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"CNN Tonight" Presents "Next Week's News Tonight"; Alisyn Camerota Interviews Michael Cohen; GOP 2024 Hopefuls Descend On Iowa; Hungry Sharks Are Closer To Shore. A Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 28, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS WALLACE, BROADCAST JOURNALIST: While I'm still considering Pink's invitation, this wraps up season three of "WHO'S TALKING." We will be back in the fall with brand-new conversations. Until then, you can catch all our episodes, including Pink, Brad Paisley, and Sharon Stone, any time you want on Max. Thank you for watching, and good night.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.
Law enforcement in Washington is ramping up security tonight ahead of what they believe could be a new indictment against Donald Trump next week. And barricades are going up outside the courthouse in Atlanta where Trump is under investigation for 2020 election interference. So, we're going to dive into next week's news tonight.
Also, tonight, presidential hopeful Will Hurd just got booed for saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL HURD, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison. And if we elect --
I know, I know, I know. Listen, I know the truth. The truth is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: We'll have much more on that in a moment.
Also, Michael Cohen is here. The former president's one-time lawyer knows very well how Donald Trump operates and how he gets his staffers to do his bidding.
And if you're headed to the beach this weekend, chances are you could see a shark. Record ocean heat is pushing hungry sharks closer to the shore like this one spotted near a crowded beach in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Get out!
UNKNOWN: Get out!
UNKNOWN: Get out of the water!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: There's a lot going on tonight. So, let's begin with the legal cases confronting Donald Trump. CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid is here. Paula, great to have you. So, one of the classified documents at the heart of this case was reportedly an attack plan involving Iran. What new information do you have?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: This has been such a big question, Alisyn, in this investigation because, of course, CNN broke the news that there was a recording of the former president appearing to show an actual classified document to people who did not have security clearances. But when the last indictment was released, that specific document was not included even though the recording was featured very prominently in the indictment.
So, in the superseding indictment, it was notable to see that they had added this document suggesting that the government is in possession of it and it's a top-secret document. But, Alisyn why wasn't this included in the first one? It's an outstanding question because CNN has learned that this was one of the documents that was actually returned to the archives and that is significant because it makes it harder to argue successfully in court that he willfully retained this.
Now, it could be that the intelligence community had some concern about this that has been resolved. It also could be that after prosecutors saw the former president on Fox News insisting there was no document, they wanted to prove that he was lying.
CAMEROTA: Hmm. Okay. So, we've also learned that there's this new co- defendant. So, what's going to happen on Monday with this new defendant in the case?
REID: So, on Monday -- Carlos de Oliveira will make his first appearance in federal court on Monday. I mean, he has found himself at the center of this case for several reasons. I mean, one is that he allegedly lied to investigators.
And also, this is a way that very sophisticated people, Martha Stewart, General Petraeus, find themselves criminally vulnerable. Once you allegedly make false statements to the government, they can try to press you to plea, which is what they tried to do here.
And now, not only is he even charged with false statements, but he has also been charged in this attempt to obstruct the obstruction. I mean, they alleged that he had a conversation where he was pressing another employee at Mar-a-Lago about how they could delete surveillance footage. Now, it's unclear how his addition to this case, these new charges, how this is going to impact the timeline for a Trump case, but you can bet the defense lawyers for the former president are going to use this as they will use anything to try to push this back as far as they can.
CAMEROTA: And Paula, what more do we know about de Oliveira? What's his background? How did he get swept up in all of this?
REID: You know, it's a great question. I'm sure he's wondering the same thing. This is someone who is a property manager at Mar-a-Lago. He's described to our colleagues as someone who's really outside the circle. He's not someone who has a lot of interactions with the former president or his close allies. It appears that it's very much a case of wrong place, wrong time.
He was promoted to property manager in January 2022, around the time this whole issue bubbled up, and it appears that really the most unfortunate thing he did was allegedly not be honest with investigators because that gave them an in to press him to plea, he didn't want to do that, and now he has been charged in this larger alleged scheme.
CAMEROTA: Paula Reid, thank you very much for all of the new information tonight.
