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Chris Krebs Confirms He Spoke With Jack Smith; Kevin McCarthy Ramps Up Biden Impeachment Threat; Bronny James Suffered Cardiac Arrest; Florida Board Of Education Approves New Black History Standards; WAPO: Putin Appeared "Paralyzed" In First Hours Of Rebellion. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 25, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, this, of course, comes just hours before Hunter Biden is expected to appear in court and to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and a judge felony charge.
And thank you for joining me. Sara Sider is up now. Sara, how are you doing tonight?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, I'm good. Happy to see you. And, you know, just trying to have a good show. Yours is great.
PHILLIP: Have a great show.
SIDNER: All right. Good evening, everyone. I'm Sara Sidner. Welcome to "CNN Tonight."
New tonight, the top election security official who was fired by President Trump after the 2020 election is talking to Special Counsel Jack Smith. Chris Krebs is another big name who may have deep insight into what was going on behind the scenes.
The Smith's team has been asking about Krebs' firing and the timeline around it. Another detail, as Trump awaits, what he says he's sure will be a third indictment. But the grand jury did not meet as expected today. Why? More on all of that coming up.
Also, disturbing news from the world of basketball. LeBron James's son, Bronny James, suffered a cardiac arrest during basketball practice at USC and was hospitalized yesterday. He's only 18 years old. So, what happened and how common is this in young, seemingly healthy athletes? We discuss all of that as well as the controversy and COVID vaccine conspiracies that always seem to arise in these cases. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta weighs in on all of that ahead.
Plus, a threat to impeach President Biden growing as Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ramps up the accusations without offering any verified facts at this moment how impeachments don't always hurt the politicians they're aimed at.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN MCCARTHY, SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: As more of this continues to unravel, it rises to the level of each inquiry. What that simply provides is that the American public has a right to know, and this allows Congress to get the information to be able to know the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Let's begin with Chris Krebs, the top election security official who was fired by then President Trump, confirming tonight that he's spoken to the special counsel. CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams is here with me, he's chomping at the bit, he's got things to say, along with CNN senior political commentator Scott Jennings and Jay Michaelson, columnist for Rolling Stone, who is also a rabbi.
We're going to have a good discussion here tonight, gentlemen. We are all very much awake and very caffeinated, at least I am. I'm going to start with you, Elliot. So, we hear that Chris Krebs has talked to the special counsel prosecutors. How might he help their case?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Okay, so in order to prove anything in court, prosecutors have to establish intent. What was in the defendant's head at the time that he did the thing he's accused of doing? Someone like Chris Krebs can speak to Donald Trump's intent with respect to, did he know he lost the election and continued to engage in acts of fraud, which is really the accusation --
WILLIAMS: -- conspiracy to defraud the United States, and that's sort of what the charge is likely to be. So, it's very valuable information also because of the fact that Krebs would have been briefing the former president as far back as February 2020, months before he was fired, providing the same information about sort of the integrity of the American election system.
So, there's a lot that he can provide. There's a lot to say. But, look, anybody who seemed to have talked to Donald Trump over the course of the last several years seems to have spoken to the grand jury. He's just another one.
SIDNER: Yeah, there is -- there are 22 names that people actually may know, but there are a lot more people that have been spoken to.
All right, Jay, I'm going to ask you about this. Right after the election, Krebs was public. He debunked Trump's false fraud claims in a "Washington Post" op-ed, saying that the 2020 election was -- quote -- "the most secure in the nation's history." So, can't Trump just deny he heard that?
JAY MICHAELSON, RABBI, WRITER FOR ROLLING STONE: I don't think it's really about what Trump can deny. I think it is the sort of impossible question of what's going on inside Donald Trump's head. As Elliot just said, this is now a part of a prosecution, right?
And yet it has also been a mystery for decades, right? Does Donald Trump believe when he's clearly lying -- you know, when he's impersonating a publicist under a false name on a press call in the 1980, does he believe that he knows he's lying? Does he not? Does he actually believe this?
