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The Chris Wallace Show

Judge Orders Former President Trump and His Companies to Pay $355 Million in Civil Fraud Trial and Bans Trump from Running Any Business in New York for Three Years; Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Answers Questions Regarding Possible Conflict of Interest in Election Interference Case against Former President Trump; Russian Opposition Leader and Putin Critic Alexey Navalny Dies while Imprisoned in Russian Penal Colony. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 17, 2024 - 10:00   ET




CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, and welcome. It's time to get together with some smart people to break down the big stories. Today, were asking just how crushing that ruling by a New York judge ordering Donald Trump to by $355 million in penalties will be to the former president's personal fortune and political future.

Then with Vladimir Putin's biggest opponent dying in prison, and U.S. aid for Ukraine on the verge of collapse, does Washington have the will to stop Russia leader.

And forget someone's looks. Some people are now finding love using a credit score.

The gang is here and all ready to go. So sit back, relax, and let's talk about it.

First up, that devastating ruling in New York. A state judge ordered Donald Trump and his companies to pay nearly $355 million in a civil fraud case and banned him from running a business there for three years. The latest chapter in a week full of legal drama. But will it affect Trump's bid for the White House?


WALLACE: A tale of two cities in Donald Trump's legal battles this week. First in New York, where on Friday, a judge ordered Trump and his companies to pay $355 million in a civil fraud trial and banned Trump from running a business in New York for three years.


WALLACE: Meanwhile, in Atlanta, explosive testimony from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.


WALLACE: The issue, whether she and her team should be disqualified from bringing Trump to trial for election interference because of her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. Her removal would delay or might even end the case.

WILLIS: These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I'm not on trial no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.

WALLACE: And back in New York, a judge ruled Trumps criminal trial over alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels will start in late March, around the same time Trump is expected to clinch the Republican nomination.

TRUMP: How can you run for election if you're sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long?


WALLACE: Here with me today, podcaster and author Kara Swisher, author and conservative pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, "New York Times" journalist and podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and John McCormack, senior editor at "The Dispatch." Welcome, everyone. Good to have you here.

Lulu, it's a lot of money, but how damaging is this judgment in the civil case, $355 million penalty, a ban on doing business for three years in New York for Donald Trump, how damaging is that to him personally and politically?

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, let's start with the personal, it's hugely damaging. If you think about Donald Trump, you think about how he's branded himself, how he puts his name on all its buildings, how he has always tried to use his personal fortune to push his own political brand. And so this really hits to the heart of that. And we've heard people that are close to him like Michael Cohen and others talk about how this was really the most painful case for him because it really goes to who he is and how he brands himself in the world.

WALLACE: And politically?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And politically, I think also it's damaging. At the end of the day, what they're saying is that he can't run a company. How can you say that you can't run a company and then ask someone to run the country?

WALLACE: Well, of course, it's a New York judge who is saying he can't run a company.

Kristen, it's a civil case, not a criminal case. He's got for her those, but no jail time with this ruling. But it is, as I said, a whale of a lot of money. So how damaging personally and politically?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, FOUNDING PARTNER, ECHELON INSIGHTS: So politically, I think it's unlikely to actually be that damaging, and part of why that is, had this ruling come down, say, eight years ago in the midst of that 2016 Republican primary, it really would have undercut his message that he's a winner and he's great at business. But that is so baked into the views, especially the views that Republican voters have of him, that this is not going to change anything about the Republican primary. And it, frankly, probably won't change a lot about the general election.


But personally, because it is so much money, he has already been bleeding entities like the RNC dry to try to pay for his legal bills. So the fact that this number is so large, and you add this on top of the, what, $100 million that he now has to pay because of the defamation suit, this is huge sums of money for someone who it turns out may not actually have the huge sums of money he claims. You have to pay those lawyers at some point.

KARA SWISHER, PODCAST HOST, "PIVOT" AND "ON": They grabbed him by his wallet. That's what I do here in this case.

WALLACE: And that's a very sensitive spot for Donald Trump?

