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CNN TONIGHT: Gov. DeSantis Claims Credit For Sending Two Planes Carrying Migrants To Martha's Vineyard; New Hampshire GOP Senate Nominee Does About-Face On False 2020 Election Claims; Judge Appoints Special Master In Mar-A-Lago Case. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 15, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Congratulations to Anderson, for that. You will find it there, or wherever you get your podcast, or we're going to put a QR code, on the screen. You can see it right there. If you point your cell phone camera at it, you can get a link to it.
Anderson started recording, while packing up his mother's apartment, after her passing, while going through her keepsakes, and the things, left behind, by his father and brother. Anderson starts a conversation, about the people we lose, and the things they leave behind, and how we can move forward. It is really wonderful. So, go have a listen.
The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Thanks, John. Nice to see you. And thank you everyone.
I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.
And frankly, it's long been the subject of bitter, bitter political debate. How do you deal with an influx of asylum-seekers and other migrants, otherwise known as human beings, flooding to our country?
And what do you do with the ones, who are already here? Do you round them up, somehow, put them on planes, and buses, and dump them, in some other state, a liberal northern state, perhaps, say so-called sanctuary city, so that they can figure it out?
Well, what I've just described is exactly the strategy of some Republican governors, on the far right, of this divide, governors like, you see on the screen, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, and Ron DeSantis of Florida, the latter declaring today, quote, "Every community in America should be sharing in the burdens. It shouldn't all fall on a handful of Red states," infusing the political discussion, of course.
The real question is, for many Americans, out there, do you think DeSantis is right? We're going to hash that out, in a moment here. But was it right for both he and Abbott to do the following? Texas governor sent two buses of asylum-seekers to the home of Vice President Kamala Harris. It's not the White House, of course. It's the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. And it happened, today. And then, drove away, left them there. They apparently had no idea, where they were, or why they were at that particular location, let alone perhaps its significance, politically-speaking.
And last night, Florida's governor flew two planes with an estimated 50 migrants, into the small island of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. There was no heads-up, they were coming, according to local officials. And it set off quite a scramble, on the Vineyard, trying to get shelter, and food, for those migrants, all believed to have originated, from Venezuela.
Now today, here is what Governor DeSantis said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We are not a sanctuary state. And it's better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction. And yes, we will help facilitate that transport, for you, to be able to go to greener pastures.
(CHEERS & APPLAUSE)
DESANTIS: All those people, in D.C., and New York, were beating their chests, when Trump was president, saying they were so proud, to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was, to have a secure border. The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door? They all of a sudden go berserk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, the White House condemned both moves. They didn't go berserk. But they did call it a cruel, premeditated political stunt that is, quote, "Disrespectful to humanity."
And, of course, as you might expect, the reaction on the Hill? Well, it's Washington, D.C. So, it's falling along party lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Share in the burden. This is a national responsibility. It should be a national burden.
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): This is the party that also speaks about, you know, the sanctity of life. Well, I guess they don't care about the lives of these people.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): It's a terrific idea. I don't know how else to get President Biden's and Vice President Harris' attention, to the broken borders.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Mistreating and being inhumane to those who are immigrating to this country does not reflect well on the governors, who are sponsoring this conduct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I mean, you certainly got the attention of Vice President Harris, of course, and so many others, on this very issue.
But we also know why Texas Governor Abbott chose Vice President Harris' home, for his latest decision, to drive migrants, to a different place, noting that there are just many different states, between Texas and say, Washington, D.C.
In a statement, he railed, against her, for recently claiming that our southern border is secure. He says, as our quote, "Supposed borders are," unquote, she has yet to even visit the border, to see the firsthand impact, of the administration's border policies, which he describes as open borders. And there is plenty of criticism, heading that direction, as well, for the decision, not to visit the borders.
But what made Florida's governor choose Martha's Vineyard, of all places? Or perhaps should I say, who?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Next up in the equity train has got to be Martha's Vineyard.
You probably imagine Edgartown is pretty diverse. I mean, the Obamas live on the island, right?
As of 2019, only 3 percent of all people, all residents, in Edgartown, were born outside of this country.
They are begging for more diversity. Why not send migrants there, in huge numbers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I wonder, if that's coincidental that that was mentioned by him, and then the flights arrived? Well, whatever or whomever the reason, these are moves that fire up all sides and, of course, the electorate as well.
So, let's get a take, and a mix of those takes as well. Here with me now is former U.S. senator, Doug Jones, a Democrat from Alabama. He was also a U.S. Attorney; CNN Political Analyst, April Ryan, is the White House Correspondent, at TheGrio; and Doug Heye is a former RNC Communications Director.
