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CNN Tonight

Losing GOP Candidate Accused Of Allegedly Targeting New Mexico Democrats Appears In Court; Immigration Records Appear To Contradict Rep. George Santos' (R-NY) Claim His Mother Was At World Trade Center On 9/11; Search Warrants Used To Retrieve Evidence From Byran Kohberger's Home And Office Unsealed; Bryan Kohberger's Search Warrants Unsealed; Alvin Bragg Worried Of Mark Pomerantz's Tell-All Book; New Mexico DA To Announce Possible Charges On Alec Baldwin's Movie Set Shooting Incident. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 18, 2023 - 22:00   ET




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

The White House calls the allegations horrifying and shocking. We're talking about the losing Republican candidate for state office in New Mexico who is an election denier who claimed that his own race was rigged when he was in court today accused of masterminding a series of shootings that targeted the homes of elected Democrats.

Now, the arrest warrant for Solomon Pena detailed the conspiracy he allegedly orchestrated to, quote, cause death and serious injury to Democratic officials. And there are disturbing new details tonight, including what police say was found in a car that was registered to Pena, driven by one of his alleged co-conspirators, fentanyl, nearly 900 pills, as well as more than $3,000 in cash, and two firearms of ammunition.

Plus, in another story, the question many are asking is, how low can someone go or allegedly go? Because a Navy veteran now says that Congressman George Santos promised to raise funds for lifesaving surgery for his cancer-stricken dog back in 2016 before he was ever elected to Congress, but then took off with the money. Now, Santos, for his part, denies this story and we have his response for you tonight.

And there are new details tonight about what investigators found when they searched the home of the alleged killer of four college students in Idaho and what it could all mean for the case.

I want to get right to the court appearance today of that losing Republican candidate who was charged in connection with shootings at homes of New Mexico Democrats presumably based on his grievances for having lost.

Now, joining me, the top law enforcement official in New Mexico, Attorney General Raul Torrez. Nice to see you today. Thank you for coming.


COATES: This is a truly disturbing case many people are looking at and scratching their heads in part but also thinking, is this the result of what happens when you've got election denialism, or when you think that you are entitled to a certain result? Now, I know this is not a case that you are personally prosecuting as attorney general but the accusations here that he engaged in this behavior, talk to me more broadly about what this mean for the people of your state and how they view this whole process.

TORREZ: Well, the first thing I would say is that we're extraordinarily lucky for the swift and very dedicated work of local law enforcement, our partners at the FBI. I've been in contact with them and the chief of police, and they did an extraordinary job to really hone in and identify Mr. Pena and his associates as quick as they could and then get them all into custody.

I think the larger lesson for all of us is, you know, really what happens when you have somebody who is so clearly susceptible to paranoid conspiracy theories and election denialism and the kind of rhetoric that we've seen all across this country when it comes to having political disagreements. We no longer are in a place where we treat each other as people that have a difference of political opinion. And for very -- far too many people are starting to look at fellow citizens and elected officials as potential enemies.

And I think this is really taking us down a very dark and dangerous path and it is something that we have to be mindful of. We have to take very serious security precautions in terms of how we manage the private information of elected officials but also see what we can do to moderate the kind of speech, the kind of rhetoric that you use that I think incites unstable individuals like Solomon Pena and others across the country.

COATES: It is so important to think about how, what can often begin as rhetoric more broadly can become marching orders for others, and these contacts.

And I wonder for many -- you are the top prosecutor in your state, but I do wonder what will the role be that you will play in this case? Is it something that's overseeing this particular prosecution because it has some political connotations to it or is this a role for someone else within your jurisdiction?

TORREZ: So, the case is currently being handled by my successor. Before being elected to attorney general, I was actually the district attorney here in Albuquerque. The new district attorney and I have had a conversation. He has got resources dedicated to it. And I've also been in touch with our federal partners.

What we are going to be doing is providing both investigative support and prosecutorial support and examining, frankly, some of the outstanding questions about Mr. Pena's compliance potentially with campaign finance laws, where we've been asked to take a look at that and offer our assessment on those issues.


But the idea here is to bring about the swiftness and, frankly, the most severe response that law enforcement can bring. And my hope is that the U.S. attorney here and the Department of Justice will take a close look to see if there is the possibility of bringing federal charges not only for the weapons that were used but potentially for domestic terrorism. And this, in my judgment, fits the definition of domestic terrorism and it should be treated as such.

