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CNN TONIGHT: Oz, McCormick Deadlocked In Too-Close-To-Call PA GOP Senate Primary; DHS Memo Warns Of Extremist Violence Related To Upcoming Abortion Ruling; Key Lawmaker: UFOs Pose "Potential National Security Threat." Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 18, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The Justice Department says that U.S. Marshals Service is working to provide around-the-clock security, at the Justices' homes.

Earlier today, CNN reported that the Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement partners, of potential danger, to the public, and members of the court.

News continues. Let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you. And that interview, you had, with the family of the woman, whose husband, was in the nursing home, it was just - I'm still trying to get over that, and how touching that was. It was really empowering, and powerful, to know their true story.


COATES: And just so tragic.


COATES: Thank you for that interview.

COOPER: Yes, married for more than 60 years, incredible!

COATES: I mean, just the idea of trying to preserve his dignity, and going every day, and him not yet knowing, I just - my heart broke, and it still does.


COATES: Anderson, thank you.

COOPER: Thanks.

COATES: I'm Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

The great cliffhanger, in Pennsylvania, remains, well, just that, this evening. Suspenseful!

In fact, more than 24 hours, after polls closed, in a primary race that's key to which party holds control, of the Senate, next year, the biggest primary night of the year, has now stretched into night two, with the two GOP Senate candidates, in Pennsylvania, deadlocked, in a too-close-to-call contest.

This particularly has come down to candidates, Dave McCormick, and Trump-endorsed Mehmet Oz. Thousands of mail-in ballots are still being counted. And even after they are counted, this dead heat race is likely heading to an automatic recount, under Pennsylvania law, because of this slim margin.

So, both Oz, and McCormick, have already acknowledged that this still isn't over. In fact, there's a process.


DAVID MCCORMICK, (R) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We have tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that have not been counted.

MEHMET OZ, (R) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We're not going to have a result, tonight.

When all the votes are tallied, I am confident we will win.


COATES: The process remains.

But here comes Donald Trump, today, on his social media site, ripping a page, right out of his own playbook that his endorsed candidate, Oz, just go ahead and declare victory. Why? He says so it's quote, "Harder for them to cheat," unquote. More baseless conspiracies based on this notion of mailed-in ballots.

So, all eyes remain, on this key battleground state tonight that Trump legitimately lost in 2020.

The ex-President can however, celebrate the resounding victory of one of the most active promoters, of his Big Lie, who he threw his support behind, well, very late in the game, but still did, nonetheless.

Extreme far-right candidate, Doug Mastriano, he soundly won the GOP nomination, for Pennsylvania Governor, yesterday. It's a huge win for him, undoubtedly. But for his party? Perhaps that's more questionable.

You see? A lot of mainstream Republicans, in Pennsylvania and, frankly, elsewhere, aren't too happy that Mastriano is the one on the ballot, going into the general election, against the current PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Mastriano attended Trump's January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally. He was even seen walking past breached barricades, at the Capitol, that day. And he ran on the Big Lie, and has, well, many other radical views. So, many Republicans fear that he might be easy, for Shapiro, to knock out, in November. And interestingly enough, Shapiro thinks so too. He was actually apparently hoping that Mastriano would be the one to run against him.

And remember, whoever the governor will be, will appoint a Secretary of State, in Pennsylvania, who will actually oversee elections, including the one in 2024. With Mastriano trying to get a free and fair election overthrown, from back in 2020? Well, that could worry a lot of voters, in November.

Meanwhile, there's the blowout victory, in the Democratic primary, for Senate, last night, with Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, winning that nomination, from his hospital bed.

Recall that he had a stroke, and a defibrillator implanted, to regulate his heart rhythm. But the medical emergency did not stop him, from advancing, to the general election, in November, where he's going to face off with well, either Mehmet Oz, or Dave McCormick.

Well, that's the big question. Which one will it be? Which Republican will go against Fetterman? And could Fetterman's health issues become a bigger issue, for him, in the general election? And what did his win, and other race outcomes, say about the strength, maybe, of progressivism in America?

I want to bring in Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator, and former co-chair of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. She recently lost her own bid for Congress.

And also, Scott Jennings, former adviser to Senator, Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

Welcome to you both. I'm glad to have you here.

