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Laura Coates Live

Donald Trump Rebrands January 6 Rioters; Panel Discusses Donald Trump's Probation Interview; Trump Tells Christians: Democrats Are "Against Your Religion"; Secret Recording Of Justice Alito Sparks Controversy; Jury Deliberations Under Way In Hunter Biden Trial; Elon Musk Threatens Apple Over OpenAI Deal; WNBA Star Caitlin Clark Left Off Team USA Roster. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 10, 2024 - 23:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Do you think she'll ultimately be an alternate for the Olympic team?

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think she could be.


COSTAS: I think that's possible. And, you know, the concern that because she'd be a reserve and she wouldn't play that many minutes and, therefore, her fans would be up in arms, just put the point out there. Educate them. It would help the Olympics. Christine Brennan made the same point. More eyeballs. The Olympics draw a lot of eyeballs to begin with. But it's a global event. More eyeballs on those games. How can that be bad? Caitlin Clark is good for the league. She's good for everybody in the league.

PHILLIP: And she'll be good for the Olympics, too, perhaps --

COSTAS: If she gets there.

PHILLIP: -- if she gets there.

COSTAS: If not, she'll be there in four years.

PHILLIP: She will, eventually.

COSTAS: Yeah, absolutely.

PHILLIP: Bob Costas, thank you. Great to have you as always.

COSTAS: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And thank you for watching "NewsNight." "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump tries to rewrite the history of January 6th yet again, as he now rebrands those who stormed the Capitol. Plus, Trump's interview with his probation officer, what we're learning about his virtual sit down and what it might mean for his chances at sentencing. And new tonight, Elon Musk mad at Apple over their deal with OpenAI, the threat he's now making.

Good evening, I'm Jim Acosta, in for Laura Coates on this Monday night. For months, Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to January 6th rioters as hostages. There's obviously no truth to that. But Trump has spent much of his campaign constructing an alternate reality for his supporters so they can believe a different narrative when it comes to January 6th, one that paints the former president as the real victim of the 2020 race, the race he lost, the race he tried to overturn. But now Trump is road testing a new nickname for the people who attacked the Capitol.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those J6 warriors, they were warriors, but they were really more than anything else. They're victims of what happened. All they were doing is protesting a rigged election. That's what they were doing.


And then the police say, go in, go in, go in. What a setup that was. What a horrible, horrible thing. And, you know, that blows two ways.


ACOSTA: Warriors, he called them. A reality check: If anyone was a warrior that day, January 6th, it was the brave police officers who faced their wrath trying to defend the Capitol. People like my next guest, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, who was attacked and beaten as he tried to hold the line on January 6th. He's here with me tonight, and I'll speak with him in just a few moments. But Sergeant Gonell is not Donald Trump's view of a warrior. No. Instead, this apparently is.

People like Thomas Webster. There you see him in the red jacket. Prosecutors say he swung a metal flagpole at an officer before choking him with his chinstrap. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

People like Dominic Pezzola. Prosecutors said he used a riot shield, a police riot shield, to smash through one of the Capitol windows, allowing the mob to storm in. He, too, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his actions.

Now Trump is calling them warriors. Trump has openly mused about issuing pardons for January 6th defendants if he wins reelection. Advocating for their behalf has become a hallmark of his campaign. Trump isn't running from January 6th. In many ways, he's running on January 6th. As you heard in that sound a few moments ago, Trump said -- quote -- "What a setup that was. What a horrible thing. And, you know, that goes two ways. That goes two ways," he said.

Joining me now, former U.S. Capitol sergeant, Aquilino Gonell. He was -- he has been campaigning for President Biden in some swing states. He's also the author of "American Shield: The Immigrant Sergeant Who Defended Democracy." Sergeant Gonell, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it. I can't think of anybody better to join me tonight to talk about this. You've talked about January 6th, the injuries that you suffered, the surgeries that you had to go through. I've talked to you about this many times, physical therapy that you had to go through. You could have died that day.


ACOSTA: And when you hear Donald Trump call these rioters and insurrectionists, warriors, what do you think? What's your reaction?

GONELL: It's an impudence to the sacrifice of many of the officers who risk at all to defend those elected officials from the both parties. We were protecting both Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy same thing, same way we protected Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell and all the elected officials from both parties, regardless of our political views.

We were actually doing our job, and to hear those type of connotations coming from the former president is a desecration to the service of officers who valiantly and bravely defended the Capitol on that day.

ACOSTA: Yeah. I mean, Sergeant Gonell, you and I have talked about this.


I mean, one of the things that -- that worries me about January 6th is that people are just sort of erasing it from their memories. There's a lot of talk about, you know, whether we have Trump amnesia going on. It sounds like there's a little bit of Trump acceptance, a January 6th acceptance. What do you think is going on? Why do you think there are people who go out to these rallies and applaud and cheer when they hear him call people hostages and, in this case, warriors?

