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CNN Tonight

New Evidence Shows Democrats Should Be Worried About 2024 Election; Victor Blackwell Interviews Robert Ray And Anthony Cardinale; Daniel Dale Fact Checks Trump And Biden; Victor Blackwell Interviews Eric Deggans; "Big Short" Investor Bets $1.6 Billion On Stock Market Crash; Alleged Myths About "Blind Side" Story Pile Up. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 16, 2023 - 23:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back tomorrow in "The Situation Room" at 6 p.m. Eastern. "CNN Tonight" with Victor Blackwell starts right now.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Hey, Wolf. Thanks so much. Good evening. I'm Victor Blackwell. I'm with you tonight to discuss the day's most interesting stories. Donald Trump's former impeachment attorney, a lawyer for one of the mafia bosses that Rudy Giuliani prosecuted. Eric Deggans, Cari Champion, Daniel Dale, and Linette Lopez.

But first, if Democrats are not worried about next year's election, new numbers suggest they should be. Listen to this. In two new polls, the general election is a dead heat if the matchup is President Biden versus Donald Trump. Again, a dead heat despite Trump now facing his fourth indictment, 91 charges in all, and several trials next year while people will be voting.

Something else noteworthy as we talk about the health of America's democracy, nearly 60% of Republicans today think that Biden was not elected legitimately. Also, today, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis says that she wants Trump's Georgia trial to start the day before Super Tuesday.

And of course, Trump is intensifying his rhetoric against prosecutors and judges in all of his cases. And one of his supporters today was charged with threatening to kill the judge overseeing his federal election fraud case. Using racial slurs, she threatened to kill Judge Chutkan if Trump does not win in 2024.

Let's bring in now former Whitewater independent counsel and former federal prosecutor Robert Ray. He also defended former President Trump during the first impeachment trial.

Robert, good to see you. Thanks for being on. So, I hear that this is your first opportunity to respond publicly to this fourth indictment. You've had a little time for it to resonate. What do you think? What do you see in those pages? ROBERT RAY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: I think my first reaction is I was inclined to agree with former Governor Chris Christie and a presidential candidate that this fourth one was heavy- handed and in sense unnecessary as duplicative of what Jack Smith has already charged. That's not to say that the district attorney has every right to proceed in the exercise of discretion as she deems appropriate.

On the other hand, though, I will say my experience has been that generally speaking, when the federal government proceeds through federal prosecutors and a prosecution, the rule, the general rule is, and it's not always followed, there are exceptions, that state authorities -- state and local authorities defer to the federal prosecution.

And that has not happened in this case, you know, for various reasons. But, you know, in the space of a little more than four months, we now have four indictments against the former president. It just strikes me as a bit heavy-handed. I have said previously with regard to the other cases that it seems like the exercise of prosecutorial discretion has gone out the window.

And I think overall, in my sense, in the best interests of the country, that I'm worried about the course, the path that we're on, and that we may well rue the day that we have traveled down this path. And when I say that, you did, I think, appropriately mention the places where this intersects with the political process. And it's the timing of these trials where inevitably you're going to have clashes between judges and juries and trials and the political process.

That doesn't justify violence. Let me be clear. Absolutely, federal judges and any judge needs to be protected in our system, and they should feel free from this sort of nonsense, whether it's, you know, a crank call or something potentially much more serious.

It's intolerable. It doesn't matter what the issue is. That cannot be -- that's not acceptable. And that will be met with the full force of the criminal law as necessary in order to protect the judges and prevent this sort of thing from recurring.

BLACKWELL: So, Robert, that answer takes me down several routes. But I'm going to start where you ended off and that there should be no threats of violence, there should be no, as we saw with this woman in Texas, threats to kill judges, prosecutors, also threats against members of Congress.


What role does your former client play in this? As Judge Chutkan warned him about making statements that could threaten witnesses, that could impede in this process in any way, he has criticized the judge. Do you expect there will be some action against the former president? Should there be some controls?

RAY: Well, there are some controls, and the judges have always pointed out that there are limits to the First Amendment. But, you know, in the political process where the First Amendment interests are heightened, you know, it's one thing to say, for example, that Mike Pence is a witness in a criminal case. It's another thing to say that Donald Trump is prevented from criticizing sharply a fellow presidential candidate.