SWISHER: It is. Someone said that once, it stuck in my head. This is -- what's important here is whether he has the money. And I interviewed Robbie Kaplan this morning, who won that $83.3 million for E. Jean Carroll. And she was noting the money is where it hurts him. That's really where it hurt, when it was this large number versus $5 million in the previous lawsuit that she won, it really hurt him. And in this case, she's not entirely clear if he has the money to pay any of it because when he put the bond up for the last case, he paid cash of his own money. He did not get a bond, which you can also do, because what I seem to understand is he can't get a bond from people who do that.

WALLACE: I want to ask you, Kara, about normally that would be enough news on Donald Trump for the week. It's only one of the stories. We also have that spectacle in Georgia, the hearing of Fani Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, and whether she should be removed from the Georgia interference case because of a conflict of interest because of a romantic relationship with her lead prosecutors, Nathan Wade. Smoke or fire?

SWISHER: Smokey smoke, smokey smoke. I don't think it has anything to do with this. Of course, they're going to try this. I see why you would in a trial like this. I think she's right, she's not on trial. But she's on trial a little bit, like, I mean, people are paying attention to her. I think they'll probably, the judge will not take her off to trial.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Watching it, though, I changed my mind. I said previously that what I believed was that this was a terrible lapse of judgment, which is true, but I will say watching her, she was convincing to me. And I think she did a lot to kind of change the narrative.

WALLACE: To what? GARCIA-NAVARRO: To what, to that she is not on trial. It was sordid.

The way that they were going after her felt icky to me. I felt that she actually --

WALLACE: Her response was not very lawyerly.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was, but they were hitting her where it was it to do with his personal life. And of course, and I thought the way that she he acted was appropriate.

ANDERSON: It's not just her personal life, that it is the fact that her personal life intersects very clearly with the case by bringing this alleged romantic partner into the case. I mean, that's the problem is she can say all day long this is personal, this is personal, this is personal. They're not going after her for dating someone that they don't like. There going after him for --


WALLACE: Wait a minute, I want to bring in John into this. That's not really why they're going after her. Why they're going after is they're saying that she hired this fellow because the fact he was going to get paid a lot of money by the government, and then she was going to benefit from that because he was going to take her on nice trips. And wasn't just a relationship. It was a conflict of interest.

I'm going to ask the question I asked Kara. Smoke or fire? It's certainly embarrassing. It certainly doesn't show a lot of good judgment in the case of somebody who is going after the president, former president of the United States. But is it going to get her thrown off the case?

JOHN MCCORMACK, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE DISPATCH": I think so. I think the facts are bad. I think -- essentially, she has been accused of hiring her boyfriend to enrich him, enrich herself with taxpayer money. The allegation that came out, there was testimony that this relationship began back in 2019. She asserts that this didn't happen in 2019, that they became romantically involved after the fact. That would help save her in this case if she can prove that, but she wasn't able to do that.

Furthermore, she said, well, I reimbursed him with cash payments. There were no atm receipts. I think that looks really bad. And she hired someone without a lot of -- without a lot of relevant experience on a hugely consequential case. I just think this is a mess all around.

WALLACE: Is he wrong?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's not wrong that it's a mess all around. You're absolutely right that it's a mess all around. I can't decide, obviously, what the judge will or will not see in this case. I don't think that they proved it. I think that they had an explanation. I think that the one witness that said that they had had this relationship in 2019 has her own ax to grind. And so, it's a big mess for sure. That she might get thrown off the case, I am not convinced. WALLACE: And then, and then -- no, we're not done yet. There's more. The hush money case involving Stormy Daniels. Now, this isn't about trying to overturn an election. It's not about classified documents, but it sure looks like this is going to end up being the first criminal trial that the former president faces, or any former president has ever faced sometime in late March. Lulu, is the hush money case weak sauce?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: No. Honestly, it's a felony. I mean, what they are actually discussing there is a felony. And of course, when we list the enormous amount of cases that were discussing here, I guess if you try and rank them, then perhaps it might be slightly less consequential. But it is a serious case that might land him in prison.

