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CNN Tonight

Two Big Issues Facing Joe Biden; Sales Of Bud Light Fall After Campaign Featuring Transgender Influencer Dylan Mulvaney; Clemency Denied For Death Row Inmate After Unprecedented Move By Oklahoma A.G. Attending Hearing On Inmate's Behalf; Oklahoma Parole Board Denies Clemency Request Of Richard Glossip; Dress Code Political Drama; Tucker Carlson Breaks Silence After Being Fired From Fox. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 26, 2023 - 22:00   ET


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: A presidential candidate is going to take on Disney and sees political advantage in it.


It doesn't make any sense.

Quickly, on Kamala Harris and Joe Biden's age. Let's be honest, V.P. Harris is a decent person, but she's a drag on the ticket. I just had that conversation with Van Jones. I think she has got to up her game or that will end up being the case.

Thanks for joining us. I will be back tomorrow. CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota begins now. Here is Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Michael. Great to see you.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.

President Biden facing two big issues tonight, the first developments in the long-running criminal investigation into his son. CNN has exclusive reporting that Hunter Biden's attorneys, who you can see here, met with Justice Department officials today. Sources say prosecutors are still weighing whether to bring several tax charges and a false statement charge related to a gun purchase against the president's son.

And then there is the other big issue hovering over Joe Biden, and that's his age. He will be 86 at the end of a second term. We'll tell you what he's saying about that today that's different than what he has said before.

Plus, the case about Richard Glossip on death row in Oklahoma. It continues to worry officials who believe he was wrongly convicted. This man has been given three last meals before being granted reprieves. Now, he's scheduled to be executed again. Will the Supreme Court step in?

And sales of Bud Light have dropped considerably since Kid Rock and others went ballistic on the beer, literally. We'll talk about an effort to expand their customer base backfired in a big way.

But we start at the White House where, tonight, they are rolling out the red carpet for a state dinner with South Korea's president. You can see Angelina Jolie arriving with her son, Maddox, here. This is a glitzy backdrop for some of the problematic issues the president is facing as he launches his re-election bid.

Of course, there is the continuing investigation into his son, Hunter, and the lingering questions about the president's age. He addressed that one today.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: With regard to age, I can't even say, I guess, how old I am, I can't even say the number. It doesn't register with me. But the only thing I can say is that one of the things that people are going to find out, they're going to see a race and they're going to judge whether or not I have it or don't have it.


CAMEROTA: I totally relate to that. I often forget how old I am also, conveniently.

The panel is here to weigh in on all of this. We have a woman who knows her way around the state dinner, Alyssa Farah Griffin, lawyer extraordinaire Elie Honig, who eats most of his meals in the green room, Communications Expert Lee Carter, the author of Persuasion, Convincing Others When Facts Don't Seem to Matter, and former Congressman Mondaire Jones, who has no idea what it means to get old.

Okay. But before we get to Joe Biden's age, since that's not going anywhere, let's start with the one that I find more intriguing, and that's this investigation, this ongoing investigation, Elie, into Hunter Biden. It's been going on five years. And can you just remind us about this because this isn't about the laptop.


CAMEROTA: This started five years ago. What triggered this?

HONIG: This is not a complicated case. This is a case about two things. First of all, Hunter Biden's personal tax returns. Did he commit tax fraud? He's not some mega corporation. He's an individual. And, second of all, there is this sort of obscure federal firearms law that says you cannot possess a firearm if you are an addict. Apparently, he lied at the time when he was an addict, filled data form saying he was not an addict and obtained a firearm. That is not a five-year federal investigation. That is not a two-year investigation. That's a six-month investigation at most.

CAMEROTA: So, why has this been going on five years?

HONIG: I think nobody wants to make a call here because it is the ultimate darned if you do, darned if you don't. If you charge him, if you don't charge him, half the country is going to be delighted, half the country is going to be furious.

And this goes back three attorneys general. This was started before Bill Barr. Then Bill Barr took it over. Now, he's passed it on to Merrick Garland. Let me tell you something, prosecutors are really good at passing the buck if they don't want to make the call. But this news that we saw that the lawyers are going there to meet, that tells me they have to, prosecutors have to be very close to an endgame in an actual decision.

CAMEROTA: But I thought that his lawyers were the ones who prompted the meeting, that they're like, give us the status report.

HONIG: Yes. Usually, there is back and forth between prosecutors and defense lawyers. And if you are close to making a decision as a prosecutor, you would tell the defense lawyers, hey, if you want to come in and make a pitch, which happens all the time, by the way, nothing unusually about that, now is the time to get in here.

