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CNN TONIGHT: Trump Team Leaks National Archives Letter, Revealing DOJ Effort To Share Documents With FBI Out Of National Security Concerns; CNN Projects Rep. Jerry Nadler Defeats Rep. Carolyn Maloney In New York; California Gov. Gavin Newsom Vetoes Bill That Would Create Safe Drug Injection Sites In San Francisco, L.A., And Oakland. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 23, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand it over to Laura Coates and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson.

What, no Jupiter news, nothing for me to actually field off of tonight? Thanks a lot, Anderson!

COOPER: I wish!

COATES: Fine. Well, nice seeing you, anyway. I appreciate it.

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

And here we go. Another Election Night in America, as we are inching our way much closer now, to the midterm elections, which will, of course, decide which party either retains or reclaims the majority, in the House and the Senate.

Now, polls just closed, moments ago, in New York, which is one of three States, holding the final primaries of this month. And frankly, all eyes are on the race that has pit two of the most powerful Democrats, in this country, against one another.

Now, how powerful? Well, one does chair the House Judiciary Committee, and the other, the House Oversight Committee. Both have been in Congress for three decades. And tonight, one of them or maybe even possibly, both of them, could actually lose their seat.

So, why are they even against each other for the very first time? I'll tell you one word, redistricting. But it's not just the map they're up against. And into this mix, you can add the long-shot lawyer, Suraj Patel.

And speaking of political shots that are taken, let's just say this campaign has turned up quite a bit. I mean, politics, especially in Washington, D.C. and beyond, has a funny way of turning friends, and colleagues, into rivals. And that is what's happening here.

Maloney has allegedly been saying to people that - privately that Nadler is, quote, half-dead, her words, allegedly, and is publicly thrashing him.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I think that you should read the editorial in the New York Post today. They call him senile. They cite his performance, at the debate, where he couldn't even remember who he was--


MALONEY: --we impeached.


COATES: Oh, the old political "They! They say! Some say! Others would say! People say!"

Well, his response, well here it is to CNN. That's obvious - "It's obviously not true that I'm half dead. It's obviously not true that I'm senile. But I'm not going to comment on other campaigns. Let them flail away." Again, a Washington-D sort of comment in and of itself.

But meanwhile, in Oklahoma, CNN projects Republican congressman Markwayne Mullin, defeating the former State House Speaker T.W. Shannon, in the runoff race, to replace the retiring Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

And a huge blowout in the battleground State of Florida. Democrats have picked their nominee, to take on the current Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, in November. And CNN is projecting that they chose the former governor, make it the former Republican governor, Charlie Crist, far outpacing his most formidable opponent, Nikki Fried, Florida's Agriculture Commissioner.

Now, Crist used to be a Republican, as I mentioned. But now he's the Democrat, and he's going to take on, and figure out if he's going to go head-to-head with DeSantis, the Republican viewed as, frankly, one of the biggest threats to Donald Trump, in 2024.

Let's turn now to CNN's Phil Mattingly, at the very Magic Wall. He is closely monitoring it all.

Phil, what are you seeing?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Laura, we already got the answer on the likely next senator, from Oklahoma. We know who Democrats have selected, to go up against Ron DeSantis, in Florida.

These new House races, in Florida, we're keeping an eye on two. But really, as you noted, at the top, everyone is focused, here, on New York City, where there are a myriad of races, in a worst nightmare scenario, for Democrats, because this wasn't what they wanted. This isn't even the day that they wanted this primary to happen.

However, when their new redistricting proposal was thrown out, by a state judge, they were put in positions, like this, which as you noted, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, two liberal stalwarts, in the House, for more than three decades, two critical Committee chairs, in that House Democratic Caucus, going up against one another. Obviously, Suraj Patel pushing the idea of change, generational change, is in there as well.

Here's what you need to watch tonight. The polls have closed. We'll start to see results come in, in a little bit. You're going to need to watch Jerry Nadler, coming from the Upper West Side, actually has about less of his district moving over into the new 12th district. However, it is a high propensity voting district.

And, keep this in mind, when you think about Carolyn Maloney, and her Upper East Side constituency? She has run twice, against Suraj Patel, in primaries. One of those primaries, the last one, she only beat Patel by about 3,000 votes.


The big question, going into this, is will he siphon off votes, from Carolyn Maloney, and create a pathway, for Nadler, who has been endorsed, by Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, was endorsed by The New York Times, as well, giving him a bit of a boost, in what, as you noted, has been a very, very ugly primary, over the course of the last couple of weeks.

As I mentioned, there are a myriad of races that Democrats are watching. And another one they're really keeping an eye on is right here. We go into the new 10th district.

You may recognize the individual, up top, from the impeachment hearings. That's Dan Goldman, former federal prosecutor. He's an heir to the Levi Strauss. So, he's had a ton of money, go into this race, really blanketing the airwaves, here.

Obviously, served as a top investigator, for the House Impeachment committee, for Donald Trump, he has used that. Particularly, you're starting to see votes come in, right now. Dan Goldman, about 1,200 votes ahead, at the moment.

