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CNN Tonight

Influential New York GOP Leaders Call On Rep. George Santos (R- NY) To Resign; Sources Say, Biden's Legal Team Found Another Batch Of Classified Documents In Search Of Second Location; Biden's Aides Found Another Batch Of Classified Documents; Matt Schlapp Accused Of Sexual Harassment; FAA Outage Cause Massive Flight Delays; Prince Harry's Book Breaks Sales Records. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 11, 2023 - 22:00   ET




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

So, the real question is, and if you are a Sound of Music fan out there, it's how do you solve a problem like George Santos. He was only sworn in a few days ago, but the Republican Congressman who lied about, well, where he worked, where he went to school, about being Jewish, remember when he said what he meant was Jew-ish? Well, now he's in hot water with members of his own party back in New York State. I'll talk to two New York Republicans who are now calling for him to resign.

But as the chorus for calls for him to step down get much, much louder, well, the congressman is trying to shut it down by saying this.


REPORTER: Will you resign?

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I will not.


COATES: He will not.

Well, there's also another batch of classified government records found by President Joe Biden's legal team. That's after the initial discovery of those classified documents in his one-time office in Washington back in November. So, where were these new documents found and what's in them? And, frankly, how long have they known about this set of documents as well?

Plus, a Republican strategist alleges powerful conservative Matt Schlapp sexually assaulted him while he was driving him back to an Atlanta hotel several weeks before the November midterm election. Now, Schlapp, through his attorney, denies this claim. We'll have the very latest on this developing story this evening.

A lot to talk about tonight, so I want to bring in and begin with the calls for George Santos to resign his seat in Congress. And those calls are coming from inside the proverbial House, including from my next two guests who are both New York state Republican lawmakers, State Senator Jack Martins and State Assemblyman Ed Ra. Gentlemen, welcome to the program this evening.

Listen, everyone has been talking about Congressman, now, George Santos. He, of course, has been sworn in. He is a member of the House of Representatives. But both of you have been calling for him to resign. And so far, he says he will not. State Senator Jack Martins, I wonder, from your perspective, initially, and I want to hear from both of you, what if he continues to defy the calls to resign? What do you have to force him to do anything?

STATE SEN. JACK MARTINS (R-NY): Well, look, we have the will of the people. I know that there are investigations, not only criminal investigations here in New York, there are federal investigations, and I understand that there was an ethics complaint filed against him today. So, there are multiple avenues where Santos will be called to task, and I do believe at least one of those will be successful.

COATES: Assemblyman Ra, if he does not willingly resign, though, many are wondering is there something that you can do, either at the state side or at the federal side, obviously, to try to oust him from his seat?

STATE ASSEMBLYMAN ED RA (R-NY): Well, I think Congress, as they undertake an internal investigation with the ethics claim, I know they have some procedures for that. But I think as time goes on here, I would hope that George Santos starts to realize that it's just not possible for him to be a representative of his district with this hanging over his head and without the trust of his constituents and without the trust of his colleagues in Congress.

COATES: It is quite a cloud that's undeniable, but I want to stick with you for a second, Assemblyman Ra, on that. You actually campaigned with him, I understand. And I'm wondering during those conversations you undoubtedly had, did you sense any red flags? Were there moments where you thought, something is not adding up, or was he able to be as effective as he seems to have been to pull the wool over everyone's eyes?

RA: I mean, I had been out at street fairs and community events and things like that with George and nothing really has ever raised any red flags. He's a friendly guy, happy most of the time, and nothing really tripped any alarms. So, I was as shocked as many others were when these allegations all came to light and it turned out to be largely fraud.

COATES: State Senator Martins, there are rumored favorites in the event that Santos does decide to resign from Congress, although this evening, he is saying he will not.

[22:05:03] We all know that things can change and pressure campaigns have a way of incentivizing one's departure, whether it happens here or not, I don't know. But if you are one of these rumored favorites, which I hear you are, would you consider trying to have and hold that spot?

