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CNN TONIGHT: Book: Trump Staff Found Papers Flushed In White House Toilet; Sarah Palin Testifies In Libel Case Against New York Times; Mayor Seeks Injunction To Remove Bridge Blockade. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired February 10, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: We want to finish the broadcast, where we began, and congratulate, again, Anderson, and Benjamin, and now, big brother Wyatt, and welcome Sebastian Luke Maisani-Cooper, to the world. What a bright light, and the best way to say goodnight!
Look at that face!
(GRAPHIC IS SHOWN OF SEBASTIAN LUKE MAISANI-COOPER)
BERMAN: The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, John?
My husband told me, "I can't look at any more babies." He's done, he says. So that baby though, how cute! Oh my Gosh!
COATES: So cute! Congratulations, Anderson.
Now go to bed, John. You're tired. I know you are. You work so hard. Thank you.
Everyone, I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.
And well, people, who have nothing to hide don't destroy evidence that must be archived under the law. Says who? Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People, who have nothing to hide, don't smash phones with hammers, don't bleach their emails, or destroy evidence, to keep it, from being publicly archived, as required, under federal law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Remember all those cries of "Crooked Hillary," or "Lock her up and throw away the key?"
Well, you remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Crooked Hillary!
(CROWD CHANTS "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!")
TRUMP: Hillary was a criminal. She deleted her emails. People go to jail for that.
(CROWD CHANTS "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!")
TRUMP: Her emails, which put America's entire national security at risk.
(CROWD CHANTS "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!")
TRUMP: So crooked Hillary, wait, crooked, you should lock her up, I'll tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Doesn't age well, does it? His relentless attacks actually worked though, right? That infamous private server controversy may very well have cost Hillary Clinton, the presidency.
Now look, in no way would I ever endeavor, to excuse any mishandling of government information, particularly if it's classified materials, and especially if you're Secretary of State.
But let's talk about what actually happened, in reaction to those allegations. The FBI did open a criminal investigation. And the Justice Department closed it, without bringing any charges, against Clinton, or anyone else, within the scope of that investigation.
There were no findings of any intentional violation of law, in that case. And let's not forget, there were hearings, and hearings, launched by House Republicans, in Congress, over those emails.
So, if consistency, is what you should go for, and having sort of the knowledge of what happens, in one instance must happen in another, you would expect those same Republicans, who led the charge, for investigations then, to be vocal now.
But they seem to be awfully quiet now, about all we're learning about Trump's handling of government information. Maybe amnesia, selectively? How quickly some people forget, or maybe want the electorate to forget! Will there now be "Lock him up!" chants? Well, of course, they wouldn't be warranted.
We don't actually know, if Trump broke any laws, or violated the Presidential Records Act, by taking more than a dozen boxes, of federal documents, with him, when he left office. Some of which, by the way, could contain top secret classified material, according to a new report from "The Washington Post," tonight. Now, obviously, the President is able to declassify things. But, at Mar-a-Lago, he's now the former President. And top secret? Well, The Post cites sources saying some of those boxes actually contained material, clearly marked as "Classified."
And we do know the National Archives, has asked the Justice Department, to investigate just how those documents, and boxes, made their way, to Mar-a-Lago. And something tells me they're not asking whether it was the Postal Service, or FedEx, but why they're actually there, instead of where they're supposed to be.
And we also know that Trump had a bad habit of ripping up documents, while he was in the White House. Archives staff actually had to tape some documents back together that were then handed over to the January 6 committee.
And, by the way, Republicans have been - well, they've been noticeably quiet about that. But you know, hasn't been quiet about that? Hillary Clinton. She's trolling Trump now, about it, on Twitter, posting a resounding "Mmmhmm."
And now, there is this new reporting that Trump also had a habit of apparently flushing papers, down the toilet, at the White House. This according to CNN Analyst, and "New York Times" reporter, Maggie Haberman, who has an upcoming book, on Trump, called "Confidence Man."
