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CNN Tonight

Trump Denies Wanting To "Terminate" The Constitution; Voters Are About To Go To The Polls In Georgia; Elon Musk Brings One Of America's Most Prominent Neo-Nazis Back To Twitter; Jury In Trump Org Criminal Tax Fraud Trial To Resume Deliberations; Tampa Police Chief Resigns After Flashing Badge During Traffic Stop. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 05, 2022 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Former President Trump is now falsely claiming he didn't call for the termination of the United States Constitution to return him to power. But isn't that exactly what he said in a Truth Social post this weekend?

I mean, it is not in our imagination because here is the quote. Quote -- "A massive fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great founders did not want, and would not condone, false and fraudulent elections."

So, I'm not saying we should just freak out about every Trump comment because he says a lot of outrageous things all the time, and he happens to be a bit of a political provocateur, shall we say.

But this is different. I mean, this is the idea of terminating the Constitution in support of his insistence that he won an election that he lost, and it's arguably maybe his most extreme and anti-democratic statement yet.

And it's part of a dangerous and broader pattern. More than two years after his defeat, former president still won't accept the 2020 election results. Just last week, he defended the insurrectionists the Capitol on January 6th, who tried to kill then Vice President Pence who is upholding the peaceful transfer of power, and they were brutally assaulting police officers.

In September, even mentioned potential pardons for the rioters.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I met with and I'm financially supporting people that are incredible. And they were in my office actually two days ago. It's very much on my mind. It's a disgrace what they've done to them. If I decide to run and if I win, I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Amen. TRUMP (voice-over): Full pardons.


COATES: Of course, he has said he's going to run now. He's been pushing election lies for years. Here is what he said on Fox in the summer of 2020, months before any votes were even cast.


CHRISTOPHER WALLACE, BROADCAST JOURNALIST: Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election?

TRUMP: I have to say it.

WALLACE: Can you give a direct answer? You will accept the election?

TRUMP: I have to see. Look, you -- I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either.


COATES: Well, we did see. Right? And he has made a lot of comments about the idea of being president for life. Remember this, back in March of 2018, while praising Chinese President Xi Jinping.


TRUMP (voice-over): He's now president for life.



TRUMP (voice-over): President for life. No, he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday.


COATES: That is not -- Donald Trump like to call himself the law and order president. But he's advocating for the throwing out of the Constitution. That is the basis you realize for law and order in this country. It's not an isolated incident. This is the reason we must focus on it, and we can't turn away. As I mentioned, he is running for reelection to be, I assume, a law and order president again.

I want to bring in pollster and communications strategist Frank Lots -- Luntz, excuse me, CNN political commentator Karen Finney, and legal analyst Elliot Williams. Because I said your name wrong, I'll start with you, Frank.


COATES: That's the courtesy and an apology all in one. FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: Best people do it, so don't worry about it.

COATES: Oh, thank you. I do feel some days, but I'm among not the best. But I'm glad that you said it anyway. I'm thinking about this, the idea of us talking about Donald Trump and (INAUDIBLE) made. Look, it's no surprise that he makes a number of outrageous statements.

This one feels different in the danger that has been presented because of January 6th. But also, it has been presented at a time when Congressman Liz Cheney kept saying, he poses a threat to our democracy. Is this, to you, ringing differently than some of the other substantive comments he has made?


LUNTZ: It does ring differently because the idea, and I originally thought that he was going to suspend the Constitution. I was suspended when I was in high school for one day, and I was allowed back. By the way, I don't know what it is about CNN. I tend to admit all the things it did wrong in my earlier years.


LUNTZ: Next week, we'll be talking about drug use. Trump backed the wrong candidates and lost virtually all of them in the Senate in 2022. Then he goes and attacks the two most popular Republican governors, the governors of Virginia and Florida. And now, he talks about terminating the Constitution.

He is destroying himself, and he's not smart enough to realize that. The Republicans are turning away from him in droves. And the only thing that gets people to support him or feel that he is a victim is how he gets treated by outsiders.

For example, they should never have invaded Mar-a-Lago, and I use that term because that is his term that he used without explaining why. It was perfectly justified. These are classified documents. He had no business handling them. But the Justice Department did explain it for six days.