CAMEROTA: Alyssa, will voters hold this against Joe Biden in this upcoming election?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the voters who did last time are going to. We're careening into the rematch that nobody wants, which is Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. 70 percent of Americans want someone other than Joe Biden on the Democratic side, 60 percent on the Republican side wants someone other than Donald Trump. You have both parties look like they are going to re-nominate those officials.

I think Hunter Biden was a factor that was an easy attack for Republicans to use. It's less this case, though. I think it was important what Elie pointed out. This isn't about some of the corruption, some of the, you know, financing that he may have taken from foreign entities. That is what Republicans have kind of glommed on to.


This is not related to it.

But at the end of the day, I'm not sure it is a make or break issue. At the end of the day, he's not serving in the administration. He's not serving in the White House. It is a relative of the president.

CAMEROTA: Lee, your thoughts?

LEE CARTER, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Well, I think 55 percent of Americans are tired. They have fatigue about all of these probes. They think they're politically motivated. I think 90 percent of Americans think that these probes are politically motivated and they're tired of them. I don't think they are going to change anybody's mind. If you decided you are going to vote against Joe Biden, you are going to be motivated to vote against Joe Biden because of this. If you decide against Donald Trump because of his issues, you are motivated by it. Otherwise, it's not going to change anybody's minds and I think people want us to focus on the issues that matter most to them.

CAMEROTA: Congressman?

MONDAIRE JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree. I mean, you actually don't need to do too much work to kind of figure out how people are going to view the race between Biden and Trump, who I think is 75 percent or more likely to be the Republican nominee because we have had this showdown before back in 2020.

And I would also say the fact that the president himself has not been implicated in any of this alleged criminal conduct, I think, tells you that there are going to be a whole bunch of people, a majority of Americans who do not blame him at all for this.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about President Biden's age. I'm not sure what we are supposed to say about this. It is not changing. Well, actually, it is going up. I mean, it actually is going up. It's going up, like all of ours. None of us are getting any younger. And so I'm not sure what he is supposed to do about it.

However, he did address it differently today, Alyssa, than he has in the past. In the past, he said, just watch me. Watch me. Basically, he's saying I get more accomplished in a year than, you know, most people are in a week or whatever. But this time he said, you know, I have given it a lot of thought. Like as though this time he didn't dismiss it. He said, I've given it deep thought. And yet one of the polls that says for those that don't want Joe Biden to run for president, how much of a reason is age, and it is a major reason to 48 percent, it's a minor reason to 21 percent, it is not a reason to 29 percent. What's he supposed to do about this?

GRIFFIN: Well, he can't hide from it. It's undoubtedly going to be one of the major issues on the campaign trail. And I think it was notable in the launch video that it featured Vice President Harris something like over a dozen times. They were leaning into we have a younger vice president just in case.

And for some time, there was kind of a skepticism and a notion they were distant, the Biden presidency was distancing itself from the vice president. But I thought that was by design. However, the White House stepped in on launch day. The answer from the White House press secretary essentially saying I'm not going to answer now if he will serve a full term if re-elected. That is going to come to ad campaigns and we are going to hear that going into Election Day.

HONIG: I think it will be interesting to see the role that Vice President Harris plays here. Because what everyone may think of her, she's not very popular, right? If you look nationwide, I mean, she got, what, 2 percent in the Democratic primary and is certainly not popular on the other side. So, it will be interesting to see if they feature her as a, don't worry, folks, we have her. She's good. She's here if we need here, or if they try to minimize her. But Alyssa is right, I mean, the ad that came out today or yesterday does feature her heavily.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, will that help? I mean, can they now, at this point, kind of revitalize her image?

CARTER: I don't think that it's going to be easy for a couple of reasons. Number one, she's not a dynamic speaker. In many ways, she turns people off for whatever reason.

CAMEROTA: Really? Because I think people do like her. Like when she speaks in her element, you know, where we've seen her recently, I think that -- I can't remember which funeral, but it was powerful when she was speaking at some gun violence funeral. And she -- I thought that was something that people did respond to her when she was on the campaign trail originally.

CARTER: So, she's got a 36 percent approval rating right now. Yesterday, she stood up -- it should have been a slam dunk. She stood up and talked about women's rights, reproductive rights. She had an amazing stage, amazing setting and she couldn't stick the landing on what she was talking about. This should be something that's easy for her to talk about. This is -- we want to hear from her. In fact, Republicans are more likely to switch to Democrat because of that issue alone and she couldn't get the message out. I think she has a difficult road ahead of her. I don't think she strengthens Joe Biden at all.

