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The Chris Wallace Show

Former President Donald Trump To Sit As Defendant In Criminal Trial In New York Courtroom During Part Of Presidential Campaign Season; Donald Trump Comments On Arizona Supreme Court Upholding Law From 1864 Banning Nearly All Abortions; Media Companies Pressing President Biden And Donald Trump To Debate; Some Progressives Pushing To Replace Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Before November Election While Democrats Control Presidency And Senate; New York City Officials Approve $15 Congestion Toll For Drivers Entering Manhattan South Of Central Park; Costco Selling Gold Bars; App Replicates Social Media Experience Without User Going Onto Social Media Platforms; Women's College Basketball Championship Game Receives Record Viewership Numbers. Aired 10-11a ET.

Aired April 13, 2024 - 10:00   ET




CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again and welcome. It's time to break down the big stories with some smart people. Today, we're asking with Donald Trump's first criminal trial just two days away, will jurors hear more sleaze than substance.

Then the debate debate. Should news organizations porch for presidential debates given Trump's penchant for lies?

And fake friends, the new social media app giving you all the social media satisfaction without any of the actual social media.

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

Up first, Donald Trump is about to make history, becoming the first former president to sit as a defendant in a criminal trial. Jury selection begins Monday in a case involving hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, a trial that could carry major political and legal consequences for Trump, including possible jail time.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It's election interference by Biden.

WALLACE: Donald Trump set to face 34 felony counts in a Manhattan courtroom.

ALVIN BRAGG, (D) MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct. WALLACE: District Attorney Alvin Bragg accusing Trump are paying porn

star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter the two had a decade before.

TRUMP: We have drug dealers all over the place, but they go after Trump.

WALLACE: Some legal analysts have questioned the legitimacy of the charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of all the cases, this is the weakest one.

WALLACE: While perhaps weak in legal substance, the trial is sure to be rich in salacious tabloid detail about Trump's personal life.

STORMY DANIELS: Hi, everyone.

WALLACE: Including Daniels claim of an encounter she says happened months after Melania Trump gave birth to a son, Barron.

DANIELS: I came out of the bathroom to find myself cornered.

WALLACE: If convicted, Trump's sentence could range from probation to prison, and a guilty verdict could spell bad news for Trump in November with several polls showing Biden pulling ahead if Trump's convicted of a felony.

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


WALLACE: Joining me here, "New York Times" journalist and podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro, editor-in-chief of "The Dispatch," and columnist at "The L.A. Times" Jonah Goldberg, Nia-Malika Henderson, politics and policy columnist at "Bloomberg," and Eliana Johnson, editor-in-chief of "The Washington Free Beacon." Welcome everyone, especially Nia, who was a first timer.


WALLACE: The New York case is based on the argument the Trump falsified business records to cover up a crime. He claimed he was paying fixer Michael Cohen normal legal expenses. But it was allegedly a violation of election laws, hush money to Stormy Daniels during the campaign. Jonah, is this prosecution legitimate, especially raising it from a misdemeanor to a felony.

JONAH GOLDBERG, "THE DISPATCH": I think it's pretty sketchy. I really do. I think on the salacious stuff, the affairs, the cover up, all that, I think he is guilty. But I don't think any anybody but for -- other than Donald Trump would ever have this case brought against them. And there's something unseemly about having a prosecutor who basically campaigned and promised to go after a single man, bend, fold, mutilate, and twist the law to go after Donald Trump. And so is it legitimate? I mean, if it were illegitimate, the courts would throw it out as like you can't bring this. So it's legitimate in a very technical sense. I think it's a bad idea.

WALLACE: Nia, let me pick up on that. The feds considered this case before are dropping it. The D.A.'s predecessor considered this case before dropping it. So do you think this trial starting Monday is legit?