MARTINS: Well, Laura, thank you. That's a conversation we'll have at a later date. It's certainly a conversation I have to have with my wife and my children. A big commitment going to Washington, but I am focused right now on my constituents. I'm representing the 7th Senate district in New York and will certainly be willing to have that conversation later when that time comes up. But, frankly, a lot has to happen between now and then.

COATES: A lot. And, of course, he would have to vacate that particular office in some respect.

Assemblyman Ra, there was a press conference today. And at that press conference, one of the constituent calls in Santos' district, the actual calls are coming from the average person are going to be redirected, not to anyone in Washington, D.C., but instead to Representative Anthony D'Esposito's office. And I'm wondering, is the goal here to essentially cut him off and not have access to his constituents? Because, of course, McCarthy seems to think he can do nothing until the people of your district speak.

RA: Well, I don't want to speak for any other elected officials, but I think when a call comes to the office and we understand people don't always know whether it's a state issue, a federal issue, a county issue, so we do the best to help them. And I think the point is that it is difficult to -- we don't have those relationships with any staff over there. There's been frankly no attempt to connect with our staff from them. So, we're going to do what we can do by utilizing other federal representatives to make sure we help our constituents with their problems.

COATES: Are you getting a sense, State Senator Martins, about how the constituents are feeling about this? I mean, I mentioned it being a cloud. You both have explained the way in which this has an impact on perhaps the viewpoint of Congress more broadly. But I am wondering when you combine these set of lies -- and I want to remind the audience what we're talking about. I have a full screen about the kinds of things he has lied about, from his resume to his grandparents surviving the Holocaust, to having lost employees at the Pulse Nightclub shooting, to his even 9/11 claiming his mother's life. There's a whole slew of things we're talking about here.

But you add on to that, State Senator, that he is being accused of using campaign funds to pay personal expenses and there are big questions about the source of the $700,000 that was lent to his campaign. There's a lot to be concerned about. Do you share the latter concerns in terms of who is footing some of these bills and about the use of funding?

MARTINS: Of course. Laura, look, there are campaign finance laws for a reason. We need to be completely transparent when it comes to identifying who our donors are and certainly to the extent that there were $700,000 that, for all intents and purposes, is unaccounted for, it just goes to add to the list of things for which George Santos is responsible.

You know, unfortunately, he has become a punch line, a sad joke. And to answer your first question, I have heard from hundreds of constituents, I have received emails from hundreds more, people who are concerned about the ability of their U.S. representative to actually be effective.

And so that has become the backdrop behind which we have to work. We will continue to do our part. We will continue to do what we can to support our constituents. But at the end of the day, Santos has to step down.

COATES: Jack Martins, Ed Ra, thank you so much.

I want to turn now to that very discussion about the idea of effectiveness, not just about what would happen if he resigns or not but about what the process is going to be like for him in Washington, D.C., as well.

And here with me in studio tonight, former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, CNN Political Commentator Ashley Allison and CNN National Politics Reporter Eva McKend. Nice to see you all here this evening.

I mean, first of all, the list of things that he has lied about or has accused the lawyer, I mean, he has to say, has allegedly lied about but he's admitted to many of them, I mean, it's growing. And yet, you do not have a full-throated response from, say, Speaker McCarthy who is saying, look, this person should not be in Congress, cannot be in on any committees, not being on the top committees has been his comment. But tell me, Eva, in the reporting, why is there not a full- throated condemnation of Santos by his Republican colleagues?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, it's a much different tune as you can hear from the Republicans in the district, in the state out on Long Island.


But, listen, what we have seen here in Washington is that fates can change really quickly. It was just last year when there was a question whether or not Congressman Matt Gaetz was going to face any criminal charges. He ultimately did not. And now, fast forward a year later and he has this like kingmaker status, right? We were all looking at how consequential he ended up being in the speakership vote.

