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CNN Tonight

New Video Of Four Americans Hours Before The Kidnapping; Silicon Valley Bank Shut Down, Second Biggest Failure In U.S. History; Rep. George Santos Implicated In A Card Skimming Scheme By Former Roommate; Biggest Night On Hollywood To Be Hosted By Jimmy Kimmel; To Be Called Ma'am Or Miss. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 10, 2023 - 22:00   ET




BILL MAHER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You just had to keep them alive. So, he was always running away. And also, yes, then gave up the crown when he could have gone the other way and also that he was so prescient. He is the one who said, political party is going to be the death of us. Once we get into that kind of factional thinking and look at all these years later, that's really how it turned out.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You can catch more of Bill during Real Time with Bill Maher every Friday night at 10:00 P.M. on HBO and his post- show segment, Overtime, which airs right here on CNN Fridays at 11:30 P.M. Eastern.

CNN TONIGHT with Alisyn Camerota is next.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Friday evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.

You just watched Bill Maher in a one-on-one with Jake Tapper. Stick around until 11:30 Eastern Time and we will bring you an even more unplugged Bill Maher. You will see what he and his guests talk about after the show. That's Overtime with Bill Maher right here on CNN.

Until then, we've got a lot to talk about so are going to will show you this new video taken by one of the Americans kidnapped in Mexico. And it shows what was happening in the car right after they crossed over the border. Then there is a two-hour gap of time before they are surrounded by the cartel. We will tell you what we know about where they went.

And George Santos strikes again. This time, he's accused of running a credit card skimming operation in Seattle.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I'm innocent, never did anything of criminal activity and I'm no mastermind of anything. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Plus, the last Oscar ceremony brought us the slap heard around the world. So, what's in store for this Sunday night broadcast? Our panel brings us a preview.

So, let's meet our panel, here with me, my this week real husband, L.Z. Granderson, my favorite fearful flyer Molly Jong-Fast, also Mondaire Jones, the former congressman with the most infectious laugh, ever, and former Senate candidate and big tipper Joe Pinion. And joining us, someone I don't well -- know well, yet to give a pet name, retired NYPD Detective Marq Claxton. Detective, thanks so much for being here with us. Thanks to all of you.

Detective, I do want to start with you about the new information that we have about the Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico, because it turns out that one of them in the car was live streaming part of their road trip into Mexico. And so they crossed over the bridge from Brownsville into Matamoros, and let me play you a little portion of what they were seeing and saying.

Basically, he is just -- he's taping what their seeing. He's saying, you all don't know what it's like in Mexico, to his friends or whoever's watching that livestream, and then what happens is that's at 9:18 in the morning because there's a timestamp in all of that and CNN has been able to geolocate that. That's at 9:18 A.M.

Then there is a two-hour break in the time period when it looks like authorities don't know what was happening with them except that they were not going in the right direction of the doctor's office. And then we pick up again at 11:12 A.M. That's when a gray Volkswagen begins following their van and then half an hour later they are surrounded by the cartel. So, put on your detective hat and tell us what all that means to you.

MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: What it means is we should be in for a lot of conflicting and contradictory stories about some of the events surrounding what has occurred down there in Mexico because, large part, we are outside of control of the investigation and much of the information that's coming forward. There is going to be a lot of -- you can really predict and count on some contradictory information coming forward and we, sitting here in the United States, have to really rely heavily on Mexican authorities who have notoriously been subjected to corruption allegations through our time.

So, to challenge that the investigation will have, until the State Department and perhaps the DEA, with its access, its bilateral ranges that we have and maybe immigrant and customs enforcement can have some individuals embedded into the investigation itself so that we can, of course, trust but verify the information coming out of Mexico.

CAMEROTA: And, Detective, what about that two hour break-in time? Can't GPS or phone data capture where they were?

CLAXTON: Yes. [22:05:00]

They should be, based on pinging the phone, pretty much to be able to detail their travels for their two-hour period of time. And that's what is possible as we move forward. All of a sudden, you will get more information about their whereabouts during that two-hour period, but what's been part and the frustration that we're going have because this investigation is outside of U.S. control at this time.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Detective, stick with us, if you would, I want to bring in one on the panel. Congressman, do we trust the Mexican authorities to tell us the truth about this?

MONDAIRE JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We can't trust the Mexican authorities to control their own people in the country of Mexico, right? This is a place where the cartels literally have control over parts of the country which, you know, candidly, is an indication of a failed state, like in the normal context.