Well, I'm glad you're all here. I don't want to talk about this by myself. Because listen, there are - there's so many points here.
First of all, I know my geography is not always perfect. But there's a lot of states, in between a Texas, or a Florida, till you get to those different places. Him talking about this as a way to share the burden, as he talked about, talking about Gov. DeSantis, pointing out not just the Red states? That made it political even more than the obvious. Is there anything other than a stunt being pulled?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT & WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THEGRIO: Beyond politics and party, let's look at the infrastructure. Let's look at Martha's Vineyard.
Martha's Vineyard is an island with six towns. It doesn't have the infrastructure, like a City of Boston, OK? It has a hospital, 28 beds, and three critical care beds as well. It has a food pantry.
But those asylum-seeking migrants, are in a church, in Edgartown, right now that has bathrooms, no showers, OK? So, that's an issue all unto itself. The--
COATES: You're saying, the idea of not bringing them to Boston, where there may have been infrastructure--
RYAN: There's infrastructure.
COATES: --seems very intentional, about why Edgartown.
COATES: So why Edgartown, do you think?
RYAN: Why Edgartown? Well, there are many persons, very famous household names that have homes there. But Edgartown is a very wealthy enclave. But it is a vacation town.
The majority of the island, even Edgartown, has left. Tourism is the second largest portion, of their industry, there, under what is it, construction, because many of the homes are older. And construction is number one. And tourism is number two.
Many of those, who traveled there, for the summers, are gone. And those, about 23,000 people, who are on the island, who are year- rounders are there, and they're helping the people.
But the problem is showering, and other issues. But they don't have, you know, restaurants are not open, like they used to be. The markets are closing earlier. There are people there. But it's not the kind of infrastructure--
RYAN: --that you would have, during the summer. But they're thinking about moving the people, to the shelters, for them, to get showers. That's--
COATES: But that's the reaction, from the people, who are there, right?
COATES: I want to know about the motivation, to send. And Ron DeSantis, Governor Greg Abbott, this is something - and there is criticism.
And I believe there's fair criticism, about why there has not been the visiting to the border, to see the issues that are there. People perceive it as porous. Vice President Harris has been criticized, throughout the entire administration, given her repertoire, includes this issue.
Why do you think this is thought of as a political, viable solution, to get this done?
DOUG JONES, (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR - ALABAMA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It's not a solution. Well, make no mistake, this is not a solution.
If it was a solution, they'd be picking up the phone, and they would call in the administration, say "We got to have some help here," OK? They don't have the infrastructure there. We have some makings, of this, and we can do some more.
They don't want a solution. They're not looking--
COATES: The point is to do this.
JONES: It's a stunt. It's a pure political stunt. And remember, this is not just states, between Texas and Massachusetts. He's sent a plane, all the way, from Florida, somewhere.
JONES: These were - these were 50 people, just 50. It was not like it was the thousands. 50 people that he - that the Florida Governor picked up, in Texas, and flew around, to get to Martha's Vineyard. And it's really a political stunt.
Now, having said that, I agree with you. There is a lot more that needs to be done, on this, Laura, a lot more that needs to be done. But people have to start talking to each other, and quit using these poor people, as political punching bags. I mean, that's the biggest issue that we see.
COATES: Well, when you think about that, Doug, I mean, think - what's the strategy? You're a strategist, on the Republican side.
And there's no surprise that people have very visceral reactions, to our immigration policy, in this country. The irony is certainly there that we are a nation of immigrants, as they like to say. And yet, there is a visceral reaction, to asylum-seekers, even when it means they don't have the same viewpoint, as it relates to overseas.
But I wonder, in thinking about this, this idea of distribution, of what he calls, what they have called, the burden, is that a winning argument, among the Republican electorate?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF OF COMMS FOR FORMER MAJORITY LEADER CANTOR: Yes. COATES: Or even independents, who are coveted?
HEYE: Well, in the Republican electorate, it is a massively popular argument, to make. And it's not - it's not even that it's not a solution. It's not designed to be a solution.
HEYE: It's designed to be a ploy, or a stunt. And I tend to be pro- political stunts, by the way. But, in this case?
COATES: This - but not this one?
COATES: This is not the stunt you want to do?
HEYE: It's clearly using people, for pawns, in this situation, political pawns. And if you're jockeying, to run for president, as we have two governors, in Texas and Florida, who are clearly trying to do, this is how you do it.