And it's -- you know, as a sort of -- as a former academic, you know, I'm fascinated by the epistemological question of what's inside of Trump's head. But this is now criminal -- this is relevant to this judicial proceeding.
MICHAELSON: And that, I think, as I have just said, is the key to this, you know, emerging puzzle that we're seeing piece by piece as it's put together.
SIDNER: Epistemological. That is something at 11:04 we can delve into.
MICHAELSON: They pay me for it.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They make (INAUDIBLE) for that, actually.
SIDNER: What do you think about it?
JENNINGS: Well, every time we learn something new, I'm reminded that there are things happening in the behind the scenes of this investigation.
We had heard this guy's name in a few months.
JENNINGS: We learned the other day that he had reached out to, I guess, governor of Georgia.
You know, there's a lot of angles, there's a lot of corners, there's a lot of people you hadn't thought of in a while that are floating around the background, which reminds me politically that if you were, say, running a presidential campaign right now, you don't know what is going to be in these indictments, you don't know what the evidence is going to look like, you don't know who said what, you don't know who flipped on who. You just -- you don't know.
And so, there is some value in restraint. When we had the documents indictments, couple of campaigns got out over their skis a little.
SIDNER: That's right.
JENNINGS: And then the evidence came out and he said, well, this -- maybe this did hurt national security.
SIDNER: Yeah. JENNINGS: And so --
SIDNER: This did look good is what some of them said.
JENNINGS: Sometimes, discretion is the better part of campaigning.
WILLIAMS: Particularly because everything that happens in a grand jury is secret by law. It can't be released. And so --
SIDNER: Right. Well, we do know that there was -- there was this target letter, though. And in that target letter, there were there were three different things that the prosecutors said that they were looking at.
But let's talk about "Tomorrow's News Tonight." Hunter Biden set to plead guilty to federal tax misdemeanors tomorrow. Republicans are calling the plea deal a sweetheart deal. Is it?
WILLIAMS: Well, look, they'll have -- Republicans will have every opportunity to question David Weiss in front of Congress. The Justice Department has agreed to make him available for testimony. Now, he's not going to tell them anything. He's going to say that we consider the facts in the law.
And for a tax filing and firearm filing offense, these were in line with the sentences that would be normal for those -- for those crimes. Look, 97% of criminal cases end up pleading out.
WILLIAMS: So, the idea that any criminal defendant is pleading guilty isn't really that big a deal. Now, the question is, were there other things that he was being investigated for that they overlooked? And again, that's going to be the subject of a congressional hearing. He's going to come in. They can get to the bottom of it if there's any there.
SIDNER: All right. Scott, I want to ask you this, because there is a lot of pressure looking at sort of the political moment that we're in. Donald Trump may be indicted for a third time. Maybe. We don't know. But that is being investigated.
But Speaker McCarthy is now on a real hunt to try to impeach President Biden for sort of unsubstantiated so far claims that he somehow is involved in Hunter Biden's business dealings, which are being scrutinized. Is this simple politics at play here?
JENNINGS: I think there are a few things going on. I think he's inching closer to that language because he believes, and a lot of Republicans in Congress believe, that the whistleblowers that have come forward, that have testified before Congress have brought up extremely important information. It's under a bit of a media blackout. The main papers aren't really covering it. We've talked a little bit about it on CNN. But they believe that this is information that warrants more investigation that needs to be unraveled even further and that an impeachment inquiry would give them additional tools. At the same time, the political piece is this: We do know Trump was pressuring McCarthy based on some of the reporting to maybe expunge his impeachments. I don't know that's a great idea to put that on the floor. But one way you could save that wound would be to talk about impeaching Joe Biden and sort of change the topic, at least, you know, as it relates to impeachments of presidents at all.
Do I think they will ever get there? We're a long way from that. But I will say this: Virtually, every Republican I know thinks there's more to this Hunter Biden stuff as it relates to Joe Biden than we know publicly right now.
