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Trump Investigation Continues; Judge Faces Threats In Fox Defamation Trial; TN GOP Governor Calls For Tougher Gun Restrictions; Trucks Take Over U.S. Roads; "CNN Tonight" Presents "Tomorrow's News Tonight." Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 11, 2023 - 23:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And after Jim Jordan announced this week that his judiciary committee plan to hold a hearing on crime in Manhattan, well, the New York mayor, Eric Adams, fired back.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Those same people that are talking about the crime in New York per capita, they are going up, they are increasing. And so, why are they here? They should be holding the hearing in their municipalities to deal with the issues there. This is put in -- put on place by Donald Trump campaign committee, you know. This is -- this is not about public safety.


CAMEROTA: Okay. Alayna, let's start with you because I know that you have been working on this story. This is unprecedented, basically, for a D.A. to be suing a sitting congressman for this. I mean, it's really amazing, what we're seeing happen.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: It is. It's very uncommon. Um, and of course, I mean, Donald Trump is the first former president to ever be indicted. And so that's also unprecedented. So, we're seeing measures between local courts and prosecutors and Congress play out on a field that we've never really seen before.

And this is a huge escalation in this back and forth. I mean, for weeks now, we've seen the tensions between Jim Jordan and the Judiciary Committee and the Republicans and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office reached a fever pitch.

And this lawsuit is finally Alvin Bragg hitting backs for a while. He has just been letting some of these requests come out, and he has been engaging with them but saying that he does not want to sit down. I mean, they asked for his testimony weeks ago even before Donald Trump was indicted.

Um, and so, this is now finally, Alvin Bragg is issuing, you know, a lawsuit of his own and starting to go after Republicans, and he's really saying that this is an intimidation effort. And one of the key things in this lawsuit is that he doesn't think that this committee has any legislative purpose to be going after the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, that it's all political and that they're just trying to get involved because Donald Trump was indicted.

And he cited a lot of -- Kevin McCarthy, even the speaker of the House, cited his response to the indictment. He said that Jim Jordan tweeting that the indictment was outrageous even before a lot of these people -- these people were weighing in before they saw the charges against the former president.

And so, it's going to be fascinating to watch this in the coming weeks. And I do think Monday is when we'll really see it all come to a head in New York where the Judiciary Committee is holding this field hearing just blocks from where Donald Trump was arraigned in court last week. And so, I think this is going to be a very big topic for the weeks to come.

CAMEROTA: Do you also have some reporting that in -- Donald Trump is in the background, pulling some of these strings or at least backchanneling with some of these people?

TREEN: We do. Um, there has been a lot of communication between Donald Trump, his top advisers. I mean, people in his inner circle, people that he speaks with every single day, and Congress and mainly these committees, and not just some of the chairman but also members on these committees.

I know that Elise Stefanik calls Donald Trump all the time. She said and she told us, uh, that she called Trump after the committee issued this letter to Alvin Bragg and walked him through why they were doing this and what the process would look like.

Um, and that to me just shows the power that Donald Trump still has over the Republican Party and Congress. He's no longer president, he's not in the White House, and yet they're all trying to play defense for him on Capitol Hill.

And so, um, the one thing I do want to point out, though, about these backchannels is that Joe Tacopina, Donald Trump's lawyer, one of his lawyers, um, weeks before, even a month or so before the indictment was starting to, you know, play out and they knew that they were going to be issuing it, Joe Tacopina issued a letter to Jim Jordan and said, we want you to investigate Alvin Bragg, we think that you need to investigate Alvin Bragg.

And I think that just shows the extent of some of these communications and the extent of really how involved Donald Trump and his team still are in a lot of what Congress is doing and investigating.

CAMEROTA: And basically, you're saying it was premeditated. I mean, before it was even underway, they knew they were going to do that.

TREENE: Right.

CAMEROTA: Um, so Eva, I know that you've spent so much time on the campaign trail and you have been talking to voters. And so, does this come up -- is this why they voted Republicans in?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: So, Alisyn, I am just -- I'm curious to see the strength of this political argument that Republicans are making here. No doubt there are some voters that elevated Republicans to the House majority for this very reason, right, to be the former president's chief defender, to raise hell in this regard.