But until Congress, whether it's a Democratic congress, or a Republican congress, steps in, and enacts some immigration legislation, which it essentially hasn't done since Ronald Reagan's administration, there will be no solution. There's more the Biden administration can do, and should do. But it starts with Congress.
When I worked for Eric Cantor, it's one of the reasons that he lost, was the issue of immigration, when we, as House Republican leadership, brought to our members, a four-point plan on immigration, our members told us, at our retreat, in Williamsburg, "We don't want to do this. This conversation is over." And it was.
COATES: You've always been--
COATES: Go ahead. Excuse me.
JONES: But Doug, I don't disagree that Congress is the ultimate solution, because that's what the Constitution says. It's a federal government problem.
But these governors have senators in the Congress. These governors have members of Congress that represent their state. They ought to be trying to figure this solution out, instead of pulling the political stunts.
JONES: But instead, you - I saw Senator Rubio, Senator Cornyn, and they're cheerleading this stuff, and that is not seeking the solution.
HEYE: No. Agreed.
COATES: Why, April, why?
RYAN: One thing, this is, you can't just say that we're going to fix the system, in two days, with sending people to the Vice President's house, and to Martha's Vineyard.
The system has been broken, for a long time. And the issue is, both sides can't come together, on the rationale, of human - the humane part, of dealing with asylum-seekers, for one, and then trying to figure out, who stays, and who goes.
And let's look at this. The people, the situation with migration, the problem is we have more people, who are overstaying their visas. And let's make that point.
More people are overstaying their visas, than people crossing the border. So and that's the piece that people don't talk about. Instead, it's about race. It's about where you come from. And that is part of the piece that is not included, with those, who have overstayed their visas.
Let's - if you want to talk about the system, really get to the point where it's the problem, more of the problem, than what's happening.
COATES: Race is part of the conversation, as well, obviously.
COATES: Because we know about the theories of the Browning of America, so to speak, the idea of the "Us versus Them" that continues to penetrate what we have.
COATES: We've got political vengeance, on the brain, for so many people.
But, in the end, I just wonder how the administration is going to deal with this, knowing that there is the midterm elections, coming up soon. And I don't mean that everything is centered around the midterm elections. That's--
COATES: That is but a sort of an arbitrary deadline, we, as voters, give our members of Congress. But do you think they have to do something, now, in the administration, before the midterms? I mean, what can they do?
JONES: Exactly. I mean, I think it's an issue that they're going to have to deal with, eventually. I don't think that - this is such an important issue, for just humane purposes. They need to have a serious sit-down, with Congress, and others, if they will do it before the midterms, and try to see if there's something that they can do. I don't see that that happening. They're going to have to take this.
But DeSantis and Abbott, this is a - this is a beyond midterm issue for them. This is not going to - this issue is not going to drive the midterms. It's going to drive what happens in Texas, maybe. It might drive - DeSantis is doing it, because Charlie Crist has given him, a run, for his money. Beto's given Abbott--
JONES: --a run for his money. That's the only two states at that, in my view, I may be wrong.
HEYE: I'd argue, they'd be doing it anyways. But yes.
RYAN: Well, would also for the future, as well, though.
JONES: It is for 2024, exactly.
COATES: We're going to talk about that next. Everyone, stick around. We got more to come.
A top U.S. senator, has now put his party, let's just say, in quite a pickle, ahead of the crucial midterm elections, by flip-flopping, on what can be described as an explosive issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): States should decide the issue of abortion.
I think we should have a law, at the federal level that would say, after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Did you hear that? There were some Republicans, slapping their forehead, asking the question, why, and what on earth Lindsey Graham, was thinking, when he introduced, this bill, this week, to restrict abortion rights, on a federal level.
Why he's doing this now? And what Republicans think about it, in particular? And whether states should really decide the issue. We'll talk about all of it, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: Look, I'm sure abortion is the last issue that most Republicans want to be talking about, right now, especially as we head into what's known as the homestretch of the midterm elections.
So then begs the question, as to why Senator Lindsey Graham, proposed a bill, this week, to ban abortion, nationally, after 15 weeks. Tonight, we have brand new insight into his decision.
A source familiar with Graham's thinking says that he believes that he was trying to sidestep the issue. It's just, well, it's not working for the GOP, and that most Americans agree with his proposal.
As for the Republicans? Not so much. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This is an issue that people are talking about. But ultimately, the campaign is going to - the election is going to be about this ridiculous inflation.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): I don't think there's anything, at the national level, for sure that, comes anywhere close to getting 60 votes.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I support this going out to the states, and letting, we, the people, decide.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think most of the members of my Conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, back with me now, Doug Jones, April Ryan, and Doug Heye.
