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CNN Tonight

January 6 Committee Wraps Up; Democrats Choose Hakeem Jeffries as New Leader; Mental Health Issues Cause by Variety of Reasons; U.S. Men's Team Makes History; Christine McVie Dies at 79. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 30, 2022 - 22:00   ET




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

Look, you've got chapters closing, you've got chapters opening and some still being written in the very many investigations of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and what happened, of course, in the days leading up to it, and frankly, since that day as well.

Now, the clock is ticking, as you know for the January 6th committee. They're checking their final interviews, and of more than a thousand actually took place today, the final of more than a thousand, and meeting on Friday, now we're learning to discuss the possibility of making criminal referrals.

That, of course, in the wake of the conspiracy convictions of two Oath Keepers and with the special counsel's investigation ramping up. The question is, what's all this going to reveal? And does it still matter to the electorate.

Plus, a new leader in the House as Democrats pick Hakeem Jeffries to succeed Nancy Pelosi, the first black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress as a new generation is now changing the face of our politics.

And with team USA and the World Cup spotlight after their thrilling victory over Iran, this is also a very big moment, and frankly, a long overdue payday for the women's team. I'll talk to one of the women's World Cup champions and frankly, a personal hero of mine, coming up.

We've got a lot to talk about tonight here with me, CNN anchor and correspondent Audie Cornish, national security attorney Bradley Moss and Mike Shields, former RNC chief of staff.

I'm glad to have you all here. We'll -- we'll get to the World Cup without you here in the moment, maybe in the break. But let's talk about a different matchup that's happening on Capitol Hill. And really, we are expecting with the new Congress, which is about 34 days away from being, you know, sworn in, there are already promises of new investigations.

I'm wondering from your perspective and thinking about these moments, what do you think the impact of the culmination of all that we've seen with January 6 and the Oath Keepers trial is going to have on the GOP led House coming up. It'll be green, it'll be - good-nighted already the committee's not going to continue.

But Mike, what, what's your take on how this might move forward and maybe a different way?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what you saw today with verdicts coming down in a case is the contrast between when you have the justice system prosecuting people for January 6th, people getting indicted, people getting put in prison, the FBI, investigating a non-political process.

And the political process of the January 6th commission, which is politicians on Capitol Hill with a completely different mission than what the actual justice system is doing. Personally, I believe Republicans like to see anyone who attacked a cop put in jail and getting in front of grand juries, getting indictments, that's the legal process.

What politicians should be doing is, what's the root cause of political violence? Analyzing that in a bipartisan way. That's what should have been going on. That's not what's. It turned into, frankly, from our perspective, a bit of a circus. A very partisan committee. And --


COATES: But you know, Mike, it didn't necessarily have to be a partisan the way you're thinking of. There was initially the discussion of having an independent commission that was thwarted. And then there was the idea of at least having five members who were Republicans on the committee, but Kevin McCarthy had a different opinion of that and wanted to have Jim Jordan another person as well.

Does that impact the way that you view what turned into a circus in your mind?

SHIELDS: It does, and in full disclosure, I do work for Kevin McCarthy. Look, I think it did impact it. There were some precedent breaking things that happened, never before had the minority party not been allowed to choose its own committee members on a select committee.

So, I think going forward, you're going to see that sort of thing happening over and over again because now that glass has been broken, those norms have been destroyed. You know, one of the things that speaker-elect McCarthy advocated for was, let's expand this. Let's let the justice system handle prosecuting people. Let's us take a look at political violence, things like what happened to Paul Pelosi, things that happened to Steve Scalise where he was shot.

Violence in our cities, political violence that's growing in the country. Why don't we as politicians in a bipartisan way, look at that? He was rejected.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Has that been relevant though, to January 6th?

SHIELDS: I have to say --


CORNISH: Meaning, but meaning, there was not a full accounting of that day on the record, congressional wise, and was it the responsibility of Congress who actually figured that out, figure out the attempt to disrupt that particular day?

SHIELDS: Yes, I think it is a responsibility of Congress to do that in a bipartisan way, in good faith. And if you're going to analyze political violence, of course that was political violence. So, you're not going to ignore that. You're going to add it as a larger context so that you don't look like you're just using it as a political casual.

And that's what it turned into. It turned into this is a Democrat led committee. It's very partisan. People kind of turn --


CORNISH: So, Liz Cheney being on it --

SHIELDS: -- turn it out and say this --

CORNISH: -- all that stuff didn't mean anything.

