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Trump On Jury Decision: "This Verdict Is A Disgrace"; Sources: Federal Criminal Charges Filed Against GOP's Santos; Tucker Carlson Announces He's Bringing His Show To Twitter. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 09, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said, Feinstein is, quote, "Ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work."

Earlier this year, she announced she would not seek re-election, in 2024.

That's it for us. The news continues. "CNN PRIMETIME" with Dana Bash starts now.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: Thanks, Anderson. Good evening. I'm Dana Bash.

Another unprecedented day, in U.S. history. The first former President to be criminally indicted is now also the first former President, and current presidential candidate, to be found liable, for sexual abuse, and defamation, in a civil trial.

Also tonight, freshman congressman, George Santos, the Republican, from New York, infamous for his cascade of lies, was charged by the Justice Department, in a federal probe. That news broke right here, on CNN, today, by my colleagues, Evan Perez and Mark Morales.

And we also have new details, on what may have been the most important meeting, in the world, today, one, to prevent a global financial meltdown, and economic doom, here at home, as America stares down the possibility, of its first ever debt default. Was any progress made? President Biden addressed Americans, tonight. And the key congressional players, who met with him, are talking.

But first, the verdict in Manhattan. A federal jury, finding Donald Trump liable, for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll, in a Manhattan department store dressing room, in the mid-90s. He owes Carroll, $5 million, for battery and defamation.

Carroll reacted in a statement, saying, quote, "Today, the world finally knows the truth."

Trump's response, quote, "I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace -- a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!" Today's development follows the ex-President's criminal indictment, on 34 felony counts, in a hush money case. He could potentially face more charges, soon, in Georgia, an election interference probe, there, and still remains in great legal jeopardy, with the Special Counsel's ongoing January 6 and classified documents investigations.

We're joined now by Trump attorney, Alina Habba.

Thank you so much for joining me.

If Donald Trump didn't sexually assault E. Jean Carroll, why did he not testify and tell the jury that himself?


What he didn't do was burden the State of New York, like he had to do, for his arraignment, and cost them $250 million, by coming in.

He testified. He testified under oath. He testified in camera. He testified with the same attorneys that were on trial. And I was sitting there, right next to him. He testified.

BASH: What I'm talking about, of course, is during the actual trial, in front of the jury.

HABBA: Right. And what I'm talking about is in front of a jury, what we did was we played his testimony, under oath, without burdening the jury. And as you've -- if you looked at the docket, the judge didn't want that burden. He also made clear that he said that it would be a burden if he came to the court.

We made a decision that his testimony, as it stood, was fine. And you have to remember, when you don't do anything wrong, the testimony is going to be very limited. We don't know the day. We don't know the year. So, I didn't have much to ask him, frankly. And I think that was very clear. We did not know what to say.

If somebody says, "You stole scissors, from me, but I can't tell you what day what year," we're going to say, "OK, did you rape her?" "No." And you know what? The jury said, he didn't do that.

BASH: But the jury also found him liable, for sexual assault, and also for defaming her.

You have said that you are going to appeal this case. What specifically, do you plan to appeal?

HABBA: I did not make that statement. I'm sure you're referring to the trial attorney, who said that.

But as far as the appeal, I think you have to understand something. Only in the State of New York, could you be found not guilty of rape, but then you defame someone, when you said you didn't rape them. That in itself just doesn't make sense, right?

So, we have a law that was put in place that has a one-year opening, for anybody and everybody, and probably E. Jean Carroll, specifically, to bring a claim, against Donald Trump.

So, we're going to appeal a lot of things, the constitutionality, the jury that failed to find a rape verdict, but then somehow said he said he was defaming her, when he said he didn't do it, and "She's not my type." All of a sudden, that is a crime, in this country. That is sick.

Meanwhile, we have Hunter Biden, doing God knows what, and we're waiting tomorrow, to see what happens. I doubt anything will happen, because that's the world we're living in. But how can you be--

BASH: Well this is not about Hunter Biden. Let's stay focused on this case.

HABBA: Yes. Let's stay focused.

BASH: Let's stay focused, here.

HABBA: This is political. So, it is, absolutely, it's political. And if you can't see that, then you have blinders on. You truly do.

BASH: You mentioned that there is a new law, in New York, that allowed this case, to come forward. And that is absolutely true. New York extended the statute of limitations, to 20 years, for adults, filing civil lawsuits, and select number of sex crimes. The point of that law--

HABBA: No, that's inaccurate.

BASH: --the--


HABBA: That's inaccurate. They didn't -- they didn't extend it 20 years. It's a one-year opening, sorry. But that's a misstatement.

It's a one year -- it's the Adult Survivors Act. It's a one-year opening for anybody, who has ever been rape, to bring a rape case. No matter when you were raped. You have a year, to bring it, up until a certain point. It's not 20 years, endlessly.

BASH: The point of -- the point of--

HABBA: There's one year.