So, if most of his colleagues prefer the state level, I'm - I'd like to get - try to get into the mindset of Senator Lindsey Graham, here, as to the why now. I hear you laughing, and trying to get into the mindset of Senator Lindsey Graham. You don't want to go there. But why do you think now? Why now?
HEYE: Oh, he hasn't gotten attention in a good week. And so, if you're Lindsey Graham--
HEYE: --I mean, that's it--
HEYE: --you have to feed the attention machine.
And I'll tell you, the day that he said that was the day that the Biden administration was having, at the White House, I think, you were there, Ray - April, an event, on the inflation Reduction Act, where we got terrible inflation news, yet again. That should have been the focus for all Republicans.
And instead, my phone was filled with texts, from other people, who've worked on Capitol Hill, and Republican campaigns, with a lot of people using words that rhyme with "Truck," about what Lindsey Graham was doing.
It takes Republicans completely off what their message should be. Inflation, crime, and as we were just talking about, the border. Stick with those three issues, and you'll win.
COATES: So why?
JONES: Doug, it takes them off what their message should be, from a political standpoint. But it puts them right on the message, of actually where they are, and what they want to do.
And so, to that extent, thank goodness that Lindsey Graham has at least got the fortitude to say, "This is what we're going to do. This is how we're going to do it. This is what, if we get control of the Senate and the House, this is what we're going to do."
COATES: Because you want them to show the electorate, who they really are.
JONES: Everybody should show the electorate who they really are. Look at everything going on, with election-deniers, walking back in New Hampshire. Look at what Doug - Masters is saying, in Arizona, about the abortion issue, wiping their websites, about their previous statements, on abortion--
JONES: --and the Roe decision and Dobbs. Look, people want their politicians, their candidates, their elected officials, to be straight with them, to be straight, to just tell them. And if they vote for them, great. But if they don't, they can find somebody else, to vote.
COATES: Well, let me say, on that one, I want to hear from you, on this, April. But I want to play, for the audience. Remember, a Republican, Don Bolduc, he just won the GOP primary, in New Hampshire.
Let's just go a little bit - and keep in mind, these two clips, I'm going to show you, are like less than 30 days apart. Here's how he addresses, the idea of being straightforward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG GEN DON BOLDUC (RET), (R) U.S. SENATE NOMINEE - NEW HAMPSHIRE: I signed a letter, with a 120 other generals, and admirals, saying that Trump won the election. And dammit, I stand by my letter.
And I've done a lot of research on this. And I have come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this. The election was not stolen. Was there fraud? Yes.
Unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: April? I mean, I can hear.
COATES: I can see. What is he showing the electorate, he is, there?
RYAN: Well, what he's showing is that he wants to win an election. How about that? He wants to pull in Independents, the way it looks, and possibly Democrats. For him to go totally against what he said, just 30 days ago? I mean, there's Instagram, there's Facebook, there's the Twitter, to show you what he said. But now--
RYAN: Receipts. Yes, as the young people say, receipts.
COATES: Oh, you called me, young!
COATES: Thank you, April.
COATES: Thank you!
RYAN: I'm there with you! I'm there with you!
But, at the end of the day, either way, one of those comments will hurt him. Because if you flip-flop, within a 30-day period, people wonder. But what he is trying to do, right now, is pull in those, who can help him win, in that general election.
JONES: What it shows, Laura, is a complete lack of character, period, complete lack of character.
RYAN: You said it.
JONES: It is - it is saying one thing, to get a vote.
JONES: Saying another to try to pull in some other--
COATES: Some would call that politics, sir.
JONES: Well then we need to change our politics.
RYAN: Well within a 30-day period.
JONES: We need to - we need to make sure people like that are not elected to the United States Senate. How in the hell are people in New Hampshire, going to trust anything he says? When he goes to the floor of the Senate, and he says something, is a poll going to change his mind the minute he walks out?
JONES: You can't do it.
RYAN: But unfortunately, that seems to be the case with a lot of politicians, lately.
JONES: Well that's an--
HEYE: But a good example of that is Lindsey Graham. What was his position on a national abortion bill--
HEYE: --30 days ago? Very different from now.
HEYE: But operationally, in a campaign? And I apologize, because we have somebody, who was a candidate here. Candidates do not have time, to do a lot of research.
HEYE: They are raising money. They're going to events. What happens is either they say what they always thought, or somebody put a piece of paper, in front of them.
HEYE: If they kind of tells you, they've done a lot of research? They're lying to you.