SHIELDS: Well, Liz --

CORNISH: I mean, she practically led it. That's why I'm asking.

SHIELDS: Right, that there are was a token Republican or two put onto the committee for the sake of politics. But the minority party and their leader were cut out of it and they weren't allowed to choose their own members.

COATES: So, well, I would say --

SHIELDS: So, this is --

COATES: I hear you and I want to get you in here, Brad, because I think, you know, people are champing at the beat in retort. Because what you're talking about for bipartisan, there was the offer, there was the opportunity to have that.

But in broader terms, to Audie's point, Brad, there is of course the umbrella investigations and you want to unpack everything about political violence generally. But there was the immediate urgency of what happened specifically on January 6th. And you're an attorney at national security.


COATES: The idea of wanting to tackle national security as an umbrella term. Then there's a particular action that needed accounting for. Do you see it as more specific?

MOSS: Yes. And the reason it had to be this focus in terms of January 6 and not the broader, I mean, we could have talked about the summer of 2020, any number of things that dealt with political violence. The reason the January 6th committee focused the way it did was because it was an attack on Congress. It was an attack on the electoral certification process. It was looking into potential legislative fixes to prevent what we learned.

People like John Eastman, and the former President Trump were trying to do to prevent the certification of electoral count, you know. And you mentioned something and I want to just, you know, make sure this is clear. When speak -- sorry, possibly Speaker McCarthy coming up was trying to put people like Jim Jordan on the committee.

The reason it was unprecedented in terms of rejecting them was because they were material fact witnesses. They ultimately got subpoenaed themselves and of course, you know, decline to comply, which was their choice to make, but that's why those particular individuals would not be normally sitting on that committee. And it's that kind of thing you would never allow, normally in any kind of judicial process if there was one along those lines.

COATES: Does that change, does that change your opinion of that and, and also, there has been, as we know, it wasn't as if it was just Democrats who were testifying. A lot of the, I think thing that transfixed a lot of people in the testimony of January 6th.

And I admit every witness was not transfixing. I'm not going to pretend that I was captivated by every single person for the entire duration of their testimony. But one of thing I found very interesting was that there were a lot of Republicans there.

I mean, you talk about the tokenism of say, a Congresswoman Liz Cheney, which is likely news to her, but I know she's been called a rhino. But just think of the breadth of people. Does that impact for you how you saw this ultimately turning out or, or is the issue by hone in more, is it you're not satisfied by the outcome that you haven't had the answers yet?

SHIELDS: I think when you are in, look, I think Congress investigating an attack on Congress is a very legitimate thing for them to do. But to bring the country along, to have the faith and credibility of the American people, it has to be bipartisan. You have to go a long way and make sure that people have faith in it.

Otherwise, everything in Washington just turns into politics. One side is on one, you know, saying one thing, the other side is saying the other thing, and they allowed for that partisanship to go on as opposed to, even if the Republicans named someone on the committee and there's a problem with it, let that play out.

Let them name them, let them take part in the process and say, hey, we now have an issue with this. You need to replace them. Try to buy into credibility for the American people. There are a huge number of people in this country that just turned, just said, this committee is a farce at this point. And so --


CORNISH: So, under a speaker --

SHIELDS: And so, I think that does a disservice to the truth that we're all talking about getting to. Because you've now said to a huge swath of the American people, you don't count them. We're not going to include your views in this.

CORNISH: Under a speaker McCarthy, would he want political violence investigated? Is that one of the investigations we would see in the coming months?

SHIELDS: Well, I can't speak for what his plans are.


SHIELDS: Moving forward on that. So, you talk to him about that.


CORNISH: But he's listed so many investigations.

SHIELDS: But that was what he advocated in the negotiations with --


SHIELDS: -- at the time Speaker Pelosi.


SHIELDS: Before this was, let's expand this out. This isn't the only political violence that's happened.

CORNISH: So once in power --


SHIELDS: We have members of Congress --

CORNISH: -- is it something that he would come back to.

SHIELDS: I, you know, I don't know the answer to that.


SHIELDS: At this point, --


CORNISH: It's worth asking because --

SHIELDS: At this point, I think --

CORNISH: -- if we're talking about it expansively -- SHIELDS: Yes.

CORNISH: -- then it's like, follow through. Let's see it.


COATES: Well, let's --


SHIELDS: I think that some of these things get broken by the way they're approached, and so my point is, for instance, just one, one last point on this.


