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Jury Finds Donald Trump Liable for Sexual Abuse and Defamation in E. Jean Carroll Case; Sources Say, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) Charged by DOJ; Tucker Carlson Announces He's Re-Launching His Show on Twitter; Richard Dreyfuss Says New Oscar Diversities Make Him Vomit. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 09, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
That's 8:00 P.M. Eastern.
Thank you so much for joining us. CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota starts right now. Hey, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Dana, great to see you. Thanks so much.
Good evening, everyone, I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight on a busy and unprecedented news night. A jury in New York found former President Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in that E. Jean Carroll case. Carroll allege that in the spring of 1996, Donald Trump raped her in a department store dressing room, then defamed her when he denied her claim and said she was, quote, not his type.
In just a moment, I will talk to Natasha Stoynoff, who testified during this trial that she too was assaulted by Trump. And our panel will give us their take on what all of this means.
Plus, truth-challenged Congressman George Santos has just been charged by the Justice Department in a federal probe and could appear in court tomorrow. What does this mean for his future in Congress and what will Republicans do now?
And Tucker Carlson is waging war against Fox for firing him. He's promising to re-launch his show, but in a place his audience may not expect. Our panel shares their strong thoughts.
But let's start with the verdict in the case against Donald Trump. After deliberating for 2.5 hours, the jury found former President Trump liable of sexual abuse and defamation, and awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million.
After the verdict, Carroll released a statement, saying, quote, I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth. The victory is not just for, me but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed, end quote. Donald Trump says he will file an appeal. So, let's get to our panel. We have our legal experts Joey Jackson and Elie Honig here and CNN's Correspondent Kara Scannell, who has been covering this case.
Kara, I start with you because you were in the courthouse and watched this all unfold. What was this like that moment when the verdict was read?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the judge had addressed this thing, we have the verdict, we're going to bring everyone in at 3:00. And he gave a warning to the courtroom. He said, I want decorum kept here. He said no jumping up and down, no reaction. So, everyone followed that.
When his clerk read the verdict, the first question was, does the jury find that Donald Trump raped E. Jean Carroll? That was a no. Then the next question, does jury find that he sexually abused her, that was a yes. And then from then on, it was all yeses for Carroll.
And she was sitting there holding the hand of one of her attorneys as this was being read. You know, she appeared to look very relieved, you know, a smile, they looked at each other a few times smiling as they went through. And the jury ultimately awarded her $5 million.
And what I thought was so interesting after the verdict was read and the jury was excused, Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, walked over and shook her hand. Given the external kind of fight, this whole case about the defamation claim between Trump and Carroll, her lawyer went over and did that and shook her attorney's hands.
We do have a reaction from Trump tonight. He was on his platform, Truth Social. And we should take a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: What else can you expect from a Trump-hating, Clinton-appointed judge, who went out of his way to make sure that the result of this trial was as negative as it could possibly be, speaking to and in control of a jury from an anti-Trump area, which is probably the worst place in the United States for me to get a fair trial. We will be appealing this decision. It's a disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCANNELL: Yes. And so his lawyer afterwards, he didn't leave the courthouse for more than an hour-and-a-half. He did say he did speak to Donald Trump on the phone, came out and then addressed reporters and said, you know, Trump felt he could not get a fair trial in New York. And he laid out some of the areas that they plan to appeal on.
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, let's talk about the appeal, Elie, because you think that he stands a good chance on appeal, yes?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't he has a better than 50 percent chance, no. But I think he has a few reasonable arguments to make on appeal. The main argument I think he's got to make is that the judge allowed in evidence that should not have been allowed in, including evidence of what we call other bad acts. And I know our next guest is one of those witnesses.
CAMEROTA: And I know what you're talking about, about the pattern, that perhaps Donald Trump had a pattern. Why shouldn't those be allowed in?
HONIG: Because the law says that the other bad acts have to be close enough in time and in substance to the actual act at issue. And here, the argument will be the allegation here related to something that happened around 1996, E. Jean Carroll didn't know a date, yet the testimony came from one woman who claims she was assaulted 17 years prior to that, 1979, and the other, who I think is our guest later, about a decade after that. So, I think the argument will be those acts were to remote in time, and it was therefore unfairly prejudicial.
I just do want to say, because I know this, Judge Kaplan, I appeared in front of him many, many times, that statement by Donald Trump is wrong. Judge Kaplan is not an ideologue, he's not a political judge, he's very much -- as Kara saw this week, very much in charge of this courtroom.