SIDNER: It's the idea of what did he know, when did he know it. We've heard that before. What sort of things did Joe Biden know.
JENNINGS: Well, it's the idea of, did Joe Biden ultimately help Hunter Biden enrich himself and his family using his official position as vice president? I mean, ultimately, do politicians use their offices to enrich themselves in an improper way? That's the basic question.
SIDNER: Right, that is the basic question. And so far, we haven't seen a lot of evidence that ties Joe Biden to the dealings of Hunter Biden. There are a couple of things out there that have been discussed.
Jay, I want to ask you a question about whether or not, when you see this, impeachments, a lot of Americans look at impeachments from a very politicized lens. Could this hurt Joe Biden or could it hurt those going after Joe Biden?
MICHAELSON: Well, it's certainly true if you look at the record of how impeachments -- there aren't -- it's not a big record, but it certainly has a mixed record, right? After the Clinton impeachment, Democrats did better. It's certainly not clear that -- you know, it's either the impeachment reveals something that is shocking, as maybe was the case in the second Trump impeachment, or they reveal a party that maybe got it over its skis a little bit as arguably, some would say, about the first Trump impeachment.
And I think, you know, to me, I wonder, though, what the long game is on the part of those who are pushing for an impeachment, even impeachment inquiry, which I think is useful to disaggregate those. There's the impeachment inquiry, which is whether there might be evidence to possibly do an impeachment.
And there -- I hesitate to agree with Speaker McCarthy, but there is something to that, right? That's something which could be actually considered. But if this actually turns into -- if it ripens into an impeachment without sufficient evidence, that's damaging our already very fragile democracy.
This should not be seen as just politics in another form. This is essentially a quasi-criminal investigation and a quasi-prosecution. And that should be taken much more seriously than just politics. WILLIAMS: And it's important to note that the standard in the Constitution -- the Constitution doesn't say a lot about what impeachment is or should be, doesn't give out the rules or how you do it. It is bribery, treason or high crimes and misdemeanors. That's a pretty high standard just even looking at the language of that. And the idea that if it's going to be just for policy differences or political questions, that's probably not what the framers had in mind. We shall see.
SIDNER: We will have to wait and see, and I'm sure we'll all be watching, but it is they are marching towards this. I'm getting an agreement here from Scott, so I know I'm on the right track.
JENNINGS: You got it.
SIDNER: All right. Thank you, Scott, Jay, and Elliot for coming on this evening.
Next, a really shocking health scare for the 18-year-old son of NBA superstar LeBron James. Dr. Sanjay Gupta here with us to talk about Bronny James and why an 18-year-old star athlete would go into cardiac arrest.
SIDNER: A really scary incident involving the son of NBA superstar LeBron James. Eighteen-year-old Bronny James, an incoming freshman at the University of Southern California basketball team, suffered a cardiac arrest during practice yesterday. He was rushed to the hospital. And tonight, he is in stable condition and out of intensive care.
A spokesperson for the James family released a statement saying in part, LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes.
I want to now bring in CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Dr. Gupta, he's 18 years old and in cardiac arrest. How common is this among younger people? And he's an athlete, for goodness sake.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, I mean, I think it may surprise people. I mean, it is rare, but, you know, we're talking about thousands of times that this happens even among people around that age.
There was a study back in 2015. At that point, they projected some, you know, 6 to 7,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest annually. Now, one thing I should point out is that it is often related to sports, more likely in men and more likely related to basketball players, but about 39% of the time in those under the age of 18 sports was involved. The numbers start to go down as people get older in terms of the relationship to sports, but it still happens.
I will say once you get to 35 and older, the likelihood of having sudden cardiac arrest is more likely associated with blockages in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
I'll just show you really quick here, Sara. You got these blood vessels on top of the heart. They can become blocked. You can develop clots in those. As you get older, the tends to be the more common problem. That can lead to muscle in the heart tissue dying, and that can lead to problems with the heart.