And so, you know, I think as troublesome as some members might turn out to be, Kevin McCarthy is on thin ice. He only -- it only will take one member -- these were the rules that he agreed to, one member to trigger a vote that could potentially oust him as speaker. And so it doesn't really matter from a purely political perspective how unsavory someone turns out to be, he cannot afford to alienate or marginalize any of his members.

COATES: And in that telling, the idea that obviously McCarthy knows the math, even when things don't add up, though, still having to make the concession not just a broad rules package concession, but the idea of saying, look, the people can decide, they have chosen this person to be their member of Congress. But there's a moment he talks about the decision.

And I can't help but think the people didn't get to decide on this person. They decided on, in many respects, a -- well, whoever was created by this candidate, right?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think that the people should get to decide based on facts and not the fiction that Santos has put forth when he was running for election.

To Eva's point, it's not just his votes for speaker, it's his votes across the entire caucus. The margin of victory for Republicans in the House is so slim for every vote, to have this seat become vacant and go into a special election in New York could potentially -- the voters could show up and it could go to the Democrats. And then people would want, you know, Kevin McCarthy to walk the plank for sure or whoever is the speaker.

So, I appreciate the Republicans in Nassau County saying -- and in New York saying we don't care about the politics of it, our constituents deserve real, truthful representation. They know the math of Washington, D.C. also, but they are actually picking people over politics while many in the House caucus are not.

MCKEND: But I wonder how much, though, they are trying to preserve that seat, right? A couple more months, two years of George Santos, they'll never be viable in that district again.

ALLISON: I know.

MCKEND: So, I don't know how much al truism it is, and maybe just worried about political viability in the future.

COATES: Imagine that, a self-serving reason in politics. Joe?

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): I think they know that. Look, McCarthy wants his vote and wants his seat, end of story. I wouldn't be surprised, Laura, if they have already cut a deal that he won't run again in two years and just kind of keep your mouth shut as long as McCarthy has his vote and seat. But, man, when you were running through that litany of lies, it just kept hitting me in my head how unsurprising this is.

COATES: Really?

WALSH: Yes. I mean, McCarthy and congressional Republicans, Laura, are in a bind as well. How can they demand George Santos resign for lying when Donald Trump is the leader of this party? We've never had a politician in the history of mankind who lied like Donald Trump has lied.

COATES: Well, I tell you on that point, I want to continue, but there's one moment when he says, and there was an answer to a question on all of the lies that we just showed you on the screen, McCarthy says a lot of people in Congress have fabricated their resume, in general. Is that the standard we're talking about right now? Your point is, if lying makes you a political pariah, it's only for Santos so far.

WALSH: And Trump is the leader of the party, and he's the liar he is.

The other thing, Laura, that jumps out is there's no shame in the Republican Party in the age of Trump. Santos isn't apologizing. He's not saying he's sorry for anything. What's he doing? He's punching back constantly.

ALLISON: The thing that was interesting -- okay, you lie about your parents or your grandparents being killed in the Holocaust. Pulse Nightclub shootings, losing staff, 9/11. These are iconic moments in our country's history, okay.

COATES: Latter on New York iconic moment in particular, right?

ALLISON: Yes, exactly. And so I'm not saying a big lie or a little lie is one is better than the other, a lie is a lie. But the things that he is lying about are almost unnecessary to have a part of your resume to become an elected official. Nobody expects you to be a descendant of a Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress. They expect you to acknowledge the Holocaust happened, but we have people, you know, some.

And then the funny thing you saying Donald Trump is the reason why this is allowed in this party is because after McCarthy is elected, he's the main one saying, we can't undermine or undercount how important Donald Trump was in this.


He's still --

WALSH: The leader of the party.

COATES: Let's be clear, there are Republicans who are calling for Santos at the very least not to be sat on committees. There are some that are calling him a threat to national security, the idea of asking for -- we had Congressman Ryan on yesterday, who is a Democrat, of course, from New York, who was talking about the idea that he ought at the very least have a full background check because of the sensitivity of what a member of Congress is able to see.

