Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

CNN TONIGHT: Trump Lashes Out At Pence, Barr & Entire 1/6 Committee After Damning Testimony & New Evidence Surfaces; Justice Sotomayor Explains Her Friendship With Justice Thomas As Supreme Court Winds Down Most Tumultuous Term In Decades; Delta Pilots Voice Frustration Over Schedules, Flight Delays In Open Letter To Airline Customers. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The event airs live, Sunday night, 8 PM Eastern, only, here, on CNN.

The news continues, this Friday. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, John, thank you so much. Looking forward to that concert, this coming Sunday. Have a great weekend.

Everyone, I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

And I've been waiting. I mean, we all have, haven't we? Waiting to learn what the January 6 committee had found out. Waiting to see, who might testify, waiting to hear from the people, who already spoke to the committee.

Waiting to see what was happening, behind-the-scenes, not just at the White House, but also inside the Capitol, where the Vice President and both chambers of Congress were really running for their lives.

We've been waiting to see how this is actually playing out, before the electorate, or whether any opinions, let alone potential maybe votes, or legislation, might actually change.

We've also been waiting, for what the person, who obviously seems to be at the center, of the committee's attention, former President Donald J. Trump, wondering what he has to say about all the committee's assertions.

And there are a lot of them. Like that he was told his scheme to overturn the election was, in fact, illegal. But he pressured his Vice President to go along with it anyway. Things like he knew that Mike Pence's life was in danger, at the Capitol, but kept publicly lashing out at him, during the attack, anyway.

Well, the weight seems to be over. Because, today, in his first public appearance, since the hearing, well, he didn't really deny any of that exactly. Instead, he admitted he did pressure Pence, to try to keep him in power.

But he did deny one thing.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never called Mike Pence a wimp. I never called him a wimp.

Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic. But just like Bill Barr, and the rest of these weak people, Mike, and I say it, sadly, because I like him, but Mike did not have the courage, to act.

Truth is he could have sent it back to the state legislatures.

I said to Mike, "If you do this, you can be Thomas Jefferson."


COATES: So, he didn't call Mike Pence a wimp, on that alleged heated phone call, on the morning of January 6. He just accused him of not having any courage, or weak, like the rest of them. Not sure I'm seeing the qualitative difference, here.

And as rioters, were hunting, the Vice President down, that day? Trump was actually tweeting the same. And the former Vice President had to go into hiding because that mob was so whipped up into a frenzy.

And while he was hiding, and we just saw these pictures that he actually watched Trump praise that mob, telling him he loved them, and that they were very special. Really, one of the most surreal snapshots, in American history!

And today, the ex-President even floated, pardons, for some of those rioters, if he ever gets back into the White House. So, there is, of course, no backing down from the election lies that he has spoken of.

And we're going to dig in more, tonight, on just how those lies, are still putting democracy, at risk, long after January 6.

Remember, this warning, from former conservative federal judge, Michael Luttig, yesterday? Listen to this.


J. MICHAEL LUTTIG, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE WHO ADVISED VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Still, Donald Trump, and his allies, and supporters, are a clear and present danger, to American democracy.


COATES: "Clear and present danger, to American democracy." He's referring to how the lies, related to the elections, have metastasized, and how they keep seeming to threaten future elections.

And we're seeing this kind of scenario, play out now, in all kinds of ways, and not just in large cities. A GOP commission, in a tiny county, in New Mexico, was just refusing, to certify a primary vote, over baseless claims, about Dominion voting machines. Sound a little familiar?

And, in a moment, we're going to talk with Secretary of State, who sued, to protect the will of the voters, there, and won.

But the question, really is, is this just a preview, of what's to come, this November 2022, or maybe a look ahead, to November 2024? And really, will these January 6 hearings, help prevent any so-called clear and present dangers, to our democracy?

I'm joined now by a member of the January 6 Select Committee, Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Welcome to the program. I'm glad you're here today, Congressman.


