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CNN Tonight

Two Presidents Now Being Investigated By A Special Counsel; Lisa Marie Presley, Daughter Of Elvis, Dead At 54; Proud Boys Members Face Charges; Arkansas Governor Bans Use Of Term "Latinx" In State Documents; Navalny's Wife Sounds Alarm About His Health In Jail. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 12, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I want to start with you here for a moment, Andrew, because we got two presidents under investigation and now by special counsel both about the mishandling of classified documents.

There is a fork in the road where each of their behavior seems to go in different directions, but very significant nonetheless to have these investigations.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF FBI: Absolutely. Absolutely significant. And I think, you know, that's what this moment calls for. It calls for the Justice Department to handle at least at the inception each of these investigations in the same way. And by bringing in a special counsel to review the Biden side of this document saga, I think the attorney general has done exactly that.

He needs to now resource it in the same way that he has the other special counsel. He needs to step away from it, not subjected to the sort of day-to-day oversight that you would have given maybe to a U.S. attorney. That seems to be the way he's treating Jack Smith. And I have no doubt that he'll do those things.

But from this point forward, Laura, these cases will go, I suspect, in very different directions. They will follow the facts in the law. And so far, from what we've seen, the facts of these two situations are very different.

COATES: John, I'm really interested, based on your prior role in particular, about the idea of why it is Biden was tightlipped about the investigations. Obviously, from the DOJ perspective, you know, there is a level of gravitas that must be assigned, and you don't really want transparency on every single thing.

But from the White House counsel's perspective, and again, you're talking about the office of the presidency, the credibility of the institution and beyond, do you have a sense as to what impact the White House counsel may be having on Biden's decision on what to say and what to not say at this time?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Laura, I have the impression he has a private lawyer who is advising him and the White House counsel is only indirectly involved in the larger issues like contacting the National Archives, contacting the Department of Justice.

But he actually has private counsel. This hasn't been clarified at this point. He has a relatively -- he has a second White House counsel whose responsibility is not the president's well-being and personal representation, it's the office of the presidency that the White House counsel represents today. That's been clarified post-Watergate and it's a very good clarification.

So, the White House counsel should not be advising the president on what to do and not to do. I think they have suggested that the less said during the recipient investigation, the better off, and that seems to be the advice he's following.

COATES: Let me ask you. Do you think, John, without the mishandling of classified documents situation will call it for Donald Trump, would there be this focus on a special counsel for Joe Biden or are the two so intertwined to the political optics?

DEAN: Absolutely not. This is all provoked by Trump's behavior, who they tried to work informally with to get him to return documents when they noticed conspicuous missing classified material. So, this is -- this is a direct result of Donald Trump's behavior. He is saying, well, why aren't all the former presidents being investigated? Well, former presidents don't take off a truckload of documents as he has.

This is just a few documents. These things happen with some frequency, actually. And it's rare, unless there's some aggravating situation that -- where the documents and materials, secret material, the national security material has been misused. That aggravate the situation.

High officials make these mistakes, sometimes to write a book, sometimes because they are enamored with these documents. Anyway, they typically give them back very quickly. But it's Donald Trump's behavior and not returning this material that has provoked Joe Biden's situation.

COATES: I am curious as everyone is, of course, Andrew, what is contained in all of these documents. I still have that curiosity, of course, for the documents at Mar-a-Lago and beyond. And as we're waiting for that, the political optics really are coming into much clearer focus than what is actually the contents of these documents.

But in terms of how this plays out, two separate special councils focusing on a similar nucleus of facts, even though you do have the behavior of those who have mishandled different. Is there coordination of any kind between the investigators or are these going to be totally siloed because there are two separate special councils and there's got to be no connective tissue?

MCCABE: I think you have to handle them that way.


I think both -- these men are both independent, they're both capable of running their own shops here, and I would suspect that they will endeavor to do that without having any connection or exchange of information between them other than maybe getting together someday and complaining about having the two worst jobs in D.C.

I think they would be well advised to pursue their own cases independent of not just the Justice Department and the White House but of each other to follow those facts and apply those facts to the law in a totally independent way. In that way, Laura, you could get two very different decisions on these cases that would -- that should stand up to political scrutiny. I know that's ridiculously optimistic.


COATES: I like the glass half full, Andrew McCabe.