And, in a way, doesn't this point to the fact that so often we have got loopholes in the law from what we think is illegal and what ought to be illegal and what is actually illegal? This is a loophole if the only way to get him to leave is you have to volunteer to step down. Is that a direction that legislators will go in next?

MCKEND: I mean, you have be seen, you know, that at least two Democratic members of Congress have indicated that there should be, I think, it's called the Santos rule --

COATES: Yes, Ritchie Torres, right?

MCKEND: -- to actually -- so this cannot happen again.

But, listen, some of those rank and file, I think, Republican members feel more free to say that. It seems like they don't necessarily feel comfortable maybe working with him. But that is not the wiggle room that McCarthy has, right? He has to keep all of these folks in line, and so he's not going to be as outspoken, I think, as some of these rank and file members.

But it does give Democrats, I think, an opening here to essentially characterize, like use Santos as long as he lasts as emblematic of the Republican conference. So, that is one thing that they get. That's not exactly, I think, a fair thing to do, but it's certainly politically something that they can do as this saga goes on and on.

And then one last thing I will say, I think that if Santos continues to suck up the oxygen, I think that is going to be alienating to some Republican members who want attention for their committee hearing or this bill that they introduced and they just can't get that attention because of Santos. I think maybe we'll start to hear more outcry.

COATES: That's a good point, especially because on what you have climbed (ph), and no offense to the former congressman at the table. There's a reason people want those C-Span cameras up. It's not always to inform the public about things, really good point. Also the idea that we're talking about someone who -- that all of what we describe is neither a feather in the cap nor is it an anvil and what does that really say about where things are. It's so good to have you all on.

And up next, we're going to talk about a second batch of classified documents that have been found by President Biden's legal team, a second batch of documents. Attorneys are saying that they weren't in his former office in Washington. So, what we've learned so far and the questions that still remain unanswered, we're going to get to, next.



COATES: Well, today, we're learning that President Biden's legal team found another batch of classified documents. A source is saying these documents came in search that's began after the November discovery of the classified docs from -- now President Biden's time as vice president in an old office in Washington, D.C. So, the question really is what does this mean for the president, how are we just now learning about this and also the DOJ going forward.

Joining me now, CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe and CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams. I'm glad you're all here.

And I bet we have similar questions as to who, what, when, where -- question of who knew what, when, why. But I want to begin with you, Jamie, because --


COATES: Well, there we go. That ends the segment today. Thank you for watching CNN.

No. But, seriously, I'm trying to wrap my mind around the reporting that's come in over the last 24 hours, even in the statement in Mexico City. And there were 40 boxes that were handed over in an abundance of caution from the first batch we learned about. It does initially add up about ten classified docs, or not, whatever level they were. But are these new batch -- is this from a different location or s that part of those 40 boxes that was handed over?

GANGEL: A different location and let's just call it an undisclosed location at the moment. The first location was his office, part of the Biden Penn Center, that had been sitting there for several years. These boxes were locked up. My understanding is 99 percent of what was in that office was personal. It included things like the burial arrangement documents for Beau Biden's funeral, boxes of condolence letters that had been sent to him as vice president.

And that's why his personal lawyer was going through it, because they thought it was all personal and confidential and then that lawyer gets to a box. He opens it up. There's a folder marked V.P. personal, not unimportant. He opens that up, it says classified. He closes it again and he calls the White House Counsel. He says, Houston, we have a problem. They say call the National Archives.

In that first batch, there were about four boxes that they found that seemed to be different from all of the other 36 personal boxes and those had both those ten classified documents and then other documents that were unclassified but fall under the Presidential Records Act. Sorry for the long explanation.