ANDERSON: The reason why I think this one is the weakest of all of them and why I think it was a disaster that this was the one that went first in terms of the indictments, is what they're trying to do here is take something that is unethical, it is tawdry, it is gross, and they are trying to claim that it is a campaign finance violation from a really long time ago. And it really just checks a lot of boxes. If you are the kind of person who's saying, I think they're just coming after Donald Trump because he's Donald Trump, this of all the cases looks the most like that.

WALLACE: And it's the first.

ANDERSON: And it's the first one.

WALLACE: And it was supposed to be the election interference case in Washington will set us as quickly, John?

MCCORMACK: I'm skeptical this case or any case is going to have a political impact because Trump has already been held liable of the worst charges brought forward against him, like E. Jean Carroll, accused a defamation over heinous sexual abuse. I mean, the fact that he's already been held liable for that, if that isn't going to move the needle, what is?

WALLACE: Then, there's Donald Trump's worldview, saying Russia should do whatever the hell they want with some NATO allies. But on the heels of Alexey Navalny's mysterious death, will Republicans still back Trump's rhetoric?

Also ahead, as COVID guidelines ease, there's a growing phenomenon called sick shaming. We'll break down the no-win situation many of our co-workers are facing.

And later, move over Reba, Beyonce is going country. But will people buy what Queen B is selling?


[10:16:09] WALLACE: Now, a deathblow to liberal thought and protest in Russia. Alexey Navalny, Russia's top opposition leader and President Vladimir Putin's fiercest foe, died in a Russian prison, according to the government there. His death raising even more questions about Putin's power and how the west will respond.


YULIA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEY NAVALNY'S WIFE: They will be brought to justice.

WALLACE: Alexey Navalny's wife calling on world leaders to fight back against Putin in the wake of her husband's sudden and mysterious death.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was brave. He was principled.

WALLACE: President Biden quick to assign blame.

BIDEN: Make no mistake. Putin is responsible for Navalny's death. Putin is responsible.

WALLACE: Navalny's death comes at a pivotal moment for the U.S. as the partisan divide grows over how to counter Moscow and whether to help Ukraine in its war against Russia.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): We are not going to be forced into action.

WALLACE: House Speaker Johnson signaling he won't bring the Senate's foreign aid package to the House floor, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine. The GOP shipped on military assistance in lockstep with Donald Trump whose ramped up threats to sacrifice NATO allies who are behind in their defense spending to Russia.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.

WALLACE: His words putting European leaders on edge.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Any suggestion that we are not standing up for each other, that does undermine its security of all of us.


WALLACE: Lulu, what does Navalny's death say about Putin, his power, and whether the west has the will to stand up to him?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, first of all, it's a dark day. I saw the news and it actually fills me with a real sense of foreboding and fear, because Navalny occupied a space in Russia that was unique. He was someone who people could still look to and say there is an opposition. There is hope that there could be a different Russia. And with his passing, I think we are now seeing Putin truly unopposed, consolidating his power. What we've seen even in just the few hours since Navalny's passing is just complete repression inside Russia. And so I think it is indeed a sign of very dark things to come.

WALLACE: And all of this comes the same week that you have Donald Trump saying that -- encouraging Russia to go after any NATO allies who are delinquent in their payments. And Republicans signing on in a very surprising way. Here's Florida senator and longtime defense hawk Marco Rubio defending Trump.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): He doesn't talk like a traditional politician. And we've already been through this now. You think people had figured it out by now. I have zero concern because he's been president before. I know exactly what he has done and will do with the NATO alliance.


WALLACE: John, do you think Trump and Republicans would really abandon NATO?

MCCORMACK: Well, there's a reason that Congress passed the bill to make sure that Trump couldn't do this. They basically Trump-proofed our military lines with them, saying that the president cannot unilaterally pull back from NATO. I think that was very important. I think that people like Marco Rubio know better. I think they know that Trump means what he says. He's been on the scene for a decade now.