It's a big field. It's a big field with a number of progressives in it, who have been attacking Goldman. But with Goldman's money, with his profile, and with what we've seen in Mar-a-Lago, that he's decided to capitalize on, that he can investigate Trump? Perhaps that gives him a bit of a boost.

Watching those two, many more throughout the course, tonight's going to be busy night. When we start to light up, Laura, that's when it starts to get fun. We get to start counting, and all the name-calling, and insinuations, and the things people may have said that I'm going to repeat, as if it's my own words? Yes. It doesn't matter anymore. This is what matters, the rest of the night, Laura.

COATES: It will become the ever so Magical Wall, at that point.


COATES: Phil Mattingly, we'll check back in with you, if there's big news this hour. Thank you so much.

And here with me, right now, to talk about these things, our political experts, to, break down tonight's primaries, and so much more. Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, John Delaney; the former National Coalitions Director for the Biden-Harris 2020 Campaign, Ashley Allison; and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings.

I'm so glad to have all of you here. And feel free to claim all the different phrases, as your own. Appreciate it, tonight.

Look, we're going to focus on New York, initially. Because I had to tell you, this was something they did not see coming, and they're sort of on their bingo cards, the idea that these two, three decade-long members of Congress are going to go at each other vying to actually keep their jobs.

And this is really, in part, something that Democrats may have shot themselves in the foot with, right? I mean, they tried to go toe and toe, and think, "Well, if you can gerrymander we can, too."

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020 CAMPAIGN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFF MEMBER: Yes. It unfortunately backfired. I mean, I think when you see a Nadler and a Maloney running against each other, it's unfortunate for Democrats, and the tone in which this race has turned. They were friends. They work together. And they don't really have a lot of political ideology that is different.

The thing that I think is interesting, though, and it's really too early to tell, the likelihood is that Chairman Nadler probably will pull it out.

But you have a Patel. And if I'm a new voter, who might be new, in this district, I'm going to be like, "Well, I do want generational change. I'm sick of Washington. And these two folks, who have been there, for 30 years, are going at each other's neck. Maybe I'll try this new guy."

So, Democrats did shoot themselves in the foot. It's not just in this district. It's in other districts that we see that are pitting two Democrats against each other. And so, it's unfortunate. And we'll see what happens, tonight.

COATES: Before we go further, I want to hear your voice. But the idea - we actually have some numbers in. And you said, you thought that Nadler might pull it out. Here are the numbers, right now. We've got what, 66 percent of the votes that are in, and he's leading 55 percent. That's actually a pretty big margin-- ALLISON: Yes.

COATES: --over Maloney, and certainly over Patel as well. But we have a little bit longer to go.

What's your comment?

JOHN DELANEY, (D) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, (D) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, I served with both Jerry and Carolyn Maloney. And their voting records, I bet, are almost identical. So, there's very little space between these two. I think the projection is that Jerry is going to win. That's what people have been saying. I mean, these are small neighborhoods.

But I think the generational point, I think, is a really interesting point, because I think things are changing, a little bit, in the Democratic Party. And I think the President is changing things.

I mean, the president has had a great run. Chuck Schumer has had a great run. Nancy Pelosi has had a great run, particularly in the last year. And you can't really run on generational change as much when you see this stunning success, that President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, putting up on the board.

And I also think the President is kind of showing the Democrats that the way, to govern, and lead, is with commonsense kind of more moderate positions, a bipartisan approach.

So, I think, you're seeing a bit of a change, in the Democratic primary voters than we saw in the last several election cycles, when generational change was a huge push. And it's important, there's no question, yes.

COATES: So maybe it's more successful to have that platform? If you don't have legislative victories in Washington, you can kind of say, "Hey, as a Democrat, you're not getting enough done." Is it kind of that double-edged sword--

DELANEY: Well President Biden is winning right now.

COATES: Right.

DELANEY: I mean, he's had a stunning run of legislative successes, historic successes, and had many--

COATES: I heard you smirk.

DELANEY: But he has. I mean, any - by any measure. How did he do it? He went bipartisan, and he moderated. And I think Democrats are suddenly saying, "Maybe that's how we win. Maybe this is how we govern." So, I think you're going to see a change.


The last several election cycles, on the Democratic primary, have been who could go to the most extreme, on policy positions. I think the President started out that way. He pivoted, and he's been a huge success.

COATES: You're not convinced? You went from like a smirk to kind of - almost like a faux (ph), just now. And yes--


COATES: --that is a crossword word. You can use later on. Thank you so much.

JENNINGS: I mean, you said Joe Biden is winning by any measure. I'll give you a measure. He got a 40 percent approval rating. I mean, 80 percent of the country thinks we're off on the wrong track. These are not winning measurements.

On this New York race, Jerry Nadler's closing argument was like he was a character, in a "Monty Python" movie. "I'm not dead yet." I just--

COATES: That way - yes.

