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CNN Tonight

David Crosby, Legendary Singer And Songwriter, Dead At 81; Supreme Court Says It Has Yet To Identify Who Leaked Draft Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade; San Francisco Reparations Committee Proposes A $5 Million Payment To Each Eligible Black Resident; Reparations Of Blacks In San Francisco At $5 Million; New York's Third District Voters Seeking George Santos Resignation; Newport News School Board Meeting Hears Parent's Complaints After Shooting. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 19, 2023 - 22:00   ET




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

And we have stunning news tonight, Alec Baldwin facing criminal charges in the deadly shooting on the set of the movie Rust. Prosecutors planning to charge the star with involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after she was struck in the chest by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun held by Baldwin back in 2021. We've got an in-depth hour on those charges against Alec Baldwin and the armorer on that set later in the show.

And there is also some very sad news tonight on the death of a folk rock icon. David Crosby has died at the age of 81. His family says after a long illness, he has succumbed. David Crosby is one of the founding members of The Byrds in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and his music, for so many, was really the soundtrack of 60s and decades to follow in his genre in particular. And who could forget songs like, well, like this.

I want to bring in CNN's Bill Weir who interviewed Bill Crosby for the CNN documentary, Woodstock at 50, also Greg Harris, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Glad to have you here and lean on your expertise on this icon in particular.

I want to begin with you, Bill, if I can, because you enter viewed David Crosby for the CNN documentary Woodstock at 50. Tell me about some of the highlights during your time speaking with him.

BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it was the second time I hung out with Cros he's hands down one of the top three. He's on Mt. Rushmore of interview subjects. Not just because I'm a huge music fan of his era but because he's one of the most honest and open books at this stage in his life. His whole life at this -- when I met him around 2005 and then through the years we had kept in touch, he had been through heroin and cocaine addiction, he had been in jail in Texas, he'd had eight stint in his heart, he had a liver transplant. His son that he had given up for adoption in the 60s, they were reunited later in life and was a musician and they actually recorded and toured together. And so he was just sort of grateful and sort of sheepish about the fact that he didn't expect to survive his contemporaries, like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, but, wow, what a life he lived.

And at the time, he was recording five albums in five years of new music. He was not just content to play CSNY, he had all of this stuff he wanted to get down. And I asked him about it. There was a song at that time, he recorded, that the lyric is I've been thinking a lot about dying and how to do it well. And that led to this question.


WEIR: The burst of creativity that you've had is thinking about death. Do you think about how you want to be remembered?

DAVID CROSBY, ARTIST: Not so much. The songs will do that. They're the best I could do. That's the weird thing, everybody's scared to talk about. The question is, what are you going to do with it? How do you spend that two weeks or that ten years. And I got that figured out, family, music, because it's the only thing I can do.


WEIR: He's such a complicated, interesting guy. He can be lovable. He could be a complete porcupine and burned a lot of bridges, including band mates. But, man, what a legacy of songwriting and that voice that he left.

COATES: I mean, what a chance to have that interview and to have his words and the poignancy of it. Greg, I want to know from you, I mean, what was your reaction when you first heard the news of his passing today?

GREG HARRIS, ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME PRESIDENT AND CEO: You know, thank you, Laura, and it was -- it seemed like he was bullet proof, right? This is a guy that went through a lot, always seemed to come back for more. And then the other thing I thought about and everybody, I think, in music, is just that harmony, that vocal harmony that is truly the cornerstone of the California sound. And that was a very, very important piece.


You know, The Byrds were significant, they were Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for their impact and influence. They were inducted in '91. And, of course, Crosby, Stills and Nash were inducted. They came in in '97. And just picture each of those bands without that harmony, without that sound.

And then the other thing that was really amazing that came through in the interview that you did is just he had a joy for music. It was a magic and sometimes that's what the more troubled things are elsewhere when you're making music, that's where everything is perfect and everything is one. And, I think that he shared that in his induction speech, that he talked about that music is alchemy and magic, and you could feel that and sense that.

So, a bitter sweet for us in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we lost a two-time inductee.

COATES: In fact, I want to play a little bit from that induction speech when he said some of what you were talking about. Let's listen in.


CROSBY: Music is magic. Music bridges the gap between human beings, that each man is an island stuff, that's true, but music does bridge that gap. It's been mankind's universal language since mankind started. I don't want us to forget that in the business part of it. It is a transcendent magic. We are privileged to be allowed to do it.


