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Security Says, Paparazzi Chase Of Harry And Meghan Was Chaotic Ordeal; New Evidence In Classified Documents Probe May Undercut Trump; North Carolina's Sister Senators Speaks Out On Their State's Near- Abortion Ban; Republican Presidential Candidate Fully Supports Daniel Penny; New Jersey Rejects Vanity Plates Should Any Word May Found To Be Obscene Or Racy. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 17, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tap your heels together three times, and think to yourself there's no place like home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: And there may be no place like jail for the person who stole Dorothy's ruby slippers. A federal grand jury has indicted a Minnesota man for allegedly stealing an original pair of the Wizard of Oz slippers nearly two decades ago. They were swiped from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005 but recovered in 2018. They're valued at around $3.5 million. And, no, sadly, those are not actually rubies.
Thanks for joining us. CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota starts right now. Hey, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sara, he just wanted the power to click his heels and be able to go home.
SIDNER: I do too but not for $3.5 million.
CAMEROTA: Right. Good point. That's why he sold them. Excellent. Sara, thank you very much.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.
We've got the inside story of what happened when Harry and Meghan were chased by paparazzi through the streets of New York last night. The taxi driver who was at the wheel is with us live to explain what Harry and Meghan were saying and doing during that ordeal.
Plus, we all remember when Donald Trump claimed he could declassify documents just by thinking about it. Well, we have exclusive reporting tonight on the 16 records that show Trump and his top advisers did know how real declassification works. What does this mean for the ongoing investigation? Our panel is going to take that one on.
And the license plates that are too lewd even for New Jersey. We'll show you some clever spellings that try to trick the DMV.
But let's begin with what happened to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they tried to leave a New York event last night. Their security calls it a dangerous game of cat and mouse with paparazzi running red lights and driving into oncoming traffic.
A spokesman for the duke and duchess described it as a near catastrophic car chase with multiple near collisions. Of course, we all remember that's how his mother Princess Diana was killed.
So, here's what harry told Anderson Cooper in January.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, DUTCH OF SUSSEX: The thing that's terrified me the most as history repeating itself.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You really feared that r your wife, Meghan --
PRINCE HARRY: Yes, I feared a lot that the end result, the fact that I lost my mom when I was 12 years old could easily happen again to my wife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: We've got a special guest with us tonight. Sukhcharn Singh is the taxi driver who picked up Harry and Meghan last night as they tried to get away from the swarming paparazzi. He's joining us live from the cab in which he was driving them last night, and we'll speak with him in just a minute. He tells me to call him Sonny. So, Sonny, stand by for a second.
I want to bring in our other panelists. We have Elie Honig, Richard Quest, Erin Vanderhoof, from Vanity Fair, and John Miller who has new reporting on all of this.
So, John, before we get to the point where Sonny picked them up in his taxi, what happened from the time they left the event where they were until they got into his taxi?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So when they leave the event at the Ziegfeld, they get about to the corner on 55th Street, and they've got a black car with blacked out windows following them, a couple of other vehicles, and then when they get through the light, they notice there are spotters, there are scooters, there are e-bikes, there are motorcycles, so there's about ten different things on four wheels and two wheels that are swarming around.
The object of the game didn't seem to be to get more pictures of them. They're in a blacked out SUV, you can't really see in there anyway. The object of the game seemed to be to conduct a surveillance that took them back to where they were going so that the paparazzi could stay -- stake that out, you know, camp out there and then be able to follow their every move. So, they were trying to thwart that.
And, I mean, that goes literally they go all the way uptown. Can't shake them, they're trying to slow down. They're not running red lights. They're not speeding, but these people are swarming around, blocking the front of the car, driving through red lights into oncoming traffic.
At one point when two of the SUVs in the motorcade didn't move while the car with the duke and duchess went, one of the paparazzi cars mounted the sidewalk, hit something, skirted the corner, came off the sidewalk, pedestrians scattering.
CAMEROTA: How long did this go on for?
MILLER: So, this goes on for an hour-and-a-half-plus until they finally say we've been uptown. We've been downtown to 23rd Street, uptown to 96th Street, FDR Drive, 3rd Avenue side streets and we can't lose this pack.
So, Tommy Buda, who is the guy running the motorcade on the private security side, former FBI, NYPD, GTTF detective, very competent guy, says let's go somewhere safe, take a breather and make a plan. So, they go to the 19th Police Precinct. That's where they shifted to the taxi, but the spotters for the paparazzis end up following them. And then they go to plan C, which actually works.