So, Carlos de Oliveira, the Mar-a-Lago property manager accused of trying to delete the security camera footage at the direction of -- quote -- "the boss," is just the latest person in Donald Trump's orbit to find himself in legal trouble. CNN's Tom Foreman reminds us of just how long that list is.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another week, another person close to Donald Trump in trouble. The property manager at Mar- a-Lago, Carlos de Oliveira, like Trump aide, Walt Nauta, has now been swept into the case over those classified documents, which the Justice Department says Trump illegally took and held. Trump denies it.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is harassment. This is election interference.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But the charges against Team Trump have been mounting for years. Start with Steve Bannon.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: I stand with Trump and the Constitution.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The firebrand advisor has pleaded not guilty to New York State charges of conspiracy to money laundering and fraud. But he has been slapped with four months in prison for another matter, ignoring a congressional subpoena about the January 6th attack. His jail time is on hold while he appeals. Allen Weisselberg, Trump's longtime chief financial officer, served roughly four months for tax fraud and was ordered to pay $2 million in back taxes, interest and penalties.
Paul Manafort, once Trump's campaign manager, he served two years in prison for bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, and more before Trump pardoned him.
Also pardoned, former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR OF THE UNITED STATES: The next president of the United States right here.
FOREMAN (voice-over): He admitted lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia before walking the admission back and suing the government for alleged malicious prosecution.
JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF TRUMP ORGANIZATION: He compromises almost everyone that works with him at some point or another.
FOREMAN (voice-over): None of it surprises Jack O'Donnell, who worked for the Trump Organization.
O'DONNELL: I mean, the man is the least compassionate, empathetic person I've ever met in my life. He doesn't care about anyone.
FOREMAN (voice-over): And the list goes on. George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Elliott Broidy, Roger Stone all had ties to Trump, all wound up in legal jeopardy. And, of course, former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, was confined three years after admitting several crimes, including campaign finance violations. He says it's simple why so many follow Trump into trouble.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Look, it's not as devious as you might think. The man is a cult leader, plain and simple.
FOREMAN (on camera): Neither De Oliveira nor Nauta responded to CNN's request for any further comment. Those are the two men most recently tied to the Mar-a-Lago case. But that's not really very uncommon, is it? Many of those who were close to Trump's inner circle have remained largely tight-lipped, even as legal peril has seemed to swirl. Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: Tom Foreman, thank you.
So, Michael Cohen will be here live in just a moment. But first, let's bring in former U.S. attorney Harry Litman and former federal prosecutor Brian Jacobs. Great to have both of you here this evening.
Okay, Harry, let me start with you. So, let's start with Carlos de Oliveira, who is the latest person to be caught up in this legal web. So, he -- according to the indictment, de Oliveira helped move about 30 boxes around Mar-a-Lago as well as on to Trump's plane, but he denied knowledge of the boxes to the FBI. So, how much trouble could he be in?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, he was already in some trouble then, Alisyn. He had several lies. They had him on surveillance footage. He was dead to rights.
So, they said to him, look, we want you to cooperate here and just tell us what else happened. And if you don't, we're going to charge you with something much more serious, obstruction, conspiracy to obstruct, which they also had him dead to rights on because after the DOJ sends a draft subpoena saying, we care about the surveillance footage, that's when he goes to Employee 4, AKA Mr. Taveras, and says, the boss wants this deleted, and there follows all kinds of ham-handed plotting with him and Nauta in tunnels and trying to figure out how you can get rid of the surveillance, etc.
So, he was in real hot water but now it's boiling, and he did, you know, accepted and became a co-defendant.
Smith said this is what I'm going to do, and he followed through. It's perplexing to say the least why he wants to be here when he certainly could have gotten an easy deal. It surely doesn't seem in his interest nor in Nauta's.
It has got all the earmarks of sort of doing it for the boss, the mob boss, in a way that really hurt your own self-interest. We will see if reason overtakes him down the line. But for now, he was loyal, as the indictment says. Trump wanted to be sure he was.