COATES: This is a good look. I don't know if it will stand the test of time, but I'm there with you right now.

And here with me in the studio -- thank you, gentlemen -- are CNN chief White House correspondent Phil Mattingly, also White House reporter for "The Washington Post" Cleve Wootson, and political analyst Laura Barron Lopez. Glad to have you all here. Let me begin with you, Laura, because I love the name Laura.


COATES: What is this going to mean for 2024? I mean, obviously, in Washington and everywhere else, aren't even done with the first election before you're thinking about maybe two ahead. You have one president or former president having a special counsel. You've got one who intends, he says, to run again. But this could be problematic.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER FOR POLITICO: Twenty twenty-four is so far away. I mean, we say that a month is an eternity in politics. And I think that right now -- I mean, we saw the reaction to former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago raid where the base really rallied around him.

And I think that in President Biden's case, I'd be surprised if this right now with the facts that we have pushes Democrats far away from him. I mean, right now, we're seeing Democrats in Congress say that they have faith in him, that they believe that he has handled the situation well so far.

Of course, they don't like the fact that it gives Republicans something to hit the president with. We saw that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying that the House will investigate it although I thought it was interesting that he said he didn't think there needed to be a special counsel today. That was prior to the decision to the announcement being made.

But again, you know, the White House is trying to say very clearly that this was a mistake. They used that word today. The special counsel, Richard Sauber, said that. And if the facts bear out, then it very well could be a pretty fast investigation by this new special counsel.

COATES: There are a lot of minefields to navigate here politically because, well, hypocrisy abounds. And so, you got to be careful about what you condemn because then you may have to essentially dismiss in the next day in some respects. What are these minefields that you're seeing in Democrats and Republicans?

CLEVE WOOTSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, it just gets really, really -- in politics, you want to make your opponent look as bad as possible and look yourself -- make yourself look as wholly as possible. It gets really hard for Democrats to condemn Trump for doing the same thing more or less that Biden is doing. It gets really hard for Republicans to do the same thing.

The other aspect of it, though, I think is that Biden's brand has been built on transparency. It's been built on leveling with the American people. He says, ad nauseam, we've heard so many times.

And it gets really hard for Democrats to make this argument that we fully left behind the chaos of Trump and the disrespect for American traditions and intelligence committee, all of that stuff, if you have Republicans able to say, well, what about what Biden has done?

So, it just makes it really difficult to do that sort of rhetorical jiu-jitsu, right, that helps you to win elections, that helps you make that case to the voters.

COATES: Until that moment, now it cleared my mind, that phrase he used to say a lot, give my word as a Biden, give my word as a Biden, he kept talking about that.

And again, there is distinction. The electorate may or may not either understand the nuance or just ignore the nuance because we are in a self- serving political atmosphere in many respects. But I have to understand, do you have a sense as to why this has become a PR self- inflicted wound? Why not be as fully transparent as possible or even give more information about the prospect of this new document?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lawyers are the worst. I don't know if you know any.


COATES: Some lawyers are the best.

MATTINGLY: (INAUDIBLE). I'm personally saying that in jest, but I think it's an important element here. I think this is one of the issues. I think we're also trying to assess the exact specifics of what transpired, not just over the course of the last four days. Keep in mind, on Monday morning, none of this existed as far as any of us were aware of. That what makes, to Laura's point, about thinking through what this this means for 2024 so difficult here.

But what you have was, at least to my understanding, officials who are very cognizant of the fact that they did not want a special counsel.


And they want to do anything they possibly could not to exacerbate or potentially put Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has made the independents of the Justice Department moving away from what we saw the four years prior to this administration, so central to his role at the top of the Justice Department.

And in doing so, they appear to have done exactly that, where Justice Department officials (INAUDIBLE) that the fact that their narrative, particularly in the first set of documents when that came out, not talking about the second set, even though they've been aware of them for nearly a month, that actually contributed to the thinking that maybe we need to move forward on the special counsel. It wasn't the sole reason, but that actually put them in a bad spot.

