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CNN Tonight

Fast-Moving Special Counsel Investigations Reaching A Critical Point; Utah Governor Signs Bill Requiring Teens To Get Parental Approval To Join Social Media Sites; Trump To Hold First Campaign Rally In Waco, Texas Tomorrow Amid 30th Anniversary Of Deadly Standoff; Trump Rally Coincides With Waco Tragedy; Florida Principal Resigns Because Of Michelangelo Art; MIT Researches On Splitting Oreo; Tornado In Mississippi. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 24, 2023 - 22:00   ET



JASON SUDEIKIS, ACTOR: I can't truly believe it, and I am being cute.


It is not -- Ted Lasso is not a show, it is not just character, it is a vibe, and the fact that people have pick up that vibe and it brought that vibe to their own, you know, schools and teams and communities and home and, you know -- and, again, themselves has been flattering because it's -- I can speak towards the spoils of it, and it's not necessarily you know the awards but the rewards that have come from it, for sure.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Jason.

SUDEIKIS: Absolutely.

TAPPER: I really appreciate it.

SUDEIKIS: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.


TAPPER: You can catch the new season of Ted Lasso on Apple T.V. Plus. I'll see you Sunday morning at 9:00 A.M. Eastern for State of the Union here on CNN. And Sunday night, join CNN for a special night of laughter. The Kennedy Center presents the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Celebrating Adam Sandler, that's at 8:00 P.M. Eastern on CNN.

CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota is next. And don't forget Overtime with Bill Maher airs tonight at 11:30 P.M. Eastern.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.

Donald Trump is sometimes called Teflon Don, but is that changing? Today, the former president's attorney was forced to testify before the grand jury investigating those classified documents found at Mar- a-Lago.

Meanwhile, a laundry list of Trump's advisers have now been ordered to testify before the grand jury that's investigating January 6th. That includes Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's chief of staff. We've got much more on that.

Plus, Gwyneth Paltrow taking the stand today. She's being sued over a ski accident, which she described in graphic terms.


GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: I was skiing and two skis came between my skis forcing my legs apart. And then there was a body pressing against me. And there was a very strange grunting noise. So, my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.


CAMEROTA: We'll talk about that.

Also, how many scientists does it take to unscrew an Oreo? Scientists at MIT unscrewed more than 1,000 Oreos in their quest to get a cookie with delicious creamy filling on both sides. They even built an Oreo meter to help. Tonight, these scientists will share their Earth- shattering findings and explain why we need to know this.

And also stick around for the end of the show. We've got our Friday night news quiz for you and for our guests.

Okay. But let me bring in our panel. Let's get started with what happened in the Trump investigations today. Here with me, we have Axios' Jennifer Kingson, former New York Congressman Max Rose, former Senate Candidate Joe Pinion and former Federal Prosecutor Jim Walden. Welcome all of you. Thanks so much for being here on a Friday. Great to have you here.

Okay. Let me put up for you right now the list of Trump aides who are now ordered to testify in this January 6th investigation. Here are the names and this is -- there's a lot of them. As you can see, I mean, these are familiar names to a lot of people, Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller, Ken Cuccinelli.

So, Jim, let me start with you as our former federal prosecutor. Why aren't they covered by executive privilege as former President Trump had tried to do?

JIM WALDEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, executive privilege protects the communications and the president has to be the one to decide whether to do it. And so what the judge ruled today was that a former president does not have the ability to invoke it.

CAMEROTA: But he was president during January 6th. So, isn't he saying that they were privileged communications at that time?

WALDEN: They are, but it's like the CEO of a big company, right? If the CEO gets ousted, it's the new CEO that decides whether or not the company should keep the attorney-client privilege or waive it. So, with the executive privilege, it's kind of the same thing. Is it the current president or is it the past president?

That question is actually fascinating but it hasn't been completely resolved by the Supreme Court yet. And Brett Kavanaugh, in a recent decision from last year, signaled that there may be a number of Supreme Court justices that are willing to recognize some privilege of the old president, and we'll see.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Joe.

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean, I'm not a lawyer, so let's just start by saying that, but it would seem counterintuitive that a president could declare privilege and then subsequent to that somebody else could waive the privilege on his behalf.

