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Laura Coates Live

U.S. Supreme Court Again Did Not Release A Decision In Immunity Case; Judge Cannon Rejected Suggestions To Step Aside; Biden And Trump Prepare For First Presidential Debate; New Audio Reveals Trump Saying He "Lost The Election"; Weight Loss Drugs Could Transform Economy; Birmingham Honors Willie Mays At Rickwood Field. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 20, 2024 - 23:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm Jim Acosta, in for Laura Coates on this Thursday night. The justice system is -- quote -- "rigged" against him, Donald Trump says. He claims it's being weaponized in some massive conspiracy to keep him from winning re- election.

There's no evidence of that, of course, but put it aside for a minute and just consider the reality of the moment. Today, the United States Supreme Court once again did not release a decision in the immunity case. That's the case in which Trump is arguing he is shielded from any prosecution because he was once president. His appeal and the court's slow consideration of it has led to a significant delay, which favors Donald Trump.

Now, the court could rule on it tomorrow or until next week, perhaps even later. But either way, the delay is now so significant that Jack Smith's election interference case possibly, maybe likely, will not head to trial before November.

And then there's the stalled classified documents case out of Florida, which Trump stands accused of mishandling the nation's secrets. No trial date in sight there either. And in fact, tomorrow, the Trump- appointed judge in the case, Judge Aileen Cannon, is going to hold a hearing on whether the special counsel, Jack Smith, was legally appointed, again leading to a delay in Trump's favor.

Now, Cannon has been widely criticized for slow walking the case from the beginning. Her harshest critics have said she's too inexperienced, perhaps biased, and never should have taken the case in the first place.

Tonight, we're learning it's not just her critics who question her, but her very own colleagues. "The New York Times" reports that two federal judges in South Florida privately urged Cannon to decline the case when it was assigned to her last year. The "Times" reports one judge called to suggest that the case should be handled by someone closer to Miami, where the grand jury sat and where a secure facility already exists to review classified information. When that didn't work, the chief judge in the Southern District of Florida reportedly called Cannon and suggested she step down because of -- quot -- "bad optics from her actions in the criminal investigation long before there was an indictment." The judge was referring to Cannon's 2022 decision to allow a special master to review the documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago, a decision that was widely considered unusual. Does that sound like a weaponized system, unfairly targeting Donald Trump?

Joining us now, former deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman and former Miami-Dade County judge Jeff Swartz. Gentlemen -- Judge Schwartz, let me start with you first. You know the chief judge, Cecilia Altonaga, who appealed to Cannon to not take the case. How often does this kind of thing happen? It sounds very unusual and it ultimately did not work, it sounds like.

JEFF SWARTZ, FORMER FLORIDA JUDGE: It's not unusual in the context that chief judges have this tendency to kind of baby new judges, especially very young ones, to make sure they don't get in over their head, make -- make major mistakes that they will have to live down.

I know Cecilia Altonaga. I worked with her on the state court bench. She's a very serious and very judicious person. She did not become the chief judge of the Southern District of Florida by happenstance or because it was her turn. She's there because she's good at what she's doing. And I'm sure that her suggestion was made, as it has been said, but said in such a way that there's no way that Aileen Cannon or Aileen Cannon did not realize what she was being told.

She was being told, you really need to let this one go, you need to let me appoint somebody else to hear the case, especially in the Southern District of Florida where there are innumerable people who have done national security cases that would have had this case over with before the first of this year. So, I think she was --


SWARTZ: They're disturbed down there at what's happening. I can tell you that right now.

ACOSTA: Fascinating. Harry, what do you make of these arguments these judges used to try to persuade or to decline the case? One judge saying there was no SCIF, no secure facility at her courthouse to review the classified material. The chief judge saying it would be bad optics. I mean, that -- that's all -- that's not good.


HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is not good. And the first one, Jim, I actually take as a kind of a soft peddling. Here's a nice neutral reason. They did have to build a SCIF for millions of dollars, and they might have thought that would have succeeded.

To me, that second call, I agree with Judge Swartz about the relationship with the chief judge. Generally, indeed, a chief judge is as close as a judge gets to -- to your boss, the chief judge, that you want to really have good relations with. When that second call came and the chief judge said flat out optics, you really -- Judge Cannon, this is optics and that affects the entire court, not to mention the 11th Circuit, that was unvarnished.