Let me begin with you, Scott. Because, when people are thinking about this primary, and this notion of Trump saying, "Just go ahead and declare the victory, because you don't want those pesky, well, mailed- in ballots, to get in your way, of being able to say you won," you have some memory flashbacks, of what happened, in places, like Pennsylvania, for example, in 2020, or like in Georgia, and the continuation of the Big Lie.

When you hear Trump saying that, what comes to mind for you? What is your reaction?


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER SENIOR CAMPAIGN COMMS ADVISER TO SEN. MCCONNELL: Well, it worked out great for him, right? I mean, it's not like the country was plunged into a massive crisis that we're still dealing with today! I mean, it's a ridiculous assertion!

COATES: Not at all! JENNINGS: By the way, he's recommend - he's recommending that we disenfranchise a bunch of Republicans, people in his own party! So no, this is not the right advice. The process ought to get a chance to play out.

And, by the way, I don't know, really, who has the advantage here. It's a very close race. And I think Republicans are going to be well- served with either McCormick or Oz, who are likely going to run the same campaign, in the fall, which is that "Joe Biden's terrible, and we need to push back on him, by electing a Republican."

So, in some ways, I'm not sure it quite matters. It matters to Trump, of course, because he cares most about his one loss record. But the idea that we would disenfranchise Republican voters, who fairly cast ballots, to me, seems kind of crazy. But, then again he's--


JENNINGS: --in this particular space, he's never been known for - he's never been known for reasonableness.

COATES: I got to tell you, also, in the - in this country, right now, the idea, Nina, of disenfranchising voters, who otherwise ought to be able to have their votes, counted, albeit crazy, increasingly more common, in this country.

What's your reaction to the idea of having mailed-in ballots, even though it would impact Republicans, but it's - a voter, in general, this notion of, as Scott said, that they'd be better-served with either Oz or, of course, McCormick, what's your reaction to that?

NINA TURNER, (D) FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR, CO-CHAIR, BERNIE SANDERS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, it's definitely lunacy. All votes should count. And that's what this representative democracy is about.

Most people are never ever going to run for office. But the one way that their voices can be and should be heard, is the notion of one person, one vote. So, that is vitally important.

And the fact that President Trump, and other Republicans, unfortunately, peddle this nonsense, about voter fraud? We know that there have been studies out there to show very clearly that people are more likely - have a greater likelihood of being struck by lightning than the high voter fraud. It absolutely makes no sense.

So, in that, Scott and I, we might not agree on a lot. But disenfranchising people is wrong, no matter who they want to vote for.

COATES: I love that we started with an agreement. And now, let's get to where we probably are going to disagree, in this particular instance. Well, while we had that nice foundation? Bravo to both of you on that.

Now, let's talk about the idea of what's happening, in terms of what the race would ultimately be, against say, Fetterman, of course, in this race, and then either the winners of the Republican primary. And I wonder, from your perspective, Nina, in particular, you've got Fetterman, who has said he's a Democrat. And I would note, back in April, he told our colleagues that he does not categorize himself as a progressive.

He considers himself a Democrat that's running on the same platform of ideas that every other Democrat, in this race, is running on, and said, "And I can't think of a Democrat running nationally, that's running on anything functionally different in that regard."

When you hear that idea? I mean, he's often referred to and thought of as a progressive. Does his victory, and it was a decisive one, at that, at this point, does that bode well, for progressive policies and platforms? Or is he trying to distance himself, because he needs to be more appealing, in a general election, where there might not be the appetite for it?

TURNER: I mean, appealing to changing people's material conditions, that's the key. So, it was Shakespeare, who once said, "What's in a name? A rose, by any other name, smells just as sweet."

If in fact, the Lieutenant Governor is running to help to change material conditions, of the poor, the working poor, and the barely middle-class, in this country? He may not necessarily want to call himself a progressive.

But standing up for those issues are vitally important to all voters, to all people, especially if you are among the people, who are poor, the working poor, and the barely middle-class.

That is, to change their lives materially. That is healthcare. That is making sure that people can unionize. That is making sure that folks have a living wage. Those things permeate, Laura, as we know, across party lines. So, it is vitally important that he pushes that.

We know that he's also been running on making it very clear that he is not, Joe Manchin, for example. He's not Kyrsten Sinema. And that's a great start, right there, coming out the gate.