SHIELDS: For instance, another thing that was unprecedented that happened in this Congress was normally it is respected that each party is allowed to choose who they put on committees.


For the first time, the Democrats said, we're going to remove Republicans off of committees. I think you're going to see a tit for tat of that now, and you're going to see Republicans removing Democrats off of committees.

These sort of norms, which at one point the Democrats were very upset about norms being broken in Washington. They've broken them too and it just, it just separates us out.

COATES: Well, I'll tell you one thing on this though. I mean, and thinking about, you talk about the idea of compartmentalizing the distinction, and I tell you as a voter, the idea that we're going to have tit for tat retaliation is already making me roll my eyes.

I can think of the list of priorities ought to be there, collectively. But I think you're probably right.

Let me ask you, Brad. I mean there is -- there are -- there's reporting that just on Friday they're going to start talking about criminal referrals, which I know is part of Mike's note about politics versus criminal referrals. How do you see this panning out?

Because of course you got people who were subpoenaed to testify, they didn't follow through on being actual responsive to it. What do you see as even any potential criminal referrals here?

MOSS: So, the ones that interested me reading what the reporting was were issues of perjury and witness tampering, which obviously anyone who comes before Congress, one, you got to tell the truth. And two, you can't be tampering with witnesses.

Those are the ones that I'm most interested to see what came out of those transcripts and what is outlined because those, I believe, would go beyond the political issue. When you're dealing with whether or not they're going to make a criminal referral for former President Trump on conspiracy to --


COATES: Which is everyone's big question.

MOSS: Yes. Which they can do. The Justice department is already investigating. They've been bringing in Stephen Miller and all these different people. They don't need Congress for that.

But if Congress has evidence that would be relevant for the Justice Department with respect to witness tampering, that's important. That needs to be reported just like Republicans made criminal referrals when they were running it during the first part of the, President Trump's, you know, administration. Democrats can make the same referrals.

The ones that matter to me are the ones dealing with perjury.

COATES: And I will say, I mean, today you had the Attorney General Merrick Garland, seemingly to be a receptive audience to anyone to be held to account who has an attack on our democracy in the proper forum you're talking about. We'll see what happens of course. There's a lot more to unpack and it won't all get resolved tonight.

But let's unpack what will be maybe resolved, maybe not this coming Saturday, because you're talking about the World Cup fever and it is spreading, and this country is really coming together around a very notably diverse U.S. men's team. But a question that has been going around and being asked and really contemplated right now is, what we're asking of our Black American athletes as they're being questioned about their race and identity and intersectionality even on a world stage.

Plus, how team USA's victory over Iran is writing a wrong for the women's team. I'll tell you why, next.



COATES: The U.S. men's soccer team is set to take on the Netherlands this coming Saturday in the World Cup's knockout round. The team advancing after defeating Iran one to nothing in a very hard-fought victory just yesterday. And while the World Cup is delivering, well, thrilling and nail-biting matches, it's also shining a very big spotlighting issues around social justice and diverse representation in sports.

I want to bring in now Clint Smith, staff writer for the Atlantic and former U.S. goalkeeper World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Briana Scurry. She's also the author of "My Greatest Save: The Brave Barrier Breaking Journey of a World Champion Goalkeeper."

And she's a personal hero of mine. I am from Minnesota. I was in on a team in soccer when you were really just kicking butt and taking names. I'm so glad you're here. Clint, I'm happy you're here too. CLINT SMITH, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes.

COATES: But I'm talking to Minnesotan for a second.



COATES: I'm Happy you're here too.

SMITH: I watched the two.

COATES: OK, wonderful. There you go. Well, then let's just jump in because we're watching and so many of us have been seeing the excitement and there are going to be people watching, right now who are watching this team in the World Cups, and they are solidifying their list of personal heroes as well. And I'm just wondering what has been your reaction to what you've seen?

BRIANA SCURRY, FORMER U.S. GOALKEEPER: The guys have done incredibly well so far. I mean, I was hopeful that they would get out of the group, and that's exactly what they did yesterday in nail biting fashion, mind you. The flare for the dramatic. But, once again, U.S. soccer came through a big plan was put forward for them to do well, and fortunately they've done well.

So now it's just, It's just all gravy from now on out for them.

COATES: I mean, that's amazing to think about where they are. And it's not like they're the little engine that could, but we do think of the women's soccer team on this world stage far more than we think about the men, which is ironic. But we're also having in many. You had wrote a great piece about this, Clint, we seem to have very fixed visions of who plays soccer.