I think what they have walked through over the course of the last several days is a process where their lawyers were telling them, do not say anything, do not exacerbate the situation, particularly until we are done searching everything. We know they did not finish searching everything until last night. They found an additional document. In the process of that, of them going through those four days, these last four days --


MATTINGLY: -- they did put themselves in a worse position. And that's what I make -- this is only going to get more complicated, more difficult with more lawyers saying, do not say anything at all. How they manage that, how they navigate that going forward, is going to go a very long way to what we're talking about. How the public perceives what is happening here? And, as you know, it's a very different case than what the Trump team has been going through.

COATES: The thing is, Laura, on this point, I mean, Biden is not the first president even in modern American history, even his immediate predecessor, special counsel seemed to be a big part now of our American presidency. Just look at this full screen of all the different presidents who had to contend or deal with in some respect special or independent counsels. Very different types of cases all around, right? Yeah, we are on page two --


COATES: -- of the full screen, by the way. To give you an idea, you can't get it on one screen. This is not uncharted territory for a president, but it's one that Biden hoped to avoid.

BARRON-LOPEZ: He did. I mean, to me, though, I think that the cases are very different. And at the beginning, they looked exactly the same because it's mishandling of classified documents.

There's always typically should be a damage assessment in both cases, and we aren't sure yet if the damage assessment is underway in President Biden's case or not, but there likely will be one because of the fact that any time classified documents are mishandled or found in a place where they're not supposed to be found, a damage assessment is conducted.

Now, then when we get beyond that about the potential for criminal charges, Trump's case is totally different. So, I think it's really important for the public to understand that because of the fact that Trump, even when he was still in office, there was a concern that he was going to take classified documents. The Archives were then alerted. "The Washington Post" reported that.

In May of 2021, the Archives told Trump, hey, you have a lot of documents that you need to return. And for eight months, his team and he did not turn them over. Then they turned over 15 boxes. Then, the Archives said, no, there are still more.

So, for more than a year, about a year and three to four months, Trump and his lawyers and his team refused to return all of the classified documents that they had, and that is why the FBI ultimately had to go search it. So, it's a very different set of events that happened and that is why Trump is potentially facing violations of Espionage Act as well as obstruction.

COATES: Cleve, I'm looking at your lawyer's -- I mean your reporter's notebook. What are you writing?


WOOTSON: Well, to Laura's point, I think, yes, the nuances, the minutiae matter to us at 11:00, drinking coffee, talking about this stuff. You know, energy drink.


WOOTSON: But, you know, when it trickles down to voters who don't have the same requisite amount of time, same energy or when they have just other stuff, you know, what are the facts that they're going to remember a month from now? What are those things? And I think one of the perils for Biden, the minefield you talked about, is just Trump and Biden did basically the same thing. I'm always looking at how is this distilled in the minds of voters. I think that's --

BARRON-LOPEZ: We helped with distilling it for them, right?


COATES: Fortunately, you're watching this wonderful program, coffee or not. Thank you all so much.

There's also a very sad news out of Los Angeles tonight. You've been surely have heard already and we are continuing to cover the death of Lisa Marie Presley at the age of just 54. The daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley grew up squarely in the spotlight as the only child of the man celebrated as the king of rock and roll. We have some new details, next.




COATES: You are looking at live pictures of Graceland tonight. Our sad news, Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis's daughter, dead at the age of 54. She was hospitalized after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest just today, just two days after appearing at the Golden Globes.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is covering the story for us. Steph, what are you learning about this tragic loss tonight?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just shocking, especially when you know that Lisa Marie Presley was only 54 years old. And we know that this is the case because we've also heard from the family representatives.

In fact, let me just go ahead and read that statement to you right now. It says here that Priscilla Presley and the Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Lisa Marie. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time, according to the Presley family representative.

Of course, it's just shocking for everyone digesting this. And also, because she was the only child of Elvis Presley, Elvis and Priscilla Presley. And so, all of this just sort of sinking in for people, to think that both of them are already gone. Way too soon.

COATES: I mean, she is a mother. In 2020, she lost her son, Benjamin, who died by suicide at just the age of 27.


She does have three other children, three daughters as well: Riley, Finley and Harper. And just the idea that this has happened even in a week where her father, in a movie that were honoring her father, which she was a full supporter of, she was really invested in the project, believed that the actor's portrayal was spot on and not a caricature.

In fact, you are at the Golden Globes on Tuesday and saw Lisa Marie Presley. Can you tell me about that experience and what was she like that evening?

