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CNN TONIGHT: DOJ Opposes Release Of Mar-A-Lago Search Affidavit; Cheney Fighting To Hold Onto House Seat After Taking On Trump; Florida Hopes To Ease Teacher Shortage By Allowing Veterans To Teach Under Certificate, Without College Degree. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Alisyn Camerota. This is CNN TONIGHT.

A week after the removal, of 11 sets, of classified documents, from Mar-a-Lago, some of them labeled, "Top Secret," tonight, there is more intrigue, about exactly what information was being stored in Donald Trump's basement, and why.

The Department of Justice says it opposes the release of the affidavit, behind the search warrant. That's the document, where prosecutors, lay out, in detail, their probable cause, to believe a crime was committed, and why they thought, they would find evidence, at the former President's home.

In a new filing, the DOJ writes, quote, "Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would...cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation... it contains... highly sensitive information about witnesses... specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal... If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government's ongoing investigation..."

OK, that's new information. There are three key takeaways, in this filing.

Number one, they say there's an "Ongoing criminal investigation." In other words, this is more than just a retrieval of sensitive documents.

Number two, they say quote, "Revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation." That means that someone or more than one person is cooperating with the DOJ.

And number three, "Disclosure of the government affidavit would chill future cooperation in other high-profile investigations." What are those other investigations?

The DOJ also adds quote, "The government does not object to unsealing other materials filed in connection with the search warrant, whose unsealing would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation."

The top senators, from each party, on the Intel Committee, Mark Warner, and Marco Rubio, sent a private letter, yesterday, to the Director of National Intelligence, and Attorney General, Merrick Garland, requesting more information, on the records seized. And the Ranking Member, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike

McCaul, made this argument, on CNN, earlier.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): The Affidavit of probable cause, in support of the warrant, we need to see that, and Congress, on the Intelligence committees need to see this as well. If it's such a national security threat, then why weren't we briefed? And we would like to be briefed on that issue.


CAMEROTA: It's interesting, to see former President Trump, in this situation, since we all remember how vehemently he campaigned, on the protection of classified info.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also need the best protection, of classified information.

In my administration, I'm going to enforce all laws, concerning the protection, of classified information.

No one will be above the law.


CAMEROTA: And that brings us to another major development, today, involving a different investigation, this one in Georgia.

Donald Trump's former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was told this morning, by prosecutors that he is a target, of the special grand jury criminal probe, into the 2020 election interference, raising the serious threat of a potential indictment. Giuliani was ordered to appear, in person, before that same grand jury, this week.

Joining me now, to help unpack all of this, we have former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig. We also have Miles Taylor, former DHS Chief of Staff, in the Trump administration. And our Senior Political Analyst, John Avlon.

Gentlemen, great to have all of you here.

OK, Elie, let's start. Unpack this DOJ statement, for us, you read between the lines for us.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. So, first of all, if this affidavit comes out, it will blow the lid, off of this whole thing. Just for comparison sake, we've now seen two documents, unsealed. The search warrant? That was three pages. The receipt for property? That was three pages, it's mostly a checklist.

This document, over under 100 pages? I've seen many of these. I've done many of these. It will give us the full narrative, of how DOJ established probable cause.

I understand fully why DOJ is fighting the release of this. It will be dreadful for their investigation. As they say, it could deter current and potential future cooperating witnesses. And frankly, it's not fair, to the person, who's being investigated right?

Everyone, including Donald Trump, has a right to be presumed innocent. And DOJ should not be in the business of getting out there, and making statements, before anyone's been charged, saying, "Hey, everyone, here's all our evidence that makes us think he probably committed a crime."

CAMEROTA: But just quickly, what about the lawmakers, who are on the Intel committees?


CAMEROTA: They have security clearance. Can they see this stuff?

HONIG: So, that's a tough decision, for Merrick Garland.

The prosecutorial purist, in me, says, "Absolutely not. I don't trust anybody. I don't want to march this up to Capitol Hill."

But you have to live in political reality. I think if I was in Merrick Garland's shoes, I would try to find some way, where I could brief the smallest number of people, with as little detail as possible.

CAMEROTA: Miles, you have been in the room, when President Trump, was handling classified info. Does any of this come as a surprise to you?

MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO TRUMP DHS SECRETARY NIELSEN, "ANONYMOUS" AUTHOR OF OP-ED CRITICAL OF TRUMP: No, not at all. I mean, Alisyn, this is this sum, of our fears, from that time period, which was cabinet secretaries, assistants to the President, would be worried, about briefing Donald Trump, on sensitive information, because he would go talk about these things, with people.

We've seen Donald Trump tweeting out photos, from spy satellites, allegedly revealed very sensitive Intelligence, in the Oval Office, to the Russians. I remember getting that phone call, and my jaw dropping.