I probably appeared in front of him, I don't know, 100 times. Until I heard, that I don't even know who appointed him to the bench. It didn't care. It never showed.
CAMEROTA: That's good to know, that's great context. And, by the way, she did say it happened in spring of 1996, she had narrowed it down to spring of 1996.
Okay. Joey, the jury awarded her $5 million for sexual abuse and defamation. How did they get to that number?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think a couple of ways. The first thing is that remember that a person who testified was an expert. And that expert testified as to how many people would have heard Donald Trump call this -- her a liar and a hoaxer on his platform, up to 80 million people, and then how many would've believed it, right? And how many would have believed it was I think they said almost 6 million.
And then you get to the issue of what it would cost to repair the reputation, and there was testimony as to almost 3 million. And so this is not an exact science. And, of course, as we noted, it was not about the money to her attorneys. They said that in as much as their closing argument. They did not ask for a specific monetary number. They just asked for vindication. And I think that's exactly what she got.
CAMEROTA: Kara, the judge said something that some people have said is unusual, in that he advise the jury you are now free to identify yourselves, because they had been anonymous, you are now free to identify yourselves, but I would not do it. But let me read it, basically, my advice to you is to not, not to identify yourselves, not now and not for a long time. If you're one who elects to speak to others and to identify yourselves
to others, I direct you not to identify anyone else. He said on the jury each of you owes that to the other, whatever you decided for yourself. Have you heard that before, Kara, anything like that?
SCANNELL: No, and particularly the judge thing, I advise you not. And I think the reason is he decided in advance that this jury was going to be anonymous. And the reason was because of Donald Trump's statements.
This was, you remember, just a few weeks ago when Trump was -- you know, we are waiting for the indictment in the Manhattan D.A.'s case, and then there was -- you know, Trump was out there publicly attacking the district attorney, also the judge overseeing that case. It was in that context that the judge decided in this case to make the jury anonymous because of all the attacks that Trump is making.
And he wanted protect the jurors not so they wouldn't feel intimidated anyway, so they couldn't possibly be contacted by anyone and the process, he wanted to protect this trial so it would be a fair trial.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Friends, stick around, because I want to bring in now Natasha Stoynoff, who testified during this trial about her own experience with Donald Trump. She says that Trump forcibly kissed her against her will during a photo shoot and interview she was conducting at Mar-a-Lago for People Magazine in 2005. Natasha went public with her allegations during the 2016 presidential campaign, and she joins me now.
Natasha, great to see you, thank you so much for making time. I know it's been quite a day for you. So, tell us what happened, what you thought, what you experienced, when you heard the verdict.
NATASHA STOYNOFF, FORMER PEOPOLE MAGAZINE WRITER AND DONALD TRUMP ACCUSER: First, I was shocked that it was so fast. So, I just assumed that that was good news. And my next reaction was real gratefulness to this jury. They worked really hard, these anonymous New Yorkers, and unless they make themselves known, tomorrow, we're going to be sitting to them all in the subway and not know them. And they really did great work. So, I felt very grateful to them.
The next thing I thought was it's really hard to come forward about these things, and especially hard when the man you are talking about is very powerful. So, I feel like when I heard the verdict today, I felt that nothing is more powerful than the truth.
CAMEROTA: And, Natasha, you did come forward. I mean, you did so, as we said, in 2016 and then, again, in this trial. And what was that like? What was it like in the trial? Then you were testifying, could you read the room, could you tell what the jurors, how they were responding to? What was that whole experience like?
STOYNOFF: Some of them were watching me and listening very intently. Some of them were not looking at me at all. And I got to say that I was quite nervous before I got up there. I've never done anything like that before. And I never actually even told this story verbally. I just wrote it in People Magazine those years ago. I never did any interviews at the time. So, I was nervous.
But once I got a fair, something very strange happened. It was surreal. It was spiritual. I don't know how else to describe it, but I felt like it was just me alone with that jury. And then I was telling them something very important. And it felt -- it just felt like I was supposed to be there talking to them.
CAMEROTA: This case, of course, was specifically about what E. Jean Carroll was alleging.
But, you know, you told a story about what happened, what you say, happened to you in 2005 and that you are on this photo shoot and that you had this experience where everything was proceeding along as normal, and Donald Trump asked you if you wanted to see another room at Mar-a-Lago, while Melania, who was pregnant, went up to change an outfit, and did what E. Jean Carroll described happening in that dressing room, how quickly it happened, how she was overpowered by Donald Trump physically, did that all ring true to you from your experience?