I was listening to the president of Mexico respond to comments made by Lindsey Graham about sending in support, military support, and let me be the first to say I don't support sending in ground troops but I do think there should be intelligence sharing. I mean, we certainly help in other countries when there are insurgence, like the cartel in Mexico.

CAMEROTA: But isn't there intelligence sharing?

JONES: I would hope so. But, I mean, I think Mexican authorities now have an interest and appearing as though they did everything properly leading up to this point.

CAMEROTA: Joe, what do you see?

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think the problem is that we have to fill void, right? There's a two-hour gap in what the whereabouts of those poor victims were. There's also a multiday gap as far as what the news is going to be able to talk about. So, now, you see the suspicion rumor mill, were the people engaged in some nefarious behavior. We have no idea of what happen.

What we do know is, quite clear, that all roads lead to the fact that we have not secure the border, that we have surrendered vast portions of the Mexico border to the cartels and we have not interrupted that flow of fentanyl coming from China by care of the Chinese Communist Party that is bringing death to the doorsteps of urban, suburban and rural mothers alike.

So, I think that has to be the focus. Until this administration and this country, writ large, takes that threat of the cartels, of the fentanyl and all the intricacies related to that threat, nothing else is really going to matter and, unfortunately, people, like those poor victims, will continue to die.

CAMEROTA: On the fentanyl front this week, Michigan made the biggest bust in their state history of fentanyl. I'll read to you -- I will give you some perspective on this. The Michigan State Police say this was the largest seizure of fentanyl on a traffic stop in Michigan. This was a routine traffic stop. One kilo, so they found -- well, I'll keep reading. One kilo can produce approximately 500,000 fentanyl pills with a street value of approximately $1.5 million.

In total, this seizure will undoubtedly save lives as it disrupted the distribution of around 3 million fentanyl-laced pills with a total street value of $9 million. Just incredible the amount of a routine traffic stop, L.Z.

L.Z. GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: I mean, yes, but the good thing is that it was stopped. And I know that our mind wants to wonder and go, what about everything that wasn't caught, but I think it's good that we can say, hey, we are doing something and perhaps we can build on this.

I just want to go back to this motion of what Lindsey Graham said in terms of possibly sending in troops. Don't we occupy enough countries? Like we have to find other ways besides military to negotiate and to work with our neighbors on this hemisphere as well as around the world, and as soon as I read that, I just thought, holy cow, what brown country are we not going to invade?

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, as you know, Senator Graham is -- leans towards -- no, I mean, he leans towards in believing that military might can make right. And I think that part of what he was leaning into is we have not solved the fentanyl issue. So, what is the solution? We're obviously not negotiating enough. Obviously, Mexico isn't cracking down. So, what is the solution here?

MOLLY JONG-FAST, HOST, FAST POLITICS PODCAST: Oh, I will solve it, yes. I have many solutions. So, yes, I have many solutions in drug problems (ph). No. I would say, I mean I think what's scary about this is this could turn into an international incident with our neighbors, right? And the Mexican president does not seem excited to help.

There's a lot of blame going around and I think that ultimately could be the largely scarier implication of all of these.

PINION: Just to that point, I think almost the opposite, right? I mean, the cartels have gone so far as they sending their candygram and we shall not ever do this again, and here are the people that we have put forth that are going to claim responsibility. So, the cartels don't want to break up the money chain. The president of Mexico doesn't want to make sure that their economy, which dirty secret is running, in large part, in conjunction with the cartels and the drug money broken up.

So, again, whether we are talking about Baltimore, Chicago or the southern border, no one cares about the drugs. People care about the Americans and the bodies piling up. So, I think that's what we need to focus on.

JONG-FAST: But it's scary because they are our neighbors. And you don't want to have -- I mean, the goal is to not have a military conflict, so I know. [22:10:02]

JONES: To be fair to Lindsey Graham, I don't think he was talking about invading, I think he was talking about like hey, do you guys need help with this?

GRANDERSON: Kari Lake was talking about invading. So, I'm not going to put it over the fact that someone from that party may be actually thinks along those lines because we had a candidate who was very, very close becoming governor at a border state saying, send troops. So, that's --

JONG-FAST: Well, Kari Lake thinks she is governor right now.

GRANDERSON: I'm sure she does.