HENDERSON: Well, listen, it's certainly salacious, to Jonah's point. It's going to going to be, I think, hard to find a jury that takes it as seriously, I think, as the prosecutors want them to take it. It's kind of a complicated case, right? It's allegedly falsifying business records in advance of breaking campaign finance law. And obviously, if he's convicted on all of these counts, I think it's something I like 30, then there could be serious jail time. That's very doubtful.


I think in the minds of most voters, this is the most petty trial that he faces. There are more serious ones. January 6th --

WALLACE: But it's the one that we know is going to happen before the election.

HENDERSON: And it's going to be two months, and he's going to be trapped in a courtroom for that time.

WALLACE: So there are two aspects this trial, as we've laid out -- the strength of the legal case and all the stuff that will come out about Stormy Daniels, and also Karen McDougal, a "Playboy" model who Trump allegedly had an affair with and money was paid to.

Eliana, how badly do you think the combination of sleaze and a possible convection will hurt Trump?

ELIANA JOHNSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON": Well, they're two separate things. We are not learning about new sleaze in this case. There is nothing in this case were going to learn about Trump's character that is going to shock and scandalize the American public. Everything he does is public. We know everything about this, so I don't think that's going to move the needle.

And then on the matter of a conviction, maybe that moves the needle. And I actually, I think, Nia, there's more, a little bit more of a risk for him. I think he's going to face a very hostile jury in Manhattan that may actually convict him.

In terms of proving the case, I think that's a little bit harder because they're going to have to prove that Trump rather than some junior, some junior employee in Trump Tower who actually entered this in terms of like entered the business record, that he had control over how it was entered and in terms of the business records falsifying --

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, "NEW YORK TIMES" JOURNALIST: Can I just jump in just very briefly, though, and just say, I don't think that that's true. This is the whole thing that everyone always says about Trump. We're never going to learn anything new about him. We already know all the terrible things that he's done. What is this case actually going to do? Having him sit in a courtroom, even though this is not going to be televised, which I think was a mistake, but even so, it's going to get an enormous amount of scrutiny. He is going to be sitting in this courtroom when he should be campaigning. And that is what people are going to be hearing instead of his ideas for the country.

JOHNSON: Yes, that will hurt him. But I don't think there's anything -- like we're not learning anything new about what he did with Stormy Daniels that is --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But it's reminding people of how sordid truly, how sordid, truly, some of Trump really were.

HENDERSON: I think the chaos around Donald Trump that we've obviously seen while he was in office out of office, and I can make that kind of idea -- listen, some people say, well, listen is it's going to hurt him with any sector of voters, particularly the evangelicals? I would say no. They like him no matter what. They obviously all know about this possible dalliance that he had with a porn star. So in that aspect, I don't think it'll hurt them. But I think in general with voters, it won't help. Let's put it like that.

WALLACE: It certainly won't help.

Then there's abortion. Trump said this week that abortion should be left to the states, but less than 24 hours later, Arizona reinstated of 160-year-old law, banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother, and that had Trumped doing damage control.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: That'll be straightened out, and as you know, it's all about states' rights. That'll be straightened out, and I'm sure that the governor and everyone else are going to bring it back into reason and that will be taken care of, I think, very quickly.


WALLACE: Lulu, Trump reportedly thought that it was safer to take the states' rights argument rather than a lot of people thought he was going to do a national ban, but he was afraid, allegedly, that he would then own that. But given the fact of what happened in Arizona 24 hours later, is he off the hook on abortion?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, he's really not off the hook on abortion. In fact, that was the gift that kept on -- that is going to keep on giving throughout the campaign. I mean, the very fact that Arizona has now resurrected a law from the 1800s at a time when actually it wasn't even a state. This law was enacted by one white man back then, I mean, the whole thing is absolutely insane that women in this day and age are now held hostage by laws two centuries ago.

What I will also say is that no one believes at this point, I think, the Donald Trump, when he is an office, if he indeed becomes president, again, is not going to back whatever his supporters want to back. And there is a very big plan for there to be federal actions on things like the Comstock Act, which is another law from the 1800s.