COATES: Well, I just want the read for you a statement in part that the attorney has said about this. And, of course, in large part, they're calling it -- these are just merely accusations. And you and I know obviously there is still the burden of proof that needs to be met. The statement is, at this point, the charges against Mr. Pena are merely accusations that have not yet been tested by the full rigor of the judicial process. Mr. Pena is presumed innocent of the charges against him.

I know, Attorney General, you obviously agree with the presumption of innocence and support it, as do I, but I also wonder what has come out so far in terms of conversations about masterminding about the idea, and for some, it might be odd to know that this is somebody who was charged with a felon and possession charge was still able to still run for office. I understand that although he had a prior felony, he was adjudicated to be able to still run for office. It was not a violation of your state law. Is that right?

TORREZ: That's correct. There was actually a challenge brought by someone during the last election cycle to see whether or not he was constitutionally qualified to stand for public office. There was a district court judge in Albuquerque who ruled that he was, in fact, qualified to remain on the ballot. And I don't know if the legislature intends to reexamine that but this is certainly somebody with a long criminal history.

And as you noted at the top of your program, this is somebody who is associated with people who were engaged in drug trafficking and have access to some pretty significant weapons. And so we're really just at the initial stages of the investigation, trying to understand everyone who was involved, the nature of their involvement, the nature of their relationship and really how he was able to organize so many people to engage in this concerted and very dangerous act of political violence.

COATES: Attorney General, I'd tell you, it is really very fortunate that we're not talking about a very different result in terms of any shots being fired more broadly and what could have happened to those who were targeted. Thank you so much for your time this evening.

TORREZ: Thank you.

COATES: I do want to bring in now one of those officials who was allegedly targeted in these shootings, Adriann Barboa. She's Bernalillo County commissioner. I'm glad to see you here. And just thinking about what has happened, I could tell you, it gives me such pause as so many people have been hearing about this story. I wonder if you can just speak to how you are feeling about this, the fact that your home was targeted, and the seeming motivation appears to be about somebody who lost an election, as far as we know to-date. What are you feeling about this?

ADRIANN BARBOA, BERNALILLO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Hello. Thank you so much. It's been a range of emotions, from relieved, definitely, to know that someone, that people don't have to continue to live in fear of this threat, but angry, disappointed, so the full range.

COATES: And thinking about that living -- excuse me, I didn't want to cut you off. Please continue.

BARBOA: I just, you know --

COATES: I think we have a problem with your audio for a moment. I know we're going to come back to you in just a moment. But just thinking about what the range of emotion must be like. And one of the things that Adriann just mentioned was the idea of living in fear for those who were targeted.

Remember, all of these different shootings did not take place, if you guys remember, on the same day. We're talking about a series of different days where shootings occurred. There was a question even In December all the way into January of the range of people whose homes were targeted and what that looked like and why. And, of course, it's always going to be a concern as we are learning more information about who would have been inside those homes and who may have been vulnerable particularly to all this.

We're going to work on the audio and sound to make sure that we are able to get her viewpoint on this very important issue that really is a part of a bigger and larger story across this country.


Also, more accusations against George Santos, the Congressman from New York. A Navy vet is saying that Santos promised to raise funds for this little guy you see on the screen for his cancer-stricken dog and then allegedly took off with the money.

Now, there are also new questions about Santos' claim that his mother was at the World Trade Center on 9/11. We're going to talk about all of that and bring you Congressman Santos' response, next.


COATES: Well, another day, another accusation against Republican Congressman George Santos. You'll never guess what he's being accused of now. This time, the accusation is that he's taken money meant for a dying dog. And that's not all. CNN obtaining immigration records showing that his mother was actually in Brazil on 9/11, which is interesting considering he's repeatedly said that she was at the World Trade Center in New York.

Joining me now is CNN Political Analyst Alex Burns. He is also the co- author of This Will Not Pass, Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future. Also joining us, Republican Strategist Doug Heye and CNN National Politics Reporter Eva McKend.

Let's begin with the story surrounding his late mother. There's been a lot of discussion about how she passed and we're learning some new reporting about any connection, if there is one, to 9/11.


What are we hearing?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Laura, he has told variations of the story about his -- how his mother passed. And he has said, or he has suggested that she died as a result of cancer that she contracted from an air caught up in the ash cloud, I think is the specific term that he used from her being present at the twin towers on 9/11.