BASH: The point of changing the law is--

HABBA: Right.

BASH: --was to allow people, who don't immediately feel comfortable, for whatever reason, after being assaulted, to still have due process. Just in theory?

HABBA: Well, let me ask you a question, then.

BASH: Is there -- is there -- is that-- HABBA: Why haven't we had that law changed permanently? Why is it one year, when he's the leading presidential candidate?

BASH: In theory, is this the kind of -- in theory, is this--

HABBA: It's one year. They have one year to do this. It's not a permanent law.

BASH: In theory, is this the kind of law that you think should be changed, separate from this case, for women, to have more time, to process things that happen to them, assaults?

HABBA: No, because it's indefensible.

There are things called justice. And people have the right to go to courts, and go to prisons, and go to -- go to police officers, and say, "I was raped, I was assaulted." That is your right. And you should take that right, if you were assaulted, if you were raped.

But what you are not allowed to do is say, "I don't have a year. I don't have a date. I'm not sure if it happened. I'm not sure when it happened."

And guess what? It was in Bergdorf Goodman, but he lived across the street, and nobody saw it. And now, you're 30 years deep, we actually can't tell you when you are, because we can't give you a date, or any details, and there was no witnesses. "But hey, I'm going to say you raped me."

BASH: So--

HABBA: And in 2016 and 2019 -- hold on. When she first said it, in 2019, she didn't like him, as a candidate. And now, she's going to say it again, when in 2024, he's the leading candidate. You're not allowed to do that. That is un-American.

BASH: You--

HABBA: So no, this isn't about rape victims. This is about politics. And you don't (ph) shame on anybody.

BASH: You have -- you have been -- you have--

HABBA: Because the rape victims, it's a sad day.

BASH: You have been suggesting, and a big part of the defense, of course, is that this is about politics. And to that point, in the trial, you raise concerns of a billionaire, who donated to Democrat -- Democratic causes, paying for some of the accusers--

HABBA: Right.

BASH: --some of the legal fees. My question for you is how is that different--

HABBA: That's right. BASH: --from millions of political dollars, being used, to fund Donald Trump's various lawyers, including more than $2 million--

HABBA: Sure, sure.

BASH: --we believe that you received, last year, from the Save America PAC?

HABBA: Happy.

BASH: Those are political donations.

HABBA: Yes. Yes, let me -- let me answer that question. My political -- my payments are not political. They're from a fund. Donors know what they're funding for. Reid Hoffman hit it, and they hit it.

And not only that, there was testimony, where this wasn't brought up, and then it was brought up, when I pressed on it. So, the difference is that reporting for how much I make, as you know, and how much I'm paid, is every quarter, we are upfront about it.

No, it's not OK. Funding anybody that you don't like, politically, paying them to sue people, and then having people, like George Conway, convince somebody, or persuade them, to file a suit. That is the difference. I'm glad you asked that question.

BASH: So, you feel completely comfortable, with the fact that the money, some of the money, that President Trump has used, in his defense, comes from political donations, and that you believe that that is different, from a donation that is given by a political operative, or political donor, on the other side of the aisle?

HABBA: A political operative? Let me ask you this question. I'm glad you brought him up, Reid Hoffman. That's who you're talking about. How come you didn't cover that he was at Epstein's Island? Or was it because he covered it, and said that he was trying to raise money--

BASH: Well--

HABBA: --for children in a school?

BASH: This is nothing.

HABBA: Let's talk about it.

BASH: No, we're not going to--

HABBA: You raised it. Not me.

BASH: No, no. I didn't raise it. You raised it. You raised his name, when you wrote the letter to the judge.

HABBA: I didn't.

BASH: I'm not going down a rabbit hole with you, on this issue.

HABBA: You're right. You're right.

BASH: I am not. I'm focused on the trial. So, let's stay focused on this trial.

HABBA: Let's focus on the trial.

BASH: Is it your position--

HABBA: The thing I am most proud of is that we revealed who funded this.

BASH: Is it your -- is it your position that all of the witnesses, in this trial, who testified, on behalf of E. Jean Carroll, those who were contemporaneous, those who said that she told her friends about it real-time, and others, who said that they also have had experiences, with Donald Trump, assaulting them? Is it your belief that they're all not telling the truth? They're all lying?

HABBA: I really don't care what they say. That's not what I was here for, right?

So, I didn't try the case, as you know. But I will tell you this. I've lived this case, for the first case that she brought, which was reversed, and I've lived and breathed this case. And, I can tell you, those, people haven't brought a claim, against Donald Trump.


They don't have a claim against Donald Trump. They came here, to, again, with 2024 around the corner, try and show something that wasn't true. So, I don't know what to tell you in that. But they were not the people that had a claim.

Joe Tacopina did a great job at one, Ms. Stoynoff took the stand. And he said to her, "I don't have any questions other than one. Are you here to bring a claim against Donald Trump?" Her answer was, no. That's it.