COATES: And at what level?


COATES: And when you have athletes who don't conform to whatever that image is. There is something really eye-opening. It's an opportunity to have the conversations, but as you saw it to maybe today, you may have seen Tyler Adams who was asked a question about representing the United States of America and about his race in particular. Listen to this.


TYLER ADAMS, CAPTAIN, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM: There's discrimination, everywhere you go. you know, one thing that I've learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and, having to fit in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the U.S. we're, we're continuing to make progress every single day. Obviously, it takes longest to understand and through education, I think it's super important. Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. So, yes, it -- it's a -- it's a process. I think as long as you see progress, that's the most important thing.


COATES: And to be clear, the question he was asked by an Iranian journalist was whether he felt uneasy about representing a country with a history of discrimination, maybe a little bit of people in glasshouse that shouldn't throw stones, sort of connotation happening.

SMITH: Right.

COATES: What did you make of his, I thought a very thoughtful response.

SMITH: Yes, I think. I was sort of blown away by the fact that, you know, he's 23 years old. First time he's been in this sort of situation. U.S. hasn't played in the World Cup in eight years. Last time the World Cup was in -- last time the U.S. was in the World Cup Tyler Adams was 15 years old.

And so, to be asked a question of that sort of geopolitical significance with no context, I think he gave a really measured, thoughtful answer.


And it also reflects his own experience. You know, Tyler Adams has a very unique background. He was raised by a white mother and a white family. And he spoke to the way that he has been able to move and his experience across different groups and across different cultures.

What's interesting for me is that this team has 11 different black players on it, and their experiences reflect the heterogeneity, and the diversity of the black experience in America, and the sort of growing internationalism of black -- the black American experience more generally. And I think each of them may have given different versions of, of that answer based on their own experiences. But I think that that answer that Tyler gave was really important and really legitimate and reflected, I think, a level of empathy.


SMITH: A level of calmness, a level of thoughtfulness for beyond his ears.

COATES: I loved it. And Briana, when you think about, I mean, you know, for me growing up I had you to look up to, I mean, also literally you're much taller than I am, but the idea of thinking about it and what was, and you became a norm for me. I saw you, therefore, we must be playing. We do have these positions, which is such a blessing to see you in that role. But also, I mean, there are now generation of young women who are

seeing, and to your point, Clint, these are Title nine men players, they call them now, right?

SCURRY: Yes. Because we have been fighting, as you know, more broadly women, but certainly in the athletic arena, the idea of pay equity, and you know this quite well. And so, we understand that based on where they are right now, women are -- women's team is going to get essentially half of their earnings as well, which is a phenomenal accomplishment. And one that's not a condescending, like, I'll give you a little bit of scraps.

SCURRY: Right.

COATES: What do you think about that and what does that signify to you that this is where we are?

SCURRY: I think it signifies so much has changed, in particular with the Tyler situation, he was chosen by his teammates to be captain. Normally, a coach will declare who the captain is based on their viewpoint of how they lead and how they feel about that person in the grand scheme of the team, but the players chose him. So that's number one. That says a lot about him as a leader and as a person.

With regards to showing how there's equity now. That was 30 years in the making.


SCURRY: I mean, we've been fighting for a very long time, including the 99ers, for my teams and in the mid-90s even, for this. And now that we finally were able to get there, in part because of the maturity and the understanding of this men's team.

Because all different entities had to come to the table. The Women's Players Association, the Men's Association and U.S. Soccer board of directors and Cindy Parlow, who's a former teammate of mine, who's now the president of the Soccer Federation.

All these different groups had to come together and have agreement, and the men were gracious enough to say, you know what? The women deserve it. It's time. Let's do the right thing by them. And also, now we are all on the same page and all cheering for each other. And now it's truly one nation, one team. And this is the first time it's been that way.

COATES: That's amazing to think about and really to have the literal buy-in of what you're discussing. And just think if we'd had pay equity when the women were winning as well. I mean, look, we would be in a very different position.


COATES: Just say it not for nothing. But speaking of pages, your book is really incredible. And talking about the personal journey you have had and pay equity comes into that and your own personal experiences. It is an unbelievable reading. We're all going to be rooting on team USA on Saturday. I have to ask. And reading the tea leaves, how do they fare against the Netherlands do you think? I know you're going to say they're going to win, but how are they going to fare?

SCURRY: Well, here's the interesting thing about that. The round robin play, you have like calculations. You're trying to figure out who should play, who shouldn't. That all goes out the window. Now it's win or go home. It's a whole new ballgame. Those are cliches, but it's so true and the men are in uncharted territory.

