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CNN Tonight

Two Former White House Lawyers Testified Today; USA Fans Keep Their Fingers Crossed; Georgia's Runoff Just Few Days Away; People Are Exhausted Of January 6 Investigations; DNC Choose North Carolina As Primary State For Nominations; Residents See The Historic Eruption At Night. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 02, 2022 - 22:00   ET




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

It's almost election night again, because we are just four days away from the final election of the midterms. The Senate runoff in Georgia pitting Democrat Raphael Warnock against Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Now early voters have turned out in really droves, I mean in record numbers. And now Democrats are holding their breath until Tuesday waiting to see if they will win a 51-seat majority.

Plus, two of former President Trump's top White House lawyers testifying today to a federal grand jury in the criminal investigation of effort to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.

Pat Cipollone reportedly testifying for more than five hours, and we don't know what he said behind closed doors, but we can all agree five hours is a lot of time to answer a lot of questions. You wonder how many times you can really have a fruitful conversation about pleading the fifth and still go five hours. We're waiting to see what actually happened there.

And yet we have -- we know that the biggest moment yet for the World Cup, at least for team USA, is yet to come as the underdogs take on the Netherlands tomorrow. I'll talk to someone who knows all about being a World Cup champion, one of the biggest stars ever on the women's team. Brandi Chastain is here and joining us soon.

We've got a lot to talk about tonight. So, here with me tonight, our CNN political commentators, Ashley Allison and Scott Jennings, and CNN political analyst, Alex Burns.

Glad to have you all here on a Friday night. You're probably experiencing some deja vu for election night or election season for Georgia, and a runoff again for it being a balance of power issue. And you would think that people would say, we've been here before, we've seen this movie moving on. No. Instead the opposite is happening.

We're talking about record numbers of people who are turning out. Even though, Scott, they don't have like a big ticket person, meaning a governor on the -- or a full ballot. They've got one election and they're still turning out. What do you make of it?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a lot of money has been spent on this race by both parties, both in the general election and now in this runoff. And both parties, I think have all their biggest all stars as it relates to voter turnout. Democrats certainly do. and Brian Kemp, the governor who's won reelection is pretty popular, has put his shoulder to the wheel for Herschel Walker.

So, I mean, everybody is all in on it from a both an organizational and a money perspective. So, I'm not surprised, you know, of this. This race kind of became nationalized even among all the other Senate races. It became one of the two or three highest profile things. And I also get the --


COATES: Even before, by the way, even before it was in a runoff capacity.


COATES: It was a big one.

JENNINGS: I also get the feeling that Georgians are relishing their newfound --


JENNINGS: -- status as some of the most important voters in America. I mean, Georgia is now one of the closest most purple states in America, which wasn't the case very recently. So maybe the voters there are excited to be sort of a kind of high profile every cycle now.

COATES: I mean, they are the place, right? To think about where Obama is always going now at this point in time. You've got in Michelle Obama, the former first lady did not do a lot of campaigning this cycle and yet she had that sort of call that was there.

I don't want to call it a robocall, it's more dismissive. But she had a call where she was reaching out, telling people to vote as well. And you have on the flip side, you had Senator Lindsey Graham, you had Cotton who came -- who turned out. You have more people like, Rick Scott and beyond.

There's a lot of interest, but I suspect for different reasons. On the one hand, for Republicans, it's, look, this is the balance of power, maybe for the committee's sake, and do Democrats a different philosophy. What do you -- what's your take?

ALLISON: Well, I do think Georgians are excited about being paid attention to and being courted for their vote. I think in every Senate race, every race it should always feel like that. Every voter should feel like their vote matters.

I also think this is, some forecasting for 2024. So what happens in this runoff, you know, 2020 folks were very surprised. Not everyone, but some folks were very surprised that it, the state flipped blue. Can it sustain? Can a Warnock do it twice?

And if so, when you're starting to look at a map for 2024, you start making some decisions about how you staff up in that state. If you're going to -- if whether it's Biden or whether we have a open field for Democrats.

I think Republicans are, I'm not one, but you know.

JENNINGS: You're welcome. You're welcome to be in the club, in the group.


COATES: Well, that's a Friday night invitation. Are you going to take it up? I don't know.

ALLISON: I think I'll take.

JENNINGS: I would take this one. I mean, she's terrific.

ALLISON: Thank you.

JENNINGS: I love that.

ALLISON: Well, I'm flattered, but I think I'll have --

COATES: Alex, I might throw up at some point.