GONELL: I mean, it's -- these are the same people that claim to be supportive of police officers, but yet they don't see us, the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police, those of us who defend the Capitol and our democracy on that day as such. They see us as an impediment to what they set out themselves to do, which was overthrowing the will of the people on January 6th.

And, you know, part of -- part of that is the same people who we protected. They had sided with the talking points that the former president says, that nothing happened. If it did -- something did happen. It's not as bad as we say. But on January 6th, they were scared, so scared of the mob that they ran for their -- for their lives in fear. And that's unfortunate because --

ACOSTA: And he has talked about pardoning --


ACOSTA: -- some of these folks. All of them, I think, is basically what -- what do you think about that?

GONELL: I mean, it's -- it's very unfortunate. Again, we protected both parties the same. We were actually doing our job. And those people who are in jail right now have been convicted, have been processed through the court system. Some of them today were on trial and they were found guilty. In a later day, they're going to be sentenced. And some of the same people who assaulted me personally, I've gone to court multiple times, 23 so far, and two weeks ago, one of them got 14 years for assaulting multiple officers at the same time.

And these are the type of people that he says that he's going to pardon, you know, rising up, telling them they're hostages, political prisoners. And who are we, the officers, to them?

ACOSTA: Yeah. Well -- and I think one of the things that is really disturbing about him referring to these individuals as warriors is, you know, it's almost as -- it sounds like he's thinking he's sending these people into battle.

GONELL: Well --

ACOSTA: He is sending them off to war against fellow Americans.

GONELL: Exactly. And that's -- the other thing is, like, he says, I think, in the same statement that it was always set up. Well, who invoked them to be there at the Capitol in the first place? It wasn't Capitol Police. It wasn't Metropolitan Police. It wasn't the Sovereign Arms or anything like that.

January 6th would not have happened if he had not told those people in the middle of December of 2020 to be in the Capitol for January 6th. Because I worked in several transfer of power-situation -- I didn't even know that that was happening -- that event was the last point of certification. I didn't know that. And I doubt that majority of the people, the American people, knew that and all his followers knew that, until he said such thing to -- to bring him -- to invoke them to come here to the Capitol for January 6th.

ACOSTA: Well, Sergeant Gonell, we cannot ever thank you enough for your bravery, what you did on January 6th with your fellow officers, people like Mike Fanone, Harry Dunn. We've talked to them so many times over the years. I really appreciate what you did that day. Thank you so much. We can't forget. And I know, you and I were talking about this before the segment, you would like to see a plaque hanging in that tunnel at the Capitol that you and others defended that day just -- so there is this recognition.

GONELL: Correct. And this is something that was passed into law two years ago. Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, continued to hold that plaque approval in committee. And I want that plaque to be put in place for the next president, future president, so they could see how a group of officers, the name -- read the names of the officers who risked it all to preserve our democracy on that day.

And very shameful for them to continue to hold it up the same way that they say they claim to be supportive of the police. But yet another thing that happened was some of the police officers, the Capitol Police Union, put out a proposal to count some of the overtime service that they had done since January 6 to count towards their retirement. And the Republicans on the Senate, they blocked it.

ACOSTA: All right. We're going to continue to follow that as well. We'll stay on top of it. Sergeant Gonell, great to see you.

GONELL: Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: Thank you so much.

GONELL: Appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Today, Donald Trump cleared a hurdle on his way to being sentenced in New York City. He took part in a court mandated pre- sentencing interview with a probational officer.


Normally, they are done in person, but Trump attended it virtually from Florida. We're told it took less than 30 minutes. A source told us that Trump answered all of the questions. He was described as accommodating, respectful, and polite. That's according to that source. The probation department did not rule out the possibility of a follow-up meeting before his July 11th sentencing for falsifying business records.

And joining me now to talk about this, CNN legal commentator and former Trump attorney, Tim Parlatore, and former commissioner of New York City's Department of Probation, Martin Horn. Gentlemen, thanks for being with us late on this Monday night. Appreciate it. Martin, this was a bit of an unprecedented meeting today. Walk us through the kind of questions that the former president was likely asked.

MARTIN HORN, FORMER COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Well, he was, I'm sure, asked to give his version of the offense. He was confronted with the charge against him and asked for his side of the story. He was given an opportunity to put forth any mitigating factors that the judge should take into an account in imposing sentencing.

And I'm sure or at least he was supposed to have been asked about his family situation, his financial situation, his education, his employment history, whether or not he's had any physical or mental issues that would interfere with his ability to support himself. And I'm sure that he answered them in a way that was favorable to himself.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Tim, 30 minutes, that seems kind of brief. Why do you suppose that is?

TIM PARLATORE, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the New York State pre- sentence interviews are much less involved than the federal ones. And so, in particular, when you have a case like this where a defendant has been convicted after trial, but they do intend to appeal, they retain their Fifth Amendment rights through those appeals.