So, at the end of the day, this process is going to go through the courts, as all of this has done. It is the premise of many on the left that President Trump has taken a crime syndicate and latched it on to the executive branch, that he is, in many ways, Al Capone reincarnate with presidential powers and yet somehow the indictments, in many ways, have yet to actually precede that.

So, we are all waiting with bated breath to see the perp walk that many people thought would happen long before he even took the oath of office. And --

CAMEROTA: And he predicted would happen, by the way, on Tuesday. I mean, he said it was going to happen on Tuesday.

PINION: We are still waiting. But the campaign cash is piling up.

CAMEROTA: That's for sure. No, he has been fundraising on this. At last count, it was $1.5 million, but that's probably gone up because that was a few days ago.


Congressman what do you think of this week, as you've watched all these developments this week?

FMR. REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): The great Donald Trump hustle. It's interesting hearing your comments that you actually merged two separate trials in criminal proceedings associated with Donald Trump. That list of former administration officials, all of whom have objected to testifying and appearing before any hearing associated with January 6th for a very simple reason, and that is that, one, that day was disgraceful, but their actions and their colleagues' actions that day we're also disgraceful and they are running for the hills.

Very simple, straightforward rule in Washington, D C. and in politics, when you have a strong argument, you talk about it. When you don't, you run away from it, and that's what they're doing. And that's what the Republican Party has been doing now for years, and that's why across the country, many of them lost elections that -- in a midterm that they thought it was going to be a Republican sweep. CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, I mean, it's still -- and yet the poll suggests that former President Trump is still popular with the Republican base and he's about to have his first rally tomorrow. So, we'll see what -- how much power he still has.

Jennifer, your thoughts as you watch all the developments in the investigations.

JENNIFER KINGSON, REPORTER, AXIOS: The Supreme Court last really weighed in on executive privilege in 1974 when President Nixon tried to invoke it to keep the Watergate tapes away from the public. He lost that. 16 days after the Supreme Court ruled on that, he resigned. Three years later, when he was out of office, he again tried to invoke executive privilege as a former president. And while the Supreme Court ruled that former presidents did have that right to continue it, they ruled against him in terms of keeping his materials private.

Interestingly, the events of this week that you just outlined amount to a real political Rorschach test. Just this week, Monmouth University came out with its latest poll showing Donald Trump moving ahead of Governor Ron DeSantis in a theoretical matchup between the two. 41 percent of potential Republican voters said that they would pick Donald Trump as their nominee versus 27 percent for Ron DeSantis, and that's up from a statistical heat in February.

CAMEROTA: And, by the way, not all of this is academic. There are real things happening in terms of threats and threats of violence connected to all of this. So, as you know, Donald Trump has been posting today on his own social media about, well, things that could be interpreted as threats or predictions of violence. He says he sees, quote, death and destruction if he's indicted.

I assume this is because he's scared of what's going to happen. But yet people are taking it seriously. And the Manhattan D.A.'s office has received ominous white powder as well as there have been bomb threats called into the court. So, there's a feeling of things percolating.

WALDEN: I'm going to stay in my lawyer's lane for a minute and leave the politics to other people. But what what's happening with Donald Trump at this moment is that the walls are closing in on him. There are three investigations, at least one of those investigations have at least three different strands to it. And this news going back to Meadows is terrible news for the president because those were really the architects of the January 6th insurrection.

And for Donald Trump in the face of all of this, to triple down -- not double down -- triple down by essentially trying to create this toxic environment where people are called to arms, what did it result in? It resulted in the D.A. today receiving a death threat in an envelope with white powder in it. This is going to continue, it's disgraceful and he should stop.

PINION: Look, I think that we can all agree that the actions of January 6th were disgraceful, that people used the flag of this nation to break glass at the People's House. And whenever the time capsule of the 21st century is opened, those days will be seared into the memory of this great nation.

I think we can also recognize that at this juncture, we probably need less politics, not more, when we talk about how do we get to the bottom of what occurred on that day and what has gone on or what has not gone on with President Trump. But I would argue that, that has to be happening on both sides, that we had a January 6th investigation into that day that was highly partisan, that the remedy by the left to investigate all manner of things related to President Trump have injected more politics into this, not less.

