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The Chris Wallace Show
House Republicans Vote to Open Impeachment Inquiry into President Biden Related to His Son Hunter Biden's Business Dealings; Texas Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court Decision to Grant Exception for Woman Seeking Abortion; Special Counsel Jack Smith Asks Supreme Court to Rule on Whether Donald Trump Had Total Immunity from Prosecution for Crimes Committed While in Office. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 16, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, and welcome. It's time to get together and break down the big stories in our own way. Today, we're asking, with Republicans going after Joe and Hunter Biden, could this blow up in their faces and cost them their House majority?
Then when politics gets personal. How does a name, a face, and a heartbreaking story change the debate over abortion?
And good grief, we're getting our yea or nay on the 73-year-old who is all the rage among Gen Z-ers.
The panel is here and raring to go. So sit back, relax, and let's talk about it.
Up first, the House Republicans formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden, the third time Congress has begun this process in just the last four years. For context, before 2019, it had happened only three times, in the nation's history. At the heart of the GOP's case, the president's son Hunter, who amped up the drama by speaking outside the capital, instead of testifying inside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: There is no fairness or decency in what these Republicans are doing.
WALLACE: Hunter Biden on the attack after years of pounding for his foreign business deals, going after House Republicans, who subpoenaed him to testify behind closed doors.
HUNTER BIDEN: Republicans do not want an open process.
WALLACE: The GOP fighting back, threatening to file charges against Hunter.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): And frankly, we'll also I think look at contempt proceedings as we move forward.
WALLACE: While also voting to start a formal impeachment inquiry into his father, President Biden.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): What are my Democratic colleagues afraid of if there's nothing to see there?
WALLACE: But do they have evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors?
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): If you want to talk crime -- bribery, co- conspirator to FARA violations, and we can go on and on.
WALLACE: One senior Republican isn't so sure.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): And the facts haven't taken me to that point where I can say that the president's guilty of anything.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALLACE (on camera): Here to break it down, podcaster Kara Swisher, Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute and "National Review" contributing editor, "New York times" journalist and podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and author and conservative pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson. Welcome back, everyone. Good to have you again.
So Reihan, by going up to Capitol Hill and saying I am ready to testify in public, did Hunter Biden called the House Republicans bluff?
REIHAN SALAM, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I'm afraid not. What he is doing is begging for being held in contempt. I honestly don't understand exactly what the logic is here. What I am pleased to see is that the IRS and the federal government seems to be taking seriously the fact that Hunter Biden, at a minimum, did not pay over $1 million in taxes. I thought that is something Democrats in Congress cared a lot about. But Joe Biden has talked a lot about investing resources in the IRS to go after tax cheats.
WALLACE: But why not -- if he wants to testify in public, why not let him?
SALAM: Look, because depositions are part of an investigations. When Steve Bannon also said he refused to appear before a deposition, there are a lot of folks who I think rightly and legitimately --
WALLACE: But he didn't go up and hold a news conference and say I am ready to testify in public.
SALAM: That's true, but the fact of the matter is the Congress has a right to conduct an investigation and they have a right to conduct a deposition.
WALLACE: Well, one argument that Hunter Biden is making is what James Comer, the chairman, Republican Chairman of House Oversight Committee said a few weeks ago about Hunter testifying. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM COMER (R-KY): We have mountains of evidence, and now, we're ready to bring him in. We're in the downhill phase of this investigation now because we have so many documents. And we can bring these people in for depositions or committee hearings, whichever they choose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Lulu, does Comer's comment there, deposition or hearing, whichever they choose, which is basically saying testify in public or in private, does that get Hunter off the hook in defying the subpoena?
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I don't think it gets Hunter off the hook.
I actually don't think it's such a great idea that Hunter is defying this subpoena, I mean defying what the House wants, because I actually think that even though this is a circus, and even though this is clearly intended to drag this out and humiliate the president, that ultimately, there is a rule of law, and I think that he should actually do what they want.