So, I have no doubt that his attorneys advised him, you know, don't answer any questions regarding the offense and probably told the probation officer, look, he's invoking his Fifth Amendment, you can skip that part of the interview and just go straight to family history and things like that. That really shortens the process.

ACOSTA: And Martin, how much will the judge, Judge Merchan, take all of this into account?

HORN: Hard to say. Certainly, this judge knows this defendant. It's rare in New York for there to be a situation where the defendant has been found guilty by a verdict at trial. Ninety-five percent of the findings of guilt are the result of a plea deal where the sentence has already been negotiated. So, this is relatively rare.

But again, there may be factors that a defendant would want to bring to the judge's attention that has not previously been known. And remember, this interview is confidential. So, it's an opportunity for the defendant to share with the judge mitigating factors that he or she might not want to share with the general public.

ACOSTA: And, you know, Tim, what about all the comments that Trump made outside the courtroom where he railed against the judge, blamed President Biden for the prosecution? Doesn't that get taken into consideration? And I have to ask you, you know, we hear from sources that Trump was described as polite and cooperative and that sort of thing. That doesn't sound like the Donald Trump that we saw outside the courtroom during the course of that trial. What do you make of that?

PARLATORE: Distinction there -- for one thing, when he's outside of the courtroom in front of the cameras, he is, you know, both defendant Trump but he's also candidate Trump. He's definitely, you know, playing it up for the purposes of the campaign, whereas he doesn't have to do that, you know, behind closed doors with a probation officer.

A lot of the things that he said, you know, during those press conferences, wouldn't be relevant at all to this interview. So, in fact, I'm sure that Todd Blanche said, you know, we're not answering any questions about his opinions about the judge or anything like that, let's just stick to, you know, his history.

And so, to the extent that they're asking him questions about his family history, his education, his business history, I think that that's something that he would be very, very calm and very accommodating on. So, I don't -- it doesn't surprise me at all, given kind of the narrow scope of what they would be talking about.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, Martin, Tim, thank you very much for your time tonight. Really appreciate it, gentlemen.

HORN: Good night (ph).

ACOSTA: All right. Just ahead, Donald Trump weaponizing religion. The former president speaks to evangelical Christians who want to outlaw abortion and claims Democrats are against their faith. Plus, the secret reporting raising new scrutiny for Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.



TRUMP: Now is the time for us to all pull together and to stand up for our values and for our freedoms. And you just can't vote Democrat. They're against religion. They're against your religion in particular. You cannot vote for Democrats, and you have to get out and vote.


ACOSTA: There's Donald Trump trying to rally the evangelical vote, delivering short pre-taped remarks to the Danbury Institute, a coalition of evangelical groups that staunchly oppose abortion. In fact, its website states they will not rest until abortion is eradicated.

Joining me now to talk about this, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and former Republican congressman Charlie Dent. Charlie, let me start with you first. I mean, Trump notably did not include any specifics on his abortion policy. That has been a bit of a moving target throughout this campaign. But he did say Democrats are -- quote -- "against your religion." What do you make of all that?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he has made similar comments in the past about Jewish Americans. Look, he's -- he seems to think that, I guess, Christians are monolithic on the issue of abortion, which they clearly are not. So, I guess I am not shocked by this statement.


But it's clearly completely misguided. I think it's -- it's terribly unfair to characterize all Democrats as being against religion -- religion. It's just an absurd statement. And -- but this is just another day that ends in why in the world of Donald Trump.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Maria, I mean, obviously, Trump has to go around. He has to try to jazz up these various constituencies in the Republican Party. Today, he's talking to evangelical voters, anti-abortion Republicans and so on. But at the same time, this cut both ways, because every time female voters out there hear this, suburban women voters hear this, I mean --


ACOSTA: -- that can't be -- that cannot be good in places like Pennsylvania and so on.

CARDONA: It's -- it's not good for Trump, not good for Republicans. It's good for the country --


-- because the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans, including Christians, are for the right for women to be able to make decisions about their own bodies and have -- the government have nothing to do with it. And that's what Donald Trump and Republicans don't understand.

I actually think Donald Trump does understand that because he has said before that this whole abortion issue is not good for Republicans. But he wants to have it both ways. He can't have it both ways. He brags that he was the one that is responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade, and he is because he put in the justices that made that happen.

And so, he's going to have to have that at his feet. He's going -- that's going to be an anchor around his neck and the neck of Republicans, the way it has been for the past several election cycles ever since Roe v. Wade. They got rid of it in last year.

And Democrats are going to continue to focus on this and make this front and center because women are riled up, they're pissed off, they're energized. It's not always going to be measured in the polls. We saw what happened in 2020.