LITMAN: That's when Trump said, okay, I'll get you a lawyer. And now, you know, here he is caught on the web of a many-year possible charge for conspiracy to obstruct justice.
CAMEROTA: Well, I think that the point you just made last, it explains it, Brian. I mean, am I wrong? The fact that Donald Trump provided the attorneys for Walt Nauta and now Carlos de Oliveira and his political pack paid for the attorney's fees. Doesn't that explain why they are siding and being loyal to Donald Trump instead of cooperating with prosecutors?
BRIAN JACOBS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they certainly made decision not to flip, and it will become less and less likely that they flip as time passes. The fact that they have lawyers who are likely working together with former Presidents Trump's lawyers on a joint defense basis also reduces the incentive to flip.
And at this point, they won't get the full benefits of cooperation because the special counsel's office won't be able to say they cooperated immediately and were fully helpful. Now, there's already been this passage of time.
CAMEROTA: So, the reason you know that they haven't cooperated is because they're charged. So, in other words, if they had cooperated, we would see a different kind of charge or something different?
JACOBS: Well, there are a few indications of cooperation here. One is the delay between the interview referenced in the superseding indictment where De Oliveira supposedly lied and now when he gets charged. Why wasn't he charged initially in the original indictment? Almost certainly, the special counsel was trying to flip him and failed to do so.
CAMEROTA: Harry, what can prosecutors do when two defendants are being bankrolled basically or their attorney's fees are being bankrolled by another defendant, in this case, Donald Trump's political PAC? What can prosecutors do to help make them cooperate?
LITMAN: Hope that they see reason. You know, there's no brass knuckles here, but they talk to the lawyers. Whoever they're being paid for are duty bound to represent their clients zealously and just put it out there. Are you crazy? You have nothing to gain and everything to lose, and here's what we're coming at you with.
And I agree it gets less likely as time goes on. But still, it may well be they played a game of chicken. De Oliveira said, no, I'm not going to do it. And so, he was charged. But it continues to make no sense for him and all the sense in the world that he just, you know, explain the things that happened because they have him now with now a series of charges. And out of nowhere, he's looking at many years in prison just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, essentially.
CAMEROTA: Brian, how strong is this case? Because can't they say -- they never say Donald Trump's name. They say "the boss," as far as we know from the indictment. Can't they say, I wasn't referring to Donald Trump, I was referring to my supervisor?
JACOBS: Yeah. Well, certainly, the case against de Oliveira seems to hinge a lot on Trump Employee 4. The key conversation about the boss wants these deleted, that's just a verbal conversation. And so, a lot is riding on the word of Trump Employee 4.
The Trump -- the case against former President Trump is stronger. There's, of course, the recording where he says, I could have declassified this, and so forth, and there is a lot more evidence there.
CAMEROTA: Sure, but I'm saying like with these two, Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, can't they fall on their sword and say, I was just cleaning up, I was moving boxes because I wanted to clear out the storage room or the boss isn't Donald Trump? I mean, how strong of a case against them?
JACOBS: I think the case is modest against them. It is not as strong as the case against former President Trump. The issue is saying, well, I wasn't doing it for President Trump. I mean, he was their boss. In the end, there's not an intermediate boss referenced in the superseding indictment. And so, there would be a defense, but it ultimately could just not make sense to a jury.
CAMEROTA: Harry, I read your notes and you said that this is the most mob-like conduct you've ever seen. How so?
LITMAN: Well, it's so clearly and by mob like -- by the way, I'm thinking goodfellas, not the godfather. First of all, the complete loyalty to the boss in doubt. And in the indictment, there's even -- you know, is de Oliveira to be trusted?
But then, you know, the complete sort of ham-handed way they try to -- you know, they don't realize the surveillance footage. They go after to try to just absolutely destroy the evidence and essentially the whole loyalty point.
And, you know, back to what you were just saying, look, there's no there -- what they're saying is, I'll do some time in prison for Donald Trump, and yet it doesn't make any sense, especially -- by the way, when you look at Donald Trump's track record as a mob boss, his loyalty seems to really only go in one direction. That's towards him. He's -- a lot of people who have counted on his loyalty have found themselves in pinstripes or close to them.