So, yes, let us all agree that the rhetoric needs to be toned down, that, yes, President Trump, in his fervor to make sure that he can get through this primary, which people pretend hasn't actually started, get, get done, that, yes, things are being said that I would wish weren't being said. But I don't think that actually means that he is calling for violence and I certainly don't think that we can have one litmus test for what Republicans are allowed to say politically and then another litmus test for what Democrats have to say politically.


CAMEROTA: I don't want to suggest that he's calling for violence. I want to suggest that people hear things a certain way. So, when he posts that there's going to be death and destruction if he's indicted, his supporters hear that. I mean, we know this from January 6th because they said we were called here by the president.

PINION: I'll say this. I think that, again, you can say more about what the president didn't say on that day than what he did say on that day, and I think people who want to see this as a call to violence are people who already have a certain perspective of President Trump.

WALDEN: Wait, hold on a second death and destruction, Joe, everything you said, I agree with you 100 percent, right? I definitely agree as an independent that we need less politics. But the man is lighting a match and he did the same thing on January 6th. And not only has he not learned a lesson, he's doubling down. So, I don't really see it as a prediction. I see -- hold on, I see it as a call to arms.

PINION: It's not a call to arms. And let me just be very clear, right? I can take out my phone on Twitter right now and it's MAGA extremist this, and MAGA extremists that and half the people of the Republican Party are all evil, and MAGA described at least five Republicans or every Republican, depending on what they -- apparently there's one person writing all the tweets for. It's Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries.

So, I just think, again, if we're going to say that we need less heated rhetoric in our politics, I would agree with you. But the notion that we don't have this heated rhetoric coming from Democrats on a regular basis, I just think, feels, you know, strange community.

ROSE: The false equivalencies just stunning. But think about your comments reveal the crazy town that we live in today. A decade ago, if someone in the presidential primary had been indicted or on the verge of being indicted, his opponents are cheering for it. Now, they are coming to his defense, the base, leaders in the Republican Party such as, Joe, yourself are coming to his defense even after he incited a violent riot that left people dead. At what point will your party leave him behind? It's -- this is crazy.

PINION: What is actually so crazy? I think, again, we live in a nation where you are innocent until proven guilty. Everyone is talking about what happened with Alvin Bragg, and to be clear, any threats are made at the Manhattan D.A.'s office are disgraceful. But that doesn't change the fact that you are entitled to your day in court.

So, yes, at this point, President Trump has been investigated for the better part of six years. There are court cases that are potentially pending, but they have not come to fruition. And so, yes, you have come to your conclusion, Democrats have come to that conclusion. But the notion that we just get back to this ends justify the means approach to all things related to Donald Trump and the Republican Party, to me, it's a little bit disingenuous.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Stick around, everybody, because we have a lot more to talk about. Next, Utah is banning anyone under 18 from using social media after 10:30 P.M. How are they going to enforce that? We'll talk about it.



CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, Utah's governor signing a bill this week to protect young people on social media. The law requires social media platforms to give parents access to their children's accounts. It also imposes a curfew banning people under 18 from using their accounts between 10:30 P.M. and 6:30 A.M. A lot is not going to affect until next March. My panel is back with me.

Okay, let me just put up again what this law would do, it requires social platforms give parents access to their kids' accounts. It bans all ads for minors. As I said, it imposes that curfew from 6:00 P.M. to 6:30 for anyone under 18. And it requires social media platforms to conduct aged verification for all Utah residents.

Jennifer, I'm interested in this. I mean, lots of people decry the dangers of social media. It sounds like Utah is really trying to do something about it. How will they police the curfew and things like that?

KINGSON: That's exactly the question that came to my mind. But it's interesting that the states are taking a lead on this, particularly in the context of lawmakers on Capitol Hill grilling TikTok like a geopolitical chew toy this week.

Washington State a few months ago filed lawsuit against the major social media platforms, alleging that there's an epidemic of teen mental health problems that are linked to social media. I did some reporting around this at the time and found that studies have shown that there is, in fact -- there are direct links between depression in teenage girls and social media platforms, but there is also debate within the psychological community about whether social media use is truly an addiction.