WALLACE: Let me bring Jonah into this. And that's why I wonder about the wisdom of having decided to go the states' rights route. Won't he now have to answer for any restriction in any state? And there are a bunch of them.

GOLDBERG: Yes. Look, I'm actually very sympathetic to the states' rights argument, but I think he's -- I'm not running for president.


GOLDBERG: And so he has the problem of when abortion, when Arizona takes a very strong pro-life position, he has to condemn it, which is going to annoy pro-lifers. When another state --

WALLACE: Let me ask you something about that. You said states' rights, and then as soon as Arizona takes a position, he says, change it.

GOLDBERG: Right, so this is the dilemma that he's gotten himself into, as you say, is that he has to comment on every single thing that happens.


If there's a very pro-choice law that comes up, he's going to have to comment on that. If there's a very pro-life law that comes up, he's going to comment on that. So all he's done is create a cycle of constant new news pegs that talk about abortion. And that's the one thing he didn't want to talk about.

WALLACE: One thing Trump is very clear about, he wants to debate Joe Biden, and several news networks this week urged them to do it. But should Biden share the stage with his election-denying rival?

Also ahead, progressive push -- the liberal Supreme Court justice some on the left hope will step down.

And later a jump ball for the panel on women's college basketball will continue to surge post Caitlin Clark.

Are you a big Caitlin Clark fan?

HENDERSON: I'm a Carolina fan because I grew up in South Carolina.



WALLACE: For decades, live presidential debates have been a campaign highlight. Every TV network carries them. Both nominees make their case to the American people. But this year that tradition is up in the air as news organizations scramble to make sure they happen again.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The question is, the question is --

TRUMP: -- Supreme Court justice, radical left.

BIDEN: Will you shut up, man.

WALLACE: That moment four years ago, one of the 145 times Donald Trump interrupted during the first debate of 2020.

I think that the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I'm appealing to you, sir, to do that.

TRUMP: Well, and him to.

WALLACE: Well, frankly, you've been doing more interrupting.

A stark departure from the decorum of the first televised debate ever in 1960.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The things that Senator Kennedy has said, many of us can agree with.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think Mr. Nixon is an effective leader of his party.

WALLACE: Yet, despite the unseemly face-offs in the last cycle.

BIDEN: You're the worst president America has ever had.

WALLACE: Five major TV networks, including CNN, have drafted a letter urging both men to do it again, saying there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other.

On the trail, Trump is demanding a rematch.

TRUMP: I'm calling on crooked Joe to debate anytime, anyplace.

WALLACE: But Biden has been noncommittal.

BIDEN: It depends on his behavior.


WALLACE: Nia, given Trump's behavior back in the 2020 debate, which I remember very vividly, and his penchant for telling untruths, how do you feel about the news media pushing for debates?

HENDERSON: Well, listen, I mean, they have to, right? This is a tradition for news organizations to want to debate. There are lots of eyeballs that go into it. But I think we're trying to like graft normal political forums unto abnormal times and an abnormal candidate. Trump is a liar and he's a conspiracy theorist as well. And I think news organizations should consider, maybe, maybe there shouldn't be debates at this point given who Donald Trump is as a candidate.

WALLACE: Johan, what do you think of that argument, that the networks, by pushing for the debates, are trying to normalize, at least in one case, a candidate who has anything but normal?

GOLDBERG: I understand the argument. But it's not like -- it's not like he's not going to be able to inject conspiracy theories and craziness into the public discourse. He's the Republican nominee. He's the former president of the United States. He has lots of venues to be able to do that.

Look, I agree there's no substitute for presidential debates in the same way there's no substitute for a fight between a monkey and a hawk. I mean, there's nothing like it. It doesn't necessarily mean it actually adds a lot to civic discourse or understanding. But it's the job of political journalists to be in effect, as David Broder said, fight promoters. And this is just good box office. So it doesn't surprise me that the media wants it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It is good box office, but it is the time when most voters actually tune in. You see the numbers. People really do --

WALLACE: It's 70 million, 80 million people.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's 70 million, 80 million. What gets those numbers other than the Super Bowl anymore?

