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Ex-Trump Adviser Navarro Convicted Of Contempt Of Congress; Rudy Giuliani Faces Millions Of Dollars In Unpaid Legal Bills Ahead Of Fundraiser Hosted By Trump; Manhunt For Escaped Killer Enters Eight Day; CNN New Poll Reveals Red Flags For Biden Among Democrats. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 07, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know what I've been thinking ever since Peter Navarro was found guilty of contempt of court today? Did they just open Pandora's box? Not because he was convicted, because what else would you expect when someone gets a congressional subpoena and then chooses to treat it like it should line a birdcage?
I mean, he didn't testify as he was required to do. He didn't provide any documents as he was required to do. He didn't even go there and then plead the Fifth like other people did.
But remember, we're all old enough by now, right? Even a five-year-old could be old enough by now to remember how people got away with doing just this, thumbing their nose, running out the clock and hoping Congress would flip to a different party's majority or betting that the DOJ wouldn't bother to prosecute these cases.
And what? The worst-case scenario might be you get a knock on your door from the sergeant at arms, maybe a slap on the wrist. Best case scenario, politically, you get a badge of honor that you stuck it to the man. They were really more afraid of ignoring a DOJ criminal subpoena than a congressional one, and they took their chances time and time again that the DOJ wouldn't prosecute you for laughing at a congressional subpoena.
You know what else? In the past, that very thought process paid off. But now, this conviction, well, the series of convictions now puts the bite back in the dog because when you're facing some jail time, suddenly, people start to take your requests more seriously.
Now that people like Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, who himself, you recall, was roundly criticized for not, shall we say, prioritizing congressional subpoenas aimed at him, now he's in leadership. So, the big question is, will we see the floodgates begin to open, and subpoenas about everything from the highly consequential to the trivial?
All now, of course, having the weight of the threat of what these convictions can bring, and that's now behind them. Will it then mean greater transparency, more accountability on the issues that matter to you, or will it be about retaliation?
Joining me now to discuss, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is running for the Senate seat that will be left vacant when Senator Dianne Feinstein retires next year. Congressman Lee, nice to see you this evening. Thank you so much for joining.
You know, I have to ask because this has been on my mind all day long, thinking about this conviction. The subpoena now is back, really. It has some teeth again. But as you know, Republicans have the House majority, and they have not been shy to date about talking about things that they intend to use against, perhaps, Democrats. This is now an opportunity for some kind of maybe not tit for tat but OK, subpoenas mean something, we're going to use them. What's your thought?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Nice being with you, Laura. My thoughts on this, first of all, Navarro and others have really chosen to side with the insurrectionists, and they're getting justice at this point.
Secondly, we have to know and recognize that the Republicans, the MAGA Extremist Republicans, aren't doing their job for the American people. They're not delivering. They're not making life better for everyone. They're not addressing inflation or the cost of living. They're not addressing affordable healthcare or housing. And so, they're going to do what they do. That's who they are.
But the public understands what's taking place. And I just have to say, I believe and I said from day one, that Donald Trump was running a criminal enterprise out of the White House and that's what's taking place. And so, these are MAGA extremist Republicans who are going to do what they have to do or want to do based on their own agenda.
But we have a system of justice in this country that we're seeing play out now. And, of course, the wheels of justice sometimes are slow but it's happening, and that's what's important.
COATES: You know, who agrees with you, Congresswoman Lee, about the idea of a criminal enterprise, the Fulton County DA, Fani Willis who, of course, has charged him and 18 other co-defendants with counts under RICO, the criminal enterprise statute, of course, talking about what happened leading up to January 6th and, of course, overturning or attempting to overturn the results in Fulton County in Georgia.
That same D.A. wrote a scathing letter to your fellow person in Congress, Jim Jordan, saying -- I'm going to quote here -- "Your job description as a legislator does not include criminal law enforcement, nor does it include supervising a specific criminal trial because you believe that doing so will promote your partisan political objectives."
She's not really pulling any punches here and, as you know, people have been very, very well critical of her and other prosecutors who have gone after Donald Trump on behalf of their communities.