But these guys are, you know, they're proud enough and they're good enough. And they just might upset the world by beating the Netherlands on Saturday. So don't be surprised if you see it.

SMITH: I think this World Cup has shown that anybody can beat anybody on any day. We saw Saudi Arabia beat Argentina. We saw Tunisia today, beat France. We saw, I mean, I think there are so many examples in this world Cup of teams that, one tradition -- of groups of teams that traditionally wouldn't be considered contenders or people who can measure up against some of the best teams in the world who've really take, I mean, the World Cup is such a singular moment. It's such a singular experience.

And players, you know, as she knows like, this is the moment, this is what you dream of when you're a kid. And so, I think that, you know, this young team, this team who, again, the last team time the U.S. played in a World Cup, all of these guys were kids. So, I think that they're going to be really revved up for this and anything can happen.


COATES: I mean, imagine to your piece, Clint, and people should read it in the Atlantic. Imagine if all they had to do is address themselves as athletes.


COATES: Just that, just the burden of the sport in and of itself. Thank you, both of you. Nice speaking with you. And in history is being made in other areas, of course, as you know, even today in the House of Representatives.


Democrats picking Hakeem Jeffries as the first black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress. It also marks a big generational shift, frankly. So, what does all this say about the future of the Democratic Party more broadly?


COATES: President Joe Biden tonight tweeting a photo of his dinner with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte in Washington, saying welcoming some friends to town.

But tomorrow night it'll be all tuxedos and gowns and China and crystal for the Biden administration's first state dinner. The first state dinner in fact since 2019.


It'll be an important day. But I want to also focus on what's another important day in a very historic vote in the House today. Democrats electing new congressman, Hakeem Jeffries as leader. You know, he's now the first black person to lead one of the two major parties in either chambers of Congress, and that comes as part of a generational shift in Democratic House leadership.

So, what does all of this tell us about the future of the Democratic Party and the country more broadly? Audie Cornish is back with me, and we're joined by Alaska's Democratic Congresswoman Mary Peltola.

Lovely to have you here, Congressman. Thank you for being here.

It's a really exciting time and a time of transition and thinking about it, Audie, I mean, the significance. My daughter, who's eight, always jokes around mommy history seems to happen all the time. She's no longer impressed by what happens.

CORNISH: She's not wrong.

COATES: You know, 14 years now after the first African American president, we've got a black woman as a vice president. When you think about the context of this. Speak to the significance.

CORNISH: I think the context for me is that when you look at the Congressional Black Caucus, so many lawmakers, there are lawmakers like Jim Clyburn who really came of age and came to power in that sort of, post-integration bursts in many cities around the country. They didn't end up speaker, right? they got close but not there.

And I think the fact that Hakeem Jeffries has been mentored by Clyburn, that Clyburn still has a lot of influence on the party and will remain in leadership is actually quite significant. But it is a reflection of the ability of that particular kind of power broker and figure in Congress to help be part of that ushering in and part of that decision making, right?

There isn't a Hakeem Jeffries without all of these other lawmakers that you saw in the Congressional Black Caucus working hard all those years.

COATES: And speaking of what's being ushered in and the lawmakers who are now part of this new generation, a new Congress to be sworn in, what, 34 days from now, Congresswoman? I mean, thinking about where you are and you're historic in your own right and your nature of your politics and where you are today. You know, I wonder if you've reflected on the changing significance of how people are represented and how you will endeavor to do so.

REP. MARY PELTOLA (D-AK): It is really impressive. I think, like you say, how far we've come in just 14 years or 20 years or 30 years. In some ways it's amazing it's taken this long, but we've seen just such a growth spurt in a short time. And Hakeem Jeffries, when he gave his acceptance speech within the caucus today, it was so moving and he talked about the beautiful mosaic of America being represented in our caucus.

And it's just true. There is such a diversity in our caucus. And it's wonderful to see that in the leadership, not just Hakeem Jeffries, but Pete Aguilar and --

COATES: Congresswoman Clark as well. Yes.

PELTOLA: Katherine Clark and Ted Lieu. And so that really shows that there is a recognition that no matter where you come from, no matter what your ethnic background, no matter the color of your skin, we all have leadership qualities. We can all be wonderful, good leaders and coalesce people together.