ERIN MORIARTY: No, no, no. OK.

COATES: You want to join me that sign? Go ahead.

ALLISON: Let me make my actual point though. So, but I think that for Republicans there is, determination on candidate quality, but what does it really mean? I think there was some strategy putting a black man against another black man here, and if it doesn't pan out well, you should, if you're going to do it, pick a qualified black man to put up against someone like a Raphael Warnock.

COATES: Well, I'll tell you, the president of the United States was asked earlier about, you know, why was he not in places like Georgia, talking about President Biden campaigning? And he mentioned he was going to be in Boston tonight, Alex, having a big fundraiser and something from that way.

Of course, you know, the prince of -- prince and princess are there of Wales and in the fundraiser, we don't have the sound because you know how fundraisers are, they don't let you in with the cameras, whatever. But in a fundraiser for Senator Warnock tonight, President Biden called Walker, a quote, "different breed." And saying, he doesn't deserve to be in the Georgia race. And I wonder how that ultimately will pan out. What do you think?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a variation on a line that we've heard from Joe Biden a whole lot of times, right? That these Republicans today, it's a different, they're a different kind of cat than your dad's Republicans. And that kind of schick it. It's pretty boiler plate from him in a lot of ways.

But I do think it's pretty interesting that he's touching that race from Boston. Right?


BURNS: That, you know, you were saying on the lead end that sort of all the biggest players in both parties are there. You're talking about, you know, all the surrogates going into drive turnout. The leader of the Democratic Party is not there because it would probably be bad for the Democratic incumbent running for reelection, and the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is not there.

You know, Brian Kemp is the Republican who Herschel Walker wants to be seen with. There are a whole lot of other Democrats including Barack Obama, who Raphael Warnock is very, very happy to campaign with. But right now, Joe Biden himself is seen as just a risky proposition. He's not a popular man in the state. Even though the most senior member of his party in the state seems like he's going to do pretty well.

I do think that, you know, to Ashley's point about how this is a sort of preview of 2024. I think it's going to be a pretty good temperature check on whether Georgia is a swing state to stay. I think it might not answer the question of whether that state is ready to break hard for one party or the other.

Whether, even if the Democrats do sort of continue to win in these Senate races there, I'm not sure how encouraging that is for Biden specifically.

COATES: You know, interestingly enough, I mean the idea, especially after the red wave did not materialize, the fact that he's still a bit of the on the other side of the 10-foot pole of maybe you shouldn't come here.

Meanwhile, Kemp, obviously Raffensperger who won reelection in Georgia, not the persona's non grata. But I'm still kind of reacting to the idea of the different breed. I know that it's his commentary about a different cat and it's really, maybe it's the way he speaks.

But there is some dynamic at play that has a bit of a cringe factor when you're talking about it for the right reasons you're talking about. The idea that race has cast a very big shadow on the choices being made between these two candidates. And I wonder how you, how does that play for either of you? JENNINGS: Well, when I read that tonight before we came out, I mean,

I stopped on that word because I wondered and to your -- we don't have audio of it, I guess.


JENNINGS: We don't have video of it. So, reading it on paper, maybe, maybe it would sound a little different if you're, but I paused on it. I wondered if it was going to make people uncomfortable because it's, I mean, you know, this is --

COATES: You wonder, this is.

JENNINGS: This is an old white guy talking about a African American male. And I stopped on it. Plus, the overall, he doesn't deserve to be in the race. I mean, he won a primary, I mean, he's as -- he's as qualified as anybody to run. It doesn't mean he is going to win. But I mean, doesn't deserve to be in a race. I mean, what does that even mean?

COATES: Well, I mean, President Obama didn't say those exact words, but remember there was that moment just yesterday, and I'm going to play it again because everyone has been talking about it, and I think it hones in the point, and it's the one he is talking about the werewolf vampire distinction. But it's the way that President Obama ends this, that is to your point. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Since the last time I was here, Mr. Walker has been talking about issues that are of great importance to the people of Georgia, like whether it's better to be a vampire or a werewolf. In case you're wondering, by the way, Mr. Walker decided he wanted to be a werewolf, which is great as far as I'm concerned. He can be anything he wants to be except for a United States senator.


COATES: I mean, the idea of what he deserves or not, it's a different take, but it's the same concept.

ALLISON: That was a great line. I mean, he landed it perfectly. I think it's not that no one deserves or it's like Herschel Walker doesn't have a very -- he's not articulating a clear policy agenda. He does have some questionable things in his past.