According to her, staff, in the White House residence, would frequently find, I can't believe I need to (ph) say this, but they would find the toilet clogged, in Donald Trump's bathroom, with wads of clumped up paper that wasn't toilet paper, by the way. I mean, so much clogging in the pipes, apparently, that an engineer would have to come and fix it!
I wonder if that partially explains his odd obsession with toilets! I remember all those rants about not having enough water pressure, to flush everything down. Do you?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're looking very strongly at sinks and showers, and other elements of bathrooms.
People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.
I won't talk about the fact that people have to flush their toilet 15 times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I had to tell you, that kind of makes you listen to that, in a whole new light, doesn't it? I mean, even it was odd then, 15 times, and not wanting to talk about it.
But I want you to know, he calls this another fake story. He calls it quote, "Categorically untrue," says, it's, quote, made up for "Publicity," for a quote, "Mostly fictitious book." Now, that what he calls a mostly fictitious book? That's one that he agreed to be interviewed for.
And in a new statement, he also claims that look, he had no legal obligation to return any records, to the National Archives, which we'll talk about, in just a moment. But he also says that he worked collaboratively, to do so, nonetheless.
And meanwhile, there's also the mystery of the gaps in White House phone logs, on January 6, gaps as to what transpired that day. Records the House Select Committee has obtained, apparently, don't contain entries of phone calls, between the former President, and lawmakers, the same calls that have already been widely reported in the press.
Now, look, perhaps that's for a benign reason. It could be because Trump sometimes used his aides' phones, or maybe his own personal phones. We actually don't know yet. But it is something that this January 6 committee is trying to get to the bottom of, and with good reason.
So, the question is, did Trump violate the Presidential Records Act, with all of those boxes that found their way to Mar-a-Lago, I mean, especially if there were top secret documents in there, according to "The Washington Post." And if so, could there actually be criminal consequences to this?
Let's turn now to two experts on this. CNN Legal Analyst, Norm Eisen, a former White House Ethics Czar, who was once responsible, by the way, for enforcing rules, about records. And also, CNN Presidential Historian, Tim Naftali, the former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library.
What an embarrassment of riches, to have you both, on today?
Norm, I want to begin with you here, on this. Because I'm trying, in my mind, as most of America is probably doing, to figure out this process of how these documents are supposed to be preserved.
I mean, is it every document that a President touches? Or does he have some discretion, as being, as we have called them, the Leader of the Free World, to decide what gets handed over?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Laura, thanks for having me. He's the Leader of the Free World. But he's not the Leader of Free Shredding!
Every scrap of paper has to be preserved. That was, when I met with incoming President, Obama, and incoming Vice President, Joe Biden, that was what I explained to them, about the law.
And that's why we know that White House staff would sometimes run around, trying to piece together the scraps that were torn. Obviously, we now learned that some things were beyond redemption. We know why that extremely strong water pressure was needed, Laura. To flush away the evidence!
COATES: I can't!
EISEN: So, there's a saying in Washington, "Often the cover-up is worse than the crime." And we need to see where it goes. But it looks awfully suspicious.
COATES: It does. I often can't sometimes believe the things we actually have to report, and the fact that the truth is stranger than fiction.
But then again, I'm talking to a man now, Tim Naftali, you know full well that the so-called plumbers of the world had a role in, well, Nixon's own experience, right, when it comes down to evaluating what he did, or did not do, in these instances.
And, I wonder, from your perspective, give us a little bit of the history here, because really, until Nixon, as you well know, the idea of presidents being able to take their document, their mementos, whatever their records were, that was pretty standard practice at that point.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: It was, yes. I think Donald Trump has certainly given a new meaning to the term "White House Plumbers." And it certainly has a new significance, for him. Remember, in the Nixon case, the plumbers were supposed to prevent leaks. In Trump's case, they were supposed to help get rid of documents, I suppose.
Our - once again, this is a presidential norm. Our first President, George Washington, decided that his records belonged to him.
And so, from George Washington, until Richard Nixon, presidents owned their documents. They could sell them. They could destroy them. Presidential families often sold presidential documents, after a term had ended. So, there was really no control, over presidential records.