And by the same token, you know, I am well familiar with the dangers that the judges face and are familiar with judges who have been not just subject to threats but violence, and in several instances in my lifetime as a prosecutor, judges who have been killed. So, this is serious business. And I don't -- you know, I think everybody needs to watch their language.

But it's true on both sides. You know, Senator Schumer, for example, the majority leader of the Senate, had strong words to say about Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch that I think, you know, in some respects led direct to sort of protests and danger that Justice Kavanaugh in particular was faced with.

All of those things are, you know, something to be watchful of. We can have strong debate in the political process, but we do have to be mindful that those actions have consequences. And then, you know, at the outer edges, there's behavior that just simply is not acceptable. So, I guess to answer your question, I think there are limits.


RAY: And I think those limits will be policed. But I also say that, you know, in the political process, there's going to be collision with regard to those varying interests as we get to trying to set trial dates --


RAY: -- since it seems like, you know, the bulk of these prosecutors are anxious to get these trials started and completed before the 2024 election cycle concludes. I have my strong doubts about whether or not that's possible or that it's in the country's best interest that those cases go forward prior to the election.

BLACKWELL: So, what do you mean by it's in the country's best interest, the skepticism or concerns about it happening before the election? This goes to the point about being heavy-handed. If these district attorneys and they believe that these crimes were committed in their districts, do they not have a responsibility to bring these charges and to pursue a swift justice?

RAY: Well, it's always a question of prosecutorial discretion. You know, I don't think any prosecution is ever compelled. And I think you do have to have an eye when you're dealing with a former president and a current presidential candidate about what damage prosecutions may do to the political process, because it's not just the interests of the defendant and the public in terms of the respect for the law, it's also the interests of the country with regard to the fair conduct of an election.

I mean, I prefer to rely on Lincoln's words, a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people. I think we've lost patience in this political process, and we seem that we want to have prosecutors, you know, cure all ills and decide all these things. We've got now a number of special prosecutors running around and district attorneys who feel free to be able to charge a former president.

We're going to get to the point where we are so engulfed in that process that it's almost like, you know, get all the prosecutors in the room and let them sort out between Joe Biden and Donald Trump who should be president. That's not a political system I want to live in. I think that cedes too much power to prosecutors, and I think it's an inherently dangerous road to travel.

BLACKWELL: All right. Robert Ray, thank you so much for being with us. So, among the 19 defendants charged in the Georgia case is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He faces 13 counts, including so-called racketeering charges.

Now, this is ironic given Giuliani himself was a major force in using RICO laws to take down organized crime when he was U.S. attorney with the Southern District of New York. Now, that includes figures like Fat Tony Salerno, the former head of the Genovese crime family.

My next guest is a criminal defense attorney who once represented Salerno. Anthony Cardinale joins me now. Anthony, thanks for being with me. Let me start here. You told one of our producers that you get a kick out of this. Why?


ANTHONY CARDINALE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you get a kick out of seeing, you know, the damage, if you will, to families and by bringing broad sweeping multi-count RICO indictments against clients of mine, including Mr. Salerno.

And this is something that Rudy always crowed about, his ability to bring RICO cases, et cetera. He built this whole career on it. And now, he's on the receiving end. I'm frankly happy to see it land in his lap like it landed in the laps of a lot of the people that he prosecuted throughout the 80s.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. You mentioned the former governor -- former mayor talking about using the RICO statutes when he was a U.S. attorney. Let's listen to what he said about some of those RICO cases.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: The upper level people are not used to being convicted and they're certainly not used to being convicted under racketeering.

Charging them with violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, the RICO statute.

This is a new way of doing business and much more effective way to really crush them. I think the two of them together would make an excellent RICO case, racketeering case, like the cases I used to bring not only against the mafia but also against Boesky.


BLACKWELL: So, Fani Willis has brought this --

CARDINALE: Yeah, um --

BLACKWELL: -- in this political cut. Go ahead. Go ahead.

CARDINALE: No, I'm just saying you're just watching him (INAUDIBLE) like that. Makes me even happier that he's now on the receiving end. So, good luck to him. I hope all the things he -- that he claims are great about bringing racketeering cases he gives to get the full weight up.