To the Biden point, I don't assign malicious intention to it, but the point is, is that people are saying Herschel Walker was selected because he was a black man who won the Heisman, who could run the football, and that he would take direction but not have an intention or --

(CROSSTALK) COATES: Direction, but not initiative.

ALLISON: -- not initiative, not initiative and not positions that would be unpopular with the Republican Party. Not because he doesn't believe it, because he's like a yes guy. And so, I think that was like the breed is why folks might be a little cringeworthy.

COATES: But even to your point, the idea of deserving or not, I mean, Alex, there's a new poll out tonight, and I mean, there's a runoff election on Tuesday because it was that close. I mean, look at this. Even tonight, the choice for Warnock, 52 percent, 48 percent, that's a pretty narrow lead which has us where we are right now waiting with bated breath for Tuesday to see what happens.

In spite of, all you're talking about, right? And collectively is being talked by the former president, why still so close?

BURNS: Well, Georgia, I think to all outward appearances is still a center right state, right? It's a center right state that a Democrat can win under the right circumstances. But you know, it reminds me a little bit of the way Virginia used to be for so many years before it broke a much more strongly in the, in the democratic direction where a Democrat can win by a little, or a Republican can win by a whole lot actually. Right.

The ceiling is much higher on the Republican side, and so I don't think there's any scenario. I think Republicans could nominate, you know, the worst candidate ever devised in a lab for this Senate seat. And I don't think Raphael Warnock could have a chance of winning by more than, you know, five or six points. Right?

And Herschel Walker is a very, very flawed candidate, but he was not designed in a lab to lose a Senate race.

COATES: Lieutenant governor of Georgia made that point where he said he stood in line for four to five hours only to not cast a vote because he said, look, is that what we're talking about?


COATES: Only for that reason. Go ahead.

BURNS: No, and I think the point, Lieutenant Governor Duncan's decision not to vote in that race is reflective of, I think actually a lot of the constituency that Barack Obama and Joe Biden to a lesser degree are sort of speaking to there, are people who you know, may not be partisan Democrats or may actually be partisan Republicans, but just kind of find Herschel Walker embarrassing. And they don't necessarily feel comfortable of going out and don't necessarily feel motivated to go out and vote for him.

COATES: And yet we've got record turned out. Stick around. We've got more to talk about. Here it is the final election night of a surprising midterm sea -- midterm season. So, join CNN the Georgia runoff between Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. Coverage starts right here on CNN Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. So be sure to tune in.

And look, while Georgia and the nation wait to see who comes out on top in Tuesday's runoff, there's another contest that's got Americans on the edge of their seats. Team USA's World Cup battle tomorrow against the Netherlands.

Soccer superstar Brandi Chastain weighs in next.



COATES: So, tomorrow is the big day the U.S. is set to play the Netherlands at 10 a.m. Eastern and there's some good news for U.S. fans who are concerned about one of the team's star players, Christian Pulisic, who you remember, he was injured unfortunately while scoring that game winning goal against Iran. Well, he's cleared now to play in tomorrow's game.

And I'm thrilled to have my next guest here talk about all of that. Brandi Chastain was a 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup Champion and a U.S. Olympic women's soccer gold medalist. And she joins us now.

I'm thrilled to have you on. People were buzzing on set that you were. Is she here? Is she not here? And I was like, she's remote. And they went, OK. But I'm glad that you're here with us today.

Sorry, everyone, but we all know you we were so thrilled and proud about that iconic moment, in particular in '99, but the work that you've done has really been unparalleled as part of an overall team.

And I wonder tomorrow in this really important matchup, how you think the U.S. men's team is going to perform?

BRANDI CHASTAIN, 1991 & 1999 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP CHAMPION: I think they're going to be outstanding. They've had an outstanding tournament thus far to get through the group stage and to have not given up a goal in the run of play is outstanding. Very difficult to do that.

I feel like their confidence is very high. They know who they are and what they're capable of. It's a young team, but honestly, I believe it has a lot of veteran qualities even in their youth. And so, I feel they're feeling comfortable.

Now you're playing one of the better teams historically in the World Cup in Holland. But this is a team that, and it's a team that hasn't lost in 18 matches and they are quite good. They play around the world, but I don't think this team fears anyone.

So, I feel like this match is going to be, as this World Cup has shown just full of drama and emotions and ups and downs. We're going to have to play at least a hundred minutes, if not more --


CHASTAIN: -- because we've had added time in every game. COATES: I mean, a fearless underdog is going to leave it all out on

the field, is my kind of match to watch, and we're all going to be thinking about that really important goal the last game, but also, although Netherlands is known as this really big powerhouse, I understand that they have been experiencing a bit of a flu outbreak.