COATES: Bill, when you think about those words and just, the man behind the music, he wasn't always alone, obviously. He was very much somebody who was talked about in the same conversation with his former band mates and there's a lot of controversy, conflict and the like. What did he say to you about them splitting up? Did he ever think they would resolve their differences?

WEIR: He was sort of resigned to the fact that he had frankly pissed them off so badly over the years and owned it, and he said he was horrible to them, not the least of which was becoming a full blown addict in front of them. He talked about that.

But that's what's so interesting, his talent at just at the right time, right? You know, he dropped out of college. He's a sort of Southern California kid, dad was a cinematographer in Hollywood. He falls into a band with Roger McGuinn and the former The Byrds, eight miles high, turn, turn, turn. So, you want to be a rock and roll star. But then they couldn't get along. They break up. And then he forged this super group, where he -- the first time they harmonized at Momma Casas (ph) at the Mommas and the Poppas, their house in with Graham Nash and Steven Stills, they looked at each other and knew. And they also knew that it would be Crosby, Stills and Nash because Nash, Stills and Crosby sounds like a law firm and just came together.

And then when Neil Young came by at Joni Mitchell's house say, I want to join the band, and they were like, what can you do, and he says, have you heard me sing with Graham Nash and (INAUDIBLE) play a guitar. And they brought him on. But, at the end they weren't talking to each another anymore. And it was either insulting a spouse or something that -- Cros said he was hugely selfish, he had a huge ego. Well, that broke my heart because when you look at Woodstock, the film, their second set ever was at 3:00 in the morning on Monday. So, 5,000 people, half of them were probably asleep. The beauty of that, the little trio on stage there, and so I asked Cros about the breakups.


WEIR: if the four guys who gave us these incredible harmonies can't exist conflict-free, what hope is there for the rest of us?

CROSBY: always remember, those four guys were in conflict long before Woodstock and long after Woodstock. Woodstock was the bright, shiny day, it was the exception. Woodstock was a glimpse of what we could have.


WEIR: Of course, he was a proud flaming liberal and very much vocal both in protest songs during the Vietnam era, against the George W. Bush presidency. He was totally engaged in the news. That's how we sort of became friendly. But just a fascinating, interesting, really smart guy.

COATES: You know, Greg, Bill mentioned the phrase, super group, and Cream was, I guess, the first super group, but then Crosby, Stills and Nash was the first American super group. Tell us about that.

HARRIS: Yes. As Bill mentioned, and, by the way, Bill, that was a wonderful lesson in Laurel Canyon history there, terrific. But you have The Byrds, who are just massive, and they're defining that sound, right? They're defining that Southern California sound. And then you have the Buffalo Springfield, also very successful, and the members of those bands come together, and that's where you get Crosby, Stills and Nash and then eventually Young joining.


And what's remarkable is so often that happens and it's not what you are hoping for. And in a way, the combination of those voices and the weaving of those voices in the music, just think about wooden chips. I think we led in with that today. If you just hear that song and close your eyes, you get goosebumps. And it's the 158,000th time you heard it, you still get the goosebumps.

So, they're defining this sound that is associated with this Southern California and arguably without these bands, without The Byrds, without Crosby, Stills and Nash, you don't have The Eagles, you don't have where country rock goes later in the 70s. That just doesn't happen. And David Crosby was a massive cornerstone to that piece. And it's a shame they weren't together constantly and where would that have gone? But what they left us is just remarkable and we're going to celebrate it here at the museum forever.

COATES: Well, that's, to his point, the idea, and in his own words, music is magic, it bridges the gap between human beings. For a lot of people, they felt the gap lessen because of the music of him. So, thank you both tonight.

WEIR: You bet.

HARRIS: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Well, everyone, later tonight, we're going to have a deep dive into the charges against Alec Baldwin. And when we come back, the Supreme Court saying they still have not figured out who leaked that draft opinion that ultimately ended up overturning of Roe v. Wade last year.

We're going to take a quick break right now as we remember the legendary icon, David Crosby.



COATES: So, here are some numbers for you to chew over, 126 interviews of 97 people, employees admitting, sharing details with their spouses and the Supreme Court still has not figured out who leaked that draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade last year. So, what does all this mean for the court ahead of what looks like another contentious year with a whole lot of very important issues?