Well, CNN has obtained immigration records that prove that that is not the case. She was not even living in this country at the time. So, not only to be clear that she'd not die on 9/11 but she couldn't have died as a result of the tragic events of 9/11 either.

COATES: So, was this included in part -- we have like a list and it's growing, Eva, as you all know, of the things that he's lied about. Has he ever spoken about that in terms of recanting the statements he's made about his mother's death or is this one of the things he's doubling down on?

MCKEND: Well, to-date, I haven't heard him do so as yet. And many in the reporting, especially here at CNN, have been careful about this, have not characterized it as a definitive lie but have said there continues to be questions about this statement.

Now, we have obtained these immigration records that seem to suggest it is a definitive lie because she was not in the U.S. at the time. How could she have died from 9/11, or as a result of 9/11? She has sadly since passed but the scenarios that he has suggested just don't seem to add up.

COATES: Well, there are many, gentlemen, scenarios that are not adding up. But if I take a step back, and I want us all too for a moment, because we can go through all the different list of things that he said and, clearly, the idea of his name becoming more and more synonymous with deception and lies is apparent.

The thing, and I think you talked about it to me before Doug, Unless he wants to resign, or he does resign, or they expel him from Congress and there is no appetite for Republicans to do so, I'm wondering at what point there will be that pendulum shift away from the interests by the electorate and the, well, this is a fool's errand to keep looking into it?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I was in the Longworth House office building where his office is and there are still cameras there. The House is out session. He is not there. There are still cameras in front of his office. It doesn't appear to be dying away any time soon because wild prediction, if we're here a week from now, we'll probably be talking about four or five other things that he's made up, names that he's had that we didn't know about and all of this. But the mechanism for removing him doesn't change.

And expulsion has happened twice since the civil war. And both times, it's happened after somebody has been convicted of bribery, not accused, not indicted, convicted. So, everything that we see of George Santos that is nonsensical, made up, a lie and all of that with real legal implications, he hasn't gotten to that point yet, as crazy as that is.

COATES: And we're learning more about the story, about a dying dog and a GoFundMe page and alleged stolen funds from it. And I do want to say that Congressman Santos did respond on the record to that accusations to our own Don Lemon, and speaking about that, and denying it that it ever happened. And he's been pretty adamant in the past, for a few examples, that he is not a liar, that he's telling the truth.

But this campaign finance issue, Alex, and you have followed the number in a number of cases and the intersection of what happened when money issue comes to play. Is that the kind of investigation an inquiry that regardless of what you might think about, in his statements of piling on, that those are the kinds of investigations that could upset the apple cart in terms of being able to stay in Congress?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they could. Look, I think the context that Doug just mentioned is really important, that when an expulsion happens, it is because somebody gets convicted of a crime, right, not just investigated or charged with a crime but convicted. And as you know, it takes a while, right? But I think the nature of the crime could matter a lot here, that if he's under investigation for a serious campaign finance fraud scheme that sort of cuts at his basic integrity as a member of Congress. I don't mean his integrity in terms of is he telling the truth about his mom but his basic integrity in terms of, is he on the take from somebody. And that's an entirely speculative proposition at this point.

If he's investigated for the allegation that you just alluded to, stealing money from a disabled veteran that was supposed to go help a person's dog, if that turns out to be true, yes, I mean, I do think that's the kind of thing that could be really, really difficult for his colleagues to look the other way on.

But, bottom line, it is a really tiny majority. That's a Democratic- leaning seat. And if he quits, it would have to become a really big headache for it to be worse for Kevin McCarthy to have him around and to have a special election on that seat.


COATES: And just -- I want to go right back to you in this point. I want to come to you on this point. We're talking about a GoFundMe site, right, that essentially the money was taken from that. And GoFundMe has issued a statement about this on the alleged Santos dog scam. They said, when we received a report of an issue with this fundraiser in late 2016, our trust and safety team sought proof of the delivery of funds from the organizer, the organizer failed to respond, which led to the fundraiser being removed and the email associated with that account prohibited from further use on our platform.

And as I mentioned, Eva, Congressman Santos spoke to our own Don Lemon and said, I have no clue, in terms of those accusations, of what he's talking about. And the crazy part is that anyone that knows me knows I would go to hell and back for a dog and especially a veteran. So, this is just more of the pile-on effect. I have dozens of people reaching out to me in support, sharing their stories about their dogs and cats that I helped save and rescue, and yet, there is still the accusation looming from this veteran. Listen to this.