But not before long, you know, Republicans also made an economic argument for reelection and to be as an argument for why they should recapture the House. And not before long, I do wonder if some of their voters are going to say, hey, what are they really doing for me? We sent them to Washington and is my life getting any better as a result of all of these foot soldiers for Trump?


So, I would imagine that it is going to continue to play well with some in the base of the party, but I think it's also important to keep top of mind that Americans, of course, have other concerns besides the legal drama that is going to continue to play out for the months to come.

CAMEROTA: So, Rahel, obviously, prosecutors are no strangers to being attacked. This seems to be in a different league, the level that Alvin Bragg is experiencing and the people around him. And so, your thoughts?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, I would argue everything about this case is historic. Everything about this case is unprecedented and unusual. And essentially, what you have here, right, is the district attorney suing a sitting Congress person. As you pointed out, it is just something we really don't often see.

I think it is not without risk, though, right? I mean, Alvin Bragg and certainly his lawyers would argue they're doing this to maintain the integrity of the case. The other side of this, however, is that inserting yourself in this way runs the risk of further inflaming political tensions if that is even possible for a story like this, for a case like this. So, certainly not without its risks of its own.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: One thing I'm curious about, Alayna, maybe your reporting has an answer to this, is that Jim Jordan -- clearly, Alvin Bragg thinks that he did this because he's trying to intimidate the A.G.

But Jim Jordan has to have a follow-up plan, right? Like there's got to be a way where he can pivot and say, no, no, no, I'm doing this for legislative reasons. There isn't -- this isn't an intimidation campaign. Does he plan to do that at all?

TREENE: Well, it is funny he actually went on Fox News tonight after he received this lawsuit and they stated what's the legislative purpose of this back and forth. And he said, we are going to have legislation coming out really quickly, was what Jim Jordan said. And he said that it would be for current presidents, former presidents if they are facing issues like this, that they can move that case to federal court and not have it being a local court.

And that's one of the key things that Republicans and Jim Jordan are arguing against Alvin Bragg, is that you're a state and local prosecutor, this is a federal case, and this shouldn't be your territory, that this should be a federal prosecution that we're seeing.

And so, that's one of the things that the committee is going to be proposing. You know, as early as this week, definitely, I think by the time they get back into session next week, that's the other thing. I mean, this lawsuit came -- Congress is out. They are out this week. We haven't -- we didn't see them last week either when all of the Trump indictment stuff was playing out.

I mean, I think a lot of Republicans were relieved by that, that they weren't facing questions from me and other reporters on this, but I do think it's going to be right back into the center of everything once they're back in town.

CAMEROTA: Do we know what happens next with the lawsuit? What -- what happens when you sue a sitting congressman?

TREENE: I don't know. And I think that's what they're figuring out. I spoke with someone on Jim Jordan's team today after this lawsuit, and they were saying, we're not sure how we're going to respond yet. We did see him issue a statement on Twitter just attacking Alvin Bragg, and then he went on Fox saying he is trying to obstruct the investigation.

But actually, meaningful responses. Will you try to get this thrown out? How will you respond to this? I think they're scrambling. And I do think that, um, their House counsel is trying to figure out, okay, what can we do with this, how long can we let this lay dormant, can we continue to keep going after Alvin Bragg or does this change things? Those are all questions that I think we're going to be waiting to hear the answers on.

CAMEROTA: Sara, Alvin Bragg, as we know, didn't have to indict Donald Trump. He could also have waited because there are other investigations going on and there were all sorts of, as you know, kind of favorite political parlor game about whether or not he should be first.

I wonder if he regrets -- now that this -- now that he's so much in the hot seat, I wonder if he thinks this was the right move or somebody -- if he wishes somebody else were taking all of this incoming.

FISCHER: It's a good question, but if he's a true professional, he's not thinking that way. He's thinking about upholding the law and that's it. And I think that's why you saw him sue Representative Jim Jordan, because he's thinking about procedure, he's not thinking about risk for himself personally.

And by the way, these people receive a lot of risk. He has received death threats. I mean, this is a pretty serious position to put himself in, but he knows that.

And by the way, this is not the only big case that someone like him has had to face. He has had to deal with a lot of huge things. Nothing as big as indicting a former president, of course, but that's when you signed up for the job, that's why you took it. So, I'm not surprised that he did it. I doubt he regrets it.