ELAM: Yeah, there's so much that was going on. It was already emotional when you are looking at a movie by Baz Luhmann about her father. And she wrote about her grief after her son, Benjamin, died by suicide. She actually said, what she wrote, you do not get over it, you do not move on, period. And she said she kept going because of her three daughters. So, you look at the lineage here of having lost her father, who would have turned 88 years old this past weekend, and then you look at the fact that there is Austin Butler up onstage at the Golden Globes accepting an award for portraying her father, and you can see her in the audience and she looked emotional, tearing up a little bit.

And before that, I can tell you, while I was on the carpet doing interviews of some of the nominees, I saw her walk by and I almost missed her, Laura, because she looked so different to me. She did not look as healthy as I've seen her in the past. She looked a little sallow. She looked a little curled into herself as she was walking by. That's actually when we saw her walking by right there, that clip that you see. She was walking a few feet ahead of her mother.

Now, during the event, they were sitting next to each other, but she definitely just did not seem as robust as we've seen her before to the point that we had a little side conversation about it because it was so shocking how differently she looked.

And just to remember that this night was all about the movie "Elvis," and that her -- she's the sole person in control of Elvis's estate. So, she was very hands on with this movie. And so, to just hear more about what she was saying, I want you to take a listen to a bit of a conversation from the red carpet at the Golden Globes when she was interviewed by "Extra." Take a listen to a little bit of what she had to say.


UNKNOWN: Tonight will be a wonderful night for "Elvis."


UNKNOWN: Have you gotten to know Austin Butler a little bit?

PRESLEY: Yeah. A lot. A lot actually. I adore him.

UNKNOWN: When you first saw him, what did you think?

PRESLEY: You mean, in the movie?

UNKNOWN: Yeah, just saw him -- yeah, in the role.

PRESLEY: I was mind-blown, truly. I actually had to take like five days to process it. It was so spot on and authentic.

UNKNOWN: What do you think the biggest challenge was? Is it the singing or is it the certain characteristic to pull off a look, a twinkle or something?

PRESLEY: Characteristics, mannerisms, the singing, the talking without doing it in like a caricature way like it has been done in the past.

UNKNOWN: Yeah. PRESLEY: You know, it's kind of done like in a sort of funny joking way, the way he spoke.


PRESLEY: But often actually got it and did it perfectly without making it sort of comical.


ELAM: And Austin Butler did thank the Presley family in his speech. That's when you can see the tears in her eyes. I'm sure it means so much that she was there and could hear that since we lost her so quickly soon after that, Laura.

COATES: Absolutely. Stephanie, I'm thinking of her children, her mother this evening. We'll be right back.




COATES: Opening statements today in the trial of five members of the Proud Boys, and the defendants, including former chairman, Enrique Tarrio, accused of seditious conspiracy over the attack on the Capitol.

Both sides giving their opening arguments today, with the prosecution using extensive video and social media evidence to try to make their case and the defense arguing the attack on the Capitol wasn't planned beforehand, it all comes as a coincidence.

It all comes as well after weeks of a contentious fight over jury selection and what evidence can ultimately be used and introduced in this trial.

Back with me now, Andrew McCabe and John Dean. Andrew, I mean, the defendants in this case, they're facing nine counts, including conspiracy to obstruct and obstructing of official proceeding, of course. It's the conspiracy charges again of sedition. How worried should they be?

MCCABE: Well, I think if they take the Oath Keepers trial about a month or so ago as any sort of indicator, I think they should be pretty worried. In many ways, this trial will be similar (INAUDIBLE) and that it will come down to essentially a battle of text messages, right?

The government is going to put out a number of text messages or exchanges (INAUDIBLE) alleged coconspirators that indicate things like their intentions before the event, the planning for January 6th, their actions on the 6th, and then their reactions to what actually happened. I mean, it is those things together. It looks like they accomplished their objectives, which was to stop the vote, stop the counting of electoral votes.

And the defense will then turn around and say, no, will show text messages saying that people were just having fun and responding to the actions of the crowd and kind of going along with the events as they occurred and that there was no actual agreement or plan to do anything.


Laura, as you know better than anyone, it is not what the jury sees and how they decide this case, but that sort of evidence is very persuasive.