We are here to deal with the case against Ms. Carroll. And you're talking to me as if he was convicted of rape, which he wasn't. He was actually cleared of it. So, no, I don't--

BASH: Me? I'm not talking--

HABBA: --I don't really have an opinion on it. And that's not what I was--

BASH: OK. I'm not talking to you about it, as if he was -- he isn't convicted of anything. This was a civil trial. And this was specifically about sexual assault, today, and defamation.

Before I let you go?

HABBA: That's right. It was money. Correct.

BASH: My final question to you is, I mentioned that there are 15 women, altogether, who have alleged that Trump sexually harassed, or assaulted them. Are you concerned that more of this--

HABBA: Are we talking about 2016? Hold on. Hold on.

BASH: Are you concerned -- all told. All told.

HABBA: I have not gotten a compliant from 15 women.

BASH: All told. That -- not that you've gotten complaint. That have come public -- that have become public. Are you concerned that this case that we've seen today--

HABBA: Since 2016 -- are you talking about 2016?

BASH: Are you concerned--

HABBA: Is that the desperation that we're at, right now?

BASH: Are you concerned -- are you concerned that the case that we saw today, that it is maybe just the beginning that other criminal action could be in the future?


BASH: You are not?

HABBA: No. I think you're concerned that he is going to win, which is why you're bringing up 2016 things, because you have nothing to bring up. That's what I think you're concerned. And you should be concerned. He's leading in the polls.

BASH: OK. I'm a journalist. I am not concerned about anything. I'm asking you, as one of his attorneys, about things that are out there.


BASH: And in addition to what you--

HABBA: Since 2016?

BASH: --are here to talk.

HABBA: Is that what we're talking about?

BASH: I'm talking about the incident--

HABBA: Great! Are you talking about 2016? Give me a year. These 15 women. Are we talking about 2016, when he was running--

BASH: It's -- it's--

HABBA: --and almost won them, and did win?

BASH: It is -- it is not relevant what you're talking about, about the dates.

HABBA: It is relevant. BASH: No, it's not.

HABBA: You just asked me about 15 women.

BASH: Yes.

HABBA: I don't have 15 women that have come forth with a claim.


HABBA: Where are they? I don't have them.

BASH: I didn't say that they came--

HABBA: You're talking about something from 2016, and--


BASH: I didn't say that they came forward with a claim. I said that they have made public statements.

HABBA: No, you didn't.

BASH: I said they have made public statements.

HABBA: In 2016.

BASH: And my question was, are you concerned about this?

HABBA: And you have nothing for 2024.

BASH: OK. Thank you.


BASH: Thank you for your time. I very much appreciate it. And I hope to talk soon--

HABBA: Thank you.

BASH: --because there's a lot more to discuss--

HABBA: Hope so.

BASH: --as you go on with your appeal.

HABBA: I'm sure there will, when he wins. Thank you.

BASH: And let's open it up, to our panel here, for a conversation.

Laura Coates, let me start with you, because there is a lot -- there's a lot to digest there, basically. Number one, on the question that I think I'm most interested in, now, not the politics, but the legal case, on the appeal. Given what you know about the case, do you believe that there are grounds for appeal? LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I want to just first say, you have been consistent, in your inquiries, based on your journalistic integrity, as to why you're asking the question now. So, I will answer that.

And I'll tell you, when you're talking about the appeals process, one of the most fundamental things, to look at is about what the jury actually received. It's not about what's in the court of public opinion. There is a plethora of information there. But a jury can only hear, and decide upon, what comes in into evidence.

The most fundamental aspect of a potential appeal would be testimony given, about what's called prior bad acts, a collection of testimony that suggests look, this is not about these specific allegations of E. Jean Carroll, or trying to buttress because you're an eyewitness, but because you're saying "Listen, here's my experience with this person." It's part of an overall M.O., someone's modus operandi. "This is this person's doing."

What they do is, and the allegations in their testimony was that he engages in behavior, in these semi-public places, and then will later defame, by calling you a liar. That was the actual impetus behind getting more testimony in.

But it's also the really ripe area, where appeals can be actually viable, to suggest that "Hold on." You have to always engage in this balancing test, between what's probative, meaning it'll help illuminate an issue, and what's unduly prejudicial. That's the part of this, I think, will be the most consequential in appeal.

BASH: I want to bring you in, Patrice Sulton. You are also an attorney here. What did you make of what you heard? And more importantly, the impact of what we saw today in New York?

PATRICE SULTON, ATTORNEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DC JUSTICE LAB: Well, I think Laura framed the legal issues very well. Those are the rules of evidence that I think will be most relevant to the Court of Appeals determination.


The impact of what I saw today is, in part informed by what else we've seen in this same news cycle. I can't remember a time that we witnessed the erosion of public trust, in all three branches of American government, at one time.

And that is significant and consequential, to see rules violations, by someone, who has served in the White House, someone who has served in the U.S. Congress, and someone who is serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, all at the same time.

