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The Chris Wallace Show

Judge Allows Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to Remain on Election Subversion Case against Former President Trump but Prosecutor Nathan Wade Resigns; Former Special Counsel Robert Hur Testifies to Congress on His Report about President Biden having Classified Documents in His Residence; Former President Trump's Praise of Dictators Examined. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 16, 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 we're asking, despite a judge's ruling to keep D.A. Fani Willis on the Donald Trump case, will the former president succeed in turning a legal loss into a calendar win.

Then ticked off. As angry TikTok users want video attacks on Congress, is the U.S. going too far against the popular social media app?

And where's Kate? The question everyone seems to be asking you after this week's royal photoshop scandal.

The panel is here and ready to go. So sit back, relax, and let's talk about up.

Up first, a major criminal case against Donald Trump after a judge in Atlanta ruled Friday District Attorney Fani Willis can prosecute her political interference case against the former president. But she'll do it without her lead prosecutor, Nathan Wade, who had to resign from the case. Trump and his co-defendants tried to disqualify Willis over her romantic relationship with Wade. And in the way only Trump can, he's now trying to turn a legal loss into a win.


WALLACE: Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis gets to stay on the case. But the Trump team has more ammunition to go after her.

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They will use this as they talk about whether or not the case has merit.

WALLACE: After the judge accused Willis of making bad choices and possibly lying about her relationship with Wade. Legal analysts say the controversy will likely delay the trial possibly past the November election. JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Now you have all these

missteps all along the way. There's no way this gets done before November.

WALLACE: Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Hur defending his report on Joe Biden's handling of classified documents, which didn't charge the president with a crime but accused him of having a poor memory.

ROBERT HUR, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: My assessment in the report was necessary and accurate and fair.

WALLACE: Lawmakers on both sides tried to score political points, but Hur pushed back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you find it the president was senile?

HUR: I did not. That conclusion does not appear in my report, Congressman.


HUR: I did not exonerate him. That word does not appear in the report.

JAYAPAL: I know that the term "willful retention" has --


WALLACE: Here with me today, podcast host and author of the bestseller "Burn Book," 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 editor in chief of "The Washington Free Beacon," Eliana Johnson. Eliana, welcome especially to you as a first timer on the show.


WALLACE: Obviously, this controversy has damaged Fani Willis and her case. But when this case gets to trial, whenever that ends up being, do you think the jury is going to care about the Willis scandal?

JOHNSON: That's a great question. The phrase that stuck with me today was Judge McAfee in this case said the odor of mendacity still hangs over Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, and it raised the question for me of whether her problems are over. This case almost surely will be kicked until after November. But the question is, he said there are reasonable questions about whether the D.A. testified untruthfully. If she did, that may be cause for disbarment. And that could be a real problem for her and the jury. The jury may take that into account.

WALLACE: Well, if she's been disbarred, I agree, that would be a big problem. Assuming that doesn't happen, though, Kara, we are months away from this trial. Eliana says maybe post November, that's not unrealistic. Then you have the trial, weeks of testimony about Trump allegedly interfering, trying to overturn the Georgia election. At that point, will a jury care about what we're all focused on right now.

KARA SWISHER, PODCAST HOST, "PIVOT" AND "ON": Not even slightly. I think it'll be forgotten and under the table. You see how fast news moves these days, and people will have forgotten it with the latest scandal, whatever it happens to be. And Trump is going to have a noisy campaign. And so he'll create lots of other noise. And so no, I don't. I think people will move on. They're very used to this kind of pace of scandal such as bad judgment on the part of this prosecutor. Absolutely. But unless she's disbarred, which no, probably not, it's going to move forward.

WALLACE: One thing that's so interesting, though, is that if Trump is playing for time, trying to delay the trials until after the election, it sure looks at this point like he's winning. Take a look at this timeline.


All four criminal trials for election interference, mishandling classified documents, and paying hush money have been pushed back. And now none of them, none of the four has a firm start date. Lulu, will Donald Trump face a trial before the November election?