But in younger people, it can be a structural abnormality with the heart, heart and muscle problem, an electrical problem with the heart, inflammation underlying, one of those things. We don't know yet. I'm sure that's what they're investigating right now.
But I should just quickly point out, he was released from the ICU, intensive care unit, very quickly, and that's a really good sign.
GUPTA: That meant that he was stable enough. They felt like they had things in control enough to get him out of the ICU. And now, the testing really to figure out what happened. That's what's ongoing.
SIDNER: You're so good being a doctor and at being a correspondent because I knew you'd have some sort of gadget to explain all of this and you brought out a whole heart.
I do want to ask you if there is a difference, and there is, between cardiac arrest and heart attack, because a lot of people put those two together thinking of the same thing.
GUPTA: Right. So, a cardiac arrest is kind of what it sounds like. The heart stops beating, a sudden stopping of the heart, someone loses consciousness, they have no pulse. That's what happens.
Now, with a heart attack, as I'm just showing you, you get a blockage of one of those blood vessels. That leads to some of the muscle tissue in the heart not getting enough oxygenated blood, and that can lead to an electrical abnormality that can cause a cardiac arrest.
But one, cardiac arrest can be caused by all sorts of different things. Heart attack is typically caused by a blockage again or some sort of blood clot in the blood vessels that lead to the heart.
SIDNER: All right, I want to talk about this because it comes up every single time something happens to a young person, particularly a young athlete when it comes to the heart. Already some very influential names have come out on social media and blamed the COVID vaccine, saying it could be responsible for Bronny's medical condition. Nobody -- obviously, none of them are doctors who have actually looked at him.
What do you say to this? Is that a possibility?
GUPTA: I put a really low down on the list. I mean, you know, there are other things that are more common. Again, going back to 2015, there was a study showing that this could happen six to seven thousand times a year. So, that was obviously way before COVID vaccines.
There is a relationship between especially young men and getting something known as myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, especially after the second dose of the COVID vaccine.
But just to give you some context, hundreds of cases of myocarditis out of tens of millions of doses given. So, that's the degree of rare that we're talking about here.
Also, in almost all those cases, it was pretty mild myocarditis, did not lead to significant problems.
And also, typically, when people did develop myocarditis, it happened within a short time after receiving the vaccine as well. Not something that happened, you know, far out from the vaccine. So, cardiomyopathy. like I was talking about, far more likely than myocarditis in a case like this to cause these sorts of problems.
SIDNER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. It is a really scary moment. It's hard for all of us mortals to see Bronny James, the son of King James, actually going through this. He's such a great athlete and so healthy, we all thought. We are wishing him the best. Thank you so much for explaining everything, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yeah. Thank you.
SIDNER: All right, let's now bring in Rachel Nichols, host of "Headliners with Rachel Nichols" on "Showtime." Rachel, thank you so much for being here this evening.
You know, Bronny has been one of the most hyped up, for a good reason, young basketball players in the entire country, and the spotlight has only increased when he committed to play for USC just down the road from where his dad plays for the Lakers.
You have been covering LeBron for a very long time, before Bronny was even born, as I understand it, but we won't talk about age here, Rachel.
Can you give us some sense of how you've seen Bronny handle growing up in such scrutiny, especially when he's on the court?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST: Yeah. I mean, the reason that's relevant is that he has been in the spotlight that long. I'm a reporter, and I met him when he was a baby. I mean, he has been in front of the media. He was at his father's games. We have seen him all grow up. And his name is LeBron James, Jr. He goes by Bronny, but he's got his dad's full name on his birth certificate, on his back when he plays basketball.
And it's so interesting, Sara, LeBron has said recently he really regrets giving LeBron James, Jr. his name, that Bronny would have had an easier time if he had a different name. But I do remember back when Bronny was born and LeBron talked a lot to us then about how important it was to have that connection with his son. He did not have his own father in his life.
And that has really been such a constant companionship, not just as Bronny has grown up, but as LeBron has grown up into the athlete that we know him to be today.