COATES: No, it's exact lowly what we need to hear. Because it sounds like, one, there're different locations, Andrew, on where things are, but also in an abundance of caution to then just say, here you go, here's the whole kit and caboodle. Of course the issue, and there are many issues here, are people giving President Biden a pass on the idea of, look, this happens. This is not the response people had for the former president, Donald Trump. Of course, the big distinction here is how one behaved once they were aware of it. Is that a distinction that you think should be highlighted more?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's a very significant distinction and particularly in the context of the investigation that will follow. So, is he getting a pass? No, I don't believe he's going to get a pass. He's going to be investigated. And I would opine likely by a special counsel.

COATES: There's already been a U.S. attorney out of Illinois, a Trump holder appointee who has given a report.

MCCABE: That's right. And at this point, I think the attorney general would be well-advised to appoint a special counsel over this investigation of how President Biden and his team handled these documents. [22:25:07]

That's a separate issue. But I think the distinctions between how he and his team have handled this and how President Trump and his lawyers handled the situation at Mar-a-Lago could not be more distinct, right? It's night and day. It's an overabundance of caution, contacting the Archives immediately, having them come out the next day to recover all of the documents. There's no parsing of, well, you can look in this room and not in that room or you can look in the doorway but not go in the boxes. They handed everything over.

I think following in that caution, they are now searching other locations where documents could maybe have ended up as well. Contrast that to what's happening right now in the Mar-a-Lago case. You have the Department of Justice fighting it out with Trump's lawyers in court to try to hold them in contempt for failing to do exactly what the Biden team is doing right now, that is going out and searching other locations. You have the Trump team refusing to turn over the names of the two private investigators they hired to go out and do their own search, refusing to turn over the names of those investigators because they basically don't want the department to know who they are. So, very different reactions.

COATES: There is the cooperation, it's so important in here. But just for the audience's perspective, is it all that common? We're hearing about it in real-time instead of months about this, but the fact that there is -- in the law, we think about custodian of records and chain of custody. Is there really no one out there who is realizing that they're missing some of these top secret documents? How is this continuously happening?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I think the big picture point is that we just need a better system in the United States of tracking what happens with classified information after the term -- not just the presidential administration, but after people leave the government. So, as a general -- that's the big picture thing that affects both of these presidents.

Now, as to this question, it's a really important one that ask you, Laura, about is a pass being given to one party or the other. And it's really important to focus on, at least with former President Trump, a federal judge had found that there was probable cause to believe that there would be evidence of a series of crimes, including, number one, obstruction of justice, number two, removal or mutilation of documents, and, three, mishandling of defense information.

And then beyond that, there was the open question of the amount of time, the staggering amount of time over several months where the former president and with the aid of his lawyers was allegedly frustrating the Justice Department's investigation.

COATES: You mean the search warrant probable cause outlined this very thing?

WILLIAMS: Yes, to search Mar-a-Lago, yes, outlined all of this. And so it's just apples and oranges here. Now, look, we may find that President Biden and his attorneys are thwarting the investigation of the Justice Department. But that's simply not the case right now. And if that evidence were to emerge, of course, the president, the current president should be investigated. But that's just not the case. And I think this desire to make it a one side versus the other thing, you just can't do that to every case, and it's just not the case here.

COATES: We are a society that draws distinctions and analogies probably more often than we should. However, there were a lot of questions today. Here are a couple of them that were asked of the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, that she declined to answer. Who brought the documents to the office? Did Biden himself bring them? Why did it take so long to disclose the discovery to the public? Was the timing related to the midterm elections? Were there any other things found? Is there an audit under way? Was he briefed? When was he briefed? Why were the private lawyers doing this? A number of questions that she declined to answer because she cited an ongoing investigation.

But that election part, the when the people are finding out, that is going to be something that already has legs and might continue to run as he intends to run for the re-election campaign. Do you have a sense as to why they haven't gotten out ahead of this? I mean, from Monday to now, why not just say more?

GANGEL: I think the issue of why wait so long is a real issue that's going to have political consequences for him. People don't like to hear this but this is a gift to Donald Trump and the Republicans and waiting so long is part of that gift. That said, maybe their reasoning is that they were cooperating with an investigation. I don't know. But the political fallout is what it is.