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think I've said on this show that I never thought he was going to face trial before the election, and I'll say it again. And I think there have been missteps not only with Fani Willis but the case in New York and the hush money case, we've seen that delay happened because they didn't hand over documents that they should have handed over earlier.

WALLACE: Thousands, tens of thousands of documents.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tens of thousands of documents that they held onto to the very last minute. I mean, we've just seen legal snafu after legal snafu, which has just played into Trump's hands. He wants to delay this, and I think he will. I do not believe that the court system is going to hold Donald Trump accountable.

WALLACE: I mean, it's not just snafus. He's also playing the system very effectively in terms --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's always what he does.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: -- bringing up, he and the co-defendants bringing up this whole Fani Willis case. That just came out of the blue.

Reihan, do you think that Donald Trump will see the inside of a courtroom, not for a hearing, but an actual trial before the election.

REIHAN SALAM, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": My guess is that the New York hush money case is going to go to trial before the election. And I will also conjecture that Donald Trump is going to milk everything he can out of every hearing that happens. He's going to talk about the criminalization of political opposition in Biden's America. And I think it's going to be more of a of a benefit to him than a burden. WALLACE: When you say that, I mean, if these trials actually do take

place in a criminal trial, he has to be the r in the courtroom and not on the campaign trail. And what I was reading the other day is he'd be in the courtroom during the week and on the campaign trail on the weekends. Do you actually think that's a way -- not the normal way, but an effective way to run for president?

SALAM: This is a very unusual campaign season, and it's actually one in which Donald Trump not being the tight focus, but rather how Donald Trump is being treated is the focus could very much be to his benefit.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That works in the primary but not in a general election. I mean, right now, he is going to have to convince many people in America who are suspicious of him, that actually he is a president that they want to reelect. And I think that it is not going to help him to be embroiled in a legal case in New York over hush money paid to a porn star.

SALAM: That's if you believe that he wins by people affirmatively voting for him rather than voting against Biden.

JOHNSON: And we've talked about Trump's strategy, but we haven't talked about the Democrats and Biden's strategy, which I think is also succeeding. And it was to tie Donald Trump up with these legal cases so that he could not campaign successfully.

WALLACE: Whoa, whoa, wait, how can you say that that is Joe Biden? I mean, are you are you buying the argument that he got the Justice Department to bring these? Cases?

JOHNSON: Merrick Garland is a Democrat, many of the line prosecutors here are Democrats. Alvin Bragg is a democrat. Letitia James is a Democrat, and these people are publicly elected by Democrats. I do think --

SWISHER: You have zero, zero proof that they're doing it. A lot of people think Merrick Garland is actually helping the Republicans. There's just tons and tons of criticism.

JOHNSON: It was tremendously helpful in the primaries. And I think plenty of polling data shows that, the Trump leaped ahead of his opponents in the primaries. However, I do think it will hamstring him in a general when he can't campaign. That being said, Joe Biden isn't going to effectively campaign either.

WALLACE: I want to get to one more subject here. Special Counsel Robert Hur's testimony, this week before a House committee. At issue, Biden's mental competence, whether there's a legal distinction between how he and Trump handled classified documents, or whether the Justice Department had a double-standard. Reihan, who do you think Hur hurt more, Biden or the House Republicans who are trying to use him to get at Biden?

SALAM: I honestly think it was a bit of a wash. I think the person who came out looking best from this was Robert Hur. Robert Hur is a guy who is making millions of dollars in the private sector and is choosing to be a public servant. He behaved with absolute integrity. He was incredibly impressive. And on net, that might be a little bit damaging to Biden because the idea that he was some kind of wild-eyed partisan loon is so obviously false. But I don't think that Republicans in the House gained particular ground from those hearings either.

WALLACE: Kara, who do you think --

SWISHER: I think everyone looked like a clown, including Robert Hur. I think the whole thing looked so political and ridiculous and a waste of time. And I think people, again, will forget it. I kept looking at it and thinking, eh, like that kind of thing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you read the transcript, though, when you read the transcript of actually the interview with Biden that finally came out where you could actually see the exchange, I think it undercut the argument that he is mentally incapacitated, Biden.