ACOSTA: Some of it is directed at the Supreme Court. And we should note --


ACOSTA: -- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was secretly recorded on an audio tape by a progressive filmmaker posing as a religious conservative who asked him about healing political polarization and if it's a matter of -- quote -- "winning." This has been lighting up social media today. In case our viewers haven't seen this, let's listen to this. Let's see how Justice Alito responded.


SAMUEL ANTHONY ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): One side or the other is going to win. There can be a way of working -- a way of living together peacefully. But it's difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can't be compromised. They really can't be compromised. So, it's not we're going to split the difference.


ACOSTA: Yeah, I mean, Charlie, what do you think about that? I mean, he's -- he's basically saying we can't compromise. One -- one side or the other is going to win here. Is that -- is that how a Supreme Court justice should --

DENT: No. I mean, it would seem to me that Supreme Court justices, when they deliberate, they compromise all the time as -- as they should. And I think his -- his comments, you know, when contrasted to Chief Justice Roberts, are unmeasured.

You know, Roberts was very careful in how he responded to these types of leading questions. And Alito was just at the very least very sloppy in his answers. But I don't know that it revealed a lot other than the fact that, you know, Justice Alito has a very conservative viewpoint. I mean, that that came across. But he shouldn't be --


DENT: -- necessarily articulating it in the manner he just did.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Maria, this filmmaker, Lauren Windsor, we should know she's the one who went out and did this. She went on to say this to Justice Alito. We put it up on screen. "People in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that, to return our country to a place of godliness." To that, Justice Alito replied, "I agree with you. I agree with you."

Now, again, she was posing as somebody who was supportive of him. And -- but she was able to extract some very notable comments and pretty remarkable comments.

CARDONA: It is disturbing on so many levels because he is in a position. We already saw what he -- what he did. He was the one who wrote the -- the argument that got rid of Roe v. Wade. And he used in it some arcane 18th century law that essentially said that women should be subservient, that we don't have the ability to make these decisions. And what he just said to Ms. Windsor, I mean, it reminded me of, you know, I don't know if you all have watched or if the audience has watched "The Handmaid's Tale" --


CARDONA: -- that was Gilead --

ACOSTA: But --

CARDONA: -- he was describing. It's terrifying.

ACOSTA: There was one thing -- there was one thing I wanted to talk about and I don't want to jam the segment because there's other stuff I want to get to. But what's fascinating about this audio of Sam Alito is, you know -- and Charlie, you know these, you know, confirmation hearings that make headlines up on Capitol and the Senate when Supreme Court justices go through that process, they're so choreographed, they're so scripted.


You know, they're told what to say, what not to say. They're very careful in answering all these questions. And here we -- just like a few minutes of audio got probably more candor from Justice Alito than maybe we got during the confirmation process?

DENT: Yeah, I mean, I was just shocked by how unguarded he was.


DENT: Again, these -- you're right. You watch these confirmation hearings and they are so scripted. They are so careful not to say anything that might impact how they would have to rule on some matter before them. In this case, he just threw that all away. And I just thought he was just talking to a friendly audience here. I was surprised by the -- by the recording. But again --


DENT: -- he's gotten himself in trouble for a number of reasons now just because he's not careful.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Maria, I do want to ask you about this. There's new video tonight of Rudy Giuliani speaking at a Christian event at a church where he speaks in very derogatory terms about Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Let's listen to this.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Then I've got two prosecutors, Fani the hoe --




ACOSTA: I mean, you know --


ACOSTA: America's mayor, ladies and gentlemen.

CARDONA: That -- well --

ACOSTA: I mean --

CARDONA: Once upon a time.

ACOSTA: Yeah. I mean, it's almost unfortunate to even bring this up because, obviously, it's just a horrendous thing to say. But, I mean, it also speaks to what in the world has happened to Rudy Giuliani.

CARDONA: The fall from grace was fast and furious.


CARDONA: And it -- you know, talking to so many people who used to work with him and know him, they don't know who this person is. They don't know who that man is.

DENT: I've known this guy for over 25 years, and I don't --

CARDONA: They don't know that guy.

ACOSTA: We all lived through 9/11.

DENT: I don't -- I don't recognize him. It's sad. He -- this is a man who was he was pro-choice on abortion, he was pro-gay rights. But he got swept up in all this Trump stuff. And you just can't --

ACOSTA: Is it something about -- there's so many of them. They just feel like they have to slobber all over Donald. It's like -- it's --

CARDONA: It's cultish.

ACOSTA: It's cultish. But it's also kind of --

DENT: You want to be relevant.

ACOSTA: -- sad and pathetic, like kind of hanging on, kind of clingy.

DENT: I mean, he's getting older. You want to be relevant. You want to be in the conversation. And so, you go down this road.

ACOSTA: You don't want to just be the guy that goes to Denny's for the grand slam special. You want to still be invited to speak at events and stuff.

CARDONA: You kind of almost wonder if there's any sort of mental decline there because --


CARDONA: -- he had -- he commanded such respect --

DENT: Yeah.