WALLACE: But the thing I've heard about that is he might not formally be able to pull out of the treaty. But if he's elected, if he's president, he can -- he'll decide unilaterally whether or not to send troops in and enforce Article Five, an attack against one is an attack against all, even if that one is a country that's delinquent in its payments, and Congress can't do anything about that.


MCCORMACK: That's true. I mean, you don't know what Trump would do in that situation. The fact that he would not be surrounded by people like James Mattis in the second term. He'd be surrounded by people more like Steve Bannon. That is reason for concern.

SWISHER: He says what he says. He did this with the Muslim ban. Everyone was saying he wasn't going to do it. And then of course he tried to do it. He believes what he says. And believe what he says. I mean, you can quote Maya Angelou, when someone tells you who they are, believe them. I mean, he kind of says it out loud in very certain terms. And Marco Rubio --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, this is another for me, looking at Marco Rubio. It's another example of just how all of the independent thought within the GOP has just collapsed in front of Trump.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on this, the Democratic response, because Trump had barely gotten the words out of his mouth and President Biden jumped on his comments about NATO. Here's President Biden.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator. For God's sake, its dumb, it's shameful, it's dangerous. It's un-American.


WALLACE: And in a poll last spring, 62 percent of Americans had a favorable view of NATO, while 35 percent had a negative opinion. But there is a party split -- 76 percent support for NATO among Democrats, 49 percent support among Republicans.

Kristen, is Biden's foreign policy, which is the traditional foreign policy, standing strong for NATO, standing strong against Russian aggression in Ukraine, is that good politics for November or not?

ANDERSON: So standing strong with NATO, I would say yes. Remember, there's been one time that Article Five has been invoked, and that was to come to America's aid after 9/11. There's a reason why so many Americans think that this is important.

At the same time, I don't think it's wrong to say that our allies need to do their part. If you're going to be part of the club of NATO and you're expected to spend two percent of your GDP on defense, you need to live up to that. So it's not wrong to say we need our allies to do their part. They just can't wait for the United States to come round to us. If Trump had stopped there, I think it would have been very aligned. But you're right, he can't stop there.

SWISHER: And he actually has an affiliation with Putin. Let's stop pretending parts of this party don't have a really strange affiliation to the Russian --

ANDERSON: And that's why I think the death of Alexey Navalny this week has really, there have been some very encouraging statements that I have seen from folks like House Foreign Affairs Chair Mike McCaul from Texas who says, look, Putin, we think of him akin to Hitler right now, as somebody who wants to go take little pieces of Europe and we have to stop it now.

SWISHER: Look at what Lee Zeldin did. Lee Zeldin was equating Navalny to what happened --

WALLACE: The former congressman --

SWISHER: Former congressman in a heinous statement was comparing the death of Navalny, what's happened to President Trump in these trials. Let me just, let me quote one person, which is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from "The Gulag Archipelago," unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty. Putin is a murderer. He's a murderer here.

WALLACE: Let's talk about where the rubber really hits the road, because nothing is going to happen with NATO right away. But it is going to happen in Ukraine. The House has left town for two weeks, and Speaker Johnson says, when they get back, their priority will be to keep the government funded, not approve military aid to allies like Ukraine and Israel.

Meanwhile, and this is astonishing, to give you a sense of what kind of shape Ukraine is in, Russia forces are reportedly firing 10 shells to every one the Ukrainians fire. So the question, Lulu, is, we talked about NATO, are Republicans really going to abandon Ukraine?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's increasingly likely. I would have said it was unimaginable, but I think it's increasingly likely. And I think what that is going to cause is complete chaos. I mean the way that the Republican Party is talking about this is as if everything is on a ledger and money is the most important thing. And these alliances are going to impact us. I mean, this is about America's safety. This is about what is in America's best interests. And that's why Navalny thing chilled me so much, because what we are going to see if America doesn't step up and help Ukraine, is that it's going to come home to roost here.

WALLACE: All right, going to move on. From political protocol to work protocol, we'll explore the growing issue that has many sick coworkers asking, should I stay or should I go?