WALLACE: Kristen, the White House says that GOP majority is wasting time going after the president's son, when it could be doing the people's business. Now that they have formally approved an impeachment inquiry, a vote, a majority on the floor, do they actually have a case against Joe Biden, an impeachment case?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, FOUNDING PARTNER, ECHELON INSIGHTS: Well, on the topic of should Congress be focused on other things, reality is this has not been a terribly productive Congress up until this point anyway, so it's not as though there's a huge opportunity cost I'm seeing, that they were passing hundreds and hundreds of bills and now they're suddenly not going to.
The other thing to remember is that part of the reason why some of these moderate members have been brought along, who are not eager to impeach Joe Biden. They don't love the idea of going down this road, but for them, because this is an inquiry, they don't have to say we think the president is guilty yet, we have evidence yet, it is just we're asking questions, that is what has given some of these moderates the comfort to vote and say, sure, let's open this --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But this takes a life of its own is part of the problem here, because let's not forget how this all started. This all started because the former speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was trying to placate the right flank of his party, and he said let's -- and they wanted this impeachment, even though there is absolutely zero evidence that the president has done anything wrong.
And so here we are now with the next step happening, because -- checks notes -- there is a new speaker of the House who wants to placate the right of his party. And so this keeps going on forward, and there's this conventional wisdom that somehow this isn't going to land but they're going to try and actually impeach the president without any evidence at all.
KARA SWISHER, PODCAST HOST, "PIVOT" AND "ON": Hunter Biden is just using the same tactics the Republicans did on the other side, and that is what is going to happen. It's going to be a circus. And I'd be curious to know if average people care much about it at all, unless they come up with this mountain of evidence, which I think is a mountain of something else.
WALLACE: Let me ask about that. I mean, we do know, it has been documented, that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars --
SWISHER: Yes, Hunter Biden is a problem.
WALLACE: -- in business deals with Ukraine, China and other countries. It has been documented that Joe Biden was on the phone with Hunter's business partners, supposedly just talking about the weather, but you know, the point was being emphasized, this is Joe Biden's son.
SWISHER: Of course.
WALLACE: But does that justify an impeachment inquiry?
SWISHER: Look, it's going where it's going. Whether it justifies it or not, but then it brings it to Jared Kushner and Trump and his relatives. It could go all kinds of ways during the election. It's just, I don't think it's particularly a good topic, I don't think voters care about it, but they're going to continue doing it because it placates a certain group of the party and the others, as Kristen said, are going to just go along with it, because they don't think it's --
WALLACE: But Reihan, to the degree that ethics was going to be a Biden issue, a Democratic advantage over the Republicans, particularly with Trump with four criminal indictments on 91 charges, does this muddy the waters and say, you know, Biden and, I guess the Republicans are calling it Biden crime family, does it muddy the waters?
SALAM: You know, one thing I'm struck by is that way back, Harry Truman, he left the White House and he was broke, right? Then you look at more recent decades, it is extraordinary the amount of money that the Clinton family, for example, has made, the Trump family has made, as well from having served in public office. That is a legitimate concern, and I honestly disagree a little bit. I think people --
WALLACE: But I think the reason for that, there wasn't anything illegal about that. That's speeches. That's these huge amounts of money they make from books. I know you and I are jealous at the advances they get.
SALAM: Look, there is an appearance of impropriety issue, and also in the case of Joe Biden, it wasn't initially acknowledged that he was on those calls. There has been a drip, drip, drip. And I think one thing, a good point that Lulu made, is that when it was Speaker McCarthy, he was unilaterally saying I am going to investigate it. Now folks are on the record, they're going to have a formal process, and that's the right way to do it. And I think that it's something that the American public genuinely does care about.
WALLACE: Kristen, I want to get to the politics of this. You mentioned that the 17 House Republicans who won in 2022 in districts that Joe Biden carried in 2020, so at least purple and maybe even blue districts that they represent could -- and we don't know how far this goes, but the impeachment inquiry, and then there's going to pressure, as Lulu said, for an impeachment, could this cost them their seats and thereby cost the Republicans their majority in 2024?
ANDERSON: I don't know that I think of this as costing them their seats, in part because, for the reasons that other panelists have said, I don't think this rises to be a very high priority for most voters. I think other issues like cost of living, abortion, et cetera, are all going to be much higher up on that list.