All eyes have really been, on these hearings, waiting to see what might unfold. And I'm wondering, from your perspective, initially, how do you think it's going, in the mission to alert the public, about not only the need for the committee, but the clear and present danger that still poses?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, the evidence is so overwhelming that even Donald Trump isn't trying to lie about it anymore. He just came right out, tonight, and essentially affirmed everything, we're saying.

He never challenged the idea that he's been lying about who won the election. He never challenged the idea that he's been ripping off his followers, by pretending that their money was somehow going into litigation or, anything to try to overturn the official result. And he's basically did nothing to challenge any fact that we have deuced, in this process.

No, he just comes out, and he says, well, he didn't call Mike Pence a wimp. He basically is just calling him a coward, he didn't have the courage to do what needed to be done.

In other words, Trump is saying that he was right, in trying, to force Mike Pence, into violating, his constitutional role, by unilaterally rejecting Electoral College votes, and irrigating to himself, the right to decide, who would be President of the United States.

COATES: Well, Congressman, you're right. He hasn't been challenging--

RASKIN: And this is just straight-up authoritarianism.

COATES: You're right that he hasn't been challenging it. But the committee is being challenged, as we speak, from the Department of Justice. I'd love for you to address it.

Because there has been some allegations, from the DOJ that the committee is having some hand, in delaying prosecutions, of very important cases, including those surrounding the Proud Boys. I want you to respond.

They wrote a letter actually, about this very issue that we can put up on the screen, as well, where the quote says, "The Select Committee's failure to grant the Department access to these transcripts," transcripts about what's happening on the Hill, right now, "complicates the Department's ability to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in criminal conduct in relation (ph) to the January 6 attack on the Capitol."

I bring this up, of course, Congressman, because you know, as well as I do, that the committee's work is legislative, as an oversight function. It's the Department of Justice has the prosecution angle of this.

Can you respond to the claims that the committee is not being forthcoming, and maybe undermining DOJ's ability to prosecute? Is that true?

RASKIN: Well, I'm not going to enter into the specifics of any dialog, taking place, between the Department of Justice, and the Select Committee, about evidence.

All I will say is, that was not a challenge, in any way, to the factual authenticity of the evidence that we presented to the people. They're basically just saying they want access to interviews, with more than 1,000 people that we have engaged in. And, I'm going to leave it to the Chair of the Committee.

COATES: Why not give it to them?

RASKIN: Yes, well the Chair of the Committee--

COATES: Why not give - why not give them access?

RASKIN: --and our legal staff are involved in a process, to deal with all of those things.

They're not just turning everything they have over to us, because they're governed by particular guidelines and strictures. And it's the exact same thing with us. It's a separation of powers. And they have all the same investigative authorities, and powers that we have, including the subpoena power.

And so, we are trying to get our story, out there, to the people. But I'm sure we're going to be able to work things out, with the Department of Justice.

COATES: Well, I'm sure they are optimistic that would happen.

Of course, as a former prosecutor, I think to myself, of having to dot my I's and cross my T's, and if there is information that I need to provide, if it's exculpatory, if it's additive, in some way, to the defense, or even my own case. I'm hopeful that there'll be an opportunity to have that symbiotic relationship, coming to play.

But I wonder about people's perspective, now, of what's happening internally in the committee, Congressman. Because part of the week involved a bit of a, I would say, an interesting discussion, and disagreement, about whether or not there'd be criminal referrals. I know you've spoken out about this particular issue and what that could really look like.

But what do you make of, and how can the people, interpret, who are watching these hearings, about a perceived disconnect, as to why there hasn't been the hearings, around the DOJ component, the corruption of the DOJ?

That was one thing that was highlighted in earlier testimony, or earlier previews of the hearings? What's going on with that?

RASKIN: Well, each one of these hearings is taking on a huge domain, in terms of the facts, and what the hearings we're doing, or looking at different streams of development, leading up to January 6.

So, there was the attack, on the state legislatures, and an attempt to get them to nullify the popular vote, and just install electors for Trump. And you'll hear about that.


There is the attack on the election officials, and that's coming up too, people like Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to try to force them, simply, to invent votes, for Donald Trump.