JONES: So, I disagree. I think she's a dynamic speaker. I think when she's speaking about issue that she's credible on and that the White House can actually do something about, she is received favorably. The problem is that the White House has given her issues that were doomed to fail from the beginning, right?

You know, and I have said this before, they gave her voting rights before the president had even come out in support of filibuster reform. They gave her the crisis at the border, which is this intractable issue that Congress is only going to solve through comprehensive immigration reform.

And so I hope moving forward that she gets to focus more on issues like abortion and other issues that are top of mind for American voters, including a lot of Republicans and certainly a lot of independents and that she's able to be on the stump. And the way we saw her with the Tennessee Three a few weeks ago, which got rave reviews, and which is a subject that she's credible on, the issue of race and injustice and how to, you know, solve for these problems using government to the extent possible.


GRIFFIN: I will say, though, as someone that worked for a vice president that often got the issues that he didn't want to deal with on his portfolio, Vice President Pence, the job is do no harm. And I use Mike Pence as an example of somebody. He would show up and reliably deliver a speech, usually on telemprompter, and he very rarely made gaffes in the Trump presidency. Whether you like Pence or not, he was somebody who was seen as a steady force than Trump.

What I see with Vice President Harris that I think is why the polling numbers just really align with, I think, expected popularity is the ability to deliver a message just continually doesn't land. I first blame staff. I mean, it is not hard to have a teleprompter at speech and deliver it. But we're three years in and it is not getting better, in my observation.

CAMEROTA: Here is what David Axelrod said today about President Biden -- David Axelrod, of course, strategist for President Obama -- about Joe Biden's anyone. Sorry. I'll read it. He said, when you are looking at polling, when you watch focus groups, it's the thing that people bring up first. We're in unchartered waters. We have never had a president this old. Bur Axelrod says there are upsides to Biden's age, wisdom, experience and perspective. And at a time when there is so much churn and turmoil, those three qualities are assets for him.

Elie, I mean --

HONIG: Interesting.

CAMEROTA: Well, not only interesting, it's true. I mean, as you get older, and you have been in Washington for decades, you do know how things work. Are you surprised that he's not getting more credit for the wisdom that comes with age?

HONIG: I've actually not heard that perspective from anybody. Of course, we all know and respect David Axelrod.

One thing that I find is really interesting and I'm interested in the political people's view on this, though, Donald Trump is no spring chicken either. He's four years younger than Joe Biden, almost exactly four years, yet you never hear people say Trump is too old. I don't know why that is. I don't know if it's because he just projects this sort of manic energy or -- I don't know why. It's something else.

CARTER: Well, I think Donald Trump, when he was asked about this question, he said it's not about the number, it is about how you present. It is about how with it you are in many ways. And I think when people say in focus groups, and I have moderated lots of focus groups with different voters, and they will tell you they are concerned about his age. And it is not about the number, it is about his ability to deliver.

CAMEROTA: You are talking about Joe Biden?

CARTER: Joe Biden, absolutely, yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, I think that Joe Biden has more word finding difficulties. Part of it may be because of his stutter, which he's talked about. But Donald Trump also doesn't always make sense.

GRIFFIN: No. And you'll remember Reagan leaned into this and said, chalked it up to experience. My concern with President Biden is there has got to be one line that you stick to on it or it's going to go all sorts of places and continue to be an issue.

JONES: I think if we were in a different political era, a different moment in history, even five to ten years ago, this would be a different analysis. We are so polarized as a society that this now takes on an outsized role, whereas someone who is literally the most accomplished president in modern history should be able to run on that. And so long as he's able to run for re-election, people shouldn't be overly concerned about his age. But it's -- people talk about that more than the fact that he passed all this incredible legislation.

CAMEROTA: All right. Friends, thank you very much for those perspectives.

Next, how Bud Light found itself under fire, literally, in the culture wars and what lessons is there for other popular brands in this?



CAMEROTA: Sales of Bud Light fizzling this month, falling 17 percent after its recent social media campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. On April 1st, Mulvaney posted two Instagram posts to her 1.8 million followers showing them a commemorative Bud Light can with her face on it. Since then, Bud Light's parent company, Anheuser- Busch, has faced serious backlash. They tell CNN in a statement that they work with hundreds of influencers across their brands and that, quote, the commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.

Tonight, Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley gave her two cents on the controversy.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have any of you all seen Dylan Mulvaney? Do you know who that is on the beer cans? Let me tell you something. I know that there are transgender people out there. That is not a transgender person. That is a guy dressing up like a girl making fun of women.