And this is not that I am hoping they have sort of one arm time tied behind their back. I want a legitimate win for the team that's playing in the U.S.


COATES: But their coach did give them a little bit of a day of rest, and I'm wondering how that plays out. If you're sort of, if the adrenaline pumping and you're in the mindset of a World Cup tournament, does the day off help you? Does it hurt you? What's better do you think?

CHASTAIN: You know, honestly, I don't think it's either one of those things. It could be good and it could be just unfortunate circumstance. So I think what teams and players now are really used to is having to be agile and adaptable. And I think that was one of the greatest qualities of our U.S. Women's national team.


And I feel because of the fact that this World Cup is not during the regular summer months that it normally is, and it's in the fall during these most seasons, these players have had to adapt as well. So, I don't think from the Dutch side, that's going to be a big deal. Honestly, sometimes a day of rest is just what the doctor ordered.

But what I'm hoping is they come out and with the strongest lineup possible. And we match their physical play, their tactical style, and we find our comfort in the midfield who has done great this whole tournament in Weah and McKennie and our captain right now, Tyler Adams, who is amazing and that we feed our forwards and we get some goals. And I think that we could put them under pressure.

COATES: I got to tell you, I have two young kids. I don't know if a day of rest will help me or make me feel like more of a zombie most of the time. I just got to keep going, keep an eye on the prize, and maybe coffee is at the end of the road.

But let me ask you this, you know this is an important time because every time they're winning, it's not just the idea of a patriotic camaraderie, right? They are also, the farther they get, this is a Title IX team so to speak and they are able to split and have chosen to, and you have earned the right to have these split and divided.

And the farther they get, it's already, I think, what, six -- six and a half million dollars and they get further and further the prize gets bigger and bigger. What is the impact for you and the significance of that, knowing that this has been a hard-fought battle? CHASTAIN: Well, I think, you know, this conversation about pay equity

has been going on for four decades. You know, back when the national team was started, this is not something that's happened over the last seven years, so obviously I'm thrilled that the team has pushed forward and created the conversation and then pushed it farther.

And now we have assigned CBA that allows this pay equity to happen. And I think the men's team is actually quite -- they're a tremendous ally for the women's team, but that's not what we're talking about. Today we're talking about the men's national team and this historic opportunity they have to further the future of the game here in America.

And that's really for all of us. We want to celebrate them. I think at some, you know, to some degree they've kind of been in the shade of the women's national team and they shouldn't. Because they are -- they are good enough and they are -- they're going to compete till the very last whistle. And they are, they're talented.

And I want everybody here and everybody around the world to see that because soccer is living and thriving here in America and I want it to be even bigger. So, I hope the best for them.

COATES: Well, I'll tell you, moments like this watching what's going to happen tomorrow, hearing the camaraderie and of course, I can't help but think of the iconic moment from 1999 that everyone thinks about. I mean, I wonder when you, I'm sure look at this.

First of all, everything about this moment just brings me to a place of just, I'm so in awe, but I got to wonder when people stop you and realize it's you, are these selfies a whole different ballgame now. Are they're like, hold on, I need you to kneel down with me. We got to do a whole thing. I hope you're not doing it. But I wonder what they're asking.

CHASTAIN: No. You know what? I have to tell you, Laura, that the interactions I've had for the last 23 years have been phenomenal. I'm -- I am utterly thrilled to meet someone who is in the stadium. I want to know where they were sitting.

I want to know what they were feeling. I want to know what they're feeling now when they see that moment, when they talk about it. How has it changed thee way they look at women's sports or women in business? Women leading the way.

Like, honestly, it's such a -- it was such a wonderful moment. Very genuine, very organic, very relieved. That was a big, big moment in terms of just like getting past China was incredible. Two amazing teams, and someone had to win at the end, and they -- they were --


COATES: Might well be you.

CHASTAIN: -- tremendous opponent. Yes. Might as well be us, but --

COATES: There you go.

CHASTAIN: You know what, what has, yes, what has happened since then I think we've catapulted the game of soccer into a different stratosphere and we see it with our women's national team, and now we get to celebrate our men's national team at this World Cup.

COATES: Well, I tell you, you want to know what people are thinking even now when they're sitting and watching, they're feeling pride. They see the feeling of being triumphant, and they hope that it translates again tomorrow.