There was also this plot that you referred to, to try to get the Department of Justice, to describe the election, as corrupt, as a pretext, for getting Mike Pence, to unilaterally extinguish Electoral College votes, coming in, from the state.

So, all of that is going to be told, in due course, over the next couple of weeks. And we're trying to lay it out as systematically as possible.

COATES: Are you having difficulties at all, trying to get the witnesses that you seek? I mean, the American electors are aware that there were subpoenas that were handed out, of course, to members of Congress, who seemed to have thumbed their nose, in return, at least as long as we - as far as we know about the issue.

Are you having difficulty, trying to nail down the witnesses, for these hearings? Is there a scheduling issue? I mean, I know we had at least one person, who had - his wife gave birth this week, and congratulations to him.

But are there outstanding issues, in terms of getting people to be cooperative, and forthcoming, in front of the cameras?

RASKIN: Well, my rule of thumb, is the closer you get to Donald Trump, the more difficult it gets to have them come in, and voluntarily cooperate. But the good news is, the vast majority of people, more than 1,000 people have either complied with the subpoena, or just voluntarily come in, and consented to participate. But it's true. We've had to issue contempt citations, against people, like Peter Navarro, and Dan Scavino, and Mark Meadows, and Steve Bannon. I mean, these are people, who seriously think, because they know Donald Trump, they're above the law.

We've been winning in court. We've won, in court, as recently as two days ago, I think it was, when U.S. District Court Judge Nichols, in the District of Columbia, rejected Steve Bannon's attempt to quash the indictment, against him, and rejected all of his constitutional claims, and all of the nonsense, about how we are an unlawful committee, and we are unlawfully composed, and we don't have a real legislative purpose, and all that.

All of that's been rejected, repeatedly, in the courts. And yet, still we hear it from Trump's sycophants, and acolytes--


RASKIN: --who really act as though they're above the law.

So, we haven't let that stop us. We're collecting all the evidence we can, from videos, from photographs, from the interviews, we've done, from these live witnesses. And the truth is going to set us free here.

We're in a democracy. And the people have the right to the information that they need to make decisions, for the future of the country.

COATES: Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you so much. We look forward to seeing more, from the committee. I appreciate it.

RASKIN: Thank you so much.

COATES: The question now really is what does a January 6 rioter do, after being sentenced, for their role, in trying to block the election certification? Well, the man, who learned, his fate, today, also happens to be a County Commissioner. And this afternoon, he tried to stop yet another election certification, back home.

Now, there are guardrails for democracy. You heard the Congressman speak about those very issues. And we're going to talk about one of those guardrails, next.



COATES: Well, the case of one Capitol rioter, in particular, shows the risks, still looming, over our elections.

Couy Griffin avoided more jail time, for his role, in the January 6 attack. But, back home, in New Mexico, Griffin is a County Commissioner.

And this afternoon, the three-member commission, in Otero County, voted 2-to-1, to certify the results of last week's primary election. But it took a direct order, from the State Supreme Court, to actually force that vote. And despite of that order - despite that order, Griffin actually voted, no, citing his quote, "Gut feeling and intuition," unquote.

The New Mexico Secretary of State, is Democrat, Maggie Toulouse Oliver. And she joins me, tonight.

Secretary, thank you for being here.

For many people, who might be learning about this, for the first time, this is something you know intimately well. It's happening under your watch, and what's going on.

Tell me, how did it get to this point, though?

I mean, this sounds a lot like the deja vu, all over again, that many have been talking about, when Dominion has been involved, in the allegations, of something untoward, although there are lawsuits pending, to try to acknowledge that defamation.

How did it get to this point?

MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER, (D) NEW MEXICO SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we can trace the through-line, all the way, back to right after the general election, in 2020. We certainly saw one particular culmination of that, on January 6, 2021.

However, no matter how much information there is, out there, debunking, ensuring that there's correct information, combating mis- and dis-information that is part of the Big Lie, from 2020? It continues to fester. And it continues to grow.

And it has done so, in this particular county, in my state. And the individuals, who are propagating it, are trying to build an audience, elsewhere, around the state, as well. And it's deeply concerning and troubling.