COATES: Well, Scott, on that notion of thinking about one saying tomato, one saying to-ma-to, and the idea of thinking about what it really means, does it resonate, with the Republican Party, for those, who are going to be coming up, on the general election?

I note that, of course, Trump did win, back in 2016, Pennsylvania, but lost, obviously, in 2020.

But the messaging in terms of what might appeal more broadly, to voters? I mean, we're talking about, some of the people, who have run, for election and, right now, who are deciding, whether they're going to be the primary victor, have run in part on these notions of the Big Lie.

If that's the starting point of things, are we even to the point where policy considerations are going to be paramount? JENNINGS: Well, I think, for Republicans, whoever wins the Senate race, really - I mean, I hate to like make my profession sound super rudimentary, and non-complicated.


But, look, Joe Biden's in the mid-30s, in virtually all these targeted Senate races. He is in really bad shape, in Pennsylvania. Inflation's out of control. Gas is $4-something a gallon. People can't find baby formula. If you can't find a way, to spin this straw, into gold? I mean, I don't know. And God help you!

I mean, this is not a complicated issue. Democrats are in control of everything. Joe Biden is at the top of the whole thing. And voters are really unhappy about all the stuff, I just said. So really, that's what you should focus on. And that's why I have high hopes for the Senate race.

I don't have high hopes for the governor's race. Because it doesn't seem to me like Mastriano wants to focus on those issues. He wants to focus on other issues that have nothing to do with being competent, or likable, which you need to be a governor.

But, in the Senate race, I get the feeling, Oz and McCormick, either of them, could focus on those core things, and put Republicans, back in the Senate race, here, which they need to do, by the way, if they want to pick it up, in the fall, pick up the whole chamber.

COATES: Well why it's so important though, if we think about this, Nina? And the idea of whoever is going to be the governor, for example, in this particular race, will be the one, to set the Secretary of State, who will be in charge of overseeing elections, in the State of Pennsylvania, which obviously, was a battleground state, and continues to be so.

When you think about, where the party is, right now? I mean, it's one thing to say "Yes, you can spin this straw into gold." But one of the preventing vehicles for that has been what's happened in the Senate. The administration has not been able to accomplish all that it wants to, because of the roadblocks, in the Senate.

What do you say to that?

TURNER: Yes, I mean, you have Republicans, who are just doing what Republicans do. Being recalcitrant, especially on issues that help to lift people.

And then, you got two Democrats, who are front and center, both Senators Manchin and Sinema, who are going totally, in the opposite direction, and had been the major roadblocks, to President Biden's agenda.

So, it is vitally important that Democrats get some senators, in that particular chamber, who are going to stand up, and fight, for the agenda that the President is pushing. That is important. And then, Laura, another point to that. There are some other Democrats that's probably hiding behind Sinema and Manchin. We must get rid of the filibuster. Let's do that post-haste, and then begin to work on the issues that will lift people, in this country. It is time-out, for either party, to play games, with that.

We can't get voting rights passed. Both parties should be in agreement, in agreement, that it is important, to have access, unfettered access, to the ballot box.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which many whether, they're Republican or Democrat, talk about, the relationship that they had, with the late congressman, how much they love and admire the late congressman.

But yet and still it's like pulling teeth, to have the people, who are elected, who get elected, for a living, stand in the way, of advancing, expanding and protecting access, to the ballot box.


TURNER: There should be no partisan argument, about needing to ensure that people have that kind of access to the ballot box.


TURNER: The Child Tax Credit, another example.

COATES: I hear you.

TURNER: It shouldn't matter, whether you're Republican or Democrat, Laura. You want babies, and children, from all families, across this country, to be pulled out of poverty. I don't get it, Laura.

COATES: Well, Nina, I think the explanation--

TURNER: They got to stop playing games.

COATES: --the explanation, people would say, would be - their retort would be, those things are not the priority to the Republican Party, in the same way that it is the Democratic Party. And you point out the idea of the roadblocks, being two Democrats, in part.

We'll continue the conversation. Nina Turner, and Scott Jennings, thank you so much. I appreciate, hearing from both of you.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

COATES: And now, frankly, to some very concerning new warnings, from Homeland Security, as we await the looming Supreme Court decision, on abortion rights, warnings of potential violence, to come over the ruling.

We'll look at what the federal bulletin details, and get insight from a former Secret Service agent. That's coming up next.