CARDONA: -- at one point in his life. Is this all worth it now? Like, is this the legacy that he wants to leave his family --


CARDONA: -- you know, and the history books? Because he is now a laughingstock, and he will be. This is what he's going to be remembered for.


DENT: What -- what -- what a legacy. I mean, he had -- he had a good legacy.

ACOSTA: He had a legacy, yeah.

DENT: He had a good legacy going out and throw it all away just to be in Trump's good graces.

ACOSTA: Should have quit at Four Seasons Landscaping.


CARDONA: But, you know, to your point, Jim, he's not the only one. I've heard so many people say that the moment that they have come into Donald Trump's orbit, something happens to them. They leave their spines on the table, they leave their character behind, and they are there to just genuflect at the altar of Donald Trump.


CARDONA: And that is sad and it's pathetic.

ACOSTA: What Charlie is saying, it's just -- just to be relevant. It's just -- it's just --

DENT: But then there comes the exercise and reputational rehabilitation for many. Once they've done it, they've been there the whole time, and then they -- then they realize, well, you know, maybe I'm a little dirty and I can't wash it off. And now, they --


DENT: -- think -- then they try to, you know, make amends as best they can, you know, once -- once they're no longer -- no longer close to power.

ACOSTA: Yeah. That moment says more about Giuliani than Fani Willis.

CARDONA: Absolutely.

ACOSTA: Charlie, Maria, thank you very much.

CARDONA: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: Just ahead, a jury now deliberating the fate of Hunter Biden at his federal gun trial. And it was a dramatic day in court with one family member seen weeping. Someone who was inside the courtroom joins me next.



ACOSTA: Tomorrow morning, the jury in the Hunter Biden trial will begin day two of deliberations. They started briefly today after a lengthy closing argument. So long, in fact, that some folks in the courtroom say members of the jury appear to be nodding off during the defense's summation.

To remind you, Hunter Biden is accused of lying about his drug use when purchasing a gun. He faces three charges in all. Two charges are related to lying on a federal gun form and a third accusing Biden of possessing a gun while using or being addicted to drugs.

Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, saying the prosecution failed to prove that Hunter Biden was using drugs when he bought that gun, saying their case is both based on -- quote -- "suspicion and conjecture." But the prosecution says they don't have to prove drug use on a specific day, just that Biden was -- quote -- "actively engaged in drug use around the time of the gun purchase."

Back with me now, Tim Parlatore, a CNN legal commentator. Also, with me, Perry Stein, a reporter for "The Washington Post" who was in the courtroom today. Perry, let me start with you first. You were there. The prosecution focused on Hunter's drug use. The prosecutor, Leo Wise, saying someone who holds a crack pipe to their mouth every 15 minutes knows they're a drug user and a drug addict. The Biden family was apparently shaking their heads at that moment. Did you see how the jury was reacting to that moment? That's -- that's pretty rough.

PERRY STEIN, REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Right. I mean, the Biden family was there the whole entire trial. So, first lady was there almost every day. His sister, his wife, they were there most days. And I think throughout the trial, including on closings, they all had different reactions, sometimes strong reactions, right?


I mean, I think one thing that sticks out is whenever they played the voice of Hunter Biden reading his memoir, particularly at the beginning, you saw a real emotional reaction from some on the Biden family. And I think today, you know, they -- they went hard after -- the prosecutors went hard after his past drug use and used it in very vivid, brutal language, I'm sure, for the family to hear. So, there was reaction to that.

ACOSTA: Yeah. Tim, I mean, could some of this backfire? I mean, a lot of people have sympathy for folks who are battling drug addiction. And the prosecution kind of going after Hunter Biden on addiction in that way. Could it backfire with at least a couple of the jurors in a way that might not bode well for the prosecution?

PARLATORE: I think it can. I mean, it's something that we saw during the trial with jurors, you know, reacting to this. They have made him a sympathetic character, which is not something the prosecution normally wants to do. Something also that, you know, they -- they didn't really address so much during closing arguments, but I think that may affect the jurors is, if you hit him so hard on his drug use, do you undermine his ability to really think through and form the requisite criminal intent? So, I do think that that could be something that would backfire on them.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Perry, the prosecution during one moment pointed to the three rows in the courtroom taken by the Biden family, Biden supporters, including the first lady, saying that people sitting in the gallery are not evidence in the case. Do we know how that played with the jury? And -- I mean, obviously, I mean, that that goes without saying, but how did that go over in the courtroom?

STEIN: Yeah, I mean, we don't -- we don't know but, obviously, the fact that prosecutors did that to me suggests that they feel at least that having the first lady, right, the first lady, always a pretty popular figure, Joe Biden is a popular figure, so, they obviously were at least fearful of how that would play with the jury, right? This is a pretty remarkable thing. These -- the charges themselves aren't -- the case is not -- it's a gun case.