I was just outside the Oval Office, once, when a group of reporters were in there, and the President took fistfuls of classified information, and waved them, in front of the reporters, and bragged about what he had access to. There was also a photographer, in the room. Afterwards, we made sure pictures hadn't been taken. This was a big concern.

Now, what I will say that people aren't pointing to is how serious the information leveling is. Secret information is defined under law as information that if released, could cause grave damage to national security, top secret, if released, could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.

What we're talking about, according to reports, is information that's even above that that's what's called SCI, Sensitive Compartmented Information. And these are the things that we would worry about, if Donald Trump looked at them that those sources and methods, those sensitive Intelligence pieces of information, if they got out, could result in lives lost, and danger to this country. That's what we're talking about here.

And anyone else would go to jail, for having taken those types of documents, outside the government.

CAMEROTA: John, one of the interesting things is hearing Donald Trump explain what happened. And so first, he said--


CAMEROTA: --that the FBI basically stole his possessions.

And in a different Truth Social message, he said that the FBI planted the information. So, in other words, they brought 20 boxes, of highly classified information, into a padlocked room, and planted it there. I'm not sure about that Houdini trick!

AVLON: It's almost like it's inconsistent, and a desperate string of lies, isn't it, Alisyn? I mean, look, I mean, that's what we're dealing with here.

We have somebody, who's desperately changing their story, midstream, and knowing that the base will back him up, no matter what he says, and hoping that logic doesn't apply, just like he's hoping laws don't apply.

And so, I mean, there is this basic question, is whether equal justice under law applies to Donald Trump, and whether Donald Trump should be held to basic standards that others citizens, and civilians, should be held at, or whether the basic argument, at the end of the day is, "You know what? If a president does it, it's not illegal, especially if Donald Trump does it."

CAMEROTA: OK. I do want to talk about that. Because, the process of declassification. So, is it what basically, former President Trump is saying, which is, you can wave a magic wand, if you're the president, and go, "Poof, you're declassified?" Is that how it works?

HONIG: Constitutionally, yes, OK? The declassification authority rests with the Chief Executive. That's the President. The President is not just the head of the Executive branch. He is the executive branch. Yes, there are all manner of forms and protocols and procedures and worksheets that one should follow. So, it's done in an orderly manner. So, people know what has been classified and declassified that Presidents of both parties have observed for a long time.

But if we're talking about just the law? And constitutionally, the President has the power. And it cannot be, no pun intended, cannot be trumped, because one of the agencies, in the Executive branch, has come up with a worksheet that wasn't filled out.

So, we do need to keep that in mind. The law allows very broad, perhaps even broader than we like, but the reality is very broad declassification authority.

CAMEROTA: But Miles, that doesn't make sense. How can any president, forget Donald Trump, just any president say "Poof, you're declassified," and never fill out any paperwork, and not tell anybody that?

TAYLOR: I think we're going to have a National Commission on this, after the fact, because both sides are going to be upset, depending on the outcome, of this case. But I've got to side with Elie here. I think it's egregious, if Donald Trump left the White House, with this information.

At the same time, though, you can already see in his early defense of him saying, "Well, it was declassified." I have - this is speculative. But I really, really doubt Donald Trump proactively declassified any of this, upon leaving. But it's very hard to show that.

He does have extensive authority in this space. As a Commander-in- Chief, he could have said "Yes, I declassified it on the day, I was leaving office." And there's no provision in the Constitution that says this is how that has to be done. I think if it went up to the Supreme Court, probably the Supreme Court would side in his favor.

HONIG: And two quick things, if I can.

AVLON: I'm--

HONIG: Wait. Let me just say. He has very broad authority, to declassify, but there's a legitimate question about whether he actually did.

TAYLOR: Correct.

CAMEROTA: Well, if he didn't tell anybody, how will we ever know?

HONIG: That's exactly the point prosecutors--


TAYLOR: --come down to.


AVLON: This is the fundamental problem, is that their argument will be--


AVLON: --he could have declassified something, in his mind, on 11:59 AM, on January 20, and it's all legit, even if the by - as the boxes were being loaded up to Mar-a-Lago.

HONIG: And that's what juries are for.


AVLON: The practical problem in this has to do with little things, like - I mean, Richard Nixon went - oh, the whole court case around Nixon v. United States, where he said the tapes are his personal possession? People said "No." What was - did he just lack the wit, to say, "I declassified all of that."


AVLON: I mean, look, I mean, the larger point is Donald Trump gets treated like a malevolent child, and excuses are made. And the additional problem is no other ex-president would ever - we would not think that someone would take highly classified documents, put them in his basement, and then argue that they're rightfully hid.