And another growing concern that's now getting violent, and up till now has gone under the radar.



WALLACE: There are reports this week the CDC is planning to revise its guidance for COVID isolation. Instead of staying home five days, the agency has considering a new approach, go back to work or school as soon as you've had no fever for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving.

This got us to thinking about a broader phenomenon, sick shaming, where workers with a cough or sniffles feel no matter what they do, stay home or go into the office, they can't win. On one side, there's a fear the boss will judge them for staying home. On the other co- workers will judge them for coming in. So Kristen, is it wrong for coworkers to come into work when they're still sick?

ANDERSON: My policy at my company is if you are contagious, stay home, because I would much rather have one person stay home and get well, then try to come in and tough it out, and the next thing I know, half my company is sick the next week. It is the courteous thing to do that if you are contagious, stay home.

WALLACE: How do you know if you're contagious?


ANDERSON: If it's early enough and you're sneezing and coughing, I mean, you know. This is this is why I think it's important for employers to have good trust and relationships with their employees where they can say, you know yourself, you know what you're capable of, you know if you have just a tiny little sniffles and you're not going to give it to anybody else, just work from home. You can tough it out, verses trying to pressure people to grit it out.

SWISHER: Kristen is a good boss.

WALLACE: Yes. But it turns out that there are some bosses who were not as nice and as trusting as Kristen is. Take a look at this recent survey -- 24 percent of managers think workers who take sick days often lie or exaggerate their illness. And one-third, this surprised me, often ask for medical notes as proof of illness. So Lulu, given that, as opposed to Kristen, should workers feel pressure to come in even if they're sick?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is the problem. I blame the bosses.

WALLACE: But we always blame the bosses.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, but look at that, look at what we've just seen. I mean, that is -- of course people are afraid, but have you ever sat at next to someone in their sputtering and they're expectorating everywhere, and it's disgusting. First of all -- yes. But I mean, it's disgusting first of all. I don't want to be near it. And then you're worried about being sick. And also, if the person is sick, are they really being as productive as they can? I mean, I think it's very shortsighted.

SWISHER: I'm sick usually now since I have toddlers from September to March or April kind of thing. And I just got my COVID booster finally. And I work from home so that I don't really have those issues, except for here. And I'm doing great.

WALLACE: I was going to say.


SWISHER: I am vaguely sick. That's what I would say.

But it's this idea, the fights that we had over the masks and everything else has to end. If people don't feel they should be able to stay home and not be assumed to be liars, and if they go into work, they should think very hard about the workers they might infect.

WALLACE: Well, I'm going to pick up on the issue of masking, because CDC guidance is still that after you get COVID, you should mask for 10 days after testing positive. But according to a poll last fall, 55 percent say they never wear a mask outside the home, while 45 percent do, quote, to some extent, whatever that means.

So John, whether its COVID or a bad cold, I guess the question I have is, should masking be, not mandatory, but should it be mainstream, that it's just the right thing to do, if you come into work and you're sneezing or coughing, let alone, you have COVID?

MCCORMACK: I think we need to show more common sense here. People, like Kristen said, people used to know if you have a fever, stay home. If you're sneezing and hacking in the first couple days, stay home, wait a few days. I think that masking, if you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. I don't think that you should shame people for not wearing a mask.

WALLACE: Should you shame them for wearing a mask?

MCCORMACK: No, because you know what, if you do that, you're going to be -- the one person you're going to end up shaming is someone who is going to into chemotherapy and their white blood cell counts are really low. So don't judge anybody. Just, let's all be a little more relaxed. Let's get back to our common scene and other common sense. The emergency is over. Let's go back to common sense.

SWISHER: In other countries, Asia, they were masked unilaterally when you're traveling there, and it's much more, people just do it when they're in public places. I don't think that's quite gotten here, although I have to say I see a lot more mask wearing regularly here. And I don't think all of them have COVID or have necessarily, but there's sort of, we've shifted over to what they do in Asia for sure, in Europe, there's more mask wearing. And people --

WALLACE: But beyond COVID, should there be masking? You know, you're feeling sick --

SWISHER: I think people just will. I think people just will. I think that's the way that trend is going. I do. I think people feel comfortable.