But the fact that you have the first lady, this man's mom sitting there every day of the trial, and it wasn't just her, I mean, this is a jury of people from Delaware, they had a Wilmington City council person, a very popular or from what I understand, a well-known pastor in Wilmington. So, there were lots of people that the jury could recognize.

And, you know, people do this all the time. Obviously, they're there for support for Hunter Biden. But, you know, I don't know what the family exactly was thinking. But lots of criminal defendants bring family with them, people that know them, to show that the jury that they are a loved, supported person and have people that really, you know, think they're good members -- good people.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Tim, I was wondering about -- I've been wondering about this -- the entire trial, whether or not the Biden family is trying to send the message to the jury, to the judge, to the courtroom. This is a personal matter. This is a Biden family matter. What did you make of the family being there and the first lady, I mean, being there throughout this case?

PARLATORE: I mean, it certainly is a lot more sympathetic than back when I used to represent wise guys with their families there.


PARLATORE: But, you know, I think it is on --

ACOSTA: On the Trump case. I mean, you saw some family members were there, some weren't.

PARLATORE: It is. And it's something that if the prosecution in this case is kind of on the underdogs politically with this jury, ordinarily, it's a defense, it's something you have to address. You have to acknowledge, hey, look, I recognize that there are these, you know, these passions and these things, but I'm asking you as the jury to get past that. So, I think that the prosecution was right to at least acknowledge it, but don't dwell on it. And I think that it is something that jurors look at. It's one of the reasons why you want to have the family there, if the family can be sympathetic.

ACOSTA: Right. All right. Tim, Perry, thanks very much. Really appreciate it. In the meantime, Elon Musk giving a big warning tonight, why he's threatening to ban Apple devices at his companies, next.



ACOSTA: A major dust up in the artificial intelligence arms race hours after one of the world's biggest tech companies joined the fray. Elon Musk is now threatening to ban Apple devices at his companies. Hours earlier, Apple announced a new slate of generative A.I. tools, what it's calling Apple Intelligence, and includes a smarter, souped-up Siri. But the thing Musk is really upset about, Apple's announcement of a partnership with Open A.I., the creator of ChatGPT.

Joining me now to untangle this, CNN media analyst Sara Fischer. I feel like, you know, like our parents and our grandparents still trying to figure out Facebook when we're talking about this stuff. No offense. But why is Elon Musk so upset about this? Is this a threat? Is that -- what's going on?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: It kind of is. So, Elon Musk just raised $6 billion for his own competitive A.I. company called xAI, and there's also some sore tensions and feelings because he was the co- founder of Open A.I. many years ago. He left in 2015, arguing that they weren't doing the best at safety and data protection. And so, you can see why he's going after Apple now for this partnership. But honestly, Jim, the whole thing just feels really petty.

ACOSTA: Yeah. Well, he can't own everything. But when it comes to safety and security, does allowing Open A.I. to integrate into the iPhone make the product less safe? I mean, we know Elon Musk has -- he has issued these warnings. He was up on Capitol Hill recently saying A.I. could lead to, you know, an extinction event or whatever. You know, we hear from folks who are concerned about this sort of thing.

FISCHER: You don't want to conflate two issues.


FISCHER: So, if we don't regulate A.I. at all, yes, it could lead to some really bad consequences.


But looking at this narrowly, about whether or not Apple partnering with Open A.I. is some existential privacy threat, is not the same thing as it being a long-term threat to humanity. Apple has rolled out so many different apps across its devices. It has rolled out different privacy features that you and I are used to. How many times have you clicked, ask app not to track me?


FISCHER: They have privacy measures in place. And the other thing to note, Jim, Apple works with millions of developers. Anytime you're downloading an app on an app store, that's a third-party developer that Apple allows on its platform. There are plenty of security measures in place to make sure that it's safe.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And we already have A.I. in our phones anyway. I mean, I was looking at Instagram recently and I noticed, okay, there's an A.I. function on Instagram. So, it's there. It's happening.

FISCHER: Part of the privacy, the privacy issue, too, Jim, is consumers have to be aware of what they're sharing. You know, Apple is going to protect your data from Open A.I. That's part of their promise here. But it's on you not to share anything that you think is so sensitive that you wouldn't want it to potentially be breached. Like don't put your credit card information in ChatGPT.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And Open A.I. deals with both Microsoft and Apple. I mean, Open A.I. seems to be kind of cornering the market here.

FISCHER: So interesting.

ACOSTA: What are the implications there?

FISCHER: So, Microsoft is a huge backer of Open A.I. They own 49% of it. And that means that Open A.I. will be the primary company that gets access to all of its products like LinkedIn, et cetera. Open A.I. is also taking the lead on striking deals with a bunch of I.P. holders. Think about news publishers, et cetera. They are competing up against Google and a few other companies. But really, Open A.I. has become the most recognizable name because their consumer facing app, ChatGPT, is so popular.