[23:05:03] So, his colleagues and, by the way, they've been pointing out, when it comes to cases like this, issuing subpoenas or trying to have an investigation about Fani Willis in particular, does this now open up the kind of Pandora's box that this is now fair game and she might have to respond?
LEE: What they're doing, Jordan and all these MAGA extremist Republicans, they're trying to cover up what actually took place, quite frankly, and they're going to do whatever they're going to do. But what's important is to recognize that Jordan and these MAGA extremist Republicans are trying to blur the lines in terms of our democracy, in terms of the three branches of government. They're interfering in activities and complaints and lawsuits that they don't have jurisdiction over.
And so, they're just trying to protect Donald Trump. They're part of his clan. They're part of his cult. And in fact, they need to -- and the public, I think, is understanding this more and more and more. And so, they're going to do what they do. The public has to weigh in big time, but I think we see the system of justice working.
COATES: You know, congresswoman, the public is starting to weigh in more and more. CNN has a new poll out today and it shows that about three quarters of Americans say that they're seriously concerned about President Biden's age and that it might affect his physical, his mental competence, his ability to serve out another full term.
You're also vying to fill a seat in the Senate now that will be left vacant by someone who has been under the spotlight for quite some time amid health declines and concerns. Do you see the same criticism applicable to President Biden and the way that it's being described?
LEE: President Biden, the Biden-Harris administration, has delivered for the people. And I think what's important is to look at the experience and what, in fact, has been done over the last few years since the Biden-Harris administration has been in office.
Passed the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the transportation bill, passed the CHIPS bill. I mean, creating good paying union jobs, coming forward with areas that had not been even discussed as it relates to the climate crisis.
So, we have to look at what the president has done. We have to evaluate what he has done and what he is going to do in the future. And remember, experience counts. And he has delivered for the American people. And I'm confident that they're going to evaluate him and grade him based on their lives and how their lives are getting better.
We haven't completely addressed inflation, but we're moving in the direction where people and the cost of living is becoming a heck of a lot better for many people, not for all, but getting better. And so, we have to keep on this course.
COATES: I don't want to gloss over something you said, and it was something that I hope the audience has not missed because, frankly, the nuance of it is becoming more and more apparent in political talking points on the other side of the aisle. You said the Biden- Harris administration.
Now, one of the things that have been said by at least one Republican hopeful, Governor Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the U.N., which was taken as a very crude and crass notion, that she thought that somehow, because of his age, President Joe Biden would not be able to survive his term and that the now statements being made is that a vote for President Biden is really a vote for Vice President Harris.
Now, you are from California. Obviously, she was in the Senate there. She was the attorney general there. You're quite familiar with her work, obviously. She has taken a lot of criticism about her position as the vice president, a lot of criticism about her trajectory or ability to become the president of the United States having run before, obviously, unsuccessfully.
Why do you think that she's being targeted in particular as the talking point of what a vote for Biden would mean?
LEE: Well, the Biden-Harris administration has done a phenomenal job delivering for the American people. Vice President Kamala Harris is a woman of color. She's a woman. Very first time we've had a woman of color or a woman in the White House serving as our vice president. Oftentimes, people don't know how to even deal with this, and it's really a shame and disgrace.
And so, she's doing her job when, you know, the Clinton administration was in, the Clinton-Gore administration. When the Bush-Cheney administration was there, we talked about the Bush-Cheney administration. We're talking about the Biden-Harris administration and the accomplishments that they've made and what they're going to do in the future to make life better for everyone.
COATES: Being judged differently as a Black woman with a platform, I have no idea what you're talking about, Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Is that something that I should be familiar with? In some ways, they perform. I hope you realize I'm winking and nodding at you right now. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.
LEE: Nice being with you and thank you.
COATES: Well, I want to bring in David Schoen, everyone, Steve Bannon's lawyer and also then President Trump's defense lawyer, a member in his second impeachment trial. David, it is good to see you tonight. Thank you for joining me.