SALAM: Which nobody said, to be clear.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I know, but that was the way that it was being perceived, that was the way it was being played. There were a lot of questions --

SALAM: By people trying to assassinate Robert Hur.

WALLACE: I will say this. He was a terrible witness. If I were his lawyer, he just kept talking and talking. He talked about some stuff --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's very garrulous. He's very garrulous.

WALLACE: And you know what a lawyer says, you don't get in trouble for anything you don't say.


While Donald Trump bristles at all his legal troubles, he seems to really like autocrats. So what's behind his bond with global bullies?

Also ahead, ban backlash, the impact a possible shutdown of TikTok could have on who becomes the next president.

And later, going green. We'll find out who on the panel follows Saint Patrick's Day traditions and who doesn't mind getting pinched.




WALLACE: Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail this weekend after officially clinching the Republican nomination just days after hosting Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban at Mar-a-Lago. Trump heaped praise on the autocrat who has cracked down on the press in his country, restricted LGBTQ rights, and opposes NATO support for Ukraine. It's not the first time Trump has praised Orban or other dictators around the world.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There's nobody that's better, smarter, or a better leader than Viktor Orban.

President Xi is a brilliant man.

Putin, very smart.

Kim Jong-un I have a good relationship. He's is a tough, smart guy.


WALLACE: Which got us to wondering, Kara, what's with Trump's affection for strongmen?

SWISHER: He's watched "Godfather" too many times. I don't know. He's just a bully and so he likes bullies. And he's not as good as it as they are, so he's cosplaying bullying. He likes that dictator --

WALLACE: Do you think he has ambitions himself or do you think he just is impressed by what they get away with?

SWISHER: Of course, he has ambitions himself, but he'll never be able to do it because he's not them. We'll see. Maybe he will, maybe he will. I don't know.

WALLACE: Reihan, how do you explain Trump's praise for dictators and apparent pride in getting along with them?

SALAM: I honestly think that Donald Trump thinks in itself as a deal maker, and he loves people who are willing to kiss the ring and willing to praise him. And people who are adversarial, he goes cold fast. So it's not just dictators. Shinzo Abe back when he was prime minister of Japan made a big show of currying favor with Donald Trump. He loved Shinzo Abe. Zelenskyy, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, of Ukraine is someone who actually Donald Trump does not in fact say negative things about because he thinks of Zelenskyy is someone who did not work hand- in-hand with the --

WALLACE: It's just a matter of a deal? Why do you think he's not bothered by the fact that they run an autocracy?

SALAM: Because he is someone who is really self-focused. If he thinks that he can cut a deal --

WALLACE: That's true.

SALAM: Yes, there you go. And if he thinks he can cut a deal with someone, he can woo them with his words, which is what he was always doing as a dealmaker, as a real estate mogul, that's his mental model.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is self-focused code for narcissism? JOHNSON: But Trump does fancy himself a strongman in certain ways. And

the difference between Trump and Xi and Putin is, one, the self- discipline factor. But two, that our system of government won't allow it. And I do think we have to look at the difference between words and actions here where Joe Biden has taken very maximalist rhetoric towards some of the -- towards some of these countries. Trump may have kissed up to some of these dictators rhetorically, but if you take Russia as an example, his policies actually were quite hard line.

WALLACE: Well, I going to pick up on that, because Trump says that getting a with Putin was a good thing, and notes that Putin didn't invade Ukraine on his watch. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are a nation that allowed Russia to devastate a country, Ukraine, killing hundreds of thousands of people. And it will only get worse. It would never have happened with me as your commander-in-chief, and for four long years, it didn't.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lulu, did Trump's Putin strategy, whether you like it or not, did it work?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I would say it is very difficult to know what was in Putin's mind about when he took the action that he did. But there is another argument that says that because Trump weakened NATO, it was actually ripe picking for Putin to push into Ukraine, because you had, in his view, a weakened NATO, you had a new president, and possibly the best chance that he would have had to push in and take over the country they always wanted.