TREENE: I will say, though, that a lot of Democrats and Republicans are arguing that. They think that this case in New York is the weakest one against Donald Trump, out of the big cases that he's facing. I mean, he has a DOJ investigation. The special counsel is investigating him. There's the one in Georgia, another one in New York.

And they're worried that maybe starting with this one is going to set the wrong tone for a lot of the other investigations. I know this is something that Donald Trump and his team thinks that they can do. They can attack for future investigations based on this one, um, because it is really unclear. It's not something you can explain very easily to a lot of people.

Um, and there's the argument that people think it's weak. And so, it will be interesting to see if that's something that will affect the Georgia case, the DOJ's case, and so forth.


FISCHER: But one thing this case has, good optics. It's Donald Trump marching in in New York City, in his stomping grounds. You don't get that in some of the other places that you mentioned.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much for sharing all of that information. Alright, so, next, the Fox defamation trial is heating up. The judge reveals that at a hearing, he has been getting death threats also. And there's also some monkey business over Rupert Murdoch's official role at the company. So, Sara has been working this story. She will tell us what her sources are saying about all of this, next.


CAMEROTA: Dominion's defamation trial against Fox kicks off this week with jury selection beginning Thursday. Today, the judge in the case issued rulings on nearly two dozen pretrial motions. Here are few of the interesting ones.


Judge Eric Davis ruling Dominion Voting Systems cannot bring up the January 6 insurrection at trial. The company can tell the jury about the existence but not the content of threats to their employees. It can also bring up Fox's financial information, including salaries of top hosts and executives.

As per Fox, the judge ruling that the company cannot bring up broadcasts where its reporters accurately fact-checked Donald Trump's election lies. It also cannot use internal Dominion emails where its staffers said the Dominion's products suck and were riddled with bugs.

Sara Fischer has been reporting on all of this. Pretty fascinating, Sara. Why can't they bring up January 6?

FISCHER: Because what the judge is trying to do is limit this trial. He has only slated five weeks for it to occur, to litigate the exact matter at hand, which is did Fox knowingly spread false information pertaining to Dominion Voting Systems and their role in the 2020 election, and did they do it with actual malice, meaning that they do that intentionally.

By saying that they can't bring up January 6, he's essentially arguing that bringing it up wouldn't help you prove your case, and so it wouldn't be a good use of our time here. I've been in a bunch of these court cases, by the way. Sometimes, they say they're five weeks, they last two months, they could go on longer, so he's trying to basically keep it very narrow and very focused.

Big take away from me and what the judge laid out here is that Fox cannot use anything that its host said on its air to push back on defamation claims as part of the case. And that matters because I don't know how Fox has been preparing for this lawsuit for the past few months, but I presume it has been a huge part of their preparation to push back part of their defense. Now, the judge is saying, you can't go with that.

CAMEROTA: That is fascinating because their -- some of their real reporters did try to push back and got in trouble for it.

SOLOMON: In my understanding is that what the judge is essentially saying is, hey, you can't use proof that maybe on other times of the day, right, let's say at 8:00 p.m., you perhaps defamed Dominion, but at 2:00 p.m., the day before, you know, a reporter pushed back. You can't use that as evidence to absolve from this potential defamation. It would be sort of like, Alisyn, if I found out -- not you would ever do this --


SOLOMON: -- but if I found out that you were, you know, telling a lie maliciously about me and I went and confronted you about it, you said, oh, yeah, sure, I told Alayna that, but to Sara, I actually said that you were great, the judge is saying uh, uh, that doesn't work, you still told a lie. And so, I thought that was really interesting for sure.

CAMEROTA: I think so, too. I think that's interesting. Also, I think it's interesting that they're going to allow the salaries of top hosts and executives, we're told. I mean, as you were saying, why? How is that -- how is that relevant?

FISCHER: I was just germane to the case at all. I mean, it's -- everyone is obviously curious about this and fascinated by this because Dominion is trying to prove, as I said before, actual malice, that Fox aired these baseless claims in order to improve its business outcomes. And part of making that case is showing that the people who were making those claims have a serious financial stake in the success of the company.

If these people are making, you know, tens of millions of dollars a year because their shows are rated very highly, they have a financial stake and pushing forth is based on selection claims because it will boost ratings.