You know, I have to ask you about what I've been thinking about all day. I know the news has been covering, of course, the fact that there was this guilty verdict about Navarro being contempt of Congress. I'm thinking about the future and what this will mean, of course, in Congress, what it will mean for subpoena power, what it means for a whole host of issues.
You're probably thinking about it because your client, Steve Bannon, also had similar charges against him and convictions, and he's now appealing. So, when you heard about Navarro now having this guilty verdict, what went through your head?
DAVID SCHOEN, STEVE BANNON'S LAWYER: Well, I think his conviction was a foregone conclusion once the judge ruled on the issues of law in the case, similarly to the rulings in Bannon's case, although a major difference in Navarro's case is that the judge found that Mr. Navarro never really proved that executive privilege had been invoked.
In our case, there's not a question about that. He was invoked by the president's lawyer, Justin Clark. And then during the course of the -- just before the trial, President Trump confirmed that he had invoked executive privilege and that was admitted to the jury.
But you're right, there are a lot of similar issues. But, you know, Steve Bannon's case, I think one thing that has to be pointed out is and maybe this gives Mr. Navarro some hope, the judge in Steve Bannon's case, who ruled against him on all of the legal issues, also let him out on bail pending appeal and made a specific finding that I've never encountered actually before in a case.
That finding was the trial judge found that it is likely that the Bannon conviction will be reversed, that the legal issues he ruled on while his hands were bound by a court of appeals decision cannot comport with modern definition of this willfully or the traditional definition of willfully. He thinks that there's a problem with the law and that the conviction will be reversed, and he wrote that in an order.
COATES: Well, when you look at that issue, of course, all these matters will go on appeal. It's no doubt that Navarro's case will also be appealed. He thinks all the way to the Supreme Court. Your issue of executive privilege different than what Navarro was talking about because Navarro did claim that Trump instructed him to invoke the privilege. The judge found, no, I don't think so, there was no evidence of that. So, it's a little bit different in that argument.
But the novelty of what you're describing, remind me, what do you mean that there is something that is likely to be appealed? Is it the fact that there was a contempt of Congress because he didn't comply with the congressional subpoena? So, what would be the likelihood of being overturned?
SCHOEN: There are a number of extraordinary issues, constitutional issues to be appealed, but I think the issue you're really focusing on is the definition of willfully. This statute requires that you prove that the defendant willfully defaulted on the subpoena.
However, this statute is unique in the way the D.C. Circuit is construed in a 1961 case called Licavoli. They said that it doesn't matter what your reason is for not showing up unless it was an accident or mistake. It doesn't matter.
And so, therefore, if executive -- if you relied on executive privilege or in this case relied not only on executive privilege, but his lawyer gave testimony in this case through affidavit, declarations that he instructed Bannon it was not his privilege to waive, he was not permitted as a matter of law to testify or to comply with a subpoena in any way that it wasn't his choice.
And Bannon hired the lawyer and relied on the lawyer. But the judge said, I understand that, but you can't rely on advice of counsel because that's used to knock out whether it was willfully. I don't care -- the law doesn't care whether it was willful or not. You had a subpoena, you didn't show up, you didn't comply, therefore, under Licavoli, you're guilty.
But then the judge said, I think Licavoli is wrongly decided. That's not what we mean. The Supreme Court has said in 2015, 2019, 2022, that willfully means an intent to do something the law forbid. You have to have a guilty conscience of mind. Bannon understood here, the only way he could comply with the law was to not comply with the subpoena.
COATES: Well --
SCHOEN: And he said to the committee, let's go to court, take it to a judge. If a judge orders me to comply, I will comply. Sorry, I cut you off.
COATES: No, no, it's okay. I invited you to speak. I want to have the conversation. I'm glad to hear your insight. You're talking about Bannon. I do want to also --
COATES: -- distinguish from what's happening with Navarro because a lot of the arguments you're raising in support of Bannon, some will obviously be raised by counsel for Navarro, but there is that distinction, of course, in what Trump said and the privilege and executive privilege in what a court has ruled.