That changes because of Watergate, because of plumbers, and Nixon's plumbers. And, as a result of Watergate, Richard Nixon's papers were seized. It was like a crime scene. Everything was seized, including the famous tapes.
After the Nixon experience, Congress decided to act, and decided to renegotiate the relationship, between presidential records and presidents.
Now, remember, all of our three branches are co-equal. It wasn't - Congress was able to seize Nixon's documents, because Nixon had been such a bad actor. He, by the way, would later sue, and got some of them back.
COATES: But on that point?
NAFTALI: And Congress realized he-- COATES: On that point, Tim, Congress realized, of course, the transparency notion, the idea of why ain't (ph) the American people to be able to see documents, and also the idea of potential criminality involved here. And I appreciate the history, because it gives us the context we need, on this, as to why the norm was changed.
And let me go back to Norm, the norm in this conversation, other than the norms that are often broken here. Norm, let me ask you, first of all, it's one thing, to have it changed. But we're talking about some things reportedly as top secret documents.
Yes, sure, the President of the United States, as you know, can declassify whatever the President wants. I mean, it's sort of the prerogative. It's good to be the king, in that respect, even though we don't have one. But now, he's the former President.
What does it mean, when there might be top secret or classified documents contained in the possessions of even a former President? Is the same prerogative still available?
EISEN: Well, it's not good, Laura. The, you know, there's questions about who else might have handled them, whether he went through the proper procedures, to declassify them, whether any procedures were followed at all.
I think, in terms of the President's criminal liability? And you know this well, as a former prosecutor.
Because of his classification authority, the case for prosecuting him, possibly, as the January 6 committee looks at criminal referrals, DOJ and Inspectors General are looking at this? The case on the classified documents, has some complexities, because of the declassification authority.
It is also a crime to destroy government documents. Seldom prosecuted. But Laura, the most important question here, I think, is was the President destroying, shredding, flushing, taking away, documents--
EISEN: --because they incriminated him? That gets us into something that is investigated and prosecuted all the time. Obstruction. And we have miles to go. But the committee's--
COATES: And also, on that point, though, on that point--
COATES: You're right, Norm.
But, on that point, I want to give you the last word here, Tim, on this. Because, on that point, talking about destruction? I can't help but draw the analogy from, well, 18.5 minutes and gaps gone, from Nixon tapes, and what we're seeing here, I mean, obviously, comes down to what's willful or not.
But are we going to expect sort of the Rose Mary, lean and stretch conversation, again, as to how there may have been gaps?
NAFTALI: The big difference here is whereas in the case of Nixon, the shredding was generally done by his lieutenants. And the 18.5-minute gap is an exception, perhaps. I suspect someone did it, but not Nixon.
In Trump's case, it was him. And that's what's different. The systemic destruction. And we've been hearing about this, not just from Maggie's book, we've been hearing about this for years.
The systemic destruction came from the top, which means the President himself had nothing but contempt for the idea of record-keeping, which mean he had nothing but contempt, for accountability and transparency.
That's why we keep records. We don't keep records to allow people like me to write books. That's good. We keep records, so that the public knows exactly what their President did. And the Presidents themselves feel a little bit of restraint because they know someday they will be judged, in the court of history, if they abused power.
COATES: Yes. And yet, you both wrote excellent books! Norm Eisen, and Tim Naftali, it's so nice to hear from you both. Thank you.
EISEN: Thanks, Laura.
NAFTALI: Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Tonight, CNN is obtaining Bob Saget's autopsy report. We'll dig into what it says about the actor's tragic death, from blunt head force trauma, next.
COATES: We now have new details in the circumstances surrounding the death of 65-year-old actor, Bob Saget, in a Florida hotel room, just last month.
The autopsy report, released today, revealing that Saget had COVID-19, at the time of his death. But he died, however, as a result of blunt head trauma. The report saying, quote, "It is the most probable that the decedent suffered an unwitnessed fall backwards and struck the posterior aspect of his head. The manner of death is accident."