PINION: Look, I think that, again, it's this weird paradigm where if you can find one Republican that believes anything is now applied to the entire party, if you can find a caucus in the halls of Congress that are Democrats that believe (INAUDIBLE) somehow that's their position and no one else is. So, I just think, again, to the congressman's point, that, yes, there are individuals that are more apt to you want to escalate the situation. But at the end of the day, the one thing that we should all be able to agree on, it starts with an insecure border, it start with the fact that every single month we have enough fentanyl coming into this country to kill every man, woman and child --

CAMEROTA: Well, yes. And it starts with demand. I mean, it's what Mexico would say. It starts with demand. We also have to --

JONES: Policing the country in Mexico internally is in the interior, it's different from like a border issue, right? We are talking about a government that really gives tacit on approval, unfortunately, to the cartels and who relies on it for economic growth and that kind of thing.

And so I want to separate those issues. We do have to address the border but I don't think that like solve, like putting up a wall, for example --

PINION: I think to be clear, it's the money. It's always the money. The money is coming from the drugs. And, yes, I believe that it's different from how do you run a country and secure a border but there are many reasons why the fentanyl is coming in. It's the strain on the border, the various points in between, the actual ports of entry that we know that things are coming in illegally, it's not just the migrants, it's also the drugs, and we have to do everything to get that.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much. Detective, thank you as well for your expertise.

Meanwhile, a 48-hour bank run leads to one of the largest failures of a financial institution in American history. What this means for you and your bank, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CAMEROTA: All right. Silicon Valley Bank collapsed today after a 48- hour bank run. This is now the second largest failure of a financial institution in U.S. history. This happened after the bank sold a bunch of securities at a lost and said it would sell billions in new shares to shore up its balance sheet. That caused panic among venture capital firms. The bank, SVB, is a big lender to the tech industry.

Here to explain in English what all of this means for all of us, CNN Economics and Political Commentator Catherine Rampell. Catherine, great to see you. Can you tell us what really -- I mean, help us understand in layman's terms what caused this bank run.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will do my best. Basically, what happened was this was kind of a foreseeable consequence of rising interest rates. This bank happened to have bought a lot of assets that seem safe at the time. These are mortgage- backed securities which I think most people hear and I think means something really risky, in this case, it was not, but the problem was, as interest rates went up, this became an essentially a less valuable thing to hold because these were long-dated assets and the -- I'm thinking of a simple way to put this, but, basically, the things that the bank invested in turned out to be worth less as time went on.

And as a result, there was fear that the bank essentially wasn't worth, it didn't have as much value, it didn't have as much in assets as people would have liked. That became kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy because people got nervous, the depositors got nervous and started pulling their money out of the bank. And you get basically a classic bank run. If you have ever seen the movie, It's A Wonderful Life, it's kind of the same --

CAMEROTA: Oh, yes, George Bailey, I mean I was feeling for this. That is my one point of reference, is my point.

And so, Catherine, what does this mean for the rest of us and our banks?

RAMPELL: Well, to be clear, this is not on the level of what we saw during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. This bank does not appear to be nearly as systemically important as Lehman, for example. It's still not a good thing. There are a lot of depositors who are -- you know, these big Silicon Valley start-ups who are now going to have trouble making their payrolls this month, as a result, there is now some contagion already to other banks. People say, hey, that happened over there. Potentially, that could happen at First Republic Bank or one of these other banks that we have recently seen in the last couple of days. Depositors get nervous about stock prices have fallen quite a bit.

So, I don't think this is nearly as bad as had been the case again over a decade ago, but if you are one of the customers of this bank, it is obviously very scary for you, particularly if you had a deposit that was not fully ensured. The FDIC only ensures deposit up to $250,000. A lot of the depositors had more money than that in the bank, very bad news for you. And, of course, if you are at one of these other banks that is currently experiencing some of this financial contagion, I understand why you would nervous as well.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Catherine, one more big picture question. So, a lot of confusing indicators in the reports today. So, what do we need to know about inflation and the economy?

RAMPELL: The economy month after month has outperformed expectations. For the last 11 consecutive months, the jobs numbers have come in much stronger than had initially been predicted. And it's been a little bit of a puzzle about why.

Similarly, the inflation numbers last month also came in hotter than predicted. It sounds like the job numbers being better than expected would be a good, right? Normally, we want as many jobs being created as possible.

The problem right now is that that indicates that the economy may be overheating or may be at least hotter than the Fed is comfortable with, in which case it will be much more difficult to get inflation down.