COATES: Tonight, the U.S. Marshals Service says it's working around the clock to provide around-the-clock security at the homes of all the U.S. Supreme Court justices.

That word comes, after today's stark warning, from the Department of Homeland Security, of potential violence, once the court rules on abortion law. Of course, this comes after the leak of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The threats range from burning down, or storming the court, to murdering justices, and their clerks, as well as members of Congress, and lawful demonstrators. So, how concerned should Americans be, in a post-January 6 insurrection world?

Let's get some perspective, from CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, and former Secret Service agent, Jonathan Wackrow.

Jonathan, I'm glad you're here. But I have to tell you, it gives people a great deal of pause, when you think about the dire warning that's been issued. The idea of storming. The idea of murder. The idea of pure violence happening.

I wonder, what is your take, on this memo? Were you surprised to see it?


And one, no, I'm not surprised, because DHS and law enforcement has learned from the past. And it's very prudent, right now, that they are raising awareness, and sharing information, about potential violence, surrounding any type of Supreme Court decision.

And I just think that, their focus on this, highlights just how tense the conversation is, nationally, around abortion rights, and the just renewed intensity, in anticipation of this decision.

And really, you highlighted some of those security risks. And they really stem, predominantly, from clashes that are anticipated between pro-abortion and anti-abortion rights groups.

And those clashes, while of concern? There's also this worst-case scenario, which is a fear that law enforcement is now warning about, around, attacks from domestic violent extremist groups, who, we have seen in the past, have capitalized, on these polarizing social issues, in the past.


COATES: It's one thing to talk about the anticipation. But anticipation is only as good as if you have the resources, and the ways, to actually try to prevent and deter it. Do you think that they are flatfooted, in their ability to do so? Or will they be able to be nimble enough, should this actually arise?

WACKROW: Laura, great question, right? Because, we've seen law enforcement be flatfooted, in the past, right? January 6 was a great example.

COATES: And not from their own reason--

WACKROW: But, right now,

COATES: --by the way. When you talk about flatfooted, not by their own lack of ability, or a lack of desire, to help and provide the service. But I mean, resource-wise, flatfooted, Intelligence-wise, in terms of the information, flatfooted.

WACKROW: Well, no, actually, what we're seeing is, is actually a very robust Intelligence process, being put into place, to look at all sides of these issues.

Law enforcement must consider the primary, second, and third, order of consequences, of any decision that's handed down by the court, right? Any decision, you're going to have a winner, and a losing side, right? And you're going to have anxiety and tension between those two groups.

Law enforcement knows that. And they're looking at key groups, on both sides of this issue, to understand who the primary actors are, what type of action may exist, should a decision go either way, and they're planning accordingly.

The federal law enforcement, DHS, is working with local law enforcement partners, around the country, to get ahead of this issue.

This is unprecedented. I have never seen this before, where we're seeing a whole-of-government approach, to one singular court action. And I think that it just speaks to the seriousness of this issue, and how we need to move forward, to prepare.

COATES: And when we do see, the idea of maybe not a whole-of- government approach, when you've got individual jurisdictions, say there is a verdict that's about to be rendered, by a jury?

You've got that heads-up. It maybe goes out to the law enforcement, locally, to try to anticipate. You've had complaints, obviously, across the country, about this shutting down of areas, and what that would mean, the reading of the tea leaves.

Here, do you think there's going to be a coordination, with the Supreme Court of the United States, to suggest, "Hey, this is going to be coming, on this particular day," to take and plan accordingly? Or will it really have to be as responsive as when the media learns about it, when the American people learn about whatever final ruling, there will be?

WACKROW: Well, listen, there's three parts to this. It's preparation, response and recovery. That's what law enforcement is thinking about.

It would be great, if they got a heads-up that there was some decision coming. So they can basically put out the right resources, at the right time. However, the fact that we are sitting here, tonight, talking about this, raising awareness?

And law enforcement agencies are not only working with each other, but they're also working with the private sector, corporations and businesses, both large and small, around the country, to help them prepare, for the potential impact of this decision.

So, the preparation of the Left of Boom planning, really, is key, in bringing that agility that you just talked about, bringing the resilience structure, into place, so that we can act quickly, and maintain civil order, as best as possible.

COATES: Jonathan, the elephant in the room, is the fact that we are talking about this, in anticipation, of a potential violent response. And we know we are a country that honors and values the First Amendment.