And while criminal prosecution, and litigation, doesn't always have a deterrent effect, I think there's an exception, when we're talking about such a public, and such an abuse of power, by all three branches, in the same week.

BASH: Congressman Ro Khanna, what's your reaction to what we saw today?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I was just saddened by the exchange you had. Because what message is that sending to girls, across this country?

I mean, you and I, everyone here knows, it takes extraordinary courage, to come forward, if someone has been sexually assaulted. Most people, who have been sexually assaulted, never go through it, precisely because they don't want the spectacle.

And then, to have someone attack the jury system, a hallmark of our democracy, because it didn't come out their way? It sends a chilling effect, to girls, watching. And I hope people recognize the courage of Jean Carroll, in coming forward, with her story, and recognize that in this country, we believe in the process.

If you disagree, appeal. But don't attack the democratic process.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. You're a politician. So, you took the high road, and said, "Saddened."

I was just kind of grossed out by the whole thing. Ms. Habba -- but one of the things we know about Donald Trump is he's been searching for his Roy Cohn, for a long time. He wants pugnacious, obnoxious lawyers, who will fight dirty. And it seems like he's got one, in this lady.

I -- what's sort of -- what I think is sort of striking, in some of the -- because there -- she is right. She was right that this is unavoidably political. You got the front-runner, for the Republican nomination, you know? And that was.

BASH: Of course.

GOLDBERG: But what's interesting to me, as a legal matter, is that they want to have it both ways. They want to say that, "Look, the jury cleared him of this rape charge." At the same time, they want to say "This was a runaway ideologically obsessed irrational," what Marco Rubio said, "That jury is ridiculous" or whatever.

Well, to me, it sort of sounds like they were actually pretty rational, and discriminating, and discerning, about what they were going to say, there was evidence for, and what there wasn't. If they were just simply rabid anti-Trump people, why wouldn't they just throw in the rape charge in there?

And I think that's going to hurt them on appeal, when they're trying to overturn their jury verdict on fact, when the jury -- when you can't actually claim the jury, with these rabid, irrational people, like you're trying to claim, because they're actually not doing the worst thing possible, to Trump, I think it's going to have problems, when you are on appeal (ph).

BASH: That's a really interesting point.

COATES: Can I just say -- and there's really two points that I was curious what you thought about this, too. Because, on the one hand -- first of all, she mentioned that he did testify. He did not testify, in open court, in front of a jury. Period! He did not. His testimony became all the more important, when it was in the deposition. And he did not counter it, in a live testimony, for the jury, to actually hear, number one.

But number two, perhaps even more importantly, and when you think about how all this goes down, they keep talking about he was cleared of rape.

Well, if you actually read the complaint, there were two charges, battery, which is an umbrella term, for an offensive touching, which included, and they actually outlined, it included charges of rape in different degrees. It included sexual abuse and a lesser crime as well of misconduct. And he had a defamation suit against him as well.

And so, the idea that he was solely charged with rape, is actually just a misinterpretation, and a misstatement, of what happened. And to say that? I mean, as defense counsel, I know you have been one as well, in the civil and criminal context. I know that it's kind of a talking point, to suggest that there was clearance. But that's actually not (ph) what the complaint actually said.

SULTON: There's no question that these are serious allegations. We have many people serving prison -- for serving time, in prison, for much less serious allegations than the ones in this civil lawsuit. And it's something that should be taken seriously.

And to your point about testifying, live, in front of a jury? That is something that is really important. We want juries to be able to assess the credibility of witnesses, to see them cross-examined, live. And that's been at the front of most trial lawyers' minds, as we work our way through this pandemic, and don't have the ability to have people there in-person.

BASH: We have so much news today. We have a lot more to talk about. Everybody, stay with us.

You also stay with us, out in the audience, because ahead, we're going to talk to a psychologist, who testified, at the civil trial, about her interactions, with E. Jean Carroll. She's going to be here.

Plus, Congressman George Santos, he has been charged, by the Justice Department. He is the GOP lawmaker, who has been under intense public scrutiny, for a litany of lies, about his past. We'll talk about that next.



BASH: Federal prosecutors, filing criminal charges, against New York congressman, George Santos, the Republican lawmaker, who has been the target of numerous investigations, for spinning a web of lies.

Remember, it started out with fabricate -- fabrications, rather, within his, own biography, falsely claiming that his mother died on 9/11, that he was the grandson of Holocaust survivors. We also learned he lied about where he went to school, where he worked, and that he was not in fact, a college volleyball star.

But the revelations soon took a potentially criminal turn. Santos has been accused of breaking campaign finance and conflict of interest laws, stealing cash, meant for an Iraq war veteran's dying dog, and masterminding a credit card fraud scheme.

Let's go back to the table.

We should say that our reporting is that the Justice Department acted. We don't know exactly what. We don't know exactly what he is specifically in trouble for here.

