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Special Counsel Subpoenas Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-GA) in January 6 Probe; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) Downplays Capitol Riot and Says It Would Have Been Armed if She Led It, Her Office Claims Comments were Sarcasm; Report Shows Uvalde Sheriff's' Office Revealed the Department Had No Active Shooter Policy at the Time of the Massacre; Elon Musk Use Twitter to Speak Out Against Critics; TSA Implements Its New Technology in Airports; Dre Greenlaw Ask Tom Brady to Sign the Ball. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 12, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota.
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Coates and this is CNN Tonight.
CAMEROTA: We have updates tonight on the DOJ's investigation into Donald Trump and there is new ludicrous things that the congresswoman from Georgia is saying about January 6th and how much worse it would have been if she had been in charge. Somehow, she is proud of that. But it is deeper than just hateful comments. That congresswoman is on the verge of being placed on important committees and having real power.
COATES: Plus, shocking developments tonight, almost seven months after the horrific, tragic, Uvalde school shooting. We're learning tonight the sheriff's department actually had no active shooter policy when 19 children and two of their teachers were shot to death in their classrooms. How could they protect these kids if there was never a plan?
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, we have a lot to talk about. Let's bring in CNN's John Berman. We also have with that Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent. Gentlemen, great to have you all.
So, let's start with the updates, Elie, and what's going on with now the special counsel's investigation into all things Donald Trump. They want to interview Brad Raffensperger, okay, the secretary of state in Georgia. That makes sense. He's a pivotal player. Why hasn't the DOJ interviewed him? It's been almost two years.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Can I answer question with just the word, amen? I mean, I asked the same question. Why has it taken so long? And, look, this is a failure. It's not going to do the case but it is an unforced error by prosecutors. Let me explain why. Laura knows this.
As a prosecutor, you guard your witnesses jealously. If you get wind that you have someone you think is an important witness and someone else is poking around, another agency, another prosecutor's office, you shut them down and you keep your witness away. Now, why? Is it because agreed? No. It's because you don't want your witnesses exposed.
So, let's look at Brad Raffensperger. We know you testified in front of the January 6th committee. There's a book on him. Literally, there is a transcript for this testimony. And what's going to happen if he becomes a DOJ with his? The defense lawyers are going to get all that material, they're entitled to it, and they're going to pick him apart? Oh, you said it a little differently this time than that time. Let's follow up on this. And so the more of a record there is on your witness, the more vulnerable he is.
And so DOJ, they're talking to Brad Raffensperger now, almost two years out, great, but they're too late. And it's really, frankly, embarrassing that they were beaten to the punch by a congressional committee, of all things.
COATES: It gives me pause as well on that point because you think about the idea -- also he's written a book. He's written it. So, it may be different from that, et cetera, but also we're talking about a special counsel having now been appointed.
And so I have to wonder what were the prosecutors doing up until this point in time? I mean, the idea of -- and maybe we are not privy to everything. I will give the benefit of the doubt in some respects. However, why now? Why are we just getting around to it a few days before this committee is going to be good nighted?
HONIG: Yes, it's a good question. And, by the way, this is not one- off, Cassidy Hutchinson, right? Remember when she testified and she blew the roof off and it turned out the reporting from The New York Times at the time the DOJ was totally caught by surprise.
HONIG: Because they're moving too slow. Because they spent a year and change, DOJ -- look, they had to do these 800 tonight or prosecutions of the people stormed the Capitol. No doubt. The problem was during that time, they focused exclusively on those people and not in the key witnesses. Now, they're getting there now. They've been much more aggressive in the last four to six months, which is good, but there is a cost for being slow.
COATES: But to be fair on this point, the committee was not forthcoming always with information, right? I mean, you're rolling your eyes but they also were having to fight a little bit about who would give what information, when. But the committee, their role is not prosecutorial. Their role is to have oversight, to try to correct some shortcomings of the law, et cetera. Do you see the idea of the committee moving quickly or moving slowly? We don't have reports still. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Brad Raffensperger thing, you didn't need the committee. The only people who knew about that phone call was everybody, like the world. Planet Earth knew about that phone call. So, either DOJ looked at it and decided there was nothing there or they were just slow walking it for two years, which is hard to understand.
The flip side of this, I will say, there are two things, other things about this, which jumped out to me. Number one, the Raffensperger call deals with illegality, involve possible illegality, involving one person and one person, and this is Donald Trump. I mean, you talk to Raffensperger if you're investigating Donald Trump exclusively to see if he broke the law.