And by the way, we know that that's how they're thinking was because in previous depositions, text messages, email exchanges between employees, hosts and producers show that this is how they were thinking. In particular, you had people like Tucker Carlson saying, get real reporters that are trying to push back on these claims off of the area, it is bad for our ratings.

CAMEROTA: Get them fired.

FISCHER: Yes. So, it is going to be very interesting to see what information comes out. Another thing I'm watching, whether or not Rupert Murdoch takes the stand and his son, Lachlan Murdoch, takes the stand. We saw from depositions that they did in a closed-door testimony, it was explosive.

Rupert Murdoch essentially conceded that some of his hosts endorsed, that was the word that he used, some of these baseless claims. Now, he was to be brought in front of a jury, and he doesn't. Of course, he can't perjure himself. He's under oath.

What else is he going to say that could potentially be explosive? Remember, he's not just some executive. He is the chairman. He is the head of all the things that we're talking about here. He's intimately involved. His testimony will matter.

CAMEROTA: Sara, what can you tell about how including people are about the Murdoch family? So even on CNN International, I mean, we've covered the story quite a bit. And I'm always really fascinated to know. I mean, is it the intrigue of the Murdoch family for just those of us in the media or do you think that that expands beyond just New York to see et cetera, et cetera?

FISCHER: Everyone loves the show succession, which, you know, is it the Murdochs, is that the Red Stones? But when I look at ratings for succession into great show and it's a successful show, it's not like the bachelorette. You know, it's not like this is us.

It's not like, you know, "Game of Thrones." It's very popular and people understand it, but it's not something that I think is ubiquitous around all of America. I don't think every single person in America is paying as much attention to this, but they should be because the outcome of this trial has implications for every American.


It will determine whether or not powerful people feel like they can sue media companies for defamation. If Fox loses this, people are going to think that they have the power to sue for defamation, and that scares me a little bit as a reporter, to be very honest. It also might have a fundamental difference of how Fox covers the 2024 election. If they lose, I don't think that this is going to be considered a platform for people to come out and spew any sort of election denialism or any falsehoods because they don't want to be hit with another $1.6 billion defamation.

TREENE: This is something -- you go ahead, Eva.

MCKEND: Yeah, this is obviously a historic media trial, but their audience is not watching this. They're not concerned about the reputational damage, at least among the -- who they are trying to attract. So, what about the dollars and cents, $1.6 billion? Is that like a cup of coffee for these folks? Like, how much does the money matter?

FISCHER: It's a lot of money. The example I always give people is that when Fox Corporation, which is the parent company to Fox News, hired Tom Brady for that 10-year deal, that was $375 million. So, think about what $1.6 billion could have afforded you. That is a lot of money.

And I think the biggest challenge is we don't actually know if that's what the amount they're going to pay. I mean, Dominion is going to have to prove that this made significant damage to their reputation and brand. Dominion is not that big of a company.

I think their revenue is less than $100 million. So, to be able to say that this cost me $1.6 billion, that might be a, you know, tough task. But if they are able to do it and if this does come down to $1.6 billion, this isn't just a cup of coffee. That's a lot of money.

CAMEROTA: It is three Tom Bradys.


TREENE: The thing that I wonder, too, is how this could potentially totally change the way that Fox operates. I mean, right now, it is the number one place for Republicans to go on.

And, you know, from people like Mitch McConnell, who is an establishment figure, to Jim Jordan, who likes to talk about extreme things that Republicans are doing or other Republicans who want to come on and push baseless claims, this is the kind of lawsuit that could totally alter, whether they can do that. And I was talking about it.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I guess I'm just pushing back on this because they make more than that. I mean, over the course of their decade, they make a lot more than $1.6 billion, even though that's a huge number. So, would they change entirely their business model?

FISCHER: A few folks have pointed out that after the infamous news corps phone hacking scandal in the U.K. in 2012, like not that much fundamentally changed. I think there are going to be a few procedural changes. For one, I think Fox employees will be very careful about what they put in writing. Now, you know anything that you text or you email is going to potentially come out to bite, you know, against you in court.

Two, I do think it will impact a little bit of booking, especially when it comes to the election denialism specifically. That's a narrative that's not going away ahead of 2024. We were talking about Kari Lake last night. This is still part of her platform.

So, that particular narrative is I don't think going to have a home on Fox News if they lose this defamation suit, and the biggest risk to Fox is, do my viewers and do the guests I want to book go to a network where they can freely talk about those things?