CAMEROTA: Well, no, that's different than if it's constitutionally somehow, OK. I mean, that's just different.

TAYLOR: Well, I'm going to switch sides--

CAMEROTA: It might - it might be if constitutionally - they're saying that it might be constitutionally OK.

TAYLOR: I'm going to switch sides on the table here.


TAYLOR: And I'm going to actually defend your point, John.

AVLON: Well--


TAYLOR: I think if push comes to shove on this, we should live in a nation of laws, where when the President exercises an authority, it should be documented.


TAYLOR: And if the President is going to declassify something, whether he writes it on a cocktail napkin, or the form that Elie mentioned, it should be documented. That's what this could ultimately turn on, if it went up to the High Court, at the end of the day.

CAMEROTA: All right, if you're going to hold everybody to that high standard, the cocktail napkin standard? Thanks so much, gentlemen.

Elie Honig, Miles Taylor, stick around.

John, thank you. Stick around, also.

OK, Donald Trump's messaging, about the search, of his home, has been particularly confusing. Why? His former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, is here, next.


CAMEROTA: We've heard a lot of different stories, from Donald Trump, since the Feds retrieved more than 20 boxes of classified material, from his home, one week ago, today.


First, he said he'd been quote, "Working and cooperating" with government agencies.

Then, he claimed authorities "Could have had" the documents anytime they wanted, though they had been asking for them, for more than a year.

Then, he tried to claim the information was somehow planted by FBI agents though he said it was all padlocked.

Then, he claimed he had actually already declassified all the documents though he didn't say how or where or when.

Then, he said they are somehow protected by attorney-client or executive privilege.

And now, today, he's claiming that the FBI quote, stole his "Three Passports," along with, quote, "Everything else."

More importantly, he's attacking the FBI, again, with heated rhetoric, as it faces unprecedented death threats, despite saying, in a new interview that the quote "Temperature has to be brought down."

Let's bring in former Trump White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, for help with all of this.

Stephanie, great to see you.

Is this called just flooding the zone? I mean is this just all of this different messaging, is this just designed to create chaos? Or what do you see here?

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, thank you for having me. Good to see you.

I have been saying, there's this playbook, in Trump-world, and it's deny, destroy, distract. So, he's doing his best to deny. And obviously, he's doing his best to destroy. And that comes in, in the form of attacking DOJ, and law enforcement, FBI, et cetera.

And now, I think, we're in the distract mode, where he's honestly trying to throw anything, at the wall that will stick. And if he finds a message that will stick, I think that's what he'll stick with, no pun intended there.

It's interesting to watch him because usually, he's so sure about his message, and he need doubles, triples, quadruples, down on it. And this time, it has been interesting to watch how it's changing. And that tells me that there are people, around him, saying, "Look, this isn't working. You can't be saying this," et cetera, et cetera.

It's interesting to me that he says that he reached out to Merrick Garland, about taking the temperature down.

You can do that, sir. I hope someone's watching. You can do that by going to Truth Social. You can do that by telling anybody on Fox, or all your surrogates, to just say "There is no room for violence here. Let's have - let's have this play out, innocent until proven guilty."

So, I don't buy the whole "I've reached out. We have to take the temperature down." I think someone is telling him that maybe he's taken it a little too far this time.

CAMEROTA: What do you think his mindset is tonight?

GRISHAM: Paranoia and anger, if I had to guess.

I was actually speaking with somebody, in Trump-world, today, and we were actually talking about what it must be like.

We saw some crazy things. And he was always very paranoid. He always was very paranoid. That's something I've talked about before. Paranoid about leakers, et cetera, but he was also very paranoid about odd things. He thought people were stealing from him a lot. So today, when I saw the whole, the "FBI stole my passport?" That came as no surprise to me.

I think, right now, he's angry, and he's paranoid. I would imagine he's nervous. There are so many investigations happening, and so much news coming, that it's hard almost to keep up with.

CAMEROTA: And also, Stephanie to that point, I mean, one of the things that the DOJ said, in their statement, was that putting out the affidavit, would endanger the sources, basically, that they have been using.

In other words, there is somebody, in Trump-world, who has been cooperating, with the DOJ, and giving them this information. And the DOJ has to protect that person or persons. So, how does Donald Trump respond to that?

GRISHAM: Well, in, I think, the paranoia, it's got to be at DEFCON 5, right now. I can't imagine what it's like to be somebody around him. He's got such a small circle. And another thing I would say to that is, I think that's why Republicans are working so hard to get the affidavit. I don't think it's because they want transparency. I think they're honestly trying to root out, who might be cooperating.

From day one, I have felt that somebody, nearby, is cooperating, for them, to know kind of where the documents were, what room in Mar-a- Lago, et cetera.