STOYNOFF: It was very similar to mine in that way. And I think that's one of the reasons why her team asked me to give testimony. There was the whole enclosed room alone and door shutting that was parallel to mine. And E. Jean interviewed me for The Atlantic Magazine a few years ago, and we talked about how eerily similar that was. And when I hear her, details it reminds me of mine vice versa.
CAMEROTA: And so when Donald Trump's attorney was saying, you know, trying to make something of an indictment about how she didn't scream, why didn't she yell for help, what were your thoughts?
STOYNOFF: My thought was I am just like E. Jean, in situations like that when someone is hurting me, and I actually said this on the stand, that I tried to speak and nothing came out. I think a lot of women and men freeze and choke up. I know I do. And I think that's actually very common, very common.
CAMEROTA: There are roughly 15 women who have made similar accusations about something that Donald Trump did. So, was this a victory for all of you as well?
STOYNOFF: Very much so. We were all exchanging emails today. I think that E. Jean's victory, we feel it. It feels validating to us. And believe me, there is a couple of bottles of champagne that are being uncorked drank today. But we feel it is ours as well, even though it's not our case.
CAMEROTA: Of course, Donald Trump says he's going to appeal. Does that concern you?
STOYNOFF: It concerns me, but this judge -- I don't know much about the legal system, but he just seemed to go about this very smartly. And it's just something -- it felt very airtight. I don't know what he needs to appeal. I think Elie and your gang there can discuss that. But I hope that it was so strong that there would be no --
CAMEROTA: Well, Natasha Stoynoff, thank you very much, we really appreciate your time, we appreciate you sharing what it was like in the courtroom and beyond, and telling the story again. We really appreciate you.
STOYNOFF: Thanks, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Coming up, Congressman George Santos now charged by the Justice Department in a federal investigation. It could see him in court in a matter of hours. That's next.
CAMEROTA: Truth-challenged Republican Congressman George Santos now facing a significant legal challenge. The freshman congressman who lied his way into the job tonight is facing federal charges. Sources tell us that Santos could be in court as soon as tomorrow.
I am back now with Elie Honig, we're also joined by writer, host and comedian Akilah Hughes, former Senate Candidate Joe pinion and Josh Barro, Host of The Very Serious Podcast. Great have all of you here. What are the charges here, Elie?
HONIG: We don't know. We'll find out tomorrow. But let me speculate based on sort of the republic reporting that is out there. I think it's going to be one of two things, and let me say,, first of all, not a crime to lie to your constituents, not a crime to lie during a campaign. If it was, we'd have a lot of people locked up.
I think it's going to be both of two things. One, if you lie in your election paperwork to the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, that is a lie, and we all remember the story we had all of these different expenditures that were exactly $199.99, I doubt that that actually is the amount. The reason he cut it off there is because if it's $200 or more, then you have to give detailed reporting. So, that could be the basis for one set of charges.
Also, there is this persistent question about where does this guy get's money, right? He went from basically nothing to having quite a bit of money very quickly, and he has been asked this. Matt Gaetz asked him this on Matt Gaetz' podcast.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Let's listen to that. There are $700,000 that he basically could not account for. So, here is that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): One of the principle critiques I've heard is that a lot of money was donated to your campaign by you, $700,000, I believe. Where did it come from?
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Well, I'll tell you where it didn't come from. It did not come from China, Ukraine, or Burisma. How about that? GAETZ: Well, that is an answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HONIG: I mean, even Matt Gaetz felt compelled to follow up on that and still did not get an answer.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, I mean, Akilah, your thoughts?
AKILAH HUGHES, WRITER AND HOST: I mean, it does seem like chickens are coming home to roost. If you lie enough, eventually somebody is going to find the truth. But, yes, I like the waiting, I like the anticipation of like what is going to be. Is it the lie that he is half black? Is it the lie that he isn't (INAUDIBLE). None of those things are crimes, but maybe it will come up. And I just want to see him on a stand at some point explaining what is true under oath.
CAMEROTA: Just to recap for you, here is our full screen of some of the falses. It is called a non-exhaustive list because we only have an hour, okay? So, falsely claimed he had Jewish ancestry, falsely claimed his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, falsely claimed his mother was at the World Trade Center on 9/11, falsely claimed he worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, falsely claimed he graduated college, falsely claimed he played college volleyball. I mean, there is much more but those were some of the hits.
Here is how that GOP, Joe, is responding to these charges. I will read you some of these responses. So, Congressman Mike Lawler says, I reiterate my call that he should resign. Congresswoman Malliotakis says, I'm not surprised, I understand this is where it was headed.