Donald Trump will destroy himself if he is allowed to. And how you handle that -- and I know your viewers won't agree because they want to yell at him, but how he has handled determines whether or not he is still credible even at this moment. And so, I say to people out there, if you don't like Donald Trump, just wait a few more weeks, and he will do enough damage that he's done.

COATES: I have to tell you, I'm not entirely convinced that a man with the moniker of Teflon, Don, is -- I guess describing a kind of kamikaze. I wonder who he takes down with him, because Republicans are thinking about these issues not as maybe, you know, self-annihilation, but instead the idea of what impact it has on the party.

I know that Republican Senator like Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, they are refusing to answer questions about this. And you had Senator John Cornyn saying that Trump was irresponsible. That was the word he used, irresponsible. Not exactly the language of people, you know, running away with attempt to pull and not looking back.

And I wonder, Karen, from your perspective, do you share a level of -- I don't want to characterize as optimism, but the idea that, look, he is simply going to do enough self-destruction that he will no longer be an issue to reconcile or deal with?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The problem is that, as you said, it is, who does he take down with him? Does he take our country down with him? That was certainly what it seems to he is attempting to do on January 6th. And certainly, there were a number of times throughout his presidency.

I keep going back to Charlottesville. Good people on both sides. For many of us, it was demeaning and degrading to the United States of America, to have a president who could not just call out hate speech and white supremacy as being wrong.

And so, I think it is very possible that he just implodes. I think it is likely, and particularly given that we know, there is a sector of the Republican Party that still believes him, that still follows him, that still gives him money. And so, I think he still poses a danger.

What I also think we need to call out is it is not a profiling courage to however you characterize his behavior now, after the 2022 election, when the voters so clearly are the ones who stood up and did the work and have the backbone.

If Republicans members of Congress, if, you know, a Mitch McConnell or a Kevin McCarthy would have stood up to him, Charlottesville, after January 6th, we might not be where we are in this moment.

LUNTZ: McConnell did. McConnell did. McConnell did. He was very articulate about it. He drew Trump's ire. And if fact, because McConnell did, Trump got involved in those Senate primaries.

COATES: I would say --

FINNEY: I think he did it, then he pulled back. And then he, frankly --

COATES: Before you -- I know you're attempting to weigh in because McConnell, for example, he did, but then there was the impeachment discussion, and, of course, he didn't go all the way through in one aspect of it. But I think it is Karen's larger point about the different moments.

But I do wonder, I mean, look, there are a lot of investigations swirling around Donald J. Trump, right? There is a jury deliberating as we speak. Well, maybe not as we speak right now, it's 11:00 at night, but they ought to be watching the show and liberating tomorrow about issues surrounding the Trump Organization. But everything he is saying, I can imagine prosecutors going, yes, please, tell me more about your intentions here.


the prosecutors are saying. But you know what? Step back. I just feel like we act in the United States like this is a somehow so anomalous and so out of the blue that you have a former president acting this way and being investigated and saying the kinds of things he does.

When you look around the world and if you were to see leaders of countries saying some of the same things, we wouldn't bat an eye. Look on the global stage, Russia, Brazil, China, strongmen all being elected in a mode not that different from Donald Trump.


And yet somehow in America, we can't seem to get our heads around the fact that this could happen here, the same kinds of badness that happens around the world or former presidents being indicted and investigated: Israel, Italy, France. It happens. Donald Trump is not sort of an aberration, and we ought to treat them like, you know, the problem that he could bring to the country.

FINNEY: That's an important point because I do think that part of what Donald Trump and certainly the insurrection showed us is, and this was something I said at the time, we have to stop saying this isn't who we are, this is -- this is who we are.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.

FINNEY: It is not we have to be and we actually can change, but we have to be -- I think we have to have the awareness that says, this is not who we want to be and we don't want to be a country where the former president -- I mean, it is not just one investigation, it is multiple investigations on multiple fronts. And so, I hope that that is part of what comes out of this. I think that 2022 midterm was a start.

COATES: Stick around. We got more conversations ahead on this very point. We want to hear more from you as well, Frank, on these issues, because you wonder -- I mean, in the microcosm of the Republican Party or Democratic Party is that -- the identity they want as well, because there is a leader of these parties in different passions stick around on that in these instances.