The other thing is they did talk to White House lawyers last week, right? That is huge. So, as weird as this is, as weird and late as this all seems, the fact that they broke down that wall, and we're talking to White House lawyers and broke through that privilege claim, that is a big deal.
CAMEROTA: Charlie, I want to bring you in and talk about something that Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene said this weekend. She said it quite proudly that if it had been up to her, if she and Steve Bannon had planned January 6th, she said, it would have been worse and they all would've been armed.
First of all, well, she said, they -- let me give you the quote. Not to mention, it would have been armed? It was armed, first of all. And it would had been worse. More than 140 police officers would have been badly injured. She is proud of this. And the point is not that she says ludicrous things because we've all, I guess, become accustomed to her saying ludicrous things. The point is she's about to have real power.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes. I guess no one should be particularly surprised by this comment given she is the one who gave us the Jewish space laser comment. She was a QAnon person who actually doubted that 9/11 happened. So, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that she made these comments about January 6th.
She's obviously very reckless and incendiary in her statements. This is nothing you. That is not changed. I've been saying since the day she was first nominated to the Congress down in Georgia that she should have been denied admission into the Republican Congress.
CAMEROTA: But she's going to be on -- like she wants to be on oversight, Charlie. Like, she's about to be
COATES: She said she will be.
DENT: They should have never put her on the committee. They were right to strip her. It's too bad that it took the Democrats to kick her off the committees. They should not readmit her to any committees, ever. She should be ostracized. That is how you deal with people. You marginalize some of these radical or extreme elements rather than normalize them. They brought her into the tent while at the same time marginalizing people say, like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who were treated like persona non grata, but Greene has been brought in.
Here's one more reason why they should be marginalizing Marjorie Taylor Greene. This just the latest example. It's a horrible comment that she said. Now, she says it's facetious or sarcastic. Well, I saw the clip. It didn't seem that sarcastic to me. I think she had admitted, to be honest with you. The fact that she would (INAUDIBLE) the event, I mean, it is horrible.
COATES: Excuse me, Charlie, let me ask you. I think we all agree, the idea -- I think calling it sarcasm as a cop out. I don't think it was sarcastic. I think that she intended to make the statement she did. But what do you say, Charlie, to the rhetoric that, look, hold on, you want to marginalize her, but after she has done all these things, say, for what happened over the weekend, she was reelected in her district. The people of her district wanted her there. Does that change the calculus in terms of how a potential speaker like McCarthy or otherwise could actually operate knowing that they want to here? She's not ending her term. She has been reinvigorated by a re-election.
DENT: Well, Kevin McCarthy dealt effectively with Steve King, who made racially insensitive or incendiary comments, marginalized him. They threw me off the Ag Committee, basically weekend him badly. It allowed a primary opponent to come in and take him out in the primary. They couldn't beat Steve King in the general election but they beat him in the primary by weakening him. That is how you do that. You marginalized her then you go recruit a primary opponent and you take her out in the primary. That is the way you do this. It's an overwhelmingly Republican district. I doubt the Democrats could ever beat her in that seat. It's one of the most Republican districts in the country.
So, that is how you do it. You have to marginalize, or make it harder for her to raise money. By bringing her into the tent, they've almost normalized her. She's been able to monetize her notoriety and she has raised piles of money. But that is a part of the problem. They brought her in and she is almost been legitimized in many ways, and, sadly, in this crazy political environment we live in, some of these more radical elements make a lot of money on crazy stuff.
CAMEROTA: Well, and I think -- I mean, to our point that I think it is about to get worse. John Berman, listen what she said on Bannon's The War Room last month about what we should all prepare for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm going to be on the Oversight Committee. And we are going to do investigations into that little laptop Hunter Biden's.
So, you guys can buckle up, get ready, and we are going for a ride because that is happening in January.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: Just look at the date that way, November 18th. That was the around time, I think a few days after Kevin McCarthy had his first boat to become the -- at least thought to become the speaker. I mean, the idea that she is saying, I'm going to be on the oversight committee, I'm wondering why she has that indication and to be that confident to have the next statement she's made.
BERMAN: She's a feature, not a bug, of a big part of where the energy is in the Republican Party. Now, not all of it but a big of the party, she represents, she just does.
This event she said this stuff out about January 6th was like New York, Republican. She is brought in as a celebrity speaker around the country right now at different Republican events in the northeastern state of New York.