But the idea of the expectation of free speech, and reaction, and assembly, turning violent, is something that I think we can't get used to, in this society. I know you know that quite well. And we'll see what actually comes of it.

Jonathan Wackrow, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

WACKROW: Thanks, Laura. I appreciate it.

COATES: The government is not warning people to avoid going to the supermarket or to church. But deadly racism, like the massacre, in Buffalo, is cause for fear. And it isn't exactly a one-off.

Michael Eric Dyson joins me. I want to know, does he see a through line, between the language of the Us-es and the Thems, and the latest innocent people to die merely because of who they are? That's next.



COATES: In the wake of the Buffalo mass shooting, America, once again, finds itself engaged, in conversations, about racism, and white supremacy, in particular, in this case, the white replacement conspiracy theory.

It's the latest in a string of recent hate-motivated massacres, including El Paso, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. The question is, why does this keep happening? And are we having the right conversations, about hate, to stop it?

Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, at Vanderbilt University, and Author of "Unequal: A Story of America," Michael Eric Dyson, joins me now.

Michael, I'm so glad you're here, to talk about this, and give the perspective. But this is a conversation that is infuriating by how cyclical it really is. The idea of the evergreen nature of the conversation, about the replacement theory, it has its place in history, but also in the present.

Walk us through a little bit about what this says, about the state of race, in America.


Yes, this is not anything new. In fact, what's interesting is that the white replacement theory comports effortlessly with Confederate theories, of white supremacy, and white superiority, with post- Reconstruction denial of opportunity, to Black people, with violent reprisals, against Black people, for the unabashed temerity, to have progress.

The fact that you think you can vote? They were going to schools and burning them down. They were going to polling places and threatening Black people. This was 100 and some odd years ago, and it continues today.

So, as odd and as exceptional as the white replacement theory looks, there's a newfangled twist to it here, the explicit expression that we are fearful of genetically disappearing, right? We know that in what 20-some odd years, White people will no longer be the statistical majority, in this country.

And when you tie it all together, white replacement theory, anti-CRT argument, the insistence that abortion be banned, and that White babies, in particular, be born? This is all of a larger piece. And that larger piece is the fear of Whiteness disappearing in the face of a worldwide global expansion of people of color.


And, right here, in this nation, we will not be replaced by Jews, by Blacks, by Latinos, and others. That's part of the tragedy that has to constantly be dealt with, and seen as a through line, from white supremacy, beginning before 1619, on down to today.

COATES: The way you talk about it, was really under that discussion of - has often talked about the Browning of America. There's conversations around the census data, and who to include, who's entitled to be thought of as an American.

Even recently, you had members of Congress, who were tweeting the idea of the audacity of the government, to provide formula, to undocumented newborns, and give it instead to rightful American babies. This whole through line is really there.

But what often has the conversation? And I know, you know, this well. What often follows is, this is not who we are. This is not America. You had the President of the United States, as a candidate, saying, "I'm running to fight for the soul of this nation."

But is there a fallacy in the idea that this isn't who we are?

ERIC DYSON: There is a tremendous fallacious assumption that this is not who we are. One President, fighting, for the soul of America. Another president, fighting, solely for White America, more broadly.

We saw this in 45, under his presidency. We saw the resurgence and recrudescence of white-supremacist thinking, of the unashamed expression, unapologetic embrace, of white supremacy. And guess what? Autocracy, authoritarianism, neo-fascism comes along.

The greatest predictor, for fascism, in America, is white supremacy. What is it when Black people are written out of their - the history and narrative, this angst about CRT? We know this is really blown up.

Two years ago, people didn't even know what CRT meant. But we're looking at the wrong RT. CRT, critical race theory, versus white - WRT, white replacement theory. And the truth is that in this country, deeply entrenched, in the bowels of this nation, is the belief that Whiteness is rightness.

And so, the American Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers, even though they are not explicitly, in many cases, embracing this white supremacist ideology, they are built upon it, and rest upon its premises.

And, as a result of that, what we see going on now, is the long historical trajectory, of anti-Blackness, of anything that doesn't represent Whiteness, in its pristine, pure form.

So yes, we got to talk about the ways in which Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy, and Scalise, and others, represent a spectrum and continuum of beliefs that are hospitable to, and incubating of, the kind of deep and profound explicit violence that we see manifest.