It does make things a little bit tough if they are, for instance, facing a challenging primary. For a lot of these members in these swing districts, the fact that they can now say, hey, I've opened the inquiry, I have said there is time to ask questions, there was smoke, I wanted to see if there was fire, that should at least be enough to kind of get them closer to Election Day without --
WALLACE: This might actually help them in a primary in terms of a Republican who is further to the right and thinks they're too soft.
Anyway, another election issue for Republicans, abortion. Up next, will one woman's traumatic story of legal battle force the right to reconsider how it deals with the issue?
Then, the Elon Musk decision some say could spell the end of X. Is talk of the platform's demise being over or underplayed? And from X to extraterrestrial, our panel gives its yea or nay to McDonald's new cosmic answer to Starbucks.
WALLACE: Now to one woman's story that has brought a whole new element to the escalating abortion debate in this country. A personal dimension that is threatening to create new blowback for lawmakers who want to sharply limit abortions in their states.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KATE COX, MOTHER WHO SOUGHT EMERGENCY ABORTION: There's no outcome here that I take home my healthy baby girl.
WALLACE: Kate Cox was devastated when she learned the baby she was carrying had a lethal genetic condition. COX: If she arrives into this world, her life will be measured in
minutes or hours or days.
WALLACE: Since Texas outlaws almost all abortions, Cox sued for an exception. Her doctor said continuing the pregnancy threatened Cox's health and any plans for another baby. A judge ruled in her favor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to grant the temporary restraining order.
WALLACE: But the Texas Supreme Court overruled the judge, and Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute doctors or anyone who had helped Cox get an abortion. Cox ended up leaving the state to terminate her pregnancy where it's legal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any comment on the Kate Cox decision in your state, Senator Cruz?
WALLACE: Texas lawmakers who are vocal advocates against abortion didn't want to talk about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's strictly a matter of state law.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, Democrats are seizing on personal abortion stories to sway voters and they did in Kentucky with this ad that went viral.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To tell a 12-year-old girl she must have the baby of her stepfather who raped her is unthinkable.
WALLACE: Kentucky's Governor credited Hadley's story for helping him win reelection.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALLACE (on camera): Kristen, what happens when the abortion debate gets personal like this, when it's not a case being brought by an anonymous Jane Doe but it's a real woman with a tough story that we can all relate to, what does that do?
ANDERSON: What it does is it takes it from the world of black and white, which is often where we find things in the law, when a legislature passes a bill and they say you can do x, but you cannot do y, that sets it up as black and white. And then we find these cases that do live in the gray, where even somebody who says I believe that this child, at 20 weeks of gestation with an extra chromosome 18 that has a valuable life, that is worth -- that is worthy and has dignity, and yet, I understand what this mother must be feeling. And there are no winners here.
And so it reminds people of the fact that there are shades of gray. You saw this even with the competing court rules, with the Texas Supreme Court ruling one way and the lower court judge ruling a different way. When the laws are written in ways that are not clear, it can lead to these situations where, for instance, an ectopic pregnancy, et cetera, the ability to get treatment for that -- GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think there is black and I think Ken Paxton is the
person here --
WALLACE: We should point out, that's the attorney general of Texas.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: -- is black and white. The attorney general of Texas, who showed no compassion, who showed no humanity, who made this an issue that has galvanized, I think, the opposition to what has happened in Texas. It is catastrophic, I think.
SWISHER: And also, the abortion issue is a big deal in the last few elections, these midterm elections, and now it's again, it's going to be another issue. And all I know is just sitting with my mom, who is a Trump voter, who is conservative, and she just said this is terrible. This is terrible. And that's who you are trying to reach, the people who are persuadable. And a story like this is just obvious to most -- many people, not going to say most, but many people.
WALLACE: I mean, the problem, Reihan, is you can say we're going to have a ban but with exceptions, but then when you get to the exceptions, it is every individual person's story, every individual woman's story, and there are now a wave of cases, pregnant women who have got -- we're not talking about millions of people, but each one, like Kate Cox, really touches your heart.