WALLACE: But the fact is, Trump points out, quite correctly that Putin moved into Ukraine under Obama. Putin moved into Ukraine under Biden potent. Putin didn't move into Ukraine under Trump. So does Trump have a point.

JOHNSON: Russia has perpetrated two major acts of aggression in the past decade. Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, and Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. Those happened under Obama and under Joe Biden. Under Trump, he may think it's that he got along with Putin and said nice things. In reality, he pulled out of the INF treaty. He provided lethal aid to the Ukrainians. And those were on the ground deterrence that his predecessor and his successor did not do.

SALAM: So the key thing is to make sure that you can have conciliatory rhetoric, but it has to be a kind of iron fist with a velvet glove.


You have to have that other part where you have folks around you who are willing to be hawkish, willing to be tough. Trump had that in his first term. The question is, if he wins a second term, will that also be true? Because a lot of those foreign policy -- SWISHER: Come on, he looks like a puppet to Putin. And Putin loves

having Donald Trump in office.

SALAM: But it's absolutely the case of the Trump administration of ramped up the pressure on Putin during his first term.

SWISHER: That may be. But he was waiting for his chance to come in.

SALAM: And that happened to be when you have a feckless Joe Biden in office. I don't think that's a coincidence.

WALLACE: I just want to move to one other point here, and that is Trump's talk, speaking about his affection for strongmen, his talk about being a dictator on day one, weaponizing the Justice Department, suspending the Constitution. Lulu, seriously, do you think Trump's talk about dictators is just talk?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't think it's just talk. And the reason I know that it isn't just talk is because you see actually an entire apparatus around Donald Trump, especially for his second term, that lifts up people like Viktor Orban, that talks about Christian nationalism in terms that are honorific and saying that this is a model for America that they need to emulate. And that is, I think, deeply problematic. I don't know that the guardrails of democracy in this country are actually prepared for that.

WALLACE: Is it just talk, or do you see some movements towards authoritarianism in a second Trump term?

JOHNSON: Again, our system won't allow it. Trump, if it were up to him, he'd still be in office. He wouldn't have let Biden takes office on January 1st, but our system wouldn't allow it. There are a lot of things Trump would like to do. He says a lot of stupid things. Fortunately, thank God, and thanks to the founders, we have a system of government that will not allow him to do all of the things that he would like to do.

WALLACE: Donald Trump is also weighing in on TikTok as time ticks on the future of the popular app. That's next.

Plus, why the White House and potatoes haven't been this linked since Dan Quayle was vice president.



WALLACE: TikTok, the world's most popular social media app, is in danger of getting banned in the U.S. The House passed a bill this week which puts the platforms Chinese parent company on notice. And what happens next could affect the November election.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill is passed.

WALLACE: The clock is ticking on the future of TikTok. Dancing videos replaced with ticked off users.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't think for one second that TikTok getting banned is for our safety.

WALLACE: After the House passed a bill giving them platform's Chinese parent company with links to that country's Communist Party six months to sell the app or be banned from the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a significant national security risk.

WALLACE: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle worry China could use TikTok to influence the election, with 170 million Americans on the platform.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Our intention is for TikTok to continue to operate, but not under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

WALLACE: President Biden vowed last week to support the bill.


WALLACE: Even though his campaign joined the app just weeks ago.


BIDEN: Are you kidding? Biden.

WALLACE: While Donald Trump, who once tried to get rid of TikTok --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We may be banning TikTok.

WALLACE: -- has now changed his tune, pointing to how a ban could help other social media sites like Facebook and hurt kids.

TRUMP: There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.

WALLACE: As he hopes to woo young voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you really want to piss them all off by taking away their favorite app?


WALLACE: Kara, you were using a burner phone back in 2020 to use TikTok because you were so concerned about security issues?

