016 that we were talking about gaslighting, talking about not just lying, but the fact that, yes, he was telling people, what I'm going to tell you on my Twitter feed is the real truth. And remember, you would see that he would tweet something, a different statement out, but he would always say no, that is the thing to watch for. So, I mean, he really took it to a whole new place.

COATES: let me tell you, just in case you are curious and, of course, you are, there are other top words of 2022. Here they are.

CILLIZZA: I'm a favorite of these. I know a lot of them.

COATES: Oligarch is one, omicron, codify, LGBTQIA, sentient, queen consort, raid, and there is loamy.

CILLIZZA: How did loamy --

COATES: You want to know why? Because we are still (INAUDIBLE).

CILLIZZA: (INAUDIBLE). Oh, my gosh. I'm a crossword puzzle guy. It did not even cut on me. I was living --


COATES: Obviously, still little pissed about that line. They had bloke one day. I was like, okay, that is wonderful. But -- GLASSER: Did you ever get it in one?

COATES: I won't admit that I didn't on air. No, I didn't.

GLASSER: That's dumb luck.

COATES: You know what?

FINNEY: There isn't one.

COATES: Well, you know what?

FINNEY: (INAUDIBLE) favorite word.

CILLIZZA: I agree. I'm surprised (INAUDIBLE) wasn't --

COATES: You guys are smart. We are important. It is fine, everyone. I tell you that. Well, I'm glad to know these words are here because it does encourage me to think that people are following the news and becoming a more informed electorate, and that is the most important aspect of this.

We joke around about, of course, the value and how words matter, but they really, really do. And I do not want to take it lightly. But also, we think about words, you mentioned gaslighting versus lying.

There is a story that is out right now that I think is just so heartbreaking because of lies that were apparently told to the parents of a young woman who was killed while on vacation in Mexico. She is from North Carolina. And there are a lot of questions about what exactly led to her death.

Now, Mexican prosecutors are trying to extradite one of the woman's so-called friends who is an alleged suspect. I'm going to talk about that case, it is a very difficult one, next.



COATES: Today, sadly, marks exactly one month since 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson arrived in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico with her six college friends. The next day, she was dead. The cause of her death, a mystery. Robinson's friend telling her family that she died of alcohol poisoning.

The Mexican prosecutors are laying out a very different story. They say that Robinson died as a result of a spinal injury sustained in a -- quote -- "direct attack."


Her death certificate also classifies her death as accidental or violent, knowing the approximate time between injury and death as just 15 minutes. And in recent weeks, you may have seen a viral video that appeared to show a physical altercation between Robinson and another person. It is unclear when the video was taken. CNN is deliberately not showing the video as it is very disturbing. It only shows a portion, a small portion of what has happened.

Now, Mexican authorities are seeking to extradite one of Robinson's friends on the trip. I hate even using the word "friends" here given the things that we are saying right now, but that person who has been called a friend is a suspect in the case.

Robinson's mother, Salamondra, spoke with CNN earlier today, saying the FBI has reached out to the family but hasn't been able to share very many details. She also described her final conversation with her beloved daughter, Shanquella.


SALAMONDRA ROBINSON, MOTEHR OF SHANQUELLA ROBINSON: When I spoke with her, she seemed pretty happy. You know, she was laughing and talking that she was ready to cook up some tacos. And I said, well okay, enjoy yourself, love you, I will talk to you tomorrow. And I never spoke with her again.


COATES: It is heartbreaking to hear that. For more, I want to bring in senior CNN law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe. Andrew, I'm really glad you're here because this -- I mean, this story is so disturbing, what has happened to this young woman.


COATES: I have seen this viral video. I am a mother myself. And I just cannot imagine what that would have been like for her in that room, let alone for her family to hear about what may have happened. And when we hear about who might be held responsible, my immediate thought goes to extradition and how that works. Can you help elaborate on what that would look like? I mean, a U.S. citizen being extradited to Mexico. Is it possible?

MCCABE: It is possible, and it's -- I would say maybe even likely under this scenario. So, let's remember that any nation would conduct their own investigation, as the Mexican authorities have done here. They have an indictment. Unfortunately, that indictment only allows them to arrest people inside Mexico. They believe that the person they are seeking is in the United States, so they make an extradition request to the United States.