And this is the one -- yes, but this is the one moment where people really are going to be focusing on what these two people are saying. And yes, is Trump wrangle proof? Clearly not. I mean, look what happened to Chris. I mean, it's hard. But it is important that he actually sit and debate President Biden.

JOHNSON: I totally agree. We should be pushing for the debates. And the idea that like the news media has to weigh in to protect the American public from what Donald Trump has to say is what I think is --

WALLACE: Wait, wait, nobody is saying that we shouldn't air the debates if they happen. But I guess to take David Broder's line, and it's a good line. Should we be promoters, should we be egging them on and putting pressure on both sides?

JOHNSON: The media should be for the debates. Like, a clash between the candidates is good, more transparency, more visibility for the candidates is good. And you, if the debate hosts, people like us will have hours to dissect all of the lies they tell afterwards.

WALLACE: Let me pick up here though.

JOHNSON: -- it's dangerous for the public to hear what the candidates have to say.

WALLACE: Trump is clearly doing everything he can to taunt Biden into a debate. Here he is on the campaign trail recently.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You can see we have an empty podium right here to my right. You know what that is? That's for Joe Biden. I'm trying to get him to debate.


WALLACE: So Lulu, this is a different question. Should Biden debate Trump?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, OK, it's pretty rich, first of all, that Trump is now talking about this since he didn't debate anyone during the primaries. He avoided all of the primary debates. So that is, I think, pretty, pretty rich.


But I do think, I do think President Biden should debate former President Trump. I think it's what the country needs. I do think it's good that the media is pressing for this. It is not normalizing. I think there are certain things that need to happen. People are going to go to vote for these people. And I think listening to them on the stage --

WALLACE: But let me ask Eliana about that. This is a man, Donald Trump, who faces four criminal charges -- cases. This is a man who interfered with the peaceful transfer of power. I'm not talking about the media now. I'm talking about Biden. Why should the president of the United States engage and lend a platform to Donald Trump?

JOHNSON: Well, it's up to him.

WALLACE: I agree it's up to him. But do you think he should or not.

JOHNSON: President Biden can decide whether he wants to debate. Look, President Biden benefited from debating President Trump the last time. So if I were him -- he doesn't call me for advice that often, but if I were him, I would debate. President Trump came in way too hot the last time when he debated Biden. He didn't do that well. If I were Biden, I would not be afraid of a debate with Trump. I would, he's older and more doddering this time around, but Biden did fine the last time. Trump did not do well.

HENDERSON: Yes, I would say, no, if you're Biden, don't do it. It sort of put -- the reason that Trump didn't do it last time, because he didn't want to sort of elevate of the candidates who were on the stage.

JOHNSON: He's the Republican nominee. How much more elevated can you be?

HENDERSON: I would say Biden should do the same thing. And partly it's because, in a debate format, you can't fact check lies in the way that you could, say, for an interview if it's a one-on-one interview. There all sorts of ways that you can do this, back-to-back town holes or something like that. JOHNSON: It wasn't the lies that hurt Trump last time. It was his affect and his manner that I think he came out having damaged himself. I don't really think Biden --

HENDERSON: I think we're in a different time in terms of Trump's lies, in terms of the danger of Trump lies, in terms of the conspiracy theories. Like 2020 was post -- it was pre-January 6th, and it was pre big lie. And this is the era that we're in. So I just think --

JOHNSON: So Nia, let me ask you this, let me ask you this. So sorry, but Nia, let me just ask you this. I mean, Trump comes onto the podium, and do you think he's actually going to be persuading people? I mean, enough of this has been injected into the bloodstream that the people that believe it, believe it, and the people who don't, I don't think that him coming out talking about is going to change people's minds.