And as a former president who refused to acknowledge his loss in the last election, as you well know, voters are about to go to the polls in the next election, the Senate runoff in Georgia, and Frank Luntz is going to help us break down what that data shows, next.




COATES: We are literally hours away from the Georgian runoff election and the latest CNN polling shows Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock with a narrow lead over Republican challenger, Herschel Walker. Among likely voters, 52% say they plan to vote for Warnock, while 48% say that they plan to vote for Walker.

Back with me now, Frank Luntz. You know, first of all, we are here because it's a runoff. It is a narrow, you know, edge that Warnock even has over Walker. There is a lot of early voting happening right. You know, talk to me about these nine phrases that you say voters are really -- it matters most to voters. What are those in this election?

LUNTZ: Well, I'll give you the example. The voters are desperately in pursuit of the truth, a relentless pursuit of the truth. It is something that CNN does. It is something that we're looking not just from the media but we are looking from our elected officials. The candidate pursuing the truth is they only want to support.

We ask for real results, not what you see in your campaign ads, but what you can show people that made a meaningful, measurable impact on the average individual. Affordability. It is not inflation. Inflation is some academic term.


LUNTZ: People don't walk into supermarkets and say, wow, look at that inflation. They say, look at those prices, I can't afford that. Problem solver. Maybe a little bit less in the Senate than for governor or mayor. But they're looking for people who understand and recognize what is wrong and have an idea of how to fix it. Cleaner, safer, healthier -- for those people watching who care about climate. The problem with climate is that they talk about sustainability. That is the status quo. The public want is better, cleaner, safer, healthier.

Accountability. The idea that someone does something wrong. Transparency, merely to let you know what's going on. Oversight is performance art, but accountability, you could grab someone by the neck and say, you made this promise, you didn't keep, now I'm holding you responsible.

And common sense. Don't talk to me like a politician. Talk to me like a human being. And let's get something done, let's work together, that's the unity. Work together, roll up your sleeves, and get it done. These are the attributes.

And so, look at Georgia. I see early turnout benefiting Warnock. I see the fact that no longer there is a Senate in play, so that's more of a reason for Democrats to vote than Republicans. Herschel walker is not as good as a candidate. And so, a lot of people were voting for him because they wanted republican control of the Senate, not necessarily because of him but despite him.

And third is, the Democrats have raised so much more money in Georgia. All three of those suggest that Warnock had a small but still important victory tomorrow.

COATES: What I think is fascinating, you know, when I was in trial, the most persuasive argument we can always make is when you use a nickel word as opposed to a 20-dollar bill word. Talk to people like they're human beings. And on their level of empathy, on the idea of, hey, we are the same, I had the same arguments around different issues.

And the idea that strikes to me as we were talking is the way in which this election runoff between Warnock and Walker has largely come down to from many of the ads about intelligence, about word choice, about --

LUNTZ: Integrity.

COATES: -- integrity. All of the things that I think is resounding the issues that we're just talking about. And I just wonder the early voting, in particular. People turning out still. I keep asking this question. I suspect that the amount of money people is paying to have these ads run know that they have to motivate people to get out. They can't just rely on hates is important and people know their civic duty.

Is that enough of a compulsion for people to say, look, I've got a turnout, it's my civic duty, this is about committee assignments maybe in the long run, or is it really coming down to, as Brian Kemp has said, governor of Georgia, look, who is more motivated, us or them?


LUNTZ: And the answer is the Democrats are more motivated at this point. The jury is a good issue. Brian Kemp won his election in a distinctive fashion. And there were hundreds of thousands of people that voted for Kemp and did not vote for the Republican candidate for the Senate.

So, the hope, Kemp's idea was, I'm going to spend the three weeks helping the Republican candidate, trying to transfer my vote to him. That has only limited effect. And according to the polling, it is not having an effect at all. In the end, it's the candidate that can reach across, that can appeal to not just their base but voters who aren't ready to a specific side.

I will give a word example, freedom. For Republicans have freedom, too. Freedom to do what I want. Freedom to be free to speak my mind. For Democrats, it's freedom from. Freedom from homelessness, freedom from hunger. It's a different definition of the word, but it's equally important.

And the candidate that understands a principle like that and priorities other voters -- and there is another example. If you talk about your values, that's about you.