Every one of you women have seen that. e don't act like that yet companies are glorifying him. And then we're supposed to tell our girls be strong and be confident? What are we doing?


CAMEROTA: Do you want to just share your response to that?

CARTER: Well, I think that this is a really, really slippery slope, and I understand the point Nikki Haley was trying to make there. I don't think she made it artfully or well. I think there are a lot of people out there who say the way that she portrays women is actually a stereotype of women. And if you want to make that argument, that's fine. My bigger issue with Bud Light is Bud Light itself and how they handled this. It's not the fact that they gave the can. They should get out cans to influencers. I think it's a very clever idea. They gave out hundreds of can. I think that's smart.

But what the problem was is the way they handled the crisis on the other side of it. What they should have said is not, we're trying not to be fratty, we're walking away from our base. They should have said, you know what, we are the beer for all Americans. We gave out to whether you're trans, whether you are a Republican, whether you are Maga, we're the beer for you, we're the beer for all Americans, we're non-discriminatory, the issue would have gone away. Instead, they made it more political. They added fuel to the fire and that to me is the biggest mistake.

CAMEROTA: I think there are two separate things here, which is exactly what you said, how Bud Light has handled this and whether they sort of messed up their markets. And then just tonight, this is what former Governor Nikki Haley said. What are your thoughts about what she just said?

JONES: I think what Nikki Haley said was crazy, okay? If someone identifies as trans, you can't tell them that they're not trans. And so I don't know if she's feeling pressure to lean more heavily into these culture wars because many of her opponents or would be opponents in the case of Ron DeSantis have become known for those things as of late.


But I don't know that she's going to look back on that commentary in a couple of months and be proud of what she said tonight.


GRIFFIN: I think that's well said. What I worry about with some of the Republican candidates who are leaning into the culture wedge issues is I feel like they're drawing a circle of voters that they keep shrinking. And it gets to a place where if you are coming out so hard against the LGBTQ community, I'm not trans, but I have friends are. You have people who have family members are, or if they're not particularly even affected by it, they just don't like the meanness. Why is she going after an Instagram influencer? It is punching down.

Talk about China, Nikki Haley. You were the U.N. ambassador. Like it just feels small -- it feels small, it feels divisive and I quoted this stat last week on this program, 67 percent of Republicans want to see -- want to see more protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination. So, why are we targeting them and singling them out? You're losing voters by doing it. I'm frankly stunned by it because Nikki is smarter than that.

HONIG: I had the exact same reaction. I'm almost thinking, what am I missing here? Why would people care so much? I mean, okay, so a big company gives these ceremonial cans to lots of people. Maybe you like some of them. Maybe you don't. But why would that cause uproar that otherwise serious politicians or politicians who want to be taken seriously to dig in?

And I understand the concept of choosing these culture wars, but I do think there is a risk of overplaying it. I mean, look at Ron DeSantis, right? He's picked this fight with Disney, where he's about to get trashed in court, I think, and I think it is backfiring on him politically as well.

CAMEROTA: And why do people care so much?

CARTER: Well, look, I think there is a base of conservative voters who really don't like the move towards wokeness. They don't like the change. They don't like all that it represents. And they want to go back to times where things were simpler. And that is fine but we don't need to declare war.

I mean, the conservative values are supposed to be get government out of my body, get government out of my life, let me live my life, and that should be it. These culture wars are really divisive because they end up subtracting. As you say, you're narrowing in those voters. You are subtracting. And at this game, you're supposed to be adding. It should be about addition. You need to add to your base. If you are Nikki Haley, you need to be adding more people, not taking away.

And I think you are not trying to take Trump voters. That's not what Nikki Haley is going to do, not going to take DeSantis voters. That's not what her appeal is. Here appeal is something very different. She needs to find her lane, and she hasn't yet.

CAMEROTA: It's interesting. There is the politics, as we said, of this, and then there's the marketing that we said in this. And in terms of the marketing in Bud Light, is one of the problems, Congressman, that if you are going to partner with somebody, they have to authentically like your product?


CAMEROTA: I think that it's easy -- it would have been easy to partner with President Reagan on jelly beans. He liked jelly beans and everybody knew that he liked jelly beans. I don't know that Dylan Mulvaney drinks Bud Light. I really don't. I mean, I didn't get the impression that she did.

JONES: But there are trans people who do, right? And so if a company wants to be, as I think Bud Light was clearly going for, I mean, I don't think they just like randomly came up with this thing. I think they were trying to be inclusive, got caught up in the backlash in this political moment, relatedly this is not the first time that Bud Light featured members of the LGBTQ community and its promotional materials, including members of the trans community.