CAMEROTA: And they shifted to the taxi, John, as a decoy to throw off the paparazzi?
MILLER: The idea would be the paparazzi were focused on the motorcade that was in place. And if they could slip them into a taxi that would then disappear at midnight into a sea of other taxis in Manhattan traffic, it might actually be the getaway because the place they were going actually wasn't far away. It was a couple of blocks.
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, that's where, Sonny, the taxi driver comes in. So, Sonny, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and her mom get into your taxi. Did you know it was them immediately, and what did they tell you about what was happening?
SUKHCHARN SINGH, TAXI DRIVER FOR PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN: They didn't say much. It was their security guard who said where they were going, right? And as soon as he's about to say where they're going, all of a sudden the paparazzi just stormed the taxi and there's flashes coming from every direction.
They're up against the car just taking pictures and stuff like that, standing in front. And then as we got stuck behind the garbage truck, as when the garbage truck moved, they started following the cars behind us.
CAMEROTA: And how many paparazzi, Sonny? SINGH: I saw six.
CAMEROTA: And did you feel that you were in danger?
SINGH: No, I didn't feel like I was in danger. But you know, Harry and Meghan, they looked very nervous.
CAMEROTA: What were they saying during all of this? Like how could you tell they were scared?
SINGH: When the paparazzi started taking picture, someone -- I heard from the back somebody said, oh, my God. And then the looks on their faces, and you could tell that they were nervous and scared.
CAMEROTA: And so did they ever give you an address or did they just say go?
SINGH: They never gave me an address. But the guy said go and he was just about to say the address, and that's when the paparazzi just came out of nowhere and just started taking pictures.
CAMEROTA: And did you know that they had already been chased for an hour-plus at that point.
SINGH: No. I did not know. No.
CAMEROTA: So then what did you do? How far did you drive with them?
SINGH: So, we went from the precinct like a block, and that's when we got surrounded by the paparazzis. And as soon as the garbage truck moved, we went up Madison, then back down Park and then up 3rd and back to the precinct.
CAMEROTA: Did they have a bodyguard with them?
SINGH: Yes, the bodyguard was in the car.
CAMEROTA: And what was he telling you to do?
SINGH: He was just telling, hey, listen, make -- go back to the precinct, just circle back to the precinct, we're not going to lose these guys.
CAMEROTA: Yes. So, was it ever a high-speed chase?
SINGH: No, not with me. I don't know what happened before prior to me, but not with me, you know, because every corner we turned, there was a red light.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, that's -- that was sort of what the mayor was alluding to. How could it be a high-speed chase in New York City? We wish that we could do a high-speed chase. But at times it was, right, John?
MILLER: Well, this was never a high-speed chase because the motorcade had an NYPD element from the Intelligence Bureau, and the instructions were we're not lights and sirens, we're not running lights, we're following traffic regulations. We're there as a protection detail.
Now, the paparazzi, that was a different set of rules because they went high-speed to catch up. There was a time on 34th Street where they were half a block behind the motorcade, and they literally crossed the yellow lines, drove into oncoming traffic until they caught up and placed themselves back there. That was among 20 things that happened, you know, from 23rd Street to 96th Street, as they tried to stay, you know, on their tail.
CAMEROTA: Sonny, had you ever seen anything like this in your years of driving a taxi?
SINGH: No, I've been driving now since 2018. This was the first time I saw this. You know, I had celebrities but other celebrities never got that much attention from the paparazzis.
CAMEROTA: That's interesting. And so does that give you a sense? I mean, now, today, with all the attention that this has gotten, does that surprise you and does it give you a sense of what their lives must be like?
SINGH: Yes, you could tell, right? He lost his mother running away from the paparazzis as well. So, you could tell they were nervous and scared in the car.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Did they -- how much was the fare? Did they give you a good tip?
SINGH: They gave me a good tip. The fare was $17.80, they gave me a $50 for 15 minutes of work.
CAMEROTA: That is a good tip right there, Sonny.
SINGH: Yes, really good, really good.
CAMEROTA: That's really good. Well, hold on. I know that some of my -- we were losing you for a second.
We'll go right back to Sonny.
So, Richard, they left England for this. I mean, that's why they left Britain, so that they could avoid this. Your thoughts?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they did leave England for this, and then they promptly threw gasoline on the flames of this, with the book, the interviews, the repeated --
CAMEROTA: But Elie and I have written books. We don't get chased around by paparazzi. Why just -- okay, well, Elie does. But I mean just because --
QUEST: I have to say there's a joke in England, in Britain in Private Eye magazine that always has a taxi driver saying, I had that such and such in the back of my cab once, and he can now say, I had that Prince Harry and Meghan in the back of my cab once.