CAMEROTA: All right, Harry Litman, Brian Jacobs, thank you both very much for your expertise.
LITMAN: Thanks, Alisyn. Thanks, Brian.
JACOBS: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Okay, next up, Michael Cohen is here to tell us how the former president gets staffers to do his bidding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: He doesn't give you questions. He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: We know more tonight about the Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos de Oliveira, who is now entangled in an alleged cover-up on behalf of Donald Trump. One person who knows very well how Donald Trump convinces staffers to do what he wants is Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen.
Michael is now the host of two podcasts, "Mea Culpa" and "Political Beatdown." He's also "The New York Times" bestselling author of "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the U.S. Department of Justice Against His Critics."
Great to have you here, Michael. COHEN: Thanks, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Okay, so, you just heard lots of analysts have said that Donald Trump is acting like a mob boss. How so?
COHEN: Well, firstly, he's not acting like a mob boss. He is a mob boss.
CAMEROTA: What does that mean?
COHEN: He's a mob boss. He's a cult leader. He knows exactly how to act. He knows exactly how to tell you what he wants to be done without actually coming out and saying.
CAMEROTA: Can you tell us what that sounds like? If he's not explicitly saying, I want you to delete the security footage, what does he say?
COHEN: You know these things inside the room, in the ballroom, they need to be -- they need to be -- they need to be wiped out. They need to -- you need to get rid of them. I mean, that's something that he would say, you know what I'm talking about. You know that recording thing and so on, just -- I need it -- I need you to get rid of it.
So, now all of a sudden, you have de Oliveira. I kind of feel bad for this guy. I mean, unfortunately, the guy, he doesn't -- it's the first time probably in his life that Donald spent any time with him. And so, now, all of a sudden, he's feeling good about himself. Oh, my God, the boss told me to take care of something. I got to take care of it, right? I mean, this is his job, this is what he does, without thinking about the consequences.
CAMEROTA: All of his neighbors and family report that he worked there for 20 years. He started as, I think, a car valet or something. He worked his way up. And so, the fact that Donald Trump had this 24- minute phone call with him, what would be -- is that customary?
COHEN: No. I mean, that is excessively long. I've had phone calls like that, 24 minutes short, like right after something significant happened, where we would go through, you know, bit by bit by bit by bit. But Donald Trump is not a telephone guy.
CAMEROTA: Right. So, in this case, what's he saying for 24 minutes?
COHEN: Yeah. He must have been explaining to him everything that he wanted and probably more than once repetitive in order to ensure that it gets done. But here's, like, for example, where he made a big mistake.
COHEN: He has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to the technology. All of a sudden, he's like, I'll get rid of it, get rid of it. So, this guy thinks by going ahead and getting rid of or deleting the server, that it will get rid of the footage that, of course, government was looking for. No.
What he failed to remember is that at 721 Fifth Avenue, Trump Tower, Matt Calamari, the chief operating officer, and his son, Matt Calamari, Jr., he's in charge of all of the security.
So, there's a program that goes into the server that's in their office where they can see any camera that's attached to any property that has a Trump name to it, and they could watch it in real time. So, it's being stored not just onto the program, but also onto another server. So, this had to have also, at some point in time, gone through Trump Tower, if in fact the goal was to delete.
CAMEROTA: And so, though, we're not seeing Matt Calamari's name in the indictment.
COHEN: Well, I don't know. I mean, there are several different ways you can look at it. You know, is he cooperating? Is that a possibility?
CAMEROTA: Is it
COHEN: Or -- look, if I was Matt, after seeing what happened to me, especially to protect his son, sure, I would be providing truthful information. Look, I know what it's like to get charged with a thousand-one violation.
And I want to remind all of your viewers, my thousand-one violation had nothing to do with national security secrets. It had nothing to do with deleting, you know, information off of the server. It had to do with the number of times I stated to Congress that, you know, I spoke to Donald about a failed Trump Tower Moscow. I said three.
CAMEROTA: Right. And yet you went to prison for three years for that.