Nice to talk to you and thank you for being a part of it tonight. We look forward to seeing tomorrow and cheering them on.

CHASTAIN: Well, you too. And I'm wearing my crest proudly and I will be wearing it from this moment until through the game. I hope everybody enjoys it. And let's go team USA.

COATES: Let's go Team USA and we'll get maybe a bobble head to match. Thank you so much. Nice talking to you about it. There you go. I see it. All right.

Well, it's going to be a big day on Saturday, everyone. And today it was a big day at the U.S. District Court in Washington for wildly different reasons.


Former top Trump White House lawyers testifying to the January 6th criminal grand jury. So just how significant is their testimony to the investigation? Frankly, one of many.


COATES: There's news tonight on the many investigations involving the former President Donald Trump, and you know, two of his top White House lawyers testifying the DOJ's criminal grand jury investigation and investigating efforts to obstruct the transfer of power.


And the January 6th committee is weighing its final moves as their investigation its deadline. And still considering the possibility of criminal referrals.

Here with me now CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, and back with us, Scott Jennings and Alex Burns.

Let me start with you here, Elliot, because it's a pretty significant moment that the former White House lawyers are testifying in a criminal grand jury. Speak to the significance of this moment in a time when we used to think about things like impeachment as never really wanting to ever happen. The idea of no one being above the law.

The White House internal memos at DOJ about, excuse me, about whether to indict a sitting president was also of an esoteric debate. We're in a whole different world now.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And I think part of the problem is there's a little bit of investigation fatigue. I know Scott will agree with me on this. We've talked about it, but this idea of because of the multiple impeachments --



WILLIAMS: -- and constant lawsuits against the former president that people sort of have, many people have just sort of become desensitized to it. This in isolation is profound. Number one, you have senior White House staff testifying before a grand jury and you have lawyers testifying before a grand jury after being directed to testify because the objections that they were raising to testimony just didn't really stand --


COATES: Wait, stop there for that and like, let's unpack that. Because the idea that lawyers in general are testifying in front of the grand jury about notably contact, they've likely had with somebody that they are providing legal advice to, in some counsel is already odd. But then you've got the added, the added notion here that they were directed to do so.

WILLIAMS: They were, and so a couple things, and there's a third layer, which that they're also White House staff, right? So, there's executive privilege questions, attorney client privilege questions, and also a court has ordered them to testify on account of the fact that it's just important testimony to get.

So, it legally, politically, historically it's just a profound moment, and you know, I'm with you on this, Scott. All of the investigations over the years leading up to this have sort of desensitized people, just how profound it all is right now.

COATES: You know, you got to wonder when you're thinking about the so-called fatigue, I mean, there's people who are legitimately fatigued and then there are people who would like you to be fatigued. Who would like you to be so exhausted and say, listen, hold on, we got a new Congress coming January 3rd, they're going to goodnight the January 6th committee. Let's move on.

Now some want to move on to then have tit for tat investigations, others want to move on to other things. And I just wonder if your perspective, the January 6th committee has got to wrap up, right? They've got to have a report, the laundry list of things that Congress has to do between now and January 3rd, though, expanding.

How significant and how much we will pay attention do you think, to this report?

BURNS: Well, I think the January 6th committee has a pretty good record of drawing attention to the big sort of checkpoints and its activities so far.

COATES: That's in TV, not a report.

BURNS: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't bet against them. Well, sure. But you know, it's sort of up to them to decide how to roll that out and when, and sort of what their tactics are for drawing attention to the material. And having said that, I think, you know, the burden is as it has been all along on them to deliver the goods in a way that makes it worth paying attention to. Right. If it's just the material that we've seen before but compiled into a couple hundred pages, then no, I don't think it'll have some major impact.

But look, they -- the phase of this process of, you know, legal accountability for the people who were involved in whipping up an insurrection. That process has mostly moved beyond the January 6th committee at this point. Right? The testimony that we're talking about today is way more important than the final, final, final act of that, that committee.

JENNINGS: There's some political fatigue. I just hear from a lot of Republicans who are just tired of carrying all these bags. I mean, you see some of the polling that's come out. You see DeSantis rising against Trump. You see people, even people who say they have kindly feelings towards Trump are ready to maybe move on and look in a different direction.

So, I don't know if people are desensitized to it, but I certainly think they're getting tired of it. And then, and by tired of it, I mean, just, just tired of the of the grind of it, of it all. I mean, this has been going on for so long. And then you throw on top of it, he had a flat announcement for his presidential campaign. You get this crazy dinner with these nuts that there's no good explanation for other than --


COATES: You have to narrow down the nuts.