We have an extradition treaty in place with Mexico that allows the exchange of citizens to face criminal prosecution. there are some things that they will have to prove or assert in their application. They will have to show that this person is to be extradited to face a crime that is also a serious crime in the United States, it is not a political persecution of some sort.

They are also going to have to put a lot of facts in that request to make a (INAUDIBLE) case that shows that they can -- they have a good likelihood of proving the case against this person. And under those circumstances, I think extradition might very well happen in this case.

COATES: We have done this before, cases involving drug arrests or potential --

MCCABE: That's right.

COATES: This is a common practice in terms of being able to extradite. The fact that these might be two U.S. citizens, of course, Shanquella and whoever it is, is being extradite or thought to be extradited, is there a federal law involved? We are talking about a U.S. citizen committing a crime against another U.S. citizens abroad?

MCCABE: There is. The 18 USC 1119 is a federal statute that makes it a crime for a U.S. person to kill another U.S. person in a foreign location. But the trick here is that murder is only prosecuted at the federal level when that murder was committed in conjunction with a federal -- with another federal crime.

So, typically, the United States does not step in and prosecute someone for committing murder overseas if it was just a simple homicide. In fact, they won't prosecute in the United States if the foreign government has shown an inclination or a willingness to prosecute it locally, which we can assume has happened here because, of course, they have filed an extradition request.

COATES: Could the U.S. be a bit of a backstop? I know the way that state prosecution -- a federal prosecution usually acts. I mean, the idea, if a foreign government decides or they may fail in their prosecution for whatever reason --

MCCABE: That's right.

COATES: -- we have double jeopardy here, of course, where you cannot have two bites of the proverbial apple and charge twice for the same crime if there has been a failure to convict or otherwise.

But I wonder, in the sense of two different countries. If Mexico says, you know what, we are not going to prosecute, is it likely that the U.S. could say, never mind, if they have a federal hook?

MCCABE: I think it is possible that that could happen. So, I think you describing the possibility of a U.S. prosecution as a backstop is a good way to characterize it. I think it is likely the -- even for political reasons because extradition requests are unavoidably political.

So, we typically file extradition request. We've been very successful in getting high-level criminals from Mexico return to the United States.


You know, drug cartel leaders and drug kingpins and things like that. So, now, the tables are turned and the Mexicans have made that request of us. I think to some degree, politically, we are in a tight spot here. We are going to have to stand up and deliver on our side of the extradition treaty bargain.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

MCCABE: However, if that prosecution fails in Mexico, double jeopardy would likely not prohibit the U.S. from going forward with their own prosecution here because of the concept of separate sovereign. So, you know, that is always the same idea that allows the federal government to prosecute a crime in the United States after a state government has prosecuted the same crime. So, it is a separate sovereign that it is not prohibited.

COATES: The right person to talk about this really unfortunate tragedy, and of course, I'm you'll been looking ahead as why the role of this video, the evidence that contained in it, who saw it, who sent it, who failed to intervene, who might be accessories after the fact, the lies they're told --

MCCABE: How much evidence is embedded in that video. It is going to show who owned the device that it was taken on, time, place, location. All of that information is embedded in that digital file. that thing is a forensic gold mine.

COATES: I will tell you, so is your book. It is a gold mine. It is called "The Threat." I mean, it is a really great one. We are sharing all your information right now and just the idea of your expertise now being able to be read as well, I appreciate it so much.

MCCABE: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Thank you. We'll be right back, everyone.




COATES: All right, everyone, remember this warning from Jeff Bezos, of all people, one of the world's wealthiest people?


JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON FOUNDER: If we are not in a recession right now, we are likely to be in one very soon. So, my advice to people, whether they are small business owners or, you know, is take some risks off the table. If you're an individual and you're thinking about buying a new large scream TV, maybe slow that down. Keep that cash, see what happens.


COATES: Too late. It was a good deal. That is okay. But it seems that many Americans are not listening because this Black Friday, well, it broke records, even amid rampant inflation and a looming recession. Shoppers spent more than -- get this figure -- more $9 billion in online Black Friday sales. That is a 2.3% increase from the year before. And driving the surge? Electronics, smart home equipment, toys and, well, this wasn't any exercise gear, but maybe other people bought that.