COATES: Let's follow that thread a little bit. Assuming the State Supreme Court had not ruled, in the way it did, what would have happened, if it hadn't been certified?

TOULOUSE OLIVER: Our democracy, particularly, in this county, would have gone off a cliff. All of the voters, the 7,300 voters, Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, who cast their ballots, would have been disenfranchised.


Every single election in that county that was decided upon, or nominations made, for county-level offices, would have been thrown out. Those candidates would never have appeared on the general election ballot.

And most importantly, it would have been an unprecedented violation of our democratic process that could have sown seeds of disaster, across our state, as well as other states, for not only this general election, in 2022, but for 2024, as well.

COATES: In fact, I mean, you talk about this notion as a potential blueprint.

And for some listening, they may say, "Well, this is just what's happening there, in Otero County. It's unique to where it's happening right there. It's not really a microcosm of other things," except for what you've just spoken about.

I mean, the idea of the connective tissue being the idea that people can choose not to certify elections, based on what he described, as a "Gut feeling and intuition," it doesn't - it's very foreboding, to think about, how this might become a blueprint, down the line.

Have you spoken with other Secretaries of State, about these issues, in terms of what must be done to try to safeguard? And not with an eye towards a particular party, being in power, or a particular person, winning an election. But the idea that when people vote, for a candidate of their choosing, they've got the opportunity, to have that vote counted, and eventually certified?

Is there a collective discussion happening, right now, across this country, in preparation, for what might be to come?

TOULOUSE OLIVER: Well, absolutely. And, I think, the challenge with elections is, we always know there are going to be issues that arise. We just never quite know what they are.

Well, I think, we've seen this had been - this has been a canary in the coal mine, here, in New Mexico, for what might happen, again, in November of this year, or of 2024. So yes, my colleagues and I are talking. I know, everybody is watching very closely, as to what occurs here.

But I will say, this is exactly why we build so many checks and balances, into our election process. I think, here, in New Mexico, however, we've identified a vulnerability.

And so, I'll be working with my colleagues, to make sure that their processes, in their states, are completely shored up, so that it doesn't fall on, let's just say, one individual, who participated, in the January 6 insurrection, to completely overturn the outcome of an election.

COATES: What is the vulnerability, you're talking about, specifically? Is it the idea that this particular candidate, was a vulnerability? Or there's something about the way, in which the process, to certify, is vulnerable, that it could lend itself to this happening again, even if this person was not a Commissioner? Is that the fact?

TOULOUSE OLIVER: Well, I think that what I'm trying to express, in this case, is that we have a commission, in a very Republican part of the state, made up of Republicans. That's not abnormal.

But because they were susceptible to the lies, the Big Lie, and misinformation and disinformation that are a part of that, they - we found, "OK, here's a chink in the armor. If they don't certify, they can unilaterally disenfranchise the votes of 7,300 voters."

So, we need to make sure that we have a backup and process. But I think the important thing to note, in this case, was there really wasn't a discretionary duty, here. There wasn't a "Oh, I have a feeling about this. And therefore, I can say no, it was mandatory."

A court ordered that the Commission do their job, in this case. But it should never have gotten to that point, in the first place. So, let's see how we can maybe avert that, in the future.

COATES: I see many parallels, to what's being discussed, legislatively, on the Hill, in terms of Electoral Count Act, and other measures, as well.

Secretary Maggie Toulouse Oliver, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

TOULOUSE OLIVER: Thank you for having me.

COATES: It's not even a month, after the Uvalde school rampage. But watch what happened, when a conservative Texas senator, who is merely negotiating, with Democrats, on a gun safety package, tried to address his fellow Republicans, back home, today.


COATES: Yet tonight, that same senator, is suggesting, there's real progress, on Capitol Hill. So, the question is can any deal withstand the pressure you saw, like this? We'll talk about it, next.



COATES: Well tonight, a third victim, is dead, after being shot at an Alabama church.

Authorities say worshippers were holding a potluck, last night, when a 70-year-old attendee, pulled out a handgun, and started firing. Someone stopped him, before police could get there, but not before two senior citizens were killed. And now, a third.