Congressman Hill says, I do believe that if a member of Congress is charged with a federal crime, they should resign. And then Congressmen Ryan Zinke says, I'm surprised he made it as long as he did. Now of those are ringing endorsements of Congressman Santos.
JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think, again, whatever you think of our political differences, we have the Nassau County GOP that called for his recognition when the lies were discovered.
We've had the state GOP echoed many of those same sentiments. Much of the New York State Congressional Delegation has also echoed those sentiments.
So, I just think at some point the reality is, yes, it is comical to maybe chuckle about the Jewish, or how many spikes on the volleyball court did he have at Baruch, but I think to your point, the million dollar question or $750,000 question was always going to be where did the money come from.
How did somebody who, in a 2020 election cycle, was recorded as making $55,000 a year suddenly one cycle later be able to afford to loan his campaign around $700,000 while his own sister was effectively being evicted at the same time? So, I think those are the questions, some of the stuff that I anticipate we will see in those papers that are released tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: So, these are charges. This is not a conviction. So, what is Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy do know?
JOSH BARRO, HOST, THE VERY SERIOUS PODCAST: Well, I mean, the standard that they -- I mean, they just a Republican member of Congress who was charged and convicted, Jeff Fortenberry from Nebraska.
CAMEROTA: But that's convicted.
BARRO: Right. So, that's what Kevin McCarthy pointed to today, basically saying, we went through this and we did not expel him while he's on trial. The House rarely acts to expel its own members. A lot of members will resign at some point when they get involved in the sort of situation.
But I assume that one of the things George Santos is holding on to is that if he is getting into a position where he is having to strike a plea agreement with the government, one of the chips he has is that he can agree to resign as part of that agreement. If he resigns, he is giving that up and he does not have that option as part of the prosecution. So, I do not think that he is likely to go willingly.
And McCarthy, the -- I think that there is a tension for Republicans. Nassau County GOP would like him gone because they would like a normal Republican to run for that seat, someone who is involved with Nassau County GOP.
PINION: I think it goes a little beyond that. Again, to be fair, I think we can all agree that many people are deeply offended by this attempt to kind of co-op this Jewish history. People are deeply offended by the notion that he would try to defraud a military veteran and a dog. So, look, I think, again, we can chuckle about it but they are not laughing matters. I think there are many constituents in N.Y. 3 who are deeply hurt. There are people, donors that I know that put their faith --
CAMEROTA: So, you think he should resign?
PINION: Look, I think that the factual reality that we face is that you are innocent until proven guilty. It is more likely than not that a great number of the things he is accused of are true.
CAMEROTA: But you're okay with him staying in the position until he's convicted, which will take a while?
PINION: I am not okay. I think that George Santos should have resigned a long time ago. I think that would've been the good and decent thing to do. But I think that as a matter of principle, to ensure that, again, we have fair treatment across the board, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, that people should be able to have their day in court. CAMEROTA: Yes. So, Elie, that is interesting what Josh raised, which was that he will hold it as a chip and say, well, okay, I will resign, as part of the plea. But that is not what the government asked you to do, right? I mean, is that the normal part of a plea agreement for a politician?
HONIG: No. I mean, right, it's rare that you have a case involving an elected official, but I suppose it is something that could come into play in negotiations. I mean, it's certainly not in the handbook, the DOJ handbook, but you do need to look at the bigger, broader picture here.
And one of the questions I think for all of those members that we just saw, the quote saying I condemn him and he should resign, is will you vote to expel? And, look, I do not know what the answer is going to be. It takes two-thirds, meaning you need about 77 Republicans, if I'm doing this math, right to expel him. I do not think it's particularly likely for the reasons that Joe has said.
But let's keep in mind, if we look at the timeline here, from the time until now, until a trial, until sentencing, until an appeal, nothing is final until an appeal, we're going to be into the next election cycle.
CAMEROTA: Exactly. I was sensing from your own facial expression that you can't imagine getting to the point where they would actually be expel.
HUGHES: Of course not. I think that this country is predicated on -- it is a two-party system, we have a few fringe elements, but the reality is that they are going to keep that majority anyway they can, they are not going to do the honorable thing, which is to say, hey, the American people deserve better than someone who is under investigation to this degree. And so we are all going to watch the circus at one we have real issues that we could be dealing with instead of we are just going to listen to him lie some more.