I'm not saying they're the same thing. I'm saying they are on a continuum, where they begin to tolerate the forms of bigotry and hatred.

Mitch McConnell said Black people vote like Americans do. Not other Americans. Already, there's an othering, there's an distancing from Black people, as humane (ph) agents of our destiny, as citizens in this country.

It's all of a piece. And it's very ugly for America to confront it. We'd rather think, "Oh, it's a bunch of guys, in white sheets, or nice haircuts, who are talking about, 'We will not be replaced, we will not be removed.'" No, it's deeply entrenched in the very bowels of American society. This is who we are.

COATES: So, how do we go from this being perhaps who we are, to who we should not be, and who we ought to be? I mean, it's one thing to have the esoteric conversations that we all need to have, to better- understand the lay of the land, the history of the context. But how do you go from that, to where we should be? And not - for some, will look at this, and say, "OK, well, you're offending the First Amendment. I get to say what I want, and feel how I want to feel. Just because I don't happen to abide by your principle doesn't mean that I don't have any right to say, and you're going to legislate against me."

How do you bridge that gap?

ERIC DYSON: Well, look, the great historian, Stevland Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder, said, "First man to die for the flag we now hold high was a Black man." Crispus Attucks. So, here he was, a formerly-enslaved Black man, was the first to die, for the freedom of America.

Don't be trying to lecture Black people about loyalty to this nation. We were loyal to this nation, when this nation refused to feed us, treated us like chattel slavery, denounced us, dehumanized us, otherized us. And yet, we stood tall.

America has been at its best, when its ideals have been articulated, but lived-out, within the fleshly concrete context, of African Americans' struggle. Only when Black and Brown, and Red, and Yellow, and peoples of color, come along, to embody the ideals that America put forth brilliantly, but contradicted paradoxically.

Thomas Jefferson, writing about the Declaration of Independence, but then owning human beings? So, when Black and Brown and other people's come along, it is in our redemptive practice, that America is transformed, from an ideal, to a reality.


Martin Luther King Jr., the night before he died, said, "America, all we ask is be true to what you said on paper." That's what it will take.

COATES: Michael Eric Dyson, the only person, who can talk about Stevie Wonder, to recrudescence, to talk about Thomas Jefferson, and make me want to scroll to the next Wordle clue, I appreciate you always. I'm so glad to have you on the show. And I loved your book. Thank you so much.

ERIC DYSON: Thank you. So kind of you.

COATES: Look, the former officer, who held down George Floyd's legs, in his final nine moments, he pleaded guilty, today, to second degree manslaughter.

If you forgot the specifics, in the two years, since George Floyd was killed, Lane was only days into his job. And he's the one, recall, who asked Derek Chauvin, if Floyd should be moved out of that prone position. But he never did actually get off the man, as he lay in the street, dying.

The State's Attorney General says this plea is proof, Lane, quote, "Accepted responsibility for his role in Floyd's death." Lane's defense attorney says this is about the chance for a two-year sentence versus a possible mandatory 12, if convicted.

Now, you can decide for yourself, if this plea is a step towards greater justice.

We'll turn next to the nation's formula shortage. So bad now that some children need to be hospitalized. The doctor, who leads a key committee, at the American Academy of Pediatrics, is seeing the extremes, of this emergency, and he'll share it with us.

And we'll look at the newest guidance, for parents, when CNN TONIGHT returns.




COATES: Breaking news tonight, in the formula shortage crisis.

The House just passed the first of two bills that could total $28 million, in emergency funding, to try to help feed hungry babies. Now, the fate of the funding is unclear, in the Senate. But this, on the same night, the President is invoking, the Defense Production Act.

This national crisis, leaving already-exhausted parents of newborns, who are now facing an all-now consuming reality, the panic time for baby formula.


COLLEEN HAFENCHER, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: When I get to work, in the morning, I look for formula. When we're finally sitting on the couch, for an hour, at night, we're looking for formula.


COATES: The worst case is becoming a reality. Because, in Memphis, a lack of formula put two children in the hospital.

Dr. Mark Corkins, treated the kids, at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. He's also the Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.

Dr. Corkins, I'm glad you're here. But please tell us how are the children doing?