JENNINGS: The - these are two of the nastiest liberal partisans, in the United States Congress. You know. You served with them. And these people are the most liberal, and the most partisan, and you see their true colors come out. One of them is going home. Looks like it might be Maloney. From a Republican perspective, it's good for the country.

What you said about Patel, though I find interesting. Because, I hear Democrats, all the time, talking about fresh faces, generational change, new ideas, "Let's welcome diverse." We had all that in Patel, and he's bringing up the rear.

So, I just wonder if this is a Democratic talking point that the voters don't actually agree with, because you got two old White liberal septuagenarian nasty partisans, duking it out, and the fresh face guy is bringing up the rear, here.

ALLISON: Just because somebody doesn't win their first race doesn't mean that the party isn't ready for it.


COATES: Well it's his second time, right?

ALLISON: But he's second, to lose, yes, fair.


ALLISON: But it's a new district, right? And I would say that the district is a more wealthy, more White, predominantly Jewish district. I mean, it's not - it's not the most diverse district of New York City, I would say. I mean, let's go - I will take your point, if we go down to the 10th district, where we look at Mondaire Jones, and Goldman.

COATES: That's Brooklyn.

ALLISON: That's Brooklyn. Goldman is potentially going to pull this one out. Now, it's not necessarily because the party doesn't want change. It's because there's a lot of progressives running, which means that the party is moving--


ALLISON: --because we're bringing more people in that have progressive ideas, to move this country forward. I think--

DELANEY: But - and the field--

ALLISON: --I will just say, though, on your point, Joe Biden had more young people turn out and vote for him. He had more people of color, turn out and vote for him. And that is how he won. And he has to keep promises.

And the things that he is doing - he never ran as someone, who was so to the left. And the policies that he is running is not to the left. Abortion is not a Left issue. It's an issue that people agree with. Minimum wage is not an issue. It's people, in the Flyover States, like my home state of Ohio, they agree with. Childcare is not a Left issue. Every woman has - could have a child.

These are issues that are not Left issues. There are issues that change the country. And I think that's where the Democratic Party is going. And the Republicans, he's not able to do it with bipartisan. So many of the Republicans voted against the Inflation Reduction Act that we know will help our country.


ALLISON: And we know will help--

COATES: Don't worry. John, hold on. I'm going to let her--

DELANEY: But he didn't - he didn't use several big--

COATES: Go ahead.

DELANEY: I mean, let's face it. He did CHIPS. That was a big deal.


DELANEY: Bipartisan infrastructure, big deal. Gun safety legislation, big deal, Veterans Health Care, these are big deals. I agree with you. But he is fulfilling his promises.


DELANEY: On climate, on health care.

ALLISON: Absolutely.

DELANEY: But I think the thing about the Nadler-Maloney race, I mean, these are two super incumbents. So, that is hard.

ALLISON: That's hard to work up, yes. DELANEY: And it's hard to be one incumbent, let alone two. And they're not nasty people. They're actually very nice people.

ALLISON: They're very good people.

JENNINGS: Wait. You're looking at?

DELANEY: And they are good public servants.

JENNINGS: Are you looking at what they're saying about each other?


JENNINGS: You're telling me this isn't the nastiest race going on in the country, right now?

DELANEY: I just know them as people. And I'm not--

JENNINGS: Well I just read what I see in the newspaper.

DELANEY: Whatever's in the New York Post, I'm not going to actually take that as gospel of their character. But the point is, this is a tough race for a incumbent--


DELANEY: --I mean, for a non-incumbent to run in. But I do think - look, I think the polls are changing.


DELANEY: We're seeing in the Senate races, we're seeing in the House races, the progress the President is making, it's starting to get into the Electorate. His numbers may lag, but we'll see where they are in a couple months.

COATES: And we'll also see where we are in the conversation in a couple of minutes, after a quick break.

Everyone, stick around. We'll check back with the results in, and talking as soon as they come in.

Ahead, new revelations, about classified documents, found at Donald Trump's home, by the National Archives, get this, months before that FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. And this is information first put out by one of the ex-president's liaisons to the Archives that some argue could backfire on Trump himself.

So why was the letter put out by a Trump ally? Well, we have it for you next.



COATES: So, here's a question. Did one of Trump's allies actually further implicate the former President in a potential crime? I mean, after all, it was this letter that Trump ally, John Solomon, disclosed last night. Yes, he disclosed last night.

They revealed alarming new details, about those 15 boxes of materials, investigated, received, back in January. That's not what we talked - talking about before of the most, latest execution of a search warrant, back in January.

Now, the May 10th letter outlines how Trump took more than 700 pages of classified documents, including top secret materials, containing national security information, and that Trump lawyer sought to delay the FBI, and others, in the Intelligence Community, from obtaining those documents, and actually even doing a damage assessment, of what actually might still be out there.

And they did so by claiming executive privilege. That very same claim that Trump says should now afford him a Special Master, to review the seized documents, and determine if any event should ever be returned.