ACOSTA: And there has been a lot of talk. Well, you know, Apple needs to make the iPhone sexy again. It needs to make it cool again. It's sort of become like an appendage. We're all used to having the iPhone with us. Does A.I. do this? Does it get in the neighborhood of doing that, making the iPhone more interesting?

FISCHER: It helps. I mean, if you think about it in the U.S., Jim, the vast majority of people use Apple IOS devices. But abroad, that's not the case. So, what they need to do is make sure that their phone is the best smartphone out there in the market so that they can expand their dominance globally.

And then the other thing is Apple is making more and more money off of services. So, like payments that you get from iTunes or from buying extra Cloud storage or advertising, because hardware sales have leveled off. And so, if they're investing in A.I., they're hoping you're going to spend more time with the app. They can eventually serve you more ads in all of their different functions and they can upcharge you that way.

ACOSTA: The thing with Apple is and I -- you know, I figured this out. This is why I still have the iPhone 12, is because I got the screen protector, I got the case, I don't break it anymore. So, I'm not getting new iPhones every six months like I used to.


ACOSTA: That might be affecting things. They want to work on that, make them more breakable.

FISCHER: Yes, exactly. But this is how they're going to hook you, right? If they can get you to buy and transact more on the old phone that you have, that's money for them.

ACOSTA: All right. Very good. Sara Fisher, thanks very much. I'll go back to my trying to figure out Facebook with my reading glasses on here. All right, no, just kidding. Sara, thanks a lot.

FISCHER: Thank you.

ACOSTA: WNBA star Caitlin Clark left. Have you heard about this? I'm -- I'm actually -- I might go off a little bit in this next segment. It's getting late. The EP told me we can say anything during this hour. This may happen in the next segment. She was left off the U.S. roster for the Paris Olympics. My next guest says it's one of the worst decisions she has seen in 40 years of covering the games. I agree. And we'll talk about this in just a few moments. We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: In just 46 days -- look at this right now. You're looking live at Paris, 5:52 a.m. The sun just breaking there behind the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful morning there in Paris. The eyes of the sports world will shine on the city of lights for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. But one name will noticeably be absent from the roster, WNBA rookie sensation Caitlin Clark. Instead, a dozen veterans will take the floor as Team USA goes for its eighth straight Olympic gold medal. Reports indicate Clark could be an alternate. But for now, she has been left -- left off the team. Her reaction to the situation? Humility. Take a listen.


CAITLIN CLARK, INDIANA FEVER GUARD: Honestly, no disappointment. Like, I think it just gives you something -- something to work for. You know, that's a dream. You know, hopefully, one day, I can be there. And I think it's just a little more motivation. You remember that. And, you know, hopefully, in four years, when four years comes back around, you know, I can be there.


ACOSTA: But her omission was snubbed, depending on how you see it, has ignited debate in the sports world.


STEPHEN A. SMITH, HOST, "FIRST TAKE": This is about what I will -- what I will personally label the idiocy of Team USA women's basketball. How dare you make this decision? It's stupid.


ACOSTA: Stephen A. Smith there. even the ex-account of the republican House Judiciary Committee posted -- quote -- "Caitlin Clark should be on the Olympic team." CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" columnist Christine Brennan broke this news over the weekend. It was a blockbuster. She joins me now. Christine, great reporting as always.


ACOSTA: Okay, I was saying before the break, and I was told by the -- I believe I was told by the executive producer on my show that I could -- on this show that I can give my opinion on this, and I'm going to give my opinion. This stinks.


ACOSTA: This sucks. I'm sorry, but Caitlin Clark should be on this team. And I'm sorry if I'm just, you know --


ACOSTA: -- taking a side here, but I am.

BRENNAN: Jim, you're not alone. There are millions of people who agree with you. Caitlin Clark is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, athlete in the country, male or female, any sport. And this was an opportunity for USA Basketball to really grow the women's game.


And I can speak as someone who has been to 10 summer Olympics, going all the way back to 1984 when I started in kindergarten.


BRENNAN: And I've covered women's basketball at every Olympics. And you know what you see in the press tribune at the gold medal game for the U.S. women's basketball team? Tumbleweeds. Most of the male sports writers, they don't want anything to do with the women's basketball team. They want to cover the men or people are covering other events. You bring Caitlin Clark to Paris and the eyeballs of the entire world are on her.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

BRENNAN: The media coverage, you're going to have reporters from all over wanting to come and see this American sensation, even if she only played four or five, six minutes a game. And all the other players would have gotten publicity in the process, the headlines that they so richly deserve.

ACOSTA: So why was she left off the team?

BRENNAN: I'm still reporting that. I've talked to people --

ACOSTA: Because what we've seen in the WNBA so far, it has been a chilly reception for Caitlin Clark --


ACOSTA: -- with some of the other players. Might that have something to do with it.