BLACKWELL: Do you think he has a defense? How would you -- based on what you've seen and read in this indictment, what's the defense for Giuliani here?

CARDINALE: I really don't know. But I think if I could put my defense hat on, despite my personal feelings and having tried to a jury in multi-defendant RICO cases, I've had 10 racketeering trials to a verdict and several others that ended in pleas. So, you know, I know what it's like to be in there and trying to fight a very strong indictment like the one that D.A. Willis just brought.

So, I think what he's going to try to do is say that, look, there's no real enterprise here, which is one of the two required elements. You have to have an enterprise, a separate enterprise, and then a connected series of pattern of racketeering.


CARDINALE: And what you can see when you read the indictment, all 96 pages and 41 counts and all the rest of it, is that they've got 161 acts listed as potential predicate acts. Any two of which that are found, should the enterprise be found to exist by a jury, is enough to convict everybody.

So, I think what he's going to try to do is say, look, this is not -- there's no -- there's no evidence to support the enterprise that you need here. And the problem is that, you know, he forgets.

And just as you saw in that montage, he thinks that, you know, this was something that was, you know, useful against organized crime figures like the sweeping commission case he constantly crows about. But It can be any group, any informal or formal group of individuals if they have this common purpose and they're functioning as a unit.

BLACKWELL: As we saw in Georgia --

CARDINALE: -- Supreme Court.

BLACKWELL: -- with the D.A. there who brought it against the Atlanta public schools, in the testing scandal there several years ago.

Let me ask you one more here and you're a unique guest to get this answer from. When you back up and just look at the scope of Rudy Giuliani's career from U.S. attorney to mayor of New York and the America's mayor years and presidential candidate, to what he has become over the last eight years? What runs through your mind when you look at that arc?

CARDINALE: Well, you know, if I can leave my personal feelings aside and try to look at it objectively, because my personal feelings would be quite a bit harsher than I'm about to say, but it's a sad -- it's a sad decline of a guy that at one point had a very unique sense of -- well, he was a star, if you will, politically and as a prosecutor.

And now, he's a defendant facing a racketeering case just like all the guys that he crows about putting in jail in the -- through the 80s when he was trying -- when his office was trying these cases, not him.


BLACKWELL: All right. Anthony Cardinale, thank you so much for the time and insight.

CARDINALE: No problem. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to tune in this weekend as CNN goes inside Rudy Giuliani's rise and fall. The CNN Original Series' "Giuliani: What Happened to America's Mayor?" this Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

I just did a new reporting on whether Trump will attend next week's republican debate. Plus, some conservatives are cheering for a mugshot, hoping to immortalize Trump like Sinatra, Hendrix, and Cash. We'll discuss why both Trump and prosecutors may want the picture for different reasons.

And he predicted the housing crash. Now, the big short investor is betting on a stock market crash. You're going to hear why.



BLACKWELL: The Georgia indictment charging Donald Trump with racketeering, among other crimes, lists at least 27 lies he told about the 2020 election. By comparison, the federal indictment earlier this month accusing Trump of trying to overturn the election lists 21.

Let's bring in now senior reporter Daniel Dale, CNN fact-checker extraordinaire. All right, Daniel, walk us through it.

DANIEL DALE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: I'm going to talk faster than normal, so forgive me. Number one was Trump's overarching lie that he won the 2020 election. He lost. Number two is his lie that he won Georgia in 2020. He claimed at least once that he won by 400,000 votes. He lost Georgia by 11,779 votes. The result was certified by Republicans. Number three was his lie that there was -- quote -- "massive voter fraud" in Georgia. There wasn't massive voter fraud there or anywhere else in the country. Number four was his related lie that the number of false and or irregular votes was much bigger than the number needed to give him a Georgia victory. He made this claim in September 2021.

Number five is his lie that he -- quote -- "also won the other swing states in 2020." He lost not only Georgia, but Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin. Number six was his effort to get top DOJ officials to lie. Trump allegedly urged them to -- quote -- "just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

Number seven and eight are about Vice President Pence. Number seven, that Pence had the power to reject Biden electoral votes. Pence told him this was illegal, unconstitutional. Number eight, Trump had his campaign issue a false January 5th statement declaring that Pence totally agreed with him on this, even though Pence had again told him that very that he totally disagreed.