I recently interviewed the pediatrician who leads Boston Children's Hospitals, Digital Wellness Lab. His name is Michael Rich, and he calls himself the mediatrition, because he's the expert on these topics. He argues that heavy social media use isn't necessarily an addiction but is rather a symptom of an underlying problem that a teen may have, such as ADHD or depression, to begin with.

CAMEROTA: That's a different take on it. I mean, that's -- I have to get my mind around that possible model because it does seem like an addiction. It acts like an addiction, where they just pick up the phone and you see them scrolling and, you know, they're sort of consumed with it. But as a former legislator, how will this be policed?

ROSE: Well, first of all, anything that leads to people not seeing Joe's tweets, I avidly support. I'm just kidding.

CAMEROTA: Including Joe.

ROSE: I'm just kidding. But, you know, in all seriousness, though, 50 years from now, I believe that people will look at our use of social media in the same way that today we look at how people used to smoke around their children.

This is a technology and a program that is designed with one explicit purpose, which is to make people addicted to it. And I believe it's particularly harmful for young people.

CAMEROTA: So you like this law?

ROSE: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And I think that the federal government should step in and do everything it can to protect young people from this technology.

Remember, these algorithms are designed to push people towards that which they are interested in. It pushes people towards hateful, divisive content. You have to look no further than the fact that the very inventors of this technology keep their children away from it.

CAMEROTA: That's all you need to know?

ROSE: I think this is the right thing.


KINGSON: Max, one interesting aspect of the Utah law, I think, that was signed actually instructs the social media platforms to deactivate features that are considered addictive for children, things that show you more -- TikToks about suicide, for example, if you start searching for that, and those are some of the things that have been the most harmful and have been the source of so many lawsuits by parents against these big platforms.

CAMEROTA: Any downside, do you think, to this law? PINION: Well, look, I think that if there is any downside, which I would agree with the congressman, that, yes, this is a step in the right direction, is the fact that once again from the politicians we see virtue, signaling, that we have policies that have been written on the back of a napkin without actually having a thoughtful expectation of how you're actually going to implement these laws.

And so I think at the end of the day, yes, we recognize that screen time is addictive, that people with means take great lengths to reduce the amount of screen time that their children are having, and yet it's always the children that come from disadvantaged backgrounds that don't get those best practices. And I think, again, we have to talk about the fact that there has been a reluctance on Capitol Hill to deal with anything from the anti-trust legislation to the dangers that we know are emerging from this.

CAMEROTA: But you think that both Republicans and Democrats are virtue signaling when it comes to social media?

PINION: I think not just social media, in general. When you were talking about all the cultural issues, there's a lot of virtue signaling legislation, people writing things down on paper that really can actually be implemented effectively but they do it in order to prove a point. But I do think, again, this is a step in the right direction to start crafting policies with the children --

CAMEROTA: They have a year to figure it out. I'm not sure that it's not going to work yet. I mean, they have a year until it goes --

PINION: I think trying to implement a curfew for social media, and that's a bit ridiculous, but I think certainly we can start talking about the fact that we already have laws on the books that are supposed to prevent us from us collecting data from children, we're not actually enforcing those laws in an effective manner and beyond.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Jim.

CAMEROTA: I was just going to say, I was going to answer your original question, how are they going to enforce it right? I have two answers to that. Number one, they never will have to, because it's probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny, but, number two, even if it did, they're not going to enforce it. They're going to require the tech companies to.

And I wouldn't like to be the compliance officer of a tech company with 50 different states passing 50 different laws. And this is where Joe is absolutely right. The federal government needs to step in. This has to be controlled by an agency. There has to be one set of rules and I think that that is a sensible thing to deal with all the harms that Jennifer talked about.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Thank you all for those perspectives.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is going to hold his first 2024 campaign rally tomorrow in Waco, Texas. Why there? We discuss.



CAMEROTA: The 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and federal authorities just outside of Waco, Texas, was 30 years ago this month. The standoff began in February 1993 and ended in mid-April with a deadly fire that consumed the compound. 76 people, including 25 children, were killed. This is how CNN covered it at the time.


REPORTER: As we've watched this M-60 vehicle, this is combat engineering vehicle, make large holes in the side of this building and pump tear gas in there, this is a roaring fire here. This -- and I don't know if there are any fire trucks even. I haven't seen any fire trucks come up. I don't know if there are any fire trucks at the compound even. This fire is completely out of control. And as the chief said, obviously, they won't be able to do much except perhaps put out some smoldering embers there, it appears. And still no indication, no sign that anybody is coming out.