The upside of all of this is, is the Fed may need to raise interest rates more aggressively than it had already planned to do in order to get inflation down which, in turn, raises the risk of a recession. Because it's difficult to get interest rates just high enough to cool inflation but not so high that it basically kills the economic recovery altogether.


It's hard to calibrate.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Catherine, thank you for all of that stick with us. My panel is back.

In other economic news connected to politics, I want to talk about what Nikki Haley proposed today. Oh, I look forward. Good, I'm glad you guys are laughing. I look forward what you're thoughts are on this. Because she is running for president, as we all know, the former governor. I am looking forward to this conversation.

So she said something that I think is a bold proposal that not many politicians will say out loud because they know it's not that popular. So --

JONES: Well then it's bad policy.

CAMEROTA: Right, it's bad policy. So, it's basically raising the age of retirement and social security. So, listen to what she said.


NIKKI HAILEY, REPULICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those that have invested in should keep what they have. We should not in any way jeopardize those that are already expecting something. This is about the new group coming in. This is my concern. They know already that they're not going to be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, what is the new group? Is it -- are you telling those 50 and over you are safe, 50 and under you are -- I just use that arbitrary number. What are you saying is the group that what you are saying, that's going to change?

HALEY: It's the new ones coming in. It's those in their 20s that are coming in. You' re coming to them and you're saying the game has changed.


CAMEROTA: Why is that not a real proposal?

JONG-FAST: I mean, in France they are protesting, raising the -- I mean --

CAMEROTA: But don't we have to do something? I mean, for 20 year old coming in, don't we have to rethink this and maybe recalibrate?

JONG-FAST: I mean, it's wildly unpopular. So, I think it's great that she is going to run on this. Good luck to her. I mean it's like running on -- people love social security and Medicare. They love it and they don't want anyone messing with it. That's the one thing we have learned, that in Obamacare, people love it.

CAMEROTA: Well, yes. Maybe it's unpopular, but it's also math. We are running out of this fund.

GRANDERSON: Yes, we are. But I think her version needs a lot more statistics and research. The thing that I have a problem with isn't that she's trying these ideas out, they just seem the arbitrary numbers without any sort of data to back up why she picked those numbers. And as you saw, the new group tells us nothing except there's might be another boy band coming.

CAMEROTA: She clarified that it was 20-something.

GRANDERSON: Yes. But 20-something still does not tell us anything. Why? Why 20-something, not, say, when you start school or --

JONG-FAST: Well -- but also why not raise taxes on the wealthy? I mean, there's the elephant in the room here. I mean --

JONES: Nikki Haley's proposal is not the only proposal. It's why Democrats have not adopted because it is bad policy. What she is proposing, let's be very clear, is a cut, maybe not for people who are currently in their 60s but certainly for their children or grandchildren. And so this is what Democrats mean when they say that Republicans want to cut benefits to social security and Medicare and then people like Nikki Haley said, no, we don't want to do that.

JONG-FAST: We just want to cut it. JONES: And it turns out her version at least is to cut it for people who are younger, who will eventually be beneficiaries, God willing, of social security and Medicare, when all you have to do is raise taxes on billionaires and millionaires so that -- with respect to social security, so that there is no longer a cap on that.


PINION: Specificity of language is important. I think that our political discourse across the political spectrum, people like to change the definitions of words when it's useful. I think it is a responsible conversation to have to simply say that FDR enacted social security for the purpose of having people who had outlived the point which most people died not spending their final days in squalor.

So, I don't think it's unreasonable for us to have a public discourse around of the fact that people are living longer, and that if America is not just the words on paper but a promise we make to our citizens and to the world, we should honor the obligations that we currently have but we should also have a conversation with those who are 17, 18, 19, 20 about what does your retirement situation look like and what is the best way to do that.

That's not crazy. That shouldn't be -- I would agree it's a terrible way to kick off a presidential campaign, but I also think --

JONES: I think we can agree on that.

JONG-FAST: It's not crazy but it's not popular. I mean, the reality, she has to win. And I don't know how you win on that.

PINION: I don't know how anyone is going win the Republican nomination besides Donald J. Trump. That's different conversation for different day.


GRANDERSON: You're right, we should have a responsible conversation. But the conversation needs to be started responsibly. And this is someone who's started off before that age is attacked, and I do see that as ages attacked was the original ages attacked, which is let's have competency tests for people 75 and over. Remember, she's like on this age --

CAMEROTA: And this now on ages attack on 20 something?

GRANDERSON: It's like everybody but her generation.