CAMEROTA: Yes. And she gets cheers when she says, I'm going to tell you, if I'd organized we would've won. Won what on January 6th? Won a totalitarian government? I mean, what was winning?
BERMAN: No. I think that's a great point. Listen to exactly what she says there and how she says it. And it is interesting. Saying she was sarcastic an just joking, I agree with you. You listen to what she was saying there, it didn't sound a joke. However, that method is a frequent method used by extremists. Nick Fuentes, by the way, often jokes about, you know, awful things he's saying about Jews. He's saying he's just joking or just pressing. It is what you do so you have this -- I think part of it is illegal, but plausible deniability, oh, I was just joking. So, it's really interesting to watch her do this playbook.
COATES: Well, the cover is not convincing. I mean, the idea, it's almost someone saying to you, hey, no offense, but whatever follows next, I'm offended.
CAMEROTA: It's offensive.
COATES: I'm offended. So, we're going to have a problem.
Look, everyone, we have some news tonight on the school shooting in Uvalde. And it is absolutely shocking -- I mean, also, it is shocking. It's shocking to think about it. I mean, an independent review finds that there was no active shooter policies in place on the day a gunman killed 19 little children and two beloved teachers.
CNN's report is next.
COATES: A new report tonight revealing the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office didn't actually have an active shooter policy at the time of that massacre that took the lives of 19 children, and two adults. CAMEROTA: This is very hard to believe because school shootings have become, tragically, a part of our regular lives. Our school kids never asked for this. But why on Earth would administrators be prepared for it at this point?
CNN Senior Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz has been covering this story since the second it happened and the failed response to the shooting. Shimon, how on Earth, this day in age, wouldn't you have an active shooter policy?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, it is a great question, right? We think about the fact that, as you say, this is something that kids practice, something that kids are aware of, something that kids have to go through. And so today, we learned not only was there no active shooter policy with the Uvalde County Sheriff, but, actually, the sheriff itself has not gone through active shooter training. It is some that's not required by law, but it's certainly something that you would think leading law enforcement officials would go through so they can make the right decisions when the time comes.
We are learning all of this because of this report that was commissioned by the Uvalde County officials. They wanted to look at the practices, not at what went wrong that day. This is not a report looking at where the failures where and who screwed up back on May 24th. It was about the practices and the policies of the Uvalde County Sheriff. And so that is where this report comes from. That's how we learned this information.
Today, we spoke to the man who did this report, the expert, the police expert. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CARTER, CONDUCTED REVIEW OF UVALDE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: There was no active shooter policy. There are only definitions that.
It didn't define what active shooters were and they were forces that dealt with critical incidences in how officers would respond to that but there was no active shooter policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROUPECZ: And so, certainly, this took a lot of people by surprise. It took family members by surprise, the fact that there was no policy. The deputies, for the most part, have gone through the training. There are several that haven't. But, obviously, having this policy was something they needed to do. And based on the information we've been able to gather, they have made some changes and they now have this policy.
COATES: Well, Shimon, speaking of the families, I know you've been intimately involved since beginning here. I cannot imagine the families hearing that at this point. I mean, we are talking about how this took place months and months ago. How are we just now hearing about this? What were the families' reactions to the fact that there was no active shooter policy?
PROKUPECZ: Right. And time and time again, it takes months and it takes us chasing people around, or us forcing people, ultimately, putting their backs up against the wall to get this information. This came as a result of this report. And, certainly, when family members heard this, they were pretty shocked. They were expecting more information because they want to know about the failures that day. But to hear that there was no policy in place, it certainly took them by surprise, and they were upset.
The problem is they don't trust what is going on and the community. They don't trust what officials are telling them. Take a listen to one man who lost his daughter on that day. We talked to him afterwards. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVIER CAZARES, FATHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM JACKIE CAZARES: I don't trust anybody at this point. I don't -- I mean, we haven't gotten any information from any of them. Our information has been coming from you guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: And that's really -- he is right there. I mean, mostly information has been coming from reporters. It's not only me, there are not of the reporters. We are doing a lot of reporting there because so many of the officials have refused to answer the questions.
For these family members, they're going to continue to fight. They're going to continue to demand answers. They still need to have certain questions answered because there are still so many things that we don't know about that day.
COATES: Shimon stay with us. John Berman and Elie Honig are back, and CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller joins the conversation.