JENNINGS: -- other than horrific judgment.

COATES: Right.


COATES: OK. Got it.

JENNINGS: And Nick Fuentes character. And then you've got, you know, reasonable alternatives rising who look like winners, who aren't going to force the average Republican. They have to go to work tomorrow or go to the PTA meeting or whatever, and defend, you know, whatever Donald Trump is doing.

And so, this is all happening at a really, really rough time for him. I got to tell you, I mean, still quite formidable, still a lot of assets at his disposal, but man alive, but they are -- they are struggling right now. WILLIAMS: You know, and another issue is that I think the public doesn't really have a distinction between what's a state investigation, what's a private investigation, what's somebody suing the president, what's Congress investigating the president and what are the very serious federal charges the president might face?


Because the Justice Department is looking at them. It's all sort of one big bucket of --


WILLIAMS: -- badness being dumped on the former president. And each of them in isolation is quite serious. Some of them, and particularly the federal ones, as you well know, and we've talked about on here. And so, it's, I think it's just confusing for folks who don't live in this world.

Now to the point about a thousand-page report. And I think both, you know, having worked for elected officials, you know, you can make the public care about a thousand-page report that folks aren't going to read. You know, if your communications and sort of public strategy around it's good enough, a lot of people are going to read it.

COATES: Well, by the way, the Mueller report was like a bound, you could buy it at a bookstore. It was very lengthy.


COATES: People were -- people were tuning in. But I -- there was a piece I want to point out, speaking about Trump and sort of the baggage that you all are all, intimidating about. Peter Baker at the New York Times said that Trump is, seems seeming to embrace -- he's embracing extremism as he seeks to reclaim the White House in 2024 and wondering if it will work.

And there's a moment when he is expressing support for rioters behind the January 6th attack. It was last night, by the way, for a capital -- for capitol rioters in the video for a fundraiser hosted by the Patriot Freedom Project, which is a group that assists families of those charged in the riot.

I want to play for you what he had to say and get your reaction.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Patriot Freedom is what it's about. And that's not happening in our country. People have been treated unconstitutionally, in my opinion, and very, very unfairly, and we're going to get to the bottom of it.


COATES: How is this playing, Alex? BURNS: Well, I think it's playing, first of all, it is not a new tune

from the former president, right? That this notion that the rioters on January 6th are the real victims here, that there's been a terrible miscarriage of justice against them. We've heard that from him before. We've heard it from him quite few times.

COATES: But this is after the Oath Keepers, right? In large part have been found guilty.


BURNS: I'm not -- I'm not playing down the gravity --


BURNS: -- of what he's saying. I'm just saying that he -- the trajectory that his political, post-presidential political careers taking has been pretty clear for some time. And I think his, his standing with the country at large, and as Scott was saying before his standing even within the Republican Party, I think sort of reflects the general electorate's lack of interest in, you know, how many Republican voters out there honest to God want the 2024 election to be about that argument. Right?

There's certainly some of them. I don't think it's a majority. Is it a critical mass in a primary with a lot of candidates in it? Maybe. And if I were Republican strategist, that's what would scare me is that --


COATES: Let's ask, are you scared --

BURNS: -- big, loud a minority.

JENNINGS: Listen, if we -- if we nominated Donald, I said it on election night during the midterms. I say it again. There's no in my estimation for him to win a national election. I mean, look, he didn't get more votes in the two times he tried. Has it gotten any better for him since he lost to Joe Biden, since this midterm, since all this stuff is happening?

And if you're an average Republican and you're like looking at these excuses, you know, how are these rioters supposed to know they weren't supposed to storm the capitol? How was I -- how am I supposed to stop myself from having dinner with white supremacists?

I mean, nobody wants to carry these bags when there are viable alternatives that give you everything you want, the fighting spirit, take on the media, fight for, you know, our values and against the world culture, but you're not carrying these ridiculous bags anymore. I think people have reached their limit.

COATES: Well, people would water for a long time. Yes.

BURNS: I would just say really fast. I do think this is where the results of the midterm elections are so important that, you know, we all remember in the weeks before the midterm elections. There was this narrative that, you know, are the Democrats too obsessed with January 6th, right?

Whatever you think the answer to that question is, Democrats didn't pay a price on election day for being too obsessed with January 6th. A couple weeks after the midterm election, seeing how they turned out, seeing how they turned out for the candidates who align themselves most closely with Donald Trump. I think Republicans are asking themselves the same question about, you know, the leader on their own side.