CAMEROTA: Since then, the incidents become an enduring rallying cry for anti-government extremists. And tomorrow, former President Trump will hold his first campaign rally for 2024 in Waco, Texas.

I'm back now with my panel. We're joined also by New York Times Reporter Charles Homans. Charles, you've been covering this story, I mean, about President Trump's rally that he's going to be holding. So, what's he telegraphing?

CHARLES HOMANS, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think the important thing to know here is that Waco has obtained in the 30 years since this happened a real sort of status on the far-right and the symbolism. You know, it's -- I think it's one of the Texas newspapers in an opinion -- op-ed today sort of denouncing Trump for holding his rally there, called it an Alamo, which I think is right. I mean, it's a sort of pilgrimage site for a lot of groups on the far-right, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, Three Percenters.

And, you know, Trump when you talk to his campaign, of course, says that's not why they're holding it there. They say it's a nice central location in the middle of Texas, equidistant from a number of cities. But the I think the symbolism of it to a lot of people is very apparent.

CAMEROTA: And, certainly, his supporters get it. I mean, one of the people that you interviewed, here's a quote from them, Waco was an overreach of the government. And today, the New York district attorney is practicing an overreach of the government again, said Sharon Anderson, a retiree from Tennessee, who is traveling to Waco for Saturday's event, her 33rd Trump rally. Joe?

PINION: I really don't know where to begin here. Look, Waco, Texas, is still part of America last I checked. The last I checked, the people of Waco were not followers of David Koresh, even most of the Branch Davidians then and whatever remains of them today.

CAMEROTA: But we're not suggesting that, Joe. But politicians choose their backdrop for a reason. They do. They signal things, as you've said.

PINION: Look, let's just be very clear, we are now at 10:30 in about 50 seconds, we still haven't talked about Ron DeSantis, we're continuing to talk about President Trump, which is what President Trump wants. Whether you agree with the virtue signaling or not, he has achieved his overall endeavor.

I don't think that President Trump is trying to tell people that we should remember David Koresh and following his footstep.

CAMEROTA: So, why do you think he's chose the Waco?

PINION: I do think that perhaps that they're signaling to the effect that we're dealing in times when we do have government overreach. We also do know that whatever David Koresh did, which was an abomination, those children that died in that inferno, we also know that the federal government botched the raid and did many things to the raid that --


CAMEROTA: Yes. But I think that you just agreed that perhaps he is signaling government overreach and I think that that was the point.

PINION: No, but I think the two -- there's a correlation and also a distinction that has to be made when you actually deal with the fact that all of these things are not just one giant Donald Trump fire and doom, death and destruction, bald pictures you're trying to paint. I mean, I just think that that -- that has to be said.

We can't just keep bouncing around here, which is like it's the anniversary of Waco and David Koresh. Therefore, Donald Trump is saying death and destruction. I just think that that's a disingenuous argument --

CAMEROTA: Okay. Those -- I hear you, but you're connecting them. Those were two separate. I hear you, Joe, but those were two separate segments. Go ahead now.

ROSE: I think we should play a game. What does Donald Trump have to do for you to criticize him? But the truth of the matter is, that there is an overarching narrative and point here. This is not the first time Donald Trump has done something like this. Remember Tulsa during a rally on Juneteenth. This is not the first time that the Republican Party has done something like this (inaudible) in which Reagan announced his camp -- his presidential campaign in Mississippi.

But why are they doing this? And I think so much of this goes back to a lesson that was learned from Mitt Romney's 2012 lost to Barack Obama, in which people like Donald Trump believed rightfully or otherwise that it was because of a depressed base turnout. And they will never turn on this base that they believe exists. And that is why these rallies are continuing, and that is why they are continuing to stoke divisions and be as divisive as humanly possible. It is because not just that he's a sociopath, but also that he believes his politically expeditious/

PINION: The people with him there, are they bad people? Is that your position?


PINION: Well, it seems to be your position.