John, this is -- the horror of it is unbelievable. It never gets easier to hear about this, and this or not even the family members of those who lost their lives. And it is just so tragic. What is your reaction of the fact that there is no active shooter policy, just essentially a handbook with definitions? Because I wonder, isn't the policy save lives?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I think the more important thing is if there's active shooter training. If there's active shooter training, this is what you, the cop, supposed when you get there. That is more important than the policy. On the other hand, the policy affects those up the chain from that police officer, which is what should the command and control be? Who should be in charge?
And Shimon's reporting in the story has shown that the sheriff, and ask any sheriff in the country, they'll tell you they're the highest law enforcement official in the county, was at the active crime scene, where the earlier shooting had been, not at the school scene, had the information as to the identity of the shooter, another information, which he did not bring into the mix of the scene, nor did he go to the active shooter scene and take command of it.
So, in the incident command system, which is the bible for incident control, right, who's incident commander? It is you. Everybody knows that. Then when you take over, everybody knows that you have assumed command. In Uvalde, everybody slashed nobody was in charge. Nobody actually knew who is running it. There was an assumption that the school police chief who had a total police department of like six officers which was in charge, which would have been unreasonable and that there were larger agencies there with more people.
So, as we peel back the layers, we see more and more dysfunction in the kind of place that just probably believed it will never happen here, which is the kind of place it keeps happening.
COATES: Well, let me -- just before you go, on that point though, you're talking about policy versus training. And I think people have to have a understanding. The policy is for the higher ups or the instructions of how to carry out the policies of the training. What is the distinction in terms of how it's done?
CAMEROTA: And do we know there was no training? We'll ask Shimon.
MILLER: Well, I mean, Shimon just told us that the deputies went through some kind of active shooter training. The state of Texas has an active shooter policy. The state of Texas has active shooter training standards. But I think the policy piece is where we keep getting stuck. Because when everybody got there, the school police, the town police, the county sheriff, the Texas Department of Public Safety, why wasn't there protocol where everybody knows this is how we know who is in command? And that is probably what a clear policy would have brought.
CAMEROTA: John, you and I and Shimon and all of us have covered more of these school shootings than we could ever count.
BERMAN: We were on the same plane down in Uvalde the day it happened.
CAMEROTA: That's right, I forgot that. I blocked some of this out because it was all -- I mean, that was particular -- look, they're all awful. But the point is Shimon has been there on and off since that day that we were on that plane because of the incompetence and corruption here that I've never seen anything like.
BERMAN: Well, that's exactly the point I wanted to bring up. I think the most appalling words we heard from Shimon right there were today we learned. This is seven months in. There should be no today we learned about what happened in Uvalde.
From the very beginning, there had been shifty responses. I'm trying to choose my words carefully here. There has been the most opaque response to this that you can possibly imagine. And as reporters, obviously, we don't like that. But what about the families? They have just been, if not deceived, they've been stiff-armed for seven months.
And to learn seven months in that that sheriff, you know, didn't have either policy or the training or certainly didn't know what he was doing -- we know he didn't know what he was doing there that day because we saw that happen. But the fact that these facts are just coming up now, really, there's something going on there beyond the incompetence at this point. It's not just incompetence. It does feel like there are things that are being hidden or trying to be withheld from the public.
CAMEROTA: Oh, for sure, and Shimon's reporting are exhibit A of that. I mean, he has, as he said, chased people around to ask them simple questions that the families want to know.
COATES: This is why I think it's important too, and I think we've talked about those in the past, Elie, the idea of, for a long time, we are focusing on one the person, right, Sheriff Arredondo, and the idea of thinking about this -- the chief. Excuse me, thank you. And the idea was there had to be more people who were involved and more people who would have their ability to change something or be active.
And I wonder, oftentimes in the cruelty of a tragedy like this, you are left wondering what recourse a family could've had. You're left wondering, selfishly, as parents, as human beings. You want this never to happen anywhere else and this becomes a blueprint. And the law can become a vehicle to ensure our deterrence. Is there recourse?
HONIG: Yes. I mean, there is almost certainly not going to be criminal charges here against these cops, unless they lied to investigators. That's where you could get into it. There well could be civil suits but there's always this layer of immunity that protects police officers in a lot of what they do.
I think there is a couple of really important bigger picture points here. One, people think of the police, the cops, as some sort of monolith. But, as John was just saying, there are layers upon layers. I mean, cops are a bureaucratic nightmare.