By the way, that's what got them in this place in the first place. They were so nervous that they were going to lose viewers to OAN and to Newsmax that they invited these baseless claims on air.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, that's a great point. So, the Mitch McConnells of the world and I assume the congressman, Jim Jordan --

TREENE: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- will still go on, but the Sidney Powells --

TREENE: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- might not.

TREENE: Exactly. And I do think as well, I mean, I was just talking with Sara about this earlier. I mean, the text message aspect and putting things in writing, it was remarkable to see what some of these -- Tucker Carlson was one of them, Sean Hannity writing about Trump, criticizing Donald Trump.

And I remember I had a conversation with Steve Bannon of all people about a month ago before he was going on the stage for CPAC, and he saw what was coming out of this case and said, we're abandoning, we're going to abandon Fox, we're going to go somewhere else, they don't want Donald Trump to be president, so we're going to find a new news network. Clearly, that didn't happen. Republicans are still going on Fox News all the time.

CAMEROTA: Including Donald Trump.

TREENE: Exactly. I was going to say, including some of Donald Trump's top allies and advisers and Donald Trump himself.

But, um, if they do have to change completely, not completely as you were saying, but if they do have to change a lot of the ways that they operate, if they do feel like they have to kind of be a little bit more structured, not allowed these baseless claims on to their air, I do wonder if they'll see people actually start leaving and going to places like OAN and Newsmax because that's something that a lot of Republicans go to Fox for now.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much for that conversation. We will see what happens and if it even goes to trial next week. All right, meanwhile, will leaders in red states do anything about access to guns? Eva has reporting on the call by Tennessee's Republican governor, Bill Lee, for new gun restrictions after the mass shooting at that elementary school that killed six people, including three nine-year-old. We will talk about all that.



CAMEROTA: Tennessee's Republican Governor, Bill Lee, signing an executive order today to strengthen the state's gun background checks. This follows the shooting at that Nashville elementary school. This afternoon, the governor pleaded for his state legislature to set aside politics and act.


GOV. BILL LEE (R-TN): I think that we have an obligation, and I certainly do, to remind people that we should set aside politics and pride, and accomplished something that the people of Tennessee want us to get accomplished.


It is possible and it is important that we find a way to remove individuals who are a threat to themselves or to our society to remove them from access to weapons.


CAMEROTA: Um, Eva, you've been covering this for us. No one can argue with that. I mean, that is just as common sense as it gets. Yes, remove their access to weapons. Is he proposing something or with his executive order something specific they should change in his state?

MCKEND: Well, he's right now calling for a review of the background check process. So, he's asking the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations essentially to take inventory. Are we doing this the most effective way that we can? And then also asking law enforcement agencies to ensure that within 72 hours, that they are reporting to the TBI people's criminal history.

So, it is something. And it is a dramatic change in just the span of two weeks because initially after the tragedy, he indicated that there wasn't a legislative solution to all of this. Now, he's signing or signed today an executive order.

He is also leaning on the republican state legislature to get involved as well to pass a red flag law. He's not going to get support from every Republican in his state. We have certainly seen the dominance of the Republican Party in that state in the fallout over this tragedy in the last several weeks. But he may get some. And it is just really a remarkable shift.

I spoke to some Democrats in the state today and one staffer told me that it is appropriate to celebrate the small victories, that some folks might be cynical about this and say this has no impact. But when you see this type of reversal, it is clear that this sort of historic pressure, the protests that they've seen, is -- does seem to be weighing on the governor.

CAMEROTA: We were just talking about this in the past hour on "CNN Tonight," that we noticed he wasn't calling it a red flag law, what he was suggesting. He was calling it a protective order. Is that intentional? I mean, is a red flag order too hot to touch in that -- in that state, just calling it that?

MCKEND: It is perhaps, and that is what a Democratic lawmaker suggested to me. He said, well, whatever you want to call it. But I said red flag law so that people understand what I'm talking about, because that is essentially what it is, some type of intervention to get people in crisis or who are dangerous, um, taking away their weapons, at least on a temporary basis.

CAMEROTA: One of the remarkable things about what has happened with these mass shootings in Kentucky and in Tennessee is that both governors' families were directly impacted by this. They lost close friends in these shootings.