But because we are in this moment in time where people are, specifically Republicans are waging an all-out assault on the trans community, which is a very tiny community in this country, I would remind people listening, this is just being received in a way that it historically has not.

CARTER: And I think they were trying to be inclusive. And what they ended up being was exclusive. And by that, the comments that she made afterwards when she said --

CAMEROTA: The marketing executive. CARTER: The marketing executive said, we need to fight against the fratty culture. We're trying to get more modern, be more inclusive, and you totally dismiss a whole swath of people who disagree with you. It wasn't a smart response. It could have been very inclusive and send them out to everybody. That would have been a smart move. This was a very, very --

GRIFFIN: Well, it was abysmally handled because also most major beer companies do reach out to the LGBTQ community. And they could have just said, we all do this, we're inclusive. Again, we're beer for all America. But I think they handled it totally wrong.

CAMEROTA: Well, they're paying the price. These two marketing executives have now been basically suspended, and they are down. Bud Light is down 17 percent, it seems, since -- 16 percent or 17 percent since April 1st, and Coors Light and Miller Light are up 17 percent. So, it is just clearly that everybody registers that this was a mistake, but we'll see how long it lasts.

Thank you all of that.

Next, Oklahoma's attorney general says a death row inmate should be granted clemency. So, why was the clemency board against denying it? The troubling case of Richard Glossip, next.



CAMEROTA: Oklahoma's pardon board today denied clemency for Richard Glossip. That's a death row inmate who has maintained his innocence for 26 years. He's scheduled to be executed on May 18th, even after the state's attorney general in an unprecedented move argued for his clemency to the clemency board. That board deadlocked 2-2, but a majority vote is necessary for clemency to be granted.

Glossip's attorney reacting to the decision today, quote, we call on Governor Stitt to grant a reprieve of Richard Glossip's scheduled execution on May 18th because the execution of an innocent man would be an irreversible injustice. His attorneys are filing an appeal to the Supreme Court.

My panel is back. Elie, it's even more complicated than I'm making it sound. He not only maintains his innocence, a lot of people on death row maintain their innocence, there are all sorts of new evidence that has come to light since he was convicted that he was not responsible for this murder.

HONIG: It is way beyond just maintaining his innocence. This is really disturbing, if you look at this. I mean, this is ought to be a prosecutor's worst nightmare to put someone who might be innocent to death.

Okay. So, indicator number one, the state attorney general is arguing for clemency here and attended the hearing today.


By the way, this is not some Democratic or liberal prosecutor. This is a Republican A.G. in the state of Oklahoma and he was supported by a bipartisan group of Oklahoma state legislatures including more Republicans than Democrats. So, let's start with that.

There was a 343-page sort of postmortem report done on this case and it is astonishing. It is disturbing. Evidence was destroyed that should have been preserved after the first trial. The cops basically implanted the concept of the star witness, the only witness. The guy who actually did the killing with the baseball bat.

He was the only witness that tying Richard Glossip to this. And the cops basically when they're interviewing him the first time are putting in his head, hey, there is only one person you could lay this off on and they didn't turn that over to the defense. There are so many problems with this prosecution.

CAMEROTA: And that guy recanted.

HONIG: And he recanted.

CAMEROTA: He was the star witness who blamed it on Richard Glossip, has since recanted I believe his testimony.

HONIG: Yes. There is every indicator here that this person was wrongly convicted. And if he's put to death, it would just be the worst injustice that our system is capable of.

CAMEROTA: It's so confusing also because so many people are arguing for him, including Kim Kardashian who I believe we have -- we can hear what she had to say today about this.


KIM KARDASHIAN, FOUNDER SKIMS: I think that there was hardly any evidence that linked him, if none, you know, to his case. And I think that I personally don't believe in the death penalty, and I think that everyone deserves at least to have their case fully examined before they're about to be executed. It's just really that simple. And I just don't feel like he's gotten a fair chance.


CAMEROTA: As you know, she's taken on some social justice cases. But this conviction is so dubious. Why not just pause it in order to get the evidence out there?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have to wonder if Governor Stitt works that will end up intervening. I think he's the only person who could. You would know better than me Elie at this point. I'm someone who -- I do believe in the death penalty in the most extreme cases only for capital offenses and with a (inaudible) appellate process.

And by the way, I think there should be unanimity. When you have something at a 2-2 decision like that, it shouldn't that be moved forward with an irreversible injustice. That should be something that puts it back.