Now, I'm going to get some perspective, right now, from my fabulous new panel, several top political and legal minds. Conservative Attorney, George Conway; former Chief of Staff to the Homeland Security Adviser, under Trump - Secretary, excuse me, under Trump, Miles Taylor; and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Elliot Williams.

Glad to have all of you here, and your thoughts on this issue.

I mean, first of all, George, why give the letter out there? I mean, it actually outlines a lot of what you've done wrong. Why would you front that? By you, I mean them.


GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: It's incomprehensible to me. I mean basically that and the motion he filed yesterday are essentially admissions of guilt.


CONWAY: And it's inexplicable to me, other than that he's - he has - you have a deranged client, and bad advisers, both legal and political. And that's the only explanation I have for it.

But he is basically - what he should be doing with this documents case, is what he did, in the New York Attorney General case, which is pleading the Fifth Amendment, and keeping his mouth shut.

COATES: Or maybe asking for that Special Master a lot sooner, right?


COATES: I mean, the idea of saying themselves, "Hey, I spent two weeks and more than a day," right? "And actually, could you not look at what I gave you two weeks ago? And by gave, I mean, actually took from my own home?" ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes. So look, to clarify, and to add a little bit, onto what George is saying here, what the letter does is it admits number one that they knew they were either classified sensitive top secret documents, and number two, continued to have them in their possession, right?

So, the President - and what the letter also lays out is the sheer number of times, the National Records Administration tried to get the President - the former President to turn the documents over. And so, I think there's four times, or so, they go back and forth, and--

COATES: Which to me, tells me, Elliot, and guys that you can't really play the victim--


COATES: --if you are having the negotiation, and back-and-forth that most people would never get.

WILLIAMS: Yes. And I think - and that's even Laura - that's sort of a prudential point, sort of like, you shouldn't do that.

The simple fact is, legally, you can't do that, because a big part of the statute is being able to establish, "Did you know, what you were doing was a crime?" They knew these were sensitive documents, yet still kept them in the President's possession.

MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO TRUMP DHS SECRETARY NIELSEN: And even worse, Elliot took what George said, and raised it. I'm going to take what Elliot said, and I'm going to raise it, even further.

COATES: Are we playing poker?

WILLIAMS: We're playing poker.

TAYLOR: We're playing poker here, at the table, tonight.

COATES: We're playing poker, all right, OK.

TAYLOR: The stakes get higher for Trump, because one of the things that's been overlooked, in the reporting, is that according to multiple sources, Trump went through the boxes, by hand, in late 2021.

So, let's break that down. Trump personally looked at these documents. Multiple people can potentially testify, as witnesses, to that fact. And he did it last year. That is very, very bad.

CONWAY: There is no fall guy, here. There's going to be--


CONWAY: He can't dump it on Meadows. He's not going to - there's no Allen Weisselberg, here. He did this. His fingerprints, literally and figuratively are on these documents.

WILLIAMS: And well--

CONWAY: And we have not heard a defense. We have not heard a single coherent defense. The only one I could possibly posit would be that he lacks the literacy skills, to understand what was in the boxes. But of course, all you need to see is that they were confidential top secret, and he was told multiple times--

WILLIAMS: And to clarify - but - and also to clarify, an important point here that sort of gets lost, in the weeds - when we use terms like classified?


WILLIAMS: OK, that might be someone's Social Security number. It may not be something that that's a national security secret.

There's another class of documents we're talking about here that are TS/SCI Top Secret, a Secure Compartmented Information, right?

TAYLOR: Special Access Programs--



WILLIAMS: It's very sensitive information. There is never a circumstance, or a universe, in which it involves - it belongs in a private home, even if you are a former President of the United States. These are in where there are regulations on the kinds of windows that can be on the room that it can have, the kind of lock--

TAYLOR: Oh, good, I mean--

WILLIAMS: --how it can be shredded.

TAYLOR: --these sets, these--

COATES: Hold on. On that, at one play--


COATES: --because we're talking about what could possibly be the defense.


COATES: I mean, Solomon, who was his ally, was actually on Bannon's War Room, today. Let's listen to what he had to say.



JOHN SOLOMON, TRUMP DESIGNEE TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES: Well, listen, when - when the raid occurred, the Biden White House acted like they didn't know what was going on. They were just as surprised as the rest of the American public. But the truth of the matter is, the Biden White House, its General Counsel's Office, Joe Biden himself was at the ignition point of this investigation.


COATES: Buy that, Miles?

TAYLOR: No, look, I don't buy it. I mean, the reporting has come out that the Biden White House actually has kept a very healthy distance, from what documents have actually been found, and they're letting the Justice Department run the investigation. If there's other evidence to the contrary, I would second-guess that. But I wouldn't second-guess that.

But one other thing I want to note that Elliot just said, about these SAPs though, these Special Access Programs? For Americans, who are trying to understand, all the bureaucratic speak, in this? This is what we call code word programs.