BRENNAN: It could. It could. I reported -- I have two sources, actually now a third, who confirmed for me that part of the conversation in the calculation of whether, you know, to put her on the team or not was, and this shocked the living daylights out of me, Jim, was that there was concern that if you put her on the team and she only gets a few minutes of playing time, her millions of fans back in the United States and radio shows and whatever would create controversy about this.


BRENNAN: Now, I laughed when I first heard that. I thought that cannot be something that's being discussed.

ACOSTA: Can we say -- can we say B.S.? Can I say it -- can I say it at this hour?

BRENNAN: How about -- how about say --

ACOSTA: It's late enough, we should be able to say, that is bullshit.

BRENNAN: How about --

ACOSTA: That is -- I'm sorry. They're not going to ask me to fill in for Laura again. That is bullshit.

BRENNAN: How about --

ACOSTA: The reason --

BRENNAN: -- it's seventh grade going on fourth grade?

ACOSTA: Okay. The reason why she is so special, and we all saw this when she was out there on the -- on the court, she can heave that three-point shot from so far. I mean, it's just unbelievable, what she can do. And the passes -- I mean, you and I have talked about this. What she does on the court is -- is remarkable.

BRENNAN: It's the high wire act at the circus.


BRENNAN: You watch her bring the ball down --


BRENNAN: -- the logo three. Rebounding may be more important, but you've got five or six people down there throwing elbows. And I'm a tall woman. I was the one under the basket.


BRENNAN: But for the uninitiated fan, people who are just coming to basketball, which is, by the way, millions and millions of people to watch her, they don't necessarily know that, but they can keep their eye on her, the singular figure down the court, heaving that three, the beautiful passes, and it is just great fun to watch. And as I said, it is that kind of trapeze act, and that's the entertainment value that the WNBA and USA Basketball -- I'm not so sure that that -- they're thinking about the team and about who has been there before and --

ACOSTA: You don't want to mess up the cohesiveness in the locker room and all of that.

BRENNAN: And I understand that. But this is a once in a lifetime for women's sports growing the game. Think of the number.

ACOSTA: There are also other great players.

BRENNAN: Well, that would get the attention.

ACOSTA: Fabulous players.

BRENNAN: That they have never gotten it, as I was saying earlier. How about the 22 USA jersey? How many would have been sold in Africa, in Europe, in Asia? The money that could have been made for youth development programs for getting more girls in the game? Women's sports needed this desperately and it's just a huge missed opportunity.

ACOSTA: And, Christine, the other thing that I wanted to say about this when I saw Caitlin Clark's comments, the way she handled this class act, she's handling it perfectly, which I have to think is probably irritating the living daylights of whoever is mad at her right now.


ACOSTA: And is taking this out on her.

BRENNAN: She's 22 going on 40. The weight of the world. Dawn Staley said -- took the microphone at the women's final game --


BRENNAN: -- and said, you know, you've been shouldering the burden for our league. Women's sports, we have never seen anyone quite like this. I mean, going back probably to Billie Jean King, she's bigger than the 1999 Women's World Cup. And, you know, the big winner in all this at the end of the day, Caitlin Clark.


BRENNAN: The way she's handling it, the sympathy, the support that she has. But again, just -- you think of what could have been in Paris.

ACOSTA: And the thing that I worry about, and maybe you can tell me because you know this better than -- than I would know, I have started to worry about Caitlin Clark a little bit, that we're going to get into one of these situations where we see these athletes and there's just so much piled on top of them because of the spotlight, because of the pressure. It can cause problems. And we've seen this.

BRENNAN: We've talked about mental health of athletes --


BRENNAN: -- from Naomi Osaka to Michael Phelps, you know, and on it goes. Caitlin Clark has a confidence about her that is very much in keeping with someone born in 2002, getting full blast title nine.


BRENNAN: She is also so comfortable inside her skin, so composed. I met her for the first time on Friday, interviewed her for the first time, and I was even more impressed than I had been from watching from afar. ACOSTA: Do you think there's any chances, we're running out of time, that they reverse this decision? I think we should predict. I won't put words in your mouth. I think they're going to reverse this decision.

BRENNAN: Well, they're announcing it tomorrow and -- and I don't think they'll do it then.


She would be an alternate. And there could be injuries. In fact, one of the guards is injured right now. And that could be a situation to keep an eye on because you're right, there is such an outcry. I don't think USA basketball, I know for a fact, having interviewed these people --


BRENNAN: -- they had no idea, the national outrage that they were going to unleash.

ACOSTA: There's outrage.

BRENNAN: And that is --

ACOSTA: I'm outraged.

BRENNAN: I can tell.


ACOSTA: Well, Christine, great reporting, as always. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And thanks for putting up with me at this late hour. It gets a little saltier as the hours go on. Thanks very much for watching. I'll see you tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. I might be a little early then, too, right here on CNN. "Anderson Cooper 360" is next. Have a good night.