When Justice Samuel Alito wrote the Dobbs decision overturning the right to abortion, he wrote this. I will put it up on the screen. "Far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey," which were the two big decisions that said there was a right to an abortion, "Roe around Casey have inflamed debate and deepened division." Alito seemed to suggest that somehow the Dobbs decision was going to simplify things and calm things down. Has, in fact -- is Alito right, has it lowered the temperature on abortion?
SALAM: I don't know if Justice Alito would have said it is going to do that immediately. But what I think what is happening now is the messiness of politics over time. And I will tell you that among pro- lifers within that movement, there is an ongoing debate right now over what you might call prolife minimalism versus prolife maximalism. In Texas, you did not have an exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. In Florida, with its six week ban, if you look at Indiana, Louisiana, a variety of other states, they did have exceptions in that case. I think one debate is when you look at life of the mother exceptions, how capacious are those exceptions? And I think that there is a line of argument among pro-lifers that what you need to do is be patient. You need to persuade people over time. And there's a group of folks right now, including Kellyanne Conway, saying that what we need to do is talk about contraception, talk about how you actually build a bigger coalition so that you can --
SALAM: Yes, absolutely. And there are a lot of -- eight out of ten --
WALLACE: Wait a second. I don't understand this. The idea there is abortion and there's contraception. There two different things.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's too late, usually.
SALAM: And by the way, eight out of ten pro-lifers support this.
WALLACE: Let me ask Lulu, does that somehow satisfy women? I was going to use the phrase buy them off. Well, OK, you have the right to birth control.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have the right to birth control, which we've had, so of course not. And the problem here is that this is a losing issue for the GOP. It has shown itself to be that.
But let me just talk practically, and I actually have a question for the prolife movement that I have been very curious about. What we've seen actually since Dobbs is that abortions have gone up, and we've seen a movement of women, like Kate Cox, going to a different state to have a procedure. And you've seen states that have banned it, yes, abortions have plummeted, like in Texas, but they have gone to other states, there's women who can, and they've had abortions. And so what we've seen is this system in which women are still having abortions, whether they're medical through pills or whether going to other states, and it hasn't had the intended effect that the right has wanted.
ANDERSON: So let me try to then make the case for why a pro-lifer might say let's make contraception access more available as the answer to that, to say, look, if you're a prolife and you want to see fewer abortions, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. You can go about it by banning the procedure, which we are seeing the effects of that, political and otherwise, play out across the country in many states. Or you can reduce demand for abortion by reducing unplanned pregnancies in the first place. And so --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Does that mean sex education in schools?
ANDERSON: Absolutely. And so that's why I think it is very interesting to hear somebody like Kellyanne advising Republicans --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Which they're not going to do.
ANDERSON: -- to speak out on all these different issues --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Which they're not going to do, because they are all men. These are all men making these decisions. What you're seeing actually, is in Congress, in Texas, all of these are men making these decisions. Perhaps Kellyanne Conway is now singing a different tune, but the fact of the matter is the GOP, this is all being driven --
WALLACE: I want to bring up one other thing, we've only got a minute left in this segment, Kara, and that is, as if there weren't enough, the Supreme Court has decided to jump in and hear the case about mifepristone, which is one of two pills that women take. It turns out that taking the abortion pills accounts for a majority, more than half of all abortions in this country.
SWISHER: That is correct.
WALLACE: So the Supreme Court, sitting there in their black robes, is going to sit there and decide whether or not the FDA was right when it extended several years ago, it opened up more access to this drug. Should judges be second-guessing the FDA about whether or not it's safe to take a drug?
SWISHER: This is going to be explosive depending on decision. If they ban it, I think the GOPis going to lose everything, because I think people, there's no -- there is the most important access to abortion for many women. And I think it is just one of these issues where people are -- there's going to be exception after exception after exception, there's going to be Kate Cox, and Kate Cox and Kate Cox, and it's going to be a problem for the GOP.
WALLACE: Coming up, a twist in the Trump trials, and the Supreme Court is right in the middle of it. Should the justices jump in and boost chances the cases get decided before Election Day?