COATES: It's such an important point and just thinking about the mosaic and what it stands for. And then of course the reality sits in for the American electorate as well, and that we can look at the tapestry, look at the mosaic. And as the congressman said today, at times it's going to come down to just getting stuff done. Right? Here he is.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): House Democrats fight for the people. That's our story. That's our legacy, that's our values, that's our commitment as we move forward. Get stuff done, make life better for everyday Americans.


COATES: I mean, it's the marching order that I think every member of electorate wants to happen. Can it be realized and achieved, Congresswoman?

PELTOLA: Absolutely. We've got real pressing problems right now domestically, in foreign affairs. We have real things that we need to get done and so it really shouldn't even matter fundamentally what we all, what our ethnicities are. We all need to be pulling -- we all need to be making sure that we've got our eye on the ball and we're moving forward.

COATES: It's so important. And thinking of forward, I mean, while you have the leadership in the Democratic side, now sort of solidified from the Republican side, who's in the majority. Audie, as you well know, Kevin McCarthy is not necessarily a shoe in which might surprise some people and it's his second bite at the apple, and the last time he did not fare well.


When you look at that and trying to reconcile the priorities and the need to have bipartisanship, knowing some have written that McCarthy will have a caucus of mansions and we all know what that might mean in the long run in terms of having to convince every single part of his party and still not be able to achieve it. How do you see this going? CORNISH: I don't want to be the spoiler because you sound so

idealistic and I love your energy. I think that's great. Democrats will be in the minority. It is going to be tough. It's probably good for Hakeem Jeffries, et cetera, to be starting in the minority, right? Because that's where you have to really figure out the vote counting and keeping people together and all those things that Speaker Pelosi, former speaker, very much did all of those years and did actually get things done. There are so pieces of legislation that have her stamp on it.

Meanwhile, with McCarthy, you know, behind him there's kind of a political graveyard of speakers past of Republicans, right? Whether it's Hastert or Paul Ryan or John Boehner. There's a lot of people who really faltered and he is already experiencing the difficulty that they did with the current breed of House politician, which, you know, I'm going to go out on a limb and say is a little bit different in that there are many more people who have, who have power without the party.

Meaning they have a kind of media stardom, maybe they're a great fundraiser. They have the cameras. They don't necessarily need the party, and they're not shy about saying that, and that's going to make his job difficult. And I think the fact that they haven't laid out very specific legislative priorities is something to consider.

And it'll be interesting to see how Democrats hold their coalition together when there's such a tiny minority, right? Because they can actually do a little damage.


COATES: They will do great with power.

CORNISH: Right. They can affect things even though they're not in power because that majority that the Republicans have is just so slim.

COATES: Well, congresswoman, we will be watching for the opportunity to see how this all plays out. And I got to tell you, if you're the spoiler, I want the glass half full in Congress. There we go. We'll play it that way. It'll be important. Congresswoman, my best of luck to you.

PELTOLA: Thank you so much.

COATES: From a deadly pandemic to mass shootings, to nationwide protests, it's been a very traumatic few years to say the least, and for many, while trauma can go back, not just months or days and weeks, but decades or even generations. So, what can we all do to move to a healthier place. We'll discuss that, next.



COATES: So, we live in a society that dealing with collective trauma. Fair to say, well, all of us have been impacted by serious life changing events over just the last few years, including the COVID-19, extreme violence like the murder of George Floyd and the horrific stream of mass shootings, including at schools.

Trauma is the subject of Audie Cornish's podcast this week, the assignment with Audie Cornish. Here's a part of it.


CORNISH: Now for sure given the last couple of years, all of us are probably a little bit dramatized. The riots over police involved killings, killings that run on a loop on your smartphone.

UNKNOWN: The only thing that I can tell is he couldn't breathe.

CORNISH: The national debates about race and a pandemic that revealed inequality in our health, education, and economy like a low tide. But there is a difference between the shock of these events and the long- term effects of trauma on whole communities.

So, what does that mean? What do people who know about trauma? Think about the way it's being kicked around in pop culture?


COATES: Audie is back with me. We're also joined by CNN political commentator, Ashley Allison and Mike Shields is back as well.

I mean, Audie, it's really fascinating to think about this because on the one hand, you know, the idea of talking about trauma still feels very fresh in the overall sort of modern history of America. We seem to still be a put under the rug, sort of maybe collective generation of people.

On the other hand, what we see the phrase of all in together, at least for the pandemic, for example. Certainly, we can pinpoint and point to broader issues of trauma, but the idea that it's more of a shared experience might surprise people in very different ways.