PINION: I think some of the stuff, I mean, I'm interested in seeing how he actually accounts for some of this stuff. He has had the changed in the treasurer, then he effectively -- they changed the entire structure of the loans first. First, it was one big lump sum of 500,000. Then they say, well, they came over a staggered period.
CAMEROTA: Well, what he's been confronted, Joe, in the past, I mean, you saw what he did there with Matt Gaetz, he deflects. Generally, he changes the subject --
PINION: Well, I think the true thing and I think maybe the true test for Republicans will be he has already unchecked the box that said that the $500,000 was from him personally, right? If he goes into a court proceeding and says, in fact, he did not come from me, it came from X or it came from Y. If he stipulates that, I think the Republicans will have no choice but to have him expelled.
[22:25:00] Because at that point, he has effectively acknowledged that he has a broken campaign finance laws in ways one cannot even begin to comprehend.
CAMEROTA: Quickly, Josh.
BARRO: Yes. Well, I'm just skeptical that we will see financial transactions that actually matchup with all of the items that are on the financial reports. I mean, just because you report that you paid out $199.99 over and over again doesn't necessarily mean that you did.
And one possible explanation for how he got the money and put it in his campaign account is that he did not really. If you had claimed that you loaned your campaign money and then you lost your congressional election, then he repaid the loan to yourself out of the campaign, that could be a way to get money out the campaign that you never put into it. So, I am very interested to see whether he really ever put that $700,000.
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, stay tuned, everyone, thank you very much for all of that.
All right, meanwhile, Tucker Carlson making a big announcement after being booted from Fox. He is taking his show to Twitter. What does Elon Musk have to say about that and what is a show on Twitter anyway? We are going to get into all of that, next.
CAMEROTA: Tucker Carlson announcing plans to re-launch a show this time on Twitter. Carlson made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: You can't have a free society if people aren't allowed to say what they think is true. Speech is the fundamental prerequisite for democracy. That's why it's enshrined in the first of our constitutional amendments. Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren't many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world, the only one is Twitter, where we are now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right, my panel is back. We also have "Los Angeles Times" Op-Ed Columnist, LZ Granderson and CNN Media Analyst, Sara Fischer is joining us as well. Sarah, he said -- Tucker went on to say that he's going to put his show on Twitter. What is a Twitter TV show?
SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: That's a great question. I think we're all dying to find out. Twitter, of course, has character limits, but when you subscribe to Twitter Blue, its subscription service, you get a little bit more space. Now, you can add a video to Twitter. Not a full hour-length video, though, Alisyn. That's going to require a lot of work on the back end.
I would imagine if you were to do a show, it would be truncated, so it wouldn't be that full hour that he had at Fox. And he might want to break it up, maybe put out some segments in different tweets, et cetera. But as I understand Twitter right now, they're going to have to race to build that type of functionality to get a full hour long show there. Although they do have live functionality. So, if he wanted to go live and put a Twitter show up, I think that would be possible.
CAMEROTA: Okay. That's interesting. Tucker -- you're also reporting, Sara, that Tucker is accusing Fox of fraud and breach of contract. So, how does he say they defrauded him?
FISCHER: So, basically what he's saying is that Fox executives, what sources tell me are Fox's Chief Legal and Policy Officer and Rupert Murdoch himself made these promises to Carlson, basically saying, look, if you hand over your personal communications, we'll safeguard it, we'll make sure that it doesn't get leaked. And then he's now saying, well, look, it's been leaked, it's been reported on in the media. And so, you have then broken a verbal promise to me.
And that -- Carlson's lawyers are alleging is a breach of his employment contract because the terms of an agreement between the employer and the person who is working for the company have changed. Now, of course, that was up to a court, that will be up to a court to decide whether or not that's actually going to be considered a breach of his contract.
CAMEROTA: Okay, thank you, Sara, very much. Let me bring in our panel now. Josh, didn't they have to hand it over in discovery? I mean, why is Fox responsible for that? They can't be responsible for all leagues.
JOSH BARRO, HOST, "VERY SERIOUS" PODCAST: Well, I mean, there's also, there's a number of accusations in this letter to Fox, including that he claims that one member of the Fox board told him that it was a condition of the settlement that they would fire him.
CAMEROTA: Something Dominion has denied.
BARRO: Dominion and Fox have both denied that. It doesn't make sense as something for Dominion demand because Tucker was not even really at the center of their allegations. It was more about Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro and various other people. And Dominion doesn't get any real financial gain from them firing Tucker Carlson.