You are his colleague, in the House of Representatives. At this point, is it just about letting the Justice Department do its thing?

KHANNA: Sure. But he should have been asked to resign a long time ago, from his own party. He's the most famous member of Congress. That should be a shameful fact, for all of us, in Congress.

BASH: You're pretty famous!

KHANNA: No, not like George Santos.


He has become a punchline. I mean, in a body that had Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, George Herbert Walker Bush, we now have George Santos and we can't say he doesn't belong? What are we doing to the body? I mean, it is -- forget Republican or Democrat. Why do you have someone, like that, sullying the name, of the institution you serve in?

BASH: Well, we know why. Because, there's a four-vote majority that Republicans have. And it's the seat that could very well, in a special election, go to the Democrats, and make it a three-vote majority, right?

GOLDBERG: Yes. And there's the other aspect, which is that shamelessness is a superpower, right? I mean, if Santos had a sense of integrity, whatever, he would, right, he would resign, right?

But the -- what you're talking about is why he's not going to get expelled. And he's not going to get expelled because McCarthy's margin is razor-thin. And that's a flippable seat, for Democrats, to boot. And so, it doesn't speak well of the institution. But there's a long list of things that don't speak well of the institution, these days.

BASH: So, again, we're not sure exactly what the Justice Department is zeroing in on.

But let me just bring back the legal accusations, breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws. Again, this is the one that's the most heartbreaking and personal, stealing cash meant for an Iraq war veteran's dying dog, and then a credit card fraud scheme. These are all allegations.

Your thoughts?

COATES: When we're thinking about our democracy, overall, we're thinking about the types of crimes that I think the Feds would be most interested in. And those are the ones that would remove some level of transparency, and accountability, for one's campaign finance reporting.

There's a reason we have these laws. And we really encourage, and that's -- I'll use that term, loosely, encourage transparency, for that reason. "We want to know who might be paying you? Who is your -- are you a marionette or otherwise? And are you a credible member of Congress?" That's all very important. We're not getting ahead of our skis, of course. We don't yet know everything.

But what we do know is the substance is surrounding the lack of credibility. And while there is the political reasons why he is -- he wants to remain, there, and your point about the attention, economy, is very well taken, Jonah. There is something that will be made about the partisanship of this, about a selective prosecution of a Republican.

But let's be very clear, taking a step back, this is about our transparency, and accountability and, likely, campaign finance. And those are a non-partisan issue.

SULTON: No matter what the charges are, one thing that the court will have to assess, early on is the risk of danger, to public safety, and the risk that someone will flee, and evade prosecution.

And we have to expand our thinking about what dangerousness means, beyond street-level crime, when we have someone, who has engaged, in conduct, over and over and over and over again, the propensity, to continue engaging in that is something that the court should certainly weigh.

BASH: OK. Everybody, stay with us.

Up next, President Biden addressed the nation tonight, after a crucial meeting, with congressional leaders, on the debt ceiling.

So, where do things stand, right now? There is still, I know this is going to shock you all, there's a lot of bickering, here, in Washington. But will there be a deal, to keep the nation, from defaulting, a few weeks from now?

Stay with us.



BASH: Tonight, the nation is closer, to its first default, in American history. Why? Because, three weeks ago, or excuse me -- three weeks to go, before the Treasury Department's deadline, to raise the debt ceiling.

There's no progress, it seems, in talks, between the President and Republicans. Now, Joe Biden, and congressional leaders, met at the White House, this afternoon. Republicans want deep spending cuts, to raise the debt ceiling. Biden says, that's not negotiable.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I made clear during our meeting that default is not an option.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Everybody in this meeting reiterated the positions they were at. I didn't see any new movement.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The United States is not going to default. It never has. And it never will. However, elections have consequences.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): There's one group, in Washington, D.C., extreme MAGA Republicans, who have indicated that they are willing to take us down the path of default. That is reckless, irresponsible, and extreme.


BASH: Joining me now is Republican congressman, Chip Roy, of Texas, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

Thank you so much, for joining me, this evening.

So, the first question is your reaction to what you're hearing, from the President, from congressional leaders, and maybe even what you heard in the halls there as they came back?

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Yes, great to be on, Dana.

I mean, look, this is pretty much what we expected. I didn't think there was going to be the proverbial white smoke, rising up, from the White House, with some grand deal that was going to be struck, this afternoon.

But it's nice that the President has finally acknowledged that he needs to sit down at the table, with House Republicans. But unfortunately, he didn't do that for three months. And it took us calling his bluff, and sending over what the "Washington Post" even described, as a responsible effort, on our part, to send over a debt ceiling increase that then has spending cuts that we think put us on a path, to fiscal responsibility.