MICHAEL BOLL, PRESIDENT, NEW JERSEY VETERANS NETWORK: I said to him, can you please give the money back to the people, or there is a veterinarian in Rich's area that we can put the money to and put it into like a fund where he could use it time to time. It's not your money to keep. And he just wasn't hearing it. I called Rich back horrified. I was really upset because this is Rich's lifeline. I work with veterans every day and dogs save people's lives, you know, and he needed this dog every day to be in his life. I felt horrible to tell him that I failed him because of feeling that Mr. Devolder at the time was going to do the right thing and he did not.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And you never got a dollar of the money?

BOLL: We never got anything.


COATES: The idea this is out there, I mean, he's denying it.

MCKEND: I mean, if he was running a legitimate charity at the time and he should have had no issue responding to GoFundMe. But GoFundMe ultimately did pull down the site. We know that Santos' credibility is shaky, to put it in the most generous framing. We now have this veteran coming forward, the president of a Veterans Charity in New Jersey coming forward, putting their credibility on the line. The man in Jersey Still runs that veterans organization to this day. We also have the corroboration of text messages that were being sent between Anthony Devolder.

COATES: The name that was given. They say it belongs to George Santos that he used.

MCKEND: Yes. We know that he has gone by different aliases throughout the years. And so it is hard to believe Congressman Santos' denials because there is this overwhelming evidence on the other side.

But, listen, I think that we should not forget to center the concerns of the constituents in the district. This really, I think, underscores that it is going to be really hard for Congressman Santos to be an effective member. He was placed on two Congressional committees. There are going to be people called before those committees. How does he conduct Q&A with people that are before him in a legitimate fashion with this cloud hanging over him?

COATES: Well, don't you think he'd be -- and I get to your point, but a little bit emboldened and the fact that, look, there was a question whether he would be on a committee in spite of all of this. He's been placed on committees. There will be cameras undoubtedly every question he asks, anyone in these hearings. The attention will be there, obviously not for the good reason.

But there are some people in this world that might surprise you who, all news is good news, all press is good press. Is that part of the concern is, why doesn't this matter more in the Republican Party right now? Is it the numbers?

HEYE: It's completely the numbers. And nothing is going to change between now and when the House gets back into session, except that we'll hear more and more stories and anecdotes about lies and things that have been completely made up. What will be interesting and potentially politically changes this is when we come back into session, do any Democrats offer a resolution for expulsion? That then changes the conversation a little bit in a way that it just hasn't over the past two weeks.

BURNS: And if I could just, Laura, the speed at which this story has unfolded over the last couple of weeks, I don't think anyone can sit here and say that George Santos has hit bottom or is anywhere near it, right, that the revelations just day after day after day are staggering. So, it is easy enough for someone like me to sit here and say, the balance of this decision still weighs pretty heavily for Republicans in favor of keeping him around. Is that going to be true in a week? Is that going to be true in 24 hours? We just don't know.

COATES: It is hard to read the tea leaves in Washington, D.C. We all know that. But, again, I mean, if the punishment for all the revelation is two committee assignments, I'm not sure of the deterrent value in a lot of this.

HEYE: How do you think the committee chairs feel? They're not happy.

COATES: Well, they want to see the tea leaves and they want to read them. That's what's going on there.

Thank you. Stay around, everyone.


There are newly unsealed court documents that are revealing what evidence was found in the home of the Idaho killings suspect. One of the things collected, a sample of a reddish brown stain on an uncased pillow. What else was discovered, next.


COATES: Significant new developments tonight in the investigation into the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students. Search warrants used to retrieve evidence from Bryan Kohberger's home and office have been unsealed.

Now, he's the grad student in criminology at Washington State University who is facing four counts of first-degree murder.

Now, among the items retrieved, a black glove, possible human and animal hair strands, more on that point in a moment, and materials containing stains.

Let's talk about it now with John Miller, CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, and CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson, also a criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen, I'm glad you're here. We're learning about some of the evidence that was collected from Bryan Kohberger's residence in Washington, more than a dozen items, by the way, including hair and stains.