In fact, you had a guest, Dr. Thema Bryant, who talked about everyone having experienced some sort of trauma. That's a difficult tie to bind.

CORNISH: I think she, just to give us some context here, there is an expanding area of research called epigenetics, which says that there can be various sort of gene suppression or expression, in the descendants of people who have experienced collective trauma.

So, they have studied Holocaust victims descendants, also, pregnant women, post-9/11, and they've actually kind of looked at these communities at their stress levels, et cetera. So that is an expanding area of newer research in the area of genetics. That's the backdrop to this conversation about psychology.

And what's interesting is that psychology has not really embraced this idea that there could be what's called ancestral trauma, right? That a trauma could somehow collectively affect a marginalized community, black, Native American, and Japanese interned victims, et cetera.

But after 2020, this became more of a topic and of more interest and now their president-elect, this woman, Dr. Thema Bryant, she's a specialist in this.


She's at Pepperdine University and she's at, runs a lab called the Culture and Research Lab, and they basically figure out how can we better treat people in general, but also how can we acknowledge the whole person in our treatment? And it's not, a slam dunk, right?

There's some people who say this is bringing politics into the room, right? This is creating maybe a difficult dynamic between a predominantly like white profession and maybe the people of color who might come in for support. How do we reckon with this.

COATES: But the word acknowledgement I think was a really important one, too, you used. Because I, when, I think when you were talking, I was thinking about the politics of people acknowledging the idea of intergenerational trauma broadly and the idea of, I bet there are many people who sort of poo-poo the idea. We think about how the so-called woke culture has been received.

The idea of addressing, emotional wellbeing, and mental health in different ways, not always something that's taken, to heart or acknowledged in different political worlds. And I wonder, what's your take on it? The idea of thinking of how, there is this cross section. We were speaking earlier about compartmentalizing what ought to be political and what ought to be personal or criminal. Does this strike you as an out of sorts notion.

SHIELDS: Look, I think we need to find more and more avenues for people to feel comfortable talking about mental health. And so, if their experience, whatever it is, whether it's even from political trauma, is how it gets them to talk about it, then I'm for it, regardless. Because everyone's experience is different. That's the whole point of talking about mental health.

We all have a different experience that we've lived through. And we all need to be open and honest with that, with each other as a society and make it OK for people to say, I'm experiencing trauma from whatever it is they're experiencing that cause it is.

The more that we can do that, I feel like there are so many political issues, that we turn into partisan fights when they're actually at the root cause. We could all agree this is a mental health problem that's causing. You pick it. I don't want to; I don't want to add to the -- to the fight you --


SHIELDS: But there is, mental health is at the root of so many problems in our country, and we sort of touch on it, and then we move on because we'd rather talk about something else. And so, every way that you can find to get someone into that conversation, I think is a good idea.

COATES: Well, we crave escapism, Ashley, in many respects, right. And we crave to not talk about the --


CORNISH: I wouldn't think of it as escapism. It's about coping. And what are your coping mechanisms?


CORNISH: There are toxic ways to cope with issues in your life, and that's why you go to mental health professionals, right? To say, is there a better way for me to cope with the stresses of my life because maybe my parents taught me it's easier to have a glass of wine at the end of the night, or whatever it is, rather than sitting down and figuring it out or talking it out or whatever.

And I'm actually really glad you said that about heritage and background because one of the things Dr. Bryant talked about is the idea that this is actually not just about marginalized communities, right? Like there are certainly going to, if you can sit down with a patient and say, have you ever had substance abuse? And you do that in the intake, and then you can say, have you ever faced discrimination? And you put that in the intake.

And no matter who they are, if they feel like they have experience discrimination, or experience something, that's an experience that a clinician has to take in as they discuss it.

COATES: How do you see it, Ashley?

ALLISON: I am so excited about this study. It's something that I have really tried to integrate into my work as an organizer, because you often see people who experience pain have a lot of the solutions to the problems, but often aren't engaged and that disregard for their lived experience creates more trauma, it creates more sense of I don't matter.

And we come from a society, you know, the generation before, maybe even my generation. Something happens to you and you were told like, dust your shoulders off, be tough, suck it up. When really hurt you, you might have been hurt and we know hurt people, hurt people. And if we don't deal with the issues, you don't have the capacity to really become your full and best self.

And that can be from generational trauma or it can be from immediate trauma that you have from something that, you know, a microaggression to a blatant experience of racism, from your day-to-day life.