And you could debate different provisions in those. We think that they're a good-faith effort. But the President's just sitting back, saying, "I'm not going to do anything," and that's not responsible. It's not acceptable. And at least 46 Senate Republicans have said they're not going to support cloture, and agreed with us. So, I think the President needs to move. BASH: Yes. And to be specific, what the President has said is that he's not going to do anything, as it relates to connecting it, to raising the debt ceiling. He has said he's willing to discuss spending cuts.

You, and your fellow House Republicans, as you mentioned, you've already passed a bill that calls for $4.5 trillion, in spending cuts, over a decade. How much running room, are you willing to give Speaker McCarthy, to make a deal?

ROY: Well, look, I mean, the Speaker speaks for all of us that we passed legislation that is a, I think, responsible effort, like I said before. And I'm giving him all the rope, he needs, to go over there, and figure out how to get a deal done, for us. But all within the structures of what we pass that have agreed upon.

Again, we're the ones that have sent something over. He shouldn't be negotiating against ourselves. The President needs to come down and sit at the table with a counter.

BASH: But--

ROY: And look, the President clearly wants to extend this two years, into 2025. If the President wants that, then he's got to come, make an offer, as they say. We've done our part of the job. I think Speaker McCarthy worked with us, in a broad cross section, of the Conference. And we surprised a lot of people, in this town, and sent it over. And now, the Senate and the White House need to act.

BASH: Yes. And you definitely have your sort of line in the sand, when it comes to the negotiating. I remember, back the last time, this was this kind of debate.

ROY: Yes.


BASH: Part of the reason why the then-Speaker, John Boehner, had trouble, is because he didn't have a lot of running room, and he had a much bigger majority, than Speaker McCarthy does now.

People, in the Freedom Caucus, like you, your sort of predecessors, I guess, did not want much negotiation.

But you're saying that you're OK with him, negotiating?

ROY: Well, of course, he can negotiate, right? That's what you would do in good-faith. But again, your starting position is what we've sent. And the President has to respond.

Speaker McCarthy has not, and should not, start trading off of what we've already done. I mean, look, we sat down at the table. We said, "We're going to do what we've never really done." The vast majority has not voted to raise the debt ceiling. Our constituents didn't send us to Washington, to raise the debt ceiling. We sent over cuts that are in this year, mostly in Washington, they usually put cuts, in the out years, and it saves $5 trillion, over 10 years, a $1 trillion in year one. And sure, you can debate some of them. But it's something that would put us on a path to fiscal responsibility.

And to say that it shouldn't be a part of a debt ceiling fight conflicts with everything the President has ever stood for. He said it, as a Senator, in 1984. He said it, as a Senator, in 1994. In 2011, he negotiated a deal, as the Vice President of the United States.

So, he's done it in the past. He's got to stop listening to his far- left advisers, in the White House, and get back to the Joe Biden that recognizes that you have to sit down, with people, who just won the election, in Republican House of Representatives.

BASH: I want to ask you a couple of questions, outside of the debt ceiling. What should happen to your colleague, George Santos, in light of the fact that he's now apparently facing charges by the DOJ?

ROY: Well, look, I haven't looked at those.

I've been spending, as you know, I'm in the Rules Committee. And we're also dealing with the Title 42 expiration, on Thursday, which has a major impact of the State of Texas.

And I'm not punting. I'm just saying I've literally not looked at whatever the charges are. I'm a former federal prosecutor. So, I want to see what they've said.

But also, I give a lot of deference, to the people, who elected a member, for the body to step in. I think it's got to be pretty significant. And we got to see what it is. And we'll have a conversation about that here, in the body.

Obviously, it's always concerning, when there's something going on, with those kinds of investigations. But I also know the Department of Justice is a pretty politicized entity. So, I want to look at all this stuff, very carefully. I like to trust the American people, typically, in making the decisions about who's representing them.

BASH: And finally, former President Trump was found liable, for sexual assault, and defamation, today.

Do you someone, who, I should say endorsed Ron DeSantis, who hasn't formally announced yet, do you believe that this is something that is inherently disqualifying, when it comes to his candidacy? Donald Trump's?

ROY: Well, look, I mean, again, not to punt. I have not looked at any of the details. I've been immersed in negotiations, all day, on the border bill. And I hope we're going to get it there, here in the next 48 hours. It's really important, for the people of Texas. I've not been able to see exactly what happened. I saw a quick snippet, on Twitter. But I endorsed Governor DeSantis, because I'm looking forward, I want to carry this country forward, in a positive direction. He can serve, for eight years. He won 1,500,000 votes. That was his margin of victory.

He won 50 percent of single female voters, 62 percent of Hispanic voters. He's taken on the Corporate Establishment. He's taken on the Education Establishment. He's a friend. He's a great family man, a veteran. I'm a big fan of Governor DeSantis. And I think he's a strong leader.

I think the American people are going to kind of make their own decisions about all this. There's a lot of politicization, in all of these, indictments and proceedings. Bragg was highly politicized. But I haven't studied this one, in the slightest bit.

BASH: Congressman Chip Roy, thank you so much, for your time. Appreciate it.