I'm glad the DOJ is standing firm there. Because, as we've seen, with the rhetoric with the FBI, and the DOJ, whoever is cooperating, if it's one or more? That person could be in danger, at some point, when this all comes out. So, I'm glad they're standing strong, there.

CAMEROTA: But, in danger, from whom?

GRISHAM: Well, Trump supporters. I mean, look at what is happening, right now. Look at what people are saying, about killing FBI agents, killing anybody involved with this, killing Merrick Garland.

It's been shown that anybody, who speaks out against Trump will be threatened. I have been threatened, Cassidy Hutchinson, Olivia Troye, all of the people, who have spoken out, have been threatened. And I think that that's important that DOJ is standing strong, to protect this witness.

I also think it protects the integrity of the case, because there might be other people, who want to come forward. And if it looks like you can't do it confidentially, what - why would you want to come forward? It's scary to come forward.

CAMEROTA: Yes. It's interesting to hear that that some in Trump-world want the affidavit released, because, OK, it might help them root out whoever is the cooperator. But it also would reveal so much.


Does Donald Trump want the affidavit, with everything that it reveals, in terms of what the DOJ thinks that he absconded with, basically?

GRISHAM: So, I know that sounds crazy, to most people, as it should.

But yes, they would probably want to know, what's in there, so that they can form messaging around it, and figure out how to deny, distract, destroy people. I think they want to know as much as they can, so they can start making excuses, and formulating lies.

CAMEROTA: And in terms of the rhetoric that Donald Trump is using, and that his Republican supporters, even lawmakers are echoing, can they still claim to be - I mean, it's so anti-law enforcement. Do they have any claim still to being a pro-Police party?

GRISHAM: I don't - I don't see how they do. You can't talk about protecting law enforcement, and how important, they are, on one side of your mouth, and then saying, "These people planted evidence. They're all corrupt. It's all Deep State." I just, I'm so disappointed in my party right now. And, at the very least, couldn't you say, "Let's wait and see what happens." Why do you have to put literal marks, on these people's backs? They're doing their job. These are people doing their jobs.

So, it's disappointing, and I don't see how they move away from it, which is why I almost think they're kind of doubling down. I think they've all crossed a line, in the sand that they can't get back from, at this point.

CAMEROTA: Stephanie Grisham, thanks for the insight. Great to talk to you.

GRISHAM: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: Well, it's the eve of another election that we'll be watching very closely. Liz Cheney, the most prominent Republican, in Congress, to take on Donald Trump, is fighting to keep her seat, in tomorrow's GOP primary, in Wyoming. The Vice Chair of the January 6th committee is facing a steep uphill battle.

You're about to hear, from two Wyoming voters, with very different takes, on Liz Cheney's fate. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Wyoming has the smallest population, in the country. Yet its congressional primary race, tomorrow, is highly anticipated.

The Cowboy State has only one congressional seat. And, right now, it's filled by Republican, Liz Cheney. But it is an uphill battle, for her, to keep that seat, after she voted to impeach Donald Trump, and then became the Vice Chair of the January 6th committee.

Trump won Wyoming with almost 70 percent of the vote in 2020. And at the moment, Cheney is running almost 30 percentage points behind her Trump-backed opponent, Harriet Hageman. Cheney is even asking Democrats, to switch parties, to vote for her.

So, I want to get perspective, from two Wyoming voters, one, a Democrat, who did switch parties, just to vote for Cheney, and the other, a Republican, who plans to vote against Liz Cheney.

So, let's start there, with Myrna Burgess.

Myrna, thanks so much for your time. What don't you like about Liz Cheney?

MYRNA BURGESS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN VOTING AGAINST LIZ CHENEY: Well, I think one thing that stands out to me, at this point of time, is that while she has been a very conservative vote, in the legislature, she just seems to be swinging a little bit more, toward the left. But even before that, in the last couple of years, it just does not feel like she really represents the state anymore. CAMEROTA: And let's talk about that Myrna, because when you say she's swinging more towards the left? I mean, I think that she voted on, in terms of the issues, she is where Donald Trump is. She voted with Donald Trump, I think, on 93 percent of the time. She's conservative! And so?

BURGESS: I get that.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, what - in terms of, why aren't those issues, or her positions, on those issues, as important to you?

BURGESS: Well, like I say, that has been the case.

But here, recently, I mean, you take, for example, the gun vote. That is not pro-Wyoming. She's not representing her constituents anymore. When you start voting against guns, and the Second Amendment, that becomes an issue for a very large number of Wyoming voters.

And then, you look at the CHIPS bill. That is a basically a corporate giveaway. And that's not something that's exactly a conservative vote either.