Joining me now to discuss, Irin Carmon, Senior Correspondent at New York Magazine and co-author of Notorious RBG, and CNN Legal Analyst Steve Vladeck. I'm glad that you are both here, because, I'm telling you, I've been looking through this, and, of course, many of us are watching this and seeing this when it first leaked and thought, man, who did this, get to the bottom of it quickly and I wonder how it will impact the integrity of the court. But then I saw in the review, I'll start with you here, Steve, it's being touted this investigation as very thorough. But, did I miss something that mentioned specifically whether the justices themselves or the spouses were actually interviewed? Did you see anything about that?

STEVE VLADECK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laura, if you missed it, I missed it. I mean, I think if we're measuring thoroughness about whether the investigation was conducted by Inspector Clouseau, where the (INAUDIBLE) cops, then that would be one thing. But this has all the hallmarks of an investigation that was never seriously intended to actually find what it was looking for, not asking for polygraphs from any of the dozens of employees who were interviewed, not asking the justices, not asking the justices' family members if they had knowledge of the leak. In some cases, basically, asking the employees to say, did you do it? And if they said, no, that was the end.

And I think, Laura, the question is why would the court be so invested in not actually getting to the bottom of it. And I think the answer is because no resolution is probably better at this point than a resolution that is going to piss off half the country, where it's identified as someone from one side of the aisle.

COATES: It's really intriguing, that aspect of, the idea of not actually ever seriously intending, and perhaps that is the truth. I wonder if you can weigh in on this, Irin, because, I wonder if you don't interview the people who have drafted the opinions, and, of course, the American public is looking at this and saying to themselves, okay, I wonder what's going on already behind closed door, outside of the eye of the public in the oral arguments, when the justices are trying to convince one another, they're exchanging drafts back and forth, trying to nudge one in one direction, we almost had the sense initially that this might be something to either to lock a position in or to encourage somebody to change based on the fallout. How do you see this investigation? IRIN CARMON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, Laura, I just checked and it's been seven hours since I reached out to the Supreme Court's public information office asking them the exact question that we've been discussing here, which is did they interviewed the justices, and if they did not interview the justices, why not? Since seven hours, I haven't gotten any response. I happen to know that multiple other reporters reached out to the public information office, have not heard back as far as I can't see anything published.

And so I guess I'm left wondering, why do this at all? As Steve said, it shows that there's no particular appetite to find out who leaked it but there were under no obligation to conduct this type of investigation. There were under no obligation to write this super weird report that on the one hand is very revealing and on the other doesn't really tell us that much.

Ultimately, this is a decision that affected the lives of millions of people, continues to affect the lives of millions of people, and this, on some level, was a sideshow. And on the other hand, it shows us how very unaccountable and how very secretive this institution is.

COATES: I mean, the story of Washington D.C. in the past several weeks has been people don't really know how to handle documents, it seems, especially documents that are very important to the way we order our lives or to our feelings of person security and autonomy and agency, perhaps.

And I wonder, in terms of the lesson here, because it's not looked at in a vacuum, right, Steve, much to Irin's point. The idea that there's already questions about the credibility of the court, the integrity that whether it's political or not, of course, they've been fighting the perception that they should be regarded as anything less than objective, and yet, when this happened, will this have a negative impact?


And I just wonder how the public sees the court, but, really how they interact with each other.

VLADECK: Laura, I think there's no question. I mean, I think when the justices publicly go out and say, you know, we're going to have a hard time trusting each other, right, this is going to change how we function behind the scenes, that has to be right. And I think we saw the one thing in the report that actually made sense was some of the information technology-related recommendations about modernizing the court's infrastructure, about actually imposing the kinds of security protocols that every other government entity and law firm when it needs to.

And, frankly, I think that there's a lesson there, it's that this is a court that has become so cloistered from the political branches. This is exactly the kind of thing that, as recently as 15, 20 years ago, would have been the invitation to some kind of inner branch dialog, hey, Congress, we could use some more money for new technology, hey Congress, we could use help figuring out how to create a meaningful, secret, secure system, right, in the building.

And you look at something like the chief justice' year-end report, Laura, this anodyne just sort of the now statement that John Roberts put out on New Year's Eve, where there were all these opportunities to talk about, how Congress could help, how the courts could benefit from being a part of this inner branch conversation, and instead all talks about is judicial security.