DR. MARK CORKINS, CHAIR, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION, PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGIST, LE BONHEUR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: They're doing very well. Actually one of them did - was able to go home. One is still there, and we're hoping to be able to send him home soon.

COATES: When we hear about this, this is really the fear of parents that if there is not the ability, to provide sustenance and nutrition, you're not going to be able to maintain a thriving child, very long. You've seen two, and treated two patients. It's hard to imagine that you won't expect more.

CORKINS: It is. It's a worry that with this shortage that until there's more production that we're going to continue to have needs. Until the factory that was shut down, is back up and operating, there's not as much production, from all the different companies that make formula, to make up the difference.

COATES: So, what are you telling parents? I mean, I can only imagine what that conversation was like.

And the fear of a parent, bringing their child, knowing that they cannot feed their baby, they cannot provide, and they're looking for alternatives. And I know, as a mom, we were always really trained, only certain stages, you introduce certain types of food.

Now, there's a discussion now about whole milk, possibly. Is that changing now, in terms of being able to use that for children? I was always told "No, that's not what you use."

CORKINS: No. It's not what you use, not before you're of age. Especially not before six months of age. Six months - the first six months, literally, you're totally dependent on either breast milk, or formula, for your intake. It's got to supply all of your nutrients.

Now, when you have some solids in your diet, a little bit of, for instance, if you can't find formula, for a day or two, whole milk is probably, it's a stopgap measure. It's far from ideal. It's not really recommended, till you're a year of age.

COATES: But as a stopgap measure, I mean, if the choice for parents, who are literally between a rock and a hard place, the idea of it's either feed my child nothing, or potentially this stopgap measure, is it a real concern, health-wise - obviously, for a sustained period of time. But what are you telling parents, in terms of what they're supposed to do--


COATES: --when you're treating them.

CORKINS: Yes. And then, there's also there's some next-step toddler formulas, for instance. Those are not as complete. They're not designed for infants. But again, as a stopgap measure, while you're looking for formula, a day or two of those, is also an alternative you can use.

There are lots of groups, and lots of people, who have created ways to find the formulas. There are formulas available. But you have to look pretty hard to find them.

COATES: And, of course, have the means, to do so, which is an overarching concern, for so many reasons, for good reason.

If this were to go on, for a longer period of time? We know with even the Defense Production Act, and the idea of reopening the factory, that these may still be prolonged solutions that will take a long time. How long can this go on, and not jeopardize the health of these children?

CORKINS: Well, it's a good question. How long? How much supply do we have left? I don't know that anybody really knows the answer to how much is left.

The FDA has made some moves. They're actually working to approve some formulas, from overseas, to help bridge the gap, and bring in some supplies that we don't normally see in the U.S.

Those formulas, of course, they have to make sure they're complete, and they're safe. And that's under their legal purview, to make sure that the formulas are safe that are fed to our infants.

COATES: And we highly regulate that, for that reason, for nutritional value.


Thank you, Dr. Corkins, for what you're doing. I hope that - I know that one child went home. I hope the other one is able to, as well. And it doesn't become a revolving door of other children, in need of help. Thank you so much.

CORKINS: You're welcome.

COATES: Well, there's a lot going on, for a variety of reasons. So perhaps, it's no wonder that the first congressional hearing, there it is, on maybe UFOs, in half a century, has only been, well, a blip, on the news radar.

But we're about to dive into those truly extraordinary few hours, examining the possibility, of extraterrestrial life, here, on Earth.

So, what does our guest make of it? He's about to take apart some of those videos, of UFO sightings, shown there. And if they're not some kind of alien spacecrafts, well, what are they? Next.




REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are a potential national security threat. And they need to be treated that way. For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good Intelligence analysis. Pilots avoided reporting, or were laughed at when they did.

Today, we know better. UAPs are unexplained, it's true. But they are real.


COATES: I can't lie, I'm into this. Those grave words kicked off today's congressional hearing, on UFOs. It's the first of its kind, in more than 50 years.

Top Pentagon officials testified, under oath, about what they know, about those Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or as you heard him say, UAPs, including this one, a video of flashing triangle shapes, as seen through night vision goggles.

Now, for several years, the mystery sightings, and others, like it, have gone unresolved. Until now.


SCOTT BRAY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE: The triangular appearance is a result of light passing through the night vision goggles, and then being recorded by an SLR camera.