PINION: It seems to -- no, it does because on some basic level if everything that Donald Trump does is evil and that evil is a reflection on the people, then at some point, you're effectively saying what Joe Biden has insinuated, what so many people on the left insinuated. There is some deficiency with the people.

And so, I think at some point, if we're going to have a real honest conversation about this, is that yes, there is the vision in politics. Yes, people have to turn out their base. And yes, sometimes there are people that do things that the outside looking in might think is a bad thing.

But I think overall, if we're just talking about how do we have an honest conversation about our politics, it's disingenuous to keep acting like Democrats at these beautiful people who only want good things, which is what --

UNKNOWN: Joe, empirically speaking, it seems logical to think that Donald Trump might like to connect the dots between the dramatic conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound and his own travails at Mar-a-Lago where he feels besieged by federal prosecutors circling around him. Don't forget that 51 days before the culmination at David Koresh's compound included 900 law enforcement officials standing outside. There were armored tanks there.

The FBI played -- barraged the compound with unbearably loud music for days to try to get people out of there. They negotiated for 60 hours straight with David Koresh. It was a really dramatic event that I'm sure he'd like to evoke.

PINION: Look, I just -- I just -- I don't think the Branch Davidians --

CAMEROTA: Quickly, Joe, because I want to get Charles. It is Charles' report.

PINION: Yes. But I don't want to get the Branch Davidians wrapped up in what Republicans are standing up for every single day.


PINION: I think that's a stretch. CAMEROTA: But Charles, the people that you've interviewed about this, his supporters, they get it, right? There, I mean, they understand what this symbolism is.

UNKNOWN: Certainly. I think some people definitely told me that and I think, I mean, it's worth, you know, remembering also that this was a very polarizing incident at the time. It was the subject of congressional investigations, Department of Justice investigations, and it was something that really factored heavily in the midterms in 1994.

And, you know, when I spoke with Newt Gingrich about this, who was a staunch critic of the, you know, the federal response at the time. He sorts of mentioned that it -- you know, it did have a broader symbolism on the right of the federal government, you know, run amok as he put it. And so, I think that there's people who may not connect to the level of the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys, but do see it as sort of a resonance of what, you know, the way that Donald Trump has portrayed his sort of situation today.

CAMEROTA: Okay, thank you for your reporting. Really appreciate you bringing that to us. Thank you all for the discussion. Meanwhile, there's a Florida principal out of a job because sixth-grade, well, one of the reasons might be, because a sixth-grade class was shown this, Michelangelo's "David."

And that's Gwyneth Paltrow right there. She's defending herself in court. Is there a connection or we'll make one?




UNKNOWN: Get dressed, Marge. You've got to lead our protest against this abomination.

UNKNOWN: But that's Michelangelo's "David." It's a masterpiece.

UNKNOWN: It's filth. It graphically portrays parts of the human body which practical as they may be, are evil.

UNKNOWN: But I like that statue.

UNKNOWN: Is it a masterpiece or just some guy with his pants down? That's our topic tonight on Smart Line.


CAMEROTA: Once again, the Simpsons predict the future. That was their take on Michelangelo's "David" and the battle over censorship back in 1990. And today, the controversy is back. Some Florida parents are angry about the "David's" inclusion in a sixth-grade lesson, and the principal has been forced to resign as a result. I'm back with my panel. Okay, so this is a spicy headline I recognize because it's, you know,

Michelangelo's "David" and he's nude, but it's also it's a little bit more bureaucratic than we're making it sound. She didn't know -- the principal didn't send out a notification to the parents, and she was supposed to send out a notification and that's why they say she was fired. What do you think is really going on, Joe?


UNKNOWN: I think it's crazy that we live in a country where in some places you have to send a parental notification for a classic piece of a --

CAMEROTA: Well, they are sixth graders. Do you think that they should have -- that "David" should have just been sprung on them?

UNKNOWN: I think that there are circumstances where parents should probably just back off and let teachers do their jobs. And the thing that terrifies me about this is because there is a teacher who is probably a really good teacher. She's apparently an Evangelical Christian and now she doesn't have a job because she showed a statue that is an iconic piece of history because it shows his penis. That seems crazy to me.

CAMEROTA: Jennifer?