CAMEROTA: Yes, he can, exactly. But my point is why do they deserve this?
QUEST: They don't deserve it. Nobody deserves it. You just get it because that's what goes with it. And it's up to the police to put in place a proper policing structure, which might involve saying to them, you can't do this engagement. We don't have the policing to give you closed roads, to give you outriders, to give you all these sort of things.
CAMEROTA: But they can't do that because they're not part of the royal family anymore, right, John?
MILLER: Well, that's interesting because they would have been covered as representatives of the crown, as members of the royal family, as a diplomatic trip. Basically they're private citizens now and not on a government mission here.
But, you know, the first rule of risk management, as we were taught long ago, is predictable is preventable. When you have two people that you know are going to draw this kind of attention and this -- potentially this kind of mayhem, you put a police element in there just in the name of public safety. And that's why the NYPD was along with the private security.
The complicating factor is, as it was just said here by Richard, that's to protect them from threats that you would have against royals and people like that, terrorists, stalkers, you know, assassins, the normal threats.
When you're surrounded by, you know, this swarm of press that are literally slowing you down, blocking you at intersections, then trying to catch up to you, if there is a real threat, getting off the exit is that much harder.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Erin, it's interesting to hear Sonny said that he's transported celebrities before but he's never seen anything like this.
ERIN VANDERHOOF, STAFF WRITER, VANITY FAIR: It's just -- I think it's hard for us in the U.S. to understand the scale of the interest that still exists in the U.K. for them.
Once in the month of February, Meghan made no public appearances and we kind of as a -- you know, a journalistic exercise is to count the number of stories that the Daily Mail ran on her, never spotted in public at any point in time, more than 100 stories.
And some of them were just like, you know, there are just things to happen that something from her blog in 2014 that was repeated four times.
And just at a certain point, you know, they understand now that they can't really get rid of that interest, but I think they're trying to do their hardest to -- I think they've been using shame tactics. They've been using legal tactics to try to discourage some of this. And so I think that's why this became public in the first place is
because people started running those photos and they were thinking, okay, we don't want them to be running these photos, we don't want the people who are making our lives miserable last night to make the money off of it, and after sharing the story, the Daily Mail and the Express took those photos down.
CAMEROTA: See, Richard, even when they lay low, the paparazzi follows them around, even when they don't make public appearances.
QUEST: Right. So, now bring in our good friend here, how do you stop the paparazzi who will claim their First Amendment rights to take these pictures, provided they're not breaking law, which they were last night, but even if they don't breaking the law, they're still a bloody nuisance and they're still everywhere. So, how do you balance the paparazzi's right to sit outside their home with their right of privacy?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a great question. It's a tension between our First Amendment, which does largely protect the rights of paparazzi to be annoying, but you can't break the law. Being a bloody nuisance is not a technical crime in America, but you can't break the law and get away it.
I do want to quickly say, Sonny, big props to Sonny, because he is the best of New York City cab drivers. So many are great like him. He's unflappable. Everyone else is freaking out in the cab. He's like whatever, it was just another fare. So, God bless, you still there, God bless you, Sonny.
MILLER: I know we haven't let Sonny go. I think the meter is running.
HONIG: I hear it.
SINGH: It's making me nervous.
CAMEROTA: How much is this costing us, Sonny, right now?
SINGH: Don't worry. I'll drop off the receipt after (INAUDIBLE).
CAMEROTA: Wow, I figured. That makes a lot of sense. Well, Sonny, thank you. We really appreciate you. Thanks for taking the time out of your night to tell us what happened.
SINGH: Thank you guys, thank you for having me on.
CAMEROTA: All right. Be careful out there.
SINGH: Have a good night, guys, take care.
CAMEROTA: Okay, thanks.
SINGH: Hang on. I wanted to book him to take me home.
CAMEROTA: I'm sure he's right outside, he's still listening. That's great. All right, thank you all very much. Okay. Next, we have a CNN exclusive, the national archives plans to give the special counsel 16 records that sources say reveal that former President Trump and his advisers knew the real process for declassifying documents and it was not waving a magic wand.