And look, Bronny has been just incredibly classy with all of the attention on him, handled himself well over and over again in the spotlight, and was entering USC with so much, so many eyes on him. So highly touted, a lot of endorsement deals. And really, until yesterday, it seemed like everything was going his way.
SIDNER: Yeah. I mean, you know, we have seen athletes recently recover from this. Damar Hamlin, for example, who recovered. He was, you know, on the field. Everyone was shocked and in real dismay. And now, he's back playing.
But, you know, Bronny is going through this right now. He is out of the ICU, as we understand it. Bronny's family has, of course, released a statement saying in part, yesterday while practicing, Bronny James suffered a cardiac arrest. Medical staff was able to treat him and take him to the hospital. He is now in stable condition and no longer in the ICU.
We heard Sanjay Gupta saying how quickly that happened actually is a very, very good thing for his prognosis. But this has to be terrifying for LeBron James and his wife, the whole family really.
NICHOLS: Yeah. I mean, any parent, if you can put yourself in that position, to hear that your son's heart has stopped. He was very lucky that it happened during a practice with such an experienced training staff. I mean, this is remarkable and speaks to a little bit about the fact that this is more common than you would expect.
Bronny is an incoming freshman at USC. He was practicing with the team this summer. Last summer, an incoming freshman at the time, a kid who is now a rising sophomore, had the same cardiac arrest issue during a practice in July, one year ago today, and the training staff in that incident rushed into action, saved his life.
And they did the exact same thing almost exactly a year later with Bronny. But it, again, speaks to the fact that this is not something that happens a lot, but it does happen. And in fact, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in student athletes. And you look at NCAA basketball players, male basketball players only make up 4% of the NCAA student athlete population, but they make up 20% of these cardiac arrest issues.
So, it's definitely something that college training staffs are prepared for. And as LeBron and Savannah said in their statement, everybody involved is just so fortunate that the training staff there was able to leap into action and take care of Bronny the way that they did.
SIDNER: Yeah. I hope -- I'm sure it is, but I hope that it's really being studied because it is really disturbing to see somebody that young go through something like this.
I do want to ask you about LeBron James. I know that, you know, he really at one point wants to be able to play alongside his son. He has made that pretty clear.
SIDNER: Some people sort of speculated that maybe he's staying in the game, hoping for that moment. Do you think that's all at risk at this point?
NICHOLS: Yeah. I mean, look, we don't know what the future holds for Bronny. And LeBron talked to me maybe five years ago when the kid wasn't even playing high school basketball about this idea of playing with his son. This has been a hope and dream of his.
There is no question that he is extending his NBA career. He has kind of lined up his contracts in a way that, yes, he's still under contract with the Lakers when Bronny potentially joins the NBA, but it's his option. So, if he wants to go somewhere else where Bronny goes, he can do that, too. This has been the plan. And we will just have to see if Bronny's health will permit this.
Sanjay was talking a little bit earlier about the different ways cardiac arrests happen. With Damar Hamlin, who you mentioned, that was blunt force trauma, right? We all saw it. I mean, that was so jarring. We saw him take a shot right to the chest and it stopped his heart.
When it's a case of what we expect or what we've heard so far with Bronny James, maybe he took an elbow to the chest. We don't know. But more commonly what happens is that there's something about the athlete's heart that in that moment of stress of stopping and starting and everything that goes on that causes this condition.
So, as Sanjay mentioned, the expectation is that he will go through testing over this next week, see if they can identify the problem that led to this, and if it is solvable or fixable, we expect him to get right back on the court the way Damar Hamlin has been able to enter training camp just this week with the Bulls, and hopefully continue that bright future that is ahead of him. If not, obviously, you know, it would be a crushing disappointment if he can't play basketball again.
But I will say this about Bronny James. I saw him just a few months ago after he committed to USC and we were talking about his college experience. This is such a well-rounded kid. This is not someone where basketball is the only thing in his life. So, I think everybody -- the main thing is that he's okay, which it seems like he is. The second thing is the hope that he can continue his dream and play along inside his dad in the NBA and all of that. But I will tell you just from knowing him. He will be okay either way. It's just hopefully he can do what he loves still.