Joining me now, to discuss, Dr. Priya Banerjee, one of the top forensic experts, in the entire country.
Doctor, I'm really glad you're here, to help us understand this.
Forgive me. The prosecutor, within, sees a report like this. And obviously, my mind begins to churn.
But, from your perspective, you don't look at this, as being something that is suspicious, even though we see things like blunt force injuries. Is that right? DR. PRIYA BANERJEE, BOARD CERTIFIED FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes. I mean, I read the whole report, not just obviously the final diagnosis. And when you put it all together, I think it is most consistent with some sort of accidental, whether it be fall or impact, that led to his death, sadly.
COATES: Now, what makes you - I mean, well, you read the report. Walk us through sort of your approach of doing it. I mean, you see the head injuries. You learn about the pooling of the blood. We hear about the different languages described.
When you're looking at this, and evaluating? And obviously you did not do this. As you're medical examiner, forensic report, when you're reviewing it, what are you looking for, to determine that it was an accident?
BANERJEE: True. I have to sort of, you know, I don't have the investigator reports, given to me, right? That's what the original medical examiner would have.
But taking it into - onto consideration, first I start up looking at the outside of the body. And I'm just going to point to my head, sort of at the back of my head, where my fingers are, basically the mid- back of the skull, on the scalp.
That's where he had what's called an abrasion, which is if anyone's skinned their knee, you know, that's what an abrasion is, where the skin basically, top layers of it are brushed off, from some sort of trauma, and in this case, a blunt trauma.
So, that's where the impact was, and then there's bleeding underneath it, and skull fractures, and deeper injuries to the brain. I think of--
COATES: Dr. Banerjee?
BANERJEE: --more nefarious issues, I would think that there would be lacerations and multiple hits, related to it, not just a single impact. I think, when I looked at it, I could say, "OK, this is all consistent with one event."
COATES: And, to be clear, obviously, we don't have all the information. You were talking about, from your perspective, and your experience, which I really do very much appreciate.
But one other thing, I think, that would shock people, is this idea of the injuries. There were some orb - there was - you said the word, "Fractures," plural, fractures, and the idea of what was--
COATES: --apparent in the orbital area, around the eye area there. When I look at this, and say to myself - I'm not a doctor, obviously. But if somebody is hit in the back of their head, why would there exhibit some indicia of injury to the front of the face? Does that lead people to think maybe somebody was hurt, in the front, as well? Or is it just the impact would actually resound in that way?
BANERJEE: And that's a - that's exactly the great question. You have to understand the underlying mechanisms. And if I could just explain it, as simply as possible?
He fell to the back of his head, where I'm pointing. That's a lot of force, OK? Fell or had an impact, whatever it may be, there was a lot of force generated. It rubbed away the skin of the - the surface of the skin.
But that force now goes through the skull. It radiates around. And the brain is also within a fixed box, which is a hard box, the skull. So now, the impact goes, from the back to the front.
And so, if you think about sort of, like an eggshell, in a way, there's thinner parts of the skull that cracked, which are towards the front, and the brain is actually pushed from the back, to the front, and then pushed back again.
And so, that movement is injuring the brain, causing bleeding in and around it, as well as the force, when it radiates, from back to front. That's where you're getting those orbital skull fractures. Now--
BANERJEE: --when there's bleeding, especially, over the eyes, what you're getting is that blood sort of seeps down. And it looks like someone can have a black eye, like they were punched in the face. But that's not what we know. It's consistent with bleeding from the inside tracking down.
COATES: It just is shocking to think about, just obviously, how fragile life is. And the idea this could come from one impact?
BANERJEE: Very much.
COATES: Just how fragile the brain is.
Thank you, doctor for all of your expertise in this.
And, of course, I can't help but think about what his children, what his wife, what his family, and loved ones, are thinking about this. We're talking about in a very clinical way, obviously, but not out of disrespect. We all want to understand what happened, and understand the loss of life.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
BANERJEE: Thank you for having me.