CAMEROTA: All right. Tonight, we have a CNN exclusive. Multiple sources said the National Archives will hand over 16 records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified document case. Those records reportedly show that Donald Trump and his advisers knew the correct declassification process, but as we know, they did not use it.
The records may provide critical evidence for establishing President Trump's awareness which is a key part of the criminal investigation.
Let's bring in our special panel. We have legal genius Elie Honig, we also have with us Gail Huff Brown, former boss and news reporter and New Hampshire Congressional candidate, Jay Michaelson is back, Rolling Stone columnist and rabbi who clerked for Merrick Garland, and Law Enforcement superhero John Miller stays on.
MILLER: Wow, I got promoted.
CAMEROTA: Yes, not all heroes wear capes.
Okay. So, Elie, 16 records, are those emails? What are those?
HONIG: Yes. So, we don't know exactly what they are. We know there are 16 documents that could be multiple pages. But here's what's most important about this story. It goes to Donald Trump's intent. What did he know? Did he know what he was doing is wrong?
Now, you may say, of course, obviously, but you have to prove it as a prosecutor. And what this proves is that the White House was formally told 16 times during Trump's presidency, hey, if you're going to declassify records, this is how you do it.
He did not do any of those things. There's no record he did any of that regarding the Mar-a-Lago documents, hence he knew they were classified. When he took them, hence that goes to his intent.
CAMEROTA: So, are you extrapolating that these are from the National Archives, like a correspondence of some kind with the Trump White House? That's what --
HONIG: Yes, I'm not extrapolating. I know that. I mean, I talked to Jamie Gangel, who reported it. These are letters that the Archives sent over to the Trump White House while Trump was in office saying, you all have the right and the power to declassify. If you are going to use that, here's how you do it. CAMEROTA: Got it, okay. So, what does this mean for the case, Jay?
JAY MICHAELSON, CLERKED FOR MERRICK GARLAND: So, obviously, I think we're feeling -- everyone is feeling Trump fatigue, sort of, certainly, progressives may be worrying that the more the legal cases mount against Trump, the higher his standing goes.
I feel like this clearly an important disclosure, and this is an important bit of information, again, for his intent. And I think it might be better to be on the side of the rule of law regardless of the political consequences. This is an extremely troubling development.
Obviously, Donald Trump knew that there was no such thing as automatic declassification because he made it up. So, when you make something up, exactly as Elie said, I mean, this is the smoking gun on the level of intent, that the claim this is like, well, I don't know, or I thought there was this made of up thing, make believe, the make believe doesn't fly, we have the emails.
So, Gayle, this was brought up during the recent CNN town hall. Kaitlan Collins asked Donald Trump about it. So, let's listen to his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Why did you take those documents with you when you left the White House?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I had every right to under the Presidential Records Act. You have the Presidential Records Act. I was there and I took what I took, and it gets declassified.
COLLINS: Do you still have any classified documents in your possession?
TRUMP: Are you ready?
COLLINS: Do you?
TRUMP: No, I don't have anything. I have no classified documents. And, by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Your thoughts on all of this?
GAIL HUFF BROWN , FORMER REPUBLICAN NEW HAMPSHIRE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, here is exactly what I think about all of this. You have to apply the law evenly. We know that President Joe Biden had classified documents as well. They were in his garage. We know that Vice President Pence had classified documents as well.
So, I'd like to know what's in all of the documents. I'd like to see that. That's the journalist in me. But also I want to make sure that the law is being applied across the board and not just singling out President Trump.
CAMEROTA: But does it change in your mind the fact that from what we can tell from the reporting that President Biden and Vice President Pence handed over -- as soon as they were discovered, they handed over the classified documents as opposed to for a year sort of fighting with the national archives about it, which is the reporting about what happened in Mar-a-Lago?
BROWN: But we still never saw what was in the documents. We still never saw -- I mean, did you ever see what was in those documents?
CAMEROTA: I'd like to.
BROWN: Exactly. And that's my point. I mean, I think that if we're going to have full disclosure, and if he's going to face any charges as a result of this, it's on fair they be open to the public and there be full transparency.
MILLER: Why? What does that have to do with anything? I mean, they're either classified or they're not classified. Their content, and by the way, the whole purpose of them being classified is to keep that secret. Where does the idea of, well, we'll review the documents, as the general public and the press, and we'll decide independently whether they're classified or not. No, they're classified or they're not.
And as far as anybody can tell, since you can't imagine their declassification away as president or former president, they're classified until you tell the document owner, I, as the president of the United States and the chief declassifier or classifier of the U.S. government, am declassifying that.