The code word programs, I was read into, some of them, I wasn't even allowed to say the code word, to other people. They were unacknowledged programs. This is the highest level of classification that exists in the federal government. Those are not things that a President of the United States has a standing order to declassify, when he walks out of the office.

CONWAY: But even then, classification doesn't matter under some of these statutes.


CONWAY: 793, The Espionage Act basically says it's all it has to be is sensitive defense information that could be useful to an adversary, doesn't require any particular level of classification. And the bottom line is, I mean, to really take a multiple steps back?



CONWAY: These documents were stolen. They're stolen documents. The fact that they are sensitive that, they are SCI documents, top secret documents, adds to the weight, of whether to prosecute. And in fact--

COATES: Well they belong to the United States.

CONWAY: But the point is that they belong to the United States.

And about the Special Master, there's no need for a Special Master here, because the privilege, he's asserting, is executive privilege. And the President - he's not the president.

WILLIAMS: Well, and also to the point, this idea that the Biden White House was the evil puppeteer, behind this all, it's a little bit of apples and oranges there. The Justice Department was conducting an investigation. The White House necessarily would have made the decision, about executive privilege--

CONWAY: Right.

WILLIAMS: --because the President holds it.

CONWAY: Right.

WILLIAMS: The former President doesn't. So, he's sort of--

CONWAY: He was dealing with NARA, in that regard.

COATES: But they are--

CONWAY: He was dealing with NARA.

COATES: --they are capitalizing on the fact that if you have enough talking points, you can conflate anything--

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, yes.

COATES: --and make it make sense, right?

WILLIAMS: People don't know.

COATES: The idea of all this together. And I'm going to tell you, right now. 20 bucks, I'm going to get Miles to admit to one of the code words, and say it on air, tonight. I don't know - I don't know how.

WILLIAMS: Rosebud!

TAYLOR: Well it's coming up. It's coming up! I got a lot to say on that point!

CONWAY: And if we did that, they would - they would basically - the FBI would be here by then.

TAYLOR: --I would be in prison.

COATES: Because of you--


WILLIAMS: I would go back to the Justice Department just to prosecute Miles.


WILLIAMS: That is why.

TAYLOR: I got to squeeze one thing in though. George started off this segment by saying, "Who are these lawyers?"

And I got to tell you, one of Trump's lawyers is someone, who was planted by the White House, to work for us, at DHS. And I'm going to tell you, this is a person, I had a lot of unease, about being in the room, when we were discussing very sensitive issues.


TAYLOR: I can't believe that's who's now advising the President.

It's someone who - these MAGA types, who were planted, in the Department, are the people, who would have driven off the cliff, for the President. You don't want your lawyer, to drive you off the cliff. You want a lawyer that steers you away from the cliff. This is the type of person that will do, and say--

CONWAY: Well this is where this won't work for him.

TAYLOR: --what Trump wanted.

WILLIAMS: And wait, the only lawyer - the only lawyer I want--

COATES: Well he wanted to bring home, he said but who is it - who are you talking about?

TAYLOR: Christina Bobb is one of his lead lawyers on this. She worked at the Department of Homeland Security, a very nice person. Not the person I would have litigating, this type of case for an ex-president of the United States.

WILLIAMS: The only - the only lawyer you want is Laura Coates. That's--

COATES: All right, my - my--

TAYLOR: Here we go! There's too many lawyers at this table!


COATES: --my fee is really too high for that!



COATES: No, I'm just kidding. George Conway's much higher.

WILLIAMS: Oh, just you're starting to look like him.

COATES: Everyone, Elliot Williams, thank you so much. George, we'll leave it on that. Miles, thank you, stick around as well.

We're keeping an eye on primary results, as they are coming in. In New York, with 66 percent of the vote in, Congressman Jerry Nadler leads Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, with 56 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, amid current threats, to members of the FBI, and the rise of violent domestic extremism, a verdict has been reached, in the trial, for the two men, you're seeing right now, accused of plotting to kidnap the Governor of Michigan. We're going to talk about it next.



COATES: All right, we have a new projection, and it's out of New York. Jerrold Nadler will win his primary against Carolyn Maloney and Suraj Patel.

I want to bring back in our political experts, Ashley Allison, John Delaney, and Scott Jennings.

I'm assuming there aren't really big surprises here that Jerry Nadler pulled it off. You don't think so?

DELANEY: No. I mean, this was projected. He had Chuck Schumer's support. He had The New York Times'. This is not a surprise.

COATES: That's all you need?

DELANEY: Well, I don't know if that's all you need. But he also has a great record, as an incumbent, as does Carolyn Maloney. This was a tough race. Neither of them wanted this race.

COATES: But then, who steps up, in terms of the Chair of the Oversight? It's a pretty powerful position. And that's what Democrats have to kind of think about what's happening next, right?

ALLISON: Yes, yes. I'm not sure who takes that role, because she was - I mean, to Carolyn Maloney's credit, which is really ironic that it's redistricting that is like--

COATES: Right.