COATES: There are also new developments tonight, in the trial of Sarah Palin versus well, the "New York Times." Palin took to the stand, again today, in her suit, against the paper, for defamation, and she reportedly shouted "Objection!" She did it.
We're going to weigh on the arguments, on both sides, next.
COATES: So, Sarah Palin, took the stand, today, for the second day, in a row, in her defamation case against the "New York Times."
Palin, telling the jury that she believes the "New York Times," acted with malicious intent, causing her emotional damage, and saying, quote, "It's hard to lay your head on a pillow and have a restful night when you know that lies are told about you, a specific lie that was not going to be fixed. That causes some stress anyone would feel."
Back with us is Ted Boutrous, a constitutional law, and media attorney, who has previously represented CNN, in legal matters.
Ted, I'm glad you're back, because I have a lot of questions about - we were asking about here.
First of all, this idea of her testimony, part of the standard here, is the actual malice, which is why she probably mentioned that notion, which is a higher degree, because she's a public figure. And so, they think, because you're thrust into the limelight, you ought to take a couple of hits, on the chin.
Did she made a compelling case for herself about how actual malice was actually established here?
THEODORE BOUTROUS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER, MEDIA ATTORNEY: She did not make a compelling case at all, Laura. She bears a heavy burden, under the First Amendment, to prove actual malice.
It was a very, very weak presentation, very Palin-esque, weird use of words, try to be folksy, evasive, made a number of just false statements herself, from the stand. It did not work.
COATES: And, in terms of evasive, was she actually asked about well, how did this actually impact? That's part of the burden for they have to prove, right? You can't just say, theoretically, this might have happened. You have to actually be concrete, about how it actually did, right?
BOUTROUS: Exactly. You just zeroed in on one of the biggest gaps, in her case. She could not point to a single specific conversation, with anybody, her family members, her close friends, where they said, "We saw that article. It's terrible," or she called them, and said, "This article is terrible."
She couldn't point to anyone, who shunned her, or who thought differently about her. She couldn't point to any financial harm, or lost opportunities. It was a glaring, glaring gap, in her case. And she was very general and evasive. And it was clear, she was just trying to, tap-dance around the fact that she had no harm and no evidence.
COATES: Now, early in my career, as you know, I did defamation cases. And so, I don't want to let the media off the hook here, in this respect, because there are instances, where there is actual malice, right? But it's a very hard sort of burden to be able to reach here.
But if it hadn't been corrected, as quickly, by "The New York Times," right? If it hadn't been corrected, if it hadn't actually been corrected, in that pace, would there have been a more substantial case that she could have made here?
BOUTROUS: It would have helped her, slightly.
But the fact that there was no correction doesn't really help, on actual malice, as long as the proof shows that the journalist, and the news organization, at the time of publication, did not believe that the information was false, and published it anywhere, recklessly, ignore their own knowledge that show that it was false.
But the correction, again, just amplified the fact that the "New York Times," including James Bennet, the editor, who testified, were acting in good faith. They made a mistake. Famously, people talk about journalism as the first rough draft of history.
And the Supreme Court has built into this First Amendment test, the notion that there has to be breathing space, for the occasional good- faith mistake. That's what happened here. And I think that's what the evidence showed, over and over again.
COATES: And, even at the time, the Supreme Court made the statement, about breathing space, I'm not sure anyone could have contemplated the 24/7 news cycle, and the different iterations of journalism, in the sort of breakneck pace that we are all at. But we still have the standards, obviously, to make sure we're complying with. So, it's interesting to think about the way she's framing this.
But she says that she may still appeal to, obviously, the Supreme Court, to sort of test the New York Times versus Sullivan standard, if she is unsuccessful here. Is it likely to be changed in some significant way, do you think?
BOUTROUS: I don't think so. I think there could be some refinement. I think the media landscape has changed. And you're right, there is a balance that people do have the right to protect their reputation.