CAMEROTA: And how do you feel about the role that she's played, in investigating the January 6th insurrection?

BURGESS: I don't like it.

CAMEROTA: Why not?

BURGESS: I feel like - well, I feel like she did not even bother to stop at the very inception of this. Her basic take on it was "I do not - I don't know what the facts are. I've already made up my mind." And she said something very much to that point. She already made up her mind before she ever went in, he was guilty of what they said he did.

CAMEROTA: But are you comfortable with it being investigated?

BURGESS: Investigate away. Just don't make it a setup. Things do need to be investigated. But they need to be investigated fairly.

CAMEROTA: And do you think that Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the election?

BURGESS: I think there was a lot of Hatey-Katey (ph) stuff. There were a lot of States that basically we pulled a lot of things that really weren't very legal. I think there were a lot of things behind-the- scenes. I don't know for sure. But I'm a little bit doubtful myself, yes.

CAMEROTA: And does it console you at all that there were, something like 60-plus judges, some of them Trump-appointed, all of whom looked at whatever evidence was presented to them, and they decided that there was no evidence of any sort of significant fraud that would have swung the election to Donald Trump, and that Joe Biden was the legitimate winner? BURGESS: I'm not really sure what to think about that. That's kind of a hard one for me to look at. I also know that a lot of people that I consider very trustworthy sources have looked at the data, and they've looked at - they're very good at statistics and things like that. And there're just things that don't quite add up.

CAMEROTA: So, what do you think Liz Cheney--


BURGESS: I'm not sure the judges (inaudible) the information, or if they didn't.

CAMEROTA: What do you think Liz Cheney's future is?

BURGESS: Well, it is kind of hard to say whether she will win here. I mean, it is possible that she will. There's plenty of Cheney supporters, out there. There's plenty of Cheney signs. But there's plenty of Hageman signs too.

But I have a suspicion she's got something else, on her plate. And I think that Wyoming always was a stepping stone. I don't think it was her first - I mean, it was her first step. But I don't think it was her ultimate goal.

CAMEROTA: Meaning president?

BURGESS: I don't know. I have no idea what's in her mind. I - it wouldn't surprise me. I mean, that's been rumored very much. It's a possibility. But I don't think it'll happen even if - even if she runs, I really can't see it happening.

CAMEROTA: Myrna Burgess, thank you very much. We appreciate getting your perspective on all of this.

BURGESS: You bet.

CAMEROTA: And now, I want to turn to Pat Lauber, who is a registered Democrat, for 40 years, but switched parties, so she could vote for Liz Cheney.

So Pat, thank you very much for being here.

So, you are a lifelong Democrat. Why are you voting for someone as conservative as Congresswoman Cheney?

PAT LAUBER, DEMOCRATIC VOTER WHO CHANGED PARTIES TO VOTE FOR CHENEY: Well, it isn't because of any policies that she has supported.

But I think it's literally a vote, to help save the Republic. I see her as a person of courage and integrity, who has told the truth that Donald Trump lost the election, and yet tried with lies, and manipulation, to stay in office, anyway.

CAMEROTA: Pat, isn't it so interesting, I mean, just the way? You represent the Democrat here, and we just talked to Myrna about this, that you're willing to - both of you are willing to overlook her position on the issues. You don't think that her position on the issues is as important. Is that true?

LAUBER: That is true. I think you can always write a letter, talk to your representative's office and argue policy. But when it comes to having a free and fair election? That is essential, and that has to be upheld.

I don't want Wyoming's lone representative to be someone, who is beholden, to an individual, who demands absolute loyalty, no matter what tricks he's up to.

And I think that Harriet Hageman knows perfectly well, that the election was not stolen, that it was not fraudulent. But she says what Trump wants to hear, and therefore got his endorsement. I think that's pure ambition.

CAMEROTA: Pat, as I'm sure, you know, Democrats are outnumbered, in Wyoming, and at the moment, the poll--


CAMEROTA: --the poll numbers are not looking good, for Congresswoman Cheney. However, anything's possible, of course, tomorrow. Do you think that she is going to win?

LAUBER: I think the chances are very slim, because her party has ostracized her. And many Republican voters will listen to the extreme leadership that is in charge of the Wyoming GOP, at this time. They will follow that lead.

CAMEROTA: And then, what do you think is next for her? Would you vote for her for President?

LAUBER: I doubt that very much. I don't think that I would.


LAUBER: I think she's not going away, though. I think whatever happens tomorrow, that we have certainly not seen the last of Liz Cheney. She's highly intelligent, driven. And I think she is committed to serving the country.

CAMEROTA: Pat Lauber, thank you very much, really appreciate getting your perspective, as well.

LAUBER: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, what happens if Liz Cheney loses?