SOLOMON: I mean, it's really incredible, right? And then hearing the mayor of Louisville say that he himself was a survivor of a workplace shooting. I mean, we've got some new research from Kaiser, a new survey, showing that nearly one in five adult Americans has lost a family member to gun violence, either by homicide or by suicide.

And not to state the obvious, guys, but there are five of us on the set. Nearly one in five in the U.S. I mean, it is staggering. And so, I think beyond just the devastating human toll, beyond just the devastating emotional toll, there are also really huge financial costs that come with this, right?

According to the Government Accountability Office, according to the most recent research we have, gun violence, hospital visits cost a billion dollars every year, and that is expected to be a conservative estimate. And so, it is really staggering and really hard to just put your head around.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. I don't want to believe that it has to affect you personally and you have to lose a dear friend in order to want to make changes at the legislative level, but whatever it takes. I mean, whatever it takes to make something like this in Tennessee and Kentucky never happen again.

MCKEND: It is certainly a way to get people out of their entrenched political positions. And then there is some data to suggest that even if people are impacted, they still don't change their mind. But -- but I would -- I would imagine, as we continue to say -- see this play out, you know, we are -- we are seeing certain elected leaders become more thoughtful about this.

CAMEROTA: Certainly local. At the local level. National. Alayna, any thoughts on anybody talking about this?

TREENE: They are talking about it, but nothing is going to happen. I mean, in Congress, both sides recognized Democrats and Republicans, as much as there's so much frustration over how can we not get anything done on this, that there's going to be no legislative solution.

I mean, they passed a bipartisan gun safety bill last year and basically leadership again on both sides of the aisle are saying that that's probably as far as they'll be able to go given the balance of power in Congress, given Republicans' control the House.


Democrats have a very slim majority in the Senate. I mean, no type of federal law would pass in Congress. But it's really frustrating. And you said, Eva, you think, you know, things are starting to change. I know from so many people I talked to, it is just when. I mean, how many -- we have one ever week. There's -- I mean, it's horrific. It's awful.

And you're totally right that there's a personal connection that almost everybody in this country now has. Everyone knows someone or knows someone who has been affected by at least a shooting, if not a mass shooting, and it's horrific.

And I know so many people, including a lot of people in Congress, even some Republicans, frustrated by just the lack of progress and the total inability to do anything meaningful when it comes to changing laws.

MCKEND: There's one thing the governor, it appears, and I reached out to his office and have not heard back as yet, but it appears that he hasn't asked for a bill sponsor for this legislation that he's leaning on the legislature to take up as yet. So, let's see how serious he is in that regard. Is he going to whip votes for it? Is he going to lean on Republicans to actually follow this through and usher this legislation through is a whole another question.

CAMEROTA: Sara, your thoughts on this?

FISCHER: I feel like we're in an outrage cycle that we cannot escape. Every time we have one of these incidents, The Onion, the satirical website, post the exact same headline, which is, you know, how outrageous this is, says the only country that this happens regularly, too. And they post it every single time.

And it was a good reflection of how a lot of Americans feel, which is every time something like this happens, we grieve, we complain, we mourn, we move on. And we do that because without any sort of legislative action, what else are we as Americans supposed to do?

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Thank you all very much for that conversation. Okay, now to something much lighter, who rules the roads? Rahel has some new reporting on what more and more Americans are driving, and the results may surprise you. We will be back with that. Hmmm.




UNKNOWN: In times like this, what makes a car number one? Why is Ford Granada outselling all other 75 newcomers combined? Why is Ford Mustang, too, outselling all other small, sporty luxury cars combined? Why is Ford Pinto, America's best-selling subcompact? Ford thinks its people looking for value, looking at what a car costs, and what you get for that money. Granada, Mustang 2, and Pinto are success cars because they are value car.


CAMEROTA: And they're good looking. Just kidding. Check out that 1975 Ford commercial. Back then, sedans were all the rage. Here's a more recent commercial.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Introducing the return of a legend. The all-new Bronco two-door, the first ever Bronco four-door, and the adventure- ready Bronco Sport.


CAMEROTA: Yeah, that's tougher than a Ford Pinto. Today, trucks are in the majority of vehicles in all 50 states. Rhode Island was the last state to hop on board, but it too has joined the truck revolution. But the definition of a truck has changed. It now includes pickups, minivans, and SUVs. What happened to electric vehicles?