MCCORMACK: But no one is going to wear a mask for two weeks, I think. If kids can go back to school after 24 hours of no fever, I think it just too much to ask them to not wear a masking. And it also has actual harms where people can't -- learning disabilities of language, language.

WALLACE: OK, I'm going to go to one last aspect to that, and that is kids, because it turns out that more kids are missing more time in school than they were pre-pandemic. So Kristen, as a mother, and I think people will say a mother to be, where are you on your kids and they're going to school when they're sick?

ANDERSON: Well, so as somebody who grew up in Florida, things like the amount of colds in the weather, the way that it affects things here in the winter, it just seems, it's so different. But I do think that when and my kids are of age to go to school, if you have a fever or something gastrointestinal, of course, stay home. You do not want to be spreading that.

But I do think that asking a toddler to be home every time they have the sniffles means that they'd never be able to leave the house and their parents would never be able to get anything done. So I do think common sense, if it's not a fever or if it's not gastrointestinal, they send you home. They send you. I was just going to say, my kid came home the other day.

WALLACE: Lulu, I was fortunate enough to meet your lovely daughter just before the show. How sick does she have to be to stay home?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, she has to be at death's door. And I'll tell you why, because the other problem here is that there is no paid family leave in this country. My employer, let me just say, does have that. But many employers do not. And what does that mean for parents? What does that mean? It means that parents absolutely are stuck between a rock and a hard place, which means that they cannot get money that they need --

WALLACE: But Lulu, if she is not really sick, you're sending her to school.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So now I'm a bad parent. She's a good --


WALLACE: I'm just asking a question.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. No, I think listen, generally speaking, I think she would have to be pretty sick in order for me not to send her to school, also because of learning loss, but lots of different things. The main thing is don't infect other people, whether their children or adults.

WALLACE: All right, speaking of school, snow day isn't what it used to be for our kids or us.

Then, using your credit rating to score a hot day, our panel gives its yea or nay on both. That's next.



WALLACE: Once again, it's time to ask our group, yea or nay on some big talkers.

First up, while many tuned in to see Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl, another music superstar also made headlines. Beyonce appeared in a Verizon ad and released two songs from her new album titled "Act Two," which to the surprise of millions of her fans is a full fledge country album. Here's a taste of one cut called "Texas Hole 'Em".




WALLACE: There was a lot of rocking out here to her.


WALLACE: So Kara, will you be getting information to get Beyonce's new album?

SWISHER: I am so excited. I love that song, "Texas Hole 'Em" is great. The second song she released is great. She's a Texas gal. There's a lot of country, feelings, creole, all kinds of things that are music, Louisiana. So I am thrilled. I love her hat, the outfits. The entire thing is fantastic.

WALLACE: The country community has not always been as welcoming to black country artists, however. In fact, folks at one radio station in Oklahoma initially refused to play "Texas Hold 'Em" before changing their mind. Kristen, how do you think Beyonce will be received by the country music establishment?

ANDERSON: I hope more warmly than she was in 2016 when her amazing album, "Lemonade," came out, had a song on it called "Daddy Lessons." It is a pro Second Amendment song about fathers raising their daughters to be tough as nails. It is pure Texas. It's amazing. And the Grammys said we won't consider this for the country music category back in that year. I hope things have changed in eight years because Beyonce's country is amazing.

SWISHER: Also the BeyHive will have a word with that country station.

WALLACE: Next -- well, no, they flipped. Next, move over Tinder. There's a new dating app focused on finances. Score wants to attract singles with credit ratings of 675 or higher and hopes people will find love and financial stability.

John, are you yea or nay on finding out about somebody's money situation before you start dating?