In fact, there was a sample of dark red spot, part of a mattress cover with stains,, nitrate type black glove. There was a Walmart receipt, a Marshalls receipt, a number of things, computer tower, et cetera. I wonder, what stands out to you, Joey, the most when you see this from (inaudible) of a defense counsel. I mean, I'm seeing what's missing is the murder weapon perhaps. What stands out to you?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Laura, without question. So first of all, you're going to examine and look at those hairs. Those hairs would trouble me greatly from a defense perspective. Why? Because whenever a suspect commits a crime, there is transference. What does that mean in English? You then leave the crime scene, you go to your apartment. What do you carry or transfer from the crime scene to your apartment?

In the event that one of those hairs happens to be one of the people who unfortunately are dead as a result of his alleged hands, how do you explain the hair being there? Second issue, right, because you know there is going to be all types of forensics with respect to the dog in the home.

Could you imagine, Laura, in the event that one of those animal hairs belongs to that dog? How do you reasonably explain that that animal hair would have gotten there? No, there's not a murder weapon, again, but what do those receipts demonstrate and indicate? Did he purchase something, right, to that extent, or the weapon?

So there is a lot that concerns me on the warrant. It's indicative of police doing their job in order to connect the dots, which you know, Laura, as a former prosecutor, is overwhelmingly significant in securing a conviction.

COATES: And just so we're clear, we talk about the animal hair. It might not be obvious to the audience as to why this would be an issue. We know that Kaylee Goncalves' dog was home at the time of the murders.


COATES: And so the idea of the significance of an animal hair transferring, as you're talking about, from one location to the next. John, I want to bring you in here because, you know, this list of things that were recovered and of course, the search warrant unsealed at this point, one thing that was a part of it, they were also looking for blood and they collected a dark red spot. That's the phrase. A dark red spot and other stains. What strikes you about that?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, they've got a stain on an uncovered pillow. They want to know what that stain is. That will undergo analysis and that's happening now. They also took a couple of mattress covers and are looking at stains on those. But they also took the computer.

The warrant spelled out that they were going to look for any searches or compilations on information on either the victims or their home address, the 1122 King Street address, or anything about any of them individually or pictures, social media and so on. So, from the search of the home, from the office, they have a lot to go through and a lot of science to do before they can tell if they match.

COATES: You know, on the point about the search, that's going to be so important to think about. And we're obviously seeing in other cases we've been tracking here on CNN and beyond about what happens when one's Google search might intimate or insinuate something else.

But the idea here, Joey, of the searches, the idea here of trying to figure out has this person been in contact with any of these victims before? Did he -- was he aware of them? Was he stalking in some way? Is there a connection there? How would you approach this and the idea is there a way for his defense counsel to try to stop these kinds of searches or is it really the waiting game to figure out if the prosecution can meet the burden at this juncture?

JACKSON: Yeah. So, Laura, you know, searches of course are very important because they gather critical evidence that law enforcement needs in order to potentially secure a conviction. What you always do from a defense perspective is attempt to what we call suppress evidence. What does that mean? Keep it outside of the purview of the jury, keep it outside of the trial.

But you know, in order to do that, you have to show the absence of probable cause. You have to show that the nature of the warrant should not have been issued in the first instance. Very difficult under these circumstances, given that police certainly seem to have the authority to do it.

In term of connections to the victims, we know that the cell phone data is critical. We're in a day and age where technology is just so powerful. How do you explain your cell phone data that connects to the homes at the time that it does with regard to when the murders occurred, with regard to after the murders occurred, with respect to before, right, the murders occurred.

And so all of that really establishes a connection. You get the DNA, the forensic analysis, and boy, there's just a lot to overcome. So much more evidence and information as well, in addition to that, but the things I had laid out are very powerful for the prosecution.


COATES: John, are we learning anything more about the other roommates who were in the home at the time when there was the initial arrest and extradition to Idaho. There were questions, of course, arising from what was revealed. I mean, the idea that somebody else was there. They may have seen this person and had come into contact, although it wasn't entirely clear whether the suspect in the case actually saw that person. Are we learning anything more about that evidence or the other roommates?

MILLER: So, we haven't. I mean, what we have learned is that because that is the only living person that the prosecution and the investigators have who saw the killer face to face, although the killer was wearing a mask, that is a highly valuable witness in this context of this case. And it is somebody whose name they are seeking to not just keep out of the press, but the search warrants that we're talking about today had been sealed for, strictly for the purpose of redacting their names.

And when they were released today, only the initials were used. So, this is somebody that they are very interested in keeping under wraps, even though the suspect is now in custody.

COATES: Well, you can imagine why, of course. Talking about college students. And I can't imagine the fear of what they are all going through. And of course, the survivor as well. John Miller, Joey Jackson. nice to see you both. Thank you.