LUNTZ: You talk about your priorities. That's going to impact the voters themselves. And I think Warnock has done a reasonably good job of communication. And frankly, I don't think Walker has been this effective.

And, if I'm proven wrong tomorrow, Donald Trump would be cheering the most because almost all of Trump's candidates lost in the general election, the ones that are really contentious. And Walker would be the last one to lose, and the Republicans can legitimately say, thanks to Donald Trump, you just cost us the Senate. So, no one has got more in the line tomorrow, even more than Herschel Walker. No one has got more in the line than Donald Trump.

COATES: Fascinating point. And, of course, he has a tele-rally happening tonight about these very issues. I'll see what happens. We're all going to be watching. My voice is not quivering because I'm at all emotional about this. I just think you're great. Nice talking to you about these issues.

Look, everyone, there's the ideas about priorities and accountability and the tone overall set in the campaign. What about the tone set overall? We are talking about, say, social media. Well, hate speech is surging on Twitter since Elon Musk's takeover. The question is, why? I mean, is it because no neo-Nazis are being allowed back on the platform? Well, we'll talk about it, next.




COATES: Elon Musk is allowing a self-professed white supremacist back on Twitter. The Anti-Defamation League responding, saying it's -- quote -- "deeply disturbing" that Andrew Anglin, who founded the neo- Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, has now been reinstated.

I want to bring in Kara Swisher, host of the "On with Kara Swisher" and "Pivot" podcasts, and Dean Obeidallah, host of the "Dean Obeidallah Show" on Sirius XM Radio. I'm so glad to have both of you on tonight, a real treat for me and the audience.

We will start with you, Kara, here because I do wonder, what message do you think Musk is trying to send by allowing him back on the site given all of the controversies surrounding, of course, I know even suspending just last week, Kanye Wests' tweet that appeared to be based on the altered image of the star of David with -- inside of a swastika, but he didn't clarify what specifically was done.


COATES: So, I wonder, what message is he sending, do you think, here?

SWISHER: Chaos, a complete chaos. There's no rhyme or reason to these decisions. He called it incitement of violence. And actually, those aren't pictures that are considered incitement of violence because you have to link it to that. It may be a hate speech. And usually, people are given a couple of times to do that. And he just let Kanye West back on.

And this one, he probably just decided himself. I'm assuming there is nobody he's been talking internally about that. He is just going to make the decisions himself and not listen to other people. So, maybe someone appeal to him and said that we should do this, and then he just reinstated. I don't think that he should think there's a systematic way of doing this. I think it's just off the top of his head.

COATES: Well, off the top of my head, here are some of the numbers coming right now, Dean. We are thinking about it. I mean, hate speech has been surging on Twitter, Dean, since Elon Musk took control. I mean, look at these numbers. The use of the N-word is up to 300%, antisemitic post up at least 61%, anti-trans slurs 62%, and gay slurs up 58%.

And I'm wondering, for you specifically, Dean, when you're looking at these figures and also maybe the absence that Kara is talking about of any rhyme or reason to this but the pure personal discretion, I mean, you yourself have been personally targeted by Andrew Anglin, what does this mean to you?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, CNN.COM: I think this is Elon Musk normalizing a neo-Nazi for reasons that none of us know. But they're wrong. Being on Twitter is a privilege. It is not a right. And Elon Musk has extended his privilege to the worst of the worst.

Andrew Anglin, in 2017, I wrote an article denouncing Donald Trump for refusing to denounce white supremacy, that was before Charlottesville. And Andrew Anglin loves Donald Trump. Andrew Anglin fabricated tweets in my name, put it in his website, The Daily Stormer, and after Hitler's favorite publication, and saying that I was involved in a terrorist attack, I'm Muslim, and told the supporters to go confront me. And they did. They hit me with death threats and hate messages. He is a coward.


I sued him in federal court. I won a judgment of $4 million against Andrew Anglin for motions of stress and defamation. And it wasn't for me, the money is to go to organizations that defy bigotry. But that Nazi, Andrew Anglin, still not paid a penny despite our efforts to collect it.

And I'm not alone. There are Jews Americans, Black Americans. He is vile. This is a person who is operating principles literally. What would Hitler do? He has called for tearing down the Holocaust Museum, which he calls a hoax, and built 1000-foot statue to Hitler. That's who Elon Musk wants on Twitter. And I hope advertisers ask themselves a question, do they want to invest in a platform that gives a platform to literally a neo-Nazi? That's what we're dealing with.