So, I think, first thing I would say is just because Tucker Carlson has accused Fox of doing certain things in a letter doesn't mean that he's done all of them. Now, obviously a lot of people have been speculating about various materials that have gotten into the media since Tucker Carlson's firing including that text message in which he is commenting on this riot and saying, well, this is not how white people fight and that Fox's concern was that people were going to find out that Tucker Carlson was racist and that was why they fired him.
So, the idea that Fox was behind those leaks, I do not find that idea crazy given some of the ways that Fox has dealt with departing talent in the past. But, I mean, I think this is all an effort to get out of his Fox contract and that's been clear in the news coverage that Tucker wants to be out there in the arena. He's not allowed to go and do another show unless Fox lets him out of his contract and so far, Fox has been continuing to pay him. They can keep him under contract until after the next election.
CAMEROTA: I guess the bigger question guys is what does this mean for the world? What does this mean for the world? If he doesn't have his powerful platform on Fox, which is a powerful platform, and it's on Twitter, does that, you know, suddenly reduce his power?
AKILAH HUGHES, WRITER & HOST: I mean, I think his power has been so greatly reduced. Like, to say that you even have a Twitter show, we're all asking what that means, because it's not a thing. Like, I upload videos of my dog.
My dog does not have a Twitter show. So I think, you know, this is a man who has been embarrassed publicly, has lost his job publicly. This feels like a last gasp in the same way that Elon Musk owning Twitter feels like the last gasp of trying to be relevant.
It's a dying social network, you know? Like, no one knows who's verified. The people who are verified are now unhinged. I just don't see what he gets out of this and his audience is largely older, doesn't know how to have two factor verification, especially not using their phone. So, I don't see this as some great comeback. I see this as just diminishing returns in every way and embarrassing.
CAMEROTA: I think that's interesting but I would also just caution that reports of his demise and of Twitter's may be premature because you know Tucker I think does have a grip on a reports of his demise and of Twitter's may be premature because, you know, Tucker, I think, does have a grip on a large portion of America.
And they, I mean, if you read the comments under his announcement, people are like, can't wait, you know, the hell with Fox. Like, they're ready to go wherever he's going.
LZ GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Which is why the question about power first needs to, we need to first define how we are defining power. You know, yes, he lost the power that he got from being on Fox, but what other power does he still have and how is he going to use that power?
Because as we saw, Fox was just one aspect of his influence. His influence in a lot of different areas in terms of everyday life and while he may not have the same audience size on Twitter, he may not need the same size to have a similar or greater impact. So, as we discussed this, power isn't simply about Twitter followers or simply being on television.
GRANDERSON: Power is what's happening in those rooms where it happens.
CAMEROTA: Well, one of the things -- thank you for that Hamilton quote. I like that.
GRANDERSON: I was wondering if you --
CAMEROTA: I was. One of the ways that he had power in these rooms where it happened is that he did have the ear, and in fact, often more than the ear of some politicians like Kevin McCarthy, he got Kevin McCarthy to hand over the tapes from January 6. He was very influential in Republican political circles. Do you think that he will still have that?
JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think that influence still exists. Will it wane a little bit? We'll have to see. I think, again, if you look at somebody like Ron DeSantis, he was easily able to get a message out, whatever that message of the week was, that they put on the placard at the front of those podiums.
So, yes, that's going to change a little bit. I think also don't necessarily dismiss Twitter right away. Certainly he's probably going to deal with the fact that to your point a large portion of that 3.6 million that we're tuning in don't have the two factor authentication, don't actually know where they can even download Twitter from, right?
But there also is a potential for new audiences, right? I'd make the comparison to somebody who says they are a member or supporter of Planned Parenthood versus somebody who says they are a member or supporter of the NRA even though have necessarily given any money in 10 or 20 years, right?
It's that type of synthetic organization of people who support someone and many of them had been getting his information in the digital landscape anyway, whether it was via Facebook, whether it was via Twitter. So, I just think that there is the opportunity even if you're not necessarily watching him live during a Twitter live for those clips to be recorded, to be dispersed through YouTube, through a vast multitude of increasingly fractured but also growing digital space.
CAMEROTA: And, Sir, and then there was this other plot twist on all of this, and that was what Elon Musk had to say about it. He said, I also want to be clear, this was after Tucker's statement, that we have not signed a deal of any kind, whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules and rewards of all content creators.
Rewards mean subscriptions and advertising revenue share, coming soon, which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content. I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform. That, I mean, that- is a strange announcement, announcing that you've just landed your biggest star.