COHEN: Right. The real answer was 10, and I went to prison for that.
COHEN: So, imagine what de Oliveira or Tavera or any of these other folks that will get caught up in this web. Imagine what they're going to look at.
CAMEROTA: And because you had that experience, Michael, what is it like to be between a prosecutor who wants you to cooperate and Donald Trump who really doesn't want you to cooperate and wants loyalty? What is -- what are those messages that you're getting from both sides? What's that like?
COHEN: Well, it's like getting hit with a sledgehammer to the right side of your head, and then, as soon as you turn to the left, you're getting hit with a sledgehammer again. But on the other side, I mean, that's what it's like. Look, let's not forget, especially at the time, Donald Trump was the president of the United States of America. He was the most powerful man on the planet.
And then I had these wackadoodle prosecutors from the Southern District of New York threatening that if I didn't plead guilty in 48 hours, they were going to indict my wife. And so, which way do you turn? Left, right, left, right? They don't play fair. But then, again, neither does Donald.
So, as I said before, de Oliveira, Taveras, all of these folks that caught up in the web, they're going to understand what it's like to be stuck between a tsunami, a typhoon, a hurricane, and whatever else.
CAMEROTA: But you must understand how -- what a powerful inducement it is for them that Donald Trump has found their attorneys for them, and that he is -- his political PAC is paying the attorney's fees. I mean, I'm sure they don't have the money for that.
COHEN: Yeah. Well, the first thing that they should do is separate out and figure out. I'm sure there's somebody out there that would do it on pro bono if, in fact, that they would come clean and tell the truth.
And the reason I say that, you may remember what happened with me and Bob Costello. Bob Costello was a plant in from Giuliani in order to glean information from what we were doing in order to feed it back to the boss, right? Goes right back to the mob scene -- right back to the mob scene scenario. This is what they do.
Donald Trump doesn't care about Oliveira. He doesn't care what happens to him and his family. He doesn't care what's going to happen to Taveras or anyone else. Walter Nauta, he is another guy who I've told on many different shows, run, right? I know he was a former military. I'm sure he's pretty good still at running. Put on your sneakers and start running because the faster you get away from this mess --
COHEN: -- the better off you're going to be.
CAMEROTA: It's a little late for that. He's already a co-defendant now. Remember how exorcised Donald Trump was about Hillary Clinton's server and when he thought that she was wiping information off of her computer server? Let's -- just remind everybody, he talked about it a lot. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She set up this illegal server knowing full well that her actions put our national security at risk and put the safety and security of your children at risk.
There has never been anything like this where emails -- and you get a subpoena. You get a subpoena. And after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 emails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: He is now charged with doing that very thing. What are voters to make of this?
COHEN: Yeah. Well, that's the -- so, this is a big problem. First of all, we're talking about the same bleach that he wanted to stick into your lungs in order to get rid of COVID. But this is typical Donald Trump deflection. That's all that he's doing. Things that he knows that he did or would do, he then was imposing on somebody else, in this case, Hillary Clinton.
He has no respect for the law. He has no respect for the Constitution. He truly doesn't care about anyone or anything. All he wants is what he wants. Just like a petulant child.
CAMEROTA: Michael, thank you very much. We just want to clarify, CNN has no information about Bob Costello and the information that you have. Just clarifying. Thanks for all of this. Always great to have you here. Great to talk to you. Thanks for the insights.
COHEN: Any time.
CAMEROTA: Okay, have a great weekend. Meanwhile, GOP presidential hopefuls are attempting to woo Iowa voters tonight. We're going to tell you who was cheered and who got booed.
CAMEROTA: Thirteen GOP presidential hopefuls gathering in Iowa tonight for the state GOP's Lincoln Dinner. And during their speeches, some hit on culture wars, others took aim at former President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HURD: Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison. And if we elect --
ASA HUTCHINSON, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMAR ARKANSAS GOVERNOR : You will be voting in Iowa while multiple criminal cases are pending against former President Trump.