And I think it was extraordinary that she ignored it and basically decided, including how she has proceeded to administer the case, not use the magistrate very much and other kind of misadventures that she's not thinking as almost any new judge would be about building good rapport with her colleagues and especially the chief. She's betting on another course.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And judge, tomorrow, Cannon is set to hear arguments on dismissing the charges against Trump on the grounds that the special counsel, Jack Smith, was improperly appointed. People have been raising questions as to why this is even being heard because, again, getting back to what we were talking about at the top of the program, this notion that the system has been weaponized against Donald Trump, here's another opportunity for yet another delay.

SWARTZ: Uh-hmm. First of all, this motion has been tried as far back as I can remember and has never been successful. They did find a small hole in the original independent counsel law that was in place during the Nixon years. And so, they put it now under the Department of Justice. So, these special counsels are employees of the Department of Justice. They are supervised by the attorney general. It comes out of the Department of Justice budget.

Those were the problems that they saw. And they solved the problem under Article III of the Constitution, I think it's Section II, that really talks about how people have the right to make appointments of other judges that are authorized by Congress.


SWARTZ: And -- and it deals with the attorney general's office, too. This -- this particular motion has been denied over and over and over again --

ACOSTA: Right.

SWARTZ: -- to the point where all she had to do was look at Judge Chutkan's order from just a year ago and say, I'm going to do what she did, and she just couldn't do it.

ACOSTA: Yeah. I mean, Harry, it looks like both of these, the January 6 case and the documents case, unless there's something really wild happens, we're not going to see those cases happen before the election.

LITMAN: I think that's right. First, the immunity case that everyone is waiting for might well eventuate in a remand based on what the court says, and that would blow it out of the water. And this case, just as Judge Swartz said, we have delay after delay.

She has done something else. It's not whatever it is. It's a straightforward question of law. She tomorrow has made an evidentiary hearing. God knows what evidence she wants to take. And she has invited, unprecedented, she has invited friends of the court to come in and make argument to them in favor of President Trump. That is certainly a recipe for delay. However, she does have this gag order coming up and they pressed on that.

ACOSTA: Right.

LITMAN: If she doesn't rule there because it's somewhat exigent, there may be an occasion to take her to the 11th Circuit. And one thing reading between the lines in this "New York Times" article, everybody, including the 11th Circuit, would love to get her out if they have a chance.


LITMAN: If it were to happen quickly, could the trial still go on? Maybe, but it's really tight already.

ACOSTA: Yeah. I have to go, but there's the prospect if she's removed from the case, the other judge has to come in. That slows everything down. I mean, the new judge is not going to get -- this is not the people's court. A new judge doesn't step -- there's not Judge Judy, does not step in and say, oh, we're doing this next week and we'll decide the case in a day.


LITMAN: Right.

ACOSTA: If only Judge Walker could step in. All right, guys, thanks very much.


Let's continue this conversation with CNN reporter Alayna Treene, former special assistant to President Biden, Meghan Hays, and former National Republican Senatorial Committee aide, Liam Donovan.

Alayna, let me go to you first. You know, when I talk to -- you talk to the Trump folks a lot more than I do, but when I talk to them, they're pretty confident these -- these federal cases are not going to happen before the election.



TREENE: They have been very encouraged by the slow walking that we've seen happen and the delays that continuing to be carried down, particularly in this case. Now, it's interesting, and I was sharing this with Meghan and Liam before, that when you talk to Donald Trump's political advisers, they really want to stay away from this.

[23:10:04] You know, their whole joke last year was subpoena free 2023. They recognize that they do not want to be wading into any of the legal problems so that they could potentially become their own. However, with -- especially with this case and talking about Judge Cannon, you see Donald Trump attack all of the judges, specifically the ones in his federal cases and obviously, viciously, has gone after Special Counsel Jack Smith. He has not really attacked Judge Cannon. So that's one thing I would point your attention to. The other thing is --

ACOSTA: Attacked just about everybody else.

TREENE: Exactly.

ACOSTA: Not Judge Cannon.

TREENE: But not Judge Cannon.

ACOSTA: She's the one, yeah.

TREENE: And, of course, Donald Trump's lawyers, when I talk to them, are they like that she is dragging this out a bit, that she's -- you know, she's delaying things. She's creating more hearings. But at the same time, I've also heard that even they can get frustrated. It seems like attorneys on both sides of this case have been frustrated with some of the ways that she does things. She asks them to refile things. They have to be perfect.


TREENE: If there's a mistake, you have to refile. She's having these hearings like tomorrow in Fort Pierce, the hour-long hearing. She's, you know, adding things to the schedule that even Donald Trump's attorneys, I know, haven't --


TREENE: -- necessarily been happy with.