And there is the fact that you said in the opening, he's had three final meals. That borders on, you know, cruel and unusual, to put someone through the mental anguish of going through that. So, I think, I mean, I hope that this shines a light on it because this needs to be looked into further.

MONDAIRE JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. Look, I don't believe in the death penalty and not for the reason that I think a lot of liberals don't agree with. I don't think that the death penalty is inhumane. I disagree with the death penalty because you can never perfect that process and we are seeing that play out in this latest instance.

And, so, if you can't administer this perfectly when it comes to something as severe as death, something as final as death, then it just should not be in existence. I also think that it is racist in its application. This is a situation not of racism, but where the evidence is clear that there is at least not a threshold of beyond a reasonable doubt for convicting this person of having directed someone else to commit this murder.

And I don't know how he was ever -- you know, his conviction is vacated. Then somehow, he was re-convicted, which is really telling. But the fact the state attorney general, the Republican attorney general who in his words for the first time is appearing before the clemency board and that 45 Republicans in the state legislature are also supporting this, it is really startling.

CAMEROTA: Lee, is there any way for us to look at this?

LEE CARTER, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Well, I think that if this -- if this moves forward and on May 18th he's executed, I do believe that this is going to be a complete change in how people view the death penalty because what we've seen over time is fewer and fewer people support the death penalty.

There is still a majority of people, about 55 percent of Americans support the death penalty, but that's been decreasing over time. And the reason is because people want it done in absolute circumstances. You want it to be rare and you want it to be certain and you want it to be for extreme crimes.

When you look at something like this, when there is new evidence, there is a shadow of a doubt, there is 2-2 in a vote, they haven't even looked fully at the case, it seems inhumane, it seems unreasonable and it seems wrong. And then it becomes a much different conversation. So, I think if this does go forward, it's going to be really, really -- it's going to change how people view the death penalty.

CAMEROTA: Elie, can the Supreme Court get involved?

HONIG: Yes, they can. The governor can commute or even pardon. And the Supreme -- the U.S. Supreme Court now, they have not done a lot of that. You'll not be surprised to learn, but I think there is a couple interesting things happening here. First of all, there are cases that come up that really test the mettle of people who are against the death penalty.

Think about a school shooter case. Think about the Parkland shooter case, right? He was recently spared the death penalty. Think about the --

JONES: The Boston marathon --

HONIG: The Boston marathon shooter, right. The Biden administration did not abandon seeking the death penalty for him. And as Lee says, though, the line keeps moving to where now you are sort of wrapping in cases where there is real doubt.


The other thing, I do wonder maybe with a bit of optimism, I suppose, that will this change broader views on the death penalty because we've been sort of stuck in place for a long time. But here you see really Republican swell of support coming out of Oklahoma. And look, Kim Kardashian has a lot of attention. And, you know, God bless her for bringing attention to important causes. And I wonder if this will cause some sort of shift in where we think as a public as a whole.

CAMEROTA: We'll we've been reporting on it every night. We'll stay on it because it's up to the governor now and we'll see what that decision is. Thank you all very much. And be sure to tune in at the top of the hour. Some of our favorite reporters will join me to talk about the scoops that they are working on for tomorrow, including this Mississippi prison escape.

But next, what happens when politics and dress codes collide? School officials in two states are finding out how complicated this is. We'll talk about that next.



CAMEROTA: What happens when politics and school dress codes collide? Well, a non-binary student at Nashville Christian School says they were banned from prom for wearing a suit. This student, B. Hayes, posting on Instagram, quote, I wasn't allowed in the doors because I was wearing a suit. I should not have to conform to femininity to attend my senior prom."

The school responded, quote, "All of our students know from our school handbook that when they do not follow such expectations at school- sponsored events, they may be asked to leave."

And then in Michigan, students from the tri-county middle school are suing the district after being told to remove their "Let's Go Brandon" sweatshirts. The mother of the student says, "Instead of seeing political sweatshirts as a potential conversation starter between students, officials saw it as an opportunity to discriminate against opinions they didn't like. I'm proud of my sons for standing up for their first amendment rights." The tri-county school district had no comment.

I'm back with my panel now. Okay, so, Mondaire, let's start with the Christian school in Nashville because they say that it's against their dress code for the nonbinary student to go in a suit. However, we pulled their dress code. And it does not -- I don't find it that clear, frankly. So here is what it says. "All students should choose banquet attire that is appropriate for modesty and consistent with the biblical principles to guide student behavior and the statement of faith of Nashville Christian School. Students who do not adhere to these expectations may be asked to leave the event." Where in the bible is prom attire spelled out?