Number nine was Trump's lie that phony pro-Trump electors in swing states he lost were real electors, and then the indictment also gets into a whole bunch of specific lies he told about Georgia. Number 10 is a lie that anywhere from 250,000 to 300,000 ballots were mysteriously dropped or dumped in the rolls. In fact, these were normal votes counted as normal.

Number 11 was a related lie that a huge number of votes were dumped into Fulton County and the Jason County, also did not happen. Number 12 was Trump's lie that a Fulton County election worker was caught on video stuffing the ballot box. In fact, she did nothing wrong.

And number 13 was his related lie that this worker, Ruby Freeman, is a professional vote scammer. In fact, she was a fully exonerated elections worker. He was relentlessly maligning for no good reason. Number 14 was Trump's lie that Georgia had nearly 5,000 ballots cast in the names of deceased people. The Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told him that they actually found two such ballots, later updated the number to just four.

Number 15 was Trump's lie that about 45 -- 4,500 people voted in Georgia even though they were not registered. Raffensperger wrote in his book that their pro proved there were zero unregistered voters. Number 16 was Trump's lie that Georgia had thousands and thousands of people who were told they couldn't vote because a ballot had already been cast in their name. As Raffensperger noted, this is just imaginary, completely made up.

Number 17 is Trump's lie that Georgia had -- quote -- "at least 66,247 underage voter. Raffensperger informed Congress on January 6th that the actual number was zero. Number 18 was Trump's lie about at least 1,043 Georgians having voted after registering using only a P.O. box. Raffensperger told Congress that a simple Google search showed many of these supposed P.O. boxes were actually apartments.

Number 19 was Trump's lie that as many as 2,560 felons had illegally voted in the state. Raffensperger said his analysis showed the maximum even potential number of such voters was 74. Number 20 is Trump's lie that during this now infamous phone call with Raffensperger, where he pressured him to overturn Biden's win, Raffensperger was unwilling or unable to address his various debunked claims. In reality, Raffensperger personally debunked them in detail and at length.

And then the indictment, Victor, gets into Trump's lies to Georgia officials, including Raffensperger, about what happened in other states. So, number 21 was his lie that 139% of Detroit residents voted. Nonsense. In fact, Detroit had 51% turnout. Number 22 is his lie that Pennsylvania counted more than 200,000 more votes than it had actual voters. Again, just made up, not even close to true.

Number 23 was Trump's lie that thousands of dead people voted in Michigan, again made up. Number 24, 25, and 26 are other Trump lies about the election in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan. The indictment didn't specify which ones, but you can basically take your pick. And then finally, number 27 is Trump's lie that states knew their certified vote totals were -- quote -- "based on irregularities and fraud." As we know, state vote totals were entirely legitimate.

BLACKWELL: Hmm, that's a lot. You got it all in, Daniel.

DALE: That's a lot.

BLACKWELL: Get yourself a swig of Gatorade or some Propel and stick around because we'll bring you back. Thank you for that.

In just days, Trump is expected to walk into the Fulton County jail for his arraignment. No surrender date has been agreed upon yet. D.A. Fwn has set a deadline for Trump and the 18 co-defendants to surrender by next Friday.

A key difference here from his federal and the New York cases, that Trump could get a mugshot. But on Fox, opinions on whether or not that's a good thing, those are mixed. Here's Laura Ingraham earlier tonight.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: These people are sick.


How is a mugshot of the former president in any way necessary or in any way good for America? Are they really worried that he's going to disappear into the general population, or that as a 2024 presidential candidate, that he's going to try to leave the country, flee?


BLACKWELL: Okay. So, that's not what we heard over there earlier this year. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You remember the mug shots of Elvis and Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger turned them into even bigger icons than they were. If there's a mug shot of Donald Trump, it'll be in dorm rooms and on T-shirts, making him a hero. It will.


And rightfully so!


BLACKWELL: Rightfully so, he says. Joining me now, NPR T.V. critic Eric Deggans. He's the author of "Race-Baiter: How Media Wheel Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation." Eric, good to have you tonight.