TRUMP: They want to weaponize the IRS just like they've weaponized the Justice Department and the FBI. And by the way, if I weren't running, I would have nobody coming after me.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): We have to win the cultural war here at home. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I'm not budging an inch. We are going to fight back against these people, and we are not letting them take over our schools any longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Okay, let's bring in CNN political analyst Coleman Hughes and Kaivan Shroff, a former digital organizer for Hillary Clinton. Guys, great to have you here. Will Hurd, that was very interesting. And by the way, we were just playing a little montage there. That went on for 30 seconds. He was talking about former President Trump and he was being booed and having to navigate that for 30 long seconds, Kaivan?
KAIVAN SHROFF, SENIOR ADVISER, THE INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION: I want to be impressed and I totally agree with what he's saying. At the same time, if Will Hurd wanted to actually take an action, he could have done so in 2019 when he was a member of Congress, and he instead voted not to impeach Donald Trump. And guess what? We wouldn't be in this situation right now had he and other reasonable Republicans actually taken that action.
CAMEROTA: What do you think, Coleman?
COLEMAN HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, PODCAST HOST: Well, look, I admire anyone who can get up in front of a crowd and be booed for 30 seconds because that's not easy. Unfortunately, Hurd is wrong. Obviously, Trump launched his campaign before he knew about all of these indictments and before these were taken seriously. But --
CAMEROTA: But don't you think that Donald Trump knew that he was -- there were legal entanglements that were coming up?
HUGHES: No. I think his -- I think his ego and sense of invincibility is so strong that he doesn't think he's going to be held accountable for anything. At least he didn't at the time that he started.
CAMEROTA: So, you don't think that Donald Trump is running just to avoid some sort of conviction?
HUGHES: I think he knew he was going to run the day he realized he wasn't going to be able to overturn the election. Now, has it lit a fire under him that he knows the way to stay out of prison might be to get elected? Sure. But I don't think that's the reason that's what (INAUDIBLE) of his campaign.
SHROFF: I don't know about that. I think -- first of all, given the amount of evidence against him, it is possible the only way he avoids prison is by winning the presidency. I do think, though, everyone in his orbit was panicked this entire time about him being prosecuted and knew that multiple prosecutions were going to come down. That's part of why they did all this. That's why they stole these secrets.
You know, I think they have this thing called graymail where, you know, they try to threaten prosecutors with, we're going to expose these state secrets so you don't come after me. They actually had to pass a law that -- which is -- what this SCIF stuff and everything that they're going back and forth with Judge Cannon about how to go over this classified information and share it appropriately because they wanted to avoid people like Donald Trump threatening prosecutors.
CAMEROTA: All right, let's move on to what else is happening this week in Iowa, because Kim Scott went after Ron DeSantis for this new curriculum for African American history. So here is -- basically, this -- in Florida, there is this new portion of African American history that says in the curriculum, instruction includes how slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.
Many people find that offensive. Tim Scott is one of them. Here's what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: There's no silver lining in freedom, in slavery. What slavery was, really about separating families, about mutilating humans, and even raping their wives. It was just devastating. People have bad days. Sometimes, they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, he says there's no silver lining in slavery. And then Ron DeSantis today in Iowa went after him for that. Let's listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: Part of the reason our country has struggled is because D.C. Republicans all too often accept false narratives, accept lies that are perpetrated by the left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: I don't think it's a false narrative. I mean, we just read the curriculum out loud. It exists in there. What do you think, Coleman?
HUGHES: So, look, I think it is a false narrative. I think DeSantis is right on this one. So, if you look at the whole curriculum, it requires teaching the -- quote -- "harsh conditions and their consequences of slavery." This is a 200-page document.
Not all of those pages were about slavery, but it requires teaching the harsh conditions, it requires teaching about the middle passage. It has one sentence which says, as you quoted, the fact that enslaved people -- quote --"developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit."
Now, some people are interpreting that to mean there's a silver lining to slavery. That's not what it says. It says they developed some skills that in some instances they used, right? That is true, right? People after -- after the Civil War, people went to work and they used the skills that they had, many of which were --
CAMEROTA: Right, but as you said, they could have also not been enslaved and developed those skills.