ACOSTA: So, I mean, Liam, tomorrow -- I mean, tonight, we're learning Steve Bannon is closer to going to prison on July 1st for contempt of Congress after an appeals court rejected his appeal. His last chance is with the Supreme Court. It comes as the former president has reposted an article elevating a threat made by Bannon going after Andrew McCabe. Here's that threat and McCabe's response tonight on CNN. Let's listen to this.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST (voice-over): And McCabe, you should be worried. You should be very worried. But also understand this, brother: We have extradition treaties with virtually every country in the world. And you go ahead and run and run as far as you want. We're going to come and get you.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: So to have the person who aspires to the highest seat, the highest role, the highest job in the land, to start picking out people like me or anyone else and targeting them for revenge, unleashing the rage of their supporters in however that's played out, it's outrageous and it's just heartbreaking that that's where we are as a nation.


ACOSTA: You know, Liam, we're talking about Trump's claim that the Department of Justice is being weaponized against him and so on. What Steve Bannon is talking about is if Donald Trump gets into office, they're going to use the Justice Department to hunt down Andrew McCabe.



DONOVAN: -- sort of creating a pretext that, you know, whatever they're sort of saying is done here will be sort of come back, you know, twofold on the other end. There's some level of projection, but there's some level of laying the predicate for be able to wheel the power of the Justice Department going forward. So, I mean, that's certainly not encouraging in terms of where things stand to be headed. But this isn't really surprising. This is kind of par for the course. And, you know, I think this is a, you know, what we're -- what we're looking for ahead here.


MEGHAN HAYS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think that the longer that Bannon and Trump are able to continue to comment on this just reminds people how chaotic President Trump, you know, was when he was in office. I think that it will turn off these swing voters that they need to win the election in November.

So, if they want to keep having this divisive language, that's -- it's not going to benefit them in the end. I do agree with you that it is just weaponizing the justice system and creating that chaos. But it's just reminding people that he is a -- the former president is very chaotic and will have a presidency like that.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And let's show this this new Fox News poll. Ninety -- is this right? Ninety-four percent of voters say Trump's hush money trial conviction did not lead them to reconsider who they will support for president. Ninety-four percent. Liam, what do you think of that?

DONOVAN: I mean, it's not -- I mean, we know who these guys are, especially with this case in terms of the conviction. We spent the last year and a half hearing about how this was -- of all the cases, this was the bad case, this was the weak case, this was the one that you shouldn't put much stock in. So, to have that one be the one that comes out, people kind of baked this in.


DONOVAN: People have their opinions on this man for better or for worse.

ACOSTA: Meghan, it makes me wonder, you know, if you didn't have the Supreme Court taking, you know, forever in a day to decide on this immunity case, and Judge Chutkan's case could go forward to trial, and if the documents case could go to trial before the election, that number would be -- you would have to think that that number would be different if there were convictions of Donald Trump in the January 6th case and/or the documents case.

HAYS: Yeah, absolutely, the number would probably be different.


HAYS: But this is a national poll. This is going to come down to six states, probably 40 to 50,000 people.


HAYS: So, these polls, like, where they are great, we can't live and die by the polls in favor of Joe Biden or not in favor of Joe Biden, and Biden for me, but it's -- so I just think that we need to just take them with a grain of salt and understand that, to your point, that they -- we have an opinion baked in.

ACOSTA: You know, Alayna, I mean, they know this, too, inside the Trump campaign.

TREENE: They do.

ACOSTA: And numbers would be different. I mean, they knew the hush money trial was -- if there were -- any of the trials, that was the one that they wanted.

TREENE: It was. I mean, granted, they also recognized that it was very embarrassing for Donald Trump, particularly with the witnesses like Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, who they heard from.


ACOSTA: True. Yeah.

TREENE: But yes, you're completely right. I mean, when they looked at this case out of all of the cases, they did want this to go first because they thought, to your point, Liam, that this was kind of the most -- that most Americans thought was kind of didn't make sense. And why are you charging a president or a former president on something like this so close to an election?

I'll also say, just talking about the poll, when I talk to voters on the ground, and specifically I normally go to Trump rallies, so that's the group of supporters, his fiercest supporters that I'm talking to, but they -- even when I talk to Democrats, it is similar to the poll in the sense that they say, we don't really understand this case, we don't know why it's happening, it does seem, you know, that there's so many cases against him. And, of course, from Trump supporters, you can understand they're -- they're very against what's happening with Donald Trump and all of his legal battles. But --


TREENE: -- it does kind of -- the numbers do reflect what I'm hearing.

ACOSTA: All right. Interesting. Guys, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

Just ahead, a warning from political commentator Van Jones, who told me earlier today it will be -- quote -- "panic in the party if Biden does not perform well at the debate." Is Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna worried? I'll ask him next. There he is. Be right back.




VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If Biden goes out there and messes up, it's game over. If he -- if he walks out there and a week later he's lower in the polls, it's panic in the party.


ACOSTA: That's CNN political commentator Van Jones revealing just how high he sees the stakes for President Biden when he debates Donald Trump a week from tonight right here on CNN. Biden won a coin toss and chose to stand on the right side of the TV screen. As a result, Trump will deliver the last closing statement. Tonight, Biden answering how debate prep is going with a familiar gesture.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Mr. President, how is debate prep going?


ACOSTA: Okay. Glad it was a thumbs up. He's at Camp David right now with a tight circle of advisers going over briefing binders, honing attack lines, and bracing for what Trump will likely throw at him. The Trump team says it's exchanging traditional debate prep for policy sessions with potential VP picks while working on reining in his rhetoric.

Trump also playing the expectations game and changing his tune on what to expect from President Biden.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He beat Paul Ryan years ago. But he beat Paul Ryan pretty badly. I assume he's going to be somebody that will be a worthy debater. Yeah, I would say.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna from California. Congressman, sounds like somebody on Trump's team got to him and said, you need to stop saying that Biden is wandering around and not making sense because you have to debate him next week. You can't keep lowering expectations. But what do you think of what Van Jones had to say, that if the president does not do well next week, it's game over? Do you agree with that?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, first of all, I think reality is dawning on Donald Trump. He didn't just beat Paul Ryan, he defeated in two debates Donald Trump last time. And now that the debate is becoming more real, that is something that has dawned on the Trump team. I also think that the president has the best debate prep person in the nation, and that's Ron Klain, so he's going to be extremely well prepared for his debate.

And look, these campaigns are marathon. So what Van Jones said, you know, obviously, we're all hoping that he has a good debate, but no one debate, no one speech is a make or break moment in a long presidential campaign.

ACOSTA: So, if he has a bad night next Thursday, you don't think there are going to be some in your party who are going to think, okay, what do we do now?

KHANNA: If he sneezes the wrong way, there's some in my party who say, what are we going to do now?


But they're not the winners. I mean, Joe Biden didn't become president of the United States by fretting every time he had a bad night. He's one of the most resilient human beings in the country. I mean, he overcame the loss of his wife, he overcame the loss of his son, he overcame two presidential losses, and he had the resilience and the grit and the character to lead this nation. That's what's going to prevail. Someone who thinks I have a bad debate, I'm not going to compete, doesn't deserve to run for president, let alone be president.

ACOSTA: And I do want to ask you. A new Fox News poll shows there's no clear leader in the race. But among independents, Biden is now leading Trump by nine points. What explains that shift? What does Biden need to do to build on that? Might some of this have to do with the felony conviction?

KHANNA: I thought it was a very encouraging Fox poll. It's the first time it showed the president in the lead. It shows that he is building momentum, and the independents are going to decide this election.

Why the numbers moved so dramatically in the president's direction? I don't think there's a clear explanation, though I do think it could be partly the conviction, it could be as the race gets more and more serious.

People are saying, do we really want to have Donald Trump represent the United States of America around the world? And so, there is momentum, clearly, with the president, but he's going to have to run through the tape. It's going to be a close election, a hard-fought election.

ACOSTA: And I don't know if you've heard this, congressman, but Trump has been saying nonstop that Biden is slipping, incompetent. And all of a sudden, Trump is now saying, along with some of his allies, that the president may be using enhancements or drugs or even cocaine. It's kind of hard to follow what they're saying. But listen to what Trump and Sean Hannity have said this week.


TRUMP: He's going to be so pumped up. He's going to be pumped up. You know all that stuff that was missing about a month ago from the White House?


What happened?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I think the Joe Biden we see on debate night is going to be the guy that we saw at the State of the Union. He's going to be all hyped up, you know, hyper-caffeinated.


ACOSTA: Yeah, I mean, when you hear that -- I mean, obviously, we've reached the point now where folks can just -- I mean, people just say anything now.


Obviously, the former president does that. People on Fox do that. What's your response when you hear that sort of thing?

KHANNA: It's really sad that this country has devolved into those kinds of personal attacks. It used to be that you debated the issues. Yes, people would swing a punch above the belt, but you never had personal attacks of this kind.

And the reason that you have these personal attacks is people are waking up to realize that Joe Biden rises to the occasion, that he has actually been an extraordinarily skilled debater in his entire career, that he delivers when the pressure is on, and that a lot of the charges against him, accusing him of losing his mental faculty, have just been total misinformation.

They're going to see Joe Biden in command of the stage on debate night. That reality is now about to happen.