MCCORMACK: Well, I'm a nay on this dating app, and I think I'm a nay on all dating apps. Now, I got lucky. I met my wife in 2010, so I missed the whole dating app scene by the skin of my teeth, but it just sounds brutal to be reducing people to all these superficial categories. We need -- we have a serious dearth of socializing in this country. "The Atlantic" had a great article this week saying that socializing America face-to-face has gone down by 30 percent in two decades. So get away from the dating apps, start meeting in person. More parties America.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because reducing people never happens there ever.

WALLACE: Lulu, I think of you as the romantic in this --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am. I'm glad you've recognized that.

WALLACE: Yes. So how were you on the idea of finding financial information out before you go out on a date?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it's depressing. I think it's super depressing. I happen to agree. In this sense, to be fair, nobody wants the surprise of someone's credit score being zero when you found the love of your life, because marriage is not only, and unions are not only romantic, but they also are financial. That said, I do think it's a little depressing. WALLACE: Finally, we all remember when a big snowfall -- this to me is depressing, when a big snowfall, then kids got to stay home and play outside. But during this week's storm across the northeast, New York City schools asked students to take classes remotely, prompting a major glitch when more than 900,000 kids tried to log on that morning. Kara, you're a techy, but you're also a mother of four.


WALLACE: So when it's a snow day, do you think it should be remote learning or in-person sledding?

SWISHER: Obviously sledding, but at the same time, not unlimited. I think the snow day is over because remote learning has sort of dawned. That said, remote learning didn't work well during the pandemic. Of the many things that work well, home delivery, all kinds of remote working, remote education was really problematic. That said, on just a snow day, I'm sorry, kids, snow days are over.

WALLACE: She's wrong. The answer is have fun, go out, play, get cold. And particularly with global warming, there aren't got to be that many more --

SWISHER: Then you can take my kids sledding on a weekday.

WALLACE: Up next, the cool technology that's making some people red- hot, sparking a backlash that's gone under the radar.



WALLACE: Under the radar this week, revenge against the robots. Take a look at this, a crowd attacking a self-driving taxi in San Francisco just a few days ago, spraying it with paint, smashing its windows, and setting it on fire. And there was a less aggressive protest, folks putting cones on driverless car's sensors to incapacitate them from moving. All part of a growing backlash against robo-taxis over safety concerns.

This week Waymo, the Google-owned company that operates the taxis, had to recall software after two of its cars hit the same truck. In October California suspended another company's license after one of its cars dragged a pedestrian down the street. Kristen, should people be afraid of driverless cars?


ANDERSON: I confess that, personally, I'd be really nervous to get in one. But at the same time, the people involved in many of those stories you just talked about do not seem to be the sanest, most rational people that I would feel comfortable getting in a car with. People are very irrational. People are distracted. People are dangerous. Getting in a car no matter who is operating is inherently dangerous. So -- WALLACE: And that's the point. It would be like Biden saying don't compare me to the almighty, just the alternative. Waymo and an insurance company analyzed seven million driverless miles in three cities, and they came up with these numbers. Take a look. Waymo's driverless taxis saw an 85 percent reduction in crashes resulting in injury over human drivers. So Kara, should we be torching driverless cars?

SWISHER: Obviously not. I guess I'm the only one here that's driven them a lot. I've driven all the versions of these things and I ride Waymo all the time in San Francisco.

WALLACE: You don't have any problems getting in the back of a cab and there's nobody in the front.

SWISHER: I have a problem getting in the back with a crazy Uber driver, too. No, I've had that happen. No, I think it is the way things are going to go. They will be less dangerous. Humans are usually the problem when it comes to cars. And its inevitability. They can burn a car as much as they want. They protested Google buses. there's still coming into San Francisco. This is the future is driverless cars. And they will get better as we get worse. That is just the way it's going to be.

WALLACE: A tech CEO bought $14 million to air two 30-second ads during the Super Bowl to go after the autopilot technology on Tesla. Here's a clip from one of those ads.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two months later, a self-driving Tesla blew past stopped school bus, putting a child on a ventilator with a fractured neck and broken leg. Still, Tesla does nothing.