Like everyone else but her generation needs to do something about these problems.

PINION: Well, look, I do think that it stems from a very real one political problem, I think industrial problem and I just think reality, which is that you have a generation that precedes Generation X that is hanging on longer than anyone thought possible. When you're looking at Fortune 500 companies, when you are looking at the people who are in power, we're going to most likely have the Trump and Biden part deux.

GRANDERSON: We got the problem. What do you think is the solution? I like the idea of raising the taxes, but, to be honest, with you, I also think we need to be talking about where are we spending and where we can make cuts in the spending as well, and military to me is number one.

JONES: You are talking about someone who very proudly identified waste in the defense budget, lobbyist giveaways and who for that reason has voted against wasting taxpayer dollars on areas that actually don't secure our borders and protect our national security.

But we should not be cutting Medicaid and food stamps, which is what Republicans are talking about, when the vast majority of people on these programs actually have full-time jobs, it turns out, and are still unable to make ends meet.

CAMEROTA: All right. Guys, I like this. It's a spicy conversation, but I do have to wrap it right now because we have a lot more to talk about.

So, listen everyone, there is a new allegation against Congressman George Santos and it's a whopper.



CAMEROTA: Truth challenged Congressman George Santos strikes again. "Politico" publishing a sworn statement from an alleged roommate, former roommate of Santos who told the FBI that Santos oversaw an illegal credit card skimming operation. His roommate, Gustavo Trelha, alleged in his statement that George Santos taught him how to clone ATM and credit cards. And then that the two agreed to a 50-50 split of the proceeds.

Trelha pleaded guilty to Access Device Fraud in 2017 in Seattle and he was deported to Brazil. LZ Granderson and Molly Jong-Fast are back along with Pete Dominic and Joe Pinion. Pete, welcome.

PETE DOMINICK, COMEDIAN: Hey, thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Let me read you a little bit more because this is from the former -- this is the statement, the sworn under oath statement to the FBI from the alleged former roommate. He says, "In 2016, I meant Santos when I rented a room in his apartment in Florida. This is when and where I learned from him how to clone ATM and credit cards. Santos taught me hope how to skim card information and how to clone cards. He gave me all the material and taught me how to put skimming devices and cameras on ATM machines."

So, basically, Pete, they would put -- they need to like put a little camera on the ATM and it would read the card and it would also look at the PIN number that you were typing in. And then according to his roommate, they would take -- skim money out of the accounts.

DOMINICK: I had a roommate that I used to steal food from.

CAMEROTA: So, you understand this.

DOMINICK: I totally relate to this. He is the worst roommate. Every role he's ever played he just chaffs whoever he's with, whoever he's hanging out with. He takes their stuff. This is a terrible crime to do, to take people's money, to skim a credit card. It creates all kinds -- it's a serious crime. It creates all kinds of problems. And of course, he's allegedly involved with it, George Santos, with his roommate who he went to visit and testify in good character for and now he's sworn this against him.

He is a gift for comedians. He is a gift for Democrats. He is terrible for America and he should be in jail selling cigarettes pretty soon, but the guy is just still there doing his job, it's crazy. Crazy.

CAMEROTA: I like your title, worst roommate ever, basically is how you see him.

DOMINICK: I thought I was bad.


DOMINICK: I never skimmed anybody's credit cards with my roommate.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. That is impressive. Joe, your thoughts on this?

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, anything that he has been accused of thus far in a silo by itself is insane. The fact that we have to keep talking about the increasingly insane is insane. And what we're not talking about are the people who live in NY-3 who, in the midst of the runaway inflation, with half a million Americans at least 60 days behind on their car payments, now have to deal with the fact that the county executive for Nassau is now working in conjunction with Anthony D'Esposito in NY-4, a whole district away to take care of the entirety of the island because they refused to work with George Santos because no one can trust the words that are coming out of his mouth.

DOMINICK: Santos has suggested taking those payments from his constituents himself. Those car payments. I think that's a helpful suggestion.

PINION: Again, the jokes, they write themselves.

MOLLY JONG-FAST, HOST, FAST POLITICS PODCAST: But Kevin McCarthy could have stopped this any time he wanted and he didn't want to.

PINION: And this comes back to --

DOMINICL: Most of them.

PINION: -- this is the reality, right. We live in America. We live in a free society where you are innocent until proven guilty. And while with this -- much likely the caser, yet much of this stuff is actually true. You said a crazy president when you just started saying he probably did it so to heck with all the (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: No, I was saying, which is a volume of problems.