Well, we're also learning about an upcoming book. This from a former prosecutor who investigated Donald Trump. Well, that has the Manhattan D.A. saying, uh-uh. Could it impact the ongoing investigations, this book? We'll talk about it next.



COATES: While there are concerns tonight over whether an ex- prosecutor's book could damage the Manhattan D.A.'s investigation into one Donald Trump. D.A. Alvin Bragg's office sending a letter to publisher Simon and Schuster and former special prosecutor Mark Pomerantz asking now for 60 days to review the contents of his new book.

Well, that book is supposed to come out early next month and promising what's an inside account of the ongoing investigation. Now, Pomerantz was brought in as a special prosecutor under the then D.A. Cy Vance before resigning last year amid disagreements with Bragg over seeking an indictment against the former president.

The D.A.'s office writing, quote, "Based on the prepublication descriptions of his book and the benefit of current knowledge of the matter, but without access to the manuscript, this office believes there is a meaningful risk that the publication will materially prejudice ongoing criminal investigations and related adjudicating procedures -- proceedings, excuse me."

I should mention also, Simon and Schuster also published my own book. I want to bring in CNN political commentator Maria Cardona and welcome back Doug Heye. And CNN legal analyst Elliott Williams is here as well. I think we have to set the scene here for a second because this is the same person, the same attorney who wrote a blistering resignation letter about his time at the D.A.'s office.

And I'm quoting from it. He says, "I believe that Donald Trump is guilty of numerous felony violations of the penal law in connection with the preparation and use of his annual statements of financial condition. The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes -- he did. I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now and on the existing record is misguided and completely contrary to the public interests."

Now, of course, that makes people want the lean in and go, what is in this book that might be obviously driving the concerns here? But Elliott, the idea that there is an ongoing, that's the phrase, an ongoing criminal investigation which might be news to some people that it's still happening, are they right to need this review?

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. Oh, they are absolutely right to need this review. Look, let's set aside for a second the merits of the book. Whether it's right to prosecute him or not, put that all aside for a second. How is it humanly possible for him to write a book that doesn't either, A, break some office confidentiality, or even maybe the law if there is grand jury issues.

Look, one of the -- in the promotional materials for the book, what they say is a fascinating inside account of the attempt to prosecute Donald Trump. Now, if you believe the office, they're still trying to prosecute Donald Trump. So, how can a book be written that doesn't violate office secrets, if this investigation is still going on?

So, look, we can all be surprised by what is in it. Maybe he figured out a way to write it neatly and cleanly around the office policies, but it just seems a little bit close to comfort. It's not uncommon for books when ex-government people write books.


WILLIAMS: To have the government review the things you've written. Maybe that happens here. We'll see.

COATES: Well, let me tell you, and there is the big "if." You used the word if. Not just -- listen, broaden that out for a moment here because although the Trump organization was convicted last month of the decade-long tax fraud scheme. Bragg at the time, the D.A., said to CNN that they closed one chapter and they're opening another.

By the time of this scathing resignation letter, we were under the impression that there had been an indefinite suspension of any type of investigation into Donald Trump. And so, I wonder, is the thought of this, Maria, that look, are you saying indefinitely suspended because you're an elected official, Mr. Bragg? And if you're Pomerantz, are you thinking that he's trying to silence the book so as not to look into the reasons as why not to?

MARIA CARDON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, that letter actually describes a lot of the frustration from Democrats and progressives who absolutely believe that there is not just one but several ways that you could criminally prosecute Donald Trump, right? So, I agree with that.


But at the same time, a lot of times we don't know what's being investigated, right? That's the sole reason why a lot of these investigations are secret. And sometime we shouldn't know everything. And if they are continuing the investigation, and if there is still an attempt to prosecute Donald Trump, then again, as a Democrat and a progressive who wants to see this man behind bars, I say, yes, more power to him.

Let's give him right now the benefit of the doubt and do everything that we can to make sure that when and hopefully -- when he does, right, not if, but hopefully when he does, that he's able to do it cleanly. That all of the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted. That it is airtight and that nothing can then come back to say, oh no, that doesn't count because of this leak or because of that leak.