COATES: Well, you know who else had a similar explanation that was grounded in facts, months before Pentagon officials went on the record? Mick West, science writer and UFO investigator, who joins me now.

Mick, this is really an interesting conversation, what we're seeing here. And I just have to ask you. I mean, they were trying to offer certain explanations, today, at the hearing. But there were some that were still puzzled by these explanations.

Can we walk through these videos, a little bit, so people can get an idea of what's going on? Because I want to know, what you see, when you see these videos.

Beginning with the triangle one, we saw the triangles, this sort of flashing green triangle, through the sky. What are you seeing, or explaining, about what you think is happening here?


Now, this video, is one that I actually came up with the explanation for, like over a year ago. And I think it's very interesting that the UAP Task Force spent, they said, several years, looking at this video, trying to figure out what it was.

And we just see basically triangles moving through the sky, and one triangle in particular, that is flashing. And the first thing you notice is it's flashing, at about the same rate, as a commercial airliner. And so, I figured that might be the explanation.

And I looked into the technology that's being used, the cameras that are being used. It's a night vision monocular. And some night vision monoculars have an aperture, inside the lens.

Like this lens, for example, if I held it up the camera, you can see that inside of the lens, the aperture is a triangle shape. And if you've used something, like a small light, through a lens that has a triangular aperture, like some of these night vision monoculars, then it will look triangular shape. And then, I also looked at what's going on in the rest of the scene. And I found out you could actually identify individual stars, in this scene, and you could figure out, where it actually was. And you could see that these stars themselves were also triangular shape, which proved that it was just a camera artifact.

So, I'm a little bamboozled, as to why the UAP investigators, and the government, were unable to figure this out, for about two years.

COATES: Well, welcome to a slow bureaucracy, perhaps, and how the government works, on these issues, Mick.

But there's also one called the fly by, as well. And I'm wondering what you see, and can explain to us, what you're seeing there, of this particular video that seems to show an object flying by this frame.

WEST: Yes, that's an even lower information video, I'm afraid.

Now, this video, you can't really see, from the one they showed, in the hearings. But it's actually out of focus. It's actually a video that was taken with an iPhone, and you can identify the iPhone, by the quality of the out-of-focus light, the white light that's shown there.

And we see something that only zips by the screen, for less than a 10th of a second, it's literally three frames of the video. And it's essentially moving in exactly the opposite direction of the plane, which means that as Scott Bray said, in the hearing, it's probably moving very slow. He also said it was reflective. And we can see that from the white highlight on it.

So, the most likely explanation for this is that it's a Mylar balloon that the plane is simply flying by. And it's not actually moving itself. And it's not actually anything particularly interesting. It's just a bit of airborne clutter.

COATES: Well, I have to say, I'm disappointed on both counts, if that's sort of the explanation, I think. Because a part of me does want there to be some explanation that leads us to this notion of life in the universe. Maybe because I'm a Star Trek fan! I just don't know.

But I wonder what this is, because of the hearing, really is here. Because what is the real point of having this, and particularly now? I mean, those are not the only things they looked at, of course. And there could be classified components of any hearings.

WEST: Sure.

COATES: So, we may not be seeing everything. But I wonder what - can you explain, what is the reason for these hearings, now?

Has it been a culmination of a lot of different sightings, so to speak, and this is but one example, and that people are trying to understand the phenomena that's not just an anomaly?

WEST: Well, I think, historically, there have always been UFOs, since we've had people flying. And those things have always been with us. And they've always been interesting. We've always wanted to try to figure out what they are.


But, more recently, we have had new technology, like drones, which present new challenges, in identifying things, in our airspace. And this is something that is a real issue, it's a significant issue.

And there could be problems with, say, the Chinese, or the Russians, spying on us, or even attacking us, using drones. So, we really need to be able to identify drones. So, it's a real thing that they need to look into.

But this is all being conflated, by people, who are lobbying, essentially, because they believe in aliens. They believe that there is some kind of non-human intelligence, flying around, up in the sky, and they think that the government needs to tell us about it.

And a lot of what we've seen recently is a combination of these very real issues, these very real security threats--


WEST: --mixed up with this kind of strange alien mythology.

COATES: Well, that's an interesting notion, the idea of framing it, with a national security conversation, in particular.

Mick West, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

WEST: Thank you.


COATES: Thanks for watching.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts, right now, with Don Lemon.

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