There's your sheriff, there's your local cops, there's you're state police, there's your feds, FBI, D.A. And the problem is, and I experienced this firsthand, everyone has different policies, different training. And then when they all converge on a crime scene like this, who is in charge? Whose policies are we following?
The other thing that really strikes me about this story is, I would just say candidly, there's a sense of arrogance and entitlement that goes with law enforcement, goes with being a prosecutor and a cop. You are all powerful. And you know what, you get used to responding to media requests with no comment, we don't comment, we don't talk about that. It is secret, it is confidential, it's security and all of that. But there comes a time, and that's been changing over time, but in a situation like this, to be so slow and to be so not forthcoming, as John has said, just makes it so much worse. So, cops have to do better and they have to be more transparent. And sometimes you just have to own up, and even if it hurts in the beginning and be honest, because you only make it worse for yourself but more important for the poor families.
MILLER: I mean, just to tag on to that though, I mean, we're looking at consequences. Families will sue. These reparations will take a long time. But the school police chief was fired. The town police chief retired and lieu of what was coming, which was probably going to be fired. The county sheriff is interesting because that's a political office. He runs for election.
So, this is a problem that will address itself, which is, when the election time comes up, people will say whether or not he performed to their satisfaction or not. And the people speak on that more definitively than the government might.
CAMEROTA: Shimon, you are the expert obviously on all things Uvalde. Do you have a sense of why there has been so much stonewalling and why you've had to change people around for months?
PROKUPECZ: So, I think one of the things that I have found and certainly our team here in doing all this reporting and gathering so much of the information is that there was very early on indications that it was just best to point fingers at one person, and that was the school police chief, Arredondo. And it was just easier to say, you know what, he was in charge and the head of the DPS sort of made that. He came out and said, he was in charge of the scene.
But as we start looking at more and more information, it's becoming more and more clear that there were more people, more senior level people who are in charge and there are some, like the mayor of Uvalde, who think there is a cover-up here because people are embarrassed.
Some of the leaders of the Department of Public Safety, this prestigious law enforcement agency, the top law enforcement agency here in Texas, that had 91 of their deputies and officers on scene, and the fact that they couldn't get control the situation. And so they were quick to put all the blame on this school police chief. And now they are embarrassed. There are some who feel it's that.
Some feel that the officers and leading law enforcement officials who don't want to accept the blame. It is just easier to point fingers at others for their mistakes that happened that day. And so no one wants to take ownership. No one wants to stand up and say, I screwed up, we screwed up, here is where we screwed up.
And the overarching thing in all of this and the most interesting is the Uvalde district attorney. We tried to ask her questions today. She just would look at us and walk away. She wouldn't say anything. Family members are frustrated by her. I have never seen a case where so many victims have been frustrated by the district attorney. I mean, I have yet to find one family member who was satisfied with the job that she is doing, and more on that is going to come. But that's another problem in this entire investigation. She is preventing officials from releasing any information. She has threatened them. She has said that she's going to potentially file charges against them if they were to release information. The mayor is having to sue her to get information. So, you really need to wonder what exactly is going on here.
And I don't know. It's going to take several more months, probably, before officials, someone comes before a podium and finally tells to community and these families exactly what went wrong here.
CAMEROTA: Well, Shimon, I mean, you're doing good work and people wouldn't know about all this if you hadn't stayed there and been so tenacious. Thank you very much for talking about all of this and being there tonight for us.
All right, coming up, there's more turmoil a Twitter and more backlash against Elon Musk. And now, the billionaire is going after Dr. Anthony Fauci, and there is more QAnon tropes, there's a lot to discuss, next.
CAMEROTA: Billionaire Elon Musk wading deeper into the culture wars this weekend, taking to Twitter to echo QAnon talking points.
COATES: And even as Twitter relaunches their Twitter blue plans, news of more upheaval in the company. Twitter announcing in an e-mail to employees that they are disbanding their trust and safety council.
CAMEROTA: Good. What could go wrong?
COATES: What could possibly go wrong? The move comes after the week after three members of the council actually resigned, calling Musk out and saying, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users is on the decline.
We're back now with John Berman, also CNN media analyst, Sara Fischer, and Charlie Dent is back with us as well.
I mean, it's pretty stunning first of all, on that point, Sara, to think about that council being disbanded. A pretty important function you would think they'd have to have.
SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, and Elon Musk says he's going to have his own content moderation council, but where is it? He said that he was going to be making all of these content moderation changes after he appointed a council, basically to replace the existing one, but he's nowhere near doing that.