So, can we just start before we get into this back and forth over politics of it, just the gravity of the mugshot of a former president and what that would mean.

ERIC DEGGANS, AUTHOR, NPR T.V. CRITIC: Sure. Thanks for having me, Victor, even though you made me follow that amazing presentation by Daniel, which was incredibly awesome. But, you know, what strikes me about this situation is that there -- as you mentioned earlier, there are 18 other people who've been indicted along with Donald Trump.

So, the answer to the question of why should there be a mugshot is if there's 18 mugshots of the other co-defendants and he doesn't have to take one, then that's your picture of a two-tiered justice system where, you know, as some people have said, you know, Donald Trump kind of gets the Cadillac VIP treatment when he is processed and takes a booking photo and is arraigned, and then everyone else has to get the, you know, regular class treatment.

If they really want to prove that Donald Trump isn't getting preferential treatment, it seems important that he have the same booking photo that everyone else who has been indicted has to take.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. And the D.A. and the Fulton County sheriff, they've both said that he's going to be treated like every other person who comes through that jail.

So, on the issue of these T-shirts and posters in dorm rooms, it really is likely that we're going to see that in the dorm rooms or on T-shirts of people who support the president. And for those people who do not support the president, Republicans and Democrats, it really depends upon, you know, what you want to see in this mugshot.

DEGGANS: I do believe that the Trump campaign has already created a fake mugshot that is on T-shirts that they're selling. So, that has already happened. And in fact, you know, you're right. I think if Donald Trump does take a booking photo, it will become a symbol for different people, depending on how they feel about Donald Trump.

His supporters will see it as evidence that he's being persecuted. But people who are critical of Donald Trump will, of course, see it as evidence that he has broken another norm and degraded the presidency to the point where we now have a mug shot of someone who used to be president.

And, you know, the other thing that strikes me is the minute that all of them take their booking photos, that is a guaranteed campaign ad for any -- particularly for any Republican who is -- who has enough gumption to actually create an attack ad going after Trump for his many indictments.

BLACKWELL: Well, that's a short list so far in this primary competition. So, we've got new reporting that Trump advisors say that he's likely not going to debate next Wednesday and also that he's plotting counter-programming. I wonder, first, if he skips it, do the viewers skip it? And how does the media handle it if Trump, let's say, goes to Georgia and surrenders that day?

DEGGANS: Well, you know, Trump is sort of the master of taking control of the media spotlight. And one of the things that has been a challenge for reporters like us is that Trump is very good at creating events that we feel compelled to cover. So, if he does turn himself in very visibly at a time when the debate is happening, you better believe on CNN there'll be a split screen showing the debate and showing Donald Trump turning himself in.

And, you know, as political experts have been saying, there's a lot of good reasons for him not to participate in this debate, not only because he seems to be ahead in most every poll, but because every potential answer during a debate may be fodder for the four indictments that he's facing.


BLACKWELL: Yeah, good point.

DEGGANS: And, you know, one of the questions you have to ask is, you know, can he even participate in a debate when he might be asked the kind of questions that would give his lawyers heart attacks as they try to figure out defenses to these multiple charges that he's facing in multiple jurisdictions?

BLACKWELL: Yeah, that's a good point. And some of those opponents might want to pull that out of him as he's on stage with them. Eric Deggans, thanks so much.

DEGGANS: Always a pleasure.

BLACKWELL: Next, President Biden tells several lies in his speech. Daniel Dale returns after all of that with another fact check.

Plus, you've been hearing about this blindside scandal, but this is not the first alleged myth about this made-for-Hollywood story. Cari Champion joins me ahead.


[23:35:15] BLACKWELL: Well, sometimes, President Biden just cannot stop himself. During a speech today about the economy, he told at least two lies that have already been debunked. Daniel Dale is back after a good stretch with another fact check.

Daniel, so we know the president loves the trains. He loves Amtrak. He has told this same story several times about a conversation that he claims that he had during his vice presidency with an Amtrak conductor named Angelo Negri. Let's listen to it.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And so, I'm getting on a train to go home and see my mom, who is sick and hospice at my home. And this guy, I won't mention his name because I'm going to get him in trouble, but one of the senior guys in Amtrak who I rode with all the time comes up and goes, Joey baby, grabs my cheek. I said, what's the matter, Angie?