SWISHER: I was, yes.

WALLACE: How do you feel about those push now, sell or be banned? And what about the constitutional issues of violating free speech?

SWISHER: That didn't have nothing to do with anything here. This there's a foreign adversary. They wouldn't be able to buy CNN, and they shouldn't. This is a broadcast network. First of all, by the way, it's not going away, Chris. I know you're worried because I know you're a huge TikTok fan. It is going to exist. Nothing is going away, nothing is going to be bought or --

WALLACE: How is it going to exist if they don't sell?

SWISHER: Because they'll figure something out by then. By the way, its six months from now. Maybe they'll have a buyer or whatever. But at some point something is going to happen with it. But it's not going away. It's a very popular app used by 170 million people, and globally enormous. So what's going to happen is its either going to get sold -- without the algorithm, by the way. The algorithm isn't going with it because the Chinese are not handing that algorithm over because it will prove what I think is probably the case, which is they use it the to manipulate, the Chinese government uses it to manipulate. So then they are buying the people, the people who use it, and the brand. And that might not help it very much because the magic of TikTok is that algorithm that gives you the things you like.

WALLACE: Lulu, how do you feel about this push in Congress, either sell it or it's going to be banned.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What I would say is, it is astonishing to me that Congress jumps to banning and doesn't actually try and do anything with regulation. We have not seen any regulation for any social media companies for privacy issues in this country. I mean, none of it. And I just find it kind of astonishing that they moved so quickly to ban TikTok when they haven't done anything to regulate the myriad other problems that happen on social media.


SWISHER: It should be broader. It should be broader. It should be about privacy. And there's a number of bills they could use.

WALLACE: But there are special issues with China's involvement with TikTok?

SWISHER: Absolutely. China, a foreign adversary. They've shouldn't have named it --

WALLACE: I want to talk about one of the other interesting aspects of this, Reihan. Why did Donald Trump flip on TikTok?

SALAM: Well, one argument is that there are some influential Republican donors who are invested in ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok. And

WALLACE: Jeff Yass, who is a huge Republican megadonor and has a multibillion-dollar stake in TikTok.

SALAM: It's also the case that Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump's loyal treasury secretary, someone who lasted through the whole first term, is actually putting together a consortium to purchase what could be a very valuable asset, that asset being TikTok. So I think that there are folks on both side of this for Donald Trump. And Donald Trump has not made this a litmus test issue. He's not

telling his allies in Congress, if you do not back me up on saying we're not going to pass this law against TikTok, your persona non grata. He seems himself a little bit ambivalent about it, and I actually do think that there's a case that he's trying to do something a little contrarian to maybe curry favor with younger voters. So I think there are lot of motivations at work.

SWISHER: Oh, come on, Reihan. It's money. It's money, it's money, it's money, it's money. That's really the situation here.

SALAM: I honestly doubt it, because there's money on both sides of this.

JOHNSON: Part of it also is that Trump hates Facebook. He's carrying a grudge against Facebook for accusing him of benefiting from Russian trolls promoting his campaign in 2016. And he believes, correctly, that any kind of ban or forced sale of TikTok would in the short-term benefit Facebook/Meta. And that's what he said very publicly.

But it also is true that the statement came on the heels of his meeting with Jeff Yass who is worth about $27 billion, $20 plus billion of which is tied up in ByteDance. And Trump is a transaction --

WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. You're saying that 20 of his $27 billion is tied up in this one company?

JOHNSON: That is true.

WALLACE: Does not understand diversification? Although having said that --

JOHNSON: He's doing well.

WALLACE: TikTok's stock is --

JOHNSON: Yes, it's a good bet.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on one more thing, and that's the politics of TikTok. Take a look at this poll. Last march, 50 percent supported a ban of TikTok. But as of October, that was down to 38 percent, and adults under 30 are the most opposed to a ban of TikTok. Kara, would a ban of TikTok, and Biden says he'd sign it, would it hurt him with younger voters in November?