ALLISON: --taking her. She was a champion for the Census. She did so much, in the State of New York, in 2020, to make sure that every single person, not just in her home state, but in the country, was counted. And now, redistricting is the thing that gets her booted, from her seat. So, I thank her for all the work that she has done. But we'll see who takes that seat.

COATES: Does that validate it for you, the idea of this notion, I think, you were alluding to before, about sort of the identity crisis, of where the Democrats, want to be, the idea of a younger generation, more progressive? Nadler, I mean, obviously around the same age as Carolyn Maloney, different than the person, Suraj Patel?

Does that validate the fact that "Look, this was predictable, because the Democrats don't know what they really want?"

JENNINGS: Well, I just - I feel like we hear one thing, out of the Democratic opinion leaders, about how they're, fresh face, new leadership, progressive leadership. And then you get into a race like this. And the person who represented that came in a distant third.

Now, I know districts are drawn for various reasons. And this district may not have supported that viewpoint. But it is a common Democratic talking point that they are the young party, the diverse party, the fresh new-idea party, and they're sending Jerry Nadler, back to Congress, and Carolyn Maloney, in second place.

So, for me, as a Republican, I don't really care, which one of them goes home. I'm glad one of them is going home.

And regarding the Oversight Committee, I think the Republicans are going to win the House. And the next Chairman of Oversight is going to be my hometown congressman, Jamie Comer, from Kentucky. And so, whoever the Democrats put in there, have a lot on their hands, because he's a tough guy.

COATES: Well - well, we shall see about that trajectory. There's a lot more to happen, between now and then.

But I want to travel, for a second. Before we comment more, I want to go down to Florida. As you know, we know that, of course, Crist is the person projected to be now the Democratic candidate, who will go toe- to-toe, against Ron DeSantis. He was once a Republican. He then was an Independent, after he lost to Marco Rubio. And then, now he's a Democrat.

I am old enough, and young enough, to remember a time when political flip-flopping, was like the worst thing, you could do, and try to be successful in office. Why has it worked for him here?

DELANEY: Well, I served with Charlie Crist. I actually also served with Ron DeSantis. So, I know them both pretty well. I mean, Charlie Crist is an incredibly skilled politician. I mean, he's a gifted politician. To your point, very few people could do what he did.

COATES: Right.

DELANEY: I mean he was a statewide Republican governor in Florida.

And Florida is a tough state. I mean, they have three or four big media markets. So, he was very successful, as a Republican. And then, he won a Democratic primary, for our congressional seats, which tend to be very partisan elections.


So, he's a very skilled, very commonsense kind of moderate politician. He was that way, when he was a Republican. He was that way, now that he's a Democrat. So, I just think he's very skilled. And I think he's going to give the Governor - the Governor's popularity is declining, which happens, when you--

COATES: You wouldn't know - but you wouldn't know that from the conversations around--


DELANEY: Right. But what - but it happens.

COATES: --though.

DELANEY: Governors suddenly become very unpopular, in their state, when they start running for President, because they become more partisan, right? Typically, when governors are popular, it's because they're moderate, they're consensus builders, they're getting things done. That's--

COATES: But that's not why DeSantis is popular.


COATES: I think it's from the opposite, right?

DELANEY: Well he--

COATES: That's he's viewed as a partisan.

DELANEY: Listen, he didn't start particularly partisan actually. He did some good environmental stuff out of the blocks.

And then, I think, with COVID, when he was being compared to New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, they kind of had their rivalry, and he suddenly kind of stepped into this national, political, cultural warrior that he's become. And I think his numbers in Florida are going down as a result.

COATES: Speaking of Florida?

DELANEY: So, it's going to be interesting.

COATES: Well, speaking of Florida, I think, Val Demings is somebody you can't pigeonhole, as if you're a Democrat, or someone trying to undermine her campaign. I mean, she's not someone you can say, "Oh, this is someone who's going to be anti-law enforcement." I mean, she's a very--


COATES: --a Police Chief, at one point, Chief - Sherriff.


COATES: I mean, this is somebody, you can't really pigeonhole. But she's got to run in Florida, which is - obviously, there's three major media markets. It's distinct in ways that other States are not. How does she have to run for November?

ALLISON: I think she needs to be herself. And I think she needs to focus, on Florida voters, and not become larger than life, and make people start putting projections on her that if she wins this race, she can be the first Black female president. No, that's not what she's running for.

She's running for Senate. She has a law enforcement background. She comes from a working-class family. She can relate to Black voters. She can relate to women voters. She can relate to young people. She can relate to White voters, in that state. And she's doing that.

And that's why when Val Demings, first put her name out there, people thought she would be blown out the water, and we wouldn't even know what we're talking about. But she's now up by 4 points. And she could actually pull this off.

Now, the one thing I will say is that the Republican machine, in Florida, will outspend her. And so, she's going to need to fundraise. Democratic donors are going to need to go in, and get behind her, and let her run the race that she can win. But I'm not counting her out. And I think she has a long political future.

DELANEY: That's--

COATES: Well we shall see.