The willfulness, though, for the layman listening, right, which is the big majority of the population --
COATES: -- when you hear willful, you think, okay, well, you were told to do something. Did you choose to not do it or what? And if you didn't have the evidence to support that you were instructed or that you had the privilege behind you or some reasonable basis like that and you didn't comply, isn't that willful enough? That's going to be a hurdle for Navarro, and he also spoke about that on the courthouse steps.
But, you know, taking a step back, David, when you think about the big picture for all of this, right, some of the people now who are going to be using the congressional subpoena power themselves questioned the validity of congressional subpoenas, have themselves undermined the gravitas assigned to it. Is that going to impact, do you think, the ability of future people to be subpoenaed and be able to fight it?
SCHOEN: Oh, I think you've put your finger on a very important issue and not surprisingly. I think a lot of people ought to be asking. And so maybe because you're asking it, they will be. Now, I think that's right. We have this retaliation business. Listen, nobody is tougher than Representative Lee, and she spoke about this a few minutes ago with you. I think that's right.
On the other hand, you know, you have a movement in Congress that has some measure to it. Do you remember when the January 6th Committee was convened, McCarthy and these others were raising holy hell that they violated protocol?
Never been done before, they had no ranking minority member, but they convened a group called BLAG, B-L-A-G, that endorsed what happened. They filed an amicus brief in court that the rules were followed and all that.
I suspect that McCarthy, now that they're in the majority, they filed a minority brief back then, would say, we're going to reconvene BLAG and say, no, the committee wasn't properly convened. There was no ranking minority member. They violated this rule and that rule.
I thought we would see that kind of retaliation. They haven't yet. But if he meant what he said, then I think to be consistent, he has to do that now. So, I don't know where it ends.
COATES: Well, you may have just given them some bright ideas --
-- at this hour of business right now. If only, David Schoen, they had something to talk about besides the subpoenas. If only there was a government shutdown looming at the end of this month. Well, I guess that's a different matter for the Congress entirely. Nice to talk to you.
SCHOEN: Nice to talk to you. Thanks very much.
COATES: Well, coming up next, everyone, there is breaking news, what Rudy Giuliani is doing tonight to try to pay his legal bills and what it has to do with a former president named Donald Trump.
COATES: All right, there's breaking news tonight, everyone. Donald Trump is hosting a fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. We're learning just how deep in debt the one-time Trump attorney is now. Here to discuss, Ankush Khardori, a former federal prosecutor and contributing writer for "Politico," and Sarah Matthews, who is Trump's White House Deputy Press Secretary. Good to see both of you here today.
First, let me begin here because the headline -- I mean, Trump is headlining an event to try to get Rudy Giuliani some money. I think it costs about $100,000 a plate. But they're telling that he might be millions of dollars in debt. This is something significant that one, he's even headlining it, right? And two, how is he supposed to climb out of this particular debt, Sarah?
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I mean, he is facing so many issues, Rudy Giuliani, in terms of all of these cases. You look at the Georgia case where he has also been indicted, you look at the DOJ case that they're also pursuing, and then he also has the defamation case where Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the election workers in Georgia, have won that case and it hasn't been determined, I believe, what he is going to have to pay for that defamation case.
He is facing a lot of financial burden here, and I think that Trump knows that Rudy Giuliani is a central figure in all of this and that if he were to flip, it would be very harmful for him. And so, he is trying to keep Rudy Giuliani in his good graces, keep him on his side saying what he wants him to say, and he does that by helping him pay his financial fees for these legal burdens that he's facing.
COATES: I mean, what do they say? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer, keep your co-defendants probably like within your own body at that point in time. But, you know, it's getting less and less perhaps attractive and enticing to be an ally of Trump in these sorts of matters because of the mounting legal fees, one. But also, there are now co-defendants in a number of cases.
But we are seeing a little bit of a shift, right? I mean, you think about some of the accountability that we're looking at, taking a step back, right? If you look -- and I want to put up a list for people to get an idea of really what we're talking about. I mean, this is the fallout, everyone. The fallout since January 6th. You've got all these people who've been named. You've got convictions.