SWISHER: No, because there's not going to be a ban. It's going to be there.

WALLACE: Can't you just go along with the argument?

SWISHER: I can't because it's not what's going to happen. It's not what's going to happen. Something will be resolved here, and people will be able to have their TikTok. It is not going away. It will continue to exist. It's worth far too much, both to the Chinese and to these American investors, of which there are many, for it to go anywhere.

JOHNSON: I agree with Kara, and by the way, I think the talk of a ban is part of the political argument in this. People are trying to scare young people. TikTok is trying to scare young people and activate them by saying this is going to be banned. And that is why you had hysterical teenagers calling their congressmen and threatening to commit suicide because TikTok --

SALAM: Which is a sign of dangerous --


WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. Go ahead, Reihan.

SALAM: But I do want to pick up on something Kara said before, that the algorithm is something that is so crucial the Chinese do not want to let go of. The cyberspace administration of China has full access to this algorithm. I think a better approach for Congress would have been to say, give us the same access to the algorithm that the cyberspace administration of China has, and do that for other --

WALLACE: I'm now going to take the position of Kara Swisher. That's not going to happen.


SWISHER: It can't happen because we can reverse engineer. And let me just say, one of the things people are arguing against it, I'm like, great. And then maybe they'll ban us in China. Oh, we're not in China. We're not allowed in China. Why do you think that is? Because they know we'd spy on them. And this is a huge opportunity for the Chinese government, not spying necessarily, but propaganda, all that, to use this platform.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm going to just say one thing, which is I actually think TikTok is terrible for children. It's terrible for teenagers. It's terrible for adults. All social media is, but TikTok in particular, what it's done is it has made our concentration so that you can't even finish a sentence. You can't even conceive of anything.

SWISHER: Have you been on Twitter lately?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, but I mean -- listen, when my daughter was using TikTok, it was astonishing. It was sort of like she couldn't hold onto a narrative anymore. She couldn't follow anything that had a character. It was just this endless, endless scrolling.

SWISHER: I'll come over.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And so I actually think it's very pernicious, regardless of the Chinese government, just what it's doing to our society. And that is why the Chinese version of TikTok doesn't exist in America.

WALLACE: Speaking of bans, there's a new push to peel away one of the most popular White House traditions. Plus, a whole new meaning to a picture is worth 1,000 words.


But why do we care so much?


WALLACE: Once again, it's time to get our group's yea or nay on some big talkers. First up, the annual celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, also known as St. Patrick's Day. Tomorrow, we'll see you all the traditions from turning the Chicago River green to consuming the meal of the day, corn beef, cabbage, and a pint of Guinness, to digging something of the appropriate color from your closet.


Speaking of which, Reihan, are you yea or nay on wearing something green for Saint Paddy's?

SALAM: I am a nay, because look, I think leprechauns need to do some pinching. It's just the way it's got to be. And I think that that's one day where it's unfair to be invisible to these poor leprechauns who get one day to rollick and frenzy and just pinch at will.

WALLACE: Wow, that's kind of --

SWISHER: I don't know what to say.

WALLACE: Lulu --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I agree with Reihan.

WALLACE: You wore pink for Valentine's Day, so of course you're going to wear green for Saint Paddy's.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I agree with Reihan. I absolutely will not. It's cultural appropriation.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have nothing to do with being Irish. And so therefore, I would never presume to take their culture.

WALLACE: All right, also tomorrow, the start of the big dance. March Madness kicks off with selection Sunday, when the highly-anticipated brackets are revealed and 68 schools around the country find out if they'll have a shot at the NCAA Basketball champion. Last year, an estimated 56 million Americans filled out as many as 100 million brackets. So Eliana, yay or nay, on filling out a bracket this week.

JOHNSON: My husband does my brackets, but I'm a huge fan of March Madness. I do not follow it during the year. Love basketball, though, because as tiny little Jewish girls have to dream.

WALLACE: So have you done well in office pools with your husband's brackets? JOHNSON: We always are like complete losers.