So, to me, I mean, Irin is right, like the real question is why do this report? I think it's of a piece with this mentality that there is absolutely nothing rotten in Denmark and people could stop complaining that there is, when the report itself is actually evidence of all the ways in which that's just not true and whether you like what the court is doing on the merits or dislike what the court is doing on the merits, this really just is not how we would expect an institution to function in a healthy system.

COATES: Well, Irin, I will give you the last word really quickly. I want to hear your reaction to that idea of a healthy institution.

CARMON: I mean, I think it's clear that the Supreme Court being left to do this by their own devices is not working. I mean, I liked the part where they said that they couldn't actually track the printing because they have so many printers and some of the printers were not even (INAUDIBLE) with each other. So, to say that this investigation was thorough, it was perhaps a thorough investigation through a very (INAUDIBLE).

COATES: Well, we will have to wait and see if anything ever ultimately comes from this, or maybe somebody will raise their hand and say, it was me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me, Taylor Swift-style, who knows. Thank you so much for your time, both of you.

CARMON: Thank you.

VLADECK: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Look, $5 million, that is what a San Francisco committee is proposing giving to every eligible black resident as reparations. I'll tell you more about that, next.



COATES: Well, we have a major development in San Francisco, an advisory committee on African-American reparations releasing a proposal that would include a one-time payment of $5 million to each eligible black resident to address institutional harms inflicted on black Americans.

Now, the committee, it actually has no authority to implement this recommendation, but the proposal will be considered by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Let's talk about it now with former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh and CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney.

It is important and we're sitting thinking about and reading it going, is it a one-time payment, $5 million to each are or total in full, because, again, there was a case in Evanston, Illinois, where they had a similar plan, not that amount, it was $25,000 per person instead. But here on the screen, they show this lump-sum payment. And this is going to be a contentious issue. I mean, the idea of reparations more broadly has remained a contentious issue for a variety of reasons. What do you make of this proposal?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, given that the committee doesn't have the ability to actually make this happen, it seemed like more of a messaging opportunity to say, we've got to reckon with slavery. And I do think that that, to my mind, is what we have to as a country have a conversation, like we need truth and reconciliation about not just the harms of slavery in terms of the ability to generate and generational wealth.

But, when we talk about red-lining when we talk about what happened with the G.I. bill, after World War II, when African-Americans -- World War I, when African-Americans came home and were treated like second-class citizens or when we're talking about social security. I mean, there are structural, systemic policies that prevented African- Americans from even -- we talk a lot about we want everybody to start at the same place, but there are a lot of people in this country that never even had a chance to get to the starting block.

I also think we have to acknowledge that it is a very divisive issue. And my concern about something like this is that it -- unless we talk about truth and reconciliation, it hands MAGA Republicans another bat to hit with.

COATES: Is it ammunition?

JOE WALSH, HOST, WHITE FLAG PODCAST: Completely. Look, I'm a white conservative and I agree with everything Karen just said. This country desperately needs a tough, honest conversation about reparations. You mentioned Evanston, Illinois, there are a number of localities to implement reparations on a small scale, a good place to start. But, my God, for San Francisco, to propose $5 million per eligible resident, no matter the details, Laura, Republicans will pounce. Look at what DeSantis it doing right now in Florida, just pushing this racial stuff. He knows that his voters don't even want to deal with our racial history. This will just feed, I think, Republicans like that more ammunition.


COATES: It is this testament to the power of a headliner and a sound bite to go of freedom, rip it, and then have some (inaudible). I will say, there are eligibility requirements just to figure out (inaudible). They got to be 18 years of age or older, have been identified as black or African-American on public documents for at least 10 years and meet two of eight additional criteria, including having been born or migrated between 1940 and 1996. Having been incarcerated by the failed war on drugs is one category or being the -- direct descendant of somebody who was. Being a descendant of someone who was enslaved through U.S. chattel slavery before 1865, and there are a number including, what you mentioned, formerly redlined communities.

And so, when you think about this, this is probably the task that so many different localities are grappling with and the idea of how do you determine eligibility, if you are to get pass that political hurdle of saying "let's do this?"

FINNEY: Right.