He said, I just read this thing about over a million miles on Air Force planes. He said, hell, you know how many miles you travel on Amtrak? I said, no, Angie, I don't know. He said, we just had a retirement dinner up in Newark. He said, you travel an average of 117 days a year, a round trip, 300 miles a day. Thirty-six years. That's 1,285,000 miles. I don't want to hear any more about the Air Force.


True story. I swear to God.


BLACKWELL: True story. All right, what is the truth?

DALE: It's not a true story. And it was false in 2021. When I did a fact check pointing out, it was false then. President Biden has repeated it over and over since. So, it's false in two ways.

First of all, this conversation about the million miles, a flying milestone, could not have happened because Mr. Negri, who was an Amtrak conductor, was deceased at the time it would have had to occur. He passed that milestone, the vice president, in September 2015. Mr. Negri died more than a year prior in 2014.

The second false element, Victor, is the president said that his mother was sick, at the time in hospice in his home. In fact, she had died more than five years prior to him reaching that million miles flown milestone on Air Force Two. So, two false elements.

Now, I did speak in 2021 to Mr. Negri's stepdaughter. She said they were indeed friends. Her late stepfather adored Mr. Biden, spoke of him often. So, there was a relationship there. But, look, we -- I've counted at least nine times as president that Biden has told this story about his friend that is just inaccurate. So, it's probably time he retires it. BLACKWELL: Yeah, it seems like a favorite of his. The president also repeated a version of a family story he told in April about his grandfather's death being just days before his own birth at the same hospital. Let's listen to that.


BIDEN: By the way, my grandpa Biden died very young. He died in the hospital. I was born in six days before I was there, before I was born.


BLACKWELL: This is an economy speech, by the way. I just want people to know why the president is there. What can you tell us about this?

DALE: So, this one is also false in two ways. His late grandfather, who was an oil executive, Joseph H. Biden, died more than a year before he was born, so not a few days or a couple weeks, as he has previously said. And in a different hospital. His late grandfather died in Baltimore. President Biden was famously born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

I have no idea why -- what the point of this false claim is. you know, sometimes, people get false stories from family members. But it's the second time he has done it. He was fact checked the first time. So, again, it's time he stops.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, retire that one, too. Daniel Dale, thank you. Good work tonight.

"The Big Short" investor making another bold bet. Should we be worried about Michael Burry's $1.6 billion gamble on a stock market crash?

Plus, from the blind side to the broad side, the family accused of denying millions to former NFL player Michael Oher are now pointing at him, alleging that he is attempting a shakedown.




CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: I actually know how to read numbers.

UNKNOWN: How big is your short position right now?

BALE: Uh, $1.3 billion.

UNKNOWN: And the premiums?

BALE: Well, we pay roughly $80 to $90 million each year, which is hot. But I was the first to do this trade. Watch, we'll pay (ph). I may have been early, but I'm not wrong.


BLACKWELL: Yeah, he wasn't wrong. That was Christian Bale playing Michael Burry in "The Big Short." He was one of the first major investors on Wall Street to discover America's massive housing market bubble. When nearly everyone else disagreed, he shorted the market and made hundreds of millions of dollars on that bet.

Well, now he's doing it again. But this time, he's putting $1.6 billion on the line in preparation for another downturn. This time, a U.S. stock market crash.

Joining me now is senior business correspondent for "Business Insider," Linette Lopez. Linette, good evening to you. You know how sometimes you see people running and you don't know why, you just start running with them because you think there's something they're running from?


BLACKWELL: Okay, run.

LOPEZ: Away from the danger, whatever it is, yes.

BLACKWELL: Whatever it is.


LOPEZ: Uh-hmm.

BLACKWELL: What people supposed to do when they see him making this move?

LOPEZ: Well, we don't have $1.6 billion to put to work. So -- and most people who are trading in the stock market are long-term investors. But what this could be expressing is a viewpoint of what's going to happen to the American economy, and that is that inflation is going to be a little harder to fight than the stock market has been thinking for the last couple of months while it has been rallying, and that we will have to keep rates higher for longer.