COATES: So here, your point is, by him saying, "I've now done the research, and had this epiphany that it was not a stolen election," that's somebody feeding it to him, or that he just realizes, look?
HEYE: It's one or the other. But it wasn't based on him doing a lot of research.
HEYE: He didn't go to the library, and pull out an encyclopedia, and fish (ph) files, and things like that.
JONES: It is pure--
COATES: You call BS.
JONES: It is pure--
COATES: Well here's the thing about that. And I wonder. Because April, I think, was really, really poignant. And that is, one of those statements will hurt him.
RYAN: One of those statements.
COATES: I mean, and--
COATES: --of course, the focus is on the idea of the collective of the lack of character, as you described, the idea of flip-flopping. The question is, how will you know, and how does the electorate - how do you think both know, which one is successful? Obviously, election will tell us. But which one will be successful?
RYAN: It's a long--
COATES: The lie or the revelation?
RYAN: But it's a long time. I mean, it's a short period of time. But we have, how many days, how many hours, how many minutes, until the general election?
And anything - there's that hidden variable that could pop up, and it could catch him in that moment. One way when he said, "Oh, he's not legitimate," or the other way, where he said, he was. So, we just have to wait and see how this plays out, over the time, here.
JONES: It's no longer - he just made it no longer about whether the election was stolen. It is solely now about trust.
JONES: And that's what Maggie Hassan will talk about. Few people have a St. Paul on a road to Damascus epiphany, which he has tried to have, OK? It is about trust. And that's what you will hear from the Hassan campaign, from this point on.
COATES: Well, we'll see, if it drives the point home, and who it convinces, which answer will actually hurt him. Stick with us.
And also, new tonight, a Special Master, now appointed in the Trump Mar-a-Lago case, after a legal feud. Who it is, and what the selection means, for DOJ's criminal investigation? We'll explain next.
COATES: All right, look, there are some big developments, tonight, in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
There will be a Special Master, to independently review the more than 11,000 documents that were seized, by the FBI, from former President Trump's Florida home. And we now know not just that there will be one, we know who it will be. Federal senior Judge Raymond Dearie. Now, he was one of the two picks, put forward, by Trump's team.
And now, the clock is ticking. He has a November 30th deadline, to finish his review, of the documents. Now, Dearie will look into see if any of them should be shielded from criminal investigators, because of attorney-client or maybe executive privileges, which is the point of contention.
All of this also means the judge rejected a DOJ demand, to allow prosecutors, to continue their review, of the classified documents, now teeing up an appeal.
CNN Political Correspondent, Sara Murray, joins me now.
Sara, does this now mean the DOJ is left sitting on its hands?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not entirely. That was sort of what came out of this.
The judge basically said, "Look, I am not going to change my decision. You do have to pause your review, of these classified documents, as part of this criminal investigation."
But she also said, it does not restrict the government, from conducting investigations, or bringing charges, based on anything other than the actual content of the seized materials.
So, she's saying, "You can talk to witnesses, about where the documents were stored, about how they were moved. But what you can't do is show these documents, for witnesses, and interviews. You can't be taking these documents, to make a presentation before a grand jury." And as you know, that does make it very difficult to move forward with--
MURRAY: --an actual criminal investigation.
COATES: Especially because what is the, that that you're telling people about? The idea, the hypothetical, "There is something I could show you, but I can't?"
Is the idea here that the national security concerns are simply not top of mind, for the judge? Because stopping this means they can't now undertake that continuing notion, of where - is national security compromised in some way?
MURRAY: Right. I mean, the Justice Department had argued that you really needed to let DOJ, to let the FBI, be able to look through these classified documents, if you wanted them, to do a full damage assessment, with the national security team, they're saying, "These things are not separate. We need to be able to work together, with the Intelligence agencies."
And the judge really isn't buying it. She's essentially saying, "I'm not buying that the damage assessment to national security is going to be impeded."
She said, first, "There has been no actual suggestion by the Government, of any identifiable emergency or imminent disclosure of classified information," arriving from Donald Trump's "allegedly unlawful retention of the seized property. Instead, and unfortunately, the unwarranted disclosures that float in the background have been leaks to the media after the underlying seizure."
So, she's making sort of clear in this that she has been more concerned about the leaks, she has seen, around this investigation, and this whole Special Master process, and sort of giving that almost more credence, than the Justice Department's argument that, "Hey, this decision that you have put forward could actually impede the Intelligence agency's ability, to do their damage assessment."
COATES: That strikes me as odd that you'd be more concerned about a potential leak to the media, than you would, about the potential leak of classified and top secret documents.