I would note Enrique Tarrio is one. I mean, what, 22 years in prison as one person. Rudy Giuliani, as Sarah mentioned. The $787 million that Fox News had to pay. That's just a few of the things that are going on. So, are you starting to see, Ankush -- I mean, you've been a federal prosecutor, does this tell you that you are having an easier lift now as the cases go on? These aren't really test cases any longer in the same way. There might be proof of concept.
ANKUSH KHARDORI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yeah. I mean, I think all of these things represent, I think, positive steps toward accountability under the law surrounding, obviously, the events of the 2020 election, the efforts to overturn the election. But the other thing that we know as lawyers is that these things take a lot of time and they can travel very strange paths.
And it's important, I think, to sort of put these things sort of in context, right? Like the Navarro and Bannon prosecutions, right? Bannon is still out on bail pending appeal. Navarro may very well find himself in the same position. I'm sure both of them are banking on or hoping at least that Trump will get reelected and potentially pardon them. That's very much in the realm of possibility.
And, you know, Giuliani is liable for civil damages. But that's not a criminal case.
KHARDORI: Those criminal cases are still going on. And how much Giuliani may have to pay those people remains to be seen. So, this is all still very much a story that's ongoing and probably will be going on for years.
KHARDORI: But these are definitely positive steps.
COATES: I mean, speaking of Navarro, Sarah, I mean, his role as a White House advisor, obviously, when you think about the role he played, just walk us through, take us behind the scenes a little bit. Was he kind of omnipresent figure? Was he around a great deal? Did he really have sort of the ear of the president to think that he would have that executive privilege benefit and get the president to support him here?
MATTHEWS: So, Peter Navarro's title at the White House was that he was the trade advisor.
MATTHEWS: But, honestly, he stuck his nose in just about anything he could. He had a strong hand in our COVID response. He also had a strong hand in trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
And so not necessarily, you know, part of his job description, but he definitely tried to influence other matters outside of that. And so, I do think --
COATES: He was welcome to do that as well?
MATTHEWS: I don't know if he was always necessarily welcome but he was known to just walk into meetings, barge into things, and kind of, you know, make himself a presence in these things and try to be part of the discussion.
He was someone who was a longtime loyalist and supporter of Trump, he was a diehard MAGA person, and he was with Trump from the beginning and, obviously, is still with him to this day.
And so, I think that it is a little interesting to me that he chose to not just comply with the subpoena. This seems like an odd thing to fall on the sword for. He could have just gone in, complied with the subpoena like many other Trump allies did. And the people who didn't want to answer the questions before the January 6 Committee just pled the Fifth.
MATTHEWS: So, I don't understand Peter Navarro trying to seem like he's some murderer for doing this when he could have just avoided all of this, honestly, but it is interesting and we'll have to see how it plays out.
COATES: Yeah, why did he do that? I mean, he could have easily -- I mean, many people went in negotiating in advance. They either told him why they weren't going to be talking or pled the Fifth multiple times. What was the logic there?
KHARDORI: Honestly, my honest answer is some combination of arrogance and stupidity. Because, honestly, I don't see how he could have found himself in this position. There were so many easy ways to avoid this outcome, and he seems to have blown right past them.
COATES: He's not the first person to step on the rake in Washington, D.C., everyone. Ankush Khardori, Sarah Matthews, thank you both so much.
Well, that manhunt that we have been covering for what? Has it been eight days now? It's heating up for the escape murderer, Danelo Cavalcante. And tonight, law enforcement is conforming that they saw him again. We'll go live to Pennsylvania next.
COATES: Well, the manhunt for the escaped murderer in Pennsylvania is heating up at this very moment. State police confirming another sighting of Danelo Cavalcante this very evening, but no details yet as to when or where and why haven't they captured him yet. That as we're learning that police have now shifted their search location in just the last hour.
For more, I want to bring in CNN's Brian Todd who is in Westchester, Pennsylvania for us tonight. And Brian, let's roll through this timeline for a second since he escaped because I want to see how many times in the past week there have been sightings of him.