You can't exist in a world where he says the ones at his house aren't classified but the ones that are still on file at the CIA and the NSA and the DIA and the NGO are classified. You have to declassify them within the government system, with an official written order that goes to the holders of the documents, the creators who made them classified in the first place.
This entire discussion from the former president's lawyers about they were, they weren't, he thought they were, he could have, he didn't, it's all hooey. I don't know why we're still talking about it?
BROWN: How is that different from the classified --
MILLER: Hooey, that's a legal term, by the way.
BROWN: Exactly. How is that different from the classified documents that were found in President Biden's garage?
MILLER: There's only a giant difference, which is they said do you have any documents. They said go look. They found it. What President Biden did not say is, oh, well, I actually am the president, so I'm declassifying them so there's no problem. He said look in my house here. Look in my house in Rehoboth. Go through all the boxes.
BROWN: He was a vice president at the time that those documents were taken home. He wasn't the president of the United States.
MILLER: Right, and that's a fair point. It applies to Pence too. But the difference is, the Trump case comes in two important points. One is what did he take, why did he take it, why did he have it? Did he show it to anybody? What did he say? Not really. You know what that means.
The second thing is the obstruction piece, which is when they were asked for them, when they were subpoenaed, when they were searched for, when they denied they had them, when they said they looked and they weren't there, and then when the search warrant revealed that not only were they there but the videotapes from the security cameras actually showed them being moved by staffers at Mar-a-Lago.
Who probably shouldn't have had access to classified materials in the first place, during the time they were saying these documents didn't exist, it kind of stacks up to be a more complicated picture than did Joe Biden have some classified document that ended up mixed in with other papers when he was on the Foreign Relations Committee.
BROWN: Let's be clear, nobody should be bringing home classified documents, nobody. My husband is top ranked in military, Pentagon, former U.S. ambassador, U.S. senator, never took home classified papers. I mean, nobody should be doing it.
MILLER: Absolutely. The cure to that is not to say, well, let's open them all to the public, and then we'll all decide whether they should be secret.
CAMEROTA: But to Gail's point, we do talk a lot about the process, and the process is important. But what were these that Donald Trump had at Mar-a-Lago? I mean, I know we wanted to see them. Because they're top secret, we won't see them. But it is interesting because --
MICHAELSON: This is the frustrating part, right? On the one hand, right, these are properly classified documents. On the other hand, what was so important that he took the documents, hid the documents, lied about the documents.
And, Gail, I mean, truly, there are two distinct offenses here, right? One is having these documents. And, absolutely, the law should apply evenly to Biden, to Pence, to Trump, but the other is lying about it, right? There's the crime and then there's the cover-up. And this is the cover-up. That's the obstruction of justice case, and that's the most important part. I mean, whether it was inadvertent on Biden or Pence's part, I don't know, but at least there wasn't this attempt to cover up the truth.
HONIG: So, to try to put a button on this. I think we're all somewhat in agreement on this. I think you're right, Gail, you have to ask more questions here. But the touchstone for prosecutors is going to be knowledge and intent. Did the person, Trump, Biden, Pence, first of all know those documents were there and can you prove it? If the person had no idea if they were just moved with massive things,
you can't prove knowledge, you're not going to have a case, but if you can prove the person knew those were there.
Trump has acknowledged he knew they were there. So, you have that as a prosecutor. That's part one. And then number two his intent, which we started with. Did they know what they were doing was wrong? And that's going to be fact-intensive. All of these cases need to be thoroughly investigated. But I think that's ultimately the proving ground.
CAMEROTA: Elie, thank you very much, great conversation. Thank you all.
Meanwhile, there are five women in the South Carolina Senate. That's it. And they have all banded together to fight the near total abortion ban that's making its way through their state legislature. That may not be surprising, but the majority of these women are Republican, and we're going to talk to them, next.
CAMEROTA: An unexpected alliance in the fight for abortion rights. The sister senators, as they call themselves, are five lawmakers in the South Carolina State Senate. Three Republicans banded together with a Democrat and an Independent to stop the Republican supermajority from passing an almost total abortion ban in that state. Three times in eight months, Republican leaders tried to ban abortion beginning at conception, and three times the sister senators blocked it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KATRINA SHEALY (R-SC): Once a woman became pregnant for any reason, she would now become property of the state of South Carolina.