Back with me now is Susan Glasser, Chris Cillizza, and Karen Finney. You all laugh, but I cannot help it. I tried. I was with you for a very long time. I was -- I was really there. But I wonder, first of all, are you surprised at all about the amount that people are spending? We have gotten so many warnings about our economy. What do you think?

FINNEY: Remember, Black Friday started on like Tuesday night of last week.


FINNEY: Instead of being a 48-hour cycle, it was like five days. Actually, last night, it was online in anticipation of cyber Monday, and it was saying, Black Friday ends in 10 hours.


FINNEY: So, okay. So, I am good. There is going to be a deal here one way or another.

COATES: It is like an election day. It is election season. It is not Friday season.

CILLIZZA: Election week.

FINNEY: It is a season. It is a season.

COATES: What were you buying?

FINNEY: I was trying to decide if I wanted to buy a new bed, and I was trying to see if there were deals. And, of course, then you go down a rabbit hole where you start thinking, if I get this, I'm going to need that, and what else is on sale.

Anyway, I do think that -- I'm not surprised that the amount is so large given, if we are talking about four or five days, I think that makes -- it certainly makes a lot more sense and it means that the marketing tactic works.

CILLIZZA: I saw a story on today that said, the 518 best cyber Monday deals.


CILLIZZA: I was like -- by the time I get through the list of the 518 best, it will not be cyber Monday anymore. So, I think there is an element of spending, and everyone getting their Christmas lights up. I shouldn't say everyone. Everyone in my neighborhood except for me because, as my wife has pointed out, we don't have the (INAUDIBLE).

I do think there is desire of people to get back to quote, unquote -- "normal." That 2019 -- excuse me, 2020 was effectively lost. We were right in the teeth of the pandemic. 2021, we forget, but it was omicron and sort of everyone had it. I'm speaking metaphorically, but lots of people had it.

And now, it is 2022, and I think people are ready to have a big celebration again, and even to the extent of continuing that old tradition of spending too much money and having to pay your credit card back for the rest of the year because you spend your money. I do think there is an element of that.

I was in New York City for Thanksgiving, and I will tell you, the amount of money moved through that (INAUDIBLE) that I was in, the one in Rockefeller Center, it is stunning, stunning to me how much. So, I think people are in the mood to get back to normal and spending on this Black Friday week is part of that.

COATES: So that was you in the viral video doing the (INAUDIBLE) with Tom Hanks?


CILLIZZA: Just for the record, just for the record, there was a line to do that, to do the big thing.

COATES: And you were in it?

CILLIZZA: My kid, my 10-year-old wanted to do it, and he got on there and did the gritty, you know, the dance.

COATES: Yeah, I'm familiar.

CILLIZZA: Yes. He did the gritty on there. People were applauding. I was like, well, this is great. He is going to be a showman. He's going to be a circus performer because he was like -- but yes, we did do that.

COATES: And Susan, did you do the gritty, too?

GLASSER: I have waited on that line before. You know, look, I have to say this segment is making me a little anxious because I'm a procrastinator as many journalists are. And so, instead of doing my last-minute shopping on Black Monday, here I am, you know, having a conversation about it. I could be, you know, on my phone buying stuff right now.

CILLIZZA: So that 15 minutes --

FINNEY: You got time.


GLASSER: One thing is, I'm not convinced. We will see how the number shakes out. There is also the element of consumers adjusting their behavior and actually at a moment when people are anxious about inflation and anxious rising prices. If they're seeking deals, they may be simply shifting more of their spending to this weeklong period on the theory that regular items or any items that they were contemplating on purchasing, do it now when there is a sale.

COATES: I will say that there is a trend about how people -- we are talking about doing more of the buy now, pay later programs as well about this. They're buying more gift cards as well, trying to have a fixed budget, how they're going to allocate their resources and money. So, a lot is happening right now. I am so surprised that Jeff Bezos -- I wonder -- we have been giving all of our money to him.

CILLIZZA: I was going to say, that is how you know you are richer than you need to be. When you own a commerce company and you said, okay, maybe don't spend that much money this year.



CILLIZZA: It's cool. I am already very rich.