Investigators say that the motive is not yet known. But they suspect that he went to the church, occasionally, and is believed to have acted alone.

This just the latest shooting, at a public center, and house of worship.

Among the horrified community members, former Senator, Doug Jones, who says this attack should serve as a wake-up call for lawmakers.


DOUG JONES, (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR - ALABAMA: Birmingham community area is known as the City of Churches. There's a church, everywhere.

The calls, we have such an affinity, both for our faith, and our houses of worship, regardless of your religion, that when something happens there, you expect that to be the safest place you can be.

It goes to show that no community is immune from this kind of gun violence that we see playing out, across the country. No one is immune.


COATES: Yet, in the weeks, since the mass shootings, in Buffalo, and Uvalde, even though it's stated and known that it seems that nowhere is immune, as the former Senator articulated, there's still no deal in Washington D.C.

Senate negotiators are stuck on two main points. One is how to structure federal funding, for state red flag laws. And the other is how to close that so-called "Boyfriend loophole."

Let's talk about it now with two political veterans, Ashley Allison, and Doug Heye.

I'm glad you're both here. I want to drill right in to this issue of the so-called "Boyfriend loophole."


Because one, people said, somehow, this feels different this time, in terms of legislation. And there was thoughts that hey, if there was a preliminary deal that included the closing of the boyfriend loophole, which would allow anyone, who has been convicted of a crime, against somebody, in an intimate partner relationship, who has been the boyfriend, or have a child with or, is married to, a stalker, for example, or otherwise, they would not be able to have a gun.

And yet, this is not seeming to be a part of it any longer. Doug, what's behind that? Why would this be off the table? I mean, the NRA, obviously has been very vocal, in the past, about the Violence Against Women Act.

But what's behind this decision to take this off the table? Is it the lobbying that's the most impactful?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF OF COMMS FOR FORMER MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR: No, I don't think it's the lobbying that's most impactful. There's not as much lobbying happening, on Capitol Hill, on this, as you'd think.

And you're talking about a small universe of senators, who, the good news is, these aren't the bomb-throwers and the loudmouths. These are the productive senators, on both sides of the aisle, who want to reach a deal.

But what we see on this? And you mentioned the Violence Against Women Act. I've worked on reauthorization of that, in the past. That's where the boyfriend loophole really first came up.

And what we see, when you deal with legislation, and the intricacies of it, which don't get a lot of attention, usually, in the media, is that good ideas often get lost in the devil in the details.

And legitimate questions of jurisdiction, legitimate questions of due process, which has certainly happened, in past reauthorizations of the Violence Against Women Act, mean that things that maybe seem commonsense to people, don't really happen in the end.

COATES: You mean, the due process, in terms of the thought the NRA was promoting was that "Listen, if you take away somebody's gun, then they don't have the full opportunity to have the due process in courts." It's pre-emptive. It's something that is premature in many ways. That's been articulated.

I wonder what your perspective is, Ashley, on this issue? Because, I think, a lot of people were optimistic that although it had been taken out of the Violence Against Women Act, which I obviously mention (ph) its own, separate legislative animal, and yet, obviously, very important, but this time, not including it here. What do you make of it?

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR, BIDEN-HARRIS 2020 CAMPAIGN, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, OBAMA WHITE HOUSE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm still hopeful. It has slowed down. It takes a long time, sometimes in Washington, to get things done. But this is moving faster than normal. So, I'm not giving up hope.

I think it has to be in there, though. And it's critical. When I was a part of the Obama administration, one of the things that we practice, is that when we were developing policies, we tried to make sure that we included the people most impacted.

And, in this instance, it's the victims of domestic violence. And if you look at people, who work on this issue, domestic violence groups, they - the research shows that this loophole would save lives.

And so, when you show the video of Senator Cornyn being booed, I'm glad he stood there. I'm glad he took it. And I hope he comes back to Washington, and continues to work. Because this bill is about saving people's lives, and being a real leader, in a moment, of crisis, in our country.