That will put stress on the American economy, slow down the economy. That will impact corporate profits, which will in turn bring down the stock market. And that is what you are potentially seeing expressed in this bet.

Now, does that mean that the economy is going to collapse, we're going to have another 2008, it's going to be this big horrible situation? No. You know, the stock market and the economy are not always the same thing. And just because you have a slowdown in the economy from the hot inflated place where we've seen it, coming out of the pandemic, just because we slow down from there doesn't necessarily mean we're in a recession. But, you know, it does mean that stocks will fall.

BLACKWELL: Hmm. So, he's using more than, I think, 90% of his portfolio to bet on this market downturn. The question always is when, right? Is there any idea to know the timing of this, when we'll see this turnaround?

LOPEZ: No. I mean, I -- not me. I'm not Michael Burry. No. But what we do know is that over the past couple of days, the stock market has started to get a little scared of itself. Start to sell off because we're starting to see signs that inflation is a little bit stickier. The retail sales number for July came in hotter than we expected. Gas prices are going up. The Ukraine war is still very hot, which could impact food prices as well.

So, the Fed still has to keep its eye on squashing inflation, keeping rates higher, and slowing things down. That's what we have seen the past couple of days. And the stock market has reacted by just heading down, puking.

BLACKWELL: Oh, okay, that's one way to describe it.

LOPEZ: If you want to get technical about it, that's a word you might hear on Wall Street for it.

BLACKWELL: Make it plain.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, the fund, Burry's fund, it returned more than 50% of the last three years, outpacing its competition, S&P 500 as well. Do you think that other investors will follow this time? They didn't follow his lead, what, 15 years ago. Are they going to follow him now?

LOPEZ: I mean, which investors? You have to be a very sophisticated person to follow what he is doing. Most people who trade stocks regularly, especially if you happen to be one of those people who jumped into the stock trading game when you got your Robinhood account during the pandemic, you're not going to be able to follow what Michael Burry is doing.

You can't follow what the greats are doing because that's -- this is a professional sport. This is a very sophisticated game. So, I would say consumers at home, retail investors at home, don't worry about this too much. It's going to be choppy because there's a lot of uncertainty. We don't know when the Fed is going to stop hiking rates.

We don't know when a lot of the story of the economy, of its next phase, is going to start being written and we're going to close this chapter on our inflationary period post-pandemic. Some people thought it was going to end at the end of this year. Now, we're pushing that out into next year.

But only -- you know, we fought inflation in the 70s and 80s and it didn't go in a straight line down. And it doesn't have to go in a straight line down this time either. So, we, that level of uncertainty always shakes the stock market up. And unless you're a pro, I wouldn't try to time it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ride it out. Linette Lopez, thanks so much. Hey, you gave me some new terms. I appreciate it. I appreciate the new vocabulary.

LOPEZ: Hey, have me back. I'll teach you more about --

BLACKWELL: We will (ph).


BLACKWELL: Thank you. All right, new finger-porting between the former NFL player depicted in the blind side and the family who took him in. Just how much of the Oscar-winning movie is based on reality? We'll look at the alleged myths next.




UNKNOWN: Hey, my name is Leigh Anne Tuohy. My kids go to Wingate. You said you're going to the gym? School gym is closed. Why were you going to the gym? Big Mike, why were you going to the gym?

UNKNOWN: Because it's warm.

UNKNOWN: Do you have any place to stay tonight? Don't you dare lie to me.


BLACKWELL: Remember Michael Oher? He's the former NFL player whose adoption by a rich, white family was the subject of that 2009 film "The Blind Side." Well now, Oher claims the story was a lie. He now alleges that he was never actually adopted by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Instead, he claims he was tricked into a conservatorship and did not see one cent of the movie's profits.

The Tuohy family's attorney calls those claims absurd. He also said the Tuohy family would not hesitate to defend their good names and stand up to this shakedown.

Now, this is not the first time Oher has said that there have been inaccuracies in "The Blind Side" story. He criticized the movie for portraying him as dumb.



MICHAEL OHER, FORMER NFL PLAYER: And I think the biggest for me is, you know, being portrayed not being able to read or write.