SEN. SANDY SENN (R-SC): Abortion laws have always been, each and every one of them, about control. We the women have not asked for, as the senator from Orangeburg pointed out yesterday, nor do we want your protection. We don't need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: The South Carolina House is debating a six-week abortion ban. This is a special legislative session called for by Governor Henry McMaster, who is determined to strike down the current 22-week abortion law.
Joining us now are two of these sister senators, Republicans Katrina Shealy and Sandy Senn. Ladies, thank you very much for being here. Really appreciate your time.
So Senator Shealy, your colleagues, your Republican colleagues, seem determined to continue to try to come up with a more restrictive abortion law for your state. What happens if this passes this week in the House? SHEALY: Well, I do look forward to pass this week, unfortunately. And
what will happen is that will come to us in the Senate next Tuesday or when we do the budget next week, we'll get it in on the Senate floor. And I hope that we have enough members still with us in the Senate to do something about it.
But if we don't, you know, it will pass. It'll go to the Supreme Court, I feel sure. But what I'm hoping is we can filibuster it. Maybe we'll filibuster it to death. You know, we've done that before. So I hope we can either do that, you know, if we don't have enough people to stand with, the sister senators aren't changing their stance.
But the House, when they took it back over, they made 15 changes to our bill. And I promised them if they changed so much as a semicolon, I would not vote with them. And they changed way more than a semicolon. So, that's where we are right now.
CAMEROTA: And Senator Shealy, just to follow up, why do you feel so strongly about this? I mean, obviously you've broken with the Republican Party. It's so rare nowadays to see two Republican Senators, state senators like yourselves, in a deep red state, breaking with the party. So why do you feel so strongly about this?
SHEALY: Well, first of all, you know, I think women should have some rights over their own body. I mean, you know, we don't get to choose anything as far as going to the doctor when we're pregnant or, you know, South Carolina has become a gynecological desert.
And we have 15 counties in the state of South Carolina out of 46 that don't even have a gynecologist. And what we're doing is we're running off good doctors. We don't look at what we're doing here. And South Carolina's got to start standing up for our women for a change. And this was necessary for me to do.
Although, you know, I'm not even really comfortable with six weeks, but I'm not comfortable with 22 weeks. And I don't think anybody goes out on a date on Friday night and says, oh, I'm going to get pregnant tonight so I can go have an abortion next week. I think that, you know, it becomes a necessity if you're at 22 weeks. There's either, you know, health of the mother or a fatal fetal anomaly.
I think, you know, that's extreme. But I think, you know, the Republican women had a 12-week bill. We had a first trimester bill. And the Senate wouldn't even let us bring that forward. They would said no, a woman can't bring that. We gotta have a man introduce that bill.
So there's something wrong here that, you know, we're not strong, they don't think the women are strong enough to introduce legislation to do with women's health and women's bodies.
CAMEROTA: Tell us about the pushback that you've been getting from other Republicans, your male colleagues. SENN: Right, well first let me let you know, we had three male
colleagues stand with us and that's how we were able to block these other attempts. But we do have to come to some consensus. And I honestly believe that they just let, there are only five women in the Senate and there's only 14 percent of women total. If they just let us decide this thing, we'd be at first trimester and be done with it. But they insist on a total abortion ban and we're definitely getting pushed back.
My own leader told a group of reporters that he would have an answer for me in 2024. So he's coming for me, and that, you know, that's ok. You know, I am definitely going to be running and running full steam now. So he's going to have to bring it.
CAMEROTA: I was going to ask you about that, Senator Senn. Because I know that you have been called vile names. I know you've been sent vile props. I mean, I think that we have a picture of you holding them up on the floor, the state house floor. It's basically, I think, you know, anti-abortion groups sent you the spine of a plastic model of a spine of a baby.
SHEALY: It's like a smaller size spine.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. And so-
SENN: We all got it. Yeah, we all got that. But you know, I will tell you that most of the words to me have been uplifting. There have been a few that call us baby killers, we're going to hell and all of this kind of stuff.
And, you know, I just let that kind of stuff run like water off a duck's back. Republican voters do not agree with what our own lawmakers are doing, but that's exactly why the males, the overwhelming male legislature, will refuse to put it on a referendum. They will have no part of that because they know they will lose.
CAMEROTA: Well, Senators Shealy and Senn, thank you for your time. Thank you for explaining all of this. Obviously, we'll be watching very closely what happens in South Carolina.
SHEALY: Thank you so much. Appreciate you having us.
SENN: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: I appreciate you too.
So, Gail, I know that you were listening closely. I mean, you are a Republican woman. You ran for office. What do you think of them breaking with party ranks?