This council was responsible for helping guide Twitter, not making decisions on things like, how do you deal with hate speech? How do you deal with things like child pornography? Really serious issues. They were not meant to sway Twitter one way or another, just offer helpful guidance. The fact that he's disbanding it is a little bit of a concerning move.
COATES: It's an outside counsel. Sorry.
CAMEROTA: Well, just that the hate speech is out.
CAMEROTA: It's also on it markedly.
FISCHER: Outside counsel. So, these are experts. People in civil rights groups, people who work in advertising who can help Twitter. Oftentimes these groups work with other platforms such as Meta and SnapChat. So, they're bringing in some of their expertise from social media at large to help Twitter make these policies better.
CAMEROTA: John, here's what Elon Musk tweeted this weekend. My pronouns are, prosecute Fauci. So cheeky, but also strange because does he not realize that Dr. Fauci isn't a governor? He didn't make, I mean, basically what he's talking about is that he didn't like the shutdowns of the country.
Dr. Fauci didn't make policy. He was a medical expert, a doctor, and so I think that Elon Musk's anger and ire misdirected. Maybe he doesn't even know that Dr. Fauci didn't shut down different states.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, I seem to remember that Elon Musk predicted the pandemic was going to be over in April of 2020, didn't he? At one point, David Brinkley wrote a book with a great title once. It was everyone is entitled to my opinion, right?
I think Elon Musk falls into that category of people who believes everyone is entitled to my opinion. That his views are so exalted and important that everyone deserves to hear them. What makes him different that a lot of, I think these corporate titans who are full of themselves like this is the dude bought a media company, right?
He bought a media company where he can amplify his views. However valid or not valid, informed or ill-informed they might be. It's reminiscent in -- these are very different cases, but Henry Ford bought the Dearborn Independent, bought his local newspaper so that he had an outlet to spout his anti-Semitic views in the 1920s.
The, you know, he was a corporate titan who was convinced he was right about something. How do I get the message out there? I'll buy a newspaper. So, Elon Musk has now bought this platform and can do whatever he wants with it, and he's showing the world he is going to do whatever he wants with it.
COATES: I also think though, and I'm want to bring in, Charlie, that he is somebody who's a provocateur in some respects as well. I'm not diminishing any of the comments or in any way excusing them, but he is attempting, I believe, to try to get the attention, to try to get it away from the bad press he's gotten of course, on a lot of different notions of.
In fact, there's consequence to what he is done. You have the former Twitter, former head of trust and safety having to flee his home because of escalating threats to the things that he's actually said. So, there are real consequences as well. But is this something that can be course corrected by anyone other than Elon Musk, his own prerogative?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if he's trying to change the subject and course correct, this was not the way to do it. Attacking an 80-some-year-old man who, frankly, is a hero within the public health community given his record, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with his team during the Zika crisis.
I mean, this man is a -- is a, Fauci, is a, you know, has a great reputation. And this has been pointed out. He did not shut the government down. He was asked to deal with it. Did he make mistakes? Did the public health team make some mistakes along the way with, with shifting guidance? Of course, they did. But this is so misdirected.
In a battle with Fauci, I think Fauci is going to win. But as John and others have pointed out, you know, he has a platform and Elon Musk is going to discover real fast that he's going to have to engage in content moderation just as any other platform does.
A newspaper, you know, they, they choose which letters of the editor to publish and not to publish. They're always -- they're always moderating content. Musk is going to have to do the same thing. Whether he likes it or not, take it on Fauci is a loser for him. It'd be a loser for Republicans if they go after him, you know, in the hearings coming up in 2023.
COATES: Sara, real quick, from your perspective, is there a way that he can be accountable? I mean, who does he answer to now at Twitter?
FISCHER: The users, and if the users are liking it, he's going to double down. And the challenge here is that the engagement with Twitter has actually gone up because it's one of those things where even though Elon Musk uses the platform, to John's point to spew his beliefs, people can't get enough of watching the train crash.
CAMEROTA: But when you say the engagement, it's going to more people have to have -- become Twitter members --
FISCHER: More users.
CAMEROTA: More users.
COATES: We call users now users.
FISCHER: More users, more engagement with tweeds. I think that part of this new world is that everyone feels like they can engage in it more, whether or not you're on one side or the other.
Now, I don't necessarily think that Elon Musk is doing everything right, but he's definitely making Twitter a hotter platform than it was before in terms of making it more popular. And at the end of the day, that's what he cares about. This is the business.