HUGHES: Of course, but --
CAMEROTA: What is the point of including that sentence?
HUGHES: The point of it, almost every A.P. history curriculum about slavery teaches the fact that there were specialized trades. There were there were slaves that learned blacksmithing, for instance. And you may object to the phrasing of this, but you can't object to the meaning of it because it actually --
SHROFF: To saying, if you get kidnapped, you learned survival skills, why would you ever say that to somebody who was kidnapped? What's the benefit in pointing that out?
But I think the real thing here that this calls out, the bigger story for me is that you have Tim Scott, you have Nikki Haley, you have Vivek Ramaswamy, sort of these pawns being propped up, these black and brown pawns, to be a shield against this charge that the Republican Party is racist.
And the very second, Byron Donald says, actually, I don't agree with this part of the curriculum. He's, you know, a supposed conservative. The minute Tim Scott dares protest, you know, he's a D.C. Republican, he's no longer one of them in just a half second. And I think that really calls out just how sort of empty this, you know, kind of guise of we have this diverse, you know, slate of candidates running is.
HUGHES: I think this is a deliberate twisting of words by Tim Scott in order to injure his political opponent. If this state curriculum wanted to minimize the horror of slavery, why would they require teaching the harsh conditions and consequences? Why would they require teaching --
CAMEROTA: There's no way around it. There's no way around those.
HUGHES: People have found ways around it through American history. If they wanted to, they could. They require teaching about the infant mortality, the malnutrition. I think this is a twisting of words of what is in general a good faith description of an aspect of the history.
SHROFF: It's a 200-page curriculum. I would argue there are millions of pages that have been written about slavery. The benefits of slavery don't rank among top --
HUGHES: It doesn't --
SHROFF: -- you know, 100,000. HUGHES: It doesn't -- that's your words.
The benefit of slavery is how you're phrasing it. That appears nowhere in the document.
SHROFF: I think it's ironic that decade ago, it was all about how Obama was using the public school system to indoctrinate children. And that's actually exactly what we're seeing play out right now, which is that, you know, not only this, but they just announced that Prager University, a right-wing propaganda outlet, can now show cartoons in public schools. I mean, this is scary stuff happening in Florida.
CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Really appreciate the debate. Great to see you guys. Thank you for all of that.
All right, if you think there are more shark sightings lately, you're not wrong. Sharks are behaving differently this summer. We're going to tell you what's happening, next.
CAMEROTA: If you're heading to the beach this weekend, chances are you could see a shark. You're not crazy. There are more shark sightings this summer. And sharks are behaving differently. They've changed their location and they're hungrier. Take a look at what happened in Florida over fourth of July weekend.
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UNKNOWN: Get out!
UNKNOWN: Get out!
UNKNOWN: Get out of the water!
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CAMEROTA: Okay, joining us now from our sister network, Discovery, which airs "Shark Week," wildlife biologist Forrest Galante. Forest, great to see you. What's going on? Why are sharks getting closer to the shore?
FORREST GALANTE, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: Well, Alisyn, it's one of the hottest summers we've ever seen and the sea surface temperatures are changing slightly, particularly in the Northeast. There's an increase in bunker populations, which are a small bait fish, and that's bringing in larger prey species like striped bass and seals.
And so, with all of those factors at play, what you have is sharks that are hunting close to the shore. And, of course, people are going to the beaches. They're hanging out close to shore themselves. And so, we're seeing an increased likelihood of an encounter more than anything else.
CAMEROTA: Forrest, I've also read that the ocean, because it's getting hotter, that is speeding up the sharks' metabolism and that makes them hungrier. Then what happens?
GALANTE: Yeah. Well, that's a good question. And as jazzy as that all sounds, what that really means is it just requires more energy for sharks to simply live. So, they have to eat more, they have to burn more calories just to stay alive, just to swim. And so, they're feeding more.
But what the sharks ultimately end up doing is leaving these stagnant warm water zones and traveling to new areas. Some of those areas are deeper in the sea where the water is cooler. And some of them, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, are further North.