COATES: Well, a couple of facts. I mean, one, according to the CDC data, an average of 70 women, are shot and killed, by an intimate partner, every single month. It's a startling statistic.

But Doug, part of this conversation, why I think oftentimes what happens, and why the wheels of the bureaucratic institutions, move so slowly, is we've got big umbrella concepts, the idea of gun violence, overall. Then, you got to have to drill down to the nuance of what people are reacting to.

For example, a discussion around intimate partner violence might seem very much tangential, to a discussion surrounding a school shooting, for example. The tragedy of it is obviously there. But the idea of not seeing the connective tissue.

And I wonder, from your perspective, is part of the issue that it's been too broadly conceived, in how to address gun violence, in this country, and bureaucracy requires the specificity, to be able to be reactive, in a way that's going to actually move that needle?

HEYE: Yes, look, specificity is important here. And the good news is, for this framework, that they started of places of specificity.

So often when we've had horrific mass shootings, whether it's been in schools, or churches, or other places, there's a mantra of "Do something." And "do something," is an understandable sentiment, but it's not a legislative strategy.

So, you get reasonable actors, as we do in this case, who are focused on specific things. And then, we have to see, if politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, what is possible.

And I still, like Ashley, am optimistic here. But it's a very cautious optimism. It's a very tempered optimism. This is going to be hard to do, anyways. And as we saw, with what happened, to Senator Cornyn, there are a lot of politics at play here as well.

COATES: Ashley, I give you the last word, on this. Because, I wonder, you mentioned the idea of sort of the bureaucratic principles here. Is time the enemy?

I mean, oftentimes, we thought and heard about the school shooting. And, unfortunately, I mean, we're talking about, I think, there's a calculation of, there's been more than 56 mass shootings, since Uvalde. That's a very foreboding statistic, and fact.


I wonder, the farther away we get, from those mass shootings that capture national headlines, are we moving further away, from the possibility, of having the implementation, of legislation, and negotiations?

ALLISON: I'm not sure if not having them in the headlines is the reason why time is the enemy. Time is the enemy because every day we go without this legislation, more people die, at the hands of gun violence.

But time is also the enemy because we also are in a midterm year. And the closer we get to elections, the more people will start to walk back, and get scared, and not want to act.

And so, we need Chris Murphy - Senator Chris Murphy said that they were trying to get this done, by July 4. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day, by doing, really, the work of the people!

But if it goes much past August recess? I am nervous, not because it's not in the headlines, but because politics, as Doug mentioned, will truly be at play. COATES: And I do wonder, of course, if you're somebody, who is wondering, as a Republican, or a Democrat, what impact it might have on your reelection chances, the boos don't quite help incentivize, I think, politically. But we'll see.

Ashley Allison, Doug Heye, thank you so much.

HEYE: Thank you.

COATES: Always a Sword of Damocles above us!

Look, if tensions weren't already high, at the Supreme Court, ahead of the ruling, on Roe v. Wade? Well, now a scandal, involving Justice Clarence Thomas' wife, is growing even wider.

The January 6 committee wants to talk to her. And she says she'll comply. But how much will she really say? And would her husband have to now recuse himself, if she were to do so, on any January 6-related cases, going forward?

We'll talk about it next.



COATES: The idea of a Supreme Court justice's spouse, being involved, in an attempted coup? Well, that's staggering by itself, if true! But when you consider the court itself is now barricaded, from the public? Well, the justices now need armed protection.

And even before all of this, public approval, of what is supposed to be the apolitical branch of government, was underwater. This is a court in crisis, at least in their public image and perception. And even as we wait, on what could be several landmark decisions, the question is about what the legacy of the court will ultimately be.

I want to talk now, about the state of the court, with our own Joan Biskupic.

Joan, I'm so glad to see you here, tonight. Particularly, you are the expert, on what the Supreme Court really is doing, a noted biographer, on many of them, as well. So, I'm glad to have your expertise.

I got to ask you, first. For people, who are hearing about consistently, the spouse of a Supreme Court, and thinking about "Hey, I thought even a hint of impropriety forced a judge to recuse him or herself?" You're laughing because those rules don't really apply to the Supreme Court. What are the parameters?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: It's really in the hands of each individual justice. Remember, each of these nine justices are appointed for life. They do have ethics guidelines.