COATES: Everyone is staying with me here. We are coming back in just a few moments. And up next, a new analysis of who is joining Twitter and who may be leaving Twitter since Elon Musk took over the site just last month.




COATES: Now, a new look at Elon Musk's Twitter takeover. A "Washington Post" analysis shows high-profile Republican members of Congress gaining tens of thousands of followers in the first few weeks of Musk's rein, while Democrats experience a decline.

Susan Glasser, Chris Cillizza, and Karen Finney are all back with me to discuss right now. I mean, this new -- this is a "Washington Post" headline that had this piece talking about the very issue. And here's what they analyzed. On average, Republicans gained 8,000 followers and Democrats lost 4,000.

They also analyzed from data from ProPublica's represent tool, which tracks congressional Twitter activity, as example, Elizabeth Warren, Adam Schiff, and Bernie Sanders all lost about 100,000 Twitter followers. Interestingly enough, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, congresspersons from Ohio and Georgia respectively, gained more than 300,000 each. Does that surprise you? What does it say?

CILLIZZA: Not really, because I think two things are happening. One, conservatives are flocking back to Twitter under their belief that Elon Musk is more aligned with their views. I would say, Elon Musk, he would likely support Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, for president.

At the same time, a lot of Democrats who are unhappy with how Musk is running this and unhappy with his politics, are abandoning the site. So, you're getting both things happening at the same time, and I think the double (INAUDIBLE) that adds up.

FINNEY: And also, given the erratic behavior, I've seen lots of posts of people saying, here's where you can find me when Twitter crashes and burns.

CILLIZZA: When it ends.

FINNEY: When it ends. And so, I do think that is the other thing, that people are decreasing their usage. But the other thing that's happening and I think we have to take into consideration, given that we don't -- the guardrails have been taken off of Twitter.

As you said, more Republicans flocking to Twitter and the kinds of people who might have -- if you're doing hate speech, what might have been classified as hate speech or out of bounds previously is now okay. So, you got more people joining, and those are folks that are going to want to hear what Marjorie Taylor Greene has to say, frankly.

COATES: I wonder if you, guys, have decreased your usage as a result of what's happening. Have you spot any change?

GLASSER: I think so. I mean, I think there is such a concern again, you know, that at any moment -- this thing has become perilous. You fired all the staff. You know, like nobody knows if there is a major technical challenge. What is going to happen to this platform? And --

COATES: Security of your data.

GLASSER: Absolutely. I mean, look, Twitter was a polluted public space before. It has now become more polluted. But I'm thinking about, you know, it's important and utility, you know, a part of our public political discourse.

And it is the classic thing like, you know, if it didn't exist, we have to invent it. I know there are various attempts to do that. There's a new start-up post where you see, you know, I think they have a waiting list of like 150,000 people. You have people talking about this other platform, Mastodon, but then that's too complicated.

The problem is that it has become many things. But one of the things that Twitter is, is a very and invaluable tool for the spreading of real-time information.

I'm thinking about following the war in Ukraine and all the people who are posting there. It is invaluable again to see what is happening in real time. Protesters in Iran are bypassing and using VPNs in order to get on Twitter, in order to communicate.


GLASSER: Exactly. Exactly.


And this is, I think, the thing that is at risk by what appears to be this vanity exercise on the part of a wealthy man with a Twitter habit.

CILLIZZA: As Susan was talking about, this is sort of how I feel. You can't live with it, you can't live without it. In some way. That is sort of the relationship I feel like I have with it. The toxicity -- Elon Musk didn't invent the toxicity on the Twitter. The toxicity has been there. I think he has given more leeway for that to grow.

But the thing that I was thinking about, how my usage changes, I am more wary of everything that's out there because of the questions about verification. It just seems -- as a journalist, is this actually fill in the blank congressman who has released a statement? Is this actually Mitt Romney has released a statement or is it something that looks a lot like Mitt Romney?

I think that is what I'm -- it has made me even more wary of, is this information good? And to Susan's point, you do use it as in the moment information source. So, you know, it takes away from that a little bit.

COATES: Justified (INAUDIBLE) everyone. Guess what? This conversation is not going to be over. I have a feeling we will continue in the days to come. But thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.