CAMEROTA: That's fascinating.
COATES: Business for hate.
DENT: For eight bucks, it gets a check, get a blue check.
COATES: Well, listen, everyone, if you're going through an airport this holiday season, you may be scanned by facial recognition technology at the TSA checkpoint, but is it creating more problems than it's solving? And did you even know that it was happening? We'll talk about it.
COATES: So, there's a good chance that many of us who are traveling for the holidays to some of the nation's busiest airports are going to have our faces scanned. Why? Because TSA is expanding its facial recognition pilot program.
CAMEROTA: They say the goal is to match a passenger's face with a photo I.D. at security checkpoints. Why can't I just match it right here? Like where I just look at you and match it with the photo.
COATES: I vouch for you. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: So anyway, the program is still in the testing phase, but it's already getting a lot of push back.
CNN Aviation correspondent Pete Muntean explains.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It is the new technology facing travelers as they fly for the holidays. The Transportation Security Administration is now scanning your face at select airport checkpoints, all part of a growing test with passengers as the subjects.
UNKNOWN: I think it's a great idea. Absolutely tech for us.
UNKNOWN: We're already using it for our phones consistently. I mean, just about everybody is doing it.
MUNTEAN: The TSA started this small pilot program at the peak of the pandemic. But now the agency's trial is expanding to more than a dozen different airports. The latest editions are among the nation's busiest, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Atlanta.
TSA administrator, David Pekoske says, the goal is evaluating the efficiency of this technology before committing to a nationwide rollout.
DAVID PEKOSKE, ADMINISTRATOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: We're assessing how the technology works and we're assessing its accuracy. We're assessing its impact on passengers.
MUNTEAN: Here's how this works. Walk up to the machine, put your I.D. in the reader, and that photo is matched with what the camera sees live.
PEKOSKE: The response has been universally very positive, more effective, speedier, more convenient for passengers with things that I hear.
ALBERT FOX CAHN, FOUNDER, SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY OVERSIGHT PROJECT: Quite frankly, it's not doing anything to help the public.
The urgent need for greater transparency.
MUNTEAN: Albert Fox Cahn of the nonprofit Security Technology Oversight Project says this could be the largest federal use of facial data ever.
FOX CAHN: This technology is going to screw it up and people are going to end up being detained by TSA. They're going to be faced with even more surveillance and more invasions of their privacy just because an algorithm gets it wrong.
PEKOSKE: The algorithm actually is so far proven in our assessment to get it right more than the human gets it right.
MUNTEAN: The TSA insists it is committed to passenger privacy immediately destroying most images and securing data from cyber- attacks. Signs and security lines show you when you're about to be a part of this test. You can even opt out and have an agent confirm your I.D. manually.
UNKNOWN: I prefer a person right now.
UNKNOWN: There has to be some kind of parameter in terms of privacy.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't think TSA has made the case that this is the system that is the best use of resources to protect the American public.
MUNTEAN: More than 20 state and local governments have implemented some sort of restriction on using facial recognition technology. The TSA says that will not impact its pilot program as it looks toward an in-your-face approach to safety.
PEKOSKE: What I hope in the long run is that we're able to embed more and more advanced technology in our screening process.
MUNTEAN: The TSA is also experimenting with taking this a step further, comparing the live image of you at a checkpoint with a photo of you already in a government database, like a passport photo or visa. That test is taking place right now, but only on a limited scale at the Detroit and Atlanta airports. The idea is never having to even show your I.D. at an airport.
Critics point out the biometrics industry is part of a powerful multi- billion-dollar tech lobby, and this technology is only now starting to take off. Laura? Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: I heard that, Pete, thank you very much.
Back with us now, John Berman, Elie Honig, and John Miller.
Elie, I don't know if I'm supposed to love this or hate this. Which one is it? Should I like it or not?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It depends on your worldview. It depends to what extent you trust in the surveillance state and technology.
CAMEROTA: Are we all being sort of surveilled at all points? That's what I think.
HONIG: It's a great point. I mean, and especially at the airport. I mean, look, not to get overly legal about this, but you have privacy rights of course. But when you go into an airport, you surrender a lot of them. You take your shoes off, they scan you, you have to, you know, go in the full body scanner thing where you hold your arms out.
And I think the argument you'll hear from the government is, this is just another example of that. But one thing that I think is really important that sort of saves it from the biggest concerns is, you can opt out according to this plan. You can say, no, I want it the old- fashioned way. I want someone to look at my license, look at my face, and make the determination.