ROY: Take care. See you, Dana.

BASH: And up next, reaction, from one of the witnesses, at the civil trial, a clinical psychologist, who testified, on behalf of Trump's accuser, E. Jean Carroll.



BASH: Tonight, former President Trump, and his supporters, are doubling down that today's damning verdict, finding him liable, for sexual abuse and defamation, is yet another witch hunt.

Writer E. Jean Carroll, however, is calling this a victory, not just for herself, but, she says for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.

Joining me now, is a key witness, who provided expert testimony, for E. Jean Carroll, on this very matter.

Dr. Leslie Lebowitz is a trauma specialist, and clinical psychologist, who evaluated Carroll, for the case, and testified, on her behalf.

Thank you so much, for joining me, this evening.

First, your reaction to the verdict.

LESLIE LEBOWITZ, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, EVALUATED E. JEAN CARROLL, TESTIFIED ON E. JEAN CARROLL'S BEHALF: It's a fabulous verdict. I think we're all thrilled. It feels like a verdict, not only for E. Jean, but for thousands and thousands of other women, who have had these experiences, and wish that they could be validated in this way.

BASH: As I mentioned, you were brought in, by Carroll's team, to help explain, her pain, her trauma, why that manifested, years later. Tell us more about your evaluation and what you found. LEBOWITZ: Yes. So, my evaluation was based on a very, very lengthy interview, series of interviews that I did. And her pain didn't just surface, years later. There were aspects of her awareness that surfaced years later. But the pain started soon after the event, and was consistent for many, many, many years.

BASH: I want to read some of what E. Jean Carroll heard, was pressed on, at the trial, some direct quotes, from Trump attorney, Joe Tacopina, asking her about the alleged rape.

He said, "Why didn't you scream?"

He said, "So you didn't scream while you were getting violently raped because didn't you want to make a scene?"

"Did you go back the next day to ask for video camera footage?"

What did you make of that line of questioning?

LEBOWITZ: That line of questioning is predicated on some of the oldest sexist myths, and misunderstandings that we have.

First of all, the overwhelming majority of women don't scream. The overwhelming majority don't report. They don't go back the next day, to see if there's video footage. I mean, that's just simply not what people do, in general.

I think it's important to know that when people are terrorized, and rendered helpless, and stunned, by a sudden assault, as she was, we often don't do what we imagined we might do.


We often don't scream, or run, or do any of the things that in our fantasies we thought we might do. Instead, we fall back on things that are habitual, often. For E. Jean, that was fighting. She fought physically hard. But screaming was not a habit, for her. And it isn't for most women.

BASH: Well I know that you're aware that Trump's defense team tried to question the credibility, of your findings, raising the idea that she could have presented symptoms, in a certain way, to impact your evaluation, or that her trauma could have been the result of another incident.

LEBOWITZ: Yes. Well, the idea that it was a result of another incident simply didn't line up with the data that we had. She developed certain very specific symptoms, only after the rape. She didn't have those symptoms, the previous 40 years of her life. So, that wasn't very compelling.

And they did spend a fair amount of time, trying to attack my methods. There were a lot of questions about why didn't I use certain kinds of standardized screening devices?

And the answer to that? I mean, there is a lot of answers to that. The most straightforward one is if you really want to understand something, about a human being, and how something has affected them? You need to talk with them. And if you want to understand them at a pretty complete level, you have to talk to them for a long time.

I spoke to E. Jean, for 22 hours. So, it wasn't a quick interview. It was a lengthy interview, in which I had the opportunity, to circle around her life, and dig a little deeper, and circle back to things.

BASH: Well, Dr. Leslie Lebowitz, thank you so much for your time, tonight. I really appreciate it.

LEBOWITZ: Thank you for having me.

BASH: Two weeks, after Fox fired him, right-wing host, Tucker Carlson announced his next move, setting up a big legal war, with his former network. That's next.




TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren't many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining, in the world, the only one, is Twitter, where we are now.

Starting soon, we'll be bringing a new version of the show we've been doing for the last six and a half years to Twitter.


BASH: There are lots of networks that allow free speech. You're watching one of them.

That was Tucker Carlson, though, back on the air, in a matter of speaking, just weeks after he and Fox parted ways. But he will use the new venture, to push his ideals. The question is what is his legal battle, going to look like, with his former employer?

Joining us at the table, Axios Senior Media Reporter, Sara Fischer.

You have some new reporting on the legal battle brewing?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST, SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes. So, lawyers representing Tucker Carlson sent a letter, to Fox executives, today, saying that they had breached his employment contract, which that matters, Dana, because it helps him, to wiggle out of that non-compete, so that he could start a competitive venture.

And they also said that essentially they broke promises, to Carlson that they made to him that would ensure he would be protected. So, they say that they promised that Tucker's correspondence wouldn't be leaked, like his text messages. Well, the lawyers are pointing to reporting, in bunch of news outlets, about redacted messages that have now been seen by media outlets. He argues that he had been told, by a Fox Board member, this is Carlson, that he was fired, as a result of the settlement with Dominion. He's arguing that he was promised that that would not be the case, to Fox's denying that that's case.