WALLACE: All right, I'm going to wrap this up. Jonah, one, will Biden debate Trump? And two, if he doesn't, how damaging will it be to him to duck him?

GOLDBERG: I think ultimately it all depends on how far ahead in the polls Biden gets. If he's pretty far ahead in the polls, he won't. If it's got to be a Hail Mary, he will. I think Biden has more to gain and more to lose. It's just a higher risk premium for him given people's uneasiness about his age.

But on this lying stuff, I don't know. It's not like Trump doesn't get out lies anyway, so you might as well let the American people hear them and adjudicate the matter.

JOHNSON: Also, Biden lies. Biden lies, too.

WALLACE: Up next, the gang will debate the new toll taking a bite out of your wallet just to drive into the Big Apple. Plus, the progressive push for a liberal Supreme Court justice to retire before the November election.



WALLACE: Now to a growing push by some on the left to replace a Supreme Court justice before the November election. Some progressive activists want Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who turns 70 in June and has diabetes, to step down So President Biden can nominate a younger liberal justice while Democrats still control the Senate. They fear another Ruth Bader Ginsburg scenario where the late justice chose not to retire before President Obama left office and died at the end of the Trump presidency, allowing conservatives to get to a six to three majority on the court.


MEHDI HASAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF AND CEO, ZETEO: Why would you want to repeat history? Why take the risk? You have Democratic president and a Democratic Senate, and you have a justice who is about to turn 70.


WALLACE: That concern is backed by polls showing Republicans likely taking back control of the Senate, which is in charge of confirming Supreme Court justices. So Lulu, should Justice Sotomayor resign before the election?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Absolutely not. I mean, she's the first Latina justice, first of all, so I think that would be an awful end to her legacy. And the second thing I would say is, I don't know, 70 is the new 50. I mean, why are we trying to push these people out, and what is the next step? We're going to put them in when they're 30 so that they can be there for 50 years? I mean, I just find this -- if you want term limits, then enact term limits. But trying to push out the justices early because of this whole race to get younger and younger I think is not the right --

WALLACE: But Eliana, progressives, and this is -- I'm not arguing for or against it, I'm just stating their argument, progressives have two things going for them right now. They have Joe Biden in the White House, and they have Democratic control of the Senate. Now, either or both of those things could change in November. And after that, there's a greater chance if something were to happen to Sonia Sotomayor that the conservative majority on the court gets even more lopsided. You're a conservative, so you'd like that, but can you understand the argument?


JOHNSON: Yes. Yes. I understand their argument, but I do find it rich that the same people who tell us that Joe Biden is a spring chicken at 81 years old are telling us that the 69-year-old Justice Sotomayor must step down, and they're like going through her medicine cabinet to see what diabetes medication she's on.

I mean, look, they're not telling her anything she doesn't know. I just, I find it sort of unseemly, particularly after what happened with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She knows how old she is. She knows what her health condition is. She can make the decision whether she wants to step down and have a Democratic Senate --

WALLACE: I was just about to get to the Ruth Bader Ginsburg scenario, because that's a case where she apparently assumed that Obama was going to be replaced by Hillary Clinton. And so her, whoever her replacement on the court was would be decided by a Democrat as well, and she miscalculated. I guess the question is, did Ruth Bader Ginsburg make a mistake staying on the court so long?

HENDERSON: I said, I think you can reverse engineer and maybe she steps down and you get somebody different in there. It's hard to know. You can't rewrite that. She was 87. She had like five cancers by the time she died. I think it's rich that Democrats, progressives, are trying to push out a Latina as they are struggling mightily with Latino voters. And so the idea that she should step down, I think, is ridiculous. But obviously, progressives in particular have nightmares about what happened because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

WALLACE: Let me just bring in Jonah.


WALLACE: I once asked conservative Justice Antonin Scalia whether he would consider who the president was who is going to replace him. Tragically, he didn't get to make that choice because he died suddenly. But he said to me, and I'll never forget, he said if I -- only a fool would not consider the fact that the justice who replaced them might spend their time undoing my life's work. He basically saying, I want a conservative justice to replace me and continue my legacy. So is it so crazy?