Our political experts look at where her fight to stop Donald Trump could go next, and what tomorrow's results might mean, for the MAGA movement, nationwide, when CNN TONIGHT returns.



CAMEROTA: So, Liz Cheney, one of the most conservative Republicans, in the House, who voted for Trump's agenda, 93 percent of the time, is getting more support from Democrats, than Republicans, in her home state, and by an incredibly wide margin.

A University of Wyoming poll shows Cheney has the backing of 98 percent of Wyoming Democrats, but only 15 percent of Republican voters, there.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, the only other Republican, on the January 6th committee, tells CNN that Cheney's race is a bellwether for the party.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): The party is in a bad place. Look, we are standing up against evil. Liz Cheney is standing up against evil.

She has fought a valiant fight. Her fight is not over, regardless of what happens, on Tuesday. And I think it says a lot about the party, if she loses. I think it says a lot about the party that were quick to say "Defund the FBI," and support a guy like Donald Trump.


CAMEROTA: Let's continue the conversation, with S.E. Cupp, John Avlon, and Hilary Rosen.

Great to have all of you guys here.

Hilary, politics makes strange bedfellows.


CAMEROTA: And now, Democrats love Liz Cheney.


CAMEROTA: Is that - I mean, that's just incredible. We just had this segment on, hearing why a Democrat, in Wyoming, is going to vote for her, and why a Republican is so disenchanted, with her. Ultimately, I don't know that it's going to be enough, necessarily--

ROSEN: No, it doesn't seem like it will.

CAMEROTA: --to save for. But what do you think of these shifting sands?

ROSEN: It's, we have a common enemy, in Donald Trump, right? I mean, you know, politics makes strange bedfellows.


But I think, look, if I lived in Wyoming, I would vote for Liz Cheney, because a Republican is going to be in that seat. So, it might as well be Liz Cheney, than, this woman, who was just - it's beyond to me that somebody's going to put her, in the House.

But, look, Liz Cheney is still anti-abortion. She's still has a huge level of conservatism. I don't think - I think she's going to be a woman without a party. This - all these people speculating that she's going to now become a Democrat, or she's going to run as an Independent, or let her be a vice presidential candidate, for the Democrats, it's like, I just don't see any of that.


ROSEN: There's really no party that--


ROSEN: --that Liz Cheney is going to be welcome in, at this point.

CUPP: Yes.

ROSEN: And it's too bad. Because I think history is going to treat her well.

CUPP: It will.

ROSEN: And she's performed an amazing, courageous, valuable service over this last year.

CAMEROTA: And that's such a great point, because politics also makes fair-weather friends. And so, when we had that Democrat on, from Wyoming, just now, she really loves Liz Cheney.

CUPP: Right.

CAMEROTA: But when I asked her, "Would you vote her for president?" "Oh, no," right?

CUPP: Well, listen, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


CUPP: And Liz Cheney is a means to an end, right? The Democrats might like her now. She will not be their favorite for a lifetime. She's there for a reason. Just like I voted for Joe Biden is a means to an end, knowing I wouldn't like his policies. But she's a means to an end. And so, she's for now.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but what's her end?

CUPP: Well, I mean, to Hilary's point, I don't think she has a whole lot of natural Cheney fans. As you're all pointing out, she's very conservative, to the right of me. And I always have to remind Democrats of that. And then to the rest of the party, she's a traitor. So, I'm not really sure. She has Mike Pence's problems really. He's a traitor, to Trumpies. And to people like me, he wasn't the stopgap to Trump, that we wanted him to be. So, I'm not really sure.

This might be her goal to be this person that stands up, and fights the good fight, gives other Republicans permission to talk the way she does, about Donald Trump, and maybe be a voice in the future, for folks, like me, who are disenchanted, with the party. But I don't think she's got - I don't think she has designs on running--

CAMEROTA: You don't?

CUPP: --for president. I don't.

CAMEROTA: Your thoughts?

CUPP: I don't.

AVLON: Look, I think the fact that Liz Cheney is politically homeless, right now, speaks to the insanity of our politics. There's someone, who's very conservative. And the fact that she has been thrown out of the Republican Party speaks to the fact also that it's not really bad ideas, right now.


ROSEN: Right.

AVLON: It's actually about loyalty fealty to one person.

CUPP: Yes, that's right.

AVLON: And that's a fundamental problem too. History will be kind to her. She is fighting the good fight. And you can also say with certainty that for Democrats who might say, "You know what, I disagree with her on policy positions," she's right on the only issue that counts at the end of the day.

CUPP: The means to an end.

ROSEN: Right.

AVLON: Which is, commitment to democracy.

CUPP: That's right.