They do - they are part of a federal - they fall under a federal law that says that if there's an appearance of impropriety, or a conflict of interest, or if a reasonable person could suspect that there would be a conflict, then the person should recuse.

But that is a very subjective judgment. And Chief Justice John Roberts has said that he trusts that his eight colleagues will be able to make that judgment, and it is in the hands of the individual justices.

Now, Ginni Thomas is getting further linked to the attempted coup, the protests, the assault on the Capitol, the rampage. She already had sent Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff, messages, saying we have to stop this (inaudible) that the left is engaged in.

And, as you know, Laura, the new communications that the January 6 committee has, show her talking to John Eastman, who was a legal architect of something that he himself seem to admit, would be illegal. And that would be to have Vice President Pence actually not certify the election, and throw it to Donald Trump, for a second term.

COATES: So Joan, if she were to testify, in front of January 6 committee, would that be something that might be more compulsory and have more pressure from the court?

I mean, I want to play for you, before we've answered that question, what Justice Sonia Sotomayor has had to say, about Justice Thomas.

And I play this only to sort of orient the idea, there's been a lot of reporting, and you yourself have talked about, the idea of some mistrust, among the justices, after the leak - after the leak of the draft opinion.

Let's hear from what Sonia Sotomayor had to say, about her opinion, of the Justice, Clarence Thomas.



SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a man, who cares deeply, about the court, as an institution, about the people, who work there. But about people.

We share a common understanding, about people, and kindness towards them. That's why, I can be friends, with him, and still continue our daily battle.


COATES: So, obviously, there's a little bit of saying, "Hey, we can still be friends. I may not agree with you, essentially." Is it seem that their camaraderie is still going strong?

BISKUPIC: They have very many layers to the relationships. Let me put it that way. Their camaraderie is not still going strong. Look, I've always said that they will always close ranks, against outsiders, especially those of us, in the media, in the news media.


But they said - think of everything else that Justice Sotomayor has said, recently, including just about a week ago, Laura, when she wrote in a dissenting opinion that this new and reconstituted restless majority, was just trying to diminish legal remedies, across the board.

She had referred earlier to the stench of the court. So, she is saying many things. But she's also trying a little bit to lower the temperature.


BISKUPIC: But when we see the rulings that are going to come in the next two weeks, I don't think they're going to be able to lower the temperature, Laura.

COATES: And one of those real quick, Joan, and I want people to be aware--


COATES: --of one that's coming up. It involves the Miranda Warning. You - everyone can probably recite the Miranda Warning, from having watched infinite episodes of "Law & Order," and the marathons.

Tell me, real quick. What's at stake here? I hear that they are trying to assess whether that warning should still be issued.

BISKUPIC: That's stating it a little too broadly, Laura. But I do want to say, I'm so glad you brought this one up, because everybody's paying attention, to abortion, and gun rights, and religious liberties.

But this is a case that at the center of the dispute, is the famous Miranda ruling. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to have a lawyer.

But it's not a question of whether you have to have the evidence withheld, if you haven't been read that Miranda rights. It's a question of whether someone, who has not been read his Miranda rights, can bring in individual civil rights action, against the officer, who failed to do that. So, it's a kind of a side question on it.

But during oral arguments, in this, Laura, in April, Justice Elena Kagan said, do we really want to diminish this right in any way? Do we want to undermine the legitimacy, and the integrity, of the Supreme Court, in any way diminish Miranda rights, even though this isn't a direct assault on it?

So, it's one that plays into yet another question of precedent, as the Supreme Court, and the overall institutional integrity, of the Supreme Court, Laura.

COATES: Joan Biskupic, we'll be watching that. I'm so glad, you continue to remind us that there are many more cases, we're waiting to hear back from.


COATES: And at the Supreme Court's ruling on it, very important one. Nice to see you.

BISKUPIC: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Now listen, if you're planning to get back on a plane, this summer, one thing might get in the way. The lack of pilots!