GOLDBERG: Yes, rarely have I been so torn by something I care about so little. I think the political arguments are interesting. I think it is kind of fascinating -- the age issue is part of it. I also think all the talk that, look, this panel is deeply enriched by having a wise Latina, but we were told that we needed Sonia Sotomayor because the court needed a wise Latina. Do we not need one on the court?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have two wise Latinas, by the way.

GOLDBERG: So is that the game they're going to be playing? The idea they're going to try and figure out how to do this, tearing apart the Senate, dominating news coverage about all of this stuff in the summer leading into a presidential election just seems to me like a massive waste of time and resources. But if they want to do it, sure.

As of the last point, real quick, the idea that the court is too political and so therefore we need to replace a justice solely because of a political calculation about the timing of an election is really kind of a self-own conceptually. And I just think it's kind of creepy.

WALLACE: One of the things that strikes me about all of this is how much it says about the Senate confirmation process, because I remember when I came to town, there was a deference that was paid to a president. And assuming that the person was qualified, it didn't matter what the Senate, if a Democratic president wanted to nominate the liberal, qualified justice, it was accepted. And the same the other.

Let me put this on the screen. The very conservative Antonin Scalia was confirmed by the Senate 98 to nothing. The very liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed 96 to three. Eliana. We talk about politics, what happened to the Senate confirmation process where now even the most qualified justice, there's going to be an all-out battle, and you're going to see maybe you have 55, 45 majority?

JOHNSON: Yes, it's very interesting. I think there were two pivot points in the way I look at it. One was the Bork confirmation in 1987 where he came forward and he was a totally open book.

WALLACE: This is Robert Bork, and he was a Ronald Reagan nominee.

JOHNSON: Appointee, and he was conservative. He was a totally open book about his judicial philosophy. And he was rejected in a, I believe it was 58-42. And that was the biggest, most lopsided rejection up to that point.

And then the other hinge point was the Clarence Thomas nomination, where things -- where it became highly personal and political. And now it's been downhill from there, where these are basically just Democrat versus Republican votes every time.

WALLACE: All right, there is a new social media app for people who don't like social media. We'll explain.

Plus, Costco is known for large quantities and low prices.


But now its biggest seller may be a tiny quantity at a very expensive price.


WALLACE: Once again, it's time to get our group's yea or nay on some big talkers. Up first, driving into the Big Apple is about to cost big bucks. New York City officials just approved a $15 congestion toll for drivers entering Manhattan south of Central Park in hopes of reducing the city's notorious gridlock.


The extra cash will go to mass transit to help improve the subway and buses systems. The new toll goes into effect in June. Eliana, are you a yay or nay on New York's new congestion toll?

JOHNSON: I mean, being a Virginia resident, I don't really care that much, but no, no. All these people fled the city during COVID. Are they trying to keep more people out? I don't really understand. No, no.



WALLACE: I'll put you down as a definite no.

Lulu, it already caused, and I didn't know this until we were looking at this subject, $15 about to go take one of the tunnels under the Hudson River to get into New York. Should you have to pay another $15 if you're going to go --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm a hard yea on this. I've seen this work in places like London. When you have cities where people are, there's a lot of demand. You need to thin out cars. This is good for the air, this is good for the city. And I think it's a hard yea.

WALLACE: Next, a new social media app that's not social at all. It's called Palmsy, and here's how it works. The app isn't connected to an actual social media network. Instead, it lives on your phone. No one sees what you post. But it scans your contact list and uses it to give you fake likes. That way you get the satisfaction of post popularity without actually having to interact with anyone.

Jonah, yea or nay on Palmsy.

GOLDBERG: I can't remember if I told you I was yea or nay, but I find it so unbelievably sad, I'm leaning towards -- I think it should be free to do it. But this reminds me of those like in Japan where you rent family members for a wedding because you have no friends and no family.