ACOSTA: And just very quickly, I know you've said recently that the president needs to work on winning back young voters. You have a progress report on that. How do you think that's going?

KHANNA: He's making progress. When we're talking about abortion rights in the battleground states, that is something that resonates with young voters. He has called for a permanent ceasefire and given a compelling speech about how we're going to try to end the war. That is resonating with young voters. And we've got a team of surrogates who's out there who's inspiring folks. I do believe young people will come out.

And the president's going to win this election. He's going to have a good night. But no one night is going to be key. He's just going to run hard. We all have to run hard through the election day to make sure that he wins.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.

KHANNA: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: And Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderate next Thursday's debate live from Atlanta beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern and streaming on Max.

Just ahead, new audio of Trump retelling a story that suggests he knew he lost the 2020 election. If you have not heard that audio, you're going to want to stay tuned for this. The author he spoke to who has this audio is going to share that with us next. Stay with us.



ACOSTA: Tonight, we have some new audio to play you of Donald Trump hinting behind closed doors at what he refuses to say in public. He lost the 2020 election. While answering a question about his relationship with one-time friend and an "Apprentice" contestant, Geraldo Rivera, Trump said this.


RAMIN SETOODEH, AUTHOR (voice-over): What was Geraldo like?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): He was good. He did a good job. He was smart, cunning. He did a good job.

SETOODEH (voice-over): And are you guys still close or you no longer?

TRUMP (voice-over): No, I don't think so. He is, uh -- after I lost the election -- I won the election but when they said we lost, he called me up three or four times.


ACOSTA: Did you catch that? If you want to just -- if you have one of those DVR machines, you want to rewind it, listen to it again. You could do that right now. We'll be here when you come back. Was it a slip of the tongue? Possibly. But former Trump aides like Cassidy Hutchinson, Alyssa Farah, they've all said Trump privately acknowledged he lost the 2020 election. But you can hear it there. We heard it. We just heard it. We just heard it. In public, Trump continues to perpetuate the lie that the election was stolen.


TRUMP: The radical left Democrats rigged the presidential election in 2020.

The facts are in. Now, they see it is a rigged election.

I thought the election was a rigged election, a stolen election.


ACOSTA: Recording comes from an interview Trump did with the author of a new book examining his reality TV stardom, "Apprentice in Wonderland: How Donald Trump and Mark Burnett Took America Through the Looking Glass." With me now, author Ramin Setoodeh. He -- he's also the editor-in-chief -- co-editor-in-chief of Variety. Ramin, sorry to botch the title of the book, but it's a great book. Looks great.

SETOODEH: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And thanks for coming on. Just to give you the pushback first of the Trump campaign, they posted tonight on X that you're -- quote -- "lying in a sad, desperate attempt to sell your book." But, you know, Ramin, in the recording, it's fascinating. You know, we've heard people like Alyssa Farah and Cassidy Hutchinson say they heard Trump admit, acknowledge that he lost the election. Others have said this. We don't hear it. We don't hear the audio of it very much. And he seems to catch himself after saying he lost the election. Take us in that moment. What was it like?

SETOODEH: Thank you -- thank you so much for having me on. My book is based on six interviews I conducted with Donald Trump after he left the White House starting in 2021. This was from a day we spent together in August of 2021. We were actually in a boardroom in Trump Tower, and I was showing him clips of "The Apprentice" and having him recall some of his memories of the contestants, and Geraldo was one of the contestants on "The Celebrity Apprentice."

And one of the arguments of my book is that Donald Trump views the world through the prism of reality TV. And, in fact, he still sees himself in a lot of ways as a reality TV star. And when he said to me that he lost the election, and you can hear the inflection in his voice if you go back and you re-listen to it on your DVR --


SETOODEH: -- you can hear that he says -- and he pivots, right? And then he says, oh, I won the election. And it's a very dramatic swing. And that is the actor in Donald Trump. That is the performance artist in Donald Trump. And that is a character he played on "The Apprentice," as boss of the boardroom, where he learned how to manipulate the press, manipulate cameras, and change the narrative to suit the reality that he wants as a reality star.

ACOSTA: Yeah, I mean, it's almost like the mask came down for a moment.


He broke character for a moment. And let's talk about Dennis Rodman.


ACOSTA: Dennis Rodman also came up in your interview. He met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in 2013. And Trump also praised Rodman's dating life. Let's listen to this.


TRUMP (voice-over): Dennis was a pretty cool cat in many ways, I'll tell you. And look, he dated Madonna when she was the number one person. You got to have something going, right?


ACOSTA: And Ramin, apparently, he goes on to talk about why Dennis Rodman is, you know, maybe better than a typical State Department official in dealing with the likes of Kim Jong-un.