WALLACE: A highly charged legal argument that could decide whether Donald Trump faces prosecution for trying to overturn the 2020 election. Special Counsel Jack Smith is asking the Supreme Court to jump ahead of the court of appeals and rule whether Donald Trump has total immunity from prosecution for crimes committed while he was in office. Trump contends he's protected under presidential immunity, which is reminiscent of another former president who made the same argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kara, if they follow the normal process, the court of appeals goes first, they hear the case, it takes months, they rule, then it goes to the Supreme Court. They take months, and finally make a decision on whether Trump has immunity and all of these prosecutions get thrown out. Should the Supreme Court jump in right now?
SWISHER: I think it will. I think it will. He's also brought it to the court of appeals at the same time. It is a very bold --
WALLACE: As a backstop.
SWISHER: Yes, it is a bold legal move. I think they will rule, and I think Trump will lose here. They're going to rule against Trump. Yes, I think he has to do this to get the trial before the election.
WALLACE: It used to be rare for the Supreme Court to jump the process, if you will, but take a look at this. Since 2019, the justices have taken 19 cases before a ruling by the court of appeals, and I think we would agree none were nearly as consequential as the United States versus Donald Trump.
So Reihan, why shouldn't the justices jump in right now and decide the big constitutional issue when it ask about presidential immunity?
SALAM: Look, this is very unorthodox. You need some special reason for urgency here. And if you really dig into the story, what is the reason for urgency? The reason, I guess, that we've gleaned, and it was something that Kara was referring to, is that you want it to happen before the election. But from a legal perspective, why would that be relevant? Smith certainly didn't talk about the election. And I think the real concern is if Donald Trump wins the election, his Justice Department would drop the case.
But again, from a legal perspective, where is the actual urgency there to short-circuit the process? And that is going to lead a lot of people to believe that, guess what, this is politically motivated, that Jack Smith wants a political outcome that is going to be in line with the Biden administration's political incentives. And that is not a good look.
WALLACE: Lulu, is it political, and therefore, somehow not worthy to say I think we want to get this decided before an election so people can know whether or not that Donald Trump is a convicted felon or is acquitted?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't think it's political. I think it's practical. This is practical. This isn't political. It's practical. We are living in a world in which Donald Trump is running, and there is a political process that is happening, and they want this issue resolved in a timely manner. Whenever there is a trial, there's all sorts of issues that are looked at in terms of when that trial is scheduled and what factors are taken into account, and this is a real one, and I think that this is just a practical issue, not a political one.
SWISHER: And I don't know if they can resist. The Supreme Court cannot resist this one. It's a big issue. It will go to --
WALLACE: I guess what I'm a little surprised at, Reihan, is, isn't there a public interest? And I assume that's one of the factors that the Supreme Court decides in whether to jump the process. Isn't there a public interest in voters knowing before they go to the polls in the fall of 2024, whether or not this guy is a convicted felon or has been acquitted of all charges?
SALAM: That's a legitimate argument. It's also legitimate for a lot of Americans to wonder, is this actually something that is happening to ensure that Biden gets the opponent that he wants? So I think that --
WALLACE: They're guiding him? They want to make sure --
SALAM: The Supreme Court also cares about its perceived legitimacy. Our courts care about their perceived legitimacy. And this is something, this is a very political move that I think might undermine --
ANDERSON: -- indicting Donald Trump was going to prevent him from getting the Republican nomination has been disabused of that notion at this point, I would say, pretty safely.
I actually don't mind this because I think this is ultimately a question of the highest levels. It is going to get brought before the Supreme Court at some point. Let's just get it out of the way, because if Donald Trump was allowed to do these things in office and he was immune, then let's not go through the whole circus that we're going to go through over the next year. I can understand why Trump's legal team would rather drag all of this out, but -- and I agree with Kara as well that I actually don't think that the court is likely to say that Donald Trump is completely off the hook. But if that's where this is all headed, then let's just get there.