HENDERSON: It's so --

GOLDBERG: It's very, very sad to me. But I also don't think we should ban it.

WALLACE: Nia, I have to say, when someone on my staff brought those up as an idea for yea or nay, I thought they were making it up. But it's true. And Palmsy sells what it says is real likes -- or fake likes, rather, from real friends. So are you along for the ride?

HENDERSON: I am -- first on the name Palmsy. It sounds ridiculous. Handsy, I guess, was taken. It just sounds creepy and weird. So no, I think this is a ridiculous idea.

GOLDBERG: I'm not sure Handsy is better.


HENDERSON: I think Handsy is worse.

WALLACE: Well, but people might not understand what it meant.

Finally, Costco, which is known for its $1.50 hotdogs, is cashing in on an expensive shiny object. The big box stores started offering gold bars to its members late last year. Now by one estimate, Costco is selling as much as $200 million a month with an ounce going for about $2,000 bucks. So Eliana, are you yea or nay on buying gold along with your bulk purchase of toilet paper at Costco?

JOHNSON: Yes. I am yea. I own the gold ETF, so I want to diversify my gold holdings with bars, too. It can't just be Bob Menendez.


WALLACE: Lulu, it's interesting, because financial advisers say to diversify, and I can't imagine anything that would say more about financial diversification than buying gold at Costco.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So first of all, I was very hopeful when this came up that you were going to be like Oprah and start handing out gold bars to all of us. You have a gold bar, and you have a gold bar.

I'm a yea on this because I think would be really cool to own time, because apparently they're small, tiny little ounce gold bars. But they're $2,000 each. People tend to buy gold and times of financial distress, so this might be a reason why a lot of people are buying it. But they seem really cute too. I'm a yea.

WALLACE: Good paperweight as well.

Up next, the popularity spike of women's college basketball, will it continue to be a slam dunk?



WALLACE: Over/Under this week, the spike in the popularity of women's college basketball. Last Sunday the NCAA women's final between the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks and superstar Caitlin Clark's Iowa Hawkeyes broke viewing records with almost 19 million people tuning in, making it the most watched basketball game, men's or women, college or pro, in five years. Now that's a huge jump for the women's game, and 4 million more viewers that watched the men's championship game the following night. It also coincided with the rise of Caitlin Clark and her incredible record-breaking career. But Clark is turning pro, which raises the question, Eliana, will the surge in women's college basketball without Caitlin Clark, will it last or not?

JOHNSON: I do think it will last. I think it's been a long time in the making. I remember growing up watching the coach of the South Carolina team, Dawn Staley, play on the Olympic women's team. So to me, women's basketball is reaping what it has sown over many, many years. And while Caitlin Clark may not be playing, I look forward to watching a team she coaches. She'll be the coach 20 years from now, and there will be new stars to watch and cheer for.

WALLACE: By way of comparison, however, look at these numbers. Back in 2022 when Caitlin Clark wasn't playing, the women's final had an audience of 4.9 million people, while the men's final was viewed by 18.1 million.


So Nia, is the spike of interest in the women's game, or is it a Caitlin?

HENDERSON: I think it's both, right. Caitlin Clark, amazing to watch. She's got those logo-threes that she can heave just like somebody like Steph Curry. And so I think, sure, it had to do with her. But it also had to do with Dawn Staley, this amazing record down at Carolina, I'm from South Carolina, so I was watching and cheering on USC in that game.

I don't think it'll be to the level that we saw this year, primarily because this was this ongoing story. This was a storyline from last year because of LSU being in mix. Kim Mulkey is such a colorful coach. So there are all of these interesting characters, I think, in the women's game that last, right? They are in school much longer than the men are at this time because they go off into the pros. So I think it won't be as big next year, but I think we're going to see some growth.