But the Supreme Court, I don't think, is going to overturn New York Times versus Sullivan. It's the cornerstone of our First Amendment jurisprudence. It's important to democracy. So, I think it's a long shot.
But that's what's going on here. She's trying to get the courts, to change the rules. Others are too. That would be bad for our democracy, and bad for everyone, who wants to have a free and open debate, in our society.
COATES: Ted Boutrous, you are a very, very smart man. But I also look at the Supreme Court, and say, they've been inclined to test precedent, very recently. I hope perhaps you're right about those cornerstones, actually being maintained.
Ted Boutrous, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
BOUTROUS: Thanks, Laura.
COATES: And now, to the ongoing standoff, at our border, with Canada. Protesters, on the Canadian side, have been actually blocking one of North America's biggest commercial gateways, for days now, and it's causing all kinds of disruptions.
We have the Mayor of Windsor, Ontario, a bridge away, from Detroit, the Motor City. So, what are the options, to defuse the tensions? And how is this problem going to get fixed, before it gets worse? That's next.
COATES: Canadians, trying to feed their families and, American workers, trying to earn a paycheck, are the ones, feeling the impact of scenes, like these. For four days now, traffic on the Ambassador Bridge has been disrupted.
Now, that bridge connects Detroit, and Windsor, and is the busiest international crossing, in North America. That's in addition to the almost two-weeklong siege of the capital cities, downtown core, and a blockade shutting down a crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota.
Now look, it's not accurate to call what's happening, in places like Windsor, simply a trucker protest. As CNN reporters, in the scene, tell us, there are many more non-truckers that are there, than are actually truckers.
Closing those bridges actually cut Canadians off from food. The U.S. exports $21 billion in food to Canada every single year.
And meanwhile, American automakers are sending home some workers, because their plants are now cut off from the part they actually need, to keep the assembly lines moving. One economic group estimates lost wages for Michigan autoworkers, just this week alone, mind you, could top $51 million.
And this might actually spread. I mean, the DHS is now preparing for a similar scene, here in Washington D.C., next month. And they also issued a warning about similar plan, to try to disrupt traffic, even around the Super Bowl, in L.A.
Windsor mayor, Drew Dilkens, is seeing the impact firsthand. And he joins us right now.
Mayor Dilkens, thank you for being here today.
I got to say, for many people, looking at this, this idea of calling it a protest, involving just truckers, or thinking that they know precisely why everyone is protesting, is actually not true, right? It's very amorphous. You've called it sort of a leaderless group. Is that right?
MAYOR DREW DILKENS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO: It is a leaderless group. And, in many ways it reminds me of the Occupy Wall Street movement, where it wasn't - no one was quite clear what the ultimate goal was, or the end game was, of this group. And so, that is, in some ways, what we have, playing out, on the streets here.
And, in addition, I would describe some of the protesters, to be more like the ones you would find, at a regular G7 or G20 meeting, where they're just angry at government, and some are just willing to, as they say, willing to die for the cause. And that's problematic, when you're on the ground, trying to deal with this, in a policing, or a sensible type way.
COATES: If someone's willing to die, for a cause, obviously it makes you think that they're willing to - might be violent in the actual event. Have you tried to take more policing actions, or tried to disperse people, from this area? Are we there yet?
DILKENS: Yes, so police have done a really good job, trying to negotiate with the protesters. But there's no one leader, and there's no one common theme. So, you can make an agreement, with one person, and easily have that overturned by a group that is just a few cars away.
So, it's been difficult for police to do that. There have been incidents of violence, where protesters have grabbed tire irons, and surrounded police, and they've had to disengage. And so, there are, you know, it's just it's an illegal blockade.
It is a protest that we support. The hallmark of our respective democracies, is all about understanding, and being able to listen to people, and communicate, express oneself. That's OK.
What's not OK here, is blocking the busiest international commercial corridor, between the United States and Canada that every single day carries $400 million of goods, back-and-forth, between our respective countries.
COATES: And, as you say, I mean, this idea, this international crossing, in particular, and obviously we're balancing the notions, of people having the right to protest, in a peaceful way, that's not disruptive, perhaps, as well.