Look at this. It's 8:51. You've got 9:45, he had been crab walking up that jailhouse wall. Of course, I'm still in awe of that. You've got 9:45, officers notified central control of a missing inmate. At 9:48, officers informing that he was no longer in the prison. It's then locked down a few moments later. You've got a siren that sounds. Then you go to Friday, you've got sightings at around 1130 p.m. by a resident of the area.
The next day, on Saturday, 1:43, a ring camera at a residence as well. Monday, September 4th, he's walking north of a security camera at Longwood Gardens. At 9:33, spotted walking again. Around noon on Thursday today, a possible sighting. And now, this evening, just in the last hour, Brian Todd, they are now shifting their search. What can you tell us?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Laura, it's a very interesting timeline, several sightings that you mentioned in the last -- now almost eight days since his escape. What we can tell you, we learned a short time ago, is that the search perimeter has shifted slightly west of where it was a few hours ago. It has shifted slightly west, but it still includes parts of Longwood Gardens.
Another very significant piece of information tonight. A couple of hours ago, we learned there was another sighting of Danelo Cavalcante this evening. That means this is the first time in one given day that we've had two separate sightings of him. The first one was about almost 12 hours ago. So, in fact, this was two sightings within the span of about 12 hours. First time that has happened in one day since he escaped.
What we can also tell you is that Longwood Gardens for a period was shut down, that they had moved the guests out of that facility, out of that park, and that they had told employees at one point during the evening to shelter in place. At one point during this evening, they were searching an area of interest in Longwood Gardens.
I can tell you unequivocally that this search perimeter has been extremely fluid. Our team here, we're not far from that search perimeter, by the way, we have felt it physically. A lot of the time we would put down in one place, the police would come and ask us to move to another. Then, you know, squad cars would come by at high speeds with lights flashing, and we would be asked to move to yet another place. So, we physically have been moved around quite often tonight so we can feel how fluid this is.
And we can tell you that my colleague, Aaron Cooper, spotted a couple of different things. He spotted a tactical unit, officers with camouflage gear, tactical vests, carrying long guns. He spotted a horse unit not far from here. They have deployed several different types of assets at pretty high speeds. A lot of fluid movement, fast movement tonight all around this perimeter area as it has shifted.
Now, experts will tell you that is not unusual in a search like this. The search perimeter often shifts. But I can tell you that it has been extremely fluid within the last 12 hours, Laura.
COATES: Wow! Brian Todd, thank you so much. Keep on top of the story for us. I can only imagine what the family of the victim is actually thinking, that this person is out and not able to be found at this point. Thank you so much.
I want to bring in now former prison warden, Cameron Lindsay. Cameron, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I have so many questions, there's just so many people, about the fact that we are now on day eight. This extremely dangerous person who has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison still out on the loose, sightings around the area, and this was the second prison escape, it seems, from this year alone.
I got to ask you -- I mean, you've been a warden. How does that happen and what is going wrong that is able to happen?
CAMERON LINDSAY, FORMER PRISON WARDEN: Well, a number of things. First of all, this is extremely unfortunate and extremely disappointing.
It's really -- anytime there's an escape from a correctional facility, I consider that the quintessential failure in the profession of corrections because whenever you have an escape, that is a mission failure, because the mission of any correctional facility is to safeguard the community. And this not only did not happen on the last day of August of this year, but it happened in May as well. So, it really has to make you wonder what's going on.
I think what I would say, you've got a guy here that was a sentenced two-time murderer. He is in a county jail. Jails are typically for pre-trial, pre-sentence inmates. This individual, as you know, however, Laura, was a sentenced inmate and was awaiting designation to a Pennsylvania State Department of Corrections' facility for service of sentence.
In my humble estimation, and it's always easy to Monday morning quarterback, but in my estimation, once this individual was found guilty and sentenced, he's a sentenced inmate at that point.
And from my perspective, I think the most prudent thing to do would have been to remove him from the general population and isolate him in a special housing unit pending designation and transfer to the prison where he was going to serve his sentence with the state.
COATES: That's a really important point to think about why he was in that particular location. And then, of course, we've seen this video, right, of him crab walking up the wall. We've learned now that he got on the roof. He went through razor wire, apparently. He was able to escape somehow after that.