WALLACE: Complete losers? OK. You don't go to the --

JOHNSON: We were in Vegas for it last year. It was amazing.

WALLACE: Kara, estimates are that March Madness costs $17 billion in lost productivity because people are doing their brackets, people are watching the games on Thursdays and Fridays. I know you're not a sports fan. I know you don't do a bracket, but how do you feel about office pools at your workplace?

SWISHER: I don't have a workplace. I've been working remotely for 20 years.

WALLACE: I know, but you have a group of people that you work with.

SWISHER: I have to sell you this. I am the only lesbian in America who hates sports. But that said, I don't care.


SWISHER: I don't care. They can do what they want, and then I'm very productive and I make a lot of money.

WALLACE: Our final story is no yolk. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is urging the White House to replace eggs with, wait for it, potatoes at next month's annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. PETA wants an egg-ception (ph) to using factory farms and prefers supporting potato farmers, since that's the most popular veggie in the U.S. Lulu, are you yea or nay, on the spud suggestion?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, I am nay on the potato roll. It sounds like something I don't want to eat. And I believe that eggs are Easter, and the bunny brings the eggs. We don't understand why exactly because that's from a chicken, but whatever. I'm not exactly sure how it all came about. But I believe in eggs. It is part of Easter and the Easter bunny brings them, and kids keep the eggs.

WALLACE: Reihan, where are you on the White House Easter potato roll?

SALAM: I am violently opposed to this. The egg is the perfect food, rich in protein, delicious. You can scramble them, you can fry them, you can do anything. A potato, a potato is a carbohydrate bomb.

WALLACE: Between leprechauns and eggs, are you on something today?

SALAM: I have been pinched by a leprechaun, Chris. That might have been what happened.

WALLACE: All right, apparently, PETA does not come up with an egg- cellent (ph) idea.

Up next, perhaps the most overplayed story of the week, Kate-gate. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WALLACE: "Over/Under" this week, a story that's got people talking, some say, too much. We're talking about Kate-gate. Princess Catherine released a photo this week showing her with her three kids. It was supposed to prove she's doing well after recent surgery. But as everyone knows by now, the picture was manipulated, forcing the princess to apologize, which only fueled more speculation about her health and whereabouts. That's because Kate hasn't been seen in public since she had abdominal surgery back in January. So Kara, why do we care so much about Kate's photo?

SWISHER: Well, she's a public figure and you don't see her for so many months, and then they put out a fake photo. It's just making it worse. It just like, I am now a Kate truther at this point, and I'm not interested. And so I think what they do in this world where we have so much digital and social and everything else is just too much. It's just too much. And they've called the attention to themselves. They really have.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And she lied to the press. I mean, she lied to the press. It is a serious thing. She is the future queen of England. She's not just a celebrity. You can't have it both ways.

WALLACE: Yes, but just let me say, you go back over the history of the kings and queens of England, Henry VIII.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's the bar, Henry VIII? You're either going to chop off people's heads, your spouses' heads, or -- I mean, come on. This was -- I think this is a pretty egregious mistake if mistake it was. It seemed that it was deliberate. She was trying to mislead the press. And I actually think the scrutiny is deserved.


WALLACE: I was going to say, you don't think we're overplaying --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't actually think we're overplaying it. She has been the beneficiary of a lot of good will. Her sister-in-law has gotten a lot of criticism over the years for things that never even happened. And this is her deliberately manipulating the media, and I think it's -- I think the scrutiny is deserved.

WALLACE: Reihan, I have to confess. I am a royal watcher. I have been fascinated by this from William the Conqueror in 1066. Why do you think we're so fascinated by this story?

SALAM: Look, I mean, it's something that really hits people. Just a family crisis of this kind, this narrative that the royal family is never --

WALLACE: What do you mean it's a family crisis?

SALAM: Well, there's -- I think the rumor is, and Kara -- SWISHER: She manipulated the photo, right?