I will say I don't think there's much of a chance that Joe Biden carried these 40 boxes here. I have a source who's very familiar with the documents. For the record, he is a lifelong registered Republican and knows a lot about how these things are handled over the years. He thinks it was very likely an honest mistake. The real question today is what are these other new documents that were found in these other locations.

COATES: Your eyebrow raised with the thought of an honest mistake. Maybe the FBI, what they knew was like honest mistake. What is this you say about an honest mistake? Go ahead.

MCCABE: Actually, and Elliot can be back me up on this, these sort of referrals from the National Archives or other places about the concerns about classified documents that may be outside of approved facilities, they come to the department and to the FBI all the time.


And most of them are resolved without criminal charges.

The bureau's first concern is to find out where is the stuff, let's get it back, and to conduct an assessment as to whether or not there's been damage to national security. Have we compromised sources and methods? Do we need to move people? Do we need to remove technologies from places that they are helping us collect intelligence.

And once that's done, that' when you start thinking about could it have been an honest mistake, i.e., do we not have enough evidence to prove the intent to mishandle documents that's required under those statutes? So, there will be a time for all that and all of these facts that you've mentioned are going to be --


COATES: Where I come back to this point and I'm supporting all your perspective and of course, you remember, that the reason we know about the search on Mar-a-Lago and the entire course of events between Trump and the Archives is because Trump was the one to have said something about it.

So maybe there was a lesson learned and it's gone awry, who knows. Either way, there are new allegations coming today out that against a major figure in the Republican Party. And Jamie Gangel is here with reporting and she's going to tell us about who we're talking about and what it is right after this.



COATES: Tonight, one of the most powerful figures in conservative politics is fending off allegations of sexual assault. A Republican strategist, a man in his late 30s, accuses Matt Schlapp who is the head of the American Conservative Union, of fondling his groin while the strategist who was working for the Georgia senate campaign of Republican Herschel Walker was driving Schlapp to campaign events back in October. Schlapp calls the accusation false. He's a part of a Washington power couple. His wife, Mercedes Schlapp, worked for President Trump as communications director. Jamie Gangel is back with us now. Jamie, these allegations, tell me what they are.

GANGEL: So, as you described it, this is a Republican strategist, a male in his late 30s who was working for the Herschel Walker campaign. We are told he told CNN that he had been driving Schlapp, that they went to two bars. He's now driving him back to his hotel and that's when the sexual assault happened.

The staffer said that he froze. He didn't say anything. He didn't know what to do. He just wanted to get him back to the hotel as quickly as possible. They get to the hotel and the staffer says that Schlapp invited him up to his hotel room. He declined to do that, and several hours later he informed top campaign staffers what happened.

COATES: That same day, same night?

GANGEL: Overnight. So, it's late at night when it happens and then he tells them early the next morning. And the staffer says that the campaign was incredible and completely supportive and said what can we -- what can we do to help? For the record, Schlapp is denying the charges. As you mentioned, we have a statement from his lawyer.

The lawyer says, quote, "The attack is false and Mr. Schlapp denies any improper behavior. We are evaluating legal options for response." The board of directors of the ACU also say that they are standing behind Schlapp and his leadership.

COATES: I understand that there are some text messages that you have obtained between the parties involved. What is in them?

GANGEL: So, CNN has reviewed text messages from that night and the phone logs. And this text message exchange is actually between the staffer and Schlapp and it's the next morning. The campaign -- the top campaign officials told the staffer do not get into the car with him. Do not drive him.

So, this text exchange is when the staffer is texting Schlapp to tell him that he's not going to be driving him the next morning. And he says, quote, "I did want to say I was uncomfortable with what happened last night. The campaign does have a driver who's available to get you to Macon and back to the airport."