COATES: That is an excellent point you raised, the idea of just thinking about that journey that you've had to endure based on this person and so many others that did inundate. The idea that was more than just him, but there was an audience and there was a waiting audience that then follow his directives. It just seems unbelievable that this is where we are.

But, Kara, the point that Dean was raising at the end there, I mean, look, we know that, for example, this is a person who is separate and apart from Andrew Anglin. But there has been decision by different advertisers or companies. Nike, for example, has cut ties with Brooklyn Nets guard, Kyrie Irving, today following, of course, the scandal surrounding his decision to retweet an antisemitic movie and antisemitic messaging.

And these are the pure business side of this, Kara. I mean, there are at least financial consequences --


COATES: And so, Musk at this moment in time is trying to make Twitter profitable. You've almost chuckle at that many times, possibility of being that.

SWISHER: Still chuckling. Still chuckling.

COATES: And you're still chuckling. But if that is to be the correlation here, is this just bad for business? Even setting aside the moral compass issues, is it bad for business?

SWISHER: Well, you're seeing that. I mean, "The New York Times" had a good piece. I think a lot of people have been reporting the declines in advertising. He's trying to say everybody is back, but they're not. I mean, they would be if it was a good platform. Advertisers will advertise wherever things work for them.

But I think that the declines in advertisement has been significant. He's trying not to rely on advertising. He's trying a subscription service that didn't quite work yet and it might work. He's trying maybe A.I., maybe cutting people. He's trying all kinds of ways to make money. It's just that he spends a lot of time tweeting and a lot of time letting neo-Nazis back on the site.

And, you know, I think one of the things that you just talked about, I have had relatively good experience on Twitter, which is a few sorts of bad eggs attacking me and things like that. But since he took over, I had to turn off my comments because I tweeted something about the Colorado shootings and I got inundated by trolls and bots. I'm sure that's what they were for the most.

I had never turned off comments on Twitter. This is the first time I've done. And I've been there since the beginning. When it was formed, I was one of the first Twitter users.

COATES: Real quick, Dean, have you had that similar experience now?

OBEIDALLAH: I've had some. I look at my friends and the attacks that they've gotten, especially Jewish and Black friends. It's off the chart. And again, I advertised that they make a choice. And I hope people will make a choice. Don't give your money to advertisers or giving your money to Elon Musk. Let Elon Musk clean up the cesspool that is Twitter so we could have a civil platform and have conversations, not dehumanization.

COATES: A civil platform, you say. Oh, you're not in Washington D.C. That's why. There you go.


COATES: And these conversations, more on this. Thanks for joining, both of you, Kara and Dean. Nice to see you both --

SWISHER: Thank you.

COATES: -- especially together. Thank you.

Well, speaking about cleaning up a bit of a mess, will the Trump Organization face their tax fraud charges? Well, it's all on the jury's hand. And will they be held accountable is the big question tonight. What will the verdict be? They're deliberating. We're going to talk about it all, next.




COATES: Well, tomorrow, the jury in Trump Organization criminal tax fraud trial is going to resume deliberations after more than four hours of discussion today. Two Trump Organization entities facing charges of tax fraud and falsifying business records, and what prosecutors allege is a 15-year scheme to defraud tax authorities.

And in Washington, D.C., Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani, facing a disciplinary hearing over his work on the former president's election reversal attempts. All of this says the investigation around the former president continue to swirl, even as he begins his rocky bid for reelection in 2024.

I am back now with Frank Luntz and Karen Finney, and here now is CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen as well. Glad to see you all here together. Norm, let me begin with you because, look, there's a lot happening. We come to Donald Trump and the jury deliberations happening right now even following these cases. You have a similar one in D.C. I'm wondering what do you make of what the jury has to chew over tonight.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Laura, they have a tax fraud to chew over tonight. Donald Trump, his business, the Trump Organization, paid its executives through providing various benefits and not declaring that on their tax returns.