Boycott Tesla to keep your kids safe.


WALLACE: So Lulu, are you with the protesters in San Francisco? Are you one of those folks, like Kara, who is going to get the car?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Neither. Is there a middle road here? I don't want to torch a car, and I don't also want to get into the back of one. I mean, this is a little bit like the luddites. I agree with Kara that this is the way things going, but I don't think that technology is there yet.

SWISHER: That's correct. Some of it is --

WALLACE: I know, but if you're getting in it, you can't say, well, it's not ready yet, but we're getting there.

SWISHER: It's complicated in this case, but they're much safer. I hate to agree with Elon Musk, but they're much safer.

WALLACE: Well, that's a news story, right there. SWISHER: Exactly.

WALLACE: The panel is back with their takes on hot stories and predictions for what will be in the news before it is new. That's right after the break.



WALLACE: It's time for our panel's special takes on what's happening or predictions of what we should be looking out for. So Kristen, hit me with your best shot.

ANDERSON: Well, Russia has been in the news a lot over the last week, and the story that I think flew a little bit under the radar is that Russia has now, a, it's alleged that they've used hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, which is really troubling because it means that our traditional missile defenses don't work. And second, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on Capitol Hill over new intelligence that there may be a threat of Russia wanting to shoot down satellites. Space, we have a Space Force thankfully now, they haven't really had to go into battle. I think this is all going to continue to shape our debate about things like aid to Ukraine and fighting Putin.

WALLACE: Lulu, you have your mind on politics today.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I know, surprisingly. Well, what got me thinking is this. We're so fixated on Donald Trump and on President Biden and the presidential race that I was very interested in the Senate race. And I'm very interested in Ohio and Sherrod Brown. Anytime you have a Democrat in a deep red ruby state, you know that there's going to be a lot of money he and a lot of focus. And right now, there are three people who are running to try and unseat him. And one of them is Bernie Moreno, one of them is Frank LaRose, and the other one is Matt Dolan. And one of these three, which is Moreno, has been supported by Donald Trump, and we've seen him surge. And I think it's going to be very interesting if he can -- is really the right person to try and take on the very popular Sherrod Brown.

WALLACE: John, best shot?

MCCORMACK: We learned this week that No Labels is running out of top- notch candidates who they might recruit to run for president on a third party independent ticket. We learned this week that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, said he's not going to do it. Last week, Larry Hogan, former governor of Maryland, said he's not going to do it. So where do they turn? I'm not quite sure, but I would keep an eye to see if they try and recruit Chris Christie.

WALLACE: Really?

MCCORMACK: I would keep my eye on that.

WALLACE: Although he said he's hellbent on not electing Donald Trump. MCCORMACK: He said that, but he said earlier than this month that he thought that if you get a strong Republican at the top of the ticket, maybe you could siphon votes away from Trump. So this is what Christie said publicly. I'm not sure if they'll actually make a play for him.

WALLACE: Kara, you seem to find analysts amusement in my tech illiteracy.


WALLACE: So hit me with your best show.

SWISHER: Well, this week, someone retired, Bart Andre, who you don't know about. You don't know the designers of all your beautiful products that you have from Apple. And Jony Ive obviously is the most important one, but this was part of a team. And he is one of the final ones of that team that designed all the beautiful things we've been using all these years. And it's a big, it's a big moment. These industrial designers deserve a lot of credit.

WALLACE: They reason this came off there, is because I have an iPhone 15, which I just got this week, and tell them what I traded in for it.

SWISHER: An iPhone six. When you said that to me, I was like, who has an iPhone Six? I was like, did you drive your Big Wheel bicycle up to the Apple store?

WALLACE: When you told the panel here that I had an iPhone Six, they all kind of recoiled in horror.

SWISHER: As they should. But this is a beautiful phone, and now you have spatial --

WALLACE: And I can thank Bart for it.

All right, gang, thank you all for being here. Thank you for spending part of your day with us. And we'll see you right back here with the iPhone 15 next week.