COATES: Certainly, it can be, depending on what else is going to come into evidence. John, I mean, the defense is essentially saying, as Andrew has alluded, look, this was not a preplanned event, but they're also redirecting the attention towards the former president and the comments that he made, even trying to connect to those infamous words of stand back and stand by from the prosecution.

Do you think that's going to be persuasive given what we've already seen, obviously, from the January 6 Committee? Obviously, many people in the district who might be in that jury pool would be familiar at least with the general premise of that investigatory committee and the facts at hand. Is it persuasive to redirect the attention to the president -- the former president of the United States?

DEAN: Well, I call that a scapegoat defense. It's similar to what the Oath Keepers tried and it didn't work in that instance. So, I'm not sure it's going to work here given the overwhelming evidence that the government has with these text messages, the video. So, they're really going to base their case on trying to tear down the witnesses the government puts on and try to use those witnesses for their own defense, if you will.

Apparently, in the opening statements today, they relied on some of the same videos that the government relied on to try to get the jury to say, well, maybe there is another way to look at this. So, that's what the effort will be.

You know as well as anyone, Laura, how juries are juries and they will see what they want to see, and they will reach a judgment. I think it's one of the great institutions of a democracy, to trust what those people see in each case. So, we'll all stay tuned to see if this defense does work.

COATES: I am curious on that point, John -- I want you to weigh in, too, Andrew -- the idea quickly -- the idea -- what impact do you think this has knowing there's already been that successful, at least in part, prosecution of the Oath Keepers? Will it have an impact, you think, in connection with the January 6 Committee?

DEAN: That certainly educated the government on how to proceed, what was strong, what worked with the jury. Whether they interviewed the jury afterward, I don't know. But it shows that they can make a seditious conspiracy work. It's a difficult standard. It's a tough case to prove. But they had such strong evidence. In fact, there was a seditious conspiracy, which they're going to try to show to the jury.

COATES: Andrew, really quick.

MCCABE: I totally agree with that. I think when the government can come -- put on a complicated case like this and prove it, they take the public's understanding of what happened on that day and raise it up a level. This was not just a random mob that gathered and trespassed on the Capitol. There was an actual attempt to overthrow the results of the election here. It's undeniable when the jury rules that way. It's a significant thing when they do.

COATES: You know, this was a charge that most people had not thought could ever be brought or certainly had not been brought in so many years, as to be insignificant at this point. Now, and as many months, we're seeing this charge yet again. Thank, you gentlemen.

DEAN: Thank you.

COATES: There's a controversial movement now in the ongoing culture wars. The new governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, banning the use of the term "Latinx" in official state documents. We'll hear what the panel has to say about that, next.




COATES: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the newest governor of the state of Arkansas. And just hours into her term, she enacted eight executive orders. They include reducing rules and regulations as well as initiating a hiring freeze.

What really got people talking are these two orders we've highlighted here. One, a ban on the term "Latinx" in official government documents, and the second, a ban on teaching critical race theory in schools.

I want to bring in CNN political commentator Maria Cardona, former top aide to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign Kevin Madden, and CNN political analyst Laura Barron-Lopez is back with us as well. Maria, I want to get your reaction because this term, "Latinx" is not one that is as prevalent or used or even welcomed all the time. Correct?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is correct. And I actually don't even use it myself. I don't really identify with it. But you know what, if I am talking to a group of young Latinx who will probably have LGBTQ in that group, they do identify with the term "Latinx." And I will absolutely use the term "Latinx" because I don't want to make anyone feel unwanted or rejected.

And "Spanish" is a term that is very -- that is gendered and "Latino" and "Latina" are gendered terms. So, I understand why young people in the Latino community that are LGBTQ want to use it, and I am all for that. How dare she make this distinction with the excuse that she's going to ban it because it's insensitive. I mean, it was so insulting, but if it wasn't so insulting, it would be laughable. This is coming from the person who worked for Donald Trump, who did everything in his power and his administration's power to bring tragedy and pain to the Latino community. I'm sorry, I'm going to use it, to the Latinx community.


COATES: Kevin, why do you think this was on top of mind on the list of executive orders?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER TOP AIDE TO MITT ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, I don't think it's top of mind. Like you said, it's one of eight. I mean, expanding --

COATES: Within hours of her --

MADDEN: Look, I think politicians are political animals. She is representing what she feels is the feedback that she got from a number of people in the community.