Now, I think that the prosecution made a strong case. This is not a slam dunk. It's a tough case. You have to prove that these payments were -- quote -- 'in behalf of the Trump Organization." We got a -- last time I was with you, there was a note from the jury in the Oath Keepers case. We got a note from the jury today asking about one of the conspiracy charges. But I think this was a good note. It's a serious charge, a fourth-degree conspiracy charge in New York.

So, it's a good case, and I think the Trump Organization is likely going to have to deal with some criminal convictions in its immediate future. But we'll see.

COATES: Org, not Trump family. That's a key distinction to make. EISEN: Yes, it is. The prosecution did introduce evidence at the end of the trial that Donald Trump was personally aware, documentary evidence, because it has to establish this -- that it was done in behalf of it. It is just wasn't Allen Weisselberg, the former top Trump aide who benefited. That he wasn't doing this just for his personal benefit, that it was to help the corporation.

But I think the prosecution explained how these benefits saved money for the corporation, redounded to the benefit of the Trump Organization, and they showed the jury Trump knew about it.

COATES: Real quick, tell me about this guy Matthew Colangelo. We learned the Manhattan D.A.'s office has hired this person. Why is it significant?

EISEN: Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan D.A., dropped the larger case that had been put together beyond this text case that's on trial now by two of the most brilliant prosecutors in America, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz. And Laura, he has taken ferocious criticism ever since because it was a righteous case.

So, now, to perform an act of resuscitation back from the dead, he has brought on Matt Colangelo, brilliant prosecutor, very tough Trump adversary, very tough Trump adversary working for the office of the New York attorney general where they have really gone after Donald Trump. Now, he is going to try to do the same for the Manhattan D.A. He has a lot to work with.

COATES: Well, speaking of those who have been, you know, opponents, now about the allies, Rudy Giuliani, as we mentioned before, he is facing the current proceedings in Washington, D.C. Remember, his bar license was obviously challenged, shall we say, based on his arguments he made in court about election denialism.

And the legal arguments aside, the politics of this has really been already on trial in the electorate, right? Election denialism was on the ballot this term. What do you say?

FINNEY: I say, you know, Rudy Giuliani, like many of us, has to face the music. I mean, he went forward and tried to, obviously, make a pretty suspicious argument that we know was not factually correct. And look -- but the Rudy's brand, he should've stopped after being America's mayor. I mean, he did -- I was living in New York on 9/11, he did a great job. He was at the top. He should've stopped then because it has been -- you know, his brand has continued to diminish over the years.

This is just another very sad case of someone who, you know, has really let his career go by the ways of it. He followed Donald Trump. We were talking about who does Donald Trump take down with him. This is one of those folks.

COATES: Well, not just the eagle legacy aspect of it, too, right? It is the idea that the arguments that he was making -- that some voters still buy into this day even though there has not been the proof in a court of law. There's a court of public opinion in the electorate who -- some people still think, no, what they said was right and the election was stolen. You are a -- you focus on this a great deal. Does this still ring true even despite his actions in the proceedings?

LUNTZ: It rings true to about 30% of the Republican electors, so 15% of the population, and nothing is going to change that. They have made up their minds and facts be damn, people be damn, they're going to believe this. And Giuliani, because of what he did on 9/11 and being a great mayor, he had credibility, and so people listen to him. In fact, Giuliani had more credibility than the man he was defending.

But that has -- it has taken him down. His reputation is nowhere near where it used to. And it is hard to believe that on September 11th, he was the most trusted person among all Americans of any living human being. And now, he is fighting for his law license.

COATES: Well, a lot has changed. Many are fall from political grace, shall we say.


But, as you mentioned, 15% of the American electorate believe in something that in a large part was fueled and cultivated and nurtured through his own voice in the courts across the country and, of course, in front of the camera.

A lot more about credibility, and here is a case where it can be undermined, particularly for those who are in positions of power. How about in Tampa, where the police chief was pulled over in a traffic stop and then had to resign less than a month later? We'll tell you why and what happened after this.


COATES: A Tampa police chief resigning after bodycam or footage surfaced on this traffic stop. Take a look.



UNKNOWN (voice-over): A (INAUDIBLE) stops you because you're driving with no tag (ph). I noticed your vehicle has no tag on it (ph).

UNKNOWN: Yeah, we were -- we went to club. It was closed. So, we went over and took up some --


UNKNOWN (voice-over): It is.