CNN's business correspondent Rahel Solomon has been working her sources all day on this. Rahel, how is an SUV a truck? I put it in a different category. Minivan is a truck?

SOLOMON: Okay, essentially what we're talking about here is that cars have just gotten a lot larger, right? We're talking about, for the sake of this conversation, trucks and utility vehicles. We're going to sort of all group them together.

But if it feels like you are seeing more trucks on the road, more utility vehicles on the road, you're right. You are, right? I mean, it is now the most popular vehicle in all 50 states.

And when I asked some of my sources today about why this is, I mean, part of it is just preferences, our preferences have changed. Apparently, we no longer want the Pintos. Apparently, we want larger cars because of families and et cetera, etcetera. So, part of this is preference.

And part of this is that the utility vehicles and larger trucks have gotten a lot more comfortable. They've advanced certainly with technology. And so, they've sort of been able to meet people where they are. Here's another thing. If it feels like you're seeing more luxury cars on the road, you are not wrong. About 20% of all new car sales are luxury cars. That is a record. And to just -- I know, I was shocked. And to put this in perspective, the average car note right about now is more than $700 a month.

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

SOLOMON: That is a lot of money.

CAMEROTA: And how do they define a luxury car? Just what we would all think of Mercedes and BMW like that kind of thing or what's the references?

SOLOMON: Pretty -- I mean, pretty much. I mean, look, I've talked to some of the executives from the ultraluxury cars as well have interviewed some of the CEOs and they are certainly having record years as well. So, the luxury cars as well but also the super luxury cars. They are having better years as well. But, yeah, I mean, people who have the means to spend want all the bells and whistles, and they're clearly shelling it out.

FISCHER: It's amazing to me because for so long, cars were really hard to get during the pandemic.


FISCHER: We had a chip shortage, the supply chain issue. And so, when you were talking to people about buying cars, they kept saying, well, I got to hold off because the new one that I want, I just can't get my hands on it. Is it that the chip issue is solved and we have the cars back on the lots, and that's why we're buying new ones?

SOLOMON: Well, it is only because I asked about that. It's easier to get a car, right? I mean, part of the reason why car notes are so expensive is because interest rates have also gone up, right?


So, that's part of it. But it is also that demand is really strong, right? And that's part of the reason, too, that there is really strong demand, not necessarily great supply. It's certainly gotten better, but that's part of the reason why it's really expensive right now to buy a car.

CAMEROTA: So, is there still demand for electric vehicles? Are they still popular or are they falling off?

SOLOMON: They are definitely still popular, but there's still a very small share of the overall auto market. I want to say 5% or 6% although that is expected to grow.

But you have to -- you have to remember, I mean, with EV, these are still very much more expensive than a traditional, you know, fuel car. And so, there are lots of barriers of entry. You have to think about just the cost, the price tag, but also charging stations, right? And so, it's interesting because, you know, Brian Moody, who I just talked to a little bit earlier from Autotrader, he said, you know, 80% of people who have electric vehicles own a home, and they charge it at home, right?

And so, there are obviously some things there that are at play, some implications there. One, you have to own your home, and two, you have to have this space enough to actually have a charging station. And so, for a lot of people, that may not be the case. And so EV, even if you do want to sort of go that route, it may not be feasible.

MCKEND: Even in the nation's capital, my fiance has a hybrid, can't find any place to charge it. So, it's real problem. I actually -- I thought that this would be sort of a generational shift. Out on the campaign trail, there are a lot of young people, Republicans as well, talking about climate change, concerned about it.

So, I thought that we would see an increasing number of young people who are really aware and cognizant of this, um, gravitate towards these vehicles. But if the barrier to entry is so high, maybe not.

SOLOMON: I think that's a great point. That desire may be there, right? The environmental desire may be there. But if you can't afford it, I mean, you can't afford it.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Alayna, final thoughts?

TREENE: And road trips. Road trips are nightmares. I have friends who have electric vehicles and it takes forever to go anywhere when you're going a long distance.

But also, I will say, this is something that the Biden administration recognizes. And they're pouring billions of dollars into trying to build more of these charging stations to make it more accessible for people to own electric vehicles.

And they really want. I mean, President Biden himself wants Americans to go big on EVs. And they're actually going to be rolling out new policies around some of the electric emissions tomorrow. The EPA will be doing this.