SALAM: Right. And that, honestly, I think actually, honestly, a lot of its sympathy, right. I mean, this is someone who has been through a lot, the family has been through a lot. And I think that it's not coming from a hateful place. I think it's coming from a place of concern for this person who a lot of people identify with, celebrate. A lot of ladies buy her outfits. I think that it's really coming from a place of compassion.

WALLACE: It really has sparked a lot of completely unfounded speculation about her health, the state of our marriage, what the surgery was. It's quite fascinating, isn't it? And she only made it worse with this photo?

JOHNSON: Yes, she did. I agree that she brought the attention on herself. I have to say, my level of interest in the royals is like totally basement level. And I hope she's in good health, and still prefer her to her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle.


WALLACE: I suppose I should ask. I have a feeling you're team Meghan.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, there's no question about that.

SWISHER: No question.

SALAM: Oh, my God.

JOHNSON: Over here, I remain team Kate.

SALAM: Speaking of narcissists.

JOHNSON: I remain team Kate.

WALLACE: The panelists back with their takes on hot stories and what will be in the news before its news. 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 Kara, hit me with your best shot.

SWISHER: OK. This Don Lemon firing by Elon Musk should -- it was a surprise to people. It shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. By the way, I called him the night before this interview and the night after and said he's going to fire you or get rid of you, which he didn't think so because it was an average interview. And so I think when it comes out, it's going to be a very fair interview. And it'll just seem weird that Elon reacted this way, Musk, that is.

WALLACE: As opposed to another Elon? OK, Eliana, you're focused on free speech on campus this week.

JOHNSON: I am. After student protesters overran an event last month featuring an former IDF soldier and Israeli lawyer, Ran Bar-Yoshafat.

WALLACE: And tell us what campus.

JOHNSON: The University of California, Berkeley, thank you. And the student attendees and the guest, Mr. Yoshafat, had to be evacuated. They broke windows, they physically harassed students. Mr. Yoshafat is returning to the Berkeley campus on Monday in an attempt to redo this event. Protests are planned. And last month after this happened, the chancellor of Berkeley said this was an attack on the fundamental principles of the university. So I'm watching to see, who runs this school? Is it the protesters, or are the adults in charge there?

WALLACE: Lulu, best shot?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I Want to talk about 16-year-old Nex Benedict, who died after allegedly being attacked in a bathroom because she -- because they were transgender. And what has come out this week is that they committed suicide. And what I believe needs to be looked at very much as the anti-transgender laws that have been enacted in places like Oklahoma, because it has created a climate where people like 16- year-old Nex Benedict are at risk.

WALLACE: Reihan, bring us home.

SALAM: I am going to go out on a limb here. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is announcing his running mate, his vice presidential pick, on March 26 in the Bay Area, not far from Cal Berkeley. Now, I think that that pick is going to be New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who happens to be a native of the Bay Area. And I think that he is not going to retire from the NFL. You are going to have an active NFL quarterback as the running mate for the most serious third-party presidential candidate since Ross Perot. This could be a really big deal.

WALLACE: So he's going to be a quarterback for the Jets with Secret Service protection on the field?


SALAM: I think he might take a few games off, and that's not going to be great for the Jets.

WALLACE: But no seriously, though. Wouldn't -- RFK Junior has actually gotten quite a lot of support for a third-party candidate. Doesn't that make it a joke if you have a quarterback who is, yes, he's well- known, no political experience whatsoever, and he's running the running mate?

SWISHER: Controversial.

SALAM: He's gotten a lot of support by being unconventional, by being someone who is leveraging celebrity culture. And I think that this is something that Donald Trump is going to have to think very hard about, because if you've got Kennedy and Rodgers as the ticket, there is going to be so much media attention on this, so much buzz --

WALLACE: Just quickly because we are running out of time. Are you serious about this? Because I find this preposterous.

SALAM: I think it's going to happen, and I think Kennedy thrives on people like us finding him preposterous.

SWISHER: Still not going to win the Super Bowl. Still not going to win the Super Bowl.

WALLACE: 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 next week.