ALLISON: So, I think it's a conversation we need to have in politics and across our country.

COATES: I mean, certainly things that affect the people of the United States and the government of for and by the people.


COATES: Ought to be --


CORNISH: And it's also happening in pop culture, right?


CORNISH: We don't talk about Bruno everything everywhere, all at once. You know, to me, I was sort of seeing it in pop culture that like, hey, there's this idea that you need to reckon with your past and what does that actually really mean when it comes down to treatment?

COATES: Every parent in the world is now upset with Audie for getting the song. We don't Talk about Bruno.


COATES: So, thank you for that, Audie.

CORNISH: You're welcome.

COATES: I appreciate that. Lin Manuel Miranda is thrilled. I, of course, will take that ear worm for the rest of my life.

But speaking of music that really sticks with you and has made so many moments and memories for so many people. The world of music did lose a star tonight.


Christine McVie, one of the creative forces behind Fleetwood Mac died today at the age of 79. Her legacy and her hits, next.


COATES: Don't stop is one of the biggest hits for Fleetwood Mac and one of the most influential bands of all time. Well, Christine McVie wrote that song, and sadly, she died today at the age of 79. She was a prolific singer and songwriter, a key player on some of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits, including Songbird, You Make Loving Fun, and Little Lies.


Stevie Nicks on Instagram honoring Christine McVie with a handwritten message calling her, her best friend in the whole world, and saying she didn't even know she was ill.

Back with me now, Audie, Ashley, and Mike. I mean, I have to tell you, there is such a iconic nature of hearing songs like that. Thinking about bands like Fleetwood Mac. But you know, in Washington, D.C. I couldn't help but hear that song and think about how often it is used in politics. I mean, for many it was the soundtrack of the --


SHIELDS: Clinton.

COATES: Yes, it was the soundtrack of the Clinton campaign.


COATES: And just thinking about how we often are looking to music to capture a moment to be able, I mean, the lyrics itself, don't stop thinking about tomorrow. Don't stop. It'll soon be here. It'll be better than before. Yesterday is gone, yesterday is gone.

And you think about what image that really creates and conjures in a place like Washington, D.C. when political slogans are trying to capture that moment. Did that resonate for you too?

SHIELDS: Sure. And look, you know, the amazing thing about Fleetwood Mac is that, first of all, one of the top selling albums of all time Rumours, more than 40 million copies sold. And certainly, you know, Bill Clinton, the boomer president --


SHIELDS: Baby boomer band from the 70s, but they sort of transcended generations. You know, there was a TikTok that had a Fleetwood Mac song in it and sort of reinvigorated. Stranger things.

COATES: That one.

SHIELDS: Yes. Right. And so, --

COATES: I forget about that.

SHIELDS: And so, you now have kids, my friends have, you know, school-aged kids that all know who Fleetwood Mac is. It kind of blows my mind because I grew up with them. I mean, one of the biggest bands, historic Hall of Fame bands for rock and roll, and yet they've managed to transcend with their music and so she had a massive impact.

COATES: I mean, it's true. Thinking about just how music not only is really the soul of a nation, but how you have almost a remember where you were, moment when you heard this and seeing it intergenerationally. It's a way that some are trying to connect with others on this, and it's a memory for her as well. What do you think?

ALLISON: Yes, Fleetwood Mac was a little bit before my time.

COATES: How dare you. That's OK.

ALLISON: Inappropriate. I just made the facts and yet today, you know, I was listening on Spotify, listening to all of their songs and really reminiscing. You know, Landslide is like one of my karaoke songs --


ALLISON: -- that I sing poorly, but I try, you know, and it is a beautiful legacy to see such great music transcend generations and will live long beyond this conversation and what a -- what a deserving legacy and tribute.

CORNISH: Yes, I mean, their music was deeply personal and I think that's something that's always resonated. It's also a group that's always been known for its personal in fighting and volatility. She was the kind of more calm center and represented a kind of stillness in a little bit of a chaotic kind of interpersonal scenario.

And I, while Clinton is interesting, you know, that song came out in '77 and I think when you think back to that period politically, the idea that you would do something so optimistic and presented to the world, you know, I think is significant.

And finally, as a female songwriter, it's just so lovely to hear people speak about her with such reverence because that is a group of songwriters, right? Everyone is fantastic there, but she really has earned her place and I think that part of her legacy of just writing so powerfully, so simply, and with such grace, that's what's going to stand the test of time.

COATES: So well said. We'll be right.