And it just occurs to me that if you're talking about a DNI assessment, of what could compromise, our national security, is the judge saying that she wants to have the proof, as opposed to the probable cause, and the investigation, at this point in time?
MURRAY: She's sort of saying, "Look, I'm not just going to take the government's word for it, that these documents are classified."
MURRAY: That there has been - the Trump team has sort of put forward the notion that Donald Trump can declassify any documents. They don't actually say in the court documents that he did declassify them. So, the judge is saying, "Look, I want the Special Master, to weigh in on all of this, first."
COATES: Do we really know about this person, though, the judge? Is there - is this a - the person, who is the Special Master, do we know anything about this person yet?
MURRAY: Yes. I mean, this is a senior judge, who was put forward, by the Trump team.
MURRAY: But this is one of the - Trump put forward two candidates. DOJ said, "Look, we are not OK, with one of these people. They do not seem to have the relevant experience here." They said, "We are OK, with Judge Dearie, as being the candidate here."
MURRAY: This is someone, who has experience, on the bench, who has experience, dealing with classified materials. So, it's someone DOJ felt comfortable with.
COATES: And I wouldn't call that progress or not. [21:35:00]
Sara Murray, thank you so much.
COATES: Everyone, coming up, our legal and political pros, are going to weigh in, on tonight's rulings, and what they mean for Trump, and the DOJ, and I hope, national security, going forward, when CNN TONIGHT returns.
COATES: All right, everyone, we now know who is going to review the documents, seized from Mar-a-Lago, and we know when that person is supposed to be done, and we know what the DOJ can't do, in the meantime, and that is review those classified documents.
Let's break it all down, with what happens next, with former federal prosecutor, and defense attorney, Shan Wu. Doug Jones and Doug Heye, the Dougies are back here as well, everyone.
First of all, Shan, tell me what you make of this senior judge that has been chosen as the Special Master. There was a bit of a compromise.
SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.
COATES: It was Trump's person, they put forth. But DOJ said, "Of who you've chosen, we're OK with that." What do you make of him?
WU: Oh, it's a sharp move, by DOJ. I mean, they got rid of the really extreme person, Huck. And they have this judge, who obviously has some experience, with national security issues. He was on the FISA court. But, of course--
COATES: FISA being that Secret Surveillance Court that only certain judges look at, yes.
WU: Right, exactly. But, of course that doesn't make him any kind of expert, on executive privilege. And that's what the whole Trump strategy is really about. So, he should be a perfectly fine judge.
But I really do think that - we can talk about it later. But I think that opinion, her decision, is just a travesty.
COATES: Let's talk about it, right now, Doug.
COATES: We'll talk about it, right now.
COATES: What do you make of it?
JONES: Look, I agree. I just - it just doesn't--
JONES: --seem to make a whole lot of sense. There were two things that - to me, that kind of stood out.
Number one, she clarified something. The investigation goes on. She made sure. Because, her first order was all over the place. And - but she made sure that the investigation goes on, because the content of the documents, in and of itself, doesn't necessarily mean that they can't talk to witnesses, figure out what happened, with the documents. There - it's not like--
COATES: But it does hamstring him a little bit, not to have access--
JONES: It does--
COATES: --to full list of (ph) documents.
JONES: It does, for a little bit. But that, look, this is not - we're not close to a decision on this. But you don't have to show somebody, the document, in a drug case, or fraud case like that. That's number one.
The other thing that kind of struck me, is that she has now given a member of the Judiciary, the ability to try to decide what's classified and not classified. That doesn't make any sense to me at all.
JONES: Even with his experience, on the FISA court, that is an Executive branch decision. And whether he agrees with that decision, or not, I'm not sure that that is a proper subject for the judiciary.
COATES: When you think about it, and the idea, and again, I think your - to the larger point, yes, one could prosecute a case, in the grand jury, for example, and talk about the drugs that were seized, through witnesses.
COATES: So, the thought maybe is that you'd be able to talk about what was seized, in that inventory without actually showing the classified documents.
But he makes a great point, Doug. One of the reasons you also, even if they had the documents, couldn't show the grand jury, is because what are you going to do? Get them off security clearances, to hear the evidence?
HEYE: Right, yes. COATES: And now, you've got this idea, of this judge, being in a position, to decide an issue that doesn't seem to be the issue that DOJ is looking at.
COATES: I mean, the privilege issue is one thing that Trump's raising. Why is he harping on that? It's a winning one, he thinks?
HEYE: It's a winning one, for him, and--
COATES: With the electorate, maybe.