AVLON: And if Democrats mean what they say about the broadest possible coalition to defend democracy, then Liz Cheney, is someone you want in your team.

ROSEN: Well, and she also has, I think, she has a mission, which is useful for the next two years, which is she has decided that win or lose, her job is going to be to prevent Donald Trump, from being in the White House, again. I'm all for that.

CUPP: Right.

ROSEN: Like, anything I can do to help her on that mission is a good thing.

CAMEROTA: But look at what's happened. Just I want to pull up this graphic. I want to show you what it's happened to the 10 House Republicans--


CAMEROTA: --who voted to impeach Trump. Three lost their primary. Liz Cheney is awaiting hers. Two won their primary. Four have decided to retire basically, that there was no lane for them. I mean, Donald Trump won this round, right? Can't you feel that?

AVLON: I want to - I want to put it in perspective. Certainly that's what the tale of the tape would tell you on the surface. But first of all, five folks declined to run it all. One of which, Adam Kinzinger, who've got redistricted basically out of the seat, by Democrats, in Illinois, right?

CUPP: By Democrats, right.

AVLON: Three of them, Peter Meijer, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, narrowly lost, close partisan primaries.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: I mean, under 4,000 votes, in the case of Peter Meijer, around 1,000 votes in the case of Jaime Herrera Beutler. And the two, who won are not coincidentally in top two States.

So, in a state, where it's actually set up, where you can actually have election reform, those candidates can do well. They can defy the base. But these closed partisan primaries are designed to be killers. They're designed to kill people, who have an independent set of mind that would make them a great candidate, to win a general election. And that also is one of the things we need to fix downstream from this event.

CAMEROTA: So I mean, it's not - it's not necessarily them. It's the system is what John's saying.

CUPP: It's the party. It's the system. But it's also - it's also the party. And these primaries, and then these midterms, also incentivize, just the fringes, to come out. They're not really looking to get the moderate majority. And so, people like us stay home. I did vote in my state's primaries.

But, and so, by design, it's bringing out the most rabid folks, on the right, and the left, which is why you get these kind of lunatic fringe characters, running. And then, come the general election, we're all surprised like, "How did these weirdos get here?"

ROSEN: But--

CUPP: Well, because you stayed home.


ROSEN: But you're right in the big picture, I mean, in terms of whether Donald Trump has won or not, because look at what's happened in Congress, right, in the House, in particular? You have McCarthy out there, campaigning against a sitting member of his caucus. Like, that's just kind of unheard of--

CUPP: Yes.

ROSEN: --all to curry favor with Donald Trump. And you had every single Republican vote against lowering prescription drug costs. I mean, the things that Republicans have done, to keep Donald Trump happy, over the last year?

AVLON: But this is the sickness--


CAMEROTA: Don't get me started, sister!

AVLON: This is the sickness in our politics, right?


AVLON: If more members of Congress had competitive general elections?

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: They would feel more confidence in actually saying what many of them think in private, and standing up to Donald Trump, and having spine. Instead, they play to the base, they're afraid to speak up and do what's right. And that's the problem.

CUPP: That's right.

AVLON: If you have more competitive general elections, you wouldn't have this kind of extremism, in Congress, and this division and dysfunction.

CAMEROTA: OK, stick around everyone. We have a lot more to talk about, because back-to-school is causing a lot of anxiety for parents in many States.

So coming up, controversial, new education laws, backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis go into effect. What those mean for teachers and students and just nationwide what's happening with teachers and students, next.



CAMEROTA: It's back-to-school time. And, in Florida and, really, across the country, many kids are returning to classrooms that are struggling to find teachers.

In Florida, there are these two controversial bills. There's one that is called the Parental Rights Act. It's also known by critics as the, quote, "Don't Say Gay" bill. There's another that's called the quote, "Stop WOKE Act."

Both bills are creating a culture of confusion, among teachers, who are nervous that they could be open, to litigation, by parents, who somehow disagree with the curriculums. This is happening in the middle of what the Labor Bureau is calling a nationwide teacher shortage.

Back to talk with us about all of this, we have John Avlon, S.E. Cupp, and Hilary Rosen.

There's so much confusion, Hilary. I mean, first of all, in Sarasota, let me just give you one anecdote, Sarasota County School District has halted all donations and purchases of library books, until they can figure out which ones are allowed--


CAMEROTA: --with the new laws, in Florida, because you never know which book could run afoul, of Governor DeSantis' two laws, because they're so vaguely worded. And by the way, no one knows how to enforce them, in Florida.

ROSEN: Yes. The State Board of Education has told school districts that they're going to have to review all education materials. And look, I think this is sort of culture wars gone crazy, in a way that it's, and of course, students are the worst of it.