GAIL HUFF-BROWN (R-NH), FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I think it's very brave of them. I think it's also very difficult. I actually ran an ad in New Hampshire talking about choice. I'm one of those rare women that actually had a choice. At 20 weeks, I went into labor. I was in the emergency room, and the doctor said, do you want to save the baby's life or yours? Well, I made a choice to save my baby's life, and fortunately with great medical care, we were both saved.
But, you know, when you're in that situation, it's not a philosophical debate. But I made that choice. The government didn't make the choice, other people, not the doctor, I made it, and that's what's important to me.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, absolutely. And so, but yet you do believe... You did support the repeal of Roe v. Roe.
HUFF-BROWN: I did, yeah. I do believe that it should be up to the states. It's up to the states to decide what they wanna do. What's right for Texans may not be right for New Hampshire folks. I mean, every state can make their own laws. I don't support a ban on abortion. I will tell you that. I think that that's absurd. Women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.
CAMEROTA: Thanks for sharing that personal story. Really helpful.
All right, stick around because Daniel Penny, now charged with manslaughter for the subway show called death. The case has yet to go to trial, but Nikki Haley is already calling for a pardon. We'll talk about that next.
CAMEROTA: GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is the latest Republican to publicly support Daniel Penny, who's charged with manslaughter in the New York City subway chokehold death. Haley's calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to pardon Penny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HLAEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He saw danger. He was trying to protect himself and the other people on that subway. And the idea that Bragg would go and indict him this way without an investigation, without any sort of grand jury, really what I think needs to happen, the governor needs to pardon Penny. No question about it. She needs to pardon him right away. It's the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: She's not alone. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who's also expected to seek the GOP nomination, calls Penny a good Samaritan who should not be prosecuted.
I'm back with my panel, Ellie, Gail, Jay, and John. Ellie, can somebody be pardoned before they're convicted?
HONIG: So first of all, we're talking about New York state law here. So this is not the realm of the president. That's a federal case. This is not a federal case. The answer under federal law is yes, you can be pardoned before you've been convicted. We've seen examples of that. Most famously, Richard Nixon pardoned without ever even being charged, never mind convicted.
Under New York state law, however, it's a little different. You can only pardon a person after they've been convicted. One other thing that I have to correct from Nikki Haley there, Mr. Penny has not been indicted yet.
He has been charged by complaint from the prosecutor. The necessary next step, which will happen really tomorrow, or Friday unless the defendant agrees to lengthen it out, is the prosecutor has to go in front of a grand jury, present the evidence, and if the grand jury by a majority finds probable cause, low standard, but probable cause, then he will be indicted. But it's not even certain in my mind that he will be indicted. That's the next step.
MICHAELSON: Can we like zoom back maybe a little bit so this is extremely helpful right but also the bigger picture here is that politicians are asking to completely subvert the rule of law in addition to in a technical sense go against what the New York you know what the New York law says but also to say we're not even going to have an we shouldn't have an investigation we shouldn't have a trial I've decided I've made up my mind this is what authoritarianism looks like, we this this is this is a close legal case.
And I tried to imagine what it would be like if I were on the other ideological side. So suppose there were an LGBT activist who was defending themselves against somebody who was attacking them physically and accidentally killed them or negligently killed them or recklessly applied a fatal chokehold when they shouldn't have done that.
I would absolutely support the criminal process unfolding in the way that it should and if there's some extenuating circumstances that are so unusual as to merit a pardon that comes at the end of the process.
The idea that we should short circuit the rule of law, I don't want to drop the F-bomb here, you know the fascist word thing, I don't want to say that maybe but this is contrary to the rule of law this is what America stands for that we have a justice system we have additional system and there is due process of law that everybody should be applied equally to everybody and it is astonishing to me that there's a near consensus that we should just do away with the rule of law because we have a particular view about what happened.
MILLER: And then we've seen this movie before in a very different form with Bernhard Goetz back in 1985, that was a case where he went to jail. But he didn't go to jail for shooting the people he shot who he said were trying to rob him on the subway. He went to jail for illegal possession of a firearm, where he got that one-year sentence.
So in a case like that, it was all about what was in Bernie Goetz's mind at the time. In this case, there's going to be two bites at that apple. Number one, Daniel Penny might testify. Now, to do this, he has to waive immunity. But he might testify in that grand jury and say, this is what was going through my mind. I had no idea that my actions were going to kill him, nor was that my intent.