WALLACE: There is another issue, assuming that the court does take the case in the middle of the election, there is the issue of Clarence Thomas, Justice Thomas, whose wife, Ginni Thomas, was very supportive of President Trump's efforts in 2020 to overturn the election, which raises the question, Lulu, Democrats are now calling on Thomas to recuse himself from this case. Should he? Will he?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will he? Absolutely not. I think we have seen that Clarence Thomas has very little sense of personal responsibility or shame, and so therefore, there's zero likelihood that he will recuse him. Do you think he will?
SWISHER: I think he might. I think he might, actually. It's so political. It is so close.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, wow. I'll bet you --
ANDERSON: I don't think he will, and I think he will continue to try to make the argument that I am not responsible for my spouse's political activity, which, by the way, if we're going to make the standard, you are responsible for your spouse's political activity, there are a lot of Americans who it's really --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But apparently the president's responsible for his son's political activities, right?
WALLACE: I'm sorry?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I said apparently the president is responsible for his son's business activities. So I mean, you know --
WALLACE: That's not quite --
WALLACE: Well, that's not quite the argument --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I know, I know. I thought I'd -- WALLACE: In any case, we struggle sometimes to come up with a common
theme for our yea or nay segment. And the best we can do today is some c-words -- "cash," "coffee," and a cute canine. Those are some of the 700 million reasons to stick around along with our panel's hot take on this year's hottest Christmas gift.
WALLACE: Time now to chat about a few stories we think are just interesting, as I ask the group once again for their yea or nay. First, the mega contract of baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani. He agreed to a record-crushing 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That's $70 million per season. But the all-star pitcher and hitter agreed to defer all but $2 million a year until his contract is over so the team has more money to spend on other players. Kristen, yea or nay on Ohtani's curveball?
ANDERSON: I'm a yea on this. First of all, being a rock star baseball player on a team that has no prospect of making the World Series has got to be miserable. And so for him to say I'm going to put the best interest of the team first, you can spend that money on them, is great.
But the second thing I think is likely to happen is I bet you as soon as he is done playing, he moves to the great state of Florida, where there's no state income tax, and begins to benefit. That's a real gamble that inflation is not going toing to be a big deal, but I can see the wisdom in the --
WALLACE: You put some real thought to this.
ANDERSON: I really have.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That sounds like tax evasion, doesn't it? That literally sounds like tax evasion to me.
ANDERSON: It's not breaking the law.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well then, it's all OK.
ANDERSON: Moving to Florida, a lot of people have done it since the pandemic.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, I understand. But this to me sounds like tax evasion. He is not going to be paying taxes on it, and it's --
WALLACE: She's obviously not a Dodgers fan.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, I'm not a Dodgers fan.
WALLACE: I don't think she knew that Ohtani went to the Dodgers.
Anyway, next, a new concept from the Golden Arches. Cosmc is McDonald's new space themed coffee shop, looking to compete with Starbucks and Dunkin. The name comes from an alien character in Mickey-D commercials back in the late 80s. Reihan, will you be driving through McDonald's version of Starbucks?
SALAM: I am very sorry to say that as someone without a driver's license, I will have to rollerblade in, and I will have to move swiftly as they try to chase behind me. I've never driven. I never will. My poor suffering wife is the one who carries me around. And I've got to say, this is an offense against nondriving Americans. Nay, nay, nay.
WALLACE: Kara? I know you know how to drive.
SWISHER: I do.
WALLACE: The other day, I followed you, last week, out of the garage, and you left me in the dust. You drive --
SWISHER: Yes, in my electric car.
WALLACE: Yes. So will you be drive through CosMc's?.
SWISHER: Yes, I love McDonald's. I like McDonald's. And I'll try it. I'll try it. I don't know who the character is, because it's from the 1960s or whenever, I don't know when it happened. But I'd like to try these things. These are all, as I say, Starbucks, all of them are milkshake stores now. It is all sweet drinks and ridiculous things.
WALLACE: Is McDonald's coffee good?
SWISHER: Yes, it's OK. It's OK. Yes, it's fine.
WALLACE: I have to make a confession. He doesn't drive. I don't drink coffee.
SWISHER: Oh, all right.