Look, I am sympathetic to parents, who want to have conversations, with their kids, their young kids, and have that control. And this might be politically incorrect of me to say. But I don't think that's a terrible thing.

CUPP: Yes.

ROSEN: I think what's happened, though, is that this has been taken - it's hard to take what should be a conversation, around a dinner table, or a PTA meeting, and turn it into a law that teachers have to figure out, how to interpret. Their job is hard enough. And that's, I think, the problem.

Because you want teachers to feel like they can be educators, and you want to trust them, because they're there to do a good job. They're not there to indoctrinate people. And by the way, you can't turn a kid gay, sorry, you can't.

CUPP: Well, and the irony is that over in Arizona, the Republican nominee over there, Kari Lake, literally wants to indoctrinate kids with the Trump-approved curriculum--


CUPP: --for Hillsdale College and public schools. CAMEROTA: Right.

CUPP: So, I mean, literal indoctrination here. But it's the left that's woke?

And I just think the worst of it, there's going to be the lawsuits, which are terrible. And then, there's the villainization of teachers, which teaches kids, to villainize teachers, so that they're no longer partners in your education, they're the enemy. That's terrible. As you say, they're already understaffed, underfunded, this is going to be worse.

And then, lastly, what I hope doesn't happen is I fear for transgender students, who could be targeted, by these laws, because Ron DeSantis has told school districts to ignore federal guidance that would protect trans students from discrimination.


CUPP: That could have incredibly dangerous real-life effects.

ROSEN: In a way, I feel like, I know you have something to say, John. But, in a way, I feel like there's more conversation about this, now, in the schools than there ever was, which is really unfortunate, to other these kids, and - or these teachers who, in their own personal lives.

It's like actually, there wasn't a lot of conversation, about trans people, in schools, at this point. There just wasn't. And they're making this an issue that it really didn't need to be an issue.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting. That's an interesting byproduct of all of this, I mean, if they're trying to squash it, it's making there - also to have more of these--

ROSEN: It's making them talk about it more.

CAMEROTA: --conversations. I mean, part of it is that, as Hilary said, not many people would object to not introducing the subject of gender or sexuality to kindergarteners through third grade. But as we know that some of - this law is written so broadly, that teachers are skittish now.

AVLON: Sure.

CAMEROTA: And they don't know what they're supposed to be saying, if a kid approaches them, with a question.

AVLON: Sure. And that has a freezing effect on just local-controlled classrooms, teachers being teachers. Look, I do think that parents have reacted positively to some of this stuff, because there is a feeling of politics creeping into some of these conversations.

But I think the downstream effect of it, or tribal politics, is that we are weaponizing the essential diversity of our country, especially in a state, like Florida, where all of a sudden, people are projecting their own politics, on these--

ROSEN: Right.

AVLON: --all these debates. So, it's not actually removing politics from the classroom.

CUPP: No, it's fetishizing.

AVLON: It's imposing a degree of politics.

CUPP: Yes.

ROSEN: Well, in a way it's using the schools and using kids because they have control over it. It's to have a culture conversation in society that is really not - doesn't belong in the school.

CUPP: They really are big government Republicans now. I mean, this is as intrusive as government gets--

ROSEN: Yes, that's a good point.

CUPP: --into your private life, your kids--



CUPP: --and school and education. This is all big government.

CAMEROTA: But how about this idea? Ron DeSantis, because they're having a teacher shortage, has suggested and is encouraging Veterans, to become teachers, and they won't need a college degree. They can just get a certificate.

I find this interesting because obviously Veterans have a lot to offer, they certainly would have a lot to offer in the classroom.

CUPP: Sure.

CAMEROTA: But without a degree in teaching, I'm not sure how that's going to work.

CUPP: And also--

CAMEROTA: And it's just experimenting.

CUPP: Well it's weird.

CAMEROTA: Basically at this point.

CUPP: But also, is he under the assumption that all Veterans are Republican-Trump lovers, because I know tons that are not. And so, I mean, look, the Right has co-opted, like the patriot porn market for decades, decades. And, in some cases--

CAMEROTA: History (ph). CUPP: --Democrats have ceded it to them.

CAMEROTA: We have.

CUPP: But because of Trump - I mean, I know a lot of Veterans, who feel abandoned by the Republican Party. So, I don't think that this was very well-thought out - thought out.

CAMEROTA: Interesting. Guys, great to have you here. S.E. Cupp, John Avlon, Hilary Rosen, thank you so much.

And we'll be right back.


CAMEROTA: Thanks so much, for watching, tonight.

And join me tomorrow, in the "CNN NEWSROOM" with Victor Blackwell, from 2 PM to 4 PM Eastern. And I'll be right back here, tomorrow night.

And with that "DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.

All yours, Don.