COATES: How do you do it, because then that's where the rubber meets the road and more ammunition comes. Having said that, you mentioned (inaudible) reconciliation (ph). The South African, you know, truth and reconciliation, the words of, or speaking for a moment, the meetings they had and the hearings, excuse me, the hearings on these issues, very powerful and at least coming to terms in addressing what was the obvious, more than elephant in the room.

But, I wonder, we've had these conversations many times in this country, acknowledging the ills of slavery, the evils of slavery, the long history and its current impact. And yet, it seems to fall on deaf ears, even when numbers like this come up.

FINNEY: Well, like I said, I mean, you know, one of the things that I don't like, and I grew up in the bay area and so I feel like can say this. One of the things I don't like about this and it's a little bit too out there because, come on, you're not going to give $5 million to 100,000 people. Let's say that's how many -- that would bankrupt the city. So, it sort of lacks a little bit of seriousness where, you know, the other example you gave, $25,000 per person, and I --

COATES: He fought that too, though.

FINNEY: Of course, he did, but there was at least a level of here's something we can do, where there are universities who are looking at, okay, some of our founders may have been slave owners. What can we -- what can we realistically do? But again, that's why I said that we have to start with real truth and reconciliation because we need a shared agreement about the harms of chattel slavery.

We need a shared agreement that if, well, I mean, there are people in this country who still revere Robert E. Lee, I happen to be related to him. There are people in my own family who won't say "he was a bad guy," right? So, we have to be able to agree on some basics before I think we could have a real conversation about what reparations can look like, which is probably why you're seeing it on the local level.

WALSH: It's a divisive issue. Democrats shouldn't be afraid to really lean into. This isn't helpful to that.

COATES: Well, we will see what -- it helps when it happens, again, in what they do in San Francisco. Speaking of what might be helpful in leaning into problems and contentious issues, can Congress do anything about George Santos? I spoke to a Republican member of the House Oversight Committee about that today. We'll tell you what he said, next.



COATES: Well, there are new developments tonight in the George Santos saga. A group of residents in his own district issuing an open letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, calling themselves concerned citizens of New York Three. The group called out the freshman congressman for being an impostor and pushed for McCarthy to stand up against Santos, writing quote, "Each day that goes by that George Santos occupies a seat in the House is an insult the 700,000 plus residents of the third district and the Country at large. We ask that you immediately withdraw your support for Santos and seek his resignation."

Joe Walsh and Karen Finney are back with me now. And joining us is CNN national politics reporter Eva McKend, also joining this evening. Is it -- first of all, I mean, it's obvious that what's happening in Washington, D.C. is impacting the people within his own district. They're hearing about this; they're learning about this. They were the ones who were voting, whether they voted for him or not. They had the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choosing, but they assumed, of course, as we all should that the candidates are who they say they are going to be.

I wonder if this letter that gives indication about what they want to happen, you know, they can't do anything about it for two more years unless McCarthy or others say something about it. I had a chance today to speak to Congressman Scott Perry out of Pennsylvania and asked him about this and what he makes of the idea that he's still in Congress. Listen to this.


REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): It does seem like it's a fraudulent choice. Unfortunately, there's not much of a remedy at least that I know in Congress. Now, if there's a remedy in his state to recall him based on potentially fraudulent accusation or claims made to get elected, then I think that's fully within the purview of that state and the electorate. I just don't know that there is in this case.


COATES: So, spoiler alert, there isn't anything.

FINNEY: Congress could actually decide, I mean, learn your job, Scott Perry. Actually, they could vote to remove him from -- Congress could take a vote, as I understand it. And if you go through the ethics committee process, you could then seek to remove him. And they could speed along the ethics committee process, or as we've, you know, said before, they could have not put him on committees, particularly where there's money flowing in and out the door.


You know, it's a little rich, I have to say hearing from Scott Perry because of the other issues on this issue because I have other issues with him. But, look, I think it's clear this is an example of how weak a speaker McCarthy is. I mean, he needs George Santos and George Santos knows he is probably safest sitting in Congress rather than stepping -- so, he's not going to step down and it doesn't look like McCarthy's going to do anything.

COATES: Was that point, Eva, I mean, the idea there wasn't -- there's not been a political repercussion, I mean, the attempt to shame, the attempt to, in his words, talking to our own Don Lemon you'll say, have a pile on of accusation against him. There's been things that he has admitted to lying about, but is this really the answer to the old question, "have you no shame?". Nope.