: I can picture myself as a giggly sixth grader, but there are very big important issues here. The head of the school board in Tallahassee told the local paper that parents rights are supreme and that we can see spreading nationally where parents are flexing their muscles about what they do and don't want to see in a curriculum.

On Thursday, the American Library Association came out with its latest research showing that a record number of books were banned last year, the most in its 20-year history and this is a worrisome sign, I think.

CAMEROTA: It's interesting because the board, the chair of the school board there in Tallahassee, the classical school board chair was saying that 97 percent of the sixth grade parents were fine with this lesson, but there -- they did receive a few complaints from others, but it is possible, congressman, that had she sent out the notification whether or not you believe the notification is just sort of an onerous piece of protocol that can be argued, but she might still have her job if she sent out that notification to parents.

ROSE: Yeah. Well, I think one day she'll be happy that she's no longer teaching the children of a bunch of crazy people. I mean, this is --

CAMEROTA: Only 3 percent didn't like it; 97 percent of the sixth- grade parents were okay.

ROSE: I mean, you know, and I say this as a millennial myself, this is when -- this is what happens when millennials become parents. I mean, could you be more neurotic that, you know, it's --

CAMEROTA: You'll be fine with a six --

ROSE: I'll be fine with my three-year-old seeing that sculpture. I mean, this is -- this is absurd. This is absurd. I'm stunned by it, but I'm wondering if it is also representative of this interesting trend amongst many parents to so many of which are tilted to be more conservative, to say that educational institutions need to be safe spaces whereby they protect their children from anything that they deem either disagreeable or potentially a bit profane. It's a worse in trend.


PINION: Look, it's art. I think we should all be able to agree on that. We've started this desk many times and said that the push back is always more extreme than the issue itself, particularly when other people mock the issue and then call you crazy. So, look, I think at the end of the day this is unfortunate reality brought to us by the fact that there seemed to be things happening in schools that people pretend aren't happening or people suggest aren't happening.

And in the end, you end up with two parents out of 100 parents crying foul and getting a poor innocent teacher fired. So, I think that that's just an unfortunate state of affairs of where we're at today and hopefully we can start listening to people on both sides saying, hey, I want to know what's going on with my children in the classroom and not treat them as if their concerns should be pushed aside.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And furthermore, if there were just three -- let's pretend there were three parents out of this class that didn't like it. Their kids could have sat out that lesson. It didn't have to, you know, escalate to this. Their kids could have sat out the lesson, right.

PINION: Yeah. I also think -- to the point, I also think that --

ROSE: Shouldn't get a teacher fired. I mean, this is --

CAMEROTA: That's my point. Nobody should be fired.

ROSE: They are crazy. I'll say it again. I mean, this is -- they should have a job. They should have a life. The teacher should be allowed to teach. And the worst-case scenario here, his kid comes home and they have a conversation at home.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but again, I just have to say that the school board chair says she was not let go because of Michelangelo's "David's" lesson. The school is two and a half years old. Every year we show that picture and it's taught to our sixth-graders. It's because she didn't notify the parents. So, we let it stand right there. We have to move on to this very important story guys. I know you've been waiting for this.

MIT researchers conducting this very important experiment, trying to determine if there is a way to get that cream filling on both sides of the Oreo when you're twisting it off. I mean, it's the age-old question. So, we're going to speak with those scientists, and then we're going to try it ourselves.



CAMEROTA: All right everyone, let's get in our time machines and go back to my favorite decade, the '80s. You're sitting on your couch watching T.V. and this commercial comes on.


CAMEROTA: That was fantastic. And do you remember trying to split open the Oreo. Well, a group of MIT researchers had the same challenge and they used the vast resources of MIT to put it to the test, dubbing the Oreo science, Oreology. And two of those MIT researchers, Crystal Owens and Max Van join me now.

Guys, thank you very much for being here and sharing your earth- shattering findings with us. Crystal, I know this was your idea, so I'll begin with you. How much marijuana was involved in you coming up with this idea?

CRYSTAL OWENS, PHD STUDENT IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, MIT: So, the study was actually published on April 19 last year.


So, the timing was very good. So, the day after it came out, everyone could celebrate.

CAMEROTA: Oh, that's fantastic. Max, how many cookies, Oreos did you eat in the name of research?