FISCHER CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Right, and you would expect him to be welcoming Tucker with open arms, and instead he's saying, wait a minute, you're subject to the same rules as everyone else, and we're going to fact check you using community notes just like everybody else. Look, Elon Musk has a tough job on his hands.
He's got to bring advertisers back. He's got to make sure users stay on the platform. And he knows that by bringing on a polarizing figure like Tucker Carlson, even if he's really popular on the right, that could jeopardize his ability to continue to grow the business.
So, that's why I think you see him respond in a tempered manner, saying, look, it's great that you're here, but we're not gonna give you special treatment just because you're doing this show with us. The last thing I'd say Alisyn is, Tucker, I think, is going to explore other options. I don't expect the Twitter thing to be the only thing he does. I mean, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy has said that we'd still welcome a show with Carlson. And so, I think maybe he'll try out the Twitter thing. I think he likes the zeitgeist and the opinion leader focus of that audience. But he'll probably do other stuff, too.
CAMEROTA: Sara, thank you very much for your reporting. Great to have you. All right, friends, stick around because actor Richard Dreyfuss is pushing back against new diversity guidelines for the Academy Awards saying they make him quote, vomit. We're gonna explain his reasons, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD DREYFUSS, ACTOR: Because it's patronizing. Because it says that we're so fragile that we don't -- can't have our feelings hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, actor Richard Dreyfus has some strong comments on the Academy Awards new diversity guidelines. Speaking with PBS' Margaret Hoover, Dreyfuss slammed the new rules on diversity and inclusion standards for best picture eligibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREYFUSS: They make me vomit.
MARGARET HOOVER, PBS "FIRING LINE" HOST: Why?
DREYFUSS: Because this is an art form. It's also a form of commerce and it makes money. But it's an art. And no one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is. I'm sorry, I don't think that there's a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right, let's bring in my panel, see what they have to say. So, LZ, here's what the Academy wants in terms of their criteria. Here's their new criteria. Films must meet at least two of the four benchmarks to be eligible to win Best Picture. They include featuring actors from underrepresented groups in significant roles or accounting for at least 30 percent of the cast.
Similar criteria in terms of working on the film behind the scenes. A significant commitment to paid apprenticeships, internships and career development, significant representation among the teams devoted to marketing, publicity, and distribution.
So, I mean, I assume he's saying that -- that none of that has to do with creativity, that he's saying he's an artist and that maybe even those kinds of bureaucratic mandates hurt the art. Your thoughts.
GRANDERSON: Well, he has built his career being able to take advantage of all of the dynamics of systemic racism that hits every aspect of American life, including Hollywood. And it would have been great if Mr. Holland had decided to fight for what's right back in the 90s when he was on top. This seems more like sour grapes. This seems more like I'm an out of work actor and I'm struggling, and I need to blame someone, oh, I'm going to blame the brown people.
I'm sitting here going, I think the most important aspect of this entire conversation has nothing to do with what's in front of the camera, but actually what's going on behind the camera. Because as a person who has worked in media as long as I have 20 plus years, I can tell you, I've seen plenty of networks sprinkle a little dust in front of the camera and there's baby powder everywhere else.
So, it's important that the Oscars point that out and that's part of the process as well. So, Mr. Dreyfuss, I'm sorry that you have to share all of a sudden. But if you really feel committed about the blackface, go for it, bro, as you were saying --
HUGHES: Right, right, yeah. I mean, he was saying that he can't play Othello, what a travesty and I'm saying do it. There's no part of those rules you just read that said he can't be in blackface. I doubt anyone would care to see it and I don't think he'd be nominated for an Oscar. So, I'm just confused about why he chose to speak. It seems like he needs to feel relevant. He has not been nominated for an Oscar in any role. Denzel being nominated for Macbeth. It was a great performance.
So, I just don't think his concerns are relevant to the reality of the rules from the Academy.
PINION: Yeah, look, I think for me, I'm less interested in the comments of Mr. Holland's Opus. I'm more concerned about the reality of what is attempting to be achieved. You know, I'm old enough to remember when we had 227 on TV, when we had Rock on TV, when we had strong black roles in primetime. They were underappreciated, they were underpaid, but they certainly were getting people to watch.
And my concern is that even if we look at something, you know, as dissimilar but also similar as the NFL, where we've had the Rooney Rule in place, where we're forcing NFL franchises to interview black coaches for senior football positions, the results nearly a decade later, they speak for themselves, it is not working. And so for me, I get tired of people of color, black people, Hispanic people, begging others to do what we have the power to do for ourselves.