SETOODEH: He does. He says that he's better than the guys that graduate from Harvard and know about foreign diplomacy. But it is very interesting to hear him talk about this because it explains Donald Trump. He views the world through the currency of fame. And the fact that Dennis Rodman got to date Madonna is seen as an incredible accomplishment in Donald Trump's eyes. He also spoke about the Kardashians. He claimed that he has never seen their show, but their level of fame, he understands.

Donald Trump wants fame. And as a reality star, he was taught that ratings equal success, equal renewal, and that's why he's always so focused on his poll numbers, because he's very interested in this endorsement that people like him, that they follow him, and he thinks of that as how he can get renewed for more episodes. That's what he views his presidential runs as.

ACOSTA: As like being re-upped for another season, that kind of. And Ramin, that's what's so fascinating about your book, is that you look at Trump through this person that we haven't really spend enough time looking through. And you met with Trump six times, as you wrote, about the show and after all of this, after he left the White House. Is that right? What were these interactions like between you and the former president when you were just talking about this?

It seems to me that was sort of why maybe he slipped up a little bit there and admitted he lost the election, because he was talking about an area where he was comfortable, TV, reality TV.

SETOODEH: And being a showman, which is what he prizes himself on. He told me he's one of the world's greatest storytellers, and that's why he gets these huge ratings when he does interviews. And he was also very comfortable with me. That is how I was able to get him to bring his guard down. He was happiest when we talked about his memories of being on "The Apprentice." He was crankiest in our conversations when he relived his days as commander-in-chief. He was very frustrated about some of the things that happened in the White House and the fact that he wasn't broadly liked. It wasn't about policy for him. It wasn't about legislation for him. It was all about the fact that people didn't like him or they said things about him or famous people said things about him.

And he spent a lot of time actually trying to settle vendettas with the likes of Debra Messing or Martha Stewart or other celebrities that had spoken bad things -- said bad things about him in the press.

ACOSTA: Yeah. I mean, I covered Trump at the White House, and you can see that on his Twitter feed, we were covering that. He obsessed over celebrities and whether they liked him or disliked him. And it made you think, well, shouldn't you be worried about running the country right now? You're the leader of the free world. But fascinating, the world that you took us inside with this book. Ramin Setoodeh, thank you very much for your time. Make sure you check out Ramin's book. Fascinating stuff. Good to talk to you.

SETOODEH: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Thank you. Just ahead, call it the Ozempic economy. New weight loss drugs could completely transform the economy and even change what's on grocery store shelves. I've got Jillian Michaels and Catherine Rampell. There they are. They're here to talk about it in just a few moments. That's next.



ACOSTA: It's an industry that's slimming waistlines and creating huge profits. I'm talking about the market for weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy. One in eight U.S. adults have used a weight loss medication at some point. So, 15 million Americans are taking one right now.

The drugs are so popular that there have been shortages over the past year. And that popularity is not going away any time soon. It's estimated the weight loss drug market will reach $100 billion by 2030. It has the potential to completely transform the economy.

We're already seeing some examples. Take food. Nestle is now advertising a line of meals specifically for people taking weight loss drugs. Herbalife is pushing what it calls companion products for users, including a shake.

And if you think food will be the only industry impacted, yes, again, try Closed. The CEO of one apparel company is telling "The Wall Street Journal" that more customers are switching to smaller sizes than at any point in the past 15 years.

Joining me now, fitness expert Jillian Michaels, host of the "Keeping It Real" podcast and creator of "The Fitness App." She has been critical of drugs like Ozempic. Also, with me, CNN economics and political commentator Catherine Rampell. Ladies, thanks so much.

I mean, it is -- it is kind of a phenomenon, what's happening right now. And Catherine, you've done a lot of research on this, in this boom, in the use of these drugs and how it's touching all of these corners of the economy like the food and beverage industry. I didn't even think about clothing. Of course, that's impacted as well.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICS COMMENTATOR: Not just clothing, not just food, fast food in particular, sugary, sodas, things like that. You can imagine health care spending. There are a lot of other health complications, chronic illnesses that are linked with obesity. Think diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, et cetera. So, you're likely to see some fallout there.


RAMPELL: There are a number of other ways it could affect the economy, things like the labor force. you know, if you have people with fewer disabilities because they don't develop diabetes, for example, maybe they're able to work longer, maybe they're able to work more hours.


So, yes, it's touching all sectors of the economy, domestic and international, for that matter.

ACOSTA: And Jillian, you are not making a secret of this. You're not a fan of these drugs. You don't think they're healthy. Tell us why not.