I want to take a step back, though. We think about this timeline that shows his escape and that he was missing for a period of time, nearly an hour, I would mention, according to timeline, nearly an hour before the prison even noticed he was gone. What does that signal to you? Is that a staffing issue? Is that a matter of someone turning maybe a willful blind eye? Do you have suspicions here or do you look at this and say, this happens far more often than you think?
LINDSAY: No, it does not. I worked as a practitioner in jails and prisons for 25 years, and I was never at a facility where an escape was affected in my entire career. It happens but, as I say, it is the quintessential failure in this business.
When you look at this individual, the way that he crab-walked up to the roof and off the premises, you could argue that since the -- since the administration did not remove him from the general population and isolate him in special housing.
If they're going to leave him in general population, then he should have been under closer supervision for a two-time convicted murder in a county jail who is facing life. And this guy is obviously extremely dangerous. So, therefore, if he's not going to be in the special housing unit, then he should have been under some type of closer supervision. So, it's hard to tell if this can be attributed to a lack of funding, a lack of staffing. In terms of him being able to crab walk up the side of that wall, and then as I read, it was described that he was able to push through concertina razor wire, I can tell you from experience that either they are not using enough concertina razor wire or is not installed properly.
In my experience and looking at this guy going up the wall, he's not even wearing body armor, he's not wrapped in a blanket or something to protect him from razor wire, nobody, in my opinion, is going to be able to push through sufficient concertina razor wire minus body armor without getting all shredded up. And, as you've seen from video evidence over the last eight days or so, this guy does not appear to be significantly injured.
COATES: Cameron Lindsay, thank you. I want to note that he was convicted of murdering one person here in the United States. He had a worn out for his arrest, I believe, for a suspected homicide in Brazil where he is a national. But all the insight that you just gave us, so invaluable to think about how did all of this happen and what should have been done and what could be done now.
And, of course, my mind goes to what's the prison population now like in that particular facility. What are they thinking? Surely, they've heard something by now. Thank you for joining us.
LINDSAY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
COATES: Tonight, there is new CNN polling that shows that President Biden, well, he's got some serious ground to make up with 2024 looming about 425 days away. But who's counting? We'll go through the numbers next.
COATES: Well, there's bad news, everyone, and it's -- well, it's really bad news if you're Joe Biden and you're talking about our brand-new CNN poll. The president's job approval standing at just 39%. That same poll shows him neck and neck with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, with Trump at 47% and Biden at 46%.
The president all seeing a distinct lack of enthusiasm from members of his own party. Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, 67% said that their party should nominate someone other than Biden. Democrats in the Hill weighing in on the dismal numbers earlier today, making it pretty clear that Biden, well, he's got some work to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think the people basically spoke loud and clear that they're not happy with the two choices and only two choices.
UNKNOWN: There's no doubt about it. The polls say what they say.
UNKNOWN: It's more than 14 months until an election, and there's a lot of work we have to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, joining me now, Mark McKinnon, former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain, executive producer of "The Circus," along with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala. Glad to have you both here.
Let me begin with you, Paul, on this because, well, it might be a little bit odd, of course, that we were just playing or showing, of course, the West Virginia senator as the first Democrat to have something to say about this. But he did boast something about it. They're trying as Democrats to brush this off, to say there's a lot of ground to make up, it's a lot of time. Even a week is a century in politics. But this is a lot of ground to cover.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is. I mean, I kind of think both are right. The most important number is the one that's not in the polls, 425. Right? He's got world enough in time, as the poet said. But he's got to get on it. This is not unprecedented.
By the way, I brought a poll. Six in 10 Americans think the president should not for reelection. If he were to run, he would be trailing his likely opponent.
A large percentage, 35% of people who voted for him the last time won't vote for him the next time. That's Ronald Reagan. That's what they were writing about Reagan. The polls said about Reagan. Reagan didn't listen to the polls. He ran and carried 49 states.
I worked for Bill Clinton. In the summer of 1995, he was trailing Bob Dole. But by the end of 1995, he was ahead by 19 points. What happened? This is where I criticized Biden's team. Okay? So, some of this is just the bedwetting happening.