SIDNER: Rachel, that was really, really good reporting. Thank you for sharing all that and your personal experience, and our prayers and hopes go towards his fast recovery. But we hope he's not under too much pressure because the world is watching as he goes through this with his family. Appreciate you.
NICHOLS: It's a lot. Thank you, Sara.
SIDNER: All right. Florida Department of Education officials defending new state guidelines that would describe slavery as having a personal benefit to enslaved people. How do they explain that? Well, we're going to hear from one of those officials, next.
SIDNER: In a video obtained exclusively by our affiliate WPLG, we are hearing a Florida Department of Education official explain and defend the new standards for teaching the history of Black Americans.
The official is speaking to a group of teachers after the State Board of Education approved the new guidelines that include teaching Florida's middle school children that Black people did not just suffer from the brutality of slavery but also benefited from it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DUEBEL, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICIAL: Instruction includes how slaves develop skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit. This has been -- this has been interpreted to mean slaves benefited from slavery, and that is not the standard at all.
What this is saying -- what this is saying is this is not the story simply of victims who withered in the face of oppression but rather the story of a resilient people who responded to their oppressors in an adaptive manner, utilizing every resource at their disposal to resist the inhumane nature of the bondage they were in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The speaker in that video is Florida Department of Education official John Duebel. I wanted to hear more from him. So, we reached out to Mr. Duebel. But he referred us to the Florida's Department of Education. We've contacted that board three separate times. They have not responded to our inquiry. All right, here to discuss Florida's new education standards and this new explanation, Peniel Joseph, associate dean for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Texas at Austin. He is joining us now. He's also the author of "The Third Reconstruction."
Professor Joseph, what did you make of the state official's explanation of these new standards of how they're going to teach history and particularly African-American history?
PENIEL JOSEPH, AUTHOR, ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION AT UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Hi, Sara. Thank you for having me. You know, I think it's -- it sounds unconvincing. I think what we're facing in Florida and even my adopted home state of Texas is a real resistance to discussing the hard history that we all face, the history of racial slavery, the history of subjugation.
Within that history, there is the history of resilience. There's the history of Black people as the leading articulators of a dignity, democracy, and citizenship for all people in ways that since racial slavery and reconstruction have impacted women, have impacted working class whites, has impacted the LGBTQIA community, has impacted people of color within the United States and globally.
But that's not what these new guidelines do. The idea that somehow racial slavery sort of benefits Black people really ignores the brutality and the horror of that story. But it also ignores the way in which there were white people who were abolitionists, who stood in solidarity with Black people and believed in Black dignity and citizenship.
So, the idea that teaching the complex history of the United States is somehow going to be offensive to students, especially white students, it really gets our story exactly wrong because the beauty of black history really is that resilience that the person spoke of.
But to get to that resilience, we really have to talk about the horrors of racial slavery and also the way in which racial slavery built up the wealth of the United States and built up a vision of global capitalism that was really based on the exploitation of Black bodies.
Not only just their labor, Sara, but they were -- people put out life insurances on Black folks. People invested money globally in the global economy based on having and using enslaved Black people as collateral.
And even the way in which they're just calling Black people, who lived during that period and Africans who lived during that period, slaves really dishonors them, right? These are enslaved human beings who, some of them could read and write, but many were bought and sold like chattel, you know, in terms of chattel slavery. They were considered the species of property in that context.
So, the only way we can come to terms with both racial slavery and its afterlife is by teaching the truth to all of our students irrespective of race.
SIDNER: Professor, you know, they talked about that official. The Florida official talked about -- this is about actually teaching about resilience. It's not just that they learned new skills, but then they should just do that, correct? I mean, you talked about resilience. Okay, well, then that should be the guideline. But that's not what the guideline says that has everyone so upset.