DELANEY: There's one really good point. It is a great point there, because you're right. She's a terrific member of Congress. And she's a very good candidate.

But what happened six years ago, when Patrick Murphy was running against Marco Rubio? That was close for a while. And then, the Democratic Party stopped funding, Patrick's race.

COATES: That's her point, though, the idea of funding.

ALLISON: And they did that.

DELANEY: And we have to make - the Democrats have to make sure that they support her, in this race, because you're right, it's tightening.

COATES: Well, we will see. Everyone, stick around. We'll continue the conversation.

And we'll be right back, with another big story. A guilty verdict is in, for the plot, to kidnap Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. What does that mean for the efforts to stop domestic terror, nationwide? We're going to talk about it, next.



COATES: So, one of the highest profile domestic terrorism cases, came to a close, today. Remember this? It was an elaborate plot, by a group of men, to kidnap Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, at her vacation home. They even planned to detonate explosives to try, to disrupt the Police response, and distract them.

Now today, jurors convicted Adam Fox, the ringleader of that plot, and his co-conspirator, Barry Croft. They were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. And now, they both face up to life in prison.

It's a turn of events, we should note, because it's what's happening on the backdrop here, right? One, this trial was a redo. Back in April, two of their alleged co-conspirators were actually acquitted, in the kidnapping case, but the jury could not reach a verdict, for the two men, we mentioned today, Fox and Croft. And the judge then declared a mistrial.

Back with us, George Conway, Miles Taylor, and Scott Jennings.

Look, a lot of the chatter, surrounding their defense, because it was a mistrial, and a hung jury, the first time, has been about the FBI entrapped them. This was them trying to punish them, because they didn't like their history, of talking badly, about law enforcement, online. It turned into kind of a free speech meets distrust of law enforcement meets modern-day conversations.

How do you see it?

TAYLOR: Yes, I mean, look, right now, the defense had tried to make it look like these were a couple of lazy pot smokers.

If you go look at the videos, these guys identified a target, they engaged in pre-operational planning, they networked across online, and across borders, to advance this plot. And there they were, in body armor, training, with live weapons, to go execute this attack.

These aren't a couple of lazy pot smokers. These were domestic extremists. And these were indicative of the militants, we're seeing, across the country, who are being recruited, into domestic terrorist circles that we need to worry about.

I mean, the jury rightfully made this conviction. And I think it sends a really strong message, to the other cases, the FBI is investigating. "You are being watched. You will be arrested. You will be prosecuted and put in jail."

COATES: Well, the problem with the three letters you mentioned, the FBI. Because it was no mistake, I'm sure that defense counsel wanted to infuse her closing argument, to say like, "This is the FBI, who's doing this. Remember the backdrop, of all of the controversy, surrounding the execution, of a search warrant, at Mar-a-Lago." It's no coincidence they tried to play up on that fundamental mistrust. It's - is it effective, in the long run?

CONWAY: Well, I don't know. I mean, I agree with everything that Miles has said. I think probably what really happened here was that the government learned its lesson, after the first case, on how to try this particular case. And you've, as a former prosecutor, could appreciate that.

And it's an easier case the second time because probably the two guys, I'm guessing here, who were least involved, or less important, got off, so they could focus - they could focus their fire, on these two, who are convicted.

And I mean, I read a press report that said basically the effect that they - the government, this time, put a lot more emphasis on statements that these guys had made, before this investigation had ever begun, and they basically blew away any defensive entrapment that these guys were predisposed. And entrapment shouldn't be - is a hard defense, as you noted, to establish.


JENNINGS: This case is - I'm not a lawyer, sitting here. So, let me give you, as my political opinion, about these cases in general. Two things we should all believe.


Number one, political violence cannot be tolerated. It has to be tamped down. It has to be taken very seriously, no matter who is committing it. So, if you are worried about political violence, no matter where you fall, in the political spectrum, you have to - you have to take it seriously and it has to be dealt with.

Number two, we have to trust juries. We've had a lot of, in this country, over the last year and a half, a lot of controversial cases that have enraged one side of the political spectrum or the other. And if you want to have trust, in institutions, you have to trust juries. And so, when the jury comes back, and makes a decision, you have to trust it.

And this case, we had two trials. Juries came up with different decisions in both cases. But, I trust my fellow citizens. They - it's an awesome responsibility to serve on a jury. They take these jobs seriously. And obviously, they heard what they needed to hear to get to a conviction.

COATES: What I thought interesting about one of the defense arguments raised, and you alluded this point, in the press release, you're talking about, is the idea of people were mad about what we've said before.

And we come down oftentimes, these conversations of look, this was just big talk. We're just talking, a lot of blustering, a lot of chest-thumping here. I've heard that argument a lot, as it relates to conversations around what's going to happen, whether it's January 6th, or whether it's discussions about the DHS bulletin, and being based on grievance-based politics.

At some point, it goes from you don't just sort of brush it off, that someone's just talking big talk. That can become a national security threat.