COATES: Well, a lot to unpack there and still a lot more to try to figure out. I am noticing both of you have the embroidered cuff links or the embroider your initials.

WILLIAMS: Initials. But you know, Scott Jennings often does.


COATES: He didn't -- he didn't tonight, so that's why he does not get the last word. Everyone, we'll come back in a moment here on these issues. Major changes could be coming to Democratic primary calendar. What does it mean for a future presidential races, like in, I don't know, 2024? We'll discuss, next.



COATES: Big changes could be coming to Democrats 2024 primary calendar. The rule making arm of the Democrat National Committee voting today to approve President Biden's proposal of a new 2024 presidential nominating calendar. Now, if it's approved, that the full DNC meeting early next year, it would mean that South Carolina would become the first state to hold a primary. Nevada and New Hampshire would follow days later with their primaries being held on the same day, followed by Georgia and then Michigan before Super Tuesday.

Back with me, Ashley, Allison, Scott Jennings, and Alex Burns.

Let's talk about the significance of this. I mean, CNN's Jeff Zeleny put out a tweet just earlier today saying, so long, Iowa, the DNC has voted to approve a White House plan of moving South Carolina to the front of the line of the 2024 calendar, calling it -- call it the Presidential Biden Reelection Protection Act.

It's counterintuitive in a way though, because normally the primary schedule or the path that you may have had to victory the first time, you might want to duplicate it, right? So, you have maybe the same assurances. Is this smart strategy or is it just not necessarily about Biden, but more about what he says is a reflection of America?

ALLISON: I think that this is a good idea, and this has been a conversation in many communities for a very long time. When you think about the Democratic Party, the question is like, why Iowa first? It's not a very diverse state. It doesn't really capture all the different communities that are a part of the base of the Democratic Party.


And primaries are supposed to situate you so that you pick candidates that can fare well in the general election. So, I think by going to a South Carolina that has a -- that is a southern state that has a larger black population, it shows that Dems are trying to expand their map. At Georgia we're not putting New Hampshire off, Nevada with the Latino population.

Now did Joe Biden fare well in South Carolina and did it actually shift the balance to begin to catapult him into getting the Democratic nomination? Yes. So coincidence? Perhaps, but I actually think that this has been a broader conversation that has been going on in the Democratic Party, honestly, for the last 20 years since I've been in politics.

COATES: I mean, Congressman Jim Clyburn to take this out of, you know, the sort of the vacuum. This is coming after a week when he said he wanted to remain in leadership because the south had to be represented. It's also a time when, just this week, a few days ago, the Democrats voted to have as their leaders not white men, which is the first time it's happened. And Hakeem Jeffries is making history in his own right.

In terms of how this plays, what is your reaction, Scott, in terms of how this might impact maybe the RNC's endeavors later?

JENNINGS: I don't know that it will actually. I interpreted it as a couple of things. One, it's good to have the White House because I think this is great for Joe Biden. I mean, he, this is, I think it works for them. And obviously, South Carolina saved his campaign last time around, so that's number one.

Number two, Iowa deserved, I think what they got here, at least the Democrats, because the last -- my recollection is the last time they had a caucus, it was a complete and utter disaster. And there was confusion and just, it was poorly run. And, anyway, so, I think I'm not surprised at all. I don't -- I don't think the Republicans are going to overreact to this really. I mean the Republican's biggest issue is how are they going to treat Trump in whatever demands he makes on the party.

He's not an incumbent president, but he's going to want to be treated like one. Looks like we're going to have more than one candidate. And so how's the party going to kind of react to sort of anything he asks for that would advantage him? Biden doesn't have this problem. He can do whatever he wants. He's the president, and that's the difference.

COATES: I mean, this is a proposal, right? They have voted on it, but they still have a long way to go until it's actually going to be implemented. You already have at least two states saying, I don't think so. If I'm not mistaken, new Hampshire's law requires it to be the first primaries. They have some explaining to do, shall we say in that respect. How do you see this playing out? BURNS: Look, I think the New Hampshire situation has a potential to

be genuinely uncomfortable for Democrats because if New Hampshire does unilaterally move itself to the front of the line, then you're going to have this standoff between the National Democratic Party, the DNC, the White House, and a state that's actually a pretty important swing state in a general election that does tend to send Democrats to Congress to the House and the Senate and where you have influential Democrats in the state speaking out against the White House.