HEYE: With the - with his base.
HEYE: He's able to communicate his messages, to his base. And they like what, you know, it's like going to a rock concert. They love every song that he's singing, and they're going to sing along with it.
But the challenge for Trump here is we're talking about one specific thing, with what papers were at Mar-a-Lago, and whether they should have been there or not. There are still criminal proceedings, being investigated, in Georgia, in New York. Obviously, the January 6th committee is going to have more public hearings.
So, whether Trump wins or loses, on a minute detail, even though it's an important one, one way or another, on the Mar-a-Lago papers, there's still a whole lot more going on here. And that's why there's a feeling of quicksand, around him, as more and more people are cooperating and folding on.
COATES: I mean, speaking of the idea of the rock band, and every song that you love to have play? I mean, here's a common refrain. And you probably heard this, with their chorus again. It's been stuck in people's head, for the better part of, well, many years, ever since we heard Trump say, "I could shoot someone on," I think, "Fifth Avenue, and not have anything racked (ph)."
There was a statement, today, on a radio show, with Hugh Hewitt. And listen to what Trump said there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If it happened, I think you'd have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we've never seen before. I don't think the people of the United States would stand for it.
HUGH HEWITT, HOST, "THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW": What kind of problems, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I think they'd have big problems, big problems. I just don't think they'd stand for it. They will not - they will not sit still and stand for this ultimate of hoaxes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Just so we're clear, what the "It" is, Shan, is if he were to be indicted, that was the reaction, he said.
WU: That's right.
COATES: There'd be big problems. Did anyone else remember the idea that there's been part of the investigation, a potential allegation of calling and inciting violence?
WU: Yes, that's exactly what he's doing, again. He's trying to do January 6th, all over again. But it's a pretty impotent statement, to make, at this point. And it's very early in the investigation.
However, I think, his real ally, in this, is Judge Cannon, because it's really dangerous, what she has done, this meddling, of the Judiciary, in not only the national security issues, but she's meddling in the investigation.
And also, there's a danger to this idea that you can carve out what they can't look at, but still ask questions. Because, it sets the stage for a potential taint of the investigation. If later, the Special Master says, "Hey, this was off bounds. But you somehow managed to blunder into it, through your questions?" That could cause the entire investigation, to go down the toilet.
COATES: What do you make of the deadline? November 30th? Obviously, it's after the midterms. But what do you make of it?
JONES: Look, it's a deadline. It doesn't mean that he has to take that long to do that.
And an additional thing, it doesn't stop him, from doing kind of a rolling review, of this, is particularly with the classified, there is a whole subset of this that is classified secret, whatever you want to call it. And then, there's a lot of other documents out there.
If I was the DOJ, I would try to do everything, I could, to employ this Special Master, to let's look at this classified material, make rolling production, so to speak. It happens, all the time--
JONES: --in discovery, in criminal cases and civil cases. Bring that out. Let us get that so, because there is a national security concern, and we need to get that issue straightened out.
COATES: I mean, piecemeal is always an approach. I wonder how they'll prioritize which to look at first, that's going to be the big question. But the devil is in the details, we all know.
Doug Jones, thank you so much.
Shan and Doug Heye, stick around.
Because up next, when DNA works against a crime victim, in this case, a rape victim, why was she arrested, years later? Now, the answer may have you thinking about how police are using DNA evidence, nationwide. We'll talk about it, next.
COATES: A remarkable case, in San Francisco, drawing attention, to what happens to your DNA, once it's in the hands of the police.
A woman there, is now suing the city. DNA, from her rape kit, was used by police, to arrest her, on theft charges, and keep her locked up, for weeks. Now, the theft charges were actually dropped, after this case came to light. And the city did pass an ordinance, prohibiting cops, from identifying suspects, by using DNA, from a rape kit.
Doug, Shan, and April are back at the table, now.
I mean, April, you've been talking, to your sources, about this story.
COATES: And the implications are pretty far-reaching. What do you make of it?
RYAN: I talked to a lot of lawyers, particularly former prosecutor, former Mayor of Baltimore, and the current President of University of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke. And he said, this is an ethical breach. You can't do this.
And he says, it looks like they would probably have to settle out of court, because there can be so much exposed, and given that they don't want - given, in the San Francisco Police Department, if this thing actually goes to court.
And he believes like along with the other lawyers that I talked to, that there could be some kind of effort, to create some kind of law, to prevent this. He said, you cannot use evidence, from one case, for another. And especially, you can't do that, without asking the person for permission.