JONES: You know, I've read the Bible. I was a Sunday school teacher for a period in my life. It's not in there. It's not hitting the way they think it does. I'm sad about both of these situations. I actually disagree in both cases.

CAMEROTA: You think they should both be allowed to wear what they want?

JONES: Absolutely. I do. I do. I think it's an issue of free speech. I think if, look, if the dress code were more explicit and not just applied conveniently in the context of this prom, if both of those conditions were satisfied, I may have a different analysis, but it's clear that they just didn't like that this nonbinary person who presents like a female was wearing a suit to a prom.

CAMEROTA: Furthermore, I find also the Michigan dress code to be not explicit enough in terms of the "Let's Go Brandon" sweatshirts. So, here's what they say. "In conflict with state policy, so the dress code you can't wear if it's conflict with state policy, is a danger to the student's health or safety, is obscene, is disruptive to teaching and/or learning environment by calling undue attention to oneself, or contains messages, illustrations that are lewd, indecent, vulgar or profane, or that advertise any product or service not permitted by law to minors." "Let's Go Brandon" is none of those things.

CARTER: It's none of those things. I think they said it was conjuring up swear words or something along those lines. It's ridiculous, frankly. You should be able to wear what you want to wear in these situations. I do think when I look at these, there is a double standard here. When you look at the trans student at the Christian school, there is a GoFundMe page so that she could have her own event.

There is an outcrying of support for her. Everybody is saying that this is absolutely outrageous. And when you look at the conservative students who wanted to wear "Let's Go Brandon," you don't see that same kind of support. Yes, there's a lawsuit, but there isn't this like ground swell of support saying let's support First Amendment rights and let people speak for themselves and be who they are.

CAMEROTA: But do you see the difference, Lee, between a fashion statement, which you could say wearing a suit, you know, wearing pants instead of a dress, and a political statement which "Let's Go Brandon," I don't think it's obscene, but it is a political statement. Do you see -- do you make a distinction between those two?

CARTER: They are different, yes, but they're both expressions, right? And then, if you should be allowed to express yourself within the confines of the rules that are put in front of you. I don't see why one would get great support and one would not.

JONES: I agree that both should be permissible. I would just say, I'm sure in right-wing media right now that there is a ton of support for the "Let's Go Brandon" kid. And we're just not seeing it in this moment and maybe it's not as loud. But I think there are probably GoFundMe's, if not at least one in existence. I think people are rallying behind this person and maybe he will be encouraged to run for office one day because of his bravery in wearing this to high school.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Go ahead.

GRIFFIN: I was just going to say for the Nashville school, news flash, women wear pants. That's, I mean, just a fact (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: And they are all allowed to wear pants at this school, which is another reason why it's sort of confusing.

GRIFFIN: That's what I was curious about. If the dress code permits, we were just talking about at the White House Correspondence Dinner, if I was fashionable enough, I would have thought about wearing a suit. That's a very common thing for women to do. So that's absurd. On the second, I would agree with Lee. It's a free speech issue. I don't love it. We know it comes from kind of a crass derogatory term toward the president, but I honestly think, A, it's a First Amendment right to do it. And also, I like high school kids getting engaged in politics. I think it's a good thing that they care.

HONIG: Yes, it's a great (inaudible). Both school administrators need to just take a breath, relax. I mean, this is an expression. So, look, we have an election coming up. If you are not going to allow a "Let's, Go Brandon" shirt, you can't allow a Biden 2024 shirt or a Trump 2024 shirt.


And I think generally speaking, we would want students engaging in that sort of political discourse, even if it is a wee bit crass or as Lee said, secondhand alludes to something profane. On the prom, let the kids do what they want. I mean, there is no harm in this whatsoever. Let them dress however they want. It's absurd. It's 2023. If someone wants to wear a suite, as long as the clothing is not physically dangerous or the person is not nude, go for it and have fun.

CAMEROTA: I'll tell you who cut quite a sloth at their prom, Elie Honig. I believe we have a photo that proves what Elie was wearing at (inaudible).

UNKNOWN: Oh, yeah. HONIG: I offered this up to your producers as a public service

announcement because kids, while you should dress how you want, understand there will be consequences for this and what --

CAMEROTA: What -- what's wrong (inaudible)?

HONIG: Well, what I'm wearing here is what's known as the -- it's (inaudible) plug for a dead company. A Jordan Jammer brand tux. This is 1993. That's in Michael Jordan and Jammer as in someone who dunks a basketball. And you can't quite see it there, but the pants went up to my bellybutton. The jacket ended at that point.

CAMEROTA: I also can't see your date.