And so, we'll see what the legal battle turns out. It's ultimately going to go to a court.

BASH: Jonah, you left Fox, in part because of antics of Trump -- Tucker Carlson, and others. What's your take on what you just heard, in his announcement, today?

GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, so different silos, right? I mean, I'm a little bit Henry Kissinger, on this, on the Iran-Iraq War, pity only one of them can lose.

But I think -- first of all, I think it's just a business proposition. Launching a TV show, on Twitter, is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. The whole model of Twitter is to be constantly scrolling, and to not have your attention grabbed. And the whole idea of a TV show was to hold someone's attention for an hour. I just don't see a fit there.

I think that the negotiations stuff, that sort of the air-war stuff, between them, which is very interesting, feels very much all like positioning, for some sort of negotiated settlement. Because, I mean, Tucker has got a lot of money, but he doesn't want to leave $25 million, on the table, either. And so, they're trying to get some leverage, over Fox, to figure out their way out of this.

BASH: So, there's the legal question. And then there's the just social responsibility question of this.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the Head of the ADL, tweeted "Tucker Carlson used his primetime show to spread antisemitic, racist, xenophobic and anti- LGBTQ+ hate to millions. Now, he has a new platform to promote his hateful views."

You're actually a Democrat, a proud progressive Democrat, who goes on Fox, to try to reach that audience. How do you square all of these sort of combating and competing ideas?

KHANNA: I do. And I'm a very strong supporter of the First Amendment. But here's the thing. You shouldn't be able to do on social media, what you can't do here. I can't go and defame someone, on this show. You can't defame someone. I can't say things that are going to incite imminent violence.

But with Section 230, which is so broad, on social media, you can do some of those things. And that's why we need a reform, of Section 230. So, if Tucker Carlson wants to go on Twitter, and live by the same rules that he's not going to incite imminent violence, and he's not going to defame people? Then, that's fine. But the problem is the internet is totally unregulated.

BASH: You think that there's a chance that Congress is actually going to get that done? KHANNA: Well--

BASH: Meaning, regulating the internet, or regulating social media?

KHANNA: Well first, they have to understand it.

BASH: Yes.

KHANNA: That will be a good first step, I guess.

BASH: You say, "They." You are in Congress.

KHANNA: Well, me, me, me (ph).

BASH: But you're one of the few -- you're one of the few, who understand it, who understands it.

Talk about it from the legal perspective.


COATES: Well, I'll be looking to see how Twitter will look through a Terms of Use, and community guidelines, because they're going to have the same sort of regulatory behavior, within the corporate space that doesn't have to go through the First Amendment, in terms of not being a government entity.

And so, looking to see what they will actually be able to honor, what they may, they will accuse them of censoring, what they will remove, and what they're allowed to keep there. That's going to be the next horizon of this particular battle.

There's, of course, the duty not to compete, which I'm sure Fox has pretty solidly invested, and adopted into its contracts. But in terms of putting all eggs into the basket, of a corporate entity that does not have to abide by the First Amendment, purely, and has terms of use, to try to remove somebody, including the former President of the United States? I'll be curious what they ultimately do.

BASH: Final word.

FISCHER: Well, I think Elon Musk kind of responded to that by saying that Tucker Carlson is going to be subject to the same rules, as everybody else.

And, by the way, Tucker Carlson goes on and gives a huge endorsement of Twitter. And Elon Musk's response is, "Well, you're subject to the rules as everybody else," and "Oh, this isn't a formal agreement."

BASH: Subject to rules (ph).

FISCHER: I mean, that's another question, you know?

BASH: Yes, exactly.

FISCHER: But he's not exactly coming out with a huge endorsement of Tucker here. And so, that makes me wonder if Tucker is overplaying his hand, thinking he's going to get a free pass, on Twitter, whereas Elon Musk can use this, as an opportunity, to say, "Hey, we actually regulate this a little."

BASH: Well, that's a teaser, or a cliffhanger, as they say.

Thanks, everybody, great discussion. Great to be with you, tonight.

And ahead, on CNN, actor Richard Dreyfuss is slamming new diversity rules, for the Oscars, saying the requirements make him, quote "Vomit." Alisyn Camerota takes up that controversy, and much, much more, next.


BASH: Just in, Donald Trump says he will appeal the decision, from the Manhattan federal jury that he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll, in the mid-90s.

You can hear more, from the former President, right here, tomorrow night, at a "CNN REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL TOWN HALL," anchored by my colleague, Kaitlan Collins. That's 8 PM Eastern.

Thank you so much for joining us.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota starts, right now.

Hey, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Hey, Dana. Great to see you. Thanks so much.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT, on a busy and unprecedented news night.