WILLIAMS: Which you know, the other way to look at that is the D.A.'s office brought this on their own damn self by either taking cue on with the (inaudible) prosecution or not being clear whether it was an open investigation or not. So, they left this vacuum or this void for one of their former guys to come in and write a book, you know. It's just sort of a little bit of a mess

COATES: And I will say, one of the things that the D.A.'s office in Manhattan, Alvin Bragg had to say was, that this -- talking about the disclosures, "These procedures which Mr. Pomerantz agreed to in writing in 2020 were put in place to ensure the integrity of investigations and prosecutions conducted by this office. Mr. Pomerantz has neither sought nor received approval to make disclosures relating to ongoing matters at the D.A.'s office and this office has not reviewed any drafts or excerpts of his manuscript."

On that point, Doug, and what we've -- I've been talking about here, on the one hand, it's the balance, right.


COATES: The public is hungry for information, trying to understand the nature of decisions not to indict or whether to indict the whole process. Balanced against the perspective harm on investigations. But there is still, what, perspective and speculation on that part.

You know, politics keeps coming into play when you're talking about how people perceive investigations into Donald Trump. Is this kind of thing more ammunition for him?

HEYE: I think absolutely. In public life and politics, resignation letters are often basically a statement of an agenda. And in this case, it wasn't just a resignation letter. Essentially it was a press release that you could almost read into, oh, at the end, buy my book. He didn't say that, but it seemed clear that there was something more coming here.

The challenge for prosecutors in these cases, prosecutors take a long time for a reason. And it's because they don't want to indict somebody and then lose. They want a conviction. So, I have some sympathy for Merrick Garland who is really getting pounded by the left every day because Donald Trump isn't in jail.

COATES: Right.

HEYE: And the reality is, if he indicts Donald Trump and loses, well, then why was he indicted? So you need to have an air tight case as you can have. That's why these take a while.

COATES: It also suggest Maria, that, although, again, there was a conviction at the Trump organization. Obviously, that's an entity as opposed to an individual, Allen Weisselberg, obviously, going to be serving, I think, a few months at Riker's as part of his plea agreement.

But there is then -- that was a civil matter. There is still an appetite for a criminal prosecution, as you well know. But to that point, do you think that the patience collectively is waning especially among Democrats about what to do, but.

CARDONA: Absolutely.

COATES: I mean, that, yes. There is though. I'll answer my own question. Yes, there is (inaudible). The next now until the question for you though is, what do you do about it?

CARDONA: Well, I think that is where you can have to take into consideration, and it's hard because we have no idea what the D.A. has, right? That's part of the frustration. And I don't know if there is a way for him to come out, to your point, and say one way or the other without giving it all up.

Because yes, we are impatient. And if this is not going to amount to anything, and the D.A. already knows this isn't going to amount to anything, then that's one thing. And I think that that is, you know, something that everybody will be pissed off at some point if that ever is found out.

But, again, if there is a possibility that this investigation, and let's remember, Pomerantz has not been there for, what, over a year. So, he doesn't really know, like, what has gone on in the last year, right? Michael Cohen was brought in for interviews and he is like, you know, part and parcel of everything that was happening with Donald Trump. And so, maybe it is still happening. Maybe it is really ongoing and he is buttoning it up. Let's hope he's buttoning it up because, yes, our patience is waning.

COATES: Well, Simon and Schuster does intend to still publish. I think it's -- it will be out on February 7th.

CARDONA: Is there anything that can be done to stop that, by the way? (Inaudible).

COATES: Well, that's -- that's the million-dollar question. We'll see what happens, you know, on February 7th.


But Pomerantz did tell this to the "Washington Post, quote, "I am confident that all of my actions with respect to Trump investigations, including the writing of my forthcoming book are consistent with my legal and ethical obligations." So, whether we'll see it or not, February 7th.

Everyone, stick around because there's a decision being made on possible charges in the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's movie "Rust" set to be announced tomorrow. And the big question everyone is waiting to hear is what will it mean and will there be any charges.


COATES: Well, tomorrow, authorities in New Mexico are going to announce expectedly the decision as to whether any charges are going to be filed in the fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust" back in 2021.


Remember that Alec Baldwin was holding a gun on the film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in October of 2021 when the gun discharged. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed. And director, Joel Souza, was also injured.

One of the major question during the nearly a year and a half investigation, was why was there a live round inside the prop gun? Well, I guess we're going to find out tomorrow if anyone will be charged.

Also, prosecutors are laying out their case against Brian Walshe, accused of killing his missing wife, Ana. And they claim that his google searches allegedly tell the whole story.