Now, I think the politics of this are probably helpful for her because for many people who look at this debate -- I know a lot of people feel very strongly about it, but a lot of other people think that this is sort of common sense, that you banned -- not ban a word like this, but you sort of move away from the use of this because some people actually feel that it's not appropriate to use.

And that's feedback that she actually got from a lot of those folks in the Hispanic community and Latino community as well. So, for this, I think the politics of this are sort of low-hanging fruit.

COATES: You think so, Laura? I also wonder about the idea in terms of generationally because we often think about terms and even President Obama formerly speaking about this a few months ago on a podcast. The idea of changing terms and norms and the idea of people evolving and not quite keeping pace with intergenerational (ph), I don't call it dispute but thoughts. Is this generational and is she doing something that is attractive to even younger voters?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I think some of the -- I think that the use of the term "Latinx" is generational. I think that -- you know, throughout my life, I've used the term "Hispanic Latino" interchangeably. And I know there are some older generation Latinos in my family that would only use Hispanic.

When I have been out reporting, I've interacted with younger Latinos who like to use the term "Latinx" because they want to have a non- gendered term.

The Gallup poll last year, I thought, was really interesting because it found that when you put Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, and then do you care, like, does it matter? Does it matter got like 57%, which is that Latinos don't really care, vast majority of them. Of course, the rest of the three Latinx did get the lowest number. I think, yes, this is -- you know, Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to play to her base. It's something that Republican voters like. We saw -- but in a state that is a swing state and republic -- and states like Georgia, Herschel Walker was using a lot of anti-LGBTQ, anti- trans, saying, I'm not going to correct pronouns throughout his entire speech and he lost Georgia.

You saw a lot of other republican candidates in statewide races in swing states who use very similar language to Herschel Walker and they also lost.

COATES: We do have -- you mentioned Gallup. There was a Pew research study as well that found just 3% of U.S. Hispanics use the term "Latinx" but young Hispanic women among the most likely to use it. Your point is certainly well taken.

Kevin and Maria, on that point, I mean, again, I look at this, if the Gallup or the Pew or representative in some way, you think about this, is this really the culture war that she -- or the cultural trigger point that she is hoping to achieve some benefit from?

CARDONA: I agree with Kevin. She's doing it for her own base. But I think what it describes or what it proves is that her base or at least what she's doing is very xenophobic. It's very anti-immigrant. And I believe very anti-Hispanic. Even if there are conservative Hispanics that don't like the term, I don't think you should go as far as to then alienate a whole other generation of young Latinos who are living in your state. Why would you do that?

Arkansas has seen 162% growth in the Hispanic community in the last 10 years. So, to me, it proves how unserious she is about governing, when you have issues like poverty, education, health care of which Arkansas ranks almost last, and those are issues that absolutely affect the Latino community. So, if she really cares about the Latino community in her state, she would be focusing on those issues, not on ridiculous things like this.


MADDEN: One of the executive orders expanded, early childhood education. So, she was focused on education. I see your point, but this is not the only thing she did. She did a lot of things in those executive orders. But I think it's the point that you brought up earlier to, like, the 3%, only 3% actually use it. For most people, this isn't a huge controversy, and this is sort of commonsense that we sort of remove this debate out of the use of --

CARDONA: Why do it? It makes no sense.

MADDEN: I think -- you know why? I think the politics of it work. Oftentimes, a lot of conservatives will beat Democrats or beat the left into an overreaction on this, for what -- for most people seems like a commonsense thing.


CARDONA: Again, if you are part of the Latinx community, you are going to feel completely --

MADDEN: If you feel insensitive, if you are somebody who uses it --

CARDONA: It is insensitive.

MADDEN: -- but the larger community, it is not a controversy.

CARDONA: But again --

MADDEN: And so, when you are defending something that you think is commonsense, not controversial, and then the left sort of reacts, overreacts to it, the politics kind of works for it.

CARDONA: Well, but see, that is -- that is when you believe that as a governor, you want to have a section of the people who supposedly you want to vote for you, thinking that you are insensitive and that you want to alienate a whole group of people. That's what she wants to do.

MADDEN: It's only 3%.

CARDONA: More power to her.

MADDEN: I see your point.

CARDONA: You know, 3%, that's a lot of people when you have a growing Latino community. And by the way, most of them are younger than the overall community. This can be a very important issue for them.