So, there are potential costs involved there for Biden that do not exist in Iowa, right. That there used to be an argument to be made that no, Iowa doesn't look like the country. No, they don't run a very high tight ship when it comes to actually organizing an effective and respectable election.

But it's a swing state and it's important that Democrats can compete there. Well, the people of Iowa have spoken cycle after cycle after cycle that they're not terribly interested in what the Democratic Party is selling. And I think it just makes the breakup that much easier.

COATES: I mean, you wonder in terms of just thinking about back in 2020, for example, and how Iowa was impactful. And people think about, for example, President Obama before he was elected and secured the nomination. The impact of, say, in Iowa on the trajectory to places like South Carolina.

It's almost a debate going on in some respects of did Iowa make Biden -- did Iowa make Obama, or did South Carolina make it possible for Obama? There's all these conversations that really repeat itself now.

BURNS: Sure. And I think the, look, Democrats for who for many years would say privately, not publicly, that, you know, one of the most irksome things that Barack Obama did on the sort of political operation side of his presidency was protect the hell out of Iowa because it was so responsible for his own rise. And yes, it was a really important launchpad for him.

But, Laura, that was the last time that Iowa played an arguably decisive role in making someone the nominee of their party in either party. Right? That it was not Mitt Romney who won Iowa in 2012. It was not Donald Trump who won Iowa in 2016. It was not Joe Biden in 2020 and it was Hillary Clinton in 2016, but like, by this much. And it was actually pretty embarrassing for her.

So, the whole, you know, that old adage that Iowa picks core New Hampshire picks presidents is -- it's obviously overstated, very, sort of excessively flattering to New Hampshire, but Iowa is not doing a whole lot of picking presidents lately.

COATES: Well, you're right. I mean, in 2020 it was Pete Buttigieg who narrowly won the Iowa Caucus as well.


COATES: Maybe good news for him, maybe bad news, if he thinks he wants to run in the future, we'll wait and see about all those things.


Stick around. You know, I do like the picking corn thing. I like corn. I was going to say about that. I'll just use it someplace else, but lava, let's turn our attention there instead. Because lava is spewing from Mauna Loa in Hawaii and looks, the flow is now less than three miles from a very major highway. We have a report from the ground. next.


COATES: Lava from the world's largest active volcano is edging closer to a major highway on Hawaii's Big Island.

CNN's David Culver is on the scene with the latest.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The nighttime glow of Mauna Loa's oozing lava, well, you just have to pull over to properly admire it. It's basically the middle of the night and you guys are out here. Why?

PIILANI ZYCH, OAHU, HAWAII RESIDENT: Well, I mean, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to experience this, and we decided to come early in the morning so we didn't have to sit in the traffic.

CULVER: Having hopped from Oahu to here the Big Island, this family, three generations came to respectfully honor the Hawaiian interruptions.


ZYCH: It's all beautiful to us, and so we pay huge reverence to this. It's very culturally significant for us as well. So, it's a big deal.

CULVER: A site made even more alluring with a side of sunrise, which brought the crowds to old Saddle Road. Officials turning this stretch into a one-way street, allowing passers by the chance to stop and let the views seep in.

And that keeps drivers from pulling over and stopping on this what is one of the main highways connecting one part of the island to the other. USGS and state officials warn the lava flow while slowed in recent days, is inching closer to cutting off this highway. It's within three miles now. The other worry not here on the ground, but up in the air.

What looked like plumes of smoke? Experts say those are acid gases, officials monitoring the levels, warning it could become toxic for residents and visitors of the Big Island. Mauna Loa is the second of the Big Island's five volcanoes currently erupting. Kilauea still rumbling after destroying more than 600 homes here in 2018.

ERECH ZYCH, OAHU, HAWAII RESIDENT: This is very significant. Like my wife, we made lays on Oahu and we brought them over here and we gave it as an offering. You know, just you come as respect. CULVER: But many Hawaiians see the potential path of destruction as simultaneous creation surfacing from this, the world's largest active volcano. With the eruption continuing at its current pace, officials say they should be able to give folks up to two days notice should the lava make its way into that major thoroughfare cutting off that highway.

But they also warn that when it comes to lava flow, there is no forecasting. Laura?

COATES: David, thank you so much. What a site to behold.

Kanye West is spewing more anti-Semitic filth. Hate speech is surging on Twitter. And this kind of language in America, well, it's becoming alarmingly common. Now it's even causing President Biden of all the things he's got to do to weigh in.