So, it is really changing the behavior and the dynamic of the sharks so that they can continue to survive and thrive. They're moving location and they're changing how they eat and what they eat more so than just eating more in general. And at the end of the day, what I'm trying to say is we're not in any more danger. It's the sharks who are actually in danger.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. And I do want to get to how the sharks are in danger. But just to make sure we're not in any more danger, if they are closer to the shore where we're swimming and they're hungrier, is it more likely that they would eat humans?
GALANTE: It's really not, and I'll explain why, because ultimately, sharks do not view human beings as a prey source. Anytime we have a negative shark encounter, it is because of a case of mistaken identity. Often that's in low visibility areas, high turbidity areas, near to river mouths, near to where people are fishing or cutting bait. And so, the sharks are in a feeding mode and they make a mistake.
But unfortunately, when a shark makes a mistake, it makes an investigative bite, and then goes, yuck, I don't want to eat that. They don't have hands to go and feel and figure out, is that something I want to eat? They have to taste it.
And that's why a lot of these bites that we've seen this summer are not fatal. They're terrible accidents nonetheless, but they're not fatal attacks because the sharks aren't actually trying to eat people. They're having a taste and going, whoa, this is not what I signed up for, before moving on to try and continue to look for the prey that they're hoping for.
CAMEROTA: Okay, so now let's talk about sharks' health and survivability. I didn't know that they're some of the most endangered marine animals on the planet. And so now what? I mean, now that they're in trouble, what's the answer?
GALANTE: Yeah, it's a good question. You know, the one silver lining is sharks are one of the oldest living organisms on the planet and they're incredibly adaptable, and they've been around for millions of years. One quote I always like to use is that sharks have been around longer than trees.
So, I'm a silver lining guy, I always like to think of the positive, and I like to think and hope that sharks will figure out a way to survive. All that being said, things are changing. The climate is changing and things are shifting in the ocean, and sharks are shifting their behaviors because of that.
And so, they are up against stress and pressure that's compounding, not just from the heated sea but from the acidification of corals like you're seeing here, from depleted fisheries, from over-harvesting, from over-harvesting themselves for the shark fin trade. So, this set of compounding factors is deriving their population to a mere fraction of what it should be.
And that's a big cause for concern, Alisyn, because ultimately, a sea without sharks is not a good thing for us as human beings. It means that our survivability goes down tremendously because sharks are docents of the ocean and the ocean is the most important life force on our planet when it comes to oxygen, rain, temperature control, and more.
So, it is a scary thought.
CAMEROTA: Well, I really appreciate that shift in perspective, that we don't have to see them as these predators, that we can see them as obviously harbingers of health of the ocean and that we need to protect them. So, Forrest Galante, great to talk to you as always. Thanks so much.
GALANTE: Always. Thanks, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Great. We'll be right back.
CAMEROTA: After the pandemic, math and reading scores in the U.S. fell to their lowest levels in decades.
CAMEROTA: Black children have long lagged behind in literacy, with only 17% of Black fourth graders able to read proficiently. This week's CNN hero is working to change that. Former first-grade teacher Alvin Irby believes that giving kids the opportunity and encouragement to read for fun is vitally important. So, today, his program brings books someplace that Black boys visit regularly. Barbershops.
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ALVIN IRBY, CNN HERO: What's up, man? How you doing? We install a child-friendly reading space in the barbershop. We literally ask little Black boys, what do you like to read? And then those are the books that we distribute to our national network of barbers.
Use the opportunity when they're sitting in a chair to just even talk to them about books.
Many Black boys are raised by single mothers. So, there's this opportunity to support barbers in becoming --
UNKNOWN: How's the book going so far?
IRBY: Black male reading role models.
I'm just excited that we get to create a safe space for boys to do something that is really life-changing. That's what I really believe reading is. It unlocks potential.
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CAMEROTA: To learn more about Alvin's program, go to cnnheroes.com. and don't forget to nominate someone you think should be a hero. Nominations close July 31st.
Thanks so much for watching CNN TONIGHT. Our coverage continues now.