But, as you mentioned, the idea of, if the end game is not clear, if there's not the coordination, how does this end, then? I mean, you're in a very precarious position, knowing that it hurts your community. It's hurting, frankly, North America as well. So how does it end? I mean, what does it take to actually get it to stop? Do you have any idea of where to go next?
DILKENS: Well, hopefully, it ends peacefully. That's the ultimate goal, from all sides, to make sure that we are dealing with folks, in a fair and reasonable way, and this ends peacefully.
No one wants to see anyone get injured or harmed. But, at the end of the day, if they won't leave peacefully, there will have to be action that is taken, to help move these people out.
And if that involves bringing in tow trucks, if that involves bringing in additional police support, from across Ontario, and across Canada? So be it. They're already starting to arrive here. And we're going to have police support to be prepared for any eventuality.
COATES: And what kind of support are you getting sort of nationwide about this issue? Obviously, North America, obviously includes the United States of America. Are you getting coordination, on this side of the border, as well? Is there coordination among other areas?
I mean, obviously, a lot of Americans might look at this, and mistakenly think this is a Canadian problem. But really, it's a North American issue, at this point in time. What kind of coordination is there?
DILKENS: Yes, so I've had conversations with the Governor of Michigan's office. I've had conversations with Mayor Duggan, in Detroit.
And certainly everyone that I've spoken with, is offering to provide whatever assistance we need. And so, at this point, from a U.S. perspective, we appreciate all that is happening, and all that is being offered.
Right now, the situation is under control. Tomorrow, we go to court, at noon, to seek an injunction, to help the police, have documentation, in their back-pocket that they can present to this group of protesters, and say, "Time to move on."
And if they're unwilling to move on? We will bring in the tow trucks, we will bring in the equipment that will help move the vehicles, out of the way, to reopen this border crossing.
Because it is too essential, to both of our national economies, and the livelihood of this border crossing puts - or the importance of this border crossing, puts a lot of bread, on the table, for families, on both sides of the border.
COATES: I echo your sentiment, and hope that this will be peaceful.
But if people are talking about their convictions, and they're already engaged in a behavior that's so disruptive? How much confidence can you put, in the piece of paper that the cops will be able to show? I mean, what if they don't want to go? You mentioned the tow trucks. How are tow trucks navigating this blockade, in some way? I'm just looking at logistically here. What can you do, to change things, if they don't want to leave, and don't want to respect, coming from the government, a piece of paper?
DILKENS: Yes, I get that this injunction would be a single piece of paper. But it gives police, more weight, in the actions that they are prepared to take. And they will do, what is operationally required, to move people out.
You can't have anarchy take over the community. You can't have anarchy shut down the busiest border crossing, between our two nations. There has to be a resolve here.
And, to the extent possible, we want it to end peacefully. No one wants anyone to get hurt. But, at the end of the day, we're prepared to go in, and move folks out, if that's what's required, in order to open that border crossing.
COATES: Mayor Drew Dilkens, you've got quite a job ahead of you. And, of course, everyone is watching. Thank you for taking the time. And I wish you all the best of luck, to resolve it. It's in our all collective interest. So, thank you.
DILKENS: Thank you very much.
COATES: Look, talking about logjams, I mean, senators have finally struck a deal, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, after three years of negotiations, by the way. Angelina Jolie got emotional, advocating for it.
And I'll tell you, what is the most, unconscionable thing about that delay, next.
COATES: So, we need to talk about a headline that you may have missed, this week. There was a deal that was reached, on Capitol Hill, to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
And it came with the help of star power too! Activist and actress, Angelina Jolie, who's made several trips to Washington D.C., in just recent months, to push for this very legislation.
And it was notable not just because her daughter shared in her advocacy, but by how emotional she got, as she shamed Congress, for its silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: The reason that many people struggle to leave abusive situations is that they've been made to feel worthless.