HONIG: Well, that's on purpose. There is no way I'm going to let -- there's no way I'm going to expose her.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Do you have another prom --

UNKNOWN: Look at that head of hair.

CAMEROTA: That's impressive, Elie. But it's -- there is, okay. Alyssa? Let's see it. Zoom in.

GRIFFIN: I don't even know what this is.

CAMEROTA: Please zoom in. I can't see the (inaudible).

GRIFFIN: I think I have corn rows, which (inaudible) --



CAMEROTA: Can you zoom in?

GRIFFIN: J-Lo was huge in that era.


GRIFFIN: It's probably --



UNKNOWN: That was amazing. We have to see the corn rows.


CAMEROTA: And, I mean, you have the full stretch white limo.

HONIG: Is that your date or is that the driver?

GRIFFIN: I think it is. I think that's Joey Miller, my date.




CAMEROTA: But Joey is also driving the limo.


CAMEROTA: That's awesome. Thank you for sharing that. We'll look forward to seeing yours on social media somehow. Thank you very much. All right. Tucker Carlson is speaking out tonight after being fired from Fox. We'll bring you that right after this.



CAMEROTA: Tucker Carlson speaking out tonight after his abrupt firing from Fox, though he has not addressed his firing in his short rambling video that he posted online.


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEW HOST: One of the first things you realize when you step outside the noise for a few days is how many genuinely nice people there are in this country, kind and decent people. People who really care about what's true. And a bunch of hilarious people also -- a lot of those. It's got to be the majority of population, even now. So, that's heartening.

The other thing I noticed when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are. They are completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. In five years, we won't even remember that we have them. Trust me, as someone who has participated.

And yet, at the same time -- and this is the amazing thing -- the undeniably big topics, the ones that will define our future, get virtually no discussion at all.


CAMEROTA: And I'm back with Alyssa Farah Griffin and Mondaire Jones. Alyssa?

GRIFFIN: There is such a tremendous lack of self-awareness in this video. I watched it, actually, several times. Tucker Carlson is the person that made me forget people are kind. He is the person that if you tuned in, you'd forget that most people are decent, most don't hate their neighbor, most aren't afraid of their neighbor.

And he talks with the big stories that the media isn't covering. His show tried to rewrite history while the other networks are covering actual real news. I'm -- it is welcome to have him off the airwaves. I am concerned -- I was concerned about the fact that he was being played on military bases. He was radicalizing people. Some of the things he espoused particularly with regard to the war in Ukraine were very, very dangerous. But just the tremendous lack of self-awareness is so stunning.

CAMEROTA: Mondaire?

JONES: I don't think it's part of his persona, right? I mean, he knows that he has lied repeatedly about things, and we have evidence of that now in the Dominion discovery. And so, I think this is about preserving you know, his persona for whatever he does next, whether it's, you know, starting his own show or network or podcast I guess, or maybe even running for president of the United States Senate.

But this guy continues to not learn from his mistakes and I think, frankly, has been given no incentive especially as it's been reported that he's going to get the remainder of the $20 million annual contract that he --

CAMEROTA: Salary, yeah. I think that he projects a lot.


CAMEROTA: But I think that it is a shame, if what he just said was true, I think it's a shame that he had to come off the air for four days to realize that people in the country are genuinely kind and hilarious and wonderful. That's a shame.

GRIFFIN: It's clearly a man who exists in an echo chamber and I think --

CAMEROTA: Of his own creation.

GRIFFIN: Of his own creation. He did say something that stood to me. He says that no one is going to remember the debates we're having on air on T.V. No one forgets when John Stewart and he got into it on "Hardball." So, that will live on for eternity. Substantive points like that do last, and that is going to follow him and he's going to be remembered by this, being fired from all three cables.

CAMEROTA: I mean, and he also was the person who was ginning up the irrelevant debates.

JONES: Of course. I mean, he couldn't help but mention demographic change as the top -- as one of the several topics that he thinks deserve, you know, elevation in our discourse, but by demographic change what he's talking about is white replacement theory which has been this debunked theory that people had written about as having been debunked, but that he continued to push in primetime.

So, he is, you know, really someone who continues not to be serious about telling the truth and who is himself pushing super irrelevant debunked information to the public. That's very dangerous.


CAMEROTA: Well, t's been a fascinating week. We'll see what comes of it next and where he pops up. Thank you both very much. Coming up, some of our favorite reporters are here to talk about the stories they're working on for tomorrow. They're going to share their scoops with us next.



CAMEROTA: Hi, everybody. Thanks for tuning into this hour where we bring you tomorrow's news tonight.