I want to ask you about what you think of this. The demand for the new AP course in African-American studies is actually surging across the United States, where people are looking for more information, not less. And those numbers are going up. The pilot course will be offered in the upcoming school year in 800 schools twice than what the College Board says it had planned for. Why do you think this is happening now?
JOSEPH: Well, Sara, America has always been more than just one thing, right? The country contains multitudes. So, we've been two things simultaneously. We've at times been pro-slavery and abolitionists. We've been pro-racial segregation and pro-racial integration, for voting rights for Black people and all people and against voting rights.
And I think right now, in the midst of what I've called this third period of reconstruction, we've got people who are for and supportive of the 1619 Project and AP African-American history and really getting to the deep roots of our story because this is the origin story of us. And yet we have people who are really violently opposed.
So, it's always been a story of this narrative war between reconstructionists who are supporters of multiracial democracy versus redemptionists who are really followers of the lost cause and that old antebellum history that we're still trying to come to terms with today.
And so many people want to view slavery as some kind of benign institution. But that's how we got "Gone with the Wind." And now we know, "Gone with the Wind," which premiered in 1939, poor Martin Luther King, Jr. was dressed as an enslaved young person at the premiere in Atlanta in 1939. And we know this from my friend Jonathan Eig's new book, "King."
We have a distorted history of what slavery was. We still think about slavery as mint juleps and tea and sort of nice polite white folks. And somehow, this was some kind of rough education for Black people. That's what Senator John Calhoun from South Carolina called it. It was not that. It was the super exploitation of Black women and children and men and boys and girls and babies to enrich the entire United States from sea to shining sea.
SIDNER: Yeah. There were beatings.
JOSEPH: It's New York to Wall Street.
SIDNER: There were rapes. There were children stripped away from mothers and families. And, you know, if you really delve deep into it, it is extremely disturbing and the vestiges of that are still around in society.
I do want to just quickly ask you, we heard from DeSantis, who is running for president, he is the governor of Florida though at the time, and he says that these are thorough standards done by African- American history scholars, there is no agenda here. Do you believe that? Yes or no?
JOSEPH: No, absolutely not. I mean, I think this is all part of this anti so-called woke agenda, which is really an agenda that tries to distort and disfigure black history.
But what Governor DeSantis doesn't understand is that black history is really American history. So, certainly, within the horrors of slavery, Black people found great beauty against all odds. They loved their family members. They innovated in terms of food and cooking and music. They were rice cultivators. They're the people who distilled the whiskey and gave Jack Daniels all the knowledge to do what he did. We were creators and there was black talent and black genius that came from Africa, right?
But the idea that somehow, we have to soft pedal this because telling our kids the truth is going to offend one part of the population really ignores the fact that black history is American history and the souls of Black folks are really what has really enlightened this country and really ennobled us all.
So, this idea of black dignity and citizenship despite racial slavery is the key through line -- and remember, we had white people during antebellum slavery. White women and men, not just the Quakers, who were abolitionists.
JOSEPH: They were abolitionists. They fought alongside Black people.
SIDNER: And we see that. We see that in the history books or at least we have seen that in the history books. Hopefully, it will be taught accurately. Professor, thank you so much for coming on and explaining all of this and your point of view on it.
All right, coming up, a new report from "The Washington Post" details Vladimir Putin's actions in the hours following the failed coup by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin. Why they're saying Putin appeared -- quote -- "paralyzed." That's coming up, next.
SIDNER: New details emerging about Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in the early hours of last month's attempted coup by Wagner mercenary -- head of Wagner mercenary, Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to "The Washington Post," Ukrainian and other security officials say Putin was paralyzed and unable to act decisively despite being warned at least two or three days before by Russian security of Prigozhin's attempted mutiny.
One European security official telling the "Post" -- quote -- "Putin had time to take the decision to liquidate the rebellion and arrest the organizers. Then when it began, there was paralysis on all levels. There was absolute dismay and confusion. For a long time, they did not know how to react."