WALLACE: Finally, the hot holiday toy this season that has people door busting their CVS thanks to TikTok videos like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, I literally see people selling these on eBay for 70 bucks and people going to 20 different stores. They're so cute.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: Seventy-three-year-old Snoopy but with a puffer coat and winter hat is a hit with Gen Z Christmas shoppers. He's sold exclusively at CVS for about $14, but resale demand has prices spiking online to more than $100. We had to pay more than $100 to get one, and we couldn't get it here in time because I wanted to send them right here. Kristen, are you all for yea on puffer snoopy, or are you saying good grief?
SWISHER: He's pretty cute. If you can get him at retail price, sure. I wouldn't pay $70 on eBay for him. But every generation has to have their beanie babies, right? Everybody, it's not unusual for there to be a completely irrational craze around a toy. I would tell people, don't plan to save it in mint condition and retire on that money.
WALLACE: I do have to say, I had a son who kept the beanie babies, kept the tags on the beanie babies and proudly told me at one point, this is going to send me to college. Now, I send him to college.
WALLACE: What do you think?
SWISHER: I still have my Snoopy from when I was a kid, and I'm real old. It's fine. Whatever. It's a Cabbage Patch Kid, and then it will not be.
SALAM: Don't you guys just love the Snoopy dance just from the shows where they were just kind of dancing?
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait, can we get a tight shot? I'm sorry.
SALAM: Because, you know, the dance, gosh, you know, the little kid with the dust cloud.
WALLACE: He's going to regret this. Anyway.
WALLACE: Up next -- enough frivolity here. Up next, another highly controversial move by Elon Musk which could spell even more trouble for the platform formally known as Twitter. Is the threat being over or underplayed?
WALLACE: Time now for "Over/Under" where we ask whether a story in the news is being over or underplayed. This week, Elon Musk reinstated the X account of rightwing conspiracy promoter Alex Jones, the guy who called the Sandy Hook shooting a hoax and lost $1 billion lawsuit over his hateful claim. In 2018, Jones was banned from what was then Twitter for so-called abusive behavior. Musk's latest move comes as X's hemorrhaging ad dollars after a surge of disinformation and offensive content. Major brands including Apple, Disney, and IBM have pulled their ads, costing the platform billions of dollars. And according to Bloomberg, X is projected to bring in $2.5 billion in ad revenue this year. That's half what Twitter made the year before Musk took over.
So Kara, how much trouble are Musk and X in? And is this narrative we're hearing now about the decline and fall of X being over or underplayed?
SWISHER: I think it has been played exactly right. I think the reporting is good, the ad sales are off by a lot. They're going down even further. He continued not just bring Alex Jones on but he hosted him on Twitter Spaces along with Andrew Tate, who has some issues, and Vivek Ramaswamy, who apparently went to the bathroom in the middle of the Twitter Space. So I think for advertisers --
WALLACE: We should say with a wireless mic on, so people heard.
SWISHER: That's correct. In any case, Classy. Classy, that's all I have to say.
I think he is creating a situation where it is very hard for advertisers to move in there, especially with Alex Jones who is a heinous character and broke the rules of Twitter over and over and over again.
WALLACE: Kristen, over or under on the whole decline and fall, the end of X?
ANDERSON: So I think if you believe that Elon Musk is bad, or his choices have been bad, that has been playing out for a while, so I don't know how much this changes it after a pattern of other things he has done that are very controversial. What I do think that is going to be a potential problem is you have more user experience problems. If you're an average, run of the mill person picks up the phone and uses this app a couple of times a week starts to find that links aren't working, that it's crashing, those sorts of things.
And we've begun, I have at least personally noticed more and more of that. To me, that is sort of the next shoe to drop of people beginning off of the platform, if the user experience is bad. I think Elon Musk bad is kind of baked in at this point, but do users really begin fleeing en masse, that is the question.
WALLACE: Lulu, where are you on Musk and X, and --
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it is overplayed. I really think that, and I'm going to use these words, the media elite, words that never came out of my mouth before, and others who were avid Twitter, X users, were very engaged with that platform. I think it has become less and less useful. I think we are obsessed with it because Elon Musk is such an incredibly charismatic character, but I think we're focusing on it too much. It doesn't matter.