And so, I think that if it's successful, if Congress doesn't get involved and tries to roll it back, which I know Republicans already talking about, it's not even out there yet, if that happens, I mean, if they're successful with this in the next 10 years or so, I think it will create a better environment for a lot of these electric vehicles.

But I think you're totally right. Right now, it is very difficult for people to own them and it's very expensive for them to own them. We've all talked about inflation last night. It's not a great time to be dishing out tons and tons of dollars for an electric vehicle when others are a little bit more affordable right now.

CAMEROTA: Okay, perfect segue because you just gave us a tease for what's happening tomorrow.


That is a perfect segue to this, which is what are the big scoops for tomorrow? We've got tomorrow's news tonight for you, next.




CAMEROTA: We're back with our wonderful panel of reporters. So, let's find out what stories they're keeping their eyes on for tomorrow. We call it "Tomorrow's News Tonight." Okay, Eva, you're going to be looking at Senator Tim Scott tomorrow. What will the news be?

MCKEND: Well, Senator Scott has announced or is going to announce tomorrow that he's launching an exploratory committee. He's holding two events in Iowa tomorrow. Nikki Haley on the trail in Iowa as well.

Earlier this evening, we were talking about the former president. But this is 2024 republican primary is already underway with shadow candidates and real candidates, and I'm wondering if any of these folks are going to be able to break through. Senator Scott has really fashioned himself as a happy warrior. Can that message gained any traction?

CAMEROTA: That will be really interesting. Okay, thank you for that, for alerting us to that. Okay, Alayna, so, tell us about what's happening with this leak, these highly classified Pentagon documents.

TREENE: Yeah, I mean, Congress still has no idea and neither the Biden administration of where the leak came from, who was able to post these on social media, and a lot of people want answers to it. And also, just on the documents.

I'll bring up another story, that is really big right now, is that the Gang of Eight, the House and Senate leaders as well as the chairman and the ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, are also getting access to some of the classified documents at President Biden, president -- former President Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence's homes and officers.

They're beginning to see these for the first time, which is a huge victory for them, as well as kind of solidifies and validates their congressional oversight powers to oversee the intelligence community. And so, this is going to be huge for Congress, and I think it will be a very big story, particularly when they are back next week from recess.

CAMEROTA: Okay, excellent. All right, Sara, so tell us about -- we know that President Biden spoke with the family of "The Wall Street Journal" correspondent who is wrongfully detained in Russia. What can we expect?

FISCHER: Well, they just designated that he was wrongfully detained. The State Department designated that. And that's a huge deal because essentially, it moves this case into a special sort of hostage negotiation program within the State Department.

So, the next step is that we can start to deploy resources to try to bring Evan Gershkovich back. The most notable thing about it is that I've never seen such a rallying cry from the journalism community and beyond to bring him back. It has taken over social media, et cetera.

The fun thing, though, that I'm looking forward to tomorrow is that YouTube just announced their Sunday ticket package deals. The prices have gone up a little bit. But it's exciting to see how all these streaming companies are now pricing out access to the NFL, something that forever we could only get on regular TV.


CAMEROTA: Interesting. Okay, thank you very much for that. Rahel, what are you keeping an eye on?

SOLOMON: I feel like I'm always following Sara and I always --


-- fun stories and Sara. Yes, tomorrow, I am working on inflation. We got a really big inflation report at 8:30 in the morning. And so, just so you know, as soon this report comes out, we get a flurry of research notes from all of the banks sort of weighing in, analyzing every part of what we learned in the report, and then also their predictions about what it will all mean in terms of the Federal Reserve.

Then you work the phones, you try to get economists on the phone, you try to get different smart minds on the phone to try to make this make sense for certainly the reporters but also people at home, right? How does this really matter to people at home.

So, the expectation is that we will see inflation cool again. That said, it is still much higher than the fed's target. So, I think many people would argue they still have a lot of work to do.



CAMEROTA: All right, ladies, thank you very much. Thanks for the preview of all that. Thanks for sharing all of your reporting. Great to have you here.

Be sure to tune in to "CNN THIS MORNING" tomorrow. CNN's Josh Campbell is going to give us an inside look at how police officers train for the now all too common horror of active shooters.

Thanks so much for watching tonight, everyone. Our coverage continues now.