JONG-FAST: He's guilty.

CAMEROTA: There is a volume. And we have proven that (inaudible).

PINION: I don't take any pleasure in saying this.

LZ GRANDERSEN, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: (Inaudible) to me. The thing that disturbs me isn't just the lies but it's the recklessness of the lies. The kind of lies you can easily disprove. It says something about his character and his ability to kind of navigate through life. And the reason why I feel that people don't want to work with him isn't because, you know, he's lied as a politician because hello, he's a politician. They're used to politicians lying. It's the kind of lies. They are so fantastical. That you really can't believe it.

CAMEROTA: But listen to this, I also want to play for you what he has said, his explanation for this or denial.

DOMINICK: Are you sure? You have it?

CAMEROTA: I have it, yes. This is his denial today.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I did exactly as I was instructed at the time by law enforcement. I'm innocent. Never did anything of criminal activity and I'm no mastermind of anything.


JONG-FAST: Well, he's no mastermind.


CAMEROTA: He said I'm no mastermind of anything. Now, I find that to be an interesting denial. If I were being accused of something that I've never done, I would not say, that's crazy. I don't know what you're talking about. I would never do anything like that. I would not say I'm no mastermind of anything.

GRANDERSON: This wasn't my idea.

JONG-FAST: That's right.

GRANDERSON: Perhaps I may have (inaudible).


JONG-FAST: But the other question is like, would Nancy Pelosi keep this guy. If he were a Democrat, would Nancy Pelosi keep him in Congress? I don't think she would.

PINION: I don't know about that.

DOMINICK: To be clear, I think the answer is she would. But I also think --

CAMEROTA: So, what's your evidence of that? Like when has she kept somebody who has these many crimes --

PINION: We have never seen anyone living the secret life of Walter Mitty in congress before.


PINION: Right. But the point is, again, I just think that you set a dangerous precedent when you start tossing people out of Congress who are duly elected --


PINION: I'm not his attorney. I'm not the spokesperson for Santos that day. I am solely a spokesperson for the rights and liberties that are codified in the Constitution of the United States of America. I'm saying that the --

JONG-FAST: He's not being tossed out.

PINION: But this is my point.

CAMEROTA: It is my lighting that the constant stream of accusations that somehow find themselves to him.

DOMINICK: And he also identifies as Republican, should want him to go away immediately because he is the brand. He's the brand.

PINION: The entirety of the Nassau GOP has effectively disavowed him. I feel like the entirety of New York State and rest of the caucus has disavowed him.

DOMINICK: Still there.

PINION: Yes, because they have literally no power to actually make him go away without effectively breaking the core tenets of this democracy.


JONG-FAST: They could vote to kick him out.

PINION: And then who do we kick out next base on no laws being broken.


CAMEROTA: There is an ethics -- there is an ethics investigation that is being conducted right now. PINION: Indict him.

DOMINICK: Ethics should (inaudible) into that sweater he keeps wearing. What's under that?

CAMEROTA: The fashion prawn (ph).

DOMINICK: The souls of his constituents.

CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all very much. Stick around. The first Oscars since the slap heard around the world and this time, they have a crisis team on standby. We'll explain.



CAMEROTA: Exactly. All right, it's Oscar weekend and everyone of course still has PTSD from last year when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage. So how will the Oscars handle it this year? My panel is back and joining us is CNN entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, best- selling author as of this week of the new book, "Luck of the Draw" available everywhere now. Okay, so, Pete, if you were hosting the Oscars --

DOMINICK: I was asked.

CAMEROTA: I know, I know. And then you said no and Jimmy Kimmel said okay --

DOMINICK: Right. Usually, he picks up after me.

CAMEROTA: That's right. How would you handle the addressing the slap of last year?

DOMINICK: I would say never hit a comedian.

CAMEROTA: That's -- you'd actually give a warning.

DOMINICK: No. He'd make all kinds of jokes about that. This is what happens. I mean, Chris Rock did this great thing especially talking about how Will Smith is bigger and stronger than he is. But comedians -- I relate completely to what Chris Rock was saying. I mean, I got my butt kicked three times in my life. All three times one punch was thrown, none by me because I ran my mouth.