TAYLOR: It's not just big talk. I mean, if you remember, before 9/11, that's when we heard the word "Chatter," is after the attacks, is there was a lot of chatter, leading up to the attacks, and a spike.

DHS, just last week, released a bulletin, with the FBI that says they're seeing a spike in chatter, about civil war and armed rebellion. And that corresponds with a big increase in these cases.

These FBI agents are non-partisan. They don't bring the cases because, as Scott noted, there's a left-wing terrorist, or a right-wing terrorist, they care about. They just care about Americans not being killed by violent criminals. We're seeing a spike, in cases, a spike, in the rhetoric. Law enforcement is worried, and that public should be too. COATES: Well, and that's part of the DHS bulletin, and going on, and what to talk about here, as well. And that actually - the idea of the chatter was part of what the prosecution was speaking about, long- term.

George Conway, Miles Taylor, Scott Jennings, thank you so much.

Look, three of America's largest cities were about to move a lot closer, to allowing safe and legal drug injection sites. But California's governor just said "Ah-ah." The health issues, surrounding the debate, up next.



COATES: Well, in tonight's State of Play, we're discussing the opioid crisis.

Milwaukee County is on pace to set a record for drug overdose deaths, this year, alone. In St. Louis, officials are warning, of rainbow- colored fentanyl. Chicago-area counties are suing pharmacy chains, for allegedly feeding the opioid crisis. And Dearborn, Michigan unveiled two public Narcan vending machines.

Now, California was poised to unveil its own prevention plan, but it was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Senate Bill 57 would have created so-called injection spaces, where drug users could access sterile supplies, and be supervised, by medical professionals.

Joining me now to discuss is Dr. Aimee Moulin, a Professor and Behavioral Health Director, at UC Davis Health.

Dr. Moulin, thank you for joining.

When we think about what's happening, frankly, across the country, you can't help but think about this conversation, at the intersection of so many things, the stigma as it relates to drug use, the idea of a public health crisis, not being recognized, and politics coming into all of this.

I wonder what your take is on, in general, of why there's even been a push, for these public injection sites.


So, supervised consumption sites save lives. And they're really an effective strategy to keep people alive. What they do is, they help people, who are suffering from addiction, to have a safe space, where if they do overdose, it can be immediately addressed.

They're also designed to help get people into treatment. They're designed to really help meet their needs, and to be places, where people can enter treatments. And they've really shown, in studies, from other States, to be very effective. COATES: I'm so glad you've outlined what they are for, because much of the conversation revolves around the presumptions, and based on the things they are not. They are not sort of a place, to try to encourage drug use, to get people, to become addicts, to try to encourage new users.

And yet, politically speaking, you often hear people talk about this, in this, as if it's a reality. I wonder why you think Governor Gavin Newsom decided not to support this measure.

MOULIN: Yes, I don't know what his political calculation is. But certainly, stigma drives a lot of this. What we know is that addiction is a medical disease, and it's treatable medical disease.

The data, on safe consumption sites, show that they do not increase use. They do not bring new users in. They actually have shown to decrease public consumption. They have shown to decrease drug paraphernalia. And they have shown to decrease crime.

So, the evidence is really clear that this is a highly effective strategy, to actually save lives, decrease crime. They are good for drug users. They are good for addiction treatment. And they are good for the community. So, I think that this is a really wonderful strategy that I would like to have seen in California.

COATES: Well, I don't want to put words, in Governor Newsom's mouth. I want to read you what the statement that he actually provided, as well, to this very notion. I'm going to put it up on the screen here.

Because he says, "It is possible," I think he says "that these sites would help improve the safety and health of our urban areas. But if done without a strong plan, they could work against this purpose. These unintended consequences in cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland cannot be taken lightly. Worsening drug consumption challenges in these areas is not a risk we can take."

When you think about that sort of cost-benefit, risk-reward analysis, is he right? I mean, obviously, if it's done incorrectly, it could go against all the things you've just spoken about. Was that risk, very real here?


MOULIN: So the data wouldn't support that risk. When we look at safe consumption sites, in other countries, like Canada, they do not increase drug use. They do not increase crime.

They're really designed to help drug users get into treatment and to keep them alive. They're not bars. These are not playgrounds for drug users. These are medical facilities that help people, who are struggling, with addiction.

And I think the thing that we struggle with, as a country, is thinking that drug addiction is some moral problem that it is really an ethical disease that should be criminalized. And really, what we need to get to a point is to understand that addiction is a treatable medical illness, and people who are struggling with addiction, they need help. And at this--


MOULIN: --at this point, in this country, we have to recognize, what we're doing is not working. Overdose deaths are continuing to climb (ph) year over year over year, and it's time for us to take control of this epidemic.

COATES: Well, let's find a solution. Dr. Aimee Moulin, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

MOULIN: Thank you.


COATES: Well, thanks for watching, everyone. I'll be back, tomorrow night.

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

Hey, Don Lemon?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Can I - can I let you in on a little secret? Can we show something--

COATES: Yes. I'll lean in.