COATES: But I wonder in that instance, are you then considered suspicious, John? I mean, the idea what if they get it wrong and it pings for some reason, and the recognition software says that you need to be detained for some reason, the different rights come in. If someone says, no, look at my face only and here's my I.D. card. I'm going to raise an eyebrow at that.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, in the test you can opt out all together and just say, I'm not passing by this thing. I'm going to do it the way we do it today, which is somebody looks at it and then they look at you, very low tech, as the TSA guy pointed.
The machine makes less mistakes than the human because the human looks at it. It's like, well, it's a different haircut, now he has a mustache. The machine is doing, you know, precise measurements.
I would say that the questions that we have to tackle here are going to be as the pictures. OK, what's the retention? Is it a year? Is it till your next flight? If you don't fly for five years, does it go away? The second question is, who is it shared with? Do other government agencies have the ability to access this? Do you know what those agencies are?
For instance, in the NYPD, we have all kinds of facial recognition tools. We have a crime in progress. We have a good picture. We run that against what, we run it against mugshots.
MILLER: Of people who are already in our files, but not against the state DMV driver's licenses. You already have to be somebody you know to get compared. Those kinds of parameters are what the privacy experts should be focusing on.
Because right now, we give our facial recognition to our Apple iPhone when we opt in, we give it to TSA for TSA clear because we want to go through the line faster. We give it away to a lot of places. We just need to know what are the rules here about these pictures before we make a decision.
BERMAN: Look, I never age. I will (Inaudible). I got a lot of work done, but I don't know how you know, but --
MILLER: You have a picture up in the attic and there was some deal made.
BERMAN: Say, you know, I have no problem. Look, could you think the machine can tell if you're stressed or angry, like when you're going through the airport or does, you know, just ding, dinger, the alarms go off.
CAMEROTA: That's just, maybe that's just your resting face.
MILLER: Resting what face?
CAMEROTA: Just resting face.
CAMEROTA: Resting regular face.
MILLER: Got it. Got it.
CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all very much. OK. It was an interception that added insult to injury. But when the game was over, there was nothing that was going to stop 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw from going up to Tom Brady. We're going to tell you what happened next and what John Berman's reaction to it.
COATES: He cried.
COATES: All right. You've got to see this. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw intercepting a pass from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
CAMEROTA: The 49ers beat the Buccaneers 35 to seven in Sunday's game, but after the game, Greenlaw went up to Brady to ask him to sign the ball that he intercepted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Could you sign the ball?
UNKNOWN: Hey, bro, (Inaudible), you the greatest for real.
UNKNOWN: For real, listen, this is an honor for us, man.
UNKNOWN: I've been watching you since I was two years old, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Back with us our resident Tom Brady groupie, John Berman. John, does this make you only love Tom Brady more?
BERMAN: He didn't look terribly psyched there, I have to say.
CAMEROTA: When somebody was saying I've been watching you since I was two.
BERMAN: It was two. It's like one of those underhanded compliments. Hey, this is the ball that I intercepted that you threw, will you sign it? The defensive player it was super genuine what he was doing.
BERMAN: And Brady was awfully nice to sort of, to sort of play along, but there was an aspect to it that I thought was sort of like rubbing salt.
CAMEROTA: The other guy was like, you're the man, you're the goat. Like he was -- they were saying they really did obviously love him, but I heard that too. The since I was two.
COATES: They didn't say, sorry, we just beat you, sir. They didn't say that aspect of it.
BERMAN: That was the subtext, though. I mean, that was literally the ball he picked off from Tom Brady there.
COATES: What are you going to have Tom Brady sign when you meet him?
BERMAN: Yes. Yes. You got my chest. Isn't that what you do?
CAMEROTA: It's true.
BERMAN: I've been to rock concerts. Isn't that -- isn't that what's done?
CAMEROTA: Yes, that's exactly right.
COATES: There was not even a moment he skipped a beat. He has bought --
CAMEROTA: He's been slamming this.
CAMEROTA: I mean, it's going to be right next to the tattoo that's already on his chest.
BERMAN: I'm just going to have him color in the tattoo. That's what I'm going to -- you don't have to sign anything. Just color it in.
CAMEROTA: It's so obvious, John.
COATES: Wow. I think I need to leave for a little bit. It's wonderful. But guess what? When there's a dangerous winter storm set to seat across the entire nation, and it could bring blizzards and tornadoes and flooding all at once, a live weather report, next.