EVA MCKAND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, apparently not, Laura. And I think it's kind of like both a blessing and a curse of our system that it isn't -- that it is so difficult to remove someone from elected office. And that's because the people's choice is held in such high regard.

But what that letter says from those constituents in the third district of New York is this was not the choice that we made. The person that we voted for, we don't know this person. And so, I think you asked, well, what can they do? They are doing all that they can, right? But they have limited power, but they can continue to try to put pressure on their representatives.

I think that is why we saw the New York Republicans coming and calling for Santos to resign because they are hearing from their constituents who are squeaky wheels here and want them to take action.

COATES: You know, I think (inaudible), there's a lot of people talking about even the committee (inaudible) you're alluding to in part about members of Congress including Santos who has a committee assignment, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Paul Gosar had been stripped previously now have him back and how, by the way. I asked Congressman Perry about his own assignment to the oversight committee, given that there have been allegations of a conflict of interest, conversations around January 6th. Listen to his answer.


PERRY: So, since I'm not a target, I don't see why I should be, you know, considered unworthy or unable to investigate, the malfeasance and the overreach of the federal government. As a matter of fact, since I'm not a target, yet they seized my cellphone, I'm particularly the guy that should be on that committee and others like me should be on the committee because we all know all full too well what it's like to be persecuted unjustly and unduly by the enormous and immense power of the federal government.


COATES: What do you say to that, Joe?

WALSH: I say, and not to defend Perry, but he's the Republican Party. He's an election denier. He's a January 6th sympathizer. That should be absolutely fringe. But Laura, it's not fringe in this Republican Party. It's not fringe in that Republican caucus.

Get rid of Scott Perry, get rid of Marjorie Taylor Greene. As we've said before, good luck finding someone to put on that committee, a Republican who is not an election denier, not a January 6th sympathizer. That's just the reality. This is most of this caucus now.

COATES: But the idea that there's no conflict of interest. What do you make of that?

FINNEY: I think he's wrong on that. I mean, a couple of things, you know, remember that he flouted the January 6th committee when they asked him to appear. So, why should we take him seriously on any oversight committee? I mean, I would flip his own answer back on him.

And the conflict of interest, there are -- I think at least 10 election deniers who actively worked and there's been new reporting, I believe CNN has verified that shows that Congressman Perry was more involved, actually, around some of the election, not just the denialism, but the attempt to put in a different attorney general, what have you.

So, is that someone who should be sitting on an oversight committee, someone who -- particularly given that Trump is running for office, is his goal going to be oversight or denigrating Joe Biden to make him a weak candidate.

MCKEND: I just want to note the chair of the committee didn't -- did vote to certify the election. Wasn't, you know, part of the many House Republicans that didn't vote to -- that was in that camp of election denialism. So, we should at least give him some credit there.

COATES: That's an important point. And again, it's one in which many are looking at and saying, hold on to the large issues of Santos and beyond. The American people have chosen their representatives, assuming they did not have somebody who lied about their -- who they really were or their platforms.

But the fact that we don't have a real mechanism other than the long process that's been a very rarely used process, does speak volumes about, perhaps the loophole that maybe lawmakers want to look into.

Well, there are new details tonight about the school shooting where, do you remember this story, a 6-year-old allegedly shot his teacher. We'll speak to someone who was there right after this.



COATES: We're learning tonight that the Virginia teacher who was shot in the chest inside the classroom allegedly by a 6-year-old boy is now out of the hospital. Officials say Abby Zwerner was released earlier this week. And the boy's family is putting out a statement today calling the incident an unimaginable tragedy and claiming the gun was secured before the shooting. The Newport News Public School did not respond when CNN asked for a comment. But parents who are angry, fearful, and frustrated about the shooting vented at a school board meeting just this week.


COLLEEN RENTHROPE, PARENT OF TWO STUDENTS IN NEWPORT NEWS SCHOOL DISTRICT: I send my kids to school and find myself praying to God that they will return home safely.


KIMBERLY SLAYDON, PARENT OF THREE STUDENTS IN NEWPORT NEWS SCHOOL DISTRICT: Don't want to have a family dinner where I talk about where my kids will hide in their school.

DESIREE YVETTE, PARENT OF CHILD IN CLASSROOM WHERE TEACHER WAS SHOT: She's terrified because the person that was advocating for her got hurt. She got hurt. You guys should have been defending and protect her when she came or whoever came and said that there was a possible weapon in that child's backpack or otherwise.