And when I look at something as recent as Tower Heist which was supposed to be in the words of Eddie Murphy, a black Oceans Eleven and yet again we didn't have the wherewithal to come together or the resources put aside to be able to make something like that come to fruition. So, to me, to heck with the Oscars. Who cares about your cheap trophy, anyway.
I think again we have to find better ways to come together as a community of creatives, to make sure that we are represented behind the camera, but also to make sure that we are doing our part to make sure that Tyler Perry is not the only person with a studio, to ensure that we can actually bring those great stories, the first black emperor of Rome, right?
To talk about people like Robert Smalls who stole that confederate ship, to talk about the fact that the first person ever shot in a revolutionary war was a black man. I mean these are great stories about black people connected and rooted in the American experience.
CAMEROTA: But you don't think the people can mandate, that the Academy can mandate that these things happen?
PINION: My concern is that it's not going to work because people hire who they know, people do what they want to do, and at the end of the day, to your point, power concedes nothing without a demand. But if you're not holding that's what handle of the knife, you're still holding the blade, to me, again, we are not learning from history. We need to be focused on coming together.
BARRO: The way this rule is structured, where you only have to meet two of the four criteria, you can do it just on the back of the apprenticeships and the marketing part, which basically means for a major studio this is a budget line item. They can take a movie that has whatever level of representation on screen and in the production and get it to qualify by throwing money at the other two categories of this. So, I think that it is a little bit of an empty gesture.
I don't, I also don't think it's an appropriate role for the Academy. I think the, I think the category is called Best Picture. You're supposed to be evaluating the product, not the manner in which the product was made. And I think if members of the Academy want to vote for a film that doesn't meet two of the four criteria, I think they ought to be able to. It doesn't make me vomit. I don't have a strong opinion about it in the way that Richard Dreyfuss apparently does.
But no, I think that, you know, I don't, I don't think that the, I don't think this is the function of an award like this. I think that's a function of the studios themselves and the commitments that the studios choose to make. I would just push back. I would push back on the idea that the idea to
be a best picture doesn't encompass the production part of it because the producers are on stage to accept the award. It's not just the actors.
GRANDERSON: I will push back on the idea that the idea to be a Best Picture doesn't encompass the production part of it because the producers are on stage to accept their award. It's not just the actors and the director, the producers are up there and oftentimes the producers are the one that's talking. So, they represent not just the art in front but the entire production which would include who is actually shooting the film, who's doing the makeup and hair and et cetera.
BARRO: Right, but it's Best Picture, it's not Best Production. I mean, yes, they award it to the producers at the end, but I don't think it's the role of the Oscars to set out guidelines about the manner in which the film should be made. It's supposed to be a criticism exercise.
GRANDERSON: But, why not?
HUGHES: Also, I mean, are we pretending that the Oscars are a meritocracy in any sense?
BARRO: Well, yes.
HUGHES: Like, the movies that are even -- they're not, at all.
BARRO: I mean, it's supposed to be.
HUGHES: I mean the movies that are supposed to be -- they are supposed to be, that's right, but are they? I mean like literally the movies that get made, it's all political from the beginning of the process to the end so to pretend that this is like an actual, like an Olympic course where we're influencing something that isn't already heavily influenced, I mean the actual academy that votes for these things is already overwhelmingly white.
So, it's not as if changing the things that happen behind the scenes is going to change who's voting, the electorate, what's happened historically. I just think that it's silly for an actor to be this upset about it when the reality is these studios are gonna do the -- whatever they can to keep the exact same stuff in place.
GRANDERSON: Especially the history that we've seen of white actors taking black roles and roles of other minorities.
HUGHES: No one's -- I mean Scarlett Johansson still exists.
PINION: I mean even to that point, right? I think --
CAMEROTA: Guys we have to go. We have to go. Yeah, I know. These crazy things called breaks that we have to take but we will continue this during the break and we'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: One of the country's largest military installations has a new name tonight. Fort Hood in Colleen, Texas, which was named after a Confederate General, is now known as Fort Cavazos, named in honor of General Richard Edward Cavazos. That's a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars who was the Army's first Hispanic four-star general.
Cavazos was a native to Texas. He was born to Mexican-American parents. He served in the army for 33 years before his retirement in 1984. The general died in 2017 but was warmly remembered today in a ceremony at the base where he served, which now bears his name. The base is one of nine army installations being renamed as part of a program to remove confederate names from military posts.
All right and coming up, some of our favorite reporters are here to talk about the stories that they are working on for tomorrow. They're going to share their scoops with us. That's next. Hi, guys.