BLACKWELL: Oher also took issue with the movie making it seem like he didn't know how to play football.


OHER: I understand that the movie has given me a position. I'm honored to have the position it has given me. But, you know, you have to understand. Before I moved in with the family, I was an all-American.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now CNN contributor Kari Champion. Kari, good to see you. This is -- this is sad, right? That's the first feeling I have. You've got this from Michael Oher. Also, the family now says that they accuse him of a shakedown. What do you make of this?

CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you are very correct, how you describe it. Simple but true. It's extremely sad because clearly there was love between the two, right? Michael Oher loved this family. They did take him in. They did provide shelter. They did feed him, clothed him in many ways in which he didn't have.

But the sad part is, is now that they're arguing with one another and they're trying to figure out what is wrong. I think that this relationship is beyond repair.

I do agree with Michael Oher's assessment. He was not taught football at a kitchen table with condiments, as portrayed in the movie. He was very intelligent. He was very smart. I think what we're arguing here is semantics. They have used the word adoption, and it's clear that he has not been adopted. It was a conservatorship, which he said he didn't know it was that.

And so now we're sitting here. At 37 years old, they still have a legal conservatorship over Michael Oher. Something is wrong here. I do believe we don't know a lot. I feel like there is a lot that is missing and we'll find this all out with court documents.

But unfortunately, a relationship that I believe that started in the purest form with the Tuohy really truly wanting to help this young kid named Michael Oher has blossomed into something that we see often when people have money, when people have fame. Oftentimes, families get divided. And he has said over and over again, he has considered them family.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. It really is sad. And for this conservatorship now to be in his late 30s, he signed contracts with the NFL over those years. So, why does he still need this? Let me play something here from Sean Tuohy to his son. He says Oher's lawsuit was a matter of time. Listen.


SEAN TUOHY, JR., SPORTS COMMENTATOR: It was common. I mean, it was a matter of time. I went back to my text today to look at -- I was curious today randomly to go back to look at our family group texts and texts to see what things have been said and there were things back in 2020, 2021 that were like, you know, if you guys gave me this much, then I won't go public with things.


BLACKWELL: So that's SJ. What do you make of the timing of this?

CHAMPION: Yeah, the timing is interesting. So, I looked at - and I got to be honest because I think most people are thinking this, is Michael Oher hard up for cash. I looked at his total earnings, upwards of $30 million, not including endorsement deals. The Tuohys in their own right were extremely rich.

Where did they benefit in terms of the financial aspect? What I do believe is that when he went to Ole Miss, he was influenced by the Tuohys. And because Sean Tuohy played basketball at Ole Miss, he didn't want to appear to be a booster. That would be a violation of name, image, and likeness in CAA rules.

And so, I think he was protecting himself and the family as well as Michael. I think that what we are looking at right now is someone after the fact who has perspective, who has lived some life being Michael or he's like, wait a minute, where did all that money go? They did receive two and a half percent on the back end. This film did make $300 million.

I'm confused because I was told I was adopted in some form or fashion. And he feels as if they owe him something. But the family is holding true. I don't think money is the issue here. I think what you said initially in the most simple and the most plain form is that it's sad. It's a relationship where there is a deep betrayal. Michael Oher feels as if he has been betrayed by them and vice versa.

This family feels like, we've taken you in, you had nowhere to go, and now this is how you repay us? I feel as if, as this relationship went on, there should have been more transparency and there wasn't. There was always this low-key resentment. Michael Oher has always taken issue with the movie and how the storyline of him not being smart and him not necessarily knowing what he wanted to do. And the Tuohys came in and saved him. He's like, well, hold on, that's just not true.


As mentioned, as you played in the show, I'm an all-American. I was already on my way to being drafted. I was already on my way to actually rather correction, going to some great school.


CHAMPION: I had coaches coming after me since I was a young kid. So --

BLACKWELL: Yeah. You didn't teach me football with ketchup --

CHAMPION: You didn't teach me football.

BLACKWELL: -- and mustard on the table. Listen, Cari Champion, good to see you. Thank you so much for the insight.

CHAMPION: You, too.

BLACKWELL: And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues now.