WALLACE: But one area where there clearly is not equality is in the T.V. rights that networks pay to broadcast the games. Let me put this on this screen. The women's tournament this year earned $6.5 million in T.V. rights. The men's tournament this year earned $873 million.

Lulu, given the marketplace knows oftentimes, does that raise any doubts in your mind about the lasting popularity of women's college basketball?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No. It reminds me of how unequal women are paid, unequally women are paid. And I think it's outrageous. And I think they've gotten the women's sports cheap. And I think there needs to be some massive renegotiate, because it is outrageous that they get paid so little.

GOLDBERG: And that'll happen now that the ratings are up, right? I mean, that's the catalytic effect of this is that now that women's sports is more popular, it's more attractive to advertisers and it'll build over time.

WALLACE: And you think this lasts beyond Caitlin Clark?

GOLDBERG: Yes, I completely agree with Nia. I don't think it goes back to the status quo ante from before, but it's going to be long-term secular trend up.

WALLACE: Coming up, our own team looks to score some points with this week's best shots.

So you're a big Caitlin Clark fan?

HENDERSON: Well, yes, I think she's amazing yes. But I'm more of a USC --



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

WALLACE: So Marjorie Taylor Greene has been leading a push to oust, vacate the chair, get rid of Speaker Mike Johnson. I don't think it happens. I think he is the speaker of the House for as long as the Republicans have a majority. Then again, one car accident or something could end the Republican majority. But I think it fails because nobody wants the job and nobody -- and everyone who disliked Kevin McCarthy kind of likes Mike Johnson.

WALLACE: Nia, you're thinking about RFK Jr. and his third party run this week?

HENDERSON: That's right. RFK Jr. obviously getting a lot of scrutiny. He named his running mate a couple of weeks ago, Nicole Shanahan. He is essentially a nepo baby who is running on his father's name, running on his father's legacy, but he's also, his biggest donor is also Trump's biggest donor as well. So the idea of who he is in the race or sort of take votes away from, I think it's pretty clear based on who is funding his campaign.

WALLACE: So you can get it -- the interesting thing is, a lot of the stuff he's saying is more conservative. So I'm not sure that's going to work the way they want to get Biden.

HENDERSON: I think that's right. I mean, I think if you look at the polling, he takes a little bit more from Biden, maybe 60 percent, but he does take away from Trump, too. And I think if you're Democrats, you've got a whole campaign arm looking at trying to make those numbers effect Trump much more.

WALLACE: Eliana, best shot?

JOHNSON: Columbia University President Minouche Shafik will testify next week on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. My prediction is she will not sit there and hem and haw about whether calling for the genocide of Jews constitutes harassment on her campus. But I do suspect she will manage to step in it in a different way.

WALLACE: Which is?

JOHNSON: Remains to be seen.


JOHNSON: OK, can't predict --

WALLACE: It's certainly easier to not make the same mistake.

JOHNSON: My prediction is she will not make the same mistake, but I think she will make a different mistake given what has transpired on that campus.

WALLACE: Lulu, bring us home.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am focused on something that the Biden administration did this week, which was the expansion of background checks on guns sales, especially when we're talking about the loopholes, gun shows, and people selling guns out of their garages and backyards. I mean, 40 percent of illegal activity with guns can be traced to unregulated gun sales in this country. And so when we're talking about crime, which we often are in an election season, we are rarely talking about how these illegal gun sales actually --

WALLACE: Here's a question I have about this. I mean, we've been talking about the gun show loophole for decades, and people say, well, you've got to pass legislation. They don't pass legislation. Do you think the Biden administration has come up with some magic solution that nobody else thought of? Or do you think that they're just going to do this rule, and like other Biden rules, it ends up getting thrown out in court?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it is going to be contested, but I think it's very important that this actually get put into the agenda and that people start talking about it, because we have a gun problem in this country, and something has to be done about it. WALLACE: It's also a good campaign issue.


WALLACE: Gang, thank you all for being here.

And thank you for spending part of your day with us. And we'll see you right back here next week.