[21:50:00] When there is silence, from a Congress, too busy to renew the Violence Against Women Act, for a decade, it reinforces that sense of worthlessness. You think, "I guess, my abuser is right. I guess, I'm not worth very much."
Most of all, I want to acknowledge the children, who are terrified and suffering, at this moment, and the many people, for whom this legislation comes too late.
The women, who have suffered, through this system, with little or no support, who still carry the pain and trauma of their abuse, the young adults, who have survived abuse, and emerged stronger, not because of the child protective system, but despite it. And the women and children, who have died, who could have been saved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: But let me take a step back for a moment, because there's actually more to this headline that should bother all of us.
It's frankly, unbelievable that we even need to have a Violence Against Women Act. But we do.
It's also unbelievable that the Violence Against Women Act was allowed to expire in 2018. But it did.
And, even in a political climate, such as this, frankly, it's unbelievable that it took more than three years, to negotiate a way, to renew, let alone strengthen that Act. But it did.
But what is absolutely unconscionable is that it actually came down to the NRA. And why? Because they have posed a loophole known as the "Boyfriend loophole."
What is it? Well, as it currently stands, the Act ensured that anyone convicted, not just accused, but convicted, as in due process occurred here, convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, would not be allowed to own or possess a gun.
And, for the last few years, Senators had been trying to expand that prohibition, to not just married partners, but to those, who live together, or those, who share a child, but also those, who are dating partners, or stalkers, and others covered by a protection order.
But, well the NRA didn't like it. They opposed the limitation on gun ownership, in general, even in spite of the obvious truth, that it made women and children, more vulnerable, to violence, more vulnerable, to abuse, and more likely, to be killed, by their abuser, who would now have the means to kill.
I saw this so many times, as a prosecutor, looking at domestic violence. And the first thing we would ask, of course, is not to have a gun be allowed to be in the possession.
But you would think, and examining it, you wonder who should have been more powerful, in these negotiations? Women and children, who have every right to be protected, from violence? Or gun lobbying organization, like the NRA?
I mean, we talk a good game, in this country, about how we want a government, to be of the people, and by the people, and for the people. But times like this remind us that it is increasingly becoming a government of the lobbyists, by the special interests, and frankly, for the love of money.
And even when it means violence against women persists, I guess, just as long as you don't upset the applecart of the NRA, well, apparently the little ladies can take a seat.
Now look, maybe altruism isn't your thing. Maybe you only see the bottom line. OK, well, how about this? Recall that the Air Force was just forced to pay $230 million, to survivors and families, of those killed, in the 2017 mass shooting, at the First Baptist Church, in Sutherland Springs?
On Monday, a federal judge found the Military was mostly at fault, for failing to report the shooter's domestic violence-related convictions, to the FBI, which could have prevented him, from purchasing the semi- automatic rifle that he used, in that mass shooting.
You realize he fired more than 450 rounds into that church? He killed 26 people, including a pregnant woman.
How did the NRA respond? Well, they doubled down on the myth that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun, when really the bad guy with the gun shouldn't have had it in the first place. It's a loophole, though, nonetheless supported by the NRA.
But what won't the NRA support? Well, lawful gun owners, like maybe Amir Locke, or Philando Castile, killed by police officers, in my home state of Minnesota. Apparently, those aren't the kinds of causes they prioritize.
I mean, lawfully carrying a gun, and alerting the police, of its presence, when the car, you are driving in, is pulled over? "Not sure this is the right case for us," in the NRA.
A man sleeping under a blanket, jolted awake, by a no-knock warrant, being executed, even when it wasn't even intended for him? "I'm not sure we have the time or maybe the resources."
A convicted stalker, who wants to carry a gun, for the next time, he violates a restraining order? "Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Now, that's in our line with our mission statement." And the fact that Congress' mission was thwarted for three years because of it? My! That is quite a statement, America!
I rest my case.
COATES: Well, that's it for us, tonight. I'll be back tomorrow.
"DON LEMON TONIGHT," of course, with Don Lemon, starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: How do you qualify this one?