COATES: Well, Shan, what's your take? Because, I mean, this is - and again, just so we're clear, from what's happening. This was somebody, who was a victim of rape.
COATES: DNA was taken, in an effort, to try to capture the rapist.
COATES: Then, that DNA, from the victim, was used, to charge her with the crime, later on, unrelated to obviously the rape. What do you, as a prosecutor, think about this, and the idea of this being used? There's no evidence that the cops knew the source of the DNA, perhaps? But what do you make of that?
WU: I think it's a terrible situation. It's reflective of a much bigger, or complex problem, about privacy issues, and what happens to our data, genetic history. But, as a former sex crimes prosecutor, we already know how hard it is, for survivors, to come forward.
WU: And the idea that this kind of information, is going to happen, is going to be a huge disincentive, for them, to want to come forward.
And the other thing that people need to realize? We may not know this. Taking the evidence, from a rape kit, is not exactly unintrusive. It's extremely intrusive.
WU: It's extremely traumatic, for someone, who's already been traumatized.
WU: So, having this kind of result, is just outrageous. And it's a Band-Aid to say, "OK, we can't use it, from this case, or other cases." They need to look at it from a bigger issue. But certainly that ordinance has been passed correctly that says you can't do this with future cases.
COATES: And it's really from the perspective of the politics of it, because it always comes back, right? We've heard so many stories about the backlog of rape kits, not being tested.
But you also have this idea, now, of "Well hold on, if this could possibly solve a crime," and you have this political flag that has to be weighed that says, "We're tough on crime, and not soft on crime," how do you think this plays out politically--
COATES: --to those, who are looking at issues of law enforcement and trust, already?
HEYE: It's a very difficult and complicated issue. And Shan correctly used the word, "Privacy." And the word privacy today means a whole lot more than it did say, five or 10 years ago. Everybody, who has a phone, deals with privacy issues, every day of their lives. And ultimately, this is going to be solved, one way or another, in courts, and in legislatures. WU: Right.
COATES: When you think about this, and who this impacts as well, I mean, you're talking about, especially rape victims, who, as you mentioned, the vulnerability--
COATES: --the idea, the absence of solving many of these crimes and disincentives, I wonder how this will play politically. What do you think, April?
RYAN: Politically, it's an invasion of privacy. Privacy, we've talked about it, social media. We've talked about phones.
This is personal privacy. And it's one of those red lines that you cannot cross. "I'm a victim. Why are you victimizing me yet again, by taking my DNA, wrongfully, to go after another crime?" It is - it's obtrusive, it's intrusive, all the above.
COATES: And, of course, it's - again, it wasn't as if it was voluntarily handed over--
COATES: --in the best of circumstances, right?
WU: Right, right.
COATES: This was something that was taken as part of the investigation.
RYAN: And they even called her "Jane Doe." They don't want to give her identity, in the case. They're calling her "Jane Doe." But yet you're using her DNA for another crime!
COATES: I wonder how many more cases like this are out there. We'll have to look and see and follow this story, everyone.
COATES: Doug Heye, April Ryan, Shan Wu, thank you.
I want to take a moment now, to remember a friend, and a colleague, both in the legal world, and someone you often saw, right here, on CNN. Page Pate. He's someone, we might very well have turned to, for insight, about a story, just like the one, we discussed here today.
Page died, this week, and far too soon, at the age of just 55, in a swimming accident, off the coast of Georgia. He was a trial lawyer, for more than 25 years, a reliable voice, on criminal defense, and constitutional law, and other high-profile cases.
And I had the honor, of appearing with Page, as our colleagues have, many times, over the years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: I want to bring in my legal experts, now. CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor; Page Pate, criminal defense and constitutional attorney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: That was back in 2017. And I really had just really started, primarily in what I was doing.
And Page was always kind, always professional, and a very stand-up lawyer. And he co-founded the Georgia Innocence Project, which celebrates his legacy now, as quote, "A fierce advocate for the criminally accused and unjustly convicted," adding "Above all else, we will remember Page's kindness and generosity, always willing to give anything he could to help... and never asking for anything in return."
Page Pate is survived by his wife, and his two beloved sons. Our hearts are with them tonight.
We'll be right back.
TEXT: PAGE PATE - 1967-2022.
COATES: Hey, that's it for us tonight. I'll be back, tomorrow night.
"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.
Hey, Don Lemon. Oh, wait, no, no. Should I say "Good morning, Don Lemon?" There is some news. I'm excited!
LEMON: The peanut gallery is over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LEMON: I have no idea what you're talking about, Laura Coates!