COATES: Even five people is a huge number in Washington, D.C. as we saw from the (INAUDIBLE) hours of the morning on Saturday. I encourage everyone to read the executive order because Sarah Huckabee Sanders does tell a different tale in that in terms of describing why she wants to do it. I encourage you all to read it and follow up as well.

And coming up, developments on Russia's most prominent political prisoner. Alexei Navalny's wife says he is sick and being denied medical care. That story is next.




COATES: The wife of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny saying the outspoken Putin critic is sick and being denied medical care. Navalny's wife, Yulia, accusing his jailers of not allowing him to lie down during the day and waking him up at six in the morning even with the high temperature.

It has been two years since Navalny was arrested in Moscow. The story of how he ended up there after surviving an alleged murder attempt and tracking down his own would-be assassins is told with the urgency and drama of a spy thriller in the CNN film "Navalny." It's airing Saturday. Here's a preview.


UNKNOWN: When you come to room of a comatose patient, you're starting to just tell him some news, telling him a story. Alexei, don't worry, you're a prison, rhere was a murder attempt, Putin tried to kill you with Novichok. And he opened his blue eyes wide and looked at me and said very clear --


ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: Come on, poisoned? I don't believe it.

UNKNOWN: He's back. This is Alexei.

NAVALNY: Putin is supposed to be not so stupid to use this Novichok.

UNKNOWN: He is more than -- he's expletive. He's (INAUDIBLE).

NAVALNY: If you want to kill someone, just shoot him.

UNKNOWN: Jesus Christ, like real Alexei.

NAVALNY: Impossible to believe it. It's kind of stupid. The whole idea of poisoning with a chemical weapon. This is why this is so smart, because even reasonable people, they refuse to believe that. What? Come on, poisoned? Seriously?


COATES: The Kremlin and Russia security services deny that they played any role in Navalny's poisoning.

Joining us now is the director of the film "Navalny," Daniel Roher. Daniel, it is good to see you. We are hearing, however, that Navalny's wife is painting a very bleak picture of what her husband is enduring and describing some dire conditions. Just how serious is Navalny's health situation right now?

DANIEL ROHER, DIRECTOR OF "NAVALNY": Extraordinarily serious. Most challenging part for us is that we don't know how serious. The Russian prison authorities are not allowing Navalny to see doctors. We know that he is sick, he has a flu, he's running a fever, and he's not allowed to have medical attention.

Just yesterday, 200 Russian doctors signed an open letter to Vladimir Putin to allow -- to ask for Putin to allow Navalny to access medical care. But, of course, that call went unanswered.

COATES: I wonder what it was like, and just looking at this film and just the reaction that it has received really around the world, it captures the recovery from the extraordinary period that he is speaking about in the clip that we've shown. What was it like to be with him during that period? It's so telling.

ROHER: Alexei Navalny is one of the most extraordinarily courageous men of our time. He is brave. He is a man of principle who is going to sacrifice everything for the future of this nation, for the dream of a Russian democracy.

That is why he went back to Russia, because he thinks that his country can have an alternate future, one where Vladimir Putin and his horrible regime relegated to the dustbin of history, and democracy is introduced to the Russian federation. That's the dream that Navalny has.

Right now, he's in solitary confinement, and he is specifically in solitary confinement because of his anti-war activism. Navalny and his allies are the largest anti-war voices in Russia, and he's being severely punished because of it.

COATES: What do you think the future holds for Navalny, especially at a time right now when the world is watching what is happening in Ukraine and opposition seems to be continuously suppressed?

ROHER: Navalny's orientation is toward optimism. He is someone who dreams of a bright future. And for millions and millions of Russians, he is a flicker of light in this very, very dark context.

It is my dream and my hope that he is released from prison, that he survives his ordeal because I believe his impact on the future of Russia is unfulfilled.


And one day, I want to see Navalny on a presidential ticket, to run for the presidency of Russia in a free and fair election.

COATES: Daniel Roher, thank you so much. Everyone, be sure to tune in to CNN film "Navalny," airs Saturday night, 9:00 p.m. East, right here on CNN.

Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There is breaking news tonight, new details on the first batch of classified documents which were found back in November but only acknowledged on Monday.


COOPER: More on that shortly.