According to the phone logs, Matt Schlapp tries to call the staffer a couple of times. The staffer did not pick up. And a couple of hours later, Schlapp then texts the staffer and says, quote, "If you could see it in your heart to call me at the end of the day, I would appreciate it. If not, I wish you luck on the campaign and hope you keep up the good work."

We also reviewed a set of text messages that we're making public for the first time. It's the night before he -- it's when the staffer gets back and he reaches out to a friend in politics to tell him what happened. He really sounds distraught in the messages and he's asking the friend how do I tell the campaign what happened?

So, he says, quote, "He's pissed I didn't follow him to his hotel room." Then later, the friend he's reaching out to responds and says, "I'm so sorry, man. What an effing creep." And then the staffer later texts, "I just don't know how to say it to my superiors that their surrogate fondled my junk without consent."

COATES: Wow. There's a lot to take in there.

GANGEL: Right.

COATES: And the text messages tell a significant aspect of this story. I am wondering why are we just learning about this now? It's always seems to be a question that I had and the timing of it, because I think that some people in the court of public opinion obviously often question the timing as to when and how it's done. Do you have a sense as to why now, three months later?

GANGEL: So, what the staffer told us was this was two weeks before the election. He didn't want it to distract from the campaign. He didn't feel it was the campaign's fault and he was afraid it was going to become another controversy.


COATES: For Herschel Walker?

GANGEL: For Herschel Walker. And he really appreciated also that the campaign did everything to support him. He says he's coming out now because the campaign is over. He doesn't want anyone else to be victimized. And he says that he is considering his legal options open.

COATES: Just so we're clear, this was not a member of the Herschel Walker campaign, a surrogate of the campaign?

GANGEL: The staffer --

COATES: No, no, Matt Schlapp, his role.

GANGEL: Matt Schlapp was a surrogate who had come down to Georgia to do some rally events for the campaign.

COATES: Really important. Thank you, Jamie.

GANGEL: Thank you.

COATES: Unbelievable to think about this happening.

Well, everyone, there was a total airline meltdown, and I should add the word, again, and this time it wasn't just one particular airline, Southwest. But the question that many people are asking tonight is why does this keep happening? And just how at risk is the infrastructure in aviation in this country? We're going to talk about all of it after this.



COATES: Well, we've got new details tonight about the massive flight disruptions today and what led the FAA to issue its 90-minute nationwide ground stop of flights. A source tells CNN that air traffic control officials discovered a computer glitch in the key system late Tuesday.

Even now, airlines across the country are still grappling with the ripple effects. More than 10,000 U.S. flights have been delayed. Over 1,300 have been cancelled. The Biden administration says there is no evidence of a cyberattack at this time.

Let's talk about it now with Juliette Kayyem, former Department of Homeland Security official and Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director. Juliette, I mean, this is very concerning, not just from a consumer traveler perspective, but the idea of what is your reaction to the fact that this even happened?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. Well, you're talking to two people who are here, but we had flights today so we were from the front lines, as we say, we both were delayed, but we got here. Look, this is serious in the sense we have not had a nationwide grounding since 9/11, so this does not happen often. You do not close down the airport system.

And this wasn't just any system that broke down. It's called the NOTAM system. It's essentially a notice to the pilots of what's going on on the ground. Is there something on the runway? Is there a disruption on an airport? And it's communicating with the pilots. So, without it, you have no communication with the pilots.

And so, to call it a system didn't work, it's actually a very relevant system. It's a safety and security system. So, none of it is good. The FAA I will say took too long to tell us what was going on. They knew from yesterday midday there were glitches in the system. To their credit, they are trying to get the system to fix itself. They're rebooting it, there's backup systems. None of them are working.

So, too many passengers are arriving at airports. I think they could have communicated faster. The good news is, is that even a system this complicated was able to get back up and running within 90 minutes and airplanes, I mean, I got delayed -- in the end, just about an hour and 10 minutes and I had a flight sort of at the key time.