O'CONNOR: I'm the police chief in Tampa.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, how are you doing?

O'CONNOR: I'm doing good.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Okay.

O'CONNOR: I'm hoping that you will just let us go tonight.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, okay. Yeah, sorry. Not to say that you look familiar. So --

O'CONNOR: Yeah. I'm sure I do.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Okay. So, all right, folks, have a good night. You live here in (INAUDIBLE)?



UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, okay. All right, it was nice to meet you.

O'CONNOR: Same here, my friend.


COATES: That was the former police chief, Mary O'Connor. She was placed on administrative leave, pending an internal affairs investigation. And following the completion of the investigation, she resigned.

Back with me, Frank Luntz, Karen Finney, and Norm Eisen. I mean, you want something like that, and the idea of -- this happened in early November, by the way. And now, here we are already in the beginning of December, and she's already resigning. That's a pretty quick process.

I wonder if it's the factor of the attention that police are under, to do, obviously, the right thing, to be ethical and, of course, bodycam footage helping with that, Karen.

FINNEY: But when she -- I mean, she said it, is your bodycam on? He said, yes. Stop talking. Don't hand him your badge.

EISEN: She was fine not for being a criminal because she was a bad criminal. That is the point. Yes, it's obvious. You don't announce you're the police chief.

FINNEY: Right.

COATES: Well, that says to me, too, somebody isn't bold enough to say, oh, it's on, here you go. And then again, mind you, it worked in that instance, right? It's not like she had a ticket or there was an arrest of any kind. It was successful which, of course, makes people question the idea of, does this happen all the time? Does this happen so frequently that she felt that emboldened? And also, I wonder if there's more to the story. I'm sure we'll soon find out.

LUNTZ: It's accountability. This is why the public wants it. Transparency only gives you the information that it happened. Accountability forced her from her job, and that's what the Americans want across the country and what they want for the police, the politicians, the businesspeople, the journalists, everyone. Let's hold people accountable.

FINNEY: That's absolutely right. And I've seen similar polling that shows -- I mean, across race, gender, region, you know, political persuasion. It is something that all Americans agree on. There is a belief that people who are in positions of power have too much power that they abuse. And so, accountability up and down is the right thing.

COATES: You talk a lot about the idea, and we all heard this phrase, no one being above the law. We hear it in terms of a president of the United States. But in reality, how often have you and I had this conversation, when we talk about the average person or whether this is a cop doing this or whether you and I doing something?

We often think about it in terms of how the electorate, how the everyday people consider how they would be treated if they did the same thing. And instances like this make you question whether they would've been accountable in the same way.

EISEN: Well, Laura, every day, thousands of times a day across America, law enforcement officials, and I'll tell you, even though some former prosecutors who have their prosecutor I.D., very prominently displayed if they get pulled over. People signal that they're part of law enforcement. You see it on bumper stickers. I support the cops, right? People want to break. We often decry cry the era of social media. But, there is a good side to all of this information, accountability.

COATES: And that is one of the nine words you talked about, right? The idea, of course, in Georgia, there was a flashing of a badge by one candidate, Herschel Walker, trying to promote that very notion, didn't necessarily worked out in the same way.

But I wonder, really quick, Frank and you, when people see this, especially voters, does this make them think less of those in law enforcement or just kind of the anomaly?

LUNTZ: It confirms their suspicions. And it is a very smart question because it both say to them that justice is happening. But it also says to them that criminal behavior is happening, too. It's a two- edged sword.

COATES: Well, I wonder about that. The idea of how people think about crime and the ways we think about those very issues. Really fascinating. I do wonder what's going to happen to the deputy. I also wonder about how this came to be. But more on this another day.

Well, today, we do have some sad news tonight from the world of entertainment. Actress Kirstie Alley has died at the age of 71. Her family says she had a brief battle with cancer. Her career spanned decades in movies and televisions, including her role as Rebecca Howe on the popular NBC sitcom "Cheers."


She was in other shows as well, including "Veronica's Closet." Kirstie Alley was a two-time Emmy Award winner.

In a statement, her children said -- quote -- "Our mother's zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did."

Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. By this time tomorrow night, we will be counting the votes in Georgia Senate runoff. The polls closed at 7:00. CNN's coverage begins at 4:00.