WALLACE: Up next, more proof you should pay attention to our panel's predictions. And they'll have their week's best shots, after this.
WALLACE: Every week, we end the show asking our gang here for their best shots, their special takes or predictions of what's going to make news. And yes, we keep tabs whether their shot is a hit or a miss. So check out Reihan's prediction from two weeks ago in this "Best Shot" replay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALAM: I've got to tell you, Governor Chris Sununu, the outgoing governor of New Hampshire, has a huge amount of sway with New Hampshire independents. And I believe he's going to endorse Nikki Haley.
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): There was a sweet, older women who have come to a lot of events. And I saw her coming in here. And she said, so, are you going to finally endorse Nikki Haley for president? You bet your -- I am. Let's get this thing done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Reihan was right. And since we keep score here, it's now Reihan one, and all the rest of you all together, zero.
And now it's time for this week's takes and predictions, and Reihan, since you're on a roll, hit me with your best shot.
SALAM: So George Santos was booted out of Congress not long ago, and Republicans in Long Island have found a superstar to run in a special election to replace him, Mazi Pilip. Remember that name. An Ethiopian- Israeli-American IDF veteran who is going to be a political star, and Democrats in the New York state legislature are going to try to draw her out of the seat because she is going to be so incandescent.
WALLACE: Interestingly enough, though, she's going to run as a Republican, she is actually a registered Democrat.
SALAM: Look, it's that kind of moment in America right now. It's a realignment moment where you get a lot of folks switching sides, and she is someone who represents that new coalition Republicans want to build.
WALLACE: Kara, what's on your mind this week?
SWISHER: I did get it right about Google losing a court case, which they did with Epic this week.
SWISHER: I just want note --
WALLACE: I know you're competitive.
SWISHER: I think they're going to lose to the Jeremy Diamond, too, the one that is also coming. That said, I'm going to focus a little bit on Bill Ackman, who has decided not to be an investor anymore and is a professional Twitter troll.
WALLACE: He's a big hedge fund --
SWISHER: He's a big hedge fund investor, and he spent a lot of time on Twitter around the Harvard issues, around the University of Pennsylvania. The only thing I would say is that I would like you to be consistent. If he's going to punch down students who say things he doesn't like or the university presidents, he should punch up at someone like Elon Musk who has been --
WALLACE: Very critical of the president of Harvard.
SWISHER: Yes, and not consistent. So if you're a free speech warrior, Bill, I would like you to be consistent and stay one the whole time.
WALLACE: Duly noted. Kristen, best shot?
ANDERSON: So most people have probably not heard of Congressman Drew Ferguson of Louisiana, but this week he announced he will not be running for reelection. This makes him just another House Republican who has decided to sit out on the sidelines, not participate in 2024. Republicans already have a very thin majority. It is good to have as many of your incumbents as possible running for reelection. I think this Republican House majority, it's already on thin ice, and with more and more members heading for the exits while they're in the majority, this, I suspect we will see more people having conversations with their families over the holidays, putting out press releases in January saying I'm out.
WALLACE: Lulu, I hope that you have something a little bit more upbeat and fun to get us out of here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I always do.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: My best shot this week is Oprah Winfrey said that the reason that she was so svelte was because she was taking Ozempic, or one of its --
WALLACE: She didn't name the drug.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was about to say, we all know it is Ozempic, but one of the drugs like Ozempic that help people lose weight. I myself have used one of those drugs. And I think it is a real key moment, because there's been a lot of stigma about these weight loss drugs. There's been a lot of discussion in the media and elsewhere really excoriating celebrities for using them. And her coming out and saying I have no shame, I'm glad I did it, I think will change the debate.
WALLACE: We should also point out that, yes, she does say she is using the drug. She also said she takes long hikes, she drinks a gallon of water, and she eats her last meal at 4:00 in the afternoon, and boy, if that's all that you need to get slim, I'm in real trouble.
WALLACE: Thank you all for being here again this week and thank you for spending part of your day with us. We'll see you right back here next week.