COATES: Well, what is this corrupt file about? What does this mean, this glitch? You're talking about the NOTAM system.

MCCABE: So, we've been told they found a corrupted file in the database of the main NOTAM system. Curiously, they also found a corrupted file in the backup system. So, the question is, what kind of system are we talking about? How old is this system? How well maintained is it? Is it capable of keeping up with the incredible demands that we put on our aviation systems --

COATES: Wait. Does corrupt file mean something nefarious or it could be something as a benign glitch?

MCCABE: It could really go either way. I'm glad that the administration is couching their references to cybercrimes because we have no indication at this time of a cyberattack. I think it's a little bit early to be drawing the conclusion that there was no cyber connection to this.

But as we know, the best cyber attackers are those who leave no trace and whose, you know, attribution is something that you build to over time, so we really going to need to watch this as it develops.

COATES: It's the second aviation-related crisis in as many weeks and obviously there are different reasons for them happening, but at the end of the day many people are wondering about the infrastructure and the vulnerability.

KAYYEM: Right.

COATES: We think of our electrical systems and the substations and the like about vulnerabilities for different reasons again. But overall, thematically, are there real concerns about how to make it safer because they don't even have a head of the Federal Aviation Administration right now. Since last March, the nominee, Philip Washington, has been criticized for limited experience and also for a corruption scandal of some kind. There's an investigation that he is named not personally, but involved in some way. There's no head.

KAYYEM: Right. And airlines and the head of the FAA, they don't take technology seriously, I mean, in the sense that -- the entire foundation of the safety system for aviation is on keeping your technology system modern, modernized, up to date, and to make sure you don't have glitches like this, or if you have a glitch in the backup system that it's identified early.

If you can understand one glitch, I can't understand that two aren't identified. So, we have to take -- when we talk about building critical infrastructure, let's stop talking about bridges, let's stop talking about roads, let's start talking about a technology system that can move our society. And that is aviation. It has not been nurtured.

It is the most regulated industry I can think of in transportation. And yet there is almost no requirements for technology upgrades by the airlines or the FAA getting its act together in terms of what these systems are. Let's spend our critical infrastructure money on this because the disruption is what we saw today.


COATES: That's foreboding that I hear. I'm glad you shared it. Thank you so much, everyone.

Also, Prince Harry's memoir, I don't know how to turn from aviation to Prince Harry's memoir, but I'm going to do it right now.

UNKNOWN: Let's talk about that.

COATES: Because it's breaking records. Here we go. It's soaring. The records are soaring. They're sky high. That's how we bring it in, as we tell you how many copies, he sold in the book's first day on the shelves because they're flying off the shelves, and what else Harry is revealing.


COATES: Well, Prince Harry's media blitz is certainly paying off because his new memoir, "Spare," is certainly hot property. The publisher, Penguin Random House, says the book sold more than 1.4 million copies on its very first day of publication.


This is the largest first day sales total for any nonfiction books the company has ever published. And last night, on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Harry said he's glad people can finally read his story in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Writing this book has been a cathartic

experience for me. Hard times and happy times, bringing up old memories that I didn't think I had.


COATES: Well, Colbert asked Prince Harry if he believes there is an active campaign by Buckingham Palace and others in Britain to undermine his book. Here's his response.


PRINCE HARRY: Of course. And mainly by the British press, because --


PRINCE HARRY: Yes. Again, of course. But this is the other side of the story, right, after 38 years. They've told their side of the story. This is the other side of the story. And there's a lot in here that, you know, perhaps makes people feel uncomfortable and scared.


COATES: Well, Random House says the first U.S. printing of Harry's book was 2 million copies. Told you he's already sold 1.4 the first day. So, now it's printing a lot more books to even meet the demand.

Now, up next, we're going to take a look down Pennsylvania Avenue at the powers held between the White House and of course Congress on Capitol Hill. So, what will that balance look like now that Republicans are in charge of the House? We're taking a step back and we're also leaning in, next.