COATES: Joining me now is Lowanda Sample-Rusk --. Her grandson attends the school and she was actually there the day of the shooting and gave first aid to that teacher. Also, with me CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. Glad to have you both here. Let me begin with you Lowanda because you were actually going to the school to pick up your grandson that day, saw this teacher who was touching and clutching her body, and you saw that she was bleeding. And you helped to provide some kind of first aid. What was going through your mind? What did you think happened?

LOWANDA SAMPLE-RUSK, GRANDSON ATTENDS RICHNECK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Well, at that point, we knew that a teacher had been shot. We knew that someone had been shot. Because another school official came into the office where I was, signing up my grandson, and let us know that there was a shooter and that someone had been shot, of course.

Within a few minutes then, Ms. Zwerner, came into the office holding her hand and stating that she had been shot and to call 9-1-1. At that point, she laid out on the floor and she, you know, she was in a lot of distress. It was really scary. It was very scary. We did know what to do. I didn't know really exactly what to do. So, someone just yelled, put pressure on her wound. And at that point, she was on the floor, and I did that.

COATES: Oh my god. The trauma of what happened and what that must of been like, obviously, for her and for you, trying to piece everything together. What have you made of the school's reaction in response? There are reports about whether the gun was secure, why, of course, he had it in the first place. What have you made of the school's response to now?

SAMPLE-RUSK: Well, up until -- as far as the school's response to the shooting, once the teacher came into the office and there were others in the office as well, two secretaries and then someone else came into the office. So, once they got into the -- once the teacher was secure and the school's response, they were doing everything they could to make sure that the children, the other children in the school were safe because at that point, we knew it was a shooter.

We didn't know who it was, where it was before Ms. Zwerner came into the office. We didn't know who it was. So, that was the panic there. But afterwards, once we found out then we -- everything kind of calmed down a little bit. And then I guess they were communicating over the walkies all over the phones from the classrooms and we were told that the person that was shooting, the child, had been secured, that they had -- someone else had the child.

COATES: Juliette, when you hear this, of course, you know, your training and expertise is contemplating in many scenarios, the worst- case scenario of what to do, how to avert this from happening, how to solve the problem, how to react. What do you think of when you hear about some of the changes that are being proposed, including things like clear backpacks, the idea of forcing students to have a search or other mechanisms. What do you think of all that?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, we always go to defensive measures rather than intervention. And I -- I don't -- we don't know all the facts yet, but I'm just going to tell you from our reporting, there's two moments where there should have been an intervention. The first, of course, is what does it mean -- what do the parents mean to say that the gun is secure?

It's just -- that's just not factually accurate. I mean, it just -- it can't possibly be. Maybe they thought it was secure, was not secure to their six-year-old. The second factual question we have is, there is a time period that the school knows that there might be a gun on campus. They, at least by reporting, search his backpack, the child's backpack, they do not see it.

Did they not go to him and try to isolate him. This is a child, described by the parents, not me, described by the parents as having educational disorders. I don't remember their exact language. And also, strong oversight by the parents because of behavioral mental issues. So, those are my two intervention points.

So, before I get all the kids locking down and clear backpacks, the adults never did anything. And so, let's just focus on the adults. Virginia has no requirement to secure a weaponry in a home with children.


It's not even clear, in this case, that the law is going to cover this case because the law is complicated in terms of recklessness. The reckless law that you hear people talk about is only if the victim is under 14, not if the shooter is under 14. So, we're going to have to see if there's any legal claims or against the adults. I think we really need to focus on the intervention by adults at this stage. It's a 6-year-old child who had issues before and the interventions were not taken.

COATES: Well, Lowanda, the focus ought to be as well on the children who were impacted, and I certainly hope that your grandson is okay, as are the other students in the school who are grappling with what could have been, and the parents, like myself, I am a mommy of school age children, and to hear about gun violence again in a school is really disturbing. Thank you, Lowanda. Thank you very much.

SAMPLE-RUSK: You're very welcome.

COATES: Speaking of gun violence and what can possibly go wrong, well, Alec Baldwin facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting on the set of one of his movies. Blind side is the word he used and how his attorney is using to describe the way that Alec Baldwin now feels. We got a deep dive into all those charges, after this.