Coming up, the urgent appeal, for help, with crews, pushed to their limits, next.



COATES: The summer of flight cancellations is on. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, is now pressing airline CEOs, to come up with plans, to head off the travel disruptions.

Pilots for Delta Air Lines say they're being overworked, even as the airline cancels flights.

The Delta Pilots Union, published an open letter, to customers, on Thursday, writing in part, quote, "We have been working on our days off, flying a record amount of overtime to help you get to your destination. At the current rate, by this fall, our pilots will have flown more overtime in 2022 than in the entirety of 2018 and 2019 combined, our busiest years to date.

We empathize and share in your frustration over the delays, cancellations, and disrupted travel plans you've experienced. We agree; it is unacceptable."

I want to bring in now Captain Evan Baach, a Delta Air Lines pilot, and Vice Chair of Communications, for Delta's Pilots Union.

Captain, thank you for being here, today.

I must ask, what was the impetus, for writing this, the open letter, and the frustrations? Has there been many complaints, from passengers? Or was it something that you collectively wanted to begin, to at least acknowledge that frustration, even in your own right?


Our issue really began a while ago, during COVID. And we've been making it very clear, to Delta management, for quite a while that we are not staffed, appropriately, for this summer-flying. We don't have enough pilots. And the company is scheduling more flights than they can fly. We've been very vocal about it, for the last few months. We've been picketing at Delta bases, and hubs, throughout the system to send that message that our pilots are tired, and we're frustrated. We're fatigued.

And we really want the customers to know, through the letter that we understand, we share in their frustration, as well. So we wanted to make that very clear.

COATES: Has the reaction, from Delta, been such that you felt compelled to say it publicly? Because obviously, there was not the relief that you were asking for.

I mean, I see the cancellations. We had the warnings about many flights being cancelled, over the course of the summer. One would think with the cancellations that would solve the staffing issues. It has not, you're saying?

BAACH: Yes, it's a very complex issue. And we knew, going into this summer that staffing was going to be a problem. And the company, to their right, has listened to us, to some degree. In July, they've agreed to pull down flying. But we're seeing the issues now. We're seeing a lot of the cancellations and delays going on now.

The Delta brand is proud, and we're proud Delta pilots, to offer a high level of customer service. And that's something that we really want to maintain. We want to maintain that proud brand.

We're long-term stakeholders to Delta Air Lines. I've got 20 - 25 more years of flying, left at Delta. And I want it to be a company that I'm proud to work for.

COATES: I mean, I - we too, as passengers, would like you all to be safe, to be rested. I mean, I know that I fly all the time. And when I hear things like the fatigue of a pilot, it's concerning.

And I know there's also, you're up against the idea of mandatory retirement ages, throughout the airline industry. I think, it's of 65- years-old. Not that you're anywhere near that, I can see your youthful glow.

But the idea of thinking about how it's going to create issues, down the line, if there's already staffing issues, now, is it a long-term problem that really needs to be addressed?

BAACH: That's a great question. We look at it, really, as a supply issue, right now, like a lot of industries, we're seeing, supply issue, in pilots, at the moment. It will eventually be solved.


But we've been bringing this up, with Delta management, for a very long time that we're just not properly staffed. And you're seeing it now, in the delays and cancellations, at Delta.

COATES: Delta has reacted. They have a statement that says "We continuously evaluate our staffing models and plan ahead so that we can recover quickly when unforeseen circumstances arise. Pilot schedules remain in line with all requirements set by the FAA as well as those outlined in our pilot contract." That's their statement, in reaction to what has been said.

What's your reaction to their statement?

BAACH: Absolutely. Well, that they're absolutely correct.

And the most important thing, to remember, is that we will fly safely every day, every flight. That's our number one priority, on every flight.

The other thing to remember? That the most important safety tool, safety measure, in every flight deck, are two well-rested and well- trained pilots.

COATES: Got it.

BAACH: So, safety is our number one priority, every flight.

COATES: Safety first! Captain Evan Baach, thank you so much.

BAACH: Thanks for having me.

COATES: And thank you for watching.