But if I get an opportunity to go on stage as we do, you make sure you take the alpha out. So, you say never mess with a comedian. If you're Kimmel who was also a comedian, that's the whole thing, you side completely with the comedian, not with the guy who slaps the comedian. Just never mess with that guy.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: And for ratings you bring Chris Rock out for the academy, wouldn't that be neat if they had him come out. I know. I think this year they're going to play it really safe, right? They picked Jimmy Kimmel because he's safe because he knows and the executive producer came out and said he knows how to handle a crisis. He's good at live television. That's what we need. They have a crisis team in place now.

CAMEROTA: What does that even mean they have a crisis team?

MELAS: They have P.R., they have people ready to release a statement. I read reports that maybe there are -- there's extra security, but they are just ready for anything that could happen.

CAMEROTA: I don't know (inaudible) statement. (Inaudible) tackle the guy coming up to the stage.

DOMINICK: They have George Santos (inaudible) as well I'm told. He might be though.

MELAS: Remember, Jimmy Kimmel has hosted before, but is no stranger to drama. Remember, there was the best picture mix-up between "La La Land" and "Moonlight." So, anything can happen on this night. I hope he does address it and makes it really funny. I mean, I've even thrown out crazy theories because like you never know what's going to happen, right? Like, we think it's just going to be like, oh, just (inaudible) simple and we're all going to be bored and turn it off. No, not really. I think -- what if Jada shows up?

CAMEROTA: Jada is not going to show up.

MELAS: You don't know. You just don't know what's going to happen.

DOMINICK: Are you writing the Oscars?

JONG-FAST: Do you work for the Academy Awards?

DOMINICK: This narrative sounds exciting. They should hire you.

MELAS: I am most excited for best picture though.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So, let's pull that up. So, here's best picture. This is what's in the running. All of -- oh -- I'm sure you can see those.

MELAS: "Top Gun."

CAMEROTA: Okay. Oh, yes, "Top Gun." And this could be --

DOMINICK: Who's in that?

CAMEROTA: Very funny. This could be the --


CAMEROTA: -- blockbuster winning.

MELAS: Yeah. "Avatar." "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once" leads nominations. Have you guys seen that movie?


MELAS: You liked it?

GRANDERSON: It was traumatic.

MELAS: Yeah.


MELAS: But I --

GRANDERSON: It's a heavy lift.

MELAS: But I think, though, that this could be the year of the blockbusters. So, many people like Steven Spielberg have come out and praised "Top Gun," right?


Like, this brought people back to the movies. It's like grossed over a billion dollars.

GRANDERSON: But this is not why you're supposed to get an Oscar. You're supposed to get an Oscar to the film that like was, quote, unquote "the best." Not the one that was most popular.

MELAS: What about "Titanic?"

DOMINICK: (Inaudible) was awesome.


GRANDERSON: (Inaudible) was tired.

DOMINICK: The best film ever made, sir.

GRANDERSON: It was boring and tired and people stunts, the stunts were fantastic, but I'm sorry. Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise at this particular juncture of life just doesn't work for me.

CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. Now who's being ageist?

JONG-FAST: Yeah. I was going to say --

GRANDERSON: No, I'm being specific.


GRANDERSON: I'm being very specific. One of the things that I thought that Tom Cruise was really good at was winking at the audience and I felt as if this particular version of "Top Gun," he didn't wink at us. I think he was taking it a little bit too serious and I didn't have any (inaudible)

DOMINICK: Well, we're taking these award shows a little (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: All right. Who -- then who's going to win best actor? MELAS: Okay. So, it's between Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser.

Brendan Fraser had this incredible transformation for "The Whale." He plays this obese person and, who is going through a really tough time and people are giving him a lot of praise, but Austin Butler who played Elvis, I know you have opinions about is voice.

DOMINICK: He's still in character, I think. I think they should give it to (inaudible).

MELAS: Just won the Golden Globes. Some people say that like something is up with his vocal cords like he can't shake the Elvis. He can't un-Elvis.

DOMINICK: Would you if you play that role? I'd still be Elvis.

GRANDERSON: When I spoke with Angela Bassett last month and she told me that it took her like six or seven months to lose Tina Turner because she was so submerged in being Tina Turner at that particular point. And I think she was using her queen voice when she was telling me. So, maybe she's still in character from "Black Panther" as well.

MELAS: I hope she wins for best supporting actress.

GRANDERSON: She better win.

MELAS: Because nobody gives a speech like Angela Bassett. She knows how to give the perfect speech and she is just -- I think it's her time, right, so I'm really excited.

GRANDERSON: Is that a pun because that's a line from the movie?