JILLIAN MICHAELS, FITNESS GURU: Well, the first thing, the only economy that I care about is the average American who's struggling every day. And all you're doing, in my opinion, is you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. So, you're taking from Big Food to pay Big Pharma. And the reality is that drugs do facilitate weight loss. There's a cost, physically and financially, to the consumer. They're exceptionally expensive. They come with pretty scary set of side effects.

And if we can achieve the same benefit to the end user by eating a little bit less and moving a little bit more, which is irrefutable, that's how these drugs facilitate weight loss, they help you eat less, why wouldn't we help people do that?

ACOSTA: You know, but here's the thing. If these drugs make people eat less sweets and alcohol, force companies to respond with healthier options, smaller portions -- I mean, you know, folks like Nestle and Herbalife, they're coming out with, you know, companion products. I mean, it does sound as though it's moving people into a healthier lifestyle. What do you think?

MICHAELS: I don't see that. I don't see that at all. Personally, I think not even a little bit. In fact, there was a report that just came out in Reuters that showed -- it was done by Prime Therapeutics and their pharmacy benefit managers for 38 million people through Blue Cross Blue Shield. And they're saying that 66% of the people that go on these drugs come off of it within the first year of loan.

So now you've wasted all that money, you put yourself behind the eight ball because you gain the weight back and then some, all the meta- analyses show us this --

ACOSTA: Right.

MICHAELS: -- and again, why wouldn't we just demand that of Big Food in the first place? Do the right thing. They've weaponized food. It's not a secret.

ACOSTA: I mean, Cath --

RAMPELL: I will say that a lot of --

ACOSTA: Go ahead, Catherine.

RAMPELL: A lot of people are going off of the meds. Some of them are going off of them because they don't like the side effects, which do happen to some people. But a lot of them are going off of the meds because they've hit their weight targets.


RAMPELL: And when I've interviewed people about these medications and their experience with them, a lot of people have said to me that they helped develop better habits as a result of going on these medications, that the medications do seem to quiet some sort of food noise.

I've heard a lot of people use that expression. You know, sort of the chatter in the back of their head as well as chatter about other kinds of addictive or compulsive behaviors for that matter like drinking, gambling, smoking drugs. And once they can quiet that, they are able to develop better habits in terms of exercise, in terms of portion control.

It does look like a lot of people who are on these medications may have to be on them for the rest of their lives. That's definitely been the case that has been described for particularly people who have had clinical obesity. But it's not necessarily clear that that will be the case for everyone who has a good experience with these medications.

ACOSTA: Yeah, I worry about people -- you know, yo-yo dieting. I mean, Jillian, is that a possibility, that people might experience this weight loss and then they go off the drug and they may gain it back?

MICHAELS: It's not even a question of whether or not it's a possibility. The vast majority do experience an extreme yo-yo dieting effect. They put the weight on and then some. And we know that along the way, there's significant muscle loss. It can damage the vagus nerve, which will interrupt your natural ability to regulate appetite. And the list goes on and on as to the reasons why. But it's in the studies. It's not even a question.

And I bring us back to this question: If these are individuals who are capable of establishing healthy habits, why don't we start there?

ACOSTA: Yeah. It's a great message.

RAMPELL: To be fair, look, I was going to say, you know, I'm not a medical professional, but a lot of the people that I've talked with in my reporting on this who have gone on these medications, this was not the first thing that they tried. They tried diets. They tried exercise. I spoke to people who had lap band surgery, among other kinds of more serious interventions --


RAMPELL: -- and really struggled with it. But it does seem like these medications do operate in some sense on the brain and that affects their behavior in any event. So, for what it's worth, I would say talk to medical professionals.


RAMPELL: Obviously, don't listen to me about what drugs to take. But it does seem like this has been an effective course of medication for a lot of people and may prevent other forms of expensive and unpleasant health complications down the line.

ACOSTA: Yeah. Like those ads say, talk to your doctor. That's the most important part.


Jillian, Catherine, you've given us both a lot to think about here. Thanks a lot. Really appreciate it. Good talking to both of you.

MICHAELS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Just ahead, a very stirring tribute to the Negro Leagues and the late MLB legend, Willie Mays, at the place where he grew up and made his name. That's next.


MICHAEL MAYS, SON OF WILLIE MAYS: Birmingham, I've been telling you all that if there's any way on Earth, my father could come down here, he would. Well, he has found another way. So, you already stand to your feet. Let him hear you. He's listening. Make all the noise you can.





(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: On this night, in this stadium, we honor the memory of Willie Mays and celebrate the original Negro Leagues players, the Pioneers. Everybody, make some noise.