For more on this remarkable reporting, I want to bring in Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign. Can you tell me how you read this? Is Putin losing some of his grip on power?
BILL BROWDER, CEO OF HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF GLOBAL MAGNITSKY JUSTICE CAMPAIGN: Well, this report talks about how Putin was paralyzed before and during the first day of the rebellion. But if you look at his conduct since this whole thing has happened, it looks like he's paralyzed.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, organized an armed rebellion. Normally, when somebody does something like that in a dictatorship like Russia, the dictator will take the rebel and chop his head off, literally, and go after everybody involved. That hasn't happened in this case.
Putin, instead of taking him to Red Square and chopping his head off, he brought him into the Kremlin for meetings with him and his guys. They gave him the money back that they seized from his office, $111 million. And now, he's sitting in Belarus enjoying the good life.
Everything about Putin's conduct here shows confusion, fear, and a lack of clarity, which started from that day and carries on. It's a very strange situation.
SIDNER: I think it's important to note, you know, people who have stood up against Putin, who have only spoken out against him, never mind, tried to revolt against him, have been poisoned, jailed or killed, falling out of windows and the like by the regime. And here you have someone, as you mentioned, who literally tried to have a mutiny against him that ended up being stopped and is still walking around a free man. I mean, that has to be incredibly embarrassing for Putin.
There's also incredible news on the front of Trevor Reed, which everyone should remember as the former U.S. Marine released by Russia in a prisoner swap last year. We are now learning that Reed was injured while fighting in Ukraine against Russia. What do you think about this development and why do you think he chose to go to Ukraine after his experience?
BROWDER: Well, this is a pretty tricky situation. On one hand, it's very honorable for Trevor Reed to go and fight the Russians on behalf of the Ukrainians. He has seen firsthand how evil Putin's Russia is. They took him hostage in a totally unjust arrest. So that's good and that's honorable.
But on the other side, the cost of getting him out was that he was swapped with a worldwide arms and drug dealer named Konstantin Yaroshenko. Yaroshenko was arrested, serving time in the United States. He was a high-value prisoner, and Trevor Reed was swapped for Yaroshenko.
And so, the thing that bothers me about this is that had Trevor Reed ever been taken hostage again, we would have had to like do a double dip to get him out. In other words, another high value hostage. And so, in a certain way, he has cost us a lot. It's very good that he's fighting on behalf of the Ukrainians. We support the Ukrainians in any way possible. But I would rather have somebody else who is not somebody so valuable to us who they see as so valuable.
SIDNER: Yeah. I mean, those trade-offs happen and that's what Russia demands. Bill Browder, thank you so much for sort of looking through that. It is a remarkable moment in Russian history and certainly a remarkable one for the Ukrainians as well. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
BROWDER: Thank you.
SIDNER: All right. Tomorrow could be perhaps the day we finally get some answers about what exactly is flying around our skies that can't be identified. That's right. Congress will be holding a hearing on UFOs tomorrow, and we're going to give you a preview of that ahead.
SIDNER: You know what they say, the truth is out there. But will we ever really know it? "Tomorrow's News Tonight," the House Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow on unidentified aerial phenomenon, what we regular folk call UFOs, objects like the one you're about to see that seem to defy physics and fly like nothing pilots have ever seen before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Whoa! Got it!
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Whoo hoo!
UNKNOWN (voice-over): What the (bleep) is that thing? Did you box a moving target?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, I took an auto-track.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, okay. Oh, my gosh, dude! Wow! What is that, man?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Look at it fly!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: You can hear the excitement on the pilots -- in the pilot's voice. And he asked the question, what the -- is that thing? We all want to know. I've personally spoken to a Navy pilot who told me for a while he and other pilots would see UFOs on a daily basis.
Now, the committee is going to hear testimony from former U.S. Military and intelligence personnel who say they too have seen UAPs as they call them, and we are going to bring you more on this tomorrow.
Thank you so much for being with us tonight. Our coverage continues.