MELAS: Is it?

GRANDERSON: This is your time.

MELAS: You know what, everything I do is intentional.



MELAS: As we learn tonight, I wrote the Oscars.

CAMEROTA: And you also wrote the fabulous new book, she's actually re-published her grandfather's story. It's out now. Everyone please checks out --

DOMINICK: So good.

MELAS: I should just carry you with me everywhere.


CAMEROTA: "Luck of the Draw: My Story of the Air War in Europe."

DOMINICK: It's one of the best books I've ever read. It's really, really is wonderful story.

CAMEROTA: All right, next, have you ever been called ma'am and were you -- have you?

GRANDERSON: No, I have not.

CAMEROTA: Have you been insulted? When did it turn from respectful to an insult? Who does that?



CAMEROTA: Here's the burning question that all women of a certain age wrestle with. Even the ladies on the "Sex and the City" reboot called and just like that, the question is, when do you call someone ma'am?


UNKNOWN: Come on!

UKNOWN: Sorry, ma'am.



CAMEROTA: I'm back with the panel. Do you mind ma'am?

JONG-FAST: I have been called worse.

CAMEROTA: Really, like what?


JONG-FAST: Not for cable television. But, I mean, I don't know. It is a little -- maybe it is a little bit hostile. I mean --

CAMEROTA: I don't think it's hostile. It's not that I'm offended. It's that I'm sad. I'm sad.

GRANDERSON: Why? Why are you sad?

CAMEROTA: Because there is a cut off. There is a miss cut off. When you transition from miss to ma'am, it says you're old.

JONG-FAST: Right. Yeah.

GRANDERSON: Well, you have earned respect.


DOMINICK: You have your threshold because during the break at every (inaudible), Alisyn got -- I called her madame and she like, that's where she draws the line.

CAMEROTA: I like madame better than ma'am.

DOMINICK: Madame? No. You --



CAMEROTA: Because madame is exciting.

DOMINICK: The threshold is this, if you drop something, you're in a parking lot and you drop something and I see it, what am I supposed to say? Excuse me, pardon me?

CAMEROTA: No, this is the problem. You bring up something important because what's that region between miss and ma'am? Like at 45 years old, you're not miss and you don't want to be ma'am.

DOMINICK: Lady? Lady, you dropped --

GRANDERSON: We have to check your I.D. first before we can engage in conversation?




GRANDERSON: For me, it's the energy. Like that clip that you just showed. Carrie was giving ma'am energy so she got called ma'am. If she had given miss energy, she would have been called miss. If she had given madam energy she would have been (inaudible).

JONG-FAST: But I would say one thing, which is that men don't have the same kind of age cut off and, I mean, I think that's a real thing.

GRANDERSON: That is not true.

CAMEROTA: No, but you can be called sir from 30 to 80.


GRANDERSON: Yeah, but how we feel about it in a conversation.

CAMEROTA: But you like sir.

DOMINICK: (Inaudible) What are you talking about? There is nothing you can say to us that's offensive.

GRANDERSON: I didn't say offensive, but how we --


GRANDERSON: The conversation is about how you --

(CROSSTALK) GRANDERSON: The conversation is supposed to be how you internalize and process being called this word. And you listen to a lot of men. When they hear sir, they will repeat, I'm not sir, that's my dad. So, they're reminding you that we're young as well. We have that same sort of dynamic. We just case differently.

JONG-FAST: I also think men are allowed to sort of age in a way that society adores, and women, as they get older, you know, people are oppressed if we could still, you know (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: I don't know. I mean, I think that we all -- there is just a young bias. We like young men and women personally.

PINION: I think that people used to think it as a term of endearment. I think now, to your point, there are women who are trying to, quote, unquote, "reclaim their time," no pun intended.


But I think at the end of the day, look, for my perspective, it's become like the cultural equivalent of do you say soda or pop or coke, right? And I think if you're --

CAMEROTA: Like any of those of were insulted if you say so, if I recall.

PINION: Well, look, I think below the Mason-Dixon line, I think you are free to use the word ma'am with impunity.

DOMINICK: You're talking about soda and a woman's identity though. I think they're different.

CAMEROTA: All right. Well, let's leave it at that. I can't --

DOMINICK: Yes, ma'am!

CAMEROTA: I can't -- I can't think of anything more profound.

All right, meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick speaking about his childhood being the adoptive black son of white parents. What he's saying and the panel's takes on it. That's next.