ACOSTA: So cool. A moving evening at Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark in the country, once serving as home to the iconic Negro League team. The Birmingham Black Barons were countless Hall of Famers, including the legendary Willie Mays, played at one time or another.

And tonight, a poignant tribute to the Negro League's living legends and those who are no longer with us with the first Major League Baseball game at Rickwood Field, a memorable matchup between the Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Let's bring in Birmingham native and comedian Roy Wood Jr., there he is right there, and I might add a Rickwood Field veteran. Is that right?

ROY WOOD JR., COMEDIAN: I wouldn't say veteran, but if you want to -- whatever word you want to say for rode the bench three years in high school with Rickwood as his home field, whatever word works there instead. Good to see you, man.

ACOSTA: Good to see you, too. Sounds like my high school sports experience as well, Roy, explains the field of work that we went into.


But you had a pretty neat assignment at this game tonight. Tell us about that.

WOOD: You know, I've been working with MLB Network for the last couple of months on putting together. We had a podcast called "Road to Rickwood" where we spoke with former Negro Leaguers who played in the stadium and people who were actually interval and being a part of the construction in the community of what Rickwood Field created.

You know, tonight wasn't just about, you know, the Negro Leagues. It wasn't just about Willie Mays. It was about taking time to say thank you to those people, but also looking forward to what the game of baseball can be.

And I think the essence of Willie Mays is that his love for the game and his love for people brought people together. I was there at the game on Tuesday night in the booth with MLB when we made the announcement that Mr. Mays had passed. we looked around the crowd and people were crying, but strangers were also hugging one another. It was a very similar atmosphere tonight. You know, it was just -- it was -- it was a beautiful night for the state of Alabama and a beautiful night for baseball.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And the passing of Willie Mays, his life story, this event at Rickwood this evening, it's all really helping to tell a story that needs to be told about the Negro Leagues and the special place that it holds in the story of baseball in America. I know you played baseball at this field in high school. What's your appreciation for this place?

WOOD: To me, the appreciation for it is just how much history is forgotten and swept under the rug. You know --


WOOD: -- baseball peaked at a time before basketball and football. And so now it's competing in the social zeitgeist ecosystem of conversation now. But we're talking about a field, Jim, where one- third of all Major League Hall of Famers played there. We're talking about a field --


WOOD: -- where the first ever integrated sporting event in the state of Alabama happened there the same day, the first ever integrated crowds. Baseball was a tool for social experimentation and just showing people that the quality is not that farfetched of an idea. And that happened at that field. We're talking about the field where Willie Mays got his first professional hit.

So, in a wild way, to be able to celebrate and exalt this man on a field where his career started at 17 years old as a product of a Birmingham suburb affair field, it was an honor to be there. It was an even bigger honor to witness. I think it was almost 50 of the 140 or so remaining living Negro leaguers that were able to make the trip this week.


WOOD: To see them, to see them be applauded, it was -- it was -- it was just beautiful, man.

ACOSTA: Yeah. And what do you hope young fans learn from these legends?

WOOD: They were -- a lot of them were in the crowd. You know, Harold Reynolds and a lot of the people from MLB, they gave tickets away to the local baseball and softball team. So, they were there to witness the generations that inspired the generations that inspired -- like, when you're looking down on the field and you're seeing your idol crying because he's meeting his idol, when you see Ken Griffey and Jeter and Barry Bonds vowing down to these great men, it's just humbling.


WOOD: And I think that above all, what this tribute to the Negro League shows Black American athletes is that they still have a place in the sport of baseball if they want to continue playing. I think it's just about keeping the excitement of the sport alive as it becomes a little bit more fiscally difficult to play it at an elite level, much like golf or tennis. ACOSTA: Yeah.


And for folks who haven't seen it yet, I mean, I was watching this evening, what Reggie Jackson had to say tonight. I mean, just the stories that are pouring out of people as all of you came together to talk about this, it's so critically important.

Roy, always great to talk -- I wish we could keep talking, but they'll just cut us off at midnight here. But great to talk to you. Really appreciate the time. What an event.

WOOD: I'm sorry I don't have any jokes, man. I'm just in awe.


ACOSTA: We'll do it next time.

WOOD: And I'm just happy for my city. And I'm happy that this went great. Yeah, we'll do the jokes next time.

ACOSTA: We'll do the jokes next time. All the best to you. Heart goes out to you and everybody who was at that field tonight. What a night. Thanks so much, Roy Wood Jr.

WOOD: Yes, sir.

ACOSTA: Terrific. As always, thank you. Thanks for watching, everybody. "Anderson Cooper 360" is next. Have a good night.