He has to do seven things. I'll be quick, and I put them in alphabetical order so you can remember them. Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack!
If he has time, do an eighth. He's -- what we'll get to after -- he's trying to win an argument, not an election. Okay? When 70% think you're moving in the wrong direction, you're not going to get a lot of people voting to say thank you, good job, Joe, thank you, but you can get people to say forget you clean it up for about the other guy, right? Forget him. We don't want him. That's what he's got to do. He's got to draw the contrast.
COATES: Well, you know, Mark, let me bring you into this conversation as well because when you think about how this is going to play out and what this says, one really surprising thing I thought about the poll was that there was Nikki Haley, who seemed to be besting Biden by six points in this poll. She's not actually besting Donald Trump or even one of the frontrunners in the primary. In fact, she wasn't in the center of the stage for the debate, as you remember. That was Ramaswamy and Governor DeSantis.
What does this say to you that Nikki Haley, who can't really make a lot of headway in the RNC polling and debates, might be the person on this poll to say if it were held today, she bested by six percentage points?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Listen, I thought I'd administer truth serum to Paul, I might admit it, but I know what almost everybody knows, which is that Nikki Haley would be by far the best Republican nominee and the greatest threat to Joe Biden. I'm sure, in White House conversations, they are the candidate that they fear the most for lots of reasons.
She's a woman, she's a woman of color, she's -- and she had a great debate. She spoke truth on the issue of Trump being a terrible nominee for the party. She spoke truth to the Republican Party about spending.
Listen, I think Paul is the best in the business and he's right about Reagan, he's right about Clinton. Here's the problem they didn't have. They weren't going to be 86 at the end of his second term. This is a problem that Joe Biden cannot fix. He can spend all the money that he wants.
The problem, even among Democrats, he has lost 14 points in terms of inspiring confidence in the last six months. He has lost 19 points in terms of his perception of his stamina to serve. That's among Democrats. So, he can tell his story about everything that he has done, but the thing that people are concerned about is his age, and he cannot fix that.
COATES: So, first of all, respond, Paul. You know, do you think that it's a time at this point now for a third-party candidate? Because I think in many ways, the die has been cast in terms of who is likely to be this rematch potentially in 2024. A lot of time to go by. But is this an opportunity for that based on what you said? That's for Mark.
MCKINNON: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought that was for Paul. Listen, yeah, of course, I do. Eighty something percent of the country don't think Biden should run. Seventy percent plus don't think Trump should run. Nobody is happy with either of these nominees, potential nominees of the party.
So, that creates a huge opening and historic, this is unprecedented historically, to have two potential nominees that are so unpopular. So, it creates an opening, a mile-wide for that potential, absolutely.
COATES: Real quick, Paul.
BEGALA: The most impregnable readout in American politics is the Trump base. He's going to get 45, but he can't get 50. He has never one day in his life had 50% support in America. Never once. So, the surest way to elect Trump is to run a third-party candidacy. It's simple arithmetic.
Any third-party candidates will elect Trump, period. Whether it's from the center, whether it's from the left, anything, because they're not going take votes away from Donald Trump.
He only said he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes. A civil jury in New York found he sexually abused a woman on Fifth Avenue, and he didn't lose any votes. So, he'll never lose any.
So, this third-party thing, I understand the impetus. There are some good people behind it. You're going to elect Trump 100%. I will bet Mark McKinnon's life savings, which is a lot higher than mine. He's a very wealthy man.
COATES: Oh, I don't want to get into this battle, gentlemen, right now. Mark McKinnon, Paul Begala, thank you so much.
MCKINNON: Kick it.
COATES: We'll be right back.
COATES: Before we leave you, we've got "Tomorrow's News Tonight." Hurricane Lee is now a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles an hour out in the Atlantic Ocean.
It's expected to pass well to the north of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. And it's forecast to remain a major hurricane through even early next week. Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected along most of the U.S. East Coast beginning Sunday. We'll be keeping an eye on the storm for everyone.
Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.