MAX FAN, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, MIT: I've lost track, honestly. Probably like close to 30 to 50, maybe not as many as you think, because you get sick of them after a while.

CAMEROTA: Crystal, seriously, I did -- this was borne out of your childhood challenge, right, of trying to separate the Oreo and figuring out which side was most delicious.

OWENS: Yes, because it's so frustrating because you want to have a cookie that has a hard way for and some soft cream. You don't want to get one way for that's just bare and one that has a lot of cream. And so, when you're trying to figure out fluid mechanics, like that's what I'm studying for my PhD. Why not like apply that to like a real problem?

CAMEROTA: We have a congressman, a former congressman with us here tonight. He was wondering how much taxpayer money was spent on this experiment. Do you know?

OWENS: Um. So, this was kind of a side project. My main project is, yeah.

CAMEROTA: All right, obviously we'll get the answer to that. We'll research that. But in the meantime, I know that this also has some practical application. It's not just about Oreos. So, what else, I mean, what do we need to know in our real lives that you found out about this?

OWENS: So, the physics that describes how Oreos come apart described, like all sorts of soft materials. So, if you're looking at like houses in landslides like sliding off the hill in California, that's like exactly the same physics as like a way for coming off on the cream on like another way for it. It's just understanding how this works is very important.

CAMEROTA: Of course. And so, guys, answer the age-old question. What is better to twist it or to tug it?

OWENS: To twist it.

CAMEROTA: Oh, to twist it. Okay, so that's what you found. So, twist it. See, I used to consider this perfect if you could twist it off perfectly, but you're saying that it would be better if it was half and half. And what's the best way to get it to be half and half?

FAN: The points of that, it doesn't really matter what technique you use. You can twist it quickly. You can twist it slowly. You can compress it while you're twisting it. You can put one you're twisting. It doesn't really matter. Some things that might happen if you pull it, you might shatter the wafer, but it doesn't really matter. Either way, you're most likely going to end up be on one side.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Crystal, Max. Thank you. Stand by because our panel is trying this right now. I feel like, you destroyed yours. What happened to it?

ROSE: You heard me try it. You heard me cursed.

CAMEROTA: You are a horrible scientist. You've destroyed. You win. Look at this. Hold out yours up, Jennifer. You were able to get some of the delicious cream on both sides. You've impressed our scientists. First of all, Max. You have also done well, Joe.

PINION: I hope the world can't be like this.

CAMEROTA: Joe, look. Look at how well Joe has done with these two here, but Joe also is the person who when we handed him the Oreo said, "Are we really doing this?" Whereas I feel that you were excited, Jim?

UNKNOWN: I used to actually take all of it off and make like the quadruple stuff because I love the -- I like them. I like the combination, but I want the whole thing so.

UNKNOWN: I did that too, and if you take the empty wafers off and put them back in the package, it's really disappointing to the next person who (inaudible).


UNKNOWN: I didn't do that CAMEROTA: Wow. That must have really been a good prank on your

siblings or whoever.

UNKNOWN: I want to know if the gluten free ones have different physical properties.

CAMEROTA: Do the gluten-free ones -- our scientists, I'm sure know. Do the gluten-free ones have different physical properties, Crystal and Max?

OWEN: Just a little bit. They're actually pretty similar.

CAMEROTA: All right.

UNKNOWN: Let's not get into the birthday cake Oreos.

CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you, guys, very much for sharing your research with us and for giving us a mid-show snack. We really appreciate it. Crystal Owens and Max Fan. Thank you.

All right. Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow taking the stand in a ski collision trial today. What she's saying and why Taylor Swift came up. We'll show you that next.



CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news right now. A destructive tornado in Mississippi. Tonight, the National Weather Service says this tornado has caused damage in Silver City and Rolling Fork, that's in the western part of the state. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says they have no reports of fatalities. Let's go to Chad Myers in the weather center. What are you seeing Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A storm, a tornado that was on the ground and still is for now looks like 75 miles, the worst of it right through the town of Rolling Fork, population of about 1,800. I've seen pictures on twitter and on the internet, and they're disturbing. This was a very large tornado. It continued on the ground, moved through it a couple other towns, but Rolling Fork is the true center of the destruction at this hour.


Crews are on their way. Police are asking for as many ambulances and as we can get.