As Ellie said, he could not get indicted. The other solution is he gets indicted and he goes to trial. And the reason I call that a solution is the grand jury's secret. We're not going to know what happened in there. But the trial will be public. And in a case where there's so much passion, so many opinions, so much controversy, it might be better to see it unfold in a public forum so everybody understands the outcome.
CAMEROTA: Y'all have your thoughts?
HUFF-BROWN: I agree. I think there's some political theater going on here. No question about that. We need to have a jury of peers. You know, look at the, we have plenty of witnesses, plenty of people who were there and saw exactly what happened. We need to hear from them to determine what happens here.
I would like to say though, that this does point out again that defunding the police is a problem. People are starting to take things into their own hands out of fear and that's a problem in our communities, our subways, our streets. We have to make sure that our law enforcement have the resources they need so that, you know, we don't have people stepping up. Not that there would have been a police officer on that particular subway car, right?
CAMEROTA: Yeah, I mean it's hard to have a police officer on every subway car. Yes, Ellie?
HONIG: Yeah, I just think this is the ultimate case of let's let the system play out. Let's let the process play out. I think we've... sort of all agree on that. This is a complicated case, it's a nuanced case, and let's let the grand jury do its work, let's let the jury do its work.
CAMEROTA: Got it, thank you all. All right, have you ever wanted a vanity plate for your car? Well, some New Jerseyans do, and they apply for one, and they have some creative ways to have obscene license plates. Only in New Jersey, Ellie. Elie is from New Jersey.
HONIG: I'm not responsible.
CAMEROTA: Let's find out what his vanity plate is. Let's find out what Jay's vanity plate is, coming up.
CAMEROTA: I don't know why Kramer wouldn't have wanted the assman, vanity license plate in that "Seinfeld" clip. Plenty of drivers in New Jersey request racy plates that they try to get by the DMV. I'm back with my Jersey boys, Ellie and Jay here. Okay, there's a few
that I can show you guys, okay? This one was denied. I don't understand why is FELON -- why is FELON denied? That's a cool plate. I mean, I don't.
MICHAELSON: Okay, like a legal misrepresentation thing.
HONIG: No, this is an outrage. The person who applied for this license plate and was denied, hire me. I will represent you.
HONIG: We will sue my home state of New Jersey.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, because you should deal with that.
HONIG: What's wrong with that?
CAMEROTA: You should go to drive around calling yourself a felon.
MICHAELSON: Of course, it's kind of like asking when you pulled over a few extra times.
HONIG: Yeah, that's a good point.
MICHAELSON: Plot boxing in the car.
CAMEROTA: I mean, you might be dumb, but it's true.
MICHAELSON: You got felon on the plates, you know. True.
CAMEROTA: Okay, how about, what do you guys think of this one? This one somehow didn't get by the DMV. They tried with lowercase.
HONIG: Or the zeros? Maybe?
CAMEROTA: Oh, mid-zeros.
MICHAELSON: You got the letter of the law, not the spirit on that one.
CAMEROTA: Oh, I see. That's right. Maybe they put in zeros to try to get by, but they're --
MICHAELSON: People need to be a little bit more creative, right?
CAMEROTS: You don't think booty's creative?
MICHAELSON: We need to use some slang which people don't know is slang. So I did some research.
CAMEROTA: Oh, go ahead.
Some slang, Gooning is apparently a term. Nobody knows what that means except for my friends. CAMEROTA: But it's dirty?
MICHAELSON: Oh, it's very dirty. There's a whole language that was invented in 19th century by 19th century gay men involving words like charver and cart. I did some research for this.
CAMEROTA: I can see that.
MICHAELSON: You can put these words on your license plate and you'll get Ellie's facial expression, nobody who will have any idea what you're actually talking about.
HONIG: Listen, I am a free stater. Whatever you want. If it's seven letters or whatever, I think go for it.
CAMEROTA: You do? You think you could put anything on there?
HONIG: Well, no. I guess I would have maybe 10 words I would say are off limits. But booty with two zeros?
CAMEROTA: Yeah, you're fine. I agree.
HONIG: God bless.
CAMEROTA: We've got to go. Thank you for that. And any 19th century driver driving around will see.
MICHAELSON: I'm happy to bring Hillary to the masses. That's my mission on this show.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.
All right. Coming up, some of our top reporters are here to talk about the stories that they're working on for tomorrow, including why there's a shouting match on Capitol Hill today and what George Santos had to do with it. All of their report is next.